A/N: There doesn't seem to be much of a fandom for The Dark Is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper, but I love the books too much not to write something about them.

If you haven't read the books, this fic once completed might have something in the way of (very mild) spoilers – but I hope, if you haven't read the original books, that you will take the chance to look them out. They are so worth reading – and re-reading!

A quick note about the setting: I holidayed in Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road a few months back and the rocks and the beaches really reminded me of the Cornish seaside settings of Cooper's books. All the places I describe in this fic are ones that I visited down there.

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When she'd been younger, Jane had spent a long time chasing the numinous, looking for something that was mostly forgotten, or perhaps had never existed in the first place. She tried the drugs, of course; all her friends did them, but Jane didn't like the way they made her feel. Anyway, there was always the inevitable return to consciousness, the hazed awakening with the realisation that whatever she thought she had gained she had actually lost: time, magic, sense of self – when what she really wanted was to bring a piece of the otherworld into the everyday of her existence.

Her brothers didn't quite understand. Barney, of course, was able to make his own magic with paints and brushes and inks, and Simon was so – Simon, so sensible, so grounded, so certain of everything. Well, of course Jane couldn't expect him to really grasp what she meant when she said 'I just want something more, you know?'

So Jane had travelled a great deal for a few years, working odd jobs as she found them in places sacred and mundane. At times she thought she saw things: faces that seemed faintly familiar, a symbol barely visible through layers of paint or grime - but when she looked more closely there was nothing there…

Eventually, tired of being a nomad, she was resolved to return to England - but then, unexpectedly, she met a man and fell in love. Initially she anticipated the romance would last a few months, perhaps, and then she would continue home as she had planned. Somewhat to her surprise, romance turned into marriage and lasting love, and the months rolled over into years and then decades, and Jane found that Melbourne, Australia, had become her home instead.

Then Richard had died; a car accident, hit and run – no culprit caught, nothing to be done except grieve.

So now here she was, standing alone on the edge of the world watching waves crash over rocks that stretched out long hungry fingers into the ever-escaping sea.

It was cold; what passed for the frontline of winter down here. Jane wondered what it would be like when she was back in London, how much she would have to acclimatise. Of course it would be summer when first she got back… A ray of sunshine broke from behind clouds; though it held little warmth it lit the crests of the waves like beacons, and a glimmer of something else in the sand at the edge of the rocks caught Jane's eye. She stepped down carefully and picked up a small thin strip of yellow metal, crusted with wet sand. Rinsing it off in a rockpool, Jane wondered if it was actually gold – a charm, perhaps, broken off a bracelet or necklace. There was writing on one side.

Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea That reminds me of something, Jane thought dazedly, something… but even as she reached for the memory it was gone.

The wind was picking up and the sun had vanished again; time to go back to the villa where she was staying, maybe make a cup of tea, read a little before seeking out some dinner… It was still hard for her to do all these normal things without Richard there beside her. The dull thought crossed her mind, I shall get used to it eventually

There was a man sitting on one of the rocks near the start of the reedy grass that bracketed the path leading up to the road; stocky, fair-haired, with round glasses on a cheerful round face, about Jane's own age. Jane smiled at him with automatic politeness as she was about to walk past. Nothing prepared her for the words he spoke.

'Hello, Jane Drew,' he said.

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Will watched as puzzlement and then incredulous recognition filtered across the woman's face.

'Hello, Will Stanton,' she said, breaking into a smile. 'What on earth are you doing here?'

She ignored his offered hand and instead wrapped him in an impulsive hug; Will hugged her back fiercely and said, with a smile of his own, 'I'm on holiday, of course. Well, a sort-of holiday. I was at a conference in Melbourne and had a few days to spare… thought I'd come down here for a bit, you know.'

'Apollo Bay - of all the places-' Words failed Jane. 'And it's been how many years?'

'Hmm, about – forty? I think?' He paused. 'And you, what are you up to down here?'

'A sort-of holiday too, I suppose,' Jane said. 'My, um,' her voice cracked a little and she cleared her throat abruptly, 'my husband died a couple of months ago. I've been on some leave from work – I'm a teacher, English lit – and I'm just having a few days down here before I go – hm -' she cleared her throat again with a gesture of impatience, but Will could see the raw glint of tears in her eyes '—sorry Will – before I go back to town and finish packing everything up. I'm going back to England. Then maybe travelling for a while. I don't know yet.'

'I'm so sorry, Jane,' Will said with awkward sincerity, 'I didn't mean-'

She drew a deep breath and gave him a half-smile. 'Oh Will, no need to apologise – how could you possibly have known?'

Will shrugged and gave her a half-smile back. I could have, if I'd tried, he thought; but he hadn't wanted them to be on such an unequal footing, not after so many years. It hadn't seemed fair.

He still wasn't exactly sure why he had been brought to this place more than half a world away from his home; he just knew that he needed to be here, at this time. The conference had provided a useful excuse for him to leave his teaching position at Oxford; just another of those things his life arranged for him when necessary. They happened much less often these days, compared with when he had been younger and fully caught up in the battle between the Light and the Dark, but he knew better than to ignore them.

He looked at the woman before him. He'd known it was Jane as soon as he caught sight of her standing on the rocks, of course, despite the many years that separated them. Her hair was short now, a close crop streaked with silver, and her figure was full, soft, not the gangling girl on the awkward emotional cusp of puberty that she had been when he'd last seen her; but she still had the same resolute set to her shoulders, the same gentle determination in her face.

'Well,' Jane said, after a minute. 'What about you, Will – married, kids?'

Will chuckled. 'No, not for me. My preferences don't generally allow for either of those things.'

'Oh. Oh!' Jane chuckled too as she realised what he meant. 'How about a boyfriend, then?'

Will wrinkled his nose wryly. 'Nah… there was someone, but it was a long time ago. Anyway, I'm married to my job, more or less.' Seeing her questioning glance, he elaborated, 'I'm a professor at Oxford, if you can believe it. Early medieval England with some Wales and Cornwall and Brittany thrown in. King Arthur, Merlin, all that sort of stuff. You know,' he added deliberately, watching her carefully, 'I talk quite a lot about the Trewissick Grail that you and Simon and Barney found.'

Jane's face was blank for a second. 'My goodness,' she said slowly. 'Do you know how long it is since I've thought about – I can't even remember how we came to find it, it was so long ago…'

'It was on holiday with your uncle, Merriman Lyon, wasn't it?' Will asked, studiedly casual.

'Yes… yes, I think you're right. Great Uncle Merry passed away a long time ago, though; I haven't thought about him for years either…' Jane shot Will a sudden sharp look. 'You do remember odd things, Will.'

'Well, Merriman Lyon is quite a legend in academic circles,' he said, pushing his glasses back up onto his nose and allowing himself an inward grin as he thought and if only you knew how true that actually is. 'Especially in my field.'

'I suppose so,' Jane conceded. The afternoon was really drawing to a close now, and with a shiver she thrust her hands deep into her coat pockets. 'Ow!' She pulled something small and bright from one of them. 'I forgot this was there. Stabbed myself.'

'What is it?' Will asked.

'I found it just before, near the rocks.' She passed the strip of hammered gold to him. 'Must have put it in my pocket without thinking. I don't know if I should keep it, though. It looks like it might be valuable, I'd better drop it off to the police station, I suppose.'

Will scarcely heard her; his heart had almost stopped beating as soon as he saw the lettering. Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea. With piercing clarity he remembered making it in his father's workshop, another one of those things that he had done without understanding why it was needed at the time…

'Will? Are you all right?'

'Hm? Yes… sorry, just thinking about something.' He pressed the golden strip back into her palm and closed her cold fingers around it. 'Keep it, Jane. I know it sounds strange, but I think it is meant for you.'

'It's funny,' Jane said absently as she pocketed it. 'It reminds me of something, but I just can't remember what.'

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