lyra_silver: (Lyra's Oxford)
[personal profile] lyra_silver
Today Lyra and Pantalaimon sneak out of maths class early, with a conspiratorial smile for their classmates and a quick glance at the half-blind lecturer. They cut through the University Parks, behind Gabriel College. They hurry down Holywell Street and the road curving past Magdalen, and climb over the fence of the Botanical Gardens. It's daytime and the gardens are open, of course, but Lyra feels it would be a certain kind of failure to pay the entrance fee like the tourists do. These are her gardens, after all.

Across the park, past the fountain, and back at the plainer end of the garden, just by the riverbank, the bench waits for them. It's empty. No one would dare sit on Lyra's bench, not on Midsummer's Day. Lyra runs to it and takes her seat. Pantalaimon slips up behind her just as the first set of bells begins to chime noon.

Date: 2005-09-20 04:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's tired, already.

Up since the early morning, when Mary had left for work, and it was his turn to make breakfast--a quiet meal. Will never did say much on this particular day, at least not to her, and so Mary simply sat across from him and pretended to read the morning paper, while absentmindedly stirring her tea.

And then it was to the library, to get work out of the work was allowed on this day. Not today. Books and dust

(not Dust) and Kirjava making him nervous with her own impatience to be there, but Will takes his time. No hurry. No need to be there before noon.

And yet he finds himself walking the familiar paths with a quick sure stride a good quarter hour in advance, his blood singing nervously through his veins.

He pays for his ticket.

And there it is. His bench. He sits, lowers his satchel to the ground, while Kirjava weaves nervously around his ankles.

The clock chimes noon.

Date: 2005-09-20 04:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Will looks toward the chiming bells, and shivers a little.

"It's time," he tells Kirjava, who leaps up onto his lap and presses her front paws into his shirt, kneading it slightly.

"Do you think they're here?" she asks, sounding worried, and he nods, a little fiercely, and cautiously reaches out to where he knows--he knows--Lyra is sitting in her own world.

"Of course they're here. They just can't hear us."

Kirjava winds around and pads lightly to where the two halves of the bench meet.

"Hello, Pan," she says, so cheerfully Will's heart aches.

"Hello, Lyra," he says, a little more softly.

"We're here."

Date: 2005-09-20 04:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He looks down, and bites his lip.

Every year, the ache that is the Lyra-shaped spaced in his soul sharpens when he sits here. Every year that space seems just a bit emptier.

"Lyra, I miss you," he says unhappily, finally, and closes his eyes, hoping it will help him pretend that she is sitting there, bright hair flashing in the sun and laughing at him.

But it doesn't.

"Oh, Lyra. I know we promised, but I can't help feeling that we shouldn't have. Why build a Kingdom of Heaven when there isn't any Authority left to rule it? I wish I'd stayed with you, even if I'd died."

His eyes snap fiercely.

"Nothing seems to make a difference, no matter what I do. Oh, the professors like me well enough, and I'm doing well--I was moved up a year, you know." He smiles, a bit. "And Mary sends her love--well. She would. She does, I'm sure. I'm living with her now...I must have told you that. Ever since my mother died."

Kirjava sits upright on his lap, staring intently into the space next to him.

He only shakes his head.

"And there's no one--no one--no one! Every one seems so dull, when they're not you. Not fair to them, I imagine."

He chuckles, miserably.

Date: 2005-09-20 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"It makes me wonder," he continues, steadily, "whether or not there might not be another door, another window, somewhere. As soon as I graduate--before, if I can--I'm going to travel the world, and if there is one, I'll find it. You have to to believe me, Lyra. All those worlds! Not every window could have been closed. There must be one, somewhere."

He clenches his hands into fists, his knuckles white.

Kirjava bats lightly at the air with one silky black paw, unsure.

"Oh, Pan, I hope you're taking care of Lyra," she says, and then, "I know you are. I know it. We just miss you so much."

Date: 2005-09-20 05:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She can't hear him. Not now, not ever.

I could talk myself blue in the face, he thinks, and she'd not hear a word I said.

It's that thought that kills him a little bit each summer.

"I'll find it one day," he says instead, a little too cheerfully. "You wait, Lyra. You just wait. Some day I'm going to come strolling in through a door and you and Pan will be sitting there--"

And he can just see her, biting her lip, a little older and a little wiser, but still with that same motion of pushing her hair back that he loves so dearly. He blinks, his eyes suddenly stinging, and hating the too-cheerful tone of his voice.

"And then we'll build it together. Because I don't know, oh, Lyra, I don't know. Nothing I do seems to make a difference, here, and I don't know how go about building a Republic of anything, let alone Heaven. Even Mary doesn't quite understand, I think."

Date: 2005-09-20 05:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He's quiet for a moment, leaning his elbows on his knees, and the sun beats down on the back of his head, and Kirjava waits patiently, only moving anxiously when she really and truly could not hold in her nerves any longer.

At length, he raises his head and there's a glint of something that is not quite stubborness in his eyes.

"I'm sorry," he says. "I'm being silly, and there's so much to tell you. Mary was promoted, after all. She's started to teach me to read the I Ching, but I'm hopeless at it. I can't understand a word. My classes are very good, although I'm sure you would tell me they're aren't as good as they are in your Oxford."

He laughs, a little, and his face softens.

"I wish you'd say hello to the witches and Iorek for me. I think of them all the time, too. Iorek must be happy to be back up North, isn't he?"

Date: 2005-09-20 06:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The chime of the bells fills him with dread, and terror.

"Lyra!" he calls, uncaring of who hears him, and Kirjava leaps crying back to his breast.

"Oh, Lyra, if you can hear me at all--I'll find a way! I love you, now and forever. Always. Always."

He clutches Kirjava fiercely to him, and she cries to Pantalaimon, far of in some distant universe, calling, calling, forlorn and lost.

The last bell shivers into silence, and he shakes there, on the bench, in fury and sorrow and longing. Because now she is gone again, and this--this is as close as he will ever be able to get.

Kirjava cries against his breast, and he stands, shakily, and looks down at the other half of the bench.

"I love you," he says again, a whisper.

"Don't forget me."


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Lyra Silvertongue

January 2007

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