Warnings: the AJ 'Verse, right before part 6 of "Ascensiones"
Summary: its all about the breathing
Notes: I liked this writing it, but not rereading it.
An Ancient!John Drabble
“It's decidedly bizzare, when the Worst Thing hppens and you find yourself still conscious, still breathing.”
Elisa Albert, The Book of Dahlia
His breath is entirely outside his control now.
So are his heartbeat and the myriad other autonomic functions that were once centred in his medulla oblongata. The device nestled between his C2 and C3 vertebrae, the one John calls satanas – deceiver – for reasons that he's not bothered to explain to anyone, outsourced them to Atlantis and her data processors long ago. But the important part is that Rodney's breath is entirely outside of his control now.
So how the hell is he supposed to focus onhis breathing?
The air is moving through his lungs with a pattern that, while predictable, is just slightly off and definitely not something he would have chosen for himself, if he'd ever given his lungs much thought beyond the occasional appreciation for not trying to asphyxiate him after a brush with citrus. He can't focus on his breathing without remembering that somebody else is controlling his breathing, that somebody else is keeping him alive, that his life is in somebody else's hands. It doesn't matter that that somebody is 'Lantis, who he can trust when he can't even trust John: his life is his and nobody but him should be controlling any part of it.
Rodney usually works himself into a panic at this train of thought, ruining any and all attempts at meditation for hours after.
But not this time. This time there are drugs enough in his system to keep his concentration on his breath and not the otherworldly power running it, for all the good it does. For though it remains in his power to relax his limbs and calm his mind, Rodney finds that he can do neither. The pain is too great for him to push it entirely from his mind.
So he concentrates on his breathing.