"My Daddy can make one of those with his special ring," The little girl informed him.
"One of what?" Principal Nolan asked the kindergartener. He felt a little irritated that she seemed wholly unintimidated by her first trip to the principal's office.
"He can make letters in things," She said. "He put my name on my toy once."
"With his ring," The principal slowly repeated as he sighed. Most of his kindergartners were in the throes of one fantasy world or another but he knew of this girl's situation. Superman had come personally to get the daughter of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern admitted into Metropolis Elementary School due to it's proximity to the Metro Tower. Her parentage was even kept confidential between the principal, the school secretary, the nurse, and Emma's teachers.
Nolan wasn't particularly impressed by the child's revelation and was not certain he should pretend to be interested. He held fast to his grave face, the one reserved for children who had committed severe offenses. This innocuous looking little girl, with her dancing emerald eyes and shimmering waves of amber hair, certainly merited the look. Nolan hadn't suspended a kindergartner in years; actually he never remembered a time where he had to ever suspend a kindergartner.
His eyes moved to the clock in the right-hand corner of his computer monitor just as his secretary buzzed him, "Mrs. Stewart is here."
The child's feet swung faster in excited response to the announcement of her mother's presence. Nolan doubted her joy would endure beyond the first minute or two of the conversation, once her parent was made aware of her behavior. "Send her in now please."
The door to the principal's office opened inward and a Thanagarian woman, who looked nearly identical to her daughter, stepped into the small room. Her frown moved from Nolan to the little girl who was in the process of leaping from her chair.
"Mommy!" Shayera Stewart's daughter hugged her legs.
Shayera has been caught off guard when Mister Terrific told her that Emma's school was calling and that her daughter was in trouble. After leaving Rex with Wally, Shayera made her way to the school and prayed that Emma hadn't seriously hurt anyone or managed to destroy anything.
"It's only the second week of October," She quietly informed her. "And you're already sitting in the principal's office." As a flash of sullenness briefly clouded her daughter's eyes, Shayera looked up at Nolan and stretched out a hand, leaning forward a little unnaturally as not to wrest her legs from the arms of the little girl who had captured them. "I'm sorry if my daughter caused any trouble. Usually Emma is very well behaved and this is a complete shock."
Nolan nodded at Shayera's statement. "When we have conversations like this, we like for the student to have a seat in the Reflection Chair."
Shayera gazed solemnly at her daughter and nodded her head towards the tall chair. Emma clambered obediently into it and started swinging her legs again.
The principal gestured toward a thickly cushioned chair in front of his desk. "From what I've heard and what others have seen today, I believe some of the other children might need protection...from your daughter."
"What did you do?" Shayera asked the child with a sharp, quizzical look.
"I waited three strikes," Emma replied with a shrug. "And then Donny ran out of strikes."
Shayera's face remained turned towards her daughter but her eyes shifted to Nolan as he continued. "It appears a boy in her class-"
"Donny!" Emma repeated.
"We don't generally release other children's names." Nolan said. "Emma said that while her class was waiting on the stairwell, on the way to gym, a little boy pushed her."
"If it's a kid named Donny." Shayera said, her eyes darkening a bit. "I have already spoken to Emma's teacher about him. Emma had trouble with him before. He seems to like to antagonize her."
"I told him to stop," The little five year old added. "But he didn't. I counted to the third strike on the stairs."
"And what happened?" Shayera asked her daughter more than the principal.
The principal held up his hand, silencing Emma as she opened her mouth to answer. Shayera frowned at this, she felt that he had no right to silence her daughter. She rather hear it from Emma; her daughter wasn't a liar.
"She hit him in the head," He said grimly.
Emma elaborated guilelessly. "Elbow smash to the temple Mommy."
The principal watched as Shayera's mouth slightly twitch as though she was about to smirk. She seemed unable to respond for a moment. Which was fine as Nolan hadn't yet finished.
"I'm afraid that's not where our story ends," He said. The Thanagarian turned towards him, frowning.
"A couple of fourth graders were moving past Emma's class as the teacher was settling them down so they could move forward," Nolan continued. "One of them saw Emma hit Don...um, the little boy with her elbow and he grabbed her shoulders. She..." The principal blinked as if not quite believing the several accounts he had received about this aspect of the incident. "She did some kind of martial arts kick and hit him in the arm. And this boy, this fourth grader, he's three times your daughter's size and she literally took him down."
"Jump spinning hook kick," Emma declared proudly and looked expectantly at her mother for a sign of approval. When no praise seemed forthcoming, she added defensively. "He grabbed me first then I kicked him in defense."
"He meant no harm though," Nolan said hastily. "He was merely trying to prevent Emma from hitting the other boy again."
"I didn't kick him that hard," Emma said heatedly. Turning toward her mother again, she explained, "I used the flat of my foot, not the heel."
The oddness of this qualification alone made the principal question what the Stewart's home life was like. Yes the parents were superheroes but surely they weren't teaching their children how to fight at such a young age.
Shayera's face had gone blank; she did not seem to know what to say. Finally she asked neutrally, "Are they ok? The boys my daughter beat up."
"Thankfully yes," Nolan replied with a curt nod. "The smaller boy's nose was a little red but the nurse gave him some ice. The older boy has a sore arm but was more startled than anything else."
Shayera turned toward her daughter, "So you did use the flat of your foot?"
Emma nodded happily and started toying with her hair. Nolan did not like the mother's response; the confirmation of her daughter's use of self-control seemed too much like approval.
"Mrs. Stewart-" Nolan started.
"Mr. Nolan, I am very sorry," Shayera said quickly. "We're going to have to monitor Emma's television time," She gave her daughter a halfhearted, stern look. "No kung-fu movies anymore." The girl giggled; she never watched a kung-fu movie in her life.
As Emma's eyes glittered in, what Nolan was almost positive was, amusement. Her mother added, "And we'll see that there are appropriate consequences for this behavior. I can completely assure you that we do not teach our children any type of fighting moves at home. Emma simply likes to watch action movies and has a rather vivid imagination."
"I appreciate that Mrs. Stewart," The principal said dubiously, adding that school policy still required him to suspend Emma, for at least the rest of the day and the next three school days. Regardless of a student's age or gender, the rules had to be applied uniformly. Shayera assured him that she understood and asked if she could take her daughter home.
As Emma hopped from the chair, she asked. "Mommy, can we go get ice cream?"
"Well um you have to be punished," Her mother replied tonelessly as Nolan's eyes narrowed. "That would rule out ice cream."
Emma pouted but allowed Shayera's hand to engulf her tiny one. Shayera gave it a quick squeeze and nodded toward the principal.
"I won't beat up anymore kids," She promised. "But only if they don't push me three times."
"I don't think anyone here will ever push you again," Nolan said wryly. "But even if they push you five times, you can't hit them. You have to tell your teacher."
Shayera nodded as she added in, "No more elbow smashes." The little girl nodded in agreement. Despite the gravity of her tone, Nolan was sure he saw a brief glint of pride in Shayera's eyes. "Or," She waved her hand in a vague circle. "Jumping spinny whatever kicks."
"Hook," Her daughter offered though she knew that her mother knew what the move was called as she seen Shayera use it plenty of times on bad guys on TV. She waved to the principal and led her mother out of the small office. Nolan watched the door close behind them and completed the incident report he had started on Emma Rachel Stewart whose tenure at Metropolis Elementary, he was unpleasantly sure of, was going to be more colorful than the average student's.
Despite her resolve Shayera quickly crumbled under her daughter's pleading expression and caved in, allowing her daughter to have ice cream. Which was why the two were currently up in the Watchtower's cafeteria.
"You have whipped cream on your nose honey," Shayera informed her daughter, as the little girl shoveled a spoonful of fudge-coated chocolate ice cream into her mouth. Shayera leaned forward with a small smile and wiped the glob of white fluff off with her thumb.
"You could have some ice cream," Emma offered as she moved to hand the sticky spoon to her.
She shook her head. "Thanks but Mommy needs to stay in shape. Now what aren't we going to tell that stupid principal or your teacher?"
"That you took me to get ice cream even though you said you wouldn't," She answered eagerly, as though she was answering an extra-credit question. "And that I don't watch kung-fu movies anymore cause I got you to properly teach me but they can't know that you're teaching me how to defend myself."
"And?" Shayera pressed.
"And even if someone pushes me three times I'm still gonna hit 'em," She replied enthusiastically.
"Right," Shayera nodded. "But not too hard." After a moment of deliberation she added. "And what aren't we going to tell Daddy?"
"Even though I got in trouble you still let me have ice cream and that I ate ice cream before eating a healthy lunch," Emma replied promptly.
"That's my girl."