“I just think it’s weird that you aren’t even curious. Can you hand me that hair tie?” Alya asked, pointing with one hand while she held a ponytail of her hair in the other.
Marinette plucked the black band from the clutter of their bathroom counter and gave it to her roommate. “I never said I wasn’t curious.”
“You should just flag Chat Noir down one night and be like ‘Hey, what’s up? I’m Ladybug. We should hang out.’ I bet he would totally be down for it. He seems cool.”
“Yeah, that sounds like something I would say,” she snorted. “Why would he even believe me?”
“Because you just radiate badassness.”
“That’s not a thing and I’m pretty sure if it was, it’s not something I give off as Marinette.”
Alya gave her an appraising nod. “Yeah, maybe not so much usually, but sometimes badass Marinette peeks through,” she teased. “Anyway, you should meet him and then you should be like, by the way, my roommate runs a blog about us and you should let her interview you.”
“Ah, and the truth comes out.” Marinette picked up her toothbrush and reached for the toothpaste. “This is less about Ladybug meeting Chat Noir and more about Alya meeting Chat Noir.”
“I’m offended right now. Wounded even.”
“Mmhmm.” Marinette watched her reflection as she brushed her teeth. “You know,” she mumbled through a mouthful of toothpaste, “it isn’t like he seems to be looking for me either.”
“How do you know? He could’ve gone up to hundreds of women at this point and asked them if they’re Ladybug,” Alya grinned.
Marinette spit into the sink and wiped her mouth. “In that case, it’s probably a good thing he hasn’t found me then.”
Marinette knew she should’ve never gotten out of bed on this particular Wednesday. She overslept her alarm and as she was rushing to work, she had to transform and stop someone from robbing a convenience store she was passing. By the time the police arrived to arrest the would-be thief, she’d already missed the morning rush at the bakery and although her parents kindly accepted her apology, she still felt crummy. Her being late meant her father missed a doctor’s appointment that she’d pushed him to schedule in the first place.
“We know you have other,” Sabine cut her eyes around the bakery and lowered her voice, “responsibilities, sweetie. We aren’t upset.”
“Yeah, but I still hate letting you guys down.”
“Your father can reschedule his appointment.”
“I know, but...” Marinette sighed. “Thanks, Mom.”
Sabine pulled her daughter into a hug. “We’re both so proud of you. Don’t worry about us.”
The rest of her shift at the bakery had been filled with demanding customers and a mishap with a dozen cream-filled pastries that left her feeling gross and exhausted by the time she’d finished up closing duties and bid her parents goodbye before beginning her trek back home. While it would’ve been easier most days if she was still living with her parents, it was nice to get away from the bakery sometimes.
The sun had almost completely set when she felt the one last pulse of power in her earrings and then they were still against her skin. It’d been an odd sensation to adjust to at first. During the daylight hours, the earrings gently vibrated against her lobes as a constant reminder that she could be transformed into Ladybug and be doing other things. Unfortunately her life didn’t stop just because she’d been chosen as one of the city’s protectors. She often wondered how much easier it must be for Chat Noir who only had to worry about missing things at night.
“You look like you’ve had a rough day.”
Marinette blinked up in surprise to see Chat Noir perched on a brick column near the gate of the park. “I’m sorry?”
“You look like someone who could use some cheering up.” He grinned and casually dropping down as if it wouldn’t have been an injury-inducing fall for the average person. “Would you like an escort home?”
“What makes you think I’m going home?”
He looked panicked for a quick moment before his charming smile slid back into place. “Well, you do have frosting in your hair and all over your clothes but I suppose it could be a fashion statement.”
Marinette couldn’t help but laugh. “Not a fashion statement. I work at the bakery and it was a bit of a day.” She pointed back towards the building.
“Ah, that makes sense then. I don’t think I could work at a bakery. I’d eat everything before it could be sold.”
“Well, when your clothes and your hair and your skin start smelling like everything you sell, it’s surprisingly good at curbing your appetite for the stuff.”
“If you say so.” He shifted his weight as he looked down the street. “So did you want me to walk you home?”
“Don’t you have some hero stuff to do somewhere else in the city?”
“Seems to be a quiet night.”
“The night just started.”
He ducked his head shyly. “Wishful thinking then, maybe.”
“I think I’ll be fine. Thanks though.” Marinette began on her way again with a small wave but could feel his eyes on her until she turned the corner. She half expected him to follow her but after another block, she decided he must’ve taken her word for it when she said she was fine. She felt relieved and almost disappointed, but for a first meeting with her heroic counterpart, it had been a nice one at least. Maybe her Wednesday hadn’t been completely terrible after all.