FOUR || TO SCARE A SNAKE

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As it turned out, her friends had quite a bit to fill her in on, including the fact that there had been a shooting at Pop's a week before she almost died herself at the hands of the Ghoulies.

"Yeah, it was insane. I think the Northside is falling apart, and all the better if it does." Fangs said very matter of factly one day at lunch. Sweet Pea chuckled darkly and bumped knuckles with his best friend as Toni rolled her eyes with a smile and Fallon huffed.

"Oh please. I'm sure they'll rebuild like they always do and find some way to shuffle the blame for their problems off on us." She said, and Sweet Pea slung an arm around his girlfriend's shoulders. "Well excuse us if we're still riding on the high we got from getting you back."

"I never said anything about that, babe. I'm just as glad as you are."

Fallon craned her neck upwards to kiss her boyfriend as Fangs gagged and Toni laughed.

"You guys, you gotta watch this. I'll catch ya later." A serpent named Dray said, running up to their table with a laptop opened to a YouTube video.

"Dray's always been a little left of center," Fallon grumbled as she and her friends crowded around the screen, Fangs pressing play.

It was a group of Northside boys, most of them shirtless and covered by red masks. Only one was unmasked, and he made a number of threats to someone known as the Black Hood before the video ended.

"Okay, I always knew everyone North of the the tracks was batshit fuckin' crazy, but this is a new level." Sweet Pea laughed with disbelief, Toni pressing replay on the laptop.

"I'm guessing we're not watching funny cat videos." A voice said, and they looked up to see Jughead, with a shy look on his face. Fallon felt bad for him, standing and leaning over the tabletop, hand extended.

"Long time no see, Sythe." She said, and Jughead did their "secret handshake", grinning. "What's up, Munchkin? You're looking better. And now...also Sweet Pea's girl, I assume?"

"You're goddamn right." Sweet Pea chuckled, pulling Fallon back down and closer to him. He looked up towards Jughead, flipping the laptop around to face the other boy. "Check this out. Some sick in the head Northsider posted this crazy ass video and we were just talking—"

"About what?" Jughead interrupted, and Sweet Pea took in a deep breath through his nose before continuing.

"Well, the elder Fogarty wants to earn his Serpent stripes. I say bring us the head of that Northsider and he's in."

He let out a laugh and pounded the table, a hand on Fangs' back.

A look of momentary panic crossed Jughead's face before he spoke, quick and low

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A look of momentary panic crossed Jughead's face before he spoke, quick and low.

"No, don't."

"What, Jones?" Fallon asked. "You know this guy?"

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