Bastila doesn't realize at first that something has gone awry in her attempt to stabilize Revan's wounds, to hold burnt and shrapnel-torn body and shock-ravaged mind together long enough to get the fallen Knight off the burning wreck of her flagship and onto her own team's shuttle. Even unconscious and barely breathing, Revan's presence is overwhelming, but Bastila has never done this before outside of carefully controlled exercises, has never entered a paired healing trance with someone so close to death. It feels a little like she's a satellite caught in a decaying orbit, and every revolution is bringing her closer to Revan's cracked and burning centre.
She passes through her shuttle's airlock in a daze, distantly aware of her companions steering her into a seat. She fumbles her own safety harness on, and for a moment, it feels as though the straps are pressing against raw burns – but no, she's uninjured. Some of the pain must be bleeding through. She's heard of that, been warned by the Masters that sometimes, establishing a healing link results in feedback. It's one of the reasons the technique isn't taught to younger padawans: it takes time and practice to be able to separate oneself from a being in pain, while still maintaining a proper sense of compassion.
Even if feeling compassion for someone with as much blood on her hands as Revan is hard to stomach. The thought is jarring, and nearly jolts her out of her meditative trance. It's not enough to disturb the bond – fortunate, she thinks in that moment, that her control is well-practised and well-honed.
The shock of the flagship tearing apart, and of the minds of the remaining crew being abruptly silenced by the cold and unforgiving void of space, rocks the shuttle, and the medical sensors go up in a howling cacophony of warnings as her patient's breathing stutters and pulse drops. It's all she can do to keep Revan's heart pumping, and the shuttle falls away around her as she bends her mind to the task, world greying out, consumed by the sense of blood flow and ruptured flesh and systems faltering nearly as badly as the broken ship's had.
She fights on, channelling the Force in an exhausting torrent in an attempt to make up the deficits in what Revan's body desperately needs, but can no longer supply itself. Her own heart slows, and she can feel the seconds in between its beats, stretching out like sun-warmed taffy. Rather than matching Revan's heartbeat, it seems to fill in the gaps, not working in concert, but offering a counterpoint.
Appropriate , she thinks, and it echoes in her head, as though spoken by another voice just a half-second after she starts to think it.
She remembers, abruptly, the first time she'd met Revan. She'd been seven years old and utterly lost in the hills surrounding the Dantooine Temple. She'd snuck away after morning lessons, intending to loop around and find a ship that would take her back to her father – who must, she was certain, be searching desperately for her after her mother stole her away and sent her off to live with complete strangers – but between the mists and the rough terrain, she'd gotten herself turned around, and strayed far beyond the boundaries of the closest farms. It had taken Revan nearly an hour to coax her down from the tree she'd scaled when she'd first heard someone coming, and most of that hour was spent regaling the young padawan with stories of her own misadventures, including, she swore, the one time she made it onto a ship, only to wind up trapped in a maintenance closet for two days when the crew had discovered they had a stowaway.
“I deserved it,” she'd said, utterly matter-of-fact. “The Masters reimbursed them for bringing me back,but if they hadn't, or if they'd found me just a little later – ships run light out there, and an unexpected mouth to feed can put everyone at risk. My father was a pilot. I should have known better.”
When Bastila had finally climbed down from her perch, Revan had tucked a flower behind her ear, and snuck her back into the Temple with a promise to cover for her escape attempt. Two days later, when guilt at the deception had finally set in, Bastila had attempted to come clean to her Master, only to find out that Revan had volunteered to go out in search of her in the first place.
In the years since that day, their paths had only crossed a handful of times – with ten years between them, there was little enough reason for them to interact. Bastila's certain she hasn't even thought of the encounter in the better part of a decade – the impact it had made on the small girl she was hadn't been enough to be lasting, and she's fairly certain the woman whose heart is beating off-tempo with her own doesn't remember at all. It's not the sort of event a Sith lord would cling to.
And yet, for a moment she sees herself through another's eyes, grubby face streaked with tears that are the only reason at all she can tell the difference between dirt and freckles, jaw jutting out in what she probably intends to be a look of defiance, but comes off as more of a pout. She can feel her hand held in...her own hand, an oddly twinned sensation – she plays both parts, smaller and larger.
The memory shudders, and her smaller self grows, sprouting upward like a tree and leaping forward more than ten years. She's dressed in a Jedi's robes and wields a lightsaber now, but her face is still grubby, streaked with smoke and grease from her forced entry onto the ship, and the sweat tracks through the grime still show her freckles clear. She recognizes herself with a distant sort of interest and a habitual attentive evaluation that can put a name to every single person at the Dantooine academy up until the point of her departure, and list the key skills that go along with that name.
Realization sends a sudden spike of shock reverberating through Bastila's mind, fracturing her calm and speeding her heart. Those memories aren't hers, not entirely, and they shred apart as she pulls back, the sound of the ship's engines and the beep of the monitors and the quiet, concerned question of one of her companions falling back in around her.
“Fine,” she says, and her voice sounds hollow, as though she's hearing it from far away. “I'm fine. Just tired.”
Beneath her fingers, Revan's pulse continues to beat, fed by the constant current of life energy Bastila feeds her. For a moment, she almost convinces herself that everything really is fine, that the healing link is the only thing there – but deep beneath the slow, stuttering heartbeat, she senses a deeper, steadier current that tugs at the edges of her mind, threatening to drag her under. Her brief access to Revan's memories is gone, but the bond that had allowed it remains, uncomfortable and strange.
Maybe we can make use of this, she thinks, and for just a second, she's not sure which her, exactly, is having the thought.