A/N: This is for Ed Westwicker's 21 Love Categories challenge.

Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to JKR.

Three Simple Little Words

"It is all right to rat. But you cannot re-rat."
-Winston Churchill

"You shouldn't be here Lily," Sirius says as she steps through the fireplace and into his living room. He's standing across the room, and he won't look at her – he looks everywhere but at her.

"I had to tell him, Sirius. I had to tell him," she says – no, she pleads. Because she's afraid that maybe she was wrong, that maybe she ruined everything when she told James three simple little words – the last words that he ever expected her to say. I love Sirius.

"No, you didn't. You could have—" he begins, but she doesn't let him finish. He still isn't looking at her, and it's causing fear to seep into the pit of her stomach.

"Could have what? Could have agreed to marry him? I don't love him, Sirius. I don't!" Her voice is beginning to grow in pitch, hysteria setting in. And he still won't look at her.

"He's my best friend – my brother. I could never steal his girl." He sneers the last word, and finally meets her eyes. And what she sees there frightens her more than him refusing to look at her did. Because his eyes are cold; their normal warm gray, is now as cold as a glacier. "You should be with him." His eyes never leave hers, and she can tell that he means what he says.

"But what about me?" she asks, her voice soft. "Don't I get a say in who I want to be with?" Her eyes are pleading with him, and slowly she takes a step forward. When he doesn't make a move to back away, she closes the distance between them, and places her hand on his arm. "I don't want to be with him; I've never wanted to be with him – the only difference is that now he knows."

"I can't hurt him like that." His tone is final – but Lily has never been one to give up easily.

"But would he really want you to go on hurting yourself? Because either way, I am never going to be with him, and I am never going to marry him."

Sirius is silent for a moment, still looking into her eyes, before finally looking away and speaking. "When you talked to James, what all did you tell him?"

"I—I told him that I couldn't marry him – because I was in love with someone else." Beside her, Sirius stiffens. "Then he asked me who I am in love with… and I told him." Sirius looks back at her then.

"And that's all that you told him?" he asks, his voice intense. Lily nods her head. He breathes out a sigh of relief. "Good. That's all he is ever going to know." At Lily's confused look he adds, "I can't be with you Lily – I won't be with you." He lowers his voice. "I can't love you – I don't love you." He sounds like he's trying to convince himself, and not her.

But he does love her, and she knows it – he's never said it aloud, but he's never had to. She knows it, and he knows it.

She lifts her hand and gently turns his face back to hers. "We can give it time. We can wait until James has moved on to someone else before we let there be something more between the two of us. As long as you need to wait Sirius…I will wait for you." He was shaking his head before she had even finished speaking.

"That's just the thing. I don't think that he ever is going to get over you – not really. So when I say that I can't be with you Lily, I don't just mean not now, I mean not ever." He gives her a sad smile. "You should have told James yes. You cared about him enough to go out with him in the first place, and you would have eventually fallen in love with him." He sounds so sure of himself, completely confident, but she knows that what he's saying could never be true.

"No, Sirius. I wouldn't have," she says.

"Well, you should have tried." They are both silent for a minute, before he speaks again. "You need to leave, Lily. And I don't want you coming back," he says, and his voice is cold.

"Sirius…" She's falling apart, he's breaking her apart, and she doesn't think that there is any way that she can stop it.

"Get out Lily. James' life – my life – will be so much easier – so much better – if you leave, and never come back." He walks to the front door of his flat, and holds it open, waiting, staring at the floor all the while.

She stays frozen for a moment, unable to move. Finally, she takes a deep breath. "Don't do this to me, Sirius…." He doesn't respond; he doesn't say anything, he doesn't move an inch – just stands there and stares at the floor.

She takes another deep breath to steady herself, and then takes one step forward and then another. She pauses just slightly as she passes by him, and then walks out the door. As soon as she passes through the threshold, the door slams behind her.

He can't mean it, she tells herself. He doesn't mean it. But he does – and she knows it.

A/N: This has been mostly finished for about a week, just sitting on my computer. I was hoping I would be able to make it better if I stepped away from it for a white, but I'm not so sure that worked out too well. So whether you love it or hate it, I'd love a review. =]