Most days Lyra and Pan crouched over large volumes of books in the Ashford library, as the pair focused hard on studying alethiometer meanings. There were rumours among the other students that Lyra actually lived there, which were only put a stop to by the even more wild rumours that the weeks she disappeared without a trace for every now and again were because she was staying with the polar bears or the witches. Some even said she was a witch herself and swore that that they had seen her without her daemon or her daemon without her.
Lyra enjoyed the rumours immensely. Pan would have preferred if she didn't encourage them.
However, even with the tenacious way the pair of them studied to be alethiometrists, everyone needed to take a break sometimes. This was how Lyra and Pan found themselves sitting in one of the many green spaces the university owned – not the botanic gardens though (for in Lyra's mind those were preserved for the 27th of June) but a small park overlooking the river.
Lyra toyed with the alethiometer that was permanently hung around her neck, absently watching the other people in the park while Pan slept buried in her lap.
There were several parents with children, playing together with an ease that still inspired a small flare of envy at what could have been. There were a few groups of elderly folk enjoying their retirement, some with dignity and some with a cheerful lack of it. Lastly there were some students she vaguely recognised.
It was peaceful and serene and quite honestly it was dreadfully boring.
Pan stirred in her lap and looked up at her. "I know that look. You're planning something. I know it. Don't do anything rash, Lyra."
"I was just thinking perhaps it was time to visit Iorek again."
This actually made Pan relax. Probably because the last time his human was bored she had set her eyes on a boy in one of her classes who already had a girlfriend. An incident that ended up is blood and tears for all except Lyra, who walked away unscarred. Mostly, Pan thought, because the girl gave very little concerns to other people's opinions about her.
"At least remember to pack properly this time," the daemon warns, because only his human was foolhardy enough to visit the polar bears on such a spur of the moment that she didn't even bring a winter coat.
"I will," Lyra promised.
Pan nodded and settled back into a quiet nap.
Lyra smiled and opened the alethiometer, setting the needles and letting a question enter her mind.
'Is Will happy too?'
The smile widened as the needle began to spin.