Sometimes, more so now than before, it took everything in Alice to remember that Mark's problems were not actually anything to do with her. She took everything so terribly personally that it was impossible for her to seperate herself from the back-and-forth mood swings of her partner. She always just assumed that it was part of being a Duo, that it was something that all Halves felt at one point or another. So, for the first 10 years of her life as a Duo she pushed the feelings down and put Mark ahead of herself, under the assumption that he would be doing the same thing for her....eventually.
Now, however, in the time that they had been separated by incarceration she was beginning to remember what it was like to be a single entity. She was beginning to realize that she had been foolish to think that Mark would ever put her first. There was a dominant and a submissive in every Duo, and she had somehow ended up being the submissive. She was beginning to hope that her incarceration would last a lot longer than she previously wanted.
When they had first separated her from Mark it had felt like someone was tearing her limb from limb. Like the pain in her heart and her brain would destroy her from the inside out. It radiated in circles from her head and her chest, meeting in the middle and reverberating back in on itself until she thought she was actually dying. The pit in her stomach felt like it would never be full again, yet eating anything only resulted in vomiting. For days on end she would be unable to sleep, unable to find a position in the bed that didn't feel like she constantly on the edge of a cliff, one wrong move from falling to her death. Then, for the days that followed she would drift between conciousness and dreaming. And, every dream was the same: a faceless darkness sliding into her nostrils and mouth and expanding from within her until her body was ripped apart.
Just being apart from Mark was a torture more painful than any violence that another person could have inflicted on her. It was constant, there was no torturer to tire and give her a break. Twenty-four hours a day she was in constant agonizing pain.
Alice had no actual idea of how long she had been incarcerated. Those first days (weeks? months?) had all turned into one long blur. She had started keeping count 145 days ago, but she would have to wait for someone to tell her how long it had actually been. But, it was nearing half a year by her count, and she knew the immense significance of that. She knew the longer she was here, alive, surviving, that things would only get worse for her.
The longer she was there the smaller the chance she had of ever being released.
Because there was no way the Council would ever let a Half that survived separation rejoin society.