Chapter 1: Words are hard.
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
Once Marinette entered her classroom, any hopes of having a distraction during class and being able to forget what had just happened, were dashed. They were dashed because for some unknown reason, Adrien was now seated in Alya’s usual seat. Alya was now seated in the front row next to Nino.
Mlle. Bustier looked up from calling roll to acknowledge Marinette’s entrance. “Thank you for joining us, Marinette. If you wouldn’t mind taking your seat?”
Marinette glanced from her teacher to her best friend. What had happened while she was talking to Adrien? He looked just as surprised by the change as she did, so she doubted he had rushed back to class to sit next to the girl who just rejected him.
She nodded to Mlle. Bustier and then made her way to her seat. As she passed Alya, she bent to whisper to her friend. “What happened?”
Alya winked at her but said nothing. The next moment, Marinette was seated next to Adrien. Her partner and her crush whom she had just rejected. She barely resisted the urge to let her head smack onto the desk.
As Mlle. Bustier began class, Marinette sneaked a glance at her new seat mate. Adrien was staring straight ahead, intently focused on their teacher, but his ears were tinged pink. She could see the way his leg bounced and his fingers drummed softly against the desk. If anyone understood how awkward this was, it was him.
Marinette’s phone buzzed in her purse and she did her best to stealthily pull it into her lap. She swiped it open and saw a message from Alya.
Alya: Hey girl, you can thank me after class. ;)
Marinette shot a glare at the back of her best friend's head before typing out a response.
Me: Thank you for what?
It only took a second for Alya to respond.
Alya: For seating you next to your new bf. ;* Nino told me Adrien was going to confess. I want all the dets later.
Marinette wanted to faceplant her desk again. So, apparently everyone knew Adrien was going to confess. How did I screw this up so badly? Everything could be been perfect. She groaned and her head landed on her desk.
She finally got to be seat buddies with Adrien, and she’d already ruined it by rejecting him.
Adrien watched the girl seated next to him. He had been horrified when he’d entered class and been told that Alya needed his seat until she got her new glasses. If he hadn’t just humiliated himself by confessing to his crush and being rejected then he would’ve been over the moon with excitement for the new seating arrangement. Instead, he was just embarrassed.
Then he’d seen Marinette enter the classroom. He couldn’t have predicted how painful it would be to see how much she didn’t want to sit next to him. That had hurt worse than being rejected again.
Though, that was his fault he guessed. I had to go and confess again and make things awkward, didn’t I? Couldn’t leave well enough alone.
There was a thump on the desk next to him and he risked a glance at Marinette. She was face down on her desk looking exceedingly miserable.
Yeah, this really couldn’t get any more embarrassing.
He was wrong apparently. His day could get much more embarrassing.
Class had barely ended when he heard footsteps behind him. He was still acutely aware of Marinette packing up her belongings beside him. There was a tap on his shoulder and he looked up to see Nathaniel.
“Hey, Adrien,” Nathaniel greeted.
Adrien gave a little wave, sure his confusion was clear on his face. He and Nath were friends, but they didn’t usually spend much time talking in between classes. “Hey, Nathaniel. What’s up?”
Nathaniel was smiling as he dug into his bag. “Well, you seemed really excited for it when you asked me to make you that sketch, so I wanted to give it to you as soon as it was done.”
Adrien could feel his stomach sinking. He had completely forgotten that he had commissioned Nathaniel for a sketch two weeks ago. He chanced a glance at his seat partner and realized that not only was she still sitting there she seemed to be very interested in what was happening with him and Nathaniel.
Nathaniel pulled out a folder and opened it.
“Actually, Nath, maybe you could hang onto-”
Before he could finish his request, the sketch was set down on the desk in front of him.
“It was a lot of fun to draw it. I haven’t gotten many commissions for pictures of my classmates and it was cool to have a new challenge.”
Adrien had zoned out as Nathaniel continued talking about the intricacies of drawing. Instead, his eyes were solely focused on the sketch staring back at him. The sketch was a picture of Ladybug rescuing him. That in itself wouldn’t have been so bad, except for the fact that Ladybug was holding him similar to how she had held him when saving him from Gorizilla.
Her yo-yo was hooked onto something far above them and she had one arm wrapped around his waist pulling him flush against her. He had one arm wrapped around her waist and the other on her shoulder. There was a faint blush on both of their cheeks that he knew was nothing compared to his current blush.
“Well, I’d better get to my next class. Let me know if you ever want me to draw anything else for you.” Nathaniel’s voice snapped him out of his daydream (or should he say nightmare) and his head jerked up. He forced a polite smile.
Once Nathaniel had left the room, Adrien looked back down at the picture. Except the picture was no longer on his desk. One glance sideways told him that Marinette had taken and was now examining the artwork.
Her own face was tinged pink and he wondered what she was thinking. Would she think he was creepy? Surely, this was creepy. He groaned, dropping his face onto the desk not caring if the impact would bruise his forehead.
Hide me. Someone. Anyone. Hide me. Just take me far away from here.
Marinette tapped his shoulder and he peered up at her through his bangs.
“I commissioned that weeks ago. I’m really sorry.” His voice was small and so incredibly embarrassed.
Marinette shook her head and held it out to him. He lifted his head and accepted it as she gave him her trademarked Marinette “best friend and kindest girl in the world” smile.
“Don’t worry about it. Nath is an amazing artist. It’s a really great picture.” She stood up and pulled her bag onto her shoulder.
He had to be imagining things. There was no way she was being this cool about it. How is she this amazing?
A giggle interrupted his thoughts and he saw her eyes sparkling. “You should really get a frame for it.” With a wave she was gone down the steps and out the classroom door with Alya.
He sighed and dropped his head back onto the desk. Yeah, she was totally teasing him about this. He would never hear the end of it.
Nino tapped his shoulder. “You okay, dude?”
Adrien shook his head. “Hide me. No, forget hiding me. Just kill me now.”
Prompts used: Seat Buddies, Embarrassing, Hide Me
Chapter 2.5: an interlude
Once their last class of the morning had ended, Alya rose from her seat next to Nino and turned to flash a smirk at their friends. “Thanks for letting me switch seats with you, Adrien.”
Adrien nodded, “Yeah, no problem.”
“Well, Nino and I are-”
Alya's statement was interrupted by Marinette suddenly grabbing her arm and yanking her out of her seat. “Sorry, Nino! I'm borrowing her.”
Before either of the boys could blink, both girls were gone from the room. Nino shook his head, “Girls are weird.” He grinned at Adrien. “Wanna get lunch with me? I mean, I know I’m not your girlfriend but…”
As they walked, Nino held out a fist to Adrien and waited for him to return contact. When that didn’t happen, he looked at the other boy. “What’s wrong, dude? I thought you’d be over the moon about having a girlfriend.”
Adrien shifted his bag against his shoulder as they stepped out of the classroom. “Actually, I don’t have a girlfriend,” he admitted softly. “Marinette said no.”
Nino stopped dead in his tracks. “Excuse me? She said what now?”
Adrien glanced back at him. He shrugged it off. “It’s all right. She said she’d rather we just focus on being friends and…” he blew out a slow breath. “I can be okay with that. I would rather have her as a friend than as nothing. She means too much to me.”
Nino gaped at his friend. “But, you should talk to her. Maybe she was just… you know, tongue tied.”
The blond shook his head, “Don’t worry about it, Nino. I’d rather just let it go and focus on something else.”
Nino patted his shoulder. “ ‘Course, bro. Let’s get to my place. We can grub and then play video games until class.”
“What is going on, girl?” Alya exclaimed the second the trap door closed behind them.
Both girls had rushed to Marinette’s house, through the kitchen (barely taking a moment to grab the plates of food her mom had left out for them) and into Marinette’s room.
Marinette began to pace the length of her room. She tugged at her hair, loosing her pigtails with her nervous habit. “Adrien confessed to me.”
From her seat on the chaise, Alya nodded, taking a bite of the sandwich Sabine had made for her. “I know that. That’s why I switched seats with lover boy.”
Marinette paused in her pacing. “Yeah, but I screwed it up.” She chewed on her lower lip, eyes darting around the room as if searching for a way to fix whatever she had messed up.
Setting her plate on the desk, Alya looked up at her friend. “What did you do, girl? It can’t have been that bad.”
Marinette marched to stand in front of Alya. She reached out and grabbed the sides of Alya’s face, then leaned down to look her straight in the eye.
“I turned him down.”
There was screaming then. Enough screaming that Sabine came rushing up the stairs to check on them and was only willing to go back downstairs when they said that they had been excited over a new release from Jagged Stone. Once they were alone again, Alya dragged her hands down her face.
“How could you have possibly turned him down?” she asked, watching Marinette through the spaces between her fingers.
“I don’t know!” she exclaimed. “I panicked. I wasn’t expecting it.” Marinette groaned and threw herself onto the chaise, head landing on Alya’s lap. “Now we’ll never get married! And I’ll be doomed to live alone for the rest of my life. Then I’ll die of loneliness!”
Alya patted the side of Marinette’s head. “It’ll be fine. Just tell him the truth.”
Marinette pushed herself up onto her elbows, looking at her friend incredulously. “Yes, Alya, of course. Why didn’t I think of that? I’ll just say ‘Hey hot stuff, I totally didn’t mean to reject you earlier when you confessed to me. I just have had such an embarrassing crush on you for the last year that I accidentally rejected you instead of saying yes.’”
Alya rolled her eyes. “Fine. Then we can come up with a different plan. I’ll call the girls and we’ll figure it out.” She opened her phone and started to pull up her contacts when Marinette spoke up.
“No, Alya. You’re right.” She pushed herself back into a sitting position. “I need to fix this on my own. I just have to figure out exactly how to do that.”
Alya rested a hand on her friend’s shoulder, her eyes smiling gently. “Everything will be fine, girl. You and Adrien are meant to be. It’ll happen eventually.”
Marinette nodded with a smile. “I hope so, Alya.”
“Well, I know so. Now let’s eat, I’m starving!”
By the time she arrived back at school, Marinette had a plan in place. Step one was that she had to get herself comfortable around Adrien. If she didn’t, she knew there would be no hope of properly explaining what had happened and accepting his confession. So, as she returned to her classroom and saw Adrien sitting at the shared desk, she gave herself an internal pep talk.
Come on, Marinette. You can do this. He’s your best friend. Your partner. You need to fix this before he thinks you hate him.
She marched up to her seat confidently and dropped her bag down on the desk. “Hey, Adrien,” she greeted with a smile.
Good so far.
Adrien's head jerked up and his eyes widened in surprise. “H-hey, Marinette.” He rubbed the back of his neck as she took her seat.
Marinette felt her stomach plummet. He was nervous. She had made her kitty scared of her. She reached over and lightly punched his arm. “How cool is this that we get to be seat buddies for a while? I was thinking,” she swallowed. Keep it cool. You can do this. “That maybe we could even let the seat switch stay for a while. No reason to switch back if we’re all happy. What do you think?” She glanced down at where their best friends sat in the desk below them.
Adrien’s cheeks flushed and he followed Marinette’s gaze to where Alya had snuggled up next to Nino. “Yeah, you’re right. I mean,” his eyes darted back up to her before flicking down to their own desk. “If you’re fine with it, I am.”
Marinette reached out a hand and placed it on top of Adrien’s hand that rested on the seat between them. “I think this will be a lot of fun.” She did her best to smile brightly at him and was satisfied when Adrien returned the smile.
And if their hands stayed touching for the first portion of their class, well neither of them complained.
Chapter 3: Hats are dangerous.
5 Days Later: Saturday Afternoon
“Marinette, you have a text,” Tikki called over to her.
Marinette stepped away from the fabric she was pinning to her dress form. She gave it one more critical look before stepping over to her desk where Tikki waited next to her chosen's phone.
It had been a whole week since the akuma attack that had revealed her and Chat Noir’s identities and five days since she had accidentally rejected Adrien. She had been looking forward to a relaxing weekend of designing and coming to terms with her partner's identity.
She checked her messages and realized that those plans would have to change. “Tikki, we need to go.” Marinette told her, carefully packing away her loose pins (knowing she’d likely find them later with her bare feet if she didn’t do so).
“What is it?” the kwami floated up next to the phone.
There was a text message still visible on the screen.
Adrien: Marinette, I need your help. ASAP. I’m sorry for bothering you, but it’s something only you can do.
Tikki frowned at the phone. “Maybe you could call-”
Marinette shook her head. “Sorry, Tikki. No time! Adrien might be in trouble. I need to go.”
“I don’t think it’s-”
“Tikki, spots on!”
Adrien paced his room waiting for Marinette to text him back. Maybe then he could call her and explain the situation. She could figure out what to do. As long as she came today everything should be fine.
A tap at his window startled him enough that he nearly tripped over his own feet. He looked up and saw Ladybug hanging next to his window.
He hurried to the window and opened it, allowing her to climb inside. She looked around. Her eyes were focused, her mouth firm in a determined line. She looked… battle ready?
“Are you okay?” she asked after a moment of surveying the room. “Is there an akuma?”
She was gripping his shoulders and looking straight into his eyes. He almost got lost.
He shook his head. “I mean, there’s no akuma. I’m fine.”
Ladybug dropped her head and let out a breath. Then she looked back up at him. “Then what was that text about?”
He looked away sheepishly. “Well, it was less of a Ladybug emergency and more of a Marinette emergency.”
Her hands dropped from where they had been holding his shoulders and he immediately missed her touch.
“Oh,” she squeaked, “a Marinette emergency.”
Was she blushing or was he imagining that?
She closed her eyes. “Tikki, spots off.” A flash of pink later and Tikki had appeared next to Marinette.
Tikki smirked at her before Marinette shooed her away. “Fine. I may have overreacted.”
Adrien couldn’t help the grin that appeared on his face. “Did you really rush all the way here because you thought there was an akuma after me, Bugaboo?” He leaned down into her space.
She pushed a finger against the tip of his nose, giving herself more space. “Well, your text was vague and it wouldn’t be the first time an akuma had targeted you.” She counted off on her fingers silently. “Or the second or third time now that I think about it.” She giggled and Adrien felt his heart soar. “So, what was this Marinette emergency you needed help with?”
Adrien could feel his face grow warm as he rubbed at the back of his neck. “Well, my father has some designs being sent ahead for a fashion exhibition we’re attending in Milan next week.” He dropped down onto his couch and Marinette sat beside him.
“I was just borrowing something for a couple of minutes. I really didn’t think it would hurt anything.”
Marinette gaped at him. “You borrowed a Gabriel design and something happened to it?” She tugged at her pigtails. “What do you want me to do about that?!”
“It wasn’t a Gabriel design,” he muttered. He looked down at his feet.
Marinette sat quiet as his words sunk in. How could it have been a piece for Gabriel but not designed by him? “So, it was a piece by a guest designer?” She asked.
Adrien gave a sheepish nod.
“I still don’t see how I can help. Wouldn’t it be better to just get Nathalie to contact the designer personally?”
He forced a smile as his eyes met hers. “That’s kind of why I called you.”
“It was my hat?”
Adrien looked back up at her again. “I’m really sorry, Marinette. I know how hard you worked on it, and then I was fooling around and messed it up.” He sighed and covered his face with his hands, letting his head fall against the back of the couch. “I’m a horrible friend and an irresponsible model,” he groaned.
Marinette couldn’t resist the urge to comfort him and reached out her hand. She patted his hair gently. “There, there, Chaton. I’m sure we can figure it out. Where’s the hat?”
She tried to ignore the way he leaned into her touch. She had to focus right now. The derby hat wasn’t going to fix itself.
Adrien got up from the couch and moved in front of his desk. He opened one of the drawers and pulled out the hat. Laughter could be heard from across his room and Adrien threw a glare that direction.
“Shut up, Plagg. It’s not funny.”
Marinette gave him a reassuring smile and held out her hands. “I’m sure it’s not that bad.”
He placed the hat in her hands hesitantly and then quickly pulled his hands back, balling them into fists at his sides. He stood still watching for her to inspect the hat and give an assessment of the damages. Marinette turned it over in her hands, rotating it carefully in a circle.
Most of the hat looked perfectly fine. There were a couple of loose strings that had been pulled and the synthetic feather had bent rather badly. When she examined the top of the hat however, she found where the real damage had occurred. A seam around the edge of the hat had busted open. The thread had been broken in several places leaving a large gap through which she was sure Adrien’s hair would’ve poked out if he were to try and wear that while walking down a runway.
“I am so sorry, Marinette.”
Her eyes drifted up to his face and she realized from the worry there that she must’ve been looking pretty serious about it. She waved her hands in front of her (and by extension the hat) and tried to clarify her expression. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure I can fix it. It’s not too bad.”
Another bout of laughter sounded as the black cat kwami zoomed over to perch atop Adrien's computer screen. “Are you kidding, Bug?” He cackled. “The kid completely wrecked it! He didn’t even need a cataclysm for that.”
Adrien blushed and shot a glare at Plagg. Tikki flitted next to Adrien’s shoulder, observing the hat.
“Don’t worry, Adrien. I’m sure Marinette can fix it in time.” The red kwami nuzzled his cheek before zooming over to Plagg. “For now, why don’t you get me some cookies. Marinette was in such a rush she forgot to bring any.”
Plagg groaned, “You with your sweet tooth, Sugarcube.”
“At least I’m better than you with your stinky cheese,” she retorted. Plagg rolled his eyes before leading Tikki out of the room.
Marinette suddenly felt far more awkward. She was standing alone with Adrien in his room. Maybe now was as good time to try and explain her feelings. It had been fairly easy to talk to him throughout the week, since sitting together had forced her to stay calm. She could fix things, tell him that rejecting him had been a mistake. She had only done it because she had been panicking.
“What supplies do you need to fix the hat?” Adrien asked suddenly, pulling Marinette from her reverie.
Right… I have to repair the hat. It won’t do me any good to confess now if he'll be grounded for the next century. She pushed a soft smile onto her lips. “Does your dad have a kit here at the house for repairs?”
They had had to wait for the kwamis to return, in order to get Plagg’s help unlocking the door to Gabriel's office. Once that had been done Adrien had shown Marinette to his father's desk and pressed a button which opened a large compartment to reveal a sewing machine (one far too expensive for Marinette to even bring herself to touch it) and various tools.
“This is amazing,” she breathed out, allowing her hand to hover over the various threads and other tools.
Behind her, Adrien cleared his throat. She glanced at him and saw he was smirking at her. “Should I give you two a minute alone?” He waggled his eyebrows suggestively, eyeing the sewing machine.
Marinette felt her face flush and she stuck her tongue out. “Shut up, kitty. It’s your fault I had to rush over here to fix this anyways. I would think you could give me a moment to take in all of these treasures I could never hope to afford.”
Adrien reached out and brushed the top of her hand with his fingers. “I’m sure it won’t be long before you’ll be rich and famous enough to have the fanciest of sewing equipment.” His eyes sparkled and Marinette had to look away to prevent herself from swooning.
She lowered herself into the desk chair, realizing quickly that due to their height difference, she wouldn’t be able to properly reach both the desk and floor. She contemplated adjusting the seat height for only a moment before deciding against it, Gabriel would certainly notice if his chair was moved from its original position. She instead tucked her feet under herself, so she could kneel. As she began to search for the correct thread, she spoke to her companions. “Can you three try to find a feather like this one? Your father should have more somewhere around here since he was the one to provide me with it in the first place.”
Adrien nodded and moved to the other side of the desk. He and the kwami’s searched the drawers until they found a box of different decorations and embellishments. While they dug through, Marinette removed the broken threads from the top of the hat carefully.
“So, Chaton,” she asked, her voice quiet as she focused. “What did happen to the hat?”
Adrien froze, hand hovering over the box. “Um, well,” he swallowed hard. “You don’t really want to hear about that.”
Plagg opened his mouth and Adrien slapped a hand over it. “Say anything and no camembert for a month.”
Tikki giggled. “Sounds like it is something we would like to hear about.”
Marinette hummed in agreement, continuing to repair the hat. Her eyes flickered up to her partner before returning to her work. “So, what happened?”
Adrien groaned. “I kind of took it out to try it on and…” he clenched a fist and continued, “I dropped the hat.”
Plagg let out a peal of laughter. “What he means is, he was trying to record himself doing what he calls ‘dancing’.” Adrien reached to grab the cat but Plagg flew up out of reach. “And he dropped the hat, then he slipped on it, then he fell on his butt on top of it!”
Giggles burst forth from Marinette and Tikki while Plagg grinned proudly. Adrien crossed his arms over his chest with a huff, pouting. “No camembert for three months,” he hissed.
Marinette rose to her feet and patted Adrien on the arm. “Is that really what happened?” Her eyes were still dancing with laughter, but her smile was kind.
Adrien rubbed at the back of his neck. His ears tinged pink as she watched him. He nodded slowly. “It was for one of those video challenge things. I was trying to record myself dancing and I wore the hat because I thought it made me look cooler. But then,” he gestured toward the hat. “Well, you get the idea.”
She nodded, then squeezed his arm affectionately. “Well, we’ve almost got the hat good as new. Any luck finding the feather?”
Tikki popped out of the box with a triumphant “Aha!” holding a synthetic feather.
Marinette beamed at her kwami and took the feather. “Thanks, Tikki! You guys give me just a few more minutes and I’ll have this taken care of.”
Adrien stared down at the completed hat in awe. In just a short amount of time, Marinette had managed to repair the damage he had done and made the hat look brand new again. He had sent Marinette back to his room with the kwamis and dug through the boxes to find the hat box where the missing hat belonged.
He replaced it quickly and headed back to his bedroom. The sound of laughter made him freeze in his tracks as he approached the door.
“Oh no, Plagg!” He cursed under his breath and pushed the door open. Inside the room, Marinette was seated in front of his computer with the kwamis on either side of her.
Playing across the screen was the video of his attempted dance routine. He cursed himself for not deleting it immediately, but he had panicked and texted Marinette first. Now it had come back to bite him. He stormed across the room, embarrassment fueling his steps, and slammed a hand down on the mouse, closing out the window just as he saw himself fall on his butt.
Marinette looked up at him. She at least had the decency to look sorry.
“I didn’t… Plagg put it on…” she blew out a slow breath, “Sorry, Adrien. I should’ve asked.”
Adrien forced down the blush that was threatening to engulf him. It wasn’t like Marinette didn’t know how much of a dork he was. He waved off her apology. “It’s fine. I shouldn’t have trusted Plagg alone with my computer.”
A glare at Plagg sent the kwami into another fit of laughter as Tikki shushed him.
Marinette looked up at him and reached a hand up to brush against his hair. He resisted the urge to nuzzle against her hand.
“You looked like you fell kind of hard though, are you okay?” she asked. Her voice was all concern, no teasing or laughter was there now.
He nodded, suddenly breathless under her gentle gaze.
She smiled. “I’m glad. And just so you know,” she leaned up onto her tiptoes and hugged him, her lips close to his ear. “You looked very cute dancing.”
Heat rushed up his neck and over his ears. Marinette pulled away before he could respond and when he blinked, she had moved to sit on his couch. “Do you wanna play some video games? I don’t have to head home just yet. And I know you’re leaving Monday for Milan, so…”
Adrien quickly found his voice and coughed to make sure it wouldn’t squeak. “Yeah, that sounds fun!”
He still wasn’t sure what that brief moment had meant. But he planned to stand by what he had told Nino. He would focus on being Marinette’s friend. But if and when she wanted to change that, he’d be ready.
Prompts used: Clumsy, Secrets, Sweet Tooth, A Favor Only You Can Do