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OTP October

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“Of course there’s an akumatized villain just as school starts,” Adrien complained to Plagg in one of the stalls at his high school. It was only the first day of school and the classroom had already exploded. Thank goodness for the miraculous ladybugs reversing everything otherwise the school would be millions of dollars in debt.
It doesn’t matter. Just some “Summersun” villain, Manon akumatized again actually, because she wanted summer to be longer.
Adrien was actually the opposite. He loved school. Seeing all his friends, getting to learn stuff, and, most importantly, getting away from his prison of a house and his absent father.
But the best thing was being on patrol with Ladybug. Even fighting with her in these moments.
“Plagg, claws out!”
Chat Noir dashed out of the bathroom stall and ran straight into Marinette.
“Sorry!” She cried out. Chat Noir ignored the akuma for a moment and helped Marinette up.
“Where are you going? Where are all your classmates?”
“I’m trying to find Adrien! He dashed off this way and the akuma started to waddle down the same hallway so I got worried. Have you seen him?”
“Uhh…” Chat stalled. How could he put this without suspicion? “I think I saw him change directions and run off with the rest of the group. He’ll be fine. You on the other hand…”
He stared up and the 7-foot tall villain, wearing a swimsuit and a little duck floatie, transforming school books and classrooms into beaches and teachers into umbrellas. Students that followed through and relaxed were left alone. Those who showed signs of any stress were turned into umbrellas as well. Any hint of worry about Adrien in Marinette would mean she would be hurt. And Adrien would never, never allow that.
So he picked her up and ran.
Ran away from the akumas, ran away from the photoshoots, ran away from the terrible reminder of how awful his summer had been.
Ran straight into a door. He opened it up and it was a small storage closet. Perfect. He gently placed Marinette down.
“Stay here.”
“Wait!” Marinette grabbed his arm. “Are you sure that Adrien is safe? That Alya is safe? That you’re safe?”
Chat threw her his trademark grin. “Everything’s fine. And anyways, Ladybug will show up in a few minutes and save the day.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice yourself for her. Just be careful, okay?”
Chat saluted her in a joking way. “Yes ma’am.”
He tugged at the door. It didn’t budge. He tried again. Nothing.
“Everything okay?” Marinette asked sweetly.
“Yep, totally fine,” he said, straining.
“It’s obviously not. Let me try.” Marinette stood up and tugged at the door. It didn’t move.
“Ahahaha, finding yourself a little stuck, chat noir? Enjoy your summer in there!”
“Daughter of a beach,” Chat whispers to himself.
“Feeling salty about this whole situation, Chat?” Marinette elbowed him lightly. He smiled despite the whole situation.
“Ladybug will save us soon, right?”
“Umm... right. But we can save ourselves right?” She pointed up to the teeny tiny air shaft.
“There’s no way I’ll fit in that.”
“No, but your staff will. We can use that hammer and tape it to the staff with the duct tape. Hopefully when you extend it it can burst through the ceiling and the floor of the other room and we can escape.”
“You’re brilliant. I’ll give you a boost to reach the toolbox.” The shop class teacher is 6’5”, and likes to keep the tool box on the highest shelf so only he can reach it. But Chat isn’t supposed to know that, so Adrien kept that thought to himself.
He kneeled down and cupped his hand so Marinette can step on. She held onto his head for balance, and accidentally hit his soft spot right behind his ears. He purred accidentally, and immediately apologized.
“Sorry! Sorry! Cat like tendencies. Soft spot. Not that it’s you. Not that it’s not you but - you know what I mean.” Marinette laughed.
“It’s fine, kitty.”
Kitty? Only Ladybug called him that. But he liked it when Marinette did too. She and Kagami were pretty much the only civilians he really interacted with as Chat. And he never visited Kagami’s house.
Marinette took a step onto the first shelf and stands on her tiptoes to reach the tool box -
CRASH!
The shelf fell, Marinette falling with it. Chat catched her right in time.
“You okay?” He was acutely aware that their lips were only inches apart.
“Fine, fine. Thanks for catching me.” Marinette was turning bright red, almost the same color as the toolbox.
Ladybug, Ladybug! Chat reminded himself. But he couldn’t stop it - Marinette is so smart, so pretty, so confident, so…
Ladybug.
“Marinette, can I kiss you?” he whispered.
Marinette leaned in the extra two inches, answering the question.
Chat loved kissing Marinette, even if it was only for a few seconds. They broke apart at around the same time and he set her down.
“Well, we should get going. Akuma to fight. People to protect”
“Yep. Saving of cats to do.” She rang his bell, making him blush.
She grabbed the hammer, he grabbed the duct tape (bumping heads in the process), and they added them on to the pole. He held Marinette close and, with a smirk, extended the staff.
He couldn’t wait to thank that akuma, then kick her butt.

Chapter Text

Nathalie had had a crush on Gabriel for as long as she remembered.
They went to high school together, actually. Her and Gabriel. She didn’t meet Emilie until after college. Gabriel had stayed in Paris to go after his fashion dream, and she went north to London to try to be a lawyer. It didn’t work out so well.
Her family… they didn’t quite have a lot of money at the time. The fact that she made it into Cambridge was a miracle. But without a scholarship, it was difficult to even manage one year. Not like she had known that. Her parents had told her she got a free ride for all four years. They didn’t tell her her mom and dad were both working two jobs and not eating all three meals a day. So, she relaxed. Gabriel and her were always the strict, bookworms in high school. But when she got to college, it was a chance to reinvent herself! British boys loved her French, and the girls would always come to her for fashion advice. She might skip class to go shopping, and miss studying for parties. When she failed her first exam, her parents called.
She lied. She told them she just made a few stupid mistakes, and that’d she try harder. But it’s not like it was a big deal - she had free ride for four years at her dream school!
She visited back home over Christmas break and found the bill. Realized what her parents had done. Her parents refused to let her drop out, so she worked hard.
Studied every night. Attended every class in a suit. Took notes. School was her life, and it made her strict.
8 years later, she walked out of law school with a degree and a job in place. Gabriel walked out with a fashion pitch and a wife after 3.
It wasn’t until their 10 year high school reunion that Nathalie realized that Gabriel had a son. Adrien was his name. He was 7. A giggling ball of joy, he’d run around the Agreste’s huge house (made from Gabriel’s very successful pitch). Nathalie and Gabriel remembered their close friendship, so Nathalie would often come over and play with little Adrien. Only for a few months during the summer, though, then she would go back up north for work. Every holiday, Nathalie would visit. She found she loved Emilie, even if she had always wanted Gabriel to herself. And Adrien was like her own son.
When Gabriel’s parents died, Nathalie was there.
When Nathalie’s sister died in a freak drunk driving accident, Gabriel was there.
When Adrien turned twelve, Nathalie’s job got serious. The company defended bad people, and lost its reputation. People were let go. Nathalie was one of them.
Gabriel and Emilie offered for her to stay with them, but she refused. She had to live a life on her own, eventually. Maybe she’d even get a family, like them.
But not only a year later, Emilie died under mysterious circumstances. Not even Nathalie knew.
Gabriel asked her to step in. He’d pay her, of course, it would be her job - her job to mother Adrien, since he didn’t know how.
As she comforted him, they grew closer.
She remembers the night he showed her the basement.
“I found a way to bring her back, Nathalie. Bring her back! Adrien can have his mom back, and I need Emilie. I can’t, I can’t do this alone.”
She had gently grabbed his hand. “You’re not alone.”
She helped him, despite her own feelings about the situation. It made Gabriel and Adrien happy, so it made her happy.
She didn’t see Gabriel as often as she’d like. She would tried to lure him out of hiding and appreciate his son, but she was too afraid. Those days that she would, though, would be the days he would at least try to check on him. Yes, maybe they were influenced by checking Adrien to see if he was Chat Noir, but she had convinced him to finally watch Emilie’s movie with him.
The same movie Nathalie and Gabriel were watching while Adrien had gone out with his friends. Nathalie had convinced Hawkmoth to take a day off. Just let the two of them relax and watch a movie. Nothing really romantic, to Gabriel.
He absentmindedly put his arm around the back of the couch, and she remembered how close friends they had been and leaned into him.
She had to be honest, she hadn’t been aware of the movie at all. Just her best friend.
She looked up and smiled. He looked down at the same time.
Nathalie didn’t think she could explain what happened next if she videotaped it. Gabriel and her both leaned in, and they kissed.
“I-uh” Nathalie couldn’t tell him her true feelings. But Gabriel seemed to cover that for her.
He stood up. “I think it’s time that Emilie finally gets to rest. Can you go inform our son?”
“Yes, sir.”
“And can you clear your schedule for Saturday afternoon? Send Adrien out with his friends, and I’ll set up a reservation.”
She nodded, smiling. “Of course, Gabe.”
“Thanks, Nat. For teaching me that it’s important to move on.”
“Anytime.”
“Love you.”
“Love you too.”

Chapter Text

“Rose! Where are you BFF?”
BFF? I love Juleka, but I think she’d come to realize now that I loved her in a little bit more than a platonic kind of way.
“You’re just as bad as Adrien,” Marinette muttered. Alya and I both heard though, and laughed.
“There you are!” Reflektadoll called. Whoopsie!
The three of us split up, Alya running left, me running right, and Marinette running straight down the roofed path. Towards Adrien’s car. Aww! Maybe those two would share a moment.
But for right now, I had to focus on calming Juleka down.
A giant pink beam lasered down right in front of me. Eep!
“Rose!” Ladybug swooped me up in her arms and raced me to safety. Gosh, I remember when I first figured out I was bisexual, it was because I had the biggest crush on her. Even now my heart couldn’t help but flutter as she picked me up. But I had Juleka. And anyways, she and Chat were obviously in love.
Woap! On second thought, when at looked at her, it was ladybug but in a chat noir costume? Strange. Why did they switch costumes? And her hair is different? Oh well, a makeover is always cute!
“Thank you, Ladynoire!” I told her, deciding to merge their names together.
“No problem, Rose! And I like the name!” She ran back off, using her new pole this time, to rescue more people. I hope she went to rescue Marinette and Alya.
I sit there and wait for them to defeat the akuma, as all Parisians do. It’s not long before I see the swarm of ladybugs. Juleka is back to normal!
“Juleka!” I shout, sprinting down the park to the eiffel tower, where she’s left.
“Rose!” Juleka takes my hug. I quickly peck her on the cheek, just like I did earlier. “Thanks.”
“Aww, Juleka, I was so worried about you!”
“Rose, I’m so, so sorry. I should have told you the truth.”
“I’m always here for you, Juleka!”
“So do you want to do the photoshoot?” Marinette interjects. I smile and nod to Juleka, who agrees. Eek! I love my little baby model!
I can’t help but photobomb one of the photos, and soon the whole group joins. I love my friends! Although one a little more than most… not like she knows, anyways.
Juleka even told me once that during the Zombizou attack I kissed her! I guess she just thought that was the spell talking, which was a part of it, but I would have kissed her normally too.
Maybe Marinette and I should have girl talks about our totally oblivious crushes. Alya and Mylene could get involved too. The rest of the girls were single, but they’d be welcome to come! We should invite Marc too - I remember when they were first in love with Nathaniel, their crush was totally oblivious. I always feel sad with that story though, because it’s what caused Marc to be akumatized.
Nathaniel is so sweet though, and they’re such a cute couple. Nat and I were good friends, even before we realized we were both bisexual.
Anyways, back to the photoshoot. Adrien offered to drive a few of the girls home, but ended up only driving Marinette (psst; don’t tell her but Alya told all of us to pretend to be busy. She and Mylene had their boyfriends pick them up, Alix skated home, and Juleka and I were just going to walk home). Juleka and I had walked through the park back to her house a few times before, so I knew the way. We always went to her house first, then she’d say she’d walk me back, but I would run off so she couldn’t catch me. We only lived a few streets away though, so it wasn’t really a problem.
We talked about her modeling dream. About her feeling trapped in her quiet personality. About my own feeling of feeling trapped in positivity. Not like I minded though, since I was so naturally positive! Juleka understood though - not everyone is always the person they constantly come off to be. It’s important to get to know someone before making any firm judgements. Unless they’re a bully like Chloe, constantly. Then it’s okay to not want to be friends at your own pain.
But always, always be nice.
That’s how I got to know Juleka. I never had any classes with her before I was assigned to be her seatmate in Madame Bustier’s class. I was friendly, and we just clicked. I had her over that weekend and we started working on our new Ladynoir fanfiction (she drew, I wrote).
We’ve seen each other almost every Saturday since.
I think she only thinks of me as a friend though. We held hands and cuddled, but then she’d make comments like “you’re my BFF, Rose,” and I’d feel like I was back at the starting line. But we’d make it there, someday.
Maybe today. Marinette had really inspired me. I knew how nervous she was around Adrien, but she managed to have him in her room and change next to her without knocking something down!
“Hey, Juleka? I just wanted to let you know,” I started when we reached her doorstep, “I’m bisexual.”
“Okay, Rose, I support you.”
“Do you want to say something?”
She shook her head.
“Oh. Okay then, I’ll see you tomorrow!”
“I’m walking you home remember?”
“Not if you can’t catch me!” I took off, but decided to turn into a different alleyway. Hopefully it would take longer, and she would actually catch up.
Whoops! I tripped over a small piece of cheese that had been left there. Who knew cheese could be so slippery?
Juleka fell right over me. I was laying on the ground with her on top of me.
“Caught you.”
We breathed in close proximity for a minute. Juleka broke the silence.
“Rose, I’m lesbian. And you’re who made me realize it.”
So I kissed her. Hope, right? Juleka loved me! Juleka! With her beautiful purple hair and barrette and everything so amazing about her.
Finally.

Chapter Text

Marinette couldn’t get her mind off of Adrien.
His new magazine had come out, the front being him handsomely saving a puppy from a tree, and gosh, Marinette had just collapsed.
She appreciated the fashion, for one thing - the outfit was beautiful, brown khakis the same color as the tree and a light green, form-fitting t-shirt.
But the model she appreciated more.
Saving the puppy was so heroic. So generous. So… Adrien.
And, god, the sliver of skin that showed from his shirt being lifted up a little bit made her want to faint.
Alya teased her about it the whole week. She was the one to call Marinette and tell her to look up the photos (Marinette would subscribe to the Agreste Magazine but she learned from her mistake with all the photos being posted online because of that whole ordeal with Jagged).
She daydreamed through all of class. Adrien sat right in front of her, so she could stare uselessly at the back of his head while Alya wiggled her eyebrows at her. Adrien turned around and smiled at her during class, and Alya had to practically hold her up.
She daydreamed all through helping her parents at the bakery. She accidentally let the bread burn from looking at the picture on her phone. She spilled flour all over the floor. Conveniently, with Marinette’s luck, that’s when Adrien and his bodyguard stepped through the door. Marinette had to scramble up from her mess on the floor, wiping her apron.
“Hey,” Marinette had started, attempting to be casual and lean on the counter but slipping and falling into Adrien. He had just laughed, and wiped a mark of flour off her cheek. It really didn’t help her already debilitating crush.
She daydreamed all through night patrol. Chat kept trying to distract but it was no use. Those billboards were everywhere.
“What distracting you, bugaboo?”
“What have I said about that, Chat?”
“Right, sorry, m’lady. But what’s up? You’ve not been yourself tonight.”
“Chat, I’m fine. And it’s nothing I could tell you anyway.”
“Is this something about this boy that you like?” Chat asked her, with a smile on his face but biting back bitterness inside. Ladybug couldn’t form words. She just scrunched up her nose in the cute way that made Chat melt. It made Chat sad though. Clearly this boy she liked had asked her out or something that made her so distracted.
“He’s just so cute.”
“Mhm. Not as cute as me.”
“Sure.”
“I’ve got more flair.”
“FLAIR, YOU SAY?” A mysterious voice shouted from around the corner. “I’m Flairden, and I can make everyone so much more interesting!”
“Akuma,” both Ladybug and Chat groaned to each other at the same time.
“Wouldn’t this roof by spiced up by a Chat Noir styled leather chair and a Ladybug-themed lamp?” Flairden waved around their giant pencil.
“Nah, I think the real versions are much better. Maybe stick with the poolside theme and add a slide to the Bourgeois' hotel?”
“Ack! You have an awful taste! Not a true interior designer like me!”
“Really? I think my taste is purrfect.” Flairden shouted in frustration and fired giant energy bolts all over the place, turning chairs and umbrellas that couldn’t avoid the blasts aimed towards the two superheroes.
“Bet you ten bucks the akuma is in his pencil.”
“Focus, chat! He can shoot blasts everywhere in seconds. We have to distract him. Lucky charm!”
A pink and white polka dotted locked case appeared in ladybug’s hands. It looked exactly like the one she had in her room, but it’s not like she could tell Chat that.
“It’s a clue!” He announced, then took off. About 100 meters away, he waved his hand, beckoning her to follow.
“We can’t just leave the akuma!”
“Your Lucky Charm is telling us to!”
They both took off. Ladybug had no idea where chat was going until they stopped at the bakery. Oh no.
“That’s my friend Marinette’s diary case. She can help us with interior design.”
“Sounds good. I’ll go back to deal with the akuma and you’ll get Marinette for the distraction.” Ladybug pretended to take off, but quickly swung around the corner and detransformed.
“Chat can’t not find Marinette, he’ll be worried!” she whispered to Tikki while sprinting to the bakery. Just in time.
“Marinette? Marinette! Everything okay?”
“Yep! Just down here!” Marinette could hear Chat run down the stairs.
“I need your help. Can you help me redecorate?”
“What?”
Chat ran up to her room, and she followed. He motioned to her sewing set, and then her side lamp on her top bed area. “Can we redo the lampshade to make it really ugly?”
Marinette smiled. Chat had understood Ladybug’s plan entirely. “Yeah sure. Just go grab the fabric and a spool from the bottom drawer over there.
“Spool?”
“The metal thing that the string goes around.”
Marinette quickly got the sewing machine going while Chat stood right behind her, watching intently.
“This might take a few minutes.”
“That’s okay! I’m just really interested. I wear clothes a lot, but I’ve never seen someone sew before.”
“It’s not that hard. Here -” I grabbed his hand and directed it towards the fabric “- just put your hand here and hold it.”
“Okay.”
We sat like that for a few minutes until it was done. Chat was doing this cute little thing the whole time, sticking his tongue out slightly as he was focusing. It reminded me of Adrien, who would do that all the time in class when he was writing papers. Adrien…
“So you like this kid, Adrien right?”
“What???”
“You have all his photos on the wall. With hearts next to them as I look closer actually.”
“Those are just, uh, upside-down spades?”
“Cool! For a new design? I know you’re just really into fashion.”
“Yep! Here’s the lamp, you can go now!”
“Thanks, Marinette!”
“Bye, Chat.”
With a wink, he was gone.
So was Marinette, to be replaced with Ladybug.
She had to beat him back to the Bourgeois' hotel. She went on the opposite side of the buildings than him, and used her yoyo to propel herself forward fast. Much faster than she ever had before.
“Back already?” She asked Chat when she peeked out of her fake hiding spot.
“I’ve been here for about a minute. Where did the akuma go? I have the distraction.”
“Oh, well, I was about to detransform, so I had to hide and then he ran away.”
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go find him!”
“Let’s bring him to us.”

“What is this atrocity?” Flairden called out, watching Chat Noir sitting in a sideways chair on top of a mismatched rug on the pool cover. Two stacked lamps sat next to him.
“You don’t like it? I think it’s the cat’s meow. The lamps were Marinette’s idea, the rug was m’lady’s, but the rest was all me.”
“Ugh!” Flairden went to reach for his pencil, to find it had disappeared.
“Not so fast, Flairden. I think we need to redo your style.” Ladybug broke the pencil she had stolen and caught the akuma. Miraculous Ladybug, and now the akuma victim sat in a heap. Ladybug and I walked over.
“What happened? Last I remember the Bourgeois fired me for not designing Chloe’s room right.”
“I’m sure we can talk to them.”
Ladybug and I still met up afterwards, since it was only 9 pm. Back to her staring off into space.
“So that Flairden was pretty crazy.”
“Hmm? Yeah Fladrien - wait Adrien. No, Flariden, was pretty bad.”
“Adrien?”
“No, Flairden. Who’s Adrien?”
“Agreste? Like the model who’s on all the billboards around town?”
“Pshh, don’t know him.”
“Eh, you know me, which is way better than any old model.”
“Hey! Adrien is a wonderful person and he’s so nice and sweet and selfless and hot -”
“So you DO know him!”
“Fine. I do.”
“Is he the boy that’s been on your mind?” Chat laughed. There’s no way, and anyways, it’s not like his lady would tell him. When she stayed silent, he turned serious.
“M’lady?” He stepped closer and cupped her face. “Is he?”
“I can’t tell you, Adrien! I mean, Chat! Ugh!”
“You’re not wrong.” He shrugged, leaning back.
“What?”
“Come on, you’re super smart. You just can’t believe it.”
“You’re Adrien?”
“The one and only!”
“Adrien Agreste? I can’t believe you told me your identity!” She punched him in the arm. “Want to go out?”
“Wait - what?”

Chapter Text

Marc loved it when it rained. It meant that it didn’t matter what they felt more like that day- they could wear big jackets that kept them warm and kept away questions. Of course, there was always the inevitable looks that said “What are you?”, that feeling of eyes, the whispers that followed Marc everywhere. The truth was, Marc just… wasn’t boy or girl, even though he preferred masculine pronouns. He just didn’t fit into the categories like everyone else seemed to. His parents had always been terrible to him about it. They wouldn’t buy him clothes that made him feel like himself, and they made digging comments about how he looked that stung, always telling him that he was weird, that he didn’t fit in. It didn’t help with the whole school thing. He was new at Françoise-Dupont lycèe as of this year. At the beginning, he didn’t have many friends. He sat alone in the library during lunch and wrote. His stories were what kept him afloat, the only thing that made him happy. It wasn’t easy to be alone. At his old school, he had a few friends before the bullying started. They left him when he started getting targeted by the school bullies. His parents moved him, thinking he might settle in and get through this “stage” and be more normal, maybe get a girlfriend…. he still hadn’t told his parents he was gay. They wouldn’t respect him anyways. It’s not like they accepted his gender identity, and he hadn’t even confirmed what he identified as. It was just hard. So when Marinette, a pretty, popular girl that was known for being kind, read his story and LIKED it, he was really excited. Not only did she like his writing, but she seemed to like him as a person, too. It got even better when she wanted to meet with him after school, to add illustrations to his book. She didn’t make fun of him for writing about Ladybug, either. Marc looked forward to it. Human interaction was rare and far between, and he was hoping to make a friend. It’d be nice to talk to someone his own age. The day arrived slowly, time creeping onwards. Finally, it was the day he was meeting Marinette. Since she invited to meet him, they’d talked a few times in school. She was always very kind. When he showed up to the fountain they agreed upon meeting at, Marinette wasn’t there. There was only a fire-haired boy that was sitting on the bench facing the fountain, sketching something. He was handsome, with high cheekbones and beautiful eyes. He looked up, catching Marc’s gaze and blushing fiercely. He must be shy, Marc thought… until he looked up from his journal and almost fell backwards into the fountain from the ledge he was sitting on. The fire-haired boy was standing there, smiling shyly.
“What are you working on?” Asked the boy. His voice was quiet. He was definitely shy.
“Just writing.” Marc squeaked. He could feel his face turn as red as the boy’s hair.
“What about?”
“Well… this is embarrassing…. but I’m a huge fan of Ladybug”
“Me too!!! I draw comics with her!! What do you write about her?!”
“Uhm, I write stories about her adventures”
“What brings you here, anyways?”
“Well, this girl named Marinette read my stories and really enjoyed them, so she said that she would like to meet me today by the fountain and maybe we could add drawings…”
“Oh! Marinette invited me here too! She liked my drawings and wanted to add more writing or something. She said there was someone she wanted me to meet…”
“Do you think that it was me?”
“It definitely was, there’s not really very many other people here, and definitely not anyone else anywhere near our age….”
“Well, do you want to read my story?”
“I’d love to” The fire haired boy scooted closer to me, reading over my shoulder. I flipped the pages when he’d finished reading. He made little gasps and ooohs when we got to a particularly intense part. We neared the end of the first battle. The boy scooted closer in excitement. The story wrapped up to a finish, with purified butterflies and “Miraculous Ladybug!’s”. Our hands brushed. Neither of us moved. At the end, the boy sighed happily. Marc looked up, only to find his face inches away from the boy’s. Marc held his breath, staring at the boy’s turquoise, beautiful eyes.
“That was amazing!” Marc was glad the boy was impressed. “Want to see my comics?”
“Of course!” Marc was amazed the boy still wanted to hang out with him. The boy grabbed a small, leather- bound sketchbook from next to him and flipped to a page in the middle. The pages were filled with amazing drawings of akumas, Ladybug and Chat Noir in action. The boy let Marc read over his shoulder, this time, only flipping the page after giving Marc plenty of time to read. This particular akuma wasn’t one Marc remembered.
“Did you make up this akuma? It’s so hilarious!” The akuma on the page was a man akumatized into an evil hat-maker. It was a funny akuma, but Marc wouldn’t put it past Hawkmoth to akumatize a hat-maker into a shape-shifting sombrero.
“Yeah, I thought it would be funny to make a hat akuma that took control of whoever put it on.”
“Cool!”
They finished the story rather quickly. Marc enjoyed every second.
“That was amazing.”
“Thank you!! I really liked your story, too” Marc looked up, blushing at the praise.
“We should totally work together on something.”
“Yeah, by the way, how’d you meet Marinette?”
“She goes to my school, actually.”
“Mine too! We should meet in the art room after school and work on projects together or something.” Marc was really excited. It sounded like the boy enjoyed his company.
“I don’t know where that is, but I’ll find it. What about Tuesday?”
“Perfect.” Marc noticed that the boy was very close to him. Had either of them moved closer? Marc looked into the boy’s eyes. The icy-eyed boy wasn’t looking into his eyes though… he was looking directly at Marc’s mouth. Marc leaned forwards a millimeter, his eyes drifting down to the ice eyed boy’s mouth. Was the boy thinking about kissing him? They’d only just met, but Marc certainly wasn’t opposed. Ice eyes stood up quickly, getting to his feet. Marc stood up, too, his hands dangling by his sides.
“I’ll see you on Tuesday, then.” The boy said. “What’s your name?”
“Marc.”
“Well, it was a pleasure to meet you, Marc.” Ice eyes reached out and took Marc’s hand, bending over to kiss the back. Marc short circuited. The boy grabbed his sketchbook and walked away. The boy was almost gone when Marc came to his senses.
“Wait!! You never told me what your name is!” Marc exclaimed as the boy was just starting to walk away.
“Nathaniel. My name is Nathaniel.”
Needless to say, Marc never sat alone at lunch again.

Chapter Text

“Stay here and you’ll be safe!” Ladyrouge had told Marinette before shoving her into the empty panther enclosure.
“It’ll only be a minute, dude!” Cara noir had told Adrien before shoving him into the same place.
God, I’m stuck in a panther cage with Adrien Agreste! Marinette thought to herself, mentally freaking out. If only she could call Alya and ask her for help.
Father’s going to kill me, Adrien first told himself, then promptly began freaking out as he realized he was trapped.
Trapped, trapped. In a panther’s cage, for christ’s sake. Adrien started breathing heavily. He couldn’t be trapped, not here, not now.
“Adrien! Adrien, are you okay?” Marinette rushed over, pushing all the butterflies in her stomach down. Could her hormones just calm down for one second? Adrien was obviously in trouble and all she could think about was how awesome he was and how she really hoped she wanted fall over or something. “Here, sit down.”
Adrien complied, unable to speak from hyperventilating. Marinette kneeled down beside him. Should she place her hand on his back? Should she grab his hand? Should she be better researched on what to do when your crush starts having a panic attack in the panther cage where you are trapped in while someone possessed by a magically butterfly is being chased by two superheroes?
Adrien slowly started breathing less frequently. He grabbed her hand. “Thanks, Marinette.”
“No welcome, Adrien. I mean, you’re a problem. I mean - shit.”
“Don’t worry, I know what you mean,” Adrien tried to reassure Marinette, but it didn’t really work. Marinette was banging her head into the side of the glass. Was it possible to be more stupid than this?
“Marinette, it’s ok. I just appreciate the help.”
“I totally messed up. And I wasn’t any help!”
“Marinette, you were great. Sometimes I just need someone there. It’s been happening more often since my mother died and…”
“I’m sorry, Adrien.”
“You didn’t do anything wrong, Marinette.”
There was a few minutes of awkward silence. Marinette couldn’t meet Adrien’s eyes, despite him looking at her with gratitude and slight concern. Why is Adrien the one who’s concerned about Marinette - he was the one who had a panic attack only minutes earlier.
“Hey, Marinette? I know this might just me being oblivious and dumb again but why do you always get so nervous?”
This made Marinette more nervous, of course. “What? I don’t get kervous - nervous around you.”
Adrien shrugged, pretending to be innocent but had a huge smirk on his face. “Sure.”
“What?” She elbowed him lightly. “I’m totally not nervous around you, see?”
Adrien leaned in, pressing his nose against hers. “So this doesn’t make you nervous?”
Marinette froze. Was Adrien flirting with her? Her brain felt fried. Should she flirt back?
“Nope, not nervous at all.” Marinette cringed. Her words were confident but her voice was shaky.
Adrien pulled away, making Marinette long for his closeness again. Unbeknownst to her, he felt himself longing for the same thing. They were still sitting right next to each other, despite the enormous panther cage. Marinette was freaking out. 2 years of crushing on this boy and now she figures out all she had to do was be flirty?
Maybe she had to be less Marinette and more Alya. More confident. Less caring about what others think.
She glanced at Adrien’s perfect jawline, breathtaking eyes, and beautiful, kissable lips… gosh, this was going to be impossible. She closed her eyes and thought about what it would be like to actually date him.
You just have to be flirty. It’s not that hard, she told herself, He’s still just a person.
“Falling asleep already?” Adrien’s honeysuckle voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Mmm, I’d love to sleep with you.”
Marinette’s eyes widened. Did she seriously just say that? God, Adrien probably thinks she’s a creepy weirdo.
But Adrien was actually thinking the opposite. His brain had momentarily stopped working.
Marinette flirted with me good lord she made a flirty joke is she seriously into me like that? I normally make those jokes but no one has responded like that is it bad that I want to kiss her now? Yes she was probably just trying to be funny but maybe not?
He summoned up his courage and made eye contact with her, rubbing the back of his neck in embarrassment.
“Sorry! I didn’t mean that it was just a joke.”
“Well that’s a shame.”
“Well, um -”
BANG! The window of the exhibit rattled with the force of the tree that had just been thrown at it. Adrien jumped in front of Marinette on instinct, one arm in front of her. Marinette grabbed Adrien’s shoulders, ready to pull him back as well.
“Are you okay?” Marinette ran over to stand in front of Adrien, eyes wide in worry. The branch from the top of the cage and a few leaves had fallen, but other than that, they were both fine. It had just seriously shocked them.
“Sorry, I get so easily rattled. My mom… she died in a car accident. Here one second, and gone the next. I just hate it.”
“It’s okay, Adrien. I get it. At the bakery sometimes you have to be really careful. When my dad was little he seriously burned himself pulling bread out of the oven. He still has the scars to prove it. He could have died.”
“Life’s scary. But at least we’re here with each other right?” Adrien squeezed Marinette’s shoulder. Marinette nodded, and leaned in a little closer to Adrien.
“I should be more careful.”
“I should be more reckless.”
“You? Adrien Agreste? You’re like the definition of careful.”
“Exactly! Life’s boring, and short. Why live it cooped up trying to be safe?”
“Don’t tell me about safe.”
“Please, Marinette, you’re almost as much of a goody-two shoes as me. You’re class president, you give food to everyone in class, you’re so nice to everyone -”
“I stole Alya’s phone once. I accidentally deleted a video and was trying to recover it and -”
“No way! That’s pretty badass, Marinette. You know this one time my phone disappeared for a while and I found it later in my bag. It was weird.”
Marinette laughed softly. Gosh, that was a while ago, when she was first crushing on Adrien. It wasn’t exactly her proudest moment.
“What?”
“That was me - I called you and left a stupid voicemail and I wanted to delete it.”
“You’re kidding right?”
“Wait, are you mad?”
“No, that’s hilarious! It was a while ago anyways, and you returned it. What was the message?”
“There’s no way I’m telling you. I went through all that trouble to delete it.”
“Please?” He flashed her his puppy dog eyes and pouty lips. She laughed and batted her eyelashes.
“Hey, hot stuff! I would ask you out to the movies sometimes, but there’s no way I can talk to you without frothing at the mouth except over this stupid phone.”
Adrien busted out laughing, harder than he did when Marinette and Adrien first became real friends.
“Honestly, I would have totally said yes.”
“Wait, really?”
“Yeah! That’s so confident and cool and awesome. Just like you.”
“Well, um, Saturday then? Two p.m. at the ice skating rink?”
Adrien leaned in with a smirk.
“Sounds perfect.”

Chapter Text

Adrien hated the days he was locked up in his room.
He was sick of piano. He was sick of videogames. He was sick of everything.
The days that he couldn’t sneak out, he had to just sit there, talking to a magical being who was stuffing his face with expensive cheese.
Oh, how his life was so strange. There wasn’t a single other person who understood what this was like. Except Ladybug, of course.
He wondered whether Tikki, Ladybug’s kwami, also loved cheese.
“There’s tons of stuff for you to do, kid! Foosball, rock climbing, basketball, even this old guitar back here,” Plagg argued back when Adrien had been laying on his bed complaining for an hour. He had no one to play foosball with (Plagg couldn’t move fast enough to control all the handles). He was sick of the Rock wall, and anyways, he climbed taller than that as Chat. And again, no one to play basketball with.
But the guitar was interesting. He hadn’t ever noticed it before. It was shoved in the corner near the cheese cabinet.
Ugh, it was covered in dust. Adrien blew it off, making Plagg sneeze.
Emilie Agreste was written in beautiful, curly gold script on the corner. And Adrien collapsed.
He’d already had enough sadness with his solitude. He didn’t need another reminder of his dead mother.
“Look, there’s a note!”
“To Ever-lovely Emilie,
Remember when we first met? You caught me sneaking in the band hall after art class. You told me I wasn’t supposed to be there, and I said I just wanted to learn to play guitar (although that was a total lie, you later knew someone had hidden my notebook in there).
You taught me anyways, though. And I used that talent later to woo you to our first date. A picnic in Paris.
Our first kiss was in that band room, I think.
I’m getting off topic. What I’m trying to say, Emilie, is that I love you. I’ve loved you since the day we met.
So, will you take this guitar and we can write music together for the rest of our lives?
Marry me, Emilie. We can live in a big house with however many instruments you want from the money I make from my fashion designs, or your hit single. Maybe both. We’ll grow old together, maybe with a cute little blond mini-us running around, playing this guitar. A symbol of our love.
Love,
Gabriel Agreste.”
Adrien cried. He hadn’t ever known for his father to be this romantic. Was he this romantic when Adrien was little and his mother was still alive?
Maybe he could use this to woo Ladybug. Take this as a sign of romance not sadness.
So that was the day Adrien decided to learn to play the guitar.
He looked up lessons online. He listened to other people play. He snuck guitar lessons from Luka from time to time.
He slowly developed his own song to Ladybug. It was his poem, just set to music. He would sing and play every night he could.
One night, he attracted an audience.
“It’s beautiful,” Ladybug told him, sitting outside his window. Adrien stopped and almost fell off his bed. Ladybug was there, visiting him.
“Oh, hey, Ladybug.”
“Who’s it for?”
“This girl I’m in love with.”
“She’s a very lucky girl then.”
“You tell me.”
“I - uh - um. Thanks? I like you too. May I come in?”
“Sure.”
She jumped in, landing gracefully next to Adrien and sitting next to him on his bed.
“Wait, you like me?”
“I mean, uhm, yes?” Ladybug became a stammering mess, opposite of the confident girl Adrien was used to. It kinda reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t place the name.
Ladybug likes...him? Just regular old Adrien Agreste? Not his superhero equal, just a regular boy.
Wait - was he the one Ladybug told him she was in love with? Was he seriously blocking himself from a relationship?
“Please, keep playing.”
So Adrien did. When the song finished he looked up at Ladybug looking at him with adoration.
“You liked it?”
“Liked it? I loved it! How did you have the time to learn to play? Between all the photoshoots and school and homework - how do you balance it all?”
On top of saving the world, Adrien added mentally. But Ladybug didn’t know that.
“Practice, I guess. I’ve been a model for years. And school is stressful, but fun. I’ve just squeezed this in on weekends when my father won’t let me out of the house.”
Although, to be fair, Adrien easily sneaks out every night.
“You’re just locked up in your room? I thought you were just busy at photoshoots all the time.” Her fists clenched, turning as red as her suit. “Boy, do I have a few words to say to Gabriel Agreste -”
“It’s okay, you have to be nice to your future father in law anyways.”
She just stared at him, gaping. Adrien worried he did something wrong. God, she probably already hates me and we’ve only been talking for a few minutes.
“Hey, look, I really have to go but I’ll see you tomorrow, okay? You know, I know how to play the piano so..”
“You do? We should start do a duet at the music festival this weekend then.”
“That would be great. I’ll come over tomorrow at the same time to practice then?”
Adrien nodded, and she swung away.
Ladybug stayed true to her word, as Adrien had hoped, and showed up the next night.
“I thought you said you could play!”
“I can! I’m just messing up on a few of the notes okay?”
Adrien was laughing so hard he could barely breathe. Ladybug kept staring off into space and missing her entrances.
“Something distracting you or something?”
“Uh, yeah.”
Adrien went and sat down beside her on the small piano bench. He lifted her gloved fingers onto the right keys.
“You’re supposed to go like this,” he told her, playing the riff on the lower octave. She copied, with a few missteps.
“Come on, you can do this!” Adrien never thought he’d be the one giving her encouragement, but here he was.
“I can’t! I’m getting too distracted.”
“What’s distracting you?” Adrien stopped, and looked up at her. It took her a minute, but she finally met his eyes.
“I’m over, playing piano for a duet with freaking Adrien Agreste.”
“You’re starstruck? Please, you’re Ladybug, savior of Paris! No one can get cooler than you.” He grabbed her hand, still on the piano.
“You a Ladybug fan?” She asked with a smirk. Adrien felt like she was getting closer.
“Mmm, biggest fan in Paris. Even bigger than Alya.” He moved his face closer.
“Well I’m your biggest fan.” Their noses were touching.
“That’s a true honor, m’lady.” He looked at her sweet, strawberry rose lips.
“The honor is all mine, Adrien.”
He responded with a kiss.
It was innocent, just holding hands on the piano. Soft, sweet, and long. Adrien had kissed Ladybug twice before, and although he didn’t remember either, he knew this is what it would have felt like.
God, Ladybug was kissing him. Wait, did this mean he was the guy Ladybug liked?
She finally pulled away. “Gosh, I’m so sorry, this was amazing, but I really have to get going.”
“See you tomorrow, Lovebug?”
She winked and waved. “Buh bye, mon amour.”
Okay, that guitar had to be magic.
Ladybug liked him.
Ladybug was going to a concert with him in three days.
“Wait, am I dating LADYBUG?”

Chapter Text

“But Father!”
“No, Adrien, my decision is final. You cannot go to the concert. There are going to be too many people there, and your bodyguard can’t go with you when you’re up on stage.”
“Gabriel, surely we can compromise - there’s that lovely Lila girl he could duet with.”
“Lila Rossi? Please, father, don’t make me duet with her.”
“Why not? She’s a lovely young woman, and she helped you when you were struggling in math the other day. In fact, she’s looking for a pianist for her performance at 14:00. I’ll sign you up with her.”
“You were so opposed only a minute ago!”
“Well Nathalie has brought to my attention an important ally.”
“Can we at least go to see the other performances?” Ladybug and Adrien were supposed to perform at 15:00. Maybe he could sneak off after performing with Lila…
Gabriel turned away and nodded slightly. “Only if your bodyguard accompanies you at all times.”
Adrien smiled and nodded, even though he knew that he could easily lose the Gorilla. “Thank you, Father!”
“Lila will be singing a slower, romantic version of Les Champs-Elysées by Joe Dassin. You will accompany her on the guitar.”
Adrien wrinkled his nose. The last thing he wanted to do was to sing a love song with Lila Rossi. The lying, deceiving girl had screwed over his best friend, Marinette, a while ago and he still wasn’t quite over it. How did he know she had nothing to do with getting Adrien in a tough spot with Ladybug (his girlfriend now!)?
“Fine, father.”
“She’ll be over to practice in an hour.”
Adrien shrugged, and went off to shower and get changed. If only Ladybug had allowed him to give her his number (“I can’t risk you already knowing mine and finding out my secret identity”). Then she could text her and ask for her help.
So he texted the next girl he knew that could actually provide good advice.
What’s up, Marinette?
Umm… just getting ready for the concert this afternoon. Are you going or is your father making you stay at home?
Yeah, I’m going. I actually need your advice tho. So I was supposed to do this duet with a girl but now I’m doing a duet with someone else and I don’t have this other girl’s number to tell her. What should I do?
Marinette?
Dang, he had lost her. It had been at least 30 minutes with no response. Maybe he had weirded Marinette out - he had to be super vague with the fact that the girl he liked was Ladybug.
He totally zoned out when practicing with Lila, checking his phone every ten seconds to see whether Marinette had any advice.
“What’s wrong, Adrien?” Lila asked him, scooting closer to him on the piano bench (which didn’t make any sense anyways - she was singing, not playing piano with him).
“Waiting for a text from Marinette.”
“What do you want from Marinette? She’s so finicky, she probably won’t even respond. She actually told me she didn’t even like you - that’s why she won’t talk to you all the time and is super clumsy around you.”
“Listen, Lila, this duet is going to be a whole lot more enjoyable if you don’t insult my friends and lie to me. Okay? Now let me play line 42 and you can get up and actually sing.”
Adrien felt bad for snapping, but he was done with Lila. Lila was relatively quiet the rest of the practice as well, and they performed really well at the concert. The Gorilla was right on him the minute he walked off stage though, so Adrien had to lie and tell the Gorilla he had to go to the bathroom for a second. At least the Gorilla wouldn’t follow him into the stall.
Maybe Adrien would have all tails after him… but Chat Noir wouldn’t. Adrien quickly transformed and crawled through the conveniently placed vent behind the stall he had chosen. When he got out, he found he was in a restaurant nearby and excused himself to walk back down to the public square. People stared and took pictures while Adrien signed autographs. He hated doing this as Adrien, but he didn’t mind it as Chat Noir. As Adrien, people liked him for his looks; as Chat Noir, people liked him for his bravery and skills.
“Kitty?” A familiar voice called out. Adrien’s gut pulled him to run towards Ladybug and kiss her, but his logical side reminded him that she didn’t know he was Adrien (yet). “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here for the concert, of course! You want to do a duet or something?”
“Maybe.” Ladybug shrugged, and she looked down at her feet. Chat Noir waved one last goodbye to the citizens, and swung up on the nearest rooftop, beckoning his lady to follow.
“What’s bothering you, m’lady?”
“My partner cancelled on me at the last minute for some other girl.”
“What? This dude -” Chat swallowed the bile and urge to blurt out his true identity “-sounds like an idiot. I’ll duet with you.”
“It’s okay, Chat. You probably don’t even know the song. Can you even play guitar?”
“I can, actually. I’ve been playing since I was little. What was the song?”
Ladybug looked down at her feet and mumbled, making Chat have to cringe and repeat the question he already knew the answer to.
“Ce mur qui nous sépare, by Lou and Lenni Kim.”
“The one written in honor of us? Of course I know that one, m’lady.”

“And next up, Ladybug and Adrien Agreste!” The announcer’s voice booms over the loudspeakers.
Chat pretends to act surprised, since he’s not supposed to know that.
“Adrien Agreste ditched you?”
Ladybug looks Chat back in the eyes, and Chat immediately rushes over when he spots her beautiful blue eyes blurry with tears. “M’lady?”
“I can’t, Chat. He ditched me. For Lila.”
“Bugaboo, I’m sure he has a really, really good reason -”
“How would you know?”

“Last call for Ladybug and Adrien Agreste!”

It was a split decision, but one he needed to make.
His lady was hurting because of him. The girl he loved. The one he loved since the day they met.
His bugaboo.
“I’m so sorry, m’lady. My father made me change, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to be here at all.”
“What? My -”
“Plagg, claws in.”

Chapter Text

“I hate Lila,” Marinette whispered under her breath. It was a disastrous idea to sleep over at Chloe’s yesterday - Marinette knew that before even going. But with Tikki and Adrien’s convincing, she and Alya went anyways.
Everyone was watching the same video taken that night on repeat. Why had Marinette even agreed to answer the question? The pressure of all these people still made Marinette feel like she was collapsing.
“So do you have a crush, Marinette?” Lila had been saying behind the camera.
“Umm… no! I totally don’t. Well, I mean, everyone has a crush, but not Marinette!” She sounded like an overenthusiastic airhead.
“Please, Marinette, we all know you have the biggest crush on -”
“Chat Noir!”
Why had she said that? Loving Chat became her go to now, ever since that night on her roof. Pff, she’s not Ladybug, she’s just some crazed Chat Noir superfan. Luckily, she knew Chat Noir didn’t like her back. She couldn’t tell anyone about Adrien (or Luka, since Juleka was there). Adrien loved Kagami anyways - Marinette didn’t have a chance.
“You like Chat Noir?” Alya had turned at Marinette and looked at her with a crazy expression. The other girls who knew about her crush and all looked surprised as well. Rose was always so supportive - Marinette remembered her flashing her a smile and a thumbs up.
Maybe it was too much confidence. Marinette was already cringing in embarrassment at what she said next.
“Yeah! I love him - he’s so cool with the super sexy cat suit and amazing puns and saving the world.”
She called Chat Noir sexy! Chat Noir was many things - dorky, strong, selfless. But sexy? Sure maybe he had a smooth six pack and it was only highlighted with the skintight catsuit. And the type of smirk that belongs on magazines. But Marinette definitely didn’t want to kiss Chat Noir, other than the two times they had already kissed and the weird dream she had of them kissing a third time.
“Oh Chat Noir, you’re so sexy!” Chloe mocked Marinette as she walked down the halls, including the overdramatic hand to the forehead. Marinette felt her cheeks flush and agreed that if she was magically struck down she wouldn't entirely mind, especially as she caught Adrien’s eye as he walked towards them.
“You really think he’s so sexy?” Adrien asked, looking almost as sexy as Chat Noir did.
“Me? I don’t know, I mean, I think you’re sexier but umm he’s not bad looking.” Marinette buried her face in her hands. She couldn’t believe she told Adrien that!
“I was asking Chloe, but I appreciate it, Marinette.” Marinette peeked between her fingers. Adrien was rubbing the back of his neck and not making eye contact with her. Was Adrien embarrassed too? Could this mean he likes her?
Don’t be an idiot, Marinette. He’s probably just flustered that you’re flirting with him when he’s got a girlfriend.
Her Chloe voice was back, reminding her of all the things that were wrong with her. The decision to tell all the girls she thinks Chat Noir is sexy was definitely one of the reasons.
“Oh my gosh, Adrikins, have you not seen this?”
“Chloe, no!” Marinette frantically grasped to steal Chloe’s phone away from her. But it was too late. Chloe had already pulled up the saved video on her phone. Adrien probably thinks she’s a total weirdo who’s obsessed with a superhero who’s never going to date her! She had to find Alya, Alya will help her. Wait, Marinette told Alya she’s in love with Chat Noir! Alya will totally be mad at her for lying.

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“Tikki! What do I do?” Marinette told her when she had ran away to the girl’s bathroom.
“You shouldn’t have lied, Marinette!”
“I know, I know. But I couldn’t have told the truth either. It would have been even worse if I had said that about Adrien.”
“MARINETTE! Are you okay?”
Speak of the model… Marinette almost fell in the toilet when she heard Adrien’s voice outside the bathroom.
“I’m fine.”
“Can you come outside for a second?”
“Why? Is Chloe outside?”
“No! Why would you think that?”

Marinette opened the door. “Listen, I’m fine. You don’t need to come in here and check on me.”
“Of course I do, princess. We’re friends, aren’t we?” He smirked.
That line, that smirk. It was so familiar. Marinette almost felt as though Adrien was trying to hint to something related to the video, but that was impossible. Chat Noir didn’t even know François-Dupont was a high school.
“Well, you got it. I’m just being tortured by Chloe and Lila and the rest of the school with this horrible video and now everyone is making fun of me for a crush that I don’t have!”
Adrien’s face fell. “Wait, you don’t like Chat Noir?”
Marinette suddenly understood it all. Adrien was dropping hints because he’s really good friends with Chat Noir. Kitty’s protected him plenty of times - of course Adrien would want to set him up with a girl. But did Marinette really want that?
Why is she even considering this? She likes Adrien and Luka, not Chat Noir!
“It’s complicated.”
“You know, if you do like him…” Called it! “I’d love to go out with you sometime.” Adrien leaned against the wall, then flinched in pain and fell over, clutching his upper right chest. “Plagg!” he whisper-screamed. Too loudly. And unfortunately for him, Marinette knew that name.
“HOLY SHIT! YOU’RE CHAT NOIR!”
“Could you be any louder?”
“You can’t tell me your identity! What were you thinking? Now we have to give up our miraculous, and Hawkmoth will hunt us down and -”
“Wait, our Miraculous? Ladybug?”
“You didn’t know that? I just told you! I can’t believe I did that! I’m such an idiot!”

Marinette ran back into the girls bathroom. Finally, the secret was out. Marinette’s mind and stomach felt like they were doing flips. Adrien Agreste was her kitty. That must have been why he was flirting with Ryuko so much. She had been rejecting Adrien, who was in love with her, this whole time and now he was in love with someone else -
But he had just asked her out. Adrien Agreste had asked Marinette out as a civilian. Adrien liked her as Ladybug and Marinette? And a smile crept on her face as Marinette knew she was so so happy he was Chat - she could have both of her loves. The line between best friend and boy friend had blurred between the two of them these past few weeks. And it’s obvious to her as to why now.
“Tikki, did you know this whole time? That must have been so irritating! Going in circles around each other… that’s crazy brave of you for not spilling the beans.”

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Meanwhile, while Marinette was having a heart to heart conversation with Tikki, Plagg and Adrien were having a different conversation in the boy’s bathroom.
“You’re kidding, Plagg! You didn’t tell me this whole time Marinette was Ladybug? I freaking asked you specifically if it was her. And now I just asked her out and revealed my identity - oh my gosh Plagg what if she says no?”
“Adrien, calm down. Have some cheese. It’s no big deal.”
Adrien death glared him.
“Fine, fine. Yeah, I lied. Sorry, Adrien. Hopefully Hawkmoth isn’t anyone close to you that could ruin that. You should be fine, as long as no one else figures it out.”

They both met up in the hallway a little while afterwards.
There was a few beats of awkward silence. What do two people who’ve been crushing on (and rejecting) each other for over a year have to say to each other?
“Saturday?” Adrien croaked out. He had never felt this nervous in his life. It’s just Marinette, he reminded himself. Marinette, who thinks he’s sexy and sweet, who herself is crazy intelligent and brave and awesome and
“Park? Hopefully no akuma attack?”
“I’ll ask my dad.”
“Awesome. Or should I say, Pawesome.”
Adrien lightly shoved Marinette as he laughed. This was the girl he loved - and who he was dating now.
His happiness furrowed into suspicion as Lila walked by. Lila, who had hurt his Ladybug, was coming up, trying to put her hands all over him.
“Thank you, Lila!” Marinette joyfully told her while waving. Luckily, she had waved with her left hand - leaving her right hand free for Adrien to grab and interlock his fingers with.
Lila’s smile curved into a frown. For a split second, Adrien worried that would mean she wouldn’t like Adrien anymore and would be unhappy, which Adrien didn’t like. But a squeeze from Marinette reminded him that his world didn’t have to revolve around other people. His happiness could just be something for him.
Although, Nino fainting when Adrien kissed Marinette’s cheek in class was pretty great too.

Chapter Text

Kagami was both thrilled and ashamed that she was signing up for Instagram. On the one hand, she was so happy when her mom changed her mind (after her whole akumatization) and let her get social media. On the other hand, she felt ashamed of herself that she was so shallow that she needed to share pictures of herself all the time.
At least she was going to follow her mother’s rules and stay anonymous. As much as she wanted Adrien to like every single one of her posts, this was the only way she would be allowed. “For your own safety,” her mother had said. Sigh. At least her overbearing mother allowed her and Adrien to connect. But even Adrien was allowed to have an instagram account. Maybe she could tell Adrien what her secret handle was.
@FencingChampionOfParis
Yes, it was technically false - Adrien had that title. But she was sure he wouldn’t mind.
Or maybe not - she just got a DM from Adrien.
You know technically that’s my title, Kagami
Adrien had already figured it out! And messaged her - the boy was finally being observant.
Did you win championships? Another DM. She thought boys that slid into her DMs were supposed to be pushy and annoying. But Adrien was kinda flirty, and it made her smile.
I will win the championship of your heart
wow, you dont even know me
Know Adrien? Of course Kagami knew Adr-
Oh no.
She hadn’t flirted with Adrien.
The first DM was from Adrien, yes. But as she peered as the second message, the one she responded to, was from @muscianfromparis. Another anonymous instagrammer. She had responded to someone she didn’t even know! And flirted with him - or her or they.

Wrong Direct Message. I do not know who you are.

I dont know who you are either, technically. and who else is dming you about championships

A dumb at times but adorable boy, matter of fact.

im a dumb at times but adorable boy. Teenager 2

How do you know I am a teenager?

the other adult fencing champions already have official accounts. but im guessing youre not adrien agreste.

Fine, I did not technically win. But I will this year. Are you a professional musician?

no. unless you count the band im in - we played at the music concert last year

Did you win?

wasnt a contest

Shame. Things are so much more fun when they are competitive.

eh i like to be more chill

Boring.

Why was Kagami messaging this random boy? For all she knew, he could be lying. Or maybe he faced strict parents just like her. Urgh, she needed to stop messaging. She had her feelings all figured out for Adrien. She didn’t want Adrien thinking she was confused.
But for some reason, she couldn’t help but continue.
It wasn’t like Adrien messaged her back anyways.
It wasn’t like Adrien liked her back anyways.
She knew he liked Marinette. Her heart was so hopeful after that day where Marinette ran off and they almost kissed. But she saw the way he looked at her. There was another reason Adrien didn’t kiss her that day.
Marinette was just as hopeless. It’s not like Kagami wanted Marinette to love Adrien, but she knew true love when she saw it. Kagami thought it was her with Adrien but -
She knew eventually Marinette and Adrien would start dating. She just wasn’t aware she would be so hurt.
She found out over social media too. Impersonal and disgusting. A dumb selfie of them posing, that everyone had liked and commented on. Even worse, they were the most annoyingly cute couple. Running hugs, matching hats, holding hands on the runway… It was public, and looked straight out of a movie.
Kagami desperately wanted that. Someone that wanted her. Someone that appreciate her. That loved her. But Adrien was the only boy she thought could ever provide that. She never lost. Especially not to hesitant girls like Marinette.
Although Kagami had to admit Marinette had grown since then. She was more confident, especially around Adrien. Maybe it was her ex-boyfriend, Luka, that had that effect on her. Did Marinette dump him over social media as well?
She was indestructible, but she couldn’t get over this. She skipped fencing practice for a week, something she had never done before. Instead, she walked around town. The first amount of freedom she ever got. Yes, she would be punished for it later. But she just couldn’t see Adrien’s stunning green eyes and floppy blond hair when he lifted up his mask, or admire his perfectly sculpted abs (how does a 15 year old have a six-pack?).
After a while, Kagami’s legs felt like they were going to fall off, so she sat down on a bench over looking a bridge. Light guitar played nearby, and Andre was just pulling up in front of her. It was a beautiful scene, outlooking the bright Paris sky, but Kagami couldn’t help but sigh. She was less than 100 meters away from where she first almost kissed Adrien. Where they split the very ice cream right in front of her. It was like the universe was almost teasing her.
Kagami pulled out her phone, hoping to distract herself. Almost automatically, she clicked on her DMs from Instagram.

Hello. Are you available to communicate now?

yeah whats up

Oh. Nothing. I could just use a friendly conversation.

im a friend and this is a conversation

So you consider yourself a friend of mine? We have only communicated fewer than 10 times.

yes

What are you doing?

playing guitar. you?

Sitting on a park bench feeling sorry for myself.

im sorry

What are you sorry for?

just that you have to go through that. it sucks

Have you ever sat on a park bench feeling sorry for yourself?

not on a park bench, but yeah im playing guitar right now feeling sorry for myself

I am sorry for you.

No response. It had been two minutes already, and Kagami was getting impatient. How was she supposed to make herself feel better if people disappeared on her? Andre tried to make pleasant conversation, but she wasn’t in the mood. Kagami wasn’t aware, but she was sinking back into her ice queen self that she had been a year ago. Lonely and mean.

On the other side of the bridge was another heartbroken teenager. However, he wasn’t cold, but a hot flame, throwing his heart away only to get it crushed. And Marinette wasn’t the first time.

It was Sabrina actually. Best friends in middle school. Dyed their hair together (hers blond, his blue). She would stay up late doing homework while he stayed up late learning guitar. Calling each other while doing it, of course. She was his everything - and she ran away once he told her that. Ran to Chloe and became a follower and a bitch of epic proportions. It was this that made Luka pull away, become the quiet guy who plays his guitar alone in his mother’s houseboat.

Not to mention Nino. Another musician, quickly became popular in the industry for making Mayor Bourgeois dance with his epic beats. Luka would invite Nino over to practice, and they would laugh over music for hours. He was loud and brave, and perfectly complemented Luka. Luka couldn’t play guitar for a week when he learned Nino was straight, and worse, had a girlfriend already.

He though the kind, confident, amazing, and best, single, girl with pigtails would be the first to love him back. But he was wrong. Again. And she ran to Adrien, who Luka also wouldn’t mind dating. A double whammy.

Now what was he doing. He had to get out of the cramped houseboat. Take his guitar outside.

So it’s by the bench where the two meet. Both broken, both rejected…
Only to have Andre light up and exclaim,

“I sense broken hearts in disguise, but perhaps a new love could bloom right before your eyes. Orange and blueberry, an interesting mix to tailor, but one that perfectly balances out to make the most amazing flavour!”