He left without a backwards glance. In the beginning, Z had needed his help. Throughout the year everyone had needed him at some point – Syd to bring her down to earth, Bridge to connect him back to the Rangers, Sky to not bury himself in work – he liked to think he’d helped out everyone from D-Squad to Boom. That was his purpose.
But it was far too long ago. And no one needed him now. Not at SPD.
His purpose on the streets was crystal clear – help the person in front of you. There were needs and wants and even names, if he wanted them. A stolen pair of socks meant one less case of frostbite. A half-decent suit and even a tie meant one more person could go for a job, attempt to raise themselves up. Three bottles of cough medicine meant no little sisters caught colds and died cuddling babies too young to understand rapidly disappearing family. Six boxes of condoms meant following basic human instinct wouldn’t result in children being brought into a cold world with no hope and no optimism. And a handful of oranges meant scurvy was a non issue.
Here…it was murky.
His purpose was to follow orders. To be an admittedly large cog in a larger machine designed to keep faceless denizens of Newtech safe to live suburbanite lives filled with apathy and discontent.
Z wanted something bigger. He was happy to care for the people around him, those he could see, those that would appreciate his attempts to keep them clothed and safe and breathing. She wanted an idyllic idea of people, that the entire town the base looked over looked up to SPD and gave them thanks and heartfelt gratitude.
He would never criticize Z’s ideas or dreams. He would never point out the flaws in her dream – that quite a number of people thought it was SPD’s fault Grumm was attacking; that the sheer amount of damage caused by giant robots could be blamed on two groups of people, one of which was in outer space and faceless and the other of which had a big honking transforming base in the middle of the city.
Why wouldn’t he point out the flaws? Because he knew the flaws in his own.
On the streets you grew desperate. A too-big sweater was restyled into a blanket…the first time. The second time there was a barely perceptible sigh. And the third time Jack handed out clothing he’d get open mutters, complaints about sizes or even, God forbid, colour.
It was why he never went to the same handout place twice in a row.
But the first rush of appreciation…that’s why he worked. Genuine emotion. First line of defense.
And SPD couldn’t offer that.