Continuing Tales

How to Bond With a Cat

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by Theonewhosawitall

Part 14 of 19

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Chat Noir woke up with no issues, his head clean and healed, to find Marinette laying on the sofa below him, sound asleep. He raised a finger, and ran it along the plaster Marinette had laid on his head, where it had been before. His mouth twitched as he watched her sleep. She was adorable.

Adrien's mind drifted back to what Plagg had said. He was convinced Adrien loved Marinette. Watching Marinette right now, seeing how sweet she looked when she was sleeping, he could easily imagine falling for her. He didn't have to chase her. The thrill of the chase was lost, but it meant he could move on to better things. To returning to a warm bed after patrol, to that sleepy smile every morning, to glorious breakfasts to make up for awful morning breath, to licking the spoon after baking, to stealing kisses that already belonged to him.

To being like Tom and Sabine.

It could all be so easy if he let go of Ladybug. Clearly Ladybug thought he should give her up, otherwise she wouldnt have brought him here. Everything told him it was ok to love Marientte. Which scared him. So much so that he climbed onto the balcony and hurried home before she could wake up. He landed just in time for Natalie to knock on his door and inform him he had to wake up for piano lessons before school.

Adrien kept himself busy to avoid Marinette. Extra piano lessons, extra fencing practice, more practice on the runway, double checking his sizes to make sure his outfit was perfectly snug, anything to avoid her. Even though there were no akumas over the next two weeks Chat found excuses not to see Marinette. She came to miss him.

Adrien was true to his word though. He invited her to Paris fashion week, and he invited Alya and Nino as a buffer. Alya squished closer to Marinette.

"See?" She grinned.

Marinette blinked at her in surprise. "See what?"

"Ladybug and Chat Noir are back to their normal synchronisation, Adrien is trying to get close to you, and all you had to do was put the cat from your mind," Alya smiled and nudged her playfully.

Marinette swayed as Alya nudged her. She forced a smile, but she couldn't find it in herself to admit to her best friend that she didn't love Adrien in that way anymore. Not after all the work they put in to make him love her. She couldn't admit it to herself, how could she tell Alya?

"Here he comes!" Nino beamed.

Sure enough, he came strutting down the cat walk like he had done year in, year out, since he was knee high. The posing and the posture was second nature by now. He could (and had) done it in his sleep. This year however, he had his friends in the audience. That had never happened before. When he appeared, they started whooping and cheering in encouragement. Alya wolf whistled. Adrien tried to keep his cool. He'd had people insulting him and degrading him as he walked down the cat walk before, being rude and upsetting him, but he could handle that. Here though, with his friends cheering and whooping and whistling and clapping and generally just being over excited, he couldn't stop himself grinning. It was the first time he had his real smile on the cat walk. It was also the first time his ears turned pink on stage too. Spurred on by his mates, he started posing in more dramatic poses than he was supposed to, to make them cheer again.

Then he dabbed.

Nino and Alya leapt out of their seats to give a standing ovation, clapping loudly and whistling, despite the rest of the audience being mystified and a little annoyed by them. Marinette stood up too, a little bashful, and keenly aware that the biggest designers in the world were in this room, staring at her. Adrien twirled on the spot and strutted back down the catwalk, winking at them as he passed. Alya elbowed Marinette and gave her a proud wink. Marinette gave a queasy smile and hurriedly sat back down.

The next model was Chloe, who had demanded her father get her a part on stage, so he had blackmailed someone to get her what she wanted. Alya, Nino and Marinette fell into silence as she passed by. Chloe pretended not to care.

At the party afterwards, Marinette was whispering with Nino about all the designers that were there. She pointed as subtly as she could at the punch bowl, where one of her favourites were.

"I wish I could talk to him," she sighed.

"Why don't you?" Nino asked.

"Are you crazy?!" Marinette squeaked, her hand was already moving to cover her mouth anxiously, "I can't just go over there and talk to him! I'm a nobody!"

Nino scowled. "Marinette Dupain Cheng you are not a nobody. You are an excellent designer, a fabulous baker, and most importantly you are my friend. I'll prove it!"

Nino grabbed her hand, stubbornly, and dragged her across the room as she squealed urgently to stop him, turning redder with each determined step he took. He held onto her hand firmly when they got to the punch bowl so she couldn't run.

"Excuse me, do you know if this punch is alcoholic?" Nino asked, casually.

The designer's hair flapped as he turned his head. He eyed Nino, and shrugged. "I don't believe so."

"Thanks. Hey, my friend here is a big fan of yours," Nino said, firmly.

The designer turned his head back again to see who he meant. Marinette gave a nervous smile.

"Is that right?" He asked.

"A h-huge fan actually! I loved your recent fairy tale spread. I thought it was inspired," Marinette stammered.

He smirked. "Thank you. Excuse me-"

Nino stepped into his way. "Sir, my friend is going to be a famous designer one day, and you'll regret not taking the time to talk to her now."

"Is that so?"

"Yes sir. She designed this outfit herself and made it by hand. And she's done designs for Jagged Stone."

"Fascinating, excuse me-"

"Gabriel Agreste himself said she would be a fabulous designer one day!"

He froze. Marinette was staring at her feet again. He glanced her up and down. She had come in a neat but gorgeous dress, almost identical to the Swan Lake dress she made for Juleka, but with ladybug spots instead of purple streaks. Ladybug spots gave her more confidence when she desperately needed it. Like when she was staring into the eyes of a critically acclaimed designer she had dreamed of meeting a thousand times.

"Is what this boy is saying true?" He asked.

"Every word, sir," Marinette nodded.

"Interesting. What's your name my dear?"

"Marinette Dupain-Cheng."

He raised an eyebrow. "Of the bakery?"

Her heart skipped a beat. He knew her bakery! Adrien said his father had told a lot of his friends about the bread there, but she never imagined...

"My parent's bakery," she nodded.

"Well if you design as well as your parents bake, you will be the greatest designer of your generation. That's something I'm interested in nurturing... I am very busy tonight, obviously, but I'll be sure to visit your bakery by the end of the week to check out your portfolio. And for one pf those seeded rolls you do so well," he said.

She stared at him in awe. "I'll be honoured sir!"

He nodded, content with her reaction, and turned his head again, to look back at Nino. His voice got harder, and less willing to be messed with.

"And what did you say your name was?"

"Um, Adrien Agreste," Nino joked, nervously.

"I know that boy, you're not him," he stated.

Nino bowed his head. "I'm his friend. Nino."

"Mmm. I like your confidence Nino. Keep it up and you'll go far."

Nino and Marinette watched him walk away, and then stared at each other, slightly dazed and utterly awe struck. Nino's brilliant grin came first, glowing so brightly Marinette had to smile back. As the two of them quietly freaked out (they didn't want others to know how excited they were) Alya came wandering over.

"What was that about?" She asked.

"Nino was just proving how amazing he is!" Marinette beamed.

"Marinette you're amazingly talented, you just have to put yourself out there," Nino smiled.

"Why would I do that when you do it so well?" She grinned.

Nino laughed. The pair of them regaled Alya with the story, excited to tell others, because then it would be true! Then other people would agree and it would be the truth! Alya was delighted to show Marinette how utterly proud she was of her. By the time Adrien showed up the three of them were already grinning so much you wouldn't think they could get much happier.

"I wondered where you three went!" Adrien grinned.


"Excellent performance bro," Nino beamed

"You were killer!" Alya winked.

"Sorry if we got you into trouble," Marinette blushed.

Adrien beamed. "Don't be silly, I love having you guys here!"

Alya gave a pointed nod to Marinette, as if to say I told you so silently. Marinette sniggered. Adrien found it difficult to take his eyes off of her until Nino nudged him.

"Dude, is this punch alcoholic?"

"Nah, just take a cup, don't worry about it," Adrien shrugged.

"And its free?" Alya checked, seriously.

"Um, yeah?" Adrien shrugged.


Alya and Nino dove for the cups. Marinette and Adrien laughed at how perfectly Alya and Nino were suited for each other. Marinette blushed to find she was alone with Adrien. After spending so long being so deeply in love with him, it was strange to her that she could breath and talk around him without making a fool of herself. Adrien took the brunt of that.

"What's it like? Being on stage I mean?" she asked.

Her eyes were wide with curiosity, and his heart beat faster, "O-o-on stage? It's um, it's pretty cool. All eyes are on you, and if you step one foot out of line you could ruin the entire flow and mess up a whole day that had been the centre of everyone's plans for like six months, but yeah. It's fun."

Marinette frowned. She had never looked at it that way before. If he messed up, even just a little bit, he could ruin six months' worth of work for all these designers, and he'd been doing it since he could walk. She felt a tug of sympathy for him. of course he was perfect. That's what he was trained to be.

"Listen honey bun, if you need to take a moment to get away from all of this, if it becomes too much, tell me. Let me help you if you need me. Don't risk an akuma," she said, seriously.

The warmth of the honey bun faded with the mention of an akuma. Adrien looked puzzled. "Akuma? Why would I ever be akumatized?"

"Fashion week is stressful Adrien. If someone snaps, don't be disheartened. And if you're going to snap, tell me. Yeah?" she said, sympathetically.

Adrien looked down at his shoes. It had been harder recently. He put it down to the loss of his mother, since she wasn't there to help him struggle though anymore. Marinette was worried about him, even though he hadn't thought to be worried himself. Automatically her arm brushed against his, to reassure him. his ears turned pink at the touch of her finger tips.

"Hey love birds," Alya called, grinning.

Adrien turned pink and Marinette looked guilty. Alya didn't notice. She handed each of them a glass of punch. Nino handed her one of the two he was holding.

"A toast. You ready?" she asked.

Marinette glanced at Nino. He winked. The nerve in her chest eased. It couldn't be too bad if Nino was willing to go along with it. although that wasn't entirely accurate. Nino could be just as evil as Alya when he wanted to. He had his limits though, and although a fancy party like this tested them, he stuck to them.

"I want to raise a glass to Adrien. You were born handsome, and you look good in clothes," Alya declared.

Nino, Alya and Marinette cheered, "YOU LOOK GOOD IN CLOTHES!"

Adrien laughed at the pride in their voices. This wasn't something he thought he would hear his friends celebrate. Yet here they were, pleased as punch that he could wear clothes and walk in a straight line. It was insane. They were insane. He loved them so much.

Maybe that's what this was. He wasn't in love with Marinette, he just cared about her, deeply. Like a best friend. Yes. Best friend. Like Nino.

Maybe it'd be ok to go back to Marinette as Chat Noir. They were friends, weren't they? Best friends. Even if he didn't love Ladybug anymore, that didn't mean he had to love Marinette instead. He didn't have to be in love.


It was friendship.

He'd prove it.

Tikki pointed out Chat in the distance before Marinette even noticed him. She darted under her bed, in the space beneath it where she would be hidden from Chat's view as he entered. Marinette hadn't seen him for a month, and as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Tikki and she curled further back under the bed as they heard Chat land on the bed.


Marinette raised a finger to her lips to hush Tikki. Tikki covered her mouth with her hands urgently.


They heard the bedsprings creak as he climbed over the bed to get over to the ladder at the end. They couldn't get any flatter against the wall, but they tried. He crept down, glancing around to try and see any clue as to where she was. she held her breath, just in case his feline senses picked up the sound.

"Marinette, are you here?"

He wondered towards the middle of the room, scratching his head in confusion. Where could she have gone? Marinette beamed as she crept across the room, quietly as possible. Chat states out into the room, with no idea where she'd gone. Tikki had to hold her breath to stop herself giggling, and it caused tears to well in her eyes. When Marinette was close enough, she leapt forward, wrapping her arms around his stomach, under his arms and across his chest. Her cheek was pressed against his shoulder. He gasped in surprise and stared down. she beamed at him around his side.

"Chaton!" She beamed and squeezed him a little tighter, "I missed you!"

Chat's shocked stare melted into a warm, affectionate smiled. She was adorable.

"I missed you too," he smiled.

It was true. He'd been scared to face her, but Thursdays were lonely alone. Marinette frowned at him and slipped under his arm to scowl at him face to face, arms folded, like a grumpy marshmallow.

"Where have you been?!"

Chat gave a shrug like it was obvious. "Saving Paris."

She shoved his shoulder in irritation. "Don't lie to me kitty. There haven't been any akumas, and you haven't texted me in a fortnight! Not even a meme! Did I do something to upset you? Can you tell me what it was, so I don't ever do it again?"

Her eyes were desperate for information. Desperate never to hurt him again, if she had in fact hurt him. Chat's heart went out to her. He hadn't meant to upset her like this. But how could he explain to her that he was feeling twisted up inside because he thought he loved her, and then he thought he shouldn't love her, because love was too dangerous in his line of work?

"Oh Mari..." he reached his fingers towards her face, and when she didn't flinch or try to move away, he ran his fingers through her hair, pushing it out of her eyes. "You didn't do anything princess. It wasn't you... It was me."

"You?" she repeated.

He bowed his head. "I was really stupid. I got myself injured because I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing when I was supposed to be fighting. Then I came here, and I put this pressure on you that you didn't need and I -"

She laid a hand on his chest to stop him. "Chat Noir you never put pressure on me. You're my friend. I care about you. You needed help and I did everything in my power to help you, because I wanted to."

He didn't raise his head. "I took off my mask..."

"I got to meet Plagg," she countered.

"I almost told you who I was, it's the one thing I'm absolutely not allowed to do, and it feels like I'm lying to you. Every time I come here, I can't help feeling like I'm letting you don't because I never tell you who I am…"

Marinette bit her lip. He couldn't bring himself to look her in the eye, and she was grateful for that right now. She couldn't help the need deep in her stomach that was so desperate to know who he was. she glanced down and focused her eyes onto his bell. It was easier to talk to his chest than his face with that need eating at her.

"Chat you can't tell me who you are. It's not your fault. And you were concussed, you weren't thinking straight, it wasn't your fault. I'm just glad you came to us and got help when you needed it. You could have transformed in the middle of the street otherwise."

The guilt that he couldn't tell her who he was ate at him. he decided, subconsciously, if he couldn't tell her that one thing she so deserved to know, he'd tell her everything else. Everything. Honestly. No matter how much it hurt.

"I made Ladybug heal my cut the same day," he said.

"Yeah I know. That wasn't smart."

there was a hint of… not laughter… not really. Almost laughter, but not amused. Just, like, a little chuckle. The kind that only ever appeared because if you didn't laugh you might scream. Her finger curled against his bell, gently.

"I'm sorry," he sighed.

"I'm sure you had a good reason," she shrugged.

"I did."

"Can you tell me?"

"No. I want to though."

Marinette suddenly felt an urge to beg him to be more careful in future. It was a protective urge to ensure he wouldn't get hurt again. And yet, he was a hero. She couldn't ask him not to put himself into danger, just as she couldn't promise she wouldn't. They were in the same boat. Protect Paris first, each other second, themselves last. Marinette felt an eerie sense of change coming.

"By the way, I'm sorry if I got in the way of you and Adrien," his gaze flicked up onto her face again, just in time to see her puzzled frown.


"I heard about you and Alya arguing. She thinks were dating so you can't date Adrien. I'm sorry," he said.

Now the laughter was amused. Awkward, and a little uncomfortable, but amused. "N-no, no, honey bun, you didn't. She was upset because she thinks I'm not in love with Adrien anymore because she thinks I love you. She's worried about..."

Marinette cut herself off. Chat didn't need to hear that right now. unfortunately, he already knew what she was going to say.

"Your safety?"

Marinette bowed her head. Her hand slipped away from his bell and fell to her side. "Yeah..."

"Yeah. Being a hero sounds fun until you realise everyone you care about is always in danger of either being killed, or finding out I got killed," he sighed.

Ah. There was the change. Somewhere deep within her, a switch was flicked. She was going to make sure chat was never hurt in battle again. She reached out to take his hand in hers. Words escaped her. all she could think to do was change the subject.

"Wanna watch The Labyrinth again?"

Chat raised his head and grinned. "Yeah."

The two of them curled up on the sofa, watching the movie on her computer with a bowl of popcorn between them. they ignored the conversation that they had had, and the worry it left behind, choosing instead, to re-enact some of their favourite scenes as they played out on screen. Chat Noir was a killer David Bowie. Well he was the babe with the power after all. Marinette kept glancing over at him, to make sure he was looking content. It struck her how cute he was. so, utterly, absolutely adorable.

And hot.

It hit her like a lightning bolt to the heart. Adrien wasn't as appealing to her anymore, despite Alya's insistence, because despite the danger, she trusted Chat, and she knew he'd keep her safe. exactly when she'd fallen so hopelessly in love with him, she didn't know, but here she was. head over heels with her knight in impenetrable armour.

Oh, that's why she was his princess!

"You ok Mari?" Chat asked.

Marinette's ears turned pink. She had been staring at him in awe for five minutes now, and he was looking concerned. Marinette forced a smile and nodded. No words came to her, but not like when she was around Adrien. She didn't need words around Chat. He just understood her. he smiled back, and held out an arm. she crawled forward and laid her head against his chest. He laid his arm around her shoulders. He smiled down at her.

Marinette was such a good friend.

How to Bond With a Cat

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by Theonewhosawitall

Part 14 of 19

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