Marinette Dupain-Cheng and Jason Todd first met in a dream.
She was ten years of age when it happened, still young and small and fresh-faced.
Her parents tucked her into bed that fateful night, pulling the fluffy pink covers over her body before leaving a goodnight kiss on her brow.
Marinette closed her eyes and snuggled deeper into the soft material with a smile on her face; it was one of the few times they were home, and she made sure to cherish every moment.
The door closed with a quiet click only moments later, after which she yawned and stretched her short arms in the air before wrapping them around her black cat plushie.
Content in the safety of her burrito blanket she nestled down further, breaths evening out into a slow, steady pace as she seamlessly drifted off into sleep.
After what felt like a night’s rest but was actually seconds after falling into unconsciousness, Marinette opened her eyes and blinked blearily. Her vision blurred as she sat up and stretched, drowsiness and lethargy slowing each movement.
It wasn’t until she opened her eyes once more that she realized she was no longer in her room.
Rather than pink-painted walls, she was met with what looked like an endless expanse of stars, scattered and strewn as far as the eye could see. It was as if someone had sprinkled fairy dust from the heavens, like diamond fragments that rained down before being suspended in midair.
Most would react with fear upon finding themselves in an unfamiliar destination, but Marinette was much too awestruck to consider it an option.
The sight was spellbinding, so much so that she barely paid attention to the green blades tickling her legs.
The sky was a pitch-black veil, the darkness assuaged only from the light of the brilliant full moon and twinkling stars. They flickered invitingly, winking at her in a playful manner.
They looked close enough to touch, as if she could simply pluck one from the sky; Marinette reached out in wonder, just barely able to make out the outline of her hand in the darkness.
Despite being somewhere completely foreign, she felt an odd sense of familiarity and contentedness settle into her bones and warm her chest. It felt right .
She lowered herself back into the lush grass, legs splayed before her and arms propped behind. With her head tilted up at the sky, she closed her eyes and let herself relish in the sensation of the warm breeze ruffling her hair.
Marinette didn’t know how long she had been sitting there before she finally looked up. It was on sudden impulse; she swore she could feel someone’s presence beside her, like the tingling sensation one felt when another’s gaze was on them.
Her instinct proved to be right, because only seconds later, she caught sight of a shadowed figure slumped in the grass a few feet from her.
The moon illuminated the person’s face enough that she could just barely discern their features; it was a boy, who appeared to be in deep slumber judging by the steady rhythm of his rising and falling chest.
Long, dark lashes framed his closed eyes, and his fair skin glowed luminously under the moonlight. Silky strands of hair brushed against his forehead, ruffling slightly in the wind; Marinette’s juvenile curiosity made her want to reach out and shake him awake, but the serene expression on his face stopped her as her hand was only mere inches from his shoulder.
Scooting some distance away, she opted to lay spread eagle on the grass with her hands beneath her head and closed her eyes as if she were soaking up the moonlight.
She could always wait for the strange boy to wake up—right now, she had all the time in the world.
Unbeknownst to her, the person beside her began to stir.
Jason blinked open his eyes and let out a low groan, fully prepared for the full force of Gotham winter to hit him as soon as he came back into consciousness.
But as his hands pushed himself up, he soon noticed the soft ground underneath him, so unlike the hard concrete of the streets he slept on every night
He sat up abruptly at this realization.
Something was wrong.
This time of year, he never woke up without feeling the brutal chill that froze his limbs over and made his teeth chatter.
He never woke up with a full stomach, or with the feeling of calmness that was currently overtaking his senses.
Everything felt right, and it did nothing but disconcert him. Nothing in Jason’s life ever went right.
His eyes darted around the strange place cautiously, taking in the view; part of him wanted to sit and stare at the twinkling stars in awe, but he forced the juvenile desire down. He couldn’t afford to get distracted.
He was in the middle of quickly assessing his immediate surroundings when a quiet gasp broke the bubble of tranquility around him.
Before he knew it he had shifted into a fighting stance, and he whipped around to see a figure sitting on the grass a short distance away.
His entire body tensed at the bluebell eyes staring back at him in shock; they belonged to a girl with short black hair, seemingly a few years younger than him, whose lips were open in an “o” shape.
Jason’s brain urged him to move, to do something, but his body refused to obey. It was as if time had frozen him in that stance, rendering him incapable.
The trance was broken as the girl scrambled to her hands and knees and stood, eyes shining with wonderment.
The next words, spoken in a breathless voice, were written in the stars.
“You’re my soulmate.”