He sees the world in black and white, and I, I live in the gray.

His simple outlook on life renders him seemingly idiotic—or perhaps truly idiotic, just like now—barging into my house covered in that damned cloak of his, under the impression that he had somehow managed to breach my wards and catch me unaware. Insufferable brat. No one enters my house without my permission. No one, with the exception of the Dark Lord.

As soon as the front door swings open, I swallow the potion I've been carrying around with me, always at hand for such an occasion. His invisible form comes into view. He looks thinner, there are black circles around his eyes that even his glasses cannot hide. The past months have doubtless forced him to live in harsh conditions. He's not yet ready. He should have chosen to remain at Hogwarts for his seventh year.

The stupid boy doesn't think to check for hiding enemies behind the sealed door that leads to my personal room. He must really think that the magical sheen of fabric can hide his presence from the world. Little does he know, his former professor already has his every move figured out and is currently spying on him in said room, through walls that work like Muggle one-way mirrors.

He spots Albus' pensieve on the table and flinches. A dark cloud descend upon his face, and—oh, you reckless, impulsive child!—he plunges his face into the swirling surface.

Within minutes, his body starts to tremble, his knees visibly going weak. I know what he's seeing, these memories are meant for his eyes, after all. He's seeing Albus stumbling through the doors of Hogwarts, half-dead with a withered hand, only to have me pronounce that he would not live past the year. He's seeing my vow with Narcissa. He's witnessing my private conversation with Draco after that disaster when he cast my invented curse without knowing its effects. I wonder if his face beneath the silver swirl is blushing. I remember that day well; it was one of the only times when he looked genuinely contrite for his crimes.

Then, his body goes completely still. Ah, the final memory. This is when he finds out about The Plan. This is when the complex moralities of life are finally exposed to him, full-force. He's seeing choices, life, death, strategy, compromise, sacrifice. For the first time, he's seeing gray.

The pensieve ejects him forcefully onto the floor. His glasses are askew and his breathing hard. But there are no tears in his eyes. He's too shocked for tears. Hit with the ugliness of reality, he's too shaken to even try to suppress his hyperventilation.

I open the door and emerge from my hiding place. He lets his cloak fall around him. He looks up, eyes wide with panic, but no longer with the hatred with which he once beheld me.

Wordlessly, I gather him into my arms. He leans into my touch. Minutes pass. He's finally crying.

I do not mock or hush him. There's no need for either. As he weeps, I see the boy before me transform into a soldier of the war. From this point on, he will live only in the gray.

And I will be there to guide him.