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How to Date a Superhero

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Written by PaperandInk (Emery)

 

Marinette took a deep breath as she looked at herself in her vanity mirror and smoothed down her skirt.  She had debated if her tights were a bit much. She had changed out of them, then completely changed her outfit twice before finally putting back on her first choice.

It was her first actual date with Luka. Ever since his confession she couldn’t stop thinking about him. Her feelings for him were different from how she felt about Adrien. She felt just as strongly for each of them… but different. She hadn’t completely sorted it all out yet, but going out with Luka seemed like a good place to start.

“Luka’s here,” her mom called up to her.

Marinette’s stomach clenched and her feet froze. She wanted to go down there but apprehension kept her in front of the vanity.

Tikki flew out of her place in her chosen’s purse. “Marinette? Don’t you want to go down and see Luka?”

“I do!” she insisted, perhaps too enthusiastically. “I really do, but… What if…”

“What is it?”

“What if I like him… more than I like Adrien?”

Marinette hugged herself and looked away. She felt silly for being concerned about liking Luka more. Wasn’t that why she was going out with him, because she liked him?

“Would that be a bad thing?” Tikki asked it sincerely. There was no judgement or bias and Marinette appreciated it immensely.

“I don’t know. Adrien is Adrien and Luka is… Luka. I’m making no sense.” She put both hands on her hips and sighed. “I shouldn’t keep him waiting.”

Tikki flew back into the purse and poked her head out. “I’m sure it will all work out just fine.”

Marinette smiled down at her kwami. “Thanks, Tikki.”

She opened the trap door and took another deep breath. She could do this. It was just Luka, she talked to him all the time.

 

Marinette climbed down the ladder and turned to see Luka sitting on the couch talking with her dad. He looked so casual in his usual jean jacket, t-shirt, and jeans. She suddenly felt over dressed. She should’ve went with the pink jeans and ruffled blouse.

Her mom was the first to spot her from where she stood setting the table for only two that night. Her mom gave her a wink and a thumbs up. Marinette was tempted to run back upstairs before Luka noticed her.

“Honey, you look beautiful!” her dad announced, giving away her presence.

Luka looked over and smiled as he stood. “You look great, Marinette.”

“Thanks. You- you look good too.”

He laughed and gestured to himself. “Oh, this old thing. I just threw it together.”

The one minute warning on the oven beeped and Tom jumped in with, “Dinner should be ready soon if the two of you want to eat before you go. We have more than enough and Luka was just telling me about his guitar pick collection.”

“I’m sure that they need to get going,” Sabine said as she gave the teens a meaningful look.

Marinette floundered for a way out. She loved her dad but sometimes he didn’t quite know how to take a hint.

Luka smoothly put a hand on her back and directed her towards the door. “I would love to stay and chat some more, Mr. Dupain-Cheng, but if we don’t leave now we’ll be late. I’ll plan to stay for a while next time.”

“Well, I’ll be looking forward to it.”

As Luka closed the door behind them, Marinette could hear her dad saying, “That Luka is such a polite boy.”

 

On the walk to the metro station, Marinette found herself babbling. She actually went on about the color of her tights (light blue) for five full minutes. It seemed that as friends she could actually sound like a person who knew how to have a conversation, but knowing they were on a date somehow changed things.

Marinette made a conscious effort to press her lips together. Maybe I’m just not good at having feelings for someone. She pushed her hair behind her ear and looked down.

Luka looked over at her and he stopped just before the stairs down to the metro. “Why’d you stop talking? Is something wrong?”

“No! No, nothing at all. I’m not really tasting- I mean talking about anything that matters.”

He frowned and took her hand. “I like listening to you talk. What people say does matter. You just have to know how to listen. You’re concerned about your tights. I like them. They look cute.”

“Th- thank you, Luka.” Warmth started in her chest and radiated outward. He always seemed to know the right things to say. Maybe what they said about opposites attracting had something to it. She hopelessly fumbled with words while Luka managed to sound poetic when saying even the most mundane things.

Marinette cleared her throat and looked away, feeling a blush creeping up her cheeks.

“We should get down to the metro,” Luka suggested as he began to lead her down the stairs, still holding her hand. “But don’t be afraid to tell me anything your heart desires.”

“Well, umm… I was just wondering where we’re going. I don’t think you ever told me what you had planned.” She’d been too dazed after realizing she’d just accepted a date with Luka.

He gave her a sly smile. “It was going to be a surprise but I can tell you if you really want to know.”

Determined not to ruin the date, Marinette shook her head vigorously. “I can wait.”

“You’ve never peeked at your presents before Christmas, have you.” It was a statement, like he was proud that he had her figured out.

“Nope. But I bet you were the kind of kid who pretended to be patient but went to peek as soon as you had the chance,” she teased right back.

He squeezed her hand, startling her with the reminder that he was physically touching her.

“You know me too well,” he told her with a wink.


 

Marinette didn’t want to assume, but when she saw that they were headed right towards a building with a banner hanging over the doors she felt her excitement building. The background of the banner was hundreds of sketches of fashion designs, then over it was “Exhibition of a History of Fashion”.

With each step closer she kept glancing over at him, searching for some sign of where they were going. Luka managed to keep a completely neutral expression as he looked ahead. But as they got closer the sides of his mouth began to turn up into a smile. He looked over to meet her eyes and Marinette smile back.

Then they passed the building. Luka didn’t even spare the crowd of well-dressed people going inside a glance. Marinette looked back over her shoulder at the event. She couldn’t help but think it was silly of her to assume that Luka would be taking her there. She had tried to get tickets, but by the time she had saved up for the most basic pass available (only to see the exhibits) they were sold out. It would’ve been a miracle for Luka to be able to get tickets when they’d only made plans for the date a week ago.

They stopped in front of a nearby food truck and Luka pulled out his wallet. “Do you know what you want?” he asked as he looked up at the menu.

Marinette looked up but couldn’t really focus on the words. She was more disappointed than she’d realized. But she couldn’t let Luka see that. He hadn’t promised her anything and it would still be a nice date, even if all they did was hang out. She took a deep breath to center herself. Enjoy this time with Luka. That’s what you’re here for.

“I’m not sure yet,” she told him.

“Well, we should eat fast if we want to get into the exhibition in time. I heard that they’re having a famous fashion designer speak tonight. They’re keeping a secret as to who though.”

Marinette turned to him and blinked several times, trying to process what he had just said. It was several long moments before it hit her. They were going to the exhibition!

“Wait, what?” She glanced back at the building, gaze landing on the banner, then back at him. “How?”

“Juleka won two tickets. She and Rose were gonna go but then Rose’s grandfather invited all of them to his spur of the moment wedding in Manchester. Juleka offered me the tickets so that I could take you.”

“Wow, that’s really nice of her. I’ll have to make sure to thank her at school tomorrow.” She took his hand and gave it a light squeeze. “And thank you, Luka. I can’t wait to get inside.”

Chapter Text

Luka had to pinch himself to make sure he wasn’t dreaming. He was really on a date with Marinette. He got to hold her hand as they looked at the displayed exhibits inside of the exhibition. The fanciful designs from throughout history had his date entranced. It was beautiful that she had something she was so passionate about.

Marinette gasped. “Look at this one!” she told him excitedly as she pulled him along.

He laughed lightly at the enthusiasm she had and she blushed.

“Sorry. I got overexcited.” She let go of his hand and looked down, embarrassed.

Luka took her hand again and put a finger under her chin to tilt her head up. Once Marinette’s eyes met his, he smiled at her. “I brought you here to enjoy yourself. Don’t apologize for that.” He never wanted her to feel uncomfortable just being herself around him. He couldn’t imagine the guilt he would feel if she dimmed her light for his sake.

She smiled in return. “Oh, uh, okay. Thanks, Luka.” She turned back to the display. A unique dress with what Luka thought was too much lace. Timidly at first, Marinette began pointing out all of things she liked about it. As she gained more confidence, her in-depth knowledge of design came out as she talked about the intricacies and specifics of how the dress was designed and made.

Luka was careful to only jump in with questions that would prod his date to keep going. They continued like that going from one exhibit to another. He even noticed that they picked up a couple of groups who were listening in to Marinette’s fashion lecture. Luka was proud to have such an amazing girl at his side.

 

They spent a little over half an hour just looking at the different exhibits before there was an announcement requesting everyone with a special ticket to step through to hear their surprise guest speak in a separate room. Marinette was practically vibrating with barely concealed excitement as they followed several older, well-dressed groups through a door that was being held open by one of the exhibition managers.

Luka let Marinette take the lead and followed her as she chose seats toward the back of the room. Behind them was a long table of platters that held what Luka would call “rich people food”. There were also several servers walking around, handing out hors d'oeuvres and champagne.

He noticed a light tremble to Marinette’s shoulders and leaned over to ask in a low voice, “Are you cold?”

She laughed nervously and shook her head. “No, I’m fine. I’m toasty as a cucumber.” She paused and frowned, clearly noticing that what she’d said hadn’t made sense. “I meant-”

Luka smiled and slipped off his jacket. “Here,” he said as he draped it around her shoulders. Marinette was the type who was always helping others out, yet had a difficult time accepting help in return. So he would give her a little push.

She looked up at him, her expression stunned. He was suddenly hit by an impulse to lean down and kiss her. He hesitated. This wasn’t the right moment. But she was there, beautiful and intelligent Marinette was there beside him, wearing his jacket.

The squeak of a wheel drew Luka’s attention away and he looked up at the small platform at the front of the room to see a woman wheeling a monitor on a mount out to the podium. She clicked a button on it, then stepped off the platform as it flashed to life. Then Gabriel Agreste was on the screen, frowning deeply at the camera.

Marinette made an odd, panicked squeak, identical to the one that came from the wheel, and Luka turned to her. She was frantically looking around but then stopped when her eyes landed on someone sitting at the front of the room. Luka followed her gaze to see that it was Adrien Agreste sitting beside his bodyguard and the woman who had put the screen on the platform.

Luka would be lying to himself if he tried to say that he wasn’t somewhat nervous about Marinette’s crush being in the same room as them. But he shrugged it off. It wasn’t as if Adrien knew and had planned to be there. Marinette was on a date with him and if she was still in love with Adrien, then it wasn’t meant to be… as much as he wished it was.

 

It was an uncomfortable fifteen or twenty minutes (Luka lost track at some point) that Gabriel Agreste spoke on fashion throughout history. The famous fashion designer sounded disinterested for most of it and stern at maybe one or two fleeting moments. Marinette was nervously fidgeting beside him the whole time. She would be focused on Gabriel for several minutes but then her gaze would shift to the back of Adrien’s head and she would shift in her seat, brushing against Luka’s arm periodically.

Towards the end when Gabriel was winding down, speaking on the future of fashion, Luka leaned over to his date. “We can leave if you’re uncomfortable.”

Marinette turned to him with wide eyes. “What?” she asked in a low voice. “I’m not uncomfortable. Why would you think that?”

“Because you keep fidgeting whenever you look at Adrien.” He wasn’t the type to walk on eggshells around any issue. If she was uncomfortable with her crush in the room, then he wanted to do what he could to make sure that she was enjoying the date again.

“Adrien? I don’t think I’ve been looking at-”

He gave her a skeptical look.

“No,” she said with a sigh. “I don’t want to leave. But if you want to…”

Luka shook his head. “We were enjoying ourselves. And I think we can continue to.”

“This hat was designed by a young talent by the name of Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”

Both of them looked up at the sound of Marinette’s name. A photo of Adrien wearing a derby hat with a feather in it was now beside Gabriel’s face on the screen. “It is important to support and learn from new designers such as Marinette, who can expand the future of fashion.”

Luka felt a smile pull at his lips but Marinette sat with a stunned expression as Gabriel finished his speech. At the end he nudged her as everyone moved to begin socializing. “Look at you Marinette. Already on top of the fashion world.”

Then she smiled. It was bright enough to light up all of Paris. “I can’t believe it. Gabriel Agreste thinks that I’m the future of fashion. I must be dreaming.”

Luka wanted to tell her that that was how he’d been feeling the whole evening, but he bit his tongue. He didn’t want to take away from that moment. “I can believe it,” he responded. “You’re smart and creative. And you designed those amazing costumes for Kitty Section. You’re very talented, Marinette.”

She pulled the jacket tighter around her and looked down shyly, but she was still smiling. “You should stop now, before you give me a big head.”

He laughed. “Oh, no, you’re too modest for that.”

“We shouldn’t risk it,” she said winking at him.

They both had a chuckle together, but the quickly disappearing hors d’oeuvres on the back table caught his eye. “I’ll go get us something to eat and some drinks. I’ll be right back.”

“Okay. Thanks, Luka.”

 

It took two minutes at most to get the plates and drinks he had promised Marinette. But when he turned to go back to his date’s side there was already someone in his seat. Adrien was sitting there, chatting with a blushing Marinette. The nervousness returned and was morphing to a jealousy that slithered up from his stomach into his chest.

This was supposed to be his time with her. He was supposed to be able to give her a reason to forget about her feelings for the teen model. It was going to be a magical night, one that she wouldn’t be able to let go of. But here was Adrien. It was like he was everywhere, permeating their lives. Billboards, commercials, magazines… there he was.

Luka took a slow breath. He needed to stay cool. This wasn’t Adrien’s fault and it wasn’t Marinette’s fault. He could get through this, then take Marinette to the Pont de Arts bridge to finish out the night. It could still be perfect.

He walked up behind Adrien. Marinette looked up at him and her blush got even darker. The model turned to look over his shoulder and smiled innocently. “Hey, Luka.”

“Hi, Adrien. I’m sorry to say that you’re in my seat.” He internally winced at how it sounded. He didn’t want to be that guy and yet, he also enjoyed the way Adrien leapt up and rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

“Sorry,” Adrien said with an apologetic smile. It was almost infuriating how attractive the other boy could be no matter what the situation.

Adrien turned back to Marinette, seeming to be finishing a statement. “But, my dad has been going back and forth on wanting to do an internship for young designers. I’ll let you know if he decides anything for sure. He really likes you so I don’t think you should have any trouble getting chosen for it.”

“An internship would be amazing. Thanks for letting me know, Adrien.”

No stuttering… Was that a good thing? It either meant her crush was vanishing or that she was becoming more comfortable with the other boy. Luka frowned as he handed his date a plate of food and a glass of sparkling water. He couldn’t remember a time he felt the need to overthink something to such an extent.

“That hat was awful.”

All three teenagers turned to see a group of middle-aged women in designer clothing. One with a face that looked frozen with Botox was cackling as she spoke. “Gabriel is losing his touch if he thinks whoever made that is the ‘future of fashion’. It looked like a school project gone wrong. If I were to give my five-year-old some art supplies, he could make something better than that atrocity.” The women all laughed together.

Luka looked over at Marinette. She had pulled his jacket tight around herself. Her mouth was set in a thin line as Adrien put a hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t listen to them, Marinette,” the blond boy told her. “They’re the type who feel the need to put everyone down to make themselves feel better.”

“It’s fine,” she said with a shake of her head. “Both Gabriel Agreste and Audrey Bourgeois like the derby hat. That… that’s enough for me. Not everyone has to like it and I don’t need to prove myself to them.”

Luka could tell, as much as Marinette tried to hide it, the things those women were saying were bothering her. It wasn’t right for anyone to smother the beautiful melody that was Marinette. “It’s not fine,” he said as he stood. “They don’t have to like it but they also don’t have to be cruel.”

He set down his plate and glass on the chair, before taking several strides over to the gossiping women. Behind him he could hear Marinette protesting in a low voice.

“Do you need something?” Botox lady said with disgust as she looked Luka up and down.

“So are you a professional fashion critic or do you often comment on things you have no idea about?”

“Excuse me!”

“No, I won’t excuse you.” Luka clenched his fists by his sides. This wasn’t going to change anything. Whenever he walked away they would still be vain and shameless, but Marinette deserved a voice and if she wasn’t going to speak up he would do it for her. “The things you said about Marinette’s hat were not fair or true.”

The woman looked at her friends then back at Luka. “Who are you? Some defender of future fashion designer rejects? Why don’t you go back home to your hand-me-down clothes and cheap shoes.”

Luka opened his mouth to respond but someone grabbed his arm and he looked to see Marinette beside him, Adrien close behind.

“It’s not worth it, Luka,” she told him, tugging on his arm to signal she wanted to walk away.

He was about to give in. If Marinette really didn’t want him to fight this battle, he wouldn’t make it about him. But then Adrien spoke and everything changed.

“I apologize, Mme. Dupont. My friend knows the designer and took your critique personally.”

Mme. Dupont sniffed, turning her nose up. “Your friend doesn’t seem very cultured, Adrien. Maybe this isn’t the place for him. Make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Luka rounded on Adrien. He couldn’t believe that the younger teen would speak as if Marinette wasn’t right there, hearing everything being said. “That wasn’t a ‘critique’! That was her trashing someone because she didn’t think there’d be any consequences. I thought Marinette was your friend.”

A small flash of black pulled away Luka’s attention. It hovered just above the heads of the exhibition attendees. A dark, shimmering butterfly, getting closer and closer. Everything else seemed to fade away. He couldn’t move.

Luka remembered what it felt like just before he’d become Silencer only a few weeks ago. It was a feeling of deep hopelessness. It was like anything good or happy in the world disappeared and only pain and suffering existed. There was no honesty left only corrupt selfishness. He didn’t want to feel that again.

Then there was the guilt after Ladybug had saved him and he’d realized what he’d done. And Marinette had seen it all. She’d probably been afraid of him. That couldn’t happen again.

It was flying closer and closer. Then suddenly Marinette’s hands were on either side of his face. She pulled him down slightly to look into his eyes. “Breathe, Luka. You can’t have any negative thoughts or emotions. There is always a solution.”

He was scared.

“Stay with me, Luka!”

The akuma was right there, heading straight for him. There was no stopping it.

Then suddenly Marinette turned to face it. She was standing with her back to him. She was shielding him. The akuma went to fly past her when she threw his jacket into its path. The butterfly faded into it, turning the fabric a smoky black.

“Marinette?”

Chapter Text

Luka watched as Marinette doubled over, holding her head. Adrien hovered beside her, repeating some of the same statements she had just been saying moments earlier about dispelling negative emotions and finding a solution. Luka hesitantly reached out and touched her shoulder.

“You can fight this, Marinette,” he encouraged softly.

Suddenly the darkness faded from his jacket and the black butterfly flew out. Marinette slumped heavily against him and he caught her. He held her close, relieved that she had successfully fought it off. He wasn’t sure if he would’ve been able to forgive himself had she been akumatized because of him. Marinette shouldn’t have to experience something like that.

“Where did the akuma go?” Marinette asked, straightening from leaning against Luka.

“Oh no.”

They both looked to Adrien and he pointed at Mme. Dupont. They followed his gesture to see the akuma disappear inside of her necklace. It was gold that was quickly consumed by the akuma’s dark infection and was shaped like a snake devouring its own tail around her throat. There was no chance for them to try and advise the woman to fight it as she succumbed quickly to the akuma. Darkness covered her entire body as it transformed her into Hawkmoth’s newest villain.

“Run!” Marinette yelled to the crowd. She pushed Luka and Adrien away from the newly birthed akumatization. It was clear that her aim was to get them out of the room, but they were stopped when a glob of steaming, green slime suddenly flew past their heads. It hit the double doors and spread to cover them completely.

They stopped and turned back to face the akuma. She was covered in vibrant green scales that shimmered in the artificial light from the chandelier above them and sharp fangs protruded from her mouth, reaching down past her bottom lip. Luka moved to push his two younger companions behind him but was impeded by both Marinette and Adrien instead shielding him.

“You don’t have to give in to Hawkmoth, Mme. Dupont,” Marinette implored.

Mme. Dupont hissed at her, green venom spittle flying from her mouth. “My name is now Vitriol! And I don’t have to take orders from some talentless, little know-it-all!”

“You won’t gain anything by working with a villain,” Adrien joined in. “He’s only out for himself.”

Vitriol turned to hiss at him now. “You’re not a part of this, boy. Go sit down and shut up. It’s all you’re good for.”

Luka watched Adrien flinch at the words and clench his fists by his sides. He may be unhappy with the teen model at the moment but that didn’t mean Adrien deserved to be subjected to those words.

“You’re wrong!” he yelled. But there must have been an echo because he swore he heard another voice speak in unison.

“Adrien is much more than you know!” Marinette continued, making Luka realize it was her that had spoken with him.

Vitriol suddenly snapped her mouth closed, fangs still protruding. Her complexion slowly went a much brighter green as her cheeks puffed out. It took the three teens too long to realize what was happening. By the time Luka understood what the akuma was doing, she was already spitting a mouthful of venom at them. It hit Marinette squarely in the chest and she fell backwards with the force.

“Marinette!” both Luka and Adrien yelled in shock. Luka managed to reach out and catch her just in time. Vitriol wasn’t fazed and turned to spit more venom at the rest of the crowd.

Luka looked down at his date and saw Marinette’s features screwed up in pain. “We need to get her away from here,” he said as he lifted her fully into his arms bridal style.

Adrien looked around at the chaos as lobs of green venom flew around them. “You take Marinette, I have to go find Nathalie and the Gorilla. I’ll come find you after I get them.”

Luka didn’t understand how Adrien would even get to them. It was more logical for the three of them to find safety until Ladybug and Chat Noir could take out the akuma. “I don’t think you should-” But before he could finish his statement Adrien was already gone.

 


 

It wasn’t easy but Luka managed to slip away into a small maintenance area with Marinette in his arms. She had gone ghostly pale and was trembling from head to toe. He propped her up against a wall and grabbed what looked to be a clean rag to dab at the sweat collecting on her forehead.

“You’ll be okay, Marinette.” Luka hoped his voice sounded more confident than he felt. She looked awful, shivering and sweating, all color lost from her face. Whatever Vitriol was spitting, it was doing a number on Marinette. “Ladybug will save us,” he reassured with a strained smile.

Marinette shook her head violently. “No, she won’t,” she croaked out with great effort.

“Don’t say that,” he said with a sigh. “It may seem hopeless, but she’s never let us down before.”

She grabbed his wrist, stopping him from continuing to wipe at her brow. “Luka, listen to me. Ladybug is not coming.”

She released her grip and he let his hand drop to rest on his thigh. “How do you know that?”

Marinette let out a humorless laugh that turned into a weak cough. “Because she is currently trapped in a maintenance room, barely able to move much less stop an akuma.”

As he looked into her eyes, Luka wondered how he hadn’t seen it before. There it was, all the strength and courage that was Ladybug, was in Marinette. “Then what are we going to do? Is there any…” He trailed off as Marinette reached up to take off her earrings. She took his hand and placed them in his palm. “What is this?”

“My miraculous.”

Suddenly, a small, red creature flew out of Marinette’s bag. “Marinette, are you sure?” she asked in a squeaky voice.

“I’m sure,” Marinette wheezed. The red creature flew up to nuzzle Marinette’s cheek. She locked eyes with Luka and pressed his fingers closed over the earrings. “Luka Couffaine, here is the miraculous of the Ladybug which grants the power of creation. You will use it for the greater good.”

Luka tried to push them back into her hands. “I can’t just leave you here. There has to be something else we can do.” He couldn’t imagine abandoning her while she was so incapacitated. It was out of the question.

“There is no other way,” she replied firmly.

The little, red creature nodded. “The only way to help her is to purify the akuma.”

Luka didn’t want to agree to such a plan but if what they said was true, then his only options were to go and purify the akuma as quickly as he could, or watch Marinette deteriorate and hope that another solution fell into their laps. “Alright then. I- I’ll do it. I’ll be Ladybug.”

Marinette handed him the earrings once more. “Thank you, Luka. Tikki, my kwami, will explain things to you. First thing you need to do after you transform is to get in contact with Chat Noir.” After she finished speaking, she let out another weak cough.

Luka picked up his jacket from where it had fallen beside her and laid it over her. “I promise, I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Marinette closed her eyes and nodded. “I trust you.”

He leaned in and pressed a kiss to her forehead, before getting to his feet. “Okay, Tikki,” he said turning to where the kwami was floating beside him. “What do I need to know?”

 


 

Luka ran out of the maintenance room in his new Ladybug suit. It surprisingly looked different than Marinette’s. His had long black gloves that went up his forearm to his elbow and his yo-yo was attached to a black belt that hung loosely around his waist. He also noticed that after he’d transformed his hair was suddenly parted differently. He didn’t have time to admire any other differences and ran back into the fray.

Except Vitriol was gone. She left behind civilians that were either curled up, looking as ill as Marinette had, or wandering around like zombies. He hoped that Chat Noir hadn’t been affected. He had to find the other superhero before he could jump into fighting the akuma.

Luka ran outside of the building to see the food truck owner slumped over his work counter, obviously effected by Vitriol’s venom. There were other ill or zombified citizens left in her wake, collapsed or wandering the streets. He looked around, feeling a bit lost for what to do next.

“What would Marinette do?” he muttered to himself. It only took a second for it to hit him. “I need some perspective.”

He took the yo-yo off of his belt and threw it. When it caught on the tallest building in the vicinity, he was pulled into the air. His stomach lurched as he fought to keep some control. As he landed on the roof, he stumbled a few feet before regaining his balance.

Looking out over Paris, it was clear where Vitriol had gone. Waves of green steam radiated up from the west part of the city. He clenched his fists and took a deep breath. At this point he didn’t have time to go searching for Chat Noir. The akuma was moving too fast. He would have to go in by himself and hope that the other miraculous holder showed up.

Luka got ready the sling the yo-yo out in the akuma’s direction. Then he heard the sound of feet landing on the roof behind him.

“It’s a lovely night, isn’t it, Bugaboo? Not as lovely as you though.”

Luka whipped around to find Chat Noir wearing a silly grin on his face. Although, the other hero quickly sobered upon seeing a replacement for the usual Ladybug.

Chat pulled out his baton and shifted into a fighting stance. “Who are you and where’s Ladybug?”

 

 

Chapter Text

“Who are you and where’s Ladybug?” Chat demanded.

Luka startled at the hostility but held his ground. They needed to get this sorted as quickly as possible so that they could go after the akuma. “She got hit by Vitriol while in her civilian form. She asked me to fill in for her.”

Chat frowned but the tension in his body eased slightly. “Is she okay? Wait, how do I know you’re not lying? That you didn’t steal the miraculous from her?”

“I didn’t steal anything!” Luka took a deep breath. There was no point in fighting and it was a fair question. Chat didn’t know him. “She’s a much better Ladybug than I could ever be. If she were able, I would switch spots with her in an instant. But right now you’re stuck with me, Chat Noir.”

Chat looked past him in the direction the akuma had gone in. “Fine. But after this is over I want to see the real Ladybug and know that she is okay.”

“Deal.” Luka reached out his hand to the other hero. There was a moment of hesitation but then Chat returned the gesture with a half-hearted shake.

Then Chat went running and leaping to the next roof, heading after Vitriol. Luka followed after him, rushing to keep up. He struggled at first but quickly found a rhythm.

“So how do you know Ladybug?” Chat asked.

“We’ve been friends for a while,” Luka replied. There was a larger gap between the roofs and Luka used the yo-yo the cover the distance. Once he landed next to Chat and resumed running across the rooftops, he continued. “We were on our first date tonight. I was hoping that it would go well and she’d eventually be my girlfriend.”

Luka stopped short realizing that Chat Noir was no longer beside him. He turned back to see the other hero standing on the edge of the previous roof. “Chat?”

“She was on a date with you?” Chat’s fists were clenched by his sides and he was looking down instead of at Luka. “She was on a first date with you and she gave you her miraculous?”

“Are you okay?” They needed to get going. But he also could see that his partner was upset. He’d heard rumors about Chat and Ladybug being together but he couldn’t see Marinette as being the type to cheat. Was Chat in love with her then? He looked back over his shoulder at the green fog floating up. They didn’t have time for this.

Chat looked up and gave a strained smile. “Yeah. I’m fine. Let’s go!”

 


 

 

Vitriol had an army of zombies behind her and smaller heaps of people collapsed from her poison. Luka and Chat looked down at the scene, neither commenting on the damage the akuma had done. She laughed and spit more venom at those hiding or trying to run away.

“What are we going to do?” Luka asked. He figured that it would be better to defer to Chat, considering that the other hero had more experience.

Chat rubbed the back of his neck and shrugged. “Ladybug usually comes up with the plans. And since she’s not here…” He stepped up to the edge of the roof they were looking down from. “I guess we’ll just dive in, shall we?” He leapt down into the fray.

Luka leapt down after him without thinking. It was quickly becoming obvious to him why Ladybug was the one to come up with the plans. Chat seemed to act on impulse even if it worked against them. Both heroes dodged the globs of venom being spat at them. Chat kept getting close to snatching the necklace containing the akuma but couldn’t quite reach it.

“Any ideas, Ladybug?” Chat called over to him.

Luka bristled at the attitude in Chat Noir’s voice. He never asked for this. Why was Chat acting like he was the enemy? I’m doing this for Marinette. He just had to keep reminding himself of his goal. He wanted to help Marinette.

“Yeah. I do.” Luka threw the yo-yo. It hooked onto a building and he let it pull him up above the battle. Once he was on the roof he slung the yo-yo toward a building across the way. He swung and he waited until he was right over Vitriol when he jumped down towards her. Right as he was about to hit her, she dodged. He barreled into a horde of zombified Parisians instead. They all went down in a tangle of limbs. Luka quickly got his footing and went to jump back into the fight when the zombies swarmed him. Hands, tinged green with Vitriol’s poison, grabbed at him and held him back.

Vitriol grabbed Chat by his tail and threw him across the street into a park bench that shattered on impact. “Did you really think that a rookie Ladybug could defeat me?” she asked as she turned to Luka. “You should have sent in the real deal, no knock-off is going to be my undoing.”

She clamped her mouth shut and her cheeks ballooned out as she collected venom. Luka struggled against the zombies but the sheer number of them holding him down kept him at Vitriol’s mercy.

Luka looked to Chat for help. The other hero was picking himself up. Once he was on his feet he looked over at Luka. There was no urgency or panic in his eyes. His expression was calm and steady as he watched the scene playing out. He’s really going to let me get hit. There was no other possible outcome from the way his “partner” was looking at him at the moment. All because Chat Noir was feeling… jealous? Luka struggled against the zombies again, anger fueling him into one last attempt. If he could just get away, he would knock Chat on his-

“Cataclysm!”

Chat Noir used his baton to launch himself into the air. He used his power on a nearby lamppost that fell and knocked away most of the zombies. Then the hero tackled Luka out of the way just in time. The glob of venom hit the already infected zombies, doing no further damage.

“You saved me,” Luka said in surprise as he frowned up at Chat who was still hovering over him as he was splayed out on the street.

“Yeah, well, I need you if we’re going to save Ladybug.” Chat looked away, refusing to meet Luka’s gaze.

Luka wasn’t sure if Chat had planned to save him the whole time. In fact, he doubted that was the case, but it was a pleasant surprise that Chat had actually found it in him to help Luka out. They had a common goal and if that was the only thing keeping them working together, he’d take it over having them each trying to defeat the akuma on their own.

Out of the corner of his eye Luka spotted Vitriol working on another mouthful of venom. Just as she went to spit at them, he grabbed Chat and rolled them both out of the way. He then leapt up and pulled the other hero to his feet. “What do we do now?” Luka asked.

Chat gestured to the yo-yo on Luka’s belt. “You use your Lucky Charm.”

 


 

 

After the battle was over, Luka and Chat went their separate ways. He was half-way back to the exhibition when his transformation expired. He ran the rest of the way with Tikki encouraging him that Marinette was going to be okay. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust the kwami, but he needed to see her for himself. All that kept running through his head was how this was all his fault. If he had just kept his mouth shut in the first place, Marinette never would have gotten hurt.

He got to the building, ran past the fashion exhibits, then burst through the doors into the hall where they’d been sitting when the akuma had first appeared. There was Marinette, sitting at the back of the room, his jacket around her shoulders. The rest of the akuma’s victims were milling about the room, still trying to get their bearings. He pushed past them, as gently as possible, to get to his date.

“I am so sorry, Marinette,” he said as he sat down beside her. “This was all my fault. I never should have lost my temper and-”

A finger pressed to his lips to quiet him. Marinette blushed and pulled back her hand when she seemed to realize what she’d done. “The only person to blame is Hawkmoth. You were only trying to help me. And believe me, Luka, you helped in a big way.” She lowered her voice to avoid being overheard. “You saved all of these people. You saved me.”

He smiled. That was Marinette. She always looked for the best in people. He knew that he wasn’t everything she saw in him. Marinette deserved someone as generous, and kind, and brave as her. But she’d chosen to spend her time with him, to forgive him, to let him be Ladybug. So he’d do his best to be worthy of her attention.

“I did my best,” he told her. Luka then reached up and took out the earrings. He put them into her palm and closed her hand over them. “Your Chat is waiting for you. He’s worried and wants to know that you’re okay.”

“Oh. I- I’ll be right back then. I promise.”

Marinette started toward the doors and Luka resigned himself to waiting for his date to return. Then, all of a sudden, she was back, sliding into the chair next to him and her lips smashed against his in a surprisingly fierce kiss. He was startled but also very okay with it. He put his hands on her upper arms and kissed back. Seconds later she pulled away and her face had gone as red as the Ladybug suit.

“Sorry! Sorry, I slipped and I didn’t mean to kiss you! I mean, I meant to kiss you just not that hard. But, it wasn’t bad or anything. At least, I hope you didn’t think it was bad!”

Luka laughed and pressed another quick kiss to the side of her mouth. “It was perfect.”

Chapter Text

 

Ladybug swung up onto a nearby building and opened her yo-yo into a phone to call Chat. She still couldn’t believe that she’d kissed Luka. It had been a spontaneous impulse brought on by how proud she was of Luka for being Ladybug. He was one of the few people she would trust with such a task and he had done it. He protected Paris. If they didn’t have to keep identities a secret she would shout to the world how great Luka was.

Maybe this was how she would get over Adrien?

“Ladybug?” Chat asked cautiously.

The voice hadn’t come from the phone as expected. She whipped around to see her partner standing at the  opposite end of the roof. He hesitantly stepped towards her with hope in his eyes.

She smiled at him. “Hi, Chaton.”

Chat ran forward and hugged her, lifting her off her feet and spinning her once, before setting her down again. “I’m glad you’re okay, m’lady. I wasn’t sure if I could trust that guy you sent.”

Ladybug laughed at the enthusiastic greeting but quickly sobered. “Sorry, about that. The akuma got to me before I could transform. Lu… uh… my friend, was there and I needed to send someone to purify the akuma. I’m glad you guys could work together so well.”

Chat rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah… we did. Look, Bugaboo, this guy, he said that the two of you had been on a date and that he wants you to be his girlfriend. Is that true?”

“He said that?” Her heart soared at the thought of being Luka’s girlfriend and him being her boyfriend. It was looking more and more like her feelings for Adrien, while not completely gone, were definitely fading. “Yeah, we are on a date at the moment.”

Chat’s expression shifted into a grimace, before settling into something like a kicked puppy, or kitten in this case. “Oh… so he’s the guy you’re in love with.”

She almost corrected him, but swallowed it down. There was no point to it. It would only hurt Chat more to know that her feelings had shifted to someone else and that someone else wasn’t him.

“He is,” she confirmed.

He took a deep breath through his nose. “Great. He seems… nice.”

Ladybug nodded. “He is.” She paused for a moment. She really didn’t want to deal with his jealousy when all she wanted was to be excited about Luka. “Chat, I’m not asking you to be happy about it. And if you need some time-”

He waved off her concerns. “I don’t need time. You’re my friend and I’m happy that you found someone who cares about you as much as I do.”

Chat leaned in and pressed a kiss to her forehead. For a moment she thought that the gesture would bother her, but it felt different than the barely held back romantic affection that usually came from him. She lightly punched him in the arm. “Thanks, partner.”

“Just let him know that if he ever breaks your heart, he’ll have me to deal with.”

Ladybug rolled her eyes but appreciated the intent. He still cared for her. He still wanted to protect her. She was just relieved that she still had her friend and partner. Part of her had been afraid of losing him whenever she finally started getting serious about someone. “I’ll be sure to tell him.”

There was an awkward moment of silence where they just stood looking out over Paris. Except maybe it wasn’t that awkward. It was nice for Ladybug to enjoy Chat’s silent company.

“I said that I didn’t need time,” Chat said so softly she almost missed it. “Because I didn’t want you to think I wanted this to end.” He gestured between them. “But I… it does hurt… to know that you don’t want to be with me the way that I want to be with you.”

“I know.” She reached over and took his hand. “I know. But, know that I’ll always need you and want you by my side. Got it?”

He smiled at her. It was genuine and betrayed the relief he must have felt. “Got it.”

 


 

 

Marinette met Luka outside of the exhibition building. She hugged him and he kissed the top of her head.

“Is everything good between you two?” he asked.

“Yeah. It’s all great.” She really hoped it was. After everything her and Chat had been through together it would be devastating to have their friendship thrown away because she was dating someone else.

Luka took her hand and winked. “Good. I had one last stop I wanted to make before the end of the date.”

Marinette gave his hand an encouraging squeeze. All the apprehension from the beginning of the date was gone. It had been replaced by a calm assurance that she was exactly where she wanted to be. “Let’s go.”

 

They reached the Pont des Arts and stopped to look out over the Seine. There were other couples there that had stopped to chat or take photos, and passersby who crossed the bridge behind them, yet it felt like they were the only two there. Marinette yawned, feeling the events from earlier catching up with her, but she didn’t want the date to end.

“You amaze me, Marinette,” Luka sighed as he looked over at her.

“What? What do you mean?” she asked, blinking in confusion.

He lowered his voice so as not to be overheard and moved closer to her. “I was Ladybug for one night and that was the most difficult half hour of my life. And there you are, doing that every day. It’s amazing… you’re amazing.”

“Thanks, Luka.” Marinette blushed and looked down. “I’ll admit, at first I didn’t think I could do it. It was terrifying. But now, I couldn’t imagine, not being Ladybug.”

“And I could never imagine a world in which you aren’t either.”

Luka looked pensively at the water. She got the feeling that he had something to say, but needed to find the words. Part of her wanted to say something encouraging but silence seemed like the more prudent way to go at the moment.

He turned to her. “Marinette, I’ve never met anyone like you. You surprise me at every turn. Every time I think I’ve got you figured out, there’s some new discovery, like listening to my favorite song and finding something new to appreciate. I would like to keep discovering who you are and I’d like for you to discover who I am too… but I’d like to do that as an official couple. Can we?”

Marinette felt her answer stick in her throat as she stared at Luka with wide eyes. She wanted to say yes, but it was as if she’d suddenly forgotten how to form words. Something touched her finger and she looked down to see Tikki poking her head out of her purse.  The kwami mouthed something to her that looked like “say yes!” and then nodded her head toward Luka.

She looked back to her date who was now looking at her in confusion. “Can we?” she tried. No that wasn’t right. “I mean, we can! I- we- I’m trying to say yes! I want to be your girlfriend, Luka.”

“I’m glad,” he said as he pulled something from his pocket. It was a tiny black bag. One usually used for jewelry. “I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with this if you’d said no.”

Luka opened the bag and pulled out a thin chain that held a guitar pick hanging from it. The pick was light pink with a white M on it in looping script.

“It’s beautiful.” Marinette felt her stomach flip at the sight of something so personal. It was so… Luka, but it also felt like her.

“Can I?” he asked as he unclasped the chain.

She nodded and pulled up her hair for him. He reached around behind her and put the necklace on. When he stepped back, she looked down and touched the pick now hanging around her neck with her fingertips. “I love it,” she said as she looked back up at him.

Luka smiled and leaned in to kiss her. She tipped her head slightly to allow him easier access to her lips. They met in a tender kiss that sent sparks through Marinette. It was like fireworks going off in her chest at the sensation of the shared moment.

As they separated, Marinette hoped there would be more moments like that. It didn’t seem possible that there could be anything as wonderful as that kiss. But she had realized that Luka was someone capable of making her unimaginably happy with that one gesture. She didn’t think it would be smart to doubt him.

Luka took her hand and they began their walk back to the metro. Their date was coming to an end. It seemed like a dream that she was going to be waking up from as soon as she reached the apartment above the bakery. Marinette vowed to enjoy the last little moments with Luka before they arrived at her home. She slowed her walking speed and he matched her as he smiled knowingly.