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Foundations of the Heart

Chapter Text

Emerald eyes stared into sky blue.

"Marinette, did you hear that?" came a seemingly distant voice, slicing through Marinette's near comatose state. "Huuuhuh-what?" Marinette started, jumping slightly as she, albeit unwillingly, whisked her gaze away from those oh so alluring eyes to try and find the source of the voice. She didn't have to look far, as her gaze soon met with the bemused face of Alya, her best friend.

"Oh, uh, sorry, what were you saying again?" Marinette asked, rubbing the palm of her hand against the back of her head in embarrassment at having been so distracted. She was tempted to look back towards those bright, expressive orbs, but the mere thought of him having noticed her staring sent a flush of red shooting up to the tips of her ears.

"Geez, girl, pay attention next time. Adrien was just asking if we'd be interested in studying for the group physics project at his house later this week."

If she could have turned any more red at that moment, Marinette would have likely been confused for a tomato. Shifting her gaze slowly back towards her original distraction, she could have sworn that there was a hint of amusement in those emerald orbs of perfection. Was he actually enjoying this? Before she could dwell on it any further, Marinette quickly dropped her gaze into her lap in an attempt to hide at least the majority of the blush that seemed like it simply couldn't bother going away.

There was no way she could say no, not that she'd ever in a million years dream of doing so. After all, this was Adrien Agreste, general nice guy and model extraordinaire, inviting her over to his house. Well, as well as the rest of their group to just do a physics project, but that didn't mean that this couldn't be her chance at last. A chance to finally tell Adrien how she felt, and to find out if he returned those feelings. Although she wasn't really anyone, she was just Marinette Dupain-Cheng, a baker's daughter, a nobody compared to the world Adrien lived in, so she wouldn't be surprised if he rejected her for some fellow model. Hurt, but not entirely surprised. But she had to try one way or another, otherwise she'd never know. Granted, that was only going to happen if she could formulate a single coherent sentence around him.

"I-uh...y-yeah, that s-sounds pretty swell to m-me!"

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Marinette felt like she should be able to simply melt into a puddle where she sat. Swell. She had used 'swell' in a sentence to Adrien, of all people. Why was it impossible to form coherent words when that alluring gaze was fixated on her? Marinette could have swore she saw the ghost of a toothy grin flash across his features for a split second before his lips returned to their normal, cordial smile that he seemed to offer to everyone. The mere thought of making Adrien smile wide enough to show teeth sent a small flutter through her heart.

"Sweet! I'll talk to my dad and see when would be the best time to fit it into my schedule, and I'll get back to everyone and let you know. Talk to you later, guys" Adrien stated, offering a wave of his hand over his shoulder as he began sauntering away towards the door. Finally releasing the air that she'd been storing since locking eyes with him, Marinette let it out in a soft sigh, melting into the desk as Alya chuckled beside her and laid a hand on her shoulder.

"Well, I suppose that could have gone worse. At least you didn't call him hot stuff."

"Alya! We agreed never to speak of that again!" Marinette whined, the red returning to the tips of her ears as she recalled the event. Alya rolled her eyes at her friend, a sly smile crossing over her features.

"A trip to the Agreste mansion, eh? Maybe then you'll get your chance to talk one on one with Adrien... Although, that means you would have to be able to not become a stone as soon as he looks at you." Marinette pouted as she glanced up at Alya from the desk before letting out a dreamy sigh and closing her eyes to picture the ghost of a smile she'd brought out of him.

"Alya, I can't believe that he invited me over to his house. His house!" She felt as if she could die happy in that moment. It was short lived, however, at the sound of a shrill voice rising nearby.

"I cannot believe Adri-kins would invite a commoner such as yourself over to his house. You'll likely break every single thing there with that legendary clumsiness of yours!" Marinette didn't have to even lift her head to put a face with the voice. Letting out an exasperated sigh, Marinette raised her head to glare at Chloe, who had Sabrina hovering just a step behind, per usual. Rolling her eyes and adopting a confident smile, Marinette returned Chloe's sharp gaze upon equal ground.

"Sounds like to me you're just jealous, Chloe, that he wasn't assigned to the same group as you. Besides, it's just for a project."

Scoffing and flipping her ponytail to the side, Chloe turned away from where Alya and Marinette still sat.

"Oh puh-lease. As if I, the mayor's daughter and princess of Paris, could ever be jealous of some lowly baker's daughter. You really must be more naive that you look, Marinette." With that, Chloe stalked out of the room, with Sabrina shooting Marinette a cocky smirk as she followed close behind. Marinette had to fight down a growl of frustration at the rich girl's attitude, instead channelling the frustration into determination to show Chloe that she could be more than just the stuttering shy girl that being around Adrien never failed to turn her into, attempting to build her confidence and telling herself that she wouldn't let this excursion slip by without her having at least a normal conversation with the boy for once.

"What is with that girl? I swear, she needs to go see a therapist already," Alya fumed as she gathered to school supplies that were scattered across her desk still, dropping them all into her bag as she went to stand.

"Alright, girl, let's get going. Everyone else has already left for the day, we should get a move on. I'll walk with you home so we can talk about how you're going to show up Chloe and talk to Adrien at last."

Nodding silently, Marinette packed away her things, taking a second to glance down at her purse, scheming of a way to slip Tikki a few cookies without having Alya catch her stuffing her purse with baked goods. While it wasn't the worst thing to be caught stuffing a purse with, it would still earn her a few strange looks.

Nodding to Alya, Marinette stood and the two made their way out of the classroom, Alya quickly striking up a conversation about the latest escapades of Ladybug, while Marinette flashed a knowing smirk to the side.

Marinette paced back and forth through her room, her thoughts replaying the conversation that she'd had with Master Fu a couple days prior.

"Hello, Ladybug."

Marinette had stepped forward in a state of shock that he already knew who she was, clutching Adrien's book close as she knelt before the elderly man, vaguely aware of the door closing behind her. She stared wide-eyed as he smiled at her, a green creature floating up to his side. Shifting her gaze towards the creature, Marinette was shocked to discover that it looked eerily similar in shape to Tikki, albeit having a small green shell attached to it's back. Which meant this was likely a kwami. So she and Chat weren't the only Miraculous holders active? Returning her wide gaze to the man, she noted that he was still smiling sagely at her. Well, he obviously knew that she was Ladybug, whether having the knowledge prior or not, having Tikki float in at her side had been a dead giveaway.

"I assume you have many questions that you would like answered, and I give you my word that I will answer as many as I can to the best of my ability, but to start, I feel introductions are in order. I am known as Master Fu, and my small friend here is known as Wayzz. As I believe you've already figured out on your own, he is a kwami like your Tikki, although he resembles a turtle rather than a ladybug, obviously." His gaze briefly dropped to the book she was holding, before shifting his gaze back up to Marinette. "Would it be intrusive for me to ask you how you came across this book suddenly? It is just that I have been searching for so long for this, that for it to show up out of the blue with Ladybug caught me more than a little by surprise needless to say."

Shaking herself out of her stupor, Marinette glanced down at the book, instantly recalling that she'd stolen it from Adrien, and she instantly felt a tinge of remorse for taking it, even if Tikki had insisted they needed it for research purposes. "I actually took it from a classmate of mine, who showed up with it out of the blue earlier today, where Tikki caught sight of part of it. She was almost obsessed with getting a look at it. And so when there was an opportunity, I grabbed it for Tikki to look at. She said you would be able to translate it, and so here we are." Marinette wasn't sure why, but she felt surprisingly comfortable with simply talking about her life as Ladybug, a surprisingly helpful thought, knowing she now had someone to confide in that understood.

Master Fu nodded quietly, holding out his hands for the book. Marinette passed it along to him without hesitation. He brought it to his lap and nestled it carefully atop his legs, flipping it open and skimming through the pages for a moment before speaking.

"I am surprised you came here without Chat Noir, he would benefit from this knowledge as well," the old man mumbled, not looking away from the book. Marinette looked down at her lap for a moment before replying.

"I had no way of contacting him, but we have our patrol in a couple days, so I figured I'd just bring it up then," she explained, oddly anxious doing so. Feeling slightly justified in her anxiety, Master Fu stopped and glanced up, seeming somewhat surprised by her words for some reason or another.

"You and Chat Noir have yet to reveal your identities to each other yet?" he asked, almost in shock. Marinette looked up briefly and met his confused gaze, before lowering her head again.

"Yeah, we figured that it'd still be safer if we kept secret, even between ourselves, in case one of us is captured at any point," she tried to explain, keeping her gaze fixated downwards. She could almost sense the surprise, perhaps even apprehension, from Master Fu at the news, though she had no idea as to why. Tikki had said that she should keep her abilities secret, even from her own parents, so that included Chat Noir as well, right? Marinette tried to convince herself that that was her reason for keeping their identities secret, but she knew deep down that it was because she was embarrassed, afraid even.

She didn't want to disappoint her partner when he found out that she was just some clumsy, shy baker's daughter, whereas he seemed so outgoing and exuberant. Chat thought of her as the confident superhero that was her ego, and she was afraid he wouldn't like her quite as much once he found out that she wasn't like that outside of her suit. If she were going to be honest, she sometimes enjoyed his flirting, even though she still had her sights set on Adrien. It was nice to have the attention of another.

Shaking herself from her musings, Marinette turned her gaze back to Master Fu as he spoke up once more, having unconsciously allowed her gaze to drop to her knees at some point.

"That is...intriguing. Typically, past holders of the black cat and ladybug abilities have entrusted each other with their identities, as those kwami are the only ones that form two parts of one whole. If I may, I would suggest that you two not wait too long before disclosing your identities, as it will only serve to make you both stronger in the long run. You can not be complete without the other to balance. Not to mention the convenience purposes it would afford both of you. But I will not push you today if you do not wish to do so at this moment, I know that it may be intimidating, and I would not want to ask this of you before you're ready."

Master Fu bowed his head in thought for a moment as Marinette attempted to process his words. He actually wanted her to tell Chat that she was Marinette. That she was nothing like her Ladybug persona. She was tempted to use the ol' 'safer without knowing' excuse, but knew that it would only fall flat. This was Chat after all, and was one of the most trusted people in her life at the moment, and she knew he would never do anything to break her trust. Not to mention he'd do anything in his power to keep her safe.

"Now then, you came to me to speak about this here book, not have me nagging at you like some old fart."

He flipped through the book for a moment before finding the page that held the picture of a past Ladybug, gazing down at the page as his eyes wandered across the weathered pages.

"As I'm sure is obvious, this book contains invaluable information on the powers and history of the Miraculous, and if the wrong hands held this, then it could prove disastrous in the long run. I am glad that you managed to find this, although it concerns me that it was being read by another. Who was it that you said was in possession of this before you took it?"

Marinette could almost feel her heart flutter as her thoughts shifted to Adrien.

"It was being read by my friend Adrien at school. Tikki caught sight of him with it at the library, and, well, here we are."

Now that she had a chance to think about it, it was somewhat strange that Adrien of all people had it, though Marinette quickly brushed that off as the idea that maybe his father bought it at some auction or something, and he was simply curious. As if a cold breeze had ripped through the room, Marinette froze in place. Oh god, he was going to notice that it was gone, and looking at Master Fu's reaction to having it in his grasp, Adrien wasn't going to be getting it back anytime soon. Resisting the urge to smack her forehead with her palm, she hoped that he wouldn't get in too much trouble or anything, as she was aware that his father was somewhat...overbearing, to say the least.

"Adrien...well, we are lucky that he found it then," Master Fu chuckled, a small, knowing smile briefly alighting across his wizened features.

"As it is, it will take me a bit of time to translate all of this, but from just a quick glance, I can promise you that many of your questions will be answered by this text. I have not held this book in a very long time, and back then I did not have the presence of mind to memorize it, but if you will give me, say, three days, I will have the answers you seek."

Marinette's features brightened considerably at the news. Answers, at last! They had just been building up over the last few months with no way to answer them, and it felt like a great weight was being slowly lifted off of her shoulders. Answers, as well as another Miraculous holder, who seemed to be much wiser about everything going on than either her or Chat, to help them along. They wouldn't have to just wing it anymore, they could actually have guidance, and someone to help them possibly track down Hawkmoth at long last.

"On that note, however, I would ask that when you next visit in three days time, you bring Chat Noir along as well, as this information will pertain to him as well. Whether you come as Ladybug and Chat Noir, or as your civilian selves, that remains entirely up to you. Whatever you may be most comfortable with within the next few days."

Nodding solemnly, her mind reeling from the entirety of the craziness that was today, Marinette noticed two small shapes in the corner of her vision. Turning her blue gaze towards them, she was surprised that she'd almost entirely forgotten that they were still joined by their two kwami, who instead of joining in on the conversation between their holders, flitted about in the corner of the room, whispering back and forth animatedly. Raising an eyebrow in suspicion at the two, Marinette slowly returned her gaze back to the elderly man before her, who appeared to be watching her with an amused twinkle in her eye.

"I will speak with him about coming and seeing you in a couple nights' time, when we are available for one of our nightly patrols. I don't, however, think I'm quite ready for him to know who I am, though, so I would expect a visit from Ladybug and Chat."

Marinette placed her palms against the floor and began pushing herself up as she noted Tikki floating back towards her shoulder, a bemused expression plastered across her features, which caused Marinette to narrow her eyes suspiciously at the small kwami.

"Thank you for your hospitality and your help," Marinette began, turning her gaze back to Master Fu. "I look forward to returning with my partner and hearing anything you can tell us. Oh! Here's my phone number, just in case any emergencies come up and you need any help."

Pulling out a small slip of paper and a pen, she had her phone number written down in flowing handwriting within seconds, signing her name at the bottom. Handing the slip of paper to him, she smiled sweetly before bowing slightly as a sign of respect and thanks, and with that, she glided out of the room, a hopeful smile gracing her features.

Coming to a stop next to her chaise, she let out a groan and flopped down atop it, flinging her arm across her eyes dramatically.

"Oh Tikki, I don't know if I'll ever be ready to tell Chat that I'm just some lame, clumsy girl. I know he loves Ladybug, but what if he ends up hating Marinette, and he decides he doesn't want to work with some klutz after all and, and…"

Allowing her rant to sputter out, Marinette felt a small hand come to rest upon her cheek.

"Oh Marinette," came a tiny, high pitched voice near her ear, "you worry too much. Do you think Chat is really the kind of guy to let something like that bother him? Besides, you heard what Master Fu said, it will only make the two of you stronger, and to defeat Hawkmoth, we'll need everything we can possibly use."

She knew her kwami was right. After all, she knew more than Marinette. Not that she had been around since before written history and such, not at all. Not that she's probably had to deal with this scenario from dozens of other Ladybugs throughout millenniums. Sobering at the thought of being compared to previous, likely much more effective Miraculous holders, she shifted her arm so it was covering only one eye, blinking against the sudden assault of light.

"I know. I know you're right, I just...I don't know if I can do it right now. I'm willing to do it, I think, but I just need to wait for the right moment. Hopefully I'll know when that moment is," she said with a sigh, flopping her arm back across her eyes, knocking Tikki away in the process.

"You worry too much..." came a tiny, lilting voice as Marinette felt drowsiness drown out the world.

"Plagg, claws out!"

As the transformation began overtaking him, Adrien, now Chat Noir, felt his heart flutter just as it did every time he thought about going to meet Ladybug, whether for an akuma attack, or just their twice a week nightly patrols to let the people of Paris know that they were there for them, even if there wasn't an active akuma.

Ladybug. Even just thinking her name sent excited shivers down his spine. Leaping out the window of his spacey bedroom, Chat extended his baton to carry him across the town towards their typical meeting spot, anxious to get there before his lady.

Running across the rooftops of his city was one of the most freeing feelings in the world to the model, especially on a clear, cool night such as this one. With only the soft sounds of the city at night, it had a calming effect on the boy, allowing him to just lose himself in the bending and stretching of his muscles as he vaulted from roof to roof, swinging from lampposts and vaulting chimneys.

As Chat vaulted up the iron jungle towering above him, a smirk slowly spread across his features. Flipping over the last hurdle, he looked down at the city from his perch atop the Eiffel Tower. He had yet to spot a fellow shadow in the night on his journey here, which likely meant he had indeed outsped his partner in...justice? Didn't have the same ring as partner in crime, but he shrugged it off after a brief moment of considering the dilemma.

Just as he was about to sit himself on the edge to wait for Ladybug, he saw a movement of a shadow out of the corner of his vision just a moment too late.

Before he could grab his baton and whirl around, a resound "BOO!" was shouted from just over his shoulder. If he had fur, it would have stood on end as he scrunched up and slinked away backwards. As it were, he was not an actual cat, and instead jumped about a foot into the air, landing on one foot as the other slipped from underneath him, causing him to plummet from the tower.

Great, this was not how he'd planned to go. Chat still had to convince Ladybug to show her love for him, had to help her stop Hawkmoth. And yet, all it took was an age-old prank to throw him off the Eiffel Tower. How unoriginal.

Before he could pout any further about his predicament, he felt something curl around his leg and completely halt his fall. Had he not been in his suit, it likely would have dislocated his hip, but as it were, the suit was able to suck up most of the beatings that it took. Granted, there was a limit to how much damage could be prevented. They just really never wanted to test it out to find that limit.

As he was slowly hoisted up, Chat crossed his arms across his chest, attempting to look as smug as one could manage after being scared off of a 300 or so metre drop. As he was finally lifted above the lip of the beam he'd been perched upon, he saw those beautifully amused blue eyes he'd fallen so hard for.

"Oh, I'm sorry, kitty. Did I startle you?"

Chat cracked a smile at her falsely worried tone. He figured he made quite the sight. His hair had fallen over his cat ears, nearly covering them entirely as he felt the cold of the night reach his human ears, which were typically shielded from view by said mop of hair. He was attempting to lash his tail like he was annoyed, but it was harder than he previously would have thought, considering the amount of effort it took to lift it. Or was it put it down? It was hard to decide which was the correct term, as blood had begun rushing to his head, making his thoughts a little haywire.

"M'lady, you seem to have simply caught me cat napping. I promise to you, I shall be ever more vigilant in future situations, especially if I don't know where you went and I'm high up in the air. If I didn't know any better, I'd have to say that you enjoyed that," Chat shot back, attempting to keep his smug facade up despite the pressure in his head.

Shaking her head, Ladybug dropped him onto the beam she stood upon, reeling her yoyo back in as he landed flat on his stomach. He lay there for a moment, head swimming, and not wanting to risk standing up and falling off by his own devices.

After a moment to regain his posture, Chat gazed up at the blue eyes peering down at him and cracked one of his signature smiles when he noticed no response.

"Never before would I thought to fear a Ladybug in the dark. It's simply purr-posterous."

"Chat, please, what have I told you about the puns?"

"That you love them and think I'm quite punny."

Chat could have sworn he saw Marinette peer over the edge of the tower, seeming as if she were considering jumping if only to escape his magical word play skills.

"Okay, anyways, away from the subject of your...issue, we should get started now since we're both here a little early. I have school tomorrow and I'd enjoy getting a little extra sleep if possible," Marinette sighed, turning to gaze out into the city of love.

"Why of course, m'lady. I need as much beauty sleep as I can get, after all. Though, I'd just as soon give it up to spend a night alongside the miraculous Ladybug any time any day."

Chat waggled his eyebrows at her as he spoke, eliciting a deep sigh from his partner. Before he could come up with anything more to add, his partner threw out her yoyo and swung away.

"C'mon Chat, we have actual work to do," she called over her shoulder as she sailed through the air.

Chat let out a dreamy sigh as he watched her for a moment. This girl was going to be the death of him.

Bounding off of the tower, he extended his baton to follow after her, scampering across rooftops alongside Ladybug as she swung through the city at his side. They checked in the occasionally alley to insure nothing suspicious was going on there. Usually there was never any trouble on these patrols, they were just meant to be a deterrent. And, judging by the lack of any significant crime on the streets for the most part, it seemed to be working.

A cry suddenly pierced the silent air that had settled around them, originating from a nearby alley between an appliance store and a liquor store. Typical.

Chat and Ladybug's heads swiveled almost instantaneously, serious masks descending upon their features.

As they swung closer, they could make out the sounds of a sobbing girl. Landing upon the roof of the appliance store, the duo peered down into the scene below.

A man, likely in his middle ages, had a girl cornered in between the wall and a dumpster, leaning over her threateningly and talking in a low voice. Chat's advanced senses allowed for him to pick up what the man was saying.

"You know you wanna. Don't worry, girl, it won't hurt one bit. Well, much, at least."

Chat felt the hair on his neck begin to rise as he understood what exactly was going on. He had to hold back the overwhelming urge the hiss at this man and tear him piece to piece.

Ladybug, upon seeing Chat's reaction, soon understood the situation and the magnitude as well. Nodding to Chat, they both jumped down behind the man, who whirled around and stared wide eyed at them, before a stupid smile returned to his features.

Even without enhanced smell, it was obvious the man was drunk. Chat felt his hackles rise as the man turned his gaze to Ladybug, his eyes lazily appraising her.

"Hey there, Red. You looking for a good time?"

Chat lost it.

Afterwards, he couldn't remember much. He remembered seeing red, and then blinking and the man was on the ground before him, his nose bleeding and his eye swelling while three scratch marks ran red down the side of his face.

Chat was vaguely aware of the strong arms wrapped underneath his shoulders, holding him back from doing anything else.

"Chat, shh, stop, everything is okay, kitty. Just breathe and look at me."

The voice from behind him sounded too inviting to resist, and so he threw his head back, resting it on Ladybug's shoulder as he looked up into her bright blue eyes, which were wide with shock.

Why she was shocked, he did not know. He knew that he was the one to cause the man's injuries, but he didn't regret a single moment that he could not remember. She was his lady, his Ladybug. His. And any creep that had the potential of making her feel nervous or scared, he would make them feel the same as well, albeit a slightly different method of going about it.

Chat felt soft fingers run through his hair and below his ears, gently soothing the rage that had burst from within him.

Remembering they weren't alone, they both lifted their gaze to the terrified girl by the dumpster who was watching them with wide, frightened eyes.


With a glance down at Chat, who nodded up to her in agreement, Ladybug stood and strolled over to her, leaning down and pulling her into a hug. The girl seemed to breath at that moment, as suddenly she was gushing tears and clinging to Ladybug.

Ladybug simply held her close, rubbing small circles on her back as she spoke quietly, telling her that everything will get better, and that Ladybug and Chat would personally escort her home.

Chat simply watched from where he leaned against the wall, occasionally glancing back to the man, no longer holding back his small growls.

After the girl, whose name turned out to be Sophie, had calmed down once more, the two of them escorted her home as she clung to Ladybug while screaming excitedly as they flew through the air almost.

Once she was safely inside, Chat let out an exasperated sigh and slunk down against the wall of a chimney.

"Well, that's not how I had imagined the night going."

Looking up at Ladybug for a moment, he quickly shot his gaze away once more, guilt travelling up into his stomach and making him simultaneously hungry and tired.

"I'm sorry for losing my cool there, m'lady, I just…"

Marinette turned and smiled softly at him.

"I know Chat, and it's alright, I'm not upset with you, I understand."

Those were the magic words to him. He quickly flung himself at her, simply going for a hug, but accidentally slamming her to the ground instead.

Lucky for him that it was still dark out, so as she could not see the flush that slowly spread across his features. He was embarrassed. He should have kept his cool and collected demeanor that he normally displayed, as attacking the man would likely teach him nothing and it was simply more likely to happen again, this time just more concealed.

But...when the man had turned his attentions to Ladybug, his Ladybug, with thoughts such that Chat knew he was having, something in him just snapped. Something he could not rein in. Something almost feral.

"I'm still sorry, m'lady. I should have handled it differently, I just…" he started, trying to find some way to explain his apologies for being so rash.

Normally, his bold decisions weren't so bad, but this one, at least in his mind, was out of line, and he was having trouble ridding himself of what if scenarios.

What if Ladybug hadn't been there? What if he'd maimed the man?

What if he'd killed him?

Chat shuddered at the mere thought, as this was a constant fear for someone bearing the powers of destruction, something which a pinned Ladybug noticed.

"Chat Noir, you listen to me. It's not your fault, and I could tell that it wasn't something you could control, so I'm forbidding you from worrying about it, effective immediately by the court of Ladybug," she announced, attempting to adopt a lighthearted tone despite the severity of the situation that had just occurred.

Chat shook himself from his thoughts and looked down at her as she attempted to put on a reassuring smile for him. While he knew he wouldn't be able to simply let it go, especially so soon, he appreciated the effort she was showing to help him, so he nodded lightly, willing to at least play along for the time being. Hopefully she could take his mind off of it, if only for a little while.

As if realizing their compromising position simultaneously, both sets of eyes shot wide, a flush spreading from noses outwards, they hastily scooted away from each other and averted their eyes.

"A-ah, anyways," Ladybug began, pointedly looking to the side as she attempted to change the subject, "there was something I'd been wanting to tell you about. I met with another Miraculous holder a couple of days ago."

Chat's jaw dropped, any semblance of embarrassment fading away.

"What?! Why didn't you tell me earlier?"

"Well I didn't exactly get a chance to bring it up until now. I decided bringing it up after I essentially threw you from the Eiffel Tower wasn't the brightest move."

Chat wanted to continue their banter for a little longer, but the curiosity of the cat won out.

"Was this another 'Miraculous' in the way we thought Volpina was one? Or was it, like, an actual kwami holder?"

"An actual wielder, just like us," Ladybug gushed, the prospect that they weren't alone in their fight eliciting a gush of excitement.

"Well, I mean, he's a lot older than us, but he's the holder of the turtle kwami."

Chat almost blurted out a comment about how he'd seen a picture of the turtle kwami in his father's book, but bit his tongue at the last moment. It wasn't worth bringing up until he had the book back, wherever it had gotten to.

"Is he going to help us with Hawkmoth then?" Chat prodded. If so, the more the merrier.

"I believe so. He asked for me to come back in a few days with you so he could discuss some things with both of us. He needed a bit of time to translate a book I found, which may have invaluable information to help us understand our own kwami, as well as the others, even more."

A book about Miraculous? Chat's eyebrow twitched slightly as he wondered if, perhaps, Ladybug had somehow come into possession of his father's book. As crazy as it sounded, he'd just have to wait and see. I mean, there could be two different books, right? Pushing his worries to the side for the time being, emerald eyes alight with curiosity, Chat turned his attention back to the present.

"I can't wait! Give me a time and place and I'll be there, m'lady. The more we know about all of...this," he emphasized, indicating their suits before widening his arms to encompass all of Paris, "the better. We'll need everything we can get to even just find Hawkmoth, let alone defeat him, probably."

Opening the latch on her yoyo to where the communicator was situated, Ladybug pulled forth a small slip of paper that she glanced at, confirming all of the information was written correctly, before handing it to her partner, who eagerly snatched it from her hand to read over it.

Oh, that handwriting. It seemed to flow so smoothly across the page, and if it were at all possible, Chat thought he'd fallen even more in love with his bug.

"Why thank you, bugaboo. Maybe one day, you'll hand me a slip of paper with a phone number on it instead." He flashed a grin and a sly wink at the girl of his dreams, who in response huffed and rolled her eyes, though within a few seconds, her bemused expression was replaced with something almost unreadable. Anxiety, maybe?

"Speaking of...he also mentioned t-that it would be good to…" she trailed off quietly, unsure whether or not she should bring it up, or just let it happen when it happened.

Chat quirked an eyebrow at his suddenly nervous partner. It was rare to see Ladybug nervous about anything, and while he loved her confidence, he had to admit, it was pretty dang cute seeing her so nervous about something.

"Yes, m'lady?"

"Uh, well, that it would be good to...revealouridentitiestoeachothersoon!" She said the last part almost too fast for Chat to process, but he was able to slowly recite what she said in his brain to try and decipher it. When he understood what she was saying, his eyes grew wide, something seemingly fluttering in his stomach at the thought.

To know the identity of the one he loved! There was nothing he wanted more! Before he wound himself up too much, Chat shook himself back into reality, now understanding her nervousness. He knew that she still wasn't entirely ready for them to reveal their identities yet, and he would respect that decision for as long as she wished, until the time that it actually came for her to be ready.

"Bugaboo, we don't have to rush it if you're not ready yet. I know that it's been a touchy subject, so I doubt some old man suddenly telling you that we should has changed your mind much about it," he stated, attempting to calm her and show her he wasn't going to push the subject if she still wanted to wait.

"But he said that it would increase our own power, and add convenience, and…" she started, trying to convince herself it wasn't as big a deal as she was making it out to be, but deep down she knew that that wasn't the case.

"Well, it doesn't have to be right meow. We'll just have to take what comes to us until then, m'lady. I wouldn't wish to make you uncomfortable before you decide you're finally ready. When you are, though," Chat stated, smiling as he gazed into her wide eyes, "just let me know. I'll wait for you always."

Ladybug watched him for a moment before letting out a sigh and smiling at him. At least he would never pressure her into something she wasn't ready for, she knew. Reaching up and scratching a spot just under his chin in thanks, Chat closed his eyes and leaned into her hand. She'd only ever done it once before, but the boy knew that he loved every sensation of it.

"C'mon, kitty. We should both head home, I think we reinforced our presence enough for one night. Goodnight, Chat."

Opening his eyes, Chat nodded. A small smile spread over his features as he watched Ladybug throw out her yoyo before swinging away seconds later, speeding out into the night. He let out a small sigh before leaping off into the night across the rooftops of Paris. He wasn't sure how she did it, but he felt like he was constantly falling harder and harder for his Ladybug.

He loved every second he fell.