Part 3 - Journal date: 5th of September, 1993
Before the Dementors' intrusion and also before Roger started talking Quidditch with half of his team, the big question in our compartment was "What kind of Defence teacher are we going to have this year?" Of course, after Professor Quirrell, who was apparently in You-Know-Who's service, and the famous Gilderoy Lockhart who talked a lot but couldn't do anything properly, we were quite distrustful! (Yes, "we"... Even I commented on that, though my eyes were still on my book.) But then, when we saw him, we agreed that Professor Lupin looked perfectly harmless - or even "insignificant," according to Roger... Bet that's what he thinks about me too. And I can't blame him, since it's true. But, for a teacher, I found the word rather unsuitable, even if this one seems to be the exact opposite of his predecessor. So I thought I might like him.
I was wrong. I don't like Professor Lupin - I love him. Definitely, he's my kind of teacher. First, he's nice - not scary like Professor Snape or even severe-looking like Professor McGonagall - and then he explains things clearly and simply, but not in a way that would make us suspect he thinks we're too thick to understand more elaborate wordings. I suppose it's just that he knows what he's talking about, which is a big change compared to the excuse for a teacher we had last year. Plus, he knows Aunt Sandra.
- - -
(4th of September, 1993 - Leander's fifth year)
Remus has forbidden himself to think about Sirius. Or James and Lily, or Peter.
It isn't working.
Of course, it isn't working! How could he forget when everything in the school seems to hold a memory of them?
He's still rather perturbed by the unexpected meeting with Harry on the Hogwarts Express (How much he looks like James, it's incredible! It was like being back to the time when we were 13). Because of that, he's not sure whether he's looking forward to teaching the Gryffindor third years or dreading that day as much as he used to dread the full moon nights when he was Harry's age.
And now he's also wondering whether the other classes are really all free from danger of bringing unwanted memories back. He knows there's no one but Harry who could be related to any of his three old school friends, but he hasn't counted on people related to Lily's friends. And here's a name he knows: Griffin.
Of course, that boy can't be Sandra's son - he's a little too old, and he wouldn't have her last name, anyway. But he could be part of her family all the same. So, without thinking more, just to make sure, Remus asks...then remembers, just a little too late, that Sandra is Muggle-born, and therefore not likely to have a brother or male cousin that could have passed down magical power to his son.
"She's my aunt," Leander replies with a timid smile, and the puzzled look in his eyes is as good as the "How do you know her?" he would have asked if he wasn't so shy.
Remus doesn't remember any brother of Sandra's attending Hogwarts, but as far as he knows, it could have been before his time. Or he just might not have noticed, if the boy was in Ravenclaw and Sandra didn't speak to him much. So he's not that surprised.
"I know her," he says rather uselessly, smiling too in spite of the mixed feelings he has at the thought of having to deal with memories while teaching this class as well (remembering Sandra means automatically seeing her sitting next to Lily). "She was one of my classmates here."
- - -
I hope my astonishment didn't show too much when he told me that. Or, at least, I hope he didn't guess the reason why I couldn't believe it.
Classmates... It means they're the same age! And who, seeing Professor Lupin's grey hair, would believe he's barely 35 years old? Of course, if you look a little more carefully, you see his hair is not entirely grey and that he actually doesn't look as old as it seems at first sight, but still, it's rather incredible to think he's younger than my parents are.
Anyway. I love him. He's definitely a good teacher and a nice person. As far as I can tell now, after only two lessons with him. But I do believe he's great.
I also believe that some people would deserve a good slap in the face. Or whatever would make them shut up. Honestly, that Draco Malfoy is a real prat! And so are his friends. They're not in my year, so I don't see them very often, but this is the third time this week I hear them - and especially him - commenting sarcastically on Professor Lupin's shabby robes.
Plus, I bet he's exaggerating the importance (or even completely faking the existence) of that wound he's had since the first day of lessons. Madam Pomfrey should have been able to fix that in no time. I mean, Roger has been injured more than once in Quidditch matches or training sessions, and he has never ended up being forced to keep his arm in a sling or anything of that kind for an entire week.
Anyway, that injury of Draco Malfoy's is all his own fault. According to Roger, who had Care of Magical Creatures right after him, those Hippogriffs that Hagrid (well, Professor Hagrid now) showed them weren't really dangerous as long as you followed the safety instructions, and that stupid boy managed to get his arm slashed all the same... Now he's even muttering about getting Hagrid sacked and the Hippogriff put down. Just because he doesn't like Hagrid any more than he likes Professor Lupin, of course. I suppose the only teacher he likes is Professor Snape, who's known to favour the Slytherins in an outrageous way. I also bet he's in the library now only to show off his so-called injured arm to people who don't know he's faking.
I swear I'll hit him if he... Well, no, I would never do that. It would get me in trouble and I can't even imagine how I would survive the humiliation of a detention. Plus, he would have time to hit back before someone intervened, and that would hurt.
Roger's laughing. I shouldn't have said that to him.
I know I'm not Gryffindorish at all, no need to tell me! I'm not even ashamed of it. And yes, Bludgers are a rather significant part of the ensemble of elements that led me to decide I didn't want to try to play Quidditch. Nasty Slytherin players always wanting to make the opponents fall of their brooms being another of the said elements. Still, I don't particularly appreciate being called "girly" (here I'm casting a dark look in Roger's direction). And no, I'm not sulking!
I'm just wondering why I like you so much, Mr Davies. Really, I should hate you. (No, I didn't say that out loud.)
- - -
"Stop making fun of me! You know I hate that."
A little slap on Roger's arm punctuates the sentence. And, immediately, Leander knows he should not have done that.
"That was very girly, too," Roger remarks, imitating the gesture in a mocking way.
"Oh, shut up!"
Leander's cheeks turn pink, which he knows must be terribly obvious due to his pale skin of a person who never goes outside if he can avoid it. So he pretends to focus on his "non-diary" again and does his best to hide behind a few bangs of hair.
- - -
It's true... Why do I like him? He never takes anything I say seriously. And he thinks I'm weird - weird and girly. (I have to admit this offends me, even if it's rather stupid, since it's quite obvious I'm not a girl.)
But he does seem to like me – at least enough to talk to me as he talks to everyone else, and maybe a little more because the others have other friends and I don't.
At the beginning of our first year, he tried to integrate me in his conversations with other people, but he gave up when I told him that groups made me feel uncomfortable.
He can be so kind sometimes...
- - -
(November 1989 - Leander's first year)
"Aren't you bored, staying alone all the time?"
Leander glances at Roger for half a second, barely enough to avoid looking rude, and, as usual, answers in a very low voice.
"No. I like being alone. Or with my brother, but he's not a wizard, so..."
He sighs and doesn't finish the sentence.
He feels lost in this school. Sometimes he even wishes he hadn't agreed to come here. Magic's fascinating, but he hates not being allowed to come back to his parents every night, and he misses Alistair so much.
Roger sits down next to him on the bed.
"You don't really want to be alone, do you?"
Leander hesitates for a while before replying.
"Don't know," he says eventually. "Being completely alone all the time is rather depressing, but I really can't stand being surrounded by a lot of people."
"So, if it's only me, you don't mind?" Roger insists.
Leander shakes his head. Not that he has any choice - he would never dare to say the opposite, anyway.
"Except that I rarely know what to say," he mutters as an afterthought.
Which makes Roger smile. And shrug.
"Well, we're not forced to talk. We can play chess or Exploding Snap or whatever Muggle game you might want to play, so you can pretend to be absorbed in it when you can't think of anything to tell me."
"Okay, I'll try that," Leander agrees, smiling back shyly.
- - -
I do like him a lot. I wish I were a little less shy - and a little less "weird" - so I might be his friend for real. He wouldn't need to have so many other friends, because I would be "normal" enough to fulfil all the requirements of the Perfect Best Friend...
Oh, really, how stupid I can be when I start writing all what comes into my mind! But it's true I'd like to be closer to Roger - to be as important to him as he is to me. And it's also true I have no possibility of being important to him because he'll never understand me.
Nobody will ever be able to really understand me, I suppose. Not even Ali. He loves me and I love him, of course - we're brothers, after all, and have years of memories in common - but there's no way he could understand what I feel, because he's so different from me.
Actually, now that I think of it, Ali's much more like Roger. He could have been Roger's best friend if he had been the magical one. Except that he's a year older and would probably not be in Ravenclaw. Not that he's stupid, of course - really, he's not - but, well...I did his arithmetic homework when we were still in the same school.
- - -
(April 1987 - Leander fourth year of primary school)
Alistair puts his pen down on the kitchen table and sighs loudly.
"Finished?" Leander asks, hopeful.
If they're both done with their homework, they can go and play outside. It won't be dark for another hour...
"No, but I'm giving up. I'll never understand this last bloody problem!"
"Oh, come on! If it's there, it's bound to have a solution! Let me have a look..."
Alistair shrugs. How could Leander help him? He's younger! He's eight, and this is homework for nine or ten year-olds. But well, it can't hurt to let him see by himself how complicated the problem is...
Taking the sheet from Alistair's hands, Leander silently reads the terms, frowns, thinks for a little while then starts scribbling quickly on another piece of paper. Ali stares at him in disbelief.
"You know how to do that?!" he marvels.
"I didn't, but I found something that seems to work. What do you think?"
Leander shows the results of his calculations to his brother and, in spite of a slight feeling of vexation, Ali can't help smiling.
"I don't have any idea if this is correct, but at least it's something... Now could you check the other problems?"
"Sure!" Leander replies with a wide grin.
The next day, Alistair's teacher will be very surprised to see he's got all the answers right.
- - -
I wonder if he feels like an idiot because I solved those problems easily when it was so hard for him. I should remind him he's better than me at a lot of things. Like music. I would be unable to write songs as he does, and even less able to sing in front of anyone if it's not along with him or with a record. Anyway.
I had never really thought of it before, but it's obvious that Ali did, in primary school, more or less what Roger does now - he tried to integrate me in his group of friends, then ended up spending more time with me alone than with anyone else in order to spare me the awkwardness of the others' presence, and he defended me from those who mocked me for my shyness or were jealous of my marks.
In short, we were as close as brothers can be (well, Fred and George Weasley are probably closer, but that's because they're twins) and still, I'm sure Ali can't understand me better than Roger does. He, too, thinks I'm weird. And "girly." But that may be his fault, since he always made me play the female parts in our "musicals." He said I looked like a girl because I'm blond like our mother... No comment.