Miraculous: Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir
Pairings: Love Square
Summary: Adrien is smitten. Gabriel wants to meet Marinette.
Nathalie knew Adrien was fond of his raven-haired friend. She was a nice girl, someone who could keep him from sulking in the pit of loneliness that his father often left him in. She recalled Adrien’s words to her the day before, asking if she remembered Marinette.
Of course, she did. Because she had stolen the birthday gift for Adrien from her and said it was from his father. Nathalie saw how much he adored the scarf and considering that he came home still thinking that it was from his father, Nathalie knew that the girl didn’t tell him the truth. From then on, Nathalie felt guilt-ridden whenever she saw the girl.
Marinette was polite with her. Even though Nathalie was sure that the girl knew she was the one responsible for the gift theft, she didn’t seem to bear any ill-will or resentment. Perhaps, Nathalie surmised, Marinette was content with Adrien being happy. It had only made her feel all the more terrible. So she found herself becoming more lenient with Adrien when Marinette was involved.
Nathalie stood there, watching Gabriel’s expressionless face as he went through the photos from the shoot at the Trocadero. She had just received the files that morning from the photographer and Gabriel wished to see them immediately. He monotonously listed off the file numbers of the ones he wanted to use and she jotted them down on her tablet. She was startled when she heard an uncharacteristically curious hum and she looked up from her device to see an eyebrow quirked at his monitor.
“What is this?” Gabriel asked, eyes not leaving the screen. She quickly went through the photos to see what could be so astounding to him when her eyes landed on the photos of Adrien and Marinette. She mentally cursed to herself. She was meaning to remove them and send them to Adrien but it slipped her mind. His eyes finally rested on her and she stiffened.
“A friend of Adrien’s happened to be there and the photographer took some liberties… Marinette Dupain-Cheng, sir. She won that bowler hat—”
“Yes, I remember.” He cut her off. His eyes returned to the photos and a slight frown made its way onto his face. Nathalie panicked, hoping that Gabriel wouldn’t try to sabotage one of Adrien’s great friendships.
“She was a great help, sir!” The words tumbled off her tongue and his gaze rested on her again. She shrunk under his stare and knew she had to clarify. “The Lyon blazer had been wrongly sized and was too loose on Adrien. Stephen was called in to fix it but he didn’t show. Marinette was the one who altered it for us.” She explained.
“You let a child alter my designs?” Gabriel asked bitingly, despite still having a stoic expression on his face. Nathalie flinched under his tone and apologized. “Bring me the blazer.” He ordered.
Nathalie made haste, fulfilling his orders quickly in hopes that his mood wouldn’t worsen. She returned shortly with the blazer and handed it to him. She watched his eyes roam around the blazer as he studied the seams and stitching. If she didn’t know better, she would say that he actually looked a little impressed. He placed the blazer aside and brought his attention back to his computer screen.
“Contact the Dupain-Chengs for permission to use these photos,” Gabriel ordered, much to her surprise. In her shock, she didn’t realize that she didn’t reply until his eyes flickered over to her.
“Yes, sir. Right away, sir. Is there anything else?” She asked.
“That is all. You are dismissed.” He said. Nathalie bowed and left his office with a relieved sigh.
Adrien was surprised when he heard his father. They normally didn’t interact in the mornings. Nathalie and Gorilla were waiting for him outside and he was about to leave when he noticed his shoe was untied. He crouched down to tie it and that’s when his father appeared.
“You’re heading out early,” Gabriel noted. School started at 8:30 and it was currently only 7:45. Adrien just nodded silently. He was hoping, with any luck, Marinette would be there early and they could hang out. She had been getting a lot better at making it to class on time. “I went through the Trocadero shoot. The photos were excellent.” Adrien continued to nod along, pulling his laces tightly so they wouldn’t come undone again. His mind was so fogged up with thoughts of Marinette and the kiss she gave him that he didn’t even realize that his father had actually paid him a compliment (well, technically he complimented the photos). “It would be good if you continued doing that well.”
“Yes, Father,” Adrien replied as he stood up and proceeded to the door. “You should introduce her to me, this Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”
“Sure thing, Father.” Came his reply before he walked out of the front door. But the second his foot hit the pavement outside of the mansion, the realization hit him. He spun around and rushed back into the mansion, face a deep shade of crimson. “W-wait, Father!” Gabriel looked almost amused at his son’s startled, wide-eyed expression.
“H-how—What made you bring her up?” Adrien fumbled on his words, unsure of what question he should even be asking. He didn’t recall talking about Marinette at all so why did his father mention her? His face seared as he wondered if maybe he had spoken his thoughts about her out loud.
Gabriel raised an eyebrow at his son’s loss of composure. More often than not, Adrien was calm and collected when it came to any mention of a girl. It was interesting to see the embarrassment on Adrien’s face. He supposed his son was at that age.
“She was at the Trocadero shoot was she not? Nathalie informed me that she assisted with the alterations on the Lyon blazer.”
“She did…” Adrien said cautiously, unsure of how his father felt about Marinette altering the jacket. “But…” Before he could say anymore, Gabriel spoke up again.
“I assume she’s the reason why you’re leaving for school at this time. I would like to meet her.”
Adrien felt dread as he sat in the car, on the way to school. Why did his father want to meet Marinette? Was he angry about her touching his designs? Was he going to yell at her? Was he going to demand that she stay away from him? Just the thought of his father trying to take away one of his good friends made his stomach sink with a heavy, foreboding feeling.
But Gabriel didn’t seem displeased at all. His father was a rather inexpressive man but Adrien could usually tell when he was upset with something. He could even daresay that the man looked minutely interested. It finally dawned upon Adrien right as he reached the school. His father thought that he was interested in Marinette.
Adrien would be telling a bold-faced lie if he said that he wasn’t. Sure, his heart still belonged to the elusive Ladybug, but ever since Marinette gave him a taste of her affectionate side two days ago, he had been unable to get her out of his mind.
Adrien entered the classroom to find it empty. There was still twenty minutes before class started. He was a little relieved Marinette wasn’t there. He originally wanted to come early to see her but now that his father’s request weighed on his mind, he felt nervous.
How would he even go about planning such a visit? What would he tell Marinette? Because telling her that his father wanted to meet her because he suspected that there was something going on between them sounded oh so spectacular. He could just invite her over as a friend but even that thought filled him with anxiety.
Adrien was so deep in his thoughts that he didn’t notice someone coming to sit next to him. His elbows were propped on the desk and he rested his forehead on his palms, fingers tangling in his hair. He stared intently at the desk below him and let out a sigh.
“Sounds like you have a lot of your plate.”
Adrien jolted from the voice and whipped his head to his left to see Marinette sitting there with a surprised look on her face.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” Marinette smiled guiltily as she placed her bag down. Before he got a word in, she spoke again. “Oh! I almost forgot.”
Marinette leaned over and rummaged in her school bag before pulling out a small box with the Tom & Sabine bakery logo on it. She placed it on the desk and slid it over to him with a grin on her face. He turned away from her and stared down at the box in front of him before bringing his attention back to her.
“What’s this?” Adrien raised an eyebrow. There wasn’t a special occasion that he was forgetting about was there?
“Your reward, kind sir.” Marinette let out a quiet chuckle.
Adrien opened the box to find an assortment of macarons and his stomach fluttered with excitement. Adrien looked at her with a thankful smile. She knew he had a sweet tooth and must have felt badly for him after what he said about his diet. It was sweet of her to keep him in her thoughts. He felt a tingling warmth in his chest and immediately tried to extinguish it. But he couldn’t stop the grin forming on his own face.
“Oh? I thought I had already received a reward.” Adrien teased as he pointed at his cheek. A blush blossomed across her cheeks and she turned her attention forward.
“I—that—” Her mouth flapped uselessly, earning a chuckle from him. “A goodbye kiss can hardly be called a reward. It was just a substitute until I could sneak you some goodies.”
Adrien hummed in amusement before popping a macaron in his mouth.
“I was satisfied with it, but if you’re going to send more sweets my way, I won’t complain. Guess I’ll be in for a treat if this is how your rewards system works.” He winked at her and grinned. A slight frown made its way onto her face at his most half-assed attempt at a pun as of yet.
“You’re lucky you’re pretty.” She said dryly and his laughter followed. He caught sight of her rolling her eyes before pulling out her sketchbook to draw.
It was friendly bantering like that that made Adrien like Marinette so much. It felt almost as if he was Chat Noir and she was Ladybug. For some reason, with her, he felt like he could relax a little more, act a little more wild like his alter-ego. She had no idea how thankful he was that she was now talking to him normally. He didn’t realize how much of a great friend she would be.
When lunchtime rolled around, Alya and Nino decided to have lunch together, much to Marinette and Adrien’s chagrin. Neither of them could remember the last time they had a decent hang out with their respective best friend. They walked out of the school together and squinted from the brightness of the sun. The sky finally cleared up but puddles still littered the ground around them from yesterday’s storm. They walked towards his ride and he was surprised to see Nathalie in the car. Normally Gorilla was the only one present when retrieving him for lunch.
“Nathalie, is there something scheduled that I forgot about?” He questioned. Maybe he had a photo shoot that he skipped over on his schedule. But the woman just shook her head.
“No, nothing of that sort. I had some business to take care of.” She said and her eyes briefly flickered over to Marinette. It didn’t go unnoticed by the girl and she stood ramrod straight at the sudden moment of attention.
Marinette shrunk back as Adrien and Nathalie continued to talk and noticed some kids shouting playfully in the distance. She couldn’t help but smile at how happy they sounded. As their figures came closer, she noticed that they were riding bikes, clearly racing each other. Her eyes suddenly shot down to the large puddle that rested behind her and Adrien and widened as they flew back up to the kids.
“Adrien—!” The urgency in Marinette’s voice had him quickly turning to her but not before she had yanked him in front of her by his arm. He watched as three boys sped by on their bikes, a sloshing sound heard as all three rode straight through the puddle and splashed the murky water all over Marinette. Her grip on his arm tightened as she grimaced from the uncomfortable feeling of the warm water seeping through her clothes.
“Marinette! Are you okay? Goodness, you’re soaked. Why did you do that? You should have just jumped out of the way.” He glowered at her, clearly upset that she had decided to save him from the splash instead of thinking about herself. But she just gave him a beguiling smile.
“Dear, dear Adrien. What would you have left if your good looks were ruined by mud?” She joked, knowing it would erase the frown from his face. The way her eyes crinkled and lips curled into a smile as she looked up at him made him unable to stay mad.
“You wound me.” Adrien gasped and placed a hand against his heart. Marinette’s laughter rang out and his heart skipped a beat as he gazed at her gleeful expression. He raised an arm and rubbed the back of his neck nervously. He realized that he was suddenly presented with a great opportunity to invite her over. “Come have lunch with me. It’s my fault that you’re soaked, yet again.” He sighed. “You can get cleaned up at my place.” A look of reservation passed her face and he knew rejection was on the tip of her tongue. He mustered the most pleading, round kitty eyes that he could and jutted out his lower lip slightly.
Marinette’s mouth fell open slightly at the absolutely adorable expression on his face and knew that she couldn’t say no. She cursed her pushover nature and frowned at him. A sigh passed her lips and from the grin that was making its way onto his face, he knew he had won.
“You and Manon must be learning from each other,” Marinette mumbled and Adrien just chuckled. He turned his attention back to Nathalie and asked if it was okay if Marinette had lunch with him. She nodded in agreement.
When they entered the Agreste mansion, Nathalie suggested they wait in Adrien’s room while the chef prepared another serving for Marinette. The girl blushed heavily at the idea of being in his room with just him. Despite having such a decked-out room, he rarely had visitors. She, along with Alya and Nino knew he was uncomfortable with getting his father’s permission. The question of whether his father was home or not fleetingly crossed her mind. Adrien wouldn’t sneak her in, would he? He did get Nathalie’s permission at least.
Marinette stiffly followed him into his room and Adrien mistakenly took her nervous walking as discomfort from her wet clothing. He apologized again and she reminded him that it was of her own doing that she got wet. But he would have none of it. She rolled her eyes at his stubbornness. He strode over to his dresser and rummaged through his drawers before pulling out the smallest t-shirt and sweatpants he owned before handing it to her.
“Sorry, I don’t have anything else for you.” Adrien smiled sheepishly and waved over to the bathroom. “The shower is over there. We’ll have your clothes laundered while we eat lunch. She clutched the clothes to her chest and nodded.
Marinette fought hard against the blush that threatened to flourish across her face as she mechanically walked over to the bathroom. She was going to be using his shower. The shower that he used. The shower that he used while naked. Her face exploded into a crimson flush and she hurriedly closed the door behind her lest she do something embarrassing.
Adrien sat down at his desk and Plagg came fluttering out of his shirt with a shit-eating grin on his face.
“Ooh la la. Finally getting somewhere with this lady friend of yours? What happened to Ladybug?”
Adrien blushed at his kwami’s heckling and waved the black cat away. Plagg simply dodged his charge’s hand and snickered before darting towards his usual spot of cheesy heaven. Adrien gagged in disgust and rolled over to his drawer to pull out another pack of air freshener. He wasn’t going to get anywhere with anyone if he was constantly surrounded by the funk of cheese. He balked at the thought, face flushed a bright red. Not that he was trying to get anywhere with anyone, especially the pretty girl that was currently showering in his bathroom. He dropped his head on his desk and bit back a scream of sheer mortification. Marinette was his friend—a dear friend. He would fling himself off of the Eiffel Tower before he’d let himself think of her in any obscene manner. He banged his head repeatedly on the desk in an attempt to clear his mind.
“Adrien?” Marinette’s concerned voice pulled him out of his internal battle and he quickly sat up. How long had he been arguing with himself? He hadn’t even noticed the sound of the shower turning off. It didn’t matter. He was just pleased that he’d be rid of any thoughts of Marinette showering. He turned to her only to be bombarded by the sight of her in his clothes. His cheeks burned as his eyes wandered over her figure that was drowned in the excess fabric. There was just something so appealing about seeing a girl in your clothes. “They’re pretty big on me.” She laughed shyly.
“Y-yeah… I’ll have someone clean your clothes immediately.” He could almost hear Plagg’s cackling. Since when did he get this nervous around Marinette?
Thankfully, a knock came at his door and he let out a sigh of relief. Nathalie had come to tell them lunch was ready. She wore a rather surprised look when she took in Marinette’s appearance before mentioning that she’d send someone up to take care of her clothes.
When they descended the stairs, they found Gabriel leaving his office. His eyes landed on them and he gazed momentarily at his son before directing his eyes towards Marinette. Adrien immediately tensed up when the hint of a frown was slowly forming on his father’s face.
“Father! This isn’t what it looks like. Marinette got covered with rainwater because of me and I invited her over for lunch as an apology—” Adrien nervously rambled and Marinette looked just as scared as he did in front of the older Agreste. Gabriel raised an eyebrow at his son’s behavior.
“I am aware. Nathalie has told me.” Gabriel’s voice, although not loud, managed to drown out Adrien’s frantic explanation. He turned his attention back to Marinette. “Welcome, Mademoiselle Marinette. I apologize that my son has caused you much trouble.”
“N-not at all, Monsieur Agreste. Thank you for having me.” She bowed her head slightly in respect.
“Adrien, somehow you thought that was appropriate wear for this young lady?” Gabriel raised an eyebrow at his son and spoke with a hint of scolding in his voice. Before Adrien could reply, Gabriel began ascending the stairs. “Wait right here.”
The air had been so heavy that even after Gabriel left, both Adrien and Marinette stood there stiffly in silence. Despite the cool interior of the mansion, Adrien could feel the sweat rolling down his back. He spared a quick glance at Marinette to see that she was standing straight with lips pressed in a line and eyes wide in what he assumed was sheer terror.
Gabriel returned shortly with a set of clothing in his hands and Adrien just stared at the blouse his father was holding, a lavender tunic with floral embroidery along the edge of the flared sleeves. It was one of his mother’s favorite blouses. His eyes flickered up to Gabriel’s face to see that it was relatively impassive as if he wasn’t about to just hand Marinette some of his wife’s clothing.
“That’s Mother’s…” Adrien started, earning a shocked looked from Marinette.
“I-I couldn’t…” She held her hands up in reservation. “I really don’t mind wearing this.”
“I insist, Mademoiselle. It would tarnish the Agreste name to let you walk around in that.” Gabriel said, voice still lacking any clear emotion.
“She wouldn’t have minded.” He added. It was then that Marinette could clearly see the hint of wistfulness in his eyes and she couldn’t refuse. She took the clothes from the senior Agreste and thanked him. “Nathalie, escort her to a room to change.” He said.
The two walked away, leaving the Agreste men behind. Gabriel folded his arms behind his back and kept his eyes trained on the stairs that the women just ascended. Adrien also kept his gaze ahead but his eyes periodically flickered over to his father. He never expected his father to do something like that. The man was usually withdrawn when it came to his missing wife.
“I didn’t expect you to bring her by today.” Gabriel shattered the silence with his observation. Adrien could almost hear the amusement in his voice and he blushed.
“I wasn’t planning to,” Adrien admitted. He only invited her because the opportunity arose. He hesitated before speaking again. “Why did you want to meet her?”
“She seemed like a nice young lady,” Gabriel answered Adrien’s question in a sort of vague way that made him raise an eyebrow at his father. But Gabriel did not offer any other reason.
“All of my friends are nice.” Adrien countered, in hopes of prying more information out of his father. He felt goosebumps rise across his skin when Gabriel’s eyes rolled over and looked at him. In the back of his mind, he mused that this was the most solid conversation he had with his father in a while.
“Are you romantically interested in all of your other friends?” Gabriel quirked an eyebrow and questioned Adrien, earning a red-faced, sputtering teen in reply.
“W-what? No! Marinette’s just a friend! I don’t—” He waved his arms around animatedly before Gabriel’s voice cut him off.
“She has your mother’s smile.”
Adrien’s frenzy ceased immediately and he looked up to his father to see him gazing nostalgically at the portrait above the stairs, where there used to sit a portrait of all three of them. He couldn’t remember the last time he had seen any emotion aside from anger or impassiveness on his father’s features. He bit his lip. Right. It was before his mother had disappeared.
Adrien had never seen his father revealing any sort of sorrow after the fact. It often made him wonder if the man even cared, even though he knew for a fact that he did. Gabriel’s grieving didn’t manifest through conventional means but that didn’t mean he didn’t mourn that his wife was gone. Adrien knew that because although his father didn’t show it on his face, he showed it through his behavior, becoming more strict and protective of his only son. That’s why Adrien could never bring himself to go against his father.
“Yeah… she does.”
Since when was his father acquainted with Marinette’s smile?