A/N: Wow, it's been a while since I've done any publishing. Consider this the brain-spawn of boredom, a love of Shakespeare, and a mad desire to inflict laughter and tears on as many people as possible. A couple of things regarding the fact that this is based on Romeo and Juliet, if you hadn't already figured that out: 1) No one owns Shakespeare, 2) I've used names from the play, but these characters are my own, and 3) It's just for fun, guys, let me enjoy my hobbies.

That being said, I hope you have as much fun with this as I do. Review?

Capulet All-Girls Academy; Dormitories, Wing C, Room 307

"He was a complete jerk."

"He was so sweet...and I just...I just..."

"Jules. He was a jerk."

"I miss him so much! You don't understand!"

"...But he was a jerk."

"And then that time he brought me flowers and tied them together with that gorgeous necklace and...and..."

"He was a jerk, Jules. You're better off without him."

The blonde sniffled loudly and pulled her legs up onto the mattress. Her toes curled in pink-and-green socks. Seated next to her and rolling her eyes impatiently, the brunette patted her dutifully on the shoulder. "Honestly," the latter went on when her friend buried her face in her hands, "he was so full of himself it's not even funny. You might as well have been dating a Barbie doll. He owns more hair product than I do, Jules—"

Jules choked out a laugh and stared at her best friend in disbelief. "Everyone has more hair product than you do, Tibby." Tibby huffed, but didn't bother denying it. She had shampoo—the kind you get from sporting goods stores to treat hair constantly exposed to chlorine—and a brush, and that was about it. Well...Tibby snapped the hair tie around her wrist out of habit and conceded that point. The shampoo, the brush, and the inexhaustible supply of hair ties that her hair had only just reached a sufficient length to make of any use.

"But you know what I mean," Tibby sighed, pulling Jules close in a one-armed side hug. Jules gave up and collapsed into Tibby's lap with the pillow she'd been clutching to her chest. With her face buried in it, her groan was muffled. Tibby stared at Jules' head for moment, reached the conclusion that she wasn't getting up any time soon, and continued, "He didn't care about you—who you really are as a person—at all. He didn't seem to notice how brilliant and sweet and goofy you can be. He only dated you because of your looks, and if that's not a complete waste of your awesomeness, I don't know what is." Jules shook her head without getting up. Her hair made a funny crackling nose against the pillowcase.

It might not have appeared like Tibby was getting through to her roommate in any way, shape, or form, but that was only to someone that didn't know Jules as well as she did. "You get so invested in these guys," Tibby said, "and you give them way more than they deserve. And the only reason they end things with you is because they either finally realize that or refuse to recognize it."

"But he said it wasn't working," Jules sobbed, rolling over so she could regard Tibby with bloodshot eyes. "He said he'd thought I was the one but as time went on he finally understood that I wasn't really right for him."

Another eyeroll. "The only person that's 'right' for him is a complete airheaded bimbo with fake boobs and bottle-tan legs that worships him and whose entire life revolves around his every whim. You're way better than that, Jules. He has no idea what he's missing because he's not looking for a girlfriend, he's looking for a dumb trophy."

Jules bit her lip and wrung her fingers. "But...but what if there's something wrong with me?" she whispered hesitantly. "All these guys...and...and they were all so perfect and nice and I didn't deserve them, and—"

"You got one thing right," Tibby interrupted shamelessly. She pat Jules' knee. "You didn't deserve any of those guys. You deserve someone so much better than them."

The blonde shook her head frantically. "You're just saying that—"

"Because it's true!" Tibby interjected.

Jules frowned at the interruption and went on adamantly, "No, it's just because you're my best friend and you're supposed to say stuff like that, even though it's totally, 100% not true." Tibby laughed softly.

Her friend was impossible.

They sat there for a few minutes in silence, Jules wallowing, Tibby contemplating. Her friend was going to get her heart broken one day—not as if she wasn't experiencing enough heartbreak already, really, but one of these days she was going to put just that little bit too much of herself into a relationship and have her entire world shatter around her. One of these days, Tibby wasn't going to be able to put her back together again.

Tibby patted the blonde reassuringly on the shoulder. Thankfully, today was not that day.

"You know what this needs?" Tibby said. Jules turned her head just enough to be able to see Tibby in her periphery. "Chocolate. Or ice cream. Or better yet, chocolate ice cream."

One of Jules' sobs came out as a strangled laugh. "Yeah," she conceded eventually. "Ice cream sounds good." A glint of mischief filled her roommate's eyes, and the brunette unceremoniously flipped the pillow out of her lap and stood, leaving Jules in a heap on the mattress.

"I'll be back in twenty minutes," Tibby assured her, grabbing car keys and a wallet off of the dresser and shoving both into her jean pocket. "Do us a favor and don't kill yourself while I'm gone, yeah?"

Jules flopped on her back and raised her hands in surrender. "Wouldn't dream of it."


Montague Institute for Boys; Center Courtyard

"Okay, okay, just go over it one more time. For me."

"Merc, c'mon, he's had a rough enough day already…"

"Shove off, Ben, I want to know. So you were in the diner, right? And then she came by with that old guy's drink and you…what?"

"Why does she hate me so much?"

"That's beside the point. Focus, Rom, focus. What did you say to Rosie?"

"I mean…I mean…it's not like she's from the Academy or anything. She doesn't even have any friends that go there, so there's no reason why she should just…"

"…mindlessly hate you, yes, I get it. Rivalry's not a factor. But you've got to give me more than that, Rom, come on…"

Looking at the three boys in that moment, it would have been difficult to identify any similarities between them—the sulking one was languishing pathetically in the afternoon sun, hair fair, posture impeccable despite his mopey position on the ground, and clearly somewhere else at the moment. The one standing over him—Hispanic, perhaps, with dark curls and smooth hands resting on his knees—couldn't have been further from depressed; his eyes shone with mischief and he wasn't even attempting to make his sharp grin more sympathetic. The third, blonde hair and blue eyes nearly as washed out as his neatly pressed shirt, stood to the side concernedly, slouching in obvious discomfort.

Yet they all wore the same uniform, white shirts and blue slacks and a striped tie—although Ben was the only one with his shirt tucked in, and Mercutio hadn't bothered to tie his tie at all. They shared an air of dignity and class—some crisper than others—that spoke of being brought up in similar environments.

And they were all indubitably the best of friends.

Apparently reaching the conclusion that he wasn't getting any answers until this issue was addressed, Mercutio sighed and said diplomatically, "I'm sure she doesn't hate you, per se. Maybe she already has a boyfriend, or—"

His friend eyed him morosely. "She told me she'd run off and join a convent if I didn't leave her alone. What part of that doesn't communicate abject loathing?"

Mercutio threw his hands in the air and shook his head. "Well you didn't tell me that, see? You've gotta give me the whole story, Rom, come on…" The smirk on the boy's face was probably supposed to be a winning smile, but Merc's expressions had exactly three modes: mischievous, conniving, and downright evil. Sympathetic was not one of them, and neither was tactful.

His bedside manner, needless to say, was atrocious.

His next comment was forestalled by a hand clapped to his back, and Ben's voice was firm. "I think Romeo needs some time to recover, alright?" he said, settling his hands on both of Mercutio's shoulders and directing him in a direction that was vaguely away. "We will go pick up some snacks or something and come back later, right, Merc?"

Mercutio pouted, a rather unbecoming look for him. "But I want to hear about Rom's misadventures in wooing waitresses—"

"Later," Ben asserted, punctuating the word with a sharp shove. "We can have a party or whatever, but right now, we're leaving him alone, okay?" At the word party, Mercutio's eyes lit up.

"Yeeeeeeeah, stag night, let's gooooooooo—"

"How about no."

"How about yes."

The bickering was a bit of a bother, Ben had to admit, but at least he was successfully giving their friend some breathing room for a while. He figured as soon as food was involved—and an escape from the oppressive atmosphere of the Institute was in order—Mercutio would have enough to keep himself entertained for at least half an hour.