Disappearing Spires (The Last Cathedral Remix)
by Ishafel

Remix of Disappearing Spires by Charlotte Unsworth.

Will has done nothing, ever, but leave her; he has spent his life closing doors between them. They called them windows, once, but they were children then and full of hope. Hope is something they left behind worlds ago, and even love is growing smaller in the distance and still Will must leave Lyra behind. She spends her time staring out the down at the spires of Oxford as if the cathedrals meant salvation.

Will has done nothing in his life but leave her and all the doors he's opened and closed form an endless hallway from his Oxford to hers, from his heart to hers. He does not know what to say to her; he does not know how to stay away from her. He cannot touch her without hurting her and he cannot bear not to touch her and in her Oxford it is always raining. It scares him to think that she spends so much of her time waiting for him, frozen against the glass.

The knife--when he had remade the knife he had not meant it to turn out this way. He had thought--he had not thought very much at all. He had been selfish and careless and cruel, and he had done because he had loved Lyra once, loved her beyond bearing. Losing that had been like having a door slammed in his face and he does not recognize the Lyra he met now in hotel rooms in hours stolen from his wife and children. The girl he had loved once would never have let him do this to her.

Lyra thinks that he dreamed of being like his fearless, restless father, the man who walked away from his mother and destroyed her. But he is no more like his father than she is like hers, nor would he want to be. Let them play it safe: the explorer's son and the rebel's daughter; not everyone dreams of discoveries and divinities, not everyone can take that particular path to destruction.

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Lyra, who was brave and reckless and brilliant, and she grew up into someone she does not like. She has been punishing Will for it ever since, and sometimes he wonders what it would be like to leave her behind forever. He would remember her every time he saw a cathedral spire pointing toward heaven and he would never remember her at all because he would close that door behind him as he had closed the others.

Leaving Lyra will be like leaving the better part of himself, like leaving his childhood, his hopes, his dreams. These things are gone, and yet he cannot bear to part with them. Lyra sees his reflection in the glass and she doesn't turn, and he almost slips away without a word but there is too much between them to end it this way, and so he puts his arm around her waist and draws her toward the light. She smells of rain, of passion, of old books and of herself. Only Pan's purr tells him that at least one of them is glad to see him.

A long time ago his father loved his mother and it destroyed her. Lyra's parents hated one another as much as they loved. History is against them, the world is against them. What is Lyra, after all, but another door to be closed behind him? What are any of them? One day he will find himself alone in an empty and unending hallway, surrounded by closed doors. One day he will find himself in a room with a door that cannot be opened and everyone he loved on the other side.

In the end he leaves because it is easier to leave than to stay. He leaves because he is starting to hear doors slam in his sleep. He leaves her at the window, watching the rain against the glass, and he locks the door behind him and smashes the remnants of the knife when he goes. This time it is forever. He turns, once, intending to wave goodbye or at least get one last glimpse of Lyra, pressed against the glass, but he has left it too late, and all he can see are the spires of Oxford, disappearing into the mist.


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