There was a fast, hard beat barely coming out of one of the closed doors of a classroom (1). It was staccato in every sense of the word; the voices matching its time perfectly. It was completely foreign compared to the flowing melodies that usually lived in the classes with the light. But...it was not currently daytime in this second...
All the lights in the hallways were dull, save from what was spilling out of the windows of the main door and under the wood gap. The sunset was all but done; the barest traces of light trying to creep in through the outer windows of the school and filter through to allow some people the opportunity to see.
Sound escaped, the singers' voices unintelligible. A chorus of males gave crisp words in another language. The melodic way they sang was nice...even if the words were absolutely unknown.
The teacher's voice that was supposed to direct with the song, was just as unknown through the intense volume coming through the crack of the door. Only when the song ended, did a female voice speak up amongst the male singers. "Like that. Got it all?"
"You've got to be kidding me."
"How are we supposed to follow that?!"
"You can only such a routine because you've got the experience!"
There was an amused snort. "I made all that up to the music just now. If all you're going to do is grouse, why'd you show up? If you're going to complain about your lack of ability, you've got time to dance instead."
"Is this how you act in the Underground?"
"I bet she's even cooler."
"She's already a bad ass! How much more can she get?"
"Well...just look at her!"
He was already looking. Well...spying may have been a more accurate term really.
He knew she was doing this. The first night he found out about this, he made sure to find a way back to the school she had gone deep into, with his father's eventual permission of course. She had found a small spot that everyone left when the day was done and snuck the girls interested since the beginning into the room for practice. They made excuses to hang around after most of the teachers left and practiced ballet for maybe an extra half an hour. Plenty of time for the basic crew to leave an allow them time to slip into the locker room to change...then sneak to the bowels of the huge building and unlock a classroom door.
He only found out that she actually procured a key from his father when his father approached him at dinner one night and made sure she gave it back before the winter was fully on them. It was only an indulgence that he allowed; not something permanent.
The second he learned that Gabriel had allowed Marinette to teach hip hop in his ballet school, his brain could have exploded. Of course, he found out the details and made sure to spy on her as soon as he could. His father thankfully didn't stop him and actually asked him to make sure she was keeping her word that all she was doing was basic hip hop in a teacher's structure and nothing extra.
Like turning the classroom into the new Underground.
He idly licked his lips as the same song started up again. He forgot to blink in his spot at the corner of the window of that closed door he had been using for however many minutes now. He didn't even watch the other five girls, classmates he had known for years, attempt to keep up with her. They would never keep up with her. Not his Ladybug.
The face paint was gone, but her hair was up in low pigtails, that top, and those low pants. She had regular tennis shoes on, and she was bobbing and moving her arms in choppy time to the frantic beat. The others stopped before even half the song was over and just watched her work. Even when there was a slow section of the beat, she rocked it flawlessly.
When the song stopped again, she paused and took a few deep breaths, hands on her hips. She looked at everyone, listening to their complaints to her amazing moves, smile on her face. At length, a fingerless gloved hand rose and waved their words away.
"Okay, okay. I'll teach you the lyrics so you know what's going on. I've heard this kind of whining so much so I'm used to it. You all need to broaden your musical horizons."
"It's in KOREAN! How are we going to do such a thing?"
"Where do you find such bands anyway? Seems kind of odd."
Marinette grinned. "The internet is a fascinating place if you traipse around in the right places."
He watched her head to her bag and grab the cd. He didn't recognize this and wondered if she had found another hip hop band to teach the girls with. The band sounded similar to the one from this summer that he danced with her, but there were small differences with the singers that pointed out this wasn't the same group.
He watched unabashed as she read the lyrics to the girls and then explained why she did some of the moves she did. She gave details on the finer parts of catching the beat, using the body in its movements to exaggerate the lyrics, and give meaning when one couldn't be found. To show this, she let the girls keep hold of the paper and turned the song back on again.
He was taken back months to the first time she had done something similar for him. Back when she had shown the idea of her final audition. That felt like a lifetime and there was even a sense of nostalgia as he was reminded of it. Back when he was so unsure of his feelings and hers, and they hadn't become what they had become.
He had no idea how long he kneeled in front of the closed doorway in that darkening hallway, staring through the door and trying to hide himself from them. He peeked like some kind of perverted stalker, even though he was merely staring at his girlfriend of months. He didn't know if she'd be mad that he was doing this; he hoped that if she caught him, she would drag him in and use him as a dancing accessory in front of their classmates. He hadn't done hip hop with her ever since everything smoothed out and a part of him was suddenly itching to do so.
His fingers twitched on the doorknob. Teeth bit his lip. He wanted to join her, even if he wasn't dressed for it. Green eyes managed the barest of looks to his jeans and nice sweater. Even if he had a t-shirt underneath, it wasn't his cat jacket and wife beater. He wasn't wearing all black.
He must have kneeled there in the same spot for half an hour, watching as she taught the girls with agonizing slowness the moves she made up to the song that had been going on and on the entire time. Just as his knees were starting to go numb, she paused when the song ended again and went for a towel.
"What do you girls think? Done for the evening?"
"What time is it?"
"Probably six thirty."
Blue eyes took in the watch option on her phone. "It's just after." She tossed the device in her duffel and stood. "We can call it here if you want."
"But I just got some of those arm swings down!"
He jolted, his poor muscles and joints twitching painfully, when blue looked across the room...finding him at last. She didn't say a word, but her eyes narrowed dangerously for a split second. She scowled, silently telling him that she was unhappy with his behavior. He grimaced in return, giving a sheepish smile and slowly stood. The slight head jerk she gave was enough of a reprieve to allow him entrance and not kill him later.
"Well," She started, watching all heads whip to the opening door, "I suppose we'll give it another go. And now that I have help, I'll show you what it's like to duet dance."
He couldn't help the hungry, happy look in his eyes as he crossed the room.
"What are you doing here Adrien?"
"WHY is he here?"
"How did he find out about us?!"
She shrugged and shook her head. "I can figure out why, but there's no point in worrying about it. We're not in trouble...are we kitty?"
He couldn't help the smile that graced his face at a name he hadn't heard in what felt like forever. He simultaneously bowed and took a gloved hand, kissing the fingers. "As if I'd ever rat out my lady." His head rose in his bow, eyes sparkling. "I believe I told you long ago that you can trust me..." She snorted, mouth opening, but never got the chance to say anything back.
"Aw gawd...are they going to ooze all over the place here too?"
"Come on guys! We have to watch you two flirt this bad in class every day already."
There were a few accompanying giggles to the whining, but the pair ignored it all with grace and ease. Such a thing was the norm now, but they both knew everyone was just envious and jealous.
Strong, blue eyes turned to her 'students' as she took her hand away. "There will be much more than that." Her lips curved, veins thrumming with new excitement. An arm came up and leaned on his shoulder as she leaned against her partner. "We'll show you how real hip hop can be..." Her eyes looked over his attire, a thoughtful hum coming. She reached up and flicked at the loose sweater he had on. "Except you're a tad overdressed kitty. Too much fur. Lose it."
As the girls started going on about him taking off part of his clothes, he tossed the sweater near her bag and rolled his shoulders. He turned his neck in a few circles, quickly planting his hands on the floor for a second before slowly coming down from the handstand. After a few arm swings, he looked to his lady with a smile. "Ready."
She smiled and had one of the girls head to the cd player. She stopped in front of him and looked up with a devious smile. "I would ask if you want to know the lyrics, but something tells me you're good to go."
His smile said it all. He wasn't embarrassed to have been caught and let her know he had been watching the whole time. He merely acknowledged it and let the info aid him in 'practice'.
She snorted and leaned up on her toes, hand on his chest. "It's been a while. Try to keep up okay?" Her eyes flicked to the wall, giving a nod.
In a second, the same beat sprung up and she hopped away from him. Her hands and legs moved sharp as a blade, body twirling to the rhythm of the singers. She didn't even wait for him to catch up as she got in his space and flowed away. She was like the ocean, but he was much more able to read her. It was natural to see what she wanted to do in a few moves and go with it...much more than in the beginning. Except, in the beginning, their crowd wasn't a small group of ballet dancers from his father's school.
The high of how it used to be was just as strong, even if he didn't practice anymore. His adrenaline ran just as strong, heart beating for her just as fast. His feelings to the words and the singers called to him. He wanted to laugh at how all of these songs seemed to involve him toward her. Whatever the group, whatever the time, they wrote him for her to shimmy to and he chased her.
As he would always chase her.
At one point, their moves became so exaggerated and outlandish that none of the girls would ever be able to do them with him. Flips, leg kicks, getting so into the other's space, slides...they were at such a level with the music that no amount of ballet practice would ever do them justice. If he hadn't been doing ballet for so long and just knew how to move, how to move with her, he would have floundered as bad as they had. He lived ballet and breathed hip hop. He was both worlds thanks to her and regardless of whatever move he did, whatever they wanted to call it, he was good.
Time flowed away and all he could see were flashes of red, black hair, and blue eyes. Pale skin, flushed in the cheeks...huge, pink smile... The song wasn't even four minutes, but it was the longest, best stretch of seconds he had the pleasure of having in a while. Ballet with her was great; hip hop with her was absolutely amazing.
It eventually ended on a slow note. He ended with a pose leaning over her, arms around her waist. He stared down at her, her staring up at him. Their chests heaved from the exertion, faces bright and flushed.
"Yea...no way are we going to try doing that."
"Go get a room!"
She broke into a blush and slowly disentangled his arms. She looked to the audience to find them slightly annoyed and put out. "I'm not saying you have to go THAT far out. We got...carried away was all."
"Yeeeaaaa...just a little!"
"Is THAT how you act in the Underground?"
"I bet it is."
"No wonder Adrien had those earlier issues. I don't think he's quite the drama queen anymore."
He gave an odd look to his female classmates before shaking his head. That was done and over with, but it was still fresh in everyone's minds. Merely two months from that last explosion and second hospitalization, but too huge to hide. All still very worth it though.
"Well, Adrien can help teach a few moves and help if you want him to. I can make them and he can help streamline them." Her vision flicked to him as if checking his approval.
"Actually, I just came to see what you were doing. I didn't think you'd actually find me."
She gave him a put out look and lightly elbowed his torso, getting a low 'oomph' from him. There was a sense of satisfaction as he idly rubbed his ribs and looked to the group.
"Well...I say we call it here for tonight." A finger came up and wagged at the small group. "Remember to listen to the cds I burned for you and keep your headphones on. Lock your door and turn the volume up. You have to have the music steal your thoughts so you can move effortlessly to the beat or it's all a bust."
The girls went for their stuff and she turned to him in that second. "You killed the mood kitty." She murmured, resisting the urge to stomp on his foot. "It was like your dad just walked into the room."
He stuck his tongue out at her for such a comparison and crossed his arms. The pair waved to the girls as they bid goodbye and waited till the small group was out the door.
He finally turned back to her and tilted his head. "I finally found out you were doing this and almost had a heart attack from the shock when father himself told me you were doing this. HERE of all places! I can't believe you managed to get him to give you a key!"
She smirked and crossed her arms, chin raising. "With ballet taking up all my time, I couldn't keep my classroom could I? After a...thorough and adult conversation about this, I finally helped him to see that I wouldn't abuse anything that I've been granted so far and he gave me a small timeline. It's only temporary. Once Noel is upon us, I have to give the key back."
That was only another month.
A brow rose. "How long have you been doing this already?"
She looked to his torso, mind thinking. "At least three weeks now."
Only shortly after she had been reinstated into the class and gotten to really know the school. That was pretty benevolent of his father.
A small, kind smile tipped her lips. "I think...this is my trial period. I think he's trying to trust me after everything and this is one of those ways." The smile widened a little. "I think that he wants to see what I'm capable of before he does what I think he's going to do." Teeth suddenly bit her lip, adrenaline hitting her. "I think he's going to use me at the performance...as your female star duet."
He smiled as she fiddled with her fingers. Hands found her shoulders and gave an encouraging squeeze. "He has every right to do so and it's only fair. I told him I wouldn't dance with anyone else on that stage and I'm excited to see what we can do. You have your parts down really well already and we have weeks before the first stage play."
She smiled and nodded. Teeth bit her lip as nerves over such a performance, still far into the season, awaited them. There was nothing she could do but wait and worry. Until then...
She suddenly huffed and looked to her shoes. "Okay...now that I've gone and worried myself stupid over something I can't control, I need to work this off so I can sleep tonight." She looked to him, eyes twinkling. "I think I need a few good dances to get work the stress off. Care to join me...partner?"
That gleam in her eyes had him captive. She never even needed to say the words, let alone do more than look at him like that and he would have given his soul in response. An evil, excited grin was her response as he leaned in, almost nose to nose. His eyes sparkled as her personae flooded him. "I thought you'd never ask..."
His breath fanned her face and sent a shiver through her. The day had been like any other, long and grueling. Now it was over and she had been freed to be just Marinette...or in this case, Ladybug.
Just one dance, maybe two, and then they'd call it a night. She wasn't supposed to turn this classroom into her own, private dance hall after all. She wasn't going to abuse the right she was given...but...her kitty was loyal and could keep a secret after all...
She twirled out of his stance and headed for the cd player. Her finger paused on the play button as she looked at him and suddenly smiled. She gave an amused grunt and changed the track. His brow went up in confusion, not knowing if he was going to like what she was about to play. She was getting that devious look on her face and he knew that meant she was going to hatch something. Something including music.
English suddenly came through the speakers the second she pressed play and she walked in time with the speaker (2). It changed as a trumpet blasted through the speakers and she twirled and jumped toward him.
His brain snapped to as her pattern changed with the almost jazzy feel of this song. The language was the same, but the group didn't really sound the same. He couldn't tell; they all sounded alike. But, the trumpet was new and it was exciting in its own right. It called him to jump and shimmy around as she was currently doing. He matched her pace and whirled around with her, getting in close and exiting just like the ocean lapped at the waves.
The first time he registered Spanish, his brain floundered. 'Te amo'...he knew what that meant! The English peppered in with the Korean and he suddenly wondered if she meant to turn him around and flitter around him like this on purpose. 'Tu beso'...was she for real? Well...if that's how she wanted to play it...
He got into her space and felt out the singers and the energy. He turned her and kept her from escaping his arms and his fingers. His hands brushed against her, changing her rhythm and she went with him. She electrified the room and his pulse, getting against him more and more until they were touching at every second of the song in some way. Her smile crept through his skin and made him shiver, unable to keep his eyes off the glowing look on her face.
He had her clutched at his chest, in the middle of a move, when the beginning English phrase came on and then the song was done. Another song started right after it and she pushed away from his chest, adjusting with the different rhythm of the beat (3) without giving him time to enjoy how close he had her.
She's my baby
It started so slow, guitar the only thing to join the singer. She snapped her fingers in time with those doing so in the song and popped her hips a little. Once the beat started up, she twirled in a total ballet style move and adjusted everything again.
She's my lady
There was a smile on her face that said she knew just what these lyrics were. He really wanted to know, especially when the smile turned sweet, yet bashful as she gave him a very Marinette look. Ladybug melted to be adapted into his ballet companion. Her moves became a mix of the two styles as she got close to him and brushed her hands against his arms and his chest. His hands came up and clasped her fingers, not wanting her to get too far.
The feel she was creating with this song and its melody was emotional and had his heart pounding. She was looking at him with love and a sweet smile that had him almost tripping on his feet. He felt he hardly kept up with her, even though the beat wasn't as fast as the other one was. His eyes devoured her face, unable to blink the entire time.
She's my baby
She was amazing. The mood she had wrapped around him and captured him with in the span of two mysterious songs was incredible. This was why she couldn't leave him. He had thought about it for months and knew just how amazing she was, but no matter how many dances and practices he shared with her, that thought would keep growing. He would keep saying it and thinking it until she proved him wrong.
Words and emotions sprang from his chest and he felt like they were communicating in the last chorus of the song. His face was flushed, eyes bright, heart galloping. Much how she looked and hopefully felt too. The guitar wound down and he took that instance to pull her close, not letting her get away with whatever song happened next.
The two of them tried to catch their breath as the next song passed them by. He didn't even pay attention to it as her lips called to him. Her lids were hooded, eyes full of storms and all for him. His tongue darted out for a second before he claimed her mouth, hand clutching at her sweaty hair.
She kissed him for as long as she could before pulling away to breathe. She stared at him amongst the lyrics she knew to the song and smiled at how well they fit him (4). These groups kept Adrien in mind somewhere in the back of their heads whenever they wrote these things...or fate was certainly in a humorous mood tonight.
She rested in his hold for half the song until she got her breath back. Then she pulled away and looked to her bag. "How about we do a cool down and then head home? I know my family will be wondering where I'm at, if yours isn't."
His lips tilted. "Sounds like a plan my lady."
It was cold when she shuffled off to her duffel. He watched as she silently pulled out a cd pouch and rifled through it. She switched discs and went through a few tracks before finally stopping at what she wanted (5).
He wasn't prepared for slow piano to fill the room, let alone the total ballet she shifted to. It took his brain a moment of catching up and watching her to readjust the style.
"This song is titled 'Your Love for Me'." She quietly announced, doing ballet as well as she could in tennis shoes. She stared at him long enough before she twirled in a dip and moved slightly away. "How about you dance it to me and show me?"
The breath left him in a whoosh at that quiet order. The loud music lodged itself in his ears and a decade of ballet snapped him into action. His hands came out and brushed over her arms and shoulders. He almost wished he had his slippers so they could do this properly, so his form didn't feel as sloppy as he thought it was.
His heart was pounding, hands shaking terribly. The feel of the music, what she showed him with her eyes... He could die tonight from this impromptu performance and not regret a thing. How did she manage to do so many incredible things around him, for him, to him? How could she be so many amazing things and not miss a beat? In the span of moments, she had been a teacher, a hip hop dancer, shy, nervous, excited, worried, and now a ballet dancer. Every adaption flowed as well as her moves right now and he couldn't get enough.
His feelings for her swelled and crowded the room. He kept her close as they danced, unable to keep from touching her with his hands, from dipping her and leaning his face close to hers. She was...god...'amazing' just didn't cut it half the time! 'Awesome' was hardly good enough and 'incredible' was simply too repetitive. She deserved as many adjectives as there were words in the dictionary and yet most of them were too below her to properly do her justice.
She was taking time out of her night to spend this with him and he was eating up this moment. They rarely had such opportunities to dance like this by themselves without another body to critique their work. They worked on the fly, as the best of their work was. They flowed without words; communicating everything through touches and looks and stances.
It was times like these, when they were alone and got to do things that they initially bonded on not that long ago, when he realized how heavy and expanded his emotions for her were. He would follow her to the ends of the Earth if she ever wanted to leave Paris. He would throw it all away for her despite her recently giving him his life back. It really did mean nothing to him without her in it and although he was happy for the new-found relationship with his father and the occasional dinners they shared, the recent phenomenon hadn't become staple enough for him to care that much.
He wouldn't lie; they were nice. Even if talk was still sparse at the dinner table, the extra presence had him smiling half the time he ate with his family. It wasn't the same as it had been when he briefly lived with Marinette, but, for his family especially, that was still a lot.
She was all he could see, especially right now. Those beautiful blue eyes, that midnight hair, the curve of her spine as she arched with his hand steadying her back... She was spark and love and grace and knowledge and finesse and beauty and talent bursting at the seams. Everything she did awed him; even the tiniest things.
"You'll just have to hurry up and marry me then, won't you?"
He wanted time to speed up to that moment, yet he wanted it to stop so he could enjoy this song forever with her. They needed much more maturity, him more than her he felt, and that would only come with time. There was so much they had yet to accomplish and as much as he would love to give her his last name forever, he wanted to be on that stage with her first. He wanted the masses to be as enamored with her dancing as he had been.
He held her in a dip much like the last audition. He looked down at her with hooded eyes as the track changed to another piano song (6). He easily held her there for moments, eyes darting over her features and the emotions she was sending him through those blue depths.
What a warm, inviting sea...
She leaned up, arms slowly adjusting until they were wrapped around his neck and those strong shoulders of his. His hand was splayed across her back and helped her move to the magic of the new song. She barely heard it in the back of her mind as deep, emerald fields greeted her and invited her to get lost among them. She did so with abandon, barely remembering to breathe, and feeling herself inch forward. Sweaty blond locks framed his face and her fingers itched to move them away.
It was like a slow motion picture. The distance they crossed in that space for the kiss seemed to take half the song. They barely blinked the entire way until their eyes slid closed. Heat and warmth and love passed each other and stopped their hearts. They gift-wrapped each one and handed it over to the other with that kiss.
His arms pressed her against him and she clutched at him in turn. She let the song wind down as the romance of the piano wrapped itself around them and told them to take their time. The accompanying violin seemed to play just for them.
How she found the strength to pull away, she had no idea. She didn't even remember moving, let alone knowing when he did. She only managed to get her lips away far enough to adjust to his chest. She stayed there as he started swaying her back and forth for a moment, his chin going to the top of her head.
"We have class tomorrow morning..." She finally mumbled, hating herself for speaking at all. She sighed at the fact, even though she had fought so hard to get here in the first place. He didn't even change the sway; never answered her or moved away.
Only when the piano finished its last chords did he release her. He let her go to the cd player and take the disc out. His hand extended, palm up, once she grabbed her duffel and was headed back his way. He didn't let her get past him before he brought her fingers to his mouth in a slow kiss. "I'll walk you home." He murmured over her skin. He shuffled into the sweater she handed over and then they made for the door.
She smiled and nodded, head still too fogged with the romance of the music and this place. The evening had turned out more interesting than she ever thought it was going to, but she loved every second of it. Such an instance would nestle itself quite well in her memories and her heart for when they were busy with class and unable to spend such time in the future.
The entire walk was silent, but he kept hold of her hand the entire way. He was warm without gloves and it was nice. She could have put hers on, but then she wouldn't really be able to feel him and she had a feeling he may be thinking the same thing.
It would have been nice to cuddle on the bus back, but the walk took longer. They would have been warmer in the bus, but that just meant she could keep close to him. The nights had gone from balmy and hot to drier and chilly. Fall was all but over and approaching winter was popping up. The leaves were almost all gone. Soon the snow would fall and then they could spend fun times huddled up under thick jackets, having cocoa and admiring the Eiffel Tower in the snow, and maybe spend some daring times walking around outside.
He finally let go of her hand so she could get the keys out of her purse. "Good night Marinette. I'll see you in the morning."
She accepted the final, soft kiss before pulling away with a smile. "Good night Adrien. Get some sleep."
He nodded and stood in front of the doorway as he watched her enter, face and waving hand the last things to be seen. Only when the door quietly clicked shut did he turn and head for home.
(1) youtube com/watch?v=Wk8dkPj91ak
(2) youtube com/watch?v=RxumtpLkyl4
(3) youtube com/watch?v=lH9e1HaRxso
(4) youtube com/watch?v=Q4vFviZ4qw0
(5) youtube com/watch?v=WEl9e4zJ9zg
(6) youtube com/watch?v=YlRhOHPvXk4