His feet made a soft thud against the tiled stone of the balcony rooftop. The trapdoor is open, as it usually is whenever he drops by, and he can hear the soft sounds of music drifting into the night. Chat Noir waits for a second, trying to see if she heard him arrive, but judging by the distracted singing … he’s still in the clear.
Today was the last time he’d be able to visit her. Marinette would go to the hotel the next morning to start the final stretch of filming before Fashion week. Just seven more days to go until they were all done with the show.
As usual, he raps his fingers against the opened window before dropping inside the room. Marinette looks up immediately, her smile bright. Her dark hair is tied up in a ponytail and bouncing with every move she makes.
“Chat Noir, oh what a surprise.” She’s sarcastic, but she can’t hide the amusement in her voice.
He sits at the top of the small ladder that leads up to her bed and winks down at her. “I thought so myself, Princess.” He’s quick to hold up a small bag and Marinette’s eyes light up right away.
Adrien had been visiting her for the whole duration of the break. He’d talk to her, while lounging on her bed (the only space that wasn’t crowded with fabric and random scraps of bundled up paper. She’d ask for his opinion and he’d coax her into taking a break from time to time. After the first week, Adrien had discovered that bringing her some sugary treats was a surefire way to make her smile.
He’s fully aware of how absurd the concept is, considering that her family owns a great bakery and they were on the upper floor of said bakery right now. But the way she’d smile and curiously rummage through the loot he’d bring, whether it was a bag of gummy bears or some chewable candy was definitely worth it.
He releases his transformation and Plagg makes a beeline for Marinette. Adrien rolls his shoulders, feeling far more comfortable in his jeans and t-shirt. Tikki flies over him immediately and he smiles at the kwami, “Hey Tikki!”
“Chat Noir!” Tikki twirls around his head positively buzzing with energy and Adrien can’t help but smile. He pets the top of her head as the kwami nuzzles against his face. The time he’d spent alone with Tikki at his apartment had helped create a loving bond between them, and it was a relationship he was very thankful for. Especially since he now knew that Tikki had no qualms with tattling on Marinette when the need arose.
Her blue eyes narrow slightly as she glances towards Marinette, who is busy exchanging greetings with Plagg.
“Polka dots.” The kwami greets Marinette with as much nonchalance as he can muster, but Adrien can easily see the affection in Plagg’s behavior. The small black kitten makes himself comfortable on Marinette shoulder, long black tail wrapping around her.
While Adrien and Tikki had an easy camaraderie, the relationship between Plagg and Marinette was special. The black kwami would act aloof and uninterested but stay as close to Marinette as he could, usually perching on her head or shoulders. Marinette could see right through him.
“Grumpy kitten,” Marinette smiles and reaches up to pet the top of his head. She walks under the bed loft towards the desk, probably to get some cheese. Adrien turns his attention back to Tikki, confident they wouldn’t be heard.
“She’s been fussing with everything for hours now and won’t go to bed.” she accuses, and Adrien nods knowingly. His friendship with Marinette was new, especially the new feelings that came with their identities being revealed… but he knew better than anybody how bullheaded Ladybug could be. “She needs to sleep! Help me convince her!” Tikki continued, barely above a whisper.
Adrien leans forward and down, swivelling to face Marinette with one hand still on the ladder. He gets distracted, watching her give a small wedge of cheese to an extremely happy looking Plagg. “See?” Plagg turns to him, bright green eyes narrowed as he says, “Didn’t even need to ask!”
Marinette flashes a grin over at Adrien as she affectionately rubs behind the kwami’s ears. He picks up on a new sound, a low rumble that Adrien has never heard before. “Plagg are you purring?”
The rumbling comes to a screeching halt and the black kwami gapes at him. “I do not purr.” Plagg replies, as he crosses his arms in front of his chest, shooting a derisive look at the blond model. “I was growling. Because I’m annoyed.”
Marinette can barely contain her smile as she crosses back to her work table. Tikki giggles and Plagg looks so offended.
Adrien drops it, not wanting to go back home with a grumpy Plagg. “Marinette, do you really have anything more to do?” The outfits were done, they both knew. Marinette had sent him pictures. The pins and colored shoes and everything else Marinette had designed to accessorize her show was already done, so Adrien knows she’s stalling.
“That’s what I’m checking!” she explains as she turns away from him to look at the stuff on her larger table, picking at the things she’s been working on for so long. She’s nervous, he can tell. From the way she carefully examines the color coded pocket squares for the suits and the way she checks the flowers headdresses for her models’ hair. Marinette is just looking for excuses not to go to bed.
The only alternative here was to distract her with something else. “I’m not sharing then.” Adrien says, and climbs back up to Marinette’s bed to make himself more comfortable amongst the ungodly amount of pillows Marinette owns. He kicks off his shoes as he goes. The bed is unmade and he doesn’t want to get dirt on the pale pink sheets.
The threat works, and Marinette perks up, still holding a flowery headband, “What? Why?” She’s straining to see what he brought today, and Adrien makes a point to keep them low and out of her line of sight.
“Treats are for people who take breaks.” He emphasizes, fussing with one of the wrappers just to make a point.
She scoffs, blue eyes narrowing as she glares at him. “I will! I just need to make sure everything is done for tomorrow!”
It takes him five seconds to scan around the room and to know for sure that Marinette is just stuck in fretting mode. He’s about to protest when Tikki beats him to it.
“Marinette, you’ve been done since yesterday!”
The way Marinette rolls her eyes tells him that this has been an ongoing battle. He opens one of the bags and the sound of the candy wrappers inside is enough to derail Marinette from arguing with Tikki. “What did you bring?” She asks, slowly inching closer to the ladder.
She giggles, but finally puts a decorative pin back on the table and Adrien tries not to look too excited. He’s winning. “Your cat is showing. One day you’re going to bring me a dead pigeon or rat, and I am going to kick you out of that bed for good.” She loved teasing his habit of bringing her things. It gave him so many ideas.
He laughs, “Only the best pigeons, my lady. I assure you.”
She snorts but makes her way up the ladder, pausing at the top when she takes in his grin. “You wouldn’t dare…”
His smile doesn’t falter. “Of course not.”
Marinette is not convinced, but she crawls over her bed, settling in front of him. Plagg chooses this moment to talk to Tikki. The two of them fly off into a corner of the room, giving the humans some privacy.
“You really should get some sleep.”
“I’m not that tired,” she fires back automatically and they both know it’s a lie.
These past few weeks had been the hardest she’d worked in her life. Marinette designed and madeten different outfits and accessories to match in a ridiculously short amount of time. There were at least two times when he arrived and had to coax a barely conscious Marinette to bed. In doing so, Adrien had discovered that sleepy Marinette had absolutely no filter whatsoever.
They had been very informative experiences.
Adrien can’t help but snort. “Liar.”
She narrows her eyes at him. “Pass the gummy bears.” Marinette reaches into his bag and pulls out a small handful of multi colored gummy bears. She glances down at her loot for a second, before picking a bright red one.
“You’re executing them!” Adrien points out, watching with amused concern as Marinette chews on a head before popping the rest of the gummy corpse into her mouth.
She smirks, before doing the same to the next one with her eyebrow high in a silent challenge. “I’m only being humane.”
“You’re a monster.” Adrien takes the bag from her and pulls out a couple of gummy treats, and shoves the full amount in his mouth. Like a normal person. “You still need to get some rest,” he insists, “With only three of you now, the show is going to be especially obnoxious.”
The cameras rarely left her alone before. Marinette was one of the most entertaining cast members, whether it was her rapport with Raoul or everything that happened when Adrien was on set. With the finale and only a week to film everything the crew would take every advantage.
Her shoulders slump, “I know. I’m just… so wired up. I can’t relax enough to sleep.” Marinette pokes at the largest bag, her eyes lighting up when she realizes there’s still something in it. “Did they call you?”
Adrien nods, “I have to go in for a fitting next Wednesday.” It wouldn’t be completely necessary, since he’d helped Marinette with most of the outfits already. “Did you decide which one’s mine?”
“I did!” She looks excited. “I’m almost done with the runway order too!”
That was good. Runways show were not just throwing a bunch of clothes and models on a catwalk and hoping for the best. There was a lot of planning involved, including everything from the outfits, models, and accessories to the timing, lights, and music. The show had to be impressive and cohesive, because everything would be severely scrutinized by everyone there. “Can I see?”
“Nope.” Marinette giggles, probably at the dismay on his face, and squeezing his hand in hers. “It’s a surprise!”
Now that was just unfair. “Hint?”
She pauses, biting her lower lip and Adrien is momentarily hypnotized by the gesture. “Um…” she trails off, before she comes up with an answer. “It’s one of the outfits you tried on last week.”
That meant all of them. “That doesn’t narrow it down at all!” He’s whining and he’s fully aware, but there’s a chance she might be swayed and he’s taking it.
She grins, before relenting. “It’s one of the three you liked best.”
That’s closer to a clue, and Adrien is finally appeased. For now. He starts to mentally flip through his favorites, trying to figure it out.
She lets go of his hand and Adrien decides not to point out that it lingered for a second longer than normal. He watches her carefully as she pokes around in the bag.
“You brought a lot of stuff tonight!”
“I thought you could take it with you to the hotel.” he shrugs his shoulders, trying not to make it a bigger deal than it should be. “There’s some of those cookies Tikki likes too.”
“Really?” Her eyes widen and she smiles so brightly that Adrien decides that dragging the bag along as he patrolled tonight was definitely worth it. “Adrien, you didn’t hav-” Adrien knows exactly why she paused and was waiting for it. “You did not.”
Yes, he did. “What?” He asks, trying to infuse as much innocence in his voice as he’s able to. He’s pretty sure he fails horribly, but he doesn’t care.
Marinette pulls a little package from the bag. “Adrien did you bring me a rat?”
“Gummy Rat.” Adrien corrected her watches her poke at the wrapping. “Couldn’t find any pigeons, unfortunately.”
Marinette pulls at the wrapping, looking at the strawberry flavored gummy treat. “It looks so weird,” she says and picks it up by the tail. The red mouse-looking treat dangles awkwardly. “Adrien, it’s looking at me.”
Adrien takes it from her hand and makes a big show out of it, pointedly looking at her as he takes off the head in one exaggerated bite.
“You’re gross.” Marinette says, her hand over her heart in mock disgust. “And a dork.”
Adrien taps his own chest, “Cat. It’s in my nature. Blame Plagg”
“Don’t associate me with your weird sense of humor!” comes a voice from the other side of the room and Marinette breaks into giggles. “He’s been giggling about this all day!” Of course Plagg would side with Marinette.
“How did you even find these?” Marinette asks, stealing the rat back from him and taking a small, cautious bite. “It’s actually pretty good… for a rat.”
“Gummy rat.” Adrien corrects her, and adds, “The internet is a wonderful and scary place.” He takes his phone and taps on the screen, looking for a picture he’d saved earlier in the day and showing it to her. It was a gigantic gummy bear, heavier than a human baby. “I thought about buying this, but… apparently no one’s able to finish it. And I didn’t think if I could lug it around while on partrol.”
“That’s just… unnecessary,” Marinette then yawns, and tries to unsuccessfully hide it behind her hand, turning her face away from him for good measure.
Of course he notices. It was near two thirty in the morning. “I should go.”
“Nooo,” Marinette pouted which was a clear indication that she was exhausted. Tired Marinette was an odd mixture of neediness and belligerence. It was both endearing and bizarre whenever it happened to him. “Not yet.”
It didn’t take much convincing. Adrien doesn’t want to leave, but he knows that Marinette reallydoes need to sleep. He comes up with a compromise. “Come lay down.” He tells her, as he scoots over to the side. Between the two of them, they put the remaining candy back into the bag and leave it beside her bed.
Soon she’s facing him with her head on her pillow and he’s leaning on the ridiculous cat pillow she owns. He can already see Marinette losing the battle against sleep, her blue eyes are bleary behind heavy eyelids and she’s finally looking relaxed.
“Bags are packed?” Adrien murmurs and looks around briefly for the light switch, Tikki way ahead of him and turning the lights off. He can still see Marinette in the moonlight that filters in through the trapdoor above them.
“Mhmm.” She answers. Adrien can see her fighting to keep her eyes open, and she moves to lay on her back.
“Your hair.” he points out and without thinking, he reaches out to tug out the elastic tie from her hair. Inky strands spread out on her pillow, and the scent of her shampoo releases too.
They fall into a comfortable silence, with Adrien’s fingers lingering near her head and teasing the strands and Marinette looking up at the ceiling with hooded eyes, hands folded over her stomach. He tilts even further towards her, and Adrien feels a surge of affection course through him. He knows exactly what it is and with their identities revealed, he’s finally allowing himself to want again.Because for the first time in years, Adrien actually feels like there’s a chance. That now, after all this time, they’re finally on the same page.
He’s feels it, and he thinks she feels it too. That electric energy that seems to crackle in the space between them when a touch lingers for a second too long. Or the way her eyes flicker to his lips when he talks. The comfort and satisfaction in moments like this when they’re simply spending time together. He wants more. He’s always wanted more.
“We should go out.”
“It’s two am,” her laugh is sleepy now that she’s giving in to slumber. “Where would we go?”
He laughs and doesn’t tell her that it’s actually closer to three am. “Not now! I meant after. When the show’s over?” This shouldn’t make him nervous, but his heart feels like it’s physically out of place in his chest.
“Of course, I really want to get back into patrolling,” she mumbled as her eyes closed.
So much for a romantic confession. He didn’t think it would be this difficult. Plagg was definitely going to make so much fun of him when they got back home. The kwami had already mocked him earlier as he was talking himself into actually doing this. “I didn’t mean patrolling either.”
There’s a sharp intake of breath, and Marinette’s eyes open. Adrien carefully angles his face away, feeling the telling warmth of a blush spreading. Adrien is aware that she’s watching him now, he can almost feel her eyes trailing over his face and it only makes the blush stronger.
He’s a model for crying out loud. He’s had photo-shoots with very gorgeous and scantily clad women, but Marinette was somehow able to render him to a blushing, heart-thumping mess with a curious look and a hopeful question.
He nods and looks back at her, feeling his heart speed. Marinette’s eyes are wide open, pupils blown wide, like she’s still processing what he just said. She bites her lower lip, keeping her smile under control. Plagg would tell him he’s being an idiot, but Adrien got through so many years of rejection that the idea that this could actually happen feels unreal; like something he could imagine but would never be allowed to actually have.
“That sounds nice.” Marinette turns to lie on her side and laces his free hand with hers, and he only realizes that his fingers were fidgeting after she quiets them.
Adrien feels lighter than he has ever felt. “I thought we could go somewhere for dinner? Or lunch? I haven’t really… I mean I’ve thought about it but I don’t know what you…” He’s giddy and rambling, but ridiculously relieved that she actually said yes.
“Dinner’s good… and a walk by La Seine,” she adds, eyes closing again as a smile tugs at her lips.
He grins, warmth spreading through his chest as he looks down at her. “We could go to the Eiffel tower,” Adrien adds, “we haven’t gone there as civilians.”
“We could have a picnic up there sometime.”
“We could watch the sunset…” Adrien says, already thinking about where they should go for dinner. He looks down at her face, her smile peaceful and eyes relaxed, what he hopes is a faint blush tracking over her freckles in the moonlight. It’s in that moment that he realizes that he’s so far gone, he’s already so in love with this ridiculously stubborn girl who refuses to sleep even at three in the morning… and that he wants her to have everything. He wants to give her a perfect date, and Adrien will do everything he can to make sure she gets it..
He brushes a strand of hair from her face. After a second he can’t resist anymore and runs his fingers gently through her hair, feeling the soft silky strands of hair against his skin. Marinette sighs and she holds on tighter to his other hand, so he keeps doing it.
“Yeah?” Adrien keeps his voice soft. Marinette is so close to sleep that he doesn’t want to disturb her.
“I’m gonna fall asleep if you keep doing that.” Marinette’s voice was barely a whisper, but Adrien couldn’t help but think that she meant it as a complaint.
“Good.” No way was he going to stop then. He enjoyed the feeling of smooth silky hair against his fingers, and if that helped her fall asleep, it was a win-win situation.
He liked touching her in general. Teasing pokes, casual touches, hand holding, hugging, all of it. Did he want to kiss her? Yes, oh dear God yes. And after all the late night visits, Adrien would have to confess that he had come away with a new appreciation for tank tops and yoga pants. But every single time he came to visit, the moment just wasn’t right for starting anything. She was too tired, or too busy, or just plain drooling on top of her work table.
He actually found that last one the funniest. But even now he wants her to be fully awake and aware of what’s happening.
Adrien snorted, but didn’t stop. His fingertips massage her scalp and she hums contentedly. “I’ll stay until you fall asleep, okay?”
“You’ll do great tomorrow.” He whispers, fully aware that Marinette is more asleep than awake right now. “I’ll see you Wednesday and then on Friday you’ll have your first fashion show. The first of many”
“Hmmm.” she hums, a small smile on her face.
“Then we’ll go on a date, a real one.” he can’t help but smile. Adrien’s excited about this too. “It will be good, I promise.”
He stayed with her a couple more minutes, until her breathing completely evened out. His watch said it was already 3:30 am.
Adrien carefully releases her hand and pulls the covers over her body. “G’night princess,” he whispers, unable to resist the temptation to lean over and kiss the top of her head. “Plagg?”
The kwami is already by his side with Tikki. “Thank you for visiting,” she whispers. “You need to go sleep too. We’ll let you know when we settle in at the hotel!”
“I will,” Adrien tells her, keeping his voice barely audible, mindful not to disturb the sleeping girl. “Come on Plagg, let’s go home.” He leaves his shoes untied, simply slipping them on before leaving Marinette’s room.
Once outside, after closing the trapdoor carefully, Plagg speaks. “You are incredibly cheesy, you know that?”
“And you purr.” Adrien points out, not ready to let go of the new discovery he’d made about his kwami.
“I was growling!” Plagg chirps back quickly, looking absolutely indignant at it being brought up. Adrien knows he won’t hear the end of it tonight, but he grins and pats the top of Plagg’s head. The kwami swats at his hand, thoroughly irked at the whole situation.
“Let’s go home!” It only takes a second to transform, a brief flash of green light and then Chat Noir is dashing across rooftops and disappearing into the night.