Confessions of a Marauder with Nerves

---

I finally worked up the nerve to propose to Lily, and she agreed to marry me, even though my proposal technique was far from perfect. Hard part done, right? Yeah, right. We're going to meet her family. Between evil sisters and bodybuilding cousins, I don't think I'll survive.

---

The world is huge.

The population, I mean. Not the actual area.

And in this huge population are a huge number of males. These males can live in China, Siberia, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, the States…you name it. There are hundreds of males in every country in every part of the world. Except, you know, the Amazon. I heard women there actually kill men. Apparently, women are the dominant gender there. Lily should really fit in.

Anyways, back to my point, there are billions of males. They all think the same way- sex, beer, sports, women, and…well, that's basically it. And in each of these male's lives, they must go through one nerve-wracking, terrifying, completely tormenting experience.

Going bald?

No, Sirius. Although that can be quite traumatizing, if my dad's word is to be taken.

I mean proposing to the woman they love.

What if they're gay?

Fine. Woman/man they love.

What if they're polygamous?

Fine. Women/men they love.

What if they love an inanimate-

Sirius. I'm losing my patience. I'm setting down the quill, and counting to ten with my eyes closed. When I open my eyes, I expect to see you gone. Otherwise, I'll stab you in the eye with the quill. And I sharpened it just yesterday, so it's all pointy and dangerous.

Hah.

Potter-1, Sirius-0.

Anyways, as I was saying…er, writing, proposing to the person you love can be quite difficult. And yes, I am speaking from experience. For the past few weeks, I've been going completely insane thinking of an idea. I mean, Lily being the typical girl, she expects me to come up with some creative and original idea that'll knock her socks off.

And if I screw this up, then she'll never snog me again.

Remus's no help, either. He just told me to go to some fancy restaurant and pop the question on my knee right before dessert. Merlin, that boy is so unromantic.

But I think I have it. I finally know what I'm going to do.

---

I entered the living room of our flat cautiously. Despite being called a living room, it was really Lily's office. Once, I had been stupid enough to enter and accidentally misplaced a speech she had been working on for quite a few weeks. Needless to say, I went un-snogged for a long time.

It's been two years since we graduated from Hogwarts. I'm a professional Quiddtch player for the national English team. Lily's a Muggle lawyer, but she does some work on the side as a Healer. Not for Mungo's, see, but for a private clinic she opened that caters only to people who can't afford to go somewhere else.

And, of course, she still hasn't given up on fighting for house-elf rights.

Anyways, she's well known in both worlds for her intelligence and passion for helping others, and I'm proud of her. She's doing what she wants, and she's helping others.

"Lils?" I called out.

A muffled answer.

My eyes adjusted to the dark lighting and I discovered Lily sprawled on the sofa, her face buried in a pillow. Her red hair was pinned up into a messy bun, and her spectacles were clutched in one hand.

"What happened?"

"Well, the defense brought in a man who they claim is an eyewitness, but he's completely mad. He thinks the apocalypse is coming. And they're trying to get my innocent client hung. And my client, who's completely innocent, is refusing to name the actual offender."

"Oh."

Lily sat up, tossing the pillow onto the floor, and running a hand over her face, "I need a break, James."

I scooted closer to her and she laid her head on my chest, sighing. Threading through her hair with my hand, I soothingly suggested, "Let's go catch a film. Sirius told me that there's a new adventure flick out…er, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom."

Her face brightened up, "Oh, with Harrison Ford! Alright, then. Let me just go freshen up a tad."

---

Forty minutes later, we were sitting in the darkened theater house, waiting for the movie to start. Lily was nestled comfortably with a huge bag of popcorn and a drink in one hand. She turned to face me, and her face was beaming, "James, thank you so much."

"Oh, no problem. I mean, the cashier was a bit iffy when I said I wanted extra butter-"

"No, not that. For being such a perfect boyfriend. I mean, I used to think you were just an arrogant toe-rag, but you're so…bloody perfect. I'm just really embarrassed about giving you such a hard time in fifth and sixth year."

I grinned at her, "You did put up quite a fight."

Flushing, she leaned over and pecked me lightly.

Just as the moment I had been waiting for arrived, Lily stood up, "I have to use the loo."

Eyes widening, I gripped her wrist and desperately said, "Just five minutes, Lily. I just need you to see something-"

Rolling her eyes, she glanced at the screen where credits were still rolling, "I can do without seeing an ad for Coca Cola."

"Lily, just sit down, five minutes-"

"James, I have to go! Do you honestly expect me to unload right here on the seat!"

"You could-"

"James, you're insane. I'll be back, alright-"

Just then, the next slide came on and I whooped, "Yes! Lily, just look at the screen, OK?"

Frowning, she turned around and sharply drew in a breath.

On the screen, a bright red slide with white letters proclaimed, "Lily Evans, I've loved you ever since I threw a Quaffle at you in second year and knocked you unconscious. Please do me the honor of marrying me. Yours forever, James Potter. PS: Did I ever say sorry for that incident? Just wondering."

Lily sat down with a thump and turned towards me, her eyes glistening even in the dim light of the theater, "James…you…how…oh, Merlin."

Smiling, I drew out the ring box and kneeled in front of her, much to the pleasure of the people around us. Women around us sighed, obviously impressed by my proposing technique, and a few men hooted encouragement.

"Lily, will you marry me?"

"James, I-" Her face contorted and she shifted uneasily.

"James, I have to use the bathroom still! Just one moment!" She fled, practically flying towards the loo.

I remained kneeling, waiting for her to come back. Muffled giggles echoed in the room.

Finally, she came back and threw her arms around me, "Of course I'll marry you!" She started crying and I nervously patted her on the back, wondering if my proposal was that bad.

---

"And we have to have the bridesmaids in golden robes-or maybe sunshine yellow. James, which one would look better with the silver and white theme?" Lily demanded, holding up two robes in precisely the same color.

I gestured vaguely in one direction, "Erm, that one."

Lily grinned, whirling it around, "Perfect. Gold it is."

She trotted to the back, and started riffling through more dress robes. Sighing, I leaned against the wall and watched her hold up robe after robe, muttering female nonsense like "Makes skin look swallow" and "Won't photograph well".

Whatever. As long as she doesn't buy some hideous pink robe for me, I really don't care about what color the napkins are.

Sighing again, I began counting the number of blokes like me, who were watching their female counterparts in a mixture of amusement, boredom, and awe at their never-ending energy.

I was at six, when Lily interrupted.

"James, my parents invited us to dinner tonight, by the way." She called.

Straightening up, I stupidly asked, "Why?"

Turning, she gave me an exasperated look, "So everyone can meet you, of course. Everyone's been dying to meet you, James. Aunt Thora was just saying the other day that she wanted to approve you."

Approve me? Like…a test or something? Merlin, what if I fail? Will they break off our engagement? Or maybe some burly cousin will beat me up or something.

Merlin, her family are a bunch of nutters.

"Of course, I don't care what the lot back home thinks. As for that meddling hag, she's been married thrice to men half her age. Oh, James, my family's awful."

I'm feeling queasy.

"I mean, Mum is a dear, so is Dad…well, if you get on his good side. Just lie and say you've never touched me. And Petunia is a Muggle through and through, she abhors magic. So don't pull out your wand or something or she'll go positively bonkers. Or maybe you should. That way, I have an excuse for sending her away."

Merlin.

Her family is a bunch of nutters.

"And Aunt Thora will probably try to seduce you. She tends to flirt with every male under thirty. Mum says that it's just a phase, though. Her husband died a few years ago, see, and she latches herself onto anyone who looks at her twice. Merlin, but her son is a right arsehole. He's a bodybuilder and bloody arrogant. He'll try to wrestle with you, most likely. Prove that he's the alpha male."

Lily chatters on about her family of maniacs, while I struggle to not hyperventilate.

"And his sister, Lydia, is a right bitch. She's hated me ever since I accidentally lit her hair on fire at her fifth birthday party. My magic was a bit restless when I was younger, but I can't deny that I'm not sorry."

She has a positively gleeful look on her face. I touch my hair hesitantly, wondering if she would light my hair on fire if I ever made her mad.

"And James? Don't stress too much. They're only family."

---

Nervously, I try to tame my wild hair, while staring at my reflection with wide eyes. Maybe the next time I'd see myself, I might be pulverized by a bodybuilding cousin, seduced by an old lady, or bald.

Fuck.

My heart's practically wheezing. It's so loud, I think I can actually hear it screaming at me to run away.

And my hands are all clammy, and sweaty-

"James, it's time to leave." Lily stepped into the room. She's dressed in a dark, muted gold cocktail dress with her hair elegantly pinned up. In her ears, she's wearing the diamond chandelier earrings I gave her for our third anniversary present.

"James?"

I squeak, "Yeah, let's go."

Oh, God.

I know I've never prayed to You before. And I remember every crude joke Sirius and I made about You. And I know I said that You were just a way of cheating people out of time and money. And that probably pissed You off, because it is pretty rude.

Forgive me. I was an immature mortal.

Now that we're back on good terms…

PLEASE HELP ME SURVIVE!

Thank you.

Amen.

---

"Lily, darling! You look magnificent! I love what you've done with your hair, it's so chic. And you must be James! What a handsome man you've snagged, dear. Tell me, do you use gel to make your hair do that?"

The woman who was saying this at the speed of lightening looked at me expectantly. Her shiny dark blonde hair was pinned up, much like Lily's, and her emerald eyes twinkled.

"It's natural. One of the more unfortunate genes I received from my father." I answered, smiling.

Thank Merlin that someone in her family was normal.

"Anyways, you come right in and meet the rest of the clan. Howard! Howie, the kids are here!"

A tall, dignified man stepped up, nodding, "Hello, Lily. James, I presume?"

I nodded.

He shook my hand, clenching it in an iron grip, "So nice to meet the man who's marrying my daughter."

Behind him, Lily smiled encouragingly, her eyes twinkling.

"So nice to meet the father of the girl I'm marrying." I replied, not letting him on about the pain and agony my hand was going through.

He smiled, a wise one that reminded me of Dumbledore, "You're a good man, James."

Eleanor clapped her hands together and squealed, "Well, now that you two are friends, maybe we can introduce James to the rest."

As we walked in, I scanned the house. It was roomy, which wasn't surprising, seeing as how Lily's father is a successful Muggle lawyer. Photos (non-moving Muggle ones) of Lily and a blonde girl were in every room. I snickered as I saw one with a three-year-old Lily was chewing contentedly on her hand.

Lily blushed and mumbled something incoherent.

"So cute…" I cooed to her, smirking.

She punched me lightly in the arm in response.

Like I said, Lily would fit right in at the Amazon. Violence towards males, specifically me, just runs through her blood.

We walked into a large dining room where four more people were assembled, waiting for me.

The first one was a woman with bright blue streaks running through her graying hair. She wore a tight black T-shirt proclaiming "Beetles" and gray slacks. Her blue eyes, matching her highlights, gave me the once-over and her dark red lips widened into a smile.

"James, I'm Lily's Aunt Thora. What a handsome young man you are. If you weren't taken, I'd have a go at you myself."

I uncomfortably shifted, "Thanks. Your, er, hair looks very…unique."

"Why, thank you."

A sulky voice interrupted, "And his hair looks like a porcupine. Doesn't your kind use a brush? Or are they really just savages?"

The speaker was a blonde woman who looked a few years younger than Lily. Her pinched, horse-like face was radiating dislike.

"Oh, he's quite normal. I just told him that he needs to keep in with the animal theme of our house. You know, seeing as how you resemble a horse."

A sneer was directed her way, and Lily returned it unreservedly.

Another woman spoke up, in a throaty voice, "Don't be mean, Lily. I'm just surprised what someone like him would be doing with you."

Her dark brown eyes slid over me appreciatively, "Hello. I'm Carrot Head's cousin, Lydia."

I shot a glance Lily's way and by the furious look on her face, I could tell that she didn't appreciate the nickname.

"Oh, Lily told me about the time she lit your hair on fire." I smirked.

Lydia's eyes widened and she sneered, "Whatever."

The last person, a man who was wider around the shoulders than he was tall, grunted, "Willy." His eyes glared at me, daring me to make fun of his name.

I squeaked out a hello.

"You. Me. Fight. Later." Willy the Hulk grunted.

---

I am entirely too young to die.

A. I am still a virgin.

B. I haven't had a proper duel.

C. I have never been married.

D. I don't have kids. (This might be linked to Point A)

I cannot believe my fiancée's cousin is going to kill me.

---

After we finished dinner, I laid my napkin down and smiled winningly, "That was excellent, Mrs. Evans. I haven't had a proper meal in weeks."

Lily mock-glared at me, "Well, I'm sorry for not being a star chef, James."

Mrs. Evans gave a tinkling laugh, "You two are so adorable, aren't they Petty?"

Petunia looked up from her plate and replied coldly, "The two freaks deserve each other."

The happy expression on Mrs. Evans face was replaced by anger. Leaning over, she hissed, "Apologize to your sister and her fiancé, now."

Petunia snorted derisively and tossed her napkin onto the table, "I wouldn't apologize to them even if you held a gun to my head."

"Petunia!"

"She's always been the favorite one! And none of you see her for the freak she is…turning mice into teacups, making flowers sing…she's just mutated!" Petunia burst out.

Well.

That was…interesting.

A real eye-opener.

Lily looked positively embarrassed and her cheeks were bright red.

I glared at Petunia, "I usually don't believe in discrimination, but it's Muggles like you that give Muggles a bad name. I don't see what you're going on about, calling Lily a freak. It's a special and unique gift that she's been given to be able to do magic."

Petunia sneered, "A gift? Please. Mark my words, Potter, you'll just end up dead."

And with that, she stalked off.

Mrs. Evans, her voice trembling, asked, "More pie, Howie?"

---

As we prepared to leave, I glanced at Willy and asked, "What of our fight?"

He grinned, "Well, maybe next time, mate. You're alright."

Even Lily's father was impressed. He even gave me his card and made me promise to contact him if I ever needed legal help.

Lily's mother burst into tears and hugged me fiercely, "Good-bye, love. You take care of my little girl."

Winking, Aunt Thora gave me her phone number, "Ring me if things don't work out between you two."

Lydia, smirking at Lily, gave me a long hug and whispered, "Don't ring my Mum. Ring me instead."

Lily was ready to light another fire.

Just as we started down the path, Petunia pushed to the door and called out desperately, "Lily, don't marry him! That world isn't for you! That…that awful boy will just end up getting you killed!"

Ignoring her, Lily snuggled closer to me and murmured, "I hate my family."

We got into the car and started a new phase in our life.

Together.