posted: 10.30.20
word count: 1.428
prompt: rejected heroes

Marinette Agreste was not a happy girl by any stretch of the imagination. She was watching the news, alone in her brother's bedroom, getting more and more upset as she watched. Chat Noir was getting his butt kicked, and he didn't deserve it. Everytime he was knocked down and thrown across the city, Marinette screamed, her heart hurting and tears spilling from her eyes. She wanted it to stop but there was nothing she could do about it but watch. And he kept getting back up and he kept fighting and he kept getting hurt and he kept doing it over and over and over and why won't it stop? Why isn't Ladybug doing anything? Where is Ladybug? Why is Chat Noir fighting by himself while that stupid spotty girl stood back and fixed everything after Marinette's brother did all of the hard work? It wasn't fair! It wasn't fair and it wouldn't hold up if Marinette was allowed to help him. So she decided. If Adrien was going to be Chat Noir, Marinette was going to become his sidekick.

It took two weeks. One week of Marinette drawing and drawing again and drawing some more and hating everything and still drawing some more. And when finally she had the right drawings, it took another three days for her to convince her papa to actually let her make it. And by letting her make it, she meant convincing him to let her borrow a designer who was big enough to use the sharp scissors and the sewing machine. It also took a bit of convincing to get Papa to spend money on some proper materials. Sometimes Marinette wondered if people thought she was stupid just because she was six. Then she thought that that was stupid.

At the beginning of the third week, Marinette was excited and impatient. She was ready to show her big brother her surprise, but there wasn't yet a chance. So she stuck to his side more than normal because she didn't want to miss an opportunity. She sat on his couch and read her books like he asked her to, or sat beneath the big windows in the sun and colored in her coloring books because the warmth felt good, or stayed quiet and listened to him practice the piano during his lessons. She wanted to help, so by cheese, she was going to help!

And then Adrien's phone lit up. He sighed. He stood up from his homework in that way that told Marinette that he was going to leave to be Chat Noir.

"Go to your room, Princess," he told her. "I'll be back in a little while." Marinette stood and ran to the window he normally jumped out of, and placed her hands on her hips.

"I want to go with you," she said.

"You can't come with me," Adrien told her gently, ruffling her bangs. "It's dangerous. I don't want you to get hurt."

"But I won't!" Marinette grinned. The time had come to show him her present! With excitement, Marinette pulled at the buttons holding her dress closed.

"Marinette, what are you doing? Stop?!" Near the ceiling, Plagg laughed his not-evil laugh. When all the buttons from her neck to her stomach were loose, Marinette yanked her dress down to her ankles, then held her hands out in a "voila!" type fashion.

"Look!" cheered Marinette. "I'm Kitty - oh, wait." Remembering a last-minute addition, Marinette took the pouch that she hid beneath his couch out and fastened it around her waist. From inside, she revealed a face mask and a headband with a pair of cat ears sewn on. Costume complete, she resumed her pose. "I'm Kitty Noire! Chat Noir's new sidekick."

"Chat Noir's… sidekick?" Marinette nodded with another grin. It was a great idea, in Marinette's opinion. Ladybug didn't do a good job protecting Chat Noir, and he needed someone to do it. Why not his own sister? Kitty Noire was fast, she was strong, she was small, and she was smart. Marinette would be perfect for the job! The best part was that she came with her own costume and she didn't need any super powers, like batman! Who didn't like batman?

"Yes! I'll help you fight the Akumas, because Ladybug doesn't and you don't have to get hurt no more and everything will be good."

Adrien's face looked like it wanted to smile. Adrien should be smiling. But... he also looked like he wanted to get mad. His face twitched and Marinette's smile started to fall. Did he not want her help? Was she not good enough? Was it because she was six? If people didn't think she was stupid because she was six, they thought she was too small or too young to do stuff. That was even more unfair than the thinking she was stupid.

"Marinette..." Adrien knelt in front of her and she knew he was going to tell her no. He always knelt like that when he wanted to tell her something she wasn't going to like. The only thing Marinette wanted to hear right now was that he would let her help. All she wanted to do was help and make sure Adrien didn't get hurt. He always came home and he looked like he was okay, but that didn't stop Marinette from hurting when she watched him get tossed around Paris. It wasn't fair that Ladybug didn't get thrown around nearly as often as Chat Noir did. Marinette didn't mind getting hurt if it kept Adrien from hurting. "I would love to have you as my sidekick. But you don't have a Miraculous. That's what keeps me safe when I'm fighting the Akuma. Plagg covers me and protects me so that I can come home and play with you and hug you and brush your hair for bedtime. You don't have a Plagg, Marinette. As great as your costume is, it won't save you if you got hurt really badly. I can't forgive myself if I got you hurt like that."

"But Ladybug will fix everything. I'll be okay."

"You're right," Adrien agreed, "Ladybug fixes everything. Which means that I'll be okay too."

"But it isn't fair." Marinette stomped her foot. She didn't know if she was angry or sad or frustrated or what, she just knew that her heart was hurting and she hated it and she hated Ladybug and she hated Plagg and she hated Hawkmoth and she wanted to hate Adrien but she just couldn't and that made her even more upset. "You won't stop getting hurt!"

"I know, Princess. And I can't stop. If I don't get hurt, and Ladybug gets too hurt in battle, then she can't fix anything. I have to protect her so that I can protect you, okay? If I don't have you to come home to, what will I do then?"

"You're flirting with me again," Marinette accused him. She didn't want to feel better. She wanted to cry and stay mad at him, but it was hard when he was right. It was hard when he made sense.

"I'm always flirting with you, Princess."

"Papa told you to stop."

"He also told me to protect you with my life."

Marinette didn't have anything to say to that, so she pulled her hands out of his and walked away. She didn't like that he was right and he didn't like that he made sense and she didn't like that there was nothing she could argue with to make him stay or make him take her with him.

She was going to go cry.

"If you die, I'm not talking to you ever again."

"I would never, Princess."

Marinette ignored the lie and closed the door with a slam. He's died before, she saw it happen. And when she got to her bedroom, at the opposite side of the long hallway, she closed that door with a slam, then found the pile of pillows and blankets at the bottom of her closet and slammed that door too, for good measure. She wouldn't watch the news today. She can't bear to watch Chat Noir get tossed around yet again.