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Part 5 - Journal date: 12th of September, 1993

I HATE PEOPLE! Well, not everyone, but...nearly. Everyone in this school except for Roger Davies and Remus Lupin. Everyone, especially those horrible boys who think they're funny but are only mean. I don't even know them – only by sight, and two of them by name because they're on the Slytherin Quidditch team. All I know is that they had no right to say that.

- - -

(Journal date)

Leander and Roger leave the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom long after everyone else. Roger has stayed to ask Professor Lupin details about something he had only alluded to in the lesson, and Leander has waited for him. He is also interested in the subject, anyway.

Now Roger's teasing Leander, calling him "the teacher's pet" for no reason at all in Leander's opinion.

"He likes you because he knows your aunt... He might even have had a crush on her, who knows?"

"Oh, stop talking nonsense!" Leander admonishes him, giving him, as he often does when his near-friend is being silly, a little slap on his arm.

Roger is about to reply when a mocking voice rises behind them.

"Look at this! So queer!"

Leander freezes in shock and Roger turns to cast a dark look to three laughing 7th year boys – Marcus Flint and two of his friends.

One of the said friends – Arius Burke, Keeper of the Slytherin Quidditch team – even adds, very mockingly as well, "Who would have guessed? Davies has a boyfriend!"

"Where do we go if they start choosing fairies as Quidditch captains?" Flint bewails, assuming the best distressed look he can show.

"I'm not gay!" Roger protests as Leander eventually turns to face the enemies as well, trembling and blushing. "And neither is Len, as far as I know."

Leander doesn't dare look at him, and he also avoids looking at the others.

"He so is!" Flint insists, laughing again.

"If you don't see it, Davies, you're blind!" Burke mocks him again.

Roger shrugs, clearly unimpressed.

"And you're seeing too many things," he says coldly. "Come on, Len, let's go!"

Leander follows him without a word, heart still racing. What on earth did that "as far as I know" mean?

"Stop!" Burke commands abruptly. "You can't leave in the middle of a conversation."

And he casts a spell that immobilizes Leander. Roger immediately uses the counter-spell, but it's now obvious that the conversation has turned into a fight.

"We don't have anything to say to you," Roger ventures all the same with a calm Leander admires. "And you can't force us to stay."

A second later, another Impediment Jinx hits him too.

"We can," Flint triumphs while Burke grabs Leander's arm and blocks him against a wall.

"Now dare pretend you're no faggot!" he taunts the fearful Ravenclaw with an evil smile. "You look as scared as a girl!"

"That doesn't mean anything," Leander manages to reply in a quavering voice. "Let me go!"

His two opponents give the same smirk at the exact same time.

"Would you dare stand up to us? I think not..." Burke says contemptuously before moving back, ordering the third Slytherin – a part-black boy who hasn't done anything yet but laugh along with the others – to "keep an eye on the little fairy."

Then he brandishes his wand and Leander does too, even if he has no idea how he could beat a 7th year in a duel – not to mention the fact that duelling is prohibited. But does he have any choice?

Marcus Flint stands right behind Arius Burke, arms crossed, an annoying self-important look on his face, surely ready to intervene if needed. As for their friend (Burke called him "Stuart," but Leander can't guess whether it's his first or last name), he's so close it would have stopped any right-handed person from moving to take a wand out of his pocket.

This is Leander's chance – right-handed people always assume by default that everyone else is, too. Not only is his wand hand actually free, but they were also expecting him to have a different angle to cast a spell, so, if he's quick enough, he could manage to release Roger from the Impedimenta before Burke and Flint realise they're not really in his way. And before Stuart decides whether he should take the risk of loosening his watch for a moment in order to place himself on the other side.

It was close. The counter-spell missed Roger by an inch, only because Stuart diverted it at the wrong time (well, the right time in the Slytherins' point of view).

Flint looks haughtily at Leander and talks as if he is addressing a little child.

"No, no, Miss Lenny, we won't let you get your defender back! You'll have to face Burke alone."

Lenny? Oh, they heard Roger calling him "Len" and they have no idea what his full name is, of course... But still, that "Miss" is definitely too much.

"Don't call me that. I'm not a girl!"

"That's not exactly what we said," Stuart points out, in a neutral tone that sounds almost kind compared to the others'.

"He may not be a girl, but he's so girly it comes down to the same thing," Flint comments with a snort.

Leander knows he's probably supposed to stay calm and ignore the mean teasing, but he just can't help feeling angry - even more angry than scared. And the situation could hardly become worse, anyway. So he lets his ire explode.

"What's wrong with not being so excessively 'manly' you become condescending to those who are not? And how I look is none of your business, anyway. Let me go!"

The Slytherins only laugh, and Burke mocks him a little more.

"Oh, it seems that the little faggot does dare to stand up to us, after all..."

"Let's see that," Flint says then – and he casts a nasty spell that Leander has just enough time to repel with a Shield Charm.

Now the three Slytherins are cornering him, wands out. How could he ever manage to get out of this trap? Panic starts to take hold of him and he glances desperately in Roger's direction. If only...

Leander thinks for an instant he has only seen what he wished he would see. Roger unfreezing... That's too good to be true!

But it is true. The effect of the curse has stopped and Roger soon brandishes his wand at the Slytherins' back.

"Leave him alone!" he orders, making them jump.

Flint immediately turns to hex him again. Roger retaliates. They're now all on him, so Leander can finally move from the place they had blocked him into. He could go and fetch a teacher... But Roger obviously needs his help, so he casts a few more countercurses, wondering how this will end.

He uses the Shield Charm again when Stuart tries to stun him. He's not good at fighting, but Shield Charms are one of his strongest suits – probably because they're just what he needs to feel securer.

In the chaos of spells and counterspells flying in every direction, along with some more insults, nobody hears the path of an approaching person.

"What's happening here?" Remus Lupin asks in a voice much louder than usual.

Leander lowers his wand and stares at his favourite teacher with a horrified look.

A teacher running into students doing magic in a corridor can mean only one thing – detention.

- - -

I don't even know what was worse – being insulted, wondering whether Roger gave that meaning to "girly" too, having to fight three 7th years or... Well, I suppose I would consider the moment when Professor Lupin arrived as being the worst if he had given me a real detention. And I would hate him too if he had, because it really wasn't my fault at all. Still, he had to take points from Ravenclaw as well as from Slytherin and, even if he spared me and Roger hard and humiliating work, we technically have a detention too. Roger doesn't care at all (thank God and Merlin – I would have felt so terrible if he was mad at me for causing the fight by somehow leading people to think we were...what they said) and I can stand the relative shame if I keep in mind that Professor Lupin punished us only because he was forced to. It's nice to know he doesn't doubt we were only defending ourselves.

- - -

(Journal date again, a few moments later)

Remus slowly turns to the two Ravenclaw boys who stayed with him while the three Slytherins went away hastily. He remembers feeling this same way when he was a Prefect and a Marauder, forced to reprimand people for things that his friends – and sometimes even himself – did too. He knows it'll sound a little ridiculous, but he can't help saying he's sorry for what his position as a teacher forced him to do.

"After a month of lessons with you, I think I can tell who most likely started that fight, but..."

He hesitates, and his slight embarrassment must show because Roger immediately assures him that he understands, and Leander nods in agreement. After all, they weren't supposed to do magic in the corridors either.

"At least you don't think we attacked them first, so our honour is safe," the Quidditch captain concludes with a smile.

Remus smiles back, happy to know they won't bear him a grudge for that. But he still thinks he has to be fairer.

"You don't really deserve detention," he says. "Sometime next week, would you come and help me correct a few essays written by my 1st and 2nd year students? We'll call that your detention, so you won't have to wash something without magic for Filch, but no one will be able to say you escaped all kind of punishment..."

Both Leander and Roger stare at him in surprise, then Leander smiles thankfully and Roger replies for both of them that they'll be glad to do it.

"So... Next Monday after dinner in my office?"

Leander nods, but Roger looks a little bothered.

"I have Quidditch practice on Monday," he explains. "But I suppose I can put it off."

Understanding, Remus immediately offers to change the day of the detention instead.

"So, Mister Griffin, you'll come on Monday, and you, Mister Davies...would Tuesday do?"

"Nicely, sir. Thank you," Roger says, smiling again. "I hope we can help you efficiently."

"I'm sure you will. You two are very good students, after all. Oh, and about that... Mister Griffin, the Shield Charm I saw you perform was excellent. You managed to block two spells at the same time with it. It's remarkable."

Leander thanks him, blushing, clearly embarrassed as Remus himself always is when complimented.

"Roger's was really good too."

"Not like yours," Roger remarks.

"But you managed to stun one of them. I can't do that."

Excess of modesty... James always said that about Remus – and Remus replied it was better than the inverse fault, namely James' tendency to brag. Roger, though, doesn't seem to be like James.

"Didn't know I could either, actually," he confesses in a burst of laughter.

So he has tried "just to see?" That sounds so much like something Sirius would have done...

No! Remus tells himself. He should not think about Sirius. Nor James, for that matter.

"If you allow me a piece of advice, try not to look too proud or cheerful when you meet your classmates," he says in order to bring himself back to the present. "Remember I've just given you detention."

"Oh yeah! Good point," Roger acknowledges - and Leander looks shocked because it's really not a way to speak to a teacher. "We'll just rant about Flint and his friends, then. They deserve to be called a few names I can't utter in front of a teacher, anyway."

Leander takes an apprehensive glance at Remus, clearly expecting to see him frowning, but Roger is laughing and Remus automatically joins in.

So like James and Sirius!

"Well, since I'm not supposed to take sides in students' quarrels, I'll leave you to talk privately," he says then.

But, as he starts walking down the nearest stairs a few moments later, the two boys' voices reach his ear all the same.

"Very nice, isn't he? Maybe it's only because he liked your aunt, but..."

"Oh, stop it!" Leander protests in the tone of one who has already said before that what the other insinuates is stupid.

And, if Remus has understood correctly, it is stupid, really. Sandra Griffin was a nice girl, of course, but he has only liked for real one person in his whole life.

"I really should stop doing that," Leander adds, and, intrigued by the high level of embarrassment he can sense in his student's voice, Remus turns to look back.

Roger is laughing again. Sirius was always laughing too...

"There's no Slytherin around this time. You can be girly if you want," Roger tells Leander, giving a little slap on his friend's arm in a way that clearly imitates the gesture Remus missed.

Oh! That's it...

From now on, Remus won't be able to look at the two Ravenclaws without seeing the reflection of two other boys, two Gryffindors. Having a lively picture of James (with Lily's eyes) in one of his classes was not the worst, after all...

- - -

Now what annoys me most is that I can't know what Roger thinks. He calls me "girly" all the time and it's only now that I fully realise what could hide under the word. He could mean exactly the same thing as what those Slytherins said... Of course, if he really believes that, he obviously doesn't mind... But still, I don't want him to think that. Maybe I should let him settle a double date with Cho and Sarah or Marietta, after all. Or I should just ask him what he thinks…but that, I'll never be able to do. Well, I'd be even less able to kiss a girl...

I really, really hate people. If they just minded their own business, nothing would have happened, and I wouldn't be here wondering how abnormal Roger thinks I am, exactly.