the completed tag means nothing to you

note (12.02.2021): same as previous, i rewrote the whole chapter. also wow, i really ended it there? wtf me

What the hell.

Adrien mutters the familiar phrase to himself, over and over. Because seriously, what the hell? What the hell should he do?

His soulmate is Marinette, he's very sure of that. No one has ever thought to say that to him the first time they meet, Adrien or Chat Noir. He's adamant that she better be his soulmate.

But apparently, he's also Ladybug's soulmate.

Really, whoever created the soulmate system should not have allowed people to have different soulmates. Easily defined pairs is, well, it's easier.

Adrien paces his bedroom, going through his lines in his head. Not lines for a commercial, or another ridiculous home movie Nino has planned. The lines are his own, the words he wants to say – will say.

"Marinette," he begins. It's barely a start, because he stops just as soon. Purrincess, maybe.

He stares at his reflection through the panes of glass, imagining that it's his classmate there. "Hey, Purrincess."

It doesn't sound very right.

"Hey, Purrincess," he starts again. "I was getting a bit skittish to tell you some news."

Mews. Definitely say mews.

Is he trying too hard? A part of him thinks he's trying too hard. But if he doesn't try enough, it'll be even worse, and talking to girls is hard. Especially when there aren't any girls around.

Plagg lounges on Adrien's shoulder. "Hey, you suck at this. You should go get me some cheese instead. You don't suck at that."

"Screw this," Adrien says, ignoring what his kwami just said. He picks Plagg up between his fingers and flicks him in the air. "I'm just going to go there and get it over with."

"Get what over with?" Plagg yawns.

"Plagg, transform me!"

The kwami sighs dejectedly and decides to get it over with, too.

A cool green light envelops Adrien, and he's Chat Noir once again. He closes the door and locks it, and for good measure, turns the TV on just to deflect any suspicion. A bit of overkill since it's not likely his father will care, but a precaution is a precaution.

He pounces out the window. Despite the fact that he's only ever been on Marinette's balcony once, he's surprised that he knows the way.

He stops at the roof of the school first. It's just across the street anyway. Adrien squints. Why Marinette is late to school so much is beyond him.

He looks down to find the street silent save for a passerby here and there, and the buzz of insects around the streetlamp.

Adrien turns back up to the flat across the street. As his luck would have it, the windows are dark, Marinette either asleep or not at home. Misfortune is kind of his thing, so he's not that surprised.

He is surprised when not a moment later, a soft amber glow flickers onto the balcony. Marinette climbs out of the hatch, wrapped up in a thick red blanket. Now or never, Adrien thinks.

He moves quietly, landing squarely on the railing and causing a table to rattle.

Marinette is sitting on a lounge chair, arms around her knees and staring up at the sky. She doesn't look when she hears the sound of Chat's arrival, the blanket obscuring her peripheral vision. "What are you here for, Chat?"

He clears his throat and stretches out his legs, out of his awkward perch position. With a deep breath, he tries to channel the maximum Chat Noir in him.

"Hey, Purrincess," he mewls. "I was a bit skittish to tell you some mews."

She exhales something like a laugh. "Three puns in a sentence, nice touch. If it's an akuma you're here about, you've come to the wrong person."

Chat looks down to look at her properly. She's snuggled up in her blanket, but not really staring up at the stars like he had assumed. She's tucked into herself, her head between her knees.

"You seem to be wrapped up in something right now," he notes. There's no joking tone in his voice, she realizes. It's concern she hears instead. He came to clear the air and talk to her, but now he just wants to figure out all her problems.

He moves further away from the railing to sit down on the floor. "What's wrong?"

Her head pops out of the blanket. "Do you really want to know?"

Chat nods seriously. His entire face reads as serious. Marinette decides that that's what he's trying to be.

She adjusts the blanket to rest around her shoulders. "Not mentioning any names, but I told my soulmate that he was my soulmate."

It's not the whole truth but the late hour and the company isn't conducive to complete truth-telling right now.

He makes a face, but not one she can read well. It looks like disappointment and seems like relief.

"How did this guy react?" Then he pauses. "If he is a guy. I mean, I know some people so I won't j—"

She cuts him off, "It's a guy. And I think he likes me, but I'm not sure he really likes… me."

"Princess, I don't follow."

"I just—" she hesitates. "He doesn't know me as a person, I don't think. He likes this image of me and he's put me on a pedestal and I'll have to come down from that if I want to open up to him."

Marinette shakes her head. Soulmate advice from the person she knows is her soulmate. Aren't love letters supposed to streamline this whole process? Instead, it's just been a confusing and illogical few days.

Chat Noir shrugs. "Why don't you? Open up to him, I mean. If I was that guy, I wouldn't care."

He is that guy, actually.

"It doesn't matter," she says. "Besides, there's actually this other guy. Not that I don't have any feelings for my soulmate. I'm willing to see him in another way, another light. But Ad—the other guy got to me first. He was the first one to my heart, and I don't want to just give that up."

He blinks. He always knew Marinette was oddly mature, but she had a really good handle on her emotions and it was admirable. "Well, if you had the choice: would you choose your soulmate, or the guy of your dreams?"

Adrien thinks about how reflective the windows in his bedroom were. He'd pretended that Marinette was his reflection then, but it's topical now. Marinette is just a mirror and he's talking to himself again.

She shrugs at his question and looks down at him. "Not an easy question. You know my situation. Which one genuinely feels something for me?"

"I'd argue that it's your soulmate, but please explain your situation better."

"How about you explain yours? I heard that you found your soulmate already."

The Ladyblog is scary fast that way, Adrien shudders. "I… uh, well. I actually came here tonight to tell you this."

Marinette becomes more attentive, wide eyes wider. Was she right?

Chat Noir adjusts his seating, raising one knee for his elbow to rest on, and he looks up to properly gaze into Marinette's eyes. There's something so beautifully familiar about them in the soft light.

"Actually, you're my soulmate. When we met last week. Then I got sort of messed up because, next thing I know, Ladybug comes and tells me she's been keeping this whole secret that I'm her soulmate.

"I got myself a mess thanks to these stupid love letters, and I understand if you've got another soulmate, some other guy you like. I'd actually be really glad, because… Ladybug. And you don't deserve to ever be alone."

Marinette stands abruptly, the wool blanket falling onto the floor. "What?"

"I've," he stands up to meet Marinette, runs a hand through his hair. "I've just always loved Ladybug, and at least to her, we're kind of meant to be? I mean, she ran out on me before I could say anything and… I'm sorry."

It's not very fair to judge Marinette as 'mature' and 'good at handling her emotions' because first and foremost, she is a teenage girl. She jumps and stomps her foot and begins to yell at Chat Noir. "I knew it! I knew it! I was right!"

"What was I thinking? Obviously, I wasn't thinking. I said the first thing that came to my head!" She presses both hands to her temples. "You and your shit-eating grin throwing me off like that."

A puzzle piece finally clicks into place in Adrien's head, a huge equal sign in the big picture.

Marinette looks back at him with those blue eyes, and he knows now why they're so familiar. "Oh god, I'm rambling here. Why aren't you stopping me?"

With a nonchalance that surprises even him, he just gestures towards her. "Well, you're on a roll."

She leans closer to him, until there's only three inches between their noses. "Tell me something, Chat Noir. If you had a choice between your soulmate and the girl of your dreams, who would you pick?"

He shrugs and gives her that grin of his that apparently throws her off. "I don't know. Do I cat a choice if they're the same girl?"

The heroine Ladybug equals Marinette Dupain-Cheng. Chat Noir could not be happier. And it comes to Marinette that she's the loser of this whole equation, but there's still a bit more to uncover.

No. No more sequels. It's open-ended. Leave it all to your imaginations.

note (12.02.2021): this turned out to be a lie