Remus sighed, and looked at Sirius, who shrugged, and then at Peter, who was fiddling with a bit of parchment.
"What's the worst thing that could happen, mate?"
"She says no, and then hexes me from here to the pitch," James replied, in a very forlorn voice.
"I don't think that's gonna happen, James," Sirius cut in. "I heard her talking to one of her friends about you."
"Really? What did she say?" James asked, his face lighting up.
"That you were an insufferable git for making her stop hating you."
James punched Sirius in the shoulder hard enough to make him hiss in pain.
James put his head back in his hands again. Sirius sighed, and then paced around the room he and his friends were sitting in for a moment, before coming to a decision.
"I'll make you a deal, mate," Sirius said.
"What's that?" James asked.
"You ask Evans to marry you, and I wont personally hex you," Sirius replied.
"You wouldn't," James said, with just a hint of uncertainness.
"Potter, so help me I'll hex you from here to Hogsmede." Sirius replied, his voice deadly serious.
"And I'll help him," Remus said flatly.
"Me too," Peter replied. Sirius drew his wand.
"Okay, okay!" James yelled. "You blokes drive a hard bargain."
"Damn right," Sirius said jovially, clapping James on the back.
James said nothing else, but he looked like a man who was marching toward his own execution.
**Two weeks later**
James kept his hands over Lily's eyes as she walked forward unsteadily. Twice she nearly fell, only to have James catch her.
"Can I open my eyes now? Please?" she asked the second time.
"No, not yet. Not much longer now, Evans," James replied.
"Do you have something against my name, James?" Lily asked, in mock irritation. James pretended to think.
"Now that you mention it..." he replied, causing Lily to sigh in exasperation. James reached up and began to tickle her ribs, causing Lily to shriek, open her eyes, and begin slapping him good naturedly. Then she turned toward where he was pointing.
Lily stared for a moment. "Wow. Who's castle is that?" she asked.
"Mine. Ours, if you'll marry me," James said softly.
Lily said nothing, the question taking a moment to register.
"What did you say?" she asked.
"I said the castle would be ours, if you marry me."
Lily stared at James for a moment. A long moment, in James' opinion. She opened her mouth, and then closed it again.
"I'll have to think about it, James," she replied. James's heart nearly stopped. For a wild panicked moment, the world seemed to freeze over.
"Wh...wh...." he stammered, until he noticed the look in her eyes. "Ev-Lily...."
"Of course I will, you great prat!" Lily said, before she paused. James waited on baited breath. "If you'll promise to leave my hair alone."
"Hey now, that was Sirius. I'm innocent!" James protested. The way Lily rolled her eyes told James she didn't believe him for a second.
"No, seriously! I love your hair, and the way it shines in the light. So many different colours, like warmth in a flame."
"Then why turn it pink?" Lily asked sarcastically.
"Sirius has this obsession with pink. The bloke is nutters! Absolutely mad, I tell you!"
"And you let him get away with it," Lily said.
"He only did your hair because I hexed him when he said he was gonna change your knickers!"
"I see," Lily said, before turning and walking away.
"Lily, wait!" James yelled. She ignored him and continued to walk. He ran over to her and caught her by the shoulders and spun her around, to be greeted by her tear streaked face, and the pain of her hand when it connected with his jaw.
For the next few days, Lily didn't speak to James at all. Despite his repeated attempts to engage in conversation with her, nothing worked. James sighed heavily, and returned to Godric's hollow.
It wasn't until nearly a week had passed when James finally had an opportunity to speak with Lily again. He caught up to her in Hogsmede, where she was surrounded by a knot of her mates.
"Lily!" James called, to no avail. "Lily please! I'm sorry!" James called. Lily stopped, and turned around slowly.
"What was that, Potter?"
"I said I'm sorry," James replied.
"For...upsetting you," James said hopefully.
"Oh? What else?"
"For being pigheaded, and a git."
Lily said nothing, choosing instead to wait.
"Lily, please. Don't do this. I love you. I can't stand this."
"Really?" Lily asked, as though she didn't know.
"And what about my hair?"
James paused for a moment, before raising his right hand in front of all of Lily's mates.
"I, James Edward Potter, do solemnly swear not to change your hair colour again so long as I live." he said, very sincerely.
Lily smiled, and then rushed into his arms.
"Lily," James began, before being cut off.
"Yes," she replied, leaving no doubt in his mind what she meant. It was about that time she caught sight of Sirius.
"James, would you excuse me for a moment?" she asked gently. James released her, with a quizzical look on his face.
"Why hello, Sirius," she said sweetly. Sirius glanced at her, and then at her wand...and then turned around and took off at a run with Lily hot on his heels. Just before the two left earshot, James heard his mate's anguished yell, "But I don't look good in Slytherin colours! Dear God no! I don't want to look like Snivellus!"