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After The Earth Stood Still

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      School had ended for the holidays and everyone was over at the Jones/Cooper household to surprise Jughead with a dinner from the long months away at Stonewall Prep. Archie was helping Veronica decorate the Christmas tree while Cheryl, Toni and Betty sat and talked as FP and Alice cooked in the kitchen. A sudden knock on the door lit Betty’s face up as FP walked over to open it. 

      Everyone watched his face pale as he looked in shock through the doorway. A badly beaten Jughead collapsed into FP with a bloodied uniform and welts, bruises, and gashes lingering through out his body.

      “Oh my god!” Betty yelled as she came over to help FP support Jughead. It scared her how lifeless he felt as he fell to the floor.

 

      “I’m...fine...” he whispered as he coughed harshly, grabbing his chest. “I...just need...to get to the bathroom real...quick.”

 

      His voice was unbelievably weak as FP helped him to the bathroom.

 

      “Everyone get stuff to help him once I bring him back over here...maybe something to clean him up too.”

 

      As everyone complied, Jughead coughed again harshly and his body shook intensely as he leaned further into FP. They got to the bathroom and Jughead carefully sat down in front of the toilet and lifted the lid. He looked up at FP solemnly and whipped his head around to empty his contents into the toilet. FP sat down next to him and gave him support as Jughead’s entire body shook from the force of his heaves. His arms looked weak and frail and FP could see rips through out his uniforms as blood stained his skin. 

       Jughead finished and leaned back carefully into FP. He closed his eyes and took slow, deep breaths. He reached out his arm to flush the toilet and then sighed softly. FP noticed for the first time the dark black eye that took away most from his face.

     

        FP looked down at his son and pursed his lips, “Jug, tell me what happened.”

 

      Jughead sighed and looked up slightly and spoke in a near silent whisper, “When I was preparing to come down for the holidays, I noticed that I was feeling nauseous, coughing a lot, and getting mixed feelings of hot and cold through my body. I played it off as just winter symptoms and got on the bus, but when I got off...the cab didn’t show so I just walked. And then...”

   

      FP noticed his son wincing and grabbing at his abdomen and trying to breath steadily.

 

      “Uh...you can just see for yourself when I start to clean up...” Jughead says quickly and looks away.

 

      FP sensed that Jughead didn’t want to relive it and wondered just how badly he was really injured. He helped him up and brought him back to the main room where everyone had prepared stuff to get him cleaned up.


      As soon as they laid him down in the couch, he broke out into a fit of coughs that made his whole body shudder. He starts gasping for breath and winces as he sits up right and grabs his chest. Betty sits by him and rubs his hand to soothe him as he sighs after he’s done. 

     Cheryl, Toni, Archie and Veronica all ove to the other room while FP, Betty and Alice stay to help Jughead. 
   
     
     “Jug, you’re going to have to take off your shirt...” Betty says.

 

     Jughead nods and slowly tries to unbutton his uniform. Alice winces at the fact of Jughead struggling to even take off his shirt and Betty digs her nails I to her skin nervously. Once he gets it off, Jughead hears Betty and Alice gasp and FP curse softly. There, in the middle of the house, the family counted twenty different stab wounds, a huge amount of welts and bruises, and giant gashes running down his back and chest. His ankle looks painfully swollen and they not ids a line of dark bruises running along his neck.

 

     “Jug...” Betty breathes. ”How did you walk here?”

 

      They all look at Jughead but he’s trying in vain to keep his eyes open. He holds his abdomen as it sends courses of pain through out his body and feels as if he would die any second. 

 

      “Jughead,” Alice says quietly. “If you need to sleep, we can clean you off carefully as you do...”

 

      Jughead doesn’t even responds, he feels like he can’t, he just nods lifelessly and carefully lays down wincing as his back comes in contact with the couch fabric. It doesn’t take long for him to succumb to the placid darkness of unconsciousness away from the bitter pain of reality.

       

Chapter Text

       The night was long and hard for Jughead.

 

       Although FP didn’t leave his side all night, fathers didn’t have power inside peoples’ minds. Jughead woke up in the late evening not being able to breathe. He tried to be as quiet as he could to not disturb his friends’ evening but he found himself wheezing uncontrollably as minutes passed. Eventually, like all girlfriends do, Betty came running in helping him up to a sitting position in order for him to breathe. 

   
       But that was just the start.

 

       Around midnight, he woke up from a horrifying nightmare and sat up too quickly for his throbbing body and curled into himself. He felt ice cold but didn’t have the strength to get more blankets so he slid back down into the little warmth he could get form the couch.

 

       Then it turned into aching.

 

       By this point of the night he had gotten a solid half hour of sleep and was numb from pain. But as the bitter night went on, he found his abdomen slowly develop a piercing pain that felt like needles digging into his skin. He couldn’t take it any longer and called out for help-

 

      Something inside him stopped him. He tried again but his throat constricted and he found himself unable to breathe. It’s exactly what happened during the beating. He felt his neck and swallowed hard. He tried even a meek whisper but still, nothing. 

 

      When everyone came to see him in the morning, they noticed the deep black circles under his eyes and how he was shifting constantly and gripping his abdomen.

 

      To Jughead, this was complete torture. The pins and needles that pierced his stomach had intensified through the night leaving him crying softly to himself. At this point, he was hopeless. He just wished for everything to disappear while he laid in darkness.

 

      “Jug?” Betty said as she touched his hand. “Are you ok?”

 

      He started at her for a second and then gave everything he had inside him to smile and nod.

   
      “Can you tell us what happened now?” FP pushed. 

      Jughead’s breathing quickened and he looked everywhere around the room to avert FP, Betty, and Alice’s eye contact.

 

     “Jug...” Betty said. “What’s wrong?”

 

     He thought of how to talk. He thought of what to say. He tried to say something. His throat tightened and he couldn’t breathe once again. He swallowed hard and clenched his eyes. For a moment, he forgot anyone was there. But when he opened is eyes again, he saw three worried people looking at him ready to pounce with questions.

 

     Jughead shook his head and got up slowly. He clapped a hand over his mouth and walked as fast as he could to the nearest bathroom. Once again, he expelled his contents onto the toilet gripping the edges as hard as he could. His body ached. His throat stung. Everything hurt and everything swam from light to dark. He felt a hand rubbing at one of his shoulders and he sighed and turned around. FP sat there once again with a fatherly look of concern plastered on his face. Jughead couldn’t hold back his emotions any longer. 

   
    He just looked down with tears streaming down his face and cried. He didn’t care who heard and what they thought. He just wished everything would disappear. Each heaving breath made his chest throb. His body shook so hard that FP struggled to hold him. Jughead leaned further into his father and slowly stopped. He wiped his eyes and yawned.

 

    “You didn’t get much sleep last night, did you?” FP says softly as Jughead looks up at him.

 

    All Jughead could do was nod. He rubbed at his aching chest and closed his eyes. In that moment, FP understood. He understood that there were more injuries present than anyone could see. Several traumas that were ignored. He knew his boy was hurting and as much as FP knew Jughead would protest, he made a decision.

 

     If anyone really knew jughead, they would know that he hates hospitals more than almost anything. But this was getting too serious, and FP didn’t want to lose his son.

 

     “Ok get up, we’re going to the hospital.”

 

     And much to FP’s surprise, Jughead just nodded and helped FP pull him up.

 

     In that moment was when FP saw his son was broken.

Chapter Text

The car ride was long and silent.

 

Jughead even getting into the car was hard enough, for as soon as he had started placing weight on his left leg, he collapsed into FP's arms. FP eventually decided he couldn't get Jughead to the hospital on his own, along with a screwed up shoulder he was hosting, Jughead felt like dead weight with his wellbeing. Archie arrived and took one look at him and turned paler than Jughead himself. They got him into the car and drove to the hospital as fast as they could.

 

When they did, they were able to get a full diagnostic and time to process it as well. A doctor in an industrial white coat had greeted them with a smile but it was clearly pained across distressed eyes.

 

"Family of Forsythe Pendleton Jones lll?" he called out and FP stood up.

 

"Yea...what happened to him?" Archie glances at me doctor purses his lips and sighs.

 

"He has several broken ribs, a punctured lung, broken leg, dislocated shoulder, multiple lacerations across his back, bruises across his neck and is suffering from blood loss

and a concussion."

 

"Jesus..." Archie mutters as he pinches the bridge of his nose. "Are we going to be able to see him?"

 

"Not yet I'm afraid..." the doctor sighs. "He is in surgery for his leg right now but we will set him up with a room and then alert you shortly after."

 

"M'kay..." FP says as he sits back down. He yawns and calls Betty.

 

"Hey Betty," he starts. "Jug got worse so I called Archie and we moved him to Riverdale General...you and your mom can come here anytime, he'll be out of surgery soon."

 

"Mr. Jones," Archie mumbles.

 

FP looks over to see Archie's tired eyes, "My mom needs me at home. Do you mind if I head home real quick? I'll come back tomorrow morning..."

 

"Yea, of course, Arch."

 

______________

 

FP woke to the blinding sun and a heavy headache.

 

He had been up all night but the doctors eventually wanted him to sleep and wait for tomorrow to see Jughead. He tried sleeping, but he honestly had nightmares about

losing him.

 

"Forsythe?" the doctor called. "He's ready to see you."

 

FP bolted up and headed for the said room and paled once he saw his son,

 

An IV was hooked to him, his stark skin contrasted against his black and purple bruises and he looked more tired than FP had ever seen him. Jughead looked up at him and

winced slightly.

 

"You good?" FP asks as he pulls a chair up to the side of the bed.

 

"Yea..." Jughead whispers. "It's just hard to talk."

 

"Yep, I hear you," FP says. "Are you ready to tell me what happened?"

 

Jughead shakes his head and looks away while fidgeting to his bedsheets.

 

All the while FP was thinking, what the hell happened to his son?