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    Coming Together
    Chapter One
    Hogwarts stood still, a dark hollow shell of its former self.

    It stood lonely in a barren landscape, a dark bleak landscape, where carrion birds fly overhead, screeching their soulless cries. Hogwarts now stood haunted, haunted and alone. A mere memory of days gone by.

    Those former innocent days, of long ago; had been passed and erased from memory.

    Its shadowed halls were entrenched in a dark, dreadful, silence and not the smallest of whispers could be heard. The winding corridors and classrooms stood empty and lifeless; laughter no longer reigned in these hallowed halls.

    Suddenly, someone appears out of the shadows. Clad in darkness, they are a mere shadow of their former self. Oh, what a wretched ghost was he; cowered by the immense atmosphere of horror that echoed all around him.

    He walks quickly and purposely with his head hung down and his eyes unfocused. As he passes by the great hall, he shudders involuntary as the new school song resounded out, terrible in its lifelessness

    "He who must be obeyed! He who rules. In his darkness! We shall prevail!"
    He who must be obeyed! He who rules. In his darkness! We shall prevail!"
    "He who must be obeyed! He who rules. In his darkness! We shall prevail!"

    The young man quickens his pace. He tries to outrun the ghastliness of the awful song, which fills him with dread as he passes.

    Hogwarts had become his very worst nightmare!

    As the song comes to an abrupt halt, the young man merges into the shadows and waits for the students to appear.

    One by one they emerged from the great hall. Each and every one of them wears a mask of woe. One by one they trudge, silently and tentatively, to their sleeping quarters. They wear the look of the walking dead.

    The young man suppresses another shudder and tries to remember the better times, the golden times, when fear was unknown. A single tear falls down his face to freeze upon his cheek.

    And he waits, he waits in silence, he waits in fear, he waits without hope in his heart....

    She walks swiftly and silently down the twisting corridors. She mustn't be late! Her heart pounds harder with every pace. The dark, dreary, dungeons that surround her groan out in torment. Holding muffled memories of ancient screams, which echo through the walls. This is no place to loiter in, she thinks distantly.

    She quickens her pace, almost to a run and tries to blank her mind from her dismal, bleak, memories. These halls hold nothing but torture now, no one dares to dream of hope anymore.

    She hears the soft footfalls of students returning to their quarters and she knows they will have no sweet dreams tonight. In fact no one dares to dream anymore. Dreams dreamt here inevitably turn into nightmares.

    She reaches the statue, the newly erected statue. A dark, brooding, statue which was made of the blackest lustre. Its eyes were made of darkest stone, which seemed to follow her as she scuttled swiftly past. Quickly, she ducks behind the statue; her eyes wide and searching.

    She startles him and his heart jumps into his mouth. He stumbles backwards. But on seeing her soft brown eyes, he breaths out a soft sigh of relief, and takes a step forward.

    She sees that she has startled him.

    Watching him step backwards, she can see his eyes widen in momentary terror. She takes a small step forward and lets him see her eyes. His fear rapidly dwindles and he takes a step towards her. She reaches out her hands to him and he takes them in his.
    Drawing closer together, they share a brief, chaste, kiss.

    Pulling away from each other slowly, a look of longing lingers in their eyes.

    She opens her mouth to speak. "He will meet with you" she tells him in a hushed whisper, holding his eyes to hers.

    A look of relief appears on his face and a feeling of hope springs up inside of him. "Thank God" he whispers hoarsely, his voice contorted with raw emotion.

    The desperate nuance of his voice makes her flinch a little. She blinks against his intensity, her eyes not daring to look into his face. That fine face that is usually a mask of cool contemplation is now a face full of unrestrained emotion. Hope, distrust, and fear flicker across dulled silver eyes.

    He sees her eyes searching his face intensely and he struggle's to put the mask back on his face. Taking his hands away from her comforting grip, he speaks again. "Will they trust me...is there a chance?" he asks softly.

    She lets her gaze fall away from him, exhaling softly. "Let's go now," she tells him with a sudden and unexpected authority. She reaches for his hand and he lets his hand be taken. Gently squeezing his hand, she begins to lead him away. There is always chance," she whispers to him, before falling into necessary silence.

    "That is my hope" he murmurs softly to himself.

    Moving past the twisted statue; they hear the last footsteps of students echo into the concealing darkness. They are left in an eerie silence.

    The girl cocks her head a little to one side, as if straining to hear something, but not a sound can be heard.

    Hogwarts stands silent.

    She shakes her head roughly, as if trying to dismiss her wretched feelings. This slightest of movement sends her fine red hair billowing out behind her.

    The boy lets out the smallest of gasps, as the rich honeydew perfume from her hair reaches his nostrils.

    The girl turns to face him and places her finger to her lips into a shush sign; her eyes flashing him a warning as she does so. Leading him forwards into the shadowed hallways, her shoulders, involuntary, shiver.

    The heavy silence seems to stifle their every breath, as they slowly inch forward and a feeling of impending doom seems to settle on their, young, shoulders with every new turn they take.

    The old, dusty, paintings on the walls slyly watch their every movement as if willing them to fail. But the pictures cannot speak anymore, for they have been silenced. Cobwebs cling in every corner and mould climbs the cold stone walls. The rancid stench of insanity, that surrounds them, strengthens with every new step forward they take.

    Suddenly a shrill scream cuts through the air; shattering, the ominous silence that surrounds them. The scream is filled with pain and hopelessness.

    The girl, instinctively, steps closer to the boy at her side and he touches her shoulder gently, soothingly kissing the top of her head. His soft kiss gives her the strength that she needs to carry on and, as they make their way forward again, the scream abruptly ends, leaving them enrapt in a deathly silence. A cold shudder makes its way down the boy's spine, leaving him defenceless, and the girl is silently weeping beside him.

    As they make their way into the deepest dungeons, the young girl's thoughts turn to Hogwarts and how it used to be. Sweet memories of love and laughter hurt her very soul. How could a place that used to be so warm and inviting turn into deaths graveyard, she muses mournfully.

    Suddenly, she pauses as they reach a heavy wooden door.

    The boy turns to look at her with inquisitive eyes and she motions him forward. He steps towards her, following her towards the door. But instead of entering the old oak door, she turns swiftly to the left and suddenly disappears. Where is she? Is it a trap? the boy wonders franticly, feeling sheer terror surge through his bones.
    He falls to his knees, in despair, trying hard to restrain himself from crying out loud...when he sees a pair of glistening eyes staring back at him through the looming darkness.

    "This way!" her barely recognisable voice whispers to him.

    He makes his way blindly forward and finds himself in a narrow crawl space. Fighting off feelings of intense claustrophobia, he follows the sound of her harsh breathing, coming from in front of him.

    Stones dig into his hands and knees, cutting his tender flesh cruelly. Time down here seemed to last for an eternity and the boy finds himself touching the brink of insanity. Will it ever end? Will it ever end? echoes through his mind like a mantra. His hands, knees, and shin bones feel like they are being sliced to pieces and the bottom of his trousers are torn into tatters. The boy feels hot, salty, tears slowly trickle down his face and his breath comes out in harsh rasps. Will this never end, his frantic brain asks...when he sees a soft silver light glow gently in front of them.

    "Nearly there now...Hold on!" the girl whispers breathlessly to him and with every inch forward, towards the beckoning light, hope flutters within his heart again. Soon the limited crawl space becomes illuminated and both can see an opening before them.

    She falls out first, on to the deep, green, moist, grass. She lets the soft moonlight bathe her as she lays sprawled artlessly. "Oh, what delicious freedom," she whispers into the night.

    He soon follows after her, falling face first on the dewy ground. They both lie there motionless and, taking in the sweet fresh air, they both wallow in their shared sense of freedom.
    After a few precious moments the girl stands up. Her poor arms and legs are cut and torn. She absentmindedly dusts herself off and reaches down to the young man.

    He takes her hand and pulls himself up.

    The boy is also covered in cuts and bruises. He looks at her and nervously licks at his lips.

    She smiles at him reassuringly and squeezes his hand tightly. "It will be alright now," she tells him sagely.

    But he knows that she is lying to him, and to herself. He knows that this ordeal is just beginning. "What do we do now?" he asks her dejectedly.

    "We Apparate!" she tells him almost laughingly.

    They look each other intently in the eyes, trying to read each others thoughts. She is feeling happy to see her friends and family again....

    And he is feeling apprehensive and fearful. The boy takes a quick gulp of air, letting the mask settle back on his fine features. Again, he tries to command himself. "Shall we go now then?" he asks her tentivly.

    She nods her head 'yes' to him.

    With their hands tightening their hold on each other, they both Apparate!

    They both Apparate! Into a low lit room. The room is lit by the gentle, orange, glow of a homely fire. The room is quite shabby, but a homely, cosy, atmosphere surrounds it. The room is filled with various people of various ages.

    "Ginny," a boy's voice cries out with joy. The voice comes from a tall, gangly, red-headed boy. He stands up and runs towards her with his arms extended.

    Ginny lets go of the light-haired boy standing next to her and runs towards her brothers welcoming arms.

    The boy stands still and his eyes flicker desperately around the room. He feels trapped and cornered and waves of severe panic wash over him...when his eyes rest on a dark-haired boy. Emerald green eyes stare back at him...and he can see the hatred glinting in them.

    Suddenly, the dark-haired boy stands up and spits out, his words holding an underlining bitterness. "So you think you can help us, do you?"

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