The Fate of Black Cats Chapter 4
Alright I know this is ridiculously late but I couldn’t seem to find an end to this story just yet! So today you are getting an extra long chapter and the promise of at least one more to come!
Three days of bliss. The soulmates were practically inseparable. They caught up with their friends at lunch and explained, all the while holding hands. They begged their friends to switch seats so they could sit together. They doodled on each other’s arms all through class. By the end of the day, it seemed the whole school knew. Marinette had found her soulmate after all. After school, Marinette dragged him home with her to introduce him to her parents. They welcomed him with open arms and told him he was always welcome in their home. That night, they parted with great reluctance, though Marinette made sure he had a pen and her phone number before he left. They talked for hours, and eventually fell asleep to the sound of each other’s voices.
The following day, their classmates seemed to have deemed it safe to approach. They asked them questions and offered congratulations up until class started. The pair were caught doodling on each other multiple times during class, to the point where the teacher threatened to take away their pens and leave them with only their tablets. When she saw Adrien flinch, she softened and warned them to stop. They kept the doodles to a minimum after that.
Adrien was called away to a photoshoot after their first class. Marinette was in full pout mode as he left, only Alya’s antics could cheer her up.
Once at the photoshoot, Adrien’s stylists were stunned to see Adrien’s arms covered in ink. For as long as they had worked with him, they had always been bare. When they went to scrub some of it off, Adrien shied away.
“Not all of it is on my skin, some of it is on my soulmate’s, couldn’t we just cover it with makeup instead?” Once again, the stylists were stunned. They had all assumed that he didn’t have a soulmate. They quickly agreed and he was soon ready for the shoot.
He knew word would get back to his father about the ink eventually, but he couldn’t find it in himself to care. He finished with the photo shoot quicker than expected and so he was dismissed early. Adrien decided this would be the perfect opportunity to surprise Marinette and beat her home from school. Unfortunately, akumas never arrive on schedule.
At a certain point, fighting akumas becomes a little routine. Distract, find the object, cataclysm, let Ladybug do her thing, repeat. Today’s akuma did not break from that template. The only difference was Marinette.
He was diligent to protect everyone, but especially his classmates. They were too often caught in the middle of these fights. Now that he had Marinette, seeing her anywhere near the fighting just about gave him a heart attack. So, when he spotted her rounding the corner, frantically talking on her phone he wanted to pick her up and take her as far away as possible. When she looked up and spotted the fighting, she froze looking surprised, and then all at once determined, like she was going to jump in and single-handedly take down the akuma herself.
“Get out of here!” he shouted to her. Her eyes snapped to him before nodding once and disappearing around the corner again, much to his relief. Ladybug joined him not long afterward. She looked tense and determined. After that, they made quick work of the akuma. Once they agreed on a patrol time tomorrow night, they both took off before their timers wore off.
After transforming in an ally, Adrien rushed toward to Marinette’s house, only to bump into her half way there. She grabbed onto him and crushed him in a hug that he returned just as tight.
“Adrien would you please just answer your freaking phone? I was so worried! I have been going nuts trying to get ahold of you! There was an akuma and you weren’t answering your phone, and I couldn’t find you, and-“ she cut herself off and buried her face in his shirt. After a moment, she finished her sentence in a whisper. “I can’t lose you again.”
The words hit him like a truck. She had spent years thinking he was dead, of course this would cause her to panic. He hugged her closer and mumbled comforting words to her while his mind raced. He couldn’t do this to her again. He couldn’t just disappear when there were akuma. He needed to help Ladybug, he needed to keep Marinette safe, he needed to make Paris a safe place for her, but he couldn’t do that if she was worried out her mind. He resolved to talk to Ladybug about it during tomorrow’s patrol. There had to be a way to do both, and he would find it.
Once Marinette had calmed down, they walked back to the bakery. Tom and Sabine welcomed them and it wasn’t long before Marinette was smiling again. She never let go of his hand that night until he had to go home, and then only reluctantly. She gave him a wavering smile, trying to convince him that she was fine. He kissed her then until she was smiling her real smile once more and promised to call when he got home.
He walked home lost in thought about the day’s events, but was jerked back to reality when he spotted Ladybug out of the corner of his eye. She was keeping pace with him up on the roofs, trying to be discreet. He stopped in his tracks and looked up at her.
“Ladybug?” She jumped as if he had startled her before coming closer to the edge of the building and waving to him. She didn’t seem to want to respond, looking nervous and fiddling with her yoyo.
“Ladybug, are you following me?” She seemed to grow embarrassed and shuffled her feet.
“Well, you are young, walking alone in the middle of the night, so yes I am following you. I wanted to be sure you got to wherever you’re going without any trouble.”
“Do you do that often then?”
“No, only when I see a need.”
“Well if you are going to escort me home, you may as well come down here and walk with me.” He couldn’t help but find the entire situation funny. Ladybug was escorting Chat Noir home; the world was full of surprises. She seemed reluctant to come down, but couldn’t find a reason not to, so she swung down and landed next to him. They began walking, Adrien looking bemused.
“So, what has you up and about tonight?” he asked her. She shrugged and looked a little uncomfortable.
“I was worried about my soulmate. He was close to the attack today, and he likes to wander at night alone. It scares me.” She whispered the last part, and Adrien was shocked. Ladybug, the hero of Paris, the strongest woman he had ever met, was admitting that she was scared, to him, a civilian. He could have anticipated it as Chat Noir; they were friends, best friends even. But she didn’t know Adrien. It left his head spinning.
A moment later she seemed to shake it off. She looked up at him and smiled what he has come to know as her hero smile. It was the smile she wore when she didn’t want Paris to know how tired she was, or how scared she was, or when she was hiding something.
“Never mind that now, what has a young man like yourself walking alone on a night like this?” She sounded teasing but looked nervous.
Adrien rubbed the back of his neck remembering Marinette’s face when he left. He sighed.
“I scared my soulmate today during the akuma attack. I’m so used to only looking after myself I forgot that she would be worried sick about me. We only just found each other after years of separation. When it was finally over, I went to see her and,” he sighed again, “she was so scared. I’d forgotten what it was like to have someone care for you that much. So I’m taking the long way home trying to let that feeling soak in. She cares. She cares so much that she was running through the streets looking for me during an akuma attack. She’s crazy, and wonderful, and smart, and so independent, and I’m in love with her.” He let out a chuckle and peeked over at Ladybug. They were still walking but she had this look on her face that made him think that he had said just the opposite of what she expected. She looked stunned and he was suddenly embarrassed. Did he have to tell her that?
Thankfully, they arrived at his house just a moment later. He turned to look at Ladybug with a sheepish look.
“Well this is me. Thank you for the escort. I guess you’re off to rescue other damsels in distress now?” She smiled back at him and looked a little teasing.
“Of course, rescuing damsels in my sole purpose in life. I feed off gallantry.” She uncoiled her yoyo from around her waist and he suddenly had a burning need to know the answer to a question that had been bouncing around his head from the moment she mentioned her soulmate.
“Does your soulmate know that you’re Ladybug?” he blurted out before she could swing away. She stopped and looked at him for a long moment. He began to panic. Surely she would have told him as Chat Noir if anyone knew her identity. They were close, she would have told him. Wouldn’t she?
“No, he doesn’t know.” She replied. She looked away and stared out into the night before she spoke again. She seemed to speak only to herself when she finished.
“But he will.”
After calling and letting Marinette know that he was safe at home, he noticed the missed calls from her along with a single voicemail. He didn’t know what to expect when he opened it, but it wasn’t anything like what he was expecting.
He could hear her breathing hard as if she were running and talking.
“Adrien, this is Marinette. There is an akuma and I just called and your photoshoot is over, so I’m just trying to see where you’re at.” He could tell she was trying to sound calm but she was tense and worried. He heard a muffled crash, as if something was happening in the distance. Marinette stopped trying to hide her worry after that. “Adrien please pick up your phone, I just want to make sure you’re not caught in the middle of the fighting. Please answer. I-“ She stopped mid-sentence and gasped. He heard himself in the background shouting for her to leave. With a mumbled curse, the message ended.
Adrien stared at his phone for several minutes before he could make his way to bed. Her worried words made their way into his dreams that night, repeating over and over.