Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
Author's Note: I wrote this back in August, shortly after finishing Deathly Hallows, but I put it aside for awhile because it never felt quite finished. This afternoon, I pulled it out again, made a few adjustments, and now I'm posting it. Spoilers abound, of course, but I assume most people around here have had a chance to read the book by now… (—grin—)
King's Cross Again
A gentle breeze from the darkness;
A light winks out at us from around the bend,
Reflecting on rough concrete stained with grease
And metal rivets outlining glass and brick and mortar.
He flashes me a grin, which I reflect like a mirror,
And rocks back on his heels, hands in his pockets.
Cavalier, unconcerned—that's my brother.
Wheels clack against rusted metal,
Brakes whining in protest as the train sails by us,
Stirring our hair in its slipstream,
Gradually slowing to a stop.
He moves forward before the doors have even opened,
Anticipating their welcome,
slipping between them without hesitation—
but I pause at the threshold.
I can't follow.
He glances back, his smile glinting with mischief,
But also with understanding—
he has known all along.
The doors slide shut,
Leaving only half his face in the window
Beneath my reflection,
Every line identical—but my smile is gone.
Invisible smoke made solid tugs at my heart,
And I reach for the doors—but his visage slips sideways,
Wheels grinding away with frightening swiftness.
The tie pulls painfully taught—and silently snaps, falling slack.
His face begins to disappear behind the glare
Of sunlight on the glass,
But he lifts a hand to me in salute
And tugs his ear with a wry grin.
I watch him long after he is out of sight,
Long after the sunlight has overwhelmed my senses.
The air beside me seems unbearably still,
For hours I stand there, days, weeks, years,
Waiting in vain for his return.
I doze slumped on the bench beside the track,
Only to wake imagining the distant breeze on my face again.
Sometimes his voice speaks in my mind—
My voice, almost—
Finishing sentences after I've grown bored of them,
Starting ones I would never have thought of.
Then one day I step up to the empty, silent track,
And glance back into the darkness of the concrete and grime,
Thinking of the train that will come, must come, one day.
But not today.
Finally I turn away, leaving my shadow
To wait faithfully on that platform in my stead.
One day I will return here, and I will return without regret—
But for now I…
A/N: There's a reason why poetry isn't my primary medium (—grin—). But when the thought of combining the train image with Fred's death and George's resulting grief came to mind, I decided to take a stab at it. After I wrote the first version of this poem I actually ended up taking out a few stanzas (everything from "For hours" through "But not today") because I thought it dragged and I wanted to stay closer to the train image—but after I came back to it I realized that without those stanzas it was a really depressing poem. It made it sound like he watched his brother being taken from him and then just had to go on with his life, without any sense that the pain would eventually ease and that he'd be able to really live again. But this way, as I see it, he lingers in the station for awhile, dealing with his grief, and then he finally finds a way to let go and move on—not forget, but at least to rejoin the world and live his life while he's still got it.
The very end was a bitch, though. I tried about ten million different versions of the last couple of lines before I settled on that one. I'm still not sure it's quite right, but it was the best one I could find (—grin—). Anyway, I'll stop criticizing now…