Disclaimer: They don't belong to me...well, anyone you don't recognize problably does...Like Nick, Mel and Nirvera. Otherwise...they all belong to Phillip Pullman

AN: Like what seems to be EVERYONE ELSE...the end of the Amber Spyglass drove me absolutely mad. So I started writing this. reviews are appreciated, but I'm mostly posting this for myself. Reviews MAY make me write faster...no guarantees though. *wink* Enjoy, and there IS indeed, more to come!

Will sighed. Going back to school was about the last thing he wanted to do after leaving Lyra, at least he was going to a different school now, he had a chance to start over and make some friends. He'd already made one, and he seemed pretty trustworthy, he didn't even seem to mind Will's drastic mood swings; which had become for more common.

~*~

Nick lay back against the foot of Will's bed. Will was strange, but he was a nice guy, though there were defiantly some things that just didn't seem to have a logical explanation. He never asked, but sometimes he did wonder.

"Hey Will," he said, looking up from the comic book he had been flipping through to notice Will was just staring at the ceiling. "Would you mind is I asked you something?"

"Sure." Will replied, he seemed very…distant. Almost as if he were in another world.

"What happened to your fingers?"

Will sat up. He hadn't expected THAT, in fact, he'd quite forgotten about it since, well, Lyra. "Um…that's a really long story, and I'd have to tell it all, because otherwise, none would make sense." He swallowed the lump that was growing in his throat, he still cried himself to sleep some nights, he just missed her so badly.

"Well, we haven't much else to do, have we? I'd like to hear it." Nick turned around and smiled. He was the only person Will had really let himself get close to, but he never told him about Lyra, he just didn't really talk about her to anyone.

"Alright, on one condition," Will agreed slowly, "You can NOT, for any reason, repeat what I tell you, ok?" Nick nodded; Will knew he'd be true to his word. He smiled well, I suppose the best place to start is Kirjava."

"You mean your cat?" Nick asked, confused.

Will winced. "My dæmon." He replied. "That's the part I need to explain." Just then Kirjava walked in the door. Nick's eyes widened in surprise, that couldn't be just a coincidence. "Kirjava," Will smiled at her as she jumped in his lap, "You know Nick." Nick swore he could almost see the 'dæmon' nod. "Well, he asked about my hand," Will continued, looking carefully at the place that once had two fingers attached, "and I'm going to tell him. But I could sure use some help." He grinned and looked at Nick, grinning slightly. If he had been the normal reaction, this was bound to be a bit…funny.

Kirjava turned to Nick, "What happened to his fingers is rather obvious, they were cut off, but I believe your actually question would consist of 'how' or 'why', which is far more complicated." She stated simply. "And will is right, it's a very long story. Odds are, he's not going to stop in the middle either, with the loss of his fingers."

Nick's jaw had long since dropped. "You…you…you can TALK! But- how? And…what? Why? Oh I'm so confused." He said, dropping his head into his hands.

"And that's exactly why we're about to explain everything." Will stated, grinning. No wonder Lyra had laughed when he first heard Pan speak; it was pretty funny to see something so natural be so UNATUARAL to someone else. "The main point is that there are several different 'worlds', you could say, and they're all similar and very close together in places. And there's one world where every person has a dæmon, like Kirjava. But they have an Oxford, and a Botanical Garden, and several other similarities, yet this world and that one are undeniably different. I actually discovered it on accident, or maybe fate, but I stumbled through a window into another world, and that's where I first met Lyra and Pan, I didn't know Kirjava then, she was inside me, you have a dæmon inside you too, you just didn't know it." Will smiled and stroked Kirjava's silky fur. "That's what Lyra told me when we first met." He looked down as a single tear made its way down his cheek. He looked back up, not bothering to brush it away. "There is, or was that is, a knife that cut these windows between worlds. One side could cut the windows; the other could cut through and material. I lost my fingers fighting for it." He rubbed his thumb over the stumps and sighed. "I don't know how much sense that made, but that's what happened to them." He grinned. "And I can't just tell you that much, now you have to hear the REST of the story. Good thing it's Friday."

Nick sat dumbfounded for a moment before regaining enough of his senses to call home and ask for a major extension of his curfew.

~*~

Lyra flopped back on her bed at St. Sophia's. It had been only two years since she'd said goodbye to Will, and she still missed him terribly, and still couldn't bring her self to see another guy. No one could compare to Will, not ever. So it was no use in even trying. None of the other girls had any idea of why she was the way she was; she was a constant mystery to them. She had friends of course; she had always made them very easily. Yet, since she met Will, she'd never been as outgoing and imaginative as before. She was a very different person from the Lyra who hid in the Retiring Room at Jordan Collage so long ago.

"Oh Pan," she sighed, "I miss him so much…"

"Miss who?" a voice asked from the door. Lyra looked up to see Melanie, her closest friend at St. Sophia's. It was different to have a female friend, but nice at the same time.

Lyra smiled. "Hey Mel. I was talking about Will."

Mel tilted her head, her dæmon, a robin named Nivera, ruffled his feathers slightly. "Who's Will?"

Lyra looked up, somewhat startled, and then smiled sheepishly. She'd never really even considered telling anyone about Will, but then, maybe it wasn't such a bad idea. "Can you keep a secret? I mean, a really big secret, the sort that people aren't supposed to know about."

"Sure, though I don't see what could be so…" Mel began, but Lyra quickly cut her off.

"God is dead and the kingdom of heaven has fallen- just for starters. Also, the 'other world' theory- that was entirely correct, only, no openings exist any longer." Lyra blurted out quickly; otherwise she was afraid she'd lose her nerve, something that never would have happened before everything.

Mel blinked. "And how is that…possible? And how do you know?"

Lyra took a deep breath. Maybe this wasn't so good of a place to start. "God was an angel, one of the first; he was too old and was blown away in the wind. He'd been kept in a crystal coffin of sorts for who knows how long. Will and I, we let him out, and he was just...gone. I know because I was there, I know about the other worlds because I've been in some of them. Will is from another world, and he has to stay there, just like I have to stay here. People can't live long outside their own worlds. We're trapped."

Mel shook her head. "That's rather a lot of very…controversial information."

"I've been to the land of the dead." Lyra responded. "It was terrible."

"That's impossible, how can it be true?" Mel asked, it was just way too much to take in.

"I can prove it. I had to leave Pan behind." Lyra stated; some of her old stubbornness returning. "How far can you separate from Nivera?"

"A few feet, why?" Mel tilted her head again in confusion.

"So, for him to go as far as…oh, lets say that tree," Lyra pointed to a tree about 15 feet from the window, "would be completely impossible?" Mel's eyes widened in shock as she nodded. "And may I remind you, I'm no witch."

With that, Pan jumped through to window and scampered across the lawn. Lyra turned back to Mel. "Proof enough?" Melanie just nodded. "I told you all that because it's the hardest part to believe, so I figure, if you'll believe me on that, you can believe the rest of the story."

"Well that was one hell of a shocking test then!" Mel exclaimed, finally relaxing. "So, to the point. Who's Will?"

Lyra eyes began to water and Pan came running back. "This may take awhile."

~*~

"So they're there, and we're stuck here." Both Lyra and Will finished at the same time in their own separate worlds.

Lyra lay back down and sighed before realizing that something was missing. Something very vital was missing.

"Where's Pan?"

~*~

Pan jumped back in fright as something very large and loud came hurtling at him. "Where am I?" He wondered, "And how did I get here?" Suddenly he remembered about cars, the thing that had almost killed him. "Cars are in Will's world…in Kirjava's world. I have to find them!" He concluded, just moments after Kirjava had made the same discovery in Lyra's world.

~*~

"What happened?" Nick asked. One moment Kirjava had been there, the next she was gone, without a trace.

"I don't know, all I can tell is that somehow, she's not here. Close in some ways, but not in others. It hardly makes sense, and the only explanation I can think of is that it's like she went through a window, only, none exist." Will stated, staring at the spot where Kirjava had been only moments before. "There's something else strange too though," he said slowly, "I should feel almost torn, but I feel…more complete. It's backwards. Almost as if Lyra was here, but I know she's not, so what am I THINKING!" Will shouted after his verbal train of thought.

"Maybe it IS possible then..." Nick began, only to be cut off by a glare from Will. "Okay, I get the idea, I won't say that." He smiled. Will was completely head over heels for this Lyra, and was absolutely torn. That was about the only bit of the entire story that really made SENSE. The rest was as confusing as quantum physics. Will was in love with someone he couldn't be with, which certainly explained a lot about him, and squashed any rumors about him being homosexual. (Amazing what curious, gossiping teens can come up with!) "So, aside from that," Nick stood up and began walking around as he thought, "You said Lyra and all her people have dæmons too?" Will nodded slowly, wondering where Nick was going with this. "Could it be that they…changed places perhaps?"

"How could they do that? I told you, there aren't any openings left, the angels closed them all." Will asked, burying his face in the pillow on his bed. "I wish that could be it, but there's no way it could happen. It's completely impossible."

"Well," Nick said, shrugging his shoulders, "So is everything else you've told me in the past…several…hours."

Will grinned. There was definitely some truth to that statement.

~*~

"Where'd Pan go now?" Mel asked, confused. One moment he'd been there, the next, he wasn't. No dæmon she'd ever seen had been able to do that, and strangely enough, Lyra looked just as confused.

"I…don't know." She said, her eyes clouding in worry, before suddenly clearing. "I feel Will, I think he's in our world…somehow." She exclaimed, a spark of hope and happiness in her eyes that no one at St. Sophia's had ever seen, just before racing out the door, Mel not far behind.

~*~

"I guess you have a point. But I think I know how we can find out. It's time you saw what Mary actually DOES, besides burning food." Will smiled, Mary actually wasn't that bad of a cook, but it had been an ongoing joke since he and his mother had moved in with her 3 years earlier that no scientist could be a decent cook. Mary had been working ever since their return to recreate 'The Cave', and just a few months ago, she'd finally managed it. It was in the basement, which is where she was now, working as usual.

"Mary?" Will said softly, tapping on the doorframe of the basement. "I've got a minor…mystery that I was wondering if you could help me with."

Mary looked up and smiled. "Sure, come on down."

Nick looked around. The entire room was covered in wires and strange electrical appliances. Nothing looked like anything he'd seen before in other labs.

"Mary, you've met Nick, right?"

"In passing."

"Well then, Mary, this is Nick, Nick, this is Mary." Will grinned, "He knows."

"Someone you finally found you could trust? It's a pleasure to meet you Nick." She smiled happily; maybe Will could finally start to really live again, just maybe. "So what was this mystery?"

"Kirjava just vanished. Right after I finished telling the story, she just…disappeared." Mary's eyes went wide. "We were wondering, or at least I was, if you could ask the shadows to see what happened. The weirdest part is that while I feel empty in some ways, I feel more complete in others, almost as though Lyra was here." He added softly, looking down at his feet.

If possible, Mary's eyes went even wider. "Well, I'll see what the shadows have to say for themselves then." She lifted the cover off of an ordinary keyboard and began typing.

Nick watched as the word appeared on a larger screen mounted on a wall.

'What happened to Kirjava?'

Within moments words began to appear, but not by letters as they would if they had been typed, but as if the words them selves were merely forming.

'She has changed universes.'

'How?' Mary quickly replied.

'A very strong connection was made between the 'Dust' or 'Shadows' of two humans in different worlds. Their souls crossed the barrier.'

Will stood stock-still and stared at the screen. "Does that mean that Pan's here? Nearby?"

Mary turned back to the keyboard without saying a word.

'Where is Pantalaimon?'

'Banbury Road.'

Mary looked up, "That's where the window I came through was at…how odd."

Will was still staring at the screen in shock. "Pan…here…part of Lyra's in our world. We HAVE to get him!" He stuttered on a few of the words, but the meaning was obvious, and he meant to leave RIGHT NOW.

"Hold on Will," Mary said before he darted for the door, "I have another question to ask." She turned back to the keyboard.

'Where is Kirjava?'

'Jordan College.'

"She's safe." Will grinned, "That's where Lyra grew up, in her Oxford. Now come ON!" he whined, aching to find Pan.

"You two go, I have some more work to do here." Mary smiled and replaced the cover on the keyboard and began working with some of the wires. Even Will wasn't certain as to what she was working on.

~*~

"What do you think happened?" Mel asked in amazement. First she'd heard the most incredible story of her life, which just so happened to be true, and now there was suddenly a great mystery at her feet. He once dull life had become rather fascinating the very moment she met Lyra.

"Well, my best guess is that somehow, he's not in this world anymore." She stated simply, "Despite how utterly impossible it is." She sighed. "The one thing I really can't figure out is why does it feel like Will is suddenly much closer than he was?"

"That is a mystery." Mel stated, "Has it ever happened before?"

"Only on midsummer's Day when we meet in the Botanical Gardens. But nothing like THIS has ever happened, especially Pan's disappearance." Lyra sighed and sped up.

"So where exactly are we going?" Mel asked, she was starting to run out of breath, and by now they seemed to be halfway across Oxford. Lyra was an amazingly fast runner when she put her mind to it.

"Jordan College. I want to talk to the Master about this." She said quickly and raced on.

~*~

Mary glanced at the printout of calculations in her notebook. She'd been working ever since she'd managed to recreate the Cave to find a way to reunite Lyra and Will. Living with Will and his sorrow was almost too much to bear. For the first year she'd had the recreation of the Cave to occupy her mind, but when it was finished and working, suddenly she was very aware of how much Will still missed Lyra and how miserable it made him. And it's just not very easy to live with someone who is utterly miserable in his own skin, his own world for that matter. Consequently, one of her first questions to the Cave was how to create a passage between worlds that would not leak dust or create specters. The answer had been instant, but incredibly long, so she'd managed to hook up an old printer and make a hard copy of the instructions.

So for the past four months, Mary had been working to create the Key. According to the cave, it would unlock a door between worlds without and negative consequence, she'd asked several times, and all her work had shown that it would be perfectly safe, but difficult to use. The main difficulty was that it required a part of the wielder to be on either side of the door, a concept she hadn't fully understood until just a few hours ago. And now she was within days of her goal, and Will's birthday. What a pleasant surprise this would be!

~*~

"Wait up Will!" Nick cried, gasping for breath. They'd run nearly five miles already and were only a street away from Banbury Street. Will paused only long enough for Nick to catch up before running on.

As he approached the road, he saw a reddish blur dart between two houses. "Pan." He thought to himself before calling out. "PANTALAIMON!"

Pan raced back into the street he had finally escaped. There was Will running towards him at breakneck speed, another boy not too far behind. "Will," he whispered quietly to himself to avoid being overheard before dropping to all fours and galloping towards Will, it wasn't long before they met in the middle and Pan leapt into Will's arms, despite the taboo.

~*~

Mel and Lyra were almost at Jordan College when Lyra suddenly stopped dead in her tracks. A look of bliss came over her face as she stood there. Mel stared at her, not sure what to think.

"Umm…Lyra?" She asked quietly, not entirely willing to break her from this happiness she'd found, out of nowhere.

Lyra simply turned to her and smiled. "Pan's with Will."

"How do you know?" Mel asked, confused.

"He's holding him." Lyra answered simply. "I could never mistake that feeling."

Mel's eyes widened, Lyra wasn't definitely not like the rest of the people in their world, not in the least.

Ironically, they had stopped just outside the Botanical Gardens, under a tree. Lyra hadn't noticed, but her presence was known.

"Lyra?" A voiced asked from above.

Lyra was startled out of her trance and looked up to see a cat, not quite gray, but not blue or black either. "Kirjava? Is that you?" She asked tentatively. It couldn't be any other cat, but she was still too shocked to believe her eyes. In answer, Kirjava jumped down onto her shoulder. The contact made it perfectly clear.

"Is Will with you?" Lyra asked slowly.

"No," Kirjava responded, "but you already knew that. He's in my world, with Pan. He misses you terribly." She said sadly.

"I miss him too, but somehow your presence makes it a little easier to bear." Lyra smiled sadly and stroked Kirjava's silky fur. "Kirjava, this is Melanie. Melanie, this is Kirjava, Will's dæmon."

"You really don't care much about that taboo do you?" Mel laughed. Lyra was forced to smile in return.

"Not when it comes to Will." She stated simply.

"Melanie," Kirjava began before Mel quickly cut her off.

"Just Mel is fine, only my parents call me Melanie." She grinned.

"Alright then, Mel." Kirjava settled down on Lyra's shoulder. "I assume Lyra's told you about her past adventures?"

"Only earlier this evening, but yes. Oh my, I hadn't realized it was so late!" She suddenly exclaimed. "Lyra, we DO have classes tomorrow, remember?"

"Oh yeah," Lyra said sheepishly. "I'd forgotten, there was too much to be distracted by. I suppose we can walk and talk at the same time." She smiled; the first real smile Mel had seen her give. "Kirjava? Has Will told anybody about those months?"

Kirjava looked about as puzzled as a cat can look. "Yes actually…this evening. Perhaps that has something to do with how I ended up here. He was just finishing when I suddenly found myself on a very tall roof."

"That's when Pan vanished too! Right as I was finishing, I'd said that you and Will were in your world, and we were stuck here, then he was just gone, as if to contradict what I'd just said." Lyra said in amazement.

Kirjava's head snapped up. "That's exactly what Will had said. I think we've found how I ended up here."

"Come on you two, it's a long walk home and Nivera's wanting to go to sleep." She said, indicating the robin perched on her shoulder, half hidden by her hair.

"There'll be time for talk in the morning." He stated, "but the time for sleeping is now."

The four of them laughed happily and made their way back to St. Sophia's.

~*~

Hope you liked it. =)