I'm not crying you're crying

  • What she says:I'm fine
  • What she means:If Lin-Manuel Miranda wins an Oscar for the soundtrack of Moana, it will make him one of three EGOT winners to also win a Pulitzer in history, one of whom is Richard Rodgers, whose name is on the theater where both his first ever Broadway show and the show that catapulted him into superstardom opened.
2

Now that we’ve had a brief preview of what Sanji’s past with the Vinsmokes was like, we can finally understand how much Zeff’s sacrifice meant to Sanji, why he was so dead-set on protecting Zeff’s dream even if it cost his life.

I bet Zeff is the person who taught Sanji that love could be unconditional. In stark contrast to the Vinsmokes who abused Sanji simply because he was weaker and kind-hearted, Zeff sacrificed his leg and looked after Sanji even though he had done nothing for him.

Zeff did tell Sanji that he saved him because he also dreamed of All Blue(I’m not saying that this reason wasn’t enough to redeem Sanji from his horrid past), but I bet somewhere along the line of raising Sanji he got to love the kid like his real son, and whether he also dreamed of All Blue didn’t matter so much anymore. Sanji was a source of joy to Zeff simply for existing; It’s from Zeff that Sanji learned that he could still be loved by being himself - the kind-hearted soul who is always willing to help those in need with his passion for cooking.

In Such a Night as This

HOLY COW. I am so humbled by the response this fic has gotten. This is insane. Thank you to each and every one of you who have read my work, you guys rock! This has been a huge boost of confidence for me as a writer and I think I really will sit down and write the novel in my head. If you want to see some of that and like art, give me a follow!
I want to give a huge shout out and thank you to @portentous-offerings. This whole thing is a gift for the dedication and devotion to the Marinette and Her Romeo comic, and if you haven’t read it yet go read it now!!
Alright. Is everyone buckled up? Cause this is going to be one heck of a ride.

PART 5

It was time. Ladybug was sure of it.

After the events of the last akuma attack, where Chat lost his memory of her, she knew that time was precious. If she hadn’t defeated the Impostor, she would have had to live knowing that Chat never knew of her feelings for him. And that they never had the chance to see where those feelings might lead.

So she waited patiently on the terrace, sitting on the railing and looking out to the horizon. Usually they met at this place in the dead of night, in case Hawkmoth decided to attack when Paris was most vulnerable. This would be the first time they would meet in daylight. Well, what light there was anyway. The sky was filled with clouds rapidly passing by overhead, as if the weather couldn’t quite decide what to be yet.

“Milady?”

Ladybug yelped, and nearly, fell off the railing.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Chat said, coming out of the shadows to help her. He held out his hand to help her balance as she climbed over the rail and away from the edge. Not that Ladybug was ever off balance. But the nervous side of her - the Marinette side of her - was showing.

“Thank you,” Ladybug said and cleared her throat. “What took you so long?”

“I had to get something,” Chat said. He unzipped a pocket in his suit and held up another envelope. “And I must say, milady, your outfit is spot on.”

Ladybug giggled. Chat’s eyes lit up.

“You’ve never laughed at one of my puns before!”

“Well…I mean…we’re not in the middle of an akuma attack so…” she shrugged it off. Still, he was satisfied.

“Can I read it now?” Ladybug asked, her attention back on the letter.

“No, please. Wait until we’ve left this place. Read it as yourself.”

“You got lucky with the last one. It nearly fell into…one of my friend’s hands.”

“It would never happen.”

She frowned at him. “You don’t understand. My identity could have been exposed. Or worse.”

“Worse?”

“It just could have gotten in the wrong hands. To someone I care about.”

“Adrien, right?”

Ladybug was taken aback. Chat smirked.

“I know who you are remember? And everyone knows by now that you - the real you - likes Adrien.”

Liked,” Ladybug corrected.

Chat’s eyebrows furrowed. “Liked?”

Ladybug nodded. “It’s just that, well, he’s the one who rejected me and -”

“Well in his defense he didn’t quite reject you. He just said that what he said…didn’t mean anything.”

Ladybug gave him a look.

“Yeah I guess it’s pretty bad.”

“Well, when it comes down to it I realized that what we had had wasn’t even real. I mean I had this massive crush on him and, you know the story. I let it blind me.”

Ladybug took a deep breath. There was no backing out now.

“But it was more than that. I barricaded my heart, Chat. Not only from the outside, but from myself as well. I lived in denial for so long…”

“I don’t understand.”

“I denied that I was falling in love with you, Chat.”

Chat’s eyes were wide, and his arms uncrossed, falling to his sides.

“And I’m so sorry it’s taken me until now to realize it. But I always have loved you, and I think you knew it too. I’m so sorry I put you through so much. I thought it was the right thing to do. All I wanted was to do the right thing for you. So I had to see you today, to tell you, and to tell you that I don’t need to know who you are.” Ladybug looked at the envelope and let it drop to her feet. “This whole game, Chat, I’m done with it. I don’t need to know who you are because I already know you. I know your heart, and I know who you choose to be everyday. So I’ve chosen to love you, as you are, whoever may be behind the mask. Chat…I am in love with you.”

Chat didn’t need to be prompted. He closed the space between them tentatively, but then his lips found hers, and they sank into each other. It was a kiss long awaited. And it was right, the most right thing Marinette had ever chosen in her life.

“I love you, I love you,” Chat whispered, his arm around her waist, his hand in her hair. She pulled him closer. Her chest was an array of sparks, just knowing that the love in her heart was true.

In the distance the school clock tower tolled. It was 12:30. 

Chat broke the kiss. “You have to go.”

Ladybug ran her fingers through his hair, still dazed.

“Are you crying, Chat?”

He smiled. “My love for you overfloweth the brim of mine eyes, milady.”

She giggled. He met her lips with a quick peck, then stooped to pick up the envelope.

“Our love is no game, milady, but please read this. For me.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, now more than ever.”

Ladybug took it. She supposed it was a sign of trust.

“Will I see you again today?” she asked.

“Sooner than you think,” Chat said, pressing his forehead to hers. He sighed and stepped away. “Now go, you’ll be late.”

Ladybug shrugged. “If you really knew me then you’d know that I’m always late.”

“Yes well I won’t have you late on my account. Go!”

With a laugh Ladybug jumped off the roof and zipped through the air, feeling lighter than she had in days.

*****************************************************************************************************

“Marinette, what’s going on with you?” Alya said, quickly balancing the chemicals in a beaker that was threatening to explode. “Seriously it’s like your mind is somewhere else, girl.”

“Sorry, Alya, I’m really just feeling…dizzy.” Marinette had to stop herself from smiling. Oh, she was dizzy alright. Dizzy from Chat kissing the sense out of her.

“Maybe you should go back to the nurse,” Alya suggested, genuinely worried.

“10 minutes to finish your experiments!” Ms. Mendeleiev called.

“Just kidding, please don’t leave me!”

Marinette laughed.

They agreed that it would be best if Alya finished the remaining steps and Marinette supplied her what she needed. First they would need another beaker. Marinette rushed to the cabinet for one.

“Never run in a laboratory!” Ms. Mendeleiev yelled. “Try to remember the lab safety regulations, people!”

Adrien laughed and casually walked to Marinette’s side. She had to remind herself to breathe. If she could just get a beaker and manage to maneuver back to her station without brushing against him, she could escape this without having to say a word.

Of course, the beakers were on the highest shelf. She reached for them with no avail.

“Here,” Adrien said, and reached around her. He was close. Too close. It was as if now that she had eradicated him from her heart the universe was pushing him closer.

“There you go,” Adrien said, giving her a beaker.

“Thanks,” Marinette said, and turned to leave.

“Wait, Marinette,” Adrien called, quickly grabbing a beaker for himself and closing the cabinet shut. “I was thinking we should talk some time. Say at my place? Eight o’clock?”

“Eight minutes!”

“Marinette, hurry!” Alya said, flipping through her textbook.

“Adrien, dude!” Even Nino was feeling the pressure.

But Adrien waited, hopeful.

“I’m sorry, I can’t,” Marinette said and retreated to her station. She felt bad about being so blunt, but she wasn’t ready to be alone with Adrien as “friends” quite yet. Besides, with any luck, she had a date with Chat tonight.

Alya successfully performed the experiment in seven minutes flat. It was impressive. To show her gratitude, Marinette stayed behind to clean up, even after the bell rang.

She was careful to do things extra slowly, waiting for everyone to leave the lab. She couldn’t wait to read Chat’s letter anymore.

“Make sure to turn off the lights when you leave,” Ms. Mendeleiev said wearily as she exited.

Tikki immediately flew out of Marinette’s purse.

“The letter! Open the letter!”

“Okay, okay,” Marinette giggled. She ripped open the envelope and pulled from it a thick fold of paper.

It read:

Milady,
Are you ready? Here’s the part where I reveal myself to you. I’m not looking back.
The funny thing is, even though I’ve always loved you as Ladybug, I started to develop feelings for your real identity too. I didn’t want to admit them though. How could I, when I knew my heart was set on my spotted partner?
And you were a hard shell to crack. You were shy towards me, but I found it irresistible. I had to know more about you. I had to know more about the girl who didn’t see me as the celebrity, but as a friend. Over time we grew closer, and I found you more and more on my mind.
Then the Fabricator came. I thought it would be easy to fall victim to save you. What more in my life could I want? But the fantasy showed me many things that I desired. Things that I thought I could never have, like the love of my father, the return of my mother, and you, Ladybug.
The fantasy took me to the Immeuble Lavirotte’s terrace, and you were there. Paris was illuminated before us. You told me you loved me. 
I had you in my arms when I noticed the thread sticking out from your suit. Our suits are bound by magic, not fabric. That’s when I knew it couldn’t be real.
You’d think it’d be easy to pull on a thread back to reality. When I pulled you said it hurt you. You screamed. You begged. It was horrible, milady. I would have rather jumped off that roof without my baton than hear your cries. But I knew that the real you needed my help on the other side, so I did it, and it was the worst thing I’ve ever had to do.
Of course I was hurt. But it was no excuse for what I did next.
If you’ll recall, milady, I made the error of substituting your name for Juliet’s in class. Though I didn’t regret the incident, I did regret drawing attention to you. Our peers, however, were not so polite. Kim, after jamming my phone with texts the night before, approached me. I would’ve fought anyone that day, milady. The words that he said to me felt like reminders from the fantasy I experienced the night before. Reminders of things I felt I could never have. So I fired back, saying that my words meant nothing, because you, as Ladybug, were my everything. I was desperate to prove that even though I might not ever win your heart, I would never give up on you. Yet in doing so I denied my affections for your true identity.
Oh, milady, how you looked a moment after. I’ve never regretted anything more in my life. I wanted to take the words back, but like my miraculous, I had destroyed everything beyond repair.
Then, ironically, you came to me, the one who had hurt you, for consolation. Somehow I still hadn’t guessed your real identity, but I was happy to do something good for once in the past few hours.
I listened to you. I loved you. And I accepted that I might never receive that love back from you. But I was okay with this, happy for it even, because it was a pleasure to be by your side.
So I mended my heart, and the next day you sought to mend yours. You recited my words from the night before right back to me, milady. I was shocked. There was no denying that you were Ladybug. There was no denying that I was the idiot who hurt you.
I was dumbfounded and elated at the exact same time. The two women of my heart were one in the same. But I had rejected you. I had amendments to make.
So I apologize. I am so profoundly sorry for the way I handled things. I never meant to hurt you, especially in public.
And I admit my feelings for you, all of you. Please understand how conflicted I was, milady. My love, forgive me.


‘Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth be a liar;
But never doubt I love.’


-Yours

Marinette was breathless.

“Marinette?” Tikki waved her tiny paws at her. “Marinette are you there?”

Everything made sense now. Adrien’s outburst in the courtyard. How the letter had been hastily taped to the underside of her desk. Chat Noir knowing Kim.

She felt like a fool. This whole time the man she was seeking was the man she had pushed away. It was like a dog chasing its tail. She couldn’t help feeling like they could have avoided wasting so much time.

Yet, the timing was everything. Chat loved her as both Marinette and Ladybug. And she loved him as both Adrien and Chat Noir. Maybe the time hadn’t been right before. Maybe they had to learn to love each other for who they were first. All of who they were.

And now nothing was holding them back.

“It’s Adrien, Tikki,” Marinette breathed, “Adrien is Chat Noir.”

“Well what are you waiting for? You have to go find him!”

Tikki disappeared into Marinette’s bag as she rushed to the door. Her eyes scanned the courtyard. Surely he wouldn’t have left her after leaving a letter like that? Still, she’d scour all of Paris to find him.

The courtyard was filled with students from all grades wandering around, on their way to an after school activity or home. A wave of people passed, two girls moved, and there was Adrien, in the center of the courtyard talking to Nino. 

And the world fell away.

She didn’t know how she hadn’t spotted the similarities before. His blonde hair. His green eyes. She had been so blind.

Then, miraculously, he looked her way, somehow knowing that she was there in that doorway. Somehow feeling the shift in space, that now, finally, they both knew.

A million words exchanged between them in their eyes.

It’s you, it’s really you.

Adrien nodded just slightly, as if he could read her mind. Marinette’s eyes filled with tears.

A tug at their hearts brought them colliding together, and the world was silent witness to their embrace. Adrien’s lips found Marinette’s, and Marinette swore that their love could purify the world of Hawmoth’s wrath.

Adrien’s hands held Marinette’s cheeks as he ended the kiss, wiping away her tears.

He was about to say something when the world exploded into cheers. They hadn’t realized that everyone had been watching.

Marinette saw Alya next to Nino, who was pumping his fist in the air. She laughed.

“Way to go, Marinette!” Alix yelled.

“What a kiss!” Max exclaimed.

“So romantic!” Rose sighed.

“That’s how you do it, Adrien!” Kim hollered.

Adrien’s eyes were back on Marinette. 

“I guess we’re public now,” he said.

Marinette shook her head. 

“It’s okay,” she said, her fingers combing his hair, “Let the world know that I’m yours.”

Adrien bent for another kiss.

“Ms. Dupain-Cheng!” Ms. Mendeleiev yelled.

The newfound couple sprang away from each other. Ms. Mendeleiev stood in the doorway of the lab, her hands on her hips.

“Y-Yes, Ms. Mendeleiev?” Marinette stuttered.

Ms. Mendeleiev raised her hand and flicked the lights to the lab off.

“Congratulations,” she said with a smile.

The courtyard roared.

With a smile spread wide across his face, Adrien snatched Marinette back into his arms again. His forehead rested on Marinette’s. 

“My place at eight?” he whispered.

“No,” Marinette said. For a moment she had him confused. “My place.”

He laughed, and nudging her chin up between his knuckle and thumb, kissed her again.

They were finally fully themselves, and free to be so. 

They were finally happy. 

And their hearts were finally full.


EPILOGUE

There was a cool breeze that drifted atop the terraces of Paris, welcoming the heroes Ladybug and Chat Noir to their first night as a couple. They sat bundled on a chair in Marinette’s rooftop garden. Though their true identities lacked the warming benefit of their miraculous suits, they wouldn’t have had it any other way. They were happy, and, as if the sky knew this, the stars shone their brightest that night.

“Wait, so the kiss on Immeuble Lavirotte’s terrace wasn’t our first kiss?” Adrien exclaimed. He had Marinette in his arms, and he was eons away from letting her go.

“Nope!” Marinette giggled. “I had to save you, or else you would’ve ripped my earrings out. You had me pinned.”

“How can I not remember? That’s so unfair!”

“I was glad you didn’t. I was so confused after that.”

“Ah, so you enjoyed it!”

“That’s not what I meant!”

They laughed.

“Okay, maybe I did.”

“Knew it.”

They sat content, watching the stars.

“Any wishes?” Adrien asked, pressing his lips to her temple.

Marinette thought about it for a moment.

“No.”


From that moment on, Marinette Dupain-Cheng never made a wish upon the stars again. She never needed to.