Summary: Alya and Nino direct a class play for the spring festival, and the roles are announced by lottery. Everyone is shocked with the outcome, and circumstances push Marinette and Adrien together during the following weeks of rehearsals.
In this chapter: Marinette breaks Adrien's window, tries to cover up the accident, and ends up going on a moonlit walk with him instead.
Oh my gosh... sorry that it's been three weeks since I've posted... College is hard!
Read it at marispots on tumblr! Reviews and favs are much appreciated!
Word count: 3.2K+
Marinette decided to visit Adrien as Ladybug the next night. It was a Saturday, and she was worried that he wouldn't be home due to a heavy day of modeling, but then again it didn't really matter much. She just needed to distract herself – to be near Adrien in anyway possible, even if that meant just hanging around outside his house like a stalker.
She needed to reassure herself… to convince herself that Adrien was the boy she was in love with. Not Chat Noir. Not Chat.
Ladybug jerked, her thoughts plaguing her mind, and nearly missed the jump to the next rooftop. She scrambled and pushed herself up, breathing heavily as she rolled onto the top of the roof.
And then she started shaking.
She latched her arms around her knees and caved in on herself, guilt swirling in her mind. She liked them both. She wanted to be with them both. Adrien was laughter and sunshine and warmth, everything that she thought she'd always need in life to go along with her own sunny disposition.
But Chat… he was mysterious, and easy to talk to, and passionate… He filled her with something that she couldn't even place into words. Whatever it was, though… she liked it.
"Oh my god," Ladybug moaned, sinking lower into herself. This wasn't how things were supposed to go. This whole musical was supposed to be a good thing; an opportunity that would have gotten her closer to Adrien, and only Adrien. Now… now her feelings were a tumbled mess.
Marinette…? A voice resonated in her mind.
"I'm fine," Ladybug huffed to herself, standing up and unclipping her yo-yo from her belt. "I'm fine, Tikki."
Please don't overthink this whole thing… You have nothing to feel guilty about, you're not even in a relationship with either of them! Tikki chimed.
"Thanks for reminding me," Ladybug tried to joke, her laugh sounding hollow.
But Tikki was right. Why was she getting so worked up about this? Adrien didn't even know that she liked him. She just needed to sort out her feelings, and approach this situation head on. There was no use breaking down over it.
Ladybug arrived at Adrien's window shortly after, her expression leveled and calm. His lights were out… he wasn't home.
"Darn it," she sighed, plopping down against his windowsill. "He's still out modeling, probably."
Maybe we should just go back home, Tikki offered.
"Yeah, you're right… It's a shame, I just really wanted to see him," Ladybug muttered, slumping back against his window.
Apparently the window wasn't as expensive as the rest of Adrien's mansion, because the panel gave way behind her back. Ladybug yelped before falling backwards and tumbling into Adrien's room, crashing onto his floor.
Marinette! Tikki panicked in her ear. Ladybug groaned before sitting up and rubbing her head.
"Ow," she winced. "What happened?" She looked down and gasped, jumping to her feet. "Oh no, I snapped the frame on the window!" The wood that held the two panels of glass together had split, leaving the window in two separate pieces. Ladybug picked up the panels and tried to place them back above the windowsill, but without a working frame it was no good.
"I need glue," Ladybug huffed, running to Adrien's dresser and switching the light on. She rifled through his drawers, her mind completely glossing over the fact that this was a major invasion of privacy. She was in too much of a panic to even think about it.
There were normal things in his top drawer – baseball cards, packs of bubble gum, some rings – but no glue. How was she going to fix the window?!
You have that really strong super glue in your room, the one you used on that dress you made last week! Tikki reminded her.
That was right, she did… She could just leave and…
Ladybug blinked, light flashing across her eyes. She gasped, running to look out above the windowsill.
"Adrien's home!" Ladybug yelped, tearing at her hair. "Tikki! I need to distract him – can I trust you to fly home and get the glue?"
Okay! Her kwami responded, determined.
Ladybug nodded and unclipped her yo-yo, swinging out the window and landing in the shadows near the gate of the mansion. She closed her eyes, letting her alter-ego fall away. Tikki flew up in front of her face.
"I'm counting on you," Marinette whispered. Tikki nodded before flying off.
Marinette's heart quickened in her chest, peeking from around the side of the gate as Adrien's limousine parked in the driveway. The blonde boy stepped out, looking completely exhausted. She could practically see the dark circles under his eyes.
"Oh, Adrien…" She sighed. She hated to see him overworked. She knew that he was busy with modeling, but she didn't know that he sometimes came home this late.
Adrien's big limousine driver escorted him to the front door, and they both started to walk inside. Seizing the opportunity, Marinette steeled herself before cupping her hands to her mouth.
Adrien and his chauffer whipped around, and Adrien's emerald eyes widened, recognizing the voice and the figure at the gate.
Suddenly, he was running, and Marinette planted her feet to the ground, willing herself to stay put and not turn and flee. Her breath hitched in her throat when she saw the smile that was spread across his face. Those dark circles she thought she had seen earlier had all but vanished. He looked brighter – happier.
Is he that happy to see me?
He skidded to a stop in front of the gate and beamed at her. "What are you doing here?"
Oh, hey Adrien, nothing much! I actually snuck into your room as Ladybug and broke your window! Oops!
"I…uh, was passing through the neighborhood and thought of you!" She lied, her cheeks reddening at her own bold statement. Adrien flushed slightly as well, and rubbed the back of his neck.
"At this hour, though? You shouldn't walk alone at night, Marinette," he stressed.
"I'm fine, trust me," Marinette interjected quickly. Really, I fight bad guys for a living, I don't need to worry about them, she thought. Still, Adrien's concern had her heart fluttering.
"Next time you're out late and need to walk home, call me," Adrien stated. "I'll give you my number – here, hold on a sec."
Suddenly he was opening up the gate and ushering her inside. Marinette stumbled forward clumsily, forcing her limbs to move. She was elated that he was inviting her inside, but her nerves were still on edge about the window. She knew that Adrien's father was strict, and she really didn't want him to get in trouble for something he didn't do.
"I'll just put my bag upstairs and –"
"No!" Marinette yelped quickly, stopping on Adrien's front porch. She grabbed his wrist without thinking – jerking him back. He looked at her, and then down at her hand.
"I-I mean, I need to get home quickly, I don't think I have time to come inside. I'm sorry Adrien," Marinette stammered. She glanced down at her hand as well and flushed, quickly drawing it away from his wrist.
He caught it before she could, and intertwined his fingers with hers. Marinette felt her brain start to short circuit.
"I'll walk you home," he stated, his gaze unwavering.
"You don't have to-"
"It's not up for a debate, Marinette," he said, tugging her along. Marinette stumbled after him, his pace quick and determined.
The two teenagers turned. Nathalie stood in the doorway, hugging a clipboard to her chest. She looked tired, and her eyes were anxious.
"I'd advise you to stay in for the night," she stated. "The chauffer can drive your friend home safely."
Something tense and shifting filled the air between Adrien and his father's assistant, and Marinette felt Adrien tighten his hand around hers at Nathalie's command.
"Nathalie, please… just this once," Adrien muttered, his eyes hard. Nathalie took a step back, sighing.
"Your father will not like this."
"Tell him I left before you could stop me," Adrien said, turning around. Marinette followed him nervously, and looked back at the older woman. Nathalie sighed again before nodding and returning back inside.
"Adrien…?" Marinette asked tentatively, trying to match his pace and get a good look at his face.
"Don't worry about it," he smiled at her, his emerald eyes bright. She let him lead her out of the gate, and soon they were walking through the streets of Paris, the streetlights dim above them.
Along the way Adrien handed her phone to exchange numbers. "Don't forget to text me if you ever need me," he stressed, and Marinette nodded, barely comprehending the fact that she now had Adrien's number saved into her phone.
Autumn was quickly turning into winter, and Marinette shivered, wishing she had worn a thicker jacket as she gave his phone back to him.
"Are you cold?" Adrien asked. Before she could answer, he had let go of her hand and was shrugging off his jacket. She tried to protest, but Adrien insisted.
"Thank you," Marinette smiled, putting it on and sighing into its warmth. Adrien caught her hand again, and she looked up at him, smiling.
Was this a dream? Adrien was walking her home… holding her hand? If this had been a month ago, Marinette wouldn't have been able to function next to him. Now… she was calm. She could look him in the eye without feeling light-headed.
When had this change happened to them? Since when could she keep her composure, and since when did Adrien start paying attention to her more – since when did he start wanting to hold her hand?
She couldn't explain the shift in their relationship. Could he…?
The thought of the broken window in his room had all but vanished from her mind. Marinette was walking on cloud nine – nothing could ruin this moment…
They passed the base of the Eiffel Tower, and Marinette's mind flashed back to a fight last spring – an mime turned into akuma had sliced the tower in half, and she remembered running with Chat Noir through the streets, working to defeat the akuma and restore the tower back to normal.
Marinette's heart fluttered at the thought of him, and suddenly she was no longer elated to be holding Adrien's hand.
She felt guilty. Dirty.
Adrien chatted idly beside her, but Marinette could barely listen as her mind closed in on herself, and guilt clutched at her heart.
Marinette had gone quiet beside him, and he could tell that she was deep in thought – she always bit her lip when she was thinking, and right then she was biting it so hard that it was close to bleeding.
Adrien had a good bet as to what she was thinking about. She was thinking about… well… only him, really. But she didn't know that.
Marinette was agonizing over him… and Chat Noir…
What was he even doing? Why was he doing this to her? He should just tell her, right now. He could pull her into an alley – somewhere with privacy – and transform in front of her. Explain everything. Clear the air. And then she would step up to him, reach up – pull him down to meet her lips –
Stop, stop, stop, he scolded himself, grimacing. That was not an option. No one could know who he really was. It could put them in danger – they could be targeted. Marinette could be targeted. That was the last thing Adrien wanted.
It was just out of the question. Ladybug didn't even know who he was…
His chest clenched at the thought of His Lady, and his stomach dropped with guilt. What would she think, if she knew that he was practically pining after his classmate? Would she be angry?
Probably not, the voice in the back of his head reasoned. She never liked you like that, anyway.
That's right. Ladybug would never love him, not as Chat Noir or as Adrien Agreste. It was a lost cause.
But that didn't matter. He still would fight for her, die for her. He loved her that much.
So why was he feeling this way over Marinette, then? If he had undying love for Ladybug, then why was he feeling so conflicted?
Just like Marinette, Adrien had also fallen into his troubled thoughts. They walked in silence, their hands still intertwined.
Marinette used to be so nervous around him, but now she was so calm – so natural. The reason he'd visited her so often as Chat was to bring that side out of her.
It looked like he'd finally cracked her flighty exterior, and as Adrien no less. He grinned, his mind brightening momentarily at the thought. He didn't need the mask, after all.
"What are you grinning about?" Marinette asked, peeking up at his face. He laughed and shrugged.
"It's not important," he tried to say, but Marinette huffed.
"Well…" He paused. "Don't take this the wrong way, but I always thought you used to be scared of me…"
Marinette's eyes widened. "Scared of you? Why?"
"You always stammered whenever I talked to you… I always felt bad," Adrien shrugged. Marinette stopped walking and jumped in front of him, her eye frantic.
"I've never been scared of you, please believe me!" She quickly stated. "I know I was sort of awkward and stuff, but it wasn't because I was scared!"
"I never thought you were awkward," he told her honestly. "In fact, I always thought that it was kind of cute." He shrugged, and Marinette blushed. "But I like that you're more open with me now!"
"I like it too," Marinette smiled.
They continued walking, and passed a man on a street corner, a violin in his hand. He played a soothing melody that drifted through the quiet Paris streets. Suddenly, Marinette was glancing between Adrien and the man before she pulled on his hand and yanked him to the side.
"Let's dance," she breathed, her cheeks dusted red. His eyes widened slightly, memories of last night drifting through his head. Her dimly lit room – dancing to an invisible tune. She seemed to realize her bold statement rather quickly, and chuckled nervously. "Practice," she stated instead. "Let's practice. We'll have to do this for real in a few weeks, after all. In front of a bunch of people, too…"
"Won't your parents be angry if you're late?" Adrien questioned, shivering slightly as Marinette placed her hands on his waist. This girl was going to be the death of him.
"Just a couple minutes, that's all," she told him. Adrien grinned, and placed his hands on top of her shoulders – taking the women's role for the second time this weekend.
The man looked up from his violin and tipped his hat at them before he continued playing. Marinette giggled, and started to lead him around the sidewalk.
"I'm pretty nervous to play Chat Noir," she told him as they danced. Adrien looked down at her, and she shrugged. "I don't feel like I'll be able to do him justice."
"The script is great, and you're fantastic," Adrien said, nudging her shoulder with his. "And I don't know about you, but I think he'll be really happy with your performance." I don't just think, I'm positive, he thought smugly to himself.
"Well," Marinette began, her sapphire eyes bright. "I bet Ladybug will also think that you're amazing… call it intuition, I guess."
Adrien smiled, and gripped her shoulders just a bit more tightly, testing the waters. Marinette, in turn, stepped a bit closer to him, their chests barely touching.
They both slowly moved to the melody, and as they continued… their dance started to feel less and less like "practice." Marinette spun him around – her laughter sounding like bells – before she stopped and placed her head against his chest.
Adrien breathed slowly, his hand moving up to her hair – gliding his fingers through the silky strands. They'd stopped dancing by then, just like last night. The music had stopped as well – the man had packed up his bag, glancing at the couple and smiling slyly as he walked away toward home.
"Marinette our music is gone," Adrien whispered into her ear.
Adrien laughed, nodding as he pulled her tighter to him. They were in a bubble again… But this time, he was Adrien. He wasn't wearing a mask… it was all him, and she was here, dancing with him, embracing him…
Was this real?
"This… feels so familiar," Marinette sighed.
Adrien stalled above her, his eyes widening as the quiet mood shattered. He stopped moving his feet, and Marinette stumbled into him.
"What do you mean by familiar…?" Adrien asked, his hands moving down to grip her arms. She looked up at him – perplexed – and no doubt noticed the panic in his eyes.
"I – I…" She struggled with her words. "I mean, I guess I've dreamt about dancing with you for a long time, I don't – wait, I mean – not that I dream about you a lot or anything, that's not…"
She was back to stammering like she'd used to, and Adrien suddenly realized that he was gripping her arms a bit too tightly – making her nervous. He let go and took a step back, his mind working into overdrive.
She was lying… He could just tell. That familiar feeling she'd mentioned… she was talking about Chat Noir.
Did she suspect him? Had Marinette figured him out? A hot panic ran through his veins – he couldn't let anyone know who he was! He and Ladybug had sworn on it… he couldn't break His Lady's trust! Imagine what she'd think if she found out that Marinette had discovered him…
"You careless cat, what did I say?!"
The thought made him shiver as he looked down at Marinette, who was clearly upset. "Adrien…" she started. "Whatever I did wrong, I'm sorry…"
"It's not you," Adrien reassured her quickly, though he didn't close the gap between them – didn't console her with his hands like he would have done moments before. He couldn't risk this anymore. He couldn't get close to her as Adrien or Chat Noir.
What had he been thinking, all this time?
"The bakery is just down the road from here," Marinette muttered, pointing toward the direction of her home. Her eyes were crestfallen and confused, and Adrien so badly wanted to make things right – to see her smile again. God, he loved her smile…
"I'll walk you there," he said instantly, though Marinette held up a hand – declining his offer.
"I'd rather just… uhm… walk alone if you don't mind," she whispered, trying to force herself to smile. It fell flat.
"Marinette, I'm sorry…"
There were so many things to be sorry for, and he couldn't even tell her those reasons without giving himself away.
"Don't be sorry," Marinette said quickly, before stepping back and shrugging off his jacket. She handed it to him, and Adrien reluctantly took it back. "I'll see you on Monday. Let's… just try to do our best for Alya and Nino, okay?"
And with that, she pushed past him, hurrying home. Adrien watched her go, willing himself to stay put – to not run after her.
This was for the best… for everybody.