Story Title: Aftermath
Chapter Title: Half Pain
Plot: "When it was all said and done.." Trinity has trouble accepting it all.
Spoilers: The Matrix (first one)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything! Not a darned thing! We should all know by now who the premise and characters belong to! We should also know that I don't own the song either. All I happen own is a clarinet and a closet full of manga. Trust me..it is not much.
AN: Hello. This is a rewrite of the original "Aftermath" fanfiction that I had posted a few weeks ago. Well, I wasn't exactly impressed with how it turned out so I decided to redo it and after alot of time here it is again. I'm still not completely sure about how it turned out. Regardless I tried and gave it my all. After all this is my first venture into Matrix fanfic. (Does a rewrite even count as a first?)
Unbetaed fanfic alert. (I did spell check over a hundred times..so...) If any mistakes are found please kindly PM me and tell me what and where they are. Thank you for your time. Also, flames are not welcome. They do not help anyone with writing. Constructive and nicely phrased criticism is welcome though..
"Numbly, I gather the remnants of my emotions,
And searching for redemption, I...
Fall into a light sleep,
On a lonely night
I'm beginning to learn the designs of sorrow
The hiding away of your warm presence
Makes me fear the overflowing darkness."
-Half Pain by Bana
(Song used in the anime Witch Hunter Robin)
Ever since the death's of the Nebuchadnezzar crew and the realization that everything the Oracle had said to her had come true, Trinity had become "withdrawn" (at least that was the closest description that any of the remaining crew could use, though they often added "even more so than before" to their description) from the world and people around her. She spent her waking moments performing her duties or training. There were even a few instances when she was supposed to be asleep, when she would instead attempt to perform repairs to the heavily damaged hovercraft despite knowing that they would be able to handle getting back to Zion. Especially now that they had another ship escorting them back.
After going off duty for the day, she sat up in her cabin with her ratty, worn, and comfortable gray blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Her eyes still wide open and her mind rushing in thousands of directions. She could not bring herself to try to sleep and even if she did try, it would not happen. It was just impossible for her to sleep at a time like this. Her closest friends-no it was more like members of her family- were gone now. Now, could she sleep when what happened replayed itself in her mind? How could she sleep knowing that she could not do anything to save them? Was there even anything she could have done to prevent it? She had also questioned herself about her actions towards Neo. Were they also a cause behind everything?
She detested knowing that there were nothing but questions in her mind. Questions which her mind constantly flipped to and from. She could never focus on any particular one for a long length of time because it hurt to do such. After that particular thought, she leaned herself forward and as the blanket slipped exposing her back and arms to the chilly air. The woman then began rubbing her arms as she pulled the blanket around herself once again.
Would she ever be able to answer those questions and find the truth behind them?
A pause followed in her mind when she had finally asked herself that very question for the millionth time. The question which had no true answer. There was only speculation and what little that the perpetrator has revealed. It was maddening and what felt like an infinite number of other negative emotions. Her once empty mind now found itself flooded with so many feelings that she could not accurately determine.
There was no sigh or mutter that escaped her. There was only still, haunting silence, like always. Though she was the slightest bit thankful. After all if she had made a loud enough noise, someone could had heard and come over to investigate. Either way she could not have saved them. Not, when she was still plugged in. Not, when she knew that the priority would be in getting Neo (rather the "One") out of danger. She knew her actions were simply procedure. Like how they had always had been in the past.
Then she remembered something that Switch (who was the closest thing she had to a sister in both worlds) had told her years ago and then wrapped her arms around herself gently as if she were shielding herself. Most of the memory was faded and fuzzy, but the reason was there. She had known that they were going to die after they had freed the "One."
It was the single most important decision that they had ever made. Knowing all of them as long as she had, she had known that this was going to happen all of this time. But even now she wanted to believe that she had not ever known.
Yet, it still happened because they had made their choice and knew what it would bring in return.
The female solider both quickly as well as quietly cursed to herself and resisted the urge to punch at the metal wall next to her. After a few moments struggle she unclenched her fist and lowered it. Breaking a hand or rather doing something so useless was a horrible idea. Especially when it would do nothing to change what had happened.
The same reason that had stopped her so many times before she was freed.
After everything was said and done. It was too late to do anything but to return "home." She shut her blue eyes and gently shook her head at the thought. Zion was not one of her favorite places because it served as a reminder that she had no one in this new world. She was alone, like always. There was no one there to ever greet her. There was no one there to. usually she spent her days there locked away in her apartment or walking around. She did not socially drink or join in much unless it was necessary. Her life there was not much different that her life before. She was still a loner-she just did not have the computer anymore.
The urge to smile came at the thought and for an extremely brief moment she felt...better? At the very least more like herself from back in the day. She, at the very least, felt as if she was not carrying any weight on her shoulders.
Not like now. Everything just kept piling up on top of her. It was becoming even a hassle to breathe because it felt like every time she did so, something else would happen.
At the thought of the truth she felt sick. For a moment she sat there steadily tightened her grip on herself in an attempt to calm herself until a loud knocked sounded. She felt the urge to sigh and answer the door but chose not to. Her eyes slowly opened as the knocks became louder and constant. She knew what it was about. She just did not know who it was. Trinity was positive that recent actions had gained the attention of the other three survivors. She had noticed (despite having a severe shortage in crew) that the amount of hours she had for working had been decreasing left and right and that even when she was not supposed to be off-duty that someone was coming to take her place after a few hours.
She had not been seen in the mess hall in days and when someone would ask her about it, she could quickly reply that she had eaten earlier or that she would eat later. It usually was enough to earn her a concerned look and a reluctant dropping of the subject. Yet, every time she had returned to her room there was a tray with the "goop" left near her cot that would go mostly uneaten and disposed of later on. Then she would wrap the old blanket around herself and lean against the cold metal wall next to the cot very much like this very time.
Trinity could no longer feel the cold metal against her back. After all ever since she had been "freed" she spent her nights leaning against it in silence and in thought. Usually in those days she stayed up thinking about and absorbing everything that she had learned, saw, or said during that very day.
But tonight she chosen not to dispose of the "food" right away. As the woman looked at the sight from her bed, she could not help but wonder who had been coming in and leaving the trays behind. She wrapped the ratty blanket tightly around her and slowly, gently shut her eyes. It became hard to swallow and her eyes felt as if they were tearing up.
Out of her mouth came a soft and quick murmur/answer of "Neo."
Or at least she would like to think it was him. Though in the end it was all the same. It was all new and unusual. Most of the time people just stood by and acted as if at least something was still normal. It had always been like that, at least until now. Everything had been based off of distance before she had gotten to know everyone past and present on the Neb's crew.
Hell, she internally sighed, it still is. She was still both close and far from everyone and had been. The woman lowered her head a little and asked herself verbally "Is that really why I feel like this?"
The walls could not answer her but the silence did make her realize that she wanted to talk to him but she simply could not.
It was a feeling that a teenage girl would experience and not something that she, a solider, should be feeling now. Her head and her emotions entered a new battle against each other every time she saw him and because they were this ship it was a constant thing. She had admitted her feelings (something she never once did to another person) and even found herself crying (something she had thought she had forgotten how to do) directly when they had kissed the second time. It wasn't something that could be forgotten either. During the time, that it happened many feelings that overtaken her. Ones that she had never expected to experience over such a simple act.
Fear-the emotion that she had felt ever since she first met him, the emotion that overtook her during that time in the car and when he was unplugged, and the feeling that overtook her when Cypher ordered her to look into his eyes and answer his question.
The woman felt her hands clench into fists at the memory. That arrogant bastard's words still replayed in her head. Especially when he had told her to: "Look into his eyes. Those big pretty eyes and tell me... Yes or no."
She had felt weaker than she ever before that point because the answer was more than obvious at this point. His cold tone and his words had done more than enough damage. He had known. He had known all of this time. It infuriated her further. It was just not enough for him to stop at "Traitor." At the thoughts of what had followed this confession, the feeling of being "dirty" followed.
Helplessness- First time she ever felt this was she heard the gunshots that had silenced the talkative Mouse. The feeling that overcame her as she watched both Apoc and Switch die in front of her and when she had heard the monitor above Neo making that awful sound later on. The feeling of not knowing what to do. It was more frightening than encountering an agent. It was unbearable.
Confusion- The feeling that had knocked her off of her feet the moment she first saw him. The feeling that combined itself with so many others. The emotion that made her wonder why she was always watching him both before and after his unplugging. Why her heart was pounding loud enough to for her to hear when they had first met. Why when he had died she found herself silently begging him to wake up..
She was then reminded of something as she heard the door to the cabin next to hers opened.
Trinity believed that Neo wanted to talk to her at this moment. There were so many times where she could feel his eyes gazing on her full of worry or confusion. Those times made the normally untouchable woman want to break down and tell him everything. She hated feeling that type of gaze on her. Especially when it was his eyes looking and noting her because it was like he knew everything. He could obviously see through her acts.
Except she could not bring herself to do it. She had made so many promises to herself that she would never fall for anyone. She had seen too much and was disillusioned with love. It was something that caused both sadness and pain. But she knew that it was not the kind that she was used to experiencing in fights or training. But the kind that took longer to recover from because it was a blow to the heart.
She remembered those reassurances that she had been given during her first visit to the Oracle as well as her own reactions in perfect detail. It was so very long ago but it was still so very easy to remember everything about that visit which had also been her first return to the matrix. She remembered the overly large black trench coat especially.
At the time the young teenager had hated-no detested her cheerful smile. She simply returned the face with a blank and expressionless one. She hated the smell of freshly baked cookies and the cheerful colors. The things that she had never had in her "former" life. Things that were different and odd. Yet, most of all she hated how this woman was suggesting that she had no control in her life. In return, she had shown her defiance by sitting there with her arms still and at her side.
"How could anyone possibly buy this garbage?" was the first thought that had entered her mind and was later followed by: "My life is my own. I get to control what I make of it. At least now that I'm free I can."
After a few impossibly long minutes of the most "annoying" silence imaginable coupled with looks that meant that the older woman knew that she had been thinking those things, Trinity had quietly said "Falling in love isn't a choice nor does it add any strength."
The older woman's smile never disappeared. In fact, it had been accompanied with a gentle laugh much to the younger one's dismay.
"Falling in love can be a choice dear and despite what your past tells you it can be the ultimate strength. You can choose to let love into her heart or to allow it to remain frozen. Only thing is that your mind doesn't get to make that choice." She got up and handed her a freshly baked and magazine worthy chocolate chip cookie before adding "But there is another choice and this one you do get to make."
The dark haired rebel sat forward as she heard the Oracle's next statement,"You will be given the chance to help "The One" realize who he truly is but-"
The younger one did not allow her to finish her sentence. She quickly shot a look towards the older woman and questioned her with a at first quiet "What do you mean?" followed by a louder and irritated "He doesn't know who he is?" When silence met those inquiries she fired off a whole string of questions within one breath.
She remembered that Oracle never answered even one of her questions. She had only told her that she would know when the time was right and when she made up her own mind.
The woman smiled as she quietly murmured "Falling in love.. and the heart, huh?" snapped herself out of her re collective daze and exited her cabin.
Usually in her early days if she had time before going on duty, Trinity would interest herself into a training program. She usually never chose a particular one and always just selected the first one that she saw. From that point, she would gather up all of her feelings of uncertainly, fear, sorrow, and anger and train until she could either no longer realize what they were or until she only felt numb inside. The feeling of entering a never changing room gave her some comfort. No matter what she did to it, when she left and came back it was still as good as new. If she had done so during her life in the matrix, it was possible that she would end up left with a destroyed room, some possible jail time, and an empty wallet. At the thought of that she sighed internally. With things as they stood now, it no longer mattered. She could have went in there and destroyed an entire building within minutes just the same and not have felt any regret.
But with things as they were in this moment, she knew better than to do such a foolish act. No matter how stressed out she felt and how reckless she felt like being because of it. She would simply settle for a training program like always had back in the day.
It was eerily quiet and peaceful (despite the noise that the ship's engines provided). Something that she was not and had never been used to in her life. It was also something which it should not have been. It was another reminder of it all. Then she felt the familiar cold again and was reminded once again that somethings had not changed either. As she got closer to where she needed to go desperately, the silence was replaced by the sound of her own heart pounding in her ears. From that moment on it became slightly easier to walk to her destination. As she took each step slowly she began to feel her mind blanking out.
They were still there. They were lying there as if they were asleep. The only difference would be that the sheets covered them completely. She shut her eyes and looked away ashamed at making that extremely childish thought. The woman solider, as she called herself, within that moment reminded herself for what felt like the tenth time that hour to remain strong. With those words in her head she reluctantly took a deep breath and was about to look away and distract herself from the sight when the sound of footsteps stopped her.
To be continued