a/n: for Nanii, NRC, because she's wonderful and amazing and I adore her and would do anything for her. Oh yeah, and it's her birthday! So go wish her happy birthday everyone, okay?

So this pairing is going to weird most of you out. I accept that and I'm not going to bother trying to persuade you otherwise. But, please, if the pairing bothers you – just don't read it. Click away and find something else more to your tastes.

Nanii likes the pairing, and that is enough for me.

cavalcade of tragedies
when i'm alone with you, you make me feel, you make me feel
when I'm alone with you, you are the one, you are the one
- When I'm Alone, Lissie

She's Rose Weasley and she's the girl who's got everything. She's got the brains and the beauty and the confidence and he only hates her for it because it makes him love her so much.

Let's state something first of all about the nature of humanity: people don't like things that are out-of-the-ordinary. They don't like things that challenge their belief systems, that make them reconsider, that go against what they've always been taught.

It's a shame, really, because it makes them terribly hypocritical.

Because if there's one thing we learn from the word 'go' it's that love conquers all. Look at the examples that surround us, knitted into the very fabric of our society: Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy, Jesus, Ramesses and Nefertari, Anthony and Cleopatra – these great love stories teach us that humans might be rude and selfish and greedy and destructive, but if there's one thing we do well it's loving each other.

Well, yes, some of the greatest love stories are tragedies, but in the end love has still won out because the protagonists have chosen to stay together in death rather than be parted by the vagaries of life.

And James hates it because people stand there and recite these examples and grow misty-eyed over the capacity of love to overcome all else – and then they turn around and condemn people for loving wrongly.

James fails to see how you can announce that love conquers all, and then decide that two men aren't allowed to be in love because it's wrong. Wrongwrongwrong. It's infuriating and it's sickening and James hates them, hates them all.

He hates that his father can stand there and drone on and on about how love was the only thing that can never be destroyed, and then turn around and mutter to Ginny about that Parkinson girl that married her cousin.

And therein lies the crux of the matter.

Because, in the eyes of everyone he knows, loving your cousin is wrong and it's disgusting and the way they talk about it would be worse than marrying Voldemort.

(He might be over-exaggerating there, but that's okay because he's James and that's what he does.)

He defends Maria, naturally, because he's James and he's also good at starting arguments.

"Queen Victoria married her cousin," he points out validly, "And nobody thought that was weird."

"Yeah, but Jamesy," Ginny argues, and James scowls at the return of his childhood nickname, "It's different today. It's… it's just wrong."

"So you'd disown me if I married one of my cousins?" James presses, and Ginny looks horrified at the very thought.

"For Merlin's sake, James, that's ridiculous! I know you'd never do something like that."

"Not even if I loved her?" James needles, because he hates how she can stand there with all her tales about Voldemort being defeated by love and then come out with all this.

"James Sirius Potter, you are pushing it," Ginny says firmly, and James feels suddenly close to tears because these people are supposed to be heroes, and to him they're about as inspiring as Hitler.

(Look at him with all this Muggle-history referencing. Rose would be so proud.)

"You wouldn't disown me," James tells her shortly, already halfway out of the door. "Because I'd disown you first."

And with that he disapparates and leaves his mother standing in her kitchen wondering whether he's in love with that Parkinson girl, and if that's why he's defending her so fiercely.

He finds himself at Rose's flat, and it shouldn't even be a surprise because she's always been his magnetic north.

"Hey, J-man," she teases as he launches himself mutinously into a chair, trying not to notice the fact that she's wearing a short t-shirt that shows off her tanned midriff and a skirt that must be there simply to make boys forget how to breathe. "What's eating you?"

"My bloody parents," he complains, because they're family and this is what family does. "They're so bloody hypocritical."

"What are you fighting about this time?" she inquires, and he can hear the grin in her voice but he doesn't dare look up at her face because he knows that when he sees her smile he'll do something stupid like blurt out all his feelings.

"Love," he says, and he dares to glance up because she's silent and he sees that she's slightly taken aback. Usually the arguments are a lot more superficial than this.

"Expand on that," she commands, dragging a chair up to sit opposite him, their knees just barely touching. "I'm not following."

"I just…" James begins, running a distracted hand through his messy black hair and wondering if he can do this because he's terrified he'll reveal his real feelings to her inadvertently – and that would mean losing her, and if there's one thing he doesn't want it's that. "It's just, they're always going on about how love is so important, but when it comes to real love they won't accept it if they think it's wrong. Even though love is supposed to be their be-all and end-all."

Rose's expression clears suddenly, and James knows her so well he's not even surprised she's put two-and-two together so quickly.

"You were fighting about Maria Parkinson," she says, and it's not even a question. James dips his head because maybe she'll realise, now, and maybe she'll run away from him screaming and –

"I agree with you. I think they're being terribly short-sighted. If it makes you feel any better, my parents are like it too."

It doesn't make him feel any better, because that's another two people standing in the way of him and her (although two will barely make a difference to the hundreds already there) and when he glances up to meet her eyes he – for once – notices something more than how blue they are.

"What is it?" he inquires, because her eyes are searching his with something akin to sadness and, Merlin, if there's one thing he can't bear it's her being sad.

"I just read this book called Lolita," she says, and James almost recoils at the abrupt change of subject.

"What about it?" he replies lightly, and his hand has slid down to her knee to massage the soft brown skin there without his noticing. She doesn't notice either, because they're always touching, these two, brushing hands and tangling legs and hugging, because they're creatures that thrive on living and being close physically to another person is always a reminder of how dreadfully alive they are.

"It's a story about love," she says, and James frowns because he thinks he's heard of this book before.

"Isn't it about paedophilia?" he counters, and she rolls her eyes and gives him a none-too-gentle punch in the shoulder.

"Well, obviously, on the surface," she retorts, looking injured, and James sighs and rubs his shoulder ruefully and remembers why it is that he doesn't like discussing books with her. "And most people condemn it as wrong without even thinking about it, because he's in his forties and she's twelve and for some people that can never be justified."

"But, if she doesn't love him," James argues, trying to focus on their debate rather than the fact that an angry flush is darkening her cheeks and her chest, and her eyes are beginning to flash dangerously, "Then it's wrong of him to take advantage of her."

"Well, yes," Rose admits, and James is momentarily taken aback by her concession – Rose never lets him win any points in literary debates, usually, "But my point is that he loves her. And obviously she's too young and he's immoral – but he doesn't do it just because he wants sex. He does it for love."

"He really loves her?" James inquires uncertainly, and suddenly her eyes are meeting his and he's wondering if they're having a different conversation entirely.

"Yes. Everything he does is because he loves her so terribly. And I don't think we can condemn him for that. Not everybody falls in love logically."

"No," James replies quietly, and he doesn't dare to hold her gaze any more so he drops his eyes down to where his hands are twisting in his lap. "We don't love logically."

She's always had odd opinions on things, has Rose, and sometimes when James first hears them he doesn't believe that she can possibly honestly think that, but then the minute she explains he doesn't understand how anybody could think otherwise.

"Like Romeo and Juliet didn't love logically," he adds suddenly, hoping he'll score points with her for a literature reference. "Because their families hated each other."

"Ugh, I hate Romeo and Juliet," she responds fiercely, and James can only stare at her in sheer astonishment. "Well, I do," she says in a firm tone, tossing her brown hair backwards pointedly.

"You'll have to explain that one to me," he informs her, and she grins slightly and then her scowl returns – although this time it's for the story she's discussing and not him.

"Because everyone holds them up as the most tragic love story of all time, and they're not," she says heatedly, continuing before he has a chance to question that. "They barely knew each other before they decided they were madly in love – and then they chose to die together. They took the easy option."

"I hardly think dying is the easy option, Rosie," James butts in firmly, and earns himself another punch to the shoulder.

"But it is," she responds hotly. "They're a tragedy because they die, okay – but you've read His Dark Materials, right? The Muggle ones about the different worlds and the daemons and –"

"No, of course not," James interrupts before she can recite the whole book to him, "You know I don't do books."

"Why do I even hang out with you?" Rose inquires rhetorically, raising her eyes to the heavens dramatically and sighing.

"Because you love me," James replies, and Godric it was supposed to sound cocky but instead it just sounds hopeful.

"Okay, Mr Arrogant," she replies, but she says it too quickly and he doesn't dare even hope before she's battling onwards. "I think that Will and Lyra in His Dark Materials are the most tragic love story of all time. Because they only fall in love right at the very end and then they have to live the rest of their lives apart, knowing how easy it would have been to stay together and be selfish, but choosing to sacrifice each other for the sake of the rest of humanity and living their whole lives so tantalisingly close to each other, yet never being able to meet again. I think that's the real tragedy – loving someone and knowing that they love you back, but having to live without them anyway."

James is silent for a few moments, considering her words and probably reading too much into them and trying to figure out if she means what he thinks she means.

"Do you think we're a tragedy?" he dares to say eventually, and he's not even sure why he's said it and the minute it's out he wishes it back in, right back in, and buried far too deep down to ever be found. He's so mortified he doesn't even dare speak, merely sits there in terror, waiting for her rejection.

She doesn't meet his gaze for a long time, and all he hears is the clock ticking on the wall and the coffee machine groaning away behind her and the harsh rise and fall of his own breathing.

But, suddenly, hoursdaysweeks later, her blueblue eyes snap up to meet his and all of a sudden she's looming towards him and kissing him hungrily, desperately and fiercely, and he doesn't know what to do with himself.

It's over before it's even begun, really.

"Yes," Rose breathes wearily as she parts from him. "I think we'd probably count as a tragedy."

And then she's disappearing into another room and James is left to sit there, his mind full of nothing but Rose, and in that moment he wishes himself a million miles from here because oh, being related to her is going to kill him in the end.

But he's James Potter and he's nothing if not determined, so he gets up from his chair and he disapparates instantly, resolved now to take what he has and give it up – to let his feelings for Rose fly away and waste them instead on other (non-related) girls with pretty hair and starry eyes, who can beat him down in arguments and read too much into stories.

Tragedies are overrated, anyway.

a/n: I must apologise for how crap this is, Nanii, I just wanted to make sure I had it done in time for your birthday. I hope you like it even slightly…?