Adrien woke up the morning after his birthday feeling more rested than he had felt in a very long time. He sat up and peered down from the loft bed. It looked like Alya and Nino were still asleep. He laid back down and snuggled up to Marinette, gently stroking her arm.
“Adrien?” she said sleepily as she turned to face him.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” he whispered.
“That’s ok, are Alya and Nino still asleep?”
“Yeah,” he replied, reaching over to touch her face.
“Well, in that case…” she snuggled against him and gave him a slow, sleepy kiss.
“Mmmm,” he sighed contentedly and kissed her back.
Marinette let her lips linger on his for a few more moments before pulling away, reluctantly. “We should probably stop before we wake up Alya and Nino and make things weird,” she murmured.
Adrien chuckled softly and kissed her neck. “They’ve done worse in front of us…” he whispered before lightly nipping her earlobe.
Marinette shivered. “Adrien, really...”
“Ok, I’ll stop,” he said, giving her a hug before sitting up.
“Maybe later,huh?” she said, sitting up next to him and ruffling his hair affectionately.
“Definitely,” he grinned. “I’m going to go take a shower. I’ll be right back.”
Marinette watched him creep quietly across her room, grab some clothes and carefully open the trap door. He looked up and winked at her before going down the steps and closing the door behind him. She smiled to herself and carefully climbed down the steps to pick out an outfit while she was waiting. She grabbed some charcoal gray leggings and a short, dark pink dress with a ruffled hem. She was collecting everything else she needed when she heard someone stirring on the chaise.
“Hey girl, what time is it?” Alya greeted her sleepily.
Marinette looked at her phone, “Almost 10,” she replied.
“Damn, I can’t remember the last time I got that much sleep.,” she said, stretching. “Where’s Adrien?”
“Shower,” Marinette replied.”Do you guys want anything for breakfast?”
“Definitely, I’m starving,” Alya said.
“Ok, if you want to wake up Nino, I’ll go get breakfast for all of us. I guess I better get dressed so I can go down to the bakery and get food.” Marinette took her clothes behind the screen and quickly changed out of her pajamas. She put on her ballet flats and headed downstairs.
She was just passing the bathroom when Adrien came out, carrying his pajamas and dressed in a long sleeved black t-shirt and gray jeans. His eyes lit up when he saw her.
“Awww, you look so cute!” he exclaimed.
Marinette smiled. “Thanks, I’m going down to get breakfast.”
“Wait here for me. I’ll drop off my pajamas and come down with you.”
“Better knock first,” Marinette winked.
Adrien laughed. “I will,” he promised. A few minutes later he came back. “I don’t think I was interrupting anything but they were both awake.”
“Awesome, well I guess that means we better get going!”
“Good morning you two!” Sabine greeted them when they walked into the bakery.
“Good morning Maman, we just came to get some things for breakfast,” Marinette said, giving Sabine a hug.
“Pick whatever you like!” she smiled. “There’s fresh orange juice in the fridge too.”
Adrien started making coffee while Marinette picked out a selection of pastries and bread. She also grabbed a macaron and two cheese puffs for the Kwami. She watched Adrien finish pushing down the plunger on the cafetiere and pour coffee into four mugs before adding milk and sugar to each one. He took the tray from Marinette and she added the four mugs of coffee to it.
“Thanks, Sabine,” Adrien said.
She nodded and smiled. “You two sure make a good team!”
Marinette laughed. “We’re the dream team, aren’t we?” she asked Adrien as she opened the door for him.
He laughed as he carefully walked through with the tray. “Absolutely,” he agreed.
Alya and Nino were waiting at the dining table when they came in. Adrien carefully set the tray down and handed them each some coffee. He went and helped Marinette bring out plates, glasses and silverware, followed by butter, jam and orange juice.
“Thanks for the coffee,” Nino said. “It’s really good!”
“You’re welcome. I actually made it myself,” Adrien said, looking pleased.
Marinette poured juice into four glasses while everyone else filled their plates with food. As she picked out a croissant and a pain au chocolat, she listened to everyone talking, laughing and eating.
“Got any plans for this afternoon, you two?” Alya asked, raising her eyebrows suggestively.
Adrien gave her an exasperated look. “You are never going to stop teasing us, are you?”
“Nope,” Alya replied.
“Well, since you ask, I haven’t even looked at my homework so that’s what I’ll be doing after you two leave,” he told her.
“Shit,” groaned Nino. “I was going to chill out this afternoon. I totally spaced the homework.”
“Don’t worry, babe, I haven’t done mine either,” Alya reassured him. “Maybe we could do it together.”
“Awww, you’re the best Alya,” Nino said, nuzzling her face.
Marinette grinned. “Now who’s being obnoxiously cute?” she asked teasingly.
Alya kissed Nino’s cheek, making him blush. “Yeah, yeah… so babe, homework, your place or mine?”
“Probably mine,” Nino said. “Nora scares me.”
“Fair enough!” Alya laughed and then whispered something in his ear. Nino turned very red.
Adrien perked up. “Did I just hear something about Super Pinguino again?” he asked slyly.
Marinette snorted as both of their friends blushed furiously. It appeared to her that Adrien either had excellent powers of deduction or perhaps his enhanced hearing as Chat Noir was in effect even when he was de-transformed. Adrien elbowed her playfully, interrupting her thoughts.
“Look at these two! This is just easy pickings now,” he exclaimed.
“Ah, leave them alone Adrien or they won’t come back for any more movie nights,” grinned Marinette.
Nino finally choked out a response. “Damn Agreste, how good is your hearing anyway?”
“Pretty good as it goes,” Adrien said smoothly. “Although I thought it was pretty obvious what she was saying.”
“When did you get to be such a smart ass anyway, Sunshine?” Alya asked accusingly. “You used to be nothing but sweetness and light.”
“Oh, he’s always been a smart ass. Just not in front of the girls,” Nino grinned.
“It just didn’t seem very chivalrous,” Adrien said defensively.
“Ah, there’s the sunshine boy we know and love,” teased Alya.
Marinette sat back, finishing her breakfast and enjoying the silly banter. When everyone was finished eating, she slid off her stool and started clearing up with Adrien quickly pitching in to help. Once the kitchen and dining area were clean, they all trouped up to Marinette’s room.
“We’re going to head off now,” Alya said, collecting her stuff. “Thanks so much for this, Marinette. It’s been a lot of fun!”
Marinette hugged her. “Even with all the teasing?” she asked, laughing.
Alya hugged her back. “Yeah, I can’t really complain since I started it.”
Nino laughed, “You did, didn’t you babe? Better luck next time,” he said, winking at her. He reached out to bump fists with Adrien but Adrien grabbed his wrist and pulled him over to clap him on the back.
“Aww, give me a hug dude,” he said playfully. “Thanks for coming. I really appreciate it.” Nino relaxed and obliged Adrien with a quick clap on the back.
Nino shook his head as Adrien let him go. “Man, getting a girlfriend has made you even more soppy,” he said.
“I can’t really argue with that,” Adrien laughed. “But I’m not going back on hugs. So you’ll just have to live with it.”
“I’ll walk you two down,” Marinette offered.
“Nah, it’s fine. We know the way,” Alya winked at her. “See you later!” she called as Nino opened the door for her.
Adrien watched as the door shut after them before pulling Marinette to him in a tight hug. “Your turn,” he murmured and Marinette laughed, slipping her own arms around his neck.
“I thought we were going to do our homework!” she teased.
“We will… eventually,” he replied, as he buried his face in her hair.
Marinette sighed and relaxed into him. Adrien gripped her even more tightly, lifting her feet off the ground.
“Mmph,” she groaned. “You’re squishing me.”
“Come snuggle with me,” he asked, loosening his grip and putting her back on the floor.
“How can I say no to that?” she asked as she followed him up to her bed.
“Well, you could… but I’m sure glad you didn’t,” he replied, playfully pushing her down on the mattress.
“Adrien?” she said, looking up at him questioningly.
“Don’t worry,” he gazed into her eyes. “I’m not trying anything new. I just want to… control the pace.”
“O-ok,” she said.
He smiled. “Am I squishing you too much?” he asked.
“N-no, you feel good…” she trailed off, blushing.
Smiling, he slid one arm underneath her head and lowered his face to hers. Marinette sighed softly as their lips met. There was nothing hurried about this kiss. Adrien’s lips were soft and he was kissing her so gently, she could feel all her apprehension melting away. Hesitantly, she reached up to touch him, running her hands down his sides and then sliding them onto his back.
“That feels really nice,” he murmured in her ear before nibbling and kissing her earlobe.
Marinette moaned quietly as Adrien slowly made his way down her neck. Her hands felt the edge of his shirt and she slid them underneath, enjoying the feeling of his warm skin. She could feel him shiver as she ran her hands up to his shoulder blades and back down.
“Keep doing that,” he whispered before kissing her again. His kisses were becoming less gentle but still slow and leisurely. Marinette continued to stroke his back, lightly tracing her fingers around his shoulder blades and down to the small of his back. She could feel a gentle purr start as she kept running her hands all over his back. His kisses became deeper and suddenly Marinette felt the atmosphere starting to change. She moaned again as he pushed his tongue into her mouth and caressed it with her own. She stopped moving her hands and simple clung to him. He pulled away and kissed the other side of her neck. “You are so beautiful,” he whispered as he gently kissed her jaw.
“I love you,” she whispered back.
“I love you so much, Marinette,” he replied quietly.
Marinette resumed stroking his back and he buried his face in her neck. They laid together peacefully for a few more minutes.
“I suppose we should go do our homework now,” he murmured, without lifting his head.
Marinette giggled. “I think that would be a good idea,” she agreed.
Reluctantly, Adrien lifted himself off of her and sat up. “I didn’t feel that energy thing as much this time. I wonder if its because I was going slower.”
“More like you’re getting used to it, kid, Plagg said, floating up from wherever he had been hiding. “Don’’t worry, I wasn’t hanging around although I’m pretty sure Tikki, uh, visited a few times. No willpower in that one when it comes to -ugh- romance.”
“So you felt the energy? Is that why you only just came up now?” Marinette asked.
“Yep,” Plagg nodded. “As soon as it quieted down, I figured it was safe to come out. Kind of handy really.”
“Oh yeah” Marinette remembered. “I got you and Tikki some snacks. I left them on the desk.”
“I found those already, Pigtails. And actually I wouldn’t mind some more Camembert if you have it kid.”
Adrien sighed and grinned. “Of course. Let me get some out of the cooler. You do realize that is now all that cooler is good for. It absolutely reeks of Camembert.”
“I believe the word is perfumed, not reeks,” Plagg said coolly.
“If you say so,” Adrien laughed. “It’s your cooler now.”
“Where’s Tikki?” Marinette suddenly asked.
“Right here, Marinette,” Tikki zipped in from the balcony at considerable speed. “Sorry, that energy is really starting to affect me.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Marinette asked.
“I don’t think so,” Tikki said thoughtfully. “It feels kind of like transforming or maybe even purifying an akuma.”
Marinette and Adrien exchanged a look.
“I really need to look through the Grimoire some more,” she murmured.
“How about now? Before we get started on homework,” Adrien suggested. “I’m just as curious as you are now.”
“Perhaps even more so, Kitty,” Marinette said, winking at him. She turned the computer on as Adrien climbed down and sat in her chair. “Hey, that’s my seat!” she protested.
“We can share.” he grinned flirtatiously and pulled her into his lap. Marinette giggled as she clicked through folders to the Grimoire file.
“I don’t think it’s wise for us Kwami to be involved in this conversation.
Tikki said. “Come on Plagg, let’s go outside.” Plagg nodded and they zipped out to the balcony.
Marinette waited for them to leave before opening the file. She slowly scrolled through the first few pages. “These are all the elemental power-up recipes,” she said, going through a series of illustrations featuring both of their Miraculous. “And now we’re getting to the part about all the other Miraculous.”
“Wait, what’s that?” Adrien asked.
“Huh?” Marinette looked at him questioningly.
“Scroll back a page.”
Nodding, she went back. “Oh! I think this is the start of the Miraculous pages. This one is for Ladybug.”
“She looks different though. Look at her hands.” Adrien pointed at what he was looking at.
Marinette gasped. “How have I not noticed that?” she exclaimed. “She has… little balls of light in her hands!”
“Maybe,” Adrien said slowly, “This is the end of the power-up section, not the beginning of the Miraculous information section.”
“Maybe,” she said, breathlessly as she quickly scrolled forward. “Look! Here we are again with the rest of the Miraculous! Adrien! You found something!”
Adrien wrapped his arms around her waist, “Glad to be of service, milady.”
Quickly, she scrolled back to the image of Ladybug. “This is easier for me to read if I transform. It helps me focus,” she murmured. “Do you mind”
“Um, hell no?” Adrien exclaimed and she laughed.
Quickly, Marinette jumped off Adrien’s lap. “Tikki?” she called as Adrien went to lock the trap door.
“What is it, Marinette?” Tikki said, zipping back in.
“I need to transform. I’m trying to read something in the Grimoire.”
Tikki nodded and smiled. “Ready when you are!”
“Tikki, spots on!”
“Damn, you’re hot,” Adrien said admiringly after she had transformed.
Ladybug laughed. “Don’t go talking about Ladybug-me like that to anyone else,” she said. “Particularly Alya. She’d kill you.”
“It’s our little secret,” he winked at her.
Grinning she turned back to the screen. She pulled up a page alongside the Ladybug page that had already been translated.
“There’s the symbol for Ladybug,” she said, pointing at the untranslated page. She scanned the translated page, searching for the ‘power-up’ symbol. “That symbol is ice and… that symbol,” she pointed at the screen, “is what we refer to as ‘power-up’.” Adrien leaned over her to study it before she flipped to the untranslated page. Carefully, they both scanned the rows of symbols looking for it.
“I see it!” Adrien exclaimed, pointing excitedly at a row of symbols. “It’s in the middle of this row.”
Marinette sat back in awe. “You are amazing, Adrien. Master Fu never found this and I assumed this was something entirely different. I had no idea there were more power-ups. This could be exactly what we need to defeat Hawk Moth!”
“Do you recognize any other symbols?” Adrien asked, blushing with pleasure from Ladybug’s praise.
“I’m going to look for your symbol, Chat Noir.” She flipped to a translated page with both of their Miraculous on it. “Here it is…” Back to the untranslated page she went. “There it is, same line as Ladybug.”
“Do you know any symbols for energy or light?” he asked.
“No,” she said sadly. “I’m really impressed with how well you can read this without even transforming.”
“Thanks,” Adrien replied. “Perhaps it's because I don’t have the pressure of being the Guardian on me. I feel like that would make this even more overwhelming.”
Ladybug smiled. “I’m going to de-transform before I wreck all these helpful boundaries we’ve developed for our alternate identities.”
Adrien laughed. “Go for it, Bugaboo,” he winked.
After Marinette de-transformed, they both reluctantly got out their homework. Adrien went over and unlocked the trap door. “Want some coffee?” he asked.
“Sounds wonderful,” Marinette replied as she pulled out the book for her first subject.
“I’ll be right back,” he promised.
Marinette was scribbling away furiously when he returned. Quietly, he set a mug of coffee and a palmier next to her and kissed the top of her head. “Thanks Gorgeous,” she murmured as she read something in her book and started writing in her notebook again. Adrien pulled up a stool nearby and got to work.
An hour and a half later, Marinette looked up at Adrien. “Right, I’m done,” she said, shoving all her things in her backpack.
“Me too,” he smiled.
“Were you just hanging out and waiting for me?” she asked.
“Not for very long… maybe five minutes,” he replied. “I was just looking at my phone. It’s getting close to dinnertime.”
“Awesome, ever had leftover Cassoulet?” Marinette asked. “Because it’s even better the second time around, or at least my Maman’s is.”
“Sounds great,” he said, grinning. “We should go help set up so we can eat that much sooner. I’m starving.”
Sabine was in the kitchen pulling dinner out of the oven when they went downstairs. “Right on time,” she greeted them. “I was just about to set the table!”
“Oh, don’t worry about that, Sabine. We’ll do it!” Adrien said as he pulled plates out of the cupboard.
“Yeah, please sit down, Maman. We can at least do this much for you!” Marinette said, getting silverware out.
Sabine watched in amusement as the pair set the table. Adrien put plates on the table with Marinette close behind, laying out silverware at each place.
“What do you want to drink?” Adrien asked Sabine.
“I got another bottle of wine out. Is that alright with you?” she asked.
“Definitely, I’ll sleep well tonight,” he laughed as he found the corkscrew and started working on the bottle. Marinette got out four glasses and put one at each place at the table.
“You do look a lot more rested since you got here,” Sabine observed.
“Well that is partially wine but mostly just feeling… safe.” he replied.
Sabine sighed. “I wish we could do more for you, dear.”
“You’re doing so much already,” Adrien assured her. “The way you’ve just accepted me. It means so much to me.”
At that moment, Tom came in with his bread basket. “Look at this! It seems we’re all set for dinner!”
“I got some help,” Sabine laughed, bringing the cassoulet over and dishing it up. “All right everyone, let’s eat!”
It was several hours later and Marinette and Adrien were getting ready for bed. It had been an enjoyable evening with a few rounds of Ultimate Mecha Strike III after dinner with Tom. Even Sabine had relented and played a round each with Marinette and Adrien.
“Hello Bug,” Adrien greeted her as she climbed up to her bed. He was sitting against the big cat pillow looking at his phone.
“Hello Mister Bug,” Marinette teased. “Look at you in your new Ladybug pjs!”
Adrien grinned. “I’m pretty sure I don’t want to repeat that experiment. That was stressful. Although you were fun to look at in a catsuit. Meeow!”
“I’m glad if I was at least fun to look at. I think I was being pretty obnoxious when I think about it. Especially considering how much effort you were going to, helping me with the photoshoot as your civilian self.”
“Aww, I wasn’t any better. I let my frustration about the whole Kwami mixup get to me. I could have been a lot more supportive,” he stopped seeing the sad look on her face. “Come here, Princess.” he held open his arms and she didn’t hesitate to crawl into them. “I appreciate you all the more because of how difficult it was to get here. But we did!” He squeezed her to him and kissed her cheek. “Now, I was about to show you that picture Alya took of us. Wanna see?”
Marinette nodded and Adrien showed her his phone screen. In the picture, Adrien was wearing his new jacket and his arms were wrapped around Marinette. His lips were smiling and pressed against her cheek and she was laughing with her eyes squeezed shut. “Pretty cute, huh?” Adrien asked. “I’d like to share it on Instagram and let people know… about us. Is that ok? I’ll do my best to keep the trolls away from you but I really don’t want to give the impression that I’m single.”
“That is definitely more than ok,” Marinette said, blushing.
“Good,” he replied and opened up Instagram. Marinette snuggled against him and watched as he added the picture and then started writing a caption.
I want to thank my beautiful girlfriend @marinettedesigned for spoiling me on my birthday with this amazing jacket. Thank you Princess ILY #instagramofficial
Picture taken by @alya.ladyblogger
He glanced down at her and she nodded shyly so he hit share.
“Done!” he exclaimed.
“Will your father be mad at you for posting that?” Marinette asked anxiously.
“Way ahead of you Bug. I texted Natalie for permission this afternoon,” he grinned.
“That’s a relief. I don’t want any more bad stuff happening to you because of me,” she said quietly.
“Way more good stuff happens to me because of you,” he pointed out. “Which reminds me. I was going to ask earlier but we got distracted with all the Grimoire stuff. How did you feel about… what we did before that?”
Marinette blushed again. “I… loved it. You made me feel… really good.”
“It makes me so happy to hear that,” Adrien said softly, hugging her tight. “You made me feel good too. I loved how it felt when you were stroking my back.”
Marinette yawned and kissed his neck. “I’ll keep that in mind,” she said, sleepily.
Adrien smiled. “I guess we should get some sleep. Back to school tomorrow.”
“Yeah,” Marinette agreed, reluctantly breaking away from him to lie down on her side. Adrien snuggled up behind her and kissed her neck.
A piercing scream woke Adrien up with a start very late that night. He sat upright, breathing hard. As he remembered where he was, he looked around.
“Marinette,” he whispered. He could hear her sobbing quietly. “Marinette?”
“No, no Chat!” she moaned and Adrien realized she was still sleeping.
“Marinette, wake up!” he said, gently shaking her shoulder. She woke up, gasping “Chat!” again. She looked up at him, confusion and fear in her eyes. “It’s ok,” he said softly. “You were dreaming. Everything is fine.”
“Your eyes were so blue,” she shuddered. “But your suit wasn’t white… it was black…”
Quickly, Adrien turned on his phone’s flashlight. “Look at me Marinette, I’m ok.”
Slowly. Marinette looked up at him. His eyes were green and full of a mixture of concern and love. “You’re ok,” she whispered.
“I am,” he agreed as he pulled her into his lap and wrapped his arms protectively around her. He started rocking her slowly until he heard a knock on the trap door.
Sabine woke up abruptly late that night.
“Tom?” she whispered. “Did you hear that?”
“Hear what?” he said groggily. “What time is it?”
“I don’t know… late. I’m going to check on the kids.”
Quickly, she hopped out of bed and made her way to Marinette’s room. As she got near the door, she could hear Adrien’s voice but she couldn’t tell what he was saying. She knocked on the door apprehensively. She heard Adrien’s voice again, saying something quietly. A moment later, he clearly said “Come in”.
Slowly, Sabine opened the door and shut it quietly behind her. She walked quickly over to the ladder and climbed up a few rungs. She saw Adrien in his Ladybug pajamas tenderly rocking Marinette. His body was curved protectively around her and something about how they looked together startled her. She stayed calm, despite her suddenly racing heart and the fact that she recognized something although she wasn’t sure what.
“She had a nightmare,” Adrien said quietly.
“I’m ok, Maman,” Marinette whispered, her voice muffled against Adrien’s chest.
“It looks like you’re in good hands, Sabine murmured. “I just wanted to make sure you were both ok.”
“I don’t blame you,” Adrien said quietly. “She screamed pretty loudly.”
“I’m going to go back to my room. I need to tell Tom everything is alright. I’ll see you in the morning.” she smiled at Adrien and he smiled back tiredly.
Is everything ok?” Tom asked anxiously when she returned.
“They are fine. Marinette had a nightmare, Adrien was taking care of her…” Sabine trailed off.
“Was he doing anything…” Tom looked at her, wondering what she wasn’t saying.
“Oh no, nothing like that… but I saw them together and I just… had this feeling… like I was seeing something more… someone else… Tom!” she gasped. “I think… you know we’ve joked about Marinette and Chat Noir and that crazy brunch… do you think…”
“Well if he’s Chat Noir who loved Ladybug so much…” Tom trailed off and they looked at each other.
“If that’s true, a lot of things are starting to make sense,” Sabine murmured.
“My little Macaron,” Tom moaned, tears in his eyes.
“This needs to be the only conversation we have about this, Tom. And we can’t go looking for proof. It is not safe for them or us if we find any reason to be certain.”
“So what do we do?” Tom whispered, his face growing more worried as he considered the implications of what they were saying… his daughter… the heroine of Paris… from an impossibly young age.
“We let them take care of Paris and we don’t interfere with that.” Sabine said. Tom started to protest but she continued. “But we take care of them-- of Adrien and Marinette-- in whatever ways they need us to.”
Tom’s expression changed as he nodded slowly. “They can’t know we even suspect,” he said and Sabine nodded in agreement. Suddenly he laughed and Sabine looked at him in confusion. “That poor kid, he must have been freaking out about meeting me again. Now I understand why he kept calling me sir even afterI asked him to call me Tom. All credit to him, he never let that put him off Marinette.”
“Of course he didn’t. He’s Chat Noir. And she’s Ladybug,” Sabine said softly.
“We don’t know that for certain,” he reminded her. His expression grew dreamy. “But if we’re right, won’t they give us some beautiful grandkids.”
Sabine laughed. “Not for a good long while I hope!”