Sirius felt the familiar tug of apparition and within a second they were at Platform 9 3/4. It was bustling and busy as always. He barely had time to breathe in the familiar air of the station before his mother, that bitch, grabbed his arm and hissed into his ear, "You better behave this year, do you hear me?"
He visibly stiffened and wanted nothing more than to turn around and scream in her face, but knowing better Sirius just nodded. She pushed him forward and whispered something in Regulus's ear, to which he just nodded in response. Regulus walked forward as soon as their parents vanished, his eyes softened a little, only noticeable to the people who knew him well.
He stepped next to Sirius and glanced at him, concern practically screaming out from behind his eyes. Despite being a year younger than Sirius, Regulus was almost his height, Sirius was sure he would be taller than him soon, he grimaced at the thought. Regulus looked around (probably making sure that none of his pureblood supremacist friends were around) before turning to Sirius and pulling him into a tight hug. Sirius was so startled by this that he barely had time to react before Regulus pulled back and whispered "Be careful this year, she's-"
He was cut off by James Potter throwing his arm around him.
"Gone soft on us now have you Reggie?" James chuckled as he ruffled Regulus's hair. To this Regulus threw him a disapproving glare before turning to Sirius, eyes soft again, and then walking off. James wasted no time in walking over to his brother, who had been standing quiet and unmoving (very unlike Sirius) and pulling him into a much needed embrace. Sirius slowly put his arms around James and they stayed like that for a minute; Sirius's head buried into James's shoulder, just breathing in the familiar and safe scent of pine wood and vanilla that he always seemed to smell of.
"I missed you." Sirius broke the silence, his voice muffled by the fabric of James's shirt.
"Christ, don't go all soppy on me now Pads, first little Regulus and now you! What is going on with you lot?" James spoke as he pulled away from Sirius and gave him one of those perfectly lopsided grins.
Sirius grinned in response and turned away from James to see if he could spot Remus or Peter anywhere. James must have read his mind because he just smiled at Sirius and said, "They're already in our compartment."
James didn't comment on the obviously growing eye bags underneath his best friend's eyes or the way his eyes darted around, more frantic than the last time he had seen Sirius or even the way that Sirius flinched a little bit every time there was a slightly loud noise.
Things must be getting so bad
James wanted nothing more than to help his brother, but in truth, he didn't know how to. So he just casually slung his arm around Sirius's shoulder and led him towards their compartment whilst chatting about Quidditch and the team that year.
By the time they had reached the compartment, the pain in Sirius's body had dulled a little and he laughed more freely at James' jokes (even though some of them were awful). But he was not prepared to see Remus. Remus who over the summer of their fourth year had grown out of his awkward tallness and now, at a height of 6' 1, looked absolutely divine in Sirius's eyes. He had to stifle a gasp when he saw Remus's green and honey coloured eyes flick up from the book he was staring at. He had to focus on keeping his face as calm as possible whilst the small smile that Remus offered him made Sirius want to grab Remus and kiss him. God what he wouldn't give to kiss him.
But no, Sirius would not kiss Remus. Instead, he would throw back a careless grin and make his way over to sit opposite James at the window and next to Remus on the seats. And as the boys started talking amongst themselves, waiting for Peter to come back with the snacks, Sirius couldn't help but stare at Remus. At his beautiful eyes that Sirius was sure looked like slightly rusted gold reflecting green in the middle of an evergreen forest, at the paled scars that ran over his jaw and nose, at the way his fluffy brown hair fell onto his forehead; resting just the right amount above his eyes, his gorgeous eyes and-
A loud bang sounded from across the train and Sirius jumped up. In an instant his wand was out and pointed at the door, his breaths had grown uneven and his hands were shaking too much for him to be able to point his wand straight. Sirius's vision clouded over, he felt hot and dizzy. No. NO. Not here. Please not in front of them.
Remus looked at Sirius's startled form and, even though James tried to diffuse the tension by laughing, he couldn't help but notice the way that Sirius's breathing had grown rapid and uneven at the sound of a bang. He couldn't help but notice the way that Sirius's hands shook so hard he was struggling to point his wand straight. And he couldn't help notice that Sirius's normally shining silver eyes had gone grey and ashen in a second.
As the world became even more blurry Sirius stumbled backwards and hit the wall of the compartment as he attempted to regulate his breathing, in a second James was by his side and guiding him gently down towards the floor. James started slowly rubbing Sirius's back whilst speaking in soothing tones and modelling deep breaths for Sirius to copy. After about two minutes Sirius was visibly less panicked and he was resting his head against James's chest with his eyes shut, still breathing deeply. Remus and Peter shared a look with each other as if to say "What in the hell just happened?"
Remus sent an "Is Sirius ok?" look over in James direction who just shook his head and mouthed "Later" before looking back down at Sirius who seemed to have fallen asleep on James chest. He looked so peaceful that Remus never would have believed he was the same boy who had been struggling to breath moments ago.
"James?" This time Peter spoke aloud. "What was that?" Remus glanced back over at Peter who had nothing but concern in his eyes and he couldn't help but smile at him. Oh Peter, you really are the best of us. Remus turned his attention back to James and Sirius, who was still seemingly asleep, on the floor.
"I don't know Pete." James answered, looking back down towards Sirius.
"Then how did you know what to do?" Remus pushed, knowing that James was hiding something from them. It was understandable - James and Sirius were practically brothers. They knew everything there was to know about each other and sometimes that meant they hid things from the other two.
James sighed and ran his free hand that wasn't supporting Sirius through his untameable hair, "He gets like that sometimes. I've had to do that a lot." James mumbled and looked up at them apologetically. "I used to get like that too. Still do sometimes." He shot a pointed glance at Remus, "Thats's how I knew what to do. Anyway," He continued, "Sirius needed me. I always know what to do for you lot." He sent them a goofy grin, Remus and Peter smiled down at James. James who was always there for them whenever they needed him; for Sirius when he needed someone to talk him down and bring him back to reality, for Remus after a particularly rough moon and when he refused to leave his bed to eat or do anything else, for Peter when he needed someone to cry to and someone to console him. There was never a time that James wasn't there for them.
James and his soft, comforting hazel eyes that just made you feel safe and needed in this world. His raven coloured, dishevelled hair that he ran his hands through whenever he was nervous or angry. He was so kind and forgiving of everyone, he had a heart of pure gold. Remus knew that nothing would ever change that.
James looked down at his brother, the exhausted boy who had just had a panic attack over a loud bang somewhere in the train. He breathed in the familiar scent of smoke, leather jackets and thyme that always seemed to follow Sirius around. He wrapped his hand even tighter around Sirius's waist and adjusted his body so that nothing would hurt too much when he woke up. James would stay, sat on the floor, in the most uncomfortable positions imaginable for his friends. He pulled Sirius further into his body and rested his head on top of his brother's.
What had Sirius ever done to deserve this.
James didn't even want to know how long it had been since Sirius got a decent night of sleep for him to be so exhausted and literally pass out in James' arms. He wanted more than anything to seek out Sirius' parents and yell at them, scream at them so loudly for hurting Sirius. For ever laying a hand on his Sirius.
James closed his eyes and softly exhaled. This is going to be a long trip.
Peter looked down at James and Sirius, he stared at their intertwined forms and couldn't help but feel a little pang of jealousy. He knew James would do anything for him - and for Remus, but it was no secret that James and Sirius were inseparable. He felt quite left out sometimes, after all he and James had been friends first. They had been best friends for years, before Hogwarts, before Sirius or Remus or anything else. Peter had been James's and James had been Peter's.
And Peter couldn't help but wonder who James would pick, if it came down to it, him or Sirius. The answer was obvious, James would choose Sirius over the entire world in a heartbeat.
What had happened?
Peter wanted nothing more than to cry out. To tell James that this is how he felt, but of course he wouldn't. That would be selfish, that would be wrong. He couldn't shake the thought of, essentially, forcing James to choose him over Sirius. Sirius needed James more than Peter did and at that moment, that was enough for him.
Peter turned back to Remus and saw that he was engrossed in his book, not wanting to disturb him he looked over at James and saw his head buried in Sirius's hair. Peter couldn't tell but he thought that James's eyes were closed. He sighed and turned to his chocolate frog cards to keep him busy. He just wanted to feel needed for once, to feel like he wasn't just there.
Of course Peter would never do anything to hurt Sirius or James or Remus, but he couldn't help but let himself fantasise about a world where Peter and James were brothers and that Sirius felt like the outsider. He wasn't sure if that world would make him feel any better than he does in this one, but he let himself get carried away in his thoughts of chocolate frog cards and James' arms wrapped around him instead of Sirius. He wasn't sure what it meant, what any of it meant, but he knew that it must feel good to constantly have James by your side.
And how he wanted that. He wanted that so much.