I did not intend to write this piece, but in light of the VA Tech shootings, I decided to write this piece in tribute to the victims. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this act of madness.
This is an AU—my OC, Angel, (see Angel's Song for details) accompanied Neo and Trinity. She did not manage to prevent Trinity's death.
Disclaimer: Don't own, don't sue.
I stand upon one of the walkways, looking down at the city below. The battle is over, and the people—parents, siblings, children, friends—are collecting their dead. Zion still stands but we paid a high price for that.
I am nicknamed Stormcrow, for I usually bring bad news—but anyone who sees me now will confirm that name.
An elderly woman caresses her adult son's still face, weeping silently.
Everywhere I look, I see families mourning one of their own—I grieve too, but my heart is with my three 'children' off on their own mission. I know Neo, at least, succeeded—but of his fate, and that of his two guardians, I know nothing. In fact, I am afraid to ask, for fear that they may all lie dead somewhere.
Niobe appears at my elbow, her face expressionless. "We've received both good and bad news about your people."
My heart sinks, but I keep my face calm. "Let's hear the bad news first."
She swallows slightly, then speaks. "Not all of them survived."
A man falls to his knees, cradling his wife's lifeless body gently.
I hear the unspoken words: We lost at least one.
Despite all my years of experience, it still hurts terribly to lose a crew member, never mind one or more of those three. Angel has been with me for ten years, Trinity for seven… Neo not as long, but long enough to be like a son to me. Losing any of them would be like losing a child.
Niobe is watching me sympathetically. "Would you like the good news now?"
I nod uncertainly.
A mother hugs her daughter's bloodied corpse to her chest, stroking the young woman's hair.
"Two of them are alive and on the way back here."
Relief and fear mingle in me as I grip the railing hard. Which one have I lost? Images of my trio flash through my mind: Neo and his powers—Trinity weaving through oncoming traffic on that motorbike—Angel soaring through the air in one of her amazing leaps, momentarily in flight like her namesake.
"Which ones?" I finally rasp out.
She exhales softly. "Neo and Angel."
Wild relief comes first, that the losses are no heavier than that… then grief for Trinity sweeps in. I will never see her calm blue eyes again… never hear her dry comments when Agents have us cornered… I loved her like a daughter, and now one of my children is dead.
A little girl tearfully tugs at her big brother's limp arm, begging him to get up and come home with her.
"Do you want to put in a request to go get them?" Niobe asks me quietly.
"No." I shake my head, putting a hand into a hidden pocket and removing a piece of paper. Angel gave it to me before they left, saying, "Read it when all this is over—and pray for us." Before she was unplugged, Angel was a Christian—even after being unplugged, she still prayed. I have never been religious, but clearly somebody has heard her prayers. "I intend to pray."
Niobe stares up at me in shock, then clearly decides not to ask. She nods, then walks away—I look back down at the paper. Neatly written on the outside is 'Morpheus'.
I slowly unfold the paper. Inside are fifteen lines of poetry, written in Angel's distinctively neat handwriting.
Pray for those who weep with joy
Pray for those who wash dead faces with tears.
Pray for the husbands who hold their wives tight
Pray for the wives whose husbands sleep forever tonight.
Pray for the mothers whose sons are safe
Pray for the fathers whose daughters are gone.
Pray for those whose brothers lie dead
Pray for those whose sisters still stand.
Pray for the friends who survived this together
Pray for the friendships broken by death.
Pray for the families with no empty places at the table
Pray for the families where someone will never come home again.
A light rain gently falls on those who now sleep
Through the mist and through the rain—
"I will." I whisper softly, refolding the paper. "This much I can promise you. I will."