AN: Just a short book-verse one-shot about Lyra and Will. I've never really done anything much for this pairing and I was in the mood to do a short little Vignette about them.
It was the most utterly searing and blazing Midsummer Day Lyra could remember there ever being since she was, perhaps, no older than six or seven years old.
It was so hot, no one really wanted to be out of doors in such unbearable heat; there was heatstroke, and nasty cases of dehydration, to be taken into account for any foolish enough to venture out before the air cooled off a bit; but that didn't matter at all to Lyra; she had a promise to keep. She had sworn to Will (and he'd sworn to her, in return) that every year, once a year, at midday, on Midsummer Day, they would both sit at the same bench in their different worlds and be close to one another.
Lyra had never given up coming and she never would. Likewise, she had to believe the same of Will; he would be sitting there, too, in his world, knowing she was here. The thought made her feel warm inside. He would be so close she could talk to him, tell him about her life, as she often did, and almost-almost-think he really could hear her.
Sometimes, like a buzzing in her ears, she jolly nearly thought she could hear him talking to her.
Pan said it wasn't real, she was only imagining it; but he did claim, sometimes, to sense Kirjava's presence and good wishes towards them, when they sat simultaneously on their respective benches.
That's how, he told Lyra, he knew Will kept his promise.
Lyra herself didn't need Pan's special sense for that; she just knew. If he hadn't kept his promise, then she hadn't known him at all, and she loved him too much, remembered everything-every tiny detail-about him too well for that. If someone dared say Will Parry would ever betray her like that, if anyone ever breathed a word that suggested he could just forget her, she would punch them out. Luckily, it was a secret; hers and Will's. People were aware, of course, that she came here every year at the same time, but precious few knew why.
Pan was curled up in her lap as she sat there, the sun beating down on her head and winking off of her blonde hair. Gingerly, she stroked his beautiful pine marten fur. It was when Will had touched him that he had changed into the shape he would keep forever. Sometimes she laughed, when she remembered her old self, so desperate for Pan never to stop changing shape, to always be a little girl with an unchanged mind. Yes, some things were lost, in growing up, having an adult's mind, but not everything, and not anything that couldn't be reclaimed in a new way. For instance, she would never read the alethiometer the same way-by pure instinct-again, but that was all right, really, in the long run, for now she was learning to read it normally, studying diligently. Reading it wasn't a natural ability, an unearned gift, anymore. Now, as she learned to read it, watching herself getting better little by little, understanding the symbols and the various ways of interpreting them, when she got a right answer, it actually meant something.
She reached out, as if to touch the place where Will's hand, in his world, as he sat beside her on the bench, would be.
Her fingers felt a slight grove, and she peered down to read the writing carved into the wooden seat.
Will Was Here, was all it said.
Lyra swallowed hard. She wished she knew whether or not Will had carved out those words before he left for his own world, breaking the knife so that it could never be used again, separating them for ever after, and she had simply never noticed it, or if, per-chance, in his world, he'd done it and it had shown up here because the benches were so close to each other, so entangled, despite being in different worlds.
Well, she could hope those words came to be there the way she liked to imagine they did.
In Will's world, it was raining, and he had no umbrella over him as he sat on the bench. He had almost been late; something he wouldn't abide. The one thing he insisted on in life was being with Lyra just once every year, like they promised each other.
He touched the seat of the bench and smiled.
There was a carving, under his own.
A tiny heart.
Will Was Here, followed by a tiny, very unevenly engraved heart, and then, And So Was Lyra.
AN: Reviews are welcome.