Standard disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir, and am not affiliated with them in any way. Which is disappointing to me. And why I'm here, instead of helping them get the new season out.
This story is dedicated to Plagg. Who is my homeboy and pretty much the driving force of this story. With his bad luck on my side, I figure there's a good chance we'll get the new season start dates as soon as I start posting. 'Cause I'll probably have to stop writing this as I process the new information.
(The story is set a few days after the events of episode "Volpina," or the end of Season 1.)
"Miraculous! Simply the best! Up to the test when things go wrong!" -Miraculous Theme
Chapter 1: In Which There Is a Big Reveal
It would've been nice to know, Ladybug thought as she frantically dodged bullet after bullet, that her Lucky Charm didn't work very well on ordinary people, even if it worked perfectly on akumas. During a routine night patrol, she and Cat Noir had come across a bank robbery in progress, and had decided (of course!) to step in. Usually, their mere presence was enough to make hardened criminals flee for their lives, making it easy to capture them and hand them over to the authorities, but these guys had decided to make a stand for it.
After having several magazines emptied out in her direction, Ladybug had figured enough was enough and called on her power, only to be left with a Kevlar vest, which was not nearly as comforting as it should be.
In fact, with all the dancing around she and the bank robbers had done, they had somehow backed her into a corner, forcing her to take refuge in the same vault they had just robbed. Her yoyo caused some damage, but there were only so many bullets she could dodge or deflect. And now, she was running out of spots.
"Cataclysm!" she heard Cat Noir shout outside. Beneath her feet, the ground shook and swayed. Cursing, she grabbed the wall to steady herself, even as she heard her mom's voice in her head, telling her "that was no way for a lady to speak!"
Sorry, Mom, she thought wryly to herself. What had that stupid cat done now? Judging from the yells coming from outside, something big.
The guys still shooting suddenly stopped with surprised yells. In the next moment, Cat Noir himself leapt into the vault where she was, looking very pleased with himself.
"Ah, there you are, my lady," he grinned, with a little bow. "Your favorite hero has saved the day again!"
"You silly cat, what did you do?" Ladybug groaned, pulling herself back up.
"Just made sure none of the bad guys would get away," he said casually. Much too casually, for Ladybug's peace of mind. "Shall we go make sure they're all present and accounted for?" He bowed again, obviously expecting to follow her out.
She sighed. After everything that had happened tonight, she was tired and running out of spots. And she had a feeling she really didn't want to see what he had done outside. It had felt like an earthquake, for crying out loud!
She threw her Lucky Charm in the air. "Miraculous Ladybug!" she shouted, watching the swarm of lights and bugs disappear to do their work.
"Huh, none of the money returned," Cat Noir said, looking around the vault. Ladybug groaned. Of course it didn't. Just her luck.
"I guess my superpowers don't work well with ordinary bank robbers," she said, looking at her yoyo.
Then the vault door slammed shut.
They both yelled in surprise and rushed for the door, but it was already locked. Cat Noir tried to pry it open with his baton, and she threw her yoyo at it in vain. They were locked in.
"No other way in," Cat Noir said, looking around. "And it looks like the cameras are still broken too. I'll bet nobody even knows we're in here."
Great. Just great. At least the emergency lights were still working, so they could at least see—beep beep!
Oh, crap! That was her last spot!
Quickly, Ladybug grabbed Cat Noir and spun him around so he was facing away from her.
"Um…." He said, trying to glance at her sideways.
"No peeking!" she said, just as her magic gave out. A flash of light later, Tikki collapsed on her shoulder. To her relief, Cat Noir's head remained firmly facing away from her.
"Err, does that go for you too, my lady?" he asked, holding up his hand so she could see the last of his pawprints flashing.
"Eek!" Marinette yelped, spinning around so her back was to him, just as a green flash illuminated the area.
"Ugh," she heard an unfamiliar voice say, "did you have to get the whole street? Now I'm famished!"
"Quiet, Plagg," a not-so-unfamiliar voice responded, sounding tired. He unwrapped something. "Just eat, so we can get out of here." For a moment, there was silence, but she had sooo many questions…
"Plagg?" Marinette asked softly.
"My kwami," Cat Noir explained, though Marinette could've guessed that already. She heard the other voice say something that could've been a greeting, if she could understand him through all the food in his mouth.
"Oh my God, Tikki, I'm sorry!" she cried, quickly reaching into her purse for her emergency cookies. Tikki took one gratefully.
"It's alright," she said, biting into one with bliss. "You've got a lot going on right now. I understand." Then she focused on eating her cookies.
A few more rather uncomfortable moments passed.
"So… um, Tikki, was it?" Cat Noir asked. Marinette nodded, and then nearly smacked herself. He couldn't see her nod!
"Uh, yeah," she said nervously. "My kwami."
"What's she like?" he asked.
"Uptight, overbearing, way too attached to the rules…." Plagg drawled.
"Plagg!" Cat exclaimed.
"Hey!" Marinette said at the same time.
"I am not!" Tikki said indignantly, flying up to confront her counterpart, still holding onto the cookie she was eating. She faltered a bit in the air, still weak from the transformation, and Marinette quickly caught her with her hand.
"Yes, you are," Plagg argued. "Look at them! This is ridiculous. All they have to do is turn around! What'd you do, tell her she couldn't be Ladybug anymore if anyone found out her identity?"
Tikki looked at Marinette sheepishly. "It's a precaution," she said weakly. "For safety."
"Plagg," Cat Noir's voice called softly. "It's ok."
"No, it's not," Plagg argued, gulping down another chunk of—well, it smelled like stinky cheese... "You two have enough issues as it is. She can trust you to watch her back in battle, but not enough to know her identity?"
Cat Noir gave a little laugh. "Well, I'm used to people not trusting me with important stuff. Really, don't worry about it."
His tone was so self-deprecating, it took all of Marinette's willpower not to spin around and give him a hug. He sounded like he needed one. She glanced at Tikki and blinked when she realized the kwami had gone pale. She was staring at the pair behind Marinette with something between shock and horror on her face.
"Tikki?" she called softly. The kwami glanced nervously from Cat Noir and Plagg to Marinette and then back again.
Tikki licked her lips and focused on Marinette. "Well, erm… maybe you should… reveal yourselves," she said slowly.
Marinette made a squeak of alarm. "Reveal myself? To Cat Noir? But our—we- well, what we have now, it's working!" she exclaimed. "We're beating the bad guys as we are! Why throw a wrench in it?
"Cause that's all it would be!" she babbled on, in full panic mode. "Just another thing to deal with! We'd have to meet in real life, I have no idea how I'd explain you to my parents and friends and….um… well…." She trailed off, unsure how to say the next part. In the end, the reality of it was that she was just a simple teenage girl. Cat Noir looked up to her and followed her lead (and dammit, they needed that synchronization to beat the akumas they faced!), but he might not be willing to do that if he knew… knew who she really was.
Tikki looked up at her with sympathetic eyes. "I know it's hard to trust someone you've never actually met before," she said softly. "But, in this case, I think Plagg's right. It might be a very good thing." Marinette bit her lip, still debating.
Behind her, Cat Noir was shaking in silent laughter. "You afraid I won't like you anymore, milady?" He asked teasingly. Marinette frowned. Underneath that joking phrase, her partner had just asked her a serious question. Was she afraid of his reaction?
The answer was a very solid yes.
"I'm… still a teenager," she said slowly, gripping the edge of her jacket in nervousness.
"Really? Me too," Cat Noir admitted.
A part of her relaxed, and she let out the breath she hadn't known she was holding.
"I… uh… um… ugh, why is this so hard?" she groaned.
Behind her, she heard his kwami make a sound of disgust, then more chewing.
"I told you, kid," he said with his mouth full. "Cheese is better."
Cat Noir laughed softly. It must be an old argument of theirs. "It's ok, Bugaboo," he said, reassuringly. "You don't have to."
The use of his old nickname gave her courage and her voice back.
"It's not that I don't trust you," she said slowly, trying to figure out her feelings as she said them, "because I do, really! I do! It's just…" aaaand she was struggling to find the right words again, "I'm not… much… without the mask, is all."
He scoffed. "I find that hard to believe."
"Well, it's true," she said, with a sigh of her own.
"I bet I can prove it's not," he said, saucily.
"What? How?" Marinette squawked, before she could stop herself.
Behind her, he chuckled. "By asking the one closest to you. Hey, Tikki," he called. "How badly is she lying?"
"Badly!" Tikki called back, her eyes shining brightly again. She giggled. "Ooo, I like him, Plagg!"
"Of course," Plagg said, matter-of-factly, taking another gulp.
"Haven't you had enough yet?" Cat Noir asked his kwami.
"You made me take out a whole street!"
"You took out a whole street?" Marinette exclaimed.
"Just a part of it," Cat Noir argued. "And your Miraculous Cure probably fixed it all anyway. No more excuses. We need to get out of here. Plagg, claws—"
"Wait!" Marinette cried, stopping what she was certain was his transformation sequence. She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. The kwamis were right. They were being ridiculous. She was being ridiculous. There was no reason why she and Cat Noir shouldn't know each other's true identities, and a lot of reasons why it could be a good thing. This had to stop. Maybe they… could even be friends.
She stepped away from him and then spun around, holding out her hand.
"Hi! My name is Marin—"
The words died in her throat as Cat Noir slowly turned to face her.
Marinette felt the blood drain from her face. Adrien stared at her for a moment in shock, but then lit up with a smile, looking delighted.
The next thing she knew, she was swept up in a hug. Her brain refused to process any further information as Adrien (holyGODinheavenitwasADRIEN) held her close, his body shaking in laughter.
"I was hoping it was you," he murmured.
And that's when Marinette's brain started processing again. Because, wait—what did he say?
"WHA-?" she managed, as he let her go.
Now he looked sheepish, scratching the back of his neck. "Well, there were so many clues, I guess. You're always late, like me, and you've got weird excuses; there was that history book from our class that Alya found… oh! And you and I are the only ones in our class who haven't been akumatized!"
She blinked at him and then paled, realizing he was right.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, you don't think anyone else noticed, do you?" she cried, panicking.
"Well, Nino's the one who pointed it out to me, so yeah," Adrien admitted. "But I argued that I'm not there for half our classes anyways, so less exposure. And everyone agrees you're too nice to ever turn to the Dark Side."
Marinette's jaw dropped in disbelief.
"They bought that?"
He shrugged. "There also… may or may not be a bet going on as to which one of us is going to be turned first… but nobody will tell me for sure," he said, looking slightly annoyed. Then he smiled again. "Which is why I'm so stoked you're Ladybug! I was having a hard time imagining you as an akuma. Probably would've lost that battle…." He trailed off, looking uncertain.
Marinette could only gape at him. How had she never seen it before? Green eyes, blond hair… heck, he and Cat Noir had the same body type! The fashion designer inside of her was banging her head repeatedly for this stupidity. She should've known him by his measurements alone! She literally saw him everyday! Hanging from every angle in her room!
Giggling, Tikki floated into view. "Maybe we should continue this somewhere that isn't an ongoing crime scene?" she suggested sweetly.
Adrien blinked at the new kwami, looking delighted at her too. "Absolutely," he agreed. "Ready, Plagg?" The black kwami grumbled a bit, but Adrien just rolled his eyes and then smiled at Marinette again. "Game on, my lady?"
Still in half a stupor at realizing she was so close to Adrien (Adrien! ADRIEN! CATNOIRwasADRIEN!), she nodded dumbly, then quickly shook herself out of it. (This was going to be even harder than she thought!) Time to focus!
"Tikki, spots on!"
"Plagg, claws out!"
Moments later, a Cataclysm rusted out the vault door, to the surprise of the authorities outside, who had been trying to figure out how a stray burglar had managed to melt it shut after locking it behind the two superheroes inside. After reassuring herself that the security cameras inside the vault had not been working (how lucky that the Miraculous Cure had failed this one time, huh?), Ladybug cast the Charm again, to find herself holding a bunch of papers that made absolutely no sense to her.
However, when she looked around, she saw two of (what she assumed to be) the bank's higher officials, and she handed the papers to the one who didn't give her a slimy vibe. His eyes immediately bugged out (pun not intended, shut up, Cat) while the man beside him went pale. Before he could make a run for it, his partner with the papers shouted for the police to arrest him.
Ladybug stayed out of it. Akumas were her problem. Someone else could deal with corporate embezzling.
She did worry a bit that the evidence would disappear when she called for the Cure, but to her surprise, the papers remained (though the backs of the documents no longer had ladybug spots). The vault door was also fixed, and apparently now the authorities knew where to find the missing money. She and Cat Noir called it a job well done on their end and quickly got out of there before they had to give interviews to the reporters instead of just the police.
Landing on a nearby rooftop, Ladybug allowed herself to breathe. This was okay. She could do this. Everything was going to be okay.
"So, my lady, your place or mine?"
"WHAT?" she screamed, spinning around to face her partner. Then she slammed her hands over her mouth. Half of Paris had probably heard her! He raised his hands to fend her off even as he laughed.
"Kidding, kidding. Well sort of," he shrugged. She shot him a glare. "I meant to talk! Just talk! I mean, we need to talk, right?" He tried to give her a winning smile. Adrien's smile! She briefly wondered how far she could fling him with her yoyo.
"Adrien—" she started
"Ah ah ah!" he interrupted, waggling his finger at her. "Cat Noir. Don't wanna be mixing that up in the middle of a battle, (highly-publicized by a certain someone's best friend,) now do we?"
She sighed. He had a good point. "Cat Noir, can we… sleep on it?" she asked timidly, ringing her hands. "It's a lot to take in, and it's getting really late as it is."
For a moment, he looked like he wanted to argue, but decided against it and nodded at her. Then he gave her one of his typical bows. "I'll see you tomorrow, milady," he said. With that, he was off across the rooftops towards his house.
Ladybug watched him for a moment before heading towards her own house. Today had been harsh, both physically and emotionally, and she just wanted to collapse.
End of Chapter 1.
A/N: I've noticed that a vast majority of the fics here are reveal fics. And I'm not hating on them, trust me! I love reading them! But the story tends to end after the two lovebirds find out. Or there's kissing involved and then it ends with happy-I-have-a-boyfriend-now or something. Which is fine and cute and if it happens in the series I will squee as loudly as the next girl, …but I want more. So, we're getting the reveal out of the way. And just getting started! Buckle up, buttercups! Now the fun begins!
Next, Chapter 2: In Which Everyone Is Having Too Much Fun (except for Marinette)