Chat Noir swung open her already unlocked skylight window and sauntered into her room like he owned the place. He strode over to her computer chair where he threw his weight into it just enough to make him spin once before he faced her. He shot a gleeful grin to her as he greeted her. “Good evening, Purrrincess. Was your day as lovely as mine?”
Instead of responding with a quip, she took her time and made her way over to him from her place by her dress form mannequin. She stepped right in front of him, and by this point, he really wasn’t sure what to make of her actions. She smacked him on the shoulder, not very hard through his super suit, but it's hard enough for him to get that she’s genuinely miffed about something. “Don’t you dare scare me like that again!” She practically hissed at him, and he couldn't figure out why.
And before he could respond or wrap his head around what she said, before he even realized she’d moved at all, he felt her hands move to catch his neck and suddenly her lips were on his. He was frozen.
This couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be possible that Marinette, sweet Marinette, shy, timid Marinette, was kissing him. It couldn’t be real because it felt too nice. Too surreal. His head was swimming and short-circuiting at the same time. He wanted to react or reciprocate or something but his body still hadn’t caught up to his brain. His brain still hadn’t caught up to the present moment.
And then she’s moving away, and he still didn’t know how to move.
Her cheeks were the prettiest shade of pink he’d ever seen, and she looked surprisingly shy considering she was as bold as Ladybug only two seconds ago. She’s looking down to the side and rubbing her arm in what seemed to be an almost self-comforting way, and he wished he could read her thoughts. “Please don’t sacrifice yourself like that again. It’s terrifying.” She murmured. She slowly raised her eyes to look at him again, gaging his reaction.
Hearing what was bothering her and seeing her look so timid somehow relaxed him. He guessed seeing her like that somehow switched him into comfort mode. This was the Mari he was familiar with, the Mari who slowly dug a spot into his heart – a very soft, tender spot that he didn’t like to admit to himself was there. He knew Mari had a bold side too, and he liked that side of her too. She was fun to mess with (except for when she catches him completely off guard like five seconds ago). But this Mari was the one he met every day in class, the one who was gentle and sweet and awkward. And he liked being the one who could help her relax… or be the one to catch her when she tripped over nothing. That was fun too.
He smiled gently at her and softly wrapped his hand around hers, almost holding it but not quite. He took a breath, and she followed. “Marinette,” his voice was lower than he expected it to be and so much more tender. “I… I can’t, I can’t promise that.” He tugged the hand in his a bit, pulling her back towards him again, erasing a little of the space she had created. “I understand your worry, but it’s my job to protect Ladybug and protect this city. I’m sorry, but I can’t promise that I won’t do it again. I hope you understand.” He held both her hands in both of his now and looked pleadingly up into her eyes.
She nodded, just a bit. But he smiled in relief.
“Princess,” he paused. She stiffened just the slightest bit, and he grinned. “Is there a particular reason that made you so worried about me?” Her cheeks flushed, and he could see irritation flit to her shining eyes. “A reason that… Oh, I don’t know…may have led to a sudden but extremely pleasant kiss?” Her eyes burned, and he fought back an evil laugh.
She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, but no sound escaped but a small squeak. Finally, she charged up enough battery to yank her hands free from his and shout, “No! I! Uh.. No! That – There – I!” Her cheeks burned bright red. He felt positively giddy, and his smile showed it.
He chuckled, but decided to give in. He didn’t want to leave this as yet another moment between them that neither dared to talk about, and he didn’t want to leave her irritated or frustrated or embarrassed either. “Princess… Mari,” he amended. “It…You…I…” All his thoughts ran into each other and jumbled, and he got a small glimpse of what it must be like to be her. He paused, trying to get ahold of his thoughts. He finally stood up from his chair, not liking the awkward and unusual height difference they had while he was sitting. Sadly, this resulted in her taking a step back, regaining the space she tried to create earlier. But he stepped towards her again, feeling like if he had to speak across two feet of distance, the closeness they had would be lost and his courage with it. He gently took hold of her hand again and looked directly into her eyes. He could see her confusion and curiosity and something he hoped was hope. “Mari, you caring so much about me makes me so happy that I can’t possibly describe it in words.” She sucked in a breath and held it. “And I, Princess, I – I care about you too. I can’t stand the thought of you getting hurt. So if I get hurt, but it means protecting you? You can bet that I’ll be there every. Single. Time.”
Suddenly it felt like he couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t wait for her response. Too much was flitting around behind her eyes, and he couldn’t quite read it all. So before she could say anything, he dipped his head, kissed her cheek, and left.