Disclaimer: I do not own the Matrix Trilogy or any of the fine characters.
A/N: I'd like to use this opportunity to express my gratitude for all readers who keep reading this story so far and for everyone who put this story on their alert or favorite lists. Also, I'd like to give a special thank to RainAwhile who's been giving me kind reviews. Thank you all so much, and I hope you'll enjoy this last chapter as much as I do.
Now he was standing alone once again under yet another dark day in Zion. It had been almost three months since he had that conversation with Niobe in the night she caught him thinking.
He knew that she had suspected something when she left that night, but to his relief, she still had no idea what he was planning to do. Still, Niobe wasn't a fool, and soon she would figure it out. He simply hoped he could hide it from her, at least until she was out on a new mission.
Morpheus knew his wish would be granted this time. The Council had just called all captains to a meeting and had assigned a new mission to each of them. Hence, Niobe and her crews would leave Zion this afternoon for a three-month-long mission.
Being a captain himself, Morpheus also had new tasks which he enthusiastically accepted even though he couldn't care less about it. In fact, he only accepted it for it was the only way he would have a chance to get on a new hovercraft to do what he had planned for the past couple of months.
Morpheus couldn't tell how he got to the dock, but since he was there, he decided to check on the new ship that was assigned to him along with a new mission – the Nabonidus.
The ship wasn't quite ready to launch yet, so he would have to wait for another week before he could go on with his mission. However, Morpheus wasn't in a rush. After all, he had spent most of his lifetime waiting. Seven more days would make no difference.
The captain of the Nabonidus smiled and nodded at some mechanics and some crews of other ships. He was then greeted by the kid who had looked up to the Neb's crews and wished to be one of them.
"Hello, sir," said the kid. "I hear your new craft is boarding next week."
"You're right, kid."
"I wonder if you're looking for some new crews," he said hopefully. "Since all your crews…"
The kid stopped himself even before Morpheus had to glare at him. He then looked at Morpheus just to meet with the captain's indifferent look.
"And you still want to join," Morpheus raised a brow.
"Yes, sir," the kid said firmly.
"This cruise would be nothing like you've expected, kid," he warned. "It's not an adventure. You may never return home. Are you sure you're willing to take that risk?"
The kid took a second to think then he nodded.
Chuckling dryly, Morpheus stated, "Well, kid, I'm not."
"Take a walk with me."
Morpheus didn't even wait for the kid's response when he strode down the road. His eyes focused right on the dark horizon. His feet kept pacing while his heart was asking him how long he had to keep playing a part of an idealist. He couldn't even remember how long had it been since the last time he allowed himself to be just Morpheus and nothing more.
He sighed as he heard someone running after him.
"Where are we heading?" the kid asked.
The answer was short, yet the kid knew exactly where Morpheus was talking about. The man was heading towards the memorial park that was built in honor of Neo and Trinity.
"But I thought you didn't like it there," the kid protested.
"If you want to join my ship, the first thing you must learn is never to question my command," Morpheus deadpanned.
So the kid swallowed whatever protests he had down his throat and followed the lone captain down the road to the empty park.
Morpheus had to blink for several times to get a clear sight at the park in front of him. Two statues could be seen in the middle of the park, one was Neo's replica and another was Trinity's. And he couldn't help clenching his fist and grinding his teeth.
Because Morpheus had suddenly stopped, the kid had almost run into him.
"So, sir, why are we here?"
Morpheus smiled sardonically. This was only the second time he was there. The first time he was there to give a short speech in memoriam of Neo and Trinity when they placed the statues there. He still remembered the very short speech he gave when they opened the park.
He never again set foot on the park until now. So everyone simply assumed he didn't care much for either the memorial park or the lost heroes. Contrary to the famous belief, he cared, and he cared enough to actually hate that place.
He hated it because neither Neo nor Trinity had a real funeral. Their bodies weren't even searched for, let alone been found. Everyone was too scared to try and recover their bodies, so they just created a park, thinking it was enough. However, to Morpheus, it wasn't over until he got the closure he looked for.
It would only end when he could get their bodies back and put their ashes under the graves that had been made for them. Then he might be there more often or even express his sorrow. But now that their bodies were still somewhere in the Machine City, the place was meaningless. It was just another place and another stone.
Shaking the thought off his head, Morpheus wondered, "Why do you want to be my crew so bad?"
"I want to follow Neo's footsteps."
"Even if it means going to the Machine City and getting yourself killed in the process?"
Swallowing hard, the kid said, "If I must."
"If you're Neo's biggest fan and hope to know what it's like to be him, I can tell you right now that you won't get that feeling," Morpheus stated. "Though I hate to admit, the closest link to the man is right here in front of us."
"You mean the statue?" the kid said in disbelief. "Gosh, I thought you knew better. Now I know you're exactly like what they said about you."
"Then what do you think about these statues?"
The kid frowned then asked in disbelief, "You won't even ask me what they said about you?"
"I already know what they said."
He knew how the citizens criticized his speech in the ceremony and how they thought he could at least say something more meaningful to honor the dead, but Morpheus didn't care. They didn't need to know how he felt. His feelings were his alone and not meant to be shared with anyone. His words were for solely for his last crews, not for the Zion citizens.
"But you won't say anything to defense yourself?"
Morpheus dismissed the kid's words and looked up to the statues when he repeated his question in a calm manner, "What do you think about these statues?"
"What is it with you and the statues?" the kid returned. "They are just statues, goddamn it! They died saving us, and all we gave them was these? Man, they deserve a funeral – a real one."
"Getting their bodies back may cause a new war," Morpheus mentioned. "The Council can't risk that."
"Then they're a bunch of cowards," the kid remarked before he turned to glare accusingly at Morpheus. "And you're no different from them. To think I used to admire you."
Morpheus gave the kid another indifferent look.
"The Nabonidus boards 6 A.M. sharp next Saturday," he stated. "I expect you to be there on time."
"And what makes you think I will be there?"
Morpheus raised an eyebrow when he looked at the kid.
"Because you know I'm not going to obey my direct order," said the captain. "I'm going to the Machine City to find our lost heroes, or what left of them."
The kid froze for a second.
"Are you serious?"
"You think you're the only one who cares, kid?" Morpheus snapped. "Think again. I've known Trinity for almost two decades and Neo was like a little brother to me."
"So it's not true that you dislike this place…" the kid mumbled.
Morpheus smirked, "No. I hate it."
The kid now looked at Morpheus with a new light in his eyes. He then bowed at his future boss. "6 AM, Saturday, sir? You can expect me there."
With that, he turned around and headed back to the direction he had come from.
Morpheus waited until the kid had gone from his sight then he turned back to the statues. He looked up and it seemed Trinity's statue was smiling back at him. The smile couldn't warm his heart like hers always did, but he still smiled back anyway.
"I must have been a terrible captain," he mused. "My ship is wrecked. All my original crews are dead. Now that I have a new ship and a new crew, I want to lead them to a deadly mission."
With that, he chuckled dryly.
"You never did ask me if I ever regretted the things I chose to do, and I never told you," he continued. "I wanted you to think I was strong, that I never regretted anything I did for Zion."
He looked at the statue again, but this time it seemed to give him a knowing look.
"The truth, Trinity, is I'm just a man," he sighed. "I'm not like Neo. I don't have any special power."
Casting his eyes upon a statue of Neo, Morpheus smirked.
"I'm not saying that you're more than human either, Neo. I know exactly what you did before your mind was caught between the Matrix and the Machine world," he accused, narrowing his eyes. "But there's no use in discussing that now, is there? It's not like there's nothing I wish I didn't do."
Looking back at Trinity statue, he continued, "There're plenty, really, but I know we can't undo the past."
He sighed and stared at the dark horizon.
"You both have saved me," he recalled. "Now I'm gonna bring two back no matter what the cost, I promise you that."
Taking a deep breath, he looked back at the two statues that stood in front of him.
"I'll be seeing you."
After taking a long last look at the statues, Morpheus set out on his chosen path. He knew it wouldn't be easy, but he also knew that only death could stop him from fulfilling his promise.
He continued on his way with a determined look in his eyes, knowing that even though he still had a long way to go, in the end, he would see them again, and even death couldn't stop him.