The events of what happened in the previous few minutes finally clicked in place. Marinette's expression morphed as it dawned on her.
Adrien Agreste is Chat Noir.
Oh my kwami.
"What... what the heck!"
Prologue Part 3: The Fashion Show
With a little prompting from Tikki, Marinette managed to get herself together and transform into Ladybug. She strung her yoyo on a nearby chimney and flung into the city. Blasts rang through the air, making her flinch. She ran faster.
It was quite a distance to get there. It seemed Chat Noir took her a pretty far away from the akuma. When she had finally made it to the scene of the crime, the street was flooded. Cars were flipped and electric wires sparked dangerously. Ladybug's grip on her yoyo lightened. It wasn't as bad as she thought it would be. She and Chat Noir dealt with worse tantrums.
"Chat Noir are you okay? Pay attention! What if I wasn't here to get you in time?"
"I had some things on my mind." He looked down. Ladybug had a feeling she knew what he thought about. He didn't seem to think about it too hard because once he noticed his Lady looking at him, he turned smug. "Didn't know you cared so much for me though. It wasn't long since we saw each other. Did you miss me that much?"
Seeing Chat Noir's face inches away from hers triggered her muscle memory. She deadpanned, planted her hand on his face and shoved it away without hesitation. It was an automatic reaction.
He chuckled. Then Adrien Agreste came to mind.
Ladybug shook those thoughts away. She'd deal with that later. The pair dodged a blast of hot water.
"Stay away from hot liquids, she can control them."
"Right." She had to focus on the task at hand.
They entered the fray and fought the akuma. Focus she did. Maybe it was a little easier being Ladybug. It was almost like being in a superhero costume completely changed Marinette's confidence from zero to one hundred. As Ladybug, Marinette felt more level-headed, down-to-earth and confident. She felt heavy responsibility as Ladybug. Maybe that's why she felt it easier to focus.
Eventually Ladybug called on her Lucky Charm and in a flash of light, it produced a ladybug-patterned mini fan. The hero duo stared at it. Finally, Chat Noir opened his mouth.
"You know bugaboo-"
"I know kitty. I thought you were used to it."
"I thought I was too."
Their attention was ripped away from the object when the akumatized villain screeched typical villain-speak.
"Give me your miraculous!"
"Chat Noir, a distraction."
He nodded in response. With the grace of a trained hero, Ladybug back flipped off the roof of the building, out of view of the villain. Chat Noir dodged a spray of sizzling oil. He put a hand on his chest and bowed like a butler.
"Pawden me madame but you aren't very purrsuasive."
Ladybug hid behind the back of a car on the street. She peeked at the scene and stopped for a second question her sanity. He looked like Adrien, he sounded like Adrien. Except, the words coming out of his mouth was all Chat Noir. The villain roared in anger, prompting her to she snort. At least it was a familiar scene. Something familiar was what she wanted right now.
The rest of the fight went smoothly. She used her Ladybug powers to create some wacky plan using the electric mini-fan, Chat's Cataclysm, Scaldika's power's and the nearby car to grab Scaldika's brooch – where the akuma rested in. Aided with a sprinkle of Chat's weak cat puns, the red-masked hero de-evilised the butterfly and waved goodbye. She shouted 'Miraculous Ladybug', threw her yoyo in the air and all the damage was reversed. Scaldika detransformed into an amnesiac lady. Ladybug and Chat Noir bump fists.
"M'lady… I think there's something you should know."
"What is it?" Ladybug knew one hundred percent what he was talking about.
Ladybug put a hand on her hip and chuckled, "Look at that! It's time for me to go."
"Bye!" Ladybug jumped off the roof and hightailed it away from Chat Noir before he said another word.
Today at 8:36 pm
Alya: hey girl!
sry I didn't text earlier. My sis cracked my phone and had to get it fixed asap
I heard wat happened after I left the fashion show.
R u ok?
You: I'm fine.
Chat Noir got me out of there in time
U always find yourself in the right places at the wrong time
You: that coming from u? _
It's a choice! Im proud
My Ladyblog fans need me
im tired so I might go sleep now
talk to you later?
See you tomorrow
Marinette tucked her phone away and laid back on her bed. After dinner with her parents she'd gone straight back to her room.
"I can't believe it Tikki. This whole time Adrien was Chat Noir. How does that even work?" Marinette swiped her hair from her face and stared at the ceiling. Tikki had heard this line repeated by her charge for the past few hours.
"That's just how it became. This has happened sometimes by past Ladybugs and Chat Noir's. Are you not okay with it?"
Marinette replied without hesitation, "Not okay with it? How could I not be okay with it!"
She was… how did she feel about it? She was completely and utterly shocked. Not petrified but not shocked-in-awe either. Kind, gentle Adrien was also flirty, cocky Chat Noir? They sounded completely different people! Her perfect crush who she wouldn't trade for anyone in the world was also her perfect partner, who she also wouldn't trade with anyone in the world? There was an underlying happiness but at the same time it was almost too good to be true.
What was also unbelievable was the fact that Chat Noir had unknowingly, of all people, showed his identity to Ladybug.
"Tikki. What should I do? Should I tell him I'm Ladybug?"
Tikki shook her head. "No. It can't be helped now that you know his identity but that shouldn't be a reason for you to tell him. Remember the reason why you wanted this."
She remembered. It was a security net to prevent Hawkmoth from getting a hold of either of them. If one of them was akumatized, they couldn't rat each other out. Now as Marinette, she had to be extra careful to not get akumatized, or else she'd put her partner in danger. Now Marinette was a liability. Again.
"I need some air."
Tikki stayed inside and let Marinette out on the balcony to think. Marinette closed the window behind her and the chilly wind ruffle through her hair. It felt relaxing, like the moments when she'd be in mid-fall as Ladybug. She leaned her arms against the railing and rested a hand under her chin. It may have also helped that her self-tailored pajamas made her feel extra warm. It was well into the night. The stars were out and she watched the neighbourhood as the lights through windows flickered on and off. Marinette didn't know how long she was out for, but after some time has passed, she heard a familiar voice.
She looked to her right and Chat Noir appeared, balanced on her balcony railing.
"Adrien?" Marinette tested. It was more of a statement than a question.
He hopped off the railing and leaned against it. Chat rubbed the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly.
Maybe if Marinette wasn't Ladybug, she would've been mad. She would've gone off at Adrien, upset that he had kept such a secret from her. Or maybe, she would've had stars in her eyes and thought how cool it was to be close with a superhero. Except, Marinette was Ladybug. She was both hero and civilian. She understood everything. She understood why he kept it secret. She was the one who prompted him to. She understood why he was so nervous. As a superhero, who wouldn't be, having to deal with something like this?
The lack of response from the bluenette had Chat's confidence dwindle a little. "Are you disappointed?"
"Of course not." Marinette replied without skipping a beat, "I'm just… shocked. Can you blame me? The one person who sits behind me in class, who I like to spend time with, who I made presents for, is also Chat Noir? I still can't believe it." For more reasons than you know, Marinette followed up as an afterthought.
"I guess it'd be hard to believe..."
There was an awkward silence while both parties fidgeted over air. Neither knew what to say. All the times Adrien had been out of sight and missing, was in reality just him transformed as Chat Noir while she stood next to him as Ladybug? She thought of all the times Adrien had somehow disappeared. Suddenly a thought came up in Marinette's head.
"If you're Chat Noir, then what happened with Gorizilla? I saw from one of um- the videos from the Ladyblog. You as Chat Noir and... well, you as Adrien were together at the same time."
Chat Noir tilted his head in confusion but then remembered, "Oh. There was this crazy fan who wore everything I wore and looked exactly the same as me. I let him borrow my helmet and let him pose as me while I dealt with the akuma with Ladybug."
"Huh." Marinette was surprised. So that was it? She had to admit, the crazy fan was pretty convincing. She couldn't tell a difference from far away. Though if he was close up, Marinette believed she'd be able to tell the difference straight off with her eye. Still, it was a good coincidence for the fan to be there at that time. That should also eliminate Adrien from Hawkmoth's list of possible heroes.
The silence between the two became louder. Marinette didn't know what else to ask. The cat, however, mustered up the courage to speak up next.
Marinette looked up in surprise. "What?"
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you. You and Alya and Nino. You're one of my closest friends but I kept it from you. I know I seem like a selfish jerk now but superhero work is dangerous. I couldn't afford for you to know my identity. I couldn't let anyone know my identity. Not even Ladybug knows. If Hawkmoth put you in danger because of me I don't what I'd-"
Chat Noir clenched his fist.
"It's not like I wanted to keep it from you. I needed to."
Chat Noir continued to ramble but Marinette couldn't quite catch it because in that moment, she could see it. Marinette could see Chat Noir as Adrien Agreste. Not just by appearance, but also in the way he carried himself. They had the same kindness. The same loyalty. The same trust in the people they cared for. The same sincerity. Seeing Chat Noir so frantic and sincere struck a chord in Marinette and as Ladybug. It was endearing to see her over-confident kitty worry so much over something so little. It was why she was able to build up the courage to do what she did next.
Marinette wrapped her arms around him in a tight squeeze. Chat Noir went silent. The tips of his blonde hair tickled her cheek and Marinette wondered what he looked like right now.
"It's okay. I forgive you."
Marinette squeezed tighter as if to give him more reassurance. "Mhm! And you don't have to worry about me telling anyone. Promise! Your secret is safe with me."
After a moment, Marinette could feel Chat's shoulders relax. He placed his arms around her back and returned the hug. Marinette could tell the gesture was Adrien's way of saying thank you. They stayed like that for a few minutes in comfortable silence. Then the blue-haired teen realised the situation she had put herself in. Unknown to Adrien, Marinette stiffened under his arms.
"You really are amazing Marinette." Chat Noir pulled back. When he faced her, his eyebrows knitted together in concern.
"Are you okay?"
"Me? Uh yeah." Marinette pushed Chat Noir's shoulders, keeping him at the distance of an arm's length. A smidge of dust on the floor suddenly looked like the most interesting thing to her. "Of course psh- why wouldn't I be? I mean maybe earlier I was nervous- not that I'm mentioning it because it means anything, at least not anymore. Yeah no, I'm not nervous now so like, of course I'm okay." On the inside, Marinette screamed internally. On the outside, she took a deep breath. In a shaky tone she managed a coherent sentence. "I'll see you at school then?"
Chat separated from Marinete and took a step towards the edge of the balcony. He grabbed his baton and placed a hand on the railing. His signature toothy grin returned.
"Yup. Sleep well Marinette."
He jumped off her balcony, swivelled his baton forward and used it to propel him across the Parisian rooftops. Marinette watched his retreating figure until he disappeared on sight. Without hesitation she made a beeline for her bed and with a big sigh she collapsed on top of it. The air outside was fresh, but inside her room it felt like she could breathe.
Her kwami floated up from under the bed, "How'd it go?"
Marinette paused for a second, face still red. "It was horrible Tikki! I messed up my words like I always do." She face-planted into her pillow and smacked her head against it several times. She shook the embarrassment out of her head. Tikki, being used to her antics already, went to grab a midnight cookie by the desk. When Marinette calmed down, her next words were smothered under the pillow.
"It wasn't bad… I guess."
You really are amazing Marinette.
"It wasn't bad at all."
Tikki sat down silently next to her. She munched on her cookie and waited until she heard the Marinette's breathing even. To be honest, it didn't take long for Tikki to eat the cookie and for the teen to fall asleep. After she picked off the last of the crumbs, the pink kwami quietly moved up to the lamp light and turned it off.
That night, Marinette slept soundly.
End of Prologue
A Chat Noir acting frantic turns him into such a cute small bean! I had fun writing this. It was pretty difficult writing it though. If you were a superhero and your friend found out about your identity, but you left them without hearing anything from them, how would you think they feel? What would you say? How would you react?
Chat was confused and didn't know how to start and for me I was like 'I don't know what to start with either!'
What do you think will happen next? What do you want to happen next? Please let me know what you thought!
Disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous Ladybug. If I did then I'd probably ruin the show. These characters are owned by Thomas Astruc. If you somehow haven't watched it yet, do it.