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Oh, What A Tale

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At first glance, today’s akuma victim had seemed like the normal, everyday supervillain Ladybug and Chat Noir faced. The akuma was a little boy that had been made fun of for liking princesses and fairy tales. As a result, ended up being subject to one of Hawk Moth’s butterflies. He was dressed in a dark blue dress with a golden crown sitting on his head (which was where Marinette assumed the akuma was), floating over Paris with nothing but glee on his face as he aimed rays at people from left and right. When he zapped the people, they simply vanished. To where, she had no idea, but Marinette wasn’t planning on finding out.

“I need to find a place to transform,” Marinette muttered to Tikki as she hid behind a bush with several other of her classmates. She and her friends had been hanging out at the Place Des Vosges when the akuma had popped up. Currently, he was wreaking at the center of the park, and her friends had pulled her aside before she could run away to transform.

Tikki only glanced up at her helplessly. Marinette let out a sigh and instead watched the akuma from where she was. Chat Noir was already on the scene, dancing around the akuma as he taunted him.

“Well, well,” Chat said, “and who do we have here? Cinderella?”

The akuma scowled and aimed a ray at him. “I’m not Cinderella! I’m going to show you what it’s like to be a boy that likes Disney princesses!”
“Hey, but I already do like Disney princesses!” Chat narrowly jumped out of the way and onto the edge of the fountain. “They’re amazing! Whoever made fun of you isn’t fairy nice.”

“You’ll never understand!” The boy hovered several feet above the ground and glowered at the superhero. He held his arm out--the one from which the rays came out of--and trained his gaze where Chat was standing.

“I’m sure we can talk this--”

“No!” The akuma quickly fired a couple of rays at him. Chat Noir nimbly dodged them, but it was clear as he looked around that he was worried. Marinette could easily read the expression on his face: where’s Ladybug?

Marinette gritted her teeth. That was it. She needed to transform and help him. At this rate, all of Paris would disappear because of the akuma to wherever they went, and she couldn’t let that happen. So she stood up and turned towards the direction of the bakery, ready to sprint when someone grabbed her arm.

“Marinette, what’re you doing?” Rose squeaked. Behind her, Juleka and Mylène seemed horrified.

“I need to go see if my parents are alright!” Marinette glanced over to where Chat was still struggling with the akuma. The boy was now firing rays continuously. It was only a matter of time before Chat got hit.

“They’ll be fine,” Mylène said, “just stay here. Marinette, you can’t get captured like Alya and Alix did!”

Marinette flashed her friends a reassuring smile. “I’m not running towards the danger like those two did; I just want to check on my parents. I’ll be fine.”

In the second that her friends hesitated, Marinette shook off Rose’s grip on her arm and took off in the direction of the bakery. They called after her, but she didn’t listen. If she got inside, she could rush up to her room, transform, and join Chat so they could fight the akuma. Paris would be safe, and then she could get back to having a nice afternoon with her friends.

What she hadn’t accounted for, however, was for the akuma to momentarily get blindsided by her sudden movement and decide she would be a better target than Chat Noir. She hadn’t expected for Chat to notice and scream her name, and she definitely hadn’t planned on turning around at the sound.

And of course, the last thing she thought would happen was for Chat to barrel into her just as the akuma raised his hand and fired a ray at them.

The next thing she knew, Marinette was standing in front of a huge looming tower with tendrils weaving delicately along its sides. The tower went up so high it was as tall as a waterfall, and cascading from the fall was a gentle river that curved around the side. She stared at the building with a frown.

“Where have I seen this tower before?” she wondered, glancing down at herself. Marinette gasped at the sight. She was wearing tall brown boots with khakis that went just past her knees. On top, she wore a white shirt with a blue vest on top, complete with a belt and a satchel.

Okay, she’d definitely seen this outfit somewhere as well. It was all incredibly familiar, and yet. . . .

“What am I doing here?” Marinette asked out loud.

Normally, whenever she talked to herself (which was a lot of the time), Tikki would helpfully pipe up and say something. But as seconds ticked by without the kwami answering her and Marinette becoming increasingly aware that the Ladybug kwami wasn’t here, she realized two very important things: one, she was standing in front of Rapunzel’s tower, meaning the akuma had sent her into a fairy tale, and two, Tikki was nowhere to be found. Which meant that she had absolutely no way of transforming.

This was bad. Really, really bad.

After the ray hit him, Chat found himself lying facedown on a hard stone floor. He got to his feet with a groan and surveyed his surroundings. He was in a round, circular room with paintings all over the walls. Arts and crafts littered nearly every corner, and a warm fire crackled at the fireplace. But there was something else that was even more prominent than everything else. It skittered around the room like a long snake, moving ever so slightly whenever he took even the smallest step forward. . . .

Chat squinted. Was that. . . . hair? And wait a minute, why did his head suddenly feel so much heavier than before--

Oh no. This couldn’t be what he thought it was. Chat rushed to the nearest mirror he could find and stood in front of it. The emotion he felt as he stared at himself could only be described as sheer horror. Because there were a few things about this look that completely threw him off.

One, Chat’s hair, his lovely blond, messy hair, was most certainly not seventy feet long.

Two, his black suit had been replaced with a purple dress . He was still in his body, and his mask was still on his face, but everything else--the ears, the tail--they were gone.

It took him mere seconds to realize who he was supposed to be and exactly where he was standing.

“Ladybug’s gonna kill me,” he groaned, burying his face in his hands.

Something behind him let out a hiss. Chat whirled around to see a chameleon--Pascal, he noted--that seemed to have a big grin on its face. It was currently the color black, and as the chameleon scurried around looking for something, Chat figured out something else.

Plagg? ” He asked in disbelief.

Plagg the chameleon simply snickered.

Chat opened his mouth to say something--because really, he had so many questions! Of all the things that could’ve happened to him, he just had to have gotten zapped into being Rapunzel--when he suddenly heard a couple of noises coming from the door of the tower.

Oh, right. If he was Rapunzel, then that meant someone was Flynn Rider, which meant. . . .

Chat looked around and grabbed the first thing he could see, which just so happened to be the iconic frying pan. Remembering what Rapunzel had done in the movie, he cautiously crept towards the door--which was much harder than he thought; really, how in the world did people deal with long hair?--with the frying pan ready in his hand.

Idly Chat wondered what had become of his baton, but he pushed that thought aside and instead focused on what was about to happen.

The door slowly opened. Someone stumbled inside, and they closed the door behind them, catching their breath before turning around and surveying their surroundings.

Chat held up the frying pan, ready to strike, when he saw the intruder sported a familiar set of pigtails. With even closer inspection, he realized they looked awfully similar to a certain someone, which meant that this person was obviously--

“Ladybug?” Chat asked cautiously.

The girl whipped around in shock. “Chat Noir?”

Immediately Chat realized he’d made a mistake in his judgement. This wasn’t Ladybug. “Marinette!” he exclaimed. “I can’t believe--” he broke off.

Marinette was clearly struggling to keep a straight face, and when he stopped mid-sentence, it was all it took for her to burst into laughter. Chat frowned.

“What’s so funny?”

If anything, that statement made her laugh harder. He stared at her in confusion, waiting for her to finish her fit of laughter. “Your--your hair,” she wheezed, slapping a hand on her knee.

Oh. Chat rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly with his hand. “It’s not that funny,” he said, pouting.

Marinette shook her head. “It so is,” she said with a huge grin. “I dare you to say otherwise.”

“Okay fine, maybe you have a point there,” he said. “But still. It’s not funny. This is terrible. This is horrible, and oh my gosh Ladybug is so gonna kill me.”

“I’m sure Ladybug will understand,” Marinette said once she got over her laughing fit. “You got hit trying to save me.”

“Yeah, I guess,” Chat said.

“But in the meantime, we need to figure out a way to get out of here,” Marinette said. “Have you figured out anything yet?”

“Well, other than the fact that we are in Tangled and you’re Flynn and I’m Rapunzel--which is totally unfair, by the way, because you’re obviously the princess--”

“No I’m not!” Marinette huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.

“--no, I don’t know anything,” Chat finished. “What about you, princess? Any ideas?”

“First of all,” she said, “ you’re the princess right now, not me, and two, I think I have an idea.”

“Oh?” Chat raised an eyebrow. “And what would that be?”

Marinette opened her mouth to explain her idea when suddenly, another voice cut through the air, effectively cutting her off.

“Oh Chat Noir! Let down your hair!”

Oh, no.

Chapter Text

Chat Noir cast a panicked look at Marinette, but she was already scurrying towards the closet.

“What’re you doing?” he asked, bewildered.

“I’ll hide!” Marinette hissed. “And you let whoever that is in. It has to go by the fairy tale! That’s why we’re here!”


“Shush!” Before he could ask Marinette any more questions, she closed herself in the closet.

Chat bit his lip and looked down at Plagg, who merely shrugged. He desperately starting thinking up excuses for ways to get out of this situation--because gosh, he couldn’t do this, this was why worse than facing any sort of akuma, and why the heck did that voice sound so familiar--

“Chat Noir! I’m waiting!”

He sighed. Well then. Panicking wasn’t going to do him any good; he might as well get this over with. Taking some of his hair in his arms, he walked over to where the door was. “One moment!” he called as he opened it and let his hair down. He didn’t see where it went, keeping his eyes trained on the view in front of him.

“I have a big surprise!”

Vaguely remembering the dialogue from the movie, he replied, “uh, I do too!”

It took all of Chat’s self-control to not revolt from the obvious false cheerfulness this Mother Gothel was exerting. He tried to keep his eyes off who Mother Gothel was, but really. He couldn’t keep the truth from himself forever. He was sure he’d heard that voice somewhere before. . . . a sinking feeling within told him he knew who it was, and It wouldn’t be long before he would have to look and see who Mother Gothel was in this universe.

“I bet my surprise is bigger,” Mother Gothel said as Chat pulled them up.

“I could care less,” Chat muttered under his breath. His hair didn’t hurt as much as he’d originally thought it would, but ouch , it was heavy. How was he ever supposed to move around with this much hair?

He’d finished hoisting the person up now, and they were now leaping through the door. Chat inhaled a sharp breath. This was it. The moment of truth. He’d heard the voice before, the person silhouetted at the door seemed to be around the same height and build, and overall, it made sense within the content of this story. Everything just continued to confirm his suspicions. After all, in this universe, Mother Gothel was--

“I brought back parsnips. I’m going to make hazelnut soup for dinner. Your favorite. Surprise!” Mother Gothel threw his arms up and gave Chat a wide smile.

No way. This wasn’t possible. He gaped at the sight in front of him in shock.

Wait. That word wasn’t strong enough. No, the only way he could describe this emotion was sheer horror. Because Mother Gothel was none other than. . . . Hawk Moth?!

The situation was almost comical. Imagine Hawk Moth, a man Chat had only ever seen on the battlefield, suddenly grinning so hard he was most definitely going to be nursing sore jaws later. And on top of that. . . . the arms . He held them out as if he was going to hug him, Chat Noir. Also known as his mortal enemy.

He was pretty sure he heard a loud squeak coming from the direction of the closet. No doubt Marinette was as baffled as he was. Oh well. Now that he thought about it, it was probably a good thing Mother Gothel hadn’t been Gabriel. It would’ve outed his identity to her, and that was the last thing he wanted. After all, Ladybug was the first one that had to know!

Speaking of Ladybug. . . . where was she? Had she got sucked into the tale as well? Or was she back in Paris, trying to hunt down the akuma?

He hoped it was the latter. He didn’t want to be stuck with seventy feet of hair any longer than he had to.

Lost in thought, Chat realized too late that he’d forgotten to respond. He looked up just in time to see Hawk Moth coming over to him with a frown on his face.

“Oh Chat Noir,” Hawk Moth said, flitting around him, “are you still mad at me from our fight from earlier? You know I hate leaving you after a fight. Especially when I've done absolutely nothing wrong.”

Right. He was supposed to be playing his role as Rapunzel. “Um, about that,” he said, “I thought about what you said earlier.” Surely that was close enough to the original dialogue? He remembered from the movie that Mother Gothel and Rapunzel had fought about going outside, and once again, Mother Gothel had told Rapunzel no . She was still trying to persuade her to let her see the lights, which is the scene Chat currently was in.

“I hope you’re not still talking about the stars.”

“Uh, actually, I was just um, leading up to that.” Chat glanced up to where the mural of the floating lights was.

Although he couldn’t see much of Hawk Moth’s face with the entire mask, he was sure there was irritation on the man’s face as he said, “because I really thought we dropped the issue, sweetheart.”

Chat wanted to gag. Hawk Moth of all people, calling him sweetheart ? Um, no. Just no.

With a sigh, he continued to speak, taking what dialogue he could remember from the movie and improvising. All he had to do was play the part of Rapunzel. It involved fighting to see the lights, trying to persuade Mother Gothel, and eventually giving into her authority. Then he would get her to leave, fetch Marinette from the closet, and they could figure out what to do about being stuck in here.

It would be fairly simple. Right?

As it turned out, it was not that simple. Marinette watched Chat interacting with Hawk Moth from the small crack in the closet door. Although he got most of the lines right, she could tell that the whole situation was making him uncomfortable. Why, she wasn’t sure, but she supposed it had to do with being in close proximity with Hawk Moth, their enemy. It would definitely make her anxious. The villain was technically there, but he wasn’t real. They couldn’t defeat him, or take him down. She could understand why that was probably frustrating him. All Marinette wanted to do was get out of this closet and stand by her partner’s side, but she couldn’t. Because one, she was her civilian right now, and two, she had to wait for Hawk Moth to leave. After all, they had to ensure that they followed the tale as close as they could.

When Hawk Moth finally left, promising to fetch some paints for Chat as his birthday present, she opened the closet and took a deep breath.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

Chat turned around to face her. A chameleon was now sitting on his shoulder; it was Plagg, Marinette soon realized as he gave her a cheeky smile. So that meant that even kwamis had gotten sucked into the fairy tale, which meant Tikki had to be around here somewhere as well. But the question was, where? And who was she?

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Marinette fiddled with her fingers. “Well, you did just face Hawk Moth, and I thought that you looked uncomfortable, so--”

“I’m fine, Marinette,” Chat said. He gave her a small smile. “Really. It’s just that it unnerved me seeing Hawk Moth this close.”

And Rapunzel’s situation is just way too relatable, Chat thought. It hit too close to home. But he wasn’t about to say that.

Marinette nodded. If it were her, she would’ve felt the same way. Unsure of what else to say, she instead said, “so, what’re we going to do now?”

“Actually, I was hoping you had some ideas, princess,” Chat said. He was currently heaving his hair and carefully placing it into a pile so that it wouldn’t be all over the place. “Because I have no clue.”

“Well,” she said, “like I said earlier, I think we have to finish the whole fairy tale. That’s the only thing that makes sense,” she added when Chat looked at her in disbelief.

He gaped at her. “Does this mean I have to deal with this much hair for that long?”

Marinette smirked and crossed her arms over her chest. “It seems like you do, purrincess.

“Don’t call me that,” Chat groaned. “If anything, you’re the princess, not me.”

“Don’t tell me what to do, kitty,” Marinette said with a reprimanding tone. “And besides, technically you’re the princess right now, so you can’t call me that even if you wanted to.”

He merely pouted. “You’re mean.”

She bopped his nose teasingly before walking over to the door. “Anyways,” she said, looking out past the tower, “I think it’s time we started heading towards where we’re supposed to go next.”

“Oh, the Snuggly Duckling!” Chat grinned. “That’s going to be fun.”

“Yes, that’ll be very fun,” Marinette said, “for me, at least. But you’re going to have a problem.”

He frowned. “And what’s that?”

“Your hair.”

Chat sighed. “You’re never going to let me live this down, are you?”

“Nope!” Marinette said cheerfully. “Now come on, Chat. We have places to go.”

“You’re way too eager about this,” he commented as he followed her and looked out the door.

“Well, it’s not everyday you’re on an adventure with your favorite superhero.” She flashed a smile at him before carefully hauling herself down the tower with the same arrows she’d used earlier.

“Favorite--” Chat blinked dumbly at her, feeling a blush rising on his cheeks.

“Come on, Chat!” Marinette called from where she was climbing down. “We don’t have all day!”

“Coming!” And with that, though he was still a little flustered and confused, Chat thrust his hair towards the ground and went down after her.

Chapter Text

Tikki was confused. Very, very confused. After the akuma had hit Marinette, she’d been separated from her chosen. The next thing she knew, she’d been standing-- standing! Not floating!--in a lush green forest. Everything was so much smaller than she was used to: the trees, the plants, the shards of grass. . . . and when Tikki finally looked at the ground to see hooves, her suspicions were confirmed.

She was a horse.

Normally, Tikki was a pretty calm kwami. Whenever Marinette was freaking out about something, she was the voice of reason. Whenever Plagg was causing trouble and tried meddling in their chosens’ business, she made sure to put him back in line (and give him a little scolding to go along with it). She’d been around for centuries; it was natural to assume she’d seen everything. But of course, she never did fully understand humans. And this was new.

Worst of all, there wasn’t much she could do about her current situation either. Obviously this was the akuma’s doing, and if she wanted to find her chosen, she would have to do it soon. She definitely didn’t want to be stuck in this form for this long.

After standing around for a while pondering--okay, maybe more panicking than thinking--about what to do, Tikki suddenly caught a whiff of something. A whiff of. . . . strawberries and vanilla. Also known as the scent of Marinette’s favorite shampoo. The scent filled Tikki’s nostrils, and suddenly, an idea came to mind: if she followed the trail, perhaps it would lead to Marinette.

It seemed like hours had passed. Tikki was still roaming around the forest searching for her, and at this point, she was beginning to lose hope. She couldn’t dare think about what would happen if she didn’t find Marinette. If she didn’t, then they would never be able to defeat the akuma, she would forever be stuck as a horse, and she’d never see her chosen grow up and finally grow out of her obliviousness. . . .

Suddenly something else caught Tikki’s eye. Her head snapped up to see a flyer with a huge picture of Marinette. In the picture she was smiling, but the words, “wanted dead or alive” printed in big letters did nothing but unsettle the kwami. Tikki stared at the flyer in horror.

Oh, no. What had her chosen done this time?

But before she had time to fully process the information in front of her, another sound caught her attention. She stiffened. Could it be Marinette?

Curious, Tikki crept towards the source of the noise, hiding behind a bush. Footsteps were approaching her, but the scent told her that it most definitely was not Marinette. Instead, the scent was much. . . . heavier. Almost as if whoever it was was hiding something. Tikki frowned. This was extremely suspicious. This person was near where Tikki had detected Marinette’s scent, and they most definitely didn't seem like a good person.

Several scenarios went through Tikki’s head; none were pretty. What if they’d hurt Marinette? What if Marinette was currently lying somewhere alone and helpless? She couldn’t take any chances; she had to get rid of this threat as soon as possible.

So Tikki jumped out of her hiding spot, bared her teeth, and growled at the person in front of her. Only her growl soon died down into her throat as soon as she realized exactly who was in front of her.

Was that. . . . Hawk Moth?!

Hawk Moth let out a small gasp. “A palace horse,” he said, cocking his head.

Tikki felt as though she couldn’t breathe. Why was Hawk Moth of all people here? What had happened to Marinette? Did he have something to do with it?

“Where’s your rider?” Hawk Moth asked. He seemed confused, but suddenly his eyes widened as he realized something. “Chat Noir,” he stated. Then panic set in, and he yelled, “Chat Noir!”

And suddenly, just as quick as he came, Hawk Moth was gone, running in the opposite direction.

Chat Noir?! Hawk Moth had Chat Noir?!

Tikki’s first instinct was to run after the supervillain and demand to know what was happening. But she couldn’t do that because one, she was a horse right now. She couldn’t talk. Two, if she ran into this without a plan, Hawk Moth could capture her. And if he already had Chat Noir. . . . if he got his hands on Marinette, Paris was doomed.

This was bad. Really, really bad. Who knows what had already happened to her chosen?! The only reassurance Tikki had was that she didn’t smell her chosen’s scent anywhere on Hawk Moth, which meant he didn’t have her.

She needed to find Marinette, and fast. The fate of Paris rested on her shoulders.

“So,” Marinette said, “are you ready to wear the cone of shame yet?”

Mari, ” Chat whined, “stop being mean. I don’t see you helping me.”

“That’s because it’s your hair, not mine,” she said as they continued down along the path. Chat was currently struggling to walk with the heap of hair that was weighing him down; it slowed down their pace tremendously.

“And seriously, this dress doesn’t help at all either.” Chat glowered down at himself. “Why did I have to get stuck as Rapunzel?”

“Because you make the purrfect princess, chaton,” Marinette said with a smirk. “I thought we already went over this. The blond hair, green eyes, innocent look? No one else could suit the role better than you.”

As much as he hated to admit it, she was right. “Oh? And I suppose that makes you the purrfect Flynn Rider?”

“Well, duh.” Marinette grinned. “I have dark hair, I’m light on my feet--”

“And you’re a thief,” Chat finished for her.

“What?” She glanced at him with wide eyes. “I am not!”

“Sure,” Chat said with a cheeky smile. “You totally haven’t stolen anything before.”

Marinette suddenly had flashbacks to when she’d stolen Adrien’s phone from his locker. “Well, that’s different. I always put whatever I stole back.”

“Ah, so you have stolen things before.”

She huffed. “Whatever. Anyways, we’re here!” Marinette pointed at the sign in front of them.

“The Snuggly Duckling.” Chat let out a long sigh and gave up on trying to heave all his hair in his arms, instead letting it drag down behind him. “Finally.”

“Do you remember what’s supposed to happen here?” Marinette asked.

Chat nodded. “We go in, there’ll be a lot of big, scruffy, intimidating guys in there, they’ll try to turn you in because you’re a thief, then I start singing, we all start singing, then guards come, and then one of the guys will help us escape.”

“Uh, yeah,” Marinette said. “So we have to be careful. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to be captured by whoever is in there, and I want to get out of this fairy tale as soon as possible, so we should make a plan so that--” she broke off when she realized Chat was already at the door. “Hey! Chat, come back here!”

“We’ll be fine, princess,” he said, about to open the door, “just go with the flow!”

Marinette promptly grabbed a handful of his hair that was still on the ground and yanked him back.

“Ouch!” Chat winced and rubbed his head, just barely able to keep him from stumbling backwards. “What did you do that for?”

“You can’t just go rushing in there without a plan,” she said.

“But we don’t need a plan,” he said. “We already know what’s going to happen.”

“Still.” Marinette frowned. “We don’t know who’s in there. It could be anyone, like um, Chloé or Lila or--”

“Or,” Chat said, “instead of worrying, we could just go inside and figure it out. Oh!” His face suddenly lit up. “We’re supposed to have allies in this place, so maybe Ladybug’s here!”

“Maybe,” Marinette said, internally wincing. They definitely weren’t going to find Ladybug in there. “And I guess you’re right. We should probably just go in.”

Chat grinned and threw an arm around her shoulders as he led her towards the door. “Well, then, what’re we waiting for?”

As it turned out, Marinette didn’t need to worry so much after all. The two of them walked in, and to her surprise, they were immediately surrounded by familiar faces. Familiar faces that seemed. . . . strangely hostile.

Right. They didn’t really know her here. Marinette gulped and pushed Chat towards the center. She was sure she was supposed to be saying something, but words failed her. She didn’t like how Alya, Nino, and the rest of her friends were staring at them with contempt. It unsettled her.

“That’s a lot of hair,” Nino commented, eyeing the trail that Chat left behind.

“Yeah, he’s um, growing it out,” Marinette said, quickly gathering the rest of Chat’s hair and making her way towards the other end of the tavern. Chat was watching everyone around them with narrowed eyes. She turned to him, and a silent message traveled between them: be careful.

The door suddenly slammed shut. Marinette swiveled around as Alya walked forward and shoved a piece of paper in her face. “Is this you?”


“Oh, it’s her all right,” Chloé said with a sneer. She snapped her fingers. “Sabrina, go find some guards. That reward is going to buy me some new things.”

Marinette suddenly felt herself being tugged backwards. “I could use the money too,” Alix said.

“What about me? I’m broke!” Kim crossed his arms over his chest and glared menacingly at her.

“No, I need the money!” Someone else exclaimed.

“No, I do!

“Get back!”

Marinette rolled her eyes as her classmates continued to argue, occasionally tugging her around. At least they aren’t manhandling me like they did in the movie, she thought in amusement. That wouldn’t have gone well.

“Please stop,” Chat said as he stared at her classmates with dismay. Marinette simply shrugged.

You’re supposed to stop them, she mouthed at him.

How? He mouthed back.

I don’t know, start singing or something!

Miraculously, Chat seemed to understand what she’d been trying to say. He put both his hands to his mouth and loudly yelled, “stop arguing and let her go!”

All of her classmates turned to stare at him. Marinette gave him an encouraging nod, and he kept going.

“Okay, listen up,” Chat said, “as meowvelous as Marinette is, you all need to let her go. I need her to see the lanterns!” The dialogue from the movie came back to him, and he continued by dripping passion into his voice. The passion he felt about going to public school, the passion he felt whenever he was saving Paris as Chat Noir, the passion he felt whenever he was around his lady. “I’ve been dreaming about seeing the lanterns for my entire life. Haven’t any of you ever had a dream?”

Nino drew closer to Chat. Marinette watched as he got into his face. Chat leaned back anxiously, waiting for an outburst, but instead, something else happened: Nino started to sing.

Oh yeah. They were in a Disney movie; of course they were going to have to sing.

Marinette groaned. This wasn’t going to be good.

Chapter Text

As her classmates sang and danced and twirled around, Marinette stood off to the side with a frown on her face. How come she didn’t realize she had to sing up until this moment? Of course it was inevitable; she was in a Disney movie. Nearly everyone was bound to sing in a Disney movie sooner or later, and it supposedly came like second nature to every single character.

Well, every single character in this room except her, at least. Because there were several factors that prevented her from joining them: one, she was Flynn Rider. Flynn didn’t sing until he absolutely had to. Two, she didn’t really know the words. Marinette had watched this movie like twice, and she hadn’t really been big on figuring out the lyrics. And three. . . .

If she was being really, really honest, Marinette couldn’t exactly sing.

Which was why it came as a big surprise that Chat seemed to be doing quite well--which actually, now that she thought about it, shouldn’t be a surprise. He was a big dork. Of course he knew Disney songs. Chat was laughing as he pranced around the room, light on his feet as if there wasn’t seventy feet of hair weighing him down, singing every single word.

Despite herself, she smiled. At that moment, Chat looked so happy. He hadn’t been this excited since they’d gotten stuck in here.

“What about you?” Rose came up to her. “What’s your dream?”

“Oh, I uh, don’t want to sing?” Marinette said sheepishly.

Seconds later, Marinette was dragged into the center of the tavern by her unamused classmates. She sighed. There was no way she was getting out of this one. And so, with the spotlight on her, she slowly started to sing.

She sang of her aspiring dreams to become a fashion designer, her dreams of finally defeating Hawk Moth, her dreams of someday asking Adrien out and dating and getting married and having three kids and adopting a hamster named--

Wait. That was way too personal. But before Marinette could panic and think about whether or not she’d said any of those things out loud, the song moved on.

After her, Chat was the one singing about his dreams. At first, he sang the lines from the movie, the ones that Rapunzel had sang, but then Marinette saw it slowly transition to something a lot more personal. He sang of dreaming of not being alone, of finally defeating Hawk Moth and repairing his relationship with his father, and of finally getting together with Ladybug. . . .

And when the musical number finally ended with Chat standing on a table, Marinette was left breathless. Or perhaps a better word to describe the emotion within her was speechlessness. In the span of a single song, Marinette had learned more about her partner than she had in a long time.

But of course, the feeling didn’t last long.

“I found the guards!” Sabrina exclaimed as she stumbled into the Snuggly Duckling. Marinette quickly snapped out of the trance she’d been in and yanked Chat towards her just as guards filtered into the room.

“Where’s Marinette?” One of the guards asked. “Where is she?” When no one responded, he started looking around. “I know she’s in here somewhere. Find her, turn the place upside down!”

Marinette’s heart was racing from where she was huddled under a table with Chat. She slowly looked up and snuck a peek. Just then, she saw who were supposed to be the Stabbington brothers walking in, handcuffed. Only it wasn’t the Stabbington brothers. More accurately, it was just one of them.

One Lila Rossi.

Marinette let out a gasp and ducked back under a table. She couldn’t believe it. Lila was here too?! The girl’s presence unnerved her. Even back in Paris, Marinette could hardly stand to be around Lila, but if she was here as a Stabbington brother, that meant at some point, they’d been allies. It also meant that sometime in the future, Lila was most definitely going to stab her in the back. . . . just like she loved to do in real life. The thought absolutely infuriated her.

“Can I borrow your Miraculous?” Marinette hissed at Chat. “I wanna cataclysm her.”

Chat raised an eyebrow at her, but before he could question what she was talking about, someone else approached them. It was Alya. She ushered them towards a secret passage.

“Go,” she whispered. “Live your dreams.”

Chat nodded. “Thanks for everything,” he said as he bent down and went into the passage. Quickly thanking her as well, Marinette followed him.

Knowing what laid ahead of them, this was going to be a long day.

Marinette’s scent trail eventually led Tikki to a place called the Snuggly Duckling. Everything about the place seemed decent enough; none of the scents she could smell were fear, the atmosphere seemed joyous, and there weren’t any strange scents mingled with Marinette’s. Tikki even thought she caught a whiff of Chat Noir--wasn’t he supposed to be with Hawk Moth?--though it was hard to tell.

And so, Tikki was ready to relax and calmly walk in, spot her chosen and get her out of there before she got into any trouble--after all, Marinette was known for not being the most cooperative in certain situations--when something else caught her eye.

Or more specifically, someone. And that someone happened to be Hawk Moth peering into the tavern from a small window.

Tikki let out a startled neigh. He was after Marinette! If she was in there, she had to warn her!

Without thinking about the consequences, she barged into the Snuggly Duckling, frantically sniffing the air. If someone called her name, she didn’t notice. All Tikki was intent on was finding Marinette. She didn’t want to think about what would happen if Hawk Moth got to her chosen first. So she continued through the tavern, pushing past several people in the process, and finally, she realized where the scent trail was leading.

Tikki pushed a lever, neighing in delight when a secret passage was revealed. Suddenly the scent trail was much stronger than it had been before, and a quick sniff told her it was fairly fresh. Marinette had been here not so long ago! Finally, something that gave Tikki hope! It meant that Hawk Moth hadn’t gotten to her yet, and Marinette had been smart enough to run away.

A couple of surprised voices rang in the air behind her, but she didn’t care. All Tikki cared about was getting to her chosen. She was so close! So she ran into the passage and after Marinette, hoping to catch up to her soon.

Hawk Moth watched Lila free herself and go through the passage after Chat Noir and Marinette with a contemplating frown on his face. How was he going to get Chat back? Obviously that boy was much too big of a fool to realize what he was getting himself into. And with that Marinette girl, of all people! She was simply up to no good!

It took all of Hawk Moth’s self control to prevent him from immediately following them. If he wasn’t going to be obedient. . . . then well, he needed to be taught a lesson. If Hawk Moth let Chat run his own course, he was bound to come back crying to him later.

Yes , Hawk Moth thought with narrowed eyes, that will work splendidly.

It was the only way Chat would realize Hawk Moth was the only one that would ever care about him. Hawk Moth would follow him, and whisk him back to the tower when Chat figured out Marinette was only using him for the crown. After all, Chat knew perfectly well he wasn’t suited for this life. He needed to stay in the tower where he belonged, and if it took this “journey” to figure that out, then so be it.

Hawk Moth smiled. He didn’t need to worry. His son would be back to him in no time.

“So, what was that about using my cataclysm?” Chat asked as they walked down the passage. Plagg was perched on his shoulder and curling up against his neck. Chat was sure if he could, Plagg would currently be purring.

“It’s Lila,” Marinette growled, “she’s a Stabbington brother.”

His eyes widened. “No way. What about the other one?”

She shrugged as she walked ahead with a lantern in her hand. “I don’t know? I only saw one of them.”

“Maybe there’s only one of them in this storyline,” Chat supplied helpfully.

“Maybe,” Marinette agreed.

Silence stretched between them as they continued down the passage. Marinette itched to ask Chat about what had happened back there in the tavern; after all, she hadn’t known half those things about her partner. First of all, he actually knew all the words to the song! And it wasn’t even that iconic! Second of all, his dreams were not only about defeating Hawk Moth and Ladybug loving him back (she’d already known those things), but they’d also been about not being alone and repairing his relationship with his father. Only. . . . what had happened between him and his father? And why did he think he would always be alone?

Before she could ask him any of those questions, however, Chat beat her to it.

“So,” he said, “when you sang about your dreams. . . .”

Oh no. “I don’t even know what I said!” Marinette blurted out. He blinked, surprised by her outburst. “So if I said something really weird or something you can just ignore it because I was just babbling nonsense and I so don’t like Adrien like that, no siree, he’s just a friend and I love him but no not in that way because I definitely don’t have a crush on him--”

“So you have a crush on Adrien?” Chat inquired.

She was sure her face was as red as her Ladybug suit now. “Yep! I mean, nope! I mean--” she instantly broke off.

Chat gasped as the ground beneath them shook. He looked around nervously. “Uh, Marinette, I think we forgot about something.”

“I think we did,” she said. The cavern shook harder. The last thing Marinette wanted to do was turn around and see the onslaught of palace guards that were sure to be there. “We should probably run.”

“We probably should,” Chat agreed, gathering his hair together. “Let’s go.”

Chapter Text

Despite not having watched Tangled more than twice, Marinette knew that this next part was going to be one of the hardest scenes they’d have to get through. Her heart sank as she and Chat exited the cave and found themselves standing on the edge of a cliff. She looked around frantically. The rope bridge that would’ve taken them to the other side had been cut, and it was clear that unless they jumped, there was really no other way for them to make it to the other side without seriously injuring themselves.

Chat suddenly let out a hiss. “It’s Lila!”

Marinette’s head snapped up. “Where?”

He pointed towards one of the exits at the bottom of the gorge. Lila had burst through the cave and was now looking up at them and with a smirk, brandishing a knife in her hand.

“Oh, great,” Marinette said sarcastically. “Just what we needed.”

“Tell me about it,” Chat muttered.

She bit her lip anxiously. “You wouldn’t happen to know how we’re supposed to get out of here, would you?”

“It’s simple.” Chat replied with the confidence of someone who knew it was not simple. “We swing over with my hair, try our best to avoid the guards, and then somehow get to that exit over there.”

“Okay,” she said slowly, “here’s the plan. You jump over there first, and then I--” she broke off as something caught the corner of her eye.

Wait a minute. Is that. . . .?

Marinette glanced back at the cave entrance. Guards now surrounded the entrance and had skidded to a halt, glaring at her with hostility in their gazes. But they weren’t what she was looking for. Instead, what had caught her eye was someone else. Specifically, it was the horse standing in the center.

In the original story line, this horse would be Maximus, one of Flynn Rider’s enemies. But no, Marinette could tell that this horse was far from her enemy. She gazed into the horse’s eyes. The warmth within them could only possibly belong to one person--er, kwami--and the longer they held eye contact, the easier it was for her to figure out who this was.

Marinette gasped and whispered, “Tikki?”

Chat furrowed his eyebrows, not quite catching what she had said. “What?”

Tikki neighed and moved forward as if she was going to charge at them. Panicked, Chat yanked on her arm and pulled her backwards.

“Marinette, we need to go!”

She looked away from Tikki and glanced at him. “Yeah, go ahead and swing over. You can get me afterwards.”

“What?” Chat shook his head in dismay. “I can’t leave you!”

She gaped at him. “Chat, we don’t have time for this! You need to go first!”

“But I can’t! You’re going to get crushed!”

“I’ve waited a long time for this,” one of the guards remarked as he drew closer. He slowly pulled out a sword.

“Chat!” Marinette hissed, grabbing the frying pan from his hand, “ go . I’ll be fine.”

He was torn. On the one hand, if he went by the movie, then he was already supposed to have swung over to the other side. Marinette would then get rid of the guards, fight whoever the horse was, and then he’d save her. But Chat was extremely anxious about leaving her behind. He was so used to protecting Ladybug; it didn’t seem right to save himself and then go back and save Marinette. After all, what if things didn’t go according to plan and she got hurt? What if something happened because he didn’t protect her? What if they never got back to Paris all because he foolishly saved himself instead of--

Chat suddenly felt himself falling. He yelped, flailing through the air, and grabbed onto whatever he could find: his hair. With horror, he realized he was currently sailing across the gorge, and the only thing that was supporting him was also. . . . his hair.

It didn’t take him long to put the pieces together. Apparently in his short span of hesitation, Marinette had grabbed his hair, flung it to the other side, secured it, and then pushed him down into the gorge.

Had she been trying to kill him?!

Great. This couldn’t possibly be happening. Chat desperately wanted to squeeze his eyes shut, but the other side was getting closer and closer; there wasn’t time for him to be panicking. But oh gosh, what if he fell? He knew Rapunzel’s hair was thick, but heck, even something as flimsy as a flower crown would’ve given him more reassurance! What if his hair wasn’t strong enough and he fell to the ground? He didn’t even have his super suit! If his hair wasn’t strong enough to support him, he was done for, and then Marinette would be left all alone, and he’d never be able to go back to Paris--

Chat finally landed on the other side. His knees scraped the ground, but he could honestly care less as he turned back around and immediately sought out what was happening to Marinette. The sight made him gasp. He’d expected to find her struggling to fight off all three guards--after all, that was the whole reason he’d wanted to stay--but nothing could have prepared him for what was happening in front of him.

She’d demolished them. With a frying pan . Chat knew that was how it happened in the movie, but seeing Marinette disarm and dodge the guards was a whole new experience. Pretty soon, all of three of them were on the ground and flopped over on top of one another. He gaped at her in shock. How the heck had she done that?

But unfortunately, it wasn’t over yet. Marinette’s back was turned to him, but even from here Chat could see how her shoulders were shaking as Maximus approached her. Oh no. This wasn’t good. The horse was going to hurt her! Marinette had been lucky when she beat the guards, but Maximus was going to crush her! Chat grabbed a handful of his hair, ready to throw it over and bring her over here.

However, that wasn’t what happened. Instead of treating Maximus like a threat, Marinette threw her arms around the horse’s neck and buried her face in its mane.

Wait, what? What was happening over there?

Marinette was shaking with relief as she threw her arms around Tikki’s neck and buried her face in her mane. It had been a long couple of hours, and the fact that her kwami had been missing the entire time only stressed her out even more. But now she could relax; she’d finally found her kwami!

“I was so worried about you, Tikki,” Marinette murmured as she stroked her mane.

Her kwami nickered softly. She took that as an agreement. The two of them stayed like that for several seconds, but Marinette pulled back as soon as she saw movement in the corner of her eye. The guards were moving.

“We need to get going,” she said. “They’re going to be coming after us soon.”

Suddenly Tikki’s eyes widened. She lifted her hooves off the ground and neighed in distress. Marinette gasped and took a step back.

“Tikki, are you okay? What’s wrong?”

Her kwami seemed to be signaling towards the cave entrance that they’d come from, shaking her head in. . . . fear? Marinette frowned. Why was she doing that? Was she trying to warn her about something?

“It’s okay,” Marinette soothed, “nothing bad is going to happen. We’re in a fairy tale, Tikki. We have to get through it in order to get back to Paris. So that’s what Chat and I are--”

Unfortunately, she didn’t get to finish her sentence. The next thing she knew, something wrapped around her arm and yanked her backwards.

“Marinette! Watch out!”

“Chat!” Marinette yelped, barely grabbing onto his hair to steady herself as she flew across the gorge. “What did you do that for?”

“The horse was about to hurt you!”

“No she wasn’t!” Marinette narrowly dodged Lila’s knife and landed gracefully on the platform in front of her. She shot him an annoyed glare. “She’s an ally!”

Oh wait, she probably shouldn’t have said that. If Chat knew Tikki was an ally, he would demand to know who she was. She couldn’t just say Tikki was her kwami! It would lead to him discovering her identity!

“If she’s an ally, then why is she currently charging at me?”

Marinette looked up to see her kwami knocking over a beam and making her way towards the cliff Chat was currently standing on. Tikki’s eyes blazed with determination, seeming like she was trying her best to get to her chosen. Marinette couldn’t blame her; if she were in Tikki’s position, she’d want to be around people she knew.

Lost in thought, she forgot to answer Chat. She felt a sharp tug on the tuft of hair she was holding, and the next thing she knew, Chat had leaped off the cliff and was sailing downwards into the gorge. Marinette gasped, grasping the hair tightly, but it tugged free as Chat ran. Lila spotted him, and was soon hot on his heels.

Marinette glanced at Tikki. Her kwami stared back at her with dismay, but Marinette knew that if she didn’t go now, the rest of the tale wouldn’t play out as expected.

I’m sorry, she mouthed. We’ll see each other soon.

She heard Tikki neigh loudly as Marinette jumped off the platform and nimbly slid down the water slide. She felt guilty for leaving her kwami--after all, she had no idea how much Tikki really knew about Tangled--but took solace in the fact that she’d see her again soon.

The water slide started falling apart beneath her, but she kept going, just barely leaping off as it broke under her weight. A thundering roar filled the air. Water spilled out from all directions behind her. She knew if she looked back now, she would never be able to look away from the huge wave.

So Marinette ran towards Chat, grabbed the rest of his hair, and urged him towards the cave that would lead them out of this gorge.

They barely made it into the cave just as the water collided with everything around them.

Chapter Text

“Are you okay?” Marinette gasped as she scampered onto rocks away from the entrance of the cave. Chat quickly followed her. The flood water was slowly slipping through the cracks, penetrating the small space.

“I should be asking you that,” Chat said. He briefly checked his shoulder to make sure Plagg the chameleon was still there. As usual, the kwami seemed unphased by whatever had happened, blinking at his chosen with nonchalance in his gaze. Chat suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. He was sure if Plagg could talk right now, he most certainly would’ve said some scathing remark.

“I’m fine.” She flashed a reassuring smile at him.

“Really? Even after you fought all three of those guards with a frying pan?”

Marinette grinned. “I told you I could handle myself, kitty,” she said, patting him on the shoulder.

Chat couldn’t deny that. The truth was, Marinette had skill; with the way she took the guards down, it was obvious that it hadn’t been just pure luck. There was only one other person Chat had ever seen fight someone like that, but Ladybug was a superhero. The fact that Marinette fought almost as well as his lady-- without a super suit--was quite astonishing.

Chat pouted. “You pushed me off a cliff.”

“It was for your own good.”

“I could have fallen!”

She scoffed. “Please, you and I both know perfectly well that wouldn’t have happened. Your hair is too strong for that.”

“Still,” he said, “I could’ve helped. I’ll let you know that I have plenty of fighting experience.”

“I know,” Marinette said, “but you were supposed to swing over there if we’re going by the movie.”

“You hugging Maximus wasn’t part of the movie either,” Chat pointed out. “Speaking of, what was the deal with the horse?”

She instantly frowned. “You pulled me away before I could finish talking to her.”

Chat gaped at her. “She was going to attack you,” he said incredulously. “I had to help you.”

“She wouldn’t have hurt me,” Marinette insisted.

Chat glancing around nervously. In the short time they’d been talking, the water levels around them had risen. “How do you know that?”

“Because she’s my--” Marinette suddenly broke off, clapping a hand over her mouth as if she’d revealed too much.

But if anything, that only got Chat even more curious. “Your what?”

“Anyways,” Marinette loudly proclaimed, “we should get out of here. You sing, we find the exit, and then we’ll figure out things from there. The water’s rising.”

“You haven’t answered my--”

“Later, Chat,” she said with a tone that meant business. The water was nearly up to their waists now. “You need to sing so we can find the exit.”

Chat had questions. A lot of questions, actually, starting with Marinette’s supposed crush on Adrien ranging all the way to whatever was going on with this horse. But he knew demanding answers when they were about to drown probably wasn’t the best idea.

So he let out a sigh, closed his eyes, and sang, “ flower gleam and glow, let your power shine.

The pair watched in awe as the dark cave was illuminated. The light slowly spread from Chat’s scalp all the way to the ends of his hair, giving off a warm golden glow that made the place brighter. It was as if a snake had slithered through the water; the hair had woven around every single corner, leaving no side of the cave untouched. It was simply magical.

“Wow,” Marinette breathed, “that’s beautiful.”

Chat smiled. Even Plagg, who was normally stoic, seemed surprised at the sudden change of scenery as his chosen motioned for Marinette to duck underwater and find the exit. As she did that, Plagg turned to Chat and gave him an amused look.

“What?” he asked.

Plagg merely shook his head, signaling it wasn’t anything important. However, the smirk on his face indicated otherwise. Chat cocked his head, trying to read the kwami’s expression. The look on Plagg’s face was smug, almost as if he knew something Chat didn’t. But what? Did it have anything to do with Marinette?

It was clear he wouldn’t be getting answers, though, if the arrogance in Plagg’s gaze was anything to go by. So in response, Chat grabbed Plagg by the tail and submerged them both underwater.

Hawk Moth stood behind the tall rocks, watching the hollowed tree with the Snuggly Duckling logo carefully. He had a dagger drawn out and wore a cloak just in case anyone he didn’t expect came out instead. He’d rather avoid unnecessary trouble.

His plan was simple: Chat Noir and Marinette would be coming out of this secret passage--assuming the guards didn’t catch them first. He would separate Chat from Marinette, convince him to come back home, and if he was smart, his son would be obedient and follow his orders. And if that didn’t happen. . . . well then, Hawk Moth wasn’t holding a dagger for no reason.

The secret passage opened, and Hawk Moth crept closer. This was it. He would finally put Chat in his place. Honestly, it was a miracle that boy had lasted out here this long! The sooner he was back in the tower, the better it was for him and for Hawk Moth.

But it wasn’t Chat and Marinette. Hawk Moth frowned and quickly slipped back to his hiding spot as someone else came out of the secret passage, coughing and wheezing.

“I'll kill her,” Lila growled as she pushed herself to her feet. She angrily waved a hand in the air and began walking towards whatever destination she had in mind. “I'll kill that Marinette. I’ll cut her off at the kingdom and get back the crown.”

Hawk Moth smiled sinisterly. Well, it seemed there was someone else that held a grudge against Marinette as well. He’d be foolish if he didn’t take this chance to get this useful ally on his side. The sooner he got rid of Marinette, the sooner Chat would be back to him, and Hawk Moth would rather not have blood on his hands.

“Or,” he said, stepping into view, “perhaps you want to stop acting like a wild dog chasing their tail, and think for a moment.” He held out the satchel he’d found in the tower earlier that day.

Lila’s eyes widened and she regarded him warily. She drew out her dagger and opened her mouth to say something, but Hawk Moth beat her to it.

“Oh please, there's no need for that.” He threw the satchel at her. She caught it and dug through it a satisfied grin rising on her face as she found the crown.

Hawk Moth chuckled. “Well if that's all you desire, then be on your way. I was going to offer you something worth one thousand crowns, would have made you rich beyond belief.” He laughed upon seeing Lila’s look of interest. If there was anything he’d learned over the past couple of years, it was how to most effectively manipulate someone. All you needed to do was toy with their emotions and tell them exactly what they wanted. It wasn’t hard, and had most certainly played in his favor whenever Chat had refused to do something for him.

“And that wasn't even the best part,” Hawk Moth continued, “but oh well. C'est la vie. Enjoy your crown.” And with that, he turned around, ready to be off on his way.

“What’s the best part?” Lila asked with that sweetly sickening voice of hers. Although she tried not to let it show, it was obvious she was way more curious than she let on.

Hawk Moth turned back to her and held up a wanted poster. “It comes with revenge on Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

All it took was Lila’s smirk to let Hawk Moth know that she was in.

When Chat finally got out of the river they’d been dumped into, he was exhausted beyond relief. He couldn’t remember the last time he felt this tired; he’d practically had to drag himself out of the water, and with all those pounds of hair weighing him down along with the dress, it was even harder.

Marinette was faring no better. Her outfit had obviously been lighter on the shoulders than his, but she’d managed to cut her hand while moving some of the rocks. She was now examining it with a wince.

“Is it bad?” Chat asked as he wrung out the water from his hair.

“I’ve had worse,” she said. “And besides, your hair will heal me anyways.”

“That’s true,” Chat said, looking at the sky where the sun was setting. “We should probably get going and find a place to settle down for the night.”

Marinette nodded. “Yeah. I don’t know about you, but all I want is to curl up beside a fire and eat some nice chocolate.”

“Chocolate?” Chat asked, amused. Plagg perked up at the mention of food.

“It’s my comfort food,” she said as she got to her feet. “Don’t tell me you don’t love chocolate.”

“Of course I do!”

Marinette sighed. “Too bad we’ll probably have to wait until tomorrow before we get any food,” she said ruefully.

Chat simply shrugged. “We’ll manage,” he said, walking away from the river and near the lush trees beside them. “Come on, I think there’s a lot we need to talk about tonight.”

And this time, instead of avoiding or outright refusing the suggestion, Marinette gave him a resigned nod. “I think,” she said, “that’s a good idea.”

Chapter Text

It had taken a while, but eventually they’d found a place to rest for the night. They also managed to start up a decent fire, and though was a far cry from what either of them were used to, it would have to do. It was only for one night, after all. As Plagg basked in the fire’s warmth, Chat and Marinette sat side by side on a log facing one another. He was currently wrapping his hair around Marinette’s hair to heal it.

Chat softly sang, “ flower gleam and glow, let your powers shine, make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine.

Once again, the magic, golden glow lit up the area as the light spread throughout his hair. Chat’s hands were on top of hers. He slowly caressed them and continued to sing. Marinette watched in awe as he immersed himself in the lyrics.

Heal what has been hurt, change the fate's design, save what has been lost. Bring back what once was mine, what once was mine.

Sometime while he was singing, Chat had closed his eyes. Deep, raw emotion filled each sweet note resonating from within him. He sang with passion, as if he meant every word. He sang the lyrics as if they were delicate flowers, like they would wilt at even the slightest sign of distress.  The chords rose and fell. He tiptoed over them slowly, carefully, breathing each word as though it were his last. With each changing note Marinette felt shivers go down her spine. But not ones of fear, or of shock.

But of wonder. Of affection. She’d always known Chat could sing, and if earlier in the movie was anything to go by, he loved it.

Yet never in a million years had she imagined he could sing like this.

Marinette let her eyes roam across his face, taking in all those features she’d taken for granted. She soaked in all of his warmth, immersing herself in the peacefulness, letting herself feel only the surprising gentleness of his hands against hers. . . .

She’d never seen this side of him before. The Chat she knew was loud. Bubbly. Over-the-top. Absolutely loved puns. And yet, there was also this side of him. The gentle, soft side that she’d never seen before. Why hadn’t she seen this part of him before?

Because you never chose to look, her subconscious mind told her.

The throbbing in her hand had long stopped. Marinette felt a blush spread across her cheeks when Chat finally opened his eyes and looked at her. She almost felt as if she’d been intruding on a private moment--which was silly, because she was right there in front of him. And yet, the depth of raw emotion in his voice. . . .

“Did you memorize all that?” Marinette asked breathlessly.

“The lyrics? Yeah,” Chat said sheepishly. He rubbed his hand awkwardly against the back of his neck. “I’ve watched Tangled and listened to the soundtrack too many times.”

“Oh,” she said, cheeks still flushed. “I see.”

There was silence between them as Chat started to unravel his hair from her hand. Marinette still couldn’t find it in her to say the words that were caught in her throat. She couldn’t say, that was beautiful , or where did you learn to sing like that? or how come I’ve never seen you like this before? Instead, all she could do was stare dumbly when he finally pulled his hands away from hers. She instantly missed their warmth.

“So,” Chat said, “we have a lot to talk about.”

She nodded as her skin slowly returned to its normal color. Marinette dimly recalled all the moments from earlier in the day when Chat had prodded for information. There hadn’t been time to talk then--and she’d also skillfully avoided the topic--but she knew that now, they had as much time as they needed. Hawk Moth wouldn’t be showing up for a while.

Chat propped his chin on his hand as he leaned forward. “Why don’t we start with your supposed crush on Adrien?”

Chat, ” Marinette groaned, immediately blushing again.

“It’s not my fault you accidentally let it slip when you were singing,” Chat said with a grin.

“I wasn’t thinking!”

“At least you’re not denying it now.”

“Because you won’t believe me if I did,” she said with a huff, crossing her arms across her chest.

He smirked. “Ah, that’s true. You’re not exactly the best liar, princess.”

“I thought we agreed that you’re the princess, not me.”

“That’s only for the time being,” he said, “but you’re obviously the permanent one.”

“But no one would ever be able to pull off the hair as well as you do,” Marinette teased.

He pouted. “I’d much rather have my regular hair back, thank you very much.”

At that, she laughed, and pretty soon Chat was laughing along with her. After all the tension and stress the day had caused them so far, this felt nice. The feeling reminded Marinette of patrols with Chat; only now, she was allowed to be freer, because she wasn’t her alter ego. She didn’t need to have that sense of responsibility, or be on the constant lookout for trouble. It was just the two of them, laughing without caring about anything else around them.

It took a while, but eventually their fit finally died down with both of them wiping tears from their eyes. Though neither of them really remembered what had made them laugh so hard. But still. It had been great simply to get all of that out of their system.

“So,” Chat said once that was over, “what do you like about Adrien?”

Marinette turned to him. “What?”

“I mean, why do you like Adrien?” Chat asked. He seemed genuinely curious. “Dozens of girls have crushes on him. He’s a model, the face of a brand. . . .”

“Oh, but he’s so much more than that,” Marinette said, almost dreamily. “You know, he and I didn’t really get off on the right foot at first. I thought he put gum on my seat on the first day of school, and was convinced he was a jerk. But he proved me wrong! When he apologized, it was so sincere.” She smiled fondly. “He’s not just a poster boy. He’s someone who’s kind and is always willing to see the best in people. He’s also willing to help just about anyone, even if they don’t deserve it. He’s not perfect--he has flaws, of course--but Adrien’s one of the sweetest people I know, which is why I lo-- like him a lot.”

For some reason, the blush on Chat’s face nearly rivaled her own. “You like him a lot, don’t you?”

Marinette nodded shyly. “Yeah,” she murmured.


She frowned at Chat’s reaction, but didn’t dwell on it as another thought came to mind. “What about you?” she asked. “When you sang about your dreams. . . .”

“You mean about Ladybug and about defeating Hawk Moth?”

“Well, I already knew about those,” Marinette said, “but the other ones. Like repairing your relationship with your father, and not being alone.”

“Oh.” Chat shrugged. “I guess that just came to me in the spur of the moment. It’s not that big of a deal.”

Marinette raised an eyebrow at him.

“Okay, maybe it is a big deal,” he said, “but I promise it’s not a problem anymore! Really,” he added when she didn’t look convinced, “I have tons of friends, and I’m working on the thing with my father.”

“Well, if you ever needed someone to talk to,” she said, “I’ll listen.”

Chat smiled. He took one of her hands and gently pressed his lips against her knuckles. “Thank you, Marinette. You’re a great friend.”

“Of course,” she said, “what are friends for?”

The night was young, the fire crackled, and stars shone high above the sky as the sounds of the darkness rustled around them. And yet, all Marinette could focus on was the sudden ease she felt with Chat’s presence. She felt comforted in a way she hadn’t felt in a long time, almost as if this encounter was meant to be. As if it was fate that she’d ended up in this fairy tale with Chat Noir as her civilian self. After all, Marinette couldn’t imagine having anyone else but her partner by her side. To go through this with him was quite an experience.

In fact, the whole situation felt magical. It was silly to think about. But in retrospect, it wasn’t quite far-fetched.

There were so many things Marinette wanted to say to him. She wanted to tell him how brave he was for plunging into this world with her. She wanted to tell him that despite all the teasing, she was willing to help him in whatever way he needed so they could get out of here. But most importantly, she wanted to tell him how grateful she was for him being there. She knew there was no way she could’ve done this without him.

“Thinking of something?” Chat asked softly.

Just our friendship, Marinette thought with a lazy smile. But instead, all she did was shake her head and look up at the night sky with a content expression.

“Out of everyone I could’ve ended up with, I’m glad I got stuck in this fairy tale with you,” she whispered.

There was silence for a couple of seconds, and for a heartbeat Marinette was worried that he hadn’t heard her, or worse, he didn’t feel the same way. . . .

“Me too,” Chat murmured. “I’m glad it’s you, too.”

And that was all she needed to hear.

Chapter Text

I’m glad it’s you.

Their voiced sentiments echoed through the air, bringing along a sense of tranquility that hadn’t been there before. Along with everything else Marinette had told him that night, the words filled Chat with warmth from head to toe. He hadn’t been nearly this giddy the last time someone had said something like this to him. He supposed that it was probably because of Marinette; sweet, lovely Marinette, whose words and actions never ceased to put a smile on his face, whether he was Chat or Adrien.

It was surprising to find out that she had a crush on his civilian self. Chat had always assumed Marinette was in love with Luka, but to realize that he was the one that had captured her heart. . . . it left him in awe. After all, she was such a wonderful person. She was brave, smart, talented, beautiful--and he was just him. Ordinary. A socially awkward boy that had been homeschooled nearly his entire life. The only social situations he’d been in involved suiting up in a tuxedo, chatting idly with people who only wanted his fame and connections.

Thank goodness he’d never have to be stuck in a tuxedo as Chat. His alter ego let him break away from all of that. The mask helped him be himself.

Marinette had fallen for Adrien. When he’d first found out, Chat had been almost disappointed. He assumed like everyone else, she’d fallen for surface-level Adrien. But it was clear that somehow, she’d managed to see through his facade and find the real Adrien. Maybe not the Adrien Chat embodied. Yet she definitely didn’t fall in love with the image of him that was displayed on magazines and across Paris.

She liked him for who he was. Not the perfect model everyone expected him to be. Not the face of the Agreste brand held on a pedestal.

But him.

In some part of his brain, everything clicked. Now, it made sense why Marinette always stuttered around him. It made sense why she’d always done so much for him, like going to the movies with him that time when his fans were chasing him.

It finally made sense why sometimes, his heart pitter-pattered just the slightest bit when she was around.

“Hey, Chat?” Marinette asked.

He turned to her. “Yeah?”

“I hate to interrupt this peaceful moment,” she said, “but um, I need to uh, collect firewood.”

“What?” Chat furrowed his eyebrows as Marinette stood up and started to walk away.

“The movie,” she whispered, before loudly adding, “don't worry, I’ll stay nearby.” And with that, she disappeared out of sight.

Suddenly, it was as if a chill had blown through the air, and Chat was faintly aware of a pair of eyes staring down his back.

“Well, I thought she'd never leave.”

Oh, right. He was still Rapunzel, and he still had a role to play. Chat turned around slowly, fully expecting to meet Hawk Moth’s gaze.

But those eyes? They didn’t belong to Hawk Moth. They belonged to--

“Father?” he breathed.

“Hello, dear.” 

No, that wasn’t right. Chat got to his feet and turned to face him. This was Hawk Moth, not Gabriel. These eyes were concealed by a mask, and held none of the authority Gabriel’s usually did.

But then why did his voice sound so familiar?

“How. . . .” he struggled to remember the right words. “How did you find me?”

Hawk Moth’s grin felt sinister. He walked over and smothered Chat in a hug, rubbing his hands against his face almost lovingly. Chat grimaced.

“Oh, it was easy really,” he said. “I just listened to the sound of complete and utter betrayal, and followed that.”

Chat winced. Gosh, the way Hawk Moth said it, as if the words were light as a feather, so sickeningly sweet. . . . it made him want to punch something.

“We're going home, Chat Noir,” he said, pulling away from the embrace and tugging on his arm. “Now.”

Chat immediately pulled away. When Hawk Moth fixed him with an incredulous stare, he simply shook his head. He wasn’t going to be a pushover this time, like he was with his father. This time, he was going to stand up for what he believed to be right.

“You don't understand,” Chat said. He recalled all the times he’d pleaded with his father about going to school, all the times he’d begged him to hang out with friends, all the times he’d been shut in his room without company that he oh so desperately craved.

“Oh?” Hawk Moth questioned, almost mockingly.

“I. . . . I’ve had this amazing journey. I've seen and experienced so many things.” Chat paused and let the words come to him. “I’ve even met someone. I’ve learned so much about her, in a way I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”

“Yes, the wanted thief.” The supervillain narrowed his eyes. He once again grabbed his arm and started pulling him away. “I'm so proud. Come on, Chat Noir.”

I don’t have time for this.

The unspoken words were whispered in Chat’s mind. That was what Gabriel always said. This was what Gabriel always did.

And he was just so tired of it.

Chat wriggled out of Hawk Moth’s grasp. “Wait! You know, Marinette actually likes me.” As more than a friend. “She knows me. I’m not coming with you.”

“Likes you?” He scoffed. “Please, Chat Noir, that's demented.”

“It’s not!” he protested. He had dozens of comebacks lined up in his head. He would say this, and then counter it with that. . . .

But as Hawk Moth’s voice slowly melded into singing, Chat realized something: this wasn’t his father. This was Hawk Moth, who just happened to be a movie character at the moment. Chat was arguing in circles; he was fully aware of the outcome. He knew how this would end.

And yet, why was he still doing this? Why was he still projecting his father onto the figure in front of him and trying to one-up him?

Because you never got a chance to do this before with your father. Because it’s easier to stand up to Gabriel when there isn’t something at stake.

This wasn’t Gabriel. But Chat couldn’t help feel like he was, as he sang and danced around him.

“No,” Chat interrupted, breaking off Hawk Moth’s singing.

“No?” Hawk Moth frowned. “Oh. I see how it is.” He continued to sing, flaunting forward as though he was the only one in charge. Chat wasn’t having it. He turned away from Hawk Moth, deciding he wasn’t going to listen to him. He was just a movie character, after all.

And yet, the memories still rose to the surface.

I’m your father. I know what’s best for you, Adrien, Gabriel would say.

But that’s not what’s best for me, he’d say back.

However, Chat’s words were never taken seriously, no matter with how much conviction he said them. They were always tossed to the side, or heard with a grain of salt.

Hawk Moth held out the satchel and carefully took it out. “ This is why she’s here! ” he declared.

“No, that’s not true!” Marinette and I are here because of the akuma. That’s the only reason. And even if we were part of this world, she’d never be that selfish.

This is why she’s here, ” Hawk Moth sang, tossing the crown to him. “ Don't let her deceive you. Give it to her, you'll see.

“I trust her,” Chat said, almost as a growl. “You’re lying.”

Trust me my dear, That's how fast she’ll leave you. I won't say I told you so. ” Hawk Moth sang with pride and triumph, as though he’d won this argument for now. Chat stood rigid as he danced around him.

“That’s not true,” he said, but his voice sounded weak.

If she's lying, don't come crying! Father, knows best! ” Hawk Moth disappeared into the night as he cried out that last line, leaving him standing there alone.

Chat instantly felt relieved. It was a lot easier to feel relaxed when Hawk Moth wasn’t around, and the interaction left him with a sour taste in his mouth. It just reminded him too much of his father.

He stared down at the crown in his hand and sighed. According to the movie, he’d now have to hide this so that Marinette wouldn’t see it. Shaking his head to get rid of the thoughts, he quickly put the satchel and crown behind the tree. It was only later that he realized his hands had been shaking.

 “Are you okay?” A voice suddenly asked. Chat turned around to see Marinette rounding the corner. She immediately pulled him back towards the fire where Plagg was sitting. They both seem concerned. “I saw all of that, and um, it didn’t seem good.”

“I’m fine,” he said, sitting down on the log. Plagg instantly curled up against him, and Chat slowly ran his fingers along his kwami’s tail. “I’m used to it by now.”

“Are you sure?”

Chat shrugged. “It’s nothing. Hawk Moth reminded me of my father, but it’s not that important.”

“It’s not nothing,” Marinette said gently. “It’s obvious that it bothered you.”

All Chat wanted to do was open up to her, to scream and yell out all of his frustrations, to just get it all out of his system; after all, she was giving him an opening to talk to her, and knowing Marinette, she’d be willing to listen. But Chat didn’t want to burden her with the information. They were having a wonderful evening. He didn’t have to ruin it by spilling his guts about his father. And what if she figured out his identity? It just wasn’t worth it.

“I’m fine, really.” Chat gave Marinette a small smile. “But thank you, Marinette. It’s great to know you’re always looking out for me.”

She put her hand over his. “You’d do the same for me, wouldn’t you?” 

“Of course I would,” he said without hesitation.

Marinette smiled. “I know,” she whispered. “I know.”

And somehow, those two words managed to warm Chat’s heart.

Meanwhile, barely several feet away, two figures huddled in the corner, watching the pair with matching scowls on their faces.

“Patience,” Hawk Moth said, turning to Lila with a grim smile. “All good things to those who wait.”

Chapter Text

In all honesty, when the wave of water swept through that gorge, Tikki expected that she, along with everyone else, would drown. It was the first time she had been in a near-death situation—being basically the god of creation had its perks, after all—and it hadn’t been pretty. She was sure if Plagg had seen what had happened, he would never let her live it down.

Because Tikki wasn’t immortal right now. She was currently stuck in the body of a horse , which meant if she didn’t survive, she would actually be gone. Then Paris would be doomed, she’d never see Marinette or have another holder ever again, and the Ladybug Miraculous would be useless. Or even worse, the entire world would be destroyed, because without creation, destruction would take over, and then there would be no balance anymore, and—

She was fretting again. She tried not to, but it was becoming increasingly harder. The longer she went through this fairy tale or whatever Marinette had called it, the more stressed out she was becoming. By some miracle, Tikki hadn’t drowned in that water wave. But there were other problems. Hawk Moth was still on the loose. Her chosen was nowhere in sight. However, instead of actually going out and helping Marinette defeat him, Tikki had been washed up in some other part of the forest, wet and feeling like crap.

She was alive, though. She supposed that was all that mattered.

But still, she was so fed up of being constantly left behind.

It took a while to get hold of her bearings and take a look at where she was. There were trees, obviously, since they were in a forest, and she could smell a river of the sort a little while away. But something else captured her attention: the scent of strawberries and vanilla shampoo.

The familiar scent filled her nostrils, and while a couple of hours ago Tikki would’ve nickered with joy, instead she felt tired. Resigned. The last time she’d followed this scent trail, nothing had happened. Marinette left her with the simple explanation of, “we’re in a fairy tale”. But what fairy tale? Tikki didn't know this tale! She hadn’t been around in this time period long enough for that.

But what will happen if I can’t find Marinette? What will happen to Paris and everyone who’s been affected by the akuma? What will happen if Hawk Moth gets to her first?

Well then. Tikki supposed she had no choice but to follow this trail. She had no other choice. Night was beginning to fall, and if she wanted to find Marinette by morning, she would have to start looking now.

And so she got to her hooves, sniffed the air, and began walking towards the direction of the scent, already dreading the hours to come.

Marinette woke up to something harshly nudging her side. She rolled over in an attempt to shake whatever it was off, but when it continued to bother her, she lazily opened her eyes and looked up.

Maman, ” she moaned, “it’s too early.”

A loud nicker greeted her instead of her mother’s soft reprimands.

Marinette instantly bolted to her feet, wide awake. “Tikki!” she cried, wrapping her arms around her kwami—er, horse. “You’re here!”

Tikki neighed and pressed her muzzle against her shoulder as Marinette’s hands slowly ran through her mane. The pair stood there like that for a long time, almost as if they were continuing the hug from earlier.

“I’m sorry for leaving you,” Marinette said, pulling back and looking at her earnestly. “I’m sure you’re really confused right now, but I promise, Chat and I will explain everything.”

“We will,” Chat agreed, suddenly slipping into place beside her. Marinette glanced at him in surprise. When had he woken up? “But I think you have some explaining to do to me, too.”

“I—oh.” Marinette glanced at the ground sheepishly. Right. He still didn’t know about Tikki yet. “I suppose I do.”

Chat nodded, but his gaze wasn’t unkind. “So, mind introducing me to who this lovely horse is?”

Tikki shot an alarmed glance at Marinette. She merely patted Tikki’s shoulder reassuringly.

“You wouldn’t know her,” Marinette hastily said, waving a hand dismissively. “She’s um, Alya’s uh, pet cat.”

“Oh?” Chat cocked his head and smiled as if he was amused. “What’s her name?”

“Uh, it’s Emma!” Marinette babbled the first name that came to mind, which just so happened to be one of the baby names she picked out for her future children.

“Really? I thought I heard something along the lines of, Plikki, or, what was it?” Chat suddenly snapped a finger. “Ah! I know! It’s Tikki!

From where he was perched on top of Chat’s head, Plagg snickered. He looked at Tikki the horse and gave her a silent stare.

Looks like I’ve won the bet, sugar cube, his eyes seemed to say.

Centuries of being stuck with Plagg made it easy for Tikki to read him. Technically, you haven’t. She doesn’t know his identity yet.

It won’t be long before she does though. Plagg smiled gleefully. 

You’re just excited because you’re winning the bet for the first time in three hundred years.

Which means you have to eat Camembert!

Tikki huffed. You wish.

You’re going to have to do it, sugar cube. He grinned. You lost the bet.

She simply rolled her eyes and glanced away.

Marinette was visibly sweating now. “What! No no no no, you’re mistaken! This isn’t Tikki, this is Emma! There’s no Tikki here, why would you even say that?”

Chat simply smirked. “Okay. Whatever you say.”

“Yup! Because this is Emma! Her name is Emma .” Marinette patted Tikki’s forehead. “And Emma , this is Chat Noir.

“Nice to meet you, Emma ,” Chat said, reaching over to pat her mane. “I see you’re a very loyal horse. Isn’t that right, my lady?”

“Yeah, she’s very loyal, she’s—” she broke off, eyes widening when he realized what he’d said.

If there had been any hope that her identity was still a secret, those two words shattered the thought. Marinette’s brain short-circuited. She gaped at him in shock, fumbling for the right words.

“Cat got your tongue?” Her partner grinned. “How long were you planning to keep this from me, bugaboo?”

“You’re not supposed to know!” Marinette buried her face in her hands. “How—how did you—”

“It was simple, really. You yelled Tikki’s name when she found you.” Chat shrugged. “It didn’t take me long to put together the pieces from there.”

“This is a disaster!”

“Hey no, it’s not a disaster,” Chat said, dropping his teasing. He put his hands on Marinette’s shoulders and looked into her eyes. “Come on, I was bound to find out sooner or later. You couldn’t have kept Tikki’s name from me forever.”

“I guess you’re right,” she muttered, looking up at him.

“Of course I’m right,” Chat said. “I always am.”

Marinette smacked his arm.


“Don’t we have places to be, kitty?” she asked, stepping around him to look in the direction of the palace. Its towers were barely visible above the trees.

“That we do, my lady,” he said, smiling.

“Great. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to getting all your hair braided.”

“Oh, right!” Chat’s face lit up. “Finally!”

Marinette laughed. Despite the reveal that happened, the pair instantly fell back into their easy banter as they trudged towards the middle of the kingdom along with Tikki and Plagg. Marinette took the lead, knowing Chat would follow. He always did, even when she was her civilian self.

The last thing she’d expected was for Chat to figure out her identity in this way, but she supposed it was coming. After all, she didn’t make a cover story for Tikki, and she—like Chat already told her—was a terrible liar.

“Oh, look,” Chat said, pointing at a flyer on a pillar. The two of them were currently walking across the bridge that would lead them to the village. “It’s you.”

Marinette glanced over to see him pointing at a wanted dead or alive poster with her face plastered on it. She immediately blanched.

“We don’t need to talk about that,” she said, grabbing the poster and hastily scrunching it up.

“Aw, but my lady, they drew you so well!”

“They made my eyes too small,” she said, scowling.

“Well,” Chat said, “either way, you look stunning.”

She felt her face heat up. “Stop that.”

“Stop what?” he asked innocently.

“Stop flirting with me. Just because you know I’m Ladybug doesn’t mean you can start flirting again,” Marinette said teasingly. She expected Chat to reply with some kind of flirty remark, like he usually did.

What she hadn’t expected, however, was for a blush to spread across his cheeks, and for him to look away as if he was embarrassed.

“That’s not what I meant,” he mumbled.

Baffled by his reaction, Marinette decided to ignore him. She stuffed the poster in a pocket. “Anyways, we’re gonna have to lay low from the guards for a while.”

“Right,” Chat said as they continued to walk along the bridge. “And in the meantime, we’ll get my hair braided!”

“Definitely. Oh, and we’ll walk around the marketplace, dance with the villagers, take a boat ride, see the lanterns, and—”

“And sing again,” Chat finished.

Marinette groaned, but she ended up smiling anyways. “We’ll see about that,” she said, and the two of them walked into the village side by side.

Chapter Text

The village was bustling with people, but it didn’t take long for Chat and Marinette to find the children that would braid Chat’s hair. She called them over and watched in amusement as they quickly ushered him away from her.

“They're going to braid Chat’s hair,” Marinette explained to Tikki and Plagg as they watched. Plagg nodded—he’d watched Tangled with his chosen several times before—but Tikki cocked her head in confusion.

“Chat is Rapunzel in this story,” Marinette said. “Rapunzel’s hair contains magical qualities, which is why she keeps it so long. If it’s cut, it loses its healing powers. Does that make sense?”

Tikki nodded and nickered softly to tell her to continue.

“Rapunzel was locked up in a tower for most of her life by Mother Gothel, who is Hawk Moth in this story line. Mother Gothel wants her solely for her healing powers, and she kidnapped her when she was a baby.” Marinette continued to explain the story to Tikki, and for the first time since they ran into each other, her kwami finally seemed to relax.

Tikki looked over at Plagg. You know, all this time I thought Hawk Moth was after Marinette for her Miraculous! Do you know how worried I was?

Plagg cackled. Seriously, sugar cube? Have you never watched Tangled before?

No! Tikki glanced at her chosen in indignation, but Marinette didn’t seem to notice. She was too busy watching Chat with a dopey smile. Marinette never showed me.

Well, Adrien watches Disney movies with me all the time! We have a lot of fun watching them together.

Don’t lie to me, Plagg. I bet you only watched them with him because he offered you cheese.

Plagg shrugged. It was Camembert. I couldn’t resist.

Of course. Tikki sighed, but suddenly another thought occurred to her. Hey, doesn’t Rapunzel’s story kind of sound like the relationship between Adrien and his father?

Yeah. He doesn’t really admit it, but he knows it’s true. Plagg shook his head sadly. I think this experience has opened the kid’s eyes up a little bit, though.

That’s good. Tikki looked back at where Chat was now bounding up to Marinette, hair fully braided.

“Look, Marinette!” Chat squealed, twirling around. “Doesn’t it look mewtiful?”

He seems happy, though.

I know. Plagg grinned. Wanna make another bet, sugar cube? You have to eat Camembert for a month if they get together before they defeat this akuma.

Tikki scoffed. Please, I’m not making another bet. Even I know they’re going to get together soon. It’s so obvious.

What about when they’re going to kiss then?

She glared at him. Plagg! No more bets!

Or what about when—


“It looks amazing, kitty,” Marinette said as she blinked at his hair in awe. “Did you thank the kids?”

“Of course I did. They were paw some.” Chat smiled. “It’s great that the hair isn’t getting in our way anymore.”

“You know, I’m going to have a hard time getting used to your regular hair when we get back.”

“Honestly? I think I am too,” he said, and they both laughed as they continued to go through the marketplace.

It was fun to explore the place with one another. Marinette found herself dragging him to whatever booths she found interesting, and vice versa. Neither of them really noticed that the other turned slightly pink when they tugged on their arm, or that Tikki and Plagg were trailing behind them with knowing expressions on their faces. They were just in the moment, spending precious time together, carefully avoiding thinking about the obstacles to come.

As they stood in line at yet another booth, something caught Chat’s eye. He turned around to see a large mural encasing an entire wall. It shone brightly amidst the rest of the marketplace, the imperfect, multicolored stones bringing the portrait to life. And yet, the artistic rendition wasn’t what brought Chat to observe it. It was beautiful, yes, but what made it beautiful was the people it enamoured. Specifically. . . .

“It’s for the lost princess,” a little girl said, placing the flower on the ground next to the mural.

It took his breath away. Chat wanted to reach out and gently brush his fingers along those familiar faces, to revel in the feeling of seeing them so happy. Simply knowing that they cared for him, loved him, would always be there for him, and would never, ever leave him—

But Chat knew better than to let himself get immersed in his wistful thinking. There wasn’t time for that, and besides, he’d see them soon enough. There was no point in wondering about the what-ifs. So instead, he glanced away from the mural and went back over to join Marinette.

Music filled the lively atmosphere. This was one of Chat’s favorite scenes from the movie, but somehow, experiencing it in real life made it all the more magical. With the quick strokes of the fiddle, the light strumming of the banjo, and the deep chords of the pan pipes coupled with the fierce passion from the accordion and the harmonica, it brought together a fast-paced, raging melody. It twisted through each corner of the marketplace, starting off as a weak breeze and ending as a strong wind. No one who heard it was able to keep a smile off their face. Chat could feel his feet moving of their own accord, and pretty soon, he was twirling around the plaza, letting the music control him.

It didn’t take long for him to get the rest of the people in the square to join him. Everyone was laughing and dancing, and he even managed to drag Marinette in, who had been all too willing to stay on the sidelines. The two of them skipped around each other, always coming near but never touching. 

It’s like how they dance around each other’s identities, Tikki noted with amusement.

Plagg rolled his eyes. Exactly like that.

Nonetheless, they made the best of it.

They spent the rest of their time in the village doing all sorts of activities. They danced, painted (Marinette more so than Chat, because really, he couldn’t draw for the life of him), read, and of course, ate whatever sweets they could stuff in their mouths. They didn’t rival the pastries of the Dupain-Cheng’s, but they were still great. 

It was the most fun either of them had had in a long time.

And in the evening, when they came back to the plaza and saw everyone was still dancing, this time Marinette found herself pulling Chat into the crowd and leading him into the dance. She swayed to the music as she heard all the villagers clapping around them. They fumbled through different formations and rhythms. Even if they made mistakes, no one cared. Everyone simply immersed themselves in the moment and let the music carry them.

Marinette had always known herself to be clumsy, yet at the moment, she felt anything but. She felt graceful. Her steps were smooth, delicate. And when she fell into Chat’s arms as the last of the music faded out, she felt nothing but joy coursing all throughout her body.

The crowd cheered around them. Marinette looked into Chat’s eyes, seeing her own joy reflected in his emerald green gaze. If she wasn’t joyous enough, an unexpected surge of delight went through her when she saw how happy he was.

“To the boats!” a man yelled in the crowd.

As quick as it was, the magical moment left. Chat cleared his throat and stepped away from her. It was only then she realized their fingers had been entwined, and they’d been so close their bodies had almost been touching. They were sporting equally bright blushes on their faces.

“Let’s go get a boat, shall we?” Marinette asked breathlessly, turning away from him.

“After you, my lady,” Chat said with a smile.

“You can’t tell me you don’t know all the lyrics to this song,” Chat said in disbelief. They were currently in the middle of the lake, sitting on a boat as they waited for the lanterns to come on. Tikki had been left at the dock (she had not been happy about being left behind again), while Plagg was curled up to the side.

Marinette shrugged. “Sorry, kitty. I only know the chorus.”

He pouted. “But then how are you supposed to sing your part?”

“It’s simple. I won’t.”

Chat gasped and dramatically put a hand to his heart. “Princess! You can’t do that!”

“What? It’s not like anyone’s watching us.” She looked up at the night sky. “We don’t need to sing.”

“Marinette,” Chat said, “if you don’t sing with me, I will make your life miserable.”

She scoffed. “Oh? And how will you do that?”

“I’ll never stop making puns during akuma attacks,” he said, “or during any patrol we have, for that matter. Oh! And I’ll call you bugaboo for the rest of your life.”

“You’d do those things anyways,” Marinette pointed out. She crossed her arms over her chest and smirked. “You’ll have to do better than that to get me to sing.”

“I—” Chat broke off and gasped when he saw a flicker of light in the corner of his eye. He glanced down at the water to see the first lantern making its way into the sky. Instantly he felt himself mimicking Rapunzel’s position in the movie, rushing to the end of the boat and leaning over the edge as he saw the lanterns slowly lift into the sky.

All those days watching from the windows, all those years outside looking in ,” he started to sing.

Chat, ” Marinette groaned, but her attempt to pretend being annoyed failed when she saw the earnest expression on her partner’s face. She ended up smiling instead.

All that time never even knowing, just how blind I've been .” He leaned his head against the boat, his cheek pressing into the wood. “ Now I'm here blinking in the starlight, now I'm here suddenly I see, standing here it's all so clear, I'm where I'm meant to be.

They seemed to pour in from every side of the kingdom. The lanterns lit up the sky like fireworks, and the once dark night soon became encased with light. Chat watched the lanterns with stars twinkling in his eyes. There were no words to describe how beautiful it looked. For the first time, Chat could see why this had been Rapunzel’s dream for so long. Because it was stunning. Magical. Breathtaking.

And at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted.

This journey had taught Chat so much . He’d made realizations about his father, and how much he hated being controlled by him. He’d figured out that Marinette had a crush on him, but that crush was sincere. She wasn’t like the rest of his fangirls; she liked him for him.

“And at last I see the light, and it's like the sky is new.

He’d now seen and experienced the world at a completely different angle. It made him appreciate everything he had even more.

And it's warm and real and bright, and the world has somehow shifted.

He would never forget this. When he got back to the real world, back to Paris, Chat would look back and revel at these moments. This journey had opened his eyes to something he probably never would’ve figured out otherwise.

All at once everything looks different, now that I see you .” Chat turned to Marinette, who was watching him with a soft smile on her face. He grinned and sat down beside her.

He started off this journey with Marinette. Marinette, who was smart, kind, brave, talented. . . . he’d started off with a friend. But somehow, throughout the course of these two days, she became so much more than that. She protected and saved him countless times. She was always willing to be there for him, to talk to him, to care for him. And when he finally figured out that she was also his lady, he realized. . . .

How in the world had he fallen for the same girl twice?

“Are you going to sing?” he murmured. Despite what he had said earlier, Chat would never force her to do anything she didn’t want. If she didn’t want to sing, then so be it. They’d sit here in silence.

“I can try,” she said, surprising them both.

“You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, Mari,” Chat said.

“It’s okay,” she said, smiling at him. “I’ll do it.”

His entire face lit up. Marinette took a deep breath and slowly started to sing.

All those days chasing down a daydream, all those years living in a blur.

For months on end, she’d been chasing after Adrien. All this time, she’d been infatuated with him and only him. She stuttered around him, made presents for him, tried to be there for him as much as she could. She hoped that someday, they’d be more than friends.

All that time never truly seeing, things, the way they were.

But the truth was. . . . she’d never made progress. She and Adrien? They were friends. Nothing more than that.

Now he's here shining in the starlight, now he's here suddenly I know.

The entire time, Marinette had avoided her partner. Chat Noir had always been clear with his feelings for her, and though he managed to move on from her alter ego, somehow, just somehow , he was here with her now. Acting as if. . . . he loved her, Marinette. Her civilian self.

If he's here it's crystal clear, I'm where I'm meant to go.

Marinette watched as Chat looked around at the lanterns in awe. His eyes were half-closed, almost as if he was reminiscing over her singing. All of a sudden, all she wanted to do was reach over, to press against his side, to feel the warmth of his skin against hers. She wanted to talk to him about nothing and everything, to always be by his side. . . .

Marinette was speechless. How had she never noticed the newfound direction her heart had taken? How had she ignored the feelings she had for him until now?

“I thought you said you didn’t know the lyrics,” Chat said breathlessly.

“It looks like I lied,” Marinette whispered with a soft laugh. She leaned over and took both of his hands in hers. Matching blushes spread across their cheeks.

“Ready?” he whispered.

She nodded, and with that, their voices merged into one as they continued to sing.

And at last I see the light, and it's like the fog has lifted.

They’d never really seen one another before. To Chat, Marinette had been a friend, and to Marinette, Chat had been her crime-fighting partner.  And yet, all it took was for them to get thrust into a fairy tale together to actually acknowledge the person that had been in front of them this whole time.

And at last I see the light, and it's like the sky is new.

The revelation was startling.

And it's warm and real and bright, and the world has somehow shifted.

In the span of two days, things had changed drastically. And now? They couldn’t imagine going back to the real world without knowledge of everything that had happened.

All at once everything is different, now that I see you .”

Marinette leaned forward and gently cupped his cheek. Chat looked at her with wide eyes, but she merely smiled, her voice barely above a whisper as she sang, “ now that I. . . .”

Chat scooted closer. Their knees were now brushing against one another’s. He leaned forward, resting his forehead against hers, sharing one breath with her as he murmured, “ see you.

He held the note for as long as he could, slowly letting it fade out of existence, and with it, all of his confusion. Now, he knew what he felt. Chat knew who it was that made him smile, who it was that made his heart pitter-patter, who it was that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.

And, as Marinette closed her eyes and leaned in to capture his lips in hers, there was no doubt she felt the same way.

Chapter Text

Marinette could care less about the figure she saw in the background. She could care less about the progression of the movie, about all the events that were undoubtedly about to happen. Honestly, if at this moment she found out they would never go back to Paris, she still wouldn’t care.

As of now, all she was focused on—all she wanted to focus on—was the boy in front of her. Of the way his lips felt against hers, of the way her heart raced at his closeness, of the utter joy she felt simply from his presence. Why in the world had she never taken a chance before this? How had she taken her partner for granted for so long?

This felt right in a way that Marinette had never imagined was possible. She wanted to savor the moment, to revel in his touch for as long as she physically could.

But of course, that wasn't going to happen.

“You have to go face Lila,” Chat whispered, pulling away from the kiss first.

“Ugh, I don’t want to,” Marinette muttered. She looked around Chat to see Lila signaling to her on the shore before disappearing out of sight. There was a smile on her face, but Marinette knew better than to believe it was genuine.

He tightened his grip on their entwined fingers. “It’ll be fine, princess.”

“You do remember how the rest of the movie plays out, right? It’s not going to be easy.”

“I know,” Chat said, “but we’ll get through it together.”

“Of course we will,” she said. “You and me against the world, remember?”

He grinned. “Always.”

Plagg watched the two teenagers look at each other with dopey smiles. He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Ugh. As much as he loved finally seeing them finally fall in love and confess their feelings for one another, he most certainly had a problem with all this sappiness. And besides, there was an akuma to defeat! Plagg didn’t want to be stuck as a chameleon any longer than he had to.

Oh, and he wanted his voice back. That way, he could tease these two idiots to his heart’s content.

So Plagg padded over and nudged Marinette’s side. She looked away from Chat and glanced down at him. He pointed his tail in the shore’s direction, trying to say, just get over there and continue with the movie already!

Thankfully, she seemed to get the message. Marinette cleared her throat, picking up the oar. “So, I guess we should, um, get going.”

Chat nodded. A light blush spread across his cheeks as he realized he and Marinette hadn’t been alone all this time. He glanced at his kwami with a frown, but Plagg simply shrugged.

You can bet I’m gonna be making fun of you for a long time, kid.

Luckily Chat had no idea what Plagg was thinking, otherwise he was sure his chosen’s groan would’ve been heard from miles away.

Several minutes later (most of which had been spent in silence), they reached the shore. Marinette jumped out of the boat and quickly steadied it.

“Right,” she said, “this is it.” She glanced hesitantly at Chat, but he gave her a reassuring smile.

“We’ll see each other again soon,” he promised.

“I know, but it’s hard not to worry. There’s so much that’s going to happen. . . .” she trailed off as another thought occurred to her. “Wait. Are you going to be okay with Hawk Moth on your own?”

Chat frowned. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“He reminds you of your father, doesn’t he?” Marinette bit her lip. “Gosh, Chat, I don’t think this is such a good idea. I don’t know if—”

“Hey,” he said, putting a hand over hers, “I’ve dealt with my father dozens of times. This is nothing. I’ll be fine.”

And he would be. Right? Hawk Moth was just Mother Gothel in this fairy tale; he wasn’t his father. Hawk Moth would never be his father. As long as he kept those two facts seperate and continued to remind himself that this wasn’t the real world, he’d be able to get through this.

Besides, perhaps now was finally his chance to rebel in a way that he’d never been able to before. Chat fully planned to make the best of it.

“I don’t want to leave you,” Marinette said quietly.

“Me neither, bug,” Chat murmured, “me neither.”

She grabbed the satchel from the boat and sighed. “I should probably go face Lila now. See you later?”

“Yup. Try not to get executed later, okay?” he joked. “Or stabbed, for that matter.”

The weight of what Chat had said set in. Crickets chirped in the forest as silence settled in between them.

“Don’t worry, I will,” Marinette said dryly.

Instantly his eyes widened in horror. “Oh my gosh Mari, you’re gonna get—”

“Don’t think about it,” she said hastily, cutting him off. “Just don’t, Chat. Don’t think about it.”


“We’ll get through this together.” Marinette squeezed his hand. “We’ll be okay, kitty. Trust me.”

Chat’s throat tightened up. The last thing he wanted was for her to get hurt, but if that was the only way they’d get out of the movie. . . . did he really have a choice?

He lifted her hand and pressed a fleeting kiss against her knuckles. “Be careful,” he whispered.

“I will,” Marinette said. “Good luck with Hawk Moth.”

“Thanks. Good luck with Lila.”

“I think I’ll need it,” she said, cracking a smile.

I think I will too, Chat thought, but before he could tell her, she was already walking away.

Plagg climbed along his arm and perched himself on his shoulder, snuggling against his neck in an attempt to comfort him. All Chat could do was stare after her quietly, desperately hoping that everything would be okay in the end.

And it would be. He knew that.

But thinking of the inevitable happily ever after did nothing to quell the worry in his heart.

Marinette walked along the shore to see Lila sitting on a rock, idly scraping her dagger against a stick. She took in a deep breath, knowing she would have to be the one to initiate the conversation.

“I’ve been looking everywhere for you,” Marinette said. She tried to put in the same emotion Flynn had in this scene, but it was harder than she expected. Instead, her voice came out as dull. Empty. “Ever since we um, got separated. And uh, I’m sorry that I couldn’t find you.”

Lila turned and looked at her sharply. She flinched, clutching the satchel against her chest. Gosh, how in the world did Chat do this so easily? All she wanted to do was turn around and flee. She didn’t want to face Lila and lose. Not in real life, and certainly not now, when said brunette was glaring at her with every intent of murder.

But she didn’t have a choice.

“I just want to say that I shouldn’t have left. The crown is all yours.” Marinette walked closer and gently placed the bag at Lila’s feet before turning back around. “It’s for, um, the best.”

Just as she predicted, she was stopped. As quick as a snake, Lila’s hand shot out and grabbed Marinette’s wrist.

“Holding out on me again, Dupain-Cheng?” she asked sweetly.

“I—I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Marinette said, struggling to free her wrist from her grasp. Lila’s grip tightened.

“I heard you found something,” Lila said, pulling her closer. The fog seemed to shift eerily around them as she got to her feet and slowly lifted her dagger. Lila pressed the blade against the bottom of Marinette’s chin. “Something much more valuable than a crown.”


Marinette could barely breathe. She suddenly had flashbacks to the time Lila had cornered her in the bathroom, threatening to take all her friends away from her, including Adrien. And now, she wanted to take away the other important blond-haired, green-eyed boy in her life, she—

“I want him instead.”

She hardly had time to protest before Lila was roughly pushing her towards the boat, the dagger still held against her throat. Any attempt at struggling would likely result in wounds that wouldn’t be easily healed.

This technically wasn’t Lila. Marinette knew that, which was the only reason she swallowed down her pride and every single hateful word that sprang to mind. But she knew that the next time she saw the brunette in Paris, this encounter would forever be burned into her memory of her.

There was no other way. So Marinette let Lila blindly lead her to the boat and tie her up. She let her push the boat off the shore, towards the kingdom where she would be framed for execution. She let her lead her away from her partner, the love of her life, hoping that Chat knew she would never, ever willingly leave him.

Chat stood next to the boat anxiously, watching the direction Marinette had gone in with trepidation. He really, really wasn’t ready for this. As the fog parted and a figure began walking towards him, all he wanted to do was rush over to where Marinette was and free her. To save her from what was going to happen, to protect her like he always did.

Only right now, he couldn’t. And he hated it.

“I was starting to think you ran off with the crown and left me,” Chat said, remembering the dialogue from the movie.

Lila came into view and smirked. “She did.”

“No,” he said, shaking his head, “she wouldn't.” Marinette would never leave me. I know that.

“See for yourself.” Lila pointed in the direction of the lake, where a boat was slowly making its way toward the palace. Chat’s heart clenched when he saw the silhouette of familiar pigtails adorning the darkened figure.

“Marinette,” he whispered.

“A fair trade,” Lila said, taking a step towards him. Chat stepped backwards, his heart racing. “A crown, for the one with the magic hair.” She reached out and brushed her fingers against his long, golden locks. “How much do you think someone will pay to stay young and healthy forever?”

Suddenly Chat had flashbacks to all those times at school Lila had hung off his arm. Of her sweet words holding empty promises. Of how she always continued to cling to him, even after he said no.

At school, he wasn’t supposed to run. At school, he was supposed to keep up a facade, to grit his teeth, smile politely, and accept whatever happened.

But here, however. . . . he was allowed to run. And he would take full advantage of that. 

So Chat wasted no time in bolting from the area as soon as Lila started to make a move. He ran as fast he could, turning the corner and making sure she wasn’t following him before stopping. He was extra careful to make sure his hair didn’t get caught in anything.

Now he just had to wait for it.

As if on cue, he heard a thud and a muffled groan, along with a worried, “Chat Noir!” ringing through the air.

Chat silently walked back to see Hawk Moth standing there, holding a long stick. It seemed to resemble his cane. Laying on the ground beside him was Lila, who was unconscious.

He dropped the stick. “Oh, my precious boy,” he said, holding his arms out. Chat carefully walked towards him. Hawk Moth rushed forward and embraced him in his arms. “Are you alright? Are you hurt?”

Chat desperately wanted to pull away. Hawk Moth obviously didn’t care about him; he just wanted him for his hair.

Just like sometimes, it only feels like Father acknowledges you as his son because you’re the face of his brand.

He ignored the thought. He really didn’t need to think about that right now. “How did you. . . .”

Hawk Moth’s fingers traced his face. Chat fought the urge to pull away as he gazed at him with worry in his eyes. “I was so worried about you dear. So I followed you. And I saw them attack, and. . . .” he pulled him back into a hug. “Oh, my. Let's go, let's go before they come too.”

He started to tug on his arm, but Chat gently pulled away and slowly stepped towards the edge of the shore. He watched the boat Marinette was on with despair, wishing so badly he could be there next to her. But for now, all he could do was hope that she would be okay, and that Tikki remembered what to do when the time came.

Chat turned back to Hawk Moth, who was waiting for him. He held out his arms, and once again, he was forced to accept the embrace and let him hold him close.

“You were right, father ,” he gritted out. It pained him to say the words, but knew they had to be said. “You were right about everything.”

Hawk Moth put an arm around him sympathetically and started leading him in the direction of the tower.

“I know darling,” he said, “I know.”

Chat could almost feel the triumph Hawk Moth felt, sifting through the thick fog he led him away. It took all of his willpower not to lash out at that instant. The only thing that was holding Chat back was the fact that he knew what Hawk Moth’s faith was in the future. It made the situation a bit more bearable.

You aren’t right, Hawk Moth, he thought with satisfaction. And you never will be.

Chapter Text

The boat’s hull creaked as it slowly drifted across the lake. It wasn’t long before it scraped the side of the dock, the noise so loud it alerted the guards that were on duty that night. They frowned in confusion. From where they were perched on one of the palace’s towers, the guards looked down to see something gleaming brightly in the helmsman’s hand.

“Look!” one of the guards gasped. “The crown!”

But that wasn’t the only surprise. At closer inspection, the person in the boat was revealed to be none other than Marinette Dupain-Cheng, the infamous thief who had stolen the precious object in the first place.

“Chat Noir,” she muttered groggily. Suddenly her eyes widened and her head shot up when she realized what was happening. “Chat,” she breathed.

Gosh, whatever Lila had drugged her with had been quite effective. Everything instantly came back to her. Being in Tangled, acting as Flynn Rider, Chat being by her side as Rapunzel, falling in love with him, confessing to him through singing, then having to face Lila and leaving Chat all by himself—

The guards loomed closer. After confirming it really was her, they instantly jumped into the boat and started to free her from the ropes. Marinette knew better than to believe their intention was to actually free her. They forced her to her feet and began pulling her towards the dock, and though she tried struggling in their grasp, it was of no use. There were four guards, and their grip only tightened every time she tried to break free. Struggling wasn’t doing her any good. Eventually, with no other choice, Marinette went limp and let them steer her towards the tower.

Marinette glanced to the side to see Tikki watching her with worry in her eyes. She flashed what she hoped was a reassuring smile at her kwami before she was finally led away.

Tikki stood frozen in place as she witnessed the scene in front of her. Her protective instincts were starting to kick in; all she wanted to do was jump in and intervene, to prevent Marinette from getting hurt. But as much as she wanted to save her, her chosen had specifically told her not to. According to Marinette, Tikki had a role to play. One that was much more important than saving her at this very moment.

Tikki turned her head and looked into the distance, past the kingdom and past the lake, towards where she and the rest of them had come from. Fixing a determined gaze at the forest beyond, she recalled what Marinette had told her. 

Finally, for the first time since she’d gotten stuck in this tale, Tikki knew exactly what she had to do.

Marinette paced the cell she was in, anxious and agitated. She’d been put in this cell late at night, and now it was nearly noon. There were still no signs of the guards that were supposed to come get her. With a sigh, she turned her head and looked out the window. Perhap the only thing keeping her sane at the moment was going over the plan over and over again, knowing that in the end, everything would be all right.

But of course, her thoughts continued to stray back to the one person she was trying to avoid thinking about.

I hope he’s okay.

If she thought about it logically with her head, Marinette knew Chat would be fine. Despite all the bad blood he had with his father, Hawk Moth technically wasn’t related to him at all. He was just Mother Gothel, and Chat was just Rapunzel. So long as he played by the movie (which Chat was way better at than she was, since he’d watched this dozens of times), everything would be okay.

However, the uneasy feelings in her heart told a different story. Chat was a strong person; she knew that. But she also knew that he tended to bottle up his emotions and keep up a facade just to make the people around him happy. If he was in an uncomfortable situation, he wouldn’t open up about it unless it was hurting someone else as well. Because he never wanted to burden people with his struggles. So if this situation with Hawk Moth actually did bother him and remind him of his father. . . . chances were, he wouldn’t tell her.

Just like Adrien.

Marinette frowned. This reminded her of all the times Adrien had shrugged off issues with his father like it was nothing. Every time that happened, Nino would always press and try to get Adrien to talk, but he would refuse every single time. Because again, he never wanted to burden people.

Now that she thought about it. . . . in a lot of ways, Chat was like Adrien. Their relationships with their fathers were nearly identical, they had blond hair and green eyes, and their personalities—though Chat was a lot more open and carefree—were similar as well. Adrien also tended to bottle up his emotions, and now that Marinette had finally seen how her partner acted in certain situations, she could see that Chat’s kindness rivaled Adrien’s. She was sure if the two boys were to ever meet, they would get along splendidly.

Yet she still felt like she was missing something. There was something that wasn’t quite adding up, but before she could figure out where her train of thought was going, the door creaked open. Marinette turned around to see the guards entering the cell.

“Let’s get this over with, Dupain-Cheng,” one of the guards said.

Marinette let out a sigh. Without protest, she let the guards handcuff her and lead her out of the cell. She passed by Lila in one of the cells, slumped over and definitely not looking as smug as she did last night. The sight actually got Marinette to crack a smile as they continued to drag her towards what supposedly was going to be her doom.

“There. It never happened.” Hawk Moth plucked off the last of the flowers from Chat’s hair and placed it in the basket. He stood up and started heading towards the end of the room. “Now, wash up for dinner. I’m making hazelnut soup.”

Chat didn’t make eye contact. He simply stared down at his hands, trying his best to temper his breathing in order to hold back the anger.

But Hawk Moth misinterpreted that. Instead, he sighed from where he was standing near the doorframe. “I really did try, Chat Noir,” he said quietly. “I tried to warn you what was out there. The world is dark and selfish and cruel. If it finds even the slightest ray of sunshine, it destroys it.”

Chat didn’t answer him. He’d heard the same things from his father hundreds of times; the words fell through his ears holding no meaning.

Hawk Moth turned away and closed the curtain, leaving him with his own thoughts. Plagg looked up at his chosen, worry present in his gaze.

Chat didn’t seem to notice. “I hope Mari’s okay,” he said to no one in particular. “Being almost executed has gotta suck.”

Plagg nudged his side harshly. Really, kid? You’re about to face Hawk Moth here, and you’re worrying about Marinette, who can take care of herself?

“I’m worried about her,” he said, looking down at Plagg. He couldn’t understand what his kwami was trying to say, but he continued to speak his thoughts. “I know she can handle herself, but still. I don’t want her to get hurt.”

This time, the expression on Plagg’s face was easy to interpret. It could easily be read as, what about you?

“I just feel. . . . annoyed, I guess,” Chat said to him. “And angry. A lot of what Hawk Moth said reminded me of Father.”

Plagg nodded. Yeah, Mother Gothel is way too much like your father for your own good.

“And now, I’m starting to realize that I’ve always hated Father’s ideologies. But I never really stood up for myself. After I started going to school, Father used that as a way to. . . . keep me in line. I just always followed whatever he said.”

Glad you’re finally coming to your senses, kid. Plagg climbed into Chat’s lap and nodded his head in agreement.

“Sometimes, it just feels like he’s my boss. Not my father. It feels like the only reason he even contacts me—if ever—is because I’m a model, the face of his brand. Not because I’m his son.”

It took you a fairy tale to realize that, but yes, his kwami thought to himself.

Chat suddenly looked down at Plagg, amusement in his eyes. “Huh. It’s quite a change that you aren’t making any commentary, isn’t it? I kinda like it when you’re not rambling about cheese all the time.”

He glared at him. Oh, you owe me so much Camembert for this, kid.

“But I guess what I’m trying to say,” Chat said, “is that I’ve realized if I don’t stand up for myself now. . . . I don’t know if I’ll be able to in the future.”

Plagg smiled. It seemed his chosen was growing up.

Chat stretched the piece of fabric that was in his hands, looking at the sun etched into it. He blushed as he remembered the mural he saw on the wall in the marketplace. Specifically, the happy family that had been clearly displayed for the world to see.

In real life, he wasn’t sure if that family would ever be whole again. But if Chat let his father continue to distance and isolate himself, then he would lose both of his parents. And that was the last thing he wanted.

This Hawk Moth? This Mother Gothel? He wasn’t technically his father. However, this time, he would stand up for himself. And when the time was right, when he was back in Paris, he would stand up for himself there too.

So Chat got to his feet and slowly started to knock things over and make loud noises in the room, so that a voice would call—

“Chat Noir?”

Despite himself, he smiled.

It was time.

Chapter Text

“What’s going on up there?” Hawk Moth’s voice called as Chat walked out of the room and stood at the doorway. “Are you all right?”

“No, I’m not,” he muttered under his breath. He was worried about what Marinette was going through right now, he’d made some startling realizations about his relationship with his father, and he was anxious about the events to come.

But he would be okay soon. Chat’s strategy going into this was pretending Hawk Moth was his father; by pretending the character in front of him was Gabriel, he not only would have practice standing up for himself, but it was also easier to visualize his father in front of him rather than his archnemesis. If he got through this, Chat would be fine.


Hawk Moth sighed. “Please speak up, Chat Noir,” he said through gritted teeth. “You know how I hate the mumbling.”

The dialogue from the movie instantly came back to him. The scene happening in front of him was one he’d watched plenty of times. He had always admired Rapunzel for finally standing up for herself, and now? The thought that he was about to do the exact same thing exhilarated him.

“I am the lost princess,” Chat said, straightening his spine and projecting every ounce of emotion he felt at the moment in his voice. “Aren't I?”

I am my own person. Aren’t I, Father?

The look on Hawk Moth’s face was priceless. He gaped at Chat with increasing shock and horror.

“Did I mumble, Father ? Or should I even call you that?”

I shouldn’t have to do things you want me to. I shouldn’t have to follow whatever you say blindly.

“Oh Chat Noir,” Hawk Moth said, coming up the stairs and holding his arms out as if to embrace him. “Do you even hear yourself? Why would you ask such a ridiculous question?”

Ugh, Mother Gothel’s behavior always made him feel sick. At least Gabriel never showed him love and affection when he clearly didn’t mean it.

Chat pushed him away. “It was you,” he said calmly, “it was all you.”

You controlled my every action. You made it so I was forced to do what you wanted. I couldn’t fight back.

“Everything I did was to protect you.” Hawk Moth’s facade fell away, leaving a confession Chat knew had forever changed Rapunzel’s life.

Because you are my son, Adrien. And I’m the only one that knows what’s best for my son.

He brushed past Hawk Moth and started heading down the stairs.

“Chat Noir!”

“I spent my entire life,” he said, quoting the movie’s dialogue exactly, “hiding from people who would use me for my power.”

I’ve spent my entire life being who you wanted me to be. Hiding behind a pretty face, among people who only wanted to use me for my fame and connections.

“Chat Noir!” Hawk Moth hissed, coming down the stairs behind him.

“When I should have been hiding from you .” Chat turned around and glared at him.

But I won’t let you do that any longer. I won’t let myself hide behind that image of myself any longer.

“Where will you go?” Hawk Moth asked. His voice dripped with disdain. “She won't be there for you.”

Of course she will. Marinette will always be there for me. I know that.

Staying true to the movie dialogue, he asked, “what did you do to her?”

“That criminal is to be hanged for her crimes.” He could almost hear the smirk that was sure to be adorning Hawk Moth’s face at the moment.

No. ” Chat practically growled out the word.

“Now, now, it's all right,” Hawk Moth said, circling him. He reached out to tap the top of his head. “Listen to me. All of this is as it should be.”

Chat grasped his hand before he could touch him. Hawk Moth gasped at his sudden movement.

No, ” he said. “You were wrong about the world. And you were wrong about me!”

You were wrong, Father. The world isn’t dark and selfish and cruel. If you look in the right places, you’ll find people who care about you, people who’ll be by your side no matter what.

You thought you could shield me from them. You thought you could shield me from those “negative influences.” But you were wrong. You always were.

Hawk Moth’s hand tightened into a fist, but Chat still didn’t let go. “And I will never let you use my hair again!”

I will never let you control me, I will never let you make decisions for me, and I will never let the world see me as just the pretty face of your brand ever again.

Hawk Moth finally broke free of his grip and stumbled backwards, knocking over the mirror and shattering it into a million pieces. In all the times Chat had watched this movie, he’d never really thought about the mirror. But now, he could see that it symbolized something.

It symbolized the pieces of a broken relationship. One that would never be fixed ever again.

“You want me to be the bad guy?” Hawk Moth asked in a low voice, walking towards him menacingly. “Fine, now I'm the bad guy.”

With his own father, Chat still had hope. He was optimistic that perhaps reasoning through their differences would help them mend and create a stronger bond with one another. It would take a while, but in the end, it would be worth it. Yet with Rapunzel and Mother Gothel? Their relationship could no longer be salvaged; neither could mend it without hurting the other. It had run to the end of its course.

And sometimes, as much as it hurt, that was just the way things were.

Marinette’s anxiety was beginning to get the better of her. She and the guards were getting closer and closer to the place where she’d be executed, and there was still no sign of her classmates from the Snuggly Duckling. Panic began to set in. What if Tikki didn’t make it? What if they refused to come? What if she wasn’t able to save Chat and they didn’t finish this fairy tale and they ended up stuck in here forever and never got back to Paris? She was starting to lose hope when suddenly all the doors around them slammed shut. It effectively sealed them inside the small corridor.

She glanced to the side to see a tiny unicorn sitting on a window sill, confirming that Tikki had done it. She smiled. Marinette made a mental note to herself to give Tikki all the cookies she wanted when they got back; she truly deserved them.

“What’s this?” a guard demanded. He banged on the door in front of them. “Open up!”

The top of the door slid open. “What’s the password?” Alix asked cheekily before sliding it closed again.


“Nope!” Alix once again slid the top of the door open and slid it shut.

The guard was seething with anger. “Open this door!”

Alix shook her head. “Not even close!”

“You have three seconds! One—”

A hook that Marinette later realized belonged to Chloé grabbed one of the guards at her side and yanked them upwards.


The door to her right opened, and someone else—who happened to be Nino—dragged the other guard at her side backwards and slammed it shut.

“Three.” The guard in front of her turned around to see her standing there sheepishly. “Huh?”

From behind him, the door opened and Rose smacked the guard on the head with the frying pan. He instantly fell to the ground and blacked out cold. Marinette looked up and blinked at her in astonishment. Rose, sweet, kind Rose, had just knocked someone out with a frying pan.

But the moment didn’t last long. Guards barged in from the door behind them, eliciting in loud, high-pitched screams from her classmates. They quickly scattered in different directions. Rose snatched Marinette’s hand and he pulled her into another corridor. They started to run, the guards hot on their heels. With each corner that they turned, Marinette fully expected the guards to catch up and stop her, but instead the guards were stopped by someone else.

Juleka stepped in front of the guards and held up her hand. They paused. Their moment of hesitation gave Rose and Marinette just enough time to sprint away. Juleka pressed her hands up against an imaginary wall, giving the illusion that the guards were trapped on the other side. They all seemed confused, but before they could question it, she looked pointedly over their shoulders.

The guards barely had seconds to register what was in front of them before Kim barged into them and knocked them all over.

Juleka could only smile innocently at the sight.

Marinette continued to sprint into a wide, open space, but guards were pouring in from all sides. It wouldn’t be long before they caught up to her. Then they would capture her, she would be executed, and then she wouldn’t be able to save Chat, the akuma wouldn’t be defeated, Paris would be doomed, and—

Alya yanked Marinette backwards and placed her on some sort of contraption. “Head down.”

“Head down,” Marinette repeated, copying Alya’s stance.

“Arms in.”

“Arms in.”

“Knees apart.”

“Knees apart—” Marinette broke off and yelped as Kim jumped onto the contraption and launched her up into the air. She screamed, closing her eyes as she went flying, hoping and hoping that Tikki was exactly where she needed to be or else she most certainly would be squashed—

Marinette landed squarely on Tikki’s back. Her kwami immediately nickered in delight.

“Tikki!” Marinette exclaimed, throwing her arms around her neck. “You did it!”

Tikki neighed, but before they could celebrate, the guards threw open the door behind them, holding crossbows. Instantly Tikki began to run. She narrowly dodged the hits, sprinting faster and faster, but when guards started showing up from the only other exit they could take. . . .

“Tikki?” Marinette asked worriedly, but her kwami didn’t seem to notice. She continued to run, past the guards and past the terrace they were on, towards the edge. Tikki jumped off the palace wall and just barely landed on one of the buildings in the village. Her chosen grasped onto her tightly. She let out a loud neigh as her hooves slammed onto the ground, and with a final nicker, Tikki took off in the direction of the bridge.

“Okay Tikki,” Marinette gasped, pulling the reins, “let’s see how fast you can run.”

Chapter Text

He’s going to be okay. Chat’s going to be fine. He’ll be alright.

Marinette repeated the words in her head like a mantra, committing them to memory. But it was hard not to fret as the minutes ticked by. Tikki was running as fast as she could, and yet it still didn’t feel like enough. She still felt she was missing something, some piece of information that would probably be extremely important for her to know—


Marinette recalled what she’d been thinking about before the guards had come and taken her out of her cell. It had been something about Chat and Adrien being similar, right? Of how similar their relationships with their fathers were, their appearances, and their personalities. But now that she thought about it. . . . they were too similar. Until this journey, she’d never really known Chat that well, but now that she did, she found that both of the boys held many of the same traits.

They could just be very, very alike, she mused, or. . . .

“Tikki?” Marinette asked as they rode towards the tower. “Is Chat Adrien?”

Her kwami’s pace suddenly slowed tremendously. She looked over her shoulder and threw a baffled look at her chosen, as if to say, why in the world are you asking me that right now?

“Please tell me,” Marinette pleaded. “I need to know.”

I need to know if this situation is going to hit Chat as bad as it would for Adrien.

Because she knew what Adrien’s relationship with his father was like. He was almost never let out of the house, his father chose to control nearly every aspect of his life, and she knew how much it bothered him. So if Chat happened to be Adrien. . . .

Tikki sighed. She glanced down at the ground and nodded, letting out a soft nicker.

That was all the confirmation Marinette needed.

She pulled the reins and got Tikki to gallop faster, panic quickly beginning to set in. She needed to get to Chat as soon as possible. With her kwami running as fast as she could, they raced through the forest blindly, passing all of the places they’d gone through during the course of their journey. The clearing they had rested in for the night, the river they’d fallen out of, the Snuggly Duckling, the path they’d taken to get there. . . .

And finally, the tower where it all started loomed in front of them. Marinette dug her heels into Tikki’s sides to get her to slow down. She jumped off, and, holding up a finger to tell her kwami to be quiet, she silently walked towards the tower and stared up at it.

This was it. This was the moment where Marinette was supposed to climb up the tower, and eventually end up getting stabbed. Then Chat would save her, they would defeat Hawk Moth, and then they’d have their happily ever after and hopefully end up back in Paris.

Her tongue stuck out like a blep as she paused, thinking. All of her instincts told her to just follow the movie script and yell for Chat to let down his hair, but her head told her a different story, telling her to reason everything out.

When Marinette thought about it now, she and Chat had never really followed the movie exactly. Sure, they made sure to get all the important scenes, but for the most part, they’d modified the details—if they’d even included them at all. Yet that didn’t seem to matter. Despite their few little changes—like their dialogue and the kiss—the movie still went on its course.

In this upcoming scene, there was only one important thing that had to happen: Chat’s hair had to be cut. But did it really matter how it happened? Did it really matter if she got stabbed? Did it really matter if Chat was the one to save her? Did anything in this scene really matter so long as they defeated Hawk Moth?

Well, she was about to find out.

“Chat Noir!” Marinette yelled. “Let down your hair!”

A couple of seconds passed, and for a heartbeat, she thought that perhaps she was too late. Hawk Moth might’ve actually done something to him, she wasn’t able to save Chat, and then they never would be able to finish the tale, they’d be stuck in here forever, and they would never get back to Paris—

Suddenly, a tumble of blond locks fell down the tower. Marinette instantly sighed in relief. She grabbed onto the hair and started to pull herself up. Slowly and surely, she made her way up the tower, but never let herself get too optimistic; she needed to be on the lookout. Things could go wrong at any moment.

Marinette finally got to the window and swung herself inside. The interior of the tower was dark. At first glance, it was safe to assume that the lights were simply off, but she knew better than that. The shadows simply effectively hid what was lurking in the room. Her heart clenched as she saw Chat’s wide green eyes blinking at her fiercely. His hands were tied behind his back and he was gagged, but he was able to frantically signal at her to look behind.

Luckily for Marinette, she was already prepared for that.

She felt the air behind her chill as Hawk Moth moved, but he was too late. Marinette swiftly turned around and caught Hawk Moth’s wrist, the hand that happened to be holding the dagger. His eyes widened in surprise. She immediately used her foot and knocked him off his feet. The dagger clattered to the floor, and Marinette wasted no time in pinning Hawk Moth to the ground. She pressed down his legs by sitting on top of them and holding his arms tightly against his sides. He grunted under her grasp.

“If only defeating you in real life was this easy,” Marinette muttered under her breath, quiet enough that no one could hear her. “Things would be so much easier.”

The muffled screaming from Chat ceased. Making sure her grip on Hawk Moth was still tight as he struggled, she turned to her partner and grinned as if to say, see? I didn’t get stabbed.

But Chat didn’t seem amused. If anything, he looked horrified and quickly started shaking his head. Whatever he was trying to say was drowned out by the gag on his mouth. She frowned. What in the world was Chat so worried about?

She got her answer barely seconds later. In Marinette’s brief moment of hesitation, Hawk Moth went limp under her arms, and foolishly, she loosened her grip. He pushed up and immediately knocked her over onto her side. Marinette gasped as she made contact with the floor. She rolled away and sprang up to her feet several feet away from him, but in that moment, Hawk Moth had already retrieved the dagger he’d dropped.

There was murder in his eyes. Hawk Moth charged at her. Marinette was now backed up against a wall, barely managing to dodge him as she leaped to her left. . . . right where the shards of the broken mirror adorned the floor.

Her boot accidentally stepped on the glass and she slipped, stumbling backwards. Chat’s muffled screams got louder. The next thing she knew, a searing pain burst at her hip. Marinette yelped in pain as she stumbled to the ground, clutching her side.

Well then. Marinette had gotten her answer. Apparently, it didn't matter how hard she tried not to get stabbed. She would anyway, because that was how the fairy tale was supposed to go.

Well, she thought, at least the dagger didn’t hit me in the stomach like in the movie. That would’ve been far more lethal.

“Now look what you've done, Chat Noir,” Hawk Moth said. He seemed exasperated. “Don't worry dear. Our secret will die with her.” He stepped over where Marinette was crouched on the ground and walked towards him.

Chat was currently struggling against the chains that bound him. He attempted to get closer to where Marinette was, but it was of no avail. Hawk Moth simply kept pulling the chains back towards him each time he struggled.

“And as for us? We are going where no one will ever find you again.” Hawk Moth propped open a trapdoor and continued to pull Chat back towards him.

But Chat didn’t let him. Despite the fact that he was getting nowhere, he still wrestled and shoved and kicked, even as he got closer and closer to the trapdoor. It only made Hawk Moth even more frustrated.

“Chat Noir, really! Enough already! Stop fighting me!”

One final shove, and Chat stumbled backwards, the gag loosening against his neck. He gasped before saying, “No, I won't stop!”

Hawk Moth’s eyes widened as if he hadn’t expected for this to happen. But really, he should’ve seen it coming.

“I’ll continue to fight against you for the rest of my life,” Chat said with a growl. “I’m not going to ever stop trying to get away from you. But,” he said, panting heavily from fatigue, “if you let me save her. . . . I’ll go with you.”

Hawk Moth’s eyes narrowed with interest.

“No,” Marinette groaned, still clutching her side from where she was slumped on the ground. Sometime during the fight, Plagg had emerged at Marinette’s side. He was nuzzling her cheek as they both watched Chat anxiously.

“I won’t run, I won’t try to escape,” Chat continued, “just let me heal her, and you and I will be together forever. Just like you want. Everything will be the way it was. I promise.” When Hawk Moth still didn’t look convinced, he added, “Just like you want. Just let me heal him.”

Hawk Moth sighed and nodded. He walked over and quickly chained Marinette to a pillar. She grimaced in pain at the movement, but Hawk Moth paid no regard to that. He pulled her close and hissed, “in case you get any ideas about following us”, before releasing her.

As soon as Hawk Moth undid Chat’s chains, immediately rushed over and fell to his knees beside her, reaching over to cup her face with both of his hands.


“Adrien,” she rasped.

His eyes widened in shock. “How did you. . . .”

“I had a lot of time to think when I was in that cell, kitty,” she said with a soft smile.

“Oh Marinette, I’m so sorry.” Chat swallowed thickly. “This shouldn’t have happened. You shouldn’t have gotten hurt.”

You fought so hard, but it didn’t work. You still got stabbed.

“Shhh, kitty, it’s okay.” She placed one of her hands over his, the other still pressed against her side. “You know that.”

He bit his lip. “It still hurts to see you like this.”

“Well, you’re going to heal me soon, aren’t you?” her voice was barely above a whisper. “It’ll be fine.”

“Mari. . . .”

“Come here, Adrien,” Marinette murmured, running a hand through his long hair. “Come closer.”

Knowing what she was about to do, Chat scooted towards her, meeting her bluebell eyes with his own. His gaze flitted over her lips.

“I’m going to miss the hair,” he joked.

“Me too,” she whispered with a quiet laugh.

Chat leaned in slowly, fully intending to kiss her, but that wasn’t what happened Instead, Marinette grabbed a shard of glass, reached around him, and promptly chopped off his long, golden locks.

His head instantly felt a million times lighter, but before Chat could revel in his new hairstyle, Marinette’s hand clattered to the floor, the glass shard falling out of her grasp. She groaned in pain.

“Mari,” Chat gasped, reaching out to hold her hand.

“No!” Hawk Moth screamed, horror blanching his expression.

Chat knew that his hair was rapidly turning from blond to brown as it snaked around the tower. But he didn’t care. At that moment, though Hawk Moth’s defeat was what he’d looked forward to since the beginning of this tale, all he cared about was Marinette. Marinette, who was currently losing consciousness, who was about to die—

Hawk Moth continued to shriek. “What have you done?” he attempted to gather the rest of the hair, but it was of no use. All of the hair turned dark brown until none of it was its original color. “What have you done? No!”

He stumbled towards the mirror and peered at himself. The sight was hideous. His face and hands were full of wrinkles, his eyes looked as though they were gouged out, and his bones stood out so prominently, it was almost as though he were a skeleton. “No. No. No!” he screamed, his voice trembling with sobs.

Later, Chat would remember this moment with nothing but a wide grin on his face; after all, the day your mortal enemy is defeated is always one of victory.

Yet for now, all he could do was watch as Hawk Moth pulled his cloak over his head to mask his sudden transformation, staggering towards the window as he screamed in agony. He watched as Plagg pulled some of his cut hair and tripped him. He watched as Hawk Moth lurched over the edge, exclaiming in shock.

But most importantly, Chat listened to the screams ringing in the air as he plummeted towards the ground, listening and listening until silence fell, signifying that Hawk Moth was no more.

Chapter Text

Unfortunately, the feeling of triumph didn’t last long.

“Marinette,” Chat breathed. He quickly turned back to her, gently taking her into his arms so that her head was in his lap. “Mari. . . .”

She blinked up at him affectionately, though Chat could easily see the pain she tried to hide behind her gaze. He felt moisture welling up in his eyes at the sight. Gosh, he hated seeing her hurt. There was a reason he always chose to take hits for her. Now, knowing he hadn’t been able to save her—despite the fact that he technically hadn’t been supposed to—pierced him like a knife to his heart.

“You can still heal me, you know,” she whispered. Amusement shadowed her face. “Quit acting like I’m gonna die.”

“I know,” Chat said, swallowing the lump in his throat.

“All. . . .” she took in a shuddering breath. “All you have to do is cry.”

“I don’t think that’s gonna be too hard,” he said. He could already feel tears beginning to roll down his cheeks.

“Dork,” she murmured fondly.

Chat leaned forward and rested his forehead against hers. “Ah, but I’m your dork, princess.”

Marinette didn’t respond, but the flickering smile on her face indicated that she’d heard the comment. Her eyes slowly began to flutter shut.

Chat gently cupped one of her cheeks with a hand. He was trembling, soft sobs shaking his body. It was stupid—after all, he knew that Marinette was going to be fine—but he couldn’t help it. The fact that she was hurt, that she was dying, that he let her go through this. . . . it was almost unbearable.

By now, she was hardly breathing. A single tear slid down his face, landing on her cheek.

“I love you,” he said quietly.

Marinette’s skin slowly absorbed the moisture. Chat watched with watery eyes as the skin where the tear landed lit up in a light, golden glow. It burst into the shape of a sun before rapidly dying back down. He held his breath. Had it worked? Did the wound heal? Or did he do something wrong and it didn’t work and now Marinette wouldn’t be healed and he’d be alone once again—

A bright flicker caught his eye. He turned his head to see streaks and swirls of the golden light and illuminating from the wound, each strand gleaming brightly in the dark room so that the lights were no longer out. They rose up to the surface with renewed fervour as the streaks branched off and multiplied, creating more and more of the precious, magical glow. It was similar to that moment back in the cavern, where the gleam had spread all throughout Chat’s hair; only this was different. Now, the light wasn’t tangible. It wasn’t contained. It shone freely, expressing itself at its full capacity, allowing itself to be used and seen not by one. . . . but by many.

He felt an instant warmth fill the air. The light continued to shift all around them, blazing brighter and brighter and brighter, until suddenly it melded into the shape of a flower—the very same healing flower Rapunzel’s hair had contained. Chat watched in awe as the flower blossomed right in front of him. Its petals unfurled and reached out to the corners until it could no longer stretch, it radiated waves of the bright yellow glow, it stayed that way until slowly, carefully, the gleam receded back to the place from where it came from.

Chat’s hand ghosted over the side of her hip where the wound was supposed to be. There was no sign of it.

Her eyes started to flicker open. “Adrien,” she whispered.

Chat smiled at her. “Marinette.”

“You know,” she said, squinting up at him, “you don’t look too bad in brunette. I thought I had a thing for blond haired boys, but well, looks like that’s gonna change.”

He gasped, pretending to be offended, but the huge grin on his face said otherwise. “Yeah?”

“Yeah.” Marinette pushed herself up so that she was sitting beside him and grinned. “I wouldn’t be against dying your hair brown.”

Chat laughed and threw his arms around her. He buried his face against her shoulder while Marinette pulled him into a tight embrace, holding him close.

“I was so worried,” he mumbled against her.

“I was too,” she said, “but we got through it together, didn’t we?”

“That we did, princess.” Chat leaned away from her and smiled. 

Marinette’s eyes skimmed over his face. “I thought we agreed that you’re the princess, not me.”

“You’ll always be a princess to me.”

Chat, ” she groaned, her face heating up with a blush. 

“What?” he smirked. “It’s true.”

“I—whatever,” Marinette muttered. Her gaze traveled to his lips. “Oh, and Chat?”

Chat hummed. “Yeah?”

“I love you too.”

He barely had time to register what she said before Marinette grabbed the front of his dress and pressed her lips against his. He gasped in surprise, feeling himself melting into her touch. The kiss was gentle. Sweet. Although it was a fleeting touch, the passion behind it didn’t go unnoticed, and when all too soon she started leaning away, Chat instead pulled her closer.

“You’re my new dream,” he said, suddenly remembering the dialogue from the movie. “Or old, I guess, since you’re technically Ladybug, but you know, you’re Marinette, and you’re also—but anyways,” he added hastily, “the point is, I um—”

“And you’re mine,” she interrupted, pressing a finger to his lips. She smiled as pink dusted over his cheeks. “It may not be exactly the dream I envisioned, but you’re still you.”

“Well, for the record,” Chat said with a smirk, “I’m still Adrien. And I certainly wouldn’t mind getting married, having three kids, and that hamster named—”

“Oh shut up!” Marinette smacked his arm lightly. “I wasn’t thinking when I sang about that!”

“You still thought about it though,” he teased.

“You know what? Let’s get through dating each other without wanting to murder the other first, then we’ll talk about the rest.”

He grinned. “So we’re dating now?”

She blushed at the implication. “I—I mean, only if you want to! We don’t have to if you don’t want to, I only said that because—”

Marinette got her answer as Chat cut off her rambling with a kiss.

“I’d love that,” he murmured against her lips.

And this time? They very much savored the moment for as long as they could.

As much as the two of them had been willing to end the movie and go back to Paris at that very instant, there was still one more scene they had to play out—and it just so happened to be one that Chat was especially eager for.

“Are you ready for this?” Marinette asked as she and Chat waited on the balcony. They faced away from the palace doors, instead watching the calm waters surrounding the kingdom.

He fidgeted with his fingers anxiously. “Kind of? I mean, I don’t know. I haven’t seen her in such a long time, and now that I do get to see her, it’s in a Disney movie. Not in real life.”

Marinette took his hand in hers. “And you have a lot you want to say to her,” she finished.

Chat nodded. “Yeah. So much has happened since she disappeared, and I just. . . . feel the need to share it with her? Like, I know she left, but I don’t want to accept the fact that she’s actually gone .”

“Mhm,” she hummed, unsure of what to say to that. But Chat’s voice held no sadness or anger; instead, he simply seemed resigned. She squeezed his hand reassuringly.

“You know,” he said with a soft smile, “I’m sure if you ever got to meet her, she’d love you.”

Marinette smiled back at him. “I’m sure I’d love her too.”

At that moment, they heard the palace doors behind them creak open. The two of them instantly turned around, and Chat inhaled a sharp breath as he saw who was in front of them.

Emilie Agreste stood at the door, her green eyes widened in shock. She walked forward tentatively, as if she could hardly believe the sight in front of her. Unspoken emotion glistened in her gaze. Chat swallowed the lump in his throat. He could sort-of understand what she was going through right now. If his mother magically walked through the door all this time later, he was sure to believe it was a dream.

Chat slowly walked forward as well, closing the distance between them slowly. He could barely breathe. The look on his mother’s face—who wasn’t technically his mother, but still—was one of awe. Nostalgia. As if she was currently reminiscing over all the years she’d missed with him.

Seconds ticked by and Emilie gradually made her way down the stairs. For the first time, he saw his father—Gabriel Agreste—shadowed by the entrance of the palace doors. Chat peered closer. Wait. Was Gabriel. . . . smiling?

With every step that Emilie took closer, Chat’s heart raced faster. She was here, she was in front of him, she was coming towards him, she didn’t leave him, she’d never leave him in this story line, she was standing right here, right there where he could see her, and she cared

She reached out and gently cupped Chat’s cheek. He felt a shudder run through his body at her touch, and Emilie smiled, tears shining in her eyes. He smiled too, blinking back the moisture welling up against his eyelids. But it was of no avail. His mother put her arms around him and he melted into her embrace, closing his eyes as soft sobs shook him. Emilie held him even tighter.

At some point, Gabriel had walked forward and was watching mother and son with tears in his eyes as well. Chat’s eyes flickered open to see him with a smile—yes, really, an actual, real, genuine smile. Gabriel laughed softly as his eyes met his, and he opened his arms and joined them in the embrace.

All three of them stumbled to the ground. Chat wanted to break down and sob ugly tears; he couldn’t recall the last time he’d felt happy, this loved within his family. As of now, they were happy, whole, and complete. They were the family that he’d always wanted. The family that he hoped he’d have someday himself.

Yet there was one person missing.

Marinette stood watching the three of them with a smile gracing her lips. Her heart warmed at the sight of Chat seeming so happy. Emilie opened her eyes and looked up at her, carefully leaning forward and holding out her hand. She took it, fully intending to shake her hand, but instead Emilie pulled her into their hug. Marinette gasped. She attempted to get out of the embrace, but it was no use. They held her there, and she really had no other choice than to return it with a grin.

Chat knew this wasn’t real. He knew his family would never be the same again. He knew this wasn’t going to last forever. But as the people around him blurred and he felt himself being transported back to Paris, he knew he could revel in the moment. Cherish the memory.

And hope that one day in the future, his new dream would become reality.

Chapter Text

One moment Marinette had been surrounded by the Agrestes as they pulled her into a hug, and the next she was back in Paris, crouching near the fountain at the Place des Vosges with someone else’s arms around her—specifically, that someone being Chat Noir.

“Chat,” she said, pulling away from him, “the akuma!”

“Right,” he said. Chat quickly brushed stray tears away from his eyes before standing up. He offered a hand to her. “Do you know how long has passed since we got stuck in there?”

Marinette took his hand and pulled herself to her feet before getting out her phone, checking the time and date. She winced. “Almost three days.”

“That’s the timespan of the movie,” Chat said, “so depending on what fairy tale people got stuck in, that determines the amount of time passed.”

“And Tangled is one of the shorter ones,” she said. “Honestly? I won’t be surprised if all of Paris has been zapped by now.”

He laughed. “Can you imagine how many people might’ve gotten stuck in a fairy tale with someone that they weren’t actually in love with?”

“Well, I do know Alix and Alya got hit at nearly the same time.” Marinette grinned. “Oh, that would’ve been so awkward for the two of them.”

“Don’t you two have an akuma to defeat?” Tikki flew up to their faces and leveled a glare at them.

“Tikki!” she gasped, instantly aware of her kwami’s presence. She reached over and cupped her against her cheek. “I missed hearing your voice so much.”

“And I missed being immortal,” Tikki muttered under her breath, though she nuzzled against her chosen nonetheless.

Chat watched the pair with a fond smile. He made a mental note to thank Plagg and get him all the cheese he wanted once the akuma was finally defeated. He honestly deserved it for putting up with the two of them during that entire tale.

Suddenly, screams erupted not far from where they were standing, startling Marinette and Tikki out of their moment. They all exchanged baffled looks.

“Looks like all of Paris hasn’t been zapped after all,” Chat joked.

Marinette sighed. “Let’s get this over with.”

Tikki sighed as well. “You owe me a lot of cookies for this, Marinette,” she said.

She smiled. “I know. Tikki, spots on!”

Chat watched in awe as Marinette transformed into Ladybug, dimly realizing that this was the first time she was transforming in front of him. She caught him staring and blushed.

“Come on, kitty,” she said, taking out her yoyo and swinging it to the nearest building. “We have an akuma to defeat.”

“Right behind you, my lady,” Chat said, smiling as he followed her.

It hadn’t taken long to find him, and in the end, it had been quite easy to defeat the akuma. They’d lured him back to the Place des Vosges, and after discovering that the akuma’s rays were defective on those who’d already been hit, there had been less of trying to avoid the rays and more of attempting to get the akumatized object (which was the golden crown sitting on top of the boy’s head). One cataclysm and lucky charm later, the victim was deakumatized, and the akuma was safely purified.

But before Ladybug could throw the lucky charm into the air to call out the cure, Chat caught her wrist.

“Wait,” he said, a thought suddenly occurring to him, “what if. . . . what if we don’t remember all this after you call the cure?”

Ladybug’s eyes widened. “I hadn’t thought of that,” she confessed, looking down at her lucky charm. Fate seemed to be toying with them that day; the charm happened to be a red and black spotted lantern not unlike the ones in Tangled.

“I honestly don’t think I’ll be able to survive not knowing,” he said with a dry laugh.

“Me neither. But,” Ladybug said, still staring at the lantern, “I think if fate really does want us to be together, we’ll find our way back to one another somehow.”

Chat grinned. “Since when did you start spouting tales about fate and destiny, miss ‘a good superhero always thinks with her head’?”

“Since I fell in love with you,” she said, not missing a beat.

He spluttered, feeling his face turn red as Ladybug threw the lantern into the air and yelled, “Miraculous Ladybug!”

Reddish pink ladybugs instantly swam through the city, causing people to magically appear back in the streets. Chat watched as they were quickly reunited with friends and family, and there were more than a few confused, flushed glances people cast at one another. He could only assume that was because of who they’d gotten stuck in a fairy tale with.

Ladybug quickly turned to him and grabbed his wrist. “Chat,” she said urgently, “do you still. . . .”

“Yeah, princess,” he said, lifting her hand and brushing a kiss against her knuckles. “Of course I remember.”

Ladybug laughed, leaning over to peck a quick kiss to his lips before walking over to the little boy that had been akumatized. His blush got brighter—especially when he heard a squeal that sounded like Alya in the background—and he followed her.

“Hey,” Ladybug said as she crouched down beside him. “Are you alright?”

The little boy blinked at them in confusion. “Ladybug?” he asked. “What am I doing here?”

Chat crouched down next to them and placed a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “You were akumatized, but everything’s fine now.”

The boy gasped. “I’m so sorry! I—I didn’t mean—”

“It’s okay,” Chat soothed. “It happens sometimes. Do you want to tell me what happened?”

“My classmates were making fun of me for liking princesses,” he said quietly. Tears started to well up in the boy’s eyes. He couldn’t have been more than six or seven. Chat exchanged a glance with Ladybug, who was looking at the boy with sympathy in her eyes.

“Well,” Chat said, patting his shoulder comfortingly, “you can go tell them that Chat Noir said Disney princesses are awesome. And trust me, I would know. Did you know I’ve watched each Disney princess movie at least three times?”

“Really?” he sniffed, wiping his eyes.

“Really,” he confirmed. “There’s nothing wrong with being a guy that likes Disney princesses.”

“Oh, and also,” Ladybug said, “we also want to thank you, um. . . .”

“Louis,” the boy supplied. “Thank me? Why?”

She glanced affectionately at Chat. “I think you’ve helped a lot of people see others in a completely new light.”

“Oh,” Louis said, smiling up at them. His tears had dried up. “You’re welcome, I guess.”

Their Miraculouses simultaneously beeped. One of Ladybug’s hands flew to her ear, and Chat looked down at his ring to see three pads left. Ladybug only had two spots on her earrings.

“You should go,” Chat said to his partner. “I’ll take Louis home.”

“Are you sure?”

He nodded and beckoned to the little boy. Louis hesitantly let Chat take him into his arms before he stood up and took out his baton.

“Wait!” Ladybug suddenly called. Chat turned around.


“Can. . . .” she bit her lip. “Can you come over later tonight? To talk?”

He grinned. “I thought you’d never ask, bugaboo,” he said before launching himself into the air to take Louis home.

Chat knocked at the trapdoor and slipped inside Marinette’s room several hours later to hear her talking on the phone.

“No, I haven’t seen the new Ladyblog post, Alya,” Marinette said, pacing her room. “Oh, Ladybug kissed Chat Noir? That’s amazing! No, I’m not just saying that to make you happy. I just didn’t ship Ladynoir before because it didn’t seem like Ladybug reciprocated his feelings—what? Who I got stuck with? What’re you talking about, I never got zapped! Oh look at the time, sorry gotta go catch up on sleep bye!” she quickly ended the voice call.

“Catch up on sleep, huh?” Chat asked from where he was lounging on her bed. Marinette yelped in surprise and stumbled backwards, barely managing to catch herself before she fell.

“Chat! You nearly gave me a heart attack!”

“What can I say? It’s not my fault I’m purrfectly mewtiful ,” he said with a grin. He slid down from her bed and settled down on her chaise lounge.

Marinette rolled her eyes. “When I agreed to date you, I most certainly didn’t sign up for the puns and shameless flirting.”

“Ah, but those are part of the package, princess. You can’t have me”—he gestured at himself—“without the puns.”

She sat down on the chaise lounge beside him. “I suppose not, purrince ,” she said fondly, leaning over and flicking his bell.

“So,” he said, “Ladybug kissing Chat Noir?”

Marinette blushed. “It was in the spur of the moment,” she muttered.

“Well, I certainly don’t mind,” he said, “but you realize that it’s gonna be all over the internet soon, right?”

“I know,” she said, “but if I’m being honest. . . . I don’t really mind.”

“What about Marinette and Adrien then?” he asked.

“That’s going to be a lot harder,” she said. “I mean, Alya’s already questioning me about who I got stuck with, since I accidentally told her I got hit, and well, then there are all your fans. . . .”

“We can take it slow,” Chat said reassuringly, taking one of her hands in his. “We can tell our family and friends first, and then go public whenever you’re ready.”

Marinette hummed in agreement and pressed closer against him so that their thighs brushed against one another. Comfortable silence stretched between them as they simply reveled in each other’s company.

“You know,” Chat said, “I talked to my father before I came here.”

Her eyes widened. “What happened?”

“He was checking on me after the akuma, since you know, it lasted for almost three days. I think he got worried? But anyways, I told him that everything was fine and that I was going to a friend’s house later, and he got annoyed and told me I couldn’t leave.” Chat paused, biting his lip. “Then I kinda got mad and stormed out? After I told him that he couldn’t tell me what to do.”

Marinette squeezed his hand. “I’m proud of you,” she said, smiling softly at him.

Chat shrugged. “I felt horrible, honestly. It felt like I was overreacting.”

“That wasn’t overreacting, Adrien,” she said. “It’ll take time, but that was the right thing to do.”

Chat merely sighed, and Marinette decided to change the subject.

“You know,” she said, “I kinda miss your dress.”

He shuddered, a smile immediately finding its way onto his face. “Well, I certainly don’t.” He unconsciously began to lean into her. “It was terribly uncomfortable to fight in.”

“You didn’t do much of the fighting in the first place,” Marinette pointed out.

“That’s because you never let me!”

“Because it wasn’t part of the story line, minou.

“But you know what I do miss?” Chat asked.


“Seeing Hawk Moth fall to his demise.”

“Oh my gosh, yes!” Marinette wrapped an arm around Chat and pulled him closer. “I’m so disappointed I didn’t get to see that.”

“It was crazy,” he said. He leaned his head against her shoulder and put an arm around her waist. “If only defeating him in real life was that easy.”

“That’s what I said when I was fighting him!” she exclaimed. “It would make our lives so much easier.”

“Though I am glad that I don’t have all that hair anymore,” Chat said. “It was nice while it lasted, but I definitely didn’t plan on making it permanent.”

Marinette ran her fingers through his blond locks. “You could try brunette though, if you wanted a change.”

“No thanks,” he said with a laugh. “I’d rather stay blond.”

The two of them continued to reminisce about their journey, laughing and smiling and cringing at the memories, and when Tikki came up to them and asked to see Plagg, the kwami of destruction merged, boldly claiming he had won the bet.

“What bet?” Adrien asked.

“Of when you’d figure out each other’s identities,” Plagg said with glee. “My guess was closer, which means Tikki has to eat Camembert for a month.”

Marinette’s eyes widened. “Plagg, you realize that that’s punishing me too, right?”

“Wait, you guys made bets on that?” Adrien asked at the same time.

Plagg ,” Tikki groaned.

Plagg smirked. “Sorry, sugar cube, but it’s not my fault you lost!”

(Tikki would get her revenge on him someday.)

Pretty soon, all four of them were all teasing and making fun of one another, remembering their favorite moments from Tangled, and simply spending quality time with each other. They all simultaneously agreed that this had to be one of their favorite akumatizations; for Plagg, it meant that he won the bet, for Tikki, it meant that she got to see their chosens finally get together, and for Marinette and Adrien themselves. . . . well, they ended up finding their dreams.

And soon, something else came to light.

“Marinette,” Adrien gasped, “you never showed Tikki Tangled?”

“There never was a right time,” she said with a shrug.

“That has to change,” Adrien said, getting to his feet and wandering over to Marinette’s computer. “Mari, we need to show Tikki how wonderful Tangled really is.”

“You just want to watch it so you can sing along to all the songs,” Marinette accused.

“I agree with Pigtails,” Plagg said. “I’ve had to deal with this kid’s singing for years , and he always goes full-on whenever he’s watching Disney.”

“Don’t pretend like you don’t enjoy it,” he said, grinning. “I know for a fact that both of you do.”

Tikki flew over and sat on Adrien’s shoulder. “Come on, Marinette,” her kwami said, “I’d really like to watch Tangled too!”

Marinette barely had time to protest before Adrien gave her the kitten eyes, and well, she most definitely couldn’t say no to the kitten eyes. It wasn’t long before all four of them were curled up in front of Marinette’s computer with the movie playing on the screen, Adrien’s arm around her shoulders as she leaned into him, while Plagg and Tikki sat on top of their hair.

Truthfully, no one did understand how Marinette and Adrien’s relationship magically blossomed overnight (well technically, in the span of three days). No one really understood why comments about hair always made them burst into giggles, or why they were both so insistent on quoting Tangled when it was obvious that the movie didn’t even pertain to whatever they were talking about.

(It definitely didn’t take long for Alya to put two and two together and realize exactly what had happened.)

For the most part, things between them were great. It wasn’t always like that. Marinette and Adrien definitely had their ups and downs, moments where it felt like things wouldn’t ever get any better. But they stuck with one another.

And well, they were both happy to say that their dreams finally did become reality.