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My darling Serena

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My darling Serena

This is not going to be easy to write. I’m trying to imagine your face as you are reading and I can almost see it – anger, sadness, a little anguish, maybe regret. Or maybe I’m wrong, and you’ve already put it behind you – put us behind you. Then I hope you have found happiness, and – oh, I’m sorry, this is a little selfish, but maybe you will still spare a few tears for what we had, even if it is long over for you. I asked Alex to bring you this because – well, obviously, because I cannot do it myself. When we left together for this mission, we both knew we were risking our lives. We did sign on for this, a long time ago. Sometimes I wish I had made other choices – I know Cameron and Charlotte will never forgive me dying like this, as a soldier. They thought I had chosen the Army over them, and it is probably true in some ways. Cameron – please take care of him, Serena. He – isn’t as strong as he would like to be. I would ask you to take care of Charlotte, too, but I can still remember the words she threw at you that Christmas we spent together – it seems so long ago now, and yet I don’t think she has forgiven either of us.  

And now – now I must tell you about Alex. Surely you wonder why I asked her to give you my journal. Well – first, because I trust her – there are some things in this journal I wouldn’t want in… Well, in other hands – and I’m not talking about the maps and flowers. I started it when I left Holby that first time – when I left you that first time, and believe me, each time I thought about you my thoughts got etched in those pages – not always very chastely. Alex knows about us, of course. She hasn’t read the journal – I trust her not to – this is our story, not hers. She knows too how it ended. I don’t hate you, darling – I’ve never done, and never will. If anything, I wish I’d handled things better. I wished I’d stayed – I wish I hadn’t let you reject me. I wish I’d done better – been better. But I was – again – a coward with you. So when Alex came to Nairobi – some months after that last evening at Albies’ – when she said she still wanted me… Well, you can’t blame me – or perhaps you will – if you do, it means that you regret the past too. It means you loved me as I loved you. Anyway – you did not want me, and she did. I guess – I felt lonely, I felt flattered, I felt wanted… And… We got together. She and I – we united our broken hearts – hers hadn’t recovered from my leaving, mine – well, you had hacked at it with a very blunt knife…

I hope you will find in my journal the proof that I loved you – very awkwardly sometimes, and I apologise for all my silences, for all my disappearances. This will be the last one, and I hope you will forgive me for dying without seeing you again. There was only you when there was you, my darling – please believe me. Alex came afterwards, and yes, I love her too. It isn’t the same – she is she, and you are you. I know you don’t believe in an afterlife, and I’m not sure I do, but… I promised I would be there for you, and I always keep my promises.

Yours always

Bernie