Hi, my lovelies! This is my first (by first I mean republished from the account I shut down, ugh) attempt at a real multichap, I'm really excited for it! This is going to be another Jily epic to add to the stack, feat. love and laughter, friendship and flirting, and a war that threatens all that. I'm also looking for a Beta, so if you love this story so much that you would like to read and edit a slightly worse version of its next chapters...hit me up :)

Also, fair warning: the first two chapters have no Jily at all, but I promise this is a Jily story! It is also a Marauders' story, though. I love these chapters because I love James and Sirius' friendship, and I also promise they are setting up an important plotline.

FYI, James and his parents are black in this fic because that headcanon has always made sense to me. Some people...need to be warned about this...apparently.

Disclaimer: I own nada.

Over the last two weeks of term first year, Sirius got progressively angrier and sadder and meaner every day. He'd never known he could love a place like he did Hogwarts, or a person like he did James and Remus and Peter.

He'd never known he could be a Gryffindor, and kidnap people's cats when they annoyed him, and sing terrible Muggle music at the top of his lungs, and sneak into Hogsmeade under James' invisibility cloak, and make his brilliant, intimidating headmaster laugh with his imitation of Professor McGonagall, and actually like house elves - they weren't all like Kreacher! There was one he especially loved named Josie who would let him and his mates into the broom shed and play referee for their midnight two-on-twos.

But now he would be spending the next two months where he couldn't do or be any of those things, and, well, it was hard to bear.

He had no idea that James had written home to ask if his new best mate Sirius Black could come visit over break, because James didn't receive his mother's answer by owl until the last day of term. James looked at Sirius and tried to tell him, because he knew this paper in his hands was more than some dumb playdate invitation. But James was dumb and eleven and had never had to say anything meaningful before, so he didn't quite know how to go about it. So he just shoved his mum's letter into Sirius' hands and said gruffly, "Read it or something." So Sirius looked down and saw: 'James, we live in a mansion. Tell Mr. Black he can spend as much time here as he wants.'

The asking and the answering and the handing off of the letters became a tradition, and the letters themselves became progressively less formal every year.

Second Year: 'Tell Sirius we'd love to have him, and if he gives enough advance warning, I'll even run to the supermarket and get those terrible Muggle biscuits he likes so much for his welcome dinner.'(James hated those biscuits, and he sincerely considered "forgetting" to mention what day Sirius would arrive)

Third Year: 'Well, James, for your sake, Sirius had better stop by soon because if you think you're allowed to touch your broomstick before you two clean up the mess you madeat the Godric's Hollow cottage at Christmas hols, you are sorely mistaken.'

Fourth Year: 'Your father says if Padfoot doesn't get his arse over here within the first month, he can forget about golf lessons (I don't know what 'golf' is, Fleamont claims it's some Muggle thing he offered to teach you two, but if it's going to mess up my house all of you stupid boys will have hell to pay).'

Fifth year, James didn't even need to ask, because by this time his parents wrote to Sirius as well. Two months into term, Euphemia sent Sirius a note unprompted: 'We're renovating at home. Are you planning to sleep in James' bedroom, or do we need to be careful to leave an extra guest bedroom intact? PS – you have terrible taste in rooms, young man, and I don't care that the Ophelia Suite is your favorite, it's hideous and the bed is lumpy, and your options are the Sunset Suite or James' room.'

Sirius showed up in their fireplace holding two trunks instead of the usual one after only a week that summer and no one needed to ask. He simply went to sleep in James' bed, and Euphemia kissed both boys on the head, even though—"Mum! We're way too old for that!"

When Sirius and James woke up the next morning, it was to the smell of blueberry pancakes, Sirius' favorite breakfast. And as Sirius practically skipped downstairs James—whose favorite food was French Toast—had a silent but very aggressive war with himself about whether or not he should whine about this blatant favoritism because

On the one hand, he hated blueberry pancakes,

But on the other hand, Sirius needed his favorite food more than he did right then,

But on the first hand, nobody made French Toast the day James came home,

But on the other hand, he wanted to make sure Sirius didn't feel like James begrudged him anything because he didn't, obviously,

But then he realized that under normal circumstances he would complain (he decided not to spend any time contemplating what a prat that made him), and more than anything else what Sirius needed right then was to know that this wasn't weird for James, this was perfectly normal because they were brothers.

So James dramatically threw his hands in the air and wailed, "BLUEBERRY, Mum? You KNOW I hate how they explode in your mouth!"

For a long moment, no one said anything, and he was terrified that he'd done the wrong thing, but then Sirius looked up with a shit-eating grin that split his whole face open and he had about ten un-popped blueberries in between his teeth. With no warning, he chomped down hard, and the blueberry juice shot wildly in all directions, spraying the plate and the table and hitting James right smack in the face.

Mrs. Potter tried her absolute best to look disapproving, but James just looked so shocked as he dripped purple, and the whole thing was bloody hilarious. Mr. Potter cracked up instantly, and he laughed and laughed and laughed until he finally pulled himself together enough to clap a hand on Sirius' shoulder and yell, "Way to go, son!"

Sirius looked up at him, confused and skeptical, because he didn't get how Mr. Potter could be proud of James for getting sprayed with blueberry juice, was this some Potter family rite of passage he didn't know about? But then Sirius saw Mr. Potter looking down at him, grinning and proud and laughing his head off, and realized that he was Mr. Potter's son now too.