Author's Note: I present to you the final chapter of my little Marinette Appreciation fic. The Marichat at the beginning happened all by itself and tried to kidnapp the plot :) Enjoy!
Day 7: Reveal
Chat Noir lightly stomped over the tiles of Parisian rooftops as he sneaked his way between the chimneys and gutters in the fading light of dusk. In his black suit he was nothing more than a shadow, hidden from curious eyes, as stealthy as a ghost. The fat, obnoxious pigeons were the only witnesses of his stroll, and they surely wouldn't coo to a soul.
The last part of open space was a bit tricky, but with proficiency that comes with years of experience he vaulted himself over the iron grating and onto the balcony, to the safety of overgrown hortensia shrubs that had wrapped the whole gazebo in a greeny-white blanket. In the last few decades they'd been living there Marinette worked miracles with the little space between the walls of the fence and the mansion. She transformed a place that he used to think of as his prison into their green haven, a garden of Eden blooming secretly in the heart of Paris.
Chat drummed his clawed fingers over the glass door. Marinette's alert face appeared on the other side. She gasped and pulled him inside.
'Does this have anything to do with things going emotional at the park earlier?' she asked going back to her armchair and the abandoned sketchbook. 'I thought after taking Dottie home, you'd go back the usual way.'
He hummed noncommittally in reply, sauntering in her direction. His tail winded languidly behind his back and his electric green eyes danced over her hunched figure.
'Dottie found my keepsake box today,' he murmured taking her hand away from the sketchbook and placing a customary, but tender kiss over her knuckles; a habit he hadn't abandoned even after they got together. 'There may be questions.'
Marinette smiled at him, amused by his antics. 'Thanks for the heads-up, Kitty. Oh!' she released a startled squeak when he pulled her to her feet. The sketchbook dropped to the floor with a thud.
Chat Noir ducked his head and nuzzled her neck. 'Wife of mine, you smell divine,' he purred into her ear and started trailing kisses over the column of her throat and her shoulder.
'Good to hear your - ah - poetry got better, darling,' Marinette leaned into him, her hand slipping into his hair and rubbing circles between his real and false ears.
'That's not the only thing I got better at,' he murmured against her skin, reveling in the blissful pleasure of her caress. A few decades of enthusiastic experimenting and he knew exactly what to do in return to make her melt into his touch. He pulled the pin from her bun, and a silvery-blue veil spilled over her shoulders. Chat pulled her flush against his chest. His clawed hands roamed at her sides. Marinette closed her eyes and hummed appreciatively. Those sounds stirred something within him. Something that took over and initiated a well known and well used script.
One of his arms snaked its way around her waist, the other cradled her head and in one well practised motion he dipped her for a kiss.
He loved to kiss her as Chat, when his senses were enhanced. In the dim light of their bedroom the night vision allowed him to count every freckle on her cheeks. Her heartbeat drummed in both pairs of his ears. Her perfume mixing with her own scent was driving his senses crazy. Their lips moved in a familiar routine, softly, tenderly brushing against each other, teasing and tantalizing. It was magical, how much they could convey in this simple contact. The easy comfort between them that came from shared years. The tranquility built on trust and love. And the hint of passion simmering underneath, just waiting for the right moment.
The lid on that kettle was already quivering when Chat's tail wrapped itself around Marinette's ankle and the kiss turned into something a tad more heated. He ran his claws through her hair and a craving filled him, a desire to touch it without the gloves covering his hands, a need to feel her body heat without the restraints of his suit. Adrien almost gave in to that temptation, but he pushed back all the ideas that popped to his mind, putting them away for later use. He had other plans for now.
'Why are you transformed?' Marinette whispered, a bit breathlessly, when they broke for air. A delicious coat of blush adorned her cheeks.
'I got extremely sentimental today,' Chat admitted going back to nuzzling the nape of her neck. Her scent was mesmerizing, intoxicating, distracting. Once again he almost lost himself in her. 'Hmmm?' he rasped realizing she said something.
Marinette pushed his head away. 'You already told me that, Kitty. Stop it,' she chided when he tried to resume his caress, 'or you'll never actually explain anything to me.'
He pouted and blinked at her. 'And I was hoping to talk you into a little… chase?' he ventured nodding invitingly to the balcony.
Her lips stretched in a calculated smirk. 'Let me just fix my hair. You wake up Tikki and we can go.'
Soon they were leaving the balcony again.
'How would you feel if we went past a certain window?' Chat asked as they leaped to the nearest roof.
Ladybug cast him a puzzled look. 'What window do you have in mind?'
'12 Rue Gotlib?' he supplied innocently. 'I have a hunch there might be a little girl plastered to the glass tonight, looking for the legendary Paris heroes as they run in the moonlight.'
'What have you done, Kitty?' Her laughter filled the night.
'Tell you if you catch me, my Lady,' he called, increasing the pace and taking the lead in their run.
She caught up with him at the Trocadéro before he could reach their favorite spot at the top of Palais de Chaillot. They took a rest there, required by their 60 year old bodies despite the magical suits. Hidden in the darkness they watched the lights of the city, their city, flickering in the night mist.
'I'm glad we went out tonight,' Ladybug scooted closer to Chat. His tail flicked behind him for a few moments. After a while it lashed out and wrapped around the heroine's waist eliciting a giggle from her pink lips. 'Thank you for the idea. It's been too long since our last run,' she flicked his bell and it rang joyfully over the roof.
'The pleasure is all mine, bug,' he put an arm around her and started playing absentmindedly with her pigtails.
They sat, admiring the view, lost in their own thoughts. Chat couldn't stop himself from casting side glances at her, immovable at his side. Her eyes were trained on the horizon and filled with hundreds of stars. The lights of Paris played a trick on him, he knew, but her sapphires gleamed in the night like the most precious gems he'd ever seen. The rosy hue blooming on her cheeks due to their race added a nice shade to the red of her mask. When she flew over the Parisian landscape only the silvering pigtails revealed her age. Every time they went out like that she reverently put her locks into the trademark hairdo, just in case they were spotted. He loved this woman beyond words and years. Sometimes it scared him how strong and deep his feelings went.
Comfortable silence stretched between them until Ladybug broke it with a sigh. 'Do you think it was a right choice, Kitty?' she asked, gently pulling her hair out of his claws.
She turned to look at him and he saw the seriousness in her eyes when she replied, 'To pretend that we died?'
'I've always believed in life after death,' he quipped in vain attempt to lighten the mood.
'You know what I mean though,' Ladybug gestured to the crippled form of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. The beams around the dent were purposefully lit with red spotlights.
Chat pondered over her query. The events of the day prompted him to think over their whole vigilante career even earlier. When his nerves were calmed thanks to their unexpected meeting in the bakery, instead of recalling the battle, he started reminiscing on what came afterwards. The capture of Hawkmoth and Paon. Taking away their miraculouses. Altering their memories with the invaluable help of Master Fu. Getting rid of the butterflies and dismantling the lair. Going back to normal, for a given amount of normal. Trying to live their lives as if nothing had happened. It had been difficult, especially dealing with his father and Nathalie, at least until she quit her job. And without Marinette's unwavering presence and support it would have been impossible.
But even if time hadn't healed all wounds, it certainly made them bearable. Adrien was able to reconnect with his father. The birth of Emma, Louis and Hugo made Gabriel focus more on present than the past and he finally came back from his inner exile. They managed to salvage their bond before the older Agreste passed away a few years later. Maybe it wasn't fair, that the former Hawkmoth escaped justice, but Adrien figured that partial amnesia and the permanent injuries, a memento of the final battle, could be considered enough of a punishment. He liked to think of this as the heroes' prerogative of mercy, one that him and Ladybug earned through years of their service. In return as the heir of the Agreste fortune he made sure a fair share of Gabriel's revenue went to charity. And that was only a part of the equation, concerning him and his father. There were more reasons to believe their decision was justified.
'I think it was a right choice, Bug,' Chat finally replied. 'Otherwise there would always be a matter to attend to, a fan to greet, a madman to stop.'
Ladybug didn't reply, but she gnawed at her lower lip, a clear indication this was still eating her.
'We've talked about this a hundred times and it still bugs you?' he jested earning a playful shove from her. 'It's better,' he assured her, this time in a more serious tone. 'Our kids were safe. You were safe. Besides, don't tell me you wouldn't jump right back in if our powers would be required again.'
'Of course I would,' she spluttered.
'And I would too. But our services thankfully aren't needed,' he pulled her closer and squeezed her arms. 'You gave birth to three wonderful catbugs. You continued my father's legacy and made it into a model CSR company. We had the time. Tikki and Plagg had the time. We're happy and they are too.'
'Okay, okay, I get it,' she raised her hands in surrender. 'But it doesn't mean I don't wonder what if. Sometimes.'
'As I do,' he admitted. 'But it's all said and done. It's history and it's better that it stays this way.'
Ladybug smiled at him. 'I'm so lucky I have you, Chaton,' she ruffled his hair and landed a squelchy smooch on his cheek. 'Take me home, please.'
He could argue that it was his luck to have her, but he only said, 'Your wish is my command, my Lady.' He offered her a hand. 'Home sounds purrfect.'
As they broke into run again, he couldn't stop thinking that home was never a place for him, but always a person. The person fleeing over the rooftops ahead of him in a red dash.
They ran past the bakery, making sure to stay in sight long enough and then disappeared among the chimneys, giggling like the pair of teens they had been forty five years ago. And on 12 Rue Gotlib a small girl smiled to herself as she made her way to her bed.
'Goodnight Grandpa, goodnight Nana,' Dottie whispered, cuddling her cat plushie. 'Your secret is safe with me.'
- THE END -
AN: Thank you for the whole week of joy, fun and tears, for your support – your reviews, favs, follows and PMs here and over tumblr. I absolutely loved each and every one of them. I hope you liked my contribution. Now that you've read the whole story, please let me know, what you think of it.
A few words of explanation. I loved the idea of Marinette's, Adrien's, Alya's and Nino's genes combined into one precious Dottie. As some of you noticed she is their granddaughter, daughter of Hugo Agreste and Melanie Lahiffe. I tried to give her traits of her grandparents (curiosity after Alya, love for music after Nino, Marinette's temper and Adrien's fencing skills).
My idea for this story was to show different aspects of Marinette/Ladybug personality, accomplishments and development, but not in a straightforward way. Hence the tale Adrien spins. I hope I have succeeded, but it is for you to judge.
Once again a sincere and enormous thank you to Remasa, who helped me make this story as good as it deserved to be. I encourage you to check out her fics, they are absolutely terrific.
For now I'm taking a break from writing. Gabriel and Marinette Weeks were exhausting, and I need to catch some distanse. If you like my writing - please look at my other stories and visit me on perditaalottachocolate-blog . tumblr . com (I post doodles, snippets of future chapters and share mostly miraculous stuff), and I promise to be back soon with updates and new ideas! Till next time!