“Marinette! Marinette, wake up!”
Sitting straight up in her bed, Marinette let out a panicked cry as she gained her wits. Tikki buzzed in her face. “Marinette! You’re going to be late again.”
Consciousness crept into her as she processed her kwami’s words with wide eyes. She blinked in surprise. “What!? Tikki, we gotta go!” Marinette jumped from her bed, thanking her Ladybug powers for her new found agility. She frantically gathered her school supplies and shoved them into her backpack. Quickly changing clothes and fixing her messy pigtails, she nearly tripped over her shoes that lay scattered on the floor.
“Okay, is that everything?” she asked, gazing at Tikki with desperation.
She hummed and glanced around the room. “I think so!”
“Alright, let’s go!”
Tikki zipped into her purse, and Marinette stormed out the front door and headed towards the school. At that point, she was so thankful she lived so close to the school. It was always convenient when she woke up late.
As she approached, she noticed Alya leaning against the side of the front steps. She checked an invisible watch on her wrist as Marinette jogged up to her. “Almost late for class again, little lady. What are we going to do with you?”
Marinette groaned as Alya patted her on the head. “I’m sorry. I’m just really tired all the time.”
“You must sleep like the dead,” she teased as she nudged Marinette with her elbow.
Giving a shrug, Marinette scrunched her nose. “I can’t help it.”
The pair ascended the stairs and began their trek to the classroom. Alya snorted. “Well, next time, I’m not waiting on you. I had to turn down Nino’s offer to chill before class.”
Alya pushed open the door as Marinette trailed behind. “You know, you could use Nino and I as an excuse to hang around a certain someone.”
Marinette slid into her seat. “What do you mean?”
Her best friend waggled her brows and shot her eyes towards a certain blonde boy sitting in front of Marinette. Her face flushed and she shot her head towards Alya. Marinette lifted her book to put a barrier between her and said boy. “I can’t do that, Alya,” she said in a harsh whisper. “I can barely make sentences in front of him.”
Alya shrugged and cupped her hand around her mouth. “I think it’d be a great opportunity to get to know him.”
Sighing in defeat, Marinette put her book down and glanced at Adrien, who was chatting with Nino at the time. “Maybe, you’re right…”
“Of course, I am,” Alya teased as she stuck her tongue out at her friend.
Marinette jokingly rolled her eyes and turned her attention to Miss Bustier, who was walking into the classroom with a large stack of papers. She inwardly groaned at the sight. That looked like far more work than she could handle for the day.
As her teacher gathered their work in order, Marinette watched as Adrien scribbled on a paper, not paying any mind to the fact she was completely staring at him. It wasn’t until Chloe let out an over exaggerated cough that Marinette was pulled from love trance. Majority of the class was startled by her sudden, obnoxious sound.
Adrien turned his head and cocked a brow at her. She eyed Marinette, who assumed that Chloe had caught her staring at the boy before her. Adrien turned his head around to face Marinette. She let out a nervous giggle and waved timidly. He flashed a smile and shook his head as he spun back around in his seat. Marinette frowned and glared in Chloe’s direction. The blonde returned the stare until Miss Bustier cleared her throat to catch the students’ attention.
She simply couldn’t help it every time that she glanced up at Adrien while copying down notes. It was just impossible. How could someone so handsome not be distracting? Those eyes, that hair… he was amazing. Not to mention, one of the sweetest boys she had ever met. No, the sweetest. She couldn’t stop thinking about him. What would it be like if he ever returned her feelings? For him to smile at her like that all the time? To hug him? To kiss him?
Marinette squeaked in her seat and felt herself flush slightly. Kissing Adrien was something she had thought about before, obviously, but being in the moment with him right in front of her made her more embarrassed at the thought. Were his lips soft? Probably. He had a high-tech smart phone, so he probably had tons of beauty products. Adrien was a model, after all.
Maybe, Alya was right. Maybe, riding on the coattails of Nino and Alya’s relationship was a decent way to get to know Adrien. Marinette may have known everything about Adrien, but that didn’t mean she actually knew knew him.
A scream from outside rocked Marinette from her thoughts. Her head whipped towards the direction of the sound. The other students began looking around frantically. She hardened her brows. An akuma?
After another scream sounded, she and the rest of the students rushed over to the windows to catch a glimpse at whatever was occurring.
“Is that a—giant jewelry box?” Nino quipped.
Marinette eyed the large box that was in fact shaped like a jewelry box with a lock on the front. It was a pastel pink, and as she looked around she noticed that there were tons of them spread around the streets. What were those things?
“Miss Bustier, I need to go to the bathroom,” Adrien stated hurriedly.
Miss Bustier furrowed her brows. “At a time like this? That could be dangerous, Adrien.”
Seeing her chance, Marinette spoke up. “I need to go to the bathroom too, Miss Bustier.”
The teacher sighed. “Fine, but you two have to go together. Walk together and wait on each other, got it? Use the buddy system.”
Marinette gritted her teeth nervously and glanced at Adrien who seemed to be doing the same. “Right.”
Great. How am I supposed to ditch Adrien of all people?
The pair followed each other to the bathroom, but neither made a move to go inside. Adrien rubbed his neck awkwardly. “U-Um, ladies first?”
“No! You go! I-I mean… Y-You don’t really have to go to the bathroom, do you?” Marinette asked.
He chuckled. “What makes you think that?”
“Well—I… You’re stalling?”
“I have to leave. My father always wants me back home during akuma attacks.”
She nodded. “My parents prefer that I’m home too.”
“I’ll walk you down the stairs, at least? After Ladybug and Chat Noir take care of it, I can meet you here and walk you back to class, so that Miss Bustier doesn’t think we left?”
“Y-Yeah. Good sounds—I-I mean, sounds good.”
Adrien snorted at her blunder and walked with her down the stairs, only to see two people suddenly being zapped and imprisoned inside one of the human sized jewelry boxes they saw before. She and Adrien both dashed over to the box. He put his ear to it and knocked. “Hello? Are you okay?”
“Yes!” came a muffled reply, “please help!”
He swiftly turned to Marinette. “We’d better get out of here.”
“Right,” she replied with a bob of her head.
As the two began to take off in opposite directions, Marinette saw a flash of something scurry beside her. That must be the akuma. She continued to dart away from the villain, so she could find a safe spot to transform. Hearing the laughter of the akuma behind her, she knew she had to get away in a hurry.
“Marinette! Look out!”
Suddenly, she was being tackled as she stiffened her body, waiting for the empending blow to the ground only for it to never come. Marinette opened her eyes and looked up, only to see the face of Adrien Agreste wincing before her.
She squeaked and pushed herself to move away from him only to hit her head on something above her. Glancing up, she realized that they were trapped inside one of the jewelry boxes. Her face flushed when she made eye contact with Adrien who she was pressed chest to chest with.
His own cheeks pinked slightly. “T-The akuma is called Pendant. Something about her sister breaking her jewelry box from their grandmother. That’s all I really got before she tried to attack you.”
“I should’ve been paying more attention, I’m sorry,” she replied while holding in all thoughts that she was so close to her crush.
Adrien shifted slightly, sitting up to see her more properly. “Why did you go that way anyway, Marinette? You live the other direction.”
“Oh! I was just trying to—um—see the flowers that were this way?”
He cocked a brow at her.
“I can’t really explain…”
Thankfully, he dropped the subject and reached past Marinette to try and push on the top of the box. “It won’t budge. Great. We’ll just have to wait for Ladybug to rescue everyone.”
Her mouth popped open a little. “Um, Chat Noir could save us too.”
Adrien hissed slightly. “Yeahhh… but I’m sure Ladybug will be fine without him.”
She scoffed. “Why are you so sure he won’t be there? Actually, he could use cataclysm to get us out of this box, and that would be super helpful right now. Maybe, he’s out there and we can get his attention.”
“What’s the rush to get out?” Marinette gaped as another layer of flush coated her cheeks. Adrien’s own face reddened as he tried his best to recover. “I-I mean, like, I’m sure L-Ladybug will—a-and Chat Noir will take care of it.”
Chewing her bottom lip, Marinette tried to come up with a solution. How could they get out? Chat Noir couldn’t cleanse the akuma without her. He never broke the infected item. Her partner had always let her do it because she could cleanse the akuma quicker that way. The pair wasn’t even for certain that the item would break for him unless he used cataclysm.
She sighed. “We—We can’t wait to be rescued by Ladybug, Adrien. We have to get out of here…”
There was only one solution Marinette could come up with: transform and figure out a way to escape. She could at least call Chat on her yoyo if she transformed. He could come destroy the box if she told him where she was. Explaining why she was trapped in the jewelry box with Adrien would be a difficult task, but she could manage. This akuma wasn’t going to take care of itself.
But that would mean telling Adrien, of all people, her secret.
Adrien wasn’t a bad guy, by all means. She just didn’t want to have to entrust anyone with her secret. And she certainly didn’t want to put Adrien in any danger because of this. There was no other choice though.
She looked him square in the eyes. A fired burned in the pit of her stomach as she did so. Marinette let out a small sigh. “I’ll explain everything later. You have to promise to keep a secret.”
He cocked a brow. “What are you talking about?"
“Please, just promise.”
“I don’t understan--”
“Please,” she begged.
“Okay,” he held his hands up in defense as much as he could in the cramped space. “I promise, but please, just explain what’s going on.”
Taking in a quick breath, she chewed her lip and gazed up at him through her lashes. “I—I have to transform and call Chat Noir, so he can get us out of here. He can’t cleanse the akuma without me.”
Adrien’s eyes nearly bugged out of his head. “Are you saying you’re--?”
“Tikki, spots on,” she said as her eyes never left Adrien’s. Her transformation was bright in the box, but he only gaped at her as she gave him an awkward grin. “S-Surprise?”
“Marinette… You’re Ladybug.”
Her brows furrowed nervously under the mask. “I am. You can’t tell anyone. For you own safety? Understand.”
He sighed. “I understand, more than you know.”
“I know this is a big deal, but I have to take care of the akuma first. I’ll explain everything after it’s defeated, okay?”
Adrien said nothing, instead just gazing at her as if contemplating something. Marinette figured he was just really shocked. She knew he was a Ladybug fan from Nino. It’d probably be surprising if you found out your idol was actually the shy, awkward girl that sits behind you in class.
Wiggling on top of him, she managed to wrangle out her yoyo and began her attempt to call her partner. The dots popped up, but no answer. She groaned. “What is he doing? Where is he at?”
She felt Adrien go stiff beneath her. Glancing up at him, she saw his face scrunched up. He let out a breath. “He’s right in front of you,” he murmured almost guiltily.
Ladybug stared at him. “What?”
“I’m Chat Noir.”
Her eyes went wide. “You’re—what!? You’re Chat Noir?!”
Adrien nodded painfully. “Plagg, claws out.”
Marinette couldn’t believe her eyes when a bright green flash engulfed Adrien’s body, leaving Chat Noir in its wake. She simply gaped at him, blinking in response.
Sucking his lip between his teeth, he looked anywhere but her. Finally, he decided to shrug and go with her expression from earlier. “Surprise?”
All her wits rushed into her at once, and instantly, she was a blubbering mess. “You’reChatNoir. I’mLadybug. OhmyGod. We’retogetherallthetime. I’mcrime-fightingpartnerswithAdrienAgreste. Ican’tbelievethisishappening. Howisthismylife? This is not—I can’t—What?” She collected herself slightly and took a breath, but her mind began sinking into disbelief again.
“How is this even possible? You’re not anything like Chat Noir. But, I guess you are since you’re him.”
“I just can’t even believe this. How? How? Did Tikki know about this? Oh, my God. If she did, I’m going to be so mad. If she knew it was you all along--”
“My lady!” he cried.
Pausing in her mumbling, Marinette stared at him in shock. That was Adrien Agreste calling her his lady.
She was going to implode.
He placed his hands on her shoulders. “Look, I’m just as freaked out at you are, but that akuma is running ramped out there and putting who-knows how many people into jewelry boxes. We have to get out there. We’ll talk about this later, okay?”
Swallowing, she gave him a nod. “Yeah, you’re right.”
He smiled at her.