Disclaimer: I am not a British atheist...so I don't own His Dark Materials. I wish.

"Lyra...Belacqua?" asked the teacher, unsure of how to pronounce Lyra's last name.

"Silvertongue." Lyra sighed. This was her last year at St. Sophia's School, and Lyra was used to the routine of the first day. The instructors were all old spinsters, dressing in the same drab clothes and smelling of mothballs. This one seemed different, though. She seemed to be only a few years Lyra's senior, clothed in a stylish skirt suit.

"Are you related to Asriel Belacqua and Marisa Coulter?"

"Yes. They're my parents," Lyra said. She hated talking about her parents. Five years previously, they had given their lives for Lyra by bearing Metatron down into an abyss filled with Dust.

"I'm sorry to hear that," the instructor said quietly. How had she known?

"Okay," she said, putting away the class list and turning her attention to the class. "The administration of this school would prefer for you to call me Ms. McIntire, but I believe that we should be on first name terms. Call me Kaitlyn, or Katie." The class began to murmur. No teacher of theirs had ever asked to be called by her first name.

Throughout the rest of the block, Katie kept surprising them with her unorthodox ways. "Being your new religion instructor, I will make sure that you don't seek to worship, but to live your life to the fullest. Being kind to people is ten times better than any religion." Lyra was liking this woman more and more. She had given up Will for the same cause that Katie was talking about.

It was the last class of the day, so the moment the bugle sounded, all of the girls made ready to rush out of the room to the dormitories. Before Lyra could leave, however, Katie called, "Lyra. May I please speak to you?"

Apprehensively, Lyra nodded and walked up to the desk. "Yes?"

Katie sighed. "How well do- I mean, did you know your parents?"

"Um, well, not very well..."

Once again, Katie sighed. "I don't know how to say this...so I'll just come right out with it. Your mother, Marisa Coulter, is my mother. I'm your half sister."