Detention wasn't exactly an amazing start to the school year. Especially at Steph's new school, where the others students were amazingly well-behaved, and the guy on her left had actually looked shocked when she fell asleep in class. Well, more like when she woke up. It was probably safe to assume that he didn't actually look shocked the entire twenty minutes she was out.
"Steph," Steph corrected her, and Cassandra smiled.
"Cass," she returned.
French-class-boy took the seat in front of her, then turned to face her with a serious look on his face. "I'm so, so sorry. It's my fault that Dupont caught you napping. Um - detentions don't go on your permanent record, so you won't lose your scholarship, or anything."
That was something that Steph hadn't even had time to consider. "How did you know I'm here on a schol?"
"Tim knows everything." Jay threw his arms around Cass, in an embrace that looks half-hug-half-strangulation. "He's the family genius. Although if you don't mind me saying, New Kid, the whole school knows you're the scholarship girl. You're jaunty. Public schoolers are always jaunty."
"Are you really all related?" Steph didn't think she had been jaunty today. More like, so nervous she could wet herself. "Only-"
"Adopted," Cass said, elbowing Jay in the stomach as she does so. He backed off hurriedly.
"This isn't really much of a detention," Tim said. He doesn't seem quite capable of meeting Steph's eyes. "They used to make kids pick up rubbish, or take gum off desks, that sort of thing. But given that Jason had 43 consecutive days of detention last year I think they've just given up."
"Well, they're not going to expel me, not with Dad being who he is." That sounded more like a rich kid speaking."What are you doing here anyway, little bro?"
"Since everyone else was already here, I thought I might as well join you." Tim's mouth quirked into an almost-smile. "Save Alfred two trips. And if you shut up for more than three seconds, I might actually have a chance to get some work done."
Jay took the hint, and actually seated himself at a table, pulling out pen and paper. Steph guessed that that was it; they were meant to stay here and study for a couple of hours and then go home. Still in bizarro world, then. Still, she was more likely to get work done here than she was at home. She pulled out her Math book and started working through it, and actually made a fair amount of progress before Cass tapped her lightly on the shoulder and said, "Wrong theorem." God damn it. But Cass showed her what she was actually meant to be doing, and by the time the clock on the wall had ticked its way to 5.30 Steph had finished almost all of her homework.
"Have you got a ride home?" It was Tim that asked, surprising Steph.
"Yeah, I guess. I was going to take a bus..."
"But you don't live close, do you? If you catch a bus it'll be dark by the time you get home. We'll give you a lift."
They had a freaking limo. With a driver. Steph stared at it in shock until Cass tugged lightly at her arm. "You could come home with us for dinner, if you like," she offered. Steph thought of the fridge at home, which was almost definitely empty, and was tempted, but she shook her head instead.
"It's my turn to cook," she explained, and didn't add that it was almost always her turn to cook, and that that was going to be impossible unless she also did some shopping. Was there enough money left on her credit card for a week's worth of groceries? Unlikely. And was it just her or were Babs and Dick totally making out? Jay caught her eye and grinned again, then strode over to the limo and opened the door with a flourish. "Ladies first." Cass punched his stomach as she passed him.
"So do you think you're going to like it here?" When Dick and Babs had finished swapping saliva and had said goodbye, and everyone except the older girl were packed into the limo, and Steph had given her address to the driver, who to her eternal gratefulness did not bat an eyelid when she told him what street she lived in, Tim asked the inevitable question.
"I guess. It's pretty different from Gotham High..."
"Tell me about it." That's Jay, who insisted on sitting next to her, his leg brushing against hers no matter ho many times she shift further over. "Is that creepster Mr Beggs still there?"
"You guys went to Gotham High?" Steph asks, surprised.
"I did. For a while. It didn't really work out."
"He tried to burn down one of the computer labs," Cass put in, in her soft voice.
"That was before I met Dad," Jay continued, unabashed.
"Stealing his tyres."
"So anyway, I know what it's like to be going private for the first time, if you've got any questions-"
"Come to me," Dick said firmly. Steph glanced at Jay, expecting him to argue, but he didn't. There was clearly more to the older boy than what met the eye. Under no circumstances would Steph refer to him as The Transformer until she found out whether he has a sense of humour. "Or Babs. We're both on the Student Council - it's our job to help out new students."
"Or me," Cass put in. She gave Steph a small smile. "We're already in class together."
"You could sit with us at lunch tomorrow," Tim put in. "Our friends are really nice."
"So basically you're saying that everyone in this family is available for comment except me." Jay sounded put out, but when he caught Steph's eye he winked at her.
She found herself laughing. Not to intentionally echo the little orphan Annie or anything, but she was starting to suspect she was going to like it here.