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Facing Darkness

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“Marinette, you really need to let your jealousy go.” Alya’s voice startled Marinette as she was dragging herself into the classroom on Monday morning. For once, there hadn’t been any akuma attacks over the weekend, but she’d been so wrapped up in her designs, she was still just as sleep deprived.

“Alya? What are you talking about?” Marinette frowned at Alya’s put-upon expression. She hadn’t been in the classroom for a full minute, and she was already facing drama. If Alya was talking about jealousy, it was likely about Lila. Alya’s sigh caught her attention.

“Girl, I know you’re super in love with you-know-who, but that’s no reason to be mean to every girl he hangs out with. Lila told me she saw you being mean to his fans at a photoshoot this weekend.” Alya looked disappointed. “I didn’t think you were the type of person to do that. What is up with you lately? It’s like I don’t even know you anymore.”

Marinette frowned, several red flags popping up. “Alya, did Adrien even HAVE a photoshoot this weekend? If he did, I didn’t know about it. I haven’t left my house since Friday.” Even as she argued, she was prepared to not be believed. Alya may feel like she doesn’t know Marinette anymore, but Marinette was getting more and more familiar with Alya’s current personality and it wasn’t one she liked.

“What you are talking about? You know his schedule backwards and forwards. If he had a shoot-“ Alya paused. “IF he had a shoot. Marinette, haven’t you been keeping up with Adrien’s schedule lately?” Alya was frowning again, but it was a much more thoughtful frown than Marinette was used to seeing recently.

Marinette sighed and walked to their desk. No reason to air their whole conversation for the hallway AND the classroom. One place would be enough. Marinette ignored the few classmates standing around, not-so-quietly eavesdropping. She plopped into her seat and sighed. “No, Alya, I haven’t.” She tactfully didn’t add a comment about how her best friend should already know that. “I decided having a schedule devoted to one person that isn’t me was kinda stalkerish. I stopped doing that at least 3 weeks ago.”

Alya paled and dropped into her seat. It was obvious she was questioning why she didn’t know about this development and wasn’t liking the answer. “Wha-what made you decide that?” Marinette hummed to herself as she reached into her backpack and pulled out all of her homework for her first class.

“Well, a not-very-kind girl told me I was an obsessed stalker that should go kill myself. And after some things I’ve been told by… uh… you-know-you,” Marinette eyed the seat of the boy she’d been obsessed with for years. “I decided I didn’t know him well enough to really know it was love. I stepped back a while ago. I didn’t like who I was becoming.”

Alya’s eyes teared up. “But… But why am I only hearing about this now? What kinda bitch-face dumbass called you a stalker? I’ll fight them! Just tell me who, Mari!” Marinette gave her a resigned smile.

“The same dumbass that said she saw me at a photoshoot that may or may not have happened. But you won’t fight her. You haven’t yet.” Marinette silently returned to organizing her things for class while Alya sat frozen.

The darkness in Marinette’s eyes left her chilled to the core. If Marinette really had stopped crushing on Adrien weeks ago, and really hadn’t left her room all weekend, then the person to put that darkness in her cheerful friend had to have been….

OMAKE:

Nino and Adrien had been about ten steps behind Marinette, quietly joking about actually being later than their Class President. Suddenly, Adrien clenched a hand onto Nino’s shoulder and halted. Nino couldn’t hear anything, but Adrien certainly seemed to, based on his facial expressions.

Nino watched in fascination as Adrien froze in place, looked offended, then irritated, then thunderstruck. Adrien blinked wildly. For just a moment he seemed to bordering on ecstatic, before it rapidly switched to heartbroken. Nino took a step back as Adrien’s face switched to a mixture of the heartbreak and fury. He was surprised his reserved friend could look so scary.

Before Nino’s eyes, Adrien seemed to come back to himself and removed the hand he’d clamped onto Nino’s shoulder to keep the two in the hallway. Adrien blinked away tears “Nino, did Marinette like me?” As alarms began to go off in Nino’s head, Adrien continued quietly. “And am I really as awful as Voldemort to her now?” Adrien growled to himself. “Lila is going down!!”

Nino could only blink. What did he miss?