Usual disclaimers apply.
"I can't even read your writing," Helena said as she got the paper closer
to the light. "How do you expect me to grade it?" She pulled her robe
around her tighter. He could have at least shut the window when he came in.
"I don't need you to grade it!" Alvin Draper yelped. "I need you to HELP me
"I help by grading. Did you write this thing while you were flying through
the air, or something?"
"Look, there's a long story that involves me being captured by the Joker's
men and being tied to the underside of a train."
"And so instead of escaping and writing the paper at home like a normal
person, you wrote it on the under side of the train?"
"Well. I kinda had to see where they were going, bla bla bla. Look, are you
going to help me, or are you going to pick on me?"
Helena sat back and smiled. "Ridiculing you is working out quite nicely for
the moment." She uncapped the red pen and circled a sentence. "This is
gratuitous. You said that in your last line."
"That line's like seventeen words long! Cut out the other line! That's
like. TEN." Robin began pacing back and forth. Why? WHY?
"Ah. The little Robin is word-counter."
"I'm not a word-counter. My teacher is. Look. Come on. like hurry up and
stuff. I got an hour before I gotta be back."
"You're rushing perfection."
Alvin threw himself into a chair. "You're just doing this to torture me."
Helena didn't say anything. After crossing out an entire paragraph that
just made no sense at all, she let a smile spread across her lips. She
wasn't one to crush the self-esteem of a fledgling-writer by slashing his
work to bits, but in Robin's case, she felt his ego could take the hit.
With great joy, she put an ugly red X through a word and correctly spelled
"How long did this have to be?" She asked casually as she turned the page.
It wasn't even stapled, just dog-eared together. "Seven hundred and fifty
words? I think with what I cut, you're running at about five hundred and
"Oh my GOD. You know EXACTLY how many words? I'm dead. I'm going to die
when he sees it. It was only six hundred and seventy-seven to start out
She flipped to the end of the paper. "Is there a reason this paper only
deals with the first half of the book?"
Robin looked at the floor.
"Figures. Try reading the whole thing."
"See, I did, but the wind was rushing by so fast on the under-side of the
"The pages flew out of the book," she finished.
"And Moby Dick sucks," Robin added. "I stopped caring when he got all
parinoid that people'd think he was gay because he was in bed with a guy
who chops people's heads off and sells 'em."
"That's not EXACTLY what's going on there." She put down her pen and looked
up with him. Who'd have guessed that the Boy Wonder would be another
disgruntled English student in search for a quick fix for the fact that he
hadn't spend adequate time preparing for class.
"Melville should be dragged out into the street and drawn and quartered."
"I thought you Bat-folk didn't approve of lethal force."
"Bartleby the Scrivenger brought me around to your way of thinking," he
"An entire unit on Melville? Do you go to a private school or something?"
She looked up from another basically horrible page to see him look at her
carpet and blush. Busted. Chalk one up for the non-approved vigilante in
"Can you like. just finish?"
"I'm you're only prayer of passing tenth grade, aren't I?"
Alvin collapsed to his knees at her feet. "You gotta help me!" he begged,
practically crying. "If I don't pass this class. its curtains! Helena.
Huntress. HELENA. HELP ME! PLEASE! I'M BEGGING YOU! There're people..
They're going to KILL me if I fail this class. And they're going to kill me
in painful ways! I'll be good. I'll never tell anyone your secret identity
ever again.I'll put in a good word for you with Batman. just PLEASE! Help
She snorted. This was far too much fun than she should be having-as a
vigilante or teacher. "Really. Batman's going to kill you if you fail
"Lady, it ain't Batman I'm scared of," he said in cold sincerity.
Helena realized he really WAS in trouble. She sat up straight. "Alright,"
she told him. "But this is going to cost you." She could see Robin swallow.
"I'm not asking for your soul. But after we make this paper look like A-
material, YOU are going to finish that book and write a REAL paper on it,
on your own, without my help.
"For YOU? Aww, man."
"It's my way, or you face whoever's going to kill your skinny little butt."
Robin looked like he'd bitten into a lemon. "Alright. Seven Hundred and
fifty words. Moby Dick." He shuddered. "I can do this."
Helena smiled. The sick pleasure she was getting from this made up for the
KGBeast thing. It made up for Nightwing giving her the brush off. It almost
made up for getting shot four times in the chest during No Man's Land. Life