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Ron leans against a tree, still in a bit of pain. Hermione and I nod to Harry. He raises his wand.

"Dissendium!" The locket spins swiftly in place, but remains whole. Then Hermione gives it a try.

"Incendio!" Flames engulf the locket and its metal flesh turns scarlet, but then the flames die. "Expulso!" She tries again. The tree stump explodes, but the locket remains unmarked.

"Confringo!" I wave my wand. The ground beneath the stump craters, but the locket remains untouched.

Hermione lowers her wand, but Harry and I continue on, firing a succession of spells, looking almost possessed. Hermione studies us oddly until, finally, we stop. All goes silent except for the leaves shifting in wind above. Then, slowly, another sound comes clear. A ticking, coming from the locket.

"It's angry." Ron states. Hermione shivers. Harry steps forward, kneels down and takes the locket by its chain. It continues to tick. He slings it over his neck.

"What're you doing?" I ask.

"We have to keep it safe until we can figure out how to destroy it." He answers.

"I can put it in my bag-" she tries to tell him, but he cuts her off.

"No."

"Seems strange, mates. Dumbledore sends you both off to find a load of Horcruxes, but doesn't bother to tell you how to destroy them. Doesn't that bother you?" Ron questions.

I ponder this. Rons right. Dumbledore gave us this mission, told us how to find them, clues as to what they might be, but leaves out how to destroy them. It's a bit infuriating. 

Harry studies the locket, whose ticking has slowed, then walks off. Hermione eyes Ron, who returns her glance, then pushes away from the tree and walks off slowly in the opposite direction.

I gaze into the crater I left by the tree while I was trying to destroy the horcrux. Seeing the destruction I created, basically killing this tree in my fit of rage. What possessed me to become that angry? Could it be the connection I share with Harry to Voldemort?

Then it hits me. The locket. The locket has a piece of his soul inside it. All that anger, that rage, everything springs from it. So whoever wears it, will be driven with those same emotions.

—————————————————————————-

Later that night, Ron lies on his cot, fiddling with the radio. Voices surface in the static briefly, then fade.

I sit with Harry, just outside the tent. He turns the mirror shard over in his fingers, then eyes Hermione collecting flowers in the distance.

The radio spits static and he tilts the mirror so he can see Ron. He looks annoyed, but holds his tongue and slips the mirror in his pocket. Noticing the locket, he slips it from his shirt, studies the fissures in the locket's metal skin. Suddenly I see that he winces.

"Harry?" I say, placing my hand on his over the locket. The locket spills from his palm, dances upon the chain. The skin encircling our scars constricts. Our surroundings fade to something else.

"Tell me, Gregorovitch. Tell me where it is..."

An old man with pure-white hair and a bushy beard cowers in a dark corner. "I told you! I no longer have it! It was stolen from me! Many years ago!"

"You wouldn't be lying to me, would you, Gregorovitch? Because, I must tell you... that will only make it worse for you..." As a bony hand, Voldemort's, extends a wand, Gregorovitch reacts with fear and we rush in, drifting into his dilating pupil into a hall of shadows. A younger Gregorovitch hurries toward a distant room, a lantern bobbing in his hand.

"I speak the truth! I remember like it was yesterday..." Gregorovitch bursts inside, lantern swaying. Wood shavings litter the floor.

On the window ledge, perched like a giant bird, a young man with golden hair grins devilishly, then raises his wand. A blast of light bleaches our eyes and we see Gregorovitch's face stricken with terror, as Voldemort's want tip blazes with light.

"Who was he? The thief?"

"Just a boy! Not of the village. It was he who took it. I never saw it again. I swear on my life."

"I believe you..." Voldemort says and a burst of green light engulfs the room.

Our eyes flutter back open, seeing Hermione standing a bit away in the amber dusk, studying my brother and I.

"I thought it had stopped." Harry and I look at her and shake our heads. "Neither of you can let him in.  Dumbledore himself said it. You have to close your mind. It's too dangerous-"

"It's not a candle we can blow out, Hermione. It always burns, even if it's just a flicker." I try to explain to her.

"Can you understand that?" Harry eyes her, then looks away. She frowns, concerned by this.

"Tell me. What you both saw." She says.

"He's found him. Vol-" He stops, glancing back toward the tent, toward Ron. "You-Know-Who. He's found Gregorovitch-"

"The wandmaker?" She questions.

"Yes. How'd you know?"

"Viktor got his wand from Gregorovitch. Most Durmstrang students did at one time. What's he got to do with You-Know-Who?" She explains.

"You-Know-Who wants something Gregorovitch once had, I dunno what. But he's desperate to have it. It's as if his life depends on it." I tell her.

The radio squawks from inside the tent. Harry's eyes flare and he turns to the tent.

"Don't." Hermione stops him. "It... comforts him."

"Well it sets my teeth on edge. What's he expecting to hear? Good news?" He huffs out. I glance to hermione and then back to Harry.

"I think he just hopes he doesn't hear bad news. It gets him through the day." I tell him.

"And what gets you through the day?" He turns to me, eyes burning with hatred.

"We've all made sacrifices, Harry." I furrow my brows at him. Harry eyes me expressionlessly, nods toward the tent.

"How long before he can travel?" He asks Hermione.

"I don't know. It takes time. What Mia did helped, but he's still healing." She tries to tell him. "I'm doing all I can."

"You're not doing enough." He says angrily. Hermione studies Harry's angry profile. I quickly stand up and look to my brother.

"Take it off." I demand. Harry turns, sees me studying him closely. I point toward his throat, toward the locket. "Take it off. Now." Harry slips the locket off, like a weight was lifted from his shoulders. "Better?"

"Loads."

I take the locket, cradling it in my fingers. "It's cold. Even though it's been lying against your skin for days." I see Harry studying the locket, troubled. "We'll take turns. Okay?"

I slip it over my neck. Frowning briefly, sensing its presence, then look at Harry. He studies me, then nods.

"I think I need to go for a walk." He stands you, brushing himself off. Hermione and I nod, stepping out of his way. "Sorry..."

As he walks off, hermione looks to me. "We need to find a way to destroy that thing."

"The sooner, the better." I agree. She takes a seat on the ground just outside the tent and I do the same.

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