Mr.-Downstairs

I Hate Christmas - Sherlock x (y/n)

Word count: 1784

Warnings: none

“Sherlock!” Mrs. Hudson called from downstairs. “It’s (y/n)!”

Sherlock hurried down the stairs as quickly as he could. “Ah, (y/n). Finally. John and Mary are preparing dinner upstairs and I’ll be heading out for a bit.”

“Sherlock!” You said, exasperated. “You promised you’d stay. Even if you had a case. It’s Christmas for Christ’s sake.”

“I hate Christmas.” He said with a sneer. “It brings about carolers and holiday cheer.”

“Oh, Sherlock. Promise me you’ll still come home for dinner and presents.”

“Food is for the weak and I told everyone not to get me anything. I also did not get anything for anyone else…” He said trailing off.

“Sherlock…”

“Fine. I promise I’ll be home for dinner and presents.” He said rolling his eyes. “Even if I don’t eat and I don’t have presents.”

“Good boy.” You said smiling brightly. You bounced into the building away from the cold, chilling air of London. Sherlock moved past you and into the freezing air.

“I’m not a boy (y/n). I’m a man. A very smart one at that.” He said quickly, as if in a rush, which to be honest he probably was. He then briskly walked away. Mrs. Hudson gave you a sad smile.

“Sorry about him dear. That’s Sherlock though. Always dashing about. Anyhow, might you come up for a spot of tea? John and Mary’s food smells so delicious.”

You smiled kindly at her, “Of course, Mrs. Hudson. Thank you.”

Time Skip

“Mrs. Hudson!” Sherlock’s loud voice rang from downstairs. “I’m back for Christmas dinner.” He said in a disgusted tone you could tell he wasn’t really trying to hide. He walked upstairs quickly, taking the steps two at a time. He walked past you hastily, using his coat to conceal something that he was carrying. “Mrs. Hudson, John, (y/n) don’t wait up. I’ll be in my room wrapping things up. I’ll be back in a wink.” He said winking at you. You blushed profusely. Trying to cover it up, you said, “Shall we start eating?”

“Of course.” John said with a happy smile.

“Mary, the pie looks delicious.” You said to her.

“Oh, I didn’t make it. John did. He’s a great baker.” She said bragging slightly about her wonderful husband.

“Well then John, it looks simply divine.” You said excited to dig in to the wonderful looking food.

Time Skip – After Dinner

“Oh, the meal was so scrumptious.” Mrs. Hudson commented, a little bit sleepy from the meal.

“It was.” You said, a bit sleepy yourself. “It was too bad Sherlock didn’t eat anything.” You said clearing the last of the plates from the table. As if on cue Sherlock emerged from his room.

“Time for presents.” He said lazily, as if bored with the whole affair and idea of Christmas. Little did you know, inside he was having a silent panic attack. He secretly slipped something under the tree.

“Ok.” You said giddily, smiling like a child. “I’m excited to see what you got me Mr. Holmes.” You said nudging him in the side.

“Nothing.” He responded. “I told you earlier that I didn’t get anyone anything.”

You looked down, slightly saddened by this sentence. Your Christmas cheer was being ruined by Sherlock.

“You know you don’t have to be such a spoilsport.”

“I actually do.”

“Why, Sherlock?”

“The idea of buying people presents gives some people anxiety. Anxiety about not getting the right thing. In fact, it is scientifically proven that people have more stress around the holidays.” He said with a completely straight face.

“Really Sherlock? You don’t buy people presents because you’re afraid you’ll get the wrong thing?”

“That is what I said, yes.” He said rolling his eyes.

“Sherlock… We’re your friends. We’ll be happy with anything you give us.”

“Really?” He said raising an eyebrow. “Last Christmas John said he loved my gift. He lied. I read his body language. He was not at all pleased with my gift. I was given a mental talent for reading people and it is a blessing and a curse. Let me ask you something, (y/n). Do you sometimes wish I were a normal person? That I’m unable to read people like a book?”

Without missing a heartbeat, you answered his question honestly, “No. You are perfect. If you weren’t the way you were you would never have met me. You never would have been ‘The Great Sherlock Holmes’, and I never would have come to you with my case.”

He clasped his hands together, thinking deeply. “Hmm… You’re right.”

“As I always am.” You said.

“Not always.” He corrected quickly.

You laughed. John and Mary came out of the kitchen. “What’s so funny?” John asked.

“Nothing, nothing.” You said. “Let’s go. I can’t possibly wait any longer. I can feel the presents calling to me.”

“Presents don’t talk.” Sherlock mentioned quietly.

“They do in my mind palace.” You said, teasing him.

He sighed tiredly, “Let’s just get on with the presents.”

John cleared his throat. “Ok then. Let’s see, first present.” He picked up a box with green wrapping. He said out loud, “For Mary and John, from (y/n).” You smiled as they unwrapped it together. They pulled out a small onesie.

“It’s for the baby.” You said smiling brightly. “Do you guys like it?”

Mary turned to you. “Oh, (y/n). We love it!” She came over to hug you.

John said, “Thank you (y/n). It’s a wonderful gift.”

You picked the next box. “For Sherlock, from John and Mary.” You smiled at the couple as you unwrapped the present for Sherlock. You pulled out a hat. You laughed. Sherlock rolled his eyes and looked at the hat in disgust. You smiled at Mary, “Thanks guys.” You looked at John and mouthed, “I’ll make him wear it.” The next present was for Mrs. Hudson, from John and Mary. It was a nice pink shawl. John and Mary had given you a nice coat that matched Sherlock’s. The presents from John and Mary were all wonderful. Next, it was your turn to give everyone presents. You had already given John and Mary their present so you gave Mrs. Hudson hers. Sher pulled out a blouse, a skirt, and a pair of heels all matching the same royal blue color. “Thank you, dear.” She said smiling at you.

“Of course, Mrs. Hudson.” You said, matching her smile. Then you handed Sherlock his present. He opened it and was surprised to see a brand new blue scarf.

“Thank you very much, (y/n).” He said looking over at you.

You smiled at him, “Anything for you, Sherlock.”

Mrs. Hudson seemed to be ready to bounce out of her seat. Sher quickly handed everyone their presents. Your gift was a nice jumper. “Mrs. Hudson, did you knit this all by yourself?” You inquired.

“Yes I did.” She said quite proudly. Sherlock’s was a fancy suit.

“Mrs. Hudson, where did you get this?” He asked.

“Oh, it was from a real fancy shop. I know you have a lot of suits, but this one just seemed to pop to me. It would look perfect on you. I mean you have all black suits; you never wear blue. I thought it would look real nice on you.”

“Thank you. I like it.” He said cautiously, as if his words might offend her. Everyone looked around. There were no more presents to be opened. Everyone looked expectantly at Sherlock. They didn’t seem surprised, however. They soon all packed up and left, save for Mrs. Hudson, who had gone upstairs. You started to clean up the trash on the ground from the presents. Sherlock watched you carefully, studying you. You had finished clearing all of the wrapping paper from around the tree when a little twinkle from under the tree caught your eye. You reached a hand under the tree and felt a box. You pulled it out. It was a small box covered with shiny silver wrapping paper. Carefully you turned it over, ‘To my dear (y/n), from your Sherlock,’ it said in fancy writing on the wrapping paper. You turned to Sherlock and he gave you a smile. “I didn’t want you to open it in front of everyone.” He said smirking at your surprised face.

“Here, I thought you were a pompous jackass who was too good to get anyone anything.” You commented, joking lightly. Sherlock only rolled his eyes.

“Open it.” He said. “Before I change my mind and return it.”

“Now I know what you meant when you said you were in your room, ‘wrapping things up’. You meant it literally, that you actually were ‘wrapping something up’. Gosh, you are clever.”

“I know.” He said, sarcastically. “Now open it.”

You excitedly ripped off the wrapping paper. Inside was a black square velvet box. You gasped in surprise. It was from Tiffany’s. You traced your fingers along the velvet on the outside of the box. “What is it?” You asked Sherlock, looking over at him. He only smiled mysteriously.

“Open it and see.”

You opened the box to see the diamond necklace you had been drooling over for a long time every time you passed the window of Tiffany’s. “Sherlock! You didn’t have to get me this.”

“I actually did. Did you think I wouldn’t notice how every day when we walked past the store you looked longingly and lovingly at this necklace. I read John, I can read you too.”

“Sherlock! This is just too much. I-I” You were at a loss for words. You looked down at the box and noticed there was another, much smaller, box inside. You picked it up. “Sherlock… What’s this?”

He stayed silent. So you took the box carefully in your hands and opened it up. Inside was a beautiful diamond ring. You gasped. “Oh my. Oh my gosh.” You looked up at Sherlock. He smiled mysteriously.

“I see no need to get on one knee and all so I’ll just say it. Will you (y/n) (y/l/n) the most beautiful and clever and kind and funny person I have ever met and also my favorite human being in this entire wretched world, agree to be my wife?”

“Yes, Sherlock. Yes of course I’ll be your wife.” You stood up to hug him and as you hugged you noticed a small green plant hanging on top of Sherlock’s head. You smiled. As you pulled apart from the hug you pecked Sherlock on the lips.

“What was that for?” He questioned.

“Tradition.” You responded with a smirk.

“I hate tradition.”

“Is there anything you don’t hate?”

“I don’t hate you.”

You smiled softly. “Hey, don’t get soft on me now Mr. Holmes.”

“I won’t Mrs. Holmes.”

The End

8

Henry Lascelles + being told to stfu spoken back to

The Tattoo Artist

Pairing: Y/N/Soulmate!Calum

Rating: PG-All

Request: No

Words: 4.450+

Summary: In which everyone gets a name tattoo of their soulmate on their wrist when they turn eighteen but Y/N doesn’t believe in it and wants hers covered up by the male tattoo artists whose shop is right down the street

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Catch Me (Intro)

Summary: In which a bet leads Bucky to have to catch you every day for a week, no matter what.

Pairing: Bucky x Reader

Word Count: 969

A/N: This fic is inspired by this moment in Brooklyn Nine Nine (where Terry drops his coffee mug in order to catch Jake). 

There are going to be multiple parts to this fic and I hope you guys are as excited as me. A lot of fluff is going to ensue from here on out. 

Special thanks to @avengerstories for editing this for me. You are the very best. 

Originally posted by iron-man-captain-dorito

You are walking past the living room when you notice that someone is in there. Abandoning your quest for a sandwich, you enter the room and find Bucky with his metal arm under one of the couch cushions. You don’t even have to ask what he’s looking for. “Lost your earphones again, huh?”

“I didn’t lose them,” he mutters while dropping down to the floor to look under the sofa. “They’ve just been misplaced.”

You cross your arms over your chest and chuckle. “If you say so.”

Bucky abruptly stands up from his position on the floor and fixes you with a hard glare. Most people would probably cower under the scrutiny, but not you. You and Bucky have been butting heads for eight months; a rivalry that began the moment you joined forces with the Avengers. Those eight months have been filled with nonstop arguments, snide remarks, and an overabundance of scowls pointed in each other’s direction.

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4

“ In my eyes, she is beautiful.  I love her. I am happy and tickled and bursting with pride that she would agree to be my wife. And I want us to live as closely as two people can, for the time that remains to us on earth.”  

- Charles Carson S06EP01

#AtLast  

Classic

Ok, so @magicaldestiny was SO KIND to let me off the hook for her birthday fic while I was drowning in Spacedogs stories. So I would like to thank her for that and say….LOOK! I remembered to do the thing, months later. Please forgive the lateness - as well as how incredibly sappy this is m’dear. 

         Will pulled the blanket around him, trying to control the shivers that wracked his body.  This was worse than the cliff - worse than the sound of his skull rattling as Jack screamed for Hannibal to stop the saw. Will let himself loll to the side, head thumping weakly on the arm of the sofa. Through half-closed eyes, Will saw calf-leather loafers shuffling toward him.

         “If you were planning to kill me again, now would be a great time,” Will moaned, letting his eyes fall closed. He heard the clink of a tray as it settled on the coffee table before he felt himself being pulled upright and settled against a warm, solid mass.

         “I wouldn’t dream of killing you,” Hannibal murmured in Will’s ear, offering him a steaming cup of tea. “Unless you wipe your nose on my hand loomed throw again.”

         “I apologized for that.” The tea smelled of ginger, Will gulped it down.

         “Hmmm, and yet the stain remains.”

         “You know you actually gutted me, right? Like, my actual innards spilled out.”

         “I regret that more than you’ll ever know.” Hannibal sighed, pressing a kiss behind Will’s ear. “I’m sure the floors had to be refinished. They were original to the house.”

         “If I wasn’t three seconds from dying, I’d smack you.”

         “Don’t be ridiculous, Will. You’ve got hours before dehydration would even seriously threaten you.” Hannibal held up a bowl of soup and made Will swallow a few spoonfuls. “There, I’ve just bought you another half hour, at least.”

         “Did Hopkins ever talk to you about bedside manor?”

         Hannibal smirked. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

         Will sneered. “Sex puns? When I’m too weak to defend myself? Have you no mercy?”

         “None.”  Hannibal fed Will a few more swallows of soup before setting the bowl on the table. “Now, how shall we wait out this illness? I could read to you? Perhaps play something?”

         Will opened his mouth, then snapped it shut. Hannibal frowned.

         “What?”

         “You won’t want to do it.”

         “I would have thought after the incident in Pallentine Chapel, you’d know there is very little I’m not willing to do to and for you.”

         “For the last time, if I had known that goddamn nun was watching us, I wouldn’t have-”

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anonymous asked:

13 - ROTC/new-to-the-Air-Force Rhodey and/or CW/post-CW Rhodey

Flying like a cannonball, falling to the earth/Heavy as a feather when you hit the dirt

First

The first thing Jim remembers is flying.

If he was honest, that would be a lie. His first memory is something mundane like his mother singing to him or watching TV with his father. But what he remembers most, brightest, strongest is this: standing on the ledge of his family’s second-story apartment balcony, gazing down at the little section of the tiny backyard Mrs. Turner has used for her garden (bushes grown up high, hopefully high enough) taking a breath, closing his eyes and leaping.

He remembers flying. 

That glorious moment of weightlessness fighting gravity, when he was moving faster than light, faster than sound, the fastest thing on this planet. He was invincible.

He doesn’t remember hitting the ground, but he remembers rolling off his broken arm to stare up at the blue blue sky and thinking someday it would be his. Someday he’d never have to land.

(”He fell,” his little sister Jeanette insists with a pout when his mother comes home and panics at not finding Jim where he should be. He can hear them through the window. “He fell, Mama.”

His mama looks over the balcony and screeches, going back inside. Jeanette stares at Jim through the bars of the railing. “I didn’t fall,” he tries to say, but he’s six and the pain is finally catching up to him. He can’t feel his arm. He cries when his mother picks him up.)

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3

Masterlist

Gifs not mine.

i-had-a-halo-once said:  Can you do one where the reader was Mary’s best friend, and they had been inseparable (she was Rosie’s godmother/aunt) since the day they met (and she met Sherlock and John the same time Mary did and was with Mary throughout it all)? And when Mary dies, the reader blames Sherlock and John for everything and wants nothing to do with them anymore (she won’t answer their calls, when they come around she sends people to tell them to go away, etc), and she’s slowly spiraling in to self-loathing for not being able to save Mary, and becoming more and more rash and reckless, and she’s constantly getting worse, and so when John and Sherlock discover Mary’s video, it’s Mary telling them to save the reader (not John), otherwise the reader will get herself killed? Fluffy ending please! (Sorry if this is too detailed XD)

A/N: It’s okay. I’m so sorry this has taken so long! I’ve been too busy to have time to write so here it is!

PS: I had to throw a Newt Scamander quote in there.

Warnings: attempted suicide.


Save Y/N Y/LN.

That was what Mary said on the video. But saving you was a problem; you were long gone. In fact, you left when she did. You first met Mary when John introduced you. At first, you were sceptical of the woman but eventually you grew to love her and became very close friends. You became Rosie’s godmother and found it in your heart to forgive her when she lied about who she was. Then she passed…

 

You couldn’t forgive Sherlock or John, despite it not being their fault. You didn’t sleep or eat and your grief was driving you insane. It took John a while to forgive Sherlock but eventually he did. Molly and Mrs Hudson had come to see you but you rarely spoke when they did. The only thing you did tell them was to tell Sherlock and John to stay away. This hurt the two as they didn’t want to tell the detective and doctor to stay away.

 

 

However, the person you blamed the most was yourself. Your self-loathing over powered your hatred for John and Sherlock. You began to hate your very existence. You became more reckless and troublesome. You rarely went out but when you did, you were not cautious whatsoever. You refused to look both ways when crossing the street, nor did you cross at pedestrian crossings. Surprisingly, you hadn’t been knocked down. You did, however, get in a fight with a couple of chavs outside a pub when you decided to drown your sorrows one night.

 

 

News had travelled quickly to the Baker Street Boys after Molly had visited you only to reveal that you’d gone missing. There was a note stating your purpose of your departure. The writing was in an untidy scrawl. It read:

To whoever reads this,

I can’t take it anymore.

~ Y/N

John, Molly, Sherlock, and Mrs Hudson had split up across the vast city of London to find you. Sherlock had set the homeless network on the case to track you down. He’d even asked for Mycroft’s assistance and he never did that. He was taking the matter very seriously and it was personal.

 

 

Coincidently, they’d been watching Mary’s video shortly before Molly burst through the door bearing bad news. Mary had also stated that Sherlock and John should go to Hell so you’d come to them. However, the only Hell they were going through was what you were putting on them. Besides, John himself was still in a mess. His wife had died after all.

 

 

They’d all, with the exception of Sherlock, gone to search places that you were most likely to go but they were all deserted. Sherlock had gone to the more remote places that he’d known you’d been to before only once. He knew you. He knew you’d go somewhere that you wouldn’t be expected to go. He also knew you’d use a gun as he knew you’d want something quick and something that you couldn’t regret halfway through, like an overdose where you could question what you’d done after you’d swallowed the pills. He could find you and he knew he would eventually but was only the case of whether you’d pulled the trigger…

 

 

He found you on the banks of the Thames. It was in the cover of darkness so no one saw you. Sherlock found you purely by accident. He was walking down the Thames when he heard crying from below. He ran down the stairs to find you. You clutched the gun in your trembling hands as tears streamed down your face. It was the first time you cried and let it all out. It was the only time you had been truly afraid.

“Get away from me!” You screamed at Sherlock as he approached you.

“Y/N, please,” The man replied.

“No! It’s your fault she’s dead! It should’ve been you when the shot was fired! John should’ve protected her!” You fell to your knees and dropped the gun. “I should’ve protected her. I should’ve…”

“No.” Sherlock ran and kneeled beside you. “It’s my fault and I will take that to my grave. However, we must move on. Dwelling on our actions hurts us more than the cause itself. My philosophy is, that if you worry, you suffer twice.”

“But I can’t stop dwelling! I wish I was you, Sherlock. You can just delete anything from your mind whenever you choose.”

“Not certain things.”

“Yes but…” You couldn’t finish. You just felt exhausted. Tired of life and just everything.

“Y/N, you can’t let this weigh heavily upon your mind. Forgetting is not an option. That is impossible. Mary wouldn’t want you to be hurt so much.”

You nodded. “But I cant live like this.”

He sighed. “I can’t force you to continue. Please consider what I’ve said and know that we will all miss you if life without Mary isn’t enough, then it will be less bearable with you gone.” He kissed you on the forehead before leaving.

 

 

You sat for around an hour contemplating. However, you thought of everyone else and knew that it wasn’t fair on them, like Sherlock said. You went to pick up the gun you had discarded but it was already gone. You smiled slightly in the fact that someone cared for you.

 

 

You opened the door of 221B. You were drenched as it had started raining on the way home. Mrs Hudson was downstairs but you did not want to disturb her. The warmth of the flat greeted you. Sherlock was playing the violin whereas John was sat on his laptop. They turned to look at you when you walked in. John approached you.

“I forgive you,” You wept. “I’m sorry.”

John wrapped his arms around your waist. “Shh,” He whispered. “It’s okay.”

Sherlock watched. It was harrowing to see you in this way but he was glad you came back. With him, John, and the rest of the crew, you would get better. They’d make sure of it.


Tags:

@milychetto @rikkachloechan @lovelyblackdespair

Settling In

This ficlet is part of the Claire returns early with Bree AU which begins with A Ringing Phone and a Folder.

This ficlet is a direct continuation from Eavesdropping

My Fanfiction Master List

Available on AO3 as The Nature of Choice.

This is an Outlander canon divergence AU.

As always, let me know what you think.

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Behind the Rear Window - Ch.2

Don’t expect a new chapter every day but I was aware that the first one doesn’t really give you too much and I already had this written so I couldn’t resist!

Ch.1 / Read here on AO3


“Is she worth it?” The commanding voice broke Jughead out of his heat induced daze. He didn’t even flick his eyes away from the courtyard before addressing the speaker.

“What?”

“Whoever you’re staring at out there. Is she worth the sentence when she reports you for being a peeping tom? In the olden days they burnt your eyes out with a red hot poker – I can’t imagine anybody is worth that,” Veronica prattled as she hung her coat and hat on the rack by the door. “I’m all for window shopping but never with such extreme consequences.” Jughead’s lips lifted in a subtle smile at her words. He’d make sure he settled his features back into their disapproving nonchalance by the time she rounded the chair to face him.

“I’m not staring at anyone; I’m impartially observing the nature of the unguarded home occupant,” Jughead retorted wryly, lifting his heavy eyes to meet hers. She was wearing pale blue today, white belt cinching in her already slender waist where her hands lay accusingly. Her lips were painted a light red and her dark hair fell in their usual ringlets about her shoulders. Jughead shook his head imperceptibly – he should have guessed that Veronica Lodge didn’t sweat, even in over one hundred degree heat.

“That’s what they all say,” she replied, knowing full well that they didn’t. “And before you know it you’ll be watching the world through bars instead.” He rolled his eyes at her overdramatics and pursed lips, watching as Miss Legs brushed out her waves in the reflection of a serving tray propped up against her sink. Veronica rummaged through her handbag, pulling out a small case and snapping it open to reveal a thermometer. She wedged it hastily between Jughead’s slightly parted lips before he had a chance to return any sardonic remarks.

“I’ve told you before not to sleep in that chair, at least a dozen times. You’ve already got this,” she paused, tapping a painted nail against his cast, “I really don’t think, having known you, you’d appreciate a back brace,” she said, arching a dark eyebrow. Jughead watched her breeze through his apartment, bypassing the mess and finding whatever she wanted with little fuss. Veronica shook out the clean bed sheet, spreading it over the temporarily set up table shoved unceremoniously against the furthest wall from the window, shielded partially by the chimney breast. “I knew a guy, once – he was a patient of mine. Never saw him outside of his office, always hunched over that desk of his, even scheduled our appointments there. Some kind of financial advisor, I think. Couldn’t recall a time I saw him look into another person’s eyes while talking to them. I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him that he was hiding from something,” she recalled, shaking her head as she plumped a pillow, tugging at the corners of the case.

“Do you have a point?” Jughead asked around the thermometer. Veronica worked mechanically, pulling a multitude of bottles out of her apparently bottomless bag.

“Would you like to know what happened to him?” she asked, striding over to pinch the device from his mouth and check the reading. Jughead licked his dry lips.

“This isn’t a story about the in-too-deep business man who throws himself out the tenth story window, is it?” he enquired dryly. Veronica huffed, something she seemed to do a lot in Jughead’s experience. He had thought that perhaps it was just him that incited such a disgruntled reaction and took a little sick pleasure in the fact.

“No. He’s still there,” she revealed. Jughead looked at her with a furrowed brow, noting the way she regarded him as if she had just imparted a great discovery. With a hand resting on the back of his chair she rolled her eyes his continued staring. “I don’t want to come back one day and find the dry bones of the once great Jughead Jones, by this window where I left him.” Jughead scoffed as he turned back to the window in what he was aware was ironic defence. Mr Caretaker had ventured downstairs, door thudding with a little too much force before he knelt by his bed of roses. Jughead watched the way he stabbed at the soil with his garden fork, prongs repeatedly piercing the dirt.

“You have a hormone deficiency.” Veronica’s statement startled him. He turned back to find her staring between him and the thermometer.

“You can tell that from my temperature?” he questioned disbelievingly. Veronica was good at her job, but not that good.

“Weeks spent staring at those sunbathing beauties and not one of them has managed to raise it by a degree,” she commented flippantly as she shook the stick to cool it down. Jughead began to shift in his seat, preparing for the next part of their appointment.

“I told you I wasn’t staring at them. And even if I was they hold little interest for me,” he added, a defensive note creeping into his usually flat tone. Veronica grabbed him under the arm, hoisting him up expertly before helping him hobble to the table. Shedding his shirt, Jughead lay across the material.

“Are you lonely, Jughead?” she asked with a genuine curiosity that made Jughead’s jaw clench. He’d long gotten over her unprofessional penchant for calling him ‘Jughead’ rather than ‘Mr Jones’.

“Are you unfulfilled, Veronica?” he fired back, eyes still hard and focused on the peeling corner of the wallpaper in front of him. She slapped the cold massaging lotion on his back a shade harder than necessary, making him wince.

It was a badly kept secret that Veronica Lodge did not need to be an insurance company nurse. Barely concealed purls, perfectly manicured fingers, and Jughead had been around enough designer clothes in the past few months to know that what Veronica wore would not be described as cheap. And yet here she was, hands pushing out the tight knots in his back, sore from lack of movement and less than advisable sleeping positions. Her family money appeared to be a desirable asset but it just wasn’t enough to get her through the endless days. Jughead knew that ‘lacking’ feeling well.

“You thought anymore about her?” Veronica asked, steering the conversation back to him.

“Betty Cooper,” Jughead sighed, resting his chin on the backs of his laced fingers. Veronica laughed as she worked his back.

“Betty Cooper,” she repeated. Veronica knew well enough who she was; if she had deigned to be a society girl then their circles wouldn’t be too different. Saying that name in the rundown apartment of a photojournalist on this side of town wouldn’t have even occurred to her, however, if he hadn’t already let it slip himself a few weeks prior.

“She’s trouble,” Jughead remarked, cryptically.

“I don’t think those two things are compatible,” Veronica quipped, thumbs pressing against the grooves in his spine and making him grunt. “Blonde hair, pink lips… what’s not to like?”

“She’s not the girl for me. She’s too perfect,” he said, hoping the sadness in his voice wasn’t as apparent to Veronica as it was to himself.

“‘Too perfect’. What’s ‘too perfect’?”

“She’ll want to get married.”

“And what’s so wrong with that? I think a little married life will do you good,” Jughead heard for the second time that morning, thoughts drifting back to Mr Caretaker – he wondered if his roses were still living.

“I don’t think the two things are compatible,” he repeated her words from earlier, knowing she would be giving him her signature eye roll as he spoke. And again for the second time that day the unwelcome image of his father invaded his mind, this time accompanied by the partially blocked view he had of his mother leaving their trailer for the last time, garnered from behind the half closed closet door he’d hidden in.

“Miss Cooper is a well-rounded, pleasant mannered, delightful young woman,” Veronica listed as if she were reading from a brochure. “And she gives a better view than anything out that damn window,” she added with her usual snark.

“Betty Cooper belongs to society. Hell, she is society. I need someone who is willing to go anywhere, do anything, to chase the story. And love doing it. I’ve seen the shoes she wears and they are barely suitable for chasing down a cab,” he mocked. He felt his chest tighten in betrayal as he spouted out words to Betty’s detriment.

“Shoes are merely dressing. You know that underneath them we all have the same feet, right?”

“In Betty’s case they don’t touch the ground.”

“Then she’ll have no issues with flying.”

“Caramel! Where are you, sweetheart?”

“Keep your damn dog away from my flowerbeds!”

Jughead’s brow furrowed as they lapsed into silence, eyes glancing at the carelessly slung copy of Bazaar magazine without his permission. The world faded to black and white as Betty’s image grinned back at him from the open pages – she’d been reading it last time she came to visit; a puff piece done on herself by some tired journalist looking to escape the monotony of the society pages, she’d informed him. Still, the photographer had done a decent job of capturing her essence. Her green eyes shone with something akin to mischief as they stared into his own. Oh, he was well aware of the effects of that mischief…

“It just won’t work. There’s a rational way to approach the situation-” Jughead began with a sigh.

“There is no rationality where love is concerned,” Veronica cut in, dragging a rough towel over his skin. His stomach clenched.

“I just have a bad feeling,” Jughead confessed, not entirely sure what he was addressing. All he knew was that there’d been a twisting in the depths of his gut recently, an uncomfortable churning that he wasn’t sure he knew how to identify. Veronica laughed, shrill and unsympathetic.

“That, my darling, is from sleeping in this damn chair.”