A/N: I participated in the GabeNath 2019 Gift Exchange this past November, and I finally got around to posting it here. The prompts/requests were romance, fluff, or angst with a happy ending. Hope you all like it!
"You've disobeyed me again, Nathalie. And you put yourself in danger again for nothing," Gabriel chastised, but his eyes and tone softened as he replaced her fallen glasses. "Your idea was brilliant, but you don't need a miraculous to help me."
"There was something else you needed Mayura for—to find the guardian," she wheezed.
"I'm not so sure anymore," he trailed off.
Nodding as she removed the pin, "If you ever need Mayura again, I'll be here for you," Nathalie offered, a small smile gracing her face.
Giving her hand a final squeeze, Gabriel moved to take back the pin, determined now more than ever to succeed.
"Thank you, Nathalie, for everything you do," he said softly, his hand finding hers again.
"Of course, sir. Now, if you wouldn't mind bringing me my tablet, I need to catch up on emails that I've missed," Nathalie asked, switching back to assistant mode.
"No, you can't keep doing this to yourself. You're burning the candle at both ends, Nathalie. You have to rest."
"I have no intention of resting when there is still work to be done. This is my job, sir."
"No, this isn't. You risking your health and life isn't a part of your job, Nathalie. You do more than I ask, and I don't know how to express my gratitude. Please take the rest of the day off and rest in your room."
Nathalie recognized the look of determination in Gabriel's eyes—it was the same look he got when he wanted to akumatize the pigeon man. He was set on getting her to take the afternoon off and wouldn't take any other answer.
"If you insist, sir, I will return to my room for the afternoon," she caved.
"Very good. Now if you'll kindly hand over your tablet, I will escort you to your room."
"I can make the trip to my room myself."
"I don't double your ability to walk, Nathalie, I doubt your ability to take a break," he replied wryly.
"Well, you hired me for a reason, sir."
"All the more reason for you to take a break now, so you'll be fine to work tomorrow."
Noting his pointed stare, Nathalie prepared herself to get up but paused at the fatigue still in her bones. Gabriel noticed her hesitation and gently braced her until she stood up straight. Before she could pull away, he hooked her arm through his and began making his way towards her room.
Inside her room, he helped her to sit on the bed. As she got settled under the covers, he meticulously folded her blazer and laid it on the other side of the bed.
"Is there anything else I can get for you?" he asked, walking towards the desk and opening compartments.
"No, but maybe I can help you find what you're looking for?" she responded, amused as Gabriel continued to peer into drawers.
"I'm looking for your back-up tablet. I know you leave it in here for safekeeping, so if you could tell me which drawer it's in—aha, here is it!" he exclaimed triumphantly.
Gabriel turned at Nathalie's lack of response and found her sleeping. Chuckling as he made his way back to the bed, Gabriel gingerly brushed her bangs from her face, whispering, "Sleep well, Nathalie."
After finishing his latest sketches, Gabriel rolled his neck and shoulders before turning to Nathalie's desk to ask about the newest line's reception. At the sight of her empty desk, his gaze softened, and he paused before pulling up his own tablet to view the feedback. But as he sifted through his email, he noticed that there were several new messages concerning the line's sales from the past hour. His eyes darted to check that Nathalie's tablet was still on her desk before he remembered about her phone.
Of course, he chastised himself. I thought of everything else except her phone. It's my own fault for overlooking the obvious.
With a dramatic sign, he heaved himself to his feet and made his way to Nathalie's room. Upon reaching her door, he knocked and paused for a moment before wrenching the door open without waiting for her response.
"Is there something I can do for you, sir?" Nathalie asked, not bothering to look up from her phone.
"You can do as you said you would and rest, Nathalie," he sighed.
"But I have rested, sir. I slept for an hour."
"You and I both know that's not long enough. You shouldn't be working when you need to rest longer."
"This is a very relaxing chair, sir," she countered.
"More relaxing than the bed you were sitting in earlier?" he rolled his eyes.
"Well it's more relaxing than the desk in the corner," she quipped.
"Damnit, Nathalie, why can't you just accept that you need to rest?"
"Why can't you accept that I'm a grown woman! I'm not a child in need of nagging, and I'm more than capable of making my own choices!" she snapped.
Taken back by her sudden outburst, Gabriel was uncharacteristically quiet.
"I'm sorry—it's just that I worry so much for you, Nathalie. You do so much for me and my family that I just wanted to do something for you. I'm sorry for overstepping my bounds. I'll leave you be," he sighed, making his way to the door.
Just as his hand touched the doorknob, Nathalie asked, "Sir, why didn't you figure them out?"
Gabriel hesitated before answering, "I couldn't risk it."
"Risk what? Both of them activated their abilities—you have them on a timer."
Lowering his head in defeat, Gabriel thought back to the fear that gripped him when he realized Nathalie and the Peacock Miraculous was gone. "I couldn't risk you getting hurt further. You were already weakened from your short time as Catalyst, and I didn't want to aggravate your condition because of the lengths you go to help me."
"Sir, it's my decision to help you."
"Yes, but risking your own life?" he turned to her. "Nothing is worth that."
"Your family could have been whole again. You and Adrien would be happy."
"Not without you, Nathalie. You are family to us," he explained, kneeling in front of her chair.
"But sir, you've been trying so hard to get her back. You can't stop now."
"I won't trade you for her. I can't. What good would it do to replace one heartache with another?"
"Adrien would be thrilled to have his mother back, and that's what matters. The details are unimportant."
"I wasn't talking about his heartache—I was talking about mine," he added quietly, an earnest look in her eyes.
A gasp escaped her mouth at his confession.
"Don't you see how big of a role you play in our lives? You've always been there for him. You've always been there for me," his hand gently squeezing hers.
"But, sir, you want Emilie back."
"Yes, I want her, but not at the cost of you. I need you, Nathalie. You've been my support through all of this, and I can't fathom what I would do without you. If we continue this madness, it won't be with Mayura. I can't risk pushing you to your last transformation—no matter how close we've been."
"But what if this is the only way to get their Miraculous?"
He sighed and turned away, missing Nathalie's face fall as he moved away.
"If there's no other way, then maybe it's time to accept it. Adrien has already continued on with his life ever since you convinced me to let him attend school. Maybe it's time I do the same," he trailed off, turning to extend his hand to her. "Will you help me help me?"
"Yes," she breathed as she gripped his hand.