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as history has proven

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Crime pays. Stopping crime doesn't, at least, not in the kind of currency you can use to get your grocery shopping done.

So when I hang out with Lily, and I've just seen her on CNN earlier that week, robbing a bank or just being the brawn to some mad scientist's brains, I do my best not to judge her. Maybe the bank she robbed had it coming. Maybe the alternative to letting some mad scientist threaten to melt the ice caps was letting him actually do it.

People can do strange things when they get scared - and even stranger things when they aren't, sometimes.

She, in turn, doesn't mention that I no longer seem to be a part of the New Champions, even though I still own the uniform. (Is there a form letter, I wonder, to ask someone politely but firmly to either return or destroy it?) I still do what I can - what I tell myself I was made for, even though I don't know anymore if that is actually true. I save people, when I can save them. When I know they are in trouble.

"One of these days, we should team up again - just the two of us, this time," Lily says. It's never easy to read her expressions, but I think she might be smiling.

"I'd still like to know who I am," I say. "Or was. Before, you know, this." My gesture encompasses all of my body. "There must be records somewhere. Files. Maybe even people who used to know me, or work with me."

"No record or file is going to tell you who you are, or even who you used to be," Lily says. "Trust me on this. They always get it wrong."

"I won't." even as I say it, I realize that it might not be true. That maybe my memory isn't going to come back if I manage to get a look at some old apartment where I used to live, or an old report card or class picture. There's a chance that it will, though. That's better than nothing.

This time, I'm sure she's smiling. "I believe you. If you need a hand, just say the word. I could use a break from this villain stuff."

I don't wonder if the Champions or the Super Squadron or any other superhero team ever told each other they 'could use a break' from this hero stuff. I know that they probably did.

"Thank you."

"Hey," she says, "what else are friends for?"