"Ladies and gentleman, I now give you the class of 2005!" Mr. Weatherbee bellowed from the stage.

The audience erupted in applause and cheers. Hats were thrown up towards the heavens. Students were laughing, hugging each other excitedly. Some wept tears of joy. They had finally crossed the border to adulthood. Each looked on to their future with a mix of eagerness and dread. Some were prepared and some weren't. But one thing was certain. Joy was clearly expressed onto the face of all highschool graduates present. That is, all but four.

Betty Cooper, who was separated from her friends since she was an Honors graduate and had to sit way at the front with the other Honors students, quickly made her way through the throng of crowd to where she thought her friends sat. She had been asked to be valedictorian for the ceremony but found herself in no position to go on stage and present the emotional speech after what had happened just two months ago. She just couldn't do it. They had asked Dilton Doiley to do it then.

She finally spotted Reggie and Veronica a few rows away and made her way over to them. Betty first hugged Veronica. Then she hugged Reggie. No congratulatory words were exchanged. Together, the three of them made their way toward the area where parents and students came together again.

"Look at you! Look at you! My son graduated! Oh, I am so happy, look at you!"

Betty smiled at Mrs. Clayton, a feisty middle-aged woman, who was now hugging the life out of Chuck. She knew their parents wanted to meet them and congratulate them too. But there was one couple she and the others wanted to see first. She finally spotted the bright orange hair that stood out in the crowd and headed towards her.

Mary Andrews broke into a warm smile and Betty quickened her pace to bridge the gap between them. She enveloped her in an embrace and cried silently. Mrs. Andrews quietly patted her back, her own tears falling freely now.

Fred Andrews swallowed hard as he embraced first Reggie and then Veronica. "We're so happy for you. You guys finally graduated. I see a bright future for all of you."

"Thank you, Mr. Andrews. It meant a lot to us that you came out here to see us all," Reggie said sincerely.

"We wouldn't have missed it for the world."

"There, there, dear," Mary pushed Betty gently back to look at her tear-stained face. "One must not ponder over terrible things so long. What happened to Archie was fate." She wiped away the tears that remained on Betty's face. "It is time to think about bigger, better things." Betty nodded.

The gang said their goodbyes to the Andrews and promised to come visit them more often. They met up with their respective parents, exchanged congratulations, and left. There was an after-graduation party, but none of them wanted to attend it.

As the three teens walked out of the auditorium, Veronica asked, "Juggie already left, didn't he?" Reggie nodded yes and Veronica sighed in frustration. "I told him to wait for us. He didn't listen to me."

"Well, I wouldn't blame him for not wanting to stay any longer in there," Reggie said, thoughtful.

Not another word was spoken as they piled into the car, Reggie at the wheel and Betty next to him. Veronica sat in the back. They drove to the cemetery in silence.

As they walked into the large black gate, they immediately spotted Jughead, sitting cross-legged next to the grave. When the gang moved closer, they could see he was crying silently. Veronica felt a lump form in her throat as she walked toward Jughead. She won't stop him. Tonight, they would release all their feelings, emotions that they've kept within them since Archie passed away. Since he left us all, she thought sadly.

I'll always remember,

It was late afternoon.

It lasted forever,

And ended so soon.

Her tears flowed freely down her cheeks as she wordlessly sat next to Jughead. He must have expected them since he didn't bother to turn to his side to see who it was. Veronica looked at his face and felt her heart break. His eyes were rimmed red, his cheeks were gaunt. There were dark circles under his eyes. She had never seen him like that.

You were all by yourself,

Staring up at a dark gray sky.

I was changed.

She looked back at the grave. She remembered the letter Archie had written to them before going away forever. That he did this for two reasons. 'I want to stay with Cheryl forever. Despite what she did, I could never leave her. I love her too much.' Veronica's eyes squeezed shut as she remembered that. Archie had lost it. After finding Cheryl and Scott together, he became crazy. Archiekins, why did you leave us? It could have all worked out. We could have been friends again. We could have put all this behind us and started fresh...

In places no one would find,

All your feelings so deep inside.

Deep inside...

She reached for Juggie's hand and gently squeezed it. He didn't pull his hand away. But he didn't squeeze back. His hand was cold, so cold. Just like his eyes.

It was there that I realized,

That forever was in your eyes.

The moment I saw you cry,

The moment that I saw you cry.

'The second reason is that I could never bring myself to face you guys again. Especially Betty.' Betty wanted to scream. She wanted to sob uncontrollably. Archie, if you knew anything about me, you know I'd have forgiven you, she thought to herself. That had been the whole problem. Archie had never known Betty. And because of that, he had taken his own life. Betty wrapped her arms around herself and leaned against Reggie in a moment of weakness. A part of me will always love you, Archie. For what we had together in the past. She looked up to Reggie and he looked back at her, a warm, tender smile on his lips. She smiled back and looked back at Archie's grave. Rest in peace, dear Archie. She knelt down next to his grave, kissed her hand and gently touched his grave. Tears threatened her eyes once more. She quickly got up and walked away to the car.

It was late in SeptemberAnd I've seen you before

And you were...

You were always the cold one.

But I was never that sure

You were all by yourself

Staring at a dark gray sky

I was changed.

So, this is it, Arch? You just left and thought it would make everything better? Reggie asked as he looked towards the sky. He sighed heavily. That's just like you, isn't it? Always caring about yourself. He willed himself not to cry. He couldn't. He needed to be strong for Betty. I've always wanted Betty. But never at this cost. Tears were starting to blur his vision. He walked closer to the grave and stopped in front of it, placing four red roses at the top. From each of us. We were bitter rivals but we were still friends. I love you, man. We'll always remember you. He stepped back, and lowered his head in silence while waiting for Jughead and Veronica.

In places no one would find,

All your feelings so deep inside.

Deep inside...

It was there that I realized,

That forever was in your eyes,

The moment I saw you cry.

Why did you leave me, Arch? If I knew you'd do this, I'd have never told you about Cheryl. This is all my fault. He knew Veronica was still holding his hand, trying to make him feel better. On any other occasion, his heart would be beating out of control. Now, it didn't do a thing for him.

All I wanted was for things to be back to normal, for me and Archie to be best friends again, the way we used to be. And I screwed up. His eyes stung with unshed tears. It had always been Archie who got in trouble and always Jughead who got him out of it. Archie was the one who made mistakes. But this time, I made a mistake so big, it cost me the life of my best friend.

He felt Reggie's hand on his shoulder. "Jug?"

Jughead sighed. He didn't want his friends to worry about him. "I'm fine, Reg. Let's go." He looked once more at Archie's grave. I'm never going to forgive myself for what I've done. He got up and slowly walked out of the cemetery. Reggie saw Betty, who was already at the car, trying to gently coax Jughead into riding back home with them in the car. But Jughead said he wanted to be alone for a while. She let him go.

Veronica stood up too, brushing the dirt off herviolet graduation gownwith her hands. She stood next to Reggie. "Is he going to be alright?" she asked worriedly. Jughead had been acting like this ever since he recovered from the shock of Archie's death. He barely slept, had stopped eating enough. She had never seen him smile. He had never teased her like he used to ever since.

I wanted to know you.

"It'll take some time, Ron. Arch and Jug, they were like brothers. They were the best of friends, they grew up together. We need to watch out for him, though. He's not looking too well since Archie died." He briefly wondered if he should tell her about Jughead's earlier feelings for Veronica. But looking at her concerned expression, the hurt and what looked like a glimmer of love in her eyes, he decided to let it be for now.

"C'mon. Let's go." Reggie said quietly, walking through the huge black gate.

"I hope you're right, Reggie," she whispered. Goodbye, Archiekins. May you be in a much better place now. And with one final look, Veronica walked to where her friends were waiting for her.

I wanted to know you.

The wind gently blew the leaves around, carrying with it the fragrance of the roses that lay on top of Archie's grave. A sudden breeze blew over the grave, removing the blanket of leaves that had covered Archie's now resting place, revealing a little of the tombstone.

Archie Andrews

Beloved Son And Friend

1987 - 2005

May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace.

Wow. I can't believe I just finished the story. It took me more than two long years. I'll be honest here. When I first started this story, I had no intention to kill Archie or Cheryl off. Heck, it wasn't even going to be an angsty fic. But things changed over the years, I guess. I don't really hate Archie. I think he's good at heart, even though he's got commitment phobia. But with his philandering ways, I brought Archie into a more negative light.

The song's by Mandy Moore, called Cry, which I'm sure you've all heard of. I was listening to the song while writing this fic and it made it seem so right. If you have the song on you, I suggest reading the story while listening to the song :)

There is definitely going to be a sequel (which could be good or bad news for you, depending on how you liked the ending of the story). It will definitely be Veronica/Jughead. And since I'm on a fanfic high right now, it'll be up on Fanfic soon. Definitely before Christmas, if not sooner.

Thank you everybody for the wonderful reviews :) You guys are simply great!