Marinette adjusted her almost-finished Chat Noir Halloween costume before zipping it all the way up and studying her reflection in her mirror. It looked good and really, really accurate, especially once she pulled on the wig and attached the mask. Black face paint and eyeliner covered the areas by her eyes that the mask didn't cover.
"How did you get your figure to match Chat Noir's so well, Marinette?" Tikki asked, zipping around her charge to inspect the costume more closely. "There's the binder, I know that much, but what about your sides and your shoulders? You really look like a boy."
"I put inserts in the sides so that they wouldn't dip in so much." Marinette poked at her sides, twisting to feel the resistance there. The padding she had put in had to be relatively sturdy, all while still giving her enough mobility. "And just a bit of padding in the shoulders, too, just to make them a little broader."
Surprisingly, those had been the only places that really needed padding. She and Chat Noir had incredibly similar body types, lean and wiry. Her own arm muscles matched Chat's almost exactly.
Still, there was nothing she could do about the height difference.
"You should send a picture to Alya!" Tikki suggested. "I bet she'd eager to see your work!"
"I should put the contacts in first." The green-tinted contacts had been a lucky discovery. Marinette had been about to give up and go with regular tinted contacts, just enough to turn her irises green, when she had happened upon the sclera contact lenses. They were really difficult to put in and get out. Marinette finally managed, though, blinking a couple times to get the contacts situated properly before turning for Tikki to inspect. The kwami nodded in approval.
Marinette had just pulled her copy of Chat Noir's gloves on (complete with black ring with green paw-print) when there was a scream from outside. She rushed to the window in time to see what was a clearly an akuma victim. The blue-and-gold clad supervillain was screaming for people to sit down and shut up, trying civilians to chairs from ropes shot from his pointer. She caught a flash of black out of the corner of her eye and craned her neck in time to see Chat Noir, barely dodging out of the way of a rope.
"I've got to get out there!" Marinette cried, shoving a bag of cookies in her pocket and moving to dash up the stairs to her balcony when she froze. "Oh, no. No no no no no. Shoot. I'm still in my costume, Tikki, let me change out fast-"
"We don't have time for that, Marinette! That's a really nasty akuma and Chat Noir needs your help!" Tikki flew in front of Marinette's face, uncharacteristically serious. When Marinette paused, reaching up to fiddle with the very-secured-in-place wig (complete with cat ears), Tikki added, "You'll look the same as normal when we transform, I promise. Chat Noir will never know that you dressed up as him!"
This supervillain was difficult. Cataclysm hadn't worked as planned, so Ladybug hadn't had the chance to use the comb her Lucky Charm had provided before the Enforcer caught them and tied them up. Chat Noir watched helplessly as Ladybug's earrings beeped frantically, indicating that her transformation would be ending really soon.
The Enforcer cackled wickedly as Ladybug's earring flashed rapidly, the first pink sparkles appearing around her ankles. "Your time is up, Ladybug! Your secret identity is..."
The pink flash faded away.
"Chat Noir?" The enforcer paused, puzzled. The purple mask blinked into place. "Hawkmoth, sir, I'm confused."
"Yeah, me too," the real Chat Noir muttered from his spot, his expression caught somewhere between utter bafflement and amusement as he surveyed his copy sulking in her chair.
The Enforcer was turned away from them now, wincing as Hawkmoth yelled at him, occasionally stammering "B-b-but sir, I'm positive-" as he cowered. He was too distracted to see a blob of red working on the second Chat Noir's ropes, too busy to see the ropes fall away as the figure reached into a pocket and pulled out a cookie for the famished Tikki. The normally-polite kwami inhaled two cookies in five seconds, recharging faster than she ever had before.
The Enforcer's back was still turned when Ladybug slammed into him from behind, sending him flying across the room. Before she could grab his pointer, he twisted and ran, shooting ropes behind him to slow her down.
"My Lady? A little help here?" Chat Noir asked hopefully as Ladybug made to run past him. She slid to a stop and dashed back to his side, snatching his baton from his back and dissolving the ropes tying him up in a few quick swipes. Chat gave himself a shake as the ropes fell away and his ring beeped more frantically. "Shoot, my time is almost up!"
Ladybug spun around and squeezed her eyes shut as Chat Noir's transformation dissolved. "Do you have whatever it is that you need to recharge?"
"Yeah, I have the Camembert." Chat's voice was quieter in his civilian persona. "It'll be a couple minutes, though, Plagg never eats quickly when it matters."
"Camembert must be savored. And it I eat too fast, I'll get indigestion," another voice piped up.
There was silence for a long moment, only broken by the sounds of chewing. Ladybug wrinkled her nose as the smell of the stinky cheese wafted over to her. And then Chat Noir spoke up, a smirk evident in his voice.
"So do you dress up as me on a regular basis? I'm very flattered."
Ladybug groaned, mind whirring to come up with a believable excuse. Of all the days for my transformation to wear out... it would have been so much better if I had been trying on a Ladybug costume instead. "No, Chat Noir, I don't wear this normally. But a friend of mine is going as you for Halloween and we have pretty similar builds, so I was being her live model while she did a few final alterations."
Chat Noir didn't seem convinced. "So you tried on not only the suit and gloves, but also the wig, the mask, and whatever it was to turn your eyes green?"
"She wanted to see the final product."
"You should ask if you can keep the costume once your friend is done with it. You look good in my colors." Transformation back in place, Chat Noir prowled back in front of Ladybug. She shot a scowl at him. His smirk only stretched further. This was exactly why she hadn't wanted Chat Noir to know that she was wearing his costume. The stupid cat would just get a big head about it.
"I think I'll stick with my own outfit," Ladybug shot back. "It's less ridiculous."
"Me-owch!" Chat Noir grinned, following Ladybug out of the building and after the Enforcer. "But that still doesn't change the fact that you were wearing my outfit."
Adrien grinned as he held up the Ladybug costume he had ordered online. The spots matched the placement of his lady's exactly and it came with a mask, yo-yo, and clip-on earrings. After a bit of searching, he had tracked down a wig earlier in the week and spent forever trimming and twisting it into Ladybug's signature hairstyle. He had even found colored blue contacts, thankful that it was only Ladybug's irises that were colored, not her sclera. The regular-sized contacts were hard enough to put in; he could only imagine how difficult it had been to put in the absolutely huge contacts that Ladybug had worn.
"Are you just going to wear that whenever you can until an attack happens while you have it on?" Plagg asked dubiously, eying the outfit critically. "Someone is bound to walk in on you eventually, and you know they'll report it to your father."
Adrien shrugged, apparently unconcerned as he admired his collection. "Pretty much, yeah. I can hide the outfit under my regular clothes. The earrings don't even take a second to clip on, The wig should be easy, and the mask goes on pretty quickly, too. The biggest problem's gonna be the contacts, and if I practice enough, it'll go faster."
Plagg rolled his eyes at Adrien's enthusiasm as the boy stripped off his regular clothes and tugged on the suit. Adrien had managed to find a suit designed for guys to wear, so it fit his broader shoulders and narrower hips well. At one point Adrien had considered trying to stuff the suit to imitate Ladybug's figure, but it hadn't taken long for him to give up on that idea.
He was already pushing his luck with having Ladybug's costume and a wig hidden in his room. If his father found women's clothing and materials for stuffing, the questioning would never end.
"You know, you could always do the whole fake reveal during a patrol instead of after a fight," Plagg commented, vaguely helpful for once as Adrien pinned his hair back and adjusted the wig on top of his head. "You look ridiculous, by the way."
Adrien perked up and tossed Plagg a slice of Camembert as thanks. "That's a great idea, Plagg! Thanks!"
Plagg humphed a thanks. "Don't get too excited. You still look ridiculous."
"It'll look better with the contacts and the mask. Just wait and see."
Chat Noir was jumpy for their entire patrol, almost skittish as he jogged alongside Ladybug over the rooftops. Ladybug didn't say anything, instead content with giving Chat curious sidelong glances.
Adrien was starting to doubt himself, mind racing over everything that could possibly go wrong. He had put the suit on, right? And the wig, and the mask, and the contacts, and the earrings? It would only take one mistake and she would know his secret identity.
Yes, you fool, Plagg's voice came from inside his head. You put the entire costume on. It's safe to do your stupid fake reveal thing. Then you can take the costume off and never wear it again and give me lots of cheese for all of the mental scarring you put me through.
Predictably enough, that was not terribly reassuring.
The only benefit to being so nervous was that he wasn't getting caught up in fantasies that might express themselves inappropriately in his tight Ladybug costume. He had learned pretty much as soon as he put it on the first time that the stretchy, skintight material hid nothing.
Thank goodness that his normal costume could hide more.
As the moon rose higher over Paris, Ladybug started yawning. It was a clear sign that she was going to wrap up the patrol soon. Chat Noir would have to make his move soon.
"Hey, my lady. I have something I want to show you before you go," Chat spoke up as soon as he saw a secluded alley he could release his transformation in. In front of him, Ladybug slid to a halt. He gave a nod towards the alley and she jumped down in front of him.
"It'll have to be quick, kitty," Ladybug said. "I still have a little homework I have to finish before I go to bed." She looked around. "It's in this alley?"
Chat Noir nodded, nerves crawling up his throat. "Er, yes. In- in a sense. I, ah, I have decided that I want to show you my true self. So, ah-"
Before Ladybug could protest, Chat Noir pulled off his ring. The flash of light settled to reveal a smug Chat in a Ladybug costume, looking very pleased with himself.
Chat Noir waited.
Finally Ladybug sighed and crossed her arms, raising an amused eyebrow. "You know, Chat Noir, this doesn't tell me anything that I didn't already know."
She only smirked. "Uh-huh. I've known that one, my outfit looks better on me than it does on you..."
"You're a dork."