Sirius Black had always traveled to King’s Cross with incredible joy in his heart knowing that he wouldn’t have to return to Grimmauld Place, 12 for several months and that he wouldn’t see his family for a very long time. This was the first time Sirius had trouble getting out of his bed on 1st of September. He didn’t know how to explain it but it felt like a hippogriff was sitting on his chest making it hard to breathe.
“Padfoot,” sighed James. “If you make me miss the train, I will steal all of Remus’ chocolate and blame it on you and he will believe me.”
“Idunwanowunintmmawf,” said Sirius into his pillow.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I don’t want to run into my mother,” he replied sitting up realising he didn’t have the strength to deal with James Potter at the moment.
“We will move quickly and we won’t see even a string of her hair,” smiled James. “That’s a promise, Pads.”
“But she will see us Prongs,” mumbled Sirius looking like a lost puppy. “That bitch has her ways, she always finds me and Regulus in the crowd.”
“Don’t be fucking ridiculous and get out of the bed” ordered James in return as he attempted carrying his trunk down the stairs for a second. “MUUUUUM can I locomotor my trunk dooooownn?”
“NO,” said Euphemia sternly from downstairs. “You’ll carry it down James and so will Sirius.”
“James, dear, you are sixteen years old,” explained his mum like she was talking to a small child to make sure he doesn’t set the house on fire. “Stop acting like you are four or that girl you like so much won’t even look your way let alone like you. Independent women like grown men, not needy children.”
Euphemia Potter had a way with her son, she knew where all of his buttons were and how to push them just right because James Potter and his trunk were downstairs the Muggle way in a minute after the pep talk she had given.
The breakfast was calmer than usual with Fleamont being at work and Sirius acting like he is half dead. When they were completely ready to floo themselves to the train station, Euphemia put her hand softly on Sirius’ shoulder, a kind of touch he wasn’t still used to after almost two months.
“Sirius,” began Euphemia. “What’s wrong? You know you can talk to me.”
“I just really don’t want to run into my mother,” confessed Sirius. “I’m scared of what she might do to you.”
James shook his head in disbelief, he found it hard to understand the irrational fear Sirius had. He knew Walburga was one disturbed woman but he also knew his mother shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Walburga should be scared of running into me,” said Euphemia half jokingly but James knew what would happen if they were to run into that woman. “I can handle him dear.”
Sirius nodded as convincingly as he could before he grabbed floo powder from the porcelain bowl standing next to the marble fireplace.
“King’s Cross,” he said clearly and he was gone with the green flames in seconds.
It didn’t take long for James and his mum to come with the flames. They hurried towards the Platform 9 ¾ with their trolleys and James ran face first into the wall just to disappear into thin air and then Euphemia and Sirius ran to the other side of the wall as well.
Hogwarts Express was standing with all it’s crimson glory waiting for the students to get in to take them to Hogwarts. The three of them walked hastily to where the Marauders’ compartment was. They stood in front of the door to say their goodbyes.
“Be good,” said Euphemia. “I don’t want any letters from Minerva this year James.”
“Mum, you know I can’t promise anything.”
“Where did I go wrong while raising you?” she asked curiously. “Don’t answer that.”
“Sirius, write to me whenever you feel like it,” she reminded. “I’ll be expecting you home for Christmas, alright?”
“Yes, mum,” said Sirius and choked on his words almost instantly as a warm smile formed on Euphemia’s lips and James’ eyes lit up like they were fairy lights.
“Tsk tsk, Sirius,” came Walburga’s cold voice behind them. “We shouldn’t call blood traitors who didn’t give birth to us ‘mum’.”
It seemed like Sirius had shrunk in size as Euphemia stepped in front of him protectively.
“Tsk tsk Walburga,” she repeated. “We shouldn’t eavesdrop on conversations that aren’t ours and give opinions that no one asked for. He can call me ‘mum’ whenever he wants to, seeing that his actual mother is not available at the moment.”
Walburga made an attempt to grab Sirius by the wrist but Euphemia was agile for her age and she was holding onto Sirius’ wrist like he would die if she let go.
“You won’t touch my son and I’m not talking about James.”
“I suggest you stay out of this Euphemia, this is none of your business.”
“Oh, you made it my business when this boy showed up in my living room, barely breathing,” shot back Euphemia with all the rage that had been building up in her. Sirius was hiding behind her, careful not to catch Walburga’s piercing eyes.
“You are exaggerating,” she replied. “Nothing wrong with a little tough love.”
“I know an Unforgivable Curse when I see one Walburga,” she hissed just loud enough for people around them to hear, Walburga was turning purple with anger. “If I could, I would take Regulus from you, too, before he ends up dead from your tough love.”
“How dare you speak to me like that?”
“The same way you dare torture your children Walburga,” she said without blinking. “Now let go of my wrist and stay away from my sons.”
Sirius was trembling behind Euphemia who was standing like she was the queen of the universe, she didn’t move until Walburga Black turned around and left.
“I told you I could handle her,” she said with a reassuring smile and caressed Sirius’ cheek softly. Sirius noticed the marks on Euphemia’s wrist then, burn marks like the long boney fingers of his mother. “As long as you got me, she can never come close to you and know that there’s nothing wrong with you calling me mum. Anyone would be proud to have you as a son and I am, too.”
“I- I can heal that if y-you want m-mum,” said Sirius, his voice shaking with the weight he was feeling on his shoulders. “I’ve- I’ve gotten pretty g-good with h-healing charms.”
“No Sirius, I can fix it. You forget you are not allowed to practice magic outside of Hogwarts,” she reminded and laughed a little. “It’s funny that a woman of her age is unable to control her magic like a toddler.”
Sirius’ eyes were still fixed on Euphemia’s thin wrist, his eyes filling up with the anger and sadness he was feeling. He lifted his eyes just a little to give a guilty look to James and saw his best friend smiling warmly down at him, he didn’t hide his pity but he didn’t have to. James always found it rather unlucky that Sirius ended up in such a messy family and never lied about how he felt about that situation, his pity was because he cared.
“Mum’s a big girl mate,” he said like he knew Sirius was about to spiral down and he needed someone to say something, anything. “She can take care of herself.”
“He is right, love,” nodded Euphemia. “Now, off you go, we don’t want you to miss the train because of something as unimportant and miserable as Walburga.”
“Just call her a bitch, mum.”
“James Fleamont Potter,” began Euphemia as she jokingly flicked her son’s arm. “You kiss me with that mouth and you will stop saying that word, even though some people deserve it, or so help me Merlin I’ll ground you until the end of time.”
“Okay, okay,” surrendered James. “I’ll just call her a goblin.”
“That’s my boy,” she replied and the spark came back to Sirius’ grey eyes. Euphemia hugged both of them and gave them loud kisses before she pushed them towards the train. “Don’t forget to write to me when you get there.”
“Sure, mum,” said Sirius with a grin before he was dragged away by an over eager James.