Disclaimer: Don't own, but I asked Santa for the rights to it. That's the one thing I reeeeally want Santa to bring me, even though it would mean a lot of paperwork.
A/N: I know, I know, it's been forever. Please don't pelt me with rotten veggies! Oh, and this is the season finale, so I've got an extra long chapter! Huzzah!
Sirius flopped on his bed and sighed. He stared up at the dancing shadows cast upon the ceiling by the flickering candle. He had been distracted all day by what James had said to Lily the previous morning.
I love you...
Even Sirius himself hadn't told her that. Sure, he'd thought it and said it to himself a million times, but he'd never actually told Lily. James wasn't even going out with her, and he'd said it without a moment's hesitation.
"What should I do?" he asked the ceiling.
"I think you already know that." Sirius started up. He hadn't noticed Remus's silhouette behind the bed curtains.
"If I knew the answer, I wouldn't have asked the question, would I?" he snapped at the silhouette.
"Sometimes we're blinded by our own affection, Padfoot." Sirius snorted.
"What do you know about love? You've never been in it."
"Sarah? You're not in love with Sarah. She's just a crush, an infatuation. The only love you've ever had was for your books and parchment. If you were in love, you'd know it. You wouldn't be able to talk or breathe...thoughts and drams of her fill your waking hours and your sleep. When you're not with her, there's this empty feeling, and when you are-" Remus flung the curtains aside and bounded out of bed, looking livid.
"Fine, Shakespeare! You fix it, then! Wallow in your misery and self pity until you figure out what to do, but do it without my help! I give up!" He stormed across the room and wrenched the door open, coming face-to-face with James. "He's your headache, now!" he yelled in James's puzzled looking face. "I'm sick and tired of it! All of it!" He stormed out, slamming the door behind him. Semi-distant yells of "move, Wormtail!" was heard down in the common room. Up in the dorm, there was a thick, muffling silence.
James crossed the room silently. He flopped onto his stomach on his bed and rummaged about for something in the drawer of his nightstand. Sirius sat awkwardly on his own bed and quietly watched. James gave up the nightstand and started to search underneath his bed. Sirius had the strong urge to playfully push James off the bed and onto his head, like he'd done when they were on speaking terms, but resisted.
"What're you looking for?"
"Quill," James muttered. "Someone's stole mine."
"Was that supposed to hint at something?" he growled.
"What would it hint at? I'm just looking for my quill." The question had sounded genuine. Sirius felt embarrassed about interrogating James about an innocent search for a spare quill.
"Never mind." Sirius flopped onto his back and tried to ignore James the best he could. It didn't work. As James went from pulling dirty clothes, bits of food, and prank experiments gone awry out from under his bed and went to pulling the same out of the closet, the silence between them grew maddening.
"Where would I keep a spare quill?" James muttered to himself nonchalantly. "I wouldn't. I never keep spare quills," he answered himself. He paused to ponder this for a moment, shrugged, and went back to his search. It was like this for another good five minutes before Sirius sat up.
"I can't do this anymore."
"Do what?" Sirius hesitated. He took a deep breath, gulped, and swallowed his pride.
"I don't want to fight anymore."
"The way I recall it, we weren't." Sirius's heart jumped at this. Did that mean all was forgiven? "We were ignoring and avoiding each other quite loudly, as I recall."
"Oh." Apparently not, then.
"So, what made you change your mind? Gonna break up with Lily as quickly as you asked her out?" There was protective bitterness and a trace of venom in this last sentence.
"Prongs, this is stupid. We're fighting over a girl. We promised each other that was the one thing we'd never fight over."
"Sirius, we were eight. That was back when girls were icky, remember?"
"Still. Listen, I'm sorry."
"About everything. Asking Lily out, yelling at you, ignoring you, everything." James went about rummaging for a quill. "This is the part where you list the things you're sorry about," Sirius informed him condescendingly.
"Well, I'm not?"
"Well, I'm sorry for hitting you, and to try to get Moony to join my side, but that's about it."
"James, you've been acting like a stupid prat, and you're not sorry about anything?"
"Look, I told you I was sorry for hitting you. Otherwise, I haven't done anything."
"You told my girlfriend that you loved her."
"Yeah, but it's not my fault she's your girlfriend, is it? It's yours and Moony's, isn't it?"
"Don't bring Moony into this. Not when he's not here to defend himself."
"Well, he did have a hand in all of this. And, seeing as he's not talking to either of us, we probably won't get him in a room with either of us for more than five seconds, much less defend himself."
"Don't you dare tell me Moony didn't do anything! You know as well as I do that he did! He's the one that told you to ask her out, isn't he?" James had given up the quill search and was standing facing Sirius, fists clenched.
"I don't need this." Sirius turned to walk out. In one swift movement, James was in front of him.
"No! You started this. You don't get to walk out on it!"
"I'll walk out on it if I want." He tried to push the shorter boy aside, but he wouldn't budge.
"You're the one who wanted to talk, so let's talk! Let's talk about six years trying to get the same girl to go out with me. Let's talk about you knowing this perfectly well, then asking her out yourself. Let's talk about you trying to make everything all sugar-coated. I'm sorry isn't going to make it better this time, Sirius!"
"Then what will?" Sirius bellowed back. James paused in his ranting for a moment.
"I dunno, Sirius," he said sadly. "I don't know." They looked at each other for a moment, then James stepped aside. Sirius, without saying a word, left.
James and Sirius passed the rest of term not speaking to each other. Remus in about a week or two had started talking to them again, but never took sides. Wormtail scurried around, unsuccessfully trying to make everybody happy. Lily, for her part, seemed perfectly happy with Sirius and the effect of that single "I love you" never showed.
At the end of term feast, Remus sat between James and Sirius. Lily was at Sirius's left, and Wormtail at James's right. There was an icy silence between the three more intelligent Marauders, but Wormtail chatted happily away with Lily across the three of them.
Maybe this will knock them to their senses, Remus thought desperately. The end is coming soon, and they'll realize that eventually. He dug into his dinner, throwing nervous sidelong glances at Sirius and James. But what if they don't realize it? an unbidden voice in the back of his mind whispered. What if they realize it too late? What then? They won't realize it too late, he told the voice firmly. They may not be the brightest of the bunch, but they're smarter than that. They're too good of friends to lose contact with each other over a girl. Are they? the voice persisted. I mean, they haven't been speaking to each other since, what? October? It's June. You do realize that, don't you? They haven't been on speaking terms for eight or nine months. What makes you think they'll start talking again now? If not now, then next term. I'm positive they'll be speaking by next term. He nodded firmly to himself and crushed the annoying little whispering in his head.
They didn't realize it then. It was only the end of their sixth year. Of course the thought hadn't crossed their minds! So summer came. Remus, as usual, lost contact, preoccupied by other things. The only one he talked to that summer was Wormtail.
The next September, he occupied a compartment with Wormtail. He wasn't sure if James and/or Sirius would come to sit with them or not, but he hoped at least one of them would. Eventually, there was a knock on the door and, without waiting for an answer, it opened.
"Can I sit with you guys?" James asked. Remus looked at him and smiled.
"Do you really think you even need to ask any more?" James looked grateful and hauled his trunk in, muttering something about "extenuating circumstances." They remained a trio for a little over five minutes. Then there was another knock and, again, the door slid open without waiting for an answer.
"Moony, can I sit with-" Sirius's eyes traveled over to James. "Oh. Well then, if you're busy, I'll just leave."
"No, Padfoot," Remus said quickly. "Come in, come in. Anyone's welcome." Sirius looked uncertainly at Remus, then shuffled awkwardly in.
You two WILL make up, if it kills me! he thought loudly at the both of them. He then noticed something. Sirius seemed smaller, width-wise. He realized it's because Lily wasn't there next to him, like she had been most of the previous year.
"Where's Lily?" he blurted out before he could stop himself. James looked daggers at the both of them.
"We broke up about three weeks into summer vacation." James lit up visibly at this, but hid it quickly.
"Why?" he asked in a would-be casual tone. Sirius shrugged.
"Number of reasons. My family, her bloody..." he stalled for a moment, as if trying to find the right words. "Her sister is not human! I swear she isn't! She's one of those whatchamajiggies. The thing muggles think'll take over the world. Robobamathing."
"A robot?" Remus supplied.
"That's it! A robot! She cleans compulsively! She made me take my bloody trainers off before I came in! So, yeah, there's a reason. And...just...couldn't go on like that with a clear conscience, you know?" His voice trailed off as he glanced over at James. There was a long awkward pause only broken occasionally by the sound of Wormtail trying to get a bit of sandwich out from under his thumbnail.
"I'm sorry," James said quietly. Sirius nodded.
"Yeah. Me, too. Friends?" He held out his hand. James shook it.
"Who knows? Maybe 75 1/2 time's the charm?" James laughed, glad to have the old Sirius back. But it wasn't the old Sirius.
During the course of the previous term, Sirius had changed because of Lily. It was a change for the better, but it was still change. He had loved Lily with every fiber of his being, and he still loved her. Remus saw this. Sirius tried to hide it, but he couldn't. James didn't see it because he didn't want to, and Wormtail was just too thick.
Good man, Sirius. Good man.
Tada! Thank you sooo much to all of my loyal reviewers; PatronSaintOfEverythingWierd, waterdreamer, and HannahCimsGwendolyn. And also to my other reviewers, all y'all have made me sooo warm and fuzzy and loved:) Hannah, don't you dare preach GSR to me, this is not a crossover! If there's anything involving a non-OC named Sara(h), it would be SARIUS! lol. Anyways...keep your eyes peeled for a sequel in the next couple of days. Sirius reflects, regrets, and tells Harry. Not sure what it'll be called yet. Possibly What May Have Been or What If?. Any title suggestions, please leave it in a review. Since leaving responses in the document is now outlawed, I'll be using the nifty "reply" button. If I've already responded to your review...deal with it, I'm responding again. ;) In case I don't post again for a while, happy holidays, everyone!