When Kate Libby finds out the world isn't real, she isn't surprised.
"The artifacting always did seem a little off when it rained."
"Jesus, you're more of a geek than I was at your age. C'mon." Trinity raises an eyebrow, just barely visible over her shades. "You are coming?"
Kate takes to it pretty well, considering. She freaks the way everyone freaks when they pop out of their bubbles, and she passes out before she hits the... well, not water, but... the same way everyone else does.
But when she's a pincushion and Trinity tells her "we're rebuilding your muscles," Kate makes a soft affirmative sound. Trinity thinks she'd nod if she could.
"You gonna... make me... a marathon runner?" she rasps.
"Maybe something like that," Trinity murmurs, chin propped on her hand next to Kate's head.
"Do me... a favor," Kate says.
"Fix my eyesight?" The corners of Kate's lips do turn up this time. "Want to know... what it's like... rolling out of bed... and being able to see."
"We can do that. That's easy." Trinity pulls back and grins. "Rest for now, all right?"
"Like I could... do otherwise..."
When Kate's up and running, she asks people not to bother with the hacker name.
"'Acid Burn' was cute when I was sixteen. I don't need to be notorious anymore. Kate will do just fine."
"You don't mind that it's the name the machines gave you?" Tank asks. "That's why most of us stick with the hacker names."
Kate shakes her head. "Would've been out of my hands either way." And then she gets an eyeful of what's for dinner, and people leave her alone to adjust.
A few days later Trinity volunteers to take Kate into the construct for the first time. They go easy -- just normal, ordinary things; no combat training, that comes later. Kate doesn't wig out the way a lot of people do. She takes it in stride, more or less. The only thing that trips her up is the food; she hesitates with her hand on fork and knife and looks at Trinity over what should be lunch.
"This part isn't real, either," Kate says softly.
"I eat here and nothing happens in the real world."
"Jesus." Kate shoves away from the table, gives a disgusted look to her salad. "I don't know whether to drag you off to a Krispy Kreme and go through a dozen, because I can, or--"
"--or to fast when you're in the construct or the Matrix, because you really can't?" Trinity stands up, puts an arm around Kate's waist as they walk out of the restaurant. "I know what you mean."
Outside, Kate slips her fingers into Trinity's and turns them, carefully, so Trinity's back is up against the wall. Trinity lets it happen, eyebrows raised, not sure whether to smile or not.
"What else isn't real in here?" Kate asks.
"If you're interested in sex, I'd rather do it in the real world."
"I wondered if it might be like a dream. I can never come in dreams."
"Oh, I can come in dreams. And in here. But in here we have an audience," Trinity says, the last word broadcasted loud enough that their operator's going to know full well she means hey, Tank, stop being such a goddamned voyeur. Hopefully Cypher isn't watching right now. Christ.
Trinity's bunk is closer, so they go for that one as soon as their session in the construct's over. Kate squints at the light and sighs. "It was brighter in there," she says.
"It'd be like fucking in the mess hall," Trinity says, pulling Kate over to the mattress. "I don't mind the dim lights as much as the cold."
"I never feel cold here," Kate says, pressing Trinity down on her back. Trinity squirms, shifts, stretches out so the tangle of arms and legs won't be so awkward. Kate does feel warm, even her hands are warm, and Trinity's grateful for that when Kate slips her hands under Trinity's sweater. Kate's touch is firm enough not to tickle, light enough not to bruise. Right in between.
Some of the inserts are removed when they pull people out of their pods; the ones along the spine stay. It gives Kate a moment's pause when they're out of their clothes and touching, exploring, and Trinity accidentally brushes across one of the inserts; suddenly there's metal there, something not right. Kate frowns, and Trinity flattens her hands against Kate's hips. Nothing there to run into.
"Sorry," she murmurs, "I forgot you haven't done this before--"
"--outside the Matrix, right," Kate says. "I thought I was used to them."
"You never really get used to them." Trinity draws her nails up Kate's thighs. "They just stop mattering so much."
"I don't want them to matter." Kate leans down and kisses Trinity's neck; Trinity can feel her flinching, though, and she rests her head on Trinity's shoulder. "Damn. I really wanted this..."
"Don't stop, then." Trinity nudges at Kate with her shoulder, and when Kate hesitates, Trinity shoves at her and they go rolling over, Kate's back hitting the wall before they manage to untangle themselves from the covers and turn over properly. "Don't stop."
It's easier for Kate when she can be passive, when it's Trinity who's kissing her, who's rubbing her hands over Kate's body instead of the other way around. Trinity knows where all the rivets are, and she knows how to avoid them. It means she has to be more careful than she really feels like being right now -- God, she just wants to get her hand between Kate's legs and fuck her until Kate's eyes roll up and she's soaking through Trinity's sheets and can't come anymore -- but easy, all right, careful. It's a start.
She slides a thigh between Kate's as her thumb circles Kate's nipple. Kate grunts and rubs up hard, and Trinity grins. Maybe not quite so easy. Okay. She gives that nipple a pinch, bites at Kate's lower lip as she grinds her thigh down harder. Kate breaks away panting, and she wraps both arms around Trinity's shoulders, pulling her down. If she's noticing how those plugs dig into her forearms, she doesn't seem to care right now.
"I never have enough hands for this," Trinity murmurs, scooting down the mattress so she can get her mouth on Kate's breasts. That upper swell, where marks don't show -- she gives that a testing bite, and Kate fists a hand in Trinity's hair and holds her down, so Trinity bites harder. She balances on one palm while her other hand sweeps down Kate's side, scratching, and Kate likes that, too -- she rocks up, one soft undulation that makes Trinity want to pin her down, and Trinity slides a hand between Kate's legs and groans. Kate's already so wet her thighs are slick, her folds are hot and slippery, and Trinity has to shake her head to get Kate to loosen her grip on Trinity's hair. She wants to be tasting Kate right now; touching isn't enough, not with Kate that wet, that ready for it.
Kate makes fists in the sheets when Trinity settles down between her legs; when Trinity gets her lips on Kate's clit, Kate bites her lip and screams, muffling as much of the sound as she can. Trinity sticks with it, just her lips and Kate's clit and soft, gentle sucking, until the sounds Kate's making are more sob than moan, and it's obvious she needs more. Trinity bends her head down further -- the angle's awkward, but with the noises Kate's making, who fucking cares -- and licks between the folds, parting them with her tongue as she makes a long sweeping motion from Kate's opening back up to her clit.
"No -- in me -- fuck me," Kate pants, shoving up on her forearms, spreading her legs wider. Trinity does her best, driving her tongue into Kate as deeply as she can, until the strain's making her jaw and cheeks and tongue ache and she knows she'll have a kink in her neck all day tomorrow. But Kate falls back down on the mattress, gets her hands into Trinity's hair, and she's shifting her hips and squirming like mad, and suddenly she lets out a harsh yell and yes, God, just like that, and Trinity can feel her coming.
It's one big one and a lot of little shudders, but at the end of those shudders Kate pushes Trinity gently away. "You now," she pants. "What do you want me to do?"
Trinity wipes her mouth off with the back of her hand and stretches her neck a little, but those maneuvers only take a second -- then she's climbing up and stretching out across Kate's body, grinning down at her. "You all right with kissing me like this?" she asks. Smelling like you.
"Hell, yes. C'mere." Kate loops an arm around Trinity's neck, pulls herself up to meet Trinity halfway, and licks her full across the lips. Trinity groans and pushes Kate down, kissing her hard, reaching for one of Kate's hands and pressing it between her own legs. Kate picks up on the rhythm right away -- women are always so damn good at that -- and Trinity grinds down against Kate's fingers until the first tremor shakes her and she's panting fast and hot against Kate's cheek.
"More?" Kate asks, pausing mid-stroke. Trinity growls softly at her, and Kate laughs, sliding two fingers between Trinity's folds and pressing them inside her. Trinity's wet enough herself that Kate doesn't have any trouble, and soon enough Kate's got her thumb on Trinity's clit and her fingers moving nice and slow, more rocking than moving in and out, and Trinity comes again with choked gasps against Kate's shoulder.
Trinity grinds her hips down again, and Kate nuzzles her cheek.
"Bitch. I'm going to get jealous in a minute--"
This time it's Trinity laughing, but the laugh only lasts as long as it takes for Kate to find the right pressure -- different again, now, this time rocking the base of her palm against Trinity's clit. It's easy enough Trinity can press herself against Kate's hand all the same and rock to a long, slow orgasm that makes her squeeze her eyes shut and takes her breath away. She collapses on Kate when it's over, groaning.
"You're right," Kate murmurs later, playing with Trinity's hair. Trinity would return the favor, but with Kate's hair at that just-past-buzz-cut length, it'd get them started again, and sooner or later they're really going to have to get out of bed.
"Of course I am," Trinity yawns. "About what?"
"It wouldn't be this good in the Matrix."
Trinity feels something warm wrap around her heart and squeeze. Maybe Kate means that the way it sounds, and maybe not, but there's time to find that out later.
"It wouldn't be," she agrees for now, and grins when Kate strokes her hair again.