This story is a gift from the glorious headcanon of the wonderfully sweet ShallowAssumption! I am grateful for the chance to run with your idea and I truly hope you enjoy this :)
I'll continue to post this story, with the last chapter posting on Valentine's Day, in honor of the sweetness of Marinette and Adrien. Enjoy the love :).
Adrien's hands were shaking. The twenty-year-old leaned on the wall outside of his father's office, waiting to be called into the room. He had battled countless enemies over the last few years, graduated school, moved onto university and was successfully near completion of the later. He had survived the shock of finding Marinette and Ladybug to be one in the same, and even more surprisingly survived the shock of discovering how much she loved all the parts of him. They had gained new team members and lost one. He had seen more in his life between 15 and 20 than he even cared to fully recall. It had been a wild bunch of years full of growth and self discovery, but as he stood outside of his father's office he felt every bit as small as the day that his mother had disappeared.
It had been five years, almost to the day, since he had first given Marinette his umbrella in the rain falling outside of school. It had been four years since he had discovered that his superhero partner was also one of his best friends, in and out of a mask. Three years ago they had started dating, and six months ago he had made a decision about what forever would hold for them. Smiling at his shoes, he realized that if he was honest with himself, he had probably made up his mind about the forever part that first day in the rain.
Now was the last hurdle though. With the date quickly approaching and the last of the deposit needed for the ring, he was about to have the most nerve-wrecking conversation he could imagine with his father. This was the man that had made Nathalie discuss the birds and the bees with him, along with the safety precautions of said birds and bees. His face burned a deep red remembering that unfortunate day.
This was also the man that had struggled to hug Adrien in any real affectionate way since the morning they had awoken to find his mother gone. Part of Adrien, no matter how small, hoped that this moment would finally break the always-present ice between them. The rational part of him knew that it was most likely going to, instead, lead to a lecture about being too young for such a commitment. There was no wimping out now though. He had already made the appointment to speak to his father and had disguised his presence at the office by taking Marinette lunch first. As his father's favorite intern, Marinette was not only paid to be there but also received all the perks of being a paid employee. Adrien's heart skipped a few beats when he realized his father might also have something to say about his favorite intern becoming distracted by personal plans.
When his name was called, his head snapped up, resolve stamped on his face to hide the nerves. Stepping quietly, as he had been taught, Adrien entered the room to find his father sitting behind the intimidating wood desk.
"Son," Gabriel nodded curtly to an empty chair in front of him, "to what do I owe the pleasure of your company today?"
To anyone else the question would have sounded formal, but Adrien had long ago learned to discern between his father's formal voice and his slightly more casual tone. The casual version had a hint of irony behind it, and Adrien felt encouraged by the appearance of this tone over the other. "I need to talk to you, Dad," he winced slightly at the squeaky sound in his voice. Clearing his throat he pressed on, "It is about Marinette," Adrien squeezed his hands together to center himself. It would be no use having this conversation if he was going to come off like a scared little kid. "I have decided to ask her to marry me."
Silence hung in the room like a thick fog. Adrien wasn't sure if his father had heard him until he watched as Gabriel rose slowly from behind the desk. In a nervous moment, Adrien also stood, prepared to run if his father decided to start yelling at him. Twitching with anticipation, Adrien almost dodged his father's arms as they came around him. Confused, Adrien hugged the older man back, feeling the sincerity of his father's embrace settle around his heart. No one had spoken in over a minute when Adrien felt a sigh escape just above his head.
"I'm so proud of you, son."
As Gabriel pulled back, Adrien was shocked to see tears caught in graying eyelashes. Instantly feeling the effects of his dad's emotions, Adrien choked back his own tears. "Come again?" he hissed out, unsure why he was giving Gabriel a chance to take it back.
"Marinette is a wonderful young woman. So bright, so motivated!" Gabriel had sunk down into the arm chair, pulling Adrien into the other one. "She is a good influence on you as well." Tapping the armrest, the grin on Gabriel's face grew wider. "And now my business will stay in the family! Of course, since you don't want to run it, Marinette is a perfect protégé to take over when I can no longer run things. Oh son, this is the best idea you have ever had!" Unexpectedly, Gabriel threw his arms back around Adrien, ignoring the stiffness in Adrien's spine.
"Dad," Adrien felt strained against the grip around his shoulders, "don't get carried away. I still have to finish paying off the ring and she does still have to say yes."
Jumping from his chair, Gabriel rounded the large desk again, leaning over his keyboard without sitting. "When are you going to propose? And where? I have the perfect place in mind if you haven't gotten that far." He was furiously typing on the keyboard, again completely ignoring Adrien's shocked expression.
In truth, he had thought about the proposal, picturing it high on the roof tops of Paris where their adventure had begun. Now though, he was intrigued to hear what his father thought would be the perfect place. Watching the man who had been cold to him for years, twitch back and forth behind his desk in what seemed to be excitement, made Adrien want to follow any suggestions he might throw at him. "What are you thinking?" He leaned forward to look at the computer screen as Gabriel angled it to him. "Is that a restaurant?" Gabriel nodded, eyes clouded with memories that Adrien couldn't see. The restaurant had a grand entrance, with gold cherubs clinging to the columns which lead to a large main room. Although there were seemingly hundreds of tables, each was placed to maximize the intimacy of the diners. Adrien had never seen such a place before, and was confused as to why his father seemed so excited. "Where is it?"
"Italy," Gabriel breathed, smiling more to himself than to Adrien, "you have to see it in person to really understand how beautiful it is. I have only been there twice, and each time was more special than the one before it. This is where you are going to propose, I promise you won't regret it."
His father was being so incredibly different that Adrien was scared to jinx the moment. If his father was this convinced that this restaurant was the absolute best place to propose, Adrien was going to go with it. The place might not have significance to him, but the gleam in his father's eyes told Adrien how important it was to the man. He could only see one glaring issue about the location. How on earth was he going to get Marinette there without her suspecting something? He voiced this concern out loud, eyes never leaving the digital revolving gallery on the screen.
"We'll think of something," Gabriel said reassuringly, "until then, tell me about the ring!"
That was all the encouragement Adrien needed to whip his phone from his pocket to show off the beautiful ring he had chosen and had been making payments on for over five months. Gabriel voiced his approval and before Adrien could stop him, he had called the jeweler and paid the remaining balance.
They spent the next hour coming up with outlandish schemes to get Marinette to Italy, laughing with each other in a way they hadn't done in years. When Adrien left the large office, it was as if a weight had been thrown from his shoulders. Not only was his father not angry about the proposal, he seemed downright thrilled. Adrien whistled to himself as he pressed the button on the elevator. It was bound to be an exciting couple of weeks.