TWELVE || IF ANYONE KNOWS HOW TO PARTY, IT'S THE SERPENTS

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"I have an announcement to make. My dad's getting out." Jughead said, unable to keep the smile off of his face.

All of the Serpents in the Wyrm cheered, Fallon one of the loudest of all. FP had stepped in as her second father after her dad was shot, and damn if he hadn't done a good job with her.

"And when he does, I'll bring him up to speed about our plans with Mayor McCoy." Jughead finished, and from a corner, Tall Boy scoffed. "That's brilliant." He said, and all eyes turned to him as the air turned tense.

"Do you have a problem with that, Tall Boy?" Jughead asked, and Tall Boy pushed off of the wall, coming to stare Jughead down. "Your old man? No. I got no problem with him. But you want us to sit down with the Mayor."

"I do. He's right. I think we can bring the Southside back. But it's going to take work and it's going to take compromise." Jughead replied defiantly, and Fallon slanted a glance upwards at Sweet Pea, her boyfriend standing stoically beside her, his face betraying nothing.

Tall Boy laughed, his tone cold. "Bring the Southside back. You've been here all of five minutes."

That was all it took to make Jughead snap.

"Tall Boy, I am sick of you acting like a little bitch. Whispering behind my back that I'm half a Serpent or that I don't belong here. Why don't we put it to a vote? If you guys think what I'm doing is wrong, I'll step aside." He barked, and the bar was silent until Fallon stepped forward to stand next to Jughead, directing the iciest glare she could in Tall Boy's direction.

"All those who stand with Jughead and think that Tall Boy should shut the hell up?" She said, and raised her hand high above her hand.

She grinned as nearly all of the other Serpents raised their hands, murmurs of assent coming from all sides.

"Alright, it's settled then. We side with Jones today." Fallon said, and then boldly flipped Tall Boy the bird. "And you....you can get fucked."
_____

"Things got ugly when you were away. I asked myself every day what you would do, if you were here." Jughead said, he, Fallon, and FP sitting on the edge of Dead Man's Curve with their bikes.

"Has Penny bothered you? Figured she's the one who greased my wheels." FP asked, and Fallon cast a sideways look at the boy who might as well be her brother.

"I did a job for her." He said finally, and FP's face darkened. "What kind of job?"

"It's a one-time thing. Figured it best not to ask too many questions. We're squared away. For good." Jughead said quickly, silently begging Fallon not to say anything.

"You know, when I was 16, my old man kicked me out and told me to go to hell. Instead, I joined the Serpents. And then the army, and then back again. I don't want that life for you, Jug. And even though you're in way deeper than he is, Fal, you too. I want you to go to college, get out of this godforsaken town." FP told them, and Jughead sighed, as did Fallon.

"I ran the gauntlet." He said. "And I did the dance." She added.

"I fought with the Serpents. And for them, I have to stay. I wanna stay. And I need your blessing." Jughead said, Fallon nodding.

"Just promise me you'll keep writing, Jug. And that you watch out for him, Fallon.

"I will." Jughead said, and Fallon smirked. "I do every day."
______

"You have a stage. Would you be open to me bringing in a karaoke machine? For FP's retirement?" Betty asked Fallon as they sat in the Whyte Wyrm, much to some of the older Serpents chagrin. Betty was sipping a Shirley Temple and Fallon was drinking a glass of Jack Daniels.

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