itty bitty kittys

Marichat Day 14: Aged-Up Chat Noir

“Marinette, stay behind me,” Chat Noir warned, keeping one arm thrown back behind him in her direction.

Older Chat leaned against the balcony railing, arms crossed and an amused expression on his face. “This really isn’t necessary. I’m literally you.”

Marinette peeked around Chat Noir’s back to study the older man. “Why are you here?”

“To see you, of course, Princess,” he winked. Chat Noir growled and the older man laughed, waving a hand. “Paon is learning how to use his powers of time travel. I’m the guinea pig. Don’t worry, my Lady will have me back in her arms  within an hour or so.”

“How do you know?” Marinette bypassed Chat Noir’s outstretched arm to his exasperated huff. 

Older Chat smiled at her. “Because it’s already happened for me.” He tilted his head in his younger version’s direction. “I remember it.”

Chat Noir furrowed his brow. “Why come here though? Why visit Marinette?”

“She knows why.” Older Chat gave her a knowing look. 

Marinette’s eyes widened and she blushed. Chat Noir looked at her incredulously. “What does that mean?!”

She put a hand on his shoulder. “Hey, I think it’s okay. Do you mind if I talk to him alone?”

“What?!” he sputtered. “No. Absolutely not!”

“He’s you, kitty. There’s no one I trust more.” She cupped his cheek and smiled. “You can sit on my bed so you can still see us through the skylight.”

Chat Noir pushed out his bottom lip. “Fine, but I’m coming back up in five minutes no matter what.” He glared at his future self before dropping down through the skylight.

“I forgot how stubborn I could be,” Older Chat remarked, giving himself a finger wave.

“You know who I am,” Marinette said softly, stepping closer to him.

“You’re my Lady,” he whispered back. “I couldn’t help myself. I wanted to see you like this again.”

“Like this?”

“Softer.”

“I don’t understand,” she confessed.

“I wouldn’t expect you to. Just know it does me good to see you like this…to see you with him.”

“Do I tell you…him…” she shook her head. “Am I the one who tells Chat who I am first?”

Older Chat pursed his lips. “I really shouldn’t say anything. You warned me not mess anything up when I came back…”

“Can’t you give me one itty bitty hint, kitty?” she begged with a pleading smile.

Older Chat put a hand to his heart. “Low blow, my Lady. You know I can’t say no to you.”

“My Lady? D-did you just call her…” Marinette spun to see Chat Noir’s head poking out of the skylight. “Marinette?”

Marinette looked at Older Chat in terror. He winked. “You bast–”

A glowing blue light erupted from behind Older Chat, cutting off Marinette. “Come on, love. It’s time to come back home,” a familar voice said as a slender arm reached through the blue light. 

Older Chat kissed the hand reaching for him and turned back to the young pair. “See you in a few years, my Lady,” he said with a grin to Marinette. “Enjoy tonight, Adrien,” he finished with a wink before disappearing into the blue light.

Marinette spun on Chat Noir. “Adrien?!” 

Always Mine

Some more Rafael to end this fabulous Friday!!! Thank you @yourtropegirl for a magical week. And as always for @svu-stories who inspires me in more ways than she will ever know!!! :)

Mi amor, it’s only for one weekend.”

You hadn’t even so much as looked him in the eye since he came home with the suggestion. Two days and one lazy night in the country (translation New Jersey) held a certain appeal. And he had thought of everything, the lakefront bed and breakfast less than half an hour from a local winery to taste the wares with assorted cheeses. Followed by an excursion to pluck fresh strawberries; a small part of you could already taste the tart juice tinging your tongue. All of it concluding with an Italian dinner at a place so exclusive that there wasn’t even a sign marking the entrance. How he would find it in the car you would have to rent was beside the point. Your dearest most darling husband had an agenda worthy of your profession, your personality.

But for all his intricate planning, one detail had escaped Rafael Barba’s mind.

“Please don’t walk away from me,” he moaned, trailing after you as you angrily dealt with the laundry, not caring if you were balling up his socks the right way or if his shirts were hung in a descending pattern of color coordination.

“And your mother can’t help?” you asked, finally giving him something in the way of an answer if not your eyes.

Mamis got this teacher’s meeting,” Rafael said, reaching for your arm. But you recoiled before his fingers could so much as curl around your wrist.

“So change our plans,” you huffed as you slammed a drawer shut and retreated into the bathroom to run the water and scrub your hands together until he stopped you with a lame joke about scratching the skin away if you kept at it.

“As if you would care,” you said through clenched teeth, just catching a quick glimpse of him in the mirror with sagging shoulders and a weary sigh.

“Of course I care, mi amor,” he insisted. “I planned this for you. You deserve a break. We both do.”

Turning the faucet off sharply and facing him with your hands on your hips, you narrowed your eyes into a tight glare and watched him shrink in the doorway, feeling your nostrils flaring as you spoke.

“And Jingles deserves to be punished because you’re tired?” you challenged, stressing the last word as he released the smallest of laughs. “This is funny to you, Rafael?”

“It is a hotel for pets,” he said. “She’ll have her own little condo.”

“That’s a cute way of saying cage,” you spat back.

“You are so melodramatic sometimes,” he sighed.

“Which is a not so nice way of calling me ridiculous.”

“Keep this up and we’ll get there.”

Your next response came out as little more than a frustrated growl, and you pushed past him, furious that he could be so heartless. Making a beeline for the couch, you fell to your knees and found Jingles hiding under the furniture. You scooped her into your arms to stroke the top of her furry head, whispering into her soft ears.

“Sorry, sweetie,” you soothed. “You just hate to hear Mommy and Daddy fight.”

“Who’s fighting?” Rafael asked, emerging from the bedroom. “I’m not fighting.”

“Someone insults me and that’s what I call it.”

Mi amor…”

He sank to the cushions, ready to run his fingers through your hair when you flinched again. But Jingles maneuvered between the pair of you, bridging the gap as her own version of a peace offering until he settled for playing with her whiskers.

“I love you,” he started. “I love the cat. It would have been ideal if Mami could have taken her—”

“Or just stayed here,” you said, still sulking.

“You… fine. Or just stayed here,” he echoed. “But this place is top notch. The staff seems very caring. There’s even a little camera right outside her kennel. All we have to do is log on to their website, and we can check in as much as you want.”

“What’s that?” you asked. “The Big Brother package?”

“I’m calling it,” he said, rising swiftly and rubbing his hands against his slacks. “You are brilliant and beautiful and being utterly ridiculous.”

“Not in front of the cat,” you warned him as he threw his hands up in the air. “No worries, Rafael. Better I find this out now before we bring a baby home.”

For a second he looked as if he would explode into a litany of words that you would only half understand, but somehow, he kept his voice calm.

“You do realize that our son or daughter will have to go to school. And play dates. And horror of horrors summer camp.”

“I don’t think that this is the same…”

Your words came to a halt as Jingles curled into your cheek, her sandpaper tongue just meeting your skin as you suddenly realized what you were saying, that his points were well made….

…and that maybe you did sound the slightest bit ridiculous as you managed a smile and met his eyes.

“You really think that she’ll be okay?” you asked.

“Only the best for all our babies,” he promised, his hands surrounding your face so he could kiss the tip of your nose and then Jingles in turn.

“I just… I worry about her,” you said. “I’d hate for her to think that we were abandoning her again.”

“Never going to happen on our watch,” Rafael said. “She’s getting even better digs than we are. Plus, daily groomings and all kinds of fun new food.”

“Not that,” you said as your face began to soften under his touch. “If she goes, she goes with a lunchbox and the food that I have selected.”

“Is this you warming up to the idea?” he asked, pressing two fingers under your chin, his mouth just meeting yours as you smiled against the line of his lips.

“This… this is me saying that we’ll check it out. If and only if it’s up to my standards… I’ll consider it.”

Mi amor…”

He started to help you to your feet, his arms almost encircling your waist when you let Jingles climb to your shoulder and pressed one palm to his chest.

“But she better have the best cage… condo in the joint.”

“Whatever the cost,” he promised. “Anything and everything for you.”


No one could accuse the website of false advertising. Stepping through a refurbished wooden door, you took in a state of the art room with pristine floors and wide windows looking out at a patch of private courtyard adorned with fountains and several sorts of flowers. Two member of the staff were already walking and playing with a Boston Bull and a Golden Retriever, and you saw other cats in spacious pens that could accommodate a small child with pillowed shelves and tons of toys.

“Don’t worry; I have your things right here,” you said, bending down to the cat carrier to show Jingles the small purple bag containing her catnip pillow, her yellow ball with a bell—

“And I… I brought this, too.”

From his pocket, Rafael revealed one of his socks that had lost its mate in the laundry, a series of red and silver stripes that Jingles took possession of and would never in a million years relinquish.

“That was sweet of you,” your said, standing to lightly peck his cheek and just noticing the tension in his jawline.

“It is nice here, Rafael,” you continued as a woman in bright blue scrubs and a bouncy blonde ponytail sauntered forward to shake your hands.

“Mr. Barba!” she said. “Great to see you again.”

“Likewise,” he said as he introduced you, and the blonde unzipped the black case to pull Jingles out.

“And hello to you, Miss Jingles,” the woman said. The cat’s eyes were wide for all of an instant, and you feared that Jingles might fly up the walls when she nuzzled her head against the woman’s neck, her purrs harmonizing with the blonde’s gentle voice.

“I hear that this is the first time you’re away from home,” she continued.

“Since we got her,” you confirmed. “I… I can’t help but feel a little nervous.

“Understood, Mrs. Barba,” she said, her hand falling to your shoulder as her voice and her smile began to make you feel more and more at ease. “But we’ll make this a fun vacation for her, too.”

The blonde handled Jingles with a firm but caring hand, walking her around the room so she could get a feel for the space and take in the sight of the other cats seemingly content in their condos. Not one of them so much as hissed, and even as you couldn’t help but bite on your lower lip, you felt yourself leaning into the idea that she would make it through the short stay.

“Where are you going to put her?”

Rafael’s voice cut into your thoughts, and you turned to see him shuffling his feet and fidgeting with his hands in his pockets.

“Here we go,” the blonde said as she stood before an open kennel and set Jingles down on the highest shelf. Her face looked so sad through the thin black bars, and you were on the verge of taking her back and making a run for it when the cat simply curled in a ball and turned her gaze towards the window to watch the puppy dogs play before closing her eyes.

“Wow,” you muttered under your breath, feeling every inch a proud parent as she settled into her surroundings and you linked your arm in Rafael’s. “Good girl.”

“Cats are very adaptable,” the blonde assured you, taking the bag of Jingles’ toys and setting them all down in the tray so she could play whenever the mood struck her. Returning her smile as she latched the door, you decided that maybe it was best to bite the bullet and let your itty-bitty kitty stretch her wings. Or in Jingles’ case the leg leading to the paw that batted at the bar. She started to draw back when Rafael left your side. One of his long fingers inched through the opening, and he tapped his nail near Jingles’ little nose.

“Let me just get the login info so you can peek on her!” the blonde chirped, leaving you alone in the room.

“I think it will be okay,” you said, rubbing Rafael’s back and blowing kisses to the kitty. Trying to take his arm again, you found him frozen to the floor and inched closer to the window in search of his eyes.

“Rafael?” you asked. “Are you okay?”

“Fine,” he said, quickly kissing your cheek and giving Jingles’ ears one last scratch with his index finger before he finally moved towards the reception area where the blonde was waiting.

“Wait. We…”

“What is it?” you asked.

“The sock should be on the shelf. You know it’s her favorite.”

“Right. I’ll just ask the lady…”

Leaving him alone, you met the blonde and heard her lilting laugh.

“Such a sweet guy,” she said, nodding towards Rafael working the latch to set the sock in its proper place. “You know he checked us our three times before he even made the reservation.”

“He did?” you asked.

“Said we had to rate five stars before he’d even book your trip.”

Which was something that your husband had not shared with you. When you thought that this was the final punctuation mark at the end of the sentence instead of the first stroke of his pen. Which made you feel ridiculous for questioning his love for the cat and any other baby you might bring into your home.

“He is the sweetest guy,” your murmured, determined to show him how much you adored him the second you started sipping wine and suckling strawberries. He definitely deserved the trip and then some, and you walked back to him, to say your goodbyes only to see him shaking his head.

“No.”

“Rafael? What do you—?”

“I’m sorry. I can’t do…

Avoiding your eyes, Rafael turned to the blonde.

“This won’t work.”

“Mr. Barba, you have one of the best cat condos.”

“I know that. Plus, the cameras. And you seem nothing but kind.”

“So…”

She said nothing else, and you watched without words as Rafael undid the latch to pick Jingles up, bypassing the cat carrier and tucking her inside his jacket.

“So nothing!” he barked back, rivaling the Boston Bull coming in from the courtyard. “I’m free to change my mind. And I’ll even let you keep the deposit. But I’m not… I can’t leave my cat here and have anything close to a good time.”

Still he failed to meet your gaze, walking out the way you came as you gathered the rest of the toys with a slack jaw and saw the blonde’s eyes stunned as they fixed on the door just slammed shut.

“I didn’t see that coming,” she said.

“No. But I should have.”

Joining Rafael in the rented car that was never going to leave Manhattan, you sat beside him as he kept Jingles close to his chest, his free hand picking at the steering wheel.

“Don’t say it,” he muttered.

“I’m not… what do you think I’m going to say?”

“That I’m ridiculous.”

Because he planned a perfect trip and tried to dot every “I” and cross every “T.” Because he found a place for the cat better than most day cares…

…because when push came to shove he couldn’t let her go.

“Not at all,” you said, winding one arm around his shoulders to kiss his cheeks and then his lips. “Maybe it is going to be a chore to send a little one to camp…”

“I’m not living this down.”

“I don’t want you to,” you said. “I want you like this. Forever. And always mine.”

Slowly, he gave you back his smile, his cheeks flushed as he rested his chin on top of Jingles’ head.

Te adoro, mi amor,” he said, his voice soft and his kiss far more tender. Jingles pawed at your lap and started batting his old sock back and forth as he twirled a lock of your hair in his hand.

“What now?” he asked. “We’re out all this money.”

“I don’t care.”

“We do still have the weekend…”

You retired to your apartment with bottles of inexpensive wine, strawberries from the corner market and Italian that was anything but exclusive from Baraducci’s. To binge watch old M*A*S*H episodes and debate the best version of the ensemble cast until any action on the screen had nothing on the pleasures in his arms.

And as you fell asleep in his embrace with Jingles sticking close to Rafael’s pillow, you knew that you never wanted life any other way.

8

Because I felt I needed to share the cute pictures that I took of some of the cats at my local cat shelter. The top two have been adopted but there’s always more. Always.

1) Otto - fluffy ball of energy. Seen here resting and recharging for the next mad dash.

2) Truman - Otto’s brother and the runt. Itty bitty kitty who’s had a rough time till now but is all better and racing around keeping up with his brother.

3 & 4) Arnold - Derpiest cat there is. He drools if you pet him enough. Likes having his tongue out.

5 & 6) Tristan - A returned cat (after 5+ years) because he was “going outside the box”. Took to the vet and he’s got bladder stones. Put on a special diet and no more box problems! Such a love bug with gorgeous eyes.

7 & 8) Dickens - Former stray now loving life inside. Crawls in to any lap that may or may not be available. FIV+ but healthy and did I mention loves attention and laps? (I may have betrayed his trust by letting him knead and pure on me for 5 minutes and the scruffing him to give him a pill to prevent an upset tummy.)

Hopefully these all get loving homes soon! I have an adoption shift on Saturday.

Happy Wednesday!!