Thanks to all you guys who reviewed, especially Protectress of Dalidon for reviewing every chapter! It was soooo helpful to read encouraging stuff. Sorry the whole story took so long, but school seems to be a dominant fixture in my life... anyway, heartfelt thanks to all those who took time to review, it made the whole thing worthwhile.


As Neo lunged and caught Trinity's crumpling form, the world around them again began swirling in the same sea of black and green, coded numbers. As though sucked into an enormous vacuum, his surroundings pulled away and Neo was once again at the back of the Taj Mahal Indian Restaurant, the unconscious Trinity in his arms. But now her eyes were shut and she was breathing deeply, as though asleep. For a while Neo held her in his arms, gazing into her face. Warm relief flooded him, and he savoured the feel of her warm body, beating heart, and slow sighing breath.

His phone began ringing shrilly, and he raised it to his ear.

"You found her! Is she okay? What happened? You disappeared as well, and Morpheus was going nuts, and then-" A deeper voice cut in. "Link, please direct them to the exit." "Sure Morpheus, same as before Neo, corner of 20th and West. Phone's been repaired and everything." "Alright" Neo closed his phone. He gently lifted Trinity as he stood, slightly shocked by her lightness, and walked through the streets to the phones box. Many people gave him curious looks, the man in leather and the bloodied woman. But the phone ahead was ringing, and soon he would be free of the Matrix.

He placed the phone against Trinity's ear first, felt her form dissipate from his arms, and then hung up the phone until it rang again. And Neo sighed with relief as, finally, he and Trinity left the Matrix and returned to the Nebuchadnezzar

As he opened his eyes Neo felt Morpheus yank the plug from the back of his head. He sat up quickly and looked around for Trinity, but her chair was empty.

"She ran off" replied Morpheus in answer to Neo's questioning look. "I think she's gone to the engine room".

Trinity was sitting in the darkest corner of the engine room, staring ahead, lost in thought. Neo said nothing, just crawled in the space and sat next to her. And waited.

"I was hiding from you" Trinity said eventually.

"I know".

She still didn't look at him. "I had those nightmares for so long... but they were almost worth the relief I felt waking up. With you breathing next to me. Alive. I kept wanting to wake up, this time... but... I didn't. The nightmare, it just kept going, and... I killed you"

She trailed off. In the darkness, Neo wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. For a moment she was rigid, and then she folded into his embrace, a small sob escaping her throat. But when she spoke next, her voice was calm, and strangely cold.

"I killed him. That teenage boy."

Neo finally spoke. "I knew you did."

"I'm a murderer..."

"We all are. But out of necessity."

"I know that. It just... he was so young"

"I know."

"We were in the car, and then suddenly... he changed and there was an agent sitting next to me. He grabbed me by the throat and I swung the wheel... Somehow I grabbed hold of my gun and the instant I pulled the trigger at his forehead, it was the terrified eyes of a fifteen year old staring back at me. But it was too late, too late... and I killed him.

It's been in my nightmares ever since."

For a while they lay there, simply holding each other.

"I'm sorry, Trin."

He could sense her smiling at him through the darkness, felt her hand on his cheek.

And it was enough.