Marinette tipped her head to the side, a phone pressed to her ear for an excuse to talk to them as she wandered through the streets. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Red Hood groaned. “C’mon, we know something happened! Just tell us!”
“The guy was put in Arkham, how is that our fault?” Complained Robin.
“Because he was claiming Ladybug killed him!”
Her grip tightened on the phone. “And yet he was alive. Maybe he belonged there,” she said. Her eyes flicked to a group of men in suits and she cringed. “Right, looks like my ride’s here.”
“Don’t avoid this!”
“Gotta go – don’t touch me with that if you know what’s good for you – bye!”
She ‘hung up’ and dropped the phone in her pocket, careful not to look away from what was probably a tranquilizer.
She put her hands up in surrender. “Guys, I thought we went over this last time. It’s fine, I’ll behave. You don’t need to stick me.”
She tensed. New orders? Had the Rogues found her out? She didn’t think that she had done anything to tip them off, they shouldn’t have been able to, but this didn’t feel like their normal way of dealing with her.
But she couldn’t run. That was only more suspicious. And she had a sneaking suspicion there was people behind her to catch her if she did, if the prickling feeling under her skin was any indication.
This one wasn’t as strong as the first one, but that didn’t mean much. It didn’t make her pass out instantaneously, only made it extremely difficult for her to form coherent thoughts. Well, hopefully they weren’t going to be interrogating her. She didn’t know if she’d even be able to wake up enough to form words.
And then she saw his face and a scream slipped from her lips.
Paper-white skin was stretched grotesquely over the man’s face, leaving folds and flat planes where there definitely shouldn’t have been; at the edges the face was peeling off, only held on by a few staples. Cherry lips were pulled into a grin that was far too wide to be humanly possible.
She pulled her knees to her chest and curled inward on herself in the chair they’d put her in. Maybe if she did that enough she’d collapse in on herself and she wouldn’t have to look at him anymore.
A hand rested on her shoulder and she looked up to see Harley. The woman knelt down to be eye-level with her. “Don’t worry, darlin’, you’ll get used to it.”
She didn’t want to get used to it, but okay.
She hesitantly put her hand out to shake. “Nice to finally meet you, Joker.”
He took her hand and kissed it (or, at least, that was what she thought he was trying to do, in reality he just knocked his teeth against her skin). “And you, NightMare. I’ve heard a lot about you.”
She nodded slightly and waited for his grip to slacken on her hand to pull away.
The man seemed to consider her for a moment before pushing himself to stand at his full height.
She allowed herself to breathe again.
She looked around and frowned. The energy in the room was far more muted than usual. Most of the Rogues were almost hiding against the walls, backs pressed against them as if hoping that the building would swallow them whole. Even Penguin looked like he was trying his hardest to disappear, his knuckles white with how tightly he gripped his umbrella.
She looked up to see Harley and couldn’t help but cringe at the smitten look in her eyes. She was the only one in the center of the room with her and Joker, and she seemed to almost be reveling in the feeling. Marinette had heard of her ‘relationship’ with him and she wanted nothing more than to grab the woman and take her as far away as possible.
She settled for standing between them, smiling innocently as she hugged Harley around the middle. “I was beginning to think you forgot about me!”
The woman beamed and hugged back. “Of course not, darlin’!”
Her smile dropped as Joker handed her a gun.
“Euh?” She mumbled, knitting her eyebrows together as she took it.
“Harls just told me you haven’t had your debut yet!”
Her shoulders tensed slightly but she forced a smile. “I wanted to have some sort of big debut, wouldn’t want to ruin it when there’s only three months left.”
Joker gave her a laugh and rested a hand on her shoulder. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end. “Maybe, but I want to make sure you won’t flake out on us when the big day comes.”
“Then prove it.”
She swallowed thickly. Now all the Rogues were looking at her, watching her flounder for an excuse. She could see the doubt forming in their eyes the longer she went without answering. Damn. Her whole plan hinged on them trusting her, and they had yet to tell her what their plan was beyond the fact that the Wayne Gala was involved somehow.
She wondered if she should tell them she killed someone. It was a pretty good indicator of general badness. Problem was, she knew that the bats were listening intently to the conversation while they wandered on patrols. If she admitted to this, they’d question her, and eventually they’d find out that Robin had been killed. That wasn’t her secret to tell.
So her only real option was…
Marinette gave a little bow, her eyes trained on the floor. “As you wish.”
She opened a portal to just outside the convenience store and couldn’t help but cringe as she saw who was on duty. It was the clerk who had helped her get the right supplies when she’d been shot. Great. So now she had to traumatize a genuinely nice person.
Also herself, possibly, but she was going to try and avoid that if she could.
Her hand went to the gun Joker had given her. She wouldn’t have to kill anyone. It was a robbery. Those were common, people knew how to react. It shouldn’t go wrong.
She glanced back at where the Rogues were all smiling at her and giving her thumbs up. ‘Good luck’. Too bad she never had that.
She closed the portal and pulled out the gun and a burlap sack she could use to hold the money and food in (Harley had asked for skittles, Marinette intended to deliver).
She stepped inside and shot out the lights, which was met by screaming. She tried not to look at the mother shielding her kid, at the group of teenagers who were cowering in a corner, at the clerk who was anxiously opening the cash register.
She swallowed thickly, tears threatening to spill over as she walked past the mother and child to pick up a pack of skittles and dropped it in her bag.
“No one needs to get hurt. Everyone, drop your money in front of you and I’ll come to collect it.”
This was a good area. Hopefully they could all afford the loss.
Everyone hastily pulled out their wallets and she raised her eyebrows as she shot the wall next to one of the teens. “No calling the police. Drop your phone, please.”
The oldest nodded and let their phone fall to the ground.
She walked over and leaned down to pick up the phone, only to hear shuffling above her. She looked up just in time to get punched in the nose.
A curse slipped from her lips and she stumbled back. It didn’t really hurt, the punch was pretty weak, but she found tears coming to her eyes anyways. Her back hit a shelf and she winced.
She gave a sigh and brought her gun up to point at them.
“Funny,” she said, giving a tense smile. Marinette raised an eyebrow as the teen advanced a step. “Do you have a death wish?”
The teen – no, a closer examination showed she was a preteen at most – glared at her and took another step forward.
She raised her eyebrows and moved her gun to point at one of her friends, and nodded to herself when the kid tensed.
“I won’t hurt any of you,” she promised.
The kid looked her in the eyes and Marinette found herself looking away, reaching down to pick up their phone and wallets. She cringed as she saw that the phone was still dialed for 911. She pressed it to her ear.
“Ha! Got you! Suckers!” She said.
“Prank calling the police is a crime, young lady.”
“Oh. Oops.” She hung up and dropped the phone again.
She had a strong suspicion that her ‘lol it was just a prank call’ thing hadn’t worked. She was going to have to move faster.
She walked around the store, scooping up wallet after wallet, until she reached the clerk.
Marinette took a glance back and then stuck out her sack. “Drop the money in, please.” She heard sirens in the distance. She could hope it was some other random thing going on, they were in Gotham and all, but she didn’t think she’d be that lucky. “Quickly.”
The man outright pulled out the tray and started dumping it into her bag, eyes wide with fear.
She nodded when he finished and removed her bag, tying a knot at the top.
A flash of movement.
She looked back up and the clerk beaned her with the metal tray. She hit the floor. Her gun hand came up to threaten them.
But there was no gun.
She made a strangled sound in the back of her throat as she looked around, finding it a few feet away. She moved towards it and another hit made lights dance in front of her eyes.
She barely dodged the next hit, rolling to the side and cringing. Now the gun was even further away. The clerk was standing between her and it.
Marinette backed up on the floor until her head hit the wall. She could take quite a few more hits than the average person, but that didn’t mean much if this guy was going to clobber her until she inevitably passed out.
He brought his hands up to hit her again and she opened a portal, watching him fall through it.
She closed it too soon.
There was a sickening sound as he was cut in half. Blood splattered her clothes as she watched both pieces fall to the ground.
Marinette wanted to stay. She wouldn’t have cared about giving herself away as Ladybug if it meant bringing this man back, but the sirens were getting closer and closer.
She dove across the floor for her gun. She stood up slowly, her eyes looking around. All their horrified expressions, the kids she had definitely scarred for life, and… his body, split in half with a look of surprise forever stuck on his face.
She opened a portal underneath her…
And tried not to think about the fact that the edges were coated in red.
man Marinette is really just not having a good time
wish i could do something about that
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