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The pain in his arm wouldn't ease off. He knew it would soon since the meeting was over, but the knowledge didn't make it any easier. It never did.

This is nothing compared to Remus' pain. He reminded himself, finally knowing that pain after observing it and ... almost feeling it, watching Remus writhe and scream with it that night and the morning after.

But this was his pain, and pain was a subjective matter. In this case even more so, as it symbolised more than a simple physical discomfort. And this was not something he could share with anybody else. It was not a visible transformation or disfiguration that would lend understanding to others, a way for others to visualise what it might be like.

This was just black lines on pale skin, almost seeming innocuous to those who didn't know the deeper implications of the symbol or the magic bound within it. The life bound within it. And death...

With a soft disgusted snort he rose from his chair and moved into the lab. Working would take his mind off the deep feeling of loneliness that suddenly befell him. That always came to him when the mark burned and cut into him, pointing out just how alone he was, standing in the middle between two fronts.

Remus would understand. But Remus didn't need to see him in this state. Nobody did.

"Pity is for the weak, Severus. You are not weak." he berated himself as he looked at the list of potions Madam Pomfrey needed. He had no time for such foolishness. The pain would fade

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Severus from Theatrical Muse

July 2006

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