The akuma moved too quickly for either Chat Noir or Ladybug to stop them. Throwing Ladybug to the ground, their hands latched onto her ears. Marinette felt the familiar sting of her lobes being tugged from her body, felt the sharp pain from her earring being ripped first from one ear, then the other.
She couldn’t help her gasp, nor the fear that coursed through her body as she felt the shimmer of pink run through her body, shedding away her suit and revealing what lay underneath. In some desperate attempt at shielding herself, Marinette tries moving her hands in front of her face, instead finding them pinned above her, akuma leering down at her and keeping her in place.
“Not so lucky now, huh Ladybug?” they say. “Finally, I’ve gotten the one thing Papillon has wanted! I am the best villain Paris has ever seen, and I’ll forever reign! I’ll forever- “
Chat ends their monologue with a swift kick to the head, effectively knocking them out. They slump over Ladybug, covering their detransformation. Calling for cataclysm, Chat leans down and brushes his hand on their arm, destroying the bracelet they wore and freeing the akuma trapped inside. He watches the butterfly flutter upwards, trapped in the enclosed room they’re in.
Adrien looks around nervously. Should he help his Lady? He knows her identity, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it, will be revealed. At least they’re alone, he notes, glad that for once, no news reporters are surrounding them, and while they’re in his school, the akuma had previously trapped them in the room, which remained closed off from the outside with Ladybug’s Miraculous fixing everything. Reaching down once more, he opens the akuminized victim’s closed fist, revealing the pair of earrings Papillon had come so close to gaining.
“My Lady?” he lets out. “I, er, think you dropped something. Or well, I could say was taken away, if we’re being correct. Although- “
“Chaton,” she says, hands still clasped over her face. “It’s okay. I know. It’s… it’s time.”
Adrien creases his eyebrows when he sees the gloves she’s wearing. They look oddly familiar. Come to think of it, her entire outfit does.
“My Lady, what are you wearing?”
“Oh, uh, this?” Marinette asks, already stuttering while trying to find a proper excuse. “Well, er, you see…”
“It looks like you’re dressed… kind of like me?”
“I am,” she admits. Hands falling off her face, Adrien finds himself staring at a very impressive, very accurate replica of his own suit. “It was… superhero day at my school.”
“So, you dressed up like me?”
“What other hero could I do? It’s not like showing up as Ladybug would’ve worked out well.” Marinette scratches the back of her neck, thankful that she thought to wear a mask on her way to school. In a way, it still kept her identity hidden, the suit hiding her freckles and the mask concealing the majority of her face. “Anyways, it was kind of a bust. The akuma attacked before I even got here.”
“Wait… so you were seriously going to show up to school as me? Ladybug? As Chat Noir?” Adrien laughs, ignoring the countdown on his ring. “Sorry, but this is just such a dream come true.”
His Lady laughs, rolling her eyes half-heartedly. “Laugh it up, Chat. Now, give me my earrings back so I can transform.”
He hands it over without question, the earrings quickly popped back into place. She smiles, shaking off the nerves of what occurred.
“Well, we should fix this mess a bit, right?” she suggests, gesturing to the damage in the room and the still unconscious victim laying on the floor. “I should be able to mend all their injuries when I use my miraculous, but still, someone needs to be here for this person when she wakes.”
“Wait,” he interrupts, watching as Ladybug adjusts the leather mask still on her face, trying to cover as much as she can. “If you’re dressed as me for superhero day… which is only happening here today… doesn’t that mean you’re a student here?”
Marinette stiffens, blinking at Chat Noir.
“Well,” she mentions, “If you knew only this school was doing superhero day… doesn’t that mean you’re a student here too?”
Now it’s Adrien’s turn to freeze, already backing out of the room.
“Well, would you look at that!” he exclaims, bringing his hand up to show the blinking glove. “I should go and detransform and get back to class- I mean head back to my school! On the other side of the city! Certainly not anywhere near here!”
“Chaton,” Marinette warns. “Don’t try to run from this.”
“We’ll talk about it later,” he says, trying to leave through the barricaded door. His ring now blinks faster, warning he’ll lose his edge- and suit- any minute. “For now, let’s clean this up, okay?”
“Okay,” she sighs, quick to transform into the good grace of her suit and purify the akuma, cleansing it before it got loose somewhere. A throw of her lucky charm in the air, and the room quickly mends itself, leaving a fistbump and quick getaway from the duo.
“I’ll see you soon?” Chat asks, knowing his answer even so. Adrien doesn’t quite know which classmate of his she is, but there’s no denying it anymore. She most definitely is one, and an extremely sneaky one at that.
“Soon?” Marinette questions.
“Later today, on our patrols,” he explains. “I mean, it’s not like I go here or anything.”
“Uh-huh. No way at all.”
“Well… I guess I better go, right? My school is just so far away.”
“Of course. But, you did do the homework for chemistry, right?” she asks, hand on hip and head cocked to the side. Chat is almost out the door, but turns at her question, looking back at the heroine.
“Duh,” Adrien responds, rolling his eyes at his Lady’s question. “What am I, dumb?”
Marinette stomps her foot on the ground, pointing accusingly at him. “You do go here!” she exclaims, stopping him in his tracks.
“There is no way to prove that- “ he begins before he feels his transformation wear off, showing the costume he wears underneath.
The very bright, very spotted Ladybug costume.
“Oh?” Marinette questions, a giggle in her throat that threatens to come out. She stops her yo-yo, reeling it back in and taking a step closer to her kitten. “What do we have here?”
“Don’t act like you wouldn’t do the same,” he quips, blush coming over his face as he shifts and feels the material move with his skin. Perhaps it is a bit more skin-tight than he had recalled. “Drop the suit and let’s take a second look at your costume, huh?”
She does so, laughter coming out as the pink shimmer fades away to show her Chat Noir cosplay.
“I guess we’re both big fans of each other?” she asks, trying to smother her giggles.
“Have to say, though, I don’t really own any merch.”
“I beg to differ, my Lady. Have to support the brand, you know?”
“No, I don’t know.”
Chat joins in her laughter, the only sounds in the room that of the victim’s soft groans as they come to. Suddenly, their moment alone is over, the door banging open to reveal Alya and Nino, dressed in their own coupled up version of Ladybug and Chat Noir.
“Adrien! Marinette! We’ve been looking everywhere for you! Thank God you two are safe!” Alya exclaims, wrapping the two in a tight hug.
“Woah! Is this who the akuma got?” Nino asks, helping the person to their feet. “We better take them to the nurse!”
“You guys really let this poor person lay on the ground so you two could joke around? Unbelievable!” Alya says, crossing her arms and looking at the two. “And on top of that, we couldn’t start the party in the classroom without you two!”
Marinette blinks, scanning her partner next to her. Blond hair, green eyes, slightly taller frame. Adrien does the same with his Lady. Blue eyes, hair that matched, with a strong yet small frame. They process the names Alya just said, connecting the dots as fast as their brains can do so.
When it finally hits them, they recoil from Alya, each glancing at the other warily. Alya doesn’t notice, instead looking at their attire. She leans in, poking the fabric and feeling the stark similarity to the actual things.
“You two really look like them, you know. The detail on these suits is amazing,” she says. “It’s almost like you two stole their suits for the day. Of course, it would look even better if you two switched.”
“Haha, yeah…” Marinette says. She gazes at Chat, or… er, Adrien.
“What she said,” he says, adjusting the Ladybug mask on his face.
“We better get back to class,” Nino says. “Ivan just texted me that Max is having his robot friend cook food with his built-in blowtorch!”
“You’re kidding!” Alya exclaims. Grabbing Marinette’s hand, she practically drags her out of the room. “I’ve been begging him all morning for that!”
“C’mon dude. Let’s go to the clinic first, then the classroom,” Nino says, motioning for him to help him move the victim out of the room. Adrien does so, supporting some of the person’s weight so to make it easier for them to walk.
“So, you and Marinette were just hanging out alone?” Nino asks, whispering as they pass the girls. “I didn’t think you’d be the type to skip class and flirt.”
“We weren’t flirting,” Adrien says, feeling his cheeks grow warm even as he denies.
Nino snorts, shaking his head at his friend. “You weren’t flirting? If we’re telling lies then, I guess I’m not sweating balls under this suit.”
“Nino, way too much information.” Adrien grimaces, drawing a laugh from Nino.
“Adrien!” Marinette calls out. He turns his head, looking back at her and Alya. His eyes shift a bit, unsure whether to pretend he hadn’t come to the same conclusion as her or to embrace her as he always dreamed to upon finding out his Lady’s identity.
“You’ll let me copy your chemistry homework later?” she asks, smiling.
“Of course,” he responds, biting back the urge to add in “my Lady” at the end of the sentence. He turns his head back, walking out the doorway with Nino.
“What was that about?” Alya asks, quirking a brow. “Confident Marinette rarely comes out around Adrien, much less a functioning one.”
“Oh, it was nothing,” Marinette says, adjusting the mask on her face. “I guess I got a little bit of Chat Noir coursing through me today.”