[A/N: I'm going to try and stay as close to how Archie Comics does things in reality, meaning no swearing, drugs, and the like. But I may change my mind later, as I figure out where the plot's going! And I know that many people dislike fan characters immensely, but please don't let that stop you from reading!

[Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from Archie Comics (sadly), but I do own Hattie :)

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Hattie George yanked a comb through her brassy curls in frustration. Her first day at Riverdale High, and of course her hair was refusing to behave itself. She glanced at the clock on the wall and was shocked to find that she only had ten minutes to make it to the bus stop. Where on earth had the morning gone?

Hattie whirled around in a panic and snatched a bottle of curl tamer from her dresser. She spent the next five precious minutes getting her unruly hair under control. Then she grabbed her backpack from the floor and was off and running.

"Good morning, Hattie! Would you like some toast?"

"Sorry Mom, no time – gotta catch the bus!" Hattie snagged an apple from the fruit bowl and flashed her mother a grin.

Mrs. George just shook her head and sighed. "Well, here then, don't forget your lunch… Hattie! Your lunch!"

But Hattie was already halfway down the front walk, apple in her mouth and curls flying. "Bye Mom!" she called, and then she disappeared from sight.

The bus squealed to a stop, and Betty Cooper unconsciously took a step backwards to let the others get on. She was no hurry to get o school, anyway – not when she'd have to face Archie.

She wrinkled her nose in disgust. He'd broken their date last night – again. And this morning he'd left before she could bum a ride to school. But, she admitted to herself, should she really be surprised? After all, this definitely hadn't been the first time.

Betty climbed onto the bus and plunked herself down in the first empty seat. Shoving her schoolbag aside, she leaned over to open the window a crack – the bus was always too stuffy.

"Hey, wait!"

Betty peered out the window. A girl was dashing down the sidewalk. The bus started to pull away from the curb. "Wait, there's someone else coming!" Betty called to the bus driver, and the bus's brakes squealed once more.

The girl thanked the bus driver profusely as she clambered up the steps. He just grumbled a gentle warning and waved her off. Betty scooted closer to the window and gestured to the seat beside her. The girl flung herself in the seat just as the bus started moving again.

"Thanks," the girl said, huffing. "I haven't run that much in awhile."

"No problem," Betty smiled. "If you don't mind me asking, are you new in town? I just haven't seen you on the bus before."

"Yeah, I moved here over the weekend. I'm Hattie George, by the way," she stuck out her hand.

Betty reached out and shook her hand. "Betty Cooper, nice to meet you. Where did you move from?"

"Toronto. My parents thought that it would be nice to experience 'small-town living' for a change."

"So you must be in, what, your sophomore or junior year?"

"I'm a senior, actually."

"Really?" Betty looked at Hattie in surprise. "That must be tough, moving partway through senior year."

Hattie shrugged. "Well, I guess, but I've moved around a lot. My dad's in the military, so we've never stayed in one place too long."

"Well, we can't waste any time then! We'll have to get you acquainted with Riverdale as soon as possible," Betty grinned. "Got any plans after school?"

"Not yet," Hattie grinned back.

"You do now!"

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Hattie groaned. The frizzies in her hair had resurrected themselves with a vengeance. She turned on the faucet and tried to reactivate the curl tamer. At least she hadn't realized her hair had gone wild until now, otherwise she would have been worrying all day.

"Hattie, there you are!" Betty stepped into the bathroom. "Come on, a bunch of us are going over to the Chocklit Shop. It's only a few blocks from here, so I thought we'd walk over."

"The Chocklit Shop?" Hattie stared at her new friend.

"Oh, it's a burger place. It's one of the only teen-friendly hangouts in town, so we're pretty much always over there."

"Oh, okay. Just give me two minutes and I'll be right there."

"Midge and I will be by the water fountain."

Hattie turned back to the mirror. She groaned again and gave up. It was useless to try and reason with curls. She picked up her bag, slung it over her shoulder, and opened the bathroom door.

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Jughead Jones was walking along, minding his own business, when the door to the girls' bathroom swung open and hit him in the face. He put a hand to his nose and slid down the wall to the floor. "Ow…"

"Omigoodness! I'm so sorry! Are you okay?" Jughead looked up. A girl with red-gold curls was peering down at him anxiously. "Are you okay?" she repeated.

"Mmfine," Jughead said from behind his hand. "Jus' fine."

The girl gave a small smile. "I know it might not repair the damage, but can I help you up, at least?" She extended a hand. Jughead grabbed it and she helped him up off the floor. "Here, let me see." She gently pried his hand away from his swollen nose. "Ooh, you need an ice pack. Wait here!" She turned and jogged towards the nurse's office.

Jughead watched her go, then exhaled and leaned against the wall. That girl… something in his head had clicked when she had looked at him. "Jug, get a hold of yourself," he muttered. "She's just a girl. She's just like all the rest of them."

The girl came jogging back, plastic baggy of ice in one hand and paper towel in the other. "Tilt your head forward, and hold this on your nose. The swelling should go down – I don't think it's broken."

"How can you tell?" Jughead asked as he pressed the baggy against his sore nose.

"I took a first aid course during the summer," she said. "I'm… I'm Hattie. Hattie George."

Jughead glanced at her. Her face went pink as she caught his gaze. "Jughead Jones." He smiled when she giggled at his name. "It's a nickname I've had since kindergarten – I hate my real name."

"Oh. Well, I'm pleased to meet you, Mr. Jones."

"I am equally charmed by your acquaintance, Miss George," Jughead gave an exaggerated bow and Hattie burst into laughter. He was elated. No one ever laughed at his quirky jokes anymore – they all knew him too well.

"Hattie!" Both of them turned to see Betty and Midge poking their heads around the corner. "Come on!"

"Coming!" Hattie called, and turned back to Jughead. "I've, um, got to go; my friends are waiting for me."

Jughead nodded, barely hearing her. He was struck by how green her eyes were. They complimented her hair perfectly. And she had a spattering of freckles across her nose. Funny, he'd never been close enough to a girl before to see the freckles on her nose. He blinked as he realized she was talking again.

"See you later?" Hattie was asking.

"Yeah, you probably will. Chocklit Shop, right?"

"Apparently. Well, bye, then. It was nice meeting you!"

"Bye," Jughead said, and watched her begin to walk away. She whirled around to face him again when she had taken a few steps.

"Since… well, since we're going to the same place, anyway, why… why don't you just come with us?" asked Hattie.

Jughead was startled by this turn of events. He jerkily shook his head. "No, that's okay. I – I have to do some things first, anyway. I'll be there later on."

"Oh, okay. Bye." Hattie's face was pink again, and Jughead felt oddly pleased by this as he watched her leave with Betty and Midge. He caught himself trying to pull his gaze off of her, but he shooed the thought away. He strangely wanted to watch her, even if she was just walking. And the strangest thing of all was that he couldn't seem to catch his breath.

Jughead wrinkled his forehead as he reached up and readjusted his beanie cap. Whatever. He was probably just hungry.

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[So, what do you guys think?? Read and review, please, and if you do, I'll give you a cookie!!