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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10. Chapter Ten

She had expected Black Canary and Huntress, but she hadn’t expected Batman.
The three of them stood in front of the class looking formidable, and only Black Canary looked even remotely friendly. Canary had her hands crossed against her chest, Huntress’s hands were on her hips and Batman’s arms were just straight down.
He looked very military.
“Welcome to Higher Stealth,” Black Canary greeted “you are students who are sponsored, expected to excel at stealth or both. If you cannot keep up you will be moved to a lower set.”
Well that was to be expected, how could you expect students to learn when their peers were so far ahead? Barbara looked around at the other students, some looked nervous, others excited. She kept her face neutral and listened.
“As with most of your practical classes these first weeks we will start with a basic stealth examination to gauge your skills. Do not worry about your results, they are just so we know what you as a class need to focus on.” She grinned “Individual exams will begin after winter break.”
The class was silent, but Barbara put that down to the fact that Batman was in the room. You didn’t groan when Batman was present, you didn’t complain or grumble, you just shut up and listened. That was the respect you got from being Batman it seemed, Barbara envied that a little.
“Alright so we’re going to play capture the flag. Who wants to be it?” Huntress asked, holding a black square of fabric up for them all to see and peering around the room at the anxious faces.
“Barbara Gordon.”
She looked at the caped crusader and stifled her glare, like hell was she going to let Batman know how much she didn’t want to be ‘it’ and chased around by a group of teenagers. She stepped up and let Huntress tie the black ‘flag’ around her arm tightly.
“Of course, because this is stealth training, you’ll be playing in the dark.” Huntress grinned, and the room went black.
“No powers allowed!” Black Canary yelled into the darkness and Barbara moved the moment she felt Huntress move, the wind telling her which way the older hero had gone.
She moved to the edge of the room until her eyes adjusted to the darkness and she observed the students as they stumbled. Someone was over at her elbow so she twisted around them and pressed back against the wall.
The classroom door was to her left, a supply door across the other side of the classroom. The vent was down behind a student squinting despairingly into the darkness. Someone was walking to the centre of the room, students were muttering around her.
She span when the supply door clicked and the students moved to converge on it, to check she hadn’t slipped inside. There was more movement, the person in the rooms centre was starting towards her so she crept around them, only to jerk to a halt when they grabbed her arm.
“You’ve got two years Red,” The voice whispered, Barbara had to strain to hear it “in two years you get the same choice I did. Think long and hard before you answer.”
Then they let her go, and moved towards the door.
“Cheshire.” Barbara muttered, barely audible, but that was enough.
The lights flashed on and Cheshire was running out the door, Batman was at Barbara’s arm and both Huntress and Black Canary were running after the assassin. The classroom went still, Barbara’s heart was threatening to burst out of her chest and all she could think about was the fact that Cheshire had broken into the school unnoticed and sought her out.
Cheshire had come for Barbara.
“Everyone return to your dorm immediately.” Batman ordered, but as Barbara went to join them he took her arm and tugged her back.
“Not you, you stay with me.”
She nodded mutely, letting him lead her through the winding corridors towards a part of the school she hadn’t visited yet. Judging by all the security passes she figured it must have been the League quarters, the teachers rooms and such.
She didn’t know whether to be nervous or complimented that he was bringing her here. The first leaguer they met on their journey was J’onn, he glanced at Batman and scowled, following him as his eyes lit up orange.
He was telling the others, whomever he deemed necessary to know. So by the time they made it to wherever it was Batman took her there were two other leaguers. That made four of them.
Batman, J’onn, Wonderwoman and Green Arrow stood for only a moment before Batman told them what had happened. Then they turned to Barbara.
“You knew it was Cheshire?” Green Arrow asked and she nodded.
“We’ve met.” She told them and Green Arrow scowled.
Well, know she’d made at least one enemy in the league and she hadn’t been here a week.
“Her father is Gotham Commissioner,” Batman told him “she’s been involved in a lot of things because of that.”
And just that like, the suspicion was gone. Barbara made a mental note to thank Batman somehow, maybe she’d just do really well in his class in return for his cover. But then, the league had her file, had Green Arrow not read it?
She thought to Roy, who seemed like the kind of person to read everyone’s file as quickly as he could and weed out the untrustworthy. Green Arrow didn’t seem like Roy though, Green Arrow didn’t seem like the kind of person to go through a students file. He just got to know a person before he judged them, which was a refreshing change.
“Did she say anything to you?” Batman asked and she considered lying, but J’onn was there.
He’d know, he’d know that she was lying.
“She told me that in two years I’d get to make the same choice she did, that I had to think long and hard about my answer.”
The four of them stole looks at each other and Barbara looked down at the floor, trying not to think but failing miserably.
Cheshire vanished after year two, files confirm this. Clearly she was given some sort of choice…the choice to leave? And go where?
“Miss Gordon.”
She looked up, J’onn was staring at her. She felt the rage bubble up, intruding on her thoughts was just plain cruel, how was she supposed to think with this guy around? It wasn’t like she could just stop her brain from working.
“Your thoughts are very loud,” he told her “it is almost as if you are shouting at me.”
She scowled, well how was that her fault? How did you get loud thoughts?
Note to self, research telepathy.
J’onn smirked ever-so-slightly at her but the others missed it, and got back to the topic on hand.
“A choice?” Wonderwoman asked and Barbara nodded.
“That was all she said.”
“Alright Miss Gordon, I’ll take you back to your dorm. Do not worry about Cheshire, the league will worry about her.” J’onn told her and she followed him back the way they had come.
“It is not a bad thing, having loud thoughts.” J’onn told her as they walked, she noted he wasn’t as rushed as Batman was when he walked.
There was a certain calm that J’onn spread, she wondered if he did it on purpose. Not that she was complaining, her heart had finally stopped trying to break free and she could breath right. The black ‘flag’ was still tied to her arm.
“You can train them to be quiet but it takes a lot of time,” he continued with a smile “and with a mind as strong as yours it will take even longer.”
“I’m sorry?”
“You have an incredibly powerful mind Miss Gordon. If I listen closely I can hear your thoughts from across the school, there is so much inside your mind that it’s trying to break free.”
She didn’t have anything to say to that, because he was probably right. Her mind was full, with a brain that could never forget she had to create her own filing system within her brain to stop herself going nuts.
“You could always imagine you are whispering in your mind. It may help you quieten them slightly.”
She nodded and filed the information away, thanking him for the advice and stepping into her dorm. Eyes turned as she entered and she almost stepped right back out again.
“Barbara! Over here!” Kara called and she walked across the living space to Kara and Roy.
“That was Cheshire wasn’t it?” Roy demanded quietly and she nodded at him mutely.
“What did she want?” Kara asked her, and she looked at their faces, took in the worry and the concern and decided to lie.
“Dunno, I saw her, said her name and boom, lights, camera, action.”
They nodded and accepted the information, Barbara bit her tongue and willed her heart not to beat extra. That was what happened when you lied, and Kara had super hearing. One extra heartbeat? She’d pick that up in no time.
They spoke for hours, quizzing each other about possible entrances to the Academy until they grew tired.
“Lights out in twenty minutes!” Someone called and everyone herded themselves to their rooms.
Kara slept heavily, and Barbara stared up at the ceiling for an hour before she managed to drift off. Her sleep was fitful, and the nightmares came calling, just like they did every night.

 

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