Ummm wow? Chapter one certainly got a lot of awesome reception, thank you so much guys. It was certainly unexpected and I'm extremely grateful. Thank you so much for the awesome reviews and to everyone who has followed and added this story to their favourites. It inspires me to keep going.
Chapter 2: An Old Friend
All Chat Noir could do was remain frozen, blinking in shock as his eyes remained glued to her face. Her blue eyes glared right back which further intrigued him. Why wasn't she scared? Any other citizen of Paris ran scared at the sight of him. Yet here she was. Hands still firmly wrapped around his wrist, her eyes daring him to go any further with his attack. Something about that scolding look was so familiar to him. For a moment, Chat wondered if his dead heart was about to restart itself at the sight of such similar blue, angry eyes.
My, how Marinette seemed to have changed since the last time he saw her all those years ago. She had grown slightly, though not much, especially compared to him. Her hair seemed slightly shorter and she no longer wore it in twin pigtails, instead, it hung loosely, the tips barely touching her shoulders. Cute freckles still decorated her nose and she looked tired. Chat almost wondered if this was still the same Marinette from his school days. Gone was her happy smile, her kind and caring expressions, and the sparkle in her eyes. The friendly and positive aura she used to emanate was also gone.
"Let. Him. Go." Marinette growled out through clenched teeth.
Okay, Chat Noir liked a challenge.
"Make me," he teased with a sadistic, playful smirk dancing across his lips.
He watched as Marinette briefly recoiled in disgust, before her dulled blue eyes turned as hard as steel, a fire igniting behind them that managed to send a shiver down Chat Noir's spine. He had never seen Marinette look so violently angry before. She looked at him with pure unadulterated hatred. A far cry from the fearful looks he was used to getting off people. So much anger, so much passion…a passion and determination so much like…hers.
Refusing to be caught off guard by the scary similarities, Chat Noir winked at her, just to see how far he could push her.
With a cry of anger, Marinette shoved at Chat Noir, and much to his surprise, was actually able to push him off the scumbag he still had pinned to the road beneath him. Chat grunted in shock and stumbled sideways. In the process, the man managed to wiggle himself free and began sprinting for his life down the street. Chat Noir let out a loud, animalistic growl and began attempting to chase his prey down again.
However, he was instantly halted by something catching his tail, preventing him from running off. Chat snarled, turning back to see Marinette tightly gripping his tail in a very familiar fashion. That just made his blood boil even more. He did not need this tonight. He did not need to be reminded so constantly of the love of his life. It was becoming too much to bear and only served to further loosen his already small grip on what was left of his sanity.
Growling, he swiped at Marinette, and though he never actually properly intended on causing her too much harm, she still dropped his tail and ducked out of the way like a pro. She darted to the side before squeaking once she realised her mistake. She was now backed against the wall. Smirking, Chat stalked towards her while Marinette pressed herself further against the wall of the building behind her, glaring at him, though Chat could just about make out that she had in fact begun to tremble slightly.
Chat placed both of his arms on either side of her head, chuckling to himself at how small Marinette was compared to him now. Marinette pressed her mouth into a thin line, her chest heaving up and down with every laboured breath that she took. The fire behind her blue eyes remained as she managed to maintain eye contact with him. However, there was the unmistakable small flicker of fear behind all the feistiness she just displayed.
"Good to see you again, puurrincess," Chat chuckled lowly.
Marinette continued to stare at him, pure hate dancing across her features.
"It's been a few years. You sure have changed."
"I could say the same thing about you," Marinette snapped.
"Who rattled your cage?" Chat demanded, starting to grow frustrated. "What happened to the lovely, sweet girl I used to know?"
"She's long gone."
Chat raised an eyebrow. "So I see."
Chat reached a claw out to gently stroke it along the outline of her cheek all the way down to her chin. Marinette cringed away as best as she could, but she had no where to go. Chat frowned as he studied her face, a face that, now that he thought about it, was similar to his lady's. How had he not noticed all the time he was in her class at school? It was like fate was playing a cruel joke on him tonight. First that idiotic turtle dared to mention the name of his lady, then the fox and the bee accused him of destroying her memory, and now Marinette stood before him, looking, acting and sounding like his soulmate. He should be torturing Marinette right now. Torturing her for clearly being up to no good if she was out and about in the middle of the night.
But…he couldn't bring himself to do it.
Was it because she was his old friend from school? Was it because she reminded him so much of her? If anything, he should torture her just for the latter reason alone. How dare she mock him like this.
"Now what's a pretty little princess like you doing out so late?" Chat asked, stroking her cheek again.
Marinette tried her best to recoil away. "None of your business, kitty."
That nickname. The one that she often used for him. Was Marinette trying to actively push him further over the edge? It was as if Chat was dangling off the edge of a cliff overlooking a dark, endless abyss. He clung on only by the tip of his fingers, and each little similar habit Marinette displayed to her was like a foot stomping on his hand, sending Chat Noir that much closer to the inevitable plummet into the unknown. It was taking every once of Chat's strength to cling on, and now Marinette was going to ruin all of that. However, he couldn't afford to get distracted right now.
"It is my business when someone is out and about this late," Chat hissed.
"Why?" Marinette continued to prod him.
Did this girl have a death wish?
"You don't own the night."
"I think you'll find I do." Chat grinned.
Marinette remained quiet for a few moments before she frowned. "Well? Kill me then."
Chat's grin fell, and his eyes widened.
"What's the matter, kitty?" Marinette taunted. "Can't you do it?"
Shaking off his shock at Marinette's actions, Chat plastered a grin back on his face. "Why would I want to mangle up that pretty face though?"
He continued to stroke Marinette's soft cheeks as she continued to try and recoil away. He could feel her body trembling slightly beneath his touch. It was slight, but it was there. So, Marinette's ability to feel fear wasn't completely broken. She did seem to have some common sense after all. This thought only spurred Chat Noir on in his taunting. Marinette did appear to be easy to wind up. It was just a case of finding the right buttons to push.
Chat leaned his face in closer to hers, his eyes sparkling mischievously. "Do I frighten you, princess?" He purred, placing both hands back into their previous position next to her head, causing him to further tower over her small, petite form.
"No," Marinette responded flatly before her expression morphed back into one of pure hatred. "You just disgust me."
Without warning, Marinette spat in Chat Noir's face, catching him completely off guard. He closed his eyes as a reflex for only a split second, however, this was enough time for Marinette to easily duck under his arm and take off running down the street.
Chat Noir let out a deep growl as he wiped his face with his hand, his vision once again turning red. His head snapped around to see Marinette still sprinting down the street, causing a deep thrill to course through his veins. A shiver ran up his spine at the thought of chasing his old friend down and making her pay for doing that.
With that thought, Chat Noir crouched down and began sprinting after her. Easily catching up, Chat Noir leapt forward, wrapping his arms around her waist and knocking her to the ground. Marinette let out a yelp as she suddenly found herself pinned to the ground.
"Not so fearless now, huh?" Chat teased before he grunted as he received a powerful kick to the stomach which sent him flying off her. He managed to catch himself and land properly, his head just briefly avoiding making contact with the hard concrete ground below him. Where did Marinette learn to defend herself like that?
He whipped his head back around to stare at her incredulously. Much to his shock, Marinette was starting to look more and more distressed. The colour had drained from her face and her breathing was heavy and laboured. Unexpectedly, she suddenly wrapped her arms loosely around herself, and Chat watched in shock and horror as her knees buckled beneath her.
Chat instantly ran forward, his previous anger and playfulness was forgotten and replaced with a feeling he had not felt in a long time: deep concern. Luckily, Chat managed to catch her head with the palm of his hand before she could hit the ground. He couldn't fathom what had just happened. One moment Marinette was sassing him, something that no other civilian dared to do, and the next she…okay, Chat wasn't sure what was happening to his old friend right now.
She wasn't unconscious. In fact, her eyes were wide open, staring and wild, her pupils darting about as if she was seeing something that Chat Noir couldn't. Her whole frame began to tremble violently, her limbs curling inwards as Marinette tried to form the tightest ball possible. It didn't seem like she even realised that Chat Noir was there right now.
The sight was so scary, traumatic and heart-breaking that Chat Noir felt like his cold, dead heart might restart again. It was horrific to see his old friend behaving this way. What was wrong with her? What had happened to her? Was she having some sort of breakdown? Chat wasn't sure what to do. All of a sudden, he felt…weirdly protective of her…
"S-stop." He heard Marinette whimper.
"S-stop the pain. I-it burns."
"Marinette?" Chat called to her, hoping that hearing her name would make her snap out of it.
Marinette remained completely oblivious to the world around her. Small whimpers escaped her trembling lips, and Chat Noir only grew more worried.
"Marinette!" Chat tried again.
She looked so vulnerable…so scared. The look on her face…it was exactly the same as the last expression he had seen on her face before she…
Broken glass surrounded him, and the hot flames towered above them. The raging inferno hissed and crackled as the flames quickly spread, and Hawkmoth's laugh could barely be heard over the loud roar of the blaze.
Chat Noir gazed up from the front garden, which continued to burn around him, up to the large, round, broken window. Hawkmoth's silhouette was barely visible, but that was not his priority right now. He would change what happened. He would not lose Ladybug this time.
Looking down, Marinette's body was replaced with Ladybug's, and Chat Noir cuddled her as close to his chest as possible. She looked beyond terrified as her eyes stared ahead at nothing, and her whole form trembled. This was his chance to make things right. This time, he would save her. He would tell her the truth of what really happened, and he would love and look after her forever.
His precious Ladybug. He had to protect his Ladybug.
With his new-found resolve, Chat Noir stood up, carrying the limp form of his lady in his arms. He adjusted her weight so he was just carrying her with one arm, and reached for his baton that was attached to his belt. He was going to save her. He was going to save her. He was going to save her. He was not going to lose her this time. Not now. Not ever. He would never let her out of his sight again.
Ignoring the shaking that vibrated through his entire body, Chat Noir extended his baton and rose them high and out of the danger of the flames. Chat Noir coughed from all of the smoke as he gazed down at his lady to check that she was okay. Broken glass stuck out of her skin, her whole body battered and bruised, and she was covered in blood.
Never again. He would never let this happen to her again.
Her eyes remained staring, her whole body continued to tremble, and Chat Noir wondered if she was in shock. He had to get her to safety.
Leaning his weight to one side, Chat swung them both to a building further away before he sighed with relief now that they were safely away from the Agreste mansion. He couldn't care less that his home was burning right now and that his father was still inside. What mattered was Ladybug. This time, he was getting her out. This time, she would live.
Chat Noir hopped from one roof to another, still carrying the limp form of Ladybug in his arms until he finally came to rest on a small balcony. Chat looked back and he could still see the huge tower of thick, black smoke climbing into the sky as the fire glowed an ominous red in the distance. Sirens echoed throughout the city and helicopters were everywhere.
Ducking out of the view of one of the helicopter's searchlights, Chat Noir hid behind the tall chimney towards the back of the balcony, and once he was certain they weren't going to be spotted, he gently laid Ladybug down on the ground beneath them.
Chat Noir had never seen his lady so terrified before, and the guilt began eating away at him. He had done this to her. He had nearly killed her
"My lady…" Chat breathed, crawling across her body to whisper into her ear. "It's alright now, you're safe. I got you out of there this time."
"The fire!" Ladybug gasped, her body twitching slightly beneath his.
"There's no more fire." Chat stroked her hair. "I got you out of there this time. I saved you. I saved you…"
Chat Noir watched with a sigh of relief as Ladybug's beautiful blue eyes began to focus properly again. Her eyes darted around in confusion and fear before she flinched as Chat Noir began to stroke her cheek. Chat didn't pull back though, enjoying the sensation of feeling his lady beneath his fingers, something he feared he would never be able to do again.
"Ssssh," Chat soothed her, "it's okay, you're okay; I saved you this time."
"W-what are you talking about?"
"I got you out of the fire this time. I promise, nothing will ever happen to you again," Chat vowed.
Chat ignored Ladybug's confused tone and expression. Right now, he was unable to resist leaning in and capturing her lips with his own. He kissed her passionately and fiercely, desperate to prove that she was real and that she was safe. She was his everything and he had almost lost her.
Ladybug didn't respond to the kiss though. Instead, Chat Noir suddenly realised, she was thrashing against him, trying to push him off her. Chat Noir pulled away with a gasp, jumping off her, his eyes wide with fear once he realised what he had just done. He knew his lady had feelings for someone else, someone that was not him, but in that moment, he just couldn't help himself. He had come so close to losing her.
He slowly backed away, his black, leather cat ears drooping slightly as his whole body shook.
"I-I'm sorry," Chat gasped out.
"You're crazy!" Ladybug screamed at him, her face thunderous and full of rage and hatred.
"No, I'm not!" Chat insisted. "Let me explain! It was all just a ploy!"
"Chat, what are you talking about?!" Marinette shrieked.
Chat Noir looked around in a state of terrified confusion.
Where had his lady gone?
Instead, standing where she had just been standing, was Marinette. Her facial expression was the exact same Ladybug's had been. Marinette pressed her back against the chimney that made up the back of her balcony, and that's when Chat Noir finally realised where he was. He was on Marinette's balcony. How and when did he get here? What just happened?
He…he had just saved Ladybug…hadn't he?
The realisation came painfully crashing down on him as if someone had just dropped a heavy truck on top of him. His heart pulsated in his chest at the realisation he hadn't just been given a second chance.
Ladyb – she was still dead.
He hadn't saved her from the fire.
Chat Noir wanted to scream. He wanted to cry out in the hopes that it might expel at least some of the pain that was currently washing over him and drowning him in the deep ocean of lost hope. It was finally happening. His decent into madness was continuing after four long years stagnation. Now he was having horrendous flashbacks, only his brain taunted him with the image of actually managing to save his lady. He had even seemingly acted out his hallucinations.
Did that mean he had just forcibly kissed Marinette?
No wonder she looked so angry right now. However, he couldn't really bring himself to care. He had just been served his most precious desire, only to have it snatched away from him. That desire was only fulfilled in another universe though. Another universe where his plan had worked, or he hadn't even come up with the stupid and dangerous idea in the first place. Another universe where she was alive and well and they were maybe even together right now. Living a long and happy life together. Instead, he was stuck in this universe. Where the worst case scenario had occurred.
Chat Noir sighed as another finger was painfully stomped on, once again putting him that most closer to falling into the dark abyss beneath him. He looked away from Marinette, unable to meet her eyes. Eyes that painfully reminded him too much of hers. He couldn't bare to see eyes that resembled hers so much looking at him in pure disgust and anger.
It was too much.
Nonetheless, Marinette didn't deserve to witness all of that, nor did he particularly like that she had seen him at his weakest. He saved his breakdowns for the daytime, when he was cooped up in his family's mansion, hiding away from the world in shame.
"I'm sorry," Chat mumbled, his eyes transfixed by the stars, "I didn't mean for you to see that, and I'm sorry for forcibly kissing you."
Marinette remained quiet, and Chat Noir finally turned around to face her again, the curiosity of what she was doing and thinking eating away at him. He was slightly shocked to see that Marinette's expression appeared to have softened slightly. She still looked pissed and she still looked disgusted, but there was a hint of understanding on her face. She had folded her arms tightly across her chest as if she was terrified that she would somehow break apart if she didn't.
"Are you alright?" Chat asked her flatly.
Marinette didn't respond, instead pressing her lips into a tight, thin line.
"You kinda passed out on me a little back there, so what was that all about?"
Still no response.
Chat sighed, running his hands through his thick, wild, blond hair. "It's been years since I've seen you. What have you been up to all this time?"
Marinette's eyes sparkled angrily. "You were all for attacking me a few minutes ago, now you want to have a casual conversation?!"
Chat shrugged. "I don't know, maybe I just couldn't bring myself to hurt an old friend."
"Oh, how merciful of you," Marinette spat out.
"Hey!" Chat chastised. "Don't push your luck. I could've left you there in the middle of the street."
This seemed to shut Marinette up as she looked away awkwardly.
"Thank you," she mumbled begrudgingly.
For some reason, Chat just couldn't bring himself to turn around and leave. He knew he should've done at this point. Instead, he continued to awkwardly stand around, yet he didn't know why. It was like some invisible lead was tied around his neck, keeping him tethered to Marinette's balcony.
There was just something about Marinette that he had always found endearing, even when they were both attending school together. Even now, with all of her angry attitude and scarily weird behaviour, he couldn't bring himself to truly hate or harm her. She just reminded him so much of her that harming her would be like harming his lady. Marinette appeared to be an enigmatic exception to his rules. There was just something about his old classmate that felt so familiar…so comforting. Chat Noir found himself unable to resist clinging onto that.
Marinette had clearly been through something bad between the last time he had seen her and now. Something had happened to this once sweet and innocent girl that had deeply affected and changed her. Chat Noir almost found her…relatable. They were immensely suffering internally with little to no people in the world who would understand them.
"You've changed Marinette." Chat Noir found himself unable to resist voicing that fact.
Marinette raised an eyebrow at him. "And you haven't?"
"Touché." Chat chuckled.
Marinette unfolded her arms and looked away. "I want you to leave, Chat."
"I want you to leave me alone," Marinette repeated, her tone angrier and more demanding this time.
"The princess wounds and betrays me with her lack of gratitude," Chat Noir grumbled before turning around to take off, however, he was stopped in his tracks by the sound of Marinette letting out an angry growl.
"Betray you?!" Marinette shrieked. "You betrayed everyone! You betrayed Paris…L-Ladybug!"
Chat literally felt something snap inside him.
His green eyes became murderous, and his whole body tensed up. Driven by pure anger, Chat Noir turned back around and pounced on Marinette, slamming her back against the bricks of the chimney, causing her to yelp in pain. He pinned her shoulders down, forcing her to remain still and look at him. For once, Marinette's eyes were actually filled with fear, and tears welled in her eyes at the sight of the inhumane, savage and barbaric expression on his face. Chat Noir wanted to snap her neck right now for daring to speak such words. His hands twitched ready to do so, but once again an invisible force stopped him.
"What happened to you, Chat?" Marinette demanded, her voice shaking. "Why are you doing all this?"
Chat ignored her questions as he snarled at her.
"You know not what you speak of," Chat growled at her through clenched teeth. "You are a mere civilian who could not possibly understand what happened that night. Never mention this again and never if you value your life mention her name again. Are we clear?"
Marinette swallowed, her chest heaved with her laboured breathing which was slightly constricted by Chat's chest pressed against her own. She nodded, her eyes still wide with terror.
"Good," Chat purred before he gently stroked her fingers along her neck, "because if you do, I'll snap that pretty little neck of yours, princess." It was an empty threat, and deep down Chat Noir knew that, but it seemed Marinette also knew how to press his buttons as well. No one was to ever dare mention that night as well as her name in his presence. It was unspoken rule that everybody knew, yet Marinette just had to push the boundaries.
Marinette's fear began to vanish, once again replaced with hatred and disgust. "Now go away and leave me alone," she commanded, though there was a desperate edge to her voice.
"With pleasure," Chat hissed, letting her go.
Marinette slid down the bricks of the chimney, landing in a fetal position on the ground, her hands clutching her neck, her eyes wide with shock.
Chat Noir chuckled, glad that the message seemed to have sunk in. Without another word, Chat Noir turned around and leapt off from the rails of the balcony, taking back off into the night, his mind still consumed with the intoxicating thoughts of Marinette.
Intense chapter. It was pretty hard to write and I ended up re-writing it a good few times. I hope it's turned out okay. Feel free to let me know what you guys think in a review. Not sure when my next update will be, but I never leave huge gaps between them. Hope you guys have a good weekend.