Je N’aime Que Toi
Warnings: Angsty. Apologies beforehand.
Summary: After an akuma battle, someone’s identity almost gets revealed in a dirty alley. This may cause a friendship (or two) to form.
“Pound it!” the dynamic duo cheered as they defeated yet another akuma.
Reporters flooded the scene to just to get a smidgen of a story from Paris’s famous heroes Ladybug and Chat Noir. They answered as many questions as they could before a distinct and familiar beeping filled the air.
Ladybug raised her hand to her earrings. “Oh, I’m about to change,” she said to herself. “Bug out!” She threw one last smile towards Chat Noir before stringing her yo-yo to a rooftop and leaping into the air.
Ladybug landed in an empty alley, ducked behind a dumpster and de-transformed. When Marinette opened her eyes, her akuma Tikki was floating beside her. “Great job handling that akuma, Marinette! That had to be your fastest battle won to date!”
Marinette smiled and came out from behind the dumpster. “Well I couldn’t have done it without Chat Noir. It was his idea to use my yo-yo to-”
“You sure have been talking about Chat Noir a lot these days,” noted Tikki with a crooked smile.
She stopped to look at her kwami. “What do you mean?”
“I mean I don’t think it’s the night patrols you eagerly look forward to every other night.”
She thought about it. “Wait. Are you implying that I like Chat-” She was cut short by someone running across the roof above her. Marinette barely had time to tell Tikki to hide when, in the blink of an eye, Chat Noir landed in front of her. “Eek! C-Chat Noir!”
“Marinette?” He seemed just as surprised to see her as she was to see him. The ring on his finger beeped and Chat looked around desperately. “Oh!” he cried, “I thought no one was here in the alley!”
If he runs off now, Marinette thought, he wouldn’t make it in time to find another hiding spot before he changes.
Before he could get away, she took hold of his wrist and threw him behind the dumpster she had just taken advantage of. Quickly, she turned and shut her eyes. Behind her, she could hear the faint jingle as the transformation wore off.
“Pee-ew!” cried a grating voice. “You couldn’t pick a nicer smelling place to change back, Adri-”
“Shut up, Plagg!” Chat Noir, or rather the voice of Chat Noir, hissed to… his kwami? “Uh…Marinette,” Chat said awkwardly. “Are you still there?”
She went red. "Yeah, s-sorry! I’ll just make my way out.” When Marinette opened her eyes, she was staring at the closed up end of the alley. If she turned to head the other way, chances were she’d see Chat Noir’s identity. “Actually on second thought, I think you should head out first. And don’t worry! I’ll stay facing the wall and keep my eyes shut.”
She could almost hear him hesitate. "Okay. Count to ten before turning around. I’ll be gone by then.”
She nodded. “Okay.” Marinette heard him come out from behind the dumpster and she began to count loud enough for him to hear. “One. Two. Three. Four. Five.”
Tikki peeked out from the handbag and whispered, “Marinette, they’re gone.”
Marinette moved a finger away from her eye to look down at her. "You sure?”
She looked back down the alleyway and gave a sly smile. “Positive.”
Marinette slowly turned around and sure enough, her kwami was right. He was gone. She let out a relieved breath. “That was a close one, wasn’t it?”
Tikki giggled. “What are the odds that you both happened to pick the same alley in all of Paris?”
She shrugged. “Great minds think alike?”
Tikki laughed. “Let’s just be grateful he ran into you and not anyone else.”
“Yeah. That silly kitty. Come on, Tikki, let’s get out of here. It smells and I’m kinda tired.“ As Marinette made her way home, deep inside, her heart lurched at the thought that it was her he ran into rather than anyone else. She couldn’t explain the feeling, but she told herself it was because she was his Ladybug, and she would do anything to protect him; something she couldn’t promise anyone else would do.
Yes, that had to be what she was feeling.
Marinette was in her room doing homework when she heard a light tapping on her window. She turned to see Chat Noir, who smirked and gestured to the roof. Curious and confused, she climbed her bed and made her way up the latch. There he was, leaning against her balcony rail, swinging his tail around in his hand.
Marinette smiled to herself. "Chat Noir, what brings you here? Is there an akuma nearby? Am I in danger?” She pretended to look around anxiously.
He held up a hand and shook his head. “No. No akuma tonight. I actually swung by to thank you.”
“Thank me?” She knew exactly what he was talking about but she enjoyed playing the innocent civilian for him.
“Yes. Back in that alley.”
“Oh that?” She waved it off. “It was nothing.”
“Well it may have seemed that way,” his face suddenly became serious, “but to me it really meant a lot and I never got the chance to properly thank you for it. So, Marinette,” he took her hand in his and looked deeply into her eyes, “thank you for the other day.” Being this close to him, him looking at her as he was now made her forget words…until he added, “It would’ve been a cat-astrophe without your help.”
She frowned and slowly pulled her hand back. "Yeah, well just be happy it was me. Any other girl would’ve died to see Chat Noir’s secret identity.”
He crossed his arms and grinned. “Oh? And you didn’t want to?”
“Not at all,” she replied honestly.
His eyebrows scrunched together. “Why not?”
Marinette stepped forward flicked the bell on his suit. “Because I’m not any other girl.” He stood dumbfounded by the confident gesture as she made her way back to the latch. “And I also understand a thing or two about secret identities.”
She realized her mistake. “Y-Yeah. Movies and comics and all. Well, I have to get back to homework, got a big report due tomorrow for history.”
Chat seemed to remember something in that moment and his face paled; she ignored it. Before Marinette returned to her room, she paused. “Oh, and Chat Noir,” he turned to her. “Let’s try not to run into each other the way we did the other day. Again,” she joked.
He laughed and rubbed the back of his neck. “That probably would be for the best.“
She watched as Chat took off into the night, jumping from roof to roof.
Oh, and you didn’t? His words rang out in her head.
Deep down, she had always wondered who her partner could be, if she knew him outside of their superhero life. Now, she found herself constantly questioning: Who could the cat be?
A dangerous question if there ever was one. After all, curiosity did kill the cat.
As for Chat Noir, he was rushing home to finish a particular history assignment he had forgotten to write. All the while, he couldn’t help thinking there was more to Marinette than the sweet and clumsy school girl he knew her for. And he definitely planned to figure out what it was.
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