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aesopian ([personal profile] aesopian) wrote2008-09-18 02:43 pm
Entry tags:

Breathe

Prompt: Automail





Breathe in. Two, three, four. Breathe out. Breathe in. Two, three, four --

She nodded, and her exhalation caught in her throat as the metal pin was seated firmly into the socket, connecting nerves and sending a jolt of searing pain washing over the left side of her body. She grit her teeth, turning her head away, and through tear burned eyes, she could see the emotionless countenance of the old man watching her.

The mechanic said something. She couldn't hear the words above the white noise screeching through her head. He came into her field of vision, his face tight and disapproving, and when he made sure she was looking he shook his head and mouthed the words, "Too soon." He had wanted to wait, but there wasn't time. There was no time now either. She shook her head violently in rejection of his words. Black eyes burned into his daring him to try anything else but what was happening, and he finally relented with a sigh and a shrug. He made sure she was watching again before saying, "Breathe."

Right. She could feel her lungs burning now. How long had it been? Was the scream that squeezed her throat shut buried deep enough that she could risk taking a breath? She closed her eyes and blinked them open, staring at the ceiling, counting seconds that felt like hours of agony. Her heart was racing in her chest, and she concentrated on it first. Slowing it. One thing to ignore another. Thump, thump. One, two. Three, four. Right. The rhythm was there. She could find that rhythm, and find the will to do this.

Breathing was hard when she had to think about it. Lungs burning for air, her diaphragm locked tight by pain. One, two. She tried to remember if she needed to breath out or in. Out sounded good. Her exhalation came in a rush, emptying her lungs of carbon dioxide.

Three, four.

She drew in a deep lungful of air and held it a moment before exhaling again. Slow, slow. She couldn't afford to hyperventilate. There was no time for that.

Deep breath. Two, three, four. Exhale. Two, three, four. Breathe in. It was easier, and she forced herself to concentrate on it. On her own body, and the flow of blood and chi in it that kept it alive. Screaming nerves and pain could be set aside. The heart beat and the lungs breathed. They said she was alive, and she drew another breath. One heartbeat after another. Time was limited, but she had to move past this soon.

Breathe out. Breathe in.

"How soon until I can begin training?"