Work Header

The World We Live In

Chapter Text

When Betty got home from making a run with Toni, she was greeted with the sound of her sister crying and her mother looking ready to start a war. She closed the door behind her slowly as she took in the room, the twins were napping in the corner of the room, only a few moths old and Polly was sitting on the couch with her face buried in her hands, barely muffling the sound of her cries. Betty looked at her mother in question as she dropped her bag by the door and her mother glared at the wall behind her, seeming to look for anything to direct her anger at.

"Your sister finally spoke to that low life Jason Blossom, after he dodged her for months and he refuses to help with the twins." She snapped and Betty sighed and glanced at Polly.

"I'm sorry, Pol." She said softly. Her sister had gotten involved with Jason after she made the cheerleading team with his twin sister, but the relationship hadn't been smooth sailing and had plummeted after Polly discovered she was pregnant. Jason hadn't wanted anything to do with her after that and it had made Polly fall into a depression that she only snapped out of when she saw the twins.

"He called me a slut!" She exclaimed, lifting her face from her hands, tears still staining her cheeks. "He said they probably weren't even his, that I was just some southside trash that probably came up with it to get money from his family."

"He's an asshole." Betty told her and she laughed softly, tears still thick in her voice.

"Yeah, he is." She said, her gaze going to the twins. "They're probably better off without him."

"Damn right they are." Their mom's voice came from the other side of the room, causing them to glance at her, a small, sad smile crossing Polly's face.

"I'll probably have to drop out of college. They need to be provided for, I'll need to pick up more shifts at Pop's." Polly said. Their mom stepped up to them and knelt in front of her and took her hands, forcing her to look at her.

"You'll do no such thing. You're the first one of us to go to college, and you deserve to finish. I'll take care of the twins when you're at school, and we'll just pool our money to get them what they need." She said and Betty moved closer, touching Polly's arm lightly.

"I'll look for a job too, Polly. Every little bit helps right?" She said softly and Polly looked at her with wide eyes.

"You just graduated high school Betty, I can't ask you to do that so I can go to college, you deserve to go too." She said and Betty shrugged.

"Nah, I don't think college is the path for me. It's okay, I don't mind helping. We take care of our family around here." She said and Polly smiled, her first real one of the day and hugged them both, sqiushing them together in a tangle of limbs and smiles. After everyone had composed themselves Betty took the twins to her room so Polly could focus on finishing her homework. They were still sleeping so it wasn't a hassle to set up their cot by her bed before laying them into it and collapsing on her bed next to them.

Growing up on the southside wasn't easy sometimes, especially when you had to scrounge up pennies by digging in the couch cushions just to pay the bills, but it was home and Betty felt content here. She meant what she said about college not being for her, she was smart sure but she didn't want to spend four more years in school when she didn't even know what she wanted to do with her life anyway. Being a serpent also took up a lot of her time, between delivering shipments a few towns over to making sure that everyone in Sunnyside was taken care of, she didn't have a lot of time to contemplate what she wanted to do. She helped out in the garage/chop shop sometimes and she was good at it, but it wasn't a permanent position that she could rely on.

College seemed trivial in the face of their lives, but she supported Polly fully in her endeavors. Polly was one of the few teenagers in the southside that never pledged to the Serpents, she still had their protection because she was family, but she wasn't a member and Betty knew that was why she had decided on college. She saw a way out of the southside, a way out of Riverdale, that no one else did. Even with becoming a teen mother, she was one of the few that people expected to actually make it out. Betty had pledged to the Serpents when she was only fourteen, at the same time as her best friend Jughead Jones, who was practically royalty. The Serpent Prince to his father's King, but he was one of the most down to earth people she knew. Sometimes, when they didn't have other obligations, they'd lay in his room and smoke together until the air was hazy and they were relaxed. They had some of the deepest conversations in those moments, and she was grateful to have him in her life.

She was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of Polly opening her door quietly, and looking at the clock, Betty realized she'd been laying there for quite a while. The twins woke up fussy when Polly tried to moved them from their spot and she sighed as she made her way out of the room with a baby tucked in each arm. The door to her room clicked shut after she gave it a light kick with her foot and Betty knew she was about to feed them. Polly wasn't shy about whipping her boobs out to feed her babies in the living room if one of them was hungry, but when she did tandem feeding she liked to take her shirt off completely to make it easier and after Sweet Pea had burst in looking for Betty once when she was doing it , it had made her weary of doing it outside of her room.

Betty sighed and let her feet take her down the hall and back out the door, shouting bye to her mother on the way out, before she took off toward the Wyrm. She could have taken her bike but she was in the mood for a walk today so she weaved through the yards of the other trailers, before she made it to the road and set off walking to the far edge of the southside. It didn't take long for her to make it, and seemingly like it was a shining beacon was a now hiring sign. Betty shrugged to herself as she hadn't been aware that Hog Eye was looking for anyone but she pushed the door open and made her way to the bar. Jughead was in the corner with their friends and he waved her over when he saw her but she gave him a hand motion indicating that he wait for a moment, before continuing to the bar. Hog Eye was polishing a glass while he glanced around, checking if anyone needed a refill and Betty tapped the bar to get his attention. He came over to her and raised an eyebrow.

"Betty Cooper, I know for a fact that you aren't old enough to drink." He said and she rolled her eyes with a grin.

"As if that's ever stopped you from serving me before." She said wryly and he chuckled lightly. "But that's not what I'm here for. I noticed the sign on the door, you're hiring?"

"Betty...maybe you should look somewhere else for employment." He said hesitantly and she gave him a confused look.

"Why?" She asked. "I'm sure I could learn to make a drink."

"The job isn't for a bartender position girl." He said, glancing behind her at the gleaming poles standing throughout the room. The implication of his words hit her and she took a moment to process it before speaking. The twins, and Polly, needed help and Betty wasn't about to back down just because it wasn't what she had expected coming in.

"I don't care. I need the money." She said determinately. He glanced behind her again, but she knew he wasn't looking at the poles this time as his eyes slid past them.

"What will your boyfriend have to say about that?" He said and she knew immediately who had caught his eye.

"Jug isn't my boyfriend, and in any case, he doesn't own me so I can do what I want. Are you going to give me the job or not?" She snapped and he sighed.

"It isn't up to me girl, it's up to the night manager. You'll need to audition, but I'll set you up with an interview if you're serious." He said, seeming hesitant to do even that and she huffed.

"Okay, do that and let me know when, I'll be ready." She said. He nodded his affirmation and she bounced away happily, joining the group in the corner of the room. Jughead smiled at her when she joined and Toni raised an eyebrow from the other side of the pool table.

"Betty, you wanna be my partner? We can show these boys how it's done." She said and Betty grinned.

"You two can show me how it's done." Sweet Pea said suggestively. Betty smacked him on the back of the head as she passed by to get to Toni.

"You might want to get your head out of the gutter if you want to stand a chance at winning Pea." She said and he rolled his eyes.

"Please, I could beat you in my sleep." He said and she raised an eyebrow.

"Is that so?" She asked, glancing at Toni who had a grin on her face. "We'll see about that. Set us up."

Betty and Toni both missed a few on their first couple of goes, deliberately using the advantage to make Sweet Pea get more cocky before they proceeded to wipe the floor with him, all the while with him whining about cheating causing Betty to snort. He'd played with them before and should logically be aware that they didn't suck but every time it was like he had selective memory loss and always thought he'd win, or maybe it was just because he was filled with testosterone that didn't let him refuse a challenge. Whatever it was, it made Betty extremely grateful, especially when he sullenly forked over the cash they'd bet on it.

They moved onto the dart board in the corner and Jughead had always been the best at it, which is why every time his turn would come up she poke him harshly in the ribs right before he threw to make his darts land off center. When it was her turn she grinned when her dart landed closer to the center than his and he pouted.

"I call sabotage, Betty Cooper. You are a dirty cheat." He said playfully and she laughed.

"You have no proof of that." She said. He swung his arm out encompassing the group around them.

"I have witnesses." He protested and she shrugged turning to Toni, who already had a wicked smirk on her face.

"Did you see anything Toni?" She asked casually and Toni shrugged and shook her head.

"I didn't see anything." She said turning her smirk on Jughead. "Betty Cooper is an angel and your accusation that she's anything but is deeply offensive."

"Angel my ass." He huffed and Betty laughed.

"You love me." She said. He rolled his eyes but his smile stayed in place.

"Unfortunately." He said.

She shoved him lightly and he wrapped his arms around her, keeping her from doing anything further. She returned the hug before pulling back and turning back to the group for their second round of darts, this time she allowed him to show off and wreck the rest of them in points. They moved to a table not long after and Hog Eye brought them drinks, which Betty and Jughead only sipped from while everyone else went all in. Betty had to watch the twins tomorrow and didn't want to do that nursing a hangover and she knew Jughead didn't want to tempt fate by drinking too much, with his father being a recovering alcoholic himself.

They spent a few hours together, just hanging out and talking about the goings on in their town, especially on the northside before everyone at the table besides Jughead and Betty were too drunk to remember their own names, never mind whatever stories they were telling. Betty and Jughead worked together to usher them out the door, intent on getting their friends home in one piece. Hog Eye pulled Betty aside just as they were leaving and informed her of the interview he'd set up for tomorrow. She assured him she'd be there before following Jughead out the door to help wrangle their friends. They dropped each of them at their own trailers, making sure they actually made it inside before beginning the walk to their own trailers, located relatively close to one another with only an empty lot of land where a trailer had once stood between them.

The sun had gone down hours before and there were no streetlights but they knew the way like the back of their hands so it wasn't difficult for them to make their way home. Jughead looked cozy with his beanie and over sized sweater tucked underneath his serpents jacket, and looking at him now Betty saw the boy underneath it all. The boy that he could have been if things were different, if their lives weren't a literal trainwreck most of the time. Sometimes when she looked at herself she could see the girl she could have been too, if her father hadn't left the day she was born, if her mother had moved to the northside with him, but that girl and boy weren't real, this was. He was her best friend and had been since they were crawling around in diapers together, and they were southside born and raised. There was no point dwelling on might have beens, this was what they were, and what they'd always be, and she was proud of it. She wouldn't change it at all.

"Betts, you alright?" Jughead's voice brought her out of her reverie. She gave him a small smile.

"I'm fine Jug, just tired. The twins aren't sleeping very much right now." She told him and he looked at her with concern in his eyes.

"You know you're always welcome at my place, if you ever need a night off." He said.

"They're not my kids Jug, I don't think I get a night off." She said quietly.

"That's exactly my point Betty, they're not your kids. I know that you're helping with them, but it's not your responsibility. Take a night off now , and maybe you can take them and allow Polly a night off too, I mean as much of a night off as she can get." He said and Betty sighed, meeting his eyes.

"Okay." She said softly and he smiled before taking her hand and pulling her away from her own trailer and into his. FP was sitting on the pullout couch and watching some late night program, he glanced at them when they stumbled in but didn't comment, instead going back to the TV. Betty followed Jughead to the bedroom and they both shed their jackets at the same time, and Jughead took hers from her hand draping it over the back of the chair in the corner of the room along with his. Betty pushed her shoes off her feet and pulled off her pants leaving her in only a t-shirt before she collapsed on to his bed and cuddled under the blankets. She heard him laugh softly before rustling came from his direction shortly before he slid into the bed behind her. She reached back and grabbed his arm, pulling it around her causing him to scoot closer.

They had been in this position a million times before, and everyone always thought it was weird that they were so close and had never once slept together, but to Betty it was just the way they were together. He was like her soulmate, in a very real way. They shared everything with each other, she knew when, where and who he had lost his virginity to and he knew the same about her. They could tell each other anything and not be afraid of judgement or condemnation and Betty took comfort in that even when everyone else didn't understand their relationship. She understood, and he understood, and that was all that mattered.

Chapter Text

Jughead woke to the sound of his father making breakfast in the kitchen, his face buried in Betty hair. It was a situation he was familiar with as she stayed over a lot when she needed a break from her family. He eased away from her slowly so she wouldn't wake up as he slid off the bed. He'd give her a little while longer to rest, he knew with the twins in the trailer that she wasn't getting enough sleep. He made sure to close the bedroom door as he left so the sounds coming from the kitchen wouldn't bother her before making his way down the hall to join his dad. He got a cup of coffee before sitting at the table as he watched his dad cook at the stove.

The paper was sitting on the edge of the table so he picked it up just to see what was being said about the southside but it was much of the same as always so he put it back down. His father finished up cooking and set a plate in front of him as he sat down across the table from him and Jughead started eating before he got distracted by the look his father was giving him. He sat his cup of coffee on the table and laid his fork down in the plate as he returned his gaze.

"What?" He asked. His father's eyes flickered toward the hall before coming back to him.

"Everything okay with her?" He asked and Jughead shrugged.

"Yeah, just the twins keeping her up." He told him and his father nodded before biting his lip. He had a look on his face like he was debating whether to say something before he blew out a breath.

"You two are being safe right?" He asked and Jughead sighed.

"We're not sleeping together dad, she's my best friend." He said.

"Right." He said the word in a way that let Jughead know he didn't believe him but wasn't going to come right out and say it. "Either way, you don't want to end up in a situation like Polly Cooper."

"It would never be a situation like Polly, because I'm not a dick." He said.

"I don't mean it that way boy. I'm just saying that you both deserve better than getting stuck with a kid neither of you planned on having. You deserve better than to fall into the cycle on the southside of having kids when you're barely out of high school. If you're going to do it, it's better if you plan for it." He explained and Jughead sighed. He knew that his father meant well, was trying to give him advice even though he'd been telling the truth. He and Betty had been friends since they were babies, and they definitely weren't sleeping together. Jughead wasn't blind, he knew she was beautiful but he always felt a little dirty if his mind wandered into that territory with her. He knew that she trusted him not to devolve into a hormonal mess if he saw her in her underwear and he respected that. She was one of the most important people in his life and he wasn't going to let a few moments of hormonal madness jeopardize that.

"I get it dad. I'm not going to knock up some girl, I have a little more sense than that." He assured him. His father studied him for a moment as if he wanted to say something else but the sound of a door creaking open in the hall kept the conversation from continuing as Betty's footsteps led her into the room. His dad motioned to the counter where he'd made an extra helping for her and she thanked him as she grabbed it and joined them at the table. His dad turned to her as she began eating.

"Are you coming to the bonfire tonight Betty? We were going to head out to Fox Forest for a little weekend camping trip." He said and Betty looked up at them.

"I don't think so Mr. Jones, I have the twins today while Polly goes to classes then I have a job interview tonight. Jason Blossom refuses to help with them even though he's loaded so Polly needs a little help." She said and Jughead glanced at her.

"Job interview? Where?" He asked and she glanced between them for a moment as an emotion he couldn't read passed in her eyes.

"The Wyrm. Hog Eye said he'd set it up." She said quietly. FP cleared his throat as he stabbed at the eggs on his plate and Jughead looked at her.

"I didn't know Hog Eye needed a bartender, I thought Toni worked the night shift there." He said and Betty shrugged.

"He doesn't." She said biting her lip and it clicked in his brain, leaving him staring at her with wide eyes. She gave him a look that snapped him out of it.

"You're going to work as a dancer Betty? Seriously?" He asked incredulously and she rolled her eyes.

"It isn't some dirty job Jug. I'm selling a fantasy, that's all. It's really not a big deal, and it pays good money, money that we could use." She said and he sighed.

"I don't like it Betty. Taking your clothes off for money, it's just a lot." He said and she shoved the plate away from her. His father was giving him a look over the table but from her body language Jughead knew she wasn't happy. She glared at him and the anger in her eyes made him want to shrink back in his chair.

"I'm not asking for your permission or approval Jughead, nor do I need it." She snapped. He held his hands up placating her as he took a deep breath to clear his mind.

"Okay, I'm sorry. You're right, you don't need permission, I'm just....concerned. Are you sure that this is something you want to do?" He asked quietly. She was still glaring but the anger had cooled a bit.

"I'm not ashamed of it. It's a job, like anything else, and it pays more than most jobs in Riverdale, and a hell of a lot more than anything else in the southside. I'm doing this for Polly and the twins, because we take care of our family, but I'm not going to apologize for it." She said and Jughead sighed as he nodded. He knew she wouldn't back down from this and he recognized that she was right. He couldn't tell her what to do with her own body, and it really was just a fantasy. He knew that even if she took her clothes off for crowds of men, that she wouldn't take any of them home unless she wanted to.

"Okay Betts. I get it." He said and she kept the glare for a second longer before she stood from the table.

"Good." She said. "Now, I've got to go and take the twins so Polly can leave."

She leaned over to press a kiss to his cheek before she spun toward the door and left the trailer swiftly, and his father raised an eyebrow at him across the table.

"Just friends. Got it." He said and Jughead rolled his eyes and didn't bother with a response. He still wasn't fully on board with Betty dancing at the Wyrm but he also knew that it wasn't his place to tell her not to, it wouldn't even be his place if they were together. Betty was very protective of her family, would do anything for them, so her doing this because Polly needed money for the twins made sense. The thought of Betty taking her clothes off for other people made him feel strange, angry almost, even though truthfully it was none of his business.

He had seen her in only her underwear before, but it was different, it wasn't sexual, but still the thought of anyone else seeing her like that gave him a strange feeling in his stomach. He knew that she wouldn't do it if it made her uncomfortable, and he took a small comfort in that. He knew that him feeling this way wasn't going to change her mind, would probably only piss her off more so he would just have to work on it and learn to accept it. She was right, it paid more than most jobs and he knew that she needed the money. Babies costed a lot and she and her family had two of them to worry about so he couldn't fault her for going for a job like this.

He resolved to keep his thoughts to himself and support her, because that's what a good best friend would do, but he'd also be talking to the security at the Wyrm to make sure they knew to keep her safe or they'd have to deal with him. He knew that most of the people in the gang thought the same as his father, that they were together, which made Betty default royalty so he knew they would take care of her but he was still going to speak to them. She could take care of herself, he knew that but extra precautions never hurt anyone.

He had been so lost in thought that the chair scrapping against the floor as his father pushed back from the table startle him so much he jumped. His father raised an eyebrow at him as he sat his plate in the sink, and he took a deep breath to calm his jumping heart. Before he stood from the table to join his father at the sink.

"I gotta meet with Toni." He said.

"Why? Gonna ask her to keep an eye on Betty tonight?" He asked casually. Jughead made a face.

"I just want to make sure she's okay." He said and his father laid a hand on his shoulder.

"Let this go boy. Betty's tough, she can handle herself and if she finds out you've been putting your nose in her business, she's going to kick your ass." He said seriously. "You can't protect her from everything, and if you go around asking people to look out for her it makes her look weak. You and I both know she hates that. I could see the thoughts on your face the moment she said she was going to work at the Wyrm, leave it. She isn't some naive little girl, she knows what she can handle."

"I'm just trying to protect her." He said and his father nodded.

"I know, but she doesn't really need it. If she ever needs help, she'll ask for it. Until then let it go." He said and Jughead sighed.

"Fine, but I still gotta meet Toni. We were going to meet before I even knew anything about it." He said before leaving.

He didn't want to admit that his father was right, because it annoyed the shit out of him but he knew he was. He couldn't shake the urge to protect Betty, so he'd still be talking to the security team, but he'd make sure to phrase it in a way that wouldn't make her look weak, more like they needed to keep an eye on her so she didn't hurt anyone not the other way around. They'd keep an eye on her without it looking like she needed protection, and she didn't need to know he had said anything to them. She didn't need him to protect her but it still made him feel better to have a plan in place, just in case. She was his best friend, and he needed to let her make her own decisions, especially about this, but he would be there, ready to protect her if she needed it.

Chapter Text

Betty spent the day with the twins, pushing all thoughts of Jughead out of her mind but she couldn't manage it completely. She knew that he meant well and that he only wanted to protect her but it still made her want to hit him. It was her body that would be on display and he had no right to tell her what to do with it. He was the Serpent Prince but that rule only extended to what she did within the Serpents, and even though the Wyrm was owned by the Serpents it wasn't considered part of it. In fact some of the dancers weren't even members of the Serpents, so he couldn't tell her not to do it. She'd do anything to help her sister so if she could make some money taking her clothes off, that's what she was going to do. She was brought out of her thoughts by Polly coming home and she smiled at her as she laid her bag on the table before joining Betty on the floor with the twins, who were having tummy time.

"How were they today?" Polly asked, patting them on their backs lightly.

"They were fine, a little fussy but nothing I couldn't handle." She said and Polly smiled at her.

"Thank you for taking care of them today. Mom will have them most of the time, she just had something to do today." Polly said and Betty shrugged.

"i don't mind, you know that." She said before getting up. Polly looked up at her.

"Are you going somewhere?" She asked.

"I told you I'd get a job to help out. I have an interview in about half an hour." She told her and Polly studied her face.

"Where did you get an interview so quickly?" She asked and Betty bit her lip.

"The Whyte Wyrm. They needed a dancer, so I asked for an interview." She said and Polly looked at her with wide eyes.

"Betty, I can't let you do that. I can handle paying for the twins, you don't have to do this." She said and Betty sighed.

"You and I both know you don't make that much." She said softly glancing at the twins. "It's okay Polly, I can handle it."

She left the room, not giving Polly the chance to reply. She went to her room and brushed her hair out to get rid of the messy knots where the twins had tangled their hands onto her hair throughout the day before she fixed her makeup and made her way back to the living room. Polly had moved to the couch with the twins on a blanket next to her and a book propped open in her lap, she gave Betty a sad look as she passed her but didn't say anything. Betty sighed and left the house swiftly to make the trek to the Wyrm, which didn't take that long. Toni was already behind the bar getting ready for her shift to start, and Betty stopped at the edge to get her attention.

"I'm supposed to have an interview with the night manager." She told her and Toni nodded.

"I know, go on back. Just knock on the door." She said. The bar was strangely empty for the time of day, but she figured it would pick up soon, the regulars trailing in from work to spend their paycheck. She shrugged and made her way around the bar and back to the small hallway off to the side. She stopped in front of the door labeled manager and knocked, she only had to wait a few moments before the door opened and she stepped in glancing at the girl who had opened it in surprise.

"Peaches? I didn't know you were the night manager here." She said and Peaches shrugged.

"Hog Eye thought the girls would be more comfortable with a female manager." She explained and Betty nodded as she closed the door behind her. Peaches sat behind the desk and Betty took the seat in front of it as she sorted through some papers before looking at her. "You have ID?"

"You know how old I am Peaches." She said as she pulled out her ID and handed it over to her. Peaches shrugged.

"I do, but we still have to have a copy of your ID on file, just in case." She said. She scanned the ID and printed out a copy that she put into a file before she handed it back and folded her hands over the desk. "I'm sure Hog Eye told you that you'd need to audition?"

"He did." She confirmed and Peaches nodded before standing.

"Follow me." She said. Betty quickly stood and followed Peaches further down the hall and into a room with a pole standing in the center of it.It was one of the rooms reserved for private dances that Betty had never been in until now. In the corner was a divider used to change behind and a rack of skimpy outfits and she glanced at Peaches.

"So what, you're just going to watch me dance?" She asked and Peaches nodded.

"You can pick out an outfit that you're comfortable with and get changed. Tell me when your ready and I'll start the music." She said and Betty nodded before sitting her bag down on a chair next to the door. She trailed over to the rack and began to sort through the outfits. Her eyes caught on a shimmery dark blue outfit and she pulled it off the rack before disappearing behind the divider. She took off her clothes and pulled on the outfit which exposed a lot of her body, but Betty liked the way it looked against her skin. The tattoo on her hip was on display, marking her as a Serpent, and she ran her hand over it. She remembered when she'd gotten it, right after she'd pledged to the Serpents. Toni had brought over her tattoo gun and inked it onto her skin, and she remembered Jughead's gaze falling on her exposed skin in a way that was far from polite, but they had all been young and full of hormones then, so she hadn't said anything to him about it.

She took a deep breath and stepped out and walked over to the pole. Peaches hadn't moved from her spot by the door and Betty nodded to her to let her know she was ready. As the music started she knew her movements looked awkward and unpracticed because she was still lost in her thoughts. She forced her mind to clear as she listened to the beat of the song and eventually she found a rhythm, letting her body move without thinking just following the beat. It surprised her when the song ended and she heard clapping. She turned to look at Peaches who was smiling slightly.

"Well you know how to move." She said and Betty smiled.

"So does that mean I got the job?" She asked.

"Can you start tonight?" She asked.

"Yes. Definitely." She said. The sooner she got to work, the sooner she could help Polly.

"We'll start you slow. Tonight there shouldn't be that many people in because of the bonfire in fox forest so it should be simple." Peaches explained and Betty finally realized why it had looked so empty before. "You can get the hang of it without so much pressure."

"That's good." Betty said. Peaches bit her lip as she studied Betty.

"Jughead knows you're doing this right?" She asked and Betty huffed and rolled her eyes.

"Why does everyone keep asking me about Jug? This is none of his damn business, he doesn't own me." She snapped. Peaches sighed.

"You're right. I'm sorry." She said and Betty nodded.

"It's fine. It just gets really annoying when everyone asks, like I need to have his permission." She said.

"I get that." Peaches said softly. "I won't ask anymore. It's your body, you can do what you want."

"Exactly." Betty said.

Peaches didn't respond verbally, only handing her a robe to cover up and leading her back out of the room. She showed her the break room in the back where they had lockers for people to keep their stuff in. She hastily shoved her things into it and followed Peaches back to the manager's office to sign some papers about her official start, and she stayed in the back until the clock rolled over to nine pm. They didn't start with the dancers until then, the rest of the time the bar was just a bar. Betty caught Toni's eye as she walked past her and Toni sent her a thumbs up and Betty smiled at her. She dropped the robe behind the bar before making her way to the pole in the corner, where Peaches said she'd be stationed. She saw the other dancers take their places throughout the bar and the music changing was their cue to climb onto the platforms, where the poles were positioned.

Betty did what she had in her audition and forced all thoughts out of her mind, just letting her body move with the music. She noticed a few men at the edge of her platform and made an effort to give them a show. She told herself quietly, you're selling a fantasy, make them believe it. As she left the pole and moved toward them, she noticed them perk up and she gave them a sultry smile. She moved to her hands and knees and proceeded to crawl to them, making sure her breast swung heavily drawing their eye. Each of them had bills in their hands and she smiled when they tucked them into her bottoms. She winked at them before making her way back to the pole.

She let herself get lost in the pounding music and the attention she was receiving, because that meant more money she'd get to take home at the end of the night and if she didn't focus to much on who was giving her the money she didn't run the risk of awkward eye contact with someone she'd grown up with. It hadn't seemed like she'd been dancing for long when she was motioned to by Peaches for a break, but she left the stage anyway, grabbing her robe on the way past Toni who handed her a glass of water. She pulled the money from her clothing and stacked it together before tucking it into her bag, and Peaches came over to inform her it was time for a costume change.

She went back to the room she'd started the night in and picked a different outfit, this time a gleaming silver feeling more bold now that she knew what to expect. She took a moment in the break room, the other dancers floating in and out, to eat a granola bat and drink the water Toni had given her before going back for the rest of her shift. It passed quickly, and soon she was getting ready to go home, saying goodbye to Toni on her way out. It was three in the morning and she knew Toni would be getting out soon too but she began her walk home alone anyway.

When she got home, she pulled the door open quietly, not wanting to wake the twins who seemed to be actually sleeping for once. She jumped about a foot in the air when her mother flipped on the lamp next to the couch, where she was sitting. Betty pressed her hand over her heart hoping to calm her racing pulse. Her mother raised an eyebrow at her.

"Polly told me you had an interview at the Wyrm. I'm guessing by the late hour that you got it." She said quietly. Betty bit her lip.

"I did." She said cautiously.

"A stripper Betty, really?" She asked and Betty shrugged.

"I noticed the sign on the door the other night. Every other job I could have gotten wouldn't have started as quickly, and I wouldn't have made as much. I'm only working four nights a week mom, it's a good job, and it'll help out with the bills and the twins." She said. Her mom bit her lip.

"I'm not going to tell you not to do it Betty." She said softly. "I just want you to think about your future. As much as I love Polly and the twins, this isn't all your responsibility. You're still young, and you need to have a little fun too, before it passes you by."

"It's okay mom, I've still got time to be young and do something stupid. This job doesn't change that." She said and her mom smiled lightly.

"I just want you to get what you want out of life Betty. I want you to have all the things normal kids your age do. I want you to fall in love, and do something crazy that I'll hate. I want you to have a chance to make mistakes, and be irresponsible." Her mom said, cupping her face in her hands. "I want all of that for you. I don't want you to give up your life for something that wasn't your choice."

"I get it mom. Believe me I do, but I also need to help take care of them. We don't turn our back on family, remember?" She said. Her mom sighed.

"I'm not asking you to turn your back on her, I'm asking you to think about yourself too. I just want you to go out and do something because you want to, not because you feel like you have to." She said. Betty sighed and nodded.

"Okay, mom." She said softly before moving away from her. "I'm gonna go to bed now."

She left her mom in the living room and fell onto her bed. She was tired, having gotten up so early the previous morning but she couldn't shut off her mind. Her mom was worried about her, which she understood. From the moment she had found out that Polly was pregnant, she'd been doing everything she could to help her. She had pushed the things in her life aside to be there for her and she understood where her mother was coming from, she wanted her to live her own life instead of being dragged down by her sister's choices but Betty felt almost obligated to help. When Jason and Polly had first gotten together, Betty had warned her not to go near him because he was a Class-A jerk, but Polly hadn't listened. They'd argued for months about it before Betty finally gave up, and when she'd found out Polly was pregnant and Jason wanted nothing to do with her, she'd felt guilty for not trying harder.

She yanked the blankets over her, even though it was the dead of summer. as if having them would block out the rest of the world for a while. She still couldn't manage to sleep, having been staring at her wall for over an hour. so she threw the blankets off and tiptoed out of the house. She made the trek over to the Jones trailer next door and pulled the extra key out of it's hiding place. She knew they weren't home but she went inside anyway, and made her way to Jughead's room. She had always gone to him when she was sad and he'd snuggle with her until she felt better, and even though he wasn't there his scent was soothing to her mind as she snuggled into his sheets, and she finally dropped off into sleep.

Chapter Text

Jughead wasn't a big fan of camping but since most of his friends were going along his father had convinced him to spend the night in a tent in Fox Forest. Someone had already lit the bonfire and some of the serpents that had tagged along were huddled around it roasting marshmallows, including Sweet Pea and Fangs, so he moved over to join them and grabbed and extra stick before jamming a marshmallow on the end of it and thrusting it into the fire. Fangs glanced at him a second before he started speaking.

"Where's Betty? I thought she would have come along." He asked and Jughead shrugged.

"She had a job interview." He said, leaving it at that. He wasn't in the mood to defend her decision to work at the Wyrm to their friends, especially when he didn't particularly agree with it himself, but unfortunately his answer had gained the attention of Sweet Pea standing on the other side of Fangs.

"A job interview? This late?" He asked and Jughead sighed.

"Yeah. She thinks she has a pretty good shot at getting the job so she decided to stay in Sunnyside just in case they want her to start right away." He said. Fangs and Sweet Pea glanced at each other and he prepared himself for a barrage of questions about it.

"Does Polly need help or something?" Sweet Pea asked, surprising Jughead because he'd thought the conversation was going to go in a completely different direction.

"Yeah." He answered quickly, hoping to distract them from asking further questions about Betty's job. "Jason Blossom has apparently decided that fatherhood isn't for him. Mostly I think he just doesn't want to pay child support."

"What a dick." Fangs said. "He knocks up a girl and then just decides that it isn't his problem?"

"He's apparently said that Polly is a slut and the kids aren't his." Jughead told them and Sweet Pea rolled his eyes.

"We should trash his nice little mustang and see how he feels about it then." He said and Jughead sighed.

"Getting arrested probably won't help the situation Pea." He said. Sweet Pea shrugged.

"It would make me feel better." He said.

"Me too." Fangs piped up next to him and Jughead rolled his eyes.

"We're not doing it." He said, giving them both a look. "The Cooper girls can handle themselves, you know that."

"Fine, but I still want to kick the guys ass." Sweet Pea said and Jughead and Fangs shared a look before Jughead studied Sweet Pea's face for a long moment.

"Do you still have a thing for Polly?" He asked and Sweet Pea turned a glare on both of them, but Jughead saw the color high in his cheekbones as he crossed his arms.

"I never had a thing for her." He protested and Jughead raised an eyebrow.

"Right. I'll pretend I believe that." He said. Fangs looked at him for a moment.

"Do you really want Polly Cooper though? She's got two kids already and they certainly aren't yours. You wanna take that responsibility?" Fangs asked and Jughead could tell from his tone of voice that he was only saying it to rile Sweet Pea up and it worked like a charm as his head snapped to the side, his glare focusing fully on Fangs now.

"Who the hell cares if she has kids? She didn't ask for this to happen and she does a damn good job taking care of them. Why the hell would you say something like that?" He snapped and Fangs raised an eyebrow.

"Right, you don't really have a thing for her then?" He asked smugly, a smirk on his lips and Sweet Pea huffed as he looked at both of them.

"I don't know why I'm friends with the two of you." He said sulkily.

"Proximity." Jughead drawled and they all shared looks before they cracked up.

They spent the next couple of minutes avoiding all talk of personal relationships as they roasted a few more marshmallows before sitting their sticks to the side and trailed over to the chairs that had been set up a little ways back from the fire. The other serpents were milling about and socializing, but it was surprisingly quiet considering how may people were gathered in the clearing. Jughead knew that they were all having quiet conversations because they knew that if they got too loud then someone would probably call the cops and as soon as they saw the symbol on the back of their jackets, they wouldn't ask questions, rather they'd assume that they were causing trouble. He knew that his father didn't want them to get kicked out, or worse arrested, just because they were hanging out in the forest.

Coming to Fox Forest to hang out had been a tradition since he was little. They'd set aside a weekend when they knew that most people were free, and they'd just come up to spend some time with the fellow members in a place that wasn't just on the south side like Sunnyside or The Wyrm. It was a nice tradition and a good general bonding activity but Jughead still preferred to sleep inside on an actual bed. As he was sitting on the chairs next to his friends, he received a text from Toni that Betty had gotten the job and that she was surprisingly good at it.

The image of Betty in barely anything, spinning around a shining pole came to his brain without his consent and he shoved it away quickly. He refused to allow himself to fantasize about his best friend, even if the image was appealing. He felt a slight tinge of something similar to anger when he thought about other people seeing her in that way, but he didn't let it take root as he quickly pushed it down before turning to Sweet Pea and Fangs, whose conversation he'd tuned out when he got the text. He listened for a minute trying to figure out what they were talking about so that he could jump into the conversation and it seemed to be about Fangs's new forbidden romance with Kevin Keller.

"You're dating the sheriff's son? Isn't that like a conflict of interest?" Jughead asked and Fangs rolled his eyes.

"That's what I'm saying!" Sweet Pea exclaimed. "Sheriff Keller will rip you a new one when he finds out."

"He's not going to find out. Kev hasn't said anything to him and I just keep my tattoo covered when he's around, and I don't wear my jacket. He doesn't suspect anything." Fangs explained and Jughead rolled his eyes.

"That shouldn't surprise me actually, he's a terrible sheriff." He said and Fangs sighed.

"He's actually really nice." He said half-heartedly.

"Still doesn't make him a good sheriff." Sweet Pea said. "They've been taking shots at the Serpents for years, hauling us in for things we didn't do. The whole department is fucked if you ask me."

"He's never said anything bad about the serpents while I was around, even off-handedly" Fangs protested.

"Maybe not." Jughead said. "Maybe he's a good guy. I mean I've never had a problem with him directly, just his deputies, but still. You're playing with fire here Fangs, you might want to be careful you don't get burnt."

"I can't just walk away. I know it's risky, but I really like Kevin, could maybe love him one day, and that's worth the risk to me." He said and Sweet Pea and Jughead exchanged looks before Sweet Pea shrugged.

"Well I'm not one to tell you who to love." He said, sitting back in his chair and turning to watch the fire. Jughead put a hand on Fangs's shoulder, gaining the boys attention.

"You'll tell us if you get into trouble though, right?" He asked quietly and Fangs sighed as he met his eyes.

"I'll come to you if I run into trouble, I just can't give up on this relationship. I think it could be one for the story books, you know." He said and Jughead nodded.

"I get it Fangs." He said quietly. "I hope you do get a fairytale ending. Not a lot of us on the south side get the chance for a story book romance, so I really do wish you the best."

"Thanks Jug." He said quietly.

They sat back in their chairs, joining Sweet Pea in watching the fire burn. Relationships on the south side seemed more complicated than other parts of Riverdale, things just seemed to work in a strange way. It was like they were all playing a game of life and the south side just kept drawing the worst cards, especially in the relationship department. Without even bringing economic class, gang violence, and addiction into the mix, the south side seemed like the worst place to fall in love. Sweet Pea and Polly, Kevin and Fangs, Betty and Jughead, all relationships with vastly different issues and feelings involved, but all with a gaping similarity. They'd had the misfortune of being born on the south side of Riverdale, where things just never seemed to work out they way you wanted them to.

Jughead loved the south side most of the time but sometimes he just wanted to escape, to go to another time or place where things weren't always so complicated, a place where everything would work out because that's just the way things worked, but that wasn't real life, this was.

Chapter Text

Betty spent most of the weekend at Jughead's trailer when she wasn't at work. It seemed to be the only place where she her racing thoughts calmed enough to let her sleep, so she stayed. She knew that Jughead wouldn't mind. They'd been friends for so long that it was second nature for them to seek each other out if they needed comfort. She knew that he and FP would be coming back from the camping trip soon so she decided to fix dinner for them while she waited. After having a look through the cabinets, she decided that spaghetti would be the easiest and quickest thing to make so she grabbed a pot and put the water on to boil before grabbing the sauce out of the cabinet and sitting it on the counter.

She was so absorbed in stirring the pasta that she didn't hear them get home until the door opened. FP stopped in the doorway for a moment, staring at her with a surprised look on his face before he shrugged and moved into the living room and flipped on the TV. Jughead stayed in the kitchen with her, leaning against the counter with a raised eyebrow as he watched her with a question in his eyes.

"I stayed here this weekend. I hope you don't mind." She said quietly. He seemed to study her face for a moment before shrugging.

"You know you can stay here anytime you want, Betty." He said before biting his lip. "Everything okay at home?"

"Everything's fine." She said as she took the pasta off the stove and turned to the sink to drain the water from it. "I just couldn't get my mind to shut off. I needed to get away."

"Are you okay?" He asked, the concern evident in his voice. She sighed before turning around to face him.

"I'm fine Jug, there's just a lot going on. With Polly and Jason, my mom, my job. It's just a lot, and I needed a break." She said and he nodded.

"If you're sure that's all it is." He said.

"I'm sure." She said before turning back to the pasta and pouring it out of the collonder and back into the pan. She poured the sauce over it and stirred it all together before putting it onto plates and sitting it on the table where she'd already laid out the meatballs she'd cooked earlier and the cheese to sprinkle on top. FP came in from the living room to join them at the table as they sat down together, and they began eating in silence before Jughead glanced over at her.

"So Toni told me you got the job." He said and Betty looked at him for a moment before she answered.

"I did." She said cautiously, fully aware that he didn't really approve.

"So did you start working the day of your interview?" FP asked and she could tell by the way he was glancing between them that he was trying to diffuse the tension

"I did." Betty said looking at him. "Started making money right away, which is good."

"That is good Betty. I'm sure it'll help a lot with the twins and everything." He said and she smiled.

"Yeah, it definitely will." She assured him. She heard Jughead sigh next to her and her eyes snapped to him immediately. He had laid his fork down next to the plate and had a disgruntled look on his face which caused Betty to roll her eyes internally. "What Jug?"

"I just....I still don't like it. You turned eighteen barely two months ago, I just don't think you should be taking your clothes off for men twice your age." He said and Betty crossed her arms over her body and sat back from the table as she glared at him.

"Who should I be taking my clothes off for then?" She snapped. He returned her glare.

"No one!" He exclaimed and she rolled her eyes.

"Right. What am I, a fucking nun?" She asked. FP was looking between them like he'd rather be anywhere else in that moment, but he wasn't going to stand up and leave because it would bring the attention to him. Jughead was now staring at her with his arms crossed as well.

"There are plenty of jobs in Riverdale that don't include you baring your body to other people. It think it's cheap and easy." He said and she stood immediately.

"Are you calling me cheap and easy, Jughead Jones?" She exclaimed and his eyes widened as he stood too.

"I didn't say that Betty. I said the job was cheap and easy." He said and she rolled her eyes.

"So what? All the girls working there are somehow less because they take their clothes off for money?" She snapped. "Is that really what you think of them?"

"I just think it's not a career that you should take part in. I don't really care about the other girls working there, they can do what they want." He said and she glared at him even more.

"Oh, so it's just me then. You think I don't have the same right as everyone else to make decisions about what I do with my own body." She shouted.

"I didn't say that!" He shouted back.

"Yes, you did." She yelled, shoving the chair back under the table as she glared at him. "You're not my boyfriend, or my husband Jughead, you don't get to have an opinion here. This is none of your damn business, so stay the hell out of it. This is my job, one that I decided to take fully aware of what it entailed. You're either going to have deal with it, or you can keep your opinions to yourself because I don't need them."

She didn't even give him a chance to respond before she spun on her heal and left the trailer, slamming the door on the way. It slammed so hard it shook the outside of the trailer but she couldn't bring herself to care in the moment. She was fuming as she stomped across the lot toward her own trailer and when she stepped into the trailer, her mother and Polly both glanced at her with a question on their faces. She knew they probably heard the yelling but knew they hadn't been loud enough for them to actually make out what the argument was about.

She didn't bother giving them an answer as she made her way to her own room and fell onto the bed, burying her face in the pillow. She'd known that Jughead didn't approve of her job but she hadn't expected him to take such a stance against it. She of course knew he could be stubborn at the best of times but she couldn't figure out what about it bothered him so much. She knew he didn't like that she was taking her clothes off for people but she didn't understand why. They had never had a sexual or romantic relationship, had always been just best friends, but his reaction wasn't one of a best friend. He almost seemed jealous which was new for them.

Puberty had been a strange time in their friendship because they started noticing the opposite sex for really the first time, and they'd each obviously realized that their best friend was attractive but they'd never crossed that line with each other. A small kiss just to test the waters when they'd first started noticing the changes was as far as they'd gone, but the attitude and demeanor he was putting out was more like a jealous boyfriend, and she wasn't really sure what to do with that. She was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of her door creaking open before closing quietly again. She groaned before rolling over to see Polly standing in the doorway, so she scooted up into a seated position, allowing her sister to sit on the edge of her bed.

"Are you alright? We heard the arguing." She started cautiously. Betty sighed as she rested her chin on her knees.

"I just don't understand him sometimes." She admitted and Polly smiled at her.

"They aren't always easy to understand." She said lightly before her face turned serious again. "What was the argument about? Maybe I can help."

"My job." Betty said quietly. "Jug doesn't like it."

"Okay." Polly said, nodding her head. "Did he say why?"

"He doesn't like me taking my clothes off in front of other people, which is stupid. He doesn't own me." She snapped. Polly sighed and bit her lip.

"So he's jealous." She said, matter-of-fact. Betty sighed and shook her head.

"He's my best friend. There's no reason to be jealous." She said, the frustration obvious in her voice.

"In his mind, you belong to him Betty. You two have been friends since you were in diapers and he's never really had to share you before. He's adjusting to the reality that you're not his." She said and Betty bit her lip as she looked at her sister.

"I've never really been his though Polly. We never had a romantic relationship, and I've had boyfriends before, so he has had to share me." She said and Polly raised an eyebrow.

"Did he really?" She asked. "When you had boyfriends, you'd still spend most of your free time in his trailer. You even slept there, in the same bed as him. Maybe it didn't feel like sharing you, because he knew that he still had most of you. Now though he has to face the reality that you aren't his."

"I don't get that though. You'd think it would have come up before now, when I had a boyfriend. In my job, I take my clothes off to sell a fantasy, but it isn't real. With a boyfriend, when I took my clothes off, it wasn't just for dancing." She said and Polly raised an eyebrow but didn't comment. "I guess I'm asking why now? If he was going to freak out, why didn't he do that before now. What about this is different?"

"I can't claim to know his mind." Polly shrugged. "But if I had to guess, it's because he can't ignore it. When you had a boyfriend, he could ignore that you were taking your clothes off for someone else, because he didn't have to be there to see it so he could pretend it wasn't happening. This is something he can't ignore. I've found the two of you in bed before, and neither of you wear that much to sleep in. With this job, he knows consciously that you're taking your clothes off for someone that isn't him. He's realizing that he doesn't have a right to you, even though it feels like he does."

"So are you saying he has feelings for me, because I'm not sure I'm ready to deal with that." Betty said. Polly shrugged again.

"I'm saying that it's possible, or it could just be that he's realizing that you aren't the little girl he grew up with that he needs to protect. Either way, he can't help the way he feels." She said, touching Betty's shoulder lightly. "I'm not saying forgive him right away, but I am saying, cut him some slack."

"I get it, Polly." She said quietly. Polly glanced at the clock before standing.

"You should be getting ready for work." She said and Betty nodded.

Polly left the room and Betty began applying her makeup. It was Betty's last day before she got a couple days off, as she only worked four days a week. She had been put on the schedule to cover Friday night to Monday night, and she found that she liked the job so far. As much as Jughead protested about her taking her clothes off in front of people, she actually didn't mind. It wasn't like she was getting fully naked for people, and the outfits the wore were actually pretty cute in her opinion.

Peaches was always out on the floor and making sure that they were okay and comfortable and the security were good at making sure that no one got too close to them without their consent. All in all it wasn't a bad job to have and she had Toni to talk to during her breaks because they worked the same shift. After the first night, Betty figured that Peaches had told everyone not to ask about Jughead because no one else had, and she was thankful because it was actually really annoying. The money she was making was actually quite impressive as well, seeing as people even came from the north side when the dancers came out, and they tended to have a little more money to throw around.

The only unfortunate thing that had happened was when a bachelor party had come in and Betty had noticed Archie Andrews standing at the edge of the group in the same moment that he noticed her. Betty had become friends with his girlfriend, Veronica Lodge when they were in high school together and they were quite close, even planning to get together in a few weeks for lunch when they were both free. Their eyes had met and his entire face had blushed bright red, before he pointedly looked away. He'd spent the rest of the night avoiding her until she'd had a break and managed to speak to him. He'd said that he didn't want to disrespect her or Veronica by ogling her barely covered body, which she'd thought was sweet, before he left the bar with his friends.

Betty realized, coming back to the present, that she'd gotten lost in thought and now only had a few minutes before her shift started. She leapt from the bed and grabbed her bag from the floor before rushing through the loving room and out the door, a hasty goodbye thrown over her shoulder. She made it to the Wyrm with just enough time to get changed before she had to rush to her pole in the corner of the room. She pushed all thoughts of Jughead and their fight out of her mind to come back to later as she cleared her mind and began to dance.

Chapter Text

Jughead found himself tossing and turning in his bed the fight with Betty running through his mind on a loop and making him want to kick himself. He logically knew that he had no right to have an opinion on Betty's job at all and he knew that she was right on some level he looked down on the girls who worked at the Wyrm. He wanted to be better because he knew that they were just doing what they could to get by just like everyone on the south side and he didn't have a right to judge them for any of it.

He sighed as he forced himself out of bed and pulled on his jacket before leaving the trailer. He started toward the Wyrm determined to speak to Betty and clear the air after their fight. She was his best friend and he didn't want that to change just because he'd been stupid. He knew that the reason  he was so against it was that he was jealous that other people were going to see her without her clothes on, but he knew that he had to push that jealousy down and get over it if he didn't want to lose her. He understood why she'd taken the job, she had to take care of her family, and he was going to force himself to be okay with it.

It didn't take long for him to get to the Wyrm and, as he stepped in, the smell of alcohol and sweat floated on the air as familiar to him as his own home. He made his way to the bar knowing that Toni would know where he could find Betty and he took a seat to wait for her as she was serving some people at the other end of the bar. He spun in his seat to take in the room, allowing his eyes to glance around, and they quickly caught on the pole in the corner of the bar. He knew who it was as soon as his eyes landed on her and his mouth parted slightly as he watched Betty moved on the small stage that held the pole.

She was wearing and bra and pantie set in a deep green, the stilettos on her feet accentuating her calves and butt, and he found his eyes roaming her body. The serpent tattoo stood out starkly on her hip as she moved seeming to draw his eye to it. She was moving around the pole in a way he'd never seen her move before and he was a little stunned by the mess of emotion and arousal running through his brain. Holy hell, since when has she looked like that? 

He was so distracted by his ogling that he was thoroughly startled when Toni slammed a glass down on the bar behind him causing him to spin suddenly to look at her. She was staring at him with a raised eyebrow and a smirk gracing her face.

"You know if she catches you staring at her like that she's going to break your nose right?" She asked and Jughead rolled his eyes as he tried to clear the fog of arousal from his mind.

"I just came to talk to her Toni." He said, sounding non to convincing even to his own ears. She scoffed a laugh as she studied his face.

"Oh yeah. You messed up big time, she came in here pissed." She said and Jughead sighed.

"We got into a fight." He said and Toni leaned her elbows on the bar to look at him.

"About?" She asked and he rolled his eyes.

"This job." He said and Toni sucked in a sharp breath as she gave him a sympathetic look.

"Ooh you really messed up." She said and Jughead gave her a look.

"You're not really helping Toni." He said and she shrugged as her eyes went behind him for a moment before coming back to meet his own.

"She gets a break in half an hour, you can talk to her then." She said before grinning at him. "You might not want to let her catch you staring."

Toni moved away from him before he could retort and he found himself going back to watching Betty. Her movements were kind of mesmerizing as he watched and he got lost in it. The half hour seemed to fly by and he made a point to spin around when he saw her getting off the stage knowing that she hadn't seen him yet. He was surprised when she came to a stop next to the bar, but when she leaned over to grab a robe from behind the bar it made a little more sense. 

She noticed him finally as she lifted up from behind the bar and she stared at him with a raised eyebrow as she pulled the robe over her shoulders and covered her body before she motioned for him to follow her, which he did without speaking. She brought him through the back of the bar to a room that seemed to function as a break room, the other women glancing at them with wide eyes before looking away pointedly. He knew that even if they heard whatever conversation was about to happen that it wouldn't leave this room.

Betty leaned against the wall with her arms crossed over her body, staring at him with a raised eyebrow, as if she was waiting for him to speak. He studied her body language for a minute, noting that she didn't look particularly forgiving, before he sighed and pushed through.

"I should start with I'm sorry." He said and her eyebrow raised higher but she still didn't speak. "I was stupid, the fight was stupid, and you were right. I don't get to have an opinion here and I get that."

"All that is good but I think you're missing the point here." She said.

"Then explain it to me." He said in exasperation.

"Ever since you found out about me working here, you have continuously put it down and acted like it was the worst thing I could be doing.  You're attitude towards this job and the people who work it is unacceptable. It's classified as sex work and you have that in a category in your mind that you don't respect, which means that on a deeper level, you don't respect me. This isn't about you not liking me working here, it's about something so much deeper, and you just don't see it." She said and Jughead sighed. He hadn't realized that she felt this way about his attitude and he realized that it was because he hadn't really been listening to her when the were talking about it. He felt guilty and the conversation had barely started.

"I'm sorry Betty, I didn't mean to make you feel like I don't respect you because I do." He said and she sighed as she looked up at him.

"Do you though?" She asked, seeming to study his face. "Can you respect me when I'm doing my job?"

"Betty, please." He said softly. She shook her head.

"I think you need to take a minute and decide if you can still respect me, or anyone, who does this job." She said. "You need to take sex work out of that box in your mind and rethink your position."

"I promise that I'll work on it Betty, I will." He assured her. She gave him a sad look.

"That's good Jug, but I still need a little bit before I can forgive you." She said and Jughead sighed but nodded anyway.

"I can handle that." He said. She sighed and looked at the clock next to them.

"I gotta get back to work." She said.

She left him in the room by himself, the other girls already gone back to their places, and he pulled off his beanie and ran his hand through his hair. He blew out a breath as he readjusted the beanie on his head before he left the room and made his way back out to the bar. The conversation hadn't gone as he'd planned but he felt okay about the outcome and he knew that she was right. He needed to work through his feelings about her job and he was determined to become okay with it. 

He passed Toni on his way out and she gave him a questioning look as he did but he just shrugged lightly before continuing. He made it a point not to look at Betty as he left, already feeling slightly guilty for the way he'd stared at her before. He shoved his hands into his pockets as he made his way through the trailers. the darkness surrounding him as he walked, causing him to speed up his steps subconsciously as he went. He made it home in record time and when he closed the door behind him his father, who was still awake and sitting on the couch, gave him a look as he stood there.

"Were you at the Wyrm?" He asked cautiously and Jughead sighed.

"Yeah. I wanted to talk to Betty." He said and his father looked at him for a long moment.

"And how did that go?" He asked. 

"Not great, but better than I expected." He admitted. His dad shrugged.

"She'll forgive you eventually." He said.

"How do you know?" Jughead asked. 

"Because it's you and Betty. Neither of you can stay mad at the other for too long." He said and Jughead rolled his eyes.

"We're not little kids anymore, our issues are a little more serious now." He said and his dad shrugged again.

"That doesn't matter. You two have a strong relationship, built up over many years, it would take something cataclysmic to wreck that. This is just a fight that you'll get through. It isn't the thing that's going to end it." He said and Jughead sighed.

"I suppose you're right." He said before leaving his father in the living room. He took off his jacket before he fell into his bed and laid back to stare at the ceiling.

His brain was a mess of emotion surrounding the one person who'd been a constant in his life. He'd been comfortable being best friends with Betty Cooper for most of his life, only brief moments of seeing her as anything else, but something had happened in the last couple of weeks that had shaken their friendship on it's foundation. They'd seen each other practically naked enough times that they'd become desensitized to it and fully naked a handful of times, making their knowledge of each others bodies quite thorough for two people who had never slept together, but over the past couple of weeks, Jughead couldn't get the image of her naked under him out of his head.

He wasn't sure what had happened to cause the shift, maybe just the natural progression of their relationship, but whatever it was he couldn't get the emotions and fantasies back into the neat box, buried at the back of his mind. He knew that all of it wasn't just sexual either, which is what made it so terrifying to him. If it was just sexual then he could ignore it most of the time, but with the images of sex and lust had come the images of Betty with a ring on her finger and a child growing inside of her and he was at a loss for what to do.

One part of him wanted to tell her, but another, bigger part of him wanted to shove the emotions down until he smothered them. They had been friends their entire lives and he knew that if things went bad, or if she didn't feel the same way, then it would be awkward between them for the rest of their lives and he didn't want to risk it. He didn't want to lose her, because it was better to have her as a friend than nothing at all, but he seemed to be screwing up constantly with her lately. He needed to get a handle on it before he ruined everything.

Chapter Text

Betty was woken by the sound of knocking at the trailer door. She groaned as she rolled out of the bed and padded down the hallway quietly before realizing that the twins weren't on the house so she didn't have to keep quite. She figured that her mother must have taken them out somewhere as she liked to do sometimes to expose them to things outside just their trailer. The knocking ca e again, more impatient this time, and she rolled her eyes as she yanked it open and turned a glare on the person on the other side before registering just who was standing on the porch. Her father stood in front of her with his hand raised like he was about to bang on the door again as she stared at him.

"What are you doing here?" She snapped.

"I can't visit my daughters without a reason?" He asked causing her to roll her eyes again.

"You never have before, why start now?" She asked and he sighed as he glanced behind her.

"Can I come in?" He asked. She glared at him.

"No." She said curtly. "Now what do you want?"

"Why do you have to be such an asshole?" He asked and she could hear the irritation in his voice. She scoffed and crossed her arms over her body.

"The apple fell where you dropped it." She said before raising an eyebrow. "You do actually have a reason for being here right?"

"I wanted to talk to Polly. Where is she?" He asked.

"She's at school." Betty answered cautiously. "What do you want with her?"

"I was hoping to see the twins." He said looking at her. "I am their grandfather after all."

"Like you actually give a shit." She scoffed.

"Could you at least tell her I dropped by?" He asked and Betty rolled her eyes.

"I'll tell her but I can guarantee she isn't going to give a shit." Betty said glaring at him. "She has no use for a father that swoops into her life only when it's convenient for him and, for the record, neither do I."

"You're just like your mother." He spat.

"You say that like it's a bad thing." She commented before adding. "And you know, maybe I wouldn't be if you had stuck around. You know, to help raise me, like you were supposed to. You're no better than Jason Blossom, and we all know how much you hate them."

"Just have your sister call me." He said angrily.

"I wouldn't hold your breath." She said, looking him up and down. "Or maybe do. Give me less to worry about."

She didn't even give him a chance to respond as she slammed the door in his face and leaned back on it until she heard his car start and pull away. Her father had a way of showing up at the worst times in their lives and trying to make things better between them. Every time he tried mend their relationship, he'd inevitably do something to fuck it up. The first few times he'd come to them and tried to fix things, both she and Polly had trusted him and had been genuinely happy to have both parents in their lives, but he had let them down each time. Now when he came to them, they both knew not to trust or ho[e that it would be different this time, because it never was.

He lived a privileged life on the north side that they never got to be a part of. When he used to pick them up for days out, he'd take them out of Riverdale to go to a restaurant or a store, before bringing them home and Betty had always loved it because it was like going on an adventure, but then one day they'd come back late and he mother had insisted that he get them something to eat before he brought them home so they'd stopped at Pop's. Polly had been dozing off and decided to stay in the car as he and Betty went in to get some food to take home. Betty had been ten years old, and she was so excited because he'd said that she could get a milkshake so she'd been looking at the menu, not paying attention to her surroundings, when her father had cleared his throat. That was when she noticed that people around the diner were staring at them, her in particular, and her father was shifting impatiently.

When their food had finally been ready, he had snatched it off the counter and practically dragged her off the stool as he looked glanced around the diner. Betty had always been a very observant person and so she quickly realized what was happening as her father pulled her out of the diner quickly, his cheeks flushing slightly. He was embarrassed by the stares and at first Betty wasn't sure why, surely he'd gone to Pop's before and seen theses people, but eventually as she watched him glanced from her, to Polly, to the people still following them with their eyes, that it was her. Her and Polly. He was embarrassed for having kids with someone from the south side, for having kids who still lived on the south side. That was the moment that Betty lost all faith in him. All the outings to other towns hadn't been so that they could have fun and see other places aside from Riverdale, it had been because he was embarrassed of them and didn't want anyone he knew seeing him with them.

Betty turned and yanked the front door open again, slamming it shut behind her as she left them house. She made her way across the lot quickly, leading her straight to the Jones trailer, and she pulled the door open, not even bothering to knock, before making her way past FP in the kitchen and into Jughead's room. He was sitting on his bed with headphones in but he quickly took them out and set them to the side when he saw her before standing up. He opened his mouth like he was going to say something but she didn't give him a chance as she launched herself at his chest and buried her face in his neck as her arms wrapped around him. He seemed surprised for a moment before he returned the hug.

He didn't ask questions as he moved them to the bed to lay down as he held her in his arms and she felt him begin running his hand through her hair. It was like so many nights they'd spent together and it comforted her, even if everything in her life was stressful and screwed up, he always managed to make her feel better. He didn't even have to speak, just knowing her was there made her feel better about anything, and she was glad that even though they were fighting that the feeling was still there. After they'd been laying there for a while, she moved to prop her chin on his chest so she could look up at his face and he gave her a soft smile.

"You alright?" He asked gently and she nodded.

"Fine." She answered.

"Did something happen?" He asked and she knew that he knew she hadn't come here just because. She sighed and she shrugged slightly.

"My dad showed up. You know how it is." She said.

"What did he want?" He asked.

"Said he wanted to talk to Polly about seeing the twins." She said as she bit her lip. "I know it shouldn't bother me but.....he didn't even ask about me. It was all about Polly and the twins, he didn't even ask how I was doing. It was like he was annoyed that he even had to talk to me."

"Well he's an ass." He said, pushing her hair back from her face as their eyes met. "Knowing you is probably the best part of my life, if he wants to throw that opportunity away then it's his loss. Don't let him affect you Betty, he doesn't deserve to have the power to make you feel bad."

"Thanks Jug." She said, a soft smile making it's way onto her face as she placed a kiss on his cheek. "Knowing you is the best part of my life too."

"Good." He said teasingly. "I'd hate to think I have competition."

He grinned at her before turning slightly to open the drawer in his bedside table before digging around for something. When he turned back around she saw the box in his hand and knew immediately what it was. She sat up on the bed and he joined her swiftly before he opened the lid of the box and pulled out some rolling paper. He made the joint quickly before putting the box back and handing it to her so she could light it. They spent a few minutes passing it back and forth as they breathed in the smoke leaving her pleasantly buzzed. After they finished smoking, Betty laid back onto the bed prompting Jughead to join her, and they stared at the ceiling as the drug mellowed them out.

She wasn't sure how long they laid there together before they were both startled by the door of the trailer slamming shut announcing the departure of FP. Betty knew that he was probably headed to work at Pop's meaning that it was getting close to sundown but she couldn't bring herself to move just yet. She didn't have work that night so she didn't really have a reason to leave anyway. She felt Jughead shift on the mattress next to her and she turned to look at him as she flicked her tongue out to wet her lips.

"Do you feel better?" He asked and she nodded.

"Much better. Thanks for taking care of me." She said softly and he shrugged.

"It's what I'm here for." He said.

Betty stared at him for a long moment as thoughts ran around her head uninhibited. Jughead was always there for her no matter what and they were more comfortable with each other than any best friend had the right to be. She found herself wondering suddenly what it would be like if they were more and the talk she had with Polly rushed back to her head. Maybe Jughead already though of her as more, as his, and she found that she wasn't totally opposed to the idea. She knew that his reluctance about her job was him trying to protect her in his own way, and despite what she'd said, she knew that he respected her, but maybe his reluctance had something to do with jealousy as well.

They had been best friends since they were in diapers but she knew that somewhere around puberty they had looked at each other, and for the first time, had seen each other as someone attractive and desirable but they'd pushed it down scared to ruin a lifetime of friendship. Something about the way Jughead was looking at her, and the joint clouding her judgement, made Betty bolder as she moved toward him suddenly. Their lips met in a gentle kiss and she knew by the way he tensed against her that she had surprised him. He let the kiss go on for a moment before he pushed her away and their eyes met.

"Betty, what are you doing?" He asked cautiously and she sighed.

"I'm sorry." She said, thinking that maybe she had read the situation wrong. "I just wanted to do that. I'm sorry if you didn't."

"You wanted to kiss me?" He asked and Betty nodded. "Why?"

"I want you Jug." She said, being as honest with him as she could. "And I think that you want me too, so why not?"

"I don't just want sex with you Betty." He said as his eyes flicked over her face. "If we did this, I wouldn't want it to mean nothing. I want it to mean everything with you."

"I want that Juggie." She assured him. "You have been the one constant in my life, and I don't want to lose you, but I want us to try. At least let us try."

He seemed to be studying her face and she waited for his response as they laid together. He surprised her by rolling her onto her back and pressing a kiss to her lips, harder than the one she'd initiated, and she ran her hands through his hair as she pulled him closer, their bodies pressing together.

Chapter Text

Jughead was on cloud nine. Betty was soft and giving as their bodies pressed together and he found himself wondering why they'd never done this before as she made a soft sound and wrapped her legs around his waist. They were both wearing pajamas so he could easily feel the heat of her through the thin cloth encasing them as she pressed firmly into him. He slid his hand under the edge of her shirt to run his fingers along her side and he realized pretty quickly that she definitely wasn't wearing a bra under her shirt. He knew she tended to sleep without one but now he was confronted with the reality of it as his hand rested inches away from her breast and he pulled back from the kiss to look down at her and their eyes met. He studied her face, looking for any sign of hesitation or unease but there was none. She ran her hands through his hair as they looked at each other and she gave him a small smile.

"It's okay Jug. You can touch me if you want." She said and his eyes got caught on her lips again, red and kiss swollen.

"Are you sure?" He asked, his eyes flicking back up to hers.

"I'm sure." She said confidently before giving him another smile. "We should have been doing this a long time ago, I quite like it."

Jughead huffed a laugh before diving back in to kiss her, much more confident in the situation as he moved his hand from it's resting place over to her breast. He ran his thumb over her nipple lightly causing her to gasp into his mouth and arch her back lightly, pressing her more firmly into him. He pushed his hips into her firmly as he felt himself growing harder and they slotted together easily as he moved his hand away from her breast for only a moment to pull the shirt over her head leaving the top half of her body bare for him.

She looked up at him, the heat shining in her eyes, as he observed her. He let his eyes roam over her body in a way that they hadn't before, her serpent tattoo peaking out of her shorts and he slid down her body slightly as her moved to run his tongue around her nipples causing them to rise to peaks as her breathing became unsteady. He kissed down her body, pulling on the edge of her shorts to expose the rest of her tattoo before he began to suck a bruise into her skin beside it. She made a soft sound as her breath rushed out of her and he felt her hand running through his hair again.

Jughead moved his hands to the edges of her shorts and he glanced up at her before he moved. She gave him a small nod and he proceeded to pull the shorts down and off her legs, exposing her to him completely, and he took a moment to press a kiss to her lips before he pushed her legs apart and settled himself between them. He was very aware of her eyes on him watching every move he made as he wrapped a hand around her hip and moved to place his mouth against her.

He ran his tongue along her entrance and swirled it around as he listened to her breathing become ragged as she let out soft moans and he found himself wanting to keep the sound forever and let it play on repeat in his mind. He pressed his mouth around her clit and began a gentle suction that made her buck her hips lightly but he used his hand to keep her in place as he continued his ministrations, alternating between licking and sucking until she let out a high keening noise and he looked up at her. Her eyes were pressed shut, her mouth open in a sigh, and he felt her hips spasming against him. He didn't move his mouth off of her until her body relaxed and her knew that her orgasm was over.

He wiped his mouth on the back of his hand as he moved up the bed and she looked at him with glossy eyes, her cheeks flushed and rosy, as she yanked him down for a kiss. He knew that she could probably taste herself on his lips but she didn't seem to mind as she shoved him backwards. He fell onto the bed in surprise and looked at her as she moved to yank his pants off and toss them to the floor before taking him in her hand. She kissed him hard as she began to run her hand up and down his shaft and he had to force himself to focus on the kiss until she pulled back and looked down at him.

"Do you want to stop?" She asked and he looked up at her.

"No." He shook his head. "Do you want to stop?"

"No." She said as their eyes met. "But I don't want this to be a one time thing, Juggie. I meant what I said, I want it to be real."

"Me too, Betts." He told her seriously.

She climbed on top of him causing him to grab her hips in surprise as she took him in her hand again only this time she lined him up with her entrance before sliding down on him in one smooth movement, never breaking the kiss as she moved. She began rolling her hips against him and their breathing sped up again as she finally pulled out of the kiss to rock against him. He stared at her above him as she chased her pleasure and he was amazed by her beauty and what was happening right now.

He sat up, dislodging her slightly, causing her eyes to spring open to look at him. He buried his hands in her hair and kissed her hard before running his lips down the side of her neck and sucking a bruise into her skin as she tilted her head to give him better access. She began moving against him again, bouncing on his lap and releasing soft little moans as he began running his fingers over her nipples again, squeezing them softly every once in a while until her movement stuttered. He moved his hands to her hips and helped her continue her movements until her breath started coming in sharp gasps and she clenched tightly around him bringing him to a sudden orgasm. His hands clenched tightly around her hips as the pleasure rolled over him and he knew that she'd probably have bruises later.

They stayed in that position, with him still resting inside her, while they caught their breath and came down from the high. When they'd calmed down she moved off of him to lay down on the bed next to him and he slid down the bed to lay next to her. Neither of them spoke for a long moment as they laid together, staring at the ceiling, but finally Betty broke the silence.

"Wow." She said softly. "So that happened."

"Do you regret it?" He asked, turning his head to look at her as she did the same and their eyes met.

"No." She said as she reached out to grab his hand with her own. "This feels right Juggie, like this is how it's meant to be."

"Like fate." He said and she smiled.

"Yeah, exactly like fate." She said as she rolled over and snuggled into his side. He wrapped his arms around her and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

He couldn't quite believe that this was real and he never wanted to leave this room. Having Betty here in his arms, like this, after what they'd just done made him feel like she was right, it was fate that had brought them to this moment. He knew, for sure now, that he loved her, he was in love with her, but he knew that she probably wasn't ready to hear that yet so he would keep it to himself for a little while longer. He had been determined to keep it to himself for the rest of his life, but now it seemed a very real possibility that she could feel the same way about him one day, so he would wait until she was ready to hear it.

Chapter Text

Betty and Jughead finally manged to drag themselves out of the bed when Toni called and asked if they wanted to head over to Pop's with her and Fangs. When Betty had asked about Sweet Pea, Toni had told her that he said he was going to help Polly study, which they both knew was unlikely. Betty knew that Sweet Pea had a thing for Polly and she was beginning to believe that Polly returned the affections. She hoped that they could make it work because she knew that Sweet pea was a good guy, but she also knew that raising two babies could be hell on a relationship, especially when he wasn't the father. Betty thought it would almost be easier if he was but that wasn't how things had worked out.

They made it to Pop's a little after Toni and Fangs because they'd paused to take a shower and get dressed in actual clothes before leaving the trailer, so they joined them in at the table that they had picked. Toni gave them a strange look when they sat down but Betty gave her a warning look, silently relaying that she didn't want her to ask questions right now, and Toni shrugged. Betty and Jughead order food and milkshakes from the waiter as Toni and Fangs already had food.

"So, Sweet Pea and Polly, you think that's going to be a thing?" Toni asked and Betty shrugged.

"Probably. They're good together." She said before turning to Fangs. "Now, what's this I hear about you and a certain sheriff's son?"

"Kevin's nice. I like him." Fangs said, his voice a little defensive and Betty grinned at him.

"I'm not saying anything Fangs, I just think it's cute." She assured him. "About time you found a good boyfriend."

"I still find it weird that the sheriff's son is dating a Serpent." Toni said.

"Fang's assured me that Kevin doesn't really care about that." Jughead said. Fangs rolled his eyes at all of them.

"It's not really a big deal." He said and Betty raised an eyebrow.

"You know that you're going to have to tell his dad the truth eventually Fangs." She said. "It's better if it comes from you instead of him finding out some other way."

"I know but Kevin and I just want to keep it to ourselves for now." He said.

They all fell silent as Betty and Jughead's food arrived and they dug in. Fangs and Toni both seemed to be studying them as they sat across from them and Betty chose to ignore them for them moment as she ate. They were all brought out of their silence by a high pitched squeal and Betty's name being called from the doorway. They all spun to look but Betty knew who it would be before she even turned around. Veronica Lodge strode toward her, her image pressed and pristine, as she smiled at her.

Betty stood to greet her as she made it to the table and Veronica enveloped her into a hug before dropping a kiss on her cheek. Archie stood behind her, shifting form foot to foot, as he took in the people around the table and Betty gave him a friendly smile when Veronica finally pulled back from the hug. Betty turned to the table, where her friends were looking at the new arrivals curiously, and cleared her throat.

"Guys, this is Veronica Lodge and Archie Andrews. I'm sure you guys remember them from school." She said.

"Right, yeah." Toni said. "I'm Toni Topaz and this is Fangs Fogerty and Jughead Jones."

"I remember you guys." Veronica assured her.

"I thought you guys were spending time in California." Betty said, looking at Veronica. "We had plans to meet up later in the month."

"Change of plans. We came back early." Veronica said with a shrug. Betty glanced at Archie.

'Right, I should have realized." She said. "I saw Archie a few days ago."

"You did?" Fangs asked and Betty nodded.

"Yeah, at the Wyrm." She said, turning to Archie. "Bachelor party, right?"

"Yeah." Archie said, flushing bright red as he dropped his eyes to the floor. Betty knew he was probably still embarrassed about seeing her with so little on.

"Do you guys want to join us?" Jughead piped up from the table. Veronica shrugged.

"Sure." She agreed.

Betty sat back down next to Jughead and Veronica and Archie pulled chairs up to the table to join them, ordering their food quickly, before the table erupted into small talk. Betty noticed Archie clearly avoiding her gaze and it made her want to laugh that he was so shy around her after that night. Everyone was distracted when she felt a hand on her leg and she glanced at Jughead, who was already looking at her, and she took his hand under the table. She knew that Toni could tell by the way her eyes dropped to the minimal space between them but she didn't say anything as she talked to the others. Betty jumped back into the conversation after realizing that she had been really quiet, just nibbling on her fries and listening to the conversation flow around the table.

"So Archie, who's bachelor party was it anyway?" She asked.

"Reggie's." He said and Betty looked at him with a raised eyebrow.

"Reggie Mantle?" She asked.

"Yeah." He said.

"Jeez, what's the rush? We literally graduated from high school like a month ago." She said and Veronica rolled her eyes.

"I know right, but apparently his father was pressuring him to marry so that he could take over the family business." She said.

"And he needs a wife to do that?" Toni asked. Veronica shrugged.

"They want him to have kids, so that he can pass down the business to them as well." She said and Betty rolled her eyes.

"That's kind of stupid." She said.

"That's what I told him." Veronica said.

They were distracted by the sound of the bell dinging, ringing out someone's entrance and drawing their eyes. Cheryl Blossom stepped into the diner, and Betty rolled her eyes as the girl's possy followed behind her. She sat in a booth a few down from theirs but as she glanced around the diner, her eyes settled on Betty, and she started toward their table. She stopped beside them with her hands settled on her hips as her gaze ran over each of them in turn before coming back to Betty.

"What do you want Cheryl?" She asked and Cheryl raised an eyebrow.

"How's your sister Betty?" She asked and Betty rolled her eyes.

"As if you care." She said.

"You're right, I don't." Cheryl shrugged. "Just tell her to stay away from my brother. He's not interested."

"Right. Is absentee fatherhood something they teach in that twisted family of yours?" Betty said standing from the table. "It would explain a lot."

"I could ask you the same thing. Didn't your father abandon you?" Cheryl snapped. "Maybe it's because your entire family is crazy."

"Get fucked Cheryl." Betty said. "Literally. You might calm down a little."

"Were you born with that mouth or is it something that south side mother's teach their bastard babies?" Cheryl said with a smirk. "If that's what they teach, maybe that's why daddy left huh?"

Betty reacted before she even had a chance to convince herself not to, the slap seeming to echo throughout the diner. Cheryl was staring at her with her mouth wide as if she hadn't expected it to happen and Betty grabbed her by the arms and pushed her into the wall behind her before getting close to her face.

"You don't know a damn thing about my family, Cheryl." She said, low and angry.

"What's going on here?" The voice came from behind her and Betty sighed as she turned to see who was talking. She closed her eyes in frustration when she realized that it was Sheriff Keller, his deputies behind him, and she knew that she wasn't getting out of this so easily.

"Nothing Sheriff." Betty said and Cheryl huffed next to her.

"She hit me!" She exclaimed, and Betty knew she couldn't deny as the redness on Cheryl's cheek stood out starkly.

"Just get it over with." Betty said, holding her hands out. One of the deputies approached her and pulled his cuffs out, the clicking the made as they closed echoing in her mind. Jughead stood from the table next to them, drawing the eyes of everyone.

"You can't just arrest her. Cheryl started it." He said. Betty sighed.

"It's okay Jug." She said softly causing him to look at her. "Just call my mom."

"I will." He said before dropping a kiss on her lips. "We're gonna get you out of there."

Betty followed the deputy out of the diner and sat in the back of the cruiser as it started up and drove away. She knew that her mother was going to be pissed when she found out but Betty wasn't going to apologize for slapping Cheryl Blossom. She deserved it, with her attitude.

Chapter Text

Jughead sighed as he watched the police car pull out of the parking lot and he pulled out his phone to dial Alice's number before Toni cursing across from him distracted him and he lifted his eyes to look at her. She was staring behind him while Fangs hunched down in the booth and Jughead raised an eyebrow before he turned to see what they were looking at. Sheriff Keller stood there, staring at Fangs with a strange look on his face, the incident with Betty and Cheryl having brought his attention to their booth.

"Fangs?" He questioned and Jughead heard Fangs sigh before he stood from the booth and nodded to him.

"Mr. Keller." He greeted quietly and Jughead watched as the Sheriff's eyes fell to the jacket hanging around Fangs's frame before he narrowed his eyes.

"Come over to my place tonight. You, me , and Kevin have some things to talk about." He said sternly and Fangs nodded.

"Yes sir. I'll be there." He said. Sheriff Keller stared at him for a long moment before following his deputies out of the building and Fangs practically fell back into the booth as he ran his hands through his hair.

"You alright Fangs?" Toni asked touching his shoulder.

"He's going to kill me." He said looking at them. "The sheriff is going to kill me, and then no ones ever going to solve the crime because he's going to cover it up."

"Okay, I think that's a little dramatic." Jughead said. Fangs groaned and laid his head on the table. Veronica cleared her throat bringing their attention to her.

"If you need money to bail her out, I can help." She said. Jughead rolled her eyes.

"I think we can handle it, but I'll keep that in mind." He said before sliding out of the booth completely and finally dialing Alice's number as he left the diner. She picked up fairly quickly and he explained the situation as quickly and precisely as he could and told her he'd meet her at the station.

He tucked his phone back into his pocket and climbed on his motorcycle to make his way to the station, parking as close to the door as he could get before making his way inside. He sat on the hard bench positioned in the corner of the room to wait for Alice, knowing that it was going to take a little while for them to process Betty before they could get her out. He was a little angry that she had even been arrested in the first place because he knew that if it had been a argument between two northsiders, even with the slap, that neither of them would have gotten arrested. They would have just been told to leave, but because of the jacket that she wore it was suddenly a big deal.

He wanted to say something about it but he knew that it would just make it worse, especially since the Blossoms were a higher authority than God in this town. He had been sitting on the bench for half an hour when Alice finally got to the jail and he stood quickly to follow her further into the building. She had a look on her face and a posture that relayed that she was a force to be reckoned with in that moment and he knew that she was pissed off about the arrest. They came upon Sheriff Keller in the hallway and Alice stopped him suddenly, and Jughead stood quietly next to her as she began speaking to him.

"Why the hell was my daughter arrested?" She snapped and Keller sighed as he looked at her.

"She hit someone Alice." He said and Alice rolled her eyes.

"So?" She snapped. "I know that she slapped Cheryl Blossom, but I'm betting there's not even a mark left now. If she had been born on the north side then you wouldn't even have arrested her."

"That's not the point." He said and Alice scoffed and crossed her arms.

"So have the Blossoms decided to press charges?" She asked.

"No." He said. "They said they weren't going to."

'Then you can release her." She said with a smirk. Keller raised his hands as he sighed.

"She created a public disturbance." He said and Alice rolled her eyes.

"Then fine her, but that's not really something that you can hold her on." She said. "I'm not stupid. Let me take my daughter home."

"I'll have them release her." He said, seeming resigned, "They haven't even booked her yet."

"Good. We'll be waiting." She snapped and grabbed Jughead's arm to drag him back the way the had come. She released him once they were standing in the middle of the lobby as she began to pace impatiently. Jughead sighed as he leaned against the wall, not wanting to sit on the uncomfortable benches again, and watched her.

It took another half hour for them to bring Betty out to the lobby and he wasn't sure what took so long, seeing as she hadn't been booked, but he wasn't going to ask questions. He was just glad that it had been so easy to get her out. He'd been afraid that it would take longer or that she'd be stuck in jail for a while and he was grateful that it hadn't gone that route. He wrapped an arm around her as they left the building, following Alice out. Alice left them in front of the building together as she needed to get back and help Polly with the twins and Betty turned to him.

"Sorry." She said softly.

"For what?" He asked and she shrugged.

"Causing trouble." She said and he grinned at her.

"I'm used to it." He said kissing her on the forehead. "Besides, Cheryl deserved it."

"I thought so too." She said. He pulled her over to his bike and handed her the helmet.

"Come on. Let's go home." He said. They climbed on the bike and she wrapped her arms around him tightly.

They were about halfway home when she slid her hands under his shirt, startling him for a moment but he managed to keep control of the bike, and she ran her hands over his skin. She seemed to be tracing patterns onto his skin and he shivered lightly as she began running her fingers through the trail of hair leading down. He sighed as he jerked the bike to the side and went down a small trail into the woods and parked it before pulling her hands away and swinging his leg over the bike before he turned to look at her. She was smirking at him and he rolled his eyes as he spun her around on the bike so that she was facing the other direction before planting a hand on either side of her and stepping in between her legs.

"What are you doing?" He asked and she shrugged playfully.

"Nothing." She said innocently.

"I could have wrecked." He said softly as he ran his lips along her neck, her legs wrapped around him.

"You're a good driver." She said, and edge of amusement in her voice and he pulled back to look at her.

"You're being a very bad girl." He said, his voice low and husky and she shrugged again.

"It's what I'm good at." She said softly before she pulled him in and their lips met as she pulled him in with her legs pressing them tightly together. His hands went to her thighs, bare to him as her skirt rode up her legs, and he pushed it up further. He felt Betty unbutton his jeans before she shoved them down slightly and he felt her hand on him. He grunted softly as she nibbled on his lips and her hand slid up and down his shaft, before she pulled back slightly. "I want you to fuck me Juggie."

Her voice was low and breathy sending heat through his veins as he pushed her skirt up more until it was bundled up around her waist and he didn't even bother pulling her panties off as he shoved them to the side and pushed her hands away from him. He pushed into her, meeting very little resistance, and she pulled him closer with her arms wrapped around him as she breathed heavily into his mouth. He slammed his hips forward into her making her release the most intoxicating sounds as her fingers dug into his shoulders.

The slight pain from her nails digging in just prompted him to move faster, and his hands went to her hips to keep her in place. He moved his lips away from hers to suck a bruise into her neck, making him feel like he was marking his territory which made him smile against her skin. Everyone would know that she belonged to him and he loved that. He felt her heals dig into the small of his back as her voice went high and her breath began to come int gasps. He felt her clench around him and slammed into her fully before pausing and allowing her orgasm to pass before he began moving again.

She pushed him away slightly as she attached her lips to his neck and marked him in return, sending tingles down his spine as he slowed the movements of his hips and reached between them. He used his fingers to stimulate her clit as he pushed into her and she threw he head back as she moaned. He waited until her breathing let him know that she was close again before he sped up again, bringing her to the edge quickly, and he quickly followed after her. They held each other as they released, and when they finally came down, he kissed her hard, still buried deep inside her.

He pulled out of her once he caught his breath and they helped each other rearrange their clothing to look presentable. Betty had flames of color high in her cheekbones but he was sure that no one would be able to tell what they had been doing if they looked at her so it didn't matter much. Jughead turned her head to the side to examine the mark he'd left on her skin and pulled his lip into his mouth.

"You're going to have a hard time covering that for work." He said and she sighed as she ran her fingers over it.

"Claiming your territory?" She asked with a raised eyebrow. He shrugged with a sheepish grin.

"Maybe." He said and she rolled her eyes but he could see the smile still on her face.

"I've got two more days off before I go back, I'm sure it'll heal a bit by then and I'll be able to cover it then." She said.

"If you say so." He said.

Chapter Text

The next two days passed quickly leaving Betty standing in front of a mirror in the back of the Wyrm trying desperately to cover the bruise on her neck while Toni laughed at her. Jughead had attached his lips to her neck in the same spot when it had begun to heal over the past couple of days and Betty couldn't even be mad at him, even when he smirked at her, because he looked so cute when she glared at him. She had already gotten dressed in a bright red bra and pantie set but no matter what she did she couldn't cover the mark.

"You know if it was me, at this point, I'd just wipe of your miserable attempt to cover it and just go with it." Toni said from her perch on the counter next to her. Betty rolled her eyes.

"He did it on purpose." She said and Toni rolled her eyes.

"Of course he did. Jughead Jones is not a man that likes to share." She said. Betty sighed as she grabbed a makeup wipe and cleaned the concealer off of her neck.

"You're right, this is hopeless." She said before fluffing her hair, hoping that it would cover it with the help of the dim lights of the bar.

"Go get 'em." Toni said as Betty spun on her heal and marched out to the bar. Toni followed behind her, taking her place behind the bar where Jughead was already sitting, and Betty shed her robe and tucked it behind the bar before continuing. She made a point to ignore Jughead when he glanced at her as she made her way past him and to her platform.

It didn't take long for the other dancer to make it to their places and the music changed prompting them to move. Betty let herself get lost in the music, ignoring the men watching her as she moved, until her eyes landed o Jughead still at the bar. He had a drink in his hand, one she knew was likely non-alcoholic, and his eyes stayed on her as she danced. She kept her focus on him as she moved, a small smirk crossing her face as she watched him, and he seemed to realize quickly that she was performing for him.

She paid no attention to the men who slipped money in her waistband but she watched as Jughead's eyes went to them when they touched her and it almost made her want to laugh when he stood from the bar and moved closer to her platform. He hovered on the edge of the crowd, and she knew that he was trying to restrain himself from doing anything, he didn't want to cost her customers by acting like a jealous boyfriend. She made herself look away from him and pay attention to the other men around her, knowing that they were more likely to tip her if they felt like she was paying attention to them, and she spun around the pole seductively before making her way to the edge of the platform so that they could reach her. They weren't allowed to touch the dancers to much so she felt comfortable enough to move within their reach.

After she gathered their tips she spun back around and strutted back to the pole, noticing that Jughead had retreated back to the bar but he had a pout on his lips and she knew that he wasn't entirely happy to have other people touching her but he was admirably not causing a scene. She let herself get lost in the music once again putting everything else out of her mind and letting her body move without really thinking about it until Peaches signaled for a break. She left the platform to the protest of some of the men, who she blew a kiss at and promised to be back, before making her way to the bar for her robe. Jughead stopped her next to the bar and wrapped an arm around her waist to pull her into him before he kissed her hard. Betty made a soft sound of surprise before she melted into the kiss.

"No touching the dancers Jones." Toni said next to them and Jughead pulled back to glare at her. Toni was smirking at them and Betty rolled her eyes before grabbing Jughead by the wrist and dragging him back into the hallway and into the bathroom before she slammed the door behind them and flipped the lock. Jughead immediately attached his lips to her neck and Betty shoved him away and gave him a look of warning.

"I swear to God, Jughead, if you make that mark any worse then I'm going to hurt you." She said and he laughed slightly.

"Sorry." He said and she rolled her eyes before pulling him back in for another kiss. He untied her robe and slid his hands inside of it, laying them on her hips and pulling her into him, and she made a soft sound as she ran her hands through his hair before pulling away to look at him.

"You were very good out there." She said. "Didn't even hit anyone."

"I don't like them touching you." He said, running his hands up and down her sides. "But I'll learn to deal with it."

"Well, I think you deserve a reward." She said cheekily. "For being so good."

She didn't wait for a response before she dropped to her knees and made quick work of his zipper. She took him into her mouth and watched as he leaned his head back into the door, his hand sliding into her hair, and she focused on bringing him to his climax. Her tongue swirled around his shaft, coming off him completely to run around the head of him, before taking him in completely. She forced herself to relax her muscles to allow him in fully, and she reached her hand up to play with his balls as she worked him over.

He was making small sounds with his lips clenched between his teeth and she knew that he was trying to be quiet so no one would hear them but she was fairly sure that they already knew what they were doing, She doubled her efforts and heard his breathing go shallow and fast moments before he released. She made sure to swallow everything before she pulled off of him and shuffled away on her knees. He used the grip he had on her hair to pull her up from the floor and kiss her thoroughly.

"Jesus Betts, are you trying to kill me?" He asked, his voice low.

"Sorry." She said, her voice rough, telegraphing what they'd done more clearly than a flashing sign. "Gotta get back."

He pulled her back as she tried to leave the room to kiss her one last time before the proceeded to leave together. Betty ran finger under each eye to remove any out of place makeup before they made their way back to the bar. Toni gave them a smug look when Betty stopped to drop off her robe and she flipped her off before making her way back to her platform, making Toni laugh. Betty spent the rest of her shift making sure to pay attention to the men around her, and by the end of the night she'd made quite a bit a money.

At the end of her shift, she changed back into her own clothes and met Jughead by the bar before they walked home together. Betty didn't even go to her own trailer, instead opting to sleep at Jughead's place, and they slid into bed together. Jughead wrapped an arm around her and pressed a kiss to the skin behind her ear before laying his head on the pillow behind hers. Betty was almost asleep when she heard his voice, soft and sweet, in her ear but she fell asleep completely before she could formulate a response and when she woke up in the morning she wasn't sure if it had been a dream or not.

"I love you."

Chapter Text

Betty left Jughead's the next day not sure if she'd really heard him say 'I love you' or not. She didn't want to address it with him just yet because she was sure that it would make things awkward between them especially since she wasn't ready to say those words back so she just left it. She made her way to her own trailer to get dressed, stopping to say hi to the twins and Polly, before she left again. She had gotten a text from Veronica asking if she wanted to meet up so she agreed to meet her at Pop's.

She climbed on her own bike and made her way to the diner quickly. As she stepped in, she noticed some of the patrons glance at the jacket slung around her shoulders, and she could tell from their expressions that they expected her to cause a problem. She rolled her eyes as she glanced around the diner, finding Veronica in a corner booth quickly, and she made her way over to the other girl. Veronica smiled at her as she sat across from her and Betty returned it.

"I'm so glad you could make it Betty." She said. "I feel like I haven't seen you in forever."

"You saw me a few days ago V." Betty said and Veronica waved her hand through the air.

"That doesn't count, I barely got to talk to you before Cheryl interrupted." She said and Betty grinned.

"Alright, I'll concede this point." She said and Veronica nodded her head.

"I thought so." She said before glancing at the server approaching their table with food. "By the way, I already ordered. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all." She said as a burger and fries were placed in front of her next to the vanilla milkshake. She picked up a fry and blew on it as Veronica arranged a napkin on her lap.

"So, you and Jughead Jones. Is that a thing now?" Veronica asked as they began eating and Betty blushed slightly as she nit her lip.

"You caught that huh?" She asked and Veronica rolled her eyes.

"People on Jupiter caught that Betty." She said. "You always insisted that you were only friends when we were in school and I told you that it was only a matter of time."

"Things have changed recently." Betty said sheepishly.

"Oh yeah, and what made the two of you pull your heads out of your asses and see what was in front of you." She asked and Betty rolled her eyes.

"I started working at the Whyte Wyrm and he realized that he didn't like that too much." Betty said. Veronica laughed.

"Right, Archie told me about you working there." Veronica said. "Did Jughead finally realize that he's a ball of jealousy when it comes to you."

"I guess." Betty said. "He hates other men touching me."

"I mean duh. He's totally in love with you." She said and Betty looked at her for a long moment.

"You think so?" She asked and Veronica shrugged.

"Definitely." She said. "They say that you can tell a man is in love by looking at his eyes, and when he's looking at you I can see it. He looks at you like his world begins and ends with you. It's love if I've ever seen it."

"Right." Betty said sucking on her lip as she lost herself in thought. She had told Jughead that she wanted them to be more than just sex to each other, that she wanted to try a real relationship with him, but they hadn't been formally dating for very long and she hadn't thought that love could happen that quickly but maybe Jughead had loved her for longer than she realized. She genuinely liked him in a romantic sense, but she wasn't sure if she was in love with him. She had never been in love with anyone and she wasn't sure what she was supposed to feel.

When she was with Jughead, she felt safe and happy, but that had always been there in their relationship. Maybe she had been stupid this entire time and hadn't even realized that she was in love with him. He was the most important person in her life after her family and she couldn't imagine living in a world without him. The sexual aspect of their relationship hadn't come into play until recently but she knew that you didn't have to have sex with someone to be in love with them. As she looked back Jughead was there in every memory, every important moment in her life, he had been there.

He was always the first person she thought of when she needed comfort or if she was proud of something. When she thought about it, they seemed inevitable, their relationship was built into the very fabric of the world, unavoidable and unwavering. She somehow knew that no matter what, in every universe out there, they'd end up here in one way or another. She wanted to kick herself for not realizing sooner, but now that Veronica had pointed it out, Betty could finally place the emotion she saw in his eyes when he looked at her. He loved her, and she was pretty sure that she loved him back.

"Betty, are you okay?" Veronica asked, bringing Betty firmly out of her thoughts.

"I love him." Her voice sounded soft and shocked even to her own ears and Veronica raised an eyebrow at her.

"Yeah, I know." She said and Betty looked at her.

"Can you tell I love him just by looking at me too?" Betty asked sarcastically but Veronica answered the question completely seriously.

"Yeah." She said. "You look at him in the same way he looks at you. When the two of you are speaking to each other, it's like the rest of us don't exist. You get caught up in each other."

"I should tell him." Betty said quietly.

"If you think your relationship is ready for that, I say go for it, but make sure that you are ready to say it." Veronica said, looking at her. "Maybe take a few days to think about it first."

"He told me he loved me." Betty said and Veronica looked at her with wide eyes.

"You didn't say it back?" She asked and Betty shrugged.

"He thought I was asleep when he said it." She said and Veronica stared at her for a moment.

"Okay, tell him then, he's obviously ready for it." She said.

"I gotta go." Betty said exiting the booth.

"Text me later." Veronica called after her. Betty jumped on her bike with a mission, she was going to tell Jughead she loved him and she prayed that he'd say it back to her now that she was awake and could actually see him when he did.

Chapter Text

Jughead woke the next day to an empty bed and he knew that Betty had likely gone home. He yawned and stretched before rolling out of bed and making his way into the kitchen, where his father gave him a look from where he was sitting at the kitchen table but Jughead ignored him as he got a mug from the cabinet and filled it with coffee. He sat down across from his father, finally acknowledging the man's presence, and FP folded the paper that he had been reading and sat it on the table ion front of him.

"I saw Betty leaving this morning." He said simply and Jughead sighed.

"Are you going to give me another lecture about using protection?" He said and his father gave him a look.

"I should seeing as the two of you are actually sleeping together but I'll refrain for now, I was just going to say that you might want to be careful. If you two are just sleeping together because you want to have sex with someone, you could end up ruining your relationship. I know that I've said it would take a lot to ruin your friendship, but having sex just for the hell of it would do the job very easily, especially if it went badly." He said and Jughead sighed again.

"I get what you're saying dad, but it isn't like that. Betty is the one who instigated the beginning of our relationship and she said that she wants to try for real." Jughead explained. "This isn't just sex, for either of us. I love her."

"Have you told her that?" FP asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Not in so many words." Jughead admitted sheepishly. "Why? Do you think it's too soon?"

"You two have loved each other since you were children Jug. The rest of us were just waiting for you to pull your heads out of your asses and admit it. It's not too soon, it's a bit late if you ask me." FP said and Jughead rolled his eyes.

"Everyone was waiting for it? Really?" He asked sarcastically and FP shrugged.

"No one could look at the two of you and not see that you cared about each other" He said, meeting Jughead's eyes. "When you were younger, you two used to tell anyone who would listen that you were going to marry each other when you were older, and everyone thought it was cute but I knew that it was a likely outcome. Alice and I watched the two of you grow up, spending practically every moment together, and we knew from the start that you'd end up here. It wasn't a huge surprise for us or for anyone that knew the two of you."

"So what, you and Alice have been planning our wedding since we were kids, is that it?" Jughead asked and FP grinned at him.

"Nah, you and Betty had that covered too." He said. "In fact I'm sure if we asked Alice she could bring out the lists that the two of you made when you were younger. The two of you had some grand plans."

"Seriously?" Jughead asked. "That's worse than bringing out baby pictures. So embarrassing."

"Hey, it's not my fault that the two of you were so eager." FP said making Jughead roll his eyes again.

"Whatever." He said.

FP laughed while Jughead stood up from the table to search through their cabinets for something to have for breakfast. He finally found cereal and grabbed a bowl to pour it into before adding milk and sitting back at the table. He ate his cereal doing his best to ignore his father's smirk and he finished quickly before leaving the trailer completely. He made his way to the Whyte Wyrm where he found Sweet Pea and Fangs playing the old arcade games in the corner and joined them.

He watched as Sweet Pea lost the game a few times before he finally gave up and relinquished the controls to Fangs. Sweet Pea leaned on the table next to Jughead as the watched Fangs play and got pouty when he won the level on the first try, making Jughead laugh at him. They played a few more levels, switching out for each one before finally leaving the game behind to sit at a table in the back corner. They ordered some drinks, non-alcoholic at Jughead's insistence, and finally Jughead looked at Fangs.

"So, how'd it go with Sheriff Keller?" Jughead asked. "I see he didn't murder you like you were so dramatically worried about."

"He was pissed that we didn't tell him." Fangs admitted. "But, after we explained that we'd only kept it from him because we wanted him to get to know me without that bias in his mind, he was pretty okay with it."

"Really?" Sweet Pea asked. "He's okay with his son dating a member of a gang?"

"Yeah." Fangs shrugged. "He said that he knew I was a good guy, and that not all Southside Serpents were the same. I told you guys that Sheriff Keller wasn't like the rest of the people on the north side. He doesn't badmouth the serpents or anything like that."

"He arrested Betty just the other day." Jughead said and Fangs shrugged again.

"To be fair, he only did that because she hit Cheryl Blossom, and the Blossoms would've been pissed if he didn't." Fangs said. "And, to be fair, he released her without charging her for a crime."

"Well, I still think he's an ass but I'm not the one who has to deal with him as a potential father-in-law so I'll let it go." Jughead said before turning to Sweet Pea.

"Now, you and Polly, let's talk about that." Jughead said and Sweet Pea cheeks blushed a bright red.

"There's nothing to talk about." Sweet Pea insisted. Fangs and Jughead shared a look before both turned their gazes on Sweet Pea and Jughead raised an eyebrow.

"Right, so you really are just helping her 'study'?" Jughead asked.

"Don't say it like that." Sweet Pea said, squirming in his seat.

"Like what?" Fangs said in a teasing voice.

"Suggestive." Sweet Pea said. "Nothing has happened between us."

"But you want it to?" Jughead asked. Sweet Pea stared at him for a moment as if trying to determine if he was being serious.

"She's amazing." Sweet Pea admitted. "But I don't know if she's into me or not. Sometimes it's like she wants me to make a move and other times I can't get a read on her at all. I get it, you know, she has two kids and she has to look out for them first and foremost, but I wish she'd just tell me if she liked me or not."

"Ask her then." Fangs said and Sweet Pea gave him a look.

"Are you insane!? I can't do that." He said and Jughead shrugged.

"Why not?" He asked and Sweet Pea looked at them both incredulously for a moment.

"Look, I know that the two of you are happy in your relationships and it probably was easy for you to just ask them, but to be fair you and Betty have practically been dating for years, just not officially." Sweet Pea said to Jughead before turning to Fangs. "And you and Keller are easy to read emotionally so it was obvious you had a thing for each other even before you were dating, but it's different with me and Polly. I don't want to ask her and have it ruin everything. If she doesn't feel the same way then it would make things awkward between us and I'd rather have her in my life as a friend than not at all."

Jughead and Fangs stared at him in shock for a few moments. Sweet Pea had never been the most open person, preferring to keep his feelings close to his chest, so his outburst almost made Jughead want to make sure that they'd actually been given non-alcoholic drinks. Jughead sighed and rested his hand on Sweet Pea's shoulder making the other boy look at him.

"I get it Sweet Pea, you don't want to screw up your relationship with her, but have you ever thought about her returning your feelings?" Jughead asked. "What if she does? What if she feels the same way? Think about it. You could potentially have everything you want with her, but you need to be brave. Even if she doesn't feel the same way, which I doubt, you won't lose her. It may be awkward for a little while, but you'd both get over it, and if she feels the same.... Don't you want to know? Sometimes, it's worth the risk, Sweet Pea. Think about it."

"He's right Sweet Pea." Fangs said. "Be brave. A serpent never shows cowardice, remember? Go for it."

Chapter Text

When Betty got back to the Jones' trailer Jughead wasn't there and FP had told her that he had gone to the Whyte Wyrm to hang out with Sweet Pea and Fangs. She blew out a breath, the wind taken out of her sails for a moment as she made her way to her own trailer but she figured that she could talk to him later. It would probably be better to prepare for it instead of just blurting it out anyway so it was probably better that he hadn't been home. As she stepped into her trailer she realized that it was strangely quiet but Polly was sitting on the couch and quickly put her finger to her lips in a shushing motion so Betty figured the twins were probably napping.

She moved to sit next to Polly on the couch where she was highlighting things in a book on her lap and she studied her sister until Polly rolled her eyes and put the cap on the highlighter before placing it in the book and closing it. She leaned over and sat it on the coffee table before she looked at Betty with a raised eyebrow.

"What?" She asked and Betty shrugged.

"Just wanted to check in with you." She said casually.

"Meaning you want to talk about me and Sweet Pea." She said and Betty shrugged again before giving her sister a grin.

"So, what's going on with the two of you?" Betty asked, studying her sisters face as Polly erupted into a blush.

"Nothing." She muttered.

"Really?" Betty asked. Polly sighed.

"Okay, so I like him but it's complicated." Polly said, looking at Betty. "For one, he's younger than me and secondly, I have kids. Two of them, in fact, and I don't want to burden him."

"I don't think he would mind Polly, I mean he knows you have kids and he still comes around so it can't be that much of a deterrent." Betty said and Polly sighed again as she bit her lip.

"He's eighteen Betty, I can't ask him to throw away the rest of his life to help me take care of kids that aren't even his." Polly said. "I can't drag him down because I made a mistake and stupidly trusted Jason Blossom."

"Polly..." Betty started, taking her sisters hands in hers and making Polly look at her. "Look, you got pregnant by accident and now you have two beautiful children, but you can't let that be all your life is. Sweet Pea makes you happy and he isn't running, don't push him away because you think you know what's best for him, let him make that choice on his own. You deserve to be happy Polly. Give him a chance and he might surprise you."

"You're right." Polly said with a sigh before she smiled at Betty. "Since when are you the one with good relationship advice?"

"I have my moments." Betty said with a shrug. They laughed quietly before Polly went back to her studying and Betty found a book to read. They sat together on the couch quietly, each of them focused on their own books, until a knock came at the door. They looked at each other in confusion until a cry came from the bedroom and they both stood from the couch. "I'll check on them."

Betty made her way down the hallway and into the back bedroom as Polly went for the door. It was Juniper crying, with Dagwood snoozing completely unbothered next to her, so Betty quickly picked her up and rocked her gently. She went back to sleep easily allowing Betty to lay her back in the crib and make her way back out to the living room. Polly glanced up at her when she reentered the room a look of almost shock on her face as Betty registered the envelope in her hand. Betty moved toward her quickly.

"What is that? Is something wrong?" Betty asked and Polly blew out a breath like she'd been holding it the whole time.

"Jason." She said quietly.

"What about him?" Betty asked, causing Polly to swing the envelop around.

"He's suing for custody of the twins. Full custody!" She exclaimed. "He says I'm an unfit mother."

"He can't be serious." Betty said, snatching the envelop out of Polly's hand and pulling the papers out to look at them.

"Two weeks ago he wanted nothing to do with them." Polly said, and Betty could hear the genuine anger in her voice. "What the hell does he think he's doing?"

"Don't worry Polly, we'll deal with this." Betty said. "He hasn't been a part of their lives since they were born. He can't just take them."

"He has more money than we do Betty. He can do whatever the hell he wants." Polly said. Betty bit her lip as she tossed the papers onto the table and touched Polly's shoulders, making her look at her. 

"We aren't going to let him do this okay?" She said, meeting her eyes. "I'll call Attorney McCoy, she's a good lawyer. We will win this, he's not going to take them away so easily. We're going to fight."

"We can't afford a lawyer Betty." Polly said, and it seemed like all the anger had drained out of her leaving only sadness.

"I can." Betty assured her. "I'll take a few more shifts if I have to but you aren't going to lose those kids. I promise."

"Okay." Polly said, but not like she really believe it. "I'm just gonna go take a nap."

Polly left Betty standing in the living room with her anger boiling below the surface but she knew that she couldn't afford to get angry right now so she pushed it down and called Attorney McCoy, leaving a message with her secretary, before she leaned against the table and ran a hand over her face. Jason Blossom had suddenly decided that he wanted to be a father after ignoring the fact that he had kids for months and it pissed her off. 

The Blossoms were the type of family that took what they wanted because they assumed that no one would tell them no, but she wasn't just going to roll over and take it. She would put up a hell of a fight before she'd just let them take Juniper and Dagwood away from Polly. She knew that legally he had rights but she felt as if he shouldn't. He had treated Polly like crap when they were dating, even more so when she'd found out she was pregnant, and now he wanted to come in and try to ruin their lives. Betty refused to let it happen. She knew that there was nothing for her to do until Attorney McCoy got back to them so she left the trailer.

She made her way to the rundown gym near the other side of the trailer park and wrapped her hands quickly before she began hitting the heavy bag in the corner. No one else was around, apart from a teenage boy on the other side of the room, so she let herself get lost in her movements. She kept throwing punches until sweat began rolling down her face and her hands started to ache. She caught the bag as it swung back to her and leaned against it as she caught her breath before she began the process all over again. 

She knew that by morning her hands would be bruised but it made her feel a little better so she ignored the pain that erupted with every hit, just focusing on the movements so that she didn't have to think about anything else. She was so caught up in it that she didn't notice Jughead until he caught the bag and kept it from swinging back to her. She looked at him and he raised an eyebrow.

"I talked to Polly when I couldn't find you. I figured you'd be here." He said softly.

"So you came to find me?" She asked sarcastically but he moved toward her and caught her hands in his.

"I came here to tell you to stop." He said, bringing her hands up to his lips and placing a soft kiss on them. "You're hurting yourself. I hate when you do that."

"I'm sorry." She said, glancing at her feet so she didn't have to look at him. He caught her chin and brought her gaze back up to his.

"Don't apologize." He said gently before kissing her softly. "Come on, let's get you home and into the shower."

"Can we go to yours?" Betty asked. "I don't want to bother Polly."

"Of course." He said before leading her out of the gym. The cool night air made her shiver and let her know that she'd been at the gym a lot longer than she'd realized. They walked through the trailer park quietly, reaching his trailer quickly and going inside. Betty left Jughead in the kitchen and made her way to the bathroom for a quick shower, leaving her dirty clothes on the floor and stepping in quietly. Halfway through her shower Jughead came into the room to lay some clothes on the toilet seat for her before retreating once more.

After she'd washed the sweat from her body and washed her hair, she climbed out and dried off quickly before grabbing the clothes and pulling them on. It was a pair of old sweats and a t-shirt, both soft and cozy, and she made her way to the bedroom where Jughead was waiting for her on the bed. He opened his arms for her to cuddle into him, which she did promptly, before he began running his hands through her hair.

"I called Peaches and let her know that you wouldn't be in tonight." He said softly, his lips pressed against the top of her head and she blew out a breath.

"Thanks." She said softly. 

"It's going to be okay, Betty." He said.

"She can't lose those kids Jug. They're her life." She said, moving to look at him.

"I know." He said softly, meeting her eyes. "All we can do is hope it turns out okay." 

Betty sighed and looked away from him to rest her head on his chest. They laid together in silence, both lost in thought, as Jughead comforted her. Betty knew that he was right, at this point, all they could do was hope for the best. She wasn't one to pray but she figured that in this instance it couldn't hurt so she sent up a silent prayer for everything to work out before finally drifting off into a troubled sleep.  

Chapter Text

Jughead was woken up by the sound of Betty rustling around and when he cracked his eyes open he saw that she was pulling her shoes on. He rolled over and reached out to touch her back lightly, gaining her attention and making her turn to look at him. He gave her a small smile, which she returned, before she leaned over and dropped a kiss on his lips before pulling away.

"I didn't want to wake you. You look tired." She said softly.

"It's okay." He said. "Are you leaving?"

"Yeah. I finally got a call back from Attorney McCoy earlier so I've set up a meeting with her. Polly needs me with her right now." She said and he nodded.

"I get it, she needs her family." He said, gripping her hand in his for a moment. "But try to get some rest today, in between everything I mean, you are working tonight."

"I'll be fine." She said before kissing him once more. "I gotta go."

She stood from the bed and left the room swiftly. Jughead rolled over onto his back when he heard the front door click closed and he sighed as he ran a hand through his hair before he threw the blankets off and began to get dressed. It was still ungodly early but he knew that he wouldn't be able to go back to sleep now that he was already awake and his mind was racing with worry about Polly and the twins. They were as much his family as Betty was, all of them having grown up together, even though Polly was a little older she'd still run around with them until she'd gotten pregnant.

He pulled on his shoes after he'd finished getting dressed and made his way out of the trailer, passing his father asleep on the pull out, and his feet took him in the direction of Sweet Pea's camper. He knew that Sweet Pea would want to know about the situation and Jughead figured it was better coming from him instead of anyone else because he'd be the most likely to keep Sweet Pea from doing something stupid. The last thing they needed right now was for him to end up in jail for doing something to Jason Blossom. He banged on the door until he heard shuffling around inside before the door swung open, a disgruntled Sweet Pea on the other side of it. Jughead noticed Fangs peeking out from behind him and knew that he must have crashed here last night instead of going home.

Jughead stepped into the camper after Sweet Pea moved back to sit on the bed and he pulled the door closed behind them. Sweet Pea and Fangs were both staring at him, obviously annoyed at being woken up, but they seemed to know that he wouldn't show up this early without a reason. Jughead blew out a breath, staying next to the door so he could prevent Sweet Pea from leaving if he had to, before he started speaking.

"Polly and Betty are meeting with a lawyer right now." He started and he saw Sweet Pea's posture change as soon as Polly's name came out of his mouth. 

"A lawyer? Why? Is something wrong?" He asked quickly and Jughead sighed.

"It seems that Jason Blossom has decided he wants to be a father after all. He's suing for custody of the twins." Jughead said and Sweet Pea bounced up from the bed like it was spring loaded.

"He can't do that!" He exclaimed. "He hasn't had a single damn thing to do with those kids since before they were born!"

"I know, but he is their father so he does still have rights." Jughead said. "Polly is obviously going to fight it but the Blossoms are rich, and Polly lives on the south side with her mother, it isn't going to be easy to win this. You know how the system is, it favors the privileged."

"There's nothing to favor if Jason isn't in the picture." Sweet Pea said angrily as he tried to move past Jughead but he wouldn't let him and Fangs jumped into help, the two of them managing to keep Sweet Pea inside.

"You can't go after him Pea." Fangs said.

"Why the hell not?" He asked and Fangs glanced at Jughead who sighed.

"Because, if he suddenly disappears, or gets hurt after serving Polly papers it will look bad. You'll mess with her chances of keeping the twins even more." He explained. "I know you care about her Sweet Pea, which is why you can't do anything about this."

"What am I supposed to do then?" He asked, his shoulders dropping as he took a step back from them.

"Be there for her." Fangs said. "She's going to need you now more than ever."

"Jason Blossom is a fucking dick." Sweet Pea said, going back to his spot on the bed. "You know he doesn't want anything to do with those kids. He's only doing this because he knows that it'll cause problems for her. He always treated her like crap when they were dating and now he's found a way to do it again."

"Betty said that they're talking to Attorney McCoy." Jughead said. "She's one of the best lawyers in town, she'll help them."

"If she loses those kids, she won't survive it." Sweet Pea said, his head in his hands. "They are the reason she gets out of bed, the reason she's so determined to get a college diploma. She wants them to grow up with a better life than she had."

"It's okay Sweet Pea, she's not one to give up without a fight, you know that." Fangs said. "Jason Blossom won't know what hit him."

"I need to go." Sweet Pea said, looking at them. "I need to be with her."

"You're not going to go after Jason?" Jughead asked, quickly taking his place by the door again.

"No." Sweet Pea said. "You were right, it would look bad and I don't want to do anything to jeopardize this case. I just need to be with Polly, maybe I can help her."

Jughead studied him for a long moment but he looked earnest so he moved and allowed Sweet Pea to go by. He knew that he would probably wait at the Coopers trailer for her to get back from her meeting with the lawyer, she would definitely need someone then. Jughead sighed as he watched Sweet Pea walk away, his posture hunched as if he was carrying he weight of the world on his shoulders, as he moved toward the Coopers trailer. 

Fangs patted him on the shoulder before slipping past him and back toward his own trailer leaving Jughead alone once again. He sighed as he stepped out of the camper and began walking back toward his trailer. When he stepped inside he saw his father, awake now, at the kitchen table. Jughead sighed when FP looked at him with a raised eyebrow and he joined him at the table after grabbing a cup of coffee.

"You're up early." His father commented and Jughead grunted.

"Dealing with a lot." He said non-committedly.

"Something wrong?" He asked.

"Fucking Jason Blossom." Jughead practically growled the name and his father looked at him for a long moment before speaking. 

"What's he done now?" He asked.

"He's trying to ruin Polly's life." Jughead said. "He's suing for custody."

"Well he's in for a hell of a fight." His father said. 

Jughead made a noise of agreement but dropped the subject as he grabbed his mug and made his way back to his room. He knew that Alice and Betty were fighters and all three of them were stubborn women so he knew that they weren't just going to roll over and take it but a voice in the back of his mind told him that it wasn't going to be pretty. The fight in court was likely to be drawn out and ugly but he was going to be there for them through everything.

He knew that this was affecting Betty heavily, having noticed the deep groves in her hands that he'd thought she'd stopped doing, and he knew that he needed to keep an eye on her through all of this so she didn't go off the deep end. She always found a way to make everything her fault even when it wasn't and he knew that her self deprecating attitude had been built up after years of watching her father hide them away like an embarrassment. He knew that it had left lasting affects on her and he could see that they were coming out now.

He knew that Sweet Pea would be there for Polly, as much as she'd let him be, so he felt okay worrying about only Betty for now. He was determined to keep her from blaming herself, especially when the proceedings got underway. He knew that the Blossoms were likely to have an advantage in the proceedings, being able to provide the twins with much more than Polly would ever be able to, but he also knew that the court would be hesitant to remove them from the environment they were comfortable in especially considering that they were perfectly healthy. 

He knew that the papers stated that the reason for the case was that Polly was an unfit mother and he knew that anyone who knew her, even some people from the north side, would be able to testify that she was a great mother so he doubted that they'd be able to make it stick. At this point, he was unaware of how the proceedings would go, but he hoped they'd fall in Polly's favor. The twins belonged with her more than with Jason, who everyone knew at this point didn't actually care, so Jughead hoped that Attorney McCoy would be able to go up against whatever lawyer the Blossoms managed to hire.

Jughead was so lost in thought that he didn't realize how much time had passed until the door opened revealing Betty. She pushed her shoes off and crawled back into the bed with him, his arm going around her instinctively, and she snuggled into his side.

"Are you okay?" He asked softly. Betty sighed.

"I don't know what to do Jug." She said, her voice breaking. "I don't know how to help her. I can't help her."

"What happened?" He asked and Betty sniffled. "Did Attorney McCoy say something."

"No." Betty sniffled, looking up at him. "But the Blossoms have so much more than we do. I am terrified that she's going to lose them and so is she, and I can't do anything. I can't make it better."

"It's going to be okay Betty." He said softly, wiping the tears that had begun to fall with his thumb.

"What if it isn't?" She asked. 

"Then we'll deal with it, when and if it happens." He said. "We'll be there for Polly. That's all we can do."

"Okay." She said softly, tucking her face into his neck. They were quiet for a minute before she spoke again. "Jug..."

"What?" He asked, wrapping his arms firmly around her. 

"I know it may not be a good time but I need to tell you.....I love you." She said softly. Jughead tensed for a moment and he could feel the tension running through her as well, waiting for him to speak, so he forced himself to relax as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head.

"I love you too."

Chapter Text

A few days after meeting with Attorney McCoy, Betty finally let Jughead drag her away from Polly and the twins to the Wyrm. She had a night off from working there so he had convinced her to go and hang out with their friends. He had told her that she needed a distraction from everything happening at home before the case went to court in the next few days and they wouldn't have time to spend on anything else. The Blossoms had gotten the case in front of a judge quicker than usual and she knew it was because they wanted to give them less time to prepare an argument against them but she also knew that Jughead was right, she needed a break before then or she'd drive herself crazy with worry. Sweet Pea had decided against coming with them, wanting to be there for Polly, so they'd agreed to meet up with Fangs and Toni instead.

That lead them to where they were now, sitting at a booth in the corner of the bar and watching the other serpents around the room. Kevin had unexpectedly joined them but Betty had always liked him when they were in school together so she didn't mind his presence and Toni had taken great pride in teasing him and Fangs when he'd first showed up. He had taken the light jabs well, laughing along with everyone else, so she knew that Toni and Jughead didn't mind either.

"So Kevin, are you going to follow in your father's footsteps? Is there a uniform in your future?" Betty asked and Kevin grimaced.

"I don't think so." He answered. "I'm more into theater and besides I think that uniform could use some work if I was ever going to wear it."

"I think you'd look great in a uniform." Fangs said, his voice teasing.

"Ugh. Don't flirt or I might barf." Toni said but the joke was obvious from her tone.

"Are you saying your father's uniform is ugly?" Jughead asked with a grin. "Maybe you should give him so tips to improve it."

"Ah, but alas, my father knows nothing about fashion." Kevin said in exaggerated dramatics making them all laugh.

The spent about an hour in the booth after that, drinking and trading stories, before Jughead took her hand and pulled her from the booth. He and Fangs put a wager on a game of pool between her and Kevin, without either of them agreeing to it, forcing them to play. They shared an exasperated look but agreed to the game with their boyfriends cheering from the sidelines and Toni leaning against the opposite table after rolling her eyes at their antics.

Betty had expected Kevin to be inexperienced at the game but as it turned out he was actually very good at it so she had to actually pay attention. Each of them took their turns over and over until the very end where Kevin apparently stopped holding back and beat her in just three moves. She, Jughead and Toni stared at him in astonishment while Fangs brought him in for a kiss before turning to them with a grin.

"I've been teaching him." He said in explanation.

"I can't believe he won." Jughead said, digging money out of his pocket and handing it over to Fangs reluctantly and Betty smiled and shrugged as she pulled him into her.

"Can't win 'em all." She said before kissing him. When she pulled back, she saw Fangs and Toni looking at them with smirks on their faces. Neither of them had said outright that their relationship had gone from friendly to more but she knew that they already suspected it and Toni had already seen them kiss once. She rolled her eyes and refused to acknowledge their expressions.

"At least now we know that he can play. I won't take anymore stupid bets from Fangs." Jughead said and she raised an eyebrow at him from where he still held her in his arms as she placed a hand on hes chest.

"Jughead Jones, are you saying that it's stupid to bet on me?" She asked and as she saw his eyes go wide she had to keep herself from smirking.

"Of course not!" He exclaimed, looking down to meet her eyes. His eyes went soft as she looked at him and his voice went low and sweet. "I'd bet on you every time."

They stared at each other for a long moment and she heard the words behind the ones he'd actually spoken and she pulled him in for another kiss. His arms tightened around her and he brought her closer to him, their bodies pressing together.

"Jesus, get a room." Toni's voice broke them out of it and Betty pulled away to glare at her. Toni's smirk hadn't left her face and she laughed at them as they pulled away from each other.

"I think they're sweet." Kevin said and Toni rolled her eyes.

"You won't think so after spending just a small amount of time with them. Sometimes they forget that other people are around and the way they look at each other should be illegal." She said and Betty rolled her eyes.

"We're not that bad Toni." She sad and Toni looked at her.

"You don't have to look at yourselves." She said. "Believe me, it is that bad. I still love you though."

"Maybe you should get yourself a girlfriend then. Pay us back for all of it." Jughead said and Toni rolled her eyes again.

"Believe me, when I do get a girlfriend, I'm going to make you hate me with the amount I'm going to pay back." She said. "You'll be sick of seeing me kiss her."

"I'll be sick of it after the first time." Jughead said. Kevin interrupted them when he gasped bringing their attention to him.

"Is that Cheryl Blossom?" He asked causing them all to spin in the direction of the bar almost in unison. The red haired girl was sitting on a bar stool, her body language portraying her discomfort. Betty stared at her for a moment almost sure that the girl was going to disappear, a collective hallucination of theirs, because she couldn't for the life of her figure out why the hell she would be here. 

"What the hell is she doing here?" Fangs asked from behind her. Betty didn't answer, instead letting her feet carry her forward toward the bar with the others trailing behind her. It wasn't unheard of for northsiders to come to the Wyrm, it wasn't even a strange thing at this point, but never had a member of the Blossom family come to the south side for any reason so Cheryl being here was unusual. 

Betty saw the exact moment Cheryl saw her because the other girl's eyes went wide as she watched her and her friends approach but Cheryl showed no outward signs besides that that she was afraid. Betty stopped a few feet away from her seat and they stared at each other for a long moment, each of them waiting to see if the other was going to speak, before Betty sighed.

"What are you doing here Cheryl?" She asked. Cheryl blew out a breath.

"I wanted to apologize." She said and Betty raised an eyebrow.

"Really." She said, unconvinced.

"I never should have said what I did that day." She said. "I was wrong."

"Right and I'm sure that this has nothing to do with the case your brother has just started against my sister." Betty said, glaring at the girl. "Are you here trying to gather some kind of information to use against her? She isn't here!"

"No!" Cheryl exclaimed, holding her hands up in a placating motion. "I'm not here for that. I'm here because my brother is wrong."

"You really expect us to believe that?" Toni spat.

"I'm telling the truth." Cheryl protested as she met Betty's eyes. "I believed my brother when he said that they weren't his children, okay? I knew that they had dated but he told me that she had cheated on him with some guy from the south side and that was why they broke up, so when she came to our house claiming to be pregnant with his children I didn't believe her. He's my brother, I never expected him to lie to me."

"That was stupid to believe." Betty said, rolling her eyes.

"I know that now." Cheryl said. "He told me they weren't his and I believed him, but now that he's begun this case I know that he was lying to me. He wouldn't start a case like this if he didn't believe that they were his, which means that he's known that they were this whole time and didn't give a damn. They're seven months old and he didn't care about them until now. That tells me that he doesn't deserve to have them."

"You came all the way here to say that?" Betty asked. "You expect me to trust you?"

"No." Cheryl said quietly. "I just wanted you to know, when this goes to court, I'm on your side."

"He's your twin brother. You aren't going to go against him." Betty said, still unconvinced that Cheryl was being genuine and she wasn't going to give the girl any help in whatever it was she was trying to do. Cheryl shrugged.

"I get it, you don't believe me, but I still wanted you to know." She stood from the stool. "I'm on your side, even if you don't believe me." 

She spun and walked away without another word, leaving them all to stare after her. Betty sighed and leaned against the bar, turning her body to face the others as she did, each of them looking as unconvinced as she was. She had come here tonight to forget about the looming hearing but Cheryl's presence had brought it back to the forefront of her mind. She was chewing on her lip as Toni leaned next to her.

"Damn shame." She said and Betty looked at her in confusion.

"What?" She asked. Toni smirked.

"If she wasn't such a bitch I'd go for her." She said. "She's beautiful."

"You just want to fuck her." Jughead said and Toni shrugged.

"That too, but she is beautiful." She said and Betty sighed.

She knew that the Blossoms probably had a fantastic lawyer and a good case just because of their wealth and it would be amazing to have one of them on their side but she couldn't trust Cheryl. She hadn't seemed like she was lying but she knew that in a family like the Blossoms they were trained to lie from birth so it wouldn't be a surprise if she was. Maybe her brothers unwillingness to acknowledge his own flesh and blood had pushed her over the edge but Betty couldn't risk it, especially not with the twins on the line. If Cheryl was telling the truth about her feelings, it would show in time. 

Chapter Text

Jughead was at the Cooper's with Betty and they were sitting on the couch watching Polly pace back and forth across the floor because of the meeting they'd had with Attorney McCoy. As they had expected the Blossom's had hired a very good lawyer from New York who had hardly lost a case. On top of that, she had mentioned that Betty would likely be called to testify on her sister's behalf, just as Cheryl probably would be for Jason, and that they might bring up her job which could be detrimental to the case. Attorney McCoy had urged her to say that she didn't live in the home with the twins if pressed which, while not necessarily true, at least wasn't a complete lie seeing as Betty spent much more of her time at the Jones trailer even before they were together. After Polly had been pacing for over half an hour without speaking, Betty stood from the couch and moved to stop her, resting her hands on Polly's arms and forcing the other girl to look at her.

"You need to calm down. Don't stress yourself out too much." She said soothingly.

"How can I not stress myself out Betty?" Polly said. "I'm going to lose them."

"You aren't." Betty said, determination in her voice. "Even if they have some fancy big city lawyer there is no way they can win this. You told Jason when you found out you were pregnant, you have given him numerous chances to be a part of their lives and he has refused every time. The judge will see that, okay. They're healthy and well taken care of and that's what will matter to the judge. You will not lose them."  

"You don't know that!" Polly exclaimed. "The Blossom's have money, that's what they'll care about. They'll say that the Blossom's can take better care of them because they have better resources. You know they will."

"You can't lose hope Polly. You have to fight." Betty said.

"Why? What's the point?" Polly asked desperately. "I know what's going to happen."

"Polly...." Betty said hesitantly.

"Go. I want to spend time with my children while I have the chance." Polly said, turning away from Betty and she reached out for her. Jughead stood from the couch and took Betty's arm.

"Come on Betty." He said quietly, steering her toward the door and away from Polly. As the door clicked shut behind them, she turned and buried her face into his shoulder and he wrapped his arms tightly around her and ran his hand along her hair soothingly. "It's going to be okay."

"It isn't." She said quietly, her voice muffled from pressing against him and she pulled back to look at him, tears staining her cheeks. "She's given up." 

"She's just worried. I'm sure everything will be fine once she's had time to calm down." He said and Betty shook her head.

"No. I know my sister and she's completely given up. She thinks that there's no hope of her winning, so she's stopped fighting." Betty looked up at him. "She's already saying goodbye and we haven't even been to court yet."

"Then we'll just have to fight for her." He said, brushing the tears off her cheeks with his thumb. "We're not going to let him take those children away from the only home they've ever known."

"You promise?" She asked softly.

"I promise." He said, leaning down to place a gentle kiss on her lips and sending up a prayer that this was a promise that he'd be able to keep. When he pulled back from the kiss he smiled at her. "Come on, you've got to get ready for work."

"Are you going to be there tonight?" She asked and he shook his head.

"No." He said. "Toni has the night off so she's forcing Fangs, Sweet Pea and I to help her fix something ion her trailer. I'm not even sure what it is but she claimed that she needed big strong men to help her with it. I assume it's actually just going to be her bossing us around and making us move things because she's the size of a pixie." 

"I sense there's some sarcasm behind the big strong men part." Betty said with a smirk. "But I still wouldn't let her hear you say she's the size of a pixie because despite that I'm almost certain that she could still kick your ass."

"I have no doubt about that." Jughead agreed as he held the door to his trailer open and Betty slipped past him and down the hallway to the bedroom. He followed behind her, falling onto the bed and propping his head up on his hands as he watched her apply her make up, which she had started keeping here. She was seated on the floor, her back leaned against the bed and a mirror propped against the closet door in front of her, her make up spread out on the floor around her.

She didn't usually wear make up unless she was working so he was mesmerized watching her apply it. She finished her make up quickly, her hand practiced at it, before she used the curler to give her hair a gentle wave in it. He slid the the bottom of the bed, where she was putting everything back into her make up bag, and placed a kiss on her shoulder. She leaned her head back to smile at him as she took his hand and squeezed it lightly.

He put a hand under her chin as he kissed her softly and she turned her body to his, deepening the kiss and tangling her hand in his hair, as she moved from her position on the floor. She pushed him back onto the bed and climbed over him, straddling his waist as she kissed him again, and his hands landed on her hips. They got lost in each other and Betty made a soft sound in her throat. His hands tightened on her hips, his fingers digging into her, and she trailed kisses down his neck. She attached her lips to his pulse point, sucking gently on the skin their and making his arousal rather obvious. They were so caught up in each other that they didn't hear the door open until Toni's voice broke through to them.

"Dear God, I do not need to see this!" She exclaimed. Betty released a squeak and rolled off of him quickly and Jughead sat up suddenly, both of them turning to look at the door. Toni was standing there, her eyes squeezed shut, and he and Betty exchanged looks.

"What are you doing here?" Jughead asked, the awkwardness clear in his voice.

"I wanted to make sure that you were still coming." She said, her eyes coming back open as a smirk made it's way onto her face. "But, by all means finish up here, I can come back."

"Shut up." Betty said, throwing a pillow at her before turning to Jughead. "I gotta go anyway or I'll be late."

She leaned over and kissed him again before getting up from the bed and slipping past Toni in the doorway. Jughead rolled his eyes at her and sighed as he stood from the bed as well. 

"Let's go then." He said.

"Sorry to interrupt." She said with a laugh. "But, you know, for future reference, a sock on the door might be a good idea. You don't live alone after all and I'm sure FP wants to see you two going at it less that I do."

"Oh shut up." He said, shoving her lightly with his shoulder as they walked. "Don't act like you wouldn't watch if you didn't feel bad about being a voyeur to your friends."

"Feeling full of yourself aren't you?" She said. "You and Betty have been my friends since we were in diapers. I remember the two of you at every stage of your lives, you're like siblings to me at this point. If I was going to be a voyeur of anyone, I'd at least choose someone I didn't grow up with."

"Fair point." He conceded. "What did you need us to do anyway?"

"I need a few things moved around." She said. "My uncle has disappeared and I don't think he's coming back this time. He left a note about some woman he'd met on the road and they're apparently getting married and moving to California. Good riddance to him is what I say."

"So what, you're going to move his stuff out of the bedroom and put your stuff in it?" Jughead asked.

"Yep. I'm going to move his stuff outside and set fire to it, he won't be coming back for it, then I'm going to change the locks." She said. "If he does come back I can lock him out, god knows he did it enough to me." 

"So you're going to have a bonfire." Jughead said with a grin. "Sounds like fun."

"I thought so." She said.

As they got to her trailer, the found Sweet Pea and Fangs already waiting by the door and Toni let them all in. They spent the rest of the night dragging things out of the house and piling them up a little way away. Once they had helped Toni rearrange things they way she wanted them, they went back out side and she flicked a zippo at the pile of things, which caught fire almost immediately with the help of a little gasoline dripped around it. The fire lit up their surroundings and Toni watched it burn with a smile on her face.


Chapter Text

In the few days since they had met with Attorney McCoy, Betty became increasingly worried about Polly. Her sister had been locking herself in her bedroom with the twins and the nights that Betty stayed at home, she could hear her crying through the thin walls. The court date was rapidly approaching, just two days away, and Betty was worried that Polly wouldn't be able to handle it. Their mom was working a lot more, seeing as Polly had taken some time off of school because of the stress if the situation, and Betty worried about her spending so much time alone. Sweet Pea was the only one she'd allow into her room but even he couldn't be there all the time as he also had to work just like the rest of them.

Betty had a gut feeling that something bad was going to happen but she couldn't baby sit Polly all the time, especially considering that Polly didn't want her around most of the time. Polly had found out about the altercation that Betty had gotten into with Cheryl at Pop's and was now convinced that that was the reason the Blossom's took a sudden interest in the twins so things were barely civil between them at the moment. Betty was convinced that the Blossom's were somehow communicating the information to Polly, trying to tear them apart before the court date, but she couldn't prove it so she had to let it go for the time being. As much as Polly was trying to push her away, Betty was still fighting for her, determined to help her keep custody of the twins.

Betty had taken extra shifts at the Wyrm to earn more money, part of which she was putting into an account for the twins, which she hadn't told anyone but Jughead about yet. She knew that the Blossom's had leverage because of their money so she hoped that having a bit saved back for the twins would help their case if needed. She stood at the bar drinking a glass of water on her break and she saw Toni watching her out of the corner of her eye, making Betty look at her with her eyebrow raised.

"What?" She asked and Toni shrugged lightly.

"Are you okay?" She asked and Betty looked at her confused.

"I'm fine. Why?" She asked and Toni leaned on the bar in front of her.

"Peaches told me that you've taken some extra shifts. I just want to make sure that you're doing okay, you know with everything going on." She said and Betty sighed.

"It's not easy at home right now. I can't get her to talk to me and I'm worried about her, she isn't herself." Betty explained.

"She's worried. It's understandable." Toni said before reaching over to place her hand on top of Betty's. "But you need to look after yourself too Betty. Running yourself ragged isn't going to help the situation any and you'll want to be there for her if this goes badly."

"If this goes badly, she won't want me around at all. Trust me." Betty said, chewing on her lip as she picked at the counter with her nails. Toni gave her a confused look.

"What do you mean?" She asked.

"She blames me for all of this." Betty said. "She thinks it's my fault because of that day at Pop's. Maybe she's right, I shouldn't have lost my temper."

"This isn't your fault Betty." She said, determination in her voice. "Jason Blossom is a dick who likes to know that he has power over everyone. He's doing this just because he can. This has nothing to do with you."

"You don't know that!" Betty exclaimed. "All of this started after that day. I did this."

"You didn't." Toni said gently and Betty noticed her glance over her shoulder before she moved out from behind the bar. Peaches slipped behind the bar as Toni pulled Betty along behind her into the dressing room in the back before pushing her into a chair and cupping her face with her hands. "This isn't your fault, okay. You're exhausted, you've worked every night this week, you need to rest and everything will be better in the morning."

"I can't leave, my shift isn't over." Betty protested, despite the tears that were trying to escape.

"It's fine." Toni forced Betty to look at her and their eyes met, the compassion shining through Toni's eyes clearly. "Go home. Get some sleep."

Betty nodded quietly and began getting dressed. Toni waited by the door for her to get ready to leave and began to lead her out of the bar and through the trailers and Betty glanced at her, rubbing her eyes to keep the tears in, as Toni stroked her hair as they walked together.

"I've pulled you away from your shift too. You should go back, I can make it home on my own." Betty said quietly and Toni shrugged.

"They can manage on their own for a few minutes. I'll go back as soon as I'm sure you've gotten home." She said and Betty sighed. As they approached the Jones trailer, Betty glanced over at her own trailer and her brow furrowed when she noticed the lights still on. She paused between the trailers, staring at her own in confusion until she heard the wails of the twins drawing her toward the trailer.

"They should be in bed. Something's wrong." She said, a foreboding feeling settling into her as she rushed toward the trailer, Toni trailing behind her, and she flung the door open. The twins were each in their cots in the kitchen, their faces red and wet from tears, prompting Betty to move toward them. Toni picked up their pacifiers off the table and they quietened down easily once they had them so Betty left her with them as she moved down the hall. "Polly?"

Betty pushed open the door to her bedroom to find it empty, the sheets wrinkled as if the person laying on them had been tossing and turning, and the foreboding feeling grew. Her chest clenched as she took a deep breath, trying to calm herself as she searched the other rooms until she was left with only the bathroom. She twisted the doorknob, finding it locked, so she knocked gently calling for Polly and listening at the door for any sound, which she didn't get. The panic building in her mind reached a fever pitch and without thinking she stepped away from the door before kicking it in.

The sound made the twins begin crying again but when Betty saw the horror in the bathroom, everything faded away as she heard blood rushing in her ears. She fell to her knees beside Polly, dragging her torso into her lap as she pressed against the slashes on her wrist, a pool of blood already surrounding her. She felt hands on her shoulders and glanced up to see Toni looking at her with wide eyes, her lips were moving but Betty didn't register what she was saying. Blood was coating her hands as she shouted for help, Toni disappearing out the trailer door as she did and Betty could only hope she was going to get someone.

Polly was pale, the color gone from her cheeks and lips, and Betty knew that she was losing far to much blood and the pressure she was trying to put on the wounds wasn't helping but she couldn't think. Her mind was a mass of panic as her eyes flitted around the room, her mind racing with jumbled thoughts she couldn't make sense of, leaving her frozen with Polly half in her lap and blood soaking into her clothes.

Chapter Text

Jughead spent the day with Sweet Pea and Fangs, working on their bikes and just hanging out for the first time in a while. He had left the trailer early in the day, leaving Betty in the bed to get some rest. He knew that everything going on with her family and Polly was taking a toll on her as well as the extra shifts she had taken trying to compensate for the amount of money the Blossom's were waving around. He wanted to tell her to slow down and breath but he didn't want to come off as if he was trying to tell her what to do. He knew that she thought that he still ahd a problem with her job, which he didn't, but he was afraid to say anything that she could take the wrong way.

He spent the day with his friends, trying to forget about his own problems, as he listened to them talk about their own relationships. Fangs was all smiles as he talked about Kevin, but when Sweet Pea spoke about Polly he had a sadness in his eyes, which Jughead understood. He knew that he and Sweet Pea understood each other, the stress of the upcoming court date falling on the two of them as well, even though neither of them were actually family. Fangs didn't quite understand the strain because he wasn't as closely connected with the problem but still, Jughead didn't begrudge him his happiness, free from all of their shared problems.

At the end of the day, which was actually well into the night, Jughead invited them back to his trailer for some junk food and movies knowing that Betty would still be at work for a while longer, and they happily agreed so they all began trudging back to his trailer and that was when things went bad. As he got close to his trailer, he heard screaming, putting them all on high alert immediately. The closer he got, the clearer the voice became and he realized who it was immediately.

"Betty." He breathed out, her panicked voice crying out for help drawing him quickly to her trailer. Toni burst out of the door, her face full of panic and her breathing ragged, and Jughead grabbed her arms. "What going on?"

"Polly." She said, her voice catching on a sob. Fangs moved forward to pull her into his arms and Jughead and Sweet Pea exchanged a look before rushing past them and into the trailer. Sweet Pea stumbled into Jughead as he froze in the living room and their eyes landed on the horror.

Betty was half in the hallway and half in the bathroom with Polly propped in her lap, both of them smeared with blood from the wounds that were still oozing as Betty pressed her hands against them. Jughead moved toward them almost in a trance as his eyes took in the scene, everything seeming to come to him in fragments, and he knew it was shock. Sweet Pea didn't seem to be able to move from his spot, the horror on his face spearing him in place.

Jughead knelt next to them, digging his phone out of his pocket and dialing 911. He heard his own voice explaining what had happened but he wasn't paying attention as he looked at Betty. She was looking at him but it was like she wasn't seeing him, her gaze blank as she held her sister in her arms, and Jughead wasn't sure if she even realized where she was. He reached out to touch her but she didn't react other than tightening her grip on Polly as if she thought it would protect her. Jughead blew out a breath and turned his attention to Polly for the moment, pressing his finger's into the side of her neck, searching for a pulse. It took him a few seconds but he finally felt one, faint but there.

A commotion in the living room brought his attention back as he glanced over his shoulder, Toni and Fangs had finally entered the trailer and where taking the twins out of their bassinets, rocking them gently. Sweet Pea had gone to his knees in the middle of the living room where he had been standing, his eyes never leaving Polly, the devastion clear on his face. Jughead heard the ambulance approaching quickly and they all waited, each lost in their own thoughts, the silence in the room almost deafening, until the lights appeared outside the trailer. The door was still wide open allowing the paramedics to come through quickly and Jughead was pushed to the side as they crowded around Polly.

He noticed as they worked that Betty refused to let go of her, even after being prompted too multiple times and he moved quickly passed them and too her side. He tried to pull her hands away but she just shrugged him off and held on tighter and he heard her mumbling under her breath as she rocked lightly.

"Betty, you need to let her go." He said softly, laying his hands on her arms gently but not trying to remove her hands this time. As he was pressed against her her could finally make out the words she was saying.

"You're gonna be okay." She repeated it like a mantra, her voice flat and Jughead sighed as he pulled on her lightly and she shrugged him off again. The paramedics were looking at him, insistent that they needed her to let go. He grabbed her face and turned her head to look at him, her eyes still glassy and blank but he knew he had to make her hear him.

"Listen to me. You need to let her go so they can help her." He said and Betty shook her head.

"Helping." She said softly, her hands tensing on Polly's arms.

"You were helping, Betty. You did help, but now Polly needs more help. Let her go." He said softly. Betty stared at him.

"She'll die." She said, her voice as hallow as her eyes. Jughead pulled in a deep breath.

"She won't. They're going to make her better." He said gently, running his hand through her hair. "You've done what you can, now you need to let her go."

Betty stared at him for a long moment and he felt her grip loosen. He pulled her hands away, cupping them in his, as the paramedics began moving very quickly around them. Polly was lifted onto a stretcher and rushed out of the door quickly. Jughead saw Toni drag Sweet Pea out of the house after them, he assumed one of them would ride to the hospital with her, before he turned his attention back to Betty. She was still staring sightlessly and he knew that she had to be in shock.

He sighed before telling Fangs to call Alice and stay with the twins until she got home before he turned to Betty. He scooped her off the floor easily and carried her out of the trailer and over to his own where he sat her on the couch and he sat across from her on the coffee table, cupping her face with his hands and pulling a throw blanket around her.

"Betty, can you hear me?" He asked and she nodded. "Everything's okay."

"Not." She said her words stilted and fragmented, her eyes finally landing on his face. "Not okay. My fault."

"It's not your fault Betty." He said.

"It is." She said, tears slipping down her cheeks. "All my fault."

"No, Betty. Listen to me." He said, forcing her to meet his eyes. "It's not your fault. We don't know what happened. We don't know why she did this. You can't blame yourself for everything that happens to your family, it isn't on you. None of it."

"She's gonna die." She said, her voice broken and defeated.

"She won't. The doctor's are good at their job, they'll help her." He said. "Everything is going to be okay. I promise."

"Don't." She said, shaking her head. "Don't make promises you can't keep."

"Betty...." He stated but she shook her head.

"Just hold me." She said. He sighed as he joined her on the couch and wrapped his arms around her and she clung to him. He knew that she still blamed herself for everything but the shock of the situation wasn't fully gone and he knew that he couldn't press th issue right now. He held her close, ignoring the blood still clinging to her hands and smeared on her clothes, as he ran his hand through her hair. She was shivering under the throw blanket despite the heat outside and he knew that it had nothing to do with the temperature. He knew they'd have to deal with what happened soon but for now, he just held her as the tears soaked into his shirt and, for the first time in a long time, he prayed. For Betty, for Polly, for all of it.