Another cute reveal here. Admittedly this one isn't my favourite (that should be coming soon), but it has some adorable moments that I hope you might enjoy. :)
Under the Moonlight
Summary: Cat Noir invites Ladybug to a friendly night out on the rooftops of Paris, by which she surprises herself when she says yes. Then he does it again, and they both get a little more than they expected.
Ladybug pulled back with a grin and prepared to leave. "See you next time, Kitty."
"Wait, my Lady," called Cat Noir, halting her steps.
A look of concern crossed her face. "Is everything alright?"
He smiled, "Only my heart when you're around." The grin slipped off his face as he became a bit more bashful and rubbed the back of his neck. "But that's not what I wanted to talk about. I was hoping you would agree to meet me tonight. Perhaps around nine?"
She sighed, "Cat, I-"
"Please, my Lady. It's not a date." A roguish grin pulled at his lips and he wiggled his eyebrows. "Unless you want it to be."
At her unamused expression, he dropped back to a simple, if a little shy, smile. "I would appreciate your company tonight."
Her brain screamed at her to decline. To gently turn him down. To say anything but yes. Yet something else crossed her lips as they moved without her command. "Okay."
The bright smile that lit up his face made her heart flutter. He leaned forward in a sweeping bow. "I'll see you then, my Lady."
"Um, heh, yeah," she said as he left, feeling more than a little confused.
Dropping through the trapdoor onto her bed back at home, Ladybug de-transformed. Collapsing, she stared up at the ceiling with a look of bewilderment.
Her kwami hovered near her head. "Marinette?"
It took a few seconds for the girl to speak, finally releasing the thought that had been playing on repeat since she'd said goodbye to her partner. "When did I fall for Cat Noir?"
Just out of her view, Tikki smiled knowingly. Flying off to find a cookie, she let her chosen stew over this new revelation. Marinette had a lot to think about before her date.
Landing on their rooftop meeting place, Ladybug glanced around.
"You're late, my Lady," Cat Noir said, startling her as he stepped out from behind a chimney.
"Um, yeah! Sorry about that. I got caught up doing my homework," she lied. She didn't dare tell him the real reason behind her lateness. That rather than homework, she had gotten caught up in her feelings about two blond boys. "Were you waiting long?"
He grinned. "Not long, my Lady." He held out his hand, green eyes dancing in delight. "I have a little surprise."
She eyed him skeptically. "What kind of surprise?"
"Only the best kind for you."
Taking his hand, Ladybug allowed herself to be led across the rooftops. They neared the river and Cat Noir soon slowed to round a chimney.
Ladybug gasped. It was beautiful. Her heart swelled with emotion as she took it all in.
A blanket had been set up on the roof overlooking the Seine. Around it sat candles glowing softly in the moonlight. Moving closer she noticed that they weren't real candles, but rather those fake battery operated one.
"I didn't want to risk burning down all of Paris," Cat Noir grinned sheepishly.
Ladybug giggled. "Smart thinking, Kitty."
"My Lady," he grinned, gesturing to the blanket.
Smirking, she took a seat. "I thought you said this wasn't a date."
"It's not," he replied, sitting beside her. "But I saw no reason why we couldn't be comfortable." He pulled out a box. "I brought some dessert too. Couldn't invite Bugaboo out without bringing her something sweet."
She grinned and rolled her eyes. "Cat, that wasn't really necessary." Her gaze fell on the box in his lap and she stifled a gasp. She knew that design anywhere. It was the logo of her parents' bakery.
Cat Noir opened the box, not having noticed her shock, and held it up for her. "There's chocolate, strawberry, rose tea, cream, and pistachio," he said, pointing a claw at each flavour.
The smile fell from his face as he noticed her staring at the macarons. "Don't tell me you don't like them. You don't have to eat them if you don't want to."
"Oh! No! No, it's not that," she rushed to cover her shock and quickly grabbed a pink macaron with white speckles. "These are great. More than great! I love macarons."
He grinned, taking a chocolate one for himself and biting into it. "Then you'll absolutely love these. They're from the best bakery in Paris."
Ladybug nibbled on her maracron, probably one of the ones she'd made earlier that day.
Finishing his in another bite, Cat Noir glanced at her, noticing her faraway look. "Is something wrong? I can get something else next time, if you'd like."
"No, these are great," she forced a smile and made a show of shoving the rest of the macaron in her mouth and grabbing another. "I was just wondering…"
"Why we don't do this more often?" he wiggled his eyebrows flirtatiously.
Ladybug rolled her eyes, a genuine smile rising on her lips this time. "No, silly Kitty. I was wondering how often you visit this so called 'best bakery in Paris.'" Secretly wondering how well she might know him in her regular life.
Biting into another macaron, he said, "Well, not as often as I'd like, considering my strict diet."
"You? A strict diet?" she playfully scoffed.
"My Lady," he spoke with mock seriousness, "this fine physique doesn't appear by itself."
She giggle-snorted, covering her mouth with her free hand.
Cat Noir's grin widened, making him look more like an excited puppy than a kitten.
"So, I guess your parents are health freaks?"
"Not exactly. It's… well, let's just say my job requires it."
She cocked an eyebrow at him. "You have a job? How old are you?"
"Not that old, I assure you. It's ah, I- it's the family business. I don't get much of a choice in it." He rubbed the back of his neck, green eyes downcast. "I'm just trying to keep my father happy."
Seeing that he was uncomfortable, Ladybug rested a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I'm sure he's proud of you no matter what."
He glanced at her, seeing the love and sincerity in her sweet bluebell eyes. She looked so hopeful. But she didn't know his father. Looking away, he sighed, "I don't think so. Sometimes I wonder if he even cares about me beyond the image of his perfect son."
"I'm sure that's not true," she protested.
"Considering he barely gives me the time of day, I'd say it's pretty true. He constantly brushes off dinner with me and last year he basically cancelled Christmas until my friends came through."
"What about your mother?" she asked softly. "I'm sure she cares about you."
"Yeah. She does. Or did. She disappeared a while ago. We don't know what happened to her…"
"Oh Kitty," she pulled him into a tight hug. "I'm so sorry." She didn't realise how difficult his home life was. Suddenly his boisterous, overly-confident, recklessness as Cat Noir made much more sense. He was a boy trapped by hardship, who had been given an escape from his life of loneliness.
Hugging her back, he murmured, "It's not your fault, Bugaboo. And I'm the one who's sorry. I invited you out for a good time and here I am depressing you with my personal life."
"That's alright, Kitty. I don't mind. Plus, it sounds like you could really use a friend right now." Ladybug pulled back to smile at him her hands still resting on his shoulders. "You know I've always got your back, no matter what, in the same way I always trust you've got mine."
The tears that sprang up in Cat Noir's eyes made her wonder just how lonely his personal life was. Suddenly his crazy carefree attitude made sense. His mask served as an outlet, a way to express himself. Her heart went out to her poor kitten.
"Thanks, Ladybug. I can always rely on you to fix everything," he smiled through watery eyes. "With or without magic, you're amazing, my Lady."
She ducked her head to hide the sudden blush and wrapped her arms around herself. No longer looking at Cat, she missed the way his ears drooped at the loss of her touch. "Th- thanks."
"Did I say something wrong?"
"No! No, of course not. It was just… unexpected." She felt a small flutter in her chest. She wasn't quite sure what to do with her newfound feelings for her partner. When they were just being their usual selves, it was easier to push them aside and pretend they weren't there. After all, she still loved Adrien. She wasn't ready to let the wonderful handsome blond got just yet.
And then he had to go say things like that. Something else stirred within her at his words. Something… familiar? Actually, now that she thought about it, his homelife struck a chord in her as well. If she could just figure out-
"Ladybug?" Cat Noir's concerned voice brought her out of her reverie.
"Are you alright? You were a little out of it for a while."
"Um, yeah! I'm fine," she smiled a little too widely. "Just thinking is all."
He held up the box of macarons to her and wiggled his eyebrows playfully. "About me I hope."
She didn't immediately reply, instead opting to take a macaron. She took a bite, chewing it slowly before loudly saying, "Yep!"
Cat Noir spat out the macaron he'd been eating to start coughing and spluttering.
Ladybug giggled, thumping his back. "You're supposed to eat your food, Kitty, not inhale it."
His airways cleared of crumbs, they fell into an awkward silence.
Playing with the belt buckle at the end of his tail, Cat Noir was the first to break through the thick cloud suddenly covering them. "So… Were you really thinking about me?"
She sighed, staring at the half eaten treat in her hand. "Yes. I thinking about how you remind me of someone."
"Really? And who might that be?" he asked, a wry grin on his face.
"I'm not really sure," she admitted. Her nose scrunched up as she tried to think, "Just someone. It'll probably come to me later."
"I'm sure you'll figure it out soon, Bugaboo."
Giving a non-committal sound, Ladybug got to her feet.
Cat Noir jumped up beside here, a slight whine in his voice, "Leaving so soon?"
"It's getting late," she said by way of explanation. She didn't want to admit she was leaving because of how confused she felt.
"Okay," his ears dropped and his tail hung limp. "Here," he grabbed the macaron box and held it out, "You can at lease take these."
She smiled politely, fist gently closed around the half-eaten macaron already in her hand. "It's fine, Cat. I eat things like this all the time. I'm sure you'll enjoy them more than I will."
He frowned a little in confusion before smiling brightly. "I always knew there was something sweet about you."
She turned to hide her blush. "Uh, yeah. Bye, Cat Noir." She quickly swung away before he could reply so he wouldn't hear her increased heartbeat.
Arriving home, she de-transformed and lay on her bed. She held up the pink, half macaron, staring at it in silence for a minute while Tikki quietly munched on a cookie. With a sigh, Marinette placed it beside her kwami and rolled over, clutching a pillow to her chest. Very little sleep would be had that night.
A week later Marinette was minding her parents' store as they stepped out for a moment. She was just retrieving a batch of cinnamon scrolls from the oven when she heard the chime over the door jingle.
"I'll be with you in a sec," she called over her shoulder.
"Take all the time you need. I can wait," came the polite reply.
Marinette's heart skipped a beat and she whirled around to face the customer, a garbled shriek escaping her lips. In her haste, the tray went flying, unceremoniously tossing the cinnamon scrolls across the room.
"Oh, gosh, Marinette! I'm so sorry for startling you," the blond boy apologised, rushing over to help pick up the fallen scrolls.
"A- Adrien, h- hi!" she squeaked. Grimacing, she silently cursed herself for stuttering. She'd been doing so well lately, hardly a stutter or mixed up sentence to be seen. His appearance at the bakery had caught her off guard, thus bringing it back.
Upon realising that he was kneeling down and cleaning up the mess she'd made, Marinette squeaked again. Rushing over, she took the ruined scroll from him. "You shouldn't be doing that. I was the one who dropped them."
"But it's my fault for scaring you like that," he said, picking up another one. "I want to a least help."
He looked so sweet, how could she refuse. "Okay."
They worked in silence, cleaning up the rest of the cinnamon scrolls. Just as Marinette bent down for the last one, fingers brushed against hers right before something hard hit her head. She yelped, leaping back. Someone else yelped in sync with her. She looked up as she rubbed the sore spot on her forehead to see Adrien doing the same. Blood rushed to her face as she experienced an internal freak out.
Adrien's face was also red as he awkwardly tried to laugh it off, "I thought head banging only happened at rock concerts."
Marinette stared at him, frozen and wide eyed. Had he just…
Adrien's forced smile faded the longer she stared at him. He started to fear he might have broken the girl. "M- Marinette? Are you alright? I'm sorry, I didn't-"
"No! It's alright, I'm fine! Better than fine! I do stuff like this all the time!" she devolved into nervous laughter.
"You bump people's heads?"
"Yes! No! Uh… well, sometimes. Not usually with my own…" her thoughts turned back to her kitty and the amount of times she'd bonked him on the head, usually with her own yoyo.
He chuckled, a light and carefree laugh, the very sound of which made her heart melt. She could see her gravestone now. It would read, 'Here lies Marinette Dupain-Cheng, killed by the sweetness of a boy made from pure sunshine.'
His laughter died down and he was left beaming at her. "It's alright. Maybe if I come up with a large enough bruise I can get out of modelling for a few days."
Marinette let out a strangled squeak and paled as white as death. Her thoughts ran wild. What if she caused a huge bruise to come up and cover his entire face, worse, what if she'd given him a concussion or even permanent brain damage! What if it forced him to quit modelling. His father would come over and sue her for everything they owned, and her parents would be out on the street and have to beg for food and she'd never get to see Adrien again! She'd be blacklisted by the head of Gabriel for injuring his son, who was also his top model, and be banned from ever setting foot in another fabric store and her dream of becoming a fashion designer would be over!
The frightened cry shattered the nightmare she'd created. The bluenette blinked a few times to realise she was staring into two worried peridot green eyes, his hands on her shoulders.
"Marinette, are you alright? You went really pale and I thought you were going to faint. I didn't think we'd banged our heads that hard." He leaned a little closer and brushed back her fringe, trying to check the spot where their heads collided.
She felt like her heart might explode from her chest. He was close. So close she could feel his breath and admire every perfectly chiseled feature on his concerned face. It earned a soft dreamy sigh from the lovestruck girl.
"Ouch!" she flinched back as he brushed a finger against the small lump starting to form.
They stared at one another for a moment before he suddenly sat back, a pink tinge to his cheeks as he cleared his throat and backed away.
"You, um, might want to put some ice on that. T- to stop it from swelling too much."
"Uh, yeah. You too. Uh, I mean, I'll get some ice!" she sprang up and raced upstairs.
Tikki came out of hiding as Marinette rummaged around the freezer.
"He seemed concerned about you," the kwami grinned teasingly.
Marinette was glad her head was still in the freezer to help cool her inflamed cheeks. "I'm sure he's just being a good friend."
She didn't want to get her hopes up. There was also her new found feelings towards Cat Noir to contend with. The small bluenette suddenly groaned. How was she supposed to deal with this? She'd been in love with Adrien for so long, and still was if her reaction to him was anything to go by. Yet, somehow her loyal partner had wormed his way into her heart as well. Was she a bad person for having fallen for two people? Why did this have to be so complicated?
"Ugh," she slumped against the fridge. "Tikki, what am I supposed to do?"
"About what?" the kwami asked gently, as if she didn't already know what was bothering her chosen.
"How can I be in love with two people? How do I choose?!"
Tikki looked upon her charge in sympathy. She was well aware that the situation was not quite as complicated as Marinette made it out to be, however, she was unable to comment on it without giving everything away. So for now, she nuzzled against the girl's cheek, "I'm afraid you're going to have to figure this one out on your own, Marinette."
Sighing, the bluenette gathered what she needed and headed back down to the bakery.
When she returned, she gasped, dropping the two cloth bundles she'd been holding. "Adrien! What are you doing?"
He paused, cinnamon scroll halfway to his open mouth. "What? My father won't find out."
She stomped up to him, her hands on her hips. "Your father wasn't the one I was worried about. Adrien, those have been on the floor."
He grinned and quickly took another bite. Marinette's jaw dropped open, earning a chuckle from the blond. He spoke around his mouthful, lifting his free hand to cover his mouth. "I didn't want them to go to waste. I know you can't sell them, but your floor's clean so I figured it wouldn't hurt. Plus there's the five minute rule."
She rolled her eyes. "It's the five second rule. And that doesn't mean you should listen to it and just eat anything off the floor."
"Regardless, they're still good," he took another bite.
Seeing that she wasn't going to convince him otherwise, Marinette shook her head and went to pick up the bundles she'd dropped. She held one out to Adrien.
"What's this?" he asked taking it.
"Ice. I thought I would get you some too," she smiled, holding her own ice wrapped cloth to her forehead.
"Thanks, Marinette," he held it against his head, wincing as it touched the sore spot.
They fell into silence, leaning against the bench. Feeling like she should say something, Marinette decided to speak, "So, um, what brought you here? I mean, I guess you wanted to buy something, right?"
"Oh, yeah!" he said, as if only just remembering why he'd dropped by. "Um, well, I have this friend. I told them how great the food was here, and um, I wanted to bring them a selection of treats."
"That's kind of you," she smiled. Heading towards the display filled with various pastries, she asked, "What were you thinking of getting?"
He moved to join her, lowering the ice as he glanced over the treats. "I'm not sure. As much as I'd love to get one of everything, I don't think they need that much."
They shared a small chuckle before Marinette grabbed a box. "So a variety of sweets. I think we can arrange that."
It didn't take them long to pick out enough pastries to fill the box. However, before she closed it, Marinette's face lit up. "Oh! I've got the perfect thing to finish it off."
Rushing over to some back shelves, she pulled out two cup cakes, one green and one blue. Each had a purple flower crafted out of marzipan on top. "I made a test batch earlier today," she explained, carefully adding them to the box. "We don't usually do cupcakes but we're thinking about selling some and I was testing out the flower design."
"You designed those?"
"Yep," she grinned, closing the box.
"Wow, Marinette. They're beautiful. You're amazing."
Her cheeks flushed red for the hundredth time that afternoon. "Thank you."
"My friend will love them, thank you. You've been so kind," he took the treats, staring at the box like it was the most amazing thing on the planet. .
"Oh, it's nothing. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine. I hope you enjoy them together."
"I'm sure we will. Thanks again, Marinette," he smiled warmly, giving a wave as he left.
"Bye, Adrien," she waved in return, warm fuzzy feelings bubbling up inside her. What she wouldn't do to see that smile everyday.
Later that night, after her parents had gone to bed, Marinette, now Ladybug, landed on a familiar rooftop. It was the same place overlooking the river where she'd sat with Cat Noir some weeks before. The same night she'd realised her growing feelings for him.
The feline themed hero turned as she arrived, a dazzling smile lighting up his features. "Good evening, My Lady. You're looking just as beautiful as ever."
"Hello to you too, Kitty," she greeted with a chuckled and sat beside him.
"I hope you've had a good day."
Memories of her afternoon with Adrien filled her mind, warmth enveloping her again. "Yes," she said eventually, still staring off into space. "It was a very good day."
"I'm glad to hear it, Bugaboo. And I hope to make it even better." He pulled out a box, "I brought some very special treats today."
As her gaze landed on said box, Ladybug's face scrunched up in confusion. It was from her parents' bakery again. But when had Cat Noir come in? It certainly hadn't been as his superhero self. She definitely would have noticed that. Then had he dropped by as a civilian? Had he done so while she was working? Had she met him and never even noticed?
"Don't worry, I didn't get macarons this time." He slowly opened the box revealing an assortment of pastries, a far too familiar assortment. Cat Noir didn't noticed Ladybug freezing in shock as he continued excitedly. "The owners' daughter even gifted me these amazing cupcakes! She designed the flower herself. She even helped me pick out all the treats so that I have only the best for my Lady."
He looked up only for his smile to fade. Her wide-eyed stare unnerved him. He'd never seen her look so frightened. "Ladybug?" I- Is something wrong?"
This time Cat Noir froze, as if a bucket of ice water had been dumped over his head.
That was all the conformation Ladybug needed. With shaky fingers, she reached for her yoyo and stood. "I- I have to go."
Cat Noir jerked out of his trance, a look of pure panic on his face. "Ladybug, wait! This doesn't have to change anything. Please…"
Even as she saw the frightened kitten eyes of her partner, she was embroiled in her own fear. Looking away, she choked out, "It's already changed so much."
Before he could reply, she tossed her yoyo and swung away. Flying through the air, she heard him call out, but it was all she could do not to break down in tears. She felt so confused. How was it that the two boys that had claimed her heart were one in the same?
The next day at school had Marinette more flustered than usual. She spent the day completely avoiding Adrien, even going so far as to forcibly drag Alya away from the boys. Of course, the blogger immediately knew something was up, and after Marinette ran away for the fifth time that day, she cornered her friend in the girl's bathroom.
"Alright, girl," she stared Marinette down, hands on her hips. "What happened between you and dream boy?"
"What?! Nothing! Nothing happened!" she squirmed under Alya's stern gaze, avoiding eye contact with the auburn haired girl. "I- I don't know what you're talking about."
"Girl, you've been avoiding him all day. You won't even look at him and worse, you can't even stay focused on any conversation I try to strike up, let alone pay attention in class."
Marinette dropped her head and took to staring at her shoes. It wasn't like she could tell Alya what had happened. She was sure that would go down super well. 'Oh yeah, I just found out that my superhero partner was also the boy who I've had the biggest crush on for the longest time and I'm just freaking out over the whole thing.' Yep, that would go over well.
Instead she mumbled an excuse. "I've just been busy, work, plans, drawing things…"
"What?" Alya shook her head, not understanding. She rolled her eyes playfully, "Ya know, whatever, don't worry about it. I'm used to you being crazy. I'm just a little surprised." A sad light entered her golden eyes. "You're usually a little more attentive to other people's feelings."
Marinette's head shot up. "What do you mean? What's wrong? Did I do something?"
"You really haven't seen it, have you?" At her friend's blank stare, Alya continued, "Adrien's been really down all day. Nino's tried asking about it but Adrien won't say. He thinks it has something to do with Adrien's dad again, but I'm not so sure. He just sorta looks like a kicked puppy."
Biting her lip, Marinette looked away. A kicked kitten more like, she thought.
"With you acting weirder than usual, I thought something might have happened between you two. But if you're sure?"
"Yeah, Alya. It's fine," she assured her.
With a nod, the two friends left the bathroom, one wondering what she could do to fix things.
The conversation with Alya rattled around the bluenette's head for the rest of their afternoon classes. Now that she was paying more attention, she could see just how depressed her kitty was. Adrien sat with his shoulders slumped and his head down. A casual observer might not have noticed the particular way he tilted his head or fiddled with his pencil, but Marinette did. She'd spent half her time staring at the blond since he started school and she'd picked up a few things. And now that she knew he was her crime fighting partner, she noticed a few other things as well. They had the same practiced smile when they tried to hide their pain, the same caring look in their green eyes when they encouraged her and the same love of sweet treats.
"Daydreaming again?" whispered Alya with a smirk as she nodded in Adrien's direction.
Marinette ignored her and went back to her note taking. She really didn't need Alya reading her thoughts right now. Her gaze briefly flicked back to the boy in front of her. She couldn't let him continue to wallow in hopelessness. He must think that Ladybug rejected him for who he was behind the mask. She'd run off so suddenly, so overwhelmed by her own feelings that she hadn't stopped to consider his. That made her feel all the more rotten.
Sighing, she jotted down the next set of notes. She had to fix this. She would fix this. She was Ladybug, after all, and that was what she did.
For the rest of the day, she planned and plotted how she was going to make it up to him. If he turned her down after that, so be it. It was nothing less than she deserved. But at least then he would know the truth.
After bidding goodbye to Alya at the end of the day and seeing her walk off, Marinette turned to watch Adrien and Nino say their own goodbyes at the steps outside the school. Adrien put on a smile that Nino clearly saw through. The dark skinned boy gave his friend a gentle punch to the shoulder before they parted ways. Taking a deep breath, she waited until Nino had gone and Adrien was headed for his waiting car to make her move.
"Adrien!" she greeted cheerfully, walking up to him.
He turned around in surprise, putting on a friendly smile, though it still didn't reach his eyes. "Oh, Marinette. Hi."
Fiddling with her bag strap, she drew on her Ladybug courage, determined not to back out now. "Here," she handed him a folded up piece of paper. It had been difficult making sure Alya hadn't seen her write it. "Meet me there at nine tonight."
Adrien's eyes widened in alarm. "But I can't-"
"I know you can make it if you really want to," she said, doing her best to look more confident than she felt, "And trust me, you'll want to be there."
He floundered for a response, finally settling on, "But why would you-"
"I have something for you, something that I hope will brighten up your day," she smiled. "Don't leave me waiting."
Turning on her heel, Marinette strode off, feeling a little better than she did that morning. With her parent's bakery up ahead, her thoughts turned back to her plans for the night. She had a lot to do if she wanted to be ready.
That night Marinette sat on a bench down by the Seine where she'd told Adrien to meet her. Everything was in place and now she just had to wait for her blond haired partner to arrive.
She was just admiring the way the moonlight reflected of the water when he walked up. All her nerves threatened to send her running but she pushed them down and forced a smile on her face as she stood to greet him.
"Hi, Marinette," he smiled, though he awkwardly ran a hand through his hair. It only served to fluff it up a bit, making it resemble Cat Noir's style.
Marinette held back a swoon and instead cursed herself for not seeing it sooner. Mentally shaking her head, she focused on why she was there. "I'm glad you could make it."
"Yes, well I couldn't very well let a lady sit here alone in the dark, could I? A gentleman always ensures a lady's safety above his own and I couldn't leave you out here by yourself. Not only would it be rude, but who knows what might come by."
She ducked her head, hiding behind her fringe as she smiled to herself. That was exactly what she'd been counting on. "I'm glad I've got someone like you looking out for me."
"Always, Marinette," he promised, not able to hide the slight blush that rose to his cheeks.
Words caught in her throat. He was so kind and thoughtful, always looking out for his friends. She really hoped he didn't hate her after all this. Coughing a little to hide her nerves and regain her voice, she said, "So, um, there were a few reasons I asked you out here like this. But first I have to show you something."
She led him to a nearby building, and unlocked the door.
"The owner is a friend of my parents. All it took was a few croissants for him to let me use the place," she answered his unasked question.
"Ah," he chuckled in understanding. "I know I'd do almost anything for one of your families fantastic croissants."
She led him to the roof, swinging the door open. she stood back, allowing him to go first and take it in.
He gasped, walking out, "Marinette…"
Candles lined the edge of the rooftop, interspaced with bundles of leaves and flowers. In the middle of it all there was a picnic blanket spread out. Two plates and two glasses were already set out and a picnic basket sat between them.
When he didn't say anything, Marinette moved to stand beside him. "You seemed a bit down today and I thought you could use a pick-me-up."
"Wow, this is… this is amazing…" he breathed, stepping forward to admire the scene. Taking a closer look at the candles, he grinned. "Fake candles?"
She smirked, sitting down to unload the basket, "I didn't want to risk burning down all of Paris, did I?"
He paused at the familiar line, but seemed to shake it off upon seeing the fresh pastries. Licking his lips, he sat down to join her. He savoured the warm smells before grabbing a pain au chocolat and taking a bite. "You really did all this for me?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't I? You're one of my best friends," she caught herself before she added Kitty. She was quite ready to reveal that just yet.
"It's just that I never would have expected anyone to do something like this for me. I mean, people give me gifts all the time because I'm famous and they think it might earn them some favour with me or by father. But this," he made a sweeping gesture encompassing the picnic and decorations, "This is nice."
Marinette smiled, a warm blush spreading across her cheeks. "I'm glad you think so."
They ate and chatted for a while, the tension in each of them slowly easing. After an hour had gone by, Marinette felt like it was time. Her nerves returned, though not with the same force as before. Being with Adrien and experiencing his warmth and friendship had eased some of her worst fears.
"Um, hey Adrien," she said during a lull in the conversation.
"Yes, Marinette?" He turned to her, "Something on your mind?"
"Yeah, actually there is," she tightly gripped the napkin in her hands, resisting the urge to tear it in half. "You see, wanting to cheer you up wasn't the only reason for inviting you out tonight."
"Oh?" he tilted his head, reminding her so much of her kitty. She could just imagine his perking in curiosity.
"Well," she set down the napkin and tapped her fingers together, "I also wanted to apologise."
He looked even more confused. "What for? You haven't done anything. Quite the opposite actually. I had been feeling pretty down today and this, what you've done, hanging out like this, it's been great."
"But I have, and I'm so so sorry. I really hope you'll forgive me." Tears pricked the corners of her eyes as she lifted out one of the treats she'd been saving and set it down between them. It was a cupcake, much like the ones that had revealed his identity to her not too long ago. However, instead of a flower, this one was decorated with the face of a black kitten with green eyes.
Adrien stared down at it, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "I don't- I don't understand."
"You will in a second, Cat Noir."
He jolted, gaze flicking from the cake to her. "But how did you know? I never- I thought I was so careful."
She didn't answer, instead pulling out another cupcake, this one decorated with a ladybug and placed it next to the cat. She gave him a nervous smile. "Um, surprise?"
She watched his face as he put the pieces together. His perfect green eyes flicked from her to the cupcake and back again. He stared at her intently, seeming to study her features in the soft candlelight.
"Ladybug?" he said softly. It was breathless and tentative, as if he wasn't sure whether it was actually true.
"H- hey, Kitty," she choked out around the lump in her throat.
"You- you're Ladybug? Marinette?"
She swallowed, dropping her head. "Yes."
"How did you-" he stopped, glancing down at the cupcakes in their hands, understanding dawning in his eyes. "It was the cupcakes, wasn't it?" He let out a short laugh. "That explains so much. I couldn't figure out how you knew it was me, but now it makes sense. You knew because you gave them to me earlier that day."
Marinette fought back a sob, soft tears already flowing down her cheeks. "I am so sorry. I didn't mean for that to happen. And I just left without any explanation. I'm so sorry. You don't deserve that. I s- saw the pastries," she hiccupped, "and you were talking about the cupcakes and I panicked, so I ran. I mean, how was I supposed to know that the two boys I'd fallen in love with were actually the same one. I could never have seen that coming and didn't know what to do. But I left and I hurt you. I saw that it hurt you and I still left. And then I was so busy trying to avoid you that I didn't see how much you were hurting until Alya pointed it out and I just knew that it was it was all my fault. And I'm so sorry for making you feel like you were nothing and that I rejected you for being you, when in reality you're perfect and I'm nothing an- and I understand if you want to find a new Ladybug to work with, one who isn't such a screw up. I'm so sorry, Kitty, just so sorry…"
She couldn't bring herself to look at him, too busy screwing her eyes shut and keep back her sobs. She almost didn't hear Adrien when he finally spoke.
"I- if you hate me, please just say it quickly and get it over with."
"Marinette, please look at me," he said softly, a finger at her chin.
She let him lift her head, looking at him through tear blurred vision.
He smiled softly, "I could never hate you. I love you too much for that."
"Y- you mean that?" she hiccupped
He smirked in a typical Cat Noir fashion. "Would I ever lie to you, Bugaboo?"
This brought a smile to her face and she giggled. "Of course not, Kitty. I'm just sorry it took me so long to see it."
"If it makes you feel any better, you figured it out before I did, and things seemed to have turned out pretty well."
She smiled shyly. "Yeah, I guess so. What part did you like the most? The food? The setting?"
A cocky grin lit up his features. "Finding out that my lady returned my affections and that she truly loves both sides of this kitty."
Marinette squeaked and turned bright red, covering her face with her hands. "I said that out loud?"
"You did mean it, didn't you?"
She peaked through her fingers to see his peridot green eyes shining with hope. Slowly taking her hands away, she smiled. "I did. I do. I…" she swallowed back her nerves. "I love you. As Adrien and Cat Noir." The smile on his face caused her heart to flutter and made her wonder how she got so lucky. "I'm glad it's you."
He shuffled closer, reaching out to interlock their fingers. "I'm glad it's you too. I can't think of anyone who would make a better Ladybug than you." Staring into her eyes, he kissed the back of her hand. "I love you. All of you. Ladybug and Marinette. I'd loved Ladybug for the longest time, but more recently I'd begun noticing my feelings for a certain classmate."
Marinette sucked in a breath, her gaze locked onto his, unable to say a word.
"There was this amazing girl. Talented, caring and so brave. I'm not sure when she snuck into my heart, but she did and I couldn't help be drawn to her parent's bakery. One afternoon she was there, and well… I guess you could say things spiralled out of control because of that. She dropped a batch of cinnamon scrolls, we bumped heads and she gave me cupcakes. I should have realised then that we were practically married by then."
Her blush deepened as he wiggled his eyebrows in a very Cat Noir like manner.
Flustered, she fell back on old habits and pushed him back with a finger to his nose. "Calm down, Kitty. I think we should take this one step at a time. W- we've only just discovered that our feelings are m- mutual…"
She swallowed, her tongue feeling like it was tying itself in knots as the realisation of everything dawned on her. The boy she'd been pining after forever and her partner who'd slipped his way into her heart, the one perfect boy that made up the both of them, he loved her. He truly loved her. Her heart felt full to bursting, like all that she'd ever hoped and dreamed, had all come at once.
Looking at the boy before her, she noticed a fear in his eyes; a fear of rejection, if she had to guess. A fear of having gone too far and losing her before he even had a chance to properly win her heart. Smiling, Marinette squeezed his hand in reassurance. "I was hoping you'd ask me on a date before you asked me to marry you."
The grin that split his face was worth it. She'd never get tired of seeing such joy in his eyes. "Of course, my Lady," Adrien said, grinning from ear to ear. He cleared his throat and looked into her eyes. "Marinette, how would you like to go on a date with me?"
She matched his grin with one of her own. "I'd love to."
"Does that make you my girlfriend, Bugaboo?"
The familiar nickname earned a smirk from the pigtailed girl, her more confident Ladybug demeanour leaking out. "Would you like me to be?"
"Very much so," he sighed breathlessly.
"Does this mean I get to kiss you now?" he asked.
"Hmm," she muttered coyly, "I suppose to, Kitty."
Adrien leaned in so their noses were almost touching. "Please don't tease me, my Lady. I've been waiting a long time for this."
Marinette felt her heartbeat quicken as he breath mingled with his. Somehow she managed to speak with a confidence she didn't know she felt. "Then don't wait any longer."
He didn't, closing the distance between them and pressing his lips against hers.
Yet before they could truly savour the moment, there was a shout. "About time!"
The pair sprang apart with matching blushes to see two kwamis hovering nearby.
"Plagg!" Tikki scolded. "We were supposed to leave them alone."
"It was a momentous occasion," he retorted, gesturing to the new couple. "It needed to be heralded."
"Well you've well and truly marked the moment. We can go now," grumbled Tikki as she dragged him away.
"But I haven't even teased them for smooching yet," he whined before they disappeared into the basket, Tikki slamming the lid closed after them.
Adrien cleared his throat, "Um, sorry about him. That was, well, Plagg. He can be a bit of nuisance sometimes."
"He does seem a bit of a handful," giggled Marinette.
"So uh, before we were so rudely interrupted…"
"Oh, um, yeah, that," she blushed, fiddling with the sleeve of her blazer.
He reached over, caressing her cheek. "Shall we continue what we started?"
"Yeah…" she replied breathlessly as they leaned into one another.
The rest of their evening went on with more with kisses and cuddles but most of their time was spent simply talking, finding joy in their time together, under the moonlight.