Marlene McKinnon was his first kiss. Well, really, she was his first everything. The blonde caused his first skinned knee, knocked him off his first broom, gave him his first (albeit extremely muddy) valentine’s day card, and was indirectly the cause of his first black eye. He fit right in with her older brothers and found himself feeling a big part of the McKinnon family without ever needing to try. And even though she was welcome in the Potter’s home anytime, she still preferred to scale the Victorian lattice and climb in through his window - just for effect. She was the girl next door and she was fucking brilliant.
Marlene McKinnon was his worst influence. Even worse than Sirius. She started smoking before any of them and also quit before they even realized. In third year she told James that it would impress Lily Evans if he learned to play the guitar, just for a laugh. He did and fell in love with it, eventually so did Lily Evans. Actually, the first time he ever picked on Lily was because he was a bit jealous that she was getting more of Marlene’s attention than he was. He wasn’t used to sharing. And then when Sirius snogged her the first time, he had two reactions: the first was an overbearing, overprotective need to smash his best mate’s face in and the second was hysterical laughter. He’s never laughed for so long in his entire life - especially because he knew who Sirius actually wanted to snog.
Marlene McKinnon was his in so many was. The summer before sixth year, right before Sirius moved in, they had been laying out in the field behind his house. One thing led to another and they decided if they were going to have awkward first encounters, why not have them with each other? He lost his virginity, much of his dignity, and gained more sexual confidence than he honestly should’ve had. They snuck off a few times that summer to get in more practice and spent more time laughing than they did kissing. When Lily started dating him, Marlene nearly spit her pumpkin juice all over Remus’ robes when she said how amazing he was with his hands. They had no kiss-and-tell rule, so no one else understood why she was having a laughing fit.
Marlene McKinnon was dead and James felt lost. She was always just there. Anything he couldn’t talk to Sirius about or didn’t want to burden Lily with went to Marlene. He still owed her a galleon for winning the bet on how quickly Remus and Sirius would move in together after Hogwarts. It was honestly one of the worst days in his entire life when Emmeline Vance apparated to their flat to tell them that the McKinnons had been murdered. He was inconsolable for days. The following day was the first time he faced Voldemort himself and if it weren’t for Lily, he wouldn’t have made it out alive.
Marlene McKinnon was his fire and his fuel. The last letter she ever wrote him was more about how stupid he looked during a duel and less about how afraid she was. That letter was folded and creased so many times that the ink was fading. It remained in the pocket of his robes for the next year. The last time he read it was the day he died, because he read it every day. He read that letter to remind him of what they were fighting for and what they stood to lose.
If Sirius was his right hand, then Lily was his heart. And if Remus was his conscience, then Marlene was his gut instinct. He should’ve listened to her when she said that she was worried about Peter. If he had, maybe things would have turned out differently.
Sorry, @daisvrildey, but did you really think I wasn’t going to give you something that would make you send me messages in all caps?