- AUTHOR: MulticoloredGypsy
- TITLE: Birthday
- CATEGORY: Drama
- RATING: PG
- SUMMARY: As they walked to the elevator, Neo didn’t even notice that he was closer to the railing, and even if he did, he probably wouldn’t have cared.
- AUTHOR’S NOTES: Don’t ask why Tank’s still alive (seeing how he’s supposed to be dead). He just is. Imagine that he doesn’t die for, say, another week. How does that sound? Good? Ok! The time is a little off, but I’m not writing it for the accuracy. Notice how this is actually not an AU…and it’s HAPPY! I wanted to start my summer absence with a bang.
- DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Matrix, I am simply borrowing it from the brothers Warner and Wachowski. Any alternate universe ideas, however, are mine, but I am far too un-original to incorporate that into some original work.
When Neo woke, he unconsciously reached to pull Trinity closer to him. Instead of feeling her body touches his, there was only a thin blanket between his fingers. He blinked a few times to adjust his eyes to the dim light of Trinity’s room in Zion. He remembered being offered his own room just a few doors down, but he refused. Trinity had found it quite funny how everyone in Zion seemed to want to separate them, even though they all knew her bed was big enough for two if they could share one of the Neb’s tiny cots.
He rose and looked around, but there was no sight of Trinity, none at all. Did she just leave without bothering to wake him? Or maybe she had woken him, only he could have fallen back asleep without even realizing he was awake. Neo preferred the second option. Trinity knew all too well that he still couldn’t even walk three steps out the door without getting lost in the turmoil that was Zion.
Well, it seemed that only Neo thought of Zion’s daily activity as turmoil. Everyone else was well accustom to the mazes of elevators and pathways, all of them having visited the city many more times than Neo, who had only been in Zion once before. Since his first stay was spent mostly in Zion’s medical quarters, it didn’t give Neo much time for sightseeing.
Neo pulled some clothes out of the small pile that had formed on the floor and put them on. He sat on the bed and waited a little more, but there was still no sign of Trinity, so he decided to take matters in to his own hands. Thoroughly examining the pattern on the front door, he did his best to imprint the image in his mind.
“Come on.” He muttered to himself. “Your mind can do fucking anything in the Matrix and you can’t even remember what Trinity’s room looks like.”
It took Neo another mental argument with himself to finally get him to venture out into Zion. He took a few steps and was already lost in the bustling crowd. Everyone seemed like they knew exactly what they were doing and where they were going. Neo felt very out of place, wandering aimlessly, searching for a familiar face.
All around him, people were all interacting. Many people were selling jewelry and other goods off to the sides of the pathways. Neo noticed an what a man wearing a Jewish star necklace selling a ceramic plate to a dark skinned man while his Indian friend whispered under his breath something about raising the price.
Neo remembered the Matrix, where every day there was a war going on somewhere in the world. Almost every race and country had enemies. The world was never at peace. Of course now, the world was still not at peace, with the matrix and the machines trying to stop the resistance at all costs, but as he looked around he saw something he never would have seen in the Matrix. Instead of culture against culture, it was humans against machines. Race and religion were put aside, racism and prejudice did not even exist anymore. Everyone was fighting for a common goal, and it was a beautiful thing seeing how freed humans were different than those in the matrix.
He stepped inside an elevator that was already crowded with people and rode it three levels up, cautiously making a note of where he was now in relation to where he came from before continuing his walk. When in Zion, Neo found that he could not bear to look out over the railing protecting people as they walked along. He could fly in the Matrix – his fear of heights in the real world was absurd, but whenever he looked over the railing, he got the terrible feeling that someone was coming up behind him to push him off.
“Coward.” He said sullenly as he looked around, observing the people he was here to save. It scared him to know that all of their lives would be in his hands, and he was terrified of failing. His mind drifted as he walked, and he didn’t even notice the voice that was calling his name until he felt a hand on his shoulder, stopping him in his tracks. He turned around and saw Trinity standing there beside him, a little out of breath.
He greeted her with a kiss, his lips meeting hers with a certain hunger in them induced by her absence. His right hand came to rest on her hip, his left hand holding her right. And then it ended, leaving Neo craving more. “Good morning.” Neo said, his statement causing Trinity to smile.
“Morning?” She asked playfully. “It’s already noon.”
Neo chuckled, taking his hand off Trinity’s hip so he could wrap his arm around her waist. “And I owe it all to you for waking me.” He said, his voice rich with sarcasm The citizens of Zion were moving past them taking no notice of the couple standing in the middle of the path.
“Did you sleep alright?” Trinity asked before pulling Neo’s head close to hers and kissing him again. Whenever a soldier was in Zion, they were taking a break from the fighting and had the opportunity to do whatever they pleased. In Neo and Trinity’s case, they were pleased with expressing their love to each other. And the Zion crowds took no notice.
Neo broke away from Trinity just so he could answer “yes,” before their lips met again. No sooner had they met again when Trinity pulled away this time, taking his hand and leading him through the crowd. “Good.” She said, satisfied. Neo followed her through the crowds to another elevator.
“We’re going up?” Neo said, sighing nervously when he saw which button Trinity had pushed. She elbowed him in the side and shook her head.
“Come off it, Neo. You’re not afraid to fly above the Matrix, even higher than the goddamn birds, and you’re afraid of going up an elevator?” She said with what sounded like disbelief in her voice. Sometimes she envied Neo’s abilities, but him being afraid of heights? It was quite silly.
“My thoughts exactly.” Neo said, defeated, staring at the door. He drummed his fingers against thighs in a display of his nervousness.
Trinity noticed this and took his hands in hers, moving as close to Neo as she could get. Her breath was on his neck, where she deposited a light kiss there before her lips sought his mouth and then pulling back. “Relaxed?” She asked, as if daring Neo to answer with ‘no.’ He merely nodded, breathing a bit harder, but he did not release Trinity’s hands, for the elevator had stopped.
“Where are we going?” Neo asked when Trinity led him out of the elevator and down the pathway. He peered over the railing and saw that they were on the highest housing level of Zion. He let go of Trinity’s hand so he could switch sides – he was now walking closer to the wall, with Trinity safely between him and the railing.
She shook her head again, smiling at his antics. “Neo, you are ridiculous.” Taking his hand again, she continued to lead him down the path. Neo noticed that this level was much less crowded than his own. “We’re going to Tank’s place.”
“Figures he’s got a spot on the highest level.” Neo muttered glumly, only to receive a light punch in his arm as Trinity stopped. “This is it?” He looked quite relieved when Trinity nodded and rammed the door with her fist. He heard footsteps behind the door, which creaked open to reveal a tall woman whom he didn’t recognize.
“Hello, Trinity. Neo.” She extended her hand to Neo, who shook it. “My name’s Cass. Come inside.”
“Is she Tank’s wife?” Neo whispered to Trinity when Cass turned and went back inside.
Trinity shook her head, a look of sadness coming to her face. “Dozer’s.” She instantly masked the sadness when she went inside. Neo followed her, pausing to shut the door behind him, and when he turned around he saw not only Cass and Tank but also Morpheus, all sitting on a ratty looking couch. Upon their entering, Tank jumped from his seat – Trinity only had time to whisper “Tank made me bring you over.” into Neo’s ear before Tank lit a match and thrust it in Neo’s face.
Everyone in the room, save for Neo, greeted him with a chorus of “Happy Birthday, Neo!”
“Come on, blow out your birthday candle.” Tank said enthusiastically while Neo just stared in awe. His eyes drifted from Trinity to Morpheus, then Cass and Tank, still holding the match, the flames drawing closer to his finger until – “Ah, SHIT!” He dropped the match and stuck his finger in his mouth, quickly stomping out the flame on the ground. “Jeezus, Neo.”
“I’ll get some ice.” Cass said as she disappeared into the next room; Morpheus and Trinity, who had joined her captain on the couch, looked rather amused at the whole incident. “Sorry, Tank.” Neo said after a long, awkward silence. The operator nodded, gratefully taking the ice from Cass. “How…how did you guys know it was my birthday?”
Morpheus smiled. “Trinity has been keeping track of the days since you have been unplugged. But it is only a coincidence that we ended up in Zion.” Trinity had stopped smiling, and was now looking down at the small spot of ash on the floor.
Tank chuckled. “Trinity had a little crush on him since before we even got him out.” Trinity glared at him, and he refrained from finishing his train of thought. “Uh, happy birthday, Neo.“ He said quickly to cover up what he was about to say.
“So I’m one year old today.” Neo said thoughtfully; the idea was funny. Last year he was 37, and now he was 1. Cass now wore a small smile, a tinge of sadness darkening her features. Neo looked around and caught Trinity’s eyes. “How old are you, Trin?”
“Thirteen.” She said simply.
Neo nodded to Morpheus, who answered. “Twenty-nine.”
“I made a cake.” Cass stated. “Of course, it’s not what you’re used to.” She added hastily, remembering that Neo had never actually had any food in Zion, unless you could call an I.V. drip food.
“That’s fine.” Neo said, feeling a little awkward. Trinity slid over on the couch to make room for him, and there wasn’t so much room and Trinity was almost on top of him, but neither of them saw that as a problem.
“Well, that was awkward.” Neo said when they had left Tank’s house. It wasn’t as much of a surprise party as it was a surprised birthday. Neo didn’t even know it was his birthday. Had he not spent his first few months unconscious, would he have remembered to keep track of the days? Probably not, seeing as how there were some distractions, like the hole in the back of his head.
“Sorry for that.” Trinity said truthfully, taking his hand. “It’s just that Tank made me promise I’d bring you over.” Neo nodded, and they walked silently for a while until Neo spoke again.
“Have you really been out for thirteen years?” He was awestruck. Even though he spent almost half of his first year unconscious, his first year had seemed so long.
Trinity slid her arm around Neo’s waist. “First year’s always the longest.” And without any warning she pulled him back to the wall, her back against the cold metal. With her other hand she guided Neo’s head down to hers, and she kissed him long and hard. He kissed her back with the same force, his hand holding the back of her head, not wanting her lips to ever leave his.
“Happy birthday, Neo.” She whispered, running her hand through his hair, her fingers passing over his plug. They kissed once more before Neo stopped.
“Can we go back to your room?” He sounded so innocent, like a child. And although he was only one year old, his intentions were all but childlike.
Trinity nodded. “Yes, let’s go.” As they walked to the elevator, Neo didn’t even notice that he was closer to the railing, and even if he did, he probably wouldn’t have cared.