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In the decade that I’ve known Harry Dresden there have only been a handful of times that the man has truly surprised me. I know the nature of the man; I’ve seen his soul. And I’ve kept an eye on his activities over the years. I hadn’t even been surprised when he’d returned after a year of being missing and presumed dead. I had been please, of course, but not surprised.

I’d thought I had ceased being surprised by him at all… until he proposed a change in our relationship to an alliance. I was further taken aback when that relationship deepened to a more intimate one and all at his behest.

And in the year that followed I had thought I’d learned every secret he’d kept hidden.

Until this moment when he’d revealed his gift with the guitar.

Harry’s head was bent over the guitar and his eyes were closed in concentration. He fingered the strings with care and only a little hesitancy. But for all the small flaws, the emotion that poured out with the chords took my breath away.

It was a song of sheer, unfettered joy.

I sat by his side on the couch. He stopped playing, opening his eyes to look at me.

“No,” I said gently. “Don‘t stop.”

He nodded, and continued playing.

This time I was the one to close my eyes.