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Marichat Oneshots

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"Your Majesty," A messenger says, bowing in front of his monarch. He straightens up and prepares himself to deliver some of the worst news he has ever had to deliver in his lifetime, his voice shaky with nerves, "Your eldest daughter Marinette... she has yet to return from her trip to the village. The guards haven't seen her all day. They think the Kwamis might have gotten hold of her."

At the messenger's words, the king's usually calm and happy demeanor darkens. He seems to grow and tower even farther above the shaking man in front of him, even though he hasn't left his seat. The large, burly ruler leans forward slightly and speaks in a dangerously calm, low voice,

"You mean to tell me that my own soldiers, my own guards, let one of my daughters get kidnapped by those savages in the east? Who was in charge?" The king booms his last question, his anger at his soldiers' failure overflowing.

"I-I-I don't- I don't know. I wasn't told that, your Majesty. I can find out if you want me to." The messenger stutters slightly, his nervous habit coming in full force. The king sighs and calms down slightly. He knows it's not the messenger's fault; he shouldn't be taking his anger out on the poor boy who's just doing his job.

"Don't bother. Just bring me him." The king orders.

"Him? You don't mean..."

"Yes. Summon the Knight of Destruction, Chat Noir." The messenger immediately scurries out of the room, wanting to get this daunting task done as soon as possible.

====== • ======

Chat Noir walks into the throne room, casually twirling a dagger in his right hand, a large sword strapped to his back. This isn't the first time he's been summoned by King Tom, and he doesn't think it will be the last. He stops spinning the dagger and bows once he's in front of the monarch's throne, but somehow even that simple action is sarcastic.

Chat isn't one for authority figures.

"Chat Noir, I have a job for you, if you are willing to accept it." King Tom speaks, his loud voice slightly irritating the sensitive ears of the knight who has better hearing than most.

"It depends on the job, your Majesty." Chat responds with a small smirk across his face. His confidence seems to know no bounds, even when in front of a powerful man such as King Tom.

Tom takes a deep breath in order to stay calm. Chat might be insolent, but he is the best knight in the kingdom. He does his assigned tasks quickly and with accuracy. He can be quite destructive, though, which is why he is known as the Knight of Destruction. Chat Noir isn't afraid to destroy anything in order to finish his goal. It makes him terrifying, yet effective.

"My eldest daughter, Marinette, has gone missing. We believe that she has been taken by the Kwamis in the forest to the east. I want you to find my daughter, and bring her home." Chat nearly gasps at the news. He cares deeply for the eldest princess since he and Marinette are quite close friends - they have been since they were young - so hearing her father say she's missing isn't an easy thing for the feline-like knight to hear.

He considers it for a moment, but decides to take on the task. Chat Noir knows he's one of the best knights in the kingdom and would have a high chance of finding Marinette. Also, he's bored, and he's sure to get a large reward for this. He gets to rescue his closest friend, and the reward is just the cherry on top.

"I'll find her. Leave it to me." Chat Noir salutes to the king and runs out of the room, leaving the king sitting alone in this throne room, wondering if asking Chat to get his daughter back was truly a good idea.

====== • ======

Chat Noir spends the next couple of days asking casually around the town, gathering as much information as he can without causing a panic. From what he has learned, it seems like the Kwamis were the ones that took the princess. The idea of him trying to infiltrate the Kwamis' camps to look for the princess is a bit frightening to the cat-like knight, but he is determined to see this job through.

Chat decides to search the main Kwami settlement first - well, that's if he can even get there. He has never tried before, but apparently this group of 'savages' has good security measures around all of their bases. Not much is known about the Kwamis, actually. They are a very secretive people that rarely leave the forest they inhabit. They must have had a good reason to take the princess; they don't seem like the type of people to kidnap someone randomly, at least, not to Chat. He'll have to investigate further. He chooses not to bring his sword, knowing it will hinder his movements.

The deeper he goes into the woods, the more his feelings of fear escalate. The trees get larger and closer together, meaning less light is able to shine through to the forest floor. What a convenient moment to have good night vision, Chat Noir thinks to himself. He makes his way as quickly as he can through the forest while also being absolutely silent. He can't get captured himself, or there wouldn't be anyone left to rescue the princess.

The sound of a footstep makes Chat pause. He slowly scans his surroundings, looking out for any movement or anything that sticks out. After a few moments, he notices a bit of red peeking out from around the trunk of a tree. Chat Noir considers his options before deciding to climb up a tree next to him. He's thankful to his past self for deciding to have claw-like points added to his gloves. It's making his task much easier.

Once he's up in the tree, Chat is able to look down at the forest floor while being almost completely hidden in the thick foliage on the branches surrounding the one he is crouched on. This proves useful, since after a few minutes, two people come over to the area where he was standing just a few minutes prior.

One of them has bright red hair with black highlights pulled to the back of her head in a bun, pale skin with a pinkish tinge almost like she's slightly sunburned, and seems to be quite short. She has red and black swirls painted on her face, the black paint coalescing into dots across her skin, almost like the pattern on a ladybug. She's wearing all black, as is her companion.

Her companion is a couple inches taller than her. He has black, unruly hair and dark skin. He has black paint surrounding his eyes and in lines extending out all over his face, almost looking like fur or whiskers. Like Chat, he is wearing a hood with two cat-like ears poking out from the top and gloves with sharp points. This stranger immediately makes Chat more curious since he is wearing cat-themed clothing like himself.

"Ugh, where'd that stupid copycat go?" The man says, annoyance clear in his tone.

"Really, Plagg? Copycat?" The female retorts. Chat continues to watch as the man, Plagg, rolls his eyes,

"Come on Tikki, both you and I know I didn't mean it to be a pun. I'm just annoyed that someone that dares to copy my look is intruding in our forest, and has now apparently vanished."

"I doubt he stole your 'look' on purpose Plagg. Come on, let's go looking for him. We can't have him getting too close to camp, at least, not without permission." The two run off as Chat stays still in the tree, pondering their words carefully. After a moment of contemplation, the identity of the two strangers called Tikki and Plagg finally clicks in his head: they're Kwamis.

Chat sighs to himself as he makes his way down the tree then runs in the general direction he saw the two Kwamis go in. This decision is stupid and might end up killing him if the Kwamis are a violent people like so many in his kingdom believe, but Chat Noir has a task to complete, and he's determined to see it through.

After some time of Chat running as quickly as he dares through the forest, he stops abruptly when he hears talking. Or, to be more accurate, yelling. He crouches and slowly moves forward to try and catch a glimpse of who is yelling. He grins to himself when he sees the two same people he saw before, and starts to think up a plan while watching them argue.

"Well, which way do you want to go then, Tikki? Maybe you'll be better at tracking my copycat!" Plagg exclaims, obviously annoyed at his companion, "But please, let's make this quick. I'm getting hungry!"

"I don't even think he'd venture this far into the forest! The villagers never do, they're scared of us!" Tikki replies, "I say we go back to the area where he disappeared. We might be able to find a clue as to what direction he went in. Come on, let's get going. We can eat later."

"But I wanna eat now!" Plagg whines, but follows his companion towards where Chat is hiding anyway, "You're so cruel sometimes, Sugarcube."

"Maybe it's because you won't stop calling me Sugarcube. You know I don't like that nickname. How would you feel if I started calling you Stinky Sock?"

"That'd be delightful, Sugarcube." Tikki groans at Plagg's response, making him snicker. All the while, they get closer and closer to Chat's hiding place. Once they are close enough, Chat Noir leaps into action, grabbing Tikki around the neck and lifting her off of the ground with his left hand while whipping out a dagger from its place on the belt around his waist and holding it at Plagg's throat.

"Take me to the princess, and nobody gets hurt." Chat snarls. Plagg growls and moves his body slightly, but that action just causes Chat to slightly tighten his hand around Tikki's neck.

"Plagg..." She gasps, clawing weakly at Chat's hand.

"I am the Knight of Destruction, Chat Noir. I have been sent to retrieve Princess Marinette, and I am not afraid to destroy anything I must in order for me to reach that goal, even your friend's neck." Chat states, hoping they can't tell he's bluffing. He may be destructive, but he's not that destructive. He wouldn't destroy something as precious as a life. Especially since it'd mean breaking a promise to the one person that he cares for more than himself.

Thankfully, they can't tell that Chat Noir is lying through his teeth. His words cause Tikki to stop scratching at his hand and cause Plagg to stiffen, but stand so he's no longer in a fight-ready position. Plagg glances sadly over at Tikki, who looks back at him forlornly. He cares too much for his red-headed companion to not comply with the knight's demands.

"I'm sorry, Tikki." Plagg whispers under his breath, just loud enough for the three of them to hear.

"Now that we're all on the same page," Chat forcefully pushes past his feelings of guilt in order to focus on his mission, "lead me to the princess."

"Only if you put Tikki down." Plagg automatically demands, obviously concerned for his companion. Chat lets go of Tikki, wishing he didn't have to be cruel. However, he must. He has a princess to rescue, and a facade to keep up. He has portrayed himself as violent, so he must stay that way.

Once Tikki is no longer held by Chat Noir, Plagg immediately runs over to her side, helping her stand, all the while glaring sharply at the man who is now pointing two daggers at them.

"Let's get moving." Chat orders, making his voice cold and emotionless.

The two Kwamis slowly stand and start walking forward towards their settlement. Chat keeps a dagger pointed at each of their backs to keep up the image. It also works to make sure they do as he asked, yet the convenience of his actions won't stop the guilt festering in his heart. He pushes it aside, focusing on his task instead.

After a few hours of Chat Noir and the two Kwamis walking through the forest, wooden structures come into sight. When he sees the structures, Chat can tell they're at the Kwami settlement. He can sense the two Kwamis in front of him getting antsy, so he presses the daggers into their backs with a bit more force. He snarls to them under his breath,

"Don't get any ideas. I am only here for the princess." Tikki stiffens at Chat's words but doesn't react otherwise. The three of them slowly walk up to the gate leading into the Kwami base. Once they are in front of it, someone calls down from the top of the wall,

"Hey Plagg, Hey Tikki, who you got there?" Chat studies the Kwami standing on the wall. He has lightly tanned skin that's a bit darker than Chat's, long ginger hair, and vivid purple eyes that are impossible to miss, even at a distance. His face paint is similar to Plagg's, but instead of being black, it's bright orange, with some white streaks of paint on his chin and cheeks. He's wearing a similar outfit to Plagg too, but his is a similar shade to orange as his hair and the ears on his hood are longer. Also, he seems to have a long piece of fabric in the back that looks like a flattened fox tail. The outfit also has a large white patch over the entirety of the front of the torso. The long-haired ginger doesn't seem to have any weapons on him from what Chat Noir can see, but he's getting a mysterious vibe from the Kwami that automatically puts Chat on edge.

"Trixx, open the gate. We have someone that wants to see the princess." Tikki commands, sounding like a leader. Chat grimaces to himself as he realizes he probably threatened the leader of the Kwamis, and is currently holding a knife to her back. Well, go big or go home, right?

Right then, Chat Noir gets an idea that could help him immensely, or end in his death. He sighs to himself as he puts his plan in action, wondering why he still allows the princess to affect him so strongly.

Chat moves quickly. He moves his left hand, the one holding the dagger behind Tikki, to around the female Kwami's waist in a vice-like grip, also pinning her arms to her sides. In that same moment, he moves his right hand away from behind Plagg and instead positions it so the dagger is held against Tikki's neck.

"Tikki!" Plagg and Trixx exclaim in shock and fear simultaneously. Plagg involuntarily takes a step forward, wanting to save the girl he cares so strongly for, but Chat simply takes a large step backwards away from Plagg, bringing Tikki with him.

"Bring the princess to me, or you'll need a new leader." The Knight of Destruction growls. He is determined to see this task through. He will rescue the princess and bring her home to her father.

Trixx growls at Chat Noir, reaching towards his belt where multiple brown pouches dangle. Plagg sees this movement and puts his hand out, yelling in a desperate voice,

"No! Don't do anything Trixx, we can't risk Tikki's life." Trixx seems to hesitate, his orange glove covered hand hovering near the pouches. With a frustrated noise, Trixx drops his hands to his sides, looking down at the ground, disappointed in himself for not being able to do anything to help his leaders.

Suddenly, the gate slowly rises, surprising the three Kwamis and the knight. They all turn to look at who's standing on the other side of the gate, only to be shocked even further by the person who commanded the gate to be opened for them. Chat gapes at the new presence, unable to help himself as he calls out her name,

"Marinette?"

Marinette glares sharply at Chat Noir. Her fiery stare almost makes him let go of Tikki on the spot. Almost. Her command made through her anger-filled voice is what makes him release the short redhead,

"Let her go right now, Chat." He immediately follows her orders, partially because she is terrifying when she is angry and partially because she is his superior. Mainly, it's just because it's Marinette telling him to do so. Once Tikki is safe and with Plagg, the bluenette doesn't hesitate to stomp over to Chat and punch him in the face. He doesn't dodge, knowing he deserved it.

"Nice to see you too, Princess." He says jokingly, smiling slightly in order to try and calm down the angry princess at least a little bit.

"Why are you here, Chat, and why the hell did you have a dagger to Tikki's throat like that? Who gave you the right?" Marinette yells at the knight, not calming down in the slightest. Chat flinches slightly at her sharp tone, letting her release her anger before answering her questions,

"Your father is worried about you. When you didn't return home, he asked me to find out where you are and bring you home. He thinks you got kidnapped," Chat can tell Marinette is there by her own will. For one, she was able to leave the settlement, and she's wearing a similar outfit to Tikki. Hers is red with black spots, however, instead of Tikki's all black clothes. Marinette also has red and black swirls painted on her face in a beautiful, intricate pattern that makes her eyes stand out in such a way that almost distracts Chat from what he's saying, "I had the dagger to Tikki's throat to give them incentive to bring you out. I thought, at the time, that they had taken you against your will. I was willing to do almost anything to get you home safely, Princess. Also, at least it wasn't my sword." Marinette glares at Chat for that, shakes her head then sighs, deciding to ignore his comment.

"But still, threatening someone with a dagger? Chat, that's not you." Marinette speaks softly this time, looking at Chat sadly and with disappointment instead of anger. She cares for the knight as much as he cares for her, and this sort of behavior doesn't seem like something her sweet chaton would do.

"Like I said, I was desperate. You should know I'd never actually do anything. I may be the Knight of Destruction, but I won't ever destroy a life. I promised you that years ago. I still live by that promise." Chat Noir and Marinette smile at each other for a moment before a frown takes over Marinette's face.

"Still, Chat, that's not the right thing to do. You should apologize."

"Okay, Princess," Chat agrees with a sigh then nervously looks over at Tikki and Plagg. Plagg is glaring strongly at him, while Tikki just looks kind of confused as well as angry. Chat takes a deep breath before apologizing sincerely to the two Kwamis, "I am so sorry for what I did to you two. The rumors I have heard of your people and my own concerns for the princess had me acting out of character. You two, sadly, were in the crossfire of that. Again, I apologize for my actions. I hope neither of you are injured too badly." Chat looks back at Marinette and she nods at him, her sign of approval for the apology he delivered. He smiles sweetly at her in return.

"I forgive you, Knight of Destruction, but only because I can tell my friend Marinette cares deeply for you. If you try something like that with any one of my people again, I will not be as forgiving." Tikki says. She can understand the knight's motives. If she thought Plagg was kidnapped by someone, she can't imagine she'd be any more rational than he had been. Love does interesting things to people.

In reply to Chat's apology, Plagg just huffs and mutters things under his breath that even Chat Noir's sharp hearing can't pick up. Chat doesn't blame the male Kwami, though. Plagg's anger is justified.

"Well, now that all of that is done, are you ready to return home, Princess?" Chat Noir turns to look at Marinette once more, sticking his hand out for the bluenette to take. She ignores his gloved grasp and crosses her arms over her chest, simply stating,

"No. I'm not returning home."

"Why not?" Chat asks.

"I don't want to."

"Well... why not?"

"I'm not happy there. I don't want to be a princess. I'm no fit to be a ruler, Bridgette has always been better at ruler related things than me. Also, unlike me, she's actually in love with a prince so her marriage wouldn't be seen as scandalous or wrong. If I went back home and tried to marry who I want to marry, however, there would be an uproar. I don't even know if my father would allow it! He's so determined to get me to marry a prince, after all, to ensure I have strong offspring," Marinette shudders. She wants to marry for love, not power, "So you can take me back there if you must, but know I won't be happy, and probably never would be while living in those stone walls."

"Marriage?" Chat can't help but inquire. Marinette mentioned it so much in her explanation, it seems to be a main reason why she doesn't want to return home. Even though it'd hurt him to know, the young knight still wants to know who has captured his princess' heart, "You must really be in love if you're thinking of marriage." His words bring a blush to Marinette's face, causing the princess to look away from him.

"Yes. I am in love with someone, but I doubt they return my feelings." Marinette admits, albeit reluctantly. She doesn't want to continue discussing this topic, since it might lead to the object of her affections to figure out how deeply her feelings go past friendship, when all they have been to each other is friends since they were young. Her friendship with Chat Noir is one of the only things in her life that makes her truly happy, and Marinette doesn't want anything to jeopardize that.

"Who would be blind enough to not fall for you, Princess?" Chat retorts. With a small smile and a shake of her head, Marinette says,

"You'd be surprised, chaton."

Meanwhile, Tikki, Plagg and Trixx are all watching the exchange between the knight and the princess, wondering how the two of them could be so oblivious to each other's feelings. It seems all too clear to the three observing Kwamis that they are in love with each other and care for each other deeply, yet they can't see it in each other. The whole situation is quickly becoming annoying to the three bystanders having to watch them tiptoe around each other. This leads to Plagg, probably the most impatient of the Kwamis, to call out,

"Oh just kiss already!" Chat Noir and Marinette both look at Plagg, then at each other, then at the ground, their faces bright red from embarrassment the whole time. Chat clears his throat and glances at Marinette before looking away again. He speaks, deciding to ignore Plagg's words,

"I understand your reasoning Princess, but your father is extremely worried about you. How about you come back with me, at least temporarily, in order to voice your concerns to him? Certainly he will be understanding. Even then, if you're not happy, I will help you return here to the Kwamis and protect you until the end of my days. That is, if you'll have me." Chat couldn't help but look at Marinette as he spoke, but by the time he finished what he was saying, he was again bashful and looking away from her.

"That sounds like a good idea, chaton. I'll try talking to my father, but only if you're with me," Marinette states. Her words bring a smile to Chat Noir's face. Marinette then turns to look at Tikki, saying, "I'll probably be back soon, no matter what my father says. Thanks for being willing to take me in, and I'm sorry for this silly kitten's behavior. If we return to stay, I'll make sure he's properly trained."

"Hey!" Chat exclaims, making Marinette and Tikki laugh. Tikki pulls Plagg's arms off of her (much to his annoyance) and hugs Marinette, telling her,

"You are always welcome here, whether it be as a visitor or a resident. I hope to see you soon, Marinette. Bye for now."

"Bye for now." Marinette says with a sad smile. She then walks over to Chat's side, grinning brightly up at the feline knight. He smiles just as happily down at his princess. With a final wave back at the Kwamis watching them, Marinette and Chat start walking away, back through the forest on the way home.

"Do you think those two will ever realize that their feelings for each other are mutual?" Trixx asks from his place atop the wall. With a sigh, Tikki answers,

"I sure hope so."

====== • ======

Once Chat Noir and Marinette are back in the village, they get swarmed by concerned villagers and guards trying to see if the princess has indeed returned safe and sound thanks to the fearsome Knight of Destruction. Most of them look at the princess strangely due to her Kwami-like appearance since she is still in their clothes and still has paint on her face. Chat can tell Marinette is growing uncomfortable by all of the attention her return and her outfit has received, so he puts his arm around her shoulders and growls out a warning to everyone around them,

"Back off." Everyone becomes silent and backs away from the princess. Marinette is thankful for Chat's actions, but also can't help but wonder if he could have done it a nicer way. They are just concerned for her wellbeing after all. She decides to say something to hopefully calm down the people around her,

"Don't worry about me, I am fine. I appreciate the concern, and I thank you all for caring so deeply for me. Please, get back to your duties while Chat Noir and I go speak to my father." The people all do as their princess commanded, now in better moods thanks to her words.

Only once the crowd dissipates do Chat Noir and Marinette realize that his arm is still resting on her shoulders. Due to a bout of courage, Marinette takes Chat's arm off of her shoulder only to grab his hand instead. She desperately hopes that he won't drop her hand and that he can't feel how clammy her hands are becoming. She also hopes he doesn't notice how deeply she is blushing.

Marinette doesn't need to fret, however, because unbeknownst to the bluenette, Chat Noir is feeling as flustered as the princess. His face became bright red when she slipped her hand into his. He is glad he wears gloves, because he's sure his hands are sweating right now. Still, he doesn't want to let go of Marinette's hand. Not now, not ever. If this is a dream, Chat doesn't want to ever wake up.

The two of them casually walk through the streets of the village hand in hand, Marinette waving to people that notice her and Chat scowling at anyone that gets too close. The closer they get to the castle, the more nervous Marinette gets. Luckily, Chat knows his princess well, and can tell how anxious she is starting to get. He occasionally squeezes her hand to remind her that she's not alone, and each time she feels that light squeeze from her knight, her heart flutters and she is able to calm down.

"Are you ready?" Chat Noir asks Marinette when they're standing outside of the throne room. Marinette takes a deep breath, answering,

"I am as ready as I'll ever be. Let's get this over with."

Chat pushes the doors open and lets Marinette enter first. Marinette decides not to hold his hand in front of her father, not yet anyway. Not until after she tells him about her desire to marry someone not royal.

"Marinette, oh I'm so glad to see you home safely!" King Tom exclaims happily at the sight of his daughter, deciding not to comment on her strange appearance. He's just thankful to see his daughter unharmed and safe.

"Hello, Papa." Marinette greets her father, stepping farther into the room with Chat following behind. Once she is closer to the throne, Tom stands up and walks over to her, bringing his daughter into a tight hug.

"I was so worried I lost you. I don't think I could handle losing you or Bridgette, too. I've already lost your mother." Tom says.

"I'm sorry Papa, I just couldn't handle the stress. But Chat convinced me to return and talk to you about my feelings, so here I am. So please, can we have a serious talk?"

"Of course. Let's go to my chambers, we can talk freely there," Tom agrees, then looks behind Marinette at Chat Noir, only then acknowledging the knight's presence, "Thank you for bringing my daughter home, Chat Noir. You are dismissed."

"No. Father, I want Chat to stay. I'll feel better having this conversation with you if Chat is in the room."

"Fine. Follow me."

Hand in hand once more, Chat Noir and Marinette follow her father to his room. They all stay silent as they walk through the corridors of the castle. The silence is only broken once the three of them are sat in the king's chambers, Marinette and Chat Noir sitting next to each other and across from the king. King Tom is the one that starts the conversation off,

"You two must be hungry. I'll get some food brought up to us while we talk." Tom stands up and walks to the door, speaking to a guard standing outside about what food he wants brought to his room.

While Tom is preoccupied, Chat takes the opportunity to calm Marinette down as much as he can. He noticed earlier that she calms down when he squeezes her hand, so he temporarily wraps his hand around hers in order to do just that. It hurts him to pull away when her father turns around, but Chat knows his princess is in love with someone and he wouldn't want to give the king the wrong impression. You see, Chat Noir thinks the bluenette is in love with someone else.

Little does he know Marinette is using this conversation as a way to also confess her feelings for her destructive knight.

"Marinette, what did you want to talk about?" King Tom asks once he's again settled in his seat across from the two young adults.

"Well, Father, the main issue I want to talk about is marriage," Marinette states. She takes in a deep breath and releases it shakily, trying to prepare herself for how her next words will be received, "I don't want to marry a prince. I want to marry Chat Noir."

Everyone is silent for the next few moments. Chat and Tom are both shocked (for different reasons) while Marinette is internally panicking. Her father and the love of her life are just staring at her. They're not saying anything. She doesn't know what to do.

"Me? Really?" Chat is the one that breaks the silence, turning slightly to look at Marinette better. He grabs both of her hands in his and stares into her eyes, wanting to know beyond a doubt that she wants to be with him. Maybe not marriage just yet, but he wouldn't mind considering it in the future. No, he wouldn't mind marrying Marinette at all.

Marinette blushes deeply and nods in confirmation, fighting the urge to look down at their intertwined hands. She loves Chat Noir, and thinks he should know. The bluenette is pleasantly surprised to see the massive, joyous grin cross Chat's face. Chat seems like he's going to say something more but is cut off by her father's loud voice,

"Marinette, what has brought this on? You have never expressed feelings like this before, and now suddenly you want to marry some random knight? Actually, he's not even some random knight. He's the most feared knight in the whole kingdom! Why in the world would you choose him over any one of your many prince suitors?"

"I want to marry Chat one day because I love him! He's not some random knight, he's been my best friend for years. He cares for me, is always there for me, listens to me, and helps me in so many ways. He is kind, courageous, funny, and so many other amazing things. Chat Noir is the love of my life, and that is why I will always choose him over some random prince, no matter what you say!" Marinette passionately declares, letting go of Chat's hands in order to stand up in front of her father. For once, the princess is looking down at her father, not the other way around. Meanwhile, Chat is just trying to wrap his head around the fact that his princess just said she loves him, something he has hoped to hear for years.

"This is ridiculous, Marinette!" Tom also stands, back to standing above his daughter due to his huge stature, "Marriage for royals isn't about love, it's about doing what is best for the kingdom. Your silly infatuation with the Knight of Destruction is preposterous and never going to happen while you live in this kingdom, mark my words. So abandon your idiotic crush on him this instant, and start thinking like the princess I raised you to be!" In that moment, Chat stands up and grabs Marinette's hand, ready to support her with whatever she chooses. But first, he has to let his princess know her feelings are returned,

"I love you too, Princess. I always have. I will follow you, wherever you choose to go. Whatever decision you make, know I am by your side, supporting you no matter what." He whispers in her ear, loving how she shivers due to his close proximity. But once Chat looks back at the king, he sees his action has just made King Tom even angrier than he was before.

"Chaton?" Marinette calls for him. He immediately turns to look over at her, her eyes drawing him in as usual.

"Yes?" He replies.

"Let's go."

"Of course, Princess."

Before King Tom can properly react, Chat Noir is running with Marinette right next to him. They run out of the king's chambers, they run through the castle halls, and they don't stop until they are out of the castle grounds and in the village. Only then do they take a moment to breathe, admiring the swirling colors in the dusk sky as the sun finishes its descent for the evening. Yet once they hear voices calling out after them, the two lovebirds are on the move, simply happy to be next to each other, finally knowing their feelings are returned. They don't hesitate to run into the forest to the east, where both of them are pleasantly surprised to see Tikki and Plagg waiting for them.

The sight of the Kwamis makes Chat hesitate for a moment as he remembers his horrid actions from just earlier that day, but Tikki smiles brightly at the feline knight that fills her bluenette friend with such joy, to the point that she can't bring herself to be angry at him. Of course, Plagg follows Tikki's lead. He loves her too much not to. He knows Tikki won't ever steer him wrong (not on purpose, anyway).

"Come on, we have a place waiting for you." Tikki cheerfully states, grinning at the princess and her knight and noticing how their hands are still tightly linked together. Then, the four of them start to run, chasing each other playfully through the forest as they make their way to the Kwami settlement.

"Longg, open the gate!" Plagg orders once they all arrive at the village. A Kwami clothed in dark red clothing follows the order, and soon enough, the gate is opened. Plagg and Tikki then lead Chat Noir and Marinette through the Kwami village, making sure to keep quiet since it's the middle of the night. They go to a cabin, the two Kwamis leaving Marinette and Chat alone once they've reached the location. Both Plagg and Tikki remember how it felt to move into their house together, and they want Chat Noir and Marinette to be able to experience those feelings by themselves.

Chat and Marinette slowly enter, exploring the medium-sized house side by side. Both of them blush when they realize there's only one bed in the house, even though there's a room that could function as another bedroom. Marinette knows Tikki and Plagg too well to think this was an accident. Chat, however, just brushes the 'mistake' off, too focused on the fact that he is practically living out his dream.

"Are you ready for our lives together, Princess?" Chat Noir asks, looking down at the love of his life who is now standing directly in front of him and smiling. She grins back, telling him as confidently as she can,

"Of course, Kitty. With you by my side, I'm ready for anything."

He knows her words are true, for he would do anything to protect his princess, and she knew as well that her knight would always be by her side. So, no matter the obstacles, they will always be by each other's side, forever the Knight of Destruction and the lost princess.

 

Chapter Text

"But Father-"

"No more protests, Adrien!" Gabriel interrupted his son, his voice loud and controlling, "You will marry Princess Marinette and that's that. Now, go to your room and get some rest. You have a busy day tomorrow." Adrien sighed and bowed his head. He shouldn't have even tried; he knew his father all too well, and knew that he wouldn't listen to Adrien's protests no matter what.

"Yes, Father." Adrien responded then walked out of the room, going to his bedroom. But, he didn't plan to stay in there like his father thought. No, Adrien had a plan, one that he was going to execute that night before it was too late.

====== • ======

Dressed in all black from head to toe, including a black mask on his face, Adrien started his escape plan. He had done this quite a few times before, so he knew that nobody would recognize him and nobody would see him. Adrien threw the rope of sheets he first made months ago out of his bedroom window and used it to start climbing down the stone wall of the castle that he used to call home.

Adrien turned his head when he heard a foot slip against the stone. That is when Adrien noticed that someone was doing the exact same thing as him. He had never seen the person before, but they immediately caught his interest. He could tell they were doing it from a guest room on the same floor as his bedroom, but Adrien had no clue as to why. Yet, he couldn't stop watching them, too fascinated to look away. It was too dark for Adrien to see any features, which only made him more curious.

Just then, the clouds over the moon moved on, illuminating the figure that was on the wall near Adrien. He gasped at the sight. It was a most beautiful woman that was making her way down the wall, her mouth in a determined frown and her blue eyes glittering from the moonlight and her courage. Adrien found himself nearly falling as his thoughts got wrapped up in the beauty next to him, but that's when she noticed him.

Blue eyes locked with green, which made Adrien freeze. He knew chances were that this woman had no idea who he was, but fear of being discovered and forced into a loveless marriage had his body reacting negatively. The small smirk that showed on her face was enough to not only free his limbs from their frozen state, but also turn them to goo. Adrien knew he had to continue to climb down the wall, because the way this interaction was going, he might end up on the ground quicker than he hoped.

He forcefully ripped his gaze away from the woman, instead focusing on the task at hand. Adrien clambered down the wall as quickly as he could, elated to feel solid ground under his feet again. He was free, and he didn't fall. So far, he was classing this night's escape attempt as a win. However, there was one thing he still had to sort out.

The woman.

Adrien looked towards where he saw her on the wall last and was happy to see her now at the bottom of the wall as well. She dropped down the little distance there was from her makeshift rope and the ground, stumbling slightly when she landed. Adrien automatically took a step towards her, hoping to catch her if she fell, but halted in place when he saw her right herself. She then turned around, seemingly not surprised to see Adrien standing near her.

"So, what's your name, fellow escaper?" She asked, smiling confidently up at Adrien. Her beautiful smile sent his heart aflutter and nearly distracted him from his response,

"I'm-" Adrien paused. He didn't think giving his actual name out was a wise idea just in case this woman went back to his father with the information. Instead, he decided to go with a nickname some of the people in the villages have given him on his nightly escapades in this outfit, "Chat Noir."

"Nice to meet you Chat Noir. You can call me Mari." The woman responded.

"Would you like to escape with me, Mari?" Adrien - or Chat, as he'd be known as from now on - asked in a rare moment of bravado. He didn't want to leave Mari's side just yet. To put it simply, he was entranced by her.

"I'm ready when you are, Chat Noir." Mari answered. Both of them grinned at each other and ran away from the castle, not stopping until they were in the cover of a nearby forest. Then, they just walked, eager to escape but with no destination in mind. They let their intuitions guide them.

Thankfully, Mari knew a lot about plant life, so they were able to survive the few days it took them to get to the other end of the forest. She was able to tell what plants were edible or not.

Chat Noir was in charge of finding water. He had better senses than most, so he heard running water or was able to smell the damp ground that'd indicate a water source before Mari.

For the few nights they spent in the forest, they took turns sleeping. One of them would always be on watch in order to keep an eye out for anyone searching for them or any hungry predators. The person that was awake was also in charge of keeping the fire going. They knew it was risky having a fire, but both thought it was worth it, since it helped keep wild animals away and helped keep away the chilly autumn night wind.

Once the two found a village, they first made sure neither of them recognized it. If they did, someone from the village might have recognized them in turn, which would have been disastrous. Luckily, it wasn't familiar to Mari or Chat Noir. This made Chat feel comfortable enough to go without his mask. It was uncomfortable to wear and would make him stick out even more than his cat-eared hood and clawed gloves already did.

When Chat took his mask off, Mari was stunned into silence. She could tell her companion was attractive - even with the mask and the hood on constantly - but without it, he looked even better. She felt her heart swoon even more that it had been over the past couple of days, which caused a small blush to appear on her cheeks. She couldn't believe that she seemed to be falling for this handsome, peculiar, cat-like stranger that helped her run away from a loveless marriage with a man she had never met. Marinette decided to keep these thoughts to herself.

====== • ======

Time passed, and the two people who were once strangers were now close friends. Yet, unbeknownst to the other, both of them wanted it to be something more. The idea frightened yet excited the couple. They might not have been total strangers anymore, but they still didn't properly know each other. They were runaways after all; their identities had to be protected for their own safety.

Most of the time, Chat Noir wore his mask when not in the cabin he shared with Mari. It made him feel safer, and he was less likely to be recognized as Prince Adrien. However, Mari didn't have the same option, so she chose to spend most of her time indoors or in the garden behind their house. Mari didn't want to risk somehow being recognized and forced to return and marry someone she didn't know.

This routine worked for the two of them for months. Nobody recognized them, and they grew closer to each other without learning too much about one another, slowly falling in love the whole time. They lived together peacefully until the day the soldiers arrived in the village. That's when everything changed.

That day, Chat was woken by a loud knocking at the door. Mari was a heavy sleeper, so she just grunted in her sleep at the noise. Chat Noir couldn't help but smile at the beautiful woman sleeping soundly in her bed. He cared deeply for her and wished to be able to know her properly one day.

More knocking came from the front door, which brought Chat out of his thoughts. He sighed and clambered out of bed, walking to the front door of the cabin. He opened the door, ready to politely greet the visitor until he recognized the emblem on the armor the visitors were wearing. It was the emblem of his kingdom, a purple butterfly on a black background. The sight filled the young prince with fear. He wasn't wearing his mask. He wasn't wearing his Chat Noir clothing. He couldn't hide any longer.

"Prince Adrien, it is time for you to return home." The knight outside the door commanded when he saw the prince open the door. Chat debates his options in his head. He truly wished he could slam the door in the knight's face and return to bed, or maybe even just return to the bedroom for just one moment in order to say goodbye to Mari. He didn't think either of them were options. But then, he considered his clothes. He should get dressed properly first if he was going to be forced to return home, and he's sure the knight would agree. That would give him the opportunity to leave Mari a message. He didn't want her to think he abandoned her for no reason.

"I understand." Chat Noir said to the knight forlornly, requesting, "May I get dressed first?"

"Of course, sire. I have knights stationed all around your house, ready to take you home. Your father has been worried sick about you." The knight replied. Chat noticed the implicit message in his words. Don't bother trying to run, we will catch you if you do.

Feeling hopeless, Chat turned around and headed into the cabin. He entered the bedroom and immediately started to look for some paper and a writing utensil. When he finally found what he was looking for, he composed a simple message to the lady that has been at his side throughout these months, no matter what. He wished it could be different. He wished he wasn't a prince destined to marry another. He wished he was never found.

Letter written, Chat got ready to leave. He didn't bother to dress in his Chat Noir attire. He didn't think he'd be able to wear it ever again. He also saw it as a way Mari might be able to stay hidden. He wasn't sure why she was running, but he hoped she put his mask to good use if she decided to keep it. Chat instead got dressed in normal attire and left the cabin.

Putting up no protest, knowing it'd be a futile task, Chat Noir let the knights from his kingdom lead him away. He didn't spare a glance back, knowing he'd run back to the house if he did. Leaving Mari was painful enough. He didn't want to watch as he was taken from his place of happiness; that'd be too much, even for him.

He just hoped she'd stay safe, and that she would live a long and happy life, even if he couldn't be part of it.

====== • ======

Marinette woke up some time later to the sun shining in from the window. She yawned and stretched, taking her time to open her eyes and properly wake up. She hoped Chat had already made breakfast, she was absolutely famished. He almost always woke up before Mari, so he usually made breakfast for the two of them while Mari usually made lunch. Her and Chat always switched who would make dinner.

Marinette slowly got out of bed and sleepily stumbled into the kitchen, wiping the sleep out of her eyes. She was surprised to see nobody in the kitchen, however. Mari went back to the bedroom to see if she missed Chat in his bed, but all she saw was a folded piece of paper with her nickname scrawled on it. She picked it up and started to read:

Mari,
I am so sorry I'm not there. I'm also sorry for what I have to tell you over letter instead of person like I'd prefer in this sort of circumstance.
I got found, Mari. I don't know how, but knights from my kingdom arrived at our cabin and are here to take me back home. I know I wouldn't be able to escape, and they might find you if I try. So I am leaving with them peacefully. I left my Chat Noir clothing and mask behind for you if you want to use them to keep yourself hidden and unrecognizable.
I hope you live a happy life, Mari. I'll miss you.
Adrien

Mari stared at the letter in shock. She didn't know how to feel. Her Chaton was taken from her while she was sleeping, unaware of the world around her. She felt tears fall down her face at the thought. She wasn't able to help him. She wasn't able to say goodbye.

Marinette then remembered how he signed the letter. Before this, she had never known Chat's first name, or even had a clue as to what it could be. But now, she knew his name was Adrien. She thought it over, deciding after a few minutes that the name suited the kind yet silly Chat Noir.

Marinette reread the letter a few times, and after her fourth time reading it, Chat Noir's true identity fully clicked in her brain. He was Adrien Agreste, the prince she was destined to marry.

Just then, Marinette became determined to get her prince, even if she had to return home and face her disappointed parents to do it.

====== • ======

Two weeks passed. Adrien was miserable. He missed Mari almost every moment of the day. She took over his thoughts constantly, not even leaving him alone while he slept. She was in his dreams and his nightmares. Nino, a knight of the kingdom and Adrien's best friend growing up, couldn't even do anything to properly cheer up the young prince. He was too heartbroken.

Adrien's father was even more distant now, something Adrien didn't think was possible. Gabriel Agreste actively avoided his son, but any time they were in the same room, Gabriel wouldn't look at or speak to his son. He was disappointed in Adrien's behavior and how it reflected badly on him. The rift between them was so bad that Adrien didn't know his bride was arriving back at the castle until he was summoned into the great hall to greet her.

Adrien kept his gaze down as he entered the room. Looking at his father just filled him with sadness since his gaze was no longer returned. He felt shunned, but he knew he didn't regret running away, not when he was able to meet and fall in love with Mari. Adrien only lifted his gaze when the doors to the hall were opened, the visitors being announced as they entered,

"The Dupain-Chengs have arrived, your Highness."

Adrien's eyes widened when he saw the princess.
Her face was hidden by a black hood he recognized well, the cat ears still standing straight up just like they always did while he had it in his possession. There was only one person that could be hiding under that hood, but Adrien didn't think his luck could be that good. Could it?

He also noticed how the princess was wearing a pink dress. Mark's favorite color was pink. She was also wearing flats. Adrien still remembered how Mari once ranted to him about her dislike of heels. She was also wearing no jewelry, other than two black earrings, one in each ear. Just like the earrings Mari always wore. His heart skipped a beat as he realized the princess he was supposed to marry was indeed his beautiful Mari.

"Mari." He breathed out her name, standing up slowly. He walked over to the princess slowly, almost scared that if he moved too quickly, she'd disappear and a different woman would walk through the door, angry about how he ran off instead of marrying her. Adrien was pleased when he got close enough to touch the princess and she didn't disappear.

With shaky hands, he reached up and pulled down the black cat-eared hood, gazing fondly down at Mari's beautiful face. A large grin appeared on both of their faces. Adrien cupped Mari's face in his hands, and she put her arms around his neck. She pulled him down enough so she could whisper three words in his ear,

"Miss me, Chaton?" A short chuckle left Adrien's mouth as he heard Mari's nickname for him in her sweet voice.

"Of course I did, Mari," Adrien responded, overwhelmed with happiness. He felt a couple tears drip down his face but he couldn't bring himself to care, or to wipe them away, "May I kiss you, Princess?"

"Yes." She answered straight away. Adrien didn't hesitate to place his lips on hers. They shared a sweet, loving kiss, their parents standing in shock at the interaction between the two royals. None of the three adults understood what was going on, or why the prince and princess that ran away to avoid getting married to each other half a year ago were now kissing.

"I love you Mari. I want to get to know you better. I want... I want to marry you." Adrien stated softly once they disconnect the kiss to breathe. He rested his forehead gently against hers, moving his arms so they were wrapped around her waist. He continuously stared into her eyes, too scared that this would turn out to be another one of his dreams instead of the reality he desperately wished it was.

"I love you too, and I also want to marry you. Why do you think I followed you back here instead of staying away?" Mari retorted, smiling sweetly at him. They kissed again, the moment slowly getting more passionate until Adrien's father cleared his throat. Adrien and Marinette practically jumped apart, the prince moving to stand next to his princess.

"What is going on here?" Gabriel asked in a cold voice. Adrien gulped nervously, unsure how to start explaining this to his father, when he suddenly felt a hand intertwine with his own. He looked down, noticing the cute little smile on Marinette's face right before he registered that she was holding his hand. He smiled back and squeezed her hand lightly before his gaze moved back to his angry father. After taking in and releasing a deep breath, Adrien explained how he and Marinette met, then how he fell in love with her. Marinette then spoke up as well, explaining her side of the story.

"How splendid!" Marinette's father, Tom, exclaimed happily once his daughter was done speaking.

"What a beautiful coincidence." Sabine, Marinette's mother, added. Marinette grinned at her parents, happy to see they seemed to be accepting. She then looked between Adrien and his father, noticing right away how neither of them were looking at each other anymore. Gabriel looked annoyed, while Adrien just looked sad. It broke Mari's heart.

"You two will get married to each other as soon as possible. I will make sure everything is ready in time for us to perform the ceremony by the end of the month." With a happy cheer, Adrien picked up Marinette and spun her around once, hugging her tightly to his chest afterwards.

"I can't wait to marry you Mari." He declared, placing a sweet kiss on her forehead. Marinette giggled at his excitement, barely holding her own back to ensure at least one of them was acting sensibly. She responded,

"Be patient, Chaton. We will be married soon enough. Now, how about we go get to know each other better while you show me around my new home?"

"Anything for you, Princess." Adrien said, smirking at her. He let her go enough to grab her hand, then he started leading her out of the room, too wrapped up in Marinette to acknowledge anyone else in the room.

Surprisingly, Gabriel wasn't that annoyed at his son's rude actions. He hadn't seen Adrien this happy in years, not since before his wife disappeared only to never return. When his son did the same, Gabriel was understandably upset, but showed it badly when his son was returned to him. So seeing Adrien have a carefree grin on his face again was all Gabriel needed.

He didn't hesitate to start planning the wedding with Tom and Sabine, all too happy to get this done as soon as possible. After all, the two young royals ran off before their previous wedding, so the sooner they do it, the better.

 

Chapter Text

"Why hello there Purrincess, I'd love for us to sit here and chat but I have to get you somewhere safe first." Chat Noir suddenly drops down in front of Marinette, pausing her in her search for a safe place to transform. She swears in annoyance mentally at the presence of her partner, but in actuality, she's happy to see him here. She really cares for Chat and couldn't imagine fighting without him, even if he has terrible timing sometimes.

"I can get myself safe. Why don't you focus on the akuma? Ladybug will probably be arriving soon and will need your help." Marinette replies, hoping Chat Noir will get the hint and leave her be right now. She can't transform with him near her, and she needs to transform in order to get rid of the akuma.

"The akuma can wait a second, and LB is a great fighter; she can handle the akuma by herself. Now, let me make sure you're safe, Princess." Chat says. He cares for Marinette, and doesn't want to see her get hurt. He doesn't want his friend to be in danger, especially if there's something he can do about it. Chat Noir feels kind of guilty leaving the scene early, but the akumatized victim will still be in the same general area and he knows his Lady can handle them on her own for a bit.

He picks Marinette up and vaults her over to the roof of the Mayor's hotel using his baton, placing her down gently. Chat Noir smiles at her and turns around, about to leave when suddenly, he is stopped from going any farther forwards. He looks behind him, surprised to see Marinette holding the end of his tail, looking extremely nervous all of a sudden.

"Are you really just going to run into a fight with no plan?" Marinette asks, her voice sounding scolding, "What if you get hurt? Don't be reckless, Chat, at least have a little bit of a plan first!" Marinette doesn't know what she's doing. She has never done something like this to Chat before, so why now? Why is her heart fluttering nervously when he's near, and why is she so scared by the thought of him getting injured? Him leaving right in that moment would have allowed her to transform, yet Marinette is still standing there, holding Chat's tail so he doesn't rush into a battle with no plan.

Chat Noir smirks at Marinette, which causes her grip on his tail to loosen. He takes it out of her grasp and turns around, walking back to Marinette. He stands right in front of her, their chests very close to touching. Chat then cockily answers, looking down at his Princess with glimmering eyes,

"I appreciate your concern, Purrincess, but mew don't have to worry about me so much. I'm a superhero after all, I will be purrfectly fine. I'm pawsome like that," He winks at Marinette while she resists the urge to roll her eyes. So many puns! But she understands why Chat is doing it. It's to ensure her that he'll be okay, and showing how confident he feels. Still, his constant cat puns can be a bit irritating. They also occasionally make Marinette smile, but that's not something she'll ever admit to Chat, "Also, you should know me by now, Mari. I have a plan: attack." With that, Chat leaps off of the roof, vaulting himself back to where the akuma was when he left.

Marinette sighs, shaking her head at her partner's silliness. Now really isn't the time for Marvel references, though she supposes she only has herself to blame for this particular instance. She did watch the first Avengers movie with her kitty yesterday when he came to visit, so she's not that surprised at him slipping in a reference. She'll have to scold him about timing, but for now, Marinette has to go help him defeat the akuma.

"Tikki, spots on!" She yells, transforming into her alter ego Ladybug. Marinette, using her yo-yo, swings herself off of the roof, following Chat into danger. After all, they have a city to save.

====== • ======

Alya walks alongside Marinette, the two girls heading towards the park to hang out together. They don't get to spend much time together where it's just the two of them, so they make sure to do so a few times a week. Now is one of those times. However, half of the time, the two friends' hang out time gets interrupted somehow. Like now.

"There's an akuma attacking near the cinema! Sorry girl, gotta go film this for my blog! Come with me!" Alya exclaims, grabbing Marinette's arm then running off into the city with her phone in hand.

"Alya, wait! Shouldn't we be running away from danger, not into it?" Marinette replies, hoping Alya releases her tight hold on her arm so she can find a place to transform. However, Alya is too stubborn for her own good sometimes, and keeps a vice like grip on Marinette's arm while also running headlong towards the cinema, where the akuma currently is.

"No, of course not girl! We have to go towards the danger if we want to film it!" Alya says, excited to see Ladybug and Chat Noir in action yet again. Marinette just sighs, relinquishing herself to Alya's will for now. She'll find a way to get away from her best friend in order to transform, she's sure of it.

"I bet the only reason why you don't want to come with me is because you don't want your boyfriend to see the hoodie you made in his likeness." Alya teases, glad she got the perfect opportunity to do so. She has been waiting to tease Marinette about her obvious growing crush on the cat-themed superhero for weeks now, ever since she found out that Chat visits Marinette on a regular basis.

"Alya!" Marinette exclaims, a blush appearing clearly on her pale cheeks, "He's not my boyfriend, but thank you for reminding me of how humiliated I'll feel if he sees me in this hoodie!" Marinette is wearing a hoodie designed to look like a slightly baggier, cotton version of the top half of Chat's suit, but the cat ears are on the hood of course and the bell is on the zipper. She also added a line of green cat paws all around the bottom of the hoodie, just to truly make it different from other black hoodies. However, Chat Noir hasn't seen it, and Marinette would like to keep it that way.

She doesn't like to admit, even to herself, that she has some feelings for Chat. She wants her heart to only belong to Adrien, so having a certain feline work his way into her heart too is just stressful. To Marinette, having this hoodie is like a big sign pointing at her, saying 'Hey look at me, I'm in love with Chat Noir!' She couldn't help it though. She appreciates the work he does so much and it makes her annoyed how people don't seem to like him as much as Ladybug. In her eyes, Chat is better than Ladybug. She proudly declares herself as Chat Noir's biggest fan, in and out of her mask. Also, Marinette gets enough teasing from Alya; she doesn't want it to come from Chat too. Marinette really hopes she's able to transform before he sees her.

Soon enough, the two girls get close enough to the action. They duck behind a car and Alya lets go of Marinette's arm in order to hold her phone with two hands while she films the fight. Marinette takes the opportunity to try and get away, running back in the direction she and Alya came in. She ducks into an alley, only to bump into someone and nearly fall over. Thankfully, whoever Marinette bumped into grabs her arms before she can actually fall.

"Falling for me already, Purrincess?" Chat speaks. Marinette just rolls her eyes as she looks up at her partner, about to apologize for bumping into him when her mind flits back to the conversation she had with Alya a few minutes ago. Her eyes widen as a deep blush goes across her face.

"Uh, sorry for catching- I mean, thanks for falling- I mean, gotta go!" Marinette says, stumbling over her words slightly, almost like she's standing in front of Adrien instead of Chat Noir. What a disaster, she thinks to herself. She tries to speed walk back out of the alley, but she feels something holding her back when she takes too many steps forward. Marinette looks back, only to see Chat holding onto the hood of her hoodie. The hood that has cat ears on it. The hoodie made to look like his suit. Oh god.

"What's the rush, Mari? Also you shouldn't go out there, there's an akuma attacking." Chat tells her, but that's when he notices the cat ears on her hood. This encourages him to take a better look at her hoodie in general, which is when he sees the green cat paws. As a smirk appears on his face, he walks around Marinette to stand in front of her, noticing now the front of her hoodie resembles his suit, even down to the large bell on the zipper.

"Oh god, this is so embarrassing." Marinette mutters to herself, hiding her face in her hands while Chat Noir blatantly checks her out. She hopes he doesn't hear her words, but it's Chat. Of course he does.

"Why is this embarrassing? If you're referring to your attire, I think it's pawsome. I'm kind of jealous, I might have to get you to make me a Ladybug one." Chat says, still smirking down at his Princess, the both of them totally forgetting about the akuma while in each other's presence.

Marinette blushes even more at the thought of Chat, in civilian (or even superhero) form wearing a Ladybug themed hoodie made by Ladybug herself (but he doesn't know that, obviously). She thinks her heart would explode if she saw that. A loud explosion occurs nearby, reminding the two of the akuma that's currently attacking the city of Paris.

"Gotta go!" Chat Noir and Marinette say at the same time, looking at each other in astonishment.

"See you tonight, Princess." Chat says with a wink, running off to where the akuma is. Marinette watches him go, saying quietly to herself,

"Yeah, see you tonight." She then transforms and joins the fight, trying desperately not to blush around Chat the whole time.

 

Chapter Text

====== Chat Noir's POV ======

"You're not allowed to die, okay?" She looked at me, fear obvious in her beautiful blue eyes that were staring into mine. Her gaze was as intense and as strong as she was, even with the tears threatening to fall. It was obvious that she was scared this final battle was going to be fatal.

"Okay," I replied, "I promise, M'lady." That was a stupid thing for me to do at the time. I didn't know whether or not I would be able to keep that promise, yet I promised the love of my life I wouldn't die anyway. However, part of me is glad I did. My words had put a small smile on her face, and I'm glad I was able to see her smile one last time before I lost her.

Her fears came true, just not in the way she expected. The final battle was indeed fatal, but not for me.

I cradled her head in my lap as she died, having to watch as she breathed her last breaths while looking up at me. Even though we were successful in our fight, the wounds she received from the battle were too severe to recover from. That is when I realized I didn't get her to promise not to die, too.

"I love you." She muttered, departing from this world only a few moments later, leaving me feeling helpless while I watched her breathe her last breaths, her eyes closing for the last time. I couldn't move. I was totally frozen, left staring down at my Lady who was taken from me much too soon. I don't know how long I sat there with her in my arms, until a small voice shook me out of my state of shock and heartbreak,

"Chat, she's gone. You have to take her to her family." Tikki said, her small voice shaky. I hadn't even realized that she had detransformed at the moment of her death until that moment.

I stood up in silence, holding my Lady in my arms. I carried her body through the streets. Tikki sat on my shoulder the whole time. I heard her sobs the entire walk to the house where Ladybug used to live. Once we reached the house, I couldn't bring myself to do anything but stand there and stare at the door. After a few minutes, I placed her down gently on the step in front of her home. I then gently took the earrings out of her ears, leaving a brief kiss on her forehead as a way to say goodbye. My throat felt too closed up from grief in that moment for me to actually get the words out, so the kiss had to do.

I knocked on the door to the house and walked away, not looking back. I felt numb. I kept her earrings tightly clenched in my fist and aimlessly wandered the streets of Paris, the activity not bringing me comfort like it used to. Everything just hurt. She was gone, and every building I passed reminded me of her. I saw her on every street corner I turned on. I heard her laugh echoing through the air as the wind brushed past me. I needed to leave. I didn't want to be in Paris anymore, not when the memories were too fresh and too painful. Not when I had just lost her.

I knew it was unhealthy for me to keep my emotions bottled up, but I didn't want to cry. Not yet. Not when I was in public. I had to get somewhere safe, somewhere that could hide me. So, I went to the Guardian of the Miraculous.

I stayed quiet for the whole walk there. People gave me some strange looks, not used to seeing me just casually walking down the street, but I ignored them all. I didn't care how they saw me. I didn't care about anything except my Lady, but she was gone.

At the Guardian's house, I instinctively tried to release my transformation, but was unable to. The Guardian just stared at me silently, watching as I shouted repeatedly,

"Plagg, transform me!" Nothing happened. I was still Chat Noir.

"What happened, Adrien?" The Guardian asked.

"She made me promise not to die," I muttered, releasing my fist to show her earrings, "but then she was the one that died." I choked back a sob, not ready to cry just yet. The Guardian took the earrings from me and put them away.

"Were you transformed when you did this?" I just nodded in reply, not trusting my voice just yet. The Guardian continued, "It seems she was able to place some sort of protective spell on you, meaning as long as you're Chat Noir, you can't die. Since you also can't detransform, I don't think you'll ever die. I'm sorry, Adrien, for everything."

I ran out as quickly as I could and vaulted away, not hesitating to leave Paris. When I was in a forest on the edge of France, that was when I let myself finally break down and let the truth hit me. I was going to have to live indefinitely without the love of my life by my side, because I lost her forever, and made a stupid promise I shouldn't have made.

That was 200 years ago. I haven't had the strength to return to France since then, but now I'm being called back. After I left France the first time, the Guardian of the Miraculous made me swear I'd return as Chat Noir if I was ever needed again. I can't believe I was stupid enough to make another promise I had no intention of truly keeping. Yet, here I am, going back to my hometown because of a guy called Hawk Moth.

"I wonder if the Guardian has picked a Ladybug yet." Plagg says. About a year after the horrible day where my Lady died, I was able to hear Plagg's voice in my head, meaning we could now communicate. It's been like that ever since. I'm happy about it though. Being immortal would be lonely if you were by yourself.

I ignore Plagg's words, not wanting to think about it yet. It's hard to think about her getting replaced. I understand that it's necessary, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I eventually arrive at the new location for the Guardian, not bothering to knock. I know the Guardian is expecting me, so I just walk straight in, looking around the room as I do.

"Who are you and why are you here?" I growl, whipping out my baton and pointing it at the only person in the room - a short, balding, old Asian man. This isn't the Guardian I remember.

"Hello Adrien, I am Master Fu, the new Guardian of the Miraculous. The previous Guardian passed away some time ago, leaving me the Miraculouses to protect and instructions on how to contact you if it ever became necessary, which it now is." The man, Master Fu, explains. I slowly lower my baton, not fully trusting his words yet. I decide to keep my distance, not moving from my place near the door. I ask,

"So why am I here? You didn't go into a lot of detail in your message." The new Guardian, Master Fu, breathes out heavily before speaking,

"The butterfly and peacock Miraculouses were lost some time ago. Currently, the butterfly miraculous is being used to create villains by the order of a man who calls himself Hawk Moth. Ladybug has dealt with a few by herself, but she needs her partner."

My body goes cold when I hear him say that title. I haven't heard it in 200 years, yet it brings back so many painful memories. I shove them aside, having grieved long enough. Of course, I still miss her and will for the rest of my days, but if I'm needed, that's what I have to focus on. I just hope this new Ladybug looks different than mine, otherwise it'd be really painful to work with her. My suit has changed over the years, so why wouldn't Ladybug's?

"I'll do it." I announce. I won't leave this Ladybug alone, not when I can do something about it. I don't want the world to lose another Ladybug too soon.

Suddenly, I hear an explosion followed quickly by the sound of people screaming. I rush out of the building, not bothering to say bye to the Guardian. I make my way in the direction of the screams, leaping my way across the Paris roofs. Oh, how I missed this.

I arrive at the scene not long later. I look down at the akuma, watching them stomp through the town, plant life following their every movement. It's slowly covering the street and surrounding buildings. I am about to leap down when I hear footsteps land on the roof behind me. I whirl around, curious about the new Ladybug, only to freeze when I see her.

It's her. My Ladybug.

It has to be! She looks exactly the same! The suit has changed, but it's been 200 years, that's to be expected. But she still has that blue-black hair and those beautiful blue eyes. I stand up and move closer to her only to see the same freckles that dotted my Lady's own nose and cheeks. This is her, it has to be.

"You must be the partner my kwami told me about. It's nice to meet you, I'm Ladybug. You're Chat Noir, right?" She says. Even the voice is the same. I'm too shocked to take in what she's saying or the fact that I should respond. She waves her hand in front of my face, "Uh, hello?"

"Ladybug." I murmur, unable to take my eyes off of her.

"Yes?" She says, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. I follow the movement, which is when I notice a small detail that frees me from the spell she unintentionally put me under. This Ladybug has her hair in pigtails. My Ladybug always had her hair in a long braid that went down to the bottom of her back. This isn't her. The new Ladybug reminding me of my Ladybug is just a sick joke the universe or fate or whatever controls the world is playing on me. I don't like it, not one bit.

"Let's go." I say, leaping off in the direction of the akuma, deciding not to speak to this Ladybug anymore. We have a job to do.

====== • ======

I hate this. I can't stay away from her, even when she's not in her suit. Her civilian self, Marinette, is as alluring and familiar as her alter ego. She's so much like my Ladybug that her presence frequently reminds me of my past, but different enough that it's not excruciating any time I'm near her.

Also, during each akuma attack, I can't help but throw myself in the line of fire if it means she's safe. She usually gets annoyed because of it and will sometimes scold me for putting myself in danger, but it's worth it. I don't want to see another Ladybug die because I couldn't save her. I don't think I could survive it. But the worst part is, I'd have to.

Being immortal sucks.

"You've become quite the creeper since our return to Paris." Plagg says to me, no doubt talking about how I'm currently watching over Marinette as she sleeps. I can't help it, I'm starting to care for her, and I need to make sure she's safe in order to feel peace. If I don't stop by for at least half an hour each night, I can't sleep.

"Oh shut up Plagg." I say, making sure to keep my voice down. There are sleeping people nearby after all. Plagg just snickers in response. Stupid kwami.

Not long after that, I slowly make my way to Master Fu's place, taking my time in order to enjoy the cool breeze and the appearance of modern Paris at nighttime. Master Fu is letting me stay in his shop with him since I wouldn't be able to stay anywhere else. I don't usually spend much time there though. Really, all I do there is eat and sleep. Most of my time is spent with the new Ladybug in some aspect, whether I'm fighting an akuma with her, spending time with her as her civilian self on her balcony, or simply being her shadow, watching over her throughout the day to make sure she's okay.

I slip into the shop, trying to be as quiet as possible. Master Fu is usually asleep by now, and I don't want to disturb him. I freeze when I notice someone else in the room, but automatically relax once I notice it's just Master Fu. Before I can go to the back, he speaks,

"Where have you been going each night after dinner, and what about during the day? I know you're not just patrolling the city," I stay silent, which must be enough of an answer for the wise man, for he continues speaking, "You go to see the new Ladybug don't you. You visit Marinette. You watch over her," Again, I stay silent. Master Fu sighs and shakes his head, telling me, "This obsession of yours is not healthy. You should stop going to see her as much. She's not immortal like you, you getting attached is only going to cause you pain."

"Trust me, I know. You don't need to scold me like I'm a teenager. Remember, I may not look like it, but I am older than you. I know what I'm doing is wrong, but I can't help it. I need to make sure she's okay, I need her to be safe. I won't let another Ladybug die on my watch." I reply, my mood much lower than it was before Master Fu talked to me. I was calm, peaceful then, but he ruined that. I want to feel that way again. I need to feel that way again.

I turn around, leaving the shop much in the way I came back in. I hear Master Fu call out after me, but I ignore him. He pushed me into needing to see Marinette again, so he can blame himself for my self indulgence.

"I don't think this is a good idea, Kid." Plagg says to me while I leap across the roofs to make it to Marinette's.

"I don't care." I practically snarl back, not in the mood for another lecture. Thankfully, Plagg understands (especially since he can feel my emotions) and stays quiet.

Once I get to Marinette's, I sit right next to her skylight, unabashedly gazing down at her. Seeing the little smile on her sleeping face calms the raging anger in my heart, bringing me pace yet again. I sigh happily, stretching myself out so I'm in a comfortable lying position but I can still see Marinette. I feel myself start to smile the more I look at her, and soon enough, I feel so at peace that I drift into a dreamless sleep for the first time in two centuries.

====== • ======

I wake up to something lightly shaking and occasionally poking me. Grunting, I swipe my hand in the direction of whoever is disturbing my slumber, but it only halts their actions temporarily. I groan in annoyance,

"Leave me alone, Fu."

"I'm not Master Fu, and I will definitely not leave you alone!" A familiar, high-pitched voice says. My eyes fly open and I turn my head to look around my surroundings, which is when I see the small, red and black floating creature.

"It's good to see you, Tikki." I reply, smiling slightly at the kwami. My smile drops when I notice how angry she is.

"Why are you here, why have you been spending so much time around Marinette, and why did you not return Plagg?" Tikki questions. She crosses her arm-like limbs and glares at me.

"I'm here because Master Fu annoyed me and Marinette calms me down. I spend most of my time near her to make sure I don't have to watch two Ladybugs die. I didn't return the Miraculous because I can't. I can't detransform or remove the ring. Trust me, I've tried everything short of cutting my own fingers off." I answer, sitting up and stretching out my arms as I yawn. A long silence stretches between me and Tikki. I leave her to her thoughts, letting my mind drift randomly.

"Well Marinette is going to get up soon, so you should probably go." Tikki speaks after a few minutes of quiet.

"Alright. See you later, Tikki." I say. I slowly get up, watching as Tikki goes through the glass back into Marinette's bedroom. I leap to a roof a couple of buildings away, making sure I'm unable to be seen easily but I can still see Marinette's room.

I watch over her from a distance as she gets ready for school, ready to do the same for the rest of my time in Paris, no matter how long it takes to beat Hawkmoth. Until that day, Marinette will have a protective shadow.

====== • ======

In the afternoon, I am casually sitting on the roof I spend most of my time on when Marinette is at home. It's the perfect distance away. It's far enough from her house that I won't be seen easily if she happens to look upon the skyline, but it's close enough that I can get there quickly if she's in trouble.

I watch and listen, entranced, as she hums and draws in her sketchbook. It's such a mundane task that under normal circumstances I wouldn't find interesting, but with her, every stroke of the pencil on the paper catches my attention. Marinette is so cute when she's concentrated. I unintentionally let out a longing sigh as I gaze upon my Princess.

"You know, Chaton, it's rude to spy on people," Marinette suddenly says, raising her voice to ensure I hear it. I feel my face heat up as I realize she knows I'm here. Tikki must have said something. That stupid bug, I'll have to get my revenge later. What do I do, should I run away? Should I stay still? Should I go to her? "Come here, Chat Noir." I contemplate my course of action for a bit longer before I slink out of my hiding place, taking my time leaping across the rooftops to Marinette's balcony, where she is patiently waiting with her sketchbook placed next to her chair.

"Greetings, Princess. How has your day been?" I say once I reach her balcony, bowing after my greeting.

"You know, don't you Kitty?" Marinette asks, blatantly ignoring my question. I stumble to get a sentence out,

"Uh, what, I what, you know what, I mean- I know what now?" I inwardly cringe at my awkward fumbling, "What are you talking about, Princess?"

"You know I'm Ladybug." She states confidently. I open my mouth, ready to deny it, but I decide against it. I just nod in response, avoiding her gaze. I don't know how Marinette will react to this. I don't know if I'd be able to handle her looking at me in disappointment.

"I'm sorry." I blurt out. I turn away and get ready to leap off of her balcony when I feel her hands grasp my tail, pulling me back slightly.

"I don't want you to apologize, Chaton, and I especially don't want you to leave. I just want to know how you know, and why you constantly watch over me. I can handle myself just fine." She speaks.

"I know you can Princess, it's just..." I debate with myself on how much I should actually say. I must have a weird expression on my face, since only a moment later Marinette's hand is lightly on my arm as a way to bring me comfort. She asks,

"Are you alright, Chat?"

"I'm sorry Princess," I say, deciding to answer her queries as simply as I can. She doesn't need to know everything, especially if it might cause her pain or confusion, "I've known since the day we met, and I watch over you because for my own peace of mind, I need to ensure you're safe." Marinette studies me for a moment. I shuffle under her scrutinizing gaze, looking down at the ground instead of into her powerful, blue gaze.

"Okay." She speaks finally. I look up immediately, mildly surprised she didn't press me for a better answer. The Ladybug before her definitely would have.

"Okay?" I repeat the word. A smile blooms on Marinette's face,

"Okay. I'm okay with you needing to watch over me as long as nobody sees you and you don't do anything creepy while you do."

"Creepy?" I cant help but question, even though I have a feeling I'll regret it since her cheeks gets dusted with pink.

"Don't be a peeping Tom, okay tomcat?" I jump and gasp at the implications, feeling my face heat up. I gulp and take a moment to collect my thoughts before responding in my typical way,

"Don't worry Princess, I would never. I'm a purrfect gentleman." Her lips twitch up involuntarily into a bigger smile,

"Good. I'll trust you for now, Chaton."

====== • ======

The next few weeks pass as normal. I stay as Marinette's shadow during the day and in the evenings, we either spend time together on her balcony or on rare occasions in her room then I go back to Fu's to sleep. Tikki always looks at me forlornly, obviously missing Plagg. I wish I could detransform in order to reunite the two kwamis.

Marinette hasn't ever mentioned me revealing my identity or detransforming or anything along those lines. I assume Tikki has explained the situation to her as much as she can.

Right now, we're sitting on her balcony looking at the Paris skyline. It's interesting how much it's changed in the last 200 years. Part of me wishes I stuck around to watch it change.

Our peaceful evening is suddenly disturbed by a large boom in the distance, quickly followed by screams and a plume of smoke. Marinette and I share a glance. We both know what this means.

"Tikki, spots on!" She yells, transforming into Ladybug with a pink flash, "Let's go kitty."

"Wait!" I suddenly cry out, stopping her before she can throw her yo-yo. My instinct is telling me this battle is going to be very difficult, maybe even fatal. That's when it clicks on me. It feels the same as that day. The day I lost her.

Looking into Marinette's eyes, I know there is no chance of her staying behind. She cares for the inhabitants of this city too much. I fight back the urge to cry. I need to say something, but I don't know what. Suddenly, it clicks in my mind.

"You're not allowed to die, okay? Stay safe. For me."

"I'll try my best," Marinette responds with a smile that isn't as reassuring as she probably wanted it to be, "Besides, I know you'll be there to back me up. It'll be fine."

I hope she's right.

====== • ======

She wasn't right.

I watch, frozen, as Marinette gets run through by the akuma's sword. She looks over at me as the weapon is pulled out of her torso. Everything seems to be moving in slow motion. I can't do anything as she falls to the ground, blood flowing from her wound and covering the black spots in the vicinity. I can slightly hear a loud, angry, masculine scream a moment later. I think it's me.

My sight goes red. All I feel is rage. This city, that miraculous, it has taken two people I have loved. It has taken my two Ladybugs. This city doesn't get to be protected by me. Not anymore.

My eyes lock on the alumatized person. Its sword is blood-stained and hanging at its side. I roar angrily, shouting out "Cataclysm!" I race forward. I dodge the blows. I place my hand on the akuma's chest, watching numbly as the person turns to black dust. A wet gurgle coming from my left catches my attention.

Marinette.

I race to her side, falling down onto my knees. I cup her face in my shaky hands, gazing into her blue eyes while they still have light in them.

"Chaton..." She murmurs, reaching up with one of her hands to touch my cheek. I lean into her palm. Her thumb glides softly across my cheek, wiping away tears I didn't even know were there.

"Marinette, I thought I told you you weren't allowed to die. You'll be okay. I'll get you help. You'll be okay." I say, trying to convince her but also trying to convince myself. She has to be okay. I won't survive otherwise.

"I love you, kitty. I'll see you again." Marinette whispers, her last breath leaving her body soon afterwards as her eyes drift closed.

Silence. It goes on for far too long.

"Marinette?" I ask, my voice watery. She doesn't reply. I feel my breathing get heavier. Plagg stays silent. I barely notice the pink light that briefly shines just a moment later. I don't hear Tikki's words. I pick up Marinette's body and cradle it lovingly to my chest, rocking back and forth. The tears continue to fall down my face. I don't shake out of the haze I'm stuck in for anyone. Not for the people asking questions around me. Not for the screaming and crying I can hear soon after. Not for Tikki. Not for Plagg, who I can slightly hear badgering me at the back of my mind.

She's gone. I lost her again. I couldn't protect her. I wasn't enough to save her.

I wish I was enough.

 

Chapter Text

"You want us to what?" Marinette exclaims, not nearly intoxicated enough for her friend's ridiculous suggestion. Alya rolls her eyes and slurs out,

"Come on girl, it'll be fun!" Alya is definitely intoxicated enough for this. Lucky her, Marinette thinks. Surprisingly, Chloe chimes in and agrees with Alya, and she hasn't even been drinking!

"It's not like anything is going to happen anyway, might as well give it a shot." From her spot leaning against her shoulder, Marinette glares at Chloe as strongly as she can muster in her current tipsy (and tired) state.

"Nino, you have to agree that this is ridiculous, right?" The bluenette declares, hoping at least one of her friends will be on her side. Nino shrugs,

"Kinda, but what's the harm? Nothing's gonna happen, Marinette. Us doing it would be the same as us not doing it so I don't mind either way." Marinette groans as Alya and Chloe cheer since they essentially got their way. The two girls cast weird glances at each other, however, not used to ever agreeing on things. Chloe and Alya aren't even that close. They're civil towards each other for Marinette's sake since the sweet bluenette has been friends with the both of them for years, and neither of them want to disappoint her. Especially Chloe.

"Fine," Marinette sighs, giving in since she knows there's no chance of her winning. Both Alya and Chloe are too stubborn to successfully argue against on their own, let alone teamed up, even if Alya is very drunk, "Let's get this over with."

Marinette's fear grows as the others set up the things they'll apparently need to summon a demon, such as a bunch of candles and a pentagram drawn onto the floor and a bunch of other stuff Marinette doesn't bother paying attention to. She's too focused on staying calm. Some part of her knows her friends are right and she's probably being irrational, but Marinette can't help it. She's quite superstitious and always overthinks things. These two attributes together lead her mind to run through the possible scenarios of what will happen if a demon somehow does get summoned into Chloe's living room. Chloe was the host of the party they were all at and she has the biggest living room, so the four friends decided to hang out a bit longer at Chloe's after everyone else went home.

"You okay over there Mari?" Nino asks once he's done setting up the candles. He's getting kind of concerned. Marinette looks quite scared. She reluctantly nods. She doesn't want to ruin it for her friends, even if she's terrified by the idea of something actually being summoned. She knows that it's extremely unlikely that demons and stuff like that even exist, let alone that her drunk friends (and a sober Chloe) would be able to successfully summon something. However, Marinette also has the tendency to overthink. Like right now.

"I'm fine Nino. Don't worry about me!" The ravenette woman smiles a little too widely to be believable, but Nino is too tipsy to notice. He shrugs nonchalantly and goes back to helping out with following the instructions from a random website Alya found about demon summoning.

Once everything is set up, Marinette joins her friends in standing in a circle around a weird symbol Chloe drew on the floor using lipstick she didn't want anymore. She doesn't pay any attention to the words Alya mutters in a foreign language or anything else going on around her. She keeps her eyes locked on the floor, watching carefully to see if anything happens.

After a few minutes, Alya finishes and goes silent. All that can be heard is the light breathing coming from the group of friends. The four 20 year olds wait with bated breath for anything to happen, Chloe and Alya feeling disappointed when nothing does. Both Nino and Marinette are silently relieved. Marinette is also kind of surprised. Part of her was expecting for the symbol to glow or for the ground to start shaking. That's what usually happens in movies or TV shows anyway. However, thankfully, the atmosphere around her stays anti-climatic and boring. Nothing special being summoned tonight.

Soon bored with waiting for something to happen when it's clear nothing will happen, the four friends quickly move on. They get comfortable in various places around the living room, getting ready to watch a movie. None of them are in the mood to try and make it back to their own homes, and Chloe doesn't mind them staying over. Much. The only one she truly wants to stay is Marinette.

Alya and Nino claim one couch, automatically snuggling up to each other, while Chloe and Marinette take the other one. Chloe starts the movie and shifts a bit closer to the bluenette sitting to the right of her, hoping she won't notice. She doesn't.

Alya falls asleep a few minutes into the movie, Nino following soon after. Marinette lasts about halfway through, eventually giving in to sleep with her head resting against Chloe's shoulder. Chloe stops the movie once she realizes she's the only one left awake. She then slowly moves off of the couch, lowering Marinette into a laying position so she is more comfortable. The blonde then drapes a spare blanket over the girl, her heart screaming out at her to something, anything, to express how she feels. Alas, Chloe does nothing, because she knows Marinette doesn't feel the same. She backs off with a forlorn sigh and crashes onto her bed, wishing she could go back in time and fix things, shake some sense into her younger self. But now, she thinks - no, she knows - it's too late.

====== • ======

"Bye, Chloe! See you later!" Marinette calls one final goodbye after her as she leaves Chloe's place the morning after their impromptu sleepover. She fights back a yawn as she steps into the elevator, ready to go home and get some more sleep before she has to go back to university the next day.

Once Marinette finally arrives home at her parents' bakery and greets her parents, she immediately heads upstairs. Her bed is calling for her. Yet, as tired as Marinette is, she can't but mentally complain about the amount of stairs between her and her destination. Still, she makes her way up the stairs to the first floor that counts as the apartment. The yawning bluenette then proceeds to walk to the steps that lead up to her bedroom but freezes suddenly when her tired brain finally notices the unknown and unexpected presence in the living room. Marinette slowly turns around, her eyes widening at the strange sight before her.

There's a masked cat man in all leather sprawled across the couch like he's expecting her to paint him. Marinette feels her eyes widen in shock and she's about to let out a blood curdling scream when the peculiar stranger (burglar???) is suddenly right in front of her, covering her mouth with his large, clawed hand.

"Shhhhh Princess, can't have you alerting your parents now can we? I haven't even been able to introduce myself yet." He murmurs. His voice is a lot smoother and more pleasant than Marinette was expecting. For some reason, just the sound of it is sending little tingles through her body. Why is she reacting to him like this? She should be scared, he might hurt her! Yet, her mind is so muddled and confused, Marinette doesn't know what she's feeling.

What is going on?

"Are you going to scream?" The mystery cat man asks, his green eyes glinting with mischief. Marinette slowly shakes her head. Even if she wanted to - which for some reason she doesn't - she knows that she wouldn't be able to right now. Not when he is so close to her and effectively distracting her brain. "Good." He states, then straightens himself out so his face isn't as close to hers. He moves his hand slowly off of Marinette's mouth and backs away, all so he can bow in an exaggerated fashion before introducing himself, "My name is Chat Noir, Prince of Demons, at your service."

Marinette is unable to properly compute what his words mean for a few moments. When they finally hit her, she is at first filled with doubt. But then some part of her somehow knows he's telling the truth. That part of her causes her to faint.

Good thing Chat Noir has quick reflexes.

====== • ======

He looks down at the human female laying in her bed with interest. He still doesn't fully understand why her soul calls out to him so. All he knows is when he sensed it during her friends' botched demon summoning, he knew he had to investigate. Hopefully his father won't need him for something. Even if he did, Chat knows he wouldn't return. To Chat Noir, this woman is infinitely more important than any task he could have waiting for him in Hell. She's too fascinating and alluring for him to leave. He's definitely not leaving her side any time soon.

He has a strange feeling that if he was human, they might have been soulmates. If those even exist. Still, is it even possible for demons to have soulmates? He doesn't know how else to explain this pull he feels towards her though, so it must be possible.

The thought brings a large smile to his face. He can't wait to learn more about his princess and eventually bring her home with him so they can live together forever. All he knows is her name, yet Chat Noir is already entranced. Unable to help himself, Chat leans down and whispers in Marinette's ear,

"I'll see you soon, Princess. Don't you worry. I'll be here watching over you. Then, one day, you will be mine." With a lingering kiss left on her forehead, Chat makes himself disappear into the shadows, content to just watch and observe.

For now.

 

Chapter Text

Loneliness. What an interesting concept. Some might wonder if it's possible to feel lonely even in a room filled with people.

Marinette knows how possible that is. She has had a void in her for years, decades even, and she knows that it can't ever be filled. At least, not in this life. She tried everything she could think of to fill it, too.

Nothing worked. The void is too vast, too distinctly shaped to be filled by anyone else.

She dated over the years, yet she could never give them all of herself, so the relationships never went very far. She's too empty. Too much of her died that day, that day she lost him.

She also adopted and fostered children, her need to help others still prevalent somehow. Yet, she stopped fostering years ago, and her adopted children are all grown up now. Sometimes, she wonders if he's proud of her - that is, if he can even see her. She hopes so. She hopes she was able to make him proud, even if she wasn't able to fully invest in anything after she lost him.

"Goodnight, kitty." Marinette murmurs to herself as she looks up at the stars. Her dull, blue eyes then move to look at the picture next to her bed. She stares at it for a few minutes, as she has done every night since she got this picture framed. She knows the image so well. Of course she does. It's of her kitty after all. He looked so beautiful in the moonlight. She dimly remembers snapping the picture of him on her old balcony, his back to her and his head looking up at the stars. His hair glistened like it was made of active star dust.

She slowly climbs into bed, pulling her blankets over herself. She gets as comfortable as she can. She thinks back to the times when she accidentally fell asleep on him, and how comfortable and warm she'd feel. Now, she always feels cold. It's bone deep. It never goes away. Like the void, Marinette knows the cold won't go away until they are reunited. She knows they will be reunited somehow. They have to be. She won't survive whatever comes next otherwise.

Eventually, Marinette drifts off into sleep. She expects it to be dreamless, as usual. She is surprised when in her dream, she feels energized, she feels... young. She hasn't felt like this since that day when she lost him.

She soon notices that she's back in Paris, specifically, the Paris of her childhood. Marinette glances around and memories flood back into her mind, helping her fully realize exactly where she is. She's back in the courtyard of her old school, the one where their civilian identities properly met for the first time. She can recall that day clearer than almost any other memory. The boom of thunder in the background, their hands touching, his laugh. He rarely laughed like that outside of his mask. He wasn't able to. He wasn't free enough.

"It's been awhile." Marinette gasps at the sound of his voice behind her. She rapidly turns to face the front doors of the college, tears starting to run down her pale cheeks. She can't believe it. She hasn't heard his voice in decades. She hasn't seen him in decades, yet he looks the exact same as he did on the day she lost him. He's in his suit and everything. Thankfully, she can't see the fatal wound that took her kitty, her love, her Adrien, from her. She wouldn't be able to handle it if she had to see that again in her dreams. She hasn't had a nightmare about that day in a few years, and she's hoping it stays that way.

"Kitty?" Marinette whispers, taking a few steps forward towards her leather-clad partner. No, he is so much more than a partner to her. He is the love of her life, her other half. He's her soulmate. Nobody could fill the void he left behind in Marinette, no matter how badly they tried. She speaks again, "Adrien, is that really you?"

"It's me, Buginette. Come here m'lady, please." He says, calling out to her, his beloved, his other half, his soulmate. Tears also run down Adrien's cheeks, some stopping or slowing down on his mask. He holds out his hand, hoping she will finally join him. He has waited for this day for what feels like eons.

Marinette chokes back a sob and sprints forward, directly into his arms. She tightly wraps her arms around his midsection, desperately wishing she could feel his skin, if only to see whether or not it felt warm. She tucks her head against his chest and cries with joy at his heartbeat. Dream or not, she never wants to leave.

It's clear Adrien doesn't want her to leave, either. He puts his arms around her waist and pulls her as tight against him as he can, reveling in the feeling of finally reuniting with his Lady Marinette after decades of waiting. The two of them stand there together for an indeterminable amount of time, neither of them wanting to let go of the other. Only once a small part of Adrien's need for her has been satisfied does he let go.

"Come, Princess. It's time. Are you ready?" He asks. He steps away from her slightly and holds out his hand again, his ring glistening in the light and bringing her gaze away from his face and to his outstretched hand instead. Marinette grabs his hand without hesitation, intertwining their fingers together.

Hand in hand, they walk through the doorway of their old school, reveling in each other's presence. Soon after they exit the building everything goes white, but she is not scared. She has her partner with her. That's enough for her. Whatever is waiting for them, she knows they'll be okay. They are finally reunited, after all, and she wouldn't want her entry into the afterlife going any other way.