disclaimer-How dare any of you accuse me of lying and saying that I really am J.K. and i really do own Harry Potter! The nerve of you...

The Distinction Between Hatred and Indifference

Chapter One

James Potter really was a rational person.

It didn't matter that he was one of Hogwarts' finest pranksters. It didn't matter that he rarely did homework. It didn't matter that one of the sole reasons he lived was to play Quidditch. It didn't matter that he had spent nearly six years of his life trying to get a certain red-haired girl to go out it him.

None of that mattered, because James Potter was very sensible, and he knew it. At least, that was what he discovered about himself at the end of his sixth year at Hogwarts, on the night before everyone was to go home for the summer holiday.

And how, might you ask, did he discover this about himself? It's very simple, really. James chose to listen when his best friend, Sirius, asked their other friend, Remus, why he hated Quidditch, which, as you might recall, was one of James' favorite things in life.

"I don't hate Quidditch," Remus replied without looking up from the book he was reading, "I'm just indifferent about it. It's not that I hate Quidditch, it's that I don't care about Quidditch. If I hated the sport, it would be showing some feeling for it."

And that, is when James came to the sudden realization that there might still be some hope. Hope that Lily Evans would one day go out with him. That night James could hardly sleep as a result of this revelation.

The morning everyone was to leave Hogwarts dawned bright and clear, a sure sign to James that things were going to turn out well. He was jumpy with anticipation all throughout breakfast, and when his friends asked him what was wrong he merely replied that he couldn't wait to go home.

It was when all of the students were boarding the train that he finally put his plan into action. Scanning the crowd for a glimpse of red, a grin lit up James' face when he finally found Lily about to get on the train.

"Lily!" James called, running to reach her.

With a deep sigh, Lily turned around, her hand already inching towards her pocket as if in anticipation of needing her wand to hex James so that he would leave her alone.

"What do you want, Potter?" She asked suspiciously. Whenever James talked to her it was with the intention of asking her out. His not doing so by this time alerted her that something strange was about to occur.

"I need to talk to you." James said breathlessly. He grabbed her arm and pulled her onto the train. "Come with me."

He led Lily down a corridor of compartments full of their classmates until at last he found an empty one for them to talk in. Once Lily was seated, James began pacing up and down in front of her. After about a minute of this he stopped directly in front of her and looked her straight in the eye.

"I know this is going to sound like a very strange question," James began, "But I have to know: Do you hate me?"

Lily couldn't help herself, she just stared at James, not even opening her mouth to reply.

"Well?" James prompted impatiently. "Do you hate me or not?"

"Er…yes?" Lily replied slowly.

"Yes what?"

"Yes, I…hate you, Potter." Lily said, still with the expression on her face that quite plainly said she thought James had finally lost it. Not that she hadn't ever thought that before, of course.

At this pronouncement, a large grin broke out on James' face. Indeed, it was the largest-and by far the happiest-grin Lily had ever seen on him.

"Are you alright, Potter?" Lily asked tentatively, unsure as to whether or not she really wanted to know the answer to that question.

"You hate me." James said happily. He grinned again. "Well, I should be going, Lily. Have a wonderful summer."

And with that final word, James turned and left Lily sitting in the compartment questioning her sanity-and his for that matter.


Back in the compartment James was sharing with his three friends, James sat down with the same happy grin still plastered on his face.

"Where have you been?" Sirius demanded. "You disappeared when we got off the carriages. We almost went up to the driver to tell him not to leave because we thought something had happened to you."

"I was with Lily." James said simply.

"With Lily." Sirius repeated dubiously. "But you don't look as if you've just come from a fight for your life."

James nodded, and Remus looked up from his newspaper questioningly.

"What were you doing with Lily?" He asked, unknowingly using the same tone Lily had just used with James moments before. It was a tone that said Remus wasn't sure whether he really wanted to know the answer to the question he had just asked or not.

"Talking."

"About…?"

James sighed contentedly. "Lily hates me."

At this, all three of his friends looked at him with concern.

"If she hates you, then why are you so…happy?" Peter asked slowly.

"Because she hates me." James replied as if it were obvious.

"Is this a…good thing?" Remus questioned.

"He obviously thinks so." Sirius muttered under his breath.

"I do." James said, the happy expression never leaving his face.

"But why?" Remus asked, looking utterly confused. "I don't understand a word you're saying."

James took a deep breath before speaking again.

"I was just with Lily." He said slowly. "Lily Evans; I'm sure you know her. Anyway, I asked her whether or not she hated me-and don't worry Moony, I was very polite." He paused, his grin growing larger. "And she said yes!"

"Would you care to explain why this is a cause for celebration?" Remus asked. "I thought your goal was to get her to like you so that she would go out with you…or have you changed tactics?"

"You could say that." James said with a nod. "It's like this: do you remember what you and Padfoot were talking about last night in the common room?"

"We were talking about Moony hating Quidditch." Sirius replied, looking at his best friend strangely. "What does that have to do with you getting Lily to go out with you?"

"I'm getting there." James insisted. "You see, you, Padfoot, wanted to know why Moony hates Quidditch so much. And Moony told you that he doesn't hate quidditch. He's just indifferent about it; he doesn't care. Moony said that if he were to hate Quidditch, it would be showing some sort of feeling for it…but Moony doesn't have any feelings for Quidditch; he doesn't care."

"O-kay." Remus said slowly. "And this relates to you and Lily…how?"

"She said she hates me." James repeated for the thousandth time. "She's not indifferent, like Moony and Quidditch."

"Oh…" Sirius said suddenly, realization dawning on his face. "I get it now. Lily cares enough about you to hate you." His brow furrowed in confusion. "This helps…how?"

"Since Lily already cares about me, I just need to get her to care about me…differently." He frowned now. "The problem is, I don't know how." He turned to Remus and with a desperate plea in his voice said, "Moony, I need help!"

With a sigh, Remus lowered his newspaper, any hope of finishing reading it had been completely obliterated upon James' entry into the compartment, anyway.

"Do you know why Lily hates you so much?" Remus began.

"Er…no." James said slowly.

"You make fun of people, and hex them for the fun of it." Remus looked at James pointedly. "That will need to stop. Now that we've figured that out, can you think of anything else you could do so you won't bother Lily so much?"

James was silent for a moment.

"That'd be another no." He finally said. Remus rolled his eyes.

"Lose the snitch." Remus said. "Don't make your hair look messier than it already is, and most importantly-which I was getting to before-be nice to people. All people."

"Even the Slytherins?"

Remus nodded.

"Good luck with that one." Sirius muttered.

"Even Snape?"

"That's another thing." Remus responded. "Snape was Lily's best friend for years. Making fun of him, and hexing him, and whatever else you did to him was not the best plan of action for getting Lily to go out with you."

"Why does Moony always make sense when he's telling us off?" Sirius asked no one in particular. "I can never understand a word he's saying when we're doing homework, but when we do something wrong…oh no…he makes perfect sense then!"

"Anything else?" James asked Remus, ignoring his best friend.

Remus nodded.

"If you want Lily to go out with you," He began, "Don't ask her out every single time you see her."

"I don't understand." James said, looking confused. "How will I get her to go out with me if I can't ask her to go out with me? Sirius was right! You never make sense when you're trying to help us."

Remus just rolled his eyes.

"It annoys Lily when you bother her every second of the day to go on a date with you." Remus said slowly. "That's part of the reason why she hates you so much. If you don't bother her, she won't hate you."

"Oh…" James said slowly. "Now that makes sense."

"Of course it does." Sirius replied as he dug around in his trunk, looking for something before producing a deck of cards. "So, who's up for a game of Exploding Snap?"

a/n-depending on how studious i wish to be in the next week and a half, th enext chapter might get posted pretty soon. if anyone reads any of my other stories, I have a final and an AP test next week(thankfully in the same subject) but that means I won't be updating anything until about next week thursday at the earliest. and before you get mad and try to kill me, please try to remember that if i'm dead, I can't update anything. that's all. :) hope you liked the first chapter.