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How To Love Yourself

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“Chat…”

Ladybug’s eyes gazed down upon the red flower that had been presented to her. With her voice laced with an apologetic tone, she looked back up at the black clad superhero that was holding the rose. There was a hopeful glimmer in his widened green eyes. There always was.

Chat Noir’s persistent determination to proclaim his love for her was almost admirable, however, there was always an invisible wall of other feelings that stood between her and her partner. It just wasn’t meant to be. Her head turned to the side and Ladybug took in the rooftop view of the Parisian night sky. It really was a romantic spot. She could not deny that Chat Noir was a bit of a romantic character behind his pun cracking, show-offy character that he prefered to show first. He was a fantastic partner, the best really. He knew her like nobody else did. But…

She put her hand over the hand he was holding out to her. She hesitantly pushed the rose back towards Chat.

“Chat. You know…” she began, “It just isn’t going to happen right now.”

Chat Noir looked back down at the rose as he slowly lowered it back down to his side. His posture had stiffened, and he blinked a few times before tilting his head at her.

Right now?” The hopeful tone in his voice didn’t go unnoticed by Ladybug, who realized her mistake in her wording.

“What you’re saying,” he continued, “is that maybe..? Maybe someday at least?”

His stance shifted and he bit his lip as he looked directly into Ladybug’s bright blue eyes. Chat’s shoulders tensed. Her annoyed blue eyes. Ladybug sighed as she simply shook her head and put her palm to her forehead. She looked away. Chat couldn’t help but feel a small knot begin to form in his stomach as he continued to watch his partner take a step back from him and frown. When she looked back at him, Chat’s heart dropped. He knew that look all too well.

“What I’m saying,” she sighed in frustration again, “is that you need to respect that there’s someone else. As in not you. You’re the best partner I could have asked for, and you’re incredible and funny and my best friend. I honestly consider you something akin to a soulmate. But-”

She gives Chat another irked expression as he visibly lit up at her praise. Her heart was screaming at her to wrap up her little speech and let her sensitive partner down gently until the next time he tried to woo her. Her head, however, kept flashing to images of Adrien. Beautiful, kind, sensitive and wonderful Adrien Agreste.

The smart boy that sat in front of her in class. The funny guy that she ran across Paris with while avoiding the paparazzi. The geek that played Ultimate Mega Strike III with her for hours, and almost always lost. The sensitive one that would give anything to break away from his chaotic schedule and lonely house to spend time with his beloved friends. The gentleman that danced with her and managed to make Marinette forget about everything else in the world except the two of them… her and Adrien. Oh, Adrien.

Ladybug opens the eyes she didn’t realize had closed. She takes in Chat’s curious expression, and the rose still at his side that he gripped a little bit tighter. God, he was stubborn. Ladybug almost found it impressive, and maybe in another world, she could try to picture herself and Chat becoming what could almost certainly be deemed a “power couple” by the media. But right here wasn’t another world. This world had Adrien in it. And as much as Ladybug felt bad turning away Chat again, Chat Noir just simply was no Adrien Agreste. Adrien, the boy that completely had her heart.

Chat’s finger brushed against one of the soft red petals.

“You need to realize that people can be really close and not have a romantic relationship going on,” she heard herself snap, “You need to stop and give it up. Because, Chat, it’s literally never going to happen!”

She regretted her words as soon as she saw Chat recoil away from her. The rose drifted to the ground and landed silently at his feet.

Say something she urged herself. Fix this situation. You didn’t mean it to come out so harshly. Stay here and apologize.

She reached for her yo-yo.

Maybe it came out too blunt, but at least he’ll get the message. Another part of her countered. He’s a strong boy. He’ll get over this like he always does. And I’ll see another rose in a week or so. It’ll be fine. This is just our thing at this point. It’s late and we’re both tired. We can figure this out when we weren’t just ripped from our beds because of an akuma.

She leaped off the rooftop without another word and into the dark Parisian night.

---------------

Marinette gave herself ten seconds after transforming before completely freaking out.

“Gyaaaaah!” She groaned into her pillow.

Tikki sat next to her as she took a bite of a cookie. Her chosen really did have a habit of overcomplicating things at times. Marinette was a smart and compassionate girl though. She would fix up anything she thought was a huge deal. To be honest, most of the times, Marinette’s situations were easily fixable. Marinette often called Chat dramatic, but Tikki thought it was the pot calling the kettle black.

Yes, Tikki acknowledge that maybe word choice could have been different, but Marinette said what she said, and can always just apologize later. Chat would probably be bitter about it the next time they see each other, but by the time they finish patrol, or finish fighting off an akuma, he’ll be over it. Marinette knew her partner well enough to know how he’d handle this.

Plagg had once told her that his chosen’s father didn’t approve of him being so emotional at times. So it wasn’t even necessarily a “dramatic Chat” thing, it was just an Adrien being Adrien thing.

Oh yeah, Adrien Agreste was Chat Noir. The very same boy her chosen just turned down again. The whole situation gave Tikki a headache. She wanted nothing more than to shake Marinette’s shoulders and tell her to open her eyes, but she couldn’t say Plagg’s chosen even if she wanted to. Tikki finished up her cookie in time to hear the last bit of Marinette’s dismay.

“...and it’s just so annoying! But also I can’t just say I kind of like it too because then he’ll do it again! And I don’t think I want that, because it just makes me..annoyed! How am I supposed to imagine a future with Adrien when in the back of my mind there’s that silly cat and his hopeful ways! I hate that I have to choose only one, I really do, but after tonight it’s pretty much set and stone. N..not that it wasn’t before, though. It’s just hard going back and forth. Not to mention I can’t believe I had to turn Chat Noir down twice this week! As Marinette and Ladybug! Oh Tikki, I’m a confused mess, aren’t I?”

Tikki pushed away her incoming headache and moved to comfort the girl. She tore her cookie in half and offered the bigger piece to her upset chosen.

“It’s been a long week. At least tomorrow is Friday, you’ll do a simple patrol, and then you can have some rest. Until the next akuma, that is. Chat Noir knows what you meant, even if you think it came out wrong. You can be confused, Marinette, but next time don’t take it out on your partner. Regardless, it’ll be alright.”

She gave Marinette a kiss and grinned when she saw Marinette crack a small smile. Marinette took a bite of the cookie and relaxed in her bed.

“You’re right, Tikki. Thanks for dealing with my shenanigans. Ugh. It’s so lame though.” Marinette pulled her blanket over her head, and looked at the Kwami perched beside her on her stuffed animal.

“You’re welcome Marinette. Now get some sleep. You can think better when you’re well rested.”

Marinette nodded and closes her eyes. Tikki sighed in relief that she was able to comfort the girl. If she only knew the truth about Chat though…

---------------

If there was one thing Plagg was bad at, out of the many things he was fantastic at, mind you, it was comforting people.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care, or didn’t try, but humans were all over the place with their feelings and everyone wanted to be comforted in different weird ways. Leave me alone! One chosen would snap at him. Why are you across the room, shouldn’t you be here comforting me? Another would whine. Only defeating Darius the Third will ease my pain! Another claimed. You don’t care. They accused. Plagg preferred to stay close to them, but only speak when spoken to nowadays.

However, Adrien was different. Plagg saw how distant his father was. Adrien was the kind that needed affection and obvious care. He was already deprived of that from one family member. But the problem was just Plagg wasn’t good at the whole affection thing these days. He sat on the boy’s chest, nibbling his cheese while sneaking glances at Adrien. He wasn’t sure what to say. He felt him sigh.

Adrien laid in his bed staring up at the ceiling, eyes glassy. Sure. He’s been turned down by Ladybug a bunch of times by now. However, in one single week, his good friend Marinette said she wasn’t interested in Chat, and now the love of his life said she never was going to love him. What was it about Chat that turned people off? It frustrated him that on the other hand, everyone was infatuated with Adrien Agreste.

Adrien Agreste. The pretty face with photoshop smiling a perfect smile in perfect clothes with perfect measurements. His perfect manners and his perfect grades and his perfect life. Everyone “wanted” Adrien. Everyone wanted the famous Gabriel Agreste’s son. He was sick of it.

Receiving his miraculous was the greatest thing to ever happen to him. With Plagg and his ring, he could for once be someone who wasn’t perfect, and get away with it. People seemed to like Chat Noir, they expressed their gratitude towards his and Ladybug’s duties to the city. People always tuned in to news stories that featured him and his partner. They waved whenever the two of them had patrol. Memes were even made using his alter-ego!
Whenever he walked past the statue in the park of Ladybug and Chat Noir, he smiled. It was his own little secret.

But nowadays, he was feeling crappy even as Chat. As Chat he felt like he could really be himself and he always enjoyed transforming. But this past Sunday left him slightly embarrassed. That Saturday, he had been under the impression that his classmate Marinette was in love with him since she said so. On Sunday, he left the Dupain-Cheng bakery with confirmation that Marinette was not, in fact, interested in Chat at all. But so long as he remained friends with the girl in and out of his supersuit though, things wouldn’t be awkward. He was okay with that.

It was Ladybug saying he was unlikable the very same week that messed with his self-esteem. Obviously Adrien had some hope that someday, somehow Ladybug would return his feelings. No matter what, there was enough hope in his heart that inspired him to keep trying. Every single time he saw his beautiful, strong, and intelligent partner, his heart would beat a little faster, and his stomach would twist in the best way possible. He always felt the corners of his lips turn upwards, even after the hardest of days. The bags under his eyes felt lighter, and giddiness filled him from his toes to his ears. Just being in the presence of Ladybug was rewarding. His love for her burned so deeply, it made his little sacrifices during battle absolutely worth it. He would die for his lady.

It hurt knowing that Ladybug confirmed she would never feel the same way when she saw Chat.

Adrien felt something press down on him, and only then did he snap out of his thoughts. He looked down and saw his kwami staring at him.

“Wait, kid. Why are you crying? There’s no need for that here. It’s late. Really fucking late. Don’t you think you’d be able to process things a whole lot better if you weren’t stupid with sleepiness? It’s been a long week! I’ve had to hide around in boring boxes while you do your early morning photoshoots. And it’s hard sleeping in smelly bags when you do your late afternoon activities! Plus there’s boring school all day and we’ve had six akumas this week! I’m pooped!” He rolled over in exaggeration. Adrien frowned and Plagg decided to take a new approach. He sat up.

“Okay. Fine. What’s bugging you?” He hesitantly asked, not sure if he’ll have the right response.

Adrien’s breath hitched at Plagg’s word choice. Fuck! Plagg scrambled to come back from a mistake like that.

“Adrien, look, this has happened before. And I’ve told you to cut it out with the roses. And to not dive in so deeply so fast. You need to stop allowing yourself to be disappointed by repeating this only to get the same results.”

Adrien sighed again and he scooped Plagg up as he sat up in his bed.

“It just feels different this time.” Adrien mutters as he wipes his eyes with the back of his hand. “I don’t know. It’s just one can only take so much of it, you know? Maybe you were right, and maybe Kagami was right too. Also maybe I am just tired. I’m just so over this week, and I wish I could sleep the weekend away. Maybe forget all of the times I’ve embarrassed myself by being an annoying hopeful romantic. I don’t want to frustrate Ladybug. I feel like I do that a lot.”

A few more tears slid down his cheeks and Plagg shifted in Adrien’s hand to avoid one falling on his head. While avoiding one, another tear plopped down on the top of his ear. Plagg huffed and hovered up to Adrien so he’s at eye level with the boy.

“Come on, Adrien. You don’t frustrate her as often as you think. In fact, I’m sure she likes you. For who you really are. But just, give the ‘pursuing her’ thing a rest for a little, okay? Because you’re frustrating me by getting your big fat tears in my ears, dammit.” Plagg tried to swipe away at a new tear that was rolling down his chosen’s face, but his paws were too small to do much. He huffed and glanced down at the bed. He quickly retrieved the nearest item that seemed useful, and dabbed Adrien’s tear stained cheek. Adrien stopped sniffling.

“Plagg? Are...are you trying to wipe my face with cheese?” Adrien asked, as he tried to watch the tiny cat swipe the slice of camembert against the sides of his face. His voice was full of amusement. Plagg mentally sighed in relief.

“I told you. Your damn tears were hitting me. What else was I supposed to do?” Plagg explained as he watched Adrien smile through his tears. He reached up and wiped his eyes again.

“Thanks Plagg. I’ll try to be more considerate when suffering from despair next time.” he chuckled and laid down again. He placed Plagg on the pillow beside him and rolled over to turn off his light.

Once in the darkness, he found himself facing two glowing green eyes slowly blinking at him. Adrien reached out and lightly scratched behind Plagg’s ear. Plagg usually protested at the thought of being treated like a normal house cat, but both he and Adrien knew that he actually liked it. Plagg settled down in the pillow and closed his eyes. Adrien smiled.

“Look kid, I think you’re pretty fucking great. But just take some time for yourself for a little. Isn’t there a dumbass saying that’s like, ‘love yourself’ or something before you begin to love others? I think that’s some good advice to follow if I were you right now.” Plagg said, his eyes still closed.

Adrien freezed. Plagg just said something that gave him an idea. A weird idea, but nevertheless, it was an idea. Adrian patted Plagg on the head.

“You know what? I think I will follow that. Goodnight Plagg. You’re the best.”

“I know.”

---------------

Morning came way too soon, and Marinette groggily rolled out of bed and sulked down her ladder to her mirror. Between the akuma that struck in the middle of the night, to spending extra time after worrying about her partner, Marinette was not left with that much sleep time. She yawned. The evening couldn’t come soon enough. All Marinette wanted to do was go to her patrol, hang out with Chat Noir and then crawl into bed and hopefully remain undisturbed until Monday.

If Chat wasn’t still upset with her…

She could only hope for the best. Marinette grabbed her bookbag and hurried to school.

---------------

The day was nothing short of a blur. Marinette tried her best to keep her eyes opened, but found herself feeling like the day was one big dream. Her body felt heavy, and her mind was two paces behind what was happening around her.

She did, however, perk up when she saw Adrien walk in before class. He looked a little tired, probably from a photoshoot, but still had a large smile on his face and bright eyes. He greeted Nino with a little more enthusiasm than usual, she noted. Nino leaned over and whispered something to him. Adrien shook his head and leaned back over to Nino. Marinette had yawned at that moment, so she missed Nino’s reaction.

She was just glad Adrien was having a nice day.

---------------

Ladybug waited on a rooftop by the Place des Vosges. She and Chat Noir were to meet up and then patrol the areas up to the Eiffel Tower. Ladybug knew Chat might be a bit wounded still about last night, but he always showed up for patrol. Ladybug believed that Chat’s favorite part of the day was when they patrolled.

She didn’t blame him. The two of them would run across the rooftops, feeling invincible and free. They’d wave at citizens who saw them sometimes, and would even sometimes stop by a certain well known bakery for treats. Chat would always try to snag a bit of her éclair, while Ladybug would sneak one of his macaroons while he was attempting to reach her pastry.

Sometimes they’d stop for ice cream. Ladybug used to laugh at how messy Chat was at eating out of an ice cream cone. For some reason, he’d stall at first and let it melt. He’d realize his ice cream was melting, and hurry to take a bite straight out of the scoop, and get the stuff on his nose and cheeks. It was only after a whole scoop accidentally fell off of the cone onto her foot, that Ladybug had had enough and marched back to the ice cream stand, and asked for another one in a cup. Sometimes Chat still asked for a cone, but Ladybug would quickly correct his order and he’d get a cup and a spoon. They’d bicker about it for a little, and it would be in good fun. Chat didn’t mind a cup since he could get more ice cream than in a cone, he realized.

Nothing beat the view of Paris when they finally reached the eiffel tower. The two of them would sit at their special spot and watch the tiny dots of people go about their lives. Tiny cars would drive below them and small buildings would light up in the night.

Sometimes they would play ‘I Spy’, and Ladybug would shove Chat for saying something stupid like “I spy something black.” And she’d respond “It’s nighttime, Kitty. Almost everything is black.” But she’d still guess.

It was also always interesting when they found something they could help out with.

Ladybug and Chat Noir were not unfamiliar with the occasional fights or attempted muggings. Sometimes a person would ask the two of them if they could walk them home. It always felt nice to end patrol feeling like they accomplished something and was reassured that Paris was akuma-free for a little.

Patrols were valued greatly since it gave the two of them a chance to slow the pace a little and enjoy being superheroes. It also allowed them to grow their friendship. Ladybug found herself looking forward to patrols almost as much as Chat. Chat would always be quick to meet up with Ladybug. He’d usually be right on time unless something was wrong, like if he had a particularly bad day. Which Ladybug found out he often had.

Chat was late today too.

 

Ladybug checked her yo-yo. Chat’s tracker icon was visible, which meant he must be transformed somewhere. She tapped it and looked at the map.

Oh. He was actually pretty close to the park already. It looked like he was a few blocks down on the roof of a house. Ladybug looked closer. He was actually on the same street as…

The icon flew across the screen, preparing Ladybug for the ‘thump’ she heard behind her as her partner landed on the roof.

She paused for a second, taking her time closing her yo-yo. She finally turned around, bracing herself for an earful of how upset Chat still was.

Chat smiled at her.

“Good evening, Milady,” He greeted and walked up to her side. He was still smiling. Ladybug wondered what was going on. I mean, sure she was actually quite pleased that Chat didn’t have an attitude tonight, but to be this chipper and enthusiastic the day after being told he wasn’t going to have a chance with his ‘true love’? Ladybug was almost worried he was putting on a show.

“You seem to be in a good mood…” Ladybug noted as Chat pulled out his baton and smiled.

“How observant of you. I’ve always told you you had an eye for detail.” Chat quickly responded, giving her a wink. Ladybug rolled her eyes.

“Chat…” She began, not believing that she’d have to tell him off two nights in a row.

Chat held up his hands. “Hey. I know, I know. I read you loud and clear. But that doesn’t mean I can’t compliment you. I always said you’d be my one and only lady after all.”

Ladybug looked at him.

Chat continued, “You’re the only lady in my life, you’re my best friend. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a man in my life.” He slid open his baton again and smiled.

Ladybug blinked.

Chat looked at Ladybug for a second longer. “Wait. Do I have to explain it more to you? Bugaboo, you’re officially looking at someone who’s got himself an incredibly hot, and smart, and talented, and funny and fit and loyal and gorgeous and-”

She cleared her throat.

“Right. Sorry. I’ll get on with it. But Milady, an incredible and beautiful boy asked me out, and I just had to say yes!” He gushed and held out his baton.

On the main screen of the device was a picture of a boy with edited hearts and kiss emojis on it.

“You know him, right? His name is Adrien Agreste!”

Chapter Text

On Monday morning, Marinette sat down silently at her desk, her brain full of literally any other topic except school. She laid her head down on the desk, not listening to any of her classmates that greeted her. She closed her eyes. It had been a long weekend. It was all because of Friday night. Screw Friday night. It absolutely ruined her entire weekend, if not her entire life . She lifted her head, chin still resting on her desk, and looked at the seat in front of her. Her stomach was twisted into knots, and her heart felt like it weighed a hundred pounds. She wanted to just stay home in bed. The weather matched her mood. It was dark and grey and ready to rain at any second. Just like how Marnette felt like she was about to cry any second. For the first time in her life, she absolutely dreaded the arrival of Adrien.

Marinette wasn’t aware that she had closed her eyes until Alya had nudged her side.

“Oooh, Marinette,” Alya coaxed, “Looks like someone sneaked their outfit past Daddy Agreste.”

Marinette didn’t want to open her eyes. She really didn’t. Knowing that she was going to look at this beautiful boy in whatever spectacular outfit he was wearing was just going to absolutely kill her. But the temptation was killing her even more.

Alya poked her side again, and Marinette opened her eyes to glance at Alya in hopes that she wouldn’t start whispering about Adrien again.

Then she looked in front of her at her blonde classmate, and immediately slammed her head back on the desk with an audible ‘thunk! and groaned.

———————-

Ladybug thought she was many things. She was quick minded, funny, athletic, and level headed. The hero of Paris that was able to handle anything thrown at her.

And then Chat fucking Noir announced Adrien Agreste asked him out, and next thing she knew, she was on the ground.

“You..He...wait what?!” Ladybug heard herself say from her sprawled out position on the rooftop.

She hadn’t expected her legs to give out, but the sight of the casual selfie of Adrien Agreste with wet hair and a towel slung over his shoulders pursing his lips at the camera with hearts and kisses as the background picture on Chat’s goddamn baton did it. It was enough to make her knees turn to jelly and her feet go numb, and she flailed to the ground in front of Chat. He was lying. He had to be. There was absolutely no possible way that this was true. It was a joke. Maybe he had seen the way she’s looked at Adrien’s posters throughout the city and this was some sick way of revenge. Maybe he had asked Adrien just to send him a selfie without telling him what it was actually for. Maybe this was a weird dream. This couldn’t actually be legit though. There was absolutely no way.. absolutely no way… But one little piece of Chat’s story stuck out in her mind which caused her to sit upright and stare up at Chat, with her eyes wide.

“Wait… did you.. did you say Adrien was the one who asked you out?” Ladybug demanded to know.

Chat shifted his weight to the other foot, and he closed the baton and stuck it back on his back. His eyes were full of concern as he extended his hand out to her. Ladybug ignored him, and stood up on her own. Brushing herself off, she crossed her arms and looked up at her partner. Her lying partner, hopefully.

“Well…” Chat began and leaned against a pole, “I certainly wasn’t about to ask anyone out anytime soon, but after feeling.. uh, well after feeling kind of down, I found myself running to the Agreste house.”

Ladybug had not been aware that he actually knew Adrien well enough to seek emotional support from the guy. Maybe they kept in touch after Christmas night last year.

“After I was hanging in his room for a little bit, sitting on his couch with the lights out, we kind of realized we had a lot in common. Like, a lot in common. Our minds are like, one in the same.” Chat found himself grinning, absolute amusement in his expression. Ladybug rolled her eyes.

“So, like, I don’t know. Maybe it was because I was sad, or maybe because he realized just how fucking hot I am, but next thing I know, the Agreste boy began leaning in towards me and-“

Ladybug slapped her hand over Chat’s mouth in desperation for him to shut up. Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. This happened. Adrien Agreste had kissed someone and it wasn’t her. She had no idea Adrien was even gay! Various thoughts began running through her mind as she began to think of any signs in Adrien’s behavior. She felt so so stupid! How could she have missed this! Adrien would never ever be interested in her now. That was confirmed in one single sentence. She could feel her heart dropping down into her stomach. Her throat was tight and her shoulders were tense. She removed her hand from an obviously surprised, and annoyed, Chat.

“Milady?” He looked at her with concern for the second time tonight as she lowered her hand and crossed her arms instead.

“TMI Chat.” she snapped.

 Chat at least had the decency to blush before shifting his weight again.

 “But uhhh... Yeah. Stuff happened, and then it was just a mutual thing that maybe we should give..us.. a try. Normally I’d say no but it’s whatever now. Not to mention Adrien has the softest lips in all of Paris, I bet.” He grinned and continued to gush with enthusiasm, “He uses Clé de Peau Beaute Lip Balm. I’m, like, so positive of that. He smells like Christmas, and it makes me fucking weak. I don’t know what in the world I’ve done to deserve a beauty like Adrien.”

 Ladybug was trying to not hyperventilate.

 Chat bit his lip. Was he overselling this? Probably. But honestly, as long as it was still seeming like a believable story, he didn’t really care.

 He put his hand on his cheek and sighed, lost in thought about...his boyfriend?  I guess.

 Boyfriend. Wow. What a word. Was this considered conceited to be obsessing over who was technically himself? Chat thought about it for a second before deciding that it’s about time he brought to light the good things about himself anyways, so he continued to go on about how amazing Adrien Agreste was. Ladybug was gaping at his verbal adoration for the guy, but he actually found it hard to stop.

 “Do you know how soft his hair is? It’s definitely that rich people conditioner. I bet he has it fluffed. And his eyes are like fields of grass on a bright sunny day. They’re so pretty and bright.” Chat gazes out into the city. “And his hands are so soft too. He’s gorgeous. I wouldn’t doubt that he moisturizes, like every single day. I know he’s a model or something, but he just radiates beauty at every moment of the day.”

 Chat finally comes back to Earth, and he turns to see that his partner had gone rather quiet. Oh. Chat figured the reason she was so shocked.

 Chat fidgets a little again before deciding to extend his baton and lean against it.

 “Look. I know why this must be bothering you. And I don’t blame you, but I can promise you that I’m not as stupid as you probably think. Adrien too. In fact, Adrien had told me he wanted to keep this on the DL. Or, at least for the weekend. I’m stopping back at his place as soon as patrol ends. Oh! Maybe I can even spend the night! His bed seems big enough, and I’d do anything to be close to him again…”

 Ladybug wasn’t sure if she wanted to kill Chat or herself at this point. She was still trying to process the news, and could barely even follow all of the information Chat had slipped out. She couldn’t help but wish that she had discovered those details herself. She wanted to smell Christmas goddammit. Chat was still bloviating.

 “Oh, Anyways, so yeah, I promise that I won’t be shouting from the rooftops that I’m dating someone as a superhero, and I promise that his safety is still a priority. You know I wouldn’t purposely harm a citizen, right LB? Also, you don’t have to worry about this messing up our identity secrets either. I’m not going to tell him who I am. I think he understands that. We’re going to come up with how to hide all of this from his father too, since I doubt that this would last more than a minute if M. Agreste knew. And trust me when I say with confidence that I can see a life with Adrien Agreste.”

 Ladybug rolled her eyes for what felt like the millionth time that night.

 “Have you actually ever talked to the guy closely? Like, before last night? I’m still trying to wrap my head around this…” Ladybug finally said. Chat crossed his arm.

 “You’re implying that you don’t believe someone would actually ever ask me out?” He concluded.

 “Oh my god, where did you even get that from?”

 “I know you think I’m being dumb-“

 “I don’t think. I know.”

 “But you don’t have a say in this.” Chat tilted his head. “I want to date Adrien.”

 “And do what? How is this even going to work out? You know eventually one of you is going to break and your identity is going to be revealed. Or what if word gets out about this and akumas go after him for real??”

 Ladybug thought back to Volpina. Although it was just an illusion, Ladybug could still picture Adrien dangling from the Eiffel Tower. That was an image that was hard to forget. She shuddered. “Adrien’s sweet and quiet and a great guy, Chat. And...You’re so… so...”

 Chat gasped.

 "You’re saying I’m not suited to date Adrien?! Ladybug, that’s actually really rude.” Chat huffed and turned his back to her. His ears were pressed flat against his head. “I really don’t get why you have such an attitude. I already explained myself. Have a little faith in me.”

 Ladybug sighed and sat on the ledge of the roof, her legs crossed. Chat turned around, and frowned. He silently followed Ladybug, and sat down next to her. His tucked one leg under himself, and dangled the other off of the roof. He looked over at her, still frowning.

 Ladybug didn't look at him, and looked out at the city instead.

 “I can’t really say my opinion on this since you clearly have your mind made up,” she said in a voice that was barely louder than a whisper, “But I just want to know why this happened so fast.” She turned to face him, “You said Adrien was the one who asked you out, but you said yes. So what are your intentions with him?”

 Ladybug’s voice was cold, and she looked seriously into his eyes.

 Chat was actually pretty surprised that Ladybug was this concerned about the wellbeing of Adrien. It actually made Chat’s heart flutter, and heat rose to his ears. Chat looked away.

 “I just really like him. I think he’s nice, and we have a lot in common, and as a whole, I think we could really work out. Adrien deserves to let loose and have a relationship or something normal instead of always having to think about his job or pleasing his father or maintaining his public image. It isn’t fair to the guy, and I want to give him something that, like, a normal teenager experiences. And I think he wants this too. After all, he was the one who asked. If anything, LB, I’m kind of glad that you told me to stop wasting my time with you. I can actually love someone who gives it back now.”

 Oh. Wait. Okay, that might have gone a little too far with the last part. Was he being too petty? Chat quickly looked back at Ladybug to see her reaction. Much to Chat’s relief, or maybe disappointment, she did nothing. Ladybug stared out into the city again.

 “Chat, I’ve had my fair share of interactions with Adrien. He’s a good kid, and you’re right, he absolutely deserves the world. I want him to be happy. And, no offense, but I know you though. I know you..sometimes have tendencies to.. well, to just kind of flirt around and show off. I don't’ want you to do anything that might upset him. It’s already enough of a risk for him to be doing this and to have reached out. So don’t make him regret this, or you’ll regret hurting him. That’s a promise on my part. This is his first relationship, no?”  

 Chat cleared his throat. “Well, I mean, I think it’s actually both of our first…?”

 Ladybug was surprised. She wasn’t expecting that actually. She knew Adrien had never dated anyone before, but she had expected Chat to have had plenty of relationships and experience. She couldn’t help it; Chat just...he definitely seemed like a flirt. That’s all. She expected girls, and I guess guys, to be all over him in and out of the mask. She thought a little harder about this whole situation. Something else didn’t seem right, and she finally came to the realization on what it was.

 “Wait…” Ladybug pauses, “Didn’t you technically just out Adrien to me? I literally had no idea that he was gay.”

 Chat wanted to fling himself off of the rooftop. He really put his foot in his mouth. He scrambled to think of how to explain to Ladybug that he wasn’t actually gay. He didn’t want Ladybug to assume this and think Adrien would never actually love her. “I mean, I doubt you know Adrien well enough for him to say anything about us to you. And besides, what makes you think he’s gay? He’s not.” Chat huffed.

 Ladybug rolled her eyes and presented the evidence she had realized. “Adrien could literally have any girl he wants since he’s so well known, and people would kill to get to know him. He has close friends that he could always grow closer to as well, but apparently he hasn’t. He’s a male model too. I don’t know if I’m reaching into stereotypes now, but he’s technically in the fashion industry. You even said he wears expensive lip gloss and has a facial routine. So I mean, I’m not surprised when I really really think about it, it’s just...definitely something to process.”

 No! That’s totally not the case! Chat wanted to scream. “That's bi erasure, Ladybug. I’m sure Adrien could ask a girl out if he wanted to. Maybe he just hasn’t found the time or the right one or something? Also, it’s lip balm. Not lip gloss. And face masks are nice. I’m pretty manly, but I would totally put on a face mask if it meant maintaining my gorgeous looks.” Chat stuck his tongue out a Ladybug. “Maybe I should start getting my hair professionally blown dry.”

 Ladybug chuckled. “You’re totally manly, Kitty. Especially just a few days ago when you cried in my arms when I told you that otters hold hands in their sleep.”

 "That’s enough to bring Hawkmoth to tears, and you know it.” Chat argued, but chuckled along with her.

 “Whatever, Chat.” She smiles and moves closer to him. “Anyways, I’m just saying, I want you two to be careful. I care about you both.”

 Chat’s stomach did a flip, and he swished his tail. He felt guilty for lying, but he was way too deep into this now.

 “I promise I won’t do anything dumb, Bugaboo.” He finally muttered.

 Ladybug remained smiling, though she also seemed distracted. “I certainly hope not. I’m deadly serious about flinging you off of the Eiffel Tower if I find out you broke Adrien’s heart.”

 With that, she stood up, brushed herself off, and offered her hand out to Chat. Chat took her hand and got up. Her threat was still running through his head.

 “Let’s go, Kitty. We have a city to patrol. I’ll race you.” Ladybug’s head was still racing, but she figured she could at least put on a face for Chat. After all, she had already spent over five minutes questioning the guy, and he was beginning to look a bit troubled. She could always freak out later. But she wanted to keep her partner happy for now.

 Meanwhile, Chat was beginning to let the guilt get to him. There was no way he would be able to keep this up. He could always try though. He couldn't get out of this now. Way to go. He heard Ladybug mention something about starting their patrol, but he wasn’t positive. His mind was racing with various excuses and storylines to make this work. Why did Plagg give him this idea??

 Ladybug looked at him expectantly, and he prepared to leap over to the next building with his partner by his side.

 -------------------------------------------

 When Marinette got home, she cried into her pillow for being so stupid and for wasting her time with Adrien. She was also incredibly annoyed that for the second time this week, Chat’s love for Ladybug was proven to be really shallow since he changed his mind so quickly. It just wasn’t fair. She lost both of her boys… to each other!

Tikki silently comforted her for the second time this week, feeling absolutely confused and frustrated with Plagg’s chosen. What was Adrien thinking? It wasn’t like him to do something so dumb.

 

Meanwhile, in the Agreste mansion, Adrien screamed into his pillow as Plagg laughed.

 -------------------------------------------

 Marinette’s head hit the desk with great force, and she found herself pressing her hands to her forehead to try to ease the throbbing sensation in her forehead. Alya snapped her attention to her friend and grabbed her shoulder. Adrien and Nino turned around to make sure their friend was alright.

 “Marinette?! Girl, what the hell was that? Are you okay??” She frowned.

 Marinette turned and shielded her face away from Adrien.

 “Fine! Absolutely fine! Perfect actually.” Marinette quickly replied and hoped they would drop it. Adrien and Nino looked at each other before turning back around.

 Alya didn’t drop it as quickly.  “I never knew you’d get a reaction from a guy in a really lame shirt.” Alya chuckled and turned back over to Adrien.

 “Adrien! We love your shirt. It’s totally great and I bet Chat would approve.” Alya slipped her phone out of her pocket and took a photo of it quickly.

Adrien grinned. “Thanks Alya! I saw this shirt and had to get it. I really thought it was the cat’s meow!”

 Marinette groaned as Adrien, Alya and Nino laughed. She wanted the day to end.

 The shirt was awful. She could do so much better if she had wanted to. Marinette wasn’t even sure if Chat had ever even said something like the phrase the shirt had. The cursed shirt was black, of course, with a green paw print and in bold print the phrase “Cat Stop Meow!” on it.

 The lettering wasn’t even the right shade of green that Chat’s eyes and ring had.Surely Adrien could pay better respect to his boyfriend than wear a cheap Chat Noir shirt.

 Then again, Chat always had thought that Ladybug and Chat Noir merchandise were highly amusing. Marinette couldn’t help but wonder if Chat had given Adrien it. Adrien’s entire outfit screamed Chat Noir , to be honest. He wore the black shirt, and had on a dark pair of jeans. On his feet were green sneakers. If Chat were to wear something as his civilian self, no doubt he’d choose a dumb outfit like this. Marinette sighed as she realized that she’d be picking up references to both Adrien and Chat now when she was with either boy. She wasn’t sure she was ready for this, no matter how hard she tried to convince herself that this was ok.

 Adrien seemed to be in a good mood again.

 And with that, Marinette thought about how Chat said he thought Adrien deserved to experience normal teenager stuff.

 To Marinette’s frustration, her partner was right. She began to think. If anyone else was deserving enough to take Adrien on dates and give him this experience, it might as well be Chat.

 

She hoped they had a good weekend.

 -------------------------------------------

 The bell rang, and Marinette began to collect her things and put them in her bag. The classroom began to empty out. She shrugged her backpack over her shoulders and hurried out of the door. She turned the corner and rammed into the back of a tall,slim boy wearing black. He stumbled a little, but caught his balance and adjusted his bookbag.

 “Adrien!” She squeaked. So much for acting calm.

 Adrien turned around and smiled at Marinette. His lips really did look soft. Her heart began to pound.

 “Good morning, Marinette.” Ugh he was so polite.

 “Adrien!” She squeaked again.

 “Didn’t you think today’s lesson was pretty neat? It’s always really cool learning about our city’s history.”

 Marinette realized she hadn’t paid attention during class. She simply nodded.

 Adrien took this as a sign that he could continue walking with Marinette while talking about the lesson. Marinette couldn’t focus. Adrien was walking shoulder to shoulder with her. He was having a casual discussion with her, and he was wearing a fucking Chat Noir shirt.

 Marinette knew that her thoughts were selfish, since the two of them both seemed happy, but it was even hard to picture the two of them together!

 You’re saying I’m not suited to date Adrien?! Ladybug, that’s actually really rude.

 Chat’s words stuck with her, and she began to think about how Chat had said he and Adrien had a lot in common. Although Marinette didn’t see that at all, she really realized she needed to have faith in both of her boys. She cared about Chat a lot too.

 “You’re a Chat Noir fan?” She blurted out, not knowing if she was interrupting Adrien or not.

 Adrien paused and then glanced down at his shirt before blushing slightly. “Of course I am! He’s… he’s really cool and I think what he and Ladybug do is really incredible. They’re both incredible.”

 Marinette nodded, thinking about how Adrien had called her incredible. “I’ve met Chat a few times. I think he’s really nice.” Now was her chance to see what Adrien thought of her partner. She just had to remember to be discreet.

 “I think he’s nice too. Pretty funny too. I mean, obviously, if half of his merchandise are based off of puns. It’s always a nice personality trait to be the kind of person that makes people smile. He’s really brave too.” Adrien grinned. Marinette thought for a second.

 “Of course! He’s pretty great. When we had time to talk together, I really liked him. It’s kind of nice to know that behind his brave and funny side, he’s actually pretty sensitive and sweet . Don’t you think so?” She raised her eyebrows at him.

  “I’ve talked to him before too-”

 Apparently you’ve done more than just talked Marinette thought as Adrien responded.

 “-and I think he definitely has a softer side that most people don’t see. It’s really cool that you’ve had a chance to talk to him.”

     As they continued down the hall, Marinette remembered that Adrien was the one who had proposed their relationship. Maybe this was all just an attempt to make him feel better from the events that had happened earlier that night. Chat was already head over heels with Adrien, so it was really important that Adrien also cared about Chat greatly. Of course he did though! This was Adrien , the most considerate and gentle person in the world! But still…

     “I’m glad you realize that he can be soft too. His well being is really important to me...I mean! To everyone! Can’t fight an akuma when you’re feeling blue, amirite?! I’m just glad that someone as sweet as you likes someone as cool as Chat. He’s great. You know? Like, he’s totally the type you’d never want to hurt because he always means well, and he probably has a lot of love to give. I mean... Maybe? He seems like the type who does, that is. I’m just saying this as a maybe? I don’t know. I’ve only talked to the guy a handful of times! It’s not like I personally know him. But he’s cool. You’re cool. You know? It’s cool. Your shirt, I mean. What I’m trying to say is that I like your shirt.” Marinette clutched the book in her hand tightly as she hurried ahead of Adrien and into the nearest classroom.

    Adrien furrowed his brow as he tried to process what Marinette had hurriedly said before running off to the wrong class. He shrugs and continues on to the class as he receives several more compliments on his shirt. Adrien smiled.

   Dating yourself really did wonders to your self esteem, but at the price of continuous guilt. Adrien was still thinking of the next step in his little story.

  As he entered the classroom, he spotted his friend’s red cap and immediately walked over to him.

    Just the person he needed to talk to.