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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21. Chapter Twenty-One

When Monday rolled around Barbara knew she was going to hate this week. She was so not ready to see Pops.
He was arriving Tuesday, would spend Wednesday watching the all-day training between the third and first years, and then give a talk on Thursday.
The league had been clever about it, Barbara would have one day to herself and then until Friday she’d be under her Pop’s constant scrutiny. That was too long for her, too long for her to keep her cool and not try and goad Aisha into desperation.
But she’d just have to deal with it.
“So you all know the commissioners will be here tomorrow, best behaviour blah blah blah, now!” Question cut off the blab about the commissioners as they sat in tutor “Come help me with this Shanghai case, it’s something to do with pigeons.”
Barbara shook her head but let Question distract the group before they could ask questions about her Pops coming down to the Academy and she was thankful, first period with Flash was going to be great. They were testing explosive chemicals today and she really wanted to know the explosive power of Kryptonite.
It was a slog to the classroom with prying eyes and it was especially hard not to leap at Derek when he muttered something about her Pops as she passed but Kara had her arm firmly in her grip and there was no getting away from her when she was on high alert.
Roy hissed something foul at him as they passed and Derek went an interesting shade of red, Flash was there at the door waiting, herding them in before Derek could retort and shutting the door behind them.
They sat down in their usual seats, Barbara noted that Flash had left another book for her on her desk.
The properties and effects of Lightening? Huh, well it’s going to be a bit easier than the other stuff he’s given me so far.
Flash smirked as he began his class, he got a nice sense of fulfilment swirling in his chest every time he saw that Barbara was listening intently, because there were few teachers that could boast that. The current list stood that Flash, Question, Wonderwoman and J’onn had the power to completely captivate Barbara in class.
It wasn’t a competition amongst leaguers as such, but given the complete lack of attention Batman was bestowing upon the poor girl they felt like she needed it. Not to mention the endless list of slowly appearing psychological problems.
Clearly, a subconscious inferiority complex was a big one.
“I do not mean to read her mind.” J’onn had been arguing with Batman when Flash had come zipping in after classes that day.
“Her thoughts are loud, louder than any I have heard before I cannot help but hear them.”
“You should block them out. You’ve never struggled before.” Ah, Batman sounded irritated.
Flash knew why, Bruce hated people in his head and so he obviously wanted to keep people out of Barbara’s head too. As much as he was ignoring her, he was trying his best to protect her as well. It was what a sponsor originally was, when the Academy first came to be.
An anonymous helper.
But heroes couldn’t stay away and grew close to the students they sponsored, and when Batman had sponsored…no, best not to think of that.
“As I said, I have never, and I mean never met someone with such a mind.”
Batman didn’t look pleased but he did let that go, instead he went back to what had obviously been the pinnacle of the conversation.
“What did you mean about insecurities?”
“Exactly what I said, Barbara has many insecurities and she needs help, emotional help.”
“How many?”
Barry scoffed “Would you like us to write a list? Jeez Bruce, she needs someone more than a shadow!”
Bruce ignored him and focused on J’onn, no surprises there. However, he could not ignore J’onn and what he had to say. J’onn would not let him ignore him.
“To begin with, she has the most dreadful subconscious inferiority complex. Do you realise that it takes all her effort to be around Superman without having a panic attack?”
“Well that explains why she never does any work.” Clark muttered “But why? I try and involve her in classes and I always allow her to stay with Kara and Roy…”
Clark looked so genuinely upset that Barry felt bad for the big guy, he looked like a kicked puppy whenever he found out a student didn’t like him, which wasn’t very often. It was hard not to like the boy scout, he had a soft spot for all young heroes and let them get away with more than most.
“Barbara has made many mistakes in her past, and despite her outward attitude these mistakes haunt her.” He looked over at Clark “She sees you as the perfect hero, besides you she feels worthless.”
Clark bristled “I’m not perfect.”
“Compared to her? Yes, you are.” Bruce pointed out, and even Barry knew Bruce had a point.
Barry had worked on a case once in conjunction with Gotham PD, and during this case he’d met a young Barbara Gordon. She must have been around twelve, and she was having a good laugh with Gordon’s partner, Harvey Bullock.
He remembered her well, it was hard to forget her when you spoke to her. He’d spoken to her a bit, because he’d never met a child with such scientific knowledge.
“She’s got a perfect memory.” Her father had explained “Most of the knowledge she can’t put to use, but she can talk about it with the authority of a thousand professors.”
Barry was pleased to see in the two years he’d not seen her, she’d started putting the knowledge to use. She no longer took in information and simply stored it away, now she tried to utilise it. He noticed this in class, whilst she would always get high marks on her written tests she’d struggled to get the practical at first.
She was slow to begin with, her brain clearly not used to accessing her stored information, but with every class she gained speed. Her mind was getting quicker, he couldn’t wait to see what she could do once she graduated.
“She also has this horrid belief that she is cursed.” J’onn pressed to the mute Bruce, who was resolute in his decision to remain anonymous to poor Barbara.
There was one silver-lining, Bruce was going to tell her at the end of the year. She’d probably hate him, but at least he’d tell her. Small steps, small steps turned into big steps.
“Cursed? Has she been in contact with a mage or sorcerer?” Diana asked and J’onn shook his head.
“No Diana, it is not that kind of curse. There is no curse, but she has lost so much and so young.” J’onn looked so haunted, so sad and Barry nodded.
“You wont know about it Diana, and I think a lot of the students were too young to remember, but Barbara is actually from Metropolis.” Barry told her and her eyebrows knitted together in confusion.
“The commissioner of Gotham is not her biological father.” Ah, Bruce was finally speaking again “He is her uncle, her father was an abusive alcoholic. He murdered her mother when she was six.”
Diana and the few other leaguers that had decided not to read Barbara’s file looked stricken, and Barry knew they had every right to be. It also helped them understand Bruce’s involvement and how fiercely he fought to get her into the Academy.
Not that he had to, Barbara had more connections than Bruce had realised and he had more people on his side than he’d anticipated. Not to mention the league wasn’t full of douche bags like the media made out, they didn’t particularly care about her record. Plastic Man should have been proof of that much.
“Her father was placed in bedlam, her uncle and his wife took her in.”
“I did not see a mother on her file.” Shayera scowled.
“That’s because she died less than three years later when Barbara was almost nine.”
“Actually she was murdered, live on television by the Joker.” Barry corrected Clark, who nodded.
“Barbara blames herself for all of this. Her biological mothers death, her biological fathers madness. Her adoptive mothers death and her adoptive fathers steadily declining authority in the Gotham PD.” J’onn told them, glaring very pointedly at Bruce.
But Bruce just walked away, and for once Barry could read J’onn like a book. J’onn was pissed. J’onn had a large role in both the league and the Academy, he was the head medic and took care of all psychological complaints to help with therapy and rehabilitation. The fact that Bruce was ignoring poor Barbara was driving J’onn mad. And J’onn never got mad.
“Flash? You in there?”
He blinked, his class were watching him curiously and he remembered that he was supposed to be teaching not getting lost in thought. He just laughed it off and got on with the class, giving Barbara special attention like he always did.
Subconscious inferiority complex.
He tried not to play favourites with her, tried to make it out like he was just trying to challenge her in class and when you can move as fast as him it wasn’t hard to hide the extra attention he gave her.
Horrid belief that she is cursed.
At the end of the class he waved them away and watched her leave with Kara and Roy, watched the way they acted and the way Roy kept close enough so that their shoulders were just touching and the way Kara made sure she had room to move without being overwhelmed. He frowned at a sudden realisation.
Better add social anxiety to the list. Maybe mild claustrophobia too.
It was only Monday and Flash just knew this week was not going to go well.

 

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