There was something very wrong with the universe that day.
For the first time in her life, Alya decided not to believe Marinette’s excuse – and it had been a very good one, something about forgetting her homework on her bed. And then, when Marinette came back from lunch, she was pulled by her friend – and Nino! – to explain why Marinette’s homework was in her backpack all the time.
Panic washed over her. It wasn’t as if she could say the truth. Yes, she really wanted to stay and have lunch with her friends, but Papillon was a sick man and loved to ruin her plans.
Stuttering, she began to try to explain herself, but nothing seemed good enough.
“What are you and Adrien hiding from us?”
“I don’t– Adrien? What does Adrien have to do with all this?”
“He disappeared during Akuma’s attack. Sunshine said he was going to the bathroom and disappeared and two seconds later you also forget about your homework and left! You two are up to something together, I’m feeling it!”
“W-what?! That’s so absurd, Alya!” she began to laugh nervously.
“It’s weird,” Nino muttered thoughtfully. “Every akuma attack, you two fades and only comes back after everything goes back to normal.”
“It’s true,” Alya stared at Marinette’s face, which must have been as red as her suit. “Nino is right. You two always disappear when Paris is under attack. Marinette, is there something you are hiding from me? What do you and Adrien do?”
“You guys are as mysterious as Ladybug and Chat Noir!” Nino said.
“HAHAHA!” she started forging a laugh – maybe not so much because she was laughing, but it was pure nervousness. Her heart was pounding in her chest and she was short of breath. “What an absurd idea, Nino! As if I could be Ladybug, I’m so clumsy! Hehe…” she needed an excuse, and soon.
“Well, so what the hell are you and Adrien doing that Alya and I can’t go? Is it so secret that you make up ridiculous excuses to be alone?” Nino questioned.
Alya’s eyes widened as she concluded. Then she smiled broadly, the smile that matched her alter ego perfectly.
“Are you and Adrien dating?” Alya whispered.
“What?!” Nino shouted and Alya pinched him. “Alya, Adrien wouldn’t hide it from me. Or Marinette would hide it from you!”
“The dating has to be secret, doesn’t it, Mari? No one but you two can know. When you run away during random moments, is it to be meet Adrien?”
Marinette was a smart person. She had created several crazy plans to capture the akumas and save Paris. She could easily get rid of this without saying that she and Adrien were together, after all, they weren’t together, as much as she wanted to–
“Marinette, tell me the truth. If you’re not dating Adrien, what do you do when you’re gone?”
She tried to think quickly like she does when she has her lucky charm in hand. She tried to come up with a perfect excuse that would make Alya leave her alone, but none came.
The only good excuse she could think of at that moment was precisely the one Alya had said – that she and Adrien were dating.
She didn’t know where Adrien goes during the akuma attacks, but if he also needed an excuse, it would be perfect. They could pretend they were dating so they didn’t have to make up absurd excuses, they could just say they were seeing each other.
She just needed to make time to ask Adrien if he agreed with this plan and–
She blinked, trying to contain her nervousness. Finally, she looked around for a way out, but there were none. Nino and Alya were looking at her, waiting for an answer.
“Fine.” she closed her eyes tightly. “Adrien and I are dating, but it’s a secret. His father doesn’t allow it, and Adrien has those fans of his, and we just… thought it would be a good idea to meet during the akuma attacks because, you know, Paris is in chaos. Would anyone really care to know where we were?” she gave a nervous laugh.
Alya and Nino exchanged a look and then laughed.
“This excuse it’s worse than the others.”
“Hey, you concluded that!”
“Yes, because I thought it would make you speak the truth!”
“But I’m telling the truth! I… I’m dating Adrien!”
“Oh yes? Then prove it to me.” Alya smiled sweetly.
“What?!” she squealed.
“If you and Adrien are together, prove it to me. Some message you exchanged or, I don’t know, a kiss. Something simple.”
“Ah, Adrien is back from wherever he was,” Nino said. “I’m going to talk to him and…”
“Wait.” Alya gripped Nino’s wrist. “Adrien is coming, Marinette. So… what are you going to do now?”
Be ashamed to death, probably.
It was the only thing Adrien could hear before Marinette grasped his face with both hands and kissed him.
In the middle of the whole school.
To everyone see.
Without an apparent reason.
Not understanding anything about what was happening, Adrien returned the kiss on automatic. Marinette’s lips were soft against his and she seemed to fit his arms so well and...
And then it was over even faster.
“I’ll explain everything to you later,” she whispered against his lips. Her voice was shaky as if she were on the verge of tears.
“Later,” she promised and turned her back on him, running away before Adrien understood what had happened.
He watched her go, still trying to understand what had just happened. Everything was as it used to be, he had come into the school and greeted his friends, Marinette had messed up a little with the words as usual and he had even gotten a hug from her.
He was going to have lunch with her, Nino, and Alya, but Papillon had messed it up with an akuma attack. He had to invent a ridiculous excuse to escape and transform.
Ladybug seemed stressed during the fight, even distracted. At great cost, they had been able to capture the Akuma and restore peace in Paris – at least until old Papillon decided to attack again.
He was thinking about what might have happened to his lady for her to be in that state while he was entering school for the rest of classes when he was approached by Marinette, who decided to kiss him for no apparent reason!
“Wow, dude,” Nino said, placing his hand on Adrien’s shoulder. “When Marinette said you two were having a secret romance, I never imagined it was true.”
“Me and Marinette…?” he asked, confused.
“Yes, dude! I’m a little hurt that you didn’t want to tell me anything, you know you can trust your best friend. But I understand why you did that, your dad will freak out if he knows you’re dating.”
“Am I dating?”
“C'mon, Adrien. You don’t have to fake it for me anymore.” Nino elbowed Adrien lightly. “Your secret is my secret. Now come on, the class is about to start.”
“Wait, Nino.” Adrien took him by the shoulder. “Marinette and I... how did you… I mean, how…” he didn't know how to ask Nino where he had heard that Marinette and he were dating.
Had he been punched in the head during the fight and was hallucinating? Was it a concussion?
“Look, we didn’t want to be intruding. It’s just that Alya lost her patience with Marinette and pushed her to tell us. Next time you want some time alone to kiss your girl, just ask, dude. You don’t have to invent that you want to go to the bathroom and disappear for hours to do so.”
“Marinette disappeared too?”
That was weird. Adrien had escaped to transform, but why would Marinette try to escape during an akuma attack?
“A couple of seconds after you ran away. Alya didn’t want to let her go and even offered to go along, but Marinette kept making up a lot of excuses until she finally ran away. When she finally came back, Alya kept pushing and Marinette said she was going to meet you because you’re dating.”
“Oh yeah…” he scratched his neck nervously.
Okay, that was a tremendous lie of Marinette. They weren’t dating secretly and she had used him as an excuse because she couldn’t somehow tell the real reason she’d run away earlier.
But why? Why couldn’t she tell Alya what she was doing during the akuma attack?
Does it means…?
“Leave her alone!”
Lost in his thoughts, Adrien didn’t notice that they had entered the classroom. The scream had come from Alya, who was standing in front of Marinetteprotecting her. Lila stood in front of Alya, arms crossed.
“Well, she needs to tell the story, or everyone will think she’s lying and Marinette hates liars, doesn’t she, Marinette?”
“I don’t know what rumor you heard, but it’s none of your business.”
“It’s a simple question. I’m just wondering how long she’s been dating Adrien. I’m happy for her, that’s all.” Lila said in that fake tone.
Marinette was behind Alya, shivering and biting her lower lip as if holding back her crying. Her eyes were teary and she looked very scared.
She was never afraid of Lila. For all the injustice and anger she felt toward her colleague, Marinette always restrained herself and never showed any reaction – that is, until that moment.
“Leave her alone, Lila,” Adrien said, approaching the confusion. He put his hand on Marinette’s waist and pulled her into his arms, hugging her to try to calm her down. He felt how tense she was in his arms. “Not that it’s any of your business, but we’ve been together for five months. Now leave my girlfriend alone.”
Chaos settled in the room. Shouts of celebration were heard, Lila shouted a nonconformist “what” and Marinette fainted in Adrien’s arms.
(Not really. But it wasn’t for lack of trying).
“Kids! What’s going on here?” Madame Bustier asked loud to be heard. Everyone started talking at the same time, explaining to her what was going on.
But Adrien ignored everything, looking at Marinette, who was pale as a ghost and cold.
“Want to get out of here?" he asked softly just for her to hear.
He nodded, casting one more glance at Lila, who seemed about to explode with rage. Looking seriously at her, he walked away with Marinette.
“Madam Bustier, Marinette is not feeling well, I’ll take her to the infirmary,” he said as he held Marinette’s hand.
“Take care of her, Adrien.” the teacher said as she tried to control her class.
Adrien nodded and left the room, along with Marinette. As they walked down the empty halls, he considered asking Marinette for an explanation to why she had said they were dating and kissed him in front of everyone.
But the way she was, looking like a kitten – hehe – scared, he couldn’t do that to her. Instead, he tried to calm her down. He brought her hand to his mouth and gave it a light kiss.
“I like the way your hand fits in mine.”
In the end, Adrien had to carry Marinette to the infirmary because she had passed out shortly after hearing that phrase.