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It was a warm, beautiful day in Paris. The kind of day that lifted everyone’s spirits as the sun’s soothing rays shined upon them, their skin eagerly accepting the heat. As gorgeous of a day that it may have been, Adrien Agreste’s mood was soaring to new heights for an entirely different reason. 

 

That reason being that the person he had been hopelessly in love with, yet never knew her true name, at last was ready to remove their masks. She wanted to know who he was. It was a time that he had fantasized about nearly every day for the better part of a year. The fact that it was finally coming to pass had him beyond elated. 

  

Each breath he took as he bounded over the rooftops of Paris to make his way over to an already agreed upon alley restored him with a new, deeper appreciation for life. A part of him wondered why she was suddenly curious about his identity. She had always vehemently denied learning more about him because she was afraid of what Hawk Moth would do if he found out. He could potentially harm them or the people they loved. So, why she would go against the grain now, had him stumped. It wasn’t like they had defeated Hawk Moth yet. The dangers were still very real.  

 

Regardless, he couldn’t be bothered to know the reason. Did it even really matter? Perhaps he would never know. She was a fascinating person. Chat often thought it best to just go along with whatever she said. Besides, it was something he wanted too, and had been for so long. He was going to know who had made existence seem meaningless to him unless they were by his side. Chat Noir could hardly contain his excitement, a large toothy grin spreading over his features. 

 

Chat’s leaps across the Parisian rooftops came to a halt as he made touch down in the approved alleyway. It was a small, closed off alley near his friend Marinette’s house, he realized. He made a mental note to check up on her later. The baked goods her parents made were to die for and he always loved seeing a friend.  

 

He made it there a few minutes sooner than what they had discussed, which proved to be hazardous. It left him alone with nothing to keep him company except for his panicked thoughts. Chat’s breathing labored slightly when he got the notion in his mind that maybe she would be disappointed when she found out who he really was. 

 

Adrien was a model of a wealthy fashion designer, sure, but he was also a sheltered boy who didn’t always know how to act socially. Granted, that was if he was let out into a social situation in the first place.  

 

He often snuck off without his father’s knowledge. Mostly when he was sneaking off to go save the day as Chat Noir of course, but there were still times he got ballsy enough to run away as Adrien. Any relationship they may have could be harbored by him being stowed away in his prison of a room. 

 

Would she be mad at him when she realized that he, Chat Noir, had been Aspik? He should have turned down the snake miraculous when he found out that she wanted to give it to Adrien, but he was so swept up in the emotions he felt by her wanting to give it to him. Those same emotions got in the way and jeopardized the entire mission.  

 

Chat shook as the memory jarred him. Reliving the moments of him losing his lady time and time again had him weak at the knees. The look on her face each time she got hit, tormented him to no extent. Each expression etched into his mind. It was something he wished he would never have to experience again. Another shiver. 

 

Suddenly, a slight sight of red caught his attention in his peripheral vision. Before him now stood a crimson-suited goddess, or so he thought to himself. Chat gulped loudly. The sight before him had him gone-- which he had already considered himself a goner from the moment they first met, but the added anticipation of their reveal sent him into overdrive.  

 

Ladybug fidgeted with her hands anxiously, her bottom lip caught between her teeth, and a pale rose blush dusted her cheeks. Good, it seemed she was just as nervous as he felt. A smile tugged at the edge of Chat’s mouth. 

 

“Hey Buggaboo.” He purred. A small groan of annoyance escaped her impossibly perfect pink lips. Chat caught himself wondering for the five hundred thousandth time what they would taste like. Apparently, they had kissed two times before, but he was never lucky enough to be able to remember them. Oh, the woes of being the black cat holder.  

 

“Kitty,” she paused, “In a few moments you won’t have a need to call me Buggaboo anymore.” Ladybug sashayed slowly over to be directly in front of Chat Noir. Them both hidden from prying eyes, surrounded by the darkness the enclosed alley provided. Their height differences were more noticeable now as he had to adjust to look down at her. 

 

“Nah,” Chat dismissed her previous proposition. “Just like with me, you’re also stuck with that nickname, Buggaboo.” 

 

Ladybug laughed lightly and gave Chat a small nudge on the arm. Contact. Was she flirting with him? God, he hoped so. He couldn’t stop beaming at her. Hesitantly, he reached down to gently take her tiny hand in his own. She seemed a bit stunned by his actions, gazing up at him with eyes full of wonderment. 

 

“I have to ask.. Are you really okay with this?” Chat questioned. The last thing he wanted was for her to feel pressured or to come to regret this. He wanted, no, he needed her to be sure. What he wasn’t expecting was for her own grasp to squeeze his hand reassuringly. 

 

“Chat, I’m ready. I know that this is risky, but I think our partnership will be stronger for it…” She began, hesitating to speak the rest of her thoughts out loud. With a deep steadying breath, she found the courage to say, “I want to know who you are.” 

 

Chat found it unexpectedly hard to breathe. As if there were no oxygen left in this world left to inhale. How many times had he yearned for her to say those exact words? His heart fluttered in his chest. It was a good thing there were suits covering their hands, otherwise Ladybug would feel how sweaty his hands had become. 

 

Gradually, Ladybug began to lift his hand with hers, stopping when they got close to her face. Their palms resting against each other, fingers spread out evenly; almost as if they were comparing hand sizes. It was then that Chat Noir truly realized how small Ladybug’s hands were. If they had been competing, it wouldn’t have even been close.  

 

Blue-bell eyes bore into his own, seemingly sparkling even though there was hardly any light in the alley. If he were being honest with himself- she was light incarnate. The beauty she radiated blinded him, and he pondered how it would even be possible to love a person even more. It couldn’t be possible. 

 

“You ready, kitty?” She whispered, masking some of the nerves in her voice. Although he still wondered about what made her ready to take this leap of faith, he pushed the speculation aside. All that mattered in this moment was him and her. Hawk Moth being the furthest thing from his thoughts. 

 

“Yes, My Lady.” He answered just as quietly. 

 

With both parties involved committed, they uttered their de-transformation phrases in harmony, a bright light washing over them; their hands still united.   

 

For a few moments they took in the new information, processing who they were now standing in front of. Adrien was the first to crack, his smile wide, which seemed to move Marinette into action. That action mostly consisted of incoherent spluttering. He wasn’t sure if that was a bad thing or not. That was typical Marinette after all. But she had said to Adrien that she didn’t exactly consider him a great friend. Thankfully, they made up and agreed that they were in fact friends; even if she didn’t think super highly of him. The thought deflated him a little. 

 

“A-A-Adrien?!? Bu-but that means-… I didn’t know- I” the words stumbling out of her mouth only concerned him further. A slight frown adorned his face. Did she really not like him? Was she disappointed like he had feared? Maybe they really shouldn’t have done this, but they couldn’t have known this would be the outcome. 

 

Marinette stumbled backwards; her eyes wide at the shocking realization. Okay, now he was really concerned. 

 

“M-Marinette?” He inquired softly, his hand hesitantly reaching out to her before thinking better of it, and solemnly retreating. “I’m sorry.”  

 

Adrien never was good at hiding his sadness, he imagined he looked like a wounded puppy (kitten?) right now. This was not going how he had thought it would. He was happy to see Marinette when Ladybug faded away, but it appeared she didn’t feel the same way with him.  

 

Marinette’s face morphed from one of astonishment to one of befuddlement.  

 

“What!?” She squeaked; her hands balled into small fists pulled close to her chest. “Why are you sorry?” 

 

Adrien forced his eyes to meet her incredulous gaze, “Well, because you’re clearly disappointed that it was me this entire time.” These words set Marinette into a furious panic, closing the small distance between them, only flustering the poor boy more. Her mesmerizing eyes refused to let go; as they had some sort of other worldly hold on him. Unable to free himself, he was helpless under her glare.  

 

Poking a pointed finger to his chest she spoke low but not without a warning hidden beneath her tone, “You listen here, kitty . I could never be disappointed, no matter who you are. You’re still my beloved partner. Do you understand?”  

 

Wasting no time, Adrien nodded. He needed her to back up because if she didn’t, he may just capture her lips with his own right then and there, and he couldn’t do that. She didn’t love him. Marinette was in love with someone else; presumably Luka. Wait just a second... Hadn’t she confessed to Chat Noir before? But she was Ladybug. Ladybug didn’t love Chat, so why did she say that she was? Well, one thing at a time, he supposed. 

 

“Okay, I trust you, but why react like that then?” He asked cautiously as he moved back a bit to get some space and regain some self-control.  

 

Marinette worried her bottom lip again and looked away bashfully. A deep crimson that closely resembled the color of her Ladybug suit, graced her cheeks. She mumbled softly, almost completely silent. He almost missed that she said anything at all, but he was still unable to make out anything that she said. Whatever she had said, it seemed to make her very embarrassed.  

 

Leaning forward somewhat, Adrien angled his ear towards her and pointed to it. “I didn’t hear that.” 

 

Her face grew incredibly redder, which shouldn’t have been physically possible, and her mouth formed a tight line. After a few moments of silence, Adrien was about to pull back, but Marinette gave him the surprise of his life thus far as she blurted out the next words. 

 

“I’M IN LOVE WITH YOU!”  

 

...What? 

 

Surely, he must have heard wrong. Ladybug didn’t love Chat Noir. She had made that very clear over and over. His face must have shown the disbelief and confusion he felt because she started again. 

 

“I reacted that way because I couldn’t believe the person I’ve been in love with this whole time, was you! I kept-” She stalled, swallowing thickly, “I kept turning you, Chat, down. Because I was in love with you, Adrien.” 

 

Questions that he had instantly died on his tongue. The words he always wanted her to utter now sat in the air between them. It was too much for him to handle. Self-control be damned. All at once he was on her, his lips colliding vigorously with her own. 

 

He wanted to give her sweet, soft kisses, and there would be time for that later; but in that moment, all the pent-up desire and want he had experienced up until now came flooding out of him. Although initially shocked, she returned in kind; just as hungry as he was. Frantically clinging to one another as if this was some dream they were going to wake up from soon. Holding onto each other would keep them grounded, it assured them that this was real. Their love was real. 

 

Adrien made a mental note that her lips were as sweet as he had always envisioned. They tasted of vanilla and sugar, although the taste was unable to satisfy his growing hunger. 

 

At last, a kiss that he could remember. The passionate molding of their lips together would forever be engrained into his memory, but like all good things, it couldn’t last. They parted; the couple gasped for air with goofy matching love-sick grins.  

 

“I have to admit, none of this has gone how I thought it would.” He chuckled, Marinette joining in. Adrien rested his forehead against hers, his hand finding its way up to her face—gently stroking her pink tinted cheek.  

 

“Same here.” She replied breathlessly. The light in her eyes even brighter than it had been before the reveal. She was positively radiant with happiness. Adrien could hardly believe how greatly his luck had turned. From unlucky, to unbelievably fortunate in one afternoon. It didn’t matter if he was allowed out of his house much, or how tired he was from the extra-curricular activities, from the photo shoots, or even the fact that his father couldn’t be bothered to make time for him.  

 

His lady had been in love with him this whole time, just as he had been for her. She was here, in front of him; breathing, living, loving . To ask for anything more would just have been selfish in his eyes. Her love was enough.  

 

There must have been a dopey look on his face because Marinette giggled, one of the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard, and she asked, “What?” 

 

“I’m just thinking about how lucky I am.” He replied earnestly. His honesty made her blush deepen again. 

 

“Silly kitty.” Marinette murmured. 

 

For a while they just reveled in each other’s embrace, holding each other close, stolen kisses in between stories and laughter. They discussed their feelings; as well as their misunderstandings about who they loved, how they kept their identities secret—commending each other on their sneaking abilities and excuses. They got to speak to each other’s kwamis. Tikki still didn’t think that them sharing their identities was a good idea, but it had been too late. Once Marinette made up her mind, there was no stopping her. 

 

Adrien asked why she had decided to reveal their identities all of a sudden, Martinette replied with, “Honestly, I’m not sure why. I just felt in my gut that if I didn’t do it now-- I would never know who you are, and I wasn’t okay with never knowing.” 

 

As the day went on, both became increasingly aware that their time together was coming to an end. Adrien had to get back home before his father had an aneurism, and Marinette’s parents would begin to worry too.  

 

Exchanging sighs, they began to bid each other goodbye. Adrien held her face in his hands and gently placed a kiss on her forehead before trailing down the side her of face, only to reclaim her lips again. Mine. His mind whispered. She’s mine. His heart swelled at the thought. 

 

Now that he was sure of her feelings, he wanted to make it official. He wanted to be able to shout it from the rooftops and throughout their school. To say that she was his as much as he was hers. Despite the love that they shared, Adrien found himself getting nervous at the idea of asking her to be his girlfriend. He could see a future with this person, he didn’t want to mess it up, but this was something he wanted more than he could ever remembering wanting anything before; aside from his mother to be with him again. 

 

Releasing a shaky breath, Adrien prodded “Hey, can I ask you something?” 

 

It was almost as if Marinette could read his mind. They were partners after all, as well as friends, she probably knew him better than he knew himself. Her deep ocean blue eyes glimmered, the resemblance to the water soothed his anxious nerves.  

 

“Yes, I would love to.”  She breathed. 

 

“Wait, do you even know what I’m asking?” 

 

“Yes, but if you need to say it out loud, I wouldn’t mind hearing it either.” Marinette cooed. Adrien couldn’t stop his lips from forming a lop-sided grin. 

 

“Marinette, my lady,” He began as she impatiently bounced up and down in anticipation, making it impossible for him not to chuckle, “Would you do me the honor of being my wi- I mean, girlfriend?” Phew. Almost slipped up there. It was much too early to think about that, they weren’t even dating yet, but he couldn’t help but be hopelessly in love. 

 

“Yes, I would love to!” Marinette repeated much louder this time, throwing her arms around his neck to pull him into another long embrace. Adrien loved feeling her lithe body in his arms. No matter how close they were to each other, it didn’t seem to be enough, he felt the need to be closer. He sighed contentedly as he nuzzled his face into the crook of her neck. If only this could last forever. At least now they would have plenty of chances to make up for all the time they lost.  

 

“I’ll talk to you later, Marinette.” He said in a voice just above a whisper. One last lingering kiss was shared before they parted. Luckily for Marinette, she didn’t have to cross much distance to get home. She must have planned it that way, he thought.  

 

As Adrien gazed lovingly at her retreating form, he could tell she was practically floating. Her altered state of mind residing on cloud nine must have been the reason she was less cautious than normal when she crossed the street.  

 

Adrien and Marinette noticed the car speeding towards her too little too late. Loud squeals from tires protesting against the pavement rang all through the streets, ending with a harrowing thud. The only sound in Adrien’s ears was the pumping of blood through his veins, the same blood that went cold at the sight he had just witnessed. His legs had already begun to move before the car hit, but he hadn’t been unable to get to her in time. Adrien had a front row seat to a show he never wanted to see. This couldn’t be real. Maybe this whole day had been a dream. He would wake up any moment now, he was sure of it. 

 

Only, the nightmare didn’t end, a blood-curdling scream echoed throughout Paris; bringing him back to his senses. His legs resumed their mission, no longer anchored by his fear. 

 

No! 

 

The closer Adrien got, the more terrifying the scene. There was blood. A lot of it. 

 

No! No, no! 

 

“Marinette!” He cried. “Marinette!” He screamed again louder. This couldn’t be happening. He had just been holding her. Why didn’t he walk her home? He should have. Tears gathered at the corners of his eyes, stinging as he pressed forward. 

 

Even though the time it took to get to her was relatively fast, it had felt like an eternity. Like the world was going in slow motion. Every second seemed to last agonizingly slow.  

 

Marinette’s body lay before him a mangled mess, her face contorted into an expression of anguish. Adrien thought he was going to be sick. Stooping down on the ground beside her, he carefully tried to inspect the damage. From first glance, it was clear her left leg and hip had been severely broken by the impact; along with several gashes on her right side and arm where her body had struck the pavement. 

  

Adrien knew in these situations you shouldn’t move the victim around too much due to other possible injuries that could be potentially worsened. “Somebody! Please! Call an ambulance!” His voice called out desperately, clawing its way up his throat, lacerating it in its wake. The other civilian who had witnessed the accident and had been the one to scream, was already calling for help. 

 

He tore off his white over shirt and wrapped it tightly around her leg that was bleeding excessively, trying to slow the blood loss. 

 

Gently, he took her small hand in both of his, holding it close to his heart. 

 

“Please, hold on Marinette.” Adrien pleaded, tears streaming down his face. The driver of the car who hit her stood in silence and disbelief, a hand running through their hair.  

 

“Oh my god,” they uttered. “Oh my god, what should I do??” his voice becoming increasingly panicked. Adrien scowled at the young man. If looks could kill, this man would have been dead instantaneously. 

 

“Nothing except wait for the police to come. You’ve done enough already!” Adrien spat venomously before returning his attention back to his lady-- his new girlfriend. Why had this day gone so wrong? In such a short amount of time, Adrien’s world went from bleak; to beautiful and radiant, full of color, life and love-- only to be stripped from him again. The only color he was able to see now was red. Red like anger. Red like blood

 

Slowly, Marinette opened her eyes, squinting against the pain and the light assaulting them. Adrien sucked in a breath. 

 

“A-Adrien?” She croaked. He hushed her, tears still spilling from his eyes.  

 

“Shh, don’t speak, rest. Help is on the way, okay? So, hold on, Marinette.” He coaxed. Marinette’s own eyes began to water as she tried to force out the next few words. 

 

“Adrien... My.. Head.” She choked on each word. Her head? Lightly, Adrien examined her again more closely. His hands reached down to her head where he found a large open wound; quickly pulling his hand back when it became coated in something warm and thick. Her blood. A pool of red surrounded her head and covered her hair, dyeing it crimson. Another wave of nausea hit him. He forced himself to swallow the bile threatening to spew from his mouth. 

 

Crimson had always been a color he loved since first meeting her. It was passion, it was love, it was her. Never had Adrien thought that he would hate to see that color on her. This was a way she was never meant to wear it.  

 

The lump that had formed in his throat grew increasingly larger; his mouth ran dry. No matter what dread he felt in this moment, he had to remain strong for her. 

 

“It’ll be okay, Marinette, you’re going to be okay.” Adrien spoke softly yet assertive, as if not only to convince her but also himself. He couldn’t lose her. Not again. He had already lost her twenty-five thousand nine hundred and thirteen times. Only this time there was no Second Chance to save her. No Miraculous Ladybug to fix her broken body. 

 

“I’m...sorry.” Marinette wept. Adrien’s breath became more ragged, his body being racked with sobs.  

 

“Don’t say sorry! You’re going to be okay, and we are going to grow old together, love together, be married one day. Would you like that? We can have a family, Marinette. Just hold on. I still need you. I want you. I can’t lose you.” He begged, beginning to bargain, whatever he could do to help her cling to life. Not that that wasn’t a future he had imagined with Ladybug for a long time, but after today, it had seemed attainable. After today, he had been unable to stop himself from falling even deeper in love with her. Knowing both sides of her, only intensifying the love he held. 

 

“PLEASE! SOMEBODY, HELP!” he screeched once more. Adrien’s voice sounded strange, unrecognizable, thick with desperation. His throat felt as though it were on fire from the words tearing their way out.  

 

He was a hero, but he was unable to save her. The person who meant the most to him was laying before him and he couldn’t do a thing. Maybe he should just transform, screw secret identities. If he could get her to a hospital sooner, she could live! But the chance of her injuries being worsened by the jostling as he carried her could prove fatal as well.  

 

Damnit! 

 

“I always wanted... to marry you...” Marinette panted heavily. Oxygen becoming increasingly harder to inhale, and her lips turning a sickly blue. Adrien’s vision became blurry through tears, but he could tell she was bringing his hand to her chest, right above her heart.  

 

“I have.. Always... loved you, kitty.” 

 

Adrien smiled through the tears, “I love you too, m’lady. Always have, always will.” Each word squeezed its way past the lump blocking their path. Marinette smiled sadly. 

 

“Tell everyone... I love them... and I’m sorry.” She said through ragged shallow breaths. Adrien shook his head profusely, stroking her cold to the touch cheek with his free hand. 

 

“I can’t do that. I can’t. Please, don’t leave me. I’m not strong enough to lose you, I don’t want to.” Every broken sob making him appear smaller with how much he had retreated into himself. 

 

“Promise me.” She declared. Even as she lay dying, she commanded authority, and he still found himself unable to refuse her. 

 

“I promise.” 

 

Marinette’s facial expression relaxed like she was at peace knowing that her partner would perform this last mission for her.  

 

“Can you... Tell me one more time?” She whispered, barely audible, but he caught it. 

 

“I love you.... I love you m’lady, buggaboo, Marinette .” He responded as clearly as his damaged esophagus would allow. A small smile graced her lips before Adrien watched the light in her eyes go dark. That same light he had so adoringly gazed at just moments ago, suddenly had been snuffed out far too soon.  

 

Her last breath ghosted past her blue tinted lips, low, eerie and slow. The hand that laid atop of her chest could no longer feel her heart beating beneath it; Adrien’s own heart stalling inside his ribcage. 

 

NO! 

 

He pulled her in close to himself, holding her tightly so that they were chest to chest. In the distance, the ambulance could be heard, as well as the sniffles of the on-lookers who had gathered to see what the commotion was. They came too late. He was too late. Screams tore through Adrien’s body, making his throat feel like it was bleeding from the strain of the forlorn wails.  

 

“PLEASE, DON’T LEAVE ME!!!” 

 

“I love you! Please, come back to me! I promise...” Adrien choked on his sobs, “I promise I will always love you, just please come back, I need you!” His blood-soaked body now matched the hand that had been covered earlier when he touched her head. That same hand grasped hers, gently stroking with his thumb; the finger he had hoped he would have had the opportunity to put a ring on one day. Now he would never have that chance. 

 

Peppering her icy face with kisses, Adrien rocked back and forth as he held her body close, the steady stream of tears showing no sign of slowing down. Paramedics closed in on the two, but he turned and snarled at them. There was something dangerous and animalistic about him that made their hair stand up on the back of their necks. “You’re too late!” He growled. 

 

Plagg nor Tikki could quell his despair; though they were in severe dismay as well. A bright light had been extinguished. A phenomenal super heroine, friend and daughter, gone in a matter of minutes. It didn’t seem real. Tikki’s quiet cries were not lost on Adrien. It only fueled his misery more. Tikki should have saved her, somehow, some way.  

 

The paramedics proceeded to try to get close, “We’re so very sorry, but we need to take her.”  

 

Like hell anyone would take her from him. That piece of shit who was speeding and ran through a red light already took her from him, he wouldn’t allow it again. And that person would pay. They would all pay. 

 

Adrien bared his teeth as if he were some sort of wild animal, warning them to stay away or he would strike. The sweet, kind boy he was had died along with Marinette. The two kwamis were fearful of what was happening to him. 

 

“Adrien, take it easy, they don’t mean any harm...” Plagg tried to reason with the distraught boy. 

 

“Shut up, Plagg!” Adrien’s voice coming out coarse and broken, yet still hostile enough to put alarm in the two tiny beings. Approaching Adrien was an akuma. Slowly, it fluttered into the lucky charm Marinette had made for him many months ago; that he carried everywhere.  

 

The two kwamis gasped in fear and began frantically trying to soothe his damaged soul. Calling out to him, telling him this isn’t what Ladybug would want, he needed to come back to his senses. Some part of his tortured heart knew this to be true, and he tried to break free of the clutches of Hawk Moth.  

 

Unbeknownst to Hawk Moth he had akumatized his own son in his time of dire need, when he needed someone the most. The negative feelings Hawk Moth felt, seemed familiar, but he paid it no mind. He would do anything to get his beloved Emilie back. Little did he know, his son felt the same way about Marinette. It appeared that the apple truly did not fall far from the tree. 

 

“Vindicator, I am Hawk Moth. They’ve taken the love of your life from you due to their negligence. I’ve lost the woman I love too. That’s why I’m giving you the power to avenge your loved one’s death, in return you will bring me Ladybug and Chat Noir’s miraculous.” He monologued confidently. 

 

Unable to withstand the pain and anguish any longer, Adrien found himself in no position to fight against Hawk Moth’s power. An evil grin donned his face; an angry rumble emitting from his throat, before answering in a low foreboding tone, 

 

“Yes, Hawk Moth.”