Adrien had been to one end of the city to the other looking for Ladybug. The city was in shock over Ladybug revealing herself. And many people were being interviewed about what they thought about her identity. Many people were surprised by her ending up being as young as she was. Adrien was shocked that it ended up being the girl who sat behind him in class every day. Even more so that he had actually been on the way to her birthday party that very day when it happened.
When he had grabbed his staff and called her it was out of awe and confusion over what he had just witnessed. She had hung up before he had a chance to say anything else. What else could he say though, he had no words. He knew that some media had spotted him already and was looking for him throughout the day and now evening. He didn't care. He had to find his Ladybug. Even as his ring beeped ad told him he didn't have much time. He had extra cheese with him. He'd transform again and again if he had too. He would find her. He just had too.
His ring beeped again to tell him it was critical. He dove into an alleyway, just as his transformation ran out. Plagg fainted into Adrien's hands exhausted. Adrien passed him a piece of cheese, though Plagg was just too tired.
"Please Plagg, we have to find her," he pleaded, but Plagg could barely lift his head.
"I know," he told Adrien. "Just give me a five minutes of rest."
Adrien knew it would have to wait. Plagg was just too drained. He had never transformed three times in one day before, let alone in just a few hours. He placed the spent Plagg in his jacket pocket to rest, and he took out his phone. He used it to look up any news or sightings of Ladybug. There was nothing, just a lot of gossip.
He did however go to Alya's blog to see if she had posted anything. She had. It was a plea for Marinette to come home or to at least let her parent's know in some way that she was safe. He closed his phone in frustration. He needed to find her. He needed to see her, to see if she was alright.
He had always imagined his Ladybug being this strong person in and out of battle, but knowing that she was his classmate Marinette left him worried. She didn't seem like such a strong person in class. She was shy and reserved. And the look on her face after the battle that the new crew had filmed proved that she did have that brave side all of the time. She was vulnerable, and he needed to save her. Yet, Plagg couldn't do anything else tonight. He needed the rest. And there was little he could do to track her as a civilian. He didn't want to admit it, but he was done for the night too.
8 8 8
Marinette was thankful that it was warmer that night than it had been. The cardigan that she had been wearing was more for looks than warmth. Even so, Tikki sat beside Marinette and used a little of her power to keep Marinette a little warm.
Both were under the walkway of the Petit Pont. Both were very hungry, and Tikki wouldn't admit it to Marinette in fear of making her worry, but both were so hungry that they wouldn't be able to transform. If an Akuma attacked they were in deep trouble. Marinette was very hungry, having not eaten since breakfast. Her phone battery and SIN card were removed. So the hundreds of calls that she was sure she had gotten were not even noticed. And no one would be able to track her either.
"Had this ever happened to Ladybug's of the past?" Marinette asked Tikki.
Tikki did her best to comfort Marinette. "Many times."
"Did it work out for them?"
Tikki knew perfectly well that it hadn't. Several had their downfall due to their identities being revealed. For some though it had worked out well in the end. Tikki wanted Marinette to not lose her hope or spirit. "Sometimes. It depends on how strong willed each individual was. You're a very strong one. You can get through this."
Marinette didn't seem convinced. And she was so hungry. The lack of food in her stomach didn't convince her that things would be alright. She was only fifteen years old, what was she going to do?
She laid down on the concrete. It was dark and there was no light, so Marinette knew they couldn't be spotted this late at night. Tikki curled up next to her. "Rest up, Marinette."
And Marinette did, closing her eyes and falling into a dead-like sleep.
8 8 8
Adrien couldn't concentrate at all during his modeling shoot. It was the next day and it was a Sunday and he was booked solid until just before dinner. He was so deeply worried. Alya hadn’t posted any more posts on her blog, and she hadn’t posted any of her daily Vlog's either. However, all of his social media accounts were blowing up.
There were many pictures of Marinette's parent’s bakery. Many selfie's taken out front and many gifts left outside the shop. Her parents hadn't opened the bakery since. Many news crews were hanging around too. Adrien had to turn his phone off, because he was becoming increasingly angry and worried.
So when dinner came, he grabbed enough to feed himself and Plagg and excused himself to his room. He then transformed and snuck out. It didn't take the media and 'fans' long to notice Chat Noir, but he didn't care. His focus was on finding his partner.
He ran faster from roof to roof than he has ever before. He looks around everywhere, and checked his staff, hoping that she too was transformed and he could contact her. There was no signal, so he knew that she wasn’t transformed.
'Ladybug, where the heck are you?' he thought in frustration. He had been searching for her for so long, but had turned up nothing. And it had quickly became nightfall. And there was no sign of her. His transformation ended and Plagg fell to the ground once again in exhaustion.
Though Plagg's ears twitched. He sat up, thought he was clearly weakened. "What is it Plagg?"
"She's nearby," he explained. "Tikki is nearby and she's sending out a distress signal to me. Kwami's only do this in life or death situations!"
Plagg quickly found the strength to jump into Adrien’s bag and grab some cheese. Adrien didn't completely understand who Tikki was, but he knew it had to do with Marinette. So Plagg pointed out the way and they transformed. As Chat Noir he began to search for Tikki.
8 8 8
Tikki was panicking now. Marinette was huddled into a ball. She was shivering severely and her lips were blue. All of the color from her face was gone. Her breathing was harsh and she seemed rather confused. She had stopped even responding to Tikki an hour earlier. The starving girl was now freezing. This evening was even colder than it had been before this season. Tikki wouldn't have been surprised if snow would begin to fall soon.
Her dear friend was in serious trouble. She had used what little energy she had to sent out a signal to Plagg. If he was nearby then he would receive it. She was so worried that Chat Noir wasn't looking for them, and even worse, Plagg and his human weren't nearby at all. They were near the heart of the city, not far from the bridge they had been hiding under. This evening they moved a short walk before and were under the Pont Marie.
She looked down at the shivering Marinette. "Hold on," Marinette, help is on the way!"
She searched around to see if she could spot Chat Noir. She spotted him racing towards them. Tikki took off to meet them. She flailed her tiny arms and called out to him. "Chat Noir! Chat Noir! Chat Noir!"
The hero heard her and he stopped to look where the tiny voice was coming from. Tikki topped in front of him and waved frantically. "She's here! She's in big trouble!"
Adrien could sense Tikki panic and followed the Kwami. He landed near the edge of the bridge and Tikki hovered over to one spot. Chat Noir could see a figure laying on the concrete, huddled into a ball. As he neared, he could tell that it was Marinette.
"Hypothermia!" Adrien gasped. He tried to get her attention, but she was suffering too much to really notice or care. He scooped her up.
"Do you have somewhere safe to take her?" Tikki asked. She was serious and looked at him with such concern. His mind raced. He couldn't think. He was panicking too much to properly think.
'A place....a safe place...I can't take her home, she’d be found. The media are swarming her place. Safe....safe.'
Then it hit him. The guest house. It was an apartment a block or so from his house. It was a two bedroom and Adrien had a key. He went there when he needed a place to be away from it all. That place was safe.
"I have a place," Chat Noir told the small Kwami.
He shifted Marinette in his arms and readied her for some more major sprinting. "Get in her cardigan, because I'm going to be going fast."
Tikki listened to him and climbed into the stop of Marinette's cardigan. When she was secured, Chat Noir took off running from under the bridge to jumping on a nearby building. And so he began to run and jump from roof to roof. The running was exhausting but even so he did not stop.
Even as the sound of a helicopter rose up behind him he didn't stop. Though he did look back. It was a television helicopter and they were being filmed. 'Not now!'
He sprinted and faster, hoping to lose the news crew. This was the worst possible time for this to happen. 'These idiots are going to get her killed.'
He had to do something fast. There was so much pressure though, he couldn't just think of something. So when Tikki poked her head out and screamed. "Knock the power out!" Adrien thought it was the greatest idea ever. He searched around for a power box and quickly spotted one.
"Cataclysm!" he roared as he jumped towards the box and slashed at it. He had destroyed the box, and inside the transformer. The grid was fried to a crisp and part of the city disappeared into darkness. 'Perfect,’ he thought with a grin. He could see better in the dark as Chat Noir, so he began start running once again the helicopter was forced to back off. He was sure that the city wouldn't approve of him destroying a whole power grid, but he didn't care. This was a life or death situation.
He was glad they were nearby his home, because his ring was beeping at him again. He landed on the apartment balcony and reached for the door. It was locked. Before he could smash it though, Tikki used some of her remaining power to move through the glass door, where she unlocked it for the hero.
He threw open the door and moved inside. Just in time, as Plagg and him separated. Plagg collapsed on the ground, but Adrien kept going, carrying his Lady to the bedroom. He placed her down on the bed. 'Now what?'
Tikki followed him in, "Chat No-" she froze in her tracks as she looked at his true face for the first time. Her big eyes grew bigger. "...You."
Adrien didn't want to waste any time and looked at Tikki, "What do we do?"
"We need to actively rewarm her," Tikki explained. Tikki knew that Marinette was in a state of shock from the hypothermia. She was confused and if she survived this she knew that Marinette wouldn’t remember much, if anything at all. "Do you have a heating bag or a hot water bottle here?"
"Not here," he groaned. "An ice pack yes…but not a heating bag."
"A heating blanket?" she questioned. He shook his head. "We can't use a bath, too much warmth at once could stop her heart. Go close the balcony door and come back in here and take that shirt off."
"W-what?" he gasped. Adrien looked at the shivering Marinette and then back to Tikki. She looked angry at him and he knew that she meant business and that there really was no other option. A blush crept up on his face but he ran back to the living room and closed the balcony door. Along the way he picked up Plagg and put him at the edge of the bed.
He saw Tikki trying to unbutton the cardigan Marinette had been wearing. A very thin tank top was revealed underneath. Tikki did her best to pull the cardigan off of Marinette. He helped Tikki and removed it, and placed it on the nightstand. He quickly removed his shirt, and placed it on the nightstand as well. Tikki motioned for him to get into the bed. He did just that. He pulled the blanket up from underneath Marinette and up and over them both. She was mumbling to herself, but still shivering and sickly pale.
He moved in close, putting his arms around her, and pulled her close to his exposed skin. Tikki was still in a state of urgency, but as she watched the two she couldn't help but think, ‘If she knew who was in bed with her right now, holding her so closely....I think it would be a dream come true.'
Adrien held her so protectively and was even rubbing her back and arms in comfort, trying to warm her chilled skin. Tikki was happy Chat Noir ended up being him. He really didn't care who Ladybug was, like Marinette had always feared. He just cared about her.
After half an hour the shivering slowed, and Marinette's breathing returned to normal. The color returned to her face and she was relaxing. And she had eased into a peaceful sleep. Adrien had also fallen asleep beside her, all while still holding her.
Satisfied that Marinette was okay, Tikki moved over to the sleeping Plagg. She laid beside him, and patted his head. She giggled and placed a kiss on his head. "You chose a good one this time," she whispered to him. Then she got comfortable and eased off to sleep.