"Do NOT let me regret this," Ladybug sternly warned as she wrote her civilian phone number on a napkin and handed it to Chat. She thought it was only fair that he can text her outside of the suit since they had been partners for almost two years now.
"You won't, M'Lady," Chat promised with a bow as he took the napkin in his hands. "I will text you tonight, M'Lady!" With that, they raced in different directions and de-transformed. "Do you think I should text her now?" Adrien asked his kwami as he walked back to the park where him and his friends were before the Akuma attack.
"Don't care. I want cheese," Plagg answered from inside Adrien's jacket. The boy rolled his eyes before putting Ladybug's number into his phone. For the rest of the short walk to the park, Adrien continued to debate whether to text her now or later on. He decided he had waited enough. He created a new chat as he greeted his four friends.
C: Hello, M'Lady! Isn't this just a purrfect day? The sun is shining yet it cannot compare to you, bugaboo.
C: Purrhaps we could have a picnic just the two of us later ;)
He hit send and looked up to pay attention to his friends. Nino and Alya were debating whether Ladybug and Chat Noir actually went to their school. Both Adrien and Marinette were laughing at their antics before the blond notice the bluenette take out her phone. She stared at the screen with confusion before flicking her eyes to her crush. She returned to her screen and open her phone to read the message she had received while Adrien was focused on Alya and Nino. Alya noticed her friend flinched before she turned pale with her eyes wide. Moments later, the bluenette's cheeks were bright red.
"Hey, girl. You alright?" Alya asked her best friend. Marinette had started to shake slightly before she nodded just a little, still staring at her phone. Alya leaned closer to Marinette to read over her shoulder but stared at a blank screen.
"I-I-I-I-I-I h-h-h-have to g-go home," Marinette stuttered out before quickly standing and dashing out of the park.
"Is she going to be okay?" Adrien asked, staring after her.
"I hope so. I'm sure she'll tell me what that was all about later," Alya reassured before going back to her debate with Nino. Adrien felt his phone buzz.
L: You're Adrien Agreste?!
C: How do you know?
L: My friend programmed your number into my phone over a year ago. I just never had the nerve to actually text you.
C: Oh… Does this mean I get to find you who you are under the mask, M'Lady?
There was a long pause and he began to think that was a no. She replied after a while, mostly arguing with her Kwami, and surprised him with her response.
L: Only if you can guess who I am. In all honesty, I've have a crush on your civilian self for over a year ago now. My Kwami said it was okay for you to ask me one thing about my civilian life per day.
C: Can we make this a little more interesting, bugaboo?
L: How so?
C: If I can guess your identity within a week, I get to take you on a date!
L: Fine, but if you don't, you have to stop saying puns for a month.
"Dude! Are you even listening?" Nino asked, catching the attention of the young model. Adrien gave a nervous laugh and rubbed the back of his neck.
"Sorry. I was distracted. What are we talking about?"
"Mari's birthday this Friday," Alya said. "We are going to throw her a surprise party. Her parents are already in on it!" Alya was practically bouncing with excitement. "Want to help with the party or not?"
"Of course I want to help! Mari is one of my friends. I want to celebrate her birthday too," Adrien responded.
"Alright dude!" Nino cheered.
"You can distract Marinette while we get her party set up!" Alya planned. "Take her to, like, the movies or something. Or a long walk through the park. Or something like that. Anything that will keep her away from the bakery until we're ready." With that, the trio went to work on planning.
Within the five days that he has been talking to Ladybug through text he had learned that she likes Jagged Stone, fashion, is in his home room and chemistry classes, and has stood up against Chloe on several occasions. He had also deduced, by the things she had told him, that she has a very outgoing friend who is almost always by her side. He also found out that she does hang out with him a bit during the school day. That only left one girl if he actually thought about it, which he hadn't. Instead, he was getting nervous over trying to figure out a birthday present for Marinette since her birthday was the next day.
C: M'Lady, I need help finding a present for a friend of mine.
L: What does he like and what's the occasion?
C: SHE likes fashion and video games and hamsters. She stands up for others when Chloe goes and tries to put them down. When she isn't a cute, stuttering mess, she is strong and confident.
'Like you,' Adrien thought.
C: She is really sweet but has a sassy side too.
'Like you,' Adrien repeated in his head.
C: since she became class president, she has been a great leader!
'Just like you,' Adrien thought again. He stopped as he pressed send.
"Hey, Plagg?" Adrien asked turning to his Kwami, who hummed a reply. "How many coincidences does it take before it's no longer a coincidence?" The Kwami shrugged as he munched on his cheese.
L: It sounds like you might like her as more than a friend, chaton.
Adrien stared at the message from his lady and thought about his answer.
C: I think… I might have if I hadn't fallen in love with you first, M'Lady.
C: Now! Back to the catastrophe at paw! It's her birthday tomorrow and I want to get her something special.
He could practically see her rolling eyes as she read what he wrote. Ladybug didn't answer for a bit. So Adrien went on talking about Marinette, slowly realizing that he was talking to her about herself.
C: You see, we didn't start out as friends. She actually hated me because of a bubble gum misunderstanding. I tried to apologize to her but she didn't listen to a word I said until one rainy day after school. I offered her my umbrella so she wouldn't get wet on the way home and the umbrella closed on her.
C: Even though Nino was the first one to take me in as a friend, it was Mari who I first considered a friend.
C: Although, for the longest time I thought she still hated me for the gum incident since she couldn't form a complete sentence in front me as Adrien. Yet when I would visit her as Chat, she was sassy and confident.
C: I over heard Chloe talking to Mari one time saying I would never date Mari. It confused me until I asked Nino about it.
C: He called me clueless.
L: You really are clueless.
L: As for a birthday present, I'm not sure. Knowing her, she probably wouldn't ask for anything except to be able to hang out with her friends and family. Anyways, you should probably get some sleep so you can stay awake for our chemistry test tomorrow.
Adrien had forgotten about the test. He also had to get up early tomorrow to find a present for his lady's birthday, even if she is trying to play it off as if she isn't Marinette. With a quick goodnight text, the blonde placed his phone on the charger and went to bed. Except, he didn't sleep much. Instead he stayed up, kicking himself over the fact that it was so obvious. Nino had told him about Marinette disappearing when an Akuma attacked before Ladybug showed up. He saw her EVERY DAY and still he didn't see the similarities. Her black-blue hair, bluebell eyes, even the little bit of freckles that didn't quite hide under her mask. Her leadership, kindness, loyalty, dislike of lies… They all are the same but he just didn't see it until he actually started comparing his lady and his princess. Nino was right. He was clueless. Eventually Adrien slept.
He was woken up the next morning by a hungry Kwami. He quickly went through his normal routine of getting ready for school before meeting Natalie for breakfast. Adrien was able to convince his father's assistant to leave early so they could go to a jewelry store, Plagg had suggested cheese and jewelry that morning. Subtracting the cheese, Adrien decided to take his Kwami's suggestion. He spent only twenty minutes when he saw the perfect gift and bought it. He was able to get to school a little early that morning, which gave him some time to think about Marinette, his lady. Adrien was then interrupted by Nino and Alya arriving at school. He greeted them and went over the plan one last time as he followed them into class. Right before the bell rang for class to begin, Marinette ran into the classroom. As soon as everyone saw her, the entire class, with the exception of Chloe and Sabrina, sang Happy Birthday to the young fashion designer. The bluenette's face turns bright red with embarrassment. Within the week since she ran away from her friends at the park, Marinette had slowly stopped her stuttering in front of Adrien. Alya and Nino thinks that it's just because she had finally gained a lot of courage but Marinette and Adrien knew the real reason. She had calmed down because her crush was her partner and one of her best friends.
Once the song ended, Marinette gave a shy thank you before quickly rushing to her seat. Adrien quickly took a piece of paper and wrote something down before folding it up. He kept it in his hand until the teacher finally turned away. Adrien quickly threw the folded paper over his head, making it land right in front of Marinette, who gave a quiet little squeak of surprise. The bluenette looked between the note and the blond boy in front of her just like at the park earlier that week before she hesitantly took the note and unfolded it. After reading the note, she smirked a Ladybug smirk.
I hope you don't mind me stealing you away for our date after school today, M'Lady.
Marinette looked up to make sure the teacher was still looking away before grabbing a sparkly green pen to write.
I was wondering how long it would take you to figure it out, chaton.
She folded the paper back up neatly, waited for the teacher to turn back around, and then threw the paper back at the boy in front of her. The folded note bounced off his head, making him jump slightly, before it landed in front of him. Marinette muffled her laughter as he turned slightly to playfully glare at her. Alya and Nino noticed the transaction between the two and silently hoped the two would start dating after today. For the rest of class, Marinette and Adrien would pass the note back and forth, talking about when he figured it out and where they would go for their date. Marinette was so excited for after school, she was practically bouncing in her seat in her final class.
Adrien was leading Marinette back home after they went to the movies and lost Gorilla at the park. They even had time to patrol a little before Alya gave Adrien the okay to bring Marinette over. The two went inside the bakery, still talking about various things, until they get to the door that leads to the living room of Marinette's house.
"I think our first date went purrfect, don't you M'Lady?" Adrien asked as he bowed, grabbing her hand and placing a kiss on her knuckles. Marinette rolled her eyes at his pun, but playfully this time.
"I agree, kitty," Marinette answered. The bluenette grabbed her keys and unlocked the door but before she could open it, Adrien pulled her away from the door and closer to him. "What are you doing?" Marinette squeaked out from surprise. The only answer she got was lips being gently placed upon her own lips. She returned the kiss but it was short lived when they heard squeals from behind the closed door. They broke apart, much to their disliking, and started at the door. "That sounded like both Alya and my mom," Marinette whispered. Adrien chuckled before slowly letting her go so she could open the door. The first thing she noticed when Marinette opened the door was how many people were there. To be precise, her entire class with the exception of Chloe. Even Sabrina came to celebrate. Then she noticed the decorates and the music. To say the least, Marinette became very happy when she realized this was a birthday party for her. And so the party went on. Laughter filled the room as they sang, danced, played games, dared each other, ate, and so much more. After everyone had their fill on food and cake, it was time to open presents. Most of her classmates got her yarn, sewing supplies, threads, fabrics, and so on and so forth. Nino had gotten her two Jagged stone CDs while Alya got her a hamster plushy. Alya later told her that she took all of her Adrien posters down for Marinette in case she wanted some alone time with her boyfriend later, this made Marinette blush tremendously. Marinette's parents had gotten her a new sewing machine since she kept complaining about her old one not working right. Finally, it was Adrien's turn. He handed her the small box that was beautifully wrapped in pink with a red ribbon on it. The bluenette carefully opened it and her jaw dropped at the sight of it. It was a beautiful silver necklace with two charms on it. One charm was a ladybug with its wings partially open and the words 'I love you' engraved in between the red and black wings. The other was of a silver heart with a small diamond in it and the words 'You're my little Love Bug' engraved at the center. Marinette blushed at the gift as she said a small thank you. As Adrien helped her put it on, Marinette couldn't help but remember that moment when they were fighting with Lady Wifi.
'Aw, how romantic. Tomcat's come to save his love bug," Lady Wifi mocks.
'I'm not his love bug,' Ladybug counters.
'We'll come back to that later,' Chat joked.
This was him coming back to that. She just knew it. She's going to have to have a talk with him about that later, but for now she'll just enjoy the company of those she cares about.