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Jun 08, 2023 5:29 PM
for better or worse, death is not the end
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Anakin's sitting on Elesse's bed, her knees tucked into her chest, her arms wrapped around them, her gaze distant. The bed is made, rumpled only by her movements, and the apartment is - empty. Quiet.

One could be forgiven for thinking it's unlived in. 

Anakin's having a debate with herself, an ongoing negotiation, her mind spiraling and eating itself and struggling to get away, to live -

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It isn't much of a decision, in the end. 

She gets up. She finds what she needs to leave a note. She stares at it, blankly, for a few long moments, before writing - 

Elesse - I'm sorry. I couldn't wait. I couldn't keep doing this. I love you. 

Please take care of yourself. 

There's so much more she could say. Reasons. Reassurances. Recriminations. But she's tired. So, so very tired, and her mind is nothing but pain when it isn't dulled by exhaustion or worse - 


She has sleeping pills. She's been unable to sleep on her own no matter how tired she gets, and... It feels appropriate. 

She knows how much to take. (She's been saving them so she'll always have enough. It isn't too hard, with the excuse of her long deployments.)


Anakin curls up in Elesse's bed, wrapped in one of Elesse's robes, under her sheets. She puts the note on the beside table. And she takes her pills, and she closes her eyes - 


And it isn't so much that she opens her eyes, it's that - it's like dreaming, or waking up, or dreaming and then realizing she's already awake - 

It's like looking at her body from the outside. No physical senses - no sense of her own skin, of gravity, of the dryness in her mouth nor the vague headache behind her eyes. No pressure of her feet on the floor. No pulse in her chest. Her vision is almost disorienting - pure information, no imperfections from her eyes. 

Anakin stares down at her body, and realizes that killing herself technically didn't even work. 


She doesn't know how long she stares, trying to process - it's weirdly easy to think. Her thoughts don't skitter off on their own. Her mind doesn't try to eat itself. Old images don't shove their way to the front. Nothing yells at her. 

Her chest doesn't hurt. She... Thinks she has emotions, but they're weak and well behaved next to the tempest that has been whirling around and through her for - 

Years, maybe.


She stares long enough that morning comes, and her comm goes off -


"Anakin?" Elesse's voice comes over the comm. "Anakin, are you there? I'm not receiving visual on this end."


...Oh No.

She... Has not tested if anyone else can perceive her - she's never seen a - ghost - the closest she's heard of is ancient Sith lords leaving behind revenants in tombs - 

- What if this is just. What death is like. 

"Elesse?" she tries, voice uncertain and wavery.


"Anakin? ...All right. I don't know if you're there or if you have the comm set to auto- I'm calling because you said you wanted to talk. We're breaking orbit now, so I don't have very long. Call back if you get this in the next twenty minutes or so. Oh, and if you're in my room, please refill the soap in the 'fresher, I didn't have time to put in the work order."


- She starts crying. It feels weird, like she's going through the motions of it, the actual emotion shallow - "Elesse - " she tries to shout, but she knows her teacher can't hear -

Something rattles in the room - she hasn't lost control like that with the Force in forever - 

- She affected something -

Hesitantly, clumsily, she focuses on the Force and tries to type - 

elesse somethings wrong


"-Wait, I'm getting a message... Anakin? What is it, what's wrong?" She reaches out to feel along her old bond with her padawan (something that she hasn't done very much of at all, these past few years).


Anakin is... Muted. Small. 

But - large at the same time. Diffuse like she sometimes gets when she's battle meditating, though Elesse has at best brushed against that. A sense that she's still there, still alive, but... Also not. 


She's scared, and the thundering echoes of her despair and self hatred from before her death nearly swamp that. She's numb, and also upset enough she feels like she's barely cohering. (Like maybe this is one last gasp before she truly joins the Force.)

Her emotions aren't as bad as they were, when she had a body, and she can actually think through them - 

But they're still pretty unpleasant to be feeling. 


She hadn't expected to have to deal with the fallout of this. She hadn't thought of how to tell Elesse, because that wouldn't be her problem anymore. 

Except now it is. 

(She's regretting killing herself, right now, except for how she's also kind of regretting it not working.)


'Elesse I'm sorry,' races along their bond, loud and clear and echoing, and she reaches back as well -


Elesse has been very busy, distracted running two and a half theater's worth of campaigns, only managed to carve out this time to call Anakin back because last-minute changes had delayed their departure time slightly, so all her scheduled calls are over with and she has the next twelve hours of comm-free hyperspace to get her work done. She hasn't been worrying so much about Anakin because all the reports she was receiving have been saying that Anakin has been one of the highest-performing Jedi. She is rapidly reconsidering the wisdom of that assumption. Anakin, it seems, is not fine. Elesse should have worried about her more. Elesse should have pulled strings to get Anakin under her command, at least for a little while. It's going to take too long for her to get back to Coruscant, to arrange that Anakin is still on Coruscant when she gets there-


Humorless laugh over their bond. 'I don't think that's - a problem anymore.'

This shouldn't be funny. It isn't. It's just... Absurd.

She doesn't want to let Elesse into her mind, to her senses right now - she suddenly wants to delay Elesse knowing - 

That'd... Be cruel, probably. 

'Elesse I'm still here but - but I think -'

She doesn't think. She knows. But she can't say it, not yet. 

(How is she supposed to tell someone about her own death?)


'Anakin... What happened?'


`Elesse I - '

She reluctantly opens up her senses a little if - Elesse wants to look. She doesn't think Elesse should look. 

'I killed myself. I don't think it worked.'


Shock. Dismay.

An overpowering urge to give Anakin a hug.


She wants a hug! She wants a hug so much - she wants to see Elesse at least once, that'd been her biggest hesitancy with killing herself - 

She reaches desperately for Elesse like she can bridge the gap between them with nothing but her determination -

And then the world lurches and changes around her. 



Elesse can't, actually, give her a hug.


She's spent the last - forever - spending a very significant chunk of her waking hours in battle meditation.

It doesn't really occur to her that 'meld into Elesse's mind/ body' is not a normal action, here. She wants a hug. She does not have a (living) body. Elesse has a body. The solution practically suggests itself. 


Elesse. Uh. Wasn't expecting that.

She will try not to kick Anakin out instinctively, to be open and welcoming.


...She can leave if Elesse wants? (She is not particularly affected by Elesse's aborted flinch. She's... Very hard to kick out when she doesn't want to leave. (Not all of the people put under her command are enthusiastic about it. But they have orders, and she has orders, and, well...  There's never room for insubordination.))

(She's trying very, very hard not to just be Elesse like she normally would, but... Her sense of self doesn't have good boundaries.)

She's - also trying not to just attempt taking control of Elesse's body, but - can Elesse hug herself? If she's okay with Anakin staying. 


Yeah. Elesse can hug herself.


Hug! And warm snuggly feeling wrapping around Elesse. 



This is. Nice.


'Love you,' she thinks/ sends/ is. 'I'm - sorry.'

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