After patrol, her route home takes her past the Agreste Manor and most nights when she threw a glance at Adrien's window, she doesn't know which windows are his, but all the lights are off. An early riser, she decided, which is something she and Chat could never be, not with their schedules.
But then one morning, she overheard a sleepy conversation between Nino and Adrien, when Nino asked if Adrien slept well. Adrien yawningly complained of a midnight shoot, his breath coming out in white plumes in the early morning, his blue scarf wrapped around his neck snugly and it's only because of Alya that Marinette doesn't walk into the wall or the door.
Alya half-heartedly moaned at Marinette, at her Adrien State, but Alya knew she's not listening. Alya sighed, tightening her grip on Marinette to make it easier to steer. Marinette adjusts her previous assumption that Adrien is an early riser, he's just working so hard that he can't help but pass out when he's finally home. Her heart ached in sympathy for him, couldn't they give him a break?
She wished she could help but she couldn't even form proper sentences around him, what could she do?
"You okay, man?" Nino asked one morning, "You're even quieter than usual, today."
Marinette wasn't trying to eavesdrop but she was incurably curious, so she listened carefully while Alya stared at her bemusedly with her head in her hand.
Adrien closed his eyes and nodded, leaning on his desk.
"Should I get Ladybug to cheer you up?" Nino teased and Marinette froze, her emotions like butterflies at Spring Break.
So preoccupied with her own feelings that she nearly missed the way Adrien pinked before he covered his face with his hand and chuckled softly. "I'm fine, Nino."
Her heart stuttered as she stared at him, how even the smallest smile from him was like sunlight and she felt like a starving plant. Suddenly Alya had both her hands on Marinette's cheeks and was telling her to breathe, did she forget to breathe again? She inhaled softly and Alya patted her head with a smirk.
"I hate it when you do that," Alya complained and Marinette apologized while leaning on Alya's shoulder, breathing into Alya's neck until Alya giggled and squirmed away from her.
"Stop it! Alright, I forgive you!" Alya said, straightening and fluffed her hair as she eyed Marinette.
She would visit Adrien, Marinette decided. Chat had also been upset although he tried to hide it from her, and although she couldn't help him because they weren't meeting up today but just maybe she could help Adrien. It was sometimes easier to talk to a stranger than to a friend.
Ladybug was outside his window.
He gasped, trying not to freak out because SHE.IS.RIGHT.THERE .
He stammered in his rush to invited her in. She's very shy, with a soft voice and bright blue eyes and apologized for visiting so late. He's taken back to the first they met, as Chat Noir and Ladybug, where she was so unsure and kept apologizing.
Finally, he placed a hand on her shoulder, trying to calm her. He's trying not to freak out and trying to cling to his cool but he pretty sure it's not working. His mouth opened finally to speak but she cut him off.
“Sorry but if you start then I'll lose my nerve and everything will be for nothing,” She apologized quickly and he chuckled slightly, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
“I've heard you had a bad day and I know you like Ladybug, I mean me and I just thought-I just thought that maybe you'd like a friend who'll listen or I mean-” She cut off as he laughed softly, she tried to bury her face in her hands.
“S-so you're offering to be my friend?” He stuttered, his cheeks aflame, trying to make sure he understood her and he couldn't stop the smile that grew on his face when she nodded.
“A friend who you can talk to, no matter what,” Ladybug said, staring at her feet, peeking at him when she thought he wasn't looking. “The mask helps with that, it's easier to talk to someone you don't know about your problems, than someone you do,”
“I-I'd like that,” He replied softly, a lot softer than he meant to and his face still too red for his liking. He was gifted with her dazzling smile and his heart soared. He gestured for her sit somewhere and she curled up onto a corner of the couch.
He sat down on the other side of the couch and glanced at her where she's examining his room. “So....so where I do begin?”
She smiled softly at him and he swore his heart stopped. Would his cheeks ever not be red?
She regarded him for a minute before speaking. “You can start wherever you want. You can just talk, Adrien, talk about anything you have on your mind or, want to talk about.”
He stared at her for a second, considering for a second before he raked his hair back before Adrien sighed out a word.
“Mom. My mom, she-, it was her birthday today.”
She left somewhere after midnight, or just before, but she left him lighter. He felt as if he would float away if he didn't concentrate on keeping his feet firm on the ground. He climbed into bed with a small smile and even Plagg snuggled closer to him before they both fell asleep.
The moment she saw him, she just reacted, not really thinking about anything other than the fact that Adrien is in danger.
She swung, grabbed him around the waist and flung them both of them in the air. Honestly, it's probably really not her best rescue but cut her some slack her, it's Adrien. She tried really hard not think about the fact that his arms were around her neck. She more aware of his touch than she should be and she tried to take a shallow deep breath.
She really didn't think around him. She felt like smacking herself up the head.
Her feet barely touched the top of the building they landed on before they're flying again, this time they headed to the closest tall building, to the Agreste Manor.
She tightened her grip on his waist, ridiculously scared she would drop him even though she never dropped anyone as Ladybug before. His breath, she feels hotly on her neck, hitched and she worried for the next seconds that she hurt him.
The moment they're both safe on the building, she turned to look at him critically, trying to spot his injuries. His cheeks were ruddy from the flight, Marinette decided but she didn't find any wounds.
“Are you okay?” She asked, her voice soft as she stepped away. He shifted from foot to foot before looking up at her from under his lashes. Marinette was struck speechless by him and his sheer beauty. Even after meeting him as Ladybug, he still was the sun to her.
“You saved my life again.” His voice was breathless but the awe in his voice was still heard. Ladybug's cheeks were aflame as she smiled slightly. In the distance, Ladybug hears the Akuma raging and ranting and she sighed.
“You should probably go,” He mumbled, sounding as if he didn't want her to leave but knew she would. She blew out her breath slowly and reached out to put her hands on his shoulders, but stopped mid-air. She froze.
Her small smile stayed, though she stuttered as she looked him in the eye and slowly pulled back her arms. “In a minute, I know my partner is probably already there and I trust him. I need to make sure you're okay.”
There's no mistaking it now, his cheeks were still red as he caught her hand lightly. She tried not to react, she tried not to blush and failed massively, though she had hoped her mask covered most of the blush.
“I'm okay,” He mumbled softly and she nodded slightly before stepping away, her hand tingly and cold.
“Then, I'll see you later, h-,” The last word got stuck in her throat and her cheeks were aflame with the near slip-up and she gave him slight salute before she threw her yo-yo so fast that she didn't have time to look back.
She was going to die when she actually thought about it but for now, she needed to focus on defeating the Akuma. She needed to focus, she slapped her cheeks slightly to get her head in the game. Focus.
She and Chat arrived at the same time. Chat couldn't stop smiling stupidly and she herself couldn't keep her own focus properly on the Akuma. It took them longer than it should have, but they defeated the Akuma finally with goofy tired smiles and the customary fists bumped.
And after, she swore her hands didn't stop tingling where Adrien touched her until way after the battle.
She visited him now, mostly on bad days, he didn't know how she knew but she always left him feeling lighter. She always left with hands that were too cold and were tingling until long after they said goodbye.