A/N: I find Barty's chapters much, much easier to write for some reason. It's hard to re-capture a good third person perspective when you've been writing in witty first person, I guess. I also understand that the burning question is: Will they ever get to the fabled library? The answer is no.
Kitty followed the long, brown fingers pointing to the world outside of the window. Her eyes caught a beautiful statue glinting in the sunlight. She couldn't help herself. She gasped. Her arm extended and her hands clamped down on the thigh of Bartimaeus' form; the other slowly lifted and covered her mouth. "Bartimaeus...", she whispered softly in wonder, "is that... Are we...?"
He responded by tearing his gaze away from the window and gazing into her eyes. A half-laugh of bewilderment escaped his lips and his eyebrows raised. His eyes sparkled like pitch-black diamonds. His giddiness infected her, catching on inside of her like a merry, dancing fire. Soon, they were both laughing in disbelief.
He abruptly stood and grabbed her arm, dragging her laughing through the bus. Much to the dismay of the driver, they jumped out of the doors without warning. They ignored his angry cries and stumbled their way through the crowds that had gathered to watch the new memorial being set in place. When they caught sight of Kitty's face, they parted in reverence, as if she were a god gracing herself with her presence.
The pair of them finally reached the edge of the crowd. In the corner of her eye, Kitty saw Bartimaeus' form flicker and fade into the shape of a young, dark skinned boy. With a final thud, the memorial slid into place upon its raised dais. The workers noticed the pair approaching, and quietly, they stepped back into the crowd.
Kitty looked alongside at her companion, the grin on her face fading. He turned his head and solemnly, he took her minutely wrinkled hand. Together, spirit and human, they walked up the few steps and were raised onto the threshold of their memorial. Nathaniel stared back at them, oblivious to their sombre expressions. His own face, encased in white, smiled. Kitty moved towards him, her head bent almost fully backwards in an attempt to see him properly. She felt a whisper in the air beside her, a firm grip around her waist... And she was slowly floating up in the air towards him.
When she was level Nathaniel's face, her hands reached outward and she cupped his chin in her hands. The stone was cold, so cold. She felt hot tears brimming in her eyes. Stupid! She hadn't even known him, truly known him, for very long. But she couldn't help but feel that he hadn't really had the chance to live, to enjoy life and be happy. He had only enjoyed life for his last remaining hours, and then he sacrificed himself. Shaking her head, and feeling much older than she had ever felt in her life, she leaned foreward, closed her eyes, and kissed the boy's cold, stone cheek.
She paused here for a few seconds and then tore her lips away, turning her whole body around in Bartimaeus' grip and hiding her face. She would not cry, she would not. She would be strong in front of the people whom she had helped liberate, whom had been so thoughtful as to remember her, her otherworldly friend and her deceased...
The tears, against her wishes, came anyway. She suddenly felt the weight of it all come crashing down on her, and she had no choice. She let herself submit to the sobs that quietly wracked her frail old body, and she silently hid her face in the neck of another boy who had died long ago and been forgotten. Vaguely, she was aware of the ground as they landed; of the crowd all around her beginning to sing. The only thing that she knew was the tirade of emotions colliding and shattering inside of her and the strange smooth skin of Bartimaeus as he rocked her gently, back and forth. Back and forth.
For many minutes, that was all that existed. Then, finally, as though a switch was turned off, the emotions subsided and a new feeling spluttered and came to life. It was a strange feeling, but one that she had experienced a long, long time ago, when she was very young. Her crying stopped and her breathing slowed. She attempted to identify it, this little steady spark that was causing a tiny smile to break out on her tear-stained face. What was it? Then it hit her.
It was peace.