"I'll pick it up for you."
"Really?" he smiled, holding the phone. "Are you sure it's not too much of a hassle?"
"Of course! I mean, why would it be? I'm in your class, so I'll be getting the same homework anyway," she told him cheerfully.
"Thank you. I'm really sorry…"
"Hey, you can't help being sick. It's fine."
Marinette hung up her phone, checked to make sure it was well and truly off, and screamed in excitement.
"It can wait until tomorrow."
She looked up at him with tear-filled eyes. "Please, don't… please, Chaton, you have places to be. Don't put it off for something as s-stupid as this!"
"No way." He swung his arms around her, pulling her into an embrace. "Listen, Princess, you're not getting rid of me that easily."
She pulled out of his hug, wiping her tears. "I just want to be left alone, please," her voice broke. "Please."
"Mari… just tell me what's wrong…"
"I DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW!" she screamed, furiously.
There was a moment of silence, with a breeze blowing their hair and the shock of Marinette's outburst settling in.
"I'm sorry," she whispered. "I just didn't want you to find out about this. Please stop."
"Okay. If that's really what you want."
"You can still talk to me if you change your mind."
"Cross my heart and hope to die."
He was gripping his lady's hand as hard as he could, and holding the edge of the building in the other. "Well, I probably will die if I let us fall."
"Don't joke about that!"
"I won't let you fall, my lady. Promise."
She bit her lip, but was clearly relieved. "I trust you."
"Good. Because I'm about to do something completely insane."
He released the ledge, and sent them into a free fall… three… two…
He swung his baton and elongated it, pushing them up onto a ledge, and catching Ladybug neatly.
"I said I wouldn't let you fall."
She was glaring at him.
"Put me down so I can hit you properly."
"It's two sugars, right?"
He was surprised. "How did you know that?"
"Um…" Ladybug blushed. "Lucky guess? Anyway, Kitty, you're so hyper that it figures."
He took the coffee with one arched brow. "Well, if I didn't know better, I'd think you'd been paying extra attention to me!"
"Can it, or I'll make you get the check."
"I'll help you study."
He couldn't help but stare. "Ladybug wants to help a ninth-grader study."
"Yeah… I mean, you said you were worried about the test, and I'm doing okay in Algebra… If you don't want me to…"
"Yes! I mean… yes, I would really like that," he grinned.
"Okay, so what do you want to go over?"
"Um… okay, the whole concept of completing the square…?"
"Great! Okay, so you start…"
She mumbled the words, looking at the ground. A slow smile slid across his face.
"I asked you, didn't I?" she looked up. "Don't think this means anything, Chat. I just don't want to be alone tonight."
"I…" she studied her nails intently. "I had a really hard day, okay? This… person… she kind of went off on me today. I'm tired and I just don't want to be alone and dwell on it."
He knew exactly the person she was talking about, of course… Ms. Chloe Bourgeois. "Okay."
"I'll stay the night, if my princess likes."
"I did it already."
She turned to him, shocked. "You already patrolled?"
"All of them."
She smiled. "How the heck did you manage that?"
"I may or may not have gotten up at two in the morning…"
"Chaton!" she laughed. "What did you do that for?"
"I wanted time with you. Just to sort of hang?"
She bit her lip, but couldn't stop a smile. "Well, since you went to the trouble…"
"So that's a yes?"
"It's not a no."
"You didn't have to ask."
He brushed a hair back from her face. "Of course I can handle it. Go, feed the Kwami."
"Thank you," she smiled, as her earring beeped again. "I need to…"
She ran off, a light flashing as she rounded the corner.
Chat turned on the akuma, smirking. "Okay, big boy, time for the big guns."
"I bought you a ticket."
She stared at his hand. "You did?"
"For the subway? I saw you in the terminal, and thought it'd be... um…"
She was grinning very widely, and blushing quite a bit as she accepted the ticket. "Thanks so much!"
"You're welcome," he smiled. His Princess always acted different without the mask, but she was still hi Princess, and he liked making her happy.
"Wanna maybe… get seats together?"
"I'd like that."
He held her, smiling.
"I think you're just cold, kitty," she leaned into his shoulder. This time, she was the one with the huge grin.
"Maybe because I was out protecting the city?"
"How would you know that?"
"She's a friend of mine, if you'll recall."
"…Maybe I was checking your street a bit more than was scheduled."
"What? I'm not allowed to do that?"
"Well, then how am I meant to protect you?"
"I can take care of myself."
"I know. But I like doing it too."