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Status Quo

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Adrian's breath heaved in and out. His heart was on a mission to dislodge itself from his chest, he was sure. He took in one last shuddering breath before he allowed his body to slide down his closed bedroom door, his shaking legs no longer able to support him. Plagg was strangely quiet considering his usual chatter. But the young man appreciated it. He needed to collect his thoughts. He needed to make a plan. His father's words echoed in his ears. 

"I never thought a son of mine would be so downgraded from myself as to become an omega. But as you have presented as one, there's no help for it but to find you a suitable alpha."

Then, he'd been sent away, told that he would be called back once his father had compiled a list of alphas to his choosing, never mind that Adrien was supposed to be the one mating with them. The sobbing breath he took in wracked his entire body as he stared up at the ceiling with glazed eyes. His gilded cage. A bird, forever trapped behind the bars of its atrium. Adrien had imagined that he would find an escape… that he wouldn't be caged forever. However, it seemed fate had relegated him to exchange one gilded cage for another.

He inwardly cursed the mentality he'd been fostering. He'd told himself it was better to remain with the devil he knew rather than stake his future on the unknown. He'd been wrong. He'd been so wrong. While the Adrien of twenty-four hours ago couldn't have imagined his life becoming more constraining that it already was, he now knew that things would always get worse. It was time to start acting as though they were going to magically get better. He couldn't afford the price of optimism anymore, not when the price was his freedom. Nothing was worth that. 

He angrily swiped the tears from his face and rose, determination lighting his features. He wasn't going to allow himself to be a pawn in his father's hands any longer. He was ready to take control of his own fate. He stood on unsteady legs and tried to square his shoulders as he moved towards his desk. He grabbed the picture frame where his mother's photo stared up at him with warm eyes. He couldn't bear to look at it right now, but he knew that of everything he might leave behind, this would be something he regretted more than anything else.

Prying open the back, he slipped the photo from it, folding it up and sliding it into his pocket. Next, he grabbed his wallet and took what cash he had out of it and placed it in his pocket too. For as much as he'd told himself that his life wasn't so bad that he'd need to run, he'd still squirreled away what amounted to about 368 €. It wasn't a lot. It might just barely cover a plane ticket, but no hotel, and no food. Food and shelter had to be first on his list of priorities. He had to be smart and he had to stop thinking like a spoiled little rich boy. But he couldn’t do that here. Not with the threat of his father walking in at any moment with his roster of "suitable alphas" .

"Plagg?" He called softly.

The little black spirit appeared beside him. "Yes?"

"We're leaving, and we're not coming back." He said simply as he fished out a few pieces of wrapped camembert from the minifridge beneath the desk and stuffed it in his other pocket.

He grabbed the box of food bard and stuffed all the remaining ones in his back pockets too. Not exactly the most nutritious, but they wouldn't starve, and the time would give them extra time to figure out what to do.

"Finally," Plagg sighed. "But you should know that while the suit will dampen your heat for a time, it will still come upon you. You just started smelling like an omega. That means your heat will come soon."

That's probably why Father is in such a hurry to find me a mate before I have time to figure out an alternative, he thought sourly.

"But it will dampen it, right?"

"Yes. You'll have a few hours left before your body gets in the full swing of mating heat and you'll need to be in a safe confined space if you don't want to be mated to some random alpha. The suit should manage to hold it at bay for about six hours, provided you don't come across your pair."

Adrien jerked his head up in surprise. "Pair?"

"Well," his kwami crossed his arms over his chest and gave Adrien what seemed to be a reassuring smile, but didn't answer his question. "Let's get going, then."

Adrien decided it was more trouble than it was worth to chase the question. "Claws out!"

The transformation swept over him and he felt freedom in knowing that this was the last time he would be trapped in this room, in this house, or near his father. He was leaving this place, and he was never coming back. 

Chapter Text

Marinette caught sight of her kitten first. His lithe, graceful form held her transfixed, as it always did. The thought heralded the guilt that she always felt upon noticing. Even if Adrien wasn't interested in her as anything other than a friend, she still felt like she was betraying him on some level by feeling anything towards her best friend and partner, Chat Noir. 

"Bonjour, Chaton!" She called in greeting, smiling at the prospect of flying across Paris with him tonight, perhaps even playing a game of hide-and-seek or tag - as was their habit when no akumas appeared on patrol.

His gate stuttered just as he was preparing to launch himself upwards again with his baton. Ladybug watched in horror as he began to fall. While she wasn't too worried, as the boy always seemed to land on his feet, they were still really high up and it was unusual for him to falter like that these days. The awkward boy he’d been had matured into a confident young man. Nevertheless, she dove downwards in an arch, allowing her yo-yo to swing her towards him, praying she'd gotten the length right and that she'd catch him. It was harder than it looked, calculating how long the string needed to be for any given jump. Only years of experience allowed her to catch her friend - years she thanked the gods for now.

Their bodies collided. Her left arm wrapped around his waist and his caught around her shoulders. Their eyes caught and Marinette inhaled. It was as though a vanilla candle was being waved enticingly below her nose. She inhaled more deeply as they swung back and forth, neither of them bothering to halt their motion, to wrapped up in whatever hormones their bodies were releasing.

"Chat Noir, are you trying a new cologne?" She queried, somewhat warily.

His gaze was transfixed on her mouth, but he shook his head, even as he leaned in to bury his snout into her left scent gland which was right were shoulder and neck met. He hummed. Clarity hit her hard. 

"Are you presenting?" She asked, making her voice as gentle as possible, keeping all traces of shock from her tone. It appeared her beta kitty was not a beta at all, but rather a late bloomer.

He simply purred, and she felt rather than saw that clever tail wrapping itself around her left leg. The boy was clinging to her. Triggering her yo-yo, they ascended towards the rooftops. She didn't want any other alpha to catch his scent and come chasing after him. She ignored the possessive thought even as she casually carried him through the city, looking for a safe location to settle him in while she assessed the situation. It was important not to alarm him.

"Why aren't you at home or with some omega friends?" She murmured, as not to startle him from the task he seemed intent on, that task being to rub his scent with his wrist into her gland. Her blush was high on her cheeks and her heart was galloping. 

Cut it out, Marinette! Stop melting because this is adorable! You’re a goddamn alpha, not some giggling school girl! But how she wished she could be that girl once again… 

"There's no one else." He said simply.

Marinette frowned. Other than me? Is that what he’s saying? He was either not lucid, or was in serious trouble. "What about your family?"

His body jerked, and his breath became choppy and uneven as she landed. He clutched her tightly, seeming to be unable to stand up on his own. He was taller than she was now, but at the moment, he looked to delicate, eyes wide and glazed over, body long and slender, and his scent tinged with fear.

"Okay, okay, shhh," she hushed him taking his face between her palms to get him to look at her.

He did, coming back into his body. "Plagg said the suit would dampen my heat, Ladybug! Why isn't it working! I was supposed to have six hours!" He cried, obviously in distress.

The alpha inside her couldn’t bear to see it. She dropped to her knees on the inlaid terrace she'd brought them too, thankful for the shrubbery that guarded them from any prying eyes down below. She pulled him down beside her. The lanky boy landed on top of her. He was hyperventilating, body squirming against hers. She could feel her already aroused body respond to his proximity. He was about to come out of his skin, she could tell. His instincts were going haywire, and unfortunately, they were in control.

So she let her own instincts take over. She rolled them so his body was trapped beneath hers and laid down flush against him. She instinctively knew he needed to feel secure, grounded, like he wasn't about to float away. She could give that to him. She relinquished all of her weight, knowing that he was strong enough to take it all. He was no sniveling weakling. This was Chat Noir, and even distressed, she knew his strength. She sighed out the last of her tension into his chest. The moment she did, he relaxed.

"Chat Noir, you are in no shape to be flying all around Paris. Where can I take you where you'll be safe?" She needed to know this. It was all-important.

His huge eyes filled with tears and they spilled down his cheeks. His arms lay limp beside him. "I have nowhere." He whispered, sounding broken and afraid and alone.

Marinette's breath hitched. Something had happened at his home. She just knew it. "Tell me everything." She used the most authoritative voice she had in her. The one she usually used to get civilians moving. She’d not used it on Chat Noir before, but this handsome, lost stray needed someone else to be the adult right now. She hated herself for wanting to take him home. It was an insult to both Chaton and to Adrien.

He took a deep breath and nodded, arms coiling around her waist and shoulders as if he was afraid she was going to pull away.

He must have read the guilt in my face, she thought. I'll have to be more careful. 

"Last night, I started feeling strange." He confessed. "After patrol my body was heavy and it was hard to move. I went to sleep as soon as I got back to my house, and I thought I could sleep it off." He told her.

She nodded. "But you didn't."  

"No," He whispered, tears filling again. He lifted one hand to his face to cover his eyes and tipped his head back. He was at a breaking point. She'd never seen the boy cry before but all of this… this was too much to be waved off with a smile or a pun. "I slept a lot longer than I usually would have and thankfully no one noticed since it wasn't a school day. But when I woke up, my body felt worse than the night before."

"Is it still heavy?"

He shook his head. "No. It's more like I'm having a hard time knowing where my body is at any given moment. Less awareness and innate ability to perform simple tasks like walking in a straight line or having the hand-eye coordination to grab something I'm reaching for without missing." He explained.

"You're getting closer to your heat, then." Her brow furrowed with worry. "Does your family know? Won't they help you?"

Chat Noir let out a bitter snort that didn't suit him at all. "I finally decided I needed a doctor. My father had one brought in and I was evaluated and…" He paused, but then tried to put on a playful smile which looked to be a lot more tremulous than she was sure he would have liked. "And it turned out that I'm not a beta after all. I'm just a late bloomer. A male omega."

Oh, Chaton. You and I, we are the same. The kinship she felt to him in that moment was so clear in her soul that it frightened her. 

While omegas had more fertility than any other status, male omegas didn't have the right set up for carrying a child. They were rare, and often deemed useless because of this trait. They were just as sensual as other omegas, but without the perks that fertility gave them. Unfortunately, because of this “flaw” most male omega were sold into the sex trade to make bank with the omega traits they did have.

Alpha's on the other hand were fertile in a wholly different way. Marinette, being female, had no idea what exactly being an alpha gave her other than strong pheromones that attracted omegas, but she was as useless to them in terms of fertility as Chat Noir was to male alphas.

It's poetic justice in a sense, she thought. 

"What happened then?" She asked, just to avoid the path she knew her heart and body were inevitably traversing.  

He sucked in a shuddering breath. "The doctor reported my status to my father against my wishes and wouldn't give me suppressants or birth control since I'm an omega. Apparently, now that my status has changed, I’m no longer capable of making personal choices for myself, never mind that I’ve been making them for years." His voice got angrier the more he said. That was good. She wanted to see the fight in him. She needed that fire in his heart to still be burning bright.

"And your father…"

"First informed me what a disappointment I am to my family's legacy due to my status, and then let me know that he would select a suitable alpha for me and implied that we would be joined during my first heat." He spat.

Marinette froze. First heat? Like the one come on NOW? A total stranger?!

She was afraid of what her face might have looked like to him. She could feel it, twisted and furious. Nostrils flared, eyes flashing, nose scrunched in distaste - she was sure we looked like a snarling dog. Her breathing was difficult to control. Her instincts screamed at her to rip the bastard apart for ever thinking to treat her partner like that. Her voice was low and dangerous when it came out, and she felt the sting of tears in her eyes, knowing they were welling with emotion.

"Now you listen to me, Chat Noir. You are an omega, yes. But you were Chat Noir and whoever lies behind that mask way before you presented as one. You are not less than you were because you are an omega and any alpha that fails to see that will see the broadside of my fist before I lodge it into their face, including , but not limited to, your father." She annunciated carefully. 

He was very still beneath her, looking up at her with wide eyes. She was afraid that she had frightened him at first but then he spoke, and his voice was infused with awe and hope. "Ladybug I think you are the best alpha that anyone could ever hope to be," he whispered.

She groaned and covered her eyes with a hand, rolling off him. "You are not making this easy for me."

His voice sounded a bit perkier than before. "Does that mean you're tempted?"

"Yes, you evil vixen," she growled.

He laughed, and she couldn't help but smile.

"But we still have a problem," she turned to face him where he was turned towards her, arm and leg draped over her body.

He nodded. "I'm going into heat."

"And you have nowhere to go." She agreed.

His eyes turned sad and distant again. "Yeah. I had planned on camping out on the rooftops and waiting for it to pass."

She stiffened and her hand shot out to grip his bicep. "No, Chat Noir, that's as good as omega suicide!" She cried in dismay.

"What else can I do?" He volleyed back, gripping her just as tightly, and she noticed again that fear in his eyes.

"Can’t you stay with a friend?"

"My father knows about all of them because he keeps close takes on me! He'll be going around to each of their doors to question them as soon as he realizes I'm gone which, if he hasn't yet, is about to."

"What about going to the police?"

"Are you kidding me? I've heard way too many horror stories on the news for that to be a good idea." He shuddered and moved closer to her.

She knew she was grasping desperately at straws, but she wasn't ready to give up on her dream of Adrien yet. For as much as she loved her partner, her heart was still longing for the blond boy with intelligent green eyes. She jerked a little as she stared into similar green eyes and glanced up at Chat Noir's own golden locks.

"What are you staring at?" He finally asked.

"You just look a lot like… never mind." She muttered, not wanting to hurt him, even as she shifted her arm more securely over his defined waist. How it had gotten there, she had no idea, but he was warm and felt perfect in her arms.

"Am I really no good?"

"What?" She asked. His voice had been so quiet that she'd almost not hear him.

"Me. Am I really so unappealing to you, Ladybug?" His eyes were on hers, filled with hurt and desolation.

She reared back. "Of course not!"

"Then why haven't you ever looked at me? Why haven't you suggested the one thing we both know will work? What haven't you asked me to-"

She covered his mouth with her hand, tears slipping free of her eyes. "Stop," she whispered.

His whole body slumped. "I'm sorry." He sobbed against her hand.

But Marinette couldn't stand to see his tears, not when everything inside her was begging her to hold him, to protect him, to claim him. She grabbed his face between her palms and pressed and firm kiss against his surprised lips. He sucked in a gasp and she quickly retreated, cheeks flaming. But she held his shocked gaze. 

"I'm always looking at you, even when I feel guilty for it. All I ever see now is you. I haven't suggested myself as your alpha because I'm just as afraid as you are. What if I'm no good for you? What if you only say yes because you have to, and not because you've really decided it's what you want for your life? What if I can't protect you from your father?" She was sobbing now. "If I can't be what you need, then I've stolen from you what your father was trying to take from you! I won't claim you because you have no other choice!"

"I don't even know where to start," he stuttered, but the fire was back in his eyes. "Why would you feel guilty for looking at me when you know I've been madly in love with you since we met when I was fourteen?"  

"Thank god you're not a minor," she joked, quickly doing the math to find his age. Nineteen, maybe eighteen. 

He clicked his tongue and pulled her closer. "Stop evading!"  

She gave up fighting and allowed them to be drawn together, bodies plastered to each others. But she wouldn’t look away from him while she said this. "I can’t lie to you, Chat Noir. Truthfully, I've been head over heels in love with Adrien Agreste since I was fourteen." She confessed, not meeting his gaze because of the pain she knew she'd see there. "And it felt like a betrayal to look at anyone the way I wanted him to look at me." 

She tore her gaze away before she saw the hurt she knew would flood his features. She was weak like that. Chat Noir was silent. Ladybug couldn't help it anymore. She glanced over at him, bracing herself for his expression. But it wasn't filled with pain at all. It was filled with… hope? Joy? Elation? What?   

"Ladybug, Adrien looks at you the exact same way!" He said, voice brimming with excitement, which made no sense in her hormone-addled mind.

She laughed. "I assure you he doesn't."  

"He does."

"How would you know?"

"Because, Ladybug, I'm Adrien Agreste. And I can't keep my eyes off of you."

Chapter Text

Marinette sucked in a breath. "Chat Noir!" She screeched, half in shock, half in surprise. "Our identities, you can’t just "

"No," he shook his head. "I need you to know me. And know just who I am before you decide whether or not you want me. I don't want you to only know one side of me. I want you to know every side."

Marinette couldn't breathe. She wrung her hands with stress, releasing him. "Well now I definitely can't tell you who I am!" She wailed in despair. 

His brow furrowed, seeming distracted from his oncoming heat, but his eyes still looked a little glazed. "Why not?"

"Because you'll be disappointed!" She said, like it was obvious.

On his part, he looked aghast! "How could I be disappointed?"

"Listen to me, the reason this mask exists is so that no one can see who I really am!" she cried, shaking him lightly to try and pound her point in hard. “All this,” she waved a hand at herself. “It’s just an illusion!”

But he slowly shook his head. "The mask is a symbol of who we are as heroes. It's meant to protect us and our families, but not for the sake of hiding behind. And even if it were, I don't think you should just assume that you'll disappoint me. Isn't that up for me to decide?"

Ladybug was torn. Her head clunked down on his leather-clad collar bone. “I… I don’t know what to do right now, Adrien,” she whispered. 

"Why don’t we start by introducing ourselves?" He buried his nose in her scent gland again, speaking quietly, seeming for all the world content right where he was at.

And by the gods, so was Marinette. 

They were long past any social etiquette. Their closeness alone would call into questions an omega’s all-important purity. But neither of them could be made to care. Not when their hearts were full to bursting and their minds abuzz with worry, but also a strange satisfaction.

Marinette shuddered as he lazily stretched his body over hers, his seduction operating in full force. "I-I-"

She should push him away. This was Adrien! He would be so disappointed when he realized who he was sharing his scent with. She’d sulk back home and nothing awaited her there but

And then it hit her so hard over the head she felt dizzy. Gasping, she sat up so quickly she nearly knocked Adrien off balance. Thankfully they were tightly entwined enough that he just came with her, and ended up supporting her weight as she panicked.

"What?" He asked, looking around for whatever danger she'd sensed, already in a crouch behind her, ready to protect her.

"Your dad's about to be at my house looking for you!" She yelled, scrambling to her feet about to take off.

Adrien was too shocked to be upset when she tore herself from him and headed towards the edge of the terrace they were on. "Wait, why- oh shit, are you- how did I not realize—" His hand was against his forehead, eyes wide with realization.  

Her eyes closed. Please say my name, please say my name, please say my name! She inwardly begged the universe, waiting for him to speak. She just knew he'd say the name of someone else, and it would rip her heart straight out of her chest. 


Her eyes flew open and she sucked in a breath. He stood too, and they were looking at each other in a wholly new way. His mouth was hanging open in shock, and she wasn't sure what face she was making.

"We've been in love with each other the whole time?" He finally croaked out.

The thought had her pausing, and then had her laughing. It was a little hysterical, but it was also joyous. Adrien crushed her against his chest, one arm slung over her shoulder and the other tightly wound around her waist to keep her in place. Her laughter turned to crying. He just slowly rocked her back and forth in comfort.

"Why are you crying?" He whispered, and she could feel his body responding to her.

"I don't know! My heart… I can't tell if I'm so happy I could die or if I’m drowning in a sense of loss!"

"I'm both," he shuddered. "Please, Marinette. Please don't turn me away."

"But you… you're in love with Ladybug, and I'm… I'm just me. Ladybug is not… I don't know how much of Ladybug is in me. "

"A lot, now that I'm thinking about it," he remarked, not sounding worried anymore, but instead peaceful and content. "You’re always the first person to throw yourself into the fray without regards to your own safety. You’re always the first to volunteer to help or accommodate everyone even when you already have too many other things happening at the same time. You have a great sense of righteousness, and you’re the first to apologize when you know you’ve done something wrong. You have humility, but also pride in your work and —”

She cut him off when it seemed like he wasn’t going to stop anytime toon. "Yes, Ladybug is that, but "

"I was talking about Marinette." He smiled crookedly. "But you're right. Ladybug is that too."

"This is crazy," she whispered.

He nodded, shuddering. "Yeah. But… this is us, right?"

"Yes. I feel so silly. I've been torturing myself for having feelings for the same boy for years!"

“We’ve lost a lot of time… What will you do?" He asked, but his voice sounded strained, and she had to take more of his weight. 

He was obviously in a lot of discomfort due to his coming heat, but Chat Noir was strong, and he was trying to manage the pain as best he could. Marinette wasn’t sure if by being there she’d make it better or worse.

“I think the first thing we need to do is find a place to hide you until your father comes by. I’ll have to shower really quickly to get your scent off me "

He growled. 

“And then I’ll bring you into my room from the terrace and let you make a nest with all my fabrics and pillows.” She grinned at him, reaching up to rustle his hair and using her other hand to lightly place it on his chest. She could feel his heart thudding.

"And then?" He choked out.

She leaned up, and pressed her forehead to his, resisting the urge to kiss him. “Then I think we have a lot to talk about. Including the reason why you smell like a stray.”

Chapter Text

As it turned out, getting back to Marinette’s house hadn’t been as easy as it had sounded when she’d said it out loud earlier. The main reason for that being that she’d had to find a safe place for Adrien to hide while she dealt with his father. She’d contacted Master Fu, but ended up having no choice but to leave Chat Noir alone to wait for him in an alley. They’d hoped the scent of the trash would conceal his presence.

“Plagg said the suit dampens my scent and my heat,” the young man had said. 

Marinette hoped it was enough. It killed her to have to leave him. It went against every instinct she’d had but logically, she’d known it was the right choice. In the shower, she’d frantically scrubbed her skin with her scented soaps that usually concealed her otherwise obvious status as an alpha and shampooed her hair within an inch of its life. After blow-drying her hair and slathering on a charcoal mask for good measure, she’d come out of the bathroom donned in pajamas. Looking in her floor-length mirror, she thought it looked like she’d been there all evening. Good. That’s what she wanted. Though she’d never wanted anyone to see her like this, she would do it because it was necessary. Tikki had remained outside, disposing of the clothing she’d been wearing. Apparently, the cat’s scent had seeped into it through the magic of the suit. 

She was not Adrien’s only alpha friend. Alya was an alpha too, and since Nino was closest to Adrien, and Alya and Nino were dating, Marinette had wagered that her friend would be the first stop. Judging by how much time had passed, she’d been right. 

In the end, she’d even had time to work on her current fashion project, a victorian coat proposition with some steampunk twists to it. Even as much as she loved working on it, she couldn’t be distracted by her worry for Adrien. Had Master Fu gotten Adrien safely to his place? Or was Adrien in some sort of trouble?

Marinette frowned at her own musings. I have to stop thinking about him like he’d more delicate than I am. This is Chat Noir, after all. He’ll be fine. 

But she was afraid that was just her hope speaking, and not what would turn out to be reality. 

“Marinette?” Her mother popped her head through the door in the floor. 

He’d arrive. “Yes, Maman?” She turned and watched as her mother climbed up the ladder into her room.

Her mother’s serious expression lightened a little, and her lips quirked in half of a smile. Her mother didn’t usually come up into her room due to the ladder, but she had this time, which could only mean…

Gabriel Agreste climbed up after her, a severe expression on his face. Marinette gasped when he looked at her, scrambling up from her chair. Nope. She’d changed her mind. She didn’t want the man seeing her this way. She bolted into the bathroom, and turned on the water, using a washcloth to get the majority of it off. There were still flecks near her hair line and a bit on her chin, but overall, she looked flushed from the water, and nervous.

Perfect, she thought. I’m both of those things. 

Grabbing her robe from the back of the door, she put it on for a bit more modesty in front of the intense man and walked back out. The man was inspecting her room, walking to each corner, even popping upstairs to sniff around. It was intrusive, and the alpha nature inside of her growled at the breach of territory. She tampered it down. 

“Mr. Agreste?” She asked, looking questioningly at her parents. 

Even though she knew why he was here, his lack of respect, decorum, or basic courtesy was still really rude, and Marinette was having a hard time putting up with his behavior. He looked down at her and descended the ladder leading up to her bed. Marinette knew she was scowling at this point. Her father muttered something about being polite and she bit back a retort that questioned their guest's actions.

“Miss Dupain-Cheng, I’ll get straight to the point. Have you heard from or seen Adrien today?” He stood before her, menacing. 

Marinette straightened her shoulders and looked him dead in the eyes. “Not today, why? Is he being punished again?” I only saw Chat Noir. She repeated in her head over and over like a mantra to ward of the evil she imagined lurking in his eyes. 

His frown deepened. “Are you completely sure? Have you left the house this evening?”

“Marinette’s been home all day working on her projects!” Her father interrupted, his own alpha nature disliking the line of questioning. 

“How do you know that? Have you seen her? She could have left through the balcony.”

How audacious! Marinette was appalled. Never mind that she had, in fact, left by way of the balcony. That he continued to question the word of not only herself, but her parents when there was no evidence of dishonesty was revolting. He was not behaving as decorum allowed. 

“Mr. Agreste, why are you grilling us like we’re suspects?” She blurted out, glaring at him. Gone was the simpering school-girl she had been, and in her place, a territorial beast. 

“Adrien is missing. I need to find him for his own safety.” The man’s tone was stiff. 

“I know Adrien,” Marinette told him. “And I know that he never would have left unless his he had no other choice. Which makes me wonder,” she stepped closer to him. “What did you do to him?”

“Marinette!” Her mother scolded her. 

But neither her nor the elder Agreste paid her any heed. He stood toe to toe with her, neither of them giving any ground. “I don’t like my actions being called into question, Miss. Dupain-Cheng.”

“Neither do I, but I’ve been made to put up with it this evening haven’t I? But do you know what I dislike more?” She hissed. “When I see a friend being mistreated and not being able to do anything about it.”

Gabriel bared his teeth. “Mistreated? And how do you think I’m mistreating my own son? Since you have so much experience raising children, perhaps you can tell me?” He responded scathingly. 

“I don’t have to be a pet owner to know abusing animals is wrong.” She quirked her brow at him. “Can you look me straight in the eye and tell me you haven’t abused your influence over him, neglected him, or isolated him? Because he couldn’t look any of us in the eyes each time he told us everything was fine at home.”

The tension between them was live electricity. Marinette had planned on cooperating, but she was just so furious that she couldn’t hold back everything she’d wanted to shout into the man’s face each time she’d suspected her friend was being abused. 

“Marinette, you can’t speak to your elders that way,” her father said, more by rote than anything else. Probably just to have something to break the silence. 

She glanced at him. “Age doesn’t make someone more justified in their actions. If anything it condemns them.”

“Do you condemn me, Marinette? ” Mr. Agreste purposefully used her name. “Do you think I should have just let Adrien do whatever he chose without any guidance? Let him face the horrors of this world without protecting him?”

“If you think that isolating him is protecting him and treating him like an inconvenience is guiding him, then yes, I condemn you with the entirety of my being. If I’d ever seen a sliver of fatherly affection come from you, or seen him smile when he talked about you or your house, or looked forward to holidays, then I might believe you that you’re just trying to protect him. But if he ran away because of that, then I suspect you weren’t trying to protect him, you were trying to control him.”

Mr. Agreste clenched his jaw. “Enough. I don’t have any time to talk to young, self-important alphas. Tell me where you think Adrien is.”

“Unfortunately, Adrien was never comfortable sharing anything intimate with his friends because he was afraid of what you would do. So I don’t know the first place where Adrien Agreste might be.” She informed him snidely. “Best set out your dogs to hunt.”

The man’s eyes flashed and he stalked to the hatch, climbing back down. Something about ladders made him look less elegant and just plain stern. “I’m appalled at the treatment I’ve received today.” 

Marinette’s heart sank with regret at her outburst even as she replied. “I’m appalled at the treatment Adrien receives every day . Get out, and don’t come back.”

And instead of being scolded by her mother, she was slapped. 

Worth it, she thought. 

Chapter Text

Hello readers! 

Thank you so much for all of your support and wonderful comments. I've been ill for the past month and haven't been able to write anything for this fic. With school starting back up again, it will be harder for me to publish chapters on a frequent basis!

I will still be continuing this fan fiction! Your guys' excitement over it is contagious. I'm working on the next chapter now, and I hope to publish it soon. 

Thank you for all your patience! 


Chapter Text

The sharp sting snapped Marinette’s alpha nature back under control. Her mother looked fearful, eyes a little wild and eyebrows furrowed with concern. 

“Marinette, what was that behavior?” she cried. 

“I’m sorry my actions shamed you, Maman,” she touched where she’d been hit, but gazed at her parents with fierce determination. “But I will not apologize for defending my friend.”

“He is a very powerful alpha. He could discredit you publically and make your life very difficult. What if he made it so you are unable to enter a fashion academy?” Her father demanded. “It would not be difficult for him to do so.”

Marinette hadn’t thought of that. The sacrifice was large. But to protect Adrien? She wondered if she truly had any limits to what she would give. 

But then her mother was wrapping her up in her kind embrace. “I’m sorry for slapping you, my brave girl. Your alpha nature was taking over and you were not responding to reason.” 

But it hadn’t been her alpha nature. It had been all her own righteous anger. She hadn’t said what she did out of a sense of territorial possessiveness over Adrien. He hugged her mom back and sighed. 

“Whatever the consequences are, I’ll face them. I won’t turn my back on Adrien no matter what they are.”

“I’m afraid you won’t have a choice on whether you face them or not, Marinette.” Her father said gravely, serious for once.

For her father who was always laughing and grinning to be so solemn made her swallow nervously. She couldn’t pretend she wasn’t afraid of what would happen to her for her actions, but she knew there was no escaping them now. 

The sound of her phone ringing broke the silence. Her parents didn’t speak as they waited to see who it was, probably hoping it was Adrien so they could gain back some favor with Gabriel. She grabbed it off her work table and saw Alya’s name on it. 

“It’s Alya.” She showed them the screen of the silly picture she had as Alya’s picture.

They nodded and started to head down the ladder, her father going first so he could help his wife down.s

“Alya, hi.” She spoke as she answered the phone and the trap door slid shut.

“Hey, Mari. Just wanted to let you know Gabriel Agrest is probably headed your way and he is not in a good mood.”

Marinette snorted. “No kidding. He just left here in a worse mood. Couldn’t have given me a bit more warning?” she teased. 

“My parents were cracking down pretty hard,” Alya confessed, sounding tired. “As though asking me more than a dozen times might change my answer.”

“Why were they so adamant?”

“Because Gabriel Agrest is a powerful alpha and because I chewed him out a bit.”

“You too?”

“I was already testy from having to cancel some plans with Nino this weekend to watch the twins. Add in the fact that Gabriel started sniffing around my space like he owned my goddamn room and I got pissed. So I ripped him a new one. What about you?”

“That sounds eerily similar to my visit. I’m actually a bit relieved. My parents are freaking out about the consequences I’ll face, especially since I want to go into the fashion industry. Maybe it won’t be so bad since I’m not the only one who mouthed off. Apparently, I’m a young, self-important alpha.” 

Alya snorted. “So are Nino and I.”

“Nino too?”

“Big time. Any idea where he might be?” She asked. 

“Somewhere safe, I hope.” She responded, hoping it would be enough.

“Yeah.” Alya sighed. “Nino’s worried he might not come back. That it got so bad that he left, and now he won’t see any of us again because he wants to hide from his dad.”

That was not altogether out of the realm of possibility. “So what your saying is the real reason I didn’t get warned earlier was because you and Nino were talking about your feelings over the phone,” she tried to inject some lightheartedness into the conversation.

Alya let out a little laugh. “Fuck off, Mari, I have a boyfriend, let me enjoy this.” 

“Better get back to him then, lover-girl.”

“But seriously. Are you okay?” Alya asked, voice becoming serious again.

“I’ll be fine, Alya. It just hasn’t sunken in yet.” She confessed honestly. She knew she would probably cry and worry a lot once everything had calmed down. But right now, she was high on adrenaline and anger and excitement. 

“You better call me when it sinks in.” She informed her. 


“Okay, I’m going to go talk about feelings with my boyfriend now.”

“You do that.”

And then they hung up the phone. Marinette smiled. It was time to go get Adrien. She could only hope he'd made it to Master Fu's safely.