Hello! This is my first Miraculous fic, and it's all introspective. Not a line of dialogue to be had. That said, enjoy! I wrote this on my phone, so… any mistakes, please let me know.

Growing Up

It wasn't easy, Marinette found, watching her friends be led by the nose. It sucked watching them be duped. Especially by someone whose lies weren't even well thought out or believable in the first place. It was hard, because the more she tried to open their eyes, the more they pulled away from her, turning to the one who promised the world with malice in her veins. And the one person who said he was with her, that he had her back, wasn't saying a word as the liar fed dreams of grandeur and fame to those who called him friend. According to him, her lies weren't hurting anyone, after all.

Marinette's parents offered to try to get her transferred to a new school. Or at least a new class. But Marinette knew she needed to be able to keep an eye on the liar. The one who was very probably willingly working with Hawkmoth. After all, isn't the saying to keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?

It's been two months since Lila came back. Two months of emotional hell for Marinette. She now sat in the back row, nearest the windows that she would gaze out of and daydream of a better reality. If she didn't have such a strong sense of duty, she would've taken her parents up on their open invitation of transferring by now. Adrien was the only one in the class now that even made a token effort at speaking with her, and it was almost like he scheduled her in.

Monday: school, fencing, piano, Chinese.

Tuesday: school, photoshoot, piano, Chinese.

Wednesday: school, talk to Marinette, fencing, piano, Chinese. Etc, etc.

At first, it bothered her that her wellbeing was just another chore to him. That he asked how she was out of obligation rather than friendship. This boy she loved wasn't really that passive and cold, was he? Gradually, she realized she didn't know him well enough to know the answer to that. Before Lila's return, she wouldn't have said he was like that. But other than Chloé, he didn't have to deal with any real strife when she was around. Then Lila came back, and Adrien was saying how she should maintain the status quo, and not bother Lila because her feelings might be hurt and cause her to get akumatized. But it was alright, because they were together in this, holding onto this terrible knowledge together. She should have known then. After all, her maman always said that it was a bad thing when she was urged to keep something as 'our little secret', especially if not telling went against her better judgement.

Adrien was definitely not the boy she thought he was. Between his policy of impersonating a doormat, and Chat's policy of never taking her feelings and denials seriously, she was stuck between two blonds that were driving her crazy. And not in a good way. Over the past two months, she considered both boys. She was very glad of her attention to detail as she pored over her interactions with them. Adrien was either unaware of her feelings, or he was utilizing his passive identity to not have to deal with them. Chat straight up didn't take no for an answer, then pouted like a child and threw a tantrum over it, endangering not just himself and Ladybug, but all of Paris. If he had feelings for her, they were as unhealthy as she came to see her feelings and actions were for Adrien. Maybe she could learn something from this experience, and make a positive change in her own life.

So she sat in her seat in the back. She ate lunch at home. She hung out in the art room after school, but didn't really interact with anyone but the teacher. All the time she used to spend with her friends or trying to get Adrien to notice her romantically was now channeled into her creative endeavors. Commissions took up most of that time, now, because Jagged has been keeping her very busy. She ran into Luka one day, and now they had a standing ice cream and Chat date every Saturday afternoon. She loved those moments, because they would just talk about everything and nothing and Luka definitely helped her destress and deal. She had been worried at first, because she wasn't interested in anything more than having a friend right now. But she told Luka that she wasn't looking for a romantic entanglement, and she didn't want to lead him on, so if he felt that he would be more hurt being her friend and hanging out on the regular, then she understood. But he said that he was fine with just being her friend, and that her heart song said she desperately needed one. One Saturday, he brought along his friend Félix, too, and their duo became a trio more often than not.

Marinette found herself questioning a lot of things during her long period of introspection and forced isolation. One of those things was the advice Tikki would give her in regards to Adrien. The bluenette came to realize that her obsessive, stalkerish behaviors weren't acceptable and were, in fact, rather creepy. Which begs the question: how did a being that was over five thousand years old not realize that? And if she did, why didn't she point it out? Marinette knew she could be stubborn to a fault, but all Tikki really would have had to do was plant the seed. The doubt in the innocence of her actions would have grown from there. Marinette realized it herself, after all, by considering how she would feel if someone had that sort of detailed information about her. She and Tikki had a long, Frank discussion about it all, with Marinette ultimately deciding that she would follow the kwami's lead in matters of Ladybug, but any other advice would be considered just that: advice. She would consider what Tikki had to say, but make her own decisions in all other matters. Especially personal ones. After all, anything she did, she had to deal with the consequences. She couldn't just say, oh, my magical guide told me to.

The next school year, she would begin lycée. Many of her classmates would be going on to lycée général and lycée technologique, while she and a handful of others from their year would move to lycée professionnel. As far as she could gather, Lila was going to lycée général, so Marinette didn't have to worry about her. All she had to do was cope until July. She had this in the bag.

16 August 2019

1107 words