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Set Us Free

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Marinette was pretty sure this was the happiest day of her life so far. She clutched her hands to her chest and closed her eyes, mentally replaying every moment of pure joy.

“Marinette,” Tikki said.

“Yes, Adrien?” Marinette said dreamily.

Tikki sighed. “I’m not Adrien, and you’re… calling Alya again.”

She had tried to keep herself from calling Alya back. She really did. But it didn’t work. Marinette had finally snapped, snatching her phone up, hitting Alya’s name and released an ear-splitting shriek into the speaker the second the line connected.

Tikki covered her ears and pointedly moved off the bed.

“Marinette! Oh my god, you’re going to make me deaf!” Alya yelled into the phone.

“I just can’t believe he asked me out!” Marinette squealed, wiggling from side to side out of pure glee.

“I know. So you’ve said… many times,” Alya said, laughing. “Girl, accept it. Our attempts to get Adrien Agreste to notice you have finally paid off!”

In an instant, Marinette’s excitement vanished and she sobered. “But Alya - Alya this means I have to go on a date with him. Me. Dating Adrien. I’m going to embarrass myself!”

“Hey now, you don’t know that,” Alya said.

Marinette pulled the phone back and, even if Alya couldn’t see it, gave the screen her best deadpan look. “Alya, last week I tripped over my own two feet and threw a bowl of soup all over Rose and Juleka.”

“… Okay, point,” Alya said.

“This is gonna be a disaster!” Marinette moaned.

“Don’t say that! It will be fun, trust me,” Alya said confidently. “Just be yourself… and maybe let Adrien carry the food and drinks.”

“Alya!” Marinette said, mortified, and Alya giggled.

“Seriously. You don’t need to freak out. You and Adrien are friends, remember? So just keep treating him like a friend. He’s just a boy, Mari. A very cute boy, but a boy nevertheless.”

Alya was right, Marinette knew. The problem was whether or not Marinette could convince herself of that and remember it enough to not completely freak out on the date. Thank goodness the date was still two days away and she had time to mentally prepare.

Tikki poked her head back up over the bed, clearly deciding it was safe, and pointed to the window. Marinette blinked blankly. Tikki rolled her eyes and mouthed ‘Chat’.

Chat?

Oh shit, Chat!

“Alya I gotta go I’m late!” Marinette blurted out, sitting up.

“Late for what?” Alya asked. “It’s almost midnight.”

“Uhhhh late for… for bed! Yeah, I’m trying to get to bed earlier cause I want to be wide awake for my date right? Haha!” Marinette gave a very forced, fake laugh.

Tikki facepalmed.

“Riiiiight,” Alya said slowly. “Okay… well, have a good sleep then.”

“Bye Alya!” Marinette hastily hung up and looked at Tikki. “I’m so late, Tikki! Why didn’t you remind me sooner?!”

“I’ve been trying, but you keep calling Alya to scream at her and you couldn’t hear me,” Tikki said dryly.

“I hope Chat forgives me. Tikki, spots on!”

Ladybug scrambled up through the window and hastily took to the rooftops. She was well over half an hour later by the time she finally made it to their agreed upon meeting place. Naturally, Chat was already there and waiting.

“I’m so sorry!” Ladybug blurted out as she landed. “I lost track of time.”

“It’s okay,” Chat said with an easy smile. “Did something happen?”

Ladybug opened her mouth to tell him the wonderful news and then stopped. Chat was more than just her partner. He was her friend. And she couldn’t bear the thought of putting that sad look on his face when he heard that her crush had finally asked her out.

“I fell asleep,” she lied, her heart twisting with guilt. She hated lying in general, but she especially hated lying to Chat. There was already so much she couldn’t tell him. Did she really want to add another secret to that list?

They were both adults - well, sort of. Didn’t he deserve to know when something monumental happened to his partner? She started to reconsider, and was just about to tell him the truth, when Chat laughed.

“No worries. I was half asleep myself,” he said, rising nimbly to his feet and stretching. “Let’s make this a quick patrol. I think we could both use a good night’s sleep.”

“Sure,” Ladybug said, feeling even more guilty when she realized that her window to be honest had passed. And it made her feel even worse to know he’d been out here patiently waiting for her while she’d been in her comfortable bed squealing with Alya.

She’d tell him later, she decided. If the date with Adrien went well, she could casually drop it into conversation. One date didn’t really mean very much, after all. It was possible, maybe even likely, she and Adrien would go out once and then never go out again.

Or maybe he’d enjoy their date so much he’d immediately ask her out on a second one! They’d become boyfriend and girlfriend and eventually get married and have kids and -

“Uh, Ladybug?” Chat said, squinting at her. “Are you okay? You have a really weird smile on your face and it’s creeping me out.”

“What? Oh!” Ladybug quickly wiped what Alya had dubbed her ‘lovesick sunshine boy’ smile off her face.

“Are you sure you’re not too tired for this?” he asked doubtfully.

“I’m good. Great. Fabulous. Really,” Ladybug said, giving him a thumbs up. “Let’s go.”

Chat gave her another weird look, but slowly nodded. “Sure… Okay.”

“Okay,” Ladybug said, and wanted to slap herself as soon as he turned his back. God she really needed to figure out how to be cool before this date.