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Title: Aftermath

Chapter Title: Breakdown

Chapter: 2/?

Series: Matrix

Rating: PG-13

Genre: Angst/Romance

Pairing: NeoxTrinity

Plot: "Slowly..slowly..."

Spoilers: The Matrix

Disclaimer: I do not own anything. Neo, Trinity, and everyone and thing else belongs to their respective owners. 'Cuz if I owned anything...I would be extremely rich, famous, and I would have had a happier ending..or something. I do own the all the movies (and Animatrix) on DVD, manga, and a clarinet, however. Does that mean anything?

AN: Chapter two is here at last. I had a really hard time writing this. I wasn't sure what to do the entire time (which resulted in three different and crappy chapters) so I ended up writing whatever popped into my head. I liked this best and thus decided to use it. I'm nervous about how it turned out. Trinity is a really hard character to write for me (writing her is the same difficulty I have trying to use my Asuka Langely Sohryu (Evangelion) voice for improv..and it's a 20/10 in difficulty) and the same goes for Neo. (Why I improv..I get bored and record myself on my cell phone with character voices. None of them are any good.)

Over the course of writing this I turned 17 and got a Neo doll for my birthday. So I have the constant reminder and inspiration up in my room. I also have to note that the manga and anime series "Loveless" gave me a lot of inspiration. I also have to thank everyone who read, reviewed, favorited, etc for their help in getting me to write!


"Meeting each other in order to know loneliness,
We won't know until we exchange a kiss.
Even so, I am trembling with the joy
Of having met you.
Please support my heart.
We will dream no more,
We can't run to a warm place.
We will surely overcome
The cruel dawn.
The abandoned quietness
Will surely find
The true words
In order to lovingly hurt each other.
Someday surely"

- Michiyuki by Kaori Hikida

(*English lyrics)

(Song used in the anime series "Loveless")


"...when the sound of footsteps stopped her."

Within that single moment, she had shut her eyes and simply listened to the sound as it came steadily towards her blending with the other sounds that the background provided. As she stood there in silence, she slowly threw her warrior's facade that had briefly fallen off back on and reminded herself of her position for what felt like the thousandth time that week. Only this time it felt as if what little energy she had left was going to end up failing her within minutes. When she thought that she was in a good enough condition to turn around and face whoever it was coming towards her she learned that she was unable too by paying close attention to how they sounded. Innocent, child-like, shy, there were many words that she could have used just from this moment but she knew that none of them were accurate enough.

She loved how they sounded. They were different. They were not bold, angry, or ninja-like which were the normal types that could be heard in this world.

She moved slightly. Her movement, to Neo's surprise, had only caused the tiniest bit of sound against the metal. He was sure that she was thinking about something. That was something that he was sure she was doing a lot of. His dark eyes could see that she was about to break. Was it because of him? Did he doing something wrong? Did he not understand something? He had tried to talk to her. But she always appeared to be unapproachable lately.

He had not known the crew as well as she did but he felt horrible for what happened. Considering that at least that some of what happened appeared to be his fault. He wondered if she blamed him for any of it.

As they grew steadily (but slowly) closer to her, her heart began to pound in her chest. It felt the same as when she watched him, as when she met him. She stopped herself from naming the rest. It was or felt like an infinite list. It always happened. She was only thankful that she was good at maintaining her appearance in situations. The appearance that was both cool, collected, analytical, secretive yet it did not matter. The one thing that she always wanted to be was simply strong.

Even now, every single time she heard, said, or thought of the word "strong" she saw her parents. Her mother constantly walking out of the apartment wearing a waitress uniform and carrying a plastic bag with another set of work clothes. Her black hair thrown into a messy ponytail. While her father wore a nice suit, had lighter hair, blue eyes, a tall frame, and standing outside of a nice sliver car. He carried a fake smile and the woman carried a true one. His eyes were warmer towards her. At least they appeared to be.

They never lived together. She usually only saw her father through the windows of the studio apartment and he usually saw her from the street during the days she lived with her mother. He was married to another woman, had a son, and had an extremely good job. Other than that she knew nothing nor did she care to learn. She was just a mistake to them or at least that was what she believed.

She never saw her mother's eyes expect when her mind saw the image of her on the couch indulging on alcohol and crying. Her hair sticking up, her face pale, and also tear stuck. The piles of trashy romance paperbacks with yellowing pages lining the she watched her sobs, the woman turned towards the her and threw one of the books at book had at her. Then she remembered going to live with her father and how she had gotten her first computer for her birthday. The rest of it became a blur. Though she had picked up on one thing after that time. As she started at a new school and was given more "freedom" she began to sense that something was "wrong" with the surroundings around her. Everything seemed to remain the same. Everything felt "hazy" or rather "unreal."

Even now, she could never truly describe that feeling and ever since she had discovered it she had pulled herself away from most things that the world had offered. She spent a lot of time just drifting and doing what she was forced to do, in order to get through the day. Though she had found a hobby in hacking around that time and it had lead her to discovering that her hunches about the world had been correct.

It was not real.

It was not real.

Trinity stood there repeating that to herself as she felt tears form in her eyes. She quickly stopped herself and reminded herself yet again of how she needed to be.

However, she became the things that she had portrayed herself to be. These were very things that she ended up keeping her alive when the things were at their worst, militarily speaking. Being able to stay in control resulted from having such traits and when there was an enemy that was unstoppable and one had to escape it became a weapon in itself. They played on emotion. One could never show emotion. That was a part of why every rebel wore sunglasses when they were in the Matrix.

The countless encounters with the agents played through her mind as she internally mentioned that. There were so many times were she watched her fellow crew members and friends die in front of her. Most of the time these incidents happened while they were attempting to unplug someone. She never once was in the position to do anything about it and even if she could have done something, one question still remained. What could she do? They were invincible. They could dodge anything that one could throw at them. They could take over the minds and bodies of anyone who had not been freed. Even if some damage was done, they would abandon that body and find another.

She did not even want to think of what it would be like if she was not good at that.

Regardless, she did not need to witness such events so she could learn and master such a technique. She had learned long ago during her childhood about how important a skill like that truly was. Such a skill usually in those days brought her the time alone that she needed by causing everyone to forget about her existence until she would reemerge for a brief period of time. Maybe, she would often find herself thinking, that was the reason why every hacker, government agency, and person in the matrix believed that their hero "Trinity" was a guy.

Back in those days managing to hack the IRS d-base was considered to be the ultimate prize for any hacker. It was commonly referred to as the "Holy Gail" and rightfully so. It provided answers to any question according to popular internet myth. Another known story was that the infamous Morpheus had attempted to do so because stopping and would contact anyone who had managed to get as far as he did. Around the time she began to "hang out" in those popular chat rooms, another rumor at formed.

Anyone who had ever tried to crack their system gave up and was later caught within a few hours. Most of those who were caught were thrown into prison. Yet, she had heard of a few who had disappeared without a trace.

One night when she was thirteen and unable to sleep, she logged on to that familiar chat room and created her alias the very second that the 'enter name' option had appeared on her screen. As the others in the room greeted her and re assumed their chat about the mysterious system, she watched as a mysterious name appeared on the screen and began typing.

"Do you guys know what the matrix is?"

All conversation paused until another person responded "Is it something that database would have an answer to?"

That question was followed by a "Is it some new super computer? Or a video game?"

More and more of the hackers that had been either lurking or chatting quickly jumped in asking more and more questions.

"Is it something involving Area 51?"

"No! It has to be a super program that the government is going to use to watch everyone's activities!"

As the person left the chat without any other word, statement, or hint, a massive debate began and the young girl found herself interested in what the stranger had to say. She was at that time still a beginner but over the course of two years had perfected her talent and devised enough plans to reach her goal. Despite not even knowing if attempting such a stunt was even going to help her find the answer to that stranger's question.

It did not matter. It was better to do something than to sit around always wondering.

Trinity had done the impossible and had cracked it when she was only fifteen. It had taken hours, many cups of coffee, patience, and years of learning the various skills required to attempt such a feat. Once she had done so and managed to carefully cover her tracks, she watched every action she made from that moment on. Trinity still never could understand why she decided to go through with it.

In the end she was still glad to have gone through with it.

She still fondly remembered the late night chat rooms filled with other hackers. How most if not all of them were egoistical, energetic, and in her opinion a bit too open on the internet for their own good. She still went there when she was unable to sleep for a laugh, to waste time, and rarely to relive those early days. Those days were every night, there was passionate and wild debate. Whether it was over how she had succeeded, if she was real, or who their hero truly was. No one ever once gotten her gender right let alone her true age. While some of the theories were downright entertaining reads (such as the tale of how Trinity was really a double agent), she was disappointed. Not a single person ever brought up the possibly that this infamous hacker could be a girl.

Another step sounded and sent her back into reality.

Within minutes her heartbeat blocked out every other sound that was around her and the cold that she had managed to stop feeling returned in full force. As she felt his eyes linger on her and his presence grow closer she felt unnatural. She never once felt her heart race and her temperature drop like she did now or had whenever she had encountered him. She never once felt the urge of wanting to hold someone and be held by them. The things that her mother must have wanted. The things that so many people she encountered must have wanted and dreamed of.

Her mind went and reminded her of the kiss. As it replayed in her mind she could still feel her lips tingling from it. She slowly raised her hand and gently put two of her fingers on her lower lip. She wanted to scream, cry, do something...anything to make it stop. This went against everything she had promised herself, yet now that she thought of it she wanted this. Within that moment, Trinity knew that this was her breaking point.

Then the footsteps stopped.

She could sense that he was nervous and even more so than usual. As she debated about turning around and trying to find a way out of the room. She felt one of his hands gently and firmly grab her left shoulder. Immediately the solider felt her mind enter a blank, her breaths become shallow, and her heart race. At first, Trinity felt the urge to fight. Her fight or flight instructs had kicked in but she stopped herself as she sensed his nervousness. As she felt her mind begin to spin, she felt herself being gently turned around.

Icy blue eyes met concerned chocolate ones. The two stood there for what felt like hours just looking at each other.

To be continued


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