Hi all! New Story Alert!

After seeing the spoilers about a 'Sugar Man' coming to Riverdale, I wanted to create my own story around that premise. This is set in the same universe, but under different circumstances… as you will see when you read. This is primarily a Bughead story, so be aware of that as you read on & please review if you so feel compelled. Thank you!

Listen here

For he is near

Sliding into your hearts like a sickening fear.

If you can, slip far away

But even there, he will stay.

Smells like copper, tastes like rain

He loves the sound of your pain.

So say it loud, 'run if you can'

But remember that no one escapes the Sugar Man.

Betty startled herself awake- eyes wide, mouth agape at the ceiling above her. She pressed a hand to her heart, feeling it beat back at her— staring above, she traced the intricate swirls of plaster on her bedroom ceiling, a sense of calm immediately rushing over her.

She slowly sat up, looking around her room. It was still dark out— checking her watch it said 11:30pm. She had forgotten what time she had fallen asleep at, had it been hours? Days?

She had gotten used to losing track of time, it was something that didn't matter where she had come from.

Being back in Riverdale felt strange— it was like coming home and noticing that everything was there, but the furniture had been rearranged.

Betty turned on her bedside lamp and pulled out her journal, opening it up and staring at the blank page, pen at the ready.

This is the second time I've woken up absolutely petrified. Of what? I don't know. It's like something is clawing at the back of my mind and I can't reach it. Mom won't let me out of the house, she say's that I'm not adjusted to being back home yet. I don't feel safe here or anywhere in Riverdale anymore, I want to go—

A bang shook Betty's window.

She looked in that direction, frozen momentarily, before slamming her eyes shut.

Nothing is there.

You are fine.

What did they teach you about-

Trying to steady her tumultuous thoughts, Betty took in a nervous breath before opening her eyes and looking down at her journal. There she saw pen marks strewn all over the page, in a chaotic swirl that looked angry and made her dizzy with fear. Had she drawn that?

She snapped the book shut just as another bang shook her window, although now she realized it wasn't a bang but a patter, a patter of rocks.

Betty walked over to the glass, pressing her forehead against it, breath fogging her vision. She saw blurry figures below, lined up next to each other like soldiers. When the fog cleared she saw three people she used to know, from what felt like a lifetime ago.

Veronica Lodge, Archie Andrews, and Jughead Jones stared up at her, the loyalist of soldiers.

Betty opened her window, heaving against the weight of it— she leaned down, the fresh bite of winter nipping at her warm skin.

She saw them clearly now: Veronica, hair black like a Raven, Archie, still with that golden boy smile, and Jughead… Oh Jughead. Betty felt weak when she saw him, remembering all that had happened, or what could have happened had things turned out differently.

But they were different now, both of them… all of them. Betty could see that even from her window.

For a moment no one said anything, and Betty couldn't seem to find her voice.

What do you say to people you have been forced to forget about?

"Betty," Archie said, his heroic voice booming around the neighborhood.

Betty pressed a finger to her lips to silence him and motioned for them to stay where they were.

She closed the window and rummaged around her room for shoes and a robe before tiptoeing to the top of the stairs, listening for her parents. They were asleep.

Down the stairs, she made it to the front door, pausing briefly, something seizing her chest. She wondered when she had become so terrified of everything.

Then she remembered.

But before she could talk herself out of it, a face appeared in the side window of the door. Jughead. He was looking at her quizzically, his beautiful head tilted to the side, wondering why she was still inside. She opened the door to him as he stepped back.

As she walked out, she wrapped her arms around her chest, pushing past Jughead and trying to pull the group away from the house. When they were a safe distance away, Betty turned to them.

"What are you guys doing here?"

"Seeing our best friend who has been MIA for a year," Veronica said, moving forward to hug Betty. Betty ducked away from her arms, recoiling away.

"Betty…" That was Jughead. Hearing his voice made Betty's head spin. How long had it been since she had heard him speak? Less than a year, but still too long. He looked like he was about to say something but nothing was coming out, so Archie stepped in.

"We've been trying to talk to you but-"

"I know, my mother." That's all Betty had to say.

"Where have you been?" Veronica asked, reaching for Betty's hands at least. She tried to pull away, but Veronica fastened them tight in her grip. Holding her solid. "We visited Sister's of Quiet Mercy, figuring that's where your mom would stash you… after what happened."

Betty sighed, her breath coming out like white snakes. They all knew, or at least thought they knew what had happened, they probably thought she was crazy.

"They didn't send me there… it was somewhere else."

Everyone could see her hesitancy. Veronica held onto her even tighter.

"Come on Betty, it's us… you can tell us."

Betty turned to Archie, who moved toward her now, his big arms opening to swallow her whole.

"No!" Betty said, yanking her arms from Veronica. Noticing their alarmed looks she tried to calm herself. "I'm sorry, I'm just…"

Betty looked at Jughead, who had barely said anything, only watching her closely. He would probably write about this later. She could hear his voice in her head.

and Betty Cooper returned to Riverdale a year after the tragic death of her sister, which was ruled an accident. Crazy or not, there is an undeniable feeling of shame in her eyes that screams: GUILTY. GUILTY. GUIL-

"STOP!" Betty closed her palms over her ears, looking at Jughead as her eyes leaked tears. He was looking at her alarmed. He quickly moved toward her, they all did, but she pulled even further away until she was back at her front door.

They tried to reach out to her, Judhead most of all, but she was already gone, slipping back into the house… back into her shell.

Jughead stood there in the wake of her absence, looking after her, as Archie clapped a hand on his shoulder.

"She just needs time," he said, watching Jughead's lips fold into a hard line. "We'll try again in the morning."

Veronica walked over and looped her arm through Archie's, as they began walking away. Jug hung behind, closing his eyes, trying to take away her pain, as if he could do it just by willing it to be.

He wanted to go back to that night, the last time they had been together, the night everything fell apart. He wanted to do it over again. He had spent the past year running it through over and over, and he was sure he could get it right this time.

But he couldn't, and senior year was looming over all their heads, a constant reminder that they couldn't turn back the dial of time.

Thanks for reading! This is the beginning of a story that I plan on expanding out into several chapters. It's a bit spooky, a lot cooky, and a whole lot of Bughead ahead. Let me know your thoughts if you'd like!