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Two Steps From Hell by thesinandthesinner
Chapter 11 : A Twist
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2


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A/N: Thank you so much for your support, alerts and reviews. I really appreciate them. I hope everyone has been well and those of you who are on summer holiday are enjoying them! Read, enjoy and review. :)





Sirius stabbed moodily at his vegetables. Lily insisted that he and the rest of the boys have one serving of vegetables at least twice a week. While he often moaned at this, he secretly was pleased that Lily cared so much about them, though he would never confess it.

"Something got you in a tizzy Sirius?" Peter asked studying his mate closely.

He mumbled something and Peter's eyes sharpened on him. "Padfoot?"

"Do you ever get the feeling, Peter, that sometimes you think you know everything you think you need to know, then suddenly feel as if you're over your head?" Sirius sighed.

"Mate I feel like I'm in over my head every day of my life," Peter replied taking a swig of pumpkin juice.

"Man who died?" James asked plunking down beside Sirius. He piled his plate with food and looked at Sirius expectantly.

"No one. So you and Lily are officially going to the dance?" Sirius inquired changing subjects.

"Yeap! We are. Can't believe she said yes, but I'm glad whatever conked her in the head worked out in my favour," James said happily.

Sirius just looked at him and then lightly flicked James' forehead. "You disgust me sometimes."

"Shaddup. So have you made some lucky girl's day yet and got yourself a date yet Padfoot?"

"Nope. I asked Rowan—"

"YOU DID WHAT?" James yelped. Several people looked at him and McGonagall's eyes flashed over at him and he lowered his voice.

"I asked Rowan to go,"

"Are you out of your mind?" Peter exclaimed.

"—As a mate." Sirius interrupted annoyed.

"Oh. Well that's okay then. In fact for once maybe you'll have a good time!" James said thoughtfully.

"…She said no. And why is it okay to ask her a mate and not as a date? Sirius finished narrowing his eyes at James.

"Oh, she said 'no'? Huh. Why?" Peter said.

"Already got a date," Sirius answered glumly. Then he directed his attention to James again. "Prongs? Answer the question you git."

"What? Oh. Well, this is thing mate, Rowan is our mate, and she's like my sister, in fact, no she is my sister, blood be damned, and even though you don't date that much in general, the fact that girls chase after you gives you…I don't know. Point is, you even think about toeing that line, ever, and I will have to kill you." James explained in a matter of fact voice.

"So are you saying that she's off limits? Hypothetically speaking?" Sirius asked greatly interested.

"There IS no hypothetical situation. Nor theoretical situation. It's just a dangerous line toeing between friendship and other "ships" mate. Plus it's Rowan. She's special. Like Lily. She's special too. And Marlene."

Remus sputtered at this and Sirius looked at James quizzically. "What does that have to do with anything?"

"Mooney's soft on Marlene," James said smugly. Remus flushed. Sirius raised a brow.

"How'd you know?" Remus hissed. James smirked. "I've seen you perving on her!"

"Oi! I do not perv, I observe," Remus corrected. "And she's pretty!" he added earnestly.

"That she is. She's a fine looking girl." Sirius agreed.

"Who's a fine looking girl?" Rowan's voice said as she slid into a seat next to Remus. "If we're talking about Lily, then yes, she's a fine looking girl. Gorgeous in fact. I love her eyes."

"Me too!" James said dreamily. Peter flicked a pea at him and he snapped out of his momentary lapse.

"We were talking about Marlene actually," Sirius slid a look at Remus who glared at him.

"Oh! She's a lovely looking girl too. She's got a great nose, Grecian, lucky girl." Rowan said heartedly as she began eating her dinner.

James started laughing. Remus shook his head. "You say the oddest things Rowan," Peter remarked.

"What? She does have a good nose!" Rowan protested. She really didn't think what was so odd about what she was saying; she was just voicing her honest observations. For Pete's sake, she lived with said objects of discussion.

"Oh Rowan," James cuffed an arm around her and tousled her hair affectionately. She squirmed under him and James laughed harder.

"Hey, Ro, tell me something. What do you think of mates dating each other?" Peter asked wanting to play devil's advocate. Sirius choked on his water.

She shrugged and then thoughtfully chewed her food for a moment. "Well. I think it depends on how good of mates you are. Sometimes I think the best relationships come from friendship. But in some cases I think it can definitely ruin things between a pair of friends if feelings are not reciprocated. It's kind of hard to recover from a thing like that you know…I mean. You tell someone "I love you", but then don't hear it back…ouch mate. Just yowza." Rowan said.

"Yowza?" Peter echoed.

"It can be just painful if things don't work out between. I mean how would you feel if you told your best mate that you were in love with them and they said oh I don't know, "Thank you" or worse, they didn't say anything at all?" She continued.

Sirius just stared at her dumbfounded. "You're right dating your mates sounds like a terrible idea." He said decisively.

"For you, definitely. Do us all a great big favour Sirius and don't try and date any of us." Rowan said dryly. Sirius saluted her with two fingers.

"Wait wait wait, what about Prongs and Lily?" Remus waved his hands.

"Oh well that's different. James and Lily are meant to be together." Rowan declared.

"Says who? You? How can that be right, you just have the authority to decide who works with who? Lily and James are right, according to you. What about you and me, we could be right too!" Sirius said indignantly.

Rowan snorted inelegantly at this. She looked at him with an un-amused expression. "Believe me Sirius, if you and I ever right together, it'd be in a post apocalyptic world…and we'd be in hell."

"Well I hope we end up going to the same destination in our afterlife." Sirius smirked.

Rowan pointed her wand at Sirius and he toppled backwards off his seat.

"OUCH!' a voice came from the floor.

"Git." Rowan muttered.




Rowan greatly enjoyed herself when she attended Duelling Club meetings. Professor Flitwick was an excellent teacher and everyone who attended these meetings were enthusiastic about learning defensive spells. That's what she especially liked about being apart of the club, it was the infectious energy that automatically got to you once you bowed to your partner.

However, all of her enjoyment disappeared the Friday night she had been paired up with none other than Regulus Black.

She hadn't purposefully tried to be paired up with the bloke. Usually she and Caradoc paired off, or as of lately, Benjy and they in general had a good time firing hexes and jinxes at each other. The only thing that bothered her was that they simply did not give her their all, they still treated her a little too fragilely. Maybe it was because she was a girl.

Rowan scowled to herself as she rolled up the sleeves of her robes and flexed her fingers. She noticed Benjy automatically slide up to her but then Professor Flitwick squeaked, "Miss Forlani, perhaps you could indulge me and work with someone else?"

"Erm…sure, did you have anyone in mind?"

"I thought it might be time to separate Severus and Regulus…" Flitwick gave the pair of dark haired Slytherin boys a pointed look. They scowled darkly at him.

Good luck, Rowan said in her head but she quickly masked her emotions and adopted a neutral stance. "Sure."

"Excellent, Regulus, please come over here," Flitwick ordered. He exchanged a look with Snape and grudgingly stalked towards her. He briefly met her eyes and then lowered his own. Rowan frowned.

"Tonight we will continue on working with anti-jinxes. Sixth and Seventh Years, these will be non-verbal of course, Fourth and Fifth years will duel verbally." Flitwick clapped his hands.

The pairs of students spread out and Regulus and Rowan walked towards the edge of the Great Hall.

"Partners bow to each other!" Flitwick called out.

Rowan, following the proper rules, bowed low and extended her hands with a flourish, just to piss him off because he was Sirius' little brother. To her utter surprise, he bowed in a gentlemanly manner and they eyed each other coolly.

"Take your paces!"

Rowan and Regulus each stepped backwards about ten paces.

"Wands at the ready!" Flitwick cried.

They raised their wands.

"Go!"

Rowan hit the ground as a bright blue jet of light flew at her from the ground she directed her wand at him and mentally screamed "Aqua Eructo!"

A powerful jet of clear water sprung from her wand in a graceful arc. It flew out with such force that it knocked Regulus off his feet in a deluge of water. He coughed and sputtered and raised his wand again.

Rowan scrambled to her feet and blocked his Disarming spell with a Shield Charm. It rebounded and he ducked.

He was still sopping wet, Rowan and Regulus circled each other, calculating their next move. This was new. Usually when she duelled with Caradoc or Benjy it was always very fast, spell after spell being fired continuously at each other. This was the first time she had ever come across someone who actually stopped and thought about the next move.

In hindsight, this would never happen in a real duel or fight. But this was only practice.

He shot a jelly-legs curse at her and she felt herself wobble on her legs. Damn him.

She staggered and fell over. Somehow she managed to wish with all her might to lift this jelly legs curse and waved her wand over herself.

Rowan raised her wand again and directed it with him with a ferocity that was almost scary. "Collarshoo" she thought.

Regulus became rooted where he was.

He tried to move again but found his shoes glued to the ground. Growling he tried to move again and then gave up. To solve the problem he simply stepped out of his shoes. Now in his socks, he wiped his brow and glared at her.

Their wands rose in unison. Now it was getting personal.

"Confundo!" Regulus thought in his head. Rowan twirled out of the way and he ducked as she aimed a Knock-Back jinx at him. To her disappointment he dived off to one side and it missed him.

He has good reflexes, she thought to himself. I wonder how he got them. Then she realised that was a stupid question because he played Seeker for the Slytherin Qudditch team.

Their wands flashed light again and again, as the pace began to pick up. She had finally met her match, and she was loosing patience. He was good.

This was the longest practice duelling round she had ever engaged in. it was exhausting.

Her fatigue had caused her to make a big, big mistake. She'd regret that for a long a time in the future.

Regulus sent another hex at her and Rowan yelled in frustration, he took this opportunity to disarm her, she gaped at him.

This wasn't possible. She couldn't loose.

Her eyes darkened dangerously and she had to reign herself from physically attacking him out of sheer frustration. Instead she raised her wand arm and thought with all of her mind one of her own hexes she had tinkered on.

Regulus was blasted off his feet and flew up into the air. Except, instead of crashing in a heap like one usually did due to gravity, he froze, stop motion in the air.

He was frozen in the air, he couldn't move, he couldn't lift his wand arm. His eyes wheeled terrified in his sockets. From his position above in the air he managed to focus on her and then his mind grinded to a half.

She didn't have her wand.

If he could have moved his mouth, his jaw would have dropped open in sheer astonishment.

"MISS FORLANI!" Flitwick shouted hurrying to where Regulus was still suspended in the air.

Rowan snapped out of her state of shock then she widened her eyes when she saw her wand lying on the ground. What just happened here?

"Mr. Black are you all right?" Flitwick called up anxiously. He raised his own wand in effort to lower him down. Except he couldn't. Regulus was still stuck.

Regulus couldn't open his mouth or anything. Instead he just closed his eyes and then opened them again. He stared hard at his partner.

"Miss Forlani! What on earth did you do?" Flitwick rounded on her.

He was so tiny, and he was so agitated. Rowan felt the insane need to laugh. She picked up her wand and joined the crowd of students who was gazing up at Regulus. Snape shot her a look.

"Erm..I guess…I must have miscast a spell?" Rowan replied tentatively. Biting her lip nervously she looked up at her partner.

"I can't get him down! What did you do?" Flitwick demanded.

"I don't even know. But hang on..I think maybe I can get him down. Stand back."

The students gave her a wide berth. She had, over the last six years, developed quite the reputation for getting into scraps thanks to magic. Regulus suddenly feared for his life.

She took a deep breath and raised her wand. Muttering to herself she lowered her wand in one, slow, sweeping motion downwards. Regulus felt himself being gently lowered down and then felt his feet touch the ground lightly.

As soon as his feet touched the ground he immediately collapsed on it, grateful to be on solid ground. He just laid there for a moment.

"I think that will be enough for tonight everyone. Good work, same time next week!" Flitwick dismissed the crowd. "Miss Forlani I'm afraid I'm going to have to give you detention for this," he added shooting her a look. Rowan sighed but nodded.

"Good one Rowan! That's the first time I've ever seen that particular spell!" Benjy rushed up to her with an excited air.

"Oh. Um. Thanks I guess." Rowan said tiredly. She wanted to figure out what the hell just happened. She wasn't in the mood to talk to Benjy.

"Walk you out of the Great Hall?" Benjy offered with a hopeful look on his face.

Rowan debated this for a moment. She was tired and frankly, astounded at the events of tonight. But he was being so nice and he looked all hopeful, she didn't want to be mean. "Sure. Just give me a minute okay?" He nodded and went off to where Caradoc and a few other Seventh Years were standing.

She cautiously came closer to Regulus and crouched down. She didn't feel like it was entirely appropriate to nudge him with her foot, one, because he was a Slytherin, and two, she barely knew him.

"Black?" she asked quietly. He lifted his head off the ground. "Are you…are you okay?" She felt utterly stupid asking that question.

"Never have I ever been so glad to be on the ground, in my entire existence." He said.

This was the most amount of words Rowan had ever heard him speak. She blinked.

His voice was not anything at all at all she imagined. Every time she heard him he was mumbled or muttered. His voice was soft, even, musical in a way. It surprised her even further.

Regulus got to his feet abruptly and exhaled a breath. Without another word he turned on his heel and strode away to meet Snape, the only other Slytherin there.

She rose again and studied the back of him. Tonight had been interesting.




In fact that night had been so interesting that she staid in bed all weekend long, only emerging for showers and meals. She was deep in thought and unusually quiet at meal times and this didn't faze the Marauders or her roommates. They were used to her odd behaviour.

She did all her homework in the dead of night in the Common Room that required writing, and then did all of her other reading homework and memorization of Arithmancy charts in bed.

In between all that Rowan would stare deeply up at the ceiling of her bed and snuggled under her covers. She did some of her best thinking in bed under all the layers she had.

Her brows knitted as she replayed the events of Friday night in her mind yet again. Regulus had disarmed her. She hadn't been aware of the loss of her wand. Then she plastered Regulus in the air.

Without the wand.

It didn't surprise her of her choice of spell. For crying out loud, she had invented the spell, so she could well bloody use it.

But she did it without her wand.

A gleeful smile broke out on her face.

She had performed wandless magic!

She mentally did a dance for herself. Then she focused her mind again.

She had worked months on the spell. It had taken her the majority of six year to develop and create that particular hex. Hexes were much more harder to create than Charms. She had sustained a numerous amount of injuries whilst working on it. She still had the scars to show it.

Rowan had never seriously thought of wandless magic. Sure, she knew of it, but she had never entertained the notion that she, or anyone really, could actually do it. But, she reasoned, that Dumbledore and some other powerful wizards and witches must be able to do it.

Back in their first year they had learned about the topic of wandless magic briefly in Charms and Transfiguration. She remembered McGonagall and Flitwick stressing that it takes an extraordinary amount of will power and discipline. She also recalled them saying that wandless magic could be extremely volatile if tried without any prior knowledge.

The wheels in her head began to turn faster. Rowan thought about how children perform underage magic, they certainly didn't have wands, yet there were some mishaps or magical accidents that occurred. And that was all wandless magic too.

So, she mused, all witches and wizards potentially had the capability of performing wandless magic. However it depended on how you grew up and handled your magic once armed with a wand and the knowledge of magical concepts.

At the end of the day it depended on how you understand, and then apply the concepts.

Understand, apply, then interpret concepts.

Then bend and break concepts to make new concepts.

Rowan's eyes glittered in the moonlight that filtered in their dorm. It was nearly five in the morning and she wasn't tired at all. Instead she felt exhilarated.

She had done it. She had performed wandless magic, without fully understanding how. So she made a new resolution.

She'd master wandless magic. Even if it killed her.

Feeling a new sense of purpose injected into her existence, Rowan closed her eyes and tried to catch a few winks before breakfast.




Rowan wasn't the only one replaying the events of Friday night in her head. A certain Regulus Black was deep in thought over it too. On Monday morning, Regulus stepped into the shower and closed his eyes as the water streamed down his body.

She was very good at magic, he thought as he scrubbed himself vigorously. Unconsciously he scrubbed a little harder at the Dark Mark that was engraved into his left forearm.

He had received his Dark Mark the day after he turned sixteen at the end of last year. His cousin Bellatrix had been there along with Lucius Malfoy as they watched his initiation. His parents had been so proud of him that day. He smiled at the memory.

Lathering shampoo into his hair he brooded over Rowan Forlani. She had quite a reputation of being an eccentric person. She was notorious for losing her temper and causing serious damage to the school. She also was probably the only girl in Hogwarts History to land up in more detentions than anyone, except maybe James Potter and his brother Sirius.

His fellow housemates taunted her by calling her a dirty gypsy because she wasn't English. The rest of the school called her the gypsy girl too because of her features and accent. He wondered what countries gypsies came from and where, what he thought, her accent was from.

He wrenched the hot water tap off and wrapped a towel around his waist. Wincing slightly as the cooler air of the bathroom hit his bare skin, he hurriedly dried himself and pulled on his clothes.

He ought to go to the library, he decided. Maybe read up a little bit more about where witches and wizards of the international world. Perhaps he could get an idea of where she might be from.

Regulus suddenly halted in his tracks at all of these thoughts. Why on earth was he so interested in learning about this girl? She was a Gryffindor for heaven's sake. And she was friends with his brother, the worst kind of blood traitor. His mum couldn't get out of bed for weeks after Sirius had run away from home nearly two years back.

A scowl marred his handsome features at the thought of his brother. He had ruined their family. He had caused his mum pain. Regulus' grey eyes darkened, to him, nothing was more important than family. And Sirius had not only crossed over the line, he had clearly obliterated the line and never looked back.

Regulus made his way down the empty corridors looking forward to eating breakfast alone. It was still early, only seven in the morning. He rather liked having the Great Hall nearly to himself. It was quieter. He could hear himself think.

Pouring himself a cup of coffee, he nodded at Snape who was also an early bird. "Morning Severus,"

"Morning Regulus," his Housemate replied engrossed in the Daily Prophet.

What he best liked about Snape, was the fact that didn't feel the need to be talking all the time. Their silences were comfortable. He didn't mind sharing the Great Hall with Snape.

"So what was it liked being beaten by the gypsy girl?" Snape asked from behind his paper after a while

Regulus shrugged and bit into a piece of toast. "Be grateful for the ground mate. The ground and gravity are your friends."

Snape snorted at this. "She's an odd duck that one,"

"So are you!" Regulus huffed.

Snape muttered something. "But at least I'm English mate. She's a foreigner. A blood gypsy one too. "

"What does that have to do with anything?"

"Gypsies are just as bad as mudbloods," Snape said.

"And Blood traitors I suppose?" Regulus replied cynically.

"Blood traitors are scum," Snape answered coolly.

Regulus bit back another retort. He suddenly felt annoyed. "And besides, have you seen the way she looks? Disgraceful. With all those piercings and bangles…" Snape continued.

Regulus raised his eyebrows. He hadn't noticed this, he was too busy trying to keep himself from being blown into pieces by her at Duelling Club practice. "What's wrong with piercings?"

"She has so many of them! Merlin…she looks like she needs to be a groupie or something…"

"How do you know all of this? You've been perving on her?" Regulus taunted.

"No. I sit behind her in Defence Against the Dark Arts. Her hair is always tied up. Her piercings are plain as daylight for anyone to see." Snape replied frostily.

"Oh." And with that Regulus shut up. He began to think about her again. He would never admit this out loud to anyone, but truth be told, he rather liked her looks. He liked her strong features; in particular he liked the angularity of her cheekbones. It gave her face a certain fierceness to it, which he thought, (granted he barely knew her,) suited her just fine.




A/N: Things are just starting to get interested people. Bear me with readers, Mr. Regulus Black will play a pivotal part in this fic. Be good and please review! Both Black brothers would appreciate that, (so would I) xoxoxo


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