Pam is glad nobody really makes fun of her. She had been expecting a round of raucous laughter. Maybe some pointing. About the closest thing to a jab at her was Harley stating the fact the spice was only a tickle for her. It takes her a moment to remember Harley has an immunity to poisonous chemicals, so of course spices wouldn't affect her as it would normal people.
RJ talks about being in a public school, and the table situation. She catches that this tidbit has an adverse effect on a couple; Emiko and Anselle. Pam cannot relate, being homeschooled all her life as her parents didn't want any ‘bad ideas’ to be planted in her head. Anselle being accustomed only to his family she does relate to though. Even if she does not chime in with the sentiment. The art of conversation with multiple people like this, with people of her own age yet so different, escapes her so she just eats slowly and silently. A nervous smile crosses her mouth when Dinah asks if they are ready to beat people up and be the next Justice Society.
“I sure am!” Harley replies to Pam with a mouthful of corn. If she is aware of the others being less thrilled about some of the topics she does not let on. Aside from the moment in the alley, this one is intent on being a bright spot in the room. In spite of any dark thought that tries to rear up through those big blue eyes of hers.
“New Orleans?” Harley gets a dreamy look on her face at the name and leans forward with her elbows on the table holding her face. “My family went to New Orleans once for Carnivale. Wow was that just a blast! Everyone in costume and masks, being all goofy and happy with all that music and dancing! I'd love to go there again! Ooooh I hope we can and soon!” She says hopping in her seat.
“There are some very interesting swamp plants I'd like to see.” Pam finally chimes in with something. Pathetic as it is in her opinion.
“Louisiana isn't necessarily on the syllabus.” says Stargirl, still in her full costume, as she enters the dining room from a side door holding something behind her back. “But it might come in the future! And speaking of~” she brings out from her back a small stack of paper she goes around and sets beside each of their plates. Coming to the head of the table, she clears her throat.
“We are of course the Argo Academy, and as such while we will be primarily training you to be heroes in your own right, we still have an obligation to teach you all to the academic standards expected of anyone else your age. I know, sounds like a real bummer to some of you, I feel for you, but bear with us please? Anyway. The first six hours of your day will be in this order: Math because Doctor Midnight says doing math in the morning is the best for your developing brains. American History with me, so excited for that.Lunch. Science. English Literature and writing. A free hour. And at the end of the day, Physical Education with a new instructor or instructors every day. Now that last class? That's where we will be testing and honing your abilities. Questions?” Stargirl looks around.
Harley is the first to raise her hand.
“Will this be on a test?” Harley asks. Is she serious or making a joke? Only Meghan gets a buzz from her that she is serious for once.
“Um...is what going to be on a test?” Stargirl inquires.
“This.” The pale girl twirls her finger in the air.
“Oh oh. No. This orientation day will not be on any test. We will only be considering how far you have all come individually, and as a team!” Stargirl answers her after giving an ‘aw’ of realization.
“Phew, load offa my shoulders.” Harley wipes her dry brow.
Pam raises her hand next. She puts down the syllabus.
“Will there be any days where, um, parents can visit?” Pam asks meekly.
“Good question!” Stargirl claps her hands together. “Parents can visit whenever they like, with an appointment so we can make arrangements, and can take you all on outings as they please as well. The syllabus also gives the major holidays where we will have breaks for extended family visits, or extended free days wherein those of us who remain stay together as a community.” Stargirl explains.
“Anymore questions before we dismiss for the night?”
After was seemed like a very long time of keeping his head down and ingulfing his food, Connor finally picked his head up and slowed down his eating. It occurred to him that it looked as if he was starved in Star labs by the way he was eating. He ate every day, three times a day at best but the people in the lab just never really made home-cooked meals. Everything was from the cafeteria or out of a can. Pretty stale after a while. Everyone seemed to be in conversation and Connor just sat back and observed them all. This would be his new family that he had to watch over. A small, smile escaped his lips at the thought.
Diana's question rang out and got his attention though. Harley seemed excited at the thought of beating up bad guys and becoming this new Justice Society. Connor chuckled a bit. He thought it was low enough to not get attention but it seemed it was louder than expected as some eyes feel on him. "Beat up bad guys? Yall gotta learn some fighting moves first. Some of yall rely on your powers too much and sometimes you don't even use those. Dinah will need to hard train you guys on how to fight properly for sure. Look what happened in the alley or I guess, what didn't really happen but felt like it happened." It was probably a bit harsh but it was the truth. Outside of himself, Dinah, and RJ, none of them really knew how to fight properly. Guess he would have to thank Star labs for that at some point.
His train of thought was interrupted by Stargirl coming into the room. A paper was laid next to Conner's plate which was explained that it was our syllabus for the days ahead. Conner looked it over and was a bit shocked that they were going to treat this as an actual school and not just a place to train us to be future heroes. Conner sat back and listened to all the questions asked about it. He didn't really have any as there wasn't much to say on it all really. A yawn escaped his mouth though, he was definitely getting tired and was ready for a good, deep sleep.
The mention of and brief discussion of Louisiana elicits a smile from RJ, who has a few bites of his meal to hide his look of amusement as nobody brings up the more adult portion of Mardi Gras that is held in New Orleans. Harley is enraptured by the Carnivale, for obvious reasons.
“I’d like to go to Mardi Gras.” He says quickly “Maybe even be the Bacchus for the whole thing, who knows, when I’m old enough.” He explains simply, not elaborating on the details.
He keeps eating as Stargirl comes in and gives them the rundown of their syllabus. He raises his hand after Harley and Pam get in their questions.
“Are we going to have these physical education classes altogether as a group, or will we get personalized sessions? I only ask cause, well, you know the whole thing about testing a fish on its ability to climb a tree? I’m kinda the fish in the situation.” RJ asks and listens to the rest of the conversation while also letting his mind wander. What would a holiday party look like with this group? The usual ugly sweaters and elf or Santa hats?
The whole image is ridiculous given the people involved, but it also sounds like it would be nice. More than nice really.
Anselle gnawed through an ear of corn as he listened into the flow of conversations through the room, becoming much quieter himself. He wouldn't admit it, not out loud, but today had been a drain. And he was usually had the most energy in any room, just not this one, and certainly not right now. He was...thinking, about everything that had happened. This meant he mostly stared across the table, something that wasn't quite drowsiness but more like flat-out exhaustion feeling like it'd sunken into his bones.
Anselle gave a yawn, arms stretching out overhead, elbows laying on the table to let his hands prop his head up. Anselle couldn't help the half-smile that pulled at his lips at Dinah's eagerness to get back into the fray. Harley and Pam's interest in going somewhere Anselle had never even heard of; RJ, predictably, knew about it. New topics sprung up every second, it was getting a little tricky to keep up with everything.
Luckily, Stargirl's appearance set them all onto a single one: what came next.
"Oh, so this is gonna be like a normal school?" Anselle chipped in, head cocking at how he phrased it. "Well, as normal as this place could be." He only hoped it wouldn't be too boring - if they were expected to be the next Justice Society - as Dinah called them - he'd imagined there'd be some twists down the road. That test from earlier hadn't faded from his mind in the slightest.
Turning his head RJ's way when he proposed his question, Anselle stuck up his hand. "Yeah! It's gotta be fair, right? Like, you guys aren't expecting, say, Conner to be as good with a bow as Emiko, or RJ to have as much as a green thumb as Pamela, or Harley to glow!" Chuckling at the thought, Anselle's half-lidded eyes swept over to Harley, imagining her glowing. "I think that's a little out of our skill sets, but it's not like we're not pretty good at other stuff! A-and I guess we could always learn new stuff, but how's it all gonna work?"
Meghan sat listening to the other chat about New Orleans. It was pleasant. She reminisced about her years there, her friends. Dinah said something innocent and enthusiastic which was echoed by Harley.
She thought about what he said, suddenly feeling distinctly unworthy, guilty about it and perhaps a little sad.
"I hope my lack of training has not let anyone down so far. I am sorry Connor Kent that I do not live up to what you think I should be. "
Barry however doesnt share Meghan's approach to Connor's critique. He stands up, looking over at Connor. For those close to him can see he is struggling with something as Meghan finishes.
"So, I have a question Kent. Who gave you the authority to judge any of us on what we can do ? Did you actually see me fight? Only person who might have been close enough was RJ on a fire escape. I will cheerfully admit I dont have the Training that some of you have. But before any of you write me off as not up to your superior attitude standards, maybe you should know... I've spent about four hours of every day, for over a year now, training on how to fight. Six hours of schoolwork and another six just trying to figure out how to coexist with what once was my life. So before any of you take Super Kent too seriously, I will repeat what I said. I was freaking proud of all of you. I would stand again in the damned dark alley with any or all of you.. Any time. Even you Kent."
At which point he sits down & takes a deep breath, closing his eyes, not quite desperate to keep control of his emotions and the speed force.
Meghan had taken one of Harley's hands seeking the comfort of the other girls acceptance and friendship as Barry tried to calmly light into Connor, not entirely succeeding.
In a quiet voice... Meghan says. " What is the point of school, if not to learn?"
Then Star Girl enters the room with the news of what comes next. Meghan seem to find her happy thoughts, probably from Harley, giggling a bit at her test question.
A bit after Star girl and the talk about classes, including specific questions about the physical training, Barry seems to have himself together again. Leaning over towards RJ. " Don't worry Roomie, I got your back"
Meghan leans over to whisper at Harley. " "I hope you are good at history Harley! It gets me confused".
Emiko slid her plate to the side as she scanned the syllabus that had been placed in front of her and her fellow classmates. Was this how a school normally was? To be blunt, it all seemed incredibly boring. Writing? Mathematics? How awful, she thought. She imagined the subjects were probably important as part of some societal idea about a ‘fundamental’ education, but she also couldn’t help but feel that they were a bit unnecessary, especially for kids training to be heroes. Was writing going to teach her how to dodge a bullet? Or avoid a fist to the face? Emiko found it highly unlikely. However, despite her opposing viewpoints, she was in no mood to bring up her complaints or argue with anyone. The night’s dinner had done her some good in quelling her appetite, but now with a full stomach the young girl didn’t want to do anything other than curl up and go to sleep. This day felt like it would never end. Drawing her knees up to her chest, the young girl hugged them tightly in silence and stared blankly at the syllabus as the dining room continued to fill with small talk about New Orleans, the school program, and other subjects the Queen girl had no interest in. Through it, Emiko overheard Connor make a comment about combat abilities, to which Meghan apologized and Barry had an immediate retort. Realizing where this could be going, Emiko let out a sigh and moved to get up.
“Well this has been fun.” Emiko spoke out for the first time since she had taken a seat at the dinner table. “If that’s all, I’ll be taking my leave now.” Talking was incredibly overrated, she thought. Especially now. The last thing she wanted to do was sit and listen to men hold a dick-measuring contest about who had trained more or who could kick who’s ass. At the end of the day, training meant nothing if it didn’t produce results. She'd be lying if she said she didn't agree with Connor's statement, but that was besides the point. Slipping out from her seat, the young girl rolled the syllabus up into a scroll and stuffed it into her back pocket.
“Thanks for the meal.” Emiko gave a little awkward bow towards Stargirl, before spinning around and walking out the room. She wasn't heading back to her room just yet, but a walk in silence to help settle her meal and clear her mind sounded oddly nice. Stuffing her hands into her jeans, Emiko wandered down the halls of Argo Academy at a leisurely pace, glad to finally enjoy some peace and quiet.
With a sour look upon her features, Dinah reaches out for the syllabus. Her eyes at just half slits look over the paper carefully. She was afraid of this. That they would have to learn ‘normal’ things. She’s not allowed to vote or smoke or drink… but sending her into battle against the universe’s worst is fine? She can take down anyone in a one on one fight… but they’re going to make her sit down and do math?
One elbow is planted on the table top, her cheek resting on it as her eyes scan the paper. Math… history… okay lunch is rad… science… lit and writing… and then the stuff she actually signed up for. She utters softly to herself, her eyes still at half slits open. “boo… boring… food is good… boring… boring… beat ‘em ups. Got it.” Her eyes falling closed as she nods to herself, her cheek still resting atop her hand.
Her gaze moves to Conner as he makes his thoughts known, her eyes only moving. She says nothing as she just sits, and she listens to the others respond. Those clear blue eyes move back towards the paper before her as she speaks, otherwise unmoving. “Ah, Conner’s right ya know.” She still doesn’t look up as she continues. “I’m the only competent fighter in the room.” She does, of course, also remember Courtney is in the room so that extends to her also. “All of you need to learn a ton of things. Especially you Conner.” Now her eyes move right towards him. “You’re strong and bulletproof, but you’re still a sloppy lunkhead.” She stares him in the eyes a moment, and then looks down as Emiko excuses herself. She seems to be staring at the paper in front of her, but really she’s not looking at anything.
“D’spite what I just said, bout beatin up baddies… that ain’t why we’re here. Took a whoopin on my buttox to realize why we’re actually here.” She now sits up a little, looking towards Courtney “Is it?” Looking away from the blue costumed woman, Dinah now pushes herself to her feet. She scoops up the syllabus and messily pushes it into on of the front pockets of her jeans as she continues. And slowly her gaze drifts towards those gathered around the table… hoping Emiko will get the sentiment later. “The Justice Society is gettin old… they just won’t be able to handle things forever. So we’re being trained as their sort of kind of replacements. But that don’t mean just the physical fighting part. Means… we need to know the basics of book smarts’n all. Like m’boy” she motions to Anselle “said, this’s gonna be a normal school in a lot of ways. But more. We’re not sposed to just be the ones to fight the monsters threatening Tokyo or whatever” Godzilla reference, if you need it “But we’re supposed to be the leaders too. Even meatheads like” she motions to Conner “him. When people are in danger, they need to know they can rely on us to smack the bad away, but also make things better for everyone the rest of the time. So all of you get some sleep t’night. Tomorrow we start school…”
As everyone speaks about the subject of school (see what I did there?) Zatanna is reading the syllabus for herself. She’s not so surprised by this… this is supposed to be an ‘academy’ after all. One hand continues to scoop up food for her eating delight, and her other hand traces along the type on the paper itself. A little smile is constant upon her dark features, her half open eyes reading along.
She doesn’t pay much attention to the words being directed across the table between everyone. But she does pay sudden attention to Emiko as she gets up. Zatanna sits up a little more in her seat, her gaze following the girl. Then she would turn in her chair to continue to follow Emiko with her eyes, feeling something odd from her. Annoyance? Impatience? Well Emiko was reluctant in the first place to even come to dinner… Zatanna turns back in her chair as Dinah now stands and basically puts everyone down with how amazing she is. Zatanna rolls her eyes setting her fork down. She does feel a small grin when Conner is directly insulted twice by Dinah, thinking them more playful words rather than disrespect.
Although for all she knows it was meant as direct disrespect.
She leans over towards Conner and pats him lightly on the shoulder, giving him a reassuring smile. Perhaps in the hopes of quelling any negative thoughts or actions that might come in short retaliation to Dinah’s seeming words of challenge. The look she gives Conner could perhaps interpret as ‘don’t worry about what she says, it’s fine’.
Sitting up in her chair, the girl then folds the paper. And then folds it again. And then again. Her eyes dart around as she grins a little, just to see if anyone notices. Again she folds the paper, and it gets tinier and tinier in her fingers. She then opens her fingers completely, and the paper is gone. Just a cute little parlor trick for anyone paying any attention to her general area.
Her gaze moves to Courtney as Dinah tells them to get rest. Is… Dinah supposed to be their boss? Is that what she senses? Because Dinah seems a bit to… well bitchy is a strong word for someone she has just met. But yes she seems bitchy. And confrontational. She speaks in a soft and chipper tone, a wide smile. “Everything was wonderful, Courtney. Our compliments to the chef.” She gives a quick nod, and then glances towards everyone. “So I guess we retire for the night. Good night everyone… I’m really looking forward to tomorrow!” And with that she spins on her heels, and her hands fold behind her back while walking out of the room. She actually does hear back to her shared dorm, hoping Emiko is there. She won’t be, of course. But Zatanna will still wait up for her, and offer anything of encouragement to her roomie. Even try her best to make the girl laugh before actually falling asleep…
The low-key depressed state of Emiko is lost, it seems, only on Harley. Stargirl watches the girl leave ahead of everyone else but does not pursue it or offer any kind of attempt to stop her. Emiko might think herself unique from girls her age, but Stargirl remembers very clearly what it was like to be Emiko’s age in a very different era; she knows the girl needs her space, not an adult to force her into socializing right this moment.
Connor breaking down how most of the gathered didn’t know how to fight properly, makes Pam unconsciously lower her head and look over at Harley. Harley has not let the shifting tensions of the conversation spoil her appetite, evident by her shoveling a heavy spoonful of mashed potatoes into her mouth.
“I sure know how to clobber the creeps!” Harley says raising her fist. “Pammy over there wasn’t much a fighter but she really laid out those fake goons, too! And all it took for her was a pinch. Ain’t that right, Pammy?”
Pam nods and smiles nervously “Right, um, I got a little carried away. So thankful they all turned out to be fake.” She says and is also thankful for Stargirl giving her an approving nod. As if anticipating Pam’s worries, the older woman says to all of them:
“You will get carried away at times, it’s to be expected of young people with special abilities. We are here to help you with that as well, we are not here to punish we’re all here to learn all about the responsibility we have to ourselves, and the world.”
“Now.” Stargirl claps and in an instant the feast, cups and all, is gone from the table. “Off to the dorms and bed with you all. We do have a curfew of ten’o’clock every night, midnight on weekends, please respect it or our master chef Doctor Fate will make your next meal unpleasant. Breakfast will be here, every day at seven sharp. At nine your first teacher will come collect you, and so on throughout the day until the regular classes are done. Then, the fun part begins!” She rubs her hands together and beams. “So excited for you all! This is gonna be a blast!”
“YAYYY!” Harley claps like an excited seal and bounces in her chair before hopping out. She again hooks her arm around Meghan’s. “We got enough time to play some games before bed! You play games right? Orrrr we could tell scary stories! I’ll warn ya, I got some real spooooky stories up here.” She knocks herself on the top of the head.
Pam rubs a spot on the table where her drink had been. Not so much as a drop of condensation. Would Doctor Fate be able to teach her magic? Her powers seemed like they could be biological or magical; it was very hard to tell feeling it all from the inside. Seeing the food appear and disappear like that, yet feeling it in her stomach all the same, really has Pam questioning reality on her way back to the dorms with the others. She does at one point look down one of the hallways, and wonders if one of the adults were going to bring her back before curfew or if they trusted her to return on her own. The adults had an odd set of things they, the kids, were responsible for. Still more authority than she was used to from her home life.
That night the kids would get some time to know each other one-on-one. Some were not much for conversation with strangers, while Harley is eager to get to know Meghan, and Pam navigates her way around Dinah with her few social skills.
Later that night
The Keystone Savings & Loan building had closed its doors at the usual five in the afternoon and the last cashier closed down the drive-through the half hour after. It sits quietly in the larger quiet zone of Keystone City. Its dark windows are only occasionally lit from within by a guard’s flashlight. A police cruiser is parked one block South, but not as planned backup; the two officers were in the nearby buffet on their meal break. The city itself hums low and slow. No hustle and bustle tonight.
Trouble comes in a dark blue (or is it black? There will be debate about that later) 1977 Chevy Nova at a slow nondescript speed with a law-abiding signal for the right turn down the street towards the Savings & Loan. It passes the empty police cruiser and both officers would have seen it pass if they hadn’t been reading fortunes from their cookies.
The Nova parks in front of the Savings & Loan. Two people exit the vehicle; the one who had been driving wears a dark blue winter coat with a fur-lined hood and a mask with goggles, the kind worn when skiing, the other dark brown coveralls and a welding helmet. Both carry heavy guns held in one hand and out. Winter Coat fires first at the doors, the gun emitting a quick high-pitched beep then the air molecules between the emitter and the doors turn to ice before the doors as well, and they shatter.
The pair runs into the building as the alarm blares and the four guards converge on the lobby.
“Freeze!” yells one guard a portly man with mutton chops and a heaving chest.
“Easy.” says Winter Coat. He pulls the trigger and makes a sweeping motion at all of the guards who fire at the pair. The bullets freeze in mid-air then clatter-shatter on the floor. The guards are engulfed in a white stream of frozen air and when it clears they stand frozen in place. Overalls laughs a laugh of youthful cruelty.
The pair hop over the desk and let the alarm blare away. Down the street the police hear it as they exit the buffet before they hear dispatch, and radio in they are en route. The criminals come to the large vault. Winter Coat reaches into his jacket for something to crack it open, but his partner stops him with a grunt.
“I got this one.” Coveralls tells his partner leveling his gun at the bank vault.
“Just don’t burn all the loot.” Winter Coat warns and steps back, covering the lobby. Coveralls pulls the trigger. A stream of fire shoots out of the barrel and sprays against the vault door. In seconds it heats up to be white-hot then a hole melts through it. Behind the welder’s helmet Coverall’s eyes are wide and he breathes slower, heavier than before. Once the hole has melted wide enough, he lets off the trigger.
“You ever see anything so beautiful?” He asks his colder partner staring transfixed into the hole. Winter Coat shrugs and uses his gun to kill all the heat within that opening, making it safe to walk through.
“That’s the beauty of it, partner. We got so many more amazing things to see and steal.” He answers grinning under his mask at the shelves of cash waiting for them in the vault. He doesn’t waste time; he pulls a canvas bag from within his coat and starts to stuff it with as much cash as he can grab. Starting with the shelf of hundred dollar bills. He gets in just under two grand before a flash of lightning and red streak zooms into the vault, snatches not only the bag from his hands but both of their guns and headwear.
“Here I was expecting the usual robbery situation.” says The Flash standing in front of the hole holding their guns by their barrels in both hands. He looks at the pair with a bemused smile. “Can’t say I’ve seen two kids cause this much trouble.”
“We’re not kids, Flash.” Winter Coat counters with contempt on ‘Flash’.
“Give our guns back, we’ll show you what real trouble is!” Coveralls barks at the hero with his nostrils flared and eyes fixed on his gun.
“You two must have tough home lives.” The Flash shakes his head. The two officers approach from behind. “Officers, if you would, I’d just like a few words with these two. Don’t worry they are disarmed and the only things in their pockets are some gum, matches, loose change and winter coat has a beeper.”
“You got it, Flash, just you know, make it quick.” One officer jokes.
“I’ll try.” The Flash replies smiling then clacks the guns together lightly. “Now then. Where did you two get these? And please tell me those poor men out there are going to be alright, you two are already in a world of trouble without multiple murders.”
“They’ll be fine. Gun is set to Chill, not Kill. We came here for loot, not a body count.” Winter Coat answers his second question first. “As for the guns.” He shrugs and smirks “A lot of cereal box tops.”
“That’s at least a ton of Cheerios.” Flash sighs “Your names and names of parents, please. I’d like to save the police the time and legwork of finding and informing them.”
“Captain Cold.” says the one in the winter coat.
“Heatwave. Gun. Now. I won’t tell you again.” the other warns.
“Nice nicknames.” The Flash nods. There is a low beep from Captain Cold’s left pocket. “And that would be your beeper. Go ahead, have a peek who it is and you can make them your one phone call.”
“Thank you, I hope it's someone who can help.” Cold takes the beeper out of his pocket and looks at the little screen as it keeps beeping.
“Whaddya know? It is.” He presses the button.
Cold’s gun beeps and whirs. The Fastest Man Alive(so far as he is aware) thinks at superspeed to run away and bring the gun somewhere it's likely an explosion wouldn’t hurt anybody. Yet he does not move with that thought. Himself, and the two officers behind him, are instantly covered in a plume of snow from the cold gun, and like the guards are frozen in place covered in a thick layer of ice.
“There is only one thing I don’t like about my gun.” Cold walks up to Flash and looks him in the eye while pulling the guns from his frozen grip. Heatwave gets their things and loads up the bag with more cash. “See I found out when shot with this thing, even on the Chill setting you’re frozen right to the ear drums. So you can’t hear any of this.” He extracts the guns and tosses Heatwave his gun. Heatwave tosses Cold his goggles and mask. He looks up at The Flash’s frozen eyes. “So read my lips. You and the rest of the JSA are over. New blood is here and you old folks ain’t gonna cut it. Case in point. And we’re just the very tip of the iceberg.” He puts on the mask and goggles, and gives Flash another blast from the cold gun.
"Let me kill him." Heatwave puts his gun up under Flash's chin.
"No can do, partner. Loot, not bodies, remember?" Cold pushes down the gun and scoff-laughs "We'll get another chance to put down Old Yeller."
The first thing that came to Conner’s mind was smashing the table where it stood. The cause? The words that Dinah felt she needed to stay towards him. Who was she to call him a meat head? He had hours upon hours of combat training and battle tactics from the lab. He had knowledge of battle strategies and how to best take down foes. He was about to pop when he suddenly felt a, calm and gentle touch on his shoulder. He looked up to see Zatanna looking down at him and giving him a small smile. Her eyes expressing that he shouldn’t worry about it too much. Conner calmed himself at her touch and sight. As she removed her hand and left, something about Conner’s self urged for her to return. The loud voice of Harley brought him back from. He grabbed his paper and stood quickly, pushing the chair quite a ways back. Not saying a word, he headed to his dorm.
He made his way through the halls and found his dorm. Opening it up, he was the first to arrive. He laid the paper down on his desk next to his bed and fell face first into the pillow. He really wasn’t looking forward to having actual school. It didn’t seem to serve a purpose to what they were here for. Conner thought of what Dinah said though about how the Justice Society was getting old and they needed replacements. Was this group that was formed really the ones to take over? Conner bathed in the silence while it was there. Remembering that his roommate would be returning soon.
For reasons he didn’t quite understand, RJ has the want to go after Emiko when she excuses herself from the dinner table. He doesn’t, only moves his foot an inch, because he didn’t like the idea of acting on something he didn’t understand right in that moment.
Looking between Connor and Dinah, RJ could only think the Pair of young hard-asses we got here. And quicker to the conclusion than Barry. Fighters for sure, but not detective material. RJ thinks to voice this opinion purposefully with no tact as they had. Give them a taste.
"Be the better man."
RJ remembers that being said by his father when RJ, very young at the time, had asked why his father just took an insult of ‘Pig!’ being shouted at him at dinner silently. ‘Be the better man’ he had said and nothing more.
So RJ on his father’s advice, decides to be the better man and not stoop to their level. He likes to hear Harley talk up Pamela after that little run-down. Pam for her part is far below modest, more apologetic.
So far can’t say she’s a natural born killer. So far.
The girl named named Zatanna tries to be a peaceful force in all this to calm the tension put into the air by the trifecta of Connor, Dinah, and Barry.
Wonder how often that’s going to be happening?
The food disappears and Stargirl(that’s what he thinks to call her when suited up) gives a few more ground rules and a further affirmation of their mission here at the Argo Academy prior to dismissing them. RJ is behind the others, as he walks slower thinking Shouldn’t someone go find Emiko? He looks down one hallway and listens for anything. Would she want to be found? Probably not. I get that kind of mood sometimes. I think. I assume. You just want to be alone sometimes. So who am I to go and ruin that?
RJ keeps walking to his and Barry’s dorm. He waves at Anselle as he passes the little guy “Night buddy, see ya in the morning.”
Back in the dorm, RJ sits at his desk and opens up the notebook for his teammates to update their individual pages. Zatanna’s does not have much to add besides the small details of her life before the academy. Really nobody has much more to be added, but the diligent RJ adds to them anyway. Until Barry makes him aware he had been unaware somehow of his roommate already in the room.
Barry is sitting on the corner of his bed, trying to de-grump, reading one of the Sherlock Holmes novels in hardback. He looks up at R.J.
"Whoa, hey!" RJ is startled by Barry and shuts his notebook quickly. He sees two things: one is that Barry is not in a good mood, and two that he is reading Sherlock Holmes. The first he's not sure about asking about directly, but the other was a way around to the first. "Which one ya reading?"
“Red headed League”
Barry takes a deep breath, trying once again to relax. "That Connor bugs the crap out of me, he and his pal Dinah both. "
Okay so he likes to be direct "Yeah, those two are quite the pair. Serious with a capital S, am I right?"
" Serious, overconfident and judgy " Barry grumps
RJ consciously prevents himself from looking at his notebook at the word 'judgy' keeping his eyes on Barry. "Just wait until training time. Serve up some humble pie for them." RJ laughs "Mmmm...pie. Wonder if Fate takes requests. I'll do double schoolwork for some apple pie at dinner." He says actually wishing for pie and trying to lighten the mood.
"I like Pecan myself. Maybe you and I could compare notes sometime, very slowly of course!"
" I was doing okay, right... I have to fight to maintain my calm.. Then those two... ugggh."
"You did fine roomie." He gives Barry a thumbs-up. "Considering your speed, real good. If you didn't you probably would have smacked Muscleboy."
Barry takes another long breath, calming himself successfully, at least a little bit. " I must come across as some sort of jerk in your little book eh ? "
"Little book? What...little..book..okay I got a little book." He starts to lie but gives up quickly. "But you're not a jerk. In fact not even Muscleboy is a jerk in there. Don't trust me uh...." He holds up his notebook "Have a read?"
Barry smiles and shakes his head. " No, I respect your need to do that. You... analyze things right ? I will probably give you all sorts of black mail crap on myself... Just be... well, be a decent guy about it okay ? "
"Yeah, I analyze things. Like Holmes " he points at Barry's book. "And I like to think I'm a decent guy. The only 'dirt' I got is on criminals." He catches himself on that. Harley. But doesn't think that's fair to say right now talking blackmail and all.
"Okay, I'm pretty good with Chemistry Mister Homes, math too, any class one of us is bad with we'll first check with each other... then branch out to our class mates! "
“Sounds like a plan my man.” RJ gives Barry a thumbs-up and opens his mouth to say something, but forgets it as a yawn erupts instead.
Teeth cleaned thoroughly and changed into his nightwear of black boxer shorts, RJ slides into bed and pulls the blankets over himself. “Night Barry.” His blue eyes are closed but his mind keeps running for an hour after. What would tomorrow bring if this was just their first day here?
Things were getting tense, and it was easy - for him, at least, to point out where all that spoiling tension was coming from - and not to call names, but...it was pretty obvious who everyone was looking at. Anselle's gaze shifted uneasily over the table, his brows rising in a concerned bunch as Barry- oh boy, started to say his piece; Anselle could practically see the heat rising in the boy's face, and the raising voices at the table began to turn his stomach. "Oh, boy-" Anselle groaned quietly, just loud enough for RJ to hear, hunching down in his seat, all but vanishing as he slipped down in his chair.
Emiko's exit was something that stole away some of that uneasy tension, her sharp words and swift break away from the budding drama was enough to start something of a relief to the pressure. Dinah was next to say something, taking a very weird tone, like she had some sort of authority over the group...did she? He couldn't exactly remember if anyone had actually been assigned any real roles; their little mental outing had proved they could all do something well, but leadership was another thing entirely.
By the time Dinah was done with saying her piece, Anselle had crept back into sitting proper in his seat, gaze excitedly flickering from one face to the other. Anselle met eyes with Zatanna, his lips wrinkling up in a barely hidden grin - maybe they had the same thought, Dinah certainly was trying to...exert herself over the group. That was the right word for it, right?
Oh, he still had food on his plate - as Anselle took his fork in hand again, he realized something: it was magical food. He was still new to this whole magic thing, but color him interested if this is what it could do. I wondered if Zatanna could teach him a few tricks! That'd be amazing - him, running around with magic powers, for good! Only good, of course.
When his fork hit the table, Anselle's eyes went wide, blinking at the bare table. "Wha-" Anselle's attention snapped to his hand, suddenly missing his fork. "Ah!" Okay, magic was kinda crazy.
But, oh. It was time for bed, now. Good, it'd been too long since he'd been in an actual bed - and trying to sleep on his flight over was just about impossible, not when he was staring out the window the entire time. Who'd known the ocean was so big? Definitely not him!
Hopping out his chair with a slightly forlorn look to his empty part of the table, Anselle stretched his arms above his head, closing his eyes and letting his body ease into his vibrant aura- but only for a moment, barely even a real glow. "Wooah...awesome dinner! Can't wait to see what other magic food we get to eat." Anselle blinked for a moment, a smile peeling back onto his face. "Oh, and I guess school is gonna fun, too!"
He, for one, was super excited. He'd never gone to school before! Well, he had - but learning at home wasn't the same as learning with other people, especially in a place like this! He could use his powers, learn how they worked, and study for tests! Anselle couldn't help the butterflies in his belly that came from that thought, although the spicy courses he'd knocked back might've had something to do with that. They had plenty to do, and Anselle began to realize he in parti- partalicula- he had something very important to figure out: how to handle Conner as his roommate.
No offense to the guy, but he was kind of...oh, there was a word he'd learned from a forbidden movie not to long ago. What was it, what was it...ah, yes! Jerk! Conner was a jerk! But, it didn't seem like he was a jerk...on purpose? It didn't make sense, but apparently there was such a thing as a jerk with a heart of gold - which, in his opinion, fit Conner pretty well. Anselle watched his roommate stalk off, quietly palcated by Zatanna's quick gesture, waiting until the boy was a shadow down the hall before his lips cut up in a smile.
Jerks didn't beat the daylights out of goons and personally jump the team - they were a team! - to safety. That seemed...leaderly? Anselle's eyes narrowed cleverly, staring for a moment at Dinah, watching the blonde walk off from the table. His fingers steeped together, a snickering chuckle in his throat as he finally began to scramble off. "Oh, I can't wait for tomorrow."
Anselle didn't speed through the halls like he'd done before, not at this time of night, or nearly as much rice in his stomach - his hand rose in a friendly wiggle at RJ as he passed him. "Goodnight, RJ! See you at classes!" Anselle was no stranger to getting up early; harvest waited for no one and the bladders of sheep were very small. Now, he didn't have to worry about that...
Wait...Anselle slowed to a stop in the hallway, realization creeping over him like the shadows from the dim lights. He didn't have to do that anymore - he could do whatever he wanted, within reason. But shoveling hay, plucking corn, that was a thing of the past! He was gonna be up to all sorts of things, all sorts of new things. Exciting, fun things - oh, boy. How was he supposed to sleep with all this bouncing around in his skull!
Anselle ran to his dorm's door, hand hovering over the doorknob for a moment - he considered something. Conner had slipped off before him, and he'd probably already settled in, if the way he'd laid out earlier was anyway to judge how he normally slept. Conner...also didn't seem to enjoy being around him; Anselle could understand that, he'd...got it pretty well. Looking back on their first private chat that, admittedly, hadn't gone very well, Anselle noticed a few mistakes on his half. For one, talking! Definitely had to keep down the talking.
Taking a long breath, Anselle smiled to himself. He twisted the doorknob and - right on his bed, there was Conner. Anselle didn't let his eyes linger on the boy for too long, set his eyes on their shared bathroom, flicking quickly to his bag. He'd casually paced over to his bed, pulling his bag close and rummaging through the contents, retrieving a small box from the bottom. Setting it on his bed, Anselle opened the box - a toothbrush and a small jar of creamy paste inside.
Maybe I should offer him some of my toothpaste - I don't know if they make it over here. It sounded like an okay question, but when his mouth opened...it closed just as quickly. His head lowered, lips pursing together. Scooping a small amount of the paste onto his toothbrush's bristles, Anselle stepped off to the bathroom. The sound of running water and brief sounds of surprised discovery came from the bathroom, and within a few minutes, Anselle was out, his button up thrown over his shoulder and pants...missing. Clad in his boxers and white tank top, Anselle tucked his shirt into his bag, tossing it to the floor and hopping into the welcoming covers.
He made sure to bundle himself up, pulling his sheets up to his neck - his grandparents always complained that he was sleep-glowing, and he wouldn't put Conner through that and his snoring. Up to his ears in his covers, Anselle shot a brief glance over at Conner, a weak smile tugging his lips. "G- ...night, Conner." Turning around in his bed, Anselle faced the wall, chewing over the words in his mouth. "Thanks for saving me."
The shapeshifter turns her head as she watches Dinah make her speech. She wears for a moment an odd expression. She doesn’t say anything for the moment, but clearly Dinah is heavily at odds with going to school in a relatively normal fashion. That being said, by the emotions leaking from various people, she isn’t alone. Emiko leaves in the middle of that, that girl’s emotions strained as well. In Meaghan’s opinion, both of these girls have taken enormous amounts of stress to their psyche through the actions of their young lives. The Martian girl was at odds as to how to help. Perhaps Harley could help.
So, dinner ends with all of the plates, food & drinks simply disappearing from the table. Amazing really, Meaghan made a note to have a talk with Zatanna about magic in general. Conner leaves in a huff, Zatanna making a motion to calm him that seems to work. Good, calm is a very good thing. In fact, not far from her, Barry seems to be ready to burst a seam. Meaghan, moves to him, saying to him softly…
“Dinah and Conner seem to have spent much of their childhood training on how to fight Barry. It leaves them a little light on people and leadership skills. All of us face considerable challenges in this new life we have been, in some cases volunteered to lead. Forgive them please… All of us are just going to have to learn to deal with one another without demeaning each other. “
She used just a little calmness fed into her speech, so that Barry might be able to get back to his room and reason things out for himself. Meaghan turns then to her spunky roommate Harley, who wants to play games or tell stories. The Martian girl allows herself to feel Harley’s special enthusiasm as they head to their room.
“Scary stories Harley, I bet you are a terrific storyteller! Maybe tomorrow you can start teaching me your games!”
So down to the room went Meaghan, feeling up on a very charged, up and down exciting day.
Young Barry sat in his seat as Dinah made her own no one is as good as me announcement. This didn't help his state of mind. Then Emiko left, he understood that there has been something off about the young lady from some sort of announcement she had made after the test this afternoon. Something about killing people. She had said something else about it when they had been in the garage. A trained killer from before she could drink or vote couldn't be good for a mind or soul. Then of course, Conner left after Dinah put him down too, more or less along with the rest of us.
Zatanna gave Conner a nice word to calm him down then Meaghan came by and talked with him. He wouldn't think her little speach would have worked, but he did feel calmer afterwords.
Food disappeared as a signal that dinner was over. Star Girl also emphasized this. At least she didn't cause them to disappear or snatch anyone from the group this time. Barry got up and zipped back to his room, no room for control now. Once in the room, he started his breathing exercise and got one of his books to read. Roommate RJ came in and they had a nice chat. It took just a little more time, but his anger finally seemed to fade away. He put on a little headband reading light on and read his book for about an hour in silence, trying not to think of Dinah, or any of the other girls. None of which he was certain gave much of a hoot about him, especially now. Regardless of what RJ said, he kind of felt like a jerk. Maybe he'd talk to Connor in the morning. Not Dinah though, bossy forgetful girl could just go stew in her superiority.
New schools traditionally held all sorts of excitement and this was no different. He thought he and RJ could work out well enough together. Ansell was cool, if a bit over the top. Emiko didn't seem like someone who would like or even talk to him... Harley & maybe an her roommate Meaghan. Zatana perhaps, but he didn't know any magic and the one time he tried talking to her or Pam, they both wandered off to different discussions without so much as an I'll talk to you later. ..Damnit, thinking about girls. Crap, crap, crap...Eventually an exhausted Barry managed sleep.
It wasn’t much later that Emiko decided to return to her room. Her walk through the halls and around the school grounds had been rather uneventful, just how she preferred it. It had been nice to not be surrounded on all sides by teenage bickering. Peace seemed to be something she would be yearning for a lot more in the coming weeks, especially if all the days were like this first one.
As the young Queen girl turned the corner towards her room, she wondered what Zatanna was up to. The girl had been nothing but kind and comforting to her since the day had started, and had only continued to do so into the evening. I guess I am pretty lucky, she thought. I could have ended up with someone like Conner. Emiko smirked to herself.
Upon reaching the door, she knocked gently before entering, not wanting to startle her roommate or wake her if she was asleep. Tip-toeing into the room, Emiko shut the door behind her before seeing Zatanna.
“Oh, you’re still awake. Well then, I figured you’d be asleep. Cause y’know, it was a long day and stuff. Uhm…anyways thanks..for everything. Despite the senseless arguing towards the end there, dinner was actually pretty nice.” Emiko sat on her bed, briefly fidgeting with her hands before turning over and burying herself under the covers.