*DING DING* Revolutions spoilers ahoy, cap'n!
I wrote this to make myself feel better after Revolutions… It worked, until I listened to Trinity Definitely and I fell apart again.
She felt his lips on hers and it was just like the first time; same feeling of euphoria and fear mingled together and the sound of rushing blood on her ears. Almost exactly the same, except this time it felt a little wrong. Sort of backwards, upside down, back to front. The first time had felt like she was rushing towards him… The last time felt like rushing away. The roaring in her ears increased, her heart suddenly seeming to pound out a rhythm until there was a clatter and a roar—
She opened her eyes and looked around. She was sitting on a hard wooden bench on a… a train. A perfectly ordinary, ancient looking train. There was a piercing whistle from the engine.
I'm back in the Matrix, she thought. They plugged me back in. But even as she thought it, she knew that that wasn't quite right: her hands flew to the back of her head, fingers probing through her tangled hair, searching for metal. There was none. A glance at her arms told her that she was completely plug free, but she wasn't wearing her Matrix clothes. Looking down she could feel the familiar scratch of her sweater, the worn fabric of her pants and heavy boots encasing her feet.
This wasn't the Matrix. There was no sense of unease, of unreality… no danger. Only this quiet train. She glanced around at her fellow passengers. Some were staring down at their own feet or gazing blankly out the darkness outside the windows. Others were looking nervously around, eyes flitting to meet Trinity's for just a moment before moving on.
Trinity rubbed her eyes, trying to recall just how she'd got here… She remembered darkness, lightning… impact. Something hitting her hard. There had been something before that though… Something beautiful.
She was jerked from her thoughts by the squealing of the train's brakes. She stood up with everyone else as the train doors opened and stepped down onto the pitch black platform. She shivered: the darkness was so complete she couldn't see her own hand in front of her. The only reassurance she had was that the ground was solid under her feet. She would not fall into the darkness again. The train shut its doors and clattered away, leaving in the darkness of… night? A tunnel? Trinity couldn't tell and within a few seconds, she didn't care. There was silence and the darkness seemed to speak of childhood fairytales, myths, urban legends. Boogiemen, trolls, dragons, beautiful princesses… Lives were devoured here. From the worried murmurs around her, she knew that her sudden fear was not lonely.
Then with a sudden roar like a fire flaming up, light penetrated the gloom. Seven doorways opened up in front of her, green exit sounds flashing. With a singular cry of relief, the crowd surged forward scrambling into the doorways. Trinity followed more slowly. Everyone else seemed to know which doorway to choose… She hesitated, unsure and lost. There was a peculiar twisting sensation in her stomach, an ache in her heart. Her palms itched. She walked through the nearest exit, trying to quiet the unsettled feeling.
She was walking down a tiled circular corridor. A subway, she thought and she heard the roar of a train pass somewhere nearby. She wandered, feeling hopelessly lost. Where had all the people gone? Up ahead, she caught sight of a flicker of fabric turning a corner.
"Excuse me!" she called, relief washing through her, "excuse me!" She started to run towards the corridor whoever it was had walked down.
"Yes?" A kindly faced old man with a long tangled beard poked his head back around at Trinity, smiling at her. "Can I help you dear?" His clothes were old and frayed, the red shirt and blue waistcoat obviously once bright, dull and dirty looking. He wore pinstripe trousers held up by braces and safety pins.
"Well," began Trinity, slowing her run to a stop until she was beside him. The old man smiled.
"Yes," said Trinity. "That's it. I've lost someone. Only…" She looked around her, feeling another wave of helplessness engulf her. This was all wrong. Helplessness was not an emotion Trinity subscribed to. For everything that happened, there was always an action she could take against it. This time-
"I don't know who I've lost," she said slowly. "Or where I lost them…"
The old man smiled sympathetically and patted her arm. "I know, dear, I know… We're all the same." He started to walk back down the corridor and Trinity followed.
He nodded. "Yes. Everyone here feels the same as you… Lost, afraid… Alone."
"I need to find him," said Trinity absently.
"Ah, you remember that it's a he you're looking for? That's good, very good… Most people don't remember even that. It's very frustrating." He hurried down a set of steps. Trinity stopped, thinking hard. Yes, she was looking for a man… but as to what he looked like, or sounded like… His name even was as elusive as water, sliding beneath her before she could grip the memory properly.
"Can you help me find him?" she shouted desperately at the man's retreating back.
"Find your platform," he called back. "He will come one day. He will come looking for you."
"My platform?" Trinity frowned and then vaulted down the steps, stumbling a little and running after the man. "What do you mean?" She turned a corner and found herself on a dingy subway platform. A dozen or so people stood there, staring blankly around. A few muttered to themselves.
"Your platform," said the old man, gazing around at the people, "will most likely be different to this. You will recognise it as yours when you find it." He took her arm and started to guide her gently around, backing out of the station. Trinity jerked her arm free of his grip, but he didn't seem to notice or care. "You'll have to search for it, but never fear. It's there. It's always been there, just waiting for you."
"But I have to find-" She began but the old man cut her off with a chuckle.
"This new generation… With all your cars and planes and motorcycles, you've forgotten how to wait. Be patient. The train might be late; it may even be early. But sure as eggs is eggs, it will come. And you'll know when it's time to board." He patted her arm and turned from her, walking back along the corridor.
"Who are you?" she called after him.
"A gatekeeper," he said, looking back at her over his shoulder. "A conductor of souls." He turned left and disappeared from view
Souls..? Trinity stood where she was for an instant, teetering on her toes with indecision. There were other corridors branching off this one and behind each one she heard the dull roar of passing trains, whistles and horns, the screeching of brakes… She didn't know where to start looking for her – platform? Why would she waste her time looking for a platform when… when…
Damn. She ran after the Conductor again.
"Please," she called, "I have to know more! I have to find him!" She turned left where she thought he'd gone, the sound of her feet pounding against concrete matching the rhythm of pistons and steam engines. There was a door up ahead, just swinging closed. She burst through and was blinded.
She gasped and blinked in the sudden light, her arms automatically flying up in front of her eyes. Warmth caressed her skin.
"This isn't really your platform, dear," said the Conductors voice, a hint of anger fizzling in it like acid. "But if you must wait here, you couldn't pick nicer surroundings."
Trinity ignored him, staring around at her surroundings. She was no longer in a subway, or even indoors. There were another dozen people on the platform sitting on benches or talking to themselves. The platform she stood on was pretty, freshly painted white fences guarding beds of flowers, their primary colours matching the brilliant yellow and red of the leaves on the trees… She looked upwards at the brilliant blue sky, streaked with thin white clouds. Her breath caught in her throat. Beautiful…
"Neo," she whispered.
"What?" She looked back at the old man, who was glaring at her.
"Neo," she said more loudly. "I'm looking for Neo." The Conductor stared at her for an instance and then dismissed her, turning his back on her. Anger flared inside of Trinity. "Tell me where he is!" He walked away. Trinity's anger flared again and she stepped forward, grabbing hold of his arm. "You have to tell me where he is!"
"Stop it!" he hissed, making no effort to prise her iron grip from his arm. "You'll upset the others."
"I don't give a shit. He needs me, he's hurt-"
A piercing whistle cut her off. Surprised, Trinity jumped and looked around wildly. There was nothing around that looked like it could have generated a noise that loud.
"At last," murmured a voice behind her. Trinity turned, letting go of the Conductor's arm and watched as a woman with red hair stood up from her seat and walked to the edge of the platform. A strange wind rustled across the station and Trinity caught a whiff of smoke and oil. The others people were all now staring hungrily at the woman as she stopped right at the edge of the platform. The Conductor straightened his ragged suit and stood beside her, smiling gently. The woman glanced at him and smiled. She reached inside her pocket and placed two coins in the Conductor's out-stretched hand. He tipped an imaginary hat to her and stepped backwards. The woman smiled, her hand reached up and brushed the air in front of her. Her smile widened.
"I knew you'd come," she said and stepped off the platform, vanishing into thin air. There was a roar and another wind licked at Trinity's clothes.
"What-?" she began.
"Her train arrived," said the Conductor, tucking the coins away in his breast pocket. "It was her time to leave." He fixed a hard eye on Trinity. "And that is what you must do. You must wait. Eventually he will come for you." He started to turn away.
"But what if he's waiting for me to come to him? I have to-"
The Conductor turned so quickly he became a blur, his face pressed against her ear. "Do you know what place this is? This is my world. I am the gatekeeper and you have none of the keys, darling. All you do is wait."
"Where the hell am I?" asked Trinity quietly, her voice and body trembling. He smiled nastily
"The labyrinth, darling. Purgatory." He moved away from her and said more softly, "Just wait. He'll come. They nearly always do, eventually." He pulled a gold watch from his pocket, consulted it and nodded. "You can wait here, if you like." He tipped the imaginary hat to Trinity and then left, leaving her on the platform. Trinity stood where she was, gazing around at the other passengers, the flowers, the trees, the sky… And remembered Neo, blinded, taking her hand. I wish you could see this, Trin.
"Fuck this," she said and turning she ran from the platform and back through the door into the subway corridor. She didn't stop running, turning at random, her chest burning. How long she ran for, she didn't know, but it became very apparent that she was simply going in circles. Every corridor seemed to lead back to the main one. She forced herself to stop right back where she had started.
"Think, Trinity, think…" She glanced around the floor and spotted a red brick. She picked it up and using its crumbling edges, marked an X on the ground. She moved down the nearest corridor, marking an arrow on the wall to show which way she went. She headed down the corridor, gripping the brick in both hands at head height. She didn't know if there was any specific danger here, but if never hurt to be cautious. The corridor opened out onto another subway station, derelict and littered with graffiti and rubbish. She stared around at the people waiting. How long had they been here, just sitting there, staring at the wall? How could they just sit there if there was a chance that they could find the person they were looking for by themselves? Trinity's stomach turned and she ran back down the corridor.
It seemed, after a while, that this was her life. There had never been anything else, but this labyrinth with no minotaur, the roar of silent trains and winds rushing to and fro. She glimpsed the Conductor once or twice helping others onto their own personal train, but she was careful to avoid him. Sometimes she could barely remember what it was she was looking for and then she wandered aimlessly, the brick heavy in her hands. She was tired now, so tired and it seemed like a good idea, to sit at the platform and just wait… And then she remembered. Neo. Holding her as she died, bringing her back once, but this cat only had one life to spare it seemed…
Trinity took a deep breath and set off down another corridor. She would find him, even if it took the rest of eternity. She would find him. She turned right and found herself on an empty platform. It was this that caught her attention at first; all the others had been populated by at least half a dozen people, sometimes a lot more. This one was silent and white, its floor and walls dirt free. Trinity caught the whiff of fresh paint. She walked cautiously out towards the platform edge. It was all somehow familiar…
A rush of wind caressed her face and she looked left, trying to pierce the tunnels darkness with her eyes. And then she remembered riding a train, her gun in her hand because she didn't trust the Trainman, or his boss…
A light appeared in the darkness and she heard the clatter of wheels against rails. She wasn't surprised when a silver train emerged from the tunnel, nor when it slowed to a stop. She turned to her right, hoping, hoping… The train door opened.
It was like seeing him for the first time again, seeing the shape of his cheekbones, the lips that were perhaps a little too wide for his face and those eyes… His eyes. She dropped the brick.
Neo took a deep and ragged breath. "I was looking-"
"-for you," breathed Trinity. "So was I." She took a step forwards. "Neo." And then he flew towards her, embracing her so tightly that it hurt but she didn't care because it was him and he felt real, really real, right down to the smell of stale sweat on his clothes. She kissed his neck, tasting the tang of his skin, pressing hard against his warmth to suppress her sobs. She pulled away just enough so she could kiss his eyes.
"I knew," she whispered. "I knew."
He kissed her desperately and if there was any doubt in her mind that this was really Neo it flew away the moment his lips touched hers. No one could kiss her the way Neo could.
"What happened?" she whispered as his hands trailed through her hair, their faces so close she could feel him forming the shape of his words before she heard them.
"I let him win."
"What?" She pulled away from him, staring incredulously at him. "You let-"
"He thought he'd won… And he did for a second." Neo smiled a little sadly. "But then he lost. I don't know if we won, or they won… but there's peace. I know that much."
"Thank god," she whispered, resting her head against his shoulder. For a long moment, they were silent, content in each other, barely noticing the train as it pulled away, leaving them alone. "How did it happen?" Neo shifted in her arms and if it were actually possible, pulled her closer to him.
"I'll tell you some other time," he whispered.
"Okay." There was another long silence.
"Is this a miracle? Are we-?"
Trinity shook her head. "We're dead," she said, smiling a little at how strange that sounded.
Neo paused. "No way."
"Yes way." She felt him rest his chin on her shoulder.
"I've been here before."
"I know," said Trinity. "The place between the worlds."
"Yeah." He pulled away from her and looked around. "We should leave," he said. "We're not supposed to stay here forever."
Forever… That was what was in front of them. An eternity. Together. She felt herself smile at him. This was how it was supposed to be, she thought.
"We missed our train," she said.
"Should we wait for the next one?"
Trinity shook her head. "If we'd done that in the first place-"
"-we might never have found each other," he finished, staring at her. She smiled at him, and then dropped down from the platform onto the tracks, looking after the train.
"Hey," she said as he jumped down beside her. "Do you see that?"
"Yeah," said Neo. In the deepest darkness of the tunnel, there was a single light, white and perfectly round. "It's not a train," he continued. He glanced at her. "Wanna go check it out?"
"Yeah," said Trinity. "We'll follow the tracks."
"I tried that before," said Neo. "Before you came and got me, I tried…" He looked up and down the track, remembering. "I couldn't get anywhere."
"Well," said Trinity, taking hold of his hand. "I've got you now. Maybe we'll get somewhere together."
Neo looked down at their interlocked fingers and squeezed her hand. He looked at her and smiled; she couldn't help but smile back. Together, they turned to face the tunnel's dark mouth.
Fe fi fo fum, thought Trinity. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! It was that nameless fear, born out of childhood and hidden in dark corners, waiting and watching for you to trip, and when you did you were devoured, ripped from life… She shivered and gripped his palm tightly.
"Promise me," whispered Neo, "that you won't let go."
"I won't," whispered back Trinity, clutching his hand so tightly it hurt. "I promise."
"Me too." He glanced at her and kissed her cheek, his face lingering next to hers for a log moment. "I'll never-"
"-let go," she finished and kissed him quickly.
Together, the two
of them stepped forward into the darkness, towards the light.