Dick shuffled through the paperwork, rubbing his fingers through his hair and sighing. The accepted folders, five of them, were stacked on the edge of his desk, next to list of the scheduled appointments for the next day. He shoved the rest of them to the side, dumping them in the outgoing tray and pulling the stack over, opening the one on the top.
Jason Todd. 18 years old, grade twelve. He’d started school a year late, according to his paperwork. ‘Perhaps that accounts for his misbehavior’, the elementary school counselor had written in his file.
(“Fuck you, Grayson,” the kid said, feet stretched out, boots resting on the other chair across from him. “I was provoked.”
“What did they say?” He asked, resting his chin in his hands and watching the boy’s eyes flicker, his cheeks reddening as anger flushed his features and his fingers clenched. This boy, so full of rage... And with no outlet to allow its escape.
“I don’t remember,” the boy said finally, turning his gaze away, the lie evident in his hunched shoulders.)
He would be the biggest wildcard in the group- that is, if he showed up at all. He’d have to talk to Bruce about persuading Jason to come. He set the file on top of the larger file folder that would hold these five, labeled “The Outsiders”.
That’s what they were, right? The Outsiders, always being sent to him for various reasons.
Always on the edges of things.
He was determined to band them together.
The second file, when opened, held a perfect transcript and a small array of notes in Dick’s own messy handwriting. Tim Drake, fast on his way to becoming the Valedictorian. He’d skipped a grade- a 16 year old Senior, thin, pale, hardworking. Too hardworking: that was why he had appointments with Dick in the first place.
Teachers had finally realized how worn out Tim seemed to be, and despite their attempts to subtly lessen his workload, the dark circles beneath his eyes seemed to continually darken. Now Tim had appointments with Dick every Thursday during his free period.
Personally, Dick thought that loosening up a little in a group of his peers would do him some good.
The third file, the widely acknowledged ‘mistake’ of the Junior class. Stephanie Brown, pregnant sixteen year old. She was a good student, got good grades, but hung out with boys that were not, in Dick’s opinion, good for her self esteem. Her teachers had sent her for weekly appointments the moment the news of pregnancy came out.
“Fix her,” they’d said, and they hadn’t listened when Dick had protested.
“There’s nothing wrong with her,” He’d said, turning away.
(“Fix her,” they repeated.)
She could definitely use some support this year.
The fourth file was another Wayne, this time not adopted. Damian Wayne, Principal Bruce’s son, had recently moved in with him after living abroad with his mother for the past 13 years. He was brash, he was rude, he was haughty, and he was exceedingly, scarily smart.
Problem was, he was also pretty verbally abusive towards his teachers.
A thirteen year old tenth grader was not something they were used to. A thirteen year old tenth grader who ripped apart any and all fallacies in their teaching with language most often seen in doctorate students was so far out of their range they’d set up almost daily appointments with Dick.
(“Why am I here, again?” Damian drawled, dumping his backpack on Dick’s desk with little regard for the paperwork he was filling out.
“Good afternoon to you too, Damian,” Dick said, looking up at the grumpy boy with a small smile. “You’re here because yesterday you made the AP chemistry teacher cry after you ripped apart the powerpoint she made on her thesis topic.”
“She was entirely wrong-”
“Regardless, you’ve been scheduled for appointments with me, and so here you are. I’m very proud of you for taking the time out of your day to actually arrive at the meeting, Damian.”
“Tt.” The boy clicked his tongue, rolling his eyes and pulling his art binder out, shoving papers aside on Dick’s desk and setting to work, obviously intent on ignoring Dick until the session was over.)
And the last file, the fifth player. Cassandra Cain. 15 years old, small, shy, quiet. Well.
Quiet was an understatement.
She didn’t speak. She nodded, sometimes, or spoke in other ways, but Dick hadn’t even heard her voice until their third session. It worried some of the teachers, and confused others. She got perfect grades, never missed a day, never missed an assignment, but also never spoke.
(“How was your afternoon yesterday, Cass?” Dick grinned at the quiet girl, shuffling papers around as he dropped his pens back in their jars and cleaned up his space. She was his last appointment of the day, the half-hour before school ended.
It had been the quietest half hour of his life the last two weeks she’d come in for sessions.
“It was pleasant,” She murmured softly, twining her fingers together and looking down at her shoes.
He almost jumped out of his seat with excitement at the sound of her voice.)
These were the players he had to work with, with this new group therapy he was trying. It was experimental at best, an allowance from Principal Wayne to attempt to see if it would be beneficial for repeat offenders in after school or Saturday school detentions.
It was all he had to work with, and he hoped it would be enough.