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He remembers the first time he heard her voice. He can still remember telling her how soothing it was, how much it calmed him. It still does, even though they’re strangers. She’s silent, but her words are still very much alive in him. She is his home, even though the door is locked and the lights are off.

It’s not a choice as much as it is a beautiful nagging that’s nearly impossible to ignore. But he’s locked out, left to wander, and he found himself there. He knew he was the one that left, and she had to lock the Iron Gate as tightly as she could. He was left out in the darkness, just him and his haunted shadows, the ones that led him away in the first place. She left him outside to face them, his support wasn't around any more.

She is his home because she is the place he chooses to return to over and over again. The place that means the most, regardless of the pain. She is his home because she has made her who he is, whether she knew it or not. She is my home because she showed me the best kind of love there is.

She showed him real, genuine, love-you-so-much-it-hurts-and-changes-me-at-my-core love. It was a blissful combination of finally feeling alive mixed with the most painfully difficult challenge he never thought he’d have to deal with. He didn't know he could ever feel so strongly and that he’d end up there.

And yet, he still believes, that although that love may have been all of those challenging things, it was still unconditional, undeniable, and above all, beautiful. Miraculous. And that’s what keeps him at her door.

He has found that, at the end of the day, what’s hurt him the most has been thinking that he wasn't loved by the people he found himself inextricably bound to. In some cases, it was a biological attachment. But in her case, it was something that goes beyond that.

It’s as though the longing for acceptance from the people we are most devoted to, body or soul, is the most painful thing when not reciprocated, and yet, we care so much it can haunt us for our whole lives, if we let it. He wanted to let her know that the shadows in his life have been replaced. She exorcised them and her memory resides instead.

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