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I Get the Feeling that I'm Right Where I Belong

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Ladybug had recently decided that she was not paid enough to deal with this shit. In fact, she did not think she was ever paid enough to do any of the shit she had to deal with in her civilian life too. She made a quick mental note to see about raising commission prices, and then quickly had to yo-yo off the chimney she had been (rather precariously) balanced on when a beam of light broke it into a million small brick shards.

She landed on a larger roof, and was joined by Viperion and Ryuko. Chat Noir, Queen Bee, and Rena Rouge continued to taunt the akuma, a bus driver who had evidently gotten very annoyed with traffic this morning and now went by the name Red Light (Chat Noir had spent the first five minutes of their fight lamenting how Hawkmoth had no creativity and was running out of quality puns way too quickly. Queen Bee, after Chat Noir’s fifth traffic pun in a single sentence, had smacked him upside the head with her yo-yo and reasoned that first, he and Ladybug had been fighting Hawkmoth for more than three years now, and second, he had run out of good puns by the end of their first akuma and so really had no leg to stand on). Carapace hadn’t yet returned from making sure all the civilians had escaped their little battlefield, but Ladybug knew he’d be back soon. Nino was never one to miss the chance to pun with Adrien

“Have you figured out your lucky charm, Bug?” Ryuko asked. She nodded down to the bicycle wheel Ladybug had been holding for a few minutes now.

“No, but I’m really getting annoyed at this point, so I might just yeet it at him.”

Viperion snorted. Ryuko nodded solemnly, though her eyes glittered with humor.

“I like this plan,” she replied. “Simple. Stylish. Meme-worthy”

Carapace, Chat Noir, Queen Bee, and Rena Rouge landed on the roof at once.

“So, we’ve got about a minute, because Butterfly Bastard is being overdramatic and monologuing again,” Chat Noir announced. “We have a plan yet? The lucky charm working out?” All the superheroes glared at the red and black bicycle wheel as if it held all the answers (which, technically, it did, given that it was the literal inanimate personification of the goddess of luck and creation).

“Anyone object to a Formation G yeeting?” Ladybug looked around her group. After no objections, she continued. “Great. To quote our dear dragon here, simple, stylish, and meme-worthy. Let’s go make the internet proud.” All seven reached their fists in, quietly cheered “Team Miraculous”, and then split.

After the first two years of dealing with Hawkmoth, Ladybug and Chat Noir had learned that the Lucky Charm had two options: the recommended way and the other way. The recommended way was complicated, overdramatic, and safely effective. The other way usually involved property damage, head injuries, and on the odd day when Twitter became involved, some very disappointed Kwamis. Expanding Team Miraculous to a larger permanent roster led to the other way being used significantly more often. Explaining the recommended way would take too long, and if you hit someone on the head with invisibly small to absurdly large projectiles thrown with speed, they are always disoriented enough for seven superpowered caffeine-fueled spite-driven sleep-deprived over-scheduled high school seniors to take them down in seconds.

Ladybug and Carapace ran straight at Red Light, leaping off the roof and rolling into the ground before continuing their sprint. Ryuko and Queen Bee broke left as Chat Noir and Viperion went right. Rena Rouge waited a few seconds, and then used her Mirage. She threw the illusion at the akuma, and suddenly, Ladybug and Carapace were still running exactly the same as they had been. A quick check from Red Light showed that, indeed, all seven Miraculous wielders were doing the exact same thing as before the illusion had been cast.

That was when a bicycle wheel, thrown with enough force to achieve escape velocity, appeared from nowhere and hit him in the forehead.

The akuma fell over backwards, stars pulsing in his vision. Hawkmoth was desperately trying to communicate, but Red Light was so dazed and in pain that he couldn’t focus on anything except not blacking out immediately.

Ladybug landed her Carapace-assisted jump just as Chat Noir reached the garishly colored (I mean, come one, who would ever willingly wear traffic light colors? Ladybug thought to herself, pointedly choosing to ignore thinking about her boyfriend, because his brother chose those colors before he was even born so it didn’t really count) collapsed figure. He grabbed the ID badge pinned to the middle of the yellow section of his clothing and whispered “Cataclysm,” dissolving the little plastic rectangle into nothing.

Ladybug quickly purified the butterfly and threw the bicycle wheel into the air. Rena Rouge joined everyone on the street for the ceremonial fistbump. Six of them split off to go detransform in private and pretend they had simply hidden during the attack. Carapace stayed behind to talk to the bus driver and help get him to the police, if necessary. There had been a time when they had cycled through who had to deal with the cleanup, but the schedule was quickly dropped after everyone realized Carapace was by far the best people-person and the only one of them who would never outwardly show his annoyance with the press and the police.

 

Five minutes later, Chloe Bourgeois, Adrien Agreste, Nino Lahiffe, and Alya Cesaire walked back into school, having fled in fear when the akuma first started rampaging around the city. Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Kagami Tsurugi emerged from the bathrooms they had hidden in when the screams had started. Luka Couffaine got back on the motorcycle he had pulled into an alley to protect, and continued on his way to pick his sister up from school, which would be ending soon. He had made sure to take an indirect route that stopped by the Marinette’s parent’s bakery. He had promised Juleka and Rose croissants, and no akuma would ever stop him from keeping a promise, especially to his sister. Besides, he always had time.

No one suspected anything of them. They were just six high schoolers and one college student who, like everyone else in Paris, were reasonably scared of Hawkmoth and his akumas, and like everyone else in Paris, preferred to hide or run when Hawkmoth and his akumas struck. They were seven perfectly ordinary people with absolutely nothing to hide. Nothing at all...

Chapter Text

Of course, that was as far as the rest of Paris knew. The moment they all settled back into their spots, for all the world looking like your average teenagers, they pulled out their phones and checked in. It wasn’t like anything worthwhile would even have time to happen before school ended.

Bugaboo: So…

Bugaboo: Movie night tonight? My place at 6?

DarknessAndChaos: I’ll bring the popcorn

RealFox: Duh!! Soda

RealFox: Also, I’m literally sitting right next to you

Ssssnake: I got extra blankets

Turtlurtlurtle: Wait no

Turtlurtlurtle: Blankets are my thing

Turtlurtlurtle: My whole deal is blankets

Queenie: He attack

Queenie: He protec

Queenie: But most importantly

Queenie: He lose his blankets to a snek

RealFox: It’s okay babe

DarknessAndChaos laughed at “He lose his blankets to a snek”

RealFox: You can bring blankets too

Bugaboo: More blankets are always better

Turtlurtlurtle laughed at “He lose his blankets to a snek”

Turtlurtlurtle: Big mood Queenie

Ssssnake emphasized “More blankets are always better”

Queenie: I got pillows

TheDragon: Does Bustier just not care???

Queenie: Nope

Bugaboo: Technically yes, but like???

DarknessAndChaos: At one point in the very distant past

RealFox: Are you sure she ever did?

Turtlurtlurtle laughed at “Technically yes, but like???”

Turtlurtlurtle laughed at “At one point in the very distant past”

TheDragon: Fair enough

TheDragon: I can bring candy

TheDragon: I have found my mother is willing to buy as much as I ask for when I say it’s for Adrien

DarknessAndChaos: Does that mean I get first pick this time?

Ssssnake: Unfortunately not, babe

Ssssnake: Numbers don’t finalize until your class is over

Ssssnake: But it’s looking like Turtlurtlurtle is taking the cake

Turtlurtlurtle: Details please!!!

Bugaboo: You’re at 2800 right now

Bugaboo: I’m at 2750 though…

RealFox: I’m at 2500!!!

Queenie: Wtf?!?!?!

Queenie: I’m only at 1700?!?!?!

Queenie: Twitter has failed me

DarknessAndChaos: Fear my power!

DarknessAndChaos: I have 983!!!!!!

Sssnake liked “I have 983!!!!!!”

Sssnake: You got this babe!

TheDragon: Haha!

TheDragon: You are all weak. I have…

TheDragon: Drumroll please?

Queenie: Badabadabada

Turtlurtlurtle: Tststststststs

Bugaboo: Patapatapatapata

RealFox: *slapping the table as fast as I can*

DarknessAndChaos: tappity tap tap tap

Ssssnake: 🥁🥁🥁🥁🥁

TheDragon: 194! Mother! Flipping! Tweets!

Queenie: Whoo!!!

Queenie: That’s my girlfriend!!!

TheDragon: Moral of the story is that I would like to yeet the next lucky charm

Turtlurtlurtle: Or you can yeet Bugaboo

Turtlurtlurtle: That’s how I always roll

Bugaboo: Bustier is watching us

RealFox: Gtg

RealFox: ...Bugaboo got to it first

Ssssnake: See everyone at 6

The various members of Team Miraculous quietly slipped their phones back into their bags and pockets. It didn’t particularly matter though, as almost immediately after, the bell rang and the class was released.

Marinette immediately took off sprinting home. If she was lucky (which she usually was, as of late), she could finish the main stitching on her latest commission and make extra muffins and cookies before anyone came over. Adrien joined Juleka and Rose as they descended slowly to the front of the building so he could see his boyfriend quickly. It was difficult finding time to be together in their superhero identities, so they made as much time as possible when out of their disguises. Alya, Nino, and Chloe meandered over to Kagami’s locker to wait for the blonde’s girlfriend. They were chit-chatting aimlessly, supposedly.

“I mean, at this point, I feel like Carapace is getting worse,” Alya practically shouted, laughing. “He could barely throw Ladybug twenty feet.”

“He should definitely work out more. Y’know, with weights,” Chloe chimed in.

“Weights would be a good idea,” Alya agreed. She reached over and squeezed her boyfriends bicep. A pause, and then she squeezed again. “Well, uh, damn, okay. Ignore me please, because I need a minute here.” 

“You know what they say,” Nino said. “The girls love muscle men.” He put on his best smoldering look and posed, and winked at Alya, who bent over giggling. Kagami joined the three of them and began opening her locker

“As your friendly neighborhood bisexual, I gotta say it’s mostly just the muscle part. The man part is optional,” Chloe said. She leaned in to Kagami, and kissed her cheek over her shoulder. “Like this. This is good muscle.” She grabbed one of Kagami’s arms and held it up. Kagami spun away from her locker, flexed dramatically, then kissed Chloe back. Chloe laughed her way through the whole demonstration. 

“I mean, yes, but also,” Nino swept Alya up into his arms bridal-carry style.

Alya blushed. Kagami burst out laughing.

“Now you’re just making a scene, blanket man.”

“Oh, that was low, Kagami. That was a low blow.” Nino looked mock-offended. “Quick, Alya! I need you to dramatically feign being injured by these mean words for me!” Alya dutifully obliged. After stealing Nino’s headphones from around his neck to better impersonate him, she mimed an arrow piercing her heart and the ensuing Nino-death that followed.

“You wound my boyfriend, Kagami. You wound him,” she whispered dramatically.

Chapter Text

Adrien and Luka kissed each other goodbye on the cheek. Luka put his helmet on and slowly started up his motorcycle. Juleka grabbed his waist and leaned into him as they took off down the street. Adrien waved after them, before turning back to school. He had fencing today. While it meant he wouldn’t get home until almost five, it also meant that he had the next forty five minutes with nothing to do. Kagami had talked Chloe in to staying until practice started, so he was considering crashing their date.

He reentered the front of the building and groaned. Lila Rossi was standing in the middle of the courtyard, surrounded by her adoring drones. Adrien didn’t know most of them, but he recognized a few from their class. They all knew who he was, though, and so the moment he made eye contact with Lila, they had practically swarmed him.

“Oh my gosh, Adrien. How are you?”

“I’m good, Lila. And you?” He was very proud of how level he had kept his voice.

“Oh, I’m just fantastic! My boyfriend just texted to let me know that I can stay with him for the summer!” There was so much cruel hope in her eyes. Adrien didn’t want to ask the expected question of her, but he also knew that if he didn’t follow expectations, his father would hear. He only had three more weeks until he was eighteen. He could suffer through three more weeks of this.

“That’s great,” He said, deadpan as possible. The emotions he wanted to show would end poorly. “Do I know your boyfriend? I take it he doesn’t go here.”

There was a half-second glare from Lila. They both knew Lila was lying through her teeth, though Lila didn’t know how much Adrien understood that. She didn’t expect him to catch her look or the underlying anger involved. Of course she wouldn’t have a fake boyfriend that went to their school! She didn’t expect Adrien to understand that, though. He never understood her.

“You might, actually. His dad owns a fashion company, among other things. Damian? Damian Wayne?”

It took every ounce of self-taught emotional repression Adrien possessed to not react. Lila was claiming to be Damian Wayne’s girlfriend? Of all the people she could have picked, she chose Damian Wayne? He couldn’t believe it! Because as far as almost everyone knew, as far as even his father and Nathalie knew, he didn’t know Damian Wayne. He had no reason to know an American billionaire’s reclusive child, except for the fact that one of his best friends and superhero teammates was actually dating Damian Wayne and that whenever he was in Paris, as uncommon as that was, Robin would join Team Miraculous on patrols and in akuma battles. Marinette would think this was hilarious. He couldn’t wait to tell her at movie night.

Adrien spent a moment to give credit to Lila for setting her story up like this. The way she had asked if he knew Damian, it left room for her to wiggle out if he did. And a reclusive American? She could disappear off to the US for the whole summer and never actually meet Damian with her “friends” none the wiser, so it was a surprisingly low risk play. And yet-

“I don’t think so. I may have met him once, but yeah.” Lila’s smile relaxed. She had tricked him. “Good for you. How long have the two of you been together?”

“Oh, a few months now. We met at a gala over the winter, and we’ve been texting a lot since then.” There was a gala, but Damian had taken Chloe (with Kagami’s permission) as his date because Marinette was in China visiting family at the time and Chloe hadn’t exactly been out to her parents. Lila had really done her research on this one. “He was in Paris last month, though, so we finally had our first official date.” Also true, but he had been on a few secret superhero dates with his secret superhero girlfriend, not with Lila. The great part about having a superhero as a significant other, and Adrien knew this very well from experience, was that you could go almost anywhere in the city at any time. He and Luka had picnics on the top of the Eiffel Tower not infrequently.

Lila was holding his arm very tightly. He began to walk towards where he knew Chloe and Kagami were waiting. “He’s so romantic. He took me to a restaurant overlooking the Seine and we watched the sunset…” Adrien tuned Lila out. He could see Chloe and Kagami. He could see his saving graces, but they were deep in conversation and at the far end of the hall. Why couldn’t they look up? He needed their help. Lila was hurting his arm now. He decided he should start listening again.

“...And then his dad said yes, so I’m going to Gotham for the summer.” Lila finished expectantly.

“That does sound romantic. Which restaurant did he take you to? If you and Damian Wayne approve, I’d love to try it myself.” He was almost genuinely curious. For living on a travelling river boat that had been all over Europe, his boyfriend very rarely took advantage of shore leave. Luka had been in Paris now for almost four years, which was more than double as long as they’d stayed anywhere else. He and Juleka both liked it, and had settled in.

“It’s this place at the western end of town, Astrance. The food was absolutely exquisite.” Chloe and Kagami still hadn’t looked up. “I’m a vegetarian, but Damian got the steak and said it was the best steak he had ever had.” Lie. And a sloppy one too. Weirdly sloppy. “If you are interested in the vegetarian option, the house salad was pretty good.” Maybe she was testing him? Maybe she didn’t know better? It wasn’t exactly public knowledge, but anyone who knew the Waynes knew Damian was a vegetarian. Adrien was planning on at least going pescetarian when he moved out because of Damian.

“Sounds good.” He doubted Lila had ever been anywhere near Astrance. “I have been needing a good place to go for my date.” Chloe finally, finally looked up. She made eye contact with Adrien, and elbowed Kagami to get her attention.

“You have a date? Oh, I’m so happy for you!” There was too much hatred in her eyes. She wanted Adrian as her own trophy and would kill to get him. Even if he didn’t know, Adrien would have noticed. On a purely sadistic note, he would have liked to see her try to fight his super-powered time-jumping boyfriend. It would be very entertaining. “With whom?” 

“With Luka,” he said. Just like every date for the past year and a half had been with Luka. Just like he’d told Lila at least three times already. Kwami, she was dense. He was actually grateful for that, because if his father suspected he wasn’t straight, Adrian Agreste would be stuck in his room until he turned eighteen.

“Oh, I’m so glad you found someone. This Luka sounds like a lovely woman-”

“Adrien, I need your help,” Kagami interrupted, practically shoving her way through the other students. Lila started to pout, but stopped with a glare from Chloe. Kagami didn’t even bother to acknowledge the Italian. “I seem to have lost my gloves. You must help me find them.” She grabbed his arm and pulled him away from Lila.

“Of course, Kagami. Sorry to leave Lila!” Adrien called over his shoulder as he was herded around a corner and down the hall by Chloe and Kagami. “Oh my god, thank you,” he cried out in relief the moment he was out of view of Lila.

“No problem,” Chloe said. Adrien pulled her and Kagami into a hug. Chloe began to protest, but quickly melted into him. After a few seconds, he pulled away and turned to Kagami.

“Alright, let’s find those gloves.” Chloe smirked. Kagami laughed.

“You mean these gloves?” Kagami held up the fencing gloves. “Oh, well, I happened to find them in my bag, right where I left them. I’m so forgetful sometimes.” 

“Kwami, you two are the best! You know that, right?”

Chapter Text

“Marinette! They’re here!” Tikki flitted back into Marinette’s room. She had been sunning herself on the roof, but had seen the rest of her holder’s team arrive.

“Got it, Tikki!” Marinette handed the small, red god a sugar cookie. “Think it looks good?” She gestured to her room, which had had many a makeover in the last few years. Recently, she’d convinced her parents to get her a loft bed, which had opened the room greatly. Her sketching and homework desk was under the bed, both of which were pushed against the northern corner. Her sewing desk was on the northeastern wall, and her two dress forms were next to it. She had a flat-screen television on the opposite wall from her desk area and four bean bags of various sizes facing it. All in all, it was the perfect room for her work and her friends, and it happened to have a bed as well.

“It looks great Marinette! I like the new nest,” Tikki said as she flew to the “nest.” It was a wooden frame hanging from the door to the roof, with fleece blankets and smaller pillows piled inside; the perfect size for seven or so Kwamis to hang out and watch movies in style.

“Thanks. I’ll be back in a minute!” Marinette called over her shoulder. She practically leaped down the staircase, skipped the bottom five steps, and went screeching around the corner to the next set of stairs. It had been a solid three hours since she had seen her team, and as far as Marinette was concerned, that was way too long. Who knew what kind of shenanigans they could have gotten into since then?

As she landed on the bottom floor, she heard Adrien say “Thank you Monsieur Dupain,” followed by protesting from her father.

“Please, Adrien, there’s no need for you to be so formal. You practically live here, so please, call me Tom!”

“Okay, Tom,” Adrien replied, more shyly than Marinette felt was necessary.

“That applies to all of you. Any friend of Marinette’s is a friend of mine, and you are all wonderful friends. I’m so glad my little Marinette has such wonderful people in her life.” Tom bellowed, his volume matching his physique. “So, does my little girl have a boyfriend yet?”

“Papa!” Marinette cried out as she entered the front of the bakery. “You don’t need to embarrass me in front of my friends.”

There was a small chorus of hellos and heys and how you beens from the six others in the room. Alya went in for a hug.

“Of course I do! As your father, I am contractually obligated.” Tom paused. “So, uh, do you have a boyfriend?”

Chloe giggled a bit, but quickly covered it up with a rather pathetic fake cough when Marinette glared at her.

“Not yet, Papa. There is a boy I like, but he lives in America, so it probably won’t work out.”

“Oh, yes, did I meet him?”

“Yes, you did. He was here in the fall,” Marinette answered, shepherding her team into the back and up the stairs. “We’re going to go watch a movie. I love you, Papa!” She yelled over her shoulder from the second floor.

“I’ll bring you all some cookies!” Tom called up after her. “Oh, I’m so glad my little Marinette has such close friends.”

~~~

“And then Lila said, and I shit you not, ‘This Luka sounds like a lovely woman!’” Chloe burst out. Adrien blushed hard. Nino, Alya, and Marinette laughed with Chloe. Luka looked thoughtful.

“I have met her before, right?” He asked. “Like, Juleka has definitely introduced us.”

“Oh yeah. She was at Kitty Section’s last show, actually,” Chloe replied.

“She was the one who fake-fainted when you blew Adrien that kiss,” Nino added.

“That was Lila?” Adrien asked, shocked. “I thought that was just some fangirl or another!”

“Nope!” Nino said. “That was Lila.”

“Oh my god,” Adrien whispered. “She tried to steal my boyfriend.” 

“Don’t worry, Adrien,” Marinette leaned over to pat her friend on the back. “No one can steal your boyfriend. Plagg would kill them.”

Luka laughed. Adrien joined for half a second, before saying, “Oh my god, Plagg might try to steal my boyfriend,” with horror dawning in his eyes. Luka cut his laugh off as everyone else started.

“You all joke down there, but Luka’s voice is almost as good as camembert!” Plagg called down at the superheroes from the nest.

“Then I am very glad my father doesn’t check his banks,” Adrien said. “Cause losing one of you would be bad. Losing you to each other,” He threw his head back and dramatically reached for his heart. “Oh, that would be unbearable!”

Plagg said “Don’t worry Adrien, your cheese is still better,” at the same time as Luka said, “I’m still here for you, babe. Just don’t run away with Sass.” Everyone laughed at the couple’s antics.

“I have the movie!” Kagami poked her head up from the staircase. “As the loser of today’s Twitter contest, I hereby declare that we shall watch,” She paused for effect. “The Princess Bride!”

Marinette, Luka, and Alya cheered. Chloe, Adrien, and Nino looked around at them, confused.

“Is it good?” Chloe finally asked.

“Is it good? Is it good?!” Marinette squealed. “Of course it’s good! It’s The Princess Bride!”

“Have you not seen it, Chlo?” Kagami asked.

“No, uh, I haven’t,” Chloe answered, blushing a little.

“I haven’t either, if it’s any consolation.” Adrien reached over and squeezed his friend’s arm.

“Same, dude. It seems kinda cheesy, to be honest. Like, what kind of title is The Princess Bride?” Nino added.

“Cheesy? Cheesy?!? It is the epitome of uncheesiness! All other movies aspire to be as uncheesy as The Princess Bride!” Alya practically shouted, leaning away from her boyfriend in horror. “Cheesy? Never.”

Luka snorted. “You keep using that word, Alya. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Are you saying it is cheesy?” Adrien asked his boyfriend.

“No, he’s quoting,” Kagami closed the stair door behind her. “Actually, he might be saying it’s cheesy, but he is first and foremost, quoting.” She popped the disk into Marinette’s TV.

“It’s cheesy,” Luka stage-whispered to Nino.

“So, what’s it about? Y’know, besides a princess getting married,” Chloe asked. Kagami sat down next to her and grabbed her hand.

“It’s about everything! Fencing, fighting, torture,” Marinette began listing.

“Revenge, giants, monsters,” Alya picked up after her.

“Chases, escapes, true love, miracles,” Luka continued. 

“I’ll try to stay awake,” Marinette finished. Adrien, Nino, and Chloe stared.

“They’re all quoting now,” Kagami explained. 

“They’re quoting The Princess Bride?” Nino asked.

“It’s very quotable,” Kagami answered.

“So, it’s not like, a generic princess movie, I take it,” Chloe said. “I mean, Disney movies don’t normally have, like, torture and revenge as big themes.”

“Oh no, it’s totally a generic princess movie,” Marinette said as she picked up the remote. “It’s got all the tropes, every stereotype, it’s great. But like, it’s also really not generic at all. It’s, uh, I’m gonna stop trying to explain. We’re just going to watch it now.”

“Everyone got their candy?” Alya asked. A chorus of positive responses came back. “Good! Now, let’s go! I want to start. It’s been like, a year and a half since I’ve seen this.”

Marinette turned her television on and started the movie. As the music started and the camera swept over the farm, she looked at her teammates and smiled. With all of them by her side, be it fighting supervillain terrorists, dealing with bullies, or watching movies, she could face anything.

Chapter Text

There were exactly three good things Damian could identify about his father sending him  to Paris for a month.

First, he would be away from his brothers and sisters for a month. He loved all of them (and would never tell any of them), but he was also very relieved to be somewhere else for a bit. Tim and Cass where the only other ones who still lived at home with him, but everyone else was always coming by the manor at the most random hours. Some time away would do him well.

Second, he would be out of school for a month. He may only be eighteen and still in high school, but his training with the League of Assassins had put him years ahead when he was younger, and he had continued many of the mental exercises his mother had taught him to remain ahead.

Third, and by far the most important, was that he would get to see his angel Marinette in person for a whole month. They hadn’t been able to see each other much over winter break because of her family vacation, so he was planning on making up for it with as much time as possible now.

As he found out less than half a minute after processing his father’s declaration, the first two points were moot.

“The official story is that Tim is going to Paris for Wayne Enterprise’s business, and you are going along as a young adult excited to get a chance to see the world. I am attempting to coordinate with the local authorities for you to enter public school for the duration of your stay, but if that falls through, I will be expecting you to keep up with your Gotham Academy studies.” Bruce Wayne paced back and forth in front of his youngest son.

Damian sighed, leaning back into the couch. “And the actual reason?” At least he would get to see Marinette. Given that she could also make her way across the city in two minutes flat, he’d make the time no matter the mission.

“League business. The word on akumas got out, and quite a few people want to go rushing in.” Damian winced. Having some of the most emotionally repressed and powerful beings on Earth go sprinting headlong into a warzone overrun by a terrorist who weaponizes anger, rage, and guilt would go very badly. That was why, when Ladybug and Chat Noir had first accidentally attacked Robin two years ago, and upon realizing their mistake, had explained the situation to him, Batman and Wonder Woman had agreed to tell as few people as possible. Superman had been brought into the loop quickly, and Martian Manhunter figured it out almost immediately after. Red Robin discovered what was going on during one of his routine system upgrades in the Watchtower where he may or may not have been looking through some locked files and may or may not have immediately told all of his brothers and sisters. Dick told Kori, Diana told Hippolyta who probably told the rest of the Amazons, and Clark told Lois, who then told Jon, but as far as Batman could tell, no one else had told anyone. The more people who knew, the more likely someone with innate superpowers would go and get a rage-powered evil upgrade. It was better to keep it quiet, ish.

“Who spilled?”

“We’re not sure. It’s likely someone accidentally stumbled upon the reconnaissance notes, but there’s a chance someone pulled a Tim, and it’s also possible someone found out entirely outside of the League. Family or friends, maybe. Either way, people want us to go in.”

“So Tim and I are a cover.” It was definitely a statement, not a question. Bruce nodded anyway.

“Diana and I already prepared notes for you to “bring back,”” Bruce air-quoted. “You can add to them as you see fit, but it’s preferable that you don’t delete anything.”

Damian thought for a moment. It would, by any measure, be relatively easy to do pretend recon for a month. And he could find a way to work with his girlfriend and her team to make it seem even more realistic, as he actually rather enjoyed spending time with them. Making time for his angel just got quite a bit easier. “These notes, they don’t mention anything about Marinette, yes?”

“Nothing about Marinette.” Damian released the breath he had been unknowingly holding in. Bruce sat down on the couch next to him and patted his shoulder. “Nothing about any of their identities. For all intents and purposes, no one knows who these mysterious Parisian heroes are. They’re a separate superhero organization that the Justice League has to jurisdiction over, technically speaking.”

“Good. They’re just a couple of random no-name superheroes across an ocean,” Damian said, and then he snorted. “Although, I’m pretty sure if it came down to it, Team Miraculous could probably take the League in a fight. They have significantly more gods on their side.”

“Maybe. In either case, we are avoiding mentioning the Kwamis, if possible.”

“Right. Fewer details, less reason to panic.” Bruce nodded and sat down on the couch next to his son, and the two settled into a comfortable silence. In the eight years Damian had lived with his father, he had fit in with the hectic day to day life very well. He could keep up with his siblings easily, but with his father, he preferred the quiet calm.

After a minute or so, he broke the silence. “So, when do we leave?”

“Tonight. You fly out in five hours,” Bruce said. Damian glanced at his father. This was on very short notice. While Gotham definitely perceived Batman as being rather impulsive, both sides of Bruce Wayne much preferred to take things slow. Plans were planned, steps were enacted one by one in controlled situations, because the Bat always has control of the situation, and the results were carefully calculated and reliably accurate. Sending a recon mission, even a fake one, on such short notice for such a long term problem, was out of character. Unless he wanted Damian and Tim out of the house. But this was definitely more than that.

“That’s not much time, Father,” Damian replied. “This may be a, well, a fake mission, but that’s very short notice.” Bruce winced, and Damian knew he had struck the right chord. “Unless, of course, this has been in the works for some time now.”

“It has,” Bruce nodded sheepishly. “I’ve been planning on sending you and Tim for a week. Clark, Diana, and I have been negotiating, per say, with the rest of the League on how we will be going about this. Trust and morale are not doing so well right now.” He paused, but didn’t look at Damian. “I didn’t want to tell you until I had all the details.”

“Then I should get packing.” Damian stood up to make his way up to his room. “I won’t let you down, Father.” As he got to the door of the parlor, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to his father.

“Thank you, Damian,” Bruce said. “Thank you.” Damian nodded, and left the room. 

Bruce released a sigh. Tim probably wouldn’t take the sudden scheduling so well.