The dust from the road clung to Adrien’s shoes as he dragged himself forwards, rubbing the palm of his hand over his forehead, and muttering equations to himself, the school looming ever closer in the distance. Plagg snored away in his jacket pocket, overall unhelpful to Adrien’s current state.
Thanks to a fashion shoot running late into the night, Adrien had been unable to study for the upcoming test the night before, and after going to bed a few hours before he had to get up again and leave, the urge to fall asleep where he stood was overcoming him. On top of that, the Gorilla’s car had broken down a little ways into the journey, and after assuring the larger man that he could manage the short walk, Adrien slowly made his way to school, the fatigue overtaking his mind and blocking his abilities to fully take in his surroundings.
He was already a few minutes late, but he could hardly bring himself to care. By now, even the alleys were beginning to look like an inviting sleeping place.
At long last, he reached the building, yawning once, while blearily looking at the door. Some students lingered outside still, but Adrien was incapable of spotting Nino, or any other of his friends among them. Giving up, he ignored the confused looks from the people around him, slumped against the stairs, hidden from view, and promptly fell asleep.
In hindsight, it wasn’t the best decision, seeing as his class had already started, but when the only thoughts in Adrien’s head were ‘Tired. Don’t want to be here. Sleep,’ it was very difficult not to comply. In that mind set, what did he really care about missing a bit of Ms. Mendeleiev’s class.
As it turned out, he cared very much. When he at last jolted awake, the sun was in the middle of the sky, and the outside of the school was buzzing once more as students made their way to lunch. With a cleared mind, Adrien was able to fully appreciate the insurmountable mistake that had been made.
They’ve probably called Father by now, Adrien thought to himself, sinking into despair a little. He’ll think I’ve been kidnapped.
However, he was quickly brought out of his mind by the sound of two familiar voices.
“Girl, you just have to tell them how you feel!” Alya’s sharp tone easily drifted over to where Adrien was slouched, back creaking.
“I…you know I can’t do that, Alya. Besides…they probably don't like me back. Surely they would’ve picked up on it by now if they did?” Marinette’s own voice quickly followed, softer and slightly shaky. At the sound of the kind tone, Adrien found his heart swelling slightly. It was always nice to see Marinette- she’d always seemed to be slightly afraid of him, running off whenever he came near. But nonetheless, he valued the company of his friend above all else.
“Just walk up to them, and say how you feel! Come on, practice with me!” Alya sang gleefully.
Hang on. Tell what to the who now?
“I…I love you!” Marinette squeaked.
Adrien’s heart stopped. Marinette liked someone? Since when? And why…why hadn’t she told him?
“I’ve liked you for a long time! Um..would you…consider…going out with me?”
“That’s perfect!” There was a resounding slapping noise, presumably from a high five “Now go get ‘em! I know you can do-”
Alya cut herself off as they rounded the corner and found Adrien, seemingly half-asleep against the wall. He waved vaguely.
He winced at the way Marinette immediately stiffened, fists clenching by her sides.
“Hi Adrien” She managed, voice quivering slightly, but still somehow stammer-free. In fact, her face was turning a mysterious shade of red “Um… how much of that did you hear?”
The words were like a slap in the face. Of course. Marinette didn’t trust him with her secret. Well it wasn’t completely unjustified. After all, the two of them barely spoke outside of class, and while Adrien considered the dark haired girl a good friend, there was no evidence to support that she felt the same way.
He bit his lip, waking himself up even more with the pain.
“How much did I hear of what?” He asked innocently, heart wrenching a little, laughing nervously “I just woke up. Looks like I missed Mendeleiev’s class. Does my father have a warrant out on me yet?”
“Um…no.” Marinette’s voice was small, and undeniably cute “We had a sub..substitute today. I got Nino to answer for you during attendance.”
“Oh…thank you” Adrien smiled, the first genuine one in a while. Marinette’s gesture was oddly touching. Maybe her feelings towards him weren’t a lost cause?
“No problem” Marinette smiled back, before turning to Alya “You said you wanted to get something to eat?”
Alya looked between Marinette and Adrien, a sly grin stealing across her features, quickly replaced with a sweet smile “Yep!”
The two of them walked off into the distance, Adrien staring thoughtfully after them.
So Marinette had a crush on someone. Someone that she was certain wouldn’t like her back (which was an idiotic notion. Marinette was the sweetest, most pure-hearted girl you could meet. Any boy who didn’t love her instantly was a fool).
This was it! Adrien jumped up excitedly, scaring away a pigeon that had appeared to be making a home on his head.
If he set Mari up with the guy she liked, maybe she’d consider him a friend!
(He ignored the way his heart twinged a little at the thought. He should ask Natalie to get a doctorr’s appointment- the stress couldn’t be good for him)
“Plagg” He whispered, nudging the small ball of warmth in his jacket “We have work to do”
Kim wasn’t the obvious choice.
He was the smart choice.
Marinette seemed to like Kim, in general day to day life. She didn’t speak to him much, which could just be an attempt to conceal her crush.
However, when Kim was last akumatised, Marinette was one of the first people to run and check on him. When she’d brought in cakes, she’d given him the one with the most frosting (not that Adrien had been paying attention), and when they did chat, she always gave him her undivided attention.
Adrien carefully set his plan in motion, ignoring the criticisms that Plagg easily threw his way.
First step: Send Kim a letter asking him to go to one of the empty classrooms after school, because there was something they needed to talk about. Sign the letter as Marinette.
Second step: Send a similar letter to Marinette. Adrien hesitated over the signature. If the letter was from someone she liked, wouldn’t she freak out, and not go? Marinette did seem very shy when it came to love, after all. A moment of deliberation passed, before Adrien neatly signed the letter from himself. After all, why would Marinette be nervous about meeting him?
Third step: Transform into Chat Noir so he could settle comfortably in the small attic above the ceiling, and watch the proceedings through a crack in the roof.
The plan was foolproof.
“Alya…” Marinette murmured breathlessly, shaking a little.
She raised the letter agonisingly slowly. After a moment, Alya just snatched it, and scanned it herself.
“Oh. My. God! Adrien wants to meet you after school! Alone!”
“Do you think that it’s from Chloe? Like, to make me go so that she can play a trick on me; this just…doesn’t seem like something Adrien would do” The words tasted sour leaving Marinette’s mouth. No matter how much she wanted this to be real, there was just something strange about the whole thing.
“No, I don’t think so. It’s in his handwriting. Seems legit” Alya turned it over once more in her hands before giving it back to Marinette, and slinging a hand around her shoulder “Looks like you’ve got yourself a winner!”
An unpreventable smile split across Marinette’s face “Can you come with me? Just in case.”
“I’ll go in first and check” Alya promised.
Later, when they climbed the stairs to the specified classroom, Marinette began to regret her decision. Just earlier that day she’d come to the conclusion that Adrien would never really like her. Wasn’t the timing just a little too convenient? But despite her misgivings, butterflies ruled her stomach.
When they reached the door, Alya touched her arm in a comforting way, before pulling open the door and stepping inside. A moment later, she retreated, puzzlement evident on her features.
“Well that wasn’t what I was expecting…”
Disappointment settled low in Marinette’s gut. Of course it was a trick. Adrien would never like her back.
“…But there’s always room to make Adrien jealous!”
Alya gripped Marinette’s shoulders and forced her into the room so quickly, only a strangled yelp escaped her throat.
There was a soft click of the lock behind her, as she stood in the room, face to face with Kim.
“Hello.” She said courteously, straightening her clothes “Would you mind telling me what’s happening?”
“I don’t have a clue either” Kim admitted.
They stood in silence for a moment, the lock unmoving, before Marinette spoke up again “So how’s dating Alix going?”
Kim’s eyes lit up, and they were once again immersed in friendly conversation.
Adrien really didn’t want to toot his own horn, but he was a genius. Alya coming in hadn’t been expected, but judging by the fact that she had pushed a blushing Marinette inside afterwards was further proof of Marinette’s feelings.
Alya wouldn’t lock Marinette in a room with someone she didn’t like, after all.
Adrien settled back happily, playing with his baton, as he watched Kim and Marinette chatter, voices too low to be heard from where he was concealed.
Oh hell no.
The grip on his baton tightened, and his cat ears twitched.
Kim had shortened the distance between him and Marinette from a meter to half a meter, and clearly didn’t understand that you were supposed to leave some room for Jesus.
Plus, there was the fact that Marinette clearly wasn’t into it. Her face was devoid of a blush, and she spoke to Kim casually. No twirling of the hair. Widening of the pupils.
It was time to get her out of the situation.
He dropped neatly through the hole he made in the roof, with a screech of “AKUMA”
Kim jumped back instantly, head whirling around, in search of a supervillain.
Marinette just stared at him blankly.
“Come with me young man!” And with that, he’d swept Kim into his arms, and was racing off into the distance, leaving Marinette alone in the classroom.
Mission failed. We’ll get ‘em next time.
Ah well. Onto the next possibility.