Normally, he’d be paying attention to his friends at the lunch table. It wasn’t as if the conversation itself was uninteresting to him. They were, in fact, talking about Archie, who hadn’t come to school, and that alone would usually capture Jughead’s attention, but his mind was forced into worrying about a few other things at the moment. Such as, where would he be sleeping tonight?
Pop’s was definitely out he’d decided, it would be much too obvious and he’d like to avoid the pity the owner would surely give him. He didn’t need pity, this was his choice. He’d considered the school for a while, but he was already sneaking in early to shower and staying late to wash his clothes. He didn’t think he could afford to risk sleeping there too.
“Right Juggie?” Betty’s voice cut into his brooding and he only kept himself from looking startled by years of practice.
“Um, sure right, whatever,” He responded glancing at her and then back towards nothing.
“You ok?” She asked with a hint of concern entering her voice.
“Yeah fine. Just thinking,” He waved his hand in a ‘please continue’ motion.
“If you say so,” She responded unsure before returning to the conversation.
Where was he? Oh, right where the hell was he going to sleep tonight.
Usually he’d consider staying with Archie even for just a night, but between their current rift and the whole Ms. Grundy/Jennifer Gibson thing that was out of the question. He let his eyes scan his other friends. Not Betty, it wasn’t that he would hate spending time with her, but he couldn’t afford her mom snooping around in his business. Not Veronica either, she was a bit of a wild card to him right now, only having moved here recently… Nah, he wouldn’t risk it. And Kevin? Kevin’s dad was the sheriff so he definitely couldn’t find out.
“You’re staring,” Kevin’s voice broke him out of his reverie, “I’d say I’m flattered, but I know you’re not interested,” Jughead exhaled a breath of air that he supposed could count as a laugh.
“Yeah, no,” Jughead shrugged the hint of a smile ghosting his lips.
The bell rang then catching them all off guard and they all scrambled to collect their things and hurry to class.
When the final bell rang, Jughead still hadn’t come up with a plan. He stiffly marched his way to Pop’s, frustrated beyond belief. Surely there had to be one place in town where he could crash for the night and maybe he could think of it, but his brain felt clouded and he wondered if it was because he hadn’t eaten for a while. Pushing the door open, the familiar dinner sounds and smells washed over him, making him feel a little better. He headed straight to his booth only to freeze for a moment seeing a head of familiar red hair sitting across from his usual spot.
“You know, there’s a fee for sitting in my booth without asking,” Jughead announced dropping his heavy bag to the ground and nudging it under the table, hoping it would be less noticeable that way. Archie gave him a small smile.
“Really? I figured you wouldn’t mind, but if you insist let me buy you a burger,” Archie looked tired and honestly it wasn’t that hard for Jughead to guess that he hadn’t gotten much sleep recently.
“You don’t have to,” Jughead responded automatically even though he could sure use one.
“It’s cool, a burger in exchange for some company, that’s fair right?” Archie asked, flagging down a waitress and putting in their order.
“I suppose that will suffice,” Jughead nods to himself, “May I ask though, why the famous Archie Andrews is requesting my company?”
“Well, dad told me I should get out of the house; you’re pretty reliable so I figured I’d catch you here,” Archie gave him a shrug, “I guess I just don’t really want to be alone with my thoughts,” Jughead gave him a slight nod in understanding.
Their food arrived and was placed in front of them. It took everything Jughead had to not shove the whole thing in his mouth. Instead he took a few small calculated bites to start.
“Did I miss anything interesting at school today?” Archie asked swirling his straw around his malt.
“Not unless you’re talking about the usual teenage angst and drama that circulates around during passing period,” Jughead shrugged placing a fry in his mouth, “School was otherwise the same as always,” Archie kept his eyes fixed on the table.
“Not completely the same though,” Archie said quietly and Jughead knew what he meant.
“Not completely no,” Jughead agreed carefully watching for Archie’s reaction.
“It’s wrong for me to miss her, right?” Jughead doesn’t need to ask who she is, he just eats a couple bites of his burger while thinking.
“What’s wrong is what she was doing,” He finally answered and Archie’s eyes shot up to his.
“Jughead, I wanted everything that happened,” Archie gave him a pleading look as if asking for him to agree and settle his thoughts. Jughead stared for a moment.
“Whether or not that was the case,” Archie looked like he wanted to object, but Jughead continued before he could, “What she chose to do with you was illegal. She shouldn’t have done anything even if you begged her,” Archie scowled down at the table.
“She believed in me, in my music,” Archie said.
“Betty believed in you and your music too,” Jughead leaned his head on his hand as he finished the last bite of his meal, “Grundy manipulated you,” Archie flinched at her name and they fell back into silence for a little bit.
“Dad says I need time to understand,” Archie glanced up at him for a moment.
“Time is a good place to start,” Jughead provided and Archie was silent for a bit.
“Hey Jughead,” He started and then stopped looking off into the dinner. Jughead waited patiently for him to continue, “Are- are we still friends? Are we good?”
“Yeah buddy. We’re good,” Jughead told him and Archie gave him a small relieved smile.
“Oh good. I was worried, you know, with me being a dick to you recently and all,” Archie explained and Jughead repressed a sigh.
“I’m not going to pretend to not be angry about all that, but I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not going to stop looking out for you, you idiot,” Jughead couldn’t help an amused look from crossing his face for a moment.
“Wow, never would I have thought I’d see the day where Jughead Jones shares his feelings in public,” Archie joked and Jughead glared at him good naturedly.
“Shut up, Archie,” He rolled his eyes. Archie glanced at the clock behind Jughead and his eyes got comically wide.
“Oh shit, Dad’ll be wondering where I’ve been, I should go,” Archie stood up dumping enough money on the table for the food and a tip, then he paused before walking away, “You wanna come?”
“Walk with you or to your house?” Jughead looked up at him a little perplexed. Archie nodded.
“Yeah, I mean either way,” Archie shrugged, “It’s up to you. You don’t have to.”
“I guess I can walk you there, wouldn’t want you to become the next murder victim,” Jughead muses, pressing the palms of his hands to the table and standing up. He hoisted his backpack onto his shoulders and walked behind Archie until they got outside.
“Was there some sort of big assignment that I forgot about,” Archie gestured to Jughead’s backpack and he took a few seconds before answering.
“Not really,” Jughead grabbed the straps of his backpack and looked over at Archie, “Just a lot of homework to do tonight, or possibly tomorrow between classes,” Archie laughed.
“You know if you do it tonight you won’t have to do it tomorrow,” He nudged Jughead in the side gently with his elbow and Jughead had to rebalance himself.
“Yes, but if I do it tomorrow, I can do whatever I want tonight,” Jughead explained, “and tonight I plan on not doing it,” Archie just smiled and continued walking forward. They stopped in front of Archie’s house and stared at each other awkwardly for a minute or so.
“Well I guess I should go,” Jughead said at the same time that Archie said.
“You can come in if you want,” They stared at each other again before Jughead let out an amused breath.
“Maybe next time, I’ve got to get home too,” He easily hid how much the word home felt awkward on his tongue.
“Yeah I’ll see you later then,” Archie responded and Jughead turned and headed off.
It had been about an hour since Jughead had left Archie’s place and despite the energy that the burger had given him, he was getting kind of tired. He was about to pass another alley when he decided he might as well give into being a living stereo type if he could just rest. A night in an alleyway didn’t seem so bad to him and at least he would be relatively hidden from the street. He set his bag against a wall and pulled some cardboard out from behind a few trashcans, laying that down as a base for his thin mattress.
He lay there for a while looking at the stars twinkling above him and wondered how in the hell he’d been so unlucky. As much as he wanted to sleep, it was nights like this when his brain betrayed him. So he lay on the mattress staring up at the sky and let the self-pitying thoughts run their course.
His eyes opened at dawn, much like every morning. Unlike other teens that would roll over and go back to sleep, Jughead got up and started packing. If he didn’t head to the school soon, he’d have to sit through his classes smelling like a dumpster and like hell he was going to be suspicious. So with his mattress rolled back up and his bag shouldered, he set off carefully in the direction of the school.
When sneaking into the side entrance of the school he was usually rewarded with the eerie silence that came with being at school before everyone else. He had not expected to hear echoes of voices coming closer towards his location. He ducked into the nearest dark class room and waited carefully as footsteps passed by. A flash of ginger wearing a blue and gold letterman’s jacket caught his attention as he watched Archie Andrews sulk past trailing after his father and the principal. They seemed to be heading in the direction of the Principal’s office, why they weren’t already there confused him, but not enough to miss his morning shower. As soon as they were far enough down the hall way he ran out of the room hearing the door slam much earlier than he’d intended, but he continued around the corner, heart beating too fast and he kept his pace up until he reached the locker rooms.
A quick shower later and he was joining the ranks of the early morning students milling around waiting for class to start. A hand on his shoulder startled him enough that he whipped around and ended up face to face with Archie Andrews.
“I- Sorry,” Archie gave him a hesitant smile before returning the confused look he’d had a moment earlier, “Just, why were you here so early this morning?”
“What?” Jughead asked uneasily, unable to come up with a great witty response until his fear eased itself away.
“I saw you this morning, in the school,” Archie frowned at him, “I know it was you so don’t lie,”
“Right, well,” Jughead took a breath, “I just left an assignment here, it was for first hour so I figured I’d do some mission impossible stuff and get to it before school,” Archie looked like he was partially buying into his story, but then another look of confusion crossed his face.
“Why’s your hair all wet?” Jughead froze, brain racing for an explanation. No one had bothered to ask him that before. Archie continued though, “And aren’t you supposed to, you know, not get that near water?” Jughead looked confused until Archie gestured towards his right ear. Instinctually Jughead reached a hand up and brushed it over the cool plastic sitting there, just out of sight
“Maybe not, but I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Jughead responded, ignoring the first question.
“Shouldn’t you not risk that, aren’t those things like super expensive?” Archie thankfully didn’t catch on to Jughead’s lack of a straight answer.
“I need to be able to hear Archie we’re in school,” Jughead gestured around them. Archie frowned, but dropped the issue by opening his locker to pull out his books.
“Well I need to get to class, I have to ask about what I missed yesterday. I’ll see you at lunch,” Archie said closing his locker.
“Yep,” Jughead responded opening his locker to cram his backpack inside.
“I can’t believe you!” Archie complained to Jughead as he slid across from Jughead at their usual lunch table.
“What?” Jughead glanced up over the top of his laptop.
“You told me I didn’t miss much yesterday,” Archie huffed, “I’ve got double homework in every class!”
“Why you expect me to know how much you missed in the classes we don’t share is beyond me,” Jughead shrugged and returned to typing frantically at his keyboard before his thoughts left him again.
“How am I going to finish all this tonight?” Archie sighed resting his head on his hand and leaning his elbow against the table.
“I can help you if you want,” Jughead automatically answered. His eyes widened a fraction when he realized what he’d said, but he kept his cool.
“Really? That would be awesome!” Archie smiled, “Do you want to come over after school?” Jughead nodded, but frowned. Archie’s words had sounded a bit unclear so he reached a hand up to his right ear and fumbled for the on/off switch on his hearing aid for a moment. He clicked it off and then back on which seemed to fix it at least for the moment. When he looked back over Archie was giving him that look.
‘What’s wrong,’ Archie’s signing was a little clumsy, but he was doing his best to keep it discrete.
‘Batteries probably,’ Jughead signed back also keeping his movements small. He already got enough shit for being the weird outcast, heaven forbid anyone find out he was hearing impaired on top of that. Archie held up a finger, and rummaged through his backpack and tossed a plastic bag at him. He caught it and stared for a moment.
“What’s that?” He heard Veronica ask, he wasn’t sure if that question was directed at him or not.
“Why do you have these?” Jughead asked Archie. Archie just shrugged.
“In case you needed them,” Jughead was floored. He’d assumed that Archie just didn’t care about him like Jughead cared about Archie. Never in a hundred years would he have guessed that Archie carried around batteries just in case he needed them, especially after their falling out this summer. He was aware of Betty and Veronica’s eyes on him, but carefully removed the plastic aid from around his ear. Refusing to look towards his other friends, he quickly switched the batteries and looped it back around his ear. He rubbed his fingers by his ear testing that it was working before handing the plastic bag back to Archie who smiled at him.
“Better?” He asked his voice ringing much clearer to Jughead.
“Much thanks,” Jughead nodded.
“Um why was I never told about this?” Veronica asked, turning her gaze towards Archie then Betty.
“I didn’t know either,” Betty told her quietly, hoping that she would drop it.
“Well?” Veronica ignored her turning towards Jughead who shrugged at her.
“It’s none of your business,” He told her honestly and she frowned at him.
“I’m your friend so it’s my business,” She kept her eyes trained on him intensely.
“Wow because that’s something I love to brag about to my friends,” Jughead glared at her.
“Jug,” Archie warned him at the same time Betty spoke.
“V just drop it,” Veronica and Jughead looked away from each other. A minute or so later the conversation picked up again, blissfully leaving Jughead’s problems out of it.
After school Jughead walked next to Archie as he talked about all the assignments he’d gotten today, Jughead tried to pay attention, but it’d been about 24 hours since he’d eaten last and it was muddling his thoughts again. He ran right into Archie as he’d turned to head onto his porch.
“Woah, you okay?” Archie asked him.
“Yeah, sorry,” Jughead apologized quietly, a hand going up to adjust his beanie.
“Well, we’re here,” Archie gestured for Jughead to follow him inside. Jughead felt out of place entering the house at first, memories of him and Archie, both recent and much older, filled his mind, “Earth to Jughead!” Archie joked pointing a thumb upstairs towards his room. Jughead turned and followed him without a word.
“What do you want to start with?” Jughead asked as dropping his backpack just inside the door and sat down on the floor leaning back against the bed. Archie joined him and pulled out his school work.
“I don’t know. What did you get tonight?” Archie asked and Jughead shrugged.
“I have a bit of math, I think,” It was the only class he could remember for sure, he’d do the rest of his homework before school tomorrow.
“Guess we’ll start with that then,” Archie sighed, pulling his math notebook on his lap and then giving Jughead a look, “Go grab yours we can work on it together,” Jughead frowned pulling his backpack over and shoving his arm in, trying to locate his textbook without all of his personal belongings being on display, “Geez dude that bag’s like a black hole, what do you even have in there?”
“Nothing,” Jughead answered too quickly. Archie frowned.
“Nothing my ass I heard that thing hit the ground, sounds like you’ve been carrying bricks around,” Archie joked, but Jughead was tense, his body was filling with anxiety screaming at him to flee. He tried to ignore it.
“Just school stuff you know,” Jughead waved a hand towards him, glancing over at him while he did. He watched Archie’s face twist from joking to confusion. Jughead followed his gaze and saw that while he’d turned, he’d left the view of the inside of his bag completely open. Visibly inside was his sleeping bag and some ‘borrowed’ non-perishable food items from the closing of the drive in. He froze even as his mind screamed at him to run.
“Jughead, there’s no reason for you to bring a sleeping bag to school,” Archie’s voice was even and it filled the room. It also filled Jughead with panic.
“It was for an assignment,” Jughead said lamely.
“This morning, you snuck into the school, and your hair was all wet,” Archie continued. Jughead realized that offering to help Archie study was a worse idea than he’d thought.
“We already talked about that,” Jughead’s voice wavered slightly.
“You came from the direction of the locker room. You were showering, weren’t you?” Archie questioned.
“I- yes,” Jughead bit his lip and refused to meet Archie’s eyes. He didn’t want to see the realization dawn on him.
“Jughead, do you want to explain what’s going on?” Archie asked him, Jughead figured it was because he didn’t want to admit it himself, but he provided no comment. Archie placed a hand on Jughead’s shoulder, it felt a little suffocating, “Am I right? Are you homeless?” Archie said it gently, but it sounded accusatory to Jughead’s ears.
“Fine you’re right! Happy?” Jughead shrugged the hand off his shoulders trying to regain his space, “I’ve been sleeping at the Drive-in for just over a year! I shower at school! I spend all my waking hours at Pops because it’s warm and sometimes he’ll give me freebees at the end of the night, not that I want his pity,” Jughead sucked in a breath and let it out slowly, “So yes. I’m… I don’t have a home,” Jughead trained his eyes on the floor, it had suddenly become very interesting.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Archie sounded hurt and Jughead bristled.
“It’s not your problem! I chose this! I don’t need pity, I’m fine!” Jughead squeezed his eyes shut. He wanted to feel relieved about finally admitting this to someone, but instead he felt guilty like he’d betrayed himself.
“You know,” Archie’s voice sounded a little distant and Jughead glanced up, “when I was… with Ms. Grundy,” Jughead shuddered at the name of that hag, “I chose it you know. I chose to be in that situation, but people don’t get that,” Jughead’s eyebrows furrowed confused at this sudden topic change, “Instead people say, it wasn’t me who really chose it. It was her fault everything happened, or something. I’m not sure yet if I agree that it was her fault,” Archie ran a hand through his hair, “The point is, you may have chosen to be like this, but maybe you don’t deserve that. Maybe it’s just someone else who made you think that it had to be that way… or something,” Jughead stared at Archie, he was slow to let the words process, but the objective part of brain connected a few dots he might have been missing.
“I’m homeless because I chose to be,” He whispered the words that had been his silent mantra for many months, “I could go home if I want, but…” Jughead’s eyes darkened, “there would be consequences,” Archie was peaking at him from the corner of his eye.
“According to my therapist, that would make it the consequences fault that you’re homeless, not because you wanted it,” Jughead and Archie stared at each other for a long stretch of time.
“We’re both a little fucked up I think,” Jughead finally spoke and Archie gave a nervous breathy laugh.
They sat in silence, homework forgotten as they both reflected on all the shit they were dealing with.
“Jug?” Jughead looked over to Archie who was staring across the room, “I’m really sorry,” Jughead shook his head.
“About what?” Archie turned towards him.
“Being a dick. Never asking you how you’re doing. Not being the kind of friend that you feel like you can tell things too. For starters,” Archie gave him a sheepish half smile, but it turned into a frown much too fast.
“It’s okay Archie,” Jughead returned the half smile, “I’ve been a shit friend to you too and… I’m sorry too,” Archie quirked an eyebrow.
“How have you been a bad friend? I literally didn’t know you were living on the streets until a few minutes ago,” Archie asked exasperated.
“Yeah, but I knew about you and Grundy and I didn’t do anything about it,” Jughead played with the hem of his jacket and Archie cut in.
“You didn’t do anything because I told you not to,” Archie explained and Jughead shook his head.
“Not really an excuse I can accept,” Jughead shrugged, “It shouldn’t have mattered what you said, I knew it was bad.”
“It’s okay, I’ll just forgive you then,” Archie told him. They lapsed back into silence before Archie slowly turned towards Jughead, “Hey buddy? When was the last time you ate because you sure didn’t have anything at lunch today?”
“…yesterday at Pop’s. I was planning on finding something later, or breaking into the stash,” Jughead patted his backpack awkwardly. It felt so weird to discuss his life after so long, a large part of him was still screaming at him to run and not look back.
“Fuck dude,” Archie was on his feet in an instant, “How are you not dead?”
“Archie, you can last three weeks without eating. I’m fine, just a little hungry,” More like a lot hungry, he corrected in his brain. Archie just frowned down at him.
“Um, that doesn’t mean you should,” Archie stared at his friend then another thought occurred to him, “They tore down the Drive In this morning,” Jughead winced, “Where were you planning on sleeping tonight?”
“I dunno,” Jughead shrugged trying to act nonchalant, “Somewhere better than last night,” He hopped around the question uncomfortably.
“Where did you sleep last night?” Archie sounded like he was dreading the answer as much as Jughead dreaded giving it to him.
“Just some alleyway,” Jughead averted his eyes, “I got a great view of the stars,” Archie looked at him like he couldn’t believe it.
“Stand up,” Archie instructed and he rose to his feet, hyper aware of how he must look. Dark circles surrounding his eyes, dirt under his fingernails, and wearing clothes he hadn’t been able to wash for a couple days. His back hurt from hauling his life around with him and his shoes were just ever slightly too tight. He was so into his brooding he blinked when the gentle hand of Archie Andrews pushed him gently towards his bed, forcing him to sit on plush duvet instead of just resting against it. He’d forgotten how comfortable things like beds could be, “lay down, if you want. I’m going to make dinner, I’ll come get you when it’s ready,” with that Jughead heard the thunk, thunk, thunk of Archie going down the stairs.
Jughead flopped back on the bed and fuck it felt nice. He figured he’d just close his eyes for a second, just to fully appreciate it. He kicked his shoes off and curled up letting his eyes drift shut. He was asleep a moment later.
Jughead started awake at the sound of the bedroom door open. The quick moment of fear passed once he saw that it was only Archie.
“Hey man, come downstairs?” Jughead got up, and followed Archie down the stairs, his socks were worn fairly thin, but still muffled his steps as the entered the kitchen. On the table was what Jughead could only describe as a feast fit for a king, there was a plate filled with Burgers, definitely from Pop’s he could always tell the difference, and there was a huge pot of macaroni and cheese in the middle of the table surrounded by all sorts of different finger foods. To anyone else it would have been a hodgepodge of junk food, to him it was enchanting. He belatedly noticed Archie’s dad sitting at the table already, smiling up at him. Archie must have seen his mystified expression finally because he laughed.
“It’s all for you buddy! You can have whatever you’d like,” Archie grinned at him.
“Just don’t eat too much, you don’t want to get sick,” Mr. Andrews cut in with a wistful smile.
The words settled into Jughead’s head and he almost couldn’t believe it. If this was a dream he didn’t want to wake up ever again. The past year’s hardships hit him at once and he finally couldn’t repress them anymore.
Standing there next to the only people he could consider calling family anymore, surrounded by nostalgia and comforting familiarities, and a table full of food he didn’t have to steal from, Jughead Jones broke down.
He ended up on the floor with his arms wrapped around himself, shaking uncontrollably, and unable to muffle the sobs that racked him. He felt a warm hand on his back rubbing gentle circles and a different hand wrapping its way around him.
“It’s okay Juggie,” He heard Archie’s voice whisper like it was a secret just between them, “You deserve to cry too,” contextually it may not have made complete sense to someone else, but this was Archie and Jughead and it made sense to them, that was all that mattered.
After a minute or so Jughead scrubbed at his eyes with his hands, trying to quench the tears that still streamed without his consent. He slowly stood up and noted that Archie and his dad stood with him.
“I’m sorry, but I just can’t believe this,” His voice wavered and cracked, but he laughed anyways, “I just can’t believe this,” Archie gently patted his shoulder.
“Believe it buddy,” Archie steered him around the table and into his seat. The Andrews both joined him and he couldn’t stop staring at everything. He was used to eating whatever he could get his hands on, he wasn’t used to options. He tentatively grabbed a burger off the plate and set it on his own. Archie went for one as well and Mr. Andrews spooned some mac and cheese onto his own plate. Slowly the Andrews filled the silence with light conversation, Jughead knew they were doing it so he felt more at ease and he couldn’t be more thankful for it. He slowly started piling one of everything on his plate.
After they had finished eating, or rather the Andrews had stopped eating and Mr. Andrews had stopped Jughead from making the mistake of overeating, Mr. Andrews turned to Jughead.
“Jug,” He started catching the kid’s attention, “A teenager doesn’t belong on the street,” Jughead looked slightly panicked for a moment, mostly out of habit.
“Did Archie tell you?” Jughead mumbled, but Mr. Andrews shook his head.
“You told me yourself,” Jughead looked at him incredulously. Mr. Andrews just chuckled and pulled out his phone, “You’re not very subtle, Jughead,” Mr. Andrews showed him a picture of the drive in, his spray-paint lettering was still there and he sort of should have guessed someone would put two and two together.
“I’m so dumb,” Jughead dropped his head into his hands.
“You’re not dumb,” Mr. Andrews told him, “Well, I suppose engaging in illegal activities such as graffiti is dumb, but I’m glad you did it,” Jughead peaked at him from under his bangs, “I know what’s happening now and I can make sure your taken care of.”
“Don’t tell the authorities,” Jughead pleaded, assuming that the next move was definitely to send him to a foster home. He wasn’t sure he could handle that, too constricting, too horrifying.
“Don’t be dumb,” Archie cut in rolling his eyes, “We’ve got a spare room you know,” Jughead gave him a look before the words sunk in.
“Wait,” Jughead’s head reeled as his world turned ever so slightly on its axis, “What exactly do you mean?”
“You’ll be living here from now on,” Mr. Andrews expanded, “I owe you that much, after having to tear down your last home,” he added hoping that it would convince the boy to stay.
“You don’t owe me anything, I’ll find another job and another place,” Jughead shook his head.
“Jug, I want you to stay here. We want you to stay here. You don’t have to find another place because you’re already here,” Mr. Andrews told him. Jughead felt his eyes get hot, but pushed away his tears.
“I’ve done bad thing,” Jughead’s voice was flat, as if he expected the offer to be revoked, “I’ve stolen things, broke in to places; I’m not good at following the rules anymore,” Mr. Andrews tilted his head at him.
“Nothing you say will make me change my mind,” He spoke clear and sure of his decision, “This has always been your home Jughead. You’ve always been a son to me,” Before Jughead could counter, or cry Archie cut in.
“In case you’ve forgotten, we’re not all that perfect around here either,” Archie gave him a sad smile and Jughead looked between the two before looking down.
“I- okay then,” And that’s the only answer they needed to hear.
It’d been a month since Jughead had moved in with the Andrews. He and Archie were on their way home from Pop’s when Jughead noticed the group of people on the porch of Archie’s- their house. Mr. Andrews was standing near the door smiling widely holding a piece of paper and before Jughead could ask. Betty, Veronica, and Kevin stood up smiling at him and signed in sync.
‘Welcome home, Jughead,’ Confused and surprised Jughead just stared.
“You might think it’s none of our business,” Veronica spoke answering his silent questions and crossing her arms, “But we’ve made it our business,” Mr. Andrews stepped forward and the other teens moved out of the way.
“The paperwork came back today,” He told Jughead with a smile. Jughead felt his brain sputter to a halt, “It’s been approved, you’re officially stuck with this family,” Archie cheered excitedly beside him, already having known.
“Well I guess that’s okay,” Jughead smiled and gave a short watery laugh as Archie wrapped an arm around him.