Separation Anxiety

by Kaz
Authors notes: This is the sequel to “A Visit From the Past.”

“Can I ask you something?” Trinity looked up to see Tank in the doorway of the mess hall, arms crossed and eyebrow raised.
“Sure.” Trinity tried to meet Tank’s gaze, only to find him staring at the table, obviously bothered. “You okay? You look sort of —”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Tank interrupted. “It’s just that —” He cut off abruptly. “Me and Kaz are sort of having problems.”
“What kind of problems?” Trinity raised her eyebrow.
“I don’t know. Something just doesn’t seem right.” He sighed heavily. “She’s been kind of secluded and withdrawn, and I can’t figure out why. She … I don’t know. Ugh. Women.” Trinity laughed at his final statement.
“You know, women are just a little different from men.” Trinity smiled.
“Yeah, I’m figuring that out.” Tank sighed.
“Every now and then we just feel the need to be alone, like we’re crowded. Just give her time. She’s got a lot to get used to.”
“Trin, she’s been here for more than four months. That’s plenty of time to —”
“Tank, how long did it take you?” He was quiet for a second.
“Good point.” He smiled his stunning smile.
“All I’m saying is give her some space. She’ll come around eventually.”

***

“Let go of me!” Kaz was screaming at the top of her lungs. Fritz had her pinned up against the wall, her feet dangling a foot off the floor. Fritz was the newest crew person on the Neb. The crew had freed him a month earlier and he still had some minor problems.
“Shut up!” Veins protruded from his forehead as he yelled between his teeth. He put his hands around her throat, choking her. Kaz began to feel herself black out, hoping that someone would hear her screams. Her face began to change color from white to blue. Taking notice of this, Fritz threw her across the room. She smacked against the wall, her head hitting a pipe. She fell into a heap on the floor, blood oozing from the cut she had just received. Fritz threw her across the room again, this time into a nearby table. The table broke in half, making a huge crash.
Hearing all the noise, Morpheus and Neo ran into the op station to see what all the commotion was about. They arrived just in time to see Kaz go flying into a ladder, making a loud thump as she hit the floor.
“Fritz! Cut it out!” Morpheus ran to hold him down while Neo picked Kaz up out of the floor. Morpheus could barely hold Fritz down, as Fritz was twice Morpheus’ size. He yelled for Blik to come help him. Together, they dragged him to his room and locked him in, hoping he wouldn’t cause any more trouble. They ran back to where they had left Neo and Kaz.
“Is she okay?” asked Blik, obviously concerned.
“I don’t know,” answered Neo. “She’s out cold.” He held her gently, trying to revive her.
“Blik, go get Trinity.” Morpheus was worried. If Fritz reacted violently on a whim, this could mean trouble. “What could have caused this?”
“I don’t know,” Neo answered. “I didn’t think Fritz was this unstable. He must have popped or something.”
“Well, we’re not going to find out from Kaz until she wakes up.”

***

“Hey Trinity? Morpheus and Neo need you.” Blik stuck his head into the mess hall. He had a concerned look on his face. Tank nodded to Trinity and she stood to leave. Tank got a cup from the shelf and made himself a cup of coffee. He sat down at the table, alone again, deep in thought.

***

“What happened?” Trinity ran to Neo’s side in the infirmary. Kaz lay on a bed, a huge gash on her forehead. Several bruises had already appeared all over her body.
“Fritz.” It was Morpheus who answered. “He went berserk, evidently without cause.” Trinity bandaged Kaz’s forehead and gave her a painkiller. They hooked her up to a monitor and IV.
“I’ll stay,” said Trinity. “But how are we gong to tell Tank? If he finds out, he’ll kill Fritz.” They looked at each other.
“We’ll do it together,” said Morpheus. “After dinner.”

***

Neo climbed the ladder to the op station. It had been an hour since Fritz snapped and he was still locked up in his room. He was concerned. How were they going to break the news to Tank? If they told him that Fritz had tried to kill Kaz, Tank might snap as well.
Just then, Tank came around the corner.
“Tank —”
“Hey, uh, Neo, can I talk to you?” Tank looked concerned. Neo felt a knot grow in his stomach. Had Tank found out? “It’s about Kaz.” The knot tightened.
“Sure,” Neo stammered.
“She’s been acting real weird.” The knot released. He still didn’t know. “I talked to Trin and she told me not to worry, but I can’t help it.”
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know. Kaz has been acting like she doesn’t want me around. You know, like she’s withdrawing. I don’t know what to do.”
“She’ll come around eventually.” Neo smiled and put a hand on his shoulder. “Just give her space. She has a lot on her mind right now.”
“But I want to be there for her, you know, help her —”
“Yeah, I know. But women are just weird sometimes.”
“You’re telling me. Where is she, by the way?”
“Uh…” Neo got nervous again.
“Never mind, I’ll find her.” As soon as he was gone, Neo let his breath out. That was a close call.

***

“Where’s Kaz?” asked Poz. They were all sitting in the mess hall for dinner.
“And Blik and Fritz? Where are they?” Tank posed a question of his own.
“Tank, sit down.” said Morpheus calmly.
“I don’t like the sound of this…” Tank muttered as he slowly sat.
“She and Fritz had a little encounter this afternoon.” Tank stood up, almost knocking his chair over. “Tank, sit down.” Morpheus repeated. He refused.
“Tank, Kaz is in the infirmary,” said Trinity quietly. Tank bolted for the door, but luckily Morpheus was sitting in front of it and jumped up to stop him.
“Calm down.” Tank struggled a bit more and finally slumped to the floor. “She’s going to be okay. She’s got some nasty cuts and bruises, but she’ll be okay. Blik is sitting with her now.”
“So where’s Fritz?” He asked.
“He’s locked up in his room.” Tank stood. “Where are you going?” Morpheus tensed, ready to hold Tank back again.
“I want to see her. Now.”

***

“Oh my God.” Tank fought the tears. Kaz lay on a bed, the sheets tucked under her arms. She had a bandage on her forehead and her face was badly bruised. He sat in the chair next to her bed and held her hand. She stirred slightly, but didn’t open her eyes. Tank lowered his head to rest on the bed.
“Leave them,” said Morpheus softly.

***

“Do you think he’s going to be okay?” Poz asked as soon as the door was shut.
“I hope so. I just hope Fritz lives through what Tank’s going to dish out when he finds him.” Morpheus sent Blik a look.
“Tank isn’t going to touch Fritz, do all of you understand?” They nodded quietly, all worried about Kaz.

***

“Who are you?” Tank’s head snapped up. Kaz had her eyes open and was looking around the room. “Where am I?”
“In the infirmary.”
“Why?” She looked confused and lost.
“Fritz tried to kill you.”
“Who is Fritz? What am I doing here?”

***

“Morpheus, come quick.” They all looked up to see Tank in the doorway, tears streaming down his face.
“What’s wrong?” They all jumped up and ran after Tank, who was sprinting towards the infirmary. They walked into the infirmary room to see Kaz sitting up in bed, looking completely lost.
“Who are you?” She looked at each of them, shaking. “What am I doing here?”

***

“How is she?” Trinity stood when Morpheus emerged from Kaz’s room. They walked together to the mess hall, where the others were waiting. Morpheus didn’t answer. Together they entered the room, silent. Everyone but Tank looked up, hopeful. Tank was leaning against a wall, his head lowered.
“She doesn’t remember a thing. Not even who she is and where she came from.” Trinity saw Tank grimace and shake his head. A tear fell. “Evidently while Fritz was on a rampage, she hit her head and blacked out.” Tank stormed out of the room. Morpheus nodded to Blik, who stood and followed. They waited in silence until Blik returned.
“He just went to his room. He didn’t even go near Fritz.” reported Blik. Morpheus nodded and continued his update.
“I told her everything – about the ship, the Matrix, each of you, her encounter with Fritz, and that she’s in love with Tank.”
“And?” Trinity looked at Morpheus.
“I don’t know.” The room fell silent again. Morpheus took a seat and propped his head on his hands. “All we can do is wait and see if her memory comes back.” Neo shook his head while Trinity sighed. He looked at her and put his arms around her. She leaned against him and shook her head.
“Something needs to be done about Fritz.”
“I know,” said Morpheus. “I’m seeing about transferring him to another ship, one with a more reliable cell. Until then I want one of you stationed outside his cell.” They nodded. “Make sure he is never unguarded.” They nodded again. “I’ll keep an eye on Tank.”
“Let me talk to him, Morpheus.” He nodded to Trinity and she went to find him.

***

“Tank?” Trinity slowly opened the door to Tank’s room. He was lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. He didn’t move, so she sat on the bed next to him. “Tank, she’s going to be okay.” He shook his head and turned onto his side. Trinity put a hand on his arm and he sighed.
“She doesn’t even know who I am, Trinity. How can you tell me she’s going to be okay?” He sighed again.
“Tank, even if she doesn’t remember who you are, you’re still you. You still love her, and that means it’s going to be easier for her to love you again.”
“You think so?” Tank turned back onto his back again and looked at Trinity.
“Yeah, I do. You’re a great person. Even if she doesn’t remember you, it’ll be easy for her to fall in love with you, especially since she knows you still love her.”
“Thanks, Trin.” He smiled at her, but it faded quickly. Trinity knew he was still worried about it, but she also knew he would think about what she told him.
“Just be there for her now and she’ll remember you later.” She patted his arm, smiled, and left his room.

***

“Is he going to be okay?” Poz was waiting outside Tank’s room when Trinity emerged. She sighed and leaned against the wall.
“I hope so.” ***

I wish I could have been there to stop him. What was I thinking leaving her alone with him? I knew this would happen. How could I be so dumb? Tank was sitting at the computer watching the matrix, running over what had happened the past week. He still worried about Kaz, but now was blaming himself.
“What’s that?” He turned to see who had interrupted his thoughts. Kaz stood in a blanket a few feet away, looking confused.
“This is the matrix.” Tank explained all over how it worked, thinking deja vu all over again. He turned away from her, his heart broken. She looked terrible. Her hair was sticking up all over the place and her eyes were dull and drooping. She was pale and thin, as if she were dying right in front of him. His heart ached just looking at her.
“Can I ask you something?” He turned to face her.
“Yeah, sure.” His answer was slow and quiet.
“Will you tell me about us?” He looked at her, unsure of what she was asking. “I mean, when we both lived in Zion, and before this whole thing.” She saw his eyes fill and he turned away from her. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have —”
“No, it’s okay.” He turned around again and managed a small smile. “I’ll tell you.” She smiled back and sat on the floor, looking up at him. He took a deep breath and began his story.
“We grew up together. I lived a street over from you and we used to play together when we were little.” Tank glanced at her. She was thoroughly interested, and she smiled. He looked away and continued. “Eventually, be became more than friends, a perfect match. Every one of our friends was jealous of our relationship. We were together for four years and not once had a fight.”
“What happened?” He was surprised at her question.
“Morpheus found me and my brother and we joined the crew on this ship. I couldn’t tell you, so I just disappeared. About five months ago, we needed another hand, so I went back to Zion and found you. You were a sight for sore eyes.” He smiled, remembering. “I told you everything Morpheus told you the other night – about the war and the matrix. You got pretty mad at me for not telling you I was leaving,” he chuckled to himself, “but you decided to come anyway.”
She stood and walked to his side, gazing at the computer screen, flooding with information on what was happening that very moment inside the matrix. He followed her gaze and was lost in the green characters.
“You don’t know how odd it is to have people telling you what you’re supposed to feel and think and believe.” He smiled sympathetically.
“You don’t know how frustrating it is to have someone you love with all your heart standing right next to you, and they don’t know who you are and can’t love you back anymore.” She looked at him starting at the screen.
“I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be.” For the first time since he started his story, he looked her in the eye. She stared back, unsure of what to say. He stood and started to walk away.
“Tank?” He turned around to face her again. She walked to him and put her arms around him. “I really am sorry.” She felt him put his arms around her timidly. They held each other for a moment, until she broke away. She saw the tears streaming down his face and she felt guilty. “I don’t know what to do.”
“There’s nothing you can do.” He smiled weakly and left the room. She watched him as he left and went to find Morpheus.

***

“Morpheus?” He looked up from his coffee to see Kaz in the room with him.
“It’s late, Kaz. You’re not tired?”
“No, just curious.” His eyebrow went up.
“About what?”
“Tank.”
“Oh.” His face fell. “He still loves you, you know.”
“Yes.” She paused. “But I can’t love him back.”
“I know.” He tried to read her face, unsuccessfully.
“Ever since I woke up, people have been telling me what I’m supposed to feel and think. That’s what I thought before. It’s odd.”
“Kaz—”
“I don’t feel anything anymore. Nothing. I feel like I’m living someone else’s life. I don’t know what to think. Except what people tell me.” Morpheus’ heart fell. She was in pain and there was nothing he could say. He went to her and embraced her. He held her for a moment. She pulled away from him.
“I’m tired now.” She turned and left.
“Good night.” He watched her leave and went to his own room for the night.

***

Tank stared at the ceiling. He was exhausted, but couldn’t sleep. His eyes were sore and his body ached, but he was still awake, staring at the ceiling of his room. He stood, wincing as his feet made contact with the icy metal floor.
He quietly opened the door and walked in. She was on her side, facing him. He leaned against the wall and watched her sleep. He listened to her breathe, watching every movement she made. He felt a hand on his arm and turned to see Neo next to him. He turned back to watching Kaz and a tear spilled onto his cheek. A few moments later, he found Neo in the mess hall, waiting for him.
“You’re killing yourself, Tank.”
“I know.” He sat across from Neo and stared at his hands in his lap.
“Do you want me to talk to the Oracle?”
“No.” Tank stood. “I know there’s nothing I can do. What’s the use?”

***

“Morpheus, come quick,” Trinity barged into Morpheus’ room, startling him from a deep sleep. He looked at her, trying to clear his eyes and stood, following her out of the room. They went down the hall to Tank’s room. Tank was on the floor, a knife protruding from his side. His face was twisted in agony, writhing in pain.
“Tank, who did this?” Morpheus was afraid of the answer, hoping it wasn’t an attempt on his own life.
“Fritz.” Tank managed to let the name escape. “He’s out.” Morpheus and Trinity looked at each other. Morpheus pointed at Neo and Blik and they ran out of the room.
They found Fritz in Kaz’s room, just in time. He had her up against the wall again, and her face was blue.
“Fritz!” He turned and pulled Kaz from the wall, using her for a shield. Keeping her in a choke hold, he pulled out a knife and held it to her throat. They immediately backed away. Kaz was on the brink of passing out again, and she tried to fight it, unsuccessfully. The blackness took over and she slumped to the floor, unconscious. Fritz kicked her out of the way and lunged for the door, but was stopped by Neo. They fought for a few minutes, Fritz slashing wildly and missing all but once. He caught Neo’s arm, ripping it open. Neo screamed in pain, distracting Fritz so that Blik could take the knife from him. Blik tackled him and yelled for Morpheus’ help. Trinity ran to the infirmary to get a sedative as Blik and Morpheus struggled to hold Fritz down. Soon, Fritz was out cold. Blik, Morpheus, and Poz helped get Tank and Kaz to the infirmary while Trinity tended to Neo’s wound.

***

Morpheus, Neo, and Poz stood as Trinity emerged from the infirmary. Blik looked up, hopeful. Neo went to her and put his arms around her.
“Tank is fine. He’s going to be sore and immobile for a while, but he’s in no danger.”
“And Kaz?” Morpheus asked.
Trinity took a deep breath. “Kaz is in a coma.” Morpheus closed his eyes and sunk into the chair. Blik stood in disbelief. “She’s barely physically hurt – just some scrapes, a broken rib, and a lot of bruises, but I don’t know if she’ll pull through it.”
“Does Tank know?”
“No. Not yet. How long until we can get to Zion and get Fritz in prison?”
“An hour,” estimated Morpheus.
“The sedative will wear out by then.”
“Can you give him another?” Blik asked as he looked at Trinity.
“No. It might make his heart stop.”
“Oh darn,” said Poz sarcastically.
“Poz…”
“Yeah, I know Morpheus. It’s hard not to think it though.”
“I know. We’ll have to tie him up. I’ll contact Zion and let them know we’re coming.” Morpheus stood and went to the op station. Trinity and Neo sat.
“How are we going to tell Tank?” Trinity leaned against Neo, exhausted.
“Tell me what?” They looked up, startled to see Tank standing in the doorway.
“Tank —”
“Tell me what?” he repeated.
“Tank, you should be in bed. You’re going to hurt yourself.” Trinity went to him, but he pulled away weakly. He leaned against the doorway for support.
“Tell me what?” he repeated a third time, slowly sinking to the floor. “Tell me what? What do you have to tell me?”

***

Tank floated in and out of consciousness for a week, unable to hold on to consciousness for more than fifteen minutes. Morpheus stayed by his side day and night, never sleeping.

***

The beeping of Kaz’s heart monitor didn’t phase Trinity anymore. She had been sitting with her for a week, unable to eat or sleep. Neo’s figure appeared behind her. She heard him, but ignored him.
“You need a meal and a nap, Trin.” She shook her head and took Kaz’s hand in hers. “Trinity, listen to me.” She turned to face him, stood, and left the room. He followed right behind her, all the way to her room. She went to the bed, tears breaking as soon as she sat.
“I’m scared, Neo.”
“I know.” He sat next to her. “I am too. All of us are.” He put his arms around her and she leaned into him. They lay down, Neo behind her. “She’s going to be okay.” He stroked her hair until she finally fell asleep. He soon followed.

***

Tank opened his eyes to find Morpheus next to him, leaning against the wall, asleep. He looked around the room to orient himself. He was in his own room and could feel the bandage around his middle. Morpheus sensed that Tank was awake and woke up himself. He looked at Tank sadly.
“Tank, Kaz is in a coma.” Tank looked at Morpheus. “She has been for two weeks and we don’t know if she’s going to wake up.” Tank slowly stood and Morpheus jumped up to catch him before he fell. “Take it easy, okay?”
“I want to see her.” He locked eyes with Morpheus. Morpheus could do nothing but let him have his way. He led Tank to the infirmary, where Kaz lay, unconscious. Tank sat next to her and took her hand.
“Kaz?” No answer.
“Kaz, I want to tell you something. I still love you, but I know you can’t love me. I can accept that now. I’m so scared right now. I’m scared that you’ll never wake up. You have to fight, Kaz. Fight to live, you hear me? Fight for me. Please.” Tank broke down and sobbed, unaware that Morpheus had left the room. “Please.” He looked at her face, still and emotionless. He stood and returned to his room.

***

Tank had fallen asleep, holding Kaz’s hand and leaning against the wall. He hadn’t dreamt since Kaz had slipped into a coma.
“Tank?”
“Go away Trinity.” He kept his eyes closed.
“Tank?” He realized that it wasn’t Trinity’s voice calling his name. He opened his eyes and looked around the room, searching for the voice. He felt his hand being squeezed gently and looked at Kaz, now awake and looking at him.
“Kaz?” She smiled her answer. He let go of her hand and ran to the door, yelling for the others to join him, hoping they could prove it wasn’t a dream. They came running down the hall to see what was wrong. He went back to her bed and took her hand again. He asked the others if he was dreaming, but didn’t get a direct answer. They were all busy hugging Kaz and each other. Tears came to his eyes. She sat up in bed and leaned against the wall. She looked at Morpheus and he nodded. He herded the others out of the room, leaving Tank and Kaz alone.
“Is this a dream?” Kaz laughed and shook her head. She was pale, but her eyes twinkled, brighter than he ever remembered. He sat next to her on the bed and touched her face, tears flowing down his cheeks. She touched his hand and leaned forward, her lips catching his. Moments later, they parted and he searched her eyes. She smiled and leaned against the wall again.
“Why do you look so confused?” She asked, the smile fading from her face. He didn’t answer. “Are you okay?” He nodded, but she wasn’t convinced. “Tank, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing. I just keep waiting to wake up.” She smiled and squeezed his hand again.
“Could you do me a favor?” He nodded. “I’m starving!” She wriggled her way under the covers, her face completely covered except for her eyes and forehead, and smiled. He laughed.
“Yeah, sure. I’ll go get you something.” She thanked him and rested her head on the pillow. When he returned, she was on her side, the covers tucked under her chin, fast asleep. He smiled at her, kissed her forehead, and returned to his room.

***

Kaz awoke, slowly opening her eyes and realizing she was back in her own room. She sat up and shivered as the cold air hit her back. Yelping as her feet touched the cold floor, she grabbed the tattered blanket to take with her. She walked down the dimly lit hall to Tank’s room and slowly opened the door, hoping she wouldn’t wake him. He was breathing deeply when she entered the room, kneeling beside his bed. She smiled at him, sleeping peacefully. He didn’t stir as she traced the features of his face. She stroked his cheek. He slowly opened his eyes and smiled.
“I couldn’t pretend anymore.” She laughed quietly, careful not to wake the others in the nearby rooms. “Would you like to join me?” He patted the bed in front of him and raised his eyebrow.
She raised her eyebrow, mirroring him and he laughed at her attempt to look offended. She smiled and shrugged. He scooted over on the bed as she climbed in next to him.
“Only if you keep me warm.” He laughed and agreed. He put his arm around her, his hand resting on her stomach.
“No problem, missy.” She laughed and sighed.
“I love you, Tank.”
“You do?”
“Mm-hmm.”
“You have your memory back?”
“No.” Tank just smiled.
Kaz yawned. Tank laughed and kissed her neck. She sighed and soon fell asleep. Tank was right behind her on her quest to dream land.

***

Poz was surprised to find his room dark when he awoke. Tank was usually up before him. He yawned and stretched. He figured that he was sleeping in since he hadn’t gotten much lately. As he made his way down the hall, he decided he’d better check on Kaz, just to make sure she was okay. He stopped in her room only to find it empty. That’s odd, he thought.
“Something wrong, Poz?” Poz jumped at Morpheus’ words.
“Yeah, Kaz isn’t in her room.”
“What?”
“Look. She’s not there.” He gestured into her room and Morpheus glanced in.
“Wake the others.”
“Well, she could be in the mess hall —”
“It’s empty”
“—or in the op station”
“It’s empty as well.”
“— or I could go get the others…” Poz pirouetted and jogged off to wake everyone else. Soon Trinity and Neo were up and looking. Blik was sleeping so hard that not even dragging him to the floor would wake him. Poz shrugged and exited the room, leaving Blik in a heap of body and blankets on the floor.
“Tank—” Trinity stopped dead in her tracks, a small smile finding its way to her face. She turned and got the others, telling them to be quiet. They followed her into Tank’s room, where they saw Kaz curled up with Tank behind her, her head resting against his chest just under his chin. Tank’s arms were around her, his left under her head with his hand dangling off the cot, the right under hers with his hand resting on her stomach. Kaz’s fingers were intertwined with Tank’s right hand.
“I knew it.” Trinity smiled.
“Did she get her memory back?” Neo asked as he put his arms around Trinity.
“No,” replied Morpheus. “She just fell in love with him again.”

***

As soon as he heard the door shut, a smile broke on Tank’s face. He opened his eyes and looked at Kaz, lying in his arms. She was fast asleep, her breathing deep and even. He stroked her hair and played with her fingers, kissing her on the forehead. She smiled in her sleep and hunkered deeper into the covers. He smiled and drifted back off to sleep.
An hour later, Tank awoke alone. He looked around the room, only to find it empty. She must have gone to get something to eat, he thought to himself. He sat up and stretched, smiling at the latest events. He rolled out of bed and onto the floor with the grace of an elephant. He made his way to the mess hall, hoping to find Kaz.
She was sitting at the table, drinking a cup of water. She smiled up at him as he entered the room. He planted a kiss on her cheek and got himself some coffee.
“Are the others up?” She nodded her answer and stretched, yawning. He laughed and she stuck her tongue out at him, then smiled. He sat next to her and she leaned her head on his shoulder.
“Evidently we were discovered early this morning.” He paused in the middle of a slurp. “Poz was the first up and surprised that you didn’t beat him to he lights. He stopped in to check on me and didn’t see me there, of course, so he had everyone looking for me. The last place Trinity looked was in your room.”
“Oh man.” Tank smiled, embarrassed as Trinitywalked into the mess hall.
“Sleepwell?” She smiled deviously, her eyebrow raised.
“Yeah, actually.” She laughed and shook her head. “We slept more than you probably did.”
“It’s none of my business.”
“Oh come on, Trin, you know me better than that.” Tank whined.
“Yeah, I know.” She tousled his hair. “It’s messed up, dear.” He ran a hand through it, trying to straighten it, to no avail. Kaz looked up at him and smiled.
“What?”
“Nothing.” She returned her attention to her water, but still smiled. Tank saw his opportunity and tackled her (gently, of course), tickling her. She shrieked and laughed uncontrollably, both of them in a heap on the floor.
“Ahem.” Neither of them had noticed Morpheus in the door way. “When you’re finished,” he said with a hint of a smile, “take us up to broadcast depth. Neo thinks he found another one.” Tank nodded and Morpheus left, chuckling to himself. Tank looked back at Kaz.
“Let me up.” He shook his head and she smacked him on the arm.
“Owww!”
“Baby!”
He stuck his tongue out. “I’m not a baby.”
“Yes you are, and you need to get up there or Morpheus will make you stand in the corner.” Tank laughed. He kissed her, and felt her hand reach behind him, holding him in place. He smiled against her, still lip-locked. He finally broke free and planted another one on her. He picked himself up out of the floor, helped Kaz up, and headed to the op station, with Kaz right behind him, hand-in-hand. Moments later, they were alone, both watching the screens intently. Kaz planted a kiss on his cheek, and he smiled.
“Red pill?”
“I hope so.”
They watched, both tense, hoping she would take the bait. They jumped up as she swallowed the red pill.
“Yeah!” They yelled in unison. Soon they sent a signal and were plucking Isis out of the sewers.

***

ONE WEEK LATER

***

“Isis?” Kaz poked a head in Isis’ room.
“I’m so confused, Kaz.”
“I know.”
“How can you know? You’re from Zion. You wouldn’t understand. You couldn’t.”
“A while ago I had an encounter with an angry crew member. He beat me up pretty bad and I ended up in a coma. I woke up, only to remember nothing. I still don’t remember anything.”
“Nothing?” The teenager’s voice had grown weak.
“Not a thing. Not even Tank. But I eventually fell in love with him again, and everything worked out fine. But every day I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t fallen in love with him again.” Isis looked at her. “Isis, all you have to do is let things work out on their own. It’ll take some time, but it will eventually happen. Get some sleep. Trust me, you’ll need it.”
“What for?”
“Training.”

***

“Is she okay?” Trinity sat next to Kaz in the mess hall.
“Yeah, she’ll be fine. Just confused at the moment.”
“I can relate,” Trinity said, nodding her head.
“Me too,” replied Kaz. Trinity looked up at her.
“Are you and Tank having problems?”
“No, nothing like that. It’s just that —” Trinity nodded, encouraging her to go on. “Every morning I wake up thinking, ‘What if I never woke up?’ and every time I see Tank, I think, ‘What if I never fell in love with him again?’ And it’s still so frustrating not being able to remember my family. I’m beginning to remember bits and pieces, but nothing worth much.”
“Did you ever think that maybe it’s better that way?”
“Yeah. But I’d like to remember what they were like, you know?”
“Mm-hmm. Think of it this way —”
“Things are going better now than they ever were before, so why—”
“Search for the past?” They giggled as they finished each others’ sentences.
“Well,” Kaz stood. “I’m off to bed.”
“Tank’s room?”
“Yeah.” She blushed at the implication. “Nothing like that though. Just sleeping.”
“I know.” Trinity smiled.

***

Kaz looked at Tank, fast asleep in his bed. He had grown used to sleeping with her, and had made room for her next to him. He was lying on his back, his arms outstretched, feet dangling off the edge of the bed. Kaz shook her head and chuckled at the sight. She quietly climbed into bed with him and lay her head on his chest, her hand on his stomach. She listened to his heart beat and his even breathing.
“I love you.” She nuzzled against him, feeling the muscle under the sheets.
“I love you too.”
“I thought you were asleep.”
“I was.”
“I’m sorry.” He kissed her forehead.
“Don’t be.” She looked up at him and smiled. He propped himself up and kissed her on the lips. “What would I do without you?” She smiled.
“Probably get in a lot less trouble.” He chuckled and ran his fingers through her short hair, his hand coming to rest on her shoulder, his thumb caressing her cheek. She closed her eyes and rested her head on the pillow. He shifted onto his side and she did the same as he folded her into his arms. He saw his opportunity and kissed her neck, just below the jaw and watched the goose bumps rise. He laughed.
“It still works.”
“Still?”
“I used to do that every day.”
“I’m sorry I don’t remember.” She sighed. “I wish I could.”
“Maybe it’s better this way.” She turned onto her back, looking up at him. She smiled and he leaned in to kiss her. Moments later they fell asleep in each others’ arms.