WARNING: Super long chapter! Hope you enjoy!
Exterminoir pounced, and Adrien snatched the boomerang from Ladybug, throwing it at the approaching menace. It hit her warhammer and careened off course, smashing into a wall. Ladybug grabbed Adrien and they ran towards it, the warhammer just missing them. She looked down at the teddy bear and suddenly noticed a small bell attached to the bow around its neck, and smiled. She had got an idea.
"Adrien, I need your scarf," she whispered, and he nodded, frowning as he raced to his bag and dug it out. How could she know that he had a scarf? He threw it to her, and she tossed something back at him... the teddy bear?
Yelling, Ladybug jumped over the akumatised librarian and threw the scarf around her face, pulling it across her eyes and knotting it tightly in her wild hair, forming a makeshift blindfold which was impossible to remove. Exterminoir hissed and swung blindly, and Ladybug snatched the warhammer from her hands, throwing it to the other side of the room.
As Exterminoir slowly felt across the floor for it, Ladybug silently motioned to Adrien to shake the stuffed toy. Befuddled, he complied, and Exterminoir suddenly stiffened at the small sound of the tinkling bell.
"Cat Noir is here," she whispered, and began sweeping her arms across the floor frantically, trying to find her warhammer. Adrien suddenly understood; the bear was just a distraction! He grinned as a great idea came to mind... just because he couldn't transform, he could still be the cool, confident Cat Noir, right?
"Thought I'd drop in for a CHAT," he exclaimed, the trademark cockiness of Cat Noir creeping into his voice. Ladybug looked around, surprised. She was expecting to see the fashionably late kitty, but she only saw the grinning Adrien... perfectly imitating Cat Noir's voice as he circled the blindfolded Exterminoir, shaking the bear. Ladybug wistfully thought for a moment about just how insanely smart he was... before giving him the thumbs up and returning to her task of finding the akuma.
As Adrien continued to taunt Exterminoir in Cat Noir's voice, her eyes settled on the librarian's shoes, which boasted custom-made leather specifically designed to remain absolutely silent when prowling through her library. The akuma had to be in one of them! But how to get them off her...?
Ladybug picked up the boomerang and took careful aim. Throwing it low and sideways, it arced gracefully across the room, hitting the crouched Exterminoir in the stomach. Winded, she rocked backwards and her feet flew upwards. In a flash, Ladybug grabbed her feet and slid the soft shoes off them.
Catching the boomerang, she used it's corner to tear first one shoe, and then the other... and out flew a tiny dark butterfly. She caught it, and glanced up nervously at the watching Adrien before exclaiming, "time to de-evilise!"
As she let the sweet white butterfly go, the students cheered, and she turned to Adrien to thank him for his help... but he urgently pointed at her earrings and quietly said, "you're about to transform back, you'd better get out of here."
She tried to reply and choked on her own spit, so instead she just nodded and waved, leaping out the window and swinging away. Adrien watched her go for a few seconds before Chloe threw herself on him, proclaiming him as her hero and forcing tears as she kissed his cheeks and forehead. As she leaned in to kiss his lips, he quickly disentangled himself and muttered an excuse to leave, practically running for the door.
Adrien was lying on his bed, hands underneath his head as he thought about the interesting events of that day, when he heard a tapping at his window. He quickly ushered Plagg into his bag and ran to open it, wondering, hoping...
Yes! His guess was right - Ladybug stood sheepishly on his windowsill, looking at him with big, nervous eyes which confused him a little. He opened the window and she climbed in, smiling nervously at him as he exclaimed, "Ladybug! What are you doing here, is everything ok?"
"Yeah, everything's ok Adrien, I just uh... I guess I wanted to thank you. I could have died earlier today, and you saved my life... more than once! I really appreciate how brave and strong and alert you were. And I'm sorry that because Cat Noir didn't show, you were in the heart of the danger," she said shakily, blushing slightly as she said it. Adrien swept his hand through his hair and laughed gently.
"It wasn't a problem Ladybug, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat," he said earnestly. She smiled gratefully at him, and turned to go, but on an impulse he grabbed her hand. To his surprise she stiffened, but didn't try to pull herself free, instead just turning to look at him questioningly.
"Won't you stay a little while? I'm feeling a bit lonely," he asked. She hesitantly felt her earrings, and he quickly added, "I'll tell you when you're running out of time and you can go then, I promise... but please just stay with me for a while?"
Ladybug turned away from the window and took a step closer. Adrien took that as a yes. He shut the window behind her, and led her to the couch where he offered her a seat. She stiffly sat down, and he wondered why she was acting so nervous.
"So why didn't Cat Noir come today?" He asked to start the conversation. Grabbing a box of chocolates Chloe had sent him, he offered it to her and she took one but didn't eat it, instead just fidgeting with it.
"He called me a little while ago and said he had a secret mission, which I guess I couldn't really get upset about. After all, I used the same excuse once," she laughed, but it quickly faded. "Still, neither of us have ever just... not shown up," she frowned, "and when he called he sounded really tired. I hope he's ok, I really don't think I could do my job without him... unless you were around of course." She attempted a smile but the worried crinkle in her forehead didn't leave, and he could tell she was truly concerned.
It was nice to know that she cared about Cat Noir, but Adrien didn't like seeing her down. He slid a bit closer and put his arm around her, saying, "I'm sure he'll be there for you next time." She nodded and nibbled on the chocolate, but for some inexplicable reason, her eyes filled with unshed tears and she looked down, trying to hide them from Adrien. Maybe she was just overtired, but sitting here with Adrien's arm around her seemed like a dream come true... except that it wasn't, because he didn't even know who she was, and it left her feeling empty and anonymous.
Adrien realised with a start that Ladybug was fighting back tears, and he quickly put his other arm around her, drawing her in so she could bury her head in his chest. He was only trying to help, but she began to cry in earnest, silent tears falling onto his shirt as she squeezed her eyes shut and willed herself to get a grip.
"Hey now, what's wrong beautiful? He'll be back, I promise. And I'll always be here if he's not," Adrien whispered as she took a few shuddering breaths to calm herself, noticing how nice he smelt.
"I know... it's j-just... sometimes I feel like I'm not cut out for this job... I'm just a normal p-person and everybody exp-pects me to save Paris, but without C-cat Noir I'd be nothing," she mumbled into his shirt, feeling slightly uneasy sharing these fears with him. He might start to see Ladybug in the same way he probably saw Marinette - a weak, clumsy little girl - but she needed to get it out.
He surprised her with a gentle kiss on the top of her head.
"Ladybug, you're wrong. Cat Noir would be nothing without YOU - you're an amazing, strong, beautiful woman, and nobody expects you to do anything you can't do... any guy would be lucky to have such an amazing girl as you, and anybody who can't see how awesome you are is an idiot," he said, hugging her closer. She looked up at him with bright, watery eyes in surprise, and he smiled down at her. "Yes, that means you too," he grinned, and she laughed.
As he wiped the last tears from her cheeks, Adrien noticed that her earrings were down to their last spot. He pulled her up off the couch, saying, "you should probably go, you're about to transform back... but my door, or should I say window, is always open."
Ladybug suddenly threw herself at him, hugging him tightly for a moment before climbing onto the windowsill and leaping over the edge. He watched her go, a joyous smile on his handsome face.
He'd just figured out how to win his gorgeous Ladybug.
DISCLAIMERS: It took me a while to get the idea on how to use the boomerang and teddy bear suggested to me that I used... but it only really works if the bell on Cat Noir's suit actually makes sound, which I couldn't remember if it did. So if it doesn't in the show... for the sake of the story, let's say it does but we just haven't heard it!
Hope you liked it... should I leave it at that or continue the story? 🐞🐱