Chapter 61 - Marks

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Once again Snape was silent, making them wait. Harry's nervousness ran through Draco in a fizz of worry and he sent back what comfort he could. He was as apprehensive about this as Harry, but he refused to let it be his overriding reaction. If he had not believed in what they were doing he would never have let Harry go to Dumbledore in the first place.

Finally Snape moved. Draco held his breath as Snape, slowly and carefully, rolled back his sleeve, keeping the underside of his forearm down as he did so. Only once Snape's robes were neatly folded above the elbow did the head of Slytherin finally turn over his arm, placing it on the desk in front of him.

"You may look," Snape said shortly.

Draco hung back as Harry stepped up to the desk. He refused to gawp at what clearly caused Snape pain, be it psychological or physical.

What he did do was sure up his presence for Harry. Harry believed completely there was no chance of Voldemort breaking through their bond, but Draco wanted to be ready in case anything did happen. He felt Harry lowering his shields, and he could feel Harry's mind at work, but he neither wanted to distract Harry, not be distracted by him, so he held his thoughts distant.

Harry leant over the desk, looking carefully for several minutes, before finally lifting his head and looking Snape in the eye.

"Very complex magic," he said. "May I please touch your arm?"

Snape stiffened, but nodded after a moment.

Draco kept very still as Harry very carefully and very briefly touched the mark on Snape's arm. Harry full body shuddered and the feeling of disgust filtered through their bond.

"I can see why there is no way to remove it," Harry said, making a great effort to keep his voice even, although Draco could hear the slight tremor. "Thank you, Professor."

[It is woven right into his core magic,] Harry said silently. [It's horrible.]

[But effective,] Draco replied. [Voldemort knew what he was doing.]

"How shall we proceed, Mr Potter?" Snape asked without further ado.

"I suppose we should see if I can make it ache like I did before," Harry said.

Snape merely indicated the two chairs that were sat against the wall. Deciding to be useful, Draco grabbed both of them and placed then in front of the desk. Harry sat in one and he the other. This was unlikely to be a short visit.

Harry took his glasses off.

"I need to be able to concentrate on the magic," he said before Snape could make a comment, "the image is getting in the way."

"Get on with it, Potter," Snape snapped.

Harry nodded, glanced at Draco, who gave his soulmate a smile, and turned to the task in hand. The look of concentration on Harry's face was something Draco had become very familiar with lately.

Ten minutes later and all Harry had to show for his effort was a ball of frustration Draco did not need to be in his head to feel.

"I'm sorry, Professor ..."

"Idiot boy," Snape all but exploded, and it even startled Draco. "You waste my time and invade my privacy. I should never have listened to that senile old man. This is worthless."

The tirade continued with more vicious words. Draco would have reacted but for the fact that Harry just sat there. Snape knew how to choose his insults. They were barbed and nasty and would have had Draco reaching for his wand, only Harry wasn't reacting at all. Eventually, however, even Snape ran out of words.

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