*A/N I don't own any of the Miraculous Ladybug characters.
"Another fashion contest?" Alya snickered. "The teachers are really struggling for good projects before break, huh, Marinette? Marinette? Marinette?"
Marinette was practically drooling on the table as she gazed forward towards Adrien, remembering how he had looked sporting her bowler hat in the winning shoot forever ago. He hadn't exactly appeared graceful due to his constant sneezing, but Adrien Agreste was always gorgeous and perfect in her eyes, even when hit with allergies. Marinette smiled when she thought about winning again and seeing him in a jacket this time.
If she won.
No feathers, she promised him in her mind.
"What did you say?" Alya asked.
Marinette snapped out of it, "Huh? What?"
"Did you just say something about feathers?" Alya questioned, smirking as her own eyes shot a quick peek at Adrien.
The boy had spun slightly in his seat when he heard commotion.
Marinette screeched before quickly saying, "What? Feathers? No! No! No! I was talking about, uh, leathers?"
Alya gave her a friend a look, "Leathers?"
Adrien turned back around, tapping his pencil on his desk, and Marinette's heart fell a bit. She wished he would've said something to her, maybe a good luck or a comment about how she had won last time.
"Uh, yeah," Marinette replied, placing her head on the table so Alya wouldn't continue. While waiting for the bell to ring, she stared at Adrien's beautiful golden hair that was always enough to keep her mind busy. She prayed Alya was taking good notes for her to copy later.
As soon as the bell rang, Marinette grabbed her stuff and started to walk out with Alya hot on her trail.
"The designs are due by the end of the week. Will you be ready by then? You have to win again! Can you imagine dressing Adrien in your jacket?"
Marinette offered a small smile while her cheeks flushed, "Since it's only designs and not real products, I think I should be fine." Her ideas were always unlimited when it came to imagining her sweet blonde prince in her designs. She spaced out for a bit, starting to remember how Adrien had almost turned completely around towards her today. The thought caused Marinette to let out a sad breath.
"Girl," Alya snapped her fingers in front of her face, "what's wrong with you? Something's weird."
Marinette snapped out of it, trying to be her normal, overly hyper self, "Wh-what? I'm perfectly fine! You're the weird one. Look at me! I'm full of energy and totally not weird!" She flung her arms out to prove it, almost nailing Nino in the face.
"So close," Alya commented teasingly at Nino as he adjusted his glasses.
"Funny." He adjusted his bag strap before turning to Marinette, "No feathers, huh?"
Marinette's mouth fell open, and she let out a defeated groan that continued on for a long time as Alya and Nino talked.
"No. No leathers," Alya corrected.
"Oh, really? Because I'm about 99% positive that you said feathers in class, Marinette," he smirked, leaning close to the girl's face to cause her even greater embarrassment.
The groan continued.
"Oh, did the blonde prince hear?"
The groan stopped with a sharp inhale. She hadn't stopped to think if maybe Adrien had turned around because he was embarrassed by her comment. Despite her desire to know the answer to Alya's question, she was blushing at the fact that her friend had brought it up in front of Adrien's very own best friend. Marinette hit Alya gently. But Nino knew about Marinette's infatuation with Adrien, so her embarrassment, and abuse, was unwarranted. Alya rubbed her arm a bit, sticking her tongue out at Marinette with a smile.
Nino let out a groan of his own, "No! He was totally spacey again, man!" He scratched behind his ear, "He's positive she said leathers."
Marinette tried not to let her face fall. She didn't know what she had wished to hear instead, but that wasn't the answer she was hoping for.
"Though, he did seem kinda happy about it. Apparently he's not a fan of leather," Nino shrugged. "Said he has to wear it too often or something. You know models."
Marinette knew Ladybug, and she knew she agreed with Adrien. She mentally marked down hatred for leather, and probably spandex, down in her possible future conversation topics with Adrien.
She imagined walking up to him confidently and saying, Oh, you hate leather? Me, too. Wanna go to a movie?
A deeper blush than was already on her face immediately accompanied the thought, and she knew that was a daydream she would never share with anyone.
"Anyways, good luck, Marinette! I'm rooting for you," Nino winked, slipping on his headphones and starting off home.
Alya grumbled for a bit in his general direction before turning to Marinette, "You know, you should just tell him how you feel. Everyone else knows."
This conversation came up often. "Not everyone," Marinette sputtered softly.
"Alya, Alya, Alya!" Marinette hushed her with a hand tightly over her friend's mouth.
Alya tugged the hand off, "What's stopping you? Remember Valentine's Day?! You were so ready to let him know how you felt!"
"I know, I know… It's just…"
"What, is there somebody else?" Alya's eyebrows rose. "You haven't moved past…"
"WHAT? Never! Adrien is perfect! Adrien is just so handsome and talented and kind and cool and always so charming and…"
"Geez, Marinette, I didn't want the speech again," her friend giggled, cutting off Marinette's ramblings. "It's just, you know, I think it's almost time to make a move or move on."
Gulping, Marinette entertained the thought of moving on in her mind. But Adrien had been in her heart for a while now and thinking about forgetting how much she cared for him was so foreign to her, it took a while for the seriousness of it to sink into her brain.
Alya's comment almost made sense to her after thinking it over a while. Despite how long she had crushed on Adrien, Marinette barely ever made a move, and whenever she did, something ruined it. Like him thinking a scarf was from his father or Chloe interrupting a scripted kiss.
Eventually, she nodded, "I agree, Alya. I'm just nervous. He never really notices me, and I'm scared that if I do something wrong… those few times he has seen me… will stop happening…" Her shoulders hunched forward in defeat, her eyes closing automatically as she imagined his few smiles directed at her.
How could she even think about pushing Adrien from her heart?
"Or they could happen more," Alya pointed out.
Marinette looked up at her with wide eyes.
Her friend nudged her shoulder gently, walking off towards her home, "Just a thought."
Marinette sketched out a design quickly. It was easy when she was imagining Adrien in it. Embarrassingly enough, she even knew his measurements. But she wouldn't go as far as writing them down on her design. That would be creepy, and at least Marinette knew to draw the line somewhere.
She did indulge herself in a couple sketches where he was in her design, but after giggling over them a bit, she shoved them in her private box where no one would be able to see them, not even Alya.
After a few moments of sitting in silence at her desk, the girl got up and walked to her window, watching the lights of the city for a moment until her kwami flew up next to her.
"What are you thinking about, Marinette?"
With a sigh, Marinette wondered, "Do you think I should move on, Tikki?"
Her kwami flew in front of her face, "You're thinking about what Alya was saying earlier? I think she just wants to push you to make a move."
"Do you think I should move on?" Marinette asked again, eyebrows creased in concentration and thought.
Tikki hovered in one spot silently, almost unsure what to say.
"Is it really so hopeless? Am I really so hopeless?"
"No, Marinette! That's not why someone would suggest moving on!"
"Then, why? Am I not good enough for him?"
It was a thought Marinette had often enough, thanks for Chloe's constant harps throughout class and even outside of class. No one was worthy of Adrien but her, and Chloe made that crystal clear.
"Marinette!" Tikki scolded. "It's the opposite!"
Marinette glanced up at Tikki, finally, with tears stuck in her eyes, "What do you mean?"
Tikki smiled warmly, "Maybe he's not worthy of you! Have you ever thought of it that way?"
Marinette couldn't help but laugh. Of course she hadn't. Adrien was perfect. How could he ever be, in any possible situation or universe, unworthy of her? The idea was so silly that it made Marinette laugh again.
"If he hasn't noticed you yet…"
"Now stop that, Tikki. It's not his fault I'm not noticeable. Plus, he's always busy! So many photo shoots and other modeling duties that keep him busy 24/7! And, well," she let out a breath, not wanting to admit what she was thinking, but speaking it aloud anyways, "I'm just Marinette."
"Not just," Tikki grinned again, touching Marinette's cheeks with her hands. "You're Ladybug."
Marinette offered a small smile in return, glad for a way out of the Adrien conversation, "Speaking of Ladybug, should we patrol?"
Tikki nodded, giving Marinette an adorable smile that almost made her forget her troubles for a moment.
Marinette transformed and hurried out of her room onto the terrace so she could begin her scanning of the city. It was the perfect way to take her mind off of Adrien.
Especially once Chat Noir caught up with her.