|Upgrade 1: Afterlife
Author: Guede Mazaka
"God!" Neo bolted upright, raking his hair back. Ran a nervous hand over his body-still whole. Still alive-well, sort of.
"Neo?" Trinity. Sleepy. Concerned. "What's wrong?"
"I…didn't know we could still dream."
"Dream? You're having visions again-"
"No. No. Just…"
"Precognition was never the main purpose of the One." Tired body slowly uncoiling, lifting free, then slumping back down. "He only received it when the Oracle could no longer fulfill her duties. Or relinquished them; I'm not quite certain as to which."
Luc. Lying on Neo, across one leg, with Trinity draped next to and over the other man. And the fourth, still curled beside Neo, only now emerging from sleep-rest-whatever they did in opposition to movement, now. Smith was stiffening, breath rigid, as if his nerves were being slowly pulled taut.
"What did you see, then?" Trinity asked, eyes large and liquid. Soft enough to wrap around Neo, like a family blanket, worn with generations.
"A memory." Still shaking his head, ridding himself of the dream's tatters. "Dying. I remembered dying."
That wasn't his wince. Neo raised a hand, gingerly touched the sharp shoulder nudging against his hip. "Smith?"
"Which time?" Question a bloody rasp, as Smith's hand tightened almost imperceptibly on Neo's thigh. Realization lit in Trinity's face, and Luc's.
"It doesn't really matter…" Neo began to say, then caught himself. He stroked fingers down the curving back, finally unarmored of its suit, and then slid the tips in, beneath, just enough to puddle along that one cluster of nerves at the spine's base. Gasping, Smith straightened in one flowing movement of distress and pleasure. "Both times," Neo told him tonelessly. "And…then I remembered what came after."
"I don't," Luc remarked suddenly. He watched, curious and a little compassionate, awkward in his new-recalled emotions, as Neo shifted down to one side and cradled Smith. An arm fell over his neck, and he started, staring at Trinity as she rolled him closer. "I only remember a little of the first time," she confessed, nuzzling at Neo's belly as her hands caressed Luc's sides. "And none of the second."
"I don't want to think about it," Neo muttered, gently persuading Smith's chin to lift so he could nibble along that long stretch of throat. "Now's better than before. Tomorrow's tomorrow. I'll deal with it then."
"And this is how you're dealing with the present?" Smith asked hoarsely.
"You want us to stop?" Trinity quipped, dragging herself upwards. Below, she could feel the warmth spreading as Luc buried his head between her breasts.
She halted her ascent in Neo's kiss, simple and wonderful. And she wasn't surprised at all when, a moment later, a third pair of lips ghosted tentatively at the edges of their mouths, allowing itself to be drawn, gradually but inexorably, in.