I didn't sleep for long, my rest fitful even in the soft and warm human-alien bed I was in.

The last two weeks had completely fried my nerves and even with the constant connection feeding love even into my dreams, I couldn't let myself relax.

So it was no wonder that I awoke with a startled scream, with the phantom feeling of Sean kicking me in the back - projected from my memory - turned into a nightmare.

"Liz." Max's voice was hushed, regretful, as he tenderly brushed the tears from my nightmare away with the pads of his fingers.

Slowly I became aware of my new reality. When I was no longer woken up by my tormentors, but instead being woken up cradled in Max's embrace. Our connection was soothing my mind, preparing me for his presence even before I fully awoke. Helping me to not react in panic at the fact that someone was holding me.

The room was still dark and with my increasing level of awareness, I started to take in my new surroundings.

Is this where Max had been this whole time? In this darkness?

Yes, he whispered in my mind.

I blinked up to his face, documenting the changes to his features. There were dark circles under his eyes, his face was thin, his cheekbones were protruding and he had a beard. Almost. The facial hair cast shadows on his face that made him look not only older, but also darker, more haunted, and accentuated his weight loss.

I brought my hand up and brushed it slowly through his hair. I swallowed back the urge to cry anew.

"What have they done to you?" I asked sadly.

I could only assume that they had treated him worse than me, since he was part of their society. They didn't have to consider cover stories when it concerned Max. At least not to the same degree as they would with me.

"It's nothing," he murmured, covering my searching hand with his and bringing it to his mouth to adore it with a soft kiss.

Even the anger that usually burnt so hotly through him that it should be exploding through our connection with intensity, was subdued. He was not himself. Not by a long-shot.

His anger about how I had been treated was tinged not only with fatigue, but also guilt and self-hate.

He was blaming himself.

I crushed my body closer against his, pressing my nose into the curve of his neck and screwed my eyes tightly closed. I could feel his life force pulsate against the tip of my cold nose and hear his breathing against my ear. His smell was all around me, giving me the illusion of safety and a sense of home. Even when our situation was far from it.

My arms were around his waist and I pushed my hands up underneath his shirt, up along the taut and tense muscles of his back, my heartbeat throbbing through my chest at the implied strength of his body as well as in response to the small tremors that betrayed his ever-present guilt.

My short escape to sleep hadn't been enough to alleviate my chronic fatigue, but had helped to clear my head of the blurriness that whatever I had been injected with had created. My thoughts were a lot clearer, even though they were slower than they would have been if I hadn't been running on so little sleep.

"I love you," I whispered against his neck, feeling the tightness in his throat and how his arms contracted around me.

His voice was strained, as if he had trouble getting the words out. "They haven't given you any food."

My shaky breath brushed against his skin. "Enough for me to stay alive."

Because starving me was not the worst of it. And he was reading it all in my mind. Seeing it, like some horror motion picture in his head. But my thoughts jumped so quickly back and forth that it became an incomplete account of torment.

Unbreakable - A Beautiful Lie · (Roswell Fanfiction) ·  √Read this story for FREE!