What did Snape mean by 'Always' when speaking to Dumbledor in 'Harry Potter and the Deathy Hallows'?

When Dumbldore tells Snape to give Harry the sword of Gryffindor, he tells Snape to make sure he is not seen doing this, so Snape uses his Patrollum, a silver doe, to guide Harry to the sword in the frozen lake. Exchange: "What I'm saying is I have lied for you, I have spied for you, I have put my self in mortal danger to protect the boy! And now you tell me you've been raising him like a pig for slaughter -" Said Snape. "Have you come to care for the boy after all?" said Dumbledore. "Expecto Patronum!" Said Snape waving his wand in the air and a silver doe leaped around the room then out the window. "All this time?" said Dumbledore looking at Snape. Snape had tears in his eyes. "Always." said Snape. --- What he meant by 'Always'...What did he always do? Was he always watching over him or something? What does this mean?

Snape meant he always cared for Harry

Snape 'always' loved Lily Potter - his statement has nothing to do with Harry himself

There are many moments in the Harry Potter books where Snape expresses resentment towards Harry as a character due to his physical similarity to his father. Dumbledore asking 'after all this time?' is a result of his surprise that Snape's patronus is still a doe - indicating that Snape still loves Lily. His response of 'always' therefore shows that his love for Lily is eternal, not that he has been hiding his love for Harry.
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