Sleep Well and Wake

by Jacynthe Demorae

I've watched him for so long, it's become habit. Now, though, I can reach out and touch him, touch him, not his digital self. He's in the Real World now, with me.

I prop my head on my hand and watch him. He's stretched out beside me on our bunk, his brow furrowed as he paces through a dream. By the restless way he twitches, I know he's dreaming about the Matrix, perhaps even the moment of his 'death.' I spoon myself up against him, wrapping my arms around him as best I can. He settles down almost at once.

He says he always knows when I touch him, has known since I whispered the truth of my visit to the Oracle in his ear. Awake or asleep, he knows me.

His hand slips over mine, and I hear his breathing change, sliding into something soft and easy. He's not quite as lean as most of the men in the Real World--but that's due to the late date of his unplugging than any softness on his part.

His head is full of unarmed combat techniques, of guns and other ordinance. That carries over, especially when you're unplugged. Especially if you're Neo.

He makes a soft sound that might almost be a snore. I smile and rest my head against his back. Early watch will come soon enough, and Morpheus will run both of us into the ground. The War still rages.

Neo is indeed the One, for the Matrix, for the war...and for me.

I still like watching him.