On the side walk, Marinette shook, eyes wide and pinned to the blood seeping under Rena in front of her. Blood trailed over Marinette's eye. Her shaking fingers gripped her face.

"Rena." Her voice broke.

"Alya," Chat breathed. He darted forward—Marinette followed—and they kneeled on the copper-stained street. Rena's eyes, unblinking, stared through Marinette, her body contorted into broken arms and spilling guts, the glass of the windshield poking out like teeth through her skin.

"No no no no no no," Marinette gasped. She cupped the face of her bleeding friend. Tears fell onto the quickly-fading warmth of Rena's cheeks and down her broken neck. "Why did you push me out of the way, you fucking idiot?"

Chat's eyes stared at the pair of mittens peaking out of Rena's coat pocket. His lungs were stuck. His veins had cemented. He was drowning in the lack of air. His vision blurred faster and faster. He was falling into the blood, into the stone, ready to stop existing.

"Chat." Marinette's voice shook his thoughts. "We need to go back."

"What?" someone said. That couldn't have been him. Someone couldn't carry so much pain in their voice.

"We need to go back," Marinette repeated sternly and sucked in her breath. "We're going to save her." They held each other's stare. Chat knew that, even if he could, he wouldn't say no to her. Not to this. Not to the consequences. Not for Rena's life. Marinette continued to challenge him in her stare, gripping her friend's hand tightly. Chat reached for Rena's other hand and squeezed it tight.

"First rule." His voice trembled. "You need your own miraculous. That's how anyone travels. They need their own, they can't piggyback with us." He stared at her unwillingly. "You save Rena. I'll go after the car. We don't know if we've been discovered"—we don't know if my father killed her—"or if this was some freak accident. But you need a miraculous."

"Where the hell are we gonna find one?"

Tikki's office flashed before his eyes.

"Tikki," he breathed. Marinette blinked wildly. Chat grabbed Marinette's hand, snatched the baton from the pool of blood, and started back towards the agency. He ignored the sticky, warm sensation of Rena's blood between their palms. "It should be in her office. I saw them a couple weeks ago."

"Who the hell knows if it's still there?" Marinette's voice raised. She startled and said, "Wait, we need to stop by my office first."


"We're covered in blood. We're already in trouble, we shouldn't stand out even more than we have to."

"Smart thinking," Chat said, his voice still shaking. Red lights flashed in his brain: no time manipulation for selfish causes. Who knew what would happen to them if they got caught?

They sped up the steps and burst through the doors. Down the hallway—up the flights of stairs—after lefts and rights—and they reached the corner of the building, where Marinette's office was just as messy as he remembered. As Marinette tore through the closet, Chat gulped and gripped his baton.

How cruel it was that everything could go to shit in mere minutes, yet have everything else remain the same.

"Change into this," Marinette said quickly. She threw him a pair of identical clothes, and in minutes the two of them were running to Tikki's office, blood-free. Chat's hand gripped the doorknob in a turn, but it remained stuck.

"Fuck," he growled, "it's locked."

"Shit," Marinette cursed. Chat kneeled down and took out his lock picking kit. Behind him, Marinette kept watch for any other agents, working late into this cursed night as they were. Finally, the door clicked. They shut the door behind them and began to tear through Tikki's drawers and cabinets in the dark.

"Found it," Marinette breathed a few minutes into their search. In her hands, a wooden box pulsed with red light and heat. The duo stared at each other, awed. "I think it's been waiting for me," Marinette said quietly, her fingers gently opening the box. Two spotted earrings pulsed faster with red heat in their velvet cushion, and beneath them sat a large, red yo-yo of the same pattern, and a mask. She set the box down on the table and ran the earrings between her fingers and paused another moment to breathe.

"When you put this on, you won't be just Marinette anymore, you realize that, right?" Chat warned quietly. "You can never forget what it's like to be this powerful. Everything changes. You're never just yourself anymore." Marinette exhaled sharply and clasped the last earring into place.

"Ladybug," she decided. "That's who I am now."

"Alright then, Ladybug," Chat chuckled breathlessly, "here's a quick lesson on time travel." He reached out for her hands. Their fingers interlocked. "We're going to imagine a place and time. Let's say today, right before you left with Rena, we're going to travel to your office closet. Understand that we have to picture the same place, because if you go somewhere else, I won't know and won't have any way of reaching you, okay?"

"Got it," Ladybug replied firmly. "How do we travel?"

"We've all got our own phrase," Chat said. "Since these have never been used before, you get to come up with the phrase. Lucky you."

"Starting with the puns already?" she joked tiredly. "Alrighty then, say the word."

"After three," Chat said. "One, two, three—Claws out."

"Spots on."

The familiar sensation of heat ensnared his body. The ripples of time and space fluttered over his suit in gossamer touches, before the waves beat harder and harder, and he was being squeezed through a small tube, about to burst—

They landed in her office. Ladybug wheezed and stumbled forward, clinging onto Chat with vigor.

"Holy shit," she breathed.

"Yeah, it's a little disorientating at first." Chat winced. "Sorry, I forgot to mention that."

"You forgot to mention that?" Ladybug repeated incredulously. "You mean you get used to it?" They jumped at the sound of Marinette outside the door. Ladybug grabbed Chat's hand and sunk them behind a rack of rococo ball gowns and wigs in the closet. Pressed tight against each other, they held their breath as past-Marinette sorted through the other side of the walk-in closet with mutters and curses.

"If Monkey rips another damn pair of riding gloves…Here it is." Past-Marinette lifted up a pair of dark gloves. She muttered something else and shut the door behind her. Chat and Ladybug sighed with relief. In the back of his mind, he registered faintly that a week ago, being pressed up against her in a dark closet by themselves would have gotten a different reaction out of him—but things were different now.

He flexed his fingers. He could still feel the stick of Rena's blood on them.

"What do we do know?" Ladybug said quietly.

"We wait," Chat replied. "As soon as we're physically close enough to the past us, then the past us will 'disappear' and we can step in."

"Why is it that way?" Ladybug asked. Chat shrugged.

"It's what should happen, anyway. I've never had to time travel in so close to the present, but others who have done it have said it happens."

Ladybug gripped him. "What if Rena figures us out?" Chat exhaled through his nose.

"Then she figures it out. I'm sure she'll choose not to die if she has the option. It's the others we need to worry about."

"Others? The agents?"

"Yup." The floorboards outside the closet door creaked. Past-Marinette was nearby. She swung open the door with a groan and marched to the hangers right next to the duo.

"Now Bee needs another stay…of course," Marinette muttered. "Maybe I should lace some chili pepper in it…"

"Jeez," Chat teased quietly to Ladybug, "didn't realize you had your own pair of claws." She shot him a defensive frown, her cheeks tinged as red as her earrings.

"She didn't give me enough time," she whispered quietly back. "You guys get to manipulate time all you want—why can't I do the same?" Funny enough, Chat had thought about that. It seemed like a stupid rule to prevent the seamstress of all people from using a time machine.

Speaking of which.

"You're leaving for dinner around this time, right? Like usual?" he leaned in and asked.

"Yeah," Ladybug replied slowly. "Rena and I will spend the next four hours in her office, then come back here to grab my stuff."

"Okay. You stay here. I'm gonna see if I can scope out the scene, see if Hawk Moth or anyone else was checking it out to prepare for tonight."

"Wait, what? You can't do that!" Ladybug hissed.

"It's part of the reason why we're here," Chat pushed. "I don't want to leave you either, but I've got way more field experience here than you—and you can remember who went in your closet or not. I can't. We might have this only chance to catch Rena's murderer before we lose them." He gripped her hands. "We need to find out who killed Rena."

". . . You're right," Ladybug relented, "but what am I supposed to do here while you're gone?"


"And if something happens?"

"Then we'll deal with it," he said. "I'll be back soon." He stepped out from the cave of clothes and peeked outside the closet door. Satisfied at the lack of presence, he slipped out, the door closing behind him with barely a whisper. Chat opened up the window and stared outside. How to get out without being caught, he mused. Suddenly, an idea came to mind. The new gadget he just got: the baton.

"What've I got to lose at this point," he muttered. He reached into his back pocket and rolled the item in his palm. The baton still felt warm with Rena's blood. Shoving down his nausea, he clicked a button and extended the pole down. The bottom slammed the ground and released a metallic shiver straight to his palm. He leaned out the window and towards the ground, the momentum churning up lunch his stomach.

"Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit-"

Could a cat splatter if it landed on its feet?

He landed and felt his stomach slam through his feet into the ground. He wheezed a bit— "oh shit that fuckin hurt" — and pushed forward through the pain as he ran down the street. He ran to the street and used the baton to land on top of the roof. From his vantage point, he gripped his weapon and stared where Rena's body would lay in a few hours.

Won't, he reminded himself. Right afterward, he realized he was shaking. His vision spiraled down until he leaned onto his baton and gripped it. Get it together, he told himself, teeth gritted. Behind him, he felt Hawk Moth loom.

"He's not here," Chat whispered. "He's not here. He's not here. He's not here."

The nausea in his stomach never settled down.

Four hours later, he was sneaking back into the closet, his suit sticking to the sweat of his skin.

"Ladybug?" he whispered. Ladybug popped her head out of the swallow of cloth, and for a wonderful moment, Chat almost laughed.

"Chat, did you find anything?"

He swallowed. "No."

"No?" Ladybug hissed. She stepped out, her eyes narrowed in focus as she said evenly, "What did you end up seeing?"

"Nothing," he replied helplessly. Again, he realized he was shaking—falling—failing. "Nothing at all, everyone—everything—looked fucking normal." The baton dropped. "I can't stop thinking about Rena—if Hawk Moth killed her or—"

Ladybug pulled him into the clothes and hugged him tightly. She buried her face into his neck and he clung onto her with retching gasps. "Tell me what's going on, Chat," she said gently into his ear. He shook his head. "Please," she whispered.

"I…I'm so worried if this was my fault." Chat shuddered. "I-I've got a connection with Hawk Moth." The words were out before he could stop them. "And I've wanted to tell you so long—I wanted to tell you last night—but it's scary—and I don't want it—I don't want to be like him—but I can't—" his words collapsed into a cry. Ladybug rubbed circles around his back as another round of restrained-wails wrecked his frame. "I've got a special mission. I know more about Hawk Moth than anyone else here, so I can't just drop this job…but if I knew more earlier, would Rena still be alive right now? Why didn't I fucking prevent this?"

At this, she grabbed the sides of his face and turned them to her. "Chat," she said firmly, "you don't need to blame yourself for this situation. This isn't your fault. You can't control Hawk Moth's actions."

"But I could've stopped him earlier."

"You're. Not. Responsible. For. His. Actions." Ladybug gripped his cheeks harder. "You didn't force him to do any of this. You weren't the one behind the wheel. You cannot take responsibility for what he did, because you didn't cause it." Her grip lessened and she rubbed his cheek with her gloved hand. "Chat, why didn't you tell me any of this earlier?"

"Because I couldn't." Chat sucked in his snot. "I wasn't allowed too. Only Rena and Carapace know…and the higher ups."

"The higher ups?"

"Those fuckers, yeah." His chest rumbled with a growl and he clenched his fists tight. "I don't know how. They recruited me after my mom died, told me I was doing a service to the world…" He laughed bitterly. "As if. I feel like another god damn fucking puppet on a string. Do this—do that—don't ask questions—don't complain—don't get a say in it."

"You're not acting like a puppet right now," Ladybug said quietly. "We're both breaking a pretty important rule."

"Wish it wasn't at the cost of my stupid fucking mistakes."

"Hey," she said and gently pushed his face back to hers. "Chat…this sounds like there's years of self blame and hate going on. Too much for this to be fixed in a conversation—and, truthfully, no one else can fix this but you."

"I'm fixing this now," he whined, "I'm saving Rena, aren't I?"

"And neglecting yourself in the process," she cut in, kindly but firmly. "Would Rena or Carapace want this for you?"

"…No. But it doesn't matter. Emotions don't fit into our job."

"Would you tell me that too if the roles were reversed?" Ladybug asked quietly. His fingers dug into his arms.

"Never," he admitted. "Your emotions are part of the reason why I care for you so much. You…you wear them on your sleeves. You're never afraid of them."

"I very much was. I still am," she said with a breathless, humorless chuckle. "Chat…I've been going to therapy for a long time. Years. It's made a tremendous difference in my life. A lot of what your feeling is how I felt at my lowest…just absolute self hate and disgust. An anger that couldn't die down. I was going to sleep angry every night and waking up depressed. I hated every single day. But therapy and medicine made a huge difference in my life. My illnesses have never gone away, but I can manage them so much better now." She looked at him. "And…you helped a lot too over the years. More than you could ever imagine." His heart's thumping reached all the way into his throat, and his hand slipped around her waist. He squeezed. She smiled. "I wish you could see how amazing I view you, instead of what you believe yourself to be." She grabbed his other hand, cupped her face with it, and leaned in with closed eyes. "You deserve and need professional help, Chat. If you're not gonna do it for you, then would you do it for me?"

"I'd do anything for you," he said breathlessly. "I'd never let myself ruin you before it has to me."

"Then please, seek help." She leaned in and touched his forehead. He leaned into it. They exhaled and sunk further into their embrace. "And I think it'll help with us. Your behavior last night really messed me up, Chat." Her voice quivered. "I appreciate you telling me what's going on, and it's still not an excuse to snap at me like you did. I don't deserve that."

"You're right," Chat said quietly. "I freaked out and didn't handle it well. You didn't deserve to be on the other end of that. I...I'm sorry. I want to fix things."

"Therapy is the best place to start." Marinette leaned in further. "Still, we're a team"—she kissed his cheek—"and that won't change, even after tonight."



"You and Rena are about to leave soon." He startled. Ladybug did too. "Here's the plan, okay? We're gonna wait until the last second, because we can't scare off the driver. We need to be able to track them down and find out who did this for sure."

"Got it," Ladybug affirmed, "but how're we gonna get out the window?"

Chat smirked. "Leave that to me." He rubbed the last of the snot out of his nose and put his ear to the door. "Uh, sorry, I had to use some of your dresses for a tissue…it was getting everywhere."

"You're cleaning that out later," Ladybug teased. She approached the door and put her ear to it too. As she did, Chat leaned into her and closed his eyes.

"Thank you, Marinette," he said seriously. "I wanted to say that before we leave. I…I'm going to look into the counselors here after tonight. Provided we don't get fired."

"Or worse," Ladybug added helpfully. "But thank you for telling me everything, Chat. And apologizing. I really appreciate it." They stilled when they heard the past Rena and Marinette return to the office. Chat faintly heard sniffling outside the door as past Marinette gathered her things and left. A minute later, they opened the closet door and looked out the windows. The duo watched their past selves walk down the steps of the building and down the street.

"It's time," Chat said quietly. He opened the window, lengthened the baton and swung down, Ladybug clinging tightly to his side. They landed with a heavy thump and took off running down the street. In the distance, they could see their past selves, still arguing over the gloves. Across the street, Chat noticed a car in a parking lot turn its headlights on.

"Ladybug!" he shouted. "You get Rena—I'm going after the car."

"Right!" Ladybug affirmed. Two steps later, their past selves disappeared in a flash of light; Rena startled and took out her weapon, ready to fight. She turned around and gaped at the duo.

"Chat? Who-Who's this?"

"Rena, get out of the way now!"

The car burst out of the parking lot. Rena stood, shocked; Chat screamed; a yo-yo wrapped around Rena's waist and yanked her out of the way; and just in time, Chat jumped and landed on the hood. The car spun around the corner and revved down the street. Windows and streetlights and stores passed in a blur as Chat clung on. The wind sliced at his open skin. He tried to lift himself up, but the driver took another turn and he nearly lost his grip. Finally, he slammed his baton through the tinted window—but it bounced back. The pain fractured his shoulder and he yelped.

Faintly, he could make out the tip of a gun behind the tinted windshield. He ducked—too closely. The bullet sliced open his side and blood splattered the windshield. The car swerved. Chat clung on as best as he could—even when they drove over curves, through intersections, down a hill—

They stopped suddenly. Chat almost slid off, barely holding on, most of his body over the side of the car. The car started speeding up, and the driver fired again, the bullet tearing through his shoulder. Chat yelped and tumbled off the hood. His head slammed into the ground—or maybe the gravel punched him back—and he tumbled backwards backwards backwards, right into the bottom of a street lamp. He coughed and shot one last look at the car. In the back, he noticed an insignia in the middle of the trunk: a chameleon curled around a butterfly.

He blacked out.

"Chat!" Someone shook him awake. He groaned and fell back against the lamp. Pain seethed through his every artery, and he squeezed his eyes shut to fight against it. "Chat, we need to get you to Rena's place."

"Chat, c'mon, you really wanna bleed out here?"

His eyes shot open.

"Rena," he breathed. "You're—you're alive." He bit back half a sob. His shoulders shook and the pain worsened as his tears dripped into his wounds. He leaned forward into Rena's arms; before long, all three embraced, their frames shaking with sobs and laughter under the bent streetlight.

"I can't believe I almost fucking died." Rena sniffled. "I mean, I know our suits prevent a lot of damage, but still. And Marinette, I can't believe you're a Miraculous holder now!"

"For now," Ladybug corrected. "Nobody can find out about tonight—that Chat and I traveled to save you."

"How did you save her?" Chat coughed.

"This yo-yo is good for plenty of things." In her hand, Ladybug shook her trusty weapon, a proud grin tugging at her cheeks. "It's a shame we couldn't have used it when we were escaping out the window."

"Speaking of which," Rena cut in, "we need to get you to safety, but you're gonna need to talk to the doctor tomorrow first thing."

"And explain this how?"

"We'll see we were sparring and things got out of control. My competitive nature refused to back down to yours and voila—you need a doctor. Or maybe Marinette finally tried to kill you. We both know she's wanted to for years."

"Excuse me." The trio whipped their heads to an small old man a few paces away. "Are you alright, young man?"

"Uh," Chat said, "yeah?"

"I may not have my glasses on, but I'm sure you're injured. Let me—oh dear." His glasses dropped to the ground. Ladybgu sprang forward and handed them gently to the old man. "What a polite young lady." His eyes twinkled with something—amusement? "It's rare to find such good manners these days."

"T-Thank you," Ladybug said.

"Is there a name for the young lady?"

"My name is Ladybug," she replied after a moment.

"Ladybug. Interesting name." He leaned forward on his cane in a polite bow of greeting. "These days, most call people call me Fu." His eyes shifted to the road. "I saw the whole thing. Nasty car accident, young man. Now don't you three worry, you go take your friend to the hospital. The police don't need to interrogate you three."

"Isn't that a little illegal to not wait for the cops?" Rena said slowly. "You're helping us break the law."

Fu winked. "I've done worse."

Chat leaned into Rena. "I don't see a problem with it if he wants to break the law."

"Me neither," she whispered back. "Thank you, sir! Ladybug, come help me get Chat to his feet."

"Uh, right," Ladybug said. She turned to thank Fu—but he was already gone.

"Weird dude," Chat commented idly, before he coughed up another round of blood on the pavement.

He didn't remember the rest of the night very well. He knew that, somehow, Rena and Marinette returned the miraculous to Tikki's office, stole medical supplies from the doctor's office, and patched him up at Marinette's house. Maybe he couldn't remember because he wasn't conscious at the time. Hm. But according to Marinette, although he was high off pain meds, he still found a way to slip in a pun as he asked her out to the New Year's Party ("Do you wanna go meow-t with me to the New Year's party?", to which she responded, "Oh my god.") Judging by the goofy grin on her face the next morning, she must've said yes.

"Did you wait on me all night?" he teased, his voice raspy from sleep. His skin itched from wearing his suit for so long, but he was thankful that they cleaned his wounds before they dumped him on the couch. As if sensing his discomfort, Marinette kneeled down on the floor and laid a hand on his cheek.

"You did bleed a lot last night, Chat."

"I've had worse." He grinned. Marinette rolled her eyes. "But, uh," he said, his stomach tightening, "I do have an idea of how you could make it better."

"And what's that?" Marinette replied, her voice just as low and soft. She leaned in. So he did he. Their first kiss felt gentle, and perhaps it was the pain meds, but he really did feel like he was floating. And then the other feelings came in as their next kiss deepened, and his hand snaked into her hair, and she trailed her fingers down his chest…

They were grateful Rena didn't come into the living room until much later.

Although when it came time to the party, he knew his luck ran out. Annoyingly so, everybody took a shot at Chat—even though the part had started hours ago—with remarks ranging from "you finally stopped being a scaredy cat" to "about fucking time." But it balanced out—Marinette received her own share of remarks as well.

"So you had a thing for me just as long, eh?" he leaned in and whispered after Monkey made a passing comment. She laughed and tapped her cup with her nails. In the corner, they watched their coworkers dance with drunken glee.

"I can make your next shirt itchy as hell, just remember that," she teased. An hour until midnight, everyone was thoroughly drunk (unless they were a designated driver). Marinette had a little to drink, and Chat abstained (even though the pain meds were barely hanging on by that point, he knew better to mix the two together) but after the events of last night, they were more looking forward to a good night's sleep (amongst other things). Even Rena was drunk—although Chat wasn't sure if it was from having fun, or wanting to forget what happened to her. He made a note to keep an eye on her.

"Do you think she'll be alright?" Marinette asked quietly, also staring at Rena. Chat pursed his lips.

"She's a strong person. She'll be fine eventually. But anyone would be shaken up by their own mortality." In the corner, he leaned his head on top of hers, and she leaned into him. He kissed the top of her head. "Man, I wish I could dance right now. I could show you what a real dancer looks like."

"I'm looking at Rena already," Marinette teased. "Still...seemingly, things have settled down for now. Hopefully." Suddenly, the crowd parted. Plagg stepped through. Chat and Marinette straighted up and stepped away from each other as he approached them.

"You two kids looked refreshed," he commented. "After last night's events, I thought you two would've wanted to stay home and rest."

Chat's stomach dropped through the floor.

"Uh, I'm not sure—"

"Save it, kid." Plagg held up his hand, cutting Chat off. "You two—come with me." Chat and Marinette exchanged glances. They followed Plagg as the crowd parted for him again, making eye contact with a worried (and very drunk) Rena. She stepped forward, but Carapace held her back. Swallowing thickly, he turned to Marinette, ready to say anything to relieve her worries, but was surprised to find her shoulders straight and her eyes set. She wasn't going down without a fight.

And neither will I, he thought.

Plagg opened Tikki's door without knocking. From her desk, Tikki looked up, her face gentle.

"Marinette, it's lovely to see you again," she greeted. "It's been a few years since we last talked."

"You gave me a tour of the building when I first started here," Marinette realized aloud. "I didn't realize it had been so long since we'd seen each other."

"I didn't realize you two could be so sloppy," Plagg commented lazily. "Did you two really think you could get away with breaking one of the most important rules here?"

Chat and Marinette exchanged looks.

"Do you want an honest answer?" he asked.

"It doesn't help that we've already had to pull a lot of strings. Your ride with that car showed up on half of Paris' street cameras," Plagg continued. "Sloppy work, kid. I'm wondering how you made it into the field in the first place."

"With all due respect," Marinette cut in, "I think you would've done the exact same thing we did." Plagg raised a brow. "Our friend was murdered—potentially by Hawk Moth. We saw her die right in front of us—one of your own agents!—and we did what we had to do to bring her back. Because it'd be stupid to lose a valuable member in the fight for Paris. Because it'd be stupid not to realize that she shouldn't have died. Because it'd be stupid not to save her when we had all the tools to do it. And, yes, we don't know each other, but I can already tell you would've done the exact same thing in our shoes."

"Oh, you think?" Plagg challenged.

"We both know you're not a house cat," Marinette said. Tikki threw her head back in a laugh.

"She's got you pinned down," she said. "Anything you would like to add, Chat?"

"What she said," he replied confidently. Tikki and Plagg exchanged looks, silently communicating. In their chairs, Chat slipped his fingers through Marinette's. She squeezed him back.

"I'm glad you've stuck to your guns, Marinette," Tikki decided. "With proper training, you'll make a great addition to the team, should you choose to join."

"I-what?" Marinette croaked. Tikki reached into her drawers and placed the red box on the desk. It pulsed red light again, beating as vibrant as a heart, seemingly reaching for Marinette already. She stared at it, mouth gaping.

"The Ladybug miraculous has taken quite a liking to you." Tikki smiled. "But we knew it would."

"Honestly, I'm surprised you held up in that seamstress job for years—we thought you would've cracked a long time ago," Plagg admitted bluntly. "You've kept us waiting for you for a long time."

"Y-You mean I was meant to be on the Miraculous team?" Marinette whispered.

"We know a lot of things, Ladybug." Tikki smiled gently. "Well, we know possibilities. We saw that last night was one of many, but we never expected for things to turn out that way. And we also know that, beginning with you two, we're starting up a new partner program. With enough training, you two will work fantastically together."

"Oh my god." Chat grinned, "That's meowvarlous."

"Stop talking," Plagg said, without venom. Chat's grin grew.

Marinette rolled her eyes and reached out for the box. She paused. "I missed it," she admitted, before reaching down and touching it. The box ceased its red pulsing, cooling down to vibrations. Marinette smiled. She opened the box and began to put them on.

"Go for it," Chat urged. He squeezed her hand again. Marinette smiled.

"Spots on."

A/N: Aaaand it's the end! Don't worry, I wasn't gonna let Rena die, we love her too much. Thank you all for the kind feedback! This will be my last story for a while, but I'm hoping to start publishing another MLB story next year. As a little preview, here's a rough draft of the summary (key word rough):

"When the previous Ladybug dies to save her, Marinette Dupain-Cheng must take up the mantle of Ladybug and protect Paris. However, in this game of chess, Ladybug and Chat Noir must figure out who're the pawns, and who's the mastermind behind Paris' destruction."

It's another AU that still differs from the show, but is more faithful than this story. I've got more than 25k written for it, and it'll probably end up in the 100k range once it's done. Keep an eye out for it ;)