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Chat Noir had had a long day and despite having finished patrol with Ladybug about a half hour ago he found himself not ready to go home. He was not ready to sit at an empty dinner table or stay in a quiet house with only the company of Nathalie’s occasional footsteps when she passed by his door.

His subconscious led him to Marinette Dupain-Cheng’s home. The warmth that seemed to radiate from the bakery into the streets on the late spring night had a magnetic pull on him. Chat found himself leaping from rooftop to rooftop until he was perched on the railing of Marinette’s balcony. The colorful string lights illuminated the small space. Chat smiled when he noticed there was also light coming from the room underneath the small trapdoor. He stealthily crawling until he was right on top of the glass and he made direct eye contact with Marinette, who was sitting on her bed with a sketch pad. She screamed. He smirked.

After Marinette’s initial shock wore off, she set down the paper and pencil to unlatch the door. Chat Noir’s grin still present when he stretched comfortably across the foot of her bed, making himself at home. It was getting late; Marinette was already ready for bed with her hair in a messy bun and in a matching pajama set.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, Princess,” he purred. Marinette rolled her eyes.

“Why do you insist on sneaking up on me, Chaton?” Chat only shrugged in response. He enjoyed Marinette’s company. At school, when he was just Adrien, they were cordial and friendly, but their relationship was merely surface level. But whenever he was Chat, he felt a genuine connection with the girl. He had developed a bit of a habit of coming over unannounced and presumably overstaying his welcome, but Marinette didn’t seem to mind. She may act annoyed, but he thinks she secretly enjoys his visits too.

He lazily played with the sock on the foot extended in his direction, trying to pull it off, “so how was your day?” he asked. She swatted her foot at his hand then pulled it back towards her chest, but not without her sock being held captive in his claws and her bare foot now exposed. Marinette gave him a chiding look, but let it go with a sigh.

“Exhausting,” she explained, “I had two massive projects due this week and today was just one thing after another with the bakery and that akuma attack down the street . . . which I’m sure you know all about.” He did. The attack hadn’t been all that bad, just a distressed set designer unraveling large spools of fabric which occasionally entangled nearby pedestrians or splattering paint that covered car windshields. He and Ladybug had the situation under control in a matter of minutes, but the city was still a little on edge as they finished up their patrol later that evening.

Marinette rubbed her tired eyes as she leaned back against her pillows. Chat didn’t know what to do. His body ached to lie down next to her until she fell asleep, but his mind refused. Ladybug, it said. Shut up, he argued back. Ultimately, he knew he couldn’t.

“Well, I’m sorry for keeping you up so late. Goodnight, Princess. Sweet dreams,” he said as he rose from his relaxed position on her bed. Her eyes still covered by her fingers, he leaned down and placed a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

He was already halfway through the trapdoor when he heard her soft response, “Sleep tight, Kitty.” His heart fluttered and then he was bounding home across the rooftops of Paris.

Marinette looked back at the clock, it was almost midnight. She reached back to turn off her lamp, scolding herself for waiting up for Chat Noir. He was busy; Marinette of all people knew that. And that was just from being a superhero, she had no idea what his civilian life entailed.

She didn’t know why she expected him to come tonight. There was no schedule to his visits nor did he mention the next time he intended to stop by. Maybe, she just simply hoped he would know she wanted him to come over. His visits have started getting longer as finals had ended and the promise of summer break was in arm’s reach. They talked about both nothing and everything, or at least they tried too. There were obviously things that had to be kept secret, like his identity or the fact she had an alter ego of her own. But despite all of that she was getting to know more about her partner than she ever had as Ladybug. He seemed more open to Marinette, she wondered why.

“Do you talk to Ladybug about this kind of stuff,” she had asked during his last visit after having discussed their mutual love for the Mecha Strike game series. Of course she knew the answer was no, but she was curious if he would tell her why.

“Ah – not really,” he admitted sheepishly, but simply left it at that.

“I think you should.” He smiled sincerely, but then changed the subject.

With the memory of his smile fresh in her mind, Marinette accepted that was the closest she was going to get to seeing Chat Noir tonight and drifted off to sleep.

Chat Noir was waiting on the edge Marinette’s chaise when she arrived home from her last day of school, casually flipping through her sketchbook. She opened her door with a small yelp.

“What are you doing here?” she questioned as she quietly closed her door behind her, hoping her parents wouldn’t know there was a leather clad superhero lounging around her room in the middle of the afternoon.

“I just wanted to say hi. Hey! This this me?” he asked holding the sketchbook in Marinette’s direction. Her cheeks burned as she looked at the detailed sketch of Chat Noir in the latest Agreste formal wear collection.

“No, that’s not you,” she lied.

“Well I like it,” he winked. Marinette plucked the book out of his hands and stuck it under a pile of fabric scraps that was forming on her desk.

“What are you doing here?” she repeated, flustered. She sat at the head of the chaise. Chat noted the meter between them was the largest distance the two had maintained this week. He closed the gap.

“I already told you. I wanted to say hi,” he said was he rested his head on her lap and stretched out so that his long legs reached the end of the chaise. Her expression softened as she absentmindedly played with his light colored hair. His eyes closed and he felt warm inside.

“Are you going to tell me how you got in, Kitty?” she teased, no longer caring about the sketchbook. Chat hummed in response. Marinette just rolled her eyes then smiled softly as she continued to comb her fingers through his hair.

“This is nice,” he thought aloud. He felt Marinette’s hand falter behind his ear, but then slowly regain confidence.

"Yeah, it is,” she said wistfully. Chat was glad she agreed and that she continued to pet his head until he slowly fell asleep on her lap.

When Chat woke up there was golden sunlight pouring in from the windows that covered the side of the room. He looked up to see a sleeping Marinette resting against the side of her chaise. He froze for two reasons. The first being that he didn’t want to wake her, she looked so soft and warm when she was asleep. Second, he didn’t know what to do next. In his past few visits the pair had grown closer and seemed to have broken down some of their barriers. He had started sitting close enough so their arms could touch or she rested her head on his shoulder when he was telling her a story. He was still in love with Ladybug, that much he knew. But everything else was much blurrier in his mind. Instead of thinking he just acted.

He gently worked his way up next to Marinette so that their bodies were parallel, his chest to her back. Hesitantly, limbs still heavy with sleep, he reached his arm out and lightly draped it over her torso. He pulled her in slightly closer to him then relaxed. The sweet scent of her hair surrounded him and his mind began swirling with thoughts of Marinette. This felt good, right even.

Even though she was asleep, Marinette cuddled closer into his form. Chat felt his breath catch. He must be a masochist, he thought to himself, but not caring enough to stop and leave. And with that he allowed himself to slip back into slumber.