HIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE.
NOTE: To fully understand this prompt, please read its prequel, Gotham Academy AU Part V. Thanks!
More than anything, there was one thing Bruce was thankful for during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Alfred’s dedication to his succulent feast of a dinner.
That perfectionism of his made it entirely possible for his young ward to sneak out of Wayne Manor and bike his way back towards Gotham Academy, a devious plan concocted in his mind. It felt just as invigorating as it was mortifying to know he could exhibit the characteristics of an adult and a child simultaneously. All Bruce knew was that he had a goal in mind and the rest of the world, along with his sense and logic, were burned away in the recesses of his mind while he was ablaze with a need to put his curiosities to rest. If he could only learn something of value about the mysterious Diana Prince, perhaps he could expel her from his system and return to his rather gloomy and placid life. Until he had accomplished such a feat – as dangerous as his methods were in curbing his distress – it felt as though there was no reprieve from his insistent desire to use knowledge as a means to best her.
All he needed to do was collect some sort of background information about her from a direct source.
The principal’s office was the perfect place to begin his highly inappropriate escapades.
Bruce believed himself to be intelligent when he stored his bike in the tailored hedges next to the academy’s main entrance. The surrounding walls felt taller when he was meant to sneak around them, but he refused to let himself be intimidated. For fear of being spotted by any passersby despite the secluded property the school sat upon, the would-be sleuth crept through the open gateway with ease; he had correctly predicted that the janitorial staff would be on-site at such a late hour in order to tidy the place without lawless teenagers getting in their way. That would guarantee an easy way of slipping in and out through the entryway, however, that would present him with sentries to avoid when he eventually got inside.
It was time to strategize.
Any entrance into the building would serve him well so long as he could get inside. Bruce had decided on his bike ride over that the main entrance would be too simple – too suspicious – and therefore most unlikely that the doors would be unlocked. As ironic as it was, the very doors he had ran through when hoping to chase Diana down on the quad were his best chance at getting into the school. After all, the staff parking lot led off from the quad, since the main supply closet was across from the library. Everything sounded so realistic in his mind while he slinked around the east side of the building, fighting off the nipping cold and the falling snow and his self-preservation instinct.
It was only when the jostling of locked doors greeted him that Bruce allowed one negative thought enter his mind: had he let himself become too obsessed with this girl!?
One that he wasn’t even the slightest bit romancing, let alone befriending?
One that had presented herself to be a vision of loveliness no matter how much he tried to antagonise her?
One that was shrouded in mystery, even though she was constantly injecting herself into his life?
His obstinate willpower stomped out that lone hesitation as he then tried to assess his surroundings. Bruce scanned the wall before him carefully, nearly scoffing at his fortune when he spotted a rather thick downspout connected to the rain gutter on the roof – he could scale the wall! All he needed to figure out was an accessible entry point—
He was immediately surprised to find a cracked window.
It didn’t look like it was done on purpose – more like someone hadn’t secured the hatch and left it ajar ever so slightly – nevertheless, it was absolutely vital for his mission. The fact that it was on the second floor made him nearly suspicious of his good fortune, though. Still, Bruce wasted not another moment as he stomped over to the thick black pipe and found his grip with his warmly gloved hands. Finally, his training with Alfred would come in handy! The butler would most likely not approve of his usage of such techniques, he knew…
Bruce planted one foot on the wall and then pulled himself up with all of the strength found in his upper body.
It took him a few good heaves, a handful of deep and chilling breaths, but he reached his secret entrance in exactly two minutes and thirty-four seconds.
He’d lie to Alfred and say that it was his time for climbing the rope in gym class, because he was quite proud of his efforts already.
With eager hands did he throw the window open. Bruce stretched out his left leg to hook inside the room, his left hand holding onto the wall as he tugged his entire body toward the smell of the chemicals that were cleaning Gotham Academy. He let loose one pained grunt while channelling the muscles of his core to not only balance his body but to toss himself into whatever room he had snuck into.
The moment he landed though, his good fortune ran out.
A gasp came from the other side of the room, a flashlight fell down the length of his bundled form, and a smoky voice demanded, “Who the hell are you!?”
Bruce refused to lift his head for fear of being recognised now, or later in a line-up of students. He remained still due to nervousness but he also had the intention of luring the janitor into closer and closer…
Until he could perform a classic fake-out by shooting off to one side and running around him, booking it for the door.
“Hey, WAIT!” Shouted the disgruntled old timer as he attempted to chase Bruce down and bring him to justice. Calling Alfred from the local police station had not been on the agenda for the evening, and so the young sneak-thief called upon his weary muscles to drive him onward while he re-evaluated his situation.
Headmaster Hammer’s office was on the first floor, and of course, the closest stairwell was the very one Diana had cornered him in not too long ago! He stomped down the steps she would have taken to reach him that day, only he leapt over the last few to hasten his escape. Bursting through the doors in front of him, Bruce swiftly opened the mental map in his mind and reconfigured his route to the office. If he ran diagonally through the main lobby, he would be inside the secretary’s office in no time…!
Provided it wasn’t locked!
The cautious thought did nothing to dispel his passion to reach his aim. Bruce tore through the lobby and when he reached the opposite side of it, the doors he had just closed opened up with an angry bang. The janitor was surprisingly agile given the age heard in his voice, but that did not mean he would succeed. Unsteady feet pounded against the ground, all while a young master Wayne had already skidded on the sparkling marble floor before the secretary’s office door and was more than relieved to see that it was unlocked still! He made sure to make a few noisy footsteps to make it sound as though he hadn’t just stopped before the first hiding spot he could find and kept going on his way. Right when his instincts warned him that his diversion was more than enough, he not only leapt into the room, but jumped over the desk.
Just when Bruce settled underneath, the janitor was heard grabbing onto the doorjamb in search of him. There was a moment of panic underneath his calm façade. A painful breath was trapped in the midst of his chest as he wondered if he would be caught for his overzealous belief that he could hide away in such an obvious place and win.
Apparently, the janitor only wanted to lock the door.
Bruce’s eyes opened wide momentarily, shocked at the logic of the old man who had literally trapped him in the very room he had been aiming for the entire time! It was thanks to his typically hated upon bravado that he was foolish enough to charge forth with his scheme, resulting with him rising from underneath the desk that should have the key to Headmaster Hammer’s office hidden in it somewhere. Admittedly, he was jittery with excitement to have made it so far; the usually stoic teen tore open all of the drawers he could see to the secretary’s desk and flipped through every folder, magazine and naughty romance novel she had stashed away, yet there was no key to be found.
To have the door he needed to unlock sitting at his back while he was looking at attendance sheets and pirates holding maidens by their waists was infuriating! In a moment of anger, Bruce shook the desk and watched as everything on top of it rattled instantly.
All accept the vase-shaped pencil holder.
Brow arched, Bruce ripped it off of the desk and stuck his fingers inside, digging around the pencils and pens in the hopes of finding his much-needed key—
The very one that was sitting in the middle of the ring of dust that the pencil holder had left on the desk.
The smirk that befell his face was almost mocking, with how unbelievably simple the security was at such a prestigious academy. He knew, for whatever reason, that if he had any secrets of his own, they’d be hidden behind at least thirty different kinds of security.
What was the point of hiding something that important if it was ripe for the taking, like that?
Bruce could only hope, as he shoved the key into its corresponding keyhole, that Diana’s information was just as poorly guarded. The Headmaster’s office was just as drab as he remembered it: a desk that sat before a window, and twenty or so cabinets of all sorts of files. Even with the power of the internet on the rise, it was quite clear to the tech savvy young man that the school had yet to consider a digital database for their students’ information. In all honesty, he could discern which method of obtaining his guardian angel’s file would have been easier.
Bruce saw a sticker above one of the many drawers labelled ‘P-T’ and he realised that he had his answer.
The drawer was heavy when he began to open it, and so he had to move slower as he dragged it on its track. There was a hefty smell of dust and paper when he began sifting through the ‘P’ section, passing by Pérez and Peter until he hit Prince. Surprisingly, there seemed to only be one person in the entire academy with the last name pertaining to royalty. Bruce ripped the thin folder from its place amongst the many others and rushed to the window. He knew to keep the lights in the room off in case someone spotted the office aglow and gave him even more to grief.
What he did not expect to give him such difficulty the very file he committed a felony to obtain.
GOTHAM ACADEMY STUDENT APPLICATION [Historia Vitae Magistra]
First Name: Diana
Last Name: Prince
Home Address: 2217 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Age: 14 (D/O/B: December 31st, 1981)
Previous Education: Graduate of the Amazonian Academy in Themyscira, Greece. Class Representative.
He had barely scanned over the basics of her information and already, Bruce was disturbed. How could a portfolio so clearly manufactured ever issue a student access to Gotham’s most elite prep school? There was no such place as Themyscira, not on any map of Greece he had ever seen! With a supposedly perfect GPA, and an English-based name for an evidently Greek girl, none of the facts presented on the paper in his hands felt coherent.
And he surmised all that without considering her unnatural wisdom for someone their age.
Despite his disbelief, he decided to press onward. Bruce believed that there was something telling in the folder he had snuck into the school for, and refused to leave until he found it! He skipped past her personal details – such as social security numbers and what not – until he reached a particularly interesting section.
Parent / Guardian
First Name: Antiope
Last Name: Prince
Occupation: Martial Arts Instructor
Place of Occupation: Amazonian Arena – Women’s Training Facility
Address: 2217 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
It did not take a scientist to afford Gotham Academy, nor did it take one to know that a martial arts teacher could not pay the bills, either. Bruce didn’t understand the Amazonian theme – were they referring to the amazons of Greek myth? The ones that Hercules defeated? – but it only highlighted his suspicions of Diana’s entire existence. Seeing that address again also made him wonder how a girl went to school in Gotham City could have her residence listed in Washington, D.C.? Nothing in the file aside from their names made sense and in that moment, his head was swirling due to all of the misinformation he was being forced to digest.
That is, until he heard someone grab hold of the doorknob to the secretary’s office and reach for their keys.
Bruce’s head shot up at once. Was the janitor back, prepared to check the room thoroughly after running around the halls without finding the intruder? A rush of adrenaline kicking, Bruce scurried back over to the cabinet and slipped the folder back into place, in the small wedge of space he had been intelligent enough to leave for himself amongst the many others. He also managed to remind himself that – even though he could not put back the key – Headmaster Hammer’s door had been closed before he had tampered with it. His firm hand shot out and shut the door just as the janitor turned the key in the lock.
An escape was more of a necessity than ever before!
The only viable option, Bruce knew, was to jump out of the window he had been making use of not more than two seconds ago. It would be easier to pull himself through the window and leave it slightly ajar than it was to crawl through the one on the second floor, as he had earlier. He braced himself for the speed of his actions and tore open the awning crank and shot himself onto the snow-covered lawn. His nose met with the ground when he fell, but he chose to endure it, pick himself up, and find that bike of his! Once he got home to the manor, he could have hot cocoa and warm himself by the fire and—
The disappointed look on Alfred’s face as he exited Gotham Academy’s main entrance told him otherwise.
From the back of his precious car, the world’s most intuitive butler slammed down the lid of the trunk with a gloved hand. Bruce looked between his two options of transportation – the car with an angry butler or a bike he could pedal himself – only to realise that Alfred had most likely been standing at the trunk of his car because he had shoved his bike into it. Out of options and the fear of being caught ever on the rise, Bruce childishly whispered with an unfair rage, “Al-fred!”
All his butler did was chuckle at his distress, but not with any sort of mirth, oh no. There was darkness in his tone, the sort that suited Gotham City. It gave Bruce a chill worse than any tumble into the snow could have and it was more haunting than the fear of being caught by the janitor. But he said not a word as he climbed into the driver’s seat and turned on his car, sans the headlights required for night time driving. It was a curious decision, unless he was planning to help his charge escape.
Bruce did not wait to find out and threw himself into the back seat of the car, slamming the door shut as if all of his stealth was stolen away by his guardian the moment they had locked eyes. “Drive, drive!” he ordered while slapping the cushion of his own seat repeatedly.
“One would assume that I came here for that very reason.” Sassed the old man. He applied such light pressure to the gas pedal as he spoke.
Riled beyond reason, Bruce argued reflexively, “You shouldn’t have just shown up like that! I had everything under control.”
“Oh? And what exactly did you have control of?” The question had every intention of pinning him down, and it absolutely did.
Bruce frowned, unable to say a word. The feeling of being stumped after achieving such a victory as reviewing Diana’s file was utterly preposterous in his mind, and yet, Alfred always managed to make the impossible possible. “I just left a book at school.”
Without missing a beat, as per usual, Alfred shot right back, “And I see that you left your sense at home, if you think I would believe that for even a moment.”
“…I could have.”
In the rear view mirror, Bruce could see that his guardian wanted to chuckle at his weak retort. He refrained however – ever formal – and maintained his parental demeanour. “Well, what you will be doing, as a form of repentance, is inviting that lovely young lady to dinner tomorrow night.”
The mere idea nearly left him speechless. “W…What!?”
Nodding, Alfred explained, “You have wronged us both in one day, and so you shall make it up to us the next day; you were unnecessarily rude to a sweet young lady and you thought it wise to sneak out of the house and lie to me about your motivations. Hence, I shall be setting the table for three for our Thanksgiving dinner and Miss…?”
“Miss Prince will get to try that pie I offered to her earlier. Am I being clear, Master Bruce?”
Gritting his teeth, Bruce said, grumbling, “Crystal.”
At least he could prove is something was real inside that folder of hers: the phone number he had memorised right before putting everything back.
((A/N: Sooo much is going on in this one! First off, this story takes place directly after Part V, which is what I always planned. Bruce shows off his pre-Batman skills by
being a pain in the ass sneaking into Gotham Academy to learn more about Diana through lies through hard work! The two name he reads when looking through the folders are both Wonder Woman artists~
Antiope will be in the Wonder Woman movie, but OMG does she have a tragic story… She just made the most sense as Diana’s guardian, but we will see Menallipe at some point~ Oh, and Diana’s birthday is her debut as a superhero, back in 1941! Phew, well, I hope you enjoyed this instalment of my Gotham Academy AU and get ready for more because there is another prompt for it in my inbox! ~ Maiden))