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To Marry a Vigilante: Part 18
The akuma of the day turned out to be the editor-in-chief of the tabloid that tried to spin a story about Damian and Allegra. It might’ve had something to do with the fact that the Mayor’s office, Kane Industries, and Wayne Enterprises were going after his newspaper for libel and slander. The Printer was defeated by Pink Tigress, who was working with extreme prejudice that day. Ladybug arrived just in time to purify the akuma.
After it was all sorted out, the group retreated to Wayne Manor, where they met Chloé waiting for them.
“Good. You’re here. Now it’s time to plan a counter-attack.”
“What?” Marinette asked, surprised.
“Counter-attack on Erica and Lila. They practically declared war with that stunt!” Chloé raved on.
“Huh?” Damian was equally confused.
“Apparently, ‘The Printer’ was paid a rather large sum to have this article published without checking credibility. He did these things before.” She explained.
“So they actually started to play dirty?” The bluenette asked
“They didn’t!” Tim ran inside the cave, panting. “How in a hundred treadmills can you run so fast?!” He stared at the blonde.
“Puh-lease! I just used a short-cut.” She huffed. “One could think you accuse me of… physical training.” She made a disgusted face, but she was smirking.
“Tt. So did they attack us or not?” Damian scowled and started to sharpen his sword. Where he got the sword from was not important at that moment. Everyone long since gave up on trying to track all his hidden weapon stashes.
“They couldn’t. Neither has that amount of money. I traced it to a foreign account registered on Emma Rose Blake.”
Marinette’s eyes widened and she stumbled back as if the name slapped her. “ Adrien… ” she whispered.
“What!?” Damian was on his feet in an instant.
Sabine grasped her dagger before her expression turned soft and she walked to hug her daughter. “It’s okay, sweetie. You’re not alone.”
“I… Adrien snuck out once. He wanted to watch that movie that starred his mother. Solitude. ”
“I remember! That one threw a wrench in my search for a while.” Tim beamed.
“We stumbled upon each other and he took me with him…” She remembered and blushed lightly. “I only saw the intro, but from what I found out on the internet, his mother was the lead. Her character’s name was Emma. Rose. Blake.” She told each word separately, making sure they got the message.
“So that bastard thought he could get the two of you to break up?” Chloé asked. “Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous! The two of you are the sweetest, most loyal couple in the whole of Gotham. And besides, the blasted spell wouldn’t let anything like that happen. We’ve seen the effects.”
“Tt. It does work both ways.” Damian’s face was twisted in a scowl. “And I reserve my right to skin the cat and feed him to sharks. I’m sure Penguin will let me borrow some.”
“I’m… not sure if you’re joking…” Tim stared at his brother, worried about his sanity.
“I’m not.” The youngest Wayne cut him off. “That flea-ridden alley-cat is intruding on my bond. My marriage. The league… It’s the single most sacred relation for the members of the league. For me.” He grabbed Marinette’s hand. “And he will suffer for trying to separate us.”
For a moment, Marinette stared at him, taken by surprise by his revelation. Then, she cuddled into his side.
“I’m not leaving.”
“Also,” Chloé decided to interrupt the cute moment, “you’re trending.” She showed them a video.
Marinette and Damian were standing on the table in the cafeteria, holding hands.
“…I trust Damian with my life. I’m his and he’s mine!” She declared. There was steel determination in her eyes, but also flame that burned bright.
“I’m hers and she’s mine.” Damian echoed. He had an identical expression on his face. They raised their joint hands before turning to one another and sharing a quick kiss. In the background, many people cooed at the romanticism of the scene. Then, a black butterfly sneaked through the window. Marinette looked at it and grasped it from the air. When she opened her hand, it was a mess.
“Not today, Hawkass Junior.” She seethed. Then, like a queen she was, she and two blondes by her side left the place among applause.
“Someone recorded it?!” She started blushing profoundly. Damian’s cheeks were also red.
“Tt. Who did that?”
“Claude.” Chloé smiled. “But that’s not the important part.”
“Then what is?” Sabine asked. “Also, I want a copy of that video.” In response, her phone vibrated.
“Maman?!” Marinette moaned.
“The ‘Not today, Hawkass Junior’ is breaking the records on Twitter and Tumblr.” She smiled. “You’ve become a sort of a hero today. MDC is now the designer. Jagged Stone went live and he spent five minutes doing nothing but praise you!”
“Only five minutes?” Damian asked with a raised eyebrow.
“Penny found him and dragged him by the ear from the screen. After that, it was only Fang posing before the camera.”
“That’s… That’s Jagged alright…” Mari giggled.
Damian only huffed.
Chloé’s phone vibrated and she opened the link. She laughed for a good two minutes before she was able to speak. “Mayor Kane… just declared… ‘Not today, Hawkass Jr.’ to be the official motto… of the campaign against his terror.”
“Can I make an MDC shirt with this?” The designer beamed. “I know! I’ll make a pillow! No! A…”
“You can make an entire collection, sweetie.” Sabine was grinning. “You’re the hero both in and out of the suit.” She cooed. “And you’re so cute! I’m totally sending this video to Sandra! And uncle Cheng! He’ll love it!”
“Maman!” Marinette moaned again, but she was smiling. She had people that wouldn’t abandon her.
Two days later it was finally Saturday, which meant a bit of freedom from the kids at school. In hindsight, Marinette preferred it when she was not that popular. Of course, Chloé did what Chloé did best and worked her crowd control magic. She wasn’t constantly accosted at school. At least not by most. Maps made her into a personal hero of sorts.
Now though, it was Saturday, which served as an excuse to stay late in bed, spend the whole day with Damian before spending the evening watching cheesy movies with Chloé and her mom. It would be a perfect Saturday.
She got dressed in her favorite red dress, making sure to wrap the rope dart under the sash. It wouldn’t do to leave home without any means of self-defense. Not in Gotham at any rate. Her hair fell down her back and curled slightly. On her left wrist, she put a small gold bracelet with a single pearl. It was light and didn’t attract too much attention, but made her whole outfit stand out slightly. She paired it with high stockings and black ballet shoes with silver ribbons. After a thought, she picked a black glossy leather wristlet. Damian promised they would be going somewhere special.
When she got downstairs, he was already waiting, dressed in a semi-formal outfit. His suit was of course MDC original. He had dark trousers, a white shirt with the topmost two buttons open and a jacket with sleeves rolled to his elbows. All in all, it gave a bit of a roguish vibe, different from what he wore on most occasions. Marinette made sure he wore nothing but her creations. He tried to protest that it was too much work, or at least pay her something for it. She threatened she would forbid him from paying for anything for her. Damian made a mistake, arguing that she was living under his roof. Her response was to start calculating rent. He relented and allowed her to dress him up to her heart’s desire.
“Hello, Habibti.” He smiled at her.
“Damian! Will you tell me where we are going?” She hugged him.
“Not yet.” He said mysteriously. “We’re going somewhere special and I want to surprise you.”
“Daaaamiiii!” She tried again but to no avail.
“Tt. You hang out with Maps too much.”
“That’s just because you’re not willing to give her a chance.”
“She thinks I’m Batman.” He huffed.
“Curious why.” Marinette retorted, smirking. “I’m sure the fact Robin led her for a gift hunt had nothing to do with it, am I right?”
“Tt. I admit nothing.” He tried, but a small smile made its way on his face. Curses! Why did she make him so mushy?
“I knew there was a heart somewhere deep inside.” She continued, smirking triumphantly.
“Don’t be ridiculous. All people have hearts.”
“She’s not a person. She is just walking irritation.”
“Can’t argue with that,” Marinette said. They were walking down the road, bantering to and fro.
They arrived at the gate, where a sports car was waiting for them. Damian took the driver’s seat and pointed her to the shotgun. The car radio was playing the song they danced to during their dance-off. It was full of life and brought back some fond memories.
“Can I know where we are going now?” She begged.
“Not. Yet.” He said with a confident smirk. “You’ll love it though.”
“Fine.” She relented and remained in her seat. Marinette decided to focus on the sights outside the window.
They were driving through the city. She saw that the mayor wasted no time and ‘Not today, Hawkass jr.’ indeed became a city-wide slogan for the campaign about positive thinking. Marinette had a not-so-small suspicion that Chloé and Allegra had something to do with it. She wouldn’t put it past them to artificially boost the popularity until it exploded. Not that she complained that much. If it helped stop more akumas, she was all for it in fact.
Finally, the car pulled in front of the Gotham City History Museum. Or at least Marinette thought it was the museum, from the angle she couldn’t be sure. Before they got out, Damian handed her a blindfold.
“You’re joking?” She stared at him. “It’s a museum.”
“How did… Nevermind. I have a surprise for you.”
“Why would… No way!” She connected the dots. “But… But we didn’t do that much!”
Damian looked at her with a mixture of amazement and mirth. “I’m surprised Bourgeois didn’t share the news with you.”
“She was too busy hanging out with Cass yesterday.” She then got a pensive expression. “The two of them hit off better than I thought.”
“True. I’m disappointed with Cassandra, but alas.”
“No, you are not. You’re happy that she’s making friends.” Marinette countered with a smile.
“You have no proof.” He dropped the blindfold and got out. “Come on or we’ll miss it.”
In response, Marinette put on her sunglasses and also got out. On both walls of the museum, there were giant posters of Ladybug and Black Cat in their heroic poses. He was standing straight on the dark background, with both hands on the baton that served him as a cane. He was looking left, toward the Ladybug poster. He looked serious and a bit intimidating. Ladybug on the other hand was smiling and overlooking all the passers-by. They’ve used her new suit, for which she was eternally grateful. Marinette would probably burn in shame if they decided to stick with the original.
Inside, Damian led her through the entrance, showing the tickets. They went straight to the Superhero hall, which previously was called just Bat-hall. Marinette was feeling a whirlwind of emotions. She remembered the statue unveiling back in Paris, but it was after months of activity. Here, Gotham accepted two more heroes after a few weeks. Granted, Hawkmoth jr. was much more persistent and his akumas more destructive (plus they had even worse fashion sense), but Marinette still didn’t consider herself special enough.
Reporters from various newspapers crowded around the podium on which stood Mayor Kane. Allegra was by her side. When the young blonde spotted them, she winked at them and smirked. Marinette waved to her in response while Damian guided her toward the front row. He was a Wayne. He didn’t settle for anything else.
The ceremony was lovely and Mayor Kane spoke kindly about the new heroes. Not once she broached the subject of their age. The statue itself was tall, with all three Miraculous users standing side by side, Ladybug in the center, and slightly forward. After that was done and the mayor answered some questions, Damian prodded her slightly and the two snuck out unnoticed. He led her toward the back and onto the stairs that led to the rooftop and the couple was away from the prying eyes. They walked up and opened another set of doors that led them outside.
The day was a bit chilly, but several heaters placed on the rooftop made it feel perfect for how they were dressed. In the center, there was a blanket with a picnic basket and a small heat-isolated container next to it.
“Damian!” Marinette giggled when he hugged her from behind and nuzzled into her neck.
“A surprise.” He whispered.
“But… How… Why… And on the rooftop?” She gave him a questioning look.
“Heaters needed a power source.” He answered before leading her to the blanket. “And it was closest to the previous attraction.”
When they sat, cuddled together, the boy pulled a small box of strawberries. Marinette immediately snatched it from him and tasted it first. She practically melted at the taste. Seeing the look of betrayal on his face, she smirked and picked another.
“No.” He protested when she put it before his mouth.
“Come on Dami. A plane needs to land.” She kept smirking. Damian tried to keep his dignity, but ultimately he gave up and allowed her to feed him. “See? It wasn’t that hard.”
“Not a word of this to anyone.” He grumbled. “I have a reputation to uphold.”
“Okay… Only Chloé and Allegra.” She giggled at the horrified look on her husband’s face.
Deciding to change the subject as fast as possible, Damian asked “Did you like the statue?”
His wife beamed. “It was amazing. I showed you the one in Paris. I mean that one is okay too, but this was actually much better! It acknowledges not only me but all three of us. We are a team and I want us to be represented as such. And did you notice that they actually replicated the tail behind you fluttering?”
“It was indeed adequate work.” He replied, reserved as usual.
They sat in peace for a bit more, with Marinette occasionally feeding Damian a strawberry. They didn’t really need to speak, instead just enjoying the monotonous sound of cars before the museum and relaxing with each other’s embrace.
Feeling a bit mischievous, Marinette tapped Damian’s shoulder and made him turn to look at her. As soon as their eyes met, she leaned and fed him another strawberry. Except this time instead of holding it with her hand, she was holding half of it in her mouth. This, of course, led to two of them kissing. Both of their lips tasted like strawberries.
It wasn’t a long or passionate kiss, but it was still full of love.
When they broke, Damian had a funny expression on his face and Marinette giggled. He shrugged and pulled a thermos from the container, pouring both of them a cup of hot chocolate each (together with marshmallows).
Damian regaled her of some of the tales about his great detective skills and how often he saved the day. She kept giggling and pointing out obvious mistakes, to which he huffed good-naturedly. He tried to stay away from subjects related to the League of Assassins and his childhood, but Marinette coaxed some stories out of him, careful not to prod too much. She respected his decision to leave it behind, but at the same time, she wanted to understand him. In the end, they just laid on the blanket cuddled together, with all the sweets consumed.
“Damian… I love you.” She nuzzled into the crook of his neck.
“Yes. You told me that at the airport. And several times after.” His logical brain responded before emotions took reins and he continued. “I love you too.”
“But I feel like it was always in response to something you said. I wanted to tell you that from myself. I love you.” She cuddled closer to him and he hugged her.
“ Habibti, ” he whispered.
“ Mon chéri, ” she answered.
After some more cuddling and looking at how the evening sun slowly set behind the monumental towers of central Gotham, Damian finally untangled himself from Marinette and got up. He helped her on her feet and turned the heaters off.
“It’s time to go. We have two more places to visit.” He informed her and led her down to the museum proper. They snuck out of the staircase and joined one of the trips unnoticed, before leaving the building and avoiding anyone seeing them. It was fun to do teenage things sometimes.
Their next stop was a small Italian restaurant that was out of the way and mostly empty. Damian had a table reserved there and made sure to pick one that was out of the way, in the corner that overlooked the whole place. What Marinette didn’t know was that he paid to have the tables next to them kept empty.
They settled on a vegetarian lasagne with grilled swiss cheddar, spinach, and ricotta. Marinette wasn’t a vegetarian herself but after their little picnic, they wouldn’t fit two separate dishes. She enjoyed the tastes Damian introduced her to since they met each other. Especially (to Plagg’s delight and Tikki’s mirth), she loved the various cheeses that he exposed her to. While she sometimes still ate meat, it happened more and more seldom. Alfred’s cooking was on par with her uncle’s.
Their discussion was much lighter now that they weren’t entirely alone. She smiled when he accidentally referenced Game of Thrones. He tried to deny it but in the end, he had to confess or people would think he knew what a ‘meme’ was. That was humiliation beyond what he could survive.
“…I’m just saying that if it’s a bit strange that Allegra and Claude always disappear together.” She finished her speech.
“Tt. As if my cousin would lower herself to dating the clown.” He huffed.
“I didn’t say they’re dating. It’s just that for at least two weeks now they kept slipping away.”
“You’re imagining things, Habibti.” He dismissed her concern.
“Okay, but what about Felix and Jon? They also run aw… ay…” She suddenly froze when a large group of people pushed their way into the restaurant. On the front, Lila and Alya were guiding them right to where the couple was sitting.
Marinette heard Damian curse under his breath before suddenly everything was enveloped by thick, black smoke. She felt someone grab her wrist and pull her into a nearby door. They found themselves in the kitchen, Damian leading her between working cooks. Marinette saw how he pulled a phone from his pocket and texted the restaurant owner. He also paid double for the trouble with the smoke bomb. Luckily, the owner apparently understood the need for a quick getaway. The class on the other hand would be in for a rude awakening.
“That was close…” Marinette sighed in relief.
“Tt. I should’ve challenged them to a duel for interrupting us.” Her husband scowled.
“I told you no killing.”
“They would survive… probably.”
“Still. Now, where is that secret birthday party supposed to be?” She had a hard time keeping a straight face when he choked on his own saliva and stared at her with wide eyes.
“It was Claude?” He asked harshly.
“Of course not. Did you really think I would forget my birthday?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.
“You did forget Christmas.” He pointed out. This time, it was Damian’s turn to try and not show any reaction to how she started spluttering.
“That… I… But… It… We… It was something completely different!” She finally shouted.
“Whatever you say, Habibti. As for the party… Let’s go. They should be ready by now.”
Chloé was running around the club they rented for the evening. She was doing at least seven things at once, but that wasn’t important. She needed the party to be perfect. She already made sure that all guests were in place and she was now fixing some of the decorations that were not to her liking. She had trouble balancing all the things she was holding and placing them one by one. Then, someone took the weight from her.
“Maybe I can help?”
“Thank you Maribear…” Then, Chloé’s brain registered. “Maribear!?”
“Surprise!” The bluenette cheered.
“How?!” The blonde jumped back, startled.
“Tt. She blackmailed me.” Damian grumbled from behind his wife.
“Um… With what exactly?” Tim walked from his hiding place. The rest of the guests followed through.
“Now. It wouldn’t be effective blackmail if I told you, right?” Mari turned and looked at him with a smirk on her face.
“True. Happy birthday, sweetie!” Sabine was suddenly behind her daughter, Chloé, and Damian. She managed to startle all three of them.
“Maman! Don’t scare us like that!”
“Payback’s nice.” Her mother and Chloé responded at the same time.
“They got you there, Angel.” Damian decided to repay her for the blackmail.
“Hey! You’re supposed to take my side!” She giggled. “Besides, it’s my birthday.”
“I’ll try to remember next time.”
With that, the party started.
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