Adrien sighed staring at the paper in front of him. No matter how he tried, he couldn't make the words come. He tossed the crossed out lines and poorly worded, half formed poems in the trash before glancing at the clock. He groaned. He was supposed to meet up with Ladybug as his alter ego Chat Noir and he still hadn't re-mustered the courage to tell her his feelings. He sighed again slouching in his computer chair. Plagg; for once, was quiet; he had fallen asleep in the bottom of an empty cheese tin. Adrien slipped out of the computer chair and paced. He had to find a way to prove his love to her. On more than one occasion Ladybug had accused him of being an outrageous flirt, which got to him more than he liked to admit. He walked over to the cheese tin and poked the sleeping Kwami lightly rousing him.
"Wake up you cheese glutton, we have to go." He mumbled. Plagg groaned and rolled over blinking up at the boy.
"I'm not going to do it." He muttered before going back to sleep. Adrien rolled his eyes and lifted the Kwami out of the tin.
"If you don't wake up on your own I'm going to transform with you asleep." He hissed. Plagg roused with a glare.
"You humans are so demanding. Come back in five minutes, yeah?" He compromised.
"We have to meet Ladybug." Adrien prompted. Plagg groaned.
"Fine." Plagg mumbled in agreement before Adrien released him and he floated in place, "By any chance did you finish that poem you were working on?" Plagg taunted casting a glance at the trash bin. "Oh, I guess not. Too bad." He laughed.
"I'll just have to give it to her without a poem." Adrien decided, "I'll think of something to say when I give it to her… but for now… Transform! Chat Noir!" He posed as the Kwami flew into his ring allowing him to transform into his alter-ego. Chat scooped up his gift to Ladybug and launched himself out of the window and across the rooftops.
He found Ladybug waiting for him, scanning the city. The soft evening light highlighted her like and angel and his heart melted.
"Good evening, my Lady." Chat bowed as he landed next to her. She gave a soft laugh.
"Evening Chat." She replied, she turned her attention toward him.
"Does my Lady perhaps know what day it is?" He hinted with a grin. Ladybug rolled her eyes.
"The day you stop flirting with me perhaps, little kitty?" She smirked. Chat faked being hurt.
"Such cruel words; but never fear, Chat Noir is here." He presented her with the gift.
"What is the meaning of this?" She raised a brow as she took the present.
"Why it's our anniversary of course. Did you think I would forget the day we became partners, my Lady? Non-non, it is a very important day for me." He smiled. To his surprise Ladybug blushed.
"Oh is it?" Then she blushed harder. "I have nothing for you Chat… I'm sorry." She hid behind the present.
"Your company is merely enough." He assured, "but perhaps a kiss would satisfy your faithful companion?" He fished. Ladybug peeked back over the present with a glare. "Perhaps not." Chat drooped, "but please, the present, your happiness will be my reward." He purred. Ladybug rolled her eyes; something she did a lot around Chat, before opening the present.
"Oh… it's beautiful." She smiled before pulling out the necklace, as small silver chain with a black cat on the end. Its tail hung from the chain but its body was curled around a ladybug as if both protecting and nuzzling it. An engraving on the back read, "With all my Luck-CN." Ladybug giggled, causing Chat to tilt his head in a very cat-like way.
"You don't have too much luck to be giving away there, Chat." She teased coming close and kissing Chat on the forehead.
"But to you I would give it, my Lady." Chat grinned. "Allow me." She held her hair out of the way and he took the necklace and draped it around her neck. "Consider it my good luck charm to you, a token to remember me by," he crooned.
"Thank you, Chat. It is more than kind of you." Ladybug smiled. "Shall we?" She gestured to the rooftops indicating that they should start their patrol for the night.
"I would follow you to the ends of the Earth, my Lady."
The charm was hidden in her shirt; Marinette couldn't bring herself to take it off. There might have been a time when she would have spurned a gift from that annoying cat but she had grown fond of him, viewed him to be a friend even. Most of the time his flirting was obnoxious and got in the way of their fighting, but feeling the charm resting against her skin, warmed by her body heat, made her smile. It gave her a feeling of security; reminded her that Chat was there for her, even through the worst of times.
She started sketching some designs in her book, inspired by her new lucky charm. A black gown, sleek and elegant, one strap curved around the shoulder and curling around the back; a slit starting at the waist and swooping to one side, beneath the black fabric was a back to red gradient with small black polka dots emerging as the fabric continued down. She was so caught up in her drawing his didn't realize there was someone watching her draw. So when she glanced up, blue eyes meeting green she jumped a small screech leaving her throat.
"Ah… sorry, Marinette… I should have said something. I did not mean to startle you," Adrien apologized. Marinette felt her face flush red as she lost her voice and merely nodded.
"It's a very nice design. Something familiar about it," Adrien smiled as he assessed her work. Alya nudged her.
"Th-th-thank you!" Marinette managed. Adrien nodded then turned around as their professor entered the classroom. Marinette spent the rest of the class in a haze, excited about how Adrien had complemented her work. She'd have to thank Chat Noir for it in part; if not for his gift she may have not designed the dress the Adrien had complimented. She sent silent thanks into the cosmos for her friend and wished him luck.
Adrien sat with Nino at lunch still thinking about Ladybug and his encounter and her reaction to the present he'd given here. A contented sigh escaped his lips as he thought of her, the way she'd looked at him. Usually, there was annoyance even behind her smile, but last night was new for him. He almost wished he'd engraved it with his Love rather than Luck. He picked at his salad and smiled again. Perhaps he was making progress with Ladybug after all.
"Adrien!" Nino broke him out of his thoughts. Adrien started, jostling out of his daydreams to talk to Nino.
"Yes?" he questioned.
"You look like the cat who swallowed the canary. What's up?" Nino asked. Adrien gave a lazy smile at the comparison.
"Nothing much," He hummed and poked at his food. Nino raised an eyebrow as Adrien stared off into the distance, thinking about Ladybug.
"Are you in love?" Nino gasped.
"If only my Lady loved me in return." He purred as he leaned against his hand. "For her I would promise the stars, the heavens, the moon." He murmured. Nino blinked at this change in his friend.
"Is that so?" he frowned. Adrien started coming back to reality. For a moment he had let his inner persona run away, Chat had started to leak out. He quickly slipped back into the role of Adrien, perfect son and esteemed model.
"Pardon me, I was not myself." He looked at the time. "Till later; I have a photo-shoot to attend to." He spoke calmly and kindly as he left Nino. Nino frowned, he half wished he hadn't teased his friend; it seemed he was showing a more passionate side to himself and once he had been caught he became the person his father had molded him into. He half wondered if Adrien was ever true to himself and what Adrien was like under all of his stiff gestures.
The only time he'd seen Adrien truly loosen up was while playing video games with him. The game had brought out a more animate side to him and he was laughing and speaking like a normal person, promising Nino that he would live just long enough to regret challenging him in Smash Bros. Then his father called and it was like the person he had been hanging with had disappeared, his façade slammed down and a new person spoke on the phone. Professional, controlled, polite, and yet cold; the fake Adrien the world had come to know.
Nino sighed; he'd like to have a few words with Adrien's father but last time it had not ended well. Nino shivered. It was nice to see Adrien being true to himself if only for a few minutes; he wondered who the lucky girl was. Adrien so rarely came to him with matters of the heart, but the passion with which he spoke; whoever she was must be really special he decided. Adrien had been acting weird since morning, since he spoke with Marinette. He laughed. If it was true that he loved Marinette, she would probably die of happiness. He watched Adrien pull his bag over his shoulder and exit the lunchroom. Whatever the case may be, he hoped Adrien would be happy.
It was his fault. Ladybug lay on the ground breathing heavily, her right arm and left leg were set at odd angles. It was his fault. The charm he'd gifted her lay against her chest; he'd given her his luck, his bad luck. He felt his heart in his throat and wiped tears out of his eyes.
"You're going to be ok, My Lady." He promised. Ladybug looked at him, pain scrunching her beautiful face into a grimace.
"Chat? Why?" She groaned. Blood trickled from her mouth, "Why?" she moaned again before she grew still.
"Lady? My Lady? Ladybug?" Adrien cried. "Ladybug!"
Adrien sat up in bed sweating and panting; he shivered. Outside a flash of light illuminated the sky and thunder rumbled. He rolled out of bed, upsetting Plagg who had been sleeping curled up by his feet. Plagg groaned out a sleepy retort, something about cheese probably. Adrien made his way to the balcony resting his head against the cool glass. He wiped his eyes, his face wet.
"It was only a dream," he told himself. A loud crack above his head woke Plagg up, who flew quickly to Adrien's side and buried himself into his pajama pocket. Adrien knew that fear, he was caught out in the rain once as Chat Noir, the cat's strength and dexterity gifted to him by the miraculous stone also served to give him a cat's weaknesses. Thankfully such things didn't bother him while he was un-transformed. He usually enjoyed the rain; he wished Chat Noir were able to enjoy it. As Chat he became very ill when caught in the rain and semi-frightened by the thunder and lightning. Ladybug had been less than amused when he jumped clinging to her and hissing at the sky.
He groaned in embarrassment, but in retrospect it had been funny. The memory started to chase away the bad dream, but the fear in his heart lingered. He had to protect his Lady, no matter the cost. He'd weather a thousand rainstorms for her. Plagg trembled in his pocket and Adrien put a comforting hand over him. He couldn't fully imagine the Kwami's fear. He knew Plagg only shared a portion of the fear Adrien had experienced. His humanity is what staved off the trembling and as soon as he un-transformed he was able to calm himself down. Plagg didn't have that luxury.
Adrien pulled a blanket from the bed and wrapped it around himself and Plagg, hoping the fabric would help to deafen the storm. He then piled himself into the corner of the sofa, bringing his knees into the blanket as he sat. Plagg's trembling soon stopped and his snores were soon heard over the thunder. Adrien smiled and looked out of the window.
He couldn't bring himself to go back to sleep after the dream. As much as he realized that it was only a dream, he feared that if he went back to sleep he would see Ladybug broken, bleeding and calling his name. He shivered slightly and turned his mind to the storm leaning his head on the back of the couch as he watched. Little did he know it would be the last time he'd enjoy the rain, the last time he could be so calm during a storm.
The clouds had cleared by morning, something Marinette was glad for; Chat became fairly useless during fights when it rained. Thunder and lightning alone he seemed to be able to handle, and rain alone bothered him, but he kept a straight face. However, thunder, lightning, and rain was a deadly combination. Marinette shook her head. Not deadly, but she wouldn't soon forget the last time a bad thunderstorm had come through town. Chat had clung to her, scaring her, and hissing at the sky before he hid behind her shoulder and looked to the sky with fearful eyes. She sighed frowning. He hadn't been such a scared-y cat when they fought Stormy Weather, but it seemed the longer time went on the more cat-like Chat seemed to become.
"What's wrong, Marinette?" Tikki asked. "You've been brushing the same part of hair for the last five minutes." Marinette started then laughed.
"I… I was just thinking about Chat; I'm glad the storm is cleared." She smiled as she started wrapping her hair into pig tails with her favorite ribbons. "I think he takes the cat thing a little to serious sometimes, he wasn't acting so scared of rain when we met." She laughed.
"Well, he is a Cat after all," Tikki joked.
"I wonder if he purrs?" Marinette smiled, "I'll have to try and pet him sometime to find out." She pulled on her jacket just as her phone beeped; Alya was waiting for her downstairs. Marinette grabbed her bag and ran downstairs to greet her.
"Good morning, Marinette!" Alya smiled and waved. There was a pastry in her hand, no doubt given to her by Marinette's parents.
"Good morning, Alya." Marinette returned linking her arms with Alya as they exited the sweets shop and headed to school.
As they walked up the steps to the school Marinette hid behind Alya, Adrien was talking with Nino near the doors. He was laughing at something Nino said, a soft wonderful laugh. She blushed thinking about that laugh. They made it into the school and the classroom, Adrien and Nino not far behind. Marinette watched him as he joked and laughed; then Nino said something that shattered her heart.
"So, you never did answer my question. Who is the Lucky girl who has captured your heart?"
"Keep it down." Adrien hissed. "I don't want the whole world to know. Plus she's out of my league, the whole of Paris is in love with her and she won't give me the time of day," Adrien whispered, then sighed. Nino patted him on the back.
"That's rough buddy," he comforted. "Maybe one day she will see what she's missing out on."
"Yeah… one day." Adrien smiled, "I do think she's warming up to me, Nino. I gave her a gift and she said it was beautiful. It was custom made too. I hope she's still wearing it." He smiled to himself, lost in his thoughts. Marinette hadn't wanted to hear anymore but Adrien was sitting right in front of her. Her cheeks burned with… embarrassment? Anger? Jealousy? Just when she thought Adrien might pay attention to her, the rug was pulled out from under her.
She swallowed hard; it was her own fault after all for being such a klutz, avoiding him, and turning into a stammering mess whenever she was within two feet of his green eyes. She swallowed hard again; Alya gave her a sympathetic look and rested her hand on Marinette's forearm. Marinette fought back tears, determined not to let herself cry in front of Adrien. Adrien, who was so oblivious to her love sitting right in front of her, Adrien, who was too kind to everyone, too kind to even keep Chloe from hanging all over him when everyone knew he was uncomfortable with it, too kind to even give her criticism when their student film was spiraling out of hand. Marinette sucked down her emotions for the rest of the class determined not to let her them show. Not yet.
Chat was the one left waiting on the roof when Ladybug eventually showed up.
"Ah, my Lady, you didn't fight an Akuma without me did you?" he gave her a sly grin, Ladybug didn't respond.
"R-really? You fought an Akuma without me!?" Chat jumped to his feet, "Were you hurt?" He moved to see if she was ok.
"No…" Ladybug shook her head softly trying to fight back tears, "I was just running late, I'm sorry to have worried you." She sniffed.
"My Lady?" Chat sensed something was wrong.
"Do you really love me Chat? Or is this all some game to you?" She cried out suddenly. Chat was caught of guard.
"My Lady? I… I love you and only you." He announced. "Truly, I have eyes for no one else."
"And is it hard?" She asked, trying to rub away tears. "Is it hard for you knowing… knowing I don't return your feelings." Chat stepped back as if wounded.
"My Lady… it wouldn't be Love if it was easy." He stayed put not embracing her, he didn't wish to harm her or giver her the wrong idea. "Perhaps one day you'll love me and perhaps you won't. It doesn't change my feelings for you. It's bitter yes, but we still have a strong friendship, partnership, no?" He gave her a small smile. Ladybug broke down, hugging Chat and crying.
"Why does this hurt so much?" She cried, "I love him yet he barely notices me, it's pointless. But I still love him, and it hurts, and I still love him, but he loves someone else Chat… he doesn't even notice me." She cried.
Chat blinked he had never expected Ladybug to reveal such inner feelings like this, nor actually come to him with her troubles. Part of his heart ached knowing that she was in love with someone else, but it was his duty here and now to comfort her. He hugged her back memorizing her scent; he rubbed small circles along her back as she sobbed. He didn't speak, this was Ladybug's time to cry. Even if she was crying over another man, she trusted him enough to reveal her feelings to him and he wasn't going to ruin their friendship with his jealousy.
Slowly, Ladybug stopped crying, shutting her eyes tight but still holding onto Chat. She leaned against him. At some point they had sunk to the ground, his arms around hers; warm and protective. She shuddered out a small cry. She wondered if Chat Noir hurt this much, if she had put him through the pain she had just experienced by confirming that her heart belong to another. But Chat was quiet, peaceful, and kind.
"If he doesn't see the beauty in front of him, than he doesn't deserve it," he said, then he gave her a small grin. "He must be an idiot." He teased. Ladybug made a noise between a laugh and a sob; Chat hugged her a bit tighter.
"I'm always here for you, my Lady. I won't be going anywhere."
After the emotional night with Chat Noir and running into an Akuma during patrol, Marinette was tired. Just tired. It was as if all the strength had been seeped out of her, leaving her emotionless and worn out. There was no more strength left to cry over Adrien, no more strength left to worry about school. She was too tired for any of that. She sluggishly pulled on her pajamas and collapsed into bed, her hand went to the charm around her neck she smiled as she held it. Chat's gift comforted her as she rubbed her fingers over the engraving on the back. She fell asleep holding the charm in her hands.
The next morning Marinette resolved not to loose hope. According to Adrien's conversation with Nino, the boy of her dreams already had a crush. That being in the open didn't mean that Marinette still couldn't be his friend. Plus Adrien's conversation had made it seem as if the person he loved didn't quite return his feelings.
Marinette took a breath; she would not sulk over this turn of events. She would recover and if nothing else she would learn to talk to Adrien without stuttering. Newly motivated, she got dressed. Making sure Tikki was in her purse before heading out for the day, meeting Alya in front of the bakery.
"Good morning, Marinette," she greeted.
"Good morning, Alya." Marinette nodded with determination. Alya paused for a moment before smiling.
"I'm glad you've got fire in your belly… after yesterday I thought I was going to have to drag you out of bed." Alya teased. Marinette flushed.
"Well… it wouldn't be love if it was easy!" Marinette parroted the words from her partner. "I'm not going to stop my life because love got a bit complicated," she announced as they walked, earning a confused look from a fellow pedestrian.
"Good for you, Marinette!" Alya smiled.
Marinette's confidence was put to the test when she saw Adrien at the foot of the steps talking to Nino. As much as she wanted to hide behind Alya, she remained strong. Adrien then looked up at Marinette and Alya, waving causing Marinette to pause and give a half wave back.
"Good morning, Alya, Marinette," Nino said.
"Good morning," Adrien acknowledged.
"Good morning, Nino and Adrien," Alya responded without hesitation.
"G-g-good M-morning." Marinette managed. Adrien frowned internally, shrugged and went back to his conversation with Nino.
Marinette made it to the school before blushing and crying out in Alya's arms.
"I don't think I can keep this up."
"Where is all the confidence you had this morning? You can do this!" Alya assured. Marinette sighed.
"Maybe." She bit her lip and they found their classroom, pulling out the previous day's assignment. Marinette panicked when she realized she hadn't finished it and was hurrying to answer the last few questions before the bell rang. The warning bell sounded as she was stuck on the last question. Adrien and Nino finally arrived; Marinette's face was scrunched up in concentration.
"Carry the one."
"Ah… thank you… A-A-Adrien!" Marinette blushed and quickly wrote down the answer before Madame DuPris entered the room.
"No problem." Adrien smiled before turning around as Chloe pouted across the room. As they went to hand in their assignments Chloe complained to Madame DuPris.
"Miss, Marinette cheated, she got the answers from another student," Chloe accused. Marinette froze. Madame DuPris looked up and sighed.
"From who did she get the answers Chloe?" Madame DuPris asked. Chloe smirked.
"From Al-" Chloe started.
"From me," Adrien interrupted. "But Madame, I merely gave her advice, Marinette achieved the answers on her own. She merely forgot to carry a one, the rest of the problem was easily solved after I helped her realize the mix up," Adrien stated smoothly. Chloe frowned.
"I'd prefer it if such accusations were not made so frivolously in my class Chloe. Please return to your seat. Thank you for your honesty, Adrien." Madame DuPris dismissed them. Marinette shook her head. Adrien had defended her! Usually he barely noticed her but he had defended her at the risk of getting in trouble himself. Marinette blushed as she thought of a fantasy in which Adrien had saved her from a wicked witch but banished the thought. She wanted to thank him, but wasn't sure how. She pulled out a post-it note; ironically, they were shaped like Ladybugs and scrawled a thank you-careful to put her signature at the bottom-before passing it to Alya who in turn passed it to Nino who passed it to Adrien while Madame DuPris had her back turned. Marinette watched him read it. It was hard to gauge his expression from the back of the head but he quickly hid the note as Madame DuPris turned around again.
Marinette hid her face in her book for the rest of the class period. She heard Adrien stand up to leave as the bell rang and blushed harder. Then her note slipped under the book she had been hiding behind.
No problem – Adrien
Marinette smiled and peeked over her book catching his eye as he left the room, he gave her a small wave before heading to the next class. Marinette held the note, deciding that it was precious to her she smiled as she looked over the handwriting and his little signature, elegant and what she had expected of a model. She giggled, a small bubble of happiness had emerged.
"Way to go." Alya smiled. Marinette packed her books and headed to the next class the note still in her hand.
As the time came for lunch Marinette was still glowing over her stroke of good luck with Adrien. Besides the fact that he had come to her rescue and helped her with her homework; she'd managed to obtain his signature. He was against signing things at school; he rarely put his signature on anything and yet he had signed the bottom of the note.
Marinette was still on cloud 9 when as she was turning away from her locker, Chloe pulled the note out of her hand. She looked at the note with disdain, near growling as she glared at Adrien's signature, threw her head back and laughed.
"Is this what you're so happy about Marinette? Ha! You foolish fool; you're so boring and plain and dull. Adrien probably took pity on you because he has a good soul." Chloe laughed again.
"Unlike you, Chloe." Alya rolled her eyes. "You're just upset because Adrien helped Marinette and not you."
"As if. The only thing Adrien will be helping me with is when he carries me through the threshold on our wedding day. " Chloe turned on her heel and walked away. Marinette was shaking with anger and it took her a while to realize Chloe had taken the note with Adrien's signature with her.
"That pest. She took my signature." Marinette growled to herself. After the good luck of even getting Adrien's signature Chloe had come and snatched it from her. Marinette made her way to lunch mumbling about Chloe and her huge ego. Alya rolled her eyes but listened attentively to her friend's troubles. Marinette noticed Adrien leave at lunch, Nino waving after the car as it pulled away leaving him on the sidewalk.
"Nino!" Alya waved him over.
"Alya, Marinette; you guys headed somewhere for lunch?" He asked has he walked up to them.
"Just to Marinette's, where is Adrien off to?" Alya asked.
"Dunno. We had planned to eat together, but his father requested that Adrien join him for lunch. Adrien doesn't get to see his father much so I hope it goes well." Nino smiled with crossed fingers. Marinette gave a nod.
"We should all go out for lunch together sometime; that is if you boys think you can handle us." Alya said. Marinette blushed and Nino laughed.
"I'm sure we could manage. I'll ask Adrien later." Nino waved as he headed down the street. Alya nodded then nudged Marinette.
"You better thank your friend for getting you another chance with Adrien after you blew the movie last time." Alya teased.
"That's not fair! There was an Akuma attack and I was stuck on the other side of town!" Marinette pouted. Alya laughed.
"I know, I'm still peeved I missed it, it would have been nice to get some footage for my blog. Anyway Adrien missed the movie too, so it was just Nino and me." Alya shrugged.
"You never told me Adrien missed the movie." Marinette frowned. "You let me believe that he was there the entire time and you guys waited for me." She shoved Alya lightly. Alya laughed and shrugged.
"I guess I forgot, Nino said Adrien texted him to let him know he was stuck in traffic." Alya explained.
"Well… at least I can rest easy knowing I didn't stand him up." Marinette sighed.
"You stood me up." Alya joked.
"You're not Adrien though!" Marinette teased. Alya laughed.
"You are hopeless you know that."
"I know." Marinette sighed deflating and entered the bakery, "Mama, we're here." Marionette smiled, Sabine nodded and waved but was busy helping a customer so Marinette led them upstairs to the kitchen and began making sandwiches.
"So how is it going on the Adrien front?" Alya asked as she snacked on a cookie.
"Ugh, I'm just so useless, my mouth stops working and just can't speak and then he looks at me really kindly but I can tell he thinks I have a mental disorder or something." Marinette sighed. Alya looked at her sympathetically.
"I'm sure he doesn't think that." Alya comforted.
"Even if he doesn't, it's hopeless." Marinette sighed as she finished one sandwich and moved onto the next.
"You never know until you try and talk to him, but you actually have to talk to him… maybe you could use your powers as class president to your advantage." Alya conspired. Marinette paused.
"How do you mean?" She asked.
"I don't know; ask him for help on a big project, but tell him it's very important for the student body." Alya suggested.
"I don't know… that would have to involve a big project to begin with." Marinette frowned. "I do suppose I have to work on making cushions now that I've gotten the teachers to allow headphones in the library. But how would I get Adrien involved with that?" Marinette frowned.
"Maybe you should ask for his expertise in the design field." Alya grabbed a sandwich as Marinette put the final touches on her own.
"I don't know." Marinette began eating her sandwich and thinking, "I guess I could call for volunteers and hope he wants to help. But he's usually busy." Marinette groaned, "If I could just talk to him without all of the panic and word vomit."
"You'll get there some day." Alya assured.
Across Paris Adrien was having his own complicated lunch discussions.
"I appreciate your concerns, Adrien but you are to attend the photo-shoot, whether you like it or not. This is a very high profile client of yours, you are not allowed to miss for something as frivolous as a school event." Gabriel ordered.
"Yes, father." Adrien dropped. Pushing his food around on his plate.
"Posture." Gabriel reminded. Adrien sat up straight and returned to proper manners; but his face still revealed his disappointment. Gabriel sighed surveying his son.
"You have an image to uphold, you can't have a normal life. You weren't born for that, you were born for greater things." Gabriel gave his son the smallest of smiles, Adrien looked away; Gabriel returned to his stern expression, "You have to trust me."
"I do trust you, father, I was just looking forward to the event is all. There will be other opportunities to attend school events, I am sure; my apologies for not seeing this earlier." Adrien schooled his expression into a neutral one and withheld his emotions.
"Very good, I've enjoyed our time together, son. I will see you when you return home." Gabriel ended the conversation and waving Adrien off. Adrien nodded before excusing himself and leaving the restaurant.
"That would require you actually being home." Adrien muttered as the car pulled up in front of him. He climbed in, resisting the urge to slam the car door. Plagg poked his head out from Adrien's jacket.
"That went well." He sighed. Adrien rolled his eyes.
"It was my fault for hoping, for asking. I deserved what I got." Adrien stared out the window, his heart aching at the curt dismissal. They had been having a decent lunch before Adrien had brought up the Talent Show and his desire to participate in it. He should have known better than to hope to live his life like a normal person. He envied Nino and his ability to attend school normally without being pulled away and pestered by photographers, make-up artists, hairstylists, and paparazzi.
"Your dad has issues." Plagg scoffed. "On the bright side they had some nice cheese at the restaurant, no?" Adrien rolled his eyes at the question as they pulled up to the school. Plagg dived into Adrien's bag as he headed to class.
Chloe was mysteriously absent class began; Adrien cast a worried glance over to Sabrina. Sabrina shrugged and shook her head before typing frantically into her phone. Adrien frowned; Chloe had been known to leave in the middle of school before for various reasons, such as hair appointments, manicures, pedicures, and other various beauty treatments. Yet it wasn't like her not to tell Sabrina; Sabrina was the keeper of her schedule. Adrien glanced around the room before slipping his phone out of his pocket and texting a quick message to Sabrina.
Where is Chloe? What happened?
He glanced back up before additionally sending a message to Chloe.
Where are you? Are you ok?
He waited for a few moments before his phone vibrated alerting him to Sabrina's response.
She was feeling upset over your actions toward Marinette and decided she wanted to eat lunch alone. She called for the car and left. I thought she would be back by now.
Adrien frowned, why would Chloe be upset over Marinette? He'd only done what was right. He knew Chloe and Marinette didn't get along but didn't know anything beyond that. Adrien frowned then texted Sabrina back.
How upset was she?
Nino nudged him and Adrien quickly hid his phone and pretended to be taking notes, Sabrina texted him back, but Adrien waited a few minutes until the coast was clear to check his phone.
Pretty upset, mostly over the fact you two were passing notes to each other.
Adrien rolled his eyes. Trust Chloe to blow things out of proportion or misinterpret simple things. He sighed remembering the time that she got mad and plotted revenge against his stylist who was returning an article of clothing he forgot at a shoot. Chloe had gotten so angry and questioned the poor girl for half an hour before the stylist had burst into tears and ran. Chloe could be so overprotective sometimes; usually it was tolerable. This time Adrien feared that an Akuma might possess her if she got too emotional. He glanced down at his phone and sent her another message.
Worried about you, please text me back. He stashed his phone away and stared at the board. He had never expected part of his job as Chat Noir to result in sitting nervously in class and hoping his childhood friend didn't get possessed. He tapped his pencil on his desk nervously until Nino told him to "Stop it or you'll loose a hand."
The bell rang and he swiveled around standing up abruptly and grabbing Marinette's wrist. She yelped frightening Alya and a few others.
"Marinette, what happened with Chloe?" He demanded. Marinette stammered and blushed.
"You broke her." Alya frowned. "Chloe came up to us after class and started being Chloe, she took the note you guys were writing on and sauntered away, but not before insulting Marinette. Like I said, she was being Chloe." Alya supplied. Adrien frowned and let go of Marinette's wrist and she made a small noise.
"I have to find her." Adrien grabbed his bag and started out of the door. Alya scoffed but Adrien didn't care. The last thing he wanted was a potential fight with Chloe, especially when Marinette was in her crosshairs. Adrien slid to a stop.
"Marinette!" He cried, he did an about face and ran back to the classroom, Marinette was squealing in Alya's arms.
"Marinette!" He called. She jumped.
"Aah? A-Adrien?" She squeaked out.
"I need you." Adrien panted before grabbing her wrist and pulling her along with him.
"Wh-whaaaaat?" she cried.
Adrien paused, her reaction had made him self conscious. He had reacted without thinking. How was he going to explain this to Marinette, let alone Alya or Nino? His father? Nathalie? He had acted on emotion alone, and allowed himself to freak out. Alya was giving him a funny look and it appeared that Marinette's soul and left her body.
He dropped her wrist. How did he get out of this? What would he say? He had to make sure Marinette was safe in case Chloe did get possessed but the real challenge was making sure Chloe wasn't possessed. There was no way he could confirm that Chloe was or wasn't possessed. There was no reason to get so worked up. He took a breath and composed himself.
"I'm sorry for that outburst." He apologized to both Marinette and Alya then he turned toward the door where… Sabrina was recording? He mentally smacked himself before striding over.
"How long where you there?" He asked. Sabrina fumbled for an answer, "I hope you understand but if that video gets out it could put my father in an awkward position. Might I ask you to delete it?" He gave her his signature smile, polite, reserved, perfect.
"Yes… but… um… I already sent it to Chloe." Sabrina hid behind the phone.
"I understand. Please delete it from you phone nonetheless." He patted her on the shoulder and made to leave.
"Wait!" Alya marched up to him, "You can't just come in here and start spouting stuff like 'I need you' and then just leave Marinette like that!" She poked him in the chest.
"You're right. I'm sorry Alya; that was insensitive of me. Marinette will you accompany me to the library for our free period." He held his hand out to her, though she had sunk to the floor and was muttering into her purse. It was killing him not to act like Chat Noir, it was killing him to be sweet polite Adrien. He might have been able to regain his wits when he wasn't sure Chloe would throw a fit, but knowing Chloe's long term goal of marriage to him, it worried him what the video Sabrina took might do. It might put her overboard. Staying composed was difficult. Eventually he was able to pull Marinette to her feet. He pulled her along to the library and slowed trying to find a place that was easily defendable, someplace he could transform if the need arose. He decided on a table by the back doors near a closet. He couldn't see very well due to the racks of books but he decided to make it his base.
Marinette was still bright red, it seemed she was trying not to run from him, he pulled a chair out for her to sit on and she hesitated before taking a seat. He sighed before taking a seat next to her.
"I'm sorry this all seems… sudden. I don't mean to give you the wrong idea." He looked into Marinette's blue eyes and felt a sudden tug of trust. It was enough to prompt him to explain his unusual actions to her.
"Marinette… I think Chloe might be possessed by one of the Akuma creatures. I have no proof, but I know that they take advantage of negative emotions." He whispered quickly, "I think you might be in danger. Chloe hasn't answered my texts, she always answers. I think… I think that my actions this morning in your defense; however innocent they were on my part made her angry. I… I can't explain it, I just… I need to make sure she's ok, and I need to keep you safe and I don't know which one I should do first." He ran a hand through his hair ruffling it. Marinette was quiet for a moment and Adrien thought that she was going to call him delusional.
"If that's true… then… then we need to find Chloe." Marinette whispered back, she seemed composed, and fierce, "You may not know this, but Chloe keeps going on about how you are hers. I suppose if she viewed me as enough of a threat that would be enough for her to become possessed."
"Exactly. I wasn't so sure before… I freaked out and I apologize for scaring you, but I guess I get nervous. I just reacted, I needed to make sure you were safe and that came out as 'I need you' and then Sabrina… I fear if she wasn't possessed before… she definitely is now…" a large crash that school the school and caused Marinette to fall into his arms, "That might be her." He frowned.
"We need to get Ladybug and Chat Noir." She said. Adrien shook his head.
"You hide, " he pulled her into the closet blocking the door with his body, "I'll make sure you're safe… Marinette… Thanks for trusting me." He smiled before he shut the door on her. He slipped behind a bookcase before transforming and running out of the library to find screaming students fleeing the scene. A bride came sauntering down the hallway, her face was covered but he knew it was Chloe.
"ADRIEN!" The shriek pierced his ears and he ran toward the Akuma, "COME TO ME, ADRIEN!" she yelled again.
"Here comes the bride!" Chat stretched with a smirk, "I don't think white is your color, Chloe."
"IT'S BRIDEZILLA!" She screeched. Chat rolled his eyes.
"How unoriginal." A voice joined in from the side.
"Ah, my Lady, how did you know we had a runaway bride?" Chat purred, confidence growing in her presence.
"I can't give away all my secrets." She smiled before swinging her Yo-yo in preparation to fight, her eyes narrowing.
"Ah, I suppose I too must be ready to commit to this fight." He smirked. Bridezilla let out a screech, it wasn't so much a screech as it was weaponized sound; it sent both him and Ladybug into the wall. Chat groaned, his ears ringing, Ladybug was already on her feet.
"I'LL DESTROY ANYONE WHO GETS IN THE WAY OF MY ADRIEN!" Bridezilla announced, her next scream sent Chat and Ladybug through the wall and out of the school. Chat held his ribs; he was sure they were bruised, if not broken. Ladybug pulled him out of the way of another sonic blast.
"Well, her voice does have a distinct ring to it." He joked, Ladybug rolled her eyes.
"Are you ok?" She asked. Chat laughed.
"I'll manage. You have an idea?" He swallowed his pain and got ready to fight as Bridezilla emerged from the hole.
"Destroy the gown, I think the Akuma is in it." Ladybug's eyes narrowed. Chat nodded and cracked his neck.
"Bridezilla! Its time to fast-forward to the reception! CATACLYSM!" He harnessed Plagg's destructive power in his fist before rushing toward her, dodging sonic attacks. He went to grab the dress except… when it crumbled no black butterfly emerged. Bridezilla was now standing in the dress's top and some white leggings. A reverse colored ladybug was tucked into the band of the leggings; there was white writing on it. Chat groaned recognizing the note he'd passed to Marinette.
"NOW YOU'VE RUINED MY WEDDING DRESS!" She grew angrier. The next sonic attack sent Chat flying backward. He hit the pavement with a thud and heard something crack. He groaned, slightly dazed from the impact and tried to pull himself up when he heard the first beep.
"Not now." He managed to get himself upright but still felt a sharp pain in his side making it hard to breathe.
"LADYBUG!" He called. Ladybug was holding her own against the angry bride. Chat grabbed his staff and extended it against the ground sending him shooting into the sky. He partially retracted it and tried for an aerial attack against Bridezilla. She shot a sonic blast at him that sent him into the side of the building. He hissed in pain but returned to the fight staff in hand. Ladybug had managed to wrap her Yo-yo around Bridezilla's arm and was reaching for her veil. She seemed to believe that the Akuma was part of the dress. Chat didn't get a chance to correct her before Bridezilla reacted.
"NO ONE SEE THE BRIDE BEFORE THE CEREMONY! BAD LUCK ON ALL OF YOU!" Bridezilla yelled. Ladybug went flying sideways. Chat managed to shove his staff into the ground and stayed put by clinging to it. His ring beeped again and another toe vanished of the paw print.
"Ladybug?" Chat called keeping his eye on his opponent.
"I'm alright." She called swinging her Yo-Yo around faster and faster.
"Use Lucky Charm! I have 3 minutes left!" He warned. Ladybug nodded but a sonic blast knocked them both back again.
"Keep her busy!" Ladybug groaned holding her stomach. Chat nodded and rushed forward dodging sonic blasts. He broke his staff in half and sent one end flying at Bridezilla's face, she blocked the attack but he had thrown the other at her stomach making her double over. He smirked in satisfaction before he kicked her sideways, his ring beeped out a two-minute warning. Her veil went flying off and he hesitated as he saw Chloe's tear streaked face. Her make-up was more dramatic and her skin had turned a lavender shade, but it was still Chloe. She grew livid and in Chat's moment of hesitation she sent him flying backward. Ladybug threw her charm skyward and shouted, "Lucky Charm." Chat smiled considering it a job well done. He flipped over mid-air, landed on his feet and skidded to a stop next to Ladybug.
"Is that… a blindfold?" Chat wondered.
"Just keep her occupied, silly kitty." Ladybug snapped as she searched for a way to make a blindfold work. More sonic attacks headed their way, Chat's ring beeped the final toe disappearing leaving only one minute left till he transformed back into Adrien. Chat nodded rushing toward the bride, she took a deep breath and braced herself. Chat didn't have time to react.
"ADRIEN IS MINE!" she yelled, the street itself was torn up as both Chat, Ladybug, and a good 7-8 foot area was thrown across the street. Chat was dazed, he heard a beeping noise somewhere to his right and a groan.
"Cheese." He opened his eyes. His transformation had worn off. There was a second beep coming from in front of him. Ladybug was pulling herself out of the wreckage blindfold still in hand, her leg was hanging at an strange angle as she struggled forward on her elbows. Adrien's throat closed as he fought back tears, both from seeing his Lady broken and bleeding without being able to help her and his own wounds. Adrien felt his pockets.
"Cheese… I don't have any cheese… it's in my bag." Adrien sobbed. Bridezilla grabbed Ladybug and pulled her out away from the rubble. Adrien grabbed Plagg as they hid behind a destroyed shop front.
"Please Plagg, lend me your power, there has to be some other way for you to recharge." Adrien begged. Plagg was quiet.
"YOU'RE NOTHING SPECIAL YOU FOOLISH FOOL… ONCE I TAKE YOUR MIRACULOUS I THINK I'LL KILL YOU FOR STANDING IN MY WAY." Bridezilla laughed. Ladybug shoved her off but fell on the ground awkwardly and cried out.
"Plagg?" Adrien looked at the Kwami.
"There…. There is something…" He looked toward Ladybug, "But I promised Tikki I'd never do it again."
"Plagg, Ladybug is going to die, she's going to… please, Plagg." Adrien begged.
"I… it comes with a high price." Plagg admitted. Ladybug was doing everything she could to keep Bridezilla off of her and away from her.
"I don't care, I'll pay it. I'll pay anything." Adrien agreed. Plagg nodded.
"You won't be fully human from here on out." Plagg warned. "There's no going back, you will have to fulfill the role of Chat Noir… until you die." Plagg was somber, no jokes, no sassy comments, serious and somber. Adrien understood the 5000+ years the Kwami lived in that expression. He'd made this deal before, and it hadn't ended well.
"Deal." Adrien said, "What do I do?"
"Take your ring off." Plagg instructed. "Hold it out in front of you and pledge your life to its service." Adrien pulled the ring off quickly, Ladybug called out in pain, but he didn't have time to look toward her, not if he wanted to save her life. He held the ring before him hand shaking and heart being in his throat.
"I, Adrien Agreste, pledge my life, my heart, and my soul to you. I vow to take up the mantle of Chat Noir and the duties that come with it; so long as I shall live." He stated. The ring began to glow, then it vanished, Adrien felt a sharp pain over his left breast, it felt like his heart was on fire.
"You pledged your heart." Plagg nodded, "do it, transform."
"Transform! Chat Noir!" Adrien cried. In a flash of green he was back in commission. He jumped out from his hiding place. Ladybug was trapped under Bridezilla and crying. Bridezilla was reaching for her earrings with a wicked grin. Chat kicked her off and Ladybug sobbed.
"I've got your back my Lady. I promised you, I'd always be here for you." He gave her a quick smirk before turning his attention back to Bridezilla. He ran toward her, he suddenly found himself inches from her face, she gasped, he changed course, he was behind her, and he grabbed the ladybug from the legging's band. It was definitely his note to Marinette. He felt some small satisfaction knowing she was safe. He ripped the note in half, the black butterfly flew free.
"CATACLYSM!" He snatched the butterfly out of the air, it struggled and crumbled to dust in his hand. Bridezilla shrieked and passed out; as the darkness left her Chloe was revealed. He turned back to his Lady.
"Ladybug…" her earrings beeped, she had two spots left, she groaned but propped herself up on her elbows and threw the blindfold she never got to use into the air.
"Miraculous Cure!" She invoked. A swarm of ladybugs emerged fixing the school, the road, and thankfully Ladybug's leg. Chat additionally felt the magical cure fix his broken ribs and realized how easy it was to breath. Not thinking about the consequences of doing so, he pulled Ladybug into his arms.
"I thought… I thought you were going to die." He sobbed. She hugged him back.
"But I didn't thanks to you." She was sniffling.
"I destroyed the Akuma." He told her, she nodded next to him, "I didn't mean to, I know you were supposed to purify it, but you were hurt."
"I know." She squeezed him hard and then both parties drew away. Her earring beeped, one spot left, "I have to go, meet me tonight." She then swung away. Chat sighed, helping Chloe to her feet as she looked around dazed.
"I should be going too." He smiled then he grabbed his staff and shot into the sky escaping over the roof tops.