Author's note: Yes. Well. I know I have others to update, but if it makes anyone feel better, this is only a measley little two shot! So if you don't like it, click the back space now and there will be an update for one of my Digimon stories soonish. But if you the fact that Philip Pullman's books are the shizniz, and think Will and Lyra are bittersweet and adorable, then by all means, read, and review, and make my life complete. Silent watchers can kiss mine, because I just delete your notification without looking at what story was watched. I know. I'm mean. Gettheheckoverit.
I find it amusing. Romeo and Juliet, the whole shindig was Midsummer's day. And now, Lyra and Will. I personally like the second couple better, they weren't idiots who threw their lives away, but decided to do something with them. But yea. Still. The idea of the park bench was way cute, and so... I had to be a total fan girl and gush about it for a little. Enjoy!!
It was raining. Rain fell in torrents as Lyra ducked through the gates of St. Sophia's. She...sort of had permission to leave. Like, when she actually asked for it. But she didn't have time for that now. She had promised Will, and be it six months or six years, she would never break that promise to him. She had to get to that bench. She just had to. Not that she had an answer for Pan why it would be so tragically awful if she was a moment late, but he didn't ask for one either. He was anxious too, and she kept having to call out his name in a hiss of a warning as he strayed farther than a normal daemon ought to stray. Even in her haste, she knew that they had to maintain their composure. How many, after all, would believe her rush was to reach a bench to sit at the same place as a boy from another world that she could not physically see?
No, no, they had to slow down. She called Pan to her arms as the rain fell harder, a stream of icy water that made her gasp when it slipped between the gap between hair, flesh, and clothing like an icy finger running the length of her spine. She wished she could yank her hair out of its bun, and let its long dark blond waves protect her from the rain, but a young woman, she was constantly reminded, did not take down her hair. Certainly not in public. It wasn't ladylike. She certainly had a few things to say about being ladylike right then, but she simply bit down hard on her lower lip and pressed herself to run harder. She had further incentive to reach the bench, for there was a tree whose far reaching branches would give them cover, however meager it was.
"Pan," she asked in a whisper, not because she wanted no one to hear, but because the thought seemed intimidating to voice outloud. No one would guess anything other worldly, or strange about a girl asking her daemon about a supposed date. "Do you think Will will be there? Do you really?" She tried to sound nonchalant, as though it were just a question to ask for the sake of having something to say, but Pan was her Daemon. He knew her, of course, better than anybody could. Certainly he knew her better than she herself did.
"Of course." And he sounded so absolute, so completely sure of Will, that Lyra's doubt was swept away as though washed from her mind with the rain that dripped from her hair, onto her bodice and her skirts. And oh, she was getting so very out of shape sitting in that library, struggling to balance learning to be a 'proper' girl and her school studies and relearning to read the alethiometer. Her lungs were burning, and her heart was thudding wildly beneath her breasts, and she found that, when she asked herself the reason, she couldn't quite tell if it was because she was about to be as close to Will as they ever might be again, or because the work out was indeed straining her muscles, so out of practice compared to the laborous walking her body had once been put through.
That seemed so long ago, it was as though it had happened to another girl. If she couldn't remember Roger's face, pale and nigh transparent with ghostly palor, the terrible, heart wrenching feeling of leaving her poor, beloved Pan on death's shores, or the feel of her fingers against Will's lips, his lips against hers and the strength of his embrace, then she would never believe that any of it had ever happened. But she did, and that was why she so earnestly ran for the bench.
And finally, it was within sight, and she let out a cheer for there was no one around, and she hugged Pan tightly to her chest and then she paused. Every year, this seemed like such a very important moment. She had to take a deep breath, a shuddering gasp as though her heart had been tricked into believing she would see Will if she made it here. But she wouldn't. And her mind reminded her heart that might never happened, and her heart released another sigh of longing while Pan nuzzled her chin, and then she sat down on the bench, leaving ample room for Will to sit, as though he was truly filling the invisible gap beside her.
"Hello Will, Darling. I love you."
It was the first thing she said every year, at the same time, in the same place. And she wondered, sometimes, if he did the very same. If he spoke to her as though if he only reached out far enough, he could brush his hand against her cheek again. She wondered if he said out loud that he loved her, or if he sat there in that silent way of Will's, just thinking to himself. She hoped he thought to himself, if that was the case, that he loved her and missed her as truly and whole heartedly as Lyra did. Although she would never admit it out loud, she had changed a lot to be who she thought Will wanted her to be. He had taught her to be discreet, and so she no longer show-boated and bragged about her stories and successes, or tried to glorify her failures. He taught her to be brave, and to fight when there was no other option, but also to not fight if there was another way. Whether she had mellowed because she grew older, or because she knew Will, was a question one would never find the answer to.
She ran her hands along the folds of her skirt, drenched as it was it was difficult to make out the color. Not that it was anything truly remarkable. It was a deep set blue, an outfit bought for her birthday passed by a girl she had become relatively close friends with in St. Sophia's. Her name was Elsa, short for Elizabeth. And it was she who Lyra told Will about the most, because she was the first friend beside Roger and Will that she had made of her own age. There had been other kids to play with, of course, but they were different. Play mates were not always your friends. But Elsa smiled at Lyra as though they were equals, not as though she were plotting some horrid scheme as Lyra used to do when the townies and clay burners were at war.
"There's something I don't understand though," she spoke aloud, and Pan tilted his head at her curiously from where he sat preening himself, curled up in a ball beside her on the bench so that he could feel her warm body through the frigid rain that Lyra seemed to have turned oblivious to. "How is Elsa short for Elizabeth, I wonder? It's so strange. Do they have nicknames like that in your world, Will? I wonder, what is Will short for? Is it for William, or Wilhelm, or Willis, or Wilson, or...Oh, I don't know. I never did ask you before." She paused as though she were expecting an answer to spell itself out of the rain drops that fell with a noisy clatter into puddles, where they reunited with their fallen friends. Lyra stared at that puddle, and for a moment Pan thought that perhaps she wasn't quite seeing it.
"I envy them, Will," she said quietly. It took her Daemon but a moment to realize she meant the rain drops. "They separate only to meet again. They'll never be apart. Not truly." And she felt her eyes sting, but that wasn't acceptable at all. She didn't like crying in front of Will, even if she did when she felt full of fear and dispair and utter hopelessness. But she felt silly afterwards, as though Will frowned at her tears. He did, of course, but not out of disappointment. Only with despair that he couldn't end them. That was her last memory, him holding her while she cried, tears filling his eyes too, and he looked so miserable.
But they had made a promise, Lyra reminded herself, and she took a deep, deep breath before standing up and splashing in the puddle. The water, of course, did not truly separate. Some stuck together, to find new social puddles to mingle with, and others did not leave their original puddle at all. And although the act filled her boots with chilled water that sent a shiver through her entire body, it made her feel a little better. She felt alive again, she could move and do things, and when their particles became Everything again, and they could join together forever, then she'd make sure Will was proud of what she could do, of what she did do. She would make sure her life was filled with exciting Truths for the Harpies, so that she could get through to the other side as quickly as possible, to join her beloved in the sky and the grass and the butterflies and the leaves and the dirt and everything, and she smiled.
She said all this out loud, too, although she had said it to Will before they parted indefinitely. It felt important, just then, to remind him wherever he was that she had not forgotten. She'd not forgotten about Midsummer's Day, or Dust, or helping the worlds so that one day, when there was peace and happiness and ample dust, they could open a window and hold hands again, even if only for the briefest of moments. She closed her eyes, and sat back on the bench beside Pan, who crawled into her lap. His furred head brushed against her palm and she petted him with slow, distracted movements. It was clear she barely acknowledged she was doing it at all.
"Lyra," he said quietly, affectionately nipping at her fingertip as it neared too close to his eyes, "you're going to catch a cold. It's been well over an hour. Maybe we should..." The question drifted off into nothingness, for Pan didn't truly want to leave either, to set forth to face another year of hard work without being entirely sure what they ought to be doing to help, except that Lyra knew she needed to be smart, so that she could get opportunities, the way her mother Mrs. Coulter had. But what to do with those opportunities, Lyra wasn't entirely sure. She took a deep breath, and exhaled.
"In a little while, Pan my dear," she insisted, like a child pleading with their mother for five more minutes. Pan just nuzzled her hand again, and they lapsed into silence for a while. Neither really noticed that the rain was slowly letting up, fading to a half-hearted drizzle as the sky lightened and patches of blue began to struggle more spiritedly to break free of their clouded prison. She didn't know how much time had passed anymore, and Lyra found she didn't truly care. The state of her clothes would be enough to make the headmistress annoyed. What did being late matter now? After all, there were no classes she was required to attend today... She had planned nothing but studying, and surely a few hours break from that would be harmless?
"Will, darling, are you still there," she asked quietly, and although she expected no reply, she still wished that someday, one might come. Her hands formed into fists on her lap, and Pan licked at them consolingly. He missed her other half as well, and his Soul. Or, Daemon now. She had shown her form, and chosen one to keep with permanently at the same moment as Pan. He pitied his human's situation, pained at her sorrow, and cooed worriedly at her distress and anxiety over her future, something that had seemed so insignificant before but now seemed like such an immense, daunting task that she did not know what to do next with.
"Help me Will. You helped me so much. Help me figure out what my part in this is. What can I do to make things balance again?" It was a desperate act, to beg an unseen person to answer her questions. But no answer would come, from anyone. As Will had said, they had to decide on their own. If someone provided the answer, she would surely hate them for it. Lyra wanted to control at least this bit of her destiny, for now no one as whispering of prophecies and things to come, there was no one hunting her down or endangering her, and she hoped not Will. She had a chance to live now, to live how she wanted and to change things. They had to repair the damage of thousands of windows opened between the worlds. But how? Oh... How? Again, she fell into silence, not for lack of things to tell Will, but for she was so lost in the thought of this task that was so much larger than the two of them.
"Lyra," Pan said quietly, and she nodded and clung to him tightly. He did not object, but let her cuddle and cling to him like she did when she was little and felt lonely. That was what a daemon was for, after all. So that their person never felt lonely, never was lonely, because a person couldn't truly survive without their daemon. Even if it was simply hidden out of sight, it was still there. The idea of not ever having a friend, a daemon, was absolutely devastating. She remembered, when she had to leave him alone on that dark, desolate shore... looking for him, everywhere for him, of the horror she felt when she saw that little boy clinging to a frozen fish, wishing it was his daemon. She shivered, although Pan wasn't entirely sure that it was because she was soaking wet with rain water.
"No, I know," Lyra said quietly. She looked up at the clouds, which were not quite ready to take the rest of their burden and move along. They were lighter though... Lyra wished she felt how the clouds looked. She felt heavier. That could, however, be because her skirts had absorbed so much water. She felt as though she were trying to wade through the river fully clothed. "Let's go home, Pan. I'm feeling rather hungry, aren't you?"
"I want a strudel," Pan said, and she could tell he was happy she was letting her mind think back to the here, and the now. It was harder for both of them to focus if one of them was day dreaming, and they both did miss their other half dearly. "Or muffins. With blueberries, and fresh milk."
"The cream is better," Lyra said nonchalantly, holding out her arms for Pan to climb into them before standing up. "I sort of fancy a hot sandwich. With chicken, and sauce, and--"
"That's not a snack," Pan said reproachfully. Lyra rolled her eyes.
"Whoever said I was hungry for a snack?"
They walked slowly from the bench, the beloved bench that was their only connection, the bench where Lyra knew she would be a year from now, five years from now, ten years from now. But it still took all her self control to hold her head high and walk away without a backward glance. But she did pause during her casual banter with Pan, which was little more than a practiced conversation that they fell into every time one of them wanted and needed a distraction from what they were really thinking about, to say a murmured "I love you", which an ordinary person might not have heard, but her daemon knew, and he climbed to her shoulder to be able to look behind them while Lyra walked back towards St. Sophia's, trying desperately to think of a way to explain to the headmistress why she had gone out without an umbrella.