The Upper Hand: Jefferson x Reader {Part 1}

Hello! This is my first Hamilton fic. I intend to make it a multi-part series, so watch out for the next installments in the near future! Jefferson is a jerk to the reader in the beginning, but it’ll get better. Don’t worry! Please enjoy! 

Hamilton – Modern AU (law school)

Jefferson x Reader

Originally posted by supersquiddy

“I may not live to see our glory…” John Laurens quips, tapping his pen against the corner of his desk.

Hercules Mulligan picks up the next line of the quartet’s motto or creed or whatever they say it is, “But I will gladly join the fight…”

“And when our children tell our story…” Alexander Hamilton continues, making eye contact with you and wiggling his eyebrows.

“Alex!” you protest, giving him a mock glare. “This is just a group project. This is not the end-all, be-all of our law school careers.”

“(Y/N)!” Lafayette, the fifth member of your group, smirks at you. “But this project is worth over half of our grade. It is, how you say, imperative that we do well.”

You sink a little in your seat behind Alexander. “Wait—how much is it worth?”

“Sixty percent,” Hercules mutters, shaking his head with disapproval. “It’s ridiculous.”

That meant that all the hard work you had put into this class could be potentially useless if you didn’t do well on this project. Your hands begin to sweat as you realize what this means. If you failed this class, your GPA would fall below 3.5 and you would lose your scholarship. You begin chewing your mint gum more quickly, popping bubbles absentmindedly as you think. If you lost your scholarship, then you’d have to drop out of school and move back home with your parents and work at a gas station for minimum wage and you’d never fulfill your dream of becoming a lawyer for an environmental firm and…

“(Y/N)!” Laurens gently shakes your shoulder, snapping you out of your train of thought. “It’ll be okay. This project isn’t due until the end of the semester. You’ll have plenty of time to work on it.”

“Alexander, will you be my partner?” you ask. “I have to get a good grade on this and you’re so smart and—”

“Oh, please, Y/N,” a new voice scoffs condescendingly. “Everyone knows that Hamilton is nothing without Washington behind him.”

You connect the voice to a tall man wearing a ridiculous magenta blazer. His crazy curls, as usual, stick out every which way, giving him a sort of black, frizzy halo with the fluorescent ceiling lights shining through his locks. You immediately bristle as you recognize your nemesis.

“Jefferson,” you say coldly, the usual glare settling onto your face as you meet his eyes. “Strong words coming from you. Your parents’ names have paved the way for your admission to law school; we know you haven’t actually done a lick of work to earn it.”

“Listen, Y/N,” Jefferson says, looking over your shoulder at Alexander, “you’d be better off with someone like me as your partner. I could wipe the floor with this guy’s criminal defense.”

Alex leaps to his feet and starts listing his previous mock cases which got more than excellent marks from his professors, but Jefferson ignores him, looking at you instead.

“With your grades, we all know who you need to partner with to maintain that scholarship. Wouldn’t want to go back to Ma and Pa’s farm in Nebraska, would you? What do they farm, again?” He looks you up and down with an appraising sneer. “Oh, that’s right! Pigs.”

Your face turns bright red, and you clench your fists, standing so you’re face to face with Jefferson—well, face to chest with Jefferson. He is ridiculously tall. “How dare you!”

He smirks and cocks an eyebrow at you. “Just trying to look out for you, shorty.”

Before either you or Alex can say anything, Jefferson walks out of earshot to his seat next to James Madison across the room.

You seethe at Jefferson’s words and start to go after him, but Herc grabs your wrist and pushes you back into your seat. He moves in front of you so he’s all you can see.

“Hey, Y/N, don’t let him get to you,” Herc says, pushing your hair behind your ear in a brotherly gesture.

“Alex, same,” Laurens says. “He’s just trying to rile you up.”

You start to protest, preparing to extol the evilness of Jefferson, but Alex cuts you off.

“(Y/N), as much as I love your compliments, you don’t need to butter me up so I’ll say yes to you. I’ll be your partner.”

The three other guys chime in, boosting your confidence and telling you to forget Jefferson, but they are silenced by another student, Aaron Burr, yelling, “Here comes the General!”

The class instantly quiets, waiting for Professor Washington, the toughest professor in the school, to walk through the door. “The General” nickname came from Washington’s military-like teaching methods. He prefers absolute silence while he lectured and often refers to the court as a battlefield. Despite his harshness toward dissenters in his classroom, he often is regaled as the most elegant and eloquent professor on staff. He lectures seamlessly, with complete understanding of what he is teaching and communicates it efficiently.

Washington enters the classroom with a monarchial aura, placing his black leather briefcase on the table at the front of the room. He grips both edges of the lectern with his large hands and surveys the class for a moment. He makes eye contact with you, and you involuntarily shiver. You don’t want to get on his bad side.

“Today, as I’m sure you all know, I will be giving you more information about the end-of-semester project that counts as 60% of your grades. I know this seems like a lot, but, trust me, with the amount of work you will be putting into it, it is justified.”

You exchange a worried look with Laurens, who shares two other classes with you. Your workload is already difficult enough without the added stress of this project. You aren’t sure how you can get it all done.

Washington continues speaking as he begins passing out sheets of paper. “This paper outlines the goals of the project, so I won’t bother going over it. This project is due in three weeks’ time, on December 4. That’s the Thursday before finals, for those who care.”

You skim the handout and your foot begins jiggling restlessly. Washington will assign each pair a theoretical criminal case to defend. At the deadline, the pairs will present their projects to the class. Though it sounds straightforward, you know it definitely wouldn’t be.

“One final thing to do before I let you out early,” Washington says, returning to his lectern and retrieving a single sheet of paper from his briefcase. “I have allowed you to pick your groups this semester when we have done small group projects, which has given me a perfect opportunity to observe your weaknesses and strengths. For this final project, however, I shall pair you myself.”

Your heart slams in your chest. Washington is going to make the groups? A million worries flood through your mind. What if your partner has a bad work ethic? What if they don’t like you? What if they don’t understand the project?

Alexander senses your panic and turns around to give you a helpful grin and some encouraging words. “You’ve only worked with us all semester,” he whispers, gesturing to the other three guys. “I’m sure the General’ll put you with one of us.”

You nod, trying to siphon some comfort from his words, but all you feel is panic.

“These groups are based on perceived ability to work together and other factors,” Washington is saying. “Listen carefully as I call your names because I will not repeat myself based on your inability to listen.”

He begins reading the pairings and handing them their packets of case materials. You sit quietly, your leg jiggling furiously under your desk. Whispering on the other side of the classroom catches your attention. Jefferson and James Madison whisper something to each other and point at another student, Charles Lee, as Washington pairs him with Peggy Schuyler, who everyone knows is failing the class. Frowning, you mentally scold them for making fun of Charles and Peggy.

Suddenly, a horrible idea crosses your mind: What if Washington pairs you with Jefferson? Thomas Jefferson and his loyal best friend, James Madison, have been Alexander’s and the rest of the group’s nemeses since their first day of law school. Jefferson is a self-righteous, entitled son of a wealthy pair of lawyers who lived in Virginia. He opposed every one of Alexander’s beliefs and plans, igniting several heated debates in the various classes they’d had together over the semesters. And Jefferson’s hatred of Alexander extended to his friends, even you. It even seemed like he teased you more than the guys, insulting everything from your intelligence to your y/c/h to your background. Though you throw back the insults adeptly, what he says hurts you. You already have gnawing doubts about your adequacy, and his slurs, no matter how far-fetched, cut into your self-esteem.

You turn your attention back to Washington and listen as Laurens and Alex are paired together (with a delighted high five) and Lafayette is paired with Angelica Schuyler, a fiercely intelligent girl with a tongue to match. Catching Hercules’ eyes and hopeful grin, you pray that he would be your partner.

Hercules got paired with James Madison, to his chagrin. Lafayette sympathetically patt Herc on the back. You close your eyes and silently pray.

Anybody but Jefferson. Anybody but Jefferson. Anybody but Jefferson.

Sneaking a quick glance across the room, you survey the people left to be paired with. Pickings are getting slim. You look to where Jefferson is sitting and realize that he is staring at you, his face unreadable. Clenching your jaw, you hold his gaze, refusing to be intimidated by his intense chocolate brown eyes.

“Y/N Y/L/N,” Washington says, startling you into breaking Jefferson’s staring contest and refocusing your attention on the professor.

You try to steady your racing heart and wipe your clammy palms on your jeans.

“You’re with Thomas Jefferson,” Washington announces.


Jefferson’s snort can be heard across the silent room. You can almost feel his eyes taunting you to acknowledge him. You feign calm as Washington hands you your copy of the case, hating how badly your hands are shaking.

“There will be no switching of partners, no pleading for reassignment. Pairings are final. You may take the rest of the class time to begin delegating and acquainting yourselves if you don’t know each other already. Leave whenever you feel you have finished. I will be available to answer any questions now or via email.”

With that, Washington pulls up a chair to the instructor’s table at the front of the room, places a pair of reading classes on his nose, and begins grading papers. The class begins to break into its pairs, the noise level increasing drastically.

You sit motionless in your desk, eyes staring unfocused at the case in front of you. Laurens slips behind you and started massaging your shoulders.

“Maybe we could appeal to the General,” you vaguely hear Alex say to Herc, whose expression mirrors yours. “He knows how much we hate Jefferson and his little follower.”

Laurens shakes his head. “Washington said no appeals. We can’t.”

“There has to be something we can do,” Alex continues, spewing out options as quickly as he can think of them. “We could poison them or something—no, just food poisoning. Jesus, you think I’d try to kill them? How about we…”

You feel Jefferson’s eyes on you, daring you to look at him. How weak and defeated do you look right now, you wonder. Staring catatonic at the desk, motionless. He can’t see you like this. You can handle working with him. You won’t let him get to you.

Straightening your shoulders, you stand and gather your materials. Herc, Laf, Laurens, and Alex all stare at you with wide eyes and confused expressions.

“I got this, guys,” you say, trying to control your shaky voice. “It’s only one project, and he is one of the top students in this class.”

Alex’s eyebrows draw together but you stop him from saying anything.

“I’ll meet you guys for dinner later.”

With that, you walk to the other side of the room where Jefferson is sitting, drawing courage from the quickness of your pace. The only way to make sure he doesn’t get the upper hand is go on the offensive, be the dominant one. You stop at his desk, facing him, and lean over, meeting his eyes with a steely look.

“Listen up, Jefferson,” you say quietly but firmly. “You better work your ass off on this project. I will not tolerate any slacking off. And if you insult me even once—” you lean even closer until you can smell his conditioner (green apple) “you will regret it.”

He holds your gaze silently, a slight crease in his forehead, but he makes no move to respond or react to your threat. Good enough.

You straighten and hold out your hand. “Give me your phone.”

The crease in his forehead deepens as he hesitates. “Why should I?”

“So we can contact each other, you idiot.”

His face reddens as you sigh and roll your eyes, but he pulls his phone out of his back pocket and slaps it into your open hand. You call your number and put his phone not in his open waiting hand but on his desk.

“Tonight, the library, eight.” With a final silencing look, you walk out of the classroom, feeling not only Jefferson’s but your friends’ eyes on you.

Outside the classroom, all confidence you had disappears, leaving you with nothing but sweaty palms, a buzzing sound in your ears, and Jefferson’s number in your phone. You lean against the wall and try to control your breathing. What just happened? It was such a rush.

All you knew was that you weren’t going to let Jefferson get the upper hand.


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