Chapter 61 - Marks

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Draco had not expected an answer so quickly, but when Snape met him after breakfast the next day with the words: "My office, 3 o'clock, Mr Malfoy, bring Mr Potter if you must," he took it that Dumbledore had already had the significant conversation.

He and Snape occasionally had meetings about lesson plans on Sunday afternoon, but they were always arranged well in advance. Hence he and Harry arrived in the dungeons early, at which point they waited until exactly three before knocking. The last thing either of them wanted was to put Snape in a bad mood by arriving either early or late.

"Close the door," Snape said as soon as he had invited them in.

Draco didn't need Harry's senses to feel something snap into place as soon as he did as they were asked. Harry blinked and looked at the walls in a way that was all too familiar to Draco.

"Wow," Harry said very quietly.

"We will not be disturbed," was Snape's only response.

"Thank you for agreeing to meet, Professor," Draco said, going for a slightly more formal tone than they usually maintained between them, because of the circumstances.

"The headmaster has recounted the situation, but, Mr Potter, I would like you to explain exactly what it is you think you can achieve before I agree to anything," Snape said, completely ignoring the greeting.

It was going to be that sort of meeting then. Draco wasn't surprised.

"The truth is, I don't know," Harry said, as straightforward as ever. "All I know is I made you react to the Dark Mark during the search for Draco and, if I can do it again, maybe even refine whatever it is I did, we might be able to use it against our enemies."

Snape sneered, just a little. Draco knew it was a reflection of quite how much trepidation the man had to have been feeling. It made him wonder for the thousandth time what consequences of the Dark Mark the rest of the wizarding world never took into consideration.

"What makes you so sure this is not imbecilic folly which will make you vulnerable, as you were in your fifth year?"

Snape was not pulling any punches. Draco felt the momentary spike of guilt from Harry even though his actions since had nullified the consequences of the incident with his godfather. One day Harry might get over it, but not for some years.

"I feel it," Harry said.

Draco waited for Snape to react to that. Slytherins didn't hold 'feelings' like that in high regard. If it had been anyone else Draco would have hesitated as well. He couldn't remotely tell what Snape was thinking. His natural instinct was to say something, back up Harry, but he knew that would be nothing but a distraction as far as the head of Slytherin was concerned.

"What do you believe this will achieve?" came Snape's next question.

"I don't know," Harry admitted. "I don't even know if I can repeat what I did before, but if I can I'm sure we can both see the possible benefits."

Snape said nothing, but did not disagree.

"How do you propose to proceed?"

It was a sensible, calculating question, but, just for a moment, Draco saw Snape's perfect mask slip. In that instant he knew Snape had already decided, but he kept the information to himself. He'd seen resignation in that instant, and fear. Most people would have missed it, but he had been trained by the best.

"I would like to examine your Dark Mark, if I may, try and understand it," Harry explained. "Then I would like to try and recreate what I did before."

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