AN: Accompanying soundtrack→ Steady by Hey Ocean!
The dimmed early morning sun streamed through the window of the small attic, dancing through the dusty air in a mesmerizing pattern. Despite the thin walls surrounding them, Adrien was warm in the small cocoon of limbs and blankets, content to listen to the rain patter loudly on the roof and entranced by the deluge pouring down the singular window. It hadn't let up since the night before, and he turned to burrow his face back into his fiance's soft hair, remembering last night and what an idiot he'd been...that they'd both been…
He'd been racing home after his patrol, determined not to show up completely soaked when he saw her. Dancing in the rain through a small grassy space. Soaked to the bone, but with a smile lighting up her face, she was more effervescent than he'd ever seen her. Marinette. His fiance. He smiled just thinking about how she'd soon be his forever.
Well, Adrien's...He still hadn't exactly told her about his alter ego. Yet. Things had just gotten so serious, so quickly, and...when was the right time to tell someone you were a masked vigilante? The second date? After two months? A year? It was...complicated. So, really, he should be on his way and leave Marinette, Adrien's fiance, not Chat's fiance, but he couldn't move. A part of him felt a protective urge to stay, but if he were being completely honest, he was just mesmerized watching her and couldn't move if he tried.
Then she saw him, and her face lit up.
"Chat!" she called through her laughter. "Come dance with me!" She waved towards him and he saw her engagement ring flash in the lamplight. He really couldn't resist, but he steadied himself, repeating a mantra and reminding himself to keep it platonic.
She wears a ring already, he reminded himself, seeing his mother's engagement ring twinkle on her left hand. She's in love with another man.
He jumped down, smiling at her as she grabbed his arms and started spinning in a slow circle and singing softly. They danced across the grass to Marinette's own signature mix of humming, playing a game of chat and mouse. He would pull her close, and she would spin away, dancing just out of reach, but every time she passed him, they touched. A brush of his shoulder, a graze of his hand. And the few times he caught her, she lingered. The last time, she didn't pull away at all, her song morphing into something softer. Headier.
"Somebody once told me 'You're gonna know right away. Once you find that secret somebody, To hold for the rest of your days'."
He pulled her closer, waltzing them around the park, and he couldn't help but lean into her arms, so familiar even if she didn't know who he really was. She leaned into him too, and despite the rain and his exhaustion at the lateness of the hour, he felt himself getting lost in her song and the hypnotic way her thumb was rubbing circles into the base of his wrist…
It was as if there was no mask between them, and he'd worried over telling her for no reason… But he was still Chat Noir, and she was supposed to be in love with another man.
So why does she keep touching my hand?
Against Tikki's wishes, Marinette released her transformation halfway home. If she was going to get soaked anyway, then she might as well dance in the summer rain. It was late, but she was energized, every fiber of her being celebrating what she'd discovered.
"I'm getting married," Chat blurted at the end of patrol that night. She looked over at him, shocked. They'd talked briefly before about it, so she knew he had a girlfriend, but she didn't realize it had been so serious. Then again, she wasn't one to talk. She was also engaged, she just hadn't told that to Chat yet. Feelings of relief and hurt warred within her, and no matter how much she tried to focus on the former, the latter was always going to win. A large reason why she hadn't told Chat yet was because...she wasn't sure. And Chat was solely to blame for that.
She and Adrien had been going out for over a year, reconnecting after university. This time, though, instead of the stuttering girl he'd met in lycee, Marinette was an acomplished ameatuer designer with multiple offers from design houses. She'd finally gotten over her idyllic crush on the model, and had moved on with her life. She thought she was over Adrien, and after a few failed relationships, she thought she'd gotten over her childish hope of a serendipitous meet-cute too.
Then she saw him again.
She'd been hustling down the sidewalk, just coming out of his father's company headquarters after having an interview to negotiate a salary with his HR. It had gone surprisingly well, but as soon as she walked outside, it had started to pour. Thankfully, she had an umbrella, but about halfway down the block, the wind picked up, inverting the umbrella and making it useless. She stood there, trying to somehow mangle it back into form, when suddenly the rain stopped. She looped up, and there he was, huddling her under his own umbrella.
"Hey, Mari," he greeted her easily, like it hadn't been six years since she'd last seen him and smiled down at her with her favorite crooked smile. "You looked like you could use an escort home."
She smiled back at him, and the rest was history. Fast-forward a year, and they were engaged. He was honestly everything she ever wanted in a husband, and she loved him with a fervor that made her wonder how she ever thought she'd been in love before if this was what it was supposed to feel like. Still, when he proposed, she hesitated. She hated herself for it, but Chat's face flashed in her mind. She knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Adrien, but she would be lying if she said there wasn't a part of her heart that would forever be reserved for her Kitty. Her and Chat, though...it just didn't seem destined. Once she'd gotten over Adrien the first time, she thought maybe...but then he was dating someone. And then when that ended, she was dating someone. The pattern continued, until recently, when for the first time they'd both been attached and happily so. Apparently they were more in sync than they'd thought, because now they were both engaged too.
He would always be her 'what if' though. She'd always wonder what they could have been had she woken up and realized what was right in front of her sooner, and he would always be the only person she could truly share the Ladybug part of her life with. She hadn't even told Adrien yet, and she knew it was because a part of it felt like she'd be betraying Chat, like that side of her was only for him, but that needed to stop. He was engaged. She was engaged. They were partners and friends, and that's all it could ever be.
"Me, too," she finally responded to Chat's admission, and she allowed herself one final indulgence of being comforted by the sadness she saw flare through his eyes. At least she wasn't the only one struggling with the thought of missed opportunities. His shoulder slumped a bit.
"A little over a week," she answered. "I was trying to think of how to tell you."
Chat smiled over at her. Not his public chat-grin, but the secret smile only she saw.
"Me, too. I popped the question last Thursday."
"Oh?" she cocked her head, curious to how over the top he went. She could just imagine him going full flash mob on the poor girl.
"Yeah," he grinned over at her, guessing the direction of her thoughts. "Nothing too big though. Mari doesn't like a lot of fuss to be made. I actually gave her an umbrella," he chuckled. "We were near where we met, and I gave her an umbrella and told her to open it. When she did, the ring was hanging off a red string from the top and I was kneeling behind her." he looked over a Ladybug sheepishly. "It wasn't anything big, but umbrellas… well, it was special to us."
He was looking back out towards the lights of Paris, so thankfully he didn't notice how Ladybug had started hyperventilating. At first, she heard her name and just thought 'huh, that's funny. His fiance and I have the same name'. Then she tuned into the rest of his words and almost fell over. Of course she had the same name as his fiance. She was his fiance.
She quickly bid Chat goodbye, congratulating him on his engagement-On their engagement-and managed to keep herself together until she found a park and could release her transformation.
"Chat is Adrien," she said out loud for the first time, and laughed joyously at the sound of it. "Adrien is Chat!"
She started to spin around the grassy area, not caring one bit as the rain drenched her, because for once, everything in her world was perfect. Then she saw him, and reality surpassed perfection.
He had been vaulting home-to their home, Marinette giggled despite herself-but stopped when he saw her.
"Chat!" she called joyously, needing to share this elated moment with him. "Come dance with me!"
Much to her satisfaction, he did just that. They danced and spun around the green space. She knew she should sit him down and have a conversation with him. Afterall, she was dancing with an intimacy improper of someone technically engaged to someone else, but she couldn't help herself. He didn't stop her either, seeming to need to touch her as much as she needed to feel him. It was as if he'd forgotten that he was wearing a mask and that he hadn't told her he was Chat yet. She didn't care. She let him pull her close, holding her hand in a perfect waltz frame. The action was just so Adrien, she smiled as she leaned her head against his shoulder, her thumb rubbing lackadaisical circles into his wrist as the lyrics to one of her favorite songs floated from her lips.
"Somebody once told me 'You're gonna know right away, Once you find that secret somebody, To hold for the rest of your days'."
She finally knew, without a doubt, that she had found that person.
Then Chat pulled away and rubbed the back of his head nervously. Tears sprung to her eyes as she could almost palpably see both her boys merging into one with the simple gesture.
"Princess," the old endearment fell easily from his lips, but she stepped forward and cut off whatever he was going to say next. Every atom in her body was screaming for him to hold her, but she took his hands instead, not able to stand the conflicted look in his face. She wasn't sure if he was planning to tell her who he really was or if he was bothered by the way his fiance had been dancing with 'another man', but that wasn't important.
"Kitty," she reached up and cupped his cheek while she called her transformation.
"Adrien," Ladybug said then, her hand still cradling his cheek as she watched the tears fall from his eyes. Pure joy shone in his eyes as he merged Marinette and Ladybug. She could tell in that moment that he'd been as conflicted as she had.
The wind picked up around them, whipping the rain into a hurricane as a flash of lightning and crash of thunder sounded in the distance.
"M'Lady," he finally responded, turning his head to kiss her palm and leaned down to rest his forehead against hers. She smiled tenderly up at him. Her love.
"Take me home, chaton."
AN: Thanks for reading! To stay UTD on new stories, follow me on tumblr: unforgetabELLE