title from the song by All Time Low. no inspiration drawn, the title just seemed cool

note (12.02.2021): felt like revisiting this fic, updated this ungodly 5-year-old fic with words that don't make me cringe when i read them. i also ended up adding about 600 more words

for people who are new here (because i get notifications, and indeed new people are still here somehow), this was written originally in 2016 and covers that present's canon. i did not care to revise that.

Shit shit shit shit shit.

Those words have a place on Marinette Dupain-Cheng's wrist, and technically also her heart. That doesn't mean she couldn't be very ashamed of them, though.

After all, that's meant to be the first words her soulmate would ever say to her. Marinette sneers a little. It's a terrible first impression to make.

And then, of course, she met him.

When she ever gets the chance, Marinette will find the best sponge she can (even if it means abusing her Lucky Charm) just so she can rub the words right off of her wrist.

Because her soulmate just had to be Chat Noir.

Weird thing is, it's not the first time they've met. Maybe the secret identities played into it, since Marinette had definitely met him more than once under the mask.

This time, this is different. This time: she meets him as Marinette.

Of no surprise should it be that he literally falls out of the sky. And no, there are no choirs of angels.

"Shit!" He yells, and once more for good measure. About five times, he hisses out the incriminating word Marinette is too familiar with. He stumbles straight onto the balcony.

Marinette feels the ink wrapping around her left wrist just become darker, bolder, a little bit harder to hide.

"What the hell?" She exclaims as she dives out of the way.

Though it goes unnoticed to Marinette, Chat Noir's gaze lands, at least for just a second, to his right bicep. Black leather is the greeting sight.

Of course, if there were not suit there, or even his jacket when he isn't transformed, his right bicep is where his love letters would be.

What the hell, written in plaintive cursive.

His soulmate doesn't seem all too happy to see him.

"Can't an innocent civilian stand anywhere without anything disturbing them?"

Chat Noir's first instinct is to leave. He feels somewhat apologetic, inclined to mutter a sorry, do better at not landing on balconies ever again. Especially this particular balcony situated so close to the Notre Dame.

But then again.

It's not often that he gets to talk to Marinette, with a mask or without.

She's in his class at school, but she always avoids conversations with him. An obvious point, painful, that Marinette avoids him with a passion.

As far as he can tell, Marinette doesn't like him. Intimidated, annoyed, by his very presence.

But now, as Chat Noir – who he'd go so far as to call his truest self – Marinette also shines through.

That would explain the love letter's dramatic flair, that it would only reveal itself now.

He wouldn't want anyone to be tied to a false image of him. He has enough fangirls and fanboys for that.

As befits an omen of misfortune, he decides to seize the moment.

Chat smiles. "Nice to meet you too, Princess."

"Don't call me Princess," she butts in. She keeps clasping at her hand, rubbing her thumbs against her wrist, nervous.

It's not an expression he's familiar with. Not with her features.

Marinette's resolution is that her soulmate isn't entitled to her fawning. Adrien's is that he can still play games regardless.

"Well, what can I call you then?" He tilts his head like a kitten confused. "It's not like I know your name."

She rolls her eyes. "Do you have to know?"

He feels his smirk go wide.

"Of course I do, Princess," he winks. "But Princess does make a good name for you."

Marinette folds her arms over her chest, willing herself to stay just a little bit disgruntled. It's easier when she's Ladybug, she finds. "It's Marinette."

"Well," Chat bows and takes her hand in his. Thankfully, it's not the one where the same four letters haphazardly swirl all over it. "Nice to meet you, Princess."

He presses a light kiss to her knuckles, a surprising gesture for Marinette.

She pulls her hand back immediately. "I just told you it was Marinette."

"Your face is so much cuter when you mix freckles with flush," Chat Noir chuckles. Inside her stews a quiet annoyance.

He smiles and points at her expression. "You're feisty, too! Landing on your balcony was no mistake, I see."

"And kicking you off of it will be just as intentional."

That makes him laugh. Marinette tries not to like the sound.

"You're adorable," he mewls. "Like a mouse."

"Mice don't like cats," she returns.

Chat winks. "Are you telling me you're not like most mice?"

"No," she replies. "I'm telling you I don't like you."

He pouts.

"Now that just hurts," says Chat. "I'm your knight in shining armor, you know. You don't diss your hero so quickly."

Marinette walks closer to the trap door. "I don't think I need saving though, thanks."

"Good night then," he purrs. "But you never know when you might need to be saved."

She opens the hatch and hums. "I don't think I'll call you up on that. Don't take it too personally, but I'd prefer Ladybug if I ever accidentally fall off the railing."

Ending with his own signature two-finger salute, Marinette descends back into her bedroom.

Adrien finds himself caught in a laugh, a refreshing conversation with the girl who's definitely his soulmate.

As he jumps back to his house, he imagines several ways in which he'd catch Marinette if she ever fell. The falling is inevitable, Adrien is sure, just hopefully not off the railing.

A week later, an akuma swoops in to disturb the lovely calm that's been hovering over Paris.

Bougainvillain is the name – a fired florist accused of screwing up a photoshoot for a certain designer's spring line.

Challenging, maybe, but no task that can't be done by Ladybug and Chat Noir. It's over so quickly that they find they have a lovely amount of time to talk still.

Breathlessly, the two heroes race to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, the closest and highest place within their reach.

"I have some news," they say together.

This gives them pause, before they try again.

"You go first." At the same time yet again.

Chat clears his throat and Ladybug chews the inside of her cheek, the two of them waiting for someone else to go first.

Naturally, whatever they say next is still in chorus.

"I think I just met my soulmate."

Green eyes meet blue and back the other way. Chat is by far the more oblivious of the two, and his mind races down the strangest direction.

There have been times where love letters led to love triangles. Just a minute ago, Chat hoped that he was a part of one, and Ladybug's soulmate was secretly him.

The very next minute, he realized what kind of an ass that would make him, ditching Marinette – you know, his soulmate – for the girl he first fell in love.

Another minute passes then, and another thought crosses his racing mind.

What if Marinette had a different soulmate?

And as these thoughts all cycle between his ears, his face presents a visible disgust. It's aimed mostly at himself, but Ladybug has no reason to know that. She assumes that he's jealous, and that's exactly what she says.

"Are you jealous, mon chaton?" Ladybug giggles.

Chat Noir coughs. "No." He doesn't think he's lying, but his tail betrays him, pointed down at an angle. (It's a belt, okay. It's a belt. But sometimes it likes to move on its own.)

"You met your soulmate?" He tries again, smiling too. "Great for you, my Lady!"

"And congratulations to you, too." She presses her lips into a fine line. Hopefully, it can pass for a smile.

It's Marinette's turn to let her mind race. What if, what if… It's a bundle of feelings she can't name, all mixed up and stirred, because what if she's Chat Noir's soulmate too?

As much as he's a good guy, Chat Noir is one of the least serious people she knows. That's why there's a (rather large) piece of her that still prefers if her soulmate were Adrien Agreste.

Swear words on the skin usually mean one doesn't get the sweet boys.

Expressive she is, because she whimpers at her unluckiness. Chat Noir catches it easily.

"You're trying to tease me about being jealous," he jokes, "My Lady, are you?"

Marinette's eyes go wide. She's flustered, caught in the middle of a quick thought that she certainly isn't thinking when she blurts out: "Why would I be jealous when my soulmate is you?"

Her hand comes up in front of her mouth just a second too late.

Their conversation is carried on by blinds of the eyes, twitches of the muscle, a strange silence. She drags her hand up to the rest of her face, that ball of unnameable feelings finding ways to untangle itself.

As for Chat Noir… well, he's almost fallen off the railing.