Chapter 1: Words are hard.
Marinette tapped the toe of her shoe against the floor of the empty classroom as she tried to look anywhere but at Adrien. Adrien Agreste. Her classmate. Her partner. Chat Noir.
She knew they were the same person now. Had known since last Friday’s akuma attack. It was Monday morning now. She glanced up to sneak a look at the room's other occupant. She saw his green eyes focused on her. Heat burned through her face as she quickly averted her eyes.
Well, this is awkward… she thought with a wry smile. Why did I think this would be a good idea? I should’ve just pretended like Friday never happened.
But Marinette could remember the events too clearly to even pretend to forget them.
There was a loud crash as the latest akuma rampaged through the school. She had been searching for a place to transform, when another crash sounded nearby and a pillar began to fall. Before she could move, someone had tackled her into a utility closet. The door slammed behind them and a resounding boom filled the air as the pillar completed its fall.
As dust cleared from the air, Marinette looked up to see who had saved her, their hand was still carefully cradling her head. The boy above her coughed, then looked down at her with concern etched in his features.
“Marinette, are you okay?” Adrien asked.
She nodded silently. Adrien had just risked his life to save her. Actually, he did that fairly often. It seemed like it was always either him or Chat Noir jumping in to save her when she needed it.
She accepted his help getting up with a muttered thank you and then they both turned to the door. She knew she needed to get out. She couldn’t stay there through the whole akuma attack. Maybe if I just wait long enough Chat will get here. For right now though, I have to figure out a way out of here.
“Will the door open?” Marinette asked, watching as Adrien examined the utility door.
He pulled on the knob but the door made no movement aside from a creaking sound of the handle. “No luck,” he replied, his voice sounding wry. He leaned against the wall then offered her a weak smile. “I guess we just have to wait for Ladybug and Chat Noir to get here?”
Marinette nodded, allowing herself to lean against the opposite wall. She pulled out her phone and loaded up the Ladyblog’s livestream on mute. The akuma was still trashing the school and there was no sign of her partner.
She let out a groan of frustration that startled Adrien. “Where is that cat?” she muttered.
Adrien ran a hand over his face. “Still no sign of Ladybug?” He asked.
She shook her head. “Chat Noir isn’t there either.” She turned her phone and showed him the footage.
He nodded grimly.
Marinette took in his features. There he was, the love of her life, who had just risked everything to save her and she was standing here letting him try to figure this out. That’s it. I’ll just have to reveal my identity. I can trust Adrien to keep it a secret. Though, Chat won’t be happy.
“Marinette,” Adrien said, his voice suddenly serious.
She looked up, unsure of what was happening.
Adrien placed a hand on her shoulder. “Chat Noir isn’t coming,” he said the words with a calm finality that scared her. What did he know? What had happened to her partner?
Suddenly, his lips twitched upwards in an uncertain smile.
“He isn’t coming because he’s currently stuck inside of a utility closet with you.” He took a step back. “I’m going to have to ask you not to freak out and to stay safe. I’ll talk to Ladybug about my identity thing later,” he shot her a wink, “but I’m sure you can keep it a secret, right Princess?”
Marinette could feel her jaw drop. She didn’t have any chance to absorb the information however because the next second he was transforming. Green light flooded the small room and then Adrien was replaced with Chat Noir.
He flashed her a confident smirk, though his eyes told a different story. “Just give me a second and I’ll figure out how to get us out of here.” He rubbed at the back of his neck. “Normally, Ladybug comes up with these plans.”
She watched as his eyes darted around the closet. Searching for an answer. Another crash sounded outside in the hall and Marinette felt herself jump into action. Because, after all, she was Ladybug.
“We don’t want to waste your cataclysm if we don’t have to. Maybe you can use your baton to take off the knob and then hook your baton through the hole to pull the door open?”
Chat stared at her with wide eyes. Then Marinette realized she hadn’t transformed yet. She smiled at him, enjoying the surprise in his eyes. “Hi, Chaton,” she unzipped her purse and spoke quickly, knowing they still had an akuma to fight. “Tikki, spots on!” And a pink light filled the room.
After that they had defeated the akuma quickly, but having both used their powers, they had had to leave immediately once the akuma was cleansed. School had been over after the attack and Adrien had spent the weekend in the French countryside for photo shoots.
She had known she wouldn’t make it through their first class without talking first, so Marinette had arrived early and the second Adrien had walked into the classroom, she had whisked him away to talk to him in private. Hopefully, Nino wouldn’t be too suspicious of her interrupting their conversation.
His timid voice broke through her thoughts, reminding her that the room had another occupant. She looked at him and saw how nervous he was. It was visible in his body language, his face, his eyes. She closed her eyes for a second and breathed out, channeling Ladybug, then took a step closer to him.
“So, we probably have a lot to talk about still, but maybe first we should both take a minute to freak out?” She offered with a forced smile.
Adrien’s eyes widened and he nodded. “Yeah, that might be good.”
Marinette let herself slip down to sit on the floor of the empty classroom and Adrien followed. “So, you’re Chat Noir.”
Adrien let out a shaky laugh but nodded. “And you are Ladybug.”
They weren’t looking at each other. That was probably the only thing letting them each hold it together.
She could hear Adrien shift beside her, and when she looked at him, he had turned his body towards her. “Can I ask you a question?” He asked, his eyes flicking between her face and the floor.
A light pink dusted his ears. “Um, are you-” he swallowed, a hand moved to rub at his neck. “Are you okay that it’s me?”
Marinette’s eyes went wide. “Am I? You? That you are him?”
He nodded for her to continue though he looked like he was bracing himself for her response.
She blew out and her breath shifted her bangs. “Adrien, if I'm being honest,” she looked down at her hands and twisted the strap of her purse. “there is no one I would rather have as my partner.”
She heard him gulp and when she looked up, his ears were ever darker pink. “Are you?” She asked.
He took a second and then opened his mouth to respond. “Am I?” He asked, pointing to himself.
She nodded. “Are you, um, okay with it being me?”
He laughed, and she felt happiness bubble up inside of her. “I am the happiest cat in the world.”
She couldn’t stop the snort that escaped her. “You are a dork,” she blurted out.
He laughed, grinning as he watched her start to laugh too.
The five minute warning bell sounded above them and Marinette pushed herself to her feet. “I guess we should get to class.” She offered him a hand to help him up and smiled shyly as he accepted.
They moved toward the door, hands still clasped together. Suddenly, Adrien stopped. She looked at him in confusion. “Everything okay?”
He was blushing again. “Yeah, I just,” he sighed, “I’m pretty sure if I don’t do this now, I won’t have the courage to do it later.”
Adrien took hold of both of her hands and looked into her eyes. “Wow,” he forced a laugh, “This is so much harder without the masks.”
Marinette tried to ignore how loud her heartbeat was in favor of giving his hands an encouraging squeeze.
“Marinette, My lady, you are and have been the best thing in my world since we first met. And, that first akuma battle, I swore that I loved you and would love the girl under the mask as well.” He paused and reached into his schoolbag. He pulled out a single red rose and held it out to her. “I wanted to know if we could try out dating? Even just one date.”
Marinette’s heartbeat thundered in her ears. She could only feel how warm the room had suddenly gotten. Were her hands sweating? She forced herself to meet his eyes.
“Adrien, I- I feel,” she closed her eyes, finding the words weren’t coming. As much as she wanted, she couldn’t make the words leave her mouth. It’s just Chat. You’ve talked to him a thousand times. She opened her eyes and let them focus in on the rose instead of the way Adrien was staring at her expectantly.
“Chat, you are my best friend. And I couldn’t ask for a better partner. I think that we should just stay friends though.” She glanced up at him and watched as his face fell. Confusion filled her. Why did he look sad? She had just accepted his confession. What did I-?
A smile reappeared on his face and he nodded. “Yeah, no that’s fine. I understand. You're my best friend too.” He squeezed the hand he was still holding and then let go. “You can keep the rose. It still matches your suit.” He pushed it into her hand and stepped past her toward the door. “You’re right, we should be heading to class.” He pulled open the door, then looked back at her when he realized she hadn’t moved. “Are you coming?”
She nodded. “You go ahead. I just need a second.”
He watched her, eyes full of concern, before nodding and stepping out of the classroom.
Marinette waited until his footsteps disappeared down the hall, before opening her purse and leaning in to talk to her kwami. “Tikki! Please tell me that did not just happen like I think it happened.” Marinette watched the red kwami anxiously.
Tikki's eyes flitted back and forth between Marinette and the doorway. “Well, um, yes it did, Marinette.”
She let out a groan and dropped to the floor covering her face with her hands. “Why? Why did I say we were good as just friends?! After everything. How did I let that happen?!”
Tikki patted her head gently. “It's okay, Marinette. I’m sure if you just talk to Adrien he'll understand.”
Marinette a head shot up, her eyes wild. “And what, Tikki? Tell him, ‘I’m sorry but I got so freaked out by your confession that I’ve been waiting for for the last year, that I accidentally rejected you.’?”
The bell rang overhead and Marinette forced herself to her feet. “I guess there’s no avoiding class. At least I won’t have to talk to him.”
Tikki gave Marinette’s cheek a nuzzle before darting back into her purse. “I’m sure everything will work out just fine, Marinette.”
Marinette made her way down the hall, trying to calm herself. She could only hope that class would be enough of a distraction from what had just happened.
Prompts Used: Just Friends