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Carried Away

Chapter Text

Written by PaperandInk (Emery)

 

Ladybug swung from rooftop to rooftop, a continuing mantra of “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!” running through her head. She couldn’t believe that she had just embarrassed herself in front of half of her friend group. Actually, the sad fact was that she could believe it. It wasn’t exactly something new for her. The only saving grace was that Adrien hadn’t been there to see the spectacle.

She came to a stop on a ledge to allow herself a moment to outwardly groan at the memory of the event playing through her mind on repeat. “Why?” she asked looking skyward.

She moved to step forward and get a running start when she lost her footing. The sensation of falling backward made her stomach lurch. A little yelp squeaked out of her throat as a sheet of canvas broke her fall. Before she could relax, momentum caused her to bounce and send her flying out of her makeshift hammock. She went sailing out of what she quickly realized was a canopy over the entrance to a shop and just as she shifted her weight to land on her feet she crashed into someone, knocking them to the ground.

Ladybug recovered before the unlucky civilian did and looked up to find that she was sprawled on top of Adrien Agreste of all people. “This can’t be happening,” she bemoaned.

“Sorry?” he replied, rubbing the back of his head and wincing.

Ladybug’s eyes went wide with horror as she scrambled backwards to let her crush up. “No! I’m sloppy! I mean, sorry! Well, I guess my footwork was sloppy. That’s why I fell.” Stop talking! Her jaw clicked shut as she consciously forced herself to stop babbling. She tried for an apologetic look as she reached out a hand to help him up.

Adrien took her hand as his signature charming smile graced his lips. “Thanks.”

“Again, I’m really sorry about falling for you- on you!”

“It’s okay,” he said with a laugh that sounded like a choir of angels. “I’m more concerned about whatever you’re on your way to. Is there an akuma?”

Ladybug looked away, unable to meet his gaze as she remembered the earlier humiliation and her speedy escape as Ladybug just to get some distance as fast as possible. “No! No, akuma. I was just dealing with something, but its all taken care of. A local schoolgirl was in trouble at the public pool.” She smiled, impressed by her own smooth, half-truth.

“What?” Adrien said in disbelief, his eye widening. “My friends were at the pool today. I was just heading over. Is everyone okay? Was Chat Noir there to help?”

“Oh, uh… yeah, everyone’s fine! I umm…” Come on, Ladybug, you got this! It can’t be that hard to lie to Adrien Agreste! She opened her mouth, unsure what she was going to say, but was cut off when Adrien put a hand on her shoulder and gently led her to step off the main walkway. A group of people passed by right where they had just been. She looked at where Adrien’s hand was still resting on her shoulder. Her face went warm.

Adrien jerked his hand away as if he had just been burned. “Sorry,” he muttered, face going red.

Ladybug cleared her throat. “Your friends are fine. It wasn’t anything big. It was a small thing. So, small that I didn’t even need Chat Noir!”

“I see,” he said, a deep frown settling on his face.

She was certain she could hear her heart breaking at the sight. “Not, that I don’t need Chat Noir! That’s not what I’m saying at all!” That frown didn’t disappear, only became more confused. Why am I messing this up? I’m not usually this flustered when I’m Ladybug…

She put her face in her hands. “I don’t know what I’m saying.”

“I hope I’m not being too presumptuous, but do you want you go for a walk in the park? That usually helps me clear my head.”

Ladybug looked up to see Adrien smiling again. Suddenly, everything seemed more bearable. She nodded.

They walked across the street to the park and began their stroll. It was weird walking beside him while she was in costume. She had always imagined having a moment like this with him, but as Marinette not Ladybug. Not that she was complaining.

He looked over at her and lightly bumped her shoulder. “So what’s going on? You can tell me.”

A blush warmed her cheeks and she tensed up automatically. This was Adrien Agreste and she was Ladybug. I’m a super hero. He shouldn’t be able to get to me like this.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to…” he trailed off and rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably.

He’s nervous too…

“It’s okay. I… there was no emergency or danger.” She didn’t know if it was a good idea to tell him, but in that moment it felt right. It felt like she could tell him anything. “I kind of embarrassed myself in front of a lot of people at the pool… as a civilian, not as Ladybug!” she rushed to clarify.

The memory flashed through her mind again. She had slipped and fallen into the pool, then flailed around in a panic. Kim had jumped in to save her, but when he’d pulled her out he got caught up in the heroics and tried to give a very conscious Marinette CPR. She had gotten startled and screamed, only drawing more attention to the situation. Then Ondine had yelled at Kim for trying to kiss another girl. All of this, in front of Nino, Alya, Max, Juleka, Rose, and Luka. Marinette had run out and transformed just to get away.

She didn’t tell Adrien all of this. It would be too identifiable, but he seemed sympathetic. “I ran out of the situation and transformed into Ladybug to run away,” she finished. “It feels kind of silly now.”

“I don’t think it's silly,” he said with conviction.

They stopped walking and turned to each other. His eyes were a sincere bright green that Ladybug was sure she could get lost in if she allowed herself.

“I’ve done the exact same thing,” he continued. His eyes widened and he opened and closed his mouth several times, before blurting out. “I- I mean, I would’ve done the same thing if I’d been in your shoes! Being a super hero, which I’m not, seems to have its perks. Why not take advantage of them?”

Ladybug couldn’t help but laugh. She hadn’t realized Adrien had such a great sense of humor. She shouldn’t be surprised. “You make a good point.”

Her eyes caught something over his shoulder. It was several people packing up equipment into cases. “I wonder what was happening over there.”

Adrien looked over his shoulder behind him. “Oh, that was my photoshoot. The photographer let me finish early so that I could meet my friends at the pool.”

“And I prevented you from going!” she exclaimed in horror. “I am so sorry! Here I’ve been going on about my problems-”

“It’s okay, really!” he tried to insist.

She wouldn’t allow this to happen. He barely gets to hang out with friends as it is. “I’ll take you! I can swing you over there right now and you can still spend time with your friends.”

He looked at her strangely and it dawned on her what she had just suggested. I just asked Adrien Agreste if he wants me to carry him through Paris so that he can go swimming. He must be so insulted.

“If you don’t want to I understand! I wouldn’t want-”

“Okay.” He took a step closer.

Ladybug swallowed hard. Had he really just agreed? Was she dreaming? She had to be dreaming. “Okay.”

Her heart felt as if it was going to beat out of her chest as she wrapped her arms around him and scooped him up. He looked at her. His face was inches from hers. He smiled, looking almost too pleased with himself. The expression was familiar but she couldn’t place it at the moment.

“To the pool,” she said, voice squeaking with nerves.

Ladybug threw out her yo-yo and she felt Adrien’s grip on her tighten as they were pulled into the air.

Chapter Text

Written by marauderluverz (Luci)

 

When Adrien stepped through the doors of the public pool, his head was still spinning. He could not believe that he had just happened to run into his lady. (Well, she ran into him.) And had not only the opportunity to help her feel better about something but also have her offer to bring him personally to the pool. Being held so closely by her had been so amazing that he had nearly forgotten to say thank you before she swung away.

He was immediately interrupted from his reverie by an overly excited Alya, as she ran toward him with her phone already recording.

“Babe, don’t run at the pool, remember what happened earlier!” Nino called from his pool float. Then he spotted his best friend. “Adrien! You made it. Awesome!”

Adrien waved back a greeting that was intercepted by Alya jumping in front of him. “Did I just see Ladybug carrying you here?” She asked, her tone obviously that of a reporter and not a concerned friend.

“I just ran into her.” He rubbed the back of his neck hoping he wouldn’t have to be interrogated during some of his only free time.

Nino pulled back on his girlfriend’s arm. “Alya, leave him alone. He just got here.”

The two boys fist bumped and stepped past Alya into the pool area. Behind them, the girl huffed. “Fine. I’m going outside to see if I can get anything on camera.”

Nino reached back and grabbed hold of her hand. “C'mon, babe. This is supposed to be a fun relaxing day at the pool.”

She sighed. “Yeah, your right. Maybe I’ll call Marinette and see if she’ll come back.”

Adrien glanced between his friends with concern. “Marinette isn’t here? Did something happen?” He set his bag down on a nearby chair and missed the look his friends shared.

“She just- Well, I mean-” Nino began.

“She had to go home to help her parents with something. But maybe she’ll be able to make it back so we can all hang,” Alya explained before stepping away to make her phone call.

Adrien pulled off his shirt and began to remove his jeans to reveal swim trunks underneath.

“So, dude.”

He glanced up at Nino. “Yeah?”

Nino waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Was there a reason Ladybug personally escorted you here?”

Adrien laughed nervously. He didn’t want to give anything that Ladybug had told him away. Partly because he felt that would be betraying her trust and partly because he wanted to keep those special secret moments to himself.

“Well, you see we just bumped into each other and she offered to bring me over here.”

“Uh huh. Are you guys dating or something?” Nino asked. “Because if you are, I won’t tell anyone.”

Adrien sighed dreamily. “I wish,” he muttered softly.

“Well, get done wishing and focus on relaxing!” Nino exclaimed, patting him on the back.

It only took a few seconds for Adrien to get past his daydreams and follow him to the pool.


 

*Somewhere Nearby*

 

Marinette stopped behind a nearby wall and detransformed. She couldn’t believe that she had just offered to carry Adrien Agreste across town just to go to the pool. More surprising had been the fact that he had accepted.

“Oh, Tikki,” she gushed. “I can’t believe it! We were so close. And I didn’t even stutter when I was saying good bye!”

The kwami floated before her laughing at her chosen’s antics. “Marinette, you did really well.”

“But what do I do now?” she asked, brow furrowed in concentration. “I left to avoid feeling embarrassed in front of my friends, but now Adrien is at the pool and I won’t get to spend any time with him.”

“Why don’t you go back? You told everyone your parents had called you to come home. You could tell them that it got taken care of and still enjoy time with your friends.”

“I don’t know, Tikki. What if I go back and someone says something about what happened?” She clutched at her pigtails. “But if I don’t go back, someone might tell Adrien about how I humiliated myself and then he’ll know what a dorkasaurus I am.”

“Marinette,” Tikki said, patting her arm.

“What do I do, Tikki?!” she exclaimed.

She didn’t get an answer from her kwami however. Instead, her answer came in the form of a phone call from her best friend. She hurriedly fished her phone out of her purse.

“H-hey Alya!” she answered a little too overenthusiastically.

“Chill out, girl. Wait til you hear. Adrien just got here,” Alya explained quickly. “You have to get back here. I already had to prevent Nino from accidentally telling Adrien about why you left, but M… he looked bummed that you weren’t here.”

Marinette felt her heart jump into her throat. “He did?” Adrien had cared enough about wanting her there to look bummed she wasn’t? She met Tikki’s eyes and gave a sharp nod. “Okay, Alya. I’ll be right there.”


 

The trip took Marinette all of five minutes and that was only because she walked around the block twice in an effort to not have anyone notice how close by she must’ve been. She sneaked into the pool area as quietly as possible, with her cover up on over her pink swimsuit. She walked through and managed to make it to where Alya was sitting on a pool chair without being noticed by her friends.

“Psst, Alya,” she hissed from behind, startling the redhead.

“Girl, what are you doing? You’re not a damn spy.” Alya yanked her down into the chair beside her. “He’s over there,” Alya said nodding her head in the direction of the pool.

There Marinette saw the most beautiful sight she was sure she would ever see. Adrien laughing and swimming with Nino and the other kids, hair shining with pool water, green eyes sparkling with happiness.

“You’re drooling.”

Marinette wiped her mouth while shooting a glare at her best friend. Alya only smirked before standing up. “Shall we?”

Marinette shyly removed her cover up and laid it on her chair next to her bag. “You can do this,” she muttered to herself encouragingly. She followed behind Alya as they headed to where the rest of their friends were hanging out.

Maybe she could just slip into the pool quietly and say “hi” to Adrien without completely humiliating herself. No sooner had she thought this than her foot hit a wet patch of smooth concrete that sent her spinning. She let out a scream and snapped her eyes shut anticipating the splash that would happen as she yet again toppled into the pool. Instead, she felt a hand grab her and an arm wrap around her waist. Cool damp skin touched her stomach and she opened her eyes to realize that someone had rescued her. And that someone was…

“Are you okay, Marinette?” Adrien asked, looking down at her, eyes full of concern.

She blinked up at him dumbly for a minute too long because the concern grew deeper. “Uh, um, yeah. I am… okay.” She muttered out, her voice fading to a whisper.

He moved her away from the edge of the pool gently, still not releasing his grip on her. When her foot hit the concrete she winced.

“Did you hurt yourself?” He asked. He leaned down and touched her ankle.

“Eep!” she squeaked out, both from pain and surprise.

Adrien rose back up and scooped her into his arms. “Here, I’ll take you back to your chair and get you some ice.”

She opened and closed her mouth several times, trying to figure out how to protest. How to convince her crush that she didn’t need to be carried across the room, pressed against his bare chest which was still dripping from the pool water. Instead she found herself turning bright red as she realized again that she was leaning against his bare chest. She was currently touching more of his skin than she had ever even seen.

He flashed her a kind smile and laid her onto the pool chair. “There you go.” He took a half-step back and surveyed her. “Does it hurt anywhere else?” He asked, though she noticed that his ears had tinged pink and his voice sounded slightly higher than usual.

She shook her head, wordlessly. He nodded, then pointed off behind him. “I’ll go get you an ice pack from the first aid station.”

She tried to squeak out a thank you, but he was gone before she could manage it. Instead, she focused on calming her heart which seemed to be determined on jumping out of her chest.

“Marinette, are you okay?” Tikki asked, poking out of Marinette’s bag.

She looked down at her kwami with a dreamy smile. “Tikki, he carried me!” she squealed as quietly as she could manage.

Tikki giggled, “Oh, Marinette, did you fall in the pool again?”

“Almost. But Adrien saved me.” She blushed at the memory.

“He’s like your own personal super hero.”

“Way better than Kim,” Marinette agreed with a face of annoyance.

“Can you imagine if Adrien had tried to perform CPR on you?” Tikki teased.

Marinette squeaked. “I can’t even think about something like that.”

Just then she heard footsteps behind her.

“Something like what?”

Marinette jerked her head toward where the voice had come from only to see that Adrien had returned with an ice pack.

“N-nothing. I wasn’t talking to myself.” She cringed. “I mean, I was talking to myself.” She gestured to the area around her, “Which is obvious because no one else is here.” She gave a small laugh attempting to hide her awkward lie.

“Well,” Adrien said, ignoring her freak out. “Here’s the ice, let’s elevate your ankle.” He grabbed a folded towel from Nino’s chair and propped her ankle on it with the ice pack gently placed around it. “I’m glad I was able to catch you. There’s no telling what could’ve happened if you’d fallen in.”

“Yeah. That was horrible. I mean, would’ve been horrible and embarrassing. And I wouldn’t want to do that agai- I mean, thank you! Thank you for saving me!”

Adrien looked at her with a smile. That same sparkling smile that made her knees go weak and- goodness she was glad she was already sitting down. “You’re welcome, Marinette.”

There was a splashing sound from the nearest side of the pool and they both looked over to see Kim leaning against the edge of the pool. “Hey, Agreste! Good job saving her. When I tried to save her earlier, she just screamed at me.” With another splash, this time one that left them sprinkled with droplets of water, Kim was swimming back across the pool leaving a confused Adrien and irritated Marinette in his wake.

Chapter Text

Written by PaperandInk (Emery)

 

Adrien squinted in thought as he laid on his back in the middle of his bed. It was after dinner and he’d already finished his homework. He was too distracted to practice piano and instead played piano music on his stereo to keep Nathalie from insisting he needed to rehearse.

All of his thoughts were consumed with Ladybug. He couldn’t stop thinking about how she had carried him while swinging through the Paris streets. Sure, she had carried him before, but that was always when she was rescuing him from something. This time it was completely by choice, because she wanted to.

Who could his wonderful Ladybug be? She had been there at the pool earlier. He had barely missed seeing her in civilian form. He wouldn’t have known it was her, would he? He liked to think that he would know her just by her confidence and poise. But, maybe she would take care to throw others off her trail by pretending to be the opposite of her superhero persona.

There was that sign-in sheet at the pool. Maybe he could go back and grab it. Then he’d have somewhere to start and he could- No. That would be breaking Ladybug’s trust.

Adrien grabbed his pillow and pulled it over his face. He made a muffled frustrated sound into it.

Plagg sat on Adrien’s desk, clicking on the mouse as he stared at the photos of cheese on the screen. “Be careful,” he warned. “You could suffocate like that… then you wouldn’t be able to buy me all this yummy cheese.”

Adrien tossed the pillow in Plagg’s direction but missed. It hit the wall with a dull thump and fell to the floor. “I can’t help wanting to know who she is, Plagg. But if I searched for her and discovered her identity she would hate me.”

Plagg licked his lips and clicked on a wheel of cheese to put it in the shopping cart. “Probably. You should stick to cheese. People can hate, camembert only knows love.”

“Plagg,” Adrien said with an exasperated sigh. He stood up from his bed and began pacing. “This is serious. Ladybug was there at the pool. If I hadn’t had that lame photo shoot we could have crossed paths. I could have recognized her!”

The kwamii paused in his cheese shopping spree and turned to his chosen. “How do you know you haven’t met her already?” Plagg’s expression morphed from one of playfulness to mortified. His eyes widened and he turned back to the computer screen.

“What does that mean?” Adrien approached the kwamii and grabbed him by the scruff. “Have I met her in her civilian form?”

“Never mind. Forget I said anything! And don’t hold me like that! It’s offensive.”

Adrien released him and stepped back. “Sorry. But can’t you just give me a hint… I mean, no, don’t. She wouldn’t want me trying to pry.” He felt this overwhelming need to just be able to walk up to her on the street and say “hey, it’s me, your Chat Noir” but if she knew that he crushed the most important boundary she put up, it would only end in disaster.

But… it wasn’t purposely breaking boundaries if he just asked about this supposed embarrassing incident at the pool. Some of his classmates had been there. “Maybe I could ask Marinette if she saw someone leave the pool earlier. If they both left around the same time she may have noticed her running off and then Ladybug appearing.”

Plagg looked over at him, obviously unimpressed. “Really, Adrien?”

He took it as the scolding it probably was. He had just been saying how he shouldn’t push the issue of Ladybug’s identity and there he was contemplating it again. Adrien unconsciously tapped the ring on his finger. “I need some air. Claws out!”

 


 

 

Chat Noir ran across roofs and used his baton to launch himself through the Paris streets. The cool night air worked its magic clearing his head. As much as he wanted to know all the sides of Ladybug, he knew that trying to figure it out behind her back was not the right choice to make.

His feet landed on the railing of a balcony and he sat perched their for a moment. Chat sighed as he made the conscious decision to make no further efforts to discover his lady’s secret identity. Maybe one day she would trust him enough to tell him, but until that day he would have to be content to only know one side of her.

Chat stood on the railing and moved to launch himself onto the next roof when he paused. It wasn’t just any balcony he had landed on. This was Marinette’s balcony. He smiled, thinking about his friend. Then it faded into a frown when he remembered that she had twisted her ankle earlier.

He hopped down from the railing and walked over to the trap door. After three sharp raps with his knuckles he called through. “Hey, Princess, it’s Chat Noir. I came by to check on you.”

Their was a crash that nearly had him ripping the door open to save her from whatever villain must be lurking within, then a panicked “Just a moment!” was shouted back at him.

Chat waited, bouncing on the balls of his feet, ears pricked and listening for her to grant him entrance. It was another minute or so before she called out, “Come in!”

He lifted the trap door and dropped in, landing like how he imagined an action hero might. “Princess, you had me starting to worry about you,” he said as he straightened from the crouch he’d landed in.

Marinette sat on her chaise, foot propped up while reading a book. Her ankle was wrapped in an ace bandage, and there was some light purpling of the swollen flesh around it.

“Oh, that looks pretty bad,” he commented, wincing in sympathy. It looked worse than it had when he last saw her at the pool. Time had allowed for the full severity of it to come to light.

She had laid her book aside and looked up at him. “Sorry for worrying you. You just… uh… you caught me at a bad moment.” She reached forward and her fingers lightly brushed over the bandage. “Yeah, I had a little incident at the pool earlier today. I’ll have to stay off it for at least a week.”

“Well, look on the bright side,” he said with a shrug. “With everyone waiting on, you’ll be treated like the princess you are.”

He winked and found himself grinning when she rolled her eyes at him. He enjoyed their talks and banter. It was different than it was with Ladybug. There was no pressure to have the perfect response or pun that would make her crack a smile. With Marinette it was, not easier, but lighter. If he wasn’t so enamored with his Ladybug then, maybe he could fall for Marinette.

“What was this incident at the pool?” he asked. He knew perfectly well what had happened but only wished to hear about Adrien Agreste swooping in to save her from her point of view.

Marinette’s eyes went wide and she was suddenly crossing her arms over her chest defensively. “What? What incident? Who told you there was an incident?”

Chat raised an eyebrow at the strange reaction. “You did, just now.”

Marinette’s cheeks went red. “Oh, that! Sorry, I thought you were talking about… something else. It wasn’t really anything at all. I just slipped and twisted my ankle. My friends took care of me though.”

Normally, Chat would pout at the fact his name was left out of the story but he was too distracted wondering about this other incident. Could it possibly be the one Ladybug’s civilian identity was involved in.

“What could this other incident be?” He tried to sound nonchalant but failed miserably.

“It’s nothing!” Marinette replied too quickly, with nervous laughter. “I wouldn’t even really call it an incident! It was more of a slight kerfuffle.”

“Okay…” Chat huffed in frustration, not so much at her steering around having to tell him about it, but at his own lack of self-control. Not even ten minutes after his decision to stop trying to discover Ladybug’s identity and he was already doing it again. “I should go,” he said suddenly.

“What?” She looked concerned, maybe even a bit hurt at his abruptness.

“Sorry, Princess.” He smiled, trying to keep the moment light. “I need to get home. Have to get an early start tomorrow.”

Marinette smiled back. “I get it.”

“Do you need anything before I go?” It was the least he could do after practically barging in on her.

She shook her head. “No, I was just going to get to bed.”

Chat approached her and leaned down slightly with his arms out. “May I?” he asked, indicating that he was asking to pick her up.

There was a moment of silence in which she looked from his hands, to his face, and back again several times. Her mouth was open slightly as if she was about to speak but didn’t know what to say. He was about to retract his offer when she suddenly nodded.

“Sure,” she replied in an odd voice. “Thanks.”

He swallowed hard. Something that had been a simple offer of a friendly favor now felt like it had some monumental meaning behind it. Chat lifted her and she looped her arms around his neck. Their eyes met for a moment and they both quickly looked away.

Chat held her close as he carried her up to bed, taking care not to bump her injured foot against anything. He lowered her onto the bed and felt her arms slide from around his neck. On impulse he pressed a kiss against her forehead. As he pulled away, the gravity of what he had just done settled over him like the too-heavy sweater his dad had made him model last winter.

He looked into her eyes, searchingly, for some sign if the affection had been unwanted. Marinette looked up at him with shock but a small smile was pulling at her lips.

“Good night, Princess,” he said so softly he didn’t know if she could hear him.

She turned her head, looking away and breaking the moment. The awkwardness of the situation, kneeling on her bed, leaning over her, hit him like a fist to the stomach. He began his retreat as quickly as he could. He backed up toward the steps down off the bed, while in his head thinking of all the ways Plagg would be making fun of him once he detransformed.

“Umm…good night, Chat!” she called after him. “Thanks.” She still seemed to be having trouble meeting his eyes.

Chat gave her a little wave before leaving through the trap door. As soon as he was out of sight he buried his face in his hands. “What’s wrong with me?” he muttered to himself.

Home. That was where he should be. At home at least he wouldn’t have the chance to embarrass himself in front of Marinette or run around asking everyone he met who Ladybug might be.

“Tomorrow will be a new, and hopefully akuma-free, day.”

Chapter Text

Written by marauderluverz (Luci)

 

One Week Later

There was a whirring sound of string leaving her yo-yo as Ladybug swung across Paris to meet for patrol. She had stayed in for the last week, no patrols, and luckily no akumas. She had only been allowed to go to school because she had promised to use the crutches her dad had pulled out of storage. But after a week of resting her ankle, she was feeling much better with only minimal pain.

She was glad to be out again. She’d missed the wind blowing through her hair as she flew across her city.

She landed gracefully beside Chat on the top of the Arc De Triomphe. “Good evening, Chaton,” she greeted with a cheerful smile.

He beamed at her, “Hey, Bugaboo! Good to see you.” He pulled her into a hug and she patted his back with a laugh.

She pulled back as they broke the hug. “You act like you haven’t seen me in forever.”

He rubbed at the back of his neck, his cheeks tinged pink. “It feels like it.” His voice was soft, the more gentle side of her partner slipping out.

She reached out and tapped the bell against his neck. “Silly kitty, well, I’m here now. Are you ready to start patrol?”

He nodded eagerly. “Lead the way, milady.”

She nodded and they began to make a circuit through the roofs nearby. It was quiet for several minutes before Chat jumped in with a question.

“So, where were you during your week vacation?” He asked, curiosity evident in his tone.

She rolled her eyes with a smile. “I wasn’t on vacation, Chat. If an akuma had attacked, I would’ve shown up.”

The pair stopped on a roof with a clear view of the busy streets below. Even though it was dark, the streets were still lined with people out enjoying the warm weather.

“Did you have somebody better to spend your evenings with then?” There was a teasing lilt to his voice but uncertainty lingered beneath.

“Chat,” she warned.

He held up his hands in surrender. “Sorry. I get it. You’re right.”

She muttered a thank you and turned to resume their patrol.

“I shouldn’t be prying into your private life. If you want to spend patrol time with your boyfriend rather than me…” he let his words drop off. She could feel him watching her and knew he was smirking. He had missed her and was determined to egg her on.

She spun on her heel and marched back to him. A finger jabbed against his chest. “If you must know, I hurt my ankle and wasn’t allowed to be on it. That’s why I was missing patrols, although now I’m thinking maybe I should've missed this one too.”

Chat stared down at her with wide eyes. Her words echoed back at her in her mind. She took several steps back and turned away from him, hoping against all hope that she hadn’t just revealed her identity to him. After all, Chat Noir had just been to visit Marinette a week before and had seen how she was injured. What if he put two and two together? It wouldn’t be that difficult.

She suppressed the urge to smack herself in the forehead.

“I’m sorry, Ladybug.” His voice was back to being gentle and he sounded a bit, abashed? “I didn’t realize… well,” he sighed, “I’m glad your ankle is feeling better.”

She glanced back at him. He didn’t seem to be working out her identity. She figured he wouldn’t be able to hide it if he had. He’d probably be too excited, she thought with a smirk.

“Thanks.” Ladybug nodded her head towards the next building. “Let’s keep going before it gets too late. I’d like to get a decent amount of sleep tonight.”

As they continued, jumping between the buildings and running along the roof tops, Chat continued their conversation. The one Ladybug had hoped was over.

“It's funny, you know.”

She quirked an eyebrow, “What is?”

He laughed, “Just the fact that both you and Marinette hurt your ankles last week. That’s some kind of coincidence don’t you think?”

Her foot slipped.

She paused, her yo-yo ready to be thrown freezing mid-motion. “Um, yeah,” she muttered.

“I mean, Marinette said she hurt herself when she slipped at the pool. How did you injure yourself, LB? Wouldn’t it be crazy if something similar happened to you?”

Ladybug could feel her face heating up. Was he suspicious? Had he figured things out based off of one twisted ankle? Her heart rate increased and she struggled to keep her breathing calm. “Why do you ask?” She hoped her tone had remained even, nonchalant. Stay cool.

Chat shrugged. “I just think it’s very interesting that you and Marinette both had incidents at the pool last week and both injured your ankles.”

Oh, goodness. He does know. She wasn’t sure why he was dragging this out. Maybe it was his way of teasing her? He was always one to act that way, especially if he was upset for her keeping it a secret when they had talked without her mask.

She sighed, running a hand over her face. “Fine. Yes, Chat. You figured it out. It is interesting that we both had the same things happen to us in the last week. And yes, you’re right. You figured out my identity.”

There was silence. Silence for far longer than she expected. Hadn’t he been teasing her? Shouldn’t he be gloating right now?

Ladybug lifted her head and looked up to see Chat Noir staring at her with eyes wide and a very red face. Oh no. She bit down hard on the inside of her cheek in frustration. “I am an idiot,” she muttered. “You didn’t figure it out, did you?” her voice was quiet now, she had just blown her own identity because he had been astounded by similarities.

“You- I mean, we- I just-” Chat ran a hand through his hair, bouncing on the balls of his feet. “Marinette,” he finally blurted out and she winced. “How did I never see it? Even with the ankle thing. And the pool.” He dropped onto the roof sitting cross-legged. “I even knew Ladybug had been at the pool and that she had left when Marinette did. And still…”

Marinette stared at him as he kept talking. Her mind replayed his words multiple times as she tried to make sense of them. Ladybug had never talked to Chat about the pool. So, how would he know that Ladybug had been there that day?

“I just think it’s very interesting that you and Marinette both had incidents at the pool last week-”

But the only person who would know about Ladybug's incident at the pool would be…

“Adrien?”

He froze then looked up at her with an awkward smile. He gave a little wave. “Hey, Marinette.”

She felt like she was going to be sick. “Okay, now I need to sit down.” She tried to lower herself onto the ground beside him but didn’t see his baton lying on the floor. Her foot stepped on top of it and she was tumbling. Her eyes flew shut in anticipation of the crash that was soon to follow. But instead of landing on the hard tiles of the roof, she found herself on her partner’s lap, his arms circled around her, holding her.

He looked down at her with a shy smile, cheeks and ears still tinged pink. “We’ve got to stop meeting like this.”

She felt her face heat up. No doubt it was now as red as her suit. She could feel her brain turning to mush as she looked into his eyes. Adrien was under that mask. Adrien was flirting with her.

“Go have to,” she all but shouted at him. She pushed herself up from his lap and unhooked her yo-yo. “I go to have. Ugh! I have to go. Good night!” She turned prepared to leap off the building and head straight towards home. If she was quick enough, she could lock her skylight and pretend that tonight was not happening.

“Ladybug, wait!” Chat's voice called, making her hesitate. Then she heard the crash behind her. She turned around to see Chat Noir laying on his back on the roof. His baton rolling away from his feet.

“Oh my god!” She cried out running over to him. “Are you okay, Chat?”

He blinked up at her and she held out a hand to help him up. Once he was on his feet, he nodded.

“Yeah, I’m fi-” his words were cut off as a look of realization crossed his face. “Ow?” the exclamation came out as more of a question, causing Ladybug to raise an eyebrow.

He moved his foot and winced dramatically when it touched the ground. “Ow! Yeah, I think my ankle is messed up.” He moved it gently as if his whole leg were suddenly effected.

“Really now?” She asked, skeptically. She knew from many, many akuma battles, that they were virtually indestructible while wearing the suits. So she severely doubted he had actually managed to injure himself.

He nodded. “I don’t think I’ll be able to get home on my own.” He met her eyes and she saw a sparkle of mischievousness in them. “You’ll just have to carry me home, Bugaboo.”

She deadpanned. “I’m leaving you here.” She turned to go, lifting her yo-yo.

“Fine, but I don’t remember ditching you when you’re ankle was hurt.” His voice was full of just enough teasing for her to confirm that he was actually fine.

She rolled her eyes before turning back around. You are Ladybug and he is Chat Noir. Your partner. Nothing to be nervous about. She set her jaw and marched back over to him. “You are insufferable. You know that?”

He opened his mouth to reply but was cut off when she scooped him into her arms bridal-style. He didn’t even try to keep the smirk off his face when he answered her.

“I think you mean, insuffurable.”

She nearly threw him off the roof.

Chapter Text

Epilogue:

 

Adrien stifled yet another yawn. It was barely 7:30 and he was already trying to determine the best way to sneak out of the gala his father had required he attend. Unfortunately, from the look on Nathalie's face as she eyed him from across the room, that would not be an option.

At least, if he had to attend another one of these boring events, this time he got to bring his girlfriend. Girlfriend. He still couldn’t believe it. He had been dating Marinette Dupain-Cheng for two entire weeks and every moment had been amazing. He watched as she took a careful sip from her glass of red wine. He had to admire her poise, she was the image of perfection in her mint green dress with her hair pulled back into a braid. Her eyes were sparkling as she listened to the other guest chatter away about some runway show he had attended in Spain.

He remembered to nod when a comment was directed his way. Fake a smile. “It was lovely seeing you again. I’m afraid we must see a few more people at my father’s request. Pardon us.”

He placed a hand on Marinette's arm and led her away from the other guests. They stepped through a doorway into a back hall no doubt used for the staff to carry in trays of food.

“Sorry about all that,” Adrien said with a sigh. He tugged at his tie that so perfectly matched her dress. “Some of these people will just talk endlessly if you let them.”

Marinette shook her head. “It’s fine, really. I’m having a good time.” She swirled the drink in her glass, watching it carefully instead of looking at him.

He laughed then turned it into a cough. “Are you really?” he asked, eyebrow raised.

She looked at him then. “Okay, well, not good necessarily. But,” she looked through the doorway out at the other guests. “It is a good opportunity. Most of the guests here are people I'd never get the chance to meet otherwise. So, I’m hopefully making some good connections.” Her eyes returned to the drink in her hand. “And I enjoy being with you.” A blush dusted her cheeks and suddenly the hall was much warmer.

He looked away, reminding himself he really couldn’t be caught making out with his girlfriend at an event like this. No matter how tempting her lips looked.

He had just started to contemplate the idea of sneaking away from the party for a more enjoyable date when Nathalie appeared in the doorway. “Adrien, your father has a few more guests he’d like you to greet for him.”

He sighed. “Of course, Nathalie.” He took a step forward and followed his father's assistant back into the party, careful to make sure Marinette stayed close by. If it was connections she needed. Then connections she’d get.

 


 

Marinette had to admit, she’d thought these types of parties would be more fun. A room full of people who were influential in the fashion industry: designers, investors, models, the wealthy people who bought the latest designs. And yet, she was tired of it already.

She had to assume it would be more enjoyable if she was actually one of those influential people, but then again, maybe not. Maybe they all were just very good at pretending.

She glanced sideways at her date. Adrien Agreste. She held back a sigh. No swooning here, Marinette Dupain-Cheng!

Her thoughts were quickly sobered by the expression on his face. A forced smile, tired eyes, no signs of his usual playfulness. She wished she could do something about it, but with Nathalie leading them around to every person Adrien was supposed to greet… that wouldn’t be happening easily.

“It is great seeing you again as well, M. Moreau.” Adrien shook hands with the man standing before them.

Moreau chuckled and shook hands enthusiastically. “No sign of Agreste senior, I see.” His eyes landed on Marinette and he gave Adrien a smile that Marinette didn’t fully understand. “And who might this lovely young lady be?”

Adrien placed a gentle hand on Marinette’s lower back, guiding her forward slightly. “This is my girlfriend, Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

Marinette nodded politely and accepted the handshake from the older gentleman. She waited for what would happen next. The conversation would turn back to Gabriel fashions or Adrien and the future of both. Then after the mandatory length of polite conversations, they would move on to the next person.

This time surprised her.

“Dupain-Cheng?” Moreau asked. “Why does the name sound familiar?”

Marinette could feel the surprise on her face. Nobody at these events recognized her name. The shock dissipated quickly though as she remembered that it was more likely people knew her parents, not her.

“Perhaps you know my parents,” she offered with a smile. “Tom and Sabine, of Tom & Sabine Boulangerie Patisserie.”

Moreau looked thoughtful. “Perhaps…” he tapped his chin.

Adrien took the silence as an opportunity to jump in and Marinette briefly wondered if he was going to reign in the conversation. Instead he began with something she hadn’t expected.

“Marinette’s parents run the best bakery in Paris. If you haven’t stopped by, you should make sure to do so before returning home, M. Moreau.”

Marinette could feel her face grow warm at the praise of her family. She knew they had the best bakery in Paris and most of her classmates (especially Adrien) loved coming by for treats, but it was different to hear Adrien praising her parents so openly.

Moreau nodded, seemingly impressed at the information. But apparently Adrien wasn’t done.

“Although, you may have recognized her from my one of my father's shows. She designed a piece for Gabriel a little while back.”

Marinette could almost die. Why was Adrien bragging about a hat. A single piece that wasn’t even an entire outfit. Just an accessory. She could practically feel her face turning red.

Her eyes met Adrien’s and she could see the sparkle of mischief she'd grown used to recently. But before she could do anything to remedy the situation, Moreau's eyes lit up and he nodded enthusiastically.

“Yes! That’s where I heard your name. At the show when Audrey Bourgeois returned to Paris. One of her writers did an article about it and mentioned you by name.” He looked at her with admiration. “I had assumed Gabriel had hired a new designer, but for someone so young to have so much talent, that is amazing.”

“Oh, no. Thank you, M. Moreau, but really I-"

He cut her off mid-sentence as he looked through the crowd. “Would you mind speaking with my daughter? She loved that hat and I’m sure she'd be interested in having you design a piece for her.”

Marinette glanced at Adrien who nodded encouragingly. Then she turned back to the man before her and smiled. “Of course!”

 


 

An hour later, Marinette had finished talking with several people in attendance. She had exchanged contact information with a few promising clients after they saw samples of her work that were saved to her phone and was now ready for some fresh air.

“Adrien,” she tapped his shoulder, gaining his attention. “I’m going to go to the bathroom. I’ll be back in a bit.”

He nodded then taking her hand he placed a kiss on the back of it. “I’ll await your return, My Lady.”

She giggled and headed off up the stairs. Once making it down the hall towards the bathrooms, Marinette continued walking. She opened a few doors, looking inside before closing them. Nothing was right for her plan.

Finally, she found an office that would serve her perfectly. She slipped inside and shut the door behind her. “Tikki.”

The red kwami poked her head out through the top of the purse, “Is everything all right, Marinette?” she asked.

Marinette nodded then flashed the kwami a smile. “Everything’s great, but I think Adrien and I are both a little tired of the party.”

Tikki giggled, “And I’m assuming you have a plan to fix that?”

“I do. But I’ll need my phone and you in order to accomplish this.” Marinette accepted her phone from Tikki and typed out a quick message. She returned it to her purse. “Okay, Tikki, spots on!”

 


 

Adrien felt his phone buzz in his pocket. He tried to force himself to ignore it as he listened to Nathalie discuss a new line with another guest. He had enjoyed helping Marinette make some connections earlier, not that she really needed his help, but now that she had stepped away he was bored again.

He pretended to pick up another glass from a nearby table and pulled open his jacket slightly to peer down at Plagg. “Hey, who’s the text from?”

Plagg yawned dramatically. Then the cat kwami reached into the pocket and pushed a button. It lit up and he looked back at Adrien. “It’s from your bug.”

Adrien’s eyes widened. Why would Marinette be messaging him when she could just come talk to him? Unless it was because she needed Chat Noir. He hurried back to Nathalie.

“I'm going to the bathroom. Not feeling well,” he lied.

She eyed him suspiciously but nodded. “Do make sure you return.”

 

Adrien only made it as far as the hall at the top of the stairs before pulling out his phone to check the message.

Marinette ♡♡♡: meet me on the second floor. There’s an office across from a painting of the Seine. Go in and wait by the window.

Adrien felt his mouth go dry. He struggled to swallow down the thoughts that flooded through his mind. Really Marinette was not likely to be inviting him upstairs for an impromptu make-out session.

He went ahead and shoved a couple of mints into his mouth just in case. No sense in not being prepared, he told himself, ignoring Plagg snickering in his coat pocket.

Adrien followed the directions Marinette had given him and quickly found the room in question. But when he stepped inside, he realized that to his dismay the room was very empty.

He glanced towards the door briefly, wondering if maybe he’d gone in the wrong room. “Plagg, she did say this one, right?”

The kwami groaned from his hiding place. “I’m not your messenger. Let me sleep!”

Adrien took a few steps further into the room. He looked around, it was dark. Maybe he had misunderstood the text. He reached into his jacket for the phone when he heard a quiet whirring sound from behind him.

“That’s not exactly the window, y'know? That’s more of the middle of the room.”

He spun around, fumbling and nearly throwing his phone across the room. His eyes went wide, “Ladybug?!”

There suspended just outside the window hanging from a yo-yo string, was Ladybug. Spots and all. She laughed. “You seemed like you could use some fresh air. It can get kind of stuffy inside parties like these, can’t it?”

He took strides to the window, eager to close the distance between them. “So, does that make me your damsel in distress?” he teased, unable to keep the Chat out of his voice.

She rewarded him with a roll of her eyes and a tap on the nose. “Maybe more of a handsome prince trapped in a tower?”

He grinned. “Then please rescue me, fair knight.”

Ladybug beamed at him. “I was hoping you’d ask.” Before he could blink, an arm had shot out and grabbed him by the tie, pulling him out onto the window sill. Ladybug stepped up onto the sill, pressing them close together. She wrapped an arm around his waist. “You ready?”

He struggled to regain his words so he could answer, but finding they were long gone, he simply nodded.

Ladybug leaned closer, allowing her lips to press against his. “Then let’s go. Gotta get you back by midnight, right?”

Adrien laughed, “I think you’re mixing fairy tales now, Princess. I expected bette-”

His words were interrupted by Ladybug suddenly pushing off of the window and swinging them off into the night air. The only sound following Adrien’s outcry of surprise, was his Lady's laughter echoing through Paris as she carried him away.