“Marinette,” the blonde gasped as the light faded from her detransformation. “You’re—you’re Ladybug!”
Tikki squeaked and flew to hide in her charge’s purse. Besides, the kwami was way too tired to deal with the confrontation now.
The girl frantically ran towards him to slap a hand over his mouth. “Not so loud!” she hissed. Adrien was about to agree, but opted to nod instead given that his lips were sealed shut behind her palm.
Her hand detached itself from his face and both of them gripped at his shoulders. Her eyes trained themselves on the boy, narrowing into a glare. “Do you promise to keep this a secret, Adrien?” she asked, her eyes not leaving his.
“I promise.” Adrien replied firmly. He wanted to tell her about his own secret, about his alter ego as a destructive, leather-wearing, black cat, but he didn’t. He promised he wouldn’t until she was ready, and he could tell that right now, she was the farthest thing from ready.
Marinette sank down to the floor of the locker room, pulling her knees to her chest, and holding her head in her hands. She couldn’t believe she had been so careless. She should have detransformed somewhere else or at least check before she released her transformation! Stupid, stupid! She scolded herself.
It was horrible, now Adrien must be disappointed in her, and she couldn’t even imagine what Chat would think.
The pig-tailed heroine cared about her partner deeply—he was her best friend, even better than Alya. Sure, she loved the reporter, but while Alya told her that she should stand up to the villains, Chat Noir was the one who showed her that she could do it despite her clumsiness and the mistakes she’s made. He made her an entirely different person from who she was before—a better person. He took her out of her shell: from the Marinette who kept quiet and just accepted whatever bullying Chloe threw at her, she became the Marinette who ran for class president and won, admitted her mistakes, and never let evil triumph over her. He also did so much more. He saved her life more times than she could count, taking hit after hit without complaint.
She really, truly cared about that cat.
Marinette couldn’t handle the thought of him being disappointed in her: the look of annoyance on his features as he finds out she’d been so careless, the hurt in his eyes when he realizes that she showed her identity to someone else and still wouldn’t have the courage to tell him—her very own partner, and the worst, the distance that their partnership would suffer all because she didn’t look around the room for a second.
Her eyes welled as they filled with tears, and she gave Adrien an apologetic look before she started grossly sobbing. Her shoulders shook as her sobs wracked her body. Her tears came in waves, sliding down her hands and dripping to the floor.
Adrien was shocked. He had never seen Marinette, his lady, cry before. With his lack of social knowledge, he awkwardly crouched and patted her shoulder, whispering, “Marinette, what’s wrong?”
The girl just cried harder, latching on to the model and let her tears soak the fabric of his shirt. Said model was frozen in place for a moment before his arms made their way to her back and began to rub circles.
After a moment, her sobs began to die down, and hiccups were left in its place. “I’m so sorry,” Marinette sniffled. “I’m so sorry you had to see that.”
“What’s wrong, Marinette?” Adrien asked, worried. “I promise you I won’t tell anyone who you are.”
“No, it’s not about that. I—I trust you, Adrien. It’s about—I’m sorry you pro—probably don’t want to hear about this.”
“No! I do want to hear about it. I want to know what’s wrong. I want to help.”
Marinette searched his eyes, and she found sincerity in them. She wasn’t surprised. Adrien was the kindest boy she’s ever met, and she still had a crush on him, but she couldn’t really find it in herself now to be nervous around him because, really, how much worse can she embarrass herself in front of him when she already accidentally revealed herself and sobbed horridly?
She sighed, “It’s, um, it’s about Chat Noir.”
Adrien blinked. He was sure he hadn’t heard right. Why would his lady begin sobbing like someone announced that sweets were banned from Paris because of him? He just couldn’t understand what about him and her identity would make her so upset.
“What about Chat?” he asked, more curious and concerned than ever.
Marinette took a deep breath. She didn’t want to cry again. “It’s just, I care about him so much, Adrien, and he’s helped me in more ways than ever. I just really wanted him to be the first person I shared my identity to.” She backtracked, “Not that I don’t like you Adrien—in fact, I really like you! Shoot!—but what I’m trying to say is that I’m worried that he’ll be disappointed that I screwed up so bad, that someone found out my identity.”
Adrien felt moved by her declaration, and he felt himself liking her even more. He was sure that his emotions would overflow soon.
“And I don’t want him to get hurt because, even though you know who I am, I’m still not going to reveal myself to him. I just—I just can’t. I’m too scared. And I know he’ll feel betrayed when I don’t tell him.”
Well, no he won’t, because he knows who you are. Adrien thought.
Adrien was still confused. “Scared of what?”
“Scared that he won’t like me anymore—or want to be my partner— when he realizes that I’m just an ordinary girl who messes up so many times, a klutz who couldn’t even properly protect the most important thing a superhero should protect—her identity.”
The tears Marinette was trying so hard to keep from falling managed to make their way through, and began streaming down her cheeks. Adrien’s heart lurched for her and he wanted to tell her his identity in that moment.
Unfortunately, Adrien was reckless, and he actually did end up doing just that.
“I’m Chat Noir!” he blurted out.
Silence. Marinette finally noticed the black kwami peaking out of his pocket.
“You’re what?!” the girl screeched.