Sadly, I do NOT own anything even closely related to HDM, but P. Pullman rocks for creating it.

It had been five years since Lyra had watched Will seal the window, separating them forever. Five years since she had felt his hands on hers; five years since her lips had brushed against his; five years since she had seen his loving eyes. For the past four of those five years, she had returned to the Botanic Garden on Midsummer's Day to sit on the stone bench and cry her heart out. She had promised Will, and herself, that being cheerful started on that fateful day. And for the most part, she was cheerful. She had left Jordan College –it was no longer her home after all she had been through outside its protecting walls –to go to St. Sophia's. It was a long time before she was able to tell her story without bursting into tears or becoming almost catatonic. And she had never, ever told anyone about her love for Will, her precious Will. She still missed with every fiber of her being. Her heart still ached for him every moment of every day. But she managed to trudge on through school and through each day, through life.

She had managed to become mildly happy at St. Sophia's. She had a few friends, though she doubted that she would ever find someone who truly understood what she had been through. No one but… No, it was better to not think of him. They would never be together in this life, and they both knew it. So to keep her mind off of him, she threw herself mercilessly into her studies. From the moment she awoke to the moment she laid her head on her pillow to sleep she was constantly keeping herself busy. If she wasn't attending regular classes or studying, she was with Dame Hannah learning the art of the Alethiometer; and if she wasn't there, she was taking piano lessons with Madame Cynster.

On weekends, when she was unable to do any of these things, she and Pan were climbing secretly along the roofs of the school, searching down in the cellars, or sneaking out to roam the streets. At least, that is what they used to do. Now that they had grown up a little, they stayed indoors a little more and, while they still went onto the roof, it was only outside their window and they did not clamber around any more. They did, however, still sneak out at night. It was thier escape from the often suffocating school. But they never remained still; the streets weren't exactly safe at night and if ever she had a spare moment her thoughts would undoubtedly return to her lost love.

Most of all, she never, ever asked the Alethiometer about him. Even if she didn't know that it was forbidden, she wouldn't have had the courage to see what the Dust had to say on the matter. Besides, she still couldn't read it without difficulty. The heavy golden instrument felt familiar in her hands once again, as she held it there absentmindedly more than she realized, though it was still difficult to hold the questions in her mind. And while her eyes darted swiftly after the long needle, never missing which symbols it stopped at, she had to consult the Book of Symbols to understand what their meanings were. But Dame Hannah was patient and kind, her room was cozy enough, and the food was good. So this was how Lyra got on.