Hey, fellow Miraculeurs! Enjoy my writing? Want to join a community that provides real-time announcements on my most recent posts and allows writers and readers to interact in a safe, mostly family-friendly environment? (There be some cursing, fair warning). If so, head over to my Discord. Discord is a fun, easy-to-use app and website that allows you to instant message and chat with people who are also in the Miraculous Ladybug Fandom. We have a lot of fun there and it's really allowed me to connect with my readers in a way I can't quite do on here. I hope to see you there ;)
Marinette wrung her hands together nervously as she loitered outside of the school cafeteria. Beyond the heavy double doors, Adrien Agreste was no doubt sitting around and joking with their classmates. He had really opened up in the past two years of knowing them, and it was great to see the genuine smile on his face when he was with his friends. His real smile, not that model smile that he plastered on for the cameras and his fans. Over the past two years, Marinette had gotten to know Adrien better and she had even stopped stammering quite as much around him. She still slipped up and still mostly watched him from afar, but it wasn’t as bad as when she had first started liking him and if need be, she could act like a semi-normal human being around him. And besides, observing Adrien did have its merits. She had actually learned a lot about Adrien from watching him. Like the fact that he hated cheese, especially Camembert, and that his favorite color was blue. She knew that he was passionate about Physics and secretly wanted to be a Science Teacher, but that he was too nervous to tell his father.
She knew that he had a troubled home life and that he often felt like his dad viewed him as more of an asset to the company than as his own flesh and blood, and she knew that Adrien still missed his mother dreadfully. She knew that when he was uncomfortable, he pasted on his model smile because he was too polite to extricate himself from uncomfortable situations. She that he was intelligent, compassionate, loyal, brave, and that he was totally head over heels in love with Ladybug. And most importantly, she knew that he was Chat Noir. Her partner, her Kitty, the boy she had somehow managed to fall in love with twice over. Marinette had only known for about three weeks, but it had been enough time for her to come to terms with this new revelation and to decide that yes, she did actually love both sides of her partner and that yes, she wanted to be with him more than anything else. That’s why she was going to ask him out today, as Marinette. Because despite the fact that she knew he loved the Ladybug side of her, she needed to know if he loved the Marinette side of her. If he could accept her imperfect other half, then she knew he truly loved her and she would happily reveal herself to him. But first, she had to know and this was the best way she could think of to do that.
Taking a deep breath, Marinette grasped one of the doors handles with slim, clammy fingers and pulled open the door. The lunchroom was overflowing with students, a cacophony of voices surrounding her all at once. Few people took notice of her entrance, and for that, Marinette was grateful. She was nervous enough without their gazes drilling into her. Crossing the cafeteria to the tables her classmates and commandeered felt like a death sentence. She was sweating bullets, her throat kept constricting, her heart thudded painfully in her chest, and her breathing felt ragged and unsteady. Adrien was sitting between Nino and Alya, laughing along with their classmates at something the latter had said. Alya was the one to notice Marinette first as she came to a halt behind the blond boy, shooting her a discreet thumbs up for encouragement before nudging the boy in question. It was a miracle in and of itself that she didn’t squeak when those vivid green eyes she had fallen for, twice, turned towards her and a wide, warm smile lit his flawless, perfectly symmetrical features. Her heart immediately kicked into overdrive because the boy had dimples and how on earth had she never cataloged that fact before?
“H-hey, Adrien,” she began nervously, gaze shooting briefly towards her best friend for moral support before returning to the blond boy’s guileless gaze. “I was wondering i-if… if we could m-maybe t-t-talk? L-like in p-pr-private?” She managed to stammer up, fingers twisting together anxiously beneath his curious gaze. If possible, Adrien’s smile warmed even further as he nodded, and it was looking into the literal sun itself.
“Of course, Marinette,” he agreed happily, grabbing his bag and pausing to give a half wave to their classmates. “I’ll see you guys in class.”
“See you, bro,” Nino said with a knowing smirk.
“Have fun~” Alya added, wiggling her eyebrows suggestively. Adrien shot her a confused look, but Marinette grabbed his wrist and gave a light tug before he could ask what the aspiring-reporter meant. The last thing she needed was Alya’s particular brand of ‘help’ in the ‘love department’ as she called it. Marinette ended up leading Adrien to the locker rooms because it was still a few minutes before lunch ended and the room should be empty until the bell rang. The door thudding shut behind them sounded ominous and she didn’t immediately turn around, trying to control her racing pulse before she faced him.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Adrien asked curiously, and then Marinette had to face him, whether she was ready to or not. So she did, and that only made it worse. She felt like she was suffocating, her skin tight and itchy as she stared back at the curious boy with a growing sense of dread. This was ridiculous. It was just Chat Noir . Her friend, her partner, her closest confidante… the boy she was irrevocably, head-over-heels in love with. She couldn’t help it. She started stammering. Badly. As in, worse than when she had first developed her crush on Adrien. She was tripping and stumbling over her words left and right and the more she did, the more confused Adrien looked and the more mortified she became. In her mind, she was screaming, ‘ Abort, Abort, Abort ’ but she couldn’t stop the word vomit even if she wanted to at this point. As if of their own accord, her hands lift and start gesticulating wildly as her words flow faster and faster and faster to the point where she doesn’t even know if Adrien can actually understand what she’s saying.
But she can’t stop. She’s in full panic attack mode and she can’t stop. Her heart is beating wildly and she feels lightheaded like she might pass out at any moment. And her throat hurts. The small lump that had been there previously had expanded until she could barely drag air in through her lungs and her throat felt sore as if she actually had something sitting there and rubbing against the sides of her esophagus. She knows she needs to get to the point because Adrien is just standing there looking like a lost, confused kitten and finally she pushes down the lump long enough to blurt out, “Adrien, date go out will you with me?”
And finally, finally , the panic begins to recede now that she finally got what she wanted to say off her chest. The lump recedes, her heartbeat slows to only a slightly-too-rapid rhythm, and she lifts hopeful blue eyes to Adrien’s, only to find him looking at her in shock. For a moment, neither of them seem capable of saying or doing anything. They just stare at each silently. A myriad of emotions passed over Adrien’s face, but it was hard to tell what they were, given how fast they seemed to change. The silence stretched on and on and on and Marinette was just about to rush out an apology and flee to lick her wounds in peace when Adrien did it instead. Uttering something that sounded similar to an apologie, the boy turned and fled without a backward glance, leaving Marinette alone in the empty locker room. For a long moment, the young student wasn’t sure what to do. In all her wildest imaginings, she hadn’t accounted for Adrien being the one to run away and now she wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself. Before she could figure it out, the school bell rang and within a few seconds, students were pushing through the locker room doors and brushing past her on their way to get their supplies for their next class.
Marinette left the locker room in a daze and somehow made it to her next class, French Literature, where she took her normal seat in the second row back. Adrien wasn’t there yet, and neither was Nino, but Alya, Rose, Alix, Mylene, Rose, and Juleka were there and waiting to pounce on the girl the moment she entered the room. Thankfully, the girls took one look at her face and decided to disperse without a word. Marinette slid into her seat forcefully and dropped her back, wincing as she heard the muffled squeak of protest from her Kwami. She would have to apologize to her later. For now, she would give in to whatever comfort her best friend provided. Scanning her face, Alya made a soft crooning sound and slid across the bench to wrap an arm tightly around her waist.
“Aww, Mare. I’m sorry,” she whispered gently.
“He ran away, Alya,” she mumbled, blinking rapidly to force back the tears threatening to burst forth. Adrien could walk through the door at any moment and she was not turning into a blubbering mess.
“He what!?” Alya squawked in shock, softening her voice when she noticed her best friend flinch at her volume. “He ran !? What in the actual hell?”
“Look, just forget it. Adrien obviously doesn’t feel the same way, just drop it,” Marinette mumbled. Alya looked like she wanted to argue, but at that moment, Adrien entered the classroom and forced them to fall silent. Marinette immediately fixed her eyes on the table in front of her while beside her, Alya was practically vibrating as she seethed with anger. Adrien paused beside his seat, and she could see out of the corner of her eye that his body was angled towards her like he was tempted to say something, but in the end, he chose to slide into his seat wordlessly.
Class was torture. It was fortunate that they had a substitute teacher today who just had them work on whatever they wanted to because Marinette couldn’t concentrate to save her life. Not in that class, or any of the remaining classes of the day, which seemed intent on inching by at a snail’s pace. Marinette would have just gone home, but being Ladybug had already severely damaged her attendance record and if she missed any more school, she would probably get flagged for truancy. Okay, it wasn’t nearly that bad but give her a break. Heartbroken people deserve to be a bit extra. Finally, the last bell rang and it was time to go home. Marinette was relieved. The emotional trauma of the day and trying to contain her tears had taken their toll and she just wanted to go home. Luckily, Alya was a Godsend and hustled Marinette up and out the door before Adrien even had a chance to rise, shooting a meaningful look back at Nino as she did so. No doubt she would have Nino get all the details out of him for Alya to share with Marinette later.
To say the ravenette was not looking forward to learning why her partner and crush could never see himself with her romantically was an understatement and the words ‘plain’ and ‘average’ and ‘boring’ flashed across her mind before she shoved them down. She was too emotionally, mentally, and physically tired for this shit and at this point, all she wanted to do was crawl into her bed and cry. So, when the two girls reached the Dupain-Cheng Bakery, Marinette pasted on a smile and assured Alya she would be fine alone. Alya didn’t look like she believed her but agreed to give her best friend space she so desperately craved. They hugged briefly before parting ways. Marinette headed into the bakery, forcing herself to call out a cheery greeting with a cheery smile and assure her parents that school was great, but she was tired and wanted to lay down a bit. As parents usually are, Tom and Sabine were oblivious to their daughter’s inner turmoil, though that might have something to do with how slammed the bakery was, and for once Marinette was grateful. She didn’t want to answer any more questions than she had to.
Excusing herself, she climbed the stairs to the apartment and then to her attic bedroom, closing her trap door behind her. She set her bags down on her desk and then dug through her drawers for her comfiest pair of pajamas, pulling them on and tossing her school clothes in the hamper. Methodically, she tugged her ponytails loose and finger combed her hair into submission. She was aware of Tikki’s worried gaze on her as she climbed her ladder and crawled into bed, immediately curling up with the old cat-shaped body pillow she had gotten when she was about eight years old. Resting her chin atop the stuffed cat’s head, she stared blankly into space until her Kwami decided she was brave enough to venture up to the loft and hover worriedly in front of her chosen’s face.
“Marinette? Are you okay?” She asked tentatively. Marinette closed her eyes, the first of her tears welling up and spilling down her cheeks. She shook her head and sniffled mournfully. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“I just want to be left alone, Tikki,” she whispered brokenly, burying her face into the pillow as her shoulders shook with suppressed sobs. Tikki hesitated, but after a moment she flitted away mutely. Her chosen would seek comfort and guidance when she was ready. Until then, Tikki would give her the space she needed, no matter how hard it was. In the loft above, Marinette continued to cry.