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Chapter 14

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In the empty, aching stillness of my room, I would dream of a pair of green eyes looking at me with love. It was my saddest dream, as I knew that it would never become a reality.

But that day, it did become real.

It was not as I'd imagined it to be, but it was in many ways more beautiful.

Is the love of a child inferior to the love of a woman? Far from it. Harry's love was different from what Lily's might have been, had I ever known it. His green eyes penetrated farther than hers, and found something good in someone she'd found to be repulsive.

Harry was as tall as I was, by then. But to me he was still a child. The child that I brought up in my imagination, because I had no family of my own. The child I was never allowed to adopt in reality. The child I loved in secret when I actually met him, for fear that my love would seem repulsive to those penetrating green eyes.

I'd never thought that Harry's green eyes would see beyond the hooked nose, and the greasy hair. But they had. And they'd also been undistracted by the glares, the sneers and the insults - all the red herrings that I had carefully placed in their way. All of which were meant to distract him from the truth. The uncomfortable truth that I'd always tried hide from Harry, and even from myself - the fact that I loved him. I always had, and always would.

Yes, I'd tried for years to hide this truth from Harry. And being an accomplished occlumens, I did succeed for a while. But that day, I could see that I'd failed. His green eyes looked deep into my black ones and they smiled. "You can't fool me any more," they seemed to say. "I know now that you love me." And I had to admit that I was glad I'd failed.

My eyes smiled back into his, as the sun caught the shining leaves of the tree outside the window. "You cheeky boy," I said wordlessly to him, "to dare to look beyond what I allowed you to see, and explore my deepest secrets…" Should I have deducted fifty points from Gryffindor for his cheek? Or punished him with a detention?

I did not.

I enfolded him in my arms and held him close to me. After years and years of searching for him - and still more years of hiding from him - I had found my lost boy.

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