- AUTHOR: Midnight’s Trinity
- TITLE: One
- CATEGORY: Drama, Romance.
- RATING: PG-13 for language and disturbing images.
- SUMMARY: “To me, it feels like I had no choice. None, whatsoever. No choice, no power, no control.” What if you have no choice? Is it still a choice? Neo battles control, regret, purpose, grief, REBARs, and vampires.
- SPOILERS: Reloaded and Revolutions. Big Time. Hell, I’m just spoiling the whole damn trilogy in one fic!
- AUTHOR’S NOTES:
- Would be a good idea to brush up on your French. Also, you might want to read my fic “Weakness”. This is sort of a perverse companion fic to that one. You don’t have to, but there is a line or two in here that might make more sense if you do.
- I feel like this is the most cliched title in this fandom’s history. But reading through, I decided I still had to use it. And I did NOT call it One because Neo is the One. Who do you think I am, anyway?
- I didn’t use asterisks! Take that. Ohhh…those little evil six-pointed stars can kiss my ass. They wouldn’t bug me so much if they didn’t appear so high up on each line…
- * <~ I mean, come on.
- Please note: contrary to popular belief, all punctuation and capitalization in this fic is entirely intentional, even the last one, and I don’t want to hear anything about it. Ha.
- THANKS: To my two lovely betas and half-betas (DS and T-the-G). And much thanks to T-the-G, whose name I am shortening for the sake of protecting her from angry mobs, for providing me with the definition of a REBAR (“Yes. REBAR. Metal reinforcement bars, found often in cement buildings, in highways, and in…Trinity.”) *sobs*
- DISCLAIMER: I in no way, shape, or form own the Matrix franchise and all genius associated with it. However I wouldn’t mind owning Neo. Or Trinity, depending on my mood. ;-P
“How do you do it,
Make me feel like I do?
How do you do it?
It’s better than I ever knew.”
–Stellar, by Incubus
“Maybe didn’t mean too much…
But it meant everything to me.”
–That’s What I Get, by Nine Inch Nails
Choice, Morpheus would say. It always begins with choice.
Sometimes, you must choose to do something painful. Something that you would rather not do. Something that ends up tearing you apart inside. It is still a choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
To me, it feels like I had no choice. None, whatsoever. No choice, no power, no control.
It almost killed me, you know that? It almost killed me.
It was always a risk, going into the Matrix. But it was starting to become a risk that I could handle. Agents, cops, and guns…they’re not all that bad. I don’t mean to sound overly sure of myself, but I could kick their asses, and I knew it. They knew it. Goddamn Superman, right?
But there was one risk that day, one risk, one obstacle, one choice that I was never prepared for.
If I had known what I know now, I might not have done it. Maybe.
The real world though…the real world was another story entirely. Sometimes I wanted to hate it for how real it was. For how real it made me feel. Reality could be harsh, sometimes. The realization that bad things could happen to you, to everyone that you ever held close to your heart, and there would be nothing, absolutely nothing that you could do about it. Reality made me powerless. And I didn’t like being powerless.
Sometimes, after a particularly long day, the only reality I could cherish was her. That pure and radiant trinity. Heartbodysoul. Trinity, my Trinity. Sometimes she was the only thing that kept me going. And I didn’t really understand that, I just let it happen. I let my love for her torment me, because I didn’t know any other way to live.
“And Trinity, si belle qu’elle me fait souffrir.”
I smiled quietly, somewhere deep in my mind. Moi aussi.
I loved it when she touched me. I remember back in the Matrix, when that kind of human contact had been something to avoid, yet simultaneously something that I had always wanted. I always kept a little of that with me, even in the real world. So really, she was the only one to touch me. She was the only one I wanted to touch me. She was the only one I ever really touched in return. In the beginning, I remember, there was one night where all I could do was stare at her, stare at her as she dragged her fingers down my skin. And I couldn’t reach up to her; I couldn’t breathe, though I eventually learned to.
“Touch me, and that hand will never touch anything again.”
Trinity was the same way sometimes. And it took her a while to learn, too. But we had our own little place, somewhere away from the Matrix and the Neb and the war. Somewhere where I could cry into her skin, out of awe, and later out of blood-chilling fear. And the thought once crossed my mind that I didn’t deserve her, I didn’t deserve any of this, but she always found a way to tell me otherwise, using everything except the words to say it.
She told me once, that we had to set our priorities straight. She told me this with an almost defeated look in her eyes, but she found her voice again and explained quite clearly that the resistance had to come first. Always. Someday, she told me, we might be forced to choose. We would have to fight for the end. This wasn’t what the hundred before us had died for, her voice said. Her eyes spoke differently. I saw the light shine out of their ice-blue depths…cold, yet alive with fire and passion…and regret. I love you, her eyes said, though her voice didn’t have the courage to.I love you, and I’m sorry it has to be like this. I knew. I already knew. I took her hand and lied to her a little–the only lie I ever told her–though I knew that I would always try my hardest to be a resistance fighter, and then a lover, because Trinity said it should be so.
That isn’t to say that she didn’t love me. Oh God…how she loved me. How I loved her. It was overwhelming, the combined taste of it all, and sometimes I tried not to think about it too much, and just let it happen. I knew I loved her, with all my heart and soul, with every aching cell in my body. I knew that she loved me just the same, and even if I didn’t know, I would have been able to hear it in her whisper, taste it on her lips, feel it in the combined shiver as our skin would touch.
“But you must make me believe that I am her,” Persephone had said.
That was why it was so terribly difficult for me the first time. Hell, it was hard enough the second time, but she seemed to buy it. I couldn’t convince Persephone–I couldn’t convince myself–that she was Trinity because goddamnit, she wasn’t. Your imagination could only carry you so far. But she tasted like emptiness, and she felt so cold, inside and out.
It was one of the hardest choices that I never got to make. Everything was a choice. Bull. What the hell would I have done? That kiss was so small, so insignificant in the grand scheme of things, that some may have looked back and laughed. But I didn’t. God. I remember that moment as the second-hardest decision of my life, mostly because I had to make a choice that I didn’t even have the power to make in the first place.
Resistance first. Morpheus knew that. Trinity knew that…I knew that. I knew that with my mind…but I didn’t know it with my heart. I didn’t know it like I knew Trinity, and it seemed pointless, irrelevant because of that…distance. I felt detached from the entire situation, because I knew that this wouldn’t be what I was doing…if I was given the choice.
Or would it? See, that’s what baffles me to this day. Who am I to say what I would have chosen under different circumstances? Who am I to say what I should have done?
Persephone gave me no choice. And that pissed me off, because in the Matrix, the one place where I felt that I had some sense of power, she had taken it all away.
“It’s just a kiss.”
It was funny how untrue that was. It was just a kiss. I don’t know why it was such a big deal for me, for her. It may have just been something small, a little kiss, a flirtation with jealousy, the presentation of one half of a choice. But that little kiss is what led us to the Keymaker, to the Source, onto grander things. It is ironic to me how something that insignificant could affect something so huge. But I was beginning to realize how my entire life had become like that: one traitor who could take away the only family I had ever known. One wrong turn, one mistake, one poorly-aimed gun… One little touch that changed my life forever.
“Why don’t you sample this instead?”
I saw Trinity crack, a little, under the pressure. She was the only one that was actually able to articulate it. I just stood there, feeling helpless again, against some force that I could never even control. I wanted just to run away. That’s right, run away at the sheer sight of such a silly little thing, run away with Trinity and Live Happily Ever After.
But this was the real world. This was war. Sometimes things don’t turn out like you would expect them to.
And it wasn’t even the last time that I was only given the illusion of a choice. I couldn’t have chosen Trinity, even if I had wanted to. That “choice” was the first in a long series of painful decisions, choices that haunted me in my dreams, choices that I wasn’t sure that I understood, no matter what the Oracle said.
What did you expect me to do? Do you think I could have just said “no, thank you” to Persephone and her load of bullshit? Watch the whole world crumble away between my greedy little fingers? I couldn’t do that, I knew I couldn’t. But it wasn’t really what my heart told me I should be doing. The two choices were only presented to me, but one was forbidden, fenced off by elegant red and gold velvet chains like the most valuable exhibit in the museum, so tempting to take in your hands and feel between your fingers.
I had to ask her eyes for permission. And I could see through the shiny darkness of our sunglasses, I could see beyond the seemingly steady calm in her posture, in her composed façade. I could feel her begging silently, begging for me to find an answer, begging me to tell her that I loved her still.
I love you, Trinity, I wanted to say. I love you and I’m sorry it has to be like this.
So I kissed her. And maybe I should have regretted it more. Maybe I should have realized that Trinity was more important than anything. But she was! I kept telling myself. She was more important. That’s the whole reason that I was kissing Persephone in the first place. It was screwy logic, hardly a comfort at that.
My mind kept drifting off to Trinity as it always did, feeling the dread and pain as Persephone’s lips touched mine like ice. It seemed to last an eternity, one simple kiss. One simple kiss that wasn’t even good enough for her.
So I had to kiss her again. But I didn’t have a choice. And I tried my hardest to pretend, to make her believe, to make myself believe. I felt bare without my sunglasses, bare and exposed, like the whites of my eyes would stand out, show the weakness against the black hair, the black coat, the black visage. I brought my hand to her shoulder, but it wasn’t soft like Trinity’s. I prayed that this would be good enough for her. And I begged that she wouldn’t be able to feel how much I loved Trinity instead, even in Persephone’s arms.
After what felt like an eternity, we finally drew apart. But I still couldn’t breathe, except this time it was for a whole different reason than the Trinity-torment that I so craved. She bit her lip and started to shy away, her breath still cold on my neck. I wanted to move, I wanted to run, I wanted her to stop staring into my eyes. I wanted her to stop gaping at Trinity like that.
I was afraid that I had poisoned my lips for Trinity, for myself. Contaminated them. I was afraid that she would never kiss me again.
“I envy you,” came her cold, accented voice, “but such a thing is not meant to last.”
That scared me. I shouldn’t have taken anything coming from her to heart.
But I did. That scared me.
She was right.
I felt the crash shake our little ship. It seemed distant for an instant. I could hardly feel my bones shaking, my head banging against the hard metal of the ship. And the minute that I could hear the silence, oh God, I knew something was wrong.
The light was blinding white all around me, like nothing I had ever seen before. But I didn’t really notice, nor did I notice the dull headache throbbing in my skull, or my lip, which was bleeding a little, or the cramp in my leg.
“Trin?” I called cautiously. “Trinity? Trinity?!?” A little more panicked now.
“I’m here,” I heard a voice, faintly.
“I’m here, Neo,” she had said, after I had leaped out of my chair with complete disregard for the gravity of our situation. I swiftly pulled her into my arms, clutching her tightly against my trembling body. I could still see her falling from the building like I had in my dreams; I could still hear her panting like it was her last breath. I needed to feel her, I needed to know that she was real, that she was alive and breathing in this world.
I felt her fingernails dig into my back, through my thin, ratty sweater, and I reveled in the pain, I drank in the glorious feeling of her body pressed into mine, firmly, desperately. I clung to her. I wove a hand through her hair and I didn’t care, I didn’t care who was watching, who was listening, what anyone else would think.
“I almost lost you,” she breathed into my shoulder, at the exact moment that I mumbled the same thing breathlessly into her ear.
She kissed me and I held her tighter.
“I almost lost you,” I said again, my voice ragged, though it was drowned out by the softness of her lips.
And I wanted to sob into her shoulder, because it felt to me like they were always trying to rip us apart.
I’m relieved by the sound of her voice. Oh thank God, thankgodthankgodthank…
Somehow I crawled up next to her, padding blindly through the dark.
“We made it,” I said, still trying to believe it myself.
I could almost hear her smile. “You said we would.”
I wanted to smile. I wanted to kiss her. For her faith, in me.
I looked around again, staring in wonder at the city of beautiful light. I never imagined the machine city to be so…alive. “It’s unbelievable, Trin. Lights everywhere. Like the whole thing was built with light. I wish you could see what I see,” I said, still in awe.
“You’ve already shown me so much,” she said quietly. It sounded like she had tears in her voice, though I knew her eyes were dry. Tears of sadness mixed with joy.
And then that pestering feeling of dread returned once more. Something was wrong, ohgodohgodoh…
“What is it, Trinity? What’s wrong?” I gave up all attempts at being subtly concerned.
“I can’t come with you, Neo,” she said, and she sounded sad, regretful again. “I’ve gone as far as I’ve can.”
“Why?” And then it hits me, and I realize, and it makes me want to die. My fingers gently graze against the cold metal, nearly accidentally, that is piercing through her soft skin. No. This can’t be happening. “Oh, no. Oh no, no, no…”
“It’s all right. It’s time. I’ve done all that I could do. Now you have to do the rest. You have to finish it. You have to save Zion,” she said. It broke my heart to hear her speak those words. She had such a strong sense of her own purpose, and she was willing to give up everything for me. I felt unworthy. She was my Goddess. And it wasn’t supposed to end like this.
“I can’t. Not without you.” And it’s true, it’s all I can really say-think-breathe at this moment. Trinity is what completes me. Trinity is what makes me whole. She was the One who let me realize I was the One. She was the One that held me this entire time. Trinity was the strong One, and that was what people didn’t realize. I was nothing without her.
“Yes, you can. You will. I believe it, I always have,” she said. She sounded so sure. But I was sure that I couldn’t do anything important, anything remotely significant without her. I wanted to die.
“Trinity… Trinity. You can’t die. You can’t. You can’t,” I sobbed, nearly delirious in my denial. This couldn’t be happening. Trinity was my heart, my soul. She was everything that I ever was. She couldn’t die. She couldn’t. I would die.
“Oh, yes, I can. You brought me back once, but not this time.” She sounded so calm, adrift with her purpose and being, and it was killing me inside. She was accepting her fate. Why couldn’t I?
Because I love her.
Because she is all that I have.
Because she is me…
“Do you remember… on that roof after you caught me… the last thing I said to you?” she asked.
Of course I remembered. Somewhere, I could remember everything that she had ever said to me. But that more than all.
“You said, ‘I’m sorry’,” I said. And I remembered then that I had wanted to tell her that I was the one who should have been sorry, because I had felt then like I had failed her. I didn’t want to think about that now.
“That was my last thought,” she said. “I wished I had one more chance, to say what really mattered, to say how much I loved you, how grateful I was for every moment I was with you.” She was right. Somehow she had managed to say everything that I wished I had the words to articulate to her. “But by the time I knew I’d said what I wanted to, it was too late. But you brought me back. You gave me my wish. One more chance to say what I really wanted to say…”
There were a thousand things that I wish I could have told her at that moment. A thousand things to say, yet I couldn’t find the right words for any of them.
She turned away from me, that day, as we followed Persephone out of the men’s washroom. I couldn’t really blame her. It went without saying that I was madly, deeply in love with her. It went without saying that she loved me just as much.
But it still hurt like a bitch.
That was the first, and the last time that I had to bear the pain of Trinity’s back to my face, her averted gaze. It never happened again between us. She always drew closer.
“Kiss me, once more. Kiss me.”
I had never been afraid to kiss her before. But I was terrified, that her lips would be cold, that I would hurt her, that I would screw it up. I knew it was our last kiss, and that thought alone was enough to wrench me apart inside.
Such emotion over something so small. It’s just a kiss…
But it was what Trinity wanted. She had hardly ever, if at all, asked for something, simply for herself, simply because she wanted it. And this was my last chance, my last chance to prove to her how much I loved her, how much she had become a part of my soul, how much I trusted her, more than even myself.
All my doubts washed away when I let my lips touch hers. She strained her neck up a little to meet me, though I knew it must have taken nearly all of her effort. And I could feel, in her last second, all her life and light and love, all her purpose, her energy, and her every choice, her every whisper in the dead of night, each kiss each tender touch. I could feel it all flowing from her lips to mine, until it started to overwhelm me. And I stopped trying to make it our perfect last kiss. I just kissedher, until I felt it all release from within her, and her body went still again.
And it was then I realized…it wasn’t Persephone that could come between us. It wasn’t the programmed dream, the guns and bullets, the cops and the agents and a lonely architect.
It was reality. It was the truth.
“I love you, Trinity. I love you so much,” I sobbed against her almost-cold cheek, though I knew that her body could no longer hear me.
My senses dulled after I left her, maybe to make way for the tumult of thoughts and emotions that had taken over my entire existence. No longer could I breathe properly. It was different again this time, not because of inescapable desire or fear, but shock, and pain. There was a cut running deep, jagged and fresh straight into my very heart and soul, deeper than I had ever been cut before. And all I really wanted to do was give in, give into the sobs that were threatening to wrack my body again, give into the tempting thought of dying right here, leaving this world of cold metal and loneliness, so I would be with Trinity at last.
But I couldn’t let her die in vain. I couldn’t. I couldn’t.
She had fought this hard for so long. I couldn’t give up, not when we were so close to the end.
I felt like I had sprinted a thousand miles in one day–the breathlessness was kind of like that–but something was keeping me running. From my pain, I drew will, from my sadness, I drew hope. For her. And I kept walking, crawling, panting, leaving Trinity’s body cold on the ship, covered with an old, ratty blanket.
From Ghost’s room.
Her lips were cold by the time I had found the blanket, but I let my hot tears infect us both. I delicately spread it over her, trying not to cringe…
The light was spread before me like a path, and I followed it. Now that Trinity was gone, I had nothing else to follow. I had nothing else to guide me.
When I finally found the end, I knew. I could tell by the pure. white. light.
I wasn’t nearly as intimidated as I should have been. I started to wonder if my sense had died with everything else. But death just wasn’t even a threat anymore.
I don’t need this. I need everything. Her.
Sacrifice me, take my body, this worthless flesh and blood and warmth, so useless without her. Take me, take away my pain, take it all away. Take it, so that there is nothing more to have, so that I can finally be free.
Metallic thunder. “We don’t need you. We need nothing.”
I was no longer even thinking. I spoke, I responded, and I knew it was what I wanted.
“If that’s true, then I have made a mistake and you should kill me now.”
I’ll give you what you want. But you have to give me something.
Everyone got what they wanted, in the end. I suppose.
Peace. In exchange for my life.
It seemed like a fair enough trade to me.
It was almost as though the very essence of our souls started to mingle in the air, to come together after so long, free of earth, of body, of consciousness. We just…were. I became her, and she became me, and we became One.
I love you. I’m so sorry it had to end this way.
But they’re free now.
We’re free, now. Me and you.
We’re in this together,