I’m stuffing my 2019 and 2020 Miraculous Lunar New Year pieces together because I’m too lazy to make two posts. These are just additions to my previous LNY works. I’ll update my Miraculous page just after this for easier navigating if you want to check out the old 2017 and 2018 ones.
Gambling was a time-honored New Year’s tradition at the Le household. Kim’s favorite poison was a game called “Bầu Cua Tôm Cá”—translation: Gourd, Crab, Shrimp, Fish. It was a simple game. There were six pictures on the board, the four things named in the name of the game and an addition of a rooster and stag. Three dice with sides corresponding to the pictures are shaken within an enclosed container. Players would then place their bets on what picture they thought would show up. After betting, the dice are revealed and if the pictures you bet on appeared on the dice, you would win.
Kim knew from years of experience that the house always won out in the end. So what better way to earn some extra money than having his friends join in on a beloved tradition, with him being the generous house?
His main target: Adrien Agreste. Surely the Agreste heir could stand to lose a few euros. But what he didn’t count on was one Marinette Dupain-Cheng ruining all his plans and emptying out his piggy bank.
He had been doing so well. Max knew better than to join in. But Kim had the wallets of his other classmates in his hands—until Marinette showed up.
She joined the party late due to having to help out at the bakery. But once she was there, she was eager to join in on the fun. It was too bad for Kim that she had luck on her side. It didn’t take long for the rest of the classmates to realize that Marinette seemed to make all the right choices.
One by one, they began to follow Marinette on her bets, reclaiming the money that they had previously lost. Soon enough, the house was bankrupt. Marinette jumped for joy with her newfound riches and Kim just stared blankly at the game in devastation. But his mourning was short-lived. Kim wasn’t going to lie down and accept defeat. Oh no, he had better plans now.
First thing in order: get lady luck on his side. He sidled up to Marinette, leaned down and grinned at her.
“Marinette, how would you like to go after some bigger fish?”
“Alright class, I’ll see you Monday.” The teacher said as the bell chimed, signaling the end of the school day.
“Hey Mari, are you helping your folks out at the bakery on new year’s?” Kim swung his bag over his shoulder and walked over to her.
“For the last time Kim, I’m not helping you gamble.” Marinette replied exasperatedly despite an amused smirk appearing on her face. Kim rolled his eyes at her accusation.
“I’m asking about the festival.” He clarified.
“Yeah, I’ll be there. It’s our thing, right?” Marinette chuckled. She was met with silence and noticed that his lips were pressed in a thin line. She raised a brow at his sudden shiftiness. He looked nervous and his eyes avoided hers.
“I’m doing the lion dance again this year and Ondine wanted to come watch.” He said cautiously. She blinked at him, not understanding why that would be such a problem.
“That sounds great! She and I can keep each other company while you’re doing your thing.” She said.
“You’re okay with it?”
It was always strange to see Kim nervous about something. He was usually so confident and full of himself that it felt out of place. They did often joke that going to the Lunar New Year’s festival together was their thing but it was never written in stone that it had to be exclusive. She assured him that she didn’t mind but he still left with an unsure look on his face. She was actually excited to get to know Ondine better.
When Marinette arrived at the festival the next weekend, she saw Ondine wishing Kim luck before he went off to get ready. Marinette called to her and waved.
“Are you excited?” Marinette asked as she walked up to her.
“I am! I’ve never seen Kim do something like this before so I can’t wait.” She said. Marinette smiled at her enthusiasm.
“Kim’s been a goofball since we were little. He was always good at physical activities, though it often got him into a lot of trouble.” Marinette scratched her cheek sheepishly as she remembered the time he beat up another boy for picking on her when they were younger. “So it’s nice to see him directing his energy towards something like this.” Marinette chuckled.
“You two sound close. I feel like I’m intruding.” Ondine laughed.
“Oh, no. Not at all. I’m really happy that he’s brought you. Now I don’t have to stand here by myself. The more, the merrier, right?” Marinette smiled.
The dance kicked off to the rhythm of the drums and the girls turned their full attention to the performance. Marinette giggled when she heard Ondine’s astounded ‘wow’ next to her. Surely, Kim was doing his best to impress her. Marinette was happy for him, that he found someone who truly liked him for who he was. She thanked god that he and Chloe never became a thing. If she ever had to pick out his biggest fault, it would be his former crush on Chloe.
Like the previous years, when the dance ended, Marinette waited for Kim so that they could go and enjoy the festival. But at least she had company this year to help pass the time. They chatted about school and hobbies and even poked fun at Kim for a bit. She had to wonder if maybe she was in the way. She hadn’t considered that maybe Kim was actually planning on going with just Ondine. She froze at the thought, wondering if she was being an obnoxious third wheel. Maybe it would be better for her to just greet him once he’s done and then split.
“Thanks again for letting me come. Kim told me that this was something that you two did together every year and I felt badly about butting in.” Ondine looked apologetic, as if she were the one tagging along as third wheel.
“What? No. It really is fine. I mean, I’ve tried inviting others in the past even though it never panned out. Alya is usually stuck with babysitting on weekends; same with Nino. And Adrien…” Marinette sighed. “I always told myself that he’d be too busy or wouldn’t be allowed to come anyway, so I never asked. Though that was just me being a huge chicken and not having the guts to ask him.” She gave Ondine a resigned smiled. “I’m kind of jealous of you. I was never able to tell Adrien how I feel.”
Ondine opened her mouth to reply but her lips suddenly pressed tightly together as her eyes shifted over and widened in surprise. In confusion, Marinette turned to her left to see Kim and Adrien standing there, Kim with an ‘oh no’ look plastered on his face and Adrien looking a cross between surprised and concerned. From their expressions alone, Marinette was sure that they had overheard.
“H-hey,” Adrien started. But before he could get any other words out, Marinette’s hand shot forward and grabbed Kim’s arm, pulling him away from their companions. Her face burned in humiliation.
“What the hell, Kim!” She let go of his arm once they were far enough and faced him. “Why is Adrien here?” She berated him. But upon seeing the guilty look on his face, she tried to calm herself. “I’m sorry. I’m not—” She exhaled, telling herself that Kim would never purposely do anything to hurt her. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get so angry. I just—” She thought back to Adrien’s expression and cautious greeting and brought her hands up to her face to muffle her mortified scream.
“I’m sorry. I thought it’d be a nice surprise. It’s just… it’s been just the two of us since forever and— with Ondine— I felt like I was messing up our thing and— we needed a last minute replacement for one of our guys and Adrien was available and—”
“Wait. Slow down, Kim.” She held her hands up in front of her and motioned for him to take it easy. He caught his breath and gathered himself.
“Sorry.” He mumbled. “I figured if I was inviting Ondine, that it’d be nice for you to have someone… And I was pretty sure that you still liked Adrien.” He explained. Marinette face-palmed and sighed. A little part of her wondered if she was so pathetic that Kim, of all people, thought to set her up on a pseudo-blind date. But that aside, his concern was unwarranted.
“You’re such a big doofus.” She said as she stepped forward to give him a hug. “You don’t have to feel so badly about ‘breaking’ our tradition. You’re still here at the festival with me, right? It doesn’t matter if we have others with us.” She smiled. “This was going to happen sooner or later, you know. Of course, I would have preferred being the first to get a date, but I’m happy for you, Kim.” She pulled back and gave him a crooked grin. Kim sighed in relief but he suddenly remembered the tiny little problem that occurred just a few minutes earlier.
“So uh… about what you said about not being able to tell Adrien how you feel…” He started cautiously. Marinette stilled at his words, she too, remembering the reason why they were split off from the group in the first place. A cry of sheer humiliation escaped her lips as she clutched her head in dread.
“Come on, let’s head back. Don’t worry, I’ll be your wingman.” He flexed his arms ridiculously, making her laugh involuntarily.
“It’s kind of late for that now considering he already overheard me talking about him.” She sighed.
“Minor details, Mari. I can do it. I was Cupid once before, you know.” He boasted and threw his arm around her shoulders. Marinette snorted at his words.
“Dark Cupid doesn’t count, Kim.”