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She felt anger at herself. Disappointment. Once again she'd fucked up, resulting in Adrien to be disappointed in her. All because she defended herself and snapped at someone.

Wait.
Why was Adrien even disappointed?
Why was she upset over it?
She had been in the right. She had only defended herself.

A sigh left her lips, and she rubbed her temples gently to ward off the oncoming headache. It seemed lately that Adrien would get a little disappointed if she even acted 'un-ladybug-like'. What did that even mean?!

She was Ladybug, and Ladybug was her. Did everyone expect her to always be on top of her game? 100% always?
Even heroes had their off days, and people didn't seem to get that.

Sometimes, she wondered why she bothered with it all. She still had her doubts about being a hero. On one hand, she was well loved by Paris and its subjects. They genuinely loved her.

But on the other, the hurtful comments she got from people, about her alter ego.
That's why she'd snapped.

------

Someone had mentioned the recent akuma to her, and mocked her for failing to stop the akuma the first time, resulting with her snapping, "Why don't YOU try doing this, then, since you know HOW to do everything!"

She'd heard a noise from her partner, but she'd ignored it. "There you go again, Ladybug, acting like you're better than us." The person had mocked, and she'd almost lost her cool completely. Almost.

"You know what? It's not worth it, arguing with you. I obviously won't change your mind, since you're so set in making me out to be a terrible person. I won't bother." And with that, she'd unfurled her yo-yo and simply left.

------

As soon as she'd made it home, transforming into Marinette, she'd found texts from Adrien.

~You could've handled that better, Mari. You're a role model.~
That kind of upset her.

~What was I supposed to do? I tried my best in that situation. Isn't that enough?~

 

No reply.
That was a day ago. It felt like he was ignoring her for not being the Ladybug he fell for.
She was Marinette. She was Ladybug. What was she to do?

Removing her hand from temples, she stood and prepared to leave the park, only to hear, "Marinette?"

A scream erupted from her lips in her surprise and she bumped, quite literally, into the person who had said her name. Which, coincidentally, was her classmate, Lê Chiến Kim.

"Whoa, you okay?" He asked in concern, steadying her. "You looked out of it, so I thought..." he trailed off uncertainly.

"Uh... yeah, I'm fine, Kim, just a little stressed I guess." Marinette gave her classmate a smile that was rather forced. He gave her a frown, and she exhaled softly. "Just... Adrien." She mumbled, and he scowled slightly.

"What's he done?" He hissed, causing Marinette to glance up to see what appeared to be fury, and a sense of protectiveness in his eyes. It surprised her. "Do I need to kick his ass?"

"W-what? Kim! No!" Marinette stuttered out, and gently nudged him. "We're... we're just having problems, I guess." She replied softly, sitting back on the bench. She was mildly surprised when he flopped down beside her.

"D'ya wanna talk about it?" He asked, giving her a half grin. "I am a good listener, after all." He joked, making Marinette laugh.

"You sure? I don't want to be a bother..." Marinette trailed off, and Kim nodded minutely, beckoning her to speak. "Well... okay. Adrien's ignoring me." This caused Kim to frown. Adrien, the nice guy, ignoring his girlfriend?

"Why? What happened?" He asked cautiously, and Marinette sighed.

"Someone was being a bit nasty, and I defended myself. I may have come off a bit snappish, though. But, well, I realised they didn't give a damn and I left. Then Adrien sent this," She said, unlocking her phone and showing him the messages. "And, I just... I don't know, I feel like that's not fair? Not fair on me, since he does this a lot." She admitted softly, putting her phone away.

"...'he does this a lot'? What do you mean by that, exactly?" Kim asked after a few moments, and Marinette grimaced.

"I don't know... but he, I guess, always expects me to be nice and caring, to never have an off day? To never get mad over things, and forgive and forget? It's not thst easy, though. Everyone makes mistakes, and has off days. Why am I the exception? Why do I have to be perfect? Why can't he just see me as me... and be happy?" Marinette began rubbing her temples again. "Sorry, sorry... I'm rambling." She mumbled.

"It kinda sounds like he put you on a pedestal, Mari." Kim spoke up, and Marinette glanced at him. "I, I mean..." he mumbled, scratching his cheek. "Just from listening to that, it sounds like he sees you as someone who has to be best, always, and forgets that not everyone is perfect and stuff. And that's why he gets upset. He has this image of you in his head and you're not fitting it, I guess?" He glanced back at Marinette, who looked to be in thought. "Mari?"

"You... you're right. And all this time, I put Adrien on a pedestal, too. He was handsome and kind, and I liked him so much to the point of obsession. But I didn't see the full image. Neither did he. We both put each other on pedestals." She murmured to herself, and slumped in her seat. "And I don't think we can recover from that. Romantically, I mean."

"Maybe not, but you can still be friends, if you try enough. Maybe you're not meant to be together, so what? Not the end of the world." Kim shrugged. "So don't beat yourself up over it." Marinette looked back up at Kim, and gave him a small smile.

"When'd you get so good at giving advice?" She teased gently, causing Kim to snort softly.

"Who knows? Now you should probably talk to blondie." He said, and she nodded with determination. She leaned over and kissed his cheek before standing. "Thanks, Kim, I appreciate it." She called out to him as she ran off, causing Kim to stare after her, hand raising to touch where she'd kissed him. What?

 

------

~I'm outside your house. We need to talk. Please.~ was the message Adrien had gotten just a few minutes ago. He peered out the window, and sure enough, Marinette was by the fence, fidgeting nervously. He frowned, leaving both his room and the manor, heading for Marinette. When she saw him, her nervousness grew tenfold.

"What's up?" Adrien asked, kind of worried now. Why was Marinette so fidgety? "Marinette?"

"I... I think we should break up." She whispered, and Adrien froze, his mind racing. Marinette wanted to break up?

"...Can I ask why?" He asked gently, and Marinette squirmed uncomfortably.

"Not here..." she murmured, looking at the camera, and Adrien nodded, leading her into the manor and to his room. When it was safe to speak, she exhaled softly. "Look, Adrien, I do like you. But, I thought about it... and I had... have these expectations of you. I put you on a pedestal. I thought you could do no wrong. But, well... you put me on a pedestal too."

"Mari..."

"No, Adrien... you did. You have these expectations of me. Of Ladybug. You expected me to be a hundred percent always. To never have bad days, and to be nice and kind. That can't always happen, Adrien. And I don't want a relationship filled with disappointment over something that can't be helped. We're only going to get more disappointed in ourselves if we stay like this." She ended with a whisper, hugging herself slightly.

 

Adrien stared at Marinette for what felt like hours, days... but had been only a minute. He was taking it all in... and he found that she was right. He'd put all these unrealistic expectations on her and he'd made her feel bad a lot.

"Marinette... I'm so sorry." He murmured. "I hadn't realised I'd put all these expectations on you. I'm sorry I made you feel that way. I'm sorry I've been such a terrible friend..." he murmured. "Can we start again? As friends?" He asked, and she nodded.

"Of course, Adrien... but only as friends. I want a fresh start." Marinette whispered, before steeling herself. "Hi, I'm Marinette Dupain-Cheng." She smiled, holding out her hand.

"Adrien Agreste. It's nice to meet you, Marinette." Adrien gave a smile back as he shook her hand. "This... won't affect the hero team, right?" He murmured, and she paused.

"Not if we let it affect us." She whispered back. "But it's probably best we tell Paris we broke up."

"Yeah... we'd probably work better as friends anyway." Adrien joked, and Marinette couldn't help but laugh.

"Yeah..."

------

When Alya saw them the next day, not holding hands, she knew something was up. They always walked in, holding hands.

She practically dragged Marinette to a secluded spot, and whispered, "What's going on with you and Adrien?!" Marinette looked a bit startled at this, so Alya let her go, giving her a look that said, 'EXPLAIN'.

Marinette sighed softly, twiddling her fingers. "Adrien and I broke up. We decided it was better to be just friends." She told Alya, who gaped at her in shock.

"I... girl, you've been crushing on him for ages, and you start dating him and now you let him go?!" Alya whisper yelled, causing Marinette to grimace. "What brought this on?"

"I... I realised I had put Adrien on this pedestal, and he'd done the same for me. We realised that we weren't going to get far in the relationship if we kept going on like that." Marinette admitted, and Alya blinked in surprise. That... did seem reasonable.

"Alright, girl, I understand." Alya gave her friend a smile and wrapped an arm around her. "Let's get back to class, yeah?" Marinette's lips twitched and she nodded, both heading back to class.

------

It was months later when Marinette realised she was over Adrien. Completely and utterly over him. She realised she valued his friendship above anything else.
And that was okay.

In fact, she felt a bit relieved. She knew her obsession had been way over the top. And, well, she figured it was time to move on.

But before she could even think about dating, she'd been ambushed.
Well, not really ambushed.

"Oh, hey Marinette!" Kim's voice rang through the air as he almost bumped into her. Much like last time, she let out a scream and jumped back, eliciting a good-natured laugh from Kim. "Sorry about that." He said, giving her a smile that made her heart skip a beat. Wait, what?

"E-er, it's fine, Kim." She stuttered out, cheeks pink from embarrassment. "Did... did you need anything?" She asked gently, and his smile grew.

"Yeah, I was wondering if you wanted to hang out later? Alix and Max have some things going on, and I, heh, I've been meaning to ask if you wanted to hang out, but I never had the time?" He admitted, and Marinette had to let out a weak laugh.

"I'd like that Kim. After school?" When he nodded, she gave him a sweet smile. "It's a date."

------

Funnily enough, they began dating a few weeks after that. And, after that, Adrien ended up with Nino. And both could agree, it felt right, where they were now.

------

"Ladybug!" She heard from a familiar voice, causing her to turn to see a fan. "Is there any chance you and Chat will get back together?" The fan asked hopefully, and before she could answer, her partner jumped down beside her.

"Sorry, Mademoiselle, but I'm happily dating someone, as is Ladybug. I'm afraid it would be cheating if we dated again." Ladybug gave her friend a relieved smile, and the fan looked a bit sad.

"Chat's right. I love my boyfriend very much, and Chat loves his very much. I don't want to ruin that. Besides, Chat's friendship means more to me than a romance with him. No offense, Chat." Ladybug directed a smile to her friend, who laughed.

"None taken, My Lady." He said.
They left soon after that, and Marinette went back to where she'd seen Kim last.

"You okay?" Were the first words they'd both blurted to each other when they met up, followed by laughter and a hug.
"I'm fine." They both whispered.

And they were.