Fandom: Matrix
Disclaimer
: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Smith/Neo implied I guess. One-shot. Neo compares Trinity and Smith in his mind and wonders just what he's escaping from.
Warning(s): slash
Pairing(s)
: Smith/Neo
Word Count: 1,357

A/N: Day 06 of "22 new fandoms in 22 days."
Story note: Based mostly on Reloaded (Matrix II) because it's what I remember the most. A one-shot.

o.o.o.o

Escape
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt

o.o.o.o

Smith was mocking him.

Knowing he was there. The fact he wasn't showing himself. The earpiece in his hand. The message. "You set me free."

It was all meant to mock him, always to remind him exactly who he was while plugged in. Smith never let him come to the Matrix without reminding him in one way or another. It could be a message, a confrontation, or more, but it was always there to stake some sort of claim, to remind him that fate had managed to bind them together. It was all to remind him that when he was in the Matrix he wasn't just Neo.

That was the problem. He lived two separate lives, one that still held the past of Thomas Anderson and one that was wholly Neo concerned with the future of humanity. That should've never been a problem. He knew that the moment he had chosen his path to become Neo, a part of him would die. That part was supposed to have been his ignorance, his old life and old assumptions. He even remembered dying in the Matrix. Thomas Anderson did die, but there were parts that had remained somehow.

Then again, Smith should have died as well. Something must have happened in the code, a part of Smith became him and a part of him became Smith. It was the only explanation that made sense since he always knew when the ex-agent was near. It was a different feeling from the other agents, from the other programs. When Smith was near, he didn't just see code. He saw the lies that the Matrix perpetuated. He saw Smith as a body, a suit, hair, and sunglasses. The code would disappear completely and for a frightening moment, he wouldn't be the One. He wouldn't even be Thomas. He was just Mr. Anderson, and he could never think of that name without hearing it in the voice that haunted him even when he escaped from the Matrix.

That was what he was always doing. Escaping. Running and fighting, but always trying to find a way to escape, from the Matrix, from the machines, from control, from Smith.

At times, Neo would look at Trinity and would wonder how much more of real life he could stand before he needed to escape from that as well. He had to remind himself that real life was what he was escaping to, that this was the life that mattered and whatever happened when he was plugged in wasn't real. It only mattered as far as he could gain that freedom that he so desired. Everything else was of no consequence.

That's what made it alright for him to have a second life there.

Every moment in real life reminded him that he'd made a choice, had been making the choice that led him towards Trinity, that led him towards the Source and his fate. He was the One and was constantly reminded of that fact whether because of Morpheus or the people of Zion. He was Neo, the one that would save Zion, the one some believed in and some didn't. In the end, it didn't really matter what other people thought because he only cared about one person. Trinity.

She was everything to him, everything to who he was. She was comfort and support. She was who Neo wanted, no needed, to save more than anyone else. He was just that selfish, only because she gave him strength and gave him the reason as to why he was still living.

Yet, the very second he plugged into the Matrix, he wasn't just Neo. He didn't just need Trinity. The part of him that had remained Mr. Anderson, the part that had been corrupted with Smith's code, needed something more. The fact that he had to save the whole human race always lingered, but another wanted to accept the false reality that the Matrix offered even as the code pulled at him, as it ran through him. He felt differently in the Matrix; he walked, talked, and more importantly thought differently, too.

And he was inexorably drawn to Smith because in the Matrix, the one that proved his strength and gave him the reason to fight, to struggle, to continue living was Smith. He was being constantly tested to prove his worth and he could never seem to deny that urge, that part of him that scoffed at such tests because he was strong enough, he was worthy even when he had his doubts. He'd never let Smith go without a fight because he knew that the ex-agent would take that as a victory. He knew how Smith thought, probably knew him better than anyone else in the Matrix or out of it. After all, Smith was the one man that Neo had fought the most, and you never truly know someone until you fight them.

He never had time to worry or think about why he was the chosen or what he was supposed to do whenever Smith appeared. He knew exactly where he stood when the ex-agent appeared. He was there to fight and to struggle. When he was with Smith, it felt like he was dying, not even staving off death. No, it felt like he was dying, slowly and with each blow that landed, with each touch and spark of connection that existed between them.

The man stopped trying to copy himself, change Neo that way, but the feeling of being consumed still persisted. Smith had simply chosen a different path of trying to control him, one that included restraints and force, but in a way that Neo felt his mind, his thoughts, his very existence falling away as cold hands held him at bay. He found that his struggles had become nothing more than just for show though he would never admit such a fact.

When he escaped from the Matrix, he put those memories from his mind and focused on the task of the One. The Matrix wasn't real anyway, but he couldn't help himself as he clung to Trinity in remorse because he loved her; he really did. She looked at him with knowing eyes. Looked at him and he was certain that she saw his love for her. She could tell when he missed her, when he needed her touch because she so freely offered it at just the right times.

He feared what else she could tell though. Could she tell that when he made love, he'd done this before with a different person, a different way? When he was out of the Matrix, they were always together. She would never think there was someone else. Did she think it odd that he always liked to be on top? He liked to look down and see her face and feel her submission, her trust because he was never allowed such a thing in the Matrix. He liked the way she held onto him as though he would disappear, the same feeling he felt about her. He loved her breathy moans against his ear. He could set a languid pace and luxuriate in the feel of her, but all he really wanted to do was make himself forget, forget about the dreams, forget about the memories.

But he couldn't.

The memories were there as he kissed her tenderly or held her tightly against him but never trying to restrain her, of a possessive arm around his waist, a mouth that would latch onto his own, a demanding tongue, and kiss that would make him gasp for air even though he knew they would have long since passed out if they had needed oxygen. It wasn't reality though, so even though he couldn't forget, he could say he loved her and not feel anything but remorse, never enough to be able to stop himself. What happened in the Matrix was all simply a means of escape, a means to get to the one he loved.

But, sometimes he worried that it was the other way around, that Trinity was becoming a means of escape from something he couldn't accept.

o.o.o.o

End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Story Note: Um, that was sort of rambling and almost pointless, but there you go.