The forecast predicts four to five inches of snowfall, and that's excluding the ice that is sure to come.
Here, in Marinette's room, Chat is warm – tucked away from the raging flurry outside. Her blankets are soft and inviting, a sweet hint of vanilla worn into the fabric. Adrien nuzzles into them, content pressing low in his belly.
"If you don't stop it, my bed is going to smell like wet cat."
His eyes slit open, twin orbs of lethargic green. It's so unbearably comfortable here, roosted against her over-sized cat pillow.
Marinette crawls over the ladder and onto her bed, balancing two hot bowls precariously. The fact that she managed to climb up the steps without spilling them is remarkable, and Chat sits up as he catches a trace of the delicious aroma.
"I didn't know how you liked it, so I improvised," she hands him as small bowl, "Yours has more milk."
Chat stares at the creamy contents, his ears perking.
"Chocolat chaud?" he remarks curiously.
Marinette folds her legs, hands cradling her own drink as she looks up at him. She blows gently, taking a hesitant sip.
"My parents always taught me that when you host someone, you should make sure their stomach is never left empty," she's amused by his visible delight, "I thought, since you'll be here for a little bit, I might as well get you something."
The taste is sweet on his tongue, perfectly temperate. There's a hint of something else – nutmeg? Nathalie, or the cooks on hand, will prepare hot chocolate for him when he asks for it. But it's never like this.
"This is wonderful, Princess."
Marinette sighs, "There's that nickname again."
Chat draws deeply from his bowl, nearly half-done already. It settles in his stomach, light and frothy – warming him from the inside out. He considers her over the rim, the subtle pink in her cheeks and the dark, disheveled hair.
"Is there something that is more fitting?"
Marinette rolls her eyes, but there's a hint of a smile on her lips. Chat is heartened by it, and he lowers his bowl, vaguely curious.
She likes Adrien. Or, at the very least, she finds him attractive.
Up until recently, it had escaped him how beautiful Marinette actually was. He was too preoccupied with his modeling, his piano lessons, his fencing, and the extracurricular activities. Being a perfect son, an ideal image of Gabriel Agreste's legacy, was too demanding. The only person from school he was able to truly make time for was Nino, and with his secret life as Chat Noir, even that could become strenuous.
Somehow she'd become part of the backdrop – the people and places that Adrien barely registered as he tried to plow through his father's rigorous scheduling.
But here she is. Pale blue eyes and rumpled pajamas, slender fingers curled around porcelain, her small feet tucked under her. There's something about Marinette's presence, her house – even her scent – that puts him at ease. Sitting here with her like this, watching her fight a smile and redirect her attention to the bowl between her hands, feels proverbial.
He can't put his finger on it.
"Lovely?" he whispers.
Her azure gaze flits up to his face, and several seconds pass, her mouth pausing over the lip of her bowl.
Chat leans forward a fraction, and he can see the tentative press of her lips. But she doesn't rebut or chastise him, and it spurs him on.
He lifts a hand, his thumb ghosting the curve of her knuckles, pale from her firm grip on the bowl. She's very still, and the image of a rabbit comes to him – small and uncertain, frozen in place as the predator circles it.
"Marinette," he murmurs.
He never noticed it before – the bow of her lips, soft and alluring. The delicate line of her throat as it disappears beneath the collar of her shirt. Her skin looks soft, brushed with a delectable shade of pink.
Chat is still leaning toward her, the space closing between them. He's not even sure what he's doing, or where the force pulling him is coming from.
Her voice is hushed, an intriguing lilt that draws his eyes to her mouth.
One of her hands comes up to his chest, a gentle pressure. He can feel her small palm, warm against the thin material of his suit.
"You spilled your hot chocolate."
He starts, surprise sidling through him as he looks down at his lap. Hot liquid stains Marinette's sheets, the overturned bowl resting against his wet thigh. Chat swallows thickly.
Marinette laughs as he fumbles for her sheets, bunching them up, lifting the bowl in his other hand. She shakes her head, but there's a smile playing on her lips.
"Maybe we shouldn't have drinks on the bed. I don't want to get my sheets dirty," she observes.
Chat's eyes glitter, but before he can say anything, she cuts him off.
"I don't want to clean up any spills."
His gaze follows her as she scoots off the bed, shimmying down the ladder with more poise than he can expect from someone balancing dishes. Chat hops down from the loft, the messy fabric in one hand.
"This is why I don't let pets on my bed," she says.
His voice is mischievous, "I'm your pet now?"
Marinette shoots him a pointed look, setting the bowls down on her desk.
He dabs at his damp legs with the sheets, frowning at the spreading blot on the fabric.
"This might stain," he says.
"The sheets? Maybe." she concedes.
Chat glances up at her. Marinette bends over her vanity table, wetting what looks like cloth. His attention lingers on the slender line of her back, the delicate curve of her waist under the pajamas. His eyes snap up as she turns around. When she approaches him, she exchanges the wet rag for the sheets.
"For your suit," she clarifies.
Her eyes are big, fringed with dark lashes. The pale blue is amplified by his night vision, and Chat averts his attention to the rag in his hand.
The young hero sinks down onto the furniture. He bows over his lap to scrub at the spreading splotch as her lithe figure crosses back to the loft, retrieving blankets from her bed. Marinette plants herself in front of him with an armful of coverlets, peering over them at his mop of blond hair.
"If these aren't warm enough, please tell me. I can get more from downstairs."
Adrien's hand pauses, his eyes lifting to the blankets. He stares at her blankly, looking from her face to the fabric, then back again.
"You can sleep on the chaise," Marinette offers quietly.
It takes a moment for the recognition to set in, and then pleasure tugs at the corner of his mouth, spreading across his features. She shakes her head, throwing the armful at his head. Chat chortles, batting away the material. When his face emerges, a plush mouthful of pillow thwacks him square in the nose.
"Get that smirk off your face!" she says shortly.
"What smirk?" he laughs.
Marinette props the pillow back over her shoulder, her stance ready for another swing.
"The one you wear when you think you've got your way."
Chat can't help it. The temptation to tease her is intolerable. He's enticed in the promise of gracing her cheeks with another obstinate blush, in discovering what other reactions he can provoke out of her. He wants to know what other sides there are to the sweet, shy Marinette.
If she wants to play this game, he's more than willing to rise to the challenge.
"Whatever could you me-"
She lets out a frustrated sound, and he can just barely see the way she screws up her nose as the pillow connects with his cheek.
"You're doing it again!"
He throws up his hands, warding off another wallop from her plump weapon.
"My Princess lacks propriety, attacking an unarmed man!"
He faintly registers something soft bounce off his shoulder. Chat seizes it, a thrill jolting through him. He's on his feet in seconds, Marinette letting out a shriek as he swats at her.
He ducks under her throw, and the boy lunges at her, striking at her ribs. Marinette dances out of his reach, and he laughs gleefully. She's unexpectedly nimble for a seamstress.
"Get back here!" he growls.
She dodges his outstretched hand, and Chat lets out an 'oomph' as her pillow arcs around, socking him in the head. He leaps for an opening, retaliating with a hard slug to the hip. The sound of muffled thumps and smacks fill the cozy room.
They continue like this, Marinette laughing openly after several minutes of the playful antics. He can see the flush in her cheeks, the lively glimmer in her expression – and a thought occurs to him.
He expects the noise of disapproval, the disgruntled huff when the only source of light goes out. What he doesn't expect is how satisfying it is to see the unguarded pout on her face.
"That's playing dirty, you dumb cat."
Chat can barely contain the triumphant grin on his face – thankfully she can't see it, or she'd probably threaten to whack it off.
"All is fair in love and war," he purrs.
But which one isthis?
Marinette grumbles, tensing visibly when she hears the direction of his voice. He can see her head incline, eyes searching the darkness.
The only remaining light ghosts over the floor, pale from the window. Speckled shadows fall soundlessly, snowflakes that kiss the glass and cling to the pane. It's not enough to see by, but it quiets the atmosphere.
Chat circles her, his interest following the curve of her arm, the edge in her voice.
"Don't even thi-"
She shrieks as they collide, Chat's lithe body arching over her as he wrestles the pillow out of her hands. She grips onto it desperately, a tenacious smile curling her lips. It slides off her face when Chat digs his hands into her sides, issuing reluctant giggles through her petite frame. Marinette squirms under him, uninhibited laughter bubbling out of her, and the pillow is abandoned, her cheeks flushing darkly.
Her mirth is contagious, and Chat snorts as she howls under him, batting at his hands.
Tickling someone has never been so enjoyable.
Her eyes well, and her stomach shakes as she tries to gasp for air.
There's something addicting about the way she writhes under him, a plea on her lips.
Chat stills, his palms pressing into the dip of her waist. Her top has ridden up, and the heated, soft skin of her stomach is exposed to his sharp gaze. Marinette's chest rises and falls rapidly, ragged breaths tearing through her as she attempts settle down from the hysterics.
His heart skips unevenly, taking in her rumpled appearance. Blue-black hair pools around her head, a lopsided grin on her face. If he knew that this was the way to unwind her, he would have done it far sooner.
A curious, concerned voice reaches up through the trap door in the floor. Chat tenses against her, panic arresting him. Marinette bolts up, nearly head-butting the boy. A look of alarm passes over her features, and Chat swallows thickly at the abrupt proximity – despite the situation at hand.
"Oh no," she hisses.
"Are you alright up there, sweetheart?" her mother inquires.
Marinette shoves at him, and he falls back, eyes rounding.
"Hide!" she whispers fiercely.
Chat scrambles onto his feet, making a dash for her loft.
"What are you doing?" she demands, her voice shrill.
She races behind him, fumbling up the steps as he dives under her blankets.
His voice is muffled, "Hiding!"
The ladder beneath her room creaks, flooding them both with dread. Marinette throws a cover over her head, burying deep into the mattress as her mother unlatches the door.
Her breath puffs against his throat, stirring on his skin. Chat lays very still, his eyes unfocused. Her hair tickles his cheek, soft and tousled, and his attention is torn between the girl nestled against him and the fear of discovery.
Chat's heart hammers against his ribs, hands clenched at his sides. He studies the Cheshire grin on her cat pillow, resenting it for the permanent delight on its face.
Absently he imagines the variety of ways her parents could skin a cat.
Chat doesn't hear the click. It feels as though several minutes have passed, but it could only have been seconds. He feels Marinette's hand on his arm, her voice against his chin. She says his name softly, nudging him.
Adrien lets out a sigh, relaxing into the bed.
"That could have been catastrophic."
"Don't make me hit you," she warns halfheartedly.
His smile dimples. Chat's heart has barely settled into a steady rhythm when he feels her shift against him. Their legs touch, her knee grazing along his thigh. This entire night is unraveling his self-restraint.
"So," he teases gently, averting his attention to playful banter, "You seemed very eager to get into bed with me."
An obstinate, stuttering protest follows, and he imagines the look on her face. The way her nose might wrinkle, her eyes growing wide as she bites down on a flustered retort. He enjoys this instigation – eliciting reactions and expressions that he wouldn't otherwise glimpse as Adrien.
Chat's stomach knots anxiously.
He loves Ladybug.
He's always loved Ladybug. He loves her surety, her fearlessness, her undefined bravery. He loves her determination, the way her eyes light up, the smile that splits across her face when they win a battle. The way she says his name – exasperated, relieved, amused. All of the luck he could possibly have in his lifetime was concentrated when he met her.
She is the star he can't reach, the drug he withdraws from, the rain in his drought.
She is his Lady.
Adrien knows this. He knows this with a conviction that leaves him breathless; he's never been so sure of anything in his life.
Marinette is his classmate – his friend.
A lovely, fascinating friend that he makes weak, rash decisions around and is irrevocably drawn to.
That's it, he promises himself.
"Will your transformation drop?" she whispers.
He slips from his musings, "Hm? Oh...no."
Marinette wriggles slightly, and Chat desperately clamps down on his thoughts.
Think of Nino's collection of hats. Plagg's smelly cheese. Father.
"You better keep your paws to yourself," Marinette mumbles.
"Don't worry, Princess. I'm not feline frisky."
She exhales slowly, an exasperated noise.
There's frustration there, and a smile he can't see – and that's probably why Chat is so taken aback when her hand slips over his shoulder and drifts to his hair. She laces her fingers through the soft strands at the nape of his neck, tugging gently. Surprise escapes his lips, catching in the back of his throat and rumbling through his chest.
The reaction is instantaneous. He leans into her touch, his purr low and gravelly.
Her voice is hushed, astonishingly tender. Marinette's fingertips are tantalizing, combing through the tresses and grazing against his scalp. His breath hitches, hands fisting in the blanket. Has she always had this skill?
"If you'll behave yourself," she murmurs, "I'll let you stay."
Chat groans lowly, eyes falling shut. He arches into her touch, releasing an approving mewl as her delicious fingers begin to rub slow, agonizing circles. At his temple, behind his ear, into the grove of his neck.
He nuzzles into her cheek, and Marinette's voice is at the shell of his ear, tracing a heated path down his spine.
"But only for a little while."
He doesn't care.
He doesn't care how long he has – for the storm, for his transformation, or here with her. It's immoral and demented. She's not his lady – not even a girl he's given the time of day until now. But she's Marinette. Kind, nurturing, talented, funny, sweet Marinette.
And right now, whatever she's willing to give him is what he's willing to take.
He rasps against the line of her jaw, and there's a sweet intake of breath – a near gasp. The sound coils in Adrien's abdomen, hot and promising.
The slope of her nose grazes his, and his stomach clenches with something foreign, something laced with irrefutable need. Chat's lips press to the soft tip of it.
Both hands are in his hair, but instead of tugging him away, they're threading through and dragging him in.
There's hesitation, and his pulse throbs in his ears, her lashes fluttering against his cheek. And when her soft lips slant over his, Adrien has one last, clear thought.
'That's it' my ass.
I'm going with the knowledge that unless Chat uses Cataclysm, he can remain in that form for as long as Plagg allows it.
This may get progressively more sinful in later chapters.
Feedback is appreciated!