“My Dear Marinetta,”
Marinette and Tikki grimaced, blinking over at one another...
“She wants to come for a visit?” Tikki blinked again, peering back at the screen.
Marinette exhaled loudly. “As disastrous as last Birthday was, I’m not exactly sure what to expect from Nonna Gina’s visits.”
But as they read on it was clear that her parents must have interceded a bit.
Even in the tone of her letter, Nonna Gina was far more careful. She was very clear, telling her when she was set to arrive so Marinette could plan the time accordingly.
Well, at least as well as a superhero could…
While her Nonna still insisted upon taking Marinette around with her when she came into town, she’d already prioritized finding far more age appropriate activities to appeal to her young teen granddaughter. Top of her list for her Fashion Design inclined Granddaughter: to cruise out in style to the shopping district of her choice!
Marinette could hardly contain her enthusiasm, whirling around in her chair.
“Wait, Marinette!” Tikki chirped, excitedly. “There’s more!”
Her Nonna had even promised to give her a motorcycle if she kept her grades up once she reached University age. She even wanted to work with her to help her be ready for that responsibility when the time came, by getting her through the license process and letting her practice when she came to visit before then.
Marinette slapped her hands over her mouth to keep from squealing aloud. “What better than a motorcycle to help set a fashion statement once I make it through University?”
Tikki grinned conspiratorially, her own creative juices already percolating. “And who’s to say you can’t get a solid jump on designing stylish and practical gear, well before any of your peers.”
Within a few minutes of the fateful e-mail’s arrival, Marinette already had a plan for a suit.
It had only taken a short brainstorming session between the pair of them to determine how to best emulate the thinner shielding aspects of their suits -- It wouldn’t do for Ladybug to be lost to Paris if something happened to her on the ride after all -- then she set to work, scraping together the fabric bits to make an outfit for herself to rival her Grandmother’s.
A few weeks after, a shiny black and white helmet arrived from Gina, shipped from whatever parts unknown she was traveling.
But hardly even a week had passed since that first email before Marinette had decked out a black biker outfit all on her own. She’d tinkered with the designs, and the accent colors.
When she couldn’t trust that her own signature would be visible in this prototype version version, she made ie her own by weaving a hint of pink in to reinforce the seams.
In fact, everything had been all ready to go for her Grandmother’s next visit, when the Sentimonster Feast had been Akumatized, only amping up his ability to terrorize the whole of Paris.
Without a thought -- and without a Kwami to remind her -- Marinette tore up the stairs, grabbing the helmet and the gear ready and waiting in her wardrobe, before scrambling outside to tear down Paris’s streets on her bicycle.
There were very few citizens who dared to draw close to test Feast’s ravenous appetite. Fewer still knew that Ladybug was hiding behind the motorcycle helmet...and even they had had near enough close calls to have forgotten much more than the fact that Ladybug had asked for their help.
After Paris was safe once more, Marinette shed her gear, to be forgotten in her closet after a long day of helping Master Fu move the last of his belongings from his home.
Her Grandmother’s next visit wasn’t for months after all...
But months had that funny problem of flying away in an instant -- especially with the endless hustle and bustle of school, and superheroics, and saving all of her friends, and designing for most of them on the side -- without leaving enough time for her to remember to replace that outfit gathering dust in the back of her closet.
Months that did nothing to blunt Marinette’s blind panic when the day finally came due -- all without a new outfit on hand.
Marinette -- being Marinette -- panicked.
Tikki sighed. “I’m sure you’ll be fine, Marinette. There wasn’t even a single picture that hit the Ladyblog.”
Marinette had fussed and fretted, pacing the full length of her room ten times over. But eventually she gave in, letting herself enjoy the rushing wind as Gina wove them through the crowded streets, and over to the fashion district for a shopping trip.
She’d had so much fun, buying a lovely necklace that she could wear with a formal dress she’d been planning (and could easily travel back home on the bike) -- and doing a fair bit of research that guaranteed she’d be making Gina’s next bike gear herself as a Christmas present, that they both had lost track of time.
Much to Marinette’s relief, not one citizen had noticed her outfit, not when she wasn’t in a mad dash through Paris…
But she’d missed a very anxious pair of glowing green eyes, fretting from above.
Eyes that had gotten close enough to recall her outfit, the details of the helmet and the pink accents etched into his memory. He could make out even the tiniest detail in the dwindling light of dusk.
Chat Noir frowned, changing course on a dime. He couldn’t be sure what was up...only that perhaps Ladybug would need his help. Had Hawkmoth or Mayura stolen her Miraculous? Had he missed the signs of an Akuma? Had Master Fu had even more secrets he’d been keeping?
Chat Noir didn’t hesitate, bounding from roof to roof to catch up as the adrenaline and fear coursed through his veins. He didn’t dare let her down.
Chat only slowed his pace vaulting across the space between rooftops, dipping beneath the chimney line, as the motorcycle chugged to a halt outside a very familiar building.
One that only grew more familiar to his rapidly widening eyes as the rider he’d been following lifted the helmet from her head, shaking out her dark hair as the driver parked the bike.
Recognition struck true, as Marinette beamed up at her Grandmother with that disarming smile, absently repairing the mussed pigtails as she followed her Grandmother back inside.
Chat Noir flopped onto the rooftop, heart struggling not to thud out of his chest.
He knew his Bugaboo was cool... but this? This only confirmed to him she was worlds out of his league...