She wakes up in a startling white room. She can hardly see anything, her vision obscured by the swelling in her left eye. She can't remember how she got here. The sharp smell of disinfectant stings her nostrils, and she wrinkles her nose. Pain shoots through her head, and when she tries to lift her hand, she finds herself shackled to the table.

Confusion and fear course through her body. Her heart stops, and her fear increases tenfold as she hears screams in the next room. Screams that sound so familiar to her throbbing ears, to her pained head. She hopes that it's not him, but when she hears his familiar angry roar, she can find no excuses to be made. Her heart breaks and tears slide down her face as she worries about the man she loves.

"Good. You're awake," a cold, sterile female voice greets her. She didn't even hear the woman come in.

"What is this?" she asks. Her throat is cracked and dry, and her voice comes out as no more than a raspy whisper. "Where's Luke?"

"He's fine. Nothing for you to be concerned about, provided he cooperates."

"Cooperates? What's going on?" She tries to move, but the metal holds her fast to the table. "Who are you? Why am I secured to a table? Where am I?"

The female sighed. "You ask an awful lot of questions, Miss Munroe. Perhaps we should have secured your mouth, as well. But, as it's too late to do that, I will answer what I see appropriate. I am Doctor Eleanor Thorne. I head the base here in Emarose, where we take…aberrant citizens, such as yourself and Lucien, and try to persuade them to see things our way. And your being secured to a table is purely precautionary."

The anaesthetic is wearing off, as is the rest of the medication cocktail that has been poisoning her bloodstream, and Alyssa starts to think more clearly. She notices with a start that she is in a Catcher facility, realising only the Government would have the power and the arrogance to kidnap her.

Her attitude returns with the use of her mind. She struggles against her metal binds, wincing slightly as the metal chafes her delicate wrists, marking her porcelain complexion with deep crimson bands.

"It's no use," Eleanor informs her in a dry voice. "We've been doing this for years. You won't get out of the restraints. Best you just cooperate."

"And just what do you want from me?" she asks, already suspecting the answer.

"Information," comes the anticipated response.

"Oh? And what kind of information do you think I would be able to provide you with?" Alyssa asks, playing naïve.

Through her swollen vision, she sees Eleanor roll her eyes. "Don't try that with me. It's been a long day, and I have neither time nor patience enough to deal with your games. We know you were a part of the Rebellion. We want information. Who was involved, what was done, what you're planning. We want everything you know, and we want it as soon as we can get our hands on it."

"I have no idea what you're talking about," she claims. "As far as I know, there is no Rebellion. We must all remain loyal to the Government, isn't that what we were taught?"

She winces, resisting the urge to cry out as Eleanor slaps her sharply across the face. "I warned you, Miss Munroe, do not play games with me. What is the Rebellion?"

The slap to her face has returned her fighting spirit. "It's exactly what it sounds like, Doctor."

She grins this time, as Eleanor slaps her again. "And so we've gone from playing innocent to acting smart. You best be careful, Miss Munroe, with the words you choose. You have no idea who you're dealing with."

Alyssa does her best to fix Eleanor with a steely gaze. "May I inform you, Doctor, that neither do you."

Eleanor raises her hand again, and Alyssa prepares herself. She winces before the hand comes into contact with her skin, as she hears Luke in the next room, roaring in pain. She sees Eleanor grin wickedly. She lowers her hand. "You are a strong girl, Miss Munroe. But those feelings you have for Mr Cuthbert would be your downfall. He will be your weakness. And you can rest assured, that until we get what we want, neither one of you will be released. And your weaknesses will be exploited." She turns and picks up a small spray bottle off the medical table Alyssa had not noticed was there until now. Alyssa bites her lip, and resists the urge to scream as the contents of the bottle are sprayed on her face and wrists. Eleanor laughs.

"Believe it or not, Miss Munroe, that was actually to help you. The mist is something designed by our own team of scientists, designed to accelerate the process of healing the body. You should be as good as new in no more than ten minutes. I'll be back then, and we'll have a nice chat."

Her laughter grates against Alyssa's ears as she leaves the room, leaving behind her a silence that is broken only by screams that shatter Alyssa's heart. She falls into a restless sleep, dreaming, dreaming of him.

She lies on her back in the field, gazing up at the sky, bluer than she has ever seen it. This is the first time she has been outside in such a long time, always too afraid of the Catchers to venture too far away from the Rebellion headquarters. Her fear bubbles to the surface as she moves into a sitting position, wondering why he has been gone so long. She worries he has been captured, and for a quick moment her fear threatens to spill over, before it is blown away by the carefree breeze that always seems to follow him. He surprises her, hugging her from behind, bearing a handpicked bouquet of flowers she's forgotten the name of. She inhales the sweet scent, allowing it to infiltrate her senses, letting down her guard if only for a little while.

She smiles as he kisses her neck. He laughs, and pins her down playfully, his eyes dancing the way that they always do when he's with her. Only when he's with her. She giggles and squirms, with no desire to get away. She teases him with her smile, and pulls him down to her, kissing him gently. She escapes from him, and runs barefoot across the field, initiating a blithe game of cat and mouse.

She stops and lets him catch her, laughing as he picks her up and twirls her around.

He lets her down and pulls her closer, breathing her in as if this is the last chance they have, the last time they will be together. With soft, gentle kisses, he silences the voice that tells him that could be so.

His kisses make her fly. It is only his arms wrapped tightly around her waist that stops her floating away, or sinking to her knees. She arches into him as he sends shivers down her spine, and smiles up at him. She sighs happily.

For now, there is nothing else in the world. There is no war of power, no persecution, no fear of being locked away for being different.

For now, there is only them.

She is snapped harshly out of her reverie by the slamming of the door, followed by the harsh clacking of heels against the linoleum floor.

"Wake up," Eleanor demands callously.

Alyssa opens her eyes groggily, surprised to find that her wounds had in fact healed. She looks around the room properly now, as far as her secured body will allow, and finds that her room is more like a cell. The walls are painted a painful white, which threatens to blind her should she look at them too long. There is a small window at the very top of every wall, covered with bars. She knows better than to think these bars are for her protection. She knows very well they are only there to keep her from getting out.

"What do you want from me?" Alyssa demands, fear for Luke colouring her irritation at still being held prisoner. He had been quiet for a while, and she could only hope that they had stopped whatever they were doing to him.

Eleanor smiles, a cold smile that sends shivers down her back. "You know what we want. And don't-" she cut off Alyssa before she could protest her ignorance, "-try to tell me that you don't know anything. I know that you do, and it will only be a matter of time until you break."

Alyssa laughs, having decided to abandon her efforts to convince Eleanor that she was innocent. "I will not break, Doctor. You're wasting your time. I don't care what you do to me."

Eleanor smiles, and for the first time, there is actual joy in her eyes. "I was hoping you would say that, Alyssa she says cruelly. "You have no idea how much fun this will be for me. I've been given permission to use whatever methods I deem necessary to extract the information we want. I've decided to revert back to the old methods of torture. Before science and technology took all the real fun out of it."

A branding iron lies on the ground next to a fire poker, both sitting in a bucket of hot coals, over a fire Alyssa assumes is yet another experiment of the scientific team.

She bites her lip, as Eleanor turns around, a malicious look on her face and a dangerous glint in her eyes. "Now, Alyssa, are you sure that you won't say anything?" she asks, brandishing the fire poker.

Already, she can feel the heat on her skin. She shakes her head.

Eleanor laughs. "Fantastic," she says, advancing on the girl.

Alyssa cries out as the metal burns her skin, Eleanor's wicked cackle barely audible beneath the scream of pain. That is the only sounds she allows the woman, making no more noise as Eleanor drags the white hot metal along the tops of her bare arms, the only evidence of her pain the few tears she cannot stop sliding down her face.

Eleanor sighs. "You're taking all the fun out of this. Come on. Scream, or give in. I know you want to…"

Alyssa shakes her head. She tastes blood, the lip she has been biting down on finally giving in to the pressure. She closes her eyes as Eleanor starts again, on the other arm this time, and focuses on her breathing, the way that they had taught her in the Rebellion. Concentrating on the deep inhale and exhale, she allows herself to drift away from the pain, into yet another memory.

She is scared. He has been gone for days, and nobody has heard a thing. They have lost contact, and she hates not knowing. As her mind always does whenever he goes away, she begins to worry, fearing the worst. She doesn't know what she would do without him. She doesn't know what she would do if they caught him.

She paces back and forth in the tiny room that serves as their refuge. Though it is not much, it is a place that is safe. A place that is theirs, more importantly. It is a place she shares with him, and a place that they have made their own, despite restrictions. She sits down on the bed that they share, a bed that has been empty of him for nearly a week now. She knows that these missions are necessary, and the only way they have of providing food for the refugees, but she hates that it means he has to leave her. Her heart hasn't stopped aching since he walked out the door, and it won't stop until he is safely in her arms. Her heart stops as she hears the lock on the door click. The sound is like a gunshot through her silent world, and she freezes. He knows better than to open the door without calling, and she panics, hiding away in the cupboard.

She hears footsteps, and starts to breathe only slow, shallow breaths. Her heart is racing, and she feels as if it is going to break through her ribcage.

The floor creaks outside the cupboard door. She hears the sound of someone crouching down outside her haven, her ears picking up the shifting weight, and she closes her eyes, preparing herself for the worst.

The door creaks open, and she allows her eyes to open slightly, ready to take in the face of her assailant.

Relief floods through her as she takes in his familiar face, his cheeky smile, and she leaps into his arms, before her anger sets in.

"Why didn't you tell me you were coming home?!" she demands, hitting him. "Do you have any idea how worried I was?"

She shakes her head as he opens his mouth to respond, cutting off any excuses he may have made. "I don't want to hear it," she says, before storming off, leaving him standing there alone.

She has made herself numb, unable now to feel anything. Strenuous training in the Rebellion has made her strong enough to deal with any physical pain the Government may inflict upon her. They all knew there was a chance that they could be found at any moment, and so not a day went by where they didn't prepare.

Still, she is unable to stop the tears that slide down her face as Eleanor gleefully drags the poker along the inside of her thigh, now, drawing a line down to her knee.

"Still weak enough to cry, aren't you?" she asks maliciously.

Alyssa shakes her head. The tears are for Luke, the pain of the memory too much for her to handle in her fragile state of mind. She recalls how she never apologised for overreacting, and resolves that if they get out of this, she will make it up to him.

Finally, Eleanor sighs, and stops. "You're not going to make this easy for me, are you?" she asks.

Alyssa shakes her head defiantly.

Eleanor laughs. "Good," she says, patting Alyssa on the cheek. "I do love a challenge."

She doesn't even know what day it is anymore. The lines, like wet ink, have blurred and run together, making night into day, day into night, seconds and minutes and hours running in a continuous, confusing cycle she has given up hope of ever getting out of.

She drifts in and out of consciousness, dreaming of better days. She dreams of him. She dreams of days before the war – moonlit nights where he sneaks into her backyard, and plays soft music beneath her window. She dreams of days where they walk hand in hand down a sunny beach, laughing as they play in water that is always a perfect temperature. These are the good dreams. The ones that leave her with a smile etched on her face, a rare and foreign thing.

But there are bad dreams too. Dreams with nightmarish ghouls and ghosts of past and present, wearing hideous masks as they leer at her from inside her closet, and underneath her bed. Dreams that reach out with poisonous claws, swatting at her neck and stealing precious oxygen, so that sometimes she wakes screaming and gasping for air. These dreams she can't escape, any more than she can escape the morbid loneliness that seems to fill her as she continues to think of him.

Her body is covered in welts and bruises, a result of Eleanor's unrelenting mission to extract what she knew. She won't give in, and anticipates that by the end of this she wouldn't even be able to recognise her body through the marks.

Her head snaps up as the door slams loudly.

She eyes Eleanor, who is hiding something behind her back. She hates to think what.

"Why do you continue to do this?" she asks Eleanor curiously. "I've made it perfectly clear that I'm not going to talk, no matter what you do to me. Why waste your time?" Her binds have been partially released, and she can sit up now, though her wrists are still strapped to the table.

Eleanor smirks. "Miss Munroe, you haven't even seen the half of what we can do. If you don't talk today, I can guarantee you'll have something to say tomorrow." She pulls a wicked looking blade from behind her back. "Sure you don't want to share anything with me?"

Alyssa's eyes widen as she takes in the size of the knife. The harsh fluorescent lighting bounces off it, giving it a strange ethereal glow. She shakes her head. She would not betray the Rebellion. They were the only people who were actually fighting for a better world. She had sworn to give her life for the cause, and she fully intended to keep her promise.

Eleanor shrugs. "Very well," she says, before the cold metal bites into Alyssa's skin.

She tries not to make a sound, but she can't repress the screams that escape as the serrated blade cuts her weathered flesh.

She hates that her screams give Eleanor so much delight. She can see the joy that dances in the Doctor's eyes as blood streams down her arms. She wants to stop screaming, but the pain is too great, and she is not strong enough to separate herself from it. Eleanor grins wickedly, and puts down the knife, satisfied with the job she has done.

She sees Alyssa sigh inwardly, and laughs. "You don't think it's over yet do you little rebel?" she asks, producing a small container of salt. "I'm only just starting."

Her throat is hoarse from screaming, but still manages to produce agonised squeals as the salt stings her fresh wounds. Pained tears stream down her face.

"Are you ready to tell me what you know?" Eleanor asks, holding the salt container over her head.

Alyssa shakes her head, more determined now than ever that she will not break.

Salt is poured once more over both her arms, embedding itself once more into her cuts, before Eleanor turns sharply on her heels and exits the room. "See you tomorrow," are her final cryptic words.

Alyssa can't even bear to think about tomorrow. All she knows is that it will be worse than today, and that is enough. Her body seizes, trying to prepare for an unpredictable threat. She tries to force herself back to sleep, but her body is still screaming in silent agony, and the pained yells from the next room cause her heart too much pain. She finds herself unable to consciously retreat to her refuge, and unwillingly concedes that perhaps the Catchers have won this round.

Luke roars as the branding iron comes into contact with his bare chest. It has been like this for days, constant torture, and still he has not said a word. The only sounds that have come out of him have been those few pained and angry yells that he could not control. In all other respects, he has been silent.

"Come on, Lucien," the Doctor coaxes him, as her branding iron moves back to his bare chest. "Just a little bit of information, and then both you and your girlfriend will be free to go."

He ignores her, though his heart breaks at the mention of Alyssa. He can hardly stand it, knowing that everything they have been doing to him has been done to her. Despite the constant physical pain inflicted upon him, the stabs he felt through his heart as he heard her scream in agony were much worse. He had considered, for a fleeting moment, telling them everything, just so she would be safe. But he knew that she would never forgive him if he did.

The familiar blackness came back, the ever-present prelude to unconsciousness.

He won't let her scream. He can't. If she screamed, they would all be found, and this would be for nothing. He holds her body close as she sobs for the loss of her brother. His heart aches and he wishes that he could do more for her. He feels so useless. He should have done something. He should have stopped Julian going out alone. He should have been there.

If he had been there, she would not have gone looking. She would not have seen her baby brother, barely thirteen, gunned down before her. She would not know such incredible pain.

He blames himself, as only a lover can do. The list of things he should have/would have/could have done is endless, but there is no going back now.

He picks her up with ease, his muscular arms more than able to carry her delicate frame. She barely stirs as he carries her home and places her on the bed, tucking her in carefully as if to protect her.

She grabs his wrist as he turns to leave. "Don't go," she pleads. "Please."

His heart breaks at the grief and the vacancy in her eyes, and he can't say no. He slips off his shoes, and climbs into bed beside her, wrapping her tightly in his arms, and listening helplessly as she cries herself to sleep.

He wakes in a different room. The first thing he sees when he opens his eyes breaks his heart. Alyssa lies strapped to a table in the middle of the room, cuts, welts, and bruises decorating her body. Tears spring to his eyes. He moves to touch her, reach out to her, to hold her in his arms, and finds himself chained to a pole.

The sound of chains clanking disturbs Alyssa. She opens her eyes slowly, searching for the source of the noise. Her heart breaks when she sees Luke, chained to the floor. He is covered in welts not dissimilar to her own, and she can see where Eleanor had branded him, the mark of the Government in full view on his bare chest.

"Luke?" she asks, still groggy.

Beaten down as he was, he still manages a laugh. "Who else would it be?" he says, trying to keep the mood light.

She managed a small smile. "It's just… I've been dreaming a lot lately… I don't know what's going on anymore…"

He looks at her sadly. She looks worn out. There are bags under her eyes, dried blood on her arms, welts on her face, neck and thighs. Her hair sticks to her face in some places. All he wants to do is hold her.

She sighs. "What are we going to do, Luke?" she asks sadly. "They're not going to stop. They're going to keep going until we either crack, or die."

He nods slowly. "Yeah… yeah, they are. I don't know what to do. I don't want to tell them anything, but if it means that you get out of here alive…"

"Don't you dare," she cuts him off in a cold tone. "Don't you dare tell them anything, especially not to protect me. They're not going to get a thing out of either of us."

He looks at her, torn between admiration and confusion. "And then what you propose that we do?" he asks her. "If we don't tell them anything, then they're going to kill us."

Tears shone in her eyes. "I know. I know, but… we can't let them win. I'm not afraid to die for the Rebellion. I've always known that this could happen to me. I just…"

"Just what?" he asks.

"I'm just afraid of losing you," she tells him, her eyes not meeting his.

Before he can answer her, they are interrupted by Eleanor. "Oh, how sweet," she says mockingly. "What a shame it's in such a horrible place or that would have been a lovely moment."

When she walks into the room, they notice she is not alone. Following her is a large man, with a fierce look in his eyes. Luke's eyes meet Alyssa's and they both share a look of wonderment and confusion.

"This," Eleanor says, "is Marcus. He's here to help me convince the two of you to talk. You can take that one, Marcus," she says to the man, indicating Luke. "I'll take the girl."

Alyssa watches in horror as Marcus picks Luke up effortlessly, chains and all, and throws him against the wall. She cries out, as Eleanor laughs. Removing the chains while Luke lies there dazed, Marcus shackles him to the wall. He is now facing Alyssa directly, and already she can see where this is going. She barely pays attention to Eleanor as she retrieves her bag of 'instruments', her full attention focused on Luke.

"You two realise, I hope, that should you still refuse to cooperate today, we will kill you with no hesitation."

Alyssa nods. "Why not just do it now, and save some time?"

"Because," Eleanor whispers, coming in closer to her ear, "I've been looking forward to this one all week," she says, before touching the tip of a white hot poker to Alyssa's bare stomach. She cries out, as Luke did. His expression is angry and concerned, but is quickly replaced with one of pain as Marcus cuts into him with a serrated blade, similar to the one Eleanor holds.

"If either of you wish you speak, and save the both of you, do so now. Failure to do so will be construed as your lack of cooperation, and I will have no choice but to kill you."

Alyssa meets Luke's eyes, and shakes her head. "Don't tell her anything," she instructs him. "No matter what she does to me, do not say a word."

He nods. "And you," he says. "Don't watch. It will be easier that way."

She smiles at him. "I love you," she says, before the stinging pain of salt in yet another cut contorts her face.

"I love you too," he says, before closing his eyes. "Take yourself away from here, Lyssa. It will be over soon."

Eleanor's laugh breaks through their world. "No, it won't. I'm going to drag it out as long as I possibly can, Rebellion scum."

She is woken by a slight tapping on her balcony door. In the days before the war, and the curfews, this is not an unusual occurrence. Not usually. He smiles as he sees her roll out of bed, and walk over to him, opening the large French doors.

"What are you doing here?" she hisses, unable to fully hide her smile. "My parents are here, are you crazy?"

He grins, and enters the room, before hugging her tightly. "Obviously."

She can't stop herself laughing, and hugs him back. "Good. I don't know what I'd do if you were sane."

"Probably crash and burn, I'd imagine," he says cheekily, poking his tongue out at her.

She rolls her eyes half heartedly and turns to walk back to her bed. He grabs her wrist, and turns her around.

"Wait," he urges, excitement in his eyes. "Don't you want to know why I'm here?"

She looks at him. "I thought we already covered this. You're nuts."

He laughs. "Well, yes, but that's not it. Come out onto the balcony with me."

"Luke, I'm in my pyjamas," she says, indicating the singlet and shorts she had taken to sleeping in.

"And you look fantastic in my singlet, may I say, but that's not the point. Come on."

He drags her outside, and puts his arms around her to keep her warm. "Well?" she asks, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. "What is this spectacular reason you're making me freeze to death?"

He grins mischievously. "Wait here," he tells her, before jumping the short distance over the balcony to her yard.

She sees a small flame being lit on her yard, and worries that he's lit something on fire. On closer inspection, she sees that it is one of many candles, surrounding a picnic blanket. He turns once he's lit all the candles, arranged in a large heart shape. He stands in the middle, his face lit by both candle light and moonlight, and she can't help but be amazed that he has gone to so much effort.

"Happy anniversary!" he shouts up at her. "Now don't make me eat all this myself!"

She laughs and climbs over the balcony, using the ladder he had previously neglected. He catches her as she jumps the last couple of rungs, and she laughs.

"I thought we already did the anniversary thing today?" she says questioningly.

He nods, kissing her on the forehead. "Yep. We did."

"Well then, what's all this?"

He smiles at her. "This is me telling you that I can't believe I've been lucky enough to be with you for a whole year. A thank you for not getting bored of me, if you will," he says, grinning.

She rolls her eyes and pulls him closer to her. "I could never get bored of you," she tells him honestly.

He wraps his arms tightly around her. "Good."

She looks up at the sky, wondering why it is so bright tonight. "Full moon," she notes.

He doesn't take his eyes off her. "Yeah. Nearly as beautiful as you."

Tears spring to her eyes, as she sees the honest love in his. She pulls him into her, and kisses him softly. "I love you," she whispers, almost as if she is afraid of breaking the mood.

"I love you too," he tells her, rubbing her arms as he feels her shiver. "As long as I can help it, I'll never let you go."

This is the memory that plays in both minds before the blackness eclipses them. A smile plays on both faces as they recall better, happier times, and they allow themselves to slip away unhindered by pain, as Eleanor Thorne is left enraged at her inability to extract information, and the ineffectiveness of torture.

Laaaalaaalaaaa... oh, romance, i'd forgotten how much i loved writing you.
There you go. Proof, however fictional, that love conquers everything, even crazy corrupted government officials.

Enjoy, favourite people ! And, like, reviews and stuff would indeed be lovely please. (:

-ashh xo.