Title: House of Trouser

Rating: PG

Summary: Sparks decides that Neo needs to reclaim his manhood

A/N:  To product of one to many vodkas and a discussion with a friend over Neo being Trinity's "bitch".  Please take with a grain of salt…or the whole shaker.

"Because you, my friend, are undoubtedly…pussywhipped"

 - Will Farrell, MTV Movie Awards Reloaded Spoof

On leave in Zion, what's an operator to do? 

A glance around the room yielded results that were less than fruitless.  Ballard, Ice and Bane were playing a strange form of poker, using small blue mushrooms as currency.  Binary and Maggie were shooting darts while Soren and Roland heatedly discussed the quickest route to broadcast depth.  He almost gave up and ordered yet another drink when he spied Trinity and Neo in the corner, sitting closer than was absolutely necessary.  Sparks watched as Neo whispered something to his partner, looking into her eyes as a grin spread across his features.  She reciprocated with a smirk and stood up, their hands intertwined as she led him out of the bar. 

Once again sneaking off to fuck.  Sparks didn't know why they bothered to leave their room at all.  Everyone knew what they were doing the entirety of their leave in Zion. 

It was common knowledge around the city, especially among the fleet, that the One and Trinity were lovers.  Although they kept their public displays of affection to a minimum, the fact that Neo was Trinity's property was overtly demonstrated.  To see him follow her around Zion like an acolyte, worshipping at the temple of his one and only goddess, amused Sparks no end.  To see Trinity death-stare any woman (and there were many) who dared to tempt Neo with Zion's more…earthy delights…was absolutely comical.  Whereas Neo had a perpetual deer-in-the-headlights stare when it came to lures from Zionian women…and men for that matter….Trinity was quick to exert her authority.  Her efforts had borne fruit, however, now no one dared disturb the couple lest they face the Wrath of Trinity. 

Oh yes, Neo certainly was Trinity's…what did those coppertops call it?  That's right, he had heard Ballard say it once.  Her bitch.  Although as far as Sparks could gather, the term was normally applied in the Matrix to women, he supposed it applied to this quite unique situation perfectly. 

He didn't quite know why he followed the pair, he didn't even realised he had, so caught up in his pontificating.  He was even less sure why he continued to follow them once he became aware of his actions.  They were silent walking through the streets, occasionally nodding a greeting to passers-by, the only contact with each other coming from their gripped hands.  That all changed, however, once they reached a dark alcove and the crowd had dissipated.  Trinity forcibly pushed Neo up against the wall, and although it caused a loud bang, he didn't seem notice the pain contact with the metal would have caused. 

They were kissing now, mouths wide and gaping, as if trying to consume one another, body's pressed unbelievably close.  Sparks looked away.  This was getting far to voyeuristic for his tastes.  He left the couple, oblivious to his presence, in peace and took the long walk back to his quarters.   

He could imagine Roland's reaction to the scene.  The overtly masochistic  man would have had a heart attack at the sight of a woman taking charge.  Niobe would take it as a indication of the strengths of Resistance women.  Morpheus perhaps would smile, not caring about the supposed gender roles and just be happy that the pair, for once, were not consumed with thoughts of duty and the war.

However Sparks tended to side with Roland on this issue.  Sure, he took orders from Niobe and respected her as his superior, but she was his captain, not his lover.  In his opinion it was once thing to have an equal relationship, but it was quite another to let one party lord over the other.  In his half-drunken state, Sparks convinced himself that he would be equally as perturbed if the roles were reversed, and Trinity was under Neo's thumb.  Although he found that situation extremely difficult to imagine.  Trinity could take care of herself.  But Neo, the lanky, awkward newbie, needed some masculine assistance. 

With that, Sparks decided he would help Neo out.  Re-initiate him into the House of Trouser.  That should, at the very least, kill some time.

**************************************************** 

When Neo appeared outside the room he shared with Trinity the next morning, hair tousled from sleep and other activities, he was greeted with a slightly smirking man leaning against the railing.  Neo's brow furrowed as he searched within the recesses of his memory for a name.  He had  met so many new people over the past few months, so many new faces to remember, and society had never been one of Neo's strong points.  The man spoke, ignoring his obvious confusion; "Morning, Wonder-boy". 

Oh yes, now Neo remembered.  Sparks, operator of the….Logos?  It was the casual, jovial tone of Spark's voice that had jogged his memory.  Neo liked him, Sparks always seemed effervescently amused, if not happy.  But then Neo liked pretty much everybody.  However, Sparks was always there to add a quick quip or jest to lighten up any conversation.  But what he was doing outside his and Trinity's door at this time of the morning, just as the lights had come on, was anyone's guess.  Neo didn't know what to say, his brain apparently believing he was still asleep and therefore incapable of work.

"Uhh…" was all he could force his vocal chords to form before Sparks grabbed his wrist and began to lead him down the corridor;  "Come on Flash, I'll buy you breakfast".  Neo barely had time to react, various illegible protests forming on his lips as he watched his red door gradually get smaller and the chances of spending the morning with Trinity fading into oblivion.

***************************************************  

Pod-borns never ceased to amaze Sparks when it came to the issue of food. Either they looked at it in complete disgust, or they became engrossed in its supposed brilliance.  The latter of course, was usually reserved for Zionian food.  Either way, their reactions were priceless and Neo was no exception.

His expression contained a queer reverence for his food, as if he were a participant at the Last Supper and his meal had just been blessed.  "Still not used to solids, eh J.C?" Sparks spoke in attempt to break his reverie and attract the man's attention.  He was rewarded with a childish grin before Neo began to wolf down his meal. 

Sparks supposed if he was getting laid as much as Neo was than he'd work up a similar appetite.  As it was, however, he could only take random bites off his plate, almost put-off by the One's virtual inhalation of his food.  It was at that moment that Neo looked up, a sudden apologetic look on his face, a stricken horror in those big brown eyes.  As if he had sensed Sparks' distaste.  The man was, if nothing else, intuitive.  He immediately began consuming what was left of his meal more sedately, giving Sparks a genuine apology before refocussing on his plate. 

It was surprising then, given Neo's lack of inclination to speak unless a direct question was inquired of him, when, without looking up from his plate, he addressed him.  "Why did you bring me here Sparks?  I'm sure it wasn't so you could watch me eat".  Finally looking up, Sparks saw the confusion and slight wariness in Neo's eyes.  It was obvious Neo hadn't had many male friends in the Matrix, and that he couldn't discern any possible reason for the invitation to breakfast.

 "Can't a guy buy Zion's newest celebrity breakfast for no reason?" he countered; "You know, I've been watching you in the Matrix, Superman.  That's some pretty solid shit".  On cue, Neo appeared to recoil at the mention of his abilities within the Matrix.  He looked at the table, his hands, the bar and the other patrons…anywhere but at Sparks.  Seeing a Zionian couple holding hands in a booth he spoke almost inaudibly; "I should have told Trinity where I was going".  Although confused by Neo's desire to avoid talking about the Matrix, he was at least pleased the subject had taken a more productive turn. 

"Well….now that you mention it, Vishnu, that's what I wanted to talk to you about"

Sparks was beginning to suspect confusion was Neo's favourite expression. How could he put it in words Neo could understand?  Oh, right.  An analogy.  Pod-borns love analogies. 

"Did you ever notice how different Clark Kent is from Superman?  When he's wearing his underwear on the outside, he's the man, he's unstoppable.  He can tell what colour panties Lois Lane is wearing.  But his alter ego is this bumbling, inept, well to put it simply…a dork.  Now which one commands more respect?"

"You're saying I should wear my underwear on the outside?"

Sparks sighed.  This was going to be harder than he originally thought.  He tried a different, more obvious tract.

"Have you ever heard of the expression 'pussywhipped' Neo?"

"What?"

"You know, hen-pecked…panty-waisted…mollycoddled"

"Sparks, what the hell are you talking about?".  Jesus, he didn't think it was possible for a man to be obliviously unable to get the hint.

"Trinity, man.  That's what I'm talking about.  She wears the pants, if you know what I mean" 

It appeared Neo had finally gotten the message.  Mouth open wide in an expression of shock he stared at Sparks, unable to comprehend why in the world he would be saying this to him.  Nevertheless, he continued to speak.  Someone had to say it, and it sure wasn't going to be Morpheus or Link.

"I mean, pardon my French, but you need to grow some fucking balls" he continued, despite his former resolve to let the man down gently.  "You're the One, you're fucking Jesus Christ and you act like she's the boss. She orders you around and you let her.  Follow her around like some pathetic lost puppy.  It's painful to watch, seriously.  You gotta reclaim your masculinity, you think any saviour worth his salt let anyone, especially their woman, push them around?  Hell no!  I mean, well….chastity seemed to be the thing for those guys, and abstention certainly hasn't been on your agenda.  But that still doesn't mean you should be such a fucking pussy!".

After his tirade, which unfortunately was much harsher than he intended, Sparks was met with a stony silence.  He chanced a look across the table and inwardly winced at the sight.  Gone was the perplexed look contained in confused chocolate eyes.  Gone was the man who had sat there looking so innocent, pure and new.  In his place was a man on the border of a rage, an anger seeping out through a slight twitch of his cheek and a blazing ferocity in charcoal eyes. 

Shit.

The tension was thick, Neo remaining silent, as if he knew speaking would open the floodgates to this intensity.  So he said nothing, just pieced Sparks with those dark angry eyes.  How the tables had turned.  Now it was Sparks who was at a loss for words, confused and startled.  Suddenly Sparks knew how and agent felt the moment they realised their defeated and faced annihilation.  "Uhhh…"

"I don't see how this is any of your business at all.  What happens between me and Trinity is precisely that…between me and Trinity.  Don't try to judge what you don't understand, and you can't understand because you've never been there.  You…you've never been inside my head…or hers.  She doesn't control me, that's not what we're about.  And if you can't see that then…then…I feel sorry for you"

"Neo…" 

"So pardon my French, Sparks, but fuck you"

And with that, Neo stalked out of the café, leaving a dumbfounded Sparks behind.  He had never heard Neo say so many words in succession, but that was the least of this new experience.  He had never imagined the docile, insecure man he had come to know was capable of producing such raw anger.

It was with that realisation that Sparks came to understand that he had underestimated Neo, they all had.  Underestimated his connection with Trinity.  Written his devotion off as nothing more than worship and superficial attachment.  Perhaps it was something much deeper than that, Sparks considered, it had to be, if his probing had burned Neo so, forced him to lose his trademark serenity.  He'd fucked up.    

Resolved to leave the pair to their own devices, it had astound Sparks later that day when Neo had come up to him, nervously apologising.  Running his fingers through his hair, shuffling his feet, embarrassed at his earlier loss of temper.  That Neo, whose privacy he had invaded so brutally and carelessly, was asking his forgiveness, was shattering to Sparks.  He suddenly felt a sense of pity for this man who gave so much and asked for so little in return, save for relationship with Trinity to be left unscrutinised, to simply be with her in peace. 

That night in the bar, he once again watched them seated alone in their booth.  And it was their booth, tucked away in the corner.  No one dared approach them from the time they arrived, to the inevitable suggestion by one of them to leave.  Shame overcame him when he recalled his words to Neo.  Such common Matrix expressions did not belong within the parameters of their union.  It was, as Neo said, not what they were about, he could see that now.  He watched as Trinity's hand disappeared under the table.  He watched Neo smirk as he leaned in to discreetly kiss her neck.  He watched as Neo suddenly stood up.  This time it was him who lead them out of the room.  Sparks did not follow them.  He ordered another drink.

On leave in Zion, what's an operator to do?    

A/N – Okay, I originally intended that to be a lot more light-hearted, but that's what happens when you start writing without any clue of how the story's going to end.  I'm sorry if Sparks was OOC, but I haven't played ETM.  I wasn't sure about the transition to Angry!Neo, but I kept thinking of the interrogation scene in M1, and Neo's reaction - as Keanu puts it, "fuck you, man, fuck you".  Jesus, that fic was disjointed and actually pretty pointless.  Kids…don't drink!  See what happens when you drink?