Author's Note: This is a drabble, 494 words in length, written for the Iron Throne Competition on HPFC. Prompts used were genre: friendship, Patronus, and Kingsley Shacklebolt. Reviews are very appreciated.


Harry found her sitting outside the tent, staring up at the night sky. He stepped forward, the frozen leaves crunching under his feet as he made his way towards Hermione. The Forest of Dean was an unforgiving place, especially in these frigid winter months.

When he arrived at Hermione's side, he sat down, not looking at her, just staring up at the night sky. It was seconds before she broke the silence.

"I can't produce a Patronus."

Harry furrowed his brow.

"I mean- I can't anymore. Not with this… thing on." She fingered the locket as she spoke, a foul look on her face. It was Salazar Slytherin's Locket. Harry had grown to hate that locket more and more with each day that passed.

"Let me take it," he suggested.

She shook her head. "I can handle it. Just a few more hours."

"Alright," he sighed, knowing it was useless to argue, "a few more hours."

She nodded slowly, her eyes once again gazing up at the glimmering night sky. Harry could see the dark circles under her eyes, and he wished Ron were here, if only so that there were a third person to take a night shift. Just Harry and Hermione wasn't enough.

Suddenly Hermione pulled her wand out of her jumper sleeve, flicking it wordlessly towards the tent. The wireless came flying over, landing in her lap. "I feel like I need to listen to it," she explained uselessly, "ever since… ever since Ron..."

He didn't say anything, knowing that the smallest comment about Ron could set her off, especially when she was wearing the locket.

She twisted the knob on the radio, tuning it slowly. Ron had always been better at tuning it or finding a channel. Neither Harry nor Hermione could ever get it to work as perfectly as Ron could.

Suddenly, the low buzzing turned into a scratchy, faraway voice. It took a few seconds for the voice to become clear enough for Harry to recognize it. It was Kingsley Shacklebolt.

"That was today's updates from Romulus…" the signal cut out for a moment before coming back on, "…things are looking bleak out there, but all of us here on Potterwatch urge you to keep pushing on, keep fighting. Tune in again tomorrow. This is Royal. Goodnight."

With that, the show abruptly cut off, back to the typical Celestia Warbeck song. Hermione was frowning at the machine. "We missed the program."

"Come on," Harry said, extending an open hand to her, "I'll take my turn now. Get some sleep, Hermione."

Her shoulders slumped and her hands reached up to pull the chain from around her neck. Harry felt the weight of the locket as it fell into his hand.

"Thanks," she whispered, placing a hand on his shoulder before standing and walking back into the tent.

Harry sighed, tipping his head back and staring up at the night sky, trying to ignore the lead weight around his neck.