In which Ladybug doesn't call him 'Kitty', only Marinette does.
Ever since the thing with Marinette's uncle, they had gotten a lot closer. They didn't know how or when it happened, but they'd consider each other best friends.
They liked spending time together, and because they had been meeting up frequently after that; Marinette didn't seem as uncomfortable anymore. A great improvement, if you asked Alya. It started out as simply helping each other with homework (physics wasn't really Marinette's strongest suit) or getting the whole group to sit together at lunch. Alya and Nino seemed to like each other, so they didn't mind.
But then they started meeting up after school, just hanging out and having fun. Marinette was honestly proud of herself for managing to keep her heart from exploding whenever that happened.
They started getting to know each other more and more, he found out that she wasn't just the shy and awkward girl in his class, and she found out that he was more than he let show. Adrien wasn't just Agreste's main model, he was like any other boy. If she was honest with herself, she'd say he reminded her of Chat sometimes. The green eyed boy loved making dorky puns as much as her feline partner did, the longer Marinette spend time with him, the more she noticed how similar the two were. It didn't take long before her curiosity got the best of her and she started to channel her inner Alya through investigating.
Tikki seemed to get a bit nervous when that happened, which just made the black haired girl even more suspicious. The Kwami knew something, and Marinette was going to find out.
But when she found out, it was purely by accident.
They had been patrolling at night, and were surprised to find an Akumatized victim running through the streets of Paris. The heroes followed the kid into an alley, where they cornered him. He fought back, his powers based on multiple animals, which made it quite difficult for Ladybug and Chat to take him down, but they managed in the end...after having used Lucky Charm and Cataclysm.
When the young boy was cured, Ladybug quickly got him home safely, seeing as she had more time left than Chat.
On her way back to the bakery, she could see a dark alley from the roof she was standing on. Before she realized what was happening, a flash of bright light blinded her for a second, and then she could see Adrien standing there. He looked around to make sure no one saw him, and she quickly hid in the shadows. Her heart started beating at rapid speed when she saw a black cat Kwami fly out of the blond's jacket. She could also feel Tikki getting uncomfortable and a bit nervous, and after hearing her Miraculous beep, Ladybug decided to get out of there quickly.
After landing in her room and transforming, Marinette started pacing, still making sure to keep quiet so she wouldn't wake her parents. "You knew, didn't you?"
Tikki sat on the desk, munching on a chocolate chip cookie almost guiltily. "Yes...I'm sorry."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Plagg and I decided it'd be best to let Ladybug and Chat Noir figure it out themselves," she explained. "After seeing many disasters happen when we told."
Marinette sighed and let herself drop on her bed, blue eyes staring up at the ceiling. Had she found out about this two months earlier, she'd have thought it was impossible, ridiculous even. But now that she had spend so much time with the boy...it didn't seem that crazy. Chat seemed to like spending time with her as much as Adrien did, especially at night. He had visited her many times, just to sit and talk with her, he liked teasing her, he teased her more than he did Ladybug. Probably because Marinette actually reacted or played along to his silly and sometimes flirty comments, while Ladybug just shut them down. She knew that the hero felt as if he could trust her, sometimes he visited her when he felt down, telling her about his day while keeping the details that would reveal his identity to himself. She'd listen to him and talk to him, trying her best to make him feel better. He'd always leave with a smile on his face.
And strangely enough, Adrien seemed to be a lot more cheerful after those nights.
How had she not noticed before?
It had been awkward the next few weeks, almost as if she was back to the beginning with him. And he had noticed. Adrien was confused, and maybe a little concerned about her behavior. Nino and Alya had noticed it too, the girl had asked her best friend about it, but hadn't gotten a straight answer. It was safe to say they were all relieved when Marinette started acting normal again.
She didn't tell him she knew, it wouldn't be fair to him. She refused to share her identity, so why would she know his?
Marinette sat in the classroom, working on a group project with Alya and the boys. They split the work, Marinette and Nino worked on the presentation and crafts while Alya and Adrien did the research.
A loud crash disrupted the silence and everyone's attention turned to the Akuma who had just burst through the window, glass shards at her feet. Automatically, the students started panicking and the teacher ordered them to get out just as the Akumatized girl grabbed her.
Marinette used the opportunity to slip away and transform, Adrien wasn't as fast. He got caught up in the crowd, no way to escape without getting noticed.
Somehow, he ended up in front of the school, along with all the other students. The teachers were keeping an eye on them, counting to see if all of them were safe. The blond boy spotted his best friend and Alya, the golden eyed girl was panicking, yelling at Nino to let her go and kicking him in the leg when he refused to. The boy winced, but didn't let go.
Adrien made his way towards them, frowning at Alya. "What's-"
"Marinette's still in there!" She yelled and his blood ran cold. If he was determined to get away and transform before, he was even more so now.
Nino locked eyes with Adrien, wearing a worried expression almost equal to his. "We need to find her, but not with Alya like this."
Alya's eyes flashed as she finally managed to get out of his grip. She turned to face him, so much fury in her eyes that Adrien wasn't sure if his best friend would survive or not.
Before she could start ranting though, a crash could be heard and Ladybug flew out of the school, followed by the girl.
There were a few gasps and screams as the girl (who apparently had neon powers) attacked the hero. Alya was so worked up about Marinette that she didn't even grab her phone to film everything for the Ladyblog. Adrien, however, felt horrible as he watched his Lady having trouble with fighting this girl. She was dangerous, that was a painfully obvious fact.
Somehow, Ladybug managed to dodge an attack and throw her yo-yo. The toy wrapped around the villain and she could do nothing as the hero tossed her across the street and back into the school. She pulled her yo-yo back and quickly escorted the whole group to Notre Dame, which wasn't very far from the school. Her time was limited, so she had to act fast.
Adrien was freaking out. He kept worrying about Marinette, where she was and if she was okay, not to mention he didn't have the chance to transform and help Ladybug. But even if he couldn't help her as Chat, he could help her as himself. He made sure no one got left behind, ignoring the teachers trying to get him to run in front of them so they could watch him. He also kept his Lady informed if the Akuma was close by, he had Plagg to thank for that. The Kwami mentioned it whenever he sensed her.
Finally, they reached Notre Dame, and only then did he notice how out of breath and beat up she looked. He really needed to get out of there.
"Ladybug!" Alya called. "My friend, Marinette, she-"
Ladybug smiled and placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. "Don't worry, she's safe." She looked behind her, eyes narrowing when flashes of neon came closer and closer. "Everyone get inside and barricade the doors and windows!" She instructed.
She made sure to keep Adrien in her sight, yes, she needed Chat Noir, but this girl was dangerous. If he needed to, she knew he'd sacrifice himself for her. And if that happened, it was game over. She already lost him when fighting Timebreaker and she did not want that to happen again. Ladybug had to admit, it was a little amusing to see him get so frustrated about it.
The neon blasts got closer and she quickly pushed urged everyone inside. Adrien was the last to go and she had to push him in. She glanced behind her one more time before shooting him a sad smile. "Goodbye, Kitty," she said, and he froze.
Ladybug sighed and took a risk by using her Lucky Charm, relieved when it was a very strong looking ladybug patterned chain. She quickly closed the doors and secured it with the chain before running towards the Akuma. She had kept the whole school safe, and that was all that mattered.
Meanwhile, Adrien still stood frozen, her words echoing in his mind.
She knew. She knew.
Not only that, but she called him Kitty. She never did that, the only person who did was-
Someone please tell him this wasn't happening.
The boy snapped out of his shock and made his way to the window, ignoring the strange look his classmates were shooting him. His heart started beating quickly as he watched Ladybug- Marinette -fight. She took many hits, but she gave back the same amount. The Akumatized girl was getting weaker, he could see that. He debated if it was worth it or not, to transform right in front of everyone. His thoughts got cut off as his Lady got knocked back and crashed into the wall, she hissed in pain and her eyes narrowed. They were getting way to close to Notre Dame. She quickly grabbed the villain and swung her yo-yo, dragging her back towards the school.
What was he thinking? Of course it was worth it!
Adrien quickly transformed, trying to ignore all the gasps coming from the people in the room. He used his staff to break the window and jumped through it without a word, rushing towards the nearly destroyed school.
When he got there, he found the girl lying unconscious on the ground. It was hard to see because of all the smoke and dust from the neon explosion, but Ladybug had managed to cure her. He smiled, no matter what, she would always stay strong.
Chat called her name, smile fading when he didn't get a response. He ran through the destruction, his heart stopping when he saw a flash of red in between the rocks. The hero pushed the rocks off her and pulled her into his lap. "Princess?"
Her eyes were closed and there were marks on her face from where the neon burned her. In fact...she didn't even seem to be breathing.
He started panicking. "Marinette?! Wake up!"
He kept calling her name over and over, but he didn't get a response. That was when he decided to stop being a scaredy cat and check for a heartbeat.
Alya arrived on the scene, coughing and waving the smoke out of her face. She had managed to get away when everyone was too distracted and she ran towards Chat when she spotted him, slowing her pace when she saw him clutch a body. "...Adrien?"
She slowly walked closer, gasping when she saw Ladybug's motionless body. The hero's Miraculous beeped one last time and she transformed.
Alya started shaking as tears rolled down her cheeks. "No..."
"Plagg...claws off," Chat muttered quietly, his voice sounding broken as he transformed.
Adrien brushed Marinette's hair out of her face, looking down at her with tears in his eyes. He didn't bother wiping them away, he didn't care anymore.
Tikki appeared, looking exhausted. The Kwami gasped and flew towards Marinette, small tears running down her tiny cheeks as she circled the girl; stopping when she realized the truth.
"Tikki..." Plagg started gently.
She shook her head. "I- I did it again, Plagg...I failed again."
Adrien bit his lip, looking down at the girl lying limp in his arms. Marinette...why did it have to be her? Now he felt as if the two people he cared about most had been taken from him at the same time, even if they were the same person. It wasn't fair, Marinette had always been a sweet and kind person, she hadn't done anything wrong!
He should've been there for her.