A/N: This is it, guys! Can't believe we made it :O
To Know is actually the first long story I've finished! Like, ever. And it probably wouldn't have gotten this far if it weren't for you guys. It means a lot that so many of you enjoyed the story and wanted to know what happened next—and even commented/reviewed! (I never know how to reply but I promise I read them all and flail because you guys are so nice omg (TTv TT ))
So, thanks for sticking around. I hope you enjoy this last addition to the story.
And now, the epilogue!
Marinette was finishing a tricky bit of shading, pencil scratching across the paper in short, light strokes. That part was shadowed, so it should look softer. She rubbed a finger over the lines and frowned.
Something brushed her shoulder as she fumbled for an eraser. When she reached up to swat it away, it caught her hand and held.
She jumped, twisting in her chair, and came nose-to-nose with a curious kitty.
"Hi," he said, tangling his fingers with hers.
"Oh! Hey, Cat." They'd decided it was best to use hero names when either of them were in costume—even with no one else around, just to make sure the habit stuck.
She felt her lips quirk in a smile as she studied his face, drinking him in just because she could.
It had been months since Chloe's disastrous party and its revelations… and their kiss. Still, she didn't think she would ever get used to being this close to him. Her stomach flipped like it did when she swung across the city—like falling, but warm in the knowledge her yoyo (and her partner) would always be there to catch her.
She shifted to a more comfortable position, draping her arms over the back of her chair and resting her chin on them. "I thought we were planning to meet at the spot."
"Yeah, we are."
"So, what's up?" She raised an eyebrow. "Couldn't wait for later?"
He chuckled at that. "Princess?"
"It is later."
It took a beat to sink in—and then Marinette's eyes widened. "Oh no." She sat bolt upright, searching for a clock. "No, no, no. Cat, we're supposed to be there right now!"
"I almost stood you up!"
"I'm so sorry, I—wait, are you laughing?"
Cat met her confused look with a grin. "Well, you were drawing all morning. And through lunch. And you were distracted all class, which you really should be paying attention to—I know you can get the notes from Alya but—"
"Anyway," he said, "I figured you'd started a new project, and would probably get too wrapped up to notice the time."
Marinette blinked. "You noticed all that?"
"Well, I am the best partner ever." He said it half-jokingly, one hand coming up to rub the back of his neck. "Or I just spend too much time looking at you."
"Nah, you're the best," she assured him. She stood, pushing in her chair and leaning over to kiss his cheek. "Partner and boyfriend."
He spluttered, turning red under his mask. So cute.
Of course, she was red, too, and her heart was beating in double time, but it was totally worth it.
"Alright," she said, "thanks for the heads-up. You go ahead." She stepped toward him and gave him a gentle shove. "I'll be there in fifteen."
Cat, who'd mostly recovered by then, faked a gasp. "Kicking me out already? So cruel." He held both hands over his heart. "Don't I get to see what you were working on, at least?"
Marinette rolled her eyes. He was being dramatic, so he wasn't actually upset. But it was still hard to say no when he made that face.
"Be my guest," she told him. His glee at her response was exaggerated, but it still brought a smile to her lips.
Until she remembered what she'd been drawing.
Cat he was already at her desk, peering down at the sketches she'd been working on all day: different angles of the same hypothetical outfit on a not-so-hypothetical person.
Maybe he wouldn't notice?
"Is this… me?"
Cat looked at her over his shoulder, one eyebrow raised. "You don't usually draw specific people in your designs," he said, tone bordering on teasing, "but I'm pretty sure this is me."
Marinette gulped. "I, um. Thought it would look good on you?" Her voice pitched up at the end and she shifted.
She shouldn't be embarrassed. Okay, so maybe she'd drawn it with the first couple buttons undone. And spent too much time shading the collar area. And the jewelry. And maybe the pants were a little tighter than strictly necessary—
But her partner was hot, okay! They were dating! She was allowed to think it! All those sketches proved was that she'd spent a lot of time thinking it.
She groaned, burying her face in her hands.
Cat, of course, noticed. "Hey, no. I'm flattered!" He paused. "Cat-ttered? Does that work?"
"Since when do any of your puns work." The words were muffled against her palms.
"Rude." Marinette felt more than saw Cat sidle up beside her. "Psst. Hey."
"What," she mumbled. Against her better judgement, she snuck a glance through her fingers.
Cat gazed at her with a spark of something in his eyes. "That design would look good on you, too."
And oh. Right. It was mutual.
She wasn't used to that.
She lowered her hands with a little grin. "Then I might have to make that one, someday."
"I'll look forward to it." Cat grinned, too, knocking their shoulders together.
She bumped him back, the last embers of embarrassment cooling as she relaxed. "Are you done flirting yet? At this rate we're both going to be late."
"Just a second," Cat said. He sauntered over to a wall to lean against it and cocked his head, his grin turning lopsided. After a suitably dramatic pause, he delivered his line: "You come here often?"
Marinette snorted. "Pretty often, yeah. You?"
Cat blinked lazily, eyes glowing behind his mask. "Not as much as I'd like."
She was not goingtoblush at joke flirting. "Kitty, you're here every other day."
"I know." His gaze was steady and serious.
Marinette turned pink. "Just—go, already."
"Alright." He held up his hands, walking backwards. "I'm going. For real this time, so don't get distracted."
"I won't. Promise."
"What about hiss-tracted?"
"Cat, I swear—"
"Come on, you like the puns!" Cat called, already slipping outside.
"I tolerate the puns," she retorted. "Since I like the person making them."
There was a moment where she thought Cat might've left. Then came a quiet, almost shy response: "I like you, too."
Marinette smiled in spite of herself. "Yeah," she told the empty room. "I know."
. . .
If anyone had been looking outside about fifteen minutes later, they might have seen a familiar sight: Ladybug swinging through the city in the fading light, silhouetted against a dusk-blue sky.
They wouldn't, however, see the rooftop where she stopped—a secluded spot only a hero could reach, shielded from view by taller buildings on all sides—or the other person waiting for her in the shadows.
Which was exactly why they were meeting there.
Cat was the first to detransform, revealing a slightly rumpled tuxedo under his hero costume and painstakingly rumpled hair. He fidgeted, self-conscious, but one look at Ladybug put any doubts to rest; she was openly staring, her face the same color as her costume.
He grinned and held out his hand.
Shaking her head a little, Ladybug unfroze and stepped forward, dropping her transformation as she went. The skirt of her ball gown swayed with the motion, pale and shimmering and shot through with glittering beads. The sheer, flowy sleeves, more sparsely beaded, ended just above her elbows. It was the sort of dress that took hundreds of hours to bring to life—from sketch to pattern to stitching on the thousandth tiny crystal.
But the way Adrien was looking at her made it well worth the effort.
Marinette closed the distance between them and took his hand. The touch brought him back to life; he launched into an explanation of foot position and rhythm, gently adjusting their positions as he spoke. They walked through the first steps, eyes on their shoes and foreheads nearly touching. Then they tried it again. The dance was slow and stumbling at first, but he was a good teacher, and she learned fast.
And by the time last light faded, they were waltzing under the stars.