At their weekly dinner, Bruce told Clark, “I found a new one.”
Clark finished chewing and swallowed before saying, “Who?”
Bruce sipped his water. “Leonard McCoy, first generation. He’s a self-healer, mostly, but I’m certain he can heal others.” He cut a piece of steak and stabbed it with his fork. “I’ve taken him into my custody, though he’s with Bond at the moment. He’ll be dropped off with Diana this week.”
Clark studied him as Bruce ate and swallowed. “What happened to him, Bruce? You haven’t taken in a stray in years.”
Bruce met his eyes. “His father.”
Clark nodded, turning his attention back to the food. “He’ll be going to the Academy, then,” he said.
“Yes,” Bruce concurred. “He’ll need a guardian because he’s going to be living on-campus.” He stood and asked, “Do you need a refill?”
“Please,” Clark said, handing off his glass. “Where’s Alfred tonight?”
Bruce smirked. “He’s out with Dr. Thompkins.”
Clark grinned as Bruce walked to the kitchen, two glasses in hand. “Who do you think would be a good guardian?” he called, taking another bite of his supper.
“Wally,” Bruce said, coming back into the dining room. “Leonard needs less structure, and Wally…”
Clark chuckled. “Yeah, Wally isn’t very structured.”
On Monday, before first hour, Wally got the summons and sped to Bruce’s office.
“What up, boss?” he asked, trying to sit still.
“I need to discuss something with you, Wally,” he said. “What are your plans for tonight?”
Wally thought for a quick second and answered, “Grading.”
Bruce said, “Come see me. I have an important task for you.”
Wally bounced. “’bout time.”
Grinning, Bruce made shooing motions with his hands. “Head back before your students burn the school down.”
Wally bowed and hurried back to class.
Finally, he mentally cheered. Something important.
“I heard we have a new student,” Sophie said, stepping up next to Principal Wayne in the courtyard on Tuesday. “A senior transferring in.”
“Yes,” Principal Wayne agreed. “He’ll start next week, barring any catastrophes.”
She glanced around—two of the PE teachers were among the students, and Missouri chatted with a small group by the wall. “Are you expecting trouble, sir?” she asked. “You’re usually in your office during the morning break.”
He looked at her. “Can you tell me who is all down there, Professor Devereaux?”
She glanced around again. “Oh,” she said, feeling foolish. “Nero and Jim.”
“Yes.” Principal Wayne stepped forward as Nero leaned down to hiss something in Jim’s face.
Before Principal Wayne reached them, Jim took a swing at Nero. By the time he reached them, Jim was bleeding on the ground with Nero kicking his torso. Spock tackled Nero and Principal Wayne roared, “Stop!”
Both boys froze. “Nero,” Principal Wayne said, “you will wait for me in my office. Now.”
Nero took off without looking back.
“Spock,” Principal Wayne continued, “take Jim to the infirmary.”
“I can walk,” Sophie heard him say as she hurried over. “’m’not ’nvalid.” Spock didn’t respond, just carefully lifted Jim into his arms.
Principal Wayne turned to survey John and Chris, who should have seen the fight brewing. He didn’t say anything and after a few moments he left the courtyard. “Everyone back to class,” he called over his shoulder.
Sophie collected her students, who couldn’t stop talking about the fight.
James felt Jim’s ribs while Spock stood stoically to the side. “Not broken,” he murmured. “You have a few internal bruises, so things’ll twinge for a little while.” He placed his hands on Jim’s torso and poured a little energy into Jim’s skin. The surface cuts and bruises healed without a mark. Next, James lifted Jim’s hand to fix his sprained and broken fingers.
“You really shouldn’t tangle with Nero, Jim,” James told him, eyes flicking to Wayne as he entered. “You’ll never beat him.”
Jim shrugged, wincing a bit. If Spock weren’t so serious, James knew, he would have rolled his eyes.
James related Jim’s injuries to Wayne, who listened emotionlessly. “Two days of detention,” Wayne commanded Jim. “An hour after school helping out at the stables, as soon as Dr. Wilson clears you.”
“Yes, sir,” Jim said.
Wayne looked at Spock, who, impossibly, straightened up even more. “For you,” he said, actually pronouncing Spock’s last name correctly, “a verbal warning. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, seek help from an authority figure.”
“Yes, sir.” Spock inclined his head.
Wayne nodded and turned to leave. James followed him out and asked, “What will you do about Nero? If Spock hadn’t intervened, Jim would have broken ribs. I can’t heal those.”
Wayne sighed. “I know, Dr. Wilson.” He glanced at the door, where Spock and Jim were murmuring about something. “Send them back to class, Mr. Kirk with a note excusing him from PE and Power Training for…” He raised a brow.
James thought a moment. “Two days should be enough for the internal bruising.”
“See to it, then,” Wayne said. “Leave Nero to me.”
James returned to the infirmary and the two boys who waited. As they were leaving, House limped in, cranky as usual.
“Anything good on the grapevine?” James asked him.
House smirked and settled at James’ desk. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
James rolled his eyes. “You’ll either tell me or you won’t,” he reasoned, putting away supplies and sterilizing the bed where Jim had perched. “Make up your mind, House. I have things to do.”
House pouted, but James ignored him. “Fine, fine,” House grumbled. “Wayne found a real healer.”
James spun to look at him. “You mean someone who heal deep?”
“Yup,” House said. “He starts next week.”
Considering that, James thought briefly about how long he’d wished he could really heal—not just surface wounds, broken toes and fingers, but deeply, cancer and severed limbs. If he could really heal, he could fix House’s leg.
“C’mon, Jimmy,” House said. “Entertain me. I’m bored.”
James shook his head, sighing.
Missouri left Nyota in charge of her class and followed the grumble of John’s mind to the gym, where he had his PE class running laps.
“Walk break!” he called and headed Missouri’s way.
She smiled at him but didn’t try to soothe his emotions—John never appreciated people in his head. “How are you doin’?” she asked.
He glared. From the pack of boys, she heard nasty thoughts about John and she looked over—they were freshmen, young and foolish, and one’s mind kept up a steady stream of chatter, flitting from subject to subject. She internally grinned, focusing back on John.
“I should have known,” he said, staring at his hands. “Those boys have been fightin’ since Kirk got here and Wayne even told us to keep watch.”
Missouri said, “None of us were payin’ attention, John.” Honestly, the fool. If anyone were to blame, it was her—what’s the point of reading minds if you don’t even notice bullying goin’ on right under your nose?
He shook his head, rejecting the comfort, glancing back at his students. “Push ups,” he called. The boys dropped one-by-one, and Missouri listened to their mental jabs at John. Some were pretty imaginative.
“Dad,” Sam called from the floor. “I hafta use the bathroom.”
John rolled his eyes. “Anyone else?”
Most of them said, “No, sir,” but the one whose brain kept chattering paused and shot his hand up. “Sir, yes, sir!” he boomed.
“Go on,” John said. Both of them bounced to their feet and rushed to the locker room.
Missouri placed her hand on John’s shoulder. “I need to get back to my class,” she said. “Try not to torture your kids because you’re pissed at yourself, you hear?”
John chuckled. “You know, Missouri,” he told her, catching her hand. “You and Wayne are the only people in the world who’d dare talk to me like that.”
She patted his cheek and bustled off. John was still angry at himself, but he felt slightly better.
Jim Kirk met her in the hallway outside her classroom. “Ms. Moseley!” he exclaimed. “As lovely as ever.”
She shook her head. “Incorrigible child,” he said. “Get on in there.”
He grinned at her. “Ma’am, yes, ma’am.” He opened the door and strode in, announcing, “Fear not, fellow students—James Tiberius Kirk has arrived.”
Missouri and Nyota shared a look as Missouri followed into him the room.
At lunch, Rodney marched into the cafeteria, already in a mood. John followed, smiling at the lunchroom staff in apology.
“So, what’s pissed you off today?” he asked, settling next to Rodney and passing over the bowl of jello.
“The half-Vulcan argued theoretical physics with me again,” Rodney grumbled, digging into the jello. “And then Winchester offered his own opinion and I couldn’t get us back on topic.”
“Well, that must be hard,” John said. “Students who actually think.”
Rodney glared at him. “Your sarcasm is unappreciated, Sheppard.”
John shrugged, dumping ketchup on his meatloaf. “You’d be complainin’ if none of them talked, too.”
Rodney muttered something John pretended not to hear, but then kept silent for a few minutes. “They’re not complete idiots,” he finally admitted. “The Scot has some crazy ideas and the half-Vulcan is far too literal, and I swear Winchester will blow us all up one day, but they actually have potential.”
“We’re getting’ a new student,” John observed, letting Rodney’s admission pass without comment. He hated saying nice things. “He’s signed up for my basic senior class—what about yours?”
Rodney shook his head. “Not yet. At least, not the advanced class. Maybe regular; I’ll check later.” He drained his coke and said, “Nine million, five thousand, three hundred, and fifteen.”
John rolled his eyes. “Rodney.”
Rodney raised an eyebrow. John rolled his eyes again and huffed, “Fine.”
Mid-afternoon, Diana led the boy through her apartment and said, “Bruce—Principal Wayne—will come by for you later this week. He’s still making arrangements, Leonard.”
“Thank you,” he murmured, shifting in place. “I-I can clean and cook, to pay my way, if you want.”
She turned to face him. He avoided her gaze, head tilted down. “You are a guest in my home,” she told him. “And you are a child. You will rest and play; your only chore while in my care is to read over the schoolbooks I provide you, preparing yourself for Starfleet Academy on Monday. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he said. He still didn’t look up or meet her eyes.
Diana gently lifted his chin with her fingers. “You are safe, Leonard Horatio McCoy,” she said. “You are not in trouble and should not fear.”
He smiled at her, just as fake as the one Bruce wore most of the time. “Yes, ma’am,” he repeated.
He didn’t have a single scar on his body, but she saw a hundred in his haunted eyes.
“Go bathe,” she said, stepping back. “I will have a meal prepared when you return.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he murmured. She watched him walk down the hall and wished she knew who had hurt him so, but Bruce had said only his name and ability, nothing at all of his past.
She thought back to when James brought him to her, rail-thin and shivering and expecting punishment or some imagined sin he would not name.
“Diana,” James had rumbled in his delicious accent, one she heard only infrequently in the States. “Delivery for you.”
He made only slow, careful movements around the boy, and touched him only when he said goodbye.
Diana nodded her understanding and thanked him.
Now she strode to the kitchen and prayed to Hestia for guidance in cooking a meal for Leonard McCoy so that his ability would heal his undernourished body.
“Master Bruce,” Alfred called as Bruce walked into the Manor. “Good evening, sir. A letter arrived for you.”
“Hello, Alfred,” he said, shrugging off his jacket and taking the yellowed envelope. “This must be years old,” he observed. “Interesting.”
He gently opened it and unfolded the fragile paper within. “Well,” he murmured.
“Would you like supper in your study tonight, sir?” Alfred asked.
“Yes,” he replied, heading for the stairs while still reading. “I need to call Clark, Wally, and probably Diana, too. Definitely John Winchester.” He paused at the foot of the stairs and turned to face Alfred. “How much did you make?”
“Enough for the school-board, Master Bruce,” Alfred said. “I shall ready the meeting room and serve the meal at half past eight.”
Bruce took the stairs two at a time, rereading the letter in his mind.
Good evening, Bruce Wayne, only child of Thomas and Martha, principal and superintendent of Starfleet Academy for Gifted Students, friend of the most powerful people in the world.
You do not know me. I died before you were born. You know my grandson, though, and my granddaughter-in-law—Heaven rest her soul—and my great-grandsons, those sweet boys.
I met your grandmother once. I shook her hand. You are the first of your mother’s bloodline without an ability—but you are yet gifted. You call the mighty to you and they love you.
Now, you’d do best to keep all the above to yourself, but what follows… ask John what he did with Mary’s journals. She looked into the future, to the months soon approaching. She saw a boy who would change the course of your world. If I’ve timed this correctly, he should be starting at your school next week.
You have the greatest force in the world at that school, my dear boy.
Things might be changed from what I saw. Every decision has an affect, after all, and I write this before so much of it has happened…
Be ready. And protect those children so that they can protect the world in the years ahead.