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In the calling out to one another
Of the lovers up and down the strand

He walked up and down the boardwalk, lost in his thoughts. Occasionally a woman would smile, he ignored them. Sometimes, at the seamier end, a woman would start to walk up to him before he waved her away. That was for her. She did things to spite him, to hurt him, he would not do the same to her. He would not sink to that level.

But she was gone. She was gone and she would not be coming back, and though he would never ask that didn't mean he wasn't lonely. She was gone, and there was nothing he wanted to do more than to beg her to come back, though he would never ask her of anything again. Nothing that he could do would hurt her now, she had her new life, her new lover, and her old friends, once his, that she had turned against him. He should hate her, but he didn't. He couldn't. He didn't know why and he hated it, but he couldn't.

He heard a woman cry out in joy, and he turned, thinking it was her. Some nameless woman jumped into the arms of a faceless man. It was not her. She was gone, and would not be back again.

In the sound of the waves and the cries
Of the seagulls circling the sand

She sat on the beach, fully dressed, ignoring the strange looks she was receiving. She kept the look on her face angry, and no one approached her. But inside, she was not angry, she was grieving. He was gone, there was nothing she could do about it. Off with some stranger, on the whim of a moment, leaving her a three line note now burned in her memory. She would always remember him, but vowed not to obsess, not to pine. He would be a bitter memory little thought of from now on. That was what she must do, she must gain closure. She stood.

And saw the seagulls. And sat down again, because they were his favorite and she could not stop the tears.

In the fragments of the songs
Carried down the wind from some radio

It was nighttime, and he had left the boardwalk long ago for the streets. He had covered large chunks of the town in the last few days, walking everywhere, but nowhere really, because he had nowhere to go. Just wandering, pointless and aimless, not looking for something so much as succumbing to the need to keep moving, keep doing something, just for the sake of doing something.

He felt the beat in the back of his throat before he heard it. He looked up, he had wandered into the club district, and he was coming up on Ninth Circle, the newer techno club in town. People were pouring in and out of the doors at an incredible rate, and he knew from the newspaper articles the place was colossal. It was made out of an ex-supermarket that had been closed for a decade by now, and until the new owners decided what to do with it, had sat abandoned for all that time.

Why not? It was the perfect place to lose himself for the night. He spotted a woman in black leather and sunglasses entering the club through a different door, but lost her in the crowd.

In the murmuring of the city in the distance
Ominous and low

She walked through her neighborhood fast, not wanting to get home but wanting to deal with muggers even less. Though for the first time in a long time it was a close call. She hurried on anyway. She made it to her building, and climbed the flights that would have toned her legs nicely if not for the fact she was already in shape.

She got inside her apartment, if you could call it that, and flicked on the light. She blinked. Some man was sitting on her one good chair. The .45 she kept in a kitchen cabinet sat in front of him on the cluttered coffee table. She could not see his eyes because of his sunglasses. There was nothing she could do. With him that close to her gun, plus whatever he was armed with, this man in black leather could kill her long before she could get to him.

"What do you want?" Stay angry, she thought, it's protected you before.


I hear the sound of the world where we played

A child played on the beach, laughing in the bright sunshine. Carefree and happy, the child shouted with the thrill of surprise when water splashed on his back. He turned, and laughed again at the antics of his little sister. Then he ran to the ocean with the bucket, it was her turn now!


And the far too simple beauty
Of the promises we made

"Apoc and Switch, we do not usually do this in pairs, normally we would be talking to you one at a time, one of you months before the other. But we have little time and less choice. Take the blue pill, and go back to your lives and think what you want, or take the red pill and learn the truth. I can not make the choice for you, but this is irrevocable, so be sure."

They both took a red pill from Morpheus's hand. Switch grabbed it as soon as he finished his sentence, Apoc waited a beat after she swallowed to take his. They walked into the next room.

If you ever need holding
Call my name, I'll be there
If you ever need holding

The last few days had been horrendous for both of them. The unplugging, the constant training and strain. Their brains hurt with the information that had been poured in. They found little camaraderie in their shipmates, Morpheus was distant and as a commander could not get too close. Trinity was civil but as second in command on an understaffed ship she was constantly doing something, and late for something else. Cypher was cynical and though professional during training, kept glancing at Switch in ways she didn't like. Dozer, while friendly enough, was almost busier than Trinity, catching up on the repairs he had missed while nursing the two of them through their unplugging.

They turned to each other, having no where else to go. They joked about the goop and Cypher's typos, one of which had nearly ended with Apoc learning how to water-ski instead of evasive driving. They groaned about the combat simulations and gave each other back rubs at the end of the day. They teamed up and did a double load of chores together instead of a regular load alone, just to have someone to talk to. They became friends, two private people joined forces in the face of adversity, and started to win.

And no holding back, I'll see you through
Sky blue and black

First time back in the Matrix. Trinity, Cypher, and Switch. Apoc had gone in with them the day before, and was watching with Morpheus and Dozer back on the Neb. She couldn't get used to the light. It was so much brighter here than she had remembered, or was it? But she refused the sunglasses, she didn't need them. She could do without.

A gunshot sounded behind her. A shout "Agent, RUN!" That was Trinity. She felt Cypher's hand on her back, pushing her forward as she ran, her feet pounding the pavement in a desperate rhythm. Block after block melted away, the hardline had been cut and they had to get to another exit. Another shot, the hand on her back was gone. She risked a glance back and saw Cypher running a few steps further behind than he had been, clutching his shoulder. Trinity was behind him, pushing him every few seconds. More blocks, turn here, there, and the next.

She reached the phone as it began to ring. She took it off the hook and handed it to Cypher, the wounded, who vanished. Trinity hung up the phone and laid down a cover fire pattern as it started to ring again. Switch took it and the bright light of the Matrix melted away.

Where the touch of the lover ends
And the soul of the friend begins

She tried to sit forward, gulping in air, but Apoc held her back as Morpheus unplugged her. She launched herself out of the chair, but Apoc caught her before she could go anywhere. She was suddenly in his arms, and as he rubbed her back her face collapsed and shone with tears.

She could hear Dozer taking a whining Cypher to the medbay as Morpheus got Trinity calmed down with a touch and a few words. Neither of the others had been as freaked as she had, Apoc wouldn't have acted like that, she was acting like a child. Apoc led her to her room, and made to leave but she grabbed his arm and pulled him to sit next to her on the bed. She couldn't be alone, not yet.

There's a need to be separate and a need to be one
And a struggle neither wins

He had gotten her back into her room way too late to keep her from freaking in front of the others, which he knew she'd be embarrassed for later, if not yet. But she was looking better now, a lot better, than she had been a few minutes ago, and that's what mattered.

Her face was composed, and her breathing again even. But he took a breath when she looked at him, because the fear had not left her eyes. He took her into his arms again, he couldn't help it. She clutched at his back, and brought her face up. He kissed her, and leaned her back onto the bed. He couldn't help it.

Where you gave me the world I was in
And a place I could make a stand

It was time to see the Oracle. They went together, as they had come into the Real World together, the Oracle had told Morpheus that they needed to see her at the time. She didn't say much, but her voice stayed burned in their minds.

"You belong together as very few do. You will stay that way. You are soldiers, common enough, but will fight for a great cause before you die for it. You will not die at the same time, but the one who survives will only have to live a few moments without the other. Keep your eyes open, kids, you'll get to see a lot this time around. Follow your heart and your instincts and you'll go far."

They had left, secure only in the knowledge of each other. The future was another, separate world. They'd get to it later, now was for today.

I could never see how you doubted me
When I'd let go of your hand

The Oracle watched them leave. They had listened to only part of her message. But they had never really believed in her in the first place. At least they had listened to part of it.

She went back and sat down at the table in her small kitchen. She could not tell them everything because if she did, they could not live as they must, in order for the Resistance to succeed. More importantly, they could not die as they must, in order to let the four that would remain knit together into a whole that would defeat a world. But still, after every one of these meetings, she sat there and wept, because these were people who deserved to live in the world that would be created.

They were lucky, though, they had each other, when so few had somebody these days. So very few….


Yeah, and I was much younger then

The child sat in class, and listened to the teacher like he was supposed to, but instead of watching the blackboard he was looking out the window. Birds flew by on the light spring breeze, and he just couldn't stop counting the days until summer, with baseball and friends and long summer afternoons of tree-house-building and water balloons.


And I must have thought that I would know
If things were going to end

A few years went by. Tank came onboard, and everybody was surprised at how, well, little Dozer's little brother was. Finally, they found Mouse, and got ready to unplug the kid that would complete their team until they finished Morpheus's mission and found the One. Things stepped up, because in addition to the regular work and watches somebody extra had to be around to watch Mouse, keep an eye on him and make sure no Agents got to him before they could, before he was ready to come out of the Matrix.

They were all on edge, and Apoc and Switch were no different. Little things about each other started to annoy the other. Her reserve was distance to him, his sarcastic remarks started to cut a little too deeply for her. Things were getting closer and closer to an explosion.

And the heavens were rolling
Like a wheel on a track

Things with Mouse were going like clockwork, one thing after another just like they were supposed to. He was doing everything a candidate was supposed to be doing, getting paranoid and watching his back, looking twice at every person wearing black or sunglasses. The Agents were figuring out they were looking for someone, and were starting to narrow down the search area. Finally, one afternoon, Morpheus said it was time. They jacked up, everyone but Dozer, and went in to get him.

Cypher went with Morpheus to the building they used for candidate retrieval, and Apoc, Switch, and Trinity got into the car. Mouse was waiting at the corner where Morpheus said he would be, cold and frightened, as he had been chased and thus didn't have his coat with him in the middle of February. They picked him up and checked him for bugs, but he was clean, so they headed to the building where Morpheus was.

Apoc noticed the tail on them about four blocks from the building. Switch cursed him for not seeing it earlier, and Trinity had to spend precious seconds shutting her up while telling Apoc what route to take to lose the tail. They got to the building. They pulled Mouse up the stairs as fast as they could, and didn't even blink when he took the red pill. They had known he would. Switch and Apoc were seething at each other, but they put it aside for the moment during the search. Mouse got out. They had made it.

And our sky was unfolding
And it'll never fold back
Sky blue and black

They were back in the Neb, safe and sound. Apoc and Switch waited until Dozer got Mouse into the medbay to start fighting. There was no screaming or yelling, no threats or warnings, just nasty quiet lethal comments thrown back and forth faster and faster. Morpheus and Trinity were in the bridge, so they had the core to themselves. Apoc was blind to miss the tail, Switch stupid and selfish to waste precious time cursing him, Apoc was a sadist with his cutting sarcastic comments, Switch didn't really give a crap about anybody but herself, the list went on and on.

Finally they both ran out of accusations and adjectives, and they ran from each other. Apoc made it to their room first, so Switch went to the mess to get some food, nearly running over Trinity on her way.

And I'd have fought the world for you
If I thought that you wanted me to

They each sat alone, thinking about the other, hoping the other was thinking about them in a less than murderous fashion. They waited for the other to come to them, they talked themselves out of going to the other.

Finally they both got fed up with it all and started off to talk to each other. They met in the middle of the corridor, and went back to their room for the small amount of privacy it promised.

Or put aside what was true or untrue
If I'd know that's what you needed

The words they had said had hurt too much for them to simply be forgotten. There had been too much feeling behind the insults for them to melt away. They agreed to try again, but it would never be the same. They each knew what the other saw as their weaknesses, their faults, the things they loved each other in spite of, and in frightening detail. This would take time to heal, and until it did, they would be awkward and over-polite to each other. They would not truly share themselves with each other again until they regained the trust they had lost. Something had to happen.


What you needed me to do

The child looked on with interest as his dad nailed the boards together. Soon, soon he would be able to use the hammer himself, and then he could build whatever he wanted! Sure, dad was good at this and all, but a guy's got to build his own tree-house someday, right? The sharp raps of metal against metal echoed in the stuffy garage. Soon dad would be done and he could go back outside with his friends, but until then he'd better watch carefully to make sure everything got done like it was supposed to.


But the moment has passed by me now
To have put away my pride

Mouse's first time back in the Matrix. Trinity, Apoc and Switch were taking him. At first they had been apprehensive of going into the Matrix together, but Morpheus and Trinity had insisted, saying that it was necessary for them to be able to work together. The notion of one of them being transferred to another ship was brought up, and they agreed hastily.

The job was connecting a new hardline. Mouse would do it, with Apoc and Switch guarding him and Trinity watching them all from a safe distance. They made it to the TV repair shop, and broke into the back room quietly. The dust rose off the furniture in great clouds, no one had been back here for a long time, it was the perfect place. They connected the hardline, but had to use another one as this one had to be programmed properly before it could be used. They started out of the shop.

And just come through for you somehow

When suddenly a man appeared in the doorway that lead to the front room. He was holding a sawed off double barreled shotgun, and had it trained directly on Apoc. He didn't shoot, just raised his eyebrow and asked them what they thought they were doing there.

They didn't answer, how could they? They stood there silently, the face off got more and more tense. Finally, the man made a comment on a couple of Switch's body parts, and she spun into action. With one kick, the shotgun was out of his hands and clattering on the floor, with another, the man's neck was broken. They got out of the shop as fast as they could, and back to the Neb.

If you ever need holding
Call my name, I'll be there

As always when one of them had almost been killed, they went back to their room as soon as they got out of the Matrix. The trust had been restored, all was right with the world.

Later, they lay together on the tiny bed, her sprawled half on top of him, and they just breathed together, cherishing the feeling of being near one another. They could trust each other, and they always would. They wouldn't need to insult each other any more because everything that could be said, had been.

If you ever need holding
And no holding back, I'll see you through

They had found the One, they were sure of it. Neo had all the right things going for him, and the Agents were hot on his trail. There was no tension as there had been before Mouse's unplugging, now it was excitement, a thrill of energy that went through the crew every time they watched him. He was the One, he had to be. Trinity was watching him most of all, and everyone knew why though she had long ago threatened death to the one that told him. Cypher was the only one that would have anyway, and he was the only one that believed the threat, so that was safe.

You're the color of the sky
Reflected in each store-front window pane

They were on a recon mission, checking out the building where he worked, making sure Morpheus was right about his directions for Neo when the time came. The monitors could only tell you so much, after all. They worked together in fluid motion. Each time one of them stepped in front of a window, the other did a double glance at the reflection, wondering if maybe this or that movement was an Agent.

You're the whispering and the sighing
Of my tires in the rain

They had found him, they were bringing him back. There was a moment of pure fear when he almost got out of the car, but Trinity handled it as they knew she could. Apoc drove through the rain, and when Switch would mention the waterski incident to him later, he would smile at the memory of a more carefree time, when they could just be together without worrying about somebody else, because somebody else was constantly worrying about them. Those days were gone, but that was okay because the days before them were gone to, and soon no one would have to walk on a boardwalk or sit on a beach and wonder if it was all worth it, because they would free the world.

You're the hidden cost and the thing that's lost
In everything I do

They stood in front of the building, waiting for the others to bring back Neo from the Oracle so they could go home and finish the mission. The sunlight beat down upon them, and though they knew it was only a computer program, they relished the light, so strange from their normal existence. They spoke in quiet voices to each other, about the past and the future. They waited for the others so they could go home.

Yeah and I'll never stop looking for you
In the sunlight and the shadows

In the back room of the TV repair shop, they stood, listening to Trinity try to reason with Cypher. They had figured out only a few moments ago that he had finally gone over the edge, and they were waiting, waiting to see what would happen so they could go home and get Morpheus back.

Trinity looked at Apoc. He said her name. He fell.

The world shattered.


And the faces on the avenue

Time to go back to school. He walked down the street, with a couple friends, and some new kid who moved in a couple weeks ago. Mostly the rest of the world escaped his notice among the talk of summer and school yard ball, except one odd thing did happen. A drunk was standing in front of an apartment building, but when he glanced again a moment later there was a man with sunglasses and a suit standing there instead. He forgot about it by the time he got to school.


That's the way love is
That's the way love is

She fell to him, clutched his back, tried not to cry. The words of the Oracle came back to her, she knew she would be next. "Not like this." They were supposed to have leave in Zion, alone but together, in a few weeks. They had been talking about marriage, and maybe, in a few years, children. They had tried to forget the words of the Oracle, but she was right, she was always right, and they would have nothing. She looked up at Trinity, mourning the words she had never said to Apoc, all the things he had never said to her. They deserved more than this, they should have died at each other's back in a fire fight, doing something noble, saving someone's life. Instead, they were on Cypher's hit list.

That's the way love is
Sky blue and black

"Not like this." The world went black and she did not feel herself fall.