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What are partners for?

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It was ridiculous, really. She couldn’t begrudge her parents for going to the Patissier convention, even if it did keep them away from home for almost a whole week. They had all gone out to dinner together before they left, and her dad had baked her a cake with a brand new recipe that was going to enter into a contest being held. Marinette knew she’d be proud of her father when he came home with a prize. She had no doubt that he’d win something, her father was amazing after all!

She also wasn’t upset with Alya. The summer apprenticeship she’d been offered was the chance of a lifetime, and Alya had promised to find her the perfect souvenir while she was traveling around Europe with the news crew.

But still… She’d been home alone for three whole days. Surely it was normal feel a bit upset when she had no one to celebrate her sixteenth birthday with on the actual day.

“Marinette!” Well, she wasn’t completely alone.
“Yes, Tikki?” Marinette smiled at her kwami. Tikki had been doing her best to keep the mood cheerful today.
“Why don’t we go on patrol before it gets too dark? Some fresh air might be nice, and it’s finally starting to cool down!” Marinette grinned. Why not? It would probably do her good to get out of the house.

After a good run around the rooftops of Paris, Ladybug was feeling well exercised but still a bit melancholy about her Birthday coming to an end without anyone to share it with. She’d stopped to have a rest and watch the sunset from her favourite spot, when a certain black clothed figure landed beside her.

“I was starting to think that I wouldn’t see you today, my Lady.” Chat Noir grinned at her, clearly brimming with joy just from being near her.
“One good poke and you’d fall right off that edge.”  She smiled weakly. “But it’s nice to see a friendly face, so I’ll spare you for today”
“Lucky me then.” Chat said as he climbed further onto the roof. “That’s a nice change.” He winked at her, but she only rolled her eyes in response.
“Not that I’m surprised that you’d be pleased to see my handsome and friendly face, but is someone being unfriendly to my Lady? Do I need to have words with someone?” The look on his face was surprisingly serious. Like he really would go and have a stern word with whoever was making her sad.
“No.” Ladybug showed him a true smile. She appreciated that he always had her back. “It’s just… it was supposed to be a special day today. But no one was around, so I spent it by myself. I guess I’m just a bit lonely.” She grinned. “I must be desperate if I’m pleased to be in the company of an alley cat.” Chat gasped in mock outrage, and they both laughed.

“A special occasion, huh…” Chat looked a bit shifty. “Something that might require a present?”
“Chat.” She frowned. “We promised not to try to figure out each other’s identity.”
“No, no!” Chat waved his hands around as he tried to explain. “I just…” He trailed off, looking embarrassed. “Did you know that we’ve been fighting akuma together for over a year now?” Ladybug blinked at the sudden change in subject.
“Really? Oh. You’re right. A whole year…”
“Yes, and well. I made you an anniversary present, but we didn’t see each other that day. So…” Chat reached towards his extendable pole and pulled a tiny box from under it. “For your special day.” He smiled, his face flushed under his mask.

Ladybug was shocked, and she honestly felt a little bit guilty. He’d probably gone looking for her that day, and who knows what she’d been doing. She hadn’t thought to get him anything at all. It must have shown on her face, because Chat quickly added.
“I don’t expect anything in return! Really. I was just making these accessories and this one came to mind, and you probably won’t even like it anyway.” He said shyly.

Ladybug opened the box carefully. Inside was a small pendant. Silver lines made up the figure of a cat coloured with black enamel, curled around what she first took as a spotty ball but then realised it was a ladybug, which was also coloured with bright red enamel. It was a representation of their partnership.

“It’s beautiful.” She assured him as she lifted it out. “Oh, it has a pin!”
Chat flushed with pride. “I realised that you couldn’t wear it in case I saw it when we’re not transformed, but a necklace could be used to choke you in battle if you wore is at ladybug. So I made it into a broach. You don’t have to wear it at all, though.” But Ladybug was already fastening it right where the black of her neckline met the red of the rest of the suit. The curved line where the colours met gave the illusion that the broach really was on a necklace.

“I love it.” Her voice shook with emotion. “I really needed this today. Thank you, Chat Noir, for always being there for me. I’m sorry that I forgot our anniversary.” Ladybug leaned into his side. She should have known that Chat would always support his Lady, she scolded herself mentally. Even if Marinette was alone, Ladybug would always have Chat Noir.
“Just promise me that we’ll spend the next year together as well. That’s all the gift I need.” Chat looked at her intently, his eyes glowing that unnatural green. He quickly looked away, seemingly overcome with embarrassment at his own words.
Ladybug looked at him and was filled with fondness. She stretched up just enough to softly kiss his cheek.
“Ladybug?!” Chat choked out, his face burning bright red.
“Don’t freak out, kitty cat. That was just your gift in return.” She turned away from him. “Just, stay here for a little bit longer.” She felt his arm wrap around her shoulder.

“Anything for my Lady.”