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Nature vs Nurture

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Marinette had known for well over a year that Tom Dupain was not her biological father. She had none of his features, nothing from his mother or his father. Her hair was black, not brown. Her eyes were blue rather than brown or gray, and she was short. Her grandfather was short, yes, but she didn't know that until she was thirteen, and her mother was short as well. She had once stayed after school to ask Madame Mendeleiev about it when they covered genetics. The woman was surprised, but tried to explain as gently as she could that genetics were a funny thing. She could be fully adopted, or she could be Sabine's daughter and have a different father than the one that raised her. 

 

Marinette, twelve years old, freshly named Ladybug, confronted her parents that night. Her mother brushed her off, simply telling her daughter that genetics were a funny thing, using Alix Kubdel as an example. Marinette added that information to her mental file and didn't bring it up again. Though that did not mean she forgot. No, she simply continued to watch. The only things that would point to Tom being her father was her strength and clumsiness, though neither of those things were genetic, more by-products of living in a bakery and constantly stressing out. She went as far as to have Madame Mendeleiev teach her more in-depth about genetics after school, as well as doing her own research into the subject. Alix's height, or lack thereof, could very easily be explained away as a mutation of genes. However, there was nothing to support Tom being her biological father.

 

To be frank, Marinette would not think less of her papa if he were not her birth father. In fact, she would think more, as the man stood up and cared for her as though she were his own. But after she learned all she could about genetics, Marinette turned her attention to physics, once again doing her own research and staying with Madame Mendeleiev at least twice a week after school. She was amazed at how much learning physics and memorizing angles helped not only with being Ladybug, but with designing and balancing. 

 

She barely noticed when the new girl came to school. She became so busy with commissions and learning as much as she could with science, switching to chemistry once getting a good grasp on physics, that it took several months for her to realize the new girl was lying to everyone. She spoke up immediately, quickly noticing the expression of disappointment on her crush's face. What? Was the girl a pathological liar? Did everyone already know and agree not to call her out on it? No, several of her classmates had stars in their eyes.

 

The girl quickly excused herself to the bathroom and the class quickly turned on Marinette. "Why did you accuse her of lying! She's been here for months! She's best friends with Ladybug !"

 

Marinette stared at Alya. "Really? What proof do you have?"

 

Alya glared at her friend. "Proof? What proof do you have that she's not? Prove to me that she's lying."

 

Marinette incredulously looked at her classmates. "Has Ladybug ever mentioned having a best friend from Italy? She won't even let her partner know who she is! Why would she be in Italy in the first place? Wouldn't a Parisian hero saving the daughter of an Italian diplomat make international news?" She pulled out her phone, quickly googling Lila Rossi. "Look! The only results for her name are on the Ladyblog and her social media!"

 

Alya scoffed. "Girl, stop acting so jealous! It's not her fault she's so much cooler than you! She doesn't spend most of her time in tutoring or her room for independent study and designing!"

 

"Fine! When you get sued by people she lied about on your blog and you all get your hopes shattered by her lies, don't come crying to me!"

 

"Like you have time for us anyways! You haven't even shown up to anything Lila's invited you to!"

 

"How was she supposed to invite me? She doesn't have my phone number! I barely even know her name!"

 

"Maybe you'd know your classmates, class president , if you'd stand still for a second and spend some more time with us! We don't ever see you outside of school without you being busy or babysitting the twins and Chris for me and Nino!"

 

Marinette glared at the girl, not noticing Alix having her phone out. "Then maybe you should stop calling me your friend. Stop asking me for free clothes, as that makes me take on more commissions to make up for the money I lose. Stop asking me to be a free babysitter so you can go on dates. I know good and well that you get paid to babysit the twins every time and you use those payments for your phone and to pay for dates with Nino rather than pay me for anything I do for you. In fact, only four of you have ever paid me for something!"

 

Alya gasped. "I pay you! How many times have I tried to help you confess and you screw it up!"

 

Marinette looked down her nose, well, as much as she could when she was shorter than the other girl. "How many times have I said no to your schemes? It wasn't that important to me. I have more important things to do with my time than date. I'm sorry my future actually means something to me."

 

"Then you won't mind me telling Adrien that you have a crush on him!"

 

Marinette shrugged. "You just did. It's not the end of the world. He isn't even interested in me."

 

She walked.out of the cafeteria, her head held high. She hadn't expected Adrien to chase her down after she left, though.

 

"Mari! Do you really like me like that?" Adrien asked, placing his hand on her shoulder with what he hopes was a charming smile.

 

Marinette simply raised an eyebrow. "So what if I do? You don't like me, and I have no time for you."

 

"Well, I was just hoping you would do me a favor? I don't want Lila to be akumatized again, so could you maybe keep from exposing her?"

 

Marinette was baffled. "You want me to aid a liar in manipulating our classmates? The very same classmates I vowed to do my best to help in every way I can? The classmates that I swore to that I would protect to the best of my ability? The class that looks to me to make certain they get properly taken care of?"

 

"It sounds really bad when you phrase it like that. But Lila's been doing this for two months now and she hasn't hurt anyone. Isn't it enough that we know?"

 

Marinette gave Adrien a cold glare, colder than his father could ever hope to muster. "You're just as bad as she is. Have a nice day, Agreste." She went to the bathroom before returning to class, not surprised to see the liar still in there.

 

"You're Marinette, right? I'm afraid we got off on the wrong foot. I mean, it was wrong of me to tell the others that I was inviting you when I wasn't, but I simply thought you were too busy to hang out with us!" The girl gave a sickly sweet grin and held her hand out to Marinette.

 

Marinette stared blankly at her. "I am not a fool. You lied multiple times about a multitude of things. Fool me once, shame on you. You haven't managed to fool me even once yet. But there is shame on my classmates for constantly being fooled by your lies."

 

Lila Rossi's smile contorted into a snarl. "If you aren't with me, then you're obviously against me. And that means I'll have to take everything away from you. Your friends, your little designing hobby… I wonder how hard it will be to turn your parents against you?"

 

Marinette continued to stare at the girl, expression unchanged. "If you turn my so-called friends against me, that means they aren't my friends, never were in the first place. I was alone before Alya moved here, I've been waiting on everyone to abandon me again. Good luck with taking designing away from me. I have a backup career, of course, and I can always continue to design my own clothes. If my parents turn against me, then they don't know me as well as I thought they did."

 

Lila glared at the class president. Why weren't her usual threats working! "Surely you don't want to be all on your own?"

 

"It hasn't bothered me since I was four, I don't know why it would begin to bother me now."

 

"This school calls you a princess. Princess Diana was killed."

 

"Darling, this isn't a fairytale. I'm no helpless princess, and you aren't a fierce dragon. I have no knight in shining armor coming my way." Marinette bowed her head to the other girl before sweeping out of the bathroom, walking calmly to Madame Mendeleiev's class. Being the first in the class, Marinette was easily able to talk to her teacher- never noticing the short girl rollerblading behind her, recording each confrontation.

 

"Madame Mendeleiev?" The teacher looked up from her book. "I was just threatened by the new girl, Lila Rossi. I was wondering if you could keep an eye out for her trying to frame me for something?"

 

Mendeleiev looked at her not-so-secret favorite student. "Of course. Will you require anything else?"

 

"No, Madame. I can simply do my homework and turn it in right after school. I refuse to let a petty liar affect my performance."

 

Marinette went to her seat in the back, pulling out her tablet. She decided to pull up Duolingo and work on her English a bit before class. She would prefer to continue working on Arabic, though she didn't have long before class was due to start and she needed to keep her edges honed with the languages she did know.

 

It took two-and-a-half weeks for Lila's threats to have any impact on Marinette. When Miracle Queen was akumatized, Chat Noir refused to help, informing Ladybug that they were soulmates and he would wait for her to come to her senses before helping her again. Ladybug left him in the Seine, asking the Guardian if he could stand at her side. He joined her on the battlefield, the two of them being the last two eligible people to fight against Hawkmoth and Mayura with Chat Noir throwing yet another hissy fit beneath the water 

 

"Marinette Dupain-Cheng. Promise me one thing."

 

"Of course, Master."

 

"No matter what happens today, take Chat Noir's Miraculous away from him and find someone you can trust, more than one person, test them, make a team. You need allies, you cannot continue to face Hawkmoth and Mayura on your own."

 

"Yes, Master. I'm sorry that I have to ask this of you."

 

Fu smiled gently at his apprentice. She was shaping up to be a wonderful young woman

 

When Master Fu had said no matter what happened, Marinette was not expecting this. Master Fu was holding a rapidly deteriorating shield around them. "It is time."

 

"Master, no! I'll figure it out! There has to be something I can use this for!" Marinette felt true desperation. She knew what her Master was thinking. The other team had managed to get the Miracle Box from them. "Please, just give me more time!" She begged.

 

"There is no more time." The Guardian lowered his shield, then detransformed and took off the turtle bracelet. "Wayzz, I'm sorry to say that I reject you, old friend. The bracelet was gently placed in Ladybug's hand, the Master closing her hand around it right before his own started to dissolve. "Marinette Dupain-Cheng," he made sure to keep his voice too low for Hawkmoth or his allies to hear, "I pass Guardianship of the Miraculous on to you. You are the next Guardian. Protect the Miraculi with your life." The man hugged her, continuing to dissolve as the Miraculi that had been removed by someone other than a guardian from the box flew back in it and the box itself moved to Ladybug's hands. Hawkmoth and Mayura still had their Miraculous, the black cat was still with Chat Noir, and Marinette herself held the Turtle and Ladybug. She slowly slipped Wayzz's miraculous onto her wrist. The kwami looked at her, tears in both their eyes as dust swirled around them in the wind. Her yo-yo whipped out, breaking the necklace Miracle Queen wore. Chloè fell to the ground, a horrified expression on her face when she saw Ladybug in tears. Hawkmoth and Mayura vanished as she cast her Miracle Cure. She hopefully looked to the side, but Master Fu did not return. The only thing left of him was a key lying on the ground.

 

She slowly moved forward and put her hand on a distraught Chloè's shoulder. "I don't blame you for what Miracle Queen did. Hawkmoth will pay for what he has done. Chloè, you are an amazing girl. You've been trying so hard. You know I won't give you the Miraculous back not because you don't deserve it, but because of the danger it would put you and your family in. Don't let petty bullies bring you down so much. Lila Rossi is a liar. You are not getting replaced as Queen Bee, especially not by someone she chooses. If I find out how to change the way the Miraculous makes you look, I'll gladly recruit you before anyone else. You, at least, I know I can rely upon. But I cannot put you in danger for my needs."

 

Tears streamed down Chloè's face as she hugged the heroine. "Get a better partner than Chat Noir, someone who actually deserves you. You can't fight alone, no matter how strong you are," the girl sobbed.

 

"Don't worry, I'm already looking for a team."

 

🕯️

 

It took another two days to collect Chat's ring, managing to slip it off his finger during a night akuma. Ladybug officially had all the Miraculi but two.

 

Marinette was exhausted when she went to school the next day. She was barely awake during the entirety of Bustier's class, only just managing to complete the test. Her day passed by in a haze, Madame Mendeleiev making the girl go to the nurse's office for a nap during her own test, so tired that she forgot to grab her own bag.

 

When the day ended, Marinette went back to Mendeleiev's class to make up for the test she missed. She had just finished when she and her teacher were called out into the hall, Principal Damocles glaring at the French-Asian girl. "One of your classmates reported that you were cheating on your tests today and stole her necklace."

 

Marinette stared at the Principal. "I have done no such thing."

 

"Then you won't mind if we check your bags and locker?"

 

"Go ahead." Marinette said, conscious of the fact that Tikki had decided to stay in her pocket that day. 

 

The principal pulled out the answer guide for Bustier's and Mendeleiev's tests, then found Lila's necklace in Marinette's locker.

 

Marinette faced the principal. "I didn't steal them. Madame Bustier pulled me aside before class to talk to me about this year's class trip, I left my bag in the class. Madame Mendeleiev sent me to the nurse's office before class where I stayed until the end of classes today, my bag, once again, remaining in the class. And how am I supposed to steal a necklace? Especially one that I saw the girl wearing?"

 

"All the proof points against you."

 

Mendeleiev glared at the principal. "All the evidence points to her being framed ."

 

Damocles cowed under the teacher's stare, then seemed to find his strength and straightened up. "Well, it's up to her homeroom teacher. And Caline agrees with me. Her parents will be called and she will be expelled."

 

A feral growl ripped its way out of the science teacher's throat, but Marinette laid her hand on her arm. "It's okay, Madame. My parents know that I would never do anything like this, you know I didn't cheat, and we'll get proof that I'm innocent. Proof that can't be ignored."

 

🕯

 

Marinette was shocked when her parents did not, in fact, believe her. She asked them about it once they got home.

 

"Marinette… We love you, we really do, but… Mu zhí, I can't recognize you anymore. You're never home, never with your friends, you even asked me if Tom was your real father."

 

Marinette stared at her mother. "Maman… Maman, I wasn't saying that he's not my papa. But we had a genetics class, and I was curious because I don't have any physical traits from him. I wouldn't think less of him if he weren't my sire, in fact, I'd think more because he stood up and raised me as his own. I have never had any question as to whether or not you both love me. No, I'm not at home as often, nor do I spend a lot of time with people. But I've never spent that much time with my classmates, they avoided me as much as possible. I stay after school most of the week, sometimes I'm with Madame Mendeleiev so that I can work on my math and learn more science, and other times I'm in the art room or with the librarian so she can help me with languages. When I'm not at school, I'm usually either helping you in the bakery or doing commissions and babysitting."

 

"And why are you babysitting so much and doing so many commissions?" Tom asked his daughter.

 

"My classmates don't pay for what I do for them. Whether it's make them something special, bring them treats from the bakery, or babysit for them so that they can go on dates. I have to make up for the money lost doing all those things, which means more work for me."

 

Sabine turned her back to her daughter, she couldn't bear to look at her. "Well then it's fortunate for you that we're sending you to live with your father. He's taken in several troubled children over the years and helped them. I hope he can fix you, too. You're leaving Wednesday." The woman walked away, not seeing the utter devastation written across her daughter's face.

 

Marinette held herself together until she got to her room, refusing to let her parents see her shatter. She collapsed to the floor in her room, wondering how Lila had actually managed to turn even her own parents against her. She had been brave in the wake of Lila's threats as she had thought her relationship with at least her family would be strong enough to hold against it, but she was wrong. Tears streamed down her face- she'd managed to avoid having them for so long that she had forgotten what an anxiety or panic attack felt like. 

 

She rode out the panic attack, unable to hear her kwami attempting to calm her down. She didn't notice the butterfly that or the feather, nor Hawkmoth and Mayura talking to her. She didn't even notice when they gave up and the butterfly left, pure white, along with the equally white feather. Once the panic faded enough that she could move, she stood up and began packing. It had been a while since she had dissociated, though she was grateful for the reprieve from her emotions. She didn't go down for supper that night, or breakfast the next morning, going through the night in a haze of packing. 

 

🕯

 

Madame Mendeleiev came to the bakery three days after her expulsion, not stopping to speak to the Dupain-Cheng's before ascending to Marinette's room. She was shocked to see the once lively room barren. "Hello?" She called, then watched her student drop down from the roof.

 

"Good afternoon, Madame Mendeleiev." Marinette's voice was soft, defeated.

 

"Ah, I managed to get my hands on Markov. He was recording the room all day, including the locker room. There is video proof that Mademoiselle Rossi framed you. Mademoiselle Kubdel also brought me recordings of Agreste requesting you to stay silent about her lies, as well as Rossi threatening you in the bathrooms. I downloaded the videos and was going to ask who all you wish to show them to."

 

"No one. My parents are sending me away, no matter what I do or say. You were right when you said I had another father. They're sending me to him."

 

"Surely they would listen to concrete evidence."

 

"Sorry, Madame, it's not just about Lila. Apparently they have a problem with me choosing school or work over frivolous relationships. They told me that they don't recognize me anymore. I tried to explain things to them, but I don't think they understood. I cannot make them understand."

 

Mendeleiev felt her heart break a fraction. "Perhaps a fresh start would be good for you. François-DuPont is unable to keep up with your capabilities in academics. Perhaps a school near your father will do better." The woman pulled a slip of paper out of her lab coat and jotted down her number. "I have no plans to leave Paris. If you want to return for a time but cannot stay with your family, I would be more than happy to house you. I shall also miss our discussions. Please keep in touch."

 

Marinette smiled at her mentor. "I will. My mother is sending me to Gotham, I think is what she called it. It's in America."

 

"When are you leaving?"

 

"In two days time, on Wednesday."

 

Madame Mendeleiev skillfully suppressed and hid her slightly breaking heart. She refused to be used by Hawkmoth again, especially since Ladybug hadn't had a partner the last few akuma attacks. "Are you sure you don't at least wish to clear things up with the school before you transfer?"

 

Marinette considered Mendeleiev's words. "I should. I would prefer to go with a clear record."

 

"Very well. I have a meeting arranged with Damocles in ten minutes. Come along, we'll leave your parents here and tell Damocles that there is no point in letting your parents know that you are no longer expelled."

 

Marinette smiled at her favorite teacher. She wondered what her life would have been like if the secret softie had been her mother, and followed her down to the school.

 

Damocles was not happy to see the teacher had Marinette with her. "I thought this meeting was about one of your students?"

 

"Mademoiselle Dupain-Cheng is one of my students. We have proof that Lila Rossi threatened and framed her."

 

Damocles watched the videos, wilting under the twin glares of student and teacher. "I shall call Mademoiselle Dupain-Cheng's parents and let them know of the wrongful expulsion and her subsequent reinstatement."

 

Marinette waved her hand through the air. "Don't bother. I'm leaving France. I just wanted my record cleared before I transfer to a new school."

 

Damocles's expression was panicked as the girl walked out of the room, Madame Mendeleiev remaining in the office. "She can't transfer! The school board will riot!"

 

Madame Mendeleiev glared at the principal. "You should have thought about expelling the school's top student and her parents' reaction. They're shipping her off to live with her father." The teacher swept out of the room, her lab coat billowing like Batman's cape.

 

Damocles whimpered.

 

🕯

 

Two days passed quickly, quite a few people seeing her off. Rumors of her wrongful expulsion and parents kicking her out had spread across the campus like wildfire. Madame Mendeleiev, Marc, Mireille, Chloè, Nino, Aurore, Juleka, Ondine, Alix, Jean Duparc, Luka, even Kagami, who was only at the school during fencing practice, were all there to see her off. Marinette made sure to give them all a hug and a smile bye, squeezing her former teacher extra hard. 

 

"You have all our numbers. Keep in contact, American." Nino joked. 

 

Marinette smiled. "Sorry I can't babysit Chris for you anymore. But I'll hopefully still be able to do commissions, so all of you feel free to ask me for something." Marinette smiled at the four classmates that actually paid her for things, even if it wasn't much. Chloè and Alix both usually paid full price for things (or what they thought was full price, excluding Alix only contributing half the payment for the banner. She had mistakenly thought Kim would pay the other half.) and she knew Juleka and Nino didn't exactly come from the richest families. "You four will be the only people from Bustier's class to be eligible to order things from me. Not even Madame Bustier herself is allowed to order anything else from me."

 

Chloè tossed her hair. "As if any of our other classmates have the taste to contact you for exquisite clothing. You act as though they have a brain." 

 

Marinette laughed. She refused to feel sad just because her parents didn't bother to see her off. "Lila's lies have to come out at some point. I should probably thank her."

 

The whole group gave Marinette incredulous stares. "What? She proved to me who my real family is."

 

Marc shook his head, his voice soft. "She did prove to me exactly how loyal Nathaniel is."

 

"And that Kim can't keep his attention on one girl." Ondine interjected.

 

"Max is an idiot who fact checks about as well as Alya." Alix added, unwilling to let either of her friends off the hook. 

 

"Alya wants the best story no matter what, even at the expense of the truth and her relationships." Nino's voice was sad, he'd broken up with Alya after the way she had acted in the cafeteria.

 

Kagami glared at the ground as Luka took her hand. "Agreste is a coward who is not worthy of our emotional investment in him."

 

Juleka's hair guarded her face. "The class is cruel."

 

"My coworker is an idiot who deserves her teaching licence removed."

 

Chloè tossed her hair. "Let's not forget that Nette's parents are even more neglectful than Gabriel. Before his wife died, he was an excellent father. But he closed down after she died, he forgot how to feel. But even he always shows up to tell his son good-bye, even if it is through sending Nathalie with that ridiculous tablet."

 

"They're not that bad. They just can't leave the bakery unattended."

 

"When his wife died, Gabriel shut down his company for a month. He's shut down his entire company for every important moment in Adrien's life. He began scoping out François-DuPont for talent because his son went to school there. Your parents can't even open the bakery a little late to tell you good-bye before you leave for America for gods only know how long."

 

Marinette shrugged. "The bakery comes first. That's how it's always been." The girl could hardly remember a single moment her parents had put her before their business. She missed the horrified looks on her friends' faces. "Actually, the only time they put me before the business was for my thirteenth birthday, when my grandmother came for my birthday." 

 

Chloè hid her sadness. The girl's parents hadn't even put her first then, Chloè had paid them for the cake and sent a staff to tend to the bakery while they were gone. "As much as I loathe to admit it, we're going to miss you. You make Bustier's ridiculous morons tolerable."

 

Marinette stared at the heiress in shock. "That might just be the nicest thing you've ever said to me." Marinette mused, giving the blonde one last hug.

 

Aurore grabbed her for one more hug before she went through the flight gate. "Don't forget to be a storm, Sea Breeze. I await the moment I can change your name from Sea Breeze to Hurricane."

 

"I'll do my best." Marinette waved bye to her chosen family, a smile on her face. She didn't let the tears fall until she was safely above Paris, out of Hawkmoth's reach. 

 

🕯

 

She slept through the plane ride, and slowly unboarded the plane, making her way to an elderly man that held a sign with her name on it. 

 

"Bonjour, Monsieur. I'm Marinette."

 

The elderly man smiled at her. "It is nice to meet you, Miss Marinette. My name is Alfred Pennyworth. I work for your father. Please, follow me."

 

He led her to a limo, Marinette gaping at it. "I take it that your mother did not inform you of who your father is?"

 

"No, Monsieur Pennyworth. She simply told me where I was going."

 

He opened the back door for her. The girl placed her bags in the back, then walked forward and slid in the front seat, much to Alfred's shock. He walked around to the driver's side, climbing in himself. "Please, just call me Alfred. I suppose I should tell you about your family, then. Bruce Wayne is your father. He has adopted Richard Grayson, Jason Todd, Timothy Drake, and Cassandra Cain. He has one biological son, Damian Wayne. Master Dick is like a puppy, very hyper and cheerful. He used to be a detective in Blüdhaven, though he decided to come back here and help Master Bruce with the company a few years back. Master Jason is crude and refuses to watch his language, though he is a good person at heart. Master Tim also works at the company, and rarely sleeps. He lives off coffee, and I have failed to find all of his secret stashes. Miss Cassandra mostly goes by Cass, and does not speak much. Master Damian is only a year older than you, and has trouble connecting with people. Master Bruce is stoic, though he cares for his children. He also seems to have an obsession for children with dark hair and blue or green eyes."

 

Marinette blinked. "So my father is a serial adopter? Is that a thing?"

 

"Master Bruce made it a thing. Master Damian is at school, and Masters Bruce and Tim are both at work, though I do expect Masters Dick and Jason are both eagerly awaiting your arrival at the manor. Miss Cass is currently out of the country, though she is due to return before the end of the month."

 

"Thank you, Monsieur Alfred. Where will I be attending school?"

 

"You shall attend school with Master Damian. There will be a placement test to see what you know and where to place you, though Gotham Academy is known for its academics."

 

"What exactly were all of you told about me coming here? From what I have been able to gather, my father is a highly prolific man. How can you trust that my mother or I don't have an ulterior motive?"

 

"Your mother had a long conversation with Master Bruce, though he would only tell the others that you were more intelligent than your mother gave you credit for."

 

"What did he tell you? "

 

"I was informed that your mother was under the belief that you were no longer the daughter she knew. She claimed that you have been struggling with lying to people and stealing from classmates. She also told us that you did not believe that Tom Dupain was your father. But Master Bruce is not a fool. He looked into your former school. He found where there was no investigation done before your expulsion, and then he received a phone call Sunday evening from your former principal. The man informed your father that evidence had come to light that you did not steal anything, and he begged your father to move to Paris so that you could continue to attend his school. Master Bruce intends to perform a DNA test once he arrives at the manor tonight. Whether you or your mother have ulterior motives or not, he does not approve of her treatment of you. If you are not, in fact, his biological daughter, he intends to begin the adoption process." Alfred detailed. He could already see his son master in the girl. From her strikingly blue eyes to the Wayne jawline to her matter-of-fact demeanor. He could see more of Bruce Wayne in the girl than he could see of Sabine Cheng. "Might I inquire as to your interests? The others all have rooms for their hobbies, and I'm afraid that your mother did not give us very much information on you as a person."

 

He was shocked as to how brightly the girl lit up, and then she delved into a tangent about designing, eventually swapping over to baking and cooking. Alfred simply listened as he drove, already planning as to how to get her to stop calling him 'monsieur.' 

 

🕯

 

As soon as Marinette walked into the manor, Alfed holding the door open for her, she flipped a stocky man with white bangs over her hip and throat punched another guy that looked like an acrobat. All on instinct. She paled instantly, spewing apologies as she hauled both of them up to their feet.

 

"Holy f-" Alfred cleared his throat and the man with white bangs' words cut off. "-frigging guns."

 

"Are you both okay? Did I hurt you too bad?"

 

The two men blinked at her, the acrobat moving first. "I got to her first, she's my sister."

 

"The f-f-frick she is! I got to her first! She flipped me before she throat punched you!" The man's scowl left as he looked at her. "Hi, Pixie Pop! I'm Jason and the son of a b-biscuit holding you is *cough*a*cough* Dick."

 

Alfred swapped his glare from Jason to Dick, who quickly sat her down and stepped away. "Sorry bout that! I'm just so excited to have a new sibling!"

 

"Since you two boys have so much energy, and Master Dick saw it fit to play hooky today, the two of you wouldn't mind carrying Miss Marinette's bags to her room for her."

 

The men wilted under Alfred's stare. "Which room is hers again?" Jason asked. None of them noticed Marinette had slipped out the door to grab her own bags, Alfred was too busy glaring at the two eldest sons, merely assuming that the girl walked out to get some fresh air, and the two men trying to disappear didn't notice her leave at all. Two full minutes passed before Alfred finally told them what room was set up for her. 

 

Alfred turned, only mildly surprised to see Marinette had her bags already. "Miss Marinette, please hand your bags to the two young masters so that you can get your room set up."

 

"Thank you, Monsieur Alfred." Marinette passed most of her bags to the two boys, only keeping a couple with her. The two adopted Wayne's raced each other to her room, leaving her to walk next to Alfred.

 

"Miss Marinette, please simply call me Alfred. No monsieur necessary."

 

"Only if you just call me Marinette."

 

Alfred sighed. The girl was Master Bruce's daughter, he knew better than anyone how stubborn she would be. Every time he called her miss, she would call him monsieur. "Very well then."

 

Alfred guided the girl to her room, explaining small things about the manor on the way. Marinette was tempted to ask for a string so that people would be able to find her if she got lost.