Chapter 69 - Bait

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Practicing on Snape's Dark Mark was uncomfortable for both Snape and Harry. Draco always sat in the corner, silent, just watching as both men became more and more ragged round the edges. Both of them were so stubborn that neither would be the first to give up. Hence they were both prone to pushing themselves too hard.

Draco had set himself up as the voice of reason.

Snape grimaced and reached for his arm as Harry frowned and all but full body shuddered. Draco stood up.

"Harry," he said, "we promised we would meet Madam Hooch to go over the plans for the additional Quidditch tryouts."

It was an excuse, they both knew it, but Draco had discovered very quickly being direct and just telling his soulmate or Snape it was time to end just didn't work. The way the two played off each other would have been comical if it hadn't been so damned annoying.

"Is it time already?" Harry asked.

"I'm afraid so," Draco replied. [And I am not carrying you back to our room.]

[Sorry,] Harry apologised.

"Thank you, Professor," Draco said, "we're sorry we have to run."

"Yes," Harry said, "thank you. I'm sorry for the discomfort."

"It is nothing, Potter," Snape replied, "as long as you use the knowledge you gain."

Harry did not reply and stood up. He looked vaguely green to Draco; influencing the dark magic was never good for him. As soon as they were away from the dungeons Draco was going to make sure Harry had a restorative. He had taken to brewing them himself.

"Same time tomorrow, Professor?" Harry asked.

"Of course," was Snape's short reply.

[Come on,] Draco said, coming over to take Harry's hand, [you need to rest.]

[Not as much as Snape,] Harry replied.

[Yes, well we discussed how one-upmanship helps neither of you,] Draco said. [Now...]

He turned when he heard Snape make a sound of pain and saw the man grip his arm hard.

"Potter!" Snape said, coming out of his seat in an explosion of movement. "How dare you!"

Harry shied away and Draco could feel the fury coming off Snape, so Merlin knew what Harry was experiencing.

"What..?" was as far as Harry got.

"Imbecilic boy," Snape railed. "Control yourself or I will withdraw my permission for you to come anywhere near me."

The shock rocketing through Harry almost had Draco as well, but he shook it off. He put himself between Snape and Harry.

"It wasn't Harry, Professor," he said very firmly and very calmly.

His instincts told him to scream at Snape, but, luckily for everyone, his more logical side had overruled that. Reacting to Snape's fury with his own would only make the situation worse.

Where Snape would have dismissed Harry, Draco was and always had been a Slytherin, and Snape never dismissed his own students.

"Mr Malfoy," Snape said in a warning tone.

"It was not Harry," Draco reiterated, "on my honour."

Snape pulled himself up to his full height and then looked down at his arm.

"Please inform the headmaster I have been summoned," Snape said, recomposing himself.

"Yes, Sir," Draco said and ushered Harry out of the room.

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