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Booster's been acting... strange this week.

And yes, Ted knows what most of his friends would say - Booster? Acting strange? How can you tell? But he knows Booster, is the thing; probably knows him better than anyone in this time period save his robot assistant. And Booster is not acting like himself.

Like, one day he's totally normal, joking it up, suggesting superheroes they should go prank the next time they're both free - "And only after making sure the superhero's not actively fighting crime, yes, Beetle, I know" - and the next? Really huggy, sappy, leaving a room totally normal and coming back scuffed up and even sappier, saying vague, cryptic things one minute that he tells Ted to ignore the next.

Just weird.

Ted has a few theories about why, and how, but he's not sure enough about any of them to actually confront Booster over it. Booster's his friend, and something's clearly up with him; going into the conversation accusing him of something won't be a good start.

He gets distracted by the Madniks for a few days - and then Batman and Booster show up together, of all people. That's definitely odd. And then there's the message about Uncle Jarvis - suddenly he's got much bigger problems than Booster acting odd.

Booster pops up one last time, approaching the Bug right before Ted leaves to confront Jarvis.

"Hey, Beetle?"

Ted's putting everything he needs together. He hopes it'll be enough; then again, he'd hoped Batman was wrong about Jarvis. He doesn't have time for Booster - he hates to think it, but he just doesn't. "Kind of busy right now, Booster."

"Yeah, I know. I just..." He holds out a piece of paper, folded up into a square. "When you've beaten your uncle, read this?"

"Booster - "

"Please," Booster says, the most serious Ted's ever heard him. "Ted, this is important." He seems to mean it. Ted stuffs the note into one of his belt pouches, and Booster immediately relaxes. "Thanks, buddy." He glances over Ted's shoulder and blanches. "I gotta go. Make sure you read it, okay? I think I did it right this time."

"Did what right?" Ted asks, but he's already gone.

Batman enters the Bug and looks around. "Who was that?"

"Just Booster," Ted says, patting down his pouches. All full, all secured. Whatever it is that's so important, he'll read it when this is done.


He's just placed the scarab on the nose of the rocket when he remembers Booster's note. He laughs at himself, only it gets a little choked up. Sorry Booster, guess I'm not gonna manage to do that for you after all.

But Booster had asked him to read it after Jarvis was beaten, and Ted's done that, mostly. Once he destroys the on-board guidance system it'll be really finished, but he'll also be really exploded, so. Now's as good a time as any.

It's hard to keep his grip on the note, with the rocket going at the speeds it is, but he manages to unfold it. It reads: after you destroy the guidance system, let go.

Ted laughs, and does what it says.

Booster catches him before he's fallen twenty feet, and they're gone just as the rocket explodes.

"I thought you'd been time traveling," Ted says once they're back in Booster's present, whenever that is.

Booster shrugs. "It took me a few times to get it right," he says. "But it was worth it. Living in the past's kind of no fun without you around, Beetle."

Skeets floats into the room. "Sir, where have you - " It stares at Ted for a second, before turning what must be a very angry look on Booster. "What happened to closure, sir?"

"Closure's the worst, Skeets," Booster says. Tossing an arm over Ted's shoulder, he adds, "Which reminds me, I need to introduce you to the new Blue Beetle."

A new Blue Beetle? How about that. Ted grins. "Someone got the scarab to work?"

"Oh, yeah, you'll love it - and Beetle, he's a great kid." Booster messes around with something on his suit, and gives Ted an odd look when he looks up. "You okay, Ted?"

Ted's probably smiling a little too wide. He might be tearing up a bit. It's possible that what nearly happened just hit him. "Yeah, I just - I'm really glad I'm not dead. Thanks for saving me."

Booster grins, and goes in for the hug Ted didn't ask for (but maybe, kind of, wanted). "I couldn't have done anything less, buddy."