All right, so first ever fanfic for this fandom. I'm excited and nervous and scared.
First off, I would like to thank and give credit to legend-of-sora on Tumblr for letting me take a piece of her artwork (post/138218350575/sketches-this-out-at-work-this-morning) and turn it into a fanfiction, and for providing the idea and main plot points.
UPDATE: So, since I can't fit this into my summary, the cover for this story is also a piece done by legend-of-sora! Who was so nice as to draw this for the story! It's gorgeous and beautiful and I totally had to upload it as soon as possible. You can find the original post here (post/138919774930/i-couldnt-help-myself-awayofunderstandingit-is)
It'll probably be a short story and not immediately start where in the storyline the art is drawn, because I'd really like to develop Marinette and Adrien's relationship naturally, as his love for Ladybug slowly shifts to Marinette. (Also, it has nothing to do with making the climax that much more painful. Nothing at all.)
All right, with that said and done, hope you enjoy!
It's Just a Few Croissants and Cookies
It started after the tournament for that game, Ultimate Mega Strike 3. Well, okay, maybe that wasn't exactly when it started. It was more like, certain events during the time Adrien had gone over to Marinette's to practice playing the game together had gotten the ball rolling and after that it just, sort of…snowballed.
So there Marinette was, frozen at the front steps up to the school on a clear, sunny Monday morning, holding a box of fresh-baked goods for Adrien. Her heart was pounding so fast in her ribcage she thought it was going to burst right out of her chest. Her hands were shaking so bad, she was afraid she might drop the box and spill the croissants and cookies on the ground. (It wasn't like she hadn't spilled baked goods before, anyway.)
To say she was surprised when she went downstairs to say goodbye was an understatement.
For once, Marinette had managed to get up at a reasonable hour this morning. She'd had plenty of time to wake up and get dressed, prepare for school and get all her things in order. She checked the clock multiple times to make sure she wasn't hallucinating and was actually an hour late (also something that'd happened before).
She threw her purse over her shoulder, Tikki zipping inside with a quick smile to Marinette. Then she donned her backpack and headed downstairs to say a goodbye to her parents.
The first thing that gave them off was the fact that they were standing at the bottom of the staircase that led up to their front door (probably so they could monitor the bakery). Her dad had his arm around her mom's shoulders. Her mom was holding a small box (one of the sizes they sold in the shop) in her hands. Both of them were smiling up at her, almost beaming in fact.
Marinette slowed her walk as she came down, looking at them suspiciously.
"Uh…good morning," Marinette greeted them uncertainly, her feet hitting the ground floor.
"Good morning," they chimed together, completely in sync, making Marinette think they'd rehearsed this.
"Yeah, well, I'm off to school," she said quickly. "So I'll see you this afternoon—" She started to squeeze past them, but her mom quickly held out the box.
"Wait, before you go, will you make sure Adrien gets this?" she asked, causing her daughter to freeze and look at Sabine with startled eyes, her jaw completely slack.
"You want what?" she squeaked, her eyes flickering to the box like it was diseased.
Sabine held it out further, smiling and nodding encouragingly. "It's just a few croissants and cookies," she explained.
"We thought he'd might enjoy a little treat," Tom finished.
Marinette forced her body to move, though her brain was feeling a bit freeze-dried at the moment.
"Sure, of course…" She laughed nervously and reached for the box, almost dropping it in the process. She laughed again and smiled to reassure her parents that she could handle this.
"You'd better go before you're late again," Tom finally said.
"Right, of course." Marinette shot them another smile before turning and bolting to the front door of the bakery. "Love you!" She called back before bursting through the door and running over the school.
Only to remember the box in her hands. She came to a halt at the bottom of the steps, the box suddenly feeling a thousand times heavier. The smell of the baked goods wafted up toward her, reminding her of when she was little and would help prepare bread in the bakery. She still did that, of course, but when she was little she was just learning about what her parents did and the art that was baking bread—it was magical.
"Come on, Marinette," Tikki's voice coaxed softly, poking her head out from her Miraculous holder's purse. "You don't want to be late, do you?"
Marinette looked down at the box in her hands. "But…"
"Marinette," Tikki said with a little more force. "Worry about the box later."
Marinette bit her lip and looked down at the box before steeling her nerves, nodding, and running up the steps and to her classroom. Everyone was already there and the teacher was already speaking.
Marinette smiled sheepishly before quickly walking to her seat, which, unfortunately also meant she had to pass Adrien. She felt like she might trip and drop the box on her way up the steps, but nothing happened. She relaxed and let out a breath. Beside her, Alya giggled.
Marinette's blue eyes slid over to her best friend to glare. Alya tried to stifle her giggles, putting a hand over her mouth.
"Damn girl," Alya commented quietly when she'd gotten a sufficient hold of laughter. "Are you all right? You seem more flustered than usual and the day hasn't even started." She seemed to notice the box, then. "What's in the box?" She sang.
Marinette's eyes darted to the blond in front of her before going back to her friend, who didn't fail to miss this. Alya raised an eyebrow, her journalist's instincts kicking in.
"Oh, I see," Alya said. "Is it something for Adrien?" She sang his name a little too loud for Marinette's comfort.
"Shhhh!" Marinette waved her hands frantically, her eyes darting to Adrien to make sure he hadn't heard. She let out another breath when it looked like he was completely focused on what the teacher was writing on the board. "It's just some croissants and cookies, that's all."
"Can I have one?" Alya asked, reaching for the box. Marinette's arms came around the box so quick they were a blur as she leaned away from her best friend.
"No!" she exclaimed much too loud. The whole class froze, all eyes turning to look at her.
"Marinette," the teacher scolded, turning away from the board. "If you continue to interrupt the class, I'm going to send you to speak to the principal."
Marinette groaned and hung her head. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
"It better not."
The teacher turned back to the board. Marinette peeked up to look at Adrien as he turned to face front again. She let her gaze drop and groaned (much quieter) again, letting her had fall onto the table.
Alya reached over to pat her friend on the shoulder. Marinette turned her head and met her friend's eyes.
"Sorry," Alya mouthed.
Marinette smiled to assure her it was all good before lifting her head and pulling out her tablet and at least trying to focus on the lesson. Of course, that didn't last very long. If she focused on the teacher, she was able to pay attention to the lesson. But when she looked down at her tablet to take a note, she saw the box and flew into a panic once again as she tried to think of way to give the box to Adrien. And so it went, back and forth, from the lesson to the box, throughout the whole class period.
Honestly, in theory, it shouldn't be so hard. But she 1) didn't want to embarrass herself doing it and 2) wanted to make sure she explained why she was suddenly giving him a box of food. It wasn't like she could just run up to him and shove it into his arms before running off again (though, if she was being honest, she had considered it). Marinette glanced over at her friend. Maybe Alya would be able to help her. She always managed to stay way more level-headed around Adrien.
Finally, the class ended, giving them a few minutes before their next one started. Giving Marinette a few minutes to either give Adrien the box or sit there and freak out about it. What she did instead was sit in her seat, staring at the box. Not even packing up, just staring at the box. That is until Adrien started leaving. Her eyes followed him out the door before straying back to the box.
"So," Alya said, making Marinette jump and yelp. "How are you planning on giving that to him?"
"I haven't figured out a way to give it to him that doesn't involve stuttering, tripping and dropping the box, and/or running," Marinette explained in a deadpan.
Alya laughed. "Oh, Marinette. Why don't you just wait until this afternoon and give them to him before he leaves for lunch?"
"I don't want to wait because I want some of them to be fresh when he eats them," Marinette lamented. "I can't wait until this afternoon."
"All right, then, let's go." Before Marinette could react, Alya stood, slung her backpack over her shoulder and grabbed the box of goodies, before heading out the door. Marinette let out a choked yelp of protest before shoving her things clumsily into her own backpack and following Alya, nearly dropping her tablet two times and tripping on the steps as she did.
By the time she made it out of the classroom, Adrien was just exiting the boys' locker room with Nino and Alya was heading straight toward them. How she'd managed to get down that flight of stairs so quickly, Marinette would never know. It wasn't like she had much time to think about it anyway because she had only a few seconds before Alya met Adrien and Nino.
She froze when she finally got downstairs. How was she going to approach them? What was she going to say? Alya never made things easy for Marinette when it came to Adrien, so she wouldn't be giving the box to him for her. And she didn't have a lot more time before their break was over and their next class began. She really did want Adrien to get the food while it was still relatively fresh….
With a burst of courage, she ran over to there, the closer she got, the more her heart beat faster in her chest. Her mind was already jumbling up her words. She just barely managed to not turn and run in the other direction when Adrien looked at her and smiled.
"Oh, hey, Marinette," Alya said, holding out the box for her to take. Marinette doesn't take it just yet, afraid she'd immediately drop it. "We were just talking about your parents' bakery. Oh, and speaking of baked goods…" Alya pushed the box at Marinette and then let go, forcing Marinette to take it.
"Ah, well…" Marinette trailed off, trying to get her words in the proper order but having no such luck. Then the bell rang signaling the end of their break. Marinette went into full-blown panic mode, the only thing on her mind was giving Adrien the box. And for another first in her life, the words seemed to just fall into place, and in the right order.
She thrust the box out toward Adrien.
"My parents wanted me to give this to you." She said in a rushed voice. "I mean, I also want to give this to you. It's just a box of some croissants and cookies." Adrien took the box as Marinette continued, not pausing to breathe. "I guess you kind of missed out getting to try them when you over my house." She laughed sheepishly. "I should've been paying better attention. Sometimes my parents can be kind of embarrassing—" She broke off when Adrien rested a hand on her shoulder.
This whole time she'd been looking down, but she lifted her head when he'd touched her. Adrien was smiling, his green eyes sparkling like emeralds.
"Thanks, Marinette," he said, removing his hand. He and Nino then stepped past the two girls and started making their way to class.
Alya slapped her friend on the back, jolting her out of her haze—Adrien had touched her shoulder (again)!
"Come on, girl," the budding journalist laughed. "We're going to be late."
Marinette was starving by the time lunch came around. She was happy to finally get a break, relax, and go eat. Not only that, but she had finally just managed to calm herself down from giving that box to Adrien. Sitting behind him all day had its perks, but it also provided as a great distraction. Especially if she were to, say, monitor how many of the goodies Adrien had eaten throughout the first half of the day, or if he ate any of them.
Not to say that she did, or anything (2 croissants and 1 cookie so far). She wasn't surprised if he was saving the rest of or later. The bakery was one of the best in Paris, after all, and sometimes you had to stretch the deliciousness to last through the day, even if they weren't as fresh as they were in the morning.
Having to keep half her life as a superheroine should've prepared her for the unexpected. She never knew when an akuma attack would pop up and she'd have to make a quick excuse to whoever she was with so she could go transform. It certainly kept her on her toes. But it didn't prepare her for the unexpected coming from a place of normalcy.
Marinette had just said goodbye to Alya and was waiting to cross the street when she heard her name being called. She recognized the voice instantly and froze, her back going ramrod straight. She did managed to turn and look over at the smiling blond-haired, green-eyed boy when he came to stand next to her, so that was a plus.
Her brain, however, had gone into overdrive.
What's going on? What does he want? Is something wrong? Does he have the box with him? Shouldn't he be heading home for lunch? Where's his car? Why does he want to talk to me? He'd already said thanks, right?
As her thoughts usually did, they started spiraling to the worst case scenario: What if something was wrong with the food. My parents rarely made mistakes when baking, and none of those mistakes have led to food poisoning, but what if someone else had somehow contaminated them? Did I just hand the love of my life poisoned food?! Does he look okay? Sick? Queasy? Maybe it wasn't going to set in immediately. Even worse, if it set in at home, his father would no doubt find out. And he has the money to hire a detective, who would be able to track me down. My parents' bakery would be shut down and I'd be arrested for trying to kill Gabriel Agreste's son!
"Marinette?" Adrien asked, snapping her from her terrorized thoughts. She blinked and focused in on him, giving him a nervous smile. "I just wanted to stop in real quick and give my thanks to your parents. You know for the food. Is that…is that all right?"
More scenarios threatened to fill her mind, but she did her best to shove them out and at least try to act like a normal human being.
"Of course." Her voice was an octave higher so she turned to look at the light and was relieved to find that it was green. She wouldn't have to wait in awkward silence for it to change. Attempting to walk normally, despite her racing heart and shaking hands, she stepped out into the street. Her eyes flickered over to Adrien every once in a while. The walk was mercifully short.
Adrien held the door open for her and she was so busy stuttering her thanks and being red in the face she almost crashed into the doorframe, but managed to save herself just in time, which only caused her face to turn more red. Wanting to move past that as fast as possibly, she turned away from a slightly concerned-looking Adrien, and headed inside.
Get it together, girl! she scolded herself as she made her way up to the front counter, where her mom was standing.
"Hi, Mom," she greeted.
"Hi, sweetie," she said. Her eyes, then flickered to Adrien. "It's nice to see you again, Adrien. To what do we owe the pleasure?"
"I just wanted to say thank you for the treats," Adrien said. "They were delicious."
Sabine smiled. "It was no problem at all."
Marinette was just beginning to relax, but the next words that came out of her mom's mouth managed to catch her off guard: "I know you must be very busy with your schoolwork and modeling, but whenever you have the time, I just want you to know, you're welcome to join us for dinner."
Marinette froze again, eyes darting over to Adrien. He looked just as shocked as she felt at the invitation, but his shock quickly melted into a huge smile.
"Thank you, I'd like that." He looked over at Marinette, then, whose mouth had fallen open at his words. She quickly closed her mouth and smiled, freaking out on the inside. All her alarm bells were ringing, the voice inside her head was screaming, ABORT!ABORT!ABORT! The prospect of Adrien eating with them for a family dinner? It was all she could do to keep upright…for various reasons.
Just then, the bell jingled as the door to the bakery opened. All three of them turned to look. Taking up the whole doorway and then some, was Adrien's driver. His physique was scary enough, but with that stony face, he looked like he was ready to kill someone.
Adrien seemed unfazed as he turned to face Sabine and Marinette again.
"That's my cue," he said. "I've got a photoshoot. Thanks again, Mrs. Cheng. I'll see you later, Marinette."
"Stop by any time, Adrien!" Sabine called after him.
"Bye," Marinette squeaked, giving him a weak wave as he ran to the door. His driver stepped out of the way, holding the door open. He looked back into the bakery and gave a sharp nod before letting the door swing closed.
When the car finally drove off, Marinette turned back to her mom.
"Mom," she exclaimed breathlessly. "What was that?"
Sabine looked at her daughter with surprise. "I thought you liked that boy."
All the things Marinette had been planning to say screeched to a halt. "What—well—that—" She stopped herself and tried to compose her thoughts. "That's…not the point."
"What's not the point?" Tom asked as he entered the bakery. Marinette's parents switched who manned the bakery during her lunch breaks, so they both could have lunch with her during the week. Today was, obviously, Tom's turn to watch the store.
"Adrien," Sabine answered, stepping out from behind the counter.
"Oh." Tom nodded like that explained everything.
Marinette's eyes darted between them like she was watching a tennis match. They talked about her and Adrien? When she wasn't there?
"Did he like his treats?" Tom inquired as Marinette weakly held up a finger, her mouth open, trying to say something. Her parents ignored her.
"Very much," Sabine assured. "You just missed him. He stopped by to say thank you in person. I invited him to dinner sometime."
"That's wonderful!" Tom smiled before gesturing behind him. "Lunch is ready if you want to head up."
"Thank you, dear." Sabine leaned up as Tom leaned down to exchange a quick peck on the lips.
This broke Marinette out of her…whatever it was, and she smiled at her parents' relationship. She hoped she had a relationship like that one day (…with Adrien).
"Thanks, Papa," Marinette said, kissing his cheek as she passed and followed her mom up to their apartment.
Well, what's done is done, I suppose… she thought, her heart fluttering in her chest like a butterfly like it always did when she thought about Adrien.
Despite freaking out several times this morning—her blood pressure was probably a doctor's nightmare—it hadn't been too bad. She'd given Adrien a box of fresh baked goods (and he'd touched her shoulder!). She managed to not embarrass herself too much in this process—she hoped. He'd enjoyed them so much he came over to thank her mom in person. And now there was a chance he might come over for dinner!
Sure she turned into a speechless, incompetent fool whenever she faced him, but if the time he'd come over for that gaming competition was any indication, then maybe things wouldn't be too bad. She had managed herself pretty well, who's to say she couldn't do it again? Of course, if she did manage to somewhat keep her cool, she also had to make sure her parents didn't say anything too indiscrete or embarrass her. That was a task in and of itself.
Whatever the case, it would seem, progress was being made in regards to her crush on Adrien.
I hope the writing was all right and everyone was in character. I don't write for characters like Marinette a lot, or at all really, so it was difficult for me to get into that kind of mindset. I hope I captured her character well.
I know she's more than just her crush for Adrien, but this is going to be an Adrienette-centric fic, so her crush for him is a big factor. Rest assured, as time goes on and she starts spending more time with him, she will calm down into the Marinette we know and love currently. But for right now she still gets so nervous she can barely function.
Lastly, gotta give credit to Rick Riordan for helping me with the title of the story. I took it from a quote in the House of Hades, said by Cupid: "I am the god of love. I am never fair."
Again, I hope you enjoyed. I'd like to thank legend-of-sora on Tumblr, once more—I hope you like it so far!
Thank you for reading,