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Marinette knew he was there – she could feel him staring at her – but she waited to see if he would figure it out on his own.
He circled on the trapdoor, trying to see if it was locked from the inside. Undecided, he reached down and pulled the lever.
"Whoa!" (It was unlocked).
"So much for a sly entrance," Marinette laughed, not turning from the mannequin as he slid down the ladder from the loft.
Chat looked over her shoulder to examine her latest project.
"Whatcha maaaking?" he purred, resting his head on her shoulder. She shrugged him off, and stood up to stretch.
"Well if you must know," she started, sticking her needle into the pin cushion on her wrist, "it's a dress for my friend Ayla. She's been obsessed with Ladybug forever, so I'm making her this for her birthday next week."
"Mmmmm," Chat nodded, taking in the red-and-black fabric before him. "What about a certain…black feline?"
Marinette did her best to keep a straight face. "Poor kitty, is someone feeling left out? Do you want a dress too?"
"Not what I meant and you know it," he said, as her face broke into a grin. Marinette ducked her head as she gathered up the thread that surrounded her.
Spinning her chair around to face the black-clad hero, she put her elbows on her knees and her head on her hands.
"So, to what do I owe this visit?" she asked him, resisting the urge to ring the bell on his collar. "This is the 3rd time this month that you've come here. Don't you have a city to save or something?"
"Ladybug can handle it," Chat replied, unintentionally flattering her. "I came here because I heard this place has the best pasties in all of Paris. You wouldn't happen to know if they're open, would you?"
Marinette stood up and walked toward the trapdoor that led to her living room. "Let me check with the owners, and see what they can do." This time, she couldn't help but to reach out and flick the bell as she passed him, hearing the soft ting! mix with his laugh as she climbed down the steps.
"What to bring, what to bring," she mumbled to herself as she scanned the rows of sweets. Her eyes landed on a batch of cupcakes leftover from earlier that day. She pulled two and headed carefully back up the stairs.
"Bon appétit, kitty!" she said, handing Chat one of the miniaturized cakes.
He turned it around in his hand, examining the small ocean before him – complete with an icing fish. He looked up at Marinette, who tried to hide her laughing by taking a bite of her own treat, which sported a large sugar-spun shell.
"We made a bunch of beach-themed cupcakes this morning, and these are all that's left," she explained, watching him sniff the sweet before taking a huge bite out of the top of it, consuming most of the ocean in one go.
"It's purrfect, as always," he declared, finishing the cake and smearing frosting on his nose in the process. When Marinette pointed it out, he responded with "maybe I'm saving it for later!" (he wiped it off when she wasn't looking).
Marinette turned back to the dress and began working on the hemline. Chat watched her as she sewed, completely confident in what she was doing. He liked seeing her like this, instead of the stuttering, shy version of herself that came out around his civilian persona (although he had to admit, her stutter was kind of cute, too).
Marinette got lost in her work, finishing most of the dress. She yawned and glanced back at the clock on her desk, which told her it was just passed midnight. Marinette looked over at Chat, who had been quiet for a while (which was odd, for him). He had started out sitting on the end of her couch, and was now sprawled across it and sound asleep. Marinette smiled and crossed the room to her desk.
"Patrol must have worn him out," she whispered to Tikki, who had been hiding in her bag. Tonight had been Ladybug's turn for patrol, but she had asked Chat to switch the day before so that she would have time to finish Ayla's dress. True to form, Chat had insisted on taking both nights, and had stayed out late to boot.
"Should we wake him up?" breathed Tikki, hovering above Marinette's right shoulder.
"I suppose we'd better," whispered her charge. "He's bound to change back soon. I think it's time for him to head home and get some sleep – though he appears to be ahead on that one," she added.
Tikki ducked into the bag as Marinette moved back across her room toward the sleeping Chat.
"Time to wake up kitty," she said, shaking his shoulder.
"Wha- Marinette, what are you doing here?" He exclaimed, sitting up suddenly. Chat paused and looked around the room, then back at the dark-haired girl in front of him.
"Did I fall asleep?"
She laughed. "Just a little. You've only been out for about an hour, but I bet it's almost time for you to change back."
Right on cue, his ring beeped, and the first pad disappeared.
"It would appear that you are correct," he declared. Chat bounded up the ladder and out the trapdoor to the rooftop. Marinette followed, albeit much slower than the oddly-energetic feline, pulling her bag off the desk as she passed.
He balanced on the railing, using one hand to hold on and the other to extend his staff to its normal length.
"I bid thee adieu," he said with a bow. Marinette shook her head and laughed at his theatrics.
Chat stood up and bent his knees to jump, then quickly turned and added,
"Give my compliments to the chef!"
Marinette sighed and leaned up against the railing, watching him bound across the rooftops of Paris.
"Tikki, what are we going to do with that Chat?"