Will is used to feeling empty. The rawness left him years ago, but the ache of a universe without Lyra in it has not dulled with time. There are whole parts of him that went missing when he was too young to know what he was losing, and he can find the edges where they should have been in his heart with practiced fingers and a steady mind.

They had promised to do their work together, even separated across the worlds, and he has kept his promise. He is old, and Kirjava is soft under his shaking hands when they curl up in bed together. He never moved out of his small, single bedroom flat.

In the morning, there is no one left alive in Will Parry's world who remembers that Lyra Silvertongue had ever existed.

Instantly and never later, he is on the other side of the world of the dead. He is dissolving, his atoms falling apart as he watches. In the moment before he ceases to be, Will feels a sense of comfort, of warmth, of gold hair and the distinct scent of marten. He would laugh, if he was a thing that could laugh, because the universe had never lacked Lyra in it. She is in every breath he took and every star he stared at through his window. And now, at last, he can join her. Will is at home amongst the stars.