"Come on, girl! We're going to be late to class!"
Marinette was sure Alya was only in a hurry because of the fact she hadn't seen Nino in days. "I know! I know!" The girl scrambled to keep her books from falling onto the ground as she climbed the steps to the school.
Alya was already in the classroom by the time Marinette made the courtyard. Jeez, someone's desperate. As of late, Alya made every excuse possible to hang out with her new boyfriend. Marinette knew her friend was trying to get her soul-words to appear.
It was common knowledge that true soulmates had the other's words on their arm. Words that were unique to their soulmate, and couldn't be mistaken for someone else's easily. The timing of them appearing was random. Most of the time, they happened in everyday conversations but some went their whole lives without having anything appear on their skin. Marinette was fortunate enough to know her parents were one of the lucky couples. Often times, non-soulmate marriages are broken when one of the partners meets their soulmate later on.
Aside from hoping her best friend found hers with Nino, she had a feeling Ivan and Mylene were soulmates too, but only time would tell.
Barging through the classroom door, Marinette spotted her supposed 'best friend' sitting in Adrien's spot, next to Nino. "Alya!"
The red-haired girl bit her lip and gave her friend a apologetic look. "Sorry. Couldn't help it. Adrien isn't here yet, so I thought... might as well." Marinette would've thrown her hands up in frustration, if not for all her books.
So instead of arguing, she settled into her usual seat and dug through her bag for a pencil. She didn't have to look for long since Tikki helped.
"Hey... uh, Marinette."
Her first instinct was to look at whomever had said her name, but when she brought her head up, she almost fell out of her chair. "Oh! H-hi Adrien!"
The boy looked gorgeous, as he always did, and he wore her scarf around his neck. Shyly, he rubbed the back of his neck and said, "I guess Alya and I are switching seats today. Do you mind?" Ever the gentleman, he asked instead of assuming it was alright.
"Yes! I mean... um, no. I don't mind. Go ahead." A light blush rushed to her cheeks in embarrassment. At least I'm getting better at not stuttering like an idiot around him anymore!
In front of her, Nino and Alya were deep into a conversation about the next blog video. She only managed to follow by picking out words she understood. The ones like 'aperture' and 'FPS' were lost to her.
Alya seemed to be arguing that her blog needed something new, while Nino tried to show her that it didn't. Marinette twirled her pencil around, and waited for class to start, supporting her chin with her other hand.
Just as Miss Bustier stood up to start the class, Nino murmured, "You don't need little old me to make it awesome. Your blog is already off the hook. " Alya's back straightened in a snap. If Marinette didn't know any better, she could have said it looked as though she just got electrocuted.
"Alya?" She reached forward to shake her friend's shoulder, but Alya remained frozen. "Are you okay?" Marinette leaned further to see her face. Instead, she watched, just as astonished as the blogger, as Nino's last words started getting scribbled across her forearm. 'Your blog is already off the hook'
"Y-you see them too, right Mari?"
With an astonished smile, Marinette nodded. "Alya! Congratulations!" Classmates turned their attention towards the blue-haired girl's outburst. Once they saw Alya's arm, they started congratulating her, as well as Nino. Even self-absorbed Chloé took an interest by glancing over with a smirk all her own.
Miss Bustier didn't seem bothered by the new development. In fact, she even aided her students with their applause. "Alya, Nino. If you want to take a moment outside to discuss this with each other, you may." Alya still sat like a statue; Nino in a similar state.
"I-I'm okay!" She sputtered eventually at the same time Nino shook his head.
"Alright then..." Miss Bustier hesitantly started writing the day's lesson plan on the board, glancing back every so often at the new soulmates. Marinette could tell it made Alya self-conscious because she rubbed her arm awkwardly against her side, hiding the words while doing so.
Luckily, Marinette wasn't as distracted by Adrien as she could've been. Unfortunately, worrying about Alya's reaction still distracted her from completing her notes.
The moment the class had a lunch break, the young fashion designer sprang up from her seat and hugged Alya as tightly as she could, squealing all the while. "Alya! You don't know how happy I am for you! This is amazing!"
Finally, the blogger snapped out of her trance-like state and squealed back, "I know!"
Off at the side, Adrien clapped his friend on the shoulder. "Way to go, Nino!" The DJ tipped his hat back at him.
"Thanks, man. Now the only thing to do is wait for my turn."
"It should happen sometime this week. I've heard the longest anybody's had to wait was a month."
"Hey guys! You wanna go grab some sweets before class starts back up?" Alya threw her arms around the two, bringing them down to her height. "Marinette said we could get a couple free cookies from the bakery. You in?"
Marinette smiled at the fact Adrien was going, and managed to keep herself from pumping her fist in excitement. "Then let's go! I'm in desperate need of some chocolately goodness!" Alya practically dragged Nino by the arm and out of the room before her friend could even sling her purse over her shoulder.
"I hope we don't have to put up with them kissing each other all the time..." Adrien smirked. "I'm not sure if I'll be able to be around them if that happens."
The girl beside him laughed an agreement and inclined her head towards the door, "Let's go."
The Dupain-Cheng bakery wasn't too busy when they entered. Maybe a few customers looking around, but not enough to crowd the space. Behind the counter, Marinette saw her father handing Alya a small paper bag. "I hope you can handle all that chocolate."
"Don't worry Mr. Dupain. I have Nino in case I go into a food coma."
"Of course, of course." He chuckled and waved her goodbye. That's when he spotted his daughter. "Mari! There you are! And is there anything you'd like?" His eyes shifted to Adrien, "What about you, Adrien?"
Marinette shook her head. "I'm alright, Papa. I just came along to make sure Alya didn't eat everything in sight."
"Girl, are you callin' me fat?" Alya called out through the doorway.
The half-chinese girl spun around and began animating her arms. "No! Of course I'm not! I didn't mean it like that!" At least her friend didn't seem serious and popped a cookie in her mouth.
"So then, what'll you have, Adrien?"
"Ah, um... I don't know, Sir."
"Well, you could have some pecan, or almond cookies, if you'd like. We have loads of them. Or maybe you'd prefer a sugar cookie?"
When Adrien seemed indecisive, Tom started grabbing one of each cookie for him. "Then how about you try them all and figure out which you like best for next time?" The model was going to argue he didn't need that much, but one look from the large man and he decided against it.
"Here we go!" The paper bag was only half-filled, but the boy's eyes still widened at how many cookies he'd been given. "Sir- I-I mean, Mr. Dupain, are you sure you don't want me to pay for these?"
Tom waved him off. "Any friend of Marinette's gets however many they'd like for free. It's no trouble. Besides, it's better than eating all the extras for ourselves. And please, call me Tom."
"T-thank you, Sir-, uh... Tom."
Marinette smiled at how this little act of kindness effected her crush. He looked so happy, and yet... she knew that that only meant his life at home was that much more sad.
"Nino! You're a genius!"
The blue-haired girl sighed and turned to find her friend. "This had better be good." Adrien stifled a laugh and followed Marinette back outside.
"What's going on?" She interrupted whatever Alya was about to say.
"Nino was wondering if Chat Noir and Ladybug had each other's soul-words."
Both Adrien and Marinette tensed at the names. Right after recovering, Adrien started, "What makes you sound so sure that they do?"
"Oh come on. There's no way they'd be able to trust each other as much as they do unless they were soulmates." Alya bounced in her spot, getting excited about the possible new development.
Meanwhile, Marinette ducked her head and crossed her arms, trying to avoid blabbing something that could reveal her identity. Adrien, however, continued his argument. "So just because they depend on one another you think they're meant to be?"
Alya shrugged, shoving another cookie in her mouth. "I know Chat Noir would sacrifice himself for Ladybug. If that isn't soulmate worthy, then I don't know what is."
"But would Ladybug do the same for him? Adrien questioned.
It was then, that Marinette spoke up, "Of course she would." He was taken by surprise with the certainty in her voice.
"You really think she would? I mean... Chat Noir is obviously in love with her, so it makes sense, but it doesn't look like she really returns it."
"Ladybug is nothing without Chat Noir. Yes, she could cleanse Paris alone, but Chat is her parter. In a fight, he's the one who distracts the akuma while she figures out a plan to defeat them. Without him... Ladybug would be incomplete... not to mention lonely."
Adrien seemed to ponder her words. He felt inadequate compared to Ladybug, but Marinette still had a point. Ladybug would never leave him. Feeling daring, he returned, "And Chat Noir without his Lady would be paw-sitively miserable."
The fashion designer didn't even have time to register the horrible pun when a shock went through her. It wasn't painful, and yet, she couldn't help but flinch away from the group of friends. "Marinette?"
A quiet gasp from her purse made her look down.
There, trailing down her forearm, were Adrien's words, pun and all.
"I-I... Oh my god." Covering her lips with her hand, she lifted her other and re-read the sentence to confirm what she was actually seeing.
"A-Adrien...?" She was almost afraid to look up at him; scared of his reaction. But instead of being disappointed, as she expected, a smile broke out across his face, albeit confused, but still full of glee.
"What are the odds!?" Alya shouted and shook the smaller girl's shoulders. "We got our soul-words in the same day! We are totally best friends for LIFE!" Marinette, still a bit shaken from the ordeal, could only stare into the distance.
"So..." Adrien cleared his throat to get their attention. "Um... That was... unexpected, I guess."
"Dude, just be happy it isn't Chloé." All but Marinette snickered at the mere idea of the blonde being soulmate's with him. "That's be the worst! I feel sorry for whoever her real soulmate is!"
Adrien glanced over at his quiet classmate and held her shoulder. "You okay?"
Immediately, Marinette perked up and bobbed her head, "Yeah, I'm good. Great, actually. I mean... all this time... and you were sitting right in front of me." She smiled.
"And who would've guessed Adrien's words would have a pun in them? I mean, really, man?"
He ran a hand through his hair and sheepishly looked away. "I... might have a thing for them."
"My poor Marinette!" Alya shouted dramatically and cradled her friend's head. "And it wasn't even a good pun!"
"Hey! I thought it was purr-fect!"
"Oh god, not another one!"
Marinette pushed herself away from Alya and rubbed her arm nervously. "I-I... don't mind it actually. I have another friend that likes puns. I'm used to it. And my Papa too. Except he only makes bread puns... It's traumatizing."
"Yeah, I'll say... Mr. Dupain won't stop once he starts." Alya added before checking her phone.
"We've got five minutes. We better head back before someone spreads rumors about us kissing in an alleyway."
"Don't you guys do that anyway?" Marinette asked.
A smug smirk spread over Alya's face, "I meant about you two."