A/N: Welcome to The Hurtening: Revisited. If you've watched the Korean drama Winter Sonata or read the original version of this story on my Tumblr, then you know what to expect. But for those of you who haven't been exposed to either, I encourage you stick around until the end. Oh, and keep a tissue box handy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous Ladybug.
By: Princess Kitty1
Prologue: My Memory
Meteorologists would later call it the coldest winter Paris had seen in many years.
Those who were presently stuck in it had to agree. Ladybug, for example, noticed her suit had spawned an extra layer of protection to keep the cold from restricting her movements. But the bitter wind still stung her eyes and cheeks as she swung through the city on her evening patrol. Cheerful onlookers and gray buildings rushed past her in a teary blur. She'd need to talk to Tikki about the possibility of turning her mask into goggles.
Satisfied that no akuma or petty criminals were about, Ladybug changed her route and headed for the Eiffel Tower. Normally, she'd be desperate to go home, make herself some hot chocolate, and snuggle under no less than three blankets while she watched a movie. But Chat Noir had lost one of their many bets that week and had therefore been forced to treat her to coffee.
Not that he seemed all that broken up about it. While she'd pranced around the roof in full-on gloat mode, he'd smiled at her as if he couldn't think of anything better than buying her coffee, spending a few extra minutes with her while they sipped drinks and people-watched.
To Ladybug's ever-increasing frustration, she couldn't think of anything better, either.
As she neared the tower, she spotted her partner's outline against the violet sunset sky and her heart skipped a few beats. It had been doing that a lot lately—skipping beats when she looked at Chat Noir. She tried to chalk it up to the changes his body had undergone in the past two years: more height, more muscle, the boy he used to be eclipsed by the man he would become. Purely shallow reasons, she told herself.
But when she landed next to him and he turned to her with that smile—the one thing that had remained constant throughout their two-year partnership, that she'd started to suspect would never change—her excuses died in the face of genuine emotion.
The fact of the matter was that Ladybug, hero of Paris, had a serious problem, and his name was Chat Noir.
"Good evening, my Lady," he greeted her as she dropped down and let her legs dangle over the side of the tower. Then, to her surprise, he leaned in until his face was mere inches from hers. "You haven't been crying, have you?"
"Crying?" Ladybug squeaked. Smooth.
"Your eyes are red."
"Oh!" She reached up to rub them with gloved hands, only to recoil when the cold material of her suit touched her skin. "No, it's this weather. I'm freezing my face off," she said. Although, she did have a pressure in her chest she couldn't explain, as if something unbearably sad had happened, but she couldn't remember what it was.
Chat Noir's body relaxed and he leaned away from her. "As long as you're okay," he said, then turned to retrieve two coffee cups sitting on the beam next to him. Ladybug took the opportunity to steal a glance at his profile. "The guy asked me if I wanted any extra shots of smugness, but I told him you were trying to watch your ego."
"Haha. You're so funny," Ladybug drawled as she took the cup he offered her. She pulled off the lid and inhaled the steam that caressed her face. It smelled like a liquified gingerbread house. She decided to play nice and gave Chat Noir a honeyed smile, complete with fluttering lashes. "Thank you, chaton."
"You're very welcome, buginette."
They sat without speaking for a while, savoring their coffees. The sky above them darkened as night conquered what was left of the day, and moments later, the Eiffel Tower blazed to life with an awestruck murmur from pedestrians and tourists far below. A few people pointed up at the superhero pair. Chat Noir waved at them. Two years later and he still loved his public, Ladybug thought.
"Seen the news this morning?" he asked her suddenly. She shook her head. "It's going to snow this Thursday, starting overnight. We're supposed to get a ton of it."
Ladybug sipped her coffee. "Is that so?"
Chat Noir kicked his long legs back and forth and shot her a mischievous smirk. "It is, and I happen to have a very important rendezvous with a lady in red that day."
There went Ladybug's heart again, skipping all the way around her chest. She put her coffee down and tapped her chin. "That's funny, because I have a very important rendezvous with a black cat that day."
"How about that!" Chat Noir cried.
"You should tell me where your rendezvous is going to be. You know, so we don't accidentally run into each other." She tried her best to maintain a flippant expression.
Chat Noir gave it some thought. "The Champ de Mars," he said.
Ladybug nodded. "You definitely won't see me there, then."
"I definitely won't expect to," he replied.
And they finished their coffees in comfortable silence, letting their drinks and the promise of Thursday chase the cold from their limbs.
The rest of the week rushed by in a blur, and on Thursday morning, Parisians woke up to a blanket of snow.
It was the kind of snow that had just the right consistency to be played in. Citizens flocked outdoors, turning parks into snowball battlefields, snowmen communities, and designated laughter areas. Even those who were inconvenienced by the weather couldn't help but smile at the infectious happiness of their fellow man.
The Champ de Mars in particular drew a large crowd. Most came to enjoy themselves. Some were there to take photos and videos of the snow-covered Eiffel Tower. And a few had come to see the spectacle of Paris's resident superheroes, Ladybug and Chat Noir, frolicking like children through the trees.
"I thought you were supposed to be doing your worst, buginette!" Chat Noir taunted from his perch on a branch. A moment later he sprang into the air just in time to avoid getting beaned by a snowball.
Ladybug wound up and pitched again. The umpteenth snowball sailed over Chat Noir's head and hit the trunk of a neighboring tree in a violent explosion of powder. "Hold still," she yelled.
"That defeats the purpose of a snowball fight," he yelled back, then darted into another tree and vanished. Ladybug cast her yoyo and went after him.
The hazy white of the sky made time appear to stand still. They chased each other for what felt like hours. It was Chat Noir who finally ended the fight by tackling Ladybug from behind, rolling them into a snowdrift and half burying her in slush. She laughed and spluttered and fought back, but conceded her defeat after a few futile minutes. He let her up then, and the two caught their breath in a secluded patch of trees. Ladybug leaned forward and gathered up an armful of snow.
"I thought you surrendered," Chat Noir said when he noticed her rolling up another ball.
"I did." She piled a smaller one on top of the base, then formed two pointed ears. "Voila!"
"Ooh, is that supposed to be me?" Chat Noir shoveled a mound of snow closer to him and went to work on his own. Minutes later he was trying, with varying degrees of success, to attach pigtails to the bottom of a snowman's head. Ladybug laughed at him.
"It's all right, chaton. I get it." She pushed the snow Chat next to the snow Lady until their icy bodies touched. "Should we make a Hawkmoth too?" she asked. Chat Noir gave her a bland look. "No, you're right. We're off the clock today."
As they sat there together, enjoying the peace of the afternoon, Ladybug felt that familiar agitation come over her. She snuck glances at Chat Noir. Toyed with the idea of holding the gloved hand that rested beside her own. There had been numerous times throughout the past two years where she wondered if she might have feelings for him and managed to convince herself otherwise. But that day, in the snow that seemed imbued with magic of its own, there was no convincing herself otherwise. She couldn't have done it if she tried.
He looked at her. She swallowed as her heart skipped around in her chest again. He lifted his hand to push some of the damp hair out of her face. When his gaze flickered to her cheeks, she knew he'd seen her blush.
Their eyes met. She shifted just a little bit closer to him.
He kissed her before she could change her mind.
Ladybug had never wanted to admit that she'd enjoyed kissing him the first time, hurried and desperate though it was. But this second kiss, mere yards away from the people they protected daily, hidden by trees, noses numb from the cold, was completely different. A little clumsy. Confused as to whether it wanted to be affectionate or passionate. Their hands weren't sure where to go, so they remained at their sides. And Ladybug couldn't help thinking—murky though her thoughts were—that Chat Noir's lips tasted a lot like love.
When they pulled apart, he surprised her by springing to his feet and scrambling up the nearest tree. "The chase is back on," he announced gleefully, then pelted her with a snowball.
Incredulous and more than a little embarrassed, she jumped up and ran after him, dimly aware of the roar in her ears growing louder by the second, of the darkness swallowing everything but Chat Noir's retreating form, of a sorrow unlike any she'd ever felt before filling her lungs like water.
There was still snow on the ground the day the building collapsed on top of him.
Marinette opened her eyes to the sight of her sunlit bedroom ceiling. Tikki hovered over her head, her small mouth stretched into a smile. "Wake up! Today's the big day!" she cried.
Marinette stayed perfectly still. She held onto the lingering cold of her dreams as if her life depended on it. It had been years since she'd dreamt of that snowy day. Why had it come back to her now, and so vividly? She felt around for her phone and pulled it up to check the time and date.
No, she was not a carefree teenage superhero anymore. She was twenty-eight years old, a moderately successful fashion designer who did some superheroing on the side, and tonight was the night of her engagement party.
And as for Adrien Agreste, her beloved Chat Noir, he was still dead.
To Be Continued
A/N: If it doesn't hurt yet… it will.
Do leave a review in that little box below, which I have decorated for Christmas even though it's November 1st.