Title: An Apology for Relatives

Rating: PG is for Please Grovel at my Feet! Err… Yes. (Or, K+, if you prefer).

Warnings: Much skirting around the word "friend" resulting in a couple not so spectacular turns of phrase that might make you cringe. That's alright if you do, you're not alone (I did too). Other than that, you're probably safe. Except the for the passing mention of Snape getting snogged, and a tiny spoiler for "Inebriation".

Notes: Another of the Great Prompt Fest survival pieces. Adonais gave me a truly evil one, and told me to describe the relationship between the Marauders without using the word "friend". This is what I came up with. Please note, the title is stolen from Hugh Kinsmill's quoted aphorism "friends are God's apology for relatives."

- - - - - -

"A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway — Jerome Cummings."

- - - - - -

The Marauders were, without a doubt, the most popular kids in the school. No one was really sure what it was about them the student body found so bloody endearing. Perhaps it was the ridiculous nicknames they were always tossing around. More than one giggly conversation was spent in the library trying to determine just why James Potter was called "Prongs" by his fellow Marauders. Such conversations, unfortunately, often led to inappropriate wonderings that got said girls tossed from the library forcibly.

More than one girl had gone moony for "Moony" certainly, after all, in the words of one Dorthy Diggle, "it's the gentle bookishness, it's just so cute!" Still, the genuine article never seemed to moon over anything at all. There was an alarmingly large list of girls assuring the Hogwarts populace that (for many giggle-inducing reasons) Sirius Black did indeed deserve the nickname "Padfoot", but how his male dorm-mates knew that was certainly nobody's business, and (naturally) everyone's gossip.

Or, perhaps, it was their ridiculous sense of humor. When it came to Marauder humor you fell into one of two categories: those who appreciated it, and those who received it. Most people fell into the former category. Occasionally someone both appreciated it and received it, but such instances were rare. Rarely did a dinner go by where something bizarre didn't erupt from their section of the table. Ironically, the weirdest dinners were the ones were nothing happened, as they tended to feature everyone around waiting for something exciting to happen with bated breath, and the Marauders happily munching away, ignoring everyone.

Perhaps it was because of the endless rumors. Rumors that they weren't really human (mostly fueled by James and Sirius' apparent ability to communicate without speaking — this was actually due to a highly developed system of hand signals that the Marauders had devised in their third year to aid with keeping their stories straight when confronted by an angry teacher. Nothing led you to detention faster than a botched cover story). Or, that Sirius Black had kissed Severus Snape in the third floor girls' loo, and that they were now scheduling secret rendevouz in the various broom cupboards that Hogwarts had to offer, a rumor fed almost exclusively by James Potter in its infancy, and one that grew to epic proportions within a week. Or, Miss Diggle's least favourite, that Lily Evans had cornered Remus Lupin in the prefects washroom, declared her undying love to him, ripped off his towel and snogged him senseless (something which upon further questioning yielded nothing more than a terse "it's none of your bloody business" from the boy in question).

Or, maybe it was because they hated the Slytherin's so much. Rarely a day went by when they weren't hexing someone or other, and, let's face it, who doesn't enjoy a good fist fight? Especially when the Slytherins are loosing.

But in the end, they had what everyone else wanted: a clearly close-knit support circle that everyone wanted to part of, but no one could get into. No one understood it. No one knew why James Potter, star of the Quidditch pitch, Sirius Black, the first Black to be sorted into Gryffindor, and notorious for being from a family of dark wizards, Remus Lupin, the bookiest bookworm ever to walk the Earth (or so it seemed, those who really knew him knew he was just as devious as the rest), and Peter Pettergrew, the very definition of unwanted underdog would spend any amount of time together at all, much less every waking moment of the day (and, usually, night). But, it was apparent to all involved that the Marauders were a family of the most functionally dysfunctional sort, and that would never change.

- - - - -