Finding out that Adrien and Chat Noir were the same person was perhaps the best thing that had ever happened to Marinette. She had always considered Chat Noir one of her best friends, but suddenly knowing how close he really was to her made it all the more true. Adrien and Marinette, since their reveal, had been basically inseparable.
They would cover for each other when they had to leave during akuma attacks, and Marinette would often find Chat Noir on her balcony during a lull in Adrien’s busy schedule. They’d hang out in her room together, vent about their problems, cry in each other’s arms, laugh with their kwamis, roast Hawkmoth, and fall asleep to the sounds of the other breathing.
They were stuck like glue. They often held hands on their way up the steps to the school, she’d kiss his cheek, they’d find ways to sneak him out and watch romcoms together in the cinema, they’d go out to eat… she couldn’t imagine loving someone as much as she loved Adrien. They were two halves of a whole; yin and yang. Their bond together was so great, she couldn’t imagine anything being able to separate them. There was just… one problem.
Adrien could be… a bit dense.
Though, perhaps that was an understatement. Adrien was very dense. Marinette had overheard Adrien referring to her as a 'friend' on multiple occasions. Had they not grown to be more than that? Were their romantic escapes not… romantic enough for him? She wasn’t sure how much clearer she could be about her feelings.
At one point, she had gotten sick of it and told him she loved him, and he said it back. But even after that, his behavior hadn't changed. It seemed as if every move she made on him, he interpreted platonically. It was driving Marinette insane.
At least Alya and Nino thought it was funny. Marinette sighed and sunk into her chair at the coffee shop the three of them were at. Adrien was invited, but of course he couldn’t make it with his busy schedule.
“I don’t want to have to say ‘hey Adrien, I’m interested in you romantically and want to go on a romantic date with you’, you know? I… I’d like to handle it with some class,” Marinette sighed.
“I can’t believe it,” Alya laughed, “You’re still having this problem? You guys are like, one step away from being married at this point.”
Marinette groaned and sipped pathetically at her tea.
“Dude doesn’t know anything about relationships,” Nino snorted, “He thought his friendship with Chloé was normal, remember? He was soooo sheltered.”
“Yeah, but…” Alya leaned back. “What does he think romance is , then?”
“I dunno,” Nino admitted with a shrug while gears began to turn in Marinette’s head, “Maybe he thinks it’s like… in those animes he watches or something.”
Marinette stilled, her eyes wide. It was then that she realized that she did know what Adrien thought romance was. Before their reveal, Chat Noir had tried to woo Ladybug and… well…
“Oh my god,” Marinette gasped, “I know what I have to do.”
With Ms. Bustier writing on the board and her back turned to the class, Marinette grabbed her school bag and slipped out of the classroom.
The courtyard was barren of students, which was perfect for what she needed to do. She took a deep breath to calm her racing heart and dug through her school bag, pulling out the candles she had packed and laying them out to form what looked like a pathway.
“Ms. Dupain-Cheng…” Mr. Damocles’ startling voice came from behind her, “What did I tell you yesterday about bringing candles to school? It’s—”
“A fire hazard, I know,” Marinette said and held one of her candles up to him. She was determined to complete her plan today, and she wouldn’t let even the principal ruin it for her. Not like yesterday. “They’re fake this time. See? Battery-powered with light bulbs.”
“Hmm.” He seemed to inspect the candle. “Very well, but shouldn’t you be in class?”
Marinette straightened her back, her eyes lit with determination. “Have you ever been in love, Mr. Damocles?”
Damocles gawked at her. Then he cleared his throat, muttered a ‘very well’, and walked away. Success.
Marinette grabbed the ziplock bag full of rose petals out of her backpack and started sprinkling them between the lines of fake candles. It was then that she heard the bell ring, and she felt herself pale.
She scrambled up onto her feet, legs shaking in anticipation as she held her breath and waited for the students to start filing out of the classrooms. Most students gave her a strange look and walked around the scene she had set and a few people (jerks) walked right through it. But it was fine. She wouldn’t let anything ruin this for her.
Adrien stepped into her view and stopped dead in his tracks. Her heart caught in her throat. “Marinette?”
In a wave of determination, Marinette stumbled forward and grabbed his wrists, pulling him back to stand between the candles with her. Her heart was racing and her whole body was trembling from the anxiety washing over her. She took a deep breath and knelt down onto one knee.
“Adrien Agreste,” Marinette began, trying to keep her voice steady as she felt the eyes of the whole school on her. Adrien gasped and covered his mouth, but his eyes sparkled with an anticipation that made her heart soar.
Her shaking hand reached into her pocket and pulled out a single red rose. It was a bit crumpled from being in her pocket all day (and yesterday), but she hoped that the message was clear enough. She cleared her throat.
“My…” Oh my god don’t say ‘Lady’. Don’t say ‘Lady’. Adrien didn’t identify as a lady. What was even the male equivalent of ‘lady’? Lord? That was way too weird. Gent? Oh god, she should’ve thought this through more. “My… My guy…”
She held the rose up to him, and he gasped. There were tears in his eyes, and the whole school was staring at them like a spectacle. She heard laughter bellowing through the courtyard that sounded suspiciously like Chloé.
“You’re…” She bit her tongue before she could say ‘purrfect’. Cat puns wouldn’t make sense in this situation. There were no cats around, and only her and Adrien knew that he was Chat Noir. She couldn’t make a cat pun, so she had to do something else. “... Agresteively handsome. W-Will you be mine?”
She wanted to bury herself under the school and die.
His hand reached out and carefully took the rose from her hands. He held it up to his heart, looking at her with tear soaked eyes and a smile of such sweet genuineness that it made this whole humiliating experience so, so worth it. He was happy and that was all that really mattered to her.
“Yes,” he breathed out with a sniffle, “Of course. Always.”
The laughter stopped. The crowd around them looked on in stunned silence, and Marinette felt like her heart could leap right out of her chest.
She did it. She did it. Adrien was her boyfriend now. The plan was a success.
Trembling, she pulled herself up onto her feet and took a deep breath, trying to calm her flushing face.
“U-Um…” she managed out, “... Cool. I have to… I have to go make up a geometry test I missed b-but, um… …. Thanks. C’ya.”
She grabbed her school bag and scurried up the staircase to the library in a fit of elation-fueled adrenaline. On her way up, she could’ve sworn she heard someone whisper “I thought they were already dating?”