Marinette had woken up as she always had; with a disgusting taste in her mouth and a thick layer of crust on her eyes.
There was a shrill beeping above her head where she kept her phone to charge and with a practiced smack, she grabbed it from its position and turned on the snooze. Every evening Marinette set her alarm to go off at 6 am sharp, knowing that she wouldn’t get up until well after 7. She had almost fallen back asleep when she heard footsteps making their way up her staircase, and a soft creak of wood signaling its hatch had opened.
“Marinette! Wake up, it's already seven thirty!” In response, she sat up so fast that when her eyes opened, all Marinette saw was black.
Ignoring the dark spots dancing in her vision, she crawled quickly down from her bed and booked it to the bathroom.
“Mamá! Why didn’t you wake me sooner?” There was only a soft huff in reply, and the sound of her trapdoor closing gently.
Rushing through her normal routine, Marinette brushed down the frizziness that her hair had acquired overnight and thoroughly scrubbed her face with a wet cloth, before pouring as much toothpaste as she could on her brush and shoving it into her mouth.
Holding the plastic bit between her teeth, Marinette raced around her room, pulling on a worn pair of jean shorts and an oversized Jagged Stone band shirt from the floor.
Taking a moment to pull her toothbrush from her lips and making sure that she was alone, she said;
“Tiki! Where did I put my comfy shoes?” There was a sweet mumble before a high-pitched voice replied.
“Under your desk ‘nette.” Shouting out a fast thank you, Marinette returned to her frantic “getting ready dance” and after a rapid cursory brush of her front teeth, she was ready to go.
“No pigtails today, Mari?” Her kwami asked.
“No, that would take too much time and I’m already pretty late,” she ran a hand through her loose hair, somewhat self-consciously, “why? Does it look bad?” The fairy shook her head rapidly in response.
“No! It looks very pretty, I like when you try new things.” Sending out a quick thank you and foregoing her usual cardigan in favor of the warming weather, Marinette was quick to sprint downstairs.
“Sleeping beauty has finally awakened it seems.” As always, her Papá seemed unnaturally joval in the morning and she spared a few precious seconds to give him a quick hug, as well as a peck on the cheek.
“Can’t talk now, i’m late,” she grabbed a spoonful of the oatmeal waiting for her on the counter, “mmm delicious, I’ll be back by six to help, bye Papá!” Without waiting to hear a reply, Marinette snatched her bookbag waiting in the entrance and set out on an awkward jog towards her school
Despite her somewhat hurried morning, Marinette was back on track by the time she reached her first class, and Alya, in all of her wonderful goodness, had grabbed an extra granola bar for her- probably knowing that something like this would happen-
“This is the third time this week girl, what keeping you up so late?” She gave a suggestive wave of her eyebrows and flicked her eyes to a certain blond in front of her, currently enraptured with something that Nino was saying. Flushing down to her chest, Marinette vehemently shook her head.
“No! it's nothing like that! It’s just-“ Before she could continue, the teacher walked in and drew everyone's attention to her.
“Good morning class, today we’ll start by taking out your journals and writing a response to the question on the board. After I will be assigning groups to start working on our next project- before anyone asks- no you may not choose your own groups. I already have couples of two assigned and you may not switch.” There were a few echoing groans in response and one very angry huff coming from Chloe that was promptly ignored.
As Marinette dug through her bag for the notebook, she was practically vibrating in her seat at the thought of being paired up with Adrien. Handsome, sweet, perfect Adrien that considered the two of them friends and nothing else. As the thought made its way into her mind she drooped again, sighing audibally into her arm and ignoring the questioning look tha Alya sent her.
The question on the board was written in the usual harsh scrawl,
“Accept what is, Let go of what was, and have faith in what will be” under that, was ‘by Unknown’ accompanied by “What do you think this quote means? How does this apply to your everyday life?”
Marinette stared at the blank paper, unsure on how to write down what the question asked of her.
Finally, after a period of time had passed -with her paper still empty side from the title- the timer rang and class moved on and Madame Bustier had worked her way to the front of the room, the class had erupted into noise at the upcoming pairings.
“Alright, if everyone can settle down we’ll begin. Adrien and Kim.” Marinette slumped further down. “Chloe and Rose, Alya and Nathaniel, Nino and Sabrina, Marinette and Juleka, Mylène and Alix. One of the pair come down and get the packet containing further instructions. I hope you all do an amazing job on this one and I wish you all the best of luck.”
Turning around to face her partner, Marinette smiled slightly and motioned to Juleka that she would get the papers and to stay seated. As she stood up, Alya grabbed her hand gently, sending her a questioning look. Shrugging in a ‘what can you do?’ way, Marinette shook off the offending hand and stumbled her way down the steps towards the teachers desk, producing a soft snicker from Chloe across the classroom.
Reaching out to grab the assignment, Marinette pulled her hand back as it met another
“Oh! Marinette, sorry” Adrien scratched the back of his neck shyly, silently handing her the paper. Flushing lightly, Marinette responded;
“Oh no, no it’s fine my fault. Well not really cause we both reached for it so it's kind of fifty-fifty? Not to say that you’re totally fifty-percent at fault it’s really more sixty-forty -and now i’m just rambling- sorry.” She ended her rant by snatching the offending paper out of Adriens hand and racing her way back up the steps to Julekas desk, sitting down with an embarrassed huff, slamming her head on the table.
“Why can’t the gods just kill meeeeeee” She moaned into the plastic of the desk. And hand placed itself onto her head and began gently scratching while Marinette mourned her life.
“Hey, it’s alright Mari. You can come over to my place afterwards to work on the project alright?” Juleka wasn’t fantastic at comforting people but she did what she could and after a few seconds of scratching, Marinette poked her head out of where it was hidden between her arms.
“Yeah, that sounds good…” Pulling lightly at her loose hair, she opened up the first page of the packet and looked over it’s contents. “This’ll be easy I think.” After an affirming nod from Juleka, the two of them began brainstorming what to do for the project,
“I can be in charge of designing the board if you want,” Marinette offered, “I’ll feel guilty cause you’re doing all of this work.” Juleka gave a hint of a smile and nodded, the two of them packing their bags together when the bell rang.
They continued to talk on the way back to Julekas house-boat, both making pleasant conversation on the way. By the time Marinette had gotten to the others house, she had learned that Juleka’s favorite color was actually purple, she had always wanted a pet dog, and that her favorite animal was the musk deer. In return, Marinette had shared what her current aspirations were as well as small, regular facts. Climbing onto the swaying boat, she was quickly greeted by Ms. Couffaine and ushered downstairs to begin working.
Climbing into Julekas room, Marinette was surprised to see someone already occupying it, there was a boy around her age lying on the bed with headphones on, his upper body hanging off and his legs swinging gently to the beat.
Behind her, Juleka made an annoyed huff and charged into the room, causing Marinette to squeal in surprise.
The taller girl had vaulted herself onto the bed and on top of the stranger, causing them both to fall off, him crushed under her. She ripped the headphones off in one smooth motion and hissed at him,
“How many times do I have to tell you to stay out of my room?” At this point Marinette was hiding in the corner, confused and slightly terrified, however, instead off getting mad, the boy under Juleka simply raised an eyebrow and responded,
“Twelve.” Before rolling her off of him and bursting out laughing, Juleka grinned in response, the biggest smile Marinette had seen from her so far, and turned towards the other person in the room.
“Marinette, this is my older brother, Luka.” The older boy on the ground rolled over to face her, a huge smile on his face, then froze, and scrambled his way to stand up.
Brushing himself off, Luka offered his hand towards her, his eyes trailing across her body before reaching her face.
“Hi there,” he smiled sweetly at her, and when Marinette put her hand out to shake, instead brought it to his lips, leaving a gentle kiss.
She squeaked softly, a satisfying blush coloring her cheeks as she returned his greeting. He held onto her hand for another few beats, the two just holding each other's gaze, not saying anything.
After a few more seconds, Juleka decided that she had had enough and coughed into her fist, ushering her brother out of the room and shutting the door behind him. She leaned against it for a moment before bringing her head up and moving her eyebrows in a scarily close rendition of Alya before saying in a tone that Marinette had never heard before.
“So… my brother, huh?” She had to take a moment to get what the other was implying before sputtering her denial. Juleka scoffed goodnatually, “If it’s any consolation, he seems pretty infatuated too…” She trailed off before going to the desk in the corner and slapping the packet down on the wooden surface.
“We can talk about it later, right now, work?” She went back to her usual hesitant expression and opened to its first page, turning her back to the frozen Marinette at the center of the room, who’s only current train of thought was either ‘holy shit’ and ‘Luka’.