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Smoulder

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Smoulder

Adrien Agreste was used to doing everything the right way. Not because he was overtly talented but because he couldn’t afford to put a foot wrong. It simply wouldn’t do to be the son of Gabriel Agreste and be anything less than sheer perfection in the eyes of the media and, therefore, the world. He did his job as son fairly well, he thought, at least enough to make sure his father left him well enough alone.

So he wasn’t used to failing so utterly and completely.

“I hate you Nino, I hate you soooo much,” the eighteen-year-old whined into his phone. The sound of his best friends cackling ruffled his metaphorical tail and his scowl deepened.

“Hey dude you lost the bet! Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time,” His best friend shot back and Adrien could hear the smug grin in his tone. It had been such a stupid bet too, to go a whole week without making puns or else do an embarrassing photo shoot. Adrien had been so sure of himself when he’d taken Nino’s bet, no way would he lose. He did pretty well all things considered, making it until Thursday morning when (after a long night fighting a ridiculously evasive Akuma) he’d made a pun about homework in his sleep deprived state. One look at Nino’s childlike glee and Adrien had known he’d lost fair and square. “So what’s the problem? You got a cookie pouch or something? Is that why things are going wrong? I keep telling you to lay off the Dupain-Cheng cookies!”

“What? No that’s not it,” Adrien frowned resting his head against the door to his dressing room, where he’d all but collapsed after the photographer insisted they take five. He cringed inwardly. Out of the list of all the shoots he had been offered, the only one that seemed remotely embarrassing was this one. Although he’d tried hard to get Nino to choose the fancy dress photoshoot, one look at Adrien’s blushing and squirming and the DJ decided that this would be the most hilarious. For a model, Adrien’s poker face was abysmal, particularly when a certain blue-haired peer crossed his path, and that had started getting him into trouble more often than not. “It’s just that I suck at this. Really, really suck. The director says I look like a kid going underwear shopping with his mother.”

Adrien had to hold the phone away from his ear as Nino roared with laughter.

“Oh...man I just…. I can’t WAIT for these photos to come out,” He wheezed.

“Glad to know my total humiliation is so annoying to you buddy,” Adrien snapped, spreading his legs out on the floor in front of him with a huff. When a knock on the door interrupted their conversation, letting him know he was due back on set in a few minutes, the best friends ended the call. Reluctantly, Adrien dragged himself off the floor and was just about to open the door when Plagg interrupted him.

“Hey, I got an idea!” The Kwami cried, black ears up and on-full alert “to help you with the shoot I mean.”

Adrien shot his Kwami a suspicious look, fumbling with the waistband of his dressing gown.

“Since when do you want to help with my modelling career?”

“I don’t,” Plagg shrugged “Honestly I just want to go home. This is taking far too long and I am starving. You couldn’t have requested cheese be sent your dressing room?”

Adrien ignored the last part, instead choosing to inquire as to how Plagg of all people could possibly turn him into a perfect underwear model. The Kwami grinned in response, a tiny tooth poking out from the corner of his mouth.

“Act like you’re Chat Noir,” The Kwami explained and when Adrien raised an eyebrow at him, he elaborated further “think about it. What if Ladybug was here right now and you wanted to seduce her? Would you really want to look like a- pfft- a kid going underwear shopping with his mummy?”

As Plagg laughed, Adrien proceeded to turn beetroot red. If Ladybug were here? Seeing him in his underwear? If he was trying to seduce her?! Oh sweet jesus…

“Hey, hey, hey don’t go all horny teen boy on me!” Plagg cried, sticking his tongue out in disgust “and stop blushing! See this is exactly what I’m talking about. You’re eighteen, stop acting like a love sick puppy or you’ll never get anywhere with the ladies no matter how good looking you are.”

For a moment, Adrien looked at the fluffy belt around his waist and seriously considered using it as a murder weapon. Either on himself or on his Kwami companion. He didn’t know which was worse, Plagg acting like a wingman or the awkward birds-and-the-bees talk he’d had with his father a couple of years ago. Both were equally as cringe-worthy he decided.

“Alright, ok. Be Chat Noir. Try to seduce Ladybug. Got it,” Adrien nodded. Glancing one last time in the mirror, he ruffled the front portion of his hair loose from the wax. Closing his eyes, Adrien took a deep breath.

Imagine she’s here. Imagine everything you’ve ever wanted. Imagine her wanting you just as much as you want her.

A pair of blue eyes swam in his version. A nervous giggle. A shy adjustment of dark blue hair. Beautiful. Smart. Sweet. Not Ladybug. His eyes snapped open, a guilty weight pressed against his chest, burying him under a sea of questions each more confusing than the last. Why did he just picture Mari… no he didn’t have time to think about that. The assistants were calling him again. Adrien closed his eyes once more, picturing the red and black suit, the curves his partner had formed over the past year, the competitive grin on her face when they practiced sparring together on uneventful patrols. He opened his eyes once more.

Chat Noir stood up straight, a small smirk quirked the corner of his mouth. He laughed once, low and seductive. Reaching a strong hand out to grasp the door handle, he stepped forth to meet his lady…

From that moment on, the shoot went off without a hitch, and Plagg got his cheese far earlier than expected. It was only the next morning, when Nino received a copy of some of the photos and commented “Dude! I honestly didn’t think you had it in you! I can’t believe you made the embarrassing photoshoot cool, like seriously this is a completely different side to you!” that Adrien realised (with an awkward, loud laugh) that he’d probably gone too far into character.

 


 

The magazine slipped out of Marinette’s grasp and straight onto the ground. She didn’t notice.

“Umm Marinette?”

She was vaguely aware of Tikki nudging her but nothing in her body responded. Her eyes had glossed over, the older teen had surpassed the realms of reality and travelled to a completely different level of existence. Either that or her soul had left her body and she was now experiencing what it was like to be a zombie. She wouldn’t be surprised by either thing happening. Not after what she had just seen.

“Oh sweet Jesus…” did she say that? Were there words that had actually managed to form in her mouth?

Tikki giggled.

“And here I was thinking you were over your crush on your classmate. At least that’s what you told me!”

Marinette snapped out of her (trauma? Amazement? Horror? Wonder?) she couldn’t quite decide, and buried her face in her hands.

“I was! I mean, I am!” She cried, kicking her feet out petulantly as she leant back on her desk chair. She’d meant it, she’d truly meant it. Yes, Adrien was hot, yes he was kind and caring and yes, he would always have a special place in her heart. But after three years of friendship and little else, Marinette had decided nothing was ever going to happen. Despite Tikki’s belief that Adrien had started having crush on her too (HA! Yeah sure), she knew it was for the best and she was proud of her decision. It was mature, reasonable, grown-up.

And now this- this affront to her calm resolve had attacked her when she’d least expected; beating any thoughts about no-longer loving Adrien into a bloodied pulp, throwing them back into the corners of her mind, and burning the remains. She groaned even as she reached back down for the magazine to stare at it once more. Tikki shook her head and floated away to give Marinette some time to her thoughts, muttering something about teenagers under her breath in an endearing tone.

Marinette traced her fingers down the smooth lines of the magazine, a blush creeping to her face. It wasn’t just his toned, muscular body that set her aflame, although that was certainly a bonus. It was his eyes. The way his body appeared, languid like a summers day. His body said relax but his eyes said devour. From the pages of the advertisement, Adrien smouldered in a way that he’d never done during any of his other numerous photographs, and yet she was struck with a familiarity that made her skin tingle, made her swallow with sudden and surprising nervousness. She was sure she’d seen that expression somewhere before. A pair of green eyes looking at her like that, with an unknown question in his hungry gaze. She’d seen that smoulder before.

Maybe Adrien and I were lovers in a past life she thought wildly.

The day was torturous, the only solace being that it was a Sunday and she had time to collect herself before she had to face Adrien the next day. Still, the final day of the weekend passed more quickly than it normally would have. All day her thoughts were permeated with those arms, the confident smirk, the shoulders (oh my god his shoulders). But more often than not her fantasies went back to that smoulder. It wouldn’t leave her alone to the point where she didn’t know if she was fed up or turned on.

By the time Ladybug escaped from Marinette’s balcony and went to meet her partner for patrol, she was mentally drained, completely exhausted. And late.

“Well, well,” Chat Noir grinned at her as she set down next to him, snapping her yo-yo back into place “are you sure you aren’t secretly a white rabbit my lady? Because you are most certainly late for our very important date.”

Ladybug rolled her eyes.

“You wish it was a date Chat Noir,” She shot back, traipsing past him and completely missing the way his eyes roamed down her body as she surveyed the area “but I am sorry I’m late, I got…caught up. Anything out of the ordinary?”

“Aside from your extra ordinary beauty? No. Nothing,” Chat sighed, sliding up to her, his tail wrapped around her shoulder and Ladybug yanked it playfully.

“Jeez did you wake up and have an extra order of Flirty-o’s for breakfast or something?” Ladybug giggled as the light from the city caught her hair. Chat couldn’t help himself.

The laughter died on Ladybug’s lips as she felt her partners fingers boldly reach out and sink into her hair, brushing it away from her face. Her eyes widened and she turned to face him, ready to rebuff him as per their usual routine.

But then she saw it, and all the questions she’d asked herself throughout the day were answered in a way she’d never ever expected. Not in a million years.

The smoulder.

It’s Chat.

That’s who Adrien reminded me of.

Chat, oblivious to his partner’s metal record-screech and boldened by her lack of rejection, stepped closer. Ever since the photo shoot, his whole being had burned with the need to be close to her in a way he’d never experienced before. Heat flushed his skin, making him breathless as her leaned towards her.

“I don’t need to eat anything to flirt with you my lady,” He murmured, his voice low and husky “if anything, it’s the other way around. It’s thoughts of you which consume me,”

 It took a few moments for Chat to register the implications of his words and, fearing he’d gone too far, he took a step back, burning for a completely different reason. What the hell was that?! He asked himself.

“Well we should probably get started on that patrol! Paris isn’t going to protect itself!” Chat laughed far too loudly for it to be genuine as he hopped up onto the side of the roof, ready to bound off into the distance. When Ladybug didn’t respond, he turned to face her with rapidly growing concern.

 “LB?” Chat stepped off the wall and walked towards his partner tentatively. This wasn’t how it worked. This wasn’t the way things went with them. Just how badly had he screwed up? “Are you ok?”

Gently, Chat Noir reached out to place a hand on the polka-dotted heroine’s shoulder. Ladybug’s eyes snapped upwards to meet him, wide like saucers, before sliding away to glance at the floor. A blood red blush danced across her cheeks. Chat’s arms dangled limply at his sides, his mouth dropped open. Did she just-

Ladybug was rooted to the spot, her mind simultaneously shutting down and clicking everything into place. The flirtatiousness, the devouring gaze, the seductive grace of his body. Adrien had reminded her of Chat Noir, CHAT NOIR. And she’d found it hot. Ridiculously, catastrophically, undeniably hot. It was Chat. It was all Chat. Oh no she thought, as all the breath she had left her in one shuddering gasp No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no…

I cannot be this attracted to Chat Noir.