Adrien and Marinette were playing a dangerous game of relationship chicken, and Adrien was probably going to lose.
He didn’t know how one lost such a game, but when it came to playing games with Marinette he had learned one important thing. Marinette always won. It didn’t matter what the game was, be it Monopoly, table tennis, or UMS IV. Even early releases Adrien had practiced on for weeks before Marinette got her hands on them were a wash. Occasionally it would look like he had the upper hand, he might even win a round or two, but eventually, she would have him backed against a walk begging for mercy.
Which… translated well to this particular game.
He contemplated this, wondering how it was that he found himself half asleep and in Marinette’s college apartment wearing nothing but his boxers. He pouted as she carefully folded her laundry on the floor instead of napping with him. She, the cruel mistress that she was, simply taunted him in her sports bra and running short combo.
“Do that later, come back here and cuddle me, I’m tired and neglected,” he whined.
“Oh hush, I need to finish this so I can unpack the rest of my stuff and actually be able to find everything.”
"I swear it didn’t take me this long to unpack my stuff."
“Well not all of us rich little cat boys who had everything moved in for them.”
"Hey, I moved stuff."
"You moved your clothes. Everything else came pre-furnished." She had him there.
Her back was facing him, and she leaned over from her position on the floor to grab the next item from her basket. Adrien grinned devilishly and snuck over from the bed. Being Chat Noir made him stealthy, and even Ladybug couldn’t hear him most of the time, so Marinette was easy prey. Once he was close enough, she turned slightly, suspicious of the quiet, only the be tackled to the ground with a squeal. He kissed her before she could complain about being distracted. He maneuvered himself until he was rested between her thighs and her hands were pinned over her head, their fingers interlocked. He slipped his tongue into her mouth, and she sighed softly, her warm breath brushing against his cheek. He soon broke awash from her lips and began a trail of hot wet kisses down her neck and chest.
He released her hands to hold her a little closer, and she began lightly scratching his neck and shoulders. “What did she do this time to get you so worked up?”
“Who says she had to do something? Can’t I just want to spend time with you?” He said while still pressing kisses to her bare skin.
“You can definitely want to spend time with me, but I know there was an Akuma attack earlier, and you usually get… I don’t want to say needier, but maybe a little more forward, than usual when she did something. So what did she do?”
Adrien sighed and buried his face into her neck. He mumbled something into her hair.
“What was that?” She pulled lightly on his hair so his voice wasn’t so muffled.
“She didn’t do anything,” he let out an exasperated groan and repositioned himself so his head was pressed to Marinette's chest, “she just told me I did a good job.”
“What? Really, that’s it?”
“Ugh, you know how I get when I get approval from authority figures.”
She chuckled lightly looking at his embarrassed face with fondness. “You consider Ladybug an authority figure?”
“Yeah, she comes up with the plans, she’s in charge, I care deeply about her opinion. All the classic elements one needs to be an authority," he said, waving his hand flippantly.
“Yeah, but you guys are partners, which makes her your peer. Like me, or Alya and Nino.” She began playing with his hair as he sank further into his embarrassment.
“First, I never said it was logical, daddy issues are a real SOB. Second, it was the way she said it. She looked me right in the eyes-“
“Eye contact is what does it for you huh?”
He glared at her, “Shut up, I’m not going to tell you now.”
She laughed at him, making his head bounce slightly against her breast. “Sorry, I’ll stop. Please continue.”
“It’s just that she hadn’t come up with a way to use her Lucky Charm yet, and I had an idea. Which never happens! Not even that one time I was Mister Bug. So when she did it, and it worked, she gave me this look that just made me feel like she was so proud of me. Then she said, ‘Chat, that was amazing. You did a really good job today, thank you.’ Her voice was so nice, and everything combined made me feel so good, I nearly collapsed right there.” He heaved a shuddering sigh.
“And third, I would definitely not put you, and Nino and Alya in the same category.” Then, to prove his point he began caressing her thighs slowly and deliberately.
She hummed thoughtfully, “So what you’re telling me, is if I were to say, oh I don’t know-“ her voice turned sweet, and she pulled his face close to hers, “you’re the kindest, most thoughtful person in my life, and I am so lucky to have you here with me - you’d be putty in my hands?”
Adrien was shaking. Hearing something like that, especially from Marinette who was the girl that everyone seemed to admire, made him want to implode. The only answer he could vocalize was a high-pitched whine as he buried his face into her cleavage. She laughed. And dug her fingers further in his hair, sending waves of pure pleasure down his spine.
“Or if I say, you’ve done an amazing job keeping Paris safe and working nearly full time as well as being a student. I sometimes look at your sweet sleeping face and think that you are the strongest, smartest, and most resourceful person in Paris.” If she kept this up he was going to have to need to kiss her senseless, and then some. “And you're pretty good in bed, too.”
That was it. He couldn’t handle it anymore. Adrien could either cry, or make her stop, and he was not going to cry. He jumped up and kissed her passionately, his tongue pushing her lips open. He could feel her nails running trails up and down his sides.
“If you don’t stop, you’re going to make me fall in love with you.” He said between searing kisses. His hands began to wander to the band of her sports bra. He hovered above her face, noses touching, lips nearly brushing.
“We wouldn’t want that now, would we?” She brought one hand up and lightly traced his lips with her finger. He looked into her eyes, looking for something. What he wasn’t sure. All he saw was mirth, mixed with desire. His hand crept further under her bra.
He bit back the reply that too easily sprung to the tip of his tongue. Would it really be so bad? This was part of the game they played. They weren’t dating. It was just physical. And emotional. And Adrien probably loved her. And the days she was busy were lonely. But they weren’t dating.
Because how could you date your best friend, when you were still in love with your other best friend? The one you had to see on a regular basis to save the city. The one who could reduce you to a boneless mess with a kind word and a smile. So they weren’t dating, and he had a game to lose as valiantly as he could.
“No, definitely not. You can’t have me getting too attached. A mangy cat hanging around is bad for your image.” He smiled ruefully. This was part of the game they played.
She pursed her lips together into something close to a smile and swept the long hair falling into his face aside to place kisses along his jaw and down his neck.
“So you agree you need a haircut.” She breathed against his collar bone.
He gasped in mock offense, but his reply was cut off by a knock on her bedroom door.
Adrien jumped off of Marinette so fast he knocked several cheap trinkets from her bedside table with a crash.
Marinette laughed at his startled expression.
“Relax. It’s probably just my roommate. You don’t have to be as sneaky here.” She whispered to him as she righted herself and walked to answer the door.
She was right. Her roommate stood in the hallway in front of Marinette's door. She angled her body so Adrien was out of sight, and smiled. “Hey, what’s up, Margot?”
“Hey! So the rest of us are going to the orientation party on campus tonight and wanted to see if you could come with us. We know you’ve been busy, but we’d all like to hang out and get to know each other!”
“Oh, is that tonight? Uh, I actually have a friend over, but let me see if they want to come.” she turned to where Adrien was pulling on his shoes. “Did you want to go? I was thinking of going, but if you wanted to stay in and hang out that would be fine.”
Adrien smiled widely, “Yeah, I did actually. I totally forgot it was tonight with how busy work and stuff was today. I’m cool if you wanted to stay in though.”
Marinette rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “It looks like we're coming, when are you guys leaving?”
“Like 20 minutes? It starts in a half-hour, but we have to walk.”
“Great! That sounds perfect. I just need to change! And maybe do my hair. But I’ll be quick!” She began shutting the door.
“She’ll be ready in half an hour! Be prepared to be late!” Adrien called from where he was lounging on her bed, now fully dressed and ready to go.
“Rude!” She pounced on Adrien and smashed his face into the bed. She could hear Margot laughing from behind the door.
“I’ll keep that in mind!” Margot called back.
“Ignore him!” Marinette shouted back over Adrien’s muffled laughing. “Why do you gotta make me look bad in front of my new roommates!”
“They have a right to know!”
“Ugh, whatever. I’m going to change.” She got up and moved to her closet and began pulling out different pieces and laying them down on her desk.
“Ooh. I can help!” He jumped up and pulled her close by the waistband of her shorts.”I do know fashion after all.”
She reached behind her and pushed his face away. “Your version of helping is more likely to make me later than anything else.”
He grinned, “But it’s the most fun.” He reached out and tickled her waist. She jumped and wiggled out of his grasp.
“That’s it! You’re waiting in the living room! Out!” She grabbed his beanie hat and glasses, shoved them into his hand as she pushed him out the door.
He put on his hat and glasses, both more for anti-paparazzi than any aesthetic purpose, and pouted at the door. “Come on, Mari. Don’t be like that!” He tried the door only to find she locked it. “Seriously, you're locking me-owt, princess?”
“Yes, You’re being distracting! Now go wait on the couch like a good Kitten!”
Adrien whirled around to find a tall thin woman in a dark band t-shirt and dark jeans leaning against the only other door in this part of the apartment.
“Uh, hi,” he responded awkwardly.
“You know, I wouldn’t peg you as a cat boy by looking at ‘cha, but you do you.”
“It’s… and inside joke. I’m not a “cat boy” as you called it,” he said, nervously. Because, he is a cat boy, the most famous cat boy in France, but she didn’t need to know that. “Are you one of Marinette's new roommates?”
“I’m Bette. I’m studying Chemical Engineering. What about you? You go to the University too, Kitten?”
“Yeah, Physics and Business double major.”
“Oof, Double major? And one of them is physics? You some sort of masochist?”
“It’s the result of a Parental Negotiation and Compromise. He pays for everything, I major in at least one of the things he wants me to do.”
“I hear that. I’m guessing you’re coming to the party.”
“Well, I’m sick of standing after the 10-hour shift I just pulled, so let's go sit down while the others finish getting ready.”
She lead him to the couch where they sat in silence for about 10 minutes. A tall Blonde with sharp features joined them.
“Hey, Yvonne. You ready?” Bette asked.
“Yup! Who’s this?” She smiled at him coyly. Adrien was used to looks like the one she gave him. He was a Model after all, but it never failed to make him want to retreat into himself. He also realized he now had a problem. He didn’t know how much Mari had told her roommates about him, or even if they’d recognize his name. The hat and large thick-rimmed glasses tended to make him look just different enough that most people didn’t realize who he was, but once he said his first name people often put two and two together. He’d been brainstorming how to introduce himself to people on campus but hadn’t found a good way yet.
Thankfully, Bette had her own idea.
“This is Kitten, Marinette’s little pet. I found him scratching at her door because she kicked him out like the bad cat he is.” She grabbed his chin and shook it a little. He pushed her off and glared at her. Adrien wasn’t sure if he really liked Bette, or if she really annoyed him, but he knew he didn’t want to give her any more ammunition.
“I have a name you know.” He shouldn’t have said it, but his mouth wasn't always his best friend.
“I don’t care. You’re Kitten now. No one is allowed to call you anything else.”
Yvonne laughed and sat down in the chair closest to his part of the couch. “Well, It’s nice to meet you, Kitten. I’m Yvonne. Will we be seeing a lot of you around the apartment? Cause we could make you our official house cat.”
Adrien forced an uncomfortable laugh. “Mari’s an old friend, so I’m sure you’ll see me around, but I'm not sure how much we’ll be hanging here.”
“Oh, but think of how much fun we’d all have together.” She simpered, leaning forward to give him a good view down her low-cut shirt.
“Down girl. Find your own pet.” Bette said leaning over and pushing Yvonne back against the armchair.
“Bette! Don’t be rude! I’m just letting him know we’re a fun place to be. He can make his own decisions.”
“Von, we talked about this. You gotta learn to tone down the flirting when they look uncomfortable.”
Yvonne perked up and looked at him with wide eyes, “I wasn’t making you uncomfortable, was I?”
He stammered for a bit, not sure what the polite way to respond was.
“I was, wasn’t I? Damn it, and here I was thinking I was getting good at noticing. Sorry, I’m not always good at certain expressions. I’m kind of face blind, and my default is to flirt. You just gotta tell me if I bother you.”
“Oh, um. It’s okay. I’m kind of used to it. I work with a lot of models and they’re kind of like that too.”
“Oh, are you in the Fashion Course like Marinette and Margot? I always wanted to try designing, but I can’t sew or draw to save my life.”
“No, but I work on a lot of photoshoots, but I’m not going into it. I’m more into STEM.”
“Ooh, smart and hot! Marinette's pet is quite the catch!”
“Don’t I know it!” Mari said, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and squeezing.
“Hey, you made it out with time to spare! It’s a miracle!” he said, trying to turn around to see her.
“Yeah, because I didn’t have a huge nerd distracting me!” She said, rubbing the top of his head with aggressive affection. “Are we just missing Margot?” She said, looking at her other two roommates.
“Yeah, just killing time with Kitten over here while you two fashionistas get ready,” said Bette.
“Kitten?” She asked.
“She heard you call me Kitten, and now refuses to even learn my real name.” He grumbled.
Mari laughed a full belly laugh, “Serves you right for being a pest while I’m trying to get ready. Besides, I like it. You are my little Cat Boy after all.”
“Ah-ha!” Bette Exclaimed. “I knew it! You are a cat boy!”
“No, I’m not! It’s an inside joke.”
“Yeah, it’s an inside joke because you’re a cat boy!” Bette's devilish grin was practically splitting her face in half.
“Mari, help me out here!”
“Nope, you know how I feel about lying.” She said with a matching grin on her face.
“Fine. He’s not a cat boy.”
“He’s a cat MAN.”
“Ugh, why do I even hang out with you?” He whined, burning his face in his hands.
“Because I’m your nicest friend, and you like getting your butt handed to you in Ultimate Mecha Strike V. for some unknown reason.”
“Well, maybe it’s time I get new friends.”
“That’s fine. That is why we’re going to this party tonight.” She hugged his shoulders tighter and rested her chin on his head. “You won’t be stuck with just me on campus, since Alya and Nino are clear across town. Maybe you’ll find someone who’s actually nice to you.”
“Whatever,” He murmured.
“Do we know what part of Campus the party is?” Marinette said.
“It’s by the Library!” Margot said walking into the living room from her bedroom. “Is everyone ready?”
“Definitely! Come on Kitten, you’re coming with me and you're going to explain science to me,” Yvonne tried to pull him up by his hand. Mari was still holding his shoulders, so he resisted.
“He’s going to explain science to you? What kind of science?” Bette responded standing up and taking her hand off of Adrien’s wrist.
“Any kind of science. Just science in general.”
“Well, Yvonne, I’m sure Marinette and her boyfriend want to walk together. Maybe we can have him explain all of science to you later.” Margot said kindly as she grabbed her purse and keys from the hook by the door.
“We’re Not Dating(TM).” Marientte and Adrien said in unison.
“Oh,” Margot looked a little confused, “I guess I just assumed because of the hugging and - You know what never mind it’s not my business.”
Marinette finally stood and walked to the door to grab her keys as well. “It’s okay. We get it a lot. We were both third wheels for most of school since our best friends are dating. We ended up spending a lot of time together, so we’re just really close.”
There was a quiet moment where everyone looked a little uncomfortable, and then Yvonne piped up, “Well that means you can explain science to me after all Kitten! Let's go.” She dragged him from the couch, past a laughing Marinette who cruelly ignored his pleading eyes and all the way to the orientation party.