A/N: I wrote this shortly after I read Great Expectations in an English class for the first time, in ninth grade. Ayup.
"Glad to part again, Estella? To me, parting is a painful thing. Perhaps it is because my heart is weak, but if it is 'twas love that made it so, and love has always been known to breed sweet sorrow."
Estella laughed in the way she had laughed at me the first time in this very garden, and she rose, then, in a fit of her pride from that long ago time.
"Oh, my dear, dear Pip. Is this how you treat me now? Is my first treatment of you so lasting?" she said, scornfully, to me.
Her eyes were shining again, glistening with tears still unshed, and as I stood, I said, "I do not understand."
Estella's tears started to fall without another word, and the more I hung back from her, recognizing this release as necessary to her continued healing, the more Estella seemed to wither, becoming weaker and weaker.
I jumped, I must confess, almost frightened by her voice. I had never heard my name from any lips so much a plea of forgiveness.
"Yes," said I, meaning it to be an answer of wholehearted forgiveness which I hope she heard.
"I wish to tell you something," Estella continued, "But so difficult is it already that I do not think I may be able to when you do not speak clearly with me."
"What would you have me say?" I asked.
"I would have you say you love me, for it would make my own admittance a little easier, but I would not have you lie."
"It is no lie to tell you I love you even now, for I have never broken from that particular course."
"Then I feel I may tell you that I have fallen in love with you, but I dare not act upon it. So long have I carried out Miss Havisham's purpose for me that I know not how to use this newfound heart."
"My dear Estella, I could not wish for more," said I, in some ecstasy, "All I may ask is would you consider to try out this new life?"
"It needs no considering, nor no asking. I doubt I could succeed, but it is my wholehearted wish that I might try."
"Then come with me tomorrow."
"My dear sweet Pip, so generous and caring, I would only hinder you and your friends. I who could never take comfort in anything should find myself even more alien in the hot lands of the east."
"I do not believe that to be true," I said, and Estella looked up at me, surprised, perhaps at my forwardness, "If you truly wish to attempt at this noble course, I should think you could not find a better start than to physically remove yourself from all reminders of your former life. And I would be honored if you would allow me to accompany and assist you."
Estella seemed to consider this for some time, for she sat down again on the bench, her hands moving in the nervous habit I had first recognized in her mother, and her eyes stared far away at the evening mists rising. These things seemed to clear a way before her eyes, for when she finally turned her face toward mine again, she said, "I will go with you, but no longer will I be Estella. I will take a new name."
She rose again and I took her hands.
"Let me be Seren," she said, "It will be an explanation to those who know me, for it is simply another form of my own name, and I hope it may be some guide to me thus."
"I know it will be so, Estella."
"No! If I am to go with you, please say my new name so I can hear it."
"And do you love me?"
"I love you by any name."
"Would you like to kiss me?"
So with a slight kiss to her cheek, we parted ways, promising to meet in the ruined gardens the next morning to shed their influence with finality before we boarded the ship which would take us to Egypt.