The Justice Academy

After the justice league discovers that villains have their own schools for creating villains, they decide to start their own school for heroes. This year, one Barbara Gordon is forced to enrol by her father and she really, really doesn’t want to be there.

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14. Chapter Fourteen

By Sunday Barbara’s mood had gone from good to foul. She’d called her father up, only to be answered by the raspy voice she recognised as Scarecrow. She yelled down the phone and cursed his very existence, screaming and shouting so much that someone had run to fetch a teacher to see what had her so livid.
Scarecrow was in her home, she could hear her fathers muffled voice in the background telling her he’d be alright and not to worry.
By Saturday night he’d called her back and explained that the League had received an ‘anonymous tip’ about Scarecrow and their whereabouts and had arrived not long after their phone call had finished.
“Just be careful when you come home Barbs, if you’d been here instead of me it would’ve been you tied up in the kitchen.”
Sunday morning she’d woken up and everything had been fine. By lunchtime everyone was looking at her like she’d grown another head.
“What’s up with everyone?” She asked in a whisper to Kara and Roy, and Roy had tried and failed to act like he didn’t know.
“Roy, you’re a terrible liar, what’s wrong?”
Kara pushed something across the table, something Barbara recognised as her criminal record. She looked up at them both, neither of them could meet her eyes and suddenly she wanted to cry. She knew they’d find out eventually, but she wanted to be the one to tell them. She wanted to be the one to let them know who she really was.
It was almost midnight and she hadn’t returned to the dorm, she was in Paradise beating the crap out of some workout dummy the league had set up. Her fists were bleeding and her eyes were red from crying but she kept hitting it and hitting it and hitting it.
“You’ll break your fists.” Superman warned her when he switched the lights on, she kept hitting it.
“Fuck off boy scout.”
He ignored her language and watched her, if only for a few minutes before he spoke some more.
“We’re investigating to see who took your file, they’ll be punished suitably.”
His voice was soft, and it just made her angrier. Did they think she was made of glass? This wasn’t enough to break her, she was made of tougher things than that. Barbara had been to hell and back and stayed in one piece, a little bit of bad news meant nothing.
Then why are you crying idiot?
“Kara’s worried about you,”
She hit the dummy harder.
“Roy too-”
Harder.
“Barbara please-” he grabbed her arms and hauled her away “you’re going to break your knuckles just stop.”
She turned and punched him repeatedly in the chest, and then stopped, breathing hard and studying the way her blood bled into the red ‘S’ on his outfit. Her chest felt tight, and it wasn’t from exertion.
She glanced up, J’onn and Question were hanging back. She wanted to hit them too, she wanted to hit Scarecrow. Actually, she just wanted to hit everything.
She was still crying, but she refused to be pitied by them. So she thumped his chest again, and turned to the dummy and gave it a stiff kick in the chest. Then another, and another.
“When I said stop,” Superman mumbled “I meant completely, not just punching.”
“When I said fuck off, I meant it.”
He was frowning now, she wondered how many people told him to fuck off. Not even world leaders did that, but then Barbara was feeling pretty crap right now. She wanted her Pops. She wanted Kara, and Roy, not the Boy scout and his little gang of helpers.
“Did you plan to stay here all night?” J’onn asked as he approached with Question.
She was actually kind of glad to see them both, because she actually liked J’onn and Question. She sort of liked Superman, but he was too perfect. Just being around him made her feel inferior.
J’onn was scowling.
“He is not perfect. He is allergic to a rock Barbara.”
Despite her self, she laughed. It came out like a strangled bark but she didn’t care all that much. Laughter was better than tears, strangled or not.
“Barbara, perhaps you could just stop for a moment and talk to us.” Question suggested “A new concept I’m sure but one that works well.”
She stopped, and bent over to catch her breath. Now that she’d stopped and the anger and adrenalin was starting fade she could feel the pain in her knuckles, could feel the hot sticky blood. She looked up at Superman’s outfit and winced.
“Sorry.” She muttered, and he glanced down at the blood, and shrugged.
“It’ll wash.”
That brought forth a wave of mental images, Superman hanging his uniform out to dry on a line somewhere, or maybe he just dived into the ocean and then flew towards the sun. She pushed the images aside, god did her mind wander when she was emotional.
“I don’t care that everyone knows.” She told them, sitting heavily on the floor and laying back to free her lungs.
“I just wanted to tell them both myself, when I was ready.” Ah there were those tears again, she pushed them back.
Bad enough they could tell she’d been crying and had probably seen the tears, she wasn’t going to start weeping to them just because they were being nice. Barbara didn’t do pity-parties.
“Barbara,” J’onn scolded “we aren’t here to pity you we are here because we are your teachers and we care.”
“Barbara we care, we want to help…all you’ve got to do is go in through the window and grab the cash. You wont be alone, Pam’ll be with you.”
J’onn almost recoiled and Barbara couldn’t tell if he looked disgusted or horrified. She wasn’t sure which one was worse.
“I’m outta here.” She muttered and rolled up onto her feet, ducking under Superman’s hand and jogging out of Paradise.
Then she sprinted all the way to her room.
Her door opened and Kara looked up, the lamp was still on and she was reading some teen magazine Barbara had never heard of.
“You stayed up.” Was the first thing that came out of her mouth and Kara nodded.
“Come on Barbs, we’ve got Superman first period and“ she saw Barbara‘s red face “…do you want to sleep with me tonight?”

J’onn didn’t enjoy prying into students minds, did all that he could to block their thoughts from him but Barbara was practically screaming at him. Too much information, to many trapped emotions, just being close to her made his mind and body hurt.
He wanted her to feel comfortable here, to trust the teachers and students but she had a strong grip on the past that she couldn’t let go of and it hurt. It hurt because there was so much overwhelming pain in her, he was surprised she was still sane.
And yet he wasn’t, because if her mind was as organised as her school work then he’d no doubt everything had it’s place in her head. Emotions included.
“I want to know who got those files and how.” Batman ordered, he was angry, not that it really showed but the big seven knew when the Batman was mad before Batman knew.
“The security cameras have been wiped clean, there’s no data and no sign of forced entry. Whoever got in was let in.” Green Lantern told him just as angrily, nobody was happy tonight.
“It must have been Cheshire,” Hawkgirl insisted “we know she can break in, she made it straight to Barbara last time and now we’re looking for her she’s changed tactics.”
Superman shook his head “Impossible, Cheshire was in Star City last night. Ollie has just filed in his report.”
Flash looked up from where he was working with a suspicious scowl that didn’t look right on his face.
“So someone else did this, someone in the school.”
They were quiet, this was not a thought they wanted to consider. That a teacher, or even a student, could be targeting Barbara. However something else plagued J’onn’s mind, all he could think about was all the loneliness and distrust inside Barbara…all those bubbling emotions.
“Barbara is a ticking time bomb.” He muttered to himself, Superman looked up and glanced at Batman and back.
He’s not going to want to hear that.
J’onn kept his face neutral.
“He is a fool.”

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