“Potter, what is that?” Draco asks with urgency, his chest constricting in pain as he catches a glimpse of something dark coiling up Harry’s forearm.
Harry shoves his sleeve down and jumps up to meet Draco, his wand clattering to the floor. “Nothing. How did you find – “
“I don’t – “
“Show me. Now.” Draco demands. He can’t believe this is happening. As if it isn’t horrible enough seeing it on his own arm every day.
Harry pulls up his sleeve slowly to reveal it – The Dark Mark – etched into his flesh. Draco holds back a gag.
“It’s not what you think,” Harry says.
Draco’s eyes dart between the mark and Harry’s face. “It’s – how did – why?”
“I wanted to practice removing it,” Harry says slowly, his meaning clear. It only makes Draco angrier.
“So you gave yourself a Dark Mark? You reckless idiot. What if you can’t remove it? Did you even think about that before you – “ Draco stops himself. Of course he didn’t. He’s Harry fucking Potter. Draco sighs and tries to calm himself. He’s not responsible for Harry’s idiotic antics. “How did you even manage to replicate it?” He asks, his voice measured.
Harry smiles weakly. “Well, a fragment of Voldemort’s soul was inside me for most of my life and his magic left a pretty big trace. I just… accessed it.”
Once again Draco holds back a gag. The thought of Voldemort’s magic, so dark, so cruel, inside of Harry Potter, the Gryffindor Saint, is too much. It’s horrifying.
Draco takes a breath and asks Harry the question he already knows the answer to: “Why do you need to know how to remove a Dark Mark?” He needs to hear the idiot say it.
Sure enough: “So I can remove yours.”
Draco grits his teeth. He’s furious that Harry has put himself in danger for him. Again. “You don’t owe me anything, Potter.”
“I know,” Harry says. But he doesn’t.
“You can’t just go around saving people all the time!” Draco’s raised voice echoes throughout the room.
“Not everyone wants to be saved,” Draco points out. He doesn’t want Harry risking anything for him. How could he ask that of anyone, after all that he’s done?
“You don’t want the mark removed?” Harry questions, his eyes falling down to Draco’s left arm.
Draco’s mark is covered but he tugs on his sleeve regardless. “It reminds me of who I am.”
Harry frowns. “That’s exactly why you need it removed. That’s not who you are, Draco.”
Draco blanches, surprised at the use of his first name and Harry quickly corrects himself. “I mean Malfoy.”
Draco lets his eyes fall back down to Harry’s mark, taking in the harsh lines of the coiling snake and skull, and the red raw skin beneath. He shudders. “Looks like you haven’t had much success anyway,” he says as casually as he can manage. But inside, his heart is tight. Because now Harry will have to live with the Dark Mark the rest of his life. Just like Draco, he’ll be forced to carry the weight of the inescapable dark magic within his skin, forced to feel it crawling through his veins, through his every spell, with no relief and no hope of salvation.
“I’m getting close. Before you came in, I could feel it moving.” Harry retrieves his wand from the floor and points it at his Dark Mark, eyebrows tightening in concentration.
“Go on, then. No other Wizard has been able to do it, but I’m sure even a Dark Mark will be no match for the great Harry Pot – oh.” Draco’s knees buckle. “Oh.”
Against all logic, Harry removes the Dark Mark as if it is nothing more than a muggle tattoo. The head of the snake recoils into a rapidly shrinking skull until all that is left is smooth, untainted skin.
Malfoy yanks up his sleeve and holds out his arm to Harry. Despite all his protesting, he wants to be saved. More than anything.
Harry’s hand wraps under Draco’s arm holding it in place and he raises his wand. Draco screws up his eyes in anticipation - he cannot bear to witness the removal in case it doesn’t work properly. What if his Dark Mark is worse than Harry’s, having come from Voldemort himself? What if – Oh.
Draco doesn’t need to see it happen because he feels it. He feels the darkness extracted from his body, feels strength returning to his limbs. And he feels light. Lighter than he can ever remember. As if he might just float away. He opens his eyes and stares down at his clear, unmarked skin.
There’s a sense of twisted deja vu when Draco looks up from his arm. He remembers looking up into Voldemort’s eyes after he was given the mark, and feeling colder than he’s ever felt before. But now when he looks up into his saviour’s eyes, into Harry Potter eyes, it’s warmth he feels, from the smooth skin on his forearm to the centre of his heart.
He blinks back his tears. “Thank you.” They’re the same words he was forced to say to Voldemort but their meaning couldn’t be any more different this time. Voldemort had stolen his life, and Harry Potter had just restored it.