Adrien, sitting in his seat at school once more after having dealt with Kwamibuster, was having a bit of a hard time breathing as he processed what he saw today.
Marinette. Marinette with a Miraculous.
Marinette and Ladybug talking to each other.
Marinette, the coolest girl in school, the most amazing person he had ever met aside from Ladybug herself.
Ladybug had given Marinette the Mouse Miraculous.
Oh, his Lady was cruel, even if unknowingly. Of all the people, of all the Miraculous. It was like the universe was trying to taunt him, joining in on all the unsubtle hints others had given him that Marinette wouldn't be a terrible person for him to date instead of Ladybug.
It was made even worse by Ladybug's decision to take away the Mouse from Marinette- what was so wrong with Chat Noir knowing who she was? Madame Mendeleiev hadn't even noticed Multimouse, though she did question Marinette's presence before he had parted ways with the science teacher. Multimouse would be a great addition to their team, and it'd give him even more excuses to be around Marinette than he'd been able to make. After all, she was so nice and fun and-
The sound of Alya and Marinette behind him snapped him out of where that train of thought might have been heading. Alya was very excited about something, and now was as good a time as any for a distraction.
He turns around just in time to find Alya showing her phone to Marinette and Nino. “Check it out, the station got something on their security tapes! You can see this banana guy reacting and talking to something invisible- same with Kwamibuster. But if you zoom in, you can make out what looks like a tiny person floating around! I think it’s a new hero!”
That must be Multimouse, Adrien thinks. So much for the distraction he was hoping for. The kwami don’t show up on cameras, after all- but Multimouse wasn’t a kwami, even if she was inside of one.
Marinette rolls her eyes, and Adrien realizes she’s trying to pretend she has nothing to do with this. “What, that dust speck? What’s their Miraculous, Tinkerbell?”
Alya swipes her phone screen and pictures of other recent heroes appear. “Well, a lot of the sidekick heroes of late seem to be Zodiac themed. Dragon, Horse, Rabbit, Snake, Monkey- Maybe this one’s Mouse? And I’m not sure but they look like a girl. People are already making fanart!” She shows sketches of girls who look… not entirely unlike Multimouse, although they have different guesses to her actual facial features.
The Chat Noir inside of Adrien can’t resist making a comment at Marinette’s expense. “A mouse girl? How’s Chat supposed to choose between her and Ladybug?” He tries to ignore how true that might be.
Marinette blushes intensely but manages to stay under control, which is impressive considering he'd seen how deep that blush could get. “W-well, clearly her thing is trying not to be noticed, so it’s not like Chat will get to work with her much.”
The Chat part of him wants to continue teasing her. Maybe there really is something to their “Cat and Mouse” dynamic. “I don’t know, the Akuma wrapped up pretty quickly after this, right? Maybe Ladybug will keep her around, like Rena and Carapace.” He notices Alya and Nino exchange a look, which they often did when they thought he was too busy talking to Marinette to notice. Didn't they get enough flirting in outside of school?
Alya turns back to Adrien with almost the same look on her face, and he realizes she's toying with him back. “What, you want to see the love triangle between them that badly?”
He fights his own blush at the thought of there being a love-polygon of any sort between him, Ladybug, and Marinette. “No! I just mean, whoever they are, Ladybug thinks they’re cool enough to have a Miraculous in the first place.” He tries to keep his composure, as well as his eye on Marinette’s reaction to his compliment.
Alya snickers at him. “Just teasing you, although I think it’d be pretty hilarious if it ended up with Ladybug and the Mouse eloping and leaving Chat in the dust.”
“Alya!” Marinette bumps her elbow into her friend’s side in mock shock, quickly erasing the soft smile that told Adrien everything he wanted to know.
Nino just chuckles at the whole exchange. “Who knows, maybe they’ll all end up dating each other. It’s the best way to solve love triangles.”
Marinette’s shock seems much more genuine all of a sudden. “B-but- that’s cheating!”
Alya smirks as she puts her phone away before class can start. “Technically, by definition, it’s not cheating. Though we all know you’re more of a one-track mind when it comes to relationships, so I can understand you not being up for that. Besides, maybe Ladybug and Chat are already dating Rena and Carapace instead?”
Marinette grumbles as she turns a pencil over in her hands. "You guys read too many fanfics."
Marinette gets through the rest of the day with only light teasing exchanged between the rest of her friends. It's not like any of them know that she was Multimouse, even if her reveal could have been more public, but all their teasing about Multimouse and Chat Noir is still embarrassing. After she gets home, it hits her how exhausted she really is after wearing all those Miraculous for so long, so she decides to head up to her balcony for a quick nap in the sunlight.
She's startled awake by a sound and realizes the sun is almost gone already. She really was more exhausted than she thought. She looks around for Tikki and notices Chat Noir leaning against the railing with a smile on his face instead.
“Well hello there, Princess. If I realized you were having a catnap I would've come by a different time.” She stands up quickly and turns to her new rooftop guest, making sure not to accidentally knock over one of her plants. She’d done that one too many times when she got surprised by a wandering superhero or supervillain.
Pulling her face into a practiced smile, she began to play the role of Definitely-Not-Ladybug. “Oh, Chat! That's okay, it was supposed to be a lot shorter. And to what do I owe tonight’s visit?" She hopes he hasn't been here long, but she'll be able to ask Tikki for details on how mad she'll need to be with him later.
He gave her a softer smile than his over-the-top personality would usually allow for. “Well, actually, I’m the one who owes you, seeing as you helped out today. You made a pretty great Multimouse.”
She sighs as she looks away, trying to convey regret she doesn’t actually feel. She feels, for a moment, actual regret for not taking acting classes. “Not like I’ll get to be her again. I messed up.”
She’s a bit startled at the gloved hand on her shoulder as Chat leans in. “Hey, I’ll put in a word with Ladybug. I mean, it’s just me who saw you. Madame Mendeleiev didn’t even realize there was a third superhero up there.”
She hadn’t? It had been part of the plan that the science teacher would fully see Multimouse. Had she rushed her rehearsed scene too much? Time for damage control. “It’s okay, Chat. I got to help out, even just once. And, could you imagine me as Multimouse full time?”
Chat looks like she’s just grown a second head for a moment, he’s so surprised. She realizes immediately that putting herself down in front of Chat was the wrong move. “Uh, yeah? You’d be an amazing teammate, Marinette.”
She is now completely off-script as she turns to face him again. She brushes her hair back with one hand out of nervous habit and also out of actual embarrassment. “Y-you think so?”
He grins at that. “I know so. You’re super talented, Marinette, and you’re just so good at like…” He seems to struggle for a moment with how to express this before spreading his arms wide. “…everything!” His grin turns soft once again. “You know, before Ladybug showed up, I was actually convinced you were Ladybug.”
Now there’s something she can handle, an idea she is prepared to counter. “Oh, you mean when I showed up as Multimouse-”
He cuts her off immediately. “No, before that. Some stuff happened today and it got me thinking. You look a lot like her, after all, and you’re just as brave as she is.”
She could feel her heart ready to explode because he had actually guessed who she really was and not just what school she went to and-
His voice pulls her out of her spiral. “But I guess it’d be a bit silly. After all, that’d make you the perfect girl, and nobody’s that perfect.”
There’s a moment of silence as she lets the implications sink into her. “Not even Ladybug?” The question escapes before she can regret it.
He chuckles at the question, and looks away with a blush. “Well, she’s not you, so I guess not.”