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Satisfaction Brought It Back

Chapter Text

Every time the bell over the door of the café chimed, Marinette would glance up from the magazine she was only half reading to inspect the faces of the people who entered.

Her eyes flitted over the faces of the women who bustled in, passing over them without a second glance as she tried not to look like she was openly staring at the men who walked by. From her corner table, she could see almost everyone who came and went and paid special attention to anyone who looked like they were looking for a woman in poka-dotted earrings or anyone with a black cat pin affixed to their lapel. She was still early, having arrived nearly an hour before the time they were supposed to meet to scope out a secluded table where the odds of running into someone she knew were slim. Now all she had to do was play the waiting game and hope the man she was planning on meeting wasn’t a fifty year old troll in a fedora.

Marinette’s phone buzzed on the table and she glanced down to see Alya’s portrait blink up at her as she unlocked the screen:


 

Alya: you okay?

Marinette: yeah i'm fine.

Marinette: he hasn't shown up yet so I'm just killing time

Alya: kay just checking

Alya: give me a shout if you need a rescue

Alya: do you have my taser?

Marinette: thanks but i left it at home

Marinette: i don't think i'll need it.

Alya: yeah...he'd probably just get off on it if you started shocking him, wouldn't he?

Marinette: -_-

Marinette: i'm going to regret telling you about this, aren't I?

Alya: -3-

Alya: just give me a signal if you decide to hook up with him

Marinette: oh my god!

Alya: like "the ladybug is in the spiderweb" or something

Marinette: it's just coffee! i'm not going to jump into bed with the guy on the first date; what kind of girl do you think I am??

Alya: ...well

Marinette: don't answer that!


 

Pressing her second iced coffee to her face in an effort to take some of the color out of it, Marinette let out a long sigh. The fact that Alya knew about her little rendezvous was a necessary evil and worth whatever ribbing Marinette was bound to get; she may have known her…acquaintance for the past couple of months via text but this would be the first time she actually met him in person. The café she suggested they meet at was about two blocks from the magazine Alya worked for so if things went sour, she would have somewhere to go in a hurry.

And however much Alya might tease her, it was Marinette’s best friend’s prompting that had gotten her out onto the dating scene to begin with. Granted, Marinette had gone in a…completely different direction than Alya had intended when she broached the topic a few months ago but Marinette refused to be (overly) embarrassed. She had busted her hide for years in college without so much as a third date and at twenty five years old, she would hope she was old enough to know what she wanted in a relationship…long term or otherwise.

Glancing around surreptitiously, Marinette opened the browser on her phone and flipped through her bookmarks until Salle de Velours' soft blue background slowly filled the screen. It had taken a few weeks of casually searching through dating websites, weeding out the sketchier ones off the bat, before she landed on Salle de Velours. The fact that it was the only site that required an application immediately appealed to her (she figured that would weed out a slew of weirdoes even if they were only the lazy ones) as well as the fact that it was more forum than dating site. Of course it had a personal section where people looking for more immediate gratification could hook up but one look at some of the more vulgar ads caused Marinette to abandon that section of the site for the general forums where everything from politics to sports to fashion was discussed by the site’s members. The only topic that seemed to be taboo in the general forums was the rather taboo subject that brought them all together in the first place.

And it was there that she first met the user she only knew as ChatNoir.


It began, oddly enough, with a short essay on the importance of lingerie.

Marinette had only been on the site for a few weeks but Miss_Ladybug had already made her presence known in the relatively small fashion corner of the website. Most threads were typical of the rest of the website which meant that they were out of Marinette's wheelhouse. ("How to Clean Leather"; "Good Latex Tailors Near Marseilles?"; "How Much is Too Much Chrome Studding?") But every once and a while, Marinette stumbled on a thread that was more up her alley. One Friday night when she had nothing better to do, she wandered into a thread on the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and amid a sea of "who was the hottest" comments there seemed to be a post calling into question the practicality and comfort of some of the more intricate pieces. As though the six foot wings jutting from the models' backs wasn't a tip off that fashion shows weren't exactly meant to showcase the most practical of outfits.

As if people who routinely wore leather corsets and literal spiked heels had any room to talk about practicality.

She was ready to go into a very long, very detailed history of the Victoria's Secret show and its impact on mainstream fashion journalism (mostly because she had a hell of a day where she literally sewed her shirt into a dress she had to deliver by Tuesday and felt like yelling at someone even if it was just online) but when she refreshed the page she saw that someone had beaten her to the punch in a rather spectacular fashion. In less than five sentences, someone had outlined the attention Victoria's Secret drew to the fashion industry and explained the concept of haute couture and art fashion without sounding overly condescending or snobbish. Marinette's eyes glanced over his reply briskly before canning the two and half page response she had queued up and was ready to fire. (She swore the cat icon next to the response winked at her but that was something that could easily be chalked up to sleep deprivation and caffeine addiction.)

She didn't know who this person was; only that they were ostensibly male, single, about the same age as her, and that their name that went along with the occasionally winking black cat icon next to every post.

His name was ChatNoir.

She didn't think much of it then but the more time she spent idly browsing the forums while watching Project Runway re-runs, the more she saw his name crop up in forums ranging from fashion to computer games to auto racing. After a while she started responding in some of the more benign topics slowly working up a nice rapport that was, despite the site they were on, completely PG. It was a refreshing change of pace from the usual pick up lines she got which usually consisted of an exaggerated penis length and a visceral description of what they would like to do to her with said exaggerated penis (followed, almost invariably, by a profanity laced message when she failed to fall for their suave charms). The fact that she could actually hold a conversation with someone regarding something other than preferred choice of rope/lubricant/position was an enormous plus because truth be told, Marinette wasn’t in a position (Chat would have appreciated that pun) to speak with any kind of authority on the subject. The truth of the matter was that, while she was hardly inexperienced, sharing a room while going to school/interning for designers in New York didn’t leave her a lot of time to explore some of her more persistent fantasies.

So they stuck to subjects they knew about; fashion, TV shows, music. It was light and casual at first but as the weeks turned into months they found themselves talking about more personal topics on Skype under carefully assumed identities; she may have liked this person but she wasn’t about to give them anything they could use to track her. It was a delicate line they both seemed to walk between a desire to be honest and a practical need to play some cards a little closer to their chests.

She learned this ChatNoir had lived abroad for a couple of years, he worked for his family's business and that he had been interested in fashion since he was a teenager. He was an only child (like herself), had strong feelings about supporting the welfare and health of models (like herself), and apparently was an aficionado of online cat collecting games. Marinette deduced he must be someone in the fashion industry; probably a photographer or fashion writer since some of the more technical terms went over his head. Other than that, she could have passed him twenty times in the street and have no earthly clue who he really was.

(She may have also glanced at his "preferences" page but got flustered after she had to Google what “switch” meant. The fact that her own page was completely blank made it feel like she was spying on him...despite the fact that she was just looking at information he deliberately made public.)

Marinette had made it clear from the beginning that she was testing the waters and that she wasn't looking to necessarily hook up with anyone; a fact that he seemed more than fine with even as their conversations strayed off the forums and onto instant messaging. There were boundaries neither one of them seemed eager to cross but after they mentioned they both lived in Paris, part of Marinette wanted to meet this person. Other than Alya she was usually too busy with work to socialize much and it would be nice to bring her close friend circle up to a whopping two…though casual friendship was probably not the kind of meetup that Salle de Velours usually made happen.

Beggars can’t always be choosers

It was her idea to meet at the café; her idea to somehow identify themselves with jewelry like some kind of spy movie. It was a guaranteed failsafe in case either of them got cold feet at the last second since neither of them knew each other’s names or what they really looked like. He seemed a little apprehensive at first but warmed up when she suggested they meet at one of the smaller cafés in case he was self conscious or something. Even though the meeting was on “her turf” Marinette was still pleasantly anxious about putting a face to the sea of disembodied text she had been chatting with for three months now.

...and even though she wasn't looking to hook up with someone, she wouldn't complain if the face that went with the text was pretty one.

Fighting down a blush, Marinette downed the rest of her coffee in a single gulp. She was getting way ahead of herself; right now she just wanted to meet a friend...a friend who happened to know how to untie six knots in under a minute if his profile was to be believed but a friend nonetheless. Their conversations over Skype under assumed identities had never crossed the friendship line and that was all Marinette really hoped for; someone she could talk to about her “hobbies” (as Alya put it) without being teased for it. When plunging into unfamiliar waters, it was nice to have a life jacket close by and if she and Chat hit it off it might be good to have someone she could go to for...specialized advice. There was only so much internet research Marinette could do without running into walls of porny misinformation and innuendo that equally exasperated and embarrassed her.

Alya had made more than her fair share of 50 Shades of Grey jokes at Marinette’s expense and if she had to endure another one, she was going to come completely-

“…Marinette?”

-undone.

It was amazing how a simple sound could trigger memories so easily. Whoever said that smell was the strongest sense associated with memory had clearly never heard their high-school crush say their name after years of seeing him plastered half-naked on billboards and bus-stops across the world. As Marinette looked up into a pair of questioning, disbelieving green eyes she felt herself snap back to her fourteen year old self who would have simply swooned if Adrien Agreste had looked at her and spoken to her like he just had. And it was undoubtedly Adrien; blonde hair, boyish good looks, all six foot, one hundred and eighty five pounds of him (She didn't stalk him or anything it was just that she worked in fashion; his measurements crossed her desk at least once a month). He was cloaked in a cream colored, wool lined peacoat, a blue scarf tucked around his neck and cheeks flushed from the chilly January air outside the toasty café.

In short, he looked as gorgeous as he did the last time she saw him, boarding a plane to Tokyo with tears in his eyes.

“It’s, uh, Adrien,” He said with a small wave that transformed into a nervous hand passing through his hair. She must have been staring; he must’ve thought she didn’t remember him or something. “Adrien-”

“I know!” Marinette said after a moment a little louder than she intended. “I mean, I know it’s you! I mean…hi! I mean…it’s good to see you?”

“Good to see you too,” Adrien chuckled as Marinette stood up to greet him a little too quickly as her feet tangled up in the handles of her bag. She fell forward a little, flailing out as Adrien suddenly reached forward to catch her by the arms. She lightly smacked into his chest, nose brushing off the rough wool of his scarf as he slowly guided her back to her feet.

"Thanks," Marinette stammered, feeling her dignity take a hit she hadn't taken since she was in high school. So much for making a good second impression.

“Mind the step,” Adrien said, holding Marinette at arm’s length as he looked her over. “Wow…you look good!”

At this point, fourteen year old Marinette would have been down for the count but twenty-five year old Marinette had enough worldly poise to stay on her feet (if her bag didn’t have other ideas).

“You too,” Marinette said, stating the obvious as she brushed off her black blouse and tucked a strand of hair behind her ears.

“I’m not surprised or anything,” Adrien said quickly, pulling his hands back as he realized they were still lingering on Marinette’s back. “I mean…you always had that flair for fashion…thing going on.”

“Oh please; I thought I just wore the same thing every day,” Marinette chuckled, lightly tapping Adrien’s shoulder. She might not have been head-over heels in love with him anymore but he was still a part of her oldest friendgroup who she unfortunately fell out of touch with. “I didn’t know you were still in Paris! I thought you were going back to Tokyo?”

“Oh, yeah…” Adrien said, scratching the back of his head. “I was going to but I thought I’d stick around a little here just to…you know…settle things at home.”

“Oh…right,” Marinette said, pulling back a little as she remembered the headlines that ran almost six months ago. She might never have been fond of Gabriel Agreste when she knew him but his absence was definitely felt in her circle. “…sorry about your father.”

“Thanks,” Adrien said with a small smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes. “Been a couple of months but I don't really feel like getting back on the road yet."

“I wouldn’t either,” Marinette said, reaching out to pat him on the shoulder before thinking better of it and segueing a little awkwardly to a scratch on the neck. Unlike revenge, condolence was a dish no one enjoyed cold. "So you're going to be local for a while?"

"Yep," Adrien said, apparently glad the topic had shifted to cheerier topics. "Glad to be back; not as glad as Nino but there's really no place like home, huh?"

"That's for sure," Marinette sighed, fondly remembering touching down on French soil after spending a miserable semester abroad in New York. "I may have to steal Nino and his camera while he's back; that spread he did with you in Brisbane was pretty impressive and I'd like to have him shoot some of my stuff."

"I'll be sure to pass the compliment and the job offer along," Adrien chuckled. "Things are going good for you I hear?"

“Well enough, I guess,” Marinette shrugged, lapsing back into conversation as though they didn't effectively miss out on the last seven years of each other's lives. "We're finally starting to get picked up in some larger retailers so our hard work is starting to pay off somewhat...though I don't think I need to preach about the virtues of hard work to a model."

"Thank you," Adrien sighed, lips pouting ever so slightly in a way that used to (used to she insisted silently) make Marinette's toes curl ever so slightly. “You would not believe how many people think we’re the ones with the easy job.”

She didn't know why he went into modelling when he had apparently struggled with it as a kid but she supposed if she had a face and body like his and people were offering to pay her thousands of dollars to wear clothes, she would have jumped at the opportunity...until she realized she probably couldn't eat bread for the rest of her career. That was something of a deal breaker and part of the reason Marinette sewed rather than posed.

“Your blog’s been getting some buzz,” Adrien pointed out as customers steered around the pair of them standing in the middle of the aisle.

“You follow it?” Marinette said, eyebrows raising. “I thought it was just my mom and Alya.”

“Your mom, Alya, and about a quarter of the French speaking blogosphere,” Adrien insisted. “I’m surprised Marie Claire hasn’t offered you a column yet.”

“It’s just a part time thing,” Marinette said, fiddling with the hem of her blouse absently. “Something to do when I can’t stand the sight of my designs anymore.”

“You’re probably the only one who can’t stand looking at your clothes in that case,” Adrien said. “I’ve been dying to pull off your clothes for a while now.”

There was a small beat as they both flushed crimson for completely different reasons.

“Sorry...that came out wrong, didn’t it?” Adrien chuckled, tilting his head back and sighing as Marinette let out a small laugh in spite of herself. To think there had been a time where she had been intimidated by this guy.

“I know what you meant,” Marinette assured him. “Though I don’t do much menswear and I don’t think you have the hips for some of my skirts.”

They shared a small laugh that seemed to dissolve some of the tension between them. Adrien was probably the last person she expected to see in Paris much less in an off the beaten path cafe away from the city's heart. Like everyone else from high school, they had promised to keep in touch but as time went on and they both became increasingly involved in their own careers, the Facebook messages and Skype chats became fewer and farther between. The last time she set eyes on him in person, he was about an inch shorter and five years younger but even half a decade did nothing to diminish his boyish good looks. His shoots were always so distinct because even if he was doing his best to pull off the Broody Male Model Pout, his eyes always seemed to glitter back up at her like-

“We should get together sometime,” Marinette said, mentally slapping herself before she started daydreaming again. “The four of us, I mean; I know Alya would be happy to see you two again.”

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to get back in touch with her,” Adrien said a little sheepishly, glancing around the cafe as he took out his phone. "I'd offer to get you a coffee but I'm actually supposed to be meeting someone here pretty soon."

Of course Adrien Agreste had someone to see; Marinette imagined that if she was an underwear model she would be beating dates off with a stick instead of meeting potential weirdos she met online.

“Well whoever it is, you shouldn’t keep them waiting,” Marinette said, picking up her phone as well and sifting around for Alya’s number.

"My number didn't change," Adrien said, glancing back at Marinette for a moment as she fiddled with her contacts. "I kept it when I went abroad so I could have a line when I came-"

Marinette glanced up and caught Adrien looking at her with a strange, bemused look in his eyes. For a moment, she thought he was suddenly angry at her until she realized Adrien's eyes were fixed on her ears.

“Something wrong?” She asked as Adrien slowly tugged his scarf loose almost absentmindedly, his eyes still fixated on her earrings.

“Those…those earrings,” He said, leaning back as Marinette touched the red and black poka-dotted studs in her ears. “Sorry those wouldn’t happen to be...ladybug earrings, would they?"

“Oh...yeah,” Marinette said, fidgeting with her earrings a little self-consciously. “Always had a thing for ladybugs so when I started doing my first line I thought I would play around with the pattern a little b-”

Marinette trailed off as Adrien’s coat fell open, revealing a pressed blue shirt tucked into a pair of khakis. It was a good look for him; classic and polished without being completely preppy. She would have given him full marks for it were it not for the fact he seemed to have a noticeable black pin attached to his collar shaped like a small, black cat.

At that point she realized two things at the exact same time;

1) Black ornaments did not go with that shade of blue Adrien was wearing. It was kind of a bad look and she mentally filed that away for future reference.

2) She had apparently been in closer contact with Adrien than she realized.

“…L-Ladybug?” Adrien stammered.

“Me,” Marinette squeaked as it felt like her face was two degrees away from catching fire. “S-so that w-would make you Ch…Ch…”

She almost couldn’t bring herself to say it because if she did say it, she would have to admit that she and Adrien, secret love of her adolescent life, had unwittingly remet on the snobbiest Parisan kink site in existence. If she admitted that Adrien was in fact ChatNoir she would also have to admit that Adrien now knew that his klutzy fashionista friend from high school had daydreamed about some fairly creative uses of thin silk strips. If Adrien was ChatNoir, then then they both knew, within minutes of meeting one another again, that they had much much more in common now than they did when they were friends in school.

“I…uh…guess I have time for that coffee after all, huh?” Adrien chuckled, fidgeting with his pin as Marinette tried to make her mouth do the wordy thing that it used to be able to do. Despite having chugged two iced coffees in an hour, Marinette’s throat and lips felt drier than ever. The quiet bustle of the café seemed to die as she slowly glanced between the pin and Adrien’s…Chat’s bewildered expression.

Most people rekindled friendships with people from high school over Facebook or Twitter. Most people met for coffee, shared pictures of their bratty children, and sent old friends Christmas letters once a year.

Marinette was clearly not most people as she had somehow accidentally hooked up with her old high school crush on a bondage dating website and somehow hadn’t even known it until he was standing in front of her.

Chapter Text

“…so New York’s a fun city, right?”

“Y-yeah I really enjoyed my time there!”

“Did you uh…get a chance to hit up Fashion Week at all?”

“Oh, yeah we did! One of my classmates was on stitching duty so she snuck us in the back of a couple shows in 2017.”

“Oh…oh, wow, so you saw the Gucci giant bird dress in person?!”

“Yeah…that was...definitely a thing that happened.”

“Well that must’ve been…something?”

“I unpacked one of my New York suitcases only recently and I still found a couple of indigo and orange feathers…”

“Seriously?”

“I wasn’t exactly tarred on my way out of America but they managed to feather me pretty good.”

“That’s wild.”

“Yeah…wild,” Marinette glanced across the small table at Adrien who dunked a cookie from a platter into his coffee. All the caffeine she was drinking probably wasn’t calming her nerves any but Adrien had offered to buy her one and she needed something to do with her mouth that wasn’t rambling/drooling like an idiot. For the past few hours they had been catching up, dancing around the elephant in the teahouse, talking about absolutely everything except for the subject that had brought them back together in the first place. This was only partly due to any lingering awkwardness because Marinette didn’t know many segues that seamlessly connected the New York fashion scene with shibari.

(“Speaking of accessories, Adrien, do you prefer handcuffs or nylon rope?”)

(“Oh I heard Tokyo is lovely this time of year! Is there like a specialty shop you go to or can I save myself the embarrassment and just order this stuff online?”)

(“You know I’ve always wanted to work with velour in some of my designs but more than anything I’ve always wondered if I was the kind of person who gets off more on being spanked or doing the spanking. I mean, granted, there isn’t a woman walking the face of the earth who hasn’t wanted to smack that underwear model ass of yours but I wouldn’t say no if you told me to hike up my skirt and bend over the table right here, right n-”)

“Marinette?”

Marinette blinked, coming back to reality as Adrien scratched his neck across the table a little sheepishly. 

“Sorry, I was…kind of spacing there, wasn’t I?” Marinette chuckled nervously.

“Little bit,” Adrien said, biting his lip in a way that attracted more attention than Marinette wanted to spend on his lips. This was bad. Very bad. Bad bad badbadbadbadbadbadbadbad. Marinette had thrown her girlish crush on Adrien to the wolves when she moved to New York and expected that to be the end of it. She never expected it to come back seven years later, battle scarred, bigger than ever, and wearing the skin of a wolf it had killed. Worse still, it had teamed up with her neglected libido and the pair of them were poised to take revenge on Marinette for ignoring them for so long like some kind of hormonal horror movie.

“You know if you’re…uncomfortable with this we can-”

“No!” Marinette said a little quicker and a little louder than she intended. Adrien flinched a little and Marinette glanced down into her coffee. “That’s…that’s not it…I mean, finding out this person I’ve been talking to online has been an old friend this whole time probably makes it more comfortable since I’m sure you’re not some kind of…um…”

“Weirdo?” Adrien said flatly.

“Yeah,” Marinette said, feeling her shoulders loosen up a little. “At least…no weirder than I am by the sound of it.”

“Weird is kind of a relative term, isn’t it?” Adrien chuckled, thumbing the handle of his coffee cup absentmindedly.

“I guess…but there’s weird and then there’s…weird if that makes sense,” Marinette said. “And the fact that you’re not weird is definitely a good thing but…well, I didn’t expect to see you here is all. N-not that I’m disappointed or anything it’s just…”

“It’s just a little weird to talk about our, uh…mutual hobby,” Adrien said, scooting away from an old lady who passed with her husband. “With someone you haven’t seen since high school?”

No it’s weird to talk about this with someone I used to have regular nightly fantasies about, Marinette thought but she nodded and smiled anyway. There were things she was ready to be honest about but the fact that she moaned Adrien’s name into her pillow so many times that might as well have been its name was not one of them.

“Right…so I know we agreed to come here to talk about...stuff but if you’d rather keep it PG for now I totally get it,” Adrien said with a small smile that almost made Marinette consider his offer. But the fact of the matter was, so long as they were in Paris together, she wanted to at the very least resume (continue?) their friendship and something told her that their mutual hobby would still be an elephant in the room going forward. Better to clear the air when it's just the two of them and they didn't have to worry about Alya ribbing them to death.

Besides, there was only so much she could learn online and through books and by this point her curiosity was bound to get the better of her.

“Thanks…but I’m, uh, still g-game,” Marinette said with a small frown as a thought struck her. “As long as you are, that is. This isn’t too weird for you is it?”

“This is nowhere near the weirdest thing I’ve done,” Adrien laughed, shaking his head. “I’m good if you are...Mademoiselle Ladybug.”

“Yeah I…I like ladybugs,” Marinette’s face went as red as her handle as her Crush and her Libido took that opportunity to dropkick her in the chest. “…I’m coming off like a total newbie, aren’t I?”

“Aren’t you though?” Adrien said with a small smile.

“…fair point,” Marinette said, fidgeting a little under his twinkling green gaze. “I mean I’ve done my homework…or as much as I can do online anyway. But in terms of uh…practical experience, I don’t exactly have anything to show for my effort.”

“So you’re interested in this stuff for...personal reasons then?” Adrien asked after a moment.

“Are there any other reasons?” Marinette chuckled.

“I’ve seen a few,” Adrien shrugged. “Some people are interested in the whole psychological side of things; you see a lot of doctoral candidates who think they’ve figured out some deep-seated psychological issue that makes people want to do the things we do and just want the data to cover it. Journalists, of course, because if sex sells, then kinky sex sells twice as much. And then there are authors who are looking to write the next Fifty Shades of Grey.

“I imagine the bar is pretty low for them, in that case,” Marinette snorted.

“So low children skip rope with it,” Adrien said dryly, regarding Marinette for a moment over the rim of his cup. “Personal then?”

“…personal,” Marinette said, sitting up a little straighter in spite of the butterflies in her stomach. “…and you?”

“Personal,” Adrien said.

“I figured,” Marinette said before she could stop herself, earning a questioning look from Adrien. “I-I meant…uh...d-don’t be mad but I…mayormaynothavelookedatyourprofile.”

“How dare you look at the public profile I put up for anyone to look at,” Adrien clucked, almost laughing at the mortified look on Marinette’s face.

“I’m glad my embarrassment is entertaining one of us at least,” Marinette chuckled, tugging at the collar of her blouse.

“What are you embarrassed of?” Adrien asked, hand hovering over the plate of cookies thoughtfully before pulling back. “If you don’t mind my asking.”

“Because this isn't something I usually do,” Marinette said, gesturing vaguely.

“Well, there’s always a first time for everything,” Adrien shrugged, suppressing a small smile. “Though to be honest, we don’t seem to be doing much of that, do we?”

“Well, how am I supposed to start?” Marinette huffed, leaning back in her chair. “How do these things usually go?”

"How most conversations go," Adrien said. “There's no set template if that's what you're asking. I thought you had questions.”

“I do,” Marinette replied. “You want me to just start asking out of the blue?”

“Why not?” Adrien shrugged. “Worried you’re going to make me blush?”

“I don’t think you’ve blushed a day in your life,” Marinette mumbled.

“I’ve got my buttons; just like everyone else,” Adrien replied with a cryptic wink.

“And those are?” Marinette said, raising an eyebrow.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Adrien said, lips splitting into a toothy grin that sent a small shiver up Marinette’s spine. “How about we trade?”

“Trade?” Marinette asked.

“Question for a question,” Adrien said, taking another sip of his drink. “Just to get the ball rolling.”

“I thought you were the expert here,” Marinette said, licking her lips a little anxiously.

“Expert is like weirdo; it’s relative,” Adrien shrugged, glancing out the window. “Besides, when it comes to you, I’m afraid I’m quite the novice.”

Was he…flirting with her? Marinette unconsciously crossed her legs as Adrien glanced across at her expectantly; as if almost daring her to ask the things she wanted to ask.

“Okay um…how long have you been interested in this?” Marinette said after a moment, surprised and thankful that her voice was even.

“Long as I can remember,” Adrien said without hesitation. “You know how it goes; you’re young, trying to figure out what makes yourself tick and you...stumble on something that just flicks a switch you didn’t know you had. Same question.”

“…long as I can remember,” Marinette said, biting her lip. “I started looking into it a little more as I got older; mostly online stuff though I snagged a few books from the library when I could find them. Started out as a curiosity but…well, it snowballed fairly quickly.”

“As it usually does,” Adrien nodded as Marinette felt a little more comfortable going forward.

“…so you’ve had experience then?” Marinette asked, looking for any signs of discomfort on Adrien’s face.

“Some,” Adrien shrugged. “Played a significant role in the last two relationships I was in…same question.”

“How original,” Marinette chuckled, earning a sheepish shrug from Adrien. “…no experience. Not with anyone else at least.”

“So it’s completely theoretical for you at this point?” Adrien asked.

“I thought it was my question,” Marinette replied, lips twitching into a small smirk in spite of herself.

“My bad,” Adrien said, raising his hands. “By all means; continue.”

Marinette swallowed a lump in her throat, murmuring something Adrien didn’t quite catch.

“Excuse me?” Adrien asked.

“…top or bottom?” Marinette repeated, cheeks flushing scarlet and looking out the window as though she had never seen the streets of Paris before.

“Yes,” Adrien responded after a moment, smiling as she looked back at him with a small pout.

“That’s not an answer,” Marinette said.

“Yes it is,” Adrien countered.

“How can you be both?” Marinette asked, genuinely curious.

“I thought it was my question,” Adrien responded, folding his arms.

“This game sucks,” Marinette muttered, ignoring the toothy smile he shot her. “I didn’t know both was an option."

“Both is always an option,” Adrien said. “The best option, in my opinion. You wouldn’t ask someone to pick either apples or oranges if they were fond of both, would you?”

“We’re not talking about fruit though,” Marinette said with a small frown. “I thought people were…predisposed to one over the other.”

“You asked; I answered,” Adrien said, holding his hands up. “I’ve been at home in the driver’s seat and in the passenger’s seat; I’m flexible like that.”

I’ll bet you are, Marinette thought.

“What about you Ms. One or the Other?” Adrien asked, prompting Marinette to squirm a little under his questioning gaze.

“Is it...bad if I say I don’t know?” Marinette muttered, glancing down into her cup.

“Considering you’ve had absolutely no experience?” Adrien said. “I’d say that’s pretty normal.”

“Well…I have a few theories,” Marinette muttered, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She has more than just theories but Adrien didn’t need to know that she spent nearly every Friday in bed with her laptop. “But they seem a little…contradictory.”

People are contradictory,” Adrien said with a small nod. “Are you worried because of that?”

“Well I’m not necessarily looking for a partner right now but…I’m just worried I’ll commit to one thing and then find out I like the other better,” Marinette shrugged, pushing her empty coffee cup away. "And I'd end up disappointing whoever it was I was with..."

“Well I guess that answers my next question; you’re not looking to start anything then, are you?” Adrien asked.

“I’d like to know what I’m getting into first,” Marinette said, avoiding Adrien’s eyes as she leaned on her elbow. “I mean look how long it took me to ask for a coffee da-meet-up!

“That’s understandable,” Adrien said, thankfully missing (or choosing to ignore) Marinette’s near slip up.

“I mean you didn’t jump into bed with the first person you talked with this about did you?” Marinette laughed. There was a moment of silence as it was Adrien’s turn to blush, scratching his neck with a sheepish smile.

“Oh…oh,” Marinette stammered in dawning realization.

“I was eighteen,” Adrien shrugged, biting his lip. “New country; new people; decided to try some new things and…well one thing led to another.”

“I’m…just gonna shut up now!” Marinette said, burying her face in her hands. If someone had told her that morning that she was going to inadvertently slutshame her former high school crush over coffee and cookies she might not have gotten out of bed.

“I don’t blame you for having reservations about it,” Adrien assured her. “It’s not a race or anything; it’ll happen when you want it.”

“I guess,” Marinette sighed.

“It is just sex after all,” Adrien said, prompting Marinette to wonder if her sex life had been supremely lacking or if Adrien’s had been supremely awesome for him to be so cavalier. She seriously hoped it was the former; the thought that she had nowhere else to go sexually was almost enough to depress her.

“Most people don’t need special equipment for their sex lives,” Marinette snorted.

“Oh please; you don’t need “special equipment,” Adrien said, rolling his eyes.

“I think there are some people on our favorite site who would disagree with you there,” Marinette said, nibbling on a cookie. “…um…speaking of equipment…do you have to go to a shop for that kind of thing or-”

“You can order online,” Adrien said, laughing at the sigh of relief that escaped Marinette’s mouth. “I’ll Skype you the site I use when I get home if you'd like.”

“Thank God,” Marinette said, wiping her brow. “As much as I like shopping that was not one of the trips I was looking forward to.”

“I don’t blame you,” Adrien said, taking a sip of his coffee. “I like my public life and personal life like I like my coffee and motor oil.”

“…nowhere near one another?” Marinette giggled.

“I'm still way too embarrassed by that kind of thing," Adrien laughed. "Other people can let their freak flag fly all they please; I’ll keep mine under the bed.”

“For special occasions?” Marinette snorted.

“Exactly,” Adrien said with a small wink that suddenly made it very difficult to finish swallowing her cookie. As much as she tried not to, Marinette couldn’t help but wonder what those special occasions entailed and if that freak flag was stored beside a chest filled with-

“Well this has been one of the more…enlightening afternoons I’ve had in a while,” Marinette chuckled before her mind could run away from her again.

“Glad I could be of assistance,” Adrien said with a small toast of his cup. “…look, I know this whole thing can be a little intimidating-”

“A little?” Marinette snorted, snagging the last cookie off the plate and popping it into her mouth.

“Okay…maybe more than a little,” Adrien chuckled, scratching the back of his neck a little sheepishly. “But if you have any questions or concerns or need anything pertaining to this or...well, anything really, you got my number.”

“Thanks,” Marinette said with a soft smile. “I promise I’m not going to call you at three in the morning asking about shibari or anything.”

“I’m a light sleeper,” Adrien shrugged. “And I’m always up for some stimulating conversation.”

Marinette’s heart skipped a beat at the insinuation and Adrien’s eyes suddenly widened as he realized what he had just said.

“That, uh…came out wrong,” Adrien stammered, scratching his cheek as he downed the rest of his coffee. “Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.”

“I-It’s okay,” Marinette said, assuring herself that the small pit in her stomach was not disappointment.

“Good…I mean, you said you weren’t looking for anything and I didn’t want to sound like I was coming on to you or…wow I’m just gonna stop talking,” Adrien chuckled, biting his lip as Marinette failed to suppress a small smirk.

“I’m just glad I’m not the only one with nerves,” Marinette said, marveling how a face she was so used to seeing scowling at her from bus-stops could look so downright adorable beet red and as warm as her own. It was good to know Adrien Agreste was, in fact, mortal like the rest of them.

“Nerves never really go away…and truth be told I’d miss them if they did,” Adrien said, fiddling with his collar.

“I…guess I’m pretty excited that I’m going ahead and taking the plunge with this,” Marinette admitted with a shy smile.

“You should be,” Adrien said, green eyes suddenly glittering excitedly. “I mean…I guess it depends on who you’re with but if it’s with someone you’re really comfortable with then…”

Adrien trailed off with a shake of his head and a small smile as Marinette ran a finger around the rim of her coffee cup unconsciously.

“That good?” Marinette said, raising an eyebrow.

“In my experience,” Adrien said. “Let’s just say I usually have to block off a whole day afterwards to recover and leave it at that.”

Marinette’s legs unconsciously rubbed together as she tried to wrap her mind around needing to actually take some time to recover from getting laid. In her…admittedly limited experience, she had rarely needed more than a minute or so to get over her partners’ disappointing performance before heading back to her apartment or seeing them out for the evening. Sex had rarely been all that enjoyable for her; the idea that she could be so…wiped out after an evening made her mouth dry and stomach tingle pleasantly.

…her resolve to not immediately ask Adrien to prove his claim weakened by the moment. Fortunately, her phone buzzed as Alya texted her which drew her attention to the time at the top of the screen.

“Is it four-thirty already?” Marinette mused as Adrien checked his phone.

“Shoot, you’re right,” Adrien laughed, collecting the empty plate and cups as Marinette bent down to pick up her bag.

“Hate to cut this short but I’m supposed to meet Alya for dinner pretty soon,” Marinette said. “Some people from Quebec opened up a place down the street and we thought we’d check it out.”

“Same,” Adrien said, winding his scarf around his neck. “Not with Alya, obviously, but…I got dinner plans.”

“Oh,” Marinette said, suppressing a tinge of jealousy. Of course Adrien had dinner plans; probably with some statue of a woman who was going to make sure he needed to take tomorrow off to recover. “I….wasn’t keeping your or anything, was I?”

“Nah,” Adrien shrugged. “I’ll be a few minutes late but Nino can order without me.”

“Oh, you’re meeting Nino tonight?” Marinette asked, pretending that she wasn’t relieved to hear that Adrien was running off to meet someone else. .

“New bistro uptown; near where I live now,” Adrien said, pulling his arms into his jacket. "Thought we'd check it out."

“You moved?” Marinette asked. “Out of that mini-mansion?"

“I spent enough nights in that house by myself when I was a kid,” Adrien said with a sharp laugh. “Thought it was time to get my own place.”

“Oh…right,” Marinette said, hoping she didn’t drag up any memories he would rather not revisit. “You like it uptown?”

“Yeah,” Adrien said, holding the door open for Marinette as she stepped into the chilly February evening. “It’s quiet uptown…never liked the quiet before but-”

Adrien?” The relative quiet of the street was disrupted by Alya’s astonished exclamation as she walked down the street towards Adrien and an exceptionally mortified Marinette. It was bad enough that Alya had to know what she was doing there but once she saw the two of them together her life would be a teasing tenth-grade terror all over again. Marinette unconsciously ducked behind Adrien’s taller frame but it was too late; Adrien, the courteous nimrod that he was, had already waved Alya over and life as she knew it was about to come to a bloody, crashing end.

“Oh my god!” Alya said, stopping a few feet short of Adrien with a smile that threatened to split her face in half. “I haven’t seen you since…well, I think I saw you in your underwear yesterday.”

“How long have you been waiting to say that to me?” Adrien laughed, walking into a tight hug as Marinette used Adrien as cover to try and steal back into the coffee shop before Alya noticed her there.

Too long; you're the only friend I can say that to and not have it sound creepy," Alya said, looking him over at arm's length. “I can’t believe I ran into you here; I’m actually supposed to be meeting…Marinette?”

Marinette froze with one hand on the doorknob, freedom so close yet so far away. There was no way to claim deniability now; especially once Alya's eyes landed on the pair of them standing so close together. Alya froze as something inside her clicked into place. She looked between Adrien and Marinette a few times, gaze bouncing back and forth as her grin slowly grew wider and wider each time she landed on Marinette who suddenly wished she were dead.

“Did you two…run into each other in there?” Alya said, glancing up at Adrien.

“Something like that,” Adrien chuckled, fidgeting under Alya’s shit-eating, almost triumphant grin. “Kinda just…bumped into one another.”

“I’ll bet you did,” Alya said, glancing at a beet-red Marinette. “I’ll bet…you…d-”

“Well this has been great but Adrien has dinner plans, don’t you Adrien?!” Marinette squeaked, grabbing Alya’s arm and nudging her down the street. “Wouldn’t want to make him late, th-that’d be rude, wouldn’t it, Alya?!”

“I should probably take off,” Adrien said with a small laugh. “I’ll...I guess we’ll talk later?”

“I bet you will,” Alya said, nodding as she bit her lip.

“Yes!” Marinette said, tugging Alya as much as she could while looking back at Adrien. “Yeah I’ll…uh, Skype you tonight?”

“Sounds good,” Adrien said. “Nice to, uh, see you again Alya; we should all hook up sometime, yeah?”

“You know who you should hook up with?” Alya said, laughing as Marinette started yanking her down the street. “Have your boy call me; we got some catching up to do!”

“I’ll let him know,” Adrien laughed, offering the pair one last wave and a wink before rounding the corner and disappearing down the street. Marinette watched Alya watch him go for a few seconds before turning to fix Marinette with a devilish grin.

“Oh…my—”


 “—God, are you kidding me?!”

“Why would I be kidding you?” Adrien said, glancing over the top of his menu at his nonplussed best friend gaping at him like a fish out of water. “Unless I was playing the lamest practical joke in the world.”

“Given your sense of humor—or appalling lack thereof in your case—that sort of half-ass joke is right up your alley,” Nino said.

“…no, I am not kidding you,” Adrien said.

“Marinette,” Nino repeated flatly. “This girl you’ve been talking to for like six months was Marinette Marinette?”

“No, Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” Adrien said, lips twitching as Nino rolled his eyes across the table.

“You know, you need to hurry up and spawn some little Adriens because I can’t take any more of these goddamn dad jokes, man,” Nino sighed, paging through the menu idly as Adrien looked out the window.

“That’s a terrifying thought,” Adrien snorted. “Me with kids.”

“At least then you have a captive audience to torment with your corny-as-hell sense of humor,” Nino muttered. “What are you getting?”

“Chicken salad,” Adrien said, frowning at the deadpan look Nino shot him. “What?”

“You know, one of the perks of quitting the model game is that you don’t have to eat like a model anymore,” Nino said.

“I never said I was quitting,” Adrien muttered, taking a sip of his wine. “I said I was thinking about it…”

“You haven’t taken a contract in six months,” Nino reminded him.

“I’m on vacation…slash grieving,” Adrien said.

“Uh-huh,” Nino sighed. “And hooking up with old friends on kinky sex websites is part of your grieving process?”

“We didn’t hook up!” Adrien said, scratching his reddening neck.

“Suuuuuuuure,” Nino snorted.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Adrien said, eyes narrowing.

“When was the last time you went to one of these things and it didn’t end with you going home with whoever it was you met?” Nino said flatly. “I was half expecting to get a text from you bumping dinner because you were hanging in some lady’s wine cellar or something.”

“I don't always go home with people I..." Adrien trailed off as he struggled to recall a time where meetups didn't end with an extended date. "...well clearly that didn't happen this time."

“Okay then,” Nino said, leaning back and taking a sip of soda. “So what-”


“-happened?”

“We talked,” Marinette shrugged, taking a long pull of her milkshake as Alya leaned on her hand in rapt attention, plate of duck confit poutine between them completely ignored.

“You just talked?” Alya said flatly.

“Oh no, you know what, we took a break from talking around three and made hot, passionate love in the bathroom while an eighty year old woman banged on the door,” Marinette said flatly only to find her cheeks reddening even as she joked about it.

“Oh come on; you’re as red as a tomato,” Alya huffed as Marinette buried her embarrassment in a bite of gravy covered fries. “Something had to have happened!”

“Isn’t the whole “Adrien Is My Secret BDSM Pen Pal” enough of something for you?” Marinette said, eyeing Alya’s giddy expression. “You seem way more excited about this than I do.”

“You’re not excited?!” Alya said. “Come on it’s-”


“-Marinette we’re talking about here,” Nino said, eying the chicken salad the waitress set down in front of Adrien with a small shake of his head. “The girl literally everyone in school had a crush on!"

"Who's everyone?"

"Me, Alya, Nathaniel, Chloe-”

“Chloe hated Marinette if I remember correctly,” Adrien said, eying the filet and potatoes in front of Nino almost enviously.

“Oh come on; Chloe practically dipped Marinette’s pigtails in ink and pushed her down on the playground,” Nino said, rolling his eyes. “She had it baaaaaaaaad for her from sophomore year on. Have to say you dealt with the sudden case of the bi much better than she did.”

“Huh…no kidding,” Adrien mused.

“I’m just saying,” Nino said, popping a bite of potato in his mouth. “You have an opportunity people would have killed for back in school."

“I know,” Adrien said, cracking some pepper on his salad.

“I mean…she’s still cute, right?” Nino asked, leaning in conspiratorially.

“Well…” Adrien cocked his head to one side. Cute was a word he used to describe puppies and children; not one used to describe a sharp looking young woman with clever, glittering blue eyes. “Not so much cute as…you know…pretty…”

“Oh…oh wow.” Nino said, grin widening as Adrien’s ears started flushing pink. "You got it baaaaaaad."

“She... uh…grew up pretty nicely I guess,” Adrien chuckled, spearing a crouton and shoving it in his mouth before Nino could press him.

“Nice enough to make you blush like a nun at a strip club but not nice enough to ask out?” Nino said.

“I don’t know,” Adrien sighed. “She told me-”


“-I wasn’t looking for anything right now,” Marinette said. “And I’m still not.”

“Okay, but you said that was before you learned that Mr. Catman was Adrien and not some rando in a leather catsuit,” Alya said, spearing a forkful of fries as the image of Adrien in a tight, leather catsuit nearly made her knock over her drink. “What’s the hang-up? It’s Adrien.”

“I know it’s Adrien; that’s the problem!” Marinette huffed, nibbling on a piece of duck.

“The…problem?” Alya said, raising an eyebrow. “So…let me get this straight. The ex-love of your adolescent life—who happens to be a literal underwear model—meets up with you again on a website that revolves around people having really kinky sex with each other. You two have a great time, talk about your freaky deaky sex lives—”

“Thanks,” Marinette said flatly. “You’re making me feel so good about my life choices.”

“—and you told him you weren’t looking for anything?!” Alya said. “Why?!”

“Because I’m not doing that whole crushing-on-Adrien-Agreste thing again!” Marinette sighed. “I wasted four years of my life pining for slash lusting after his pretty face and got nowhere for it! I didn’t have a date until I was nineteen! I found my high school mp3 player last week and it was an endless sea of Adele! I was an inconsolable wreck after his father whisked him away to Tokyo without so much as a goodbye!”

“Well, who’s fault was that?” Alya said. “I mean it was Gabriel's fault Adrien had to leave—may he burn in hell for all eternity—but I told you you should have asked Adrien out or something.”

“I know,” Marinette grumbled, blowing bubbles in her milkshake. “But I just...I don’t have the time or energy to get over Adrien again, that's all…”

“So get under him then!” Alya said, reaching over and whacking Marinette on the back as she started choking on her milkshake. “What do you have to lose? You said you wanted to learn more about this stuff; why don’t you ask him for some—”


“—hands on lessons?” Nino said, waggling his eyebrows and dodging a crouton Adrien tossed at him. “You want to; don’t lie.”

“It…that hadn’t crossed my mind,” Adrien muttered, concealing his embarrassment with another bite of salad.

“Oh bull and shit,” Nino said flatly. “We’ve done nothing but talk about Marinette for an hour now and you’re telling me you don’t want to hook up with her? I’ve seen you go home with people you’ve met in person once.”

“She said she didn’t want that kind of relationship,” Adrien said emphatically. “And that’s kind of the end of the discussion; what I want really doesn’t enter into the equation at this point.”

“…so you admit, you want her,” Nino pointed out.

“Wh-when did I admit that?!” Adrien squeaked.

“You didn’t but your cheeks look like tomatoes and your voice just went up a pitch,” Nino said, wiping up the last of his steak with a hunk of bread as Adrien glanced at his reflection with a low sigh of disgust. “Honestly, you are the most bashful slut I have ever met.”

“How am I a slut?” Adrien said, flushing as an elderly couple a few tables over turned to give him a dirty look. “I can count the partners I've had in the last seven years on one hand!"

“Quality; not quantity,” Nino argued. “Speaking of quality—”

“Okay, why are you so hellbent on me hooking up with Marinette?” Adrien huffed.

“Because,” Nino said, adjusting his glasses. “As much as I like to kinkshame you, I just—”


“—want you to be happy,” Alya said, hand resting on the back of Marinette’s. “You know that, right?”

“I knooooow,” Marinette whined. “And I get that but right now I just—”


“—want to be friends,” Adrien said with a small nod.

“Really?” Nino said, raising an eyebrow. “That’s—”


 “—all you want?” Alya asked.

“…yes,” Marinette lied. "That's—"


“—all I want,” Adrien lied.

 

Chapter Text

You want this, a soft purring voice says in her ear, knee nudging her legs apart as his teeth find her shoulder. A hand tilts her chin up, a brilliant Cheshire grin glittering back at her as though her attention could be focused on anything other than the creature in front of her. Hungry green eyes drink in every inch of her naked frame, a soft leather glove tracing its way from the tip of her collarbone, down her fluttering stomach as her legs spread unconsciously as he gets closer and closer to his target. Her head tilts back as his fingers slowly slip insider her with tortuously slow pace, padded thumb tracing lazy circles on her aching clit.

You want this, he reminds her as she feebly tries to arch into his agonizingly slow thrusts, anything to relieve the burning ache inside her. She can’t move, hands restrained somewhere behind her as his fingers continue their relentlessly focused pace.

You want this, he reminds her as pulls back, leaving her empty, frustrated, shaking. A hand brushes her hair back out of her eyes, forcing her to look at the teasing, taunting, grinning figure so pleased with her aching, frustrated, shaking state.

You want this, he says in a smooth, taunting voice as his hand slowly trails down her tingling spine. You want this, he says as he presses himself against her back. You want this, he whispers in her ear as he delivers a small smack to her unprotected backside.

You want this, he says as he slowly unzips the front of his suit, hand resting on her hips as he slides forward and-


Marinette woke with a startled gasp, legs tangled in her comforters as the morning light burned away the comforting shadows that had enveloped her subconscious mind.

Her pulse throbbed in her throat with lazy persistence; not exactly hammering out of control but enough to make her feel every pounding beat of her heart as she stared at the ceiling, taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm herself down. Even in the early spring morning, her shorts felt uncomfortably hot, tight and-

Marinette lifted the band of her shorts with a curious glance that devolved into an exasperated sigh, flopping back against the pillows as the hazy remnants of her dream slowly drifted off into the early morning air.

With a small growl, she swung her legs over the edge of the bed, turning off her alarm before it went off and padding her way over to the bathroom. She tried to ignore the heat slowly blossoming from the pit of her stomach but it was crawling up her spine and digging its way into her brain with a nagging persistence that made it harder to think of anything else. Part of her wanted to douse herself in frigid water just to snap herself out of it but Paris in March wasn’t that much warmer than Paris in February and she didn’t fancy a freezing dash back to her room once her shower was done.

You want this.

She shook her head, shucking her shorts and shirt as she stepped into the shower, hoping the scalding hot spray would distract her from the nagging voice that seemed to follow her even after the dream had ended. Worse still, it wasn’t the phantom, faceless voice that had called to her in her earliest fantasies…it was Adrien’s voice.

A much more feral version of Adrien’s voice but those were his eyes she saw, his voice she heard, his hands that-

Marinette lightly bumped her head against the wall of the shower a few times, hoping to dislodge the image of her friend (and only her friend, she reminded herself) biting her neck and touching her from behind while she was powerless to-

Do not touch yourself while thinking about Adrien, Marinette vehemently told herself as the scalding hot water pounded on her back. Do not touch yourself while thinking about Adrien. Do not touch yourself while thinking about Adrien in skin tight leather. Do not touch yourself while thinking about Adrien tearing your panties off with his teeth. Do not touch yourself while thinking about Adrien slowly fucking you with his fingers. Do not touch yourself while thinking of Adrien slapping your ass. Do not touch yourself while thinking of Adrien biting your neck as he slides inside you. Do not…do not…do n-oh fuck it.

Okay…fine. Touch yourself while thinking of Adrien’s breath against your neck. Imagine his hands slowly parting your legs as you arch back against him. Imagine his fingers tangled in your hair as you beg him for release. Imagine his free hand sliding down your stomach, fingers teasing you as your hips rock feebly against his. Touch yourself while thinking about Adrien chuckling at how badly you’re hiding your desire for him. Touch yourself while thinking about Adrien making you beg, beg for the smallest hint of release. Touch yourself while thinking of his hand roughly smacking your ass as he softly kisses your neck. Touch yourself while thinking of Adrien standing under the pounding water behind you, hands resting on your hips as he slides himself forward and-

A low shuddering moan echoed off the bathroom walls as Marinette braced herself against the wall with hand that wasn't currently occupied with more pressing matters. Her hips rocked against her fingers a few times, riding the waves of her own imagination as she fought to keep her knees from giving out beneath her. Her shoulders relaxed, grateful for the smallest bit of stress relief as she simply stood under the water for a moment. The warm, hazy afterglow made the water feel almost unbearably hot against her skin as a small tinge of embarrassment sullied what was an otherwise lovely orgasm.

“Well…” Marinette sighed, glancing down at her fingers. “I’m-"


"-totally fucked."

“The fact that you’re not totally fucked is the problem,” Alya sighed, glancing over the top of the drink menu at Marinette who had pressed her face against the cool wood of the table, resigned to die of embarrassment until her food got there. “If you were totally fucked you wouldn’t be sitting here lamenting about how not totally fucked you are or having dreams that are basically your subconscious begging you to get totally fucked.”

“Hey say that again; I don’t think they heard you across the English Channel,” Marinette hissed, raising her menu to block the curious stares of the pensioners across the aisle. “Why do I keep telling you things again?”

“Because I’m like your little fairy godmother or something?” Alya reminded her. “And if you don’t tell someone you’ll-”

“-combust like the marshmallow man from Ghostbusters,” Marinette sighed.

“Though I don’t even know why you’re talking to me since you don’t seem to want take the advice I offer,” Alya sighed, smiling at the waitress as she returned with their food.

“Your advice is literally-” Marinette smiled uneasily at the waitress, waiting until she was out of earshot before turning back to Alya. “-screw Adrien! How is that sound advice?”

“Look, when you’re hungry, you eat,” Alya said, taking a bite out of her pannini. “When you’re thirsty, you drink…and when you’re thirsty you¬-”

“I get it,” Marinette snapped, rubbing the bridge of her nose.

“Hey don’t bite my head off,” Alya said, jabbing her sandwich at Marinette. “I would be remiss in my duties as your big-sister friend if I did not encourage you to fornicate with that model boy in a way that would make the Marquis du Sade blush.”

“I…sorry,” Marinette sighed, poking at her pasta dejectedly. “I shouldn’t be taking out my frustrations on you.”

“You should be taking them out on Adrien," Alya said, returning her attention to her sandwich.

“I doubt Adrien can help me with the print designs my client keeps rejecting,” Marinette sighed, shaking her head.

“So your frustrations aren’t just the sexy kind,” Alya said, thoughtfully blowing bubbles in her iced tea.

“If only I were so lucky,” Marinette sighed, glancing out the window. “My life sucks right now…”

“Oh you poor dear,” Alya said pouting and laying a gentle hand on Marinette’s. “It must be so hard working at your childhood dream job, living in the most beautiful city in the world, and fighting off the advances of underwear models. How do you get out of bed in the morning?”

“I-I’m not fending off Adrien’s advances! He hasn’t even…” Marinette trailed off, stirring the syrup around in her Italian soda.

“Yes?” Alya prompted. “I thought you said you thought he was flirting with you back on that coffee date?”

“Wasn’t a date,” Marinette mumbled. “And I thought he was but then he just…stopped.”

“Mmhmm,” Alya said, raising an eyebrow. “This wouldn’t happen to be after you told him you didn’t want to get into a relationship, would it?”

“You think he actually listened?” Marinette snorted. “If he did, that would be the first time I’ve only had to tell a guy no once.”

“Stranger things have happened,” Alya shrugged. “Besides you’ve been dating trashy Americans…New Yorkers no less.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Marinette said, eyes narrowing.

“It means Adrien is the kind of boy who only needs to be told no once,” Alya said. “He’s like a unicorn or the Loch Ness Monster; something only whispered about around campfires and on internet forums.”

“You don’t think it’s more likely that he just isn’t interested in me?” Marinette asked.

“Yeah you’re probably right…he’s probably not interested in a smart, successful, creative, woman with a butt like a peach and an imagination that’s apparently kinkier than most garden hoses,” Alya said off-handedly, reaching over and whacking Marinette on the back as she started choking on her drink. “Who was the last guy you met who didn’t like you?”

“Besides Adrien?” Marinette asked, pounding her chest a few times.

“We never established that he didn’t like you,” Alya said. “Only that you were too chicken to find out.”

“Oh sorry that a fifteen year old girl was a little intimidated by the prospect of asking out a model,” Marinette sighed, rolling her eyes.

“You’re not fifteen anymore though,” Alya said. “And the ball is in your court.”

“How do you figure?” Marinette asked. “I mean...let's say I was hypothetically interested in him. Why is the hypothetical ball in my hypothetical court?"

“You shut him down and he apparently listened,” Alya said, taking another bite of her sandwich. “So if you hypothetically were interested in him you would need to hypothetically let him know that you had hypothetically changed your mind…hypothetically of course.”

“And how might I…hypothetically go about that?” Marinette asked as casually as she could.

“I don’t know; is there a casual way to let someone know you’re interested in getting tied up and spanked by them?”

“Alya!”

“Sorry…is there a casual way to let someone know you’re interested in tying up and spanking them?” Alya asked. “I keep forgetting if you’re more of pitcher or a catcher…”

“We are not having this conversation,” Marinette said, burying her face in her hands.

“I mean you have talked to Adrien since you met up with him, right?” Alya asked.

“Of course,” Marinette said.

“About?” Alya prompted, lips twitching at the sudden color in Marinette’s cheeks.

“…things,” Marinette said evasively.

“Uh-huh,” Alya said. “Things are good?”

“Good as ever,” Marinette shrugged. “We keep in touch over IM and-”

“Wait time out,” Alya said, holding her hand up. “It’s been a month and you haven’t seen him in person again?”

“I’ve been busy!” Marinette protested. “I’ve got twenty four concepts I need to get to a potential buyer by Friday; I’ve barely had time to see my own parents in person.”

“You still have time to see me,” Alya pointed out.

“Time that would vanish if I was spending time with Adrien,” Marinette said.

“…hypothetically?”

“Of course,” Marinette coughed. “Besides…I can’t even imagine looking him in the face after-”

“Having sexy dreams about him?” Alya said.

“Exactly,” Marinette sighed.

“Okay, you know what?” Alya said, snapping her fingers. “This is your problem!"

“What do you mean?” Marinette asked. "My problem is having sexy dreams about Adrien? I don't think there's much I can do about tha-"

“No no no your problem is that you keep putting Adrien up on some kind of pedestal,” Alya said, smacking her forehead as if the idea just dawned on her. “You always invent reasons not to talk to him, whether that’s because he’s a model or a star athlete or because you had sexy dreams about him-”

“What’s your point?” Marinette asked.

“My point is that you need desensitization therapy,” Alya said, pulling out her phone and typing idly as Marinette looked on curiously. “You’re taking Saturday off.”

“Why?” Marinette asked.

“Uh…one because it’s Saturday,” Alya said. “Two because you’ve been working weekends all month-”

“I have a-”

“-line you need to get to a buyer on Friday,” Alya finished, stowing her phone away. “And since Saturday is after Friday, we’re going out.”

“Who’s we?” Marinette asked.

“The four of us,” Alya said. “Me, you, Nino, and your dream lover.”

“What?” Marinette squeaked, face giving the bottle of ketchup next to her a run for its money. “But-”

“I will figure something out but so help me God I am going to knock that marble pedestal out from under Adrien if it is the last thing I do,” Alya said, stowing her phone in her bag. “Hypotheticals aside, you at least want to be friends with him, right?”

“O-of course,” Marinette said.

“Then you need to stop seeing him as the pouty, pretty-boy, dreamboat and start talking to him like a regular person again,” Alya said, dropping her cash on the table and shouldering her bag. “I’ll send you the details.”

“But-”

“No buts,” Alya insisted. “You are going to have fun damnit if I have to drag you kicking and screaming out of your apartment…I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.”

“…I guess I can’t say no, can I?” Marinette shuddered as she remembered the Christmas party she thought she could get out of last year.

“Of course you can’t,” Alya said, leaning over and giving Marinette a quick hug and peck on the cheek. “Gotta get back; not all of us work for ourselves after all.”

“Maybe one day,” Marinette chuckled.

“I hope not,” Alya shuddered. “After seeing how much you work? No thank you. I like my nights and weekends.”

“Work hard, play hard; that’s my motto,” Marinette shrugged, leaning back in her chair.

“Save the playing hard for Adrien,” Alya laughed, turning to go as Marinette lost balance and nearly crashed to the floor behind her.


“Who do you keep texting?” Adrien asked as Nino’s phone buzzed on the table again.

“Friend,” Nino shrugged. “You doing anything Saturday?”

“Maybe,” Adrien sighed, taking a sip of his water.

“No you’re not,” Nino said.

Maybe,” Adrien repeated. “Marcel wants to go over a couple of things and I said I’d-”

“Oh no, come on man,” Nino groaned, putting his phone down and looking Adrien in the eye. “You’re still talking to that guy?”

“He knows the most about the company,” Adrien shrugged, popping a tomato in his mouth. “And since Dad willed me his controlling share-”

“He’s such a...dick though,” Nino said.

“He’s...not that bad,” Adrien murmured.

“No, man, he’s a major dick,” Nino said.

“Nino…” Adrien chided, trying not to smile.

“Like that’s his military rank; Major Dick,” Nino said. “Commander of the United Dick Forces Air, Land, and Sea.”

“Come on,” Adrien said, snorting into his soda.

“What is he here?” Nino asked, looking around. “Please tell me if he comes in so I can salute the officer on dick-deck.”

“What am I supposed to do?” Adrien asked. “Not take his advice on running my dad’s company?”

“Thought you were thinking about cashing out?” Nino said.

“…still thinking,” Adrien shrugged. “It’s a big decision.”

“I guess,” Nino sighed. “Don’t see why Colonel Dick has to take up your weekends.”

“Did you just promote him?” Adrien snorted.

“Field promotion,” Nino explained. “For exemplary actions in service to the Dick Empire.”

“I’m sure he’ll be thrilled,” Adrien said. “Why do you ask about Saturday?”

“Alya wants to go out,” Nino said.

“You need a chaperone?” Adrien asked, picking at his salad.

"No I was thinking of trying this radical new thing where people who like each other just hang out for no reason other than the fact that they like each other," Nino said, scratching his chin thoughtfully. "I think it's called...friendship or something."

"Point taken," Adrien said, chewing on his drinking straw thoughtfully. “…just Alya?”

"Excuse me?" Nino asked.

"Would it just be you, me, and Alya going?" Adrien said as casually as he could muster.

“No she’s dragging the fashion bug out of her cave for the day,” Nino said, glancing over the rims of his glasses at Adrien. “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Adrien said with a small shrug. “Just curious.”

“…uh-huh,” Nino said, taking another bite of his sandwich. “So how is Little Miss Ladybug?”

“Wh-who said anything about ladybugs?” Adrien said suddenly, sitting up and flushing.

“…that’s her brand name, man,” Nino said, squinting at Adrien.

“…oh right,” Adrien chuckled, spearing a crouton. For a moment, Adrien had forgotten Marinette's fixation with ladybugs transcended her online chat handle. “She’s um…good?”

“You guys talk?” Nino asked.

“Almost daily,” Adrien shrugged. “She said she was busy so we haven’t exactly seen one another since uh…February.”

“Oh I get it now,” Nino mused, glancing down at his phone. “You clever girl…”

“What?” Adrien asked.

“Nothing,” Nino said, stowing his phone. “You gonna tell Admiral Horatio von Dickwhistler to shove it then?”

“He’s in the navy now?” Adrien sniggered. “…I guess it’d be fun to get the proverbial band back together.”

“Course it will be,” Nino said. “Don’t know what the plan is but I’ll leave it in Alya’s capable hands.”

“You and Alya talking again then?” Adrien said with a small smirk.

“What do you mean again?” Nino asked. “We never stopped.”

“But…you broke up?” Adrien said.

“There’s a lovely thing called e-mail, man,” Nino snorted. “We stayed in touch when we were abroad; friends at least.”

“And now?” Adrien prompted.

“We’ll see where the wind blows,” Nino said with a small, self-satisfied smile. “Is it gonna be a double date then?”

“Sure,” Adrien snorted. “The fact that neither of us are dating shouldn’t stop us from double dating, should it?"

“Still denying that you want Marinette then?” Nino snorted as Adrien’s elbow accidentally knocked the pepper off the table.

“Didn’t we have this conversation already?” Adrien said, brushing pepper off his shirt.

“Refresh my memory,” Nino said, leaning back in his chair.

“I don’t enter into the equation since she already said that she didn’t want to date right now,” Adrien said, popping the last piece of chicken in his mouth.

“I don’t hear any denial,” Nino said. “You saying you haven’t made a pass at her?”

“Nope,” Adrien said flatly. “And I won’t either unless-”

Adrien stopped himself but it was too late; Nino smelled blood in the water and like a shark he was ready to feed.

“Ahhh,” Nino said with a knowing nod. “So what if she changed her mind?”

“We could play the what-if game all day,” Adrien countered. “What if Marinette changes her mind? What if I won the lottery? What if I just up and sell off all my shares of my father’s company? What if my father was secretly a supervillian bent on world domination?”

“In order?” Nino asked. “You could finally get with her, you’d be even grosser rich than you are right now, you’d not only be super gross rich but you’d be free of General Dicklord, and that sounds like a pretty plausible theory.”

“Okay Dad was…not the nicest person in the world but he wasn’t evil,” Adrien said.

“Far as you know,” Nino murmured.

“What?”

“So if Marinette wanted to hook up with you then-”

“She doesn’t,” Adrien countered, taking a sip of his drink. “I don’t even think she likes me like that.”

“Yeah because women just hate you,” Nino snorted.

"You know what I mean," Adrien sighed, spearing a hunk of lettuce and swirling it around the remaining dressing on the plate.

“I guess you have a point…" Nino said. "I mean it’s not like she still has a crush on you or anything...”

“Hah, can you imagine if she had a crush on me or-” Adrien blinked hard, brow furrowing as Nino let a long second of silence pass uninterrupted. “…still?”

“Yeah I mean she’s long over that,” Nino said casually, glancing down at his phone. “Not like she still wants you or-”

“Wait wait wait wait,” Adrien stammered, holding up his hand. “When did…when did she…when was this?”

"When was what?" Nino asked.

"The crushing thing!" Adrien squeaked "When was the crushing thing?!"

“High school, rememb-” Nino trailed off with small frown. “Wait…you knew about that, right?”

“Yeah, this is the reaction of someone in the know!” Adrien laughed, sitting back in his chair and locking his fingers behind his head.

"You...you didn't know she had a crush on you?" Nino said.

“Did you know?”

Everyone knew!” Nino shouted, ignoring the look he got from the other diners. “The better question is how did you not know?!”

“I…I…I don’t know,” Adrien said, eyes glazing over. “I just thought…I-I just always remember her being sort of shy-.”

“Only around you,” Nino said, shaking his head. “You didn’t think that it was just a little odd that the girl who could tell the mayor’s daughter to stick it without blinking a lash suddenly got all blushy and awkward whenever you happened to be in the room?”

Adrien opened his mouth to respond and decided to just leave it open as the waiter returned with their bills.

“That’s the check,” Nino said, glancing at Adrien with a small snort.

“I know,” Adrien said, shaking his head as he fumbled for his wallet.

“You pay the bill with money—that’s those colored pieces of paper in your wallet,” Nino said slowly.

“…I know?” Adrien said a little uncertainly.

“Do you?” Nino hissed. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what other really obvious things I need to start explaining to you since apparently you missed memo on Marinette!”

“Sorry?” Adrien said, leaning back from an increasingly bewildered looking Nino. “I…I guess I wasn’t that perceptive back then.”

“Really?” Nino deadpanned.

“B-But like you said, that was high school, right?” Adrien said as he scratched his pinkening neck.

“And if it wasn’t just high school?” Nino prompted. “I’m not saying she has a crush on your or anything but if she changed her mind would you-”

“I don’t know!” Adrien groaned, throwing up his hands. “I’m still trying to process the fact that apparently Marinette was interested in me back in high school over here! Wh-why didn’t you tell me?!”

“I thought you knew,” Nino said. “Would you have done anything if I told you?”

“I…” Adrien trailed off with the barest hint of a bitter grimace. It had taken nearly eight years for Nino to get Adrien to consider the possibility that he had something of an abusive upbringing since his mother’s death. It was a long road that Adrien was prone to dragging his feet on but he had to admit that even if he had known about Marinette in high school and he had liked her, he wouldn’t have been able to pursue her given his…demanding schedule. He tried not to brood but the possibility that someone other than Chloe had been interested in him and he might have had a chance at a happy relationship before the age of twenty wouldn’t leave his mind.

“Alright,” Nino said, holding his hands up at Adrien’s uncomfortable expression. “Alright, I’ll drop it. You two do you how you want to do you but please wingman for me on Saturday at least.”

“What happened to seeing which way the wind blows?” Adrien snorted.

“What can I say; I’m an optimist,” Nino shrugged, dropping his money on the table and pulling his scarf around his neck. “Is that a yes?”

“…I’ll move some stuff around,” Adrien said with a small smile. “God knows I owe you one.”

“You owe me more than one, junior,” Nino snorted. “Just remember; if you back out Alya will come to your house and drag you out into the streets with us.”

“I’m sure she will,” Adrien chuckled.

“Don’t laugh; ask Marinette what happens to people who go back on their promises to Alya,” Nino said gravely.

“…what happens?” Adrien asked as Nino gave him a dark look and turned to head towards the door. “…Nino? What is she going to do to me if I don’t show up?”


ChatNoir(14:25): So what happens to people who go back on their promises to Alya?

Marinette’s phone drew her attention away from her tablet as the messaging client’s tell-tale chirped at her from her purse. She was ashamed at the way her stomach fluttered at the mere sound of another message from Adrien (no one else got in touch with her via IM anymore) and resolved herself to put off answering him until after work. She wasn’t going to immediately skip off to answer a text from a boy she liked (hypothetically) like she was a smitten schoolgirl again. She was a responsible woman with a job to do and she wasn’t about to drop everything just to message Adrien back.


MissLadybug (14:26): you don’t want to know

Adrien glanced at his phone under the table as the board meeting continued around him. The CFO shot him a disapproving glance but Adrien simply held his gaze until he coughed and looked away a little uncomfortably. If there was one thing he learned from his father it was how to make people feel massively uncomfortable with only the slightest bit of effort. It wasn't a skill he enjoyed using but it came in handy every once and a while. Adrien leaned back in his chair, glancing down at his phone as another message came through.

MissLadybug (14:27): why did you make plans with alya?


ChatNoir (14:28): I made plans with Nino who made plans with Alya
ChatNoir (14:28): Something about Saturday?

Marinette should have guessed that it would have gotten out to Adrien by now that Alya was planning something for Saturday as she carefully formulated a response.


MissLadybug (14:30): yeah she’s dragging me somewhere to have fun or something
ChatNoir (14:30): How dare she.
MissLadybug (14:31): guess i’ve been a hermit too long lol
MissLadybug (14:32): but no if you made plans with her you better show up or I will make you show up
ChatNoir (14:33): Yes ma’am.
MissLadybug (14:33): *SHE
MissLadybug (14:33): SHE WILL MAKE YOU SHOW UP
MissLadybug (14:33): sorry typo
ChatNoir (14:34): It’s alright.
ChatNoir (14:34): I’m used to people making me do things lol.
MissLadybug (14:35): i bet you are
MissLadybug (14:35): *GUESS
ChatNoir (14:35): Haha
ChatNoir (14:36): So you’re going too?
MissLadybug (14:36): i guess
MissLadybug (14:36): depends on how much i can get done this week
ChatNoir (14:37): I should let you get back to work then.

Adrien’s thumb hovered over the SEND button as he contemplated whether or not to send the message he had typed or not. He was vaguely aware of the meeting carrying on without him as he took a deep breath and pushed SEND.


ChatNoir (14:38): I would be so disappointed if we didn’t get to spend some time together.

A shiver like a phantom finger ran its way up Marinette’s spine as she sat staring at the screen for what felt like an eternity. There were so many ways she could have interpreted his text ranging from the exasperated and sarcastic (“I would be so disappointed if we didn’t get to spend some time together.”) to the downright sinful (“I would be so disappointed if we didn’t get to spend some time together.”).

ChatNoir (14:40): Marinette?

His response shook her out of her daydream as she wondered how to best phrase her reply.


He fucked up.

He fucked up and she was super uncomfortable now.

That was the only reason it was taking her so long to respond; she was trying to figure out a way to politely tell him to get bent/get out of her life. The board room became oppressively hot as Adrien stared at the screen in front of him, waiting for her to finish typing what was no doubt a graduate thesis on his creepiness.

MissLadybug (14:44): well i should get back to work then
MissLadybug (14:44): the last thing i want to do is disappoint you on saturday~


Did she just send that? Marinette stared blankly at her response, trying to will it back before Adrien had a chance to read it. God, why didn’t she just tell him to swing by her place after work and bend her over her desk?! She even punctuated with the slutty squiggly line; he must think her some kind of cheap floozy who just-

ChatNoir (14:45): I seriously doubt you’re capable of disappointing me, Miss Ladybug.


Adrien’s teeth hung onto his bottom lip for dear life as he waited for her response.

MissLadybug (14:46): haha thanks for the vote of confidence
MissLadybug (14:47): i will do my best to live up to your expectations
ChatNoir (14:47): Haha okay. You work hard now!
MissLadybug (14:48): yes sir~

The entire room whipped around to look at Adrien as his knee banged on the underside of the table in his haste to stand up. Murmuring a half-apology he excused himself, making a beeline for the bathroom to splash some cold water on his face before he was boiled alive in his own skin.

Get a hold of yourself, Adrien chided himself as he pushed the bathroom door open. You’re reading too much into it; she’s not flirting with you…is she?

Adrien glanced at his phone before glancing at the flushed, almost crimson reflection looking back at him in the mirror over the sink.

Is she?


"Marinette, are you alright?"

"F-fine!" Marinette called through the bathroom door. "I'm fine! J-j-just some bad pasta, that's all!"

She glanced down at the phone resting on the sink, pacing back and forth as she waited for his response. Had she gone too far too fast? Was a second slutty squiggle pushing the envelope? Did she even care if she was pushing the envelope at this point? If Alya was right and the ball was indeed in her court, wasn't it up to her to do something about it? But what if it was too much? What if-

Her phone buzzed on the sink, interrupting Marinette's pacing as she stared at it like a pit viper that was rearing to strike. After a moment, she crept forward, wincing as she slid the lock screen over and punched in her password.

ChatNoir (14:50): Have a good rest of your day then; I'll see you Saturday~

Marinette blinked at the screen a few times, holding her phone up to the light as though it would tell her if she was reading it wrong or something.

Was that...another slutty squiggle?

She let out a small sigh of relief, turning on the faucet and splashing some cold water on her crimson face as a wave of anticipation flooded her senses. Why was she getting so worked up over what basically amounted to friends making plans to see one another?

Of course she knew the answer: most friends making plans with one another didn't also have a detailed account of each others' sexual history or a desire to become the latest entry in said history.

Did I just admit that? Marinette wondered with a small laugh, pushing her hair out of her face as she studied her reflection in the mirror. It was true of course; she hadn't seen the boy in nearly a month and he had still found a way to slither into her dreams like some kind of sexy panther and no amount of desensitization therapy was going to change that. In fact, she was convinced things would only get worse for her if she showed up on Saturday and saw him in all his casually sexy glory, standing there like some kind of stupid French Adonis like he didn't even know the effect he had on her...

...he didn't even know the effect he had on her.

Marinette held her gaze in the mirror with a small frown. He didn't even know the effect he had on her. That was the problem; he never knew. She was just stewing like a gumbo of sexual frustration while he got to flit around like the blithe, careless beauty queen that he was.

How was that fair?

It wasn't.

It wasn't fair at all.

And it had gone on long enough.Marinette quickly fired off a message, pressing send and turning off her phone so she wasn't tempted to respond again. Let him be the one to stew for a change; she'd field his texts after work. She didn't know what she was going to do on Saturday but she was done crushing on Adrien. She was twenty-five years old and she was done with the whole secret-unrequited-crush thing.

Ball's in my court, is it? Marinette thought as she walked back to her desk. Alright then; let's play.


MissLadybug (14:55): i'm really looking forward to it~

MissLadybug (14:55): we have a lot of catching up to do, don't we?

Chapter Text

Every spreadsheet he was asked to look at increased Adrien’s desire to take a flying leap out his window into the Seine like a modern Javert. Even if he undershot, a quick splattering death against the concrete ten stories below would be a kinder fate than being asked to review the Japanese branch’s third-quarter profit report and prepare a statement for the afternoon’s board meeting. Even though he lacked any official position, his father’s untimely death left him the unfortunate owner of the majority of company stock.

Most people wouldn’t call this unfortunate; most people would have killed to be in Adrien’s shoes until they found out that most of his daily duties involved reading copious amounts of tedious financial reports. And while they weren’t particularly hard to understand, reading one was about as interesting as reading an annotated history of industrial strength window cleaner.

Half of him was tempted to tell Marcel he read the reports already but the man was like a failed clone of his own father and would probably quiz him on the effectiveness of their underwear marketing campaign on men aged 18-25. Which, according to his report, was less successful than originally projec-

Knock knock.

“Eugh?” Adrien yawned, leaning back in his chair as a soft knock came on his door. “It’s unlocked!”

He pretended to be hard at work as the door slid open, hoping to look like the picture of a young, put together junior executive so Marcel might not see him for the underqualified product of nepotism that he actually was.

“Just going over the Q3 from the…Marinette?” Adrien trailed off as he realized that the figure in the room with him wasn’t his father’s former vice president who had stolen into his office. Dressed in a red and black trench coat that fell down past her stocking covered knees, Marinette simply offered him a small, toothless smile as she shut the door behind her.

“I wasn’t expecting to see you until Saturday,” Adrien chuckled as Marinette made her way around the desk, heels clacking on the hardwood floor as she wordlessly made her way over to him. “I’d, uh, offer you a chair but I think I have to read up on this before-”

Without preamble, Marinette gently plucked the folder from Adrien’s hand, carelessly tossing it down on the desk in a flutter of spreadsheets as her hand pushed gently on his chest, walking him backwards until he flopped in his office chair with a small squeak.

“Can I, uh…do something for you?” Adrien asked, disconcerted by her smiling silence as she slowly tugged on the belt of her trench-coat.

“Maybe,” Marinette purred in a tone he had never heard come out of her mouth before. The lapels of her coat parted and Adrien’s throat went dry at the vision of pale skin and black lace that lay underneath. Of course Marinette’s lingerie game was on point, sporting a black garter and stocking set complete with matching bra and panties that left enough for Adrien’s imagination to run completely wild. He must’ve spaced out for quite some time because when he reached out his hand to touch her, he found both restrained to the arms of his chair by a pair of black lace strips.

“Ah ah ah; no touching,” Marinette scolded, undoing her bun and shaking her dark curls out. Before Adrien could squeak out what was no doubt a lust addled response, her thumbs hooked under the waistband of her panties, turning around and confirming that, yes, in fact she was wearing a thong. Adrien had exactly three seconds to appreciate the sight of Marinette’s butt in lace before she leaned forward, sliding the undergarment down her legs in a way that made Adrien’s hips unconsciously buck off his chair.

“W-Wait,” Adrien said as Marinette turned around, underwear dangling off her index finger. “S-Someone might see us or-mmph.”

Adrien’s half-hearted protest was soon smothered by black lace as Marinette unceremoniously shoved her skimpy underwear in his open mouth.

“So?” Marinette chuckled, finger tilting Adrien’s chin upwards to look at her. “I don’t care. Let that dumpy little pencil-pushing president walk in on us…”

Adrien shuddered as her hand slowly trailed down his stomach, fingers unlatching his belt and slowly tugging it through the loops of his pants.

“He thinks he owns you,” Marinette said, open palm pressing against his aching cock straining to get out of his pants. “I need to remind him that you don’t belong to anyone but me.”

Adrien tried to mutter out a response but even if his mouth wasn’t full of Marinette’s underwear, he would have had a hard time saying anything as her fingers popped the button off his pants. Her small, delicate finger hooked under the waistband of his boxers, tugging them out with a small, throaty chuckle.

“Is that for me?” Marinette said, tugging his boxer’s down as Adrien’s hips rose off the chair instinctively. “How thoughtful of you.”

Adrien let out a low, strangled moan as Marinette slowly slid onto his lap, hands tilting his face up to look at her as her hips rested on top of his.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Marinette said, hand reaching back to slowly guide Adrien inside her. “And you had better make it worth my while.”

With a light, airy laugh, she rocked her hips forward, lips pressing against his forehead as he-


 -woke sweating to the sound of his radio alarm blaring in his ear.

Adrien was legitimately surprised when he was able to raise his arms off his bed, spitting the corner of his soft, Egyptian cotton topsheet out of his mouth as he lay back, staring at the ceiling in mute shock.

“Huh…” Adrien said, glancing down as he caught sight of a rather sizable bump in the sheets; a souvenir of the hot, sweaty fantasy his alarm unceremoniously ripped him from.

“…huh,” Adrien repeated, lifting the sheet and cocking his head to one side as he looked down at himself. “Well this is new.”

He glanced the clock, doing some quick math in his head to figure out how much time he really needed to get dressed and ready for work.

“Screw it,” Adrien said, settling back against his pillows as he tucked the corner of his sheet into his mouth again. For a moment he could imagine the soft cotton between his teeth had recently slid off Marinette’s hips. For a moment, he thought of a much smaller hand sliding up and down his length with torturous persistence, moans smothered by the damp cloth in his mouth as her fingers threaded through his hair. He imagined his hips rocking up against her futilely as her teeth bit down on his earlobe, sucking on it as she teasingly ground against him, bringing him closer and closer to his breaking point with every practiced pass of her p-and we have liftoff.

The small, gasping moan was completely smothered by the sheet in Adrien’s mouth. He twitched, once, twice, three times, each spasm creating another surprisingly large wet spot on the thin white sheets that still covered him from the waist down. He sucked in air through his nose, mouth falling open and letting the soon to be laundered sheet fall out of his mouth. He slowly sank back against his pillows as a warm, tingly afterglow washed over him, licking his dry lips as weeks of undue stress seemed to melt off him like snow on a radiator.

…only for a tell-tale ringtone to freeze him up just as quickly.

Groaning to himself, Adrien reached over to his nightstand, scowling briefly at the caller ID before reluctantly pressing the talk button.

“Hello,” Adrien said groggily. “Morning, Marcel, I…yes…yeah I’ll…I’ll take a look at it when I get in…I don’t know; an hour from now probably…okay forty five minutes…okay I’ll…I’ll be there as soon as I can.”

Adrien sighed, tossing the phone on his nightstand as he slowly hauled himself out of bed, trailing his sheets in bad need of washing.


Strange, boneriffic dreams involving one of his oldest friends notwithstanding, Adrien found himself relieved when six o’clock finally rolled around on Saturday. Even though he made it clear that he was only going to be in half of the day on Saturday, he wanted to be clear of the office before someone pulled him into an impromptu meeting that he found increasingly tiresome and pointless. Even when he did speak up, no one ever really listened to him and he beginning to wonder if his title of “junior executive strategy consultant” was some kind of code for “idiot kid who coincidentally has most of the board votes.” Needless to say, after almost six months of working there, Adrien was beginning to feel completely used and humiliated.

And not in the fun way. 

Every step he took away from the office his father used to work in seemed to improve his mood if the constant buzzing in his jacket pocket only served to remind him that he was running late. He didn’t even bother glancing at his phone because if he did he would either a) drown in texts from Nino urging him to develop super-speed or b) open up his IM client and waste even more time trying to decipher Marinette’s last message.

MissLadybug (14:55): i'm really looking forward to it~

MissLadybug (14:55): we have a lot of catching up to do, don't we?

He had checked at least once a day since Monday, considering hiring a cryptologist or French professor to help him figure out exactly what she was trying to say to him. Was she irritated that they hadn’t seen each other since February (we have a lot of catching up to do, don't we?), looking forward to hanging out some more (we have a lot of catching up to do, don't we?), or suggesting something that would probably involve them heading back to her place after the evening was over (we have a lot of catching up to do, don't we?)

Adrien shook his head as he nearly ran into a light post that flickered on as he passed. Just because he was having questionable dreams about Marinette in increasingly less clothing didn’t mean she suddenly wanted to take him to bed…as much as their internet conversations more often than not centered on all the interesting ways in which people took each other to bed. It was easier online to maintain a degree of detachment which Adrien found incredibly helpful. It was easy to keep his cool when MissLadybug was a faceless crawl of text on his computer screen but it was much harder to think straight when it was his pretty (and single) friend asking why it was there were so many different kinds of impact toys and what the difference was between them.

(To his everlasting shame, Adrien had signed out of that conversation, unbuttoned his pants, and spent a good twenty minutes imagining a much more personal lesson he could have given her.)

But if he was embarrassed of the occasional lustful thought of Marinette, the dream he had only a few days earlier made him turn scarlet just thinking about it. The knowledge that Marinette had, at one point, liked him was something that made him see her in an almost completely different light…despite the fact that he hadn’t actually seen her since February. Their conversations online were suddenly heavy with possibility as countless what-ifs refused to leave Adrien alone, no matter how much Adrien tried to suppress them. Whatever his newfound attraction to Marinette was doing to him, “I’m not interested in getting into a relationship” meant I’m not bloody interested in getting into a relationship. She was his friend…his pretty, funny, intelligent, kinky friend but his friend all the same. Adrien had precious few of those and he wasn’t about to jeopardize his relationship with Marinette because his libido had taken a fancy to her…

…of course, Adrien’s promise became infinitely harder to keep the moment he actually clapped eyes on her.

He approached the address Alya texted him through a thick crowd of people, fighting his way through tourists and locals out enjoying the Parisian waterfront on a crisp spring evening. He wasn’t surprised he didn’t find them immediately; they had probably gone inside one of the numerous cafes lining the waterfront to wait for him. Pulling out his phone, he rolled his eyes at another text from Marcel’s secretary. Tempted as he was to just get whatever Marcel wanted over with, Adrien scrolled past, suddenly irritated enough that he didn’t notice the person behind him until they lightly tapped him on the shoulder.

“Excuse me, you wouldn’t happen to be Adrien Agreste, would you?”

Even after so many years of modelling, Adrien never quite got used to dealing with his fans. The attention-starved side of him that appreciated the fact that so many people seemed to care about him warred with his private side that never really managed to get a good grip on dealing with the fans. Still, he went through the motions; smile, nod, sign whatever it was they wanted (provided it wasn’t a body part) and then make an excuse to leave as soon as possible.

Okay, here we go, Adrien said to himself. Turn around, smile, and-

...oh.

“I’m something of a fan,” Marinette with a toothy smile, hands shoved in the pockets of a cream colored trench coat whose very existence short circuited Adrien’s brain as it remembered the last time he saw her in a trench coat…or the last time he thought he saw her in a trench coat at any rate.

“H-Hey,” Adrien laughed, tucking his phone back in his pocket as he tried hard not to wonder too hard what she was wearing under that coat. “Long time no see, huh?”

“Been a while,” Marinette said, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear as they lingered a foot or so apart, identical awkward smiles plastered on their faces. They had the same idea at the same time, going forward and nearly running into one another as they went for a hug at the exact same moment. Marinette’s nose lightly bumped into his chest, whatever dignity and poise she had rehearsed going clean out the window as she stumbled forward. Her heel caught on the sidewalk, the full weight of her body falling forward and taking them both down with a pair of identical grunts as Marinette, for lack of a better term, completely sacked Adrien into the ground in front of a crowd of onlookers.

Operation Be Cool And Flirt With Adrien: Failed.

Ohmygod,” Marinette groaned, sitting up and looking down at Adrien with a hand pressed to her lips in horror. “Sorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorrysorry!”

“Ooph…are you okay?” Asked the man who had just been slide tackled to the ground by a woman half his weight.

“Are you?” Marinette moaned, cradling Adrien’s face as he looked into his eyes for any sign of concussion. “Can you sit up?”

Green eyes blinked up at her hazily, a small, nervous smile tugging at his lips as Adrien struggled to sit up only to realize three things at the exact same time;

1) He couldn’t actually sit up because Marinette’s weight was still pressing down on tip of him.
2) Under the trench coat, Marinette was definitely wearing a skirt. He knew this because-
3) –she was accidentally pressing her thinly covered lap into his as her legs straddled his hips.

“Ah-hem.”

Marinette’s attention pulled away from Adrien long enough to see that Alya and Nino had returned, glancing down at the pair of them with an identical pair of shit-eating smirks.

“You know if you two want to bail on us, we completely understand,” Alya chuckled as Marinette slowly looked down at herself to realize the position she was in, kneeling on top of Adrien and cradling his head like they were posing for the cover of a cheap grocery store romance novel.

“Just please get a room first,” Nino chimed in. “Unless you guys are like into the whole doing it in public kinda thing...no you know what, get a room anyway.”


Marinette almost wished she had concussed Adrien; if she had he might not have remembered that she all but gave him the most aggressive lap dance imaginable on the street in front of hundreds of onlookers.

So far her “flirt with Adrien” gameplan was off to a rocky start but if she expected things to be awkward between them during dinner, she was pleasantly surprised when they weren’t. Perhaps that was because she had Nino and Alya to fall back on to keep the conversation going as they sat on a terrace overlooking the river. Despite the hustle and bustle of the street outside, the small café was only reasonably crowded and the terrace was quiet enough for the four of them to catch up on the last seven years with minimal interruption.

But for Alya and Nino it was as if they had just seen each other the week before. Marinette had envied the easygoing, almost effortless way they fit together back in high school; the way they blurred the line between friends and lovers (as much as that word could apply to gangly, awkward teenagers). Even if they hadn’t swung back around to being involved again it seemed almost inevitable to Marinette given the fact that they kept shooting furtive glances and barely concealed smirks at one another when they thought Marinette wasn’t paying attention.

And speaking of furtive glances…

She and Adrien had shared their fair share of looks that had lingered a little longer than completely necessary. Even in the same pair of black slacks and white shirt every businessman in Paris wore, he managed to cut an impressive figure that try as she might she found it hard to keep her eyes off. And if his wandering eye was anything to go by, her decision to go with a sleeveless red turtleneck and black skirt was a wise one.

Every time he caught her eye, she forced herself to hold his gaze until he was the one to look away. If she demurred every time he looked at her, she would have spent the entire night staring at her pasta like a food blogger. As it was, she found out something very interesting.

Adrien was just a little bit shy.

How she had never noticed this despite having known him for her entire teenage life she would never know; maybe she had put Adrien on a pedestal where mortal flaws like shyness couldn’t reach him. But more often than not it was Adrien who backed down from their little staring matches first, diverting his attention to either Nino or Alya, only to steal another glance back after a moment. If nothing else, it only encouraged her to sit up a little straighter, lean a little closer, and hold his glittering green gaze whenever she spoke with him.

Unfortunately for Operation Be Cool And Flirt With Adrien, Marinette’s subtle assertiveness caused Adrien to remind her that there was a reason her feline dream dom spoke with his voice.

“I bet Tokyo would be a fun city to live in,” Marinette said as their conversation wound their way around to Adrien and Nino’s seven year trip across the globe.

“It’s not bad,” Adrien shrugged, this time not balking as Marinette glanced across the table at him. “Lots of fun stuff to do at least. Nino got way too into Japanese professional wrestling though.”

“And yet you took my spare Wrestle Kingdom XIV ticket when I invited you,” Nino reminded him, spearing a stray piece of chicken off Adrien’s plate. “And the Wrestle Kingdom XV ticket…and the New Beginnings in Osaka 2018 ticket…and the G1 Grand Prix-”

“Point taken,” Adrien shrugged.

“So you were just there for the athletic men in throwing each other around then?” Marinette teased.

“It was a plus,” Adrien said without missing a beat, meeting Marinette’s questioning glance with a small wink that made her mouth suddenly run dry. His twinkling gaze conjured images from her wildest fantasies and for the first time in their little exchange, her gaze drifted over his shoulder, covering a sudden flush with a sip of her drink.

…she couldn’t win them all, she supposed. But when the waiter arrived with four separate checks, Marinette decided to make another play.

“Ready to head ou-” Adrien idly reached for his leather-bound check envelope only for his fingers to close around empty air as Marinette plucked it from out in front of him.

“I got it,” Marinette said with a small smile, stacking her check on top of his as Adrien blinked at her owlishly. He looked confused more than anything else; it occurred to her that he probably had never been in a position where someone had offered to pay for his dinner before. Alya shared a small, triumphant glance with Nino who just rolled his eyes and shook his head as Adrien tried to formulate words.

“But…I…wh-what?” Adrien blinked reaching across the table for his check as Marinette held it just out of his reach. “Marinette, you don’t have to-”

“I slide tackled you to the pavement today,” Marinette said, standing up from the table before Adrien could say anything else.

“That was an accident,” Adrien chuckled.

“Well I accidentally grabbed your check too,” Marinette said as Alya unceremoniously slid her check across to Nino who picked it up without missing a beat.

“I’ll walk with you,” Nino said, opening the patio door for Marinette as Alya laid a hand on Adrien’s forearm and shook her head at the protest that stalled in his throat.

“Did you tackle Alya too?” Marinette snorted as she wound her way towards the rather sizable line leading up to the cashier.

“No, but I lost a bet,” Nino said, leaning against the dividing rail as he fixed her with a crooked grin. “Thanks for that, by the way.”

“Is this my fault?” Marinette asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Yup,” Nino said, scratching the back of his neck. “We had a wager to see who would move first; you or Adrien-”

“I haven’t moved yet,” Marinette said evasively.

“Uh-huh,” Nino snorted. “You just Thesz Pressed his crotch on the sidewalk outside-”

“That was an accident!” Marinette hissed, tugging at her collar.

“-and then picked up his check like the suave fashonista you are,” Nino pointed out, lips twitching as Marinette’s face began to match her top.

“J-Just making up for an accident; that’s all,” Marinette said, cutting in line in front of Nino.

“Uh-huh,” Nino repeated, sliding along the divider rail as the line moved forward. “Well thanks at any rate; good to see him enjoying himself again. The chuckles have been kinda few and far between since…you know.”

“Oh…right,” Marinette said, glancing out the window to see Adrien and Alya chattering about something, a small smile on his face as he turned to look inside. He caught her catching him staring at her and pretended to be stretching his neck as Alya rolled her eyes behind Adrien’s back. “That wasn’t even a year ago, was it?”

“Believe me; no one was more surprised than I was,” Nino snorted a little bitterly. “Hell, I didn’t even know Gabe had a heart until it failed him.”

“He wasn’t exactly the fuzziest person, was he?” Marinette admitted.

“To put it mildly,” Nino said. “Let’s just say that Adrien is the only person sad to see him go and leave it at that. His own business partner—Adrien’s new boss by the way—didn’t even go to the god damn wake.”

“Well Marcel Dubois isn’t known in the fashion industry for his sunny personality,” Marinette said, prickling at the thought of Adrien working for a soulless toad-faced gremlin like Dubois. “What exactly does Adrien do anyway?”

“Act as a bargaining chip,” Nino said bitterly. “Gabriel left Adrien his controlling shares after he died so every board meeting is a battle to get Adrien to vote one way or another. His entire job is dealing with people asking him to vote with them on policy changes or fashion show choices or what kinds of soda to stock in the break room vending machines.”

Fun,” Marinette said dryly.

“Not really,” Nino sighed. “Boy’s working too hard for people who don’t give a shit about him beyond his last name and his votes. He doesn’t talk about work anymore except to complain about it.”

“So why doesn’t he just…quit or something?” Marinette asked. “I mean not to get all Eat, Pray, Love but surely Adrien of all people has some screw-you-money saved up, right?”

“You’re preaching to the choir; I’ve been trying to get him to quit for months now,” Nino shrugged. “God knows I blew that company and went freelance at the earliest possible opportunity…then again my name isn’t on the front door.”

“I guess that’d be harder to walk away from,” Marinette admitted.

“I don’t know…maybe you’ll have better luck,” Nino said. “At the very least I’ll be able to triple team him between you, me, and Alya.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Marinette said, passing both checks across the counter to the cashier and fishing her wallet out of her purse.

“Much obliged,” Nino said. “And if Adrien asked, we didn’t have this conversation.”

“What conversation?” Marinette said with a puzzled smirk.

“Exactly,” Nino nodded, glancing at Alya’s bill with a small sigh. “God I forgot your friend wasn’t a cheap date…”

“You know you love her though,” Marinette chuckled as Nino stepped up to the counter.

“I do,” Nino said with a fond glance over his shoulder where Alya was waving at them over the rim of her drink.

“How…refreshingly candid,” Marinette said with a small smile.

“Well you get to an age where you’re tired of playing games, you know?” Nino shrugged, accepting his change and stowing it in his pocket. “Life’s too short to not take a chance on what you want, right?”

“Still trying to convince me to go for Adrien?” Marinette snorted.

“Hey, I didn’t say anything about Adrien,” Nino said, grinning at the flustered expression on Marinette’s face. “Good to know where your mind’s at though.”

Marinette opened her mouth to retort but wondered idly if there was even any point in denying her obvious attraction to Adrien…and the incredibly obvious way she was going about flirting with him. Alya led Adrien back in through the patio door so Marinette decided to just drop it for the time being as Adrien held her trench coat out for her.

“Forget something?” Adrien said.

“I was coming back for you,” Marinette said before thinking, sliding her arms in the coat as her expression purpled a little.

It! I meant to say-Marinette quickly choked out the part of her that wanted to correct herself, biting the inside of her mouth as Adrien slid her coat up onto her shoulders. “S-So this was fun!”

Was?” Alya said, fixing Adrien and Marinette with an almost predatory smile.

"Y-yeah, good times," Adrien said, shifting a little as Alya wrapped her arms around Adrien and Marinette's shoulders.

“Oh, honey," Alya said. "What makes you think I’m done with you?”


 “…are you serious?” Marinette sighed.

“No we’re just screwing with you,” Nino said, rolling his eyes. “Of course we’re serious!”

“You said this was just going to be dinner,” Marinette murmured to Alya out of the corner of her mouth.

“When did I say that?” Alya snorted.

“I just assumed-”

“Well you know what the English say about assuming and asses,” Alya said, wrapping an arm around Marinette’s shoulder as the lights of the arcade blinked down on the four of them.

“I didn’t even know this place was still here,” Adrien mused. “It was like ten years old when we were still in school, wasn’t it?”

“Apparently it’s still got fans,” Marinette said, moving out of the way of a small crowd of high schoolers going inside.

“Are you surprised?” Nino said, rubbing his hands together in anticipation as Marinette wondered if Alya dragging them here was more for Nino’s benefit than anyone else’s. “What are the odds that my Galaga high score is still up there?”

“A-S-S?” Adrien snorted. “Yeah, I think it’s still there.”

“Not to put a damper on the evening,” Marinette said, glancing at her watch. “But I-”

“If you say you have to work tomorrow I am going to smack you,” Alya said sweetly.

“…okay,” Marinette said, casually stepping behind Adrien. “I don’t not have to work tomorrow and shouldn’t not be getting home now because if I don’t not go to bed soon, I won’t be tired in the morning for the job I’m not not going to.”

“It is nine-thirty,” Alya said flatly. “On a Saturday night. You are not seriously going to ditch your friends and go home to sleep like a sixty year old.”

“I said I was taking Saturday off and I am,” Marinette argued, moving around Adrien’s side as Alya moved towards her. “Never said anything about Sunday.”

“You can’t work on Sunday!” Alya protested. “It’s…it’s sacrilegious!”

“Since when have you been religious?” Marinette snorted.

“I’m very religious when it gets my friend out of the house for a little bit of fun,” Alya said vehemently, glancing at Adrien. “Right Adrien?”

“I…don’t want to get in the middle of things,” Adrien chuckled, despite the fact that as Alya tried to chase Marinette he was quite literally in the middle of things. “Besides…I’m not sure how much longer I can stay either. I have a-”

“Oh my god, Marcel does not want you to come in tomorrow, does he?” Nino groaned, turning around to look at Adrien. “Does he?”

“Uh…” Adrien fished his phone out and glanced at the calendar app. “…eleven thirty; ‘regional strategy meeting to promote cross-platform synergy amongst local person to person modes of vending’ apparently.”

“And it’s just essential that you be there?” Nino asked.

“You know what happened last time I skivved off one of these meetings,” Adrien sighed, scratching the back of his neck. “Don’t really have time for another “Gabriel Agreste was the backbone of this company” lecture.”

“I am going to superkick that dick next time I see him,” Nino seethed, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Straight up Sweet Chin Music his froggy looking face.”

“…huh,” Adrien blinked. “I never really thought about it but I guess he does kinda look like a-”

“Oh my god,” Alya said, blinking at Adrien and Marinette. “You guys have become so lame!”

“What?!” Marinette and Adrien squeaked at the same time.

“We-we’re not lame!” Marinette argued.

“You two are going to ditch us to go to sleep so you can get up to work on Sunday!” Alya said, raising an accusing finger at them. “Lame!”

“We’re just being responsible!” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. “We…do fun stuff all the time, right?”

“Uh-huh,” Nino said, crossing his arms. “Like stay at home and chat with people on your freaky ass website?”

“Hey, say that louder, I don’t think the grandmas across the street heard you,” Adrien hissed, scarlet complexion only rivaled by Marinette’s top.

“What part of you’re going to have fun damnit was confusing to you?” Alya said.

“I-I had fun,” Marinette insisted.

“You had dinner,” Alya countered, gesturing back to the arcade. “This is fun. I know it’s been so long since you had it that you probably forgot what it looks like-“

“That’s what she said,” Nino supplied.

“-but if you have some soon I can’t be held responsible for what I do anymore,” Alya finished without missing a beat.

“That’s…also what she said?” Nino shrugged.

“You are turning into a literal spinster!” Alya insisted.

“Okay but that’s literally my job!” Marinette said. “A job that I enjoy thank you very much! A job I would very much like to be able to do well tomorrow!”

“And while my enthusiasm for my career can’t really match Marinette’s, I will get my hands slapped if I’m not on my game for tomorrow’s meeting,” Adrien said, tucking his hands in his pockets with an apologetic glance at Alya.

“Ugh…fine,” Alya grunted, turning and hooking her arm through Nino’s as she started to drag him away. “You two losers go home and wax philosophic about the sociopolitical significance of ballgags or whatever you nerds talk about in your spare time. Nino and I are going to go scream at video games like mature adults.”

“Deuces,” Nino said, turning around and disappearing into the darkened arcade, leaving Marinette and Adrien standing out front with identical petulant scowls on their faces.

“…we’re not lame,” Marinette snorted derisively.

“No we’re not,” Adrien mumbled.

“We’re cool.”

Super cool.”

“We’re successful business people.”

“In control of our own lives.”

“And if we don’t want to go to an arcade, we don’t have to.”

“Of course not.”

“Doesn’t make us lame.”

“Right.”

“We have better things to do.”

“…like sleep.”

“Sleep that prepares us for our…uh…fulfilling careers.”

Yours anyway.”

“But we’re not just going to cave to peer pressure.”

“No! No of course not.”

“We can make our own decisions.”

“Absolutely,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. There was a brief moment of silence before they glanced at one another out of the corners of their eyes.


 “To clarify,” Marinette said, shifting her cup full of tokens into the cradle of her arm as Adrien passed her the rolled up wad of tickets the skee-ball machine dispensed for her. “We made this decision by ourselves.”

“Yep,” Adrien said, taking a sip of soda from his giant pink and green souvenir cup that glowed under the blacklights above them.

“We can spend a couple hours relaxing and still get to bed at a reasonable hour,” Marinette said, biting a licorice whip as they strolled down the aisles of blinking, flashing arcade games.

“Totally,” Adrien agreed.

“But we were not pressured into this by Alya’s suggestion that we were lame,” Marinette said, pointing the licorice whip at Adrien.

“Not at all,” Adrien said, slowing down as they passed a crane machine. “Completely our decision…hey, pass me a token?”

“You know those are rigged, right?” Marinette said, holding out her token cup as Adrien fished a brass token out.

“Nah,” Adrien said, maneuvering the joystick into position. “Just a matter of skill.”

“Mmhmm,” Marinette said, watching the claw wobble and jerk around as Adrien moved it into position. "Or luck."

“Luck's got nothing to do with it...just got to…apply the right touch…be patient with it…aaaaaaaand…” The metal claw jerked as it dropped, snatching something just to the left of what Adrien was aiming for. Marinette munched on her licorice as Adrien silently watched the crane raise his prize, lightly banging his head against the machine with a sigh as the claw dropped into the prize bin. There was a moment of pregnant silence as Marinette finished her candy, bent over and recovered Adrien’s prize from the bin, dangling it off one finger as Adrien poignantly refused to look at it.

“Is this where you usually get your equipment from?” Marinette asked, twirling the pink bedazzled pair of handcuffs around on her index finger as Adrien fought to keep a smirk off his face.

“Ha ha,” Adrien deadpanned, fishing another token out and trying again.

“Are you going for the jump rope this time?” Marinette asked, pressing her face against the glass as Adrien’s claw bounced off the bottom of the prize bin.

“Such a jokester,” Adrien said, reaching for another token.

“…oh, I should have guessed,” Marinette snorted as the claw bounced off a glassy green eye of a black cat plush towards the middle of the prize pile.

“What can I say; it’s my thing,” Adrien said with a small chuckle, grabbing another token. “Besides, my desk is kinda bland right now; figured I should bring something in to make it a little homier, you know?”

“Your name on the office door wasn’t enough?” Marinette asked, watching the cat slip through Adrien’s claw yet again.

“Not really,” Adrien snorted, popping another token into the machine. “It’s more my dad’s company than mine even since…well, he casts a pretty long shadow, you know?”

“I bet,” Marinette said, passing Adrien another token as the cat slipped through the claw’s grasp another time. “Must be rewarding at least though right? Working in the company your dad helped create, I mean.”

“You would think so,” Adrien said, tongue wedged between his teeth as the claw hung up on the corner of the cat’s paw before it slipped loose.

“Is it not?” Marinette asked.

“…eh,” Adrien said after a long moment, not quite looking her in the eye. “Some of the people in corporate are pretty nice but…you ever get the feeling that someone only likes you for what you can do for them?”

“…you know I work in fashion, right?” Marinette snorted.

“True,” Adrien laughed. “Sometimes I think I’d rather work in a retail store or something.”

“Spoken like someone who’s never worked in retail,” Marinette said. “If you ever wanted to trade, I think you’d find a mall full of twenty-somethings who would kill to switch jobs with you…if only for the paycheck.”

“God knows I don’t really need the money,” Adrien said with a small, bemused frown. “There’s really no way to say that without sounding like a total dick, is there?”

“I’m afraid not,” Marinette chuckled, watching the cat evade Adrien’s grip yet again. “So…let me get this straight. You’re working at a job you don't like for money you don’t need with people who don’t like you because…”

Marinette waited for Adrien to fill the silence with some kind of answer but his attention seemed to be focused more on the game in front of him rather than Marinette’s question.

“I…I guess dad would have wanted the company to stay in the family,” Adrien muttered. “Not that he was a big family man or anything but…I don’t know…feel kind of flaky just cashing out; not even giving it the old college try.”

She watched his brow knit in concentration, hands manipulating the joystick as any advice she could give him suddenly seemed to ring hollow. The truth of the matter was that she didn’t know how she would feel if her father suddenly died and willed the bakery to her and telling Adrien to just walk away would neglect the fact that his family had literally died trying to make it a success. Somehow “follow your dreams” seemed to be childish advice to give to the twenty-five year old man trying to win a cat toy from a children’s game.

“You know it would be cheaper to just buy one like it at this rate,” Marinette said after another failed attempt to get the cat plush into the bin.

“It’s the principle now,” Adrien said, biting his lip and fishing around for another coin.

“May I?” Marinette asked, nodding at the joystick. “Maybe I’ll do better?”

“That’s not hard,” Adrien snorted. “I have the worst luck in the universe.”

“I thought luck had nothing to do with it?” Marinette said with a wry smile over her shoulder as she turned her attention back to the claw machine. There was a mirror at the back of the machine that reflected the neon blacklight late-90’s hellscape behind them as Adrien reluctantly stepped aside to let her take control of the joystick. She glanced down at the cat toy for a moment, eyes trailing up to catch Adrien’s gaze in the mirror. For a moment she thought he was looking at the plush toy that lay just beneath them but after a moment she realized he wasn’t watching the machine…he was watching her.

A small thrill ran through her that she might have once confused for nervousness as she popped the token into the machine. The small smile tugging at his lips and the way his eyes glittered in the darkness behind her conjured carnal memories not suited for their current location. But part of her felt so savagely vindicated; after so many years, the boy she had liked ever since she started liking boys had his attention completely focused on her as she went about positioning the claw over the toy. Keep looking, she silently willed him. She liked it when he looked at her. Her eyes flicked up and caught him watching her in the reflection but if she expected him to look away, she was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t. He either didn’t know or he knew and wanted her to know that she had his undivided attention.

She swallowed heavily, thumb engaging the button on the tip of the joystick to drop it. She wasn’t even paying attention to the crane as she dragged it over towards the prize drop box; if she had, she might have realized that her luck was even more prodigious than she expected…

“Seriously?” Adrien laughed, breaking the spell as he reached down towards the prize bin. “First try too, I can’t be-oh you are kidding me…”

“What?” Marinette asked. “Did I not grab it?”

Adrien shook his head, turning around and holding up the cat plush by its paw to show that hooked around the cat’s tail was a red and black figure with cartoonishly large blue eyes. It took her a moment, squinting in the low light of the arcade but after a moment she realized exactly why Adrien was trying so hard not to laugh.

“You’re luckier than you think, ladybug,” Adrien snorted, waving the small ladybug plush in front of her as Marinette buried her face in her hands. “Looks like you got one too.”

“What do you mean one?” Marinette said, holding out her hand. “I won both of those, remember?”

“Lucky and mean,” Adrien sighed, holding both plushes out to Marinette. “I suppose fair is fair tho-”

Marinette reached out, fingers closing around the black cat and plucking it from Adrien’s grip, leaving Adrien holding the small, ladybug looking toy.

"You can have that one," Marinette said with a small smile.

“I thought ladybugs were your thing,” Adrien said as Marinette turned the black cat plush over in her hands.

“I have lots of ladybug stuff,” Marinette shrugged, picking up her cup of coins. “Besides-”

Marinette paused, turning around with her teeth caught in her lip and eyes shimmering in the low light.

“You’re not the only one who likes cats, you know,” He sent her a questioning look but Marinette just deposited the cat in her coin cup and started walking away from the claw machine, He watched her go a few paces, glancing down at the ladybug toy that seemed to almost wink at him when the light hit it just right…

Chapter Text

MissLadybug: so how do you typically start?

MissLadybug: “hey do you want to come back to my place for the night byob (bring your own ballgag)”

ChatNoir: Haha.

ChatNoir: I guess you could do it like that though that’s not really how I go about it.

MissLadybug: i guess you wouldn’t really want to go home with someone you don’t really know, right?

ChatNoir: Basically.

ChatNoir: First meeting’s kind of like the first date.

ChatNoir: You kind of feel each other out for a little bit and usually go home afterwards.

ChatNoir: Unless you already established in no uncertain terms that you’re going to do stuff.

MissLadybug: keep going; i’m going to refill my iced tea

ChatNoir: Okay what else...

ChatNoir: Uh it’s not a good sign if someone tries to get you in bed on the first meet up unless you expressly told them you were interested.

ChatNoir: If someone can’t respect the most basic of boundaries they’re not going to respect you when it really matters.

ChatNoir: It’s also a good opportunity to weed out the assholes.

MissLadybug: language, adrien!

ChatNoir: Oh sorry.

ChatNoir: I forgot I was in the presence of the fairer sex.

ChatNoir: I humbly beg your pardon, My Lady.

MissLadybug: hmm

MissLadybug: granted

ChatNoir: A thousand thank yous.

MissLadybug: just teasing; you don't usually swear that much

ChatNoir: In this situation there's really no other word that appropriately describes them because they're people who have confused "dominant" with "asshole."

ChatNoir: Fortunately, the asshole-dom outs themselves sooner or later.

MissLadybug: like how?

ChatNoir: Usually by trying to dom you before you've even agreed to submit to them.

MissLadybug: ew

ChatNoir: Or if they don't want to meet in public.

ChatNoir: Or if they want to go somewhere with you when you agreed to meet and stay in one place for the meeting.

ChatNoir: Or if they're generally demeaning and dismissive towards you.

ChatNoir: Or if they make you feel like you have to impress them.

ChatNoir: Or if they ask you to call them Master/Mistress right off the bat

MissLadybug: ohmygod seriously?

MissLadybug: have people done that to you before?

ChatNoir: First date I had in Munich lasted twenty seconds.

ChatNoir: "Oh you must be Karla!" "That's Goddess Karla to you fucktoy." "Okay goodbye!"

MissLadybug: NO

ChatNoir: Nino hadn't even made it to the end of the block before I went tearing after him.

MissLadybug: excuse me i need to wipe my monitor off

MissLadybug: because now it's covered in iced tea thanks to you!

ChatNoir: Yeah stuff like this is why you kinda want to feel your potential partner out for a few meetings first; in public for a predetermined period of time with a second on tap.

MissLadybug: second?

MissLadybug: like a duelist’s second?

ChatNoir: Well you told Alya about our meeting in February, right?

MissLadybug: well yeah

MissLadybug: i didn’t know if you/chat was a…

ChatNoir: Weirdo?

MissLadybug: exactly

MissLadybug: i think i get what you mean

MissLadybug: can’t be too careful, can you?

ChatNoir: Nope.

ChatNoir: So if you decide you want to meet someone and you need someone close by, I’m always available.

MissLadybug: how gallant of you

ChatNoir: Just let me know and I can post up at a cafe somewhere nearby in case you need a "family emergency" phone call.

MissLadybug: i wouldn’t say no to a friendly eye watching my back

MissLadybug: as much as i love alya i don’t want to expose myself to more ribbing than need be

ChatNoir:Yeah. As much as Nino watched my back and got me out of a few tight jams I had to endure the compulsory Fifty Shades of Grey jokes for at least a week after.

MissLadybug: also if someone tries to abduct me alya will murder them in cold blood with a cereal spoon and dump them into the seine

ChatNoir: I don't doubt she would.

MissLadybug: in fact her exact words were "if someone tries to get all christian grey on you i will make hostel look like a god damn disney movie."

ChatNoir: ...she's awesome.

MissLadybug: i know but i don't want my friend to go to jail because some creep didn't take no for an answer

MissLadybug: i assume you would show some more restraint

ChatNoir: Well you of all people should know by now that I’m a big fan of...restraint.

MissLadybug: ...

ChatNoir: >:3c

MissLadybug: you nerd


MissLadybug: question

ChatNoir: Shoot.

MissLadybug: nino and alya are banging again, right?

ChatNoir: I would say there’s an 80-85% chance that’s correct.

MissLadybug: okay good i’m not the only one that thinks so

ChatNoir: Haha are you surprised?

MissLadybug: only that it didn’t happen sooner

MissLadybug: honestly i would be surprised if they picked up right where they left off all those years ago

ChatNoir: I know he never really moved on from her.

MissLadybug: and alya hasn’t dated anyone because of “work” in years

ChatNoir: Well they could certainly do a lot worse, couldn’t they?

MissLadybug: oh i don’t disapprove at all

MissLadybug: they’re cute together, don’t you think?

ChatNoir: Yeah.

MissLadybug: …is it bad that i’m a little jealous?

ChatNoir: Well.

ChatNoir: …to tell the truth I’m a little envious myself.

MissLadybug: don’t get me wrong; i’m happy for them!

MissLadybug: if they ARE indeed back together that is

MissLadybug: but if that’s the case i can’t help wonder…

ChatNoir: “Why not me?”

MissLadybug: yes!

MissLadybug: i mean i don’t want to date nino…or alya for that matter

MissLadybug: i just…i don’t know

MissLadybug: being single really sucks sometimes

ChatNoir: Tell me about it.

ChatNoir: Longest relationship I’ve ever had was three months before I had to move again for work.

ChatNoir: Would be nice to have someone steady to be with.

MissLadybug: someone you just click with, you know?

ChatNoir: Yeah…

MissLadybug: you…haven’t been with anyone since your dad passed?

ChatNoir: Haven’t really had the time or drive to be honest.

ChatNoir: I know I should probably get back on that horse sooner or later but…

MissLadybug: no sense in rushing it

MissLadybug: i’m sure it’ll happen when it happens for you

ChatNoir: I guess.

MissLadybug: come on; you’re basically bruce wayne

MissLadybug: you should act like it once and a while

ChatNoir: You mean dress up in form-fitting black spandex and fight crime on the rooftops of Paris by night?

MissLadybug: hey if you need a costume sewed, you know who to come to

MissLadybug: only if i can be your partner though

ChatNoir: I can see the headlines now “Freak in a catsuit and pokladotted fashion designer sent to the loony bin.”

MissLadybug: you’re crushing my crime fighting ambitions over here

MissLadybug: interesting that you’re immediately going for the catsuit though

ChatNoir: Haha maybe furry ears and a bell collar too.

ChatNoir: If I’m going for the furry superhero gimmick I’m committing.

MissLadybug: as long as you go for the full cowl

MissLadybug: you’ll need a good disguise

ChatNoir: Just hook me up with the domino mask.

MissLadybug: people would know it was you though

ChatNoir: No they wouldn’t; I’d do my hair all spiky and stuff.

MissLadybug: and no one will make the connection between adrien agreste and his black cat alter ego despite the fact that they’re the same height and build and have identical hair and eye colors?

ChatNoir:…I could change my voice too?

MissLadybug: lol okay let me know how that goes for you kitty

MissLadybug: don’t come crying to me when blind two year olds can spot your “secret identity”

ChatNoir: You don’t think I could pull off the skin-tight catsuit?

MissLadybug: oh that is definitely not the issue here

ChatNoir: Huh?

MissLadybug: nothing

MissLadybug: i’m meeting alya today for lunch; i’ll try to get more details out of her

ChatNoir: Just send me a confirmation one way or the other.

MissLadybug: will do

MissLadybug: later catman

ChatNoir: Later…Ladybug…Lass?

MissLadybug: …ladybug lass?

ChatNoir: I’ll work on it.


MissLadybug: so nino was at lunch today

ChatNoir: And you didn’t invite me?

ChatNoir: I’m devastated.

MissLadybug: i’m sure you are haha

MissLadybug: we had a chat about you

ChatNoir: Oh dear.

ChatNoir: Now I really wish I had been there.

MissLadybug: we got to talking about your modelling tour across europe and asia and he told me a rather interesting story

ChatNoir: Oh?

MissLadybug: according to him, you’re something of a slut

ChatNoir: …god damnit Nino.

MissLadybug: i’m not hearing a no

MissLadybug: evidently you had a reputation for being flirtatious too

ChatNoir: Okay THAT I will own up to!

MissLadybug: really?

MissLadybug: because i believe the slut bit more

ChatNoir: I…may have gone through a period of trying to reinvent myself.

MissLadybug: sluttily?

ChatNoir: Okay I lived with Gabriel Agreste micromanaging my social life until I was eighteen.

ChatNoir: Is it so hard to believe I may have cut loose a little?

MissLadybug: hey i’m not judging

MissLadybug: goodness knows i’ve done my share of wild oat sowing in college

MissLadybug: i’m just curious to know how the people you hooked up with reacted to the fact that they were with a supermodel.

ChatNoir: Actually no one has confronted me about it until after the fact.

MissLadybug: really?

ChatNoir: Out of paranoia I tended to pick partners outside the fashion community.

ChatNoir: Just so no one in the industry had blackmail to use against me or Dad.

MissLadybug: yeesh i wouldn’t fancy marcel dubois rooting around my personal life

ChatNoir: Yeah really.

ChatNoir: In fact you’re the first person who works in fashion I’ve

ChatNoir: Well we haven’t done anything but

ChatNoir: Uh

MissLadybug: lol i know what you mean

ChatNoir: Phew for a moment I thought you thought I

MissLadybug: yes?

ChatNoir: Never mind.

MissLadybug: if you say so

MissLadybug: i can’t imagine even doing anything like that with someone i haven’t known for a while

ChatNoir: I understand the feeling.

MissLadybug: i mean even if i was the one uh “taking the reins” i would have some reservations

MissLadybug: but to basically put yourself at the mercy of a total stranger??

ChatNoir: That’s why I never make the habit of fucking total strangers.

ChatNoir: If My Lady will pardon the vulgarity.

MissLadybug: haha i’ll pardon your french

ChatNoir: What?

MissLadybug: american turn of phrase

ChatNoir: Oh haha.

MissLadybug: but i mean how do you even get to the point where you’re okay with someone doing stuff to you?

ChatNoir: Well it boils down to the Wallet Test for me.

MissLadybug: ??

ChatNoir: Basically if I don’t trust someone to watch my wallet or personal belongings in a crowded space I sure as hell wouldn’t trust them to restrain me and

ChatNoir: You get the idea.

MissLadybug: well that sort of narrows the field down for me haha

ChatNoir: I thought you said you weren’t looking for anything though.

MissLadybug: i did didn’t i?

MissLadybug: i don’t know though

MissLadybug: i might be reevaluating my stance on the subject

ChatNoir: Oh really?

ChatNoir: What brought this about?

MissLadybug: permission to be candid?

ChatNoir: Of course.

MissLadybug: it’s been two years

ChatNoir: Two years since wh

ChatNoir: Oh.

ChatNoir: Oh I see.

MissLadybug: yep

MissLadybug: and if i can be even more candid

MissLadybug: the last time wasn’t anything to write home about

MissLadybug: it was shorter than some commercials are

ChatNoir: The act or the…actor?

MissLadybug: yes

MissLadybug: and trying to get your brand off the ground doesn’t leave that much time to play the dating game so

MissLadybug: let’s just say i have a drawer full of batteries that gets smaller and smaller every time i check it

ChatNoir: My God.

ChatNoir: I hadn’t realized things were so…dire.

MissLadybug: yeah so i’m a just little tired of doing all the work and getting none of the reward

MissLadybug: is it wrong that just once i want to have fireworks crazy romance novel sex?

ChatNoir: Not at all.

ChatNoir: There’s nothing wrong with going after the things you want and God knows you deserve a treat now and then.

MissLadybug: well it doesn’t have to be now but

MissLadybug: i’m not shooting for three years haha

ChatNoir: Well if I can help you with that let me know.

MissLadybug: goodness how forward

ChatNoir: Wait that came out wrong.

MissLadybug: adrien if you wanted to ravish me you just need to ask

ChatNoir: That’s not what I meant!

MissLadybug: haha i know i’m just teasing you

ChatNoir: Okay, phew.

MissLadybug: you sound relieved?

ChatNoir: Well relieved to know you know I’m not overstepping any boundaries.

MissLadybug: which boundaries?

ChatNoir: The uh

ChatNoir: “Not interested in getting into anything boundaries” you mentioned back in February.

MissLadybug: oh right

MissLadybug: those

ChatNoir: I just assumed that was still the case.

MissLadybug: well there’s an english expression about assuming and asses you know

ChatNoir: What?

MissLadybug: oh nothing

ChatNoir: Really?

MissLadybug: i really should hop off though; got a meeting bright and early with a fabric supplier

ChatNoir: Oh.

ChatNoir: Okay then!

MissLadybug: thanks for the chat as always!

MissLadybug: it was very

MissLadybug: enlightening

ChatNoir: Always aim to please.

MissLadybug: i bet you do

ChatNoir: Huh?

MissLadybug: goodnight adrien~


MissLadybug: so it’s like planning a party then?

ChatNoir: Something like that.

ChatNoir: I mean if you’re taking charge you have to be responsible for more than just drinks and appetizers but the principle is the same in my experience.

MissLadybug: even if you’re not physically hosting it?

ChatNoir: Well if you’re going over to someone’s house you can’t plan too much in advance but generally I find it’s good etiquette to come prepared.

MissLadybug: lol with like a duffle bag or something?

ChatNoir: Or something haha.

MissLadybug: and what do you do if you accidentally drop it on the street and lube goes flying everywhere?

ChatNoir: Run.

MissLadybug: haha

MissLadybug: wow you weren’t kidding when you said you were super private about this.

ChatNoir: Are you surprised?

MissLadybug: you forget my experience with this ends online

ChatNoir: Ah that explains it.

MissLadybug: so you can see how i might have got the impression that the majority of people with our tastes were…public about it.

ChatNoir: That’s only because they’re the ones that are visible.

ChatNoir: I would say there are many more who keep their private lives private.

MissLadybug: i hear you

MissLadybug: god knows the last thing i need is a gossip rag poking their nose into my sex life when i’m trying to get my brand off the ground.

ChatNoir: I don’t know if you thought the public “lifestyle” aspect was compulsory but I promise it’s not.

MissLadybug: that’s relieving to hear actually

MissLadybug: speaking of intimidating i imagine it’s intimidating to take the reins for the first time, isn’t it?

ChatNoir: It can be.

ChatNoir: Although it’s not so much intimidating as it is stressful at first.

MissLadybug: how is it stressful to have someone at your willing beck and call for the evening?

ChatNoir: Well because you don’t really have someone at your beck and call.

ChatNoir: In fact, in my experience, the dom serves the sub in a scene way more than the sub serves the dom.

MissLadybug: okay now you lost me

MissLadybug: either you’re lying or the internet is lying

MissLadybug: and to be honest i trust you a lot more than i trust the internet

ChatNoir: Thank you?

MissLadybug: i’m still going to need an explanation there

ChatNoir: Forget anything you might have read on Tumblr.

MissLadybug: wait how did you find out about my nsfw blog???

ChatNoir: What?

MissLadybug: ...what?

ChatNoir: What?

MissLadybug: i didn’t say anything

MissLadybug: i don’t have secret side blog where i collect gifs and stuff

ChatNoir: …really?

MissLadybug: nope!

MissLadybug: so forgetting the things i didn’t read on tumblr, what were you going to say?

ChatNoir: Um…oh right.

ChatNoir: Forget the rhetoric of Dom/sub that gets pushed around so much and remember the core rules of basic sex apply.

ChatNoir: Ideally you want to do everything in your power to make sure your partner is happy, right?

MissLadybug: tell that to the guys i saw back in new york

ChatNoir: IDEALLY.

ChatNoir: Even when you’re topping in a scene, your goal should still be to ensure whoever you’re domming is enjoying themselves.

ChatNoir: I mean bottom line is that when you sub for someone it’s because you enjoy that kind of experience.

ChatNoir: You enjoy just checking out and letting someone else take control of you for a little while.

ChatNoir: So a good dom is more like a guide than anything else.

ChatNoir: You basically guide your sub through a series of stimuli and trust that they’ll let you know if you’re stepping out of bounds.

ChatNoir: But that’s why you set limits. Once you know what’s inbounds and what’s out of bounds, it becomes easier to tailor an experience to a specific sub.

ChatNoir: …am I rambling?

MissLadybug: no no go ahead

MissLadybug: this is enlightening

MissLadybug: i confess you’re making this sound both less and more intimidating than i expected.

ChatNoir: Care to explain?

MissLadybug: well i guess i’ve been struggling with the idea of domming someone because i’ve never really thought of myself as a sadist

MissLadybug: but it sounds like you’re saying the two aren’t related

ChatNoir: Not necessarily.

ChatNoir: I can understand how you got that impression though since most, uh, visual representations of BDSM tend to lean heavy on the SM side of it.

MissLadybug: to put it mildly lol

MissLadybug: so i guess it’s easier for me to accept the idea that i might enjoy domming now that i know i don’t need to break out the hot wax and needles

ChatNoir: Mmhmm.

ChatNoir: So you think you might be more of a domme then?

MissLadybug: well…

MissLadybug: i can’t deny that there’s a lot that’s appealing about it

MissLadybug: and not going to lie; it sounds like a lot of fun to be responsible for completely rocking someone’s world

MissLadybug: but…i don’t know if i’m really dom material

ChatNoir: What do you mean?

MissLadybug: well you’ve seen me

ChatNoir: Many times, yes.

MissLadybug: i’m five eight in four inch heels and don’t exactly scream dominatrix you know?

MissLadybug: i don’t know if i can find someone who wants a dominant who’s so…

ChatNoir: Cute?

MissLadybug: basically lol

MissLadybug: someone who’s more comfortable in pastel lace then black leather

ChatNoir: I get where you’re coming from; there’s certainly an image out there of the perpetually scowling, leather clad, whip wielding, Amazonian domme from the back of fantasy novels.

MissLadybug: yeah i kinda hate that chick at this point

ChatNoir: But speaking from experience I don’t look for dommes based on whether or not they can pull off corsets and metal spiked heels.

ChatNoir: Ultimately it’s a personality thing.

MissLadybug: i guess but how can i be sure that whoever i was hypothetically with would…respect me for lack of a better term

ChatNoir: Well if whoever you were hypothetically with didn’t respect you, you should kick their hypothetical hindquarters to the curb and find someone who will.

ChatNoir: Look, there’s a lot of fuss about dom/mes seducing their subs through grandiose displays of dominance or a “dominant” appearance but the bottom line is that subs are subs because they want to be subs.

ChatNoir: Because they enjoy the power play; because they want to let someone else take control.

ChatNoir: Not because our feeble subby brains were overwhelmed by an outfit or a person’s appearance.

ChatNoir: So whether you think you fit the “look” or not is irrelevant because your sub wants to be with you.

ChatNoir: As far as I’m concerned you could wear a frilly pink corset and flower printed stockings and still be as dominant as the popular image of being a “domme.”

MissLadybug: well i’m glad you think so anyway haha

ChatNoir: I don’t think you’ll have any complaints from your partners once you get the hang of it.

MissLadybug: oh?

MissLadybug: what makes you say that?

ChatNoir: Oh just

ChatNoir: Uh

MissLadybug: something you’d like to share with the class, mr. agreste?

ChatNoir: Never mind.

MissLadybug: no, no, you can’t just drop something like that then walk away without explaining it

ChatNoir: Can I plead the…what is it Americans say when they don’t want to incriminate themselves?

MissLadybug: we’re not in america~

ChatNoir: Damn.

MissLadybug: i’m waiting

ChatNoir: I

ChatNoir: Look I just meant that you…shouldn’t worry about people not finding you attractive or appealing.

ChatNoir: Because I don’t really think that’s a problem you’re going to have.

MissLadybug: well that’s always nice to hear

MissLadybug: definitely something i haven’t heard much lately

ChatNoir: Well that’s…surprising.

ChatNoir: Given that every other person in school seemed to have a crush on you.

MissLadybug: haha yeah really

ChatNoir: Nathaniel, Nino, Chloe….

MissLadybug: yeah still don’t know why but

MissLadybug: wait

MissLadybug: CHLOE???????

ChatNoir: Uh.

ChatNoir: So I’ve heard.

ChatNoir: Did you not know?

MissLadybug: oh no! i TOTALLY knew the girl who was rude and condescending to me for our entire childhoods had a RAGING CRUSH ON ME!

MissLadybug: where did you hear this?

ChatNoir: Uh…Nino.

MissLadybug: son of a…who DIDN’T have a crush on me in high school?

ChatNoir: The oblivious and the uninformed.

MissLadybug: lol so which were you?

MissLadybug: wait

MissLadybuyg: i’m sorry that was rude, wasn’t it?

ChatNoir: Both.

MissLadybug: i shouldn’t have

MissLadybug: oh

ChatNoir: Slash completely romantically numb because my dad wouldn’t let me date.

MissLadybug: I’m sorry I shouldn’t have brought it up.

MissLadybug: I wasn’t like accusing you of not having a crush on me or

ChatNoir: It’s okay haha.

ChatNoir: We’re not in high school anymore.

MissLadybug: No I guess we’re not.

ChatNoir: Thank god, right?

MissLadybug: yeah seriously lol


ChatNoir: I mean I didn’t start domming until I subbed for a little while first so it was a while before I started topping.

MissLadybug: did that help?

ChatNoir: For me it did.

ChatNoir: It let me experience things from the other side of the coin for a while haha.

ChatNoir: It’s a lot easier to know how something feels when you’ve had it done to you.

MissLadybug: interesting

MissLadybug: did you find it hard making the switch?

ChatNoir: Honestly both sides of the equation always interested me.

ChatNoir: I mean there are times when you want to be a total control freak but there are times when you just need to kick back, relax, and let someone else be in charge for a while, you know?

MissLadybug: i can certainly empathize with that

MissLadybug: i’ve just had a difficult time reconciling the fact that i’m the lead designer at an up and coming fashion boutique who also has fantasies about her lovers tying her up and having their way with her

MissLadybug:…tmi?

ChatNoir: No, no.

ChatNoir: That’s actually a pretty common concern.

ChatNoir: Think of it like video games.

MissLadybug: video games?

ChatNoir: Lots of people enjoy playing games where the goal is to shoot other players but they don’t approve of going on shooting sprees in real life, do they?

MissLadybug: no i guess they don’t

MissLadybug: i mean i’ve never been struck with the urge to run along rooftops and assassinate people with hidden knives

ChatNoir: Right; your recreational habits have absolutely no bearing on your personality or day to day life.

ChatNoir: You’re not a weak willed person because you enjoy being submissive in bed.

ChatNoir: Conversely…well, just look at me.

ChatNoir: I’ve been domming my partners off and on for three years and I’m not the most assertive person in the world, am I?

MissLadybug: i’m sure you could do alright for yourself haha

MissLadybug: i mean if anyone deserves to stand up for himself, it’s you

ChatNoir: Haha thanks.

MissLadybug: don’t haha me i’m serious!

MissLadybug: i don’t think anyone would complain if you stood up for yourself more, would they?

MissLadybug: addendum: who cares if they do?

ChatNoir: Are you driving at something?

MissLadybug: i’m driving at “i want my friend to be happy with himself/how other people treat him”

ChatNoir: Thanks…but I thought we weren’t talking about work tonight.

MissLadybug: we’re not

ChatNoir: Really?

MissLadybug: hey i didn’t say anything about your job

MissLadybug: you said you were getting trod on and i just wanted to make sure no one was walking all over you

MissLadybug:…unless you like that?

ChatNoir: Haha.

MissLadybug: as long as you’re doing what makes you happy

ChatNoir: Seriously…thanks.

MissLadybug: don’t mention it!

MissLadybug: what are questionably virtuous online pen pals for?

MissLadybug: other than keeping you up past your bedtime

ChatNoir: I don’t have a bedtime.

MissLadybug: you don’t have a meeting you need to sleep for?

MissLadybug: or something you’d rather be doing with your limited spare time?

ChatNoir: Not really, no.

ChatNoir: I enjoy these little chats of ours.

MissLadybug: hehe well speaking of little chats there’s someone who would like to say hello

ChatNoir: Hm?

MissLadybug sent ChatNoir the file adrienisthisyou.png

ChatNoir: Ahh so that’s where he wound up!

MissLadybug: yep!

MissLadybug: little kitty likes to hang out on top of my computer

MissLadybug: really keeps me company while I’m working

ChatNoir: You’re not still at the office are you?

MissLadybug: nope worked from home today

MissLadybug: #bosslife

ChatNoir: Lucky.

MissLadybug: i know i have all the luck

MissLadybug: all of it

ChatNoir: You mind kicking some of that my way?

ChatNoir: Maybe in like a pdf or something?

MissLadybug: sorry i can only lend people luck if i see them in person

MissLadybug: i tried mailing luck to my uncle once but he only won thirteen euros in the lottery

ChatNoir: How does one make an appointment with the illustrious Mademoiselle Ladybug?

ChatNoir: Is there a secretary I can go through or something?

MissLadybug: hmm

MissLadybug: well mlle.dupain-cheng is working on a budding intimates collection this week

ChatNoir: Ooh, really?

MissLadybug: i know; it’s absolutely scandalous for a young unmarried woman to be designing such positively ribald garments

MissLadybug: she ought to be flogged in the public square

ChatNoir: Goodness.

ChatNoir: Well after her public flogging would she be available for lunch or something?

MissLadybug: hmm

MissLadybug: yes i believe next monday would work out

MissLadybug: shall i pencil you in?

ChatNoir: Yes that sounds most agreeable.

MissLadybug: spiffing

ChatNoir: Indeed.

MissLadybug: i shall send you the details at the earliest opportunity

MissLadybug: good evening monsieur

ChatNoir: Mademoiselle.


There were Mondays and then there were Mondays and Adrien was currently having one of the latter, perched off to the side of the conference room table as Marcel delivered what could only be described as a non-legal filibuster. Evidently there was a drinking game making the rounds in the office played whenever Marcel started going on his long winded, self important tirades about the most trivial and inconsequential things. It was one thing to call a board meeting when something absolutely vital needed to be discussed but with a majority between himself and Adrien, Marcel was convening to meet almost every other day to vote on issues ranging from marketing strategy to the location of the annual executive team-building excursion (a relatively new invention designed to keep plummeting morale up in the wake of Gabriel’s death.)

 

Evidently, there wasn’t exactly a lot of faith in him; Adrien privately suspected that were it not for him idiotically voting along with every micromanaging detail he suggested. His leadership strategy consisted in him browbeating people who didn’t immediately agree with him, publicly humiliating them and generally lecturing them until they caved out of a desire to make him happy and get him to stop.

 

He was, to put it mildly, an asshole dom who Adrien wouldn’t have given the time of day even if Marcel didn’t look like the love-child of a horned toad and a bowl of mashed potatoes.

 

“…which brings us to the third of thirteen items of discussion,” Marcel said, peering over the rim of his glasses as Adrien suppressed a frustrated growl. A small buzz on the table in front of him drew his and half the room’s attention as he glanced down at the red and black dotted screensaver that lit up.

 

Marinette: Downstairs!

 

Adrien should have never asked her to meet him at his place of work; the diner she suggested they eat at was close by so it made sense at the time but he should have counted on Marcel dragging out what should have been a half hour meeting into a long, drawn out affair that had no sign of ending.

 

He idly wondered if he could slip out, eat lunch, and be back before Marcel had finished his introductory speech. He could always wait for a lapse in his speech (Adrien almost laughed at the thought) but before he could turn to scoot out, someone at the head of the table spoke up.

 

“Marcel,” a man named Leo spoke up, cutting across Marcel’s tirade as he paused to take a drink of water. “Can we dispense with the theatrics for once and just settle this some other time? It’s almost two and-”

 

“-and we can always have lunch sent up,” Marcel said curtly, turning the page as Adrien failed to suppress an exasperated sigh of disgust. Marcel glanced over the rim of his glasses across the table at Adrien who found himself quailing a little under the man’s expression (much to his eternal shame). “Something you’d like to share with us, Adrien?”

 

The table turned to look at him as he sat up in his seat, lip twitching a little in irritation. Don’t talk to me like I’m a student, Adrien thought.

 

“Some of us have already made plans for the afternoon,” Adrien said, emboldened by a few nods and murmurs of assent around him. “Wouldn’t it be better to just-”

 

“Are we keeping you from a social engagement, Adrien?” Marcel said, raising an eyebrow. Adrien bit the inside of his lip, wondering if he was ever going to get a full sentence out around Marcel.

 

“I think a lot of us have plans to-”

 

“Plans change, my boy,” Marcel said, further rankling Adrien as his phone buzzed again. “We have some business to attend to before the day is out so if that is all we can continue.”

 

“Of course,” Adrien said, glancing at the next item on the itinerary. “You’re right; it is vital that we have a meeting and take a vote on whether or not to discontinue washing instruction tabs on our line of men’s underwear to save an average of fourteen-hundred Euros annually.”

 

Adrien’s throat closed up for a second as a sudden, crushing silence enveloped him. He looked back down the table to see nearly everyone looking at him in dull surprise, Marcel looking like Adrien had just slapped him across the face.

 

Oh shit I said that out loud, Adrien thought as for the first time in a long time, Marcel seemed to be stumbling for something to say.

 

“I’m…well I’m terribly sorry that the running of your family company seems to be such a waste of time for you,” Marcel said stiffly as Adrien fought the urge to roll his eyes. Around the table, several people simultaneously took a sip of water (weaponizing Gabriel Agreste’s legacy was worth two shots).

 

“I never said it was a waste of time,” Adrien said evenly. “I just said-”

 

“When your father and I-” Another round of drinks. “-took this company global, there were more than a few missed lunches and late nights at the office.”

 

“I’m aware,” Adrien said as the Regional Marketing Director and the Head of Paris HR shared a look that could only be described as oh no he didn’t. “No one is more aware of the effort-”

 

“The intricacies of running-”

 

“I’m sorry, can I finish what I was going to say please?” Adrien said, drawing an audible gasp from the stenographer who tried to play it off as a cough. His heart was hammering in his ears but the prospect of missing lunch with Marinette seemed to be something he wasn’t willing to accept. “I am well aware of the personal sacrifices my father made to get this company off the ground but I don’t see why we need to micromanage every little thing that needs to be decided.”

 

“Clearly…clearly you do not understand what your father went through because if you did you would not be so frivolous with the position you have been gifted,” Marcel said, slowly walking around the side of the table. Adrien shot a quick message to Marinette as he took his time, glancing up only when Marcel stood in front of him.

 

“My boy…if you aren’t willing to work nearly as hard as your father did perhaps you should just quit,” Marcel said, hand gripping the leather behind Adrien’s head. Adrien opened his mouth to retort…and then just left it hanging open, eyes wandering across the table to the head where Marcel had sat a moment before.

 

“I…” Adrien swallowed heavily. “…you’re right…if I’m not willing to work as hard as Dad did I should just…quit.”

 

Marcel recoiled as Adrien slowly stood up, pulling up Marinette’s chat as he punched a message in with a deep sigh. True to form, he literally could not handle anyone standing up to him but deep down, Adrien knew he was right. If he couldn’t put in the work his father did…he didn’t have any business working there.

 

“I need a moment to talk to my friend,” Adrien said, nodding towards the door. “Please…keep going.”

 

He felt the eyes of everyone in the room on him as he walked out the door, closing it behind him with a small sigh…before turning and sprinting down the hallway towards his office as fast as he could.


Marinette sighed, glancing at her watch for the third time as her shoes clacked an anxious tread across the empty marble foyer, offering a small smile to the security guard as she passed his desk again. She may not have liked Gabriel Agreste as a person but she would be lying if she said some small part of her wasn’t a little bit envious of how far he had come in such a short period of time. He may have not been a good man but he was a self-made man, even if he had completely alienated everyone who had ever loved him in the process.

 

…so maybe he wasn’t the best role model for an aspiring fashionista.

 

Checking her phone again, she frowned at Adrien’s last text message, wondering if he had typed five when he meant fifteen…or fifty. It wasn’t as though she had to get back to the office by any set point in time but if he was planning on flaking on her she’d at least like to have a heads up so she wasn’t waiting around fore-

 

“We need to go.” Marinette jumped at the sudden voice behind her, turning around to see Adrien running down the stairs behind her, tossing something on the desk of the security guard as he passed.

 

“No kidding we need to go; I’ve been waiting here for-wait what’s with the box?” Marinette asked, falling into step behind Adrien as he made a beeline for the door. She glanced over her shoulder to see the security guard punching in a number into his phone, standing up from his desk as though he didn’t know whether or not he should be chasing after Adrien or not.

 

“Why do I feel like this building is going to blow up the minute we set foot outside?” Marinette asked, pausing as Adrien held the door open for her, looking back at the office foyer with a deep breath.

 

“It might,” Adrien chuckled, following her out of the building with a glance over his shoulder. “I don’t know; we might be looking at a real Fall of the House of Usher scenario here so the sooner we get away the better…also you may or may not bear witness to a husky fifty-four year old CEO running after me so-”

 

“Wait…” Marinette trailed off, glancing down at the box under his arm, the small ladybug plushy winking up at her with glittering blue eyes. “What…what did you just do?”

 

“I...,” Adrien said, running a hand through his hair with a shaky laugh. “I-”


“-can’t believe you just quit!”

 

“Yeah,” Adrien said almost dreamily, popping a forkful of poutine in his mouth with a low moan that made the hairs on the back of Marinette’s neck stand up. “Oh my god how have I never had this before? Seriously, can we have Quebec back?!”

 

“I…” Marinette trailed off with a laugh, wondering how it was possible that someone could look so visibly relieved. Adrien almost seemed to come alive with nervous energy, smiling in disbelief and staring off into the corners of the café almost distantly as though he couldn’t believe he was actually out of the office. Any admiration she had for Agreste had evaporated after seeing the stress visibly melt off Adrien the farther and farther they got away from his (former) place of work; any place that seemed to turn Adrien into a zombie could fall into the river for all she cared.

 

“Nino is going to be thrilled,” Marinette said, taking a sip of her milkshake.

 

“Oh, shoot, should I tell him?” Adrien asked, fumbling his phone out of his pocket. “We should probably get drinks tonight or something to celebrate-wow, twenty six missed calls…I think they found my note.”

 

“You left a note?” Marinette snorted.

 

“’Thanks for the advice Marcel; I quit”,” Adrien said, thumbing through the call logs with a small frown. “I…I’m going to need to get a new number after this…”

 

“So do I get the details or did you just realize you wanted to quit out of the blue?” Marinette asked, spearing a sizable chunk of duck and collecting as many cheese curds as she could before Adrien got to them. “And what’s this about advice?”

 

“Well…I was in this meeting about god-knows-what today,” Adrien said, downing the last of his soda with a long slurp. “And they were going over and I said I had lunch plans and Marcel tried to force a vote but then I said I had to go but he said that if, and I quote, ‘I wasn’t going to show the same dedication to the company that I should just quit.’ Or…something like that. He likes to hear himself talk and I can’t remember everything he says.”

 

Adrien let out a nervous giggle, shaking his head as he downed another gravy covered fry.

 

“So I did,” Adrien shrugged. “I quit.”

 

“Just…just like that?” Marinette asked.

 

“Why not?” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. “I was never really under contract—family business and all—so they can’t exactly sue me for breach or anything-”

 

“I’m not exactly a lawyer but that doesn’t really seem legal,” Marinette said.

 

“Just between you, me, and the poutine, I don’t think there was a lot of stuff Dad and Marcel did that was really legal,” Adrien said, leaning in conspiratorially.

 

“Still…Marcel Dubois doesn’t strike me as the kind of man who will take ‘go to hell’ for an answer,” Marinette said with a small frown.

 

“I’ll give him directions then,” Adrien said with a toothy grin. “I mean really what is he supposed to do? Fire me? Let him; I’ll give the thirteen years of severance pay to an animal shelter or something…”

 

“Wait, that’s right you worked for your Dad as a model back in school,” Marinette said, pressing her fingertips against her temple. “Wow you…you have been working at that company for half your life?

 

“Yeaaaaaaaah,” Adrien said, letting out a long sigh. “And not another day.”

 

“All because of Marcel’s offhanded comment?” Marinette asked.

 

“Well…not entirely,” Adrien shrugged, picking at the fries with his fork. “I mean Nino has been telling me to quit for years and you…well you just said do what makes you happy. So I guess I was rolling all that around in my head mainly because I tend to space out whenever they start arguing over nothing…so when Marcel said that I just…”

 

Adrien trailed off, glancing out the window as he looked almost embarrassed to be admitting something.

 

“I mean…Dad literally worked himself to death at that job,” Adrien murmured, fingers drumming on the table idly. “Died from stress related heart failure; had blood pressure I’m surprised he didn’t pop. And I…well that’s not how I really want to go out. I don’t want get so caught up in that job that I basically die alone, at my desk, stressing out over cost of sewing needles...burn all my bridges.”

 

Adrien bit the inside of his mouth, wondering if he should go on. “I’d be lying if I said you weren’t part of the reason I quit.”

 

“Me?!” Marinette stammered as Adrien looked down nervously.

 

“Well…I was going to miss lunch,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. “I guess I just remembered all the text messages I got from Dad or his assistant telling me he wasn’t coming to the game or my fencing meet or…whatever. And I…well, I kind of realized there were more important things to me than a career I don’t really want.”

 

He glanced out of the corner of his eye at her before suddenly becoming extremely interested in the flowers growing just outside the windowsill.

 

“I…” Marinette trailed off, the effects of being the heir to the most aggressive fashion dynasty in France slowly sinking in for her. Whatever duality of love and loathing Adrien might have had for his father and his company, Marinette didn’t really care. All that mattered that was that he looked fully happy (not just mostly happy) for the first time since she had seen him again; maybe for the first time since she had met him.

 

“Are you happy?” Adrien glanced down as he felt a much smaller, softer hand squeeze his lightly. He looked across the table, pulse skipping a beat as a soft smile spread across her face.

 

I am now, he wanted to say.

 

I am when I’m with you, he wanted to say.

 

I am whenever I think about you, he wanted to say.

 

“Yeah,” he said, returning her smile as he turned his palm over, lightly squeezing Marinette’s hand in return. “I am.”

 

Her stomach churned in a way that had nothing to do with the copious amount of cheese curds she just inhaled, heartbeat picking up as her fingers threaded with his. For a moment, neither of them did anything, glancing between their hands and each other with curious, almost nervous smiles as if they were waiting for the other to push them off, pull back, or break contact first.

 

Neither seemed to want to as though a seemingly innocuous gesture had confirmed something they already knew but weren’t ready to voice just yet.

 

“Then I’m happy you quit,” Marinette said, pulling back as the waitress swung by and collected their mostly empty plates. “So…gonna play the rich idiot with no day job game for a while?”

 

“Maybe,” Adrien shrugged, eyes lingering on Marinette’s hand for a second before sitting back up. “Think I’ll go crazy if I don’t do something with my days though. Might go to college or something…I don’t know.”

 

“You could always be a freelance model,” Marinette said, taking a sip of her milkshake.

 

“Or a gigolo,” Adrien said casually, lip twitching as strawberry ice cream shot out of Marinette’s nose. “No, wait, I just got done with a job where I was humiliated and prostituted on a daily basis; maybe I should get into another line of work.”

 

Stop!” Marinette wheezed, snorting into a stray napkin Adrien passed her.

 

“Though I suppose I could always capitalize on my pathological need for attention and become a stripper,” Adrien said, biting his thumb thoughtfully as Marinette silently shook across the table, biting her lip to keep from splitting into laughter that would no doubt be heard across the city.

 

“I can’t…I can’t breathe…” Marinette snorted, gripping the table for support.

 

“Please don’t laugh at my dreams, Marinette,” Adrien said with a fake pout. “One day I will be the finest exotic dancer Paris has ever-”

 

“Dying…literally…dying…” Marinette snickered, wiping her eyes with the corner of a napkin.

 

“You don’t think I have it in me?” Adrien said, leaning back with a lopsided smile.

 

“You know that’s not the problem,” Marinette said, lightly kicking his shin under the table as her eyes reluctantly wandered over the clock on her phone.

 

“I’m not keeping you, am I?” Adrien asked, glancing at Marinette’s phone.

 

“Not really,” Marinette shrugged, mentally calculating how long it would take to finish the embroidery on her latest project. “I shouldn’t leave Sylvie and Ellie alone too long, though and I think two hour lunches are starting to push the bounds of what the boss can get away with.”

 

“We should probably take off then,” Adrien said, plucking the leather check envelope from the table before Marinette could reach out for it. “This one’s on me.”

 

“You just quit your job; I should be paying for you,” Marinette said as Adrien slid a few bills into the envelope and stuck one under the milkshake glass.

 

“You paid for me last time,” Adrien reminded her.

 

“In payment for assaulting you,” Marinette responded.

 

“Well if that’s what I get, feel free to assault me any time,” Adrien chuckled, shooting her a small wink as he stood up. “Shall we?”

 

“Forget something?” Marinette said, nodding towards the box of office supplies Adrien had left under the table.

 

“Oh…right,” Adrien bent over, plucking the ladybug plush from its place in the box and stowing it in his jacket pocket, sparing Marinette a small smile as he caught her watching him.

 

“Almost forgot something valuable,” Adrien said, turning his back on the small crate of pens, paperweights, and packages from the office.

 

Marinette watched him head up to the cashier, a soft ache in her chest as she wondered if she had ever really gotten over Adrien…or if she ever really wanted to.

Chapter Text

“I would like to propose a toast.”

 

“Oh god...” Adrien sighed, burying his face in his hands as Nino tapped the side of his glass with a fork lightly.

 

“I’ve known Adrien for most of his natural life now and a small part of me always knew he had a backbone,” Nino said as Adrien slid lower and lower in his seat. “But a man can only live on hope for so long; faith alone cannot sustain him through the wintery nights of the soul-”

 

“Make him stop,” Adrien whispered to Marinette as his chin disappeared beneath the edge of the table until only his hair and beet-red forehead were visible.

 

“-but as the ancient Japanese proverb goes ‘even Buddha will get mad if you slap him in the face three times,” Nino continued as Marinette pulled Adrien up by the collar of his shirt. “And for the metaphorical third slap I would like to thank Marcel Dubois…in the same way the townsfolk of London thanked Ebenezer Scrooge for dying in Scrooge. Because if he weren’t such an insufferable tool, Adrien might never have found the courage to leave the corporate equivalent of a breakup text on his desk when he left.”

 

“Normally that’s something I frown on but that’s still more than Marcy deserved,” Alya shrugged, taking a sip of her drink

 

“I’d also like to thank everyone for making it out here on this holiest of holy days,” Nino continued, despite Adrien’s scarlet expression. “I would like to thank Alya for her sage online counsel that kept the faith alive during the Tokyo years."

 

"You're welcome," Alya said clinking her glass against Nino's.

 

"And for looking fine as all hell in that dress," Nino added.

 

Very welcome,” Alya said, winking over the rim of her glass.

 

“I would like to credit Marinette for being the eleventh hour ringer Team Adrien desperately needed,” Nino said, clinking his glass against hers as Adrien shook his head and scrolled through his phone. “I don't know what you did but clearly your presence alone is enough to make Adrien finally buck up and love himself enough to quit."

 

"I don't know how much credit I deserve," Marinette chuckled.

 

"As much as anyone else does," Adrien said, clinking his glass against hers with a small smile.

 

"Take the damn credit, girl," Alya said, glancing between the pair with barely restrained glee.

 

“And finally I would like to thank our star player, Mr. Agreste himself, for at long last laying the ever-loving smacketh down on his disrespectful, frog-faced, fashion-backwards…” Nino trailed off, snapping his fingers. “I’m blanking; help me out here.”

 

“Bastard?” Marinette suggested.

 

“Pudgy?” Alya said, wrinkling her nose. “No; fat jokes are beneath us…obnoxious?”

 

“Arrogant,” Marinette and Adrien chimed in at the same time, exchanging a fist bump under the table.

 

"Loud mouthed?" Adrien admitted.

 

“Good hustle, team,” Nino said, clearing his throat. “I would like to thank our number one player, Adrien Agreste, for opening a royal can of verbal whoop-ass on his disrespectful, frog-faced, fashion backwards, bastard, obnoxious, arrogant, loud mouth dick of a boss at long freaking last!”

 

“Woo!” Marinette cheered as the table erupted into cheers.

 

“Amen and hallelujah,” Nino said, crossing himself before downing the rest of his drink in one gulp.

 

“Cheers,” Alya said, toasting an extremely bashful looking Adrien. “Or, since we’re at a tapas bar, salud!”

 

“It was hardly a verbal can of whoop-ass,” Adrien chuckled. “In fact, I think I just ran out of the building before anyone could stop me…”

 

“Baby steps,” Nino said, bumping Adrien’s shoulder lightly. “You still broke up with a guy one puppy-coat away from Cruella deVil via a note on your desk; that’s pretty ballsy.”

 

“The important thing is you’re liberated,” Marinette said, taking a bite out of an empanada.

 

“Move over Bastille Day,” Alya chuckled, taking a small sip of her drink. “Adrien Liberation Day is our new national day of independence.”

 

“Far as we’re concerned at least,” Marinette said, shooting Adrien a playful wink that didn’t go unnoticed by the other members of the table. Alya chewed on the straw of her water, meeting the slight raise of Nino’s eyebrows with a small wink of her own while Marinette’s back was turned.

 

“So you haven’t said what your plans were for your first day of freedom,” Alya prompted.

 

“I don’t really know,” Adrien shrugged. “To be honest, I hadn’t really thought it out that much.”

 

“You forget the kid has been institutionalized for much of his adult life,” Nino said, shaking his head. “Routine, schedule, work; all planned out for him. God knows he probably hasn’t planned a day for himself in ten years.”

 

“Shame,” Alya sighed.

 

“They know I’m sitting right here, right?” Adrien murmured to Marinette.

 

“Knowing Adrien, he’s probably going to do what he usually does; hop back into his kinky leather sex scene,” Nino snickered as Adrien suddenly wished there was an eject button on his seat.

 

“I thought he already did that,” Alya said, foot tapping Marinette’s under the table.

 

“You keep this up, people are actually going to think I’m a slut,” Adrien muttered, shooting Nino a dark glare as Marinette chuckled a little too loudly, squirming in her seat as talk suddenly turned towards Adrien’s conquests.

 

“Deny it all you want; there’s a reason you have the reputation you do, Tomcat,” Nino shrugged, glancing at Marinette. “Did I tell you our producer in Tokyo named her tomcat after him?”

 

“Really?” Marinette glanced at Adrien who looked like he would rather swallow broken glass than admit it.

 

“…that’s true,” Adrien sighed, pouring some more wine out of his decanter into his glass. “Clearly I didn’t start drinking early enough…”

 

“Hey, sin all you want, boy,” Nino said, spearing a chunk of chorizo with the end of his fork. “I’m just saying it’s been a while since you got out and played the field…thinking of getting back in touch with Marquis du Sade’s home city?”

 

“That’s for me to know and you to hopefully never find out,” Adrien said, glancing at Marinette for a moment and trying to play it off like he was craning his neck at a group of tourists that had just wandered in. Marinette shifted in her seat, swirling her wine around in her glass as she tried not to contemplate Adrien’s future sex life any more than she needed to.

 

She had no right to be jealous of a hypothetical person Adrien may or may not sleep with in the future. She understood this rationally but the problem with jealousy was that it was so very rarely rational and try as she might (though to be honest she had long given up on trying) she had a harder and harder time seeing Adrien in a completely platonic sense.

 

The lull in conversation lasted only long enough for Alya and Nino to exchange glances. “Hey, walk to the bathroom with me,” Alya said, standing up from the table and nodding towards the back of the taperia. With a nod at Adrien and Nino, Marinette wordlessly rose form the table and followed Alya, Adrien’s eye following her for a few moments until he realized Nino was looking at him.

 

“So,” Nino said with a conspiratorial smirk as the girls left earshot. “How’re things with-”


 

“-Adrien going?” Alya asked, leaning against the wall outside the bathroom.

 

“Things are…good,” Marinette said, tilting her head back and forth as the glint in Alya’s eye tugged a smile out of her. “What?”

 

“You’re smiiiiiiiling,” Alya sing-songed, bumping her hip into Marinette’s.

 

“What can I say; I’m a great lover of liberty,” Marinette said, sparing a glance back at the table where Nino and Adrien seemed to be deep in discussion about something.

 

“Is that what you’re calling him now?” Alya snickered. “You gonna ask Liberty out then?”

 

“…I don’t know,” Marinette said, biting her lip as the line moved a little bit.

 

“What do you mean you don’t know,” Alya said. “You two have been flirting and eye-fucking since we got here.”

 

“We haven’t been eye-fucking,” Marinette ssaid.

 

“At the very least you’ve gotten to eye-second-base since round two,” Alya said, prodding Marinette’s shoulder. “Come on; what happened at lunch today?”

 

“Nothing really happened,” Marinette insisted, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “I mean…earlier…”

 

“Yes?” Alya said, leaning in just a little bit.

 

“I reached out to like squeeze his hand after he told me what happened and he…”

 

“Yes?”

 

“I mean there was this moment when we just…”

 

“Oh my god spit it out!” Alya spluttered, drawing a scowl from the girls in line ahead of them.

 

Marinette scratched the back of her neck. “We just-”


 

“-held hands for like a second.”

 

“…okay is that like some kind of…kink codeword for something?” Nino asked, brows scrunching. “Is that like where the guy has the girl and he-"

 

“It’s like where two people hold hands for like a second!” Adrien said, blowing bubbles in his drink as his cheeks pinked. “And that’s it!”

 

“Whoa, slow down there stud,” Nino snickered. “Next thing you know you’ll be sharing milkshakes at the malt shop.”

 

“Actually that’s where we had lunch,” Adrien chuckled. "The Quebecois one near the office."

 

“How 1950’s,” Nino snorted. "You gonna give her your letterman jacket after the sock-hop and ask her to go steady then?"

 

“I don't know,” Adrien shrugged, popping another olive in his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. “I mean…we were talking online the other week and she basically said-”


 

“-if he wanted to ravish me all he needed to do is ask.”

 

“…seriously?” Alya said, folding her arms.

 

"Yep!" Marinette said.

 

"You seriously said that?"

 

“Seriously!” Marinette said.

 

"...you seriously told him to have his way with you?" Alya said, raising an eyebrow. "In no uncertain terms?"

 

“I mean…" Marinette scratched her cheek idly. "I told him I was kidding right afterwards-”

 

“Yeah that sounds more like it,” Alya nodded.

 

“And he kinda backed off after that,” Marinette sighed, leaning against the wall. “I mean…I feel like I’ve given enough signals, right? I’ve been dropping hints like crazy since that arcade trip and nothing. The legendary flirt apparently isn’t picking up on my cues-”

 

“Or he’s just wrapped up in the fact that you told him no all those months ago and is trying to reign it in,” Alya pointed out. “Why don’t you just-”


 

“-tell her that you want her?” Nino said. “I mean she’s basically giving you the go ahead by the sound of it.”

 

“I need better than basically,” Adrien muttered, picking at the flaky spinach pie in front of him. “There’s permission and then there’s permission, you know?”

 

“No,” Nino sighed. “What the hell are you talking about dude?”

 

“It’s like…it’s like an empanada,” Adrien said, holding up one of the fried meat pastries for emphasis. “Just because it looks like a hand pie doesn’t mean it’s got fruit inside, right?”

 

“…right?” Nino said.

 

“So just because it seems like Marinette is flirting with me doesn’t mean I know she wants anything from me,” Adrien pointed out, taking a bite of the empanada with a small, approving grunt.

 

“Okay but what if she does want something but is like just-”


 

“-embarrassed to ask!”

 

“Okay,” Alya sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “So you have no problem talking to the boy about your weird, freaky sex lives-”

 

“Thanks for the support, by the way,” Marinette snipped.

 

“-but you're embarrassed to let him know you might want something from him?” Alya said. “Why?

 

“I don't know," Marinette sighed, throwing up her hands. "What if I ask and then it's awkward and then I just-"


 

“-screw up our relationship?”

 

“Well hell, you’re going to run that risk either way,” Nino shrugged. "You could be screwing it up by not talking to her about it too."

 

“Thanks; that makes me want to run out and ask her out right now,” Adrien said, tossing an olive in Nino’s glass.

 

“All I’m saying is it couldn’t hurt to let her know that you might be available if she decides to change her mind,” Nino said, holding his hands up. “Never a bad idea to let someone know where you stand.”

 

“It could make things weird though,” Adrien muttered.

 

“I think if your friendship can survive detailed, candid discussions of extremely kinky sex, your friendship can pretty much survive anything,” Nino said, fishing the olive out of his glass and chewing it thoughtfully.

 

Talking about it is one thing,” Adrien said. “It’s all just theory until we, uh…put it into practice.”

 

“Better than leaving a perfectly good experiment untested,” Nino said, nodding towards the bathroom. “Want to know what happened when I told Alya I still liked her?”

 

“What?”

 

That night; her place. Twice,” Nino said, holding up two fingers for emphasis.

 

“That’s more than I wanted to know,” Adrien said.

 

“Oh blow me; you made me go to your first munch with you,” Nino said, suppressing a small shudder. “And if I had to listen to an eighty year old woman discuss the proper application of shibari, you can listen to a non-explicit reference to the fact that for once my sex life is better than yours!”

 

“Good for you?”

 

“It is good for me,” Nino said. “Know why? Because I took a freaking chance and it totally paid off."

 

"It's different with Marinette," Adrien said.

 

"Why because Alya doesn't want to hook my nipples up to a car battery?" Nino said, catching the chunk of chorizo Adrien flung at his head and popping it in his mouth.

 

"Because you dated already!" Adrien said. "I mean with you guys it was just picking up where you left off! Marinette and I have never been anything more than friends!"

 

"Well who's fault is that?" Nino said, holding a hand up to forestall another argument. "I’m not saying I know it’s all going to be peaches and cream but at some point you just need to suck it up and-”


 

“-go for it,” Alya said, drying her hands on her jeans as she waited for Marinette to finish washing hers. “I mean, I hate to say it but…no, you know what, I don’t hate to say it at all; you were the one who closed that door for Adrien so you have to open it again.”

 

“Great; any suggestions?” Marinette asked as they walked out of the bathroom. “I can’t exactly walk up to him and say hey I’ve been having wet dreams about you since February; you want to teach me how some of this stuff works in person?

 

A passing group of guys stopped and turned to Marinette until a venomous scowl from Alya sent them on their way again.

 

“Look, I don’t know how you want to handle it,” Alya said, guiding Marinette away from the group of guys. “All I know is that I think you need to be the one to handle it.”

 

"Do I have to?" Marinette whined.

 

"No," Alya shrugged. "You could just not do anything, fail to capitalize on this sexual tension between the two of you, and watch Adrien slip away from you again. That's always an option."

 

Marinette sighed but Alya had a point. She couldn’t tell Adrien she wasn’t interested in jumping into a relationship and then expect him to take initiative, no matter how many hints she dropped that she was interested in jumping him at the earliest available opportunity. Marinette suppressed a small laugh as they wound their way back towards the table where Nino and Adrien were chatting; she wondered what her fourteen year old self would have thought of potentially asking Adrien Agreste to-

 

“And we’re back!” Nino said, nudging Adrien and stopping him mid-sentence before Marinette could hear what they were saying. “Enjoy?”

 

“More or less,” Alya shrugged. “You?”

 

“More or less,” Nino shrugged. “As enjoyable as it is talking about Adrien’s love life anyway.”

 

“Still right here,” Adrien said, waving his hand at Nino who spared a small glance at Marinette.

 

“Promise me you’ll watch out for this guy if he plans on going on any more freaky dates,” Nino said, nodding at Adrien.

 

“I’m not planning on anything!” Adrien said, flushing pink.

 

“Yeah but it’s only a matter of time before some pretty little thing snaps him up,” Alya said, glancing at Marinette who felt suddenly double teamed (and not in the fun way). “Only a matter of time…”

 

“Yep,” Nino nodded.

 

"Oh please; I'm not that much of a prize,” Adrien snorted.

 

“I think you’ll find a lot of people would disagree with you there,” Alya said, winking at Marinette who squirmed uncomfortably as she looked at Adrien out of the side of her eyes. As pushy as Alya was, she was right; Adrien was a hell of a prize. Powerful, attractive, trust-fund babies didn’t stay on the dating market for long and a small part of her rankled at the idea that someone would sink their claws into him who only saw him as a powerful, attractive, trust-fund baby. Still, what could she really offer him other than the hassle of babying someone who was literally years less experienced than he was? Why would he-

 

No.

 

Marinette resisted the urge to shake her head. No…she had spent the better part of her adolescence too trapped in her own self-doubt to do anything where Adrien was concerned. She was a master of coming up with excuses why Adrien couldn’t possibly be attracted to someone like her; excuses that had never born any fruit in the past. At that point, rejection and humiliation seemed to be preferable solutions to wallowing in unrequited angst while Adrien dated his way through the Paris kink scene. At the very least, a clean rejection would be a fresh start; a chance to move on from Adrien once and for all.

 

She had to do something...before someone else made her choice for her.

 

“Well, as lovely as this was, I think we should call it a night,” Alya said, standing up from the table. “Seventy-five percent of us need to get to work in the morning so we probably should pack up before we get too sloshed.”

 

“I’m not even halfway sloshed,” Marinette said, eyeballing Adrien’s drink. “I don’t think Adrien is either.”

 

“How could you get sloshed on grape juice?” Nino snickered, holding Alya’s coat out to step into as Adrien stuck his tongue out.

 

“Better than drinking that paint thinner you call whiskey,” Adrien sniffed, pulling his jacket around his shoulders. “At least I don’t have to mix my drinks with soda to make them bearable.”

 

“Hear hear,” Marinette said, tipping the last of her merlot down her throat and smothering a small burp in the sleeve of her jacket. "Besides, I'm not looking to get sloshed on a Monday night."

 

“Oh please; I’m not going to get hammered after two drinks,” Alya sighed, rolling her eyes as they fought their way through the bustling restaurant. “I’m not a lightweight like you are.”

 

“In my defense, all I drank the watery horse piss Americans call beer all through school,” Marinette snorted. “I was never trained properly.”

 

“Maybe Adrien can train you then,” Alya snickered, ignoring the identical gurgles of embarrassment as Adrien and Marinette stole a glance at one another out of the corner of their eyes. “Did I say something?”

 

“N-Nothing,” Adrien coughed as Marinette fell into step behind him. “This goodnight then?”

 

“Guess so,” Marinette said, rocking back and forth on the heels of her feet. “Alya is just going to walk me home so-”

 

“Actually,” Alya said, looking over Nino’s shoulder. “Alya is going to be a little too preoccupied to take you home.”

 

“She is?” Nino asked, glancing at her.

 

“Oh she is,” Alya replied, shooting him a small wink before turning back to Adrien. “Can you make sure she gets home okay?”

 

“You don’t need to walk me home,” Marinette said with a dismissive wave, suddenly dreading what she might say if she had the chance to be alone with Adrien for too much longer. “It’s just a couple of blocks away.”

 

“I don’t mind,” Adrien said with a small shrug. “I was just going to grab a rideshare anyway; might as well do it from your house…unless you’d rather walk alone?”

 

“I’m always up for some company,” Marinette said, swallowing heavily and flashing a shy smile. “As long as it isn’t too much trouble?”

 

“I got nowhere else I’d rather be right now,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. “I’ll call you when we get there Al-”

 

Adrien blinked, turning to face Alya and Nino only to find that they were nowhere to be seen, vanished into the small crowd while Marinette and Adrien looked around for them blankly.

 

“Where’d they go?” Adrien sighed as Marinette’s phone buzzed in her pocket. She took it out, rolled her eyes at the message on the screen, and stowed it back in her coach bag.

 

Alya: it's only a matter of time


“I’m thinking of getting a cat,” Adrien said idly, walking slowly as Marinette balanced with one hand on his shoulder as on the curb next to him.

 

“Most people going through a mid life crisis usually get a sportscar,” Marinette snickered, enjoying being eye to eye with Adrien for once. It made the conversation they were going to have less intimidating if Adrien wasn’t looming a foot above her, tall, blonde, and gorgeous like he usually was.

 

“Don’t really like cars,” Adrien said with a small grimace before cocking his head to one side. “Might get a motorcycle though.”

 

“I’ll visit you in the hospital,” Marinette said, hopping off the curb as they came up on the waterfront. Across the river, the lights in Agreste’s office building were still on, people coming and going despite the fact that most of them should have been asleep or with their families by now. She caught Adrien glancing across the river for a moment, gait slowing as he looked almost wistful. “Any regrets?”

 

“About leaving?” Adrien laughed. “No way…just going to be a little weird not going back there in the morning is all. Worked there for my entire adult life and tomorrow I…well I guess I kinda have to start over, don’t I?”

 

“Is that a bad thing?” Marinette asked, glancing up at him.

 

“It’s uncertain…but I guess uncertainty is better than a certain misery, isn’t it?” Adrien said.

 

"Isn't that the truth?" Marinette laughed bitterly.

 

“Not everyone gets the opportunity to walk away from an awful job after all," Adrien said.

 

“Which means you need to make the most of it,” Marinette said, bumping her hip into his with a small smile. “For everyone who can’t.”

 

“That’s one way of looking at it,” Adrien chuckled, bumping her back after a moment.

 

“Careful; I’m in heels,” Marinette giggled. “If I go down, I’m taking you with me.”

 

“You’ve got a lower center of gravity; I believe you,” Adrien said.

 

“Is that a short-joke?” Marinette asked, narrowing her eyes.

 

“No; it’s a short observatio-ow!” Adrien laughed as Marinette kicked the back of his calf with the tip of her heel.

 

“Like you said; low center of gravity,” Marinette said. “Plus I could probably squat you, believe it or not.”

 

“I believe it,” Adrien said.

 

“Meaning?” Marinette asked.

 

“Meaning I’ve seen you in shorts and it’s pretty clear you’ve never skipped a leg day in your life,” Adrien said with a small smirk that quickened Marinette’s pulse by a few beats per second.

 

"I wasn't aware you were looking," Marinette said softly.

 

"Well...it's kinda hard to miss," Adrien trailed off with a small shrug, tilting his head at her. Marinette took a deep breath, glancing out over the river as she idly wondered if she was about to make a big mistake.

 

“So...have you given any thought as to whether or not you're going to date again?” Marinette asked after a moment, glancing at Adrien out of the corner of her eye to gauge his reaction. “Just a lot of talk during dinner and I just wondered if…you know.”

 

“…maybe,” Adrien admitted after a moment. “I mean I have been living like a monk in a cloister since Dad passed. Don’t really know anyone in the Paris scene though…other than you, of course.”

 

“I’m part of the scene now?” Marinette snorted.

 

“For lack of a better term,” Adrien chuckled, biting his lip as he glanced back at Marinette.

 

"And you didn't throw me a party?" Marinette said with a small pout. "I'm devastated."

 

"Any way I can make it up to you?" Adrien asked.

 

"Get me a cupcake and we'll call it even," Marinette said as Adrien's chuckle preluded another period of comfortable silence.

 

“…what about you?" Adrien asked after a moment. "Have you…given anymore thought as to whether or not you want to...get more involved?”

 

“I have,” Marinette said, willing her voice to remain even. “I kind of…reaching the limits of what I can learn about it online, you know?”

 

“I know,” Adrien said. “Still, you shouldn’t feel like you have to start playing or-”

 

“I don’t,” Marinette said, picking at a loose thread in her cardigan’s pocket. “I mean…I don’t feel like I have to or anything. I just…want to. Just get out there and start…meeting people, you know?”

 

“Mmhmm,” Adrien said, quelling feelings of anxiety and jealousy as he walked on. For some reason, the thought of Marinette being with someone else, even regaling him with details of her playdates, made Adrien’s stomach churn. “So…you want to try being with someone then?”

 

“I…I think I do,” Marinette said, letting out a breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding. “I think I want to.”

 

“Well that’s…good!” Adrien said, shooting her a toothy grin. “I mean, if that’s what you want-”

 

“It is,” Marinette said.

 

“Good,” Adrien nodded, scratching the back of his neck. “I’m afraid I don’t really know anyone locally who would be open to…um…you know so I can’t exactly play matchmaker for you.”

 

Adrien slowed his pace as he realized Marinette wasn’t keeping up with him. He turned to see her standing under a tree, fingers clutching her coachbag anxiously and biting her lip as she refused to meet his eyes for some reason.

 

“That’s…that’s okay,” Marinette stammered, looking out over the river as though the answer to her questions would be on the far shore. “I, uh…I kind of had someone in mind already.”

 

“…oh,” Adrien said, trying not to look as deflated as he suddenly felt. Of course Marinette would be courting offers from other suitors and God knew she didn’t have to include him in the vetting process (even though he had offered). “Have you uh…known this person long?”

 

“Yeah,” Marinette chuckled anxiously. “Quite a while; not an asshole, trust with my wallet. All that good stuff.”

 

“Ah, great,” Adrien smiled. “Good. That’s good.”

 

“The, uh...only thing is,” Marinette said after a moment, taking a step closer before faltering. “I haven’t uh…asked him yet.”

 

So it was a him.

 

“I’m a little nervous to be honest,” Marinette said, suddenly feeling like the fourteen year old who had to work up the courage to put a valentine in her crush’s desk.

 

“Why?” Adrien asked almost genuinely bewildered.

 

“Kinda don’t know how he’ll respond…if he’ll take it well or-”

 

"Hey," Marinette trailed off as Adrien rested a hand on her shoulder and summoned a reassuring smile. "I think he's going to take it well."

 

“Y-You think?” Marinette said, resisting the urge to reach up and squeeze Adrien’s hand.

 

“Of course,” Adrien said, forcing himself to maintain his smile. “Anyone would…be lucky to be with you.”

 

Anxiety seemed to melt off her like wax off a candle, replaced with warm reassurance that made her stand up a little bit straighter as Adrien turned to walk down the road.

 

“You don’t want to know about him?” Marinette called, following him a few steps behind.

 

“Huh?” Adrien asked, really dreading the answer. “Oh…sure! So you’ve uh…known him long?”

 

“Quite a while,” Marinette said.

 

Since February, Adrien mused.

 

“Have you…met him in person?” Adrien asked.

 

“Oh yeah,” Marinette said, fighting to keep a nervous smile off her face. “We had lunch together just this week.”

 

She never mentioned anything about that…Adrien thought

 

“I see,” Adrien said, lagging back so Marinette could catch up. “Have you discussed…logistics?”

 

“We haven’t discussed it but he’s…flexible like that,” Marinette said.

 

A switch then? Adrien thought. Well…at least she’ll be able to experiment…

 

“That’s good,” Adrien said, trailing off as Marinette struggled to keep up with his quickening pace.

 

“He really makes me feel safe,” Marinette chipped in.

 

“That’s good,” Adrien repeated.

 

“Th-that’s what’s most important, right?"

 

“Yep.”

 

“He’s respectful…he’s experienced…he’s one of my best friends.”

 

“Cool.”

 

“Adrien!” Adrien stopped, turning around to see Marinette blinking at him with an exasperated look of bewilderment.

 

“…do you really need me to say it?” Marinette said softly.

 

“Say what?” Adrien said, scuffing his toe against the ground. “Look, I’m happy for you Marinette-“

 

“Do you…do you seriously not get what I’m trying to say here?” Marinette laughed, shaking her head.

 

“I get that you have a new potential play partner,” Adrien shrugged. “And he seems like a great guy from what you say about him…is there something I’m missing?”

 

Marinette blinked up at him, breathing through her nose as she took a step forward.

 

“…he is a great guy,” Marinette said, biting her lip as Adrien scanned her face in confusion. “I can’t…I can’t really see myself being with anyone else right now...

 

Adrien opened his mouth and caught a glint in Marinette’s eye that suddenly made it very hard to say anything at all. He squinted down at her almost hopefully, wondering if he had misread her for a brief moment but her expression seemed to be confirming what he couldn’t quite bring himself to believe.

 

Oh.

 

“I…I see,” Adrien said, clearing his throat, suddenly feeling as though he had ten times the wine he actually had. “So…who is this guy?”

 

“Do I have to spell it out for you?” Marinette said breathlessly as Adrien took a small step forward.

 

“Yes,” he said, voice rasping just enough to make Marinette’s toes curl. “Spell it out for me.”

 

“You don’t know?” Marinette said.

 

“...I want to hear you say it,” Adrien said, tension winding in his stomach like a piano wire ready to snap. She shifted under his gaze but did not falter, hands folded in front of her as she licked her lips anxiously. She had forced herself to the edge of a cliff and burned any routes she might have used to escape.

 

Now all she had to do was jump.

 

“I…I want to try playing with someone,” Marinette said, voice quavering just a little as she looked into his eyes. “And I want…I want that someone to be you.”

Chapter Text

People don’t really understand how much can change in six seconds.

 

Our brains are wired to make nonverbal decisions faster than the most advanced supercomputers. But like most sophisticated pieces of machinery, they’re prone to suffer crashes, hang ups, and errors. Even when they function as designed, particularly significant pieces of information require time to process, even if it’s only six seconds.

 

“I…I want to try playing with someone,” Marinette said, voice quavering just a little as she looked into his eyes. “And I want…I want that someone to be you.”

 

Six seconds passed between the end of the word you and Adrien’s response and it was only then that Marinette realized just how long six seconds was. For six seconds, they stared at each other in almost complete silence, both reeling in their own ways from the absolute atom bomb Marinette just dropped.

 

Six seconds that forever altered the course of their relationship as their minds worked overtime to process what had just happened.

 

One.

 

Holy shit did I just say that?

 

Holy shit did she just say that?

 

Two.

 

Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god fine! I said it! It’s out there! His problem now!

 

Oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god be cool Adrien for the love of god be cool!

 

Three.

 

…okay he should have said something by now, right? It’s been like three seconds, shouldn’t he have said something by now?

 

Okay how do I say this without sounding like a complete drooling moron. I assume “hell yeah hell yeah hell fucking yeah” is out of the question?

 

Four.

 

Ohhhhh shitshitshitshitshitshitshitshit I came on too strong! I came on too strong didn’t I?! Fuck why did I say it like that?! He must think I want to be his girlfriend or something…well I do but-

 

“Yes, Marinette, I would love to show you the proper use of a riding crop slash maybe go out sometime?” No she didn’t say anything about dating; don’t come on too strong!

 

Five.

 

Damage control, Marinette; damage control. Try and play it cool. Don’t scare him away. Play it casual; play it casual.

 

Okay deep breaths; just let her know you have feelings for her and see where things go from there.

 

Six.

 

I just have to tell him-

 

I just have to tell her-

 

“I would love to…I…well, honestly I’ve had kind of a crush on you for a while now so…yeah I’d love to,” Adrien said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…or rather, that's what Adrien wanted to say.

 

And to his credit, that’s exactly what he would have said if it wasn’t for sonovabitch father who had somehow raised Adrien in a straightjacket of propriety while simultaneously making it incredibly difficult for him to accept the fact that someone might care about him. If Adrien had not been so concerned with the “proper” response or if he hadn’t been so surprised that someone might actually like him, he might have gotten what he wanted to say out before Marinette spoke.

 

As it was…Marinette beat him to the punch.

 

“I-I-I mean,” Marinette stammered as Adrien opened his mouth, trying to head off what was no doubt a sweet, lovely way of letting her know he wasn’t interested in anything romantic. “You’re such a good friend to me and I really trust you as a friend and I was…well I-I wasn’t suggesting that we start dating or anything I just…kinda w-wanted to be with a friend first, you know? Like with um...benefits?”

 

Oh. Adrien closed his mouth, blinking a few times. Of course…he had read too much into it. They were both busy people and they had been friends for so long…no if Marinette still liked him like that she would have done something about it before now. Honestly he wasn't even surprised either; if she had ignored his apparently obvious attraction to her in school, he wouldn't be too eager about romantically pursuing her either.

 

That being said...the disappointment he felt at Marinette’s insistence that they keep things casual was suddenly and brutally dropkicked by lust that managed to completely dry up his mouth. He was instantly assaulted by two distinctly different yet equally enticing scenarios which unfortunately gave Marinette enough time to assume the worst yet again.

 

“I’m…I’m sorry,” Marinette trailed off with a laugh, wondering if she was about to find out if a person could die of embarrassment. “I shouldn’t have-“

 

“No!” Adrien said suddenly, causing Marinette to jump a little. “I mean, yes! I-I mean uh…you shouldn’t be sorry?”

 

Marinette glanced back at Adrien as he rocked back and forth on his heels almost bashfully.

 

“Are you uh…did you mean that?” Adrien said. “The whole…trust thingie you said just now.”

 

“Well…yeah,” Marinette said quietly. “I don’t really know anyone else well enough to even consider doing something like this with them...”

 

“You could always get to know them,” Adrien said. “I mean, just because I’m the only person you trust doesn’t mean you couldn’t find someone else to-”

 

“Th-that’s not what I meant!” Marinette said quickly. Great; now he thought that the only reason she was approaching him was because she literally had nowhere else to turn to. “I…even if I did get to know someone else like that I would…I’d still want it to be you. I don’t just…want you because you’re the first guy I’ve talked to about this I…I want you because…well…you’re you.”

 

“Really?” Adrien let out a small, shaky breath halfway between a purr and a sigh.

 

“Are you…surprised?” Marinette asked. “I mean you’re…”

 

She gestured to Adrien with a small laugh that raised his eyebrows.

 

“I mean that’s…that’s not the only reason I think about doing this with you,” Marinette said, flushing red. “Thought! Thought about doing this with you! Logically; rationally! N-not like fantasizing or anythi-”

 

Marinette stopped as a soft, throaty chuckle slipped out of Adrien’s throat. She looked up at him, narrowing her eyes as he covered his mouth, shoulders softly shaking as anxiety gave way to rising indignation.

 

“Are you…are you laughing at me?!” Marinette squeaked as Adrien shook his head, biting his bottom lip.

 

“Uh-uh,” Adrien snickered, shaking his head.

 

“Oh my god I’m exposing myself over here and you’re…you’re…ugh!” Marinette growled, whacking Adrien against his shoulder with her coach bag.

 

“Can we at least get home before you start exposing yourself and smacking me around?” Adrien laughed, stepping out of range of Marinette’s bag. “Sorry! Sorry! I…I wasn’t laughing at you.”

 

“No you were just laughing in my general vicinity after I basically bared myself to you,” Marinette huffed, jabbing a finger at Adrien as he opened his mouth with a devilish glint in his eye. “I heard it!

 

“I was laughing because quite frankly…I didn’t realize how cute you were when you’re embarrassed,” Adrien said so casually that Marinette hadn’t realized what he had said until a few moments afterwards, face now beet red and mouth hanging open as she had to grapple with the fact that Adrien Agreste had just called her cute. Verbally. To her face and with a look on his that could only be described as “cat catches sight of a fat wingless canary covered in cream.”

 

“…well I’m glad my humiliation is so satisfying to watch,” Marinette huffed, stowing her coach bag back on her shoulder and crossing her arms. “Look…if you don’t want to-”

 

“When did I say that?” Adrien said, cocking his head to one side with an almost teasing smile.

 

“You haven’t said yes,” Marinette added.

 

“You haven’t given me a chance,” Adrien said, taking a step closer as Marinette turned to look up at him. The smug beautiful bastard had the nerve to tower over her with those twinkling green eyes while she was trying to maintain some sort of dignity after basically admitting to touching herself while thinking about him on a nightly weekly occasional basis.

 

“What I was going to ask,” Adrien said, lip caught between his teeth as his smile fail to waiver. “Is what your definition of play is…or at least what you had in mind for us?”

 

Us. That was a word that set Marinette’s heart racing again, any pretenses of irritation evaporating in the cool spring air. It was such a heavy word, full of possibilities that Marinette had mulled over since she was a teenager. And now it was in her reach; all she had to do was grab onto it.

 

“Uh…” Marinette scratched the back of her neck. “I uh…don’t really know…just like…standard stuff?”

 

“Is there such a thing?” Adrien chuckled.

 

“I guess not,” Marinette sighed. “See…this is what I wanted help with! I have…no idea how to do this whole kinky…bondage…spanky…relationship…thing!”

 

“Well…what do you want?” Adrien asked, leaning against a tree and crossing his arms. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess what you’re asking for is purely…sexual?”

 

“More or less,” Marinette admitted. “I mean I’m not looking to be someone’s slave or anything more than just the whole…bedroom side of things.”

 

“So...you want any Dom/sub overtones contained within certain scenes,” Adrien nodded almost thoughtfully.

 

“I just…I want to be able to get into this without any pressure to perform or fear that someone is going to judge me,” Marinette sighed, crossing her arms across her chest.

 

“I wouldn’t do that,” Adrien said quietly.

 

“I know you wouldn’t,” Marinette said with a small smile. “And I…I wouldn’t feel any hangups about…asking you to try something or asking you to stop if we were going too far. I know you wouldn’t think less of me for that.”

 

“No,” Adrien said, stepping forward almost eagerly before holding himself back. “No I…I wouldn’t do that to you. You’re…well, you were one of my first real friends, you know? I mean, besides Chloe but she was…well…”

 

“A harpy sent from the underworld to sow havoc and chaos amongst mortals?” Marinette snorted.

 

“More or less,” Adrien laughed, scratching the back of his head as he looked down at her for a moment as though he were weighing his options. “Okay.”

 

“Okay?” Marinette repeated hesitatingly. “So…we’re doing this?”

 

“If you’re willing,” Adrien said with a much shyer smile. “Then I’m in.”

 

“Really?” Marinette said.

 

“Are you surprised? I mean you’re-” Adrien laughed, repeating Marinette’s earlier gesture.

 

“O-Oh please I’m hardly-” Marinette gestured to herself.

 

“No; you’re-” Adrien said, gesturing to her again with an emphatic nod. “Let’s just get this out of the way; you are definitely-“

 

Adrien repeated the sweeping hand gesture a third time as the pair of them burst into nervous chuckles. Was it really that easy? Marinette wondered. She couldn’t quite believe it happened the way it did but…she asked. He said yes. Called her cute; waved at her in a way that suggested that he was as attracted to her as she was to him…

 

Was it really that easy?

 

Most of her sexual history had been spur of the moment; completely unplanned. She would meet someone cute, go on a few dates with them, and then end up back at someone’s apartment where Netflix and chill turned into awkward, clumsy sex on the couch while The Vampire Diaries played in the background. It was never something planned; something she explicitly sought out. It was a byproduct of isolation, homesickness, and a desire to get out and see what she had been missing pining over Adrien.

 

And ironically the sex life that had begun in an effort to get over Adrien Agreste had looped full circle to a sex life that apparently succeeded in getting under him.

 

“So-” Marinette’s line of questioning ended with a small beep that came from her purse, signaling a text message had just been sent.

 

Alya: home yet?

 

“The missus,” Marinette said in answer to Adrien’s questioning glance as she fired off a reply. “Wants to know if I got home okay. I told her I was”

 

“Ah,” Adrien nodded. “We should definitely make sure of that then. It’s my ass Alya is going to destroy if you don’t.”

 

Not before I get my hands on it, Marinette thought. Adrien stopped, slowly turned around and fixed her with a bemused smirk that confused Marinette for a split second before she realized-

 

“Oh…” Marinette blinked as she stared up at Adrien’s suddenly scarlet complexion. “Shit I said that out loud, didn’t I?”

 

The tree above them shook as a flock of sleeping pigeons was suddenly roused and took flight at the sudden, sharp gale of laughter that came from Adrien as Marinette wished a passing meteorite might fall from the heavens and strike her in the head.

 

“Right,” Marinette said, swinging her leg up over the guard rail separating the sidewalk from the river. “Well I’m just going to…you know…drown myself now.”

 

“No!” Adrien snickered, reaching out for her. “Alya’s going to kill me if you do.”

 

“Nah, gonna drown myself,” Marinette said, teetering on the railing, feet not quite reaching the concrete foothold on the other side that separated her from a twenty foot drop into water. “Seems like a good idea.”

 

“Seriously…seriously come on,” Adrien said, holding his hand out as he took a step closer. “Let’s get you home.”

 

“Don’t interrupt my dramatic suicide, Adrien,” Marinette said as gravely as she could manage, holding a hand up to her face as she feigned falling.

 

“Marinette!”

 

“Oh come on; I’m not actually going to fall,” Marinette said, giggling at how quickly Adrien’s smug, sexy expression had been replaced with one of concern. “I used to sit on these all the time while my Dad-”

 

Unfortunately, she had been much smaller then and had her father’s hands at her back to steady her and keep her from falling. Unfortunately, she was much larger than she had been, despite what her five-four frame would suggest, and was badly out of practice at riding imaginary rail horses.

 

And unfortunately, she lost her balance.

 

“Marinette!”

 

In all likelihood she could have probably corrected herself but for a split second she felt herself falling a little too far to the right a little too quickly. She flailed her arms, throwing her weight right and crashing into something warm and soft as, inexplicably, she found herself rising in the air.

 

“A-are you okay?” A very pale Adrien stammered as Marinette looked down and realized that Adrien had effectively plucked her off the rail and was now holding her, flush against his chest, one arm supporting her back and another wrapped around her backside.

 

“Y-Yeah, I’m fine,” Marinette said, arms wrapped around Adrien’s neck. “Sorry, that was-”

 

She trailed off as she realized the position they were in, his face inches away from her chest with one hand firmly cupping her bottom. They locked eyes for a brief second, an unmistakable twinkle in Adrien’s eye despite his sudden flushed expression.

 

“Weren’t you supposed to get your hands on my ass first?” Adrien chuckled, depositing Marinette to the ground at the very same moment she inexplicably found herself going weak in the knees.

 

“Y-Yeah,” Marinette chuckled, smoothing her skirt out. “Way to steal my thunder.”

 

“I’ll make it up to you later,” Adrien said with a small wink, offering his arm to her. “Shall we?”

 

Marinette glanced up at Adrien, eyes trailing from the crook of his arm to his mischievous smirk. She had fallen hard for sweet, innocent, too-good-for-the-sinful-world Adrien when she was a teenager; when he was a pure soul who didn’t realize he inhabited the body of a teenage sex-symbol. But sometime between the end of high school and now, someone had let him in on the secret. Someone (Marinette tried very hard not to think who) had revealed to him the secret of his own sexiness and he had in turn weaponized it. She had a hard enough time dealing with shy, sensitive, thoughtful Adrien but she had given him permission to flirt with her.

 

Now the tomcat was very much out of the bag and Marinette suddenly realized she was far more screwed than she originally thought.

 

“…okay,” Marinette said, threading her arm through his as they resumed their trek towards her apartment building, saying little to one another as they each seemed to be relishing the simple touch of their arms linked together. Marinette had to resist the urge to rest her head on Adrien’s shoulder, glancing up at him every few moments to see the almost dreamy smile on his lips. She couldn’t help but feel the tiniest tinge of pride knowing she had put that there; that Adrien was smiling because they were going to…wait…

 

“Um,” Marinette said after a moment. “When I, uh…asked back there I wasn’t…suggesting we do anything tonight.”

 

“Oh good,” Adrien sighed, glancing at her with a small smile. “I didn’t want to be the one to have to say it but I, uh…I didn’t want to rush things either.”

 

“No, no need to rush,” Marinette said with a small sigh of relief.

 

“We have all the time in the world,” Adrien said, taking a deep breath of night air as he resisted the urge to thread his arm around Marinette’s shoulders instead of her arm.

 

“Mmhmm,” Marinette said as silence lapsed between them again for a moment. “But uh…when, uh…when would be a good time for you?”

 

“You forget I’m technically unemployed,” Adrien chuckled. “You’re the one with the demanding schedule now; I’m completely at your service.”

 

There was no way he wasn’t doing that on purpose, Marinette thought to herself as the image of Adrien completely at her service flashed through her mind.

 

“Well…I’m good most weekends,” Marinette said, laughing after a moment.

 

“What?” Adrien asked.

 

“Nothing it’s just…you would think we were planning to go grab coffee or something not…” Marinette trailed off. “Just odd is all.”

 

“You’ve never planned before, have you?” Adrien asked.

 

“Not really,” Marinette shrugged. “Everything has been kind of…spur of the moment as far as I’m concerned.”

 

“Ah,” Adrien nodded. “Well in my opinion it’s always much more…enjoyable when you’ve planned it out to a degree.”

 

“Is that because you’ve developed a fetish for scheduling at this point in your life?” Marinette snorted.

 

“Believe it or not you’re not the first person to suggest I have one of those,” Adrien laughed, bumping his hip into hers.

 

“What did I say about hip bumps?” Marinette laughed.

 

“I think I’ve more than proven I’m able to catch you,” Adrien said, tilting his head back and forth. “I enjoy planning it because I have more time to…anticipate.”

 

“Anticipate?”

 

“Like Christmas,” Adrien said. “Except-”

 

Everyone is on the naughty list.”

 

“Exactly,” Adrien said as Marinette chewed her lip thoughtfully, heart hammering in her ears.

 

“…what about Saturday?” She said suddenly, prompting a curious look from Adrien.

 

“Saturday?” Adrien asked. “This Saturday?”

 

“Y-yeah,” Marinette said, idly fidgeting with a button on the sleeve of Adrien’s coat. “Is that too soon or something?”

 

“That’s up to you,” Adrien said. “I’ve done this before so I’m more or less comfortable with it at this point…the only question is when will you be comfortable with it?”

 

It was a good question but now that they had agreed to give it a go, Marinette knew she couldn’t hold it off for very much longer. Her impulse control was, for the most part, terrible; she was used to going out and getting what she wanted for herself and now that Adrien had agreed…well, she wanted it.

 

“I’m…comfortable with it Saturday,” Marinette said, nodding after a moment. “If you are that is.”

 

“I think I can be ready by then,” Adrien said as Marinette nodded to a building across the street, steering him towards it as they approached her apartment. “Is this going to be at your place or-”

 

“Yours,” Marinette said quickly. “Sorry but…well I work fifty hours a week and my apartment isn’t exactly…guest ready.”

 

“Fair enough,” Adrien chuckled. “I suppose I have more space to play around with as well.”

 

“Yeah thanks for rubbing that in, rich boy,” Marinette snorted, bumping her hip into his.

 

“Sorry,” Adrien said, holding a hand up. “My place it is.”

 

“Good,” Marinette said, lingering in front of the door to her building as she didn’t want to untangle from Adrien’s grip just yet.

 

“This you?” Adrien said, nodding at the building.

 

“Unfortunately,” Marinette said, pulling Adrien off to the side of the building as one of her neighbors brushed past them with a small nod and a smile. “Guess you’re in the clear with Alya now.”

 

“Thank God,” Adrien laughed, glancing down at their linked arms for a moment before slowly sliding his arm out of her grasp almost reluctantly. “So um…I had fun today.”

 

“Same,” Marinette said, almost wishing this was the end of their first date. “I would invite you up but uh…seriously, it’s like a post-apocalyptic fallout shelter of manniquins and take out boxes up there.”

 

“I’ll take your word for it,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck.

 

“Sure,” Marinette said, glancing at her phone. “I may be working late so just shoot me a text before you call.”

 

“Can do,” Adrien nodded. “I just wanted to…well just to talk about a couple of things if you’re up for it?”

 

“Nothing too serious, I hope,” Marinette said.

 

“Not serious but…important I guess,” Adrien said. “In the interest of getting a few things taken care of before Saturday.”

 

“Of course,” Marinette nodded. Already it seemed like Saturday was too far away for her taste all but quivering in anticipation already. But if she was going to do this, she was going to do it properly which meant waiting…no matter how bad she was at that.

 

"Great," Adrien said with a small smile.

 

“I’ll look forward to it,” Marinette said, teetering back and forth. At this rate, they were both going to freeze to death before either of them said goodnight so Marinette bit the bullet. “Well…goodnight.”

 

“Goodnight,” Adrien said with a small nod as Marinette turned to head up the steps into the building. “Oh, I almost forgot!”

 

“Yes?” Marinette asked, turning around to see Adrien on the steps behind her, almost nose to nose with her despite the fact that she had a whole two-step advantage above him. She had never pegged herself as someone who liked tall guys before but she wouldn’t have wished Adrien any shorter if she had been paid to do it.

 

“You never answered my question all those weeks ago,” Adrien said, green eyes transfixed on blue. “At least not…definitively.”

 

“Which one?” Marinette asked, thankful they were alone on the front steps. "You ask a lot of questions."

 

“Fair point but I asked…if you considered yourself more of a domme or a sub,” Adrien said, letting the question hang in the air between them as his lips widened into a smirk. “And if we’re playing together well…I’d like to know which position you’re playing.”

 

The chilly spring evening suddenly felt much warmer as Marinette forced herself to hold Adrien’s expression.

 

“…do I have to pick?” Marinette said after a moment, lips slowly curling into a smile to match Adrien’s.

 

“Never,” Adrien said. “It’s a lady’s prerogative to have the best of both worlds if she chooses.”

 

“Well…despite having absolutely no experience…” Marinette said softly. “I have to say that the answer to your earlier question is…yes.”

 

“If I can be perfectly honest, that’s my favorite answer,” Adrien admitted, gaze flickering between her lips and her eyes briefly. They were a scant few inches away from one another and Marinette bit her bottom lip in a way that made Adrien want to completely smother her mouth with his. He licked his lips, clenching his hands behind his back as he reminded himself that this wasn’t going to be that kind of a relationship...as much as he’d like it to be.

 

“So…” Adrien said, trying to refocus his attention on the positives. “If that is the case…what exactly did you want to happen on Saturday?”

 

Marinette swallowed with a heavy intake of breath. There were a lot of things she wanted to happen on Saturday; five years of lurid fantasies had given her more than enough ammunition to work with. Right now she wanted to reach across the step, grab Adrien by his loose tie and smash her lips against his without a care if she was “coming on too strongly.” She wanted to come on strongly; she wanted to completely rock his world. She wanted him breathless, sweating, clinging to her for dear life after she was done with him while her fingers slowly wound their way through her hair.

 

So much of her wanted her to mark him, fuck him so hard he couldn’t sit down for a week without remembering what she had done to him. She wanted all of that…but…she also wanted his fingers trailing down her back, hands secured in a way that couldn’t stop his wandering touch. She wanted his hands in her hair, his teeth at her shoulder, his voice rasping soft commands in her ear. She wanted to be taken breathless and screaming into his sheets, left a soft, hazy mess on his mattress while he stroked her hair and rubbed her shoulders. She wanted to remember Saturday for the rest of the week every time she sat or lay in bed without him.

 

And for once, she wanted to be the one to just show up and have someone completely invested in her own satisfaction for just one night after so many disappointing trysts in showers, bathroom stalls, and dorm room couches. As a woman who had never been satisfied for once she wanted the night to go completely like she wanted it.

 

“You uh…don’t have to answer right now,” Adrien said after a moment of silence, scratching the back of his neck. “I just asked because-”

 

“N-No, it’s okay,” Marinette said, looking into Adrien’s eyes with a deep breath as she wondered how to best say what she wanted to say. “I just…w-well there are a lot of things I’ve wanted to try but…I guess I don’t really have any practical experience to fall back on.”

 

“As is typical for someone’s first time,” Adrien laughed, stepping back a little as Marinette stepped closer to him, dropping almost four inches until she had to look up at him to meet his eye.

 

“Right…s-so I find myself in need of some…instruction,” Marinette said tactfully, reaching out and straightening Adrien’s tie as he swallowed heavily. She watched his Adam’s apple bob as she drew back, taking comfort in the possibility that he was as nervous and excited as she was. He seemed to hang on her every word, so she let him hang for a moment as she gathered her thoughts.

 

“You had mentioned,” Marinette cleared her throat. “Earlier that you had…bottomed for a bit before you topped, right?”

 

“That’s not uh…mandatory or anything,” Adrien said with a nervous chuckle. “I mean there are…plenty of ways a sub could theoretically teach his-their dom from the bottom.”

 

“I just…” Marinette sighed. “I don’t want to hurt you because I was inexperienced or something."

 

Her hand reached out, smoothing the lapels of his coat as she tried to find the words to say

 

"And as much as domming is…something I would like to try-” (Adrien had to resist the urge to pump his fist extremely hard.) “-I would…prefer it if you were to take charge on Saturday,” Marinette said, glancing up at him to judge his response. He bit his lip, blinking as he stared over Marinette’s head before looking back with a raised eyebrow.

 

“And what do you mean by that?” Adrien asked.

 

“…really?” Marinette asked, cheeks pinkening. “I thought I was clear?”

 

“You weren’t,” Adrien said simply. “What exactly do you want me with you on Saturday?”

 

“You know…” Marinette trailed off uselessly.

 

“I actually don’t,” Adrien said slowly, stepping up until he stood on the same step as she did, feet on either side of hers as she suddenly found herself nose to chest with him. “I’m don’t fancy myself a very demanding person...but there is one thing I’m going to need from you if we’re going to do this.”

 

“A-And that is?” Marinette stuttered, so close to his chest she could count the threads in his shirt. Before she knew what was happening, he had slowly reached out, cupping her chin and slowly raising her eyes to meet his. Well this is something I didn’t know I liked, Marinette thought to herself, blinking up at Adrien.

 

“I need your honesty, Marinette,” Adrien said as Marinette tried not to faint at the firm tone of voice belied by the soft smile he sent down at her. “I’m not going to guess at what you want and what you don’t want…you need to tell me, in absolutely no uncertain terms, what it is you want from me…can you do that?”

 

“Yes,” Marinette said after a moment, swallowing as her fingers trailed up the inside of his wrist. His thumb was so close to her lips that any slight movement across them would completely erode the last bastions of self-control Marinette had erected.

 

“Then I need you to say what it is you want me to do with you,” Adrien said in the same low, almost purring tone. “Explicitly. So there is absolutely no confusion between us.”

 

Well there was no chance of avoiding confusion. Marinette was already plenty confused for the pair of them, torn between wanting to kiss Adrien, tie Adrien down, and get tied down by Adrien. Confusion had defined her feelings towards Adrien since they were teenagers; even now she was unsure of almost everything except for the fact that she just plain wanted him.

 

“You…you just want to make me say it,” Marinette said softly.

 

“Why would I want that?” Adrien asked, cocking his head to one side.

 

“Y-You like embarrassing me,” Marinette said matter of factly. “Don’t you?”

 

“That’s neither here nor there…though I have to say that red is definitely your color,” Adrien said as Marinette rolled her eyes with a small snort. “Are you embarrassed to say it?”

 

“…a little,” Marinette admitted.

 

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Adrien said, biting his lip as Marinette shifted a little under his gaze. “Do you want to tell me why?”

 

“I’ve just…never really done it like this before,” Marinette said, swallowing as her chin quavered under Adrien’s touch. “I mean forget the...kinky stuff...I’ve never even asked someone for something I really wanted in bed.”

 

“Mmhmm,” Adrien said. “And how has that worked for you?”

 

“Not spectacularly,” Marinette chuckled.

 

“Maybe it’s time you gave that a try then,” Adrien said with a small wink that drew a giggle from Marinette in spite of herself.

 

“…okay,” Marinette said, eyes locking with Adrien’s. “I…I want you to uh…g-give me a second?”

 

“Take your time,” Adrien said, stowing his hands in his pocket as he patiently waited for her response.

 

“Okay,” Marinette said, shaking her hands out and taking a deep breath. “Okayokayokay I can do this…”

 

Gambatte,” Adrien said with a small thumbs up.

 

“Weeb,” Marinette chuckled.

 

“I actually lived in Japan though,” Adrien pointed out.

 

“Doesn’t stop you from being a weeb,” Marinette said, folding her arms in front of her and looking back at Adrien resolutely. “Okay…Adrien…I…I want to...no, I want you to um…uuuuuuuuuuum…dominateme or wh-whatever.”

 

Dominate me or whatever?! Marinette thought as she leaned against the stairwell in what she hoped was a casual and cool gesture. Did those words actually just come out of my mouth?!

 

“Did you want me to dominate you or whatever?” Adrien said, feigning confusion.

 

“You do like to see me squirm,” Marinette grumbled.

 

“Guilty,” Adrien shrugged. “So? Which is it?”

 

“…the first,” Marinette said.

 

“Which is?” Adrien prompted, prompting an exasperated growl from Marinette.

 

“Fine! On Saturday I…want you to dominate me,” Marinette said with a small sigh as she waited for a laugh, a roll of the eyes, a “you’re so bad at this Marinette” from Adrien.

 

…but they didn’t come.

 

Adrien looked her over with a closed mouth smile and a small nod. “As you wish,” he said like he was auditioning for a goddamn remake of The Princess Bride or something. He didn’t even have the common decency to stammer or do anything other than mildly blush to suggest he was as much of a hormone addled wreck as she was. She didn’t know if it was an act or if she wasn’t affecting him like he was affecting her. If it was the former then she wanted to take Adrien to Monte Carlo and hit the poker tables.

 

If it was the latter, she needed to step her game up.

 

“Was that so hard?” Adrien asked after a moment.

 

“Shut up,” Marinette laughed, pushing him back off her step so he wasn’t looming over her like a sexy tree. “You know you can be a real pain in the ass sometimes.”

 

“Oh you have no idea,” Adrien snickered.

 

“Is that a threat or a promise?” Marinette asked, tip of her tongue poking out between her teeth.

 

“Whatever you'd like it to be,” Adrien shrugged with a lopsided smirk. “I’ll…talk to you tomorrow then?”

 

“Yep,” Marinette said. “Again I would uh…invite you up but-”

 

“Fallout shelter?” Adrien snorted.

 

“Well that,” Marinette admitted, glancing down at him with her lip caught between her teeth. “But there’s also the fact that if I did…well…let’s just say I don’t think we’d make it until Saturday. Too much…temptation.

 

There it was, Marinette thought, watching Adrien’s placid expression of serenity lapse, eyes glinting and breath catching in his throat. A chink in the armor; at least now she knew she wasn’t the only one with butterflies in her stomach.

 

“Well uh,” Adrien cleared his throat. “I-In that case I should stop tempting you then.”

 

“You should,” Marinette said with a small wink. “Not all of us have the luxury of sleeping in tomorrow.”

 

“Would you believe me if I told you I have never slept in a day in my life?” Adrien snorted.

 

“Yes,” Marinette said with a small smile. “You should; you really earned it today.”

 

“Thanks,” Adrien said. “Here’s hoping I don’t cave under the tidal wave of e-mails and phone calls that await me tomorrow.”

 

“You won’t,” Marinette said.

 

“You seem pretty sure of that,” Adrien said. “I’m not even sure of that to be honest.”

 

“…maybe I know you better than you think,” Marinette said, savoring the look of confusion that flitted across Adrien’s face. “Goodnight, Adrien.”

 

“Night,” Adrien said, walking backwards down the steps as he watched her disappear into her building, smiling at the night receptionist as she passed. She glanced over her shoulder at she reached the stairs, offering a small wave as she disappeared into the building. He didn’t realize he had been holding his breath until she was gone and remembered what it was like to breathe without her. He stared at the door to her building for a long moment until someone brushed past him with a murmured apology and brought him back to reality.

 

And he realized he was going to be with Marinette…just not exactly in the way he wanted.

 

Adrien shook his head as he headed down the street, unable to keep the smile off his face despite the fact that he couldn't have everything he wanted. And there was the fact that it was possible that he was confusing desire for love as was his habit and as he had done with disastrous results in the past. He and Marinette had engaged in some rather…heavy conversation topics over the last couple of months. And of course she was a stone cold 10/10 when it came to looks so…perhaps he had rushed to judgment. Perhaps he had put the cart ahead of the horse and read too much into his own feelings like he so frequently did and once they got to playing around, Adrien would discover his aching affection for her was little more than friendship mixed with untapped lust that had been building up for too long.

 

He supposed Saturday would tell…and on that thought, Adrien’s face fell just a little.

 

“Ahhhhh man,” Adrien sighed, tilting his head back as he remembered he was in charge for the evening. “I’m going to have to plan this aren’t I?”

 

Still, as much work as it was going to be, he was going to enjoy the payoff immensely...though not as much as Marinette would if he could help it.


To her eternal astonishment, Marinette made it up four flights of stairs, said good evening to three of her neighbors, and unlocked her door before collapsing in a pile of lust, buzzing nerves and anticipation, slowly sliding down the door until she sat on the floor. Her heart thudded almost painfully in her chest, her breath coming in slow shaky gasps as her face stretched into an idiotic grin reflected in the full length mirror across from her. If someone had told her she was going to proposition her high school crush that day, she might have picked out an outfit that didn’t make her look like a librarian attending a picnic.

 

But he had said yes.

 

Yes.

 

Yes.

 

After years of living in mortal fear of the word no coming out of his lips, Adrien had agreed; flirted with her even. She all but jumped in his arms, his hand cupped her butt as he lifted her into the air, his fingers tilted her chin up as he asked her what it was he could do for her; asked her how he could best please her and on Saturday...in less than five days...they were going to-

 

Marinette shucked her boots off, tossing her cardigan on the table as she wobbled down the hall on shaky legs, singlemindedly focused on the box under her bed which she retrieved with shaking fingers, opening it and running her fingers over the ridged pink silicone as she flicked the switch at the base absentmindedly.

 

“Come on,” Marinette hissed, slipping out of her skirt with one hand as her toy failed to buzz to life as it should. Grumbling to herself, she padded back into the kitchen, pulling open her battery drawer and rooting around. “Double A…Double A…come on where are you-ahah!”

 

Her fingers closed around the corner of a box in the back of the drawer, stomach plummeting as she lifted it only to find it was just a little too light to be of any use to her.

 

“That’s…that’s not fair,” Marinette whimpered, shaking the empty battery box as though it would spawn batteries by magic. “That’s not fair at all…there was time now...”

 

It was going to be a long week. Marinette let her head bump against the cool tile with a small sob, rolling over and looking at the inert sex toy mockingly staring at her from its place on the counter.

 

"Alright," Marinette sighed, retrieving her toy and heading back to her bedroom. "Guess we're doing this the Amish way then..."

Chapter Text

Tuesday dawned in a haze of sexual frustration despite the fact that the lingering remnant of Adrien’s fingers on her chin had provided her more than enough inspiration to satisfy herself the night before (lack of batteries notwithstanding). Seven in the morning still came far too soon for Marinette’s liking but the fact of the matter was the world didn’t revolve around her libido and her suddenly active sex life.

 

There were bills to pay, there were things to do, and by God she had designs to sew.

 

So as much as she would have liked to lounge around in bed, consumed with visions of Adrien in increasingly less clothing, she was a fashion designer first…and a sexually frustrated young woman second. Still, silicone was a poor substitute for actual human contact and on her way to work, her mind had trouble thinking about anything other than the promise of what was going to happen Saturday.

 

Namely that she was going to have sex with Adrien.

 

Adrien Agreste.

 

One of her oldest friends.

 

Love of her adolescent life.

 

Possibly the sweetest person she ever met.

 

A supermodel.

 

A literal supermodel.

 

She was going to have sex with a supermodel.

 

A literal fucking supermodel.

 

In fact, she wrote “Fucking Supermodel” on her calendar at home under the “To Do” section for Saturday…and most of Sunday as well (optimism never cost anything). It was like a beacon of hope at the end of a long and probably stressful week, written in bright pink pen so she could see across her desk that, after meeting with fabric suppliers, shopping her designs around to retailers, and finalizing a wedding dress for a client, she could look forward to naked, sweaty, Adrien Agreste at the end.

 

But already Saturday seemed too far away.

 

Unsurprisingly, she found it much harder to work on her projects; it was difficult not to succumb to the persistent, nagging, lustful thoughts that kept creeping into her mind. Her normally efficient fingers suddenly fumbled with stitching and sewing while her mind drifted off into hazy fantasies that she hoped might soon come to life.

 

And all the while the same question buzzed around in her brain like a persistent little fly; what was going to happen?

 

She had more or less put herself at his mercy, a thought that filled her with an electric kind of anticipation that buzzed at the back of her mind as she went about her workday. Her research (read: porn) had filled her mind with a cavalcade of possibilities ranging from the relatively tame to extremes she didn’t know if she was willing to go to. But part of her relished the relative secrecy; the fact that she didn’t really know what sorts of devious things Adrien was cooking up at that very moment…


 

“…no…no, Marcel, it’s not about the money,” Adrien sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as he leaned back on the couch. “No…no it’s not about the office size either I…look let’s…let’s not make this ugly, okay? I just…I want a clean break from all of this…yes…yes I’m serious…I…look Marcel I’ll call you tomorrow…no I’m not coming in. No…no I’m sorry Marcel…no-goodnight Marcel.”

 

Adrien tossed his phone down on the couch, flopping backwards with a deep sigh as he stared up at the ceiling. His first day of freedom had been marred with constant emails, phone calls, and well-wishes from everyone from Marcel to Marcel’s secretary to Leo Parvenu, an old friend of his father’s. The calls ranged from begging him to come back (Marcel), letting him know that he’ll be missed (Marcel’s secretary; a seriously overworked woman who seemed happy that anyone was getting away from her boss) and jokingly asking when the coup to overthrow Marcel will be (Leo). Adrien said nothing to any of them other than the fact that he had no interest in running Gabriel at a corporate level and that he was done with the company for the foreseeable future.

 

He could tell Marcel was disappointed but at the moment he couldn’t bring himself to care all that much.

 

For the first time since he was thirteen years old, Adrien didn’t need to go to work. For the first time, Adrien didn’t have to worry about how he was going to fit into his father’s company or how he was going to live up to his father’s legacy. Even if he had spent the day lounging around and catching up on his housekeeping it was something he decided to do on his own; for himself. It was a strange feeling that might have been a happy one were it not for the fact that people from his old life were still trying to drag him back.

 

But he wasn’t going back; not after everyone had been so proud that he quit. He wouldn’t let them down; not Nino, not Alya, not…not Marinette.

 

And speaking of Marinette…

 

His lip caught between his teeth as he glanced between his phone and a basket full of crumpled notepads. Adrien didn’t fancy himself to be a perfectionist but if there was anything worth doing perfectly, it was this. The task of planning Saturday’s itinerary fell in his lap and the question of just what he was going to do with/to her buzzed around in his head throughout the day, lingering as he did his laundry, went grocery shopping, and reorganized his cabinets. If first times were always delicate then Saturday was doubly so if only because this was Marinette’s first first time. Even more daunting was the fact that Adrien had years of fantasy and imagination to live up to, prompting him to throw out a sheet of half-scribbled ideas more than once as he found himself balking under her expectations…even though he had no idea what they were exactly.

 

Which brought him to the call…

 

Adrien glanced at the clock on the wall, tilting his head back and forth as he wondered if he should call her yet. It was almost six o’clock but Adrien of all people knew how work days could run late; especially for Marinette who essentially ran her own business (a never-ending source of wonder for Adrien). Laptop open next to him, he attached something to an open e-mail, mouse cursor hovering over the SEND button for a moment before he decided to call first.

 

After all, he wasn’t even completely sure she wanted this to happen anymore…


 

“Goodnight!” Marinette called, waving after Sylvie as the front door to her studio shut after them, leaving Marinette alone in her office at the back of the building, mouth full of lace as she tried to put the finishing touches on her latest project. Never one that enjoyed leaving work half finished, Marinette glanced at the clock, figuring she could get the ruffles on her wedding dress stitched before six. She had lost enough time, mind wandering to visions of Adrien clad in sleek, form-fitting leather; she figured she needed to accomplish something of value before she left for the day.

 

And coincidentally, it was at that moment her phone buzzed.

 

Lace ribbon dangling from her teeth, Marinette stared down at her phone, licking her lips as Adrien’s familiar black cat background popped up behind the unread text message. Part of her (the part of her not focused on her work for the day) was hanging on Adrien’s promise of a text and a call; wondering what was so important that he wanted to talk about. She let out a small sigh, winding the lace around her mannequin’s neck as she unlocked the screen to see what he had said.

 

Adrien: When you have a moment, I’d like to call you.

 

Marinette glanced back at the dress, sighing through her nose as she put her phone down on her desk and made a few quick stitches; enough to let her pick up where she left off tomorrow and enough to make her feel like she had accomplished something for the day. With a small shrug, Marinette sat back in her office chair, picking up her phone and firing back a message.

 

Marinette: whenever you’re ready i’m good!

 

No less than ten seconds later, her phone buzzed, ringing out Adrien’s custom ringtone. She sat up straight, fixing her hair in the reflection of her computer monitor in spite of the fact he wasn’t there to see it. She took a deep breath, pressing the answer button on her earpiece and leaning back in her chair.

 

“Hello?” Marinette said.

 

“Hey there,” Adrien’s said. “How’s it going?”

 

“Well enough,” Marinette said, kicking her heels up on her desk.

 

Still working?” Adrien asked.

 

“Just finishing some stuff up; I’ll probably sleep on the couch in the office tonight,” Marinette said, glancing at her dress across the room.

 

“That can’t be comfortable,” Adrien said.

 

“You’d be surprised,” Marinette said. “After months of late nights, I spent an entire weekend trying to find the most comfortable couch in Paris.”

 

“Were you successful?”

 

“I definitely found the most comfortably couch in Paris under three hundred euros,” Marinette said. “It’s a place to lay my head after a long day’s work.”

 

“So it was a productive day?” Adrien said, as Marinette drummed her fingers on the desk.

 

“Yep,” Marinette said with a small snort. “I actually managed to get a lot done today no thanks to you.”

 

“Me?”

 

“Yes,” Marinette said, smiling up at the ceiling. “I confess you’re a very hard person to forget, Mr. Agreste.”

 

“Well, I’m sorry for the distraction,” Adrien chuckled.

“I’m sure you’ll find some way to make it up to me,” Marinette murmured.

 

I think I will,” Adrien said, a clack of keys echoing on his end. “Do you have time to talk now?”

 

“I wouldn’t have answered if I didn’t,” Marinette said. “I’m all alone in my office so by all means…what did you want to talk about?”

 

“Well uh…I guess I just wanted to check in really quick to see if you were still up for Saturday,” Adrien said.

 

“Oh?” Marinette said.

 

“I completely understand if things have changed for you or…something’s come up and you’d rather cancel or postpone it,” Adrien said, voice sounding almost…unsure on the other end.

 

“Nothing’s changed for me,” Marinette said, a small trickle of fear inching down her spine. “Have uh…things changed for you?”

 

Not on my end,” Adrien said quickly as Marinette breathed a small sigh of relief. “Just…wanted to be sure.”

 

“Well…you can be sure that I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit today,” Marinette said with a small smile. “If that makes you feel better.”

 

“…have you?” Adrien said.

 

“Like I said…you’re a hard guy to forget,” Marinette said, finding it much easier to flirt with Adrien when she didn’t have to crane her neck up to talk to him.

 

Well uh…th-that’s always nice to hear,” Adrien stammered as Marinette’s smirk widened.

 

Adrien: 0

Marinette: 15

 

If that’s the case,” Marinette’s brow furrowed as her desktop e-mail notifier pinged, Adrien’s name popping up as she opened her browser. “I just sent you something; let me know when you get it.”

 

“This isn’t going to give me a virus is it?” Marinette chuckled, downloading the Excel workbook with a click of her mouse.

 

“I hope not,” Adrien laughed. “I just wanted to get one or two things out of the way before we went any further.”

 

“I’m guessing this is the limits talk?” Marinette asked as the file downloaded.

 

“As a policy, I like to know what’s on and off limits when I’m planning a playdate,” Adrien said. “Makes things much easier in my experience.”

 

“Makes sense,” Marinette said, opening the document and scrolling through the Excel list with steadily raising eyebrows. “Whaaaaat exactly am I looking at here?”

 

“Everything,” Adrien chuckled. “Or at least…damn near close to everything a person could possibly be into.”

 

“And some of the stuff they wouldn’t be into by the looks of it,” Marinette chuckled.

 

I don’t know if you’ve thought about this stuff yet,” Adrien said. “But I wanted to make myself available to you worked on this in case you had any questions.”

 

“I’ve…thought about it a little bit,” Marinette said, wrinkling her nose at one or two things she saw on the list, squinting at the red X’s that appeared in certain columns. “What are these X’s supposed to mean?”

 

Oh those are…well, those are my limits,” Adrien said after a moment.

 

“Doms get limits?” Marinette asked.

 

“Why wouldn’t they?”

 

“Fair point,” Marinette said, glad that so far none of Adrien’s X’s were on things she had wanted to try. “So uh…do you want me to fill this out or something?”

 

“If you don’t mind,” Adrien said. “Helps to know what you don’t like…and what you do for that matter.”

 

“So how does this work?” Marinette said, biting her lip as her eyes glazed over one or two things she wanted to try.

 

See the blanks next to the…uh…stuff?” Adrien chuckled nervously. “I want you to rank each one.”

 

All of them?” Marinette said.

 

As many as you can,” Adrien replied. “On a scale from zero to five; five meaning you can’t live without it, zero meaning you hate it but you’ll do, question mark if you don’t know but would be willing to try it.”

 

“And the X’s?” Marinette asked.

 

Green X for soft limit,” Adrien said. “Something you’ll do under certain circumstances which we can discuss later. Red X means-”

 

“Hard limit?” Marinette said, marking a few red X’s right off the bat.

 

“You’ve done your homework,”Adrien laughed.

 

“Homework has been all I’ve been able to do so far,” Marinette said, crossing one leg over the other absentmindedly as she scrolled through the list. “Good to see we have some of the same no’s so far.”

 

Oh?”

 

“Blood,” Marinette said, scowling at her screen. “And any other bodily products besides…uh…you know.”

 

“Do I?”

 

“Shut up,” Marinette chuckled as she went down the list, dropping numbers or X’s in the columns as she went. “You know what I mean.”

 

“You’ll have to enlighten me later,” Adrien laughed. “Though for now I’m interested in seeing how our limits don’t match up.”

 

“Not too many spots so far,” Marinette said, rubbing her legs together unconsciously as she went down the list, each word or phrase forcing her to consider what Adrien might do to her. “Can I go off script a little?”

 

“By all means,” Adrien said.

 

“Can I” Marinette said, uncrossing her legs as she leaned into the phone. “Can I set specific limits…within limits?”

 

You mean Limitception?” Adrien snorted. “Of course...which one are you looking at?”

 

“…pet names,” Marinette said, typing away in the side column as she fought down a hot blush. “I’m okay with them so long as they’re not…super demeaning or anything.”

 

“Gotcha.”

 

“I mean I know I’m a slut; you don’t need to remind me,” Marinette joked.

 

You haven’t had sex in two years and you think you’re a slut?”

 

“Oh right; I forgot I was talking to the Slut King of Paris,” Marinette snickered.

 

“Excuse me?” Adrien said. Just Paris?”

 

“Sorry; Tomcat Slut Emperor of France, Italy, and Japan,” Marinette chuckled.

 

Thank you,” Adrien laughed as Marinette continued to peruse the list. “Slut is a title you have to earn.”

 

“Well I’m sure you’ll give me plenty of opportunities to earn it,” Marinette said as Adrien sheepishly chuckled on the other line.

 

“I’m happy to pass on my uh…expertise,” Adrien stammered.

 

Adrien: 0

Marinette: 30

 

“I’m honored to be learning from the Emperor himself,” Marinette said, nostrils flaring as she put an emphatic red X under the Watching Partner with Others row. “Um…you weren’t uh…thinking of bringing other people into this, were you?”

 

“No,” Adrien said flatly. “Why?”

 

“Oh, no reason,” Marinette said, leaning back in her chair. “…well, that’s a lie actually; I do have a reason. I uh…well, I don’t really want to do anything with anyone else present if that’s okay. Either in like…play parties or in public.”

 

Of course,” Adrien said. “I’m not much of an exhibitionist myself.

 

“I can see that,” Marinette said, hovering over the Exhibitionism row, squinting at the row beneath it. “…isn’t Private Exhibitionism an oxymoron?”

 

“Not necessarily,” Adrien said.

 

“You want to explain it?”

 

“Exhibitionists typically don’t care who sees them,” Adrien said as Marinette bit her lip. “Private exhibitionists enjoy performing or…well just being exposed in front of a select audience.”

 

“…even if it’s an audience of one?” Marinette asked.

 

“Even if it’s just me,” Adrien murmured, obliterating Marinette’s rational thought for a brief moment as she was suddenly struck with an image of Adrien watching her, leaning back in a chair in a shirt and slacks while she sprawled out on the couch, watching him through lidded eyes as she ran a hand down her bare stomach towards her-

 

Adrien: 15

Marinette: 30

 

“You going to tell me what you’re putting there?” Adrien asked, shaking Marinette from her fantasy.

 

“You’ll see soon enough,” Marinette sing-songed, moving down the list. “I will tell you I’m rating Costumes very highly.”

 

“R-Really?” Adrien stammered.

 

Adrien: 15

Marinette: 40

 

“Are you surprised that your fashion designing g…friend has an interest in costumed roleplaying?” Marinette said, legs rubbing together anxiously.

 

“On you or me or…both?” Adrien asked.

 

“…both,” Marinette said, a small flutter in her stomach indicating this wasn’t as robotic or clinical of a process as she thought it was going to be.

 

“Oh really,” Adrien said. “Anything in…particular?”

 

“Not unless you have a skin-tight leather catsuit lying around somewhere,” Marinette chuckled, waiting for Adrien’s derisive chuckle to follow.

 

“Hm,” was all Adrien said.

 

“What do you mean hm?” Marinette asked.

 

That’s something to consider, isn’t it?” Adrien said simply.

 

Adrien: 30

Marinette: 40

 

W-Well…full disclosure,” Marinette said, leaning back in her chair as the tingling in her stomach slowly drifted downwards. “I uh…may or may not have something of a leather kink…or is it fetish?”

 

“Do you need it to get off?” Adrien asked, surprising Marinette with how suddenly direct he seemed.

 

“No,” Marinette said.

 

“Kink,” Adrien supplied. “Technically speaking…though it’s pretty much interchangeable nowadays.”

 

“Ahh,” Marinette said, glancing down at her jeans that suddenly seemed uncomfortably tight.

 

“Can I ask what you like about it?”

 

“Uh…” Marinette chuckled nervously, scratching her neck. “I just uh…I don’t know…like the way it feels on my skin?”

 

Like wearing it?” Adrien asked.

 

“Well…I don’t mind wearing it but,” Marinette trailed off, wondering if there was a tactful way to put it.

 

Yes?” Adrien asked.

 

“L-Let’s just say I’ve uh…ruined a couple of pairs of leather gloves in my time,” Marinette murmured.

 

…ah,” Adrien said after a moment, almost approvingly.

 

“You understand?” Marinette snorted. “Or do you need me to tell you that I sometimes touch myself while wearing leather gloves?”

 

I got the message…but thank you for volunteering anyway~” Adrien laughed as Marinette’s face soon matched the color of her ladybug themed screensaver. “Always nice to have a concrete visual to go on.”

 

Adrien: 40

Marinette: 40

 

“Enjoying the visual?” Marinette said through grit teeth. “You pain in the ass.”

 

Immensely,” Adrien said, the barest hint of a throaty purr coming across the line and almost unbuttoning Marinette’s jeans in the process. “And speaking of pains in the ass, let me know when you get to the Impact Play section.

 

Oh my goood you’re like sooooo funny!” Marinette said in English, putting on her best imitation of a Californian girl she had classes with. “Where’s the Pun box? I’m checking it as a hard limit.”

 

You do that, and I might never pun again,” Adrien laughed.

 

“Yeah that’s looking like a better and better idea,” Marinette said, biting her lip as she glanced over the impact play section. “Okay…honestly, I have no idea how I feel about any of this.”

 

“Any of what?”

 

“The whole smacky…spanky…section,” Marinette said. “I mean my generally speaking I know they’re all ouchie but I…can’t really speak to what I would like or dislike since I’ve never experienced most of this.”

 

“That’s understandable,” Adrien said. “…most?”

 

Marinette’s cheeks flushed; a twitch between her legs begged for her attention. “Well uh…I don’t know how much detail you want.”

 

As much as you want to give me,” Adrien said. “But if you’ve done something before I’d like to know…especially if it was something you enjoyed.”

 

Adrien: Game

Marinette: 40

 

Fuck, that tone of voice needs to be outlawed, Marinette thought, licking her dry lips. It wasn’t as though he was putting on airs or radically changing the way he sounded; just talking in a warm, soft tone that purred out of the back of his throat. The subject matter wasn’t doing wonders for Marinette’s composure but something told her Adrien could start reading an encyclopedia entry on radish pickling and she would still be at least half as aroused as she was now.

 

“My uh…previous dates have sometimes included…light spanking while we’re…” Marinette trailed off with a small, nervous laugh.

 

Having sex?” Adrien said, his smirk practically audible on her end.

 

“Yeah that,” Marinette said.

 

“And?”

 

“…well they were some of my better experiences,” Marinette said, fingers idly playing with the button on her jeans. “Of course there are some differences between getting lightly smacked on the butt during sex and getting tied up and whipped, aren’t there?”

 

“Some,” Adrien admitted, pausing for a moment. “Are those…differences something you’d like to explore?”

 

Marinette’s eyes glanced at the ceiling as she leaned back in her chair, imagining the soft touch of a riding crop trailing down her spine and connecting with her bottom in a sharp smack, Adrien’s fingers tangled in her hair as she arched into a-

 

“I think so,” Marinette almost whined, placing question marks in nearly every row except Spanking. “Maybe not all at once but…yeah, I think I’d like that.”

 

“Okay,” Adrien said. “And just to be clear; just because you mark something positively doesn’t mean it’s going to happen on Saturday…or even anytime soon.”

 

“Already taking charge, are we?” Marinette said with a small chuckle.

 

As per your request.”

 

“I haven’t forgotten,” Marinette said brow furrowing as she continued to scroll down the list. “Is…Edging like something to do with knives?”

 

Not exactly,” Adrien said, almost sighing. “It’s a fancy way of saying orgasm control.”

 

“Are you drooling right now?” Marinette giggled.

 

“Almost,” Adrien admitted. “It’s…something of a personal favorite.”

 

“Really?” Marinette said, mentally filing that little tidbit away for future reference. “How is not getting off any fun?”

 

“It isn’t…if your only goal is to relieve sexual tension,” Adrien continued.

 

“Isn’t that always the goal of sex?” Marinette asked. “Getting off and getting on?”

 

“…you know I’m starting to understand why you don’t speak very fondly of your ex-lovers,” Adrien said with a small chuckle.

 

“Spoiler alert; you don’t have a very high hurdle to jump,” Marinette snorted, fingers tracing a circle around the button of her jeans. “…so why would I not want to orgasm?”

 

“...it creates tension,” Adrien said. “Increases sensitivity. It’s a hell of a headtrip for me when I’m subbing because the eventual release is always much more intense. Takes some practice and discipline but it’s easier when you have someone else in charge of your orgasms for the night. Removes any…temptation you might have to end things early. But that’s just me.”

 

“I see…” Marinette said, glancing at the box next to Edging. She couldn’t deny that the idea of Adrien toying with her, keeping her so close to climax and backing off until he decided to let her cum made her want to go home and make furious love to her silicone sweetheart…and speaking of sex…

 

“Why is…Sex on here?” Marinette said as she skimmed past the Paraphilia category and landed on a category simply titled Sex.

 

“Why wouldn’t it be?” Adrien asked.

 

“I thought…well, I thought these things always built towards a climax of…well, climaxes.”

 

“Not necessarily,” Adrien said. “And of course, there are lots of different kinds of sex.”

 

“Right, right,” Marinette said, idly checking off her preferences as she went down the list. “I just thought that we’d…”

 

Yes?” Adrien prompted.

 

“I thought that we’d be uh…you know,” Marinette stammered. “Have…sex?”

 

“Aaah,” Adrien said as Marinette squirmed in her office chair. “So when you say you’ve been thinking about this all day, you were thinking that we would do…what exactly?”

 

“You’re not good at playing dumb,” Marinette hissed through her teeth.

 

“Thank you for the compliment,” Adrien chuckled. “But as you can see there are quite a lot of things that could be considered ‘sex’ so…”

 

“No kidding,” Marinette said, scratching the back of her neck. “So uh…I know you said we weren’t necessarily going to do everything I mark as okay but…”

 

Well, if there’s anything that’s absolutely mandatory for you, just highlight the row in green or something,” Adrien said.

 

“Even if it’s an entire category?” Marinette said. “Because…I-I would really…really like it if uh…sex could be part of our relationship…i-if you want to that is.”

 

“...I-I see,” Adrien murmured with a small, approving hum. “Before, during, or after?”

 

“Before, during, or after what?”

 

Well…you mentioned that you want all the B, D, S, and M stuff contained in specific scenes. So…I was wondering if you would like us to have sex before, as part of the scene, or after the scene ends.”

 

“…do I have to pick?”

 

“When do you ever have to pick with me?”

 

“Then I uh…guess either one or…a-all three?” Marinette said. "At...at least once a playdate if that's…something you want as well?”

 

“What do you think?” Adrien said, a small teasing lilt creeping into his voice.

 

“Uh-uh,” Marinette said, scowling a little. “If I have to air my fantasies for your smug satisfaction, you have to do the same, mister.”

 

“I didn’t know my fantasies brought you so much satisfaction,” Adrien said without missing a beat, eliciting a small, frustrated sigh from Marinette. “But…if I haven’t made it abundantly obvious that I want you by now…well, then I am going to make it explicitly clear on Saturday in a way that is going to be impossible to ignore.”

 

Oh fuck him, Marinette thought, suppressing a small groan and the urge to ask Adrien to explain what steps he was going to take to make her never forget that he wanted her.

 

“Now you’re just teasing me,” Marinette accused, snorting as she positively marked down Phone Sex.

 

“I am,” Adrien admitted. “I can stop.”

 

“I never asked you to,” Marinette said, heart hammering in her ears as her fingers hesitantly unbuckled her jeans. “But if you keep talking like this, I’m going to need to take five to take care of some increasingly pressing business.”

 

I didn’t realize you were so on edge,” Adrien said.

 

“Didn’t you?” Marinette said, continuing to mark limits at an increasingly fast pace as she reached the bottom or the list. “You know you were much more manageable when you didn’t realize you were insufferably good looking.”

 

“Don’t worry; I’m sure you’ll find a way to manage me when the time comes,” Adrien all but cackled as Marinette groaned, saving the spreadsheet and attaching it to an email.

 

“Tease,” Marinette accused.

 

You have no idea,” Adrien said, a distant sound of a notification bleeping on his end. “Oh, you’re done?”

 

“Yep,” Marinette said, tugging her zipper up and down while she waited for his response. A small part of her still lived in fear that he might start laughing at her while a larger part of herself wondered if she would ever get over that.

 

“Interesting…very interesting,” Adrien said.

 

“You get it?”

 

“I did,” Adrien said. “…ahh.”

 

“What?”

 

“Nothing,” Adriens said. “Just the uh…thrill of discovery. Always interesting to see how a person ticks you know?”

 

“You think you know what makes me tick now?” Marinette said, biting her lip.

 

“Better than I did before,” Adrien said.

 

“Why do I get the feeling I just outlined my soft spots and gave it to someone who’s going to use them against me?” Marinette said.

 

“Because you just did,” Adrien murmured. “Wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I didn’t pay attention to all your softest spots.”

 

Marinette closed her eyes, letting out a small frustrated sigh. She didn’t want to kick him off the call but if she didn’t do something about the persistent nagging throbbing sensation in her panties, she was going to come undone.

 

Are you okay?” Adrien asked after a moment of silence.

 

“Fine,” Marinette said, idly snapping the waistband of her underwear. “Only that this has been a far more…stimulating conversation than I anticipated.”

 

I usually find that’s the case,” Adrien said, clearing his throat. “Shall I let you go?”

 

Unless you'd like to listen to me moaning with my shirt caught between my teeth,” Marinette chuckled, frowning as a soft, staticy silence came across the other line. “A-Adrien? Sorry, that was too-”

 

Was that a serious offer or were you just kidding?” Adrien asked, soft purr in his voice sending a chill down her spine. Marinette stared into space, mouth opening and closing as she processed that yes Adrien had just offered to have phone sex with her.

 

“Well…I w-wouldn’t want to keep you,” Marinette said.

 

“I have all the time in the world,” Adrien said.Literally unemployed, remember?”

 

“R-right,” Marinette said, wishing she had a glass of water or something to quench her sudden thirst.

 

“Of course if you don’t want to, you just need to say the word,” Adrien said.

 

“…I didn’t say no,” Marinette said, heartbeat echoing in her earpiece.

 

“You didn’t say yes either,” Adrien reminded her as she shifted her hips a little.

 

“I…if you want to,” Marinette said. “If you don’t we can wait until Saturday I’m more than capable of…taking care of myself.”

 

I have no doubt that you are,” Adrien said as Marinette waited for his response. “I still need a yes from you, by the way.”

 

“Oh my god,” Marinette laughed. “I am sitting here with my pants half off and you still need me to say yes, don’t you?”

 

“What can I say; explicit sexual consent is my biggest fetish,” Adrien chuckled. “…so?”

 

Part of her wondered if she shouldn’t just wait, hang up the call and wait until she could properly touch something other than herself. Anxiety tinged her arousal as she wondered if she was even up to what she had asked for. She wanted it; there wasn’t any doubt about that. But could she handle it? Would she just dissolve into a mess of nerves the minute she walked through his door on Saturday?

 

But…then again, if their first time wasn’t their first time...

 

God only knew his soft, husky voice that made her knees weak across town was going to obliterate her unless she got used to it a little. And…maybe she needed something to alleviate the tension a little; so the concept of sex (they had established that there was going to be sex) with Adrien and whatever else came with it didn’t completely trip her out so much. She wanted to be relaxed; she wanted to enjoy it. And maybe…maybe easing into it was the best thing she could do for herself so she didn't come undone the first time he touched her...as fun as that would be.

 

“…okay,” Marinette said after a moment.

 

“Okay?”

 

“Okay…I would like some…v-verbal assistance if you’re willing,” Marinette said, letting out a small breath.

 

“I’m very willing,” Adrien said.

 

“I’ve uh…never done this before so…if you want to take the lead?”

 

“If you’d like,” Adrien said.

 

“Cool,” Marinette said, popping her lips idly. “So…okay how do people start these things…oh right…soooooooooo what are you wearing?”

 

Adrien let out a small laugh, “Uhh…black boxer briefs?”

 

“And?” Marinette prompted.

 

“…who said there was an “and?” Adrien said.

 

“Good point,” Marinette said, slowly sliding her zipper down, an image of Adrien lounging on his couch in tight black underwear suddenly popping into his mind.

 

Do you remember the Gabriel shoot that got banned in most Western countries?” Adrien asked, conjuring memories of black and white Adrien emerging from the surf in boxers that were pressed to his skin so tightly that she finally got the answer to a question she had idly wondered about since puberty.

 

“One of my favorites,” Marinette said, hand slowly slipping down her stomach.

 

“Standards and Practices weren’t as keen on it as I remember,” Adrien said. “…neither was Dad.”

 

“No offense, but if you’re trying to get me off by talking about your father, it isn’t working,” Marinette laughed.

 

“Fair point,” Adrien admitted. “What about you?”

 

“Considerably more than you,” Marinette chuckled.

 

“For now,” Adrien said as Marinette’s fingertips slowly slipped under the waistband of her panties. “What does ‘considerably more than me’ look like?”

 

“Plaid button down blouse,” Marinette said, glancing down at herself. “Jeans and sneakers…pretty casual.”

 

“Sounds cute,” Adrien said.

 

“I thought so,” Marinette laughed.

 

“Must be then,” Adrien said. “Don’t you think you should lose the shoes?”

 

“Might as well,” Marinette said, shucking her sneakers. “No one else here but me…”

 

“Good…take your jeans off too,” Adrien said in that low, purring voice that made Marinette acutely aware of how badly she needed to take her jeans off.

 

“P-Pardon?” Marinette squeaked.

 

“Did I not come through clearly?” Adrien said, tapping his earpiece. “I said I want you to take your jeans off.”

 

“Not even Saturday and you’re already trying to make me do things?” Marinette murmured into her headset.

 

“I can’t ‘make’ you do anything,” Adrien replied.

 

“N-Not like I have much choice,” Marinette said, standing up from her desk.

 

You always have a choice,” Adrien said.

 

“What if I just pretended to take my pants, hm?”

 

“I suppose you could do that,” Adrien admitted.

 

“How would you know sitting all the way across town?” Marinette said.

 

“I wouldn’t,” Adrien said.

 

“So…why should I do what you say?” Marinette said as a small moment of silence greeted her.

 

“Because you want to,” Adrien said as simply as possible; in a way that brooked no argument because, of course, he was completely right. It didn’t matter if Adrien could check on her to see if she had done as he asked or not. The bottom line was there was almost an erotic compulsion that drove her to slide her zipper down, slowly inching her jeans down her hips, past her thighs, and leaving them pooled on the floor at her feet. Despite the fact that she was planning on stripping even if Adrien hadn’t offered to help her, the small bit of direction in a soft, firm tone managed to prove the existence of a submissive streak that she had only theorized about until then.

 

“O-Okay,” Marinette said, bending over and picking up her jeans. “Pants off.”

 

“Lovely,” Adrien said as Marinette stood behind her desk, awaiting his next instruction. “Was that hard?”

 

“A little,” Marinette admitted. “F-First time letting someone else take charge, you know?”

 

I do,” Adrien said. “And so far you’re doing a bang up job."

 

"Thanks," Marinette said, fingers curling in the hem of her blouse.

 

"…do you like being told what to do?”

 

“…I think I do,” Marinette admitted, voice echoing in the empty office.

 

“You think” Adrien said. “Maybe we should test that out a little more, hm?”

 

“Wh-what do you want me to do?” Marinette asked, bare thighs rubbing together as she fidgeted anxiously. Despite the pressing, persistent ache between her legs, the sound of Adrien’s voice in her ear offered the promise of something more than just a quick orgasm.

 

Now let’s see…” Adrien said, humming a little as though he were pondering a major life decision. “Take your blouse off next.”

 

Marinette’s fingers fumbled with the buttons, slowly peeling her blouse back and tossing it over the chair behind her.

 

“D-Done,” Marinette said, a sudden chill passing over her as she stood clad only in her bra, panties, and knee-high socks.

 

“That was quick,” Adrien said, a small amount of admiration creeping into his voice.

 

“Y-Yeah, well, I’m kind of a few seconds away from dissolving into a wet mess over here so I figured I should just get on with it, right?”

 

“Well let’s hope you don’t dissolve too quickly,” Adrien said. “Or at least not until I get my hands on you.”

 

“Don’t worry,” Marinette chuckled. “No one is more eager for you to get your hands on me than I am.”

 

“We’ll see about that, won’t we?” Adrien said. “What are you wearing now?”

 

“Bra, panties and socks,” Marinette said, thumbing the strap of her bra. “Nothing exceedingly fancy; pink and blue striped underwear and white socks.”

 

Cute,” Adrien said. “You mentioned you had a couch?”

 

“You mean my bed for the night?” Marinette said, running a hand through her hair.

 

Yes…sad as that is,” Adrien said. “Have a seat.”

 

She padded over to the couch, socked feet skimming across the floor as she double checked that the door to her office was locked. Satisfied that no one was going to accidentally barge in on her, she padded over to the couch and flopped down

 

“Seated,” Marinette said, reclining back and resting her head on a pillow as she stared at the ceiling.

 

“Comfortable?” Adrien asked, a rustling sound suggesting he was lying back as well.

 

“Mmhmm,” Marinette replied.

 

“Good…you have a hand free?”

 

“Both actually,” Marinette said, tapping her earpiece. “Wonders of modern technology.”

 

“Even better,” Adrien said, fingers clacking on his keyboard on the other side of the screen.

 

“So…what are you doing?” Marinette asked.

 

“Going over your list,” Adrien said as Marinette’s fingers slowly traced a circle around her navel. “This has been an…extremely educational evening.”

 

“For both of us,” Marinette agreed. “…do people seriously enjoy being Saran wrapped?”

 

“I guess?” Adrien laughed. “Never something that’s really…appealed to me. Too much muss and fuss; too hard to get off quickly.”

 

“…so what appeals to you then?” Marinette asked, tracing the lace on the waistband of her panties. “Obviously not Saran wrap…”

 

“I’m more of a cuff kind of person,” Adrien said. “More flexible.”

 

“Flexible?”

 

“Easier to bind and unbind someone,” Adrien clarified. “As someone who has had to travel quite a bit, I find that all you really need are a pair of wristcuffs, a pair of anklecuffs…and a nice padded leather play collar.”

 

Marinette let out a small breath, fingers slipping underneath the waistband of her underwear.

 

“You’ve never actually worn one have you?” Adrien murmured in her ear. “It’s a surprisingly…intimate experience. Feeling the leather pressed against your neck…each swallow and gasp causing your throat to rub up against it…not quite tight enough to be uncomfortable but just enough to let you feel like you…belong to someone. If only for a night.”

 

“I-I can imagine,” Marinette said. Her hips rose off the couch just a little as she slid a pillow under her bottom, arching into the first brush of her fingers across her clit.

 

“I imagine imagining has been all you’ve been able to do,” Adrien said. “Fantasies and daydreams and frantic, fumbling fingers as you wonder what it might be like to have someone’s complete and undivided attention. What it’s like to be…played with.”

 

“Yes…” Marinette sighed, closing her eyes and for a moment imagining she was laying on Adrien’s couch, knees raised and fingers slowly teasing herself while he watched.

 

“Do you want me to play with you?”

 

“You know I do,” Marinette said in a soft, husky voice.

 

“Are you going to let me have my way with you on Saturday?” Adrien asked.

 

“Mmhmm,” Marinette whined, hips rocking against her fingers as the couch creaked underneath her. “Wh…what are you going to do with me?”

 

“Tsk tsk tsk…” Adrien laughed. “I don’t want to spoil the surprise for you.”

 

“No hints?” she said as a small, needy little sigh escaped her lips.

 

“Use your imagination,” Adrien said. “And while you’re doing that, you can take that pretty little pink and blue bra off.”

 

Marinette shrugged her shoulders, one hand slipping the straps off her shoulders while the other continued to tease breathy pants from her open mouth. After some doing, the fabric fell off her chest, exposing her breasts to the chilly office air as the last rays of sunlight spilled through the skylight across the floor.

 

D-Done,” Marinette said, biting her lip. “I-If anyone walks in, I’m going to die of embarrassment…”

 

“Well…what about if I walked in?” Adrien asked.

 

“Still death by humiliation,” Marinette chuckled, running her tongue across her lips as she refocused her attempts. She could feel the slick remnants of her desire on her underwear as the back of her hand stretched the front of her thong up and away from her hips. Her fingers slipped in and out of herself, lazily tracing circles around the tip of her clit as she began to settle into a familiar pattern.

 

“Why?”

 

“I’m not exactly dignified over here,” Marinette said, running a hand through her tousled hair. “H-Hardly the picture of sexy scrunched up on a couch while touching myself.”

 

“I don’t care if you’re dignified,” Adrien purred almost hungrily. “I’ve already seen you dignified…now I want to see you lose composure.”

 

She was losing composure already. Marinette clenched her teeth together, feebly trying to imagine that the fingers that were touching her were longer, thicker, and belonged to the voice on the other end of her earpiece.

 

“I want to see you sweat,” Adrien  continued, a noticeable rasp creeping into his voice. “I want to feel you trembling underneath my fingertips as I take my time with you.”

 

“Take…your time,” Marinette echoed, head tilting back into the cushions beneath it. She wanted to sit in his lap, one hand in her hair and one hand under the waistband of her underwear, whispering in her ear as she ground against his erection from behind.

 

“Do you really want to know what I want to do with you on Saturday?”

 

“Y-yes,” she all but begged him, biting her lip as her fingers and hips slowly increased in pace.

 

“I want to unwrap you,” Adrien almost sighed. “Until every inch of you is exposed…inside and out. I want to touch you like you’re touching yourself right now.”

 

“Please,” Marinette sighed, the couch squeaking and creaking underneath her as her butt ground into the cushions. She was going to have to steam clean the whole couch but that was a problem for tomorrow's Marinette.

 

“I want to find out what it takes to make those sweet little noises come out of your mouth,” Adrien said, now almost panting alongside her. “I want to find out what kind of noises you make when I kiss you...when I leave little bite marks in places only I know about."

 

“Mnn…” Marinette whimpered, her free hand pinched her nipple, imagining Adrien's teeth clamping down on it, his wet tongue running over it and sucking on it until it was pink and sore.

 

“And do you know what I want most?”

 

“Tell me..."

 

“I want to watch you crawl…completely naked into my bed.”

 

“A-Adrien…”

 

"I want to see that tight, cute little ass wiggle up onto my comforter," Adrien said as Marinette could already tell this unplanned excursion was coming to a head. “I want to watch your fingers twist in my sheets as I climb in after you…I want to see your hair splayed out on my pillow and-”

 

“Oh…fuck…A-Adrien I’m-” Marinette's voice had gone up a pitch; breathy and almost incoherent.

 

“And I want to look you in the eye when I slide inside you for the first time.”

 

A flash of emerald green clouded her vision as something inside her snapped. The frustration she had felt all day had been building and building as they talked, only intensified by the soft purring in her ear and her fingers beneath the waistband of her underwear. She was glad she wasn’t holding a phone because it would have slipped out of her grasp as she all but doubled over on herself, gasping as though she had been doused with ice water. Wave upon wave washed over her, reducing her to a mewling, moaning mess as  she suddenly couldn't bring herself to care if she was being too loud or now. She didn't care; all she cared about was the image of Adrien looking down at her, teeth bared in a feral smirk as he slid himself inside her. She fell back against the couch, hair disheveled, eyes glassy, and chest rising and falling rapidly as she stared up at the ceiling.

 

I think I felt that all the way over here,"  Adrien chuckled after a moment. "Finished?"

 

“Y-yeah,” Marinette said, glancing down at her completely soaked underwear with a shaky laugh. “I-In more ways than one.”

 

“Ahh,” Adrien said, sounding like the cat that caught the canary. “So that’s what you sound like.”

 

“I-I’m usually much louder,” Marinette said, hand resting across her forehead as she tugged a throw blanket over herself. “…you might have to gag me on Saturday.”

 

“And miss out on a live performance?” Adrien scoffed. “Never.”

 

“Someone might complain about the noise,” Marinette said.

 

“If they don’t I’ll not have done my job properly.”

 

“Confident, are we?” Marinette giggled.

 

“Optimistic at least,” Adrien said. “Are you good?”

 

“Extremely,” Marinette said. “…thank you.”

 

“My pleasure,” Adrien said.

 

“Was it?” Marinette asked. “Did you…”

 

No,” Adrien said. “You needed that more than I did by the sound of things."

 

“True,” Marinette sighed, almost disappointed that he hadn't played with himself too.

 

“Besides…I have a very good memory and the sound of you moaning in my ear will be more than enough inspiration for later.”

 

“G-Glad I could return the favor,” Marinette said, lips twitching at the thought of Adrien touching himself while thinking of her.

 

“Need anything?” Adrien said. “I could always drop by for-”

 

“Thanks but I think I’ll wait until Saturday,” Marinette said, slowly sitting up. "I think we've had enough fun for one night."

 

“…I was going to suggest bringing you some take-out or something,” Adrien said as Marinette’s face darkened a few shades.

 

“…oh,” Marinette said, facepalming as Adrien snickered in her ear. “S-Sorry.”

 

I’m flattered though,” Adrien said.

 

“You’ll be more than flattered if you show up here,” Marinette said. “Besides…you have some planning to do, don’t you?”

 

“I do…I just wanted to see if you needed anything first,” Adrien said.

 

“Mmm, thank you…but I think I’m good for the night,” Marinette said.

 

“If you’re sure…” Adrien said.

 

“I am,” Marinette said. “Well…thanks.”

 

“Anytime,” Adrien said. “I…guess I’ll see you Saturday?”

 

“Very much looking forward to it,” Marinette said, bending over to pick up her blouse. “I’ll be in touch.”

 

“Count on it,” Adrien said. For a moment they waited for the other to hang up, nervous chuckles from both sides of the line. She had found her first foray into her new relationship with Adrien to be much…easier than she had anticipated. And for the first time, she was feeling some of the anxiety start to lift. She expected the orgasm had something to do with that but perhaps this wasn't going to be as...intimidating as she thought it would be.

 

“Goodnight Adrien,” Marinette said.

 

“Goodnight…princess~”

 

The call ended with a small beep as Marinette nearly tripped over her jeans, heart thudding in her ears as she balanced shakily on the arm of her chair. If she had any doubts about what it might be like to have Adrien call her princess they were quickly dispelled. She bit her lip, barely suppressing a satisfied snicker as she felt a little gloating was in order. She thumbed through her contacts, pressing the send button and rummaging around in her desk for her spare clothes while the dial-tone purred in her ear.

 

“Hey-o,” Alya’s voice came across the other line.

 

“Hey,” Marinette said. “You busy?”

 

Nah just chilling at Nino’s and waiting for him to get back with the pho,” Alya said. “Sup?”

 

“Not much,” Marinette snickered.

 

“…you sound happy about something,” Alya said.

 

“Do I?” Marinette said.

 

“Don’t act like you didn’t call to tell me some good news,” Alya said. “Spill.”

 

“Well,” Marinette said, crossing off another day on her calendar that brought her closer to Saturday. “Adrien just told me to go fuck myself…and then he gave me some very specific instructions.”

Chapter Text

“A…or B?”

 

Alya’s eyes ping-ponged between the two dresses, legs crossed on the end of Marinette’s bed as Marinette rocked back and forth expectantly. “B is…nice."

 

“Nice?” Marinette said, glancing at the dress dangling from her right hand. “Nice like you’d wear it to a friend’s wedding when you’re single or nice like you’d wear it to a distant cousin’s wedding when you’re with someone?”

 

“What’s the differ-” Alya’s brows furrowed for a moment. “Wait…one is where you’re there to hook up with someone and one is where you don’t care what you look like?”

 

“Aww you do read my blog,” Marinette said, shaking her hangers again. “A or B?”

 

“In that case A,” Alya said. “B looks like you got the wedding invitation three days before the wedding and you didn’t want to go but your parents made you.”

 

“Thanks,” Marinette said, frowning at Dress B for a moment before hanging it back up on the rack. Her fingers skimmed the rows of multicolored fabric, plucking another one out of the rack and holding up to the winner of the last round. “Same question.”

 

“Tell me again why is the fashion designer seeking fashion advice from someone who has worn the same pair of jeans three days in a row this week?” Alya asked.

 

“I need a fresh eye,” Marinette said, glancing over her clothes rack. “I’ve seen all these dresses so many times I can’t tell them apart anymore…”

 

“And they say our generation doesn’t face real problems,” Alya said, standing up and running a finger down the row of hangers. “Though I still don’t know why you’re spending so much time picking out a dress if Adrien’s just going to rip it off you the minute you walk through the door…”

 

“He’s not going to rip it off me the second I walk through the door,” Marinette scoffed, cheeks coloring as she contemplated that possibility. “The guy basically needs a written invitation for everything.”

 

“That what you guys did on Tuesday?” Alya snorted, hip checking Marinette. “Fill out the ‘written invitation’?”

 

“Something like that,” Marinette said.

 

“Before or after you were brought to a shuddering pleasure by the sound of his oh-so-sexy voice,” Alya snickered.

 

“Shut up,” Marinette mumbled, scratching the back of her neck. "Why do i keep telling you these things..."

 

“I’m surprised you don’t orgasm every time he opens his mouth to order lunch,” Alya said, picking up one of Marinette’s discarded dresses and holding it up to herself with a small sigh and shake of her head. “Personally I’ve never found myself even slightly aroused by the sound of his voice but-”

 

“It’s not like…his regular voice,” Marinette said, picking out a yellow sundress and glancing at it for a moment before tossing it on the bed. “It’s much…rumblier.”

 

“Is it the Christian Bale Batman voice?” Alya snorted. “Did he make your toes curl by asking you where the Joker is?”

 

“Okay this is why I’m trying to pick out the perfect dress!” Marinette said, jabbing a naked hanger into Alya’s side. “I mean…seriously I didn’t last ten minutes with him purring in my ear like a cat in heat! I got…I got out-sexy’d by him bell to bell. I got maybe one or two shots in when I brought up costumes but other than that-”

 

“Sorry are you talking about sex or a competition?” Alya asked.

 

“…yes,” Marinette said after a moment, pulling a garment bag out from her closet with a small tilt of her head. “And I need to play catch up.”

 

“Slow down; you already got him in bed,” Alya said, rolling her eyes. “I’d be more worried about getting a first date out of him at this point.”

 

“I told you we weren’t going to be like that,” Marinette said, idly biting a stray thread off her dress.

 

“Yeah…remind me again why you lied and said you didn’t want anything serious?”

 

“Because I don’t know if I do?” Marinette said, doing her best to ignore Alya slowly turning to face her as though Marinette had just said she enjoyed having sex with men dressed in giant dancing lobster costumes.

 

“I’m sorry…what?” Alya said, taking off her glasses and pinching the bridge of her nose. “You…you have had a massive raging crush on this boy since you were old enough to have massive raging crushes on boys and now that you have him right where you want him you…you…you don’t know if you want to fucking date him?!

 

“I don’t!” Marinette said.

 

“Why?!” Alya squeaked.

 

“Because I’m…I’ve been thinking about it and I’m not…exactly girlfriend material right now,” Marinette sighed, pushing her hair out of her eyes. Alya gaped behind her, hand hovering in front of her as if it were torn between wanting to pat her on the shoulder and smack her upside the head.

 

“I’m…I’m sorry, how did you arrive at this absolutely guano conclusion?” Alya said.

 

“I mean…” Marinette bit her lip. “I work fifty hours a week trying to carve out a corner of the fashion industry for myself, I like to sketch and sew until three in the morning, I blow off dates because I’m in a sweet designing groove and don’t want to stop, and I spend my weekends either playing video games or sleeping! I mean…I don’t know if I have the time to…date.”

 

“Well you’ve been making plenty of time for Adrien for months now with no problem, right?” Alya said.

 

“As friends,” Marinette said. “But relationships take work, you know? And I don’t…I don’t know if I can put in the work right now. At least not the kind of work he...we would deserve...”

 

Alya opened her mouth to say something and just left it open when words failed her, running a hand through her hair and shaking her head while Marinette continued to leaf through her wardrobe.

 

“I can do friendship,” Marinette said, biting her lip. “I can do sex…besides, we already agreed this was just going to be friends being with friends. No stress, no mess; just him helping me get into something I’ve wanted to get into for a while now.”

 

“…alright,” Alya said, pumping a squirt of hand sanitizer into her hands from a dispenser on the wardrobe and rubbing them together. “I wash my hands of this…whatever this is. So long as you’re happy.”

 

“I will be,” Marinette said with a small smile.

 

“And safe,” Alya said, squeezing Marinette’s shoulder. “I mean, don’t get me wrong; I love Adrien in a future brother in law kind of way but I will kill him in cold blood if he hurts you.”

 

"Thank you."

 

"With a cereal spoon."

 

“He won’t,” Marinette said, biting her lip with a devilish smirk. “At least not in any way that’s…unpleasant.”

 

“Okay, I’m cool with some of the X-rated tidbits you’re dropping every now and then but if you’re going to talk about this...thing of yours in the future please spare me the details,” Alya said, suppressing a small shudder. “Phone sex is fine, regular sex is also fine, but for the love of God I don’t want the 50 Shades of Adrien.”

 

“Fine,” Marinette said, sticking her tongue out. “I’ll spare you the intricacies of our sex life if you help me choose a freaking dress already.”

 

“Thank you,” Alya said, turning back to the pile of dresses on the floor. “…okay so where did we land on the theme? Are you going for ‘raven haired seductress’ or-”

 

“No,” Marinette said, biting her thumb as she looked at her wardrobe for the third time that day. “No I’m looking for something a little more…me.”

 

“Are you saying you aren’t a raven haired seductress?” Alya purred.

 

“Not for tonight,” Marinette said, thumbing the hem of a light blue skirt. “You want to look in the box on the floor of my closet? That’s the…other important part of my ensemble.”

 

“What other important p…ahhh,” Alya said with a knowing nod, sauntering over to Marinette’s closet. “The battle armor.”

 

“Indeed,” Marinette said, watched Alya open the box with an anxious expression. She peeled the tissue paper away, eyebrows slowly raising and open mouth slowly transforming into a devious smile. Her eyes wandered between the open box and Marinette, cheeks flushing just a little bit as she did.

 

“Well?” Marinette asked, already knowing that if she had managed to make Alya blush she had hit a home run.

 

“Okay number one…I want to know where you got these,” Alya said, fingers reaching out to touch the contents of the box before withdrawing almost reverently. “Two…I need to start taking lingerie advice from you because good lord why didn’t you tell me you had such good taste in underthings?”

 

“You’re surprised that the fashion designer knows how to pick out cute underwear?” Marinette said with a self-satisfied smirk. “What do you think?”

 

“You are going to kill that boy,” Alya said, closing the box and laying it on the bed as her eyes roamed over Marinette’s dresses.

 

“That’s the goal,” Marinette sing-songed as Alya suddenly reached out, plucking a dress from the rack and holding it up to the light.

 

“This one,” Alya said emphatically.

 

“I thought of that,” Marinette said, tilting her head back and forth. “But I thought it was too…costumey considering the-”

 

“No,” Alya shook her head. “It’s perfectly costumey.”

 

“Why do I want it to be costumey?” Marinette asked.

 

“Marinette, you are not going out in this dress,” Alya said. “You are not going to any runway shows, or trying to make a fashion statement for anyone but you and Adrien, right?”

 

“…right?”

 

“You’re essentially getting dressed up so you look and feel like a wet dream and give Adrien a taste of his own medicine,” Alya said. “So the conventions of fashion don’t really apply.”

 

“The conventions of fashion always apply,” Marinette said gravely. “Unless you’re designing costumes or-”

 

“You’re not dressing up for hot date,” Alya said, nodding at the dress. “You’re playing dress up; there’s a difference.”

 

Marinette took the dress from Alya, holding it up to herself as she turned to face her reflection in the mirror. Alya watched over her shoulder as the wheels turned in Marinette’s head and a toothy smile spread across her face.

 

“Okay,” Marinette said, laying the dress on the bed. “I’m going to take quick shower-”

 

“Quick?” Alya snorted.

 

“…I’m going to take the most invasive shower I have ever taken in my entire life and then we can head out,” Marinette said. “I won’t be too long.”

 

“Take your time; no need to rush when razors are involved,” Alya said, reclining on Marinette’s bed as the door to the bathroom closed for a moment, only to open again. Alya craned her neck up to see Marinette leaning on the edge of the doorframe, tilting her head to one side and looking Alya over. “…do you need something?”

 

“Babydoll,” Marinette said after a moment.

 

“Okay…do you need something babydoll?” Alya said with a small frown as Marinette continued to look her over.

 

“Yeah…babydolls and corsets would accentuate your figure…cage backed panties would accentuate your…well,” Marinette said thoughtfully tapping her finger on her chin. “In warm, late summer-early autumn colors. Although with your skin tone, it’s hard to go wrong…”

 

Alya’s mouth hung open as Marinette glanced her over one last time.

 

“Yeah…” Marinette nodded. “I’m going to give you my friend’s business card. She works at the boutique I got mine at…she’ll set you up.”

 

The door snapped shut behind her, leaving Alya to stare at the bathroom door, brow creased, head tilted to one side, and mouth slightly open.

 

“…thanks?”


 

One of the benefits of subbing, in Adrien’s opinion, was the fact that all he had to do was show up, get naked, and do as he was told.

 

As a switch, he had gotten grief from self-important doms in the past who couldn’t understand how someone could derive so much pleasure from giving up control (and subsequently challenged his ability to be a “good dom” if he enjoyed relinquishing such control). But even professional chefs enjoyed someone else cooking for them every now and then if only because they didn’t have to plan the meal for the night, fret about the choice of wine and appetizers, or triple check to make sure his guests weren’t allergic to anything. Yet as much work as preparing a five course meal was, there was something to be said for the satisfaction on the face of a happy customer.

 

So as much work as it was going to be, figuring out how to prepare for Saturday, Adrien hoped he would get the same rise out of Marinette he did on Tuesday.

 

(“Oh…fuck…A-Adrien I’m…I’m…”)

 

Adrien suppressed a small shudder, pressing a bottle of water against his neck to quell any further fantasies about half-naked Marinette, sprawled out on a couch and moaning his name as she touched herself. He had spent more than enough time dwelling on that particular memory over the past week, imagination filling in the spaces created by the sounds she made for him to the point that he had to find things to take his mind off it until Saturday lest he overexert himself. At least Marinette had work to do; Adrien was forced to spend his days beating the hell out of his punching bag, immersing himself in looking for university courses, and (of course) plotting out Saturday night's itinerary. They had spoken a few times during the week over text, exchanging medical information mostly as a precaution, but other than that they had only chatted briefly, Marinette citing a project she needed to complete before the weekend. She hadn’t been surprised or offended when he asked if she would do a routine checkup before they started playing understanding that a clean bill of health on both sides was always a positive thing.

 

Adrien glanced at the clock for the thirtieth time that night, pacing back and forth across the hardwood floor as he suddenly wished her had gone for a run or something before taking the most invasive shower of his life and getting dressed. He paused as he checked his reflection in the full length mirror next to the couch, teasing his hair this way and that as he tried to look like he had rolled out of bed on the set of an Armani shoot. Adrien glanced down at his ensemble, teasing a few buttons of the white dress shirt tucked into a pair of black slacks open to see how they looked. If one button was too prudish and three buttons were too Fabio, two buttons managed to show just enough skin appropriate for a first dat-

 

Adrien shook his head with a small sigh. He had to put a stopper in that kind of thinking before Marinette got there otherwise the da-evening and their relationship would be off to a bad start. It wasn’t as though he had never been someone’s…special friend before but his track record with platonic playdates wasn’t exactly a winning one. Feelings always got involved (usually on his end) which led to awkward, borderline humiliating chats with his partners who inevitably had to break it to him that they didn’t want him for anything more than physical friendship. Feelings got hurt (again, on his end) and what had been barn-burning affairs inevitably grew cold before Adrien was on to the next country for work.

 

In short, he sucked at being friends with benefits.

 

But the fact that he had never attended a university class a day in his life didn’t mean that he couldn’t give it the old college try for Mairnette’s sake. She had come to him because she trusted him and he wasn’t going to betray that trust by mucking up their relationship with his wretched sentimentality. She was new to all this and if he was her first choice, Adrien was going to make sure she never had to settle for number two.

 

…of course it wasn’t like he had agreed to sleep with her out of the goodness of his own heart or as though he were doing her some kind of favor when the reality was that he was more than a little enamored with Marinette. Infatuated, maybe, but he wasn’t about to let over-romanticized notions of sex get in the way of their friendship. It’s just going to be sex, he reminded himself for the hundredth time that week. Sex with an incredibly sweet, funny, smart woman who happens to have a butt that has haunted my waking dreams since March. Okay good focus on that...focus on the sex...focus on her soft, juicy...lips that look so kissable when she smiles.

 

...yeah, this was going to take some practice.

 

Knock-knock.

 

Which apparently he didn't have time for. A soft rap on the front door drew his attention away from his own daydreams, sending his stomach swooping with sudden anxiety as he got up from his position on the couch, smoothed out his shirt and made his way over to the foyer. Through his foggy front windows, he could make out her silhouette standing on his porch, waiting for him to open the door.

 

Waiting for him in general.

 

Adrien took a deep breath, catching his reflection in the hallway mirror and pausing to make sure his practiced expression of casual, smoldering sexuality concealed his jittering nerves.

 

I can do this, Adrien thought, taking a deep breath and reaching out for the handle. I can totally do this. I can be cool. I can be casual. I can be confident.

 

He waited for a moment for the worst of his nerves to dissipate before slowly opening the front door.

 

“Hey,” Adrien said as a gust of warm evening air blew in from the outside. “How’s it-”

 

Oh fuck.

 

“-going?” The moment the door opened, Adrien Agreste realized he was completely fucked. Super fucked. Mega fucked. Fucked fucked fucked beyond any fleeting hope of salvation that this night was going to make it any easier to get over the simmering crush on the absolutely stunning vision before him.

 

“Hi,” Marinette said softly, looking up at him with a toothy, slightly nervous smile that shattered Adrien’s carefully practiced expression of casual seductiveness like it was made of glass.

 

“H…Hi,” Adrien said, suddenly remembering how to talk after having half the French language knocked out of his head. He didn’t have to look quite so far down at her this time though he supposed the polished black heels had something to do with it. His eyes traveled up her black nylon clad legs, watching them disappear under the hem of her skirt. It was hard to tell if the red dress was strapless since her arms and shoulders were covered in a light spring coat that hung just below the hem of her skirt but it was open in front; enough for Adrien to see the black sash that broke up the monochromatic dress and a neckline that held Adrien’s gaze long enough that Marinette had to clear her throat to get his attention again. He glanced up to meet her eyes, lingering on the lacy black choker around her neck for a moment as he struggled to find the eloquence to describe the sight before him.

 

“…wow,” Adrien was all he could say, cheeks flushing as Marinette let out a small laugh. “Sorry if I’m staring here but…wow.”

 

“Stare all you’d like; I appreciate it when my outfits are appreciated,” Marinette said, doing a small twirl before looking Adrien over with a nod. “You look very…wow as well.”

 

“Oh please; men’s fashion will never be as wow as women’s fashion,” Adrien chuckled, scratching the back of his neck.

 

“I guess that depends on who’s looking though,” Marinette said, rubbing her arm. “Lots of people have-”

 

A sharp beep from behind her interrupted Marinette’s train of thought as, for the first time, Adrien noticed something other than Marinette on the street.

 

You guys gonna take this inside or am I going to get a front row seat?” Alya called, leaning out the window of her car. “As touching as this is, I got places to be!”

 

“Sorry,” Marinette said, waving Alya off. “I’m good; tell Nino hi for us!”

 

“Text me tomorrow!” Alya called, briefly making eye contact with Adrien and quickly making an “I’m-watching-you” expression with her fingers when Marinette’s back was turned before winking and pulling down the street and out of sight, leaving the pair of them alone on the sidewalk.

 

“…so,” Marinette said, the implication of the word hanging in the air between them.

 

“So…uh, you want to come in?” Adrien said, stepping aside as Marinette shot him a teasing smile.

 

“I’m suddenly reminded of Dracula,” Marinette said. “Is this the part where you ask me to ‘enter freely of my own free will’ and all that?”

 

“Are you afraid I’m going to bite you?” Adrien said, eying the way her throat bobbed as she swallowed, almost considering whether that would be such a bad thing.

 

“I think if you wanted to eat me, you would have done it already,” Marinette laughed, stepping into the small foyer as Adrien closed the door behind her.

 

“Or maybe I just wanted a little privacy,” Adrien said, stepping forward and resting his hands on her shoulders, eliciting a small, almost inaudible gasp from her throat. “Before I started eating you.”

 

A small chill ran down Marinette’s spine as she realized she was close enough to smell his body wash and feel the light pass of his breath through her hair.

 

“Can I take your coat?” Adrien asked.

 

“Hasn’t been a minute yet and you’re already trying to undress me?” Marinette said, rolling her shoulders and letting him peel the coat off her shoulders. She didn’t know if it was the excitement or anxiety that was more responsible for her rapidfire flirting. Maybe she had just spent too much time bantering with him online and through text where it was easier to throw in a few one liners here or there without his distractingly green eyes making things difficult for her.

 

But then again, given the list she drew up Tuesday night, a little light flirting was hardly going to be the extent of what they were going to do that night.

 

“Thanks,” Marinette murmured, waiting for the jacket to clear her waist to see if Alya’s recommendation had paid off.

 

“Don’t mention i-” Adrien trailed off, pulling Marinette’s jacket off her bare shoulders as his eyes trailed down the back of her dress. Of course, it was easy to assume the black swathe of fabric that wound its way around Marinette’s waist had been some kind of belt when he saw it from the front. Because his first guess wasn’t that Marinette had tied a large, lacy black bow around her waist, perched on her hips like a belt…effectively making it look like she had gift wrapped herself and was waiting to be opened.

 

“Care to give me the tour?” A small cough drew Adrien’s attention back to Marinette glancing over her shoulder with a supremely satisfied smile on her face confirming that 1) Marinette chosen her outfit partly to paralyze him and 2) that she was way more of a tease than Adrien thought.

 

Adrien: 0

Marinette: 15

 

Well if that’s how she wants to play it…

 

“This way,” Adrien said, gesturing through the archway leading from the foyer into the kitchen/living room/dining room area. “Bit smaller than my last place so won’t take as long this time.”

 

“Yeah, you’re really slumming it, aren’t you?” Marinette said, shaking her head as she glanced around a room that was almost bigger than her apartment. Admittedly, it was a downgrade for Adrien but then again a Parisian townhouse was still a Parisian townhouse. The kitchen was outfitted in black marble and stainless steel lighting, set across from a small dining area with a table for four that looked out onto the street outside. Her heels clacked on the hardwood floor as she made her way over to the sitting room, catching her reflection in a full length mirror lodged in a bookcase as her fingers skimmed the plush white chair in front of it.

 

In the reflection, she could see Adrien leaning against the counter, watching her pretend to examine his book collection intently. Her hand lingered on a leather bound copy of The Count of Monte Cristo, catching his eye in the mirror as she pulled a thin book out of the shelf with a small snort.

 

“Really?” Marinette said, holding the comic book anthology up with a small smile. “Nightwing?”

 

“Thought Batman was too cliché,” Adrien laughed, scratching the back of his neck. “Kinda went on a collecting spree once I slipped Dad’s leash a little…call it a reaction to a stunted childhood.”

 

“I’m not judging,” Marinette said, replacing the comic with a small pat. “I was just always more of a Spiderman girl myself.”

 

“And just when I thought we could get along,” Adrien laughed, eyes focused on her back as she pored over his bookshelf. Again, she pretended to be engrossed in what was no doubt the remnants of his father’s book collection while she eyed him in the mirror behind her, taking a tiny bit of pleasure in the fact that apparently he couldn’t keep his eyes off her. Acting on impulse, she leaned forward at the waist as she pretended to be engrossed in a series on business law on the bottom of the shelf. Her skirt barely rode up but the way she was positioned meant the bow on the back of her dress rested squarely on the small of her back. Adrien let out a small snort, biting his lip and shaking his head as she slowly righted herself, turning around to flash him a warm, closed mouth smile.

 

Adrien: 0

Marinette: 30

 

“You want something to drink?” Adrien said, heading back over to the kitchen as Marinette perched herself on the back of his sofa. “Water…fruit juice…iced tea?”

 

“I’ll take some iced tea,” Marinette said, licking her lips and making her way over to a tall, ceiling high set of windows that looked out from the hallway onto a small courtyard in the center of the house, complete with a set of deck chairs, fire pit, and what appeared to be some kind of waterfall feature off to one side.

 

“Incidentally, that’s what sold me on the house,” Adrien said, clinking a glass of tea down on the counter as Marinette made her way back to reality. “The little…thingie out there; whatever you call it. Good place to catch up on reading…course I’ve never had time to read before now but it’s the thought that counts…sugar?”

 

“Sure,” Marinette said.

 

“Say when,” Adrien said, spooning in one, two, three, four…four and a half tablespoons of sugar before glancing up at Marinette with a small frown.

 

“…don’t tell me how to live my life,” Marinette said, stirring the tea around with a straw and taking a long slurp out of it while staring unblinkingly into Adrien’s eyes. “I have a sweet tooth.”

 

Tooth?” Adrien said, raising an eyebrow with a disbelieving smile. “Singular?”

 

“Oh please; I took a trip to New Orleans during school and the tea there was so sweet the straws stood up in the glass,” Marinette said with almost a dreamy sigh. “Say what you want about the U.S. but they know how to do sweets.”

 

“I don’t think that was ever in doubt,” Adrien snorted, nodding down the hall and counting the rooms off on the side as he went. “Bathroom’s in here if you need it...supply closet's over there in case you need...Windex or something I don't know.”

 

“Upstairs?” Marinette said, glancing at the staircase across from the hall closet.

 

“My loft slash computer room for now,” Adrien said, flicking a light switch and leading her up the stairs past landscape shots and nature photography. They came up onto a railed landing that overlooked the living room on one side and the courtyard on the other, a sliding glass door opening onto a patio over the courtyard. Above her, she could see it opened up into the clear, starry night.

 

“Couple of extra rooms,” Adrien said, opening one into a room with a punching bag and treadmill. “Gym for now; across the hall’s the office, another bathroom, and a guest room…or at least it will be once I get a proper bed in there.”

 

“Interesting,” Marinette said, tapping her chin and pushing open the door to an empty room. “I assume this is the sex dungeon?”

 

“Under construction,” Adrien laughed, voice echoing as he flicked the lightswitch on, revealing an unfurnished room with bare wooden floors. “I have to re-paint it and install some mood lighting.”

 

“Yeah the crème colored walls and compact fluorescents don’t exactly scream perverted sex palace,” Marinette said, cocking her head to one side.

 

“First I gotta get the stud finder, install hooks in the ceiling, get some load-bearing rope to test it, find carpet that’s easily steam cleanable, decide if I want the spanking bench and the padded X-frame or if I want to put a bed in instead and then move it all up here in the dead of night where the neighbors can’t see me…” Adrien sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Everyone wants a sex dungeon until they realize how much work it is putting it together...and maintaining it for that matter.”

 

“I imagine it would kill the resale value too,” Marinette said, frowning after a second. “Or…improve it depending on who you’re selling to?”

 

“Would you really want to use a sex dungeon someone else has already used?” Adrien asked, raising an eyebrow.

 

“Fair point,” Marinette said with a small grimace, traipsing out of the soon to be sex dungeon as Adrien closed the door behind her. “Your room?”

 

“Bottom floor; opens into the courtyard,” Adrien said as Marinette turned and wandered back down the stairs until her hand rested on the handle to his bedroom…the one with his bed…the bed that she was going to sleep in…naked…after having sex with him…Adrien…sex with Adrien…sex that was going to happen relatively soon…

 

“Just in there,” Adrien said, standing on the step behind her, hands in his pockets as she took a long swig of her iced tea. She opened the door, peeking her head in at the lush king sized bed with burgundy dressing before closing the door with a small snap.

 

“So that’s…basically it,” Adrien said, landing beside her and nodding towards the living room. “You want to sit and chat for a bit?”

 

“Sure,” Marinette said with a small sigh of relief as she followed Adrien out away from his bedroom. She wasn’t exactly dreading getting down to business (quite the opposite actually) but she was still grateful for the buffer Adrien offered; a small waiting period before their relationship invariably changed forever. She didn’t know for sure but she imagined that once one friend had another bound and naked under their touch, Tuesday night bingo was off the table. So if she was paddling into unknown waters she was going to spend a few more minutes on shore first.

 

“How was the week?” Adrien said, settling down on the sofa as Marinette perched on the loveseat and put her tea on the table between them. “Haven’t talked since…well…”

 

“Not bad,” Marinette sighed, leaning back into the cushions with a small sigh. “Long though…I feel like it’s been forever since Monday.”

 

“I know what you mean,” Adrien said, resting his ankle on his knee. “Mostly since I’ve had absolutely nothing to do between now and then.”

 

“Well this is your first extended vacation in…”

 

“Thirteen years,” Adrien laughed, scratching his forehead as he stared at the exposed cross-beams above the sitting area. “Yeah...guess this is going to take some getting used to.”

 

“You just need something to take your mind off it,” Marinette said as Adrien’s eyes wandered back over to her.

 

“…well, thanks to you, I’ve had something occupying my mind all week,” Adrien said, lips twitching just a little as Marinette found herself reaching over for her tea.

 

Adrien: 15

Marinette: 30

 

“How…flattering,” Marinette said, resisting the urge to cool her feverish face with the side of her drink glass. “O-of course you already know that you’ve been on my mind recently.”

 

“You mean Tuesday?” Adrien asked.

 

“…and Wednesday,” Marinette said, biting her lip as Adrien’s eyebrows raised. “And Thursday.”

 

Adrien: 15

Marinette: 45

 

“Sounds like you’ve had your hands full all week,” Adrien laughed.

 

“Your fault, of course,” Marinette said, sticking her tongue out between her teeth.

 

“I’ll be sure to make it up to you,” Adrien said.

 

“You keep saying that,” Marinette said, foot jiggling lightly as she crossed her legs. “I’m starting to wonder if you plan to make good on it.”

 

“…well you’ll just have to wait and find out then, won’t you?” Adrien said.

 

“I-I guess I will,” Marinette chuckled, tucking her hair behind her ear.

 

“You okay?” Adrien asked.

 

“I’m good,” Marinette assured him. “Really I’m just…a little nervous.”

 

“I know the feeling,” Adrien said with a small nod. “Everybody gets those early anticipation butterflies before stuff like this.”

 

“I mean this is something I’ve wanted to try since I was twenty and now that I get to…” Marinette trailed off with a shake of her head.

 

“There’s a difference between fantasizing about something and actually doing it,” Adrien shrugged. “I’d be surprised if you weren’t a little nervous.”

 

“Especially given the uh…” Marinette gestured between them vaguely. “Experience gap.”

 

“Really?” Adrien said, sitting up a little.

 

“I mean you’ve been with all sorts of people all over the world and I…I just realized I insinuated you were a slut,” Marinette laughed, downing the rest of her iced tea before she shoved the rest of her foot in her mouth.

 

“I thought we agreed that I was,” Adrien laughed, standing up and making his way into the kitchen. “For the record, it hasn’t been that many…nine in the last seven years if we’re being specific.”

 

“Ah,” Marinette said as Adrien piled the pitcher of tea and a sugar bowl on a tray and set it down on the coffee table. “So your…first time was back when you were eighteen?”

 

“Nineteen,” Adrien said, settling back against the couch with a small sigh. “Milan if we’re being specific.”

 

“Ah...was it with someone...older?” Marinette said before wincing a little. “Sorry; shouldn’t be prying.”

 

“It’s fine,” Adrien said with a wave of his hand. “She was actually my age which made things a little easier…wasn’t as intimidating for me at least.”

 

“I see,” Marinette said, stomach churning a little as she tried not to think of whoever this girl was. “And uh…you still talk to her?”

 

“We fell out of touch,” Adrien shrugged. “Last time I saw her was a few years ago and haven’t really heard from her since.”

 

“Oh,” Marinette said. That’s good, she wanted to say. But it had to be bad form to get possessive over her fuckbuddy before she actually started having sex with him. “That’s…too bad.”

 

“It happens,” Adrien shrugged almost nonchalantly. “Hard to keep in touch with people bouncing around the globe, you know?”

 

“I guess,” Marinette said. She was about to volunteer that she hadn’t kept in touch with any of her ex-paramours but that had less to do with geography and more to do with the fact that she generally didn’t want to see them anymore. In fact if they all moved to Paris she might consider moving back to New York (and its wonderful cannoli). “I wish I could say my love life was as fantastic as yours…”

 

“It’s hardly a contest,” Adrien said softly.

 

“Not one I’m winning anyway,” Marinette said, running her fingers around the rim of the iced tea glass.

 

“Are you upset about it?” Adrien asked, leaning in and resting his elbows on his knees as Marinette thought.

 

“I don’t know…not ‘upset’ per-se but…” Marinette let out a small breath of air. “I just…I’d like to completely enjoy it for once the way I want to. Not as a ‘logical’ result of a third date, not as a way to kill time during a bad Super Bowl Half-Time show, not because I’m stressed out and need release…just because I want to be with someone…even if it’s for just a short period of time.”

 

She felt the need to add the last bit as a caveat or reassurance for Adrien who just hummed thoughtfully, folding his hands between his knees and looking across the table at her.

 

“I understand,” Adrien nodded. “You want to completely put focus on it for the evening.”

 

“I want to know when and where it’s going to happen so I can…look forward to it,” Marinette said with a small smile. “I think I’m starting to understand what you said about anticipation making things sweeter.”

 

“Do you?” Adrien asked, a flash of pearly white as his mouth split into an almost hungry smile that drew her attention to his teeth and what he might use them for later.

 

Adrien: 30

Marinette: 45

 

“…starting to,” Marinette murmured, setting her iced tea down and licking her lips of the sweet, sugary syrup. “So…what happens now?”

 

“What do you want to happen now?” Adrien asked.

 

“Honestly I don’t know how these things go,” Marinette said, waving her hand. “Or…what you had planned…”

 

“You’re still down for this then?” Adrien asked, locking eyes with her across the room.

 

“You keep asking that,” Marinette said, lip twitching a little. “I’m starting to think you're the one with reservations.”

 

“Not at all,” Adrien said quickly, scratching his neck. “No I just…I wanted you to know even though we agreed to do this you don't...have to or anything. We can cancel or reschedule if you don't-"

 

“I know,” Marinette nodded. “I’ve kicked boys out of bed before and I’m not afraid to do it again…no offense.”

 

“That's relieving to hear actually,” Adrien said.

 

"...do you trust me?”

 

“Of course,” Adrien said.

 

“Then trust that I’ll let you know if I don’t want something,” Marinette said, sitting up on the edge of the couch. “Mind if I use the bathroom?”

 

“Of course,” Adrien nodded as Marinette stood up, skirt swirling around her legs as her heels clacked audibly down the hall. As soon as the bathroom door shut behind her, he leaned back against the couch, letting out a small gust of breath as he locked his fingers behind his head. His leg jiggled with nervous anticipation he had been bottling up in Marinette’s presence. For some reason the practiced veneer of calm control was harder to maintain with Marinette looking like a black and red Christmas present sitting on his couch waiting to be opened. But maintain it he must; he was the one who needed to maintain some semblance of self-control. He didn't have the luxury of completely losing himself as she did,

 

He idly wondered which one of them was more anxious that Marinette hadn’t had experience before. There was always a learning curve when someone was just starting out and didn’t quite know what to ask for. Adrien imagined that if this went past tonight (he hoped it would) they would run into a couple of snags when Marinette’s fantasies didn’t satisfy her the way she thought they would (if his experience with electricity was anything to go by). Maybe he was just nervous because for once he had the opportunity for a semi-permanent relationship now that he was more or less in one place and didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot especially since she was trusting him to show her the ropes.

 

(Adrien suppressed a small chuckle)

 

Trust goes both ways, he reminded himself as he stared at the beams overhead. Marinette had invested her trust in him to ensure that she was well taken care of; the least he could do was trust that she would let him know if he was doing his job correctly or not. The great fiction of their hobby was that doms wielded absolute power over their subs and no matter how many armchair dominants bought into the fiction as fact, the fact of the matter was that she had as much power over what was happening to her as he did. Maybe more. She set her boundaries which he wasn’t to cross; she had the power to stop and end a scene whenever she wanted to for whatever reasons she wanted. She had given him leave to control the evening but that could just as easily be rescinded. And he had to trust that it would be if she was ever uncomfortable...

 

The bathroom door clicked open and Adrien sat back up, watching Marinette pass the loveseat that she had been sitting on and perch on the opposite side of his couch, nylon covered legs crossing at the knee as she draped an arm over the back of the sofa.

 

“So…” Marinette said, biting her lip shifting a little under his gaze.

 

“So,” Adrien echoed, turning to drape his arm over the couch as well, resisting the urge to reach across and run his fingers over the back of her hand.

 

“How do these evenings typically go?” Marinette asked. “For first timers I mean.”

 

“Like most uh…dates for lack of a better word go,” Adrien said.

 

“Really?” Marinette laughed, looking at him through her lashes. “I’m half expecting you to jump me at any moment here…”

 

“In due time,” Adrien said, eying the black lace choker around her throat. “Due time…”

 

Marinette’s heart skipped a beat as Adrien suddenly rose…and then reached over to collect her empty tea glass and carry the tray back into the kitchen. She let out a small sigh through her teeth, watching him make his way across the kitchen as desire began to smother whatever anxiety she felt. This evening had been buzzing around her head all week, dominating her waking and dreaming thoughts and it was beginning to take its toll on her psyche frazzled by a week of rush orders and late nights spent sleeping on her office couch. She needed some serious pampering and while most people would have reached for a bottle of wine and a bath bomb, Marinette had a very different idea of relaxation in mind. Maybe she was weird for considering being cuffed to someone’s headboard more appealing than a trip to the massage parlor but she couldn’t bring herself to care what anyone other than she and Adrien thought.

 

“Have you given any thought to your safewords?” Adrien said, heading back into the living room and resuming his spot on the couch across from her.

 

“Right those are…things we need, don’t we?” Marinette chuckled, eyes drifting down to the scant patch of skin exposed under his collar.

 

“I like using two,” Adrien said. “One that stops everything and one that just lets me know I need to take things a little slower...or if you need a moment before going on.”

 

“Like uncle?” Marinette snorted.

 

“Exactly,” Adrien nodded, licking his lips as Marinette seemed to think for a moment.

 

“Well...what do you use?” Marinette said.

 

“Something multi-syllabic that can be easily understood even if my mouth is otherwise…uh… occupied,” Adrien laughed as Marinette wondered how Adrien looked when his mouth was occupied. “I use mercy for my…well, mercy word.”

 

“Can I steal that?” Marinette asked. “Not to be a copycat or anything but…well that sounds easy to remember.”

 

“As long as you remember it,” Adrien said, biting his bottom lip. “And your safeword?”

 

Marinette laughed a little, shooting him a shy glance between her eyelashes. “I was thinking…ladybug.”

 

“I should have guessed,” Adrien laughed, drawing a small scowl from Marinette. Her expression became almost devious as she tugged a throw blanket over the top of the couch, sticking a corner in her mouth as Adrien looked on a little puzzled.

 

Lhdbg,” she murmured into the blanket, spitting it out as Adrien applauded politely. “Sound good?”

 

“Crystal clear,” Adrien said, trying not to spend too much time thinking about Marinette’s muffled moaning.

 

“Thank you,” Marinette said, picking the blanket up and tossing it over the edge of the couch. “Already learning so many valuable things.”

 

“Such as?” Adrien asked.

 

“…that you enjoy having your mouth full,” Marinette said, lips curling into a smile.

 

“Who doesn’t?” Adrien said, unconsciously running his tongue over his teeth.

 

“Shame that isn’t going to happen for you tonight,” Marinette sighed theatrically, folding her arms across her stomach and flopping back against the couch.

 

“You seem awfully sure of that,” Adrien said, resting his cheek in his palm as he leaned against the couch.

 

“Are you really going to gag yourself?” Marinette snorted.

 

“No…but there’s more than one way to keep my mouth occupied,” Adrien said, shooting a wink at Marinette that sent a flush of heat rushing to her face.

 

“Is that right?” Marinette said, biting her lip. “Well now I’m curious.”

 

“I thought that’s what brought you here in the first place,” Adrien said. “Curiosity.”

 

“It is,” Marinette said, slipping her legs under her as she turned over on the couch. Her eyes were drawn to the way Adrien’s lips moved, the way his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed, the way his thin white shirt fell over his shoulders and chest. She was curious about a great many things not the least of which was what Adrien looked like completely undressed. She supposed she would get the answer to that question and many more as the night unfolded.

 

“Isn’t there an English expression about curiosity and cats?” Adrien asked. “And about how one killed the other?”

 

“Ah,” Marinette said, holding her finger up. “But that’s only half the expression.”

 

“Half?” Adrien asked, stiffening as Marinette slowly drew herself up onto her knees, sliding across the couch until she knelt on the cushion next to him, hands pressed into the fabric of her skirt and looking expectantly at him.

 

Curiosity killed the cat,” Marinette said in perfect English. “But satisfaction brought it back.”

 

He let out a small snort, eyes traveling over the lace choker around her neck and the way she seemed to be looking at him. If he had any doubts about whether or not she wanted to do this, the hungry glint in her eye and the way her lips hung half open quickly dispelled them. He was painfully aware of every thud of his heart, the loud ticking of the clock in the hall that seemed to count down to the moment they had both been waiting for for months; years maybe.

 

“Would you like me to...satisfy your curiosity then?” Adrien asked, leaning forward a little.

 

It was a question she already knew the answer to but she still hesitated before answering it because she wanted to savor the last moment of regular friendship she and Adrien would ever have. But to be honest, regular friendship was never what she wanted from him; not from the moment he stopped to offer her his umbrella as a teenage girl. She had always wanted just a little more and even though she wasn’t getting everything she wanted, she could still be closer to him. Closer than anyone else. And if she was going to push off into uncharted waters, there was no one she would rather have showing her the way.

 

“Yes,” she said clearly, locking eyes with him so there could be no misunderstanding. Adrien took a small breath, slowly straightening himself up as his mind worked through the rough outline he had planned out for the evening. "Though I hope you satisfy more than just my curiosity."

 

"Well," Adrien said with a toothy smile. "There's only one way to find out, isn't there?"

Chapter Text

“Okay…I’m ready.”

 

The moment the words left her lips, Marinette was indeed ready. Her mind raced, wondering what was going to happen next. In her experience, sex followed a natural progression; make outs led to heavy petting led to clothes being shucked and piled on the floor which led to the bedroom or the couch or the floor of the bathroom. She wanted to slide into Adrien’s lap, feel his hands slide up her back, tangle her fingers in his hair and savor the taste of his mouth on hers.

 

And she might just do that if this evening went to plan and she was in a position to dictate the course of an evening.

 

But for now she waited to see what Adrien would say or have her do. For now he, watched her, gaze drifting up and down her frame with a curious, almost appraising look in his eye that took Marinette a moment to place because she was more used to it coming from losers at bars than from someone she was interested in.

 

Adrien was blatantly checking her out.

 

“Did you make that dress?” Adrien asked, leaning back on the couch with a thoughtful look. “I’ve been wanting to ask all night.”

 

“Yes and no,” Marinette said, smoothing her skirt out as she looked down at herself, surprised that that was the first thing Adrien decided to ask of her. “The dress itself is from a shop; I sewed the bow on myself. The dress was nice before but it was…lacking something.”

 

“A personal touch?” Adrien said.

 

“Something like that,” Marinette shrugged, stomach fluttering as Adrien bit his lip almost thoughtfully.

 

“Clever,” Adrien said, lazily draping a hand over the back of the couch as he continued to look her over with a smile gracing his lips.

 

“…is this how all kinky affairs start?” Marinette asked, raising an eyebrow. “By complimenting each other’s choice in clothing?”

 

“No,” Adrien shrugged. “But then again most of my affairs haven’t been with people with your…taste in clothing.”

 

“And I thought clothes were just a hindrance,” Marinette said with a small smile

 

“You clearly put together this outfit with some thought so I wanted to appreciate it before…” Adrien said, letting the implication hang in the air between them. He watched her throat bob as she swallowed, lips parting and looking across the couch at him with an expectant hunger that made the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up. “Can I ask why?”

 

“Why?” Marinette said with a frown.

 

“You must have dozens of dresses,” Adrien said, turning to face her completely as he tapped his cheek with the tip of his index finger. “And of all the dresses you own you show up with the one with the bow on your back…why?”

 

“…why do you think?” Marinette asked, sitting up with a coy smile that clashed with the heat rising in her cheeks. “I seem to remember there being some talk about…unwrapping on Tuesday.”

 

“And so you gift wrapped yourself,” Adrien said. “How thoughtful.”

 

“Besides…” Marinette said, nylon covered legs rubbing together as she glanced away shyly. “I had to make sure the dress matched the rest of my outfit.”

 

“The rest of-” Adrien’s eyes widened with realization. “Ah…the rest of the outfit. I should have known you would match top to bottom.”

 

“Well I wanted tonight to be…special,” Marinette said, fingers along the edge of her skirt.

 

“I’m glad I’m not the only one,” Adrien said, loosening his collar a little as he slowly felt his nerve build up. Some people could switch on their dominant side like turning on a light; Adrien’s dominant side was like a late model Soviet Union designed hatchback and as such needed a few minutes to get started. It had been easier over the phone when Marinette wasn’t kneeling on the couch two feet away from him, watching him with barely veiled anticipation glittering in her eyes. Adrien held on to the look in her eye as a source of strength; if she believed that he was capable of satisfying her curiosity (among other things) then he had to be.

 

“So you seem to know a lot about my history with this,” Adrien said. “And I realize that I’m at something of a disadvantage since I don’t know yours.”

 

“This is my history,” Marinette picked at a loose thread on the throw blanket. “I haven’t done anything with anyone else…don’t even know what to do or-”

 

“You don’t have to,” Adrien said, drawing her gaze from the blanket back to his piercing, hungry expression. “That’s the beauty of your particular role tonight; worrying about what to do is my job.”

 

“I know,” Marinette said, gaze drifting down again. “But-”

 

A soft touch cupped her under her chin, tilting her head back up until her eyes locked with Adrien’s again. Color flooded her cheeks as Adrien tilted his head and looked at her curiously.

 

“You have pretty eyes,” Adrien said in the same low purring voice she had last heard Tuesday over the phone.

 

“Y-You too,” Marinette said, suddenly at a loss for anything more eloquent to say. Her face flushed as his glittering green eyes glinted in the low light of the living room, her natural inclination to glance away until her nerves returned to her. But she couldn’t; the soft pressure of Adrien’s fingers under her chin forced her gaze up to meet his.

 

“And yet you keep looking away,” Adrien said. “Why?”

 

“I…I don’t know,” Marinette mumbled, licking her lips.

 

“What did I say about being honest?” Adrien laughed, slowly rising from the couch and drawing Marinette’s gaze with the tips of his fingers as he moved in front of her. He could feel her heartbeat pulse through her skin, hammering harder and harder as she twisted to match his movements. In a moment, he was standing in front of the couch, fingers tilting her eyes up to look at him as she leaned back against the sofa, feet on the ground, knees slightly spread and fingernails idly scratching the cushions beneath her. “You can do better than that, princess.”

 

Something about the way the word rolled off his tongue robbed Marinette of her ability to breathe for a split second. Her rational brain wanted to pick apart why a touch and a word felt so arousing but her rational brain had apparently taken the night off. Something about Adrien’s posture, his expression, his manner of speaking, and that insufferably sexy smile of his projected an aura that was at once indifferent and intensely interested; as though he wanted her but would be just as fine if he didn’t get what he wanted.

 

“I-I guess I’m just a little…embarrassed,” Marinette murmured, eyes flicking down for a split second before bouncing back to Adrien’s.

 

“Why?” Adrien asked, drawing an exasperated snort from Marinette.

 

“First time j-jitters like you said,” Marinette said, wanting with all her heart to reach up and pull him down onto the couch with her.

 

“I see,” Adrien said in a way that suggested that he was satisfied with the answer while at the same time knowing it wasn’t the complete answer. “Well in spite of that, I would like you to look at me when you talk to me so I can see those pretty blue eyes of yours; does that sound like something you can manage?”

 

“I…I think so…” Marinette stammered as Adrien leaned forward at his waist; face now inches away from hers and smiling in a way that rooted her to the couch.

 

“I think you’re more than up to the task,” Adrien said, tracing his thumb along her jawline idly. “Don’t you?”

 

“Yes,” Marinette said softly, lips parting and accidentally brushing against his thumb. She noticed his pupils dilating, a small intake of breath but otherwise he seemed so impassive; so secure. He had made himself a fixed point in the sea of hormones that threatened to overwhelm them; a safe harbor to dock herself in.

 

“Do you want me to teach you tonight?” Adrien asked softly.

 

“Yes,” Marinette said, whining slightly as her hips rocked unconsciously against the open air.

 

“Are you going to play along with me tonight?” Adrien asked, trailing his hand down her jaw and idly fingering the choker at her throat.

 

“Y-yes,” Marinette said, throat bobbing against his gentle touch. He leaned forward onto the couch, one knee planting between her open legs and his free hand supporting his body as he leaned in closer. She could practically taste the fresh, minty scent of his toothpaste on his breath and if her lips twitched the slightest fraction of an inch, they might have met his. But her gaze did not waver; she was almost afraid to blink in case the night vanished like a mirage in the desert heat.

 

“Are you going to be a good girl for me tonight?” Adrien murmured, words thrumming into the center of her being as she nodded almost instinctively.

 

“Yes,” she whispered, lips parting in a way that made Adrien want to kiss them; hard and fast until they were pink and stripped of the glossy sheen of her lip gloss. I can’t, Adrien reminded himself. If I kiss her I’m completely screwed…this is just supposed to be sex…I can’t-

 

“Please…” Marinette panted, eyes shimmering and chest slowly rising and falling beneath him. “Please teach me, S-Sir.”

 

FUCK IT.

 

For the briefest hair of a second, Marinette wondered if she had said the wrong thing because Adrien’s eyes widened, his lips parted, and he let out a small strangled sound in his throat. She had just wanted to rise to the occasion; fit him with a nickname that matched the regal pet name he had bestowed on her. But any doubts she had about her actions were short lived and banished by the sensation of Adrien’s lips on her own. She let out a small whimper as her head pressed against the back of the couch, cupped by his hand no longer lingering on her jaw as her eyes went wide while her mind tried to process the sudden turn of events.

 

So far her brain had arrived at the following conclusions;

 

1) Adrien’s mouthwash was sharp, minty, and made Marinette’s lips tingle even after he used it.

2) The couch’s cushions were deep enough to drown in which she just might if Adrien pushed her into it anymore.

3) Holy fuck, holy fuck, holy fuck she was kissing Adrien Agreste.

 

The last realization was the most pressing as Adrien’s mouth continued to press against hers, smothering the small moan that escaped her throat. She had fantasized about this moment since she was fourteen years old but in all her wildest fantasies, her first kiss with Adrien was never as electrifying as this was. His lips moved with a hungry insistence as though he had only one chance to kiss her for the rest of his life and he wanted to make the most of it before he came up for air.

 

It was a commanding, sensual kiss that pried her lips open for exploration, tongue passing over hers as he deepened the kiss even further. Her hands pressed against his chest until his fingers reached down to tangle with hers, bringing her hands up and pressing them against the cushion on either side of her head. Marinette’s legs spread further, whimpering into his mouth as the kiss left one word flashing over and over again in Marinette’s subconscious.

 

Mine.

 

It was less of a kiss and more of a mark of claim. It was his way of dispelling any doubts she might have had that he wanted her; that his insistent questioning had been a product of reluctance on his part instead of a means of ensuring that he had complete consent from her. Now that he had it, he was going to put it to good use. One searing, blistering kiss was all it would take to immolate the parched fragments of their friendship and out of the ashes, something more intimate would emerge. Adrien didn’t care that this wasn’t going to end in romance. He didn’t care that she was going to just be a friend outside the bedroom. He didn’t care about anything other than her lips on his, her tongue in his mouth, her soft, needy moans vibrating in her throat as he continued to kiss her.

 

When Adrien pulled back, Marinette gasped as though she had just come up from the depths of the ocean. She panted heavily, eyes half lidded and chest heaving as Adrien hovered over her, licking his lips with a thoughtful smack.

 

“Hmm…peach,” Adrien said, glancing down at Marinette with a predatory grin. “You taste good, princess~”

 

Marinette let out an airy laugh, fingers twining with his as he continued to hold her lightly against the cushions. She looked up at him as his gaze drifted down to her chest heaving in her dress, arching her back a little bit to give him a closer view.

 

“See something you like…sir?” Marinette asked a little shyly, feeling herself slipping more comfortably into her role as Adrien laughed, slowly backing up and standing while tugging her to her feet. She wobbled on her heels for a moment, falling forward and bumping into his chest as his arms stabilized her.

 

“Mind the step,” Adrien chuckled, hands drifting down to the bow on Marinette’s back.

 

“Thanks,” Marinette said, chin pressed against his chest and looking up at him as a small, giddy giggle escaped her throat. She had just kissed the hell out of her high school crush…or rather her high school crush had just pinned her to the couch and all but stripped the lip gloss from her lips.

 

Somewhere Chloe Bourgeois was undoubtedly having a conniption.

 

“I think I understand the bow now,” Adrien said, tilting his head to one side as he fluffed the bow a little. “I seem to remember there being quite a lot of birthdays where I didn’t seem to get your gifts…”

 

“Hard to send presents when you’re all over the globe,” Marinette laughed, resisting the urge to bite Adrien’s buttons off and tear his shirt off with her teeth.

 

“So you got me one big-”

 

“Big?”

 

“-petite present,” Adrien corrected slowly pulling back to look at her curiously. “I wonder what it is.”

 

“Just don’t shake it to guess,” Marinette said, hands folding in front of herself as Adrien crossed his arms thoughtfully, slowly walking around the other side of her until he stood behind her. She turned her shoulders to look at him but he simply turned her back the other way, hands lingering on her shoulders for a moment with a small squeeze.

 

“D-Do you want to open it?” Marinette asked, facing the wall opposite the couch as Adrien chuckled behind her. His eyes wandered up her nylon covered legs, pausing at the bow on her waist before travelling up to the zipper expertly hidden under a seam in her dress.

 

“I wonder what it could be,” Adrien hummed, fingers slowly trailing up Marinette’s back towards the zipper. “Is it something pink…no, you wouldn’t wear pink with that shade of red…and you said it matched…hmm…”

 

He was dragging it out to watch her squirm; Marinette knew this for a fact as she took deep, calming breaths. Part of her wondered if he would guess correctly while the other part of her wanted to take the dress off herself and get it over with. But she was still as Adrien tugged the zipper down a few inches, hand moving Marinette’s loose hair over one shoulder. Inch by inch the zipper exposed more skin until Adrien spied something black and lacy with a delicate little bow where the clasp should have been. Marinette shivered (more in anticipation than from the cold) as Adrien said nothing behind her, moving the zipper down until it landed at the top of her waist at the end of its tract.

 

“Seems I need a little help,” Adrien chuckled in her ear. His lips pressed against the small of her neck as he pulled back, the sound of creaking couch springs behind her suggested he had sat back down. The back of her dress was open only enough to show the trail of skin between her neck and hips, broken only by a thin band of black lace around her midsection.

 

“You…you want me to-”

 

“Finish unwrapping yourself,” Adrien said softly and calmly as though he were asking her to pass him the remote control. She swallowed heavily, breathing through pursed lips as she grasped the bottom of her dress. And then she realized what position she was in, how things were bound to look from Adrien’s position on the couch behind her once her dress cleared her hips. All they were missing were dim pink lights and a throbbing bass beat…and he must have thought himself so clever too.

 

Ooh look at me I’m Adrien Agreste I’m a sexy supermodel and I think Marinette will miss the fact that I all but asked her to shove her ass in my face, Marinette thought as she slid her arms out of her dress, rolling them forward and stretching languidly over the top of her head. Okay, smartass, you want a striptease you got it…but remember you asked for it.

 

“Something wrong?” Adrien asked behind her as Marinette began humming something under her breath, softly at first as her hips swayed back and forth almost in time to the beat. It was a moment before he realized what the tune was as Marinette’s thumbs hooked inside her dress and slowly pushed it down, inch by inch as Adrien suddenly found himself in need of a cold glass of water.

 

“…happy birthday dear Adrien,” Marinette sang, pushing the dress down her calves, stepping out with a pair of heel clicks on the hardwood floor in front of him. “Happy birthday…to…you.”

 

She didn’t have to turn around to know that the scant ensemble she was wearing had done its job. To be a designer meant knowing exactly how to flatter someone with clothing; to highlight their most attractive qualities and showcase their bodies in the best way possible. She knew her figure better than she knew most extended relatives and if she was going to buy underwear for a date, she was going to make sure she looked better in it than she did without it. She was short, petite, and had athletic pear-shaped figure so she wasn’t going to wear plunging necklines and sheer babydolls she might have suggested for Alya. No she needed something more minimalistic and because Adrien had elected to be a teasing little smartass, he got a front row seat to Marinette bending over at the waist, hips swaying back and forth and humming Happy Birthday to him.

 

This sight alone would have killed most mortal men and reduced those that survived to incompressible wrecks; it was only by the grace of God Adrien survived intact and mostly coherent. Marinette’s hands clasped in front of her, tilting her head over her shoulder and all but cackled at the dumbfounded expression of hungry awe on his face.

 

“Do you like your present?” Marinette asked, turning around slowly to face him and giving him a clear view of her from the front. For the second time in less than two hours, Adrien found himself completely out of words and slowly looking Marinette up and down. His eyes glided over the black, sheer nylon stockings that he now saw ended mid-thigh, supported by a pair of straps on each side and hooked to a thin satin garter belt that rested on her hips. The belt seemed to meld with her underwear which was a black and white lace thong that, which when viewed from behind highlighted her wonderfully squeezable looking ass. Adrien’s eyes wandered up, chuckling at the matching bra that was almost translucent and yet left everything except the top of her breasts to the imagination.

 

In short, she was a monochrome wet dream from head to toe, blue eyes glinting up at him mischievously as he slowly got to his feet, hoping his excitement wasn’t immediately visible to her.

 

“I love it,” Adrien said after a moment, fingers reaching out and thumbing a satin strip on Marinette’s bra. “Lovely design…so well put together too…I can tell you put a lot of work into it.”

 

“Thank you but I actually bought these at a friend’s boutique,” Marinette said, biting her lip as Adrien’s free hand toyed with the strap of her garter belt.

 

“…I wasn’t talking about your underwear,” Adrien chuckled, back of his knuckles trailing down her hip as a small shudder passed through her body. She watched his appraising gaze take in every inch of her, raking over her exposed skin and making her feel more naked by his glance alone. He pressed his fingers to his lips thoughtfully (and as a defense mechanism to stop himself from swooping down, kissing her full on the mouth, and taking her to bed, elaborate playdate be damned) slowly walking around her as if examining a particularly intriguing piece of art in a museum.

 

“What are you doing?” Marinette chuckled, turning her head to look at Adrien who simply palmed the top of her head and turned her back the other way.

 

“Ogling,” Adrien said casually, pausing behind her with a small groan. The way the garterbelt and stockings were structured it looked as though Marinette had framed her backside in black lace and satin so that his eye was naturally drawn to it. Then again, Marinette had an ass that was impossible to ignore even if she had come dressed in full plate-mail so his eye was going to be drawn to it anyway.

 

Then again Adrien had spent the last four months trying his hardest not to stare at Marinette’s butt (as the weather warmed and she traded long pants for shorts) so now that he had tacit permission to do so he was going to take full advantage of it.

 

“You make for quite the lovely sight, princess,” Adrien said, stopping in front of her with a small, approving nod.

 

“I’m a lovely sight?” Marinette said, hand pressed over her heart in feigned surprise. “That’s very forward of you, isn’t it?”

 

“Is that what passes for forward in your experience?” Adrien said, closing the distance between them in a single step. “Because if it is, I think we need to update your dictionary.”

 

“Are you planning on giving me a grammar lesson?” Marinette chuckled, shooting him a challenging look. To her surprise, the butterflies in her stomach were dissipating measure by measure thanks largely in part to the barely veiled desire in Adrien’s eyes. It was a look she had so rarely received before; not just lust but lust tempered with appreciation and more than a hint of playfulness. She didn’t have time to feel self-conscious when every time he looked at her he looked like he wanted to pin her against the wall. She didn’t have time to feel nervous when every pass of his hand sent shivers up her spine.

 

“In a manner of speaking,” Adrien said, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “I’ve always been told that I’m a…cunning linguist.”

 

And of course there was the fact that it was hard to be intimidated by someone who spouted lines like that.

 

“Are you now?” Marinette snickered, hands behind her back as she stepped forward a little, leg stepping between his. Adrien glanced down with a mildly impressed look, returning her challenging gaze with one of his own. “Well I look forward to seeing your skilled tongue at work, sir.”

 

Adrien’s teeth bared as he let out a small bark of laughter. “Be careful what you ask for, princess…you just might get it.”

 

“Oh no,” Marinette whispered in a flat, pleading tone. “Please. Anything but that. You wouldn’t be so cruel.”

 

“Wouldn’t I?” Adrien said, tilting his head back and forth as he mentally bumped something from the evening’s itinerary and replaced it with a much more appealing alternative. “You don’t know how cruel I can be.”

 

“I’m begging you not to,” Marinette whispered, lips curling into a smile and leaning into Adrien’s touch as he cupped her face.

 

“Oh come on,” Adrien said, leaning in and pressing a chaste kiss against Marinette’s cheek. “I think you can beg better than that.”

 

Marinette’s breath hitched as he pulled back, hand trailing down her cheek and brushing over the lace choker still fastened around her neck. She should have known he would pick up on her choice of neckwear sooner or later

 

“I’ve never seen you wear this before,” Adrien said, snapping the elastic against her neck lightly.

 

“Never had the…occasion to wear it,” Marinette said, licking her lips.

 

“Until tonight?” Adrien said with a teasing smile.

 

“Until tonight,” Marinette said, lifting her chin so Adrien could get a better look at her little accessory. His finger slipped under the hem of the choker, tugging it forward experimentally with a thoughtful look on his face. She leaned into his touch but the clasp at the back of the choker popped open, causing the entire thing to come off in one sharp tug.

 

“Pretty,” Adrien said, clasping the choker together to make sure he didn’t accidentally break it. “But a little flimsy for what I had in mind.”

 

“And wh-what might that be?” Marinette asked, rocking on her heels as Adrien dropped her choker on the table.

 

“Oh wouldn’t you like to know?” Adrien chuckled. The urge to touch her again became overwhelming and he reached out, only to have Marinette take a small step back. A flash of unease washed through him until he saw the veiled, teasing glint in her eye that all but dared him to come and get her. Her heel sank into the rug as Adrien took a step forward. Smirking, she stepped back with her other leg, almost laughing when he mirrored her gesture, closing the distance between them yet again. If anyone looked in, they would have guessed that the pair were practicing a slow tango across the living room…save for the fact that one of them was in underwear that had more style than substance.

 

Adrien took two steps forward and Marinette retreated until she felt the arm of the sofa press into her backside. She glanced back for a moment, almost reflexively, only to let out a small squeak of surprise when she turned around and nearly bumped her nose into Adrien’s chest.

 

“Oops,” Adrien pouted, hands slipping around her hips and holding her fast as she squirmed half-heartedly in his grip. “Looks like you’re done running.”

 

“You don’t think I could get away from you if I wanted to?” Marinette giggled, pressing her hands against his chest with a light shove.

 

“No,” Adrien said, lacing his fingers through hers and pushing back until she sat on the lip of the sofa. He brought her hands behind her back, holding them there as he leaned in closer. “I just think you don’t want to anymore.”

 

As laden with double meaning as that statement was, he wasn’t saying anything Marinette didn’t already know. She was tired of running away from him; tired of looking away from him like a blushing, stammering teenage girl who couldn’t say three words to her crush without two of them being incomprehensible gibberish. She still felt a small waver in her stomach when he looked at her, but she didn’t look away because he asked her not to. Any self-sabotaging thoughts she might have had were squelched by the feeling of his hands firmly entwined with hers, confirmation that he didn’t want her going anywhere without him. The illusion they had cultivated that she couldn’t back away this time bolstered her nerve. As much as she teased him and played hard to get, there was only one way she wanted that night to end.

 

Adrien leaned in slowly and as Marinette opened her mouth to respond he seized her lips with another kiss, slower and tenderer than the scorcher he laid on her earlier but lacking none of the ferocity. Marinette wiggled against him, trying to get her hands under her and balance a little more so she didn’t feel like she was going to tumble backwards while making out with him. After a few moments of shifting and squirming her lips tickled a little as Adrien laughed against them.

 

“Someone has ants in her pants,” Adrien laughed, glancing down with a small shrug. “Well…metaphorically speaking anyway.”

 

“I feel like I’m going to fall back,” Marinette said, pressing her forehead against his as her feet dangled in the air on either side of his hips.

 

“You won’t,” Adrien said softly, expression softening as his fingers squeezed hers a little harder. “I got you.”

 

“You sure?” Marinette asked, biting her lip.

 

“…you trust me?” Adrien asked softly, looking up at her in a way that suggested that he wasn’t just asking if she trusted him to stop her from falling back onto the couch.

 

“…I do,” Marinette murmured after a moment, eliciting a genuine smile from Adrien before he went back to kissing her. She leaned back a little, ankles crossing around his thighs as she willed herself to relax. I’m not going to fall, she reminded herself. Adrien was more than capable of supporting her weight and even if he wasn’t, she wasn’t going to get hurt. So she closed her eyes, fingers flexing behind her back as she let Adrien deepen the kiss. To her surprise, the sensation of her arms being held behind her back, poised on the edge of falling backwards with only Adrien to support her was more exciting than she thought it would be. Her hips pressed against his with a small whimper in the back of her throat, head swimming as she rocked against him feebly. Every instinct she had screamed at her to start tearing his clothes off, lace her fingers in his hair, strip until nothing but a thin strip of latex separated them.

 

But he clearly wanted to move slower…which wasn’t always a bad thing.

 

“A-Adrien,” Marinette gasped as his mouth pulled back from hers. “I-ah!”

 

Clearly not wanting his lips to be off her for more than a moment, Adrien’s mouth dipped down and pressed against the side of her neck right above her collarbone. Her grip on his hands tightened, eyes and mouth popping open as the tips of Adrien’s teeth lightly scraped across a patch of skin, nibbling on it in a way that made her clench her legs around his waist even tighter. Marinette’s first conscious thought after her wits returned to her was that there was no way she was going to be able to cover up the mark Adrien was so intent on leaving on her neck. Her dress plunged so low that he could have started leaving hickies on her breasts and she still wouldn’t have been able to cover it up.

 

Her second thought was that Adrien could cover her neck in love bites and she would have asked for more. The soft, suckling pressure of his lips combined with the gentle bites he pressed into her neck in alternating intervals made her toes curl inside her heels as she strained up against him, tilting her head back to give him better access to her neck. As he kissed her, one hand untangled from hers to support her waist. He disengaged from her neck, leaving it pink, wet, and aching and pressed his mouth against hers again, other hand cupping the back of her head. She moaned into the kiss, hands wrapping around his shoulders until Adrien pulled back with a throaty chuckle.

 

“Ah ah ah,” he chided, lips curling into a devilish smirk as Marinette frowned in confusion. “Hands behind your back, princess.”

 

Marinette let out a small whimper but the glint in his eyes brooked no disagreement. Tossing her hair out of her eyes, she let her hands fall from his shoulders, dangling behind her until they gripped the corners of a pillow on the couch.

 

“Thank you,” Adrien said, glancing down as both hands moved to support her hips. The way she was positioned, it was impossible for him to avoid her chest in his face (not that he wanted to in the first place). Marinette glanced up at him, flushing under his gaze as he leaned down to press a kiss against her collarbone.

 

“Wh-What are you-mmnh!” Marinette whimpered as Adrien’s lips trailed lower, lingering between her breasts for a moment as green eyes flicked up to meet her.

 

“Shh,” he shushed her softly, teeth grazing over the crest of her right breast and eliciting a squeak out of her. “You’ll see.”

Before she could say anything else, Adrien’s mouth dipped down and captured the small bow between her breasts hiding the clasp that her bra together from the front. Her stomach churned as she watched the fabric disappear into his mouth, watching his tongue swirl around in his mouth for a moment. She knew the lingerie she picked out was designed for easy access but she doubted Adrien would be able to undo the clasp with just his-

 

Snap.

 

-tongue.

 

Marinette’s mouth hung open as the clasp fell out of his mouth, landing on her chest with a pair of wet thumps as Adrien grinned up at her, looking exceptionally pleased with himself. His tongue flitted out of his mouth, slowly licking his lips as though he were about to feast on her.

 

“Told you,” Adrien said, pulling her upright on the edge of the couch as her bra slid down her back. Instinctively Marinette’s hands covered her suddenly exposed chest, eliciting a small chuckle from Adrien.

 

“I did tell you to keep your hands behind your back, didn’t I?” Adrien said, hands resting on the tops of her thighs as she fought the flaming flush that threatened to overwhelm her face. She was never the type to get insecure about her cup size but faced with the prospect of being suddenly topless before her high school crush was enough to give her the smallest bit of pause. With a deep, shuddering breath, Marinette’s hands dropped to her stomach, sliding behind her back in a way that offered her breasts for Adrien’s inspection.

 

Suffice to say the sight of topless, panting, blushing scarlet Marinette perched on his couch, looking up at him as her legs spread underneath his touch was a sight Adrien wasn’t adequately prepared for. Try as he might to conceal the sensation of unrestrained glee welling up inside him, something on his face must have given him away because Marinette let a small giggle slip out of her throat, hands resting behind her back on the couch as she looked up at him shyly.

 

“Are you looking at me like that because you like the sight of me half naked or are you looking at me like that because you like it when I’m embarrassed?” Marinette snorted, stomach tightening as his hands started slowly sliding up her hips.

 

“I like both,” Adrien said, leaning in and pressing a soft kiss against Marinette’s lips. “But while the sight of you naked is never going to get old-”

 

Marinette sucked in breath as his hands slid up to cup her breasts, giving them a light squeeze, arching into his touch as his lips pulled back from hers.

 

“-you’re only going to be this embarrassed in front of me for so long,” Adrien murmured, chuckling at the small whimper that escaped her lips, head dipped and pressed against his chest as his fingers so expertly fondled hers.

 

“I-I find that really-ah!-hard to believe, sir,” Marinette panted, leaning up and pressing her lips against the soft linen of Adrien’s shirt as he lightly pinched her nipples between his fingers. The sharp sensation jolted her enough that her hands instinctively came up, clutching the back of his hands with a small moan. There was a beat before Marinette looked down at her own hands, then back up at Adrien who had a teasing smile on his face.

 

“…oh,” Marinette chuckled, slipping her hands behind her back again. “S-sorry.”

 

“You need some help keeping your hands where they belong?” Adrien asked, slipping his hands off her breasts and tilting her chin up in the way that made her stomach flutter at the implication.

 

“Oh hell yes,” Marinette purred instinctively, blushing as Adrien suppressed a small snicker.

 

“Now who’s being forward?” Adrien said, sliding his hands down her sides and lightly squeezing the top of her thighs.

 

“S-Sorry,” Marinette chuckled before adopting what she hoped was a demure expression, lip between her teeth and looking up at him shyly between her eyelashes. “It’s just…I don’t know if I can trust myself to keep my hands off you any more, sir.”

 

It was a sentiment Adrien could sympathize with. Not because he thought himself to be that untouchable but because he had maintained almost constant contact with her since her dress came off and wasn’t about to let up any time soon. God knew that he would have to be cuffed and roped to keep his hands off her and even then it would be a Herculean task. He was fast becoming addicted to the way her soft, pale, lightly freckled skin felt under his fingers; how she seemed to lean into every touch as though she wanted as much of his hands on her as possible.

 

…well if that was how she wanted it.

 

Marinette followed Adrien’s gaze as he glanced at a polished black wooden box on the coffee table that had gone unnoticed by her until then. She had assumed that it was purely decorative but the way that Adrien was looking at it suggested it had something important in-

 

Eep!

 

Before Marinette could speculate any further, she found herself lifted into the air, letting out a small squeak as Adrien scooped her off the couch as though she were a throw pillow and started carrying her across the living room towards a plush linen chair opposite the full length mirror she had eyed him in earlier. While she had never necessarily enjoyed being a fun-sized person she had to admit it had its advantages; namely that her boyfriends partners could pick her up with little effort which always made for…interesting opportunities. She wrapped her legs around his waist almost reflexively, heels slipping off her feet and clacking against the ground as Adrien deposited her on the ottoman in front of the chair, untangling her legs from him as a giggle bubbled up from her throat.

 

“Stay,” Adrien said, leaning in and pressing her shoulders against the ottoman before pressing another kiss against her lips. “I’ll be right back.”

 

“Don’t be too long,” Marinette murmured, hands folding over her chest as Adrien left. She watched him bend over to pick up her shoes and dress, letting out a small approving groan that was loud enough to draw Adrien’s attention back in her direction. She flattened back against the ottoman before he turned around, staring at the ceiling above her with an innocent expression on her face as Adrien shook his head and disappeared towards the hall closet.

 

As his footsteps headed towards the front, Marinette found herself alone for the first time in almost an hour. A casual glance to her side and she caught her reflection in the mirror, leaning back on the ottoman dressed only in her panties and socks as her hands draped over her breasts. Her reflection’s cheeks pinked as her legs rose to perch on the ottoman beneath her. She didn’t know where Adrien was going but she knew that when he came back they were going to do more than just make out on the couch like a pair of horny teenagers.

 

Beyond that she had no idea what the night held for her which just made the experience all the more arousing.

 

Adrien’s hands roaming her body had done more than enough to warm her up as her hand drifted lazily down her stomach, eyes closing as her fingers brushed the front of her underwear with a small whine. Her clit throbbed as the damp lace pressed against it, hips rising to meet her touch. Adrien was still rummaging around in the hall closet so Marinette took a moment to stoke the fire building inside her. Her fingers slipped under the waistband of her panties briefly, mouth opening as her fingers toyed with her aching sex lazily; just enough to remind her of why she had gone there that night. Images of leather, chains, and soft nylon rope filled her head as her fingers worked a steady circle around her clit, free hand lightly squeezing her breast.

 

She wondered if she was close enough to come; she didn’t know how long she was going to last once Adrien got his hands on her and she didn’t want to look like a total virgin in front of him. Eye opening surreptitiously towards the hall, she saw no sign of Adrien and so she fell back against the ottoman, strokes becoming more insistent as she imagined Adrien’s fingers in her hair, his hands gripping her shoulders as he drove into her again and again. She imagined a rough slap on her bottom waking her from the lusty haze as her hips jerked against her fingers.

 

A little more and she would be there. Her fantasies became more insistent; visions of Adrien swathed in black leather, crop dangling lightly from his hand, lips biting and sucking and kissing at her neck, her breasts, any spare patch of skin they could reach. Eyes scrunched up, Marinette could feel herself peaking with only a few, scant strokes separating her from-

 

“Enjoying yourself, princess?”

Chapter Text

 According to the realtor who sold him the townhouse, one of the benefits of living in a new house was that the floorboards didn’t creak.

 

Adrien didn’t understand how much of a selling point this was until he realized his guest for the evening was having a little fun without him. It had taken him a good minute to find a hanger that wouldn’t pinch the shoulders of her dress or stretch it out too much but by the time he placed it next to her coat on the rack, he realized that Marinette was hardly sitting on her hands waiting for him.

 

He walked around the side of the courtyard, glancing at Marinette through the windows that separated him from the living room on the other side of the house. He almost laughed when he saw her look back towards the closet as if she expected to see him standing there, shucking his shoes off and making his way down the hallway silently while he kept his eyes on her.

 

Part of him felt like a voyeur as he made his way around the back of the stairs, watching the front of her lacy thong stretch over the back of her hand as her eyes screwed shut in concentration. Then again, she was the one currently pleasuring herself in his house when he said that he would be back momentarily so he had to consider the fact that she might have anticipated an audience. At any rate, there was something intoxicating about watching her go to work on herself that he couldn’t help but watch for a few moments as he made his way back into the living room. It was always an enlightening experience watching his partners touch themselves. He took note of how her free hand groped her breast while her hips seemed to buck with more insistence as she appeared to be approaching an orgasm. Filing this information away for future use, Adrien leaned against the wall and put on his best look of slightly amused indifference.

 

“Enjoying yourself princess?” Adrien said.

 

It was as though he had jerked her out of a dream. Marinette’s eyes snapped open, hands sliding out of her waistband as though she were just caught with her hand in the cookie jar before dinner. She sat up on the ottoman, hands crossing her chest as she flushed from her roots to her collarbone.

 

“I…you w-were just…” Marinette trailed off glancing between the foyer and Adrien with a confused look on her face. “I didn’t hear you come in…”

 

“I didn’t want you to,” Adrien said, making his way over towards the ottoman. Marinette sat up, dropping her hands behind her as Adrien glanced down at her chest. “Couldn’t keep your hands to yourself, could you?”

 

“I…” Marinette trailed off, squirming a little as he glanced down at her. “You…never said I shouldn’t, sir.”

 

“…true,” Adrien conceded, leaning down and resting a palm between her open legs, eyes twinkling as they locked with hers. “So let me be crystal clear…”

 

His hand trailed along the fabric between her legs as he walked around the side of her. Marinette turned to see where he was going when a soft, sudden pressure drew a small gasp from her lips as Adrien’s middle finger trailed from the couch up the front of her panties, sending another wave of heat passing through her as she strained against his touch.

 

“You can touch yourself all you want when you’re at home alone,” Adrien murmured, kneeling between her hands on the ottoman as his finger lightly pressed against her clit through the lace. “But when you’re here for these little play dates, touching you is my job.”

 

Marinette let out a groan in response, resisting the urge to fall back against his chest as he rested his chin on top of her head. Every time she arched into his touch he would pull back just a little, keeping contact but not allowing her enough pressure to satisfy her aching lust.

 

“So unless I tell you to,” Adrien mumbled into her hair in the low, purring tone he adopted over the phone. “Hands off…understand?”

 

“Y-Yes, sir,” Marinette panted, nodding against the top of his head. She whimpered as he pressed his finger into her clit with a little more force and whined as he took his hand off. She arched her neck to see where he was going but his hand tilted her head back in the other direction, eyes staring at the wall opposite her as he padded away behind her. He wasn’t gone long, returning after picking up the polished wooden box he was looking at earlier and making his way back around her front.

 

“You’re quiet,” Marinette mumbled, jumping a little when he swung back into view and electing a laugh from him. “I-I need to get you a bell collar or I’m going to get a heart attack.”

 

“I’ll try and walk louder for your sake,” Adrien laughed, pausing in front of her with a toothy smile. “But since we’re on the topic…”

 

“B-bells?” Marinette glanced between the box and Adrien for a moment as he laid the box between her legs, hand resting on the lid.

 

“I’m actually surprised you went with black and white for your theme tonight,” Adrien said nodding down at her underwear. “Seeing as how you’re going to match almost purr-fectly with the accessories I picked out for you.”

 

“Acc-” Marinette’s heart skipped a beat as Adrien opened the lid to the box, mouth falling open and eyes going wide as saucers. When she was ten years old, her parents had gotten her a Nintendo Wii for her birthday. When she was eighteen, they surprised her with a new laptop before she boarded the plane for New York. Both times, she could barely contain the helium squeaks of glee that escaped her throat and it was only the haze of lust that clouded her brain that kept her from bouncing up and down as Adrien opened the box in front of her.

 

“I…a-are those for-” Marinette’s tongue ran over her lips as Adrien withdrew one of the contents of the box, holding it out for her inspection. A black leather, lace hemmed collar studded with chrome rings on the front and the sides?. Marinette resisted the urge to run her fingers along the padded leather on the inside of the collar or snap it around her neck to see how it would feel pressed against her skin. When she was in New York—still figuring out how she ticked—she had picked up a novelty collar as a “joke” just to see how it felt when she wore it. Needless to say, the next day, she checked out most of the public library’s stock of BDSM literature as something seemed to click inside her. The idea of restraint, being totally at her partner’s mercy, struck a chord with her almost as strongly as the idea of using her novelty collar on someone else.

 

But it was nothing like this one, laced and studded and embossed with-

 

“Are…are those cats?” Marinette asked, squinting at the chrome detailing a little closer and noticing each ring appeared to be held in the mouth of a feline face etched in chrome.

 

“Are you surprised?” Adrien chuckled; thumb running over the chrome fondly. “When the leatherworker I went to said he took custom orders I knew I had to put my personal touch on these.”

 

“I…thought cats were your favorite thing,” Marinette snorted, gasping almost inaudibly as Adrien unclasped the clasp on the back. She tilted her head back as he stepped around her, offering her neck as he knelt between her hands again.

 

“They are my favorite thing,” Adrien said, chuckling as Marinette gasped as the leather touched the front of her throat. “But whenever you wear this-”

 

Click. Marinette let out a shaky sigh as the collar snapped around her neck.

 

“-you are my favorite thing,” Adrien whispered in her ear. Goosebumps rose along her skin but she couldn’t place whether it was from Adrien’s voice in her ear or the snug sensation of plush, padded leather around her neck. She had always been a tactile kind of person, priding herself in her ability to tell silk from satin with a single touch. But something about the sensation of leather—the warm, flexible press of it against her skin—turned her on more than anything else. Even the simple band around her neck was already intensifying her need to be satisfied as soon as possible.

 

Adrien’s fingers ran around the inside of the collar, making sure it didn’t bite too much into her neck. He ordered it with enough cushion so there shouldn’t have been any unnecessary chafing but one could never be too careful. “Can you breathe?”

 

“Yeah,” Marinette said, fingers reaching up and threading through the metal ring at the front of her neck.

 

“Not too snug?” Adrien asked.

 

“N-no,” Marinette said, shuddering as her throat gently brushed the padded leather as she swallowed. “It’s uh…p-perfect.”

 

Her head was swimming as Adrien stood up behind her, bare feet skimming the hardwood floor as walked around to get a better look at his handiwork. The fact that she had decked herself out in black and white lingerie already was a plus…though the thought of requesting her to show up in monochrome if they were going to do this again crossed his mind. His eyes wandered over the flushed, hungry expression on her face, watching her fingers thread through the chrome ring at the front of her collar. She looked absolutely stunning though Adrien was sure she would have looked stunning in absolutely nothing.

 

…a theory he intended to prove as the night progressed.

 

“Comfy?” Adrien asked, giving her a few moments to adjust to the gentle weight of the leather around her neck.

 

“Yeah…” Marinette blinked, looking up at Adrien as she returned to her senses. “Th-Thank you.”

 

“Don’t thank me,” Adrien said, reaching down and hooking a finger through the ring of her collar. “I promise you this is more of a treat for me than it is for you.”

 

“You want to bet?” Marinette chuckled, heart hammering in her ears. “The padding is…nice.”

 

“I could have gone with fuzzy lining but then again I seem to remember someone has a thing for the feel of leather,” Adrien said, reaching down with his free hand and brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. “You starting to see why I have a thing for collars?”

 

“I-I think I had an idea before,” Marinette murmured, sitting up a little straighter as Adrien pulled back a little bit, finger tugging her along by the neck gently. “B-But…”

 

“Yes?” Adrien asked, stopping and looking down at Marinette.

 

“It’s…different with a partner,” Marinette said, hands fidgeting behind her back a little. “I mean…l-like I said none of my other partners before did anything like this with-ah!

 

Marinette trailed off as Adrien became more insistent with his tugging, pulling on her collar higher and higher until she was forced to stand on shaky legs in front of him. Adrien wrapped his free arm around her waist, hand sliding down until it lingered on the small of her back, other hand tilting her head up to look him in the eye.

 

“Can I be perfectly honest with you?” Adrien said, finger idly snapping the elastic of her panties against her skin. “I don’t particularly care about who you were with before tonight and what they did or didn’t do with you.”

 

“O-Okay,” Marinette said as his thumb came up and traced along the bottom of chin.

 

“So far you’ve had nothing good to say about any of them and frankly I don’t care to hear any more,” Adrien said thoughtfully.

 

“N-no arguments from me, sir,” Marinette stammered, arching into his touch as his hand slid down from her waist to appreciatively squeeze her unprotected bottom. Instinctively her legs spread apart as he stepped between them again, knee pressing against the front of her panties. She whimpered a little at the pressure, hips rocking against his leg.

 

“Eager little thing, aren’t you?” Adrien murmured, smirking as he pressed his knee against her with a little more insistency. He was rewarded with a breathy nod as Marinette rocked against him again, all but humping his leg. She could hardly remember a time when she had been this aroused for this long without satisfaction, so used to the instant gratification she got from her fingers or her toys. Arousal was rarely a problem she had to deal with for long and she sincerely hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with it for too much longer. “I think someone’s ready to start her lessons.”

 

“Mmhmm,” Marinette breathed, rings clattering as she nodded her head. “I-I mean…yes sir I am.”

 

“You’re learning quickly,” Adrien mused, tugging on her collar a little. “Though this is helping, isn’t it?”

 

“Not hurting,” Marinette chuckled, straightening a little.

 

“And yet…I think dressing you in even more clothing is a little counterproductive,” Adrien said, looking down at her with a thoughtful frown that made her eyes widen just a little. She was smart; there was never any doubt about that. More importantly, she seemed to be able to follow his train of thought which meant 1) she was going to make for a very imaginative domme and 2) he needed to do something unexpected to keep things fun.

 

“So,” Adrien said, stepping away from Marinette’s rocking hips and unthreading his fingers from her collar. “How do you propose we solve this conundrum, princess?”

 

Marinette fought a smile, folding her hands behind her back as she looked up at him. “I suppose I could finish undressing, sir.”

 

“Lovely idea,” Adrien said, resting his elbow on his crossed arm and looking her over with a smile hidden behind his hand. “Why don’t you do that?”

 

“…n-now?” Marinette asked, swallowing as she realized he was asking her to finish stripping in front of him.

 

“Well we could always reschedule,” Adrien said thoughtfully, tapping his lip as he glanced at her with a teasing smile. There was hardly a corner of Marinette’s body not red with either excitement or embarrassment but she reached down, threading her thumbs in the hem of her stockings-

 

“Actually,” Adrien blurted out before clearing his throat. “Leave the stockings.”

 

…apparently someone had a nylon kink. Marinette glanced up at him with a raised brow, noting the way his cheeks colored. Half of Adrien struggled to come up with a justification (“Apparently there’s a positive correlation between warm feet and female satisfaction”) while the other half reminded him that he was in a position where he didn’t have to explain why he thought her legs looked better covered in black nylon.

 

“Your call, sir,” Marinette snickered, straightening back up a little and reaching for the silk ribbons holding her underwear together at the sides. As she tugged the ribbons apart, slowly undoing the last vestiges of her modesty, she was struck by a sudden memory of herself at age fourteen, mortified at the mere prospect of talking to Adrien. Eleven years later here she was, stripping on his command and feeling more desire than shame as her underwear fell to the floor and her wet, aching sex was exposed to the comparatively chilly apartment air.

 

If her fourteen year old self could have seen her now…well first of all, fourteen year old Marinette had no business watching her older self prepare to be fucked by Adrien Agreste. But if she had (and hadn’t passed out from blood rushing to her head) she would have seen the confirmations of fantasies she didn’t even know she had yet. Eleven years later and she would be educated, independent, designing her own clothes, and looking up at Adrien stark naked except for the collar around her neck and the stockings on her legs.

 

High school goals: achieved.

 

Adrien’s tongue ran across his lips, suddenly in need of a drink of water as he looked Marinette over, relishing the way she looked up at him, lip between her teeth and eyes crinkling in an anxious smile. He didn’t let her stand there long, the urge to touch her again overwhelming his urge to stand there staring at her for the rest of the night. His palm brushed her stomach, drawing a small gasp from her as the mere touch of his skin on hers was enough to excite her.

 

“Someone is…very eager,” Adrien said, finger slipping into her belly button for a moment. “Which is why the first topic we will be covering…”

 

Marinette watched his hand trail lower and lower, fingertips brushing the neatly trimmed patch of hair between her legs. Another centimeter and he would be touching the one spot that sorely needed his attention. Another centimeter and-

 

“…is restraint,” Adrien said, pulling his hand back and laughing at the small whine that came from Marinette’s throat. His hands rested on her shoulders, turning her to face the full length mirror. “Stay.”

 

Marinette watched him turn around in the mirror behind her, heart skipping a beat as she was almost nose to nose with her flushed, naked figure. She focused her attention on Adrien behind her, watching his fingers work something in his front for a moment before she realized he was taking his shirt off. She must have let out an audible sigh of anticipation because Adrien turned around, catching her head snapping back to stare at her own reflection. She watched him shoot her back a suspicious smile (smiling herself as she watched his gaze drop and linger on her backside) as he turned back around, shoulders slowly shimmying back and forth as he peeled his shirt off behind her.

 

Were it not for the fact that she was seeing Adrien shirtless in person for the first time she might have rolled her eyes at the way he was obviously playing for an audience. She watched him stretch lazily behind her, arms arching above his head as his shirt fell to the floor behind him. Sighing through her nose, she almost didn’t want to look out of pure spite for his obvious showboating but then again the only person she would have been spiting was herself. Adrien wouldn’t have been put out if she had chosen not to watch him bend over to pick up the wooden box her collar rested in.

 

Marinette watched as he produced four matching cuffs, tensing as he approached twirling one on his finger. Carefully, he took measure of her expression in the mirror, looking for any obvious signs of unease as he went forward. It was one thing to enthusiastically sign up for something when all you knew about it was theoretical. Even though he wasn’t planning on anything…extreme, being cautious never hurt.

 

“Wrists please,” Adrien said, tapping her on the shoulders lightly. With a small breath to steady her anticipation, she stretched her arms back, knuckles bumping into his legs as he took hold of one of her wrists. A pair of clicks secured the padded, weighty bracelets around her wrists, pressing soft leather against her skin as Adrien sunk to his knees behind her. She let out a small squeak as his lips briefly pressed against the soft curve of her bottom as his fingers worked to secure cuffs around her ankles.

 

“You approve of the color selection?” Adrien asked, standing up behind her and studying her reflection in the mirror as she lifted her wrists up to her neck, comparing the way the restraints’ metallic detailing glinted in the dim light of the living room.

 

“Hard to go wrong with black and white,” Marinette mused, jangling her wrists lightly as Adrien rested his hands on her shoulder. “Though to be honest I was expecting to be strung up like a package.”

 

“Rope’s fun,” Adrien conceded, fingers kneading her shoulders absently as he let her adjust to the new sensation. “Not as versatile.”

 

“Versatile?” Marinette asked.

 

“Easier to switch between…restraints when your partner isn’t bound in a hundred different knots,” Adrien said, turning back around and retrieving what appeared to be a pair of silver, double ended swivel clasps from the box. “For example…if, say, you’re playing with a sub who has a hard time keeping her hands to herself-”

 

Adrien took her hand, raising it to the side of her head as he fastened one end of the clasp to her wrist and another to the ring on the side of her collar. An electric thrill ran through her as he quickly attached the other arm to the other side of her collar, leaving her wrists bound to her neck.

 

“-you can easily give her a hand,” Adrien said, fingertips passing between Marinette’s breasts as she tested the bonds with a light tug.

 

“I-I see,” Marinette stammered, wondering if the simple act of hooking her arms to her neck should be exciting her as much as it was.

 

“It also helps to get…instinct out of the way,” Adrien said, watching her expression in the mirror contort in confusion.

 

“Instinct?” Marinette asked.

 

“For example,” Marinette let out a small gasp as Adrien’s hands lightly squeezed her breasts from behind, unabashedly enjoying himself as he watched her reflection squirm under his touch. “What is your first instinct when I touch you like this?”

 

“Mmph…I-I don’t know s-ahh!” Marinette yelped as Adrien’s fingers lightly pinched her nipples.

 

“Be honest,” Adrien chided, resuming his massage idly as she whimpered in his arms.

 

“I uh…I w-want to move,” Marinette stammered out quickly.

 

“Do you not like it?” Adrien said, watching her hands clench behind her neck and arms strain against her bonds.

 

“N-No i-it's not that!” Marinette said quickly. There was nothing unpleasant about the way Adrien was touching her. But for some reason she wanted to reach down, turn around, kiss him hard on the mouth while he felt her up. The result would have been the same either way but with the cuffs on…

 

“I…my first instinct is to get back in control, sir,” Marinette said, watching Adrien nod behind her.

 

“That’s everyone’s first instinct,” Adrien said, nails lightly skimming down her sides as she shuddered. “Instinct isn’t desire though. Instinct isn’t intent otherwise you wouldn’t have allowed me to cuff you in the first place…is that what you want? For me to stop touching you?”

 

“N-no, sir,” Marinette said, whimpering as his hands slid down to her thighs, teasing as though her were going to touch her before pulling back.

 

“You’re enjoying yourself then,” Adrien said, running a finger up her spine and threading a finger through the ring at the back of her collar. “You ever wonder why people like us enjoy things like this? Being restrained…having control stripped from us?”

 

“A-All the time, sir,” Marinette chuckled, head snapping up as Adrien lightly pulled on the ring at the back of her collar.

 

“Well I can’t speak for you,” Adrien murmured in her ear. “But for me…I like being confronted with my desires.”

 

“W-would you run from them if you weren’t bound, s-sir?” Marinette murmured, closing her eyes and sinking back into his embrace as his bare chest pressed against her bare back.

 

“We all do,” Adrien said, pressing a kiss on the top of her head as he wrapped his arms around her waist. “At least I think so. We all have things we want but won’t admit we want. When faced with the opportunity to satisfy them we balk or blanch or deny we ever wanted them in the first place. But…when you let someone else take control…let someone else decide how the night is going to go…then you can’t help but give in to your-”

 

Marinette’s eyes snapped open as she felt the tip of Adrien’s finger brush over her clit.

 

“-desires,” Adrien in her ear, pressing against her clit briefly before pulling back, leaving Marinette red faced and wide eyed, heart thrumming in her chest as she was dimly aware of the clasps being undone from her neck. She blinked at her reflection, hands falling to her sides as Adrien reached behind him, pulling a short silver chain capped with two clips.

 

“And by the way,” Adrien whispered conspiratorially, snapping one end of the chain on each wrist and tugging her back a few steps until they stood under the balcony that overlooked the living room. “I’m going to let you in on a little secret…you know that sex dungeon you asked about earlier? Well…”

 

She followed Adrien’s gaze above her head, eyeing a large, reinforced hook that looked like it had been drilled into the crossbeams only recently to hang some kind of decoration…or-

 

“…you’re in i-wait a second,” Adrien said, slowly raising the chain connecting her arms over her head…only to frown as it stopped a few inches short of the fixture he was looking to attach it too. “…huh.”

 

“Something wrong?” Marinette asked, a little disappointed that she wasn’t currently helplessly dangling from Adrien’s rafters

 

“It’s just uh…wow you are much shorter than I expected,” Adrien said, glancing between the chain and the rafters with a small frown. “Could have sworn this was long enough but I think your legs are just too short…”

 

“Bite me,” Marinette muttered under her breath, yelping as she felt him pull back on her collar.

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Bite me sir,” Marinette said through clenched teeth.

 

“Thank you,” Adrien replied, glancing between her wrists and the rafters with a small frown. This was definitely a snag that he hadn’t anticipated and kind of put a wrench in his plans for the evening.

 

“Can’t you just…lift me up there?” Marinette asked, standing on her tiptoes. “I mean I would probably still dangle a couple of inches but-”

 

“Little early to be breaking out suspension,” Adrien said, biting his lip as he attached the clasps to the end of the chain to see if he could lengthen it any. “Besides these cuffs aren’t designed to support your entire body weight.”

 

“That’s no fun,” Marinette huffed.

 

“Neither is nerve damage,” Adrien countered, glancing around the room for anything he could use. “Uhhhhhhh…okay…lemmethink lemmethink lemmethink…”

 

“No, no, take your time,” Marinette deadpanned, rolling her neck in her collar a little. “I’ll just stand here, naked and aroused beyond all rational thought while you figure out the logistics of how you’re going to-”

 

Smack!

 

Ah!” Marinette rocked up on the balls of her feet as Adrien’s free hand collided against her backside with a light smack that sent shockwaves reverberating through her body. It had hardly been painful (though she wouldn’t have minded if it was) but it had the same effect as Adrien’s fingers lightly brushing her clit earlier. Her eyes widened; her pulse quickened. She stood up just a little straighter, arching into his touch as a warm ache slowly radiated out from the point of contact.

 

“Hush,” Adrien said, not taking his eyes off the rafters despite squeezing Marinette’s unprotected bottom. “I can’t think straight if you remind me you’re naked and aroused.”

 

“Y-you forgot?” Marinette panted, yelping as Adrien’s hand reddened the other cheek with an offhand smack. Hissing through her teeth, she found herself turned around and looking up at Adrien who was putting on a very convincing Gabriel Agreste impression which Marinette found sexier than she probably should have.

 

“Hush…up,” Adrien said quietly.

 

“Y-Yes sir,” Marinette stammered, wincing as Adrien squeezed the tender patch of skin his hand collided with the moment before.

 

“You know,” Adrien said, tilting her chin up as a small smirk broke through his stern expression. “I would threaten to spank your disobedient little ass if you keep running your pretty little mouth but something tells me that wouldn’t be much of a deterrent, would it?”

 

“No. Please,” Marinette ‘begged’ in the flattest voice she could muster. “I’ll be good, I promise.”

 

“Will you?” Adrien asked. “I guess we’ll have to see about that won’t-.”

 

An idea seemed to strike him as he glanced across the room, frowning at the curtains as though he were trying to stare through them. Marinette followed his gaze and for a moment she tried to puzzle out his train of thought. Then she caught notice of a thick black cord that held the curtains back to one side away from the shuttered windows.

 

“Ohhh,” they seemed to say at the same time, catching each other’s eyes and exchanging knowing nods. Adrien turned her around and had her sit back down on the ottoman behind her, quickly making his way across the room and undoing the curtain rope and tugging on it a few times roughly before making his way back to her.

 

“Just for your own personal reference,” Adrien said threading one end of the cord through her wristcuffs and securing it with a simple knot to the metal ring on the side. “The only reason I’m using random rope here is because it’s not going on you and because I don’t need it to support your weight.”

 

“You mean you aren’t going to wrap me up?” Marinette asked, offering her other arm and watching to see how Adrien secured the knots.

 

“After I took so much time unwrapping you?” Adrien chuckled, tugging her slowly to her feet by the half loop of cord that bound her wrists together. “Never…besides-”

 

Adrien stretched his hands over his head, looping the length of the rope over the hook attached to the beam above his head with a satisfied smile. Marinette’s eyes trailed down from the hook to her reflection in the full length mirror, tugging on the rope a little to test it. Her feet were still flat on the floor and the rope did little more than hold her cuffed hands a foot above her head as Adrien made his way behind her.

 

“Now that I’ve got my birthday present unwrapped, I’m very much looking forward to playing with it,” Adrien said, reaching into his pocket and drawing out a long strip of red satin. Marinette wondered for a moment if that was supposed to be for her eyes or her mouth but before she could ask, the soft fabric wound its way around her eyes. A small gasp escaped her as her world was suddenly plunged into semi-darkness. Light crept in around the edges but other than that, she couldn’t have even seen her hand if it was two inches in front of her face.

 

But she felt everything and all the more keenly.

 

She felt his hand trail down her back as he finished tying the loose know that held her blindfold in place. She felt him walk around the front of her, light footsteps sending shockwaves through the floor. She felt his presence standing in front of her, even before he leaned in, cupped her jaw, and pressed a slow, sensual kiss against her lips. Above all else, the blindfold made her feel a sense of anxious anticipation as though she had spent all night climbing the first hill of a particularly tall roller coaster and was just waiting for the first drop.

 

And she fucking loved roller coasters.

 

“Comfy, princess?” Adrien asked, pulling back from the kiss and looking her over with a small sigh. The entire evening had been leading to this moment and Adrien just hoped he wasn’t too badly out of practice. The last person he had played with was his old Milanese fling and he hadn’t exactly been in charge of that little encounter. That was nearly a year ago but Adrien had to hope that he hadn’t fallen too out of practice.

 

“Yes, sir,” Marinette whispered, suppressing a small smile as Adrien laced his fingers through both her hands.

 

“Squeeze my hands,” Adrien commanded, nodding when she did without question. “Good. If you get tingly or can’t feel them, talk to me.”

 

“Is that an order?” Marinette giggled a little anxiously.

 

“One I’m not going to budge on either,” Adrien said, winding his hands around her waist and drawing her body close to his. She shuddered as she felt her breasts press against his bare chest, looking up at him despite the fact the she couldn’t see. “No tough-guy stuff…I don’t want to hurt you.”

 

His voice washed over her like a warm summer breeze; gentle yet so consistent Marinette fought a lump rising in her throat.

 

“U-understood,” Marinette nodded.

 

“Good,” Adrien said, pressing a small kiss against her forehead. “So…would you like to play a game?”

 

“Do I have a choice, sir?” Marinette snorted.

 

“Of course,” Adrien said, slowly making his way around the other side of her, staring over her head at their reflection in the mirror. “But I think you’ll enjoy this one…in the end, anyway.”

 

Her breath hitched in her throat as Adrien’s fingers trailed their way up the insides of her thigh until they rested in the cleft where her legs came together. Instinctively, she widened her stance, allowing him a little easier access and earning a fond chuckle from behind her.

 

“The rules are quite simple,” Adrien said, tip of his middle finger lightly tracing up her warm, slick sex with just enough pressure to make Marinette shudder against him. “I’m going to touch you…but you are not going to come.”

 

Marinette suppressed a small whine of confusion, arching into his touch only for Adrien to move his hand away. “Wh-why? I mean…how-”

 

“Because every time you feel that little twinge,” Adrien purred, pressing his finger against her clit and lightly drawing circles around it. “You’re going to let me know…and I’m going to stop touching you.”

 

“But-”

 

“But,” Adrien echoed, squeezing her unprotected bottom with his other hand. “I can already tell you’re wondering why on Earth you would do something like that, aren’t you?”

 

Marinette opened her mouth before closing it, brow knit behind the blindfold. “You…you said I would enjoy it in the end?”

 

“Well like all good games, this one has a prize,” Adrien said, settling both hands on her hips and resting his chin on her head. “One I think you’ll enjoy…if you play along with me for a little while I promise that when we’re done-”

 

Marinette’s head tilted back a little as Adrien tugged her collar gently, leaning in and pressing a kiss against her shoulder.

 

“When we’re done I’m going to take you down from these rafters…” Adrien rasped in a low, hungry tone of voice. “I’m going to carry you to my bedroom…I am going to tie your hands to my headboard…and then…”

 

Adrien brushed her hair aside, leaning in to whisper softly into her ear. “I am going to fuck you, princess, until you are a wet shaking mess beneath me.”

 

Her throat almost dried up as he pressed a deceptively chaste kiss against her cheek. The throbbing ache between her legs was almost unbearable and she didn’t know how much longer she could last until she was a wet shaking mess under his touch. She wanted him now. She wanted him to shuck the rest of his clothes and take her now, whether it was standing in front of the mirror or on the couch or anywhere as long as it was now. Four years of university quickies in dorm rooms and broom closets hadn’t exactly done wonders for her stamina; part of her wondered if she was even capable of stopping herself-

 

“So…do you think you’re up for the challenge?” Adrien asked, hands returning to her waist as he awaited her answer.

 

…but he just had to challenge her.

 

“Yes sir,” Marinette said quickly and firmly. Part of her knew he was using her pride against her but she didn’t care. She was going to show him that she was more than capable of playing along with whatever he had in mind…she hoped.

 

“Ooh, where did this enthusiasm come from?” Adrien laughed, pacing his way back around the other side of her. “Did I touch a nerve, princess?”

 

“I thought that’s what you were going to do, sir,” Marinette said, lips twitching as she felt him in front of her. “Touch a nerv-ah!

 

The blindfold effectively made it impossible for Marinette to anticipate the sudden presence of Adrien’s fingers between her legs. One moment she was smiling up at him confidently, all but daring him to touch her and then he was. He snatched her breath from her breast with barely a brush of his finger across her unprotected clit. Marinette popped up on the balls of her feet, arching back out of reflex but Adrien refused to let her get away.

 

“Going somewhere, princess?” Adrien chuckled, wrapping his other hand around her waist and pulling her back into contact with fingers.

 

“S-Sorry,” Marinette stammered, biting her lip as Adrien slowly started rocking his finger back and forth on top of her clit. “Surprised me…that’s all.”

 

“I told you I was going to touch you and you were surprised when I actually did?” Marinette could hear the shit-eating grin in his voice as his fingers continued to curiously prod, stoke, and fiddle with her. He watched her expression as he touched her, taking note of what made her whine almost soundlessly. If she hadn’t been in danger of getting off too early, he might have had her do this herself just to clue him into what she might have done if she was alone. He liked to know where his partners’ soft spots were; where to touch them if he needed to reduce them to whimpering messes in short order.

 

And while she might have been able to show him better herself, in all honesty he couldn’t have kept himself from touching her for too long.

 

As it was, Marinette was quickly realizing how much she enjoyed touching her partners now that Adrien had rendered her incapable of doing so. He had hardly moved past second-base, his hands getting a feel for what she liked and how she responded to his touches. It was something her boyfriends and one-night stands had done a hundred times before but something about the experience made it all the more enticing. Maybe it was the fact that there was nothing she could do to stop his hands wandering where they would. Maybe it was the fact that her sense of touch seemed to be intensified now that she couldn’t see the hands that touched her. Maybe it was just the pervert in her rejoicing that she was finally living up to her aspirations of kinkiness but in all honesty, it was Adrien.

 

The boy that made her like boys in the first place was fast living up to his promise of ravishing the holy hell out of her so she shouldn’t have been surprised that his gentle touch was playing havoc with her nerves (and not just the ones Adrien was so expertly stimulating).

 

“Someone got quiet all of a sudden,” Adrien said, free hand squeezing her backside as his fingers became more insistent with their movements.

 

“N-Not much to say,” Marinette whispered, chest rising and falling more intently as he continued to stoke her lust with every casual stroke.

 

“I find that hard to believe,” Adrien said, walking back around the side of her without removing his fingertips from her clit. Marinette sighed as she felt him wrap around her, arms snaking around her hips and bare chest pressed against her back. “Since last time you were so talkative.”

 

The wish she made Tuesday night had been fulfilled as it was now Adrien’s hands running all over her body instead of her own. More than anything, he seemed to be experimenting with her; gauging her responses to his actions for feedback. Adrien actually laughed in her ear as the sensation of his teeth lightly nibbling on her earlobe brought a small groan of pleasure from her throat so she was hardly surprised when he switched sides, lightly suckling on her other ear with much of the same results.

 

And all the while, he touched her.

 

Adrien’s left hand travelled everywhere from her breasts to her shoulders to her bottom, pinching and massaging and squeezing every stray bit of skin he could get his hands on. But his right hand never wavered from between Marinette’s thighs even as she clenched them together around his hand.

 

“Spread your legs,” Adrien rasped softly in her ear. Marinette whimpered, a gust of cool air washing over her aching sex and sending a shiver down her spine as she spread her legs out a little bit to allow him easier access. To her surprise, his fingers only lingered on her clit for the moment, encouraging her hips to rock against his finger by grinding against her from behind.

 

“Did you imagine me doing this to you on Tuesday?” Adrien purred, enjoying the reflection of her front in the mirror.

 

“Yes,” Marinette breathed, eyes screwed shut behind the blindfold as Adrien’s touch became more intent. He seemed to know what turned her on at this point and now made it a point to target every vulnerability she exposed to him.

 

“Did you play with yourself like this while I talked to you?” Adrien asked, slowly reveling in the feeling of adrenaline that came from having someone so beautiful at his disposal. “Did you imagine it was me touching you instead of yourself?”

 

“Yes sir,” Marinette whined, feeling the tension inside her build with each passing pass of his fingers.

 

“And since then?” Adrien said, smiling against her hair as he breathed in the smell of her shampoo. “How many times did you touch yourself thinking about me?”

 

“I…” Marinette swallowed, fighting a wave of embarrassment. “T-Twice, sir.”

 

“So in the past week you’ve had to just imagine what it felt like for me to feel you up?” Adrien clucked. “Sorry I wasn’t there to give you a hand.”

 

Marinette might have rolled her eyes at that pun if there was any corner of her conscious mind not currently occupied with the pressure between her legs. Despite the aching wait for Saturday night, she hadn’t indulged in fantasies of Adrien since Thursday and as such she had more than her fair share of sexual tension built up and ready to break through. For a moment, she considered telling him where he could shove his little “game” and give in to the mounting temptation threatening to overwhelm her. Surely this was good enough; surely his fingers on her skin and his voice in her ear was good enough for one night. All she had to do was let go; let the threat of orgasm overwhelm her and just give in to her desires.

 

“Mmngh…s-sir I’m gonna-” Marinette groaned, rocking back against Adrien.

 

“You want me to deny you?” Adrien asked, not stopping to hear her response as she clenched her fingers around the rope holding her up. “Say it; tell me you want me to deny you.”

 

“D…” Marinette bit her lip, biting back a curse as she couldn’t believe the words that were about to come out of her mouth. “S-Sir please deny me.”

 

And just like that, he stopped.

 

The wave that threatened to break over her receded, leaving her aching, sweating, and deeply unsatisfied as Adrien took a step back, hands rubbing her shoulders comfortingly.

 

“Good girl,” Adrien cooed, his words washing over her like a warm bath. “You have more self-control than I thought.”

 

Not by much, Marinette thought bitterly, groaning as she felt an orgasm slip out of her grasp for the second time that night.

 

“How do you feel?” Adrien asked.

 

“Peachy sir,” Marinette laughed bitterly, turning in the direction of his voice.

 

“Honestly,” Adrien responded.

 

“I-I think I would honestly prefer the spanking at this point,” Marinette whined softly, thighs rubbing together until Adrien’s foot came between her ankles, nudging her legs apart again.

 

“I don’t doubt that you would,” Adrien remarked, hand trailing down to squeeze her butt almost thoughtfully. He could almost see the cogs in her mind turning, wondering if he was actually going to do it or not. And to be honest, he had half a mind to if it weren’t for the fact that it would be too predictable of him.

 

“But,” Adrien said, pulling his hand away and smiling as her shoulders slumped a little in disappointment. “Before we can get to all that fun stuff I wanted to get a feel for you.”

 

“In more ways than one,” Marinette panted, gradually returning to the baseline level of arousal she had arrived with. Still there was a sense of...vulnerability that she was surprised to feel seeping into her subconscious; a wholly unfamiliar sensation to a woman who had done so well to make sure she was never in a position of helplessness. No matter what situation presented itself to her, she always knew there was something she could do about it. Only now she was completely exposed to Adrien’s whim and there wasn’t anything she could do but take it.

 

…well there was always one thing she could do. But she didn’t want it to end; not yet. This was such a new sensation for her that she just had to see where it went.

 

“I don’t really see how y-you get anything out of this though siiiiiiiiiiiir,” The last syllable trailed off into a purring sigh as Adrien’s fingers once again resumed their place between her legs.

 

“I like to know what makes my partner squirm,” Adrien said simply, enjoying the sensation of her falling back against his chest as he resumed his light pressure on her clit. “And as long as we’re being honest…”

 

He watched her expression cloud with confusion beneath her blindfold for a moment, letting her stew for a moment as his right hand slowed its touch. Just as she looked like she was going to ask him something, he moved. His right hand ripped further down, fingertip of his middle finger pressing against her warm, wet lips as his left slid down her stomach to resume contact with her clit.

 

“If we’re being honest…I’ve wanted to get my hands on you for a long time now,” Adrien growled in her ear. “And now that I’ve got that chance-”

 

Marinette’s legs almost buckled as he slowly slid a finger inside her, mouth falling open in a silent gasp.

 

“-I’ll touch you as much as I damn well please,” Adrien said, tip of his foot once again nudging Marinette’s ankles apart. “Legs spread, princess; I won’t ask again.”

 

To her credit, she managed to squeak out a sorry-sir despite the fact that most of her being was adjusting to the reality that her childhood love was now slowly pumping his finger in and out as his other hand continued to massage her clit from the front. Marinette managed to spread her shaking legs a little more, straining against her bonds as he took his time with her.

 

And God did he take his time.

 

Marinette had mentally prepared herself for any number of things he might have done to her; spanking, cropping, nipple-clamps, dripping wax on her body. She had prepared herself to be manhandled, slammed against the wall and taken the minute things began, clothes falling to the ground in tatters as he had his way with her…but she hadn’t prepared herself for the possibility that he would be gentle with her.

 

And it was that methodical tenderness that was currently setting every nerve of hers on edge.

 

He wasn’t simply touching her; pawing at her with fumbling incompetence in the hopes of eliciting some kind of response from her. No, Adrien seemed to be legitimately enjoying the act of simply touching her. His right hand never stopped steadily thrusting his fingers in and out of her; his left hand continued to tease and touch her from behind. Adrien controlled the pace with such expertise that Marinette was stunned by her own inability to relieve her tension. Every time she rocked against his touch, he would pull back. She would unconsciously clench around him and he would retreat until she relaxed some more. Without saying a word, he had made it very clear that he alone was going to control the pace of the evening.

 

“You’re quiet again,” Adrien muttered after a while, breaking through the dark haze of Marinette’s own desire and bringing her back to some semblance of reality. “Lot on your mind?”

 

“Y-Yes, sir,” she croaked out, fighting the urge to clench her thighs around Adrien’s hands.

 

“Feels like it,” Adrien remarked, increasing his tempo and stepping between her legs so she wouldn’t be tempted to bring them together again. “You want to come, don’t you?”

 

“Yes, sir,” Marinette breathed, almost doubling over as he drew his fingers all the way out only to slip them back in in one fluid motion. “Mngh…p-please, sir…please may I-”

 

“No,” Adrien said softly, ignoring her groan of frustration as he continued to touch her.

 

“B-But-”

 

“But I don’t want you to come yet,” Adrien said, pausing with one finger buried deep inside her. He could feel her clenching and tensing around him, hips shaking as she seemed to toy with the idea of thrusting against his hand. “Simple as that.”

 

“Wh-whyyyyy,” Marinette whined, yelping as his left hand looped through the ring at the back of her collar and yanked her head back.

 

“Because I said so,” Adrien said in a stern, soft tone of voice that made Marinette shiver. “And because you need to learn something before we go on.”

 

“Wh-what?” Marinette asked, head swimming as she struggled to follow his train of thought when he was up to his second knuckle inside of her.

 

“I need you to understand that this night was never about two people getting each other off,” Adrien said, watching confusion cloud her expression. “You wondered how I could gain pleasure from just touching you but the fact of the matter is that sex isn’t just about pleasure…yours or mine.”

 

Marinette was silent for a long moment. “M-may I speak freely, sir?”

 

“Yes, princess,” Adrien replied.

 

“What the fuck are you talking about?!” Marinette squeaked, blushing angrily as Adrien let out a bark of laughter that echoed throughout the empty house. “…sir.”

 

“You disagree?”

 

“Of course I disagree,” Marinette panted, whimpering as Adrien slid himself out of her. “S-sex is supposed to be-”

 

Marinette stopped cold as she felt Adrien’s hand come up, heard the sound of him suckling on something, and flushed as she heard the unmistakable sound of a finger popping out of his mouth next to her ear.

 

“Mmm…you taste very good princess,” Adrien said, licking his lips as Marinette tried to burn holes in her blindfold so she could see Adrien licking his finger covered in her juices. “You were saying?”

 

“I…” Marinette cleared her throat. “I…mean why else would you have sex?”

 

“Good question,” Adrien said, resting his chin on her head in a way that would have gotten any one else elbowed in the stomach. “You want to come?”

 

“Yes!” Marinette rasped.

 

“That’s all you want?”

 

“Y…yes?” Marinette said, frowning curiously.

 

“Just an orgasm?”

 

“…yes?”

 

“Well if that’s the case…then what are you doing here?” Marinette blinked behind her blindfold, struggling to come up with an answer to his question but before he could, he clarified his statement. “If all you wanted was a quick orgasm…then you don’t need me, do you? You don’t need anyone but yourself. As encouraging as you’ve been tonight, I guarantee you that there’s no one alive who knows how to please you better than you.”

 

He had a point; if she wanted just an orgasm and a nap, she could have gotten it at home; much quicker too…so that couldn’t have just been all she wanted.

 

“So why are you here?” Adrien asked.

 

“I…I wanted to be with you,” Marinette said softly, heart hammering as Adrien made an approving noise behind her.

 

“Sex…is never just about pleasure,” Adrien said, hands encircling her and watching her helpless expression in the mirror. “It’s about intimacy. It’s about enjoying each other in a number of different ways. And while an orgasm is a lovely way to end the night, it shouldn’t be the focus of the entire night. Sex is about the journey, the orgasm is just the destination.”

 

Marinette’s breathing slowed measure by measure as she tried to focus on anything other than her frustration for just a moment. She focused on Adrien’s arms around her, his chin on top of her head, his bare chest pressed against her back. She focused on the way the smell of her sweat mingled with Adrien’s cologne, the way the leather felt around her neck and wrists. She focused on the idea that Adrien had seen every inch of her naked and still reveled in the simple act of just touching her, making her feel so exposed and so desired that her head swam.

 

And she had to grudgingly admit that if he had only fucked her hard and fast on the couch, she wouldn’t have had that moment; just the two of them standing there.

 

“So…enjoy the journey,” Adrien said, kissing the top of her head. His hands ran up the sides of her arms, fingers linking through hers. He gave then a brief squeeze, making sure they were still warm, flushed and that she was capable of squeezing back. As he pulled away, he noted how her fingers lingered on his as he pulled away.

 

“It’s a longer journey than I thought, s-sir,” Marinette sighed as the persistent ache between her legs refused to leave her alone.

 

“I know,” Adrien said, squeezing her shoulders. “But you’re doing very well princess; and we’re almost done for tonight.”

 

“I-I know I just…” Marinette took a deep breath, bolstered by the promise that the aching desire would be quenched before the night’s end.

 

“Worried you won’t hold out?” Adrien asked, teasingly, smirking as her mouth set in a hard line. She seemed to love a good challenge and the minute the words left her lips she seemed to straighten up a little.

 

“I was just worried that your hands might be getting tired, sir,” Marinette said in the sweetest voice she could muster. “I wouldn’t want you to get a cramp or anything on my account…”

 

…and evidently she was a smartass when provoked too. Well, Adrien thought, she’s not the only one.

 

“That’s very sweet of you, princess,” Adrien cooed, walking until he stood back in front of her as he slowly undid his belt. “As a matter of fact my hands are a bit tired…”

 

Her pulse skyrocketed as she heard leather clear the loops in his belt, gasping as he wrapped it around her backside and pulled her in gently. For a moment, she wondered if he was going to use it on her but then (to her mild disappointment) Adrien tossed his belt aside, unbuttoning his pants.

 

“But the fact of the matter is I’m not quite ready for bed,” Adrien said, kicking his pants off and standing in front of her in a pair of black boxer-briefs that were increasingly uncomfortable. “And I don’t know about you but it’s been a while since I’ve eaten.”

 

“I didn’t know this show had snack breaks,” Marinette stammered, frowning as she sensed Adrien bending down in front of her for something. “Can we call out for Thai food or some-”

 

Marinette stiffened as she realized Adrien was not rising back up to her level. He was crouched or kneeling in front of her with his hands on her hips and it took her a disturbingly long time to realize what he had in mind.

 

And when she did, a cold chill sent goose bumps along her arms.

 

“W-Wait, wh-what are you doing?” Marinette said, looking down at Adrien despite not being able to see him.

 

“Guess,” Adrien purred.

 

“I…w-wait can w-we go back to just hands?” Marinette asked, heart thundering in her chest. There was still one more round to go and if he was kneeling in front of her, she was going to die and combust into a thousand gooey pieces before they could even get to bed.

 

“Oh someone wants to take it slow now?” Adrien laughed, lips brushing against her lower stomach.

 

“Y-Yes, sir, slow and steady, th-that’s how I want i-”

 

Marinette’s pleas died in her throat and the well thought out argument she had been scrambling for evaporated the moment Adrien’s tongue touched her. If she had been hot and wet already, Adrien’s mouth felt a thousand times more so as he tortuously dragged his tongue up the front of her pussy. Like he was lapping up a melting ice-cream cone, he started at the bottom, his entire tongue caressing her sore wanting sex as he traveled higher and higher until the tip of his tongue flicked across the tip of her clit.

 

In any other situation, having a man so appreciatively lick her might have been the highlight of the night but Marinette knew that she was just plain fucked now.

 

“What about how I want it?” Adrien asked, looking up her body to see her mouth hanging open in a wordless gasp, hands running down the back of her tense thighs. “I told you that I wanted to get you in private before I started eating you remember?”

 

“P-Please,” Marinette whimpered. “A-Adrien I’m n-not gonna last I-nngh!

 

Marinette squealed as the tips of Adrien’s teeth lightly raked across her inner thigh, nipping at her soft, exposed skin only hard enough to make Marinette feel it.

 

“Hush,” Adrien muttered, pressing a soft kiss on the spot he bit as he squeezed her tensing thighs approvingly. “Just breathe…and spread your legs.”

 

“I’m trying,” Marinette panted, chest rising and falling as the sensation of Adrien’s tongue on her rattled around in her brain, completely obliterating any rational thought she might have had. Every instinct demanded that she clench her legs together in a futile attempt to hold him off just a little longer. “I-I just can’t th-think when you’re licking me like-”

 

Smack!

 

Adrien’s hand slid up from her thighs and came down on her backside with a slap that echoed throughout the apartment. She jerked forward into his mouth with a restrained, the sensation of her desperate lust taking second place to the warm, blossoming ache spreading across her backside.

 

“You need something else to focus on then?” Adrien said coolly, other hand, smacking her across the other cheek and savoring the gasp that came from her mouth. “Focus on that then.”

 

Her ass ached, smarting from two smacks that had been rougher than anything her previous partners had done to her. The pain was hardly unbearable or unpleasant (if anything she likened it to the aches she got in her legs after a long run) . Between the memory of Adrien’s tongue on her and the sensation of her bottom aching from his touch, Marinette was fast losing grip on anything other than the sensations Adrien was lavishing on her. She was feeling lightheaded as she slowly relaxed her tense muscles. This was going to happen; she wanted this to happen. So all she could do was weather whatever storm Adrien had in store for her and pray she was at least somewhat capable of enjoying him in bed after this.

 

“Now…I’m going to enjoy my snack,” Adrien’s voice said, penetrating through the haze of her arousal enough to elicit a nod out of her. “And speaking from personal experience…it’ll be easier on you if you stop holding back those pretty little sounds your body wants to make.”

 

She must have mumbled out a yes-sir but once again Marinette’s conscious mind was obliterated by the sensation of Adrien’s tongue against her sex. It wasn’t as though Marinette’s previous partners had never used their mouths on her but it was always with a degree of reluctance that made her feel almost embarrassed for asking. They had balked at the notion of merely tasting her but here Adrien was on his knees devouring her with reckless abandon. His nose brushed up against her clit as his tongue snaked its way inside her and the sound of wet, slurping, suckling noises filled the air. Marinette let out a small, strangled sob, legs clenching together unconsciously until a smack on her bottom corrected her.

 

“Legs apart,” Adrien demanded, looking up at her panting, shaking figure through veiled eyes. He idly wondered if he looked as delectably helpless the first time he let someone else dominate him; if the half-dreamy, half-pained expression on her face was the same he wore when he was barely eighteen and learning how he fit into the strange game he found himself drawn too.

 

“Yes sir,” she said, legs shaking as she spread them apart for another assault. He let her wait for a moment, trembling in her bonds as she anticipated the touch of his tongue on her. She almost arched into him when he went back in, lips suckling her clit and hands clenching her reddening backside. There were so many sensations pressing themselves against her, Marinette had a hard time differentiating them; she didn’t know if her arousal was coming from the way Adrien roughly smacked her ass or from the way he enthusiastically used his tongue, lips, and teeth on her from the front. She didn’t care; every sensation had burrowed itself deep inside her and taken root in her mind.

 

And she wanted more.

 

“P-please,” Marinette gasped, head lolling back as Adrien paused his tongue’s passes to glance up at her. “Please…A-Adrien I need you…”

 

Five words almost turned Adrien to putty, heart skipping a beat before he reminded himself that her need for him was entirely physical. Part of him didn’t care as he slowly stood up, cupping Marinette’s face in his hands.

 

“What do you want me to do to you, princess?” Adrien rasped, thumb tracing her trembling cheek.

 

“Wh…whatever you’d like, sir,” Marinette breathed, biting her lip as she could feel Adrien looking down at her. “I-I just…I need you…p-please, sir-”

 

Marinette felt her arms fall as Adrien untied the rope around her cuffs. For a moment, she wondered if she had said the wrong thing; if their time was over and he was unhappy with her now. She swallowed heavily as Adrien tossed aside the rope, hooking his finger through her collar and tugging her close to him.

 

“In that case…let’s go to bed then,” Adrien said, smirking at the relieved grin that broke over her face.

 

“Th-thank you, sir,” Marinette sighed, leaning into his hand as he cupped her cheek.

 

“But,” Adrien said softly, leaning in to whisper into her ear. “You are not to come until I give my permission, understand?”

 

Marinette’s foot involuntarily stomped in frustration, pouting until another smack across her ass straightened her up again. “Y-yes sir…”

 

“Good,” Adrien said, picking up the discarded chain from earlier and clipping it to her collar. “Come along now.”

 

Marinette stumbled forward blindly on shaking legs, the only thing saving her from falling on her face or running into a wall was Adrien’s hand tugging her on. She must’ve looked every bit the wet, shaking mess Adrien promised but she didn’t care about anything other than the warm, cushy looking bed at the end of the hallway. Her feet passed over the threshold into the hardwood floor hallway, moving slowly as Adrien turned around to watch her walk. If Marinette was heartstoppingly gorgeous on a regular day then blindfolded, naked, sweating Marinette wearing his collar and covered in his love-bites was enough to make Adrien consider the logistics of pressing her against the wall and rutting her like a beast in heat. She was all but ready for him, warm, wet, and wanting from his earlier ministrations.

 

All that was left now was to bring the evening to a close the best way Adrien knew how.

 

The door clicked open and Marinette’s breath froze in her throat. She stumbled forward, feet once again coming into contact with carpet as she stepped into Adrien’s room. Adrien released his hold on her, letting her walk forward a few steps before closing the door behind them.

 

“Nervous?” Adrien asked, wrapping his arms around her body, enjoying the way she melted into his embrace with a small sigh.

 

“No, sir,” Marinette said, closing her eyes behind the blindfold as Adrien guided her forward.

 

“That’s what I like to hear,” Adrien said, pushing her forward until her stomach bumped the side of his bed. “Crawl on up there.”

 

Her hands fell forward, fingers clutching at the fabric of his comforter as she tried to get her legs up on the bed. Clearly the bed had been put together by long-legged stilt people because Marinette’s attempts to get her leg up on the bed only resulted in stifled, snickering laughter from Adrien.

 

“Having trouble?” Adrien asked, biting his knuckle to keep from laughing. Marinette actually turned to look back at him and he didn’t need to see her eyes to know they were narrowed in disgust.

 

“…was this the biggest bedframe you could find?” Marinette said.

 

“What can I say; I like being tall,” Adrien said, hand rubbing the nape of her neck above the leather, as her lips scrunched up. “You need a lift?”

 

“You need a smaller bed…” Marinette muttered, before adding “sir.”

 

“This one has its advantages,” Adrien said, glancing down at her as an idea formulated in his head. “For example…”

 

Marinette felt the pressure on the back of her neck increase ever so slightly, enough to guide her down until her upper body was pressed against the mattress. Her toes barely touched the floor as Adrien stepped behind her, sliding his fingers up to tangle them in her hair.

 

“As I suspected,” Adrien hummed, pressing his hips against hers and leaning forward until she felt his breath tickle her ear. “It’s the perfect size for me to bend you over.”

 

Marinette whined, hips arching back against something distinctly hard and wrapped in cotton that dispelled the last lingering doubt as to Adrien’s intent.

 

“Much softer than a table...but still the perfect height,” Adrien mused, rocking against her as she drew breath through her clenched teeth. She would have never pegged Adrien Agreste as such a tease but she was feeling more and more like a cornered mouse trapped by a particularly venomous cat. “I’m almost tempted to take you like this…if only to watch this cute little ass bounce while I fuck you…”

 

Teeth clenched a corner of the sheets as Adrien pressed a kiss against between her collar blades. Anticipation was causing her more agony than anything else, going beyond the basic physical need and becoming carnal emotion. The last vestiges of her analytical mind was making note of what he was doing, filing it away for future usage while the rest of her sanity was engulfed in the sensation of his fingers in her hair, his voice in her ear, and his cock grinding against her ass.

 

“For now though,” Adrien said, disentangling his hand from her hair. “I need you on this bed…”

 

Without warning, Marinette felt his arms around her legs, lifting her up as she felt the weight of the bed creak under both of their weights. Adrien shimmied across the bed as best he could with her in his arms, dropping her lengthwise on a large red body pillow in the middle of the mattress.

 

“Wrists,” Adrien said, unclasping the chain from her neck as Marinette held up her wrists, allowing him to clasp the chain between her cuffs again. “Are your hands okay?”

 

“Yes sir,” Marinette said as Adrien dragged the chain up and over her head, hooking it to his bedframe with a small tug.

 

“Good,” Adrien said, leaning back and taking a moment to appreciate the way she looked as he knelt between her legs. Her hair had slipped loose of its tie, now splayed out on his sheets beneath her. Her breasts rose and fell with each breath, mouth open and head angled towards him. He felt her through his underwear, now soaked where he ground against her only minutes before.

 

It was going to be over soon enough…so Adrien wanted to savor whatever moments he could.

 

“Beautiful,” he found himself saying aloud, blushing as a grin broke out across Marinette’s face.

 

“Enjoying the view, sir?” Marinette asked, arching off the pillow a little as Adrien fumbled with something over her head. She heard a drawer open, a box tear open, and the tell-tale unwrapping of cheap aluminum foil and suppressed a small grin as she felt Adrien fiddle with something between her legs.

 

“More than you are I’d wager,” Adrien said, looking down at her blindfold thoughtfully before reaching behind her head and slipping it off before he could second guess himself. He was rewarded with the sight of deep blue eyes blinking in the dim light of his bedroom, looking up at him…and then down his chest as her eyebrows slowly raised.

 

“M-much better,” Marinette mumbled, hardly believing that the wild haired, smoky-eyed man kneeling between her legs was the same boy who had offered her his umbrella with a shy smile when they were kids. His hands pressed against her hips as he sat back on his heels, teeth flashing as he accidentally brushed his tip across her lips. She watched him roll his shoulders, crack his neck and flash her a smile he usually reserved for photo shoots.

 

“You ready for me, princess?” Adrien asked as if she hadn’t been a begging mess all night.

 

Yes,” Marinette breathed, hands twisting around the chain that held her wrists to the headboard. “I’m-”

 

Despite his privileged upbringing, Adrien was a fan of the simple things in life. Good food, late night walks through the city, and the look on his partner’s face when he slid inside them for the first time. In one fluid motion he slid his hips forward, watching Marinette’s eyes snap open, chest swelling with a gasp as he inched himself forward until his hips touched hers. A deep, throaty chuckle slipped out of his mouth as he heard a small whimper slip out of hers, thumbs tracing circles on her hips as she clenched around him.

 

“I’ll bet you are,” Adrien purred in an infuriatingly sexy tone as Marinette struggled to regain control of her breathing. Instantly, the dim embers of lust were rekindled and every inch of her felt warm and electric. Her hips rose off the pillow, rising up against Adrien pushed his sweaty hair out of his face, looking at her with such a hungry expression as he gripped her hips that Marinette might have come undone by his look alone.

 

“Did I thank you for my birthday present yet?” Adrien said, a feral grin tugging at his lips. “Because I think it’s a perfect fit.”

 

Marinette let out a stifled moan as Adrien slowly withdrew himself, arching back until only his head was inside her before slamming his hips forward in one quick thrust. Her arms tugged at the chain holding her hands back, so desperately wanting to run her hands over his firm, toned body as he slowly worked up to pace. At least she got to see him now that her blindfold was removed, abs tensing and lips pursed as he rocked his hips back and forth with methodical precision.

 

…well, methodical at first.

 

She could feel his naked want for her in every thrust, groaning as his hand reached down to touch her clit and she hissed triumphantly through her teeth as she saw his expression slowly become needier, his strokes less precise and more visceral. She was doing that to him; she was making him abandon his pretenses of control and give in to his desires with gusto. Even elevated as he was, he still had to thrust down into her, shaking the headboards with every thrust as he fucked her into the mattress.

 

Fucked her.

 

The distinction was clear and important in Marinette’s mind as her legs wound around Adrien’s waist. She had had sex before; she had made love before. But she had never been so carnally fucked like Adrien was fucking her right now. She had never had someone ravish her with such need in every stroke that she found herself unable to control her shaking breaths or the volume of her voice. There was something electric about the way they scratched each other’s’ unusual itches, each so intent on satisfying the other that they lost track of everything except for the feel of skin on skin and the way their bodies fit together so perfectly for a moment.

 

The way Marinette failed to bite back moans and curses and feverish gasps of his name was what he lived for. At his core, Adrien was a people pleaser; even when tying his partner up and ravishing them on his mattress he drew strength from her vocal satisfaction. For his part he was quiet; only gasping or whimpering lightly when he felt her legs wrap around his waist and draw him deeper inside her. The condom provided him insurance against getting lost in the sensation of burying himself inside her with each stroke but still she felt so damn good. Maybe it was the fact that he hadn’t had sex in nearly a year; maybe it was the fact that he had wanted this for months now. Maybe it was just the fact that Marinette was gorgeous, naked, and begging him for more and more and more. More she cried as he gripped her hips tighter; more she panted as he became dimly aware of the paint flaking off the wall where the headboard was striking it. She asked for it with each breath and Adrien was bound to give it to her; he couldn’t have refused her any longer if he had wanted her to.

 

Sex might not have been all about pleasure but the end of it sure as hell was.

 

The wave she fought all night threatened to crest over her yet again as Marinette’s teeth sunk into her lips. “S-Sir….A-Adrien I…mmph fuck Adrien…”

 

Her moaning became more focused; more insistent. Her breathing was becoming sporadic, her firm, toned stomach twitched involuntarily as he picked up the pace, refusing to take his foot off the pedal for even a moment.

 

“You want to come?” Adrien panted, receiving only whimpering nods in return. “Ask.”

 

“P-please…I have to…I have to-fuuuuck!” Marinette clenched her teeth together, tightening her grip on Adrien’s waist. She teetered on the edge of oblivion, waiting only on Adrien’s say-so which seemed so far away.

 

“Beg,” Adrien rasped, fingers tightening on her hips as he bucked harder against her hips. “Beg for it.”

 

Pleaaaaaaaaaase!” Marinette groaned, head arched back, shutting out the mounting pressure inside her. “Please…please, sir, l-let me…let me…”

 

One hand hooked in her collar, tugging her head off the pillow. His hand tilted her head up, forcing her to look into the dark green eyes that haunted her darkest fantasies and uttered five words that struck something deep inside her.

 

“Then come for me, princess.”

 

There was bound to be a breaking point and when she broke, she broke hard. Adrien’s hips drove forward and Marinette was gone, mouth falling open in a silent gasp as her orgasm ripped through her. Like a guitar string, she had been wound tighter and tighter all night until something snapped inside her and suddenly she remembered Adrien saying she would enjoy it “in the end.” The magnificent little shit had built her higher and higher so she would fall further and faster than she had ever fallen before. Every muscle in her body tensed for a moment of almost perfect silence before she fell back against the pillow, strangled, gasping, sobbing moans spilling from her lips as Adrien felt her squirm around him, unable to keep the grin off his face as he slowly continued to thrust in and out of her. She rocked against him, breath hoarse and strained as she whimpered thank-yous and obscenities with alternating breaths. Everything except the way she looked, felt, and sounded beneath him was irrelevant to him for a few perfect moments until-

 

Marinette's eyes fluttered open in time to be treated to the sight of Adrien's beautiful green eyes dilating a split second before they snapped shut, a prelude to the throaty, shaky purr that slithered out of his throat. His hands clenched the blanket, elbows locking up as he buried himself completely inside her with one final thrust. She has never seen him so vulnerable looking before, sucking in shaky breaths as he trembled between her legs like he had just been drawn from icy water. In that moment, as Marinette watched his supermodel facade crumble into an expression of unrestrained bliss, she knew she wanted to see him looking so vulnerable again. Eventually the moment passed and Marinette felt the warm, lusty heat drain out of hermeasure by measure until she flopped back against the pillows, legs untangling from Adrien’s hips and wrists uselessly falling back against the headboard. Adrien slid down onto his elbows, face buried in the crook of her neck and breathing hard next to her ear as he twitched for the last time inside her. 

 

With only the greatest effort, Adrien managed to lift his head from the pillow, turning and catching sight of Marinette resting against the pillows, eyes closed and smiling blindly up at the ceiling above him. Adrien's chest tightened as the idea of losing himself completely inside her and never coming out seemed to be better and better in his hazy, post-coital mind. But he couldn't for a number of reasons; not the least of which was the fact that she was still fastened to his furniture. Adrien slid his hips back a little, hissing through his teeth as Marinette responded by tightening around him, legs locking behind his waist and drawing him back in.

 

"...not yet," Marinette panted, biting her lip as her face tilted towards the headboard. "Not...g-give me a second."

 

"O-Okay," Adrien murmured, reaching up and unfastening the chain that held her wrists together. Like a puppet with her strings cut, her arms flopped uselessly against the bed beside her, dimly aware of the cuffs being removed from her wrists and neck and Adrien's fingers lightly rubbing the pink skin where the leather had pressed. A warm, floating sensation washed over her that made her completely indifferent to anything that wasn't the sensation of Adrien's body pressed against hers. She didn't know if she would ever get this moment again so she held tightly onto him, legs tangled around his hips in the vain hope of making the night last just a moment longer.

 

“That felt like a big one,” Adrien chuckled, biting his lip as Marinette’s eyes slowly opened. She saw him kneeling between her legs, hands slowly rubbing the backs of her thighs as he looked down at her with a gentle smile. “Hi.”

 

“…fuuuuuuuck," was all she whispered dreamily in response. Adrien burst out laughing as she covered her mouth in silent mortification.

 

“Again?” Adrien sniggered. “I think you might need a break.”

 

“And a gag apparently,” Marinette tittered, scratching her cheek anxiously.

 

“Something to consider,” Adrien said with a toothy grin. “Though I think I like the sound of you better without one.”

 

“Oh…” Marinette said softly, wondering exactly how loud she had been. “Sorry I got…kinda vocal there, didn’t I?”

 

“Don’t ever apologize for being vocal,” Adrien said, brushing a sweaty lock of hair out of her face and pressing his lips against her forehead. “I like vocal.”

 

Her pulse quickened as he checked her over, eyes raking her naked body for any sign of distress or discomfort, wondering how Adrien could go from shoving her head into a mattress one moment to running his hands over her wrists and neck another.

 

“You okay?” Adrien asked in a low, leaning in to get a better look at her. She answered by doing what she had wanted to do since she arrived, grabbing Adrien around the back of his neck and pulling him down for a warm, gentle kiss against his lips. His eyes popped open, his face flushed scarlet at the sudden display of tenderness that stood in stark contrast to the rough, hungry kisses they had devoured each other with all night. He was a little stunned as she pulled back, face tracing his jawline and fixing him with a smile that made his heart skip a beat.

 

“I-I’ll take that as a yes?” Adrien said, earning another airy laugh from Marinette in response.

 

“…thank you,” she said a little shyly, biting her lip and lightly bumping her forehead against his.

 

“Please,” Adrien said, fingers trailing down her shoulders. “The pleasure was all mine.”

 

All yours?” Marinette snorted, glancing down with raise of her brow. “Your comforter begs to differ.”

 

“Well in your defense I did say something about reducing you to a wet, shaking mess,” Adrien said, waggling his brows as he slowly wiggled out of her embrace. Reluctantly, her legs disentangled from his hips and he slowly pulled out of her with a small sigh. “Maman Agreste and a legion of my father’s house servants didn’t raise a liar.”

 

Adrien’s shaky legs touched the floor and Marinette felt the blanket pulled out from under her and cast to the floor. He tossed his condom in the trash can beside the bed, stretching lazily as Marinette rolled onto her side for a better look. She hardly felt any shame watching him bend over, pick up his underwear and deposit it in the hamper along with the blanket, only blushing when he turned back around to catch her staring with a small smile.

 

“Hi,” Marinette said, waving as he made his way back over to the bed, tugging the sheet out from under her and slipping under with a tentative look.

 

“Hi,” Adrien echoed, rolling over on his side to get a better look at her. Feeling suddenly self-conscious, she tugged the sheet up to cover herself. “Do you want some pajamas?”

 

“I don’t think my butt needs anything on it right now,” Marinette said, arching her head back to get a look at the blush Adrien’s hands left on her bottom.

 

“Ice?”

 

“You were hardly that rough,” Marinette said, snaking across the sheets a little, wanting to be close to him again. He met her halfway, arms wrapping around her waist as she laid her head in the crook of his neck with a happy sigh. “I was expecting whips and paddles and…stuff.”

 

“Gotta start small,” Adrien shrugged.

 

“It was hardly small,” Marinette said, glancing up at Adrien. “I mean that was…I-I wasn’t really ready for that.”

 

“Was it…okay?” Adrien asked, a little uneasy. Had he done a good enough job? Did she enjoy it?

 

“No, no it was…” Marinette trailed off, shaking her head with a distant smile on her face. “A hell of a way to break a dry spell, that’s for sure.”

 

“Same,” Adrien said, earning him a curious glance from Marinette. “I mean it’s been…what, almost a year for me too?”

 

“Call me when you go through two and then you can complain,” Marinette snorted, stretching her arm across his chest and reveling in the fact that nothing was stopping her from touching him now.

 

“Hey you can’t complain now either,” Adrien said, poking her side with his finger.

 

“I’m crushed,” Marinette mumbled, head rising and falling on Adrien’s chest in time with his breath. There was a moment of silence as they settled back against the blankets, wrapped around one another and simply enjoying the feeling of being so close. Adrien’s hand slowly caressed the back of her neck, pulling a small purr from her as he began to offhandedly massage her.

 

“Do you need anything?” Adrien asked, glancing down at his sleepy eyed partner. “Water? Snacks? More blankets or-”

 

“Just this,” Marinette said, nuzzling against Adrien’s neck as sleepiness seeped into her consciousness. “All I need…just this…”

 

If she kept saying things like that, Adrien was bound to get the wrong idea. She just needed his touch, he reminded himself, and a friendly shoulder to fall asleep on after they were done. As amazing as they had been together, he had to be careful not to get his expectations up. Far and away, this had been one of the best nights of his adult life and if he ever wanted another, he couldn't go blundering in with his overly sentimental sense of romance.

 

He wasn’t going to ruin this like he did the others.

 

“You?” Marinette asked quietly, slowly slipping off to sleep cuddled next to his chest. He glanced down at her deep blue eyes slowly disappearing as her eyelids struggled to stay open, listening to her slowing breaths as she slowly nodded off to sleep pressed against his chest.

 

“Just this,” Adrien echoed as the first soft snore slipped out of Marinette’s mouth, pressing a kiss into the top of her head. “…just you.”

 

There would be time to talk in the morning; time to figure out where they fit into each other’s lives now that they’d seen one another at their most vulnerable. But for now, Adrien allowed himself to indulge in the fantasy just a moment longer, pretending that when she woke and left the next morning, she would still be his. Adrien waited until he was sure she had fallen asleep before reaching over to turn off the lights. Adrien listened to her gentle snoring for a few moments until he nodded off, arms wrapped loosely around her waist and nose buried in her hair.

Chapter Text

Of all the sins Adrien had introduced her to the night before, Marinette found that Egyptian cotton and memory foam mattress pads were among the most carnal.

 

As a woman who routinely fell asleep on her office couch in increasingly uncomfortable positions, a good night sleep was a luxury she hadn’t enjoyed since she moved out of her parents’ house. She didn’t exactly have thousands of euros to drop on a top of the line wunderbed cooked up in a Swiss laboratory somewhere so to her sleep was something just to pass the time until it was time for work again.

 

Adrien’s bed had shown her the error of her ways.

 

Marinette had gone down within minutes of her head hitting the bed and barely budged throughout the night. For once, she spent the entire night drooling on Adrien’s pillow instead of tossing and turning and getting up every half-hour to bodyslam her bedding into submission. Swaddled in soft cream colored cloth, it was only with the greatest reluctance that Marinette opened her eyes as the first light of the morning spilled across her face.

 

Adrien was propped up against his pillows with an arm lazily draped across his bare stomach. His hair (which was getting longer than she had ever seen it) splayed out behind him like a halo as his eyes sleepily watched the silent news report on the TV opposite the bed. His other arm was draped over the pillow she currently rested on as though he were posing for a photo shoot instead of waking up after a night of rough and tumble sex (a fact that made Marinette want to reach across the bed and tousle his hair out of pure spite). For a moment she just watched him, smiling at the way his brow creased as he read the subtitles on the screen, at the way his chest rose and fell slowly with each sleepy breath.

 

She allowed herself a moment of smugness as it wasn’t every day that she got to go to bed with a literal fucking supermodel.

 

Adrien glanced down as she shifted beside him, shooting her a small smile. “Hey,” he said.

 

“Mmm…morning,” Marinette murmured, shooting him a sleepy smile as she replayed the events of the night before. Flashes of Adrien's hands on her skin, his breath on her neck brought the blush from last night back for an extended encore...and part of her wished that wouldn't be the only encore that day. Even after feasting, she still felt famished but she supposed she had a lot of time to make up for.

 

“Did I wake you?” Adrien asked, hand lingering on the pillow behind her head.

 

“Uh uh,” Marinette muttered only half-awake. “What time is it?”

 

“Just after seven,” Adrien said, laughing as Marinette groaned and buried her face in the pillow. “What?”

 

“This is literally the earliest I’ve ever been up on a Sunday,” Marinette mumbled, tugging the topsheet over her head.

 

“You did go to bed at ten,” Adrien reminded her, snorting as her lidded blue eyes poked out from the top of the sheet.

 

“You say that like it's supposed to mean something to me,” Marinette muttered, pressing the sheet against her body as she resisted the urge to climb into his lap and snuggle against his chest. She had done one night stands before but they usually ended when she snuck out of the apartment at nine in the morning, clutching her shoes to make sure she didn’t wake anyone. She didn’t know what the etiquette was when you woke up next to someone you really didn’t want to walk away from.

 

“How do you feel?” Adrien asked, pushing a lock of hair out of her face.

 

“Mmm…good,” Marinette mumbled, leaning against the palm of his hand unconsciously. The distance between them on the bed couldn’t have been more than a few inches but it acted as a loathsome buffer zone Marinette was afraid of crossing.

 

“Yeah?” Adrien asked. “No like…aches or a sudden case of the blues or anything?”

 

Marinette shifted, biting her lip thoughtfully before shaking her head. “No…no I’m good.”

 

“G-Good,” Adrien said, reaching out for her with one hand before segueing into a scratch of his head. Her eyes glanced between his hand and the sheepish blush on his face, frowning for a moment as something Alya said stuck with her. “Just wanted to see if you needed anything or-”

 

“Can I touch you?” Marinette blurted out, swallowing as Adrien trailed off with a slightly stunned look on his face. “S-Sorry I would just…kind of like to cuddle right now but if you don’t-”

 

“No, no!” Adrien said, scooting a little closer with a smile that warmed Marinette head to toe. “Yeah I…typically like snuggling the morning after too I just didn’t know if-”

 

Adrien trailed off as he felt Marinette slide under the blankets beside him, leg kicking over until she straddled his hips. He relaxed back against the pillows with a small sigh as she laid her head on his chest, snaking his arm around her waist and tugging her closer. The uneasy tension between them seemed to evaporate as they reveled in the feeling of skin on skin sandwiched between soft cotton sheets. This is good, Marinette thought to herself. This was comfortable…well almost comfortable.

 

“Mmm…better,” Marinette mumbled, breathing in his scent as she struggled to get comfortable with something poking against the inside of her thigh. “Mgh…is that the remote or something?”

 

Adrien flushed, reaching across the bed and held up the TV remote for Marinette to see. He couldn’t keep the smile off his face as Marinette sleepily looked between the remote control and her lap, flushing as she realized the position she was sitting in.

 

“…oh,” Marinette said, burying her face in his chest as he let out a sharp bark of laughter. “ShutupI’msleepy.”

 

“I didn’t say anything,” Adrien reminded her, hand drawing circles on her back as he tried to ignore the way her weight had settled onto his lap.

 

Youweregonna,” Marinette muttered into his chest, looking up at him and scowling at his lopsided smirk. “Something funny?”

 

“Nothing,” Adrien said, admiring the way the sheets bunched around her back and hid her hips from view. “I just always take it as a sign I did a good job when my partner passes out post-orgasm and then immediately climbs into my lap when they wake up.”

 

Marinette almost wanted to climb out of his lap out of pure spite…except for the fact that she would be the only one spited in that scenario. Judging by the smile on his face, Adrien knew it too.

 

“Am I wrong?” Adrien asked, eyebrows waggling in way that challenged Marinette’s determined glare.

 

“You know,” Marinette said, pouting up at him. “I don’t remember you being so cocky in school.”

 

“Have you always been interested in my cock...iness?” Adrien asked, snickering as Marinette rolled her eyes so hard he saw white.

 

“Seriously, when did you become such a smug, self-satisfied little shit?” Marinette snorted, blushing as Adrien leaned in close enough to touch her nose with his.

 

“That’s my secret, Mari,” Adrien purred, back of his hand trailing down her cheek. “I’ve always been a smug, self-satisfied little shit.”

 

“Really?” Marinette raised an eyebrow. “Because I seem to remember a sweet, shy-”

 

“-doormat scared of his father and afraid he wouldn’t live up to his family name?” Adrien finished. Marinette opened her mouth to say something but bit her lip instead as Adrien’s hands settled on her hips. “Don’t worry; Mr. Doormat comes out to play every now and again.”

 

“Well…if I’m being honest, I’m kind of a fan of this cocky new Adrien,” Marinette said, slowly wrapping her arms around his neck as she took a deep breath. “I…wouldn’t mind seeing more of him.”

 

“You’ve seen pretty much all of me at this point,” Adrien laughed to cover the nervous pattering in his chest. “Does that mean that you ah…want to see me more?”

 

“Like…do I want to continue this…this?” Marinette said, gesturing between the two of them for lack of a better term to describe their relationship.

 

“Yeah,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his head and looking suddenly vulnerable. It was incredible that the man who could successfully make her beg him to have his way with her was now struggling to find the words to say. “I mean…I had an amazing time with you last night-”

 

“Same,” Marinette blurted out, fidgeting as he looked up at her. “I mean…at the risk of stroking your ego too much last night was…”

 

Adrien’s heart skipped a beat as she shot him a small, shy smile tinged with color.

 

“…kind of everything I was looking forward to…and some stuff I didn’t know I wanted,” Marinette murmured, glancing above his head as he tried his very hardest not to pump his fist. “And I…well I’m kind of hoping we could uh…do this again?”

 

“Yeah!” Adrien said a little louder than he intended, scratching his neck as Marinette hid a laugh in her hand. “I mean…that’s what you want?”

 

“I can’t see myself doing…well…anything like that with anyone but you right now,” Marinette admitted, fingernails tracing patterns on the nape of Adrien’s neck.

 

“I…I see,” Adrien said, buying time to he could find the right words to express what he wanted to say. He wondered if he was going too far too quickly but he figured he should strike while the iron was hot. “So uh…do you want to be like…exclusive?”

 

“I thought…” Marinette trailed off. “I thought we…I mean to say that I wasn’t…I don’t know about you but I…”

 

Marinette laughed, taking a deep breath before looking him in the eye again.

 

“I…would like it if this,” Marinette said, nodding between them. “Stayed between us…if that’s okay with you.”

 

Adrien was silent for a split second, looking as though he had been hit over the head with something large and heavy that made Marinette doubt her words for the briefest moment. If she had known the party that was going on inside Adrien’s mind at that moment, she wouldn’t have doubted it for a second. Slowly, a smile spread across his face, hands reaching up to cup her face in a surprisingly tender gesture that made her heart skip a beat.

 

“More than okay,” Adrien said, resisting the urge to lean in and plant another kiss on her. “After your…performance last night I can’t help but want to have you all to myself.”

 

“My performance?” Marinette said, fingers wrapping around his wrists as she tried not to read any deeper into Adrien’s word choice. “All I remember doing was panting, moaning, and struggling against my bonds.”

 

“Oh but you did it so well,” Adrien said.

 

“Did I?” Marinette said, sitting up a little straighter (noting the small intake of breath from him as she did). “So I was…good at it?”

 

“Did you enjoy it?” Adrien asked. “Being a sub I mean.”

 

“…more than I actually thought I would,” Marinette admitted. “I mean…well, I always had an inkling that I was pretty evenly split but-”

 

She shrugged helplessly.

 

“Everyone thinks they’ll enjoy being in charge more?” Adrien suggested.

 

“I still might,” Marinette said, biting her lip. “But…yeah I had fun. A lot of fun.”

 

“Then you were good at it,” Adrien said simply, squeezing her hand with a reassuring smile. “There’s no objectively…right way to do any of this so as long as we’re both enjoying it.”

 

“Did you?” Marinette asked almost shyly.

 

Adrien bit the corner of his lip, mouth twitching into a cheeky grin. “Well…I have to admit you look pretty good when you beg.”

 

“Oh please,” Marinette snorted derisively.

 

“Ooh yeah just like that,” Adrien purred, laughing as Marinette smacked him on the chest. He had endured a lot of awkward morning after conversations in his time and part of him dreaded the promise of potential awkwardness that could have awaited them. Granted, sleeping with someone always had the potential to get a little…awkward but the risk went up when one person teased the other person to the point of incoherent begging while bound and blindfolded.

 

So he was more than a little surprised to find that he relished the way Marinette could still poke fun at him, smack him around and roll her eyes like she hadn’t just spent the evening hanging from his rafters. He had more than his fair share of relationships that devolved into just sex but as he laid there, shielding himself from Marinette’s giggling slaps, any worries he had about the state of their friendship seemed to evaporate.

 

And some small part of him wondered if he could make it work this time.

 

Her flurry of lighthearted slaps was interrupted as Adrien managed to close his fingers around her wrists, holding them to her sides as she squirmed in his grip.

 

“Gotcha,” Adrien said, teeth baring in a triumphant grin. Marinette pouted, refusing to meet his eye as he craned his neck to try and look her in the eye.

 

“Oh no,” Marinette said flatly. “I am bound and trapped by a lecherous villain with no hope of escaping. How shall I escape with my virtue intact?”

 

“In my defense…I don’t remember your virtue being intact when I got a hold of it,” Adrien said, snickering at the unamused glare on Marinette’s face.

 

“Are you calling me a slut?” Marinette asked.

 

“I thought we established I was the only slut here,” Adrien reminded her. “And I worked very long and very hard for it; that’s not something you earn after one night.”

 

Marinette rolled her eyes, staring up at the ceiling as her expression went from thoughtful to devious in a matter of seconds.

 

“So…you’re saying I need more practice?” Marinette asked, arching her eyebrow as she looked down at him.

 

“Much more,” Adrien nodded sagely, frowning as he saw a glint in Marinette’s eye. “What are you-”

 

Adrien’s voice caught in his throat as he felt her grind against him, bringing her arms up over his head. His hands disengaged from her wrists, flopping back against the mattress as she pressed her palms against the headboard.

 

“So…do you want to practice?” Marinette asked, almost shyly. “I mean…I’ve never done the friends with benefits thing before so I don’t know the rules or anything about when we can-”

 

Marinette coughed, nodding down at Adrien’s lap.

 

“Well…in uh…my experience,” Adrien said, resting his hands on the back of her thighs. “We kinda get to make up our own rules, you know? So we can-”

 

Adrien nodded at her lap as they shared a laugh.

 

“Whenever we want,” Adrien said, scratching the back of his neck. “I mean we don’t always have to break out the leather and blindfolds; if you want to keep it that way that’s fine but-”

 

Marinette threaded her fingers through his, leaning down until her forehead touched his and she could feel the heat coming off his face on her skin.

 

“Variety is the uh…spice of life,” Adrien murmured, hips arching against hers.

 

“Got it,” Marinette said, biting her lip as their noses briefly touched. “And w-would it be okay if while we were practicing if we uh…kissed?”

 

There was a moment of silence between them as Adrien felt the blood rush to his face, eyes flickering down to her soft, peach flavored lips.

 

“Like…just in bed?” Adrien asked.

 

“Y-Yeah just like…last night,” Marinette said, wondering if she was asking too much too quickly. They were supposed to be friends but she couldn’t keep doing this if she couldn’t taste his lips on hers again. Maybe that was selfish of her; maybe she was risking the electric connection between them for the chance to play at romance.

 

“Is that…selfish of me?” Marinette asked, picking at the sheets. “I-If that’s too much then we can just-”

 

Adrien answered by leaning forward, cupping the side of her face and pressing a soft, tender kiss against her lips to silence any further doubt. She squeaked softly, still not quite used to the sensation of Adrien kissing her but it didn’t take long for her mouth to open, her arms to twine around his bare shoulders as he sat up, wrapping his arms around her back.

 

Adrien pulled away after a moment, looking up at her with a shy, almost inviting smile. “…you can be as selfish as you want with me.”

 

He said it to open a door between them; to let her know she could have him in whatever way she wanted to so long as he could be close to her. It wasn’t love but was it really that poor of a substitute; the chance to be so incredibly intimate with one of the only people he felt comfortable being completely himself around even if it wouldn’t lead anywhere?

 

Was that so selfish of him?

 

Marinette licked her lips as she looked down at him; his expression so inviting that she felt something demanding stir inside her. It was astounding how someone could inspire so much desire in her but the way Adrien was looking at her now—eyes wide and lip caught between his teeth—made her want to devour him whole.

 

“Really?” Marinette murmured, leaning in and pressing her forehead against his. “Because I’m feeling just a little bit…selfish right now.”

 

“Are you?” Adrien felt her wiggle in his lap insistently, hands pressing his shoulders back against the pillows gently. “Thought you were sleepy.”

 

“I was,” Marinette said, letting the implication hang in the air between them. She didn’t know how the lines were drawn in this new relationship; if there were boundaries she was going to find them.

 

Adrien smirked up at her. “Two years, huh?”

 

“I may have some time I need to make up for,” Marinette said, enjoying the way his throat tightened as her voice took on a husky quality that seemed to vanish the moment she wasn’t met with immediate support. “…i-if you want to that is.”

 

“What do you think?” Adrien said, leaning up off the pillows and sliding his hands up her sides. “You want me to tell you if I want to or would you rather I…show you?”

 

Adrien leaned in to kiss her neck, stopping as he felt a soft pressure on his chest.

 

“Take it easy,” Marinette giggled, pushing Adrien back against the pillows as he looked up at her with a confused little pout. “You did pretty much all the work last night-”

 

“It’s only work if you don’t enjoy it,” Adrien snorted, hands snaking around her hips and under the sheet around her waist until she squealed, fingers reaching down and twining with his.

 

“Haven't you touched my ass enough?” Marinette snickered, squeezing his fingers between hers.

 

“There’s no such thing as enough when it comes to appreciating your darling derriere,” Adrien laughed. “I would follow you around with my hands in your back pockets if you let me.”

 

“...you know I actually believe you would,” Marinette said, tracing circles on the back of his hands with her thumbs. Experimentally, she brought his hands over his head and pressed them against the pillows gently, watching his hungry, curious expression.

 

“…I liked being your sub,” Marinette said, heart thudding in her ears. “But when I…I feel like I’m ready for it…d-do you want to be mine?”

 

Mine. One of Adrien’s three favorite words (along with yes and circumloquacious). His initial response was to scream yes, yes, yes; he wanted to be hers in every intimate way imaginable. He wanted to hold her hand and take her to the movies and wanted her so far inside him that he would feel her for weeks. But he focused on the way she was talking about, swallowing heavily as he slowly nodded.

 

“I told you I was good with both,” Adrien said with a small smile. “You’re good with both too?”

 

“Well…you are the best dom I’ve ever had,” Marinette said, snickering at Adrien’s pout as he realized her implications. “And I was wondering if you could…show me how?”

 

“How?” Adrien asked.

 

“How to…do what you do,” Marinette said, rocking back against his hips as she pressed his hands against the sheets with a little more enthusiasm. “You know…”

 

“Well then…you have to ask me properly,” Adrien said, biting his lip.

 

“Huh?”

 

“You know what I want you to say,” Adrien said firmly.

 

“What do you me-“ Marinette trailed off, expression darkening. “…are you serious?”

 

“Absolutely,” Adrien said firmly.

 

“I’m going to gag if you ask me to say that,” Marinette said, clenching her teeth.

 

“If you want to gag anything you’re going to have to play by my rules,” Adrien sighed, glancing up towards the ceiling above Marinette’s head. “Subs make the rules and doms have to play by them.”

 

“This is a must for you?” Marinette groaned.

 

“It is,” Adrien said, meeting her gaze with an unblinking stare until she trailed off with a small groan.

 

“Fine,” Marinette said with a deep breath. “Would you…ugh…would you please…show me the ropes.

 

Marinette wondered if she could be hopelessly attracted to someone and at the same time exasperated by their persistent memery. On one hand, she had Adrien Agreste (angel in a body made to sin) lying beneath her which was enough to cause blood to flood her cheeks and never leave. On the other hand, puns seemed to be part of the Agreste mating ritual and it was hard to be aroused by someone giggling at the most basic BDSM pun imaginable.

 

“In that case,” Adrien said, ignoring the scowl on Marinette’s face. “…I would love to complete your training-.”

 

“Oh good…” Marinette sighed.

 

“-my padawan.”

 

“Don’t push it, nerd."

 

“I thought you liked it when I pushed it,” Adrien said, waggling his eyebrows.

 

“You pushed it plenty last night,” Marinette said, rocking back against him and enjoying the way his smug, self-satisfied smirk dissolved as his breath hitched in his throat. “I think it’s my turn.”

 

“Y-you sure?” Adrien asked.

 

“I said I was feeling-” Another wiggle of her hips, another hoarse little gasp from Adrien. “-selfish, didn’t I?”

 

“Are you trying to kill me?” Adrien chuckled hoarsely, squeezing her hands as she slowly slipped them out of his grasp. Instinctively, his fingers twined with the sheets behind his head, staring up at her with a teasing, challenging glint in his eye.

 

“Not yet,” Marinette said, slowly lifting her hips and sliding lower and lower on the bed. “You’ll know when I’m trying to kill you.”

 

“I-I look forward to-wait what are you doing?” Adrien said, lifting his head as Marinette trailed soft, sleepy kisses down his collarbone and chest.

 

“Well…I was thinking,” Marinette said, smiling as his stomach twitched when she placed a kiss against it. “You were very accommodating to me last night and I wanted to…return the favor.”

 

“I thought you w-were feeling selfish,” Adrien said, swallowing heavily as her fingertips ran over his pelvis. She was kneeling between his legs, sheet spilling around her back as she glanced down at him with a slow lick of her lips.

 

“I am,” Marinette all but purred, glancing up at him as her fingertips splayed at the base of his cock. Marinette had played enough games to know when she was outclassed and in this case, Adrien outclassed her for the moment with years more experience tormenting pretty people and without the baggage of a debilitating crush on her. She was never going to get the upper hand on him unless she played dirty and Marinette was never above playing dirty.

 

And to that effect, she had a secret weapon.

 

“It’s not fair,” she murmured, eyes locked with his as her mouth parted. “That you get to taste me and I don’t get to taste you back~”

 

Adrien’s mouth half-froze in a reply when he felt her soft lips place a kiss on the tip of his throbbing head. Marinette tried not to smile at the sharp intake of breath, hands pressing his hips down as they rose to buck against her mouth.

 

“Lay back,” Marinette repeated, lips retreating from his head. “I want to take care of this.”

 

Slowly, Adrien willed his body to relax, sheets bunched in his fingers as he looked down at her. It was quite the sight to see one of his oldest friends kiss her way down the length of his shaft, tongue flicking out once she reached the bottom. Breath seemed to leave his body as she slowly dragged her tongue back up, eyes locking with his as her lips softly suckled his tip.

 

Tease.

 

Adrien could hardly keep the smile off his face as a throaty giggle bubbled up out of the back of Marinette’s throat. His tongue slowly traced his parched lips while hers reached out, slowly tracing a slick circle around his head. She supposed it was strange that her first dominant inkling came from a situation similar to this but there was something intoxicating about the way Adrien’s body tensed under her touch; the way he helplessly twitched against her lips at the slightest pressure. His hands reached down, settling on her head for a brief moment until she lifted it, looking up at Adrien with a deadpan expression.

 

Adrien’s hand retracted slowly. “Wh-what?”

 

“You spent all last night touching me,” Marinette reminded him with a small smirk. “And no doubt you’re going to get handsy with me again-”

 

“When you want me to,” Adrien reminded her.

 

“Which isn’t now,” Marinette said, fingers tracing the curve of his hips. “I didn’t get to touch you at all last night…so it’s my turn, okay?”

 

“Touch away,” Adrien said, letting his hands fall back against the bed as Marinette slowly lowered her head back down. She paused as she watched his hand raise, raising an eyebrow at the cheeky grin on his face and not resuming her descent until it was back against the sheets. Marinette waited for a brief moment, eyes locking with his as her lips parted and consumed him inch by inch.

 

Smile now, smartass, Marinette thought, feeling a tremor pass through Adrien’s body as he smothered a strangled little groan in the back of his throat. Her eyes never left his face, relishing the effect her mouth seemed to have on him and drinking in every subtle twitch and tremor.

 

Adrien’s eyes stared up at the ceiling in a feeble effort to prolong the moment. If he looked down and saw her looking up again, he would unravel like a spool of thread. If he saw her big blue eyes looking up at him while the tip of her tongue slowly trailed his length he would combust and die happier than anyone had ever died in the history of the world. So he focused on trying to breathe slow steady breaths that were nevertheless interrupted by helpless hitches as she took her time with him.

 

Memories of his lips and tongue crashing into her with reckless abandon inspired Marinette in quite a different way. She didn’t rush, legs kicking idly behind her as she enjoyed the half-pained look on his face when she took him into her mouth. Warm sunlight streamed through the window to warm her bare back as she released him with a wet pop, kissing his tip and smiling as he shuddered underneath her.

 

She had to admit, she enjoyed watching him squirm.

 

How many times had he dominated her formative fantasies? How many times had she helplessly pined after him with little to no hope of reciprocation? Alya was right; she had built a pedestal and placed Adrien on top to be worshipped as a romantic demigod ideal. He had been more fantasy than friend for so many years through no fault of his own and so Marinette decided to tear the pedestal down, lick by lick. It was hard to think he was out of her league when he writhed beneath her. How could she romanticize him when his warm, aching, all too real flesh throbbed and flushed under her touch? His heady, needy moans tangled with gasping utterances of her name, each Marinette a crack in the marble temple dedicated to the memory of a boy in a magazine. Adrien wasn’t some far fetched fantasy; he was here.

 

He was hers.

 

It was his turn to be flustered, pinned against the mattress, and slowly built towards climax. Each bob, lick, and kiss revealed his weaknesses to her; his gasps instructed her on the best ways to break him into a million pieces. She would watch him as she had watched him last night, soaking in all she could and learning as much as possible from him. Because as much as she enjoyed being bound and at his mercy, she was silently preparing for the day when he was at hers.

 

And she would be ready.

 

Eventually, their little morning fun had to end. All the long division and counting backwards in Mandarin couldn’t save Adrien from the inevitable truth that was Marinette’s mouth enveloping him.

 

“Marinette…” Adrien panted, chest fluttering with each shaky breath as he tried to forestall it just a moment longer. “I’m gonna-”

 

There it was.

 

Marinette watched it travel up his body, tensing his hips and stomach until it spilled out of his mouth in a low, ragged gasp. Acting on sudden instinct, she let him pop out of her mouth, fingers working his shaft until as he climaxed on his stomach and chest with each pulsating shudder. A stray droplet even landed on his cheek as he collapsed against his bedding, grip on the bedding slackening as he seemed to be robbed of all strength. He looked spent, sated, and above all-

 

“Cute,” Marinette cooed. Adrien opened his eyes as Marinette leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss to his brow that only furthered his descent into a purring pile of putty.

 

“Guh…” Adrien replied eloquently as Marinette bunched her hair in a quick bun and fastened it with a hair tie on the end table. "I...you were-"

 

“I need a bath,” Marinette sighed as she swung her legs over the side of the bed, casually as though she hadn’t just sucked the life out of her high school crush. She kicked her legs back and forth as she looked back at him with a small smile. “You know…you look really cute when you come.”

 

Adrien blinked as she hopped off the bed, cheeks reddening as she shucked her stockings and folded them neatly on a chair in the corner. He couldn’t see the smile on her face as she sashayed into the bathroom until she turned around. Adrien swore his heart stopped as she turned around, leaning against the doorframe and flashed him a toothy grin that suggested this woman would kill him and he would enjoy every second of it.

 

As good as she looked begging, Adrien privately couldn’t wait to see how she looked looking down on him with her fingers twisted in his hair. The thought of it sent another spike of arousal running through his body, eyes fluttering shut as he was content to just melt into the sheets for the rest of the day. It wasn’t like it was going to get any better than what had just happened so he might as well just-

 

Oh my god this tub is huge!” Marinette’s squeal echoed off the marble walls of the bathroom. Her head snaked around the corner, privately reveling in the fact that Adrien still appeared to be too boneless to move after she finished him. “I may need some help filling it though.”

 

…on second thought, Adrien decided that sleeping in was overrated.

 


 

 

Alya: so you’re good?

 

Marinette: more than good

 

Marinette: sorry i didn’t catch you earlier

 

Alya: it’s fine; the boy and i were nursing hangovers anyway

 

Alya: your message said you don’t want me to come get you?

 

Marinette: no i’m going to spend the night again and head to work tomorrow

 

Alya: seriously???

 

Alya: so he was…good?

 

Marinette: what happened to "no details"?

 

Alya: come one; scale of one to ten?

 

Marinette: let’s just say we’re going to be doing this again in the near, near future

 

Alya: please tell me you aren’t fucking while texting me

 

Marinette: what happened to no details? ;)

 

Alya: well i’ll be damned

 

Alya: didn’t know he had it in him

 

Marinette: hey what’s that supposed to mean?

 

Alya: just that twinkie didn’t strike me as the type to be a secret sex god is all

 

Alya: no offense to your boyfriend

 

Marinette: friend

 

Marinette:…with benefits

 

Alya: ooh upgrade

 

Marinette: we talked about it

 

Marinette: actually we’re still hammering stuff out but we had a good chat while soaking in the bath

 

Marinette: bottom line is I have a steady...arrangement :)

 

Alya: so you’re sure this is what you want?

 

Marinette: yeah it’s

 

Marinette: comfortable

 

Marinette: we know what we want out of this so no one’s gonna get hurt

 

Alya: uh huh

 

Marinette: oh please we both have good heads on our shoulders

 

Marinette: what’s the worst that could happen?

 

Alya: i think juliet said that after hooking up with romeo

 

Marinette: drama queen

 

Alya: alright alright as long as you’re happy

 

Alya: call me if you need me

 

Marinette: i will

 

Alya: have fun with your new boy toy

 

Marinette: hehe

 

Marinette: oh i will

 

Marinette: we’re going to play a little game

 

Alya: blegh do i even want to know what that means?

 

Marinette: that’s for me to know and you to never find out~

 

 

End of Part One

Chapter Text

In her dreams, she sees Adrien bound in red string.

 

One night spent together and the image of him completely naked is burned into her unconscious mind; every arch and curve of his body laid bare and presented for her approval.

 

A gloved fingertip trailed down his chest, watching his breath hitch as her other hand tightened around the string attached to a collar around his neck. In her dreams, the roles are reversed and Adrien stands in front of the mirror, hands bound above his head and eyes masked by a black, silk blindfold.

 

Kiss him.

 

A suggestion tickles the back of her mind and she rises to press her lips against his panting, gasping mouth.

 

Touch him.

 

A gloved hand reaches down; grasping his length as a soft, breathy cry escapes the back of his throat.

 

Strike him.

 

He yelps as her free hand strikes his unprotected backside, savoring the sensation of her hand gripping his firm, toned ass.

 

Good girl…again.

 

The voice in the back of her mind is followed by the sound of another slap, another mewling whine from Adrien.

 

Again.

 

Broad, muscular shoulders strain against the ropes that hold Adrien completely helpless under her touch.

 

Softer.

 

She lets the pain settle in, watching the color of his skin blush under her touch.

 

Now harder.

 

The brief reprise is only to build anticipation for the next strike; one that makes his cock twitch and knees almost buckle.

 

Good girl.

 

She realizes the voice she thought was in the back of her mind isn’t in her mind at all.

 

Her own collar tightens, red string tangled in the fingers of the figure sitting behind her. Green eyes glint approvingly as he tugs her head backwards, turning her attention away from Adrien and pulling her back into his lap. Her bare thighs straddle his hips, close enough to feel him rise between her legs as the tight, sinewy shadows wrap around him like a skintight suit. The red string untangles from Adrien, slowly binding her arms behind her as a hand tilts her head up to look at him.

 

The dream always ends with a single word that lingers in her waking mind.

 

Mine.


 

“How long after having casual sex with someone should you call them back?”

 

Alya’s fork paused halfway between her rice bowl and her mouth. “You can see that I’m eating over here, right?”

 

“And?” Marinette said, popping a piece of chicken in her mouth as she looked down at the phone.

 

And I don’t need the image of Adrien dripping hot wax on your stomach flitting through my head,” Alya said, putting her fork down and taking a long sip of water.

 

“He didn’t drip hot wax on me…” Marinette said, biting her lip thoughtfully and cocking her head to one side. “Although-”

 

“How am I supposed to know when you’re supposed to call Master Catboy back?” Alya said, wiping her mouth with a napkin. “I mean it’s only been what, a week since you’ve seen him in person? When do you usually call dates back?”

 

“I don’t know; it’s been literally years since my last one,” Marinette huffed, rocking back and forth in her seat. “I mean we’ve been like…texting and stuff since last Sunday but I don’t know if it’s too soon to make plans with him.”

 

“I can still see the hickies he left on your collarbone through your blouse and you make another booty call?” Alya asked as Marinette buttoned her blouse up self-consciously.

 

“I didn’t say it was another booty call,” Marinette said, scratching her reddening cheek. “I just…I don’t know…wanted to see if he wanted to get lunch or something.”

 

“Like a date?”

 

“N-No,” Marinette coughed. “Eating together doesn’t mean we’re romantically involved, does it?”

 

“Actually…it does,” Alya said, resting a hand on Marinette’s shoulder. “I’m sorry to say but we’ve been dating for the past ten years on and off.”

 

“Should probably think about getting me that ring then,” Marinette snorted.

 

“Why does the up and coming magazine writer who still lives with her parents have to get the ring?” Alya asked. “You’re the suave young fashion designer-”

 

“For the moment,” Marinette under her breath.

 

“You get me the ring if you want me so-” Alya trailed off with a small frown. “For the moment?”

 

“It’s…it’s nothing,” Marinette said quickly, taking a small bite of her wrap before she could further incriminate herself. It was a tactic that might have worked with anyone else, but Alya had a steel double locking bear trap of a mind. Once she sniffed out that someone was withholding information from her, it was impossible to shake her. A small silence hung between them punctuated only by the sounds of passing pedestrians as Alya simply waited for Marinette to fill her in.

 

By this point Marinette should have known that resistance was futile.

 

“It’s just…work stuff,” Marinette said, waving a hand dismissively. “We had one or two buyers that were interested in our lines drop out suddenly on Monday.”

 

“Can they do that?” Alya asked.

 

“Ink hadn’t been put to paper yet,” Marinette shrugged. “And if they did we can’t exactly take them to court with the army of lawyers we don’t have on retainer.”

 

“That sucks,” Alya muttered, furrowing her brow. “No explanation?”

 

“None,” Marinette sighed, picking a raw red onion out of her wrap with a frown. “Ellie has been trying to get back in touch with them but no one is taking our calls.”

 

“Screw em,” Alya said. “Who needs their rude, inconsiderate asses anyway?”

 

“We do,” Marinette laughed bitterly. “We were in touch to produce some of our designs in larger stores but now…”

 

Marinette sighed, blowing bubbles in her drink.

 

“Bit of a heartbreaker but what can you do?” Marinette said with a small shaky smile, fishing out an ice cube to gnaw on.

 

“Egg their offices?” Alya suggested.

 

“Somehow that doesn’t scream support our products,” Marinette said, tapping her chin.

 

“Well either that or blackmail,” Alya said.

 

“No I would need something to hold over their heads first,” Marinette sighed.

 

“I could dig?”

 

“I think I’ll just focus on things I can control for the moment,” Marinette said, tapping her phone thoughtfully.

 

“Didn’t know Adrien was letting you control him now,” Alya snickered.

 

“Still a little early in the game for that in my opinion,” Marinette said, rubbing her neck. “Mainly because of the fact my real world experience basically ended last Saturday…”

 

“Well I can’t exactly help you there,” Alya said.

 

“Really?” Marinette whined. “You’re telling me you’re not a secret dominatrix who can impart worldly wisdom to me?”

 

“I think you would have known by now if I was,” Alya said with a small wink. “Why don’t you like...find yourself one of those?”

 

“A dominatrix?” Marinette said, raising an eyebrow. “I don’t think that fits the definition of Adrien and I being exclusive.”

 

“Someone’s mind is in the gutter,” Alya snorted. “Look you’re going down a road I can’t slash have no earthly desire to go down with you. I don’t know what the appropriate timeframe for calling someone back after they hung you from the ceiling by your nipples is-”

 

“What do you think we do?” Marinette asked, folding her hands over her chest subconsciously. “No, seriously; where are you getting these-”

 

“My point,” Alya said, barreling onwards. “Is that you can’t exactly ask Adrien for advice about…well, himself. Your source is compromised since he railed you through his mattress so why don’t you like…get another?”

 

“Just to talk with?” Marinette said.

 

“Why not?” Alya shrugged, plopping her plastic fork in her empty bowl and dropping it into her bag. “Get some outside perspective from a more experienced weirdo so you don’t have to rely on Adrien for everything.”

 

“…I guess,” Marinette shrugged. “What if they want me to do like…weird sex stuff in exchange for information?”

 

“Tell me and I will suplex the kink out of her,” Alya said sweetly, patting Marinette on the shoulder. “I know you guys think you’re all hardcore and stuff because you wear leather and swing whips around but I can and I will kick the ass of any internet weirdo that gets too fresh with you.”

 

“Other than Adrien?” Marinette chuckled.

 

“Don’t get me wrong; I love the guy,” Alya shrugged. “But say the word and I will plant him like a tree in the ground.”


 

 “A-choo!”

 

Gesundheit,” Nino said offhandedly, glancing over the top of his laptop at Adrien sprawled out on his couch. “Coming down with something?”

 

“Someone must be talking about me,” Adrien chuckled, idly glancing down at his phone. “So do you think I should call her or…”

 

“Remember when we used to talk about stuff that wasn’t your sex life?” Nino sighed, deleting a few shoddy pictures as Adrien blew bubbles in his soda.

 

“Well we could talk about yours but I feel like that’s going to be a short conversation,” Adrien snickered.

 

Hey Nino, how’s it going?” Nino said in a flat imitation of Adrien’s voice. “What’s going on with your life? Wow man, thanks for asking! Yeah work is going great for me so far! Oh really, that’s just super! Yeah, thanks, Adrien. I’m really glad I have a friend who shows interest in something other than Marinette Dupain-Cheng’s naked ass.”

 

“…I have been talking about her a lot, haven’t I?” Adrien sighed, head flopping back on the pillows.

 

“If by a lot you mean exclusively then yes,” Nino snorted, biting his thumbnail as he played around with filtering in one picture. “Just call her up, man.”

 

“Ehh…I don’t want to seem pushy,” Adrien muttered.

 

“Then don’t call her,” Nino sighed, tapping his finger on the desk.

 

“I don’t want to come off as distant either…”

 

“Then call her.”

 

“But what if she wants some space or-”

 

“Oh my god, dude, you are the biggest waffle of a dom I have ever met!” Nino groaned.

 

“I…I mean I’m technically a switch but-”

 

Fuck me, man, it’s not like you’re asking her to move in with you or anything!” Nino sighed. “Just call her like a normal person!”

 

“Alright, alright,” Adrien said, holding his hands up. “Sorry…”

 

“I…” Nino sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and taking a deep breath. “Fuck; sorry, man, I just…got a lot on my plate right now.”

 

“Oh…” Adrien pushed himself into a cross-legged position on the couch, scratching the back of his neck. Now that Adrien thought about it, the last couple weeks had been filled with a lot of him fretting at Nino about the whole Marinette situation…and not a whole lot else. Nino had always projected such an air of calm that Adrien mistakenly assumed he always had his life completely together. “Sorry...is everything okay?”

 

“I think?” Nino snorted, leaning back in his chair as his files compiled, jiggling his leg as he stared into space. “That’s kind of the problem…”

 

“Things going well is a problem for you?” Adrien snorted.

 

“It is when things are going well enough that you think that you need to do something about it,” Nino said, glancing around his apartment thoughtfully. “I think I want to ask Alya if she wants to move in with me.”

 

Adrien blinked. “Oh wow…really?”

 

“Yeah,” Nino nodded, glancing around the loft with a thoughtful nod. “Yeah I think it’s just…I don’t know, she spends more nights here than she does at home anyway, she’s always going on about how she feels underfoot now that her sisters are in high school and I’m here with this loft that’s too big for me because I was an overpaid fashion photographer for five years whose boss paid for his room and board-”

 

“You weren’t overpaid,” Adrien insisted.

 

“Bro it wasn’t like I was hanging out of a helicopter taking pictures of warzones,” Nino snorted. “I think the most volatile thing I had to deal with was the swimsuit models whose cappuccino order got lost in traffic.”

 

“That can be just as dangerous,” Adrien chuckled.

 

“Point is, I have a girlfriend in need of a less chaotic place to live and ample room with which to house her and her entire library,” Nino said, standing up with a small grimace. “Might have to knock a wall down to make room for her bookshelves but…I don’t know, you think it’s too much too soon?”

 

Adrien shrugged. “Not my relationship, man.”

 

“Come on,” Nino whined, running his fingers through his hair. “I don’t ask for life-altering advice nearly as often as you do. Humor me; what would you do if you were in my situation?”

 

“Dating Alya?”

 

“Yeah you wish buddy; pretend your girlfriend of two and half years—yes I’m counting school—is currently stressed out because she’s underfoot in her own home,” Nino said, scratching his cheek. “What would you do?”

 

It wasn’t often that Adrien felt jealous of Nino and when he was it always came as a surprise. Adrien never brought it up mainly because he felt ridiculous for even feeling the way he did but Nino had all the things he ever wanted growing up: a supportive family, the ability to pursue his passions without fear of retaliation, and the ability to befriend (and date) whoever he chose.

 

And now…well, just imagining himself in Nino’s shoes and Marinette in Alya’s made a hot churn of envy well up in his stomach which he did his best to stamp out.

 

“…I would do it,” Adrien said with a smile he hoped was natural looking. “I mean you two are already so...perfect for each other I can’t think of a good reason why you shouldn’t at least ask her.”

 

“We’re hardly perfect for each other,” Nino snorted, cheeks darkening a little as he smiled a little distantly. “We butt heads as much as any other couple; we just don’t let it fester.”

 

“Maybe that’s just what ‘perfect for each other’ means,” Adrien shrugged.

 

“How romantic,” Nino snickered, shutting his laptop and unplugging the flash drive. “I think I’ll ask her tonight; just get it out of the way.”

 

“Probably a good idea,” Adrien nodded, unfolding himself and slowly rising from the couch. “You heading off?”

 

“Yeah I got two back to back shoots this afternoon,” Nino said, cracking his neck as he grabbed his camera bag. “Male models at one and a finishing school for teenage girls at four.”

 

“Yikes,” Adrien said, stretching like a cat as he traipsed towards the door, glancing down at his phone thoughtfully. Being a friend with benefits meant being a…friend with benefits, didn’t it? Why should he feel so bizarre about calling Marinette up to see if she wanted to share a meal?

 

“Yikes indeed,” Nino sighed. “I’m spending all afternoon surrounded by selfish, entitled, stuck up, selfish little brats…eh, at least the girls shoot won’t be so bad.”


 

WANTED: Experienced female dominant willing to offer advice to a new switch in committed relationship with male switch. Not looking for additional play partners at the moment; just some outsider perspective and advice!

 

No sooner did Marinette post her ad in the personal section of Salon Velours, her phone buzzed, almost spilling to the sidewalk as she walked. For a moment, she wondered if her prospective femdom life coach had heard Marinette’s soul cry out for counsel and responded with whip like speed.

 

Adrien: Hey do you want to grab dinner or something?

 

Her heart skipped a small beat, silently grateful that Adrien had taken the initiative and texted first.

 

Adrien: It doesn’t have to be today or anything; I just wanted to get out of the house for a bit.

 

Marinette: no today works for me!

 

Marinette: just got to wrap up a few things at work and I should be ready to go at about fiveish?

 

Adrien: Great!

 

Adrien: I think Nino and Alya might be occupied so it’s probably going to be just us if that’s cool with you.

 

Eating with someone doesn’t mean you’re in love with them, Marinette reminded herself as she replied. They were still only friends.

 

Marinette: no that’s fine!

 

Marinette: …occupied?

 

Adrien: Uh...I don’t know if I can tell you yet…

 

Then again, being friends with benefits meant being friends with benefits.

 

Marinette: do you want me to beg?

 

Marinette: you know i can beg really really well

 

Adrien: Don’t I know it~

 

Adrien: I’ll let you have this one on the house.

 

Marinette: thank you sir~

 

Adrien: Nino is going to ask Alya to move in with him.

 

Marinette: seriously???

 

Adrien: Yeah.

 

Adrien: Why do you think she won’t go for it?

 

Marinette: no no it’s not that

 

Marinette: to be honest i think she’s been dropping hints to him for a while now

 

Marinette: not that i blame her; even i get stressed out when i’m over at her place with all her relatives underfoot

 

Marinette: it’s just…a little weird to think about

 

Adrien: Weird to think of your friends doing “adult stuff”?

 

Marinette’s stomach churned, privately envious of Alya for the briefest moment before shaking her head and forcing an ugly thought out of her mind.

 

Marinette: yeah lol

 

Marinette: i barely feel like an adult myself

 

Adrien: Well…

 

Adrien: You were plenty adult for me last Saturday.

 

Marinette: :o

 

Adrien: And Sunday >:3c

 

Marinette: down boy!

 

Marinette: i can’t deal with these wanton advances while i’m trying to work!!

 

Adrien: If you think that’s me being wanton, you clearly don’t know what wanton looks like from me~

 

Marinette: are you saying you’re going to give me a demonstration of your…wantonness?

 

Adrien: If you like.

 

Marinette: hmm

 

Adrien: If there’s anything I can do to make your decision a little easier, let me know.

 

Marinette: i’ll let you know at dinner tonight

 

Marinette: only if you stop distracting me though~

 

Adrien: I’m a distraction?

 

Adrien: I’ll take that as a compliment~

 

Marinette: take it however you want kitty i need to work?

 

Adrien: …kitty?

 

Marinette: you use cat emojis like a third grade weaboo what did you expect?  

 

Adrien: (ФоФ)

 

Adrien: Excuse me! ٩(ↀДↀ)۶

 

Adrien: Cat emoticons add a touch of whimsy and personal charm to every text message! (^=˃ᆺ˂)

 

Marinette: lol okay sure whatever you say kitty

 

Adrien: >:3

 

Adrien: I hope you’re prepared for me to message you the entire cat emoticon database in every text ((ΦωΦ))

 

Marinette: …again, if this is some kind of punishment i would rather you just spank me or something

 

Adrien: =ộ⍛ộ=

 

Adrien: I’ll keep that in mind purrincess ( =①ω①=)

 

Marinette laughed in spite of her self, wondering how she could have ever found Adrien intimidating to talk to. 

 

Marinette: oh yes, sir, talk kitty to me

 

Adrien: Does my encyclopedic knowledge of cat emojis arouse you my pet? (ノΦωΦ)ノ

 

Marinette: i have never wanted you more than i do now

 

Marinette: i beg you, sir, cease or my fragile loins shall burst into flames

 

Adrien: ლ(●ↀωↀ●)ლ

 

Marinette: no stop

 

Adrien: <(*ΦωΦ*)>

 

Marinette: please have mercy on my poor libido

 

Adrien: All right…I’ll let you off the hook.

 

Adrien: For now (ΦωΦσ)σ

 

Marinette snorted, stowing her phone in her purse as she approached her office. She couldn’t remember the last time she had fun just text-flirting back and forth with someone. Even if it wasn’t going anywhere, the lingering cat-emojis managed to put a smile on her face and almost made her forget the sudden string of work trouble. Marinette forgot how a few words from Adrien always managed to put her in a good mood…


 

…a good mood that was unceremoniously ruined by the presence of Marcel Dubois running his greasy hands all over her shirt.

 

Thankfully it wasn’t the shirt she was wearing at the time; if it had been, the biggest dick in fashion would have discovered what Marinette had learned in the four years she studied Wing Chun from an elderly chain-smoking sifu at the Brooklyn Jewish Community Recreation Center. Nevertheless, Marinette was more than a little distraught to find Adrien’s former boss waiting for her in her personal office when she returned, pretending to admire the blouse she was working on.

 

She knew he was only pretending because she saw him when she walked in the front door of her studio suddenly pretend like he hadn’t been waiting for her to arrive for the past half hour.

 

“Company,” Ellie murmured, taking the designs from Marinette and nodding towards her office in the back.

 

“How long?” Marinette asked.

 

“Half an hour,” Sylvia said, leaning over the desk as Marinette looked over the designs Sylvia had been working on. She didn’t particularly care that her boyfriend’s friend’s former boss was lurking in her office like some kind of pale, shrimpy goblin; whatever he was here for could wait until she had signed off on a couple of designs like she was supposed to do

 

“He just barged in here while you were out; should we-” Ellie stiffened as a set of heavy footsteps trailed out of the office, nodding behind Marinette. Marinette turned, coming face to chest with a tall, broad, bald man in a well-tailored suit.

 

“Um…” the man coughed into his hand, adjusting his tie a little anxiously as he spoke in a soft, halting voice. “Uh…Mr. Dubois would like to speak with you.”

 

“Thank you,” Marinette said with a small smile. “Please tell him to make himself comfortable and I’ll be with him shortly.”

 

The man opened his mouth, turning back over his shoulder to look at Marcel who was trying his very hardest to appear aloof while clearly waiting for Marinette with the patience of a five year old child waiting for church to be over. The man looked torn for a moment before traipsing back through the door to Marinette’s private office.

 

Marinette tried to focus on the designs in front of her as the bald man’s calm voice tried to explain to a wheezy Chihuahua sounding Marcel that Marinette was busy and would get to him when she could. More Chihuahua like yapping followed and before Marinette could sign off on more than two designs, the man from before approached again, fidgeting as he anxiously cleared his throat.

 

“Uh…M-Mademoiselle?” The man stammered as Marinette glanced up at him. “Mr. Dubois would like to speak with you…uh…now. If it’s convenient.”

 

“I’ll be with him as soon as I can,” Marinette said, not sparing a glance towards the room at the back of the office. “But Mr. Dubois didn’t make an appointment and I have a few more important things to attend to.”

 

Marcel had heard that if his huff of indignation was anything to go by but she couldn’t bring herself to care if she was being rude or not. It was rude that he had barged into her office without as much as a phone call to let her know he was coming, it was rude that he treated her boyfriend friend worse than his own father treated him, and it was rude that he thought he could rub his grubby little hands all over a blouse in progress without even asking.

 

Under the circumstances, Marinette thought paying him any respect at all would just be throwing good courtesy after bad. So she took her time, doing the actual work she was supposed to get done while the chairman of a multinational fashion conglomerate stewed in her office behind her.

 

“Do you want me to call the police?” Sylvia mused as Marinette passed a stack of designs back with her approval.

 

“I can handle this,” Marinette said with a small smile. “But if anything happens-”

 

“Call Alya?”

 

“That’s a little extreme,” Marinette snorted, smoothing her skirt a little anxiously. Ellie shot her a thumbs up as she passed, suddenly feeling like she was back in school and being called to the principal’s office. She took a deep breath, straightening her back and marching into her office without another moment’s hesitation. Marcel had his back to her while the tall man stood silently in the corner.

 

“Thank you for waiting,” Marinette said in a short, clipped tone of voice that afforded Marcel Dubois the barest courtesy. He didn’t respond immediately, still pretending to admire the blouse hanging on the mannequin which made Marinette’s nostrils flare.

 

“This is fairly promising,” Marcel remarked, fingering the lapel button and not even bothering to look at Marinette. “Though silk blouses are hardly avant garde, are they?”

 

“…it’s chiffon, actually,” Marinette said, folding her arms. There were many reasons Marcel Dubois was hated in the fashion industry; his hair, his dress, his breathy nasally voice, his shriveled prune of a face more punchable than a speed bag. But mostly, it was the fact that Marcel had worked for Gabriel for ten years (after a career as the CFO of a fruit packing conglomerate) and still hadn’t bothered to learn the first thing about fashion. His scathing contempt for the artists and designers was palpable and matched only by his ignorance of how fashion actually worked. It was often said, jokingly, that Marcel Dubois couldn’t tell silk from chiffon; Marinette would have been amused had she not been so depressed that this man now controlled one of the most influential fashion brands in France.

 

“…of course it is,” Marcel said, coughing as he turned around to face Marinette. “You’ve met my associate, I see.”

 

“Yes,” Marinette said, nodding to the man in the corner with a small smile. “He’s been quite helpful.”

 

“Yes Bruno has many…talents,” Marcel said in what he thought was an ominous tone of voice. “He’s an associate of mine I keep around to help me with some more…unpleasant tasks.”

 

“I’m Mr. Dubois’ new secretary,” Bruno said quietly. “Mostly that involves picking up Mr. Dubois’ laundry, answering his emails, scheduling his meetings and-”

 

Bruno trailed off as Marcel shot him an exasperated glare. “Bruno…strong and silent means being strong and silent!”

 

“…yes Mr. Dubois,” Bruno sighed, folding his hands in front of him.

 

“Are you using a tall bald man to try and intimidate one of eight people in the world on a first name basis with Gorilla?” Marinette asked, smirking as Marcel’s sour expression proved that that was exactly what he was trying to do. “Care to explain why you’re here?”

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Marcel said; face twisting into an alien imitation of a human smile. “That is a very good question, isn’t it Bruno? What could the acting chairman of a multinational fashion label possibly want with the head of a-”

 

 “Mr. Dubois needs Mr. Adrien to come back to work,” Bruno said simply.  

 

“…I was getting to that Bruno!” Marcel snapped.

 

“Just trying to be helpful sir,” Bruno sighed, shooting Marinette a deadpan expression that clearly read “I get paid exactly enough to put up with this shit.”

 

“Because Adrien was such a stellar junior executive in charge of…whatever he was in charge of?” Marinette said with a small frown. “I’m sure you could find someone more qualified than he is to fill his shoes, couldn’t you?”

 

“Not that the inner workings of a successful fashion label are anything to concern yourself with,” Marcel sneered, earning an eye roll from his secretary. “But Adrien’s qualities extend beyond his capacity as a middle manager. It would be a disservice to Gabriel’s memory if his son were not part of his legacy going forward.”

 

Marinette’s eyes slowly traced the ceiling for a few moments until she realized what Marcel was really driving at.

 

“…you can’t control the board without Adrien’s support,” Marinette said, shaking her head.

 

“I can control them just fine,” Marcel insisted, cheeks coloring. “Things would be…easier if Adrien was a part of the picture still.”

 

Translation, Marinette thought, now that Gabriel’s son isn’t blindly supporting me, no one else is.

 

“I’m sure it would be,” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “That still doesn’t explain why you’re talking to me and not Adrien right now.”

 

“Mr. Adrien has not been returning our calls,” Bruno remarked.

 

“I think that’s your answer then,” Marinette shrugged.

 

“Yes well…I’m not the kind of man who takes no for an answer,” Marcel said like that was something to be proud of.

 

“Of course not,” Marinette sighed. “But this sounds like something that’s between you and Adrien’s answering machine; not me.”

 

“I was hoping you could…persuade him,” Marcel said, taking a step closer to Marinette only to stop when she pushed herself off the desk, towering a few inches over him in heels.

 

“You think I’ll have better luck?” Marinette snorted derisively.

 

“We looked over the security camera footage of when Adrien left and we know the two of you are…close,” Marcel said, smiling in a way that made Marinette’s skin crawl. She wasn’t ashamed of her…relationship with Adrien but the fact that Marcel Dubois had insight into her personal life was enough to send shudder of disgust passing through her.

 

“You want me to convince my friend…to go back to a job he hates,” Marinette said, shaking her head. “Why in God’s name would I do something like that?”

 

Marcel chuckled as though he had been waiting all afternoon for her to ask that very question. “I thought you cared about your little shop here?”

 

“What does that have to do with-” Marinette trailed off, squinting at Marcel for a moment. The sudden string of cancellations she got throughout the week had been completely unexplainable. Sylvia had even bitterly suggested that someone was going around scaring their potential clients away. Marinette had laughed at her then; now it wasn’t so funny.

 

“What…did…you…do?” Marinette seethed, fighting the urge to completely bury her fist in Marcel’s smug, shit-eating grin.

 

“I needed you to understand that I don’t make idle threats,” Marcel chuckled, cleaning his glasses casually. “I simply gave one or two retailers the choice of carrying your lines…or ours. It’s not my fault they would rather go with a more…trusted brand.”

 

Marinette inherited three things from her mother; a tea set her grandmother brought with her from China, a laugh that could be heard three doors down, and a glare that could melt steel beams when properly used. Bruno paled a little as the woman’s glare and even Marcel’s satisfied smile slipped a few notches standing so close to a properly infuriated Marinette Dupain-Cheng.

 

“S-So we understand each other,” Marcel said, clearing his throat. “If you ensure Adrien’s cooperation, I promise you’ll find the retailers of Paris to be a little more…sympathetic to your brand.”

 

Marinette looked one of the most affluent, powerful, influential men in the fashion industry up and down, took a deep breath, and said, “Wow…you are such a dick.

 

Marcel’s grin dropped, shocked that someone (much less this girl) had just spoken to him in such a manner. He looked to Bruno who suddenly looked at Marinette like she was Père Noël finally bringing him that pony he always wanted.

 

“I…ex…you just…” Marcel stammered, wiping his brow. “I-I beg your pardon?!”

 

“Let me get this straight,” Marinette seethed, clenching the edge of the desk behind her. “You are the acting chairman of a multi-national corporation. You have almost unlimited power to shape this company how you see fit but you need Adrien to come back to work because you have the charisma of an avocado that’s been left in the sun for too long. So instead of—oh I don’t know—being a marginally less repulsive human being and apologizing for being the fashion industry’s biggest dick-”

 

“Did…” Marcel turned to Bruno. “Did she just call me a-”

 

“-you decide to go behind Adrien’s back, blackmail his friends, and attempt to emotionally manipulate him into returning to a job he hates, again, working for the fashion industry’s biggest dick,” Marinette concluded, face hot and hands shaking. “But the real clencher is that you thought I would go along with this psychopathic scheme which leads me to believe that not only are you-”


“I-If you call me a dick again I’ll-”

 

“-the fashion industry’s biggest dick,” Marinette said, teeth grinding together. “But you are a phenomenally stupid dick who lacks basic empathy and understanding of how actual human beings operate and relate to each other. Does that sound about right?”

 

“Basically,” Bruno muttered, coughing when Marcel turned to him, red faced and spluttering.

 

“You made your offer,” Marinette said, pushing herself off her desk as Marcel took a step back towards Bruno. “Here’s mine; you will leave my office under your own power or you will leave under mine.”

 

“I…I could make your life hell girl,” Marcel spat.

 

“I spent four years taking the New York subways to school; I think I can handle hell,” Marinette said coolly, folding her arms across her chest. “Now if you’ll excuse me…”

 

Marinette’s heart thundered in her ears as she passed a dumbstruck Marcel Dubois and an awestruck Bruno, opening the door to her office to see Ellie and Sylvia recoil from the door, pretending to chat by the coffee machine while eyeing Marcel warily.

 

“Thank you for your time, Monsieur,” Marinette said stiffly. “But I have to get back to work.”

 

The look of surprised indignation on Marcel’s face suggested he was not expecting Marinette to do anything other than whimper and plead and do anything he asked to save her business. Needless to say it had been some years since Marcel had been shown the door by anyone, much less a woman half his age. So naturally, he took this tantamount rejection with the grace and dignity affluent middle-aged men are known for, knocking over the mannequin as he stormed out of the office.

 

“We’ll see if you’re so flippant when you’re begging me for a job,” Marcel groused.

 

“You clearly don’t know much about me if you think I’ll beg for just anyone,” Marinette said dryly, watching Marcel storm out of the building slam the front door behind him. After a moment, Bruno stuck his head back through the door, mouthing ‘sorry’ before following his employer. Ellie and Sylvia turned to Marinette wearing twin expressions of confusion and trepidation.

 

“Ellie, Sylvia…I think we need to talk,” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose and beckoning her partners into her office.


 

Dear Mlle. Dupain-Cheng,

 

At this time we feel it would be inappropriate to continue business relations despite earlier verbal agreements of interest due to a number of extraneous circumstances. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors and hope to do business with Coccinelle should opportunities rise in the future.

 

All the best,

 

Chiffon’s Boutique

 

Marinette’s fingers steepled, teeth grinding together so intently that she feared she’d need dentures before the week was out. She supposed the luck her business had up until that point had to run out somewhere; she just didn’t know it would be because of a grubby little fruit merchant like Marcel Dubois.

 

If Marinette was conflicted, her partners saw the path forward as exceptionally clear. Adrien Agreste was the root of the problem, in their opinion, and their relationship (could she even call it that?) brought this mayhem down on their heads.

 

He either had to go…or Marinette had to somehow convince him to return to work for Marcel.

 

Neither option was appealing to her; she would either have to end their friendship or poison it on the orders of a grubby little oily haired toad demon. If she didn’t, she could expect a long, long string of emails harming her business and threatening not only her livelihood but the livelihood of her partners as well.

 

Was that fair?

 

Ellie and Sylvia didn’t benefit from her intensely personal friendship with Adrien so was it fair that they suffered for her happiness? Did she have a right to put their livelihoods on the line for her own personal pleasure? Was it more wrong to send Adrien back to a seven-figure a year job than to crush her partners’ dreams of becoming successful?

 

Was Adrien really worth jeopardizing her lifelong goals for?

 

She ruminated in the empty office, silently staring at the screen in front of her and biting her tongue to keep angry tears in check when the door at the front of the studio opened with a jingle.

 

“Hello?” Adrien’s voice echoed in the empty office bringing with it delight and dread for Marinette. “Anyone home?”

 

“In the back!” Marinette closed the email, massaging her temples as she slowly rose to her feet. Maybe seeing Adrien would clear her head or-

 

“Knock-knock,” Adrien said, pushing the door open with his foot. “You in here?”

 

“Yeah,” Marinette said, turning around. “Just in-”

 

Fuck.

 

No, no, no.

 

Fuck…that…shit.

 

“You…okay?” Adrien asked, frowning at her deadpan, slightly slack jawed expression of disbelief at his attire…or lack thereof. The black muscle shirt hugged his chest and left his arms and collar bare, tucked into a pair of Balmain jeans that probably cost more than Marinette’s monthly rent (which was already ridiculous). She didn’t know if he intended to look like the star of a bodice ripping supermarket romance novel or if he laid out his clothes without a thought of what it might do to her.

 

Either way it was damn inconsiderate to not at least warn her before showing up dressed like that.

 

“Yeah,” Marinette said, shaking her head. “Yeah just…just hungry, that’s all.”

 

While this was technically true in more ways than one, she didn’t want to risk…overindulging. After a weekend of sex usually reserved for her deepest fantasies, she couldn’t lie and say she wasn’t at least a little tempted by the notion of Adrien bending her over her desk and bringing a whole new meaning to the term ‘not safe for work.’ But she didn’t want their relationship to be based solely on bed-breaking sex…as enjoyable as that would be.

 

“I bet,” Adrien chuckled, scratching the back of his neck as the hem of his shirt threatened to tug free of the waistband of his jeans. There was never any protocol to follow after two people had railed one another for the better part of a weekend so Adrien didn’t quite know what to expect walking into Marinette’s office. “Don’t imagine you have much time to get out to eat, do you?”

 

“Not much time,” Marinette chuckled, wondering if it would be bad protocol to pin him against the door and start ripping his clothes off. “But I make time for those…important to me.”

 

Adrien nearly purred at the word ‘important,’ cheeks coloring and straightening up a little bit. “I’m on Alya’s level then?”

 

“Don’t get ahead of yourself,” Marinette snorted. “Just because you’re in the same bracket as Alya doesn’t mean you’re on her level.”

 

“Figured as much,” Adrien sighed, scratching the back of his neck. “I guess I’ll take what I can get and be happy with it.”

 

“Damn straight you will,” Marinette giggled, wincing a little as her desktop pinged heralding the arrival of another email. This was not lost on Adrien as Marinette quickly turned her monitor off before her mood could be dampened even further.

 

“You…sure you’re okay?” Adrien asked. For a moment, she almost considered telling him. Honesty was always the best policy, right?

 

(“Actually Adrien I’m not okay. Your colossal dick of a former boss is blackmailing me and trying to ruin my business because he wants me to use my feminine wiles on you to get you to cooperate with him.”)

 

(“Oh no, Marinette! I, Adrien Agreste, won’t allow you to suffer on my behalf…I’ll talk to Marcel tomorrow; anything to keep my friends from being hurt because of me.”)

 

(“Adrien you don’t have to do that!”)

 

(“Oh but I must, Marinette. You see I have literally zero self-esteem when I’m not pretending to be a feline sex god so I’ll gladly return to a job I despise working for a sentient elephant scrotum if it means your business survives.”)

 

(“But-”)

 

(“Also I’m going to have to cut back on play dates because of this now.”)

 

(“Wait-”)

 

(“Also Marcel wants me to move back to Japan to head up our branches there.”)

 

(“Adrien!”)

 

(“Sayonara Marinette-chan. Boku wa...itsumo anata wo oboete iru.”)

 

(“ADRIEN!”)

 

(“As a sub you were…sub-lime.”)

 

(“ADRIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEN!”)

 

…on second thought, honesty was highly overrated.

 

“Fine! Just…work stuff,” Marinette said dismissively, smoothing the wrinkles Marcel’s fingers left on the blouse before turning to Adrien with a small smile. “Fashion things…you know.”

 

“I do,” Adrien chuckled, glancing around the office with an approving nod. “Not the easiest career choice, is it?”

 

“Nope,” Marinette sighed, scratching the back of her head. “I’m sure your father didn’t find it any easier when he was starting out, did he?”

 

“That was before I came along,” Adrien shrugged, stopping to stare at the blouse Marinette was working on with a thoughtful look in his eye. “I saw pictures of his old office back when he was a kid starting out but he didn’t talk about it. I guess once you move through your hard times you don’t really want to talk about it anymore, do you?”

 

“I don’t think I will,” Marinette sighed, watching his eyes travel over the room. His eyes fell on the couch and Marinette suppressed a laugh at the way his cheeks pinked and he turned away with a small cough. It had only been a week before that she had laid there, lost in her own thoughts and the sound of Adrien’s voice…and apparently he remembered it as fondly as she did.

 

“You like it though,” Adrien said. It wasn’t a question; the walls papered with half-finished designs spoke volumes about how much she enjoyed her work.

 

“It’s…all I ever wanted to do,” Marinette said, taking some small strength in that. Marcel might run them out of business but Marinette would continue to sketch, sew, and design even if it was just costumes for a theme park. It was her reason for living and nothing Marcel Dubois could do would ever change that…and yet-

 

“What about you?” Marinette asked quickly.

 

“Me?”

 

“Are you enjoying your new found time off?” Marinette said, licking her lips anxiously.

 

“More than I thought I would,” Adrien chuckled, cracking his neck. "Nice being able to set my own schedule for literally the first time in my life..."

 

“No thoughts of…going back to your old job then,” Marinette said, not even bothering to ask it. Her answer came in the way Adrien seemed to be carrying himself now; lighter and more carefree than she had seen him in years. Finally slipped out of the shackles his father’s legacy had placed on him, he could thrive.

 

“Not likely,” Adrien snorted, scratching the back of his neck. “I like to wake up and not immediately be bombarded with meaningless phone calls and texts from my boss.”

 

“Right,” Marinette chuckled, fingers tracing circles lightly on her desk.

 

“That might be selfish of me,” Adrien shrugged, glancing over to her as if seeking approval. “Was it?”

 

A cold spike ran through Marinette as she realized that Marcel had been right. He was a fashion disaster and a Class-A dickweasel but the way Adrien looked to her with questioning eyes proved him right. She did have influence over him. She could spend the next hour and a half at dinner waxing on about Gabriel Agreste’s legacy until Adrien was convinced he should return to work. He trusted her; he would listen to her. She could shake this bloody embargo and be back to business in no time.

 

“It was selfish,” Marinette said quietly, biting her lip. She could ruin his life and he would thank her for it. She could so easily be another in a long line of people who used his name, his face, his body for her own personal gain and then dispose of him once she was done.

 

“I…yeah I guess it was,” Adrien chuckled a little uneasily, gaze dropping a little.

 

“But,” Marinette said quickly. “But…who said being selfish is always a bad thing?”

 

Adrien blinked, raising his eyes as Marinette perched on the edge of her desk. Ellie and Sylvia would kill her in the morning but their distemper would be easier to weather than the knowledge she had condemned someone she…cared about deeply to a miserable existence.

 

“You said Marcel Dubois didn’t appreciate you,” Marinette said flatly. “Like you felt people at your old office were using you, right?”

 

“…right,” Adrien said after a moment.

 

“So if he wasn’t looking out for your best interests and the people working for him weren’t either…who will?” Marinette said. “If not you?”

 

“I…guess you’re right,” Adrien conceded, watching as Marinette pushed herself off her desk and paced towards him. His eyes lingered at the patch of skin between her blouse collar, swallowing the urge to pop button after button off her shirt with his teeth. She looked gorgeous, setting sun streaming in the window behind her as she looked up at him with a radiant smile.

 

“If you ask me,” Marinette said, reaching out and brushing a stray piece of pollen off his shirt. “You deserve to be a little more selfish. Focus on your own wants and needs for a while instead of trying to please everyone all the time.”

 

Wants and needs.

 

The pressure of her fingers lingering on his chest made several wants and needs immediately apparent to him but mostly he felt relief. Truth be told, he had some lingering doubts about up and quitting out of the blue, wondering if it was fair to abandon his father’s legacy with a note. But…maybe he could stand to think about himself a little more. Maybe he didn’t owe Marcel and the rest of the company anything more than he had already given them.

 

“Well…I’ll add it to the list of things I’m trying to improve on,” Adrien chuckled, hands shoved in his pockets so deeply there was no danger of picking her up and holding her against the wall as he kissed her. That was certainly a want and need he’d like to spend a few hours focusing on but he remembered they had dinner to get to. “Shall we?”

 

“Of course,” Marinette said, snatching her purse from the coat rack on her way out and turning off the lights. “Your treat, right?”

 

“Right,” Adrien said, blinking as he stared after her. “Um…why again?”

 

You invited me out,” Marinette said, turning around with a toothy smile. “Courtesy suggests the one who extended the invitation should be the one that pays.”

 

“True,” Adrien chuckled.

 

“Also…you’re really gross-rich while I am not.”

 

“Also true,” Adrien laughed, warming Marinette as he fell into step beside her. She wanted to bottle that laugh; record it and play it back in the coming weeks when she was fighting an uphill battle against an entitled man-baby control freak. Still, it was her battle to fight; Marcel could go behind her back and sabotage her business at every turn but it didn’t change the fact that she and her partners could not be held down. They would use toothpicks if he took their needles; spin their own fabric if they were blocked off from fabric suppliers. If no store would carry their products they would sell them online, in the street, wherever they could.

 

She would be damned if that short, arrogant little pig faced fruit merchant got in the way of her dreams.

 

But for the moment, Marinette bottled the venom rising inside her, saving it for another day and taking comfort in the fact that somehow her personal life had become less complicated than her work life.

 

...if only by comparison.

Chapter Text

WANTED: Experienced female dominant willing to offer advice to a new switch in committed relationship with male switch (currently subbing for). Not looking for additional play partners at the moment; just some outsider perspective and advice!

 


 

 

ShadowWolf34: Hello there; just responding to the personal ad you posted. I am a male dominant with thirteen years of experience training submissives and would be willing to pass that wisdom on to you on the condition you cut contact with your current play partner. I cannot have another dominant polluting your teaching. I also request that you stay with me full time so I may train you as my submissive first.

 

MissLadybug: did you actually read my personal ad before you messaged me?

 

ShadowWolf34: If you were really serious about becoming a dominant you wouldn’t question your teacher.

 

MissLadybug: thank you for your interest but

 

MissLadybug: no

 

MissLadybug: just no

 

ShadowWolf34: Typical millennial behavior; I thought you were mature.

 

MissLadybug: you know what else is typical millennial behavior?

 

User [ShadowWolf34] has been blocked!

 

MissLadybug: that

 


 

 

Lady_Of_Pain_35432: In response to your personal ad, I’m afraid you’ve been misled dear.

 

MissLadybug: i…have?

 

Lady_Of_Pain_35432: Yes. You see, people are inherently either dominant or submissive. One cannot effectively be both because their Inner Self will always crave one more prominently. I’m afraid you would make a poor dominant having already enjoyed submission so completely.

 

MissLadybug: did you write me just to tell me i would suck as a domme?

 

Lady_Of_Pain_35432: Not at all. I am feeling charitable and will gladly guide you back on the path to true submission. I can make you happy; all I ask is your complete obedience.

 

MissLadybug: gosh really

 

MissLadybug: you’d do that for me?

 

Lady_Of_Pain_35432: I won’t deny the fact that my regimes will be rigorous but I can rid you of these dominant urges with sufficient training.

 

MissLadybug: gosh let me think about that for a second

 

Lady_Of_Pain_35432: Don’t think. Submit.

 

User [Lady_Of_Pain_35432] has been blocked!

 

MissLadybug: that’s a good idea actually!

 

Ban request for user [Lady_Of_Pain_35432] successfully submitted!

 


 

 

ShadowWolf35: Hello again.

 

MissLadybug: this seems familiar; have I blocked you before?

 

ShadowWolf35: I felt I had to speak with you again.

 

MissLadybug: did you?

 

ShadowWolf35: I feel I am destined to be your dominant.

 

MissLadybug: was the no not clear enough for you?

 

ShadowWolf35: No’s are simply yesses that haven’t been properly cultivated.

 

MissLadybug: …you are so weird

 

User [ShadowWolf35] has been blocked!

 

MissLadybug: and so blocked

 


ShadowWolf36: Why do you keep blocking me?

 

MissLadybug: oh my god how many shadow wolfs are there?

 

ShadowWolf36: Listen if you don’t want to talk to me just say so

 

MissLadybug: I have

 

MissLadybug: you keep coming back like a rash that won’t go away

 

ShadowWolf36: There’s no need to be rude but if you truly believe there’s no connection between us then just tell me to leave.

 

MissLadybug: k. please leave.

 

ShadowWolf36:…I can’t accept that

 

User [ShadowWolf36] has been blocked!

 

Ban request for user [ShadowWolf36] successfully submitted!

 

 


 

 

ChatNoir: Marinette?

 

MissLadybug: well well fancy seeing you here

 

MissLadybug: brings back memories, doesn’t it?

 

ChatNoir: Haha yeah.

 

ChatNoir: Uh…quick question?

 

MissLadybug: are you going to ask what i’d be doing if you were here?

 

MissLadybug: because the answer is between the b and the g in my username

 

ChatNoir: …okay let’s come back to that but right now I’d like to know why a user named ShadowWolf37 is telling me to stay away from you.

 

MissLadybug: oh my god what???

 

MissLadybug: oh god DAMMIT not again.

 

ChatNoir: I think they saw you change your relationship status on your profile to “In a Relationship with User [ChatNoir]”

 

MissLadybug: I’m sorry I should have talked to you before this to make sure it was okay!

 

ChatNoir: No it’s fine!

 

MissLadybug: I literally just did it to throw this person off my trail!

 

ChatNoir: Oh.

 

ChatNoir: Well that’s fine too!

 

MissLadybug: …you’re not upset?

 

ChatNoir: Only that this person is apparently not taking no for an answer.

 

ChatNoir: And making numerous accounts to keep hounding you.

 

ChatNoir: Can I do anything to help?

 

MissLadybug: thanks but I think I can handle this!

 

MissLadybug:…uh, while you’re here i thought i should tell you that I’m kinda in the market for a lady domme friend

 

MissLadybug: for like…advice and stuff. not for our kind of fun, you know?

 

ChatNoir: Oh cool!

 

MissLadybug: …is that okay?

 

ChatNoir: Pfft you don’t need my permission to make friends, Marinette.

 

ChatNoir: And while I hope you feel comfortable still talking to me about stuff

 

MissLadybug: I do!

 

ChatNoir: I realize our relationship has changed a little.

 

MissLadybug: a little?

 

ChatNoir: …okay a lot

 

MissLadybug: not unpleasantly ;)

 

ChatNoir: Of course not~

 

ChatNoir: But there’s nothing wrong with getting some outside advice.

 

ChatNoir: I know I did when I was starting out.

 

MissLadybug: okay whew

 

MissLadybug: don’t worry; I’ll handle ShadowWolf3424 or whatever he calls himself.

 

ChatNoir: Let me know if you need backup.

 

MissLadybug: i will

 

ChatNoir: ...so.

 

MissLadybug…so what would you be doing if i were there ;)

 


 

 

Marinette: did you get the screenshots i sent?

 

Alya: YES

 

Alya: WHO THE HELL DOES THIS FURRY MOTHERFUCKER THINK HE IS????

 

Marinette: I need a favor

 

Alya: WHATEVER YOU SAY SHADOWWOLF WILL PAY FOR THIS BEHAVIOR

 

Marinette: okay i need you to make an account on this site

 

Alya: …if this is some kind of ploy to sucker me into this latex fantasy world of yours where people spank each other dressed like ponies I swear to god Marinette

 

Alya: I’m a good lapsed Catholic girl; I don’t need to have octopi applied to my nipples to have a good time.

 

Marinette: WHAT

 

Marinette: DO YOU THINK

 

Marinette: WE DO????

 

 


 

LadyWifi: Hello Jean :)

 

ShadowWolf38: What?

 

ShadowWolf38: Who are you?

 

LadyWifi: Who I am isn’t important, Jean :)

 

ShadowWolf38: How did you

 

ShadowWolf38: How do you know my name?

 

LadyWifi: You left a trail.

 

LadyWifi: But that isn’t important either, Jean.

 

LadyWifi: What IS important is that you listen to everything I say.

 

LadyWifi: And do exactly as I say :)

 


ShadowWolf39: excuse me?

 

MissLadybug: yes?

 

ShadowWolf39: I would just like to sincerely apologize for anything I might have done to make you feel uncomfortable and I promise this will be the last time you hear from me.

 

MissLadybug: that’s very polite of you

 

ShadowWolf39: …if you could um

 

ShadowWolf39: Tell LadyWifi that I held up my end of the bargain I would appreciate it.

 

MissLadybug: you know what i have to go but thank you for the apology!

 

User [ShadowWolf39] has been blocked!

 

ShadowWolf39: Miss???

 

ShadowWolf39: Hello???

 


 

 

Marinette: so what did you tell him to make him back off?

 

Alya: oh cherie

 

Alya: don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to ;)

 

 


 

Marinette: nino

 

Marinette: your girlfriend is scary

 

Nino: just be happy she likes us

 

Nino: and pray you never seriously piss her off

 


 

 

As it turned out, Marcel was quite capable of keeping her and Adrien apart, if only through proxy.

 

Days turned into weeks and Marcel made good on his promise of interfering with Coccinelle’s business relationships in Paris and beyond. What started with retail blacklisting had now extended to the more technical aspects of the business. They were finding it harder to deal with fabric suppliers, sewing needle suppliers, even sewing machine repairmen. They were being slowly starved of the barest essentials; if Marcel wasn’t moving as fast as he could, it was only out of the misguided idea that Marinette might still swing around to his point of view.

 

Truth be told, he had a better chance skiing down the snowy hills of hell.

 

If Marinette’s business could only run on conviction and principle, she would have been the most successful fashion designer in Paris. As it was, she was up late working just trying to get her head back above water. No one cared about how interesting her designs were when selling them meant missing out on the chance to sell Gabriel merchandise as well. A few retailers had decided to honor their commitments to sell their designs, but Marinette could sense they were struggling just as much.

 

Marcel had poisoned her brand out of petty spite; Marinette took small comfort in the fact that Gabriel wasn’t doing so well either.

 

She kept an eye on fashion dirt sheets which buzzed with rumors that Gabriel was bleeding talent and executives faster than they could hire them. Their spring line had been mostly competent but Gabriel Agreste’s absence was felt. It lacked the genius that made Gabriel what it had been; fashion writer Marianne deLacroix absolutely eviscerated it in her monthly fashion reports. Designers and workers complained of increasingly strenuous working conditions and with every snippy interview given to fashion blogs, Marinette felt a small surge of satisfaction.

 

She could only hope to snatch whatever stalemates she could from the jaws of bitter defeat…and pray that there was something left of her business when the dust cleared.

 


 

 

Five weeks after he spent the night with her, Adrien knocked on the door of Marinette’s office after seeing her slumped over on her desk through a window.

 

Despite the fact that he no longer had to rise at ungodly hours to go to school/work, twenty years of waking up at five o’clock in the morning were hard to shake. He tried to force himself to stay awake until ungodly hours to try and wreck his sleeping schedule like a responsible twenty-six year old but he still found himself waking at five in the morning, staring at his ceiling and unable to go back to sleep.

 

(The sole exception had been when he fell asleep next to Marinette, the soft pressure of her body and the gentle rhythm of her breathing putting him at ease enough to sleep until seven.)

 

So he had taken to running. Since his father passed, he had veered off the model diet that had been designed to keep him looking as slender and waifish as possible and started eating a little more normally. Lean protein and daily jogs through Paris had slowly packed on pounds of muscle and he found himself liking it more than he thought he would. Part of him considered resuming his martial art lessons but until he quit his job he hadn’t had the time.

 

Now he had plenty of time on his hands…and he found that most of it was spent thinking about Marinette.

 

It had been a little over a month since the weekend that constantly lingered on the edge of his thoughts. Adrien was hardly a stranger to meeting people for a playdate but try as he might, and to be fair he didn’t exactly try that hard, he couldn’t shake the events of that night and the night that followed from his head. Everything about that weekend had been fantastic from the Saturday night sex to the Sunday morning bath to the extended Project Runway binge that left them both snoring over Tim Gunn’s concern. It had been one of the better weekends he had experienced.

 

It had also been the last time he and Marinette had been intimate with each other.

 

They had met for meals at least once every week and sent more than their fair share of salacious texts to one another but Adrien found himself craving the touch of her soft skin on his. He didn’t want to push her too hard too fast; he knew she was new to this kind of thing and had a business to run to boot. He didn’t expect her to drop everything and come over to his house wearing only a trench coat and a smile but…he missed her.

 

…physically and in a completely platonic sense he reminded himself; as a dear friend and truly sublime play partner.

 

Which meant that most of his pent up…tension was released on the streets in the early morning as he chased a winding path through the city. Somewhere in the chilly morning air and the sound of Paris waking up, he found it easier (much easier) to forget Marinette than if he had been lying in bed. If he returned home sweaty and completely exhausted by his tromp through the city then at least he was too exhausted to think about the two perfect nights they had spent together.

 

On some mornings, he ran past her office. He never really planned to but his feet carried him down familiar roads until Coccinelle’s storefront whizzed by him. Most of the time the lights were already on or Marinette was just opening the shop so he never stopped to look to see what she was doing (he assumed important fashion things). So as Adrien ran up, seeing that the lights were already on, he fully expected to wave as he ran past to a thoughtful looking Marinette hunched over her desk.

 

He nearly tripped over his own feet to see her slumped over her own desk, motionless on a stack of rumpled papers with the light overhead flickering on and off.


 

 

“You like that, don’t you kitty?” Marinette purred, watching Adrien’s hands strain at the ropes holding him to his headboard. He did his best to stifle his whimpers but each rock of her hips was another blow to his composure. She wouldn’t stop until her name echoed off the walls of his room, so loud that they would both be cited with disturbing the peace.

 

“Say my name,” she demanded, fingertips twisting in the back of his hair and pulling his head back. He yelped as her grip pulled his teeth free of the corner of his pillow, mewling as he felt the hard buzzing length throb inside him with each rock of Marinette’s hips. “Say it.”

 

“Ah…Marinette…Marinette…MARINETTE!

 

“Marinette!”

 

Marinette’s leg banged on the underside of her desk as she jerked awake, the sound of frantic banging on the glass door and someone shouting her name pulling her from what had been an unusually lovely dream. Her head shot up, sending blood rushing to her head as she looked around for the source of the disturbance. Adrien stood at the door to the office, face pressed against the glass and cradling his phone against his face. His hair was wild and he looked terrified but his expression softened as she rose wearily from her desk, shaking her head and peeling an order form for fabric off her cheek.

 

“Marinette?” Adrien called out again, craning his neck to see through the glass.

 

“Coming!” Marinette called back, rubbing her aching neck as she waddled out of her office towards the front door. A dull, persistent headache had been haunting her since Monday morning, but she supposed that had something to do with the fact that she hadn’t slept in a proper bed in nearly a week.

 

She always knew there was suffering in fashion; she just hoped it wouldn’t be her doing it.

 

Marinette unlatched the door, letting in a cool gust of air as she looked up at a frantic looking Adrien. “Adrien? What are you-”

 

“Are you okay?” Adrien asked, stepping into the threshold and looking her over.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine,” Marinette said shortly, smoothing her wrinkled skirt out self-consciously.

 

“I-I was running by and I saw you slumped over your desk,” Adrien stammered, shifting from foot to foot.

 

“I was sleeping,” Marinette mumbled, rubbing her eyes as a low throbbing sensation built up behind them. “Like most people at this hour.”

 

“Are you sure you’re-”

 

“Yes, I’m sure!” Marinette snapped, hand clenching into a fist as Adrien recoiled a little. “I was working late and I fell asleep and sorry if that disturbed you but some of us have to work five days a week!”

 

Adrien’s fretting stopped, hands going to his side and gaze dropping almost instinctively. “I…s-sorry.”

 

Well that didn’t make her feel any better. Adrien’s expression of concern was quickly replaced by an anxious, apologetic look that reminded her of how he used to act around Gabriel. The very idea made her stomach churn as Adrien took a step back from her, stowing his hands in his pockets almost bashfully.

 

“I just thought…well you’re okay,” Adrien laughed nervously “I’ll just…sorry for bothering you; I’ll just-”

 

“Wait,” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. She was stressed, tired, and angry but none of that was because of Adrien. It wasn’t fair to treat him like an emotional punching bag just because he wanted to make sure she wasn’t dead.

 

“Wait, I’m…I’m sorry,” Marinette said, stepping out into the doorway after him. “I didn’t sleep well last night but that…that isn’t your fault.”

 

“That’s okay,” Adrien said, lingering just out of her reach.

 

“No it’s not,” Marinette said, holding the door open for him. “Do you want to come in?”

 

“N-no that’s okay!” Adrien said, holding up his hands. “I…I don’t want to bother you or any-”

 

“You’re not bothering me,” Marinette said firmly. “You’re not; just…come in.”

 

He lingered for a moment, still looking a little unsure so Marinette slipped her fingers through his and added, “Please…I want you to.”

 

Still looking a little embarrassed that he had overreacted; Adrien obediently followed her lead, passing through the empty studio until they came to Marinette’s office.

 

“You sure you’re o…kay?” The last time he had been there the studio had been an example of orderly precision. But now it was as though someone had hurriedly packed an entire closet worth of clothes into about five hundred different boxes and crammed them all into a single room.

 

“Yeah,” Marinette mumbled, uncapping a bottle of pain killers and popping a few in her mouth. “Sorry I snapped just now; kind of frayed right now.”

 

“Hey, you don’t have to tell me,” Adrien said. “Springtime can be hell for fashion designers.”

 

“Still not your fault though,” Marinette said, leaning against her desk. “…I don’t want you to think I don’t want to see you or anything.”

 

“I know,” Adrien said. He tugged his tank top out of his running shorts, wiping the sheen of sweat off his face and Marinette’s eyes dropped to his exposed stomach with a mild flush of her cheeks. She looked up quickly, catching his eye and noticing how his lips twitched upwards ever so slightly.

 

“How’ve uh…you been?” Marinette asked, cracking open a mini-fridge in the corner. She rooted around past take out boxes for a couple of bottles of water, offering one to Adrien as she pressed another against the nape of her neck, staring at the ceiling and trying to get her mind off the way Adrien’s running shorts hugged his body.

 

“Good,” Adrien shrugged, taking the water bottle and running over his forehead. “Bored but good...sorry, I shouldn’t really complain about being bored, should I?”

 

Marinette would have killed for a day of boredom instead of week after week of hair nibbling anxiety. But she just shrugged, grunting non-committedly. “I thought you were looking into schools.”

 

“Was,” Adrien sighed, running his hand through his hair.

 

“Was?” Marinette asked, turning to face him. “You sent out, like, ten applications, right? None of them panned out?”

 

“Apparently schools are less likely to accept transcripts after a certain number of years,” Adrien said, drumming his fingers on the water bottle. “So I’ve had some…difficulty getting my foot in the door.”

 

Adrien took a drink from the bottle, forcing a small smile. “Not giving up though! Just…trying to stay busy in the meantime…think it would be easier if I had some kind of idea of what I would want to do but…no worries…”

 

Marinette tried to hide her grimace, but the notion that Gabriel had unwittingly sabotaged his own son’s future by not allowing him to attend university irked her. Adrien had always been near the top of their class, interested in so many different subjects outside his father’s purview, and now it sounded like any academic future had been critically injured because he had been forced to put all of that aside.

 

So, in the end, Gabriel Agreste had left his son a vast fortune but cut Adrien off from meaningfully pursuing his passions.

 

Even in her current situation, she was still designing; still working towards a goal she had set for herself when she was a teenager. She wouldn’t have traded that for all the money Gabriel had accumulated over his years and she suspected Adrien would have paid any price to be able to pursue his own dreams.

 

“Keep at it,” Marinette said after a moment. She reached for his hand, thought better of it, and settled for a friendly pat on the shoulder that turned into a small squeeze as she felt his muscles tense under her touch. “In the meantime, keep…keep doing whatever it is you’re doing.”

 

Adrien laughed, running his hand through his hair which caused the hem of his shirt to ride up another inch. “I’ve been pretty much living at the gym lately; not really much else to do.”

 

“Not complaining,” Marinette said, hand travelling down his arm and giving his bicep a small squeeze. “Not at…all.”

 

She realized she was all but feeling Adrien up at that point, so she withdrew her hand, biting her lip as Adrien caught her eye. Marinette could count the breaths that passed between them, silence hanging like a guillotine ready to fall. It had been too long since she had been alone with Adrien, and the knowledge that they could be alone in the office until her partners arrived in an hour was tempting to say the least.

 

“Glad to see someone appreciates my efforts,” Adrien chuckled, resisting the urge to pop the buttons of her silk blouse off with his teeth. He settled for holding still, relaxing as Marinette’s palm slowly slid down his chest, pressing against his stomach as she swallowed heavily.

 

“I should…I should get some work done,” Marinette muttered, eyes not leaving his stomach.

 

“Do you want me to leave then?” Adrien asked, voice thick and heart hammering in his ears.

 

Leaving is the last thing I want you to do,” Marinette laughed, biting her lip as she tried to think of all the reasons she shouldn’t ride Adrien like a bull on her sofa. They could get caught and…uh…they could get ca-

 

“So…what do you want me to do?” Adrien asked. His hands clenched at his sides as her fingertips lingered on the hem of his shirt, eyes flickering between his face and his waistband.

 

“I…” Marinette swallowed heavily, pulse pounding in her throat. She didn’t know what to say to him; memories of their weekend together flitted through her head, but she didn’t know how any of this worked. She didn’t know if she could just pounce on him, rip his clothes off, and press him against the door; she didn’t know if this was too public for him, or if he wanted to keep things confined to his house.

 

She didn’t know anything for sure…except-

 

“I miss you,” Marinette said, voice hoarse and thick with suggestion. They had spoken almost daily for months, flirted shamelessly over text. But she missed him in an intensely personal and intimate way that no text messages could satisfy. It was a heady, needy, intoxicating want as frustrating to Marinette as the situation with Marcel was.

 

But this was a need that could be satisfied.

 

“I…” Adrien swallowed, relishing the simple sensation of being missed for just a moment. “I miss you t-”

 

Before she knew it, her lips were on his, a gentle brush of pressure before she thought better of it. She pulled back a little, glancing down with a small laugh, “Sorry…don’t know what came over m-mmph!”

 

Adrien’s head ducked down, pressing his lips against her with just a little more pressure before pulling back, watching her reaction.

 

“You don’t have to apologize for wanting something,” he murmured softly, green eyes flickering up to meet hers. It had hardly been much of a kiss, but it was enough to stoke the dim embers of desire that had glowed inside her for weeks now.

 

“Good,” Marinette said, voice hoarse as she slowly ran her hand up his chest. “Because I’m not sorry for this.”

 

Marinette reached up, fisted her fingers in the back of his hair and pulled him down for a fierce, hungry, possessive kiss. She felt him gasp, lips twitching against hers as his hands rested on her waistband. Marinette felt something inside of her release; tension snapping and uncoiling. A purr of pleasure quickly turned into a squeal of surprise as Adrien’s hands snaked under the hem of her pencil skirt, cupping the back of her thighs. Marinette took his meaning and wrapped her arms around his neck, hopping up out of her shoes and wrapping her legs around his waist.

 

Marinette chuckled against Adrien’s lips as he picked up the slack, supporting her with apparently little effort on his part. “You know as much as I support you finding your life’s passion and all that, if you want to just, you know, keep working out in the meantime I totally support that too.”

 

“Yeah, it’s kinda nice being at a healthy weight for once in my life,” Adrien laughed, pressing a kiss against her collarbone. “How much…how much time do we have?”

 

“Half an hour,” Marinette said, glancing at the clock. “Maybe more…maybe less?”

 

“I can work with that,” Adrien said, suckling a soft patch of skin at the base of her neck. “I can definitely work with-”

 

Door,” Marinette said, pointing over Adrien’s shoulder and urging him towards the open door to her office. “C-can you-”

 

“Yeah,” Adrien said, walking backwards until Marinette could quickly close the door and fumble with the handle for a moment until she was satisfied it was locked. “Good?”

 

“Yeah we’re fine,” Marinette said, tugging his tank top over his head. Her hands balanced on his chest, legs wrapped tightly around his waist as Adrien walked them towards the sofa. He snaked a hand under her ass, supporting her with one hand while he undid the messy bun Marinette had worn since the day before. Adrien’s fingers tangled in her hair, smoothing it out as it cascaded down her shoulders onto a blouse that opened button by button under Marinette’s fumbling fingers. Her shirt popped open and Adrien suppressed a small giggle at the sight of her perky breasts cupped in a soft, pink floral strapless bra secured with a small rose between the cups.

 

“What?” Marinette laughed, breath hitching as Adrien pressed a kiss between her breasts.

 

“Your bra is cute,” Adrien mumbled, lips pressed against her skin as they wound their way over to the sofa.

 

“Oh…thank you,” Marinette blushed in spite of the fact that the raunchiest thing he had done was compliment her underwear. He dropped her onto the couch with a soft pomf as she wriggled out of her skirt, descending on her again only when her bare creamy thighs came into view.

 

These are cute too,” Adrien said, fingers running along the top of her purple and white bikini bottoms. “Though I have to admit I prefer you much better without them.”

 

“I’m starting to feel the same way about those running shorts,” Marinette said, foot snaking down his back and under the waistband of his shorts as he knelt on the floor in front of her. “Cute…but-”

 

“I’ll lose the shorts when you lose the bra, princess,” Adrien said, fingers slipping under the waistband of her panties enough to snap the elastic against her skin.

 

“I don’t think we have time to get totally undressed, sir~” Marinette purred, fingers twining through his blond locks as he kissed the flushed skin above her panties.

 

“When can we make time to get totally undressed?” Adrien asked, glancing up at her with a lopsided smile. “I’m starting to forget what you look like naked.”

 

“If your memory is that bad, I can always refresh it,” Marinette chuckled, thighs perched on his shoulders as his lips pressed against the front of her panties. “L-Let’s do something this weekend?”

 

“You sure?” Adrien asked, teeth catching the waistband of her panties and drawing a small gasp from her. “You seem busy-”

 

“I am busy,” Marinette rasped, clutching his hair for leverage as her blouse slowly shimmied down her shoulders. “I’ve had a month from hell and I’d like to spend two days not worrying about anything other than eating, sleeping, and f-”

 

“Fucking hell!”

 

The expletive and sound of paper falling to the floor dragged Marinette’s attention away from the blond kneeling between her legs. Evidently, in her haste to get the door closed, Marinette had neglected to properly lock it…which was why her partner Sylvia was currently standing in the doorway, mouth agape at the sight of Marinette half naked on the couch and Adrien stripped to the waist at her feet.

 

The three of them stood staring at each other, eyes wide and mouths hanging open for a second that lingered on much longer than it should have. Unfortunately, Adrien’s good manners had to kick in at the words possible time.

 

“Uh…h-hi,” Adrien said, releasing Marinette’s underwear and shooting a shaky smile in Sylvia’s direction. “I’m, uh…I’m Adrien.”

 

Sylvia blinked incredulously at Adrien, shot Marinette an exasperated glare, and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind her and dislodging a couple of designs from the wall.

 

The mood had, officially, been killed. Marinette flopped back against the pillows, dragging her hands down her face and groaning like a dying whale as Adrien slowly got to his feet with a dry chuckle. “So, uh…I should get going, shouldn’t I?”

 

“Might want to calm down a little first,” Marinette sighed, nodding to the noticeable bulge in his shorts as she slowly reached for her discarded skirt.

 

“Right,” Adrien nodded, turning away from Marinette and staring at the wall until he felt his erection slowly subside. When he turned back around, Marinette was zipping up her skirt, fixing her hair and shooting him an apologetic glance.

 

“S-Sorry,” Marinette laughed, scratching her cheek. “Should have made sure it was locked.”

 

“It’s fine,” Adrien assured her, tugging his tank top back on. “Looks like you guys are ready to get the day started anyway.”

 

“Lucky us,” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. On top of a burgeoning headache and weeks of unresolved stress, she could add being metaphorically blue-balled to her list of concerns. Shaking her head, she reached out to open the door only to have Adrien’s arms snake around her waist, pulling her close as he pressed a kiss into her head.

 

“Have a good week,” Adrien murmured as Marinette melted back into his hug, running her fingers over the backs of his hands at her waist. “Work hard; try not to get too stressed out.”

 

“I’ll try,” Marinette sighed, wondering if she could still lock the door and get Adrien on his back without Sylvia knowing about it.

 

“Get what you need to get done this week,” Adrien said softly. “Because starting Friday night-”

 

Adrien turned her around, once again tilting her chin up to face him with one hand and wrapping another around her waist possessively.

 

“-starting Friday night, you’re mine, princess,” Adrien said, pressing a kiss against her burning red cheeks. Already the two and a half days that separated her from Friday seemed far too long to wait but Adrien had already opened the door, ducking Sylvia’s murderous glare as he headed towards the front of the studio. He shot her a small salute and had the nerve to wink at her as he left, as if he didn’t just leave her an aching, anxious mess without any hope of satisfaction.

 

Marinette didn’t know much about domming, but she knew that she was going to relish the day that Adrien Agreste got a taste of his own medicine.

 

Sylvia watched Adrien’s retreating figure until he rounded the corner before turning on Marinette, snapping her out of her rather pleasant daydreams and bringing her back to reality with a sour churn of humiliation. “Really?”

 

“What?” Marinette said, defensive and suddenly embarrassed.

 

“You have to…forget it,” Sylvia angrily sighed, turning to leave Marinette’s office.

 

“Look, I’m sorry you had to see that,” Marinette called after her, scratching the back of her neck. “I didn’t mean for you to-”

 

Sylvia turned around, crossing her arms and pursing her lips. “It’s not enough that your little fling is putting our business in jeopardy? You seriously have to fuck him in our office?”

 

Sylvia had a point; office flings were hardly professional and no one needed to see their co-workers making out at eight in the morning. But Marinette didn’t like being called to the mat like she was a naughty child; not after everything she had done to make sure they were still in business.

 

“I’m sorry, Sylvia, but the fact that Adrien and I are…are involved has nothing to do with the fact that Marcel Dubois is an asshole,” Marinette said, crossing her arms. “Even if we were just friends, he still would have come after-”

 

“Is this some kind of game to you?!” Sylvia asked.

 

“Four years of school together and you still have to ask if I’m serious about this?” Marinette demanded. “You don’t think I’m taking this seriously?”

 

“You’re not acting like you’re taking this seriously!” Sylvia spat.

 

“I’m sorry, of the two of us, which one of us basically lives in her office?” Marinette said, blood pulsing in her ears. “Which one of us is on the phone with boutiques, trying to keep our lines on the shelves on top of designing? Which one of us is the first one here, last one to leave seven days a week?

 

“Which one of us fucked her way into Marcel Dubois’ bad books and doesn’t seem to care that her sex life is killing this company?” Sylvia retorted, blanching only slightly as Marinette’s eyes hardened. “Unless Adrien Agreste is your secret sugar daddy, and paying for the fabric we have to import since no French fabric supplier will even talk to us anymore, you have no business fucking him in our office!”

 

The door to the front of the shop jingled as Ellie pushed it open, arms full of coffee and pastries.

 

“Your mom is seriously the best, Marinette,” Ellie said, dropping the box of pastries on the table as her partners glared at each other. “She slipped in an extra cruller for each of us!”

 

Ellie looked up from the box, pastry hanging out of her mouth as Marinette stormed back into her office, slamming the door.

 

“So…what’d I miss?” Ellie asked, turning to Sylvia.

 


 

By five o’clock, Marinette was ready to start killing people.

 

She was going to start with Marcel Dubois (preferably by putting battery acid in his coffee) but Sylvia had climbed to a strong number two by the end of the day. Somehow, she thought that all the sex Marinette wasn’t having with Adrien was responsible for their business troubles, despite the fact that Marinette wouldn’t have sent a perfect stranger to work for Marcel Dubois with a gun to her head.

 

So it had been a long day of Ellie going between her partners, trying to keep the line running when two of its three heads were ardently refusing to speak to each other. By the time the door to the front of the boutique slammed behind Sylvia, the headache from Marinette’s morning returned with a bloody vengeance.

 

So naturally, she wasn’t exactly thrilled to find a message from Salon Velours waiting for her in her mailbox.

 

abelleAbeille: Hi there! Saw the ad in the personal section a few weeks ago and wanted to know if you still wanted some advice!

 

Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose as she contemplated just telling this person she wasn’t interested and removing the ad that caused nothing but headaches. It would be easy and she could get to satisfying her addled libido that much quicker. But Marinette had half an hour before takeout showed up and had exhausted Alya’s Happy Animal Baby YouTube playlist during her lunch hour. She supposed there was no harm in at least giving one more person a chance.

 

…but if they were creepy, the hit list would get a revision.

 

MissLadybug: hi there

 

MissLadybug: yes the position is still open

 

MissLadybug: not for lack of trying

 

abelleAbeille: Lots of duds, huh?

 

MissLadybug: in a manner of speaking

 

MissLadybug: fair warning; i’m running on four hours of sleep, eight hours of work, and a few weeks of bad experiences so i may bite

 

abelleAbeille: Biting is more of my partner’s thing but I won’t mind if you bite my head off considering your circumstances.

 

MissLadybug: haha

 

MissLadybug: sorry this is still all kind of new to me

 

abelleAbeille: Understandable!

 

abelleAbeille: We were all newbies at one point or another.

 

abelleAbeille: To be honest this was never something I envisioned myself doing when I was younger but life has a funny way of taking us where we need to go, doesn’t it?

 

MissLadybug: i guess lol

 

MissLadybug: so…your profile says you’re a mid-twenties domme with five years’ experience?

 

abelleAbeille: Almost six! My anniversary is coming up.

 

MissLadybug: oh so you and your uh…partner are in a relationship then?

 

abelleAbeille: Just married last fall!

 

MissLadybug: oh congratulations!

 

abelleAbeille: Lovely wedding; lovelier honeymoon.

 

abelleAbeille: Still riding on cloud nine to be honest.

 

abelleAbeille: And you?

 

abelleAbeille: Is there someone special in your life?

 

MissLadybug: define special?

 

abelleAbeille: Sorry; are you in a relationship with anyone?

 

MissLadybug: we’re…friends

 

abelleAbeille: Oh well that’s good too!

 

MissLadybug: yeah it really works for us

 

MissLadybug: he was actually a childhood friend of mine and we reconnected on this site

 

abelleAbeille: You’re kidding!

 

MissLadybug: it was so weird seeing him again

 

MissLadybug: not like…bad weird or anything

 

MissLadybug: good weird

 

MissLadybug: verrrry good weird

 

MissLadybug: …tmi?

 

abelleAbeille: No you’re good lol.

 

abelleAbeille: So I take it you two haven’t…been intimate yet?

 

MissLadybug: oh no, we’ve been intimate

 

MissLadybug: i’m a switch and the only time we’ve played together, he’s taken the lead

 

abelleAbeille: I see

 

MissLadybug: you don’t think that’s weird do you?

 

abelleAbeille: No no; not at all!

 

MissLadybug: because i’ve had people give me grief in the past because apparently people can only be dominant or submissive in bed

 

abelleAbeille: Pfft, that’s silly.

 

abelleAbeille: If you haven’t noticed, dom(me)s can be a little defensive when it comes to rules and roles.

 

abelleAbeille: A lot of doms invest so heavily in the idea of role essentialism that the idea that someone can be dominant AND submissive in different situations ruffles their feathers.

 

abelleAbeille: It’s the same ridiculous train of thought that people have regarding bi/pansexuals; people like to categorize other people and get uncomfortable when their narrow view of the world is challenged.

 

abelleAbeille: …am I rambling?

 

MissLadybug: nono i agree with you

 

abelleAbeille: So I take it your partner is a switch as well then?

 

MissLadybug: yep

 

abelleAbeille: And he’s open to you domming him?

 

MissLadybug: i asked and he said yes

 

MissLadybug: i doubt our relationship (such as it is) is ever going to settle into one way or another but

 

MissLadybug: i don’t know i just wanted some advice outside my current relationship, you know?

 

abelleAbeille: Of course!

 

abelleAbeille: …your partner is okay with this, right?

 

MissLadybug: oh yeah he was very supportive of me finding someone else to talk to

 

abelleAbeille: Oh whew that’s a relief.

 

MissLadybug: is it?

 

abelleAbeille: Some partners can overstep their boundaries in regards to personal relationships.

 

abelleAbeille: Let’s just say I would have been concerned if he wasn’t letting you make your own connections and leave it at that.

 

MissLadybug: oh no i would have dropped his adorable little ass if he didn’t like the idea of me just being friends with someone

 

abelleAbeille: Lol good!

 

abelleAbeille: It can be hard to identify when you’re in a relationship that’s…unhealthy.

 

abelleAbeille: But you seem like you have things in hand!

 

MissLadybug: more or less lol

 

MissLadybug: i was hoping to get some advice on certain things when the time came

 

MissLadybug: i still don’t feel like i’m 100% ready to take control of him like he did for me

 

MissLadybug: it’s a little intimidating haha

 

abelleAbeille: Mmm I know how you feel.

 

abelleAbeille: I felt the same way when my husband, then boyfriend, first floated this idea.

 

MissLadybug: so your husband is submissive then?

 

abelleAbeille: Mm very much so.

 

abelleAbeille: We knew each other in passing before we started dating and when we got together it was a while before he broached the topic.

 

MissLadybug: but you enjoy it?

 

abelleAbeille: More than I thought I would to be honest.

 

abelleAbeille: There’s something…intimate about being handed control over someone else. To have them trust you so completely they put themselves at your mercy and trust that you’ll take care of them.

 

abelleAbeille: It’s not something to be taken lightly; too many people think being dominant is about using your partner without a care for their happiness or wellbeing. Taking pleasure from them without offering so much as a warm towel in return.

 

abelleAbeille: But I like being dominant! I like being able to play with a side of myself I didn’t know existed until recently.

 

abelleAbeille: …and I really like my husband completely incapable of coherent thought when I’m done with him >:)

 

MissLadybug: whoo you go

 

MissLadybug: get it

 

abelleAbeille: The fact that you seem to be taking this seriously is comforting!

 

abelleAbeille: I think you may have the makings of a good domme MissLadybug ;)

 

MissLadybug: haha well, we’ll see

 

MissLadybug: thank you though

 

abelleAbeille: So, why don’t you tell me a little bit about yourself?

 

abelleAbeille: Outside your profile page, of course.

 

MissLadybug: well i’m pisces, a lover of pastries, enjoy long walks on the beach, and

 

MissLadybug: oh yeah i’m a small business owner currently being blackmailed by the head of a multinational corporation

 

abelleAbeille: Haha!

 

abelleAbeille: …oh dear are you not kidding?

 

MissLadybug: i wish i was

 

abelleAbeille: …I’m afraid to ask but I really want to.

 

Marinette smiled to herself, taking a sip of her water as she wondered how much she could tell this woman without giving herself away. Perhaps it was too early to tell, but Marinette had a good feeling about this one.

 

MissLadybug: i’ll give you the condensed and incredibly vague version

 

Marinette leaned back in her chair, cracking her neck as her phone buzzed on her desk beside her.

 

Adrien: Want to go shopping on Saturday?

 

Marinette: shopping?

 

Marinette: for what?

 

Adrien: >:3

 

Chapter Text

abelleAbeille: seriously???

 

MissLadybug: yeah he said he wants to restock his supply chest and he wants me to help pick stuff out

 

abelleAbeille: jealous!

 

abelleAbeille: I’d love to get a chance to hit up Libertine’s with someone else footing the bill; your guy must be either loaded or looking to rack up some credit card debt.

 

MissLadybug: little of column a little of column b lol

 

MissLadybug: anything I should expect?

 

abelleAbeille: well how many shops like this have you been to?

 

MissLadybug: one or two american ones while i was in new york

 

abelleAbeille: okay so Libertine’s is like that except…not at all.

 

MissLadybug: oh dear are there going to be people dangling from the ceiling in cages?

 

abelleAbeille: sadly no :(

 

abelleAbeille: it’s actually a very well to do establishment.

 

MissLadybug: well-to-do?

 

abelleAbeille: as well to do as a shop that sells edible underwear can be anyway.

 

abelleAbeille: people there are friendly; everyone keeps to their own business and the owner’s daughter is an amateur kickboxer so creeps get ejected pretty regularly.

 

MissLadybug: so there’s no danger of me getting noticed?

 

abelleAbeille: unless you run into someone you know/are a Kardashian no.

 

abelleAbeille: …are you dating a Kardashian?

 

MissLadybug: haha not quite

 

MissLadybug: …let’s just say he values his privacy and leave it at that :)

 

abelleAbeille: ooh how illusive.

 

MissLadybug: i know we’re super mysterious haha

 

abelleAbeille: well if you ever need another pair of eyes for advice, I’d be happy to help.

 

MissLadybug: i’ll keep it in mind

 

MissLadybug: i think saturday is going to be just us tho

 

MissLadybug: ~dom/sub bonding~ or whatev

 

abelleAbeille: well it can be fun to do stuff like that with your boyfriend!

 

abelleAbeille: sorry; partner.

 

MissLadybug: it’s okay haha

 

MissLadybug: we’re partners/friends who happen to have sex and make out a lot; it’s easy to confuse

 

MissLadybug: not exactly conventional is it?

 

abelleAbeille: psh who’s to say what conventional is anyway?

 

MissLadybug: do you think my relationship is weird?

 

abelleAbeille: psh not at all

 

MissLadybug: but we like

 

MissLadybug: kiss and stuff

 

abelleAbeille: …and?

 

MissLadybug: and isn’t that super lovey dovey and stuff?

 

abelleAbeille: kissing is just two mouths bumping into one another; why would that be romantic?

 

MissLadybug: i keep telling myself that but i’ve never kissed anyone i wasn’t serious about

 

abelleAbeille: well by the sound of it you’re doing a lot of things you haven’t done before, right?

 

MissLadybug: i guess

 

abelleAbeille: life isn’t a romantic comedy. you don’t HAVE to develop feelings for someone you happen to be in a physical relationship with.

 

abelleAbeille: sex and romance aren’t totally linked.

 

MissLadybug: is it that easy to separate them?

 

MissLadybug: you’re telling me you’d be okay with your husband kissing another person in front of you?

 

abelleAbeille: …well.

 

MissLadybug: ohmygod am i accidently kinkshaming you?

 

abelleAbeille: a little lol.

 

MissLadybug: i am so so sorry

 

abelleAbeille: that’s okay haha.

 

abelleAbeille: we’re not like in an open relationship but we have a couple we’ve been friends with for a long time now.

 

abelleAbeille: …very good friends with.

 

MissLadybug: ...you know how to keep a girl humble, abeille

 

MissLadybug: here i was thinking i was queen kinky because i got tied up once and in you swing with your

 

MissLadybug: swinging

 

abelleAbeille: flatterer.

 

MissLadybug: i’m sorry, how does that even work?

 

MissLadybug: do you go over for a boring couple dinner night and end up naked at the end instead of playing pictionary?

 

abelleAbeille: not exactly haha.

 

MissLadybug: are they kinksters too?

 

abelleAbeille: mmhmm! another d/s pair

 

abelleAbeille: we kinda came up in the kink scene with them. it’s always been something we kicked around like “haha wouldn’t it be funny if we all got together lmao can you imagine???”

 

MissLadybug: then it stopped being funny and started being all https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izGwDsrQ1eQ right?

 

abelleAbeille: pffffft!

 

abelleAbeille: something like that haha.

 

MissLadybug: so do you guys like…and feel free to tell me if i’m digging too deep here….do you guys like switch along d/s lines?

 

abelleAbeille: at times!

 

abelleAbeille: at times the other dominant and I like…directing our subs when they’re together.

 

abelleAbeille: the point (after all this sharing) is that my husband doesn’t love me any less because of our, ah, extramarital activities.

 

MissLadybug: so what if you found out he was cheating on you?

 

abelleAbeille: ahh that’s different!

 

MissLadybug: is it?????

 

abelleAbeille: cheating is painful and treacherous not because your partner does something with someone else; it’s that they disregard your relationship to do so.

 

abelleAbeille: when we agree to, er, swing it’s a decision all four of us make. everyone knows what’s going to happen and consents to it.

 

abelleAbeille: the point is that we make sure everyone’s taken care of and no one is left out for the evening. even when the other dominant or I have to work late and the other three get together, it’s something we agree to.

 

abelleAbeille: but once the dust settles, my husband and I are committed to each other; same goes for our friend couple (who have been together as long as we have almost).

 

abelleAbeille: now if one of us were to start doing things without our spouse’s consent, that would be different because it wouldn’t be something that we agreed to. the betrayal part of cheating happens because one partner decided to be selfish and not include their committed partner in a decision regarding their love/sex life.

 

abelleAbeille: am I making sense?

 

MissLadybug: logically yes

 

MissLadybug: i just…i don’t know i don’t think i’m the kind of person who could watch my current partner be with someone else even IF i was getting taken care of as well

 

abelleAbeille: that’s totally understandable!

 

abelleAbeille: your kinks don’t have to align with anyone else’s; you should never feel like you HAVE to do anything, you know?

 

MissLadybug: …i sound a little possessive don’t i?

 

MissLadybug: i don’t know when i’m with him

 

MissLadybug: or anyone really

 

MissLadybug: i like knowing they’re…mine.

 

MissLadybug: is that creepy of me?

 

abelleAbeille: so long as you don’t start biting the head off of anyone who so much as looks at him I think you’re good!

 

MissLadybug: lol i can’t see myself doing that


“…you suck at being rich dude.”

 

“I didn’t know that was something someone could be good at.”

 

“Neither did I, until I realized you suck at it,” Nino sighed, tapping an improvised rhythm on his leg as Adrien struggled to turn the headlights off. “You could have bought literally any car on that lot.”

 

“I know,” Adrien said, fumbling around for the turn signal and accidentally turning on the windshield wipers.

 

“Could have got a Maserati, a Ferrari, a Bentley,” Nino said, gripping on to the handle above his seat as the car suddenly lurched backwards. “But nooooo; you wanted the divorced-mom-car.”

 

“I live in Paris; what am I going to do with a Maserati besides sit in traffic?” Adrien snorted, craning his neck to back out of the dealership stall.

 

“See, practical thinking like that is why you suck at being rich,” Nino said, making sure his seatbelt was properly fastened. “You think Chloe Bourgeois goes to a car dealership and buys a 2025 Subaru Outback? In red??

 

“It’s burgundy,” Adrien insisted, sliding his seat back as they turned into the street. “Besides, Maserati don’t have trunk space or fourperson seating.”

 

“Right, because you need that for all the freaky deaky sex furniture you’re going to pick up today,” Nino snorted.

 

“We’re not picking up sex furniture,” Adrien said, neck turning pink. “Don’t have floor space for it…”

 

“No, you’re just taking Mari to your snooty underground sex shop to refill your dildo box,” Nino said.

 

“I-I don’t have a dildo box!” Adrien huffed

 

“Where do you keep the dildos then?”

 

“Well, if I had any, in a box but-”

 

“So it’s a dildo box,” Nino said.

 

“It’s not just for dildos,” Adrien insisted, scratching the back of his neck. “When you say it like that you make it sound like I have a crate full of vibrators in my closet or something.”

 

“Are you telling me you don’t have a pirate chest full of multicolored vibrators at the foot of your bed?” Nino snickered.

 

No!

 

“Another reason why you suck at being rich,” Nino pointed out, grabbing the car handle as Adrien suddenly took a hard turn. “Jesus, dude! Buy some driving lessons, why don’t ya?!

 

“Sorry!” Adrien said, half to Nino and half to the pedestrian he nearly clipped. “Been a while, you know?”

 

“Not how I thought I was going to be spending my Saturday, man,” Nino whimpered, glancing over his shoulder. “Hey, you missed the turnoff for Marinette’s apartment back there!”

 

“Not picking her up at her apartment,” Adrien grunted, focused on keeping his wheels on the road. “She wants me to pick her up at her office.”

 

“On a Saturday?” Nino shook his head. “Girl basically lives there at this point, doesn’t she?”

 

“That she does,” Adrien sighed. He could tell Marinette had been out of sorts lately, but it wasn’t really his place to be telling her to go home and get some sleep. She had a business to run and, since Adrien had no stake in it himself, he had to constantly remind himself to stay in his lane and not cluck over Marinette like a mother hen. But Adrien would have been happy if Marinette spent the entire weekend sleeping on his couch instead of their scheduled activities.

 

…not as happy but happy nonetheless.

 

“You know, I’ve never seen her studio,” Nino said, glancing around the neighborhood Coccinelle was located in as they drove up. “Got to say, Mari is posted up in a pretty tough part of-what the hell man?!”

 

Adrien had slammed on the breaks as they pulled up in front of the store with such force that Nino had to grab onto the back of Adrien’s seat to keep himself from flying forward. Under normal circumstances, Adrien might have exhibited a little more care when driving his best friend around. But currently, Adrien didn’t care about anything other than the woman standing in front of Coccinelle’s storefront.

 

On any other person, Adrien wouldn’t have looked twice at the pink and white polka dotted sundress that hung off Marinette’s frame. But the way she wore it, the way it fit every petite curve of her body, had almost cause Adrien to rear end the hatchback in front of him. Her hair was pulled up in a high, perky ponytail and white sandals tapped against the ground as she waited. Marinette spotted them, peering over the rim of a pair of large pink sunglasses and shooting a small wave to them as the car behind Adrien honked.

 

“Daaaaaaang,” Nino chuckled with a low whistle, glancing at Adrien’s scarlet complexion as he backed into a free spot in front of the design studio.

 

“I’m going to tell Alya you said that,” Adrien groused, glancing at his expression in the mirror with a mortified whimper when he found that his face was as red as it felt.

 

“And she would cosign that daaaaang if she were here right now,” Nino said, hopping out of the car before he had to endure an Agreste Parallel Park.

 

“So…this is what you guys came up with?” Marinette said, tilting her head as Adrien tried to squeeze into the slot in front of her office.

 

“Hey, the boy sucks at being rich,” Nino said, holding his hands up. “I tried to tell him to get a Ferrari or something but-”

 

“-but what’s the point of having a Ferrari in the city?” Marinette finished, nodding as Adrien got out of the car.

 

Thank you!” Adrien said, shooting a smug grin to Nino who didn’t even try to hide his disgust.

 

“Nerds; the both of you,” Nino sighed. Marinette tossed her overnight bag into the backseat, bending over to stick her head inside and look around. Adrien’s eyes briefly flickered down to her butt before coughing, looking away as Nino returned Adrien’s smug grin in kind.

 

“I could basically live in this trunk!” Marinette exclaimed, standing up and smoothing her sundress. “Is Nino coming with us?”

 

“Yech!” Nino gagged, holding his hands up. “Hell no!

 

“Thank you, Nino,” Adrien said flatly. “Your unwavering support is the foundation of our beautiful friendship.”

 

“Hey, you do you,” Nino said, backing away. “Just don’t ask me to do you with you or to you, okay? My sex life is fine without Alya vacuum-sealing my nuts to a lava lamp.”

 

“What do you think we do?” Adrien asked, turning to Marinette. “What do they think we do?”

 

“ ‘Sides, Alya’s family invited me to dinner and I am not missing Marlena’s Colombo for all the electrified butt plugs in Paris,” Nino said, waving them off. “I’ll let you two weirdoes get on with…whatever it was you two were going to do today.”

 

“Thanks for the uh…assistance Nino,” Adrien said, returning the wave.

 

“Enjoy the sad, red mom-car, man!” Nino cackled, tossing up a loose peace sign as he headed down the block.

 

“It’s…it’s burgundy,” Adrien muttered dejectedly, kicking the ground as Marinette patted his shoulder with a small chuckle.

 

“It’s better than my car at least,” Marinette said, glancing up at Adrien to find that his gaze was returning from a sweep up and down her body. “…yes?”

 

“I haven’t seen you in this dress before,” Adrien said, resisting the urge to run his hands over the fabric that clung to her hips.

 

“You haven’t seen me out of it either,” Marinette chuckled, leaning back against the car as he slowly reached his hand out to run his fingertips down her bare arm.

 

“Really?” Adrien said, smile widening as her lips parted ever so slightly. “I seem to have a very distinct memory of what you look like out of that dress.”

 

“You have a very distinct memory of what I look like out of my red dress,” Marinette said, hand pressing against the flat of his stomach. She felt him tense under her touch, smiling as she stepped off the curb and out of his reach.

 

“You look different when you’re not wearing this dress?” Adrien asked, holding the car door open for Marinette as she climbed in.

 

Marinette smoothed her dress, crossing her legs and shooting him a coy smile. “You’ll have to be the judge of that, won’t you?”

 

“In that case I think I’ll have to see what you look like without your entire wardrobe,” Adrien laughed, savoring the flush of pink in her cheeks as he sauntered his way around to the driver’s seat. “I’m almost tempted to skip the shopping trip.”

 

“Don’t you dare blueball me when it comes to shopping trips,” Marinette said, shooting a playful glare over the rim of her glasses. “You don’t promise to take me to your snobby underground sex-toy shop and then flake on me.”

 

“I made that promise before you brought up the subject of removing that dress,” Adrien said, resting his elbow on the back of his seat to look at her better. “Now…you’ve piqued my curiosity.”

 

“Is that all it takes to distract you?” Marinette laughed, turning to rest her elbow on the back of her seat to face him in kind. “A woman telling you that she might take her dress off?”

 

“When you’re the woman?” Adrien said, biting his lip. “Of course.”

 

Marinette sighed, shaking her head as an idea seemed to strike her. She glanced up and down the empty commercial neighborhood her studio was in, craning her neck to see if anyone was coming. When she was satisfied that they were alone, she leaned back into her seat, pushing her sunglasses up onto the top of her head.

 

“What if I satisfy just a bit of your curiosity?” Marinette asked, answering Adrien’s confused expression by slowly moving her hands down to grasp the hem of her sundress. Adrien’s eyes followed her hand, eyes widening as he swept the streets for any pedestrians that might see them. “Clear?”

 

“Y…yeah,” Adrien stammered, clearing his throat as he sat up attentively in his seat. Marinette’s heart thudded in her ears as her hands slowly hiked the edge of her skirt up. She turned so she leaned back against the door, smiling as Adrien’s complexion darkened with every inch of pale, freckled skin that was revealed to him. He was transfixed by the steady rise of her skirt hem, mouth going dry as her dress inched closer towards her hips. Marinette cast another furtive glance around them before lifting her skirt above her waistline and pooling it at her hips.

 

“Satisfied?” Marinette asked, a Cheshire grin tugging at the corners of her lips. Adrien couldn’t respond; his attention was captivated by the sight of simple pink cotton bikini panties embossed with a silver glittering crown on the front. “You see now why I said I look different out of this dress?”

 

“I do,” Adrien said. His hand drifted down to her leg, slowly sliding up her calf. “I really-”

 

“Ah ah ah,” Marinette said, reaching out and pressing her hand against Adrien’s chest as his palm reached the soft skin of her thigh. She pushed him back against his door gently, skirt still baring the soft, pink garment just out of Adrien’s reach. “Behave yourself.”

 

“I’ve been behaving myself less and less these days,” Adrien said, hand lingering at the base of her calf.

 

“I’ve noticed,” Marinette said, rocking her palm against his chest.

 

“I think I’m forgetting how, to be honest,” Adrien said in a tone that begged her to remind him. He made no effort to move or push her hand off him (though she was sure he would have no trouble if he wanted to). Marinette’s conversations with AA sprang to mind as she looked across the car at him, the word intoxicating ringing in her ears. A heady sense of predatory desire purred inside her, made sweeter by the knowledge that Adrien would enjoy being her prey. She wondered if she looked as inviting as he did when he held her leash, surprised at how his submissive expression seemed to draw out her dominant side just as his dominant behavior let her enjoy being submissive.

 

This was a dance Marinette was just learning the steps to, but already she found herself getting lost in the rhythm.

 

“You’re so good at behaving yourself with me, though,” Marinette pointed out, watching Adrien practically purr as she removed her fingers from his chest. “Maybe one of these days you can show me just how good.”

 

Marinette left Adrien flopped back against the door as she sat up straight, smoothing her skirt and adjusting her ponytail as though nothing had happened.

 

“But for now,” she said with a sweet smile that only broadened at Adrien’s flushed, hungry expression. “You wanted to go shopping?”


“This is…not what I expected.”

 

Marinette shielded her eyes from the sun, glancing up at the building in the middle of a busy, respectable part of town. When Adrien had mentioned the shop to her, she envisioned seedy alleyways and flashing neon signs advertising the depravity within. The large, somewhat ordinary looking bookstore she had passed on her way to work almost every morning didn’t exactly scream secret sex shop.

 

“What did you expect?” Adrien asked, eternally grateful that he chose to wear jeans and the effects of Marinette’s impromptu tease weren’t apparent to the people he passed on the street. “A gothic dungeon in the middle of Paris?”

 

“Kinda,” Marinette shrugged.

 

“Something tells me that wouldn’t pass zoning,” Adrien snorted. “Besides, the whole black brick and mortar thing can be intimidating for a lot of people…myself included if I’m being perfectly honest.”

 

“Really?” Marinette asked, nodding as Adrien held the door for her.

 

“Like I said; I like my private life private,” Adrien chuckled with a conspiratorial wink. Inside, the bookshop was as unremarkable as its exterior. Rows of tall, neatly labeled bookshelves snaked and wound their way back into the shop, obscuring the back of the store in a maze of book covers. A small pack of old ladies pored over the mystery section, nodding and smiling at Marinette as she passed with Adrien’s arm wound around the small of her back.

 

“You sure this is the right place?” Marinette asked as they made their way towards the back of the shop.

 

“Where do you think I got your collar?” Adrien said, leaning down and murmuring in her ear as they approached a non-descript archway at the back of the shop.

 

“Couldn’t have grabbed rope while you were at it?” Marinette snorted as they entered an alcove at the back of the shop. Inside, a small cage elevator was guarded by a young woman engrossed in a history book.

 

“Won’t make that mistake twice,” Adrien said, lightly squeezing Marinette’s waist as the woman looked up at them curiously for a moment.

 

“Can I help you?” The woman asked.

 

“Is there a secret password?” Marinette murmured. “Tell me there’s a secret password.”

 

“We’re…uh…friends of the late marquis,” Adrien said, blushing as Marinette failed to completely suppress a snicker beside him. The woman with the book shot a small glare Marinette’s direction, but Marinette simply lowered her large pink sunglasses, looking the other woman in the eye until she sighed and pressed a switch on the wall. The cage elevator behind her whirred, a light above the door flickering on as it opened.

 

“No fooling around in the store,” the woman said, returning to her book. “We don’t care what you’re into; just don’t do it in our shop.”

 

Marinette shot the woman a crisp mock salute as she passed, stepping into the elevator after Adrien and leaning against the wall as the door shut behind them.

 

“Well this is theatrical,” Marinette snickered, running her fingers along the vintage looking brass fittings as Adrien leaned against the wall opposite her.

 

“A little levity goes a long way,” Adrien shrugs, rubbing the back of his neck. “It disarms the nervous first-timers.”

 

“Are you saying I’m nervous?” Marinette asked, brow raising over the rim of her glasses.

 

“You’re still wearing your sunglasses,” Adrien pointed out.

 

“I’m being theatrical,” Marinette said, poignantly straightening her shades. The silence lingered for a moment as the elevator began to descend. “…some of us have a reputation to uphold.”

 

“This place is very discreet,” Adrien said, biting his lip. “Hence all the cloak and dagger but if you’d like to leave-”

 

“I don’t want to leave,” Marinette said. “I just want to be…careful. I have a business to run; don’t want to end up on the front page of the tabloids.”

 

Marinette took a step towards Adrien, threading her arm through his to forestall any further questions that lingered on the edge of his uncertain gaze.

 

“I’m starting to think you’re the one that’s having second thoughts,” Marinette murmured, a smile playing at her lips. “Scared that I may pick out something too…risqué for you?”

 

Adrien stepped off the wall of the elevator, a mildly wounded smile crossing his face. “You know, you are being very cheeky today.”

 

“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean,” Marinette said, glancing over the rim of her shades with an expression of exaggerated innocence that quickly melted into a coy, teasing smirk. “Sir.”

 

Marinette watched his Adam’s apple bob, a small laugh escaping his throat as he wrapped his hands around her waist. “Then I’m going to have to show you when we get home, won’t I?”

 

The energy between them subtly shifted. Adrien had taken the lead, hands sliding down the small of her back and resting just above the soft curve of her backside. He pulled her closer to him as her hands splayed across his chest, looking up at him with her lip caught between her teeth. It was her turn to tease, inviting Adrien’s dominant side out of hiding by shifting her body into his touch. He would be remote and respectful until she gave him license not to be; exactly what she intended to do throughout the course of the day. Fitful nights sleeping on her office couch combined with increasingly stressful working conditions had frayed her to the point of desperation. She needed some serious Marinette time, which translated to being ridden hard and put away wet, shaking, and satisfied.

 

And if she couldn’t sit properly for a few days, so much the better.

 

Adrien’s hands squeezed her ass through her dress as the elevator hit the bottom floor, giving a small pinch through her dress as the doors opened. “Behave yourself,” he reminded her.

 

“No promises,” Marinette said with a small wink, readjusting her glasses and stepping out of the elevator.

 

If she had expected a blacklight lit sex dungeon, she would have been sorely disappointed. Libertine’s appeared to be no different than any other store on first glance. The décor was purposefully antiquated, with hardwood, brass, and red velvet fixtures lit by wall sconces and a faux-Tiffany’s chandelier that dangled high above the open shop floor that stretched some thirty yards ahead of her and thirty yards to the side. It might have been an antique emporium or haberdashery…were it not for the unusual merchandise lining the neatly stocked shelves.

 

“Don’t get too far ahead of me,” Adrien said, closing the elevator door and sending it back up with a press of the button as Marinette’s eyes roamed over a nearby bookshelf which boasted titles from “The Ethics of Casual Sex” to “101 Shibari Knots for Beginners.”

 

“Afraid I’m going to get lost?” Marinette chuckled, eyes sweeping over the store. Aside from the woman behind the counter, Marinette could only see the tall bouncer woman Abeille had warned her about and two other customers; a man in a baseball cap and shades and a slender woman in a broad brimmed white hat. Clearly she was not the only one who thought subterfuge was a good idea.

 

“Get as lost as you want,” Adrien said, producing a shopping cart from the side of the glass counter that ran the length of one wall. “Just not without me.”

 

“Suit yourself; you are footing the bill for this,” Marinette shrugged, slowly meandering her way down a row of shelves. “Are you still cool with that?”

 

“Eh,” Adrien shrugged, leaning on the shopping cart as he trailed behind her. “Never was much of a disappointment to my dad when he was alive; figured I got some ground to make up and blowing hundreds of euro on sex-toys seems like a good place to start.”

 

“I won’t complain then,” Marinette chuckled, stopping and turning down the aisle next to one of the walls to the shop. Great spools of rope and chain were screwed into the wall, large shears attached to each spool so customers could cut lengths themselves. “You have a color preference?”

 

“Black is always nice for matching,” Adrien said, unspooling a length of black rope and testing it experimentally. “You don’t have a nylon allergy, do you?”

 

“Nope,” Marinette shrugged, watching Adrien wind the length of rope around his arms before glancing thoughtfully up at the soft, dark red rope. “Can I vote for red?”

 

She answered Adrien’s amused eyebrow raise with a small shrug. “I’m a fashion designer; I like having wardrobe options.” Adrien just shrugged, unspooling length as Marinette ran her fingers along the black rope in the basket. “Nylon?”

 

“Less chafing,” Adrien said, wrapping up another length in a simple knot and tossing it in the basket. “Believe me; rope burns will ruin an otherwise nice night on the town.”

 

“Ouch, that sounds like you have experience,” Marinette said, wincing a little.

 

“Well,” Adrien shrugged, pushing the cart after her. “When you’re young and too embarrassed to go shopping for proper equipment, you just grab whatever you think will do the trick…and then have to cancel shoots because your thighs have red marks up and down them.”

 

“What did you tell your dad?”

 

“He was in Milan at the time so I avoided what could have been an awkward conversation,” Adrien snorted, watching Marinette eye a pair of thick metal handcuffs in a case with a raised brow. “Thankfully Dad never knew what kinds of things I got up to in my down time; I sure as hell wasn’t going to tell him either.”

 

“You’re not one of those people who feels like they should come out as kinky?” Marinette said with a teasing glance over her shoulder.

 

“Please; I never even told him I liked guys,” Adrien said, running his hand through his hair. “I wasn’t going to lead with handcuffs and ballgags.”

 

“Speaking of the latter,” Marinette said, pausing in front of a shelf dedicated mufflers, gags, and mouth-guards of all stripes and sizes. “We’re going to need a few of these sooner or later, aren’t we?”

 

“You really want to deprive me of your lovely singing voice?” Adrien chuckled, grinning at the flush that colored Marinette’s cheeks. She frowned for a moment, scanning the racks of boxes before reaching out and snatching a bright red ballgag and holding it up for his approval. “I thought you were more of a red person.”

 

“I am,” Marinette said, tossing it in the basket with a secretive smile. “That one’s yours.”

 

Adrien’s eyes widened, tongue slowly tracing his lips as he stared at the box in the basket. The exchange in the car quickly came to mind as he was reminded of just how much he missed being tied up, gagged, and pushed beyond limits he thought he was capable of. It was a craving as raw and pressing as his desire to see Marinette tangled and bound in soft pink rope, waiting on his attentions. He wanted to be taken roughly; he wanted to be ridden so hard he couldn’t walk straight. He wanted to be teased, whipped, and tormented until he was an aching, sobbing mess and then he wanted to dissipate in her arms.

 

But he had to wait; he could be patient when he wanted to be and besides, taking the reins was no great hardship for him.

 

Adrien plucked a black, rubber ring gag from the shelf, twirling it over thoughtfully before tossing it into the basket on top of the red one. Marinette eyed it curiously, glancing up at Adrien with a raised brow.

 

“Why the ring?” Marinette asked, falling into step beside him as they made their way down the aisle.

 

“Guess,” Adrien said simply, watching her expression darken another shade. She bit her lip, eyebrows raising over the rim of her sunglasses.

 

“I’m guessing it’s not for water breaks,” Marinette chuckled, resting her hand on the basket beside his.

 

“Can be,” Adrien shrugged, tilting his head to one side as though the idea hadn’t occurred to him. “Huh…”

 

“…you want one too, don’t you?” Marinette asked.

 

“It would free my mouth up,” Adrien pointed out, running his tongue over his teeth.

 

“…on second thought, is there a bigger gag I can get you?” Marinette said, doubling back as Adrien hooked his fingers through hers, tugging her along as she pretended to scan the shelves. "Maybe something sound muffling?

 

“If you’re looking for something capable of completely shutting me up, I’m afraid it hasn’t been invented yet,” Adrien laughed, tugging her along and ignoring the man in the ballcap who passed them.

 

“I’ll have to work on that myself then,” Marinette sighed theatrically, threading her arm through Adrien’s as he snatched a bottle of lubricant from a passing shelf. “Someone’s in a hurry.”

 

“You go back to work on Monday,” Adrien reminded her, glancing between two boxes of condoms before tossing both in the basket. “Which means I have less than forty-eight hours of Marinette-time left.”

 

“Why do I feel like “Marinette-time” means “Marinette-naked-and-cuffed-to-household-furniture” time?” Marinette murmured in Adrien’s ear.

 

“Because you know me too well,” Adrien replied, heart hammering as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Better than I know you, unfortunately.”

 

“It’s almost like you can’t know everything there is to know about someone by hanging them from your ceiling for a single night,” Marinette said, tapping her chin.

 

Adrien was quiet for a moment. “...so you’re saying multiple nights hanging from my ceiling will help me get to know you bet-”

 

“Walked right into that one,” Marinette sighed, smacking him in the shoulder and accidentally bumping into a shelf.

 

“Walked into that too,” Adrien snickered, stooping to scoop up the boxes that clattered to the floor.

 

“You’re going to walk into this,” Marinette grumbled, jabbing a box containing an electric wand into Adrien’s side. “I’m gonna shock you in the butt when you’re not looking.”

 

“Oh no you will not,” Adrien laughed, holding his hands up and backing away. “This may be a little premature to bring up my limits but you are not shocking me with that or any other sparky devil contraption.”

 

“Really?” Marinette glanced at the box in her hand with a raised eyebrow. “How is this worse than spanking?”

 

“It’s not,” Adrien shrugged, nose winkling. “It’s just…different. And not the different I enjoy.”

 

Marinette shrugged, replacing the electric rod on the shelf without another word. “Fair enough…find me something you would enjoy then.”

 

Adrien nodded behind Marinette, pushing their cart past another customer as they snaked their way over to a small alcove at the back of the store.

 

“Is this where they keep the iron maidens and…” Marinette trailed off as she stepped through the arch, lowering her glasses as she looked around her. “…stuff.”

 

The room she stood in looked like it had once been rented by a particularly kinky member of the Spanish Inquisition. Metal racks stretched six feet off the ground, covering almost every corner of the room and covered with anything capable of causing erotic discomfort. The standard fare grabbed her attention first; whips, floggers, and crops came in all different colors, sizes, and textures. But alongside them were some more unusual implements; wooden spoons, hairbrushes, belts that had no practical fashion application at all.

 

“Well, well, well,” Marinette said with a low whistle, biting her lip as she slowly made her way around the room. “Not wanting for choice, are they?”

 

“You see why everyone loves this place?” Adrien said, leaning against the frame as he watched her trace a candy-pink riding crop through its cellophane packaging with the tips of her fingers.

 

“Beginning to,” Marinette said, pausing in the center of the room to glance back at him. “So what are we getting?”

 

“What do you want to try?” Adrien asked, smiling as Marinette’s eyebrows cleared the rims of her glasses. “Anything…in particular?”

 

“I don’t exactly have any preferences in mind,” Marinette laughed, rubbing her arm as she glanced around at the fairly intimidating selection of spanking implements. She wrinkled her nose as her gaze landed on a flogger with metallic tips. “Not that.”

 

“Noted,” Adrien said, pushing himself off the wall and walking around the room in the opposite direction. He watched her remove a plastic-wrapped hairbrush from the racks, tapping it against the palm of her hand thoughtfully before replacing it.

 

“Tried the hairbrush myself once but,” Marinette shrugged. “Didn’t get anything out of it.”

 

“That’s because you were doing it to yourself,” Adrien said, watching her regard a large leather paddle curiously. “Your brain anticipates the blow so the overall effect is lessened. Kinda the same reason you can’t tickle yourself.”

 

Adrien’s fingers lightly tickled her side as he passed, savoring the small giggle that slipped out of her lips.

 

“Don’t tickle me when I have yardsticks in reach,” Marinette said, plucking a yardstick from the rack and brandishing it in his direction like a fencer. “I will run you through.”

 

“Oh, so you’re a fencer now?” Adrien snorted, plucking another yardstick from the rack and assuming an en garde stance.

 

“I am when it comes to defending my sides from being tickled by vagrants,” Marinette laughed, lunging for Adrien’s shoulder only to have Adrien deftly bat her weapon aside.

 

“Oh I daresay you won’t be able to do much to stop me,” Adrien snickered, slipping inside her guard and lightly poking Marinette in the stomach with the tip of his stick.

 

“You are seriously going to pay for that!” Marinette said in mock outrage, making the same lunge only for Adrien to bat her stick to the side yet again.

 

“Going to have to do better than-ah!” Adrien yelped as Marinette’s stick didn’t change course, dropping to the side of Adrien’s parry and lightly smacking him across his backside. Adrien’s expression turned scarlet as she retreated, holding her stick out in a guard position with a taunting smile.

 

“Point,” Marinette said as Adrien advanced.

 

“Is that the game we’re playing now?” Adrien asked, touching the tip of Marinette’s yardstick. He made a cursory swipe at her backside only to find his blade diverted as Marinette parried low.

 

“Yes, and I’m currently doing better than yo-eep!” Marinette giggled as Adrien slipped her guard threading the yardstick around her backside and tugging her closer to him. Her nose bumped into his chest as she looked up at him, stretching up on her tiptoes as he used the yardstick to apply pressure to her bottom.

 

“Are you?” Adrien asked, flashing a toothy grin.

 

“Yes…” Marinette said, taking advantage of their closeness to land another strike on Adrien’s bottom. “I am.”

 

“You are so going to pay for that,” Adrien said, hand rubbing the spot where Marinette’s ruler landed.

 

“Is that a threat?” Marinette asked, readying herself for another attack.

 

“That, Princess, is a promise,” Adrien said, whirling his fearsome blade around his head. “I promise that when we get home-”

 

“Can I help you?”

 

Instantly, the yardsticks vanished behind their backs as the store clerk glanced between two red-faced adults trying their hardest to pretend like they weren’t just having a swordfight with rulers.

 

“N-No I think we’re good,” Marinette said, holding out her ruler as though examining an antique sword. “Just uh…t-testing the, uh…tensile flexibility of merchandise, right, darling?”

 

“Indeed,” Adrien said, thoughtfully examining his yardstick. “Do these come in imperial measurements too? I find metric rulers to be too precise for my tastes.”

 

The long-suffering store clerk glanced between them with a small sigh before pointing to a sign that clearly read “Please Do Not Use Yardsticks As Lightsabers.”

 

“…in our defense, we weren’t pretending to use them as lightsabers,” Marinette offered quietly, sheepishly tapping her yardstick against her heel.

 

“You break it; you buy it,” the clerk said before turning around and leaving the pair alone with their embarrassment. Marinette caught Adrien glancing out of the corner of his eye at her, identically red in the face. Marinette glanced back at her yardstick, slowly raising in front of her.

 

Wrrmwrrm,” Marinette said, swinging the stick back and forth, miming the sound of a lightsaber as Adrien clutched his stomach, silently shaking with laughter.

 

What did I just say?!” The clerk’s voice called from around the corner.

 

“Okay fine!” Marinette called back, handing Adrien her yardstick and folding her arms and muttering “killjoy” under her breath.

 

“Aside from Jedi weaponry, what else did you have your eye on?” Adrien snorted, draping the yardsticks over her shoulder.

 

“I don’t suppose we could return them if I ended up not liking any,” Marinette sighed, thoughtfully examining her options.

 

“Not to sound like a douche, but money isn’t exactly an issue with me,” Adrien said, frowning. “Huh…actually there’s no way to not sound like a douche when saying that, is there?”

 

“Afraid not,” Marinette said, glancing up at him. “If you had to put together a…starter pack, what would you pick?”

 

“You mean like…impact play 101 or something?” Adrien asked, scratching his head with the tip of a yardstick.

 

“Yeah,” Marinette said. “Like if you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take like four spankers with you.”

 

“I’d probably bring the ropy ones so I could build a raft out of there,” Adrien laughed, turning his attention to the racks. Marinette watched him pace up and down the racks, glancing at her and the implements before him.

 

“We could start with the classics,” Adrien said, reaching up and plucking a black riding crop from the hangers, flexing it experimentally and lightly smacking his thigh. He passed the crop to Marinette who glanced at it curiously, flexing it in her hands as Adrien returned with a green and black flogger.

 

“And if I don’t like it, we can use it to wash your new car,” Marinette snickered, examining the soft leather threads of the flogger while Adrien returned with a thin wooden pointer and thick leather paddle.

 

“I think this is a good place to start,” Adrien said, collecting the set of toys and depositing them in the cart just outside the room. “We can always adjust from here as needed, but this is a pretty broad range of, uh, sensations.”

 

“I take it they’re all…different?” Marinette asked, a small thrill running through her as she eyed the small cache in their basket.

 

“More or less,” Adrien said, nodding towards the counter. “Some are sharp, some are thuddy. Different people prefer or dislike different things so it’s best to experiment a little.”

 

“Is that what we’re going to do?” Marinette said, a teasing lilt creeping into her voice as she threaded her arm through Adrien’s. “Experiment?

 

“If you think you’re up for it,” Adrien said.

 

“Is that a challenge?” Marinette asked, glaring at him playfully over the rim of her glasses.

 

“Let’s just see how the weekend goes,” Adrien said with a conspiratorial wink as they arrived at the register.

 

“Just these?” The cashier asked, as Adrien unpacked the basket.

 

“I have an order ready to pick up too,” Adrien said, ignoring a quizzical glance from Marinette.

 

“Name?” The clerk asked, turning around to root through a row of neatly arranged black shopping bags behind her.

 

“Marcel Dubois,” Adrien replied. The cashier flinched as Marinette failed to hold back a loud bark of laughter that echoed off the bare shop walls. She covered her mouth, smothering a fit of giggles as the clerk disappeared in the back.

 

Seriously?” Marinette wheezed.

 

“A little discretion never hurts,” Adrien said with a devilish smirk.

 

“What if he finds out?” Marinette asked as the clerk returned with two bags labeled M.Dubois.

 

“…eh,” Adrien just shrugged as the clerk began ringing up the merchandise.

 

“What’s in the bags?” Marinette asked, arching her neck to try and see inside the nearest bag.

 

“Incidentals,” Adrien said with a secretive smile.

 

“Incidentals?” Marinette asked. She stretched to look inside again but Adrien lightly rapped the top of the bag with one of the yardsticks before passing it off to the clerk.

 

“All within the parameters you set, I promise,” Adrien assured her, passing his credit card across the counter without a second glance at the total. Marinette herself didn’t look, not daring to think how much Adrien could drop on their mutual hobby without a care in the world. Then again, she supposed if her father had died and left her a multi-million dollar estate, she wouldn’t sweat a few hundred euros here or there either.

 

“All set?” Adrien asked, hauling the bags up with a small grunt.

 

“I guess,” Marinette shrugged, glancing at the bags with a lip-biting smile. “Sooner we leave, the sooner we can start experimenting, right?”

 

“Someone’s eager to get her butt smacked,” Adrien chuckled, reaching out to call the elevator only to realize it was already coming down.

 

“Very eager,” Marinette said, licking her lips as she looked up at him. “You have no idea the kind of month I’ve had.”

 

“I’m sure I don’t,” Adrien said, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye. “You must be stressed.”

 

“To put it mildly,” Marinette sighed, shooting him a resolute smile. “Which is why I don’t want anything to get in the way of my chosen form of stress relief this weekend.”

 

“I can’t imagine anything would,” Adrien said, already wishing they were home and he could have her all to himself. The elevator dinged as it reached ground floor. “Shall we then?”

 

The doors opened, Marinette skipped forward, suddenly feeling as though she didn’t have a care in the world…only to run headlong into Chloe Bourgeois.

 

Chapter Text

It all happened so fast that Marinette had no time to react.

 

Marinette skipped forward as Chloe stepped out of the elevator. Chloe, reading an article on the best bed and breakfasts in Nice, didn’t see the pink and white polka dotted mass hurdling towards her until it was too late. She glanced up, barely registering her impending doom as Marinette crashed into her with a pained oomph that sent both women tumbling to the floor of the elevator while the other passenger skitted out of the way of the two-woman wrecking machine.

 

And just like that, Marinette’s Days-Without-A-Catastrophe-Of-Clumsiness clock was reset to zero.

 

“Ow, what the helllll?!” The oddly familiar voice under Marinette whined.

 

“Sorrysorrysorrysorry!” Marinette chanted, flailing around and grabbing an offered hand and stumbling to her feet.

 

“Are you okay?” The second passenger asked as Adrien ran forward to help the other woman up.

 

“Fine, I’m fine!” Marinette said, brushing her suddenly messy hair out of her eyes. “I’m just-”

 

“Seriously, you could have gotten me killed!” The woman huffed, brushing a strand of blonde hair out of her eye as Adrien hoisted her to her feet. “Honestly, what were you thinking just barreling into an elevator like some kind of-”

 

Marinette stiffened as the woman stood up fully, stomach slowly sinking as she recognized the blonde currently clutching Adrien’s arm for support. Two pairs of blue eyes that hadn’t met for years suddenly locked, identical looks of shock and wary confusion staring back at each other. It was, without a doubt, Chloe Bourgeois; the leggy blonde nightmare that had haunted Marinette’s childhood and teenage years was two feet in front of her…and now knew more about Marinette’s personal life than Marinette was comfortable with.

 

Then again, Marinette now knew more than she wanted to about Chloe as well.

 

“Marinette?” Both Chloe and the other passenger in the elevator car said almost simultaneously. Marinette’s attention strayed from Chloe’s arm on Adrien’s for a brief moment to regard the man that pulled her up. Curious teal eyes looked down at her from a height that rivaled Adrien’s. Slender fingers tucked a curtain of scarlet red hair behind an ear stamped with three silvery studs, exposing a black hexagonal tattoo on the nape of his neck peeking out of the collar of his t-shirt. He looked familiar, he clearly seemed to recognize her, but Marinette’s brain (still reeling from literally running into Chloe) failed to put the face to the name until Adrien spoke behind her.

 

“You okay?” Adrien asked, glancing between Chloe and the man currently helping her to her to her feet. “You Nath?”

 

“No scratches here," the man laughed, dusting his shirt off. Marinette glanced back up at the man, squinting as though she tried to imagine him with a sweep of hair in front of his face instead of pulled up behind his ears. Realization slowly dawned on her, eyes widening and mouth falling open.

 

“N…Nathanael?” Marinette squeaked, scarcely believing the quiet artistic boy who nursed a crush on her for years had a) grown up to be a tomato haired pretty-boy and b) helped her to her feet in the elevator of an underground bondage emporium.

 

So far this wasn’t exactly how she envisioned her school reunion.

 

“Long time no see,” Adrien laughed, crossing the elevator to where Nathanael looked torn between being happy to see them and wanting to dissolve into the floor. “I thought Max had you prisoner in the basement working on character designs."

 

"Sorry; work's been a pill and a half lately,” Nathanael said, scratching the back of his neck as he glanced between Marinette and Adrien with a small smile. "Deadlines from the publisher and whatnot. Been meaning to get in touch but...you know."

 

Marinette had nearly forgotten how the pair of them struck up an odd friendship during their senior year, becoming nearly inseparable even as Adrien prepared to leave France. She and Nino found that their Adrien- time was being cut into by impromptu sleepovers and anime marathons at Nathanael’s house but surprisingly she had been the only one concerned. Nino didn’t seem to be too worried that Nathanael was usurping his best friend position but when pressed about it, Nino either pretended not to hear her or changed the topic as fast as he could.

 

“Uh…good to see you?” Nathanael said with a small laugh. Marinette’s eyes followed Nathanael’s gaze back to Chloe whose cheeks were quickly matching the color of Nathanael’s hair. If Adrien was being surprisingly blasé about running into two of his former friends in what could only be described as a cross between a sex-dungeon and a supermarket, Chloe looked like being in their presence was slowly boiling her alive.

 

“Uh…i-is this not the rest of the bookstore?” Chloe laughed, glancing around with a feigned look of confusion as she adjusted the sunglasses on her face and slowly scooted behind Nathanael. “I-I-I was looking for a book on uh…horticulture! Yes! I-I wanted to start a spice garden and-”

 

“I think they know what we’re here for,” Nathanael said, smirking as Chloe nearly choked on her bubblegum and violently drew her finger across her throat. “What? I don’t think we can play the “we accidentally wandered in here” card.”

 

“Not anymore we can’t!” Chloe hissed, jabbing Nathanael in the back of the arm. Marinette would have found the whole thing hilarious (Chloe Bourgeois pretending like she had no idea how she ended up in a sex shop was the stuff great standup was made of) if she wasn’t still stunned into complete baffled silence by her presence.

 

Marinette had never really liked Chloe when they were kids; almost hated her when they were teenagers. Part of her waited for the old embers of teenage rivalry to flare up now that they were in a confined space together…and she was stunned when they didn’t. The exasperation and disgust that tinged Marinette’s memories of the other woman failed to resurge which was almost as surprising as running headlong into Chloe in the first place.

 

It was still early, though.

 

“This isn’t the first time I’ve caught you two down here either,” Adrien chuckled, winding his arm around Marinette’s waist and jerking her out of her thoughts. Chloe lingered at Nathanael’s elbow, shooting him an icy glare as he casually pretended not to notice she was upset with him.

 

Chloe huffed, muttering something that sounded like, “it’s not you I’m worried about,” as her eyes drifted between Adrien and Marinette. Curiosity appeared to overtake her initial surprise as she seemed to be piecing something together in her head.

 

“Wait a minute…” Chloe said, lowering her glasses as Marinette shifted under her gaze. “Are you-”

 

“S’cuse me!” The quartet looked up, quickly scuttling out of the way of a man hauling a large cardboard box towards the elevator. They muttered their apologies, stepping out of the car and into the foyer as the elevator jerked and started its climb back up to street level.

 

So much for slipping away, Marinette brooded, poignantly ignoring Chloe’s glance as it finally rested on Adrien again.

 

“So,” Chloe said after a moment, looking Marinette over through slightly narrowed eyes. “Are you two here…together?”

 

“Uh…” Marinette coughed, glancing up at Adrien for a moment to find he had looked to her at the exact same moment. “Uh, that’s-“

 

Right, part of Marinette thought.

 

Complicated, her more rational mind chimed in.

 

None of your business! A childish and somewhat defensive Marinette chimed in from the back of her mind.

 

“It’s okay,” Adrien said, saving Marinette from having to answer a question she didn’t rightly know the answer to. “Chloe knows about um…”

 

Adrien gestured between the two of them, coughing and chuckling nervously.

 

“Wait, you told her about me?” Marinette demanded, turning to fix Adrien with a curious glare.

 

“N-Not by name!” Adrien said, holding his hands up. “J-Just mentioned that I was uh…seeing someone…”

 

“He mentioned a friend who he met online and was currently…involved with,” Chloe supplied, eyes roaming over the pair of them curiously as she leaned against Nathanael's side. “Though he was insufferably vague about it; wouldn’t cough up details no matter how hard I pressed him.”

 

“…oh,” Marinette said, not quite knowing whether to feel relieved…or disappointed that Adrien hadn’t mentioned her to his friends.

 

“Well you know how he is; proper gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell, does he?” Chloe said, smirking at a sheepish looking Adrien before turning to Marinette. “I had no idea that you were his…special-friend until a few minutes ago.”

 

Marinette didn’t know if her secret identity was a good thing or bad thing in this scenario. Keeping secrets, especially between family and close friends, wasn’t the sign of a healthy relationship…though she had to remind herself that she wasn’t technically in a relationship with Adrien. She didn’t know what the protocol was for friends-with-benefits; she didn’t know if she should be happy that Adrien prioritized her privacy…or upset that Adrien didn’t feel like mentioning her by name.

 

And she still didn’t quite know how to feel about Chloe.

 

Adrien didn’t seem to have that problem, not shying away as Chloe briefly kissed him on the cheek. A small spike of possessive envy washed through her, compelling her to snugly secure her grip on Adrien’s arm before realizing Chloe hadn’t done to Adrien anything she didn’t do to Alya or Nino on a daily basis. Chloe retreated after Adrien returned the chaste peck, surprising Marinette at the amount of restraint showed. If Marinette was expecting gushing, squeeing, and cries of Adrikins as Chloe smothered him in kisses she was disappointed. But then again, her experience with Chloe ended with graduation and there had been seven long years where she didn’t really know the formerly clingy blonde or how she related to Adrien anymore. They hadn’t been very close in school but school was school…and apparently they had more in common now than they did when they were teenagers.

 

If Marinette was on edge, Adrien was as collected as if they had bumped into Chloe and Nathanael at a supermarket. “So how's the company?" Adrien asked.

 

“Max is pulling his hair out trying to make sure we launch our new game on time but he always does that,” Nathanael said with a quiet laugh, scratching his neck.

 

"They've been working on some new browser game for a few months now," Chloe sighed, fishing her phone out of her pocket. "They're making me test it in my downtime."

 

"And?" Adrien asked.

 

"It's stupid," Chloe sniffed. "So...incredibly stupid."

 

"And how many hours have you logged on it so far?" Nathanael asked, smile suggesting he already knew the answer. Chloe pinked, glancing away with a pout and mumbling something that sounded like "eighty-three" under her breath.

 

"It's stupid because it's sucking his personal life away," Chloe huffed. "And by extension, mine as well since I can't very well go to the fucking movies by myself."

 

"Needless to say I'm taking a...forced day off," Nathanael said, spinning a rack of magazines around idly.

 

"Oh you poor baby," Chloe pouted, poking Nathanael in the side of his cheek. "I'm sure this is all sooo hard for you."

 

"I'm gonna bite you," Nathanael said, snapping his teeth at Chloe's finger.

 

"Promises," Chloe said, waggling her finger.

 

“How's the unemployed life treating you?” Nathanael said, leaning on a bookshelf casually next to Chloe. "What have you been doing?"

 

“Oh just…stuff,” Adrien said with a small wave of his hand.

 

“Clearly,” Chloe snorted, eyes lingering on the bags in Adrien’s hands.

 

“I heard about that stuff,” Nathanael said with a small smirk. “Chloe literally hit the roof when you told her you ditched Marcel."

 

“Can you blame me?” Chloe sniffed, eyes flickering towards Marinette. “Seriously, you have no idea how much I nagged him to just ditch Gabriel and go live in the Cayman Islands like a proper rich layabout. God knows you had every reason to.”

 

“I got there eventually,” Adrien said with a sheepish smile, glancing at Marinette. “I just needed some…help figuring it out.”

 

“Help?” Nathanael said, following Adrien’s gaze with a raised brow. Marinette glanced at Adrien with a small chuckle, warming a little at his insinuation. Chloe’s lips pursed, raising a brow at Adrien as he shot her an almost apologetic look.

 

“S-So what are you two in for?” Marinette said quickly.

 

“Fittings,” Nathanael said, a smug foxish smile creeping onto his face as Chloe suppressed a small grimace. “Tailor here pinged us this morning; apparently the outfits we ordered are ready for…final adjustments.”

 

“…do I want to know?” Marinette asked, angling the question more towards Nathanael.

 

No!” Chloe butted in quickly, coughing and glancing away as Marinette’s gaze turned to her. “I-I mean…they’re just uh…outfits. N-Nothing exciting!”

 

“I’d disagree,” Nathanael said with a small chuckle, shuffling through his phone as Chloe shot him a red faced look of panic. “I’ve got the composite sketches right here if you’d like to take a look at th-”

 

I-I’m sure Marinette sees enough designs during her day job!” Chloe squeaked, reaching for the phone as Nathanael dangled it just out of her grasp.

 

“She’s just terrified because she didn’t get to see the designs before they were sent to the tailor,” Nathanael said, nodding behind the counter to a pair of velvet curtains.

 

“They have a designer here?” Marinette asked, suddenly interested.

 

Designer is a strong word,” Nathanael said, ignoring Chloe’s grabby hands. “Their tailor can work wonders if you give them something to work with though; they’re good at working from a print.”

 

“Let me see!” Chloe whined.

 

“No,” Nathanael said, stowing his phone in his back pocket and leaning against the bookshelf so Chloe couldn’t fish it out.

 

“A woman has a right to know what she’s going to put on her body!”

 

“And you will,” Nathanael said, ignoring the light jab Chloe aimed at his side. “After I’m done with my fitting.”

 

“Pain in the ass,” Chloe huffed. Nathanael just shrugged as if to say “fair enough.”

 

“Are you going back there now?” Adrien asked, glancing at Marinette for a moment. “Uh…I’d kind of like to see the kind of stuff they’re capable of if that’s okay. You mind if I head back there to check?”

 

The question was angled at both Marinette and Nathanael who glanced at each other for a moment.

 

“I’ve…got no problem with that,” Nathanael shrugged, glancing at Marinette. “Unless you have somewhere to be?”

 

They did, technically, but Marinette was at least marginally curious as to what kind of set up they had behind the counter. Her curiosity wasn’t entirely professional either; she had a number of…ideas that she didn’t know how to execute having never designed something exclusively for the bedroom before. She could stomach the impromptu moshpit of awkwardness a little longer; for Adrien’s enthusiastic sake as well as hers.

 

“We can pop in,” Marinette said, lacing her arm through Adrien’s with a small smile. “No harm glancing around, right?”

 

“Are you sure you don’t have somewhere else to be?” Chloe asked, shooting them an almost pleading look as they meandered towards the back room.

 

“Oh relax; no one’s going to see you in your little outfit if you don’t want them to,” Nathanael sighed, nodding to the clerk behind the counter who pulled the curtain back for the foursome.

 

“I should hope n-wait how little is little?” Chloe demanded, chasing after Nathanael.

 

“I don’t know; how little is your butt?” Nathanael snickered as Chloe paled. “I forgot the measurements when I sent it in so it might be a little on the snug side-”

 

“You son of a-”

 

“Oh calm down,” Nathanael sighed. “You don’t even know what it is yet and you’re already all bent out of shape.”

 

“Given the last thing you designed for me, I think I have a right to be worried,” Chloe mumbled.

 

“I thought you liked my Christmas gift,” Nathanael said with a sharp smile. “Especially the fluffy little-”

 

Chloe aimed a kick at the back of Nathanael’s calf as he stepped through the doorway to keep him from saying anything else. “SHH!”

 

“Trust me; I don’t want to know,” Marinette said. It was strange; Nathanael had always disliked Chloe in school but had been too timid to say anything to her. Now he seemed to enjoy ruffling her feathers, teasing her, getting a rise out of her however he could. Marinette didn’t quite know what had prompted Nathanael to get over his fear of pissing Chloe off but it was refreshing to see that Bourgeois menace had worn off some…or at least that people no longer took it so seriously.

 

Marinette followed the bickering pair through the archway into a separate room in the shop. The room they stood in appeared to be a cross between a large department store fitting room and a Halloween store. Racks of various vacuum-sealed clothes stretched from the door to the far wall, categorized in a number of different ways (from scenarios such as “School” to categories such as “Edible”). On the far wall, a shelf full of dangerous looking shoes glinted under floodlights shining down from the ceiling and there was even a collection of various animal ears hanging off the side wall.

 

(Marinette made a mental note to look at those later.)

 

A young woman sat behind counter separating the main room from what appeared to be fitting rooms. She glanced up as they entered, earmarking her novel and looking as attentive as she could.

 

“Can I help you?” The woman asked, glancing at Marinette who helpfully jabbed her finger in Nathanael’s direction.

 

“Last minute fitting and pickup,” Nathanael said quietly, fishing a card out of his jacket and sliding it across the counter. “I dropped off the designs last month.”

 

“Right…two custom orders paid for by Mr. Howe?” The woman asked, glancing up from the card.

 

“That’s the one,” Nathanael said.

 

“Some bad news I’m afraid,” the clerk said, filing the card away in the cash register. “Our usual menswear clerk had to go home. Not to get into anything personal but he had to deal with a sudden bad case of…something that rhymes with stemeroids.”

 

“Aren’t you discreet?” Chloe muttered, smiling tightly as the woman shot her a small scowl.

 

“…anyway,” the clerk continued, turning back to Nathanael. “Like I was saying there’s no one here to…help you out in the dressing room and make sure all the…accessories work like they’re supposed to.”

 

“Accessories?” Chloe asked, raising her brow.

 

“What did you order?” Adrien asked, glancing sideways at Nathanael who just shrugged.

 

“It’s…complicated,” Nathanael said with a small pink tinged smile.

 

“So we can’t make sure everything works how it’s supposed to…unless your friend here wants to help you with it,” the clerk said, nodding at Adrien.

 

“Me?” Adrien asked.

 

“Yeah, there’s not much that needs doing; just a couple of straps to tighten and a few locks to check,” the clerk said, glancing at the four of them expectantly. “Otherwise we’re kinda stuck for final fittings.”

 

So many heads turned it was hard to keep track. Nathanael turned to Adrien, who turned to Marinette, who turned Nathanael, who turned to Chloe who just shrugged as if to say "not my body." Marinette caught Adrien’s eye with a small shrug; she didn’t exactly feel like lingering more than she had to but Nathanael appeared to be in a bit of a bind (or in a lack of one unless Adrien helped out). Whatever her feelings towards Chloe were, she wasn’t about to let Nathanael down because she would rather be at Adrien’s place testing their new purchases.

 

“If you want,” Marinette said non-committedly.

 

“I don’t think it’ll take long,” Nathanael said.

 

“It’s that or me,” the clerk said with a small laugh. "Strictly speaking I'm not supposed to help with the fittings but-"

 

"We got it," Chloe interrupted with a tight smile. "Thanks though."

 

“As long as you're cool with it," Nathanael said. "I can come back when-"

 

“No, it’s fine!” Adrien said, dropping their bags next to the counter. “If I’m being honest I’d like to see what this place is capable of coming up with.”

 

“Hey, we may not be the best designers, but we can manhandle a piece of leather pretty well,” the clerk laughed, nodding behind her where a black vinyl garment bag hung on a fitting room door. “…or latex…or fake fur…or real-

 

“Gotcha,” Chloe said, snapping her gum and weathering the small frown the clerk shot her with her usual blasé indifference. “Just let me know when they’re wrapping up; I need to mentally prepare myself for whatever fashion disaster Nathanael’s prepared for me.”

 

“Your support means the whole world to me, oh wind beneath my wings,” Nathanael said dry laugh, heading into the back room with Adrien on his heels.

 

“If you want you can wait for your boyfriends over there,” the clerk said, returning to her book as she jerked her thumb at a padded bench outside the fitting room.

 

“He’s not my…” Marinette trailed off as she realized it didn’t matter all that much what a complete stranger thought of her relationship with Adrien. Her hesitation didn’t escape Chloe’s notice, who glanced at her with a curious…and almost disappointed look. This perplexed Marinette enough to pluck her bags from beside the counter and make her way over to the padded bench, plopping them down and sitting on the far end, hoping to avoid any kind of lengthy conversation with her former high school nemesis.

 

But clearly Chloe had other ideas.

 

Chloe pretended to idly wander down the rows of clothing as Adrien and Nathanael sealed themselves in the dressing room, but it was clear her circular wanderings were anything but random. Marinette sat up straight as Chloe paused to glance at the racks of clothes in front of her, pretending to be extremely interested in the rippable nurse clothing for a moment before she spoke.

 

“So,” Chloe said, not lifting her gaze from the rack. “You’re the…stuff Adrien has been doing for, what, a month now?”

 

“…eight weeks,” Marinette corrected, crossing her legs and picking at a loose thread in the bench. “Officially, anyway. We’ve been…talking for a while.”

 

“I know,” Chloe said simply, glancing up and snorting at Marinette’s look of surprise. “What? Are you surprised Adrien tells me things?”

 

“A little,” Marinette muttered, meeting Chloe’s curious gaze with a shrug. “You two weren’t exactly…chummy in school.”

 

Chloe simply shrugged at that. “Fair point…haven’t been in school for eight years almost but fair point.”

 

Chloe resumed pretending to browse the racks, leaving Marinette to shift a little on the suddenly uncomfortable bench. The fact that Adrien had confided in Chloe peaked her curiosity. The temptation to ask after him was intense; part of her wanted to know more about Adrien’s perspective, but part of her wondered if she was letting her curiosity get the best of her.

 

…then again, there was a famous saying about curiosity and cats.

 

“…so,” Marinette blurted out in spite of herself, fidgeting with her glasses as Chloe glanced back up at her. “He’s…mentioned me?”

 

Chloe squinted at Marinette for a moment before plucking a “sexy pixie” outfit from the racks and holding it up curiously. “Not by name; like I said he can be very discreet when he wants to be.”

 

“I’m sure…” Marinette muttered, standing up and pretending to browse the other side of the rack Chloe was looking at. “I mean like…in general, does he talk about…us for lack of a better word.”

 

“Well…he did mention you bleat like a goat when you orgasm,” Chloe said, tapping her chin as Marinette nearly fell into the rack, dislodging a few garments as she struggled to right herself. “And that you fantasized about making love to his father.”

 

What?!” Marinette spluttered.

 

“Yeah, he also said you had a mole that looks like the topographical map of Spain on your oh my god I’m kidding,” Chloe said, blanching at Marinette’s horrified expression. “Jesus, did you think I was serious?”

 

“How was I supposed to know you weren’t?” Marinette demanded, straightening the clothes rack as the clerk glanced over at the pair of them with a frown.

 

“Sorry,” Chloe said, holding her hands up. “I was trying to make a joke; lighten the mood a little so we don’t spend the next twenty minutes marinating in awkward bouillabaisse.”

 

“Your comedy routine needs work,” Marinette grumbled.

 

“Fine,” Chloe sighed “Sorry I joked that you sounded like a goat and had odd Spanish shaped birthmarks on your body.”

 

“…and?”

 

“And I’m sorry that I implied that your standards were low enough to fuck Adrien’s undercooked baguette of a father,” Chloe concluded, lips twitching into a small smile.

 

Thank you,” Marinette said, pouting down at a dress on the rack to avoid anything that could be mistaken for a smile.

 

“I don’t even know why I said that,” Chloe said, thumbing through the racks idly. “I mean I know I’ve dabbled in bitchery in the past but suggesting you wanted to sleep with Lucius Malfoy’s less stylish brother is a little low, even for me.”

 

Marinette bit her lip, disguising a snort of laughter in a cough buried in her arm as Chloe continued to peruse the racks, pretending to take no notice of Marinette’s condition. “I mean the fact that Madame Agreste had sex with Ana Wintour and Vladamir Putin’s lovechild even once-”

 

S-Stop!” Marinette spluttered, clutching the rack with one hand and her ribs with the other, shaking silently as she tried to stifle her laughter so Adrien didn’t hear her in the back. “Please!”

 

“See? My comedy routine works just fine,” Chloe said, wrinkling her nose at a costume advertised as a “sexy Sans-Culotte” dress as Marinette doubled over in the aisle over. “You know, I don’t think we would have bickered so much in school if I knew you hated Adrien’s weisswurt daddy as much as I did.”

 

“I didn’t,” Marinette giggled, wiping a tear from her eye as she slowly regained control of her breathing. “I idolized him…until I met Adrien and found out my designer idol wasn’t exactly all that admirable…”

 

“Yes…the sheen of Gabriel Agreste wore off the first time you spend twenty seconds with him,” Chloe said, glancing over the racks at Marinette. “Of course Adrien won’t hear a word against him still but-”

 

“He’s Adrien?”

 

“Exactly,” Chloe sighed, rolling her eyes. “Soft as cheese but I suppose that’s why I love him…”

 

“…love?” Marinette paused, shooting Chloe a small frown.

 

Chloe returned Marinette’s frown with a dreamy sigh. “Yes, I’m like totally in love with Adrien after all these years and I’m just praying that you screw things up with him so I can finally make him mine~ Because that’s like the only kind of love that exists in the world!”

 

Chloe’s airy expression quickly turned deadpan as Marinette’s cheeks reddened a little in embarrassment. “…sorry.”

 

“Don’t worry, Balenciaga, I’m not after your boyfriend,” Chloe said, coming to the wall of shoes and eyeing a black and yellow set of spiky heels thoughtfully.

 

“I can see that,” Marinette replied, picking up a pair of black and red polka-dotted heels thoughtfully. “But he’s not…I mean, we’re not…I mean we’re, like…exclusive and all but we’re not…”

 

Marinette trailed off, bumping the two heels together before replacing them on the rack.

 

“I figured,” Chloe sighed, checking the price tag on the heels she was looking at and glancing at Marinette out of the corner of her eye. “…is there a reason why?”

 

“I…have my reasons,” Marinette said, folding her arms across her chest.

 

“Good reasons or just…reasons?” Chloe said, looking Marinette up and down.

 

Marinette didn’t even know the answer to that question or even where to begin. She could have begun with fact that she was currently held hostage by a creepy, talentless CEO because Adrien wasn’t playing nicely. She could have also led with the fact that it had been five years since she had been anyone’s girlfriend and, for lack of practice, had almost completely forgotten how. Then there was the fact that she relished the opportunity to flirt and have fun, kinky sex with one of her best friends with no strings attached, no pressures added, and no worries that she might not be good enough for him. She had a lot of good reasons for not making things “official” between her in Adrien…but she didn’t think any of them would weather Chloe’s scrutiny.

 

Good reasons,” Marinette reiterated.

 

“…if you say so,” Chloe sighed.

 

“…meaning?” Marinette pressed. Chloe glared at the wall of shoes for a moment, tilting her head as though she was trying to find the right way to phrase her thoughts.

 

“Look, just between me, you, and the eight inch spiked combat boots here, you’re not the first ‘good friend’ Adrien has had,” Chloe said, turning to square eye to eye with Marinette. “You know this, right?”

 

“I figured,” Marinette shrugged. Adrien had never been vocal about his past flings, but then again Marinette hadn’t spilled her guts about her previous boyfriends, girlfriend, and flings in New York. “I also figured it didn’t matter that much.”

 

“In a perfect world, it wouldn’t,” Chloe shrugged. “But…look, this doesn’t get back to Adrien, okay?”

 

“O…kay?” Marinette said a little warily.

 

“I’ve known Adrien a long time,” Chloe said, gazing over Marinette’s shoulder. “We’ve shared all the ups and downs of our shitty little rich kid lives since we were five, okay? He’s basically my younger brother…if only by two months. So I’m a little…cagey when it comes to his partners.”

 

If Marinette had thought she was going to get the Shovel Talk from Chloe Bourgeois on her day off, she might have worn something a little more intimidating…or at least less frilly. It was hard to look resolute dressed in a bubblegum pink sundress but Marinette didn’t waver under Chloe’s gaze.

 

“All I’m saying,” Chloe said, holding her hands up. “Is that he hasn’t had the best friends-with-benefits track record; exclusive or otherwise. Adrien attracts shallow, superficial kinky little hipster pricks that want to fuck a supermodel in the ass and then catch a flight to New York the next day. They’re a dime a dozen and once the dust settles, Adrien is the one who ends up calling me at four in the morning blubbering about how the latest human disaster to waste his time broke his heart. Trust me; I’ve seen it a million times.”

 

“And you think I’m one of them?” Marinette asked, face flushing at the suggestion that she would use Adrien so callously.

 

“You’re putting words in my mouth,” Chloe said, waggling a finger in Marinette’s direction. “That’s not what I’m saying.”

 

“What are you saying?” Marinette asked, folding her arms.

 

Chloe snapped her gum thoughtfully, blowing a large pink bubble and popping it before continuing. “I’m saying that Adrien has had a lot of…benefits but not a lot of friends, if you catch my meaning.”

 

Blind, armless two year olds could have caught Chloe’s meaning. Marinette wasn’t privy to Adrien’s history of lovers and truth be told she never wanted to be. She didn’t need to know who Adrien had been with before, and from how Chloe described his past partners, they weren’t worth knowing anyway.

 

“He never mentioned that,” Marinette muttered.

 

“He wouldn’t,” Chloe said. “Not like it matters anymore anyway. Past is in the past and all that…just…”

 

Marinette silently watched Chloe fidget, heels tapping on the hardwood floor as she seemed to be searching the shop for the right thing to say. “Bullshit Gabriel-fucking jokes aside, he does talk about you. I don’t know what you two are doing and, frankly, I don’t care, but…he’s happy. Really happy. Maybe that’s just what happens when you stop working for a soul-sucking potato goblin like Marcel Dubois…maybe it’s because of you or…fuck what am I trying to say?”

 

Chloe trailed off with a frustrated sigh, twirling a blonde curl as she stared into the mirror behind Marinette’s head. “People have been using Adrien since he was nine years old. His useless daddy used him as a living mannequin, a laundry list of selfish douchebags and bitches have used him to get their rocks off, and Marcel, Prince of the Toadpeople, used him to keep control of Gabriel’s company.”

 

“You can probably count the number of people who care about Adrien as a fucking human being on one hand,” Chloe said, starting to tick off fingers. “Yours truly, Nino, Nathanael, and-”

 

Chloe’s left index finger lingered on her right hand’s ring finger as she looked Marinette up and down. Marinette was silent for a moment, quietly digesting everything Chloe had said to her. It wasn’t often that she thought of Adrien’s home life as a child; he was always so positive and supportive of others that the fact that he was essentially orphaned when his mother passed didn’t cross her mind. Her stomach clenched, partly in aching sympathy for Adrien and partly in bitter, vitriolic resentment for anyone and everyone that made him feel used; for his useless father, for his dick of a boss, for the faceless, nameless, selfish pricks that had preceded her in Adrien’s bed.

 

She wished she could scrub the last seven years away, go back in time to when teenage Marinette was too afraid to tell Adrien how she felt and smack some sense into her. They could have had years together instead of Adrien slumming it with a parade of losers. The thought alone made Marinette’s throat tighten, and she bit her lip to prevent her anger from spilling out.

 

“So I need to know if you’re just in this for cheap giggles or if you really care about him; romantically or otherwise,” Chloe concluded, lowering her sunglasses to fix Marinette with a steady, curious expression.

 

“I don’t…” Marinette said, voice coming out a little hoarse as she swallowed heavily. “I don’t just care about the sex; he was my friend first. He’s still my friend first. And if I had to pick…”

 

Marinette cleared her throat, matching Chloe’s intense stare. “If I have to pick between being his friend and his friend with benefits…well, I can live without the benefits.”

 

Chloe’s eyes scraped over Marinette’s expression, scouring it for insincerity for a long moment before nodding thoughtfully.

 

“For Adrien’s sake…I hope you’re telling the truth,” Chloe said, exhaling through her mouth and looking annoyed that things had gotten so sentimental. “God knows his bar for affection is low enough for you to skip rope over; I think by just talking to him daily you’re already doing better than Gabriel ever did.”

 

“I’ll try not to trip,” Marinette chuckled, wiping her eyes under her glasses. “Though I may trip over your opinion of Adrien’s father; it’s certainly low enough.”

 

“I think I’ve earned the right to despise a man who managed to combine the worst of absent and overbearing parenting into one bony package,” Chloe sniffed, fixing her hair as she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror behind Marinette.

 

“Well…we have that in common at least,” Marinette snorted. “Not the only thing, apparently…”

 

“I don’t need to remind you that you never saw me here, right?” Chloe, lowering her sunglasses and fixing Marinette with a significant stare. “Because if you, like, tell anyone I’ll have to kill you or whatever.”

 

Marinette drew her fingers across her lips with a nod. “I won’t tell a soul…as long as you don’t either.”

 

“Oh please; I know how this omerta thingie works,” Chloe sniffed, plucking a pink pixie costume from the rack and tilting her head thoughtfully. “This isn’t my first rodeo at the kink shop, you know.”

 

“It’s mine so…thought I’d ask,” Marinette shrugged, flickering through the clothes racks with Chloe (something she never imagined she’d be doing as a teenager).

 

“Well you handle it better than Gingerlocks did on his first time here,” Chloe snorted, folding the pixie costume over her arm. “He actually wore a full hoodie like the pretentious art-school hipster trash he is, if you can believe it.”

 

“I can,” Marinette said, shooting Chloe a furtive glace. “So…you and Nathanael?”

 

“Pardon?” Chloe asked.

 

“How did the pair of you end up here?” Marinette asked, lips curling in a smirk.

 

Chloe scratched the back of her neck, lips betraying a small smile. "That's...kind of a long-"

 

“Finished,” Adrien called, stepping out of the fitting rooms followed by Nathanael. Unfortunately, Marinette’s line of questioning was cut off prematurely as Chloe reluctantly turned and meandered her way over towards a satisfied looking Nathanael.

 

“That was way too fast,” Chloe grumbled, foisting the pixie costume into Nathanael’s arms.

 

“Adrien…knows his way around a set of leather straps,” Nathanael coughed, shooting Marinette a small wink that caused her to flush to her roots at the insinuation.

 

“Wasn’t that hard to work out,” Adrien shrugged, bumping Nathanael’s shoulder lightly. “I don’t know if I should be more impressed with their leatherwork…or Nath’s design skills.”

 

“Really?” Marinette said, sliding up next to Adrien, threading her arm through his. He looked mildly surprised that she had appeared at his elbow without prompt, leaning her head on his shoulder as Chloe fussed and fidgeted in front of her.

 

“Are there any surprise leather straps on mine?” Chloe asked.

 

“No,” Nathanael said simply. “All one piece; Adrien saw it hanging on the rack back there.”

 

“Which one was that again?”

 

“White one,” Nathanael said simply, smirking as Adrien’s cheek flushed and Chloe’s paled.

 

“Th-the one with the…”Adrien swallowed heavily, making an odd hand gesture.

 

“Mmhmm,” Nathanael said, a small flash of white showing as he grinned at Chloe’s suspicious glare.

 

“What…did…you…do?” Chloe hissed, turning her glare to Adrien. “What did he do?”

 

“Good to see you guys!” Adrien said suddenly, snatching their bags up as the clerk waved Chloe into the back. “W-We’ll catch up sometime, yeah?”

 

“Let’s do lunch at Chloe’s hotel one of these days,” Nathanael said, smiling softly at the pair of them. “I'll try and drag Max along; God knows he needs the break too."

 

“Sounds like a plan!” Adrien said, hooking Marinette around the arm and lightly tugging her towards the door. “G-Good to see you too Chloe!”

 

“Wait, what do you know that I don’t?!” Chloe demanded, looking between Adrien and Nathanael suspiciously.

 

“You’ll see~” Nathanael sing-songed, waving them off as Adrien pulled her through the door. Marinette’s eyes caught Chloe’s for a brief second as they left and the pair of them exchanged a small nod before Chloe disappeared into the back. Marinette didn’t know if she was ever going to be besties with Chloe (all signs pointed to no) but at least now she didn’t doubt the blonde’s intentions. The more people who cared about Adrien, the better, and even though she didn’t really grasp the depth of Adrien and Chloe’s relationship, she was happy, at least, that she was there for him.

 

“What’s the rush?” Marinette giggled, hanging onto Adrien as he led her towards the elevator at a brisk walk.

 

“I saw what Nathanael designed for her,” Adrien said gravely, reaching the elevator and mashing the up button as hard as he could. “We have, like, ten seconds to get out of here before-”

 

WHAT IN THE HELL IS THIS SUPPOSED TO BE?!”

 

“Too late,” Adrien said gravely, throwing himself in front of Marinette’s body as the elevator hit the ground floor. “Go; I’ll try and hold her off.”

 

“What was that?!” Marinette snorted, the sound of high pitched shrieking coming from the back room as she looped her finger through Adrien’s belt loop and tugged him back into the elevator.

 

“At the risk of giving too much away…it was tight, white, and had a fluffy tail sewn onto the back,” Adrien said, suppressing a small shudder. “If we don’t get out of here, she’s going to kill him and come after me-”

 

Adrien’s fearful babbling was cut short by the sudden pressure of Marinette’s lips against his. He let out a small gasp as her fingers wound around his neck and she arched up into him with a sweetly searing kiss that left his lips tingling and tasting of peach as she pulled back.

 

“…next,” Adrien finished, blushing as Marinette laughed at the dumbstruck expression. “Uh…that was…that was nice…”

 

“Thank you,” Marinette said sweetly, looking up at him with a thoughtful expression. “I mean…thank you for taking me along today.”

 

“D-Don’t mention it,” Adrien said, warming as Marinette’s arms threaded around his waist and her cheek pressed against his chest.

 

“I mean it,” Marinette mumbled softly into his shirt. “I had fun doing this...and I’m glad you included me in this whole process."

 

“…I-I think we’ll have more fun once we get these home,” Adrien chuckled, holding up the bags as Marinette took them from him, holding them behind her back as the elevator reached the ground floor.

 

“Well…I have a lot of fun just hanging out with you,” Marinette said, stepping out of the elevator and flashing him a small smile. “No matter what we do.”

 

It took Adrien a full three seconds to move, Marinette’s words still warming him like a shot of hot cider. She paused as she stepped into the bookshop proper, turning around with a curious smile that made his heart thud so achingly heavy in his chest.

 

“Coming?” Marinette laughed, watching Adrien slowly step out of the elevator, wandering back towards her as though in a daze. She turned to head towards the front of the store, stopping as she felt a gentle touch on her upper arm that made her turn to face his soft, hungry expression.

 

“Your, uh…lip gloss tastes good,” Adrien said in a soft voice as she almost instinctively took a step closer to him.

 

“Thank you,” Marinette said, heart thundering in her ears as she ran her tongue over her lips. Kissing him in public was flirting with the boundaries they had established for themselves the morning after their first night together. They were going to be private; discreet. Their affair wasn’t something they were going to parade around town but…where was the harm in just kissing? It was purely physical when they were naked and alone together; why should it be different in public? But Adrien wouldn’t cross that boundary…unless she invited him across.

 

“Do you…want another taste?” Marinette asked, biting her lip as she dropped the bags at her feet, back resting against a nearby bookshelf. The store was surprisingly empty for a Saturday; no one was going to walk in on them in the back by the Mandarin cookbooks.

 

“You sure you don’t want to wait until we’re home alone?” Adrien asked, more for her sake than because of any reluctance on his part. She could tell he was restraining himself, waiting for her permission to move any closer.

 

“No one will know,” Marinette muttered, fingers gripping the folds of his collar and tugging him closer. “It’ll be our…little…secret.”

 

Her lips brushed his briefly before pulling back, urging him on with a half-lidded look. Adrien wasted no time pressing his lips against her firmly, but lacking the carnal intensity of their first kisses. They weren’t building to anything; this wasn’t going to end with Marinette stripped to the waist and pressed against the bookshelves while Adrien ripped her panties off with his teeth. As much as she might enjoy that, she enjoyed the simple act of making out almost as much. Every soft, sensual kiss made her feel wanted; made her crave him even more. Her hands slid down to settle on his shoulders as he rested his on the bookcase behind her. Every now and then, one of them let out a breathy giggle that the other quickly smothered with a soft peck. They felt like teenagers making out in the school library; the thrill of the semi-forbidden urging them onwards.

 

“So,” Marinette whispered, breaking off from the trail of kisses briefly. “What do you want to do with me when we get home?”

 

“At this rate, I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” Adrien laughed, hands winding around her waist as hers tugged his hips closer by the beltloops on his jeans.

 

“Come on…you have to have something devious in mind,” Marinette murmured, lightly nipping his lower lip and feigning innocence as his eyes snapped open. “Sir.”

 

Adrien’s hand trailed up her back, cupping the back of her neck as he pulled back to look at her properly. Flushed pink as her dress, he wondered if he would want her more and more the more they spent time together.

 

“I’ve got more than a few devious schemes,” Adrien said, eyes trailing down to her neck. “I can’t think of them right now because all I really want to do…”

 

Adrien trailed off, leaning forward and pressing a soft kiss against Marinette’s exposed neck. He felt her tense, hands gripping his shirt as he began to gently suck at the freckled patch of skin until it was as warm and pink as her cheeks.

 

“All I really want to do is get you out of this dress and whatever you have on underneath,” Adrien whispered, nipping her neck softly and reveling in the small gasp he drew out of her. “By my reckoning you have about thirty hours until your workweek starts again…and I want you to spend every…single…one of those hours naked and clawing at my headboard.”

 

Marinette let out a small giggle, stomach fluttering at the image Adrien painted. “Sounds like a hell of a way to spend a Saturday-”

 

“-and Sunday,” Adrien reminded her, arching his head up to look her in the eye. “Maybe Monday too.”

 

“I have work on Monday,” Marinette reminded him almost reluctantly.

 

“Just tell your office you’ve been kidnapped by a rich lecherous lay-about and are being held prisoner to his insatiable desire,” Adrien said, waggling his eyebrows. “I think they’ll let you have the day off.”

 

“They’ll call Alya too,” Marinette giggled. “And something tells me our weekend of fun doesn’t include Alya breaking down your door with a lighter and a can of hairspray.”

 

“Not my idea of heat-play, no,” Adrien sighed, looking down at her thoughtfully. “I guess that just means I need to get you home and get you naked so I can enjoy what little time we have together.”

 

Excellent idea,” Marinette murmured, reaching up to kiss him one last time before-

 

“Oh excuse me," a voice came from behind them. "I didn't see you th...Marinette?”

 

-before she died and combusted into a million pieces.

 

Adrien tensed as a familiar voice called Marinette’s name, eyes flying open and cheeks going pale. Part of Marinette prayed that she had misheard her name being called but, of course, she hadn’t. She had heard that voice call her name for most of her life; for dinner, for chores, to help bring in the groceries. Instantly her arousal evaporated, replaced by a cold, slimy feeling of dread as she peeked around Adrien’s shoulders, smiling sheepishly at the confused woman blinking owlishly at them just a few yards away.

 

“H-Hi mom,” Marinette squeaked.

Chapter Text

Marlena Cesaire wasn’t a strict mother by any means; as a single parent/head chef at one of the city’s most exclusive restaurants, she couldn’t exactly afford to be. Still, Alya, Amelia, Arianna, and Alicia knew there were certain expectations that their mother wouldn’t budge on even as they approached adulthood; no running in the house, no boyfriends (or girlfriends) in the house unsupervised, and Saturday evenings meant family dinner. If they were in France, the Cesaire girls were expected to show up at six-thirty sharp, help cook, eat dinner, and clean up after themselves.

 

No exceptions.

 

But as five-forty-five rolled around, Alya found herself contemplating the unthinkable as she watched the remnants of Nino’s shower ran down his bare chest.

 

In her defense, she had barely been home all week thanks to a brutal string of rushed deadlines that had her angrily typing away at her computer as her co-workers left every day. Alya had more of a relationship with Nino’s phone than she did with him in the last few days, too tired to do anything more than flop into bed beside him once she got home. So needless to say, stress combined with seeing her boyfriend naked for the first time in almost a week prompted a very rash decision.

 

“We’re gonna be laaaaaaaate,” Nino chuckled, letting Alya tug him into the bedroom by the towel bunched at his waist. “Your mom is gonna kiiiiiiiiill us if we’re late for dinner.”

 

“Yeah well…no one lives forever,” Alya shrugged, pressing a kiss against Nino’s lips as he tugged her tank top over her head. “Besides, I don’t hear you complai-ning!

 

Alya squeaked as Nino’s hands slid under her bare thighs, hoisting her up onto his hips as the towel fell away on the bedroom floor.

 

“I’m not,” Nino murmured between kisses, dropping Alya on the bed and hooking his fingers under the waistband of her panties. “Besides…why would I complain about having my girlfriend all…to…myself.”

 

Each word was punctuated with a kiss on her stomach but Alya cupped Nino’s face before he could go any lower.

 

“Uh-uh,” Alya said, tilting his chin up as she shimmied her bra straps off her shoulders. “As much as I admire your linguistic skills-”

 

“Is that what we’re calling it now?”

 

“-we don’t have the luxury of time,” Alya said, fingers tracing his stubbled jawline as he crawled up her torso.

 

“We never seem to have the luxury of time lately,” Nino sighed, tugging a purple lacy cup off Alya’s breast with his teeth.

 

“Blame my editor,” Alya sighed, giggling as Nino tried to kiss her breast while sliding up on top of her. He didn’t seem to want to stop one to completely focus on the other so it took a few seconds for him to straddle her, elbows supporting his weight on either side of her shoulders.

 

“I do,” Nino said, bending down for another kiss. “I curse her nightly for keeping you from me.”

 

“I can always poison her coffee,” Alya suggested, hands sliding up Nino’s chest as he plucked her glasses off and laid them on the comforter beside them. “That might slow her down for a while…”

 

“Maybe I should just kidnap you for a week or so,” Nino suggested, nipping her neck lightly. “I got some cash tucked away; we could hit Ireland…London…Italy…”

 

“Italy would be nice,” Alya said, arching off the bed so Nino could unclasp her bra. “As much as I like dream vacation planning, we don’t exactly have a lot of time right now so…”

 

“Say no more,” Nino said, reaching across the bed for the box of condoms on the headboard. “One sec and we’ll be good to-”

 

“Oops I did it again! I played with your heart! Got lost in the game! Oh baby baby!”

 

Nino froze, tinfoil packet between his teeth as Alya’s phone buzzed on the nightstand. “Tell me that isn’t work.”

 

“It’s not,” Alya said, shimmying out from under him. “That’s Marinette’s ringtone.”

 

“Can’t you let it go to voicemail just this once?” Nino asked, nodding down as Alya grabbed her phone. “I’ve got an ICBM situation going on over here.”

 

“You’ll live,” Alya said, picking up the phone as Nino flopped against the bed with a sigh. “Hello?”

 


 

 “I’m fucked,” Marinette whispered, head between her knees as she rocked back and forth on Adrien’s toilet. “I’m so fucked. Fucked, fucked, fuckedfuckedfucked!

 

Sounds like the date went well then if you’re that fucked,” Alya snorted.

 

“No, you don’t understand,” Marinette moaned, staring at her reflection in the mirror. “I fucked up!”

 

I figured; you wouldn’t have called otherwise,” Alya sighed.

 

“Oh…it’s Saturday, isn’t it?” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Sorry…are you at your mom’s already?”

 

No…Nino and I were just-“ Alya coughed on the other line, causing Marinette’s reflection to pale as she realized her nineteenth nervous breakdown that month had unwittingly derailed Alya’s love life as well as her own. “Never mind; it’s not important.”

 

“Oh my god,” Marinette whimpered. “I am so sorry; I’ll let you get back to-”

 


 

“No no,” Alya sighed, shooting Nino an apologetic grimace as he picked up his towel and headed back into the bathroom. “Moment’s over.”

 

“Sorry,” Marinette whimpered on the other end, sounding suitably pathetic.

 

“Oh please; you know I’m only a phone call away if you need me,” Alya said, leaning back against the headboard.

 

“I wish I didn’t need you so often but-

 

“You’re kind of a disaster when it comes to Adrien?” Alya finished.

 


 

“To put it mildly,” Marinette sighed, dejectedly batting the toilet paper roll as she stared at the wall. “I don’t even know where to start…”

 

How about we put this latest disaster in context for the uninitiated,” Alya said. “What did you do? Walk in on him while he was in the bathroom? Knock a family heirloom over? Stick it in his ass without any-”

 

“Alya!” Marinette hissed.

 

Well, shit, give me something to work with then,” Alya said. “What happened?”

 


 

ONE HOUR EARLIER

 


 

Sabine’s confused expression travelled from her daughter’s mortified expression to the young man who appeared frozen in terror. There was a moment of silence as Sabine seemed to look to her daughter for some kind of explanation during which Marinette seriously contemplated knocking over a bookshelf, sprinting for the door as fast as possible, and feigning ignorance when her mother asked about it later. But her secret affair was hardly secret anymore; the studio lighting they had chosen to make out under had seen to that. Adrien looked down at her in panic and confusion, trying to hold completely still on the off-chance Sabine’s eyesight was based on movement like a T-Rex.

 

“Would you like to introduce me to your new…friend?” Sabine said, impassible look of amusement on her face as she glanced at the back of Adrien’s head.

 

“Uh…” Marinette squeaked, shifting out from between Adrien’s arms and elbowing him lightly in the ribs. “Y-Yeah this is my…”

 

Might as well get introductions out of the way, Marinette thought bitterly. If they were to endure any awkward stewing, it would at least be polite awkward stewing. Adrien turned around, smiling sheepishly at Sabine as she tried to connect the face of the young man to the names of the boys Marinette had known in school.

 

“Uh…h-hi Mrs. Cheng,” Adrien stammered, hand reaching out in a cross between a wave and a handshake. It was strange to think that Adrien could go from promising to spend the rest of the weekend screwing her one moment and being embarrassed to be caught kissing her the next. “Long time no see?”

 

Something about Adrien’s bashful grin triggered a wash of memories in Sabine, her perplexed frown softening into a smile. “Adrien? Is that you?”

 

“L-Last time I checked it was,” Adrien said, suddenly wishing he was small enough to shrink behind Marinette. Sabine shot her daughter a curious smile as she stepped forward, surprising Adrien with a small hug that caught him off guard. He blinked, shooting a glance at Marinette over her mother’s head as he felt the anxious tension run out of him; he supposed Marinette’s mother had always had that effect on him. Adrien fondly remembered Sabine bringing Tom’s freshly baked snacks to Marinette’s loft during group study sessions; call him gluttonous but it was nice to eat something and not worry about his father muttering about “wasted calories” under his breath.

 

“I didn’t know you were back in town,” Sabine said, shooting Marinette a glance that made Marinette’s ears turn red. “Did you come back for work?”

 

“For a while,” Adrien said. “I left the company a little after Dad passed…not really the same place without him.”

 

“I’ll say,” Marinette muttered.

 

“Yes, I heard about your father when it happened,” Sabine said sympathetically, patting Adrien lightly on the arm. “I’m very sorry, dear.”

 

“Thank you,” Adrien said, resisting the urge to pat Sabine on the back of the hand. “S-So the bakery is still doing well?”

 

“As well as ever,” Sabine said proudly. “You should stop by…and bring my daughter with you when you do.”

 

“Mooooom,” Marinette mumbled, threading her arm through Adrien’s in an effort to coerce him out of the building.

 

“I’m sorry but it’s been ages since you’ve been home,” Sabine clucked, fixing a strand of hair that slipped loose of Marinette’s ponytail in the makeout session. “You’re not even at your apartment when I stop by to check on you.”

 

“I’m…busy,” Marinette said, shifting uncomfortably. “I mostly sleep at the office these days; I don’t really have time to do much else.”

 

“I understand, but honestly a mother shouldn’t have to haunt bookstores in the off-chance of running into her daughter out with her boyfriend to see her,” Sabine said, checking her phone as Adrien and Marinette both glanced at each other nervously.

 

“Boyfriend?” They said in unison.

 


 

“Boyfriend?” Alya said, sitting up off her bed.

 

“Mmhmm…” Marinette sighed on the other line.

 

“Yikes…how did you get out of that one?” Alya snorted, glancing at the ceiling as a long, painful silence greeted her question. “…please tell me you got out of that one.”

 

“…well, f-funny story!” Marinette squeaked as Alya slowly ran a hand down her face.

 

“Tell me that you told your mother you weren’t actually dating Adrien!” Alya demanded.

 

…okay, well-”

 


 

“Actually,” Marinette said, glancing up at Adrien. “Adrien and I aren’t…dating.”

 

“No?” Sabine said, brow furrowed.

 

“No, see…we met on an online bondage dating website and have only recently started having passionate sex on the weekends,” Marinette explained, holding up one of their bags. “We actually just got through shopping for BDSM paraphernalia and Adrien’s going to take me back to his place to tie me up and spank me.”

 

“That’s true; I am,” Adrien nodded.

 

“Because that’s the kind of thing I’m into,” Marinette said, pulling the crop out of their shopping bags and whacking it against Adrien’s backside for emphasis. “Adrien’s teaching me how to do this stuff so one day I can do the same to him.”

 

“Also true,” Adrien said, wrapping his arm around Marinette’s shoulder. “But we’re just buddies!”

 

“There’s nothing romantic going on between us,” Marinette said, patting Adrien’s arm. “Despite the fact that he’s my childhood love and literally the best sex I’ve ever had, I’m just too much of a mess for a boyfriend right now.”

 

"We hope you understand," Adrien said.

 

“Well, I can’t pretend I haven’t been planning your wedding for years," Sabine sighed. "But if that’s how you kids are doing it these days-”

 


 

“Why are you lying to me?!” Alya shouted.

 

You told me to tell you that I told Mama that Adrien and I weren’t dating!” Marinette hissed. “So I did!”

 

“…you know I’m giving up sex with my boyfriend for this?” Alya groaned, tugging at her hair.

 

“I know.”

 

“With my boyfriend I haven’t been with in a week because of work.”

 

“…I know.”

 

“My boyfriend who has been hitting the gym with Adrien and can now pick me up while he f-”

 


 

“I know!” Marinette hissed, pinching the bridge of her nose as she glanced at the door to the bathroom. It wouldn’t be long before Adrien came to check on her; she should have picked a much more complex excuse.

 

“So what…did…you do?”

 

Marinette groaned, mortification coloring her cheeks. “Well…”

 


 

“Boyfriend?” They said in unison.

 

“You should really bring Adrien around for dinner one of these nights,” Sabine said cheerily as blood drained from Marinette’s face. “Oh don’t look so petrified; your father isn’t going to bite Adrien’s head off or anything.”

 

“W-well I sure do like it when my head is still attached to my shoulders!” Adrien laughed, glancing at Marinette for some kind of direction. She tried to read his expression, wondering how he felt about being mistaken for her boyfriend. He looked like he wanted to say something but was waiting for Marinette to speak first.

 

If she only knew what to say.

 

What was she supposed to do? Come out and tell her mother that she was in a purely physical relationship based on a mutual appreciation of kinky sex? On the one hand, she was an adult and capable of making her own choices when it came to her sex life. She wasn’t ashamed of herself or what she was doing with Adrien; in fact, she felt like she could be pretty open about it with her friends and co-workers.

 

…but her mother was a different story.

 

Sabine had always been very supportive of her daughter’s choices; leaving the country, going to school in New York, investing her savings in a shaky business venture. But Marinette had no desire to test the limits of her mother’s tolerance and understanding. And more importantly, she didn’t want her family members giving Adrien grief because of their choices. Tom Dupain had protective streak a mile wide and if he found out Adrien was sleeping with his daughter but not dating her…well things would get awkward in a hurry. Especially since she had no designs on ending their arrangement anytime soon.

 

But still…would Adrien be okay with it?

 

He looked to be on the verge of spilling the beans, a sheepish smile on his face as he took a deep breath. “Uh…actually, Mrs. Cheng-”

 

“Please; call me Sabine,” Sabine chuckled. “You’re not a child anymore, Adrien.”

 

“Old habits,” Adrien laughed, scratching the back of his neck as Marinette’s pulse hammered in her ears. “Well uh…the reason Marinette hasn’t mentioned me before is because-”

 

“Weeeeeeeeeee just started dating!” Marinette said quickly, threading her arm through Adrien’s again and elbowing him lightly in the side to stop him from saying anything else. There was a moment of stunned silence, more from Adrien than Sabine. Adrien tensed a little, heart skipping a beat as Marinette tugged him a little closer, the familiar gesture flooding him with equal parts warmth and confusion.

 

“We…did?” Adrien asked, glancing down at Marinette who shot him a softly pleading expression that begged him to just roll with it. For a moment, she worried that she had crossed a line; stunned Adrien into silence with her audacity. But she didn’t want to have to endure the prospect of explaining their situation to her mother…no matter how little detail Marinette chose to share.

 

Thankfully, Adrien could take a hint and after a brief moment of hesitation, he gave Marinette’s arm an affectionate squeeze. “I-I mean, uh…i-it already feels like we’ve been dating for so long I forget it’s only been two months!”

 

Marinette didn’t look up at him, fearing any sidelong glance might blow their cover. Part of her also didn’t want to look up and see disappointment or discomfort in Adrien’s eyes. Instead, she laid her head on his shoulder, smiling at her mother who appeared to take the bait at face value.

 

“R-really? I get the feeling it hasn’t been that long,” Marinette laughed, tucking her hair behind her ear. “But I guess I’ve been so busy with work stuff we haven’t been able to get together much, have we?”

 

“Workaholic, this one,” Adrien chuckled, shooting Sabine a sheepish shrug. “I-I know I should have mentioned something sooner but-”

 

“-but, I said I would tell you guys,” Marinette cut across. “And then…well, I uh…”

 

“You don’t have to explain yourself, dear,” Sabine laughed, patting her daughter on the arm. “I’d like to be kept in the loop as far as your…personal life goes-”

 

Sabine shot Marinette a furtive wink that made Adrien blush to the roots of his hair.

 

“-but I know you’re a busy woman,” Sabine said, glancing up and plucking an orange covered book from the shelf behind Adrien. “And I’m sure you would have told me Adrien if I hadn’t interrupted your…”

 

Sabine cleared her throat, gesturing between the two of them vaguely as Marinette wondered if she could melt her way through the floor if her cheeks got any redder.

 

“Well…I should let you two enjoy your day off,” Sabine said, turning her attention from her tomato of a daughter to Adrien. “Adrien, could I ask you to kidnap my daughter and bring her to dinner one of these nights?”

 

“I-I’ll do my best Mrs. Sabine!” Adrien stammered. “I-I mean Cheng! I mean-”

 

Adrien trailed off, gesturing vaguely and laughing as Marinette went to kiss her mother goodbye.

 

“I’ll try, Mama,” Marinette sighed, leaning down and kissing her mother on the cheek. “But work is a little-”

 

“-busy,” Sabine finished with a sigh and sympathetic glance towards Adrien. “Does she blow you off as much as she does us?”

 

Mama!” Marinette squeaked as Adrien wound an arm around her waist.

 

“Yeah, pretty much,” Adrien shrugged, ignoring the glare Marinette shot him. “Haven’t been on a date in weeks.”

 

“Do either of you know what it takes to run a business?!” Marinette huffed. Sabine just raised an eyebrow at her daughter that reminded Marinette who had managed her parents’ business for the past twenty years. “Oh…right.”

 

“There’s always time to be with people who are important to you,” Sabine clucked.

 

“It’s alright,” Adrien interjected, saving Marinette from being dressed down by her mother and shooting her an affectionate smile. “Marinette’s the kind of woman worth waiting for, wouldn’t you agree?”

 

…now, parental embarrassment wasn’t the only reason Marinette’s face felt like it was going to melt off. Sabine looked suitably impressed, shooting Marinette another teasing smile as she shifted against Adrien’s side a little self-consciously. Adrien was a little too good at playing the boyfriend.

 

“Well…do what you have to do to get her to visit, Adrien,” Sabine chuckled. “Even if that means tying her up first.”

 

Adrien and Marinette let out nearly identical fake, forced laughs that carried on longer than necessary. They shared a pale, panicked look as Sabine checked the price of the book she wanted to buy, shuffling uncomfortably as Marinette was reminded just how much she didn’t want to have this conversation with her mother.

 

“I won’t keep you then,” Sabine said with a soft smile. “I’m supposed to be off to Mrs. Boucher’s birthday party and I’m sure you have plans that don’t involve chatting up your mother in the cookbook aisle.”

 

“I…” Marinette sighed, shame slithering up from the pit of her stomach. Truth be told, she had been distancing herself from her parents since Marcel had started systematically ruining her business. Tom Dupain had a knack for knowing when his daughter was upset and she didn’t want to risk her resolve crumbling in front of her parents who had sacrificed so much to put her through school. She couldn’t look her mother in the eye and tell her that after all that study and sacrifice she was fighting every week just to stay above water.

 

Marinette hated Marcel Dubois for a great many things, but she hated him most for making her lie to the people she loved to protect their happiness.

 

“I’ll come by soon,” Marinette promised, surprising her mother by reaching down and planting a small kiss on her mother’s cheek. If she could make time to fool around with Adrien, she could make time to go home and see her parents every once and a while.

 

“No hurry, dear,” Sabine said, patting Adrien lightly on the arm. “Drop by any time.”

 

Marinette felt her heart clench in her chest as she watched her mother turn, heading toward the cashier with a small wave over her shoulder. There was so much she wanted to tell her; part of her aching for a time when her mother could solve all her problems. But it was childish to believe Sabine could solve her daughter’s problems with a multimillionaire manbaby and Marinette didn’t dare to voice her concerns regarding her feelings towards Adrien. Marinette had always been proud of handling her problems by herself and that pride made her miserable as she watched her mother walk away.

 

Privately, Marinette resolved herself to call her mother once the weekend was over.

 

There was a brief moment of silence before Adrien spoke to her. “…so…how long have we been dating?”

 

Marinette wanted to think Adrien was just teasing her but she was reminded that she had traded one awkward conversation for another. The cold fact of the matter was that she had overstepped an unspoken line between them by passing Adrien off as her boyfriend; one she didn’t know if she could skip back over. Her mouth went dry, shooting an apologetic smile up at Adrien who looked somehow dazed by the whole affair.

 

Whether it was good-dazed or bad-dazed, Marinette couldn’t tell.

 

“Haha…yeah, about that…” Marinette said, shuffling uncomfortably. “I…I-know that got a little out of hand there but I, uh-”

 

Adrien held up a hand with a small laugh, blushing a little as Marinette’s stomach plummeted. She didn’t know if he was embarrassed by the whole situation…or just looking for a tactful way to tell her off for misrepresenting their relationship. In either case, she knew she had made things weird between them. Did he think she wanted something more serious? Worse, did he think she was embarrassed to be seen doing things with him and had to come up with a palatable excuse?

 


 

“Well…weren’t you?” Alya said, biting her lower lip as she glanced at the clock.

 

“I wasn’t embarrassed to be seen with him!” Marinette insisted.

 

“No you just…lied to your mother because you didn’t want her to know the truth about your relationship,” Alya sighed.

 

…okay, that's technically true but-”

 

“Look, as much as I love playing the advice fairy, can we wrap this up? Mom will kill me if Nino and I show up late and I’m currently still in my bra over here,” Alya said, snapping her bra-strap as she stared up at the ceiling. “So what happened next?”

 


 

Marinette stood stock still, breath hitched in her throat as she waited for Adrien to find the right words to say.

 

“I…look,” Adrien said, scratching his cheek as Marinette clenched her sweaty palms together “If you…I mean, we should probably talk abou-”

 

“RA-RA RASPUTIN! RUSSIA’S GREATEST LOVE MACHINE!”

 

Adrien jumped a little as Marinette’s phone lit up and started blaring Boney M in her dress pocket. Marinette tried not to look too relieved as she fished her phone out of her pocket; she doubted Sylvia was calling to do anything other than burden her boss with ways in which their company was being undercut, but at least that would be a less painful conversation than the one Adrien wanted to have…wouldn’t it?

 

“I-I’m sorry, can I take this?” Marinette said, waving her phone and instinctively taking a step backwards. “Sylvia was meeting with potential fabric suppliers today and I said to call if she hit a snag so-”

 

“Yeah,” Adrien said with a small smile. “Of course.”

 

Marinette mouthed a thank you as she picked up the receiver, thankful that she had a convenient excuse to avoid talking to Adrien for a few minutes. “Hello…oh, really? No…no I’m not surprised…I think he must’ve gotten to them already…I know…I know, I…I’ll think of something, I prom-”

 

The conversation ended with a muffled curse on Sylvia’s end, leaving Marinette standing a few yards away from Adrien with her phone pressed against her ear. She shot a look back at him with a small grimace, tapping the side of her now dead phone as she considered her options. What she really needed was time to think; time to articulate a response that might excuse her behavior and save whatever vestige of a relationship they had. Because although she and Adrien weren’t together like her mother now thought they were, she liked what they had. She had never been so comfortable with her own sexuality, flirting and fooling around with one of her oldest and dearest friends. It may have been selfish of her but she didn’t want to give up that security because of a slip of the tongue brought on by panic. She had to figure out some way to make it right…but she needed time.

 

Which meant she had to do the unthinkable.

 


 

You didn’t,” Alya’s voice clucked disapprovingly from the other end of the phone.

 

Marinette whimpered, bending her head down between her legs. “…I did.”

 


 

“Uh…o-okay, are you sure?” Marinette said into the empty receiver, shrugging at Adrien who was patiently waiting for her to finish. “No…uh…no I can talk now! H-How much time to you need? Wow…that long? I…I’m out with a friend right now but…o-okay…okay let me know what you need…”

 

The Fake Conversation Ploy was something Marinette used to get out of awkward talks with homophobic relatives. It was foolproof; fake getting a call and talk into an empty receiver until whoever she was ducking lost interest/stopped telling so many bigoted jokes. She never thought she would need to weaponize it against Adrien but desperate times called for frankly desperate measures.

 

Marinette covered the mouthpiece with her hand. “Sorry…this could take a while.”

 

Adrien shrugged, thumbs looping through his belt loops and rocking back and forth. “No problem,” he mouthed. “You want to head back?”

 

Marinette nodded, privately dreading being alone in a car with Adrien and wondering how long she could keep the charade up. Hopefully, the right words would strike her before she had to face Adrien…

 


 

…how long did you duck him?” Alya asked.

 

“…I pretended to talk to Sylvia until we got home,” Marinette sighed, running a hand through her hair. “He still thinks I’m talking to her.”

 

Congratulations; this is, like, professional quality evasive behavior,” Alya sighed.

 

“I know,” Marinette sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. It was an hour later and Marinette paced up and down the length of the guest bathroom, trying to figure out neat, painless solution to her problem that might preserve the thing she and Adrien seemed to enjoy. It wasn’t easy to come back from blatantly lying to her mother but she had to at least try…if she only knew how. “I just…I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to make this better!”

 

Hmmm…have you tried—and this is kind of crazy so stay with me—have you tried talking to Adrien?!Alya shouted, loud enough that Marinette had to hold the phone away from her ear. You wasted all this time talking to me when you should have been having a grown up conversation with your not-boyfriend about the fact that you outed him as your partner to your parents!”

 

“Shh!” Marinette hissed, cupping her hand over the mouthpiece. “He could hear you!”

 

He should be hearing you right now!” Alya grumbled. “What’s your hang-up?”

 

“My hang-up is that I may slash may not have screwed up one of the only positive things going on in my life right now and I don’t know how to fix it!” Marinette said a little louder than she intended. She tensed for a moment, waiting to see if Adrien had accidentally heard her as the utter absurdity of her situation crashed into her like a runaway fruitcart. She was currently hiding in Adrien’s bathroom, sitting on his toilet, and whispering to her best friend on the phone because she was scared of Adrien finding out that she was sorry she lied to her mother.

 

Marinette stared at her reflection, taking a deep breath. “You’re...you're right.”

 

Usually am, but thanks for noticing.”

 

“I should…I should go,” Marinette said, straightening her dress. “Sorry I called and interrupted...whatever it is you guys were doing.”

 


 

“Eh,” Alya shrugged. “One of the perks of living together is that I’m sure the right time will come back around sooner or later.”

 

“Right,” Marinette laughed on the other end. “I’ll let you go then; say hi to your mom!”

 

“Will do,” Alya said, ending the call with a small sigh, flopping back against the pillows. She loved Marinette more than almost any other non-family member, but the girl’s selective self-doubt cropped up at the worst imaginable times. Marinette tended to overcomplicate everything that wasn’t her fashion, up to and including sex and romance. Why someone needed all that paraphernalia to have sex with someone, Alya would never understand. But still, Alya could accept Marinette’s kinks more readily than she could accept the fact that Marinette would rather lie to herself and her family and pretend like she only wanted to be friends with Adrien. It was unfathomable, even to her less than lovey-dovey self, why the pair of them hadn’t eloped to Austria and started their fairy tale life together already.

 

Sighing, Alya glanced at the clock on the nightstand, biting her lip as she wondered how long it would take her to throw some clothes on and pull her hair up in a bun for dinner. Satisfied, she stretched back on the bed, angling herself towards the bathroom door and propping herself up on one elbow.

 

“Oh Niiiiiiiino,” she called. “You know we still have about twenty minutes before I have to start getting ready for-”

 

The bathroom door opened as Nino walked out, fully dressed, and lobbed a wad of tissue paper into the nearest trashcan.

 

“…oh, seriously?” Alya grumbled, flopping back against the mattress.

 

“You’ll live,” Nino assured her. "Dinner?"

 

Chapter Text

Adrien tapped his foot against the leg of the barstool he was perched on, elbows resting on the kitchen counter as he waited for Marinette to finish her business call in the bathroom.

 

The time she spent on the phone gave him time to collect his thoughts on what had transpired in the bookshop; time to sort out the confusing jumble of emotions that threatened to tear his stomach apart with anxiety. He thought he had reigned in his debilitating crush on Marinette; thought he made progress towards untangling the complicated web of feelings he had towards her. But now he wondered whether that was just because he had seen her only sporadically in the almost two months since they had first slept together.  He had actually been proud that he had been doing so well with keeping things strictly platonic.

 

But that was before he knew how nice it felt to be referred to as Marinette’s boyfriend.

 

Adrien chewed on the corner of his lip, trying to puzzle out if there was any deeper meaning to Marinette’s actions other than her desire to justify making out with him to her mother. It was possible he was reading too much into things; Adrien had an annoying habit of thinking people were more interested in him than they actually were. He had gotten into no small amount of trouble with his partners as he inevitably failed to keep feelings out of the equation. Still, something tickled the back of his mind and suggested that there was something more to Marinette’s choice of wording. Maybe it was the way she threaded her arm through his; maybe it was the way she had kissed him in the elevator without any thought of having sex with him. Maybe this was her not so subtle way of suggesting they take their relationship to the next level.

 

Was it really so hard to believe she might have feelings for him?

 

But he couldn’t jump to conclusions just yet. The bathroom door clicked open and Adrien found himself sitting up straight, completely incapable of looking like he was not stewing over Marinette’s words while she was conducting important business. He smoothed his hair out, impending doom and possibility driving him to stand up rather than face her sitting down.

 

Marinette rounded the corner into the kitchen with a disarmingly soft smile that quietly killed Adrien’s platonic delusions. “Hey.”

 

“Hey,” Adrien echoed. “Uh…did the call go well?”

 

“Hm?” Marinette asked, shaking her head. “I-I mean yeah! Call went fine; just some business…type...stuff I had to take care of.”

 

“Oh, good,” Adrien said, nodding strictly more than necessary to the point that he resembled a bobblehead. “Good good…”

 

“Yeah! Yeah it was…good,” Marinette coughed, scratching her arm. A string of tension hung between them but neither of them seemed ready to sever it just yet. They each waited for the other to speak first, hoping to hear something to sooth their frazzled nerves.

 

“Look…” Adrien said. “I think we should-”

 

“I’m…I’m sorry about what happened back at the bookshop,” Marinette blurted out.

 

Adrien blinked, stunned that her first reaction was to apologize for referring to him as her boyfriend. “I, uh-”

 

“With the whole…b-boyfriend thing I mean,"  Marinette barreled on, scratching the back of her neck with a small laugh. “I just kinda panicked. I mean y-you would too if your mom walked in on you kissing someone, right?”

 

Marinette realized what she had said an instant too late, paling as she held her hands up.

 

“Wow that…that came out wrong,” Marinette said, voice cracking like a thirteen year old boy. “I’m sorry, I meant-”

 

“I-I know what you meant,” Adrien said, holding a hand up with a small if slightly forced reassuring smile. “It’s okay.”

 

“Right,” Marinette laughed, picking at the stitching inside her pockets as she tried to figure out what she was trying to say. It was one thing to be Ms. Responsible Adult on the phone with Alya; it was another to apologize for accidentally making her relationship with Adrien weirder than it needed to be. “I…I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable or anything-”

 

“You didn’t,” Adrien insisted.

 

“I should have cleared it with you first,” Marinette said, biting her lip. “I mean, I never planned on saying that in the first place…but I got…”

 

Marinette shrugged helplessly, looking up at the ceiling with a small sigh.

 

“You got ambushed?” Adrien supplied.

 

“To put it mildly,” Marinette laughed, braving another couple steps into the kitchen. Adrien didn’t appear to be upset; tense and confused maybe (as anyone would be after their friend with benefits lied about their relationship) but not particularly upset. “I mean we were kissing, and that was great, and then my mom was there, and then she was saying all this stuff  and I didn’t know how to respond, and…”

 

“You know I was there for all that too, right?” Adrien said, lips twitching into a small smile that did wonders unknotting the ball of tension in Marinette’s stomach.

 

“Yeah, that was the problem,” Marinette said, pinching the bridge of her nose. “Wait…no that came out wrong. You weren’t the problem, I just meant-”

 

Adrien held up his hands, forestall Marinette’s apology before it could get out of hand. “I know what you meant.”

 

Marinette trailed off, crossing her arms across her waist as Adrien drummed his fingers thoughtfully on the counter.

 

“I mean…I get it,” Adrien said. “It’s easier to say that we’re dating than trying to explain to your mother our…thing.”

 

“We have a thing?” Marinette giggled nervously, taking another step towards Adrien as he stepped out from behind the counter. “Is that the technical term for it?”

 

“It’s the official term for relationships that don’t fall within the purview of mainstream monogamous romantic relationships, yes,” Adrien laughed.

 

“Well…” Marinette sighed, shifting back and forth as she tried to figure out the right words to say. Be honest, Alya’s voice urged her. “I like our thing.

 

“I do too,” Adrien said, waiting for the inevitable but implicit in Marinette’s statement.

 

“At the risk of sounding too desperate and clingy…our thing may be one of the only things I look forward to these days,” Marinette admitted, stomach fluttering as she skirted dangerously close to exposing herself. “Not that we’ve had much of a thing because of work but…”

 

Adien’s brow creased in concern. He knew Marinette had been having a hard time at work recently but it hadn’t occurred to him how much of a toll it was taking on her until now. She seemed tense; cagey as though she hadn’t properly slept in weeks. Fashion (especially Parisian fashion) was an unspeakably brutal industry and no one knew that better than Adrien who watched it slowly murder his father over the course of twenty years. Maybe their thing was just a means of stress relief for Marinette. Still, the way she crossed the room as though walking on a thin pane of glass, stopping in front of him and delicately pressing a hand against his chest caused his throat to tighten, hands quivering as he braced himself against the counter behind him.

 

“I like this,” Marinette said softly. “I really like this. And I don’t want anything to change between us…I just don’t really want my mom knowing the details yet. I just…I don’t know what to do.”  

 

Adrien swallowed, heart throbbing painfully in his ears as he stuffed his disappointment down behind a shaky smile. “She…she doesn’t have to.”

 

Marinette looked up at him curiously and he pressed on, licking his lips as he wondered if he wasn’t digging himself deeper into a mess of sticky feelings. “I mean…for all she knows, we’re dating, right?”

 

“…right?”

 

“So…if you don’t want to tell her,” Adrien continued, tilting his head back and forth. “You could always just…not?”

 

Marinette narrowed her eyes, trying to see if she was understanding Adrien correctly. “Like…pretend we’re dating in front of my parents?”

 

“I-If you’re okay with that, that is,” Adrien stuttered, scratching the back of his neck. “Just trying to…make things easy on you, you know?”        

 

Adrien sheepishly chuckled and Marinette suddenly understood why it was Adrien attracted gross, manipulative partners; because he was always going to be the one to make compromises to make his partner happy. Instead of being angry that she had roped him into a lie without his permission, he was already looking for ways to make her more comfortable, even if it meant lying to her parents.

 

Marinette suppressed a surge of guilt, her promise to Chloe echoing in the back of her mind.

 

“Are you sure?” Marinette asked after a moment. “I mean…if you’re uncomfortable with this we can do something else. I can always tell them I broke your heart or something.”

 

“I doubt they’ll go for that,” Adrien chuckled.

 

“You might have to come to the occasional dinner since my mom is so intent on feeding me,” Marinette said, wondering why she was trying to talk him out of making her life easier. “Lengthy, super-loud dinners and desserts and chatting over coffee until midnight.”

 

“Is free food supposed to scare me away?” Adrien laughed, fingertips tracing down the back of her hand still pressed against his chest.

 

“I…” Marinette let out a small sigh, head falling forward and resting on Adrien’s chest. “…you don’t have to do this.”

 

“I don’t have to do anything,” Adrien reminded her, arms wrapping around her waist. “But…if this makes your life easier then I don’t mind. I’m good at playing fake boyfriend, you know.”  

 

Marinette’s fingers tightened on his shirt unconsciously, images of Adrien on the arm of faceless nobodies flitting through her mind. But she wasn’t like that, she told herself; she cared about Adrien beyond what he could do for her and if he had objected, Marinette would have called Sabine up to explain herself that very moment. At the same time, she couldn’t deny this would be easier. She could go out with Adrien without worrying about it getting back to her parents. No one would raise an eyebrow if she went home with Adrien at the end of the day. Sabine might even stop checking in at the apartment if she thought Marinette was spending her weekends sleeping at Adrien’s place.

 

It was a perfect deception; one that terribly imbalanced their relationship in her favor. But still, the temptation to accept Adrien’s offer was too great to discuss.

 

“…thank you,” Marinette said quietly.

 

“No trouble,” Adrien said, surprised as Marinette slid her arms around his chest and wrapped him in a tight hug. Part of him wanted to lean down, brush the bangs away from Marinette’s forehead and kiss her until she believed everything would be okay. He settled for pressing his lips against the crown of her head,  enjoying the simple act of embracing her a little while longer.

 

“I’ll…I’ll make it up to you,” Marinette promised, pulling back and swiping her wrist across her eyes with a small sniff.

 

“You don’t have to,” Adrien said, passing her a napkin from the holder on the counter.

 

“I will though,” Marinette said fiercely, looking up at Adrien with a resolute nod. She was not going to let him spend himself into emotional poverty on her account; she was not going to be another person who used Adrien to get what they wanted and then left him hanging high and dry.

 

Adrien’s brow creased sympathetically. “Hey…are you okay?”

 

“Yeah…” Marinette nodded emphatically but apparently not convincingly enough for Adrien. His silent frown of concern wore on her after a few moments, causing her to look away in shame as she was reminded that she had continuously lied to Adrien for the past few months; lied by omission about the fact that his former boss was tormenting Coccinelle because of a petty grudge. Part of her hoped she could solve her problems before Adrien caught wind but every week proved her wrong in new and soul-crushingly depressing ways.

 

It was wearing on her, taking chunks out of her in bits and pieces. After two months of working round the clock, she needed a break. She needed a hug. She needed to sleep in a proper bed, have a proper bath, and possibly get laid if her not-boyfriend was still in the mood.

 

“I just…” Marinette let out a shaky sigh. “I have…not had a good few months. I’m not going to go into details but…I don’t know…I just need a break. I need to spend the next two days not being asked to solve problems or talk with clients. I just need to do…nothing for a few days.”

 

“Is that my new nickname?” Adrien asked, watching her exasperated pout soften, lips twitching into a small smile as she looked up at him. “Nothing?”

 

“You said it, not me,” Marinette laughed, lip catching between her teeth as her eyes lingered on the patch of exposed skin between his slightly open collar. She resisted the urge to kiss it until she remembered she didn’t have too, leaning up and pressing her lips against his skin as the soft fabric of his shirt tickled her cheeks. Marinette felt his breath hitch under her lips, felt his grip around her waist tighten as he drew her closer. Her lips lingered on his skin as her fingers slid up his chest, untangling the first button from his shirt and waiting for a reaction. She didn’t know if it was proper form to come onto someone after complicating their relationship even further; truth be told she didn’t care. The fact that Adrien didn’t loathe her for throwing him under the bus with her mother was reason enough to celebrate and she preferred to celebrate by snogging  the pants off him for the rest of the evening.

 

Literally if she could help it.

 

“Well…is there anything I can do to help you unwind?” Adrien asked, hands resting on the small of her back as she unbuttoned another of his shirt buttons. “Tea? Bath? Soothing massage?”

 

Lovely suggestions,” Marinette said, watching inch after inch of Adrien’s tanned, firm stomach revealed with each undone button. “Maybe we can get to those later…right now, I had something different in mind since we were so rudely interrupted earlier this week.”

 

Tuesday’s aborted tryst in Marinette’s office had provided more than enough inspiration for the rest of the week, but Adrien found the real, physical Marinette much more appealing than his imagination (no matter how many bell collars and cat ear headbands imaginary Marinette wore.) He relished the sensation of her slowly parting his shirt, palms sliding across his bare stomach with a hungry look in her eye.

 

“Careful,” Adrien giggled, squirming as Marinette’s fingertips pressed against a soft spot on his side.

 

“You’re not ticklish are you?” Marinette asked with a devilish glint in her eye until Adrien’s fingertips pressed against her sides as well.

 

“Are you?” Adrien asked, squinting  at her as his fingertips twitched. They stared at each other for a long moment, too afraid to move, before slowly and simultaneously raising their hands over their heads.

 

“Okay…let’s not do anything we’ll regr-et!” Marinette squeaked, skittering back as Adrien’s fingers lashed out and tickled her side. “Adrien!

 

“Sorry,” Adrien chuckled, holding his hands up. “Just looked like you could use a l-augh!” Adrien fell back as Marinette counter attacked, fingers slithering forward and tickling his unprotected side. “Okay okay! I’m sorry!”

 

“Don’t start something you can’t finish Adriahahah!” Marinette squirmed as Adrien resumed his attack, fingers digging into the soft pink fabric of her dress clinging to her sides.

 

“That’s right,” Adrien wheezed through a stream of giggles. “Wh-who’s, haha, who’s laughing n-ahahahaha!”

 

You are, dumm-eehehehe!” Marinette chortled, torn between wanting to escape Adrien’s touch and win a war of attrition. “H-How much more can you take?!”

 

“I can, ahahaha, I-I can go all day!” Adrien insisted, despite the fact that Adrien’s cheeks hurt from laughing so much. Neither of them seemed content to back down but Marinette’s pride faltered under Adrien’s malicious touch.

 

“Okay…” Marinette panted, slapping Adrien’s hands away. “Okay, Ladybug!”

 

Adrien’s fingers stopped tickling her almost instantly, hands pumping in the air in a triumphant pose. “I wiiiiiin~”

 

“Oh please; I was calling a truce because you looked like you were fading over there,” Marinette giggled, smoothing her dress.

 

“Uh-huh,” Adrien said, smirk creeping into the corners of his voice. “Suuuuure.”

 

Marinette crossed her arms, forcing herself to glare because it was hard to stay upset with a smiling, shirtless Adrien. Adrien’s hands slowly wound around her waist, tugging her close and looking over her curiously.

 

“Admit it,” Adrien said softly, leaning in as Marinette poignantly ignored him while trying to keep herself from smiling.

 

“I’ll admit that I let you win,” Marinette said diplomatically, watching his lips curl into a triumphant smirk (and generally just watching his lips because they were a nice thing to watch.)

 

“Which still means I won,” Adrien said, eyebrows waggling. “Technically speaking, I totally-”

 

Marinette was quickly learning that Adrien’s off switch was somewhere in his mouth and only by rooting around with her tongue for a while could she seem to find it. In the interests of stopping the barely deserved victory dance Adrien looked to be on the verge of, Marinette’s fingers gripped his collar, tugging him down and arching up to silence him by pressing her mouth against his. She swallowed the last of his gloating, firmly kissing him for a long moment before pulling back, enjoying the moment of silence as Adrien’s brain had to take a moment to reboot.

 

Fine,” Marinette admitted, fingers still clutching the edges of his open shirt. “You…win.”

 

As per expected, Adrien’s gloating died swiftly only to be replaced by a hungry look in his eyes as he surveyed Marinette. “So since I won and all,” Adrien said, ignoring the small scoff from Marinette. “What do I win?”

 

A purring, suggestive tone crept into his voice, warming Marinette’s cheeks just a little as she considered her options.

 

“Well…” Marinette said, tilting her head back and forth. “I could bake you a cake, or knit you a scarf, or you can take me into your bedroom and ravish me until you’re satisfied, or I could get dinner tonight, or-”

 

Marinette’s lips curled as Adrien’s ears burned. “S-Sorry, what was that last one?” He stammered.

 

“…dinner?” Marinette suggested innocently, glad to see that Adrien was a glass cannon of flirtatiousness; he could dish it out all day but couldn’t take a hit in return. Fingernails grazing his bare stomach, Marinette took a few casual steps past Adrien, meandering towards the hallway leading to his bedroom. He blinked, turning to look after her only after he recovered from the surprise, heart thundering in his chest as he saw her pause to look back at him.

 

“Well?” Marinette asked, glancing over her shoulder with a small smile. “You coming?”

 

“Hopefully ,” Adrien said hoarsely, watching her disappear around the corner for a moment before following, nearly knocking over a barstool in his haste to get down after her. Marinette seemed to be in no great hurry, hand skimming the wall as she walked, hips swaying and aware of his presence but not particularly concerned if he was following. She knew he was; she didn’t have to check. She walked with the absolute certainty that Adrien was going to follow every step she took because he wanted to. She made him want to.  

 

Adrien knew as he pursued her down into the dimly lit bedroom that she was going to make an absolutely fantastic dominatrix .

 

The sight of Adrien’s large, lush bed made Marinette’s legs go weak; less out of pure desire and more because this was the closest she had been to a proper bed since the week of Marcel’s visit. She stepped forward as Adrien closed the door behind them, shucking her sandals  and slowly making her way over to the mattress. Adrien let the shirt fall from his shoulders, watching Marinette lean forward, bury her face in the mattress, and let out a long muffled moan into his comforter.

 

“Hello darling,” Marinette sighed, pressing her face into the bed. “Mama missed you so much.”

 

“Do you two need a moment?” Adrien asked, eyes lingering on Marinette’s butt as she leaned forward at the waist. “I could always leave and come back if you want to make love to my mattress.”

 

“That might be a good idea,” Marinette chuckled, reveling in the sensation of proper sheets again. “Give me ten hours alone with your mattress…you can sleep in my office downtown.”

 

“As much fun as that sounds,” Adrien said, leaning back against the wall to give Marinette a moment to make out with his bedding. “I would much rather wake up next to you tomorrow.”

 

Marinette hummed softly, arching up onto the balls of her feet as she stretched out on the mattress. A few moments passed in anticipatory silence before Marinette spoke. “Sooo…are you going to ravish me any time soon or should we get dinner first?”

 

Adrien laughed, running a hand through his hair as he tentatively took a step closer. Marinette craned her head back with a small smile, drumming her fingers on the comforters as though she were waiting for a cab rather than Adrien to start fucking her from behind. “Waiting for an invitation?”

 

“Something like that,” Adrien laughed.

 

“I see,” Marinette nodded, heart pulsing in her throat as she slowly stood up straight. Reaching behind her neck, she fumbled with the knot that held her dress up for a moment before finding the end strings and undoing it. She didn’t look back, not turning around as she slowly shimmied the pink and white dress down her torso, shivering as she exposed her chest to the cool, air conditioned room. Marinette smiled as she heard a small gasp from behind her coincide with the dress clearing her hips and bottom, stepping out of her dress as she stood only in a pair of thin pink panties. She leaned forward, arms spreading out and supporting her shaky legs by leaning on the mattress.

 

“Better?” Marinette asked, turning back to savor Adrien’s dumbstruck expression . She had been a little apprehensive about the underwear choice for that evening as it was nowhere near the level of lacy loveliness she had worn their first night together but Adrien’s face was a living, scarlet testament to the old adage that more expensive wasn’t always more effective.

 

In hindsight, he shouldn’t have been so surprised. The bedazzled crown on the front of the underwear should have been a massive spoiler now that he thought about it. But the problem was Adrien’s mind was devoid of any thought not related to the sight of Marinette leaning over his bed, looking back at him with a teasing glint in her eye clad in only a pair of pink panties.

 

…a pair of pink panties with the word Princess embossed on the back in sparkly silver lettering.

 

“Is this enough of an invitation for you?” Marinette asked, lip catching between her teeth as she watched Adrien’s eyes follow the subtle side-to-side shimmy of her hips. “Sir?”

 

It took Adrien a long moment to remember how to do anything other than ogle like a brain-dead pubescent teenager . He swallowed heavily, padding across the room towards her on wobbly legs as she rose up onto the balls of her feet to give him a better view. It was so much fun to see his normally polite, collected persona start to fray at the edges with so little effort on her part. A small gasp slipped between her lips as she felt his hand tremble with desire as he palmed her ass, giving it a light squeeze through her panties as he came up behind her.

 

“Y-You…” Adrien paused, clearing his throat of any lingering quavering and adopting a more confident demeanor. “I didn’t know you were such a little tease.”

 

“Am I teasing you?” Marinette said, feigning innocence as her fingers tightened around the comforter. “I had no idea. I just thought…they were appropriate…”

 

Marinette paused, craning her head back to look Adrien directly in the eye as she moved in for the kill.

 

“…since I am your princess…aren’t I?” Marinette said, expression melting into an inviting smile.

 

Fatality.

 

Adrien let out a small, nervous laugh that was more a testament to how much he knew he was fucked than how funny he thought this was. He actually shivered, goosebumps rising along his arms as he put his hands almost reverently on her hips.

 

“Do you like them?” Marinette asked, arching her ass back into his groin and rocking her hips back and forth, flushing as she felt something hard press back. Clearly her coaxing was having an effect on him; the fact that he took a while to take initiative didn’t bother Marinette who was having fun teasing his more demanding side out of hiding.

 

The press of his firm length through his pants and the way he openly groped her thinly covered butt were signs that she was doing a good job.

 

“I don’t know,” Adrien answered honestly, fingers toying with the waistband of her panties. “I like them on you…but I might like them better on the floor…”

 

“Careful,” Marinette warned, shivering as he leaned forward to kiss her on the small of her back as he undid his belt with one hand. “You might accidentally rip them if you don’t be careful…”

 

“Then I’ll be very careful,” Adrien assured her, fingers hooking in the waistband of her panties as Marinette glanced back at him.

 

“I…I mean it,” Marinette said, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she looked almost embarrassed. “These aren’t exactly the sturdiest pair of underwear I’ve ever owned…one strong tug and I think you might rip them in half.”  

 

“Don’t worry,” Adrien said. “I know how to handle a delicate pair of-”

 

“Adrien.” Adrien looked up to see Marinette arching back, shooting him a very significant look. “These cheap and frankly tacky panties that I bought in a twelve pack explicitly for this occasion might…rip…in half…if you tug on them too roughly.”

 

Adrien frowned, trying to decipher Marinette’s expression as he knelt behind her. He glanced back at her panties only to realize a small incision had been made in the waistband at the very back. Adrien pouted at this for a moment, glancing between Marinette’s underwear and her intent expression as realization slowly dawned on him.

 

“…ooooooh,” Adrien said, nodding as he thumbed her waistband.  

 

“Ooooh,” Marinette echoed, turning back away from him.

 

“…so you definitely have more of these?” Adrien asked.

 

“Yep,” Marinette said.

 

“Because if you don’t, I will buy you about a thousand more just to be sure,” Adrien said, fingers gripping her waistband as his heart thudded in his ears.

 

“You might have to,” Marinette said, fingers gripping the edge of the bed. “Because these are very flimsy panties you kn-”

 

Marinette let out a small laugh as her underwear split along the minute rip she had cut in it earlier that day, leaving her exposed as Adrien finished tugging the strips of pink fabric away from her legs.

 

“You’re not that good at taking hints,” Marinette chuckled, sucking in a small gasp of breath as she felt Adrien’s lips press against her butt.

 

“I prefer to take requests,” Adrien said, voice low and hoarse as his knelt behind her, hands squeezing the soft, freckled skin in front of him. “But I have to admit that taking initiative is fun every once and a while.”

 

“I’m sure it-ah!” Marinette yelped, arching onto the balls of her feet as she felt a sharp pinching sensation on her ass. She arched her head back to see what he was doing in time to see his open palm smack against her unprotected rump with a thwack that echoed throughout the empty house.


“Turn around,” Adrien said, slowly getting to his feet with a mischievous glint in his eye. As much as she wanted to enjoy watching Adrien finish undressing she dutifully turned back around, wiggling absentmindedly as she waited for his next move. Adrien watched her for a moment before he summoned the willpower to tear his eyes away from her bouncing freckled bottom and retrieve a few items from the bags he brought in. His fingers brushed the soft leather tip of the crop they had picked out, lingering thoughtfully for a moment before reaching past it and grabbing a small bottle of clear liquid at the bottom of the bag. Adrien turned it over in his hands thoughtfully, snatching a thin strip of silk from the dresser and making his way back to the bed. He tried not to allow himself to be hypnotized by the sight of Marinette’s squirming backside, ignoring her casual humming as he came up behind her.

 

“Should I be bracing myself?” Marinette chuckled, tensing a little as Adrien rested a hand on the small of her back.

 

“I’m not going to smack you with a riding crop out of the blue,” Adrien said, tracing circles on the small of her back. “I figured given all the…excitement today, we could try something a little less intense.”

 

“I’m not scared of intense,” Marinette said, drawing a faint gasp as the familiar sensation of silk pressed against her eyes. She reached back, pulling her hair out of the way and allowing Adrien to secure the blindfold behind her head. “I like intense.”

 

“Well then, I’ll give you all the intense you want tomorrow,” Adrien murmured into her ear, feeling her pulse jump as he pressed his lips against her neck. “But right now…I want you to just lay on the bed.”

 

“Kinky,” Marinette snorted, squeaking as Adrien’s hand lightly smacked her ass. “Now that’s more like it!”

 

“Humor me,” Adrien said, helping Marinette climb up on the massive bed with a small lift under her backside. Marinette let out a small sigh of resignation, hands skimming along the comforter and unwittingly giving Adrien a front row seat to her crawling up onto his bed on all fours, naked as the day she was born.

 

“Satisfied?” Marinette asked, flopping onto her stomach and turning her blind gaze towards Adrien.

 

“Not yet,” Adrien snorted, adjusting his briefs so he was a little more comfortable.

 

“I can help with that,” Marinette reminded him, pillowing her head on her hands as she waited for Adrien to make his move. She felt mattress sink under his weight as he climbed up, crawling over and kneeling at her left side.

 

“Maybe in a bit,” Adrien said, uncapping the bottle he brought with him.

 

“You sure you can wait that long?” Marinette asked, eyebrow cresting over the top of the blindfold. “You looked ready to burst last time I saw you~”

 

“You’re underestimating how patient I can be,” Adrien chuckled. “I have a lot of self-control, you know.”

 

“Mm…we’ll have to see about that,” Marinette hummed cryptically. “I’m sure even you have a breaking point…don’t you, sir?”

 

Marinette smiled to herself as she heard the bottle squirt with a loud phrrpt that suggested Adrien squeezed it harder than necessary. Even blindfolded and ostensibly at his mercy, Marinette was finding ways to push Adrien’s buttons. “I’m starting to wonder what I have to do to get you to lose composure,” Marinette purred, letting out a small gasp as she felt something warm and slick land on the middle of her back. “…okay if you just ‘lost composure’ without me, I’m going to be a little pissed-”

 

She trailed off as a familiar scent hit her nostrils and Adrien’s hands began spreading the quickly warming liquid on her back. “…is that coconut oil?”

 

“Something like that,” Adrien said, applying another dollop to her upper back and kneading it into her shoulders. “I mean it has…other uses but it makes a good massage oil too.”

 

“…you do know you have my permission to tie me to the bedposts and have your way with me, right?” Marinette said.

 

“I do,” Adrien  said, hands sliding down her bare back as he applied gentle pressure to her sides.

 

“Most guys would take advantage of that fact instead of going for the spa treatment,” Marinette said, letting out a small sigh as she felt Adrien’s fingers tease out the knots in her shoulders.

 

“I know,” Adrien said, rubbing some more oil between his hands and massaging it into her butt. “But it sounded to me like you might enjoy the spa treatment tonight…am I wrong?”

 

“Hey, you won’t hear me complaining,” Marinette sighed, biting her lip as Adrien returned his attention to her knotted, tense shoulders.

 

“I bet I won’t,” Adrien clucked, slowly teasing the tight cluster of muscles looser and looser with every gentle press of his fingers. “Feels like you could use this.”

 

“Mmhmm,” Marinette murmured, sinking deeper into Adrien’s bed as his hands went to work on her. The blindfold effectively blocked out any light and Adrien’s quiet work forced her to focus on the sensation of having every knot in her muscles methodically unwound. Somewhere in the back of her mind she knew she was wound tighter than an anal-retentive watchmaker but only now that she had a moment to stop and do nothing did she realize how tense she was. As Adrien’s hands glided over her skin and slowly began to unknot her tightly wound muscles, any lingering disappointment about not getting to try out their purchases quickly evaporated.

 

“This could take a while,” Adrien chuckled after a few minutes of blissful silence, hands working over her back.

 

“Take as looooooong as you need,” Marinette sighed, resolving herself to melt into a coconut scented puddle on Adrien’s bed.

 

“Someone’s had a rough couple of weeks,” he mused, pressing his palms into her back as he felt her unwind beneath him.

 

“You have noooooo idea,” Marinette chuckled, cheek rubbing against Adrien’s comforter as she subtly arched into his touch. “Mmh…right there.”

 

“Too much pressure?” Adrien asked, focusing on a spot between her shoulder blades.

 

“Not enough,” Marinette said, smile hidden in his sheets. “You know I like it rough.”

 

“Unfortunately I never picked up Swedish massaging on the road,” Adrien said, applying a little more pressure to a persistent knot of muscles. “Otherwise I’d be karate chopping your back right now.”

 

“I’m still wondering where you picked up regular massaging on the road,” Marinette chuckled, pressing into Adrien’s touch a little. “Is that part of Gabriel’s modeling curriculum?”

 

“Let’s just say I made some good friends in Germany while shooting the 2020 winter collection and leave it at that,” Adrien chuckled, hands working their way down to the small of her back. The setting sun streamed through the window, cascading onto her soft freckled skin that almost glowed from the thin sheen of liquid that coated every curve of her body as she subtly shifted under his touch.

 

Very good friends by the sound of it,” Marinette laughed, trying very hard not to consider who Adrien had practiced his massage skills on before her. Instead, she chose to focus on Adrien’s hands drifting lower and lower, biting her lip as he squeezed her ass before sliding down to massage the backs of her legs. “If this is how you treat all your friends, I’m not surprised Nino followed you around the world for seven years.”

 

“Maybe not all my friends,” Adrien said, fingertips tracing the inside of her thigh as he moved down her leg. “Just the very special kind.”

 

“I’m special?” Marinette snorted, legs instinctively drifting apart a little as he applied more pressure to the inside of her thighs.

 

“I thought you knew how special I think you are,” Adrien said, voice adopting a soft purring quality that made Marinette’s pulse pick up. As nice as it had been to melt away under a relatively innocent touch, the hands that were now squeezing the insides of her legs reminded her that she hadn’t had the time or opportunity to enjoy some alone time in nearly a week. “Did you forget?”

 

“It’s been a while since I was reminded,” Marinette purred, hips arching off the bed briefly as she shifted her position. Without waiting for Adrien to respond, she rolled over, enjoying the small gasp from Adrien as she spread out on her back, lazily arching her back and stretching towards the headboard with a sigh. Her thumb tilted up the corner of the blindfold, catching sight of Adrien’s flushed expression as she settled against the pillows. “Wanna do my front?”

 

There were so many ways he could have taken that question but the answer to all of them was a resounding yes.

 

Marinette tugged the rest of the blindfold up onto her forehead, deciding that the sight of Adrien red-faced and looking at her like he had never seen a naked woman before was preferable to being blindfolded (as fun as that was). She watched his eyes trail up her naked body, lingering on her pert, freckled breasts for a moment before noticing that her blindfold had been removed. Adrien looked almost embarrassed that he had been caught openly ogling her for a moment before shooting her a playful glare.

 

“I don’t remember telling you that you could take that off ,” Adrien said, watching Marinette lazily toss the silk strip off the edge of the bed.

 

“Oops,” she said, biting her lip as Adrien shifted so he was kneeling between her knees. “Well, if you feel that strongly about it you could always…punish me.”

 

Adrein suppressed a small groan, hands shaking ever so slightly as he massaged the fronts of Marinette’s thighs, now openly feeling her up as she looked down at him. He didn’t know how long he could resist her not-so-subtle suggestions that he should tie her up and introduce her to the business end of a riding crop. But as tempting as it was, Adrien’s attention was focused on enjoying the way Marinette seemed to tense and relax under his touch. His fingertips traced the constellations of freckles that sporadically dotted her body, gliding over every knot of tension until it came loose.

 

He didn’t need to hear the entire phone call to know it hadn’t been good; just by massaging her he could tell she was under an enormous amount of strain. Adrien was no stranger to the grueling workload most people in the fashion industry suffered under, first having watched his father be slowly consumed by his life’s work and then almost being consumed by the same brutal schedule Marcel set for him. Looking back, Adrien was hardly surprised that his submissive side had first awoken when he was under untold amounts of pressure and needed to feel safely controlled for just a little while.

 

He didn’t pretend to know all the challenges Marinette was facing or even presume to read her mind…but he thought he understood her. Just a little bit.

 

“Having fun?” Marinette’s voice broke Adrien’s musing, drawing his attention back to his hands that were apparently lingering on Marinette’s breasts while he was lost in thought.

 

“Sorry,” Adrien said, tensing to pull his hands back for a moment before reconsidering with a gentle squeeze.

 

“Are you?” Marinette asked, arching into his touch a little as she watched him settle between her legs, thumbs toying with the tips of her nipples as she folded her hands behind her head.

 

“Not really,” Adrien confessed, biting his lip as his hands trailed down her sides. “Not unless I should be. I do have a hard time keeping my hands where they belong where you’re concerned.”

 

“I think it’s safe to say when I’m lying naked on your bed, your hands belong on me,” Marinette laughed, watching his hands trail down the flat of her stomach intently. Again, he uncapped the bottle of clear, coconut scented liquid, applying a generous amount to his hands before he noticed her looking at him. “I’m guessing if you picked this up from the store, it’s not just massage oil, is it?”

 

Adrien’s lips twitched, thumb rubbing the vicious liquid between his fingers experimentally. “What do you think?” He asked.

 

“I think I’d like to find out,” Marinette murmured, fingers gripping the pillow behind her head as Adrien thoughtfully bit his lip, a dark blush creeping up from his neck as a sudden idea struck him.

 

“Well…since you seem to be an authority on where my hands belong,” Adrien said, resting both palms on her hips and looking up at her with anticipation. “Why don’t you tell me what you want me to do with them?”

 

"Really?" Marinette’s stomach gave a small flutter as the implication of what Adrien was asking settled in. She crossed her hands over her chest in an effort to stop her hammering heartbeat, eyes lingering on the tips of his fingers.

 

"Really," Adrien said, waiting for her command.

 

“…t-touch my breasts again,” Marinette said after a moment’s consideration, wanting to see just what Adrien had in mind. As soon as she said it, his hands slid up her stomach, cupping her breasts lightly and looking back up at her for approval.

 

“Play with them,” she said, her low, husky tone of voice sending small chills down Adrien’s spine as his hands complied. He started off slow, fingertips applying gentle pressure in a circular pattern until his hands rested under breasts with a light squeeze. She watched him through half lidded eyes diligently fondle her, warming slightly as he appeared almost entranced by the way her warm freckled skin felt between his fingers. A small gasp escaped her mouth as his thumbs brushed the tips of her nipples, applying a little pressure as Adrien couldn’t keep the grin off his face.

 

“Sensitive?” Adrien asked, looking up at her with a smirk.

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Marinette chuckled, glancing down at his hands thoughtfully. “…pinch them.”

 

Adrien’s pulse quickened, glancing down at the rosy nipples trapped between his thumb and forefinger. He lightly squeezed them, stopping just short of pinching her as indecision tickled the back of his mind. Marinette must have picked up on his momentary hesitation because his gaze was soon jerked up by one of her hands cupping him under the chin and forcing him to look her in the eye.

 

“Is there a problem?” Marinette asked in a soft voice that betrayed a firm look in her eyes that made Adrien straighten up a little.

 

“No, it’s just…you’re sure?” Adrien asked.

 

“I wouldn’t have said it if I wasn’t,” Marinette said coolly, resisting the urge to smile at Adrien’s embarrassed expression. “Do you know what I like better than me?”

 

“I…probably not,” Adrien muttered quietly, chin tilting up a little as Marinette applied a little more pressure.

 

Probably not or no?” Marinette asked, looking him directly in the eye. As charming as it was to have Adrien so concerned with her well-being, his misplaced chivalric streak had to be sorted out; the sooner the better.  

 

“N-No mis-” Adrien flushed red, biting his lip before he could finish his sentence. “I mean, no, I d-don’t know what you want better than you do.”

 

“Good,” Marinette said with a sweet smile. “So when I say I want you to spank me, I mean it. When I say I want you to leave little bite marks on me, I mean it. And when I say that I want you to pinch my nipples , I mean—ah!”

 

Marinette let out a small gasp between clenched teeth as Adrien’s fingers suddenly clenched, squeezing her nipples and lightly tugging them up off her chest.

 

“Gotcha,” Adrien said with a small smile, watching her head flop back against the covers. “Just making sure~”

 

“Are you—ah—a-are you satisfied?” Marinette hissed, biting her lip as he slowly twisted the tips of her breasts back and forth between his fingers.

 

Quite,” Adrien hummed, feeling her arch her hips up against his leg, watching hands drifting down her stomach lazily. “I’m finding that we have more and more in common the more time we spend together.”

 

Through the warm aching pressure and the haze of unsatisfied desire, Marinette filed that tidbit of information away for future reference. Unconsciously, her hand slid down her stomach in an effort to relieve some of the dull, throbbing need pulsing between her legs…until she remembered she didn’t have to.

 

“Okay…that’s enough,” Marinette said hoarsely, letting out a small whimper as Adrien released her breasts, panting a little bit as she looked down at him. “For now.”

 

“Are you-” Adrien’s comment was cut off as Marinette pressed her finger against his lips with a poignant look.

 

“Yes,” Marinette panted. “I’m fine.”

 

“Y-You don’t even know what I was going to-”

 

“If I am ever not fine, you will be the first to know,” Marinette assured him, settling back against the bed with a small grunt. Her fingers touched the tips of her mildly sore breasts with a small hiss, idly palming them as he gaze drifted back towards Adrien. “You’re still wearing those?”

 

Adrien glanced down at the black boxers, currently bunched up in the front in a rather embarrassing tent aiming straight between Marinette’s legs. “Yeah, guess I am-”

 

“Take them off,” Marinette said, blushing as she realized she had blurted that out like she was a middle aged businessman at a strip club. Adrien looked up, smirking at her until she managed to look back at him with what she hoped was a firm, resolute expression.

 

“You only get to tell me what to do with my hands,” Adrien reminded her, thumbs hooking in the waistband of his underwear. “Remember?”

 

“Well then use your hands to take off your underwear you smartass,” Marinette giggled, settling back to enjoy the show. Adrien gave an acquiescing shrug, thumbs whisking his black boxer briefs off with speed and lack of shame derived from years of undressing in front of complete strangers for runway shows. Marinette’s eyes traced the tip of his bobbing cock as he resettled, tongue tracing her dry lips as he returned to a kneeling position. It had been a while since she had the opportunity to safely ogle him. Despite the fact that pictures of Adrien almost-naked and soaking wet were just a web search away, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being creepy using Adrien’s model career as…inspiration.

 

Besides, the genuine article proved to be much more interesting.

 

Marinette didn’t know if their relationship would last long enough for her to get over the sight of Adrien naked but to be honest, she hoped she never did. His long, tanned, and toned legs curled up underneath him as he knelt between her knees. Adrien’s slim, toned stomach and chest glowed in the evening sun, glistening with perspiration and remnants of the massage oil. His slim body was starting to show hints of definition here and there and his shoulders seemed broader, stronger somehow. He pushed his lengthening blonde hair back out of his eyes, leaning back on his hands with a devilish smirk, laughing as she noticed him noticing her openly leering at him.

 

“Like what you see?” Adrien said, biting his lip and arching his hips a little off the mattress.

 

“Please tell me I wasn’t drooling,” Marinette said, blinking as she snapped out of her daydream.

 

“Only a little,” Adrien laughed, fingertips drumming on her legs expectantly. “…are you just going to watch me all night or should I be doing something with my hands?”

 

“Yes,” Marinette replied, biting her lip as she felt a sudden rush of daring. “Can you…touch yourself?”  

 

Adrien flushed, nearly falling back on the bed before catching himself. Now it was Marinette’s turn to look smug, glancing down at Adrien with an expectant smile. Part of her wanted to see how far he was willing to go; how far he intended to let her push him before he lost composure. Part of her relished the thought that she could ask Adrien to fuck himself kneeling between her legs and he might actually do it.

 

Curiosity drove her forward, prompting her to push the boundaries of their established relationship just a little bit.

 

“S-Seriously?” Adrien stammered, reaching for the bottle on the bed.

 

“Is that a problem?” Marinette asked. Adrien seemed to answer by uncapping the bottle, letting a stream of clear liquid drizzle onto his cock as he rubbed it in.

 

“N-Not at all,” Adrien said, right hand slowly coaxing his semi-hard length to life. He took a deep breath, letting out a deep sigh as he slowly began massaging his aching cock. A small twinge of self-consciousness bubbled up inside him; it had been literally years since he had been this vulnerable in front of anyone and he couldn’t remember the last time he was asked to perform like this. And yet the sensation of embarrassment that came from having his sexuality subdued for someone else’s pleasure only fueled his arousal.

 

Put on a show, he reminded himself.

 

Pressing his left palm back onto the bed, Adrien closed his eyes, arching his hips forward into each stroke as he let out a small moan for Marinette’s benefit. Biting his lip, he ground into his own touch with torturous leisure, trying to apply just enough pressure to keep himself hard without pushing himself over the edge. He didn’t want the night to end because he got too frisky with himself; he had spent nearly a month aching for the touch of Marinette’s skin on his and he was not going to blow it…figuratively or literally.

 

Adrien’s efforts did not go unappreciated, even if he currently wasn’t aware of the effect he was having on his partner. His initial bashfulness gave Marinette a moment’s pause but it had quickly evaporated the moment he started working himself into a metaphorical lather, eyes closed, lip between his teeth, and hips rocking back and forth as he took his sweet time toying with himself for her enjoyment. And she was very much enjoying it. The moment his eyes slid shut, Marinette’s fingers dipped into her sex, miming each stroke of Adrien’s cock by pressing her middle and ring fingers inside herself in time to his movements. Her free hand drifted down, toying with her clit as Adrien’s fingers traced the tip of his pulsing cock with his thumb. Her mouth fell open as his lip caught between his teeth; each moan from him echoed by a smothered whimper from Marinette as she slowly coaxed herself closer and closer to the edge.

 

There was something so wonderfully unreal about the whole situation. The thought of Adrien touching himself while thinking of her had always dwelled in the furthest corners of her imagination; to be called up whenever Marinette needed inspiration and then banished back to the realms of implausibility once she had finished. It was one of her more outlandish fantasies like winning the lottery or having Ana Wintour gush over her designs. But here he was, naked, sweating, and panting as his cock pulsed between his slick fingers. It was almost dizzying to watch him and Marinette knew that she wasn’t going to need to hunt around for Adrien’s old model photos for inspiration anymore.

 

The bedroom was silent except for stifled moans and the faint sound of skin sliding against skin. Adrien’s eyes were still screwed shut, partly out of fear that if he opened his eyes and saw Marinette naked in front of him he would lose whatever self-control he was working so hard to maintain. As it was, he was doing long division in his head and trying to remember the formulae for velocity and acceleration; anything to keep his mind off the way the bed seemed to rock and squeak in time to Marinette’s fingers. He didn’t know how long she was going to make him keep it up but something told him that if he didn’t do something, she was going to last much longer than he was.

 

Which was something Adrien couldn’t accept.

 

Arching forward, Adrien let out a low moan, stretching his free arm back to run through his hair as his hand settled at the base of his cock. Marinette watched his green eyes flicker open, tongue slowly trace the outline of his pink, pouty lips as his gaze fell on her.

 

“Mmnh…oh fuck, Mari,” Adrien rasped in a soft, barely audible voice.

 

It was widely believed that Adrien Agreste never cursed; this was simply not true. Despite his rigid upbringing, his time in public school had fleshed out his teenage vocabulary as much as the next twenty-six year old. But he didn’t like to fling profanity about, not out of any sense of propriety, but because he always thought it was more effective the less he used it. He found that people took him more seriously when he did end up swearing…case and point, the sound of a low, raspy fuck from Adrien’s mouth might not have short-circuited Marinette’s brain if he said it more often.

 

As it was, it appeared that his precision f-bomb had done its job.

 

With speed born out of weeks of metaphorical blueballing, Marinette sat up, crawled across the bed and laid a searing kiss on Adrien’s lips, fingers tangling in his hair as she nearly bowled him over and off the edge of the bed. Adrien managed to throw his hands back and steady himself as Marinette leaned up to kiss him, fingers wrapping around his slick length and experimentally giving it a few tugs.

 

“I—mmph—take it you—mmph—enjoyed the—mmph—show?” Adrien panted between kisses, shifting his knees closer together as Marinette straddled his thighs.

 

“I think there’s only one thing I’d enjoy more right now,” Marinette giggled, slowly crawling into Adrien’s lap. “As nice as that was, I was starting to get a little jealous of your right hand over there.”

 

“Can’t have that,” Adrien said, glancing down with a small gasp as Marinette slid his slick tip across lips  as she crawled into position. “Wait, is this o -”

 

Adrien’s question transformed into a soft gasp, his fingers tangling in the sheets behind him as he was suddenly and quickly enveloped by Marinette’s warm, wet folds. With a quavering sigh, she rested both hands on his shoulders, sinking her weight down inch by inch until her knees rested flat on the bed on either side of Adrien’s legs. The lubricant Adrien had rubbed himself with made it easy to completely hilt him inside herself, arms dangling lazily over his back as she did.

 

“It’s okay with me,” Marinette breathed in his ear, kissing his cheek. “I’m…I’m using protection.”

 

Adrien responded with a small gurgle, teeth clenching around his lower lip to help offset the sensation of Marinette squeezing him ever so slightly.

 

“We…we’re exclusive, right?” Marinette mumbled, leaning back to look him in the eye as she wondered if she had crossed a line. “So I mean…if it’s okay with you…”

 

Marinette glanced down between them with a shy glance.

 

“I-If you’re sure,” Adrien muttered with a reassuring smile.

 

“Just don’t…finish inside me, okay?” Marinette asked, hands wrapping around the back of his neck as she pressed her forehead against his. “Sorry…I just wanted to feel you inside me this time.”

 

Adrien was silent for a moment and as Marinette looked up to see if he was upset, she was surprised by a sudden, hungry kiss as Adrien arched his hips forward, hands cupping the back of her legs. She let out a surprised giggle, squeaking a little as she felt him buck against her, drinking kiss after kiss he clumsily pressed against her open, waiting mouth.

 

“Down boy,” Marinette cooed, brushing some hair out of his eyes as she pulled back a little. “Let me do some of the work for a change.”

 

“I don’t mind doing work,” Adrien laughed, groaning a little as her hips shimmied back and forth in his lap. His hands fell back again, elbows shaking as she slowly raised and lowered herself, hands pressed against his chest and humming softly under her breath as she meticulously rode him. Their first time had been rough, passionate, and more intense than anything Marinette had ever experienced. Their second time had been a quickie before bed, half dressed and just trying to squeeze one more orgasm in before she had to go back to work. Even their half-finished quickie on Tuesday had been an attempt at quick, dirty sex before they were caught.

 

This time, things were undoubtedly different.

 

This time they had nothing to do and nowhere to go for the rest of the day. They could take as much time as they want and Marinette intended to savor every slow, calculated thrust, buck, and rock of her hips. She had earned this small luxury; the universe could stop relentlessly pelting her for a few precious hours so she could fuck her high-school crush into his fancy bourgeois bedding.

 

For his part, Adrien seemed to agree, allowing Marinette to slowly ride him as he lavished his attention on her breasts, her neck, and anywhere else his hungry mouth could reach. He lapped at the sheen of coconut oil covering her breasts, lightly nipping on her nipples as he massaged her with trembling hands. He didn’t have to worry about maintaining composure; he didn’t have to mask his desire for her in his teasing dominant persona. He didn’t have to be shy about letting her know that he was falling in love with every inch of her, inside and out, through a series of whimpering, incoherent noises that slipped from his mouth.

 

Ahh…A-Adrien.” His name had never sounded more beautiful than when it spilled from her lips in feverish gasps. He had never felt more desirable than when she so openly craved his touch. As much as he fought the rising tide of romanticism, he knew someday his feeble heart would drown him. He was already soaking with sentimentality and had no real desire to pull himself out. If it meant holding her like this, lips frantically finding one another amid whimpers and gasps, he was content to let himself sink beyond all hope.  

 

And though he did not know it, he wasn’t sinking alone.

 

As much as Marinette’s rational mind struggled to stifle her heart’s frantic fluttering, it wasn’t just Adrien’s body she wanted. Even though she knew she was too busy, too scattered, too wrapped up in her own life to be the kind of partner Adrien deserved, she wanted him all the same. But he had already wasted most of his life loving someone who loved their work more than they loved him; he didn’t deserve to shackle himself to a woman already shackled to her work. When push came to shove, she liked Adrien; possibly even romantically . But the great, passionate love of her life was still creating fashion and if push came to shove, if she had to choose between her career and Adrien, she would have chosen her career. If she had to leave Paris to pursue her dreams, she would do it. If she had to cancel dates because she was on a designing tear, she would do it.

 

And if she had to do all that, she didn’t want to also break Adrien’s heart.

 

But she could love him as a friend; she could have harmless, carefree fun with him without risking hurting him. Relishing the sensation of his skin pressed against hers didn’t need to come with romantic complications. They were happy like this, sexting, flirting, frantically worshipping each other’s bodies on the weekends without worrying about what they meant to each other.

 

If this fantasy was all she was going to get, she would be grateful for every bit of it.

 

Having been kept apart for nearly a month, neither of them were going to last very long. As much as Marinette wanted to savor the experience as long as possible, her partner appeared to be having some difficulties holding himself together. Adrien’s breathing became more erratic, legs quivering between Marinette’s thighs as he struggled to fight off the inevitable.

 

“M-Marinette,” Adrien panted, chest fluttering as he tried to hold himself together. “Marinette I-”

 

“I know,” Marinette panted, steadying herself on his shoulders as his hand reached down to toy with her clit. “I know, I-I’m almost there.”

 

“I-I don’t think I can hold out much more,” Adrien whined, spare hand wrapping around her waist for support as her rocking became all the more insistent. She was too hot, too wet to resist for much longer. Adrien had done what he could but he was vastly unprepared for the sensation of Marinette bouncing on top of him as hard as she could.

 

“Little more; come on hold on just a little more,” Marinette whined, feeling the twitching pulses of her climax creeping up on her. She could see that it was taking all of his willpower to stay together so she cupped the sides of his cheeks, pressed her forehead against his, and whispered, “P-Please. I know you can do it.”

 

The warm praise  seemed to stroke something deep inside Adrien who let out a soft sigh, clenching his teeth and willing himself to ignore the sensation of Marinette clenching around him for a few moments longer. He wasn’t about to let her down; just a few more moments and-

 

“Mmnhh!” Marinette squeaked, pressing herself into Adrien’s touch as she rocked back, sliding off him and taking his hot, wet length in her fingers. “Adrien!”

 

Adrien took her meaning as she slid off him, slipping his fingers inside her as his slick cock was exposed to the chilly air. Marinette let out a small whimper as his fingers dipped inside her, feeling him tremble between her fingertips as she ran them up and down his length.

 

 “Marinette,” Adrien let out a soft, mewling moan as he convulsed between her fingers again and again and again. Marinette was dimly aware of something splashing against her stomach and chest as Adrien leaned forward, forehead resting against her shoulder as he teased wave after wave of pleasure out of her with his fingers. She rocked back hard, squeezing him until she was sure they were both spent before collapsing forward, flopping down onto Adrien’s lap as she fought to slow her breathing.

 

They stayed like that for a while, panting heavily and leaning on one another for support. They felt too warm, too heavy to move, and so they just knelt there, pressing soft, sleepy kisses into each other’s shoulders and necks. When they finally recovered, they pulled back at almost the same time, blinking hard for a moment before letting out identical nervous giggles.

 

“That was…” Marinette trailed off with a high pitched laugh.

 

“Yeah…it sure was,” Adrien sighed, leaning back for a moment with a dazed look of contentment. “Thanks for the hand at the end there.”

 

“Was that a handjob pun?” Marinette snorted, glancing down at herself with a small blush as she realized most of Adrien’s orgasm was still clinging to her stomach and chest.

 

“You said it; not me,” Adrien said, reaching back and snatching a towel from the foot of the bed and passing it to Marinette. “Sorry about that.”

 

“It’s fine,” Marinette said, toweling her front off with a small wink. “Turnabout is fair play after all.”

 

“True,” Adrien chuckled, thinking back to the face full of his own cum he got after the first morning they spent together. “Guess we’re even.”

 

“For now,” Marinette said with a teasing smile, pushing her hair out of her eyes as she looked down at him. “Want to hit the showers?”

 

“You say that like a football coach,” Adrien snorted, lying back with his hands folded on his chest.

 

“We did have quite a work out,” Marinette said, offering a closed fist to Adrien. “Good hustle out there, Agreste.”

 

“You too, Dupain,” Adrien laughed, lightly bumping his knuckles against Marinette’s. “I don’t know about you but I could use a long soak in the tub.”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” Marinette said, shifting to get off Adrien’s lap. “We can always order takeout after-AHH!”

 

Adrien watched helplessly as Marinette tripped over the corner of the comforter on her way out of bed, tumbling off the edge and planting face first on the floor below.

 

“Marinette!” Adrien cried, struggling to sit up. “I’m-ooph!”

 

Adrien tried to rush after her but his legs were in no condition to support his weight after Marinette had finished with him. He tumbled off the bed and skidded to a stop next to Marinette, face down in his own carpet to try and smother his humiliation.  

 

“So,” Marinette’s muffled voice came from beside him. “Bath?”

 


 

 "We should do this more often.”

 

Marinette hummed in agreement, leaning back as Adrien’s fingers massaged her scalp from behind as the bathtub’s jets bubbled and churned the warm soapy water around them. She didn’t know what she enjoyed more; the luxurious, floral scented bath or the fact that she was sharing it with her high school crush who was washing every aching inch of her. Even after nearly half an hour soaking in the tub, Marinette didn’t have a solid answer, and would likely have to take another dozen baths with Adrien just to be sure.

 

“Don’t say that,” Marinette chuckled. She dunked her head underwater, ridding it of suds before resurfacing, facing Adrien and resting her head on his chest. “I’ll be here every weekend if you say that.”

 

“Is that supposed to deter me?” Adrien asked, brushing a strand of wet hair out of her eyes as his hands came to a rest on the small of her back. “I like it when you’re here.”

 

“You like it when I’m here naked,” Marinette snorted, shimmying up until her arms twined around his neck.

 

“I won’t lie and say I don’t like discovering just how many freckles you have,” Adrien said, glancing down at Marinette’s chest unconsciously. “But I think we manage to have fun together even when we’re unfortunately clothed, don’t we?”

 

“We do,” Marinette admitted, biting her lip. “I don’t want to interrupt your life all the time…”

 

“What life; I’m out of work and spend all my day working out or bumming around cafes,” Adrien chuckled, squeezing some soap into his hands and massaging it up and down her back. “You can literally come  over any time.

 

“I know,” Marinette said softly.

 

Adrien stiffened as he caught sight of her anxious expression. “O-Of course if you don’t want to that’s-”

 

Adrien was silenced as Marinette pressed her fingertip against his lips.

 

“When did I say that?” Marinette chuckled, glancing down into the filmy water thoughtfully. Chloe had made her so cautious of any action that could be construed as taking advantage of Adrien. Even though Adrien had just given her carte blanche to show up whenever she wanted to, she was wary of overtaxing him or asking too much.

 

Still…they were friends. Friends hung out together. In their case, friends also helped each other achieve orgasm using whips and handcuffs but the principle remained the same. And besides the fact that she slept over naked, she liked just being with Adrien; hanging out, watching movies, ordering takeout, beating him at video games…sleeping in his bed, using his bath, generally feeling like a human again after weeks of-

 

“Marinette?” Marinette looked up at Adrien’s curious expression, realizing she had been spacing out staring at his abs.

 

“I…I’m free next Saturday?” Marinette suggested with a small, if uneasy smile. It was halfway between never leaving Adrien’s house (which is what she wanted) and keeping a respectful distance (which she thought was the responsible/boring thing to do) but Adrien seemed to warm to the suggestion, his smile sending a tingle up her spine.

 

“Next Saturday is good for me too,” Adrien said softly. He knew how these things typically went; a series of passionate, weekend flings that eventually petered off when the novelty died down and nothing kept them together anymore. Part of him was aware of that unpleasant reality that came with every relationship like theirs so part of him wanted to make this one last as long as he could. Because even now, sitting in a bathtub and gleefully making plans for their near future, he knew that he was going to miss this relationship terribly once it was over.

 

“It’s a…date?” Marinette said with a raise of her eyebrow.

 

“For lack of a better term,” Adrien said, hands resting on the backs of her legs as her fingers trailed down his chest.

 

“Well…seeing as how this date isn’t over until Monday,” Marinette said with a furtive grin. “Why don’t you fill me in on all the devious plans you have in store for me tomorrow.”

 

“I have devious plans?” Adrien laughed, tensing as Marinette leaned in and pressed her lips against his collarbone.

 

“I really hope you do,” Marinette replied, shifting her hips into his lap a little. As water lapped the edges of the marble tub, Marinette worried for a brief moment that any vigorous movement on her part might spill half the bath over the rim of the tub…before realizing that she didn’t really care all that much. Monday was going to come, one way or another, so Marinette resolved herself to enjoy what little time she had left with Adrien as much as she—

 

“Oh…shit,” Marinette said, sitting up suddenly and paling as a mortifying thought struck her. “Is next weekend the thirtieth?!”

 

“I…I think so,” Adrien said with a small frown. “Why?”

 

“Oh fuuuuuuuuuck!” Marinette let out a long sigh, dragging her hands down her face as she resisted the urge to beat her head against the side of the tub. All that had happened recently, all the chaos surrounding her business made her forget a very, very, very important event that she had dreaded for nearly a year.

 

"What's wrong?" Adrien asked, sitting up curiously.

 

“Sooooo…” Marinette sighed, wincing at Adrien a little with a sheepish smile. “Uh…so g-good news and bad news! The bad news is I actually have plans next weekend. My cousin is getting married so..."

 

"Oh," Adrien said with a forced-casual shrug. "That sounds...fun!"

 

"Not really," Marinette said, swallowing heavily. "But the good news is that I can bring a date."

Chapter Text

MissLadybug: it’s just much harder than I thought, you know?

abelleAbeille: mmhmm.

MissLadybug: like i've tried to be as casual as possible so i don't come off like i want to push him into something he doesn't want

MissLadybug: it's just hard to separate feelings from funtimes, you know?

abelleAbeile: i do; believe me i do.

MissLadybug: this is the part where you drop all your platonic sexytime wisdom on me btw

abelleAbeille: lol what wisdom??

MissLadybug: i mean you and your husband are still...uh...shtupping your couple friends, right?

abelleAbeille: ...shtupping?

MissLadybug: english phrase

MissLadybug: having sex; making love

MissLadybug: fucking

abelleAbeille: ahhhh shtupping.

abelleAbeille: yes we've been...shtupping off and on for the better part of a year now

MissLadybug: so how did you and your husband go back to being normal friends with your couple friends after you four...shtupped

abelleAbeille: you mean normal like it was before we had sex?

MissLadybug: yes

abelleAbeille: oh!

abelleAbeille: we didn't

MissLadybug: ...pardon?

abelleAbeille: if you want me to tell you that you're going to have the exact same relationship with someone after you've tied them up and dripped hot wax on their naked body i'm sorry but in my experience you…can't.

MissLadybug: great

MissLadybug: just what i wanted to hear

abelleAbeille: now hold on

abelleAbeille: there was some...awkwardness between myself, my husband, and two friends who we had previously only played tennis and had brunch with after our first night together

abelleAbeille: we were all trying to figure out how to get back to "normal" but we realized that the old normal wasn't going to work for us anymore.

abelleAbeille: we needed a new normal

MissLadybug: a normal where the four of you play tennis have brunch and occasionally do nasty things to one another?

abelleAbeille: yep!

abelleAbeille: i wish i could say it was easy but it involved a lot of candid, frank conversation about what we all wanted from the relationship

abelleAbeille: since we all enjoyed it, we all decided to put in work; set up boundaries

abelleAbeille: basically do whatever we could to make the relationship wrk

abelleAbeille: *work

abelleAbeille: sorry i'm typing one handed; i have a wedding bouquet that needs to go out by five today

MissLadybug: i'm not keeping you from work, am i?

abelleAbeille: no no! my aunt has the register and we're pretty slow today

abelleAbeille: i need something to do while i work

abelleAbeille: and ranting to people online about myself seems like a good way to pass time lol

MissLadybug: i'm happy you're at least ranting to me

MissLadybug: part of me still feels lost in all of this

abelleAbeille: you're going to feel lost until you figure out there's no prescribed directions to get unlost

abelleAbeille: no one else can have your relationship for you; you have to figure out what you want yourself

MissLadybug: weh

MissLadybug: can't you just figure out what I want for me and tell me what to do???

abelleAbeille: i think your love life is complicated enough without involving me

MissLadybug: are you sure?

MissLadybug: i am told my butt is to die for

abelleAbeille: hmmmmm...tempting. very tempting... :I

MissLadybug: come on let me and adrien join your harem

MissLadybug: he's super cute i'm sure your husband would like hi

MissLadybug: ...uh

abelleAbeille: ohohoho your mystery boo is named adrien? >:D

MissLadybug: ...no?

MissLadybug: please don't tell anyone

abelleAbeille: lol who am i going to tell; the flowers?

MissLadybug: i hear posies are terrible gossips with honeybees

abelleAbeille: i'm sure there are hundreds of adriens in paris; you could literally mean any one of them

MissLadybug: that's true

abelleAbeille: your secrets are safe with me

MissLadybug: thank you

abelleAbeille: posies may gossip but roses can keep secrets well

MissLadybug: at the risk of sounding too clingy i really appreciate the advice

abelleAbeille: of course!

abelleAbeille: as someone who has gone through/is currently going through complicated relationship stuff i have to lend a hand to a sister in need

abelleAbeille: just good karma

MissLadybug: i'll find a way to thank you someday

abelleAbeille: buy me a cup of coffee one of these days; we'll call it even

MissLadybug: deal!


Adrien: Hey there!

Marinette: well hello to you too

Adrien: Am I distracting you from work?

Marinette: yes you are

Adrien: Oh sorry! I’ll text later.

Marinette: no no; please keep distracting me

Marinette: i just got off the phone with a fabric supplier and managed to secure some fabric at a reasonable rate!!!

Adrien: Oh good!

Marinette: pays that one of my old professors works for a company that supplies cotton to most French designers >:)

Adrien: Look at you making connections.

Marinette: i know i’m a regular gabriel agreste over here

Adrien: …I don’t know how I feel about the woman I’m sleeping with comparing herself to my father.

Marinette: okay i’m a sexier more supportive gabriel agreste that looks good in black lace panties

Adrien: Not helping. That just made me think of my father in your lingerie.

Marinette: eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeew nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!

Marinette: ew ew ew ew oh my god now i’m imagining it!!!!!!

Marinette: so much pale…wrinkly skin

Adrien: How do you think I feel????

Marinette: blehhh i have to cancel my lunch plans now

Marinette: the thought of your father naked makes me want to never eat or have sex again

Marinette: no offense

Adrien: Why would I be offended by that?

Marinette: idk lol

Marinette: can we please change the topic so i don’t have to consider the father of the man i’m sleeping with in any kind of state of undress?

Adrien: Just wanted to check in on you to see how your week’s going!

Marinette: less disastrous than usual but i’m sure sunday will come with my weekly misery quota

Adrien: Oh come on; your dad’s family can’t be that bad.

Marinette: they’re not bad!

Marinette: they’re just...loud

Marinette: and nosy

Adrien: …how nosy?

Marinette: “how’s your business going marinette?”

Marinette: “when are you going to get picked up by bigger boutiques, marinette?”

Marinette: “when are you going to get married, marinette?”

Marinette: you know how it is

Adrien: I don’t actually haha.

Marinette: lucky you

Adrien: Right, lucky.

Marinette: i was planning on skipping out but mama and papa had to leave the area suddenly and i’m the only member of our immediate family who can represent us

Marinette: believe me when i say you don’t have to come

Adrien: I already said I would, didn’t I?

Adrien: Besides - free food.

Marinette: when did you get so obsessed with food lol?

Adrien: I had my weight and BMI religiously monitored by my father from the age of twelve to twenty five and you’re surprised that I like food?

Marinette: ooh right…

Marinette: sorry

Adrien: It’s okay lol.

Adrien: I’m making up for lost time now.

Marinette: i’ll make sure you’re properly rewarded with pastries once my parents come back~

Adrien: And here I thought pretending to date would be difficult.

Marinette: you say that but you haven’t had your cheeks pinched by my aunties yet

Adrien: I look forward to it; I’ve never had aunties to pinch my cheeks before.

Adrien: Still picking you up at your office?

Marinette: yes please!

Adrien: I could just as easily swing by your apartment.

Marinette: nonono that’s fine! you’re closer to my office anyway!

Adrien: …I have to pass your apartment to go to your office.

Marinette: do you?

Marinette: oh right!

Marinette: hahahaha well i’m getting my makeup done at Alya’s which is definitely closer to my office so i’ll just meet you there instead of going all the way back to the apartment, okay?

Adrien: If that’s what you want, that’s fine with me.

Adrien: What are you wearing?

Marinette: …okay a little early in the day to start with the flirty texts but sure i’ll bite

Marinette: i’m wearing a black pencil skirt with a white blouse and an itty…bitty…black thong~

Marinette: does that paint a good enough image for y

Marinette: …wait, you meant to the wedding?

Adrien: I did.

Marinette: oh my god

Adrien: But if you want to keep going I won’t stop you :3

Marinette: :P

Adrien: >:Pc

Adrien: Are you making your own dress?

Marinette: lol how much free time do you think i have?

Marinette: going with a red dress i made for my college graduation

Marinette: it should still be appropriate if my ass hasn’t gotten too big

Adrien: Butts can never get too big, Marinette.

Adrien: They’re always exactly as big as they need to be.

Marinette: …that’s oddly sweet

Marinette: somehow

Adrien: I aim to please.

Adrien: You want to shoot me a pic of it so I can match ties?

Marinette: on me or on the couch?

Adrien: I don’t think your couch could pull it off as well as you do~

Marinette: well…depending on how sunday goes

Marinette: you might be able to pull it off~

Adrien: I’m starting to think the only reason you invited me was so you could ravish me in an exotic locale

Marinette: partially, yes

Marinette: i also want you to be my arm candy to diffuse any critical family questions

Adrien: Well I AM good at looking pretty and being charming.

Marinette: “wow factor” is what we’re going for

Marinette: though to be honest i’m sure you could bring the wow factor in a t-shirt and boxers

Adrien: Is that what I should wear?

Marinette: let’s stick with black suit and tie

Adrien: I’ll practice my winning smile and punch fetching skills then.

Marinette: thank god it’s an open bar

Adrien: Is it??

Marinette: bri is fun like that

Adrien: …I think we’re going to have a good time.

Marinette: maybe lol

Adrien: No.

Adrien: Marinette.

Adrien: Look at me.

Marinette: you’re texting me how am i supposed to

Adrien: Look at me!

Marinette: okay okay i’m looking!

Adrien: We. Are going. To have Fun. If. It. Kills. Us.

Adrien: I promise >:3


Despite Adrien’s assurances, Marinette was more than a little uneasy as Sunday rolled around. Every nervous heel-step on the flagstones echoed down the surprisingly empty street as Marinette wore a groove in the sidewalk in front of her office. The gift-bag containing the handmade quilt swung loosely from her fingertips as she paced, eyes scanning the street for any sign of Adrien’s red Subaru. Though they weren’t in any danger of being late, Marinette still checked her phone every minute or so, watching the time tick away until she had to smile and pretend she like her life wasn’t currently crumbling into a million pieces.

Thankfully, they had only been invited to the reception. Marinette wanted to just get there, make small talk, drink some free champagne, and leave as quickly and quietly as possible before her well-meaning family could start asking about her failing business. She didn’t want to stay long enough to have to lie and say that everything was fine when she had spent most of Thursday night fighting back angry tears as she tried to find a way to avoid slashing her partners’ salaries only to be frozen out by Sylvia on Friday morning when she said she wasn’t working on Sunday. Marinette didn’t want to make excuses and hem and haw to avoid spilling the awful truth to Adrien and her well-meaning relatives.

A small beep drew Marinette out of her brooding with a small start, jumping as she saw a shiny black Audi coup pull up alongside her. Letting out a small, frustrated grunt, she fished around in her handbag for a small can of mace, poignantly ignoring the Audi as she walked back towards the relative safety of the office awning. A second, light beep broke the relative silence of the street. Marinette turned, pepper spray raised just in time to see Adrien step out of the car, hands held up and eyebrows visible behind large mirrored sunglasses.

“I hope that isn’t for me,” Adrien chuckled as Marinette lowered her canister of mace with a sheepish sigh. “Who did you think I was?”

The Dubois Mafia here to kidnap me for defying their wrinkled potato overlord, Marinette thought. “I didn’t recognize the car,” Marinette said, glancing over the slick, black two-door as Adrien stepped around the side of the car. “Did you buy this?”

“Rented it,” Adrien said, leaning on the side with a haphazard shrug. “Just bought a new car; figured it would be tacky if I just ran out and bought another.”

“Nothing about this car is tacky ,” Marinette said, running her hand along the hood with a small smile. She may not have been much of a gearhead, but she knew well engineered beauty when she saw it and the Audi looked like a fourteen-year old boy's automotive wet dream.

“Nino was right,” Marinette snorted, shaking her head. “You do suck at being-”

She trailed off as she saw him, leaning against the side of a slick black coup like he was posing for the cover of a supermarket billionaire-romance novel. Marinette had always had a fondness for well-tailored suits and recognized Adrien’s black, form-fitting ensemble from the Gabriel 2025 Spring Collection. It was simple, yet the craftsmanship was apparent by the way it broadcasted his broad shoulders, hugging him in black wool with a pressed white shirt underneath. But what caught Marinette’s attention was Adrien’s tie; black and red and perfectly matching the cocktail dress she had on herself.

“Is this okay?” Adrien said a little nervously, turning around so Marinette could see how well the suit fit him in the back. She realized her mouth was slack and managed to snap it shut before Adrien could catch her gaping. “I was going for ‘classy yet understated’ but I don’t really have your eye.”

“Great,” Marinette muttered mutely, shaking her head with an airy laugh. “I-I mean you look great!”

“I did try,” Adrien said, straightening his lapels as he gave her a look over. “Not as good as you look of course.”

“I never said you did,” Marinette said with a small laugh, stepping off the curb as Adrien held the door open for her. “You should really be thanking Alya, though; she helped me with my makeup before I walked over here.”

“I thought she and Nino were going out to dinner tonight,” Adrien said, closing the door as Marinette slid across the soft, leather seats with a small sigh.

“They were,” Marinette said as Adrien slid into the seat beside her. “But in her words ‘they could eat together anytime.”

“Hm,” Adrien said noncommittally, frowning for a moment before turning to fix her with a small smile. “Ready?”

“No,” Marinette laughed, clutching her gift bag closer and buckling herself in. “Not much choice though since Mom and Dad are out of the area until Monday.”

“Just in time to miss your cousin’s wedding?” Adrien snorted, buckling up and carefully backing out of the space in front of the shop. “Is there a story there?”

“Uncle Wang just got out of the hospital Thursday,” Marinette sighed, tapping her nails anxiously on the car door. “Slipped on an onion peel in the kitchen and had to get a plate in his hip. Mom and Dad are just making sure he’s okay back home, so it’s just gonna be us tonight.”

“I don’t mind,” Adrien shrugged, shooting Marinette a small smile. “We have fun when it’s just us, don’t we?”

“I don’t think we’re going to have time for our kind of fun tonight,” Marinette clucked almost ruefully. As much as she would have loved to slink back into Adrien’s silky sheets, she would have to contend with Sylvia in the morning who never was good at hiding her resentment that Marinette seemed to be spending so much time at Adrien’s. As though their financial troubles were directly proportionate to the amount of dick Marinette was currently getting.

“I’d like to think we have fun without the leather spanking implements, don’t we?” Adrien said, glancing down at the GPS app directing him towards the reception venue.

“Of course,” Marinette said. Acting on impulse, she reached out and touched his arm with a fond squeeze. “Thanks for backing me up here.”

“You make it sound like we’re heading into a warzone,” Adrien said with a dry chuckle, almost purring as Marinette’s fingers lingered on his arm.

“A warzone of hugs, kisses, and overly interested family members,” Marinette said.

“That sounds horrible, ” Adrien snorted dryly.

It might be, Marinette thought to herself, watching the city thin out as they approached the outskirts of town.


Two and a half hours later, Marinette was extremely grateful for the Audi’s plush leather seats and Adrien’s encyclopedic library of mid-00’s pop. It made the drive out to the rustic faux-villa hotel on the Seine a little more bearable and took the edge off Marinette’s mounting nervousness.

It’s just a wedding, Marinette mentally repeated to herself as Adrien drove up to the valet station. No, just a reception. Just smile, make small talk, and show off your sexy fake-boyfriend to diffuse suspicion. Get buzzed on free champagne, flirt with Adrien over dinner, and ghost back to the hotel room in time for a quickie before bed.

She was happy that neither of them were driving back to Paris that night. They could safely take advantage of Bridgette’s hospitality before slinking back to the hotel room to pass out. Marinette was against the idea at first, not wanting Adrien blow his money on a hotel room for only one night. But after a small bit of cajoling on Adrien’s part, she eventually relented, reasoning that it would be better to not have to drive all the way home just to fall asleep again.

Besides, Marinette was long overdue for a spa weekend and this was as close as she was going to get.

“Do you think we’re late?” Adrien asked, cracking Marinette’s door open and offering her a hand up.

“Probably not,” Marinette said, stretching lazily as Adrien tossed his keys to the valet. “The chapel was a ways away apparently; some old…family thing for her fiancé, I guess. We should be just in time to entertain the family until they get here.”

“Relaaaaaax,” Adrien drawled, rubbing her shoulders as he steered her towards the front of the hotel. “This is a wedding. We’re supposed to have fun.

“Key phrase: supposed to ,” Marinette sighed as they stepped into the air conditioned lobby. She tried not to brood as she approached the gift table, setting her meager gift-bag alongside the veritable mountain of multicolored gifts that towered a good two feet over Adrien’s head.  

“What are you worried about?” Adrien asked. “It’s not like you’re going to get ambushed or any-”

“Oh my goodness, is that you Marinette?!” Marinette froze as a vaguely familiar voice came from behind her. She turned out of Adrien’s grip, greeting a ruddy-faced woman in a purple sundress with a smile and look of clearly feigned excitement.

“Auntie Ella, it’s so good to see y- ooph !” Marinette said, allowing herself to be enveloped in a rib-cracking hug as she desperately looked to Adrien for help.

“It has just been so long! ” The woman gushed, pressing a sticky kiss into Marinette’s cheek as Adrien tried to restrain his laughter off to one side. “The last time I saw you, you must’ve been in high school, right?”

“Uhh…y-yeah! I-If you say so!” Marinette wheezed, wondering how long her stomach could withstand the crushing force being applied to it.

“I think the last time I saw you, you were still swooning over that model-boy you had a crush on…Adrien or something?” Ella laughed, noticing Adrien for the first time as Marinette let out a strangled gurgling sound. “I’m sorry, we haven’t met! You are?”

“Adrien Orsomething,” Adrien said, holding his hand out with a smile as the woman’s eyebrows nearly reached her hairline. “Nice to meet you.”

Ella glanced back at Marinette for a moment who smiled toothily, before warmly shaking Adrien’s hand. “It’s… very nice to meet you! Are you and Marinette here together?”

“No, she stowed away in my car on the way over and I haven’t been able to get rid of her yet,” Adrien laughed, wrapping an arm around Marinette’s shoulder as she slotted into his side.

“He’s my valet,” Marinette teased, squeezing his fingers in hers as she looked up at him. “I’m only dating him for his car.”

“It’s such a nice change of pace from people who only date me for my money,” Adrien chuckled, kissing the top of Marinette’s head. “Were you at the wedding?”

“No, I’m afraid not,” Ella clucked, smoothing her dress out. “Bri didn’t want to leave anyone out from our side, so they kept it to immediate family and wedding party only. Everyone is at the reception.”

“How big is your family?” Adrien muttered

“You’ll see,” Marinette said through her smile before turning back to her aunt. “Mama and Papa send their love; they’re sorry they couldn’t make it but it was a family emergency.”

“Well, you’re here at least,” Ella said, pinching and patting the side of Marinette’s cheeks as a sudden thought struck her. “Oh! You don’t have your pins yet, do you?”

“Pins?” Marinette asked, watching her aunt bustle off before turning to Adrien with a confused look. “ Pins?”

“Don’t look at me,” Adrien muttered, watching Marinette’s aunt walk back with a pair of red flowery brooches. “Though it looks like we’re about to join House Lancaster.”

Ella pinned the brooch onto Marinette’s dress. “Bridgette’s idea; red for our side of the family, white for the groom’s!”

“I’m on your side?” Adrien asked with a small chuckle as Ella pinned the red rose to Adrien’s breast.

“For the day…maybe longer,” Ella chuckled with a small wink in Marinette’s mortified direction. “It is so good to see you again. I’m going to find my seat; I’ll see you inside!”

“Sure will!” Marinette said, waving off the woman with a smile until she entered the ballroom, before letting out a fond sigh. She turned to Adrien with an apologetic glance. “Sorry, Ella’s just…enthusiastic about other people’s love lives.”

Adrien shrugged nonchalantly, absently fingering the red rose with a small smile on his face. “No worries.”

“Th-that was good banter though!” Marinette said, nodding towards the ballroom. “Are you ready to do that another four hundred times?”

“Seriously, how big is your family?” Adrien asked as Marinette tugged him towards the ballroom.

“You know those small, intimate families that all live really close to each other and see each other every day?” Marinette said, scratching her cheek sheepishly.

“In theory,” Adrien said, pushing the door to the ballroom open, eyes widening as a dull roar of conversation washed over him. The entire Parisian branch of Gabriel could have fit inside the gold and white ballroom with room to spare and yet it seemed to be standing room only, packed with people shaking hands, laughing, pulling each other into tight embraces. What struck Adrien was just how many red pins there were. His eyes scanned the room for white, but they were like tiny pale pinpricks in an overwhelming sea of red that churned before him.

“Yeah, we’re…nothing like that,” Marinette said sheepishly.


What followed was a whirlwind of introductions, hugs, and claps on the back that left Adrien more than a little dazed.

He tried to keep up with Marinette’s introductions as best he could ( “This is my Uncle Raynard and his wife Jocasta!” “Adrien, this is my cousin Prewitt! He just got back from studying abroad!” “Ooh here comes Uncle Garan. Careful; he thinks handshakes are tests of strength.”) But there were just so many Dupains that he had a hard time keeping track of which ones he had met so far, let alone how many there were to go. Marinette worked them in a slow spiral around the room, pausing to chat up relatives and exchange kisses on the cheek with promises to talk more once the couple arrived. Adrien was thankful for the appetizers making their way around the room because at the rate they were going, he was going to need a breather relatively soon.

Still…as exhausting as Marinette apparently found it, Adrien didn’t mind parading around the room, meeting literally dozens of people whose faces lit up when Marinette said hello to them. The experience of having so much family was strange to Adrien, who was effectively orphaned when his mother passed, but there was something strangely comforting about it as well; being embraced metaphorically and very literally by Marinette’s affectionate family. It was easy to imagine, for the briefest of moments, what it might be like to have a family that sung his praises to total strangers ( “Marinette has such a flair for designing! I’m surprised she isn’t on the cover of Vogue already!”) and welcomed his friends with smiles and hugs.

It was…nice.

But by the time the sun started to set through the string of glass doors leading to balconies overlooking the river, Adrien’s hand was starting to get sore from too much shaking. Marinette came up with a convenient excuse to drag Adrien away from the hustle and bustle of the main floor into a more secluded alcove for a breather.

“Hanging in there?” Marinette asked as she plucked a pair of champagne flutes from a passing waiter and passing one to Adrien.

“Just out of curiosity, how many kids did your grandparents have?” Adrien chuckled, taking a small sip of the champagne as he leaned against the wall.

“Fourteen,” Marinette said, whacking Adrien on the back as he started to choke.

Seriously?!” Adrian gagged.

“They were old school Catholic,” Marinette said simply.

“Ahhh,” Adrien said with a small nod. “Say no more…are you?”

“Not particularly,” Marinette shrugged. “Mama and Papa aren’t really religious types, so I was never brought up with any particular faith.”

“No church wedding for you then?” Adrien asked, regarding her over the rim of his glass.

“I wouldn’t think so,” Marinette sighed, distantly remembering the mock wedding she had envisioned for herself and Adrien in school. Shaking her head to clear it from any lingering sentimentality, she smirked, stepped in front of Adrien and looked up at him with a teasing expression. “Maybe a Catholic honeymoon though.”

“Don’t think I’ve heard of those,” Adrien said, leaning back against the column as Marinette took another step forward. “A-Are they religious?”

“Not really,” Marinette said, sliding her wine glass into Adrien’s free hand. “They mostly involve screwing like rabbits on every surface of the honeymoon suite because they’ve never had sex until their wedding night.”

“Sounds…fun,” Adrien breathed, glancing down at Marinette as she adjusted his tie.

“Maybe I can give you a preview when we get back to the hotel,” Marinette said, stretching up on her tiptoes and pressing a chaste kiss to Adrien’s cheek. “Depending on how the evening goes, we might be able to slip away early and I can have you-” Adrien let out a small gasp as her teeth sunk into his earlobe, nibbling it a little before pulling back.  “-all to my-”

Ladies and gentlemen!” Marinette jumped as a booming voice echoed off the walls of the ballroom. The wedding party was turning to look at what appeared to be a much thinner version of Marinette’s father, tapping a microphone at the back of the reception hall.

“Father of the bride,” Marinette supplied, stepping away from Adrien. “My uncle Michael; Papa’s older brother.”

It is my pleasure to introduce, for the very first time,” Michael’s voice echoed across the ballroom as everyone turned to get a view of the front of the building. “ Mr. and Mrs. Vincent-Dupain!”

A thunderous clatter of applause nearly drowned out the whoops and cheers, phones and cameras appeared from bags and pockets to capture the new married couple coming into the ballroom. A beaming dark-haired, blue-eyed woman in a wedding gown waved to the crowd with one arm as a more reserved blond in a tuxedo reserved his soft smile for his new wife.

“How far away was the church?” Adrien asked as Marinette started making her way to the crowd pressing in on the new couple.

“I’m guessing Bri made the limo driver circle the block a few times,” Marinette chuckled. Adrien was confused for a moment but as he approached, he could see that Bridgette’s husband’s tie was a little crooked, his hair mussed in places, and the faintest trace of red lipstick poked out from beneath his hastily buttoned collar. Adrien caught Marinette’s eye and exchanged a wink and a smile with her as the newlyweds slowly made their way through the crowd of well-wishers and family members. There was clearly an order to the receiving line; one that prioritized the older members of the family and one that went flying out the window as two pairs of blue eyes found each other through the crowd.

Adrien registered the shrill “ Marinette” that seemed to rise above the hustle and bustle of the crowd seconds before his date was tackle-hugged off his arm. Marinette actually staggered back a few steps, breath leaving her chest in a surprised laugh as her arms wound around her cousin’s waist.

Ohmygod I didn’t know you were coming!” The bride squealed, actually lifting Marinette off the ground a few inches and spinning her around. “Uncle Tom said he wasn’t going to be able to make it so I didn’t think you were going to come up because we haven’t seen each other in, like, forever and oh my god I love your dress did you make it yourself because you’re so freaking talented I can’t believe you’re here and-”

Marinette’s cousin took a deep breath, glancing over Marinette with a cheek splitting smile that seemed to light up the room around her. Evidently, blue eyes and a sunny disposition was something that ran strongly in the Dupain bloodline and, even under the bride’s curious expression, Adrien couldn’t help but feel warmed by her presence.

“I’m sorry, I’m manhandling your date, aren’t I?” Marinette’s cousin laughed, glancing at Marinette with a coy smile as she offered her hand. “Bridgette Dupain—sorry—Bridgette Vincent-Dupain! Still getting used to it.”

“Only been a few hours,” Bridgette’s husband chuckled softly, twining his arm around Bridgette’s waist and offering his free hand to Adrien. “Felix Vincent-Dupain.”

“Adrien,” Adrien replied with a small smile. “Marinette’s valet.”

“You know Mari had a crush on someone named Adrien in school,” Bridgette said as Marinette let out an exasperated groan beside him. “You wouldn’t happen to be the same Adrien, would you?”

“Guilty,” Adrien laughed, squinting at he looked over Felix for a second. “I’m sorry but you look…really familiar for some reason.”

“I could say the same about you,” Felix replied. “But then again I expect that’s because my apartment—”

Our apartment,” Bridgette said, bumping her hip into her husband’s.

“—has overlooked a rather large Gabriel billboard for years,” Felix said, squeezing his wife’s hand in response.

“Let me guess; the big black and white one half a block from the offices?” Adrien said with a small sigh. “I look so… thin in that one.”

“Not bad though,” Bridgette chuckled.

“True,” Felix shrugged. “Though if you don’t like it, I suppose I can have my uncle take it down as a wedding present.”

“Your uncle works for the billboard company?” Marinette asked, anchoring herself to Adrien’s side.

“My uncle works for his company,” Felix said with a small nod in Adrien’s direction. “In fact, I believe the two of you worked together before you quit.”

“Oh…cool!” Adrien said, squeezing Marinette’s arm as she rested her head on his shoulder. “Though I have to say I don’t remember working with anyone named Vincent.”

“That’s because my mother’s maiden name is Dubois,” Felix said with a tight smile. Marinette’s smile vanished, glancing at Adrien who appeared to be attempting to pass a gallstone the size of a football while trying to retain his smile.

“O-Oh…” Adrien said, shaking his head as he realized how that must have sounded to Felix. “I-I meant-”

Felix held up a hand with a soft smile. “You don’t have to explain,” Felix said with a small grimace. “Marcel may be related to me but he’s…well, he’s a complete asshole.”

“That’s an insult to assholes,” Marinette muttered to Bridgette who smothered a snort in her gloved hand. “At least assholes have a purpose.”

“Don’t worry though,” Felix said. “We sent him an invitation ten months ago and he never responded. I think it’s safe to say he’s not going to-”

“Felix, my boy!”

And just like that, the fun was over.

Felix muttered something that sounded like “you have to be fucking kidding me” under his breath as Bridgette’s nose instinctively scrunched. The four of them let out identical exasperated sighs as, through the crowd, Marinette could see the horrible gnomish face of Marcel Dubois jostling her family as he made his way through to the formerly-happy couple.

It was the first time Marinette had seen the face of the man who was slowly poisoning her business since he stormed out of her office nearly four months previously and, predictably, she was fighting a mounting urge to beat him into a bloody pulp with her grandmother’s prosthetic leg. Adrien and Felix might have had reason to dislike Marcel based on his behavior, looks, general personality, and the fact that he couldn’t go ten minutes without being a raging dick for literally no reason, but Marinette wagered she was the only one with sufficient cause to hate him with any real vigor.

She needed a bottle of alcohol; either to drink or to break over Marcel’s head.

“Uncle Marcel,” Felix said through a gritted smile, pronouncing the word uncle like a doctor might pronounce infected hemorrhoids. “What a n…n… nice surprise. I had no idea you were coming.”

“Yes, well, the work of an interim CEO is never done,” Marcel laughed, brushing crumbs of indeterminate origin off a garish pink and yellow tie. “I just got back from some absurd fashion event in Milan and thought I ought to stop by my only nephew’s wedding.”

“You shouldn’t have,” Bridgette said, tightening her grip on Felix’s arm. “Really…you didn’t have to.”

“And miss the chance to meet Felix’s lovely new bride?” Marcel said, reaching out to squeeze Bridgette’s shoulder for a few moments before Felix subtly tugged her away. “I wouldn’t miss it for the-”

Marcel turned and let out a small squeak upon seeing Marinette glaring icily in his direction.Through her simmering anger, she felt a small surge of pride at being able to terrify the CEO of a multinational fashion label with a well-placed scowl. Marcel looked as though he was about to say something to her but he seemed to realize that as far as Adrien knew, the two of them had never met before. He shot Marinette an almost imperceptible snarl that he managed to disguise as a false-sneeze, while Marinette made no effort to disguise her cool disdain for the man in front of her.

“A-A-Adrien?” Marcel laughed nervously, turning his attention to Adrien, who had to summon all his charm to manage a semi-genuine smile. “What a surprise; I-I had no idea you were coming.”

“Small world, isn’t it?” Adrien said, taking Marcel’s hand with a quick shake that didn’t linger longer than strictly necessary.

“Not small enough,” Marinette muttered under her breath, though apparently not quiet enough to escape Marcel’s attention.

“I’m sorry,” Marcel said, eyes wandering over to Marinette with a fake smile as he extended his hand. “I don’t think we’ve met. Marcel Dubois, acting CEO of Gabriel Menswear.”

“Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” Marinette replied, taking Marcel’s hand with a cordial shake. She could feel him trying to squeeze her hand harder than necessary, but she pressed her thumb in the crux between his thumb and forefinger and gently applied pressure until he let out a small, startled yelp of pain. “Co-CEO of the Coccinelle Boutique.”

“H-Hell of a handshake,” Marcel laughed, shaking his hand a little as Felix and Bridgette took that moment to excuse themselves and disappear into the crowd of family members. “I-I take it you’re the one who convinced Adrien to go on sabbatical then?”

“Didn’t take much convincing to be honest,” Marinette shrugged indifferently.

“Maybe you can convince him to come back just as easily,” Marcel laughed, shooting Marinette a tight smile.

“It’s not a sabbatical, Marcel,” Adrien sighed, shifting uncomfortably. “I told you-”

“I know, I know,” Marcel said, cutting across Adrien. “But I wouldn’t be doing your father’s memory justice if I didn’t-”

“I don’t think Adrien was done talking,” Marinette said, cutting across Marcel with a small smile, subtly turning them until she was between Adrien and Marcel. “Were you, Adrien?”

“I’ve said all I’ve needed to say,” Adrien said with a tight smile sent Marcel’s direction. “Let’s not make this ugly, Marcel.”

Marcel opened his mouth as if to argue, beads of sweat running down his pale cheeks, as the wedding party began filling into the rows and rows of tables around the outside of the dance floor.

“It was nice to meet you,” Marinette said, quietly savoring the agitation on Marcel’s face. “But I think it’s almost time for dinner; we should find our seats.”

“We’ll see you,” Adrien said, waving over his shoulder as Marinette led him away. “Hopefully not too soon,” he muttered privately to Marinette.

“Of all the people Bridgette had to marry, it just had to be someone with Marcel in his family tree, didn’t it?” Marinette grumbled.

“Not her husband’s fault to be related to such a pushy person,” Adrien sighed. Marinette grunted in response, heart pounding in her ears and gripping onto Adrien’s hand a little tighter than necessary. “Are you okay?”

“Fine,” Marinette said curtly, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

“You sure?” Adrien asked. “You were pretty short with Marcel back there; not that he’s earned your courtesy, but-”

“I just,” Marinette took a deep breath, biting her lip as she looked up at Adrien. “I hate people who can’t take no for an answer.”

“I doubt Marcel has ever been told no in his life,” Adrien laughed. “Probably isn’t used to it.”

“I wish he would just leave u- you alone,” Marinette said, quickly correcting herself. “It’s not fair that you have to deal with him still…”

“I don’t mind,” Adrien shrugged. “Not much he can do to me to get me to come back, is there?”

“Yeah…not much,” Marinette said, forcing a smile back on her face. “Shall we get our seats?”


By the time the cake was cut, Marinette’s blood was pounding in her ears and she was ready to strangle whoever organized the seating charts so that Marcel sat across from Marinette and Adrien.

Thankfully there was a ballroom separating their tables or Marinette might have already bludgeoned him in his stupid potato-shaped face with the vase on their table. Still, she had the misfortune of sitting square across the dining hall from him, watching him pick through his dinner with a disgusted look on his face while weathering the cold glare he shot her from across the room. Thankfully, Adrien didn’t seem to notice the antipathy between his date and his former boss. Any time there was any danger of Adrien stealing a glance at Marcel, Marinette slid her foot down the inside of his calf or offered him a bite from her fork until Marcel looked away. She had never been more grateful for the fact that Adrien was apparently easily distracted. If she didn’t manage to grab his attention, the parade of family members stopping by their table always did…which, of course, came with its own set of challenges.

“Twenty-six years old!” Ella said, pinching her niece’s cheek, beaming as Marinette tried her hardest to look as inconspicuous as possible. “Have you ever heard of someone running her own brand that young?”

She knew once the wine started flowing, it would be impossible to keep her aunts away; she hoped to disappear into the dance floor for the rest of the night but evidently she wasn’t going to get away unscathed.

“I think Adrien’s father managed his first brand when he was twenty-seven?” Marinette chuckled, reaching for her glass as she avoided her aunt’s eyes.

“Not as well as you have,” Marinette’s Aunt Simone said sagely, swirling her champagne around while leaning heavily on Adrien’s shoulder. “I mean, let’s face it, dear, you’ve made something for yourself out of absolutely nothing.

“Dad did have a sizable inheritance to work with,” Adrien contributed with an admiring smile that made her stomach churn anxiously. “I mean you just have, what, a handful of investors now?”

“Y-Yeah,” Marinette said, painfully reminded of the quarterly report she needed to turn in to her investors that spelled out dismal failure on all accounts.

“She’ll get more,” Ella said confidently. “Girl of her talent is bound to attract wise investors interested in contributing to a bright, up-and-coming designer.”

Adrien couldn’t tell if Ella was winking at him of if she was having some kind of stroke, but Marinette’s obvious discomfort didn’t elude him.

“I mean…” Marinette said, scratching the back of her neck. “W-We’re not really looking to take on new investors right now; we’d like to see if the summer line gets received well first.”

“I’m sure it will,” Simone said, patting Marinette lightly on the hand. “I mean, you’ve already been picked up by a few of the bigger boutiques, haven’t you?”

Marinette swallowed with a shaky smile. “Y-Yeah, we have, but-”

“Last time I was in Chiffon’s, I couldn’t find a single dress of yours on the rack,” Simone said with a small sniff. “So I can only assume they’ve been sold out for some time; you really must get in touch with your textile workers and get another order to them as quickly as possible.”

“R-Right,” Marinette nodded, avoiding Adrien’s concerned gaze. “I-I’ll get on it as soon as I can.”

“Marinette has actually been working pretty hard lately,” Adrien said. “I’m sure if she hasn’t supplied her boutiques, it’s because there’s a good reason for it.”

“Of course,” Simone conceded, with a smile sent Marinette’s way. “Our little star has always been such a diligent worker. I can remember when she was cutting out construction paper to clothe her dolls and now here she is; a homegrown success.”

“We couldn’t be prouder ,” Ella beamed while Marinette’s grip on her dress only tightened. It seemed that with every beaming compliment, Marinette’s posture only grew more withdrawn; more uncomfortable. He stood up, intending to drag her towards the dance floor for a quick respite but Marinette surprised him by standing up first, sliding off the bench and nodding towards the far side of the room.

“Need to use the facilities,” Marinette said brightly, backing away from Adrien with a smile. “Back in a flash.”

The confused and slightly worried look on Adrien’s face only propelled Marinette through the crowd, smiling at family members as she fought her way towards a hall that led away from the hustle and bustle of the dance floor. She felt crowded; surrounded by a sea of faces that didn’t know their faith in her had been so grossly misplaced. The smile she had been wearing all evening was starting to fade a little; a few moments alone in the bathroom would definitely help. She only needed to make it a few more feet; once she was alone, she could-

Marinette was so lost in her own thoughts that she didn’t notice the presence behind her until it grabbed her roughly around the arm. Instinctively, she whipped around, trapping her would-be assailant’s arm against her chest and using the momentum to drive him face first into the plaster wall beside them. The dull thud echoed down the empty hallway, Marcel’s wide eyes staring fearfully up at her as she wrenched his arm behind his back.

“You?” Marinette said, releasing Marcel’s arm and taking an instinctive step backwards. “What the hell do you want?”

“Ice for my arm,” Marcel whined, rolling his shoulder as he peeled himself off the wall. “I-I should sue you for that!”

“Oh please; one word to my family and you’ll leave here in an ambulance,” Marinette said, unconsciously touching the spot where Marcel grabbed her. “What do you want?”

“W-We need to talk,” Marcel said, reaching out to grab her arm again, only to have his hand slapped away.”

“One: don’t ever touch me again,” Marinette snarled. “Two: there’s nothing to talk about. You’re ruining my life because I’m not helping you ruin Adrien’s. Three: you’re an asshole. Four: your tie is a tacky monstrosity. Five: stop following me!”

“Look,” Marcel said, straightening his tie. “I’ve been nice to you up until now-”

Have you?”

“-but this has gone far enough,” Marcel said, wiping a bead of sweat off his brow. “You can’t hope to last another quarter; not with every boutique and fabric supplier closing their doors to you!”

“Not all of them,” Marinette retorted, crossing her arms. “Seems you couldn’t quite dig your talons into Marisa Thomas, could you?”

Marcel paled at the mention of the fabric supplier’s name as Marinette’s smile only grew. “ Professor Thomas did a stint at my school teaching basic business classes,” Marinette continued. “And I could have told you she doesn’t take kindly to threats. Tell me; where is Gabriel going to get its cotton now that you’ve pissed off the biggest supplier this side of the Atlantic?”

Marcel’s face took on a distinctly eggplant shade. He stepped forward but the moment Marinette stepped back, he faltered, hands in his pockets and trying not to look intimidated by a woman half his bodyweight.

“I’ll remind you that you have much more to lose than I do,” Marcel said.

“Do I?” Marinette asked. “I may lose my livelihood but it’s nothing compared to what you’ll lose if—sorry— when you’re fired for mismanaging Gabriel.

“I haven’t mismanaged anything!” Marcel spluttered.

“Then tell me why the Gabriel Spring Collection was panned for the first time in twenty years,” Marinette said, raising an eyebrow. “I believe the word most commonly used to describe it was… cheap .”

Forgive me for attempting to cut costs in the production department,” Marcel bristled. “Not my fault the idiots in the Parisian fashion community can’t appreciate sound business decisions when they see them.”

“It really is though,” Marinette said, moving to walk past Marcel. “I need to get back.”

Marcel stuck an arm out to block Marinette’s path. “You’re not going to last much longer,” Marcel said. “Your brand is circling the drain and even with Thomas’ fabric, do you really think anyone is going to choose selling your brand over ours?”

Marinette clenched her jaw to stop it from trembling in anger, glancing at Marcel with a cold, implacable expression.

“But it isn’t too late for you,” Marcel continued. “ Gabriel is branching out into ladies’ fashion starting Q1 of 2027. If you hold out that long, you’ll be wiped out anyway; you don’t have the infrastructure to support any aggressive expansion and we can easily move in on your market share without any resistance.”

Loath as she was to admit, Marcel had a point. Even if they survived, Gabriel could sell more clothing for less money and eventually squeeze Coccinelle out of their own market.

“However,” Marcel said, licking his lips and smiling. “If Adrien were…persuaded to be a team player again, I might be able to put in a good word for you and your partners in our new women’s division.”

“Work for you ?” Marinette said.

“Work so far below me our paths would never cross,” Marcel said. “It wouldn’t be your brand but…well, a steady paycheck is a steady paycheck, isn’t it?”

Her emotional side recoiled in disgust but…her pragmatic side that had been living off ramen for almost four months had to consider the possibility of being financially stable again. Sure, her designs would be controlled by a man who looked and acted like Satan’s undescended testicle but…she could still design. She wouldn’t have to take some menial job that paid the bills and left her no time to pursue her craft. As much as she wanted to make it on her own…she could make it just as far working for someone else.

“What do you think?” Marcel said, sensing the uncertainty in Marinette’s expression like a shark sensing blood in the water. Marinette took a deep breath, closing her eyes and bracing herself for what she was about to say.

“I think…you’re a special kind of asshole,” Marinette said, glancing at Marcel and watching his smug expression vanish. “I think you’re a sad, pathetic, petty little man who is more desperate than he realizes…and I think you’re running out of time.”

Pushing past Marcel without another glance, Marinette made her way back towards the ballroom, hands shaking and heart thundering in her ears. She felt hot, clammy, and was completely sure she had sweated through her slip. The prospect of diving back into the packed ballroom didn’t appeal to her any more than going back to face Marcel did, so she stole along the sides of the room, making her way over to the double doors that opened up onto a series of balconies overlooking the river.

The cool night air drew a relieved gasp from her lungs as she hastily shut the door behind her, wobbling over to the railing to steady herself as she tried to regain control of her breathing. It was too much; it was all just too much for one person to deal with. As much as she smiled, and laughed, and tried to play it off like she had everything under control, she was losing her grip on her life’s ambition day by day. There was only so much she could do; from a business perspective, Gabriel brands could outsell her designs four to one in major department stores. Given the choice between stocking a multinational label and stocking a relatively unknown seamstress, Marinette would have picked Gabriel as well. It wasn’t fair what Marcel was doing…but, at the same time, there was so little she could do to stop him when he seemed to be devoting his life to ruining hers.

Marinette took deep, shaky breaths, fighting a wave of teary despair that bubbled up inside her. She couldn’t afford to lose her cool. Not when her entire family was looking up to her to succeed. Their pride burned like a fever, every murmur of unadulterated praise stinging as Marinette had to face the possibility of letting them all down.

Lost in her own despair, she didn’t hear the door open behind her until it closed again with a soft click.

“J-Just needed to catch my breath,” Marinette said, turning around to see Adrien standing there, holding a pair of wine glasses.

“Thought you could use this,” Adrien said, placing a wineglass on the railing and leaning next to her.

“Could use a lot more,” Marinette chuckled, taking a small sip and gazing out over the river. “Pretty night, isn’t it?”

“…are you okay?” Adrien asked bluntly.

“As okay as I can be,” Marinette shrugged as casually as she could. “A little hot, but-”

“Marinette,” Adrien pleaded firmly. “You’ve seemed…off all night.”

“Must be the dress,” Marinette said, lips curling into a smile as she shot him a teasing glance. “I think we should get back upstairs and get me out of i-”

She didn’t notice that her hands were shaking until her wineglass slipped from her fingers, falling to the ground below with a tinkering crash . Marinette looked down at it in mute shock, dimly registering Adrien sliding his own glass across the railing in front of her.

“…you don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want,” Adrien said quietly, staring into the river below as Marinette wrapped her hands around the wine glass. “I just…I can tell something’s bugging you. I don’t know what it is but…it’s weighing on you, isn’t it?”

Understatement of the century, Marinette though, taking a drink from Adrien’s glass. “I…I guess,” Marinette replied.

“Do you want to leave?” Adrien asked, looking at her with a small frown. “Marinette, if you don’t like being with your family, we can-”

“What?” Marinette squeaked. “You…you think I don’t like being with my family?”

“You’ve been pretty stand-offish with them all night,” Adrien pointed out. “You didn’t even want to come, if I recall, so if you want to leave, we can-”

“That’s…that’s not it,” Marinette stammered, feeling her throat close up. Adrien had the sense not to immediately interject, watching Marinette frown into the current, lips locked into a determined frown to stop them from quivering. “That’s not it at all…”

“I have an amazing family,” Marinette said with a watery chuckle. “I really do. I know anyone would be lucky to have so much faith put in them but…”

Marinette took a deep breath, turning to Adrien with such a profoundly lost look on her face. “I get scared sometimes…scared of letting them down…scared of turning out to be a big flop…scared of proving everyone who believed in me wrong.”

That, at least, Adrien could understand. Being the well his father dumped his ambition into was tiring at best; maddeningly stressful at the very worst. The pressure to succeed at any cost was a dull, quiet dread Adrien knew better than most people. At least when it came from his father, Adrien could slip away from it now and then.

Marinette didn’t have that luxury. All that pressure only came from herself.

“I want to make them proud, you know?” Marinette said, fingers gripping the railing tensely. “And I’m trying my best but I…” Marinette trailed off, blinking hard and avoiding Adrien’s gaze. “I…I just don’t know if I can anymore.”

“Of course you can,” Adrien said softly. “Mari, your designs are-”

“It’s not just the designs,” Marinette said in a terse, distant whisper, wiping her eyes with the back of her wrist. “It’s selling them and marketing them and getting boutiques to pick you up and trying to get noticed by the p-press and trying to keep your p-partners from walking and so much other shit and-”

Marinette’s frenetic tirade stopped as she felt a gentle pressure on her shoulder. Adrien’s touch jerked her out of the rapidly plunging mental spiral long enough to catch his eye. He offered no disappointment; only a sad, sympathetic smile of understanding that dealt a death blow to Marinette’s proud resolve. There was so much she was keeping from him, Marcel’s abuse of her company being the absolute least of her deceptions. But in that moment, alone with Adrien as the reception buzzed on inside, she couldn’t bring herself to lie anymore.

“Hey,” Adrien said, tugging his handkerchief out of his pocket and offering it to her as her vision blurred. “Are you okay?”

“…no,” Marinette admitted softly for the first time in nearly three months. “I-I-I really wish I was but-”

The soft fabric of his suit smothered her vision as Adrien’s arms wrapped around her, tugging her close and shielding her from any prying eyes inside.

“You don’t have to be okay,