Mark of Honor
By Classic Snarry
Summary: Harry becomes marked as part of his successful plans to defeat Voldemort. When Lucius Malfoy decides to regroup the Death Eaters, Harry is called and decides to infiltrate in disguise. He didn't plan on meeting Severus Snape, who he hadn't seen since graduation, nor did he plan on starting to like the bastard. If only the Potions Master didn't think he was a traitorous Death Eater...
Hermione Granger looked up from the dusty pages of the open book in front of her and released a resigned sigh.
"Yes, I suppose all available information does support this theory," Hermione began, "But as to the extent of the Dark Lord's vulnerability or the victim's increased power..."
Harry Potter met his friend's eyes with determination. "Voldemort never marks more than a single Death Eater in a seven day period, more than likely, because it's so draining on his power."
"If he became so weakened and the person being marked made so powerful, why would no one have opposed him before? He has marked hundreds."
"And what willing Death Eater would want to cause Voldemort harm?"
Harry was adamant that this newest piece of intelligence could be Lord Voldemort's downfall, and more than anything he wanted this fight to be over. Despite the fact that he was now in his seventh year, Dumbledore and the Order told him very little and continued to keep him out of the majority of order meetings. Luckily, with the assistance of his invisibility cloak, he had been attending the Order meetings in secret. According to the research presented at the last meeting, Lord Voldemort is at his most vulnerable when he is branding the Dark Mark. He must invest a lot of his own power to create the bond and is therefore susceptible to attacks. Furthermore, the one being marked is temporarily imbued with a significant amount of this power. This shift in the balance of power could make an attack on Voldemort by the initiate fatal even if perpetrated by a wizard of average or possibly below average magical potential.
The curtains around them suddenly whipped open and in popped the cheerful face of Ron Weasley.
"Oi! If I were a different sort of man I might have to have words with you, Potter, in bed with my girl," he declared cheekily. Ron bounced onto the bed himself behind Hermione, tossing parchments and books every which way, as he leaned in to kiss Hermione on the cheek. Hermione swatted him in exasperation as she moved to collect the jumbled papers. "It's Hogsmeade Weekend," Ron continued, "I refuse to let you two spend another one plotting over piles of moldy books."
"Jealous that I spend more time with Hermione than you do, Weasley?" Harry joked.
Ron moved to grab a scroll to toss at Harry's head, only to receive a glare from Hermione who was still organizing the mess Ron had already made.
"If you let me clean this up instead of barging about like a wild bludger, we could leave all the sooner," Hermione chastised.
Harry smiled fondly as his watched his best friends bicker. He would hate to see how the war would change them all if it continued on into their adulthood. Although he resented it, he had to admit that at least for the mean time, their exclusion from an active fight against Voldemort was allowing them to maintain their innocence. But by keeping him out, they were just delaying the inevitable. The sooner he faced Voldemort. The sooner this would all be over.
Harry sat on a bench outside of Honeydukes, allowing Hermione and Ron some private time as they plied each other with chocolates. He didn't mind occupying himself by people watching, especially when he had a few chocolate frogs to keep him company. Opening his first frog, it jumped to the ground before Harry could catch it and it seemingly mockingly hopped towards the the doors to Honeydukes. It darted between shuffling feet, only to be finally crushed under a familiar black lacquer cane. Looking up Harry saw a head of long blond hair disappear into the store. Lucius Malfoy.
Harry stood and tried to calmly follow, but before he entered the store he heard a scream from within. He ran now. Entering the store he saw no trace of Ron, Hermione, or Lucius Malfoy. He turned to Mrs. Flume, the shopkeeper, who stood staring at an empty space, eyes wide and hands covering the mouth from which the scream had presumably come.
"They just disappeared," she said softly, her voice muffled by the fingers still covering her face.
Harry turned back to the empty space she remained staring at, finding it not quite as empty as it first appeared, as he noticed a scrap of parchment laying on the floor. Bending to make out the scripted words, he read 'You are cordially invited...'. Impulsively he picked up the parchment and was less than surprised when he felt a familiar pull emanating from his navel before he hit a cold stone floor, face first.
"Ah, Mr. Potter, so kind of you to accept my invitation on such short notice," Voldemort hissed.
Harry instantly prepared a smart aleck's reply, but held it in. Looking up into the familiar red eyes that, despite Occlumency, haunted him nightly, he decided that this was his opportunity. Getting marked couldn't be so terrible, after all. Since his plan was to kill Voldemort nearly immediately, it would be as if he was never really a Death Eater, he rationalized. He occluded his mind as best he could and began his act.
"Where are Ron and Hermione?" he asked, purposely combining a sense of resolve and fear. Much to his dismay, the fear wasn't completely put on.
"Unlike you, Mr. Potter, they did not require the attention associated with arriving fashionably late," a masked Death Eater drawled from beside Voldemort.
"Who-- Professor? Is that you? You're a Death Eater?!" Harry exclaimed, feigning ignorance.
Severus, in turn, took off his mask, revealing an impassive face. Feeling suddenly inspired, Harry threw himself at his professor's feet, pathetically clutching the ends of his robe.
"Please, Professor! Where are Ron and Hermione?"
Any reply he may have made was cut off by Voldemort's cackling laughter. "Well done, Severus," Voldemort purred, "It appears that the rumors of the boy's mistrust of you were naught but jealous heresy."
"I do my utmost to fulfill your command, my Lord," Snape replied, simultaneously running his fingers through Harry's hair with mocking tenderness. Harry repressed a shudder and clutched more tightly to Snape.
"I am most pleased, my servant. You shall be granted the honor of being the first to enjoy the children. Where would you like to begin? The mudblood, the blood traitor, or the boy savior?" Voldemort asked with a sardonic snort. As if on cue, Ron and Hermione were dragged in, bound and gagged, by several additional Death Eaters.
While Snape, as if weighing his options, looked between the three thoughtfully, Harry stared eyes wide at his friends before prostrating himself before Voldemort's throne. Behind him, he heard Hermione's muffled gasp of terror at his move.
"Please, I'll do anything. Just, please, don't hurt them," Harry pleaded pathetically.
"Anything? What an intriguing proposition. It may indeed behoove me to have the great Harry Potter at my beck and call. Severus, do remove those children to their cells and guard over them until I send for you. And you," he paused looking to Harry, "Come with me."
Harry followed dutifully behind Voldemort, his head sagging strategically, until he found himself alone with the crazed man in a smaller room occupied mainly by a large stone altar adorned with intricately carved snakes.
"Please, I'll do whatever you want," Harry reiterated, "Please, just don't hurt them. They're all I have."
Voldemort paused and looked at him scornfully.
"Yes, well, you say that now, as so many hostages do, but how do I know that you won't go back on your word?"
"Please... sir," Harry added, begging as he strengthened his Occlumency shields.
"Well, I suppose there is one obvious method to securing your loyalty. And if I ever bore of you, I can simply kill you through it later. Imperio," Voldemort commanded.
Harry fought the spell instantaneously, being careful not to allow his resistance to show on his face. Harry carefully schooled his features into the expected blank, emotionless stare.
"Give me your wand," Voldemort demanded.
"Remove your clothes."
Harry methodically began to remove his clothes. He wasn't sure if this was part of every marking ritual, or if Voldemort was simply reassuring himself that he was well and truly under his spell. Harry was almost certain, however, that Voldemort intended to mark him. Despite the fact that he would be both without a wand and naked, he was proficient enough with wandless magic to save himself if things turned sour.
"Get onto the altar," the Dark Lord requested, his eyes roaming uncomfortably down Harry's now naked form.
Once reclined on the cold stone altar, Voldemort grasped Harry's left forearm, and began speaking to it in Parseltounge, requiring it to accept his magic. Harry quickly lost the ability to listen to Voldemort's words, as burning pain pierced his skin. Harry stared horrified at his arm as he watched the dark mark form. He began to scream, suddenly horribly sure that this was a very bad idea. He looked up to Voldemort, who was still bent over his arm, and watched the perspiration drip from his forehead onto his own naked skin. Harry fought down the pain and cleared his mind. He searched for the power Voldemort had inadvertently given him and forcefully he commanded, "Avada Kedavra."
A burst of green light radiated from his body, engulfing Voldemort, and knocking them both to opposite walls of the room, both crashing with a sickening thud against the stone. Momentarily, Harry rose; Voldemort did not. Painfully, Harry limped over to the Dark Lord's fallen body and reclaimed his wand. He stared blankly at the corpse for a moment, before casting a series of additional spells. In turn, Voldemort's body first combusted into violent flames, leaving a pile of black soot, which then disappeared due to inter-dimensional banishment.
A chill ran over his skin, and Harry realized that he was naked. He quickly gathered his clothes and began to dress. Thinking quickly, he transfigured a stone into the form of his own dead body, bloody slashes criss-crossing his naked skin. Then he crafted a glamor to give him the guise of Lord Voldemort. Hoisting the body into his arms, he stepped out of the room.
The gathered Death Eaters, watched carefully as he brought out the body, which he threw from the dais into the circle below.
"Their boy savior is no more," Harry bellowed, "We have won. Be gone from here so that I may plan our next attack."
The Death Eaters, despite their obvious interest and enthusiasm surrounding the body that had been thrown before them, knew better than to oppose the word of their master. They filed out quickly, leaving him alone to find his professor and friends.
He strode down the only hallway off of the main room and followed the stone corridor until he found Professor Snape sitting beside an iron door, his mask on his lap. Snape stood up abruptly and looked up at him with what may have been a slightly panicked expression, although the emotion seemed to disappear before Harry could interpret it.
"My Lord," Severus intoned, bowing slightly before him.
Harry smiled unconsciously with relief, an expression that must have been appalling on Tom Riddle's face, if Snape's reaction was any indication. The Professor must be stressed, Harry thought, to be showing so much emotion in front of who he thought to be Lord Voldemort.
Harry quickly dropped the glamor, and found himself once more looked up into the face of the stunned potions master.
"Master," Snape began uncertainly.
"It's me," Harry interrupted.
"Sir?" Snape questioned, unwilling to make a fool of himself should this be a trick.
"Would you like me to give an account of what exactly I saw in your pensive as proof of my me-ness?" Harry asked cheekily.
Snape, rather that glaring and insulting, as Harry would have expected, simply stared at him.
"Well, the door?" Harry asked. Snape, with some uncertainty, turned and opened the locked door behind him, revealing still-bound Hermione and Ron. Harry pushed past Snape and quickly released Ron and Hermione. The three embraced quickly. When they stepped back, Hermione smacked Harry in the shoulder.
"You scared me!" she shouted at her friend.
"I guess there was a reason the Sorting Hat wanted to place me in Slytherin," Harry replied with a sly grin.
The trio embraced once more, before turning back to their still silent Professor. Snape was slumped on a cot attached to the wall, staring at his now bared forearm, which, upon closer inspection, was clear of any sign of the Dark Mark.
"I didn't feel a thing," Snape whispered, eyes unfocused, "Dear Merlin, am I finally free?"
Harry glance down at his own arm, which he too found to be unmarked. Harry sagged in relief before looking up to see if anyone had noticed his actions. Both Ron and Hermione appeared to still be watching Snape, and Snape was still looking at his own arm.
"He's dead?" Ron asked, speaking finally to break the silence.
"Yep," Harry replied succinctly.
"Good," the redhead returned.
Snape cleared his throat and stood. Rolling his sleeve back down, and smoothing his robes.
"Fifty points to Gryffindor, Mr. Potter."
The remainder of their seventh year passed quickly, the weight of the war now lifted of their shoulders. Many asked Harry how he had defeated Voldemort, but he was intentionally vague. The Ministry, of course, demanded to review the spells on his wand, finding only that Harry had apparently lit the dark lord on fire and then banished him to a demon plane without atmosphere, making the Dark Lord's continued existence surely impossible. If anyone doubted his demise, the lack of the Dark Mark on Hogwart's Potions Master's arm, was enough to convince the skeptics. Harry told no one that he had been marked, however briefly.