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Once upon a time, there was wizard called James Potter. He was sitting in an old pub laughing merrily with his comrade Sirius. They were drinking and laughing and being merry when another wizard came and sat next to them. The two friends greeted him and resumed their conversation.

“On no, no, no…! I believe that it was I who got you two together!” Sirius claimed, “Don’t you remember. It was Valentines day in seventh year.”

James was shaking his head. “Believe what you want to believe mate, but you know, just as well as I do, that she went out with me because of my exceedingly handsome face and most charming personality.”

The third wizard now joined in the conversation. “Well, I must be completely mistaken, I thought the reason was that Lily felt sorry for you after you tried to drown yourself in the lake and…”

“I did NOT try and drown myself.” James interrupted, banging his fist on the table, “I told you back then, and I’ll tell you again now, that I slipped in some mud, tripped over a boulder, rolled down the hill, ended up on a stray hippogriff which suddenly took off, circled the castle a couple of times…”

“And bucked you into the lake.” Sirius and Remus chorused. “Then a grindylow grabbed your ankle and tried to pull you under.” Both friends were smirking as they finished James’ speech for him.

“Ha ha, very funny.” He looked extremely miffed. “But that is the truth!”

Sirius and Remus looked at James sceptically. “Like I said before,” Sirius continued, “It was all my doing!”

James ignored him and went to get another drink at the bar. When he returned, he found Sirius still rambling on about how he had brought him and Lily together.

“Of course, you wouldn’t even be engaged now if it wasn’t for me. Therefore, since I made everything happen, I announce that I am officially your best man!”

“Says who?” James asked, frowning at Sirius.

“Says me!” Sirius replied as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. “I’ve already started on my best man speech.” James and Remus inwardly groaned as Sirius pulled out a very crumpled piece of parchment.

“Ahem, ahem!” Sirius cleared his throat as he stood up, “I’ve known James and Lily since I was a first year student at Hogwarts. I was only a young lad, but still exceptionally handsome. Over the seven years that I spent with Lily and James, I tried every day to bring them together. This mainly involved pranking Lily each day, then making it look as if James did it. This worked every time and subsequently led to Lily being unbearably angry, a look, might I add, that turned James on.”

James then grabbed the parchment out of Sirius’ grasp and read the rest of the speech.

“I am definitely NOT letting you say this at my wedding!” He thrust the parchment towards Remus, who skimmed through the dialogue, eyebrows raised.

“Well,” Remus concluded, “I can count twelve…no, thirteen things in this that would make any father of the bride force the couple to divorce straight away.” He handed the speech back to a very pleased looking Sirius.

“If you are going to be my best man, then you can start by burning that ‘speech’ right now.”

Sirius made his ‘unhappy’ face and tossed it into the fire. “Argh…no, that had the number of that fit girl I met earlier on it!” Sirius dived for the fire, sticking his hand in and retrieving the smouldering paper.

“OOOOWWWW…..PAIN! UNBELIEVABLE PAIN!” Sirius jumped back from the grate and ran round the pub, clutching his burnt hand. “SIRIUS FORGOT THAT FIRE IS HOT! SIRIUS FORGOT THAT IT BURNS US! IT BURNS US!”

He grabbed a jug of water of the bar and threw it over his hand.

However, what Sirius failed to realise, was the jug of ‘water’ he had thrown over his hand, was in fact, a jug of firewhisky. And firewhisky plus fire is not a good combination.

“OOOOWWWW! MORE UNBELIEVABLE PAIN!”

James, Remus and Peter, who had now returned from the toilets, rolled around the floor laughing at ‘poor’ Sirius’ plight. Sirius, whose hand was now engulfed in flames, was hopping around the bar like a demented leprechaun.

The whole debacle ended when Madam Rosmerta, the very sexy barmaid (in Sirius opinion), pulled out her wand and spurted a jet of water onto his hand. Sirius was all at once relieved and horrified by this. Relieved, because he was no longer a human match, and horrified because he could now see the damage the fire had claimed upon his poor, poor self. His once beautiful, smooth and charming hand was now a mangled stump of blood and melted flesh.

“AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!” he held his stump as far away from his body as possible, as if it would contaminate him.

“MY HAND! MY BEAUTIFUL HAND! NO LONGER WILL I BE ABLE TO CARESS A GIRLS AR-”

“FACE!” James interrupted. “No longer will you be able to caress a girl’s face Sirius.”

But Sirius wasn’t listening. He had broken down into huge sobs, crying like a girl.

Peter pointed and laughed. He pointed and laughed at the plight of his friend.

Remus just watched the whole scene in wonder, shaking his head in bemusement.

“What would my life be like without them?” he mused out loud, then “Oh yes. Normal.”

The next evening found the four friends once again at The Three Broomsticks. Sirius’ hand had been fantastically healed by Lily, who was training to be a healer, and he was back to his exuberant self.

“So! Where were we before the ‘hand incident’” he asked his fellow Marauders.

“I believe that I was about to tell you, how I managed to get Lils to go out with me.”

“I think not my little Staggie stag stag! It was I who got you and Lily together. As I was going to say last night before my…” he shuddered, “experience.”

“Your memory must be damaged form drinking too much firewhisky.” James said.

“DON’T. MENTION. FIREWHISKEY. TO. ME. IN. THE. PRESENCE. OF. MY. HAND. AGAIN.” He then started caressing his hand in a possessive sort of way.

“So how did it happen?” said Peter, "I can't quite remember..."

“Well, I’ll tell you shall I? It all started way back when. I was a young, handsome seventeen years old, and it was the month of February, and I was walking down the corridor, when all of a sudden, my lovely love ‘accidentally’ tripped over me. And, before I knew it, we were pressed up against the wall, snogging like there was no tomorrow. She obviously admired my natural charm, my staggering good looks, my lean atheletic body...”

The way I remember it, Sirius thought, tapping his chin in pensiveness, It was a very different story…

***

It was a typical Saturday morning in February, apart from the fact that it was Valentines Day, and was the day of James’ ‘get-Lily-Evans-plan.’ But, as that Shakes-dude, no! It was Dickens, NO! Or was it…yes it was, it was Mickey Mouse. Well, as Mickey Mouse always said, “The best laid plans are chickens before they hatch!”

I awoke early on that fateful Saturday to find my little Prongsie-Wongsie painting his bed sheet with bright red paint.

“What in the name of Merlin are you doing? That’s my body paint!” I said.

“It’s the first stage of my get-Lily-Evans-plan.”

“So, you’re plan is to give her a painted sheet.”

“Don’t be an arse. I’m writing a message on here, and then I’m going to hang it at the top of the Astronomy tower, for all to see!”

“James, do you really think that that’s the way to win Lily’s affections. I’ve told you before, all you need to do is get naked, and do a sexy dance in front of her. She’ll never be able to resist.”

“If all else fails, then I might consider that option. But right now, I’m going to stick to my plan. This way, its fool proof, what could go wrong?”

James then stepped back from his bed and smiled in satisfaction at his ‘masterpiece’. He then went into the bathroom. I got out of bed and went to look at his work of art.

I, James Potter, wish to declare my undying love for Lily Evans, and wish to ask her if she would accompany me on a romantic visit to Hogsmeade.

I took James’ absence as a cue to bring some mischief to the plan. So, I took out my wand and, well, let’s just say that the previous message now reads slightly differently. I quickly dried the paint and rolled up the sheet. I didn’t want James to see my marvellous plan, so I chucked the sheet in his trunk and quickly got dressed.

We made our way down to breakfast, James bringing his god-awful sheet with him, stuffed under his arm. He got several strange glances, but just grinned around looking a little demented.

Over breakfast, James explained phase one of his get-Lily-Evans-plan to me, Remus and Peter.

“Right. I’m going to assign you roles. Sirius: You are Chief Padfoot: Astronomy Tower Co-ordinator. Remus, you’ll be Captain Moony: it’s your job to make sure Lily doesn’t hit me. Peter: you can be First Shipmate Wormtail: in charge of absolutely nothing. OK, any questions team?”

“Er, yeah,” I said, “what exactly do I have to do as Chief Padfoot: Astronomy Tower Co-ordinator?”

“Well, you have to hang the banner whilst we’re all down in Care of Magical Creatures. You bunk off so often no one will notice anything out of the ordinary. Right. So you hang the banner, and then sound this claxon.”

At this, Prongsie produced a funny device from his pocket, which I supposed was the Cackton.

“You sound this claxon to get everyone’s attention, and then Lily will see my banner, fall head over heals, and then we’ll go out on a date to Hogsmeade.”

He grinned like a maniac again. “It’s foolproof!”

I could see Moony looking a bit sceptical at this proclamation, but I had to show my allegiance to Mr. Prongs, so I agreed to partake in his little adventure. Even though he’d actually be declaring undying love to someone who wasn’t Lily Evans…..

Care of Magical Creatures was our second lesson of the day. After transfiguration, I took the banner/bedsheet/proclamation of love, and hurried up to the astronomy tower.

From there, I could see Professor Kettleburn beginning his lesson with the rest of my class, and waited for my cue.
After ten minutes, I saw it. James had put his arms by his side like wings, began to strut around shrieking “CA-CAW! CA-CAW!”

Fighting laughter, I used my wand to hang the banner, and then took the little Cackton thingy, and pressed the button. A loud buzzing noise came out of it, and I liked the noise so much I did it again and again, almost forgetting the point of the buzzing thingy.

When I remembered, I looked down into the grounds, to see everyone rolling around the grass in laughter, James looked red-faced and embarrassed and Lily seemed to be laughing the hardest of them all. I wanted to hear what they were saying, so I took my broom and flew down to where the class were all assembled.

I took a moment to admire my handy-work.

I, James Potter, wish to declare my undying love for Billy Jenkins, and wish to ask him if he would accompany me on a romantic visit to Hogsmeade.

All of a sudden I felt blinding pain in the back of my head, and then everything went blank.

I woke up to blinding white light. At first I thought I was dead, and in heaven and then I heard the demonic voice of Madam Pomfrey and realised I was in hell.

“Good God, you’re awake.” She said. I like to think she said “Good, you’re awake” or “Thank God you’re awake.”

But anyway. She told me my so-called-friend had whacked me on the back of my head.

A while later, my so-called-friend and my other two, true friends came in. James thought it would be funny to shout at me, even though I’d just sustained a head injury.

“WHAT DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING BERK? NOW EVERYONE THINKS I’M GAY! I’VE JUST BEEN ASKED OUT BY BJORN COTTON AND EVERYONE KNOWS HE’S MORE BENT THAN A BANANA! LILY’S NEVER GOING TO LOOK AT ME AGAIN!”

He started pacing up and down beside my bed, muttering things like “Stupid bloody mongrel!” and “My plan is ruined! Ruined I tell you!”

“James, James, James,” I said, “James, James, James. You need to relax man! Go with the flow and feel the love man!”

“Well I would be feeling the love if you hadn’t altered my bloody banner!”

Peter then spoke up timidly.

“Um, why not just go to phase two of the plan?” he said.

“Good idea,” Remus mused, “go to phase two. At least if you carry on asking Lily out, everyone will stop thinking you’re gay.”

“Yes! Phase two! Good thinking blokes!” James dashed out of the hospital wing and after persuading Madame Pomfrey, we dashed too, following James all the way back to Gryffindor Tower.

Inside, we found Lily telling some first years James’ embarrassing story. My buddy Prongs quickly grabbed some flowers off the nearest table and wondered over to Lily and thrust the bedraggled blooms into her face.

“Achoo…achoo…achoo…achoo….achoo…..achoo……achoo…” and Lily sneezed a further six times.

When she finally stopped, she looked at James, took the flowers and smiled sweetly. She then seemed to turn wild. She slapped him round the face, stuffed the flowers into his gawping mouth then stalked off to her dormitory, her red hair blazing behind her.

The thing is, I think Jamie-boy, enjoyed it. I’m gonna have to tell Lils one day that when she gets angry, it secretly turns him on. So, he was sitting on the common room floor, grinning like an eejit, until Pete reminded him that phase two
of the plan had failed spectacularly.

This got rid of his grin.

James jumped up and I swear I saw a light bulb appear above his head. Then I realised that James had actually jumped so high, that he hit his head on the ceiling light.

“Oh damn my athletic abilities!” he then raised a finger in the air and shouted “EUREKA!”

“ON TO PHASE THREE!” and raced up to our dormitory, the three of us following like loony-loons escaped from the loony-loon hospital.

When we got there, James was rummaging in his trunk. He pulled out something that looked like a lumpy poo pile and raised it in the air triumphantly.

“Prongs, what in Merlin’s name is that!” I said, thinking I’d better say something now and before someone else discovered James’ lack of potty training.

“It’s the chocolates you got me for my birthday. I’m gonna give them to Lily. I heard she likes chocolate.”

“Bur Prongs,” Moony started, “You birthday was last June.”

James just stared at him. “And your point is...?”

He rushed out of the dorm in search of his Lily. Again we followed like the loony-loons we were and reached the common room just in time to see James start up the girls’ staircase. Obviously forgetting about the ‘no-boy’ rule, James swiftly rolled back down the staircase and landed in a blob on the floor, the chocolate mushed beneath his arse.
But that did not deter the Prongsmeister. He simply scribbled something on a piece of parchment, attached it to the chocolate, and levitated it up to Lily’s dorm. Unfortunately, Lily happened to open the door as the chocolates reached their destination. And splattered her in the face.

“POTTER!” Lily stormed down the stairs, eyes blazing like a blazing fire.

James looked over at me and mouthed “phase four”, before turning to Lily, ruffling the back of his hair and grinning smoothly. “Go to Hogsmeade with me Evans?”

She made a noise of disgust and went to sit with her friends.

“I’ll take that as a maybe then?”

Lily turned and gave James what I like to call her “Evil-death-glare-of-doom”, before continuing on her way.

James’ smile drooped, and he dejectedly made his way over to where he could be comforted, reassured and plied with compliments. Yeah right, as if he’s gonna get that sitting with us.

“I give up,” He said, “I honestly give up. She’s never going to go out with me.”

Remus looked up from his book and said, “True love renew thy force.”

James looked at him puzzled. “Don’t say stuff like that to me.” He looked around nervously and whispered, “People might hear you.”

I decided to cut in. “Look, you embarassed her, surrender yourself on the pridiosity scale and even out the score.” I even surprise myself sometimes with my wit.

“Nothing will work….nothing I tell you!” he cried frustratedly.

I frowned. I’d never seen Jamsie-boy like this before. I had to inspire him! I had to be his muse, I had to make him see that
Marauder’s don’t quit!

“James. You can’t give up now. You’ve been after Evans for two years. And now you’re giving up? Well I won’t allow it. Marauders don’t quit Prongs m’boy! Did we quit when McGonagall caught us stealing her tartan knickers in first year? NO! Did we quit when Peter had his first ‘accident’ that night we found the kitchens? NO! Did we quit when Snivellus vomited on us? NO! And you’re not going to quit now!” By this point I was really getting into my speech, and had no intention of stopping, “If they poke us, do we not squeal? If they steal our socks, do we not get cold feet? If we lose Quidditch, do we not cry like babies? And if Evans turns you down, do you not try, try, and try again? YES!”

I was really, really, really getting into this speech thing, and jumped up onto the nearest table, just to get into the role.

“I HAVE A DREAM! And that dream is to be best man at your wedding! And for you to have little Prongs-babies and for them to be called Sirius and Siriusina! AN APPLE A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY! ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME! ALL THE WORLD LOVES A LOVER!”

Man, how much did I enjoy that? I’m going to have to try it again sometime. Anyway, back to the common room that fateful Valentine’s Day. Everyone laughed a little when I’d finished my fantastic, amazing, wonderful speech, and I jumped down off the table, to see if James had got the point yet.

“Well?” I asked him, “going to give up?”

“I guess not,” He sighed, “I don’t know what else I can do though…I’ve tried everything: flowers, chocolates, and big overblown romantic proclamations! What else is there?”

“There’s always my idea…” I said, smirking suggestively.

“No, Padfoot, I’m not doing that!”

“Well let’s see if any of you have got a better idea then,” I huffed, absolutely convinced that the strip-dance would work.

“You could…” Peter started, and we all looked at him expectantly. He frowned then, “Well….um…y’know…”
Prongsie sighed. This went on for about fifteen minutes. We’d start saying something and then realise it was a completely stupid idea.

“You could always go with my idea…” I suggested once again.

James stared at me for a while, closed his eyes and sighed.

“Oh sod it.” He said, then opened his eyes to squint at me, “You really think it will work?”

I nodded, and I couldn’t believe he was considering my idea!

He sighed again. “All right then. I’ll do it.” He stood up, and went up to our dorm. A few minutes later, I heard his voice, apparently coming from mid-air.

“Sirius!”

I whirled around trying to find the source.

“Sirius you idiot! I’m under the cloak!”

“Well what are you waiting for? Look she’s over there, and there aren’t too many people in the common room right now so you won’t endure total humiliation!”

I heard him sigh, and then nothing. We three marauders looked over to where Lily was sitting with her friends, waiting for James to appear.

We waited about…..ten minutes, when we heard coughing behind us.

“Prongs, why aren’t you dancing naked yet?”

“Ummm…there’s no music? Er…I’m cold? I know…I don’t know how to dance!”

“Oh don’t be stupid, we all saw you dancing last Christmas at you parents’ party.” James looked puzzled. I smiled wickedly, “Of course, you wouldn’t remember because you were completely rat-arsed. You should have seen yourself.” I laughed at the memory.

Remus then conjured up a record player. “HA! Now there’s music, so you have to dance!”

“But I’m still cold!” James whispered.

“Then go put some clothes on.” We all looked at Peter. “Oops…I meant, go put some more logs on the fire.”

I flicked my wand and tossed several logs into the grate. “There!” I proclaimed, “All problems solved. Now you have to carry out operation dance-naked-for-Evans!”
We heard James sigh again and shuffle towards Lily and her friends. I briefly looked through the records that Remus had conjured and picked out ‘Stayin Alive’ by the Brothers Gibb.

I started the track and turned the volume on full.

“BLACK! What the hell are you doing? Trying to deafen us all? I…..”

Evans never got to finish her sentence as something else had distracted her. Yes! You guessed it! A dancing naked James!

“Argh…I think I’m blind!” one of Evans’ friends screamed, covering her eyes with a pillow.

Lily sat still, staring wide eyed at the spectacle before her. “Potter! Please put some clothes on!”

“Not until you go out with me Evans!” James was now thrusting his pelvis towards Lily.

She grabbed the pillow off her friend and used it as a shield. “PLEASE put something on!”

“Not until you go out with me!” James pulled the pillow out of her grasp and chucked it across the room.

Meanwhile, I was army-crawling across the floor with Pete’s camera. I had to get a picture of this! Major blackmail opportunities for the future. I crawled up behind the sofa and stuck my head over the top.

Unfortunately, James saw me. “Don’t you dare! I will hex you into oblivion if...”

Too late! Operation get-picture-of-dancing-Prongs-naked complete! “Sorry Prongs, but it was too good an opportunity to miss. Besides, you haven’t got anywhere to place your wand when you’re naked.”

“That’s what you think.” He smiled wickedly.

“TOO much information Potter!” Lily shrieked, now cowering behind her friend who was giggling inanely.

“What’re you laughing at?” James growled at the girl, Natasha, “think the sight of my naked body is funny do you?”

The girl smirked, “No, it’s very…impressive Potter.”

Evans was still demanding that James covered his nakedness.

“I swear Potter, put some clothes on now, or so help me!”

“I’ve told you Evans, clothes go on when you say you’ll go out with me.”

Evans rolled her eyes, “For the love of Merlin! All right James, I’ll go out with you. Now cover it-uh, I mean your body up! Your body up!”

I handed James a cushion, and he strategically placed it on himself, before bowing to the room.

“NO! NOW I’M BLIND!” a first year girl standing behind him screamed.

Remus chuckled, “Maybe we should re-name him Moony!”

James grinned sheepishly and then dashed upstairs. He had a date with Lily.

***

So that was how I, Sirius Gilbert Black, succeeded in getting Lily and James together.

“And then she fell into my arms, and said ‘James, I will love you until eternity, there is no love that compares to mine, our love is written in the stars.’”

Remus snorted. “That’s not how it happened Prongs, and you know it.”

James sighed. “I know, but my story is a better one to tell the grandkids one day anyway. Imagine explaining to a six-year-old that Grandpa James got Grandma Lily to go out with him by doing a strip dance!”

The four Marauders laughed heartily, and there we shall leave them, getting drunk and most probably ending up face-down in a ditch wearing ladies underwear and singing a sea-shanty.

THE END

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