Part 8 (Journal date: 31st of October, 1993 – part A)
I refused to go to Hogsmeade with the others, so I'm alone in the dormitory. I had planned to read all day (Ali sent me a very interesting book; I started it yesterday night but didn't finish because it was so late I couldn't keep my eyes open after the first hundred of pages), but now I'm too perturbed to concentrate on a story. I thought that things like that never happened in real life.
- - -
"Are you sure you want to stay here alone all day?" Roger asks one last time as they walk out of the Great Hall after breakfast.
He and the others have already told Leander several times that it would be too bad to give up a Hogsmeade visit because of the rumours, but his reply never varies.
"Yes, I'm sure. I really don't want to go. Have fun. See you tonight."
Sincerely happy with his choice, Leander wanders off in the direction of the Ravenclaw Tower, ignoring the group of younger students crossing his path. So focused on his thoughts is he, that the person running up behind him to grab his arm takes him completely by surprise.
"Len - that is your name, isn't it?"
Leander hates it when people touch him to get his attention (isn't calling enough?), and he also hates when anyone but Roger calls him Len. So this one, whoever he is, has already managed to annoy him.
"It's Leander," he corrects automatically, turning to face the intruder and hopefully, get rid of him quickly.
Seeing who it is, though, he freezes in shock.
The boy who's standing right beside him, a hand still resting on his arm, is the part-black Slytherin that Burke called "Stuart". Which must be his last name since he says, "I'm Jason," before asking, "can I have a word?"
"A word?" Leander repeats incredulously.
Why on earth would one of his attackers come and ask to talk?
Other younger students are starting to arrive. Before Leander realises what's happening, Jason drags him to the nearest classroom without any explanation.
"Can't we talk in the corridor?" Leander asks, more and more worried.
But Jason closes the door behind them and shakes his head.
"Don't want anyone to hear. And you don't either."
"Let me out!" Leander protests again, instinctively reaching for his wand.
This time, at least, he knows he can trust his Shield Charm if he needs to defend himself. But he really doesn't want to be involved in another fight.
"I will. In a minute," Jason replies calmly – and, to Leander’s surprise, without any sign of hostility. "First, tell me, you're really gay, right?"
Leander stares at him wide-eyed, scared and astonished.
"What? No!" he denies automatically. "And what does it matter to you, anyway?"
Jason smiles – a real smile, not the smirk Leander would have expected.
"I am," the Slytherin says simply. "Gay. So..."
Leander can't believe his own ears.
"You insulted me and Roger, you told stupid lies about us to the whole school, and now you pretend that--"
"The others did all that. And they don't know about me, so I had to side with them. What else could I do?"
"Try to stop them?" Leander suggests sarcastically.
He probably shouldn’t talk like that to a seventh-year – and a Prefect, too, according to the badge that's pinned on the Slytherin's robes. But if Jason intends to do him harm, it probably won't change anything, anyway.
"They wouldn't have listened to me, and I would’ve got in trouble, too."
"But you're a Prefect!" Leander exclaims. "You could have--"
"I know," Jason sighs. "I probably don't deserve that badge. But the others are worse, you have to agree with that. I didn't harm you - and I didn't want to. I just had to play my part, you know?"
He looks and sounds sorry, but it's so incredible that Leander is still distrustful.
"What's this, then?" he asks, frowning. "An apology?"
"Sort of," Jason says, cautiously moving closer. "I wanted to tell you that you have nothing to fear from me when I'm alone. And then, if you need me to prove I'm not lying..."
He doesn't finish the sentence. Instead, he moves closer again and takes advantage of Leander's surprise to gently brush the Ravenclaw boy's lips with his own.
Almost as panic-stricken as at the beginning of the conversation, Leander can't think of anything to say or do, except to stare at Jason with an expression of pure shock. It must be the most unexpected and confusing thing that ever happened to him – even more confusing than his first accidental magic. Usually, no one pays attention to him (which suits him well) and now, on the pretext to prove there's nothing to fear from him, this boy he barely knows... It's incredible. In a book, it could make a nice scene (the kind that would make Iris and Mona giggle), but in reality – in Leander's reality, at least – it seems just as out of place as snow in the Sahara desert.
"You are gay, aren't you?" Jason insists, now looking slightly worried.
"I...er..." Leander mumbles.
Can he tell the truth to someone he doesn't know at all? It could be all a trap. But on the other hand, if Jason is as homophobic as his classmates, surely he wouldn't have kissed him for anything in the world.
"I suppose..." Leander goes on in a very low voice. "I mean...well, yes. But..."
"Have a boyfriend?" Jason asks then. "Marcus was right about Davies, after all?"
"Think I'm ugly or something?"
Ugly? Him? The question sounds so incongruous that Leander can't help laughing.
"You know you're not," he says, looking down, face red. And really, he would have liked Jason's looks from the start if they had met in any other circumstances.
"So I can't believe it!" Leander explains after a slight pause. "I mean...you were an enemy two minutes ago and now you...you do that."
"Didn't you like it?"
Jason's smiling in an amused sort of way, obviously convinced the only answer is "Yes." But Leander’s not that sure.
"Don't know," he says. "Too surprised."
"Okay, I'll have to do it again, then, but I don’t have time to convince you properly now. The others will ask questions if I don't go to Hogsmeade with them. But they've got a Quidditch practice, so we'll be back early. We can meet here about three. See you, Lenny."
A second kiss takes Leander by surprise again.
"Er...see you," he says faintly as Jason opens the door and leaves.
- - -
It was like in one of those musicals I played for fun with Ali – except I wasn't supposed to be a girl, for once, and the kisses weren't fake anymore.
Jason did kiss me... I still can't believe it. No one had ever done that before (of course!), and I never thought it would happen someday. I didn't even want it to happen.
I had almost wished Roger would kiss me the other day when Felicia had mentioned it, but only because I knew he wouldn't do it.
And Jason... he doesn’t look like he’d ever do such a thing. He doesn't look "girly" at all, so I had no way to guess he was like me. It's rather nice to know it, but now what am I going to do?
I hate it when people don't give me any choice. He kissed me without seeing if I would mind; he didn't give me time to think or even to reply when he "suggested" we meet later. It scares me because I don’t know what to do around him or to make him understand I'm totally overwhelmed by his behaviour.
It doesn't feel right. I've never had any close friend and now there's Jason, who seems to think I'll agree to be his boyfriend. It's absolutely not normal. Not a thing that should happen to me. I may like boys – okay, clearly I do – but all I've ever thought would happen is looking discreetly at those I think are cute and getting a few words or a smile from them sometimes (or friendly letters in Arnaud's case). Never, ever, I would have imagined I’d get a kiss from anyone. Those things happen to other people, not to me.
Of course, it could have been worse – it could have been a girl. I'd feel less confused than I feel now, though. Had it been a girl, at least there would be no questioning about whether I liked it or not and whether it would be possible to date her or not.
Not that I can seriously picturing myself dating Jason, but well...I can't imagine myself refusing to do it either. This might be the only other boy in the school who has no interest in girls, and I would like to be his friend. But that’s probably not enough for him.
I wish I'd dare go and tell Professor Lupin.
I really should go. He would understand.