A/N: Sorry I haven't been updating this to their respective dates, I was on holiday and only came to do it now.
Aged up, post-reveal, and some adrienette in the beginning.
She's expecting him to come.
She doesn't tell him that, she doesn't have to.
He just knows.
Alya and Nino doesn't have to remind him as well, where it's days after he comes back to Paris -to home, and maybe to her- after six years of working at Italy, where he's already twenty-seven and he has so many things to say to her.
His old friends are only looking out for him, he knows this, since they're only doing it with good intentions and he doesn't have the right to feel the spike of irritation that shoots down in his chest everytime they mention her name, mention that she's been asking to see him because she misseshim. She misses their friendship and everything they've been through and he knows he's disrupting the bond they have for all these years that she doesn't deserve this idiotic attitude he's going through.
He's being stupid, he should be happy for her.
She's the one who broke it off, their relationship he means. She's the one who looks him in the eye one morning a couple of weeks after he tells her he has to move to Italy -where his father wants him to bloom the family business together, where Adrien learns ways to handle such and such before he has to take over the company after Gabriel retires one day- her back straight as her face sets determinedly, an expression he knows all to well all these years since they first met each other in and out of the mask.
"We have to stop this."
He's been confused of course, and blinks at her, setting down his mug from where they've been sitting at the corner of the cafe. "Stop what?"
She's still looking at him intensely, almost glaring at him he thinks, as if she's forcing herself to remain eye contact with him. "This," she gestures towards them both. "Us."
He feels a stone dropping in his stomach, the blood in his veins freezes as he stares at her in disbelief that he's glad he's already sitting down. "What?" He breathes, shock, hurt, and worry rolls in his gut at once. "Why are you saying this?"
Her hard demeanour starts to waver, her own sadness causes her to shift her eyes into her beverage, her knuckles turn white as she clutches onto her own mug, for reassurance, something to hold on to. "You'll be gone for a long time, Adrien," she murmurs, her voice hardly comes out. "It's obvious you'll be very busy once you're there, and I won't be having a stroll in the park either now that I'm starting my own company. We won't have time for each other as much as we used to and I don't want to hold you back or even make you wait for me," she rubs her thumb across the handle once. "You know this."
Of course he does, but he's hoping that they'll be able to talk through it nonetheless, where they'll manage to steal some time to talk to each other through Skype or through messages. He's hoping that the distance between them wouldn't effect them much in the future, that they'll still be together despite that.
But she's already giving up before he even has a chance to leave.
He slips his hands around her wrists, dragging her attention towards him when he gives her a squeeze. "You know we'll make it work," he says in a low voice. "We'll always make something work, we don't give up."
"It's not about giving up," the helpless look that weighs in her eyes makes his gut twist unpleasantly again. "It's about knowing how things aren't going to work like they used to and making decisions now so that we don't get hurt in the future."
"I'm already hurt as it is," the words spur out of his mouth before he could stop himself that causes her to tense, and then she's slipping out of his grasp that leaves a hollow feeling inside him.
"Don't do this, Adrien," she says quietly. "You know that we'll be too tied up with work, you'll already seeing it now when we're still in the same country for god's sake, and I don't want to burden you with the fact that you have to call me in some way or another just because you feel obligated to when you have other important things to look at." She releases a sigh at this, and she takes a sip of her drink as if to calm herself down. "Besides, we haven't had the time to even patrol together like we used to."
He purses his lips, because he's been hoping she doesn't notice there's the beginning of a drift that's hanging loosely between them, that he hopes that he's able to fix it before he leaves. But he's too late, because she already knows and she's taking action before he has the chance to do so.
"We can make it work," he insists, because he isn't backing away from this, he isn't letting her go just yet. "We won't be patrolling like we used to because of our positions, but we'll call each other when we can-"
"But that's just the thing, isn't it?" She cuts him off. "We don't know when we'll have the time to even talk to each other. I've seen the way your timetable works, and I wouldn't doubt that it'll loosen up anytime soon now that you're going to train with your father for his position."
"I can always say I don't want to-"
"Don't," she says sharply, surprising him as he automatically clamps his mouth shut with a click of his teeth. Her look softens as she sighs again. "Don't throw away your future because of me when I'm already being selfish, it's not fair to you."
He realises then what she says, she's already make up her mind and there's nothing he can do to change that.
He feels his throat closes at this, the drink and what little food they share threatens to come up as he only stares at her, his own fingers tightening around his mug.
She notices this and gives him a pained look. "Don't do this," she warns him again, firmer this time. "Please, I'm only trying to make things easier for you where you don't have to feel trapped in your own decisions."
"What if I promise you that I won't?" He almost chokes out his words then, feeling as if his chest is being pressed with an anchor. He's desperate then, he knows this, she knows this, but he doesn't care, he'll do whatever it takes to make sure it she understands how much she means to him and distance wouldn't change that. "What if I promise you that I'll wait for you, that we're only taking a break now and everything will be alright later on?"
She shakes her head. "I won't let you. I won't let you promise that to me, it's not fair to you, Adrien."
He takes a sharp breath. "Mari, please."
"No." She says quietly, with the same finality in her voice that she usually uses whenever she gives him the order of helping her get rid of an akuma, where she leaves him no room for arguments. "Don't do this to yourself. Please. I can't let you do this for me."
His tongue feels like lead as he stares into his mug, not really seeing the half filled contents as her words gives him another blow to his chest, the hollow feeling spreads more around his body that the numbness starts to grow as well.
She reaches out for him, but her hand hovers over his arm for a second before she withdraws it back, as if she thinks she doesn't have the right to touch him anymore that his heart aches when he sees her gesture, where she immediately wraps her arms to herself. "I still love you," she declares softly. "That won't change despite what I'm doing to you right now."
He only watches her finish her drink, before she gets up to walk beside him, lowering her head so that she could press a kiss to his cheek that his eyelids flickers close for a while, relishing on the feel of her lips. "I'll see you at the airport in four days." She mutters into his ear.
When she leaves the cafe, the small bells tinkling after her wake, he notices the money she leaves on the table.
True to her word, he sees her at the airport with their family and friends, and he's tempted to beg to her to reconsider everything as he stands in front of her, her bright blue eyes staring back at him with raw devastation, something that she doesn't feel the need to cover when she's facing him as everything else around them ceased into nothingness.
He cups her face then, as he feels the way she trembles just the slightest bit under his touch, where she's clutching her purse tightly in her hands as he bends down and gives her a lingering kiss onto her forehead, giving his own version of a goodbye.
"I love you." He murmurs against her skin, and he turns around when he's needed to board on the plane, the press of her warmth still clings onto him as he refuses to look back, where he's afraid that if he did, he won't be able to let her go.
He feels Plagg pressing against his chest in reassurance from where he's hiding under his blazer, and Adrien rests a hand on top of him as he feels a pang of guilt.
Adrien has been so in grief on his relationship with Marinette that he doesn't consider about about Plagg's own connection with Tikki, where they're literally two halves of a whole for thousands of years.
"Don't worry, kid," Plagg hums when they're alone at one side of the jet while Nathalie sits at the other end. "Tikki and I had been away from each other longer than you can imagine, since looking for a new wielder isn't exactly something to be taken lightly, and that's why Master Fu is picky for a reason."
It still doesn't settle the conflict inside Adrien until months later.
The hurt dwindles down for a while as he's too busy with work, his mind subconsciously pushes back his wounded emotions as he tries focusing on why he's so far away from her in the first place. And it works, he doesn't think about her as much as he should be.
Until, the card arrives at his doorstep five years later.
And now, a year after that, he's back in Paris, after a while of not seeing her since last year.
It's been almost a week since he first step foot onto Parisian soil, and he's only visiting her now.
Contrary to his procrastinated way, he doesn't waste time when he first hears the news through Nino's mouth -he's surprised when he gets the call, since the last time Adrien talks with Nino is the year before- and flies back on the earliest plane.
Visiting hours ended hours ago, where he's not supposed to even be there as he lands on the roof of the hospital, walking calmly to the door that surprisingly isn't locked, slipping in quietly as he runs down the stairs towards her room.
Level 5, room number 512.
He makes sure the nurses who's in charge of night shifts at the counter doesn't notice him as he slinks towards Marinette's room, quietly opening the door that he's glad there isn't any loud creak of those doors where other hospitals usually have.
When he closes it behind him, he remembers to breathe properly as he sees her on the bed.
And she's awake, feeding her child with tired and yet loving eyes from where she has herself propped against the pillows for her to be in a sitting position, the usual short dark hair now tucked behind her ears.
Even now, she's as radiant as ever. Where the last time he sees her, she's wearing a wedding dress, a dress that's done with beautiful workmanship that he wouldn't be surprised if she's the one who makes it, where she has her hands wrapped around the arm of another man that isn't him. And Adrien feels the way his chest constricts when he stands up with the crowd to clap along with them after the vows are made, forcing out a smile while the bride and groom seals their destiny together with a kiss.
He remembers the way his hand shakes as he reads the wedding card that's been sent to him at Italy, the way he transforms into Chat Noir after so long of avoiding it, where he doesn't want people to spread the news that Paris's famous hero is finally showing himself after years of undercover. He remembers running across rooftops, skimming past dark alleys as he grits his teeth to prevent the scream that bubbles in his throat, threatening to burst out through the cracked dam he's been so desperately trying to take care of.
Marinette looks up at the sound of the door closing, her small smile fades when she sees him standing near the door, where he only leans against it as he gives her the space she needs, levelling his eyes onto her face.
There's silence as they stare at each other, before she breaks it by sighing through her nose, running a hand over her son's head softly. "Chat Noir."
He nods. "Marinette."
There's something about the way she speaks his name, where she tries to hide the sadness under the eerily alien greeting she gives him a moment ago, where everything is too formal, too stiff that his chest feels heavy again, because the first time they met -either with or without the mask- there's always been strong emotions. But not like this, never like this, as if he's meeting one of the colleagues to talk about the progress of the company. He averts his eyes to study the chair beside her bed, empty except for the blanket and pillow resting on it. "Where's Nath?"
He hears the way she let's out another breath. "Home, he left half an hour ago and he's coming back here after he gets some stuff."
It's a quiet warning, he knows this, telling him indirectly that he has minutes to spare but he can't talk long before her husband will come to her.
He swallows the ball of emotions down.
When he faces her again, she finishes feeding the baby, straightening her hospital blouse to make herself look decent as he averts his gaze, and leans back on the pillows again.
He takes that as a sign for him to come nearer, walking slowly towards the bed where mother and son are occupying, sitting on the edge slowly to prevent the bed from jostling too much as he continues to stare at the baby.
"He has your hair." He murmurs, where he's able to see the dark strands peeking under the hat the baby wears.
The smile she wears earlier graces on her face again as she strokes the sleeping baby's cheek with the back of her finger. "And he has his father's eyes."
Chat has to remind himself that the orbs under those shut eyelids are not the forest green he has, that he isn't his child and he has no right to call her his wife. No, the baby has the eyes of the shallowest part of the sea where he would see the green and the blue mixes together, and the rings he sees on the table beside her bed shows that she is someone else's wife.
He has to snap himself out of this torture he puts himself in, where the what-ifs and should-haves he plays in his mind over and over again that he knows it's breaking him, tearing himself inside out that the hope of going back to her he's been clinging onto while he's been working at Italy dissipates the moment he sees her building a family together with Nathanaël, happy.
"What's his name?" He asks instead, wanting to get rid of the pain that's been clawing in his chest, pressing the sensation to his throat.
"Hugo," she answers, and she raises her head to look at him in the eye, where he's unable to read the emotion that currently presents itself on her face. "His name is Hugo."
He nods, before he reluctantly gestures towards Hugo. "May I?"
"Of course," she breathes, and she passes the bundle to him. Chat settles the baby in his arms, bringing him to his chest.
He takes a moment to study him, the back of his fingers brushes against the baby's forehead like she does to his cheek as he takes note on the small nose and lips, where Hugo is wrapped with a blanket to brave against the cold of the hospital air conditioner. "He looks healthy." Chat comments as he brings his finger to the baby's soft cheek.
"He weighs 3.1kg," she agrees, reaching over the glass of water beside her rings, and he shifts his attention back to the baby in his arms. "The doctor said we'll be able to check out of here in another couple of days, since he didn't need to be put inside an incubator like some babies."
"Did you go through natural birth?" Because he's truly curious about her condition, on how she's doing through the years he hasn't been at Paris.
"C-section," she winces, running a free hand over her abdomen, where the stitches lay under her clothes. "Apparently, my blood pressure was high and he was in a transverse lie when I was in labour," she takes a sip of her drink. "Basically, he had to come out of the window instead of the door."
He let's out a soft snort, careful not to jostle himself so much so that he doesn't wake up Hugo. "Excellent wording, my lady."
He freezes, where he forgets momentarily that he hasn't been using that title for the longest time, where he doesn't have the chance to stop himself from it flowing out before it's too late.
But the damage is done, because she seem to tense as well as she puts back the glass on the table. However, he isn't giving up just yet. "You'll always be my lady, you know."
She looks at him sharply then, and he sees the way the dark circles hangs under her eyes, exhausted from the past few days of post-birth. "Don't do this." she warns him quietly, and he's being pulled back to that time when they're at the cafe. Firm, pleading.
"Even if you're already married to someone else, had a child with him, or when you don't even love me like the way you used to anymore but you'llalways," he takes a breath at this, trying to calm down. "Be my lady."
She stares at him in defeat, and he sees the way her shoulders slumps with invisible weight that seems to push her down, making her look more tired than ever. She sighs through her nose. "Silly kitty," she mutters, resting a hand on his bicep that he feels her warmth seep into his suit, spreading over that spot of his skin. "You're still one of the people that will always mean something to me, nothing can change that." She gives him a wavering smile then. "I still love you, but it's in a bit different way."
He feels the tangle of emotions stuck in his throat again, and he has difficulty swallowing it down as easily as he used to when he ignores the sting behind his eyes. He passes Hugo back to her, where the baby shifts slightly in his sleep when his mother holds him to her chest, shushing him to sleep.
Chat runs his thumb over her cheek, not exactly cupping her face and yet still touching her, where she stares back at him in the eye, waiting for him to say a word. He leans down and presses his lips to her forehead. "You still mean something to me too," he whispers. "And it doesn't change our friendship."
She let's out a deep breath, squeezing his wrist briefly to let him know that she agrees.
He straightens himself up, letting his hand drop to his side as he gives her a small smile. "Goodbye, Marinette."
She answers with one of her own, albeit shakier than before. "Goodbye, Adrien."
Turning around, he slips past doors, leaving the woman he loves behind.