Save The Heroes, Save The New World
Once the Crisis was over, Slade Wilson found himself in a whole new world – one that had never heard of superheroes. It didn't take much digging to realize that there were superheroes – it was just that no one thought of them that way.
Save the Cheerleader, Save the World was some sort of catch phrase from the last generation, referring to the toughest tank superhero, but no one wanted to talk about how the world had almost ended, even if it was over twenty years ago.
They never did. Sometimes Slade thought the reason while the saviors of the world, the universe, or what have you, so often died in the saving, was because no one wanted to live in a world in which people hated you for reminding them that once, they almost bought it.
Slade had almost bought it too many times to be that hypocritical. So, after doing some research on his new terrain, Slade bummed around across the country, pretending to be a Vet of Iraq, and not World War II. He found out more that way, but still no one was really talking.
Most of the civilians had no really idea what had happened, and the government wasn't telling them. Slade hoped, for their sakes', that they never did need heroes to save them again, because they sure weren't going to get their help.
He couldn't believe any world could be lucky enough for that to happen, though. No one ever really got lucky.
But one night, Slade ended up in a bar, four seats away from a little blonde girl brooding in a glass of first-rate scotch. She had to be too young to be in there legally; her drink had been aged more than her.
Then he caught sight of her eyes in the mirror behind the bar. Physically, she was barely twenty. Mentally… She had to be at least forty, probably almost fifty.
She hadn't changed a bit from that one grainy picture taken after the end of the world battle.
Slade didn't really believe in kindred spirits, but the reason he'd pursued Canary after their island adventure was because she understood him. He'd grown up three eras away fromt eh time he was living in. the world had changed around him, almost faster than he had changed.
This little unnamed cheerleader knew what that was like.
"Buy you a drink?" he offered, sliding down to sit on the stool next to her.
She turned to him, and hid her shock with a blink. Young guys, young as she looked, but too young for her, that was who hit on her. Slade knew he looked old enough to be her grandfather.
The girl looked into his eye, and the shiver that went through her caused a similar reaction inside of him. Old eyes, eyes that had seen the world at its worst. And this girl still looked for the best.
Slade wondered if she'd find any in him.
Tossing her hair over own shoulder, she grinned a little minxy grin, and said, "No thanks…I'm not really thirsty." Damn, but the girl was pretty…and she still had spirit.
"Maybe we could just…talk then," Slade suggested. Oh, there'd be talking – he'd finally found a source who could tell him what the hell had happened two decades ago – but he'd be damned if that was all that had happened.
She had to be as tired of too-young bed partners as he was.
A calculating look much too mature for her features, flashed across her face. "I'm Claire," she said, taking his measure.
Slade smiled, and gave as good as he got. "Slade."
The fact that she relaxed too quickly around him was forgivable; she didn't know who he was. Even if she did, she probably wouldn't have been afraid; she had spunk.
And besides, from what he'd heard, she was no easier to kill than he was.
He may not have been a hero, but they were the same.