Marinette was two years old when her mother left.
Her father spiraled into the hold of alcohol and drugs, and forgot about her.
Marinette was four when she ran away from home, opting to live on the streets of Gotham instead.
To this day, she wonders if her father even noticed she was gone.
Marinette was five when she met a boy.
He was nine years old, a whole four years older than her. He called her ‘pixie pop’ and ‘Nettie’ and other nicknames that made her feel loved. He protected her and taught her how to survive.
His name was Jason.
Nettie was five and a half when she and Jason decided that they were brother and sister. After all, they already treated each other as such.
They were partners in crime, stealing and pickpocketing off passing people in order to survive.
Nettie was six when she lost him.
They ran into some older kids in Crime Alley. The kids tried to take the meager scraps and items they possessed. Jason pulled her behind him and tried to fight them, three-on-one.
The police officer found her crying over his unconscious, bruised form and put her into an orphanage.
Nettie was six when she was adopted by Tom and Sabine, and became Marinette again.
She was a haunted child, chased by the ghost of her brother and followed by the memories of the streets.
Over time, she learned to put on a front, to be cheerful and to smile.
Marinette was seven when she told her friends that they could call her Nettie.
It was a huge step forward. She had started to accept that her brother was dead, but she would never stop mourning him inside.
She had yet to tell anyone else about him.
Nettie was eight when she lost him all over again.
She came home from school and turned on the news, and Ms. Chamack was standing there, next to a picture of her Jason.
“-Jason Todd-Wayne, the adopted son of billionaire Bruce Wayne, was abducted by the Joker and died in an explosion last night. Jason was twelve years old and had been living with Monsieur Wayne for about two years.”
Her world crashes down around her.
Nettie turns off the tv, runs up to her room, and cries.
She doesn’t come out for a week.
Nettie is nine when she tells her closest friends why she was so depressed for the last year.
She thought he was dead. She found out that he was alive all that time by watching a news broadcast of his actual death.
She asks her friends to stop calling her Nettie. The memories associated with it are too painful.
Marinette is thirteen when she meets Alya and becomes Ladybug.
Alya doesn’t know about her past, she just know that Marinette is adopted. Both Alya and Tikki bring out her self confidence again.
Neither of them know about Jason, and she sure as hell isn’t going to tell them. It wouldn’t make a difference.
Marinette is fourteen when Lila enters the classroom, spouting bullshit left and right.
She laughs off Lila’s threats, until Alya is the first to turn against her.
After that, the rest of her classmates quickly leave her side.
Marinette becomes the scared four year old girl on the streets again, alone in a dangerous world with nobody to turn to.
She still dreams of Jason’s hand ruffling her hair and calling her pixie pop at night.
Marinette is sixteen, friendless and sneered upon, when Madame Bustier forces her to give a presentation on Gotham and talk about her personal experiences in the place.
It’s not her fault, really. She didn’t know what Marinette went through.
She tells the class about her life growing up on the streets. Tears stream down her face as she tells them how Jason protected her and how they were split up. She talks about the horrors of Gotham’s crime alley, not leaving out a single detail.
Madame Bustier tries to chide her on being too graphic.
“Madame, you forced me to give a presentation on the hellhole that I grew up in. You told me that I had the best idea of what it was like, therefore I was obligated to share it with the class. I did what you told me to. I told you about my life, all the personal details that I never wanted to share. Are you happy?”
Because Marinette wasn’t. She wasn’t happy.
Marinette is seventeen when she learns that the senior field trip will be to Gotham.
She probably brings too many weapons in her purse. She doesn’t particularly care.
Tom and Sabine won’t let her skip out. They insist that it’ll be a good opportunity to finally move on.
She trails behind the rest of the class at the Museum of Heroes and Villains with her sketchbook. Originally, she brought it in case she had inspiration. Instead, all she can think is that the Robin suits are atrocities and stains upon this world.
Marinette wants to burn them all.
She isn’t paying attention to where she is walking, and bumps into someone else.
Marinette looks up to apologize, the English word on the tip of her tongue, when her heart stops.
She flings her arms around him as tears stream down her face, and he wraps his arms around her petite frame. She doesn’t know how long they stayed like that for. Neither of them particularly care.
Marinette finally pulls away to examine him up and down. “Mon dieu, Jason, I thought you were dead. Everyone said you were dead! And then I found out you were alive, but actually dead because I watched a news broadcast of your actual death and-”
She’s interrupted by him hugging her again. “Shh, pixie pop, it’s okay. I’m here now. It’s alright.”
Marinette is seventeen when she quite literally runs into her brother again. She is seventeen when she becomes Nettie again, and she is still seventeen when she returns home from her field trip, happier than Tom and Sabine have ever seen her, to announce that she has been accepted into Gotham University and will be attending in the fall.
Nettie is seventeen when her world begins anew.