𝙸 𝚠𝚊𝚗𝚗𝚊 𝚏𝚕𝚢
𝙲𝚊𝚗 𝚢𝚘𝚞 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚎 𝚖𝚎 𝚏𝚊𝚛 𝚊𝚠𝚊𝚢
𝙶𝚒𝚖𝚖𝚒𝚎 𝚊 𝚜𝚝𝚊𝚛 𝚝𝚘 𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚌𝚑 𝚏𝚘𝚛
𝚃𝚎𝚕𝚕 𝚖𝚎 𝚠𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚒𝚝 𝚝𝚊𝚔𝚎𝚜
𝙰𝚗𝚍 𝙸'𝚕𝚕 𝚐𝚘 𝚜𝚘 𝚑𝚒𝚐𝚑
𝙸'𝚕𝚕 𝚐𝚘 𝚜𝚘 𝚑𝚒𝚐𝚑
𝙼𝚢 𝚏𝚎𝚎𝚝 𝚠𝚘𝚗'𝚝 𝚝𝚘𝚞𝚌𝚑 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚐𝚛𝚘𝚞𝚗𝚍
𝚂𝚝𝚒𝚝𝚌𝚑 𝚖𝚢 𝚠𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜
𝙰𝚗𝚍 𝚙𝚞𝚕𝚕 𝚝𝚑𝚎 𝚜𝚝𝚛𝚒𝚗𝚐𝚜
𝙸 𝚋𝚘𝚞𝚐𝚑𝚝 𝚝𝚑𝚎𝚜𝚎 𝚍𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖𝚜
𝚃𝚑𝚊𝚝 𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚏𝚊𝚕𝚕 𝚍𝚘𝚠𝚗
He’s a boy who dreams of flying, taking to the skies as one of the flock, wings soaring above in an open canvas of blue. To peak through clouds of cotton vapour and spin as one of them, wild and free with no centre of gravity, weightless like the bird he longs to be. But as many Parisians he spies, zooming past his window at breakneck speed, the common city traffic, he knows for him it’ll never be.
How lucky they are, these people, to know the sensation of wind in your ears. To feel it like a wakening slap to the face, streamlined and elegant as you take to the dance of the skies. He’s read of it, seen it in common media, how could he not when they flaunt it so , but the idea is nothing more than that to him. Something he can read yet never experience. He’s an outlier to a privilege he can never gain.
For the wings he holds, they don’t grant him freedom. They’re a prison of an image he must maintain. To be the golden boy of Paris, in the eye of the media, faultless. Flawless. Perfect.
He is an Agreste, a figure trapped by public view, and so he must abide to the rules his father gives. To bind and constrain, photo after photo.
So he wears these chains on his soul, detests them with the very core of his being. Alas, he’s had too many emotions today , and such protests are supposedly beneath him. He burns himself out until he no longer knows how to burn. A star gone supernova, until all that’s left is a light, an image, a brilliance when his very being dies from within. All you see is his blinding smile.
They never look beyond that.
He must keep them straight, pristine, shining , tamed as the well bred specimen he is. Wear his wings like a badge of honour, rigid like a back brace, but flaunting on the covers, posture straight with no time to slack. Hold them high and proud as if they are glass shards that could shatter at any given moment, delicate and only beautiful to the eye.
His are golden as if the sun shone from within, a shining ray of spun riches, regal as any statue you could find, accented by the purest of whites from the primaries up to the coverts. Gold rare enough to be worth a fortune should he malt but a single feather in his wake. They glow, glisten and shine, stunning but too stunning . He wonders, had he not been gifted with such magnificent appendages, gaining the awe of many, capturing the hearts of souls he shall never see, would he be as valuable to his father as he is? Would his father stroke his wings and call them perfect? Would his father look into his eyes for once?
Oh how he hates them so. He could have the most remarkable wings ever to have eyes laid upon, a topical bird who shed the colours of the rainbow, or a gaudy and bedazzled by ribbons, and they will be just as worthless to him.
As he is the boy who longs to take flight.
They have the audacity to tell him he is privileged, lucky , as if having wings tied behind your back from an age before he could so much as count is anywhere close to lucky . How could he be privileged when the privilege is flight , and yet they have taken that from him.
He has been made to live as such. Flightlessness is, of course, not unheard of. Some wings are not large enough to support an entire person, suiting them more as glorified shoulder decorations rather than fully functioning wings. These are often the most intricate of the bunch, or those unable to fully develop, similar to a lack of limbs at birth. They can be beautiful to look at, all feathered spectacles glistening as the light refracts like diamonds through the patterns just right. But they’re fundamentally useless.
But his can and they should.
He is but a flightless bird, shot down and bound before he could even learn.
He has never known any different. So he sits to the sidelines and waits in the wings .
It’s only until Chat Noir when he realises just how heavy those chains could be. A bird taken in and given freedom suddenly doesn’t know quite what freedom is, won’t leave your cage without guidance. Plagg releases him with a transformation and a promise for a new life, yet the step outside is frightful, and the power of his words little more than a key to the outside. He’s still trapped, must make the push of his own accord.
It’s a step into the unknown.
He realises now it’s less a ‘not allowed to fly’ and more a ‘cannot.’ If he has never been taught, they are little more than decorations, laying heavy on his shoulder blades.
He must be the one to beat them into shape, to leave the dust behind if he’s to ever take up the mantle of hero. His own chains must be broken by him, the visible ones gone, but the mental scars still ever present.
So he does.
For all the empty space of his room, suddenly it’s not enough. He unfurls his new wings, larger than ever before. Flexes them, stretches them out as if testing the waters. The upper most feather grazes the wall with its tip, the other, the window, brushing them with a sensation that sends shivers down his spine.
They’re raven black, inky and sleek. As common a colour you could get along with Chiffchaff browns. But where the Chiffchaff has those olive green hues, when held just right his black becomes less midnight and more radioactive . Where gold once shone, green glints, mysterious and almost not there at all. It’s something to get used to, not the rare feathers his father keeps as his prize possession. But somehow these mean more . They mean a freedom he’s never had within his reach before.
But he still cannot take flight. For now, his baton must do.
His heart soars. His wings don’t.
He’s fairly sure the girl’s an angel, wings of white feather down that should surely not gleam as much as they do. But where his feathers are crisp and pointed — treated with so many products it could make one’s eye boggle — hers are wisps of smoke, appearing light and ethereal, yet the strongest pair he ever will lay eyes upon. The colours bleed into droplets of red and black, those of a Ladybird were they not interspersed with shades of faint pink, a fine dusting that reminds him of the setting sun.
They’re tangled up, at first, her wings apparently padded with a surprise amount of agility, excessive even to those who fly for a living. He could not tell you, he was merely walking the tightrope as she seemingly crashed down from the heavens above.
He falls for a speech, for her heart, for her promises. Loves a girl who he comes to cherish dearly as his best friend. A hero who takes to the skies like a magnificent hurricane, an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. His partner. His other half. The Yang to his Yin.
But what his heart can do easily, flutter in the gentle swaying breeze, his wings do not.
And so the cat takes to the night.
His wings feel stiff, beat at irregular intervals, uncertain at his perch. He’s hesitant and draws his breath, shaking as his coracoid bones refuse to cooperate. There is nothing to catch his wings on, merely the stars that bespeckle the sky. This lack of constraint is foreign, and he wants to test his limits oh he does .
But cats have never been meant to fly.
He’s tentative, edges a foot over the ledge and dangles it over like so. For a second, it’s like walking on air. He reaches an arm out, retracts it with his leg and crouches down. His wings arch, flap, and he pushes upwards, propels himself as all the books say he should.
This launch crashes, a flurry of feathers and shrieks as he misses a cue. He’s a mass of black tumbling from the sky, passing by flight launch pads as he falls. But this comet doesn’t burn, won’t allow one measly attempt to squander his faith.
He goes again.
And night after night until the boy who longs to fly takes flight.
Where Chat’s wings have become feral, wild and unruly, a plumage that cannot be tamed, Adrien’s tell a different story. Golden flecks burn molten between his wings once more as he lands, a flash of electric green. Where Chat is the dark angel of the night, the boy is merely an angel to the magazines.
He moves to stretch them out on reflex, working a stiffened muscle, but the bonds that define him return.
Whilst Chat may have gained the gift of flight, Adrien cannot. He’s still the boy who yearns, the kid who’s grounded from freedom.
But Chat has grown a hungering taste for the skies, moments of freeing bliss as the winds howl at him. Days of galavanting, nights of dominating the skies, surprising the casual Parisian night goers. It’s a life he lives only under a mask, once removed, is not quenched.
The boy still wishes to fly.
He wonders what the point of it is, his father’s instructions from when he was but a child. What’s the point of wings if he’s never allowed to use them?
His father threatens to pull him from school, their ideas ‘ obviously’ messing with his head.
“You’re unique,” Gabriel says, chiding, it’s no compliment, “I can’t have you damaging those feathers, Adrien. It’ll look bad on the front covers.”
His father, of his own looming stature, reminds him to keep his posture upright. He’s tempted to let them droop, sag laxed as one like Nino may do. As Chat does often.
But he doesn’t. He won’t tempt fate.
And then he’s falling. It’s not like as Chat at all, because last he checked he’s Adrien , and Adrien’s falling all these feet to the floor, the wind rushing past his face as he descends faster and faster and faster and it won’t stop .
By now, here’s where he spreads his wings, slaps them together with an almighty thwack as he takes his descent by stride. Glides across the skyline with graceful finesse, putting off a rather grim end where he goes splat on the pavement.
At least, he would when he’s transformed. As of now, he’s a mere civilian, one whose wings are bound at that.
They won’t budge. The chords are stuck tight.
But it’s fine, Ladybug will save him, it’s fine, he’s fine, she doesn’t know he can’t fly, he could die if doesn’t transform and Plagg’s worried …
Then Hawkmoth does the unthinkable. He lets Ladybug go .
The sound of wingbeats resonate against the surrounding area, shakes the whole street as she plummets, faster, dive bombing to the ground. She pierces the air like a dart, swift, determined as her eyes are locked upon him. Why she goes for him, he can’t say, but she catches him at the very last second, breaths heavy, eyes desperately searching him.
He’s okay, he’s okay, he’s alive and he tells her as such. She’s glorious, stunning and there for him with or without the suit, even if she doesn’t know it with their rules of forbidden identity sharing. He’s so caught up in the moment he slips up with a ‘My Lady’ , almost, nearly. Curious eyes are upon him but she asks of it no more. His best kept secret stays just that, a secret, even with his heart hammering at the near miss it was. And how she caught him.
It was a second. Merely a second, but for a time, Adrien flew, caught in her arms as she lowered their descent.
He’s pretty sure he’s on cloud nine that day.
But Adrien and Ladybug’s interactions don’t end there.
She checks up on him, because she’s that wonderful, asks if he’s okay as he invites her in. It’s Ladybug, there, sitting upon his ledge. With all her grace, he’s reminded of how down to Earth with civilians she is.
She asks about the wings. And by the end of her visit, she’s offered to help him learn.
He can’t believe his luck. Ladybug. Helping Adrien fly.
Maybe he did go splat on the pavement. Surely this is nothing but the afterlife?
She gasps at his bindings, looks at them with a horror he’s never seen before, not even when faced with Hawkmoth’s most grotesque of Akumas.
“Your wings,” She breathes, “Are bound. Why?”
He’s been asking the same question all his life.
The bindings are tight, fiddly to remove. It takes great strain on her part to remove them safely. But when she does, it's like she’s lifted an entire weight from his life.
“You’re free,” She says, and he’s reminded that perhaps he should have done this years ago. How, he’s unsure. Not when Plagg’s cataclysms destroyed the dinosaurs and civilisations alike.
But this uplifting sensation as Adrien? It feels unreal. Different from Chat, but a good kind of different.
This is something new.
He shakes his wings, brings them up to their tips and lets them fall, light behind his shoulder blades. He’s always clenched, rigid, but now his wings feel less of a commitment to his father and every bit more a luxury for himself.
The marks of the bindings, however. They’re a permanent reminder. Such ties shouldn’t be worn by growing boys.
Ladybug’s eyes speak volumes. Wells as deep as the ocean. He doesn’t dwell on it. For now, the lack of bindings is a gift.
They take flight, his wings feeling odd. He’s struck by the reverse of whatever Ladybug felt the day they first transformed. Now his wings are smaller. Tired muscles that have yet to be stretched. Prominent lines from where he was once confined.
She offers her guidance, pulls him upon her back (and he must see things wrong, takes an ill timed glance her way because there’s no chance she’s blushing at him). He clings to her touch, unfurls his wings as she instructs him, and they glide . It’s a simple start, as tender and intimate a moment they know it to be, but there’s a thrill hanging in the air.
She calls him a natural even as he goes toppling through the air, laughing right by his side as he takes his first wobbly flaps by himself. They fly together as one unit, flit through clouds of pastel pink, wings spread eagle as the light pirouettes with them. Then, and only then is the sun truly within his wings.
Repercussions of this evening don’t sit until later.
Later, when his father reveals his secrets in a rage.
Later, when Hawkmoth’s standing in place of his father.
Later, when he finds his partner behind the mask is his classmate Marinette. Marinette who has an air of grace about her that had before reminded him of Ladybug, agile in a way she’s not with two feet touching the ground and talking to him. Marinette, who, though loaded with wings as dark as her hair, is the same girl who adorns those spotted feathers.
Later, when they embrace with hot tears, wings a frenzied flapping mess until they entwine, his wingtips cupping her cheek with a brush of soft feathers. He still prefers the feel of hers.
Later, in the seats of a trial involving a man who doubles as a villain and abusive parent. No child should have their wings constrained.
But for now? In this timeless place, his heart is full. The cracks of golden gilded feathers, damaged by his father’s hand shall not define how he flies. New feathers of gold, crafted by the light will fill where those have fallen. The Japanese art of gold repair may say his wings were once shatterable pottery, but he will heal where gold feathers fill in.
And after it all, she’s the one who gives him his wings.