Opurration: Beg for Forgiveness! (aka the chapter where Marinette throws a lot of things)
(and also the chapter that killed me with fluff)
From his perch on the lamp post, Chat Noir appreciated the breeze of the cool night air and the quiet buzz of the city as he took a moment to collect himself and calm his speeding heart. To think he might never have been able to feel this again did not occur to him lightly and he would never again take being Chat Noir for granted. Not that he ever had, but he was definitely more conscious of it now. But despite how good it felt to be back, he couldn't stop the anxious twist of his insides as he looked across the street to Marinette's balcony.
He could already see her agitated form pacing back and forth with the occasional wild gesture and loud exclamation, but he didn't see anyone else so at least that meant she was probably talking to Tikki (or herself) and it was safe for him to come. His stomach swooped with nerves. It was now or never.
A shadow in the night, he silently scaled the wall up to her balcony where with limbs he managed it within seconds as opposed to the minutes it had taken him all week, but he almost wished he could've taken longer if only to delay the inevitable. He stopped just below the edge, heart bursting, and took one final timid breath before poking his head above the railing.
She didn't notice him at first which felt even worse. Trapped in her incessant walk with a nail wedged between her teeth, he watched her until he finally couldn't stand it and cleared his throat.
Her reaction was instantaneous. Rigid, she ever so slowly turned towards him. They locked gazes and even in the dark he could see her skin already beginning to flush. He'd had a plan, thought it over for hours actually, about what he was going to say and that he was going to say it all before she could say anything herself but now at the moment of truth his brain had become useless and his mouth gaped like a fish as he desperately searched for words. The silence stretched between them and he forced himself to breathe; he just had to stay calm and it'd be fine. They would have a reasonable, proper conversation about this. After all what was the worst that could happen?
He let out a nervous laugh, flinching at the crack in his voice, "H-hey princess, I - WHOA!"
The objects that were aimed for his head bounced off harmlessly enough despite his attempted protest but then holy shit was that a flower pot!?
He ducked and reactively lurched out to grab the plant-made-projectile before it could fly over the ledge and had to frantically windmill his arms through the air at his loss of balance. Just as his fingers hooked back on the rail, he looked up to see her pigtails vanish through the window and loudly slam it shut behind her, complete with a resounding click of the lock. Vaulting the railing and casting the pot aside, he darted over just as she finished burying herself in her sheets.
"Wait, I just want to talk! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." He called, pressing his face desperately against her window. The bundle of covers just shook in a clear no.
"Please Marinette, let me explain." He insisted and at the mention of her name she immediately groaned.
A small red spot hovering just above her misshapen shelter alerted him to Tikki's presence and Chat perked hopefully, shooting her a pleading look with big, begging eyes. Tikki was reasonable, he thought. There's no way she'd ignore him.
Of course, he wasn't actually surprised when she did just that. She shot him a single unimpressed look before crossing her arms and turning away with a loud harrumph.
He had a contingency plan for this. Not missing a beat, he pulled off the bag of sweets he'd clipped to his belt before leaving his house. It had been Plagg's suggestion to bring them actually, reminding Adrien that he was in fact not the only cat in hot water.
"Tikki, please let me in. I'll give you these if you do." He jiggled the bag hard enough to catch her attention. For a moment, her eyes widened and flickered to the baggie but Marinette cried in outrage, momentarily poking out her head to shoot her kwami an incredulous look.
"Tikki no! Don't take any bribes from that mangy cat!"
Tikki frowned and, as he had figured, wasn't swayed and floated down to situate herself by Marinette's head but not before sending a brief longing look at the treats. Well, it had been worth a shot.
He frowned behind the glass, briefly glancing at his hand resting on the surface. Of course he could always use cataclysm, but he wanted her to actually consider forgiving him so that was definitely no good. This wasn't how he'd wanted to talk to her, but this would do; all he really wanted was for her to hear him out. Once he was done he would leave if she so wished but only after that. He tried once more. "Marinette... My lady-"
"LA LA LA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU."
Time for Plan B.
Ten minutes later, Sabine hurried down to turn away the customer that had just entered the bakery as they were just about to close only to gasp in pleasant surprise when she saw a familiar boy had walked in instead, hand behind his back. He smiled politely but a knowing sparkle lit her eyes from the way he timidly tousled the back of his head.
"Hello Adrien. Here to see Marinette?" She asked sweetly, beaming at the blonde boy who actually jumped and flushed.
"Good evening, Mrs. Dupain-Cheng and y-yes..." He stuttered but tried to seem as normal as possible. Sabine chuckled warmly, mind whirling with curiosity, but when he shifted it was impossible to miss the bundle of flowers peeking out from behind his back. She only smiled wider.
"Oh, those are lovely. Are they for Marinette?" She teased, entertained by the way he flushed brightly. Sabine didn't mean to torture the obviously already nervous boy, but this was just too adorable for her to remain silent. She didn't waste a moment before warmly ushering him in and promptly steered him towards Marinette's room before he could reply. At the base of the stairs, she smacked his back lightly.
"Good luck dear." She winked and felt just a little wicked when the poor boy actually gulped and scurried up the stairs. As soon as he was up, she rushed off to go fetch her husband.
Adrien glanced down at the bouquet of pink roses in his hand (if he'd had more time, he would no doubt have gone far greater lengths but being Chat Noir definitely had its perks as it was) and exchanged a tense glance with Plagg who was resting in his pocket and didn't look any better.
He rapped loudly on the door in warning and warily entered before quickly closing the trap door behind him. Having not moved at all, he could see the cocoon that was Marinette shift and groan from her bed.
"Mom, I told you, I don't want-"
"Actually, it's me." Adrien said nervously and her head popped up like an animal that'd been spooked, hair frazzled and eyes wide and drilling into him while her brain tried to register the fact that it wasn't Chat Noir but Adrienin her room. Adrien.
If he had thought her face was red before, than it was nothing like it was now.
Prepared this time, he was able to dodge most of the objects that flew his way, mostly trying to keep the flowers from harm. Lucky for him, they were mostly harmless as pillows took flight, but she was still Ladybug and her throwing arm was nothing to sneeze at. She grit out several words, still bright red, between every attack.
"You can't just-"
"Come into my room-"
"Like this! This is cheating!"
"You know, maybe we should just let her cool down a little longer?" Plagg squeaked from his pocket. It was Adrien's mistake to glance down at the small kitten because that's when the surface of something very hard and solid smacked him right in the face.
He groaned loudly and gingerly touched the tender area of his nose which had received the brunt of the hit as the book which had hit its target too well thumped to the floor. Yup, that felt about as great as he imagined being on the receiving end of his lady's fury did.
"OHMYGOD." There was a very loud scrambling and series of thumps as Marinette practically tumbled down the steps from her loft. She was by his side in an instant, hands fluttering in panic around his face as she tried to bat his hand away to assess the damage. "Oh my god, Adrien, I am so so sorry, I didn't think- I thought you'd dodge it-" She was so close, he could feel the warmth radiating off her skin and found himself unable to keep the bubble of amusement growing in his chest down despite the pain.
"No don't apologize, I definitely deserved that a little..." He said somewhat nasally but in a breathless laugh, eyes twinkling with mirth despite how they'd watered up a little. Then he felt a thin stream of warmth trickle down his chin and the unmistakable taste of copper blossom on his tongue and Marinette whimpered in horror.
"I did not just break Adrien Agreste's nose. I did not just break your nose." She croaked mostly to herself. "This is a nightmare."
Cupping his hand to capture the small droplets of blood, he waved his other hand, the one still holding her flowers, only for her to flush anew when she noticed them for the first time. "No, no, it's definitely not broken. Just a little sensitive." He even had the nerve to send her a small, cheeky smile.
That seemed to snap her out of it a little and a look that was so very Ladybug descended across her face. Steeling herself, Marinette ushered him over to the chaise and lightly pushed him down with a deep sigh. She finally took the flowers from his offering hand, gazing at them with a with a look of disbelief for a moment, before gently resting them beside him before going right back to him. Taking his hand (he could feel her shaking a little) she made him pinch the top of his nose and tipped his head back. "J-just wait here for a second, put pressure on it." She ordered and threw open the trap door, leaving him temporarily alone. Only then did he notice the two kwamis float up to his eye level.
"Well..." Plagg drawled, though it couldn't be more obvious he was trying to restrain laughter. "At least you got her to start talking to you. " He started to chuckle, only to be silenced almost instantaneously when Tikki shot him a dark look.
Marinette was back a minute later, arms full of first aid supplies, and she kicked the trap door shut on the sound of distant laughter that he could only assume belonged to her parents. He wasn't sure what Marinette must have told them, but at least they were getting a kick out of it.
She yanked her desk chair over in front of him and scooted herself close enough for their knees to touch, balancing a bowl of water in her lap and setting the rest of her materials beside him.
"Is it still bleeding?" She murmured quietly as she dipped a small towel into the bowl. Her hands paused hesitantly over his face to which he nodded as much as he could without flinging blood before she started to wipe the red off his face.
"I t-think it stopped." He hadn't meant to stutter but she was so close and so gently handling his face that he couldn't control the way his heart stuttered under her touch. Unable to do much else, he silently resigned himself to observing. His gaze trailed across her cheek, noting the cute spatter of light freckles, and then up to the stray flecks of color scattered throughout her blue eyes though she continued to determinedly avoid his. If anything at least he had the pleasure of watching her turn red all over again. At this rate, she would become a tomato and he couldn't keep down a chuckle at the image of Marinette with a tomato as a head from popping into his head. She paused in her cleaning, finally unable to keep from glancing at him.
"Nothing." He said quickly. "Just... when I woke up this morning, this was the last thing I saw happening today."
In hindsight, he could've picked a better excuse because his mind instantly flashed back to that morning in which Adrien had already forgotten that they'd basically cuddled all night. He was almost afraid the nosebleed would start again with how fast the blood rushed to his face and he could see her realize it too as she suddenly shot away from him, shoving a cool compressor into his hands.
"Y-you can do that yourself." She took a moment to breathe into her hands and steady herself before crossing them tightly around her chest and scooting a solid arm's distance away from him as she struggled to regain even a fraction of her composure. They fell back into an awkward silence. Though the embarrassment was still there and very mutual, Adrien could already see the anger leaking back into her face though she continued to avoid his gaze. He knew she was waiting for him.
"So..." Adrien finally said, pressing the compressor to his face and scratching the back of his head. "I think we've already established that I'm probably the last person you want to see right now-" He ignored her light snort. "And I know it was kind of a low blow for me to come in like this, but I had to properly explain myself. Plus, we both know about each other now so we couldn't just ignore that either..."
"A chance to explain you say?" She said it calmly, but her tone was tense and sharp. "I think you had more than enough chances to explain in the past five days." Adrien flinched.
"I know and I'm sorry." Adrien said, completely serious and desperate for her to meet his gaze so she could see how much he meant it. When he managed to catch her eyes however, she squeaked, and he was shocked when she swiveled her chair around until she was completely faced away from him.
"Uh, what are you doing?"
"I-It's easier to talk to you like this. I'm still- If I'm looking at you..." She stuttered and trailed away miserably. "It's just easier ok!" Adrien frowned, only to feel a light stab to the heart right after when she hastily added, "Besides, this way I don't have to see your stupid face."
He sighed deeply. He wished she would face him but he had a good idea of what she must have been feeling like so he wouldn't call her out on it. Unlike him, she hadn't had the luxury of time to really process it on her own.
"I guess," Adrien started again, butterflies flittering nervously in his stomach once more. He groaned, setting the compress aside when his fingers began to numb. "I don't know even where to begin. This is a mess." He exhaled but was slightly comforted when some of the tension seemed to leave Marinette's shoulders as she muttered. "Tell me about it." He was surprised when she wheeled back around though she still looked down and had started nervously pulling at her hair.
"Just... start from the beginning." She said carefully.
"Okay." Adrien swallowed. "It started that first night, after I got shot by the arrow. I had already left to meet you but after the sun went down, I suddenly changed. I didn't know what was going on and our first thought was to go and find you so you could reverse the spell, but Plagg and I were separated when I slipped off the roof trying to chase you and... then you ended up finding me and taking me home. You even found my miraculous, as luck so had it." Now he was the one who couldn't meet her eyes.
"So you figured it out that first night?" She whispered.
"No," He admitted. "I came over the next day because I was just trying to get my miraculous back and the plan was still to go and find you afterwards, but then you transformed right in front of me." He floundered a bit, flustered. "It was an accident. And then you know how all that turned out." He laughed dryly, but it died in his throat when he saw that a frown had grown over her face.
"So..." She said hesitantly. "If you really did find out that second night like you said, then why didn't you just tell me then? Why keep coming back and continuing with the whole cat charade?" Her hands dropped to grasp each other as they started to tremble and she began to unconsciously raise her voice. "Did you think it was funny? How I was clueless?" She finally looked straight at him and he was horrified to see that tiny drops had started prickling at the corner of her eyes. "I had no idea what had happened or where you were or if you were hurt and even though you were right there the entiretime you just-"
"Marinette." Whatever words were about to follow were swallowed back down when she was pulled into a tight embrace as his arms wrapped around her. Hands trapped against his chest, she could feel how fast his heartbeat mimicked her own as he buried his face gently into her hair. She had half a mind to shove him away and shout some more, but she had been rendered helpless with shock and she cursed her body when she couldn't completely choke down the emotions that were flowing up.
Though she didn't return the embrace, she wasn't shoving him away either so he said. "I didn't think it was funny at all. I really, really messed up... I even made you cry and I can't forgive myself for that. I'm so sorry Marinette, and as much as I want your forgiveness I didn't come to see you to ask for it. I betrayed your trust and invaded your privacy all for my own selfish reasons." He felt her tense in his grip but he continued on before he lost his chance. "I never meant to find out the truth like that. I know how important keeping our identities from each other was, but once I found out I just couldn't bring myself to tell you. I was afraid that you'd be mad enough as it was but it wasn't just that either."
He took a deep breath, calmed by her familiar scent. Though he no longer had the heightened senses as he did as a cat, it had still come to comfort him. "I know Ladybug. Together we're teammates, partners... close friends. But I didn't actually know much about you. How could I when there was a completely different side to you? So when I realized who you were, like an idiot, all I could think about was how I wanted to know you more and more. Before I knew it, I just kept coming back because I enjoyed spending time with you. It was fun and it made me really happy. I didn't want to stay away from you because I..." He choked off on his own words; that conversation would be for another time. "T-those probably sound like horrible reasons, but it's the truth. Before I knew it, it had already been days and to be honest, I thought you'd be fine without me. I didn't mean for you to worry so badly and then why I saw you crying, I knew I had messed up. " He let out a shaky breath. "But here I am just making you cry all over again. How much worse of a guy can I be?"
She still hadn't moved closer, so he started to relax his grip to draw away. "Like I said, I didn't come to ask for you to forgive me. I just wanted you to know that I never meant to hurt or worry you like I did. I just... lost my head and I just need you to know that I'm sorry."
They settled into silence and his heart was heavy. "That's all I wanted to say. Thank you for hearing me out Princess. I'll go now; it's about time this cat got out of your hair." He had started to stand, but he met resistance and glanced down to find that her fingers had clenched tightly onto his shirt, locking him in place. They didn't relent their grip and only tightened when he tried moving away.
Her prolonged silence only continued to worry him even though he settled back down. "Marinette- oof!"
He was knocked back when she let her weight tip forward as she buried herself into him, gathering his shirt in fistfuls. Adrien held his breath.
Her voice was muffled, but he felt her speak against him even as he could feel the place where she had pressed her face grow damp. "You stupid, stupid cat... Never worry me like that ever again."
In utter disbelief, he only pulled her back into his arms as she finally wrapped hers around him in turn. "I know. I'm sorry." He knew he sounded like a broken record by this point but he would say it as many times as he needed.
Like that he held her for a little while, gently stroking her head until her trembling stopped though she continued to sniffle. When she finally pulled away, his hands were instantly reaching up to gently grasp her face and thumb away the tears. They both turned red at his actions, but she didn't pull away so neither did he.
"Sorry, I think I got a little crying snot on your shirt." She sniffled, slightly mortified, but couldn't help but let out a shuddery laugh when a warm smile crossed his face.
"I can live with a little snot. Besides, consider us even since I heard I kind of drooled on you earlier."
She laughed a little more and suddenly it had traveled its way through her body and she began to giggle until it was a bit uncontrollable.
"Marinette?" Adrien asked in concern, but she couldn't stop. This was crazy. She tried to stop, she really did, but the harder she did, the harder the urge to laugh became and it was when she had finally doubled over in laughter that she was finally able to choke out words.
"I'm sorry," She guffawed, nearly in tears again. "Oh my god this is all so crazy. You're Adrien and I'm Ladybug and it's been that way all this time, and it's just, I can't even begin- I mean then there was the laser... and the catnip." She fell into another round of boisterous laughter at the way Adrien's face flushed darkly. She'd dare say it was the most flustered she had seen him yet which only made her more giddy but though he looked like he wanted to protest, her laughter was infectious and soon they were both a laughing mess at how ridiculous it all was.
When they finally had a little more control over themselves, the tension had completely evaporated and suddenly it was just Marinette and Adrien, but it was also Ladybug and Chat Noir. They sent shy smiles each other's way.
"So..." He started timidly. "Does this mean you forgive me? Even after everything?"
She watched the way he radiated hope and she finally just let out a big sigh. "I think so." The reaction was instant: his face lit up like a Christmas tree and he practically began to vibrate in excitement, but before he could get out another word, she held up a stern finger.
"Hold it there mister. You're not completely off the hook yet; I'm still mad at you." He physically wilted but she was unable to keep a little smile off her face. "So though I think I can forgive you, I have a few conditions." After all, maybe he already had had enough punishment; first there was the catnip, then his own embarrassing reveal, and then an almost broken nose as the cherry on top.
"Anything." He said it so seriously that it had her flushing all over again, but she met his stare straight on.
"One, no more secrets." She said sternly.
"No more secrets." He echoed immediately and from the look in his eye, she knew he was telling the truth. "Ever. And?"
"And two." She crossed her arms, pursing her lips to try and lose her smile. "No more puns."
"What?" He cried, pressing a hand to his heart like he'd been wounded. "But- but puns are part of who I am!"
"No more. The puns must stop." She said gravely though her eyes twinkled. "For all our sakes."
He made a show of flopping across the chaise and casting a dramatic arm over his forehead. "Marinette, please no. Why must you pun-ish me so!" Marinette would've retorted but when the Chat-like grin slid over his face, Marinette found herself beginning to flounder all over again.
Noticing, Adrien sat up and tilted his head, confused, but still grinning. "What?"
She laughed nervously. "Sorry, this'll still take some getting used to. But fine, if not puns, I'll find payment in other ways. I fully intend to have you make it up to me." She had said it jokingly, but Adrien was already nodding.
"Oh absolutely. I'm prepared to do anything you wish."
She must've been dreaming. That was the only way Marinette could explain all this because though this was Chat Noir, it was also Adrien, and her brain was beginning to catch up and registering that not a moment ago they had been embracing and he had been saying all those things about wanting to get to know her and oh god she was getting really, really red again. At the same moment though, a different thought crossed her mind and suddenly she was flying away from him at high speed, practically throwing herself across her wall as he watched in shock.
That cat had been him the whole time. The whole time. Which meant everything she'd done, everything she'd said, he'd seen and heard.
As she looked at all her pictures of him that still plastered her walls, she could tell that he'd realized what she was doing now. He only blushed a little but had the gall to actually look sheepish. If only she could melt into the floor. But there was one thing she couldn't remember and she turned to look at him in horror.
"Did you see...?" She demanded fearfully, feeling faint, and she couldn't help but glance at the still wrapped up schedule that hung innocently a few feet away.
He only blinked in confusion. "See what?"
"Um nothing! Nothing at all, just forget it!" She squeaked, but let out a loud whoosh of relief though knowing that he'd still seen everything else wasn't much better. She desperately combed her memory, trying to think of every little thing she might've said or done the past few days with him there. "A-adrien, about e-everything I must've said over the past few days-"
There was a sharp knock on her door and they jumped, simultaneously turning to see Sabine poking her head up and smiling cheekily.
"How's your nose dear? Marinette mentioned that you'd accidentally hit it somehow." Marinette looked pointedly away, determined to not meet his smirking gaze. "Anyways, we were wondering if you'd like to stay for dinner. I already made enough for four if you were interested."
"O-oh! I wouldn't want to intrude." Adrien said hurriedly. He stood up, but his heart was already sinking a little. None of this had gone exactly according to plan and though he had mostly said what he'd wanted to and everything seemed okay (well, better than okay to be honest) there were still things he'd wanted to talk about, but he didn't want to overstay his welcome either. She had said she was still a little mad with him which was perfectly understandable.
"You should stay..."
He almost thought he'd misheard for a moment and turned to Marinette with wide eyes. She nervously tugged at one of her pigtails but when she finally met his gaze, her face was determined. "Please stay. For dinner. But, uh, I mean, only if you want to, that is." She trailed off in a stammer, but she didn't avert her gaze and he could see she was serious and his heart skipped a beat when he realized that she even looked hopeful.
"Okay." He turned back to Sabine. "I'd love to stay, if it's really alright."
"Of course it is! We're not having anything too fancy, I'm afraid." She chuckled in good humor, giving him a good look over. "But we need to put some meat on those bones after all-"
Sabine smiled innocently. "So I hope lasagna sounds good."
"Y-yeah," He laughed, releasing a genuine smile. "That sounds great."
After Sabine disappeared back down, Marinette moved for the stairs and gestured for him to follow.
He hesitated for just a second. "Wait Marinette, I still-"
She held up a hand and he instantly shut up, but it calmed him to see the smile pulling at her mouth. "We'll have time to talk later. Don't worry kitty." She topped off the pet name with a bold wink. "But for now, I think I'm ready to just forget everything and stuff my face." She rubbed her temples with a loud groan. Adrien gaped, mildly reeling from the pet name (ha), but a hesitant, familiar grin slowly slid across his face like it was the most normal thing in the world.
"My Lady!" He exclaimed, enjoying just a little too much how she started at the name. "That doesn't sound very lady-like at all." She sent him a withering glare but there was no true heat behind it and he followed her down, the two laughing as something big and warm swelled inside them both.
Adrien was ecstatic. The weeks that followed were surprisingly... good. Really good.
That night and one horrifyingly embarrassing dinner filled with relentless teasing later, Adrien had left feeling more warm and happy than he had felt in a long time and they'd bid each other goodnight with flushed faces. From her smile, he knew that everything was good between them, or as good as they could be, for the time being. She had even slipped Plagg a couple of his owed cheese breads to which said kwami practically inhaled and added boisterous comments of "Marry her! Marry her right now!" to which Adrien promptly squished the little devil silent against him and ran away despite Marinette's embarrassed giggling.
He hadn't been able to go back to school for another day as the promised doctor fidgeted over him but when it was found that he'd somehow been miraculously cured, they could only shrug and declare that he was well enough to go back to school. Though he was plenty behind, he'd never been more glad to return.
That morning, he'd even showed up a bit early so he could wait for Marinette and walk with her. She'd been surprised and though she fidgeted a bit at first it only took a couple of his glorious puns before she was smirking and rolling her eyes soon enough and it all felt so... natural. Outside their classroom, he also tried giving back the bell she'd given to him as a cat, but with a mischievous smirk she'd gently poked it, an action she'd done so many times, and merely stated that it had been for him. The look on Nino and Alya's faces when a blushing Adrien stumbled in after a smirking Marinette was priceless to say the least.
As for Ladybug and Chat Noir, though it took a couple days of adjusting at first, they'd soon enough found their footing and had never been more in sync. To the outsider, nothing seemed to change, but really... everything was just a little different. And then there were all the little things that had started between them. Every time they'd go for a fist bump it always seemed to last a little longer than necessary or sometimes he'd almost catch her staring at him and sometimes she'd almost catch him doing the same to her or even the other times when he thought he imagined the way she blushed at some of his flirtier jokes, which he'd dialed down considerably, though his puns were merciless as ever.
This unspoken...thing between them only continued to linger, charged in the air, between them whenever they were together. She had said they would talk and so Adrien was content to wait, wanting to give her space and a chance to think things through before they dared to breached the subject. They had time and they were using that time to only grow closer.
But out of all the good, there was one big problem that hadn't really gone away and that was Adrien's aching need for being pet. He had hoped this was some side effect from being a cat that would wear off eventually, but as the days went by, the itch only came and went even more until he was tossing and turning with unrest. So it might not have been that big of a problem, but it was definitely annoying to say the least.
He and Ladybug were perched side by side on the Eiffel tower, staring at the streets below and reveling in the peace only they were allowed. They were far enough apart to not touch but too close to be entirely platonic, and that's where it had lingered. Until tonight when this new annoying need of his decided to make its presence known.
Normally they'd banter for a bit or maybe he'd teasingly flirt and she'd probably gently poke at his nose and shove him away, but tonight was just a little different. There was nothing that needed to be said and so they found themselves simply enjoying each other's company in peace while sharing a small bag of sweets she had brought from the bakery.
"What's the occasion?" He asked as she offered him the bag, all too eager for the goodies. Her bakery's goods had become an addiction of his by now. "What did I do to deserve this Princess?"
She smirked. "No occasion. Can I not just be nice to my partner if I feel like it? Plus, I think the heroes of Paris deserve a little treat every once in a while, don't you?"
"Oh absolutely." He snagged two cookies and practically inhaled one which elicited a giggle from her and warmed his heart. He grinned, waving his other one at her. "You're so sweet my lady."
She rolled her eyes. "That was so weak."
"Hey!" He flashed her big kitty eyes. "All of my puns are top quality. In fact, you could say they're..." He leaned in close, eyes twinkling. "To dough for."
He could see she was fighting to keep down laugher and so there they sat, falling into a companionable silence as they continued to work through the bag of goodies. Even once they'd finished the bag, they still sat, neither making the move to head home though their patrol had long since ended.
Ladybug was the first to make a move and she stretched her arms above her head. Taking the cue that she was about to make her departure, Chat stood up beside her. "We should probably head home now. We do have all that homework due tomorrow."
"Right..." Chat trailed off, but his gaze had fixed to her hand and he watched as it moved down and reach out towards him. Unconsciously, his body went rigid, tingling with anticipation and he held his breath, watching it like a hawk as it dropped lower and lower. Only for it to stop at her middle as she began to wave and he couldn't help it as his disappointment all came out in a big whoosh, like a balloon deflating, and he whined loudly.
He couldn't slap his hand over his mouth quick enough and they both went stiff with surprise. He'd gone extremely red and she paused, eyes wide, her yoyo frozen in her grasp.
"W-what was that?" She asked, smile twitching at her lips. Chat was ready to fly home now and maybe bury himself under the covers.
"Nothing goodnight Princess!" Heart thumping, he whirled around and had nearly made his escape when the all too familiar yank at his tail stopped him in his tracks. Helpless, he turned to find her smirking at him, his tail wrapped in her fist.
"And where do you think you're going?" She asked sweetly, but she was also twitching curiously. "That was obviously not nothing! And you're acting suspicious now, so you have to tell me!"
"N-no!" He whined, mortified. He couldn't possibly tell her.
"It's... embarrassing." He actually choked out.
She only arched an eyebrow, but released his tail. "Now I need to know. It can't be that bad! I promise I won't laugh. Plus we agreed no more secrets, remember?" Ugh, he really should never have allowed himself to get to the point where a single person could have this much command over him because when he turned to see her warm smile aimed right at him, he knew he couldn't deny her anything. After all, she was his princess.
"I-I," He poked his fingers together and then finally blurted out. "I just kindofsortofmissyourpetting."
She blinked but chuckled. "Sorry, I didn't really catch that. Again?"
"I just really... miss your petting. You know, when I was a ...cat. And for a second I thought you were..." He could feel himself flushing with every word coming from his mouth beneath the mask and he buried his face in his hands, horrified that he was admitting this out loud. He waited for the laughter to come but when it never did, he finally gathered enough courage to peek through his fingers.
Instead of laughing, she had gone bright red and looked nearly as bad as him.
There was an awkward moment of silence before she finally turned away and took a breath. Then she glanced over her shoulder, the blush still prominent.
"...Would you be willing to meet me at home in half an hour?"
He dropped his hands in surprise, bewildered and nervous. "Um... sure?"
She only blushed brighter, her voice going slightly high as her nerves got the better of her. "O-okay. See you soon." She slipped off before he could fit in another word.
He spent a solid minute just staring in the general direction that she'd disappeared in, the butterflies coming back full force. She'd just invited him home and it was far too late to be just a friendly visit, but he wasn't about to miss out on more time spent with her and several minutes later he found himself making his way to her house, taking a scenic way to kill the time.
Half an hour on the dot later, he anxiously approached her balcony. Her lights were off but to his relief she was already waiting for him outside. She had pulled out her comforter and spread it across the ground, even having laid out a large plate full of sweets and cheese (Plagg had received all his due cheese, the spoiled little cat) and had de-transformed and let down her hair. She was giggling softly as she nuzzled Tikki when he arrived. Taking the hint, he released his own transformation, temporarily filling the space with intense green light until it was just him and just Marinette.
Though he lost his night vision, he could still see the smile that graced her face from the dim light of the city and the Eiffel tower in the distance. She set Tikki down by the plate before beckoning him over and patting the blanket. Still confused but curious, he complied and dropped beside her, heart slightly quickening when she peeked up at him beneath her lashes and began to twiddle her fingers.
"Hey." He breathed.
"Hello." She smiled and his heart careened once again. He waited for her to say something, staring as she continued to fidget awkwardly. "So I was thinking..." She said, but realizing that she was fidgeting, stuffed her hands into her lap. "Sorry. It's still taking me a bit getting used to... watching you de-transform like that." She gestured helplessly to him and he couldn't help but let out a small chuckle. "I'll get the hang of it. Unlike you though, who basically stalked me for a week."
"I wasn't stalking!" He gaped, instantly on the defensive. "I was spending time with you." The words were out before he could help himself, but what was the use. Tonight's theme was just Adrien opening his big mouth without thinking. There was a small snort from the side and they glanced over to where Plagg was nursing a loaf while Tikki just giggled beside him. It had taken her a little longer to come around and forgive, and Adrien had never seen Plagg look so dejected before (he couldn't even enjoy his camembert, he'd seemed so miserable) but when she finally did, it was amazing how he'd pepped right back and seemed even more annoying than ever, but Adrien knew he was just happy.
"Creepy." He cackled, despite Tikki's light hit. Adrien deadpanned.
"Shut up Plagg."
"So I was thinking," Marinette repeated, drawing his attention back to her. "For just this once..." She trailed off again, looking away with her next words. "I mean, it is your fault that I lost my cuddle partner, and I kind of miss my kitty..." His breath caught. "So I guess it can't be helped, but..." She shyly pat her lap and his eyes widened at what he thought she meant.
"Really?" He didn't mean to sound so needy, but she didn't seem bothered and nodded.
"But it's just for this once!" She reiterated quickly but Adrien only nodded mutely, lips tight. They fell into an awkward silence again until he realized that she must've been waiting for him to make a move.
Almost robotically, he swiveled around to lay himself down and nearly missed her lap until he felt her gently grab his head and guide it into her lap. Her hands fluttered nervously over his head at first but when she slowly started pulling her fingers through his hair, it was like a switch had been flipped and his eyes slipped close as he melted into her touch. He'd really, truly missed this. Unconsciously, he started nuzzling against her hands and Marinette finally relaxed as well. Laughing softly, they both lay there quietly beneath the stars.
A subtle, low rumble filled the silence and her fingers stilled in surprise. He let out a small groan of disappointment but met her questioning glance.
"I know cats purr, but I didn't think that even you could." She snickered quietly. Adrien tilted his head.
"What? I'm not purring." He protested, looking around with his limited swivel room. They went quiet and looked around for the source of the noise that continued to permeate the silence.
"Aha." Marinette giggled. Adrien allowed her hands to steer his head to the side and he had to lightly crane his neck to see but a small smile crossed his face at the scene before them. Lounged across the now empty plate, Plagg was deeply nestled against a softly glowing Tikki who was petting him in a reflection of their charges. As if sensing the stares that had trained on him, Plagg popped open an eye and began to scowl.
"Didn't anyone ever teach you that it's rude to stare?" He snapped and grabbed a giggling Tikki's arm to promptly drag her though the window into Marinette's room. Marinette and Adrien burst out laughing but at least now they were totally alone and had their own privacy. Among their subtle tip-toeing around each other, this was the first time they had been so exposed to each other since that night.
Adrien allowed a sly smirk to slide across his face. "I had no idea Plagg was such a romantic. You could say... he's kind of cheesy." He grinned at the loud groan that followed though it cost a pillow stuffed into his face.
"You know I think I liked it better when you could only meow."
He pulled the pillow down, laughing. "Me-ouch. That hurts Princess."
The blush that settled across her cheeks sent his heart tumbling though he didn't comment on it. "I can't believe I used to think you were cool."
They dissolved into giggles and it struck them both just how comfortable it felt between them and right then they were Ladybug and Chat Noir but also Marinette and Adrien and the thought alone made Adrien snuggle back into her lap, pleased when she went right back to playing with his hair.
A cool breeze wafted across the roof but Marinette was prepared; she pulled over extra blankets she'd laid to the side and warped one around her shoulders and threw the other across the rest of him, but his mind had drifted elsewhere, the cold reminding him of something.
"Hey Marinette?" He asked quietly.
"Hm?" She hummed in response.
"Did you ever finish those gloves you were making?" He tried to be subtle about pulling the blanket over his nose to hide the red that had crossed his face. The fingers in his hair stumbled but didn't cease.
"F-funny. I didn't think you actually wanted them." She stuttered first, both their minds traveling back to that specific day, but he could just hear a smirk growing in her voice. "If I remember correctly, some certain annoying cat kept me from working on them every time I tried. Seems to me like you wanted the opposite."
He was instantly defensive. "That's because you weren't paying attention to me!" He slapped his hands over his face too late. Did he seriously just say that? From the look on her face, he could only affirm that he did.
This lack of impulse control was getting out of hand. Usually as Adrien Agreste, he was the perfect actor: doing and moving and going anywhere as he was instructed to do and with an expected smile. He would say what needed to be said, but wouldn't betray anything else until he was in the safety of his own space. It was when he became Chat Noir that that air of restraint evaporated. But now the line between Adrien and Chat had all but blurred and it made him nervous and feel exposed, but at the same time he liked whatever this more complete self he could only be in the presence of his princess was. He didn't think it was too unreasonable to think that she did too.
Her hands had stilled and he bit back a protest when she pulled them away only for a second later for them to return as they began to dangle a thick wad of something dark over his face. He reached out to grab it in growing disbelief and unrolled them, unsurprised to find his gloves.
Speechless, he ran his fingers over the stitched fabric and stared at her, clenching them tightly against his racing heart. She had replaced her hands in her lap and was avoiding his gaze now, an uncommon shy quiet settling in the air. He slowly sat up to properly face her.
"Marinette," He said and she tensed quietly but still met his gaze. "There's something I've been meaning to talk to you about and I don't want to keep it in any longer. Several things actually…" If this wasn't the right time to put it out there, then he was sure that it would never come. Adrien reached out without thinking to take one of her hands for strength. She was surprised but didn't pull away. He took that as a good enough sign as any to continue and so he did.
"I know about the scarf." He said and held her hand firmly when he felt her pulse stuttering beneath his fingertips. He wondered if she could feel how hard his must have been pounding as well. "I saw it in your design book when I knocked it over and you talked about it."
"I… remember." She whispered.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Adrien pressed.
"I already said at the time didn't I?" She evaded. "I know I also talked about how I- that I..." She whispered and he hurt with how small and vulnerable she looked right now. He squeezed her hand in a show of solidarity, hoping that she would understand. "Adrien, I-"
"That day," He interrupted gently. "I wanted to tell you a lot of things, but I couldn't." He paused, taking a moment to recollect himself, his throat thick with the memory. "I know I tried explaining it before, but do you really know why I kept coming back?"
"Why?" She stared at him, her blue eyes glimmering with flecks of starlight, and it was like standing at the edge of a cliff with nothing to protect him from taking the final plunge. There was clearly only one way to go but at the same time, he hadn't realized it till now but sometime in the past he must have already taken that step because before he knew it, he had already fallen.
"I don't know how you still feel… about me, now that you know who I am, but I kept coming back because I wanted spend time with you. I wanted to see what made you smile or what made you laugh. I wanted to know what you like, what you don't like, everything that makes you happy. I want to learn everything. You're the most amazing person I've ever met and you need to know that. When you were talking about how you felt like Ladybug wasn't you, I completely disagreed. I still do more than ever. Ladybug is all she is because it's you Marinette. It's all completely and utterly you. And that's who I fell in love with." There. It was out now and there was no way of putting it back. He felt himself beginning to ramble as he let out a breathless laugh. "Even now, it doesn't feel like enough. I want to spend more time with you and be with you always. And I want you to know me…"
Her eyes widened with every word and she was staring at him in utter shock now, eyes glimmering and unreadable.
"You don't have to answer me or anything." He said quickly. "I just… really needed you to know that, if anything else."
For a long time, she didn't say anything but when Adrien began to release her, there was the slightest pressure against his hand as she squeezed back. It wasn't much, barely anything, but her grip was tight and wasn't letting go and that was everything and he was filled with very real hope.
Adrien didn't let go of her even as he climbed to his knees, slowly moving both of his hands up to her face till his fingers were dusting across her cheeks. It almost felt like he was wading through a dream, but at the same time was connected to everything. He was aware of the stray wisps of her hair that tickled his hands in the breeze, the warmth of her breath ghosting across his face, and of just how close he'd gotten to her, how close they were still leaning.
"Marinette," He didn't take his eyes off her once. "Can I kiss you?"
Her breathing hitched and there was a long lingering moment where anything could happen and then he felt it, the tiny shift of her head as she gave a tiny nod and he closed the distance between them.
The kiss didn't last long, but her lips were soft and it was perfect. When he drew away, she had gone bright red (no doubt as red as he was) but it only took a moment before there was a brief flurry and he was pressing down upon her again, gripping her tighter and unable to keep the smile off his lips as he fixed his over hers as they met each other in a clash of unwinding feelings. Her arms wound around him, pulling him closer and he swept his hand up, brushing it against the back of her neck and threading his fingers through the soft hair behind her ear. She sighed and Adrien paused, drawing away as they dissolved into a mess of giggles and giddy, bashful smiles as he gently pressed his forehead against hers. Curious, he slid his hand across the same spot behind her ear again and felt a fit of butterflies burst when he managed to extract the same blissful sigh from her as she pressed into the touch.
He couldn't keep the grin off his face if he tried. "Well well, look who's purring now."
She rolled her eyes and pulled him back down, smiling against his mouth.
"Shut up kitty."
So sorry for the longer than usual wait but I finally got this done! There's still probably a bunch of mistakes, but I just really wanted to get this out. Anyways, I hope the almost double-length wise chapter finale makes up for that c:
But yay! We've reached the end! I love how this turned out and it was so much fun to write the whole time. A lot of that was mostly thanks to you guys who read, followed, and reviewed. Every time I would get a notification, I was a happy flower the rest of the day~ So thank you so much for your support!
I already have a lot of other fic ideas (no spoilers ;-D) so if y'all were interested, please keep an eye out in the near future!
Until then, take care and stay miraculous ;)