Summary: Will ponders on exactly what it means to be Jake and Ham. Hamilton is kind enough to help him connect the dots. J/H

Notes: I know it's been awhile since my last YA inspired fic but don't fear the muses have never left me. Truth be told they inspired me to write this fic a few nights ago in under 45 minutes. Please forgive and spelling/grammar mistakes you may come across I don't have a (reliable) beta. If you feel like you would like to be mine PM me and I WILL RESPOND. Other than that, all I ask is that you pay homage to the muses by reading + reviewing : D.

Now without any further ado I present....

Romeo & Juliet (AKA By Any Other Name)


What's in a name? That which we call a rose,

by any other name would still smell as sweet.

-William Shakespeare

***

Beneath picturesque autumnal maple trees Jake rests with her eyes closed. In her mouth she chews on a dry blade of glass, as she lies with one leg stretched out and one casually bent at the knee. Her head is propped up by her hands and everything about her demeanor screams that she is completely at ease at the world. From his vantage on a picnic table, across the west lawn, Will can't help but wonder what goes through her mind in moments like these.

She makes it look so easy...

And she does. Lena was only the first of many girls to fall for the charms of one Jake Pratt. Throughout the fall semester there have been countless other females who have been eyeing Jake...vying for time and attention from him and beingcompletely mystified as to why none of them have been able to capture his interest. While the intellectual in him recognizes that actually analyzing the psychology behind the phenomena would probably win him a noble prize he, Scout, and Sean have already reached the consensus that it has everything to do with the fact that women always want what they can't have. However Jake always refutes their claims and asserts that these girls only fall for him because she gets them, still Will can't help but wonder...

If only they knew.

Speaking of girls, Will watches as one casually walks out to Jake and covers her eyes. He can almost make out the sound of Carrie's voice as she asks

"Guess who."

Had Jake been a hormonal teenage boy Jake's voice would have probably gone up about three octaves when he realized that Rawley's homecoming queen was purposely flirting with him. But as it were, Jake is not and therefore (somehow) manages to answer her without losing any of that endless supply of cool which she never seems to run out of.

"Gwyneth Paltrow?"

Carrie laughs merrily as she lifts her hands.

"No silly it's me."

Jake sits up and looks at her nonchalantly.

"Close enough."

Will laughs to himself as he makes a mental note to remember that one. Meanwhile the two continue to converse; The conversation consists of Carrie enthusiastically talking about something or other while Jake casually nods along and throws in her signature wry smile every now and again. Jake even manages remain aloof when Carrie moves in close to remove an eyelash that fell on to her cheek. At the scene, Will has to wonder if there is ever a time when Jake ever manages to lose her cool.

As if on cue, Hamilton makes his way over from the Dean's house and Will catches Jake momentarily lose of herself as she locks eyes with Hamilton. The slip only lasts a second before Jake focuses her attention back on Carrie who now holds Jake's eyelash on the tip of her finger and was instructing Jake to "Blow". Unwittingly an image of Jacqueline and Carrie making out flashes through Will's mind and he's embarrassed to know that he has to cross his legs as Hamilton slowly makes his way over to him.

"Hey man what's up?"

Shaking himself out of it Will lifts up the copy Romeo and Juliet Finn assigned the class to read for homework which he holds in his hands.

"Just trying to get some work done. You?"

Hamilton pulls out his copy of the play from his back pocket.

"Same."

Will nods and motions for Hamilton to join him on the picnic table.

"Well if you like we can study it together?"

"Actually, I kind of already have a study partner for the evening..."

Hamilton then averts his gaze from Will and casts a glance in Jake's direction. From their spot on yard, they can hear Carrie let out a sharp giggle as Jake struggles to get up and Carrie pulls her back down.

Will can't help but feel bad for Hamilton as he observes him watching them.

His life must be tough. Lying to your parents... Dating a girl who masquerades as a guy most of the time....Being labeled as gay by the majority of the school because you're not able to NOT stare at your girlfriend whenever she walks into a room.... Knowing your girlfriend could pick up a girl faster than you...

The reality of Jake and Hamilton's relationship hits Will all at once and he can't stop himself from asking.

"How do you do it?"

Hamilton looks away from the girls to focus on Will.

"How do I do what?"

Will motions to where Carrie and Jake sit still locked in a tug of war of sorts with Carrie laughing her heart out and Jake awkwardly laughing along.

"How do you, you know deal with -"

Will searches for the right word.

"...everything."

Without batting a lash, Hamilton smiles knowingly.

"It's easy to do it when you're in on the secret. "

Seeing Will's puzzled expression Hamilton sighs and takes a seat on the picnic table next to Will.

"It's like this, everyone around here looks at her and sees Romeo... but they don't know that she's really Juliet underneath all that."

Will considers Hamilton's words. But something about Hamilton's response still leaves him confused.

"Scout, Sean and I know she's Juliet."

"True."

Hamilton pauses as he watches Jake finally wrestle herself free from Carrie's grasp when Carrie's roommate and some friends walk by and ask her if she'd like to come with them to the mall; Without hesitation Carrie gets up to join them. Hamilton jumps off the picnic table as Jake slowly makes her way over. Just before she reaches them Hamilton turns to Will and inquires.

"...But did you ever consider that as much as I'm sacrificing to be with her, she's sacrificing even more just to be with me?"

As if to drive the point home, Carrie and a group of her girlfriends walk past Hamilton and Will while energetically discussing their evening plans. Jake finally reaches them and watches Carrie and her friends walk off laughing and talking animatedly. On her face she wears an expression he can only liken to envy.

Will thinks he understands.

After a few seconds, Jake manages to turn her attention away from Carrie and the girls in order to smile briefly at Will.

"Hey,"

He wants to return the greeting but she's (unsurprisingly enough) already focused all her attention on Hamilton.

"Ready for that study session Romeo?"

Hamilton smiles back at her knowingly as he holds up his book.

"You know it."

Without even a second glance in his direction Jake and Hamilton utter their goodbyes and are off. Despite all this Will can't help but smile and shake his head as he opens up his book and reads.

"Romeo and Juliet indeed..."