Spike's POV

A/N: Takes place after Not Fade Away. This is in the After the Fall universe, the comic continuation of Angel so for those unfamiliar, a brief description with some small spoilers:

*~Spoiler Warning for After the Fall~*
Spike and Illyria stuck together after Not Fade Away. They gathered a band of humans that they protect, and live in an abandoned fairgrounds. "Jerry" is one of the humans that stands out (his real name is Jeremy but Spike always gets it wrong) and Spike has a weird fondness for him. This is a quick take on their odd 'relationship' and how Jerry might feel towards Spike.

We're running out of supplies. I know it even before the humans get a chance to complain to me about it. Everyone knows about it in the whole damn city. The only ones who don't know are the ones who aren't in Los Angeles, and are blissfully unaware of the hell on earth scenario. As far as I know it hasn't leaked outside of the city limits, but I wouldn't bet any money on that.

I don't need Jerry to tell me that we're running out of anything, but he does anyway.

"We're not going to be able to keep your girlfriend distracted forever," he tells me, interrupting my good cigarette. It's hard to get cigarettes anymore, but a few abandoned convenience stores have surrendered their precious loot.

"She isn't my girlfriend," I tell him outright. She could never be that for me. That's why I have to keep up this charade.

"Oh," Jerry says quietly, as if it solves everything. I wait for him to add his bright ideas for fixing the problem, but he adds nothing else. At all. It's almost annoying.

By the time I finish my cigarette – and I really milked it out for as long as possible – he still hasn't said a word, just standing beside me, looking off towards the ground and at my shoes. Now it's extremely annoying.

"We should take her somewhere," I say. I regretfully let the burned-out filter fall to the ground and crush it. "Find one of those buildings with the jaws and tentacles sticking out and let her have at it." There are more of those things than you'd expect, actually. In hell, I bet they're barely considered a biohazard. I bet every condominium has one.

"Alright," Jerry says slowly. "I'm still not sure about the why."

"And you don't need to know," I say, turning to face him menacingly. Jerry isn't the type who can be menaced at all. He just gives me the same curious gaze. That's really annoying. "She's the best defense we have, and she needs to stay in the game. Got that?"

"I understand," Jerry tells me. "You're just doing what you think is right."

Right for me, not for anyone else. But Jerry doesn't need to know I'm not such a big hero as a lot of the kids following me probably think. I think I'm leading them to certain death more than salvation. Truth is, the place isn't going to get any better anytime soon. More like on the verge of never.

"We're lucky every day someone doesn't get their throat ripped out," I remind him. "But it's only a matter of time until it happens. I know it, you know it. There's almost no point to this game. It's rigged. But you know what, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep that from happening as long as possible. I'm pretty idiotic that way."

"I don't think it's idiotic. I think it's brave," Jerry says.

"You're more idiotic than I am, then."

The words should cut, even though I only half mean them, but Jerry proves to be unflappable again. He moves forward, grasps my face in his hands, busses he hard on the mouth, then releases me all at once before I can make sense of it enough to react.

"What was that for?" I blurt out, still mentally reeling.

"Calling me idiotic," he says lightly, taking a step backwards to walk away.

That scrambles my brains. "I don't understand."

"Idiots get to do stupid things," he explains, as though it's simple, and then he leaves.

It never occurred to me before that it was a freedom. It was also a disaster, and those days are behind me, at least for right now. I have more humans to look after every day, and I can't afford to slip up for even a second. But as far as stupid things go, this is one that I prefer.