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Are You Sure We're Talking About the Same Person?

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"I can't tell you who my crush is, Nino. Even if I wanted to. The fate of Paris, and possibly the world, won't let me."

 

"Sounding a little dramatic there, dude."

 

Adrien laid on the floor of Nino's living room, watching the light from the T.V. flicker as Nino played Mega Mash Mofo's . Adrien had lost interest in the game about an hour ago, but Nino was still at it. The clicking sounds from the controler were somewhat soothing to him - he found - so he didn't mind him playing too much. Besides, Nino was a great multi-tasker, and - as much as Adrien would have liked for it to stop at the moment - their conversation continued.

 

"Ok fine bro," Nino said, his controller still clicking away. "You don't have to say her name if you're too embarrassed. But maybe you could describe her..?" Adrien sighed. Nino was his best friend, and he did feel bad keeping his crush a secret from him. He could at least give him this, embarrassing as it was.

 

"She's kind... Brave..." Adrien felt a stupid grin forming on his face as he spoke. He couldn't help but to smile like that when thinking of his Lady. " Amazing ..." 

 

"Congrats dude, you just described like, every girl in Paris."

 

Adrien sat up in objection. 

 

"No, Nino, you don't get it!" he said, grabbing Nino's shoulders and shaking him. Nino chuckled, but his eyes stayed focused on the screen. "She's one of a kind," Adrien insisted.

 

"Right." 

 

"She lights up the room,"

 

"Uh-huh." 

 

"She's a superhero!" 

 

"She's a what?" Nino asked, turning to glance at Adrien.

 

"She's like a superhero, I mean." Adrien blurted, blushing slightly at his slip. Nino rolled his eyes.

 

"C'mon man," he said, sighing. "You gotta be more specific! What's she like ?"

 

"Well..." Adrien hesitated. Where would he even begin? "She's always committed to getting the job done, y'know?" Nino nodded his head, and Adrien took it as an indication to continue.

 

"She's passionate... And driven. And she always puts others first. She can be a little too serious sometimes but I think it's just because she cares so much, y'know?" He paused for a moment, before adding, "But I mean, it's not like she doesn't know how to have fun or anything, she just needs a little help sometimes." Nino nodded stoically, as if he were deep in thought.

 

"What do you like most about her?" He asked. 

 

"Her smile..." Adrien sighed dreamily. Nino snorted.

 

"That's obvious." 

 

"Ok, fine. Her eyes." 

 

"Her eyes?" 

 

"She has these gorgeous, striking, baby blue eyes. Eyes that look into your soul." Nino laughed, playfully nudging Adrien with his elbow.

 

"That's so cliche, man." he said. Adrien pouted. He stood up dramatically, and Nino looked up at him in confusion.

 

"The way her blue eyes shimmer in the sunlight, the way her pigtails bounce when she moves her head even the slightest bit, the way she smiles…" Adrien felt his face turn red. "I like all of it, okay? I like everything, even if it's cliche. I'm in love with her, dude."

 

Nino paused his game.

 

"Bro..." he said, his eyes blinking wide.

 

"What?"

 

"Don't freak out, but I know who you're talking about." 

 

Adrien paled. Had he really given it away?

 

"You do?" he asked, narrowing his eyes in suspicion.

 

"I had a crush on her too, before I met Alya." 

 

Adrien felt his mouth gape. Nino had a crush on Ladybug? Well, it wasn't that surprising. She was kind of a celebrity, after all. 

 

"You did?" he asked anyways.

 

"It's alright, man," Nino said. He patted the floor next to him, motioning for Adrien to sit. Adrien obliged. "Your secret's safe with me," Nino assured him. "I won't even say her name."

 

Adrien didn't really doubt Nino's ability to keep a secret. Nino was a good friend, and he would stick to his word. Still, Adrien was hesitant.

 

"Are you sure we're thinking of the same person?" he asked.

 

"Baby blue eyes and pigtails? Passionate? Driven? Like a superhero? C'mon, man!" 

 

Adrien grimaced.

 

"Yeah... I guess that could give it away..."

 

"Look dude," Nino reached out, putting his hands on Adrien's shoulders. "I'm gonna be real with you. You gotta tell her." Adrien cringed. He had told her, multiple times. She always rejected his advances. Nino seemed to notice Adrien's defeat, and squeezed his shoulders. "Hey," he said, trying to regain his focus. "I have it on pretty good authority that she likes you back." 

 

"Pretty good authority?"

 

"Bro, it's obvious!" Nino said, breaking away from Adrien and gesturing wildly. "The way she acts around you? Even just her face is a dead giveaway! Have you seen the way she blushes?"

 

Adrien thought for a moment. Did she act strange around him? He wouldn't be able to tell, even if she did. He wasn't great at reading people, especially not girls. Nino had a girlfriend, though, so maybe he was better at it. But did she really blush around him? The mask obscured her facial expressions at times.

 

"Not really…" Adrien admitted sheepishly. "But maybe I haven't been looking?" Nino's lips drew into a line.

 

"You gotta tell her." Nino insisted, though, with a flatness to his voice.

 

"I've tried!"

 

Nino's eyes widened with surprise, and subsequently narrowed.

 

"What does 'try' mean to you?" He asked.

 

"Well…" Adrien had tried. Many times. Ladybug always shrugged him off. He never really understood what he was doing wrong. He tried with all the Chat in him to be charming and romantic - but it never got through to her. Sometimes, it felt like she took his feelings to be one big joke. "I've flirted, I guess." He said, finally.

 

"Nah man, girls are dumb." Nino said flatly. "You can't just flirt, you've gotta say it. If you just flirt, she'll overthink it and wonder if you actually like her or if you're just being friendly. You've gotta be direct and sincere." 

 

"Direct and sincere?" Adrien asked. He thought he was being direct and sincere. 

 

"Like…" Nino seemed as if he were struggling to find the words. Adrien couldn't help but to feel like he was a child in this situation, asking the most obvious yet unexplainable questions to an unsuspecting parent. 

 

"Ok, so," Nino finally said. "Don't play it up. Don't crack jokes. Make sure she knows you're being serious, and then tell her how you truly and honestly feel." 

 

Adrien winced. Was he really playing it up? He wasn't meaning to. If he was being honest, he had never really interacted with a girl that he liked before Ladybug. He didn't really know what he was doing. 

 

"You can't be afraid of your feelings, bro!" Nino continued, grasping Adrien's shoulder. "Don't mask them with all the flirtatious stuff. You go up to that girl and you honestly declare your love to her!" 

 

Adrien smiled at his friend's encouragement.

 

"You can do it, Adrien Agreste!" Nino said, slapping Adrien's back. 

 

“Thank you, Nin-” A thought occurred to Adrien, interrupting his sentence, and his face suddenly fell. "Wait, what did you just say?" he asked.

 

"Huh? I said-"

 

"Adrien."

 

"Uh, yeah." Nino replied, warily. "That's you, dude." 

 

"She likes... Adrien Agreste."

 

"That's what I said." 

 

Adrien swayed.

 

"You ok, buddy?" Nino asked, his eyebrows furrowing. 

 

In a sudden burst of energy, Adrien sprinted across the room to the window. He thrusted it open with a heave.

 

"I'm-sorry-my-father-just-texted-me-and-he-says-I-need-to-leave-like-right-now-for-a-shoot-gotta-go-bye! "

 

With that, Adrien jumped out the window.

 

"Bro!" Nino yelled after him. "This was supposed to be a sleepover! It's like 3 AM! Where are you even going?" 

 

Nino gaped as he watched as Adrien dash down the street at mach speed. Adrien didn't respond to his questions. He had to find his Lady. She was probably still out patrolling.

 

Chapter Text

Ladybug liked him. Ladybug liked Adrien Agreste. It all made sense. Of course she would reject his advances as Chat Noir if she liked Adrien . She thought Adrien and Chat Noir were two different people!  

 

Adrien ran through the quiet streets of Paris. It was the perfect time of the day - the time when the world seemed to still. No one was around to expect anything from him in the late hours of the night. It was then when he felt truly free to be whoever he wanted. Most of the time, that was Chat. But now? It was Adrien. He could be Adrien.

 

Running around this late as Adrien was a new experience. His steps resounded loudly as Adrien. He lacked the natural cat-like stealth of Chat Noir. The breeze hit his face differently. It traveled through his hair with much more ease. Without his transformation, he was slower, and he felt fatigue setting in. He actually felt as if he were running out of breath. He couldn't remember the last time felt like that. It was kind of exhilarating. 

 

A small, black Kwami trailed behind him as he traversed onward through the sleeping city. 

 

"Plagg, isn't it amazing?" Adrien huffed between breaths. 

 

"What's amazing, exactly?" the Kwami replied, yawning. "I'll have you know I was having a wonderful dream about cheese before you rudely woke me up for this. Some people like to actually sleep at night."

 

"I thought cats were nocturnal." 

 

"Only when we want to be." 

 

Normally, that would warrant an eye roll, but Adrien was in too good a mood. He chuckled, instead.

 

"Plagg, Ladybug likes Adrien !" 

 

"And Plagg likes to sleep without being interrupted." 

 

"No, no- I mean Ladybug likes me as Adrien." 

 

Adrien rounded a corner and skidded to a stop. He turned his gaze to the rooftops, looking for Ladybug. She wasn't there. Adrien sighed, and took a moment to catch his breath. Plagg floated in front of his face, his arms crossed. 

 

"I don't get it." he said, flatly. Adrien groaned. It was kind of confusing. He hadn't completely worked it out himself, if he was being honest.

 

"Ladybug likes me," he started, carefully. "But she doesn't know that she likes me because she likes Adrien, and she doesn't know that I am Adrien." Adrien looked at Plagg, who met him with a blank stare. Adrien smiled sheepishly.

 

"Wait, you're Adrien?!" Plagg gasped, after a moment of silence. He was being sarcastic.

 

"Very funny, Plagg."

 

Adrien surveyed his surroundings once again. He was following their usual patrol route. He was bound to find her eventually if he kept going, but his chest and legs protested at the thought. He thought about transforming into Chat, but quickly dismissed the thought. Ladybug liked Adrien, after all.

 

Adrien took a deep breath, and continued into the street, falling into a steady jog. Plagg stayed behind for a few seconds, likely in protest, before zipping in front of him.

 

"How is it, again, that you know she likes you?" he asked.

 

"Well, because Nino said it was obvious." 

 

"I didn't know Nino was friends with Ladybug." Adrien paused for a moment. Now that he thought about it, how did Nino know that she liked him? When did he have a chance to see them together? Well, there was constant news coverage during an Akuma attack, and his girlfriend did run the Ladyblog. Maybe he picked it up from her.

 

"It doesn't matter, Plagg. I have to-" 

 

Zzzzzr.

 

Adrien panicked when he heard the familiar zip of his Lady's yoyo. He lurched to a stop, dead in his tracks. He wasn't ready. Oh, God , he wasn't ready. 

 

He glanced upwards, just in time to see the black silhouette of the girl he loved pass over him. Her figure was perfectly outlined in the night. She was graceful, as always. She flew through the air as if she owned the sky - as if she commanded it. She flew over him, and time seemed to stop. And then, she was gone.

 

"Wait! Ladybug!" Adrien shouted. He already felt his face getting hot. What was he doing? This was crazy!

 

Adrien hoped, for a moment, that Ladybug hadn't heard him. He stared up towards the rooftops. After a few moments, he saw Ladybug’s figure appear on the edge of the roof in front of him. Plagg slipped into Adrien's pocket as she dove off of the building, landing in front of him. Adrien nearly swooned when her face came into view, dimly illuminated by the warm glow of the streetlight above them. She was so beautiful.

 

“Adrien?” she asked, approaching him warily. “What are you doing out here so late? Is something wrong?” Adrien paled. He hadn’t thought through what he was going to say. He didn’t actually think he would get this far.

 

“Oh, well,” he said, stumbling over his words. “You know, just out for a walk…” 

 

“At three in the morning?” Ladybug tilted her head ever so slightly to the side, causing her bangs to shift. She looked at him inquisitively. Her bright blue eyes shone even in near darkness. Adrien felt like his heart was going to pop out of his chest. He chuckled nervously.

 

"Well… You know me…" he said, before immediately cringing. Ladybug didn't know him as someone who would go out for a walk at 3 AM. That was Chat Noir. He was Adrien. "I love walking… and stuff. It's totally something I do. All the time." God, he sounded like an idiot. He was an idiot. Plagg stirred from inside his shirt pocket, seeming to concur. 

 

"Oh." Ladybug said, slowly. "Well, it's really not safe to be out so late…" She peered from side to side warily, as if looking around for danger. 

 

"Of course it's safe. Paris is always safe with you around." Adrien said, surprisingly without missing a beat. Ladybug’s eyes widened. Was she… Blushing? It was too dark to tell. A smile formed on her face. That smile. The one that found its way on her lips clumsily. The smile that contrasted her confident, heroic demeanor. The one that gave a glimpse into the girl beyond the mask. It was the smile he adored.

 

"That's really sweet," she said. "But even I can't save you from the horrors of sleep deprivation. You should really go home and get some rest." 

 

"Well actually, I-"

 

"Oh! I'll even take you home! It'll be much faster that way. You're probably really tired, huh?" 

 

Before Adrien could get another word in, Ladybug scooped him up into her arms, bridal-style. Adrien yelped in surprise as she leaped upwards, dashing onto the rooftops. He flushed a shade brighter than her suit. It was a little embarrassing to be held like that, but it was nice being in her arms. She was so close. She was so close that he could feel the rising and falling of her chest as she breathed. He could feel her warmth.

 

Ladybug was fast. Even without using her yoyo, she leaped from building to building with ease. The two flew through the city, and Adrien savored every minute of it. He looked up at his Lady, who was focused onward. She wore a small smile on her lips, but it was bright and full in her eyes. Adrien wondered if she felt the same freedom he did as Chat Noir. He got lost in her eyes, for a moment. Eventually, he followed her gaze, only to realize that they were nearly at the Agreste mansion - his house. Once they got there, she would leave him, vanishing into the night.

 

“Wait..!” He shouted to be heard over the wind rushing by them.

 

“Don’t worry, I’ve got you!” Ladybug said, smiling confidently. She held him closer, and Adrien nearly felt faint. 

 

“No, I-” 

 

He had to do it. He had to tell her. 

 

“I have something to tell you!”

 

Direct and sincere.

 

“What?” Ladybug tilted her head to look down at him.

 

“I’m in love with you!” 

 

Adrien felt a sudden jerk of motion. The wind sounded louder now, and he felt the sudden urge to scream. Buildings blurred by him.

 

Oh. 

 

He was falling. 

 

Adrien flailed. He narrowly resisted the urge to transform and save himself as he plummeted down towards the street. Ladybug was right there. She wouldn’t let him fall.

It then occurred to Adrien that she was the one who dropped him in the first place. 

 

Zzzzzr.

 

Adrien felt another jerk of motion. This one was accompanied by pain. A yoyo string wrapped around his torso stopped him from splattering onto the ground. However, in the process, it had nearly given him whiplash - and Adrien felt as if his back had cracked so thoroughly that he wouldn’t be needing to go to the chiropractor for a while. 

 

“Oh my God!” He heard from above. “I’m so stupid! Er- sorry! I’m so sorry!” Ladybug stood on a building above him. She loosened the string too quickly, and Adrien hit the ground with a thud. Ladybug landed next to him shortly afterwards. She knelt down beside him. “Are you okay?” she asked urgently. 

 

“Uh, I think so…” Adrien sat up, rubbing the back of his head. Had he hit it? “Did you... drop me on purpose?” 

 

“No!” Ladybug shouted in response. A little too loudly. “Of course not, I would never do that! You’re too pretty-” Ladybug spoke quickly, stumbling over her herself. She gestured wildly with nearly every word. It was strange, he had never seen her act like this, yet it seemed somewhat familiar. “I mean, pretty fragile! Being a civilian and all! It would be irresponsible of me to play a prank on you like that!” 

 

“Oh, well that’s a relief.” Adrien replied, smiling. At least she hadn’t dropped him in response to his confession. 

 

“I- uh…” Ladybug started.  ”What was it you said up there? I just want to make sure I heard you right, because I thought I heard you say you were in love with me, but that’s crazy, right? I mean there’s no way that you could possibly -” 

 

“No, that’s right.” Adrien turned to look at her. Ladybug wore an expression he couldn’t read. He had never seen it before. “I’m in love with you, Ladybug. I’ve been in love with you since I first saw you. That’s why I was out tonight. I was looking for you. I wanted to finally confess my feelings.” Adrien felt himself blushing as he spoke. But, he felt at peace with his words. It was a relief to finally say it. “I was hoping that we could maybe… Go on a date?”

 

Ladybug shot up suddenly. She turned, almost robotically, regarding him with too wide a smile. 

 

“Would you excuse me for a moment?” she said through clenched teeth.

 

“Um, sure-” Before Adrien had the chance to fully say the word, Ladybug dashed away. She ran up the street for a few yards and then turned into an alleyway. Adrien looked down at Plagg, who had peeked out of his pocket. Plagg simply offered him a half-hearted shrug. Suddenly, a piercing, ungodly screech filled the air, causing both Adrien and Plagg to jump. It was over in a few seconds, and moments later, Ladybug emerged from the alleyway. She walked towards Adrien calmly, with a small smile on her face. 

 

“Adrien,” she said as she approached. “I’m really flattered.” Adrien felt a pit grow in his stomach. That was what people said before they rejected someone. “But, I’m a superhero. If we dated, I would be putting you in danger.” Ladybug leaned in closer. She grabbed his hands, putting them in hers. “I couldn’t do that to you.” 

 

“So, that’s a no..?” Adrien sighed. Ladybug looked down, her mask creasing upwards with her eyebrows. 

 

“If things were different…”

 

“Different?” 

 

“Well, if Hawkmoth wasn’t terrorizing the city, and if I wasn’t responsible for saving said city…” Adrien smiled.

 

“So, once you defeat Hawkmoth,” he said, trying not to sound too excited. “Which will definitely happen any day now, because you’re amazing…” Ladybug stared at him, eyes blinking wide. And then, she smiled that clumsy smile. Adrien felt his heart melting.

 

“Once I defeat Hawkmoth.” she repeated. 

 

The two stared into each other’s eyes for what seemed like an eternity. All the while, Adrien grinned stupidly. Nino was right. Ladybug did have a crush on Adrien. 

 

“It’s late,” Ladybug finally said. “Do you need any help getting home, or..?”

 

“I think I’ll be alright.” 

 

“Right,” she said, sounding a bit dejected. “Well, goodnight.” Ladybug turned to walk away. She stopped for a moment, turned around, and lightly kissed Adrien on the cheek. Then, she zipped away, vanishing into the night.

 

Adrien reached up and touched his cheek. It still felt warm from the kiss - and he had a feeling it would stay like that for a while. 

 

“Well kid, congrats. Now all you gotta do is beat the evilest supervillain in all of Paris. I’m sure it won’t be that hard.” Adrien laughed, but it wasn’t that funny. 

 

“Plagg, transform me.”