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“Come out with your hands up, Prongs!”
“Sirius do you not think you’re being a bit overdramatic?”
“No. I do not.”
“You could just walk through the door.”
“And how boring would that be Moony? Merlin, have I taught you nothing?”
James came to the door. “Guys, you realise we can hear everything you’re saying.”
“Come on, Prongs, you’re coming out for your stag night,” Sirius appeared to be struggling to hold in laughter. “Because you’re a stag!” He finally broke into laughter.
“He’s made that joke 73 times since we left his house,” Remus conferred to James.
“Yes,” said Sirius. “And it gets funnier every time.”
“I made it 74,” piped up Peter.
“I suppose like your Sirius-serious joke?” James said.
“Well,” said Sirius modestly. “That is hilarious.”
Remus let out a low moan. “It’s dead, Padfoot. The joke’s dead, let it rest.”
“It is not dead. It is being killed, slowly and painfully.”
“By you,” clarified Remus.
Lily came to the door, brushing her sleek, crimson hair back off her face. James’ expression softened and he planted a kiss on her porcelain cheek. Sirius made a retching noise.
“Way to kill the moment, Padfoot.” James joked. Remus whacked Sirius on the head with the back of his hand.
“Ow,” said Sirius, coming up rubbing his head comically.
They all laughed and Sirius pouted, something he could do disturbingly well. He recovered swiftly and grinned. “Come on, Prongs, I could never live with myself if you don’t get drunk out of your head on the night before your wedding.”
“Go,” said Lily, half-laughing. “Before they decide to bring the contents of the Hogs Head here.”
Sirius faked surprise. “Lily, how did you guess our plan?” He put his hands on his hips. “Have you been reading my Completely-secret-never-to-be-read-even-with-my-express-permission-because-I-was-probably-joking diary?”
“He actually has one of those,” said Remus, nodding sadly. “It’s got the title on the front.”
“Have you read my-”
“Don’t start that again,” warned James. He kissed Lily on the lips, a kiss that went on for a long, long, long…
“Ahem,” said Remus, tapping his non-existent watch. Peter gave a nervous laugh.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” said James winking at Lily.
She smiled at him. “I’ll be the one in white.”
He laughed and leaned in to kiss her again, only to be pulled back by Sirius. “We don’t have time for all that.”
James snapped his feet together and did a mock-salute. “Sir, yes, sir. Clearly we have a tight schedule to keep to in order to get properly bladdered.”
Remus clapped a condescending hand on his shoulder. “You have no idea.”
James had to conclude that Remus had been right; they did indeed have a tight schedule to keep to in order to get properly bladdered. He had been dragged into the Hog’s Head to start off the proceedings and already Sirius was a little tipsy.
“Do you get it? A stag? Because you’re actually a stag! How do you people not find that funny?”
OK, he was completely drunk.
“Sirius, do you not think you should slow down a bit?”
“Shush Moony, now is not the time to be slow, but the time to fast and loose! As we have only a few precious hours before a loyal member of the Marauders leaves us forever!”
“Merlin, Padfoot, I’m getting married, I’m not leaving the country! And to be honest I would appreciate it if my best man could get out of bed in the morning.”
Sirius looked thoroughly confused, “Really? You would?”
“Well,” said James, a small smile appearing on his face. “I’d at least like the opportunity to catch up with him in the drinking stakes.”
“Aha! So mischievous Prongs lives on!”
Remus raised his eyes to the ceiling.
“Everybody dance now!”
“Sirius, you’re completely drunk!”
“No I’m not, because unlike you, Moony, I can handle my drink.”
“So can I!”
“Oh yeah, who was it that after half a bottle of firewhisky was dancing on the tables?”
“I don’t remember.”
“It was you,” piped up Peter, helpfully.
Remus gave a world-weary sigh, “Thank you, Wormtail.”
“Go on,” said James. “Prove it.”
“Prove that you can handle your drink.”
“What no I-”
“Look,” said Sirius. “Do you care about James?”
“Of course I-”
“Well? Do you not think that you owe it to him to get properly drunk on his stag night?”
“Well,” Remus hesitated; then he had one of his rare moments of recklessness. “Go one then… For James.”
“For James!” Said Sirius, raising his glass while pouring one for Remus (although it had to be said that the table got a fair bit of it.) “As one of the four leaves us forever,”
“Merlin, he’s going to make a speech.”
“Shush Prongs! I am trying to give you a fitting send off into married life.”
“I’m sorry Padfoot. Please accept my most sincere apologies.”
“I shall. Now!” Sirius proclaimed. “As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted,” He squinted at James, which was probably supposed to be threatening. “As one of the four leaves us forever, we will mourn and accept the passing of time and changing of the ways…”
“Padfoot, I’m getting married, I’m not dying!”
“Did I or did I not tell you to stop interrupting?”
“He did,” said Peter.
“He did indeed,” agreed Remus.
“Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, something about the changing of the ways… oh well, who wants another drink? Moony! Why have you not drunk your first one?”
Remus sighed. “Damn,” he muttered. Then he picked the glass up and gulped it down. “Happy now?”
“Now,” said Sirius in a sombre tone. “I’m going to be serious for approximately one minute.”
“How can you say that with that amount of alcohol in your system?”
“Anyway,” said Sirius, ignoring James’ last comment. “Prongs are you happy?”
James blinked a couple of times at Sirius. “Yes,” he finally replied, softly.
“Are you sure you want to marry her?”
“What? Of course!” he stared around at them earnestly. “This is Lily, I’ve been in love with her since like… forever.”
Remus laughed. “We know, mate. We’ve been hearing you talk about it forever.”
“Ah yes,” said Sirius, his voice took on a mimicking tone. “Oh, why won’t Lily go out with me? We’re clearly perfect for each other, I mean I know she hates me with every fibre of her being and everything, but still we’re perfect for each other!”
“Well I was right, wasn’t I?” James protested. “And she never hated me that much!”
The three exchanged sceptical looks.
“James, this is the girl who said she hated you, basically every time she talked to you, about you…”
“And sometimes when you weren’t even being mentioned.”
“She was in denial!”
“She hit you every time you asked her out.”
“Very deep denial.” James corrected himself.
“You can say that again!”
“Anyway, she’s marrying me now. Her hate clearly transformed into love.”
Sirius took a sip of his drink. “I’ll give you that.” He paused. “What’s she doing tonight anyway?”
“Oh she has a Hen night organised with some of her friends, I thought it best not to ask too much.”
“Well, that’s rubbish. Lily doesn’t even transform into a hen.”
“Sirius,” Remus said warningly.
“Whereas James is a stag!” Sirius started laughing again.
“For the last time, Padfoot, It’s not funny!”
“Yes-it-is!” Sirius choked out.
All three of them exchange looks of commiseration as Sirius bashed his head on the table, why? No one was quite sure.
“We should be getting back.”
“Remus! You’re so boring!”
“Maybe, but at least I’m not about to pass out.”
James grinned around at his friends. “Yeah, guys, this had been great, but I think I should be getting back now.”
“Back to the Mrs!”
“Not yet, Padfoot, not yet.” But soon, thought James, very, very soon.
“See you tomorrow James. Good luck.”
James smiled at Remus. “Thanks. Bye.”
James cast one last look at them, Peter disappearing into the night as Remus tried to support Sirius. He remembered every time they’d had together. His friends. His best friends. James grinned. “Thanks guys,” he whispered. “Thanks for everything.”
Then he remembered Lily, and he turned with a smile into the darkness as he apparated home.