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Chloé Noir

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Chloé Bourgeois flipped her hair as she strutted to school, ready to establish her role as a leader on the first day. Who could be better? Chloé was beautiful, stylish, and came from a powerful background. As she approached the steps of the school, she could feel her heart swell with anticipation at the thought of peasants bowing down to her. Eyes scanned the exterior of the school, and two things stood out to her.

First, there was an old man in a hideous red Hawaiian-style shirt. Chloé instinctively rolled her eyes. Unless one was actively in Hawaii, wearing such a shirt was ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous! Chloé raised an eyebrow. Was this man even a part of the school? Why was he just standing there and glaring at…?

Chloé followed his gaze to a pair next to the stairs. One member of the pair was familiar, with her short red hair and glasses: Sabrina Raincomprix. She leaned up against the banister of the stairs, as if trying to lean as far as possible away from whoever she was with. Her face wore a desperate smile, lips turned up but eyebrows crinkled in discomfort. Her palms were up, a surrendering gesture, which Chloé was well familiar with. However, it was unfamiliar to see Sabrina surrendering to anyone except Chloé Bourgeois herself.

The person with Sabrina was a boy with short hair and gross green sneakers Chloé swears she saw on the clearance rack two weeks ago. He had his hands on the banister, right next to both sides of Sabrina’s waist, trapping her in and giving him support as he leaned into her personal space. Chloé took some steps to get an angle that would allow her to see his face. He had a predatory smirk, and eyes that glanced down at Sabrina’s sweater-vest. Once closer, Chloé could hear some of his words: “…C’mon, you don’t even know me, and you’re not even giving me a chance.”

“My dad says I’m not supposed to give my number to people I don’t know,” Sabrina responded in a voice so quiet Chloé had to strain her ears to hear it.

“It’s literally just a number. Or are you saying I’m creepy? How can you decide that the first time we’ve met? Isn’t that unfair?”

Chloé’s anger boiled in her chest. She was no stranger to pushy boys and men; being as gorgeous as she was attracted attention that was not always well-intentioned. But Chloé knew her own worth, and she was not afraid to respond to their attempts to trap her or neg her with disgust and derision, shutting them down and making them the uncomfortable party in their interaction. Sabrina, though having some adorable points, was not the great beauty Chloé was, and so had far less experience with this sort of thing. Sabrina was also people-pleaser, who would bend over so far backwards to help someone she would turn into a pretzel. Chloé clenched her fist knowing this boy was trying to take advantage of Sabrina. Had the boy heard about her personality beforehand and approached Sabrina because he thought she would be an easy target? Or did he just go after the accessibly-attractive girl with the hope she had low self-esteem and a desperation to be liked? He probably felt secure in the knowledge that he could push as much as he wanted, and a girl as timid as Sabrina would be afraid to make a scene rejecting him.

Fortunately, Chloé was never afraid to make a scene.

Chloé marched right behind the boy, grabbed his shoulder, and pulled him back, forcing his hands to leave the banister and giving Sabrina an escape route. “Excuse me?” Chloé brought all her anger and disgust with the situation into her voice. “You are creepy! I can tell just from that scene! No girl should ever give you her number, with that kind of behavior!”

Based on his wide-eyed expression, he had never had a girl call him out on that behavior before. He quickly schooled himself into a scoff, crossing his arms and adopting an insulted expression. In the process of confronting Chloé, he turned away from Sabrina, giving her some much-needed space. “Who are you? This is none of your business. I haven’t even done anything, I’m just asking for her number.”

Despite the numerous escape routes, Sabrina just stood behind the boy with a stunned look on her face. Chloé clicked her tongue, did she have to do everything around here? She grabbed Sabrina’s wrist and pulled her away from the boy, leading her behind Chloé so Chloé was between the two of them. “Sabrina is my best friend, so yes it is my business, and I know she doesn’t like boys who trap her and harass her into giving their number!” Chloé counters. Then, for good measure, she added, “Especially not with those cheap shoes.”

He scowled. “I wasn’t harassing her.”

Chloé huffed. “Really? Maybe we should call an expert and explain the situation. Sabrina, why don’t you call your dad? A cop like him would know exactly what constitutes a boy harassing his little girl.”

The boys face paled. “A- a cop?”

“Or, if that doesn’t work,” Chloé pulled out her phone as she carried on, “I can call my daddy, and see what his perspective on the situation is. You might know him, Mayor Bourgeois?”

He started to back away. “I’m, um, I’m gonna be late for the first day, I gotta go.”

He broke into a sprint to enter the school.

Chloé smirked at his hasty retreat. She turned around to check on Sabrina, but discovered Sabrina had also run away at some point. She was alone.

Well, alone aside from that weird old guy, who was now walking towards her. He had a gentle expression on his face instead of the glare from earlier, but Chloé was still weirded out. “What do you want?” She asked him point-blank. If he hit on her, she was going to tear him a new one.

He smiled at her, “That was very noble of you, to defend your friend like that.”

Chloé already knew she was the best. She was constantly praised by her father, her servants, and Sabrina. Hearing nice things from a complete stranger was… not necessarily common. She didn’t know how to react. “So?”

He chuckled. Then the chuckle turned into a cough. He collapsed.

Instinctively, Chloé reached out to catch him before he hit hit head on the pavement. Belatedly, she realized he could be gross. Especially when he reacted by grabbing onto her for support. Was he trying to cop a feel? But one hand gripped her forearm, while the other clung onto her bag, far away from any unsavory areas. She pulled him up, hoping to get him off of her as soon as possible.

He coughed, more gently this time. “Sorry, thank you.”

“Uh, okay.”

Perplexed, Chloé decided to leave the situation as soon as possible.

She had to make her high school debut, after all.

 


 

The first thing Chloé thought when she entered the classroom: Marinette changed her hair. It made her look even more childish than before. Chloé was sick of having to share a class with that goody-two-shoes. It seemed like her life goal was to annoy Chloé. Even today, the very first day, Marinette was sitting in Chloé’s seat! Adrien would be coming to school this year, and wanted to sit in the front, so Chloé was going to stick nearby to support him. But no, Marinette was deliberately sitting in Chloé’s rightful seat. She was clearly looking for a fight.

After making a scene to reclaim her rightful seat, Chloé texted Adrien to see where he was. Class would be starting soon. Didn’t he say he was going to run away from home and go to school this year?

Eventually he texted back. He had failed today, but he would try again tomorrow. Chloé texted him some encouragement, sneaking her phone under the desk during class.

 


 

After a tiring day of blessing the school with her presence, Chloé was ready to collapse onto her couch. After sprawling on the soft cushions, she turned on the television. What confronted her made her sit up straight.

“A stone villain is terrorizing Paris! Citizens are advised to stay indoors...”

The television cut to a scene of Sabrina’s dad aiming fire onto a living stone creature. Bullets didn’t seem to do anything, though, and the monster continued its path of destruction undeterred. Its fist swung towards the camera, causing Chloé to jump in her seat and knock onto her bag. Its contents spilled everywhere. She sighed as she picked up her lip gloss, mirror, mysterious wooden box…

Wait, what?

Chloé gingerly lifted the box. She didn’t remember packing that. Did the butler pack it for her? It wasn’t stylish, but it looked old enough that perhaps it was some expensive antique. There was a hinge, so Chloé gently pried it open.

There was a dark ball of energy that burst from the box, and a tiny creature appeared, floating in the air. So Chloé did what anyone would do.

She screamed.

Immediately, a teeny-tiny paw shut her mouth. “Shh! Do you want to reveal me to everyone!”

Chloé took a step back from it, “Oh no, the floating mouse can talk!”

“I’m not a mouse! I’m a Kwami! I’m- Ooh, this is a nice room.”

Well, at least the mouse had good taste. “I must be going crazy. Am I stressed? I need a spa day.”

“I’d do a spa day.”

“Why are you here! What are you?”

The thing yawned. “I’m Plagg, I’m a kwami. We grant magical powers, yours is the power of destruction. Got it?”

That made Chloé pause. “Magical powers? Like… like a superhero?”

Plagg began to float around her room, examining her things. “Sure.”

Chloé had ambitions for many things. Being famous, being talented, being beautiful… but even someone who dreamed big like her put her foot down and told herself superheroes weren’t real by the time she was ten. Of course she wanted to be one, like those you saw on TV, but they weren’t real!

Giant stone villains weren’t real either.

Chloé looked back at the box. There was a silver ring inside. Was that related? She slipped it on her finger. Not the most fashionable jewelry; she would have to co-ordinate around it if it was required to be a superhero. Fortunately, she looked good in everything.

Possibilities lined up before her. If she was a superhero, everyone would love her. She would have parades. She’d be powerful, perhaps more powerful than her parents. She couldn’t wait to tell everyone that she, Chloé Bourgeois, was a superhero!

She realized Plagg had been talking, “...And you’ll be supporting another superhero who can purify them. To use your power, you shout ‘Cataclysm!’, and to transform, you say ‘Claws out’-”

“Claws out!”

Like any eager viewer of magical girl shows, she had practiced her own transformation dance. She and Adrien used to pretend to compare and critique each other’s ‘transformations’. It had been a while since trying it, but with the sensation of her clothes and hair transforming, her body naturally fell into a dance. By the end, she felt exhilarated.

Then she looked in the mirror.

Leather.

Chloé was wearing not only a full-body leather suit, but on top of that she wore leather gloves, boots and a belt. Leather-on-leather! An atrocity! Even worse, Chloé’s hair was pulled out of its neat ponytail, and had turned into a mess of curls. Chloé spent an hour every morning having her butler straighten her hair, she didn’t want it to revert to it’s natural curly state every time she transformed! The excessive leather did not even spare her head, giving her both leather ears and a leather mask that tinted her sclera blue.

If Chloé’s mother, the Queen of Fashion, ever saw this, Chloé knew exactly what she would say: “Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!”

So this is why superheros had secret identities. Chloé wasn’t going to give up the chance to be a superhero, but nobody could ever connect her with this leather-wearing, mussy-haired cat hero. If they did, her mother might kill her.

Oh well. Time to see what she could do!

 


 

The baton was pretty versatile. She made a balance beam across some roofs, and walked across with impeccable posture. Ten years of gymnastics was pretty helpful, it seemed.

But no amount of gymnastics could have prepared her for a red blur falling on top of her. Before Chloé could process what was happening, she was tangled up in a… string? Swinging back and forth while looking into a girl’s baby blue eyes.

A thought rose in her mind, one she shouldn’t say. Or rather, one Chloé Bourgeois shouldn’t say. As the mayor’s daughter, there were some jokes that were too juvenile to entertain. Chief among them: Bad puns.

But this was not Chloé Bourgeois who just got smacked and wrapped up. This was not the Chloé that only ever entertained puns when alone with Adrien. This was a whole new person, and it would be important to establish herself as very different from Chloé Bourgeois. After all, no one would expect Chloé’s opposite in personality to secretly be Chloé. So Chloé took a deep breath, and said words:

“Nice of you to drop in.”

The girl sputtered, apologizing and trying to explain, before the two of them eventually untangled themselves. “Who are you?” She asked, eyeing Chloé up and down.

“I’m…” Chloé thought fast. She had cat ears. She was wearing black, “…Call me Chat Noir!”

The girl smiled. That was pretty. Could she be a model? Did Chloé know any models with dark blue hair in pigtails, cute blue eyes, and a dazzling smile?

There was the sound of screaming and destruction in the distance. Chloé extended her baton to get back on the roofs, from there it would be easier to find the villain.

Behind her, the girl called out, “Wait! Where are you going?”

Chloé… No, Chat Noir, smirked. “To save Paris!”

Chapter Text

Pole-vaulting across Paris felt fantastic .

Chat Noir’s always known she was above even this city, but she had never felt so literally above the city. Everyone looked like ants from her view in the sky.

Well, everyone except for the giant stone villain on the stadium.

Target acquired; Chat Noir was going to dole out justice like the greatest superhero Paris has ever seen. The villain jumped into the stadium, causing some students to scatter. Kim was among them, and based on the trajectory of the giant, a target. Kim began running, but soon tripped on the flat grass. Chat Noir snorted. Wasn’t he always bragging about his athletic prowess? And then the one time he needs to run for his life, he becomes as clumsy as Marinette?

Well, this gave a chance for Chat Noir to debut with a rescue. She used her baton to block the villain from grabbing Kim. She landed by retracting the pole, and put herself between Kim and the stone monstrosity. Glowing eyes, cracking skin, clearly heavy and capable of destroying Chloé. She gulped.

Chloé was used to dangers of a less… physical variety. Dramatic ex-friends, jealous classmates, and disrespectful peasants. People that she could out-maneuver with words and schemes. Her greatest weapon was her Daddy, who she could call to deal with the most difficult issues. Chat Noir, however, could not call the mayor to solve this issue. Daddy had already mobilized police against it, and that hadn’t worked. Chat Noir had to be the one to solve this, with her own power. But when was the last time Chloé had been in a physical fight? She couldn’t recall. She stared up at those blinding, soulless eyes, and felt her heart drop to her stomach. Chloé couldn’t fight. She lifted a foot to flee.

Behind her, Kim ran.

Just like Sabrina had back when Chloé had protected her.

Chloé was a protector. Chat Noir was a protector. She could not be a coward anymore. She put her foot back down, bracing herself. Chloé had been ready to throw down with that man that harassed Sabrina back then. So what if Chloé had never been in a fight? She was a superhero now, she was going to figure it out, and she would become the best.

“Hey, you’re awfully pushy, aren’t you?” Chat Noir started with what she did best: riling people up.

“Get out of my way!” Its voice was gravelly.

Chat Noir laughed. She would not show fear to the enemy. “You must be as dumb as a rock if you think I’ll listen to you.”
With that urging, it swung its arm towards her. She dodged with somersaults, before eventually finding a chance to jump. She jumped up high, aiming at its back, swinging down with the force of gravity to accent her blow. Her first attack as a superhero! Surely that would knock it down!

Instead of being knocked down, its whole body glowed and it grew in size. Chat Noir bit her lip. If physical attacks didn’t work, how was she supposed to beat it? Chat Noir wracked her brain, but didn’t have any ideas. Trying to think and dodge at the same time was difficult. She wished she had someone she could call to help her, like Daddy, or her butler, or…

Wait a minute, wasn’t she supposed to have a partner?

“Where are you, partner?” She shouted, hoping that would summon the spotted lady.

The stone giant lifted a soccer goal, and threw it. For a moment, Chat Noir was relieved that it missed her, then she saw where it was going to land.

Crouched between the stands was the rude new girl. Abbie? Arya? Chat Noir couldn’t remember her name, but that wasn’t important at the moment. What was important was that she was in danger, and a perfect superhero would never let anyone get hurt.

Chat Noir threw her staff, activating its extension so it would expand between the stands. It reached just in time, causing the goal to bounce off of it and leaving Anya(?) unharmed. Chat Noir took a moment to catch her breath. That was a pretty cool move to do, especially considering she just got that baton today.

Stopping to bask in her awesomeness turned out to be a bad idea, since it gave the villain a chance to grab Chat Noir. Uh-oh. Chat Noir wriggled in the grip, but it had a tight fist. “How dare you!” Chat Noir declared.

What would happen now? The monster would destroy all of Paris, all because Chat Noir got distracted. Chat Noir was supposed to rescue people, who was supposed to rescue her?

The new girl shouted something about a bug, and suddenly a familiar yo-yo flew into view.

A girl in red slid along the turf, tightening string around the legs of the monster so it fell, dropping Chat Noir in the process. A wave of relief washed through Chat Noir. Unfortunately, she was not prepared for a graceful landing, and tumbled into the net. She quickly jumped to her feet though. The red girl was apologizing, but Chat Noir was already ready to dive back into battle. Surely, if both of them attacked it, they would be able to break through. As she tried to run, though, the girl grabbed her tail . Chat Noir squeaked, then turned to give her a piece of her mind.

The girl spoke before Chat Noir could get a word in though, her words steady and stance thoughtful, “It gets bigger with every attack. We have to do something different.”

Chat Noir paused her anger. And turned it into sarcasm. “Got any bright ideas, then?”

Her fellow superhero barely seemed to notice the tone. “I don’t know, our powers-”

Chat Noir remembered. “Cataclysm!”

Her fist filled with dark energy. Time to test this power out! She turned to the nearest object, the goal, and slapped her hand on it. Darkness spread through it and disintegrated with a satisfying collapse. With a power like this, the stone would be a piece of cake! Chat Noir ran to the villain and touched its foot.

Nothing happened.

Huh. It works only once? The villain kicked her, and she landed near the red girl. “Didn’t your Kwami explain anything to you? The power works only once, and now you’ll transform back after five minutes!”

Chat Noir groaned. “I was distracted during the explanation.”

“Guess it’s my turn, then. Lucky Charm!”

The ensuing fight was a whirlwind. The girl had a mind racing a hundred miles a minute, and with the wet suit she seemed to have formulated a plan. She attached a hose to the wet suit.

“Don’t resist; trust me,” She told Chat Noir.

Did Chat Noir trust her? She rescued her earlier, but it’s not like she had a lot of experience working alongside her yet-

No time to overthink, she was flung towards the monster. “You’re crazy!” Chat Noir shouted as the villain grabbed her again.

Was she using Chat Noir as a distraction so she could run away? Chat Noir had cusses on the tip of her tongue until the girl threw herself into the monsters other fist. In the process of opening its hands, the monster dropped a small crumpled purple object. Then Abba(?) turned on the hose, expanding the wet suit and forcing the fist open again so the girl could escape. She crushed the purple object, and the villain disintegrated, leaving… Ivan?

Chat Noir ignored that for now, focusing attention on the red-suited girl. The plan was crazy, but it worked! “That was incredible!” She declared.

“It only worked thanks to you, partner,” She returned, lifting a fist for a fist bump.

Chat Noir looked at the fist for a moment. Partner . She hadn’t felt this helpful in a while. In the past, Sabrina and her had tried to be homework partners, but it had been too time-consuming. Sabrina took forever to teach Chloé the concepts; it was faster to just have Sabrina do homework twice and give a copy to Chloé. Today, though, she had solved a problem with someone, working together, both contributing. She was a hero, with someone as great as her beside her.

She returned the first bump. “Good job.”

 


 

According to the interview Chloé watched later in her room, her partner went by Ladybug. Ladybug…

“Could you stop daydreaming? I’m hungry,” Plagg complained.

Chloé huffed, gesturing to the spread on her table. “My chef prepared the finest plates of appetizers! Are you telling me none of this appeals to you?”

Plagg turned his nose up into the air. “I won’t have the energy to transform you again until I’ve been properly fed.”

“And what’s your idea of edible? Caviar? Saffron? Sweet bread? I will have it arranged, just stop your whining!”

“You’re the whiner!”

“Am not!”

“Am too!”

This creature was frustrating, but he was the key to her being a superhero, she needed to work with him. She took a deep breath. “What do you want to eat?”

“Camembert.”

Chloé wrinkled her nose. “Camembert? Like… the smelly cheese?”

Plagg nodded.

Chloé grimaced. Then called the chef. “I want the finest Camembert available.”

 


 

So apparently they were supposed to purify the akuma. Whoops.

Chloé didn’t expect to have to become Chat Noir again so soon, but when everyone was turning into stone and Ivan transformed again, it was time for the superheros to come back and finish the job.

 


 

Chat Noir couldn’t help but stare at Ladybug as she purified hundreds of butterflies, and after after such a rousing speech too. And then she followed it with a reassurance that Chat Noir and Ladybug would keep Paris safe. Chat Noir was enraptured, awe gracing her features, heat rising to her cheeks.

Then she realized.

“I’m so gay.”

Chapter Text

How dare Marinette sit in her seat? Again? Was she an idiot? Or trying to pick another fight?

“You’re in the wrong seat,” Chloé declared.

Then of course they had another fight. Unlike many previous fights, though, Marinette did not back down . She kept spouting some dumb quotes about evil, and criticizing Chloé! When the whole class started laughing, Chloé had to cut her losses and sit down in her less preferred seat . At least she would still be near Adrien, even if she wasn’t right behind him.

Since when had Marinette grown a spine? Chloé was used to some resistance, but she was usually able to roll over Marinette eventually. Now she was getting even more obnoxious. What makes her so confident? Chloé wondered, It’s not like she’s saved the entirety of Paris like I have .

 


 

Chloé stood in her room, admiring herself in red spandex. Chloé had the costume custom-made, since the commercial ones had all looked cheap and fake. This made her almost look like the real thing.

“Not gonna lie, this is a little weird,” Plagg informed her before gulping down a slice of Camembert.

Chloé pouted and spun the plastic polka-dotted yo-yo. “Imitations is the highest form of flattery.”

“This is the kind of thing a desperate fan does.”

“I’m not just a fan!” Chloé jumped to her own defense, “I’m her partner! She relies on me! I’m above all those fans who like her. Unlike them, she likes me too!”

Plagg smirked, “’Like’ in what way, Miss Obsessive?”

Chloé sputtered at the accusation. “I- She- You don’t know anything!”

Plagg flew around the room. He stopped in front of a rare vase on a shelf. It was antique, purchased during a charity auction two years ago. He placed a single paw on it.

Oh no. “Don’t you dare-”

He pushed it. Chloé leaped to catch it before it hit the ground, but tripped on string from the yo-yo. She face-planted on the ground, but at least her fingers were able to catch and cushion the vase, preventing it from cracking on the ground.

“Plagg!” She chastised him.

Unfortunately, Plagg was immune to even her most scathing tones of voice. “Don’t you know cats need stimulation? We get bored if we’re cooped up all the time.”

Chloé glared at him. “Alright then, let’s play.”
That perked Plagg up. “Oh? Play what?”

Chloé untangled the yo-yo. “I’ll be Ladybug, you’ll be the Akuma. Prepare yourself!”

“Wait-” Plagg started, but Chloé was already flinging the yo-yo directly at him.

Luckily for Plagg, Chloé had pretty much no yo-yo skills, and was easy to dodge.

After Chloé struggled for awhile, Plagg thought it was safe to tease. “Wow, it’s a good thing you weren’t Ladybug, with those moves. You should be called Slow-Chlo-”

Just then, Chloé finally hit him. “Yes! I’m getting better!” Chloé declared.

“Ow, that hurt!” Plagg whined, dodging another swipe.

“Shouldn’t you help your holder practice superhero skills?”

“I’ll help you practice your superhero skills, not your partner’s!”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “How does one practice baton?”

Plagg flew behind Chloé, but she turned quickly to make another pass at him. “I don’t know, marching band? Fireman poles? Fencing?”

That last suggestion made Chloé stop. “You know, I know someone who happens to be in fencing, maybe I could ask him…”

“Yes!” Plagg was immediately encouraging, “You talk to him, and then you go fight him instead of your Kwami!”

Chloé rolled her eyes again. “I will. But first… let’s practice until I get the hang of this yo-yo…”

Plagg groaned.

 


 

“I challenge you to a yo-yo battle!” Kim shouted to Alix.

Of course they would spend the precious down-time before class on another ridiculous challenge. Didn’t those two ever get tired? This all started with a discussion on how cool Ladybug was (always an enjoyable topic), but then devolved into a weapons discussion, and then trying to decide who would be the better Ladybug…

Her classmates almost seemed to ignore Chloé declaring herself the best possible Ladybug, instead opting to focus on the yo-yo challenge. If only they knew how close Chloé was to Ladybug, they would regret ignoring her!

Chloé huffed and sat down while she watched the match. It was disappointing, though. None of them had any skill whatsoever, it seemed they were just wildly flinging the plastic around. They dared to call themselves good? And people around them had the audacity to cheer after Kim tripped Alix! It took him five whole minutes, and she had been full of openings the whole time!

As Alix grumbled, Chloé snatched the green yo-yo out of her hand. “You two are ridiculous, utterly ridiculous! You call that skill? Let me show you how a professional does it!”

Kim laughed at Chloé. “You think you can beat me? Sorry, I’m the best at athletic stuff like this.”

Chloé glared at him. “You’re going to regret that claim.”

Max called the match, “Kim versus Chloé, start!”

Kim, large and human sized, was much easier to subdue than an itty-bitty overpowered Kwami. In less than a minute, Chloé had him trussed up in string on the ground.

“And that’s how you use a yo-yo!” Chloé declared, putting one foot on Kim to emphasize her dominance.

Kim looked up at her, face red, but expression not quite angry…

Before she could contemplate what he might be feeling, applause broke out around her, and she basked in the attention of her classmates. This kind of worship was what she born for. Miss Bustier called the class to attention, and she strutted back to her desk. After sitting down, she did one more cursory glance around the classroom, catching some admiring stares.

Except for New Girl (Chloé would learn her name… one day. It started with an ‘A’, right?), who squinted her eyes at Chloé through a piece of paper with a hole cut out of it. What was she doing? Chloé pursed her lips and pointed her finger at Miss Bustier, as if to say ‘pay attention to class and stop staring at me you weirdo’.

New Girl realized the class was now staring, and quickly put the paper away.

Chloé might have thought further about the weird behavior, but honestly New Girl was too much beneath her to be worth worrying about.

 


 

Why was Nino talking to her?

Didn’t he know he was beneath her? Was he… Chloé grimaced. Was he trying to flirt with her? She was just trying to get her stuff out of her locker, and he was gonna get all up in her personal space? He mentioned Ladybug, which did catch Chloé’s attention, but nothing else he said was worth listening to. Well, time to make clear she wasn’t interested: “Were you up too late DJ-ing, Nino? Obviously you didn’t get your beauty sleep.”

Behind her, Sabrina exclaimed, “Chloé! Alya’s looking in your locker!”

Chloé turned to see New Girl (Huh, so her name’s ‘Alya’) frozen in a guilty pose, phone in her hand. Had she been taking pictures? In the most unconvincing voice, Alya declared, “That’s a lie! I so was not!”

She hid the phone behind her back. Then Kim, nearby, noticed the situation, and grabbed the phone out of Alya’s hand and gave it to Chloé. Kim was so helpful, was he being subservient to Chloé since she beat him at yo-yo? Either way, Chloé now had the phone. It was still unlocked, so it was quick work to find her pictures and see a clear photo of Chloé’s open locker.

Alya was snooping? On Chloé Bourgeois ? Wrong on so many levels.

Firstly: Rude. Had this girl never heard of privacy?

Secondly: Chloé legitimately had stuff to hide. If Alya was stalking her, she might see Plagg. Or catch Chloé transforming into Chat Noir. Or worst of all, she might find her stash of putrid Camembert and everyone would call her “stinky Chloé” for the rest of her life.

Chloé was going to settle this with such a scene, Alya would never dare to snoop on Chloé again. “I think we need to take this to Mr. Damocles.”

Once in his office, with Kim and Sabrina for support, Chloé stated her case, “There’s evidence right there on her phone! It’s a clear invasion of privacy!”

Alya attempted to dismiss her concerns, “It’s just a measly photo!”

Mr. Damocles then revealed a terrible oversight on the school’s part, “I’m sorry, Chloé, but there’s no school policy on invasion of privacy.” Behind her, Chloé could hear Sabrina rustling through the school handbook to confirm if this was true. She didn’t come forward to correct Mr. Damocles, so it must be the case.

Time to escalate, “Then it’s breaking and entering!”

“I didn’t break into her locker, it was open!”

Mr. Damocles peered at Alya. “And nothing was stolen?”

Chloé needed to make a convincing case. “Only my very soul!” She stood up to emphasize her point. “My locker is my secret garden! Anyone who enters uninvited burglarizes my inner being, steals my life force!”

To really hit home, Chloé burst into tears and threw herself onto Kim’s chest for comfort. An old man like Mr. Damocles would be weak to an innocent girls tears, she was sure.

“Er, right-” Yes, he was uncomfortable, perfect. “An hour detention for you, Alya.”

An hour? An hour? That was hardly a deterrent. Chloé needed to be certain Alya would never, ever risk peeking in on Chloé’s personal life again. Her secret identity was at stake here! “Are my ears failing me? You’re giving one miserable hour of detention to a heinous criminal?”

Behind her, Sabrina was settled on a page of the student handbook. Chloé snapped her fingers, and her best friend came forward. “The school rules clearly state,” Sabrina read off the page, “’Any student guilty of theft shall be suspended for one full week!’”

Mr. Damocles tilted his head. “Yes, but she’s hardly stolen anything-”

Time for her final weapon. Chloé pulled out her phone and found her most-dialed contact. “I’m not sure my father would share your point of view.”

She hovered her finger over the call button, but Mr. Damocles still didn’t relent. “Now Chloé, let’s not bother the honorable mayor with a minor locker situation-”

Was this for real? Was he trying to manipulate her out of calling her own father? Did he dare to think Chloé Bourgeois was bluffing? Time to prove him wrong. She tapped the call button.

He folded before the third ring. “Alya, you are hereby suspended for a week.”

Chloé canceled the call.

 


 

Back in class, Chloé was pleased to not see Alya there. She was even more pleased to not see Marinette either, must be late. As usual. Unfortunately she eventually came into class, being distracting as usual.

Then the school projector came on and a new villain, calling herself Lady Wifi, was revealed, forcing Mr. Damocles to claim Alya was wrongly suspended! The nerve!

Once the broadcast ended, Miss Bustier immediately dismissed the class.

Chloé started to make her way to the ladies’ room, but Adrien grabbed her hand. “Chloé, can I talk to you real fast?”

“Of course, Adrikins!” Sure she needed to save Paris, but she always had time for her oldest friend.

He pulled her into an emptied-out classroom. “Chloé, sorry if this sounds crazy, but I think Lady Wifi is after you!”

Chloé raised an eyebrow. “Me? Obviously everyone wants me, but why her particularly?”

“I think Lady Wifi is Alya, and recently she talked about how you might, um...” Adrien couldn’t look her in the eye, “She thinks you’re Ladybug.”

“WHAT!” Chloé was flabbergasted. Alya was so close! Wrong superhero, but still. Did Chloé give off superhero energy or something? Keeping a secret identity was more challenging than she expected.

“So I think you should hide, don’t go home, unless...” His voice got quiet, “…are you Ladybug?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Chloé immediately countered, “I’m not Ladybug.”

He released a sigh. “Then please hide. Do you want to come with me to my house?”

“That’s too kind Adrien. You go home, I’ll find somewhere else.”

He furrowed his brow, but respected her decision. “If you’re sure.”

He left.

Now alone in the classroom, Plagg flew out of her bag, struggling to breath through his laughter. “You! Ladybug! This is what happens when you roleplay as your partner!”

Chloé did not even respond, she had an Akuma to beat up. “Plagg, claws out!”

 


 

Chat Noir would beat up Lady Wifi if she could find her.

She had been all over Paris, but there had been no sign of the villain. No more broadcasts. Was there nothing for her to do? As Chat Noir passed by the Bourgeois hotel, she spotted her heroic partner.

“Ladybug, have you seen her? I’ve been searching all over Paris?”

Ladybug shook her head. “Not yet, but I have a hunch she’s going to go after Chloé Bourgeois.”

Chat Noir’s heart rate increased upon hearing her civilian name out of Ladybug’s lips.

“So I’m hanging outside this hotel. Eventually Chloé should get home, and then Lady Wifi will follow.”

A plan brewed in Chat Noir’s head. Unfortunately, it was one she couldn’t share with Ladybug. If only they knew each others’ identities… “Well, good luck with that, I’m going to keep looking around Paris in case she shows up somewhere else.”

Ladybug nodded.

Chat Noir found an alleyway, far out of Ladybug’s line of sight, and detransformed. Plagg groaned as he reappeared.

He opened his mouth, but Chloé was ahead of him, “I know, I know, ‘I’m starving, I need cheese,’ calm down I’ve got you.”

Chloé pulled an air-tight tupperware out of her bag and opened it, releasing the unmistakable scent of Camembert. Plagg perked up immediately, and gobbled several slices.

After he gorged himself Chloé left the alley and made her way back to the hotel. Her butler stopped her on the way in. “Chloé! Thank goodness you’re alright!”

She waved him off. “I’m going to my room. No one is to enter.”

“Of course,” her butler assured her.

Once in her room, Plagg was about to fly out of her bag, but she pressed down on his head, “Ladybug is watching, I don’t want her to see you.”

Plagg grumbled, but remained in the bag. Chloé set up her trap, starting with the costume.

If Lady Wifi wanted Chloé to be Ladybug, she was going to give her exactly what she wanted.

Just after Chloé got on the costume, her phone rang. Who could that be? When she answered, Lady Wifi came from her phone .

Even Chloé was surprised by that, and jumped back. Unfortunately, the surprise gave Lady Wifi a chance to throw some ‘pause’ icons onto her wrists trapping Chloé.

Perfect.

“Oh no, you caught me!” Chloé exclaimed.

“And I’m going to reveal who you really are!”

Lady Wifi chuckled as she made a camera icon in front of her face.

“Everyone thinks the girl beneath the Ladybug mask is an angel. Well think again!” Lady Wifi grabbed Chloé’s mask and pulled it off. “Chloé Bourgeois, everyone!”

Chloé gasped. “Are you implying I’m not an angel?”

Then the real Ladybug burst in. The look on Lady Wifi’s face was priceless. She looked at Chloé. Then at Ladybug. Then back at Chloé. Then, glaring at Ladybug, she sneered. “Who are you?”

Ladybug seemed taken aback by the question. “Um, I’m Ladybug?”

Alya turned back to Chloé. “But I thought she was Ladybug!”

Ladybug’s eyes met Chloé’s, and Chloé winked at her. You’re welcome for being bait . Ladybug’s eyes widened, then focused back on the Akuma. “Check your sources next time, Lady Wifi! I’m the real Ladybug!”

Alya swiped her phone screen, releasing Chloé’s wrists. It seems she didn’t see Chloé as a legitimate threat anymore. As Alya and Ladybug battled, Chloé ran away into an empty hotel room.

Plagg laughed as he appeared, “That was fantastic!”

“I know. Now Plagg, claws out!”

 


 

Eventually Chat Noir appeared and helped Ladybug out with the fight. At least, until Lady Wifi locked Ladybug and herself in the kitchen, leaving Chat Noir trapped outside.

Little did Lady Wifi know, Chat Noir knew every inch of the Bourgeois hotel, including the service elevator. She ran upstairs, finding an open room with the elevator above the kitchen, and slipped in.

By the time Chat Noir reached the kitchen, she had come up with a good pun, “You’re out of minutes, Lady Wifi.”

Ladybug had her wrists trapped by the pause icons, and Lady Wifi sneered at Chat Noir. “Aw, looks like Ladybug’s friend is here to save her, how sweet.”

“Who says we’re just friends?” Chat Noir winked.

Then was promptly pushed into and locked in a freezer. As she slammed against the floor, her ring flew off her hand. “My ring!”

She detransformed, and felt the cold acutely. Even Plagg was shivering. Outside she could hear fighting, and reassurance from Ladybug that she would get her out, but there was no way she could go back until she found that ring! She crawled on the floor like a peasant, desperate to get her powers back. She was quickly going numb. What if she froze to death in here? She could die! Or what if Ladybug opened the door and saw her true identity? That would be…

…Would that be so bad?

So long as Ladybug kept it a secret, it could make things easier for the two of them. If they knew each other’s identities, then she could have told Ladybug about her plan to be bait. They could talk in real life, get to know each other…

…Maybe even date?

Chloé’s hands grasped the ring, finally! She transformed back into Chat Noir just in time for an explosion at the door. She jumped, all her senses numbed and slow, to get closer to the door. When Ladybug opened it up, Chat Noir fell into her warm arms.

She curled in closely to the heat. Ladybug’s voice was a reassuring sound, “You okay, Chat Noir?”

Then her earrings beeped. “You used your lucky charm, there’s not much time left,” Chat Noir realized out loud.

But Ladybug had a plan. As always.

 


 

After some creative fighting, Ladybug and Chat Noir finally defeated the Akuma.

Ladybug’s earrings beeped, it was almost time. “You’ve only got a minute,” Chat Noir reminded her.

Ladybug nodded, and the two of them ran into the hotel.

Chat Noir opened a closet, “In here.”

Ladybug ran in, but just before she closed the door, Chat Noir had an epiphany.

“Wait, stay. I won’t tell anyone who you are.”

She shook her head. “Nobody can know who we really are, not even us.”

Then she closed the door… Not fully though.

Chat Noir’s hand hovered on the handle. It would be so easy to just pull it open… She knew there were no other exits in that closet, she’d have to come out eventually, Chat Noir could wait here…

But no. Ladybug made her choice. And hadn’t Chloé also been terrified of being known as Chat Noir? Who knew what Ladybug could be hiding? Maybe she was secretly a supermodel, and anyone knowing would mean the death of her career.

Not to mention… Ladybug trusted her. In battle, she knew Chat Noir had her back. There weren’t a lot of people in this world who trusted Chloé, it was a strange feeling. Knowing who was under that mask wasn’t worth betraying one of the few people who truly relied on Chloé.

Chat Noir pushed the door fully closed, and walked away.

Chapter Text

Chloé and Sabrina were conferencing for a very important mission: Protect Adrien this Valentine’s Day.

“It’ll be his first Valentine’s Day at school! He’s always been isolated before, he’s not used to receiving anything more than mine every year… And a ton from his fans, but his secretary sorts through those for him.”

“What’ll we do?” Sabrina questioned, “The girls will be all over him!”

“He’s so naive too… We need to keep those girls away, whatever way we can!”

Sabrina tilted her head. “Could you pretend to date him? Then those girls will know it’s hopeless and won’t harass him.”

“Adrien would never agree,” Chloé told her, “He’s too honest.”

Sabrina smirked. “Who said you had to ask him?”

That made Chloé smile. “This is why we’re friends, Sabrina.”

 


 

After plotting, Sabrina went home. Plagg appeared. “So, Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.”

“Mmhmm,” Chloé hummed while filing her nails.

Plagg swirled around her. “Gonna confess to anyone?”

“Please, who said I like anyone?” Chloé huffed.

Plagg shrugged. “I don’t get it either. No human can compare to a good roll of aged Camembert.”

“I wouldn’t say that.”

Plagg yawned. “But do you have someone you love more than cheese?”

“I don’t think there’s anyone I hate more than the smell of Camembert.” Chloé thought for a moment. “Actually, I take that back, I might hate Marinette more than that.”

“But who do you actually like? Sabrina?”

Chloé shook her head, “Sabrina’s sweet, but like a dog. She’s obedient. I want someone a bit more… challenging.”

“I thought you liked obedient.”

“I like obedient underlings. Someone who wants to stand beside me should be able to stand on my level. Someone who I can trust to make a plan, who I can rely on, someone like…”

“Like Ladybug?” Plagg completed.

“Yeah, like-” Chloé narrowed her eyes at Plagg, “How do you know about my crush?”

Plagg laughed. “It’s not hard to see the way you look at her.”

Chloé groaned. Her nails were done, so she buried her face into a pillow and screamed.

“You like her that much, huh?” Plagg asked once she was done.

Chloé rolled over to stare at the ceiling. “She’s so confident, and cool, and reliable…”

“Are you gonna confess?”

Chloé bit her lip. “How am I supposed to do that? I can’t just call her up. We don’t even know each others’ identities.”

“If you’re lucky, there will be an Akuma tomorrow and you’ll get a chance to see her.”

“But what if she thinks of us as just friends? Especially considering… well…” Chloé’s voice softened, uncertainty rising.

The tone change made Plagg float closer, curiosity in his eyes. “Considering what?”

“We’re both girls!” Chloé exclaimed, covering her face in an embarrassment, “That’s not normal! What if she’s grossed out?”

Plagg rolled his eyes. “You humans and your genders. Listen up Chlo-bro-”

“Please don’t call me that.”

“You live in a society. Unfortunate, but true. In this particular society you are currently in, same-gender love is not always accepted. But! That doesn’t make it wrong. Not to mention, from what I can tell, this society is getting better every day in that area. Do you think Ladybug is a good person?”

“Of course!”

“And do you think a good person would be grossed out by her friend confessing to her? Even if she’s a girl?”

Chloé wasn’t completely sure, but she made a guess, “...No?”

“So there’s nothing to fear! Either she rejects you nicely, or she likes you back and you date like you want! But if you don’t say anything, you’ll spend the rest of your lives as friends wondering what could have been.”

Chloé wouldn’t say it out loud, but Plagg’s words were… comforting. She hadn’t told anyone else about her feelings after realizing she was gay (thanks Ladybug). She was Chloé Bourgeois, after all, which meant being a lesbian could turn quickly into a scandal. She didn’t even know how her parents felt about gay marriage, but she knew they wouldn’t like that kind of media attention. She didn’t want to risk it, so she couldn’t even talk to Sabrina or Adrien about it. Plagg, already knowing about Chat Noir and Chloé’s crush, was the only safe option to talk about her sexuality with.

She curled up on her bed. “Thanks, Plagg.”

“If you really want to thank me, call room service for more cheese.”

 


 

Valentine’s Day. Sabrina printed the poster. Chloé wrote the words. And finally, after class, Adrien signed their “petition for better treatment of hamsters”. Honestly Adrien was too naive, if Chloé weren’t protecting him, who knows what would happen?

Chloé found a group of fangirls fawning over Adrien’s poster in the street. If they were this crazy over a picture, who knows what would happen if they saw the real-life Adrien on Valentine’s day? She approached them, Sabrina behind her with the poster. She unrolled it to reveal the signature on her Adrien Agreste poster: “To Chloé, the most awesome girl in the world and the love of my life. Signed, Adrien.”

The girls started sobbing. Well, most of them. One of them had only a single tear rolling down her cheek. Nope. Chloé would not let her hold any hope for loving Adrien. “Um, Sabrina? This one isn’t crying hard enough.”

Sabrina shoved the poster in the girls face, emphasizing the hopelessness of her love. When she was fully weeping, Chloé was satisfied. Seeing the distraught masses made her so content, she should do this every year. But that poster would probably fade with time, or get crinkled, or tear. Unless…

She pulled out her phone. “Sabrina, bring that poster to the framers. I’m gonna call them up, and get this permanently framed.”

 


 

She walked towards home while talking to the framers on her cell phone. Just as she finished ordering, she realized Kim was in front of her. What was he doing on this bridge, just staring at Chloé? And then stuttering.

He got down on one knee, right into a puddle. Ugh, did he have no self-respect, getting dirty like that? At least he was kneeling, which was an appropriate way to greet Chloé. Then he pulled out a heart-shaped box.

Oh no.

“Will you...” He coughed, nervous, “Be my Valentine?”

A bike rolled past, splashing him with water, and a chip bag flew onto the side of his face. This was perhaps the least romantic way Chloé had ever been confessed to. Even if she hadn’t been a lesbian, she would have rejected him. She snorted at his appearance, absolutely terrible. This is what happened when you confessed to someone way out of your league. Chloé took out her phone; it was time to show everyone what happened if you confessed to Chloé Bourgeois.

She snapped a picture, and sent it to everyone in her contacts. She then laughed in his face. “No offense, Kim, but my heart is saved for someone more awesome than you.”

She strutted away, leaving him on the ground.

Once back at the hotel, Sabrina was waiting for her.

“Chloé! They’re bringing the framed poster!”

Chloé took one look at the frame and went livid. “I never said 18 carat! I said 24 carat! This will never match my 24 carat gold toilet! Idiots!”

Did they think they could fool Chloé? Trying to steal her money by cheating her on gold quality. She opened her mouth to tear them a new one, when something flew right by her face and landed on the van next to her.

She couldn’t help but gasp, turning to face the source. Was that an Akuma? It had a big bow and arrow, and wings. Then, behind the Akuma, there was Ladybug! That meant Chat Noir could confess!

Sabrina ran into the hotel, pulling Chloé behind her. “Wait, Sabrina! I need to-”

“No Chloé! We’re going to be safe!”

Sabrina was stronger than she looked. Despite Chloé’s resistance, she got pulled into the lobby. Chloé would have to shake her off… “Sabrina, let’s hide in separate places, so even if the Akuma finds one of us, it won’t find both of us.”

“You’re so smart, Chloé!” Sabrina immediately skittered off.

“Obviously,” Chloé agreed, before running to a side room with a window outside.

Plagg flew out of her cardigan. “It’s your chance to confess, Chlo-ver-girl”
“Okay one: Dumb nickname, and two: Plagg, claws out!”

Once transformed, Chat Noir jumped out the window, and ran by the buildings she last saw Ladybug.

Soon she found Ladybug hanging upside down from her string, and the Akuma flying away. This was perfect. Chat Noir used her baton to make a foothold in the wall, and jumped up to greet Ladybug. “Falling for me already, lovebug? I need to talk to you.”

She reached out a hand, and Ladybug took it, accepting support as she lowered herself from her yo-yo perch. “It’s gotta wait, Dark Cupid-”

Chat Noir brought a finger up to her lips. “Shh,” She needed to do this before the Akuma got back, their time together was always so limited during these fights, “I swore to myself that I’d tell you as soon as I saw you.”

Ladybug’s eyes widened.

Chat Noir stared deeply into them. “Ladybug, I… I lo-” Movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention, “Look out!”

Chat Noir spun around, wrapping around Ladybug to take the hit. She was expecting a stabbing feeling, but instead it felt more like a bad flu shot to the back, leaving something heavy flowing through her veins…

And everything turned to black.

 


 

Chat Noir woke up on top of Ladybug, the ghost of a feeling left on her lips. “Huh?”

Ladybug stood up, lifting Chat Noir on the way ( wow she’s buff ). “No time, Chat Noir! The quiver pin!”

Then Chat Noir was being flung towards the Akuma. She looked at her hands and noted her Cataclysm was active. Okay. Target the quiver pin, whatever Ladybug says. She landed on the Akuma, though her hand was slightly off and hit the quiver strap instead. Well, that left the pin up for grabs. She grabbed the heart-shaped object and flung it towards Ladybug, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Aww, you shouldn’t have,” Ladybug played along, then dropped the pin to crush it with her foot, “Whoops!”

With the Akuma released, Ladybug purified it and healed Paris. They both went in for the fist bump.

Then Ladybug immediately ran.

“Wait!” Chat Noir stopped her. “Ladybug, I gotta tell you something…”

Before she could continue, Ladybug responded, “Look, the kiss- I had to break the spell, or-”

“What?” Did Chat Noir hear that right? “A kiss? What kiss?” No, she had to focus on what she had been trying to do earlier, “No, I just wanted to say I-”

Her ring beeped. “We’re out of time,” Ladybug told her, “Sorry, gotta go.”

Chat Noir sighed. The universe was not working in her favor today. Ladybug ran off, and Chat Noir had to follow suit, running in the opposite direction.

 


 

Chloé reviewed news footage of the fight after that. It appeared that she had been under the spell of Dark Cupid, causing her to attack Ladybug. How had Ladybug knocked her out of it?

The answer made her blush.

There, on her television screen, she watched Ladybug pull her in for a kiss. Not just a peck, but a long, drawn out affair. Plagg whistled when he saw it. “That sure is… something.”

Chloé threw a pillow. “Why can’t I remember it?”

“You’re the one who decided to take the arrow to protect Ladybug.”

“But now I can’t even remember my first kiss! With Ladybug! Ladybug!

Plagg, helpful as always, laughed at her.

Chloé thought it couldn’t get any worse until she read the comments of the video.

“’What great friends’? ‘The power of friendship’? ‘Bestie goals’? No! It’s gay! It’s gay for a girl to make out with a girl!” Chloé declared, fuming.

“It would be gayer if you had confessed to her,” Plagg countered.

“Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!”

Chapter Text

Nathaniel was called out for drawing during class by Ms. Mendeleiev. Chloé rested on her hand, satisfied with the distraction from science. It was such a boring class, some drama was a welcome respite. Even better, Nathaniel tripped on his way to Mr. Damocles office, allowing his notebook to spill open right near Chloé. She picked it up.

Was he for real? A comic? “Ooh, look Sabrina, it’s him! As a superhero! And look who he’s saving, it’s Marinette!” This was golden opportunity to embarrass two people at once! “He’s so totally crushing on you, Marinette!”

Aww Nathaniel was definitely embarrassed. Chloé glanced back at Marinette. A little surprised, but not quite embarrassed. Hmm. Was Chloé losing her touch?

Once Nathaniel was gone, Ms. Mendeleiev announced groups for the particle physics presentation. “Sabrina, Chloé, and Marinette.”

 


 

At their lockers later, Chloé convened with Sabrina on the group project. Chloé already knew she might have to leave unexpectedly for Chat Noir duties, and Sabrina usually worked faster without Chloé slowing her down anyway. “I don’t have time for some dumb project, besides, now you have Marinette to help you.”

“Okay, that’s fine Chloé, we’ll do the work, don’t worry!”

Marinette approached, and Chloé was already in a defensive position. “Is everything okay?” Marinette asked in her ‘Oh-I’m-such-a-good-girl-concerned-about-others-well-being’ voice.

Chloé huffed. It’s not like Marinette could ever comprehend the stress of having the safety of Paris on her shoulders. “It’s fine, Marinette.”

“Well then why can’t you help us with the project?”

“None of your business, Miss Nosy!”

But instead of leaving it at that, Marinette kept arguing.

This year, Marinette was so much more… aggressive. She wouldn’t let Chloé get away with stuff anymore. Chloé had often seen her upset, but this year Chloé was seeing a lot more angry Marinette. She was even capable of saying mean things now, like: “I’d rather have no friends than be friends with you, Chloé!”

Chloé held her ground, but she saw this argument was leading nowhere. “Whatever. I’ve got more important things to worry about. Jean-Claude is going to help me with my hair.”

She walked away, head held her to make clear that this was not a retreat , Chloé was just graciously allowing the conversation to end so they could do other things.

 


 

Marinette went too far this time.

They were in the library, and now Sabrina was standing up to Chloé. Saying stuff like “I won’t do all your work anymore” and “You need to contribute to this group project!”

Fortunately, unlike Marinette, Chloé knew all of Sabrina’s weaknesses. She pulled a secret weapon out of her bag. “I guess you don’t want a super cute beret from Gabriel’s.”

Marinette looked incredulous, “Excuse me? Are you trying to bribe her back into being your friend? With a hat?”

Of course Marinette would be over-confident. Her assumptions were disproved when Sabrina squealed. “A really adorable hat! That would look fantastic on me!”
Chloé smirked. “You’re going to have to try harder than that to steal my friend from me-”

Suddenly something hit her head.

And another thing. And another, “Hey, my hair!” Chloé exclaimed, turning to see berets appearing above her. What? Then a huge hairdryer appeared and blew directly on Chloé’s hair! No! Not her hair!

This had to be an Akuma. Chloé tried to run, but the hairdryer kept following her. She couldn’t transform like this, the Akuma might see her.

Shockingly fast, Ladybug appeared and lassoed up the hairdryer, giving Chloé an opening to escape the library. She ran out and found an isolated corner. Plagg flew out from her jacket, “Would you say you were… blown away?”

Chloé stuck her tongue out at him. “Plagg, claws out!”

 


 

After they had chased the Akuma (sort sort of weird artist type?) out of the library, Ladybug spoke, “It seems he’s after Chloé.”

“Chloé Bourgeois?” Chat Noir exclaimed, “Why?”

Ladybug put a hand to her chin. “I don’t know… but we should visit her and find out.”

Chat Noir licked her lips. “I would love to, but um…”

Ladybug turned to her, concerned, “Is everything okay?”

“I have a secret mission!” Chat Noir blurted out, and she had to stop herself from externally facepalming. She couldn’t think up of a better excuse? “So you’ll have to visit Chloé on your own.”

Ladybug raised an eyebrow at ‘secret mission’, but nodded. “Alright, if you say so.”

 


 

“So Chloé, do you have any idea why the Evillustrator might be after you?”

Chloé stared at Ladybug. She rarely had the chance in a fight to look close, they were always running to and fro. Wow her eyes were such a nice blue. And her hair looked so soft. Would it be too much to try and run her fingers through it?

“Chloé?”

Chloé finally registered the question. “No, I don’t know, everyone adores me.”

She had to put her best foot forward. Ladybug and Chat Noir shouldn’t know each others’ identities… at least for now. But just in case it ever got revealed, it wouldn’t hurt for Ladybug to already like the Chloé Bourgeois hiding under that mask. She gave her best puppy-dog eyes (or would it be kitty-cat eyes for her?).

When Ladybug responded, her tone was a little odd, “Yeah, because you’re so adorable.”

Chloé squealed. It was working! Ladybug was already starting to like her! “You really think so? We should take a picture together!” Maybe Chloé couldn’t reveal exactly how close to Ladybug she was to her friends, but with a picture she could maybe express that she’s a little closer than the average fan.

The first picture wasn’t great though. It didn’t quite capture the full beauty of Ladybug. Maybe it was the missing smile. Chloé tried again, though Ladybug brushed her off immediately after, “Sorry, I’m a little camera-shy.”

“Camera-shy?” Chloé exclaimed, “Someone who looks as gorgeous as you do should be proud of it!”

Ladybug still wasn’t smiling. “Sure.”

Chloé watched Ladybug stand with her arms crossed, not looking at Chloé. Maybe she needed to get to know her better. “So are you guarding me?”

Ladybug shrugged. “I guess.”

“Do you want to do something?” Chloé wracked her brain for some bonding activities, “Face masks? I guess that’d be hard with your mask… Nail painting? Oh but your suit covers your fingers…”

“Homework?” Ladybug finally interjected.

Chloé laughed. “That’s no fun at all.”

“You’re a fan of Ladybug?” Ladubug asked.

“The biggest!” Chloé exclaimed, bouncing in place, “You have no clue how much of a fan I am!”

Ladybug’s nose crinkled. “I think I have some clue. Well, you should know then that my favorite kind of person does their homework every day.”

“Oh don’t worry about my homework, my friend does it for me, so my grades are still up.”

Ladybug face palms. “The point of homework is that you do it yourself.”

“Not true! Miss Bustier says we can work together on homework!”

“Having your friend do homework for you is not ‘working together’.”

Chloé frowned. “Sabrina and I just happened to turn out that way.”

Ladybug narrowed her eyes. “How does your friend doing 100% of your homework alongside her own ‘just happen’?”

“Well we start working alongside each other,” Chloé put a finger on her cheek as she recalled how their situation came about, “Then Sabrina finishes first, because she’s smarter, and because she’s so smart, she tries to teach me the homework. Then a homework assignment that would have taken her 20 minutes takes the two of us an hour because it’s too hard for me. And when I suggest we split up she insists she can’t leave a friend in need, so I ‘work’ with her but basically just have her feed me the answers. Then she catches on and we both decide it’s more efficient for her to just do two homework assignments and give one to me.”

“Was it really ‘too hard’ for you, or were you not trying enough?” Ladybug’s tone is cutting.

Chloé pouts. This rude Ladybug was nothing like the one Chat Noir knew. “You don’t know me! It was really hard! Why are you being so mean to me?”

“Look, Chloé,” Ladybug sat down, “Like I said, it’s meaningless if you, yourself don’t do the homework. It’s supposed to help you learn, if you keep pushing it off onto someone else, then you’ll fall behind in your classes.”

Chloé pursed her lips. “Then I’ll call Daddy and he’ll call the school to get my grades back up.”

Ladybug groaned. “You can’t just call your dad whenever you have a problem!”

“It’s worked so far!” Chloé’s voice was raising.

“You-” Ladybug stood up and got close to Chloé’s face. “You- Ugh!”

Chloé clenched her fist. She turned away in a huff.

Ladybug grabbed her shoulder, pulling her back. “We’re not done here.”

Chloé opened her mouth to object, but she didn’t want to discourage the hand on the shoulder. That was the first time Ladybug initiated contact with Chloé Bourgeois (as opposed to Chat Noir). So long as she didn’t move, maybe Ladybug would keep that hand there forever. She snapped her mouth back shut.

“Not every problem can be solved by your dad. Take the Akumas, for example. They only answer to Hawk Moth, so they could hurt you at any time. Like Evillustrator, right? He wants to attack you, but he won’t take bribes or threats from your dad.”

Chloé looked at Ladybug’s lips. Small and pink. Hadn’t she technically kissed those, even if she didn’t remember it? Was she frozen in place by a hand, anger rapidly draining away, because she was subconsciously reminded of the kiss?

“And the future will bring more problems you might have to deal with entirely on your own, without your dad. And doing things that are your responsibility, like homework, is a safe way to practice taking responsibility and developing skills for your future. That way when a problem comes along you have to do on your own, it’s not the first time you’ve ever solved it. Do you understand?”

“Y-yes,” Chloé would have agreed to anything while pinned by those fierce blue eyes.

“So what are you going to do?” Ladybug asked.

What was the correct answer? What did Ladybug want from her? Chloé was too flustered to work through all the possibilities, so she just said what came up first in her head. “You?”

The hand on her shoulder pulled back as if burned. Ladybug’s mask was always red, but the exposed skin around it was starting to turn the same shade.

Oh no Ladybug was uncomfortable. Abort mission. “Ladybug-”

“No! You’re going to do your homework! A-and contribute to group projects!” Ladybug sputtered a bit, backing away towards the balcony.

“Wait, aren’t you going to protect me from-”

“You solve your own problems, Chloé! Solve your own problems!”

With those wise parting word, Ladybug ran out onto the balcony and jumped off, swinging across Paris to get as far away as possible.

Chloé ran to her bed and buried her face in her pillow. “What was that?”

Her voice had been muffled, but Plagg flopped onto the pillow next to her and responded anyway, “I dunno, Chlo, but your flirting needs work.”

“It just slipped out! Now she hates me! Why does she like Chat Noir, but not me?”

Plagg shrugged. “Well Chat Noir hasn’t mentioned making other people do her homework.”

“I didn’t make Sabrina, didn’t you hear me tell her? It just happened like that!”

“Have you considered maybe, just maybe, you’re a brat?” Plagg snickered.

Chloé huffed. “Me? Absolutely not!”

“Apparently you come off that way to Ladybug.”

“Would a brat protect and rescue Paris?”

“Speaking of, what are you gonna do about Evillustrator?” Plagg asked.

Chloé took a breath. Maybe she couldn’t control what Ladybug thought of Chloé Bourgeois, but there was still something she could control. “Didn’t you hear what Ladybug told me?” Chloé smirked. “‘Solve your own problems.’ So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Plagg, claws out!”

 


 

Chat Noir started to feel better after jumping across a few rooftops. Chloé problems seemed a lot smaller when she remembered she had superpowers. Sure, Ladybug hated Chloé Bourgeois, but she still liked Chat Noir! All that meant was that Chat Noir couldn’t ever reveal her identity to her! Chat Noir had to wonder though… Chloé had inadvertently flirted with Ladybug, and her response was to get flustered and run away. Was she uncomfortable with girls flirting with her? Or did she react like that specifically because it was Chloé? Or was Chloé somehow… bad at flirting?

Speaking of, her baton beeped, and there was only one person in Paris who could call her as Chat Noir. She responded, and decided to see what a little flirt would do, “Making catcalls, partner?”

“Haha, very funny,” Dismissive, but not uncomfortable, “I need you to protect this girl.”

Her baton beeped, and the image of an unfortunately familiar pig-tailed classmate popped up.

“Her name is Marinette, really cute, isn’t she?”

Oh no. Was Marinette Ladybug’s type? Was it the neatly done hair? That petite nose? Her big blue eyes? Well, Chloé had blue eyes too at least, if that’s what Ladybug liked.

“The Evillustrator is in love with Marinette, and promised not to hurt to harm Chloé as long as Marinette comes to his birthday party. While he’s distracted, I want you to take him down.”

Had… had Marinette agreed to go with Akuma to protect Chloé? Chat Noir bit her lip. That was… such a goody-two-shoes thing to do! “What about you?”

“I’m going on my own top secret mission. I’ll catch up with you later. Can you handle this alone?”

Huh, so ‘secret mission’ was totally a valid excuse for a superhero. No wonder Ladybug didn’t question Chat Noir about her earlier ‘secret mission’. “Please, darling, it’ll be a cinch.”

She flew across the rooftops to the Dupain-Cheng bakery. She was about to touch down when she saw Sabrina arguing with Marinette. Oh? Chat Noir perched on a roof and enjoyed the show. It was gratifying to see Marinette’s niceness backfire on her. As Chat Noir waited for Sabrina to finish telling Marinette off, she pondered Ladybug’s reactions some more. With Chat Noir, she hasn’t yet seemed uncomfortable with flirting, but it’s been pretty mild so far. She needed to try some more bold actions, but as perfect as Chloé was, even she could admit that she was not an expert in courtship. She needed practice. Preferably with someone who did not matter to Chat Noir or Chloé, so if she messed up she wouldn’t be losing someone she cared about.

Marinette hadn’t been flustered at all by Chloé’s comments about Nathaniel having a crush on her. If Chat Noir could find a way to leave her a blushing mess, then it was a good bet Ladybug wouldn’t be able to resist her charms either. Maybe Marinette would be so seduced she would fall in love. The thought of her greatest enemy falling in love with her almost made Chat Noir cackle out loud; that would be the greatest prank in the world to play. Chloé would never be able to prove Marinette was secretly in love with her to anyone else, but it would provide some private satisfaction.

Sabrina stormed away, so Chat Noir dropped down. How should she start... Something funny? “Whoa, I thought I was gonna have to save you from that girl’s claws.” Chat Noir watched Marinette for a reaction, but she was blank. Had she not understood the pun? She pantomimed clawing the air and clarified, “Get it, claws?”

Marinette still looked blankly at her.

Don’t show weakness. Chat Noir kept a smile on her face. Funny didn’t work, maybe chivalrous? What was chivalrous? Chat Noir bent down to kiss Marinette’s hand. “I haven’t even introduced myself, I’m Chat Noir.”

Marinette pulled her hand back quickly. “Uh, yeah, I know! You kind of save the day all the time and stuff? I’m Marinette!” She spoke fast, “So, what are you doing here?”

Chat Noir stood tall and turned, flexing her muscles as she spoke. Maybe Marinette would be into biceps? Superhero-ing had led to the development of a few toned muscles. “Well, that birthday boy date of yours is bad news. But don’t worry, you’ll be safe with me.”

When Chat Noir turned to face Marinette again, she was smiling directly at Chat Noir. That caused Chat Noir to pause. When was the last time Marinette had beamed at Chloé with such a wide smile? Marinette’s words interrupted her thoughts, “That puts my mind at ease.”

Marinette was trusting Chloé. For once. She took a breath. No, no, she was trusting Chat Noir , she couldn’t afford to get mixed up about this. Back to the ‘fluster Marinette’ plan: Chat Noir leaned on the doorway, causing her to get closer to Marinette and lean towards her. The boots on her costume added at least an inch to her height, allowing her to be definitively taller, but with the lean they were back to eye level. Chat Noir used only one hand so Marinette could leave the position if she wanted to, but Marinette stayed her ground. Chat Noir figured she should do at least a little proper superhero business, so she got back to the issue at hand. “I’m going to need a little help. Care to assist a superhero?”

“What about Ladybug? Aren’t you a duo?”

“She’s busy with something tonight, so…” Chat Noir thought up of a high compliment, “ You get to be my Ladybug.”

“Me and Chat Noir? Fighting crime together? Amazing! What do I do?” Oh whoa. Marinette’s smile was very wide, her posture excited. Marinette was happy and excited and Chat Noir wasn’t sure how to process this when she wasn’t in Chloé mode, ready to shut down any positive feelings out of her rival.

Time for a strategic retreat. “Just get that drawing pencil away from him, miss, I’ll take care of the rest.”

With that, Chat Noir used her baton to get back onto some roofs and sprint away. Once she was out of sight of the bakery, she sat down to catch her breath.

Marinette looked different when she wasn’t judging or critiquing Chloé. Chat Noir wasn’t sure how, exactly, but those expressions were unfamiliar. Chloé had a lot of default reactions to Marinette: If she was acting proud, take her down a peg. If she was rude to Chloé, punish her. If she was trying to play nice and mediate, rile her up until she was as mad as Chloé.

There was no script for if Marinette was happy and friendly and pretty with Chat Noir. And she had no clue to deal with a newfound urge to push those boundaries, to see how close Chloé could get to this rare version of Marinette while under the guise of Chat Noir. To see what kinds of expressions Marinette saved for everyone except Chloé Bourgeois. Why was Chloé suddenly so curious about Marinette?

She shook her head. She needed to get a grip. Her name was Chloé Bourgeois, daughter of the mayor of Paris, and Chat Noir, superhero of Paris. She does what she wants . And if she wants to see how far she can go with fooling Marinette, that’s one-hundred-percent her right and her business. Just so long as doesn’t obsess over it as if she cared about Marinette as more than a bitter enemy.

Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back, and Chat Noir was going to pull every trick in the book to get Marinette’s attention until she was satisfied.

Chapter Text

Chat Noir stalked (heh) the boat with Marinette and the Evillustrator. It puttered at a slow ‘romantic’ pace, so it wasn’t terribly hard. On the boat, the two of them were sitting side-by-side, with some gentle music flowing from the tablet. Chat Noir squinted at Marinette’s face. How was she going to handle being courted by a villain? Her outward appearance did not betray any nerves, sitting primly, but not stiffly, close to the Akuma. She even leaned in towards him, no fear at all, as if this were an actual date. Chat Noir couldn’t decide if Marinette was so stupid she didn’t realize what danger she was in, or if she was unafraid because she had complete faith in Chat Noir protecting her.

Speaking of protection, Chat Noir needed to be closer. As the boat passed under a bridge, Chat Noir took the opportunity to hop on, landing with muted paws. Evillustrator seemed unaware, happily chatting with Marinette. Chat Noir rolled her eyes at the sight. He was so happy to be spending time with a girl who was pressured to go on this date under duress. Saying ‘no’ to an Akuma with superpowers wasn’t exactly an option for most people.

Marinette had her hand on the pencil. Chat Noir stepped forward, getting into position to pounce (ha). Wait, did Evillustrator just see her? She backed up slightly. Marinette snatched the pencil and jumped away. “Chat Noir, now!”

She extended her baton to keep Evillustrator away from Marinette (and his pencil). The Evillustrator flinched, and looked between the two of them with an expression of betrayal. “Marinette, you’re working with her?” His face twisted in anger. “I’m so stupid, I actually thought you liked me! But you’re really just like Chloé, teasing me, mocking me, leading me on!”

Chat Noir couldn’t address the Chloé insult without giving away her identity, but she could still pick a fight with his other accusations, “Yeah you’re stupid. You think you can have a romance when you’re literally an Akuma? She wasn’t leading you on, she was protecting herself and Chloé.”

“I love her!” Evillustrator declared with the cockiness of a man.

“You don’t love her, or you wouldn’t abuse your powers to force her into this date. You’re just an obsessed crybaby.”

Apparently he didn’t have a good response to that, because he kicked the baton. Unfortunately, with the angle, it hit Marinette’s hand and caused the pencil to go flying. Before Chat Noir even thought to jump for it, Evillustrator leaped to catch it and landed on a large light. No worries, Chat Noir could fight to get it back. She jumped, raising her baton to strike. Evillustrator scribbled something, and suddenly Chat Noir was being pressed down.

Fortunately, her fall was cushioned by Marinette. She sat up quickly, trying to roll off of Marinette. Had Chat Noir inadvertently injured the civilian she promised to protect? An investigative glance showed Marinette trying to stand, uninjured, though something invisible stopped her from standing up straight. Chat Noir kicked out her legs, and found the two of them were contained in some sort of glass box.

Evillustrator had the audacity to land on top of the box, and make the declaration: “I’m taking back my promise! Chloé’s going to get a little lesson that she’ll never forget!”
He scribbled something else, then left. The boat started to slowly tilt… it was sinking! They didn’t have much time before they’d be in cold water. Marinette had an expression of fear on her face. Oh no, Chat Noir could not fail this. Marinette trusted her! She was supposed to prove that she could protect everyone, including snooty little brown-nosers like Marinette. She jabbed the walls of the container with her baton. It was strong, what was it made of?

Marinette spoke, revealing the source of her concern, “We have to hurry, before he gets to Chloé!”

That shocked Chat Noir enough that she paused in her attack of the walls. Marinette thought Chloé needed protection. And she was scared for her sake. She felt almost like a voyeur, hearing Marinette’s sincere thoughts on her civilian self. She had to shake herself out of the strange funk of feelings that rose from her gut. She needed to focus on Marinette, and not waste time contemplating what Marinette thought of Chloé Bourgeois. Chat Noir needed to be a hero, and heroes reassure civilians. “Don’t worry, I told Chloé to hide, she’ll be safe.”

Marinette looked up at Chat Noir with big eyes. “Are you sure? She’s not great at following directions.”

Okay, Chat Noir took everything back. Marinette was a rude peasant, and not worth another thought. ‘She’s not great at following directions’? What was that supposed to mean?

“Chat Noir, your stick,” Marinette grabbed Chat Noir’s baton and guided it so it was vertical, “Like this, then extend it!”

It took only a moment for Chat Noir to see what she was thinking. Okay, decent plan. Ugh, wasn’t Chat Noir the superhero here? How could she assert her competence to this civilian? Well, maybe flirting? She wrapped an arm around Marinette’s waist, looked deep into her eyes, and hoped a compliment would fluster her at least a bit, “Great thinking.”

Marinette grabbed the hand around her waist, and Chat Noir immediately released. Unlike Evillustrator, she didn’t want to force herself on a girl who didn’t want it. Marinette also put a single finger on Chat Noir’s chin and pushed so Chat Noir wasn’t looking directly at her. She shifted Chat Noir’s body with certainty and spoke, “Yeah, I’m a genius.”

Chloé wanted to think Geez, egotistical much? While Chat Noir wanted to think Wow, confident. Both thoughts were stopped by Marinette wrapping her arms around Chat Noir’s neck. Chat Noir’s face became heated. Unable to think of any response, she extended her baton.

The container was lifted off the boat, and the two of them rocketed into the air. Marinette tightened her grip and Chat Noir forgot how to breath. Gravity naturally pulled them down, and the container fell off as they went horizontal. Chat Noir had to keep her superhero cred somehow, so as they got close to land she pulled Marinette into a princess carry. Then when they landed, she was able to gently put Marinette down.

As strange and novel as these interactions were, Chat Noir needed a break from the confusion. She also technically still had to go after the Akuma. “Gotta go, a superhero’s work is never done,” She told Marinette, “You can thank me later.”

With those parting words, Chat Noir ran and got back onto the rooftops, racing to the Bourgeois hotel.

 


 

After Ladybug showed up, there were some close misses, but eventually they destroyed the pencil and the Akuma was purified.

Considering the fight was in the Bourgeois hotel, Chat Noir didn’t even have to travel beyond hiding in her own closet to detransform. When it sounded like Nathaniel and Ladybug were gone, she left.

She was glad the Lucky Charm repaired damages, since the fight had destroyed her room. Now it was back to normal, as if nothing had happened.

But stuff had happened, Chloé had changed . Somehow, being a superhero made her stronger. It made her think about other people, civilians who she was responsible for protecting. She was already perfect, but now she wanted to be better than perfect.

When Chloé was Chat Noir, Marinette had looked at her completely anew, glittering expressions untainted by their history. Was Chloé Bourgeois really such a detestable person that Marinette could never look at her like that? Even Ladybug had her criticisms. “Plagg…”

Plagg had found a round of cheese, and his mouth was full, but he looked up to show he was listening.

“…Am I a spoiled brat?”

Plagg gulped the cheese down. “Chlo-Bo…”

“Bad nickname,” Chloé chastised, but there was no fire behind it.

Plagg rolled his eyes. “Chlo, if you’re looking for advice, I’m not always great at that.”

“You helped me with my… feelings.”

“That’s ‘cause those weren’t problematic.”

“Am I problematic?”

Plagg sighed. “What do you think?”

“I think I’m great. But others don’t think I’m great.”

“Why do you care about others?”

Chloé crinkled her nose. “I don’t know. But I don’t feel like I can ignore them anymore. Especially when one of them is Ladybug.”

“If you actually want advice, then get me another round of camembert.”

Chloé sighed. “No, that’s alright… I think I know what I need to do.”

She pulled out her phone, and opened a familiar contact. It only rang once before the person on the other end picked up.

“Sabrina? Hey, can we talk about the project…”

 


 

The next day, Sabrina, Marinette, and Chloé were all in the library, working on the project again.

And getting distracted.

“So Marinette,” Chloé kept her eyes on the book she was supposed to be figuring out particle physics from, “I heard you went on an adventure with Chat Noir yesterday.”

“Yes?” Marinette’s voice was hesitant. Nothing like the comfort and confidence of yesterday.

“Well, that’s great, but I got to spend time with Ladybug .”

“Okay.” Marinette said nothing else.

Was she not jealous at all? Or did she… did she think Chat Noir was even cooler than Ladybug? “What did you think of Chat Noir?”

Marinette shrugged. “She’s a flirt. But…”

Chloé glanced at Marinette, and saw a novel fond smile.

“…She’s also pretty reliable.”

Chloé’s breath quickened.

“Guys!” Sabrina used her righteous anger voice, which made Marinette and Chloé flinch, “Stop getting distracted! You promised me you’d do the work I assigned you!”

“Yeah, yeah,” Chloé muttered.

Marinette squeaked. “Sorry!”

Making Sabrina the project leader was the best decision Chloé had made. There was no way Chloé would listen to Marinette, and no way Marinette would listen to Chloé, so Sabrina was necessary. Not to mention, Chloé didn’t know enough about particle physics to tell for sure, but it seemed to her Sabrina had assigned her some of the easier stuff. It was still unbearably hard for Chloé, but… Sabrina was a considerate friend.

Chapter Text

“Daddy?” Chloé called out as she opened the office door.

Daddy smiled and waved her in. “Chloé, darling, come in, take a seat.”

Chloé took a seat. Her butler had told her that her father wanted to speak to her, but the butler was not sure about what. Chloé wasn’t sure either, but Daddy didn’t seem too upset, so it couldn’t be bad. Maybe he had a huge gift to give her? Maybe they were going on a trip? Maybe Mom was coming back?

“You’re getting older everyday,” Daddy started.

“But I will look eternally young,” Chloé interjected.

Daddy nodded, “Surely, yes. I’m not trying to talk about your appearance, but certain… things… feelings that come up as you get older.”

Chloé tilted her head. What was this about?

“Recently, one of my friends with a daughter the same age as you became aware of something going on in her life, and I realized that you’re about that age, too…”

Although Chloé was fond of her Daddy, she didn’t love when he took too long to get to the point. “What age?”

“The, well, um,” Daddy tugged at his collar and struggled to look Chloé in the eyes, “The age where girls get boyfriends.”

Ah.

Chloé’s brain ramped into overdrive. Is this an opportunity to come out? No, there were too many variables. She wasn’t emotionally prepared at all. She needed to test the waters a bit-

“Chloé, do you have a boyfriend?”

Well that was a safe question to answer, at least. “No! Of course not!”

Her father let out a sigh of relief. “My friend was telling me about his daughter because the boy she chose was rather difficult to work with. From a media standpoint, specifically.”

“Like he was ugly?” Chloé wondered aloud.

“Like he’s a big… activist in some controversial areas. Now her father, who’s a political figure, is being linked to this activist and his beliefs, and it’s making his work more difficult. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Chloé wasn’t great with homework, but she could read between the lines of a conversation. “That whoever I date will get their beliefs linked to you?” Or if my relationship itself is ‘political’…

Daddy nodded. “I know you’re young, and feelings can be overwhelming, but before they develop, I want you to think very carefully about whether the person you’re looking at would be appropriate for the Mayor’s daughter to date.”

Chloé bit her lip.

“Darling, you are Chloé Bourgeois, and you deserve the best. I don’t want you to suffer getting caught up in all these complicated political matters, so I thought I should warn you.”

“Daddy…”

He waited, patient, eyes open and inviting. Chloé was scared, but she needed to know. She couldn’t state it outright, she was far from ready for that, and she was completely unaware of Daddy’s stance on gayness. She didn’t think she could bring that up in this conversation without implying something, but she needed to know what mattered more. His daughter being Chloé, or him being Mayor.

“…If, despite your warnings, if I were to get into a, um, ‘controversial’ relationship… what would you do?”

He took a deep breath. “I hope, very dearly, that we never have to deal with that. That’s why I’m warning you.”

“But what if it happened anyway?” Chloé pushed.

He squinted at her, “Is there someone you like?”

Chloé flushed. “N-no.”

“Darling, I’m a politician, I can sniff a lie a mile away. And as a politician’s daughter, you might want to get better at lying.”

“I don’t!” Not anyone I can tell you about.

“Chloé…”

Chloé stood up. “Stop attacking me!”

“Look, if it’s bad, we can still make it work,” Daddy went into ‘placate Chloé’ mode, “I have most of the media in my pocket, we can find ways to keep it under wraps. I’m here for you Chloé, but I need to know who we’re working with.”

Her lip trembled. Daddy did care about her, but… She didn’t want to keep a relationship ‘under wraps’. She wanted to stand tall and proud with a girlfriend one day. But she also was trying to change, she was trying to be a tiny bit less difficult with people, just like Ladybug would want. And making her father worry like this… There wasn’t even anything to worry about, Chloé Bourgeois most likely would never date Ladybug, if they dated she would have to see her as Chat Noir. There was no sense in making her father worry. Functionally, Chat Noir was the lesbian, Chloé Bourgeois could be whatever she wanted.

“Chloé?”

Her father knew she liked someone. But if she told him it was Ladybug, that would open a whole can of gay controversy he’d have to worry about. Contrary to what he said, Chloé was usually a good liar, she had just been caught off guard by the question. But she could believably lie about who exactly she liked, she just needed to choose someone who she wasn’t ashamed to be associated with... Someone she could trust to be a gentleman if her ‘feelings’ ever came back to him… Someone her father would approve of…

“It’s Adrien Agreste.”

Her Daddy smiled, and Chloé was torn between her own relief and frustration with herself for hiding who she was. “Oh darling, he’s perfectly suitable. Why would you even worry?”

“I mean, he is a celebrity, there’s already lots of cameras on him…”

“Which means he’ll be used to the attention. Honestly, I think it’s a perfect match.”

Chloé plastered a smile on her face, her father had to believe this, “Of course it’s perfect, I have good taste.”

“His father started letting him go to school, right? And he’s in your class?”

“Yes, and he does very well. Cute and smart.”

Daddy smiled fondly at her, hands clasped together with satisfaction. He was so clearly pleased with Chloé’s taste.

She changed the subject. There was something she had been intending to bring up for awhile, anyway. “You know he takes fencing. If I joined his fencing class, I’d get more opportunities to spend time with him.”

Daddy frowned slightly. “Isn’t fencing a little dangerous?”

Chloé put on her neediest expression. “Oh pleaaase, Daddy! Adrien’s so busy all the time, I barely get a chance to spend time with him!”
“Well, if you really want it that much, I’ll sign you up.”

There was a knock on the door. “Monsieur Bourgeois? You have an appointment-”

Chloé stood up, knowing it was time to go. Daddy waved as she went for the door, “Thank you for the conversation, Chloé, I feel much better knowing about this.”

“Of course,” Chloé lied, and left.

 


 

Chloé daydreamed as the class worked on the horror movie. She kept her eyes on Adrien. He was attractive, objectively speaking. Even if it didn’t get her going the same way Ladybug did, maybe it’s because she had never given it a proper chance. The two of them had spent a lot of time together, they were good friends. She got along with him, and he knew her quite well. And she knew him as well, she knew he wasn’t horny. In fact, she couldn’t recall a single conversation they’d ever had where he expressed an interest in anyone. With that sort of attitude, even if they got into a relationship, chances were they would go slow with the physical stuff, so Chloé could build up her tolerance. She hummed, barely paying attention to the dumb horror story playing out in front of her. Yeah, she could see herself tolerating a relationship with Adrien. Maybe she wasn’t completely gay, if she could work then maybe she could start to feel something for Adrien. She just had to give it a chance. It’s not like she’d ever kissed a boy, so could she really claim she was totally gay? It could be like those movies, where the couple kisses and suddenly realizes they’re madly in love.

Mylene screeched.

Chloé flinched at the loud sound. What was that about?

She rolled her eyes as Mylene apologized for getting scared of Ivan in a costume. It wasn’t even that scary of a costume. Oh well, now she’d be used to it, so they would just have to redo the shot.

Another screech. Okay, redo it one more time.

After fourteen takes :

What was wrong with Mylene? After fourteen tries, one would expect exposure to calm down her reaction, but every single time she was trembling and terrified at the dumb costume Ivan wore. Honestly, Ivan himself was scarier. Chloé realized this would be a great thought to share with the class, “If you ask me, he doesn’t even need a mask!”

They struggled for a little while longer. Mylene sang a dumb song, and then screamed again, startled just by accidentally bumping into Adrien.

Her jumpiness was getting ridiculous. “And the Oscar for best, pathetic, scaredy cat, afraid of its own shadow, goes too… Mylene!”

Adrien glared at her. An uncommon expression, but Chloé knew he was too sweet to hold onto his anger for long. “Chloé, seriously?”

She crossed her arms, completely unafraid. She was just calling out someone who needed to be called out for her incompetence. Adrien wasn’t about to make her bow down with the glare of a three-week-old puppy. “Yeah, so what?”
With that, Mylene burst into tears and ran out of the classroom. After a moment, Ivan ran after her. The classroom burst into arguments.

“Epic, Chloé, just epic!” Leave it to Nino to use the word ‘epic’ sarcastically, “What are we supposed to do now without our leading actress?”

“Who needs her anyway? She was totally lame.”

Ivan came back, and the debates raged anew as he revealed Mylene was crying in the bathroom. Then Marinette did her whole ‘I’m a great confident leader’ schtick or whatever to try and get everything under control.

“But who’s going to take Mylene’s part?” Adrien asked.

This was a perfect opportunity. Chloé put a hand on her chest. “Me, of course!”

Alya fumed. “You haven’t even read the script!”

“Of course I have,” Chloé countered, “The first scene, anyway. I can even tell you that it ends with a kiss.”

That led to another fight between Alya and Nino. Apparently Alya didn’t know there was a kiss. Serves her right, miss ‘you haven’t even read the script’. Maybe Alya should have read her own script first. They argued about who the writer was.

Chloé just wanted to get this done. “Oh who cares who wrote what! We’ve got to film this thing, right?”

But of course Marinette just had to go back into her goody-two-shoes mode. “We can’t let Mylene just leave, it’s wrong! We all chose her to play the leading female role, and we’re all in this movie together. She needs our support!” She started to walk out of the classroom with a determined stride. “I’m going to find her and bring her back!”

Chloé was beyond pissed. She couldn’t just let Marinette ruin this for her. So she did what she did best, and mocked her. “Always trying to save the day, aren’t you, Marinette? Good luck finding the filthy hole that scaredy cat’s hiding in.”

Once Marinette left, though, everyone else seemed okay with letting Chloé take the part. She chuckled at Marinette’s idealism, even if she claimed everyone should wait, they were all just as eager as Chloé to move on.

With Nino’s call of “action,” the scene started.

Chloé tried to recall the gist of the lines. “I’m not scared of that Horrificator-thingie. Officer, whatever-you-name-is. Now, kiss me…”

Chloé leaned up, puckering her lips. She just had to get this over with. Who cares if she had no feelings for Adrien? He was Adrien Agreste , any girl was supposed to feel lucky to touch him. She just had to somehow get those dumb romance feelings to happen. A kiss would be perfect! She leaned in closer, heart pounding, but not with excitement. She just had to get it over with, and then maybe she’d be able to make Daddy happy.

The door burst open. “Cut!” Marinette’s voice rang out.

Relief flowed through Chloé as she and Adrien parted. Wait, relief? She was supposed to want to kiss him! Was the thought of kissing Adrien so weird that she had been glad to see Marinette of all people? The classroom descended into chaos once again. Chloé brought up the possibility of making her character a nurse, she would look great in a nurse outfit! But the arguing just continued.

Marinette decided to take control again. “Everyone, calm down! This movie is a team effort,” Marinette turned to Chloé, mincing steps like she was afraid Chloé would bite her, “Your nurse idea is perfect, Chloé.”

“Of course it’s a perfect idea, because it’s mine.”

“But Chloé, you don’t have a uniform.” Marinette blinked up at her with wide, innocent eyes.

Big blue eyes, looking up from under her thick lashes. Did she wear mascara? Or were her eyelashes naturally that thick?

Alya interrupted Chloé’s musings. “Right! Which is why that idea wasn’t believable in the first place.”

Chloé was about to chew Alya out, but Marinette spoke to Chloé first, “I think you and Sabrina should go down to the nurse’s office and try on some uniforms.”

As much as Chloé hated Marinette, she had good ideas every once in a while. “Hmm…” She glanced around the classroom. She needed more than Sabrina as an assistant to accompany her. “Kim, Max, you’ve just been promoted to wardrobe, and bodyguard.”

 


 

At the nurse’s door, Chloé had an epiphany. “Wait a minute, Marinette never likes my ideas!”

She left Kim and Max to take care of the nurse uniform, and took Sabrina with her back to the classroom. The classroom door was made with glass, and Sabrina could clearly see the scene inside:

Marinette, tilting up with her lips pursed, eyes closed, hands on Adrien’s chest, while Adrien had the audacity to pull her closer . Anger roiled in Chloé’s stomach, and steamed up her mind. Wasn’t Adrien supposed to be the ‘safe’ guy? And now he was putting his hands all over Marinette? Since when did he want to kiss anyone? And why was Marinette so easily acquiescing, giving up a kiss from her soft-looking lips like it was nothing? Adrien wouldn’t know how to appreciate such an opportunity at all!

She flung the door open and shouted, “Cut!”

They immediately separated, much to Chloé’s relief.

Nonethelss, Chloé was still angry about other things. “I knew it! Well played Marinette, all that speech about working ‘together’, then you stab me right in the back!” Chloé was riled up, and did what instinctively felt right: bring up her father, “Well, your stupid little movie won’t make it to the festival if I’m not in it because my Daddy is one of the judges!”

By now, Chloé was right up in Marinette’s face, staring her down. Marinette at least had the decency to look guilty for her behavior. Was this how close Adrien and Marinette were before they almost kissed?

A distant scream made Chloé pull back, confused. “Did you guys hear that?” Adrien asked.

Marinette moved past Chloé to leave the classroom. Oh no, Chloé wasn’t going to be tricked again. “If this is another one of your ploys to get me out of the way, you can forget it, besides, I-”

There was another scream.

“I definitely heard that,” Marinette turned to the class and used her commanding voice, “We better scope this out!”

Chloé wasn’t about to take order from Marinette, but when everyone left the classroom, of course she would follow. What they discovered was strange, a weird goo next to Kim’s old armband. This reeked of an Akuma.

As everyone discussed what could have happened, Chloé tried to sneak away. Unfortunately, her best friend was a borderline-stalker with her attentiveness. “Chloé, where are you going?” Sabrina asked.

“I, uh, chipped a nail, and my nail clippers are in the classroom. I’ll be right back, you stay here.”

Sabrina nodded. Chloé ran back to the classroom.

Plagg floated out of her jacket as she dropped her sunglasses on the floor. “What are you doing?”

“It’s so they’ll think I’ve disappeared, too,” Chloé told him, “Plagg, claws out!”

 


 

After some sticky situations and an improvised band, the Akuma was purified. And there was a new movie now, with a kiss between Ivan and Mylene. The plan was for the editors to put it together tonight, but Chloé doubted they would win. After all, Chloé wasn’t even in most of it.

After school, Chloé left with Adrien. “Adrikins! Have you heard the good news?”

“Huh?”

“I’m joining your fencing class!”

“Oh! That’s great, Chloé.”

She clung to his arm. “Isn’t it? Now we can spend more time together!”

“Do you want to ride with me to practice? My bodyguard is picking me up.”

“Oh Adrikins! You’re too kind!”

So she followed him into his car, sliding up close to him.

Once the door was shut behind her, she launched into an investigation. “So Adrien, do you like anyone?”

“Do I…?” Adrien scratched the back of his head. “Sure! The whole class seems nice!”

“I mean romantically .”

He shrugged. “Not really, I guess. I haven’t thought about it much.”

“Oh really? Then what was all that with Marinette?”

“What with Marinette?” How was he confused about this? He was so dense.

“You tried to kiss her!”

Adrien laughed. “For the movie, that’s all. By that logic, I also like you, since we almost kissed too.”

Chloé gulped. “Do you like me?”

He looked caught off-balance by that question, “Of course, you’re one of my best friends.”

Adrien Agreste,” Chloé spoke sternly, he was trying to act dense to avoid the question, “Do you like me romantically?”

Adrien bit his lip. “Chloé, why are you-”

“Answer the question.”

Chloé’s blood was pounding through her veins. Her hands were balled up in tight fists. Adrien Agreste was supposed to be perfect for Chloé Bourgeois. If he liked her, why shouldn’t she try it out? It would be helpful to her father if she would at least try out a man.

Adrien took a deep breath.

“No, I’m sorry Chloé, if… if you like me that way, but I don’t- and I don’t think I’ll ever-”

Her hands unclenched, and her entire body relaxed. “Good.”

“Good?” Adrien’s trepidation turned to confusion.

Chloé grabbed Adrien’s chin to look him in the eye. “Adrien, I don’t like you like that, and I don’t think I ever will either. I may express a lot of love for you, but I never, ever want you to fall in love with me. Got it?”

“Um, okay?” Adrien had an adorable confused face… it just wasn’t quite Chloé’s brand of adorableness.

“No matter what I do, do not ever consider dating me.”

“Okay! Okay!” Adrien pulled back, and Chloé graciously released her grip on him.

They sat in silence for a minute, giving Chloé time to think. She was thanking every single deity she knew that he didn’t like her. Would she have really tried dating this dense boy, if he had liked her? She could imagine kissing him, but she couldn’t imagine enjoying it. So long as he never liked her back, no matter what she did she would never have to risk actually doing anything with a boy. She could pretend to be in love with him all she wanted, demonstrating to everyone, including her father, that she was totally, absolutely straight.

Chat Noir could indulge in her crush on Ladybug. Meanwhile, Chloé Bourgeois would fake a crush on Adrien. Not only would it help her father, but it would help keep her identities secret. She just needed to keep her characters consistent, and she’d be fine.

“Chloé,” Adrien spoke hesitantly, “Is everything okay?”

“Everything is fine .”

“You know you can talk to me, right? If anything’s going on?”

Chloé patted his head. “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”

He pouted, but the car stopped before he could raise any objections. Together, they went to fencing.

Chapter Text

“You know what today is?” Chloé asked Sabrina.

“What?” Sabrina asked.

“Our 7-year anniversary of being friends!” Chloé practically shouted, “So to celebrate, I got you a designer pin!”

She pulled out a box behind her back, and opened it to reveal a pin with a rose design. Sabrina squealed, “Oh Chloé! It’s beautiful!”
“Yes, I have great taste.”

“But Chloé,” Sabrina looked up at her with regretful eyes, “I didn’t remember to get you anything!”

Chloé huffed. “I already anticipated that, and decided that to show how thankful you are, you can do my nails.”

“Oh thank you Chloé!”

Chloé pulled out her basecoat, and gave it to Sabrina. Although Chloé usually preferred to have her manicures professionally done, there was something peculiarly nice about having a friend do it instead. Having her hand held, and being focused on by a person she was close to felt different from having a professional touch her. Chloé used to let Adrien do it, but he wasn’t very neat with the brush. Since becoming friends with Sabrina, she found that Sabrina’s steadiness and attention to detail was much better suited to the endeavor.

Sabrina was also happy to listen to Chloé prattle on about her life while she did her nails. Chloé took the opportunity today to complain about how heavy the burden of being the school idol was. Eventually, she finished all ten fingers.

“Grab my white nail polish Sabrina, it’s in my closet,” Chloé told her while letting the base coat on her nails dry.

“Of course, Chloé!” Sabrina obediently made her way to the closet.

Chloé blew on her nails, trying to accelerate the process. She leaned back on her couch, stretching her muscles. Her legs were killing her, since she had fencing yesterday. She had to wonder if one-hundred lunges would really help her be Chat Noir, but D’Argencourt refused to even give her a foil until she had perfect legwork. Not screaming at him and calling her father required constant visualization of Ladybug’s disappointed face.

“What’s this?” Sabrina’s voice called out.

Sabrina came back, but instead of the nail polish Chloé wanted, she had the Ladybug replica suit.

Chloé was almost embarrassed, but like she told Plagg: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. She wasn’t ashamed for people to know she admired Ladybug. Sabrina was much more confused though, and stared at Chloé with twinkling eyes, “Are you actually… Ladybug?”

Chloé almost choked. “Are you an idiot? Of course not! Where were you during the Lady Wifi attack? We’ve been in the same room! I’m not Ladybug, that’s just a costume!”

Sabrina frowned. “Oh…”

Chloé didn’t like the look on Sabrina’s face. “What? Are you disappointed that I’m just Chloé Bourgeois?”

“Of course not!” Sabrina squeaked, “But you know, if you’re dressing up as Ladybug… Don’t you think you should have a Chat Noir as well?”

“I’m not dressing up as Chat Noir.” That would be far too risky.

“No, I mean shouldn’t you have someone else with you, dressed up as Chat Noir?”

A smile dawned on Chloé’s face. “Let me call a tailor. Do you remember your measurements?”

 


 

Playing “Ladybug & Chat Noir” with Sabrina (and her butler) was fun. It also gave Chloé a chance to practice her superhero skills outside of the suit. The suit definitely made her stronger and faster, but it was multiplying her base skills. If she could work up her endurance and strength as a civilian, it could improve her costumed abilities. Also, though, dressing up and playing with Sabrina was one of her favorite things to do on a Saturday night.

Until today.

“Um, Sabrina, you grabbed the wrong costume.”

Sabrina froze, Ladybug mask in her palm. But instead of apologizing, she licked her lip and argued, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you… Wouldn’t it be nice to change it up occasionally?”

“No,” Chloé stated clearly, and that should have been the end of it.

“But you’re always Ladybug, sometimes I want to be her too!” Sabrina whined.

When had Sabrina gotten this attitude? Was this because Chloé let her lead that physics project that one time? Then again, Sabrina had always had a stubborn streak, but never directed at Chloé. “Well obviously I’m much more like Ladybug than Chat Noir, so I should always be Ladybug.”

“But it’s just a game! It’s not like you’re really Ladybug, so it shouldn’t be a big deal to let me be her occasionally!”

But I am really Chat Noir, Chloé resisted saying, instead telling her, “Ladybug and I have many similarities, so obviously I should play her.”

Sabrina rolled her eyes. “Yeah? Like what?”

“Excuse me?” Was Sabrina sassing her?

“I’m just saying,” Sabrina was in full-on nuclear mode now, “You’re not exactly superhero material.”

Chloé’s anger flashed like she had been slapped in the face. Sure, Chloé was starting to recognize that some of her behavior could maybe be categorized as ‘bratty,’ but that didn’t make it impossible to be a superhero. She technically was a superhero! And her supposed best friend thinks that’s impossible? “How dare you!”

Sabrina flinches at that, and starts to raise her arms in surrender, “Chloé-”

Nope, Chloé was not going to let that go so easily. “No, we’re done here, get out!”

“Wait-”

“I said GET OUT!”

Sabrina knew to shut up at that, and left her room, face pinched with frustration. Chloé collapsed on her bed, screaming into her pillow. Plagg flew out from some nook where he had hidden himself. “Well that escalated quickly.”

“Can you believe what she said? As if! As if I’m so horrible I could never help anyone!”

“You could help me by bringing me some cheese.”

Chloé groaned and opened her desk drawer to take out a remote. After near constant demands to bring weird cheeses to her room, the chefs had arranged for her to just press a button that would alert the servants to her need. She pressed the button, and in thirty seconds there was a knock at her door.

She opened the door and snatched the platter out of the server’s hands before slamming the door in his face. She dropped it onto her coffee table, and Plagg instantly devoured the Camembert.

Now having satisfied her needy Kwami, Chloé whined, “Like, you’re literally proof I’m a superhero! She’s literally wrong!”

Plagg hummed, his mouth full.

“Plus why is she friends with me then, if she thinks I’m so awful?”

Plagg hummed again.

Chloé flopped onto her bed. Plagg was no help, Chloé just had to scream this one out into her pillow.

 


 

Unfortunately, a day later she still hadn’t cooled off.

Sabrina stood at her open door, Chloé’s butler next to her.

“Sabrina, who? I don’t know any Sabrina,” Chloé insisted, refusing to look her in the face.

“But of course you do, Chloé, it’s me! Your BFF!” Chloé glanced back and saw Sabrina hold up the rose pin she had gifted her.

Her butler interjected, “You should talk to her Mademoiselle, she’s right there.”

Chloé fully turned around. “I don’t see anyone, she must be invisible! As far as I’m concerned, she doesn’t even exist!”

She turned away before she could see Sabrina’s expression, but she could hear her footsteps leave.

Once her butler had also left, Plagg appeared. “Wow, real superheroic behavior right there.”

Chloé hissed at him. “I’m still mad.”

Plagg raised his paws in defense and floated away.

 


 

Chloé dug through her closet, but there was absolutely nothing to wear.

There was a party tonight, and Chloé needed to look her best, but everything in her closet was out of fashion. How long had it been since she updated her wardrobe? Protecting Paris must have kept her busier than she thought, since she couldn’t recall going shopping in the past month at least. She muttered to herself as she tore apart her closet. Normally she would have Sabrina help her choose something decent but…

She shook her head, she wasn’t going to think about the weird knot in her gut telling her that maybe, just maybe, her actions were a tiny bit not-perfectly superheroic. She had more important things to worry about. Like what to wear to this party! She would have asked Plagg for his opinion, but early on in their partnership he demonstrated his abysmal fashion sense by approving a plaid flannel on top of polka-dots, deeming it a “wicked combo.”

Her eyes scanned the room. Plagg must have been taking a nap or something, since she didn’t see him anywhere.

Then she heard glass shatter.

So Plagg wasn’t taking a nap then. She let out a loud groan as she stomped towards the room where it came from, grip tightening on her sharp heels. So help her, if he finally succeeded in breaking that vase-

Then there was another sound, this time from the bathroom. That’s strange, Plagg usually doesn’t break more than one thing at once unless he’s upset about something, and they hadn’t even been talking. She crept into the bathroom, decidedly more concerned. This didn’t seem like Plagg behavior. “Hello?”

The cosmetics on her counter floated. No tiny black Kwami connected to it.

She gasped, and then her cosmetics were flying towards her. She screamed as she fell back onto the ground. What was going on? She listened carefully. Were those footsteps? And… laughter? There was something familiar about the laughter, but she couldn’t pin it down. Items moved in her room, falling down and floating away. Then the shoes she had been holding were tugged off the ground and pulled towards the window.

Chloé jumped into action. Yes those shoes were technically never in season, but she had bought them on a trip she had taken with Sabrina. There was sentimental value attached to them! She shouted as they flew over the edge of her balcony, “Wait! I’m sorry for what I said, shoes! I love you!”

Once the shoes clattered to the ground, Chloé backed up for the perpetrator. A ghost? Some sort of karmic entity?

An Akuma?

She slapped a hand over her face. This was almost definitely an Akuma. She heard a giggle, and she settled into a defensive stance. Despite that, she barely dodged a pillow thrown at her. She glanced around, searching for any hint as to where the Akuma was. Up on a shelf, she saw Plagg peering down with a raised eyebrow.

Oh no.

If the Akuma was here, she could not transform without revealing her identity to Hawkmoth. She grimaced, and tried to communicate to Plagg that he had to stay hidden. “If there’s some sort of ghost here, then I can’t do anything I’m trying to keep secret! Like looking at pictures of cute boys in magazines! Or pretending to transform into a superhero!”

Plagg seemed to get the hint, and pulled back so he was out of view.

There was another sound across the room, and Chloé flinched. What was she supposed to do? She couldn’t turn into Chat Noir to call Ladybug, since she couldn’t guarantee she was alone. Fighting as Chloé was a possibility, but even if Chloé beat her up, she couldn’t purify her without Ladybug. Maybe if she waited long enough, the Akuma would get bored of her and move on to haunt someone else. Something poked her side, and she jumped.

This was going to be a long night.

 


 

Not only was she kept up most the night, being shoved out of bed whenever she started to drift to sleep, but she also couldn’t talk to Plagg at all about it. She didn’t realize how much he’d become a part of her routine until she couldn’t acknowledge him at all. She knew he was most likely in the room, but she couldn’t complain to him about everything that was going on, and… Chloé hated to admit it, but she almost (only almost!) missed the smell of Camembert. She was still certain it was a horrible smell, but it had also become familiar. Somehow, along the way, that smell was associated with Plagg, and with home. She hoped Plagg wasn’t starving without the constant supply.

She was interrupted from her pining for her tiny god(?) friend’s company by even more harassment in class. The Akuma made her look crazy in front of all her classmates! When she had enough of pens attacking her and her own purse slapping her, she ran out of the classroom to call Daddy. She needed to alert Ladybug somehow that something was going on; this Akuma was not giving Chloé a moment of peace.

She hid in her room as the mayor held a conference, declaring that an attack on Chloé Bourgeois was an attack on Paris itself. That finally caught Ladybug’s attention, and soon Daddy came up to her room with Ladybug in tow.

“Chloé, my darling, we got a special guest for you!”

Chloé jumped up to embrace Ladybug. “Ladybug! I knew you’d come and save me, considering what good friends we are!” They had not left on the greatest terms last time, but that just meant Chloé had to be doubly-friendly today to make up for it!

Ladybug gave a weary sigh, and began to investigate the room.

Chloé took lots of pictures of her. Ladybug, the superhero, was in her room! Touching her closet! She couldn’t wait to show Sabrina-

She frowned. No, not Sabrina. Though speaking of, even though they were fighting, it would make sense for Sabrina to send a check-in text to make sure Chloé is okay, especially after that press conference…

“Have you had any run-ins with anyone lately?” Ladybug asked.

“No!” Chloé insisted, she had to show Ladybug her good side, “I never have run-ins with anyone, everyone absolutely loves me!”

Ladybug picked up a picture that had been tossed to the floor, one with Sabrina and Chloé together. “Really? Not even with your closest friend?”

Chloé bit her lip. “Well, we may have had a tiny fight.”

Ladybug narrowed her eyes. “Define ‘tiny’.”

“Well, we had a… disagreement, and she said some mean things about me, and so I ignored her for a day or two- Oh.”

“Oh?” Ladybug took a step closer.

The realization was so great that Chloé wasn’t even flustered by the proximity. “I told her… I couldn’t see her… that she must be invisible…”

Ladybug put her palm on her face. “Well I think we know who our Akuma is then.”

“I know I was mean, but she deserved it! She said some cruel things to me!”

Ladybug put a single finger on Chloé’s lips. “Save it, Chloé, let’s just focus on this Akuma.”

Chloé was frozen. Ladybug’s finger was on her lips. How could she move in such a state? Ladybug soon pulled back though, starting to walk away.

“I’m going to walk around the hotel, see if I can lure her out. She may be after you, but she’ll also want my miraculous. You stay here-”

“We should go together,” Chloé hopped beside her and grabbed her arm, “Otherwise if she goes after me, you won’t be there.”

Ladybug shook her off. “Fine, but don’t get in the way.”

“I can be very helpful!” Chloé defended herself.

As they entered the elevator to go downstairs, Ladybug opened her yoyo to reveal a phone. She pressed some buttons, trying to call Chat Noir. She muttered under her breath. “Come on, alley cat…”

Chloé had to resist the urge to reassure Ladybug that she was right here. But until Chloé could be certain the Akuma wasn’t watching, Ladybug was stuck with this civilian form.

“So what was the fight about, anyway?”

Chloé looked away, not daring to meet Ladybug’s eyes. Yes, she was not ashamed of dressing up as someone as legendary as Ladybug, but there was a difference between being unashamed and telling someone to their face that you like to roleplay as them in your free time. “Nothing important,” she murmured.

Ladybug grabbed her chin and pulled Chloé’s face to look directly in her eye. Her heart stuttered, both shocked Ladybug was rude enough to grab and position Chloé’s body how she liked, and pleased that Ladybug felt comfortable enough to touch and move Chloé to suit her needs. Chloé gulped as Ladybug stared her down. “This could be relevant to how to defeat the Akuma. What did you fight about?”

Yes it was embarrassing to admit, but Chloé didn’t dare lie with Ladybug’s hand on her jaw. “W-we were playing, um, dressing up as-” She remembered a term Adrien had introduced her to that sounded a bit more adult, “I mean, cosplaying as you and, um, as Chat Noir.”

Ladybug’s eyes widened.

“And normally she’s Chat Noir, while I’m Ladybug, but this time she wanted to be Ladybug, and I told her no, and she said I wasn’t, um, I wasn’t exactly superhero material, so I told her to get out- and-”

The elevator doors opened, and Ladybug released Chloé, “Okay, okay, I’ve heard enough. So you guys do this… often?”

Oh no Ladybug thought she was a freak and a stalker. Her heart sank as they left the elevator and entered the lobby. “Occasionally.”

“And you’ve never wanted to be Chat Noir?”

“N-no, you’re my favorite.” Maybe she could score some points with Ladybug by saying that?

That only made Ladybug’s frown deepen. “Why? What’s wrong with Chat Noir?”

Chloé couldn’t keep up with this conversation. She needed to prove somehow to Ladybug that she wasn’t completely irredeemable. She snagged a red flower from one of the many vases in the lobby. “I mean… I don’t know, you’re sort of the star of the whole operation, aren’t you? You purify the Akumas, and heal all the damage, it’s not like you need her…”

Ladybug stopped. “No, Chat Noir and I are a team . I wouldn’t be able to defeat the Akumas without her help. She’s just as important to Paris as I am.”

A flush crept up Chloé’s neck. Ladybug was complimenting her, insisting she was important, calling them a team. Right to Chat Noir’s face, although she didn’t know it. She had often wondered what Ladybug really thought of Chat Noir, but hearing those feelings so clearly and sincerely was overwhelming. Unable to form any words, Chloé simply held up the flower in her hand for Ladybug to take.

Ladybug glanced down at it, confused, before plucking it from her fingers and putting it in another vase further down the room. “Honestly Chloé, I think you should consider cosplaying as Chat Noir and giving Sabrina a chance to be Ladybug. After all, Chat Noir is just as good as me.”

As they continued walking down the lobby, Chloé finally found some words, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

There was a soft sound behind them, and Chloé glanced back to see the flower on the ground. Hadn’t Ladybug put that back in a vase? She looked back at Ladybug, who also seemed confused.

Then there was a light breeze that shifted Ladybug’s hair, right next to her earring.

“Look out, Ladybug!” Chloé leaped into action, jumping towards the space that most likely held the invisible Akuma.

Ladybug also shifted out of the way and began spinning her yoyo, creating a shield. Chloé stood her ground with her hands raised, ready to lunge at any shifts in the air that could be the Akuma. Unfortunately, rather than close combat, the Akuma began to throw items from the lobby. Ladybug countered most of them with her yoyo, shattering some lamps, dodging a chair, and destroying a vase. Ladybug couldn’t do anything with the constant bombardment, so Chloé did what Chat Noir did best: created a distraction.

She dashed some distance away from Ladybug, and spread her arms out. “Looking for me, Sabrina? I’m right here, come on!”

“Chloé!” Ladybug hissed, “You need to leave!”

Why couldn’t Ladybug see she was giving Ladybug a chance to use her Lucky Charm? Was she going to have to spell it out for her? “Sabrina, if you’re lucky and stop this ridiculousness right now , I might be charmed enough let you be my BFF again.”

Chloé didn’t look at Ladybug to see if she understood; she didn’t want the Akuma to catch her gaze and pay attention to Ladybug again, but she heard the familiar call of “Lucky Charm.”

Fortunately the Akuma was distracted with her own melodramatic spiel. “You’ve got no friends left, Chloé, and you’ll never have any ever again!”

A book flew towards Chloé, but before she could dodge she was tackled from the side. She almost threw a fist at her assailant, but by the time her back hit the ground she realized it was just Ladybug.

Ladybug on top of her.

She stared up into her eyes, noting a mixture of frustration and… concern? Ladybug’s body was warm above her, and Chloé’s had a leg up between her thighs. Before Chloé could stutter out any words, Ladybug stood and pulled Chloé up with her by the hand. She then ran, pulling Chloé along to push her against a pillar which guarded them from the onslaught of books. Chloé’s back was pressed up against the pillar, her shoulders held still by Ladybug. Chloé couldn’t resist glancing at Ladybug’s lips. Oh to be in this position in different circumstances.

Ladybug snapped at her, bringing Chloé’s gaze back up to Ladybug’s angry eyes, “This isn’t a game, Chloé.”

Chloé opened her mouth to object, I know that , I know what I’m doing , I’m just as good as you , but suddenly Ladybug was shoved to the side, and struggling in the air.

Sabrina’s distorted voice spoke, “It’s over, Ladybug!”

“Not yet!”

Ladybug threw a small polka-dotted container. That must have been the Lucky Charm. It spilled over the Akuma, scattering glitter all over her and marking the invisible figure. There was the familiar outline of Sabrina, including the rose pin Chloé gave her.

Ladybug rolled, causing the Akuma to lose her grip. The Akuma posed, showing off some martial arts skills. “Just because you can see me, doesn’t mean you can defeat me!”

“Stay here, Chloé, don’t move,” Ladybug stood in front of her.

The Akuma and Ladybug got into a fight, but there weren’t any openings for Ladybug to take. Chloé watched carefully, and noticed Ladybug tried to snatch Sabrina’s bag.

“I don’t think the Akuma isn’t in her bag!” Chloé shouted helpfully.

Ladybug glared at Chloé, and the Akuma, reminded of Chloé’s existence, jumped to attack her. Fortunately, Ladybug’s yoyo wrapped around Chloé and pulled her away just in time. Ladybug dragged her to the elevator.

Before Ladybug closed the elevator, Chloé tried to help her, “Wait! The Akuma has to be in the designer pin I bought her. She’s wearing it on her sweater.”

“I won’t tell you again Chloé, so listen up: You need to leave! You’re putting yourself in danger, and me too. Got it?” Ladybug pressed a button and the elevator dinged closed.

“Why aren’t you listening to me!” Chloé knew Ladybug probably couldn’t hear her, but she was frustrated, “The Akuma is in her pin!”

In better news, now that Chloé was certain where the Akuma was, she could finally transform. She chose her floor number in the elevator, and sprinted to her room. “Plagg, claws out!”

After transforming, she ran back downstairs in time to catch Ladybug ripping apart a purse. “Your days are over, Akuma!” When nothing happened, she glanced at the remains of the bag in confusion, “Huh?”

The Akuma took the chance to attack, but Chat Noir extended her baton to push her back. “Sorry I’m late, darling.”

“Chat Noir!” The relief in Ladybug’s voice made her heart skip a beat.

“I couldn’t leave my partner to defeat this Akuma alone, could I? We’re a team, after all.”

Ladybug smiled. “We sure are.”

With their combined teamwork, it wasn’t long before the pin was removed and crushed.

After purification, Ladybug ran towards the elevator. Her earrings beeped. Why was she going deeper into the hotel when she was about to detransform? “Wait,” Chat Noir called out, “You’re going to transform, shouldn’t you leave?”

Ladybug shook her head. “I need to apologize to someone. She told me where the Akuma was, but I was mad at her and didn’t take her advice.”

Chat Noir joined her in the elevator. “Why were you mad at her?”

Ladybug sighed. “I don’t know, she was trying to help but… she’s a civilian. It’s dangerous! Fighting the Akuma is supposed to be our job. I know she idolizes us, but seeing her jump into danger like that made me worried.”

Chat Noir had to hold back a squeal. Ladybug had been worried about Chloé Bourgeois. Even if she was technically also mad at her. “I know we have superpowers, but it’s not like civilians are completely useless. If she was helpful, I bet she’d appreciate a ‘thank you’ more than a ‘sorry’.”

The elevator dinged. Ladybug furrowed her brow as she left. “Maybe…”

Chat Noir hopped out the window. “I gotta go, good luck!”

She jumped on the windowsills until she reached her room. “Plagg, claws in!”

Just as Plagg hid himself in her jacket, the door opened. “Chloé?”

“Ladybug!” Chloé jumped up to hug her, “You saved me!”

“Uh, yes, the Akuma was defeated,” Ladybug pushed her back, but gently.

Ladybug’s earrings beeped. There was only two dots left.

“Look, Chloé, you were right about where the Akuma was. I’m sorry I didn’t listen to you at first.”

Chloé flipped her hair. “I accept your apology, so long as next time you listen to me, your most devoted fan.”
“And…” Ladybug took a breath. “Civilians really shouldn’t get involved in fighting Akumas, but… Your distraction, if that was on purpose, that was helpful, so um… thank you.”

“It was on purpose,” Chloé took Ladybug’s hand and held it in hers. “And you’re more than welcome, I would do anything for you.”

Ladybug’s eyes widened, and her eyes darted between Chloé’s face and the hand she held between them. Ladybug’s mouth opened, but no words came out. Unlike most contact with Chloé, Ladybug did not pull away, instead caught up in some uncertain pause.

Then her earrings beeped again.

Ladybug squeaked, an adorable sound. Chloé let go of her hand as Ladybug ran towards the window. Ladybug turned back to her as she opened it. “You should probably check on your friend, she’s in the lobby!”

“Will do!” Chloé called out as Ladybug swung across Paris.

She sighed, watching her disappear between some buildings. Ladybug really was the best. And she at least didn’t hate Chloé Bourgeois anymore.

Plagg floated up, and Chloé almost cried. She grabbed him and gave the closest thing to a hug one could give a creature the size of a fist. “Ugh, I missed you, you scamp!” She exclaimed.

Plagg rolled his eyes, but he didn’t try to escape her grip. “Yeah, yeah, glad you’re not being stalked by someone invisible anymore.”

 


 

“Sabrina?” Chloé spoke hesitantly to the girl sitting on the floor of the lobby.

Sabrina looked up at her, tears on her cheeks.

Chloé felt a tiny bit sick. Had she caught some disease? Why was she so uncomfortable all of a sudden? And why did she want so badly to stop Sabrina’s sad face? She did what she’d seen on television when people were trying to comfort crying people: Outstretched her arms.

Sabrina practically dived into the hug, sobbing into Chloé’s chest. “U-um,” Chloé didn’t know what she was supposed to say, but she figured she should do the same thing Ladybug did when Ladybug did something wrong, “Sorry?”

After a few minutes, Sabrina’s cries were calmer, and Chloé had time to think about a proper apology. She didn’t want Sabrina to get Akumatized again .

“Um, Sabrina, I’m sorry I ignored you. And I’m sorry I was a little, um, harsh about not letting you be Ladybug-”

“I’m sorry I said those mean things to you!” Sabrina practically wailed.

Oh. That was nice to hear. But Chloé also had to clarify, “Apology accepted? And I’m like sorry, but um… I also still don’t want to play as Chat Noir.”

Sabrina looked up at her, eyes rimmed red. She didn’t seem too upset by it, but she seemed… disappointed.

“But!” Chloé had an epiphany, “You could be Ladybug still! I just- I could play an Akuma or something, I just don’t want to be Chat Noir.”

Sabrina squeezed Chloé. It hurt a little, but Chloé didn’t feel like shoving her off. “That sounds good.”

After that, Chloé didn’t feel sick anymore.

Chapter Text

“And she said,” Chloé sobbed, “TO MY FACE, I quote, ‘I’m not putting up with this, you need to get off your high horse if you ever want to be friends again’!”

Adrien sighed. “Chloé, it’s 10:30 P.M. on a school night, and you climbed up the side of my house and sneaked in through my window, just to complain about Sabrina? I didn’t even know you could climb!”

She wiped some tears from her eyes. “I need support. And I know your dad doesn’t let you have guests.”

“Which means you shouldn’t be here at all, not that you should sneak in under his nose.”

Chloé wailed again, flinging herself on to Adrien’s bed. “Are you kicking me out? Leaving me in my hour of need?”

He grimaced, hovering as though debating the many ways this could play out. Eventually, he sighed and took a seat on the other side of the bed. “Okay, okay, just for a little bit.”

 


 

“…And with all that in mind, maybe Sabrina is being more ‘rude’ because she feels comfortable enough to express how she really feels?”

“Like… like she trusts me?” Chloé was no longer crying, but her lip still wobbled.

Adrien shrugged. “Maybe? I’m sure it’s rough, but I think this fighting is part of your relationship getting stronger, so long as you listen to her and try to keep her feelings in mind.”

“Thanks Adrien, that makes me feel better… even if it’d be easier to have Sabrina just do everything I tell her.”

Adrien sat up from where he had sprawled across his bed. “Well now that we’ve sorted that out, it’s 1:00 A.M. Shouldn’t you go home?”

Chloé shook her head. “I told Daddy I would be sleeping over at Sabrina’s today, and I’m not about to call my driver to your house and make him think I’ve been…” Chloé paused. Actually, wouldn’t it be good to some degree if Daddy thought Chloé was getting closer to Adrien? That had been her plan to keep him off her sexuality tail, after all.

Before Chloé could change her mind, though, Adriend acquiesced. “Okay, fair, but you could climb out of my estate which, again, how did you get past the fence?”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “I literally just scaled the walls.”

Adrien raised an eyebrow. “Okay, I know you’ve been getting stronger with fencing-”

“I also picked up some self-defense and martial arts classes-”

“-But seriously?”

Chloé took off her jacket and flexed her bicep.

“Okay, believable, don’t know when you developed those guns, but still wild.”

“I also bought a grappling hook online.” Chloé pulled it out of her purse to show off.

Adrien stared at the object with some reverence and hesitation. “Is… is that legal?”

“Yes? Why wouldn’t it be?”

“I don’t know, since it allows you to break into the house of world-famous fashion designers?”

Chloé scoffed.

“Seriously though, how are you getting home?”

Chloé rolled over, “Just let me sleep here tonight.”

“Chloé! It’s a school night!”

“And I don’t want to go home! I already have a sleepover bag with me anyway. Come on, we can sneak out early.”

“Gorilla and Nathalie will not be happy.”
Chloé smirked. “Would it kill you to rebel a little? Not like they can stop you once I’ve already slept over. You’re such a square.”

“A- a square?”

“It means you’re boring.”

“There’s nothing boring about behaving appropriately for an Agreste!”

“Sleeping over at a boy’s house isn’t exactly a Bourgeois thing to do either. Can’t we just be Chloé and Adrien tonight?”

Adrien sighed. “…I know we established this, but promise this isn’t some long elaborate attempt to like… seduce me or something? You’re not going to attack me in my sleep?”

“Cross my heart and hope to die,” Chloé reassured him.

“Okay, fine,” Adrien took a deep breath, “Let’s do this.”

 


 

“Imbeciles! What am I supposed to do? The show is in three days! No, don’t use him, he’s completely useless.” Gabriel Agreste’s irritated voice carried out through the hall where Chloé and Adrien were currently sneaking.

Adrien pushed Chloé behind a pillar. “You hide here, if father sees you he’ll be so angry.”

Chloé huffed, but stayed put as Adrien peaked around a door to see what was going on. When did he get so nosy? Maybe Chloé was a bad influence.

“Call my assistant, Nathalie, she’ll give you some other names.”

There was the sound of footsteps, and Adrien ran to join Chloé behind the pillar. Gabriel Agreste strode out, shoulders back and posture perfect, lips quirked into a displeased frown. Once he was out of hearing range, Adrien muttered, “He hides stuff behind the painting of Mom?”

“Ooh, I love dirty secrets!” Chloé whispered.

The two of them entered the room, and Adrien moved the imposing golden painting of his mother. It shifted on a hinge to reveal a safe. The safe required some sort of code, and Chloé was about to ask Adrien when his mother’s birthday was when he turned away.

“I can’t do it,” He declared, “My dad wouldn’t like me going through his stuff. Besides, I don’t even know the code, and fencing class is about to start.”

Since Adrien’s back was turned, Plagg peaked out of Chloé’s jacket, and with a mischievous grin he went through the safe and opened it from the inside. “Cancel that thought, Adrien, he didn’t quite close it all the way,” She pulled it open and listed the contents, “A book on Tibet, an old flyer from a hotel, a load of junk… come on, isn’t there anything juicy?”

She opened an unlabeled book, curious as to the contents. A diary? No, there were a bunch of strange costume designs. Or… As Adrien looked over her shoulder, she came across a design of Chat Noir. These looked weirdly old, and the writing wasn’t any language Chloé recognized. “Is this Chinese?” She asked Adrien, who would know.

“No,” He told her as he took the chance to turn the page, “Hawkmoth? What’s he doing in a book filled with superheroes?”

There were footsteps from down the hall. Oh no, what if that was Gabriel Agreste coming back? Chloé moved to shove the book back in the safe, but Adrien grabbed it. They made eye contact, and Chloé released it so she could close the safe and cover it with the painting again. Just as Adrien slipped the book in his bag, Nathalie and Gorilla entered.

“Adrien? You’re going to be-” Nathalie’s eyes widened, “What’s she doing here?”

Chloé put on her biggest kitten eyes, “I came by really early this morning, Adrien promised me he would help me with footwork, but I wanted to learn before class started today. We didn’t want to wake any of you up, so I texted him to let me in instead of using the doorbell.”

Nathalie narrowed her eyes and glanced at Adrien. He was stiff as a board, biting his lip and radiating sweat.

Chloé decided to move the conversation forward before Nathalie could dare interrogate, “Would it be alright if I caught a ride with you guys?”

“That will be fine,” Nathalie agreed.

 


 

Eventually, they were at school. Chloé separated from Adrien to meet with Sabrina, and they had a chance to talk things out. Just as their friendship was re-established, Chloé noted a commotion. She approached and saw an unfamiliar girl in the center of attentive classmates.

“So of course, I told Ladybug she didn’t have to, but she insisted on bringing me home-”

“Who is she? ” Chloé turned her nose up at the stranger.

“Her name is Lila Rossi, she just transferred here, and the rumors about her are booming! She’s a busy girl!”

Lila flipped her thick hair. “Yeah, you know Jagged Stone’s song, ‘Flaming Flower’? That song was written about me. We met in England, and he told me I was just such a shining example of being both fierce and beautiful, he was inspired.”

Chloé took a deep breath. She wanted nothing more than to grab that girl’s ambiguously colored jacket (was she going for salmon? Or orange? Ugly color either way) and tell her there was only space for one idol of this school. But Chloé was strong, she was a superhero, and Ladybug would be disappointed to hear she beat up a girl on her first day of school. Even if that girl seemed like she deserved it. So Chloé, in her magnanimous mercy, simply clenched her fists and marched away, complaining to Sabrina to work out her frustrations. “Why did Jagged Stone write a song about Lila when he could have written it about me?”

Sabrina comforted her the whole way to the classroom.

 


 

When the time came for group projects, Chloé couldn’t help but stiffen when she saw Lila immediately go for Adrien’s desk. Judging by her topics of conversation, Lila was a moth attracted to fame, and Chloé knew for a fact Adrien was not a fan of being targeted for his position as a model.

So Chloé diverted her.

“Lila!” She exclaimed in the exact pitch that would attract as much attention as possible.

That at least made Lila pause on her mission, “Yes, that’s me, and you are…?”

Chloé’s eye twitched. Oh, so she was going to pretend she didn’t recognize the daughter of the mayor of Paris? Fine. Absolutely fine. “I’m Chloé Bourgeois, but I didn’t call out to you to introduce myself.”

Lila kept a neutral smile on her face as Chloé stood up and reached across the aisle to pull Marinette up from her seat. “Surely you’ve met Marinette Dupain-Cheng, right?”

Marinette wore the most displeased expression Chloé had ever seen on her. At first Chloé assumed it was because she was touching her, but Marinette’s eyes were squarely on Lila. Was there some drama there? Lila either didn’t notice or was playing nice, because she kept a smile on as she looked Marinette up and down. “No, I just started today, there’s so many people to meet.”

Chloé gasped. “You haven’t met Marinette? She’s an up and coming fashion designer! You know she won a hat design competition judged by Gabriel Agreste ?”

Marinette gave Chloé a suspicious look, as if to ask why are you bringing up that contest where you stole my design don’t you hate me? But Chloé just grabbed Marinette’s shoulder and pulled her in closer to the conversation, so Lila would pay even more attention. Lila’s eyes widened at the knowledge, but she didn’t seem quite star-struck. Well, Lila apparently ran in famous circles, so it would take a lot to impress her. Chloé would just double-down.

“You’re friends with Jagged Stone, right? I can’t believe he never mentioned Marinette! Considering she designed a pair of glasses for him to wear. Not to mention when he designed an album cover for him! Honestly, aside from me, Marinette might be the most popular girl at this school-”

“You guys should be picking groups, not gossiping,” Miss Bustier interrupted, “Groups of two, please.”
“Marinette, you’re so nice too, you couldn’t leave a new girl without a partner, could you?” Chloé asked Marinette with doe eyes.

Marinette sputtered for a moment.

“Yes, I’d love to get to know you better,” Lila’s voice was sickly sweet, “And I’m so new, you seem like the perfect girl to introduce me around here.”

Hook, line, and sinker . Chloé smirked. The diversion was a success.

 


 

Okay the diversion was a success, but Lila was annoying . The class had moved to the library to research in some books, and Sabrina had settled with Chloé at a table near the end of the library. Chloé had a book open, but she could barely read the words as her attention was drawn to another table in the corner.

There, in and isolated corner, Lila was scooting closer to Marinette and leaning over her shoulder as Marinette made some notes. “Oh your handwriting is soooo nice,” Lila told her in an irritatingly high pitch.

“…Thanks,” Marinette was notably unenthused by the flattery. Chloé smirked. For some reason or other, Marinette decided she hated Lila, and as Chloé well knew, once Marinette decided to hate someone there was little chance of her changing her mind.

Lila rested her chin on her hands and looked up at Marinette, eyelashes fluttering. “So you like fashion?”

“Yeah, I’d like to be a fashion designer.”

“You know, I know Gabriel Agreste personally, I bet I could put in a good word for you with him.”

Marinette glared. “If I wanted someone to ‘put in a good word’ with him, I’d ask Adrien.”

“You seem to be in a bad mood,” Lila commented. Understatement of the century.

“I just want to get this work done.”

“Aww, come on,” Lila rested her head against the desk, like she was terribly exhausted from the first ten minutes of being in the library, “I want to get to know you.”

“Then I’d rather hear about who you are as a person instead of all the people you know,” Marinette countered.

That seemed to throw Lila off her balance. Her shoulders stiffened, and she didn’t respond for a moment. Eventually though, she spoke with a new tone of voice Chloé hadn’t heard before. “You’re pretty interesting, Marinette.”

“Isn’t everybody?” Marinette kept her eyes on a book, as if trying to shut Lila out.

“Not a lot of people are interested in the… real me.”

That got Marinette’s attention. Of course, I’m-a-good-person-who-helps-pitiful-people-Marinette would perk up at such an emo comment. Chloé pursed her lips as Marinette’s frown softened and her eyes met Lila’s. “If you’d let people in, I’m sure they’d love to know you.”

Lila shook her head. “The world of fame and celebrities… Everything’s so fake, you know? I just wish I had someone I could be honest with.”

“Look, I know Chloé talked big about me earlier,” Chloé almost flinched hearing Marinette mention her name, “But I’m not actually a big deal or anything. I’ve done some cool things, and met some cool people, but lots of people love me for things completely unrelated to that. If you want someone who’s not ‘in that world’ to talk to, I’d… I could try to be that person.”

Lila laughed and leaned even closer to Marinette. “You’re too sweet.”

“I live upstairs from a bakery after all,” Marinette told her, small smile gracing her face.

“Miss Dupain-Cheng from the bakery, huh? I could just eat you up,” Lila teased.

Marinette turned a little red from that, and laughed. Chloé couldn’t tell if it was from nervousness or… or something. Chloé clenched her fists. What? So Marinette hates Lila, but can get over it in one conversation, but has continually hated Chloé since childhood? What’s with that?

“You’re not taking notes?” Sabrina asked Chloé, focusing her back onto the project.

“I’m getting to that, no need to rush me,” Chloé defended herself, deciding not to mention that she still hadn’t read a word.

 


 

Chloé was paying a perfectly normal amount of attention to Lila and Marinette’s blossoming friendship(?).

Which is why she was hiding behind a tree to stalk on their hang-out after school.

“So we started the day with hiding from authority figures, snooping through said authority’s secret safe, and now we’re spying? This is literally the best day ever.”

“Shush Plagg, you’re distracting me.”

Wouldn’t anyone spy on them? After all, Lila was a fresh new face who anyone would want to learn more about, especially if she was suddenly getting buddy-buddy with the school’s second-prettiest girl, giggling and gossiping and clinging on her arm while leaving the library. Especially if takes-no-crap Marinette just indulged the embarrassingly familiar behavior.

So yes, Chloé wanted to know how their interactions would finally play out. Was Marinette completely persuaded to become friends with Lila? Would she get annoyed with an additional hang out after school? Some of her smiles earlier had seemed strained, but when Lila had asked Marinette to meet in the park an hour after school, she had seemed excited.

Lila came into the park, and Chloé adjusted her angle behind the tree so Lila wouldn’t be likely to see her. Lila settled on a nearby bench, and pulled… Adrien’s book out of her bag?

Chloé stared. Yes, it had the weird red cover with gold designs, and no discernible title on the outside. Why did Lila have that? Would Adrien give up his father’s book that easily? Lila opened it up and settled on a page. She also pulled out some sort of necklace. She glanced between the book and the jewelry with a pleased smirk before fastening the necklace around her neck. Then her eyes rose, and a smile broke out on her face.

Marinette was approaching with a shy wave. Chloé rolled her eyes, since when did she go back to ‘meek Marinette’? Lila patted the seat next to her on the bench, and Marinette took the offered seat. Lila started off the conversation by complaining about the curse of fame.

“…So of course I wanted to go to the award ceremony honoring me for saving the whales, but Prince Ali said it was a fashion emergency , so I had to send a good friend of mine, Clara Nightingale, to accept the award in my stead.”

“Uh-huh,” Marinette dead-panned.

Chloé was relieved to see Marinette was not star-struck by Lila despite the (very) frequent name-dropping. After all, Marinette regularly faces off against Paris’s darling, Chloé Bourgeois, so it would be disappointing if she got intimidated by some newbie like Lila.

“You know, Marinette, I know you said you wanted to be a fashion designer, but honestly I could see you as a model,” Lila put her hand on Marinette’s shoulder as she said this.

“Whu- No, no, no, I’m not really suited for modeling,” Marinette insisted.

“No, really,” Lila ran her fingers through one of Marinette’s pigtails , “Your hair is so smooth.”

Marinette just stared back at Lila. Chloé fumed. Why wasn’t she shoving her off? Telling Lila not to get so touchy all of a sudden? Why was Marinette just sitting there, stiff, face getting redder-

“And your skin,” Lila shifted her head down from the hair to cup Marinette’s cheek, “So supple. What’s your skin-care routine?”

“N-nothing special,” Marinette squeaked.

“No special routine? So it’s just you being your special self?” Lila smirked, then ran her thumb over Marinette’s lower lip, “And is this lip gloss?”

They simply stared at each other. Lila was much closer than a girl ought to be with someone she met that same day. Chloé could feel her own face steaming at the sight, Marinette frozen while Lila put her hands all over her.

Lila’s face moved even closer -

“Sorry, what were we talking about?” Marinette interrupted, face red.

Lila frowned a bit, “You’re just so special Marinette, I feel like I could tell you anything.”

Marinette backed up a smidgen and smiled, “I’m glad.”

“In fact,” Lila scooted closer, “I want to tell you a secret.”

“What kind of secret?”

Lila opened the book. “The truth is, Ladybug and Chat Noir aren’t the only superheroes in the world.”

Marinette sobered up in an instant, her voice regaining its strength, “What?”

Lila turned to a specific page. “I’m the descendant of a vixen superheroine, Volpina.”

“Volpina?” Marinette balked.

Chloé was feeling similarly shocked. There was some other superhero they hadn’t heard of?

Lila nodded. “She’s one of the most important superheroes, more powerful and more celebrated than Ladybug. Between you and me, Ladybug doesn’t even make the top ten.” Lila held out her necklace that she put on earlier, “My grandmother gave me this necklace.”

There was no way this was real. Then again, there was the book…?

Marinette calmly put her hands on her lap. “Lila.”

“Yes, Marinette? Are you curious about it? Do you want-”

“You say she’s so important.”

“Yes?”

“So of course someone that important, Ladybug and Chat Noir would know.”

“Of course! You know, when Ladybug saved me, she recognized my necklace-”

“Bullshit.”

Chloé almost screamed. Marinette Dupain-Cheng, resident goody-two-shoes, president of the pretending-to-be-a-cinnamon-roll-club, miss innocence herself, swore. Chloé could feel her heart racing, her pulse tuned to impending drama and what could possibly be the wildest scene of the century. Lila kept her smile on. “Excuse me?”

“You’re a liar,” Marinette spoke with short, clipped syllables, as if allowing any more noise out would release the fury of a thousand wasps under her skin.

Lila’s jaw dropped. “How dare you! Didn’t you see, the necklace matches the picture-”

“This is way too unbelievable. Supposedly there’s another superhero who’s ‘even more important than Ladybug’, who there’s literally no information on aside from this weird book?” Marinette pulled out her phone and began to tap. “Let me search: ‘Volpina’. Oh? What’s this? Literally nothing about a superheroine? How could someone so important and powerful have no information about them online? It’s almost like she doesn’t exist. Like she was made up by a liar looking for attention.”

Lila jumped up, letting the book fall off her lap onto the ground. She jabbed a finger at Marinette. “She’s a secret superheroine! They’re hiding her for now, Ladybug will call her in when they face a threat not even Ladybug can defeat.”

Marinette did not back up an inch from Lila’s accusatory posture, simply rolling her eyes. This was not earnest, doing-her-best Marinette. No, this was mean Marinette, and Chloé was having palpitations at the sight. “Then I’ll believe you when she appears. But I have a hunch that will never happen.”

Lila was shouting now, “You don’t know what you’re talking about! You’ll regret this!”

Marinette smirked. “I don’t know what I’m talking about? You certainly have some nerve.”

Marinette stood up, and the sudden movement made Lila back up.

“One thing you should know, Lila: I don’t like liars. And you’re the biggest there is. So run home and cry if you want, but you and I will never be friends. And the longer you lie, the more chances there will be for other people to learn that you’re fake, and they won’t want to be friends with you either. You keep going down this path, and soon you won’t have any friends left.”

Lila gaped, open-mouthed like a fish. Then she burst into tears, and ran away.

Chloé had to look away, leaning against the tree to support her suddenly weakened knees. She rarely had the chance to watch angry Marinette outside of when she was angry at Chloé. And that evisceration seemed far beyond anything she had levied against Chloé before. Chloé’s heart was still pounding.

“Oof, what a cat fight,” Plagg commented.

“Cat fight?” Chloé felt breathless, “That was a massacre .”

Chapter Text

Okay. Meteor heading straight towards Paris. No need to panic.

“Plagg, claws out!”

Chat Noir ran as fast as she could towards the meteor’s trajectory, but even pole-vaulting with her baton seemed too slow. How could things go so bad so fast? There was no way Chat Noir would be able to make it. She had to try though, so she kept running. If she stopped to catch her breath, she might collapse from the realization that all of Paris could be destroyed . Oh no, what was the last thing she said to her dad? To Sabrina?

Then, almost imperceptible, a tiny orange blur hit the front of the flaming rock, and its descent slowed. Chat Noir watched, awed, as it came to a stop just above a building, and then reversed , flying back up into the atmosphere.

The orange blur became clearer as Chat Noir came closer, it was a girl in a weird orange and white bodysuit, and long ears. Like an orange bunny or something? She stood at the edge of the building and shouted to the civilians below, “I am Volpina, the only superhero Paris needs!”

Volpina? That sounded awfully familiar… Lila! Chat Noir bit her lip. So that business about the necklace hadn’t been a lie. She was actually a superhero. Chat Noir noticed Ladybug on another roof, and with the danger averted she happily landed next to her bug.

“Looks like we have a new partner.”

 


 

Chat Noir bounded across the rooftops. Where did Hawkmoth go? He was there just a minute ago!

Her baton beeped, and she answered the call to see Ladybug’s face. “Is Volpina with you, Chat Noir?”
“No, and I can’t find Hawkmoth either!”

“Forget it, he was never there in the first place. She’s not a real superhero, she was Akumatized by Hawkmoth!”

Ooooh, that explained a lot. So Lila was Akumatized. That checks out. Chat Noir grinned, so she would get to beat her up. “I think she’s going to visit Marinette, apparently she upset her right before she got Akumatized.”

“Alright, I’ll meet you at her address.” Chat Noir closed the baton phone.

 


 

Where was Ladybug? Chat Noir sat, perched on the roof, ear perked towards the trap door and listening to the conversation inside. Chat Noir didn’t want to dive in without Ladybug, but Marinette was alone in there with Volpina.

“Do you remember this necklace? You refused to believe the truth, so I decided I had to show you. I am a superhero.”

“Lila!”

Chat Noir’s cat-like hearing picked up some footsteps. “So? Now do you see I’m telling the truth?”

“I’m so sorry, Lila, it seemed unbelievable so I jumped to conclusions. I’m so, so, sorry.”

Something twisted inside Chloé hearing the proud Marinette apologize. Especially considering that Marinette was 100% in the right this time.

Marinette continued, “Would you mind detransforming? So I can apologize to you in your civilian form as well?”

“Good. I like girls who can bow their head. I’ll detransform later, but if you’re truly sorry, I’ve thought of some things we can do together to prove your sincerity-” More footsteps, crossing the room.

Nope. Chat Noir could not wait for Ladybug any longer. This was getting canceled now .

Chat Noir opened the door and hopped in. Volpina had her hand on Marinette’s wrist . Chat Noir immediately used the baton to slap her hand away. Then she darted over to Marinette, immediately pulling Marinette into her chest to reassure her that Chat Noir was not gonna let this Akumatized liar put another finger on her. Marinette peaked up at Chat Noir, but Chat Noir kept her eyes trained on the fox Akuma. “Hands off,” Chat Noir snarled.

“Aww, a knight in leather armor? Don’t listen to her, Marinette, she’s jealous of my power.”

Chat Noir’s hold on Marinette tightened instinctively, but Volpina got into a fighting stance. As perfect as Chat Noir was, anyone would be at a disadvantage if they fought with a civilian in their arms. She forced her grip to loosen, “Marinette, I’ll keep her occupied, you run.”

“O-okay.” Marinette bolted, leaving the room.

With that, the fight commenced.

Volpina was quick, darting around the room and happily using the walls and ceilings to propel herself different directions. Chat Noir used the baton to interrupt her trajectory in some cases, but she recovered quickly after bumping into the pole.

Then the door above them opened. “Sorry I’m late, I had some trouble finding the place.”

Ladybug dropped in, and Volpina glared. She played her flute, and suddenly there were dozens of Volpina’s. Ladybug and Chat Noir threw out attacks, until all of them had disappeared. Ladybug muttered, “They were all illusions? But the real one…”

Chat Noir glanced out a window, and froze. “Ladybug! She’s taken Marinette!”

Oh no. Chat Noir was supposed to protect civilians, and here she let Marinette get kidnapped, despite acting like such a hero earlier. Ladybug shook her head, “That’s an illusion, too.”

Well Chat Noir’s rising panic was not an illusion. “How are you so sure?!”

“Uh, my, um… my lucky intuition! It’s legendary!”

Chat Noir dashed out of the room, “Marinette? Marinette!”

She went up and down the stairs, but there was no response. Aside from her parents responding in a panic. “Chat Noir? What’s-”

“Don’t worry, I’m going to get her back,” Chat Noir reassured them as she ran back upstairs. “Ladybug, she’s not here.”

“Maybe she ran out of the building?”
Chat Noir opened the door to the roof and jumped out. “Can’t risk it.”

 


 

Eventually they caught her on the Eiffel Tower. Chat Noir and Ladybug were climbing up the side when she flung Marinette out, allowing her to swing loosely from Volpina’s grip. “Give me your Miraculous now or I will drop her!”

Chat Noir’s heart jumped at the sight. And the sound of Marinette’s alarmed squeak.

“You’re bluffing. It’s another illusion,” Ladybug spoke much more calm than Chat Noir felt.

“You wanna bet?” Volpina challenged.

Four fingers and a thumb on Marinette’s wrist became three fingers and a thumb. Chat Noir gulped, not even an Akumatized person would actually… kill someone, right? She released another finger. Ladybug thought it was an illusion, but that wasn’t a guarantee, and if it was the real Marinette… Now there was just a pinkie and a thumb on the wrist.

“No!” Chat Noir screamed.

It was a no brainer. If Chat Noir didn’t take this risk, Marinette could die. As much as Chloé hated Marinette, she was an integral part of her daily life. Chloé wanted to spend the rest of her life with her. Compared to years of rivalry, how important, really, was a superhero ring?

She grabbed the ring to pull off.

“Don’t do it, Chat Noir!” Ladybug called, flinging her yoyo at Marinette.

“No!” Chat Noir yelled again, alarmed by Ladybug’s riskiness. That could imbalance Marinette, making Volpina drop her!

Fortunately, Marinette disappeared in a puff of smoke. Relief flowed through Chat Noir’s veins, both because that meant Marinette was not about to die, and because that meant Chat Noir had not failed in protecting her.

“There she is! Come on, Chat Noir!”

 


 

One Cataclysm and Lucky Charm later, Volpina was defeated.

“Just one problem,” Chat Noir told Ladybug, “Where’s Marinette?”

“Uh, everything’s been put back to normal, right? So she must be safely at home.”

Although Chat Noir was relieved to know Marinette wasn’t about to die, she was also unsettled. The last time she had ‘seen’ Marinette, she had been hanging off the Eiffel Tower. She wanted to overwrite that memory with something safer. “I should check to make sure!”

“Uh… No, don’t worry about it! I’ll go! You’re about to change back.” Ladybug’s earrings beeped.

“So are you.” Chat Noir’s ring beeped. “No arguing, I’ll take care of it.”

 


 

Chat Noir knocked on the roof door. “Marinette? Are you there? Can I come in?”

She automatically went to open the door, but Marinette shouted, “I’m changing!”

Chat Noir dropped the door back down instantly. “This is Chat Noir. Is everything okay?”

She lied down, ear pressed against the wood, listening for her response. “Um, yeah! Everything’s great! I just had to change because, um, I got sweaty after all that excitement!”

Chat Noir expected hearing Marinette would calm her down, but her heart just started beating faster upon hearing her voice. “Oh, yeah… sure. Okay, sorry, I’ll be off then!”

“Thank you!”

Chat Noir stayed down for a moment, just trying to breath. Marinette was okay. Everything was fine. She was safe.

Another beep, Chat Noir had to hurry. She vaulted across Paris.

She landed back in her room just as the transformation wore off. She pressed the button to summon cheese before Plagg could even open his mouth.

She lied down on her couch, exhausted. “Plagg… Is it normal to pay a lot of attention to one specific civilian?”

“Do you think I can listen to your complaints when I’m starved?”

Fortunately, the cheese delivered at that moment, and as soon as the door closed behind the platter Plagg practically inhaled the Camembert. So Chloé continued, “It’s just… I hate her, a ton, but when I’m supposed to protect her, I feel like- she gets so big, all of a sudden, like super important or something. Is that a side-effect of being Chat Noir? That I want to protect even civilians I hate?”

Plagg smacked his lips as he finished the wheel. “Is this about Marinette?”

Chloé flushed at him being able to guess so easily. “Yes.”

“Are you sure it’s only when you’re Chat Noir?”

Chloé nodded. “Well of course, we’re just enemies when I’m Chloé, after all.”

“Did you fall into a river in Egypt?…”
Chloé raised an eyebrow, “What? No, we’re in Paris, how is that even-”

“…’Cause you’re in denial.”

Before she could debate further, her cell phone rang. Adrien? She answered it.

“Chloé? Have you seen my father’s book?”

Chapter Text

Plagg hovered around Chloé as she pulled herself up the Agreste Mansion fence with her grappling hook. “I thought this day couldn’t get any better, but I was wrong. Breaking and entering is a crime, and you are now officially a repeat offender.” Plagg wiped away an imaginary tear. “I couldn’t be more proud.”

“This is not a good day,” Chloé grunted as she reached the top of the wall, “Adrien is in trouble.”

“He said he could never go to school again, that’s great! No more homework!”

Chloé slid down the wall, dropping into a roll at the bottom. “No, you idiot, that means all of his work will be homework.

Plagg continued to espouse the joys of not going to school as Chloé climbed up the building. When she finally got to Adrien’s window, she could see him with slumped posture, playing foosball by himself. Now that’s just sad. She knocked on his window, and Plagg darted inside her jacket.

Adrien’s head jerked up. His eyes widened, and he immediately ran to open the window.

She hopped into the room, landing on light feet. With the window open, she could hear piano music playing softly from a speaker. Adrien closed the window. “Again, Chloé?”

“You can’t just call me being like, ‘Father found out I took his book, now I’m grounded forever and will never go to school again!’ and not expect me to come over.”

“Father said he can’t trust me anymore, letting you in here is me breaking his trust again!”

“What is he gonna do, not let you go to school anymore? Oh wait!” Chloé rolled her eyes. “He already did. Besides, if he comes in, just scream ‘Help! She broke in!’ and I’ll just run. Claim I’m crazy infatuated with you or something, and that I’m a stalker you have no control over.”

Adrien huffed. “It’s not like he’s going to come check on me. He doesn’t spend any time with me if he can help it.”

“So what gives him the right to keep you from school?”

Adrien sighed, turning back to the foosball table. “He’s a bit overprotective.”

Chloé went to the other side of the table, grabbing some handles to join the game. “More like ridiculously overprotective. It’s literally so unfair, you’ve worked so hard to get to go to school, and he just takes it away?”

“I know it’s bad, but…” Adrien spun a handle, but missed the ball. “He’s the only parent I’ve got. I have to listen to him.”

“He’s getting all bent out of shape over literally just a book? Can’t he just buy a new one?”

Adrien kicked the ball with one of his players. “No, it’s one of a kind, and I was careless enough to lose it.”

Chloé was shocked long enough that Adrien was able to score a goal. She scowled, and dropped the ball back into the center. “Wait, what do you mean, lose it?”

“I don’t know,” Adrien whined, “I had it with me this morning, but after school, when I checked my bag it was gone!”

Chloé thought back to the scene between Lila and Marinette in the park. “Adrien… Did you talk to Lila at all today?”

Adrien cocked his head, “The new girl? Just a bit, in the morning. Why?”

“I saw her with the book after school.”

A ball flew right into Adrien’s goal, but he was too surprised by the revelation to fish it out and continue the game. “What?! Why?”

“I don’t know, I thought it was weird too!”

Adrien put a hand on his chin. “So Lila has the book…”

“Do you think if you got it back, your dad would let you go to school?

Adrien took a big breath. “I don’t know… but it’s worth a try.”

“Great! So we can just confront Lila at school tomorrow-”

“No, you.”

“Huh?”

Adrien’s expression was pained as he spoke, “You have to confront her. I can’t go to school, remember?”

Chloé frowned. “Sorry Adrikins, I wasn’t thinking.”

“No worries,” Adrien smiled, “I’m glad you’re my friend, Chloé.”

“Your best friend,” Chloé corrected.

“Isn’t Sabrina your best friend?”

“I can have multiple.”

Adrien laughed. “Okay, if you say so. It’s starting to get late though, and as much fun as a sleepover would be, I think Nathalie would start to get suspicious if you’re here every morning.”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “Don’t even worry. I’ll go home, come up with the perfect confrontation, talk to Lila in the morning, and have the book back to you by tomorrow afternoon.”

 


 

Chloé entered the classroom, and saw every member there except Adrien and Lila. Although seeing Marinette alive and whole in the flesh was a relief, the absence of Lila was much more pressing.

“Where. Is. Lila?” Chloé hissed.

“You didn’t hear?” Alix raised an eyebrow. “Her parents were traveling or something, so she went with them for a bit. She’ll be doing her work remotely.”

“Speaking of absences, where’s Adrien?” Marinette asked.

Marinette.

Who was with Lila.

When Lila dropped the book.

Chloé grabbed Marinette’s wrist. “Come on, Dupain-Cheng, we’re talking in private.”

Marinette stumbled as Chloé pulled her out of the classroom, but followed along. Chloé found the nearest supply closet and shoved Marinette in. “What the heck, Chloé, is this some new form of bullying?”

Chloé entered the closet herself and closed the door behind her. Huh, this was a bit smaller than she anticipated, considering their noses were practically touching. That was okay, though, the closeness could make it more intimidating. “We need to talk.”

“About what?” Marinette reached for the handle, but Chloé put up her own hand to block it.

“Yesterday, when you met Lila in the park, she showed you a book.”

Marinette’s brows furrowed. “How would you even know about that?”

Chloé started to sweat. There was no way to say ‘I stalked you’ without sounding like a creep. Marinette would think she was a creep. And hate her even more than she does now. And probably never talk to her again. Chloé tried to calm herself down, but it was hard to do so when Marinette’s eyes were less than a foot away from hers. “Doesn’t matter. What matters is that the book she showed you was stolen, it’s Adrien’s father’s.”

Marinette gasped, a sound that made Chloé suddenly wonder how the closet got so warm all of a sudden.

“And because Adrien ‘lost it’, his father is never letting him go to school again!” Chloé declared, trying to keep her mind on the topic.

“Oh no!” Marinette was concerned.

“Lila dropped it at some point,” Chloé recalled, “Did you pick it up?”

Marinette stared at her, eyes big. “I… I…”

Chloé grabbed the collar of Marinette’s jacket and pulled her closer, trying to intimidate her. “Spit it out, Dupain-Cheng.”

“Um, it could have-… Maybe…” Marinette was red in the face. Oh? Was that guilt?

“Adrien might never go to school again, so you are going to tell me if you have the book, and I-”

Chloé was shut up by lips on hers.

Now it was Chloé’s turn to gasp. She let go of Marinette’s jacket, but Marinette pressed Chloé up against the wall of the closet, so she couldn’t back away. Chloé felt like she was processing everything in slow motion. Marinette’s lips were as soft as she imagined, but also slippery, sliding against Chloé’s in a slow rhythm that stole her breath away.

Chloé realized belatedly that theoretically she should shove her enemy off and punish her audacity, but when she raised her arms she only had enough strength to settle them around Marinette’s neck. That motion emboldened Marinette, and she slipped a hand to the small of Chloé’s back, shirt rising just a bit so one of Marinette’s heated fingers pressed against bare skin. The contact drew a high-pitched hum from Chloé against Marinette’s lips.

Chloé was confused in about 500 different ways, but she was certain that whatever was going on here felt good, raising adrenaline faster than fighting an Akuma. She felt light-headed, and she couldn’t tell if it was from struggling to breath with Marinette on her face, or from the frantic euphoria she was experiencing. Her mind blanked out; there was nothing she could focus on other than the heat between the two of them.

Then the bell rang.

Marinette jumped back, knocking against the opposite wall with an audible thud. “Shit, we’re gonna be late.”

Hearing Marinette swear made Chloé wanted to drag her back into the kiss.

Marinette opened the door, “U-um, sorry.”

She ran out, probably to return to the classroom.

The classroom. Class. Yeah, Chloé should probably go to that. She stumbled out of the closet, like waking from a dream. What was that?

A confession? But Marinette and Chloé hated each other, that made no sense.

A threat? Had Marinette somehow figured out Chloé’s sexuality, and wanted to use that as blackmail or something?

She walked through the classroom doors, still in a haze. Marinette squirmed in her seat, avoiding Chloé’s eyes. Chloé wanted to grab her and ask her what the heck motivated her to that, but she couldn’t confront her in the middle of class.

Chloé slid into her seat, ignoring Miss Bustier’s comment about tardiness. As class continued, Chloé let the words wash over her without paying any attention. Her fingers ran over her own lips, still wet from the experience. She shivered at the reminder. Then she realized:

She liked it.

Chloé Bourgeois had liked making out with Marinette Dupain-Cheng. She was running through the scene in her head again and again like some obsessive teenager with a crush. She felt like getting on her knees and begging Marinette for a round two.

She shook her head, grimacing. Nope. A Bourgeois does not beg. She must be confused. That was the first time a girl had ever kissed her (that she could remember, sorry Ladybug), so maybe her body automatically reacted so desperately. It’s not like she thought Marinette was special, creative, strong, dynamic…

Her eyes shifted left to see Marinette’s state. Marinette stared up at the teacher, the end of her pencil resting thoughtlessly on her lips. Those soft lips that Chloé felt on her own. Chloé’s face flushed anew, and she had to look away.

The obvious solution was to never talk to Marinette again. Clearly, that kiss made it impossible for Chloé to look straight (ha) at Marinette anymore. Chloé could simply repress these feelings, and eventually they’d have no choice but to fade away.

With that in mind, Chloé avoided Marinette all day. It wasn’t hard, so Chloé suspected that Marinette had the same idea.

 


 

Adrien called her just as she got home. “So did you find the book?”

Everything clicked into place. It wasn’t a confession, it wasn’t a threat, “It was a diversion!”

“What?”

“Nevermind,” Chloé told him.

“So were you able to talk to Lila?”

“No, she just went on a trip, but I have another lead.”

“Another lead?”

After all, why would Marinette try to divert Chloé from the topic at hand unless she had something to hide? “Marinette was with Lila after school yesterday, and I’m almost certain she has it or knows what happened to it.”

“Well that’s good! Marinette’s nice, so I’m sure she’ll return it as soon as you ask.”

“Yeah…” Marinette wasn’t the type to hide things for no reason, so for what reason would she have to risk Adrien never going to school again? “I’ll talk to her tomorrow. You hang in there, Adrien!”

“Thanks Chloé.”

With that, they ended the phone call.

Plagg hovered uncertainly around Chloé. “So do you want to talk about that kiss that happened, or-”

“Marinette thought she could use her kissing wiles to distract me!” Chloé huffed. “Well, I’m not that easily distracted!”

“Not gonna lie, you were pretty distracted after that.”

Chloé glared at him. “Plagg, claws out.”

Now as Chat Noir, Chloé decided she was going to run around Paris for a bit, work off this sudden restless energy.

Her baton beeped, however. A message? She opened it up. Ladybug’s voice came out, “Chat Noir, I think I know who Hawkmoth is, get your whiskers over here, fast!”

Chat Noir raced to Ladybug’s location, landing on the roof of the school.

“Chat Noir! Did you get my message?”

Chat Noir strutted closer. “Yeah, and I can’t wait to know more, my darling detective. So who’s the suspect?”

“Gabriel Agreste.”

That put Chat Noir off balance. She gasped. Adrien’s dad? Really?

Ladybug continued, “You know? The fashion designer? He’s secretive, never leaves his house, and get this,” Ladybug opened up her phone to show some Agreste designs, “Check out his brands logo.”

Chat Noir squinted at the image. “A butterfly?” Just like the Akumas.

Being a supervillain would be a nice explanation about why he was such a terrible father. Trapping Adrien, never paying attention to him, everything… Chat Noir could feel her hands clench at the pain Adrien felt over his father. Yeah, honestly, even if he wasn’t Hawkmoth, Chat Noir was thrilled for an excuse to beat up Gabriel Agreste.

“Let’s get him,” Chat Noir decided.

 


 

Okay, so that theory had to be a bust, considering Gabriel Agreste got Akumatized, but at least it seemed like he bonded with Adrien a bit more after the harrowing experience.

 


 

Yes, Chloé said she was going to avoid Marinette for the rest of their lives, but Adrien’s school life was at stake. Today she would make Marinette tell her what was going on. She marched up the school steps with determined purpose.

Then she saw Adrien get out of his limousine at the entrance.

Nino caught him first, hugging him, but Chloé shoved him aside so she could wrap him in a hug as well. As they parted, more students came by to welcome Adrien back. Chloé narrowed her eyes at the crowd. No Marinette. Hmm.

As the crowd thinned out, Chloé asked Adrien, “What made your dad change his mind?”

“Apparently someone found the book and returned it.”

‘Someone’, huh?

 


 

Chloé waited until after school this time. No bell would interrupt them.

“Marinette. You owe me an explanation.” She stood with her arms crossed as Marinette was packing her things.

“Chloé! So sorry, but actually I have something super urgent after school-”

Chloé grabbed her, “I have something super urgent right now.”

Adrien watched Chloé drag Marinette away with a raised eyebrow, but Chloé didn’t owe anyone else an explanation.

“Chloé! Let go of me, I can walk!” Marinette insisted.

Chloé glared at her, but let go. They were nearly back at the same supply closet. Chloé went for it, holding it open for Marinette to enter.

Marinette groaned. “We can’t just talk out in the open? Like normal people?”

“Based on your desire to divert the conversation yesterday, I though maybe the truth was so sensitive that you’d appreciate some privacy.”

Marinette reddened at the reminder, but shuffled into the closet.

Chloé followed after her. “So you gave the book back to Adrien’s father?”

Marinette’s mouth fell into an ‘O’ shape. “How did you know that?”

“Please,” Chloé put a hand on Marinette’s shoulder, “You think I’m blind? That… thing you did yesterday was clearly to distract me from the book. And why would you want to distract me unless you had something to hide? Of course you had the book. But Adrien told me it was returned, so I made a guess that you just confirmed.”

Marinette’s jaw clenched back shut. “Promise you won’t tell Adrien? I don’t want him to think I was trying to steal it or something, I just happened to pick it up from Lila, and I thought it was really cool, but then you told me all that, so I felt guilty even though-”

Chloé brought a finger up to Marinette’s lips. Marinette’s soft lips. Maybe this closet wasn’t such a good idea. She could feel her body warm at the memory of their previous encounter. “Don’t ramble.”

When Chloé pulled her finger back, Marinette spoke again, softly, “I’m sorry for, um, that thing yesterday. You were just so close, and there was some sort of- I don’t know, I swear I don’t kiss everyone all the time just ‘cause they’re close, but it just felt like a natural- I mean, I didn’t want to talk about the book, and your lips were right there-”

Chloé didn’t want to talk about this anymore, so she kissed Marinette.

Marinette squeaked, but as Chloé leaned into her, she began to relax, letting their lips move against each other. The kiss was restorative; Chloé felt like she was gulping a glass of water down a parched throat. Marinette’s hands went around Chloé’s back, and Chloé squeezed Marinette’s waist, eliciting another squeak.

The sound made Marinette’s mouth open and Chloé slid her tongue in. Marinette leaned back against the nearest wall, barely not falling over. With their tongues intermingling, Chloé was able to taste Marinette. Her instinct was to describe it as ‘sweet’, but that wasn’t quite right. That was approximating her desire for it, swiping her tongue to taste it again and again… ‘addicting’ would be a better word.

Marinette was now clinging to Chloé like she might collapse otherwise. Their mouths were interlocked, blending together in an attempt to get even closer. But Chloé knew this couldn’t last forever.

She pulled back, and Marinette leaned towards her as if to chase her lips before meeting her eyes and stopping. “What-” Marinette’s voice was weak.

“That was payback,” Chloé informed her.

With that, Chloé exited the closet and left Marinette behind.

Chapter Text

The television played idly as Chloé reclined on her couch, ate some bonbons, and discussed recent… events with Plagg.

“Whats do you mean, ‘she’s just an enemy’? You made out with her! Twice!”

Chloé wagged her finger. “She kissed me .”

“And then you kissed her !”

“That was revenge.”

Plagg crossed his itty-bitty arms. “Uh-huh, so are you gonna claim you didn’t enjoy it?”

Chloé took a deep breath. “Maybe I’m a tiny bit horny; doesn’t mean I’m into Marinette.”

Plagg knocked his head against the wall.

“Don’t get brain damage,” Chloé warned him, “Anyways, I can’t like Marinette, since I’m in love with Ladybug .”

Plagg groaned. “You can like two people at once, Chlo.”

Chloé ignored him to pay attention to the television. “Tonight, for our first edition of Face-to-Face, you’ll have the opportunity of a lifetime! The chance to talk live with Ladybug and Chat Noir, along with me, Nadja Chamack. We’ll be revealing some sizzling hot information about your favorite superheroes. Don’t be bemused, it’s just the news!”

Plagg snorted. “Sizzling hot information? Like what?”

Chloé leaned back on her couch and waved her hand dismissively. “Any information about Paris’s hottest superheroes is sizzling.”

“You know what she’s going to ask you?”

She picked up a bonbon to eat. “No, but I’m certain I’ll give a good interview. People love us, and I have a bit of a drama-bomb to drop.”

“Oh?” Plagg floated closer by.

“It’s about time Chat Noir came out publicly.”

Plagg snorted. “Even though Chloé Bourgeois won’t?”

Chloé threw a bonbon at Plagg. Unfortunately, he had fast reflexes and dodged.

“’Chloé’ lives in a different world. She doesn’t have that luxury. Besides, if Chat Noir comes out, then people will talk about it. And if people talk about it, I might be able to hear my Daddy’s opinion on someone being gay.”

“Or you could just tell him. If he was going to disown you, I think he would have done it during one of your obnoxious stunts.”

Chloé threw another bonbon, narrowly missing. “As if I could tell him that after claiming I’m madly in love with Adrien.”

“So what happens if Marinette tells him that you two make-out?”

Chloé snorted. “I’ll just deny it. Everyone knows we hate each other, not like she has proof.”

“And what’ll you do if he says Chat Noir is great? Power to Chat Noir, patron saint of lesbians?”

Chloé crossed her arms. “Then I’ll try to figure out Mom’s opinion.”

“And if she approves?”

Chloé bit her lip. “I guess… then I’ll come out? To them, at least?”

Plagg nodded. “Speaking of the interview, isn’t it soon?”

Chloé glanced at the clock. “You’re right, Plagg, claws out!”


 

Being the mayor’s daughter and Adrien Agreste’s best friend had its perk. AKA, she knew all the secret entrances to the studios. She took one in the back, and sneaked in on the ceiling so she could dramatically drop onto the interview couch. She landed perfectly, and crossed her legs to give off a casual air. For the showmanship, she also twirled her tail around.

Nadja jumped in her seat. “Huh? Which way did you come in?”

Chat Noir grabbed a bottled water and took a drink. “Secret celebrity door,” She glanced around, “I see Ladybug’s running behind.”

“I thought you two would be arriving together.”

Okay. This was fine. Ladybug was late, but Chat Noir was purr-fectly comfortable filling the spotlight if need be. For now, she would keep Nadja entertained, since they weren’t on air yet. She leaned in closely to Nadja, looking deep into her eyes. “You wanna know a secret?”

Nadja stared back, eyes wide, and nodded.

“I love your haircut.” Chat Noir winked.

Nadja giggled at that. Chat Noir backed up and tried to call Ladybug on her baton. Why wasn’t she picking up?

Someone behind the camera called out, “Going live in ten… nine… eight…”

They continued counting down until the very last three seconds, when Ladybug flew into the room and barely landed on the couch next to Chat Noir. “I thought you decided to stand me up, darling.”

Ladybug smirked. “And let the audience down? Never.” She turned to Nadja, “I’m sorry I’m so late, Nadja.”

Nadja turned to the camera. “Good evening. I’m Nadja Chamack, and this is Face-to-Face. For our first edition, I welcome the beloved guardians of Paris – Ladybug and Chat Noir.” She shifted so she faced them, “Hello, thanks so much for accepting this exclusive interview.”

“Well thank you, Nadja, we’re honored to be here,” Ladybug respectfully replied.

“And hello to all my fans!” Chat Noir blew a kiss and gave a wink to the camera.

“I’m sure thousands have tuned in to watch you tonight,” Nadja commented.

“Don’t encourage her, Nadja, or this kitten won’t stop purring all night.”

Chat smirked. “Don’t listen to her, Nadja. I think my sweetheart is a spot jealous.”

Ladybug flicked Chat Noir’s bell. “Oh? Tell me, kitten, when did I become your sweetheart?”

“What can I say? I’m optimistic.”

Nadja glanced at her wrist. There was some sort of weird watch? She looked up and spoke, “Speaking of sweethearts…”

Chat Noir leaned in close. This is exactly the kind of question she needed to segue into her sexuality. “Oh? Curious?”

“After a hard day’s work protecting Paris, do either of you have a boyfriend you go home to? Viewers are quite curious about your relationship statuses.”

Aww yeah. Chat Noir started, “Actually, I should correct you on the ‘boyfriend’-”

Ladybug slapped her hand over Chat Noir’s mouth. “I’m sorry Nadja, but we need to keep our civilian identities a secret. That’s a bit of a personal question.”

“Come on,” Nadja insisted, “People know you, but they don’t really know you. We see you saving Paris, but we don’t know anything else about you.”

Ladybug by now had released Chat Noir’s mouth. Chat Noir debated whether she should try again, or if Ladybug would try to stop her again. Ladybug spoke, “I think it’s better if Hawkmoth doesn’t know if we have loved ones he could take advantage of.”

Nadja’s smile was strained. “Absolutely! How about we start with a few questions from your biggest fans?”

The monitor across from the camera lit up, revealing Adrien in his room.

“Hello caller, state your name and your question.”

“Hi! Ladybug! Chat Noir! I’m Adrien Agreste, I don’t know if you’d know me…”

Ladybug laughed. “You’re a famous model, we know you.”

Adrien glowed. “Oh! Awesome, um, I’m a huge fan, like huge , I admire everything you guys do, you keep everyone in Paris safe, and-”

“What is your question, Adrien?” Nadja interrupted.

“Oh. Um… Sorry, I don’t really have a question. I just wanted to say hi and tell you guys how much I appreciate all you do.”

Chat Noir’s heart warmed. That was Adrien alright.

“Uh, thank you, Adrien Agreste… Next caller…”

Alya appeared on the screen. “Hi there, Ladybug and Cat Noir!” Ladybug started to squirm. Was she alright? “I’m Alya, and I was wondering if you can grab me an interview for the Ladyblog. You know, since I have way more viewers than Nadja!”

Chat Noir grimaced and glanced at Nadja. She certainly didn’t look happy with the amateur vlogger dissing her show while on it. Alya had no manners at all.

Ladybug gave a nervous chuckle. “Uh, yeah, sure Alya. I’d love to do that.”

“That totally rocks. Thank you, thank you!”

Then a little girl peaked up from the bottom of the screen. “I’m on TV? Mommy!”

Nadja’s eyes bugged out. “Manon? But where’s Marinette?”

“She had to go tell her parents something!” Manon declared.

Alya agreed, “Yeah, and sometimes it can take awhile.”

Nadja disconnected the call. She refocused on Ladybug and Chat Noir. “So, you guys clearly get along.”

“Of course,” Ladybug agreed, and Chat Noir couldn’t help but grin at the easy admission.

“Some people call you ‘bestie goals’. Would you call each other ‘best friends’?”

Chat Noir put her arm around Ladybug. “Absolutely.”

Ladybug nodded. “I know I can rely on her, she’s the best partner a girl could ask for.”

Chat Noir had to hold back from squealing. It wasn’t often she got such direct praise from Ladybug. Nadja continued, “There was one particular Akuma attack that caused a bit of a stir…”

The monitor lit up again, this time with a huge picture of Ladybug kissing Chat Noir. Ah, Dark Cupid, that first kiss Chat Noir couldn’t remember. Chat Noir could feel Ladybug stiffen under her arm.

“You guys feel comfortable enough to kiss-”

“To be fair,” Ladybug interjected, “That was to save Chat Noir.”

“But still, it caused a debate online. Lots of boys weighed in, saying that if they were dating one of you, they would feel a little threatened by the intimacy you guys have. Has that kiss caused any issues with your boyfriends?”

“Wh- Nadja! That’s way too personal!” Ladybug sputtered.

“Come on,” Nadja insisted, “Or do you not have a boyfriend?”

“We’re here to answer questions about saving the city.”

Nadja turned to Chat Noir, “Chat Noir, you’ve been awfully quiet, do you have a boyfriend?”

Chat Noir froze. Ladybug clearly had some boundaries, would Chat Noir answering those questions pressure her to answer questions she didn’t want to? Then again, she didn’t necessarily have to answer the question, she could just… correct it. She licked her lips. “Well, asking if I have a boyfriend, is, I think, a bit presumptuous…”

Nadja gasped. “You have a husband?”

Ladybug stood up. “This interview is so over.”

Wait, she wasn’t done yet! “Woah, what’s the rush?”

“Uh, there’s an alert. Paris needs us right now!”

Chat Noir knew Paris was more important than an interview, but she wanted to come out… just before she got off-camera, she gave the camera an impish grin. “Nadja, you should have asked if I have a girlfriend.”

Chat Noir ran off with Ladybug. “Wait!” Nadja called behind them, “Elaborate on that!”

They escaped, eventually standing on a roof.

Ladybug didn’t seem as hasty anymore. Chat Noir raised an eyebrow. “So who are we saving again?”

“Just us. Nadja was willing to do anything to make sure her show would be a success and I'm not about to answer anymore of her prime questions.”

“That's the price of success, darling, the price of stardom.”

“We're superheroes not stars we should be doing our job not looking like fools on TV. Or…” Ladybug furrowed her brow. “Or forced to come out.”

Chat Noir laughed. “Aww, were you worried about me darling?”

“Sorry, I didn’t know,” Ladybug muttered, “Or I would have stopped her much earlier.”

“Didn’t know?” Chat Noir leaned on her baton so she could look up at Ladybug with imploring eyes. “Why did you think I was flirting with you?”

Ladybug snorted. “You’re just such a flirt.”

“What about you?”

Ladybug cocked her head. “What about me?”

“We’re not on television anymore. Just here with me, your ‘best friend’.” Chat Noir leaned closer. “Do you have a boyfriend? Girlfriend? Anyone?”

Ladybug averted her eyes, “No…”

“Which do you want?” Chat Noir forced herself to sound casual, but the possible answers made her nervous.

“I… I thought I was straight,” Ladybug began, still not looking directly at Chat Noir, “But recently I’ve done things that make me think I’m not… entirely… straight.”

Chat Noir laughed. “Like kissing a girl?”

Ladybug whipped her head around to stare at Chat Noir. “How do you know about that?”

Chat Noir raised an eyebrow. “Um, I watched the footage? Nadja even showed a picture of our kiss during the interview.”

Ladybug relaxed. “Oh. Yes, um, there’s that.”

Before Chat Noir could ask more questions, a large screen on a building lit up.

“Welcome to a new show, hosted by me, Prime Queen. Don’t be bemused, it’s just the news! Tonight, Ladybug and Cat Noir disappointed all their loyal fans by refusing to tell us if they’re dating anyone. I’ve prepared some trials just to see how far they’re prepared to keep the truth hidden from us.”

The two of them stared at the screen as it went noisy. What kind of trials? Then the screen cleared up again, revealing Adrien tied up in a subway carriage. Chat Noir gasped, not Adrien!

“Welcome to the subway of suspense. If it reaches seventy miles per hour, you can say goodbye to your precious little friend.” She glanced at her watch. “Well, well, look here, the ratings are rising! More and more of you want to know if our superhero friends will get here on time. The suspense is killing him! Ladybug! Cat Noir! Are you willing to travel through the screen to save your darling Adrien?”

Of course they were.

 


 

They were completely trapped in the subway car. Prime Queen wasn’t even there, instead watching them through the screens. Ladybug whispered to Chat Noir, “We have to lure her over her first or we'll never capture her Akuma! So let's just play along with her, at least it'll buy us some time.”

“Meaning?”

“Okay Prime Queen, I’ll admit to my relationship. But I don’t have a boyfriend…” She grabbed Chat Noir’s hand. “You win. I confess, Chat Noir and I are dating. We are… in… love.”

Chat Noir logically was aware this was pretend, but hearing Ladybug say those words and hold her hand did unhealthy things to her heart, and she was radiating happiness.

The train stopped abruptly, sending Adrien and the superheros sprawling. Ladybug landed on top of Chat Noir, and she internally thanked all the deities she knew for it.

“Did I just hear you purr?” Ladybug asked.

Chat Noir realized that yes, there was a happy rumbling resonating through her throat and chest. That was new. She consciously stopped it. “Uh, no way!”

Prime Queen spoke through the screen again, and Ladybug started to argue with her, trying to persuade her to come face them. Chat Noir took the opportunity to admire Ladybug, and to wonder. Ladybug didn’t necessarily need to claim Chat Noir and her were dating, she could have made up a boyfriend or something. Maybe, somewhere, deep down, Ladybug wanted…

“Are you really dating, or just best friends pretending to get me off your back? To prove your feelings are genuine, you’re going to have to take off your masks, which means you must both give me your Miraculous!”

“Not a chance, Prime Queen!”

Chat Noir saw her chance. She could kiss Ladybug and overwrite those memories of kissing Marinette with memories of kissing the love of her life. “Wait, I know how we can prove our feelings.” She grabbed Ladybug’s shoulders and started to learn in. “Pucker up!”

Ladybug, however, gave her most unamused glare. “Not a chance, kitten.”

Chat Noir pouted, but backed off.

 


 

One more rescue (of Alya), some clever thinking, and one purification later, Chat Noir and Ladybug could finally take a break from being the stars of one of the most villainous broadcasts in Paris.

Ladybug was about to swing away when Chat Noir leaned towards her. “What? No goodbye kiss? I thought we were dating.”

Ladybug rolled her eyes and used a single finger to push Chat Noir away by the nose. “Cool down, kitten, our Miraculous are running out of time.”

She used her yoyo to getaway, swinging across Paris. Chat Noir sighed as she watched her. Maybe one day…

Chapter Text

Chloé stared at the video .

Mayor Bourgeois, Interview on Ladybug and Chat Noir.

There was only herself and Plagg in her room. She made sure the door was locked. Would a servant find it weird if they saw her watching an interview involving her dad? It’s not like she had watched any of them in the past.

This one, however, was the day after Chat Noir came out. There was a very good chance that her sexuality would be addressed to some degree. Why else would they do the interview? These sorts of interviews usually only happened after really big Akumas, or back when the two heroes were new to the job.

Her mouse hovered over the video. Did she want to know? What if he didn’t approve? Wouldn’t it be better not to know?

“Look, are you gonna watch the video or not? Because if not, I see a good-looking ‘Biggest Fails Compilation’ in your suggested videos-”

“Give me a minute!” Chloé shrieked, “I need to prepare myself!”

“The longer you wait, the more nervous you’ll get.”

Chloé leaned back on her chaise. She didn’t think she could get any more nervous than this. There were snacks on her coffee table, but she had absolutely no appetite for them. Her stomach felt like a stone, heavy and stiff. She tried to take some deep breaths, but breathing wouldn’t guarantee Daddy would love every part of her, including her sexuality.

“Chlo~” Plagg whined.

“Fine!”

Might as well rip the band-aid right off, right? Chloé clicked the video with that burst of energy, immediately regretting it but forcing herself to pull her hand back from the computer so she wouldn’t take back her decision.

“-Of course I’m thankful to the Paris’s greatest superheroes. Prime Queen was a scary villain, but they kept us safe, even rescuing Adrien Agreste and, uh,” An aide whispered something into his ear before he continued, “Arya Cestair. Their dedication to Paris is unparalleled, and I’m proud of them.”

“Do you think they’re good role models?”

“Of course!” Hearing these compliments gave Chloé at least some relief, her Daddy liked her superhero alter-ego for sure. “Any child should strive to become even half as heroic as them!”

“Do you think Chat Noir being a lesbian could be a bad influence on the children of Paris?”

Chloé felt nauseous. How dare the interviewer ask a question like that? Like her sexuality was some sort of sin?

Her Daddy raised an eyebrow. “Chat Noir? I don’t think her… preferences affect her hero work. The children of Paris look up to her for her heroic actions. What she does in her personal life is her business.”

Chloé felt like she could breath properly now. It wasn’t a certain answer, but at least he didn’t jump to hatred or bigotry.

The interviewer didn’t quite let it go. “Ladybug and Chat Noir pretended to be together romantically to defeat Prime Queen. I think that makes her sexuality relevant to her hero work.”

“Well…”

“How do you think children might be affected if they see their two girl superheroes playing girlfriends?”

“Honestly?” Her Daddy scratched his head. “They’re perfect for each other. They work together flawlessly, I think they’d make a wonderful relationship model for kids to look up to.”

Chloé could barely hear what the interviewer said after that. She just heard enough to know that the topic changed. She let the video continue playing, too frozen to hit the pause button.

Waves of emotion washed over her, but she couldn’t even identify what they were. Relief? Joy? Lingering uncertainty? She couldn’t pin it down, but a tingling sensation was rising. Her lower lip wobbled.

She burst into tears. She was okay . Daddy was okay with her. He even approved of a relationship between her and her crush. She rubbed at her own sobbing face, trying to wipe away the tears. She felt like she had dropped a hundred pound weight, and was finally free to move again. Based on her shameless ugly sobbing right now, Chloé wasn’t ready to come out, not yet, but one day… She sobbed again, realizing that she could indulge in a one day daydream, thinking about a future where Daddy knew she liked girls. And one day, she would find a way to tell him. He could know about her real crushes, he could meet her girlfriend, he could attend her wedding one day.

Something knocked against her cheek. She turned to see Plagg, resolutely avoiding eye contact, but holding up a small tissue box she kept on her night stand. She cried anew at the tender gesture, but grabbed the box and immediately pulled out some tissues. She was so gross right now, but she knew Plagg’s cheese was even grosser, so him seeing her like this wasn’t too embarrassing. Chloé hadn’t even realized just how much she was afraid of until this interview reassured her. Now with those fears lifted she felt as light as a feather. Her Daddy wouldn’t be disgusted, he wouldn’t hate her, he wouldn’t kick her out of the house. She sobbed as she realized that as unrealistic as all those things were, knowing his love for her, she had still somewhere deep down held onto the infinitesimal possibility they could happen. Tiny prickling fears holding her back from relaxing into her skin, picking away at her sense of security so slowly she didn’t even recognize she had been insecure.

Eventually, her tears slowed down, and her breathing evened out. Plagg was strangely silent throughout this breakdown, but now that Chloé’s shoulders were no longer shaking, he settled on one of them. Chloé breathed deeply, taking comfort in the contact. Right now, Plagg was the only one who definitively knew Chloé Bourgeois was a lesbian.

But one day Daddy would know. And it would be okay.

She teared up again at the thought, but held strong to avoid breaking down again.

Plagg spoke softly, “Can I play the fail compilation now?”

Chloé gave an amused snort. “Go ahead.”

As he moved the mouse and clicked to play it, Chloé tried to focus on the video, letting herself laugh. And trying very much not to think about the fact that she still didn’t know what her mother might think.

Chapter Text

There Marinette stood, across from Chloé, fencing mask under her arm and breastplate on. Chloé almost snorted under her own mask at the sight. What was Marinette doing, trying to fence? Chloé, even with all her grace and beauty, still had not yet pleased Monsieur D’Argencourt with her skills. As if Marinete could prove herself to him and get into the class. Chloé was fortunate enough that her father could guarantee her entry, but Marinette would have to go through this test with all the other plebeians.

“Get into position!” Monsieur D’Argencourt declared.

Chloé stepped up to Marinette, who hesitantly put the mask on her head, but didn’t pull it down to cover her face yet. She held up her foil like she’d never held a weapon in her life. This girl needed some serious guidance; she was lucky she had Chloé Bourgeois. “Come on,” Chloé directed her, “Bend your knees, then stretch your left foot back, turned outwards.”

Marinette made an approximation of the proper position, staring at her own feet the whole time.

“Close enough, for now,” Chloé decided.

Marinette lifted her foil tentatively, clearly still unsure. Chloé decided it would be faster to show than to do, and put her hands on Marinette. She held Marinette’s foil hand with her own, angling it to go forward. Her body was still stiff, so she put a hand on her back and angled her correctly.

She spoke into Marinette’s ear, “Now, put your saber forward, like this…”

Marinette’s pose was… serviceable. Chloé realized her hand was still on Marinette’s back, so she pulled it back quickly to fully evaluate her.

“You’re not the worst,” Chloé complimented her.

Marinette gave a shy smile, “T-thanks.”

D’Argencourt’s voice called out, “Greet each other!”

Of course, the salute. Chloé was a big fan of the etiquette, it’s what made the sport more than violence. She lifted her mask; it was good manners to show ones face for the salute.

Marinette’s eyes bugged out. “Chloé?”

Chloé raised one eyebrow. What kind of reaction was that? “Yes?”

“I, uh, didn’t realize you were in this class. It doesn’t seem like your kind of thing.”

“There’s plenty you don’t know about me, Dupain-Cheng,” Chloé countered, “Let me show you my dedication. Do you at least know how to salute?”

“Yes! I read it in a fencing book, just let me…”

Marinette raised her foil, holding it vertical in front of her face, waiting just a moment before swinging it outwards to face the ground at a forty-five degree angle. It was plain, by the book, though executed sufficiently enough to be identifiable as a salute. She needed to see how someone with experience did things.

So Chloé brought her foil up, legs tight together and body held in perfect symmetry. She closed her eyes, only to open them again as she swung outwards for dramatic effect. She threw in a swirling flourish, twisting her wrist to demonstrate her fine control, before landing her foil’s tip towards the ground.

“En garde! Prêt, allez!”

With the etiquette done, Chloé brought down her mask, and waited for Marinette to do the same. When she did so, the two of them got into the proper stances (although honestly Marinette’s foot was angled a little too acutely towards the other, but Chloé could correct that later). Chloé decided to wait for Marinette’s first attack, allowing her an opportunity to attempt a lunge before putting her in her place. However, Marinette just stared at her, pose held, like a perfect target. Chloé had to frown at that. “Marinette, you’re supposed to touch me.”

“Touch you?” Marinette’s voice went up an octave.

Chloé was glad her face was covered by the mask. “With the foil, you pervert.”

Marinette sputtered, “Perv? I’m not-”

Chloé was done waiting. She lunged swiftly, aiming for Marinette’s protective breastplate. She was surprised when Marinette twisted, perfectly timing to dodge the tip, and dropping into a lunge of her own before Chloé had time to retreat.

Chloé stared down at Marinette’s bending foil, the tip pressed into Chloé’s chest.

“Attaque! Touche. Point!” D’Argencourt gestured to Marinette for the point. “Continue.”

Chloé put her hands on her hips. “Since when do you have such good reflexes?”

“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me,” Marinette returned.

“No, really though, that was great reflexes, better than a beginner ought to be.”

Marinette scratched the back of her head. “Uh, I don’t know, I guess since I’m so clumsy, I’ve gotten used to dodging unexpected obstacles?”

Chloé gave an amused huff. “We ought to continue.”

Marinette’s form was far from good, but despite that her performance was stellar for a beginner. At this rate, Marinette’s entrance into the class was an actual possibility. She actually managed another hit on Chloé, though Chloé got a few on Marinette as well. Chloé even got the opportunity to explain some of the saber fencing rules, and the amicable, educational interaction felt almost alien with Marinette. Literally fighting instead of verbally fighting seemed to help the two of them get along better.

“Hey, you! Are you Mr. D'Argencourt, the fencing master? I wanna join your team.”

Everyone’s attention turned to the mysterious red-suited fencer. They made bold claims, and ended up demanding to fight the best student there. That was obviously Adrien, (for now, surely in a few years Chloé would surpass him,) so he stepped up to their challenge. The newcomer was arrogant, but Chloé had to admit the confidence was admirable… assuming they could deliver what they promised.

Their fight with Adrien using the electric foils was tense and close. Chloé gave Marinette quick notes on the system, since she kept asking dumb questions. Though Chloé had to admit it was kind of nice to feel like an expert compared to Marinette. If Marinette joined fencing, maybe she’d ask Chloé more, and they could talk, and fight without fighting…

The combatants stripped the electrical part to do it the old-fashioned way, and the fight upgraded from ‘cool’ to ‘awesome’. The class had to run to keep up with their action, even going up the stairs into another room. Well, Marinette and Chloé got up there at least. The rest of the class wasn’t so great at keeping up. Chloé was again surprised by Marinette’s ability to dodge obstacles and catch up with the fight.

The two of them stood, side-by-side, eyes trained on the fight happening in front of them. Adrien and the stranger traded attacks, parries, and ripostes with wild abandon, foils flying faster than Chloé could blink. It was exciting, but Chloé wanted to know if Marinette understood. She glanced to her right, seeing Marinette’s wide-eyed profile.

“Who got the first hit? Who?” The stranger shouted at Chloé and Marinette.

Chloé’s head snapped back to the match. Or the end of the match, she guessed.

“Uhh,” Marinette bit her lip, “It was really close, I don’t…”

D’Argencourt jumped to the entrance. “Who touched first? Tell us now!”

“I don’t know! I think,” Marinette darted her eyes between the two combatants, “Maybe… the person in red?”

If that person had the first touch, that would mean they won the match. And if they won the match, that meant they would be accepted into the class, filling up the one open spot, leaving no chance for Marinette. Chloé’s lips were moving before she even registered her plot, “Actually, Adrien touched first.”

D’Argencourt nodded. “Chloé, since you are more experienced, I’m going by your judgment. This victory is an honor to the D’Argencourt Academy!”

The stranger shook Adrien’s hand, then walked away with posture straight but head bowed. As they left, Adrien lifted his mask and turned to Chloé, glaring. “Are you sure, Chloé?”

Chloé pouted. She could already feel the tickling sensation of guilt building up in her gut from the question, and jumped to the defensive. “Are you saying I’m wrong, Adrien?”

Adrien turned to D’Argencourt, “I think they touched me first.”

“The referee has the last word!”

Adrien gave Chloé a look. Oh no, that wasn’t a good look. “I think we should have a rematch.”

Chloé groaned. She probably owed it to Adrien to make things right again. “Fine, I’ll go get them.”

She went to follow the combatant outside. They literally stabbed the ground with the red foil, leaving it in the ground. Geez, dramatic, much? Chloé had to power walk to catch up to her before she entered a car.

“Hey, wait! Your saber!”

The person removed their helmet. Time slowed down. She had short, dark hair with a blue tinge, which blew in the wind. Her red outfit, that hair… No, it couldn’t be. Or could it? Chloé gulped, then realized she was staring.

“Adrien says he… wants a rematch?”

The confident, athletic, pretty girl shook her head. “What’s the point? He won. There’s no such thing as a second chance in my family. Goodbye.”

She got into the car, which immediately started driving off. Wait, Chloé wasn’t ready to lose her yet. “H-hey! What’s your name!”

Chloé calls for her chauffeur, telling the driver to follow that car. She couldn’t lose this girl, she resembled Ladybug too much to be a coincidence.

 


 

So following the car of an upset girl turns out to be a mistake.

Chloé is on the street, staring at an Akuma on top of the rear of a car she was riding. “I will punish you for making that call.”

“Um, you’re the one who decided to fence away from the referee’s line of sight,” Chloé countered.

She then turned and made a run for it. Chloé needed to change into Chat Noir if she wanted to stand a chance against this Akuma. Unfortunately, the Akuma was quick and jumped in front of her. “Where do you think you’re going? Stay there, nice and patiently.”

Uh oh, the Akuma’s sword was pointed directly at Chloé. That was definitely against fencing etiquette, Chloé didn’t even have her mask with her. Chloé took a step back, and a familiar yo-yo wrapped around the sword. Chloé whipped her head towards the source to see Ladybug on a street lamp. “How’d you like to do a duel with me?"

And duel they did. Unfortunately, a yo-yo did not naturally counter a sword. Ladybug was able to spin it to make shield, but she needed to be able to fight back. Chloé threw the foil she had been carrying, shouting advice as she did so, “Don’t let her close in on you! Fight back!”

Ladybug caught the weapon with ease. “Thank you, but now get out of here. You’re in danger!”

Despite the warning, Chloé couldn’t bear to tear her eyes away from the fight, not while Riposte was getting so close. What if something happened while she ran off to become Chat Noir? She didn’t want to leave Ladybug alone. With one bold sword swipe Ladybug was sent flying. Chloé’s heart almost stopped as she landed prone, dazed from her hit against the concrete, and Riposte took a leap to strike.

Chloé did what felt right, diving to grab Ladybug and pull her into a roll to dodge the attack. They spun pretty far, knocking against the ground, before eventually slowing to a stop with Chloé braced on top of Ladybug. She met Ladybug’s eyes and froze. This position was so familiar, was Chloé subconsciously remembering the Dark Cupid events?

A throbbing pain in Chloé’s ankle made her put that thought away. “Ouch,” She muttered, pulling back to grip the limb.

“Are you hurt?” Ladybug’s voice ached with concern, and a hand landed on Chloé’s back.

Chloé forced herself not to freak out about being touched by the love of her life. “I’m fine.”

“I need to get you as far away from that girl as possible.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

Ladybug threw her yoyo out, catching a building. She then pulled Chloé close to her, and Chloé had to bite her lip to keep from squealing. She met Ladybug’s eyes, and couldn’t help but smile. Then Riposte got up, and they had to hurry away.

As they flew in the air, just before Ladybug landed on the roof, she pulled Chloé into a princess carry. Chloé’s heart was pounding, and not because she was being targeted by an Akuma.

Ladybug put Chloé down next to a tall vertical section of a roof. Chloé took the chance to grip her ankle again. Adrenaline was keeping her from suffering too much, but she could already feel the throbs of pain.

Ladybug crouched next to her. “It’s going to be hard for me to fight and protect you at the same time.” She pulled out her yo-yo phone and muttered to herself, “Where are you, kitten?”

Chloé put on her best I’m-definitely-not-Chat-Noir face. “Maybe she’s busy?”

Then Riposte found them, and Ladybug was pulled back into the fight. Chloé limped away, finding another location on the roof with decent cover.

Plagg flew out of her pants pocket. “You’re sure taking some risks today.”

“Don’t really have a choice, do I? Ladybug needs me. Plagg, c-”

“Chloé, are you okay?”

Ladybug’s voice caused Chloé to choke on her words, and Plagg to fly right back into her pocket. Ladybug peeked to see Chloé leaning against the wall. “Uhh, yeah, you too?”

“I’ll feel better once you’re safe, far away from that girl. Come on, let’s go.”

Ladybug once again grabbed Chloé, pressing the small of her back to bring her close. Considering how good Chat Noir was at fighting Akumas, Chloé thought that she would be better at fighting the butterflies that were now fluttering in her stomach. They only got worse as Ladybug swung across Paris. Yes, Chloé had flown across the rooftops of Paris before, but only by her own baton. Having to cling to someone, trusting another person to not drop her and to not crash, was a whole different ballgame. Chloé imagined that with anyone else, she would be screaming and scrambling to get back on solid land. But here in Ladybug’s arms, she knew there was no one else she would trust as much to keep her safe. Ladybug was confidence and competence beyond even what Chloé Bourgeois was capable of, and that knowledge left Chloé free to enjoy the wind rushing through her hair (hopefully not messing it up too much) and the contact between her and Ladybug.

Eventually they landed… at the Louvre?

 


 

It was very sweet that Ladybug wanted to keep Chloé safe. Considering she used to hate Chloé, this naked concern was a welcome change. But really?

A sarcophagus?

Ladybug put her right into the big, dusty, old coffin. Chloé hadn’t felt any cobwebs, but if she found spiders in her hair later she knew exactly who she would blame.

She sighed. Even if that happened, she wouldn’t be able to stay mad at Ladybug for long. Ladybug needed her, just like she needed Ladybug. “Plagg, claws out!”


 

Chat Noir almost blushed at Ladybug’s desperate expression when Riposte tore apart the sarcophagus. Chat Noir was also thankful she didn’t decide to stay there for the duration of the fight, seeing how completely decimated it now was.

 


 

After the Akuma was defeated, Chat Noir rushed to another area of the museum to detransform.

“So… hungry…” Plagg groaned.

Chloé flicked him. “You’re out of luck until we get back to the academy, I don’t keep cheese in my fencing uniform.”

Plagg sniffed, but found refuge back in her pocket. Almost as soon as Chloé turned a corner, she bumped into Ladybug. Ladybug gasped, “There you are!”

Ladybug wrapped Chloé in a hug. Now, technically, Chloé and Ladybug had touched about this much when Chloé was being rescued, but all of that touching had been more or less necessary to pull Chloé along. This was a completely voluntary physical expression of affection, and Chloé could barely think coherently enough to realize she should raise her arms and hug Ladybug back.

All too soon, though, Ladybug pulled back. Their eyes met, but Ladybug quickly looked away, taking a step back and scratching the back of her head. Was… was this shy Ladybug?

Chloé had to say something before Ladybug thought she was staring. “Yeah, I figured it would be better to escape before Riposte came along. Beside, the cobwebs in there might’ve messed up my hair.”

That seemed to relax Ladybug, who laughed at the comment. Chloé pouted, that wasn’t meant to be a joke! “You did the right thing, then,” Ladybug raised a hand and held the tip of some of Chloé’s hair, and Chloé’s heart basically stopped as Ladybug explained, “It would be a shame to ruin this nice hair.”

Chloé opened her mouth. Then closed it. Then opened it again. How was she supposed to respond to that? Ladybug liked her hair? Ladybug liked her hair! Great news, but it was also making Chloé blush like no tomorrow. She needed to change the topic to something that wouldn’t give her a heart attack. “S-so, uh, Chat Noir… finally turned up, huh?”

Ladybug let go of Chloé’s hair. Chloé hated knowing that she would have to wash that hair later. “Yes, thankfully! Between you and me, she’s much better at fencing!”

Chloé giggled. Compliments about both sides of her from Ladybug were making her giddy. “And Riposte?”

“The girl is safe.” Ladybug’s earrings beeped. “Oh no! I’m about to change back! Can you return this?”

Ladybug handed off the red saber to Chloé before running off.

Chloé looked at the foil. What would Ladybug think if she knew that Chloé had maybe slightly indirectly contributed to this Akuma?

She found the fencing combatant outside the Louvre. “Excuse me?”

The girl jumped. “Listen, I…”

She trailed off. Chloé didn’t know what to do here, exactly. The other girl wasn’t saying anything. Was this where people usually apologized?

“I’m sorry,” they both said at the same time.

That made Chloé laugh a bit. Knowing this other girl was also sorry made her feel much less like she was losing. She held out the red weapon, “You should take this back.”

“No, I lost the match. You can keep it.”

Chloé disliked that this girl was just giving up. She didn’t know all the facts, so Chloé informed her, “Honestly, I missed the point, I just assumed Adrien got it because he’s the best at fencing.”

The girl raised an eyebrow. “You completely missed the point?”

“Yeah, I was watching Marinette,” Chloé was explaining before she realized it might be creepy, “It was her first time fencing, so I wanted to see her reaction to two experts really going at it.”

The girl smiled. “You like her a lot.”

It wasn’t a question, and Chloé hated that. She couldn’t be that obvious, could she? “That’s ridiculous, utterly ridiculous!”

The denial just made the girl chuckle.

Time for a topic change. Chloé held the saber out again. “Adrien wanted to do a rematch. He felt like you got that point. So take your weapon already.”

“…Alright.” She took the saber.

Who was this girl anyway? “I’m Chloé Bourgeois, and you are?”

“Kagami Tsurugi.”

Chapter Text

Marinette’s dad, Monsieur Dupain-Cheng, mixed a bowl at the front of the classroom. “I'll let you in on a little secret. I always add cream to the chocolate to make the ganache extra velvety. Then I let infuse for one minute.”

Chloé rolled her eyes. Why had they bothered to bring a baker in for a cooking class? This wasn’t exactly knowledge everyone needed for their lives. “Ugh! Do they seriously think I'm going to get my hands dirty, cooking like some maid? If I want a croissant, I'd just make my butler get it for me.”

Rose piped up, “He’s not making croissants, Chloé, those are macarons!”

“Chloé, have you actually never cooked anything ever?” Marinette asked.

Chloé bristled at Marinette’s tone, as if Chloé were being deprived or something. “Of course not! I’d soil my designer pants if I did!”

She was ready for this to snowball into another famous Chloé-Marinette Brawl, but instead of getting mad Marinette just chuckled. “I think you could stand to get a little dirty, Chloé.”

“Wha- What’s that supposed to mean?” Thrown off her rhythm, Chloé tried to at least sound indignant.

“I guess cooking would be a little too complicated for Chloé Bourgeois.”

Insults. Yes, Chloé was used to those. “Unlike you, I’m not so poor that I need to help my parents make food.”

“I don’t have to help them,” Marinette was standing closer to Chloé than before as she spoke, “But cooking is fun. You wouldn’t know it, considering your inexperience.”

“Fun?” Chloé was confused. Then why did her Daddy pay for other people to do it, if it was supposedly ‘fun’?

“How about we make a bet,” Marinette’s voice was low, like she didn’t want to be overheard.

Chloé snorted. “I’m not like Kim and Alix.”

Marinette ignored the jab. “You cook with my help, and I bet you’d find it fun.”

“…What are the stakes?”

“If you like it, I want you to throw the class a party. If you don’t enjoy it at all, you can ask me to do any one favor.”

Kiss me again, Chloé thought abruptly before shaking her head. She needed to stop being so horny. She wouldn’t ask for that, but having Marinette owe her one was tempting.

“Alright, Dupain-Cheng, challenge accepted.”

“Marinette?” Monsieur Dupain-Cheng called out, interrupting their discussion.

“Yes dad?”

“Could you put this in the school cafeteria fridge for me, please?”

They didn’t talk for the rest of class.

 


 

When Chloé entered the Dupain-Cheng bakery, she was already starting to have regrets.

Marinette started to describe the layout, “Here’s the bakery itself, upstairs we have my parents’ room, the living room…”

“It’s so sad that you have to live where your parents work,” Chloé told her, “Your parents couldn’t afford a separate house?”

Marinette laughed. “Chloé, you literally live in the Bourgeois hotel.”

Chloé’s face flushed with embarrassment.

“Marinette! Glad to see you home,” Marinette’s mom greeted from behind the counter.

In the kitchen, Monsieur Dupain-Cheng called out, “Long time no see, Marinette!”

“Good to see you too! Do you mind if I make macarons with Chloé in the family kitchen?”

“Not at all,” Madame Dupain-Cheng turned to Chloé, “Have fun, Chloé.”

“We’ll see,” Chloé tells her.

With that, Marinette led her upstairs.

“Okay, we’ll start with the dry ingredients…”

 


 

“What’s the point? It’s all still going into the bowl!”

“But sometimes flour gets pressed together, so sifting makes sure that it’s all apart and mixes evenly. You can shake it a bit more, then it’ll go faster.”

“Then some might spill onto me!”

Marinette sighed, and reached out to cover Chloé’s hands with her own. Chloé wanted to slap Marinette away, but if she lifted her hands from the handle and edge of the sifter, she would definitely spill onto herself. So she tolerated Marinette’s warmth as she guided Chloé into a more efficient shaking motion. “Like so.”

Chloé nodded, avoiding eye contact with Marinette. She didn’t think she could look the girl in the eye while their hands were touching. Did Marinette even realize? She seemed so absorbed in the process of cooking that she didn’t even register how close she was getting to Chloé.

Marinette finally gave her some space as she grabbed the mixer. She plugged it in, and handed the machine to Chloé. Chloé squinted at the item, but took it by the obvious handle in her manicured fingers. There was also an obvious switch, turned all the way to the left. So obviously she had to turn it to the right to turn it on, right?

“So we’ll want to start at the lowest-”

Chloé put the mixing end into the bowl and turned the switch all the way to the right.

The effect was an immediate cloud of white that covered everything within a 3 foot radius. Chloé jumped in surprise, dropping both the bowl and the mixer, which was still going, now making an ugly sound as it bounced on the floor. Chloé looked down at herself and screamed. She was covered in powder! This outfit was expensive!

The mixer went quiet, and Chloé registered Marinette’s laughter. Chloé snapped her head up, “This isn’t funny! My outfit is ruined-”

Chloé’s mouth went dry when she saw Marinette.

Marinette was on the ground, sitting casually with the mixer rendered inert in her hand. She was covered in white, just like Chloé, the effects of the white powder accented against Marinette’s dark hair. It felt like seeing Marinette through a fresh lens. Her eyes were crushed shut from laughing so hard, and she was smiling wide. Each shake of her shoulder sent more powder up into the air, like the tiniest particles of snow.

It was ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

So Chloé couldn’t hold back a laugh of her own at the sight. Chloé was a mess, but Marinette was too, and Chloé couldn’t help but be entertained. She never expected to see Marinette like this, on the floor laughing while dirtied by Chloé’s subpar cooking skills.

“You guys alive up there?” Monsieur Dupain-Cheng’s voice called up.

Marinette was able to pause her laughter long enough to respond, “Yeah, we’re fine! Just spilled something, we’ll clean it up!”

“’We’?” Chloé asked. She had agreed to cooking, not to cleaning!

Marinette smirked at her, “It’s only fair, you technically made the mess.”

“But I don’t even know what I did wrong! You were the one directing me!”

“You started the mixer without waiting for me to explain the different settings. We were supposed to do just the lowest setting, but you cranked it right up to the highest.”

Chloé had to bite her lip to resist sputtering more defenses and blames. If she wanted to be worthy of Ladybug, she needed to consider that maybe she occasionally had to… apologize. She had done it a few times by now. She could do it.

“I’m sorry,” she muttered.

Marinette’s eyes widened. “Don’t even worry about it! Honestly, it was pretty funny.”

Chloé hated that Marinette’s assurance made her feel relieved that Marinette didn’t hate her.

Marinette stood up, patting her clothes to shake off the mess. Chloé stared down at her own mess, white covering her whole front. Marinette approached, and started to pat Chloé’s shoulder, sending powder flying.

“What are you-”

“Come on, you’re a mess, you can borrow my shower.”

Marinette then grabbed Chloé’s hand and pulled her to the bathroom.

“Feel free to use anything in there, I’ll grab you some clothes.”

Marinette closed the door before Chloé came up with any protests. Now without Marinette, Chloé figured she might as well take the shower. Plagg popped out of her clothes “I’m gonna snoop through these drawers until you’re done,” He told her, politely giving her privacy. She started up the shower and took off her dirty clothes before stepping into the spray.

This had been bugging her for awhile, but why was Marinette being so nice to Chloé all of a sudden? Chloé had been trying to change, sure, but she thought she hadn’t changed all that much in her behavior towards Marinette. Or… had she? Chloé hadn’t had a real big fight with her in a while. There was the stuff with Lila, fencing, the kisses…

Chloé tried to distract herself from that memory by investigating Marinette’s shampoo. Strawberry? That was just like her. She put some in her hair, sighing with the knowledge that it was certainly not as good quality as her own. She then sighed again, realizing that she would indirectly smell like Marinette.

That made her straighten up her back. Nope. She didn’t want to smell like Marinette. That was weird. She was just using the shampoo because it is what was available. She didn’t have a choice in the matter.

The door to the bathroom opened, and Chloé was glad for the curtain. Marinette’s voice rang out, “Chloé? I brought some clothes, I’ll just leave them on the counter.”

The door closed again. Chloé finished up, and looked at what Marinette had left her with. She almost guffawed. A tank top and sweatpants ? What kind of mess did Marinette take her for? She grumbled to herself as she dressed, then dug through the bathroom searching for a hairdryer. She then clumsily dried her own hair, unused to doing so without an attendant. She frowned looking in the mirror, the washing and drying had brought her curls back with a vengeance. “Marinette?”

Marinette came right up to the door, but did not open it. “What?”

“Do you have a straightener?”

“No? Are you dressed?”

“Yes, but-”

Marinette opened the door, and Chloé almost jumped. Marinette stared at her, eyes dancing over Chloé’s blonde twisting tresses. She must have been pretty surprised to just keep staring instead of saying anything to Chloé.

“What?” Chloé snapped at her.

“Your hair is curly.”

“Thank you, captain obvious.”

“Do you straighten it?” Marinette stepped closer to touch a strand, and the motion gave Chloé a strange sense of deja vu. “It’s so pretty like this, though.”

Chloé tried to crush the rising flush from the compliment. “Of course I straighten it, my mom likes it like that.”

“Huh.”

Chloé pushed herself out of the bathroom, “Stop being so nice! And take a shower, you’re still a mess!”

Marinette giggled. “Alright, alright.”

With that, Marinette closed the door, and Chloé had some time to recover. Marinette had always been nice, but not to Chloé. Her heart wasn’t prepared. She looked around for something to do, anything to distract her from her bubbling emotions.

There was a dustpan next to the mess. Marinette must have brought it out. It looked like she had started sweeping up, but there was still plenty left. Well, Chloé wanted something to do, and since she was wearing Marinette’s clothes, it’s not like her own would get any dirtier.

Fortunately, the dustpan was less complicated than the mixer, and Chloé was able to successfully sweep up most of it without exploding anything. By the time she was done, Marinette was out of the shower. She had her hair down, another thing Chloé was unprepared for.

So Chloé jumped into familiar territory: Confrontation.

“Why are you being so nice to me?” Chloé blurted out before Marinette could say anything.

Marinette glanced around the kitchen, probably appraising the clean-up. She focused back on Chloé, then glanced away just before answering. “No specific reasons. I guess you’ve just seemed a little more… nice, too, recently.”

“But you’re never nice to me,” Chloé protested weakly.

Marinette shrugged. “People change, Chloé. I feel like maybe you’ve started to.”

The thought made Chloé’s heart swell, but she tried to hold back. “I have?”

“I’m pretty sure last year you never would have ended up laughing in my kitchen when trying to cook with me.”

Chloé grumbled. “You were way shy last year.”

Marinette looked confused. “Are you saying I’ve changed?”

Chloé couldn’t look Marinette in the eye as she spoke, so she focused on grabbing another bowl to try the recipe again in. “I’m saying you talk back a lot more than you used to. You’re certainly sassier. It’s like you finally grew a spine.”

Marinette’s voice went up in pitch. “You really think so?”

Chloé raised an eyebrow as she brought a new bowl to the counter. “Yes? You’re like, way confident now.”

Marinette was blushing, and suddenly Chloé realized she might be treading in dangerous territory. Getting along, complimenting Marinette… all of a sudden, Chloé was remembering that kiss…

She had to change the subject. Now. “Come on, I’ll sift it correctly this time. Now, what did we start with again?”

 


 

“And?”

“And what?” Chloé asked as she nibbled one of the delicious yellow macarons they made together.

“Was it fun?”

“Yeah, sure,” Chloé told her.

Then she remembered the bet.

She snapped to attention, seeing Marinette’s chesire grin.

“So when are you going to throw the party?”

Chapter Text

Marinette hummed as she put different jewels on Rose, and Alya took pictures. Partway through though, Alya paused and stared at her phone. “I just got a text from… Chloé?”

The other girls in Marinette’s room commented as they pulled out their phones, “Me too!”

There was the telling buzz of Marinette’s phone in her pocket, and when she pulled it out she saw a message from Chloé as well. She smirked, knowing what it must be.

“Chloé’s inviting me to a party?” Alya asked with a raised eyebrow.

All the girls began to chatter excitedly.

Alya, however, was skeptical. “Is this legit? It doesn’t seem like Chloé to invite everyone to her party.”

“Maybe she’s trying to turn over a new leaf,” Marinette suggested, “She can be nice.”

Alya narrowed her eyes at Marinette. “Who are you and where’s Marinette? I thought you hated her.”

“Hate is a strong word,” Marinette avoided Alya’s eyes.

Hate was a strong word, but Alya wasn’t completely wrong. Marinette had hated Chloé with a burning passion. Chloé had been classified as obnoxious, bratty, stuck-up, and prettier than she deserved.

But recently…

Marinette couldn’t pin her finger on exactly when it changed. Chloé and her still had fights this year, but between those, things had started to simmer down. And then heat up in unexpected places, like that damned closet. Why did she think it would be a good idea to kiss Chloé back then? All that she could think at the time was that she wanted to get out of the situation, and a kiss seemed so absurd that she was certain it would distract Chloé. She hadn’t meant to get into it, turning it into a make-out session with Chloé Bourgeois of all people. Marinette wasn’t going to pretend Chloé was gross; Chloé was definitely in the realm of attractiveness in a purely objective sense. But Marinette had not expected that kissing her would be so… so… electric? Gratifying? Marinette couldn’t even find the correct words to express the way the universe had shifted from that impulsive, spur-of-the-moment decision.

But it’s not like she could talk about this with Alya. Marinette hadn’t even found a way to articulate these feelings to herself yet. She spent nights staring up at the ceiling, wondering what it all meant. Wondering what it meant that when she kissed her, Chloé became pliant underneath her. Trying to remember every moment when Chloé gave her ‘payback’, lighting all of Marinette’s nerves on fire. That returned kiss had to have meant something! Somewhere underneath that bratty exterior, Chloé had to be having these confusing feelings as well, right?

So Marinette tried to spend more time with her, tried to indulge a newfound desire to get to know Chloé, even though Chloé acted all confused about Marinette’s sudden ‘niceness’. And Chloé wasn’t exactly staying her bratty self either. She had helped Marinette throughout that fencing tryout, and as Ladybug…

Well, Marinette couldn’t count Chloé being nice to Ladybug as ‘being-nice-to-Marinette’ moments, since Chloé didn’t know about the superhero’s civilian identity, but she could count the instances as proof that Chloé had a heart under there. A heart that would literally jump out and injure her own ankle to protect Ladybug. Who wouldn’t be intrigued by such dedication? Who wouldn’t want to protect her, hold her, and even spoil her despite knowing that being spoiled is what made her personality rotten for so long? Who wouldn’t have a heart attack upon seeing an Akuma destroy the sarcophagus one had hidden Chloé in? When Chloé was safe, Ladybug had been unable to hold back from hugging her, desperate to feel her her whole, uninjured body. Ladybug didn’t usually want to hug every civilian she saved. Ladybug didn’t normally dream about running her fingers through the hair of a civilian rescue. Ladybug shouldn’t feel so thankful for a civilian butting in on Akuma battles.

Marinette was maybe a tiny bit obsessed. Which was confusing, because normally when she was obsessed with someone, it was because of having a crush. Before that kiss, Marinette spent most her time daydreaming about Adrien and trying to work up the nerve to confess to him. Nowadays, her feelings for him started to feel like a habit, an automatic response when she saw him or when Alya brought it up. Even when Marinette tried to join fencing to spend more time with him, as soon as she discovered Chloé was in the class her attention refocused onto her. It’s not like he was bad all of a sudden or anything. If anything, they were starting to get along better. But their interactions were just as friends. Even when Marinette got excited about something, Adrien seemed either oblivious or completely uninterested in anything beyond friendship.

With Chloé, their interactions seemed to be… something Marinette would describe as maybe not friendship. Could it be romantic? Marinette was certain she liked boys, considering the raging crush she had on Adrien. Even if those were fading, they had definitely been real near the start of the school year. Marinette was straight, so it didn’t make sense that she would be crushing on Chloé. Her obsession had to be due to something else, like a vested interest in Chloé’s development.

Or something like that.

“Marinette?” Alya waved a hand in front of her face.

Marinette jumped. “W-What!”

“I said, are you going to the party?”

“Of course!”

 


 

And go to the party, they did.

Chloé greeted everyone with kisses on the cheeks. Since when had she become so friendly with people? When Marinette and Chloé ended up greeting, Marinette could hear Alya and a few other folks gasp when they did the friendly cheek kiss. Marinette held back on rolling her eyes. It’s not like she used to advertise how much she hated Chloé to everyone in the class.

Okay, well maybe she did a little bit. Or a lot.

But if Chloé was changing, then surely Marinette could too!

And maybe she could help Chloé along too. She could already see Chloé getting short with Mylène, her fists clenching and brow furrowing as they spoke. Marinette made her way over. “Hey Chloé.”

“What is it, Dupain-Cheng?” Chloé’s voice was sharpened by her mood.

Marinette ignored that. Chloé tended to go into conversations with her weapons drawn, but Marinette noticed that if she rolled over the threats and just walked into the conversation with no fighting in mind, Chloé usually got confused and dropped her antagonism. “Wanna make another bet?”

Chloé raised an eyebrow. Mylène wandered off, apparently looking for something.

“I bet you can’t do one nice thing for everyone here.”

Chloé huffed. “Your silly mind games aren’t going to work.”

“If you can do it, you can get any favor from me, no questions asked.” That worked to convince her to cook, so maybe it would work again.

Chloé paused at that, mouth open just a smidgen. She leaned against the counter. “Anything? Absolutely no questions asked?”

“I mean, no murder,” Marinette clarified, “But anything I can conceivably do without like, going to jail or whatever.”

Chloé tapped a manicured hand against her chin. “You’re on, Dupain-Cheng.”

With that, Chloé strutted off.

As the party continued, Marinette was pleased to catch snippets of conversations with Chloé. It seemed a majority of her good deeds involved complimenting people, “Love the lipstick, Rose. Pink is very… you .”

“Aww, thank you Chloé! I love your sunglasses!”

“You should, they’re more expensive than probably your whole outfit.”

Marinette sighed. She wasn’t perfect yet. But this was better than she had ever been.

The music changed to slow dance music and Marinette’s eyes scanned the room, wondering what Chloé would do. She spotted her sitting down, with Kim reaching out his hand. Chloé seemed hesitant, but slid off her seat to take his hand. Marinette scrunched her nose at that. Hadn’t Chloé rejected Kim before? Pretty brutally, too. Why would Kim try his luck again? And why would Chloé entertain his advances?

Unless she was trying to be nice. Marinette internally groaned at herself, and moved to leave the dance floor when she bumped into someone.

Adrien looked down at her, “Hey, Marinette. Wanna dance?”

Marinette paused. Did she? “I… uh…”

Adrien took the lead, pulling her back onto the dance floor and putting his hands on her, but holding back a respectable distance. Marinette tried to relax into the dance. It was nice, Adrien was nice and cute, and her heart did flutter knowing that he asked her to dance, but…

“Chloé’s on her best behavior, tonight,” Adrien commented.

Marinette’s heart sped up at the mention of Chloé. She followed Adrien’s gaze to across the dance floor, where Chloé was dancing with Kim.

Chloé was looking back.

Their eyes met, and Marinette refused to be the first one to look away. Shouldn’t Chloé be paying attention to Kim? Then again, Marinette should have been looking at Adrien. She didn’t understand why Chloé didn’t look away. If she kept it up, Marinette might think it meant something.

Marinette got distracted when someone grabbed her hand and moved it onto Adrien’s shoulder. She realized Alya had twirled around them, and was moving hands to bring them closer. Her face flushed in embarrassment, though she was thankful Alya was working so hard to get them together. With her help, Adrien and Marinette were now practically chest-to-chest, faces close together, clearly intimate.

Or supposed to be intimate. Adrien just laughed at Alya’s moves, and smiled at Marinette without an ounce of embarrassment or flustering. Did he not understand what this sort of position could mean? Or did he not care?

“Adrien, do you even like me?” She found herself asking before she could overthink the question.

He pulled her in closer to do a hug. “Of course! You’re a great friend, Marinette.”

There in his arms, the only thing Marinette could focus on was Chloé across the dance floor.

Chloé was looking at her again, but this time when their eyes met, Chloé tore hers away. Chloé shoved Kim off, and walked quickly out of the lobby into a hallway.

Adrien pulled back from the hug, smiling at Marinette. She smiled back. “I’m done dancing now, Adrien.”

He seemed surprised at the abruptness, since the song wasn’t over yet, but easily released her. Marinette went to follow Chloé.

In the hallway, she saw Chloé leaning against a wall, hand on her forehead, eyes closed, as though trying to chase away a headache.

“Chloé?”

At the sound of her voice, Chloé’s head snapped towards Marinette. “…What are you doing back here?”

Marinette shrugged. “I don’t know. You just left suddenly. You okay?”

“You don’t have to keep being nice to me,” Chloé told her.

Marinette ignored the protest. Chloé seemed like she didn’t want to talk about it, so Marinette changed the topic. “Were you nice to everyone?”

“Everyone except one person.”

Marinette frowned. “Who?”

Chloé took a bracelet off her arm. “Here, this is yours now, Marinette.”

Marinete stared at the silver bracelet. It was simpler than Chloé’s usual jewelry, with just a silver chain and a single pink stone.

“Well? Don’t just stare at it, take it.”

Marinette took it, immediately putting it on her own wrist. “It’s pretty. Thank you Chloé, that’s… really nice of you.”

Chloé huffed. “I’ve been nice all night.”

“Yeah,” Marinette smiled, “You have.”

The hallway was quiet. They could hear some of the music drifting down from the party, but they were pretty much alone. Chloé took a deep breath. “Marinette?”

“Yes?” Was Chloé going to open up? Finally?

“You said I could have one favor?”

“Yeah, have you decided on it yet?”

Chloé’s voice went soft, “Kiss me again?”

Marinette felt like she was on fire. Just three little words, and Chloé left her panicking and sweating and excited beyond what any slow dance with Adrien ever could. She was already licking her lips in anticipation. Chloé opened her mouth as if to say something else, but Marinette had been waiting ever since ‘payback’ and was too impatient to listen. Marinette leaned in, bringing her hand to the back of Chloé’s head to pull her into the kiss.

Their lips met, and Marinette dove in desperately. She felt Chloé stiffen in surprise before settling, her slender hands wrapping around Marinette’s back. Marinette had a hand at the back of Chloé’s head, and she shifted it to rub at the back of neck. Chloé gave a pleased hum at the contact.

Marinette kept moving forward, trying to get closer, to taste more of her, until Chloé was sandwiched between Marinette and the wall, her legs stuck in between Marinette’s. Marinette parted from Chloé just a moment to catch some air, and the gasp Chloé let out sent electricity down Marinette’s spine. She kissed her again with renewed vigor.

Marinette didn’t want to stop. She felt like she could spend hours just exploring Chloé, caressing those soft lips and drawing out every possible sound from her. Her whole soul was thrumming with honest desire , begging for Marinette to map every inch of Chloé Bourgeois.

Marinette couldn’t deny it anymore. She liked Chloé Bourgeois. Definitely sexually, and potentially romantically.

She didn’t know how to explain it, considering she was straight, but she also somehow liked girls. Or at least Chloé, who was a girl. How else could she explain her wandering hands, sliding along Chloé’s back to make Chloé’s knees buckle beneath her?

The sound of their classmates cheering for something in the distance made them both freeze. What if someone found them back here? Marinette separated herself slowly, aching to return to the kiss but reminding herself that they were in an easily-accessible hallway to any curious classmate. Marinette wasn’t even sure how she could begin to explain things if someone caught them. She also didn’t know what Chloé would want to share. Was Chloé a lesbian? Was she out? Marinette didn’t know enough to risk letting someone catch them.

“I… I didn’t ask for that because I like you or anything,” Chloé was red-faced and avoiding Marinette’s eyes, “But the stuff we did before felt good, and I think practice is good, so if I kiss my crush, I’ll know what to do.”

Marinette’s heart shattered into a billion pieces. “Your crush,” She repeated numbly.

Chloé nodded. “I know we’re not close, but um, thank you for-”

“Do I know them?” Marinette’s heart was pounding, but this time it was not excitement. She was terrified of any answer.

“…Yes.”

“Who is it?” Marinette knew she would hate any answer, but she had to know, like picking at a scab.

“I don’t want to say,” Chloé told her and started to walk away.

That was almost worse. Marinette grabbed Chloé’s wrist. “Can you give me a hint at least? Anything?”

Is it a girl? Is it someone similar to me? Do I have any chance at all?

Chloé bit her lip, thinking. Eventually, she twisted her arm out of Marinette’s. “It’s private.”

“Even just one word is fine,” Marinette knew she sounded desperate, she didn’t care.

Chloé huffed. “Fine then, if you’re going to be so insistent, ‘famous’.”

“’Famous’?”

“That’s the hint.”

Chloé walked away quickly, leaving Marinette bracing herself against the wall. As Marinette tried to calm her breathing, she could hear the distant, familiar cry of “Adrikins!” as Chloé rejoined the party.

Marinette slammed her back against the wall and slid down, her face hot and eyes tingling. Adrien Agreste. Famous model. Childhood friend of Chloé Bourgeois. She should have known, with all the nicknames and the touching and the familiarity…

She was sitting now, knees up and face buried in her arms while she cried. Tikki fluttered out of her jacket. “Marinette…”
“I should have guessed,” Marinette choked out.

Why would Chloé Bourgeois be interested in Marinette? Just because of a few smoldering kisses? A fencing lesson and a day of cooking and laughter? It was just Marinette reading too deeply into Chloé’s uncharacteristic softness, and getting excited on her own.

“She called me ‘practice’,” Marinette told Tikki, voice cracking.

Those kisses hadn’t meant anything to Chloé. She was probably so straight that the idea of two girls kissing because they want to would be alien to her. She probably assumed Marinette would feel the same way, and that they could kiss all Chloé wanted without feelings complicating things. Now Chloé and Adrien would kiss and date and get married and Marinette would be invited. She’d have to watch her two ex-crushes make goo-goo eyes and talk about how much they love each other.

Marinette hated herself for having paid so much attention to Chloé. She hated herself for seeing Chloé’s curly hair and wondering if she was an angel. She hated herself for falling in love so easily.

While she rubbed an eye, she realized she was still wearing that bracelet Chloé gave her.

She stared, wondering what it meant, hoping that it meant anything at all to Chloé. Chloé had given pretty much everyone else compliments, except giving Kim a dance. Marinette dared to hope that she was the only person who received a gift. “Ugh, I need to stop,” Marinette said more to herself than to Tikki, hand poised on the bracelet as if to rip it apart.

Tikki brought out her wise advice, “You don’t need to stop, Marinette, there’s nothing wrong with having feelings.”

She tugged the bracelet, but couldn’t find the strength to take it off. She left it hanging on her wrist, a reminder of her burning feelings. She found her head still running through all their interactions, analyzing and hoping for any alternate explanations. She was desperate for anything at all to magically reveal that Marinette’s affections were actually returned, despite the obvious answer being ‘no’.

“Do you think you’ll be able to go back to the party?” Tikki asked.

Marinette shook her head. She didn’t want to return, eyes rimmed red, and let Chloé suspect Marinette’s feelings. That would be a disaster scenario, which might lead to Chloé avoiding Marinette. As much as Marinette hated it, when she imagined Chloé asking for another ‘practice’ kiss, she could only imagine herself obliging, giving into the temptation to taste what she could never have.

“Alright, let’s go home,” Tikki told her.

Marinette was so glad Tikki was there to help her focus. She texted Alya an excuse about feeling sick and leaving early. She sneaked out a back door (Thank you Akumas for fighting in the Bourgeois hotel all the time, Marinette knew the layout very well by now), and made her way home.

She was going to get some ice cream, set up a good TV show, and try to forget all about Chloé.

If she could.

Chapter Text

Baby Akumas were the worst.

They screamed, they cried, and worst of all: They didn’t understand Chat Noir’s genius puns.

After a big brawl which brought Paris’s two greatest superheros to the Dupain-Cheng bakery, they finally defeated the Akuma. Seeing Ladybug cradle the deakumatized child made Chat Noir’s heart do flips. Would Ladybug be a good mother? Did she want kids? When Ladybug cooed and spun the child around, clearly delighting the baby, Chat Noir heart swelled even greater. Ladybug was great with kids.

Then her earrings beeped. She gave Chat Noir the baby. “Here, you can have him.”

Chat Noir opened her mouth to protest, since she had no clue how to handle a baby, but Ladybug had already jumped into the air. Chat Noir looked at the baby and tried smiling. Babies liked smiling, right? Chloé had mostly thought of them as smelly, whiny things, but if Ladybug liked them, Chat Noir could make an effort. Especially if Chat Noir ever wanted some of her own some day…

The baby began to fuss, stretching out towards were Ladybug left. Chat Noir tried bouncing it a little bit, “You miss her already too? I know how it feels.”

When the baby continued, Chat Noir realized that the baby didn’t have its pacifier. Did Ladybug take it with her? Maybe Chat Noir could catch up with her…

She landed on Marinette’s roof, where Marinette happened to be standing. “Marinette? But Ladybug just passed by here.” Her mind whirred, starting to make some connections. “Could it be…”

All theories were forgotten when Marinette practically leaped into Chat Noir’s free arm. “I’m in love with you!”

Her parents chose that moment to open the attic door.

 


 

Safe at home, Chat Noir detransformed and flopped onto her bed.

"Marinette Dupain-Cheng! Likes me!" She squealed, ignoring Plagg's tired yawn.

"Yeah, yeah," He grumbled, finding some cheese buried in a drawer.

Chloé ignored his lack of enthusiasm. "You know when I helped her out with the Evillustrator, I thought to myself 'Who knows? Maybe she'll fall in love with Chat Noir?' but I didn't expect it to actually happen!"

Plagg was too busy scarfing down cheese to respond.

"What do you think she likes? I was very heroic, I'm sure, she might have fallen in love since I rescued her. Or maybe it's my hair... Did you hear when she complimented awhile back? I was Chloé at the time, but it was down and curly, just like Chat Noir's..."

"Maybe she's into leather."

"Plagg!"

He laughed.

Chloé turned away from him, still day-dreaming about the miracle. This meant Marinette must like girls, right? Chloé wasn’t the only girl in class who wasn’t straight. Even if neither of them were out, Chloé couldn’t help but feel relieved. Plus, it meant she had something in common with Marinette.

Plagg flew in front of her. "So what are you going to do about it?"

That made Chloé frown. "What do you mean?"

"Are you going to go out with her? Go on a secret Eiffel Tower rendezvous? Sneak in through her attic door, etcetera?"

Chloé crossed her arms, thinking. "I've already dedicated myself to Ladybug."

"I don’t see the problem with keeping two pots simmering on the stove."

Chloé shook her head and made her way to the bathroom, taking down her hair to get ready for bed. "I'm pretty sure Ladybug wouldn't be interested in a cheater."

"No no no," Plagg wagged his paw, "You don't have to date Marinette if you want to remain single. You could be friends with benefits."

Chloé's mouth was occupied by flossing, so she just raised an eyebrow.

"Meaning you might mess around together and hang out, but you're free to pursue other people."

Chloé huffed. "That seems like taking advantage of her feelings. And I don't want to waste time doing things with someone I'm not planning to date."

"You mean like making out with a friend every now and then?"

"Marinette and I aren't friends," Chloé countered, face heating up.

"Coulda fooled me."

She shooed Plagg out while she changed into her pajamas, but spoke through the door, "We've gotten... friendlier. Friendlier than we used to be, anyway."

"Most not-friends don't kiss each other."

"Well maybe we're not-friends with benefits, like you said."

"So it's okay for Chloé to do it, but not Chat Noir. Oh wait, you're the same person!"

Chloé slammed the bathroom door open, now wearing her pajamas, and glared at Plagg. "Unlike Chat Noir, Marinette doesn't have feelings for Chloé."

Plagg floated away from Chloé's angry gaze. "Is that what you think?"

"How could she?" Chloé insisted, taking a seat on her bed, "I bullied her for years. And I've been what others might call 'bratty' or 'selfish' for so long... I'm trying to change, but there's no way she could fall in love with the person I am right now."

Plagg released a long-suffering sigh.

Chloé settled herself into bed, using a remote to turn off the lights. "So tomorrow morning I'm going to go right over to the Dupain-Cheng bakery for that brunch her dad invited me to, and I’ll let her down as gently as possible. It'll be a piece of cake!"


 

It was not a piece of cake.

It was a tray of vol-au-vents and a heart shaped souffle.

It was also a very friendly, very pushy father.

“I could train you, young lady. The Dupain-Chat Noir Bakery! Doesn’t that sound purr-fect?”

Chat Noir was a fan of the puns, not so much a fan of the being strong-armed into a baking apprenticeship to prepare for marriage with Marinette.

“I can already see the little kittens running around in the house. And pet hamsters. Do you like hamsters?”

Kittens? Was that slang for children? Did Chat Noir want children? Did Marinette? Also, what was that about hamsters?

“…Because my daughter loves them! What did you want to name your future hamster again?”

Chat Noir thought on that. Marinette loves hamsters. That was pretty cute.

Marinette buried her face in her hands. “This is a nightmare.”

Madame Dupain-Cheng finally intervened. “Tom, how about we let Chat Noir tell us herself what she wants?”

Chat Noir gulped. “Well, now that you mention it, you are lovely people and this food is delicious, and Marinette…” She grabbed Marinette’s hands. “You’re awesome, and cute, and fun, and I get why you have feelings for me. After all, I’m awesome in so many ways, even I could fall in love with myself.”

Nope. Get back on track, Chat Noir. Rejection time.

“Anyway, I’m afraid my heart belongs to someone else. I’m really sorry Marinette, but I’m in love with Ladybug.”

Chat Noir had expected Marinette to react with sadness, but all she could find on Marinette’s face was a red flush and an absolutely gob-smacked expression. After a few seconds of that, Marinette coughed and began to wail, weeping about Chat Noir’s rejection. Oof, she must have been really deeply in love with her. Chat Noir started to have regrets.

Fortunately Marinette ran upstairs before Chat Noir could dare to take it back, and Chat Noir took the chance to make a hasty retreat.

 


 

Turns out making someone’s daughter cry can create an Akuma.

 


 

The next day in class, Chloé did not feel perfect.

Marinette came to class late which, although par for the course with Marinette, this time she had dark circles under her eyes. After the Akuma had been defeated, Marinette had seemed a lot less heartbroken. But had she just been trying to look strong in front of Chat Noir after everything?

Chloé sighed.

“What’s wrong, Chloé?” Sabrina asked to her right.

Chloé sighed. “My life is literally so hard.”

Once school was over, Chloé started to head out when her gossip radar pinged.

Max was at the back of the classroom, talking to Rose and Juleka. “I’ve observed that you guys held hands for 72% of the school day. Is this the result of a recent relationship change?”

Juleka responded with a snort. “We’ve been dating for over a month, but thanks for noticing.”

The class, previously weary from the drudgery of school, now burst into activity.

“WHAT!”

“Aww, you guys are so cute together!”

“Called it.” Alix accepted a wad of cash from Kim.

Chloé’s mind raced. She knew she herself was into women, and she learned Marinette was too from her confession to Chat Noir. But it turns out there were other gay girls in this class? That were dating? Openly? Her ears strained to capture everyone’s responses. What did people think?

Adrien was cooing. Nino wiped a single tear from his eye. Alya was immediately in reporter mode, asking all the details about who-asked-who out and whatnot. Nathaniel was aghast, “I thought everyone knew? It’s pretty obvious?”

Sabrina was bouncing on her feet. “They go well together, don’t they?” She commented to Chloé.

“Mmhmm." Chloé for once was having trouble finding words to say. There was no way she could afford to alienate the only couple that was anything like her preferred future. She hadn’t cared about those two girls at all before, but after knowing this she suddenly felt a strange sense of… hope? Relief? Solidarity. If anyone messed with their relationship, Chloé would smash them into the ground.

Marinette spoke up, “Wait a second, Rose, aren’t you straight?”

The couple tilted their heads in sync, perplexed, before Rose spoke. “No? When did I say that?”

“I thought you had a crush on Prince Ali.”

Rose laughed. “Oh yeah, I totally did. Didn’t work out though, and I moved on to better things.” Rose leaned against Juleka as she said this, and it was so sickly sweet Chloé wondered if she should call her dietitian.

“But if you like boys, aren’t you straight?” Marinette was weirdly invested in this.

“No, I’m bisexual.” Rose informed her.

Marinette was still confused. “What?”

Juleka stepped in. “Bisexual. As in she likes boys and girls. Or any gender.”

“That’s an option?" Marinette’s voice was loud.

When Marinette registered everyone staring at her outburst, she gave a pained smile.

“Okay thank youforthe informationIwishyoutwothebestofluckbye!”

Marinette sprinted out of the classroom.

Huh. What was that about?

Chapter Text

“I can’t accept this rose from you. I’m sorry, but I’m in love with someone else.”

Ladybug’s words drove a stake through Chat Noir’s heart. She kept the rose held out, hoping. “You can’t even consider me?”

Ladybug took a deep breath. “I’m… You’re lovely, Chat, but I don’t want to lead you on. This person… I know it won’t work out, but my feelings haven’t been going away and…”

“It won’t work out?” Chat Noir perked up.

Ladybug glared at her.

Whoops. Insensitive. “Sorry.”

“I’m working through some feelings, and I don’t want to complicate it by dragging you in.” Marinette looked at Chat Noir with pure eyes. “You’re worth more than a rebound. Find someone else who puts you first.”

“I don’t care if I’m a rebound, so long as I get to be with-”

Ladybug’s earrings beeped. “I really gotta get going, and you better do the same.”

Chat Noir knew she had to go, but she felt stuck on that roof, holding her rejected rose and watching Ladybug leave.

 


 

Chloé grumbled as she took off her fencing gear in the locker room.

Kagami spoke behind her, “You did terribly out there today.”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “Gee, thanks.”

Kagami put a hand on Chloé’s shoulder. “Are you alright?”

That response made Chloé pause. Usually, when she lashed out at people, they snarked back at her. Kagami immediately jumped to caring, and Chloé wasn’t sure how to respond to it. “Uh…”

Kagami pulled her hand back. “Sorry, was that too personal to ask?”

“No, not at all,” Chloé corrected quickly, “I just need to think how to word it.”

Kagami smiled at her, patient.

Chloé tried to put it as vaguely as possible. “Have you ever been interested in someone who told you to find someone else?”

“No?”

Chloé sighed, head lowered.

“But,” Kagami used a finger to tilt Chloé’s chin up, “If you want my opinion, I think you should listen to them. Find someone interested in you, who won’t try to redirect you.”

“But I like h- this person a lot!” Chloé protested.

“Have you even considered anyone else?”

“Well…” Chloé smashed all thoughts of Marinette that suddenly popped up in her head, “Not really.”

“You’re a great girl, Chloé. You have plenty of other options, if you just open your mind to consider them.”

Chloé blushed at the compliment. Chloé knew she was beautiful, strong, and a queen. But her behavior was not always great, and it’s not like she never heard how some her classmates talked about her. She knew that despite being a school idol, not everyone was actually her fan. She was not the nicest at school.

But Kagami didn’t know that Chloé, all she knew was Chloé who apologized when she made a wrong call, a Chloé who did her best at fencing, a Chloé who was a little heartbroken right now. And apparently she thought that Chloé was ‘a great girl’.

“Thanks, Kagami,” Chloé told her with a sincere smile.

Kagami smiled back. “We should get your mind off of that person. Have you ever been ice-skating?”

Chloé shook her head.

“This Friday. You, me, at the ice rink.”

Chloé’s heart swelled at the invitation. Were they friends? Had Chloé successfully made a friend who wasn’t from her childhood or bribed into it? “Sure!”

Kagami stood up to leave. “Great, it’s a date!”

Chloé waved as she left.

Wait…

A date?

The locker room had emptied out during their conversation, so once Kagami left Plagg escaped from Chloé’s bag. “Congrats on your hot date!”

“I, uh, I think it was just a turn of phrase.”

Plagg raised an eyebrow.

Chloé bit her lip. “Do you think it was a turn of phrase?”

Plagg shrugged. “Guess you’ll find out Friday.”

 


 

Chloé was still thinking about it during class the next day.

No way it was a date.

But what if it was?

Chloé didn’t want to seem weird by asking. Girls who were friends could say “it’s a date” in a friendly way, right? It didn’t necessarily mean they were actually treating it like a date. If Chloé asked, what if Kagami wondered “Why is she asking? Does she like girls or something?” And then she’ll figure out Chloé is gay and will tell everyone she’s a lesbian and her mom will disown her and-

Chloé pinched her own cheek. She needed to get a grip, she was starting to ramble like Marinette.

Marinette. Chloé and her were maybe approaching friendship.

It couldn’t be a date if there was another person there!

Chloé tapped at her phone under her desk: Ice rink Friday?

Marinette didn’t check her phone. Of course Marinette would be such a shining-bright-eyed-student that she’d keep her phone on silent during class. Chloé tore out a piece of paper from her notebook and wrote the same message. She waited until the teacher’s back was turned, then carefully tossed the folded paper onto Marinette’s desk.

Marinette startled at the thing, and immediately her eyes scanned the classroom for the offender before catching Chloé’s stare. Marinette pointed at the note and tilted her head as if to ask Chloé if she was the sender. Chloé nodded.

With that established, Marinette carefully unfolded the note. She frowned at the contents.

Oh no. Was that too much? Marinette sort of invited Chloé to the bakery, so she thought it’d be okay to invite her somewhere too… but then again, that was in the context of a bet, not just trying to hang out…

Marinette scrawled something and quickly sent it back to Chloé. Chloé unfolded the paper with her heart pounding.

Let me think about it.

That wasn’t even an answer! Chloé needed a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ so she could either feel secure or find someone else to help guarantee her ‘date’ was just a hangout.

She wracked her brain. Should she wait? But she was already getting nervous. And even if she invited someone else, the more the merrier, right? She just had to choose someone she could trust…

That was a pretty short list. Sabrina or Adrien?

Sabrina was nice, but Adrien knew Kagami. If Chloé was going to bring some people unexpectedly, it would be good for at least one of them to know Kagami well before hand. Decision made, she texted under her desk again.

Adrien shifted in his seat, sneaking out his phone. When he saw the message, he glanced at Chloé with a smile and a thumbs-up.

Perfect.

 


 

Adrien looked at his phone clock. “They’re supposed to be here at five?”

“Yeah,” Chloé confirmed.

Adrien glanced up at the ice rink entrance. “But we’re here at four-forty-five.”

“In case one of them comes early.”

“I thought you always told me one should always arrive ‘fashionably late’?”

“Since we’re waiting here together, we don’t look like early losers. We’ll make them look late, so they can be fashionable.”

“Oh.” Adrien had a perplexed look on his face, but eventually settled. “That’s nice of us?”

They leaned against a wall, still having to wait.

“So,” Adrien spoke hesitantly, “Is there a reason you invited Marinette to this hang out?”

Chloé came up with excuses, “Why not? She sort of met Kagami that one time she fenced. And she knows you. And she knows me. Why not? Nothing wrong with inviting a classmate on an outing. Nothing unusual at all.”

“Okay but don’t you like, hate Marinette?”

Chloé bristled. “I’m trying to be nicer.”

Adrien had to smile at that. “I’m proud of you.”

Predictably, the praise had Chloé warming up. People should be proud of her, this niceness stuff was hard.

“Oh, speak of the devil,” Adrien said as he waved to someone in the distance.

Marinette approached, but as she got closer her eyes darted between the two of them and apprehension clouded her face. “Adrien?”

Adrien grinned. “Yeah! Glad you could make it, Marinette!”

Marinette side-eyed Chloé. “Why would you invite me to third-wheel on a da-”

“Hey Chloé!” Kagami’s voice rang out.

“Kagami!” Chloé turned to face her. “I invited some friends. You know Adrien Agreste, and you might remember Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

Kagami narrowed her eyes at the two, but quickly reverted to a smile. “Of course. Let’s go inside.”

Once inside, they started lacing up skates. When Chloé finished up, Kagami stood in front of her with a hand outstretched. “C’mon.”

Chloé smiled and accepted the hand. Chloé tried to release Kagami’s hand once she stood up, but Kagami held fast. Friends could hold hands, right? So they walked together onto the ice.

Where she saw her father in the stands, arguing with some dude.

She shook Kagami’s hand away like it was burned. “Daddy!”

“Darling!” Her father declared.

She swiftly skated over to him, and hugged him over the low wall. “What are you doing here?”

“Just business, Chloé, are you having fun?”

“Yes! Just hanging out with my friends.” Absolutely no non-platonic feelings in this room.

“Wonderful. Have fun!”

Chloé skated back to Kagami. It had been awhile since she’d been on the ice, but she had attended ice-skating lessons as a small child and could do a few decent moves. She glanced at Adrien and Marinette, who were holding hands.

Friends can hold hands, friends can hold hands… She repeated internally like a mantra. When Kagami held out her hand, she accepted it again, allowing the mantra to fully internalize.

She looked back at Marinette and Adrien. Both were wobbly, staying close to the walls. She was relieved by their inexperience, it was hard to make falls look like a romantic date. Nonetheless, there was a tiny kettle of anger in the pit of her chest, the same one that had boiled over when the two had danced together at her party.

“Did you invite them because you were scared of being alone with me?” Kagami spoke close to her ear.

Chloé flinched. “N-no! I thought a group hang out would be fun!”

Before Kagami could challenge that excuse, they were interrupted by Philippe trying to get them to sign up for lessons. He was swiftly rejected.

Kagami watched Chloé skate for a minute, then spoke, “You seem experienced. Can we try some things?”

After that, the two of them fell into a rhythm. A few spins, some delicate footwork, and even a lift or two left Chloé feeling exhilarated. There was a strong sense of partnership and trust, allowing herself to lean on and be lifted by someone else. It was almost like being Ladybug and Chat Noir, except she got to be Chloé during it.

When they stopped to catch their breath, Chloé had to tell her, “This is so fun.”

Kagami snaked an arm around Chloé’s waist. “You’re fantastic.”

Chloé could handle flattery, but this was beyond that. Kagami spoke like everything she said was a fact, and that made her compliments deadly sincere. It left Chloé a giggling mess. “Thank you.”

A sound across the rink made Chloé swivel her head. Marinette had slammed against the wall and fallen onto the ice. How had Adrien let that happen? Chloé was surprised to find a little bolt of anger towards him. She was never angry at Adrien.

She skated quickly to Marinette and reached out an arm. “Are you okay?”

Marinette grumbled something, but took the offer and used Chloé to support herself. Chloé carefully guided her to the nearest exit from the ice, and let her down onto a seat.

Marinette began to reach to untie her skates, but Chloé got down on her knees and grabbed Marinette’s foot before she could. “Stop, I’ll undo them.”

“That isn’t, um, necessary…” Chloé carefully unlaced them, making sure they were nice and loose before she gently pulled them off of Marinette’s feet. If she sprained her ankle, it wouldn’t be good to exacerbate the injury.

Nothing looked swollen. Chloé gently cradled a foot with one hand and poked it with another. “Does that hurt?”

“N-no, honestly, I’m perfectly fine.”

Chloé glared at her. “The sound of you slamming into the wall didn’t sound ‘perfectly fine’.”

Marinette pouted and pulled her foot away from Chloé’s grasp. “You don’t need to be concerned.”

Marinette slipped on her normal shoes quickly, and started to walk away. Chloé glanced behind at Kagami and Adrien, who were still on the ice and looking concerned.

Chloé quickly undid her own skates to change into her walking shoes. “We’ll be right back,” Chloé told the two of them.

Chloé barely caught up with Marinette as she headed for the ladies room. “Marinette!”

Marinette huffed and tried to escape into the bathroom, but Chloé grabbed the door before she shut it and invited herself inside.

“Why are you in such a mood all of a sudden?” Chloé questioned.

Marinette crossed her arms. “You’re so dense.”

“Excuse me?”

“Kagami obviously likes you, Chloé, and you’re leading her on.”

Chloé flushed. She had suspected, but she thought she was overthinking things. “You don’t know that.”

“Why did you invite me today?”

“I’m trying to be nice.”

Marinette jabbed a finger at her. “Wrong answer.”

Chloé couldn’t help but notice that they were in a single-room bathroom with a lockable door. Alone.

“Are you trying to show off? Show me that you have both Kagami and Adrien available?”

“What?” Chloé couldn’t keep up with this at all, “Adrien?”

“You heard me.”

You’re the one who’s all over Adrien,” Chloé shot back, “Today, and at the party too. You were practically hugging him on that dance floor.”

“What?” Marinette put her hands on her hips and leaned in, “You jealous?”

Realization washed over Chloé like an impending sense of dread. Marinette was up in her personal space, like so many times before, and Chloé realized that despite Kagami being close to her earlier she hadn’t wanted to kiss Kagami at all. Now her eyes couldn’t help but glance down at Marinette’s lips.

Chloé grabbed Marinette’s jacket to pull her closer-

And the bathroom turned into ice.

An Akuma. Of course.

 


 

Once the Akuma was defeated, Chloé got back to the ice rink. Adrien was taking a selfie with Philippe, apparently trying to promote the ice rink so he could get more sign-ups without harassing kids.

Kagami walked up behind her. “I was worried. I couldn’t find you at all during the Akuma attack.”

Chloé turned and laughed. “Oh you know me, a scaredy-cat when it comes to that Akuma stuff. I just hid the whole time until it was over.”

Kagami put a hand on Chloé’s cheek. “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Marinette!” Adrien’s call made Chloé turn immediately.

Marinette was grabbing her stuff. “I think I’m gonna head home.”

Chloé nodded. “I think I’ll go too.”

The four of them went outside, where Kagami’s car was already waiting. Chloé followed Kagami to see her off.

Just before Kagami entered the car, she kissed Chloé’s cheek. “Once you’ve considered other people, know that I’ll be here.”

Chloé put a hand up to the kissed cheek. It was alright. Kagami was cool, and Chloé was happy to know that Kagami liked her. But that kiss hadn’t made Chloé excited. Chloé tried to imagine how she would feel if Marinette kissed her cheek, and her face was already heating up at the mere thought. That difference made Chloé reconsider a lot of things.

Chloé thought she just liked kissing Marinette because she was horny.

What was she supposed to think if she was only horny for Marinette?

And Ladybug, her mind quickly corrected. But Ladybug had told her to pursue other people. Chloé thought it was impossible to like anyone as much as she liked Ladybug, but with this revelation she was starting to recognize that maybe Ladybug wasn’t the only girl she was in love with.

Adrien’s voice interrupted her thoughts. “Chloé? You want a ride?”

Adrien was right next to her, and his car in front of them. Chloé searched the vicinity for Marinette, and saw her back walking away down the street. Instinct told her to call out to Marinette, but she was too overwhelmed by her recent discovery of feelings to make a sound. So she just nodded to Adrien and joined him in the backseat of his car.

“You’re awfully quiet,” Adrien commented.

“Do you like Marinette?” Chloé had to know. They had been touching at the party, and now it made sense to Chloé why that had made Chloé so angry she had to step out.

“Of course! She’s a good friend.”

Chloé gave him a deadpan look. “Adrien Agreste, stop playing dense. Do you like her romantically.”

“No? Why would you think that?”

Chloé breathed a sigh of relief. At least if there was something going on, it wasn’t mutual. Chloé maybe had a chance.

Once at home, she started for her room, but passed by her father. “Chloé? Can we talk?”

“Sure, Daddy!”

They sat down in his office. Chloé wasn’t sure what this could be about, but her father could never be mad at her. He did look concerned, though. “Are you alright darling?”

“Yes? Why would I be?”

“Well at the ice rink,” Daddy’s voice was quiet. Even though the door was closed, he seemed afraid of someone overhearing, “While I was there, I couldn’t help but notice that pig-tailed girl was getting rather cozy with Adrien. I’m surprised you left them alone.”

Chloé’s shoulders tensed up.“It’s fine,” Chloé didn’t dare say more, in case the truth came tumbling out of her.

He frowned. “Fine? My girl deserves only the best. I can’t believe he didn’t spend more time with you at the ice rink, he needs to learn some more manners. Maybe you can invite him somewhere without those two other girls…”

Chloé tapped her fingers against the chair. Her father cared about her a lot. So much so that he wanted the best for her in every way, including her love life. She knew he would go to the ends of the earth to guarantee her happiness. But how could he do that if Chloé lied about what made her happy?

“…And I know a great restaurant, I could get reservations as early as tomorrow if you so desired. Do you think Adrien likes lamb? They serve the best…”

Her tapping was speeding up. His reaction to Chat Noir coming out was favorable, she already knew he loved her with all his heart, so why was forming the words so hard? Why did she feel like she’d rather throw up into her 24-carat gold toilet than tell him the truth?

“…And does he know how to dance? I doubt Gabriel would neglect getting him lessons, but you wouldn’t want to invite him there unless he knew a decent amount of-”

“Daddy.”

He paused mid-sentence. Always eager to listen, always ready to please his favorite daughter.

Her throat felt dry. She didn’t know how to word this. She wasn’t prepared, but she didn’t think she’d ever be prepared. She needed to rip this band-aid off, and figure out how bad the wound was later. “My crush isn’t Adrien.”

That made him furrow his brow. “Not Adrien? Who else could it be?”

This was it. The moment of truth: “Her name is Marinette.”

Chloé didn’t dare look at her father. Her eyes were focused on his desk, an intimidating wooden antique. It had been around as long as she had, as unfailing, sturdy, and constant as her father. But nothing could last forever, and she wondered when the desk would crack and collapse. So long as she didn’t look at her father, her cards were all up in the air, nothing landed and no decision was made. He couldn’t hate her, never, but Chloé couldn’t help but wonder if he would ever run out of patience. Whether this could be the day his patience runs out.

“Oh Chloé…” His voice was soft, pleading, “Please tell me you’re joking.”

She still didn’t dare look at his face. She simply shook her head, lips sealed shut because she didn’t trust herself to say anything else. She couldn’t take it back, her deepest secret laid out on the table and awaiting his judgment like a sinner at the guillotine.

A shuddering breath from Daddy made her finally look at his face. His eyes were wet with tears.

This was worse than she imagined. She hadn’t seen him cry in years, and this is what tipped him over the edge. Chloé finally found the strength to articulate her fears, “Do you hate me?”

“Chloé, darling,” He choked on a sob, but stretched his arms out, “I could never hate you.”

Confused but aching for his comfort, she buried herself in his chest and felt tears spring to her own eyes.

“You need to know, Chloé, I love you so, so much.” He cradled her gently. “And whoever you love, however you love, that’s a part of you that I love too.”

Chloé sobbed, relief and confusion swirled together. “Then why…?”

“But I’m scared. People like us are in the spotlight all the time. One wrong move, and those who want our place will strike against us. You’re going to have to face so much more adversity loving girls than loving boys, and I hate that you’ll have to suffer. We have many luxuries, but free love isn’t one of them.”

Chloé pulled back from him. “Are you telling me to hide who I am? Forever?”

Please Chloé,” Daddy’s voice was shaking, “Your life will be so much harder if this gets out. Please think about the fact that if you act on it, you cannot take it back. In this modern world, any moment can be captured by a camera phone, even the greatest discretion cannot guarantee your privacy. Twenty years ago, it was possible to… do certain things, and you could still go on to lead a normal life afterwards, but nowadays…”

“Nowadays isn’t the same as twenty years ago! Society has changed, more and more people are coming out. I could get married, and lead a normal life, like you said, just with a girl.”

Chloé,” Daddy’s stern voice was rare, and it’s harshness almost made Chloé flinch, “You’re too young to be making this decision. I want you to be, more than anything else, safe, and expressing your feelings is too risky.”

Chloé bit her lip to hold back her defenses. Her father clearly had already made his decision, and didn’t seem amendable to critiques. She settled for clinging onto him, wringing comfort from his arms even as he refused to see the future she wanted. She didn’t even want to come out publicly, not yet, but she wanted him to be behind her every step of the way towards that, not pulling her back.

“I’m sorry,” Her father murmured against her, “I love you, and I’m so, so, sorry.”

Chapter Text

Chloé wrapped the gift delicately. It had to be perfect.

Audrey Bourgeois was a wealthy woman, so buying a gift with excessive monetary value would not get Chloé far. After all, her mother could just buy it herself if she wanted it. Thus, as soon as Chloé heard her mother would be returning to Paris for the Gabriel Agreste Fashion Show, she wracked her brain trying to think of a gift that could garner her attention.

There were not a lot of memories Chloé had with her mother. Mom was busy, frequently traveling or stationed in New York, rarely finding time to touch down in Paris. Even when she stopped by, like today, the reasons were generally work related. But among those few memories Chloé could pick out one that was precious.

Mom had decided to attend a ballet, and Daddy convinced her to take Chloé along. Chloé was not a ballet connoisseur, and she was young enough at the time that she was not particularly discerning, but based on her mother’s reaction it had to have been a fantastic show. The Nutcracker, performed by one of the greatest companies in Paris, capable of drawing smiles and even a laugh or two out of the Queen of Fashion, allowing Chloé to look on in awe at her happy face. Those sincere sorts of expressions were rare, so that show had to have meant something to her mother.

So Chloé tied a bow around her gift: A handcrafted nutcracker, crafted the same year the two of them watched the show together. It wasn’t the most expensive thing in the world, but it was packed with meaning, and Chloé couldn’t help but praise herself for her genius.

After wrapping the gift, she put her fingers around her ring.

“Whoa, whoa, what are you doing?” Plagg exclaimed.

“Look, I’ve tried to make this work with my outfit, but it just doesn’t. I’ve done my best to cope with it at school, but there’s no way I’m wearing clashing jewelry when meeting the Queen of Fashion.”

“But what if there’s an Akuma?”

“I’m not giving you up, I’m just going to store the ring in my bag. Then if the Akuma pops up, I can just grab it and transform. No biggie.”

Plagg watched her remove the ring and slip it into her bag with nervous eyes. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “It’ll be fine.”

 


 

Chloé was fine.

Yes, her mother rejected her gift and tried to “fire” her on national television, but really, her Mom was there at least! Chloé would throw that handcrafted nutcracker in the garbage later.

Nadja Chamack changed the subject away from Audrey’s family, “How long are you planning to stay in Paris?”

“As short as possible time.”

Mom strutted off, and Chloé did her best to follow her steps. Mom stopped to stare in front of some artwork, so Chloé and Daddy stopped to do the same. Chloé stayed still, hands on her hips, hoping her mother would notice and think Chloé was properly appraising the art.

Mom spoke unexpectedly, “What is this?”

Chloé turned to see that her mother held a familiar hat in her hand. In front of her was Marinette, slack-jawed as she watched the Queen of Fashion appraise her work. Chloé felt a protective instinct wash over her. Her mother was intimidating to her own daughter, she couldn’t imagine how intimidating she must be to strangers. Chloé came closer, “Uh, Mom, this is Marinette Dupain-Cheng, and this is a hat she made. She’s a designer. She even signed it, look-”

“I-” Marinette was sputtering, nervous, “it’s not me, it’s another Marinette, I was just bringing it to, uh-”

Nathalie spoke, “Marinette, we have to go.”

Marinette snatched the hat back and ran backstage. Chloé watched for her mother’s reaction. She simply watched Marinette leave, making no comment.

They made their way through the coat claims, when someone reached a hand out to her. “Bag please.”

“Bag?” Chloé gasped, “But I need my bag!”

“We’re sorry, but for the security of the event we cannot allow bags into the venue.”

Chloé looked to her mother for help, but she hadn’t even stopped to wait for Chloé. Cursing her luck, Chloé just gave up the bag and accepted a tag to pick it up later so she could keep up. It would be fine; what are the chances that an Akuma would attack during the show?

Once they reached the audience, her mother took an empty seat in the first row. When Alya tried to tell her it wasn’t hers, Chloé saw her chance to show Mom how good she was at attacking people. “Hey losers, do you know who my mother is? She's Miss Style Queen: the most powerful woman in the world of fashion. This show is for her, okay? So, get lost!”

Just when Chloé finished her tirade, Nathalie approached. “Madame Bourgeois, Monsieur Agreste has reserved a seat for you in the second row.”

Chloé almost screamed.

How dare they! What kind of insult was this? Only an absolute fool would have the audacity to seat the literal Queen of Fashion in the second row . “My mother always sits in the front row!”

Unfortunately, Chloé wasn’t much help as Mom and Nathalie argued. Even a phone call to Gabriel Agreste himself went unanswered.

Eventually, her mother had enough. “This is unacceptable ! I will not view a fashion show from the second row, ever !”

Chloé followed her as she stomped out, and her father followed her. Chloé had wanted to see the fashion show, but even she could recognize the cruelty of putting her mother in the second row. If she sat there, everyone would wonder why she was accepting such disrespect.

Suddenly Mom stopped, the flower on her hat darkening .

And was Akumatized.

 


 

Trying to stop an Akuma without her miraculous was a bit of a challenge, but Chloé was adapting. Seeing Adrien frozen as a golden glitter statue did give her a heart attack, but she didn’t have time to freeze. Becoming Style Queen’s “personal assistant” gave her plenty opportunity to betray her, distracting her from turning Ladybug into glitter and pretending to guard Adrien’s glittering statue.

But Chloé couldn’t last forever. She heard the dreaded declaration of “You’re fired!” before she turned into glitter.

 


 

Then Chloé was alive and breathing again. She spun her head around and saw Adrien, alive and much less glittery than before. “Adrikins!” She ran to hug him. “I was so scared!”

The two of them quickly located her mother, who was on the ground, and helped her up. Before Chloé could begin to explain things, Ladybug swooped down to pick her up. “Sorry, can I borrow her? I’m just going to give her a lift back. Thanks!”

Neither her mother nor Adrien had time to reply before Ladybug started swinging across Paris with Chloé in her arms again. “L-ladybug?” Chloé asked, thrilled to be in her arms but confused.

“You did great out there. Are you alright?”

Chloé flushed with the praise. She had wanted to hear praise all day. Even if it wasn’t from her mother, it was better than nothing. “Yes, I just did what I had to.”

“Is everything… okay? With your mom?”

Chloé frowned. “It’s the same as it always is.”

Ladybug set her down outside of the fashion show venue. “I have to go. Good luck.”

Chloé sighed as she watched Ladybug leave.

 


 

As Chloé watched Gabriel hug Adrien onstage, in front of everyone, she couldn’t help but snatch glances at Mom. Why hadn’t her mother ever embraced her like that? Envy rolled in her gut, she knew she shouldn’t wish to be in Adrien’s place considering his many, many difficulties and restrictions, but she desperately wanted her mother to be even half as expressive as Gabriel was being right now. Gabriel Agreste was practically made of ice, but even he was capable of showing his offspring love every once in a while. Chloé tried to remember the last time her mother ever said “I love you.”

She couldn’t.

 


 

After the show, Gabriel apologized to her mother (as he should), and they happened to bump into Marinette. “This hat is the most… exceptional thing I’ve ever seen! You’re a visionary, Marinette!”

Chloé’s heart swelled at the compliments, even though they weren’t directed at her. Mom approved of Marinette, maybe that would make her more likely to approve of Chloé being in a relationship with her.

As her mom continued to pile on the praise, Chloé flushed at her own thoughts. She was getting ahead of herself, imagining that Marinette and her could date. Sure Marinette had liked Chat Noir, but that didn’t mean she would fall in love with Chloé too!

“Come to New York with me! I’ll make you the biggest name in fashion! I’m sure you’ll even upstage Gabriel.”

Chloé balked. Her mother had never asked Chloé to come to New York with her, and now she was offering the chance to this girl she just met?

Madame Dupain-Cheng put a hand on Marinette’s shoulder, “We’ll be here for you honey, no matter what you decide!”

Monsieur Dupain-Cheng was enthusiastic. “New York? Imagine! The businesses, the bagels,” He gave Marinette a knowing look, “The boys.”

And girls,” Madame Dupain-Cheng added.

Chloé froze. Marinette was out? Her parents seemed okay bringing her sexuality up in front of people, at least. Monsieur Dupain-Cheng chuckled at the correction and gave his wife an apologetic look for not including girls in his list. Chloé glanced at Mom, desperate for a positive reaction.

Her mother raised a perfectly plucked eyebrow. “’And girls?’”

“I’m, uh, b-bisexual,” Marinette muttered, “Not that it’s really relevant to this-”

Chloé’s mother sighed. “Ugh, children nowadays. Bisexuality is so out of fashion.”

The people around her gaped. Marinette’s parents seemed shocked, like they couldn’t believe they had heard correctly. Marinette was stammering, embarrassed and uncertain under Audrey Bourgeois’s scrutiny. Gabriel Agreste, as always, had a cool exterior, but raised an eyebrow. Adrien seemed completely confused about the whole affair. And Daddy hovered behind Mom, panicked expression on his face, but not brave enough to intervene.

“Word of advice, Marinette, since I’ll be mentoring you anyway,” Mom continued to speak, “Stick to boys. Your future husband will thank you.”

Marinette looked about ready to die, eyes wide and face red as a tomato. The Queen of Fashion had just humiliated Marinette in front of her peers, family, and idols. Homophobia not only directed at Marinette, but also indirectly stabbing Chloé in the chest. Chloé looked at her father, hoping for him to do anything to address his wife’s behavior.

He simply gave Chloé a pleading look, as if begging her to understand and let it go.

Chloé looked back at Marinette, whose head was lowered as if she was waiting for the ground to swallow her whole. Chloé felt a physical pain in her chest.

Chloé’s mother had made Marinette feel like that.

Fury rose from Chloé’s soul, clawing it’s way out of some endless reservoir. Chloé spent years pining and hoping for her mother to give her even a passing glance, letting her feelings be trampled over and over and over again. Every slight, every hurt burned anew after seeing that carelessness directed not at Chloé, but at Marinette. Marinette, of all people, did not deserve to feel the way Mom made Chloé feel. Chloé’s indignation burned until all emotions but anger were turned to ash.

And angry Chloé knew exactly what she needed to do.

“Nadja Chamack?” Chloé loudly called for the reporter, “I have an important announcement to make!”

Nadja, although confused, made her way over with her cameraman behind her. The people around Chloé also seemed uncertain what was going on. Except her father, who was making a big “X” motion with his arms trying to cancel whatever Chloé was planning. He was afraid.

But Chloé Bourgeois was never afraid to make a scene.

“What’s this important announcement?”

Chloé grabbed Marinette’s hand. Marinette startled, eyes rising to meet Chloé’s. Chloé pulled her close and brought a hand to her waist, leading her into a dip.

And there, in front of the live camera, she kissed Marinette.

The kiss was much shorter than their previous ones, a simple peck, but Chloé was practically shaking as she pulled away. Unlike before, this kiss had witnesses. This was not a kiss they could hide or pretend never happened. Chloé pulled Marinette back up and stared her mother in the eye.

“I’m gay.”

Chapter Text

Audrey Bourgeois was paying full attention to Chloé, for once. Chloé kept her hand in Marinette’s, but she wasn’t sure if it was to express her affection or to support herself. Marinette didn’t pull away, she just stood completely still, as if still processing what just happened.

Mom took a breath, brows furrowed, and opened her mouth to speak, “You’re what?” She turned to Nadja, “Delete that footage.”

“This is live television, we can’t-”

“You can’t even delete a mistake? You’re fired!”

The cameras were still rolling, capturing her every reaction. Chloé resisted biting her lip, not willing to show any nervousness in spite of her mother’s behavior. Mom had tried to fire Chloé as her daughter on national television earlier today, why should Chloé break down because of this now?

Just when it seemed Mom was about to explode, Daddy stepped forward to be in the center of the frame. He put a steadying hand on Mom’s shoulder, and spoke, “Chloé, this is a surprise, but we’re very proud of you for coming out to us and all of Paris.”

Chloé felt tension roll away. She loosened her grip on Marinette, willing to relax a bit knowing her father was willing to support her publicly. When he wrapped an arm around Chloé, she let go of Marinette’s hand entirely.

“My daughter is the finest woman in all of Paris-” Mom glared at him. “Er, except for my wife, of course. We will accept and support her no matter who she loves. Thank you for helping us broadcast this message, Nadja, but my family and I must head home.”

The mayor of Paris smoothly pulled Chloé and Audrey away, leading them into a car with tinted windows.

Once inside the privacy of the car, Chloé thought her Mom would explode at her, but she was completely silent. Her father also didn’t speak, but he fidgeted in his seat and glanced between the two of them as though also anticipating disaster.

Chloé knew she would be happier if she left her mother alone for awhile, giving her time to cool off, but she was desperate to know the extent of Mom’s bigotry. “…Mom?”

“Don’t talk to me.”

It was that bad, huh? Chloé gulped, opening her mouth to insist anyway, but her phone buzzed. She pulled it out to see Adrien was calling her.

Yeah he was kind of out of the loop, wasn’t he? Chloé answered, “Hi Adrikins.”

“Chloé? Are you alright?” He sounded frazzled, “Your dad sort of rushed you away, but…”

“I’m fine,” Chloé didn’t want to have this conversation in front of her mother, “Look, I’m in the car with my parents right now, can I call you back later?”

“Yeah… Can I just say? I’m here for you Chloé. You’re my best friend, I love you.”

Chloé took a deep breath, fighting back tears. “Thanks Adrien. Love you too.”

As soon as Chloé hung up, her mother spoke. “Are you dating Gabriel Agreste’s son?”

“No, Mom, I literally just told you I’m a lesbian, and he’s a boy.”

“Then why are you saying you love him?”

Chloé rolled her eyes. “We’re best friends. He’s trying to be supportive, unlike some people in this car.”

“Well I’ll support you giving this boy a chance. You seem close, he’s easy on the eyes, I’m sure if you just tried it-”

“Audrey,” Daddy interrupted, “She’s already out, she can’t take it back.”

“She could at least try, then we can have a press conference where she tells people that it was all a mistake, and that she was just trying to embarrass her mother and didn’t actually mean it.”

“Mom that’s not what I was trying to-”

The car stopped, and Mom flung the door open. “André, we’re talking in your office. Chloé, go to your room.”

Chloé balked, “But Mom-”

“Chloé, please,” Daddy looked at her, desperate.

Chloé stomped ahead of them, taking the elevator up to her room without looking back. In the privacy of the elevator, Plagg spoke. “…Well that was drama.”

Chloé groaned. “Why is Mom like this?”

Plagg shrugged. “That’s why I prefer cheese over people.”

He went silent as the doors opened and Chloé went to her room. She immediately pulled the miraculous ring out of her bag and put it back on her finger.

“Never take that off again, okay?” Plagg told her.

She snorted. “Things turned out fine, didn’t they?”

Plagg bristled, but didn’t comment.

“Anyways, I want to hear what my parents are saying about me.”

That perked Plagg up. “Ooh, spying?”

She nodded and made her way back downstairs. They had to have made it to the office by now.

Chloé was proven correct when she heard their voices even from the hallway. They were muffled, but when she tiptoed forward and put an ear to the door she was able to make out words.

Her mother’s voice: “…the paparazzi will be ruthless-”

“Which is why we need to be there for her. Even if it brings us down in the public eye, I won’t throw her to the wolves.”

“This is all your fault.” Chloé tensed at her mother’s accusation, what was that supposed to mean? That her father didn’t raise her right? If there was anyone not contributing their fair share of parenting, it was Audrey Bourgeois.

“Darling, this isn’t the kind of thing that someone is at fault for…”

“Did you tell her?” Chloé pushed her ear closer to the door. “About you?”

“Of course not.”

“Then where else would she have learned it?”

Chloé’s heart stopped. What did that mean? What did her father…?

“Have you been bringing them here? Did she see you with someone?”

“Audrey!” Daddy’s voice was the closet to angry Chloé had ever heard it, “Since I put that ring on your finger, I have been nothing but loyal to you.”

“I know Jagged Stone stays here. At the hotel.” Jagged Stone? What did he have to do with this?

Daddy groaned. “That was decades ago…”

“So what? He just stays here all the time as a friend?”

Yes, why is that so hard for you to understand?”

“I don’t understand,” Her mother’s voice was shrill, “Where our daughter learned all of this unless you somehow exposed her to it. I’m not an idiot, André, I know I’m not equipped to fulfill all your… needs.”

“No, darling,” Daddy’s voice softened, “I don’t need anyone else. I never have. Before I met you, I was… I understand why you think the way you do. But I swear to you I’ve never wanted anyone else since being with you.”

They went quiet, and all Chloé could hear was her own blood pounding in her ears. She knew she shouldn’t be listening, apparently they didn’t want her to know that her father was… what? Gay? Bisexual? Chloé was desperate for more information. Was she misunderstanding this conversation, or was her father just like her?

“Audrey, we can’t change who she is.”

“Then why can’t she be like you?” Mom’s voice was shaking, “Why can’t she just hide it and get married to a man? For her sake, for ours.”

“Because she’s too much like you,” Daddy spoke softly, “Fierce, courageous, and not willing to back down. She isn’t willing to hide things like I do; she wants to live freely like her mother.”

Mom sighed. “I… I should get ready for New York.”

“Chloé would appreciate if you spent some time with her.”

“I don’t think I can spend time with her right now.” Chloé’s heart clenched. “I need time to think.”

There were footsteps, and Chloé ran to get out of the hallway before the door opened. Even from a distant hallway, she could pick up their last words.

“I love you, Audrey.”

“…I lo-…” Mom pronounced the words with hesitation, as though speaking a foreign language, “…love you too, André. Goodbye.”

 


 

Adrien opened his window, letting Chloé in. “I thought you said you would call me back?”

“Well I felt like not being home, so here I am,” Chloé told him as she slipped inside.

As soon as she landed on the floor, Adrien hugged her. Chloé clung onto him, not sure where to start articulating her feelings. She wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come up. The big confession was over, and all she could do was wait for the chips to fall where they may. She had come out to the world, alienated her mother, made life difficult for her father, and now she was here. She had been on too much of an emotional roller coaster to keep fluctuating, so she just stood with Adrien.

Eventually, he spoke, “Um, congratulations on coming out.”

Chloé laughed, since she couldn’t cry anymore. The positivity was a nice a nice change from feeling like her confession broke her family apart.

She pulled back from him to speak, “Thanks.”

He smiled at her, then led her to the bed to sit her down. “Can I ask you some stuff?”

“Sure.” Chloé felt content as he sat beside her, casual and accepting. No drama, just curiosity.

“So… how did you know?”

She shrugged. “Earlier this year, I was looking at… a girl, and I just sort of realized that I was in love.”

“What does it feel like?”

“What, being gay?”

Adrien was lying down with his legs off the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Liking someone.”

Chloé furrowed her brow. “You’ve never liked anyone? Ever?”

“As friends, yeah,” Adrien told her, “But how do you know you like someone as more than a friend?”

“I don’t know…” Chloé tried to think about her feelings for Ladybug and Marinette, “I guess you want to spend a lot of time with them? You think about them in a way that’s special compared to your friends, more frequently too, and you start to daydream about a life you could have together… And wanting to kiss them just for the sake of kissing them is a good indicator.”

“Do people actually like kissing?”

Chloé licked her lips, thoughts of Marinette filling her head, “I definitely do.”

Adrien sighed.

Chloé’s phone buzzed, and she picked it up to see Sabrina Raincomprix’s face. “Whoops.”

Adrien straightened up, “Is it your mom?”

Chloé shook her head. “Sabrina. I should probably take it.”

She answered the call, and Sabrina was shouting in her ear immediately, “Chloé? I just saw a clip from the fashion show. Is it true? You’re gay?”

“Y-yes,” Chloé felt more shy admitting her sexuality to her best friend than declaring it on national television.

“Your mom seemed… not great about it.”

“Yeah, no, she wasn’t thrilled.”

“Well I’ll fight her,” Sabrina was in battle mode, words short but certain, “If she’s rude to you about it, run away and live with me. If she comes after you, I’ll beat her up. She’ll have to catch these fists if she wants to do anything to you.”

That made Chloé laugh. “Thanks, Sabrina, but I don’t think that’ll be necessary. She’s heading back to New York soon, anyway.”

“Just know it’s on the table. Are you okay? Do you need someone?”

Chloé shook her head, then realized she was on the phone. “No, I’m with Adrien right now, I’m good.”

“Good. Call or text if you need anything at all, okay?” Sabrina told her.

“Yeah… thanks.”

“Of course.”

She hung up.

Adrien smiled. “She’s a good friend.”

Chloé agreed.

Adrien leaned back. “So… Marinette.”

Chloé could feel her face grow red at her name.

“Are you two like… dating?”

“No!” Chloé’s words came out rushed. “I kissed her because she was there, and I wanted to be dramatic, especially since Mom was rude to Marinette specifically, so I figured… why not, right?”

“Chloé, is Marinette the girl that made you realize you’re-”

“No!” Chloé would never live it down if Marinette was the one who made her realize her sexuality. Thank goodness it was Ladybug.

“Okay, but do you like her now?”

Chloé hid her face in her hands. “…Maybe.”

Adrien laughed and patted her back. “That explains a lot.”

Chloé pouted. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You just talk about her a lot, you know? I remember before I started school, sometimes you’d visit me after classes ended and spend like, an hour detailing everything Marinette did that day.”

“Because I hated her!”

The denial just made Adrien laugh again. “Seriously though, it’s like the those kids who pull on the pigtails of the people they like.”

Chloé crossed her arms and grumbled. “Maybe she shouldn’t wear pigtails then.”

“Okay, I’ll stop teasing you,” Adrien became more serious, “You said you’re not dating her, right?”

“Unfortunately.”

“But you kissed her?”

“When I make a scene, I spare no expense.”

“Yes, very dramatic, but was Marinette okay with that?”

Chloé’s stomach dropped. She hadn’t stopped to think about the consequences for Marinette in that situation. “Uh…”

Adrien crossed his arms.

Chloé groaned. “I’ll… talk to her about it later?”

Adrien continued to look at her, frowning.

“I’ll apologize to her?”

He uncrossed his arms. “That sounds right.”

Chapter Text

As soon as the Bourgeois family left, Nadja turned to Marinette. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng, was that kiss a confession from Chloé Bourgeois about the nature of your relationship?”

Marinette stood, frozen in place, unable to think of words.

Chloé had kissed her. Again. In front of cameras and witnesses.

She liked girls?

Her arm was tugged, pulling her out of her trance. She turned her face to see Alya speaking to the reporter. “Sorry Nadja, I need to talk to my friend in private.”

Alya pulled her away, finding an empty room for them to discuss matters.

“Marinette, what in the seven layers of hell was that?"

Marinette finally found some words, “I… I don’t know.”

“I can’t believe Chloé would use you like that! Do you think she was purposefully trying to sabotage your chances with Adrien? Or is she just so selfish she thinks it’s okay to grab any girl to stir up drama…”

“Alya, I don’t…”

Alya was pacing now, hands swinging rapid fire as she ranted, “…The absolute scheming brat! Dragging you into something like that without a word! The thoughtlessness, the-”

"Alya."

Alya stopped at that tone.

“I…” Marinette took a deep breath, “I think Chloé was trying to be nice.”

With determined steps, Alya brought a hand up to Marinette’s forehead. “…Hmm, your face is warm, I think you might be coming down with something.”

“I’m warm because Chloé just kissed me in front of like, a million people!”

“In some sort of twisted revenge plot!”

Marinette backed up, “Alya, you weren’t there. Before the camera.”

Alya rested her chin on her hand. “True, I just came over when Chloé claimed she had an ‘important announcement’. So why don’t you give me the inside scoop? Tell me what could have made that in any way nice.”

Marinette took a deep breath. She was nervous, for various reasons. “Well Audrey Bourgeois was offering for me to go to New York with her…”

“A-ha! That’s the motive, Chloé was jealous!”

“That’s not it, let me continue. Somehow in our conversation, the fact that I’m bi was brought up-”

“Wait, you’re bi?” Alya gasped. “Why did I not know this?”

“Because I didn’t even know it was a thing until Rose mentioned it! I just thought I was straight with additional feelings for girls!”

Alya face-palmed. “That’s definitely not how being straight works.”

“Which I didn’t realize until very recently. Now can I continue?”

“Yes, yes, sorry.”

“So Audrey Bourgeois makes some rude comments, like something about how I should only date men, and that it would be a favor to my future husband, and like… I had no clue how to respond to that. I was just completely embarrassed that this somehow got brought up and that she was basically telling me my feelings for girls weren’t valid. But I couldn’t fight her! She’s literally the Queen of Fashion, if I fought her, she would tell all the fashion designers in the world I’m rude, no one would ever hire me, and I could jeopardize my whole career forever!”

“Marinette, focus.”

“Right. So I’m completely helpless, no one knows what to say to that, and then Chloé," Marinette sighed, warmth flooding her chest, “Swoops in like, ‘By the way, you were being homophobic in front of your lesbian daughter, who is coming out to everyone right now so everyone will know your daughter is gay and you’re rude’, completely flipping the script on her and making her look like a fool.”

Alya tapped a finger. “Hmm…”

“Isn’t it brave? Isn’t it courageous?”

“And how about the kiss? Do you have any feelings at all about the fact that she kissed you?”

Marinette’s fingers brushed over her own lips, remembering the action.

“Chloé just assumes you’re down to be her kiss-buddy so she can make a scene? Especially in front of Adrien of all people.”

“I don’t like Adrien anymore.”

Alya’s eyes bugged out. “What?”

“I… I just don’t. He’s like, a friend now.”

“What is going on.” Alya grabbed her shoulders. “Where has your thirst gone?” She gasped. “Oh my god you recently realized you’re bisexual. It’s a girl, isn’t it?”

Marinette held her breath.

“What’s your face doing right now?”

“What do youmeanwhat’smyfacedoing?”

“It’s all pinched up and you’re avoiding my eyes. And rushing your words.” Alya leaned in, going into interrogative reporter mode, “You only do that when you’re trying to hide something.”

She tried to relax her face.

“You fell in love with a girl? And that’s why you’re not into Adrien anymore?”

Marinette sighed. “That might be slightly 100% exactly what happened.”

Alya gasped. “What! Who’s the girl? I need the deets!”

Marinette grimaced. “I don’t think you’ll like the answer.”

“Is it…” Alya’s eyes widened. “Oh my gosh it’s me, isn’t it?”

Marinette opened her mouth to counter, but Alya was already continuing.

“There’s no way I would dislike that answer! Your love would be my greatest honor! Oh Marinette, you should have said something! I know I’m with Nino, but I think he’d support if we wanted to try-”

“I’m gonna stop you right there and clarify: It’s not you.”

Alya’s brow furrowed. “Not me? Who else could it be, who I wouldn’t like? That you’d be embarrassed to tell me? I like everyone, except…” Realization dawned on Alya’s face. "Chloé Bourgeois."

“You understand why I wouldn’t want to tell you?”

“Out of the entire female population of Paris you had to choose the brattiest, snobbiest-”

“She’s getting better!”

Alya was pacing again. “And she kissed you. You guys are secretly dating, aren’t you?”

“No! I wish."

“What did she even- How did this happen, Marinette? What got you interested in Chloé of all people?”

The distant sound of her parents calling her name made Marinette suck in a breath.

“I should go home first. Come with me, and I’ll explain…”

 


 

 

Sitting on Marinette’s bed, Alya sighed for about the millionth time that conversation. “…And after that third make out session, you were still convinced you were both straight.”

“Well when you put it like that it sounds silly!”

“And you thought her crush was Adrien, but clearly if she’s gay that’s off the table. Marinette, have you considered that she’s in denial?”

“What?”

“Like, she’s not ready to face the fact that she’s developed feelings for her forever-frenemy, so she pretends she has a crush on someone else and makes out with her in school closets for ‘practice’.”

Marinette flushed. “Y-you think she likes me?”

“Everybody likes you! You’re talented, cute, confident, probably everyone in our class would be down to date you if asked, I know both Nino and I would. There’s no way Chloé is immune to that kind of charm!”

“But this is Chloé Bourgeois! She thinks she’s too good for anyone!"

Alya clicked her tongue. “Just you wait, soon she’ll be spoiling you rotten.”

There was a knock on Marinette’s door. Her dad’s voice came from the other side, “Marinette? There’s a package for you.”

Marinette and Alya looked at each other. Marinette opened the door, and saw a medium-sized, fancy red box with a bow in her father’s arms. “I didn’t order anything?”

He gave it to her anyway. “It’s got your name on it, express delivery.”

She closed the door behind him and brought the package over to Alya. Alya poked and prodded at it, “There’s a tag.”

Marinette read off of it, “To: Marinette. Sincerely, Chloé.”

"What?" Alya squealed, “What is it?”

Marinette opened the lid to expose a litany of gourmet chocolates.

Alya gave a low whistle. “Oh these are fancy. My mom gave my dad these last Valentine’s day, but in a much, much smaller box…”

“W-Whu… what do you think it means?”

Alya smirked. “Either she’s very sorry, very enamored, or most likely: Both.”

“No way! It must have been a mistake.”

Alya grabbed Marinette’s phone. “You should call and ask.”

“Alya!”

“No, Marinette," Alya dodged Marinette’s grabby hands, “Chloé needs to explain herself. She’s done enough that you deserve to confront her.”

Marinette sputtered as Alya scrolled through her contacts. “Wait, I’m not ready!”

The phone began ringing. Calling Chloé Bourgeois.

Marinette froze, listening to the rings. Alya just held out the phone, near Marinette’s face so she could speak. Marinette’s mind blanked, but she tried to scrape up something comprehensible as the phone continued ringing.

Finally, it stopped, “This is Chloé Bourgeois, I’m a busy girl and can’t come to the phone, so if it’s at all important, I guess send a text or leave a message.”

It beeped. Marinette stared at Alya, as if asking if this was really happening. Alya just pushed the phone closer. Marinette took a deep breath. “Hi Chloé, it’s Marinette, you know the girl you kissed on national television? I guess you know that. Unlessyouforgot? You sent me chocolates, which I assume is connected. Do you like me? Because IlikeyouandwanttokissyoumoreIhopeyoulikemetoo. Wait, cancel! Delete message! I didn’t mean to say that! Cancelcancelcancel-”

The phone beeped. “If you wish to hear your message again, press 1. If you wish to erase your message, press 2.”

Marinette scrambled to snatch the phone out of Alya’s hand, but ended up dropping it.

“Message saved. Goodbye.”

Marinette screamed.

 


 

“How do you even know about this back entrance to the Bourgeois hotel?”

Because Ladybug has to use it sometimes. “Just one of those things I picked up.”

They tiptoed down the hallways, Marinette leading. Alya whispered, “Do you even know where Chloé’s room is?”

Yes Ladybug has been there multiple times. “I think so.”

“And you think you can sneak in there, delete the voice mail, and get out without Chloé noticing you?”

“I’ll figure it out,” Marinette insisted, stopping in front of the elevator and pressing a button to go up.

When the elevator opened, she was face-to-face with Audrey Bourgeois.

Audrey stepped out and looked down at her. “Marinette. Did you make your decision?”

Marinette’s heart was beating so fast it was practically a vibration. “My, uh, what?”

“About coming to New York with me?”

“Er-” Marinette forgot entirely about that in the drama. She wasn’t even sure it was still on the table after that scene. “I, um, New York… uh-huh…”

Alya swooped in. “She wants to discuss it with Chloé first.”

Audrey crinkled her nose. “Of course. You’d want to keep your… girlfriend in the loop.”

“Girlfriend?” Marinette squeaked, “No, no, no, we’re just friends!”

Audrey scoffed. “What? Are you saying my daughter isn’t good enough for you?”

“No! She’s great, she’s good, she’s great-good!” Marinette bit her own tongue, trying not to say anything stupid.

Alya was once again a lifesaver, “The labels on their relationship will be part of the discussion.”

Audrey rolled her eyes. "Children." She turned back to the elevator. “Follow me.”

Marinette and Alya didn’t know what to say as she pulled them into the elevator. She just kept her lips sealed tight so she wouldn’t say the wrong thing. Alya made some frantic expressions while Audrey’s back was turned, but Marinette didn’t know how to respond.

Finally, they got off the elevator and Audrey knocked on a nearby door. “Chlorine- er, Chloé? Marinette is here.”

Silence.

“Open this door! You have some explaining to do!”

More silence.

Chloé," With that, Audrey turned the knob and found the door unlocked. Once inside, she power walked, “Where are you?”

Marinette and Alya joined in the search, but there was no sign of Chloé. Alya opened her mouth to say something, but Audrey was already calling someone.

“André? Did Chloé mention going somewhere? No? Well she’s not in her room… Yes, I’ll ask.” She hung up and dialed someone else, manicured fingers practically jabbing the screen. “Was Chloé seen leaving the hotel? Well where did the chauffeur take her then?” Audrey’s face became panicked, “Walked? But where would she…? So you don’t know where she is? You’re fired!”

Audrey’s shoulders were tense, brows pinched together and lips downturned. Alya and Marinette didn’t dare to speak, wary of redirecting her ire onto them.

“Doesn’t she know it’s dangerous? Especially after that stunt…”

Alya whispered to Marinette, “You think she ran away?”

Audrey snapped her head towards Alya. “No way, she couldn’t… wouldn’t…”

Marinette and Alya just looked at each other.

“…What if she ran away because of me?” Audrey started breathing faster. “Ridiculous! Utterly ridiculous!”

Alya brought her palms up in a placating gesture. “Let’s not panic-”

“I’m not panicking!”

“Where would she go? Visit a friend? Who would she go to?”

Audrey waved her hands. “I don’t know! I don’t know anything about her! I didn’t know she was gay, I don’t know who her friends are, how am I supposed to know!”

Marinette piped up, “Sabrina’s her best friend.”

“Alright, I’ll call her,” Alya responded while pulling out her phone.

Sabrina picked up after the third ring. Alya put her on speakerphone. “Alya? What’s up, why are you calling?”

“Hey Sabrina, quick question: Is Chloé with you right now?”

“No, but when I called her earlier, she was with Adrien.”

Audrey collapsed on the couch with a sigh.

Alya said goodbye and hung up before turning to Audrey. “There you go. Now Marinette and I are gonna go.”

“Wait,” Audrey raised a hand, “Marinette.”

Marinette waited.

“The New York offer is still open. I leave at 8 P.M. tonight.”

Marinette bit her lip. “I’ll think about it.”

 


 

After being turned away from the Agreste mansion three times by Nathalie, Alya gave up. Marinette pretended to give up too. As soon as they split, though… “Tikki, spots on!”

Marinette couldn’t sneak in, but Ladybug with her yo-yo and enhanced athletic abilities could get over the walls and sneak into Adrien’s room. She hung by the window and peaked at the scene inside. Chloé was on Adrien’s couch, video game controller in her hand, leaned completely forward towards the screen, while Adrien sat beside her laughing. Ladybug scanned the room, and saw both of their phones were on the bed behind them.

She knocked on the window. Adrien and Chloé both sat up straight, then looked at each other with a confused expression before turning to the window. Chloé reacted first, dropping the controller to run to the window and open it. “Ladybug!”

Ladybug slipped in and accepted Chloé’s immediate embrace. “The one and only.”

“Hi!” Adrien smiled and approached, “What brings you here?”

“I wanted to congratulate my number one fan on coming out?”

Chloé gasped. “You care about me that much?”

“W-well, like I said, you’re my number one fan! And Chat Noir is a lesbian too, so I think she’d appreciate me, um, supporting another one…” Ladybug glanced at the phone on the bed. “Celebratory selfie?”

“Yes!” Chloé squealed, running to grab her phone.

Ladybug watched with apprehension as Chloé picked up her phone and unlocked it.

“A voicemail…?”

Ladybug hurried behind Chloé, “I can’t stay for long, let’s get that picture taken!”

In her periphery, Ladybug saw Adrien was a little wary, smiling but brow furrowed. Did he sense something was off?

Chloé willingly ignored the voice mail to take a picture with Ladybug. Ladybug did her best to actually smile. Once it was taken, Ladybug pulled the phone out of Chloé’s hands. “I’m just gonna make sure I look good…”

As fast as possible, Ladybug switched to the voicemail and deleted the message. Then she hopped back to the camera app and handed it back to Chloé.

“Looks great! Congrats on coming out! I gotta go!” With a salute, Ladybug jumped out the window.

Behind her, she heard Adrien say, “How did she know you were at my house…?”

Chapter Text

Chloé stared at her phone and swiped through some things. “That’s strange, I thought I saw a voicemail?”

Before she could contemplate further, her phone buzzed, there was a text message from Marinette Dupain-Cheng.

Can we talk?

Adrien read it over her shoulder. “Think she got your chocolates yet?”

“If she didn’t I’ll have to file a complaint. The company said an hour or less delivery in Paris.”

“You gonna talk to her?”

Chloé tapped her finger against her thigh. “What do I even say?”

“’Hey, sorry about kissing you without asking, by the way I like you, wanna go out?’”

Chloé shoved Adrien. “I can’t say that so casually!”

The phone buzzed again.

Tonight? Please?

Adrien whistled. “Wow Chloé, making her beg. I thought you liked her?”

“I do," Chloé did her best not to stumble over the admission, “I just don’t know what to say!”

Adrien grabbed the phone.

“Hey, what are you-”

“Where. Are. You. Question mark.” Adrien tapped the screen. “Done.”

“Adrikins!”

Home, in my room.

Come over.

 


 

 

Chloé rang on Marinette's doorbell. This time she was not Chat Noir, and she didn't have the rose. Oh no maybe I should have brought a rose, wait no that'd be too similar what if Marinette noticed and connected the dots-

The door opened and Chloé was faced with Monsieur Dupain-Cheng. "Chloé! Good to see you."

"T-thanks, is Marinette here?"

"Yes! Let me lead you upstairs."

Chloé minced her steps alongside him.

"So Chloé... have you ever considered baking as a career?"

Oh no. Not again. "Uhh..."

"You baked macaroons with Marinette awhile back, right? You know, I could use an apprentice. Just imagine: The Dupain-Cheng-Bourgeois Bakery!"

"Well, uh, Monsieur Dupain-Cheng-"

"Please, call me Tom!"

Chloé coughed. "Okay... Tom, you see, I'm..." Lacking any work experience whatsoever? Probably going to take over the Bourgeois hotel? Completely flustered at the thought of combining last names with Marinette?

Tom slapped Chloé on the back, and without the strength and balance she built up for superhero-ing she probably would have fallen over. "No need to be coy, Chloé. By the way, how do you feel about hamsters?"

"Dad!"

Marinette stood at the top of the steps Chloé and Tom were climbing, fists clenched and face red.

Tom laughed. "Aw Marinette, I'm just asking her some questions..."

"Chloé, come up here, and Dad, no following!"

Chloé continued up the steps while Tom spoke, "Should I be asking you guys to leave the door open?"

"Dad!" Marinette's face got even redder. "We're not going to be doing anything!"

Chloé's heart sank. Nothing at all?

Once in her room with the door shut, Marinette turned around. "Sorry about my dad, he just... makes assumptions."

Chloé cringed. She had been making assumptions too, imagining just confessing and falling into Marinette's arms like some sort of rom-com fantasy. "Sorry."

Marinette sat on her bed. "You're sorry? Don't be, my dad just does what he wants."

"I'm not sorry about your dad." Chloé hovered in the center of the room. "I'm sorry for the other stuff."

Marinette laughed, eyes glancing everywhere except Chloé. "Like what? Sending me chocolates?"

Marinette pulled out the box.

"Here, help them eat me. I mean," Marinette stammered a moment. "Help me eat them! Eating the chocolates! Ugh..."

Chloé tip-toed over, gigging. She was scared of a million things she couldn't articulate, but seeing Marinette just as nervous helped settle her. She sat down as close to Marinette as she could without technically touching. Wordlessly, Marinette opened the box and held it out for Chloé. All the chocolates were still in their little compartments, not a single one empty.

Chloé plucked the tastiest-looking one, but instead of taking a bite she just held it out to Marinette. Marinette stared at the offered treat, then looked at Chloé.

Chloé held it out closer to her. "It was a gift for you. You should eat the first one."

Marinette nodded, gulped, then grabbed the chocolate with her mouth.

Chloé released it easily, face heating up. Was Marinette just so out of sorts she didn't think to grab the chocolate with her own hand? Or was it some sort of... gesture of intimacy? Chloé didn't dare guess, so she just grabbed a chocolate for herself and practically swallowed it whole, not even tasting it.

Chloé took a deep breath. "I probably shouldn't have kissed you."

Marinette's face fell. "You shouldn't have?"

"Not without asking, at least!"

Marinette wrung her hands together and stared down, as though trying to unravel her thoughts in them.

Chloé waited, biting her lip, unsure where to go from here. Should she confess?

"Well..." Marinette spoke hesitantly, as though afraid of her own words, "You could ask me now?"

Her heart swelled, mind racing. Was this what Chloé thought it was? "Marinette," Chloé's mouth felt dry, so she took a moment to kick her lips just in case, "Can I kiss you?"

"Yes."

 


 

So when Marinette told her dad they weren't going to do anything, that was a lie.

Clearly evidenced by A. Chloé on top of Marinette, B. On Marinette's bed and C. Living out at least twenty of Chloé's late night fantasies she would never admit to.

The box of chocolates had been set aside after Chloé pounced, Marinette barely able to squeeze an arm out of Chloé's embrace to move them. Now the space on Marinette's lap where the chocolate had been was replaced with a much more delectable treat: Chloé Bourgeois herself.

She was absolutely entranced, lips practically married to Marinette's. The soft bed was a welcome change from the hallway and closet walls their previous encounters featured. She was pressing against Marinette, breathing in that strawberry shampoo, and taking full advantage of the permission given.

Regrettably, Marinette pushed Chloé's face away for a moment to breath. Her face wore a decadent flush, and stray hair stands sneaked out of her pigtails. Those tempting lips shone wet, and parted to speak. "Chloé..."

If she wanted to speak, Chloé would let her, but Chloé's mouth didn't dare grow idle. She pressed kisses into Marinette's neck, delighting at the gasps they elicited.

"C-Chloé, we-" Marinette interrupted herself with a squeak as Chloé sucked the base of her neck.

"I made cookies-!"

Tom's voice and the opening door made both girls freeze. Tom peaked up at them, eyes widening at their position.

Marinette finally moved, shoving Chloé off the bed. "Hey!" Chloé chastised her.

"Dad! Can't you knock?"

Tom held up the tray of cookies. "They're fresh?"

They certainly smelled fresh, a warm doughy scent that made Chloé peer closer. Chocolate chip, with the chocolate every-so-slightly melted. It made Chloé hungry.

Marinette steamed. "No cookies! Close the door, Dad!"

Chloé raised her hand as if to chase the tray of temptation, but with an embarrassed look Tom took them with him as he closed the door.

"Marinette! You just said no to fresh chocolate chip cookies!"

Marinette pulled Chloé back onto the bed with one arm. Wow since when has Marinette been so buff? "Chloé. I literally live in a bakery."

"But I don't!"

"We've got more important things to focus on."

Chloé leaned forward with a daring smirk, but Marinette put a finger up to her lips.

"I was trying to ask you something, but you kept distracting me."

"You used kissing as a distraction first," Chloé pouted, advance paused by that single finger.

"Before we go any further, I need to know, what are we?"

Chloé's mind whirred. What were they? She decided to turn the question back on Marinette. "What do you want to be?"

"I asked first."

"I want to be..." Chloé's body was pulsing with adrenaline. "...your girlfriend."

"Good." Marinette put her hands on Chloé's shoulders. "Me too."

Without so much as a warning, Marinette gave her another kiss. Just a peck, and Chloé started to lean forward again to turn it into more. However, in a strangely familiar gesture, Marinette put a finger Chloé's nose and pushed her back again.

"So as your girlfriend, I have to talk about something difficult."

Chloé barely processed the words beyond 'as your girlfriend'.

"Your mother asked me to go to New York with her."

Chloé's joy abruptly cracked. With just those words all her elation of the day was shut up. "A-are you going?"

Marinette shook her head, and Chloé nearly cried in relief. "No, but she told me she'd be leaving at eight tonight."

Chloé frowned. "So?"

"I think we should talk to her."

Chloé tensed up. "She doesn't want to talk to me."

"I went to the hotel earlier today to look for you, and I met her again. When you weren't there, and it seemed you might have run away, she panicked. She cares about you, Chloé."

Chloé wasn't prepared to hear this. She had too many broken feelings as a direct result of assuming her mother, under all her pomp and circumstance, must have some sort of love for Chloé buried. She didn't want to be tricked again. "I wish."

"Let's go to her, at least to say goodbye."

"I don't know what I'd even say..."

"What about 'Hi mom, before you leave, can I properly introduce my girlfriend?"

That at least made Chloé chuckle. The thought of Marinette beside her made the confrontation sound a bit more bearable. And Chloé didn't want her last memory of her mom to be of eavesdropping on that fight with her father. She took a deep breath. "Alright. Let's do it."

 


 

Marinette stood in front of Mom, who was directing the packing of the helicopter. “I won’t be coming to New York with you. I still have so many things to do here. All the people I love are here: my parents, my friends, and my girlfriend.”

With that, Marinette took a step to the side and revealed Chloé to her mother. Chloé stepped forward, head low, ready to get right to it. Mom took a step back. “Chlorox? Uh, Chloé?”

“Why don’t you love me, Mom?”

She looked incredibly uncomfortable with this confrontation. She averted her eyes as she spoke, “But… uh, of course I l-l-” she struggled over the words, just as Chloé had heard earlier with her father, “love you.”

“Even before I came out, you never spent time with me,” Chloé wanted to be accusatory, but her tone just came out resigned.

Marinette grabbed her hand, and Chloé squeezed it for support.

Audrey gulped. “C-Chloé…”

Her stricken face was a relief at least. Chloé felt secretly pleased that her harsh words had any effect at all. She had half-expected to be brushed off.

Her mother wrapped her arms around herself, as though cold. “I know I’m perfect at everything… except, perhaps, being a mother. I should admit that it’s a little… scary.”

“Scary?”

“I don’t-… I can’t control you. This whole… ‘lesbian’ thing, there was no way I could have predicted it, and I can’t actually fire you.”

“You could have predicted it if you had known me-”

Marinette chimed in, “Not to be rude Chloé, but even I didn’t predict it until you came out on television.”

Chloé gave Marinette a flabbergasted look. “We kissed? Three times!”

“So you two are girlfriends now?” Mom asked.

Chloé focused back on her mother. She pulled Marinette closer as she responded, “Yes. I like her a lot, Mom. If you want to start being a ‘perfect’ mother, I think accepting that would be a good first step.”

Her mother’s face contorted in several rapid iterations. Ultimately, it settled on an only mildly constipated face. “C-congratulations. On the, um, dating. You have good taste.”

The praise was like a drug, Chloé was instantly elated, cravings abruptly fulfilled, hope in the future restored. She was positively beaming. “Thanks Mom!”

Mom nodded stiffly. She opened her arms, an unusual pose on her. “Uh…”

Chloé let go of Marinette’s hand to accept the hug. It was a bit uncomfortable, but Chloé’s heart felt warm at the thought that her mother was at least trying. She had never felt like her mother was trying prior to this.

“Shouldn’t we get going to the airport?” The helicopter pilot called out.

“Don’t rush us!” Both Chloé and Mom snapped at the same time.

They looked at each other. That was rather in synch. Mom actually smiled. At Chloé.

“You guys have school breaks, correct?”

Chloé nodded.

“Perhaps during one, Marinette could come uh, job-shadow for a week or something, and I wouldn’t want to separate you two, so perhaps, Chloé…?”

Chloé smiled. “I would love to go.”

Chapter Text

When Chloé walked into the classroom, a hush fell over the class. She stood tall, glaring around the room. She deserved to have all this attention, but she would be lying if she said she wasn’t maybe (just a tiny bit) nervous about the reactions. Marinette was, as usual, the last to get there, so it was just Chloé facing the consequences for now.

Nobody seemed to know what to say, so Chloé decided it was her role as school idol to lead by example: Loud and proud. “In case you all missed it, I’m gay.”

The cheers were gratifying. Nino guffawed, apparently unaware. Kim gave Alix some cash with a grumble about improbability and bets. Juleka and Rose came down and raised their hands. “High-five dude,” Juleka said in her usual soft voice.

Chloé easily accepted the high-fives as she went to her seat, where Sabrina was practically bouncing with excitement. A few people came over to Chloé’s desk. Max led, “Chloé, during your announcement on television, I observed that you kissed Marinette-”

“Everyone noticed that!” Kim exclaimed.

“-A display that typically indicates some amorous affection, though it could have been an adrenaline-fueled action, meant to emphasize your message. Can you clarify-”

Marinette entered the classroom at that time. “I’m on time!” She exclaimed, having made it before the bell.

Everyone’s heads turned to her. Then back to Chloé. Chloé kept her eyes on Marinette, watching her slowly turn redder as she realized she was the center of attention. Chloé reached out a hand, giving Marinette someone to focus on. “Marinette, come here.”

Wordlessly, Marinette approached. When she was close to Chloé, Chloé tugged her closer for a quick peck. The class ooh-ed and aww-ed.

Marinette backed up sputtering. “C-Chloé! Not in front of the class!”

Chloé turned to Max. “Does that answer your question?”

 


 

Chloé was on cloud nine. She rolled around in her bed, thinking about Marinette.

“She was so cute during science class today! Safety glasses are so unfashionable, but it’s like everything she puts on turns vogue. What if she wore reading glasses?” Chloé sighed. “She’d be so cute in glasses.”

Plagg yawned. “Yeah, yeah, I get it, she’s cute, blah blah blah, do you have anything else going on in your head?”

“No,” Chloé told him with another dreamy sigh.

But even another half hour of recounting every movement Marinette made today didn’t calm Chloé down. She decided she needed to work out her energy somehow. “Plagg, claws out!”

Chat Noir escaped her room from the window, and began running across the rooftops, swirling and rolling in joyous abandon. The magic of requited love seemed to make the setting sun even more beautiful than usual. She passed by some civilians, and to share her joy she blew some kisses towards her fans. But she didn’t stay in the same place for long. She carried on across Paris, feeling the wind flow through her tousled hair.

Marinette liked her hair. Marinette liked her. Marinette was her girlfriend. She whooped as she crested a particularly tall rooftop at the thought.

And didn’t plan a proper landing. She instinctively closed her eyes and prepared for the slam.

However, before she felt her body crumple on the ground, there was a sudden pressure of string around her body that slowed her down. She knew that sensation anywhere, so she opened her eyes with a smile. “Ladybug! What are you doing out and about?”

Ladybug snickered as she released the yo-yo, letting Chat Noir land harmlessly. “A hero’s work is never done. There’s purse snatchers, lost children, and kittens getting into trouble.”

“My hero,” Chat Noir swooned.

Ladybug rolled her eyes.

Chat Noir hopped onto a tall roof. “Time to chat?”

“Sure.” Ladybug settled next to her.

Chat Noir laid down on the roof, staring at the darkening sky. It was hard not to stare at Ladybug, she was still as beautiful as the day Chat Noir first saw her. But she was a committed woman now. This would be the perfect time to settle her feelings. “You remember my confession?”

Ladybug inhaled sharply. “Sorry.”

“No need to be sorry,” Chat Noir laughed. “Actually, I have some great news. After you rejected me and told me to consider other people, I started to realize my feelings for another girl.”

“Oh?” Ladybug’s shoulders relaxed.

“I guess my focus on you kind of hid it from me for awhile. But guess what?” Chat Noir grinned. “She’s my girlfriend now!”

“Congratulations!” Ladybug smiled. “You know, that’s a crazy coincidence, since um, it turns out I have a girlfriend now too?”

That made Chat Noir sit up. “What?”

Okay, yes, Chat Noir was ‘over’ Ladybug sort of. Or at least, too ‘into’ Marinette to be entirely invested in Ladybug, but Chat Noir was ready to show Ladybug how well she was coping. How happy and well-adjusted she was now despite the rejection. And it turns out Ladybug did the same thing?

Ladybug scratched the back of her neck. “Turns out that ‘hopeless’ love wasn’t so hopeless after all.”

“Well, congrats.” Chat Noir responded hesitantly.

Chat Noir stewed for a bit. She couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of jealousy that as soon as Chat Noir ended up in a happy relationship, Ladybug did as well. It didn’t necessarily make sense, but Chat Noir wanted… a bit more attention given to her new girlfriend.

Chat Noir stretched her arms casually. “Well, just so you know Ladybug, my girlfriend is cute, smart, and talented.”

“That’s nice.”

Ladybug gave Chat Noir a little side-eye. Chat Noir saw her bite her lip, and almost pout.

“But if we’re talking about girlfriends,” Ladybug spoke softly, but with a certain tone, “I might as well mention my girlfriend is beautiful, dedicated, and confident.”

“Well my girlfriend has the cutest hairstyle on the planet.” Chat Noir decided not to mention it was the same hairstyle as Ladybug’s.

Ladybug snorted. “There’s no way her hair is cuter than my girlfriend’s.”

“She’s also got a multitude of skills. Cooking, fashion, video games…”

“My girlfriend is pretty fashionable, great at handling the spotlight, and a fencer.”

That made Chat Noir blush a bit. She was a fencer too, did that mean that, despite the rejection, maybe she was slightly Ladybug’s type? She avoided getting flustered by focusing on memories of Marinette. “Mine has a cuter voice.”

“Mine has the cutest voice.”

“Mine smells like strawberries.”

“Mine is literally famous.”

“Mine too,” Chat Noir told her. Marinette had literally had her hat on the Agreste catwalk, of course she was famous.

Ladybug huffed. “Look, we’re probably getting to close to each other’s identities, we should probably stop.”

Chat Noir rolled her eyes. “Come on, what are the chances that you know my girlfriend?”

Ladybug pouted. “I’d rather not find out. Especially if she’s as ‘famous’ as you say, then it’s even more likely I would know her.”

“Do you think yours is famous enough that I would know her?”

Ladybug nodded. “She’s… like I said, she’s comfortable in the spotlight. Her family is well-known and… Ugh, I shouldn’t say any more.”

Chat Noir licked her lips. She knew it was wrong to try and suss out Ladybug’s identity, but… those hints were certainly temptation. And she wasn’t necessarily interested in Ladybug’s identity, just in her girlfriend. It would be interesting to see what Ladybug’s type was.

Just as she opened her mouth to ask more question, Ladybug raised her hand. “Sorry, I got carried away, let’s stop before we compromise our identities.”

Chat Noir frowned. “Aw, come on, that’s no fun.”

Ladybug smirked. “You’ll just have to trust me when I say my girlfriend is probably better than yours.”

Ladybug tossed her yo-yo to pull herself away, but Chat Noir called from behind her, “No way! Mine is definitely better!”

Ladybug’s laugh faded into the distance.

 


 

At fencing the next day, Chloé was still thinking about Ladybug’s girlfriend.

A fencer, like me. Chloé scanned around the room. Wouldn’t that be a crazy coincidence if she was in this class?

Chloé sat down to watch a bout, between Kagami and one of the boys whose name she forgot. Adrien sat next to her. “Has Kagami seemed stressed lately to you?”

Chloé flipped her hair. “I haven’t noticed.”

Adrien frowned. “She must be under a lot of pressure.”

“Huh? Why?”

“Don’t you know? She’s part of the Tsurugi family. They’re like, famous fencers, she’s got a legacy on her shoulders.”

Famous.

A bob was perhaps not the cutest haircut in existence (maybe if it was long enough for pigtails….) but it certainly worked on her. Her fashion was perhaps not Chloé’s taste, but she certainly had quality clothing. Perhaps Ladybug wasn’t all that fashion-forward so even that looked fashionable. Kagami seemed pretty confident to Chloe. The most damning piece of evidence was that fame.

There was no way. No way Ladybug’s girlfriend could be so close to her.

But who else fit that description? At least in that class, which was the best fencing class in Paris, Kagami fit best. Aside from Chloé, but Chloé was dating Marinette.

Chloé started to feel light-headed. Adrien was talking beside her, but she tuned it out to focus on this revelation. It was totally possible.

Kagami could be Ladybug’s girlfriend.

Chapter Text

“What’s taking Adrien so long?” Mylène asked Nino.

Nino was looking at his phone. Evidently he got a text. He looked around at the others, Ivan with his arm around Mylène, Alya tapping her foot, Marinette stiffly standing, and Chloé trying to work up the courage to hold Marinette’s hand. He scratched his head. “He says his dad isn’t letting him out…”

“Oh no!” Marinette exclaimed.

“But!” Nino held up a hand. “He also says ‘Don’t worry, I’m still coming.’”

Ivan tilted his head. “How’s he gonna sneak out of that mansion? It’s even got those huge walls.”

Nino shrugged, but Chloé smirked. Perhaps Adrien had learned something from her and got a grappling hook for himself.

As they waited, Chloé glanced down at Marinette’s hand. It was down by her side, innocently hanging, palm facing inwards. Physically, grabbing it would be no challenging. Emotionally? Chloé’s stomach was doing flips.

She had kissed Marinette plenty, but that was either in private or to prove a point publicly. And a kiss was something you had to focus on doing. Holding hands was like… some sort of continuous contact in public sort of thing. It was telling everyone who passed by exactly what was going on.

Chloé took a deep breath. She wanted the world to know about her and Marinette. She just had to gather up the courage to make the subtle declaration a reality. She took a side-step closer to Marinette, so their hands were less than a foot apart. Slowly, as though afraid of Marinette being a frightful deer that would spook at the slightest touch, Chloé reached her hand closer. She angled behind, so she could slip into the palm, she was practically touching-

Marinette raised her hand to wave. “Adrien!”

Chloé pouted. After a moment of feeling sorry for herself, she also waved to Adrien as he jogged over. He smiled widely at his friends gathered. “Hey guys!”

Everyone greeted him, then Nino changed the topic to today’s objective. “The deal with André and his ice-cream cart is that you never know where he’s gonna be.” He pulled out his phone. “You gotta follow his clues to find out where he’s going to set up.”

Ivan smiled. “The first time Mylène and I wanted André’s ice-cream, it took us three hours to find his cart!”

“Hey! Someone posted a photo! He’s on his way to the Pont des Arts!”

They set off for the elusive ice-cream vendor. On the way, the large group naturally branched out into their own conversations. Mylène and Ivan were reminiscing, and Marinette got dragged into a debate between Nino and Alya. That left Adrien and Chloé in the rear. Chloé leaned closely to Adrien, speaking quietly so they could have some semblance of privacy.

“So how’d you escape?”

Adrien laughed and scratched the back of his neck. “Oh… you know, just by, um, doing stuff.”

“Have I been a bad influence?”

“I prefer to think I’m being a good influence on you.”

Nino shouted, “He’s here!”

André was singing and scooping ice-cream, wishing couples well as he passed them delectable treats. He recognized Mylène and Ivan, and happily gave Nino and Alya some ice cream. As Marinette stepped forward, Chloé finally reached out to grab her hand, not wanting André to mistake for anything other than a couple. Marinette responded to her action with a squeeze of the hand, and Chloe practically vibrated out of her own skin from joy.

André smiled at the two. He narrated as he scooped the ice cream. “Strawberry pink like her lips, blueberry like both eyes, and a mystery flavor for each disguise!”

“Each disguise?” Marinette asked.

André winked. “Now, now, darling dears. You’ve both got stuff to hide and fears. But if you share your darkest secret, you’ll get to love without regret.”

Chloé bit her lip. There was no way André knew about Chloé being Chat Noir. But his rhyming diagnosis was, coincidentally, terribly relevant. “T-Thank you, c’mon Marinette, let’s eat.”

The two of them accepted the ice-cream, and Chloé went straight for the ‘mystery’ flavor. It was something dark. She took a scoop. “Is this… blackberry?”

Marinette tried some as well. “I think so? It’s the right color, nice and dark.”

Chloé plucked the cherry from the top. A bright red, much like a certain superheroine’s suit. She shook her head, she shouldn’t be thinking about Ladybug while on a date with Marinette.

Wait, was this a date? She looked at Marinette, who was well occupied with trying the other flavors. Technically they had called it a “hang-out”, since there were other people there, but pretty much everyone with them was a couple. It was like a double… no, triple-date.

Well, except for Adrien.

“And you, monsieur alone! I will help your love be grown!”

Adrien gave André a placating model smile. “No thanks, I’m alright.”

André clucked his tongue. “Non non! Everyone needs a someone to share the night! Let me bring you love and make you right!”

Adrien took a step back. “I’m not really looking for love right now.”

He was already turning to his cart and pulling out a cone. “One cannot live without romance! I shall find someone with whom you’ll dance!”

“There really isn’t anyone,” Adrien’s smile was starting to get strained.

“Come on guys, let’s go find a place to sit down!” Chloé interjected.

André watched them walk away with a sad face, but Chloé led them away before he could say more stuff.

 


 

Was it too much to ask for Chloé’s first date(?) with Marinette to not be interrupted by an Akuma?

“We should stick together, safety in numbers,” Mylène said as they watched the icy villain from a distance.

“That’s a great idea!” Marinette started inching away. “But I really, really need to call my parents, and don’t want to disturb you guys, so I’ll just be in the, uh, restroom.”

Chloé piped up as well. “My Daddy called for a limo to take me somewhere safer, so I’m just going to go find that.”

Adrien also spoke, “Nathalie just noticed that I sneaked out, so I’m going to run home.”

Mylène called out to them as they split, but Chloé didn’t dare to slow down. Once she was somewhere moderately hidden and out of their view, she opened her jacket so Plagg could float out. “Plagg, claws out!”


 

Glaciator was towering over them, and their attempts to attack it just glanced off of it’s snowy exterior. They were tired from dodging, but he was aiming another shot at them. Ladybug was already spinning her yo-yo, ready to deflect, and Chat Noir had her baton out as well.

But they didn’t need to do that.

Glaciator froze (well, he was already frozen, but he stopped moving). Ladybug and Chat Noir still stood in defensive position, but were confused by his lack of movement. Was he trying to throw them off their rhythm? He wasn’t even talking his usual rhymes.

Then a figure walked out from behind him. He was blonde, with black streaks strewn through his hair, and wore a tight yellow and black suit. His mask prevented identification. Did Hawk Moth make two Akumas at once?

Ladybug took a step forward and refocused on the new challenger. “Who are you?”

He raised his hands in a placating gesture. “Don’t shoot! I’m a fellow hero!”

Ladybug gasped. “The Bee Miraculous.”

Chat Noir stepped closer to her. “The what?"

Ladybug grimaced. “Um, I might have lost a Miraculous while fighting Style Queen.”

“You lost a miraculous?"

“I’m not the only one who’s ever lost a miraculous!” Ladybug defended herself.

The boy spoke again, “I’m Drone! And I used my Venom to immobilize Glaciator, so you can easily purify the Akuma!”

Chat Noir grinned. “Well that certainly makes out job easier.”

“Whoever he is, he’s not supposed to have the Miraculous!”

“But he’s doing good so far?”

“He wasn’t chosen."

That made Chat Noir a little sad. He seemed to be doing his best. There was also something strangely familiar about him…

Before she could further contemplate that, Glaciator started to move again. Whoops, guess that discussion took up some valuable Venom time.

“Lucky Charm!”


 

Once the Akuma was defeated. Drone was already flying away with his top. “Wait!” Ladybug called out to him, but apparently he didn’t hear her or was rushing away to prevent detransforming in front of everyone. Speaking of, Ladybug’s earrings were beeping urgently.

Ladybug groaned. “Chat Noir, can you chase after him and get that Miraculous back? I’m about to transform back.”

Chat Noir bowed. “Your wish is my command.”

She used her baton to take chase, though it was a challenge. Drone was fast with that spinning top, and it took all of Chat Noir’s stamina to keep up. Eventually, the black and yellow hero ducked into an alleyway.

Chat Noir landed on the roof above the alleyway, then just as Drone’s time ran out, she flipped onto the ground. “Drone, you need to give me-”

All of her words died in her throat when she saw Drone’s identity.

Adrien Agreste stood in front of her, hand hovering over a comb.

"Adrien?" Chat Noir guffawed.

He immediately launched into pleading, “Please please please don’t take it away, I’ve always wanted to be a hero, and with these powers I can finally leave my house…”

Chat Noir’s ring was at its last beep, but she just stood there, staring.

“I know you don’t really know me, but I was finally able to go hang out with my friends using the powers. Wait, that sounds bad doesn’t it? I don’t just want it for me and my selfish reasons, I really, really want to help people too-”

Ladybug always said they had to keep their identities secret. But good people were fair, and was it fair for Chat Noir to know who Drone was if Drone didn’t know?

“I’ll do my best, I’ll be the greatest side-kick ever, if you guys would just pretty please give me a chance-”

Chat Noir’s transformation ran out, and Chloé Bourgeois stood in front of him.

His eyes bugged out. He stopped speaking, just letting his jaw hang open at the sight. Chloé stood, biting her lip. Why did she think this was good idea? Her nerves were on fire, she had never exposed her secret in front of anyone. But this was Adrien, her best friend since childhood. If there was anyone she could trust, it would be him. After a minute of staring, he finally swallowed and composed words. “ Chloé?"

“I- I’m not going to take it away,” Chloé told him, “Ladybug told me to, but I trust you.”

“Wait, wait, back up still, you’re Chat Noir?"

Plagg came out. “Yeah, yeah, kid, she detransformed in front of you, didn’t she? Not really any way to make it more obvious.”

A little yellow Kwami popped up. “Plagg!”

She tackled Plagg, and the two of them spun in the air for a minute. “Whoa there Pollen, I’m exhausted, can we have a reunion after some cheese?”

“We should probably go somewhere more private than an alley to discuss this,” Chloé decided.

Adrien agreed. Fortunately, they were near the Bourgeois hotel. They grabbed some cheese and sweets as they made their way upstairs.

Chloé locked her door behind them.

“So, um, you’ve been Chat Noir this whole time?” Adrien asked, standing awkwardly in the center of her room.

“Please Adrien, you can sit down,” Chloé told him as she settled on the couch, “And yes, since day one.”

Adrien breathed in and out. “Sorry I seem fried… it’s a lot to take in. Pretty shocking.”

“Why, you don’t think I’m superhero material?”

Adrien shook his head. “I didn’t think of Chat Noir as civilian material. Like, I knew there had to be a person under there it just didn’t… I didn’t really care who was under. I assumed it would be some stranger.”

“I assumed I was going to have to beat up a stranger to take that Bee Miraculous back,” Chloé admitted.

“You said you’re not taking it back though, right?”

“Yeah. I changed my mind after seeing you. Even if you weren’t officially ‘chosen’, I think anyone with any brains would choose you.”

“Aww, Chloé…”

The two of them settled into silence. There was the soft muttering of their Kwamis having their own conversation.

“Adrien…”

“Yeah?”

“I’m not like, trying to change the subject away from these big superhero identity revelations today, but why didn’t you accept the ice cream from André?”

Adrien furrowed his brow. He was silent, thinking, hesitating on every possible explanation.

Chloé decided to add in her postulation, “Does it have to do with the like, couples-thing?”

“Yeah.”

Chloé waited for him to elaborate.

“I don’t know… He was so insistent that I would find someone, that I would fall in love someday, and I know lots of people want that. Everything I’ve seen tells me that people want romance, and even the people I was with were all couples, like you and Marinette. You guys seem really happy to be together, but I… I can’t imagine that for myself.”

“I’m sure you’ll find someone some day,” Chloé tried to comfort him.

“That’s not the problem!” Adrien’s voice was sharper than she had ever heard it. When he realized his own outburst, he coughed and gave Chloé an apologetic look. “Sorry. It’s not that I can’t find someone, it’s more like… like I don’t want to find someone.”

“At all?” Chloé asked.

“Yeah.”

“Like you don’t want to obsess and swoon and make out in a school closet with someone one day?”

He crinkled his nose. “Not really.”

“Huh.”

Adrien kicked his legs out, watching his own feet. Chloé couldn’t really relate to his feelings; even before Marinette she had dreams of being married or being swept off her feet and she had always been excited for a future that she would share with someone romantically.

But Chloé didn’t need to relate to know the respect Adrien deserved. “Well then that André dude was a real dick.”

Adrien gasped at the vulgar word.

“I’m sorry I’m being a bad influence with that language, but it’s true. He was completely ignoring when you told him how you felt, and he kept pressing even when you got uncomfortable. If you’re happy with how you are, then he was utterly rude.”

That made Adrien smile. “Thanks, Chloé.”

Chapter Text

“What do you mean you didn’t take it back?”

“Won’t it be helpful to have another hero when fighting?” Chat Noir told an exasperated Ladybug.

Ladybug began pacing on the rooftop where they had met tonight, tugging at her pigtails in frustration. “I lost it! I’m supposed to give it back!”

“Maybe it was fate. I know him, and think he’s an excellent choice for a hero.”

“Wait, did you find out his identity?”

Chat Noir froze. “On a scale of one to ten, how mad would you be if I said yes?”

Ladybug took a deep breath. “You know what? It’s fine. I asked you to chase after him, it makes sense you would find out. It’s good to know his identity, so we can track him down. What’s really important is that our identities stay secret.”

“Scale of one to ten again, how mad would you be if I told him my identity?”

Ladybug gaped. “ Chat Noir!

“It felt unfair that I knew his identity and he didn’t know mine!”

She groaned. “You guys are gonna be in more danger now! What if Drone gets Akumatized? He could hunt down your civilian form.”

Chat Noir crossed her arms. “Or, consider: He can support me both in civilian and hero form. Helping with alibis, finding places to transform, etcetera.”

“Or, consider: If you had just done what I asked you, we could have protected your identity and I could have returned the Bee Miraculous.”

“Look, you don’t want to reveal yourself to anyone, that’s your prerogative. But I want to share, can’t that be my right?”

Ladybug just groaned.

Chat Noir turned away. “Whatever. I’m glad he ended up with the Miraculous. And if you give it a chance, you’ll see that it’ll help our battles. How many times have we wished that an Akuma would just hold still?”

Ladybug huffed, and prepared her yo-yo. “Well don’t come crying to me when an Akumatized Drone uses his knowledge of your civilian identity to take your girlfriend hostage.”

Chat Noir froze at the thought of Marinette, completely helpless and at the mercy of an Akuma that knew she was Chat Noir’s girlfriend. Marinette was an innocent civilian, who wasn’t even aware her girlfriend was a superheroine. Before she could come up with some sort of excuse, Ladybug was swinging away.

Grumbling, Chat Noir made her own way back to the Bourgeois Hotel. She detransformed in her room, wordlessly calling cheese up with a button.

As Plagg gulped down the delivered Camembert, Chloé ranted. “…But it’s not like I can take it back! Unless there’s a Miraculous with memory-wiping powers or something, like can’t she just accept I made the decision that made sense in the moment? I’m so angry, but there’s nothing I can do! I just want to curl up in a ball, and be comforted. Maybe by someone like…”

Her phone buzzed. Just seeing Marinette’s face on her phone screen made the weight on her shoulders feel ten tons lighter. She picked it up, and heard Marinette’s tired voice on the other end. “Chloé? Can I come over?”

“Sure? I’m just at home.”

In less than a minute (there’s no way Marinette could travel from the bakery to the hotel that fast, had she been nearby)? Chloé opened the door and was immediately bombarded by a hug from Marinette.

Chloé took a step back, surprised by her boldness. Chloé hadn’t even had the chance to close the door, and Marinette’s body was already flush with her own. Trying to preserve even a modicum of modesty, Chloé lifted Marinette up with one arm (with a small “eep” from Marinette), and used the other hand to close the door. Since Marinette was in her arms anyway, she carried her over to the couch to put her down.

Once her butt was on the couch, Marinette released the hug to squeeze Chloé’s biceps. “Wow, you’ve sure got some guns, don’t you? How’d that happen, princess?”

Chloé gulped as Marinette prodded at her muscles. “Uh- yeah, um…” She remembered how apparently secret identities were important or whatever (according to Ladybug anyway). “Just like, fencing stuff, you know. And just trying to be fit in general, yeah.”

Marinette smiled, but her forehead was littered with wrinkles.

That was a sign of unhappiness, right? But Marinette wanted to come over, so why was she unhappy? “Marinette? You okay?”

Marinette grabbed Chloé and pulled her in for another hug, this time leading her onto the couch so she could comfortably sit. Chloé hesitantly brought up her own arms to reciprocate the embrace, still confused but not about to complain about touching her girlfriend. Marinette mumbled something against Chloé’s skin, making Chloé shiver.

“S-Sorry, what was that?” Chloé asked, brain already starting to shut down.

Marinette pulled her face back a smidgen to speak again. “…Just had a fight with a friend.”

“Alya?” Chloé asked.

Marinette just buried her face again, not responding.

“Um…” Chloé tried to rub comforting circles on Marinette’s back. “I guess we can just… hang out like this for awhile?”

Marinette squeezed her, probably an affirmative, but stayed quiet.

Chlole’s thoughts occasionally strayed towards the scandalous side, but Marinette didn’t seem in the mood for that sort of thing, so Chloé just let her cling. She shifted slightly, getting more comfortable, and Marinette’s head was rested on Chloé’s shoulder. Her breath was warm, ghosting over Chloé’s collarbone and raising her temperature. Chloé tried to focus her own breathing, close to Marinette’s hair, and tried not to overwhelm herself with the strawberry scent.

At first Chloé felt stiff, uncertain of the touching etiquette, but the longer they spent wrapped up together, the slower her heartbeat got. Her eyes closed, and she felt like taking a nap.

After some time (10 minutes? An hour? Hard to tell), Marinette finally drew back. “…Thanks.”

“Anytime,” Chloé told her, and meant it.

Marinette stepped off the couch, and Chloé felt cold at the loss of contact. “Sorry I can’t really talk about like, what the argument was about or whatever. It’s kind of private.”

Honestly Chloé hadn’t even wondered, distracted as she was by the cuddling, but she supposed that a girlfriend ought to wonder these things. She would ask next time. “That’s fine.”

Marinette frowned. “I’m sorry… I’m keeping secrets…”

“Marinette, it’s literally fine.”

Marinette’s lower lip trembled. “I’m sorry, I really wish I could tell you but I can’t , but I want to, but I-… I-…”

With those words, Marinette started to cry.

Oh no. Oh no no no no. What was Chloé supposed to do? Hugging was a comfort thing right? That worked for Sabrina. But they had just cuddled. Was it not effective? Did she need more? Was Chloé a bad cuddler? Chloé wracked her brain, but she couldn’t thing of a better comfort method. She didn’t know enough about what was going on to attempt any sincere reassurance, all she had were platitudes. Maybe if she combined…

“Come here,” Chloé said as she opened her arms again.

Marinette easily fell onto her chest, sobbing.

Okay, at least it seems Marinette still wanted to be held, so Chloé’s cuddling couldn’t have been that bad. She rubbed gentle circles on Marinette’s back. Time for platitudes, “It’s fine, Marinette, you’re completely fine…”

“It’s not fine, but I can’t make it fine, I can’t control anything, people just do what they want except I can’t do what I want because I’m thinking about consequences and I don’t know what to do…”

“Shh, shh.” Chloé wasn’t sure what Marinette’s problem was, but talking about it just seemed to upset her more. “You’re okay.”

Marinette seemed to give up on articulating her secret problem with that, but with the lack of information Chloé’s curiosity piqued. Was the secret related to Chloé somehow? Maybe Alya was saying mean things about Chloé and that led to a fight. Chloé guessed maybe Marinette wouldn’t want to tell Chloé all the mean things Alya said? It was a plausible interaction, but Marinette’s reaction seemed too extreme. Not to mention it would be polite to not tell Chloé, but it hardly seemed like something that had to be kept a desperate secret.

Chloé felt useless, just trying to hold Marinette together as she fell apart in her arms. She didn’t know what was going on. She apparently wasn’t even allowed to be told what was going on, so she wasn’t able to fix it either. She sighed, running a hand up to Marinette’s neck to pull her in closer, physically trying to express how much she loved Marinette even though she couldn’t do anything for her.

As she felt her shirt beneath Marinette’s face get wet, she realized she could maybe do one thing. She reached to the coffee table, careful not to dislodge Marinette, and just barely was able to grab her box of tissues. She pulled it closer and pulled out a wad of them, bringing them to Marinette so she could clean up. Marinette blubbered as she accepted them, wiping her tears and blowing her nose before once again clinging to Chloé.

Without any words, Chloé’s mind couldn’t help but wander to how vulnerable Marinette felt in her arms. Marinette didn’t have any idea of the kind of danger she was in, unaware that her girlfriend was a hero of Paris. Maybe Chloé could relate a bit to whatever secret Marinette was trying to hide, though obviously Marinette wasn’t hiding a secret superhero identity like Chloé. It seemed profoundly unfair that Marinette of all people couldn’t know. Did Ladybug also hide her identity from her girlfriend? She must, considering how cagey she was about her identity. Chloé felt a tangle of guilt in her gut realizing how frustrated Ladybug must have been to know Chat Noir had unloaded her identity onto someone, while Ladybug hadn’t allowed herself to.

Eventually, Marinette’s crying became more manageable, but Chloé still waited for Marinette to say something. She could stay there, Marinette’s comfort pillow, as long as she needed.

Marinette gave her nose another blow, then addressed Chloé, “Sorry, this probably seems pretty sudden.”

“Yeah, but it gave us an excuse to cuddle.”

Marinette smiled, and Chloé felt about fifty knots in her chest unravel. “Thanks for that. I’m… I’m still sorry that I can’t-”

Chloé brought a finger up to Marinette’s lips. “Hush. You’ve said ‘sorry’ more than enough times today.”

Marinette stared at Chloé, eyes rimmed red, and nodded obediently.

“Why don’t we do something else, get your mind off whatever is going on. One of those video games you play? I’m sure my butler could grab us whatever game system it needs or something.”

Marinette wiped her eye on her sleeve. “…Yeah, that’d be nice.”

Chapter Text

Chloé tapped her foot against the stone outside the cafe. It was five minutes past the time Marinette and her had agreed to meet, and Marinette still wasn’t there.

She pulled out her phone, looking at the time again. Scratch that, it was six minutes, and she hadn’t even texted. Chloé sighed. She knew Marinette was chronically late, but somehow she had hoped that she could be a tiny bit more considerate for her girlfriend. Chloé pulled Marinette from her contacts and started to type out an indignant message…

Screams. An Akuma flew past, Ladybug following close behind.

Chloé let out another sigh. She erased her original message and replaced it: Something came up, will be late.

 


 

It turned out having Drone as part of their crew was, as Chat Noir had predicted, helpful. Especially while Ladybug and Chat Noir were a bit awkward from their argument. They were trying to cooperate, but there were slips and pouts between each successful move that made apprehending the Akuma a clumsier mission than it should have been.

Once Ladybug purified the Akuma, Chat Noir grabbed her wrist. “Wait, can we talk?”

Ladybug’s earrings beeped. “I’m about to transform back, we can’t-”

“Later? Tonight at ten? At the Eiffel Tower?”

Ladybug bit her lip. “…Fine.”

 


 

Chloé ran back to the cafe. Surely by now Marinette would have made it, and it would be Chloé that seemed inconsiderate making her wait. Well at least Chloé had the foresight to send a text. She pulled out her phone, seeing if she had a response, and was surprised to see Marinette hadn’t texted back.

When she made it to the cafe, she didn’t see Marinette waiting. Had she gotten mad and left? Chloé was sweating from running, but now she was starting to sweat more from nerves. She was thankful for her extra-strength deodorant.

“Chloé!” Marinette’s voice was a welcome balm to Chloé’s worries.

Marinette was also sweaty, running down the sidewalk and waving a hand.

“I’m so, so , sorry I’m late, stuff came up, and then the Akuma attack blocked off a path, so I had to go around-”

Chloé stopped her. “Marinette, it’s fine, I just got here.”

That made Marinette’s eyes widen. “Oh.”

“Did you even look at your phone?”

Marinette pulled it out. “Uh, no, sorry, it was on silent.”

“You could have sent me a text, too.”

“Augh, sorry, I was distracted-”

Chloé waved away the excuses. “Don’t want to hear it. I want to hear you ordering the most expensive thing on the menu.”

Marinette rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to do that.”

Chloé opened the door for Marinette. “I can pay for it.”

“I’m not going to make my girlfriend pay for my dinner.”

“I’m not going to make my girlfriend pay for my dinner.”

"Chloé."

“Besides, it’s not my money, it’s Daddy’s. He won’t even miss it.”

“Then I’m indirectly paying for it through my taxes.”

“You don’t pay taxes yet.”

The hostess looked at the two of them. “Table for two?”

Chloé nodded, then turned back to Marinette as they were led to a window seat. “Just let me spoil you, Marinette.”

“Let’s get separate checks for today.”

Chloé sighed. “Fine.”

“Besides, expensive doesn’t always mean better.”

“Doesn’t it?”

“Wanna bet?”

Chloé leaned forward. “What are we wagering?”

“Last time you seemed to like the idea of getting a favor from me, no questions asked.”

Chloé smirked. “But nowadays I can kiss you any time I want.”

That made Marinette blush.

She was saved from responding by their waitress asking for their drink orders. Chloé asked for a mango smoothie, but Marinette just wanted water. “With ice,” she specified.

“Decided on a better wager yet?” Chloé asked.

Marinette nodded. “Homemade chocolate chip cookies. What about you?”

“What about me?”

“If my cheap meal is tastier, what will you give me?”

“Anything you want.”

“You would do that anyway.”

Chloé pouted. “Then what am I supposed to do?”

“Can I dress you for a day?”

That almost made Chloé want to lose. “Sure.”

 


 

Fortunately, Chloé lost.

“How was I supposed to know grilled cheese dipped in tomato soup would be so perfect?” Chloé insisted as they walked to the Bourgois hotel.

“It’s classic,” Marinette told her.

Once they got to Chloé’s room, Marinette dove into her closet.

“How come you never wear this cute blazer?”

Chloé put a hand on her hips. “It’s not in season.”

“I bet if you wore it, it would go back in season.”

“Marinette!”

Marinette giggled, and pulled Chloé’s jacket off.

To put the blazer on, Chloé’s mind helpfully supplied while trying not to think about the fact that Marinette had undressed her, however slightly. Chloé let Marinette slide the article of clothing onto her, and Marinette fussed over the exact fit.

Marinette cycled from the closet back to Chloé several times before deciding on a final outfit.

Chloé looked down at herself. She hated to admit it, but it was cute. The individual components seemed basic, but when combined they made an appealing silhouette. “Are you done?” Chloé asked.

“Not quite…” Marinette looked Chloé up and down, “Just gotta accessorize.”

Marinette stretched her hands behind Chloé’s neck to unclasp her necklace, so Chloé took the chance to peck Marinette on the lips. Marinette giggled. She pulled the necklace away. Then she reached for Chloé’s ring…

Chloé startled back, as if burned.

“Chloé?” Marinette looked at her, hand hovering and face confused.

“S-sorry,” Chloé clutched the ringed hand protectively, “…Sentimental value.”

“That’s fine!” Marinette insisted, smiling again, “Sorry, I should have asked.”

Chloé shook her head. “You’re fine. Let’s finish this outfit…”

Marinette put a new necklance on Chloé (and Chloé stole another kiss), and she was done.

“Perfect,” Marinette told her.

Chloé flipped her hair, thrilled with the praise. “Of course it’s perfect, it was coordinated by a fashion designer.”

Marinette lightly punched her in the arm. “Stop! I’ll blush.”

“I’ll give you something to blush about.”

Chloé nuzzled into Marinette’s neck, peppering some kisses as Marinette giggled. “That tickles!”

“So ticklish,” Chloé murmured against her neck, making Marinette jump.

Marinette pulled her away from the neck into a mouth-to-mouth kiss, going a little deeper than their earlier pecks. Chloé kissed back lazily. For once, they weren’t stealing kisses in closets or hallways or national television. And there was no way Marinette’s dad would walk in on them. Chloé could just sigh against Marinette, arms wrapping around her, slowly acclimating to her taste-

An alarm went off.

Marinette squeaked and pulled out her phone. “Eep! Sorry Chloé, it’s 9:50, and I, uh, promised my parents I’d be home by 10, so…”

Chloé suddenly remembered her promised meeting with Ladybug. It was a fortunate coincidence Marinette had that curfew, or Chloé might have gotten carried away and forgotten. “You better get going then.”

“Goodbye kiss?” Marinette asked sweetly.

Chloé gave her a chaste kiss.

Marinette pouted. “That was hardly a kiss.”

“More than that and I won’t let you go home tonight,” Chloé teased her.

Marinette turned red at that, and went to the door. “See you tomorrow?”

Chloé smiled. “See you tomorrow.”

 


 

Chat Noir landed next to Ladybug on the Eiffel Tower.

Ladybug flinched when Chat Noir put a hand on her shoulder. “Ladybug…”

Ladybug glared at Chat Noir. “What?”

Chat Noir took a step back before sitting down, giving Ladybug her space. “I’ve been thinking. About the identity stuff.”

Ladybug sat down where she was. “As you should be.”

“Could you drop the attitude for two seconds?” Chat Noir pouted. “I’m trying to do like, this whole communication thing or whatever.”

Ladybug pulled in a long-suffering breath. Then released it, clearly trying to relax even a bit. “Okay. What?”

“In retrospect, I can admit maybe revealing myself to Drone was maybe not the perfect set of actions…”

“No kidding,” Ladybug grumbled.

Chat Noir snapped, “What did I just say?”

“Sorry,” Ladybug pressed a hand against her forehead. “Fuck, sorry-”

“No I’m sorry,” Chat Noir cut in, ignoring the swear, “I wasn’t thinking about all that identity stuff. I didn’t think about the possible consequences. But… even though I’m sorry, it’s not like I can take it back.”

“Yeah, I know.” Ladybug sighed, head hung low.

“But I think there’s something we could do.”

Ladybug snapped her head up, looking at Chat Noir.

Chat Noir scooted an inch closer. “This superhero stuff? It’s stressful. Doubly so when you’re completely alone, and have to hide everything from everyone. It’s not fair to ourselves to take it all on ourselves.”

“Except now you’ve got Drone, or whatever,” Ladybug pouted.

“Ladybug, you could tell just one person you trust.”

Ladybug turned away. “I’m not telling you who I am.”

“Not me,” Chat Noir scooted even closer as she spoke, “Your girlfriend.”

Ladybug turned back to Chat Noir, eyes wide and darting across her face as though searching for a lie. “I… I shouldn’t.”

“You told me that since Drone knows who I am, my girlfriend is in danger. I want to tell her who I am; right now she doesn’t even know the danger she’s in. Your girlfriend deserves to know, too.”

“Unlike you, I haven’t compromised my identity.”

“And you’re choking on the stress.” Chat Noir reached a hand out to grab Ladybug’s. “I wish I could be the one you could tell everything to, but you’re right. If we know each other’s identities, then if one of us gets caught the other could be endangered. You need someone who isn’t a superhero, but who you still trust and can rely on to prioritize you.”

Ladybug was silent, but she didn’t pull her hand away. She seemed to be running through the suggestion in her head.

Chat Noir continued, “You’re right that I was being flippant about identities before, but I’ve thought long and hard about this. And I’ve decided that it would be for the best if my girlfriend knew about me. I want you to consider that an option as well. Hiding everything all the time doesn’t have to be the only responsible decision.”

Ladybug sighed. “You have thought about this.”

Chat Noir waited for her answer.

“Maybe…” Ladybug squeezed her hand. “…I might need someone.”

“You’re going to do it?”

Ladybug gulped. “Yeah. Let's tell our girlfriends."

Chapter Text

Adrien sat next to Chloé, watching the match alongside her. Their helmets were off, and the air was filled with the sound of foils glancing off each other. There wasn’t anyone else sitting nearby, so Chloé decided to talk to him.

“Adrien, I’m going to tell Marinette.”

“Tell her what?” His eyes didn’t leave the match in front of them.

“You know… my thing."

“Thing? What thing?”

How dense could one person be? “My… my leather and cat thing.”

Adrien whipped his head to stare at her. “ That thing?”

Chloé nodded.

Kagami sat down next to her. “What thing?”

Chloé remembered that Kagami might very well be the girlfriend Ladybug was going to talk to. “Kagami,” Chloé started.

“Hmm?”

“If someone close to you tells you a big secret soon, please believe and support them.”

Kagami raised an eyebrow. “Uh, okay?”

Chloé gave a sigh of relief. Kagami seemed reliable and responsible, there was probably no one better (other than Chloé herself, of course) that could be trusted with Ladybug’s secret.

 


 

Chloé stood outside the Dupain-Cheng bakery. She looked down at her phone.

Chloé had texted Marinette first. Can I come over? I have something important to talk to you about.

That would be great. I have to tell you something important too.

She didn’t doubt that Marinette thought whatever she wanted to talk about was important… but Chloé was pretty certain she was going to take the cake for ‘biggest revelation of the day’. She took a deep breath, steeling her nerves, and entered the bakery.

The smell of fresh-baked bread invaded her nostrils. Chloé wondered if Marinette stopped being able to smell it at some point, or if she could still enjoy the scent. Mrs. Dupain-Cheng was at the counter, and when she saw Chloé she waved her closer. “Chloé! It’s always wonderful to see you.”

The warm welcome the Dupain-Cheng’s made Chloé relax, it almost felt like being recognized like a celebrity but in some sort of… personal way. Like they were fans of her, but not for any reasons relating to her fame or fortune. Chloé smiled back at Marinette’s mom. “Hi, I’m here to see Marinette.”

“Of course, she mentioned. She’s upstairs, you know the way?”

Chloé nodded and went up. She knocked on Marinette’s door.

“Come in!”

She entered, seeing Marinette sitting stiffly on her bed. Chloé skipped over to her, taking a seat on her side, close enough for their shoulder’s to brush. She greeted her with a kiss, and although Marinette was stiff for a moment, she didn’t push Chloé off.

What was making Marinette so nervous? “Marinette?”

“Chloé! I have to tell you something-”

“I have to tell you something too.”

Marinette laughed, higher-pitched than normal. “S-sure, but just to warn you I think my thing might be a bit of, um, a shocker.”

Chloé raised an eyebrow. “No offense Marinette, but I don’t think you’ll be able to top what I’m about to tell you.”

Marinette shook her head, “Chloé, trust me when I say this is big.”

“And trust me when I say mine is almost definitely bigger.”

Pushing the point seemed to make Marinette frown, but fortunately Marinette had the grace to stop. “Whatever, point is, there’s a, um, secret that I’ve been keeping from you.”

Well, Chloé had been aware of that after Marinette’s breakdown, but she would welcome any clarifying details. “What kind of secret?”

“Uh… something to do with… who I am. I’m sorry Chloé, I’ve been hiding it for so long, and it feels really weird to tell someone, anyone, but it has to do with, uh, the Akumas…”

Chloé’s heart stopped. Marinette was nervous. Something about who she is. Something involving the Akumas. A revelation dawned upon Chloé with the force of a 12-ton truck. Suddenly every odd action and mysterious disappearance slid into a perfect explanation. How could she have not guessed? How could she have not seen it? Her heart was threatening to beat out of her chest in reaction to the revelation.

Marinette was Hawk Moth.

It was obvious, in retrospect. Marinette seemed to disappear during most Akuma attacks. Chloé had seen her during a few, but much less than her average classmate. It was possible Hawk Moth could Akumatize the victim, then detransform to create the perfect alibi. Ladybug’s Lucky Charms didn’t disappear when she detransformed, so it would make sense Hawk Moth’s Akumas wouldn’t either. Not to mention that in the whole class, Marinette was one of the very few people to have never been Akumatized.

“…It’s the kind of thing that isn’t really easy to say, at all…”

Chloé felt nauseous as it sank in. Marinette was Hawk Moth.

“…I don’t want to change the way you think of me, but it’s sort of impossible for you not to do that I guess? I mean, it’s not all of who I am, but it’s a part of me, that I…”

Chloé couldn’t fight her girlfriend. Or could she? She had to uphold justice! That’s what heroes do! But Marinette was good and wonderful and sweet, what could make her go evil like that? She didn’t want to fight someone so perfect, but her being Hawkmoth was a wrench in that plan. Her mind raced with possibilities. Maybe she could convince Marinette to give up her Akumatizing ways peacefully? Seducing Marinette onto the side of good sounded pretty appealing. Maybe if Marinette learned that she had been fighting her girlfriend this whole time, she could be persuaded to stand down. Chloé felt loved by Marinette, it wouldn’t make sense for Marinette to keep fighting if she knew Chat Noir was Chloé.

“…And even though it’s been a while- Chloé, are you even listening to me?”

Chloé grabbed Marinette’s shoulders. “Marinette. Let’s say our things at the same time.”

“H-Huh?” Marinette’s eyes were wide, taken off-guard.

“On the count of three. One, two three…”

“I’m Ladybug!”

“I’m Chat Noir!”

Chapter Text

Huh.

There was a solid ten seconds of the two of them just staring at each other, eyes wide, mouths open, silently processing the information.

“Y-you’re Ladybug?” Chloé repeated, aghast, heart thudding in her chest.

Marinette stared at Chloé, eyes darting around her face as though trying to peel away every hidden layer. “Kitten?”

“Wait a second,” Chloé squeezed her eyes shut, trying to work through this, “So if I’m Chat Noir, and you’re Ladybug… Then who’s Hawk Moth?”

Marinette tilted her head, “I don’t think that’s relevant right-”

“And wait, you’re dating Kagami?”

Marinette raised an eyebrow. “Uh, no? Where did you even get that idea?”

“Well Ladybug-” Chloé paused a moment, “Or you , I guess, said that she’s- you’re dating a fencer… who’s famous…”

“Famous as in the daughter of the mayor of Paris? Bourgeois is a big name, Chloé.”

Chloé’s eyes widened. “Oh my god I’m dating Ladybug.”

“Can we back up a second? To where you said you’re Chat Noir ?”

Chloé laughed. “Y-yeah?”

My Chat Noir?”

Chloé leaned closer. “I thought you didn’t want Chat Noir to be yours?”

Marinette flushed red. “Not- uh, I didn’t mean it like that, but like, ‘Ladybug and Chat Noir’ kind of like, ‘my Chat Noir’, or ‘your Ladybug’ or uh, whatever, just confirming you’re that Chat Noir and not like, some other one?”

Chloé deadpanned. “’Some other Chat Noir’.”

Marinette waved her hands frantically. “I don’t know! I’m kind of freaking out a little! How can you be Chat Noir? She has curly-” Marinette frowned, “Oh wait you straighten your hair.”

“Freaking out? Are you like,” Chloé looked away, “Disappointed… or something?”

“Chloé,” Marinette put a hand on her shoulder, “This embarrasses me to admit, but the main reason I turned Chat Noir down was because I had a raging crush on you.”

“A raging-” Chloé sputtered, “But you said it didn’t seem like it would work out! And we had kissed by that point!”

“But I thought you hated me!”

“Do you think I would make out with someone I hated ?”

Yes . And I thought that if you liked someone, you would go after them a lot more aggressively.”

Chloé groaned. “Okay, accurate, but there was a distraction at the time. I was sort of ignoring my feelings for you, because I was focusing on trying to woo Ladybug.”

Marinette’s jaw dropped. “Who is also me.”

“Thanks! I hadn’t noticed!”

“Well clearly you hadn’t, otherwise this would have been a lot simpler.”

“You didn’t notice either!”

Marinette bit her lip. “Well, no, I figured if Chloé Bourgeois was a superhero, she would be announcing it to all of Paris within a day.”

“Well you thought wrong,” Chloé pouted, “Or maybe a little right. I would’ve , if my outfit wasn’t the atrocity it is.”

“Atrocity?” Marinette frowned.

Leather-on-leather , Marinette, if my mother knew the clown wearing that outfit was me, she wouldn’t hesitate to disown me.”

“But like, it works with a, uh, theme…”

“What theme? Sneaked out of a BDSM club?”

“It’s cute on you though,” Marinette insisted, hand in Chloé’s.

Chloé could physically feel her face getting warmer at the compliment. She had sort of distanced herself from the fact of her outfit after first seeing it, just sort of accepting that was the way it was and trying not to think too much about it. She thought it was weird and a bit of a fashion-disaster. But if Marinette Dupain-Cheng, future famous fashion designer, said she liked it… “Oh. Well maybe I will announce it to Paris then, if you like it so much.”

Chloé ,” Marinette chastised, in a voice that was now becoming more recognizable as Ladybug’s, telling Chat Noir not to do something stupid.

“Just kidding.”

Marinette slapped her forehead. “Shit, we know each other’s identities. This is exactly what we were trying not to do.”

Uh-oh. Chloé had gotten used to tip-toeing around the identity issue with Ladybug, but being with Marinette made her forget her caution. Fortunately, now that Chloé knew she was dating Ladybug, she had free reign to do more things to her in order to calm her down.

She slid a hand around her waist and leaned a chin on her shoulder. She whined, “We weren’t trying to, but this could be helpful in it’s own way, right?”

Marinette’s face was frantic. “But now we’re in danger , just like I said if one of us gets Akumatized, we’ll know where to find the other-”

Chloé drew up Marinette’s shirt a smidgen, and started to draw circles on her waist. That made Marinette pause in her rambling. Chloé pushed closer to her. “We can’t exactly take it back, can we?”

Marinette’s breath hitched. “N-no, I guess not.”

“So let’s focus on the positives, darling.” Chloé’s hand found the sensitive dip of Marinette’s hip bone, and rubbing there caused Marinette to get further distracted. “We can help each other out now. Helping with alibis, supporting each other when we’re stressed, not having to steal conversations between Akuma attacks and detransformation…”

“But Chloé,” Marinette’s voice was breathy, “Now when Chat Noir is going into danger I’ll know it’s you . I… I’ll be so scared.”

Chloé pushed Marinette down on the bed. “That is super f-freaking sweet,” Darn it Chloé one day you’ll have the gumption to swear out loud like Marinette does , but not today,

“But were you not scared when you just knew it was Chat Noir?”

Marinette stared up at Chloé, pig-tails mussy against the pillow. “W-Well, Chat Noir is a superhero, I trust her to take care of herself, but you’re like, a delicate civilian.”

Chloé snorted, towering over Marinette, “Chloé Bourgeois is a superhero.”

“I- I know that now,” Marinette tilted her head away, “But it might take some time to get it through my head.”

Ladybug ,” Chloé whispered.

Marinette’s eyes snapped back onto Chloés, wide and frozen by her gaze.

“We could practice… calling each other’s names,” Chloé told her, bringing a hand to cup her face. “To help get it ‘through your head’.”

Marinette’s facial expression wobbled, like she was uncertain how to feel. “Are- are you getting turned on right now?”

“Darling, Ladybug was literally my lesbian awakening. And now I have both her and Marinette Dupain-Cheng lying underneath me, telling me that the only reason she rejected me was because she had a crush on me. So yes, I’m pretty turned on by learning my celebrity-crush and my civilian-crush are one and the same.”

Marinette gulped, face red. “I’m realizing that I know exactly how you look like in a leather body-suit.”

“All of Paris knows what I look like in leather.”

“But not all of Paris knows they’re looking at Chloé Bourgeois.”

“And you like that?”

Marinette grabbed Chloé’s face and pulled her down into a kiss. “I love that.”

As they descended into the familiar territory of each other’s bodies, Chloé couldn’t help but feel a fresh burst of electricity every time the thought of Marinette’s identity came through her mind. She would be running a hand down her arm, and remembering that it was Ladybug’s arm. Her lips were soft and warm and familiar, and Ladybug’s . Every gasp elicited from Chloé’s careful kisses against her neck was the sound of Ladybug coming apart underneath her.

Marinette gripped Chloé’s ponytail and pulled her back. Chloé whined at that, both frustrated at being separated and discovering that maybe she liked having her hair pulled. Marinette stared Chloé straight in the eyes. “Chat Noir .”

Chloé’s body flashed heat and excitement, so intense Chloé was practically paralyzed on top of Marinette.

Her expression must have shown her helplessness, since Marinette just giggled at her. “You said we should practice using each other’s names.”

Chloé’s mouth felt dry, but she was able to make out some words. “Y-yeah.”

Marinette seemed to realize Chloé was frazzled, because she sat up, pushing Chloé up along with her, before bringing Chloé back down onto the bed, letting Chloé rest among the sheets and the pillows as she peppered kisses on her face and neck. Chloé was pliant as wet clay beneath her, folding to Marinette’s every whim. She thought there was no way she could be more turned on than this.

Then Marinette (Ladybug) whispered in her ear, “Kitten .”

A shot of heat rang down Chloé’s spine, setting her on fire. She wrapped her arms around Marinette and pulled her closer, desperate to drink in every kiss and touch. Marinette was more than happy to oblige, pressing into her and searing her lips across her body. Chloé was again whining, (she knew people hated when she whined but Marinette wasn’t complaining in this case), calling out a mixture of vague praise, ‘Ladybug’s, and ‘Marinette’s.

How did she get so lucky? Every star had to be aligned to have brought together both Chloé and Marinette, as well as Ladybug and Chat Noir. As logical as Ladybug’s secret identity insistence was, Chloé also wished they had done away with it earlier. Then she wouldn’t have had so much trouble choosing between two pig-tailed girls.

Just as Marinette’s hands slipped below Chloé’s shirt, there was the abrupt knock on the door. “Marinette? Chloé? Do you guys want cookies?”

Marinette and Chloé jumped apart at the sound. Marinette’s hair was a mess, face red and shirt crumpled, and Chloé suspected she looked similar. Marinette patted down her body, trying to repair the worst of it. “That’s alright Dad! Chloé already ate!”

“No I didn’t,” Chloé hissed at Marinette.

“Alright, come down if you want any.”

Chloé started to get out of bed, fully intending to go down and claim the elusive Dupain-Cheng cookies.

Before she could get more than a step away from the bed, Marinette snatched her arm and pulled her back down. “We’re not done here.”

“But- but we both told each other our identities?” Chloé tilted her head. “Or was there another important thing you had to tell me?”

“We’ve said the important things we need to.” Marinette kissed Chloé again. “Now I want to do other important things.”

Chloé licked her lips, head already swimming. “Like me?”

 


 

By the time they were done doing important things, the cookies downstairs were cold.

Still tasted great though.

Chloé licked her fingers afterwards, not even caring about her etiquette or manners. The Dupain-Cheng house was the kind of household where they didn’t need three different kinds of forks for every dinner. Tom was thrilled with her hunger. “See Marinette? That’s how you appreciate those cookies, Chloé didn’t even waste a single crumb!”

Marinette rolled her eyes. “I said your cookies were good, as they always are, what more do you want?”

Tom pouted. “Actions are louder than words, Marinette.”

Chloé leaned on the table, urge to tease Marinette coming in strong with Tom’s influence. “She’s really not a great daughter, is she?”

Marinette turned to Chloé, betrayal on her face.

Tom clucked his tongue. “No, she doesn’t appreciate what she has.”

“You know,” Chloé spoke as she casually looked at her own nails, “If I were your daughter, I would clean my plate every night.”

Marinette glared daggers at Chloé. “But you’re not his daughter.”

“No, but she could be!” Tom interjected with a wide smile.

That made both Chloé and Marinette freeze. Was that…?

“Dad!” Marinette stood up, a mortified look on your face, “Stop trying to propose to people on my behalf!”

Tom chuckled, raising his hands in surrender. “Just thought I’d mention the possibility.”

Chloé couldn’t say anything. Her head was already full of thoughts of a domestic life with Marinette, enjoying a plate of home-made cookies as they reminisce about their silly school years and how they were unable to recognize each other even after getting together…

“We haven’t even graduated! It’s too early to be thinking about that!” Marinette declared.

“But if we were older,” Chloé interrupted, “Just out of curiosity, what kind of ring would you like?”

Tom looked absolutely delighted at the question, while Marinette just turned red. From anger? From embarrassment? From love? Chloé wasn’t sure, but she was willing to bet all three.

“Chloé, you can’t just say things like that! Especially not with him around-”

“How do you feel about a spring wedding?” Tom asked.

“Overdone,” Chloé decided, “It’s great for outdoors, but weather is always a factor, and I’d rather not leave something so important up to luck. I’d rather have a winter wedding in a beautiful heated building.”

“But Marinette would look so great surrounded by flowers, sun shining through her hair…”

“No expense will be spared, especially not the floral department. We’ll have the finest flowers ordered.”

Tom nodded sagely. “I think I can accept you as my daughter-in-law.”

“Chloé it’sgettingawfullylateI thinkyouneedtogohomenow!”

Marinette grabbed Chloé’s wrist and pulled her away, walking her outside. Chloé giggled. “But Marinette, we hadn’t even gotten into what kind of music we would play!”

Marinette rolled her eyes. They were outside the bakery now, out of Tom’s earshot. “I think it’s much too early to be thinking about marriage.”

“I’m not about to propose to you tomorrow,” Chloé told her, “But it’s a fun thought. Especially seeing your reactions. Besides, it can’t hurt to be optimistic, can it?”

Marinette went quiet at that. “Do… do you think we’ll last?”

Chloé smirked. “We literally save Paris together all the time. I think that’s a decent indicator for compatibility.”

That made Marinette smile. “I guess it is.”

With a goodbye kiss, Chloé started to walk away. Before she got far though, she realized she had to say something. She turned back and cupped her hands around her mouth. “I love you Marinette!”

Marinette, who had just opened the bakery door to go back inside, froze at the admission. Chloé watched her, face getting redder every second that passed. Finally, Marinette opened her mouth and responded, “I love you too.”

Chloé’s heart jumped, and even though Marinette hid herself back in the bakery after the confession, her mind was filled with thoughts of her. Memories of Marinette and Ladybug mingled in her mind, leaving nothing but an overwhelming fondness that made her skip all the way back to the hotel.

They were young, and so was their relationship. There was also the constant threat of Akumas until they could defeat Hawk Moth. But Chloé was confident in their future together, and her head was full of dreams. One day, if she could hold onto Marinette and keep being the better person she was trying to be, she could officially become part of the Dupain-Cheng family. The future looked brighter than it ever had before.

Chloé fell asleep that night dreaming of flowers, wedding dresses, and her beloved girlfriend amid it all.