“Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” Alfred began in his grandfatherly voice, “is to infiltrate their base,” Alfred took on the accent she’d heard her brother use when he was devising plans, “take down their defenses, and render them useless. You will use any means necessary and return here when you have the required goods.” Alfred stooped in front of her, his hands on his granddaughter’s shoulders. “Do you accept your mission?”
Marinette, a short young girl of nine with blue-black hair and sapphire eyes, smiled up at her adoptive grandfather. “Sir, yes sir.” Her smile was full of missing teeth and her cheeks glowed red. Her blue-black hair was pulled back into two pigtails, secured with bat-themed ribbons, and her eyes shined in the kitchen lights.
Alfred smiled at the little girl and pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Go get ‘em.”
Marinette knocked on the frame of the door to the game room, her eyes full of tears and the end of her little nose turning red. With the hand that hadn’t knocked on the frame she was worrying the hem of her shirt, one that had belonged to their father but had since been passed down to each new child when they arrived.
Her four older brothers turned to look at her, and the oldest two were suddenly reminded of exactly how small she was. Tim put down his controller and offered her a smile. Damian, the only blood son of their father, simply scowled at the girl and her choice of outfit.
“What’s up Pixie Pop?” Jason asked while motioning the small girl into the room. He crouched to envelope their younger sister in his arms and looked up at their oldest brother.
Dick crouched next Jason and gently turned Marinette’s head to face him. “Hey, what’s wrong?”
“She’s just being a baby.” Damian spat from behind Dick. “She should get over whatever it is.”
“Lil’ D, that’s not nice. Marinette is a part of this family just like you and Tim and Jason and I.” Dick looked at their youngest brother and saw the scowl on his face. “No scowling in the game room.”
Tim sighed and walked over to his older brothers, his eyes drifting over Damian before they landed on their youngest sister. “Okay Bug, what’s up?”
Marinette looked up at her third eldest brother, her sapphire eyes searching his before she turned on the water works. Big, watery tears rolled down her face before her bottom lip wobbled. The tiny hand that had not knocked was still worrying the hem of her shirt while the other one came up to nervously tug on her pigtail.
Dick jumped into comfort mode and pulled their little sister against his chest, rubbing her back in tight circles. “Hey, Tiny Bat. What’s wrong?”
Jason glared at Damian before his face softened when Damian’s usually cold expression gave way to the expression of an upset child. Jason motioned for Damian to come to him, and was pleasantly surprised when Damian rushed into his arms. Jason and Dick shared a look before they also pulled Tim into the group hug.
Marinette’s quiet voice cut through the silence of the room, drawing four of her five brothers’ attention. “I just miss my parents.”
Jason’s heart broke. He remembered that feeling, and based on Dick’s expression, he did too.
Tim’s head shot up when he heard the sound of sneakers in the hallway. He smiled at Duke Thomas and motioned with his head for him to come into the room. “We’re having a family hug.”
Duke simply nodded, joining his brothers and younger sister in the hug.
None of Marinette’s brothers noticed her hand poking out of the group hug to take a picture and none of Marinette’s brothers noticed when she pulled her hand back into the group hug.
Marinette sat on the kitchen island, her legs swinging back and forth as she giggled.
Alfred was singing a French lullaby while he made his famous key lime pie. He put the pie into the fridge before he walked over to his youngest granddaughter and smiled.
Marinette let out a giggle before Alfred helped her get down off the counter. Marinette and Alfred turned to look at the doorway between the kitchen and the dining room when they heard five sets of shoes run down the hallway. Marinette looked at Alfred, his eyes lighting up with laughter. He grabbed her hand and the two walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room and to the entry room.
Marinette let go of Alfred’s hand in favour of ducking behind his leg, because although Bruce Wayne was now her father
Father, huh, that’s a word Marinette never thought she’d use. Even after being a ward (an adopted word) of Bruce Wayne for almost a year it was still weird)
Alfred felt more like home, and shot Bruce
(because Marinette would never call Bruce Papa because her Papa died with her Maman)
a shy and nervous smile.
Alfred passed his son a sad smile before he smiled down at his youngest granddaughter.
“Demon Spawn!” Jason chastised, smacking the back of Damian’s head. “Stop glaring at her!”
Tim huffed, looking at his brothers. “Can you two behave?”
Dick rolled his eyes before clapping Bruce on the shoulder. “Marinette cried today, and we had a sibling hug.” Dick whispered to his father.
“I know. I saw.” Bruce fought the smile that was trying to spread across his face while he looked at his oldest.
“You know? How do you know? It was only the six of us in that room!” Dick looked at his father before looking accusingly at his brothers.
A soft giggle pulled the attention of the boys and Bruce to the tiny girl who was still hiding behind Alfred.
Damian’s face darkened before he took a step towards the girl. Marinette, in fear, bolted from the room and ran.
Alfred, Dick and Jason looked at Damian with fire in their eyes, although Alfred regained his composure the fastest.
Duke just watched as the tiny girl ran from the room, like she was running from a fire. His heart went out to the girl, to his new sister, and looked at Damian.
Damian, in typical eleven-year-old fashion, couldn’t understand why his two oldest brothers were glaring at him. “What?” He demanded, his face pulled back in a sneer.
“You were threatening her.” Tim stated before he passed his father a smile. “I’m happy to see you B.” He grabbed Duke and they took off in the opposite direction.
Dick turned away from Damian, Jason on his heels, to look at Bruce. “I’ll be in the cave. I’ll be more pleasant after dinner.” Dick and Jason walked off towards the cave.
Alfred nodded curtly at his son and grandson before turning on his heel and retreating to the kitchen. Leaving father and son alone.
Bruce turned to Damian, his face expressionless and his hands hanging limply at his sides. “Go to your room. I, or one of your brothers, will come collect you when it is time for dinner.” Bruce waited for Damian to march from the room towards his bedroom before he let out an exhausted sigh and went to find his wayward daughter,
daughter that was new. Marinette may have lived with them for nearly a year but never had Bruce thought of her as his daughter until now
, wherever she may be.
Marinette sat in the smallest, darkest corner of a closet
she could find. Her hands were pressed firmly against her ears with her knees pulled up against her chest. She tried to fight off the tears that were threatening to fall down her face.
Flashes of the fire that took her parents and home came to her, causing a whimper to fall from her lips. She pressed her lips together and forced herself to stay quiet. She couldn’t afford to allow anyone to find her, because surely she’d be punished for running off like that
like she’d been while she was temporarily placed with a family back in Paris
. Marinette’s breath hitched when she heard Bruce’s wingtips on the floor.
Bruce opened the closet door, shrugging out of his suit jacket and walking in to grab something more comfortable when he spotted the tiny bare feet that belonged to his missing child. He quietly went about grabbing a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt that had once belonged to his own father before he walked out, closed the closet door and changed out of his suit. He placed his suit in the laundry basket next to the door before slipping on his slippers, comically enough they were Batman slipped. He reopened the closet door before taking a step inside and closing the doors behind him. He sat down close to his missing daughter and placed his hand close to her.
Marinette flinched away from Bruce
her father her thoughts corrected
and curled up tighter.
Bruce frowned and looked down at the floor. “I was your age when my parents were killed in front of me. We’d left the opera house because they used bats and I was afraid of bats.” Bruce let out a breath he didn’t know he’d held. “We were in the alleyway because I was afraid but my father,” Bruce let a small smile appear on his face, “your grandfather,” Marinette’s head popped up at the term, her eyes wide and unbelieving, “said that he was the one who was afraid. There was this mugger, he came at us and took your grandfather’s wallet and your grandmother’s pearl necklace. They handed them over because they were just possessions, then he pointed his gun at them and shot them. They weren’t resisting, they weren’t trying to run away. He killed them in cold blood.” Bruce held his arms open, giving Marinette the option to crawl onto his lap if she wanted to. “I never forgave him, nor did I ever forget him. He was caught and sentenced to jail before I met your oldest brother.” Bruce smiled at the tiny child who’d climbed into his lap and was staring up at him. “We’re your family Marinette. Damian just doesn’t know how to be a part of this family yet.”
Marinette nodded, letting the tears roll down her cheeks.
Bruce would always be grateful for the mission that sent him to Paris.