"Guess what I brought!" Nino called out over the noise, holding a box up high.
"TWISTER!" There was a loud cheer amongst their classmates. Adrien's father was away on business and seeing as it was New Year's Eve, has permitted Adrien (actually Nino) to organise a New Year's Eve party for their class. But only for their class. In no way was Adrien permitted to invite anyone outside his class. He even left his personal assistant behind to make sure that the invitation was only extended towards classmates.
"Yeah, let's see if you guys can beat the Twister King!" Nino held up Adrien's hand and grinned.
The rest all groaned. As of yet, no one has beaten Adrien. They all said it wasn't fair that he was so flexible, seeing as he was so athletic and fenced for the school. Kim, especially, had tried to beat him for two years straight now. He said that football required flexibility as well, but his large frame just couldn't hold a candle over Adrien's lithe one.
Adrien grinned shyly as he pulled his hand away. "Nino," he laughed merrily, eyes ablaze with the challenge as he turned towards Kim.
The other boy cracked his knuckles with a wide smile. "Let's do this, Agreste."
"Can you actually catch up this year?" Adrien drawled and the crowd ooh-ed, making Kim colour up.
"Hey now guys, settle down!" Nino got in between the two boys as Kim opened his mouth to give a retort, shielding himself with the Twister box. "Let's make this slightly more interesting, shall we?" He looked at the rest of them with a devilish grin. "Let's make this a competition, shall we? Everyone gets to compete."
"And what do we get if we win?" Chloe asked as she checked her manicure, pretending to be bored. "I mean, aside from dethroning Adrien," she batted her eyelashes at him then.
"That's a good enough prize for me," Kim spoke up and the crowd cheered.
"Hmm, how about a kiss from the Twister King?" Nino asked cheekily, with a quick glance at Adrien, who recoiled in shock. Adrien gaped at Nino, who staunchly refused to meet his gaze.
Stunned silence greeted him as everyone couldn't believe their ears at what Nino just said. They gaped at Nino, mouths dropped open and eyes popped. After a long minute, they all began speaking at the same time.
"Sabrina, you better win!" Chloe screeched, her voice carrying over the din.
"No way is Agreste laying his lips anywhere on me!" Kim protested hotly at the same time.
"Not even on your feet?" Adrien piped up, suddenly interested at the prospect of a competition. Maybe he'll get to push himself for once.
More stunned silence ensued as the suggestion sank in.
"The kiss is on!" Kim yelled out and the others cheered again, finally warming up to the competition.
As Nino organised the competition with Alya, Adrien dismissed Nathalie, his father's assistant.
"Are you sure, Adrien?" she asked doubtfully. "Your father said I was needed here."
"Nathalie, it's New Year's Eve," Adrien replied levelly. "We're literally just going to have a Twister competition. We're already imposing on your free time as it is. Besides, I have guards posted outside the hall. They'll make sure the party's contained."
Still, she hesitated. After a long internal debate, where she swayed from one side to another, she finally conceded. "Very well, Adrien. Just promise me no one will drink. Or," she shuddered delicately, "break something."
"On my life," he replied solemnly, hand up like he was taking an oath.
She smiled, wished him a happy new year and happily skipped out of the room, bundling up against the cold as she was about to leave. At the door, she gave another wave to Adrien, who waved back and closed the door behind her. He even opened up the gates for her, watching as she left.
By the time Adrien made it back into the hall, everyone was already drawing straws on whom they will be competing against. "So, who will be my first rival?" he asked Nino, who murmured a name into his ear.
"Marinette, your first competitor is Alix," Alyasaid bossily, ticking off names from her phone.
"What?" Marinette squeaked. "Alya, you can't seriously say I'm in this competition!"
"Don't be silly, of course you are! Everyone is!" Alya waved a hand at Marinette's protests. "Marinette please! Look at it this way," her face turned sly. "If you win this, you'll get a New Year's kiss. From Adrien, no less!" she held up a finger conspiratorially.
"I had enough trouble actually getting here," Marinette retorted, reminding Alya of the absolute struggle to even get her out of the house.
"But it's Adrien's party!" Alya moaned. "When else are we going to get this chance?"
"I can't, Alya!" Marinette buried her head under her tiny pillow in shame. "I'm going to say something stupid! Or do something stupid! What if I lookstupid?" A look of horror spread across her face as the thought sank in. "I am not going and that's final!"
"I can't believe I had your father bodily lift you out of the house," Alya laughed, arms crossed. "You are truly a piece, my friend. But really, be a sport and just try it for a little while. Besides, you're not even sure you'll reach the finals, the way everyone is getting pumped up."
They looked around the room as their classmates all began stretching (with the exception of Chloe, who was yelling instructions at Sabrina), warming up before their round. They exchanged a grimace.
"Look, if you don't want to compete; that's okay. I can tell Nino that we'll just have to pair Alix with someone else," Alya put a hand on Marinette's shoulder and smiled. "It's not a big deal."
Marinette cast a sweeping glance around the room again, watching her classmates warm up, their faces scrunched in concentration. "No, it's okay," she said finally. "I can't let all this effort go to waste. It would be too selfish. I'll compete. Besides, for all I know I wouldn't even make it to the finals," she shrugged, quoting her friend. She grinned as she rolled her eyes.
"Great!" Alya brightened up, giving her friend a quick hug. "Don't sweat it, okay? You'll do fine. And whatever it is, don't lose on purpose," she reminded sternly.
Marinette waved her off. "I said I'll compete, didn't I? I never intentionally lose a competition; I will do my best." She began to warm up to show her earnestness, stretching her arms and calves. Her friend nodded once and began to walk over to the other competitors, notifying them on their rivals. Marinette shook her limbs, loosening them before bending down and touching her toes, holding the position for several seconds. Then she placed a hand on her hip and bent the opposite direction, relishing in the burn of her muscles.
After several rounds, of which Adrien won almost embarrassingly easily, he found himself facing Kim. He smirked. "Took you long enough."
"I had to wade through the weeds," Kim retorted with a smirk of his own.
"Adrien, left hand on yellow!"Alya called out, as the appointed official spinner; while Nino was the referee and all around person to make sure no one cheated. "Kim, right foot on red!"
It didn't take long before the two boys were on all fours in awkward angles. Adrien turned his face away from Kim's foot, inches away from his face, with his lip curling in disgust. His limbs shook slightly from the exertion of keeping himself up and not touching the mat. Kim quickly swiped at his face, wiping away a bead of sweat rolling down his temple. He blinked, muscles twitching. He reached over Adrien's torso to place his right hand on the nearest available blue.
"Hah!" he called out in triumph as his fingers landed on the very edge of the blue square. He wriggled his fingers to sort of worm his entire hand more onto the circle. "Call the next colour!" he barked, biting his lip to stop it from quivering.
Alya spun the needle and they all waited with bated breath. After a small eternity, the needle came to a stop. "Adrien, left foot on red!"
"Merde," Adrien muttered, pulling his left foot from where it was comfortably resting on the green dot. Slowly, he slid it towards the red dot, nudging Kim's hand ever so slightly as he did. He grimaced because with his right foot on yellow, his legs are crossed in a way it probably shouldn't. It was slow work, but he made it. He clenched his teeth and raised his body higher, muscles truly shaking now. "Next colour!" he cried out.
The needle was already spinning and the two boys had their eyes clenched in anticipation. "Kim, left hand on green!"The crowd ooh-ed, eyes widening.
"Are you kidding me right now! That's impossible!" Kim yelled out because with his two feet on red, it did seem physically impossible.
"You have to make it, or forfeit to Adrien," Nino interjected exasperatedly, as though he was tired of saying it. Which he was, having said it numerous times that night to many other different people.
With growl, Kim lifted his hand and tried to slide it under Adrien to the green dot. When that wouldn't work, he tried to go over Adrien's contorted body. Hand shaking, he managed to again land the very tips of his fingers on the very edge of the dot. He tried worming his hand onto the dot again.
"Kim, your foot's off the red!" Nino called out.
"You try being in this position!" Kim huffed, trying to figure out where his foot is and where the red circle is.
Kim felt around again. 'Oh man, my foot's shaking so badly now,' he thought, clenching his teeth to stop it from shaking. It was no use; he couldn't keep his hand on green while his feet remained on the reds. When he was feeling around, his knee, tired of holding up the lower body, buckled and Kim fell, landing on Adrien. They landed on the mat in a heap.
"Match goes to Adrien!" Nino called out, hands up. "All hail the undisputed Twister King!"
The crowd cheered and Kim was shaking Adrien's hand, smiles on their faces.
"Wait!" Alya shouted and the noise died down. "Marinette is still in the running?" she gasped, double-checking the piece of paper to make sure.
"What?" gasped several voices, the loudest one was Chloe.
"Yes," Alya confirmed excitedly. "She beat Alix, and has since gone uncontested. She's supposed to go against Adrien," she gaped at her friend.
Marinette shifted uncomfortably when the focus of the entire room turned on her. She rubbed the back of her head nervously, letting out a short chuckle. She made her way to the centre of the room, faced Adrien and stuck out a hand. "Good game against Kim," she said.
Adrien grinned as he shook her hand. "We'll have our game after I've caught my breath," he panted, wiping away the sweat from his forehead.
She nodded, internally screaming at his hand in hers. She let go of his hand and tried to control herself from skipping and squealing at her friend.
"Competitors, face the other!" Nino called out officially as the two of them faced the other from opposite corners.
"Good luck!" Marinette smiled.
"Adrien, right hand on yellow!"Alya called out when the needle spun to a stop. Adrien easily unfurled into that position, keeping his eyes on Marinette, who was eyeing the board and probably praying for a hand as well. A foot would be a little awkward. Alya spun the needle again. "Marinette, right hand on green!"
On one hand, Marinette heaved a sigh of relief as she slid into position. On the other hand, when she reached her position, she realised how close it brought her face to Adrien's. She gulped and tried to look at anywhere but him, feeling her face heat up.
After several rounds, Adrien was on all fours, with his left hand also on yellow and his feet each on blue and red. Marinette, on the other hand, was bent over in a semicircle with her face facing the ceiling, her hands on red and yellow; her left foot on another yellow and right foot still unclaimed by any colour.
"Marinette, keep your foot off the mat!" Nino warned.
Licking her lips, Marinette slowly lifted up her foot straight up until it was perpendicular to her body. Her classmates cheered when she found herself staring at her foot, toes pointed to the ceiling.
"Marinette, how are you doing that?" Alya whistled, surprised at her friend's flexibility.
Marinette just let out a short, dismissive chuckle. Being Ladybug, she wasn't unused to bending her body like this, but this isn't something she wanted to share with her classmates. "I sometimes do tai chi with my mother," she lied through clenched teeth.
"Okay then, you can stop doing that. Right foot on red!"
Marinette looked to her left, which had only green and yellow. Looking to her right, she found herself face to face with Adrien and she flinched. "Um, can you move your head a little to the right?"
"Your right, or mine?" he teased before just moving his head to her right.
Seeing an unused red circle in the corner, Marinette slowly lowered her foot to it. However, this put it in next to Adrien's two feet, essentially between his legs. She tried not to think about that as she stared at the ceiling resolutely.
"Next colour!" Nino called out after checking to see if her foot was in the right place. "Marinette, are you okay?" he asked to confirm. She nodded jerkily. Her muscles weren't shaking just yet, but it was still a mildly uncomfortable position to be in. She pushed herself upwards and locked her joints.
Alya spun the spinner again. "Adrien, left hand on green!"
Easily, he reached under Marinette and moved his hand to the unoccupied green circles there. His head underneath the arch of her body, something occurred to him. It was a scent. He sniffed delicately, like a cat. No doubt about it, this scent was familiar; but from where? He racked his memories. He knows he's smelled this scent before. It was Marinette, he was sure of that. But it wasn't at school where he's smelled this scent most strongly. Where was it? He racked his brain harder, trying to follow the scent trail in his mind. Flashes of memories came to him. He was in front of school. But he wasn't Adrien. Or was he?
"Adrien, right foot to blue!"
"Done!" he said, annoyed, the memory already slipping away. He followed the scent trail into his memories again. He was in front of the was sprinting. He needed to get to her; to save her. He needed to save her from Timebreaker. He was so close…
"Right foot on green!"
Adrien jolted from the memory, disoriented. He moved his foot to green, accidentally hooking Marinette's foot. She let out a short gasp before moving her foot back to where it was and locking her joints again.
The memory dissipated but it shocked him so much that his foot slipped on its way to the green circle, sending Adrien crashing into a heap underneath Marinette, stunning him more than their classmates.
"Marinette…won?!" Nino announced, as shocked as everyone else.
"I did?" Marinette turned her head slowly, to find that Adrien on a heap beneath her, staring at her with wide eyes. "I did!" Gracefully, she unfurled herself to a stand and stretched to uncoil her muscles and ease her joints. She turned to Adrien and held out a hand to help him to his feet. "Good game," she smiled at him, flushed with joy.
He took it and allowed her to pull him up.
"All hail the new Twister Queen!" Nino shouted and the crowd cheered, the boys getting her on their shoulders, chanting "Twister Queen!" over and over again as they brought her a full circle around the large hall before letting her down opposite Adrien again.
"I hope there are no hard feelings," she said to him. "What's wrong?" she noticed him staring at her strangely, as though seeing her for the first time.
He shook his head and the look disappeared. "No, no. I was just amazed that I lost. Good game, Twister Queen," he dared himself a wink at her and her face reddened. That wasn't right, he thought. She wouldn't blush. Marinette couldn't be her. But the scent was so compelling...
"Give her a kiss!" someone called out and Chloe screeched.
With a bow, Adrien kneeled in front of her and kissed her hand ceremoniously, amongst wild cheering. It wasn't the kiss they were hoping for, but it was just as good. When he stood up again, Marinette was looking at him strangely, like she just remembered something. But then she shook her head and the look disappeared.