Each Other's Heroes

BY : Cat_Eyes
Category: +M through R > Miraculous LadyBug
Dragon prints: 185
Disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous Ladybug. Miraculous Ladybug is the intellectual property of Thomas Astruc and released by Zag studios. No profit was made writing this story.

Marinette collapsed onto her chaise, exhausted after a fierce akuma battle. She let the plate of sandwiches and biscuits Sabine had handed her slide to the floor with a clatter, heedless of the crumbs sprinkled on the carpet.

"Are you going to eat that?" asked Tikki, pointing to a biscuit hanging precariously over the side of the plate.

"No, you go ahead," Marinette replied, her face pressed into a pillow.

As Tikki ate, Marinette drifted off into a light doze, only to be suddenly jolted awake by a loud thud on her balcony. Marinette sat up, staring suspiciously at her ceiling. When no more sounds came, she shrugged the incident off and lay back down to drift into sleep once more.

Marinette slept through the afternoon, waking just as Sabine called her down to dinner. She sat with her parents, talking idly as they ate, and assuring them she had been nowhere near the fight while she was out with Alya that day.

After dinner, she and Tom cleaned up and retired to bed early, the same time her parents did. She told them she had lots of homework due early Monday morning, and needed to get to work.

Feeling weary and stifled after the blatant lie, Marinette wanted some fresh air. She waved Tikki's concern aside and headed up to her balcony alone. As she pushed open the access hatch, her breath caught. Sitting in her deck chair, fast asleep, was Chat Noir.

Marinette rolled her eyes and was about to wake him up and tell him to go home when she heard his stomach rumble. Her eyebrows shot up. She was mildly surprised he hadn't woken himself up. When she heard his stomach growl again, Marinette took pity on him. Ducking back into her room, she made her way over to her abandoned plate of sandwiches.

Touching the bread confirmed they had gone stale over the last few hours. Sighing, Marinette took the plate to the kitchen and made a fresh sandwich, adding a few left over pastries and a bottle of water from the fridge. Shaking her head, Marinette went back upstairs.

Chat Noir was where she had left him, his head turned away and his hands folded over his still rumbling belly.

Trying not to laugh, Marinette left the food and water on her table where he would see them. She fleetingly thought of leaving a note, but dismissed the idea. He was a smart cat, and more than capable of working this out.

Marinette settled at her desk to start her homework while Tikki ate pilfered biscuits beside her. After a short while, she heard her deck chair creak, and what may have been Chat Noir's stifled cry of joy. Either that, or he tripped over his tail, again.

Marinette huffed a laugh and got back to her homework. Hopefully, Chat Noir would make it home before he fell asleep again.

 


 

Saturday brought another akuma, the imaginatively named Chameleon, who had the ability to blend in with any background. After three hours of fruitless pursuit, Ladybug and Chat Noir had borne enough.

"This is ridiculous," Ladybug exclaimed, throwing her hands up. "I give up. I'm going home."

"I've had it up to my furry little ears, too, Milady," Chat Noir sighed.

Ladybug leaned against a chimney stack and Chat Noir slumped onto the roof tiles in a graceless heap.

"What can we do, though?" she groaned.

"Well, he's going to want our Miraculous at some point. Let him come to us," Chat Noir groused.

Ladybug's face lit up. "That's it," she cried. "Chat, you're a genius."

Chat Noir stood up and bowed. "Always at your service, Ladybug. What's the plan?"

Ladybug and Chat Noir found a loosely gravelled rooftop and sat, back to back, waiting for the Chameleon to find them. They heard his footfalls displace the gravel the moment he landed, and went into action.

After some awful puns and a perfectly executed Lucky Charm, the man was cured and the akuma was purified, all without a single flirtation from Chat Noir. Ladybug then waved a hasty farewell as Chat Noir assisted the man back down to the street so he could make his way home.

It was a race against her Miraculous, hoping she could get home before she timed out. Marinette had just fallen through her hatch when her transformation fell, Tikki floating down to her pillows.

"That," Tikki moaned, "was the worst."

Marinette smiled, tiredly. "Let's go get snacks and then take a nap," she suggested.

While Tikki slept, gorged on choc-chip biscuits, Marinette went back out to her balcony. All thoughts of relaxing in her chair were thwarted when she opened her hatch to see Chat Noir, spread-eagled, across her balcony floor and clearly asleep.

Marinette blinked, astounded, before she lowered her hatch once more. Just as it was about to close, she heard Chat Noir's stomach growl so loud, it was a wonder her parents hadn't heard. Smothering a helpless laugh, Marinette fixed him a snack and left it for him, just beyond the hatch door.

She didn't hear him find the treat, but she did find two long stemmed roses there the following morning.

A pattern soon followed. A few days a week, Chat Noir fell asleep on her balcony, and she would leave food and a drink for him. The following morning, there would be gifts left for her beside an empty plate. There were flowers, which she carefully pressed and preserved. Soft toys that found a home in her room. Her favourites were a cartoonish ladybug insect and a black cat in a similar style, which sat in pride of place on her bed.

Once, Chat Noir had left her a silver bracelet. She had tried to give it back, leaving it for him with a note saying it was too much, but he had refused to take it. Resigned, Marinette tucked it carefully into her magic box, sparing herself the interrogation Alya and her parents would give her if they saw it.

Chat Noir had not brought her any more jewellery since, but he continued to express his gratitude in humbler ways, sometimes even with something as simple as a note.

Marinette treasured each gift, telling herself it would be callous and cruel to throw them away, and a disservice to her partner.

Marinette continued her silent, and strange, friendship with Chat Noir without telling anyone. It felt like it would be violating his trust if she told. It was a secret she was glad to keep.

 


 

One dreary Saturday, Marinette helped in the shop by manning the register while her parents worked the kitchen. The rain hadn't deterred many from their business, so Marinette was kept busy all day.

She hoped that Papillon was one of those people who preferred to stay abed on rainy days. The thought of fighting in this weather was not appealing, and Tikki was susceptible to chills. The day was repetitive and boring, but the monotony was broken by a familiar face calling her by name.

"Good afternoon, Marinette," a dark haired boy greeted her.

"Hello," she returned, smiling graciously. "You're Jean, right?"

He nodded. "That's right."

"You're in Madame Mendeleiev's class this year, aren't you?"

Jean nodded again, his cheeks turning pink. "Yeah," he confirmed, his smile slipping.

Marinette smiled sympathetically. "She's a tough one, but she is fair."

Jean chuckled. "I suppose."

"So, what brings you here today? Did you get a craving for something sweet?"

Jean looked her in the eyes for a moment before answering. "Yeah. Could I get a six pack of the profiteroles and a Flaugnarde, please?"

"Of course. Just a moment."

Jean watched closely as Marinette gathered the pastries and boxed them. She then rang him up and accepted his payment, all the while smiling and talking about simple things. She finally waved goodbye, happy with a job successfully accomplished.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and Marinette was allowed to leave after clean-up was done. She was rewarded with a plate of left over stock, which she toted up to her room. Marinette wasn't hungry, but Tikki would appreciate the biscuits.

On a whim, Marinette checked the balcony. There was no sign of Chat Noir, but Marinette supposed she ought to be grateful. She climbed back into her room and slumped over her desk.

Tikki sat before her, holding up a biscuit that was taller than she was. "He wasn't there, huh?"

Marinette jolted upright. "What? Who wasn't where? I don't know what you're talking about," she said, crossing her arms.

"There's no shame in missing your partner, Marinette," Tikki giggled, fondly. "He's one of your best friends. It's only natural you want to spend time with him."

Marinette harrumphed. "Well, he's not here, so it's pointless to talk about it."

Tikki shook her head with a sigh. "So, who was that boy who came in the shop today?"

Marinette shrugged. "Just a boy from school. I don't really know him that well."

"He sure seemed to know you," Tikki commented, slyly.

Marinette regarded her, dubiously. "Eat your biscuits and go to bed. You need to sleep."

 


 

Marinette ran up to Alya on Monday morning and enveloped her in a hug, almost tipping them both over in her enthusiasm.

"Whoa, Girl. Nice to see you, too," Alya laughed as she returned the embrace.

They caught up on gossip as they went to their lockers and headed to class, though Alya seemed increasingly distracted. Once inside the classroom, Alya cast Marinette a sidelong look, but didn't say anything more.

"What?" asked Marinette as she sat down.

"What do you mean, "what?" You didn't notice that?"

"Notice what?"

Alya sighed. "Never mind. It was probably nothing."

Marinette shrugged Alya's strangeness off and greeted their classmates as they entered. She was proud of herself for only stammering once while she wished Adrien a good morning. Ever the gracious, princely type, he ignored her blunder and wished her a good morning in return. Marinette felt like today was going to be a great day.

After first period, they headed to the library. Caline had set them a literature assignment Marinette was sure she would be pulling her hair out over soon enough. She and Alya found a vacant table near the back of the library and set their stuff down.

"I'm gonna check and see if there's anything left over there," Alya said, indicating the history section.

"All right, then I'll go over there and see if I can find something useful," Marinette replied, pointing in the opposite direction to the classic literature section.

"Meet you back here soon?" Alya asked.

"As soon as possible," Marinette agreed.

They parted ways, Marinette giving Adrien an awkward smile and a wave as she passed his table.

As Marinette skimmed the titles, she felt a presence approach behind her. She thought nothing of it, until he spoke.

"Hello again, Marinette," Jean greeted her.

Marinette jumped; she hadn't expected him to speak to her. Turning around, she placed a hand over her racing heart and breathed out. "You startled me. How are you, Jean?"

Jean raised his hands. "Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he said with an apologetic smile. "But, I'm fine, thanks for asking."

"No, it happens all the time," Marinette waved off his apology. "Are you doing a lit assignment, too?"

"No. Madame Mendeleiev has us working on the most evil physics assignment ever. It's kicking my butt." Jean rubbed his neck and grinned, selfconsciestly.

Marinette winced sympathetically. "That sucks. But, if you don't mind me asking, what're you doing in the lit section?"

Jean cleared his throat as his cheeks turned pink. "Actually, I wanted to talk to you."

"Sorry, but I'm no good at physics. I won't be much help to you. You could ask Adrien, he's really nice and super smart. He could help," Marinette suggested, grinning broadly.

Jean coughed into his hand, his face now completely red. "No, I mean I wanted to talk to you and, maybe, see if you'd like to get lunch some time?" he asked, hesitantly.

"Well," Marinette began, tapping her lip in thought. "Lunch is still a few hours away, but I have no plans today if you want to meet then?"

Jean's face morphed from awkward discomfort to pure ecstasy. "Really? That'd be great. Thank you so much. I'll meet you on the front steps then, ok?"

 Marinette nodded. "Front steps at twelve o'clock. See you then," she smiled, as she waved him off.

Marinette turned back to the bookshelves and plucked out the ones she thought looked promising. She then headed back to her table, heavily burdened, but with a sense of accomplishment.

Alya was already at their table, waiting for her with wide eyes.

"Marinette, were you talking with Jean Duparc?"

Marinette raised an eyebrow and sat, pausing her sorting of the books. "So, that's his last name. I completely blanked," she laughed at herself.

Alya sat down and firmly grasped Marinette by the shoulders. Marinette stared back at her, mildly surprised.

"Why is Jean saying he's going to lunch with you?"

"Because he asked me and I said yes," Marinette replied, deeply confused.

Alya hung her head and let out an exasperated sigh as her hands dropped to the table. "Girl, you just agreed to go out on a date with him," she explained with a long-suffering expression.

Marinette blinked. "What? No. That's not how it was," she flapped her hand with a weak laugh.

"Then why did I just hear him say he scored a date with you at lunch?"

Marinette blanched, her arms falling still and her eyes growing wide. She began to let out a shrill whine, looking helplessly at Alya.

Alya crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow, expectantly.

Suddenly, Marinette stopped whining and clasped her hands, looking at Alya pleadingly. "Help me, Alya. What do I do?"

Alya shook her head. "You said you'll have lunch with him, so you should go. But, you have to make it very clear that you aren't interested in pursuing anything romantic with him. You just want to be friends, got it?"

Marinette nodded firmly. "Yes. Just friends. Got it. Should I tell him I already like someone else?"

"Only if he tries to insist and won't take no for an answer. After that, you're under no obligation to be nice or try to spare his feelings."

Marinette gulped. "Got it," she repeated, feeling ill.

Alya gave her an encouraging smile. "Trust me, when a guy starts acting like an entitled prick, it's much easier to reject him."

Marinette gave a feeble chuckle in response and turned back to her assignment. Mercifully, there was only enough room in her head for one thing at a time.

At lunch, she met Jean on the front steps as promised. She felt awful, seeing his bright smile and happy eyes. But she had to tell him that she couldn't return his feelings, it was the right thing to do.

"Ready to go?" he asked as she joined him.

"Sure," she replied, deciding to tell him quietly over lunch, in private. She glanced back one more time, hoping Alya would give her one last shred of moral support, but she wasn't there. Marinette did see Adrien, though, staring after her and Jean, scowling deeply.

 


 

"It was awful. Horrible," Marinette cried into Sabine's lap. "He accused me of leading him on, calling me a tease, and other things, right there in the middle of the café. Everyone was staring," she sobbed.

Sabine stroked Marinette's hair. "If he's going to behave like that, you made the right choice. He's not good enough for you."

"But the things he said - "

"Are not worth listening to," Sabine interrupted, firmly. "I can see where you two got your wires crossed, but that is no reason for him to act like that. Sweetheart, if a boy says things like that to you over a simple mistake, or anything, if he makes you miserable, then he is not the kind of person you want in your life. Furthermore, if he really cared for you, he would've respected your decision and backed off. Listen, if he bothers you again, I want you to promise me you'll tell someone right away. A friend, a teacher, me, or your principal. It doesn't matter who, just as long as you tell someone, ok?"

Marinette nodded. "I promise."

"Good girl. Deep breaths, now. Everything's going to be fine."

Sabine continued to hold Marinette, petting her hair and stroking her back until the sobs eased.

Eventually, Marinette went upstairs and found Chat Noir on her balcony, dozing fitfully in her chair. She smiled through her tears at him, then went back downstairs to fix him a snack.

 


 

Alya was absent the following day, to Marinette's distress. She had sent Marinette a text saying her cramps were unmanageable, so Marlena had given her permission to stay in bed and recover.

As apprehensive as she was, Marinette still had to go to school. Sabine was sympathetic, but told her the best thing she could do was appear strong. "Weak men are intimidated by strong women, and you're one of the strongest women I know," she'd said.

Buoyed by this parting comment, and with Tikki's silent support from her purse, Marinette determinedly made her way to school, and immediately bolted to the locker room.

"You're doing great, Marinette," Tikki encouraged her. She was sitting on a stack of text books inside the locker, giving her a pep talk. "He's just one, petty little boy, and you're Ladybug. You've handled tougher five year old girls."

"Thanks, Tikki," Marinette giggled.

"There you are, Marinette," said an unfamiliar voice.

Marinette jumped and slammed her locker shut. Turning, she saw a boy she recognised from another class approach her. She didn't know his name, but she suspected he was a friend of Jean's.

He came up beside her and leaned an elbow on the lockers. "I just wanted to let you know," he began, a smile spreading across his face, "I love you."

Marinette drew back, deeply confused. "What?" she asked. She thought he was going to give her a verbal lashing for hurting his friend.

The boy's smile twitched and a sound almost like laughter caught in his throat. "I love you, so much," he choked out.

Marinette just stared at him, wondering what his game was. Eventually, his flimsy veneer cracked and he doubled over, laughing. He collected himself with difficulty before leaving without another word, still chuckling to himself.

Marinette stared after him, nonplussed.

Similar incidents occurred throughout the day, all performed by Jean's friends. Jean himself remained in the background, suspiciously quiet and smirking like he had a great victory planned.

In the courtyard, the library, on the steps outside the school, the boys would come up to her, confess their undying love and flee back to their buddies, cackling hysterically. To make it worse, they only approached her when she was alone and no one could hear them. Marinette had never missed Alya as keenly as she did that day.

Toward the end of the day, Marinette spent Study Hall in the library to catch up on homework and avoid the general student population. She found a secluded spot on the floor between shelves, and pulled out her books. No sooner had she gotten started when a voice interrupted her.

"There you are, my love. I've been looking all over for you, sweetness."

Marinette huffed in annoyance. "I don't know what game you think you're playing, but I'm sick of it. Please, leave me alone."

"Leave? But I've only just found you, darling," he announced, just a bit too loudly.

As if it were the baying of a hunting dog, the other boys swarmed over, leering at her from the end of the row.

"There you are, honey, my lovely," said one, in a falsely besotted tone.

"Hello, dearest," greeted another.

"I love you," laughed a third.

There were five of them in total, and they stood over Marinette, teasing and tormenting her. She got to her feet, but still felt small in the face of their scorn. As Ladybug, she was used to such forward and unwanted male attention. But she was simply Marinette now, with no weapon or partner to rely on. For the first time in a long time, she didn't know what to do.

When one of them clamped a hand down on her shoulder, she panicked. She let loose a terrified shriek and pushed the boy away from her, and continued to wail as he fell against the shelves. The other boys backed away in apparent confusion.

She heard it first, several sets of footsteps heading in her direction. Rounding the corner, behind the evil boys, were all of her male classmates, stampeding to her rescue, each wearing expressions of determination and impending violence.

Ivan dragged three of the boys back, while Kim grabbed the remaining two, banging their heads together as he pulled them back. Nathaniel and Adrien flanked her and Nino stood in front of her, shielding her with their bodies. Max began citing school rules, focussing on their anti-harassment policies, and their most likely punishments. The evil boys turned pale and began to sweat.

The girls in her class had run off to fetch Principal Damocles and Madame Mendeleiev at the first sign of trouble. Soon, the boys were given detention for the remainder of the year, and would have letters sent to their parents, explaining their behaviour and why they would be taking mandatory Respect and Consent courses.

"Are you ok?" Adrien asked, quietly, as the others drifted away.

"I'm fine," Marinette whispered, not trusting her voice to hold steady.

"Would you like me to walk you home?"

Marinette gripped her bag strap and nodded, packing up her things silently.

Adrien explained to Tom what had happened while Marinette sniffled into Sabine's shoulder. He then left, giving Marinette an awkward, but supportive pat on the back as he went.

"He's a good boy, that one," Tom observed, before joining Sabine and Marinette for a group hug.

After dinner, Marinette went out to her balcony for a breather. She loved Tikki, but Marinette needed a moment alone to collect herself.

She was unsurprised to find Chat Noir in her deck chair. It was unexpected that he was awake, however.

"Hey, Princess," he smiled at her. "I heard you had a rough day."

Marinette rubbed her arm and turned away. "You could say that."

Chat Noir's expression turned serious. He stood up and lightly grasped her hands. "If there's anything you need, anything at all, please tell me."'

Marinette pulled back, cringing away from his touch. Chat Noir let go immediately and stepped back.

"If you need me to go, I'll do that, too."

Suddenly, Marinette didn't want to be alone anymore. Slowly, she held her arms out to him and made grabby motions with her hands, her head down. Chat Noir stepped into her embrace and tenderly returned the hug. A few tears leaked out of Marinette's eyes, but she remained quiet.

After a while, she broke the silence. "You've been a good friend, Chat Noir."

She felt him smile against her hair. "I should be the one saying that. You've left me snacks and let me sleep up here, undisturbed, for weeks now."

Marinette felt a small smile tug at her own lips. "Why do you nap here, anyway?"

"You have the sunniest spot in all of Paris. It's very comfortable up here, and safe."

"You're such a cat," she said, fondly.

"It's part of my charm." She could hear the smugness in his voice. "There is another reason," he continued, hesitantly. "Why I nap here."

Marinette looked up at him, expectantly. "Because I feed you?"

"Your generosity is unparalleled, but that isn't the whole reason." He paused to collect his thoughts, fingers tapping absently against Marinette's back. "This is definitely not the best time to tell you, but I think I have a huge dilemma."

Marinette gripped his shoulders in concern. "What is it? Can I help?"

Chat Noir took her hands and held them, cradling them gently. "The world knows how I feel about Ladybug," he began. "I've made no secret of it."

Marinette suppressed a smirk. "Go on," she encouraged him.

"But over the last couple of months, I've come to like someone else. I still love Ladybug, but I like this girl just as much. These feelings just crept up on me. I don't know what to do."

Marinette shoved down the jealousy burning in her chest. She had no claim on Chat Noir, plus she was in love with Adrien.

"Who is it?" she asked, hoping she sounded only mildly curious.

Chat Noir looked her in the eyes. "You."

Marinette stared in astonishment. "What?"

"I love Ladybug, but I think I love you, too. Please, tell me what to do," he begged.

Marinette took in his anguished expression, frantically sorting through her minimal life experience for something helpful.

Before she could think of anything, his transformation fell. Green light flashed up his body, as he fell to his knees, head low. He slowly let go of her hands as he curled in on himself.

Panic blew through Marinette, forcing her to kneel in front of him. "Why?" she asked, pained on his behalf.

"I can't lie to you any more than I already have," he mumbled.

Marinette bit back her tears, and reached for him, cradling his face. He was still obscured by his hair, but Marinette was putting the pieces together. Gently, she tilted his head up.

"Adrien," she crooned, softly. "My silly kitty."

Adrien gazed back at her. "Why are you smiling?"

"Because you love me," she replied. "You love me, completely."



You need to be logged in to leave a review for this story.
Report Story