Disclaimer: I don't own 'em. Making no money, yadda yadda.
Author's Note: I know I seem a bit obsessed with these two and their continual sneak-up-on-each-other-at-night shenanigans, but hey, when else are they going to, well, get it on? Hee hee. This fic is a bit more light-hearted than the others I've done and the BIG ONE I'm working on (why oh why do I write the emotional gut-wrenching stuff?). Enjoy. Good smut to come in part II (hopefully, if I can bring myself to write it).
Cat-and Mouse: The Chase
Trinity groaned as she tried to roll over; sleep was the first thing she needed and the last thing her body was about to allow. She mentally checked her bruises to see if they were still there. The twelve stitches in her shoulder needed no checking, the sting was enough. The pain wasn't too bad, nothing she wasn't used to, but combined with the other feeling, the night was beginning to slow to a agonizing crawl. Something had to be done about it, she knew, because night after night of this would simply drive her mad.
She was surprised that she wasn't there already – the brink of insanity. She knew that they'd been driving the crew crazy for weeks. The tension between them had been mounting since the days when Trinity realized that he'd been dreaming about her. For awhile she'd promised herself that her human impulses could be put on hold until their emotional love blossomed, but in the passing weeks she'd thought little about the Oracle's prophesy and more about her growing need for him. For his warmth, his scent, his touch.
So they flirted. Not the kind of teenage type of superficial interest, but flirting that conveyed more of their destiny together. He idolized her, she adored him. Yet without words they spoke, with long glances and soft touches that made the rest of the crew roll their eyes – a type of joking that helped them masquerade their jealousy. Jealousy of intimacy, of love, more than pleasure. The type of electricity that radiates between two people in the beginning stages of love. An unseen force with a magnetic strength. Hatred pushes apart, lust attracts. Love makes them inseparable.
They had sparred that day. Morpheus never set Neo and Trinity in a match together during Neo's training, perhaps a wise decision on his part, she thought. But after an evening of boasting around the mess hall on Neo's part set her in the mood for a good fight. Although she did believe that he was the One, a good beating would lower his inflated ego a bit. After all, he had yet to see the Oracle.
Trinity loaded into the sparring program first to warm up before Morpheus sent Neo in. She relished her moments of quiet reflection before a good fight, her own personal meditation time. A time to get the mind in tune with the muscles.
Neo entered already eager to fight, a wry smile on his face.
She tried not to smile at his boyish readiness. "You are too sure of yourself," she said confidently as she stretched her arms over her head. "I'm going to kick your ass."
"I got Morpheus," he said as he bounced on his heels. "I give you five minutes at best." He looked around the dojo. "This is my world, Trinity."
She raised an eyebrow at him and went to meet him at the center of the dojo. "Like I said, you're too confident." She eyed him carefully, a playful gleam in her eye. "How well can you free your mind?" she asked.
"I made the jump, finally."
"Good." She looked around the dojo, an idea beginning to form in her head. "I'm glad. So you can fight. Can you run?" Her lips curled into a faint smile as she called out for Tank to load the agent-training program.
The operator smiled as he quickly pressed the keys, knowing exactly what Trinity had in mind. She used this on all her trainees: a cat-and-mouse romp through the agent-training program designed to knock down a bloated ego. Keeping up with the group on the run was extremely important to the resistance fighters; separation most usually meant death.
Morpheus nodded to himself at her decision; he liked to see Trinity in action. He had chosen her for her position for a reason; her stoic front and superior fighting skills made her an ideal leader. He hadn't put the two into a simulation together on purpose, simply because he didn't feel that Neo was ready for the stunts she pulled with her trainees. She'll go easy on him on purpose, he thought. She likes him.
The captain kept his eyes on the screens as the rest of the crew gathered around to watch, too. Neo operated extremely fast, which proved to be not only entertaining, but awesome as well. He had all but Cypher convinced that he was, indeed, the One. Now all he had to do was see the Oracle. Morpheus turned his attention back on the fight. He needed to watch closely to make sure Trinity and Neo could work together; it would be imperative when they took him to learn of his destiny.
Inside the construct, Trinity kept her eyes locked with Neo's, the energy between them beginning to mount as the dojo dissolved to the darkness of the construct's new program.
"Hey, this isn't fair," said Neo, taken aback by the change of scenery.
"You forget who you boast in front of," she murmured as their RSI's changed to her traditional Matrix-romping clothes. "This is my world, Neo. Now catch me. If you can."
Neo barely had a chance to orient himself to his surroundings when Trinity took off running.
"Hey, wait," he called trying to get his feet to move. He bounded out of the alleyway after her, only to trip over his own feet and land hard on his hands, scraping his palms. What the hell, he thought, trying to see what had tripped him up.
They were boots. Trinity had given him damn boots.
Grimacing, he dusted off his pants and looked for Trinity among the crowd. He couldn't see her anywhere. A beeping from his side caught his attention; he had a cell phone.
"Okay, Trinity," he spoke into the phone after clicking it on," so you're fast, you've proved it to me...can we go back to the sparring program now?"
She didn't bother addressing his suggestion. "You have to keep up with me, Neo. We have to stay together!"
"And just why is that?" he asked, fighting his way through a stream of people.
"Because if you don't, you're going to get shot."
He barely heard the phone click before the explosion of a bullet tore through the air above his head.
"Oh shit!" he yelled as he hit the cement for the second time. He opened his eyes to see a pair of boots similar to his. Trinity was standing over him, gun in hand.
"You nearly shot me, you bitch!"
The second-in-command smiled. "No, Neo. He nearly shot you."
Neo turned to see the body of an agent lying directly behind him.
"So when I tell you to run, Neo, you'd better run."
His eyes widened as he got to his feet, ignoring Trinity's proffered hand. "Are they real?"
"You didn't see me dawdling around when we got here, did you?" she asked, glancing around Neo. "I think we'd better get going." She looked him in the eyes. "There's another on the way. Now keep up with me."
Neo nodded, and began to run.
"Geez, she's fast," whispered Mouse as he watched Trinity maneuver her way through the crowded city streets and cluttered alleyways.
"Like a panther in that black leather..." muttered Cypher suggestively.
Morpheus watched Neo closely as he did his best to stay behind Trinity. She was an expert at using her mind to overcome even the most dire-looking circumstances. Her last encounter with an agent could have earned her a badge of courage, if they still had such adornments.
She frequently used the simulated Matrix to drill herself. Several years ago, when she began to feel that she needed to push herself harder, she programmed the "agents" to inflict pain. Much against Morpheus' wishes, she game them combat skills just an edge above her own...and guns. Guns that worked.
He remembered the first time she'd gone up her own creation, running like hell through the city with three armed agents right on her tail. He watched until they trapped her down an alleyway. She was just reaching for her weapon when he pulled her out.
Trinity came out of the program sweaty, achy, and madder than hell. As soon as the data spike was removed she began yelling. He had let her get it all out before explaining that he wasn't going to stand by and watch his best officer commit suicide. Eventually they'd compromised; the agents would be armed, but programmed to miss. He had insisted that the pain of a bullet grazing the skin would be enough motivation to get her to rise to the next level of skill. She had agreed.
Now he watched Neo with a bit of amusement as he ran for what he thought was his life. Trinity did have a point; Neo had become a bit over-confident in his combat skills when he was still lacking the group training in retreat tactics that would more likely prove to be much more valuable than a few good karate chops.
Morpheus watched as Trinity rounded a corner, jumping over the sleeping man who was nestled in the shadows just out of Neo's line of sight. Neo couldn't react fast enough; he stepped directly on the homeless man's genitals. Before it's over, thought Morpheus, Neo's going to have the whole city chasing him.
"You gave me boots," Neo panted as he raced along just a few steps behind Trinity. "Freakin' boots!"
"It's combat gear."
"Combat gear my ass."
"Get used to it. You tired yet?"
"Good. We've got about a mile to go before the exit...and there's more agents."
"Can't you get rid of them?" he gasped.
"There are only three here. They jump. Only kill the body they're in...killing time."
"Only three? Oh, fuck."
"What was that?"
"Nothing. Wish me luck."
She crept along the brick wall, motioning for Neo to be quiet. Silently she drew her weapon and nodded for Neo to do the same. His eyes widened again when he realized he was armed.
Trinity watched him carefully as he removed his weapon. "I have a big gun," he whispered to her, a slight smile on his lips.
"Weapons training?" she mouthed, trying to suppress a grin. Neo shook his head in the negative. "If you see one, shoot it."
"Do they all look the same?"
"Men in black, baby."
Morpheus stood behind his crew, a frown spreading across his face as he watched them. They were flirting. He didn't mind that Trinity had taken a liking to Neo, in fact, he was glad to see that they were getting along so well. He was worried that Trinity would feel pressure to fall in love with the One, but so far that hadn't seemed like much of a problem. He knew that Trinity covertly watched Neo before Morpheus even told her that he suspected that he was the One.
But watching them so blatantly flirt during a serious training simulation was something that he wasn't going to let slide, especially in front of the other crew members. Training sims were always regarded as the real thing, for necessity. They were more of an exercise routine for Trinity now, which he acknowledged and accepted, but for Neo the simulation was a valuable resource.
He tried to convince himself that Trinity was flirting with Neo to try to knock him off balance, to beat him, but he knew that wasn't the case. Neo didn't maneuver as fluidly as Trinity, but nevertheless he performed exceptionally well for his first time in her program. Unusually well. Trinity's plan to knock his ego down to size wasn't going to work, he thought. Maybe I'm going to have to do it.
Neo fought the agent blindly, wildly throwing punches and kicks as fast as he could. He could almost feel Trinity at his back, conserving her energy as she methodically held off agent number two.
"You're flailing," he heard her say as he took another punch to the stomach.
"This isn't working," he said, groaning. "We can't fight them."
"Come on, Neo, give 'em a good karate chop or two."
"This isn't funny, Trin. He's kicking my ass."
He turned around to make sure she was all right, but she had already made her break for it. A glimpse of black on a fire escape above him caught his eye before he was face-to-face with the other agent.
"Jump, Neo," he heard her call from somewhere from above, as the words of Morpheus immediately echoed through his head: free your mind. I'm not even really here, he thought quickly as the two agents on either side of him simultaneously raised their weapons. Jump, you idiot, like she told you. And then, his brain tacked on, beat her at her own game. He was high enough in the air to see the agents shoot nothing but each other.
Trinity hesitated just enough to make sure Neo didn't get hit before she took off at full speed toward the exit. The pay phone was attached to the rear of a seedy Quick-E-Mart, full of all sorts of characters. A random generator would determine the body for agent number three – Agent Dick, as she called him. Last time he'd taken over the body of an unsuspecting bag lady just as she rounded the corner; she dove into a roll, just merely missing a nick in the leg by a bullet before she answered the phone.
This time she thought she'd approach from the neighborhood side behind the building. An old wooden fence separated the dirty alleyway behind the store from a low-income housing project; she could easily approach from behind (dodging neighbor-turned-Dick if necessary) and vault over the fence to the phone. Plan in mind, she changed direction and sprinted across the street, unaware that Neo still on the fire escape, was following her with his eyes, a smile on his face.
Cracking her knuckles, Trinity prepared to jump the fence. She took off running, dove forward, planted her hands on the ground and faulted backwards over the fence so that all she'd have to do was extend a hand to the receiver of the phone... but as her feet hit the ground someone grabbed her from behind, pulling her backwards toward the fence.
She spun around quickly, coming nose to nose with Neo.
"Caught ya," he said huskily between panting breaths.
In any normal circumstances she would have promptly kneed him in the balls and reached for the ringing phone, but something caused her to freeze. For an instant there was no simulation, no alleyway, no ringing phone...just Neo, his lips just inches from hers, their bodies pressed together against the rickety fence. She swore she could feel his heart pounding against hers through their clothes; an awkward moment that she didn't want to break for fear of losing this energy, this tension. She was so engrossed in the moment that she didn't even hear the back door to the Quick-E-Mart open and a lanky teen come out with a bag full of trash. He had only an instant to gaze on the two strangers in black before he saw them through the eyes of Agent Dick.
The faint click of a gun being taken off safety snapped her out of the moment. Time seemed to crawl as she grabbed Neo by the shirt and swirled him around, pushing him toward the phone with one hand and reaching for the receiver with the other. Pressing the grimy receiver to his ear, she gritted her teeth and waited for the pain.