After the Battle
Alya raced to the bakery, eager to share her newest video of Ladybug and Chat Noir battling an akuma. The fight had just finished less than an hour ago, and she had gotten some awesome footage! With a little bit of editing, hits were already racking up on the Ladyblog!! Marinette was gonna love this! And it was totally gonna put to rest that girl’s theory that the two superheroes weren’t dating!! She’d been denying it for years now! But there had been no reason for Ladybug to brush Chat Noir’s hair back like that! Or for Chat to kiss her palm before she could pull it away! Ahhh!!! Her Ladyblog was going crazy and so was she!!
“Hi, Mrs. Cheng!” she called breathlessly to Marinette’s mother. Surprisingly, the woman was knitting downstairs in their bakery (which was closed for the day) instead of in their sitting room upstairs. Wasn’t it getting late? Alya shrugged it off. “Is Marinette home? I’ll go get her myself!” She ran up the stairs before the woman could reply, eager to show her bestie this awesome new video—
“Alya, wait!” Marinette’s mother called, quickly following her up the stairs before Alya could even open the door to the kitchen. Sabine put a finger to her lips and smiled mischievously. “Now’s not really a good time to visit Marinette.” Alya cocked her head in confusion. Why not? She knew they didn’t have any homework that absolutely needed to get done for tomorrow, at least nothing Marinette would have trouble with. She couldn’t be grounded; she’d actually been doing a lot better about being late these days. Was she sick?
Suddenly Alya heard a cry and a loud, low moan come from the room above them. She felt her mouth drop open and her face flame.
Nope! Nope. Definitely not sick. Unless she was dying. Or in absolute agony. But that had sounded—
“Ohhh, oh my God…”
Sabine covered her mouth, laughing a bit. “I really should warn her that these walls are thinner than she thinks.” Alya gaped at the woman. Marinette had a boyfriend? A serious boyfriend?? Why hadn’t she told her best friend???
“Oh my God, please! Oh no, Chat, not there! Not—” Marinette let out a cry that was positively indecent, followed by more moans that got louder and louder.
Alya felt her face burn. She should not be listening to this! She should not be listening to this! Holy crap, whatever this Chat-guy was doing sounded hot--!
“Wait, Chat?” she whisper-screamed at Marinette’s mother. “As in, Chat Noir??”
“He comes here after most battles nowadays,” Sabine nodded, grinning widely. She shrugged. “It’s probably the adrenaline high.”
Alya’s jaw dropped further as her friend’s cries continued. No wonder Marinette was convinced Ladybug and Chat Noir weren’t dating! She had inside information! Very inside, if the shouts Alya was hearing now were any indication. Well, damn. So much for her video scoop. She felt betrayed, even as she realized she knew exactly why Marinette hadn’t told her about her totally-hot boyfriend. Even now, knowing it was her best friend, she was half-tempted to run up the stairs and get the absolute scoop of a lifetime. Undeniable proof that Chat Noir, Paris’s most eligible bachelor, incorrigible flirt, and superhero extraordinaire, was dating! And it was someone other than—
“Oh dammit, Chat, you ripped it again!” Marinette’s indignant shriek interrupted Alya’s thoughts. She heard Chat Noir reply, too low for her to make out the words, but it was definitely his voice. She’d know it anywhere. “It doesn’t matter if I’m not gonna need it right now, I’ll want it later! –No, don’t! Oh, I swear to God, if you leave another mark—Ah! Ahhh… ooohhhh….”
Alya’s mouth went dry as her friend’s voice faded into panting and moaning. Holy hell, she had never been so embarrassed to have a good imagination. She needed a glass of ice water, stat!
“Sabine, have you seen my—” Tom Dupain was halfway up the stairs when his wife shushed him urgently. He raised an eyebrow at them standing in the hallway silently, then looked at the ceiling where the sounds were still coming from and sighed. “Are they at it again?”
“Oh, leave them alone,” Sabine gushed. “I’m sure superhero business is quite stressful. It’s good that he has a safe place and someone he trusts to come back to.”
“Wait, how long has he been coming here?” Alya couldn’t help asking.
“Oh no, not a word of this on your blog, young lady,” Tom warned her, shaking his finger at her.
“Mr. Dupain, I’m her best friend! I’d never do that to Mari!”
“Uh huh, but you’d out him in a minute,” he countered, unimpressed. Alya was about to deny it, but choked on her argument. Partially because it was true, and partially because—
“Oh, fuck, Chat!! God, do that again!!”
Marinette’s cries were growing louder. Alya had never even heard her friend swear before. And she could also hear furniture moving in a very distinct rhythm.
“Oh my God, Chat! Oh my—oh God! Oh, oh, OHH!!”
Beside her, Tom shook his head. “You two shouldn’t even be listening to this,” he chided them, turning to go back downstairs. Sabine giggled.
“I can’t really help it,” she whispered to Alya as they followed him downstairs where they couldn’t hear the two lovers. “Especially when he comes late at night when we’re already in bed. Her room is right above ours.”
Alya winced, even as she shook with suppressed laughter. Oh, she was going to have so much fun teasing Mari about this tomorrow!
“She’s not exactly being discreet,” Alya agreed. “Maybe I need to get that girl a gag or something.”
“Oh, don’t you dare!” Sabine laughed. “The poor thing would die of shame!”
“Or her boyfriend would try to play with it.”
“That too. Water?”
“Oh, yes, please,” Alya said, relieved, leaning on the counter. “But seriously, how long? I swear I won’t put it on the blog.”
“Hmm,” Sabine said as she got them both bottles of water from the shop. “I’d say, a couple months, at least? I didn’t hear them get too serious until the night after that one attack where he almost died. You remember, the tree akuma?”
Alya did remember that one. It was almost impossible to forget. Chat Noir had been impaled by a branch, his Miraculous armor pierced through completely by the akuma’s magic. Ladybug had been beside herself, trying to defeat the villain before her partner bled out. Her Miraculous Cure had fixed everything afterwards, but the two superheroes had been seen arguing on a rooftop nearby before parting ways angrily. The networks had refused to run most of the footage of that fight; it had been too gruesome.
“Nothing like a near-death experience to reevaluate your priorities, huh?” Alya said quietly.
“Mmm,” Sabine agreed. “That night, I heard her yelling on the phone to some friend she calls Tikki and the next night, he came over. I didn’t see him, but I heard them shout at each other a bit and then….” She trailed off, waving her hand at the ceiling.
“Wow,” was all Alya could say. Sabine nodded.
“You’re not going to be so smug about this if he gets her pregnant,” Tom called from the back.
“Oh poo, you!” Sabine laughed. “I’ve had that girl on birth control for years, ever since she came home crying about being bullied for her acne. And she and I have sat down and had The Talk again since he started coming here regularly. She’s being safe. Not that their children wouldn’t be absolutely gorgeous,” she added to Alya.
“Oh, I hear you, Mrs. C!” Alya said grinning.
“And don’t worry about Ladybug,” Sabine said. “I’ve already talked to him about her as well. I wondered, of course, what with all the flirting they do on TV, if he might be two-timing somebody. But he assured me it’s all an act for the cameras, and she’s in a very happy relationship with a supermodel.”
“REALLY?” Alya cried, lighting up.
Sabine winked at her. “But you didn’t hear it from me! And no, before you ask, I don’t know the model’s name.”
“Awww…,” Alya pouted. “This is going to totally destroy my Ladynoir fanbase! Still…,” She chewed on her thumb, considering. How much would Mari allow her to post?? Her best friend loved her, right?
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN, ALYA’S HERE???” they heard Marinette scream two floors above them.
Sabine started laughing. “Oh dear, looks like we’ve been outed by those superhuman kitty ears again. I swear, that boy has no sense of self-preservation—”
“CHAT, I SWEAR TO GOD I’M GOING TO SKIN YOU ALIVE—”
“Well, shall we go up to the living room?” Sabine asked. “You’ll be more comfortable while you talk to her, and I have to start supper.”
“Sure,” Alya said, shaking in laughter as her friend continued to scream at her lover.
“OH NO, CAT BOY, YOU’RE COMING WITH ME, IF I HAVE TO DRAG YOU BY YOUR TAIL!”
“Tell her to keep it down,” Tom called to them as they went upstairs. “The bakery might not be open, but the neighbors are going to start to talk!”
“Of course, dear! Rice or noodles?” Sabine called back.
“Will you be staying for supper, Alya?” Sabine asked her, using her normal voice now as they entered the living area.
“That’s okay, Mrs. Cheng. I don’t wanna make things too awkward,” Alya said, grinning and glancing up at where her best friend’s room was, still hearing angry whispers now and again. She seated herself on the couch, totally looking forward to this conversation. Vaguely, she wondered if any of them would notice if she recorded it discreetly….
The door to Marinette’s room opened and her best friend came slowly down the stairs, followed by the unmistakable form of Chat Noir, who was grinning broadly. Marinette, however, flushed beet red and bit her lip when she saw her best friend waiting for her. Alya almost burst out laughing when she saw Marinette was in a sundress instead of the capris and shirt that she usually wore. Ahh, so that’s what Chat had ripped. Oh my… couldn’t wait to get her out of her clothes, kitty?
“Hi, Mari,” Alya said teasingly, waving. “Thought I’d come and see you. Didn’t know you’d be busy….” Marinette whined and covered her face. Behind her, Chat slipped his arm around her and kissed her hair lovingly, still snickering. Alya almost burst at the cuteness of the gesture. She’d been an avid Ladynoir shipper for years, but this! This was frickin’ adorable. “And, of course, the Cat,” she said, nodding to him. “Nice to see you again, Chat Noir.”
“Ladyblogger,” he said, winking and giving her his two-fingered salute as he played along. “It’s been too long.” She laughed, knowing he had seen her videotaping the akuma battle less than an hour ago.
Alya studied him for a moment. In the three years since he and Ladybug had been saving Paris, time had been nothing but kind to Chat Noir. He’d grown out his hair; its ends just barely touched his chin now, and it was still completely wild. (She’d had more than a few fans on the Ladyblog say how desperately they wanted to run their hands through it.) And his form had filled out beautifully; his shoulders broadening and muscles expanding underneath his skin-tight suit. (She wasn’t even going to go into detail on some of the comments her blog had gotten there.) Hot damn, the boy was fine. Plus, he’d grown a few more inches, putting his head completely above Marinette’s.
All the better to tuck her under his chin, like he was currently doing, Alya thought.
And through everything, he’d still maintained his cheerful personality and flirty nature; gaining even more confidence than ever before, while never actually crossing into the creep zone. The perfect gentleman and rogue. Ooo, had Mari caught a good one.
Of course, her friend was quite a catch too, Alya mused. She hadn’t grown any taller, but she’d filled out a bit more, while still somehow maintaining her athletic shape. She’d also cut her hair short (shorter than her current boyfriend’s) and Alya had finally talked her into using just a touch of darker makeup, making her look more mature and alluring. And it had worked. Combined with her sweet personality and natural good-looks, Marinette had often been propositioned by hopeful guys. Alya had always wondered why Mari had always turned them down, teasing her friend for still having a crush on the unobtainable Adrien Agreste, even if she denied it. Now she knew the real reason why.
Sabine was right. Their children were gonna be gorgeous.
She grinned at Marinette. “So…” she prompted. Marinette ducked her head.
“So, I don’t know how much of that you heard—”
“Oh girl, I heard everything,” Alya laughed, unable to take it anymore. Her friend meeped and covered her face again. “Did you know, if you bite your knuckle like this,” she demonstrated, “it’ll cut off your urge to scream… you know, most of the time?” Chat burst out into a fresh batch of snickers, burying his face in girlfriend’s hair.
“Oh yes, dear, your father asked me to remind you again to try to keep it down,” Sabine called from the kitchen.
“Sorry, maman,” Marinette groaned, looking like she wanted to melt into the floor. Chat wasn’t going to let her, though, as he wrapped both his arms around her waist tightly and settled his chin on her shoulder.
“Sorry, that’s my fault,” he said. “We have a rule against it. If I don’t get to bite anything, she doesn’t get to bite anything.” He wiggled his eyebrows at Alya suggestively. She covered her mouth with her hands in delight.
Marinette scowled at him. “You are not biting my neck again.”
“Does this have anything to do with that scarf phase you had a couple weeks ago?” Alya asked, now shaking in suppressed laughter. “You know, the one where you were ‘so sure they were gonna come back,’ and then they never did?”
“Yes,” Marinette groaned while Chat Noir nodded eagerly behind her.
“Oh girl, you are in sooo much trouble,” Alya said, laughing. “What else have you been hiding from me??”
Her friend bit her lip and glanced sideways at her boyfriend. As if some unspoken signal had passed between them, he kissed her shoulder and pulled away from her, striding over to where Alya was sitting on the couch. She felt her blood race as she saw his muscles ripple underneath his suit. Dear God, how did Marinette survive these encounters?? Nobody had a right to look that good. That powerful. Fucking sex-on-wheels, that’s what he was! And he was smirking at her! Why???
“Phone, Ladyblogger,” he said, holding out his hand for it. She gaped at him and clenched it tighter. Shit, she was caught. Oh shit, shit, shit!
“I… uh, don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, trying to sound innocent.
“Al-ya,” he sang in a warning tone. She reluctantly handed him the phone. Better she give it up now than have him Cataclysm it.
“Oh, come on, I didn’t record everything,” she whined. A part of her noticed that he got through her password easily, as if he already knew it.
“Alya!” Marinette cried, scandalized.
“Oh, relax, it’s not like I livestreamed anything,” Alya said, rolling her eyes. “And I was gonna edit the video later. Like, heavily. You wouldn’t even be in the picture, Mari. I just wanted to get a few questions from your boyfriend here.”
“Sorry,” Chat said cheerfully. “But I’m not doing interviews today.” She heard her phone make the sound that said a video had been deleted and pouted. He handed it back to her with a grin.
“So, can I get an exclusive later, then?” she asked hopefully. Chat looked at his girlfriend with an eyebrow raised, but Marinette just facepalmed. “Oh, come on, Mari!” Alya pleaded, sensing she was losing them. “You know most of the people who watch my blog are shippers!!”
“Believe me, I know,” Marinette muttered.
“Maybe we can work something out later,” Chat said, winking at Alya. “But don’t post anything that could lead back to Mari, okay? You don’t want her to become a target, do you?”
“No, no, of course not,” Alya said immediately, waving her hands frantically. She’d never want to put her friend in danger! “So, when are you free??”
“I’ll have to get back to you on that,” he said easily, heading back over to Marinette and giving her a quick kiss. “Right now, I have to get back to work.”
“You’re not staying for supper then, Chat?” Sabine called from the kitchen.
“Mmm, I wish I could, ma’am,” he said, inhaling deeply. “But people are going to start to notice if I’m gone any longer.” He pushed his forehead against Marinette’s and wrapped his arms around her again. Alya nearly melted at the sweetness of the picture they made.
“All right, I’ll leave you some leftovers in the fridge for later,” Sabine said.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Chat said.
“You’re seriously gonna leave me here with her,” Marinette muttered at him. He snickered.
“She’s your best friend,” he reminded her. She glared up at him, breaking only when he kissed her nose.
“Ugh. Just kill me now,” she begged. “Throw me off the side of the Eiffel Tower.”
“Not a chance,” he murmured, lifting her chin and leaning down to kiss her deeply. Holy fuck, that was hot.
Alya quickly snapped a picture.
They both whirled on her and she quickly hid her phone behind her back. “Not for the blog!” she said quickly, before Chat could come after her again. “I’m saving that one for your wedding day!”
“Alya!” Marinette cried, turning red. Chat, however, just laughed.
“Good luck,” he teased his girlfriend as he released her to head up the stairs. Before he could get all the way up, he turned back to Alya. “I want a copy.”
“You got it,” Alya grinned at him. Marinette glared at her boyfriend’s disappearing form. “So…,” Alya said, bringing her friend’s attention back to her. “Chat Noir, huh?”
Marinette groaned in despair.
Alya bounded through the streets as the Miraculous Cure swept everything back the way it had been before. She got there just in time to see Ladybug and Chat Noir do their trademark fistbump and quickly started filming.
“Whew, what a wild ride,” Chat was saying. He grinned at Ladybug. “See you later tonight for cookies and snacks, my lady?” Alya bit lip to keep from saying anything. It sounded innocent enough, but he’d better not be two-timing Marinette!
“Hmm, not tonight, Chat,” Ladybug said, looking thoughtful. He pouted. “I’ve been feeling kind of stressed lately. I need to go pin my hot boyfriend against his bedroom wall until he begs for mercy.”
“Well, um, uh, yeah. Go, do what you gotta do,” he agreed, nodding and coughing uncomfortably.
Ladybug gave him a sweet smile. “Some other time, kitty?”
“Yep. See you later,” he said, not looking at her. She took off and Chat let out a deep breath. Alya couldn’t really blame him. She didn’t even know who Ladybug’s boyfriend was, but damn, that had sounded hot. Someone out there was in trouble. “I take it you caught all that, Ladyblogger?” he asked, glancing backwards at her.
“Oh, yeah,” she affirmed. “Shall we assume someone out there needs a heads-up from the livestream?”
Chat chuckled. “Oh, I’m sure he knows by now,” he said with a grin. He twirled his baton carelessly.
“How about you, Chat Noir, got any plans?” Alya asked, hoping for an interview.
“Actually, I do,” he said, turning to her with a predatory smirk that made her face flush. She could already hear his fangirls swooning from this video.
“Don’t even bother trying to find my girlfriend for the next couple of hours, Ladyblogger,” he said. “I guarantee, you won’t get through to her.” He winked and took off into the air. Alya gasped and fanned herself before switching the camera to her.
“Well, you heard it here first, folks! Our local heroes and hotties, Ladybug and Chat Noir, are NOT together, but are apparently still in very serious relationships! More coming soon as we try to figure out who these other two lucky Parisians are! Guesses and speculation are welcome, but as always, try to keep your comments decent unless you’re in the 18+ section! Alya, out!!”