Alya never expected to publicly witness Ladybug screaming at one Adrien Agreste; still, here she was, sitting on the patio of a downtown café, doing just that.
Adrien screamed back.
It was a disaster.
Of course, their afternoon didn’t start like that. When, after school, Adrien invited his friends to check out the recently opened coffee shop nearby, Alya didn’t think much of it. Naturally, she had her reservations about the event — the scenarios ranged from a few calm hours spent in good-natured laughter, to the chaos of Adrien acting on the infuriatingly soft looks he had kept sending in Marinette’s direction for a couple of days now — but this shouldn’t have been any different from a mere lunch at school.
With Marinette definitely noticing his stolen glances and most definitely looking back the same way, the stifling weight of impending catastrophe was constantly hanging in mid-air.
Because — too busy with trying to win their supposedly subtle love-sick staring contests, and indulging in their playful banter that was so smooth it sounded almost as if they had years of practice — they seemed to be forgetting one tiny little detail. (A fact that flabbergasted and scandalized Alya to no end, because Marinette had promised she’d move on, and Adrien had absolutely no right to start looking at the girl this way right now!)
Alya would have been delighted if he had noticed Marinette a month or two ago, but doing it now, when he apparently had a girlfriend?!
What terrible timing.
So, Alya knew the fallout was bound to follow; she just thought that they’d keep it low-key. Adrien would come to school one day a little blue, letting them know he had broken up with his girlfriend and asking out Marinette a few days later; or Marinette would call Alya, sobbing in the middle of the night when Adrien finally told her he wouldn’t end his relationship. Something like that.
But the days just kept passing and nothing happened.
What Alya hadn’t anticipated was witnessing the crash from a front-row seat at the sunny terrace of the café — after Marinette ditched them, referring to an important meeting she had to get to.
However, when Adrien’s girlfriend, Ladybug of all people, landed beside their table, her scrutinizing eyes wandering over the fourth seat at the table and the empty cup before it, Alya knew this wouldn’t end well.
Okay, maybe she had just hoped that the superheroine would finally catch wind of what was going on behind her back. Adrien was Alya’s friend, of course, and as such she didn’t want to say anything until it was absolutely necessary, but, quite frankly, it was high time someone put that boy in his place.
“Hey, Bug! It’s good to see you! What brings you here?” Adrien pushed out his chair and walked up to the superheroine with an unsuspecting smile.
Alya was positive that, if he wasn’t so sheltered and incapable of reading social situations, Adrien would have erased that smile on his face at the sight of the piercing stare his girlfriend cast on his colourful lucky charm bracelet.
“Hey, Adrien! I just wanted to have a word with you and now looked like a good time, since you never seem to have it to talk to me in private. Nice bracelet, by the way, is that new? I have never seen you wear that before,” Ladybug said, the sweet smile on her face capable of murder.
“No, I have had it for a while. Actually, it was a gift from Marinette,” Adrien answered, beaming, unaware.
“Your very good friend, Marinette?” she asked, pursing her lips.
Pink blushes appeared on Adrien’s cheeks as he answered. “Y-Yeah, that’s her.”
Alya took a side glance at her boyfriend, who leaned forward in his chair, fidgeting with the cord of his headset. She could have sworn he mouthed “shut up, dude, shut up, dude, shut up, dude” under his breath.
Nino — much like Alya — wanted the best for their friends. The only difference seemed to be, to which one of them. And while Adrien had been undeniably radiant in the last month, making Nino’s ship of ‘Adrien x happiness’ set sail, Alya didn’t particularly mind that she found some satisfaction in Ladybug calling him out for his apparent two-timing. After all — even if Marinette judged it otherwise — it was in her best interest not to let the boy get away with playing her like a fiddle.
“All of her gifts are very thoughtful like that. And she gives them just because she cares about her friends. She’s incredible like that.”
Much to Nino’s visible dismay, Adrien was not, in fact, shutting up.
“Is that so? Well, that’s nice, but I’ll let you know, Chat Noir gives the best gifts in the whole wide world. His each and every flower is carefully picked according to the underlying meaning,” Ladybug countered with a sleek smile.
“Oh, please, even I could look up what a certain colour means on the internet,” Adrien pouted dismissively, crossing his arms on his chest. “Marinette’s gifts don’t stop at mere objects. She dedicates time and effort to helping her friends the best way she can.”
Well, at least he finally seemed to appreciate Marinette. Even if it was a bit too little and definitely too late.
“So does Chat! But is she as reliable, compassionate and funny as he is?” Ladybug huffed. “I can always count on him to have my back, and — of course — he always does it in a pawsitively endearing style.”
“Oh, you really think so?” Adrien’s voice wavered as a light blush appeared on his cheek. Who could have blamed him when his girlfriend practically swooned just talking about another man. “Well, I’m sorry that everyone can’t be a literal superhero!” he declared, regaining his composure. “But I’m a hundred percent sure that Marinette is at least twice as captivating — not to mention awesome — as any of you!”
Alya watched the debate that attracted the whole café’s attention with an awestruck smile. Her fingers were itching to take out her phone and record the event because who would have thought Adrien had this in him?
Maybe, even now, he and Marinette wouldn’t have been such a bad thing after all.
“Do you really think a schoolgirl can compare to me? Why don’t you date her, then?” Ladybug spat, her face red as she pointed an accusatory finger at Adrien.
“You know what? Maybe I will!” he countered with a wicked grin. “And then you can finally go out with Chat Noir, as evidently, anyone who isn’t a superhero isn’t good enough for you!”
“Don’t be so overdramatic, Adrien! Why should I settle for anyone else when he’s perfect just the way he is?” Ladybug returned his wicked smile, making even Alya shiver.
“Good! If that’s what you really think, then I guess we’re over!” Adrien said, his shoulders trembling.
“Good!” Ladybug bit back, readying her yo-yo for departure. “Just don’t get yourself akumatized over this, Agreste. I’d hate to — see you soon!”
As Ladybug swung away, Adrien flopped back into his seat with a sigh. Chatter slowly resumed around them as people took their intrusive looks off of the boy at long last. Alya started to feel sorry for her friend as she was forced to admit, it was laughably easy to make the front page in tomorrow's newspapers if you had the name ‘Agreste’ on your birth certificate.
“Dude, that was intense. Are you alright?” Nino asked, his eyebrows knit together in worry.
“Yeah, sure. It was a crazy idea anyway,” Adrien chuckled, much less shaken than he should have been, in Alya’s mind. “A superhero dating a civilian? What a safety violation to her secret identity.”
“So, what are you going to do now?” Alya prompted.
After his public outburst of appreciation for Marinette, Alya saw no reason why she should do anything but encourage his half-baked idea of asking the girl out; although, with Adrien, one could never know if he had finally seriously recognized he was head over heels for his very good friend, or if he only unwittingly messed with Alya’s nerves.
However, to Alya’s greatest relief, his shining smile was finally accompanied by clarity. “Ask out Marinette, what else?”
Not surprisingly, but incredibly annoyingly, Marinette wasn’t picking up.
Alya had been trying to reach her since she left the café hand in hand with Nino, to no avail. So, after parting ways with her boyfriend, as the trustworthy best friend that she was, Alya headed straight to the bakery.
She had to tell Marinette all about the debacle with Ladybug. She was certain that, as soon as Marinette heard what happened, she’d wish she would have cancelled her ‘meeting of utmost importance’, whatever it was about.
Nothing could be as important as hearing Adrien practically confess his love for her.
Alya turned the corner and the bakery came into view with its cheerfully chiming bell over the entrance, its lovely windows on the first floor, and its colourful flowers on Marinette’s balcony, where the girl herself stood. Alya’s steps slowed down as she took in the sight of her friend hugging close a mysterious figure in black. Or was she…?
A squeak left Alya’s mouth as she realized, somehow, in a way that she couldn’t explain, suddenly there were a whole lot of things more important than Adrien’s confession.
With an unbelieving chuckle, she took out her phone to snap a picture of her best friend kissing Chat Noir stupid on her balcony, to ask her about it later.
Who would have thought those soft looks of Marinette’s were only platonic? Maybe she wasn’t even noticing what she was doing to the poor boy as she really had moved on since Adrien got a girlfriend. A girlfriend that he’d broken up with, in the hopes of deepening his relationship with Marinette.
And while Alya was delighted for Marinette and Chat Noir’s happiness, suddenly she felt really bad for Adrien and Ladybug, who had both only noticed their love for the people pining after them for the longest time, when they had already run out of time.
Seriously, what terrible timing.
“This can’t seriously be happening. I can’t believe it!” Marinette snorted, throwing her phone on her chaise in front of her.
Adrien picked it up with an unbelieving laugh of his own to inspect the girl’s private messages with Alya. A picture that shouldn’t have existed in the first place stared back at him from the screen.
“You can’t deny it, Buginette, we do look good together,” he said, wiggling his eyebrows before both of them broke out into a new fit of giggles.
“We would look just as good as Marinette and Adrien too, you know,” she grumbled in mock indignation.
“Oh, don’t worry, we will! Once you’ve dumped my ass a second time,” he snickered, pulling her in for a kiss.
“Technically, I think today you were the one dumping me,” she murmured against his lips with a smirk.
“It was a—” he pulled away, tapping his chin in thought before returning her smile “— mutual agreement.”
“Still, I hate breaking up with you just to be with you. It’s so dumb,” Marinette complained, nestling on his lap as she grumbled, “Stupid love-squares!”
Adrien only smiled at her antics, planting an adoring kiss against the crown of her head. He had greatly appreciated the support and care Alya had shown for Marinette in this — from the outside — admittedly buckwild situation, but coming here first thing after the scene they caused in the café…
Seriously, what terrible timing.