Marinette sighed, curling in on herself and resting her head on her knees. She didn't think Gotham would be this cold in the fall and she also didn't think the roof she was currently perched on would do nothing to protect her from the harsh wind. Well, it at least had the best view of her target. It was late in the evening, almost night really, and there was currently a gala being hosted in the building in front of her. It was an amazing piece of architecture, clearly one of the older buildings Gotham had to offer. It stood tall and proud in all it's gothic architecture glory against Gotham's newer, more modern buildings. The venue itself was a mixture of outdoors and indoors and, much to her relief, her target was spending most of his time outdoors.
She smiled softly as she saw him talk to what she had assumed to be one of his brothers. He seemed happy. That was more than she could ever have hoped for, really. Honestly, she didn't know why she decided she needed to see him with her own two eyes especially when her life was the current mess it was, and yet here she was watching him like a stalker. She frowned slightly at the thought. Maybe she should leave, and yet she didn't want to. She missed him, dearly. Just a few more minutes, she convinced herself, a few more minutes and then she'd go.
She barely registered the light thump behind her. It was silent, as though whoever she was now sharing the roof with had experience in stealth. She wasn't afraid, however. She had noticed a figure looming nearby the gala, watching out for any potential problems. Whoever they were, it was more likely that they were one of Gotham's heroes. Despite this information, she kept her guard up as the figure silently approached her.
"What are you doing here?" The voice was male, so not Batgirl or the rumored Black Bat. His voice was gentle but firm, a kind no-nonsense demeanor that almost put Adrien's to shame. Her heart sank at the thought of the boy, but she silently schooled her emotions. "Why are you stalking the Waynes?"
"Not the Waynes," she corrected gently, "Jason Todd." She could have just lied and said she was curious about the gala or maybe just out for fresh air when she saw pretty lights and was distracted, but years with Lila and being Ladybug made her hatred for lies even more intense. Besides, she wanted to talk to someone and the hero seemed friendly enough.
"Why?" She could tell that he was more cautious with her, probably ready to attack her should he have to. Well, push comes to shove she could just jump. She was pretty sure she could stick the landing quite easily. Still though, she didn't sense a threat so she wouldn't act like he was one.
"Because before he became a Wayne, he was a Todd… my older half-brother." She admitted in a murmur. It felt nice to say it out loud, to admit it to someone who actually knew who she was talking about. Her friends back in Paris knew she had an older brother named Jason, but they didn't know who he was or where they had lived. She was really tight-lipped about her upbringing in Gotham. The hero behind her though, he knew. Jason Todd was quite the prominent figure and, even if he didn't believe her, it was comforting to know he knew.
Marinette watched as he ruffled a younger kid's hair, smiling widely when the poor boy gave him a death glare. She couldn't help but smile along. Jason always was such a brat, but he was the best big brother either way. She really did miss him.
She had expected the hero behind her to ask her to leave, or maybe just ignore her. Instead, he calmly walked towards her and sat next to her at the edge of the building. "So he's your older brother?" He asked calmly. Marinette forced her eyes to wonder from Jason to the hero sitting next to her. He had the iconic black hair and domino mask, but his suit wasn't the red and green she was expecting; instead, he adorned a black suit with blue details. She liked the design much better than that of the Robin she remembered back when she lived in Gotham. Was he perhaps Nightwing? She knew she should have researched the heroes a bit more before teleporting over. She was relieved to see he had left some space between the two, making sure she wouldn't be uncomfortable with his presence. It was nice to know the Gotham heroes were considerate.
"Yep." She smiled. "Best big bro a girl could ask for." She turned to look at Jason again. "I thought he was dead." With a sigh, she tightened her arms around her legs. The two had been separated when she was still young by social services, shortly after they told her he had died. A lie, she realized when she happened to see his face in a Parisian newspaper. She hated lies even more after that. She wanted nothing more than to travel to Gotham and search for her brother, but at the time she had a responsibility to Paris as Ladybug; she couldn't just leave.
"I see..." It was clear the hero was at a loss for what to say. She wondered if he even believed her, or if he thought she had gone mad. It's okay, though. What he thought didn't matter, all that mattered to her at this moment was seeing Jason happy. "Are you going to talk to him?" Oh, she hadn't expected that. She stayed quiet for a bit, thinking. Even she didn't know if she came all this way to try and talk to him or just to see how he was doing. Her heart simply felt like it would break if she didn't see him alive and smiling like she remembered him last.
She ached to talk to him, to reunite with her long lost brother. Her dear older brother who took care of her when no one else would have. The only person who could make her smile no matter what. She never did stop loving him and she didn't think she ever could. He was always going to be her big brother who would punch a guy twice his size for insulting her. She couldn't help but wonder if he missed her too, if he wanted her in his life again. Maybe. He was kind like that and she had a feeling he would never turn her away… and yet…
Yet there was a reason she had come to America. Sure, she came to Gotham specifically for him, but she came to America to escape. The Miracle Box was a heavy reminder in her backpack about her unwanted responsibilities. She could settle down somewhere and live her life as Marinette Todd, but would it really be fine to drag her brother back into her world? He deserved to have a normal life and Marinette was the exact opposite of normal.
"No, I don't think I will." She finally answered him, eyes still on Jason. That decision made her heart ache with yearning, but it also motivated her to keep going. She couldn't afford to drag any one person into this, not like Master Fu did her. She doesn't regret it though, as awful as her life turned out, she's thankful it had been her that was forced to take this role. She wasn't certain anyone else would be able to pull it off, especially since she was a true holder. Then again, maybe if it had been someone else then things would have turned out better.
"Why not?" The hero asked, looking at her curiously. She momentarily wondered why he was so curious about her story, especially since she wouldn't be here long enough for it to matter anyways. Well, it's been a minute since she had a decent conversation with someone.
"I just wanted to see him. It looks like he's happy and surrounded by people who love him. I don't want to get in the way of that." It felt like she was trying to convince herself more than she was the hero. "Besides, I'm pretty much broken." She forced out a chuckle, deciding to confide her heart to this stranger. "He's already done so much for me, so the least I can do is stay away so he can be happy." It took all of her willpower and years of living under Hawkmoth's thumb not to let her emotions get the better of her. She couldn't be here any longer, she realized, any more and she wouldn't be in the right mind to walk away. With a silent goodbye she tore her eyes from Jason and started standing up.
"Where are you going?" The hero asked with what Marinette assumed was a frown, it was hard to tell with the mask on.
"I think I've stalked him enough." She smiled bittersweetly and started walking to the other side of the roof. "I should go anyways, Gotham isn't my home anymore." Neither was Paris, she thought to herself. She didn't really have a home now. She'd have to find somewhere secluded and far enough away from everyone that no one would be able to track her down; at least she could still make money off of commissions. Only four people, not counting her clients, knew she was MDC; and one of them was dead. Jagged would never rat her out, though she had to promise him she'd let him visit wherever she ended up, and neither would Clara or Penny; and everyone else only knew her as MDC. She at least had that.
"It could be." The hero stood up too, following her across the roof. "I think he would love to have you in his life again, miss..." He trailed off, not knowing her name.
"Marinette." She mindlessly answered his unasked question. "I know Jason would accept me if I waltzed right in, he's a kind person like that; but my life..." She frowned, not quite sure how to express her situation without giving anything away. "I guess you could say it's dangerous now. I don't think it'll ever be safe and he doesn't deserve that… his family doesn't deserve that." She smiled despite herself looking down the side of the tall building, already figuring out how she'd make her descent. "Not to mention I only bring bad luck."
"What do you mean dangerous?" The hero's voice sounded off, almost like a warning or maybe a threat. Marinette turned to look at him and offered a kind smile.
"There is no need to worry, I'm not the danger. Just the target." She took a step closer to the edge and closed her eyes. "Goodbye then, monsieur hero. Thank you for your company." With that she leaned back, letting herself fall. She heard the hero shout 'no' and she knew he was going to try and save her, being a hero herself, but she didn't need him to. Besides, she wasn't anywhere near suicidal. Depressed and anxious? Oh for sure, but suicidal? Not quite. She opened her eyes and grabbed onto the railings she had seen before her fall, using the momentum to swing from that railing to the one on the adjacent building.
In almost no time at all she landed lightly on the ground. Looking up she saw the familiar shape of the hero looking down at her, she couldn't see his face from so far down but she imagined he'd be wide eyed. She couldn't help the giggle that escaped her lips as she waved at him. Slowly, he waved back as if in a trance. With a satisfied nod, she turned and left.
Nightwing couldn't believe the series of events that had just happened. He was on vigilante duty for the night, alongside Red Robin and Black Bat. The other two were somewhere else in Gotham, going from rooftop to rooftop patrolling for crime. Since there was a Gala happening now, he was in charge of this specific area to make sure none of the usual party crashers would appear; it got kind of annoying after the third time Scarecrow decided Bruce's guests made great lab rats. When he saw a lone figure watching his brothers on top of a tall building, he was expecting a fight.
He was not expecting to find out that Jason was holding out on him and that he had a little sister. She could have been lying about it but he highly doubted that; the pure emotion he saw in her bluebell eyes was proof enough that she believed what she said. If anything, she just withheld information, which isn't really considered lying. He also didn't expect his new baby sister to be in a dangerous situation, let alone a target. The moment Jason got a hold of this information was the moment whoever harmed his baby sister was going to die.
For once, Dick wasn't so entirely against Jason's murderous tendencies. The girl seemed kind hearted, especially since she'd rather yearn for her brother in the shadows then potentially endanger his life. He was already a bit protective of her, if he was being honest; and, if she really was Jason's sister, then she was family and he protects family. He also had a feeling Bruce would be adopting her if he ever caught wind of her. A traumatized kid with blue eyes and black hair? Yeah, she stood no chance.
If the revelation of her being his brother's long lost sister wasn't enough of an emotional rollercoaster ride, seeing her jump off a building certainly was. His heart was still beating from that little surprise. He was going to jump off after her, try to catch her somehow and then probably yell at her for jumping while coddling her with blankets and hot chocolate; instead he watched gobsmacked as she gracefully used the building's railings and details to scale down with style. He couldn't help but wonder how she'd be with a trapeze. He also couldn't help but think how adorable she was for waving at him. Okay, maybe he was starting to get attached.
"Do you believe her? Why did you yell? Is everything okay?" Red Robin asked in the comm. For a moment Dick was surprised to hear his brother's voice, having completely forgotten he was wearing an earpiece. Of course that meant that Tim, Cass and Barb heard his entire conversation with the girl.
"She jumped off a building. Turns out she knows how to do parkour." He answered the second question. "We should call Jason, see if he wants us to follow her. It looked like she was heading over towards your part of town Black Bat."
"Switch places?" He heard his sister ask. It made sense considering he was the only one who knew what she looked like.
"Yeah, that's a good idea." He started making his way towards where he saw the girl walk to. It looked like she was heading over to Robinson Park.
"I'll call Jason and add him to the comms. I'm also looking through police records for a Marinette Todd, maybe she has a record." Oracle informed them. It took a minute before Jason picked up the call. They could all hear muffled noises, so it was safe to assume Jason had left the gala for the call to be more private.
"What's up?" He sounded worried, which was a fair reaction to being called by the patrol unit while he had to stay as a civilian. He probably thought there was something serious going on, which wasn't too far off from the truth.
"Do you have a sister?" Nightwing decided not to sugarcoat his question. Jason hated talking about his past, so Dick would normally try and butter him up before asking about anything related to his pre-Wayne days. Now, however, he really needed to know if he had a new baby sister. He also really needed to know if he was trying to find and tail someone who was actually related to his brother, it would be kind of creepy otherwise.
"That's none of your business." Jason hissed, a note of aggression in his voice. So the answer was probably a yes. Yay for the new baby sis!
"Oh, okay. It's just that this girl… I think her name was Marinette? Yeah. Marinette said she had a brother named Jason Todd. Really misses the guy." Nightwing could barely hide the smile on his face, he absolutely loves teasing his brothers. It was probably the best part about being an older brother.
"You talked to Nettie??" Jason gasped. "She's alive?" He whispered, probably talking more to himself than anyone in the call.
"She also thought you were dead." Red Robin added and Dick swore he heard a frown in his brother's voice. He was probably trying to figure out how it was that the two siblings thought each other were dead; he was also probably trying to figure out how he never found out Jason had a sister.
"I'm tailing her right now, or at least trying to. It's like she just disappeared." Nightwing was looking for her everywhere. How did such a sweet girl just vanish? He was starting to worry that someone might have kidnapped her, but surely she'd have screamed or something of the like. Surely he'd have heard her. Oh man, not even five minutes into being an older brother and he already lost his new sister. Jason was going to kill him.
"Where did you see her go?" Jason's voice was hard, demanding. Something Dick hadn't heard from his younger brother since his revival.
"Robinson Park." Nightwing supplied. "Though I don't know if that was her destination or not. I'm going to keep looking." The moment he said that, Jason hung up. "And he's gone."
"Wait, does this mean Bruce is adopting another kid?" Red Robin asked.
"Oh yeah, we're getting a sister!" Nightwing grinned, absolutely ecstatic about the fact.
"Damian isn't going to like this." Red Robin noted with a sigh. He sounded exhausted. Dick would have to drag him to bed after this or sic Alfred on the boy, either way works.
"Yep." Black Bat hummed in agreement.
Jason knew where Marinette would be going; he just knew. There was a spot in Robinson Park where the two of them would go whenever Willis was in one of his moods. They'd go there to talk and just enjoy the park. More often than not they'd go after the park was closed, and they'd have to sneak through the gates. There was a hole in the southern side just big enough for two kids to crawl through, though Jason had a bit of a harder time going through it since he was bigger.
He was quite thankful he had insisted on riding his bike to the gala. He quickly hopped on, slapped on his helmet and sped his way to the park. For a moment, he swore he saw Nightwing in his periphery. He'd have to thank his brother later on for finding Nettie, and he definitely had to ask just how the fuck that happened, but for now he was a man on a mission. His baby sister was alive, and she was in Gotham. He reached the park's parking lot in record time and quickly made his way towards the gates. He wasn't a child anymore so he definitely wouldn't fit through the hole, but thankfully he was well versed in the art of jumping from rooftop to rooftop so finding a way to hop over an 8 foot tall fence wasn't too much of a problem.
He ran towards their little spot hidden from sight by one of the park's stupidly ornate statues, right by a large oak tree. He saw a figure sitting comfortably on their branch, leaning against the trunk of their tree and swinging her legs leisurely. For a moment Jason's breath hitched, he couldn't believe the sight he was seeing. His little sister, the girl he vowed to protect and thought was dead, was right in front of him. Her back was turned towards him, but he recognized her immediately anyways. Maybe it was wishful thinking, but he knew it wasn't. He silently walked closer to her, mesmerized by her presence. He could hear her soft voice as she spoke to herself under her breath, and it was just as beautiful as he remembered it being.
"Maybe Canada?" She asked no one really. "I'm sure there's a town in the middle of nowhere there. No one would think to go to Canada. It's just so peaceful and nice… right? But also really cold, and everyone knows I hate the cold." A beat passed before she sighed. "Okay, I don't think I'd survive Canada's cold if I lived there. What about somewhere in the middle of a desert? Arizona? Texas? Would it be too hot?" Jason bit back a chuckle at her befuddled monologue before he realized exactly the words she was saying. His baby sister was planning on leaving Gotham, without even saying hello to him. Did she not miss him? What if she didn't want to talk to him? Well, only one way to find out.
"Nettie?" He hated how unsure his voice sounded, but it didn't matter at all so long as she heard him. Judging by how she straightened up and stiffened, she did. Slowly, she turned her head to look at him. Her eyes blinked at the sight of him and her mouth opened and closed, as if she was unsure of what to say.
"Jason? Is… is that really you?" Her voice was so small, so unsure. Jason was quick to assure her that yes, it was indeed him. Almost immediately after, she launched herself from the tall branch towards him and, with mild panic mixed with immense glee, he moved to catch her. Their bodies painfully collided, gravity being a bit of a bitch, but neither sibling seemed to care. Marinette clung to Jason equally as tightly as he did her. Jason heard soft hiccups and felt a wet spot form on his shirt from where she had her face. So maybe she did miss him after all.
“Hey Soda Pop. It’s been a while.” He closed his eyes and took a moment to just appreciate everything. He smiled at her wet giggle, feeling a sense of calm and rightness wash over him.
“You can say that again Bluejay.” His heart swelled at the old nickname, happy that he got to hear it again after so long. He should have known she was alive; he should have tried looking for her.
“Do you have a place to stay tonight?” He asked, remembering her indecisive monologue just a minute earlier. Maybe she was just looking for a new home and Canada was cheaper? But the way she was talking almost made it seem like she was being hunted; he’s have to get to the bottom of this. He noticed his arms tightened around her, an unconscious effort to both keep her safe and keep her from leaving.
“I was planning on crashing at a hotel or something.” She admitted, though it almost sounded like that was a last minute plan. Jason raised a brow.
“Want to stay with me?” It took a lot of willpower to ask and not straight up tell her to stay with him. Consent was sexy, even if he wanted nothing more than to take his sister somewhere no one could hurt her.
He noticed she looked a bit indecisive, and for a moment he was worried she really didn’t want to catch up with him. “I won’t have to meet your family… will I?” He blinked. She was worried about meeting his family? That was it? “N-not that I don’t want to meet them! It’s just that I’m already pretty overwhelmed and I want to spend as much time with you as possible and…” she was rambling. He forgot how cute she was when she rambled. He couldn’t help but smile.
“After seven years apart I plan on monopolizing all of your time. If I brought you to the manor then Dick would steal you away and Bruce would probably try to adopt you on the spot.” Marinette blinked, not entirely believing what he was saying but smiling nonetheless. “I have an apartment nearby with a pretty decent guest room.” He added.
“Okay!” She smiled that brilliant smile he remembered so fondly, the very same smile that was so radiant it rivaled the sun. He had a feeling Dick would never let her go once she was properly introduced to the family, and he was sure as hell going to postpone that as much as possible.
He was just glad he had his little sister back.