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Our Last Summer

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Saturday 25th August

With a heavy heart, Adrien dragged himself up the stairs to Alya’s family’s apartment. He, Nino, Alya, and Marinette had promised each other six mind-blowing weeks of fun as their summer holiday away from school. Now they only had one more week of freedom left, and Adrien had yet to tell his friends about his schooling for the next year.

Hawk Moth had been defeated two months ago, and with the revelation of it being his father sent Adrien reeling. He tried to keep himself together that day, when they’d captured him. He’d put on a brave face when he was with Ladybug, but as soon as he detransformed, he had collapsed in a pile of tears in his bedroom with only Plagg for comfort. He would hate to see what she would think of him if she ever found out he was Hawk Moth’s son. He wouldn’t be able to bear seeing the look of hatred and disappointment on her beautiful face.

These past two months had been torture. He’d tried to smile and laugh off his circumstances, just keeping his head down at school and having fun with his three best friends, but he couldn’t keep up the façade any longer. He had to get out of Paris, out of France. In a week’s time, he was moving to Bern, the capital of Switzerland, for his final year of high school. He would return to Paris for university, but right now, he needed to leave and get away from all of the places that reminded him of his family.

He knocked on Alya’s door and a moment later, Nino answered it with a wide grin.

‘Adrien! Come in! We’re just getting started. Marinette’s teaching us how to ice cookies.’

From within the apartment, he could hear the two aforementioned girls shrieking, and Adrien had no doubt they were chasing each other with piping bags. Sure enough, when he rounded the corner into the kitchen, Alya and Marinette had streaks of royal purple icing smeared on their cheeks as they ran after the other one.

Adrien smiled and leant against the wall as he watched them. The past four years he’d known her, Marinette had come to a hold a special place in his heart. She was, first and foremost, his princess, although he would never call her that to her face when he was in this form. And whilst she was kind and intelligent and beautiful, there was something about Ladybug that he just couldn’t shake. He was so in love with the superhero, but after this week, he’d probably never see her again. He was meeting Ladybug tonight, and if she still wouldn’t accept his feelings for her, then it was time to get over her whilst he was in Switzerland. And maybe, just maybe, he would begin to feel something for Marinette. She was a true friend and she was always there for Adrien, and he knew that she would be here for him whenever he returned to Paris.

‘Dude,’ Nino said, coming into the kitchen now, too. ‘I’ve got some sick new tunes. Want to listen as we decorate?’

‘Sure,’ Adrien said, flashing his best friend a fake smile.

As soon as Alya and Marinette had cleaned themselves up, they decorated the cookies under Marinette’s instructions, listening to Nino’s Jagged Stone playlist and talking about what their new school year would be like. Adrien smiled at his three best friends fondly as they danced around the kitchen. Since his father’s capture, Adrien had technically become an orphan, with his guardian as Nathalie, along with the Gorilla. But Nino, Alya, Marinette, and all of their families, had all done their bit in taking care of him, and for that, he was extremely grateful.

‘How do you think our final year will be, Adrien?’ Alya asked.

The smile faded from Adrien’s face. ‘Actually, guys, I have something to tell you. I was supposed to tell you weeks ago, but I didn’t want to dampen your fun, so I held back. But I need to tell you now.’ He took a deep breath and stared down at the floor. ‘I’m going to Switzerland for my final of high school. I can’t stay here. There are too many memories of my family, of what my father did.’

‘When do you leave?’ Nino asked, his voice several octaves quieter than before. Adrien barely heard it over the Jagged Stone music that was still playing in the background.

‘A week today. On Saturday. But, you know, you can visit anytime. And I’ll be coming back to Paris for university. I just… need some time away from Paris to properly come to terms with what happened.’

‘We understand,’ Alya said, and Adrien finally looked up.

Alya was staring at the floor, Nino at the wall, and it was clear that neither of them knew where to look for fear of making the situation awkward. But Marinette was looking straight at him, tears shining in her big bluebell eyes. God, he had never wanted to upset anybody, but not Marinette. Especially not Marinette. But it was better this way. If in a weeks time he just didn’t turn up to school on Monday, then this whole situation would be made ten times worse than it already was.

‘I’m sorry, but…’

Marinette shook her head. ‘There’s nothing to be sorry for. We understand. You need to do this for yourself. Don’t stay on our account.’

Adrien managed a small smile, a real one this time. Marinette had been so nervous around him when they first met, but now they could hold full conversations together without Marinette stuttering or completely messing up what she was saying. Despite her clumsiness and stuttering, though, there was something about her that Adrien couldn’t quite put his finger on, something about her that reminded him of Ladybug. He dismissed the thought once more, like he’d done every time. If she really did remind him of Ladybug, then when he came back from Switzerland, maybe he could be as happy with her as he could have been with Ladybug.

Marinette sunk down onto her bedroom floor, sobs wracking her whole body. She had left shortly after Adrien’s news, no longer feeling like having fun, nor wanting to cry in front of everybody.

Tikki flew out of her coin purse and nuzzled Marinette’s nose. ‘At least he’s coming back for university,’ the kwami said, trying to look for the positives in this situation.

That only made Marinette cry harder. ‘It won’t be the same, Tikki. And he might not come back at all. What if he loves Switzerland? What if he meets a girl there? I’ve really tried this year, you know? I hardly ever stutter around him anymore and we have great conversations together and he flirts with me sometimes!’ Marinette held her knees to her chest as she cried. ‘I was going to tell him how I felt before we went back to school. There’s no point doing that now.’

With a sympathetic tut, Tikki flew over and sat on Marinette’s knees. ‘You could still tell him. What’s to say you couldn’t have a long-distance relationship?’

Marinette just shrugged. ‘I guess. I won’t tell him, though. He’s leaving France for a reason. I know he said we can visit Bern to see him anytime, but I don’t think he truly wants that, even if he thinks he does. Both Alya and Nino have been akumatised before, and Nathaniel and my grandma and Mark have all been after me in their akuma forms when I wasn’t Ladybug. The three of us remind him too much of what his father did.’

Tikki nodded, realising that Marinette was more than likely right. ‘We can talk about it more later. Right now, you’ve got to go and meet Chat Noir.’

Marinette shot up from the floor and dashed over to the mirror, getting rid of her tears. Even though there no longer were any akumas, there was still crime in Paris, and they would meet up once a week on different days to patrol the city. They had already met up this week, on Tuesday, but Chat had asked to meet her again tonight, on top of Galeries Lafayette, so they could talk. He wouldn’t tell her what it was about, so she had no choice but to agree.

As soon as she looked presentable, she transformed, then yo-yoed across Paris to the ninth arrondissement. Chat was already on the roof of the Galeries, his feet and tail dangling over the edge.

‘Hey,’ Ladybug said as she landed next to him, and Chat Noir smiled up at her.

‘Sit with me?’

‘Of course, kitty.’

That would usually garner a small giggle out of him, but he said nothing, and Ladybug sat down. ‘What did you want then?

He sighed and stared out at the Paris skyline. ‘Can you give me Master Fu’s address?’

‘What? Why?’

‘I need to return my miraculous to him.’

Ladybug’s eyes widened. ‘I don’t understand. Why on earth would you ever do that?’

‘Because I can’t protect Paris as Chat Noir from Switzerland. I’m moving there on Saturday.’

Ladybug opened her mouth to speak, about to beg him to stay, to tell him that she wouldn’t be able to find a better partner than him, but that’s when, finally, everything clicked. Adrien was Chat Noir. How had she not seen it sooner? The magic of the miraculouses stopped anyone from identifying the superheroes’ civilian forms, but as Ladybug stared at Chat Noir, with his blond hair and green eyes, she could see as plain as day that her best friend was Adrien Agreste; the love of her life. It all made sense. Sure, she had to run off numerous times herself to transform into Ladybug, but she had seen Adrien leaving the scene of an akuma attack quickly, too, especially when it happened at school. And his leaving France made sense, too. Adrien, without being Chat Noir, could maybe handle his father’s villainy, but knowing that for four years his own father had been fighting him and trying to defeat him, that must have torn Adrien’s heart in two. He really did need to leave the country.

But maybe Tikki was right. Maybe a long-distance relationship could work. Marinette was in love Adrien, and Chat Noir was in love with Ladybug. Marinette had doubted that his feelings were sincere at first, what with the constant flirting and puns, but she knew that was no longer the case. Chat Noir really did love her. And all this time, she had been able to see both sides of Adrien. The shy and reserved side, and the funny outgoing side, and without knowing it, Marinette had fallen in love with Chat Noir, too. She smiled, despite the bad news she’d just received, and a plan began to form in her head as to how she would confess to Adrien and reveal her identity at the same time.

Chat turned to her then and Ladybug let the smile drop from her face.

‘There’s something else, too,’ he said.

‘Go on.’

He reached down and took Ladybug’s hands in his. ‘My Lady, I have loved you from the moment we first met. I don’t know how else I can convince you that my feelings are true other than with my words, but I love you, Bugaboo.’

Ladybug closed her eyes and squeezed Chat Noir’s hands. She wanted to just open her mouth and tell Chat that she knew who he was and yes, she loved him, too. But, no. Not like this. She had a better idea. ‘Chat, I know your feelings are true, and I’m sorry if you ever thought that I didn’t believe you, but… there’s someone else who holds my heart.’

Chat’s hands slipped away and he turned back to looking at the skyline. ‘I understand.’

There was a moment of silence between them and Ladybug bit her lip. Was that the right thing to say? Shouldn’t she just say it’s a boy named Adrien and watch the realisation dawn on his face? She took a different approach instead. ‘Will you be going to say goodbye to your princess?’

‘Yeah. I was thinking of going on Wednesday. I’ve already told too many people who mean a lot to me today. I don’t think I can handle anyone else at the moment.’

‘I’m sure Marinette will understand. Anyway, I’ve got to go. Got a few things to do. I’ll see you next week for our next patrol!’

‘Hey! Wait!’

Ladybug hopped off the roof of the Galeries and was gone before Chat could even shout to her again. He watched her go, then with a sigh, then he detransformed, still sat on the roof.

Plagg flew out of his ring and frowned at Adrien. ‘I know that I call you an idiot a lot of the time, and I don’t usually mean it, however, detransforming whilst still on a roof isn’t usually the most sensible idea. Did you even bring any cheese with you?’

Adrien took a slice of Camembert out of his shirt pocket and handed it to the kwami, who munched on it happily. ‘She didn’t even give me Master Fu’s address. And I know she doesn’t like me back, but she could have at least given me a hug or something. I’m moving to a different country. I guess this shows just how much she valued me as a partner after all.’ The blond model shook his head. ‘At least I can get over her now and focus on Marinette,’ he said with a chuckle, but he knew it wasn’t going to be as easy as that. Ladybug had broken his heart.

On Wednesday, Marinette was pacing in her bedroom, quadruple checking that everything was ready. Her parents were out on a date, the bakery was closed, and she had Adrien’s leaving present ready: it was a picture of the two of them dancing at Chloe’s party months and months ago. Nothing could go wrong. This was the most important moment of her life.

Tikki bit her lip as she watched Marinette. ‘Everything will be okay,’ she said with an enthusiastic smile, trying to reassure her wearer. ‘You’ve planned everything down to a T.’

‘I know it’ll run smoothly, but that’s not what I’m worried about. What if, when I reveal that I’m Ladybug to Adrien, he’s disappointed? The only real traits I share with Ladybug when I’m out of the costume are kindness and my willingness to help other people. As myself, I’m so clumsy and not at all brave. And I’m definitely not a leader like Ladybug.’

With a shake of her red head, Tikki flew over to Marinette. ‘But you are exactly like Ladybug, the same way Adrien is exactly like Chat Noir. I don’t think you’ve noticed, Marinette, but ever since you became Ladybug, you’ve been trying hard to make you and your alter-ego are two completely separate people, and Adrien has done the same, in order to stop people from finding out who you are. The only real difference between you and Ladybug is how clumsy you are. Everything that France thinks Ladybug is, you are, too.’

Marinette smiled fondly at her kwami. ‘Thanks, Tikki.’

There was a knock on the skylight and Tikki quickly darted under Marinette’s bed as the teenager went to open the window. Chat Noir dropped into her bedroom a moment later and immediately, Marinette’s heart began to speed up from just looking at him. Her best friend, her partner, the man she trusted most in the whole world, had been sitting in front of her in class for the past four years, and Marinette didn’t even know. She was so lucky to have found him.

‘Hey, Chat.’

‘Hi, Princess,’ he said, his voice lacking its usual mirth.

‘What’s wrong? Here, sit on the chaise.’

Chat sighed as he sat down. ‘I have some bad news. I’m moving away. It’s only for a year, but I had to tell you. I’ll miss you, princess.’

Marinette managed to pull off a weak smile, holding back her grin. ‘I already knew, Chat.’

‘What? How?’

‘Ladybug came to tell me on Saturday night, after you patrolled with her. And I know you probably wanted to tell me first, but I’m glad she did, so I could get you this.’

Chat’s face lit up beneath his leather mask and ears. ‘My princess got me a present? You really are purr-fect, Marinette.’

Marinette smiled as she grabbed the wrapped present with shaking hands. ‘I hope you like it,’ she said as she handed it to Chat Noir.

He accepted it, and with a grin, tore off the wrapping paper, but that’s when the grin left his lips. It was a framed photo. Of Marinette. Dancing. With his civilian self. Did Marinette know? She couldn’t. He’d been so careful. He placed the frame down on the chaise and slowly looked up. ‘Mari… how…’ He had no words. She had to know. There was no other explanation for this present.

Without saying a word, Marinette smiled and took a step away from him. ‘Tikki,’ she called, and a black and red kwami flew out from under her bed, ‘spots on!’

There was a flash of pink light, and then, stood before him, was Ladybug. No. It was Marinette. As Ladybug. All this time. She had been right here, under his nose. And he’d never even realised.

‘You’re… my lady?’ he stuttered, completely astounded, but it all made sense. Marinette was like Ladybug in every single way. He’d been a fool to not notice it sooner.

Marinette smiled. ‘Since the moment you met Ladybug, you’ve been in love with her. And since the moment I met Adrien Agreste, I’d been in love with him.’

‘All this time…’ Adrien said, feeling the first tear fall down his face. ‘Why didn’t you say anything, Mari?’

‘It was too risky. But I wish I’d told you sooner, so we could have had more time together.’

Adrien shook his head, furiously wiping away his tears. ‘I’m not going to Switzerland. I’m staying here. I can’t be without you for a moment longer, princess.’

‘No, no, no.’ Marinette stepped towards Adrien, cupping his face in her hands, wiping away the tears that continued to fall. ‘That isn’t why I did this. For the sake of your mental health, you need to go to Switzerland. But I’ll visit and we’ll Skype and text and we will make this work, I promise. But you need to go to Switzerland. And when you come back, we’ll go to university together and walk up and down the banks of the Seine holding hands and be disgustingly cute and all couple-y, yeah?’

Adrien smiled, his tears finally stopping. ‘I love you, Bugaboo.’

‘I love you, too, Adrien.’

Hearing his name come from her lips was too much, and he leant in and kissed his lady. Four whole years he’d waited for this moment, imagined it over and over again in his head, rehearsed what he might do or say, but none of that prepared him for this. He was kissing Ladybug, kissing Marinette, and god, it felt so much better than any of his fantasies had prepared him for. Her lips were so sweet and soft and he had to pull away sooner than he wanted to because if he didn’t, he’d end up taking this much further than either of them were prepared for, and he would never do anything to hurt Marinette.

When he did pull away, though, Marinette was blushing under her mask and Adrien couldn’t help but smile. He had always thought she looked beautiful when she blushed, but all of those times had been out of embarrassment. She was blushing now because they had been kissing. He had made her blush for all of the right reasons.

‘Shall we transform back? As great as you look in red, these suits aren’t really comfortable to wander around in for fun.’

With a giggle from Marinette, the two teenage superheroes transformed back into their civilian selves, neither of them able to stop blushing or glancing at the other through their eyelashes.

Plagg flew up and sat on Adrien’s shoulder. ‘You two have just kissed and confessed your love and now you can’t even look at each other. I will never understand humans.’

Adrien smiled at his kwami. ‘Princess, this is my kwami, Plagg.’

‘Hi, Plagg.’

‘Do you have any cheese? More specifically, Camembert.’

Tikki rolled her eyes as she flew over to Adrien. ‘I see Plagg hasn’t changed,’ she said with a giggle.

‘He’s always been like this?’ Adrien asked, wondering how Plagg’s previous wearers had put up with him.

‘Yep. I’m Tikki. It’s nice to finally meet you! I’ve heard lots about you. And seen a lot of photos of you,’ the kwami said, gesturing to the numerous collages of Adrien that decorated Marinette’s bedroom walls.

‘Tikki!’

Adrien laughed. ‘I don’t mind, Marinette. It’s cute. I need to get my own collage going of you for my room in Switzerland.’

‘Then the photo I gave you can be your first addition.’

Plagg made a retching sound. ‘You two will give me cavities if you carry on like this.’

Tikki giggled and grabbed Plagg’s hand. ‘I’ll take him to the kitchen for some food.’

Marinette smiled in thanks and she gestured to her tablet. ‘Do you want to watch a movie or something?’

Adrien nodded and he set the framed photo on Marinette’s desk, then sat back on the chaise. Marinette sat next to his outstretched legs, unsure of what to do. Luckily, Adrien made the choice for her. He leant forwards, wrapped his arms around her waist, then pulled her to sit between his legs and against his chest.

‘Is this okay?’ he whispered, then pressed a kiss to Marinette’s temple.

‘It’s perfect.’

Marinette selected a random film on Netflix, but neither teenager was watching it. She was too busy revelling in the feel of Adrien cuddling her, and he was absentmindedly combing his fingers through Marinette’s silky hair. He wished he could this every day.

With a sigh, he leant forwards and rested his chin on Marinette’s shoulder. ‘I still wish I wasn’t leaving.’

‘Me, too. But you need to do this for yourself. Be selfish for once. You’ve looked after Paris for four years. You need to look after yourself now.’

‘I know, but I don’t want to leave you. I’ve only just got you.’

With a sad smile, Marinette kissed Adrien on the cheek. ‘We’ve still got two whole days to spend together before you leave, and even when you do, you are not forgetting about me, Agreste. I’ll bug you so much that it’ll be impossible.’

‘Did you just make a pun?’

Marinette rolled her eyes. ‘Oh my god, no. Never.’

‘Not even for me?’

‘Not even for you, kitty.’

Adrien chuckled and kissed Marinette’s temple again. ‘I’ll still miss you.’

‘Me, too. Do you want to… err… maybe… stay the night?’ she stuttered. ‘Not like that, just, you know, sleep.’

The blond combed his fingers through Marinette’s hair again. ‘As long as I get to cuddle my Bugaboo, I won’t leave this room until Saturday morning.’

Adrien did leave Marinette’s room on Thursday morning, but only for an hour to have a shower, get changed, and do some more packing, and then the two met up again, and they were practically inseparable from that moment onwards. They went to the cinema, rollerbladed around the almost empty Agreste Mansion, reminisced about Adrien’s mum, went to André’s for ice cream, and took a boat ride along the Seine.

They’d barely spent any time apart when Friday night rolled around, and they arrived at Le Grand Paris together, hand in hand, ready for Adrien’s leaving party.

He greeted all of his friends, giving them hugs and accepting their gifts, but his eyes never strayed far from Marinette. He’d had the most incredible two days and he didn’t want it to end. If he hadn’t been so stupid, he could have had this for the past four years. But he was finally with Marinette, his Ladybug, and he wasn’t ever letting go of her.

Once he’d greeted the last of his friends, he swiftly made his way back over to Marinette and pulled her out onto the dance floor, holding his girlfriend close to his chest as they moved together.

‘Are you enjoying your party?’ she asked.

Adrien smirked. ‘I’d be enjoying it more if it was just me and you, Bugaboo.’

He felt Marinette smile against his neck. ‘Later. You need to say goodbye to all of your friends properly, though. I know you, Chaton. You’d regret it if you didn’t.’

Why did she always have to be right? He danced with Marinette a little more, but as the party began to die down, he bade goodbye to each of his friends, until the only people left were him, Nino, Alya, and, of course, Marinette, who was waiting outside for them.

The aspiring journalist pulled him into a hug first. ‘Just, get better whilst you’re in Switzerland, okay? Make some new memories. But don’t forget about us, Agreste! And don’t hurt Marinette.’

‘I wouldn’t dream of it, Alya.’

Nino was next, and it was obvious he was trying his best to hold back his tears as he hugged Adrien. ‘I’m going to miss you, bro.’

‘Me, too. Bro.’

Once he said that, Nino burst into tears and he buried himself in Alya’s arms.

The bespectacled girl sighed and did her best to comfort Nino. ‘Go and be with Marinette. I’ll handle Nino.’

‘Thanks, Alya.’ With a sad smile, he jogged out of the hotel and found Marinette waiting outside.

‘Hey. Where’s Alya and Nino?’

‘Ah,’ Adrien scratched the back of his neck. ‘Nino’s a bit upset, so Alya’s comforting him. I would have stayed, but they wanted me to spend time with you.’

Marinette smiled and tucked herself under Adrien’s arm. ‘Alya’s the best.’

‘Erm, excuse me, but aren’t I, your boyfriend, the best?’

‘I’d say you’re about fifth on the list.’

Adrien tutted in mock offence and the two walked idly through Paris until they arrived at the Agreste Mansion.

As soon as she saw it, Marinette felt nervous. Sure, she’d been there before, both as herself and as Ladybug, but this would be Adrien’s last night here, and she didn’t know if she could hold it together long enough for him to fall asleep.

They entered the mansion, and when they arrived at Adrien’s almost barren bedroom, Marinette went into the bathroom to get changed. As soon as she was ready, she turned to the mirror and tried to give herself a little pep talk, but not even that was working.

Tikki sighed from the coin purse that was now on the floor. ‘It’ll be okay, Marinette. You shared a bed on Wednesday night.’

‘It’s not that, Tikki. I don’t want him to go even though he needs to, and I’m afraid if I cry in front of him, he’ll change his mind. You know what he’s like. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop myself.’

The red kwami nuzzled her wearer’s cheek. ‘Adrien knows he has to go. Whatever happens, it’ll be okay, Marinette.’

She nodded and the two exited the bathroom. Adrien was in his pyjamas and already in bed, and Plagg was led on the sofa, eating some Camembert before he went to sleep. Tikki flew over to join her fellow kwami and Marinette wandered over to the bed.

Adrien pulled back the covers and opened his arms for Marinette and she didn’t hesitate to bury herself against his chest. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, then he covered them with the sheets, wriggling them into a comfortable position on the mattress. ‘I’m going to miss cuddling you.’

‘I’ll miss it, too. Did you want to talk about tomorrow?’

Adrien shook his head. ‘No. Just let me hold you, princess.’

Marinette smiled and snuggled into Adrien’s arms.

After a long moment, the blond boy spoke. ‘You never did give me Master Fu’s address, you know.’

‘I know,’ she whispered, the urge to cry coming back full force now.

‘I guess, now that you know, I can just give you my ring tomorrow and you can return it.’

Marinette sat up then and turned away from Adrien, her tears rolling down her face now.

‘Bugaboo?’ he asked, reaching out to Marinette and placing a hand on her shoulder. ‘What’s wrong?’

She shook her head. ‘You’ll hate me.’

Adrien crawled to the edge of the bed and sat beside his girlfriend. ‘I promise I won’t. Please tell me, my lady.’

She refused to meet Adrien’s eyes as she spoke. ‘I don’t want to give the ring back because it’s yours, Adrien. What if Master Fu gives it to someone else? I can’t fight crime with anyone but you. I’d rather you take it with you to Switzerland, then when you come back, you can be Chat Noir again.’

Adrien took Marinette’s hands in his. ‘You’d rather protect Paris on your own than me give up my miraculous? Mari, I can’t let you do that. It’ll be too dangerous. Just because there’s no Hawk Moth doesn’t mean there’s no crime in Paris.’

‘I’ll be fine, Adrien. Rena Rouge can help me if I need it. But no one else can be Chat Noir. Only you,’ she said, meeting his eyes now.

Adrien sighed and caressed Marinette’s cheek. ‘I guess, as long as Rena helps you, then it’s okay. And you won’t really need my cataclysm if there are no akumas. And someone needs to feed Plagg, so it may as well be me.’

Marinette smiled, her tears stopping now. ‘So, you’ll keep your miraculous?’

‘If it’ll make you this happy, then yes.’

She breathed out a sigh of relief. ‘I’m sorry, I just wanted something physical to connect you to me when you’re in Switzerland.’ Marinette’s finger traced over the silver ring. ‘Think of me when you look at this?’

‘I’ll think of you when I look at anything, Bugaboo.’

Marinette started to cry again, out of happiness this time, and Adrien kissed all of the tears away.

‘Come on, I can’t have my lady crying when we’re supposed to be cuddling.’

They got back into the bed, and as soon as they were under the covers, Adrien wrapped his arms back around his girlfriend.

Adrien woke up first the next morning, but instead of trying to fall back asleep or shaking Marinette awake, he took a few moments to admire her. It had only been two days, but already, he would miss holding her like this, miss seeing her face when he woke up, miss listening to her talk and laugh and god, he’d even miss the sound of her pen scrawling when she sat behind him in class. He’d miss the sweet smell of pastries that always clung to her and miss how kind and thoughtful she was and he’d even miss her clumsiness.

But it wouldn’t be like this forever. It was only a year. Well, not even that. He would move back to Paris before the start of the summer holiday so he could attend Marinette’s graduation, plus he had to come back periodically to look around universities, too. And he and Marinette had already worked out a schedule for when they would visit the other person, making sure to fit in their birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter when they were on their breaks from school. Things would work out. They had to. He wasn’t ever letting Marinette go.

He shifted her in his arms slightly so he could lean over her, and then he began to press small kisses all over Marinette’s face, waking her up slowly and sweetly.

‘Hey, princess,’ he whispered when she woke up, and Marinette smiled at him.

‘Hi, kitty. Are you ready for today?’

Adrien rolled his eyes. ‘I guess.’ He held Marinette tighter. ‘You should come with me.’

Marinette giggled, her voice a little deeper. ‘I wish. But Paris needs one of us to stay.’

Adrien nodded begrudgingly. ‘Come on, let’s get dressed. Your parents are bringing breakfast over and I don’t think they’d want to find us like this.’

With a smile, Marinette disappeared into the bathroom, Tikki following her.

Adrien got out of bed and wandered over to Plagg. ‘Hey, you like Marinette, right?’

‘Sure. She scratches me behind the ears and doesn’t complain about Camembert. Why wouldn’t I like her?’

Adrien smiled. ‘Just checking.’

When Marinette emerged from the bathroom, she frowned when she saw that Adrien had gone. ‘Where did he go?’ she asked.

‘Maybe he went to greet your parents?’ Tikki suggested, and the two left the empty room.

Sure enough, Adrien was downstairs, sat on the dining room floor, Tom and Sabine opposite him, all three of them munching on croissants and talking. The chatter stopped as soon as Marinette entered the room and her parents smiled up at her.

‘We brought your favourite jam,’ her dad said, his face tinged slightly red.

‘Thanks, dad,’ she said as she sat down next to Adrien. ‘Is there something wrong? Your face is kind of red.’

He spluttered on his takeaway coffee and Sabine rubbed his back. ‘We’re just fine, dear!’

Marinette narrowed her eyes at them. Why were they acting so oddly? She shook her head and ate her croissants, watching as the removal men took the last of the furniture out of the house. Just as they were carrying Adrien’s bed, the last piece of furniture, Nathalie came into the dining room.

‘Adrien, the removal men are ready to go. We shouldn’t keep them waiting.’

With a sigh, Adrien stood up. ‘Okay. I’ll be out in a moment.’

Nathalie nodded and left.

Adrien knelt down, about to clean up the paper bags that Tom and Sabine had brought the food in, but Sabine batted his hands away.

‘We’ll sort that, love. You need to get going. Marinette, go with him.’

‘Thanks, mum.’

All four of them stood up, Tom and Sabine exchanging hugs with Adrien, both adults whispering something into the teenager’s ear.

Marinette and Adrien left the dining room, and then the mansion, walking towards the road. The removal van was there, and in front of it was the car, Nathalie and the Gorilla already inside and waiting for Adrien.

He stopped short of leaving the mansion’s gates and he turned to Marinette, taking her hands in his. What was he supposed to say without making her cry?

Marinette smiled and spoke first. ‘Text me when you get to Switzerland, yeah?’

Adrien sighed, letting go of one of her hands so he could caress her cheek. ‘I’ll text you all the way there, my lady.’

‘Yeah.’ Marinette looked away from her boyfriend. ‘I’ll miss you,’ she whispered, feeling tears gathering in her eyes once more.

The blond boy pulled her into a hug. ‘Everything will be just fine, princess. You’re coming up in three weeks time for the weekend. Three weeks will be nothing. We’ll get through this year.’

Marinette nodded with a sniff. ‘I know. I just don’t know how I’ll cope not being able to see you every single day.’

‘What do you mean? My face is plastered all over your bedroom wall.’

Marinette tutted and pulled out of the hug. ‘And for that, you won’t get a goodbye kiss.’

‘Oh, come on. I know you love kissing me just as much as I do you,’ he said with a wiggle of his eyebrows.

‘Fine.’

Adrien smiled, then leant in and kissed Marinette. It felt even better than the first time. Her lips were still as soft and sweet as ever and they moved against each other carefully, as if they were afraid the other one would break.

Marinette pulled away first, leaving Adrien pouting.

‘That was too short for a goodbye kiss,’ he said.

‘If I carried on, you would never want to leave.’

He smirked. ‘True. Speaking of that… when I come back to look around universities, I need to go apartment hunting, too. I was wondering if you wanted to come with me?’

Marinette nodded with a smile. ‘Of course, I’ll come with you. I don’t want you living in some grotty flat for university.’

‘I don’t want that for you either. That’s why… I already talked about it with your parents. That’s why they were acting so strangely. But when I return to Paris in the summer, after we graduate, I want you to move in with me.’

Marinette’s mouth fell open. ‘Adrien…’

‘I know, it’s crazy, we’ve only been together for two days, but we’ve been in love for longer than that. And after spending almost a year without you, when I come back, I don’t want to be without my lady for a moment longer.’

The tears in Marinette’s eyes began to fall onto her cheeks. ‘Yes, of course, you idiot, yes, I’ll move in with you.’

In his glee, Adrien wrapped his arms around Marinette’s waist and spun her around, then placed another kiss on her lips.

The horn sounded from the car and he reluctantly put Marinette down. ‘I’ll see you soon, okay?’

She could only nod as he leant in for a final kiss, and then he was gone, jogging towards the car and climbing in. He waved at her as the car drove off, the removal van following, but Marinette couldn’t bring herself to move. Did that seriously just happen? Did Adrien Agreste really just ask her to move in with him?

‘Tikki…’

‘Yes, Marinette?’ the kwami asked from the open coin purse.

‘Did Adrien just ask me to move in with him?’

Tikki giggled. ‘I believe he did. And you agreed.’

Marinette covered her burning face with her hands. Her final year at high school was probably going to be the loneliest, but that didn’t matter anymore. She would get to move in with her boyfriend as her graduation present, and for that, she could bear a year of high school without him.