A/N: One shot fic. The title came first, then the end. The beginning wasn't far behind, but writing the middle was hell. This wasn't intended to be slash, although if you take it that way I suppose it could be, and I do have a slashy subconscious. Enjoy.

I own nothing.

Love Is Such a Strong Word
Mandy M.

"It is not necessary to understand things in order to fight about them."—Pierre de Beaumarchais

I always figured myself to be among the people Potter hated most. Maybe not number one—that honor would probably go to the Dark Lord. Maybe not even number two—my first guess there would be Peter Pettigrew. But I always assumed I was in the top five somewhere, perhaps even (a somewhat distant) third after those two. While on slow and boring afternoons I sometimes debated how high I placed in the ranks of people Harry Potter hated, it has only just occurred to me that I might not place at all.

I never for a second thought that Harry Potter liked me. Well, maybe for just a moment I thought I'd found someone intelligent to talk to when we met in Madam Malkin's; maybe I'd even thought I'd found a friend, though the very thought is laughable now. Of course I didn't recognize him for who he was at the time—no one did. No one knew anything about the way he looked—except for that scar.

That scar sets him apart from the real world and makes him more the stuff of legends than of every day life. When I think about it, scars are all that separate us. That lightning scar on his forehead and this wretched scull on my arm define us as protagonist and antagonist, as good and evil respectively.

And where would one be without the other? I doubt he could live without me, and, though I hesitate to admit it, I know that I would be nothing without him. In some sort of twisted way, I need him. Not an emotional need—not like friendship, certainly nothing like love. I'm no Weasley or Granger to him, but something more basic. There's a physical need for our fights, for the momentary high as adrenaline rushes through. A psychological need, a need to have focus for all the anger that builds up.

See, love is such a strong word.

But so is hate.