Marinette had known for years that her soulmate was no longer in the land of the living. She knew it didn't make sense to lament the loss of someone you'd never even met so much, but that didn't mean she didn't feel it. She felt her soulmate's loss keenly, as she always did when she looked at the blank skin just below her collarbone. The pale canvas where there had once sat the outline of a beautiful red rose with a golden blade through it. There had been a banner as well, but she hadn't been able to read it.
The mark itself had been outlined in gold- the mark of a romantic soulmate. It's loss was a harsh blow. Sometimes she could swear she saw a faint trace of gold still shimmering in her skin, but always disregarded it as nothing. After all, it was impossible. She knew for a fact that they were dead. Nothing else would ever show up in that spot. It would forever be an empty space where there had once been something cherished. She could hear the whispers of the world, a soft 'important, important' from the very air.
Downstairs, she could hear the knocking on the door. The whispers intensified until her mind was filled with the clamoring voice of the world. Sighing softly, she let go of the neck of her pink sweater, watching the fabric spring back into place and sending a pain lancing through her heart. Making sure her concealer was applied correctly and covering the dark circles beneath her eyes, Marinette sighed again and slipped quietly through the trap door to the rest of the house.
She could hear voices before she saw anyone, an older gentleman with a British accent. The voice was wise and gentle, accompanying her mother's fierce and affectionate and her father's soft and protective. Coming into the living room, she stepped up beside her parents with a slight quirk to her brow. The older gentlemen looked impeccable, dressed in a crisp suit with fresh creases and a silver pocket watch peeking out of one pocket. Behind him, she could glimpse another person. About shoulder height on this man, so bigger than she was. Black hair and black jeans, a grey hoodie and no more. She couldn't see their face.
She had tuned out the conversation, and was startled when the older man held out a hand to her. She jumped softly, turning baby blues to look into a kindly face with a startled expression like a deer in headlights. Pursing her lips slightly, she took the hand outstretched to her and gave a firm shake. When he moved aside, she could see the person who had been behind him. A boy who seemed to be brooding, emerald green eyes set into a stern expression.
Again the world whispered that soft 'important, important'. She stared in mild confusion before holding out a hand. Head tilted slightly to one side, she gave a soft smile. He hesitated for a moment, but took her offered hand. A sharp pain made itself known. That spot under her collarbone throbbed, and she nearly fell. Her legs shook, and he caught her just before she could fall. But that golden light shining through her sweater could only mean one thing.
She didn't believe it. She had to see it for herself. Tugging the neck of her sweater down a bit, her mouth fell open at the sight. There, in a place that had previously been blank, there was a golden outline. In this outline was a red rose rose, speared through with a golden dagger. Beneath the picture were the words 'Si vis amari, ama' in delicate script.
She heard the soft intake of breath from the boy holding her. She turned watery blue eyes to his surprised green. Settling a hand on either side of his face, she studied him with such an intensity he scarcely knew how to breathe. When she spoke, she could feel the supressed emotions all burst from the dam she has hidden them behind.
" . . . You should be dead."
Damian was not pleased to be in Paris. It wasn't that the city wasn't beautiful, but his father had sent him to investigate a supposed supervillain that was obviously a fictitious work of an overactive imagination. And he had obviously gotten stuck with the job because he was the youngest. And it certainly didn't help that they'd sent Alfred with him. Even after all this time, his father still thought he needed a babysitter.
At least this trip wouldn't last very long. Bruce Wayne had contacted a civilian couple he knew in Paris. Damian was to be on his best behavior while they asked the two about this so called 'supervillain'. He would have been anyways, but he felt insulted by the insinuation that he'd be rude just because he didn't like this particular assignment. These people had done nothing to earn his ire. His family on the other hand . . .
In any case, Damian was certainly glad to get off the plane. He was jet lagged and grouchy, and Alfred insisted that they drop off their suitcases and go greet their informants immediately. One did not argue with Alfred. So Damian agreed on the condition that he was allowed to freshen up and change clothes first.
Standing in front of the mirror with his shirt off, the former assassin rubbed gently over a blank spot where his soulmate mark had once been. But after his time in the Lazarus pits, he had awoken to find the mark gone. Rose, sword and golden banner. The skin was clear and unblemished, and he hated it. Did this mean that he would never find his soulmate? Perhaps they had died too, and the marks had disappeared as a result. He didn't want to be the cause of anyone's death. Least of all someone he'd never known. Someone who had been so special to him without ever meeting him.
Hearing his name called snapped him out of his melancholy trance, and he slipped his Jagged Stone t-shirt on, followed by his grey hoodie and a leather bracelet he'd gotten from a new friend. He'd met Luka when the boy had come to the annual Wayne Charity Gala as Jagged Stone's plus one. They'd hit it off fairly quickly, despite Luka's more laid back approach to life. As a parting gift, he'd given Damian a leather bracelet with the eye of Horus on it. Damian had given Luka a necklace with Thor's hammer hanging from it, and they had agreed to keep in touch.
Now that he was in Paris, he was looking forward to seeing the boy again. At least he would be able to enjoy himself a little on this wild goose chase mission. He was going to get back at his family for this one.
Sitting in the car with a displeased look across his features, Damian huffed softly. The car pulled up to a quaint little bakery, and he and Alfred exited the car. Alfred knocked, and had been speaking to the couple who opened the door. However, Damian couldn't focus. Something felt strange. His foot tapped the ground in an uneven rhythm, and he fidgeted with his fingers uneasily.
While he was distracted, he didn't notice the girl. She came down the stairs in a confused haze, observing him around Alfred, though she couldn't see his face. And he couldn't see her at all. At least- until Alfred moved to reveal the small girl.
She was ridiculously tiny, but obviously not much younger than he was. Bright blue eyes pinned him with a startling intensity, and deep midnight blue-black hair was gathered in a braid over one shoulder. Even with the makeup he knew she must be wearing, he could tell she hadn't been sleeping. Or eating, by the looks of it. She was thin and looked tired, perched on her tip toes and arms slightly extended as though she were about to fly away.
She showed a soft smile, holding out a hand to him with a light nod. He hesitated, but took her hand with a soft gulp. He didn't really know why, but she made him nervous. When he took her hand, a sharp pain made itself known on his collarbone. He winced slightly, but she didn't seem equipped to handle whatever had just happened. Then again, she didn't seem equipped to handle a stiff wind.
Damian caught the girl easily, and she looked down to her chest. Pulling her sweater's neck down a bit, she gasped softly. He couldn't help but look at whatever had caught her attention, and his breath caught in his throat. There on her skin, still glowing from its sudden appearance, was a golden outlined ruby shaded rose. Stuck straight through it was a golden sword, and beneath that was a banner reading 'Si vis amari, ama.' The latin phrase gave him pause, and he turned to her to find tear filled baby blues turned his way.
" . . . You should be dead."
Her voice was like music, and he pulled her close, cradling her head as she shook. With the feeling of having her close came a warmth surrounding them, as though everything within them was unfurling and fitting together. Their very souls greeting each other with a soft 'I'm home'.
"I'm glad you're not."
He felt his heart beat a bit faster, and swallowed around the lump in his throat in order to respond.
"I am too . . . I missed you."
He could feel her relax against him a bit, soft and welcoming. He could feel a part of him he'd though he lost when he'd died flaring to life. So this was what it was to love someone.
"I missed you too."
Later, Alfred asked him what it was that he'd felt, and Damian could only think of one way to describe it.
"Just about everyone I know is in America. We're so far away. I felt kind of dissociated from everything when we got off the plane. But when I touched her, it was like- . . . everything just clicked into place. She was everything I didn't know I'd been looking for. And even though Gotham is my home . . . I am home."
Alfred wanted to cry.
Back at home, for the first time in a very long time, Marinette slept peacefully.