Special thanks to @x-aa for allowing me to use her art for the thumbnail!
He looked up to see Marinette standing in front of him. It was the middle of the night and he was sitting on a park bench, not wanting to go home quite yet. “Princess? What are you doing out so late, alone?” He asked.
“I… was trying to catch some footage of the Akuma fight as a present for Alya!” She exclaimed.
“That’s not safe,” He said, patting the space next to him as a gesture for her to sit down.
“I guess you could call me a rebel.”
“A pretty cute one,” he winked.
“You never stop flirting, do you kitty?”
“You’re starting to make me feel bad for Ladybug,” she joked, sitting down next to him.
“Why do you say that?” he asked.
“How would she feel if she knew that you were flirting with other girls?”
“Oh, but Marinette,” he said, leaning in towards her, “You aren’t just some other girl.”
She was a bit taken aback by his words. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She laughed, glancing away from his gaze.
“I’m sorry, did I fluster you?” Chat grinned, pulling away from her face. “I’m only teasing after all.”
“Are you hungry?”
“A little, why?”
“I guess I’m the kind of person who likes to feed stray cats.”
Chat couldn’t help but let his grin grow wider. A home-cooked meal is everything he wanted in that moment. “What’s on the menu?” He asked.
“How about we stop at the store first and you can pick out your favorites.”
“Really? You’ll make me lumpia?”
“Lumpia?” Marinette turned around with a question on her face. “What’s that?”
“Filipino egg rolls.”
“That’s your favorite food?”
“I just want to eat it.”
“…Chat?” Marinette glanced over at him, “…Did you see this in an Anime?”
“Reeeeally?” Marinette asked, skepticism bleeding out of her voice.
“Okay. I’ll look up the recipe online,” she said, pulling out her phone. “Let’s see… We’ll need meat, green onions, carrots, egg roll wrappers…” She quickly typed up what ingredients her parents didn’t have at home and started walking ahead.
“Wait for me, Princess!” He called after her. Several phones were out by the time they reached the store, recording Paris’ favorite superhero racing shopping carts with a random girl.
“Don’t you think we’re a little old for this?” Marinette asked, balancing herself on the railing of her cart as her feet hovered above the floor.
“Coming from the guy wearing a mask.”
“Touche,” He smiled, grabbing a package of ground turkey, “Would you prefer this, or pork?”
“Ground turkey will be easier to cook,” She said, comparing prices. “Anything else you’d like before we check out? Some chocolate, perhaps?”
“Chocolate?” Chat’s ears popped up at the suggestion. “I can have some?”
“Yes?” Marinette wasn’t sure why her partner was so excited at her recommendation. Was he not allowed to eat sweets often?
“What kind? Like, a chocolate bar, or truffles? Or maybe something dipped in chocolate! Or, because it’s almost Christmas, Orange-flavored chocolate that you can peel ‘slices’ off of?”
She bit back a laugh at the sight of so much excitement in the young man’s stature. “Yeah, okay. We’ll get two orange-flavored breakaway chocolate balls.”
His face light up and he sprinted to the candy aisle, leaving Marinette to follow him like a mother with her five-year-old son. “Milk or dark chocolate?” He asked, his arms filled with the seasonal chocolate.
“Whichever you’d like,” She said, “But you can only get two, and one of them is for me.”
Chat stood up after a few minutes, proudly holding out his selection- one dark chocolate and one milk chocolate. “Are these two okay?” he asked.
“Perfect choice. Shall we go check out?”
“Yeah!” He returned to his place at her side and waved at a passing child looking at him in awe.
“I bet you just made that kid’s day,” Marinette said, patting him on the back.
“If you go ask to take a picture with him he’ll be the most popular boy in school for a week.”
“I… guess. I mean, I never really thought of myself that way.”
“Come on, Chat. All of Paris looks up to you,” Marinette said, unloading the cart onto the checkout.
“Do you really think so?” He asked.
“What makes you question it?”
“I mean, do you think Ladybug views me in that light?”
Marinette froze with her hands on the onions. “What do you mean?”
“Do you think Ladybug looks up to me?” He unloaded the chocolate onto the conveyor belt.
Chat looked up at her in surprise of her stern answer and didn’t know how to respond. The cashier checked them out and they made their way back to her place in silence. He was on the edge the whole time, unable to tell if the quiet between them was uncomfortable or not.
“Here’s a spatula. If you’ll start the meat I’ll start dicing the onions,” Marinette said, handing him the utensil and the package of ground turkey.
“Medium heat?” He asked.
“Sure, sounds good. Throw some oil in there with it.” Marinette said, turning to dice up the vegetables. A few minutes later she heard an unusual noise and turned to see Chat on the brink of tears.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly worried about her partner.
“Nothing, I’m just… really happy right now. Sorry, I guess I’m a bit of a crybaby,” Chat said, trying to sniffle his tears back inside him.
“No, really, what’s going on?” She reached up to touch his face in support.
“Nah, it’s stupid.”
“I don’t care. Tell me.”
“It’s just… shopping for food together. Cooking together. It feels nice.”
“What do you mean?”
“I guess I’m just not used to this feeling.”
“And what feeling is that?”
Marinette froze at his bold choice of words. “Home?” She asked.
“I would imagine that this is what shopping with your family feels like,” he sighed, mixing the meat into the bowl and giving her a weak smile. “I think it’s time to start rolling them up.”
“…We need to add the soy sauce first,” Marinette said, unsure how to respond to his remark.
“…Do you plan on having a family, Princess?” He asked.
“As opposed to what?”
“Being a career woman,” Chat said, pulling out a wrapper and spooning the filling on it.
“I think… family would come first,” Marinette said, sealing the wrappers he filled with a beaten egg.
“It would be a nice life, wouldn’t it?”
“Cooking with your family each day?”
“…I think so too,” Marinette said, throwing the rolls into a pot of oil. “But Chat, you already have a home whenever you need it.”
“It doesn’t feel like home,” He sighed.
“I’m not talking about where you sleep at night, silly kitty,” Marinette laughed.
“Then… where are you talking about?” He asked, furrowing his brows.
“Here!” She pointed to herself. “Friends can be family too you know.”
“We’re… friends?” Chat said in astonishment, his eyes growing wide.
“Of course we are! I don’t make lumpia with just anyone, you know!”
“Friends…” Chat whispered, staring at his classmate. A warm fire flickered in his heart that brought a smile to his face. Perhaps this feeling of home wasn’t going to be temporary.
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