A/N: The story takes place at the end of Heroes Day, so spoilers for the Season 2 finale! It generally follows canon, but I changed it up a bit towards the end.
This was inspired by It Only Takes a Moment from the musical Hello, Dolly! and it made me think about how the Season 2 finale was such a defining moment in Nathalie and Gabriel's relationship. There are a couple of small nods to the lyrics as well (you can see them if you squint hard enough).
Once the heroes' attention moved from Hawkmoth to the giant blue moth, Hawkmoth slipped over the edge, out of sight. Before the heroes could fully react, Mayura had already pulled back from his negative feelings, leaving the heroes puzzled with only a pure white feather behind.
Barely a moment passed before the first cough wracked her chest, causing her to fall to her knees. She thrust her arm forward to stabilize herself, but it quickly buckled under her weight, and she crumpled to the ground. A pain seared through her lungs as she wheezed breath after breath.
This must've been why Gabriel was so adamant about never using this miraculous.
The last thing she remembered was the weight on her chest growing before her eyes drifted shut.
The Parisians lining the streets celebrated his latest failure, not noticing as he raced across the rooftops, desperate to get back to the mansion—to Nathalie.
Gabriel wrenched his office doors open and sprinted to the painting, not bothering to lock his office door behind him. As the elevator slowly crept down, Gabriel craned his neck to see past the hidden garden, searching for Nathalie's fallen form. The lift doors couldn't open fast enough, and he was nearly clawing at them to get out. He rushed to her side before sliding to his knees at her broken form. He gently cupped her face, stroking her pallid cheek with his thumb.
"Nathalie," he whispered, his breath catching in his chest. "I'm so sorry. I never planned for this to happen."
He gently lifted her, hooking his arms around her shoulders and legs, before making his way back to the lift.
Nathalie stirred, hearing a faint whirring noise. She tried to lift a hand to rub her pounding head, but her arms felt like lead.
"Shhh, you'll be alright. Save your strength, Nathalie, for me," a gentle voice whispered close to her ear before the arms enveloping her tightened their grip ever so slightly.
Listening to the familiar voice, Nathalie nuzzled deeper into the warmth, feeling safe and secure despite being so weak.
Seeing Nathalie in this condition reminded him of when he failed Emilie. His gaze paused on Emilie's slumbered form in the life support chamber in the garden below before drifting over to Nathalie's blank face. The ambient glow from the lift shaft highlighted the paleness on her cheeks as it crept back to his atelier.
I won't let history repeat itself. I can't lose her too. Failure isn't an option—I must win for Nathalie.
Nathalie woke to the soft sounds of someone pacing and muttering to themselves. Her eyes fluttered open but quickly squinted at the brightness of the room. Pushing herself up to a sitting position, she turned to find Gabriel pacing the tile in front of her, his hands clasped tightly behind his back, his lips pressed into a grim frown, and his eyes boring into the ground.
"S-sir?" she rasped, her throat raw from coughing.
"Nathalie!" he rushed to his knees in front of her. "What were you thinking?!"
"I had no choice, sir!" she tried to argue before another wave of coughs came over her. She managed to choke out, "I had to save you."
"But I told you never to use the Peacock Miraculous! It's damaged—just look what it's done to you," he scolded harshly, frustrated with her disregard for her own safety.
With a large sigh, the tension in his body immediately slipped away as his shoulders slumped and his head hung low. "I'm sorry, Nathalie, please forgive my outburst. It's simply too dangerous to allow you to use it," he squeezed her hand gently while his eyes darted up to meet hers for a second. "And I can't risk you like that."
A quiet gasp escaped Nathalie's lips from his admission, and even though he only met her eyes for a moment, she knew in heart that he truly valued her help and input. Gripping his hand in return, she replied with a gentle smile, "I want to help you, all the way to the end."
A weak smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, and he was content to know that he would never be alone in his endeavors.
"Thank you, Nathalie, for everything."
A/N: I'm not quite happy with the ending, but it is what it is at this point. Maybe it'll teach me to write better notes when I have the idea so I can actually write what I initially thought of.