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A Peek into the Future

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"My Lady... I don't think we're in Paris anymore." He chuckled lightly as he tried to get to his feet, and ended up having to use his baton as leverage. His chest groaned in protest, but having been through worse, Adrien didn’t say a word to his partner.

Ladybug's eyes narrowed at his humor towards the situation. "Chat! Be serious!"

As the boy opened his mouth to respond he was caught up in a series of wet coughs. I'd been hit a lot harder than I'd thought. He told himself as he spotted the blood on his hand.

The ears atop his head swiveled forward before he could say anything to her. "We might have company." He slid into a fighting stance but winced at the twinge he received in his side. He tried to play it off as a slip in his footing, but Ladybug saw right through him. She narrowed her eyes and brought her palm up to his chest. "Chat. You need to get to a hospital. I'll be fine."

A soft, clawed hand held her chin. "What? And leave with no one to protect you? I'd be too worried to sit still long enough." He tried to laugh, but another set of choking sounds came out instead. Ladybug growled at him as a warning, but she didn't try to stop him from staying. 

"Well, well, well... now this is not what I was expecting to run into today." The two tensed at the new voice, afraid it was an akuma. But when they turned, they saw an all-too-familiar pair of green cat eyes and black-clad form crouched on the balcony.

The two heroes stood in shocked silence. There was no doubting he was Chat Noir, but whether he was an illusion was still up in the air. He was older, that much was obvious. His voice was a little deeper, and his body grown into that of a young man. One thing that stood out to the younger Chat was how much the costume itself was different. It was no longer a plain spandex suit. Instead, there were more pockets, filled with new gadgets, no doubt, and a bit more... well, flair.

"Was it something I said?" The older Chat smiled proudly and rocked back and forth on his toes. "It's not often I can leave My Lady speechless."

Whether it was the suaveness, or the tone of his voice, Ladybug found herself blushing. The boy beside her limped towards the man, glared daggers as he did. "If you even think about-"

"There you are!" Another voice popped out of no where. From the roof beside them, hopped over a woman, no older than her mid-twenties. As she got closer, Adrien realized it wasn't just any woman. It was Ladybug. "I've been looking everywhere for-"

She stopped when she saw the two teens he sat in front of. "You and your bad luck, kitty..." The man kept his smile plastered on his face. "You mean Plagg's bad luck. I'm just an innocent victim!"

Like the new companion’s outfit, Ladybug's was similar. It was far more practical than her current one. It had much fewer spots on it, but it's design was still dominated by red. Her hands and feet had black protective gloves and boots on them, and her back was adorned with what appeared to be a tough leather. Adrien had a feeling that’d come in handy if they were attacked from behind.

"We knew this was going to happen eventually, so let's just-"

Marinette stomped her foot down to stop her older counterpart. "Can someone tell me what's going on!?"

The two of them glanced at one another for the briefest of moments and sighed in unison. "Well..." The heroin began. "If you haven't already guessed, you've been sent into the future. Ten years if I had to take a guess."

"I got that! But how!?"

"Believe it or not, the same akuma has reappeared in our time. If I remember correctly, his name was Paradox, no?" The blonde man straightened from his crouched position and stood beside his Ladybug. Adrien couldn't help but stare at his older self. He'd grown taller than he would've predicted, and apparently, years of crime fighting paid off. It was clear even through the suit that he was no weakling anymore.

 "So how do we stop him and get back home?" The young Ladybug questioned.

"Easy. I'll have to purify him in this time and everything should go back to the way it was."

"Alright, so until you find him... what do we do?"

With another smirk the man told them, "You stay with us obviously. Can't have you running about looking like us. Not that I wouldn't enjoy having two of my handsome faces for people to look at."

Both of the Ladybug's groaned at his antics. Some things never change. "As much as we know how much your ego needs that, let's focus on the more important issue at hand." The man rose an eyebrow, completely lost as to what she was referring to. "I meant that the younger me wants to keep our identities secret for as long as she can, right?"

Marinette nodded, but stopped herself when something occurred to her. "Wait, does that mean you guys already know who the other really is!?"

"That'd be correct, My Lady."

The younger Chat growled at the nickname. "My Lady." He rasped out.

"Calm down, kitty. We still need to get you patched up from earlier." As if to emphasize her statement, he steadied himself on Ladybug's shoulder to keep his knees from buckling under him.

The older Ladybug seemed to be debating as she held her chin. "It may not be the best idea, but I have some gauze and bandages at home." Marinette seemed horrified at the suggestion. Sensing her paranoia, the woman continued, "Don't worry. I've long since moved out of our parents' house. Your Chat won't get any hints."

At least that made her mini panic attack end. "But, what about when our transformations wear off?"

"Only I will be allowed in the same room with you. The same goes for you two." She motioned to the Chats. "Is that alright?" Glancing back at her partner, Marinette dropped her shoulders in defeat. There was no way they'd be able to go to a hospital when he technically didn't exist as a 15 year old.

"It's not like we have another option."

"Then let's get a move on before Tikki and Plagg run out of juice, yeah?" The older Chat moved to stand in front of Adrien. "Need a lift? Because if I remember, that hurts like bitch."

"CHAT!" His face paled at her yell. "What have I told you about that dirty mouth of yours?!"

His fake ears flattened shamefully against his head. "I-I-!"

The woman shook her head and took our her yo-yo. "I know a cat who's not getting any treats later because of that."

"B-But, Mar- My Lady!" The man practically groveled at her feet.

"Don't you start. Come on. We need to get these two settled in until we can find the akuma." Before she jumped off the building, she added, "I'll get there first to flip any family pictures that could give either of us away. In the meantime, you might as well tell them who Charlotte is." And with that, she dashed off the roof.

"Charlotte?" Marinette questioned.

The older Chat's face brightened and left no trace of the pitiful kitten he’d been just a few moments before. "Oh, you'll love her!" He knelt down and turned his head to Adrien. "You'd better hop on. I'm paw-sitive my Ladybug would never forgive me if I let you hurt yourself again."

The girl rolled her eyes at the pun. "Lead the way, you overgrown furball."

Chapter Text

"So who is Charlotte, anyways?" Marinette asked again as they jumped from rooftop to rooftop. "Your girlfriend or something?"

A loud, obnoxious laugh came from the man. "You'd better hope my wife doesn't hear that. She can be quite possessive."

And just like that, the girl stopped in her tracks. "Wife?"

He might've had his back turned to her, but she could almost see the smile he had on his face. "You seem surprised. What? Did you think I'd let these good looks go to waste?"

The boy he was holding was silent. He honestly didn't know what to say. Future me is clearly happy talking about this mystery girl, and at the same time, I’m obviously still Ladybug's close confidant. Adrien's eyebrows furrowed the more he thought about it. Do I get over my crush for Ladybug?

"I would've thought the stupid cat jokes and flirting would scare all the girls off."

The older Chat snickered in response right back at her, "You wound me, Ladybug. If it weren't for the constant flirting, she'd never have noticed me."

"Suuuure..." Marinette teased. She found it odd to be communicating with this mature Chat, and yet still seeing the same teenage boy she'd made friends with. "You really didn't change much, did you."

He didn't say anything; they both already knew the answer.

"How much farther, anyways?" As if to respond to her, the older Ladybug appeared a few buildings down, waiting for them.

"She's probably already decided which rooms I'm banned from." Chat murmured to himself.

"And what if I have?" His ears pulled back in surprise, thinking she hadn't been able to hear him.

"Hehe... um, so... what've you told Charlotte about this?" Chat carefully made his landing to keep Adrien from jostling around.

"Simple. I told her the truth. We'll be keeping the suits on, but these two will be separated to allow Tikki and Plagg time to recharge." The man nodded. "Shall we, then?"

With one last jump, they found themselves on the outside balcony of a moderately large bedroom. "What did you tell them about Charlotte?" The woman reversed his earlier question.

A smirk creeped its way back onto his face. "Well, you accused me of cheating on my wife."

"I did not!" Marinette scoffed at how he worded it.

"Oh? And did you happen to mention Charlotte's only four years old?" The first place the girl's thoughts went was her current babysitting job with Manon. Did I still do that in the future? But still, who’s Charlotte?

"Alright, you two cats have to stay upstairs, and us two will be downstairs. Oh, and the medical stuff is in the bathroom with some cheese, okay Chat?"

The man lent down and slid Adrien off his shoulders, making sure the boy was steady before nodding at his partner. "Got it."

The woman ushered her younger counterpart down the hall. "There is one more little tidbit of information you need to know."

Marinette looked up as they made it to the stairs, and when they made it to the bottom, a young girl toddled out of the next room. If Marinette wasn't surprised before, she sure was now. The little girl was adorable, what with her dark hair and green eyes. Her older self happily lifted the toddler into her arms.

"Charlotte, you remember what I told you, right?" She bobbed her head up and down so fast, Marinette was surprised she didn't give herself a headache.

"So... this is Charlotte?" She hesitantly came closer, noticing the toddler's emerald green eyes for the first time.

"Yes. And she'd better behave until this whole thing is over." With a last boop on the nose, Ladybug put Charlotte back on the floor, where she immediately had her hand out to be held.

Marinette was about to ask who's child she was, but she snapped her mouth shut when a beep sounded in her ear. She instinctively looked around for a place to hide.

"It's okay. If you'd feel better, I'll let you transform alone, and I'll let you come out on your own terms, alright?"

The girl sighed a thank you, and dashed into the study nearby. "Tikki. You can transform me."

The small kwami complied and made her form shine for a few seconds, before hovering over to sit in Marinette's hand. "At least we don't have to hide your identity from her. That part is always the hardest." Marinette only leant her back against the wall. Tikki was right, but there was still the issue of having to keep it from Chat, regardless if the older already knew.

“If you want, you can stay in there. I wouldn’t take it personally.”

The girl sighed and braced herself as she stepped around the corner and back into the other room. "I don't see a point in that. We don't exactly have any secrets to hide, do we?"

Her older self was still holding Charlotte's hand, whom shied her face away from Marinette by hiding behind the older woman. "S-so... I know you might not be able to answer. Ya know... because it could mess up the future, but... Who exactly is she?"

The woman averted her eyes before telling her, "I have a feeling that would only raise more questions." She soothingly ran her fingers through Charlotte's hair, keeping the girl calm. So far, Marinette had yet to even hear her utter a single word, something she found odd. Most toddlers and young children loved to talk. This one didn't exactly look eager to do so.

"Is she... normally this quiet?"

The Ladybug in front of her seemed relieved her younger self hadn't persisted for more information on who the little girl was. "Actually, no. I told her what was going on, and she knows she could give something away without realizing it."

The teen was silent. The poor kid had to be careful around her and her Chat. It was clear she knew who they were out of costume as well, so-

Wait. Marinette's thoughts froze on that one little fact. Why would she know? Was it possible she was Alya's daughter? Before she could press any questions, a voice echoed from upstairs, effectively stopping her train of thought.

"Oh, where art thou, my little princess?"

The older Ladybug couldn't help but huff an exasperated groan. "That idiot..." The toddler took off running up the stairs without a single look back. It was then she exclaimed her first word since Marinette arrived.

"Papa!"

What? "I-I don't... but-! How?! Why!?" Her mouth was unable to keep up with her brain, resulting in her sputtering, incomplete sentences. "C-chat!... He's her..."

Her older counterpart held her palms out in front of her, treating Marinette as if she were a feral animal ready to run.

"Shhhh..." She crouched down and didn't once look away. "Marinette. Listen to me... You have to remember, we are in the future. In your perspective, anything could have happened."

Tikki plopped down on her friend's shoulder. "She's right. I mean, for all you know, Alya could be an FBI agent."

Ladybug stiffled a laugh, "Well... I wouldn't go that far, but that's my point. Leave your mind open until you get back home, alright?" Marinette had to take a few more deep breaths before she could even nod her head.

"G-Got it." And with that, things seemed to be settled, at least... for the two Ladybugs they were.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, on the second floor, Chat led his younger self into the bathroom to get cleaned up. "So... how is Ladybug in the future?" The boy asked quietly.

"As she always is; getting into trouble and I end up protecting her. Now, are you gonna take the transformation off now?"

With a nod, and a flash of green, Adrien sat down heavily on the toilet lid, wincing as he did so. "Where's the cheese?!" The black kwami zoomed around the room.

"Behind the cotton balls, Plagg." The man pointed to the other side of the bathroom sink, where the dairy product sat on a folded napkin.

With the little cat-like kwami busy being a glutton, Chat opened the drawer to bring out a bottle of hydrogen peroxide. "Now... I'm pretty sure you can help me disinfect all the cuts. It's the internal bleeding that can't be fixed here."

Adrien nodded and waited for the man to dab a cotton ball with the liquid for him to use. The stings weren't that bad, at least, not as much as they used to; back when he was new to the crime-fighting scene. No, those were nothing. It was a larger slash across his chest that made him stagger and lose breath when they started cleaning it.

"No wonder My Lady used to blush when she did this." The teen's eyes looked up. "We're a-meow-zingly hot without a shirt." Adrien didn't know what was worse; being 'checked out' by himself, or trying to stop his laugh before it irritated his wounds.

Chat smirked at him and leaned back to reach for another drawer. Without even digging through other belongings, he pulled out bandages and gauze. "Alright, Just hold still, and this should do the trick."

He tried. He really did. But once the peroxide-coated gauze touch his chest, he flinched away from it. "Easy. It'll only hurt for a few seconds. Trust me. I've been through worse."

Oh, thanks. It's nice to know that I'll hurt myself more than I already have. The second attempt at wrapping the wound was a success. Despite the dull pain that came with every breath, Adrien found it bearable.

"Alright. That should do it, but I'd suggest a hospital appointment when you get back home." His older self was putting the medical supplies away when the boy noticed just how smoothly and confidently the man moved about the room. It was clear he'd been in this particular bathroom before, considering he was able to put the cotton balls back in the cabinet on the opposite side of the room without digging around for where they belonged.

"So... Is this you- I-I mean... our house in the future?"

The man hesitated for a second, as if debating whether it was a good idea or not, until the mischievous side of Chat reared its ugly head.

"And what would you do if I said yes?"

The teen cast his eyes downward. "I-it's just... well... I wasn't sure if-"

"If you finally had the courage to get away from our father." He nodded without looking up. "I'll admit, he was a hard-ass and neglectful most of the time, but... he's a lot different now." Adrien's face brightened at the fact.

"He is?"

"Yup. Especially after meeting Charlotte. She kind of... broke that shell he hides behind. I can't wait for you to see it! His face is priceless when she pukes on his designer shoes!"

"What!?" The teen can't understand this. "Why on earth would father warm up to someone who ruined his shoes?”

The man in front of him shook his head in memory, barely listening to his younger self's belief in the story. "You're smart, Adrien. Put the pieces together so I don't have to deal with Ladybug blaming it 100% on me."

"I wouldn't count on it." They both turned to Plagg, who'd just finished eating all the cheese he'd been given. "That boy is hopeless when it comes to puzzles."

The older Chat sighed and threw his head back to look at the ceiling. "I'll lay the clues out for you. You're ten years into the future. I told you I was married. You're in my house. And there's a four year old named Charlotte downstairs right now." After he finished, he crossed his arms and waited for Adrien to get the picture.

And for the young man, that picture was still fuzzy. He didn't know where to start. This was why he sucked at playing Clue.

"Now I know how ’Nette feels." Chat muttered.

“Nette?”

A pause followed his short question. Again, the man appeared conflicted to answer. "Lucky you... you just got a free hint."

"But... I don't get it. Any of this. Honestly, I can barely think straight with this!" He gestured the bandage wrapped around his chest. "Just tell me!"

"Jesus, Plagg. How did you put up with me back then?"

The kwami chuckled, "Not without difficultly. Your obliviousness to the whole situation is painful!"

"Excuse me! I'm right here! Someone... please just tell me what's going on, because I've lost both of you. How am I oblivious?"

The superhero ran a hand through his hair. "She's going to kill me after this..." Adrien didn't have the chance to ask before his older self called out, "Oh, where art thou, my little princess?" At first, the teen assumed he was teasing his Ladybug, but no more than a second later, a loud, shrill voice echoed back, "Papa!"

Adrien sat as still as a post. "A-ah-um... H-how-? When did-?" He blurted until the toddler rounded the corner into the bathroom.

The man knelt down and scooped up his daughter, spinning around in a circle after she was off the ground. "Who's Daddy's little kitten?" He cooed.

"Me, Papa!" The girl giggled and reached out to wrap her chubby arms around her father's chest.

When he could finally string together a sentence, the teen stuttered, "S-so... Charlotte is... your,-o-our daughter?" The toddler giggled and clapped her hands.

"I know. It's a bit of a shock to learn you become a dad within the next decade, but I wouldn't change a thing. Right, purr-incess?"

"Yes!"

Adrien held his face in his hands. How was he supposed to take all this information in without going mental? And who was Charlotte's mother if he were her father? He had yet to meet his future wife in their house. You would've thought by now, she'd have at least checked on him, right? But then his train of thought led him somewhere he hadn't expected to end up.

Ladybug!

Now that he looked at the big picture, he could see it. Everything made sense if he plugged her into it. No wonder he couldn't think of any other girls that worked for this situation. It was because she was the only one who'd already stolen his heart. For god's sake, Charlotte looked like her!

"Ah! Now there's a look of realization! I never thought I'd live to see the day!" Plagg flopped down on the countertop over dramatically. "Took you long enough!"

The toddler giggled and clapped her hands. "Papa's not good at purr-zles."

Both Chat and Adrien stared at her for a second with blank faces, before exploding into laughter themselves. Oh yeah... she was definitely his kid.

Chapter Text

When Marinette's panic attack subsided, the two Ladybugs eased into a more comfortable conversation. One revolving around a certain blonde model.

"Is Adrien still modeling?"

Of course, the older Ladybug knew exactly where he was. Aside from the small flicker of a smile, she was good at hiding it. "Yes, but he's drifted into the background of the fashion industry." Marinette tilted her head in question. "He actually works more closely with his father instead of being the one in front of the camera."

The girl gasped. She was sure she was hearing it right, but she just had to ask, "He's better with his father now?"

"Better than ever. Although, I'm pretty sure a certain feline helped along in that."

"I don't wanna know how Chat comes into this..." Marinette smiled genuinely this time. Just imagining her crush beside his father without a frown or scowl on either of their faces was all the girl had ever wanted to come true. "...Just as long as Adrien's happy."

The woman giggled at her younger self. "I haven't asked him, but I hope he is too. He'd be in trouble if he wasn't."

"Trouble?"

Ladybug's eyes averted, quick to recover from the slip, "I'd be sure to give him a good slap if he wasn't doing what he wanted to do."

The two ladies had a small fit of laughs before someone interrupted, "I hope you aren't talking about me."

There, on the staircase, was the black-clad hero, with Charlotte bouncing happily on his shoulders. The toddler's smile was contagious the moment Marinette set eyes on her.

"You. Are so dead." Chat's ears flattened against his head. "What where you thinking? Were you even thinking at all?" Ladybug had meant for her voice to sound threatening, but having two identical green eyes watch her innocently from above his head drained her anger making them come out as hushed yells.

"Let me just begin by saying my younger self is a complete idiot-"

"You're an idiot."

"Yes, that's what I just said, My La-"

Her stern glare stopped him. "You realize you could mess up the timeline by revealing too much, don't you?"

"Hey, all I did was lay out the clues to him. I couldn't stand around waiting for him to get it. Besides," The man plucked the girl off his head and held her out to her mother. "I was dying to see my little princess." Charlotte flailed her arms and legs around, trying to get out of Chat's hold.

"No! Papa!" It was a threat, but coming out of a 4 year old was just plain adorable.

"Yeeeees?" He drew out the word. "Did you want me to put you down?"

"No! Piggyback ride!"

"A little demanding, aren't you, little princess?" Chat teased but still did as she said. "No need to worry! Your trusty steed is always here!" The little girl's arms constricted around his neck as she shouted in glee.

"Mush! Papa! Mush!"

Marinette gushed at the sight. Seeing Chat and Charlotte interact was just... too much. Even though he wasn't Adrien, the girl could see why she stayed his partner. All the puns, all the flirting, all the times he'd held his Lady's needs before his own; they were all there in front of her as he bounced in place with Charlotte on his back.

With a pleading expression up at Ladybug, he said, "Plagg ran out of cheese..."

The woman tried as hard as she could to be the bad guy here, but who could resist those eyes? "Fine! But when this is all said and done, you're sleeping on the couch! For a week!"

An ear-splitting grin was sent in return. "Oh? And what makes you think you could last a week without my charm?"

She snorted, "Charm? You mean all those bad jokes? I'm pretty sure I can live with it."

"But Hunny!”

The use of the nickname startled the younger girl. It was the first time she'd heard it from her partner in crime. To say it was unsettling was just the tip of the iceberg; however, it also gave her a warm feeling. The feeling of trust in him grew, it seemed, when she heard the endearment coming from his lips.

"Don't ‘Hunny’ me! Go on, get Plagg his cheese, I'll deal with you later."

Dejectedly, he pouted and returned his attention to his daughter. "What do ya say, Char? What kind of cheese should we get him"

"Camabambert!"

He laughed at the pronunciation. "Alright, little princess. Your wish is my command!"

And with that, he sauntered off to the kitchen, wherever it may be.

"So.. is he ever not a dork these days?"

"No." The woman rubbed the back of her neck sheepishly. "But you'd be surprised how much he spoils that girl. She's going to grow up thinking she really is a princess."

"As long as she doesn't turn out like Chloé..." Her younger self muttered.

Ladybug shook her head with a chuckle, "Now that would be a tragedy."

Chapter Text

Poor Adrien was still trying to process the whole thing. He was currently putting his shirt back on to cover his bandaged abdomen, while Plagg started smacking his lips. After seeing the distant look in his charge's eyes, the little cat snickered, "What's wrong, lover boy? I thought this was your dream."

"That's just it, Plagg." He sighed. "What if that's all this is? What if we go back like nothing ever happened?" The boy's form started closing in on itself. "I want to remember this. I-... I want to know that everything's worth it."

The kwami's ears drooped at the teen's reasoning. "Look... kid-"

"No, Plagg! You don't understand! If this is all I've got to look forward to, I'll do anything to make it happen! I-if I don't remember... what else is there for me to hope for? What if I give up on Father before he can change? Or if I never end up having a daughter? I like this future. Any other path will be nothing compared to this. I… I want this one.” The frustration in his voice faded away until he was left whispering. By the end of his mini rant, he sounded almost like a lost child.

In one of his rare moods, Plagg hovered over to the boy and purred against his cheek. "I'll be right back." Before the blonde could reply, the kwami had already phased himself through the bathroom door.

He zipped his way downstairs in search of one thing only. Ladybug; the younger one, that is. And it didn't take him long to pinpoint them with the laughter coming from the two.

"I hate to interrupt a good laugh, but we've hit a snag.”

The moment he spoke up, all heads turned to him, including his opposite's, Tikki. "Plagg!!" It was clear how overjoyed she sounded at seeing him, but he didn't let himself get distracted.

"My kitten’s not handling this whole thing very well. He keeps going on and on about how he wants to remember this." The spirit flew directly to Marinette's face. "And honestly, I don't blame him." He glanced over at the older Ladybug. "I assume you already know what he wants." The woman nodded.

"W-wait... so you're Chat's kwami?" Marinette stuttered. For the first time ever seeing the black cat, she had to say he was actually kind of adorable.

He muttered sarcastically back to her, "What gave me away? The ears or the tail? Or maybe it was-"

"Plagg." Tikki silenced him. "Bigger problems?"

"Hmm?" He lifted an eyebrow, "Oh yeah!" The little cat hovered back over to Marinette. "Let me put this simply. I want him to know who you are."

"What!?" Poor Tikki had to dodge her flailing arms when she was thrown off the girl's head. "But-but!... It's too dangerous!" And just like that, her breathing sped up again. "I can't put either of us in danger just because we want to know each other outside the mask."

Speaking for the first time since Plagg appeared, the older Ladybug reassured her, "Marinette. It's okay." She knelt down to be closer to her counterpart's height. "I tried to help you keep it a secret, but I knew this was going to happen. I was in your shoes at one point after all."

The girl's shoulders shook in fear, so Ladybug grabbed a hold of them to steady her. "Look at me, Marinette." The bluenette did as asked. "I wouldn't change any of this for the world. Sure, Chat can be the most childish, annoying man I've ever met, but that's the side to him that few people get to see."

"She's right. My boy's pretty much a shut-in. At least he has a few friends." The sprite winked at the girl.

Marinette hung her head low, trying to avoid any other stares thrown her way. "B-but-"

"I gots the Camambambert!" I shriek sounded from the kitchen, along with a few clangs of pots hitting one another.

"Charlotte!" Another crash. "Be careful with that!"

When the little girl burst into the large room with a plateful of the stinky cheese, Marinette couldn't hold in a laugh. Because right behind her, was a ruffled-looking Chat. His hair was sticking up in so many places, and his cat ears were flattened against his head.

"What's wrong, minou." Ladybug rose to her feet. "Is your little princess rebelling against her knight?" The man grumbled something under his breath before catching the toddler under her arms, and the plate of cheese along with it.

"My Lady, the little princess is merely giving me an exercise! It's been some time since I've had to save a damsel in distress."

The woman smirked and waggled a finger in Charlotte's face playfully. "Were you making Daddy chase you through the kitchen?" The little girl giggled and nodded vigorously.

"See? Nothing to be worried about, right?" With that, Chat turned to go back upstairs, except he stopped short when he saw Plagg hovering nearby. "Don't tell me..." He sighed and turned back around to Ladybug. "...Unmasking time?" His wife said nothing while Marinette bowed her head.

"So you knew too?"

The man gave a half-hearted smile. "Of course. I was told not to ruin the surprise, though." His words didn't seem to help her. "All I know is that your Chat needs someone to see the real him. It's... probably been awhile since someone has."

"Minou, you don't have to-"

"No, Hun, she needs to hear it. Who better than the one who's lived it?"

Marinette tensed at the nickname again, but she didn't look up.

“You might blow off his flirting as humor, but so far, you're the only one who's accepted him as he truly is. I’m pretty sure I remember how… lonely, it was back then.” He brought Charlotte back to the floor and knelt down to kiss the top of the toddler’s head. “I was… I mean, He is in desperate need of someone to just be there for him.”

When he picked himself back up, he kept his eyes downcast. "The last person he ever knew that loved him and actually let him know, was his mother, who, might I add, died a year before he met you.”

“Ad- ehm, Chat.” Ladybug soothed. “Some things are better left unsaid.”

With an understanding sigh, the man continued, “I wasn’t allowed to leave the house without an escort, so you can imagine how freeing it must’ve been to suddenly gain superpowers and the ability to escape.” He gave a small smile up at her in thoughtful sadness. “Back then, I thought crashing into you that day was a godsend.”

“It might surprise you, Marinette, but that boy in there," He inclined his head upstairs. "Is broken in almost every sense of the word."

The girl's eyes had started growing tears. She didn't know what to do anymore. She'd never known anything about Chat because she thought it was a risk. But now, after being fed all this information, she regretted that decision. If she'd known that being a superhero was his way out...

"Oh my god." She looked up to the bathroom door that was still shut. "I... I have to-"

The older Chat moved aside. "Be my guest."

Once she blew past him, the man whispered to his wife, "Face-plant in 3...2..."

From upstairs, there was a small squeak and a thud.

Chapter Text

Alright!!

I may not know when this fic will officially be updated, I WILL have the courtesy to at LEAST update existing chapters. I nitpicked some grammatical errors and added/switched out a few things here and there to add to the story (But not much... just a few pieces of dialogue)

I know, I'm a horrible procrastinator, so thanks for sticking with me through this XD