Miraculous: Les Aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir
Pairings: Love Square
Summary: The warmth Adrien feels in his chest is definitely because of the hot chocolate and not because he’s in love with his friend.
Chloé’s hands shook furiously as she stared down at the magazine spread of Fashion Weekly. The pages of the magazine crinkled under the pressure of her grip and she marched across the courtyard towards the blonde model that had stood her up on her birthday.
“Adrien! What is the meaning of this?” Chloe screeched. Both Adrien and Nino winced from the sheer volume of her voice. Adrien sighed exasperatedly. He was finally hanging out with Nino after god knows how long.
“What’s the meaning of what Chloe?” Adrien asked wearily as he turned to her. Her mouth was twisted into a scowl and her cheeks were red with anger. She shoved the magazine in his face and his eyes crossed slightly to look at it because it was so close. He felt his body go numb at the spread and pulled the magazine from her grasp.
Adrien stared wide-eyed at the two-page spread of him and Marinette dressed in a striking red, standing against the dreary background of the Trocadero. Big smiles were stretched across their faces and if he weren’t so shocked, he would have been in awe of how perfect the photo was.
“What’s up?” Nino asked as he stood up from his seat and peered over Adrien’s shoulder. “Whoa! You modeled with Marinette?” Nino gaped at the photo. “Alya is gonna freak!”
“Adrien!” Chloe hissed, bringing his attention back to her. “You skipped my birthday party to hang out with her?” She stressed the last word as if the girl in question was so vile and ground her teeth. She glared at him hard—the intense iciness of her blue eyes would have made anyone else cower in fear.
“Chlo, I was working.” Adrien sighed in annoyance, unfortunately too used to her tantrums. “Marinette happened to be at the Trocadero. I didn’t even know this was taken.” Not buying his excuse, she let out a humph before stomping off.
Adrien frowned at the photo. It wasn’t that he didn’t like it. He loved it. But he wasn’t sure how Marinette was going to feel about being splashed across a fashion magazine for all of Paris to see. His father usually had to approve of the photos before they were printed so he didn’t understand how…
Adrien paused. His father’s comment on Marinette’s smile had weighed on his mind the whole time they had lunch that day. He remembered her being scared stiff in the presence of his father and was quite sure that she couldn’t muster a smile even if her life depended on it. So this was what his father was talking about.
Adrien studied the picture, paying close attention to the girl that smiled brightly despite the gloom that she stood in. She did indeed share his mother’s smile. His stomach fluttered and warmth bloomed in his heart. He always appreciated the smiles that she wore from day to day. It was so different from the forced smiles that he often wore for work—so genuine. To see it permanently frozen in a photo had him completely enamored. He briefly wondered why he never thought of getting a picture of her—of all his friends, he quickly amended. But the affection that tingled across his body was soon replaced with worry. Did his father even get permission to use the photo?
As he turned the page, there were several more pictures of them together, arranged in a collage. She was beautiful in each and everyone one of them. His cheeks warmed and he was conflicted between being in awe and in shock.
“So I take it that you didn’t know about it either?”
Adrien was so absorbed in the magazine that he didn’t even notice that Alya and Marinette had approached, coming back from having lunch at the bakery. He blinked at Alya’s entertained expression and then looked over to Marinette. Her head was lowered slightly but he still managed to see the rosy blush across her cheeks. So it was safe to say that she didn’t know about it.
“Judging from the expression on your face.” Alya clarified.
“No, I didn’t.” He frowned. “So I guess that means my father didn’t get permission which is very much illegal.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “Sorry, Marinette. I didn’t expect something like this from him.” Seeing the slightly angry expression on his face, Marinette quickly spoke up.
“No! No, it’s okay.” She waved her hands in front of her to dismiss his misplaced anger. “Your father did get permission. My parents just didn’t tell me about it. They thought it’d be nice to surprise me with it.” She explained. She sighed as she recalled what happened when she and Alya finished lunch.
Nathalie arrived at her home to give Tom and Sabine a copy of the issue and Marinette and Alya had come down to see Gabriel’s assistant just leaving. She immediately questioned her parents about it, fearing something happened to Adrien. But the sneaky, grinning faces told her otherwise. Her mother handed her the magazine and told her to look inside for a surprise.
And surprised she was. After the initial shock, Marinette grew as red as the clothing that they wore in the image. The giggling that came from her parents put a pout on her face, which only made them laugh harder. Alya nudged her enthusiastically, demanding details of the day.
The school bell signaling the end of lunch chimed, pulling her out of her thoughts. The four friends started walking towards class and Alya skipped ahead and pulled Nino along, leaving Marinette and Adrien behind them.
“You don’t mind?” Adrien’s asked her with a mixture of surprise and relief. She just laughed. The blush was still evident on her cheeks.
“Not at all.” Marinette smiled. “I mean… I regret not dolling myself up that day and I’m a little embarrassed that you’re so much prettier than me, but I guess I can’t expect to surpass the Adrien Agreste, can I?” The teasing note in her voice told him she was just pulling his leg but he could almost sense that she believed her self-deprecating comment.
“You’re insane.” He said. You’re beautiful. He wanted to add on but the words caught in his throat. He wondered if perhaps it would be too forward of him. It’s normal to call your friend beautiful, isn’t it? Marinette faced forward again but his eyes continued to linger on her profile. The rosy blush refused to leave her cheeks. Even though she said she didn’t mind, he couldn’t help but feel that she was at least a bit mortified by suddenly being used without her knowledge.
Marinette hummed and flicked her eyes over to see his brows knitted, obviously still troubled. She smiled appreciatively, seeing how much he was worried about her. She was used to the limelight, albeit as Ladybug. The one time as Marinette wasn’t going to faze her. Rather than being concerned about being in the magazine, she was focused more on the fact that she was in the magazine next to Adrien. The photo was beautiful and she looked good in it, she had to admit. But somehow, she felt so little and insignificant standing next to an actual model.
“Really, don’t worry about it. You’re so positively sparkling in the photo that no one is even going to notice little ol’ me in it.” Marinette chuckled. Adrien’s eyes met hers and she was surprised to see his frown grow deeper, a disapproving glint reflecting in his eyes.
“Stop it.” Adrien’s voice came out only slightly louder than a whisper and harsher than he wanted. It was all fine and good if she wanted to sing him praises but it rubbed him the wrong way to hear her downplaying herself to do so. Marinette was startled by his seriousness and shifted her eyes forward again, biting her lip in nervousness.
“Sorry…” Marinette mumbled, not even sure of what she was apologizing for. A deep sigh came from him and she felt a light grasp on her fingers, making her stop. Her eyes shot down at her hand before trailing up his arm and finally landing on his face.
“Listen, the photos are amazing, not just because of me but because you’re in it too.” He said so sternly that she couldn’t help but nod in agreement in fear of him getting more upset. “You’re absolutely stunning.” He added, forgetting his reservations earlier. “I just wish that Father had asked you for your permission, considering that you were actually over and he met with you.”
Adoration bubbled in her chest at his concern over her. She offered him a placid smile and turned her hand to give his a gentle squeeze.
“Thanks for worrying about me, Adrien.” Marinette said and released his hand. His eyes momentarily flickered down to their now separated hands, instantly feeling the lack of warmth. Before he could dwell on the swirl of emotions churning in his gut, she spoke again. “We should hurry to class before we’re late.”
Only an hour had passed into their afternoon class when Marinette got an alert on her phone from the Ladyblog. A member had posted an akuma sighting at the TV studio. Marinette groaned. She was sure that all of her classmates thought she had some crazy stomach issues with the frequency in which she asked to go to the bathroom. But to her luck (if you didn’t consider the akuma), the loud shuddering sound of harsh winds blew against the windows prompted all the students to scatter to the other side of the class in worry. She quickly used the chance to slip out of class.
Ladybug groaned when she found herself drenched from head to toe the moment she stepped outside of school. It had been a good two years since she dealt with Climatika and she didn’t particularly care for another weather-related akuma. Her blue eyes zeroed in on the akumatized woman, who called herself Tempest, laughing in the sky. She sighed.
“You’re glistening, My Lady. Quite literally.”
Ladybug couldn’t help but let out a groan when she heard her partner’s voice beside her.
“I’m surprised to see you Chat. Don’t you remember what happened last time you were out in the rain?” She turned around and smirked before noticing that he was holding an umbrella over his head. For some reason, the image of Chat hiding under an umbrella was positively hilarious to her and she burst out in laughter. “Perhaps you should leave this one up to me?” She cocked a brow and smiled smugly.
Despite her poking fun at him, Chat just returned her smile. He was always happy to hear her laughter even if it was at his expense.
“Nonsense.” He grinned. “Shall I rein her in for you?” His eyes crinkled in amusement and Ladybug rolled her eyes before smiling and nodding. She had to admit, that one was clever.
Chat dashed off ahead of her and she followed behind, strategically mapping out her plan. Two years of experience under their belts had made them more efficient at dealing with akuma. They were more in tune with each other, showcasing that they truly were two halves of a whole. That didn’t mean that their job was easier though. Just as time helped them, it also helped Papillon. Either he sought out better candidates for his akuma, making them more driven and less likely to abandon their task of getting the miraculous or he was getting a lot better at controlling them.
The rain pelted down mercilessly on the city blurring the lines of the buildings that stood against it. Even through the sound of the heavy rain, Ladybug could hear the gusts of wind violently whisking around her. She was getting damn cold. She knew Tikki wouldn’t hold up after prolonged exposure to rain and she worried even more over Chat’s kwami. Even though it was quite some time ago, she recalled the time when Chat showed up to patrol a little under the weather. It was the day after they’d fought in the rain and if Chat was sick, that meant his kwami was probably worse off.
Ladybug gripped her yoyo tightly, jaw clenched in determination. She concentrated on the black blobs in the distance as Chat attempted to force the akuma from the air. Coming to his aid, she flung her yoyo towards the akuma and wound the string around her leg, pulling her from her place in the sky. But before she hit the building beneath her, she sent out a blast of wind to knock Ladybug back.
Ladybug yelped as she lost her footing and she quickly released her yoyo to wind around the nearest sturdy structure. The wind abruptly came to an end when Chat engaged the akuma once again. The rain distorted around them, from the razor-sharp blades of wind that she sent to Chat. He couldn’t combat the intangible force so his only option was to dodge.
Ladybug was mildly annoyed and wished that she could just help Chat double team the villain. She wasn’t nearly as confident in her physical strength as Chat though. After several close calls with her putting herself in danger and Chat having to cover for her, they had come to an agreement that she would play the role of tactician and avoid putting herself in direct harm. After all, she was needed to cleanse the akuma and reverse any damage.
She scanned the villain intently, trying to figure out where the akuma was hiding. Judging from the complaints and expletives tumbling from the woman’s mouth, Ladybug concluded that she was a weather reporter that had just gotten fired. She was essentially a step up from Climatika.
A sharp pain grazed against her cheek and she looked down to see pellets of ice around her feet. The rain was steadily changing to hail. Ladybug cursed and called for her lucky charm. Under different circumstances, she’d try to figure out what the possessed item was and come up with some sort of plan before using it. After all, she was only allotted five minutes afterward, before she would lose her transformation. But she had no interest in having her or Chat Noir out in the hailstorm any longer than that. Severe weather conditions were their weakness and the faster they get this over with, the less likely Papillon would figure it out.
A big bag of cement descended from the sky and Ladybug was momentarily overwhelmed by the sudden weight of it. She looked at the label and the corner of her lips quirked up. ‘Dries so quickly, it’s miraculous’, she read in amusement.
Ladybug swung closer to the action and landed on a nearby roof that was in Chat’s line of sight. She waved at him, signaling him to get out of the way before she hurled the bag of cement at Tempest.
“Hey, Tempest!” Ladybug shouted, grabbing her attention. The ex-reporter turned around just in time to see the large bag coming towards her and sent out a blade of wind in defense. The bag burst open and a grey powder dispersed into the wet air.
A loud shriek erupted from Tempest’s mouth as the cement settled over her form, clinging to her tightly. True to the description on the bag, the cement began drying instantly, making her body stiff and unmovable. Ladybug was almost relieved that most of the rain had turned to hail because she was sure the downpour would have washed the cement off too quickly to work. She swung her yoyo out and reeled Tempest in.
Chat Noir joined her and Ladybug took in the sight of his sopping wet form. He was grinning but she knew that he was cold and uncomfortable. She turned back to Tempest and scanned the woman for the possessed item. She crouched down and extracted the clicker that she had clenched in her left hand. She sighed in relief when an akuma came fluttering out after she snapped it.
Chat looked up to the clearing sky and sighed in contentment as he felt the moisture dissipate from his body. Though Ladybug’s cure dried him, his body still felt frigid. He wasn’t sure if his body temperature was actually low or if it was all in his head.
“Wow, that was the most straight-forward Lucky Charm you’ve ever gotten.” He joked, a slight chattering of his teeth not unheard by Ladybug. She peered at him worriedly.
“You okay, Chat?” She asked, a frown etched on her lips. Chat shot her a clenched jaw smile in attempts to stop his teeth from chattering. He didn’t want to worry her. Fortunately, she didn’t press him any further and held her fist up. “Good job, kitten. It was all you today. Thanks.” He bumped his fist against hers.
“I live for your praises, My Lady.” He grinned. Ladybug let out an unladylike snort and rolled her eyes.
“Don’t you have a girlfriend to spew those lines to?” Ladybug cocked an eyebrow. She would find it hard to believe if he didn’t. The boy had a ridiculously hot bod and from what she could see of his face, he was handsome enough. She was sure he had a fair share of girls who’d be crushing on him due to his looks, if not for his sense of humor. She inwardly laughed.
“I’d think after almost two years, you’d realize that you hold all my affections.” Chat said mirthfully before taking hold of her hand and placing a kiss on her knuckles. Ladybug sighed and withdrew her hand before flicking his nose playfully. A beeping drew her attention away and she remembered she was on limited time.
“It’d do you well to place your affections elsewhere. I could be a middle-aged lady for all you know.” She grinned before swinging off into the distance.
She was dismissive as usual. The grin fell from his face when his thoughts suddenly went to another girl that praised him earlier. He shook his head furiously, trying to banish all thoughts of his classmate. He rubbed the back of his neck and sighed before heading back to the school. He could really use a nice cup of hot chocolate and he knew exactly who would have some.
As he correctly guessed, Marinette had a thermos full of hot chocolate. He learned from their first winter as friends that she wasn’t fond of cold weather. He recalled her coming to class ridiculously bundled up and she was always out of sorts. It wasn’t strange to see her and Alya cuddled up next to each other when class wasn’t in session. The cat in him always begged to snuggle up between the two girls.
Even though it was spring, there was still a slight frigidness that hung around on some days. The four friends briefly met up with each other in between their classes and Marinette noticed that Adrien was shivering slightly. She didn’t hesitate to offer him her favorite drink and he gratefully accepted.
“Thank you. It got really cold because of that akuma and I guess it still hasn’t left my system.” Adrien explained and took a sip of the chocolaty goodness. The warmth settled in the pit of his stomach and he sighed in happiness and contentment, earning an amused look from his friends. He was confident that Marinette made the best hot chocolate.
Marinette agreed with him. She was also still feeling cold and she hoped that the thin scarf she stuffed in her purse was helping with keeping Tikki warm. The ever so slight vibration against her hip let her know that Tikki was still shivering.
“You two should just move to a tropical island somewhere.” Alya raised a brow at the both of them. “The temperature here is just fine.”
“Don’t be so cold, Alya.” Marinette stuck her tongue out at Alya and she earned a slight shove from the latter. Adrien stopped mid drink and blinked at Marinette’s pun. Before he could comment on it, Marinette spoke again. “We should hurry. Class is about to start.”
“Yeah. See you later.” Alya and Nino waved before heading to their own classes. Marinette turned her attention to Adrien to see him screwing the top back onto the thermos.
“Keep it. Looks like you need it.” She giggled. He didn’t know why but his cheeked flooded with heat. He recalled Ladybug’s words and inwardly screamed.
He was in love with Ladybug, not Marinette. Marinette was his friend. He ran those thoughts repeatedly through his mind, as if it would make it more true. But the way Marinette gazed at him with utmost affection made him question everything in his life.
“Take care of yourself and try not to get sick.” Marinette said with a smile before waving and heading off to her class.
That was when he wondered, why couldn’t he have feelings for Marinette? Would it be so bad to fall in love with her? As if his brain suddenly declared war against his heart, it screamed out a big fat ‘yes!’ His brain clearly reminded him that it was wrong to pine over two girls. But his heart whole-heartedly protested. No matter how much he wanted to believe that he only saw Marinette as a friend, nothing could quell the warmth he felt when he thought of her.