Sirius thought he was crazy. A fucking lunatic. He shouted it at the empty fireplace, and then breathed heavily as he realised that he didn't want a response.
A baby. What the fuck would James do with a baby?
Sirius had borne it with grace when James had told him he was getting married. He'd kissed him lightly on the lips, and bit his tongue to keep from saying the wrong things. Sirius was a realist. If James wanted Lily, then Sirius would be the best friend and nothing more. He could smile in the wedding photos and roll with the punches. His world was bigger than James, bigger than all the fucking Marauders.
But a baby. It was ludicrous. He was just a kid himself. They all were. Prongs could play at married life with Lily Evans and that was just fine, but it still felt like playing to him. Sirius watched them bickering all the time; James would call her names, and Lily would slap him away. They still acted like they were in school. They weren't parents.
James told him the news with such breathless wonder that Sirius almost found himself hating him: the blissful, dreamy man with his best friend's eyes and somebody else's smile. Sirius wasn't sure whether it was that he simply didn't recognise this James, or that it was a James he didn't want to recognise. In school, the antagonism had sparked off him; it was a careless, exalted arrogance that Sirius could almost taste on his skin as he licked his way down the other boy's spine. Since leaving Hogwarts, the egotism of youth seemed to have faded in James, while in Sirius it had hardened into sharp corners of bitterness and superiority.
And damn right if he wasn't better than everyone else.
Sirius didn't see much of James and Lily during the pregnancy. He was out of the country a lot (he always volunteered for the most exotic, and invariably most dangerous, tasks for the Order), and when he was in London, he spent most of his time wasted on Firewhisky and fucking boys who didn't look much like James in the morning. He heard that it was a difficult pregnancy from various sources -- primarily Remus, whom Sirius would periodically find in his flat, sweeping his wand across the mess of debris, or (apparently) levitating him into bed when he was found passed out on the living room floor.
Fundamentally, past all his own petty disbelief, Sirius couldn't help wondering why -- why anyone would want to bring a baby into this world. A world where the sky was smudged almost permanently with desecration, and the darkest days only seemed to be getting darker.
Sirius visited shortly after the birth. In the warmly-lit living room, James held the tiny baby out towards him. Sirius peered apprehensively at Harry James Potter, swathed in too much towelling, but did not take him.
"He doesn't look much like you," Sirius offered, squinting to find a resemblance.
"I suppose not. He didn't open his eyes for three days, and we thought he might have my eyes. But bang, he opened up and they were all Lily's eyes." James grinned, and added, "Luckily."
Sirius reached over instinctively and cupped James's face in his hand; he ran his thumb over the other man's cheekbone, and arced up over his eyelid, which flickered shut momentarily. "Yours aren't such bad eyes to have," he murmured.
The preternatural green eyes of the baby glowed up at Sirius, and he dropped his hand.
Sometimes Harry was so much like his father that Sirius found it difficult to bear.
The way his lips would flare irresistibly into a pout as he glared was James. The way his hair tufted and peaked in a way that begged to be yanked was James. The way his shoulders squared into perfect lines that Sirius knew could be made to curve with the merest persuasion was James. All that kept Sirius from kissing Harry, and biting away all the words that weren't James's, were his eyes.
They weren't James's eyes.