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motivations at midnight

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"What's your favorite part?" He asks her. 

She looks at him. "Hm?" 

"Your favorite part." He echoes. He waves his hands around in vague gestures, trying to clarify. "Of all this." 

She thinks for a moment, quiet. Below them, the Parisian nightlife is bustling and loud. Car alarms and dinner conversation create a mutilated symphony. Miles away, the Eiffel Tower flickers back and forth while crowds of tourists take pictures to capture it. The Seine is still, and riverboats chug along, fairy lights gently dangling from their roofs. Luka's pirate ship is seen in the distance, and if she squints, she can almost hear the music wafting away from it. 

This was the city they were sworn to protect. 

She answers after a minute or so. "Watching the Miraculous Cure sweep across the city. It's... beautiful, really," She says, a soft smile on her face. 

He can't argue with that. When he saw the pink magic, bubbly and pleasant, rush through the streets for the first time, he was speechless. It cleared the damage, the smashed cars and broken glass, and reverted it back to it's original state. It was so refreshing, so relieving; he still can't bring himself to tear his gaze away. 

He hums in agreement. It's quiet again. "What's yours?" She asks.

He doesn't skip a beat. "Mr. Pigeon." She immediately starts giggling, and lightly shoves him. He tries his best to keep serious- a grin manages to leak through anyway. "I'm serious!" He exclaims. "Saving him a record-breaking twenty-three times-"

"Oh, stop it."

"-wasting my precious free time-"

"Like you have any."

"-and fighting off demented pigeons in creepy warehouses." He smirks. "It never fails to make my day." He leans back and keeps his arms propped up to support him. He watches over the night, listening. They are on patrol after all, and it's their duty to make sure trouble steered clear. 

She looks at him affectionately. "I'm serious, Chaton." 

He would've continued in defense of Mr. Ramier, but her voice is so soft he can't help but melt a little. He sighs, running a hand through his messy hair. He doesn't look at her. "You." He admits.

She blushes, despite herself. She can't, however, encourage his words. "Chat-"

"You asked for my favorite part." He continues. "And it's you."

She looks down at the street again. She doesn't trust herself to speak. 

"Specifically? It's your smile of relief after we beat an akuma. Your smile in general, really. And your laugh- oh man, that laugh!" He seems to light up. "I could listen to it for hours! The way you pretend like my jokes aren't funny-"

That's because they aren't, she insists. She can't bring herself to believe it.

"-and the way you brush off my compliments. It's like you aren't aware of how truly beautiful you are. Criminal." He scoffs. Then, he looks down at his hands, twiddling his fingers. He looks sheepish. "The way you save the day. Every time. No matter how many mistakes we make or how many times Hawkmoth seems to get me. You always push through." 

I can't do it without you, she wants to say.

He sighs again. "You passion. Your determination. Your enthusiasm. The way your voice goes all soft and-" He looks away, face red. "-and sweet when you talk to akuma victims. When you talk to me," he pauses, "when you aren't sick of me, that is." He clarifies. "When you're... when you're proud of me." 

She wants to cry. I always am. 

"And your eyes... your eyes. How to describe them?" He seems almost annoyed he can't properly articulate his thoughts. "They're this incredible blue color. It's a blue that doesn't exist anywhere else, believe me, I've looked." He laughs. "The way they darken into this scary navy when you're determined. The way they light up when something amuses you. The way they..." He takes a deep breath, and offers her a tentative glance. "The way they seem to reflect the city, and the stars, every time you smile." 

She wants to say something. She needs to say something. But she can't. The words want to tumble out but something is holding them back. Is it Adrien? Is it Luka? She's not really sure. All she knows is that her chest suddenly feels warm, and Tikki is giggling somewhere in the back of her conscious, and-

And she can't say anything anyway. Screams erupt down the street and police sirens are heard somewhere a few blocks away. The smell of magic is thick in their noses. Hawkmoth's vengeful laughter rumbles deep below the earth.

He stands, beams at her, and for the first she feels she's truly looking at him. He extends his baton over the edge of the roof, and turns away.

He's about to leave. Desperation strikes her out of nowhere. "Can I change my answer?" She blurts out. He looks at her in amusement.

"We have an akuma to catch, My Lady." He reminds her. And with that, he's off into the night. She can hear his laughter bouncing off the wind, and suddenly she's laughing too. 

She decides on a new favorite part. Perhaps there isn't anything new about it. With a final nod, yo-yo swinging, she chases after him. It's the two of them against the world, and they wouldn't have it any other way.