A.N. This is something that has been on my laptop for a while that I was planning to put in a chaptered story I'm writing but haven't been able to fit it in anywhere. Thanks for reading anyway :)

Oh, I own none of the characters sadly; I just like to play with them!

There are no mirrors in his bed chamber at Hogwarts. He had long since stopped looking at his reflection when he could find nothing familiar in it. With every part of himself locked away so tight, none can rise to the surface anymore. Spying, being a double agent, a triple agent, it had become vital that he was completely unreadable. So important that he had forgotten how to relax when he was alone.

Except for this night. This one night, year in, year out. Tonight his guards will crumble. Tonight he will feel again, though first he must play his part. Act as both teacher and colleague. One who some fear and some admire, though he is aware few could claim to like. He attends the feast. It takes too long. It always does on this night. Unconsciously his eyes find her child at the Gryffindor table. He is laughing with his friends. Does he not yet know that today is the anniversary of his parents' death? That this time ten years ago, his life was being irreparably changed? That one of the brightest flames was being doused leaving the world so much colder by comparison. Surely he had not to know or else he could not sit there eating as though without a care in the world.

His gaze lingers a while longer. It is not solely the fact that he looks so much like his father that has prevented him from warming to the boy. Nor even that behind those unsightly glasses her stunning eyes stare up at him.

It was because Harry could have been his. Should have been his. He should have been his son; grown in his image but with those beautiful eyes. And having to see him every day just reinforces how much he has lost. What could have been his had he not been too afraid to simultaneously embrace it and walk away from his house mates. That daily reminder pains him in ways no curse or poison ever could. This was the real reason why he could not stand to even look upon the boy. Harry Potter. The Boy- Who- Lived, to most. A stark reminder to him though, of just how much of himself has died.

He is brought out of his thoughts by the scraping of benches. The feast is over. He can retire for the night, and Merlin protect anyone who should interrupt his isolation. He shakes off the Headmasters invitation for drinks. The old fool knows what this night means to him so he forces himself to ignore the pity he is sure he sees flit across that lined face. Students seem to try and melt into the walls as he stalks through the corridors. When he finally reaches his dungeons he adds a silencing charm on the locked door.

And then it begins. As it has for the past ten years. It crashes over him. A sweeping avalanche of emotions unacknowledged in the year passed. The intensity of the anguish in his heart steals all air from his lungs. Wave after wave collides into the barriers he has re-erected over the last twelve months. Crumbling them and washing them away until there is nothing left to protect him from the raw agony that is engulfing his tarnished soul.

Dark red hair and a green eyed smile float in with the flood forcing his knees to kiss cold stone floor. A smile that used to captivate him now forces the first of many cries to escape his lips until he is lying face down, yet even the harsh surface scraping his face does nothing to ground him from the landslide in his head. Memory after memory race and trip over each other, relishing in the fact that they are free from their prisons. Free to make him remember them. Happy mixed with sad propel themselves to the front of his mind making him cry out. He pulls at his hair in a futile effort to extract each recollection from his dizzying mind. The happier ones dissolve until his brain is reeling with flash by flash glimpses at things he wishes he could forget. Or better, undo. Tears in those startling green eyes. Tears that he had caused. The shout of that unforgivable word seems to vibrate off his very skull. Repeating. Repeating. With the frozen image of shocked face and wounded eyes. And then worse, when they look at him but show no emotion at all.

A wave of nausea rips through him and conscious of what is coming, he knows he should move to the bathroom.

With no energy to even lift his head, his mind forces one last image. It lingers the longest even though it is the one he created himself when he found out what he had caused. She lies broken on the floor, her mouth drawn back in terror; eyes staring at him without seeing. And as the picture seems to burn into the back of eyes his body protests in the only way it can. He vomits lying down and, making no attempt to move, just lays there trying to breathe.

He mumbles incoherent words of apology and regret while swearing love and repeated promises, to spend another year trying to atone. At the same time wishing the last time they'd met those eyes could have held a smile for him.

Time passes unnoticed until he eventually musters enough strength to crawl to his bed leaving the mess for the house-elves whose aid he normally refuses. He lies down panting but feels the waves ebbing as his mind is already resealing itself.

The Dreamless Sleep Potion he had automatically placed on his bedside table this morning is swallowed if there is to be any chance of him hiding his loss of control from both co-workers and students. Especially his last class where he knows those same emerald eyes wait; glaring in a way so reminiscent of the last look thrown his way by their mirror pair.