This is a one-shot standing alone, but nevertheless, it is part of the series of stories I've posted. You'll find some clues in this story about the near future of Two Worlds, One Love, but even without reading that story, this one should be able to be read as well. There are also some Night of Riddles references in this one-shot, but again, you can read this one without reading NoR. I've said too much, so these are the last three words I'm saying: Read, review, enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I don't own His Dark Materials.

Lyra was sixteen now, a young girl.
At this age, most of her friends fancied a boy, or had a boyfriend. She had a lot of friends, so it hurt sometimes to see yet another one walking with a boy.
Because, she didn't have one.
She had one three years ago, someone who made her heart beat out of her chest. They saved the world – no, all the parallel worlds – together, along with their dæmons. But, he came from a parallel world as well and he had to go back. There was no option, but to leave him there. They couldn't be reunited.

When one of her friends was talking about her first love, she always saw a smile, she always saw the sweet memories in that smile.
And, she understood fully why. Walking together, being with each other being enough to be happy, kissing... it was all so nice to remember. Lyra had gone through those things as well, with her first love.
What Lyra never understood, was why the first love broke up with her friend. If everything was that sweet, how come her friend could think back to it with a smile, after they broke up? If Lyra thought back about Will, she always thought of the things they had gone through; their first kiss when Lyra put a berry in Wills mouth, sleeping in one another's arms in the world of the mulefa, and... the night of riddles.
But it hurt, because she could never go back to that. Never go back to the boy she loved, never able to do those things again.
Maybe it hurt more for her, because she didn't break up with Will. Maybe it didn't hurt for the others, because they left it behind. But Lyra couldn't.

It was November and Lyra was walking in the Botanic Garden.
She rarely visited that place, but today she made an exception.
She didn't want to think about Will, because she knew she'd be sad then, and she didn't want to be sad. That was why she worked so hard, to not have to think about Will. Her hard work and her motivation made her one of the favorite students on Dame Hannah's college.
When she parted with Will, they had promised to be in the Botanic Garden every Midsummer's Day. This way, they could still be together, they could still talk. Though they couldn't hear each other.
So, she did. She visited every Midsummer's Day. Today however, the teachers had a day off to talk with each other about the students – college meetings, they were called. The teachers had a day off – so, the students had as well, and so had Lyra.

She couldn't do anything, if she wanted to. And she really wanted to, so instead, she went to the Botanic Garden with her dæmon Pantalaimon.
"Do you think Will is here now?" Lyra asked her dæmon. A dæmon is a reflection of your soul, who takes an animal form. Pantalaimon was a pine marten.
"The deal was to be here every Midsummer's Day. It isn't Midsummer's Day now, so I don't think he's here. But, you'll never know..." Pan was in love with Wills dæmon. It was a reflection of the love between Lyra and Will, so it was just as strong and they loved each other just as much.
Lyra thought back to the Night of Riddles.

She had almost given up on Will when that came. It was the day before Midsummer's Day; Lyra wanted a room back in the Jordan College, but she couldn't find one; so, she was offered a small house outside. Lyra was falling into bed that day – all of a sudden, Will was in Lyra's room. They had a great time together, kissing and not watching the movie in the cinema... and they exchanged pictures.
The result was that when she fell into bed again, and woke up the next day, she saw the picture of Will. She always carried it with her. She took it out of her pocket and looked at the Will she loved, with loving eyes.
No-one knew about Will, except for her closest friend. Everyone wondered why she wasn't in love with anybody, since she was quite a handsome girl. Will was the answer.

But, she had to come over Will. Billy Costa gave up on his Gyptian habits and settled in Oxford. He had lessons in the Jordan College, but since she still had a room in the Jordan College, which emptied out soon after the Night of Riddles, they met often. Lyra thought she was beginning to feel something for him, and felt it was replied. But, it was still nothing compared to her love for Will.
But I can't do this! I can't continue this desperation! I HAVE to get over him!
She decided she went back to the Jordan College. It was time for a meal in there.

"Hi, how do you do?" Roanne, her closest friend, didn't have lessons at Dame Hannah's college, but they did share a room at Jordan's. She told her everything and Roanne believed her, understood her fully.
She was blond and had short curled hair. She was quite long for her age.
Her dæmon was a peacock called Gerynos.
She proved to be a great friend, believing Lyra although her story sounded like it was made up. Her downside was that she was very closed about her love life herself and barely told Lyra a secret, while Lyra told her everything. Her habit was keeping everything silent, all her problems, not wanting to "bug" Lyra. But, Lyra wanted to help her, though Roanne never really let her.
"I'm fine. A little depressed, that's all."
"Just went to the Botanic Garden. I can't work, so I have to think of Will..." Roanne nodded, smiling.
"Let's go in the dinner room, shall we? You must be hungry." Roanne fancied Billy Costa as well, so they sat close to him.
But, to Roanne it was obvious Billy loved Lyra, so she let them be, knowing she would be nothing compared to Lyra in Billy's eyes. It was pretty obvious to her Billy loved Lyra.
He noticed both of the girls soon. Lyra could see in his eyes that he had a plan.

"Lyra?" Billy called her name as soon as she sat down, in front of Billy.
"Yes?" She replied.
"They brought us a new kind of fruit..." The boy picked up a small, red fruit from a plate close to him.
"This is a pomegranate."
"Interesting," Lyra said, smiling.
"There is a big story behind it. You see, the inhabitants of Greece turn out to have a completely different religion years ago. One with multiple gods. Once, a male god fell in love with a female one; he offered her a pomegranate. The stories say that if you offer someone a pomegranate, and that person eats it, the eater will love the offerer forever." Billy Costa held his hand with the pomegranate in it.

Lyra knew exactly what he meant. It was scary, that idea.
You're in love with Billy Costa, aren't you? So, why don't you take it? Part of her thought. If Will didn't come into her life, she would have done it, probably.
No, no! You can't do it! It's Will you want! He might come back, finding you hooked up with Billy! You can't do that to any of them! That was what the other part thought. Lyra was in a major conflict and didn't say anything for a while.
Ah, come on, if you take that pomegranate, that doesn't mean you'll love Billy forever? That was an argument of the first part.
But it does mean you love Billy now! Do you? The second part replied.
At last, however, a part of her got the better hand. She didn't know what it was; but, something told her to refuse. And she didn't want to ignore that something.

"No, Billy. Sorry. You're a really nice guy, but... no." Roanne and Billy were both puzzled about her reaction.
"No... no... no..." Lyra didn't know what she was doing, but her feet made her go out of the chair and run to her room. She didn't want to, she wanted Will, no one else, no one else, no one else...

"Hey, can I come in?" Roanne opened the door and saw Lyra there, crying.
"You told me you loved him. What's wrong?"
"I don't know... accepting it felt so... wrong!" Lyra cried.
She didn't know why. She wasn't the kind of girl that cried easily, seeing crying as a weakness. But these tears were so strong, she couldn't stop them.
She didn't want Billy, she wanted Will only. She was so very lucky she had a friend who believed her!
"It's Will you want, right?"
"Yes, that's the big problem. It's just not fair towards... Billy to... to... pretend to be in love... with him... because he... will always be nothing compared to... compared to... compared to..." Lyra said, in between the cries. She was completely confused about which boy to choose. She didn't know it anymore, she didn't know what to do. Love someone forever whom you can't reach, or love someone for a year whom you can see everyday. It was terrible, such a dilemma.
Lyra knew she made a promise towards Will never to compare him with other boys. But it was a promise she couldn't keep, especially not after the Night of Riddles.
"You're mad, in my eyes. I would accept it straight away, but I don't have a Will with whom I'm in love. Well, is there anything left you want to tell me?"
Roanne was always there, when Lyra needed her. That was so great about her, she'd always listen to your stories, believing them or not. She had been a great help during the time Lyra tried to get over Will.
Because that would take a long long time.

I hope you liked it! This was an idea being in my head for quite some time, and as I mentioned before, it contains some clues about TWOL. I hope you leave a review, even an "I really like it" will suffice. I hope to read a lot of reviews!