Chapter 1: Oh, the Possibilities
Being student body president has its perks. Besides the hard work that comes along with helping her fellow classmates, there are times where her creativity really comes into play. This year, Marinette was able to be part of the conversation of what functions would happen at lycée. She was able to convince the board to allow the them to hold a dance, making this the last function that her graduating class will have before they head off to university .
Since Marinette had come up with the idea and had it approved, it only made sense that she run the event. As soon as she was given her budget, she went off to planning. So many ideas ran through her mind. Should we do something romantic? Something in the fashion scene? Maybe go old school and bring back the decades? What about a tropical getaway theme?
She jotted down all her ideas and picked her top three. From there, she figured out what decorations would work and if the food should be catered to the theme.
After spending a few hours deep in thought, her focus shifted to the buzzing phone on the table beside her. She squealed when she noticed the picture on the screen.
“Hey Adrien!” Marinette said excitedly. Over the last few years, Marinette’s crush on Adrien had toned down quite a bit . Her constant stuttering h ad stopped shortly after her expulsion and re-admittance from lycée when she was 14. Adrien had stood up for her and soon thereafter , this sweet, blond-haired ball of sunshine became one of her closest and dearest best friends.
She still loved him. She could never stop loving him. His constant positivity and selfless care made her realize that she never wanted to let go of him or his friendship. So, she stopped pursuing him. It was a hard decision, but she needed to do it for her sanity.
“Hi, Marinette!” Adrien replied back. “Alya told me that you got the budget approved for the dance.”
“Yeah, I just got the confirmation today. As soon as they told me, my mind already went through all the possible themes we could use.”
Adrien chuckled, “I thought as much. You always get so focused on the task when you're determined. I’m just calling you to make sure you at least ate something.”
Marinette let out a grumbled humph. “You’re just as bad as my parents! And yes, for your information, I did eat dinner and m y maman brought me up some pastries to hold me over.”
“Good then. So, have you decided what theme you wanted to go with?”
“Not yet, but I am down to three main themes. I’ve separated them and am listing out all possible decorations, food choices, and music selections for each. I’m still hashing out some of the details, but I can nail th ose down more once I finalize the theme.” She stood up to head to her balcony. “I was just about to take a break when you called.”
“Well, I’m glad I called then. Do you need some help figuring things out ? ” He asked with sincerity in his voice .
Marinette let out a sigh as she sat in the lawn chair. The sun was low in the sky, starting to give off the red and orange hues in the horizon. “Sure. I could use some help.”
“Awesome, what is your first theme ?”
“Well, it’s not my favorite, but it was better than most of my other ideas.” She paused at the thought. “It’s called Paris in Paradise . Pretty much a tropical beach theme. Oranges, reds, and whites everywhere with palm trees adorning the entrances. Maybe include sand and seashells? Colorful tropical flowers everywhere? Maybe keep the dress code beach party casual with sundresses for the ladies and khaki shorts and Hawaiian shirts for the guys?”
Adrien scowled a bit. “ Mmm ... I don’t know Mari. I can see the idea, but I don’t know if it will work in the way you envision it.” He backtracked a bit. “I mean, everything you do is pretty awesome, but I don’t think it would work.”
“Yeah, like I said, it’s not my favorite and I’m having a hard time coming up with food choices.”
“Then maybe we should just take it off the list? If you’re not passionate about it, why keep it?
“You’re right. Okay. One off the list.”
“What’s the second theme?”
“ The Grand Venice Jubilee. ” She said with a little more enthusiasm. “The colors would be jeweled tones, blacks, and golds. The tablecloths would have those colors, with candelabras as the centerpieces. We could have some shimmery, tasseled decorations all around. Maybe we could even bring some small water fountains to give the illusion of the Venetian water channels. I’m even thinking of adding in some blue up-lights to help with the water theme.”
“Hmm, I do like that idea. Bringing in the water fountains may be a little costly. Are you sure the budget works with all those extra decorations?” Adrien asked quizzically .
“Yeah , t hat might get a little costly. Like I said, these are just ideas that still need hashing out before going to the school board. I’m just trying to get the theme and ideas in place before I figure out what will and will not work within the budget.”
“Well, that’s why I’m your sounding board! To help you hash out those ideas.”
Marinette worried her lip a little before getting up and walking towards the railing . “And I appreciate all this help, Adrien. I really do.”
There was a full moon tonight. The large moon gave off a serene, blue glow into the clear night sky. The Eiffel Tower was all lit up, the shimmery lights overtaking the city. She became quiet; her eyes widened when the thought of the perfect theme hit her like a sack of flour.
“Oh my goodness Adrien! I figured it out! The picture perfect, romantic Parisian night! A Night to Remember! ” She went off. “A dimly lit gymnasium with lanterns and shimmery lights everywhere. We could stick with pale pinks and yellows for the table cloths with a lantern and a vase of roses or peonies for the centerpieces. A large mural in the background with the moon and stars... Hold on, hold on. I need to take a photo!”
She removes the phone from her ear and opens up the camera to take the picture of the view. This was the perfect inspiration. She had to capture it right then and there.
Marinette could hear Adrien cackling in the background. She rolled her eyes and put the phone back to her ear.
“What?” He said as he wiped a stray tear from his eye . H is belly hurt from all the laughter. “You are so adorable when you go off on your tangents.”
Marinette blushed. She did not expect him to say that. Sure, they have said things like that to each other before, but again, her feelings for him were still there. The blush always made a return whenever the sweetness flowed from his mouth. She was glad they weren’t video chatting.
“Well, did you want to hear the rest of my idea, or are you going to laugh at me the rest of the night?" She said while trying to hide her flustered tone.
Adrien calmed down enough to answer . “ O kay, okay . G o ahead.”
Marinette pursed her lips before continuing. “Okay, so a large mural with the moon and stars in the background. Maybe I could ask Alix to paint he Parisian skyline with buildings and the windows lit up?”
“Hmm, what do you think having her paint the Eiffel Tower in the background of the mural ...”
Their conversations continued well into the night. Marinette filled up her notebook with all their ideas and thanked him with promises of delicious pastries tomorrow. She could feel his bright smile through the phone. A quick laughter ensued and they ended their call with goodnights and sweet dreams. She can feel it. Tomorrow will be a good day.
Chapter 2: Secrets Exposed
Excitement over food. Alya still ships Adrienette. A disobedient Adrien. A secret exposed. Lila shows up.
Nope. Not a good day, or at least not a good start to the morning. Of course she would sleep through her alarm and forget the promised pastries for Adrien. She hoped he had eaten breakfast or else she would feel so much worse.
She ran into her classroom just as the late bell rang and let out an exasperated sigh once she arrived to her seat. Alya laughed as she turned to Marinette. “Geez, Marinette. Way to keep your record of being almost late going strong!”
Marinette made a face and stuck her tongue out at the sarcastic comment. Adrien and Nino turned around and said their good mornings.
“Yeah dudette . I almost lost a bet right there.” Nino said with a smile.
“Oh seriously!” Marinette brought her hands up to her face, hiding the blush that appeared.
Adrien laughed at her reaction. “It could be worse?”
“Too late. I also forgot your pastries this morning!” She banged her head against the table.
Adrien mocked a fake how could you as he placed his hand over his heart.
Alya and Nino chuckle d at their friendly banter.
“Please tell me you ate breakfast?”
“ Yes I did. I was only hoping for a second helping. No one can deny Dupain-Cheng treats when they come around.”
Marinette was about to reply when M lle . Bustier walked in and started with their studies.
----- xoxox -----
Thankfully for Marinette, the morning class moved rather quickly. The quad of friends gathered their things and started making their way to their next class.
“Adrien, I’m really sorry about the pastries.” Marinette s aid .
He giggled. “Mari, seriously. It’s ok”
“No, it’s really not . You helped me out for hours last night. How about coming to my house for lunch?” She turned to Nino and Alya. “How about you guys?”
Adrien grinned a little mischievously, wiggling his eyebrows in the process. “How could I ever say no to a request like that ? ”
She froze for a moment. That look reminded her of her leather-clad partner. She shoved the thought out of her mind before smiling back. “So, I take it I’m forgiven?”
“Mari, you know I could never be mad at you.”
They both scrunched up their faces to mock each other.
Alya and Nino looked at each other before glancing back at their friends ; a silent agreement between the two over the lunch invitation .
“Sorry, no can do. Nino and I are having a lunch date at the café down the street. You guys go ahead and have some fun.” Alya said in one of her plot-filled tones.
“Suit yourself,” Adrien said with a smirk. “More pastries for me.”
Marinette could only shake her head and laugh in reply.
Alya looked over at Nino and nodded her head in the direction of their two dorky friends. Nino only shrugged his shoulders in return.
----- xoxox -----
As soon as the lunch bell rang, Adrien grabbed Marinette’s hand and high tailed it out of the classroom. He could not wait to head over to the bakery to get some delicious food. Marinette let out a large yelp and waved back to her friends before disappearing out the door.
“Adrien has been hanging out more and more with Marinette lately, hasn’t he?” Alya turned to Nino hoping to get any secret information out of him.
Nino only shrugged, “Yeah, I noticed that too. I haven’t had a chance to ask him about it , but it seems like he has been enjoying his freedom since becoming an adult.”
As soon as Adrien turned 18, he was able to talk his father into giving him more freedom. Well, he talked to Natalie, who then talked to Gabriel about giving him more freedom. Adrian more or less gave his father an ultimatum – either allow Adrien to approve of his own activities giving him the opportunity to hang out with his friends and leave the mansion more, or he would quit modeling and move out.
Gabriel was not happy over Adrien’s sudden disobedience , b ut he also didn’t want to lose the face of the Gabriel brand. He opted to allow Adrien more freedom, as long as he continued his studies, fencing, piano, and Chinese lessons. Adrien was able to cut modeling down to a minimum a week, and this allowed him to pick up a shift at the bakery.
It wasn’t a surprise that Adrien started working at the bakery. When Marinette and Adrien became closer friends, he started spending more time with the Dupain- Chengs . Tom and Sabine opened up their home to him with so much warmth that he wanted to be there almost every waking moment. He never had the same reactions or feelings in his own home.
Soon, Tom was teaching him how to bake cookies and frost cakes, while Sabine taught him how to man a cash register. The moment he was able to, he asked Tom and Sabine if they were looking to hire anyone. They both smiled and hired him on the spot. Really, Adrien has never looked happier.
Nino grabbed Alya’s hand and headed out the classroom towards the cafeteria.
“I’m glad his dad finally loosened up his hold over him. Poor sunshine was hidden in that mansion for so long I thought we was going to lose his golden hue at some point.”
Nino laughed, “Yeah, dude. And, like, I’m so glad Marinette has been able to hang around with him when I got busy with gigs. I felt bad when I couldn’t hang out with him more. ”
“Maybe he is finally seeing her in the way she had always seen him? One could only hope, right? The girl has been pining over him for so long. She only really held back when he got with Kagami .” Alya thought of all those nights Marinette cried over him.
Nino picked up a sandwich before tossing it on his tray. “Yeah, but that was so short lived. And you know, he’s been single for over a year now. But, no one really knows that. Kagami and him only get together now for appearances.”
“I thought that when Adrien got his chance at freedom that he would end whatever ‘relationship’ he had with Kagami. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t officially end it yet.” Alya grabbed her own sandwich and an apple before walking towards the empty table.
“I guess th ey decided to keep it a secret to keep their parents off their backs? ” Nino shrugged. “ They barely see each other now anyways since she’s been gone . I’m just wondering what the press will say once they hear about this.”
Alya and Nino continued their conversation while eating their lunch, not noticing a certain someone listening close by.
“My, my, my Adrien. Single and lying.” Lila said with such malice. A devilish grin spread upon her lips . “I thought you were a goody-two-shoes. I guess I thought wrong.”
Chapter 3: Clumsy Interactions
Tom and Sabine could see the two teenagers running towards the bakery. They looked at each other and half-smiled, half-laughed over the sight of Adrien dragging Marinette by her hand.
“How much longer do you think until they figure it out?” Sabine questioned Tom while cleaning up a tray.
“I don’t know, but hopefully not too long.” Tom said with a huff.
Adrien threw open the door with a huge grin over his face. Marinette looked quite disheveled from the run over.
“Well look at what the cat dragged in.” Tom said with a laugh.
Adrien stopped in his tracks. The comment caught him off guard.
“Yeah, well someone couldn’t wait for some of your treats, papa.” Marinette poked Adrien in a tease. “I forgot to bring him pastries this morning so I invited him over for lunch. I hope that’s alright.”
“Of course! Adrien is always welcomed here.” Tom wrapped Adrien in a bear hug.
“Go on upstairs. I have dumpling soup on the stove. Bring some fresh bread with you, and here - some treats for dessert.” Sabine handed Adrien a small bag of pastries before guiding them upstairs. “Go on, enjoy your lunch!”
They both smiled before turning and heading upstairs.
----- xoxox -----
While they ate their lunch, the pair talked about the future. Marinette was accepted into one of the elite design schools in Paris. She decided to stay home while attending the university, saving money for an apartment after college. Adrien was still unsure of what he wanted to go into, but that didn’t stop him from applying; he would simply focus on his general education credits while deciding a career choice. He will most likely move out after he graduates to an apartment close to the bakery and to the university. He knew staying with his father would be a poor choice.
When they finished their lunch, they headed to Marinette’s room to play a quick game of Ultimate Mega Strike III to pass the time. While in the middle of a match, Adrien noticed his phone ringing. Marinette paused the game and looked over to Adrien as he fished the phone out of his pocket.
“Nathalie” Adrien said with an eye roll. “Hey Nathalie.”
A few nods, confirmations, and cancelled plans later, Adrien ended the call.
“Hey, I have the afternoon free now. Do you have any plans? Maybe see if Alya and Nino are free for a game night?” Adrien asked with some serious kitty eyes.
Marinette tossed a pillow to his face. “Are you only inviting yourself over to my house for more food?”
Adrien scoffed sarcastically, “I only value our friendship for the food. I’m surprised it took you this long to figure it out.”
She grabbed another pillow and smacked his head. Adrien grabbed the pillow that landed near his feet and smacked her back. A pillow fight broke out, bringing them both up to their feet.
Adrien slowly walked backwards towards the chaise while Marinette set out a combination of smacks. He was blocking some of the blows, laughing as he concocted his own combos back at her.
Marinette was about to throw a final blow to his head when she tripped over her own foot. In what felt like slow motion, she fell into Adrien, knocking them both onto the floor.
They burst into laughter over the mishap of the situation. Their eyes were closed from laughing so hard.
When Adrien finally opened his eyes, he could see a pink blush overcoming the cheeks of this adorable, blue-eyed girl. She was still giggling and he couldn’t help but watch her with adoration. The sweet scent of vanilla on her skin was intoxicating.
He could feel the butterflies forming in his belly. He prayed to the kwamis that she couldn’t feel his rapid heartbeat.
Once Marinette realized she was the only one laughing, she stopped to look up at him. His emerald green eyes were breathtakingly clear. A soft glow emanating from his face. She realized how close her face was to his and she held her breath as her own heartbeat increased. The flood of emotions that she had buried deep down inside came back stronger than ever before.
They stared into each other’s eyes for a while before Marinette turned her head to the side. The break in trance made them realize the intimacy of the moment. Adrien had caught her before they hit the floor and was still holding on to her. He swallowed hard before asking in a low whisper, “Are you okay?”
She cleared her throat to get rid of the embarrassment, and nervously nodded to his question. Her mouth felt dry and her body felt weak. Slowly, she removed herself from his grasp, her pink blush now red. She hadn’t felt like this towards him in a long time. The last thing she needed was to start stuttering again.
Adrien slowly made his way to a standing position, grabbing her hands and bringing her up with him in the process. He continued to look at her with a look of desire burning a hole in his chest. Slowly, but in a low tone, he said “I think we should head back to class.”
While looking back into his eyes, and in a tone that matched his, Marinette quietly said “Okay.” She broke the contact between them, a spark of energy coursed through her body.
Oh boy, was she in trouble.
----- xoxox -----
After they said their goodbyes to the Dupain-Chengs, Marinette and Adrien made their way towards the school, the blush still prevalent on their faces.
Alya greeted them in the courtyard, noticing the awkward tension between the two. She tilted her head in confusion, wondering what happened to them in the two hours they were gone. Nino walked up behind her, only to notice the same tension. He placed his elbow on Alya’s shoulders before asking, “Dudes, like, what’s with all the weirdness?”
Alya elbowed him in the stomach before sighing. “You know what? Yeah, I’m not even going to brush this off.” She waved her hand towards them, “What happened?”
Marinette and Adrien quickly looked at each other before exclaiming Nothing and returning their faces to the ground. They were both red, the heat rising in their necks as they thought of the mishap.
Alya and Nino continued to stare at them with questionable looks.
“Fine, don’t tell us. It only makes us think you guys did something dirty.” Alya winked at them.
“Yeah, bro. Didn’t think you had it in you.” Nino said pointing a finger gun at Adrien.
“No- No! It was nothing like that.” Adrien nervously sputtered the words.
Marinette was now the color of a tomato and tried to cover her face with her hands.
Alya and Nino only laughed before Alya said, “Man you guys are so easy to embarrass.”
Marinette recovered enough to stick her tongue out at them. “We were going to invite you to game night tonight at my place, but I don’t think I want to anymore.” She crossed her arms in a huff.
The school bell rang saving the flustered pair from further embarrassment.
Alya pulled Marinette towards her and looped their arms together. “Yeah, we can come. Doesn’t mean that you guys are off the hook. I want the deets.”
Marinette only sighed in defeat as they walked to class.
----- xoxox -----
The remainder of the day went unscathed. Marinette was able to speak to the school board of her plans and had them approved. She knew this event needed to be perfect and she knew of the right people to be part of her team.
When classes ended, she met with the art department to recruit Alix, Nathaniel, and Marc to her design team. She requested Alix to create the mural of the nighttime Parisian skyline with the inclusion of the Eiffel Tower per Adrien’s insight. Nathaniel was in charge of creating the designs of the posters that would be spread around the school along with the concept art for the invitations. Marinette had a last-minute idea change and requested to add a masquerade mask to the invitations. Marc would work with Nathaniel to get the wording just right.
When everyone was in agreement over their roles, Marinette went straight to Le Grande Paris for a meeting with Madam Césaire to go over food and drinks for the event. She wanted to keep everything Parisian-like with a romantic flair.
On her way to the next appointment, Marinette quickly called Alya to give her the important details of the event and have her place it on the school blog. A more formal announcement would go up once Nathaniel and Marc finished the invitations and posters. She could hear Nino in the background and asked if he would like to DJ for a small portion of the event, to which he happily agreed.
Marinette called Penny to ask her if Jagged Stone could help out with the music for the event. When Jagged overheard the conversation, he butted in on the phone call and agreed to do it for his favorite designer. Marinette smirked when she could hear Penny sigh in the background, most likely needing to change the impulsive musician’s entire schedule around for the event.
Before heading home, she stopped by Couffaine’s house boat to recruit Kitty Section to play a few sets in between Jagged’s live set and Nino DJing. The band loved the idea and couldn’t wait to help out their friend.
This is going to be a crazy few weeks, Marinette thought, but I couldn’t ask for better people to be part of the team.
Chapter 4: Untold Feelings
The Kwami's talk to their chosens about the chaos that happened earlier that day.
“Tikki! What the heck happened today?” Marinette said to her kwami as she prepared for her friends to arrive. She looked over to the pillows that were still on the floor from the earlier incident.
“It looks like you and Adrien were having a little fun!”
“Come on Tikki. I’m talking about that little-” she gestured her hand in the air, “little, I don’t know, moment?”
Tikki could only giggle. “It seems like he was a little awestruck at you, Marinette.”
“But what happened to make him act like that? Of all the years I’ve known him, he’s never acted that way towards me before. He was... he was acting like me!”
She brought her hands up over her head before spinning around and falling on her chaise. Her hands fell over her eyes to hide from the confusion of the day.
Tikki hovered over her chosen and patted Marinette’s hands, hoping that she would remove them from her face.
“Don’t think too much into it, Marinette! You don’t want to be too flustered when Adrien comes over.”
“Ugh, Tikki! I haven't stopped thinking about it. You know how much I loved him when we were younger.” She sat up and hung her head low. “Now here I am falling deeper in love with him all over again! What is wrong with me?”
“Marinette, you know you never stopped loving him. Maybe he is finally liking you back?” the Kwami said in a hopeful tone.
“I don’t know Tikki. I never thought he could like me back in that way. I mean I was always hopeful...”
“And since he’s been spending so much time with you, maybe he is finally seeing you in the same way you have always seen him.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. Ugh. Why is this so confusing? Forget it. I need to finish getting everything ready. They should be here soon.”
----- xoxox -----
Adrien was making his way to Marinette’s house when he could hear Plagg sniggering in his jacket. “Oh, come on, Plagg.” Adrien said scornfully.
“What? The baker girl fell on you and you couldn’t keep your eyes off of her. You guys would have made out if she didn’t look away.”
“Marinette is just a friend, Plagg.” He said in a huff.
“Yeah, sure kid. And I’m the kwami of creation.”
“Ugh. Who am I kidding?” Adrien stopped in his tracks. He ducked into a dark alleyway and sat on the ground, leaning his head against the brick façade. He looked up as he pondered over the earlier incident. “Is it that blatantly obvious?”
Plagg hovered in front of his chosen’s face. “Kid, you got it bad for pigtails. You guys are always together.”
“That’s because we’re best friends!”
“You spend hours on the phone with each other.”
“Again, best friends!”
“You started learning how to make cakes with her dad.”
“I wanted to learn how to make some of the best treats in town.” he shot back.
“You took a shift at the bakery.” he deadpanned.
“... okay, I didn’t need to start working at the bakery, but I just don’t want to focus on modeling all the time. I wanted to get some real-life work experience.” Adrien crossed his arms.
“You would have kissed Marinette if she didn’t turn her face.” Plagg spit out.
Adrien didn’t respond. It was obvious, wasn’t it. Adrien shut his eyes a moment, basking in the warmth of the sun that was setting. “I think I’m falling in love with her, Plagg.”
“Finally, kid. It’s about time you figured it out.”
“But it’s not like I can do anything about it. I’m ‘technically’ still with Kagami just to kind of keep our parents off our backs. Plus, I don’t even know if she likes me like that.”
“Well, maybe you need to think about finally breaking whatever it is you have with Kagami and talk to Marinette.”
“It’s complicated, Plagg.”
“Well whatever you do, figure it out later. I’m hungry. Let’s get to her place. Hopefully she has some of that yummy cheese bread I could snack on.”
----- xoxox -----
Adrien turned the corner to see Alya and Nino approaching the bakery. He smiled and waved. “Ready to get your butt kicked tonight?”
“And are you ready to tell us what happened earlier?” Alya’s reporter skills kicked in.
“Geez. You couldn’t even wait until after we ate pizza to bring that up, huh?” Adrien huffed.
“Dude, you know how Alya gets when she wants the scoop.”
Adrien rolled his eyes as he knocked on the door. The door swung open, revealing a very happy Marinette. Dear kwamis, he thought, not realizing he was staring at her. She wasn’t wearing anything special; just her pink, cuffed capris with a black sweatshirt. Wait, a black sweatshirt with a green paw print – a Chat Noir-inspired sweatshirt to be exact. She liked his superhero persona? Her hair was in a messy bun instead of her signature pigtails. Her eyes shined like sapphires. Has she always been this gorgeous? Yes. Always. Why am I only noticing this now?
Nino slapped his back, “Dude.”
Adrien cleared his throat. “Ye- yeah, I’m fine!”
Yeah, I’m definitely in trouble.
Marinette’s happy smile slightly dropped to a confused, unsure smile. She let them in and watched her friends head up the staircase while talking about what games they should play tonight. As she closed the door, she slowly side-eyed towards the golden-haired boy that captured her heart. A small pink blush still lingered on his cheeks. I wonder what flustered him this time? she thought.
“Hey girl, are you just going to stand there? Come on!” Alya beamed at the raven-haired girl.
“Coming!” Marinette exclaimed while quickly walking towards her the staircase. She missed the first step but caught herself before falling up the stairs.
“I caught myself this time,” she said looking over to Adrien.
Adrien let out a half laugh, rubbing his neck at the awkwardness. “Yeah. Heh. Good catch.”
“Alright, will someone just tell us what happened?” Alya looked frustrated. “I’ll hide the video games until someone spills.”
Adrien and Marinette looked over to each other before Marinette finally spoke. “We had a pillow fight and I tripped over my own foot and fell on top of Adrien.” She started blushing.
“That’s it?” Alya said with a huff. Her hands were acting out most of the frustration. “The way you guys were acting, it looked like you confessed to each other and made out or something.”
“No, nothing like that!” Adrien said quickly. They both laughed nervously.
Alya looked over at them and dropped the topic. She knew nothing was going to come from it. Marinette and Adrien were relieved when the conversation steered to the food and games. They quickly dove into the pizza and drinks laid out on the table and got into teams to play Ultimate Mega Strike III. It was girls versus guys, with the girls slaughtering the boys ten-to-three.
“I’m grabbing a drink downstairs. Anyone want a refill?” Marinette looked over to the group and waited for a reply.
Adrien was about to speak when he heard his phone ring. A quick glance saw it was Kagami calling via video chat. Marinette smiled and walked over to Adrien as he accepted the call.
“Hey Kagami” Adrien beamed.
Back when they were 16, Kagami and Adrien dated. It was hard for Marinette to see them together, but she knew for sure that Adrien loved her. It made sense, at least to Marinette, and in her heart, she let him go so he could be happy. That’s all she ever wanted for him.
No one was more surprised than Marinette when their relationship ended after a short time. Kagami and Adrien mutually decided that they were better off as friends. The pedestal Kagami had put him on was knocked over when she realized how dorky this cute boy was. While she enjoyed his company, her love for him fizzled. It was simply an infatuation over their mutual life issues and the idea that he was perfect. And Adrien still loved the other girl - the girl not even Nino really knew about - and was just not ready to move on from it.
Since then, the two remained close friends. Marinette became closer to the two and spent many nights hanging out, watching movies, and walking around Paris. A few months ago, Kagami had moved back to Japan temporarily while her family sorted out some family matters. It was hard for the three friends, but they made it work with facetime and group chats.
Marinette waved, “Hey Kagami! Long time no see!”
“Hey guys. I miss you all terribly.” She said with a smile.
But Marinette could see she was hiding something behind that smile. “Uh, Kagami. Are you sure you’re okay?”
Adrien looked from the phone to Marinette then back to the phone. He started to worry his lip a bit.
Kagami huffed out a frustrated sigh. “No. I’m not. Turn on the news. There’s a huge problem.”
Chapter 5: The Interview from Hell
Lila interview, exposed lies, planning ensues
“Don’t be amused, it’s just the news. I’m Nadja Chamack and this just in – Is there trouble in paradise for these two love birds?” A picture of Kagami and Adrien from a red-carpet appearance pops on the screen.
“Sources say Mademoiselle Kagami Tsurugi and Monsieur Adrien Agreste have parted ways. I have gathered that these two so-called ‘love birds’ have actually been separated for quite some time. How long you may ask? We have been led to believe that they have been separated for well over a year! Has this entire relationship been a sham?”
“We have reached out to one of Gabriel’s top models and close, personal friend of Adrien Agreste’s to confirm the news.”
The camera pans over to an interview with the brown-haired girl. “Mademoiselle Lila Rossi, can you confirm what you know of this breaking news?”
“Oh my. I cannot believe their secret is out.” Lila placed a hand over her heart, her face faked of worry. “Poor Adrien was so heart-broken over the entire thing, he swore me to secrecy. I have been by his side the entire time while consoling him.”
“How long have they been apart, Mlle. Rossi? They seemed to continue making appearances and even appeared ‘in love’ until Mlle. Tsurugi had to handle matters in Japan.”
“I know I really shouldn’t say anything, but they have been apart for well over a year.” The words spewed from her mouth. “Since then, Adrien and I became even closer. He needed someone who would be there for him at a moment’s notice.”
“It seems that his heartbreak was short-lived then if you both became closer. Is there something forming between you two?”
Lila smiled and faked up the puppy dog, love-struck look in her eyes. “I don’t want to confirm or deny anything without him here, but I cannot keep the secret any longer. I love that boy. And I know he feels the same for me.”
“Well there you have it ladies and gentleman. One power couple no longer together while another is forming. Stay tuned for more information-”
The four friends stared at Marinette’s computer screen; jaws dropped over the leaked news. Adrien had his phone leaned against Marinette’s computer while they watched the footage. Kagami looked defeated. Adrien was downright angry.
“Lila!” Adrien was seething. He was shaking from the anger. “How did she find out about this?”
“I’m not sure. Besides the five of us, does anyone else know?” Kagami questioned.
“No. We kept it between us and we don’t talk about it outside of closed walls.”
Alya and Nino looked over to each other nervously. Adrien was too focused on the screen to notice the interaction.
“Does your Father know? My mother has already spoken her mind on the matter. She said this was a disgrace to the family and is disappointed over the lies.”
“I’m surprised I haven’t received a call from Nathalie over the matter. I can already see the scolding from Father happening the moment I walk into the mansion tonight.”
Marinette was shocked. She knew Lila was terrible, but this took the cake. She placed her hand in Adrien’s and looked into his eyes. The comfort over the unspoken interaction calmed him down enough to stop shaking.
“What are we going to do? I don’t think I can make a public statement from here. I mean I could, but it would be easier if we could handle the influx of interviews together and in person. All my interviews will have to be done over video chat.”
Kagami scoured the room to look at the four friends. She noticed Alya and Nino shifting nervously in their seats. “ Alya , Nino. Is something the matter?”
Marinette and Adrien turned to look at the couple.
“I think someone overheard our conversation during lunch today.” Alya said sheepishly.
“You- You’re conversation! What conversation?” Adrien’s anger returned. Marinette squeezed his hand to get him to relax again.
“We were talking about how you and Marinette were getting closer and hanging out so much more than ever before. I may have mentioned that I was surprised you and Kagami haven’t ended the fake relationship spiel since you got out from under your dad’s iron fist.”
“And I pretty much confirmed it was because you dudes wanted to keep your parents off your backs.” Nino rubbed the back of his neck. “Dudes, we are so sorry. We never meant for anyone to overhear us.”
“We understand if you won’t forgive us. We really are sorry.” Alya added.
Adrien let out a painful sigh. He hunched over with his head low and ran his free hand through his hair. “What the hell are we going to do. The media is going to go crazy over this.”
Marinette stayed quiet, trying to formulate a plan to help out her dearest friends. She looked over to Alya and Nino, who both looked defeated beyond repair. Kagami and Adrien were continuing their conversation, but Marinette wasn’t listening. She had to think of something. She was Ladybug after all! Lila was a conniving animal, eavesdropping over the unbeknownst couple. She surely had to pay. But how?
“-not sure if we could just say-”
“-but whatever we need to do-”
“-focus off of Lila-”
Marinette continued to think in between their conversations. Adrien was a mix of emotions. He went from angry, to defeated, then frustrated, and finally ended at annoyed. Kagami kept a neutral look.
“I can’t remember. Did you guys ever publicly announce you were in love?” Marinette thought out loud while staring at the floor. The questions were formulating in her head, careful to weed out anything that wouldn’t make sense to fixing this mess.
“Actually, we never publicly announced we were together.” Adrien started thinking back. “I want to say they assumed we were together. Kagami , did we ever confirm the rumors?”
Alya spoke up before Kagami could answer. She wanted to help as much as she could for getting her friends into this mess. “No, Gabriel wanted you guys to confirm it, but you both said no because your relationship was still so new. You guys chose to keep it low until it developed into something more seriously.”
Kagami stared at the aspiring journalist with a glaring stare. “She is right. We never confirmed or denied our relationship. We just continuously showed up to appearances with smiles and hand holding.”
Marinette’s wheels turned. “If that is the case, couldn’t you say that it was never confirmed that you were in a relationship? Could you blow it off as you both are best friends and making the appearances together just made the events less lonely?”
“We could, but they will speculate that there was a budding romance and that we are just playing it off now. But I mean, that is just better than downright ignoring the whole situation.”
Marinette continued. “Well that’s not a complete lie. You were in a relationship in the beginning. Just say, ‘hey we were in a relationship in the beginning. We both decided to call it quits after a few months, but never confirmed or denied the questions. We’ve remained best friends and enjoy each other’s company’.”
Now it was Adrien’s turn to continue the thought. “If they ask us about the lovey-dovey and hand-holding parts of our relationship, I’ll tell them the truth – I'm a touchy person and a gentleman. I love to give sincerity to my dates while also making sure they are comfortable in my care.”
Kagami agreed. “Yes. Adrien, you are definitely a touchy-feely type of person.” A giggle escaped her lips.
“Hey what can I say? My family is broken and my dad’s a jackass. Touching is my love language. I crave it.” He unconsciously squeezed Marinette’s hand. She was so focused on her friends that she forgot they were still holding hands. The intimate gesture startled her, but felt warm to her soul. “Now what about Lila?”
Alya chimed in. “I think I have a plan for that conniving bitch.”
Chapter 6: Adrien's Final Blow
Lila speaks to Gabriel.
Adrien blows a gasket. AKA He quits.
“Thank you for meeting me, Monsieur Agreste .” Lila was sitting on the bench with her back towards him.
Gabriel stayed firm in his car; the window partially opened, ready to hear what this girl needed to say.
“Mlle. Rossi.” he said flatly. “You stated that you have some information on my son?” His tone was as cold as ice.
“Yes, sir. I was told that Adrien and Kagami have not been together for some time. It seems like your son has been lying to you for a better part of a year."
“Is that true?” He was intrigued, but kept his composure. “And where did you hear of this information Mlle. Rossi?”
“I overheard that Nino-friend-of-his talking to his girlfriend about it.” Her voice was filled with venom. “It seems like it was only kept between a few close friends. Those friends are a terrible influence on him, M . Agreste .”
“And how do you expect me to change that? I am sure you have heard that he has threatened to quit the brand if something were to happen between him and his so-called friends.”
“Then maybe his ‘friends’ will need to turn their backs on him.”
“See to it that it works. And do not disappoint me, mademoiselle.”
----- xoxox -----
Adrien returned home with anxiety over the unpleasant news. He was hoping that word did not spread as quickly as he thought and he could head off to his room without a scolding from his father. He walked into the atrium and made his way up the steps before seeing a figure waiting for him at the top.
“Adrien.” his father said coldly.
“Father.” Adrien returned the cold gesture.
“What is the meaning of your so-called ‘relationship’ with Mlle. Tsurugi ? Have you been lying to me all this time?”
“No, Father, I have not been lying to you.”
“But you have not been telling me the truth, have you?” The anger could be heard in his voice.
Adrien did not want to have this conversation today. He was exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions he was feeling since Kagami called him with the news. “ Kagami and I were in a relationship. We both chose to end our dating relationship. We still have a friendship-relationship. Friends can hold hands especially during special events like the ones we attended. And yes, I do love her, but I love her as a friend.” he said in a way to make his voice bold, strong, and heard. “We never confirmed our relationship with the press. And we never told them we were in love. They assumed all of that themselves. So, as I have said, I was not deceiving you in any way, Father.”
“Your disobedience perturbs me, Adrien. First, the wanted freedom. Then reducing your activities and modeling. Getting a job - at a bakery no less - when you could continue to model. Wanting to attend a university with your own elected degree instead of the business degree I suggested you attain. Now a ‘fake’ relationship instead of an actual relationship with Mlle. Tsurugi ? What’s next, you are going to tell me that you are dating that bakery girl - Mlle. Dupain -Cheng is it? Well, I forbid whatever it is you choose to do next. You will stop your disobedience this instance, and you will go back to your schedule as previously done. Nathalie will take care of everything for you from now one and you will do as you’re told. Now, go to your room.”
Adrien was seething. He was an adult. He finally had his taste of freedom. Finally was able to make decisions for himself. And that man that he calls Father was taking it all away. For what? Over the misconstrued deceitfulness of a ‘fake relationship’ that his father assumed continued? And the implied controversy of wanting to date sweet Marinette? No. It was all because it was never part of his plan. He didn’t care about Adrien and his happiness. All he cared about was his brand.
Adrien was done. “No.” He said sternly.
“You will not disobey me again, Adrien. Go to your room.” Gorilla walked up behind Adrien while Nathalie walked alongside Gabriel.
“I. Said. No.” Adrien said through gritted teeth. He walked up to his father and stood in front of him. His hand was clenched tight into a fist, ready to punch him square in the face. But he wouldn’t lay a hand to him. He had more dignity than that.
“I quit! I quit modeling. I quit the photo shoots. I quit the Chinese, fencing, and piano lessons. I quit all the appearances that I am forced to attend.” The words spilling out his mouth with such force, he was shaking. He took a step forward until his face was so close to his father’s face, they could feel the puffs of breaths coming from their mouths. “And I quit being your son.”
Adrien looked at his father before taking one step to the side and set off to his room. Gabriel stood there in shock over the brash words. His mouth was slightly agape. Nathalie walked forward, unsure of what to say or do. Gorilla had a slight smirk to his face as he turned and walked away.
As soon as Adrien marched into his room and slammed the door shut, Plagg zoomed out of his chosen’s shirt and stared in shock. “Wow kid. I never thought you had it in you to talk back to him like that.”
“Honestly, neither did I.” Adrien was still shaking; his body was full of adrenaline over the encounter. No amount of scary akumas could ever match the fear that overtook his body. The moment Marinette’s name left his father’s mouth, he knew he couldn’t hold back. No one talks about his princess that way.
Adrien didn’t say much as he gathered a few sets of clothes, toiletries, and other important documents. Plagg took the opportunity to gather all his cheese from the vault and set it in the almost full bag.
When he was finished, he picked up his bag and head out his bedroom door. In the atrium, his father stood with his arms crossed behind his back. Nathalie stood near the door with Gorilla standing in front of the exit.
Adrien made up his mind. No one will stand in the way of it. He looked straight into his father’s cold eyes. “Father.” Gabriel chose not to acknowledge him. “Nathalie.” She nodded to his greeting with a stern look on her face. Gorilla stepped aside to allow him to leave.
As soon as he walked past the gates, he felt the anger release. He wanted to fall to his knees right there. But he knew he couldn’t let his body relax until he reached his destination. Where? He didn’t know. He just walked straight towards the subway station and decided to take a train as far as he could go.
As he was boarding, he received a message from the girl that occupied his mind.
Marinette: Hey. I’m just checking up on you. Did your dad talk to you?”
Adrien: Yeah, about that....
Adrien: Do you think I can come by? I kind of quit being his son and now I’m essentially homeless. :/
Marinette: You quit? Being his son? Can you do that?
Marinette: And yes. You know you’re always welcomed here.
Marinette: I’ll go and let my parents know and set up the guest room.
Adrien: I guess you can, because I just did.
Adrien: Marinette. You are seriously the best. Thank you.
Marinette: :) Always.
Chapter 7: Lila's Lies
Adrien slept better than he had in a long time. A comfortable bed in a cozy room in a home that actually loved him helped ease the stress from the previous day. He got himself up and ready for the day and head out to the kitchen. Greeted by Marinette’s maman, he felt a sense of happiness.
“Good morning Mdm. Cheng. Thank you again for everything. I’m sorry to bother you like this.”
“Good morning, Adrien. And please. You know you are always welcomed here. I’m just sorry that the situation that brought you here was not in good terms.” Sabine said. She placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it to show her concern. “Stay as long as you need.”
Marinette slowly walked down from her room, rubbing the sleepiness from her eyes. When she finally woke up, she squeaked. She forgot Adrien had stayed over and that he was in the kitchen. She looked down at her body and realized she was still wearing pajamas. She ran right back to her room to change. Both Adrien and Sabine giggled.
When Marinette felt decent enough, she trudged back downstairs, gave her maman a peck on the cheek before sitting beside Adrien for breakfast. “How did you sleep? I hope I placed enough blankets in your room.”
“I slept better than I have in a long time. Thanks Marinette.”
“Do you think you’ll go back home today? I know how angry you were at your dad.”
“I know I left in a hurry. I was so angry. He believes he can control every aspect of my life. He doesn’t care about how I want to do things. It’s whatever works for the brand. I have to be the ‘perfect son’. I can’t do that anymore. I’m not perfect.” Adrien sighed as he placed his head on his fist. “Maybe I should go back home to try to talk to him. I just need a couple days to cool off.”
While eating breakfast, Sabine discussed rules and stipulations now that Adrien will be staying for some time. Adrien happily obliges to the rules, and welcomes the extra shifts at the bakery now that his extra-curricular activities have left his schedule. “It’s the least I can do for the hospitality.” He said with a smile.
----- xoxox -----
Alya and Nino were waiting in front of the Collège Françoise Dupont, happily greeting the duo.
Alya could not wait to ask Marinette to commission her gown for the dance. “Do you think you’ll have time? I know the dance is a few weeks away and you will be busy with planning, but I would love a Marinette Dupain-Cheng original! And maybe a tie for Nino to go with my dress?”
Marinette lets out a giggle and agrees. “You know I’m never too busy for you, Alya!”
The girls trail ahead to talk about specifics while Nino and Adrien walk behind them going over what happened after everyone left Marinette’s home.
As they walk towards the courtyard, a group of girls surrounded Marinette and Alya.
Rose was the first to speak. “Are you able to make me a gown for the dance? I would love to look like a princess!” She brought her hands up to her face it as she gushed over the request.
Juleka also asked for a dress in her favorite colors to match Rose’s, while Alix asked for a pant suit style outfit and a tie for Max to match.
After Marinette agreed on the commissions, the quad of friends walked to the locker room to prepare for the morning classes while the rest headed straight for homeroom.
----- xoxox -----
“Lila, is it really true about Adrien? Did Kagami really break up with him?” Rose asked.
Lila placed a hand over her chest. “It was terrible for him. He was moping all summer long over it.”
“And they were keeping it a secret this whole time? Why?” Alix questioned.
“What really happened, Lila?” Kim asked, looking to see if the Agreste kid was really up to snuff.
“Between us,” Lila spoke in half whispers, but loud enough for the congregated classmates to hear, “he cheated on Kagami with another model. He lied to Kagami about it but then Kagami found out and broke it off with him.”
A collective shock went through the room. “HE DID WHAT?”
“The Agreste-kid seriously cheated on Kagami?” Kim asked while crossing his arms. “Man, those model kids really leave a bad taste in my mouth. They think they can get with whoever they want without any consequences.”
“He felt so bad that he cheated on her, but then tried to lie to stay together with her.” Lila said with an eye roll.
“And so he went to you?” Rose said with sadness in her voice. The idea that Adrien would even do this to anyone is painfully hurting her heart. “I can’t believe he would do anything like this. He seems like such a sweet kid!”
“Yeah, why would you want to be with a cheater? I say once a cheater, always a cheater!” Kim said with a huff.
“Cheaters have a potential 45.6 percent chance that they will cheat again.” Max straightened his glasses. “While that statistic is still high, Adrien has the potential 25.2 percent chance to cheat again due to his romantic tendencies and good person persona.”
“I know he won’t cheat again, and not on me at least.” Lila said with a smirk. “We spend every moment together. We’ve just been keeping it low until the news broke out. And now that it’s out, we can finally be together. No secrets!”
Adrien, Nino, Alya, and Marinette walked into the almost full classroom, laughing and chatting about a topic Nino brought up, when they noticed some tension and silence.
“What’s going on guys?” Alya questioned.
Not wasting any time, Kim pointed at Adrien with an accusatory tone. “You, Agreste, are a two-timing scum.”
“What? Me?” Adrien said with shock.
“What are you talking about, Kim?” Marinette asked defensively.
“You cheated on Kagami! How could you!” Rose said with tears in her eyes.
“What are you guys talking about? I never cheated on Kagami.” Adrien cried out. His nerves were taking a hold of his voice.
“Come on now, Adrien. You know your relationship with Kagami was fake. Isn’t that true?” Lila walked up to him. She tried to place a hand on his chest. “We’ve been spending a lot of time lately, haven’t we?”
Adrien growled as he took a step back. It was as if her touch would have burned his skin. “What have you been saying about me, Lila? I know you planned that interview. I’ve never been close to you and never will be!” Marinette placed a hand on his arm, holding him back.
“Adrien, sweetie, you were with me last night, don’t you remember?”
Alya, Nino, and Marinette jumped in front of Adrien.
“You lying sack of shit!” Marinette screamed out.
Alya and Nino both looked over to Marinette, shocked of the words coming out of her mouth.
“Because of your interview, that you lied about, Adrien is now without a home. And do you know where he is living now because of your actions? WITH ME! So instead of trying to make up being with Adrien, why don’t you get your facts straight?” Marinette was seething.
“He was with us last night, too. We were all at Marinette’s house for hours.” Alya added. “You are some lying scum making everyone believe that Adrien, of all people, would ever treat anyone like that. And you would be wrong if you think I will ever believe you again, Lie-la!”
“Dude, let’s question you if everything you have ever been telling us is the truth.” Nino questioned. His arms crossed in front of him.
“Lila, I wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole.” Adrien said with venom in his voice.
Lila, taken back that her lie didn’t work to her benefit, started crying crocodile tears. “You came to me when you left her house! You told me you wanted to be with me last night!”
“All lies, Lila!” Alya screamed.
They continued to scream and argue, not noticing a purple butterfly floating around waiting for an unsuspecting victim.
Chapter 8: Akuma!
Everyone turned to the black-haired girl to see that Rose had transformed. Marinette took the opportunity to run out the room and transform in the girl's bathroom. Adrien turned a few seconds later and snuck out of the room before anyone noticed he was missing. He ducked into a nearby janitor’s closet and transformed. Alya, getting excited about the impending action, whipped out her phone, ready to record the akuma for her Ladyblog. Nino took cover to keep any eye on his crazy girlfriend.
“Rose, please!” Juleka pleaded.
Ladybug and Chat Noir appeared, trying to understand the akumatized Rose.
“I am not Rose! I am Lady Chastiser!” She was wearing a pink pant suit with a white top. A pink lightning bolt shaped tie completed the outfit. Over her eyes, she wore silver aviators, making her look like she was policing the actions. The akumatized object, a pencil, turned into a staff with a diamond on the top of it.
“I am here to reprimand those who cause malicious intent!” Lady Chastiser cackled. She pointed at Ladybug and Chat Noir with her staff. “ And steal your miraculous!”
Lady Chastiser continued to laugh as the diamond on the staff glowed green. “Huh, it seems that you are not fighting with ill-intent. I’ll spare you for now. I need to find Liiiiillllaaaaa.” She hummed out Lila’s name in a sing-songy tone.
Lila screamed and ran out the room. “Get away from me! I didn’t do anything! Adrien is lying!”
“I will be the judge of that, Lila.” She looked around the room. “Where is he?”
Ladybug looked over to Chat Noir. “We need to get Adrien out of here before he gets hurt. As long as he’s not lying or has done anything with malicious intent, I mean.”
“He’s fine and hiding, M’Lady. I saw him before coming in here.”
“Oh, okay... good!” She said, hesitantly.
The remaining students ran out of the classroom, hiding wherever they thought was safe.
“Forget it. I know he would never do anything like that.” she scoffed. “Oh, Lila. Where are you?” Lady Chastiser was calling for the liar as she stepped out of the classroom and made her way down the corridor.
Every person she came across was judged by her and her glowing staff. Green-glowing diamonds meant they were good people and free to go. Red-glowing diamonds meant they had malicious intent in their hearts and deserved to be punished. Unfortunately, there were one or two students who had to deal with the reprimand.
Lila was hiding in a hall closet, huddling in the corner with her arms over her head. Lady Chastiser was using her staff as a metal detector to find her. She pointed the staff towards the door and stopped when the staff glowed red. “Lila, Lila, Lila. I found you! You deserve to be reprimanded for sabotaging and lying about Adrien!”
Lila screamed as soon as Lady Chastiser whipped opened the door. Ladybug and Chat Noir ran in front of the broken doorway trying to protect Lila, no matter how much they wanted her to suffer.
“She is full of malicious intent! She deserves to be punished!”
Lady Chastiser used her staff to swing and hit the superheroes, causing them to fly down the hallway. As Ladybug and Chat Noir got up, the akuma pointed her staff at Lila, the diamond glowing a deep red. It was a deeper red than it was moments ago.
“Lila, the diamonds don’t lie! You are full of malicious intent. You will be reprimanded. Now spill your words and tell the truth!”
“Adrien never cheated on Kagami!” Lila slapped her hands over her mouth trying to stifle any words waiting to come out. Lady Chastiser swiped her finger in the air a bit, causing Lila’s hands to move uncontrollably to her lap. “He didn’t leave her! They broke up mutually. He was never a cheater. He’s too much of a goody-two-shoes to do it!”
Lady Chastiser smiled.
“I hate Ladybug! She ruined any chances I had to manipulate Adrien. And I hate Chat Noir too. That mangy cat only follows her around because she’s too good for anyone else. It sickens me!”
“Good! Anything else?”
Ladybug could see Alya sticking her head out of a classroom, her phone recording the whole interaction. Ladybug and Chat Noir were walking towards the duo with caution, allowing the akuma to force Lila to spill her lies. They would intervene if harm would come to her.
“Marinette never bullied me! She never did anything. I was the one who threatened Marinette. I got her expelled! I lied to everyone so I could win!”
Chat Noir and Ladybug looked to each other and smiled. Chat had gestured his head towards the liar, silently requesting that he swoop in and help now. Ladybug crossed her arms and smirked a bit before nodding to the request.
He rolled his eyes and leaped into action, picking Lila up and bringing her to a janitor’s closet on the first floor. “You’ll be safe in here... for now.”
“And you couldn’t have done that 5 minutes ago?” Lila yelled back.
“And miss you telling the truth? Naw. You weren't getting hurt. The truth needed to be heard, Lie-la.” Chat shut the door in her face. He smiled as he cleaned the imaginary dirt off his hands.
Chat ran back to the second floor, only to find Ladybug and Lady Chastiser sword fighting – Lady Chastiser using her staff, while Ladybug found a broomstick in the closet.
He leaned his head against his expanded baton as he watched her swing the makeshift sword. “Never thought I would see the day you dueled for my heart, M’Lady!” He wiggled his eyebrows while Ladybug let out a groan.
“Not now Chat! Do you think you could help me with this?”
Chat leaps in front of Ladybug and uses his baton as a sword. While the akuma is occupied in the duel, Ladybug calls out, “Lucky Charm!”
A unicorn plushy falls into her hands. “A unicorn? This looks like Rose’s unicorn?”
Ladybug looks around the hallway with her bug sense. As soon as she realizes what she needs to do, she calls out to the akuma and waits for her reaction. Ladybug throws the unicorn and Lady Chastiser caught it. She scoffs at the toy. Her distraction was enough for Ladybug to whip out her yo-yo and grabbed the staff, throwing it in Chat’s direction.
“Cataclysm!” Chat grabs the staff and pulverizes it, leaving rubble on the ground. The purple butterfly flew out of the staff.
“No more evil doing for you little akuma.” Ladybug grabbed her yo-yo to capture the purple butterfly. "Time to de-evilize! Gotcha!”
She waves to the purified butterfly. “Bye-bye butterfly.”
She threw the lucky charm in the air, “Miraculous Ladybug!” and all the chaos was returned to normal.
----- xoxox -----
Lila was already back in the classroom. She was one of the first to arrive once the chaos ended and she was able to leave the closet. Alya waited for her friends before heading towards the room.
Once they arrived, everyone was staring at Lila with disgust over the argument her and Adrien had prior to the akuma. It seems no one heard the truth during the akuma attack. She tried to put on her Lila-charm, crocodile tears streaming down her face while crying out, “None of it’s the truth! Adrien is lying about everything! Why won’t anyone believe me?”
As they stood near their desks to watch how Lila would get herself out of this predicament, Alya wiggled the phone in her hand and spoke out. “Really, Lila? How about you watch this.” She swiped the video from her phone to the screen at the front of the room. There it played the recording of Lila spilling out the truth.
Everyone collectively gasps in shock. Words and pointed fingers are being tossed around in the class. Mlle. Bustier runs in, disheveled over the ensued chaos, and tries to calm it down.
Lila is sitting in shock. She could not believe what was happening. She tries to think of a way to get out of this. “This was the akuma’s doing! I didn’t know I was saying any of it.” But as the video continues, she raises her hands to her mouth. When she realizes that no one believes her, she gets up and collects herself, only for her to run out of the classroom in an angry outburst.
Marinette and Adrien both smiled silently to themselves. They finally had their names cleared of all of Lila’s lies and wrongdoings. They looked over to each other.
Adrien grabs Marinette into a hug. “I never got a chance to thank you for standing up for me. I really appreciate it.”
Marinette hugs him tighter. “I will always be there for you.”
Chapter 9: The Discussion
Gabriel and Adrien finally talk.
Adrien and Marinette walked back to the bakery after an uneventful rest of the school day. They retrieved some treats from Sabine and went up the stairs to get started on homework.
“I know we didn’t get to talk much after you ran over here last night...” Marinette said while biting into a pastry. “Did you want to talk about it?”
Adrien swallowed hard, trying to scrape up the memories of the heated conversation he was so desperately trying to remove from his mind.
Seeing his discomfort, Marinette placed a hand on his forearm. “We don’t have to talk about it. But know I’m here if you do want to talk about it.”
He removed his stoic glare from the table to look into her eyes. He shook his head. “He wanted to lock me back up. Get me away from my friends. Make me go back on that strict schedule that I had been doing for years.”
He swallowed slowly, trying to remove whatever lump formed in his throat. His glare moved back to the table, making his eyes look hollow with fear. “He was disappointed in me ‘lying’ to him over the relationship with Kagami. Saying my disobedience perturbed him. Scoffed at my wanting to work in the bakery.”
Marinette watched him closely. She didn’t want him to close up as he was talking about this. She scooted up close to his side and wrapped her arm around his waist while placing her chin on his shoulder. She placed her free hand on his, squeezing it gently. The intimate movement had done wonders to his tense frame. She could instantly feel him loosen the tension in his shoulders.
“You don’t have to do it today, but you do need to go back home at some point to at least talk to him.”
Adrien frowned at the idea. He let out a sigh before agreeing with her statement. “Not today. I can’t. I won’t. But I’ll call Nathalie to set up a time with him later this week.”
She reached for his phone and handed it to him. “I know you. If you don’t do it now, you won’t talk to her until the end of the week.”
He rolled his eyes. “Fine. You know me all too well.”
Marinette playfully sticks out her tongue only for him to do it back.
Nathalie was able to schedule a meeting for Adrien on Friday afternoon. It gave Adrien a few days to relax and calm down before meeting his father on the painful discussion.
As they walked down the steps of Collège Françoise Dupont, Marinette calmly spoke to Adrien before pulling him into a quick hug for good luck. Gorilla arrived shortly thereafter to collect him. Adrien was nervous, not knowing which direction the conversation would go.
He entered the atrium of the cavernous mansion, feeling small and alone. The small, quaint space he had come to love and embrace back at Marinette’s made him hate the emptiness of this home more than ever before. He started to panic; his eyes glossed over as he gripped the strap of his bag tightly, knuckles white from the intensity. He could feel Plagg patting his chest, the little kwami hoping to calm down the anxiety that was building up.
Nathalie walked in behind him, abruptly startling Adrien from the chaos of his mind. “Adrien, I will speak to your Father to see if he’s ready. Please wait here.”
Adrien nodded; his eyes still wide while his pupils were the size of pinpricks.
He could hear a calming voice from his blazer. “Kid, remember. You have me here rooting you on. You also have a place at pigtail’s house if this doesn’t go well. You aren’t alone.”
“Thanks, Plagg, I -” Nathalie returned, cutting off whatever Adrien was about to say to the god of destruction.
“Adrien, your Father is ready to speak to you now.”
Adrien walked up the stairs and made his way into the study.
Gabriel was sitting in his chair, staring at the blonde-haired boy. His hands were steepled in front of his mouth, eyes silently judging Adrien the moment he walked in.
“You have two minutes to elaborate.”
Adrien stared at his father as he hesitated. Okay, so this is how it will go, he thought.
“I’m waiting.” Gabriel said with bubbling anger.
Adrien sucked in some air, inhaling some courage along with it. “I am an adult. I should be allowed to set my own schedule, work wherever I please, and date whomever I want.”
Gabriel brought his hands down to the table.
Adrien continued. “As I stated before, Kagami and I did not deceive you in any way. We mutually decided it was not in our best interests to pursue a relationship after a few dates. It just did not work for us to be more than just friends. We maintained a professional relationship to ensure both the Tsurugi and Gabriel brands looked professional in all aspects of the business.”
Adrien halted a moment, a dizzy spell from the built-up anxiety crossed his eyes. When he gathered the strength, Adrien moved the conversation. “The media chose to believe our relationship was more than it was. And since it was not in bad press, we chose to leave the relationship as the way they viewed it. As long as the businesses did not suffer, we were comfortable enough to continue it.”
Gabriel shifted in his seat a bit. Adrien paused waiting for him to say something, anything just to get a glimmer of what he was really thinking.
“And how do you suppose you move past this media blunder?” Gabriel said finally.
“Kagami and I spoke already. We would like to address this directly to the media. Kagami will not be able to travel to do this, but we can have the media broadcast her through video conference while I am also there. We will discuss this in its entirety, including the subject of Lila and her deceitful lies.”
Gabriel stared and nodded.
“Nathalie will schedule a press release with Nadja Chamack.” He focused his attention to the assistant. “Nathalie, please ensure you speak with Mlle. Tsurugi for availability before scheduling the interview. This should be done soon as it has been a few days without confirmations or denials from all parties.”
“Yes, sir.” Nathalie looked to her tablet, most likely to email a few people.
“Also, remove Mlle. Rossi from any future events. Her interview was distasteful and dishonest. We do not allow this type of action from any of our models. As of this moment, she will no longer be doing business with us.”
Adrien can only smile slightly at the thought of Lila no longer having the upper hand in any courts. From losing her credibility in class, clearing his name of any scandals, clearing Marinette’s name from years of torture, and no longer working alongside him when modeling, he could only scream in excitement in his mind.
Gabriel turns back to Adrien, fingers tapping against the table. “Now onto your living arrangements, Adrien. Will you continue living at Mlle. Dupain-Cheng's home until the school year ends?”
Adrien frowned. He didn’t know what to do. It seems that maybe he could salvage any little relationship he has with his father by returning back home. But the thought of losing that freedom terrifies him.
“Father, I am an adult. I believe that I have been handling adulthood well under normal circumstances.” He swallows the lump from this throat before continuing. “While I do appreciate the help and agreeance on how to handle this current situation, I do not want to live here if it means I will lose what I have worked so hard to obtain. If you do want me to go back to having Nathalie handle all of my daily requirements, then I am sorry Father, but I will not come back home.”
“I respect your decision.” Gabriel nods at Adrien’s statement. “You have handled yourself well. You are welcomed to come back home and I will not disrupt your schedule any longer. All I ask is that you get back to your studies, lessons, and modeling as previously requested, and you can continue what you please.”
“Thank you, Father.” Adrien says with a smile. “I will gather my things and will be back this evening.”
"Very well. You are dismissed.” Adrien nods to his father before leaving the study, a wide grin plastered on his face.
Nathalie was able to set up a time that worked well for all parties. The interview was scheduled for the following Tuesday with Nadja Chamack. Unfortunately, this meant it was during Adrien’s lunch break from school. From what Adrien told Marinette, both he and Kagami had been able to talk over the weekend to discuss how the conversation would go since Nathalie had a write up of what questions would be asked during the interview.
When that Tuesday morning arrived, Adrien’s nerves were shot. He couldn’t concentrate correctly; his hands slightly shaking from his thoughts. The notes he was supposed to be taking during the morning class were instead of drawn up little doodles of mishmashed blobs. Marinette glanced over to Adrien with a somber look to her face. She could tell he was nervous. Lila put him and Kagami in a terrible position and now he had to fix it. All Marinette wanted to do was grab onto his hand and hug him until the tension spilled out of his body into a puddle on the floor. A few minutes later, Mlle. Bustier excused herself out of the classroom to fetch a document that was left in the teacher’s room. Adrien took the opportunity to spin his chair towards the bluenette’s direction.
“Hey,” he said nervously as he placed his arms on the table in front of Marinette. He sunk his chin into the tops of his hands. He looked downright terrified.
Marinette knew he needed reassurance so she reached out and touched his arm. “Hey.”
He looked up to her eyes. “Do you- do you think you can come with me during lunch? I really don’t want to go alone.”
“Sure, yeah. Anything.”
A sad smile curled on Adrien’s lips. “Thanks, Marinette. You’re seriously amazing.”
Marinette blushed. “You know I would do anything for you.”
Adrien could feel his heart beating a little more quickly causing his breath to hitch. “I know.”
They sat there in silence; the simple gesture was enough to relax Adrien until Mlle. Bustier walked back into the class. Before turning, Adrien told Marinette that Gorilla will pick them up as soon as the lunch bell rings. She nods in acknowledgement before directing her attention back to the teacher.
The minute the bell rings, Adrien and Marinette grabbed their belongings and stood to face each other.
“Are you ready, Adrien?”
“Ready to get this over with.” He mumbled.
Marinette’s head was swimming with anxiousness. She could feel the anxiety coming through Adrien’s aura; it was practically seeping through her skin. She understood this exact feeling. The feeling of fret. The feeling of dread. It was exhausting. Knowing Adrien as long as she had, she knew touch was a way to relax him. It has worked countless times in the past. It worked when Kagami contacted him about this whole thing. He needed that moment of strength. He needed someone to tell him it’s okay. At this moment, he needed her . That’s why he asked her to go with him.
Before she could think to say no and before she could become a blubbering mess, she grabbed his wrist as he turned towards the door. The quick gesture caused him to stop and stare at the touch. Instead of fearing the contact, Marinette smiled and let go to slowly place her hand in his. She interlocked her fingers with his and gave it a tight squeeze.
Adrien looked up from the motion, a blush had claimed the tips of his cheeks. The stiffness in his arms loosened and his scrunched-up face relaxed. It was enough to place a smile on his face. An actual smile, one that looked like slight relief.
The ride to the studio was a quiet one. Adrien was in no mood to speak and Marinette was perfectly fine with just being in his presence. She continued to hold his hand, his thumb absentmindedly brushing against her knuckles. She laid her head against his shoulder and he placed his head on top of hers. She no longer felt the heavy tension in his body. He felt calm and his mind was moving slow. The anxiety that was emanating from his body was no longer overwhelming making Marinette feel calmer than she was a few hours ago.
The studio was buzzing with people and cameras all getting ready for the interview. Adrien was whisked away to hair and makeup while Marinette and Gorilla were escorted to a sitting area in the studio. Marinette sat where she would be able to see Adrien and be his beacon of encouragement whenever he needed it. As Nadja walked over to her seat, tablet in hand, she noticed Marinette sitting on the couch and walked over to greet her daughter’s favorite babysitter.
“Marinette! So happy to see you here!”
“Hello Mdm. Chamack. How are you?”
“I’m doing well. Are you here for the interview?” She asked curiously.
“I’m here for Adrien. He needed a friend since Kagami couldn’t be here to do the interview with him. He asked that I come along for support.”
She placed a hand on Marinette’s arm. “That’s very sweet of you Marinette. You always look out for others.” She turns to a voice calling her name. “I’m sorry Marinette, I have to get back to set. Nice seeing you!”
Marinette waved back, hoping that what she said wouldn’t turn up as a last minute addition to the interview questions. She held her breath as Adrien walked out of the makeup room looking radiant. You couldn’t tell he was nervous. Adrien looked up to one of the set workers and whispered something to them. She then noticed that person pointing towards her direction which made Adrien look too. He smiled and waved, happy to have found his beacon. She was there. She wouldn’t leave him.
Adrien took a seat at the set, shaking Nadja’s hand as the crew broadcasted in Kagami’s video call. Kagami’s face lit up the screen behind them, prompting hellos from both Nadja and Adrien. Conversation between the three broke the unspoken tension that had built back up in Adrien. Kagami, always a force of steel, looked just as relieved when the conversations started, a hint of tension leaked from her words.
Marinette watched the conversation intently, intrigued to see how the two friends will fare from this interview. She worried her sweaty palms in her lap. The anxiousness from earlier coming back. Is he feeling nervous again? Or is it me this time worrying for him? Gorilla placed a comforting hand on her shoulders, knowing she needed the reassurance that everything would be okay.
She placed her trembling hand over his, nodding a silent thanks over the small gesture. A buzz from the set indicating the interview would begin helped halt the exchange. It was enough to pull her from her revere over the silent spoken words between the two who cared for Adrien with their hearts. They both listened as the interview began.
Sorry I left you with a slight cliffhanger. The interview will happen the next chapter. I started writing it and it became too long for me to keep it in this chapter.
Chapter 11: The Interview
Kagami and Adrien have their interview with Nadja.
Happy New Year everyone. Sorry this took so long to get out! I spent most of my focus on a December prompt story called 25 Days of Adrien (+6 of Marinette). It's a tooth-rotting fluffy Christmas story, if you are into that stuff.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
“Don’t be bemused, it’s just the news. I’m Nadja Chamack and we are here with both Adrien Agreste and Kagami Tsurugi to discuss the most recent interview with Lila Rossi and the rumors behind it.” The camera panned over to Adrien.
“Mlle. Tsurugi is not able to be here with us as she is away, but she has taken time out of her busy schedule to speak to us directly via video conference.” The camera widens to view the large screen.
Kagami smiles. “Kagami is fine, Nadja. Thank you for taking the time to interview us.”
Adrien nods. “Yes, it means a lot to us for you to hear our side of the story.” Adrien adds.
“I’m happy to have you both here.” Nadja smiles as she eyes them both. She holds out her tablet. “Let’s get started, shall we?” They both nodded. “So, your relationship. What can you tell us about it?”
Adrien cleared his throat. “Kagami and I have been friends for about four years now. She competed against me for a spot on our fencing team. I always said that she won the match, but the judge accidentally declared me the winner.” He smiled at Kagami before turning back to Nadja. “After the little debate was settled, we became teammates and became great friends.”
“About a year into our friendship, I made the first move and asked Adrien out.” Kagami added blissfully. “We went out on a few dates and he brought me to one of his father’s events.”
“After our fourth date, we realized that we were never meant to be more than friends. Our friendship meant more to us than us trying to force a relationship that would end up souring what we worked so hard to achieve.”
Nadja smiled at the explanation. “So why let the media believe you two were a couple?”
“When our relationship started, we decided to keep it a secret until we were ready to announce it to the world. I’m a very private person and I didn’t need the world to understand every part of my life right from the beginning.” Kagami looked at Adrien before turning to Nadja. “But I knew that word would spread fast regarding our budding relationship.”
“We never confirmed our relationship was something strong and withstanding.” Adrien smiled. “When people had originally seen us together, the media decided to take what they saw and run with it. It did not hurt us at all for people to believe we were together or not together. The only ones who knew were the ones who truly mattered to us. If anyone who knew us chose to believe the media instead of asking us directly, well that was their prerogative.”
“That’s completely understandable.” Nadja smiled before moving on to the next question. “Adrien, why continue to bring Kagami to events as your plus one if your relationship was never romantic?”
“Kagami’s family owns and handles business affairs like my own father does. She understands how these events work and I ask her to accompany me to make the event a little more friendly. Like I said, she is my friend, and I choose to enjoy these events with my friends whenever I can.”
Marinette smiled as she watched Adrien speak. If he was nervous, Marinette couldn’t tell. He faked it extremely well.
“We maintained a professional relationship during our attended events. If you could recall any of those events, the only act that would be considered ‘intimate’ by any standards would be the hand holding in large crowds, or escorting her throughout the event. There were no public displays of affection nor any ‘love eyes’ as many journalists have said they could see.”
Kagami’s video screen was minimized a bit to showcase an array of photos from some of the events that Adrien mentioned. All the photos displayed Adrien being a gentleman – no public display of affection was noted.
“Thank you both for answering those questions about your relationship. We can see that this was something mutually decided between you two and that the media has fully blown this out of proportion.” Kagami and Adrien nodded in acknowledgement of her statement. “But this news also came due to the anonymous tip and then officially confirmed by one of Gabriel’s model, Lila Rossi.”
Adrien tensed up a bit which only caused Marinette to tense up too. She searched for his eyes, looking for any indication that he needed saving, even if he didn’t know it at that moment.
In a split second, Adrien glanced towards Marinette and found the deep blue eyes he needed; her eyes so full of concern for him. It was quick enough that only she noticed - a silent communication between the two friends - and she softened her eyes to show encouragement and remained that way if he were to glance at her again.
Her intuition was right and he glanced at her again, which only brought a glint of mischief in his eyes. A smirk spread upon his lips before he looked at Nadja and lost a bit of the professionalism that he meticulously used for the first part of the interview.
“I’m sorry Nadja, but the only confirmation that should have mattered would have come from either myself, Kagami, or my public relations agent.” He said with some anger laced in his voice.
Adrien leaned back and placed his elbow over the back of the couch and made himself comfortable before following with a response to his statement. The motion only reminded Marinette of Chat Noir and their interview with Nadja long ago. Please do not let a Prime Queen 2.0 happen, Marinette prayed.
“Lila and I do not have any relationship – friendship or otherwise. She is a classmate who had been hired by Gabriel for modeling. But outside of the professional image that she conspicuously achieved, due to her outlandish lies I presume, we do not spend anytime outside of working hours. And that is even more than I wish to have with her.”
Adrien leaned forward as if he were speaking to Nadja in private. In a cold tone that would even put Gabriel to shame, he stated, “I do not work with liars. I do not associate myself with liars. And I do not have relationships with liars or deceivers.”
Nadja was taken back by what Adrien was saying. Marinette’s eyes were wide-eyed. The look on Kagami’s face was one of confusion. This was not something they discussed. Adrien went rogue.
He leaned back. “And I guess this goes for your inside scoop, but Lila Rossi no longer works for Gabriel as a model. She was let go last week. That can be confirmed, but you can cross your sources with the PR if you would like.”
A smile grew on Marinette’s face. Over the last week, Lila had lost all credibility among the classmates. She lost what she tried to gain in outlandish lies with Adrien’s father. And now? Now she lost her credibility on national television. Karma worked in their favors today.
Nadja cleared her throat to speak before ending the interview. “Thank you, Adrien.” She placed her hand on her earpiece and nodded before dropping her hand back to her tablet. “I have just been told that Miss Lila Rossi has indeed been let go from Gabriel’s model line. We just received confirmation from your agent.” She smiled. “One last question, if you don’t mind?”
“Not at all.” Adrien said in an eerily calm tone.
“Are you currently in a relationship?”
Adrien eyed Marinette before turning back to Nadja. “Not right now. I’m enjoying myself and hanging out with my amazing friends. I will know when the time is right and when that happens, you will be the first to know.”
“Well, hopefully that lovely lady will come around and sweep you off your feet soon.” She chuckled. “Thank you both for agreeing to the interview and clearing up the rumors.” She turns to the camera. “You heard it here, folks. Thank you for watching tonight’s special report and have a good night. Nadja out.”
Honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed writing this chapter. Adrien using his Chat-like tendencies in the interview? Adrien acting like The Godfather? Yes. Please.
Chapter 12: Icing on the Cake
Marinette sat wringing her fingers nervously. She was sitting alone waiting for Adrien while the Gorilla followed him to his dressing room. She was relieved that the interview was over. All the emotions over the last few weeks finally coming to an end, but fear was slowly making its way to her heart. Adrien had done marvelously; his demeanor was pleasant and professional – it was exactly how he always acted during these kinds of interviews when representing Gabriel. But the moment that she encouraged him to move forward once the name of that wench crossed Nadja’s lips, he changed. For as long as she’s known Adrien, he only acts that way sparingly, and he was not afraid to use it today.
Would that change in professionalism bode well when he faced his father tonight? Would this whole thing cause another akumatized Lila? Even though Marinette despised Lila, the last thing she would want it for her to be akumatized again. A conversation with Chat will have to happen at some point soon to discuss what to do with her. Who knows what else will happen to cause more anger out of that girl?
Lila could go after Adrien. It wouldn’t matter what form. She could go after Adrien for everything he had done. Between school and the interview, her lies were exposed. Her professional life in the fashion industry is over. She is now the laughing stock wherever she goes. It wouldn’t surprise anyone at this point if she were to switch schools or leave again to a different part of the world.
And if she were to go after Adrien, it would be Marinette’s fault. Or at least that’s what it felt like to her. She gave him that look of encouragement to get those words out. She didn’t expect him to expose her in that way. She thought he would just disprove her lies and just mention her being cut from the brand.
It was hot, though, she thought before chastising herself.
Marinette continued to be lost in thought and stared a hole into a spot on the floor. Physically she was there, but mentally, she was a million miles away. She was so enthralled in her thoughts that she didn’t notice the blond boy emerging from the back room smiling happily to himself.
“Hey Marinette!” Adrien announced but stopped when he noticed her lack of response.
Marinette wrung her hands a little more.
“Marinette?” Adrien shouted back to her as he waved a hand across her eyes. The action startled Marinette enough to jolt her from her spot.
“So- Sorry, Adrien.”
“Hey, are you okay?” Adrien asked worriedly.
“I’m fine.” She shook her head. “You did great.”
Adrien felt a ping of distrust. “Did someone say something to you?”
“What? No!” She said quickly. “I’m just worried that what you said about Lila will cause another akuma. I wasn’t expecting you to talk that way, and from the look on Kagami’s face, I can say she didn’t expect it either. I also feel like I brought that out of you when I encouraged you to keep going.”
“Marinette, you didn’t make me do anything. You didn’t encourage me to do anything. Seeing you helped me realize that I needed to do to her what she’s been doing to us this whole time - especially with what she’s done to you . She deserved what she had coming. I’ll deal with the repercussions later.”
Marinette mustered a small smile before noticing an antsy bodyguard eyeing his watch. “Okay. But I think we need to head back to school before your bodyguard has a conniption.”
When the bell rang allowing the students to go home, Marinette invited Adrien over to the bakery to decompress. He was still buzzing from the interview and the thought of what his father would say to him regarding his actions flooded his brain. He may have tried to play it off, but Marinette knew better.
Adrien walked quietly beside Marinette. Not wanting the silence to help aid in his thoughts, Marinette spoke first. “I’ve been thinking about what we can do to get the interview off your brain.”
Adrien continued to look forward as he responded. “Oh yeah? What’s that?”
“We are going to bake and decorate cupcakes!”
“Cupcakes?” He said with a small smile. “Any special occasion?”
“Well, we need to make cupcakes for an order, but I was thinking about making a few extra cupcakes for us to enjoy over the next few days.”
Adrien paused and tilted his head in thought. “You know what? That sounds good. I could use a cupcake after today.”
Once they arrived and greeted Marinette’s parents, Adrien and Marinette grabbed an apron and started divvying up tasks. Adrien quickly got to work and started mixing the batter for the order. Marinette took over the task of making enough frosting in the requested colors. They worked in unison, talking and joking as they worked through their tasks. They cleaned the kitchen as the cupcakes baked and cooled and readied the piping bags with the colorful frosting.
They worked diligently on the cupcakes, icing each with a nice swirl and colorful sprinkles on top.
“These cupcakes are just the icing of the cake ; don’t you say mon petit Marinette?”
Marinette stopped her piping and tossed her head back as she groaned over the pun. “Seriously! And the nickname? Not nice!” Just her reaction caused a giggle fit in Adrien, keeling over as he tried to catch his breath. Not wanting to let him win this, Marinette grabbed a glob of icing and the moment Adrien stood upright, she smeared it across his face.
Adrien stood in shock with his mouth wide opened. He smeared off a glob from under his eye and licked it off his fingers before responding, “Oh, it’s on!” Basically, there was an icing war in the kitchen and no one was safe from the attack. At one point, there was icing tossed in the air and landed... somewhere, but no one noticed until the tall blond boy slipped and landed on his back.
Marinette couldn’t contain the laughter; the entire motion was hilarious. “Are you- are you- ha ha- oh god! Are you okay?” She asked in between laughs.
Adrien was laughing now; Marinette’s giggles were contagious. “Yeah, I’m alright. Could you help me up?”
Marinette finally caught her breath enough to help Adrien up. But as she reached for his hand, Adrien pulled her down to him and flipped her over so she was laying down on the floor. He pinned her down as he straddled himself over her. When she recovered from her shock over this quickness, it was too late. Adrien grabbed another glob of icing from his face and smeared it all over hers.
“I think I win this round.” Adrien said with a smirk.
Marinette pouted as a pink tint covered her cheeks. “I won first.”
Adrien let out a laugh as he stood and helped Marinette up. Adrien walked over to the sink and grabbed two wet cloths. There was a small murmur in the air as they wiped their faces clean.
“Did I get everything?” Marinette asked sweetly.
He pointed to a spot near her lip. “You missed a spot.” Marinette rubbed the spot with the cloth before looking at Adrien for confirmation.
He took a step forward until they were standing mere centimeters from each other. “Here, let me help.” He said with a fervor in his voice as he gazed into her eyes. Adrien thumbed the icing steadily as Marinette parted her lips and observed the man before her.
Without removing his gaze, Adrien brought his thumb to his lips and slowly sucked the icing off causing Marinette to stop breathing. The pink tint that had covered her cheeks turned crimson. Heat rose from her heart to her neck as he smiled sweetly to her. She could feel the butterflies taking over her stomach and swallowed hard to help keep them at bay.
Adrien’s heart was no different. He could feel his heartbeat in his ears as he continued to stare at her deep blue eyes. If he wanted to stop, his brain sure didn’t let him stop. Before he could realize it, he placed his fingers to her chin and lifted it ever so slightly.
As he leaned towards her, his eyes started to close and she brought her hands to his arms for stability. But before it went further, Tom walked in with a set of empty trays ready for a cleaning. Adrien quickly stepped back and placed his hand on his neck in a nervous gesture.
“How are the cupcakes coming?” Tom said innocently as he eyed the icing catastrophe around him.
Marinette cleared her throat. “Al- almost done, papa.” She looked around the kitchen, “Don’t worry; We’ll clean this up.”
“Already on it.” Adrien said nervously as he wiped down the counter.
Chapter 13: The Kitty Apprentice
Mention of Lila, Gabriel being a jackass, and of course some cute Marichat
“What is the meaning of that interview, Adrien?” Gabriel stood at the top of the stairs as Adrien walked through the atrium doors. His usual scowl marked his face while his arms were crossed behind his body.
Adrien mentally sighed and rolled his eyes. “What ever do you mean, Father? I think the interview went well. I presented myself professionally and the media took my side over the relationship conundrum.”
“Do not play coy with me, boy. You know very well which part of the interview I am speaking about.” Gabriel made his way down the stairs. “You spewed hatred against Mlle. Rossi and made a mockery of her in front of millions of viewers!”
“And her reputation had spoken for herself during the akuma when she announced to everyone around her what she did to me and Marinette over the years!”
“Do you think that was necessary? Do you know that she came here and tried to argue your actions and tried to spew more slander against you while you were out gallivanting? Nathalie had to take a moment to escort her off the premises and give a statement to the press that have been staked out since the interview was broadcast, and who also saw the tantrum she displayed as she was escorted out.”
Adrien smirked at the idea of Lila throwing a child-like tantrum before turning back to his father with anger in his eyes. “She deserved it then for lying the way she did. All she did was slander my good name. Do you know what people said to me at school? The looks people gave me on the streets? They called me scum and a cheater. Do you want the face of Gabriel to be known as a cheater? Especially cheating on a sweet and innocent girl like Kagami? What I said needed to be said. She deserved every bit of spew that came out of my mouth.”
“Your disobedience continues to surprise me. All these years of grooming you to be a gentleman, to be poised and professional, and to be the perfect son and model, all for you to throw all that away for someone that stated a little white lie. All of that could be disclosed with a press conference, but you took it a step too far and renounced that girl on the news.”
“What’s done is done. If you want me to give out another statement, then fine, I will. But I’m done with her and her lies.” He stared down his father before walking around him and up the stairs.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Gabriel hissed.
Adrien continued towards his room and responded with a smug tone. “Going to my room. That’s where you send me when your angry with my actions. I just decided to take action and end this conversation myself.”
Gabriel just stood there bewildered over his son’s actions. He was only startled back to reality when Adrien’s door slammed shut. Nathalie, who had been watching from a distance, mirrored Gabriel’s facial expressions before shaking her head and clearing her throat and walking hesitantly towards the frozen man.
“I’ll be in my office. Only disturb me if it is important.”
Plagg shot out of his chosen’s blazer and curled up on the pillow on the bed. He was staring intently at Adrien, watching him pace the length of the room as he brushed his fingers through his hair.
“Why does he have to act so... so... cold?” Adrien bellowed. “All he ever cares about is his brand. He doesn’t care that I am being harassed as long as the brand isn’t affected by it.”
Adrien stopped his pacing and turned towards Plagg. “I can’t stand being here anymore! Why did I decide to move back here? Why couldn’t I have stayed with Marinette until we finished school? Why did I have to have a heart and hoped that Father would make an effort to change his demeanor after that moment of hostility towards him a few weeks ago? Why do I still care so much!”
The kwami frowned as he watched his charge gesticulate his feelings and shivered when the tears slowly fell from Adrien’s eyes. He floated slowly towards Adrien’s face and nuzzled up against his cheek.
“Why does he hate me so much?” His voice cracked in anguish.
Plagg knew that this lonely boy deserved so much more than what his father could give him. The pain in his chest and the sadness that poured through Adrien’s soul only confirmed it.
“Hey kid. I know things are hard right now. In a few months, you can finally move out on your own. Maybe even room with a friend who’s also heading to university near you. You don’t have to be here forever you know.” Adrien wiped the stray tears that streaked his face with his palm as he nodded at Plagg’s assurance. “Do you want to go out and clear your head?”
“You- You actually want to go out?” Adrien sniffled.
“Kid, I know when you need time to run. I get it. I would want to too if I had a dad like yours, and since you won’t let me cataclysm him, the next best thing is to keep up your rebellion streak tonight and head out while you still can.”
Adrien scratched Plagg in his favorite spot and told him to grab an extra bit of Camembert before he transformed. “I’ll give you a round when we get back.” Plagg purred in delight. “Plagg, claws out!”
Chat Noir leaped across the skies while the shifting wind beat against his cheeks. He had no care in the world of where his destination would take him; all he cared was that he was far enough away from the cold and empty place of the mansion. He catapulted to one balcony and then hopped towards another, bolting left and right as he pushed the anger out of his body with every step he took. He felt like he was running for hours when he finally paused his run on a rooftop to catch his breath. When he looked around to determine where he was, he noticed a familiarity to the location. Peering to the left, he could see a light emanating from a skylight as the twinkle lights from a canopy glowed a yellow hue.
Marinette. He chuckled. Even as he mindlessly ran across the rooftops to clear his head, he still ended up at the home of the one person who could calm him down. If he needed more proof that he was in fact in love with this girl, then he would really have to be an idiot.
He hopped over to her balcony and tapped the glass of the skylight with his clawed finger. A short moment later, the blue-eyed girl pushed up on the glass and smiled sweetly to her visitor. “Chat? What do I owe this pleasure?”
“Princess,” he bowed “this stray cat was taking a rooftop stroll and happened to see you were still awake and I thought maybe she would like some company?” He smirked as he flexed in his usual Chat-like humor. “And maybe a round of Ultimate Mega Strike IV while enjoying some delicious pastries?”
Marinette shook her head as she quietly chuckled. “I’m sorry Chat, but I can’t play a game with you tonight. There is a dance at my school coming up and I have a few dresses I need to finish before then.”
Chat frowned. “I’m sorry, Marinette. I didn’t mean to bother you. I didn’t realize you were busy.” Chat turned around and grabbed his baton to extend it. “I’ll come back another night.”
“Wait!” Marinette reached out to grab onto his tail before he leaped away. He stopped and turned to her, noticing she was pressing her index fingers together as she thought about what she wanted to say next. “I didn’t say you had to leave. I just won’t be able to play video games tonight. I could use the company if you would still like to hang out?”
Chat smiled. “Of course, princess. How can I say no to that?”
Chat shimmied his way down the skylight after Marinette, careful of landing his boots away from her bed in case he still had any lingering dirt on them. He noticed that Marinette already made her way to her desk, grabbed her pincushion bracelet, and made her way over to the mannequin draped in a pink satin fabric. She started to pin up the waist, careful to pin the pleats in a uniformed size. He watched her in awe as she was laser-focused on the task at hand.
She could feel the gaze from the masked cat and an idea crossed her mind. Without looking up, she smirked at him. “If you’re going to stand there and watch me work while keeping me company, I might as well put you to work.” She placed one last pin before heading back to her desk and grabbing a pair of scissors. “I can trust you know how to use these, right?” He nodded. “On the table over there, there is a black pair of pants that I just hemmed. I would like it if you could cut here, here, and here. It doesn’t matter if there are frays; I need to finish the hem work anyways. I just need it to be as straight as possible. Do you think you can handle it?”
“Don’t worry, Marinette, I got this!”
Chat worked diligently on his task while Marinette pinned in the elastic waistband on the dress she was working on. Every so often, Chat would look around to all the almost-finished designs that were spread around the room. A kitty with an attention span of a goldfish would always be curious, so this curious kitty had to ask: “Who are these dresses for and what have you got planned for them?”
Marinette smiled with elation. “The pantsuit you are working on is for Alix. She didn’t want a dress, and I’m glad she didn’t - it just doesn’t fit her personality. The white top beside it goes with it. I just need her to wear it to ensure the fit, and hers is pretty much done. Max is her date and asked for a tie to match. Alya’s is the orange dress hanging up. I just need to finish the stitch work on the bodice and have the final fitting for it. She requested an orange tie for Nino, so that slice of fabric there is for me to work on. The black and purple fabric over there,” she said as she pointed to the folded satin fabric on the table, “is for Juleka – she wants something more form fitting, so that one will be a little more work than everyone’s as I need it to be just right. I’m starting on hers tomorrow. And this one,” Marinette pointed to her mannequin, “is Rose’s. She wants a ball gown inspired dress, but short and bubbly. Right now I’m just bunching up the pleats before I cut the fabric and hem it.”
Chat looked all around him. The designs that she had time to do plus the work already put into was incredible. She was going to be an amazing designer one day. Then a frown claimed his face. Where was her dress?
Marinette saw the concerned look on Chat’s face. “Are you okay, Chat?”
“Where is your dress, Marinette? You must have a date to the dance, don’t you?”
The smile she gave him didn’t reach her eyes. “I don’t have a date yet. I haven’t started on my dress yet either.” She shrugged. “There is someone I hope that would ask me, but I’m not sure if he sees me more than a friend. I mean, he’s been acting sweeter towards me lately, but I don’t know if I’m reading too much into it or not. And I have an idea for a dress, but that can wait until I’m done with everyone’s first.”
Chat internally screams at the thought. Hopefully she means his civilian self. “Well you are pawsitively purrfect , princess. If he doesn’t take you, I will. And I know your dress will come out amazing.” Chat was smiling with a proud look on his face making Marinette snicker before throwing a pillow at his head.
“Thanks, Chat..." a warmth fills her chest that brought a loving smile to her face, "for everything.”