For the first time, Adrien thinks he might be grateful that the Miraculous Cure doesn’t work on him like it’s supposed to. He’s been left with scars all over his body in places no one ever sees—the price of what he does—but today he’s been left with something even more precious.
He can almost remember what happened. And the almost is killing him.
What’s worse: he can’t remember any other time he’s been that happy.
He stares at the photograph, sees the way her lips fit his, their fingers intertwined, and knows it’s not enough. He wants to reach out, to touch her, to hold her, but something’s wrong—it’s not her he wants, there’s something missing—
“Uh, Adrien,” Plagg says. “This isn’t supposed to be in your wallet.”
He turns, and Plagg is holding a student ID card. Not his student ID card. Marinette’s.
Adrien’s eyes narrow. “When did I—” he begins, then suddenly realizes that he was with Ladybug all day. And he knows she was detransformed in front of him, and him in front of her. And it wasn’t just falling all over again. It was… feeling right. Like the missing half of a whole.
He grabs the trash can and vomits, emptying his stomach. When he comes up, he’s crying. “I remember,” he gasps. “I remember.”
He remembers being in love with Marinette Dupain-Cheng. And he remembers her being in love with him.
Marinette can’t stop looking at the picture. The expression on her face is soft, loving, everything she’s ever dreamed and everything she ever thought she felt for Adrien, and she knows that Chat is the one who put it there and can’t for the life of her remember why. She wishes she had something to go on, anything, but it’s a blank. No matter how many times she casts her mind back.
The ring of her phone breaks her out of her reverie, and she panics when she sees it’s Adrien. Why is he calling her this late? Why is he calling her at all?
She picks up the phone and hears him crying.
“Adrien?” she ventures. “Are you all right?”
“You have… p-p-pictures of me,” he says. “On your—your—your phone.”
Her throat seizes. How does he know about that? How did he find out? She’s been so careful—
“Marinette—” he whimpers. “I—I—I—”
“Adrien?” she whispers. “What’s wrong?”
“You don’t remember,” he sobs. “I—today was—was—I’ve never—”
“Please, Marinette, the pictures, what—what do they mean?”
She’s crying now, too, and there’s nothing she can say, no lie that comes to her tongue, her worst nightmare—Adrien knows, he found out, and now not only is he rejecting her, he’s outright in pain because of it, and there’s nothing she can do to help him, nothing she can do to escape—
“Marinette,” he says. “Are you—are you in love with me?”
“…yes,” she breathes, because what else is there to say?
The other end of the line is silent for a moment. “Wait right there,” he says. “I’ll be at your balcony in ten minutes.”
He’s knocking in six.
Marinette is hugging her knees to her chest, trying not to cry as Tikki pats her face, whispering soft reassurances. She barely has time to wonder how he got up onto her balcony before there’s a flash of green light, and Adrien Agreste tumbles into her bedroom with tear streaks down his face, grabs her chin, and slams his lips into hers.
For a moment her heart stops as she wonders at the impossibility of the moment, the boy she’s obsessed with literally falling out of the sky to—oh. She’s dreaming.
He pulls back with a gasp, shaking, and she marvels at the detail her subconscious has created, all the way down to the feathery hairs on his skin, the gold flecks in his eyes. It feels so real, and she doesn’t want to wake, doesn’t want to give it up.
“Today—” the dream Adrien gasps, trying to speakbur clearly not ready. Her wraps his arms around her head and presses their foreheads together. “Today was the best day of my life,” he murmurs. “And I nearly lost it forever.” Tears begin to run down his cheeks, melting onto hers. “I nearly lost you forever.”
She feels the wetness on her face. Really detailed. She can’t remember the last time she’s had a dream in this much HD.
“Are you going to keep yapping all mushy, or are you going to tell her?” says a very familiar voice, and when Marinette looks over—
“PLAGG?” she shrieks, throwing herself backward and slamming her back against her bedroom wall. She glances back at Adrien, sees the annoyance in his face at being interrupted, and suddenly what he said on the phone strikes her—
She doesn’t remember. But somehow he does.
“Adrien?” she says, her voice wavering, still half-convinced it’s a dream. “What… what’s happening?”
“When we woke up,” he says, “we assumed—we… it was like two puzzle pieces. We knew we were together. Nothing else made sense.” He meets her eyes, fresh tears brimming beneath his eyelids. “I remember loving you,” he whispers.
She bites down on her knuckles to keep from screaming.
“I loved you because it was the only thing that made sense to me,” he says. “If I could remember nothing else about my life I knew at least that much.” He wipes his cheeks. “I can’t—I’ve never been that happy,” he says. “Not since…”
Her hands have gone white. Her face probably has too. She can’t breathe, she can’t swallow, she can barely even think, and all that comes to mind is—
“I could never stop now,” he says. “Even if you weren’t Ladybug.”
There’s a moment where she wonders where the whine is coming from, before she realizes that her fist is not doing its job—she’s still screaming. Muffled.
“Please,” he says. “I don’t—I know you don’t remember. But please…” He rushes forward and snatches her free hand between his own. “Don’t take it back.”
She’s surging forward, kissing him, her own tears mingling with his own. “Never,” she whispers, and though she still recalls nothing, suddenly she understands Ladybug’s face in that picture. “I love you, Chaton, do you hear me?”
He nods with a whimper.
“I love you,” she whispers again. “Memories or no.”
He smiles, his eyes still closed, still brimming.
“Please,” she says. “I want to know.”
She sees the tension drop from his shoulders.
He breathes in, steadies himself, and grins. “We fell out of the vents at one dot each…”