The Summer of My Discontent

Author: Lee West
Rating: NC-17
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until September 30th, 2005. After that, it's yours to do with as you will.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: Challenge SS #11: It's the first summer that Sirius is away from Number 12 Grimmauld Place.
Author Notes: Thanks to Kate for the beta and to Donatella for reading and keeping me in line. And a special thank you to the lovely A Fallen Sister, whose picture gave me the inspiration for a scene in this fic. I added the link right after the scene due to spoilery.



1. July-August
Prologue

The hot summer day was drawing to an end. As the last traces of sunlight were starting to disappear, Sirius Black was finishing up his cigarette. He was alone, sitting on the grass, leaning against a tree trunk. He was clad in his summer Muggle outfit of cut-offs and t-shirt. The clothing showed off a nice toned body, bronzed by the sun. On his head he had tied a bandanna, which, with his sunglasses, gave him a very rakish look and made him look like a lot of the Muggle teenagers out there.

The sunlight was too dim at that late hour for sunglasses, but he wasnít wearing them because of the brightness: the shades hid the dark circles around his grey eyes.

He took a last drag of his cigarette and flicked the butt on the grass, being careful enough to put it out with the soles of his shoes. With a deep sigh he made a motion to get up. It was almost dinner time at Godricís Hollow, and Mrs. Potter was very fastidious about serving the meal promptly. It was the last time, though, that they would have dinner exactly at seven. The next day Mr. and Mrs. Potter were leaving on a trip for the rest of the summer, and the four young men would be alone in the big house.

He didnít get very far, though. Actually, he didnít even get up. He wasnít hungry. He hadnít been very hungry since he had arrived at Godricís Hollow. His clothes were hanging off his body. He was surprised to learn that he still looked toned and not emaciated. He hadnít been eating well at all.

He hadnít been sleeping well, either. He hadnít been doing anything well that summer. He knew he had been listless. The Potters had tried to cheer him up, saying that they were there for him, they were his surrogate parents. His three friends had offered their support. He knew that Remus and Peter had come to spend the holidays at Godricís Hollow to help James in the hard process of making Sirius happy. They repeatedly told Sirius that Godricís Hollow was much better than Grimmauld Place, that the house-elves were much more friendly, that the people were nicer and the quiet Welsh countryside was much more fun than the hustle and bustle of London.

He knew all that and he appreciated their efforts. He didnít miss Grimmauld Place at all. He didnít miss his parents or his brother. He couldnít have cared less if Kreacher was dead or alive. And London, with all its attractions, was very limited for a rich pureblood; Sirius had never been allowed to roam free through the city anyway.

He had concerns about his future. It was hard to face a life of uncertainty when one was born with a silver spoon in oneís mouth.

Sirius had always been a good student, with top marks in all subjects. But it had been through no big effort: school work had always come very easy to him. Now, however, he would be looking at school with different eyes. He had to do well. He needed a job to support himself after he finished school the next year.

The previous summer Mr. Potter had tried to convince the boys to enter the Auror Training Program. The only one that had been mildly interested was Remus, but he seemed to be more inclined to a teaching career. Peter wanted to work with Magical Creatures, James was working hard to be accepted into a top Quidditch team and Sirius had surprised everyone when he declared heíd be a Healer. Amidst all the cries of disbelief, he had reasoned that, as a Healer, heíd be able to help with the war effort anyway and would not incur his parentsí wrath by being an Auror. The Blacks considered a profession in law enforcement to be below their status.

It wasnít that he wanted to please his parents. He just didnít want the conflict. Furthermore, he had been really good at Healing. He had perfected some of the most basic Charms on Remus after the full moon and, during his sixth year, had been helping Madam Pomfrey in the infirmary.

Sirius knew that his last year would be a tough one. Yes, N.E.W.T.s were part of that concern, but he knew heíd do well in them. His main concern wasnít about school; it was about Remus Lupin. He asked himself what he was going to do about Remus before pulling himself off the ground and starting walking towards the house.

***

To Part 2