Harry Potter's world, characters, etc. belong to J.K. Rowling. I neither claim ownership nor make money from the below story.

Just a brief piece on Sirius' mom's thoughts on motherhood.


"I told you, I'll be back for Christmas. Maybe." Sirius slung a knapsack over one shoulder and started down the stairs two at a time.

Walburga had her wand out from her sleeve in the space of a breath. "Immobulous."

The word cracked across the quiet house like a slamming door and her older son stopped three steps from the bottom. She took two deep breaths, staring at his back, shoulders hunched defiantly, fingers gripping the pack's strap so tight she could see the white strain of it painting the bends of his fingers.

"Why?" The breaths hadn't calmed her down, not at all. "After all the money and time your father and I have put into raising you, why do you continue to act like an empty-headed muggle? There's no water in your blood, that you should stoop to friends like that… that Potter."

She could see him twitch slightly as she began to walk down the stairs, each step deliberate and too loud in the still house. Already fighting the spell. Already breaking through. He had such strength in him, strength to make a mother's eyes bright with pride – nothing like the spineless rat she'd been given for a second son. Skulking, hiding… but at the end of the day, a loyal rat was better than a dog who'd turn on you.

"A son is supposed to repay his mother's love," she shrilled, pushing past him and coming around to stand at the foot of the stairs, between he and the exit. Wasn't that what they were taught? You raise children, and those children will bring honor to the House of Black, and honor to you through their actions.

She made another sharp gesture with her wand and his knapsack tore from his fingers and flew across to thud into the hall. The sound finally brought motion from the kitchen. A baggy-skinned creature leaned out and said, "Does mistress require something?"

"Mistress requires a son as obedient as you," she said, the pitch of her voice evening out even if the sharpness did not. "See to dinner." It made a bow and she was once more alone with her son.

Her son. It was disgusting to think of him that way. She could see his eyes moving, roving from her to the door to the direction she'd flung that tattered knapsack. She didn't know how much longer the spell would hold, and thanked her stars that unlike her father, she'd refrained from using it on him as a child. 

It had always been an effective punishment, but she'd built defenses against it in her mind by the time she was 12.

Raising her wand in front of his face, she vented her anger, her frustration. "You were supposed to be the best of them," she said accusingly. "You! I had to suffer through year after year of my brother making his spawn 'yes sir' and 'no ma'am' like revolting little puppets, one too vain, one too wild, one too soft, all of them weak. And then you came, a boy, to become the man who would carry on the family name. But instead of carrying it, you dropped it and dragged it through the mud. You reek of failure, Sirius, of disappointment to the name you bear."

She could feel the spell breaking now as his mind railed against its control. "I wish I could go back. That's my fault."

One hand flexed.

"I should have given more time to you. I should have made sure all influences in your life were the right sort. That was my failing."

His frown deepened in… anger? Concentration? Hatred?

"But it's your fault too." Her wand pointed right between his eyes. It would be so easy. She could just cast. She could force him to bend to her will.

His eyes closed as if reading her thoughts and accepting his fate.

"You were too weak to follow the right path, the difficult path that requires us to remain above! Can't you see? Sirius? SIRIUS, ANSWER ME!"

His answer came not in words, but in actions. The spell broke and he pushed past her, retrieving his knapsack with an odd grace. Grace which should have been used for them, curse it. He should have been the pride of their house. But instead…

Instead he was a mother's pain.

"It's YOUR FAULT," she screamed at him. "It's your fault I can't love you. SIRIUS! Why did you have to make things this way? Sirius?!"

He opened the door, paused there and gave his mother a wave. He no doubt meant it to be cheeky, carefree, but she could still see the cloudy anger in his face that made it a lie. "Goodbye mother." And then he was gone, and there was only the faint movement of the curtains.

For several minutes, she stared at it, willing it to reopen. It did not. And when at last she started back up the stairs, she found her wand was no longer in her hand, but she could not remember when she'd let it fall.