Disclaimer – Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is the property of ZagToon. Catwoman is the property of DC Comics. Both are used without permission.
Marinette landed gracefully on a roof top, sliding a little before coming to a stop. She smiled, rolling her shoulders, and looked over the surrounding city. The night was quiet, cool for mid-June, the cloudless sky dominated by a beautiful half-moon and glimmering stars that not even the illumination cast by the City of Lights could dim. She walked over to the roof's edge, propping a foot on the rising, and leaned forward, resting an arm across her knee. Her patrol had been uneventful, having encountered nothing untoward during her run through the 3rd and 4th arrondissements, and was now heading to the 1st to rendezvous with Cat Noir at Place Vendome. Her partner had grumbled a bit when she decided they would split up, but conceded to her request with a gracious bow. Her smile became fond – the flamboyant catboy had grown on her in the past several months; in some ways he was a closer friend to her than even Alya. After they met at the Vendome Column, the two young superheroes planned on crossing over to the Left Bank, grab a snack (Cat Noir almost always paid; tonight Marinette was determined to pick up the bill) and simply hang out on a rooftop overlooking the Seine and talk for a while before parting and heading home. She looked forward to it, even if her partner would tease her about it being a date. She definitely did not consider it one. It was just spending time with a friend – though admittedly a gorgeous blonde of a friend who, she sometimes admitted to herself in the quiet hours of the night, looked pretty good in black leather.
She reached for her yo-yo, preparing to move on, when she spotted movement on a rooftop up the street from her. Quirking her lips she peered out, straining her eyes, but could not make out any fine details. Curious, she started in that direction, moving with quick caution, keeping to cover behind chimneys and rooftop access sheds to mask her approach. As she neared she could make out a person pacing about. At first Marinette thought it was Cat Noir, but realized a few seconds later that it was a woman, dressed in some sort of dark outfit and that she was on the roof of the 1st arrondissement's most prosperous jewelry store. She stood by a large skylight window, peering down through it, back to Marinette. The young superheroine's expression transformed into a frown.
Yeah, like this isn't in anyway suspicious.
Marinette sped up, breaking into a run and leaping off across the street, yo-yo in hand. She didn't quite clear the distance, having to catch the coping of the jewelry store's roof and vault up. As her feet touched the concrete the woman spun around, her left hand darting for something on her left hip, but stopped when she saw who had appeared.
"Good evening!" said Marinette cheerfully, spinning her yo-yo in a lazy circle.
The stranger did not answer. For a tense half-minute the two females assessed each other through narrowed eyes. The woman was an adult, taller than Ladybug, and was dressed head-to-toe in a black leather bodysuit, tight and form-fitting, emphasizing a lush figure. The suit's front zipper was pulled down low to show off the generous cleavage of the woman's full breasts. A hood covered her head, and to Marinette's surprise it was topped by a pair of triangular, cat-like ears. Spiky, jet-black bangs peeked out from beneath the hood, while red-lensed goggles concealed the woman's eyes. Her face was oval-shaped, well-made and attractive, and her lips were full and plump, gleaming with pink lip-gloss. Multiple pouches were clipped to a belt cinched around her waist, and Marinette noted warily that a coiled bullwhip was hooked on her right hip.
"Are you in need of assistance, mademoiselle?" queried Marinette as she let her yo-yo retract into her palm. A silly question, of course – it was obvious the woman needed no aid and was most likely up to no good, but Marinette did not want to precipitate a fight just yet. Not until she got a better read on the stranger. It was just as obvious that, whatever she was, this woman was not the run-of-the-mill criminal that Ladybug and Cat Noir occasionally encountered and easily dispatched.
"No, I'm fine," the woman answered. Her voice was a smoky, rich contralto, speaking French with a lilting American accent. The tension faded from her as she lifted her hand away from her belt, pushing up her goggles with a forefinger, revealing brilliant green eyes. She canted her head slightly as her gaze roamed over Marinette, and suddenly she smiled, white teeth flashing in the moonlight.
"You're Ladybug," said the woman with a melodious laugh. "A pleasure to meet you, my dear. I must say the pictures I've seen don't do you justice. You're so pretty – cuter than a bug in a rug, if you'll pardon the phrase." Her smile became sly, and her eyes half-closed, flaring with a smoky gleam. "I think I could just eat you up." The cadence of her tone slowed, and she spiced her words with a sultry heat.
Marinette blinked, taken aback. A blush began to heat up her cheeks. "Uh... thanks?" she said. Is... is she flirting with me? She shook her head slightly. "Do you mind telling me what you're doing up here?"
The woman waved a lazy hand. "Oh, just taking a stroll, enjoying the sights. It's a lovely night for a walk, don't you agree?"
"I do, but I don't know of many tourists taking a go around Paris by the rooftops."
The woman shrugged. "What can I say, I'm fond of heights." She grinned, her gaze again roaming up and down the young super-heroine's lithe figure. "And sometimes you run across the most interesting company when you go out of your way."
"Right," said Marinette flatly. "And you're lingering on the roof of a prestigious Louvre Arrondissement's jeweler just for a little rest."
The stranger's eyes went wide with false surprise. "Is that where I am? I didn't realize that! Thank you for pointing that out to me, Ladybug. I guess I shouldn't stay much longer. I don't want some police officer to catch sight of me and think I'm planning something nefarious."
"No, we wouldn't want that... Who are you? I've run into a lot of strange characters, but you're somewhat... different."
"I'll take that as a compliment, though I don't care much for the term 'strange.' It's not a flattering word, sweetheart. I prefer unique. As for who I am, well, that depends on what sort of relationship you're looking to have with me."
"What do you mean?" asked Marinette.
"Well, for example, if you wish to be formal, you can call me Ms. Kyle. Or if your desire is to be friends – and I think we could be great friends -" The woman fluttered her long eyelashes. Marinette's blush deepened, and suddenly she had the need to swallow. "Then I'm Selina. But if, to my disappointment, you want to keep things professional, you can call me by my working name: Catwoman."
"Catwoman?" exclaimed Ladybug incredulously. "Seriously?"
"I know. It's a little on the nose, but I think it suits me."
"I guess," muttered Marinette. The name 'Catwoman' sounded familiar, but she could not recall where she heard it before. "Well... Catwoman..." the older woman's lips curved into a slight pout at Marinette's choice of address. "It's a pleasure to meet you, but I think that it would be best if you moved on from here and not come back."
"Now that's not nice of you, Ladybug," sighed Catwoman, shaking her head in disappointment. "I'm not causing any trouble -"
Catwoman smiled at the interjection. "All I'm doing is taking in the fresh air and enjoying the sights."
"You can't see much from here."
"Not the traditional tourist attractions, true, but there are a few things around here that pique my professional interests."
Catwoman glanced casually over her shoulder at the skylight then shrugged and smiled.
Marinette pursed her lips in a tight line. The older woman had all but openly announced her intentions, yet Ladybug was not certain on how to respond, for this encounter was outside her experience as a superhero. An akuma would have attacked her by now, demanding that she hand over her Miraculous; ordinary criminals would have either fought or fled, depending on their bravery and intelligence, or lack-thereof. Catwoman seemed inclined to do neither. Her stance was completely relaxed, and if anything she seemed amused by Marinette – an attitude that started to irk the younger girl. But despite that she did not want to just attack. That action did not feel like the correct one, but she was not sure what else to do. Her presence alone did not seem to make Catwoman inclined to leave. Or even if she did depart, it would probably be a feint, and she would simply come back later if Marinette was naive enough to leave herself.
Before she could decide on a course of action a soft thump announced the arrival of someone else. Both Ladybug and Catwoman shifted to look at the newcomer while keeping each other in their line of sight. Marinette let out an inaudible sigh of relief when Cat Noir strolled out of the shadows, staff resting across his shoulders.
"You're running late, my Lady," he drawled, collapsing his staff to baton-form and attaching it to the small of his back. "So I've come to remind you that good pastrami sandwiches wait for neither bug nor cat." He seemed to only just notice the other woman. He canted his head to one side, brows lifting. "Who's this? Have we run across an ardent admirer of Yours Truly?"
"Not exactly, Cat Noir," said Marinette. "Maybe you can help me out here. This is Catwoman." Cat Noir's brows lifted even higher. "She's a tourist to Paris, and I'm trying to convince her there are better places to visit at night than closed jewelry stores."
The blonde superhero's eyes narrowed. "I see," he murmured quietly. "Well, I'm sure that between the two of us we can find some purr-fectly quaint places for her to check out." He sketched a bow to Catwoman. "Is there anything in particular that excites your interest, mademoiselle? Fine dining? Dancing? Perhaps a tour of Place Louis Lepine conducted by my lovely partner and myself?"
Catwoman looked at Cat Noir, her eyes wide. Suddenly her face lit up with a beaming, brilliant smile. She threw back her head and let out a peal of dulcet laughter, rich with amusement, startling the younger pair with her mirth.
"Oh my my! What a fierce, handsome kitten you are," she declared, voice bubbling with pleasure. "Meeting Ladybug is a treat, but seeing you, Cat Noir, has absolutely made my night." She strutted towards him, hips swaying hypnotically with every step, the slim fingers of her left hand dancing up and down her taut belly. Marinette goggled at the show while Cat Noir looked absolutely dumbfounded, his eyes nearly popping out from his mask, his mouth slightly agape and a rich blush burning his fair cheeks.
Catwoman walked a tight circle around the young man, looking him over with a frank directness that made butterflies flutter in Marinette's stomach and seemed to freeze Cat Noir solid. The older woman let out a pleased hum, her full lips pursed in a provocative smirk. She traced fingertips over his shoulders when she walked behind him, tousling the back of his wild mane of blond hair. Cat Noir jolted as if shocked and Marinette shouted 'hey!' in protest. Catwoman ignored her, stopping in front of Cat Noir, standing very close to him, almost but not quite passing over the borders of his personal space.
"So handsome," she purred.
His mouth fell open a bit more. She placed the back of her hand beneath his chin and pushed it closed. Marinette ground her teeth as a hot, fierce emotion pierced through her, crisping her butterflies to ash. She could not immediately identify the feeling, but quickly decided it was annoyance. It figured that her flirty partner proved to be very susceptible to such blatant charm.
"You know," continued Catwoman, "some acquaintances of mine have been taking on young men and women in recent years to train. I haven't given it much thought, since I prefer being a trendsetter, not a trend-follower. But right now I'm seeing the appeal of sidekicks." She gazed deeply into Cat Noir's eyes. "What do you say, my handsome boy – would you be interested in some... hands-on mentoring?"
Marinette let out a soft squeak; Cat Noir jumped back as if scalded, nearly tripping over his tail-belt. "I... I... No!" he stuttered. "Sorry! I... uh... I'm quite flattered by your... ummm... offer. But I'm much too busy. Besides, I'm a one-woman cat."
"Really now?" answered Catwoman, arching a flawless eyebrow. "A young, healthy Tom like you tying yourself down so early. That's a crying shame!" Her lips pouted as she leaned forward slightly, giving Cat Noir a healthy eyeful of her cleavage. The young man swallowed hard, sweat beading on his forehead. "Are you absolutely certain I can't change your mind? I can offer you some significant... purr-ks." She toyed with her suit's zipper, dragging it down a quarter of an inch.
Cat Noir sputtered incoherently, staggering back another few steps, by some miracle managing not to tangle his ankles and fall over on his rear.
"What are you doing?" Marinette shouted, scandalized, her face almost as crimson as her mask.
"Jealous, sweetheart?" Catwoman asked, turning her gaze on the teen super-heroine. "I don't mean to poach, but I just can't help myself. He's such a tasty looking morsel."
"No he isn't!" yelped Ladybug. How all the capillaries in her cheeks had not yet burst, she did not know.
"Denial is so cute," the older woman drawled. "Or maybe you want to become my sidekick. You interested in applying, Ladybug? I assure you, I'm all for equal opportunity." She punctuated her statement with a flutter of her eyelashes, her green eyes hot with an appreciative gaze.
Now Marinette was the one to sputter incoherently, her thoughts piling up like a train-wreck caused by the surge of embarrassment and hormones provoked by this woman's smokey, sinful voice and wanton stare. Cat Noir's face had gone so red that it seemed only a matter of seconds before he burst into flames. Catwoman looked back and forth between the two teens, her sultry smile morphing into a grin. She laughed again, turning away from them and walking back to the skylight, no longer strutting.
"I want to thank you two," she said. Her tone, while still friendly, no longer possessed a sensually charge lilt. "I was feeling a little stressed from the flight over here, and you really helped me relax." She raised her arms over her head, fingers laced together as she stretched, bending right and left. "I appreciate it. But now you should both run along – I have work to do."
Marinette shook her head sharply in an effort to shed her embarrassment. "We're not going to let you rob this jewelry store," she said, voice only slightly strained.
"Who said I was going to do that?" Catwoman asked playfully, turning to face Ladybug and Cat Noir again.
"Oh, come on," croaked Cat Noir, He was recovering, though not as quickly as his partner. He swallowed and tried to glare sternly, not quite succeeding. "You're up here all alone dressed in a black cat costume with a tool belt and weapons. I'll be the last one to throw a stone about your sartorial choice, but frankly you're just a teeny bit sketchy, mademoiselle. We're young, not stupid."
"No, you're not," conceded Catwoman. "Just easily flustered and far too cute for your own good. So, my pretty little darlings, I'm going to explain a fact of life to you, and not one that starts all awkward but will lead to happy fun times later on. Here and now, you're out of your league." She held up a gloved hand to forestall protests. "Oh, don't get me wrong, the two of you are very good and very talented, the way you deal with the empowered freaks that attack Paris every week or so. But those akuma are possessed civilians – in other words amateurs." She smiled, a fierce flash of teeth. "I'm not an amateur. I'm a professional, one of the best. I'm so good, Batman and Nightwing can't catch me, my loves. What makes you think you can do better?"
So that's why her name sounds familiar, Marinette thought, pursing her lips tightly. She's one of those costume crazies that run around Gotham City in America. She knew she was being ungenerous – from what she could recall, Catwoman was a thief, not a super-villain. She tried not to hurt anyone too bad during the commissions of her thefts, and, despite her flamboyance, kept a relatively low profile. But Marinette was in no mood to be generous. She was annoyed, her face still hot from embarrassment and her temper stung by the arrogant dismissal of her and Cat Noir's abilities. She glanced at her partner out of the corner of her eyes, noting an angry frown on his face, and that his hands were clenched in tight fists.
"You're a bit far from Gotham, aren't you?" Marinette asked caustically.
Catwoman shrugged. "What can I say? I find travel to be... broadening." She grinned and traced the outline of her curves with her palms.
"And you think I'm a flirt, my Lady," Cat Noir muttered sotto voce. "If you hadn't noticed, I'm not Batman and she's not Nightwing."
"You're certainly not! You, handsome kitten, are blond and bright instead of dark and brooding, and while Nightwing is indeed a hot young thing, he doesn't have the curves to rock a leotard the way Ladybug here does." She winked flirtatiously at Marinette, blowing her a kiss.
"Will you please stop that?" Marinette demanded, a hint of a whine creeping into her voice. She was very tired of blushing.
"But you two are just so fun to tease!" Catwoman said with a laugh.
Cat Noir cleared his throat. "I think it's time for you to go."
"And if I don't?"
"Then I guess we'll have ourselves a good old fashion catfight."
"You really want to go down that route? I can think of better ways the three of us could spend our time together." Cat Noir blinked, then blew out his breath sharply, as if suddenly punched in the stomach. Marinette choked. "Ah well," Catwoman continued, bowing her head and shaking it slightly. "They say burnt fingers are the best teachers."
Marinette was not prepared for just how fast Catwoman was. She had sensed no magic on the costumed thief, not like she could feel radiate off of akuma victims if she concentrated, but in truth Catwoman possessed a powerful magic – the magic of phenomenal physical talent, intensive training, and experience hard earned from conflicts against some of the most dangerous men and women on Earth. Her left arm blurred; Marinette shrieked in surprise as a flexi-steel bola entangled her legs. She flailed wildly in an attempt to keep her balance and fell forward, bringing her arms up just in time to keep from planting her face into the concrete.
"Ladybug!" Cat Noir shouted, turning for a split second to his partner. A loud crack split the night air, Catwoman's bullwhip snapping out and coiling around his ankles. The thief yanked her whip hard with both hands. The young man yowled as he was pulled off his feet and sent crashing down on his back, stars hazing his vision. Catwoman raced away, running north across the jewelry store roof and leaping across the alleyway to the adjacent building, amused, mocking laughter trailing behind her.
Cat Noir groaned, shaking his head free of pain. He rolled over and quickly crawled over to Marinette. She had rolled onto her back and was struggling to free herself from the bola.
"Let me," he said. A clawed hand flashed, cutting the bola to pieces. "Are you all right, LB?"
"No, I'm not!" she snapped. "That... that... that... ooooh!" She grimaced furiously and executed a windmill kip-up. "After her, Cat!"
Cat Noir nodded, his own face sharp with an angry scowl. "Right behind you, my Lady."
Catwoman had a three block lead when they started, blazing like black lightning across the rooftops of Paris, and again Marinette found herself shocked by the woman's physical ability. Marinette gritted her teeth as she redoubled her own efforts to catch up with the thief, while her partner had gone on all fours to give himself extra speed. They managed to close the distance by a block when Catwoman veered right and leaped prodigiously into the air, flying across the street. She lashed out with her whip, catching a cornice and swinging herself in an arc, somersaulting onto another rooftop and continuing to run without a misstep.
"Damn, she's good!" Cat Noir snarled.
"Yeah, but we're better!" Marinette called back. They followed, executing their own crossing with yo-yo and baton, continuing the chase. They ran for another minute, gaining another half-block. Catwoman glanced quickly over her shoulder; Marinette saw a flash of white teeth and nearly stumbled when a burst of insight flared through her thoughts – Catwoman honestly enjoyed being chased. The costumed thief jumped again, spinning in the air to face the two young heroes. She gave them a mocking wave as she plummeted into an alleyway, breaking line-of-sight.
Marinette and Cat Noir leaped down after her, breaking their falls with the applications of their weapons, landing with soft grunts. They looked around the darkened alleyway, seeing no sign of their quarry.
"Any idea where she went?" Cat Noir asked. Marinette did not answer immediately, her face scrunched in concentration. She thought she heard distant footfalls fading to the south.
"This way," she said, starting to run.
"Ladybug, wait!" Cat Noir grabbed her from behind, yanking her to a stop.
"Cat, what are you doing?" she demanded.
"Wait," he repeated, letting her go and turning around, scurrying down the alley and snatching something off the ground. He held out his hand toward his partner. A twisted piece of blackened metal rested in his palm. "Caltrops," he said grimly. "She scattered them all over this end of the alley."
Ladybug cringed back. Even if those had failed to penetrate the soles of her magically reinforced costume, it still would have hurt badly to step on them.
"I've never been more glad that you have night-vision," she said fervently. "Thanks for the save, Kitty."
Cat Noir flashed a crooked grin. "No problem, my Lady." He tossed the caltrop behind him. "Catwoman fights dirty, but at least we know which way she went. Let's go topside and see if we can catch sight of her."
They hunted for her for the half-hour, peering into other alleys and exploring rooftops as they gradually worked their way back to the jewelry store, searching every nook and cranny they ran across, but all to no avail – Catwoman had vanished. They finally returned to the jewelry store and examined it from top to bottom, finding no sign of a break in.
"Well, we got her to leave," said Cat Noir, his tone somewhat placating as he watched his partner pace back and forth on the jewelry store roof, a very angry scowl blazed across her pretty face. He could not recall ever seeing Ladybug this angry before. "I think we can count that as a win."
"Yeah, but you honestly think she's the type to stay gone?" she snapped back.
"Probably not, but for right now I'll take what I can get." He shook his head. "She's definitely good." His tone held a hint of admiration.
Marinette whirled on him, glaring. "Are you in heat or something, Cat Noir? She catch your interest with her perks?"
"Ladybug!" he protested, flinching back a little before frowning hard at her. She took a deep shuddering breath and scrubbed at her face with her palms.
"Sorry, Cat. I... I didn't mean... It's just that she really got under my skin."
"It's okay, Bugaboo. I can relate." He pulled a face and rubbed the back of his neck, feeling embarrassment resurface as he recalled Catwoman's outrageous flirting. Suddenly he grinned at his partner. "Besides, you're cute when you get jealous."
"Jealous of you, Tomcat? As if!" Marinette retorted, though her words were softened with a smile.
Cat Noir laughed. "So, what's the plan now?"
"Let's hang around here for now. I doubt Catwoman will come back, but let's keep an eye out just in case."
"Okay. We also need to clean up those caltrops too. We don't want anyone hurting themselves. I'll go do that. When I'm done I'll get us something to eat. Can you hold the fort down by yourself for a while? I don't know about you, but I'm famished. I'll go grab those pastrami sandwiches I've been thinking about all night."
"And here you had me believing that all you thought about was me," Marinette teased.
Cat Noir bowed. "I do, my Lady. You are always foremost in my thoughts, but the body needs what the body needs."
"Dramatic much?" she said with a laugh. "Go on. I could eat myself." Her partner nodded and ran off. Marinette remembered something. "Hey wait. Let me give you some money. I'm paying this time!"
"Too late! Be back in a bit!" He jumped away into the night. Marinette let out an annoyed huff, shaking her head, but her small smile was fond.
From her hiding place Selina smiled as she watched the two teens confer. She had been very careful with her choice of concealment; she had researched the Heroes of Paris as part of the planning for this heist, preparing against the event she encountered them, and reportedly Cat Noir had excellent night-vision.
So cute, she thought. The cutest pains in the ass I've ever met. They're going to be stubborn – I already can tell. She glanced at the digital watch set on the wrist of her bodysuit. Her schedule had been thoroughly blown for the night. Oh well, it's not like I didn't take this into consideration. She carefully departed, starting out for her hotel.
Catwoman smiled as she traversed the Parisian skyline. This is going to be fun.
Author's Note: A cross-over of this sort was probably inevitable. Hopefully anyone who reads it will find it enjoyable. I'm not sure how fast I'll be with this – while I have an idea of how the second chapter will progress, and the object of Selina's trip to Paris, I'm not entirely certain how things will go from here.
This story is actually part of a continuity I've been building for the past couple of years, a cross-over/AU between Ranma ½ and Batman/DC, detailed in the stories Shadows Over Nerima and the currently running Looking For Trouble. It is absolutely not necessary to be familiar with those stories to read this one. For those of you following my Ranma ½ series, Feline-ious takes place just around the beginning of Shadows, with Ranma returning to Tokyo with Alfred to see what his father, Genma, wants.
The DC side of this cross follows no particular continuity. It is a melange of the comics, the Arkham-verse, the DCAU, and other sources as I see fit. For Miraculous, it's canon-compliant up to at least Darkblade.
Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome. Thanks, as always, to PurseMonger for being my pre-reader. Her enthusiasm, comments and proof-reading help make my little forays into fan fiction much, much better.