slow dance. - bughead
post 1x11 fic, slightly au in which jughead finds betty when he sprints out of the trailer, they make up and finally get the dance they missed out on at homecoming. also forgive the quality of this as it’s my first time writing.
sorta angsty at the start, all the fluff at the end!
TW: mentions of blood.
Betty’s breath was hitching in her throat, as she felt the satin material of her dress rub against the scars on her palms, the friction making them feel dangerously warm. The dress skirt was balled up tightly in her fists, to spare her from tripping on it’s length as she ran up the concrete stairs of Pop’s.
She didn’t care about what happened at the dance, about Archie, Veronica, or anyone. Not anymore. All that coursed through her mind, like a river rushing to an unreachable target, was Jughead. She cursed herself, kicked herself a hundred, no, a thousand times for not telling him her mom’s true motives. She simply craved the smile he wore only in her presence, so much so that she wasn’t honest with him. Just to see him smile. Her mind ran to the darkest of places, where had he gone? What about FP? Was he hurt?
Betty clenched her teeth and opened the door to the shoppe, feeling a sour taste rise in her mouth when she didn’t see him there, in his regular booth. She walked up to Pop, and took a deep breath, as she managed to articulate words.
“Pop,” she said. “Jughead hasn’t been by…has he?” she said, almost in a hushed whisper. It was all she could manage right now.
“No,” he replied tiredly. “You’re not the only one who’s come looking for him,” gesturing subtly to the booths behind where Betty stood.
She felt her chest tighten as she met eyes with Archie, and Veronica. She immediately felt herself tense a little bit more, with every step they took toward her.
“Betty,” Veronica began.
Betty didn’t want to forgive them right now. She wanted to stew her feelings into a cocktail of hate and dump it over their heads, she wanted them to hurt the way she was sure Jughead, somewhere, wherever he was, must be hurting. But the softer side of her sincerely hoped they would never have to. As much as she felt they deserved it.
“Betty, thank goodness-” Veronica said.
“We were going to call you.” Archie cut in.
“I’m not talking to you,” she said, shaking her head, feeling her concern replace with anger, her hushed whisper to Pop now a glaring tone of voice threatening to bubble into a yell at any moment. Betty was sure that if even a twig snapped, she would either burst into tears or scream.
She made eye contact with Archie and Veronica, who seemed to be waiting on her to say something. But the fact that they expected friendly conversation from her seemed to go over her head completely. How dare they.
“Either of you, ever again.”
“It’s about Jughead,” Archie said, somehow seeming complacent in his voice. Betty felt her muscles loosen, but silently felt angry at them for playing her weak card. Archie knew bringing up Jughead would get her attention. And he was right.
“Kevin called me.” Betty rolled her eyes at Veronica. “His dad found a gun, the gun that killed Jason. In a lockbox in FP’s closet.”
“But we searched FP’s trailer,” Archie interjected. Betty felt her anger nudged out by confusion and curiosity. She did her best not to show it, keep her face framed on her disdain, hoping the two would get the message.
“We searched that closet-”
“There was no lockbox. Someone put it there after we left.” Archie finished. Betty felt her chest burn, as she exhaled a breath she didn’t realize she was holding.
“He’s being framed.”
This was the twig snap. Betty turned on her heel, twisting it slightly as she darted out of the diner, but at the very first step, she felt the ground disappear beneath her and felt her arms scratch against gravel as she fell to the ground. She forced herself back up, and looked at her arms. The gravel had left a gash on her right arm, but it wasn’t too deep, so she chose to ignore the stinging pain, and walked as quickly as she could to the one place Jughead could be.
If she wasn’t too late.
Quite some blood had dripped from the cut on Betty’s arm. She brushed off the tiny rocks embedded in her skin and continued walking. Even with the slight limp from her fall, each step of hers seemed heavy with determination, with purpose, as she finally reached the sign.
“Sunnyside Trailer Park.”
She continued down the path, until she came to the trailer she was looking for. FP’s trailer. She stood there for a moment, and thought to herself.
What if Jughead wasn’t there? Where would she look then? And if he was, and didn’t want to see her? That would be so much worse, the idea of rejection weighed heavily on her.
She didn’t get too long to think about it though, as Jughead soon emerged from the trailer on his own, puffy-eyed. Betty could immediately tell he was crying, as she felt a part inside of her crush to pieces.
Because of Archie and Veronica. And what they did.
“Betty?” He said, his voice angry, but she could hear the fear and sadness in it. The child who wanted nothing more than for his family to be together again.
“Jughead, you don’t understand. Your dad, he’s-”
“Being framed,” He finished. Betty felt weak and dizzy, suddenly all the blood had rushed out of her head. She struggled to stay standing. “Betty, I know.”
He hadn’t the faintest idea when the first tear fell down his face. He couldn’t recall when that one tear had become a racking, heavy sob, followed by many others. Betty stood in front of him, helpless.
Every fibre of her being wanted to hold him and kiss him and tell him everything would be okay, that this would blow over and they would be happy. But that would be a lie. She knew he was tired of lies, of pretending. Tired of acting like he was happy when he wasn’t.
She gave in to muscle memory, and held Jughead as he cried. Betty felt a tear slip down her own cheek, the love of her life was miserable. Because of her so called best friends.
For the first time since Jughead was a child, he cried proper tears that left his chest heaving and his lungs gasping for air. He cried for Jellybean, for his mom and dad, for Betty. For his crushed dream of his family being happy once more.
Betty’s hands held him close, as he shook like a leaf under the streetlight in the trailer park. There was no way he could hide his desperate weakness anymore. But he wasn’t scared. He no longer felt afraid of being vulnerable around Betty. He had built his walls so high, and she had walked into his life as though there was a door right in the middle inviting her in.
“Jughead,” she said, as he looked at her, trying, to no avail, to blink back the tears in his eyes. “I love you. And I will never hurt you. I’m sorry about my mom, I’m sorry about Archie, and Veronica, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, you don’t even know how much I hate myself for it, I’m just so sorry-” She said, feeling her own cry-fest coming on. She tried to push back the tears welling in her eyes.
“Hey.” He said. Realizing that that was far too stiff, he softened his tone. “Hey, you don’t need to be sorry about what Archie and Veronica and your mom did, that isn’t your fault. I’m sorry I ran away. I…” He felt his breath stop in his throat, as Betty looked up at him with hopeful eyes.
“I love you too.” Betty smiled wider than he had ever seen in his life, a wholehearted smile that showed her teeth, that made her blue-green eyes squint. He loved that smile so much. Jughead wondered if saying it a second time would have the same effect. “I love you, Betty.” And it did.
“We didn’t get to dance at the homecoming,” She said, disappointment seeping into her voice.
“Yeah…Guess we didn’t.” He said, not sure what to do. He would love to dance with her right then and there, but in the middle of the trailer park, with no music? It didn’t seem the most romantic. The rest of the night has gone to shit, He thought. Fuck it.
“May I have this dance?” He said, feeling a weak smile tug at his lips. She smiled back at him, as he rested his hands on her hips, and her arms slung over his shoulders. His eyes widened at the gash on Betty’s arm. Not bleeding anymore, but still red and angry. He wondered how it must have gotten there.
“What-what happened to your arm?” Jughead asked.
“It’s nothing, I promise. Can’t feel it.” She replied.
“We don’t have any music.” he commented, as Betty began to sing softly.
“The world was on fire, no one could save me but you,” Their bodies pressed together as they began to dance. Peacefully. Softly. The only sound in the air was Betty’s voice.
“It’s strange what desire, makes foolish people do.” She felt light headed, and her body was on fire wherever he touched her. She tried not to gasp for air but failed. He spun her out and back to him gently, the butterflies in his stomach a frenzy. She continued to sing as they danced. She sang a song of someone playing a wicked game with her heart. Betty too, played such a wicked game with his heart, but he wasn’t even averse to it anymore. He was content to drown himself in her, not a care in the world could stop him anymore. He was allowing himself to be played by his own game.
Betty couldn’t seem to pry her eyes away from Jughead’s determined face, he watched his steps carefully to make sure he didn’t do anything wrong. He had never slow danced with a girl before. His breath was ragged, and once the song finished, he was sure Betty could hear his heartbeat over her singing.
“Nobody loves no one…” the last words of the song rang out as Jughead closed the gap between their lips. She smiled, they were familiar and soft. She let her arms wrap around him and all thoughts exited their minds. Right now, the only thing on each others’ minds was the other. Jughead’s fingers began to run through her hair, and both of them moved together perfectly. They both practically melted into the kiss. When it broke, Jughead’s eyes looked back to the broken door on the trailer.
He remembered what his dad had told him, about Betty, the night of his birthday. The night he almost gave up on what they had.
“You have a good thing here, with her. Something your mom and I could never give you….Also, man up. From what I saw in there, She needs you.” And suddenly Jughead felt ashamed for wanting to leave Riverdale in such a hurry. He hugged Betty as hard as he could, without crushing her, of course. He sighed, feeling at peace for a fleeting moment.
And in that moment, the world could have gone up in flames, and they wouldn’t have known it.
wow, that was pretty horrible! if for some reason you liked it, i would be happy to take requests for any other ideas? this was serious fanfic therapy for me as 1x11 crushed me to pieces, and hopefully it’ll help some of you as well.