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What Do You Dream of My Lady?

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What Do You Dream of My Lady?

~~

Hopping through his bedroom window easily, Chat Noir de-transformed and proceeded to take off the rest of his clothes and head for the shower. It had been a particularly long akuma battle and he was exhausted. Especially because he had to keep transforming back to his civilian self every five minutes.

It was his fault the poor girl had been akumatized in the first place. She had asked Adrien for a selfie after spotting him walking out of a café with Nino, but at the last second, instead of just posing next to him, she turned his head and went in to kiss him. And he may have reacted a bit too strongly and instinctually shoved her away a little too hard.

Not two minutes later, after she ran down the street crying from embarrassment, she came running back, as an eight-foot-tall pink woman obsessed with taking his picture. She scooped him up in her arms, and that’s how Ladybug had found him – cursing about how her partner was late once again. Eventually, with a lot of camembert, he managed to follow along with Ladybug’s ‘Adrien as the diversion’ plan, and the akuma was de-evilized.

He sighed as he leaned his head against the cool tile of his shower, finally letting himself relax. The double life thing had been getting harder and harder in recent years as his modelling career had taken off a bit more, and his fanbase grew. It wasn’t the first time something like this had happened, and he was beginning to run out of excuses for Chat to run away mid battle so that he could play his part as Adrien in Ladybug’s plans. He could practically still hear her calling for Chat to come back out from wherever he was hiding, even now.

“…Adrien?”

Wait, he stilled, unsure if his ears were working correctly, that was too loud to just be a memory. He turned off the showerhead and poked his ear out of the shower door to listen.

“…drien, are you here?”

It was a little quieter this time, but he was sure he heard it. His heart rate sped up immediately. He knew that voice all too well. Grabbing his towel to quickly dry his hair, he stepped out and pulled on a pair of shorts before slinging the towel over his shoulder and slowly opening the bathroom door.

And there she was, standing in the middle of his bedroom, facing away from him with one hand on her hip and the other curiously tapping her chin as she surveyed his room. This wasn’t the first time she had come to check on him after an akuma attack, but he still couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the way the moonlight filtered in through the window and shimmered off her suit to shine onto everything else in the room.

“L-Ladybug?” he stuttered, before immediately clearing his throat, hoping she hadn’t heard the change of pitch in his voice.

“Oh, good, you’re here. For a minute I thought that silly cat hadn’t brought you home after al – oh,” she turned around as she spoke, but her words seemed to stop right in her mouth when she finally laid her eyes on him. He must have imagined that for a moment that her eyes briefly flicked down to his waist before they met back at his eyes. Right… probably should have put a shirt on too.

Heat pooled in his cheeks, that he hoped she’d assume was from the hot water, and he nodded back to her. He tried to nonchalantly cross his arms over his chest to cover some of himself, “uh, yep, back safe and sound.”

Why couldn’t he say something better? Thank her or something you idiot. She came all this way, don’t just stare at her while she stares at you… Wait, she was staring. Ladybug was staring at him. His heart picked up speed once again. No, that can’t be right – my appearance probably just caught her off guard.

“I, uh, right,” she said, seemingly shaking herself out of whatever thoughts had distracted her, “well, you look good – I mean fine – well, not like fine, I just mean, you look okay – er, safe, you look safe so, I should just…” She twiddled her thumbs and focused her eyes a little too intently on the dead center of his forehead.

Adrien could have sworn her cheeks looked rather pink right underneath her mask. Maybe she was catching a cold. “Ladybug, are you feeling alright?” He stepped forward to close the space between them, and reached up to touch her forehead with the back of his hand.

She had gone completely still as soon as his knuckles gently grazed her skin to part her bangs, and a small gasp escaped her lips. Her eyes were wide as she nodded up at him hesitantly to answer him. He hadn’t realized how much taller he’d gotten, she had to really crane her neck to look up at him now. And they were so close now – too close – he could count her freckles if he wanted to. You aren’t Chat right now, you can’t just get in her space like this, he reminded himself.

“W-well, your forehead doesn’t feel warm at all so…” he trailed off, his voice so much softer than he’d anticipated. He slowly lowered his hand away from her face, his pulse electric as he watched her eyes track his every move. She hadn’t pushed him away yet. If he was Chat he would have gotten a nose-boop turned shove the moment he’d lifted his hand to touch her face. But here she was, mere inches away from him, her gaze now fixated on where his hand hung near his hip. Her head wasn’t hot, her cheeks were definitely pinker than usual, and she was still staring, and she didn’t really seem sick.

Oh.

Oh.

It took all his willpower not to believe what he was thinking. But looking down at his scarce attire, and the way her eyes were fixated now on a spot just above his collarbone, he couldn’t help but think anything else. He was distracting her. And she seemed really distracted. He had never seen her like this before. My fanbase really has gained a lot more people – no, no! This is Ladybug, she wouldn’t care about things like that… He had to restrain himself from letting Chat’s cockiness overtake his thoughts.

A gloved finger suddenly tracing along his collarbone to brush off a stray drop of water knocked him out of his trailing thoughts. He flinched and looked down at her wide-eyed, and saw that her expression matched his own.

Realizing she had just touched his bare chest without warning, she jumped back, her hand covering her heart in shock. “Sorry! Sorry, there was just uh, some water on your uh, shoulder and uh,” she stopped talking, and a determined expression formed over her panic, and she cleared her throat. “I’m sorry about that, it was very un-Ladybug-like. I came to see that Chat Noir did his job, and he did, you’re here and you look good – safe – and so –“

She was trying to leave, and despite his better instincts, he didn’t want her to go. “Don’t worry about it, it’s fine, you could wipe as much water off me as you want,” he blurted out. Ugh, too much, Adrien, too much.

But, to his surprise, instead of running away even quicker, there was a pause and then she laughed. “Well, you did miss quite a few spots,” she joked.

He smiled back sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. There was a pause, and he saw she was still sneaking glances at him, causing his blush to spread all the way to his chest.

She realized her mistake once again and met his gaze, but he cut in before she could apologize a second time. “It’s fine, I mean, if today is anything to go by, I guess it’s not really uncommon to think I’m - I mean, no, that’s not what I mean,” he slapped his hand to his forehead. Implying the girl of his dreams in just a crazed fangirl, and that he was used to being fawned over was not the way to her heart. “I just mean, I don’t care, it’s fine, and you’re actually really cute when you’re all flustered, and –“

“You think I’m cute?” she interrupted, genuinely shocked – her insecurity from earlier gone.

“Well, yeah, You’re Ladybug, you’re amazing,” he answered a little too quickly, his voice soft, as he took a miniscule step toward her.

Something flashed across her beautiful blue eyes, giddiness at his genuine compliment, but there was something pained there too that confused him. He never wanted to hurt her.

“And you’re Adrien Agreste,” she said, her hands flailing, almost exasperated. Logic told him to be offended by her tone of voice, but there was a deep longing in her eyes that just crushed him. No one had ever looked at him like that, with so much adoration and fondness. But here she was, his Ladybug, looking up at him like he was all she wanted in the world. With that one look, it was like all the air in the room shifted. He would have thought his heart stopped beating if it weren’t pounding so loudly in his ears.

“I’ll be whoever you want me to be,” he whispered, feather light, completely enraptured by her gaze.

Her eyes narrowed a fraction, as if she didn’t like the idea of him being someone else at all. But a second later, that was a gone, and a flurry of emotions crossed her features. Surprise, fear, nervousness, and then, determination.

Too quickly for him to think about what was happening, her hands snaked up between them to rest with her thumbs just below his cheekbones, and she slightly parted her lips to capture his in hers. Adrien let out a whimper of shock, and her lips left as quickly as they had come.

There was a small popping sound as they came apart, and for a moment they both just stared at each other, nothing but their panting breaths separating them. They each gazed over the other frantically, trying to size up if that was real, and where exactly they stood with each other.

Screw it, he thought, and he gathered his hands on the small of her back, to lean back down and caress her lips again. She responded immediately, sighing into him with ease. Her hands raked up into his hair, the gloves of her suit catching along the way, but he didn’t care. Ladybug was kissing him. Ladybug wanted to be kissing him.

He pulled her closer, trying to feel as much of her as he could before he knew this would inevitably end. But she quickly took control, twisting them around and walking him backwards to topple down onto the couch in the middle of his room – their lips clashing together clumsily along the way, and the towel that had been slung over his shoulder fell to the floor, forgotten.

They landed in a heap, in an almost familiar position, with Ladybug looking down on him on all fours. This is when he, as Chat, would usually smirk up at her or make a kissy face, and she’d roll her eyes and playfully hit his face away from hers. But as she pulled back to briefly survey their new positioning, he saw no hint of a desire to run on her face. In fact, there was a very different kind of desire etched across her features. His mouth went dry and he gulped, craving to bring her closer again.

As if reading his mind, she leaned down to kiss him again. It was slower this time, more deliberate, almost shy. Hesitantly he parted his lips against hers and let his tongue swipe across her bottom lip. She shuddered and straightened her legs to press more of her weight against him, and shot her own tongue out to meet his.

Everything was electric. Her fingertips left traces of fire along his jaw, and he felt his whole body buzz. Even if it was just physical attraction, he couldn’t believe she wanted to be doing this with him, that she would let him. Even if it was just for tonight, he could let himself pretend that he was hers.

An audible sigh left his lips, and he felt her smile against him. As if suddenly realizing something, she pulled back slightly, the soft smile that had pressed to his lips now turned down into a small frown.

“…Adrien?” she asked quietly.

He merely nodded, his brain too muddled from everything else to form coherent words.

“Have you uh… have you thought about this before?” her shyness was creeping in again, and he had to wonder once more exactly when he started to have this effect on her.

It took a second for his brain to catch up to what she said. And when it did, he immediately felt awkward. He had thought about this, and any and all variations of this thousands of times. Although, he was rarely just plain-old Adrien in those scenarios. Ladybug eventually falling for Chat Noir’s charm and undying devotion and support as a teammate? He hoped for it every day. But Ladybug coming into his room at night and practically jumping him in his civilian life? He had never imagined it – it was too far from reality to be a viable fantasy.

She was still looking down at him expectantly, now sitting up straight, her legs on either side of his and her bottom placed firmly on his thighs. “Yes,” he choked out, managing a nod as well.

Her cheeks darkened again, and there was that flash of pain in her eyes before it was replaced with a wily smirk. “And, what exactly do you think about us doing?” she asked, regaining her usual confidence.

He spluttered, “I, uh, we, um,” telling the girl he’s fantasized about countless times exactly what those fantasies are was highly embarrassing. Briefly he had the horrible thought that this whole thing was just some elaborate rouse to get him to confess to something on hidden camera or something. But this was Ladybug, if she was kissing him and straddling him, it was because she wanted to.

My god, Ladybug is straddling me, his brain repeated dumbly, before he forced himself to focus on finding an appropriate answer for her. “We um, we kiss. And we touch, um,” he focused on steadying his voice as he watched her eyes follow his lips, “you want me to… you want me to touch you.” He had to fight his embarrassment to keep his eyes locked on hers.

She nodded back to him, “I want you to touch me,” she spoke softly. If it weren’t for the fire in her eyes, he would have thought she was teasing him, mocking his crush on her once again.

When he didn’t move because he was too stunned by her sincerity, she reached down to grab his right hand where it was resting near her thigh. First, she brought it up to her cheek, so she could kiss the pads of each of his fingers, keeping eye contact with him, burning her irises into his soul. Then she brought his hand down her neck, dragging him palm first, so he could feel as much of her as possible, slowly pulling him farther down until his hand rested just over her heart. It was somehow pounding faster than his own. He got goosebumps, it was as if her heartbeat was telling him her deepest secret.

She let go of his hand, and placed her own on his shoulders, “now, wherever you want,” she breathed.

He inhaled sharply and his stomach flipped, this can’t be real, she really wants to be doing this with me? He pulled his right hand down a little lower, and hesitantly ran his palm over her left breast, shifting his hand to the side slightly to better cup and caress her. But the way she sighed and sank into his touch was better than touching her in the first place. He could not believe that she was reacting so strongly to him.

Unable to bear the contact of just his hand, he sat up straight and bent his knees so that she slid down his thighs and locked into place with her hips right on top of his, his left hand coming up to her waist along the way to stabilize her, and their eyeline even. She giggled at his suddenness, her breaths lightly fanning his cheeks. He returned her smile fondly, before beginning the trail of his hands that she had started, this time his left hand joining in.

He traced down her sides, up her back between her shoulder blades, back down to lightly rub his thumbs across the underside of her breasts, and he briefly dared to dip lower down her back and lightly caress the top of her ass. As tempted as he was to watch his hands as they memorized her shape, he couldn’t look away from her face as she sighed through smiles, her bliss becoming more and more evident with each pass of his fingers, lost entirely in his touch. His touch.

He let out a contented sigh of his own, unable to keep the smile from plastering itself across his cheeks. Roused from her daze by the sound of his breaths, she leaned into him to give him a quick kiss before she wrapped her arms tightly around his shoulders and nuzzled her face into the crook of his neck. Anchoring his hands on the small of her back, he reciprocated her motions, so that he was nuzzled into her neck as well, breathing all of her in.

They stayed still just holding each other for a few moments. Not that he was complaining, having her this close at all was more than enough for him. Suddenly realizing that she had asked and then let him indulge in his desires – albeit, a tamer version of them – but he hadn’t offered the same to her. What do you dream of my lady? He shuddered to think of the possibility that the answer was just him.

Nervousness rising in him he spoke against the skin of her neck, half kissing her half talking, “what about you Ladybug… Have you thought about this before?”

She stilled immediately, and he worried he had pushed her too far. When she pulled back from him to meet his eyes, he saw the conflict and longing spring up in her again. She seemed to be making a decision, weighing exactly how she wanted to answer him. “Yes, and no,” she replied shyly.

How can it be both? He thought, his face giving away his confusion.

She smiled sadly, and shook her head, no longer wanting to meet his eyes. He stroked his thumbs around her hip bones affectionately, sensing that he shouldn’t directly ask her what she meant. “I… I’ve thought about this so many times but,” she was still looking away, her words falling out in soft breaths as her cheeks burned with embarrassment, “… but, never as Ladybug.”

Huh? Not as Ladybug? He repeated her words over in his head, trying to get them to make sense. He went over all the times he had seen her as Adrien, searching for something he had missed.

He must have been taking too long to respond because she was squirming now with embarrassment, as more truths tumbled out, seemingly without her wanting them to. “…It’s not because you’re a model either, you’re kind, and you stand up for people when they aren’t able to, you’re honest and always try to do the right thing, despite how lonely you must be cooped up in here all the time…”

The more she listed his qualities, the less it added up, Ladybug had never seen Adrien do anything other than run away from the occasional crazed fan. “I’ve thought about this so many times, but never as Ladybug,” her voice filtered through his head one last time. It finally clicked. Why she had been nervous around him all night, the pained look in her eyes every time he complimented her, even the way she seemed so concerned about him whenever he was involved in an akuma battle as his civilian self. God, I’m so slow.

“We know each other,” he stated with a sense of awe, interrupting her apparently never-ending list of his positive qualities. For a brief second Adrien could have sworn he heard the raspy muffled scoff of his kwami who was hiding somewhere nearby. Luckily, Ladybug was too caught up in everything else to hear Plagg’s grief.

She squeaked, her eyes widening in horror, and her hand clamped over her mouth. “I am so sorry, I should have never said anything – you could find out my secret identity – and I’ve practically lied to you all night, omigosh, Adrien I am so sorry.”

His face scrunched up in confusion again, “lied to me how?”

“Don’t you see? I don’t want you to like just me as Ladybug, I want you to like me as Ma – as me, too. And when you put your hand on my face and I saw the way you were looking at me as Ladybug I – I couldn’t help it – I used Ladybug to get to you for my own selfish reasons – oh my god, this is awful,” she squirmed again, causing Adrien to wince slightly, as she was still sitting right on top of him.

Oh, he thought with a thud, as he realized the same could be said of him. He had fallen in love with her as Chat, but had unknowingly used her connection to Adrien as a means to be close to her as Ladybug. She really is a better person than I am to be so worried about something I hadn’t even considered…

He shook his head and reached up to take her hands away from where they were shielding her face from his. “You didn’t lie. You’re Ladybug and I wanted to be with Ladybug,” he looked in her eyes firmly, wanting to do everything he could to make sure she had no regrets, “and it just so happened to work out that you wanted to be with me too.” He took a breath to steady himself before he continued, “everything you just said about me, all that stuff that you know about me from your civilian life, I’ve never really told anyone any of that, or ever imagined that anyone was paying enough attention to notice me like that. And the fact that it’s you of all people who’s thinking about me, makes it better, not worse… Besides, it also means that I’m still no closer to figuring out who you are under the mask.”

She let out a chuckle that almost sounded like a sob, and Adrien saw that there were tears beginning to line the corners of her eyes. He caressed her cheeks with his thumbs and attempted to wipe the tears away, but he ended up just kind of smearing them into her mask instead. Now her laugh was more earnest, “see, this stupid thing is just getting in the way,” she joked.

He nodded fervently, glad to see her smiling again, “I agree,” he whispered, before delicately placing his lips on hers once more.

This time she was hesitant to respond, clearly trying to gauge how much she should indulge herself. But her hesitation quickly turned to longing passion, verging almost on desperation. Adrien didn’t mind, he dug his nails into her sides hard, grateful that her suit was indestructible and he didn’t seem to be hurting her. He just wanted to bring her as close as possible while she was here. Before it was tomorrow and he was just Chat to her again and she was in love with someone else… with someone else… OH. Oh god, I am so much stupider than I thought.

Realization was like a freight train ramming into his brain. How had he not seen this from that first longing look she gave him when he walked out of his bathroom? She couldn’t love him as Chat because she loved him as Adrien… What kind of cosmic dumb fucking luck?

He knew now exactly how she’d been feeling all night, so close to being together, but knowing there would always be one more step they couldn’t take. Two masks always shrouding their gaze, letting them be together, but never allowing them to truly see. He poured everything he had into their kisses, wanting her to feel the fire in his heart for her. He wanted to give her everything she wanted, even if it was only for tonight.

“De-transform yourself,” he whispered between kisses.

She pulled back a little harshly, “wh-what? No, Adrien I can’t do that, we just talked about this. We shouldn’t even be doing this at all, the potential is too dangerous.”

He shook his head, “right. Which is why this is probably the only time this is going to happen right?”

Her eyes were flickering sadly, and he knew he was right.

“So, let’s make the most of it. You said you’ve thought about this before – let’s make it exactly the way you want it,” he blushed, still unbelieving that he was something that she wanted, but he pressed onward before she could protest again, “I’ve got a fake Ladybug mask from when I was an extra in Clara Nightingale’s music video, that’ll hide your identity right?”

“I…but… what if you recognize my clothes?”

That’s not a no, he smirked. “You can borrow some of mine.”

She was unflinching against him, but he could still feel her heart pounding as the cogs whirred behind her eyes. She was considering it. After what seemed like an eternity, she nodded ever so slightly.

Smiling, he scooted backwards to begin untangling the two of them so he could grab her some clothes and the mask. But as he pulled back, he felt the fabric of her suit slowly peeling off his skin. The combination of his semi-wet bare skin and her rubbery outfit must have made it stick to him like glue. He hissed, but Ladybug just laughed – making the detaching process all the more difficult.

“We just can’t seem to get anything right, can we Pretty Boy,” she teased, as he finally pushed her all the way off her with an unceremonious ripping sound. She toppled back to lie face up on the couch, still laughing.

“I guess not, Buga – babe,” he caught himself from using his favorite pet name.

“Bugababe?” she cackled even louder, “I think we’re going to have to work on your nicknaming skills, too.”

“Says the girl who just called me ‘pretty boy,’” he teased back.

“Hey! It’s better than Adrikins,” she said, mocking Chloe’s voice perfectly. They both laughed this time, but stopped when they realized she had accidentally let more information slip. Well, Chloe is Queen Bee, so of course she’s heard Chloe’s voice before… but I don’t think Queen Bee has ever called me Adrikins… He stopped himself before he fell down a trail he wasn’t sure he should follow.

Clearing his throat, he held out his hand to her, and hoped that she wasn’t too scared to go through with this, “my lady?” he offered with a sweet whisper.

Only barely hesitating now, she reached out and placed her fingers in his palm and allowed him to help her up off the couch. He led her over to his dresser, “you can pick something out, while I go grab the mask.”

It took him a moment to find it. He was ashamed to admit he had quite a bit of Ladybug paraphernalia hidden around his room, and finding the right box of trinkets from years ago took him a little longer than he hoped.

After eventually finding it in an old shoebox tucked behind his desk, he found Ladybug still standing next to his dresser, now with a bundle of clothes folded in her arms. As much as he loved seeing her confidence and strength, seeing her innocent vulnerability as she clutched his clothes to her chest was also unbelievably endearing.

Sensing she was still nervous, he handed the mask out to her wordlessly. She looked down at it in his hand, and back up to his eyes before she reached out for it apprehensively. “What if you don’t like me without all of this,” she gestured generally to the air around her.

He shook his head, “you’re always Ladybug. Even without the suit.”

She chuckled mirthlessly, “your ‘everyday Ladybug.’” She shook her head with a scoff as if she just remembered some dark inside joke. He couldn’t help but think he was meant to be a part of it, where have I heard that before?

Clearing her throat, she held up the bundle, now with the mask, and gestured to the bathroom behind him, “I’ll just go change.”

The bathroom door closed behind her and it took all his effort not to lean his head against the door longingly, but he gave her space.

There was an achingly long pause, and then a whispered, “Tikki, spots off.” A flash of pink light came from the bottom of the door and then there was a lot of commotion.

“Whew that was a long time, wait, what are we doing here Ma-“

“Shh!! Tikki you can’t say my name!” Ladybug’s voice was frantic, and he imagined her hand clamped fiercely over her kwami’s mouth.

There were some muffled sounds before Ladybug presumably allowed Tikki to speak again, “this is so dangerous M-“

Tikki!”

“Oh, you’re right, sorry. But this is dangerous and you know it! This is not what the ladybug miraculous is for!”

“I know Tikki, I know, but please? It’s just this one time, please Tikki, I’ll give you all the macarons you want.”

“Not all of us kwami’s are so motivated by food – I’m not Plagg!” There was another pause, “okay, fine, but only this once. And you have to be very careful M-“

Okay! Although it seems like you’re the one who needs to be careful Tikki,” Ladybug scolded, “you should hide somewhere until we leave so you don’t accidentally say something.”

Silence crept up again and Adrien assumed she was probably changing clothes now. At some point Plagg must have come out from wherever he was hiding, because he was now floating directly in front of Adrien’s face, giving him a very poignant look that Adrien knew to mean, ‘Tikki is right, this is too dangerous and you shouldn’t be doing this.’ But Adrien ignored him, and tossed him a slice of camembert from the drawer next to his bed. Plagg gobbled it down happily and didn’t bother Adrien again. It seemed Tikki was right, his kwami was definitely too motivated by food.

After some more unseen shuffling he heard Ladybug’s kwami’s high pitched voice again. “This might actually work. You just look like Ladybug but in very strange clothes.”

“Thanks, Tikki,” Ladybug deadpanned.

One last pause, and then the bathroom door was inching open. Adrien’s jaw dropped. Oh my god, she chooses to wear my boxers of all things – is she trying to kill me!? She had on one of his black t shirts and a pair of his red and black spotted boxer shorts. He couldn’t help but think she chose the pattern specifically to stop his heart. Looking up to her face, he saw that the mask didn’t quite form to her face like her traditional one did, but the eyes beneath it were the same. She was still his Ladybug, just more… real.

“Wow,” he breathed.

She smiled bashfully, fussing with the hem of the shirt. She moved to take a step forward, radiating beauty, and then, she tripped over her own feet and slammed face first into his bare chest with a loud smack.

Okay well, that was certainly un-Ladybug-like. He gripped her shoulders to help her straighten up. She looked up at him through her lashes, and he couldn’t help but laugh at the whole situation. Her laughter joined in with his, and he swore there was something familiar about the moment.

“Ahem, so, erm, what do you want to do?” he asked shyly once their laughter faded.

“Oh, um,” she said meekly.

“It’s uh, supposed to be whatever you want, so um, just let me know.” How had this gotten so awkward so quickly? They both knew they wanted to be there, they knew they liked each other, but neither of them seemed capable of moving.

After a beat, she repeated her actions from earlier in the evening and oh-so slowly reached her hand up to trace the skin of his collarbone. This time there was no water to brush away, and no glove on her fingers to muddle either of their senses. Her touch was feather light and apprehensive. She looked up at him, her eyes asking permission, which he gave freely. If her touches earlier were setting trails of fire, now they were surely melting his skin right off. And he couldn’t get enough.

Emboldened by his enthusiasm, she rubbed both her hands up his neck, before trailing back down to trace over his collarbone once more, then dragged her palms down heel first to his stomach, raking her nails gently along the way. He couldn’t help but take notice of how her breathing quickened, and realized his own had as well.

She looked up once more to meet his eyes with a giddy smirk and he couldn’t hold back anymore. It was her smirk. The mask was wrong, her suit was gone and her balance was a lot worse, but it was her, she was still his Ladybug. He reached down to grab her forearms and wrap them around his neck, before he bent down further to help her jump up to wrap her legs around his waist.

They wobbled back for a moment, and she had to dig her nails into his shoulders to keep from falling over, but once he found his stance she settled into his grip easily, and she wasted no more time diving in to claim his lips. With one hand firm on her thigh to keep her stabilized, he ran the other one up to her waist, hitching her shirt – my shirt, he shuddered – up to her ribs and feeling the intimate softness of her bare skin. She sighed into his mouth, relishing every moment of skin to skin contact.

Standing with her legs wrapped fiercely around him, and her entire front pressed flush against his own, was both wonderfully exhilarating, and unfortunately exhausting. He was going to have to sit down very soon. He backed up slowly, waiting for his heel to hit any familiar surface so that he could sit down without having to break their hold. A few more steps and he felt something soft press into the backs of his knees, making them bend so that he sat down onto his bed with a plop.

Jarring their lips out of place, they both quickly glanced to the side to see where they had landed. He became extremely aware of their positioning, and was sure that she felt the new firmness now pressed between their hips at this new angle – in combination with the implication of them being on his bed, he blushed furiously.

“Maybe we should-“ he started.

“Stay away from the bed?” she finished, and they both nodded gratefully. They didn’t need to make facing each other after all this any harder than it was already going to be.

With a grunt of effort, he lifted her back up off the bed, and quickly strode back over to the couch, smiling and pressing small pecks to her cheeks as he went.

With all of his attention was focused on her, he forgot about the towel that had fallen off his shoulders earlier, and he tripped just before they reached the couch. He was able to toss Ladybug forward enough that she didn’t fall onto the floor, and she squealed with an annoyed delight as she bounced onto the couch. But, just as he was about to straighten back up to join her, her squeal turned to panic.

“Wait, Adrien! Don’t look!” she clumsily smushed her hands onto his face, covering his eyes haphazardly, “the mask! It fell off!”

Shit.

“Did you see where it went?” he asked, sensing the worry in her voice.

“N-no, I think it’s over under the coffee table – but don’t get it! I don’t want you to accidentally see me,” she said, her voice cracking.

“It’s okay, we’ll find it,” he soothed, reaching up to rub where her hands were still pressed to his eyelids.

“Maybe we shouldn’t bother,” she said with a sigh, “we were foolish to think this would work for long anyway.”

He shook his head adamantly, “I just wish I could see you,” he felt himself pleading for her. “If I could just see you, then we could be together all the time.”

“I’m sorry, but we can’t,” she choked, “it’s too dangerous for anyone to know who I am, even you… Tikk-“

“Don’t,” Adrien whispered. It was too soon, he felt her slipping from his fingers.

“-spots on.”

There was a flash of light behind his eyelids and he felt Ladybug’s hands fall away from his face slowly. Looking at her face – now back to being covered by it’s perfectly fitted mask – he wasn’t sure which of them was more torn about this.

“…If I can’t see the real you, can we at least keep seeing each other like this?” He knew what the answer would be, but he would kick himself if he didn’t try.

She shook her head sadly, her pigtails bouncing against her jaw. “As long as Hawk Moth is around, it’ll never be safe for me to have connections to anyone… and now,” her voice broke again, “because of everything tonight, I can’t even tell you how I feel in my regular civilian life… it would be too obvious after everything…”

She always had to be the voice of reason.

“I don’t know about that my lady,” he smirked, “if I’ve learned anything tonight it’s that I am extremely slow on the uptake.”

She scoffed, “how are you making jokes right now?”

“Well, I was being pretty serious. In all honesty, I think I might be a lot dumber than I originally thought.” She glared at him, and he put up his hands defensively, “but no, it’s because of what you just said. Hawk Moth is the problem, so all we have to do is defeat Hawk Moth.”

We?” she asked incredulously.

“Uh, y-yeah,” he stuttered, having momentarily forgotten himself, “I mean if I do more modeling gigs and more fans get upset that I don’t love them, then there’ll be more akuma attacks, and then more opportunity to track down Hawk Moth?”

Ladybug rolled her eyes, “that just sounds like more work for me.”

Adrien shrugged, “either way, I have hope.”

“Always the optimist, aren’t you Pretty?” she jabbed sarcastically, but he didn’t miss the traces of affection that were thick in her voice.

“Yep. In fact, I’m pretty sure that was one of the things you said you liked about me,” he continued to smirk at her.

She narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously, and he realized he may have been coming off a little too Chat-like.

But the moment passed, and her eyes turned soft again. “I should get going, it’s late,” she stood up from the couch, and he followed her to the windows.

“Wait,” he said just as she pulled out her yo-yo to swing away, and he gathered her close one last time and pressed a lingering kiss to her lips.

She sighed and smiled at him with that same longing gaze that he was beginning to falling in love with. “I’m sorry this couldn’t be what either of us wanted,” she said sadly, but she didn’t let it hamper her smile. “But, I’ll try and share some of that hope you have.”

She flashed him one last signature Ladybug smirk, and then she was gone, swinging across the rooftops of Paris to wherever she called home. Adrien let out a breath he didn’t know he had been holding, and a familiar black blob surfaced in his peripheral vision.

“Boy are you in trouble,” Plagg wheezed teasingly, “how are you ever going to focus in battles from now on with memories of all that.”

“Because we have hope, Plagg,” he turned away from the window and went to lay back on his bed, “and because now it’s truer than ever: whoever she is behind that mask, I know I love that girl.”

“Ugh,” Plagg gagged, “why are all humans are so gross.”

~~