I see the way they look at me. Appraising me, underestimating me. They don't think I can handle her. They don't think it will last.

I'm not surprised, really. Seeing the way she behaves around them, around everyone else. She's one of those women that men call cold, distant, frigid. It's fuelled by spite, mostly, because she's so beautiful, so desirable. But Trinity can't help that. And what makes it worse it that everything about her delivers the message that when it comes to how she looks, she really couldn't give a damn. I know better. She cares. And she knows how alluring she is. Simply put, you don't generate an RSI like that if you don't want people to look.

In that club, she'd wanted me to look. In retrospect I realize this. She'd meant to seduce me, and of course she had succeeded, and I think she knew this, too. The vamp. The vixen. The temptress. I've called her all these things, hissing the names like accusations into her ear when I know she wants to hear them. Trinity is a woman who secretly delights in being attractive, sensual, sexy. And for some reason, I'm the only one who seems to realize this.

It's because the minute we are no longer alone, she is impenetrable. I observe the transformation several times a day; she holds herself taller, the chin goes up, and she actually avoids looking at me. I like to think this is because she'd melt under my searing gaze – though Trin rolled her eyes at me when I suggested this. No, she answered. I don't look at you, because you make me laugh.

Apparently, I'm so naïve, it surpasses embarrassing and soars straight to adorable. Not the most masculine adjective, but it suits me fine. Honestly, most of the time, I have no idea what she and the others are talking about, and I really don't care. Zionist politics. Fallen comrades. Inside jokes. I could listen to Trin's wry comments over a round of poker with Sparks, Ghost, Maggie, Ballad, Link and any number of others who drift in and out of the game, and be more or less lost, but still have a fine time. Trin keeps me entertained - sliding her leg against mine under the table, or passing me a queen of hearts on the sly, employing her uncanny talent for magic tricks. And while she is doing these things, beginning our foreplay hours before I can get her home, her coworkers are probably feeling sorry for me. Poor, clueless Neo. It's like she doesn't even know he exists. Bored with him already. We all saw this coming.

And I just sit there, sometimes smiling stupidly to myself, tuning them out, happy as a clam. If they had any idea what happens back in her apartment… and I'll begin to undress her with my eyes, knowing that she is aware of what I'm doing. She'll purposely lose a few hands, feign disappointment, and then decide to cut her losses. Neo, you can stay if you want, she'll say impassively, as if she couldn't care less. Here's the key. I'll see you at home. It's all part of our game.

Then dopey, lovesick Neo will follow her like a puppy. It would bother me if I cared at all what they thought. Yeah, so long, suckers. I'm the luckiest sonofabitch in the world and you don't even know it.

I'm smug, I know. But she makes me that way. I can't help it. I'm smug with the council, I'm smug with those who don't understand us… I'm even smug with the agents on occasion, which Trin particularly likes. Although, once she overheard me haughtily tell Brown to 'dodge this,' and the minute I saw her face, I knew I'd crossed a line. While you're at it, why don't you steal my outfit, too? she sassed from behind the wheel of our getaway car. And once you squeeze yourself into my leathers, you can go out and crack the goddamned IRS-D base! For chrissakes! What the hell is the matter with you, Neo! What, the goddamned air is too thin for you up there? Can't think up your own goddamned lines? Fucking unbelievable, the crap I have to deal with!

Good God in heaven, I love this woman. Even as she jerked the wheel unnecessarily, barking at me to buckle up as I flew against the door, I loved her to the point of insanity. She is only bitchy for me. And she only does it because I like it. Every once in awhile, when she's feeling spunky, she'll snap, crackle and pop pure fire and brimstone as only she can, and I'll laugh freely as her lip curls. Tease. Shrew. Femme-fatale. Flattery will get you nowhere, Neo. Now buckle up, before I flip the goddamned car and snap your goddamned neck. Goddamn it.

She's my secret. Nobody else has a clue. And I love it that way. Sometimes, it's the only thing that keeps me going, to know what a gift I've been given, an angel who rips through flames, runs through raging bullets. An angel who has been to hell and back with me so often, we have frequent flyer miles.

It demolishes us, sometimes. The struggle steals her away from me and me away from her. On occasion, it drives us to the peaks of screaming matches, and it drains us to the point where we can't look each other in the eye. Some weeks, it feels like we are building a sandcastle on the edge of the beach at high tide, and every time we erect a tower, the gulfs will wash it down, beat us down. And if we didn't have each other to yell at, I know we'd probably go mad. Rarely, she'll cry. More often, I'll cry. Because at the end of the day, we're frustrated and scared as hell that it won't last. I think we're angry, because we know it won't. Though we'd never say that aloud. Blasphemy.

We were in Zion not too long ago; I went to visit some of the orphans. Trin came with me, as she always does. She didn't know it at first, but I caught her pulling coins from the kids' ears, making spoons disappear into thin air, delighting them with her elegant, swift hands and mysterious eyes. Where did it go? Check your friend's pocket; I think he might be trying to trick us. And they laughed, they absolutely adored her. Kids do, adore Trinity. Another thing that people don't know about her. That she'd make a wonderful mother.

I didn't pretend not to be watching when she eventually looked up, the children still tugging on the flare of her dress. She smiled at me, sadly, thoughtfully, and with the greatest care, she detached herself from the tiny hands. Be good, like you are, she said. And don't spend it all in one place. Because one day, your ears will run out.

Then I did look away; suddenly, I couldn't keep my sorrow from showing. More tears. Because she breaks my heart. She makes me hate myself for what I am. How many times have I told her that I'm sorry? How many times have I dreamt of running away with her? But here, there is nowhere to go. Nowhere to go but to each other. And we build the sandcastle again, deepen the moat, lock the doors. For one more night, she is my secret.

Until the gulfs wash over us again.

Until we drown, defending the fort.

a/n: summary taken from Tennyson's Ulysses.