He had hoped that when he saw her today his feelings would have changed. As he surreptitiously observed her now, he knew it had been a vain hope, doomed from the start. It was obvious in this moment, as emotion swelled in his chest, that his insistence on their past year's separation, his insistence on distancing himself, had come to little more than a year's worth of self abuse. But it had been a cruelty to her too. He could see the mark of suffering on her. She was a little too thin, a little too pale. He could not see her face well, for she was gazing anxiously toward the east end of King's Cross, the direction he had always come from, but he had seen the pictures of her collapse, during last night's concert, in this morning's papers. In them her face had looked stricken, haunted.
He had realized his selfishness then. For the past year he had thought of little else but her, but in a self centered manner. His guilt for trespassing. His duty to her, her family, and most of all his dead sister; Morwen's mother. His unworthiness. His agonies of love. His need. Until recently the concept of her suffering had seemed unreal to him, a spoiled darling's tantrum. He had not hoped she missed him, in the way he missed her, still it seemed she had, ludicrous as that sounded to him.
He knew she should approach her, say something, and he would, soon. Just now however he needed to hang back. It had been a hard year without her, and it struck him now how pointless their separation had been; an exercise in self abuse. Watching her now he knew he loved her as much if not more than he had when he sent her away, "for her own good,' last spring. The pain of the past year swelled up in his chest, and bound his throat tightly. If he went to her now he would loose control. He would fall at her feet and beg her to love him too. He would weep, he who had never shown weakness with her before, and she would despise him. Or maybe she wouldn't, but he feared it just the same.
He swallowed hard a few times; cleared his throat and pulled at his cravat. He remembered the first time he had seen her, it had been in this very station. She had been five, or six. He had known her immediately though she had become separated from her family in the crowd. On seeing her something in his chest he had thought long since dead had stirred. She had been such a tiny adult, showing no sign of fear at being alone in a strange and muggle crowded train station. She had walked right up to him and held out her hand, just as an adult might, to introduce herself. Before she could speak he had lifted her up in his arms, kissed her sweet cheeks, and hugged her snugly. She had gasped and pulled back from him, a look of shock on her face. Thinking she did not recognize him after all he had said, "It is I, your Uncle Lucias."
"I know who you are," she had said, and then thrown her arms around his neck and sobbed. At a loss he had patted her back and rocked her. A minute later one of the twins, her older sisters, had bobbed out of the crowd, run up to the pair, and pinched Morwen sharply.
"You can't be too nice to her," she had sagely advised him, "it only makes her cry. Woa!"
He had aimed a smart blow at her sassy bottom with his walking stick, which she had only just avoided.
"Don't ever let me see you pinch your sister again," he had scolded, and Morwen, who had stopped crying as soon as she felt her sister's pinch, began to weep again at his words.
"It's your collar," the twin had sassed, making sure to stay beyond reach.
Years later Morwen had told him, laughing, as though such trivialities had no lasting effect on her, that she could never recall having been hugged or kissed before that day. All of her life, from that day to a very similar day last spring, she had had no one in her life really, except him. Last spring he had sent her away, and she had had no one.
It was typical of her to never tell him how much that moment had meant to her. It was typical of their friendship that they never trespassed upon each other's emotions. They were close, closer than most people ever are to another, but there was a forbidden area, especially on her part. He had always thought it was her grief about her mother's death, a grief he shared, though as a brother, not a child; but now he knew there was more to it. There seemed to be an entire continent of secrets hidden in her silence, and he was determined to have them out. She would agree, or he would compel her to. He was determined to know, and would not be gain-stayed again.