Continuing Tales

How to Bond With a Cat

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

Part 15 of 19

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Adrien laid on his back and stared up at his ceiling, absently drawing circles on Plagg's back as he dozed on his stomach. Plagg's little snores were almost purrs. He was content to nap on Adrien as he ran his fingers in circles along his spine, blissfully unaware of the turmoil within Adrien. Plagg deserved his nap. They had just come back from patrol and stopped to see Marinette since they were going past her house.
Adrien thought he could control it. He thought that he could beat it. He really, really did. He knew it was a tight rope to be walking along, a slippery one too, but he thought it would be fine. Yes, he loved Marinette, but he wasn't IN LOVE with Marinette. No, every fibre of his heart beat souly and singly for Ladybug, even if it were less than before.
Until today that is.
When he came bounding into her room, ready to hang out and do whatever she wanted to do again because last week it was his turn, and he had chosen to take her on a rooftop tour of the city. If her wrapping her arms (and sometimes legs if the gap was really wide) around him as he pole-vaulted through the city, so tightly that her shaky breath was the only thing warming his nose anymore, didn't make him fall in love with her, nothing could. He was safe to continue spending Thursday nights in her room, chatting and laughing until one of them fell asleep, or had to leave.
Or so he thought.
Because he landed in her bedroom, and his gaze fell on her. She had removed all her make-up, and her hair was in a messy bun on the top of her head. She was already in her pyjamas, even as she ate a bowl of ice cream that sat on her lap where her legs were folded atop the chair. She leaned backwards over the back of the chair, with the spoon dangling in her mouth, to look at him, upside down. Then she grinned at him, despite the spoon, and despite being upside down. Her smile was brighter than a million suns, and it burned its way right into his chest.
But in the end, it was the slippers that stole his heart. He could just about see the exclusive paw-shaped slipper boots on her feet. Special Chat Noir slippers that had sold out so quickly there were fist fights and blatant bribery over pairs of them.
Of course she had a pair.
She was his number one fan.

And he was in love with her.

"Good, you're here!" She beamed.

Chat turned pink behind his mask, and gave an awkward wave, "h-h-hi."

"Come," she pulled the spoon out of her mouth and rolled the chair to the side to reveal a stall beside her, which she tapped with the hand the spoon was in. "sit, we have work to do."

Hesitantly, Chat wandered over, and perched on the stall. He was so rigid that his back was like an ironing board. Marinette tilted her head at this, smirked, and gently prodded him with the handle of her spoon.

"What's happening here? Did someone iron you?" She teased.

Her hand brushed against his waist as she pulled it back. He blushed deeper, and shifted away from her, awkwardly.

"Um... no. I'm err, I'm fine."

Marinette narrowed her eyes suspiciously as she swallowed down another mouthful of ice cream. He forced a smile. She didn't believe it for a second, but for whatever reason, he didn't want to talk about what was bothering him.

"Ok, so look at this," she said, moving swiftly on.

Chat Noir eased slightly, relieved that she didn't press him into telling the truth. That would have been messy. But when she leaned over for the mouth, she leaned over him too. He gulped. Her hair smelled like strawberries, and it made his chest tighten.

Oh wow, Plagg thought, he's got it BAD!

He had it so bad that Marinette was explaining what they were about to watch, he was just staring at her, trying not to smile too wide at the way her eyes were shining and her hands went flailing around, gesturing wildly. How hadn't he noticed how beautiful she was before? Even without make up her skin had a glow, which honestly could have been the computer screen, and her lips were chapped, but gleamed as she licked them, and her eyes!
Oh those eyes!
All the blue in the world, the sky, the sea, forget-me-nots, sapphires, midnight, denim jeans, not of it compared to the blue in her eyes. They were so gloriously blue that you could get lost in them and become the guy Eiffel 65 were singing about.
Each time she blinked they were brighter. The way she was staring at him, so intensely, as if waiting for an answer - oh crap she was expecting an answer! She'd been walking all this time, and he hadn't listened to a word of it. Chat's stomach tightened, and his mind went into panic mode. Her gaze turned from intense to concerned. She reached out and touched his hand gently.

"Hey, seriously, are you ok?"

Her voice was kind and worried, but his entire attention was on her hand, on his. How he had fallen so hard so fast he'd never know. All he did know was he had to get a grip.

"Can I use your bathroom?"

"Sure. You know where it is."


Tikki appeared from behind the speaker as Chat vanished out of the doorway. She looked away from the door, to look back at Marinette.

"Well that was weird," she said.

"Was it? That cats weird so often I don't even register it anymore," Marinette smirked.

Her eyes didn't leave the door he'd just passed through. A trail of his cologne passed her, and she felt her heart beat harder. Her hand still tingled where they had touched. Tikki smirked. She had it bad. Chat had it worse. When he came back, she smiled at him. He turned red and apologised for interrupting her, and ran out onto her balcony to fly away. She watched him stumble as he hurried away, and felt a rush of disappointment.

"We need to find a way to show that kitty some love," Marinette said.

Tikki beamed, "I have an idea."

Adrien replayed that moment over and over in his mind. He could pinpoint the exact moment his heart overflooded with affection for her. The moment Ladybug was washed away for good... he wasn't sure how he felt about that one. He knew Ladybug didn't love him back, but still, replacing her like this felt like...

"What's wrong with a rebound girl?" Nino asked.

Adrien frowned as he swung his leg off the edge of his bed, the phone pinned to his ear. "Rebound girl?"

Nino's smirk could be heard through the phone. He loved how naive Adrien could be. It let him teach Adrien, like a parent teaching his son what life was all about.

"A girl you date after you break up with someone else."

Adrien frowned. "I didn't break up with anyone, I just stopped having a crush on her."

"Well there's still nothing wrong with messing around with a girl you don't want to settle down with, as long as you know where the line is," Nino shrugged.

"Wait, what?"

"There's nothing wrong with-"

"No, I know what you said, I meant, like, what?!"

"People do it Adrien. It called settling. Like how Alya settled for me. Don't tell her I said that," Nino smirked.

"Dude you two are on the same level, she's lucky to have you... I don't want her to think she's less than me. I don't want her to, no offence, feel like you do when you talk about Alya," Adrien sighed.

Nino shrugged. "None taken dude. Talking about Alya is my favourite thing to do after DJ-ing."

"I don't want to feel like I'm settling. I don't want her to feel that either."

"Do you love her?"

"I think so."

"Then don't give her a reason to doubt that."

"Will you help me?"

"Of course!" Nino beamed. "Who's the lucky girl?"


Nino choked on his drink.


It would have been easier to just date Adrien and ignore the fact she was in love with someone else than to tell Alya she had fallen out of love with Adrien. But it had to be done. She needed Alya's help. That's why she decided to suck it up, and ask Alya to meet her at the Louvre. Somewhere public avoided the chance that Alya would kill her, and the Louvre would remind her of that time she met Ladybug instead of being sacrificed by a Pharaoh, which was an added bonus.

"How old do you think Ladybug really is?" Alya asked.

"I don't know," she said.

Alya had been carrying this conversation since she met up with Marinette ay the bus stop. Marinette had been overly quiet and distracted. She needed to say something, and she didn't want to. Enough was enough.

"Alright, what's up?" Alya put a hand on her hip.

Marinette raised her head to look at Alya, "Huh?"

"You've been in a weird mood all day girl, what are you hiding?" Alya asked.

"I um..." Marinette trailed off.

"Go on, you can do it, just like we practiced," Tikki urged.

Marinette gulped. "We should talk..."

"Alright. Let's talk. What's going on?" Alya shrugged

Marinette frowned, "I um... I need to tell you that... well, it's just that... um..."

"Girl out with it!" Alya laughed.

She stopped laughing when she heard Marinette's reply.

"I don't love Adrien."

Alya's smile faded slowly, and in its place grew a frown. Shocked and disappointed. Stealing his phone, bribing Nino for his phone number, wasting all that money to go to the cinema together, hiding in the bushes to guide her though the zoo, pretending to break up with Nino, the Easter egg hunt! Everything they did to get Adrien... now it was all for nothing.
Marinette stared down at her shoes as Alya's hard glare bore into her, like lasers through her glasses. Slowly, she tried to take in what she was saying.

"You... don't... love Adrien?"

Marinette felt her cheeks growing hot and red again. "Well, I love him, but I don't think I'm in love with him. Not like that anyway."

"But... ok... so... what happened?" Alya asked, slowly.

"I don't know for certain, but..."

Marinette turned redder as she trailed off. Alya's opinion meant so much to her, and she knew she would disapprove. It wasn't that she didn't like Chat, she didn't know enough to say that, but she was worried her. Alya was not stupid. She knew what Marinette's silence met.

Somewhere between a sigh and an irritated snarl, Alya said, "But your head got turned by a fancy feline even though I told you not to."

"It wasn't his fault. He wanted a friend, and I had to go and fall in love," Marinette sighed.

She felt guilty about it. Just under a year ago now, he had come to her aid for Nino, and she had invited him to her families Bake Off, and they were friends. Now she was going to ruin that if he didn't love her. She couldn't bear the idea of losing the friendship they had made.

"This isn't right," Alya scowled.

"I'm sorry Alya, but it is... I really like him," She confessed.

Tikki smiled at the venerable honesty in her voice, but Alya wasn't having any of that.

"No! Not the flea bag, not after everything we've done!"


"It's not fair! He's dangerous Marinette! Dangerous and unreliable!"


"He'll break your heart that stupid stray!"

"Alya, I love you, but you have got to listen to me!"

"Your heart belongs to Adrien!"

Marinette leapt forward and grabbed each of Alya's hands so she couldn't keep throwing them about as she ranted, and instead focused her attention on Marinette. Marinette tried to be understanding, but there was a flicker of anger in her chest at how rude she was being about her friend.

"My heart isn't some burden to be dumped on the doorstep of someone that doesn't want it! I get to choose who deserves it, and I get to offer it to them," she said, seriously.

Alya pulled her hands back to gesture with them, desperately, "But he loves you!"

"Adrien doesn't love me," Marinette said, plainly. It was something she has come to understand and accept now. "That hasn't changed in this long, why would it change now?"


"I'm not finished."

Alya wasn't used to the calm, confident, seriousness that her best friend was giving off now. It was the Ladybug in her, shining through. Alya was taken aback by it, and shut her mouth to listen to her. Marinette took a deep breath.

"Chat Noir is there for me, I know you think he's unreliable, but he never claimed to be otherwise. He's dangerous to love because I could lose him, I know. I accept that. But really, when I need him, he's there. And when he gets hurt or injured and unable to fight he needs me. He'll fight harder for me."

Alya seemed pained with worry. Her voice was quieter than usual. "Mari, you jumped into danger to save him when he was a stranger. If you fall for him, you'll do so much worse."

Marinette felt her friends worry in her chest. It hurt, but she knew she needed to see this through, openly and honestly. She would hate it if she lost Chat's friendship over this, but she couldn't stand the idea of losing Alya over anything.

"Maybe... It'll kill me to lose him, but I know what I'm getting into, and I choose it. I choose the danger, and the heartbreak and the rewards that come with it... I choose him. So I'd really appreciate it if you stopped calling him a mangy stray."

Alya felt a pang of guilt. It was easy for her to insult Chat Noir since she didn't know him at all, but her friend was asking her to stop, because she loved him...

Alya sighed. "You're really sure about this, aren't you?"

Marinette wasn't sure whether to nod or shake her head, so she shrugged. "Part of me will always love Adrien, but I have to know if I have a chance with Chat."

"Will he make you happy Mari? Even if you never find out who he is?" Alya asked.

Honesty. She had to be honest. "I don't know. But I want to find out."

"He's in love with Ladybug," Alya warned.

That bothered Marinette. If he loved Ladybug, fine. She could be with him as Ladybug. But she wasn't really Ladybug. She was just plain old Marinette. Part of her would rather be loved for being Marinette. She had to know which side of her he loved. Really loved.

"I still have to find out who Betty is. If she's Ladybug, he'll tell me," She said.

"I don't know what that means," Alya said, gently.

"I can find out who he loves before I tell him I love him," Marinette explained.

Alya nodded. "You may have to. I don't want to see you hurt."

"It'll hurt more if I don't try."

"Marinette you're crazy. But I love you, so I'll stand by you."

Alya pulled her friend into a hug. Marinette hugged her back. Both of them clung on, squeezing each other as hard as they could, as if stopping you breathing proved their love for you.

In her ear, Alya said, quietly, but seriously, "If he ever hurts you, hero or not, I'll rip him apart."

Marinette laughed and laid her head against Alya's shoulder. "I love you Alya."

Alya blinked back a tear. This was heart-breaking for her, but she powered through for Marinette's sake. As soon as she regained composure she pulled back and forced a smile.

"Alright girl, time for a new plan!"


The next day, at school, Marinette sat down beside Adrien with a thunk. Her leg pressed against his, and she didn't notice, but he couldn't think of anything else. The distraction choked him. Her words didn't much help.

"Adrien I need you."

"Y-y-y-you what?"

Her ears turned pink when she realised what that sounded like. "I need your help."

"Oh, right. Of course," he cleared his throat nervously, trying to summon his inner Chat Noir to calm himself, "because the last time I helped you with something, it went so well."

Marinette laughed and nudged him playfully, which made his collar hot and his cheeks pink. She didn't notice.

"Hey, if I had gotten to you to see that mistletoe, it would have gone clawlessly!"

His eyes widened, and his heart soared. "I-I'm sorry?"

She bit her lip, "Flawlessly."

A smile curled across his lips. "That's not what you said."

She wrinkled her nose, blushed a little, and moved on as briskly as possible. "A little birdy told me you can paint nails well."

Adrien suddenly frowned. He glanced around to check no one was around to hear what she had said. He wasn't worried about not being seen as masculine (that ship sailed when he became a perfume model) but if that rumour got out, people would be queuing up for him to do their nails, and he didn't have time for that.

"Who told you that?" He gulped.

Her eyes sparkled mischievously. "You did, like nine months ago, when I came in with Chat Noir nails."

His chest eased, and his shoulders fell as relief swept through him. "Really? And you remembered?"

She smiled at him, that stunning sunlit smile, "I remember everything you say."

Bah-thud. His hand moved to his chest to push his heart back into place. Breathlessly, he mumbled, "Fascinating."

She tilted her head, staring at him, patiently. "Well?"

He blinked blankly, "Huh?"

She smiled at him, which melted his heart again. "Can you teach me to paint nails too?"

"Oh, um, sure. Why?" he asked.

She looked down at the table, blushing a little, and said, "I wanna surprise my friend. He did my nails once, and-"

"Chat Noir?" Adrien was shocked.

She raised her head and blinked in surprise. "How did you-"

"I remember what you tell me too," he shrugged, and bowed his head.

Marinette beamed and nudged him again, "Aww Adrien!"

Her little giggle made it very hard to stop his heart beating like a hummingbirds. He cleared his throat awkwardly, "um, Chat wears gloves. You can't paint his nails."

She frowned, as if she hadn't thought about that. "I could paint his claws…"

"Then he'd have to fight an akuma with butterflies on his nails."

"I was going to put a Ladybug on it actually. He loves Ladybug."

She sounded a little disheartened by that, and it made Adrien eager to assure her that, even though he had been in love with Ladybug, he had moved on now. he couldn't though. it hurt to have to pretend he didn't know what Chat was thinking, especially when it could help cheer up his princess, but he had to.

"Does he?"

"Yeah... I figured out ages ago that Betty was Ladybug, but I had to tell him that Louis was-"

Marinette cut herself off. she might not be in love with Adrien anymore, but telling him that she had been at one point could still make this awkward. This friendship. And Adrien didn't deserve that. so Marinette felt that it was best not to mention it. Adrien, however, was desperate to hear her admit that she loved him. that someone could actually love him. he had spent so long giving affection that was never reciprocated, he was desperate for any sign someone loved him back.

He tried to keep that out of his voice as he half-begged, "Marinette?"

Marinette lifted her head to meet his gaze. "Do you really think he won't like his claws painted?"

Adrien's heart sank. He shrugged it off the best that he could. "He might like it, but I don't think Paris would be too impressed that their hero painted his claws."

Marinette wrinkled her nose. "Mmm. Maybe you're right. I'm going to go to the salon to see what they think."

"The girls?" Adrien smirked.


"Can... can I... can I come too?"

It felt strange to ask. he was hotly aware that the only boy who ever got to sit in on those salon games was Nathanael, (and sometimes Ivan but rarely) but he wasn't sure why. To be honest, it was simply because he was the only boy who ever wanted to. The girls welcomed anyone who wanted their hair done. Sabrina came more often then she'd tell Chloe, but they would even allow Chloe to join in. possibly. Adrien stared down at the table, expecting her to tell him he wasn't welcome, because he wasn't a girl. Instead, Marinette shrugged.

"Can you do plaits?"

He lifted his head, surprised but hopeful at this possible invitation. "I can do buns."

What he didn't add, was that she taught him how to.

She shrugged again and smirked. "That'll do. Come on then."

Adrien lit up. He liked being welcome into the girls gossiping sessions. It felt supportive and funny, and playful. Plus there was a lot of grooming involved and, being a model, he was pretty well prepared for that. He gathered his things as Marinette stood up to wait for him.
Adrien felt slightly awkward as he and Marinette wandered over to where the girls were gathered around a picnic table. Rose, Alya and Juleka were sitting on the table top, while Mylene and Alya sat on the seat. Both of them were having their hair brushed out, sat between the feet of the girls brushing their hair. Alya raised an eyebrow when she saw Adrien.

"Girls, Adrien says he can do buns, does anyone want a bun?" Marinette asked.

"I'll take one!"

Rose didn't really have enough hair for a bun, but she wanted to make Adrien feel welcome in their little gossip circle so Nathanael wouldn't be the only boy, because that made him feel a little awkward. (he was currently over in the café buying them all food, because he was uncomfortable and wanted an escape, but he liked being in that little gang. He really did.) Marinette held out a hand to help Rose climb down from the table, onto the ground, and swap places with Adrien.

"Adrien stand here, Rose, sit here, brushes are there, hair bands are there."

Adrien glanced down at the table he was now sitting on. There were hairbrushes, hair bands, a sea spray, clips, doughnuts, and various other hair care supplies laid out ready for doing each other's hair with. He picked up a bush as Rose shook out her hair, now free from it's clips. Gently as he could, he brushed Rose's hair.

"Whose hair are you doing Mari?" Juleka asked.

"I'll braid yours if you want," Marinette offered.

Juleka smiled a little. "Sounds cool."

Juleka moved to sit on the seat as Marinette climbed up onto the table beside Adrien. Juleka sat between her legs as Marinette picked up a brush. They loved doing Juleka's hair. It was soft and long and thick, and sometimes it would take four of them to finish one style in time, so it really brought them together as a group. Juleka loved those days most.

"Adrien, are you going to teach us how to paint our nails now?" Alya asked.

"Um, I will if you want, but-"

Adrien was interrupted by Rose cheering. The movement jolted her hair free from his hand and he worried for a moment that he had hurt her, but her great big beam made him realise he didn't.

"YAY! I've always wanted to be able to paint nails like a professional!"

Her enthusiasm made them grin. Adrien thought Rose was full of sunshine and it spilt out when she smiled. Marinette thought the same about Adrien. That made Alya sigh.

"But what?" she asked.

"But he pointed out that Chat Noir's claws probably shouldn't be painted, and his nails are underneath them," Marinette explained.

"Seriously? If that boy stays covered up like a nun he'll never get a hickey," Alya tutted.

Adrien and Marinette turned pink, but Marinette managed to keep her voice, unlike Adrien.


"She's right though."


Mylene turned red and hid her face, muttering, "what?! She is!"

"maybe so. That's not the point," Marinette said, "Juleka what do you and Rose do when you're just wasting time together?"

"Um… like, sleep?" Juleka shrugged.

"Nap time is the best time," Rose beamed.

Adrien beamed and laughed, "Yeah it is!"

The two of them high fived and Alya turned away so Marinette wouldn't see her roll her eyes.

"How about board games?" Mylene asked.

Alya's eyes widened and she said, loudly, "NO!"

"Why not?" Mylene asked.

"Have you ever played a board game with Marinette? She doesn't sink battle ships, she explodes them. there isn't a bank in Monopoly, it's called Marinette. Who killed Mr. Boddy? Marinette in the library with the candle stick! She always wins!" Alya huffed.

Marinette grinned. "I guess I've got a very lucky charm."

Marinette pulled the lucky bracelet Adrien had made for her from her pocket at the same time that Adrien's hand instinctively moved to his back pocket, where her lucky bracelet was hidden away safely. Plagg rolled his eyes. he knew what that lucky charm was. Tikki. She had all the luck.

"Just tell him you're in love with him," Alya huffed.

"that's ridiculous, that wouldn't work," Marinette said.

"Adrien what would you do if a girl told you she wanted to spend more time with you because she loved you?" Alya challenged.

Probably internally combust. He certainly wouldn't be able to talk for a while, if the right girl said it. he felt his collar heat up again as the girls turned to look at him, curious as to why it was taking him so long to answer.

"I'll let you know if it ever happens," he said.

Marinette whined softly, "Aww don't get yourself down, someone will fall for you, you're awesome!"

His heart missed a beat. "Really?"

"Yeah dude, I've known you a little over two years now, and you still constantly surprise me. You're sweet, and kind, and friendly, even though you could totally be arrogant because you're hot enough to be a model, you're not. you're really nice. And you're willing to help a bunch of girls do their hair for gossip, and we trust you enough to let you near our hair, so we know you're one of us anyway," she beamed.

He bowed his head and blushed, "Thanks Marinette."

Alya was burning inside. If she had said that three months ago then this stupid cat would never had gotten into her head and – no. deep breaths. She couldn't be mean about Chat Noir anymore. She had to pretend to like him. anyway, she'd never have been able to say that to him three months ago. Even then she could only string together three coherent sentences near him. This was so unfair. Fortunately, she was blessed with a great (mostly) distraction, because Hawkmoth decided to raise his wings.

"I gotta go!" Adrien said, quickly, at the exact same moment that Marinette dropped Alya's hair, unfinished, and said, "I'll be right back!"

Alya pulled her hair out of her eyes and pinned it back with a clip she found on the table, said her goodbyes to the girls, and raced towards the dust cloud forming about a mile away, phone in hand, eager to see Ladybug, but dreading seeing Chat Noir. Then a thought came to her.

What if she could figure out who Chat Noir was?

He was always less determined not to be see than Ladybug, it could be easy to follow him. easy to keep her distance so she wouldn't be noticed. If she could tell Marinette who he was, who he really was, maybe it'd be easier for both of them to decide what to do next. To protect her friend if she needed to. Alya ran a little faster.

How to Bond With a Cat

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

Part 15 of 19

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