"Are you all right?"
Her eyes are so pale they're nearly colorless, and right now they're squinting and scared. She smiles wanly and shakes her head at me. "I'll be all right," she whispers. "I mean, I wanted this, right? We all wanted this. It's going to be OK."
I put a hand on her shoulder, feeling the rough brush of fabric under my palm. It's only my imagination -- my brain really doesn't know the difference -- but it always seems like the sensations here are different. More real, because I know they're real here. I squeeze gently.
"It's OK to have second thoughts. We all do, you know. There's always that moment of 'why didn't I take the blue pill?'" I grin, softly, not wanting to show her too much emotion just yet. She's not quite ready for that.
She nods, and her hand comes up to cover mine. She's cold and trembling a little. "I always wanted to meet you," she admits. "In person, I mean."
I smile at that. "I always wanted to meet you. I thought we would, sooner or later."
"So did I. I just expected it to happen at a convention, or a... I don't know. Or I thought maybe I'd just buy a plane ticket and drop in unannounced. Except then you stopped having a real address." She smiles. "Only it was because you finally had a real address, wasn't it? Because they got you out and you were here?"
"Yeah," I tell her. "I missed hearing from you, you know."
"Really?" she asks. Her eyes crinkle around the edges. "I missed hearing from you."
"Well, I'm glad I was on the ship that got you out. I'm glad we finally got to meet."
"So am I." She hesitates. "What should I call you? I've only ever known you as Trinity."
"Trinity is my real name. The one I chose myself; not the one the Matrix chose for me. We pretty much all go by our handles here."
She sighs. "OK, that's good. I can live with that. Switch. You can call me Switch, then."
"Switch," I repeat, looking into her eyes. "If you need anything, let me know, all right?" She nods, her eyes dropping away from mine. I squeeze her shoulder. "Anything," I repeat, keeping the emphasis off the word. I want her to be able to decide what "anything" means. At her time, at her pace.
The important thing is that she's out now. Everything else can wait.