Author's Note: AU where Polly dies and Betty and Jughead have primary custody of the twins. They're about 19-20 here. It's not that deep.
She leaves the pizza box on the kitchen counter and returns to the front door to shake out her umbrella. If the rain had come any sooner, dinner would've been ruined. The umbrella, slightly less wet, is left open on the tiles. It'll be dry when she needs it next.
The apartment is a mess – it always is. Three year olds, Betty has come to learn, can create mess from nothing. Toys and clothes and a torn open diaper box litter the living room. She isn't irritated that he gave up on potty training for the day – the twins have reached the stage where they've learned the value, and calamity, of team work.
Betty draws the curtains on the sliding glass door closed and feels no remorse over the matching ride-on trains that are very likely ruined by rain on the patio. They'd been a gift from Cheryl's parents and Betty knows they can afford new ones.
Their apartment faces the street. It is one of the cheaper units. She will take cash from the Blossoms for the twins. She will take clothes and toys and food and diapers and the expensive bubble bath that fills the tub with blue bubbles from their grandparents, but Betty and Jughead don't want anything for themselves. He works. She works. They take turns with their classes. It's fine. They are fine.
She finds them in the bed. All three. The twins cling to him despite being old enough to nap alone. He never, ever minds. Sometimes Betty wonders if he would be as attentive if he hadn't lost his baby sister. He would. Jughead has a special place in his heart for children caught in the middle.
There are days when Betty is tired – so tired. Those are the days when she loves him the most. His eyebrow quirks upwards and he swoops in to gather them both in his arms and redirects the chaos. She doesn't want to resent anyone. Not Jason for getting himself killed. Not Polly for dying. Not Archie for being selfish. Not Cheryl for going away to college. Not Veronica for being Veronica. Not her parents for wallowing in the past. Not even the Blossoms for being so dysfunctional. But when she is weak, Betty resents. She loves the twins but sometimes she feels so incredibly lost and frustrated and chokes on all of the responsibility and –
"Your'e home." His words are a whisper but she hears them. The matching children who look so much like Polly it hurts her, don't stir. He holds out a hand and Betty takes it.
"Dinner is getting cold," she says, twisting their fingers together.
"That's what microwaves are for," he says with a smile. "Lay with me." Jughead says me but he means us. She shares him with their cobblestone family and even though Betty is exhausted she knows she wouldn't change a thing.