Disclaimer: I own nothing.

For the 48 Hours or less challenge on HPFC

my pairing is siriuslilyi.

prompts - sorrow, realize, amazing, acceptance

This totally didn't turn out to be SB/LE. It's totally JP/LE, with very, very faint hints of SB/RL if you squint, but if you don't squint, can be read as friendship.

~SB*LE~

James bounds into the dormitory, absolutely giddy. Sirius is tossing a muggle bouncy ball that Remus gave him at the ceiling, amused by catching it over and over. It's the sort of inane thing that he enjoys, for some reason.

James' giddiness is infectious, though, and Sirius sits up, waiting for James's sure-to-be-monumental news.

James is bouncing on the balls of his feet. "Guess what, guess what, guess what!"

It's not a question. Sirius grins a bit, wondering why James is so ecstatic. "What?"

"She said yes! Can you believe it? She said yes, Pads! Six years, she's been saying no, and she said yes!" James is practically screaming at him.

A beaming grin spreads across Sirius's face. "Congrats, Prongs! Your stubborn obstinacy finally paid off!"

James hasn't stopped bouncing. His expression is highly reminiscent of insanity. Sirius raises an eyebrow, meaning, 'You just gonna stand there and bounce?'

James gets the silent message, turns, and bounds toward the door. Just before he leaves, he turns.

"By the way, stubborn obstinacy? Stubborn stubbornness? Really Siri?" James grinned again and walked out the door.

Away from James's infectious giddiness, though, a weight settles into Sirius's stomach. It's anger and sorrow and jealousy and a sense of foreboding all wrapped into one tight ball, and Sirius doesn't know what to do about it.

He's just got this feeling, that now that James has everything he ever dreamed of, that nothing's ever going to be the same. And he hates her a little bit, just for that. Because it's always been James and Sirius, like they're one entity, and she's coming in between them and taking James away from him, when James has always been Sirius's.

But he stuffs the writhing, chaotic mess of feelings deep down inside, because voicing them would only make him lose James faster.

Stuffing it inside, though, stuffing it inside makes the feelings fester. The anger and hate burn and grow, and James keeps trying to force them to get along, and Lily can't figure out why Sirius hates her. James is oblivious. It's the popular saying, but backwards. Ignorance isn't bliss; bliss is ignorance. But then, James always has been prone to doing things backwards.

It takes Sirius three months to realize that Lily isn't trying to take James away from him. It takes him three months to realize that James is talented enough to balance a best friend and a girlfriend. It's three months before he realizes that maybe Lily Evans is good for James, and maybe she's not the evil harpy his imaginative – biased – mind has made her out to be.

It takes him three months to accept her as maybe something permanent.

Merlin, that's a scary thought.

But with his newfound acceptance, Sirius begins to realize that Lily is an amazing human being. Much like Remus, she's a rule-follower with a total devious streak. Messing with Lily – not a good idea. She leaves no traces; she's never been caught. She comes across as an angel, but she's got a flash-fire temper and enough Slytherin in her to pull off almost anything, yet she's a Gryffindor at heart. She'll stand up for what she believes in regardless of the consequences that might befall her, but if something, anything, threatens her friends, she's fiercely protective and defensive. In that regard, she reminds Sirius of himself. She's maybe a bit reckless when it comes to what matters, the same way Sirius is.

And somehow, Lily seamless integrates herself into the fabric of the Marauders, and soon it seems like she has always been there.

The thing that Sirius likes most about her, though, is James. She makes him happy in a way he's never really been happy before.

That's not to say that he wasn't happy before, but it isn't the same. With Lily, it's like James is finally… whole. And seeing James happy makes Sirius happy.

Sirius realizes – eventually – that once he got over himself and gave Lily a chance, the reason it was so easy to accept her is that she seems to be the best of all of them.

She's got Peter's optimism, and the two of them together is enough to counteract Sirius's and Remus's pessimism. James has always been a bit wishy-washy, in that regard.

She's got James's humor – the true kind of humor, where laughter bubbles up like carbon dioxide in champagne, and humor is a funny thing. Peter is like this, too. Not like Sirius, who has a darker, sarcastic sense of humor, or Remus, whose humor is always a little sharp-edged, but witty.

She's got Remus's attention to school, his natural charisma around authority. She's got his persistence, his dedication. She's got his intangible but jealousy-evoking skill of never getting caught.

And she reminds him of his own loyalty. She is the best of each of them, all wrapped up into one.

No, she isn't perfect. She's harsh and overly-curious and emotional. She's brutally honest and headstrong and way too much of a bleeding heart.

But she fits.

Yet four was the perfect number for them. Four made two perfect pairs of two, but now that James has Lily, Sirius gravitates towards Remus, and Peter seems to be left on the fringes.

Something about this gives Sirius a bad feeling, but he shakes it off, and they graduate, and James and Lily move in together, and Sirius and Remus share a flat, and Peter waves it off like it's nothing but there's this look in his eyes.

And Sirius feels like he should've known.