- AUTHOR: Trin Chardin
- TITLE: Between Women
- CATEGORY: Drama
- RATING: PG-13
- SUMMARY: Trinity and Niobe have a talk after the events of Reloaded.
- SPOILERS: Reloaded
- AUTHOR’S NOTES: Thanks to my fellow Hardliners for their praise and support, with special mention to MTS for her constructive criticism. Here’s to the Hardline!
- DISCLAIMER: I don’t own the Matrix Reloaded, its ships or characters.
Niobe found Trinity at the infirmary.
With pale, drawn face and weary eyes, it was clear that Trinity hadn’t left Neo’s side since the Hammer had found the crew of the Neb. After the pecuiliar incident with the machines, the One had not shown any sign of consciousness. His new-found ability to stop squiddies in their tracks also disturbed them. Morale was already low, but this new turn in events had given life to an unspoken, but shared fear. How real was the real world? Was everything they believed in just another lie?
The hardest hit had been Morpheus. He had already lost his dream. Now, in addition to that, he’d been forced to question what he’d always believed to be the truth. He ate little, and spoke even less. When the Logos had come in contact with the Hammer, Niobe had gone on-board to find him a shadow of the man she once knew. Yet, it was bitterly remeniscient of the man she’d known before the Oracle had asked to see him. He’d been quiet, too. Soft-spoken, cautious. But, after the Oracle, she’d wondered if she’d ever truly known him. The new Morpheus had a fire to him, one she’d only glimpsed in their love-making. All of a sudden, he had an undeniable charisma. She’d never known how forceful…how persuasive, he could be.
It had excited her at first, this change in her long-time friend and lover. Then, he’d started to spend less and less time with her, more time searching for the One. She’d ignored it at first. Thinking she understood his passion, she’d let it go. After all, she too fought for an end to the machines’ lies. Then, she’d realized at a certain point that she didn’t know him anymore. She was sleeping with a stranger. No matter how close they held each other, their minds were worlds apart. It was as if they were only going through the motions.
The subsequent break-up happened slowly. Maybe it had been happening for a long time. She just hadn’t noticed. Had -chosen- not to notice, her inner voice whispered. What mattered was that it happened. Messages became meaningless, less frequently sent. Excuses were made, trysts missed. And then, they just cut off all contact. It was over. She’d wound up with Locke and he’d found the One. And they’d been happy with that…or at least seemed to be.
Now, she had the old Morpheus back and yet, she found herself missing the other one. There was an old saying. Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it. She longed for the Morpheus that was sure of himself. The one whose eyes shone mischievously at her even as he defied Locke. …Still, this Morpheus needed her, and she could not deny him. Not her bed, not her love. No matter what mask he wore, underneath he would always be the newbie who’d kissed her in the dark and stuttered out his love for her.
She had not noticed her lapse into thought, until she sensed the heavy weight of Trinity’s eyes on her. Sharply snapping herself out of her nostalgia, she warily edged around the comatose Bane and crossed the room to face the other woman. Neo remained between them.
“How is he?”
“…I heard he saved you.”
Trinity reached out a hand to brush back a stray strand of her lover’s hair and then caress his cheek.
“He said he loved me too much to lose me. I told him we were even.”
Niobe found something heart-breaking about the other woman’s smile.
“What wouldn’t we do for those we love?” She whispered in return.
Deep dark blue eyes met hers once more, suddenly sharp and focused. Then, lips twisted in a smirk as the other woman took in Niobe’s familiar shirt. It wasn’t hers. Despite her years, Niobe couldn’t help the heated flush that crept upon her cheeks. Her eyes fell as if to examine the floor and for a moment, she felt like a teenager again. Yet, she relished the warmth that also rose within her at the memory of last night’s love-making. The sudden flash of possessiveness in his eyes as he sank into her. For a brief second, she’d found his old self, the one with a passion for life. And this time, he’d been there – really there – as he held her in the afterglow. It would take time, but he would come back to her. She could wait. If anything, their fight against the machines had taught her patience.
“They won’t always admit that they need us,” she heard Trinity continue. “But, we know better.” They shared wan smiles. “They need us to watch their back…to reassure them…to keep them on the path…”
“To remind them they are human,” Niobe wryly followed. “To protect them from themselves.”
“And to give them a reason to keep on going.”
“To love them.”
“Yes. To love them. …Take care of him.”
Trinity’s eyes returned to Neo, her hand slipped into his as if a lifeline. Perhaps it was.
Back in her quarters, she knew Morpheus would be about to wake up. She slipped out of the infirmary without a sound. She didn’t want him to wake up alone. He too would need a hand to remind him that he was not alone…and that there was something left to keep fighting for.