Marinette sat cross-legged in her floor as she repaired a tear in her father's jacket with expert ease. Tikki munched on a cookie while sitting on the desk, and hummed contentedly.
"So…I know we're still getting used to this Ladybug thing, but I gotta know-" a voice drifted to Marinette from atop her bed. Alya rested her head on her crossed arms, peering at her best friend from atop the mattress.
"Know what?" the dark haired girl asked, blue eyes flashing with confusion as she diverted her attention to her friend.
"What's the deal with Chat Noir?" Alya asked, seeming genuinely curious.
Marinette rolled her eyes, "What about him?" Alya raised an eyebrow, "Well, he obviously has a thing for you, girl. Have you already turned him down?"
The girl giggled in response, "Not exactly? He hasn't said anything, so I haven't needed to reply."
The reporter shook her head, "Oh, girl. That's gonna be one tough convo."
Marinette shook her head, "I don't think so. Chat knows I don't see him that way." Alya watched her, a thoughtful expression on her face.
"And why is that?" she asked. Marinette nearly poked herself with a pin, "What?"
The bespectacled girl shook her head with a friendly smile, "Why don't you see him that way?"
Marinette regarded her disbelievingly. "I love Adrien," she replied, as if the answer should have been obvious.
Alya shrugged "Well yeah, but you can barely say hi to him, let alone hold a conversation with the boy. You don't have a problem talking to Chat Noir, though."
"Because I don't like Chat Noir like that," Marinette insisted. Alya frowned, "What's not to like about him? He's sweet, romantic, head over heels in love with you, and 100% smoking hot."
Marinette looked scandalized, "Alya!"
The reporter fixed her best friend with a level gaze, "Look me in the eye and tell me you don't think Chat Noir is objectively attractive."
"I don't," she insisted, though her gaze flickered to the left nervously.
"You're lying. He's totally your type. Now, look me in the eye and tell me you don't enjoy his company," Alya pressed.
This time, Marinette's gaze didn't waver, "I do enjoy his company, Alya. He's my partner, and I trust him with my life."
A silence settled between the two, and Alya appeared noticeably smug.
"I thought you wanted me to be with Adrien. Now you're trying to get me to notice Chat Noir?" the pig-tailed girl demanded a bit harshly.
"Marinette, I just want you to be happy. This thing with Adrien…It hasn't really gone anywhere yet. I just want to make sure you know you have options. I don't know him, but from where I'm sitting, Chat Noir looks like the kind of guy who could make you happy if you gave him the chance," Alya explained.
"He's a big flirt," Marinette argued weakly.
The blogger chuckled, "Only with you. Cat Boy has never used a pickup line on me, or anyone who submits content to the Ladyblog. Believe me, they'd brag if he did."
"He flirted with Marinette," she countered defensively.
"You're Marinette!" Alya exclaimed with a loud snort.
The girl in question crossed her arms defiantly, "He doesn't know that."
"Maybe he does, subconsciously," Alya offered.
Tikki finally made her presence known, "That could very well be true, Marinette."
The girl looked like she'd been betrayed, "Tikki! You're supposed to be on my side."
The kwami giggled, "I am! You have to admit, Chat Noir can be very charming sometimes." Marinette huffed, "Can we talk about something else, please?"
A chorus of laughter resounded from both Tikki and Alya. "Sure thing," Alya replied goodnaturedly.
"Did you finish the homework?" the blogger asked, successfully changing the topic.
"Yeah, there wasn't an akuma today, so I've been able to get a lot of things done!" Marinette replied with a bright smile.
Alya nodded and gestured to the computer, "Do you mind if I use your computer to work on the Ladyblog?"
Marinette gave a small hum of consent as she continued to meticulously stitch the fabric between her fingers. Alya rolled off of the bed lazily and made her way over to the computer, tapping the keyboard to wake up the screen.
"Oh, girl. This is too much," she deadpanned from her spot at the computer. Marinette didn't glance up, "What?"
Alya gestured madly toward the screen, "How many pictures of Adrien are in this collage? You don't think you have enough posters on the wall?"
Marinette had the good grace to look sheepish, "I think it became part of my décor at some point. It only made sense to have my computer match my room." Alya shook her head, "Pink would've matched your décor."
Tikki remained tactfully silent, and Marinette was eternally grateful that she didn't chime in to take Alya's side.
The future reporter decided to drop the subject and pulled up the webpage that allowed her to monitor the Ladyblog.
"Ooh, lots of comments on yesterday's akuma attack. Time to weed out the trolls," she murmured as she began scrolling.
"I think it's nice that you monitor the comments," Marinette stated with a smile. Alya grinned proudly, "I won't stand for bullying, online or off."
"You're a hero too, you know," Tikki asserted with an encouraging sweep of her tiny arms.
"You're too sweet," Alya responded with a flattered blush.
"Alya, defender of the internet!" Marinette exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air for dramatic effect. The brunette tossed a pillow at her best friend's face.
"Now you're just making fun of me," she complained.
Marinette snatched it out of the air, and giggled. "I'm not! I promise!"
Alya's phone rang, and she answered it promptly. "Yeah, I'm still at Marinette's. Okay, no problem! I'll be there in a few. Love you! Bye." Blue eyes regarded her questioningly, and she shrugged.
"My mom got called into work. Some big food critic stopped by for a surprise visit, so I need to babysit!" she explained.
"Oh! Let me know if you need any help, okay?" Marinette offered, pausing in her stitching.
"I'm a master babysitter, girl. I got this."
With that, she took her leave, patting Tikki on the head before climbing down through the trapdoor. Marinette finished patching up her father's jacket a few minutes later, and flopped down in her computer chair, intent on checking out some of the newest trends.
She tapped the keyboard to wake the screen. Marinette shrieked in surprise and fell out of her chair, staring in horror at the image that had replaced her beautiful Adrien collage as her desktop background.
Instead, a high-definition picture of Chat Noir stared back at her.