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Two Steps From Hell by thesinandthesinner
Chapter 23 : Brooding
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 11

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A/N: As always, enjoy and please review. :)

Rowan was unusually quiet once she had returned to the Common Room after Regulus' departure. She declined to hang out with the gang who was grouped around the fireplace chatting and playing Exploding Snap. Sirius looked over her curiously but she didn't say anything and big them good night. Remus stared at the back of her, concerned, and turned to James.

"Something is off," he said.

"Maybe she's just exhausted. You know she doesn't sleep properly,"

"That's cos she can't sleep properly," Sirius corrected defending her.

"Whatever. C'mon it's the end of term, she's prolli just feeling herself about to crash finally."

"You're the most insensitive prick I've ever had the pleasure of being mates with," Remus scowled.

"You love me anyways!" was James' cheerful reply.

"I'm going to go check on her," Remus decided getting up.

"And pray tell me how are you going to do that?" James asked referring to the rule that barred the boys from climbing the Boys Staircase.

"Gonna borrow someone's broom or have Lily or Marlene levitate me," he promptly replied.

"I'll levitate you up there," Marlene offered.

"Thanks!" Remus smiled at her and her eyes twinkled at him. He suddenly felt quite bashful. It was a good thing he was going to check up on Rowan!

Rowan yanked on a pair of worn out boxers and crawled into bed. She felt that today has been a very, very long day and for the first time in a while, she really didn't want to stay up the whole night all by herself.

She couldn't understand why she was feeling so girly right now. She felt as if she was going to cry and she had no idea why. This was all over Regulus Black apparently, god.

She stared broodingly up at the canopy ceiling and slid further down her bed enjoying the feeling of soft flannel of one of her blankets against her bare legs. She had always loved the feeling.

They weren't really mates. They were more of acquaintances. Never in her short life had she ever envisioned that she would ever befriend a Slytherin, much less Sirius' little brother.

This was like Lily being best friends with Snape for the longest time until he called her a mudblood in their fifth year. James and Sirius had been giving Snape a particularly hard time and Lily had tried to stop them but Snape was in no mood to get help from her then. The word had come out of his mouth like a bomb.

Lily hadn't shown it at that moment, but later in the dorm room Rowan had come across Lily sobbing and Rowan didn't understand then why it hurt her so much, not the fact that he called her a bad name, but for the fact that their friendship was effectively, over. Things had changed between them forever.

Lily had never talked about Snape since then nor did she ever talk to him again. But once in a while Rowan had caught Lily looking at Snape once or twice when she thought was no one looking when they were in the library or in the mutual classes they shared.

She wondered if Lily ever thought about him or missed him. She wondered if Lily would ever consider reaching out to him and trying to repair their friendship.

But perhaps, sometimes things became so irreparably damaged they couldn't be fixed, she thought sadly as she turned on her side.

Talk about a good way to start the holidays, she thought ruefully shutting her eyes.

The door creaked open and Rowan heard a voice call out her name softly, she turned and peeked over her Remus.

"Hey Remy," she smiled wanly at him.

"Hi Ro. Are you alright? You look…sad." Remus said hesitantly approaching her bed.

She scooted over and made some room for him to sit down. Remus studied her and waited for her to say something.

Rowan was quiet for another moment or two. "I just…it makes me sad how things can change do quickly," she finally said.

Remus understood that she wasn't going to go into specifics but that he would just listen to her. "Yeah, change can be hard."

"Do you ever wish things were different Remus? I wish…I wish we lived in a world where for the most part, we could get along."

"Don't we all? Isn't that what those damn hippies out in America are always singing about? World peace?"

Rowan chuckled at this. "Yeah. They are. But really. I just. I wish that…being friends with people is hard Remus." She sighed.

Remus raised an eyebrow. He wasn't sure what she was talking about but for some reason his mind immediately strayed over to the fact that he had an idea that Padfoot had a thing for her. He wondered idly if she fancied him too.

"Yeah it is. Especially when you feel more than friendship for them," Remus carefully replied.

"But I don't feel anything for him!" Rowan blurted out frustrated.


"No one?" Whoops.

"Rowan do you fancy someone?" Remus asked shrewdly.

"No! I told you lot, I'm not interested in anyone," Rowan said loudly.

"Do you like Sirius?"

"What? NO!" Rowan exclaimed tugging the bed covers higher over her causing Remus to topple over.

"Ooof! Hey!" he exclaimed from the floor.

"Sorry mate. What in the world would you give you the crazy idea that I like Sirius?" Rowan asked. This conversation had taken a turn for the bizarre.

"Nothing. You were talking about friends and how it was hard to be friends with people. I don't know!"

"Remus did you inhale too many fumes in potions today? Sheesh. First Lily and Marlene were getting on my case about going to this bloody dance with him, and now you're asking me if I like him. Jeez! What is with it and Sirius? Just saying his name apparently is a big deal." Rowan huffed.

"Well, it is him. He's Sirius love. He just has this effect…on everyone I think. Plus, well, don't bite my head off, but I think for some of us, we've always kind of paired you off together in some bizarro way." Remus said tripping over his words at the end.

Rowan raised an eyebrow. "Why on earth would you think that?"

"Well! Lily and James were always written down at some point, I've always had a thing for Marlene and well, there's Peter."

"So? Peter is perfectly nice."

"Really Rowan? Would you go out with him?" Remus asked flatly.

A pause.


"SEE! And well, that leaves Sirius," Remus finished.

"Big deal. Remember, I did date someone who was not in our circle of mates! And Sirius has gone out with loads of girls who aren't mates with us!"

"Yeah but that's the point. For some ridiculous reason, I always somehow envisioned you together."

"Remus the only way that's gonna happen is in a post apocalyptic universe. Or if we die and meet each other in hell." Rowan snorted.

"Fine. You say that now. But for the record, Sirius is a great bloke and you'd be lucky to date him." Remus said defensively. He suddenly felt very protective of his roommate.

Rowan laughed. "Remus, I know! That's why I wouldn't bother going after him. I'd just muck things up between us and hurt him. He doesn't deserve that. He deserves some nice girl who can take care of him and all that jazz. I can barely take care of myself. He needs someone really special."

Someone like you you git! Remus mentally shouted at her. But he kept quiet.

"Yeah, someone super duper special." Remus agreed.

"Like a special edition of a girl! Yeah, limited only, custom made only for him special kind of girl for him." Rowan decided.

Remus snorted. Now this was just getting absurd.

"Well I'm gonna go back to others. I just wanted to see if you were all right." Remus said getting up.

"I'm ok. Thanks for checking up on me, love ya," Rowan replied closing her eyes.

"Love you too you crazy little girl," Remus answered shutting the door behind him.

Remus slid down the banister of the staircase. Okay, just because he was a prefect didn't mean he didn't like to have fun. He was a seventeen-year-old boy for crying out loud. He hopped off and saw that everyone more or less was where he had left them.

"Is she okay?" Sirius asked looking up at him.

Remus looked at him and suddenly felt sad. James had told him that he had a strong feeling that Sirius fancied Rowan a lot more than he let on about recently and Remus was beginning to agree with him.

And apparently, the said girl didn't even see him or even think about seeing him like that at all. In any way.

"Yeah. She's fine. Tired." Remus replied.

"See! Told ya!" James said triumphantly.

"Yeah Prongs, you sure did," Remus said absently his mind a million kilometres away.

Saturday poked its grey head out and the sun smiled weakly on the students in its attempt to make December less dreary.

That also meant that tonight was the Winter Formal.

Regulus glared up at the ceiling of his canopy. He wished he didn't have to go to this formal at all.

She was going with his brother.

His brother.

Of all the goddamn people in the school, she was going with him.

His lips turned up in a deep scowl that marred his delicate features.

What really bothered him was the fact that he was bothered about the fact that she was going with his brother. He felt this anger he had in him was irrational.

She was perfectly free to go around with whomever she liked, he thought irritably. She wasn't his girlfriend. She wasn't really even his friend goddamnit.

But she meant something to him. He didn't know why.

Why, did this girl, of all the people, have to matter to him? Why did he always try to move his housemates away from talking about her or trying to make her life miserable?

Snape was beginning to think he had something for her, something that Regulus flatly denied.

He didn't like her! He just wanted to be proper mates with her. But the only way that would ever happen was if they were living in a parallel universe or if they ended up in hell.

But if he was there in hell, that also meant his brother would be there too, which meant he still wouldn't get to be Rowan's friend.

Sheesh. He couldn't even win in hell.

Regulus swore and stomped flat-footed towards the showers. It was 11 in the morning and all he wanted to do was rip someone head off.

Actually, he wanted to traipse right up to her and give her a good shouting and give her a piece of his mind.

It's you! You're the person whose turned my world upside down and messed everything up! His mind shouted as he scrubbed himself with a ferocity that turned his olive skin red.

Snape looked at him curiously when Regulus threw himself into a seat for lunch.

"Woke up on the wrong side of the bed mate? You look like you're going to kill someone."

"I'm going to kill you," Regulus shortly said helping him to lunch.

"Oh good. That way I'll get out of going to this blasted formal."

"No problem. Now I just have to find a painless way to kill myself to get out of going with this and we're set."

"Stun yourself, stand in front of a mirror and have it rebound on you," Snape suggested tucking his tongue in his cheek.

"That sounds really tempting Snape…I might just do that,"

"But at least you have a hot date," Snape pointed out referring to Tanya Forbes who indeed was quite lovely.

"Looks aren't everything Snape,"

"But admit it, they do make up for some things,"

"Like what?"

"Like not having a brain."

"Nope. I'd rather go out with a plain looking girl who was smart than a mindless good looking bimbo." Regulus said stoutly.

Snape looked at him. He shrugged. "What?"

"You're an odd duck."


Snape let this conversation dropped and stared at out at the Great Hall. He spotted the flaming red hair of the girl he once used to be friends with and his eyes hardened.

She was with him. Potter. Snape's mouth curled into frown.

And she was laughing.

If looks could kill, James Potter would be dead as a doornail right now. Snape couldn't decide whether he despised Lily for going out with him enough that it somehow enveloped the deep rooted fondness he had for her.

Nope. He could never hate her. He did however, think she was unbelievably stupid for going out with the arrogant prat. His thin mouth curled in a frown.

"Stop staring. People will notice," Regulus said quietly. Snape snapped out of his trance and glared at his mate.

"What are you taking about?"

"You think I don't know Snape? I do. I know. But stop making it so obvious."

Snape muttered something but didn't disagree with what he was saying.

"Snape." Regulus asked a little lower.

"What?" he mumbled.

"You still miss her don't you?"

Snape didn't reply. Regulus took this answer for a yes. "It doesn't really matter anymore. We're on different paths in this life and I've got better things to do than brood over some girl that isn't even worth it," Snape answered curtly. He rustled the newspaper and buried his nose in it. Regulus rolled his eyes.

See the thing was, Rowan, in all of her ferocious, strange and eccentric glory, was definitely worth brooding about.


Couldn't live with them, couldn't live without them.

At six p.m. the Lily and Marlene pried Rowan away from her books and whatever new spell she was working on and locked her in their dorm to get ready for the dance. Both Marlene and Lily were giddily excited. Rowan looked amusedly at them as they twittered about. They were so funny.

"Someone help me curl my hair!" Lily cried out studying her locks.

Rowan rolled her eyes. "Lily your hair is nice straight."

"No I want to look special tonight. It's our last winter formal!"

"Oh man everything we do here is our last everything at this place!" Rowan flopped back on her bed.

"Here, this spell will work, Rowan get your skinny little butt up and get dressed."

"It's only a quarter past six!" Rowan protested.

Marlene lifted her wand and Rowan felt herself being shoved off the bed. "Oi!"


"Fine fine fine. See if you get any Christmas presents from me," Rowan grumbled sauntering towards the bathroom.

At a quarter past seven the girls were finally ready. After various slight make up mishaps and some alarming hair curling spellwork that had gone slightly wrong leaving Lily with hair standing upright two feet tall (Rowan had finally stepped in and righted it and now Lily's hair was fine, curling softly about her shoulders) they were primed and polished. Even Rowan was, which, she declared was all time accomplishment for her.

"Seriously I don't think I've ever been this dolled up you lot," Rowan grumbled twisting around. She had done some serious modifications to the dress she had purchased.

"But you look so good! Seriously, you rock formal wear. You ought to model for it." Marlene exclaimed.

"Too short and not enough bust," Rowan replied.

"Oh. But seriously, you look incredible. Why you choose to stomp around in band t shirts and wacky clothing is beyond me."

"Dressing in black or donning rainbow socks isn't wacky clothing." Rowan defended.

"You'd look good in blue," Lily said critically studying her friend.

"Yeah yeah yeah, that's what they all say, all right. Let's get this thing over with." Rowan huffed wrenching the doorknob open.

Downstairs the boys were complaining amongst themselves about the evils of dress shoes and suits. Sirius tugged uncomfortably at his tie. He still couldn't tie one properly for the life of him.

"Seriously they ought to invent a charm for these blasted things," Sirius scowled.

"Perhaps Rowan could," Peter offered.

"Knowing her she probably would," Sirius agreed.

"Would do what?" a voice called out.

A/N: I would really love if you reviewed! Remember, don't hesitate to let me know of any scene ideas, conversations you'd like to see happen or who you'd like to see more of. xoxoxo

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