A/N: Aaaand welcome to chapter 2.

A.P. Carry's Family Drugstore; College Road, Verona

The car that pulled into the drugstore lot and parked—crookedly, it must be noted—had probably been blue at some point, but the sheer amount of graffiti, botched repaints, scratches, and replacement parts left the Jetta's original color all but unrecognizable.

The passenger-side door opened first, and a ginger girl's high-heel hit the asphalt, followed immediately by its twin. The girl herself was focused on her reflection in a compact mirror, hunting down that bit of popcorn kernel wedged painfully between her teeth somewhere. Giving up, she clasped the mirror shut, stuffed it in her pocket alongside her phone, and shut the door with a cheerful, "Thanks, Tibbs!"

Tibby grinned at her classmate over the roof of the car. "Anytime, Sammy."

While the redhead bounced into the drugstore, her temporary chauffeur examined the contents of her wallet and carefully totaled up the ones and change. She grunted and scratched her noise. "Four-twenty-six," Tibby muttered, vaguely wondering if that would cover a carton of chocolate ice cream along with a pack of gum. Eventually, she returned the wallet to her back pocket and locked the car, advancing on the drugstore with what her mother would have called "obnoxious swagger".

The sliding glass doors opened and the blast of air conditioning was welcome. At the register, the cashier—Arthur P. Carry Jr.; his father was the manager and The Carry—caught Tibby's eye and frowned. I'm watching you. Tibby smirked and saluted. "No-man's-land, I know," she called over her shoulder. "Don't worry, I left my gun in the car."

That had been a joke, but A.P. Carry wasn't amused. He shook his head and jabbed a finger at her. "I mean it, kid. You guys are the best customers we have, but you can leave your rivalry back at school, a'ight?"

Tibby rolled her eyes as she turned the corner to the freezer aisle and scanned the shelves for the cheapest gallon. It was as she was pulling open the freezer door that the muffled argument taking place the next aisle over heightened to a volume that made the words distinguishable.

"What the hell do you mean you didn't flip me off—I'm literally the only other person here, you dumb bastard—"

"Hey, hey, I'm just here to get some food—you're the one picking a fight—"

"Both of you, calm down—d'you want to get us kicked out?"

"Man—stay out of this Ben—I've got something to say to our friend from the academy—"

Glass door closed, Tibby knelt and unzipped her left boot. The sound was lost in the raised voices. Despite the situation, she almost smiled when she stood up and made her way towards the ruckus.

A tall blonde was gesticulating with a can of cheap soup while his friend glared at Sammy. As her hair color would indicate, she was in a blazing fury, one step down from spitting flames.

"Seriously, fighting's not the way to go here—"

"Says the guy armed with a can," Tibby drawled, sauntering into the engagement at Sammy's shoulder and nudging her arm with a smirk. She nodded curtly at the blonde. "Ben." To the boy at his side, her expression flashed three emotions in rapid succession—amusement, anger, and eventually…pure hate. "Mercutio." Her voice dripped venom.

"Tybalt." Condescension and mischief had vanished from his tone. It greeted his adversary with cold loathing.

Having flushed at Tibby's initial comment, Ben paled and almost self-consciously stepped in front of his roommate, hands expressing his plea even as he spoke. "Do you guys really want to do this now—?"

Tibby's eyes flashed in his direction, and she jabbed her finger into his chest with enough force to send him stumbling backwards half a step. "This—" she gestured at her face, which was expressionless despite the fire in her glare, "is not tolerance, Blondie. I simply have a bigger fish to fry. I will break your nose if you get in my way. Back off."

Ben slid the can back onto the shelf and held his hands up in surrender. "Look, I get you guys have some inexplicable beef, but I'm just trying to keep the peace for A.P. Carry over there—"


Tibby's hand shot down to her side so quickly that Ben flinched as if she'd slapped him. She ran her tongue over her teeth and regarded him with a hint of irritation tempered by—well, it might have been shock at his nerve. And persistence. "You can take your peace and shove it up your ass and carry it to hell with the rest of your Montague boys—" She turned her glare on Mercutio and took two intimidating steps towards them until they were practically nose-to-nose, identical in height. "Except you. I'm escorting you there personally."

The smile Mercutio offered her was icy. "It's a date."

Tilting her head to the side as she considered the boy, Tibby searched his eyes for something. She found it. Sammy stumbled backwards when Tibby thrust the carton of ice cream at her chest with a gruff, "Hold this—" and the redhead let the tiniest traces of fear cross her features as she and Ben exchanged glances, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt what was about to happen.

Both had given the couple a ten foot birth by the time the first punch flew.


Ben was sick of sitting on the curb. The flashing lights and raised voices on all sides definitely weren't helping the headache that was beginning to build.

It had been over an hour.

As with all incidents involving the hate-spawn of an age-old rivalry, things had escalated to a full-on brawl, and now A.P. Carry and A.P. The Carry had an entire aisle of soup cans to clean up, Sammy had Tibby's car keys and permission to take it back, Ben had three more police interviews to add to his tally, and Tibby and Mercutio both had lifetime bans from the drugstore and a free ride back to campus in the back of a police cruiser. Oh. And the fire department had the remnants of an explosion to clean up. Who knew slushy machines could be so volatile?

He groaned and buried his face in his hands. How the hell was he going to explain this to his friend when he got back? Probably, it would only take a couple of words—"Tibby was at A.P. Carry's…"—to get the message across. With any luck, Romeo would just roll his eyes and nod, and no further explanation would be necessary. An hour and a half would have been plenty of time to get over the sting of rejection, right?

Ben got to his feet, scooped up the carton of vanilla ice cream he'd just bought—probably melted by now, all things considered—and unlocked the car.

It was going to be a long night.


Knez Manor; Second floor, The Elliptical Office

Principal wasn't actually a principal—not anymore, anyways. He had achieved his latest step-up in life nearly two decades previously, in fact, taking a position as the Superintendent of a private school district consisting of only two institutions. They were quite prestigious, he had been assured amidst a multitude of congratulations, with reputations traceable back nearly a century.

They had scarcely even hinted at the feud whose roots traced back even further than that, and no one—absolutely no one—could have possibly warned him about the two troublemakers that could quite accurately be described as peace's perfect enemies, the bane of order's very existence.

If rebirth had any merit to it, Principal had to wonder what he had done in his past life to warrant such a horrid pair of demons sent to haunt him—demons to whom he now bore the responsibility of giving the talking-to of the century.

Or, what would have been the talking-to of the century if he hadn't already given it to these two.

Three times.

This year.

Was it really that much of a mystery that his hair was graying at an abnormal rate?

The two in question—unrepentant beasts, the both of them—definitely weren't helping their case as they stood in front of Principal without much interest. The boy slouched, tapping out a beat on his leg. The girl, weight lazily favoring one foot, picked at the scabs on her knuckles. Every couple of seconds, eyes would flick upward in a harsh glare then back down again, and occasionally gazes would wander around the room with boredom. Bruises and cuts—the worst a long gash along the boy's forearm that the police told Principal had come from a switchblade, though they hadn't been able to locate the weapon at the scene or on either person—dotted any bit of exposed skin. An impressive indigo blossom decorated the underside of the girl's jaw.

"Three," Principal started fiercely, tearing his glasses off of his face. "Three times you two have disturbed the quiet of Verona's streets, three times you two have left the district in an awkward position, three times you two have wasted law enforcement resources and hours of others' precious time—are you listening, Tybalt?"

Tibby crossed her arms and cocked an eyebrow, nodding curtly as if she hadn't just slammed her elbow into Mercutio's stomach in retaliation for the pinch he'd aimed at her hip. Principal rubbed his forehead.

"Frankly, I am at the end of my rope. I could have let you both be arrested, do you understand that? You could both be in Mantua Pen by the end of the night, but criminal records on my students is bad for these schools and bad for this city." Neither of his students looked particularly impressed. Of course, they'd been threatened with imprisonment on several occasions previously, and that had never stopped them in the past. Principal sighed.

"Just help me to understand this," he said wearily. He rose from his seat and stepped around his desk to stand over them, hands clasped behind his back as he looked down from six-feet-five-inches of on high. "The rivalry is a given. I understand that. I am willing to work with that. School spirit is good and well and healthy competition is good and well and the occasional prank is amusing, albeit in a headache-inducing and time-consuming sense…but you two…" He shook his head. "You two go too far. And you do it too often. Do you actually expect me to believe that the only way to quench these pernicious flames of inconceivable loathing is with the coursing fluids of each other's veins?"

Tibby and Mercutio both blinked, glanced at one another, and then blinked again.

"Was that a fancy way of asking if we won't be content until the other is dead?"

"Because if that's the case, then absolutely yes."

Principal threw his head back in frustration. They were impossible. "I have just about had it with you both."

"We know."

The two words came out in unison, and there was an instant exchange of furious eye contact in the moments that followed. Principal rubbed his eyes and settled the hand holding his glasses on his hip. "I can see that no traditional punishment will amend whatever damage has been wrought on your relationship to one another," he ground out, halfway between a groan and a sigh.

Ears perked up. No traditional punishment? No locking up in the Penitentiary? No suspension? No detention? No old-fashioned beating? Were they actually going to get out of this scot-free?

The simplest answer was…no. No, they were not.

And by the time Principal was done outlining their sentence, both were beginning to wish he'd just expelled them. Anything would be preferable to this. Anything at all.

Every outburst was swatted down by a rise in Principal's volume and an impatient wave. Every spluttering cry was cut off. In shock, the two almost forgot to turn their glares up to level 10 every time their eyes met. For ten minutes, Principal made his decree, and with heads whirling and faces paling, Tibby and Mercutio could only step back in horror and listen.

"And for the entire duration, you will be civil," Principal concluded with an assertive hand gesture. The effect of his speech was so great that he didn't even get a sarcastic eyeroll in response. Good. "And God so help me, you will enjoy yourselves."

Twin groans echoed.

Anything would be preferable to this.

Anything at all.