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Our Life After Kiev

Chapter Text

The work day started off as any other day for Serena and Jason. The ride to work was an endless stream of trivia about “The World's Strongest Man” and reminders that it was Fish and Chips night. Serena had to reassure Jason that not only did she remember, but that it was hard to forget given they have it the same night every week without fail.
“Well Auntie Serena, I didn't want you to forget, today is an important day after all.” Jason said with a smirk on his face. Serena scoffed.
“Jason, as wonderful as Fish and Chips are, they’re hardly cause for so many reminders.” They were pulling into the car park as Jason tried to explain what he had meant by “important”.
“No Auntie Serena, I mean Ber-” He began.
“Alright Jason, no more about it. We’re here. Let's go before the line at Pulses is too bloody long...Again.” She had already been out of the car and headed for the entrance before she finished that sentence, Jason soon behind.
“You know, the line wouldn't be so long if we got here earlier, Auntie Serena.We’ve been late almost every day this month.” He was very smug about it.
“Yes, Jason. Thank you for that little bit of knowledge.” They made their way in line as Serena took off her coat and draped it across her arm. Jason took the time to study her face very carefully.
“Every morning it’s like this now.” Serena quickly got frustrated at the length of the line, she noticed Jason staring at her but didn't want to ask why, figured she would find out soon enough.
“You’re wearing an awful lot of makeup.” There it is, Serena thought to herself.
“Am I?”
Some of it is congealed in your frown lines.” Jason said with no hesitation.
Immediately the feeling of self-consciousness washed over her as her hand lifted to her forehead to smooth out the excess concealer.
“Bless you for that.”
“Is that a new blouse?” Jason was normally excellent at spotting something new in Serena’s wardrobe, but this time it took him a bit longer.
“Oh, yes, you noticed at last. Do you like it? It was horribly expensive.” Serena was very proud of it. Her smile widened just thinking about how good she felt in it.
“It’s actually just horrible.” Jason said matter of factly. Immediately Serena’s mood changed, again.
“Well thank you for the vote of confidence.” She knew the questions and comments were going to last as long as the line to the counter. No end in sight.
“So why have you got a new blouse anyway?”
“Well people do tend to replace their clothes from time to time, Jason.” Serena was a bit on the defensive now. She only wanted her caffeine and to get to the confines of her office. Finally, they made it to the front of the line.
“Uh, could I have a latte with an extra shot and an orange juice for my delightful nephew, please?” She took a deep breath to calm herself. The heavy feeling in her chest finally going away. “I bought this for Bernie. Think she’ll like it?” Jason held up a “welcome back” card. The heavy feeling made it’s return to Serena’s chest. “Oh, I’d forgotten she was coming back today. About time too.” They both knew she hadn’t really forgotten.
“It’s written on the calendar on our fridge.”
“Yes, well, I never bother to look at that silly thing.” She lied right through her teeth.
“That’s stupid. Why even have it then?”
Serena turned her head to look at Jason and turned it back towards the counter just as fast. She had no answer for that one.

Bernie’s morning was a bit less usual for her. She had spent the early hours of her morning boarding a plane and flying for nearly four hours straight. The only thing, or person, on her mind was Serena.
She made it to the hotel she was staying at until the couple she had rented her flat out to left, only a week left on their temporary lease anyway. She immediately dropped her luggage on the bed, checked herself in the mirror, and went back down to the lobby to ask where the nearest shop was. She needed a gift for Serena and only one thing came to mind at that moment.
Bernie had finally made it to Holby City Hospital with a bottle of wine in hand for Serena.
“Shiraz without a doubt would still be Serena's favourite.” Bernie thought to herself while wrapping the bottle up in the back of the taxi with some gold foil and a silver ribbon.
“Sorry, just two minutes.” She said to the driver while trying to rip a piece of tape off its roll with her teeth.
Entering back into Holby almost felt like coming back home after being gone for a long period of time, familiar and warm but at the same time foreign and cold. The steps Bernie took to get to AAU were like muscle memory, not much had changed and for that she was grateful.
The first familiar face Bernie sees, or shall we say, sees her is Jason. “Oh, hello Bernie. I bought this for you. It's a welcome back card.” Of course he would be carrying it around with him, he no doubt had this day marked on his calendar as she did. Bernie accepted the card. It made her smile.
“Thank you Jason. That's lovely.”
“You probably won't get one from Guy Self though, Auntie Serena told me he doesnt work here anymore”
Even the mention of Serena's name made Bernie's nerves flare up, instantly feeling the colour rise to her cheeks.
Bernie's eyes were scanning the room for her. Wishing for the slightest chance of catching a glimpse of Serena before she sees her.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” she thought to herself. Her thoughts are cut off by Jason once again.
“Mind you, Auntie Serena didn't buy you a present either, and she still works here.”
Bernie's attention turned back to Jason, mouth agape. Dumbfounded. Didn't know what she could possibly say to that.
“She didn't even remember you were coming in.” Bernie felt those words tug at her heart strings a bit.
“Probably busy.” Trying to convince herself.
“Buying horrible blouses.” Jason answered back.
She didn't exactly expect Serena to wait for her or even remember the day she was coming back, for that matter. For weeks Serena tried to call, text, and email her but Bernie couldn't bring herself to respond, it hurt too much, not being there with her. She knew she brought it upon herself though. Can't even bring herself to think of what it will be like when she does finally see Serena.
But she doesn't have a chance to even try before she hears the voice she's longed to hear, imagined hearing the whole time she was away. Serena's voice coming from behind her.
A single word sent shivers down Bernie’s spine and made her skin rise with goosebumps. A reminder that she never stopped caring for Serena, and up until this moment, she never truly knew just how much she needed her.
Bernie turned around and for the first time in months their eyes met. Serena’s were soft and shined with a mixture of joy and shyness. Bernie’s eyes almost seemed distant and frightened. Serena couldn’t look away, but with Fletch coming up beside her it drew Bernie's gaze away.
“Welcome back to the madhouse.” His cheeky smile lighting up, almost breaking the tension.
“Thanks Fletch” Bernie returned the smile.
“It's alright Auntie Serena, I already told Bernie you've completely forgotten her.”
Bernie's smile faded. The gift she had bought hidden behind her back, feeling ridiculous for even getting one. Serena's head hung and shook as she tried to speak but words failed her. Bernie dropped the bottle in the bin behind her before Serena could notice, not wanting to make the situation even more awkward, if that was even possible.
They all stood in silence for what felt like eternity, neither of them looking up at each other long enough to really mean anything. Fletch finally caught the hint and left before it became a mess, already feeling like he overstayed his welcome.
“Well..I'll catch you later Bernie.” Fletch said before leaving.
Bernie clears her throat before responding, suddenly feeling as if she's going to choke on her words.
“Yup. It was good to see you, Fletch.”
Serena and Bernie’s eyes met again, this time both filled with silent apologies to one another, although Serena really had nothing to apologize for, it was all Bernie's doing.
Serena took a couple of steps closer, not to close, but close enough to smell Bernie. Patchouli with hints of citrus. Serena would light incense at home that smelled similar just to feel close to her. Jason never understood and would often make comments about the smell being overwhelming.
“Well I better get back to work.” Jason said leaving the two women alone for the first time. Suddenly the air got colder between them.
Bernie’s mouth opened and closed a few times, trying to find the right words to say, if there even were any. Instead she spun on her right heel and took off toward the loo, leaving Serena behind once again, except this time she was bound to see her again given they would be working on AAU together.
Until then, Bernie took her time. She took a moment to look at herself in the mirror and gave herself a pep talk. Praying nobody was in any of the stalls. “Come on Wolfe. Get yourself together. Four tours in the British Armed Forces getting shot at and bombed.” She splashed her face with cold water to knock her back into shape. Bernie took a deep breath, flattened her shirt, and straightened herself up. You can do this. She reminded herself before stepping back into the hall and headed toward her old locker. Believe it or not she missed her NHS issued scrubs. They were more form fitting and softer than the ones she had in Kiev.

Serena had taken the time to step into the on-call room to calm herself down, unsuccessfully. "How could Jason tell her I'd forgotten about her? What should I say to her? Oh God! This will be the death of me." All these thoughts were running through Serena's mind as she paced the floor. Eventually stopping and falling back onto the bed, her hands splayed across her face rubbing her temples. "Oh it’s going to be a long day."

Chapter Text

Bernie's hypothesis was correct. They had managed to avoid each other in the Consultants Office and on the floor while working with patients. Although, Bernie would look up and catch Serena looking at her and vis versa. Each time, they would nod, smile a little, then get back to their respective patients. Half an hour later they met at the nurses station. Bernie walked around Serena and picked up a pile of files and searched until she found the one she needed. Conversation was unavoidable. Serena was the first to break the silence.
“Just so you know, I- I hadn't forgotten you. I’ve forgotten you were coming back today, it - er - it's on my calendar.”
Serena stumbled over her words, trying to make up for what Jason had said earlier.
“Well I - um - wasn’t expecting a trumpet fanfare on my arrival.” Bernie's attempt to lighten the mood.
“Oh! haha! Damn! All those lessons for nothing.” Serena nervously chuckled out, in return making Bernie smile a little. They both stood there fidgeting with files in their hands.
“Anyway, um - it's good to be back” Bernie didn't know what else to say.
“It’s good to have you back.” They shared tight-lipped smiles and small nods.
“Don’t suppose you'd fancy assisting -um- later in theatre do you? I've got a perforated ulcer on the duodenum.”
“You do know how to show a girl a good time.” Bernie replied while turning away. Her response had made Serena perk up a bit. Before Bernie could step away Jason popped up out of nowhere.
“Auntie Serena, have you told Bernie about what happened between you and Robbie?” Serena’s face drops once again. Ashamed. This took Bernie by surprise, although it shouldn't have.
“Robbie?” She asked, not knowing if she wanted the answer.
“I thought they were going to get back together. I also thought she loved you but she obviously doesn’t.” Serena had no defence. She felt stupid, ashamed, like she couldnt breath. Of course she loved Bernie. Bernie's face showed visible heartbreak. Couldn't bring herself to look at Serena for answers.
“I don't understand relationships…Do you?” he asked, unaware of the tension he was creating. Bernie was absolutely flustered.
“They are.. very puzzling.” Not wanting to make the situation worse she pursed her lips to keep herself from continuing. Jason was still unaware of the thickness in the air.
“Are you enjoying your first day back?” He still had that sweet oblivious smile on his face.
“Oh yes, yes, loving it… Every second.” Bernie answered before finally turning away without looking back at Serena, who had been silent the whole bloody time, but watched her walk away.
“I like Bernie.” Serena's attention turned back to Jason.
“Why are you frowning?’
“I'm not.” Serena denied with a bothered tone, hoping Jason would catch the drift.
“You are. I can count the lines.” Jason holds up his hand. “One, Two, Three…”
“Jason please.” Serena nearly shouted. Jason was confused at her frustration.
“Have I said something wrong? I have haven't I? I should go back to work.” he said while backing away, not looking where he's going, crashing right into a moving gurney.
“Jason! Oh!” Serena ran to his side immediately. Fletch rushed to his side as well, picking him up off the floor and helping him to an empty bed. Jason cried in pain while clutching at his right arm that seemed to be hanging in an odd way.
“Shit. How could this day get worse?” Serena thought to herself. After getting Jason settled Fletch grabbed a cloth sling and tied up Jasons arm to keep it in place for the time being.
Bernie stood in the background, watching from a distance. She may have left them behind but Serena and Jason still meant the world to her. She was actually quite fond of Jason's bluntness and limitless knowledge of television game shows and Dr. Who trivia.
“Aargh!” Jason screamed in pain.
“There you go.” Fletch said while tying off the sling.
“Right, we're going to send you for an x-ray, Jason. Though I think, looking at it, with any luck, it's a dislocation.” Serena said, not wanting to freak Jason out anymore than he already was.
“That's lucky?” He didn't seem convinced.
“It is if you’ve managed to dodge a fracture, mate.” Fletch said, trying to calm him.
“Will I have to have an operation?”
“No, I doubt that very much. Um. I'll be back as soon as I can, all right?” Serena reassured him.
Just as she turned, she caught a glimpse of Bernie at the counter. Bernie immediately lowered her eyes away from her direction. Serena made her way over to her, getting Bernie's attention again, but only for a brief second before she put her head back down focusing on whatever was on the computer screen.
“So, uh, you still OK to join me in theatre later?” Serena asked sheepishly.
“Cleared my schedule.” Bernie kept her response short but ended it with another tight-lipped smile..
“Good, thank you.”
That made Serena happy. Her face lit up just a bit and colour rose to her cheeks. Without making eye contact, Bernie continued the conversation.
“So, uh, the elephant in the room. Robbie's back on the scene, then?” Only her eyes lift up and look through her fringe, the fringe Serena missed, often wanting to tuck it behind Bernie's ear to get a better look at her beautiful brown eyes. Serena finally had the gall to look back at her instead of her paperwork and was immediately caught off guard. Bernie's eyes were filled with something that Serena couldn't quite place yet. Her breath caught in her throat before she could respond properly.
“No, no, not really. Well- briefly. But I realised that… that it was a rather large mistake.” Serena cleared her throat before continuing.
“You don't mind do you?” What a stupid question to ask. She thought to herself.
“Mind? I was away. It’s your life. Nothing to do with me. Feel free to chuck in a cliche of your own whenever you feel like it.”
“Right…Well, I was just being polite.”
“Absolutely no need.” Bernie gave her another quick smile, eyes shut and tight lipped. And with that Serena walked away.
Bernie closed her eyes to try and ground herself. She can't help but think to herself how ridiculous this all is, all the tiptoeing around each other and conversations. Why can't they just come out and actually say what they are both very much likely thinking. How great it is that they finally get to be back around each other.

They manage to avoid further conversation until it's time to head to theatre. Bernie is sat in what used to feel like their office, but now she just feels like a visitor. The door slightly ajar until Serena walked through.
“Ah, there you are. Ready for theatre?” Bernie looks up from the screen, but not for long.
“Um, yep. Just finishing an email to a colleague back in Kiev.” She continued typing.
Serena had to bite her cheek to keep herself from saying something like, “so they do have service there” or “It's wonderful how some people can stay connected from halfway across the world.” Something that would relay her frustration at being ignored while Bernie was away. But she refrained for the sake of theatre. They would be spending time together, standing across from one another, with their hands in a man's body. She didn't want it to be anymore painful than it was bound to be.
Bernie made a few more taps to her keyboard before hitting send and rising from her chair. She straightened up her scrub op and made her way to the door. Serena, however, didn't move from the doorway. Instead she just slid to the side to let Bernie pass through, their elbows brushing up against each other as she did. That smallest touch made both their stomachs leap. Bernie turned her head just as she made it past Serena, like she wanted to say something, but instead she opened her mouth and closed it again just as fast and walked away. Serena followed right behind.

The patient had already been prepped for surgery and taken to Theatre Room 1 for ten minutes before the two made it there and scrubbed in. The silence between them was deafening, nothing but the sound of running water and the scrub brush against their hands could be heard. Finally, they were ready to begin surgery.
Serena had been the one to cut the patient open without a single word, Bernie stood by idly until Serena was ready for her to join in. Knowing Serena had done this surgery before and could do it again with her eyes closed, she wasn't all that worried, just felt a little useless. Until Serena finally spoke.
“OK, let's lift this liver.”
“Pechinku.” Bernie said, taking Serena by surprise. She looked up in confusion, trying to find a reason for what Bernie had said.
“Bless you…?” was the only thing Serena could think of to say, not really knowing if Bernie had actually spoken a word or made a subtle sneeze that caught her off guard.
Bernie now felt a little silly. “It’s Ukrainian for liver.”
“Very helpful.” Serena’s response was filled with sarcasm. “Just a shame we live in England and speak English.” They both looked back down to the patient's open body cavity.
“You’ve got a tear.” Bernie said. Obviously Serena noticed as well.
“More packs please.” Bernie's first instinct from years of trauma surgeries in the field was to pack the bleed until it had stopped or until she found a better way to stop the patient from bleeding out on her table, as many soldiers had.
This put Serena off. She immediately retaliated.
“What are you doing?” Her defence went up.
“What does it look like I'm doing?” Bernie snapped back.
“We’re not in the Somme now.” More sarcasm.
“Look, I'll pack it, we'll get lucky, it’ll stop bleeding.” Bernie continued her work.
Serena was not giving this up without a fight.
“No, we don't have time for that. Can I have some Haemostatic glue please? Quickly!” She shouted.
“This will be fine.” Bernie stood her ground. Their eyes met. The fire inside both of them had been ignited, neither one of them wanted to give it up, until Bernie did, moving her hands and the bloody gauze away. Knowing this was Serena’s home, and hers alone now, Bernie felt as if she had no place here anymore.
“Thank you.” Serena said, and actually sounded like she meant it.
“Pleasures all mine.” Bernie replied, trying to keep the peace. She was defeated by the Great Serena Campbell, knew it wasn't the first time and was sure it wouldn't be the last.
Serena had sealed the tear and they continued the rest of their work on the patient, in silence, once again.
Once Serena had begun sewing the patient back up, Bernie knew her presence was no longer needed.
“Right. Well, I’ll leave you to it. I'll be back on the ward if you need me.”
And with that Bernie waited for any sign in Serena's face that she wanted her to stay, but nothing, not even a look. Bernie removed her gloves and cap and made her way out of the room to scrub her hands and to clear her mind.
She could feel Serena’s eyes on her once she was on the other side of the glass washing her hands. Bernie didn't bother looking back. She needed to step away and clear her head. This was beginning to feel like too much.

Chapter Text

Once Serena had finished closing up the patient she thanked the team that assisted her through the surgery and left. Removing her gloves, gown, and cap before washing her hands. She felt as if the water couldn't get hot enough to wash away the frustration she was feeling towards Bernie. She needed something to distract her. Then she remembered. Jason. He had been sitting in a bed this whole time waiting for the results of his X-ray, it was no doubt a dislocation, but they had to be sure before they tried to reset it. So Serena made her way back to AAU. She had just made it through the doors when she saw Bernie making her way over to Jason's bed with his chart and X-rays in hand. She knew she couldn't do it herself, she was Jason's family, but she hadn't expected Bernie to step up and take care of it either. It actually made her smile a little as she made her way over to them.
“Well Jason, Auntie Serena was right. Just a dislocated shoulder. You really could have hurt yourself there, might want to keep an eye on where you're walking, or backing up.”
Serena flashed another smile in Jason's direction to keep him at ease.
“Right. Um- well, let's get you some air Jason and then Bernie can pop that right back into place for you.”
“Will it hurt?” A look of worry spread across his face once again. Serena opened her mouth to speak but Bernie had beat her to it.
“Don't worry Jason. It should only hurt for a short period of time afterwards. We’ll get you into a more stable sling and you'll be as good as new in no time.” Bernie was very good at talking Jason down, Serena had forgotten that.
“Yup, so do me a favour Jason and breathe in through your nose deeply and exhale into this tube. It will help ease the pain a bit if you just focus on your breathing.” Serena said whilst handing him the gas and air.
Jason turned his head away, not wanting to watch Bernie put his arm back into place.
“And relax. And…”
“Aargh!” Jason shrieked into the tube. His arm had been set.
“There we go. All better.” Benrie said in an almost maternal way. Serena felt horrible but was glad Bernie had been the one to fix it, even with everything they've been through, she trusted nobody more than Berenice Wolfe.
“It doesn't feel better.” Jason responded.
“Well, you've been very brave.” Bernie said while feeling his shoulder to make sure everything was better.
“Uh- do you want to check?” Bernie asked over her shoulder to Serena, who was standing slightly behind her.
“No, I'm sure it’s perfect.” Serena had actually meant it.
“Right, good, well, I’ve got to run.” And with that she spun around in the direction opposite of Serena and buggered off towards the Consultants office. Serena's eyes followed her.
“She shouldn't run in a hospital. It's dangerous.” Jason said, voice broken from the shriek he let out, no doubt.
“She’ll be fine.” She also had no doubts about that.
“You’re still frowning.”
“Am I?” Serena knew she was.
“Shall I tell you a joke?” Jason asked.The thought of it actually made Serena smile and she sat down beside him on the bed.
“Do you know what? I think I’d really like that.”
“What does the English owl call his favourite tv show?” Jason had a slight smile on his face, as if this was already making him feel better already as well.
“Uhm- I don't know. What does the English owl call his favourite tv show?” Serena was ready for the punchline.
“Dr. Whoot! Haha! Get it? Dr. Whoot!” Jason was so proud of himself Serena couldn’t help but let out a giggle. He really had made her feel better.
“That was a good one Jason. What do you say about going for a walk to the vending machine?” Serena asked, grabbing his hand gently, not enough to bother his shoulder. He happily agreed and they slowly made their way out of AAU and into the hallway.
“You alright?” She asked while they turned a corner.
“Yeah. I think I can even go back to work now.”
“Oh- I’d think twice about that if I were you.”
“One thing I don't understand. Why did you get dressed up and put on lots and lots of makeup?”
The question took her by surprise but she didn't want to bother going into detail about how she hadn’t forgotten Bernie was coming back and she wanted to look her best. “To let her know what she was missing.” Serena had scoffed at herself a bit for that last thought. She let out an audible sigh.
“Ah. That doesn't matter now. In fact, there's only one thing that matters and that's you. Do you know why? Because I am your auntie and you are my nephew and we don't need anyone else.” She said that last bit while wrapping her arms around Jasons good arm as they continued walking down the corridor together.
She wasn't entirely sure if she believed that completely or if she was trying to convince herself she didn't need anybody else, particularly Bernie. Either way it made Jason happy and by effect it made her happy. Her happy little family.

Berie had made her way to the office before she decided to head up to the roof for some fresh air. She grabbed her hoodie and made her way up. She could usually sit up there without any worries about being found or bothered.
For a while she sat in silence with her thoughts. She couldn't help but think of the day she left. Leaving Serena behind. Serena had tried to stop her, literally chased after her tugging at her arm, tried to make her realise she didn’t want to be without her. But Bernie was scared. Scared of losing another friend to a torrid love affair, scared of screwing everything up with Serena, which she had done anyway by leaving. How could I have been so stupid? She didn’t regret the work she did in Kiev, in fact it was the only thing keeping her mind away from thinking about Serena, thinking about how amazing Serena’s lips felt against hers, how warm and welcoming Serena's body was under her silk blouse, and how if it weren't for Raf knocking on the door that day she wouldn't have let go of her, she would have stayed there in Serena's arms forever. It was on the lonely cold nights in bed that she would let herself remember the sweet taste of Serena's mouth and the smell of her skin, a combination of perspiration, cardamom, and vanilla. She thought back to the nights after a long shift that they would head over to Albies where Serena would just about polish off a bottle of Shiraz to herself while Bernie would have herself a few glasses of whiskey. They would sit for hours laughing and talking about some of Bernie’s happier memories of her children and her time in the Royal Army. Serena would even share a little bit about what Elinore was like as a child and the endless amount of fashion shows she would put on for herself and Edward, when he was home that is. They often steered clear of the topic of ex-husbands, but when it did come up they would laugh at the alarming amount of red flags that both marriages yielded. And in the unfortunate event that Alex would come up Bernie would tuck her face away a bit to hide the shame that she so clearly still held on to. Serena, however, did her best to remind Bernie that things happen for a reason and people come into your life to stir things up and leave again, oftentimes more than not. Little did she know that is what Bernie would do exactly that to Serena.
Bernie was so lost in thought she hadn't heard the roof door open. Thinking she was still alone until she saw Dr. Copeland in the corner of her eye, walking in the opposite direction, obviously thinking he was alone as well. This wasn't the first time they had met like this. She could hear him mumbling to himself.
“Should I call a psych?” She was only partly joking. Her voice had caught Dom off guard, having been a moment since he's heard it.
“Hello. Sorry.” Dom made his way over to her.
“You know, we do have to stop meeting like this.” That made Dom chuckle. Lightening his mood a bit. He's about to sit down beside her when he asks permission.
“Do you mind?”
“No, be my guest.” They sit in silence for a moment listening to the nearby sirens.
“There's an urban legend about this roof.” Having no prior knowledge of it Bernie just takes a guess.
“Medics come up here to die?” Rising another chuckle out of Dom.
“It’s an elephant's graveyard.”
“So, erm, professional elephant or personal elephant?”
“That’s tricky. Can I say both?”
“Yes, absolutely you can say both.”
“You?” The question lingered while Bernie thought for a moment.
“Personal.” No doubt Dom had an idea of what it could be about with the Holby rumour mill working like a well oiled machine before she left, she could only imagine what was said after she had left Serena behind, begging her to stay in front of the whole ward.
“The one that got away?”
“Very much the one.” Bernie answered while nodding her head slightly.
“I don't know why they do this to us.”
“Surely they must know it's much easier just to give us what we want.” That one made Bernie laugh.
“I mean, we're nice, good people! We’re deeply attractive.“
“Oh thank you. “
“We don't smell -”
“I do.” They both chuckled. “No, we’re perfect.” Bernie conyinued.
“They’re all just clearly mad.”
“I don't suppose…” Bernie began while turning her head back towards Dom and contemplating her next words.
“What?” Dom asked.
“You’d consider… Turning?” That question made Dom burst into laughter. Making Bernie giggle in return until she continues.
“We’re perfect for each other. We’d be wonderful together.”
“You do realise you would have to turn as well?”
“I'm game.” She couldn't tell if she was still joking or highly considering it at that moment...but obviously she was joking. She loved Serena.
“OK. Fair dos.” They sat in silence again for a moment until Bernie spoke up.
“I really like Isaac.”
They sat there for a few more minutes enjoying the cool wind and warm sun against their face, that is until Dom's pager went off.
“Well duty calls. Thanks for the chat Bernie.” He said as he stood.
“Yup, I suppose I should get back in there. Have some elephants to take care of. It was nice to see you again Dom.” She gave him another smile before he turned to leave.
Bernie sat there a moment and thought about what her next move was. Whatever it was, she knew it wouldn't be easy.

Chapter Text

Serena and Jason made their way back onto the ward and got him back into bed while he waited for his discharge papers. Serena explained to him the whole way back that he couldn't possibly go back to work until his arm healed. He finally agreed once they got back, but only because Serena promised extra fish and chips later for supper, with an extra large gurkin of course. Once Jason was back in bed she made her way to her office, mountains of paperwork were screaming out to her. She rubbed her temples to ease some of the tensions of the day away. What she wouldn't do for a nice glass of Shiraz and a back rub right now. Almost immediately her mind went to Bernie and the countless nights she spent awake thinking about her hands on her back when they last kissed. How soft her hands felt against the silk blouse she had on, the warmth they created, sending small shivers up and down her spine wherever Bernie's hands went. How amazing it was to be back in her arms after agreeing to keep it “Confined to theatre.”
If Raf hadn't interrupted God only knows what would have happened, even when Serena pulled back to apologize, they didn’t let go of each other. They had both wanted it to happen again for weeks, but instead they skated around each other and acted like nothing had happened after their first kiss.
All these thoughts about what could have been floated around Serena's brain as she tried to get herself to concentrate on the tasks in front of her, seemingly endless amounts of paperwork to sign off on.

Jason had finally been released, he was eager to change back into his clothes and find Fletch. He just had to tell him his “English Owl” joke.
While walking down the corridor he noticed something in the bin where he and Bernie had been standing earlier that morning, before he could pick it up he saw Fletcher in the corner of his eye. So excited to tell his joke he yelled out for him.
“Fletch!” Jason's arms were waving above his head.
“No need to yell mate. I'm right here. What can I do for ya?” Fletch enjoyed talking to Jason, he always ended up learning something new.
“Well I was coming to find you because I have this really funny joke I wanted to tell you, it even made Auntie Serena laugh, but then I noticed this in the bin.” Jason reaches in and pulls out the bottle of wine wrapped in gold foil with silver ribbon.
“What is it?” Fletch was confused as to why Jason was so drawn to a seemingly random piece of garbage.
“I saw Bernie with it this morning before you and Auntie Serena showed up, she must have forgotten it, but why was it in the bin?” Fletch could tell Jason was trying to piece the clues together, until his face lit all the way up.
“I UNDERSTAND! I know why Auntie Serena bought all those hideous blouses and is wearing all that makeup. Auntie Serena still loves Bernie...and Bernie must have brought her this as a gift because she loves her back! But when I told Bernie that Auntie Serena had forgotten all about her she must have tossed it. OH STUPID ME!”
Jason finally figured out why Serena looked upset most of the day, because she was around Bernie, but couldn't be with Bernie.
“OK. Calm down mate, don't get yourself too worked up about it.” Fletch placed his hands on his shoulder, gently, he just needed him to calm down.
“I’ve got an idea... Follow me, Jason.” Fletch knew exactly what they had to do.

Serena was still sitting in the office when Bernie came through the door. She had just started to get some work done too. “So much for that.” Serena thought to herself.
“Just to let you know, I might be moving on.” Bernie says as she closes the door behind her.
“Again? You’ve only just got back.” Serena could feel a sting in her eyes and her chest.
“Ric’s promised to look into getting me transferred.” Before Serena could respond she noticed someone at the door, locking them in.
“Jason?” Serena calls out.
“For Pete's sake. What is he doing?” Bernie jiggled the door handle, it didn’t budge an inch.
From the other side of the window Jason held up the gift.
“Look what we found. I understand now, Auntie Serena. I TOTALLY understand.” and with that he walked away, high fiving Fletch out of the eye view of the two women.
“What was he holding?” Serena asked Bernie with a look in her eye, a “you better tell me the truth” look. Bernie couldn't lie to Serena.
“Oh um. It was- um- a gift…” Bernie licks her lips before finishing her sentence. “From me to you.” She could hardly keep her eyes on Serena, she felt oddly more embarrassed then she did that morning. Serena didn't know what to say next. They stood there in silence for a minute or so.
“I’ll call security. They’ll have a spare…” Serena said while picking up the phone.
“No, wait.” Serena stops immediately, looking to Bernie for answers.
“I haven’t been entirely honest with you.” Serena puts the phone down.
At that time she saw Fletch and Jason emerge in the window just behind Bernie. They were holding signs. Fletch held up “You love her!” and Jason had “Tell her”
“Are you even listening?” Bernie's voice sounded hurt. She was about to pour her heart out and Serena was distracted. Drawing her attention back to her she answered.
“Absolutely.” Only to see Fletch and Jason switch sides correcting their signs.
“Tell her” “you love her!”
“I should have just told you... Oh, forget it. Um- you can't even bring yourself to look at me.” Bernie was being vulnerable, trying to lay everything out on the table.
“No, no. I am. I’m looking.”
To stop herself from further distractions she moved to be beside Bernie. The closest they’ve been to each other since she's been back.
Bernie took a moment to regain her thoughts as she stumbled over the words she wanted -no- needed to tell Serena.
“I like. No, God. Uhm- I mo- more than like you.” Bernie took the chance to look Serena in the eyes when she said the next bit.
“I know I’ve messed things up, I’ve done the wrong things. I’ve said the wrong things.” She took a second to breathe.
“But- When I was in Ukraine, there was only one thing I could think about. That was you, Serena. It still is.” Serena couldn't help but look at Bernies lips as she spoke, almost in a trance as the words spilled from them. “How I’ve missed those lips.” Serena thought to herself, but she couldn't give in yet. She turned, faced back towards the desks instead of towards Bernie.
“Right.” She sighed. “So we pick up where we left off? I was all but begging you not to leave, in front of the entire ward, but you went off regardless.” Serena’s voice slightly gave away the pain she'd been holding inside.
Bernie’s body inched closer to Serena, hips almost touching. So close, yet so far away.
“I wanted to commit to you, I did.”
“And yet you still left?” Serena was no longer holding back.
“We’ve become such...close friends.” She looked Serena right in the eyes.
“ And I’ve - phew- destroyed too many friendships in my life, scared. I- I didn't want to destroy ours.” Bernie was all but pleading for Serena to understand.
“So all the texts and emails I sent. You responded to with radio silence?” Bernie had to look away from Serena's gaze. She knew she was hurt.
“I was um- I was rubbish, I know.” Getting the courage to look back up, she finally said the words she's been wanting to tell Serena since the moment she got on the plane to Ukraine. “I’m sorry.”
“Well I um- I’m hoping something has changed.” Serena searched Bernie's eyes.
“Me, me. I’ve- I’ve changed. I- I don't want that horrible, empty, lonely feeling ever again.” Bernie meant every word. Serena knew she meant it. Slowly they leaned into each other. “Almost home.” Bernie thought to herself. They inched ever so slowly towards each other, until Bernie caught Jason peeking through the window.
“What's he doing?” Serena turned her head and couldn't help but giggle at the smile Jason had on his face.
“I believe he's playing cupid.”
“How uh- How's that...” Bernie poked her tongue out and wet her lips. “, working for him?”
“Not very well, given that you're leaving again” Right then and there Bernie had made her decision.
“I won't.” Bernie’s eyes softened, wandering back down to Serena’s lips, then down to her rising and falling chest. Her own breath and heart rate sped up as she finished her sentence. Giving another small lick to her lips to relay the message she was trying to send. “If you give me a reason to stay.”
Without hesitation Serena responded.
“Will this do?” and almost immediately Serena's lips crashed into Bernie’s. Her hands rose to Bernie’s neck to pull her closer. Message received.
“Auntie Serena?” Jason called through the window.
“Ignore him.” Serena was serious. Her lips still attacking Bernie’s, who was more than happy to oblige. Bernie parted her lips just enough for Serena’s tongue to invade her mouth.
“I've lost the key.” Bernie reached for the shades and pulled them closed, not wanting anymore distractions. Her hand returned to Serena’s waist. Bernie reveled in the feeling of Serena’s smooth curvaceous body under her palms again. She couldn't stop her hands from roaming all over, discovering new places that seemed to make Serena squirm when she touched them. For instance, the swell of her ass and just under it, right above the back of her thighs. Bernie grabbed ahold of Serena’s bottom and lifted her up onto the cabinets they were just leaning against not even five minutes ago. Serena gasped at the coolness of the metal cabinet under her now heated up body. She had one hand wrapped around Bernie's neck and one tugging at the elastic holding Bernie’s hair up, letting it fall just above her shoulders before she wrapped her hand in the blonde mess. She pulled at it slightly causing a small, but audible, moan to escape Bernie’s mouth. Serena would have to take a mental note for future reference. Bernie’s hand travelled up until she reached just below Serena’s breasts, her fingers tightened around her ribcage. She pulled away a bit to make sure that whatever they were about to do was okay. Serena whimpered at the loss of contact. Her body involuntarily lunged towards Bernie to regain contact. Her hands moved to hold both sides of Bernie's cheeks and looked deeply into her eyes. She wanted this.
“Please, Bernie. Touch me.”