Nathan glanced up at Serenity as she spoke, but his eyes drifted down to his lap yet again. Everything about this encounter just felt... odd. Maybe it was because it was unusual? On most days, Nathan would stay up in the sniper room. The only time that he would come down was either to eat, or when he passed out from exhaustion and the guys had to drag him down to his room, where he would remain unconscious for a few days before returning to his post. It was really an unhealthy way to live. However, Nathan wouldn't listen to anybody who tried to tell him that, because to him it was no excuse to put his family in danger. Right now, everybody was an enemy to his family. I won't ever put her in danger...
That didn't mean that this hurt any less, though. He spent more time with his gun than he did with Serenity... Wasn't that sad? Serenity seemed to be feeling his absence too, because every day she acted less and less like her old self. Even right now, he could see the forced smile on her face, and he hated it. He hated seeing her hurting inside. He hated being the reason she was hurting... More than anything, though, he hated that she wouldn't confide in him. Not once had she told him how she felt about all of this. When he asked in the very beginning, all she had done was agreed and said that she understood. Did she? Did she really understand, or was she just trying to be brave?
I can't even stand to look at her...
That fake smile was too much for him to take. His heart broke down right there in front of her, and he has to look away. If he saw those sad eyes one more time, he was going to die inside. "Okay. Good..." He murmured quietly. So Robin didn't like vegetables, huh? Just like Brandon... He would never say that, though. Any mention of Brandon or Aria was like murder to this house. Nobody could seem to find any closure... especially Nathan. He loved the kids, and now he had finally gained the courage to be around them. But how long would that last? Tomorrow, he would probably be back to avoiding them, again.
Suddenly, he noticed his hands. They were clenched into tight, trembling fists on his eyes, as if his intense gaze alone made them shake. His eyes widened and he slowly looked back up at Serenity, almost cautiously. She was giving him that same, pitiful expression.
Without thinking, he suddenly lunged forward and held Serenity in his arms tightly. He was afraid. He was afraid to let go and face reality. He was afraid that he was going to lose her... or that he had already lost her. "I can't take it, anymore," He whispered, his whole body trembling as he clung to her thin frame. "I can't stand this... separation, anymore. It's driving me crazy...!" His eyes shut tightly, now, as if he were trying to will away a bad dream. "Passing out once a week... fasting for days... all of that is worth it to stay at my post to protect you. But to give up being with you... I can't take it, anymore! I can't handle that like I thought I could!" Tears fell down his cheeks and he buried his face in her shoulder to muffle the sobs. "I-I miss you... I miss you, and I don't want things to be like this between us! I-I can't stand those eyes of yours... Those damn sad eyes and that fake smile! Serenity if you're hurting, just say so!" His arms pulled her tighter, but he never looked up at her. Instead, he kissed the side of her head and ran his hand through her hair. "Please, Serenity..." He whispered into her ears, his voice strangled from the restrained sobs. "Please go back to the way you were... Please let me be with you again.... Please let us be happy, together. Please... It may be childish to leave my post, but I feel like I'm about to fall apart. I'm falling apart without you, Serenity... I can't sleep without you near, I can't eat... I thought I could better protect you from afar, but I can't. I can't even focus, up there... I don't want to be responsible, anymore. I just want to be by your side... I love you, Serenity. I love you, I love you so much..."
Nathan had once again reached his breaking point.