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May 21, 2022 3:55 PM
people really should learn to knock before traveling between universes
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Deep, rapid breaths - and then she pulls her arms in towards her body and takes one last exceptionally deep breath - holds it tight - as she senses in the Force the moment when Elesse will push her over. 

(She doesn't resist at all.)

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The water is icy cold, and salted to keep it liquid at the temperature. The splash from her entrance falls straight back on her face rather than spreading out.

Elesse keeps Anakin pinned down with the invisible hand of the Force, and quickly crosses the distance to also pin her at the base of her throat with a hand wearing a waterproof glove.

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The first shock is the worst - her body tries to gasp, suddenly, and it nearly overpowers her - she keeps her breath, overrides that - and her body starts fighting itself. Her heart tries to speed up and slow down at the same time - decides on the compromise position of one half speeding up and the other half slowing down which no don't do that 

Anakin takes control of her own heart. She hadn't thought to do that before she was submerged, but there's no point cursing herself for not knowing what drowning means. 

And her chest is burning - her lungs, her heart's the worst - her limbs are going rapidly cold and painful, plunging towards an agonizing numbness, and she has to stop herself from fighting it with her control over her body - lets her body shunt all her blood to her core like it wants to.

(She wants to gasp at the feeling of Elesse's hand on her neck. She refuses to.)

She knows - in the distant theory of the lecture hall - that letting the cold penetrate her brain will extend her survival time. Letting herself go into a tupor, a false death state. That holding it back won't do her many favors, will just make things harder on her. 

She's terrified to, and the fear won't help either - she's terrified of unconsciousness, of getting so woozy and tired and cold she can't protect herself with the Force anymore. 

She reaches out to Elesse's warm presence in the Force, seeking reassurance almost - keeps her eyes open even though that demands more effort from her to keep them from freezing, from burning - she watches her teacher's face. 

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Elesse is a blank wall through the Force, impossible to read or get a grip on. Anakin must find her survival within her own self.

Elesse's gloved hand is the only warmth she is offering her, and even that is rapidly chilling.

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She's scared, and cold - so cold - and everything hurts, she should be numb not burning - 

(Anakin's never really gotten used to either water or the cold.)

(She loves Elesse, trusts Elesse, but there's nothing to grab onto - )

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Anakin's young and athletic, fond of slowing her breathing during meditation. (She slows down her heart, her first acknowledgement of the need to let go... Thirty beats a minute, incredibly slow but still enough to keep her conscious with her blood pulled in to her core like it is.)

Even without the Force - she could hold her breath like this for a bit over ten minutes probably, could stay conscious for a few minutes past that. With the trick she pulled before immersion - she'd pass out from lack of oxygen before her body realized it needed to breathe. She's strong, but even then in normal circumstances she'd finish drowning before the cold water finishes stealing her heat.

She fights what she knows she needs to do for nearly twenty minutes, fully awake and afraid - the carbon dioxide in her blood creeps back up, adds another terrifying burn to the intense pain in her chest. 

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Anakin's used to fear, used to a mind that goes into spirals of panic at its own shadows. 

She knows when she isn't acting as she must. 

She slows her heart rate further. Twenty beats a minute. Fifteen. Ten. 

One beat a minute - her heart isn't fighting her anymore - 

And she lets the cold in. 

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Unconsciousness comes upon her like trust, like letting go. Her control of the Force slips before her last experience fades - but her body knows what to do now. It knows it can survive.

 

(The stupor some humans enter in water like this resembles death, from the outside. Anakin still blazes in the Force, though, a sleeping undreaming mind, and her body waits for warmth to return.)

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When she wakes, it's in an infirmary bed, warm and comfortable and safe, and with Elesse holding her hand.

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She blinks up at her teacher, still a bit dazed. 

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"Back with us, Anakin?"

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Tiny dreamy smile. "Yeah." (She reaches for Elesse in the Force again.)

"How'd I do?" she makes herself ask with her actual mouth and not just with telepathy. 

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Elesse's Force presence is warm and comforting as a blanket again.

"You passed, of course. Though you took your time about it."

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She wraps herself in it, glowing with love for Elesse and pride for herself and a delighted, buoyed feeling like she can take on the world. 

"I had to be difficult about something."

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"You wouldn't be Anakin otherwise."

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Giggle. 

"Shows you chose a good challenge."

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"I'm glad you think so."

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"It was - really intense." (Probably the only physical things that actually scare her.)

She squeezes Elesse's hand. "It's good you got permission to be - the one doing that."

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"It was. I won't always be able to- but for now, you are still my padawan."

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"One thing I might miss." And then, reaching into her mind, 'You might have to stick to doing it for fun once I'm Knighted.'

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"Help is always available to those who ask." 'If you do so nicely.'

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"I will."

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Smile.

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"Now all that's left is my Trial of Spirit..."

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"This one you'll be more on your own for. I can't tell you what it will involve, and I will not be guiding it."

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