Q: So, what the Sam Scratch was goin' on there?
A: The nineties.
"I'm back, baby!" Booster Gold tossed back his head and smiled, and declared to the skies over Metropolis: "I am back!"
It felt good. It felt right. It felt...
There was a quiet soft snap somewhere above him, and he felt the rush of fire against his face, and the roar of the wind, and somewhere far below him, a robot cried his name, but it faded quickly, so quickly it might never have been there.
“Hullo, Michael. Why’d you do it?” asked a female voice.
Booster spun aroundaware for the first time that he was no longer on the deck of the submarine hovering over Metropolis. He wasn't floating, however: he was standing on nothing at all, but the nothing was solid beneath his feet, an invisible floor of grey mist. If that was surprising enough, then it was instantly surpassed by the woman who stood before him, smiling at him. She was dressed all in blackblack leather jacket over a black lace camisole top and black puffy skirt, shiny black skin-tight stockings down her shapely legs and scuffed black motorcycle boots on her feet. Her hair was even blacker than her clothes, a tangled yet artful mop that stuck out in all directions around her pale, pale, white as snow face, but her eyes were warm and violet. Around her neck she wore a fine filigree chain with a silver ankh pendant that dangled between her breasts and set off the silver colour against her pale, pale skin.
She was, Booster thought, quite possibly the second-most-beautiful woman he had ever seen.
“Why did I do what?” he asked her.
“Well, y’ know,” She smiled and spun on her heel playfully. “You were out. You were safe. You'd made your mark. You didn't have to prove yourself to anyone. You didn't have to prove yourself to Supernova, or the city. You'd done your best. You could have walked away, flown away. But you came back, and you let him live instead.” Her eyes twinkled. “I had a bet with my brother. He said you wouldn’t come back, wouldn’t do it, couldn’t do it, wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing. I was sure I could prove him wrong. Again.”
Booster shrugged. “I don’t know. I just felt I had to.” He hesitated. “J'onn once said...”
The woman in black said nothing, just waited for him to gather his words.
“J'onn once said...if you can't be a hero...be human.”
There was a long silence.
“Was I right?” Booster asked, expectantly. “Did I do the right thing?…for the first damn time in my life?”
“What do you think?” she asked.
Booster shrugged, and fell wordless again.
“Hey, cool googles,” the pale woman broke the silence with an enthusiastic grin. “Can I try them?”
“Sure,” Booster said, amused at her, much to his surprise, and peeling his goggles off his face, he handed them to the woman, who slipped them over her violet eyes and peered up at him with a sparkling smile.
“Way cool,” trilled the woman, squinting through the golden lenses. She regarded him thoughtfully. “Ready, Michael?”
“You aren’t at all what I expected.”
“I never am.”
“I sort of thought the skeleton guy in the robe was…”
“Oh, him.” She clicked her tongue and tilted her head in amusement. “Not the real thing at all, you know.” She ran her free hand through her tousled raven hair and regarded him carefully, a smile line creasing through the curlicue tattoo below her right eye, shining through the golden goggles. “It's me who turns the last page in the story every week; it's me who closes the cover and puts the book away in a bag.” She took his hand and inclined her head towards the far grey horizon. “Ready?”
“C’mon. I’ll walk with you.”
He hesitated. “Will Ted be there?”
She smiled. “Come and see.”
So he did.