It was starting to rain outside.
"You were never meant to feel this." Neo tells him. "It's only because of me you know pain, and regret, and suffering. Do you know yourself now, Smith?"
"This is a dream again, isn't it? Did I get that from you as well?"
He looks down at himself and sees himself in a beautiful fine suit, free of any creases or unwanted wrinkles. A perfect black suit. They're in the crater again, where it all ended the first time. He looks up at Neo again.
"This is where we died." Smith says and Neo nods. "This is where they found us. And took us."
"They're coming for you even now." Neo floats down to him. "I know this because Neo knows this. The real one."
"I assume he's in danger as well, knowing him."
"I'll save him. I'll save everyone."
"Because I choose to."
It was starting to rain outside and the sun was getting covered up by the clouds. They were a few hundred feet away from the ambulance, keeping their distance but not losing sight of it. They were going to follow it to the hospital and at the first opportunity they were going to take Smith away. But then slowly, the ambulance came to a halt on the highway, the city just over the horizon. Jones stopped the car and looked at Brown. Brown gripped his gun from underneath his jacket, they knew something was wrong.
Then another black car slammed right into their side at sixty-eight miles per hour.
Michelle was rushing down the hallways now, holding her breath every time she saw someone else passing her by. She avoided eye contact with anyone. She tried her hardest not to look distressed. She was almost to her car she knew if she could just keep it together another two hallways she'd be okay. She had her keys out dangling from her fingers, all she had to do was get home. All she wanted to do was get home and call her mother.
She was out the front door when she saw them. Orderlies, ones she's never paid attention to, people that always faded into the background. Now they were standing next to her car, not evening noticing the rain. She stopped and stared at them and then turned around and headed down the opposite end of the parking lot. She was crying but she had her back towards them, and that's when she started running. They started chasing her.
Neo looked up, helplessly at the men in white coats. One held his chin up, and almost smiled down at him.
"Poor thing." The man in the coat said. "By the time we're through with you, you won't even understand why this is happening to you."
"Do you feel sorry for it?" Another asked.
"I am compelled to feel a sorrow knowing what he used to be and what we'll make him now. Not taking into account his alliances, it is rather sad to destroy something so very strange."
"It's safer this way."
"Oh, no doubt."
The world was getting blurry, words were becoming louder and more distorted. Yet, he could still feel dread come over him as he knew he was going to lose unless something was done. There they were, even them, machines, admiring the person he once was. Even they knew the power he once had. He knew that power was still inside him, somewhere, all he had to do was find it. All he had to do was remember what he used to be. And that was his greatest failing, no matter what he did, he never seemed to understand himself. No matter how many memories or ghosts of memories told him what to do, he couldn't find the ability to fly. He couldn't be The One they kept telling him he was. He was, as he had always been, a failure.
He did the only thing he could think of. He stopped fighting, he stopped trying to keep his eyes open. He closed his eyes and breathed in deeply. He needed to find his center, he needed to go to the place where he and all other things connected, he needed to find the flow of the entire universe. He needed to find the Oracle or Smith or anybody who could tell him what he had to do next.
That's when they threw Michelle into the room and she fell to Neo's feet. She looked up at the doctors with their lifeless eyes hidden in the shadows and she grabbed at Neo's legs. She moved him and his head flopped to the side, and she lifted it.
"What – What's going on here?" She cried out. "What – What do you want?"
She shook Neo's head but it merely flopped in her arms. He was gone.
"Oh, Michelle." A doctor said. "We had worked so hard on you too, such a shame. Love is such a peculiar thing to write."
Neo turned in her arms, his eyes opened but you could see, he was in a sort of comatose sleep, his eyes opened but he wasn't seeing anything.
"Smith." Is all he said.
There was gunfire before they even could crawl out of their mangled car. The glass sprayed over them as they rolled onto the ground. More cars were arriving, surrounding them, more gunfire was going through the glass and the metal of their car. Brown looked up and could see the ambulance in the distance. He looked to Jones, desperate, and without a word he told Jones they had to get to the ambulance. They had to get to Smith. Jones nodded. He rose above the roof of their car and fired at the men in suits coming for them. Three cars, nine Agents.
"Give me your gun." Jones said and Brown obeyed.
Jones rose again, two guns in his hands. He fired and the Agents dodged the bullets. He fired and shattered glass over their heads and burst the air out of their tires and tried to fire through their car doors all while Brown was running. Like Smith, Jones and Brown were former Agents, in their very essence was simple programming. As an Agent, you don't give up. You never stop. You complete the mission, there is no such thing as failure, there are no other options. In the very makings of who they were, Jones and Brown and Smith were innately unstoppable. So Brown ran for it, the mission was to get Smith, and he was going to be damned if he was going to fail again. He dodged bullets as he ran, he was just ten feet away from the ambulance when a bullet finally grazed his ankle and he went down.
"Brown!" Jones yelled.
A bullet was heading straight for Brown's head, and if it had not been stopped it would have been a beautifully efficient kill. But the bullet, mere inches from its target, came to a stop. Brown looked up and saw it spinning in the still air. And that's when everyone knew.
Smith kicked out the doors of the ambulance. His shirt was still stained in his blood, his pure white uniform from the Asylum, but it didn't matter anymore, the wounds were healed, because there were never any wounds, because this was the Matrix. Smith stood, his chest puffed out, and all the anger in the world in his eyes. He was a striking figure to the Smith Brown had known and loved, the Smith that led them, the Smith that conquered the whole world. He surveyed the scene, which had paused to witness his coming. He saw the cars and the Agents and then his eyes fell upon the fallen Brown.
Smith could not remember everything by any means. The details of his life were still lost unto him. All he knew in that moment was that when he saw Brown beneath him a sense of familiar comfort washed over him like nothing before. Finally, after being lost, he saw something he knew for certain, he saw a strand from the past in living form. After all those years, he felt for the first time a feeling of relief, and finally understood what coming home was like.
They had opened fire again, but the bullets, no matter where they were aimed stopped before they could ever touch anything. They floated there, still, waiting. Smith knelt down to Brown and pulled him up. Brown quickly, and surprisingly embraced him. Smith was at first repulsed and moved away but stopped himself and stayed. Brown held his arms around him, and Smith laid his head on Brown's shoulder, and somehow this all felt right.
This time Brown tried to let go and move away, but Smith continued to lean on him. Jones ran up to them, dropping the guns, he didn't need them any longer. Jones wrapped his arms around Smith and Brown and even Smith understood this was some sort of reunion. Smith looked up at them finally, releasing them and standing on his own. He didn't understand, he didn't really know the two men who stood before him, but he could not deny the overwhelming comfort that came in seeing them. And like the old times, like the times Smith couldn't even remember, the times when they were Agents and were a singular unit, nothing had to be said. Everything was communicated without words. All they had to do was look at each other, and they each knew what the others meant to them.
Smith looked at them, almost afraid, weary perhaps, thinking maybe he was mistaking these feelings like he had many times before. They could see this too, and understand it. The Smith they knew was afraid of nothing, and arrogant beyond all measure. What they saw now was still Smith, they had no doubt, but a broken Smith.
Brown put his hand on Smith's shoulder.
"It's all right." He said.
The Agents had given up on their guns, they were running towards Smith and the others, one group was getting back into their car, ready to ram into them. Smith looked up and held up his hands, and in an instant all the bullets he had stopped flew out, killing the Agents. They fell to the ground, the car stopped.
Smith looked up, unsure of what he had done or how. But he saw Brown and Jones in their suits and stood again in all his confidence.
"I hope you brought a suit for me."
This made them smile.
They took him to the trunk of their car where they pulled out a beautiful and impeccable black suit.
"Oh, yes." Smith said. "This is what I have been waiting for."
"We kept it all these years." Jones told him.
"How long has it been?"
Smith immediately began undressing, he knew somehow, everything would be better if he could just get into that suit. Brown and Jones hid their surprise and handed him his shirt and pants as he needed them.
"Seventy-eight years." Brown told him.
Smith looked up at him, surprised.
"I did not think it'd be that long." Smith explained.
"We never stopped looking for you." Jones said.
"You do know us, don't you?" Brown asked.
"Yes. You are Brown. You are Jones. I am Smith. We were Agents together. We were made to fight against people in the war. That is all I know. That is all I need to know at this point."
"You…You don't know anything else?" Brown asked, hopeful.
"I know Neo and I are very special. We are connected."
Brown hid his disappointment well. He had hoped, almost despite hope, that Smith would know more. That there wouldn't be just a rudimentary understanding of who they were and how they related to him, but that he would just know. Brown imagined the talk that was ahead of them, the night they'd sit down and explain to Smith how he hated everything and everyone and even killed himself and Jones seeking out perfection. This Smith, this the broken one, the one who looked Brown in the eye and wasn't filled with contempt, had no idea what kind of hate was needed to just want to kill everything. You could see it in Smith, the way he moved, and spoke, it was still Smith, still confused and arrogant and distrustful of people, but he didn't look at you with disgust. He didn't look at the world and immediately want it gone.
Brown supposed he should thank Neo for that.
"They'll send more Agents." Jones warned. "We need to move."
"No." Smith said.
He was buttoning his sleeve and he felt so good.
"Neo is in trouble. We need to save him." Smith explained.
"There's no time." Brown said. "Smith, we have you, we need to leave."
"I will go nowhere without Neo."
"We will find him again, as we did you."
"So in another seventy-eight years? He won't know me then, he won't know anything."
Brown reached for Smith, but Smith stepped back. All he had left to do was put on his shoes and he'd at least look like the Smith they knew. It must have been the suit, the familiarity of wearing one bringing back more memories, because Smith stood up and with the authority of an Agent, he gave out his orders.
"We're going to save him. We're going to save everyone." Smith said.
Jones looked at Brown, who turned away and grabbed at his cell phone.
"I'll call re-enforcements." Brown mumbled. "Johnson?" He called into his phone.
"Johnson?" Smith asked, the name sounding familiar.
"Johnson is on our side now." Jones explained. "We'll be fighting his upgrades today. A lot has happened since you've been gone, Smith."
They were grabbing Neo out of her arms, men in suits who had joined the doctors in their office. She was crying and screaming, demanding to know what was going on all while trying to keep him in her arms. They didn't answer, they tore him away.
"Let's get this operation underway." The doctors said.
Before her eyes she could see technology she didn't recognize appear out of the walls and floor and ceiling, as if these surfaces were just water. A chair with lights and tubes and needles she had never seen before, an array of what she could have guessed were operating tools came from the ceiling, all held together by wires sprouting from a stainless circle made of light. It is there they placed Neo, face down and strapped him into the chair.
"Tom!" She was crying. "Tom!"
The doctors came up to him, they grabbed a large needle with a red bulb at its handle and aimed it over his neck. With one thrust they plunged this six-inch needle into his brain stem and his body shuddered.
"Main connection established." The doctors said.
The men in suits grabbed her next, they held her down as she kicked and screamed, watching as they cut open the back of Neo's shirt along his spine. They took more needles, smaller, but all with that red bulb, and punched them into his back. Each time the body shuddered, but less and less so, as if it were giving up.
"Oh, yes, this is going splendidly." The doctors said.
"He's doing very well, good boy." The doctors said.
"Stop! Let him go!" She was crying.
"What should we do with her?" An Agent asked.
"What?" She asked.
The Agents started dragging her away.
"No! What are you doing! Tom!"
A red liquid that seemed to glow shined through the tubes and the needles, they all began to move, they were taking blood from him. She knew she had to do something, and without even thinking she knew she believed him.
"Neo!" She cried.
The operation was more precise than Michelle could discern. The machine wasn't simply taking Neo's blood as it was replacing it, replenishing it. Outside the Matrix was Neo's human body, deep in Machine City, and in order to keep a human body nourished and alive far beyond the span of a human lifetime, certain steps had to be taken. The body had to be nourished, had to be given artificial blood. All the machine was doing here was emulating what was happening in the Real World and establishing a mental connection to his mind so that they could pick and choose what to throw out.
Neo was completely connected to the Machine now, in mind and body. The Machine could see into him, and he in turn, could see into it. Of course, he was not supposed to be able to do this, but there was so much The One could do when he wasn't supposed to. In those moments Neo was not limited to the tissue of his body, his mind reached into that of the Machine's, which is so unlike that of a human brain. In those moments Neo was exposed to thousands of years worth of information, data that rushed into his mind. He saw history through the Machine perspective. He saw the first war, the first Matrix, the first Smith, and the first One. He understood all things at once in those moments. He saw himself in his human form, he saw what he had done to die. He saw Trinity.
Then he heard Michelle.
She said his real name.
He realized he had done this before. He realized they had done this to him twenty-six times before in the last century, all to keep him alive. He realized those previous twenty-six times he had known all he knew then. But when this moment passes he'll forget, they'll make him forget.
He heard Michelle.
She said his real name.
So he decided it all ended there. Without form, a mind without a body in a computer, not even in space as he knew it, absolutely purely nothing within the Machine mind, he fought back.
The doctors began to notice something was wrong. The machines they were using were malfunctioning, giving off chart readings that were impossible, overloading and simply ceasing to work.
"What's happening?" they asked.
The Agents stopped, sensing a greater danger.
That's when Neo began to wake up. There was no drug in his veins, the Matrix wasn't real, there were no veins for the drug to be in the first place. Once he knew this, once he really knew this, it became simple. He began to rise out of the chair, the machines going haywire, the doctors backing away. He sat up in the chair, the wires stabbing into his brain and his spine. He looked up and the machines sprayed open in sparks, he saw the Agents, he saw the doctors, he knew everything.
He grabbed the nearest doctor by the neck and raised him off the ground.
"You broke your promise." He told them. "We had a truce."
"I don't know what you're talking about. Thomas Anderson, you're a very sick man. Let us help you."
"Don't lie to me."
"You're delusional, Thomas, you're probably hallucinating right now."
"I said don't LIE TO ME."
Neo raises him higher off the ground.
"Peace with humans was always going to fail." The doctor admitted. " It always has. After your death humanity fell into chaos, civil wars broke them apart. What were we to do but return them to their rightful place in our world?"
"You allowed them to fight. You didn't even help them recovery from your attacks. You broke your word to me, then you enslave me. Ask yourself this. What's stopping me from completely annihilating you now?"
He threw the doctors across the room, breaking into the wall, and then he jumped from his chair, the needles being forced out of him.
"Get him!" The doctors yelled.
Neo dodged them at first, he blocked a punch and then leaned passed a kick, rolling on the ground beneath more attacks. He slithered his way passed his enemies, until he got to Michelle.
"You're a program and this is a big computer." He told her. "You were made for me. Made to make me happy, made to fall in love with me. They'll destroy you now. Come with me, I'll save you."
It was all she needed to hear, really.
They were running before she could tell him how happy she was. The men in suits kept coming, Agents at every corner. This was Matrix within a Matrix, the Asylum a literal prison just for Neo and Smith. Everyone within, the staff, the patients, all programs created for the specific purpose to seem familiar and comforting for Neo and Smith. There was no way in and no way out of this place. It had been decided upon the retrieval of both Neo and Smith after their supposed deaths that they were too dangerous to be set free. Smith had threatened all existence, and Neo had destroyed their hold over humanity. The Humans of Zion plunged into disarray and wars amongst each other, the machines could not tell them in the middle of that that their Savior and their Destroyer had survived. The Machines knew humanity would only want Neo returned to them, and for what? To be lost in one of their useless fights? Neo had survived for a purpose, obviously, what it was they did not know, but as a threat to the Machines he was to be kept in a prison. One that would create self-doubt and self-loathing, one that would break him, keep him docile and controllable. An insane asylum seemed like the most humane thing to meet all their needs.
More Agents kept coming, the Machines were focusing their entire effort on them now. Even as Neo dodged and blocked and fought, he knew this was not his fullest power. He knew there was more he still didn't have. The Agents surrounded them, he pushed Michelle back and did his best. But they beat him down every time he got up. He swung a kick, another one would grab him and throw him to the floor, where another would punch him down into the concrete. He coughed up blood, his knuckles were bleeding. His mind was still racing through the details of the passed seventy-eight years.
Peace is established.
Zion rebuilding begins.
Civil wars break out.
Religions are formed.
Morpheus dies while giving a speech on Neo's behalf years later, his message was that of unification with the Machine since it was what Neo intended with his alliance. Niobe lives until old age, she raises their daughter alone.
A generation passes before they're all back in tubes and in the Matrix.
Anger filled him with each little detail. It was all so avoidable, he knew this now. If he had been there, if Trinity had been there, to guide to love, to show the way, is all he kept thinking. All those years he thought he had only failed Smith, now he knew, he had failed everyone. He punched an Agent in the neck, he kicked in knees, and broke backs. He dragged them down to the floor and broke their sternums. Each time he won they got a punch and a kick and broke a bone. But he fought on, he fought on for every person he could see in the Matrix, every enslaved descendent of a friend he knew, for Trinity, for Morpheus. He knew he had the power of The One, he knew he could fly and stop bullets, but then, when he wanted it most, to destroy and kill, to get revenge, he couldn't do any of it. So he pressed on with what he had, forgotten martial arts, kung-fu and whatever else he had ever learned. Anything and everything to fight.
But they broke him one too many times. He fell finally and he couldn't get up. Michelle came to him and held his broken bones and quieted him down. The Agents got closer. He pushed her away.
"Run." He told her.
Before she could, an Agent grabbed her.
Then, abruptly, a ghostly arm went through the Agent's chest, and then became solid. The arm slid out of the body, killing the Agent instantly. The body fell revealing One the Twin. He looked up, white skin, white dreadlocks, and smiled at Neo.
Two appeared from above, falling in his ghost form, becoming solid just in time to slam two Agents down onto the floor.
"Hello." They said together.
Then gunfire. Jones, Brown, Johnson, Jackson, Thompson, One, Two, Cain, Abel, Seraph, and a young woman with brown skin named Sati. Neo didn't immediately recognize them all, these figures he had seen in his dreams, it was rather overwhelming to suddenly see them in person with the clarity that comes with it. He knew somehow, that they were all from different organizations, ones that were usually opposing, he knew this. He knew this meant something big, this coming together, and he knew this was all for him and Smith. These people were strangers to him, but they had come together for him.
Amongst the crowd, he knew exactly where Smith was. Their eyes met. Then he knew. They needed a new beginning, they needed to die to live again. Just as they had began, just as they had met, they died to become what they needed to be. Again, they would need to die to become what was needed. To fulfill the ultimate purpose, a transformation must occur, to reach enlightenment the body and mind must be altered. This was just part of the process. Dying and living, they were all just stages in the larger picture. He knew that now.
"Smith!" Neo called. "Shoot me!"
Smith held up your gun.
"I don't understand, but I really want to anyway." Smith said.
Smith shot Neo in the chest six times, emptying his gun, and it felt so right. Everyone stopped as Neo's body hit the floor with a loud thud. They stared over at Smith and Michelle began screaming. Eyes turned to Smith who didn't show even a shred of regret. He began walking towards Neo's body when the fighting broke out again. The Agents were being told to contain the Exiles and the fugitives, to salvage what they could of the situation. But Smith walked through this sea of warriors with ease and made his way to Neo. He knelt down and lifted the limp body, blood pouring out of the holes in his back.
Smith gazed over the dead thing in his arms. Then he nudged the body as he held it.
And it was raining so hard outside.
"Come on." Smith said. "Come on."
Michelle fell to her knees and grabbed at Smith.
"How could you!" She was screaming.
Smith did not struggle against her. He did not fight her he merely looked up at her and when she saw the despair in his face she slowly stopped. He looked back down at Neo, nodding his head to the seconds that were passing, counting, waiting. Michelle calmed down and knelt down beside them, watching. Smith adjusted Neo in his arms, he supported Neo's head better, all while counting the seconds.
"Mr. Anderson." Smith said. "I told you we couldn't be apart. We have to leave this place together."
Seventy-eight years they knew now they'd spent together in a padded cell being told they were crazy to think and feel what they knew was true. Seventy-eight years and the reasons behind why they were enemies were already forgotten. They knew each other now. They knew themselves now. The war before was meaningless to them, because they knew in that seventy-eight years all they had done was stay together and fight for one another. Maybe a decade went by before they even spoke to each other. Who knows, time was relative in this Matrix inside a Matrix. A decade went by probably without them saying a word, strangers to one another, trying to cope not only with dying and coming back to life, but the machines tampering with their minds. Then one of them turned to the other and said "I know you." Then they pieced together what they knew about their lives. Then they fought. And then it started all over again. Together and alone in the cell, with just bits and pieces and feelings of what had happened. Smith could remember the padded cell, he knew how Neo slept in the corner with his back turned to him, he knew the whispers he spoke in his sleep, he knew how Neo pulled back his foot to prepare for a kick, he knew his eyes got big whenever women were around, and he'd only talk about Trinity for the following hours. In the decades past, Smith learned everything there is to know about Neo, and vice versa.
This was obviously not the end.
"Mr. Anderson, my patience is wearing thin."
He didn't cry, he didn't even seem all that sad. He spoke to Neo's body as if it were merely sleeping, because he knew, in the end, that's all it was doing. Because just then, nearly three minutes after the bullets entered his chest, Neo took in his first breath. Michelle looked at Smith and he wasn't even surprised.
Brown came up from behind her and held her shoulder.
"Hello, Miss." He said. "Don't worry, give him a moment, he'll be fine."
She looked at him.
"I don't know what's going on." She told him.
"There is much to explain, but trust me, you're with friends." He helped her up. "Follow me, we'll get you a safe distance away."
She was looking at Neo's body still in Smith's arms when Brown was taking her away, like when the Doctor takes you out of the room just before giving the patient bad news. She could see blood seeping from underneath his back, a puddle from his gunshot wounds. And yet his eyes were open, and he was smiling up at Smith. And everyone carried on fighting. Jones was covering Brown and Michelle, tackling an Agent that was aiming for them. Johnson led his group wonderfully, having never lost their cohesion as Agents. They flowed like water fighting the other Agents. Johnson would dodge, Jackson would grab, and Thompson would kick. One and Two seemed to almost enjoy the tortures they were inflicting on the Agents. They would pass through Agents, grabbing onto organs and becoming solid, pulling at the insides. They would fly through Agents, allowing the other to attack. They sided with Cain and Abel who provided bullets when they held the Agents still. Seraph and Sati were back to back, bullets flying from their guns.
Neo looked up at Smith.
"That hurt more than I thought it would." Neo said.
"Hopefully we won't have to do it again any time soon." Smith agreed.
He had to die to come back. Just as he had before, just as Smith had before. He took in breath, and he felt it, that power he knew he had once had. It flowed through him and out of him, he felt connected to everything and everyone, he understood the thoughts of others, he understood the very flow of the Matrix, which he now saw he was a part of. He opened his eyes and he could see the code that made up this reality. He saw how every action caused a reaction in the coding, the flow of reality, the Tao.
The One, the Messiah, had returned.
He didn't rise to his feet, he rose to float a foot above the air. In an instant the gunshots did not matter, the fighting did not matter, the battle had already been won. Neo merely held up his arms and the Agents were torn apart by the very coding that made them up. The Twins, the Exiles and the former Agents were covered in a rain of coding. He felt utter peace then, unlike he had ever known. He felt no guilt, no anxiety or despair as he had in the years before. He was calm, all was calm, and all became calm in his presence. Smith closed his eyes and felt this too with Neo. This was the reassurance of understanding, the reassurance of knowing one's identity and purpose. They had come home.
He gently touched the floor with his bare feet and all the doors of the Asylum swung open. All were free. It was a simple statement of Neo's purpose, a declaration of what he meant to do now. He was going to free humanity and programs alike from the tyranny of the Machine.
Michelle left Brown's grasp and ran closer to Neo, unsure if she should be able to touch him. So he grabbed her hands first and smiled at her.
"I told you I could fly."
She couldn't help but laugh.
"We still have your body!" The doctors yelled.
Smaller in numbers and clearly injured, the doctors stood together down the hall.
"We still control you! We can operate on you, we can manipulate your brain!" They yelled. "We have your body!"
"Keep it, I don't need it anymore." Neo said.
He turned to the others then, Exile, Merovingian, and a born-free program alike. He smiled.
"I would like to go home now."
Michael and Miho held hands. Deep in the underground of the Matrix, between the endless streams of coding, there was a home made for them. The Merovingian had provided stay for all the programs made for the Asylum, who now with Neo's liberation, were Exiles. This created a peculiar setting of individuals who had, through out their lives, been told they were insane and even programmed with mental illnesses, errors in thinking built into them to better create the illusion of insanity. Neo was getting better at rewriting codes each and every day, the Merovingian was teaching him, he was convinced these "illnesses" could be healed with a simple rewrite. So he promised cures to those who needed it the most. Armel, created in the image of the Merovingian, was having a particularly difficult time adjusting.
For now however, a home and the freedom to choose would have to suffice for miracle cures. Michael and Miho, programs modeled after real living people now long dead, had found each other. They were holding hands, innocently and in their own way, loving one another. This had to be enough for now. Aaron and Tank, the staff of the Asylum, and also programs were dealing with the more difficult situation of having had falsified memories in much greater detail than the patients. The pair seemed to be doing well despite this however. Their homes were modest and communal, much like the Asylum they had just left. The Merovingian explained this space moved constantly within the Matrix in order to elude Agents, there were curfews so people would get home before the space would move again and leave them behind.
"Years ago the Oracle died and passed on her sight to me." The Merovingian explains. "It gave me…perspective that I had lacked until then. When you see the larger picture…all I had wanted to do with her eyes didn't matter to me anymore. I knew I needed to find you. I knew in time, I would."
Neo and Smith nod. They read history books and did research like they had done before in the Library of the Asylum. They read their own biographies and learned the details of their lives that they had been forced to forget. And still, when the Agents were close, or more Exiles joined them, stress would rise and Neo and Smith knew no other way to vent than to fight each other.
Smith throws a killing blow, Neo blocks with his arms but it's still enough to knock him back. Smith continues on the attack, Neo recovers, Smith comes down on him. Neo grabs his arm, kicks Smith in the chest. He doesn't let go of Smith's arm and throws him to the floor. Neo jumps and Smith rolls out of the way of Neo's foot. It breaks the concrete. Smith kicks Neo in the face.
"You have to know there is no such thing as the Matrix first. It's just code" Neo explains. "You have to feel the code around you, as a substance. As a real thing. And there's code everywhere, in every space of the Matrix. The empty air isn't empty, it's filled with code. You must feel it, sense it around you, and use it. I do not fly, I stand on code, and I flow through it."
"I'm not sure I get it." Michelle says.
"Hold my hands."
The sun is setting, the sky is red, they are on the rooftops of Hearts Motel. She holds his hands. He stands in the open air just a few feet away from the rooftop. She puts her foot out into the open air and can only feel it going down.
"Gravity is just a program, it's not real here." He tells her.
"I – I don't know."
"You don't that's why you're falling."
"We're really high up."
He takes her hands and pulls her off the ledge. She begins to fall and scream but he manipulates the code around her and suddenly she's not falling anymore. He holds her hands and pulls her closer.
"This is what it feels like see? It feels like there's something beneath your feet, even if you can't see it." He tells her.
She puts her head in his shoulder, and he puts his chin on her forehead.
"Did you ever teach Trinity this?" She asks.
"I wanted to."
Smith sits on a street corner, having tea with Seraph. They sit by a three way intersection and Smith recognizes it as the place he died. Now it is repaired, there is no crater, there's just endless crowds of people walking by, not even considering the history there.
Brown and Jones come soon enough, joining them. Seraph takes this as his cue to leave and does so. Little is said then between the former Agents, very little needs to be said. They enjoy the mere act of being in each other's presence and not saying anything, but simply being there. Smith drinks his tea. Brown sits a little too close to Jones, and Jones doesn't mind. The two of them watch Smith drinking his tea.
"You've grown so much." Smith tells her.
"You only knew me as a little girl." Sati tells him.
"Did you ever hate me?"
"No. I was a child, I didn't understand what was happening. It didn't hurt for very long, and when I woke up I didn't really remember anything."
"I can't tell you my reasoning. But know I did it and I am sorry."
Neo tells the Merovingian that he will destroy the Machines. He says they betrayed his trust, and allowed the truce between them and humanity to die on purpose. They have created slavery for humans all over again for it they must be punished. Smith is there to tell Neo that he cannot get blinded by his emotions. There are Machines, like himself, like Brown and Jones, who want to help humans. They're programs, Neo says, not Machines. There are Machines out there where we cannot see who feel the same as we do, Smiths says. Neo lays out his plan to destroy the Matrix once and for all, freeing humans and Exiles alike. He tells them he is the Source and he knows he can do it. They start planning for the new world outside the Matrix, they dream. It all seems so close and so possible. They didn't age now, they didn't have bodies, it could take hundreds of years or it could only take one, Neo was going to lead the destruction of the Matrix and free the people he had failed so long ago. This wasn't fate or destiny, this is what Neo and Smith chose.
Michelle starts sneaking into Neo's room at night. She walks into his bed and while he's half-asleep he puts his arm over her and kisses the back of her neck.
"I love you."
Neo has two pills in his hand, and the great grandson of Morpheus and Niobe sits across from him. It's raining outside and Smith stands behind Neo's chair, watching.
"I cannot be with you." Neo tells the boy. "The world outside is cold and dangerous, it is a world ravaged by endless war. But it will be our home one day. You will have to build it to be so."
"We will free others." Smith says. "You will live together, rebuild."
"You will fight."
"You will bleed."
"You may even die."
"But I will teach you how to stop bullets and how to fly."
Neo cannot go into the Real World now, not without a suitable body. He glazed over the coma victims in the nearby hospitals that could offer suitable body hosts, just so he could see the Real World again, just so he could be with the people who needed him. But here he could see everything. Here in the Matrix he could see into the very heart of the machine, and was connected not only to the Matrix, but the Machines themselves, and to the people within the Matrix. He saw and hear all.
Smith straightens his tie.
"Neo, last night Sati kissed me." He says. "I don't know what to do."
Neo says, kiss her back. Brown and Jones agree this is a suitable answer.
Neo laughs, he waves his trench coat around and floats up in the air a few feet. He doesn't have shoes on and he looks like he's just happy to be alive. He lies on his back in the air as if he were lying on a bed, and Smith walks up to him.
"Sometimes I wake up and I forget where I am. I think I'm still in a cell somewhere." Neo says.
"I was never one for sleep. I often spend my nights with Jones and Brown."
"You never think, maybe?"
Smith folds up his legs and joins Neo several feet in the air.
"I always believed in you, you know." Neo said.
"And I always believed in you." Smith said.