Epilogue - The Lost Day

"Are you sure you want to do this?" Nathalie asked as they sat in the car in front of the school.

"What else am I supposed to do?" Adrien asked with a wry grin. "I can't sit at home and mope about this." He indicated his arm.

"Hmm," Nathalie said.

Nobody had told him, so he wasn't supposed to know, but the police had found his father's Evil Villain Lair™, complete with shrine and undeclared-dead-body of his wife. They were now searching the whole property from top to bottom, tentatively labelling his father a potential terrorist threat.

Adrien didn't care. When they had found the vault, they never knew it was already short a Peacock Miraculous and sacred book. Those items had been returned to Master Fu last night, with the help of Nooroo, who was more than happy to be on the side of good once more.

The old man had been very surprised to see him, having just been out looking that very day for suitable Ladybug and Chat Noir candidates to combat Hawkmoth. Luckily, nothing had happened to warrant delivering the Miraculouses.

Honestly, Adrien was mostly just happy to hear that Marinette was alive and well (and made excellent macaroons!). He'd spent a lot of time last night with Master Fu, who was very interested in his story, including the wish, and was able to answer some of the many questions Adrien had as well.

Apparently, he'd kept his memories because he'd cursed his father into keeping his memories as well. The universe had to be kept in balance, the old master had insisted. He was lucky enough that it had taken him at his word as far as offering his life. When Adrien had expressed confusion at this, Master Fu had outright laughed.

"You offered your life, Adrien," he had said, his eyes twinkling. "Your life. Not your death. Therefore, you must live your life, serving to protect the balance of the universe.

"I never thought I'd see the day when I could pass on the secrets of the Guardians," he'd added, looking at the book fondly. "And just when I start to realize how old I've truly gotten, the universe sends me you."

"Me?!" Adrien had exclaimed. "You want me to be the next Guardian? No offense, but I think I'm a bit biased against giving people magical powers!"

"I believe you've already signed up for the job," Master Fu had said, winking. "Don't worry. I've still got a lot of life left in these old limbs. We'll take it slow."

"Adrien?" Nathalie called, shaking him out of his thoughts. He blinked at her and she nodded towards the school. "You're going to be late."

"Oh, right, thanks!" he grabbed the umbrella he'd insisted they bring and stepped out of the car. No matter if the weatherman only said 50% chance of rain. Today was the second day of school. He knew.

Or, at least he hoped, he corrected himself as his eyes landed on the bakery across the street.

Would they be able to forge even a shadow of the same bond they'd had before? Would she be the same? Would he be the same?

Breathe, Adrien, he reminded himself. You'll see her soon enough. Ugh, the gum incident! He was gonna have to think up a better way to handle that—

"Look out!" a familiar voice cried. Adrien spun just in time to see a head of midnight hair crash into him. They both went tumbling to the ground.

"Ouch!" she cried. "OMG, I'm so sorry—EEK!" she screamed as she got a good look at him. And his cast. "I BROKE YOUR ARM! I'M SO, SO SORRY!"

"No, it's okay!" Adrien laughed. "I actually got this yesterday. It's not your fault."

Marinette breathed a sigh of relief. "Still, I'm so sorry," she said, helping him to his feet. He hung his umbrella on his cast so he'd have a hand free. "I wasn't looking where I was going and—hey, have I seen you somewhere before?"

"Maybe," he grinned. She frowned at him, confused.

Damn, no memories. Oh well. Can't have everything.

"You might've seen me around town," he suggested. "I'm told I have one of those faces." He nodded towards the large ad outside the school, currently plastered with his modelling photo. It took a few moments for Marinette to get it, and once she did, she glared at him.

"You could've just said you're a model," she grumbled.

"Ah, but this way's so much more fun!" he said, shooting her a wink. The expression on her face was so much like Ladybug that he was having a hard time not bursting out laughing.

"Hmph. I bet you think you're hot stuff, huh?" she snarked.

"Ehh, I'm more of a cool cat, but you said it, not me, purrincess!" he grinned, waggling his eyebrows.

Marinette raised an eyebrow, unimpressed. Time to backtrack.

"I'm Adrien," he said, offering his good hand.

She took it, still looking doubtful. "Marinette. Are you new here?"

"Yup! Today's my very first day! I hope we can be friends."

"Hmm, horrible puns aside, I'll think about it," she teased. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I think we're going to be late!"

"Let's run together, then!" Adrien suggested, grabbing her hand with his good one. "Oh, hey, did you bring an umbrella today? I heard it's supposed to rain."

"REALLY? Oh no, I left mine at home…."

"No problem, I can share!"

Or I'll just give it to you again, he thought. It seemed to work out last time.

The End.

A/N: Big thanks to everyone who has stuck around on this wild ride! I'm sorry I couldn't respond to each and every one of your reviews, but 1K+ words a day really took a lot out of me. Rest assured, I loved each and every one of them. And ghost readers, I see you too! Your support is also greatly appreciated!

I've been thinking about making a sequel (Adrien would not shut up in that last chapter and I ended up with a lot of content I didn't use), but I have several WIPs begging me to get back to them, so give me a bit of time. Let me know if you think you'd even be interested in something like that.