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The four Marauders hadn’t moved for five entire minutes. They had all leaned over the square table, all eyes locked on the little box on the table.

On the wall a clock was ticking, marking each second which passed in the dead silence. When James swallowed it was loud enough for the rest of them to hear, though none of them took notice of it. Nor did they notice when Remus raised a hand to scratch his eyebrow. It wasn’t until Peter actually moved in his chair and opened his mouth to speak the others moved too.

“So let me get this straight, Prongs,” he said, “You’re actually going to ask her to marry you?”

James opened his mouth, closed it again and then opened it again. He frowned and then closed his mouth again. He folded his hands and supported his head on them, eyes still locked on the box.

“I think he’s speechless,” Sirius muttered.

“He’s in shock,” Remus said with a nod.

“Why?” Peter asked. “He bought the ring himself.”

“And we’ve still not seen it,” Sirius muttered and reached for the box.

James hit his hand away. “Don’t touch it,” he grumbled.

“He’s a bit touchy,” Peter grinned.

With a heavy sigh James slowly took the box. He turned it a few times in his hands and then opened it. He closed it again at once, his three best friends’ eyes on him.

“What’s the matter?” Sirius asked.

James shook his head. “I’m not sure Lily feels the same way… How can I know if she’s ready?”

“You could test her?” Peter suggested

“How?” James frowned, looking at Sirius who shrugged.

“No idea.”

Remus leaned back in his chair. “Hints. You could come with small hints about it, see how she reacts.”

James looked at him. He put down the box again. “Such as?”

He shrugged. “No idea.”

“Or you could just ask her?” Sirius muttered. “I mean, if she says no, big deal. Then you know she’s not the right one for you.”

“But she is the right one for me.”

“Then what’s the problem?”

The door in the hall opened, and the sound of footsteps reached them. James’ eyes widened and in a quick movement he’d snatched the box and stuffed it in his pants. Remus rolled his eyes at the bulge, but said nothing as Lily entered the very same second.

“Hey guys,” she said with a smile.

“Hi Lily,” they chorused.

She looked at them on turn. “What are you doing?” she asked slowly.

“Just hanging,” Sirius said, leaning back.

“Talking,” Peter said with a nod.

She threw her keys at the counter and walked to the fridge. “About?”

They four looked at each other, eyes wide. James swallowed loud.

“Jewellery,” Peter said after a few seconds.

James smacked his hand against his forehead. Sirius rolled his eyes and Remus looked out of the window.

Lily looked past the door. “Jewellery?”

“And lingerie,” Sirius said quickly. “Overrated, don’t you think? I mean, the girl would be much prettier without it.”

Lily smiled as she opened a bottle of water. “I can’t agree with you there, Padfoot,” she said with a smile.

“So you actually like lingerie?” he asked. “See, that’s interesting.”

She shook her head. “You’re weird.”

“What about jewellery?” Remus asked. “How much is too much?”

“I don’t know,” she said, shaking her head slightly. “Earrings or rings are fine. Necklaces.” She shrugged, walking to the table, stopping behind James, who looked nauseous. “I can’t really follow you. I think it’s nice as long as it’s not overdone.”

“Exactly what I said,” Peter said with a nod.

James was still quiet. He stared out of the window, rather white in the face. Lily kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re not saying a lot, James.”

“He’s eaten something.” Sirius shook his head.

“Oh, James,” Lily sighed. “I told you when there’s white or green spots on the food, it’s not eatable.” She shook her head and turned towards the kitchen again. “Please remember that.”

James swallowed and rolled off of the chair, going down on one knee. He reached for the box and pulled it up. Sirius and Remus exchanged frightened glances. Sirius was the first to react though; he pushed away from the table and tackled James from behind, taking the box and throwing it back to Remus. Lily turned the same second, looking at them.

“James, Sirius, what are you doing?” she asked, frowning.

“He nearly lost conscience,” Sirius answered quickly. “He fell off of the chair.”

Lily looked at James, obviously concerned. “James?”

He didn’t look at her, but stared into the wall, an empty expression haunting his face. Lily slowly walked back and sat down next to him.

“James, do you have to go to the hospital or something?”

“He’s fine,” Sirius answered for him.

Lily looked first at Sirius, then at James. “James?” She slapped him softly, making him blink. “James?”

He looked at her. “Fine,” he croaked. “I’m fine.”

Lily got up. “Whatever you did to him,” – She pointed around at the three others – “you better turn him back. We’re going to dinner with my parents tonight and I want him to be just a little more normal than last time he met them. Do I make myself clear?”

They all nodded, frightened. She shot them all a glare and turned. Remus and Peter got up and with Sirius’ help they pulled James back on his chair again.

“What am I going to do?” James whispered.

“Just act normal tonight,” Sirius muttered. “Or she’ll kill us.”

“I’m doing it now,” James muttered, about to get up. “I’m just going to get it over with.”

Sirius and Remus grabbed a hand each. “No, you’re not,” Remus said flatly. “Look how well this went.”
James groaned and covered his face with both of his hands.

“At least we got to know she likes jewellery,” Peter muttered. “And lingerie.”

“That’s a plus,” Sirius said with a nod.

James sighed. “Kill me, kill me now, please.”


James buttoned the shirt again. It was the fifth time, and he’d managed to do it the wrong way the whole four times, now five.

“James?” Lily called from the bathroom.

“Mmmm,” he groaned.

She opened the door and looked at him, putting in a pair of earrings. “Oh, Merlin,” she sighed. She closed the door behind her and walked to him. “What did they do to you?” she asked.

“Dunno,” he grunted.

She smiled and softly took hold of his hands, removing them. “Here,” she muttered, “Let me.” She quickly buttoned it correctly.


She looked at him. “Just pull yourself together, please?”

He nodded faintly. She quickly kissed him and then returned to the bathroom. James looked at himself in the mirror and frowned. How he was going to get through this evening, was beyond him.

He grabbed for a comb and ran it through his hair a few times, but it barely helped. He put the comb back down with a heavy sigh. He stared at his reflection in the mirror.

He stuck his hands into his pockets, feeling the little box. Why he didn’t put it away, he wasn’t sure of. But maybe Lily would accidentally find it if he did. At least when he had it on him, he knew where it was the whole time.


James looked up and met Lily’s eyes. He’d been so lost in thoughts he hadn’t seen her coming out from the bathroom again. Even in his numb stage, he managed to notice just how beautiful she looked.

“You’re beautiful,” he said.

She blushed faintly and smiled. “Thanks, James.”

He took her in a few seconds more before walking to her and giving her a long kiss. She was blushing even more as they broke apart.

“And I will try to behave tonight,” he said.

“I’m sure you will.” She kissed him quickly. “Come on, we’re going now.”


The silence around the table was tense. James had already managed to bungle what he had intended to say at least four times, but it was slowly getting better. He knew that Lily’s parents weren’t that fond of him, and he was sure it didn’t help when not being able to put two words properly together.

“James and I are doing volunteer work,” Lily said suddenly.

James looked at her, frowning. What? Were they doing volunteer work? When?

“You are?” Mrs. Evans asked.

Lily nodded. “We’ve joined the fight against Voldemort. You remember I told you about him, right?”

Oh, that kind of volunteer work.

“Yes,” Mr. Evans answered. “That evil man.”

“Exactly,” Lily said.

“That’s nice,” Mrs. Evans said with a smile. “You’re helping.”

Mr. Evans looked from Lily to James. “How much of your time does this volunteer work take?”

“It’s different, sir,” James answered. “When there’s work for us, we’re there. It can take hours, or it can take weeks. We have meetings as well.”

Mr. Evans frowned. “When do you work then?”

James and Lily exchanged quick glances. “We don’t,” James said hoarsely.

“Excuse me?”

“There’s not enough time, dad,” Lily said. “James is out of the house most time with others from the Order, fighting and such. And I can only go with him some of the time, as I have agreed to help in our headquarters. Paperwork and such.”

“You don’t have a job, boy?” Mr. Evans looked at James with piercing eyes.

James slowly shook his head. “No.”

“Then how are you providing for Lily? A man has to be able to provide his family.”

“Dad, don’t worry about it,” Lily muttered. “We’re covered.”

“You’re covered?” Mr. Evans repeated. “Lily, I agreed to let you move in with this boy, who you said you really cared about, because I love you, but I will have to ask you to move back again if he can’t take care of you.”

“I said, we’ve got it covered, dad” Lily said,

“How?” he demanded.

She looked at James, who cleared his throat. “When my parents died,” he said slowly, “they left me all their belongings. So far we’re living of that.”

Mr. Evans looked at Lily. “Lily, I don’t like this. A man has to have a job, and when you already live together without being married, you can’t push it much longer. It’s not well looked upon. People will start talking.”
James spoke up before thinking. “Then I think she should marry me.”

Lily looked at him. “What?”

“Pardon me?” Mr Evans exclaimed and got up. Mrs Evans grabbed his arms and dragged him down again, hushing him. She smiled.

James swallowed, looking at Lily. “Marry me, Lily.” He suddenly slid off his chair and took hold of her hand while going on one knee. “I know you girls like romance and such, and I didn’t mean to let it slip like this, especially not in front of your parents, but please, marry me. You’re the best thing ever happening to me, and I’d be honoured if you’d spend the rest of your lift with me.” He found the box which was still in his pants. He opened it. “So please, Lily Evans, marry me.”

Everything was silent. The clock on the wall ticked, indicating each second passing by. The wind outside was soft and quiet. A few cars passing by were heard. But the sound of the four people in the room, breathing, was gone.

Then, a rasped breath was taken, and Lily smiled. “Yes.”

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