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A/N: This was written for timeturner's 'Out of Your Realm' challenge- the plan was to deviate completely from one's normal writing style. It was definitely a challenge. It's sappy, there's practically no angst, and it's a story of the night James proposed to Lily. It nearly drove me insane writing it, but hopefully it was well worth it. Comments of any sort would definitely be appreciated. All I have to say is: Sorry, Sirius.

Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.
-Barbara de Angelis


"James, you know I love you, but if you don't stop that right now I may just have to kill you."

James stopped his pacing up and down the length of the boys' dormitories and looked up for the first time in a half-hour. He stood in front of Sirius's bed, nervousness etched all over his face. "Well, at least tell me what is causing dear Prongs so much distress." Sirius raised his eyebrow and grinned.

"I think I need your help Padfoot," James said with a heavy sigh. Sirius laughed because he had a pretty good suspicion of what- or, rather, who was causing his best friend to act like a nervous- and dramatic- little boy.

"And how can I be of service, o' potted one?" Sirius asked, sitting up and throwing the book he was reading aside. "Are you having girl troubles again?" Sirius's grin widened. "I told Lily not to use that Shrinking Spell-"

"I'm going to propose to her," James said in a rush. Then he paused. "What Shrinking Spell?"

"Never mind," Sirius said, waving his hand. "You're going to propose to her? Have you really lost it this time, James?"

"I think so. But I need your help." A grin spread across James's face. "I'm thinking something big, in the Great Hall maybe. We could get everyone in on it and-" But Sirius held up his hand, halting James's ramblings.

"You know Lily hates to be pressured into anything. She will not like being put on the spot like that. She'd rather make up her own mind on her own time, not with the whole of Hogwarts watching. And James- marriage? You do understand what that means right?"

"But-" James looked crushed, and Sirius thought quickly, trying to keep his best friend from losing his nerve already. It had taken two years for them to just go out, he couldn't waste any time with this or they would be ancient before they got married. And time was definitely not such a luxury with the war raging on just outside the castle walls, which Sirius felt was probably a large part of James's decision.

"I say you do a quiet romantic little thing," Sirius offered. James scrunched up his nose, apparently not liking the idea much.

"Do you think she'd like that more?"

"James, if you're going to ask her to marry you, don't you think you should at least know what she likes?!" Sirius said, a little roughly. Instantly, he regretted the sharpness of his words. James was obviously nervous, and no wonder- Sirius had seen Lily reject boys in an instant, and when she got angry, even some of the teachers cowed under her temper when she really got going. James seemed to be thinking along the same lines. It was just that he cared very much for both Lily and James, and besides that, he didn't want to have to deal with an angry redhead and a distraught best friend for the rest of their last school year.

"Don't worry," Sirius said supportively, clapping a hand on James's shoulder. "You two are different. She's not going to try to feed you to the Giant Squid, I swear."

"Oh Merlin, I never even thought about that," James said, and then cracked a lopsided grin. "That was pretty fun trying to fish you out of the lake, though."

Sirius rolled his eyes. "Maybe for you. Now, do you at least have a ring for the girl?" James nodded and hurried over to his trunk. Throwing many robes and smelly socks out, some hitting Sirius in the head, he finally straightened up and held out a beautiful, sparkling ring. It was delicate and classy, just like Lily.

"I got it on the last Hogsmeade trip," James offered. "She'll like it, right?"

"She'll love it," Sirius said, remembering a time long, long ago when Lily and Sirius were just third years. Sirius had had a fight with James, and so during one of the Hogsmeade trips he had sought out Lily's company. As they were window shopping, Lily had spotted a ring much like the one James was holding now. She squealed and exclaimed that when she got married, she wanted that ring. Sirius had told her getting married was for poor saps who never wanted to have fun again. He said he couldn't imagine being stuck with someone for the rest of your life.

Now, Sirius wondered if James had realized the enormity of the decision he was undertaking. As if reading his mind, James nodded.
"I know, Padfoot. It's a big thing. But I love her, and I honestly want to be with her, and her alone, forever." Sirius grinned.

"Then let's plan this out properly, Marauder style!"

They spent much of that warm May afternoon plotting ways to get James and Lily alone in a romantic place, in a way that Lily wouldn't suspect what was going on. They decided on a moonlit walk around the grounds in a week. That way, Sirius reasoned, James could try to figure out what he was going to say so he didn't make a complete fool of himself, which was going to be near impossible anyway.

But things didn't exactly go according to plan. In fact, one could say everything went completely wrong.

They were in the common room, Lily was buried in a chair by a pile of books as she studied for the upcoming N.E.W.T. exams, Peter and Remus were in the library, and James and Sirius were bothering every studying seventh year in sight.
"Don't you have anything better to do?" Lily asked, leaning over her Ancient Runes book to examine the intricate symbols. The boys exchanged looks.

"Now that you mention it, no we really don't," James said. "Come on Lily, put down that oversized book and come de-stress." Lily shot him a glare and Sirius laughed.

"He's right Lillian, come have some fun." This time Lily's sharp green eyes turned to Sirius.

"My name is not Lillian, Sirius Black, and both of you need to leave me alone! I'm trying to study!" James opened his mouth to retaliate, but Sirius kicked him in the shin to warn him to stop.

"You want to wake up with all your body parts in the right places tomorrow?" he asked. "And do you want her to marry you? Then I wouldn't prod the evil little redhead."

Two hours later, the common room was empty. Remus and Peter had come back from the library, exhausted, and were now upstairs sleeping. Lily was sound asleep, curled up in a chair, a book still precariously balanced on her knee.

Sirius was reading some notes left behind by a group of giggling third years.
"Hey James, you'll never guess what they said about me," Sirius laughed, his eyes scanning the parchment. "Oh and they mentioned you, too. Didn't seem to like Lily too much, in either case. Hey, even Remus got a mention! I must have rubbed off on all of you- hey, Prongs, you listening?"

But James was not listening. Sirius looked up to see why he was being ignored, and spotted James sitting on the floor, staring at the sleeping Lily.

"Psst, mate, I think she's asleep," Sirius whispered, sitting down beside his friend. James didn't take his eyes off her.

"She's beautiful, isn't she?"

"Yes, she is."

"Do you ever regret-" James trailed off, and he looked down, as if afraid to say anything more.

"She chose you, James. Don't ever second guess that. She's as strong willed as they come-"

"Don't I know it."

"-and she picked arrogant little Potter." James suddenly laughed, causing Lily to stir. She opened her eyes and then jumped upon seeing two of her best friends staring at her.

"What are you doing?" she asked drowsily.

"Watching you sleep," Sirius said honestly.

"Oh, is that all?" She sat up and looked at her watch. "God, what time is it? Why'd you guys let me sleep so late? I bet I can't go back to sleep and I won't be able to concentrate at all in McGonagall's class tomorrow-" Lily continued to ramble, but Sirius's attention was drawn away from her to James, who was fidgeting and looking very uncomfortable.

"Oh, God," Sirius muttered under his breath.

"Now's a good a time as any," James said nervously, taking a deep breath. Sirius saw immediately what his best friend was about to do, and he knew it was all wrong. Did James have any bloody clue what he was doing? Sirius cast a quick look at Lily, who had already sensed that something was going on. She quieted and looked to Sirius for some sort of clue as to why her boyfriend was acting so unlike himself, and all Sirius could do was shrug. James took Lily's hands gently in his and pulled her to her feet.

"James, no," Sirius muttered, more to himself than his friend, at the same time that James pulled the ring, snug in a small black velvet box, out of his pocket. This was not how it had been planned.

"Lily, will you marry me?"

A horrible silence filled the room as soon as the word's left James's lips. Lily was just staring, obviously trying to register what her loon of a boyfriend had just said.

Lily looked at James, and then at Sirius, and he could see she was expecting them to burst out laughing and say it was all a joke. Her green eyes were wide and when the laughter didn't come, she gave a nervous chuckle of her own.

"Is he joking?" Lily asked Sirius, who chuckled but shook his head. "Was he hit in the head with something?"

"No."

"Did you curse him with something?"

"Nope."

"Right. You wait right here," Lily said to James, and quickly walked over to Sirius, grabbing his arm with considerable force and pulling him aside.

"What is he on about?" she whispered, and Sirius laughed.

"He wants you to marry him. You know, marriage. Flowers, cake, a honeymoon-"

"And he's serious?"

"Very much so."

"Are you sure?" Lily was suddenly looking skeptical. "Not like the time you swore to me we were going to get married right after third year and move to Australia, where I would have your, as you put it, 'devilishly handsome and freakishly intelligent babies'?"

"No, he came up with this all by himself. He loves you Lilykins." Lily winced at the nickname, but she was staring past Sirius, where James was now lying on the back of the worn common room couch, staring up at the ceiling.

"What do you think?" she asked.

"Lily, I'm not going to tell you whether or not you should get married. He's head over heels in love with you, you know that, right?"

"Oh how I do."

"And you love him to pieces, unless the past year or so has been just for fun."

"I do."

"See, you're already practicing!" Lily cut her eyes at Sirius.

"But it's marriage."

"And your point is?" Sirius smiled, and Lily nodded.

"My point is-" she stopped and sighed, seeing the knowing look on Sirius's face. "Well, if we die tomorrow, at least I'll die knowing that I was engaged to James Potter, right? I mean, it's not every day your boyfriend asks this question, unless of course it's you. James!" Lily called, and James shot up off the couch.

"Done your conference?" he asked, trying to laugh. Instead it came out as more of a nervous whisper. Lily walked right up to James and, throwing her arms around his neck, kissed him with unbelievable passion. One of those kisses Lily had dubbed a 'knee-buckling, dizzy, spinny, time-stops-for-a-minute kind of kiss.' And for a moment, that's all there was- red hair and black, hazel eyes and green, two lovers lost in each other.

"So that's a yes, then?" James asked, pulling away at last, his glasses askew as he grinned lopsidedly.

"That's a yes. I love you, James Potter."

"I love you too, Lily Evans." James picked her up and kissed her again, relief and ecstasy written all over his face. Lily laughed- a sweet, melodic laugh that was all her own.

"Drinks all around!" Sirius said, throwing his hands in the air. "There's going to be a wedding!"

"Any excuse for drinks, right Sirius?" Lily asked, slipping her hand into James's, a wide grin across her face.

"Lily, very soon he's going to be your husband, you need to get as drunk as you can. Besides, that's the best friend's job, what can I say?" Sirius winked at James, telling him without words, see, I knew it would turn out okay.

"Ah, poor Padfoot, always the bridesmaid, never the bride." James laughed and Sirius smacked him playfully on the head before imitating a girl's high pitched giggle.

"Did I mention I love you?" James asked, pulling Lily closer to him, his arm fitting perfectly around her slim waist.

"Only a hundred thousand times. But that's okay, because I love you too."

"As charming as this is to watch, I think I'll leave you two alone now. I'm sure you have some celebrating to do-hey!" Sirius dodged a book thrown by Lily and bolted up the stairs, laughing. He stopped at the foot of the stairs and watched the happy couple, his best friends, grinning at each other, lost in their own world. Tonight there would be no worrying about a war, no worrying about missing family members or lives cut too short. Sirius ran a hand through his hair and chuckled to himself, turning to go to bed. No, tonight was for them.

Lily and James fell on the couch, hands intertwined, both of them feeling blissfully and completely happy. For the moment, all thoughts of war and exams were gone.

"Lily, do you think we'll still be this happy in thirty years?" Lily smiled, closing her eyes so she could remember this feeling forever. This inexplicable feeling of being overwhelmed and panicking and feeling dangerously dizzy and not caring one bit.

"I hope so," she whispered, leaning her forehead against James's. "It'll be our own happily ever after."

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