a/n-So, this is it: the last chapter. I hope you all like the chapter and that you liked the story as a whole. Enjoy!
James Potter had waited six years to hear those words come out of Lily Evans' mouth. And now that they were, he couldn't believe it.
"I…um…you what?" James stuttered.
"I just told you that I think I'm falling in love with you." Lily replied. "And that's your response?"
"Well…" James began slowly, "It's all a bit sudden."
A small smile crossed Lily's face at this. "Yeah, I suppose it is."
"And I really want to ask why you only think you're falling in love with me, but I have a feeling that wouldn't be very endearing." James continued. "Also, I have a strange suspicion that I probably fell asleep in front of the fire while I was doing my homework, and I'm only dreaming that I'm here right now."
"Well, for starters, I suppose I only think I'm falling in love with you is because I've never been in love with anyone before, so how on earth am I supposed to know what it feels like? And you really aren't dreaming James. This is all quite real, and only semi un-endearing." Lily added with a slight grin. "That clear things up for you?"
"I…yeah, sure." James replied.
James Potter really was a rational person.
It didn't matter that even though he was now Head Boy he liked to pull the occasional prank on the general population of Hogwarts. It didn't matter that he was excelling in school but hardly doing any of his work. It didn't matter that his life pretty much revolved around 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 with 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, and how he finally figured out how to get that certain red-haired girl to actually like him at the beginning of his seventh year.
Now that James knew that Lily Evans finally did like him, there was only one course of action that he could follow. And what, might you ask, would that course of action be? Well, it's very simple, really. James chose to once again ask the girl he'd been in love with since he was eleven to go to Hogsmeade with him, which as you might recall was what he'd been trying to get her to do with him for a few years.
"I'd love to, James." Lily said with a smile when James asked her. Without a doubt, this was definitely the happiest day of James Potter's young life, or at least it was until Lily spoke again. "But I can't."
James' eyes widened in shock. Had he not just discovered that Lily Evans didn't hate him and never had, but in fact, she was most likely falling in love with him? Was he perhaps turning into Professor Binns, who was so old and so deaf he never heard pretty much his entire class either snoring or talking through his entire lecture?
"Why not?" James asked, genuinely confused.
"Well, we're the Head students…" Lily trailed off slowly, as if she expected James to understand her meaning perfectly. Which, unfortunately for him, he did not.
"Do you think us dating would be bad, then?" James questioned. "Because, personally, I think it would be a better image for the school than, say, how we were together two years ago."
"I don't think it would be bad at all." Lily replied takenaback at his question. "I do know about the school-wide betting pool, you know. I'm sure the two of us finally dating would make more than a few people very happy."
"Then why won't you go to Hogsmeade with me?" James wanted to know.
"I didn't say I wouldn't." Lily replied, looking amused. "I said I can't."
"You know, you're really starting to remind me of Sirius." Lily commented with a slight grin. "That can't be healthy for you."
James just gave her an impatient look and she had to try very hard not to laugh at his expression.
"James, we're the Head students." Lily repeated. "And it's still fairly early in the school year. We haven't set the dates to go to Hogsmeade yet. I can't go with you, because so far, we don't have any days scheduled to go."
"Oh…" James mouthed slowly, realization dawning on him. "That makes sense."
A small giggle escaped Lily's lips as her grin widened. "You were really worried there for a second, weren't you?"
"Me, worried? Of course not." James said with a wave of his hand.
"Of course." Lily repeated.
"So, Ms. Evans," James began now, "I hear you're the Head Girl here at Hogwarts?"
Lily simply rose an eyebrow at his antics. "Yes, I am."
"Well, as it turns out I'm the Head Boy here."
"You don't say."
"Oh it's true. And lately I've been getting some complaints from some of the younger students about there not being a schedule for visiting Hogsmeade yet."
"Have you really?" Lily asked, amused.
"Oh, of course." James replied.
"Well, it seems like it's going to be a quiet night, tonight." Lily said. "I say we work out that schedule right now. For the sake of the younger students, of course."
"Anything for them." James stated, holding his hand out to Lily.
And as she took it, James decided that he really was glad that he'd had nothing better to do one night last spring than listen to his two friends talk about hating quidditch. Because now he realized that there really was a distinction between hatred and indifference and that distinction made all the difference in the world.
Of course, there's also a distinction between whether or not a person actually hates you, but James doesn't really like to mention that part.