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January 1st – Sunday (12:04 am)

 

(12:04 am) My New Year’s Resolution is to make Gabriel Agreste cry.

(12:06 am) Alright, I’m happy for you, I guess?

(12:11 am) You should be! You’re the one who told me to stick it back to him!

(12:14 am) …I might have said that. That does sound like something I’d say. Can I ask a question though?

(12:16 am) How I’m gonna do it?

(12:17 am) No. Who are you?

(12:18 am) How drunk are you, Alya?!

(12:19 am) Not drunk enough if I can remember that my name is, in fact, not Alya.

(12:23 am) …so I think I got the wrong number. I’m really sorry to bother you. Have a good night.

(12:30 am) But I really do want to know how you plan to make Gabriel Agreste cry sometime.

(12:41 am) Goodnight, wrong number.

(12:43 am) I’m serious.

(12:57 am) So am I.

 

*

 

January 1st – Sunday (1:14 pm)

 

(1:14 pm) So you never told me how you planned to make Gabriel Agreste cry.

(1:20 pm) Oh my god, how drunk was I last night?!

(1:22 pm) They live.

(1:23 pm) Barely.

(1:24 pm) How do I know you again?

(1:24 pm) I don’t think you do? I’m Wrong Number. You were texting me your New Year’s Resolution earlier.

(1:25 pm) …I’m too hungover to deal with this right now.

(1:26 pm) Well whose fault is that?

(1:40 pm) …Hello?

(2:01 pm) Well this was fun.

 

 

(3:17 pm) I'm so sorry. I fell asleep. Just wanted to say I’m sorry for bothering you!

(3:20 pm) Don’t sweat it. Still hungover?

(3:22 pm) Sadly.

(3:23 pm) Well I’m perfectly sober, and still eager to know how you’re going to make the infamous Gabriel Agreste cry.

(3:30 pm) You’re too chipper for this time of morning.

(3:31 pm) Actually, it’s afternoon, and I’m bored. Bored and curious are a very dangerous combination.

(3:33 pm) You know what they say. Curiosity killed the cat.

(3:34 pm) And satisfaction brought it back.

(3:36 pm) Touché, Wrong Number.

(3:38 pm) I know my cat puns. Don’t mess with me.

(3:40 pm) Do you like cats?

(3:41 pm) I’ve got a black cat named Plagg. My socks have paw prints on them.

(3:43 pm) Mine have ladybugs.

(3:44 pm) Good for you, Ladybug.

(3:45 pm) Ladybug???

(3:46 pm) Well I need something to call you, don’t I?

(3:48 pm) I don’t think you need to call me anything. I don’t know you? 

(3:50 pm) And yet you keep texting me back.

(3:51 pm) YOU started this!

(3:52 pm) If you’ll check your message history, my dear Ladybug, you’ll discover that YOU were the one who started texting ME. If anyone should be screaming Stranger Danger, it should be me. 

(3:54 pm) And yet you’re not.

(3:54 pm) Like I said, I’m a curious cat.

(3:55 pm) So is that your name?

(3:55 pm) My name?

(3:56 pm) Your name, Curious Cat. Whatever you want me to call you.

(3:58 pm) Curious Cat doesn’t roll off the tongue like Ladybug does.

(3:59 pm) So what does? 

(4:00 pm) Chat Noir. You can call me Chat Noir.

(4:01 pm) Well then, Chat Noir. It’s nice to meet you.

(4:03 pm) Same to you, my Lady.

(4:05 pm) Oh you’re quite the jokester, aren’t you?

(4:06 pm) It’s like you already know me.

(4:08 pm) And maybe not. Anyway, it was nice to meet you, Chat Noir. Sorry for bothering you again.

(4:08 pm) No bother at all, Ladybug.

(4:09 pm) Have a great day then? 

(4:10 pm) Until next time, my Lady.

(4:11 pm) There’s not gonna be a next time.

(4:12 pm) We’ll see. Someday you’re gonna tell me how you plan to make Gabriel Agreste cry.

(4:14 pm) Why do you even care? 

(4:17 pm) I know it doesn’t make sense, but believe me. I have a reason to be invested in this.

(4:19 pm) Goodbye, Chat Noir.

(4:20 pm) See ya, Ladybug.

 

*

 

January 5th—Thursday (11:12 am)

 

(11:12 am) Okay hypothetically, how would YOU make your boss cry?

(11:12 am) I ask for purely research purposes.

(11:16 am) Hello, Wrong Number.

(11:17 am) Hi, so how would I do this?

(11:19 am) What’s going on again?

(11:19 am) Remember how I was gonna make Gabriel Agreste cry?

(11:20 am) No, because if I remember, you refused to tell me your plans. 

(11:21 am) Well… then you should’ve asked!

(11:22 am) I did.

(11:22 am) Many times.

(11:24 am) Okay, well, okay that’s not the point! I didn’t text you to listen to you complain.

(11:25 am) Why are you texting me?

(11:27 am) He made another designer cry.

(11:28 am) Gabriel Agreste?

(11:29 am) Yes. Keep up. 

(11:29 am) So he made another designer cry. Okay, got it.

(11:31 am) So anyway, I’m really tired of him being so harsh all the time. I get that he’s the boss and what he says goes, but he’s completely tearing these people down when they’ve got some really good ideas. I wish he’d just listen to them for one second.

(11:33 am) Sounds like you don’t agree with his opinions.

(11:34 am) Right.

(11:34 am) But isn’t he a professional?

(11:37 am) I’m not saying that he doesn’t know his stuff. He’s one of the best fashion designers in the world, and it’s a miracle I got to come on his team anyway, but that doesn’t make it right.

(11:39 am) The fashion industry is tough.

(11:40 am) You sound like you know it. You work in fashion?

(11:41 am) No, but I’m pretty familiar with it. 

(11:43 am) Oh. 

(11:45 am) What about you?

(11:45 am) What about me?

(11:46 am) Do you work in fashion?

(11:47 am) Something like that. 

(11:48 am) Are you always going to be so mysterious, Ladybug?

(11:49 am) Takes one to know one, Chat Noir. ;)

(11:51 am) ....An emoji? We’ve graduated to emojis. That’s good to know.

(11:53 am) What? You don’t like emojis?

(11:54 am) Emojis are like Level 3 Friendship.

(11:55 am) I see.

(11:56 am) I’m just saying, we’re Level 2 at best.

(11:57 am) You mean strangers.

(11:59 am) Well… I wouldn’t go that far.

(12:03 pm) You're right though. We are strangers. We don’t know each other.

(12:05 pm) I mean you could a serial killer for all I know.

(12:07 pm) Now that you mention it… 

(12:08 pm) Maybe you ARE a serial killer and plan to make Gabriel Agreste cry through a slow, painful death?

(12:10 pm) Now there’s an idea.

(12:12 pm) …Please don’t.

(12:13 pm) Thanks, Chat Noir.

(12:14 pm) …Anytime, Ladybug.

 

*

 

January 5th—Thursday (12:15 pm)

 

(12:15 pm) NINO. Okay, hypothetically, how do I tell my dad I might have sent a serial killer after him?

(12:23 pm) Do I even wanna know, dude?

(12:24 pm) Probably not.

(12:28 pm) Good luck.

(12:31 pm) I’m gonna need it.

 

*

January 6th—Friday (9:02 pm)

 

(9:02 pm) Thanks for the idea, but I’m happy to say that I won’t be killing Gabriel Agreste anytime soon.

(9:07 pm) Found another way to make him cry?

(9:09 pm) He didn’t cry, but it was close.

(9:10 pm) What did you do?!

(9:12 pm) We were going over some new designs, and I told him his stitch was off.

(9:14 pm) I’m surprised you didn’t get fired. 

(9:14 pm) Lemme tell you, so was I. 

(9:16 pm) But obviously you weren’t.

(9:17 pm) I wasn’t. 

(9:18 pm) So… what happened?

(9:22 pm) He got really quiet and told me it was meant to be that way. He stared at it for a little bit and then went over and whispered to his assistant Nathalie to schedule a meeting with his seamstress. Then he dismissed me. 

(9:25 pm) That sounds about right.

(9:29 pm) And then he called me back to his office later and offered me a job.

(9:29 pm) I… what? 

(9:30 pm) Yeah. 

(9:31 pm) Gabriel Agreste offered YOU a job?

(9:33 pm) Well you don’t have to sound so surprised. 

(9:35 pm) No! No! No! I just meant…

(9:36 pm) I meant congratulations.

(9:39 pm) Thanks, Chat Noir.

(9:41 pm) Well did you accept it?

(9:42 pm) I’m only an intern right now.

(9:44 pm) So?

(9:47 pm) I don’t know.

(9:48 pm) Look I’m not gonna call you stupid for not taking it right away.

(9:49 pm) This is a big decision! 

(9:49 pm) Gabriel Agreste doesn’t just offer jobs to people. It doesn’t happen.

(9:50 pm) So? 

(9:52 pm) I’m just saying, if you get a chance, take it.

(9:53 pm) …Hmm.

(9:55 pm) Whatever you decide, good job with Gabriel, I guess.

(9:56 pm) Thanks.

(9:58 pm) Anytime, Ladybug.

 

 

(11:02 pm) You know, it’s funny.

(11:03 pm) What is?

(11:06 pm) A week ago, I drunk dialed the wrong number. And now I’ve got a job offer from one of the most prestigious fashion designers in Paris, maybe even the whole world, my boss made ME cry today, and my drunk dial turned out to be the best thing that happened to me this week.

(11:08 pm) Does this mean we’re Level 2 friends now?

(11:09 pm) How about just acquaintances for now? You could still be a serial killer for all I know.

(11:10 pm) I’ll take it. ;) 

(11:12 pm) …Thanks, Chat Noir.

(11:14 pm) Anytime, Ladybug, anytime.

(11:17 pm) I’m heading to bed. Talk to you later?

(11:18 pm) Sounds like a plan.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

January 9th—Monday (6:32 pm)

 

(6:32 pm) My first day went well.

(6:38 pm) I was actually wondering about that today!

(6:40 pm) Nothing better to do?

(6:41 pm) Don’t you know, Ladybug? I live vigorously through you.

(6:43 pm) So how was it working for the tyrannical Gabriel Agreste?

(6:45 pm) I never said he was a tyrant.

(6:47 pm) Some things you don’t need to say.

(7:02 pm) I still don’t know why I’m texting you.

(7:10 pm) Generally it’s to talk to someone.

(7:11 pm) I don’t even know you though.

(7:12 pm) Then why do you keep replying?

(7:12 pm) ….

(7:14 pm) There’s just something about you, Chat Noir.

(7:15 pm) It’s probably dashing good looks and charming personality.

(7:17 pm) You wish.

(7:18 pm) I do. Very much.

(7:19 pm) What do you even look like?

(7:23 pm) You wanna swap details?

(7:24 pm) I guess?

(7:25 pm) Seeing as how we already swapped digits, might as well swap other details too.

(7:28 pm) Cool.

(7:31 pm) Am I going first?

(7:33 pm) Black.

(7:35 pm) Noir, actually, but okay?

(7:39 pm) No, I have black hair.

(7:40 pm) I’m blonde.

(7:41 pm) I don’t think you’re that stupid.

(7:42 pm) Okay, rude!

(7:42 pm) I call them like I see them.

(7:45 pm) Before you can insult me again: I’ve got blonde hair, green eyes, and I’m tall.

(7:47 pm) Black hair, blue eyes, and I’m tall.

(7:48 pm) Boy.

(7:49 pm) Girl actually.

(7:49 pm) No, I mean I’m a boy.

(7:52 pm) You’re not good with this are you?

(7:53 pm) With what?

(7:53 pm) Talking.

(7:55 pm) Contrary to popular belief, most people can’t get me to shut up.

(7:57 pm) I didn’t say you couldn’t talk! I just meant you do it awkwardly.

(7:58 pm) I don’t believe that. You thought I was Ariel. Admit it.

(8:01 pm) Do I think I accidentally texted a ginger mermaid under the ocean? Yes, I do. You caught me. I can’t believe I’ve been found out.

(8:03 pm) You’re just jealous of my mermaid gown.

(8:04 pm) Did you just make a pun?

(8:05 pm) No.

(8:05 pm) Yes! That was a pun.

(8:07 pm) I’m leaving now.

(8:07 pm) There’s nofin wrong with puns!

(8:09 pm) Goodbye, Ladybug.

(8:10 pm) Sea you around, Chat Noir!

 

*

 

January 11th—Wednesday (6:04 am)

 

(6:04 am) Now cat puns are different matter.

(6:10 am) I can do cat puns all day, every day.

(6:32 am) Are you seriously texting me this early in the morning?

(7:03 am) Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty.

(7:07 am) Learn to use a clock.

(7:10 am) You know you love it, Princess.

(7:10 am) Now about those cat puns.

 

 

(11:11 am) Make a wish.

(11:13 am) Damn. Missed my chance.

(11:13 am) What’d you wish for?

(11:15 am) Gabriel Agreste’s death.

(11:16 am) Are we really on this again?

(11:21 am) Why are you complaining? You’re the one who suggested it!

(11:24 am) I’ll admit, not my brightest moment.

(11:25 am) But what did he do now?

(11:29 am) It’s stupid.

(11:30 am) I’m sure it’s not stupid, Ladybug.

(11:33 am) I thought now that I worked for him as a designer, he might treat me with more respect. I don’t know, I guess I just expected more.

(11:35 am) Gabriel Agreste isn’t known for treating people fairly. Take whatever respect he DOES give you.

(11:37 am) Welcome to the Parisian fashion industry.

(11:39 am) You live in Paris then?

(11:40 am) Oh? I thought it was obvious. We have the same area code.

(11:42 am) Yeah, I’m from Paris too. I didn’t want to assume.

(11:44 am) So yeah. Paris. Born and raised.

(11:46 am) Pretty much the same. I was in Milan for a little while for work, and then I went to London for school.

(11:48 am) So you’re well-traveled then?

(11:50 am) A little. I’ve been to China too.

(11:51 am) Oh yeah? What part?

(11:52 am) Shanghai. Beautiful place.

(11:54 am) I’ve been there before. I loved it.

(11:55 am) Same.

(12:03 pm) Back to work.

(12:04 pm) Good luck, Ladybug.

(12:04 pm) I’m gonna need all the luck I can get.

 

*

 

January 13th—Friday (2:23 pm)

 

(2:23 pm) Can I ask you something?

(2:31 pm) Am I in trouble?

(2:33 pm) Why do you think you’re in trouble?

(2:34 pm) Cause it’s been that type of day.

(2:36 pm) Bad day I take it?

(2:38 pm) It’s fine. Just work and school issues.

(2:41 pm) Schedule conflict?

(2:43 pm) More like family conflict. I work for my dad, but my classes conflict with my work schedule. He’s not a fan of that.

(2:45 pm) How old are you?

(2:47 pm) 22.

(2:49 pm) Oh god, you’re like 30-something, aren’t you?

(2:50 pm) No.

(2:50 pm) I’m 22 too.

(2:53 pm) …Aaanndd now I’m getting those serial killer vibes again.

(2:55 pm) Chat Noir!

(2:55 pm) What?! I’m just calling it like I see it!

(2:56 pm) And you think I’m a serial killer?

(2:58 pm) Come on, Ladybug! What’re the chances that two 22-year-old Parisians meet each other over the phone and become pen pals?

(2:59 pm) Pen pals?

(3:02 pm) Well, it’s true. You write, and I write. Even though we don’t know each other.

(3:03 pm) I mean we kinda do now.

(3:04 pm) You’re Chat Noir, 22, living in Paris, goes to school (for something? You never told me what for?), works with your dad, and knows a lot about fashion.

(3:07 pm) It’s physics, and what makes you think I know a lot about fashion?

(3:09 pm) Well you sure know a lot about Gabriel Agreste? It’s not exactly a leap.

(3:10 pm) Touché, bugaboo.

(3:11 pm) Bugaboo?

(3:12 pm) Ladybug was getting too long.

(3:13 pm)…. You’re a weird one.

(3:14 pm) Don’t deny it. You love it.

(3:14 pm) You are so…

(3:15 pm) Irresistibly charming?

(3:18 pm) I wouldn’t go that far.

(3:19 pm) Rude.

(3:20 pm) Don’t embarrass yourself, Chat Noir.

(3:24 pm) So what did you want to ask me?

(3:25 pm) Hmm?

(3:27 pm) You said you wanted to ask me something.

(3:28 pm) Oh.

(3:28 pm) It’s not important.

(3:30 pm) Okay.

 

*

 

January 13th—Friday (4:10 pm)

 

(4:10 pm) Have you ever tried online dating? But without the dating?

(4:14 pm) Yes to the dating. Don’t do it, dude.

(4:15 pm) That bad?

(4:18 pm) Girls and guys will say and do anything.

(4:20 pm) Dually noted.

(4:21 pm) Good. But what’s this about online not-dating?

(4:24 pm) Adrien?

(4:30 pm) We still on for our guys night tomorrow?

(4:43 pm) Adrien?

(5:05 pm) Come on, man. What’d you get into this time?

 

*

 

January 14th—Saturday (7:21 am)

 

(7:21 am) Why is no one at the park at 7 in the morning?

(7:25 am) Why are you up at 7 in the morning?

(7:27 am) Why aren’t you?

(7:28 am) Because normal people are sleeping on Saturday mornings.

(7:29 am) Now why would you do a thing like that?

(7:30 am) Because it’s Saturday, Chat Noir!

(7:31 am) Sounds like a you problem.

(7:34 am) Why are in the park at 7 in the morning?

(7:35 am) I like to jog.

(7:36 am) Can’t you jog at home? On like a treadmill or something?

(7:37 am) I fell off of those once and almost died. Never again. #BanTreadmills2k23

(7:40 am) What the fuck?

(7:42 am) Language, Ladybug!

(7:44 am) Why can’t you just go back to sleep and lecture me later like a normal person?

(7:45 am) Let’s be honest here. Do I strike you as someone normal?

(7:47 am) Touché.

(7:48 am) If you’ll excuse me though, I’m going back to bed.

(7:49 am) But the sun is calling you, Bug!

(7:55 am) Ladybug?

(8:03 am) Not a morning person. Got it.

(8:06 am) But seriously. I had a reason for texting you. Jogging in the morning is a great stress reliever. I know work’s getting you down, so jogging might help. You should look into it.

(8:08 am) Or not. Just a thought.

(8:57 am) I’ll think about it.

(9:02 am) Does this mean I win?

(9:03 am) Goodbye, Chat Noir.

(9:06 am) Good morning to you, Ladybug.

 

*

 

January 14th—Saturday (12:30 pm)

 

(12:30 pm) Do you believe in serendipity

(12:33 pm) What?

(12:36 pm) You know, serendipity.

(12:37 pm) No, I know what it is. I dunno what you mean though.

(12:40 pm) Nothing, I just…

(12:41 pm) What?

(12:44 pm) It’s just funny how something falls into your lap at the right time, especially when you didn’t know you needed it until now.

(12:49 pm) Are you okay, girl?

(12:52 pm) I’m fine, Alya.

Chapter Text

January 16th—Monday (1:23 pm)

 

(1:23 pm) I can wax poetry about how much I hate Mondays.

(1:25 pm) That bad?

(1:26 pm) I swear, I was born with bad luck. Do you know how much has gone wrong today?

(1:29 pm) Oh bug, come on. It can’t be that bad.

(1:33 pm) I was up early for work to catch my train, but I ended up spilling orange juice all over my outfit, and guess who decided to wear a white blouse? So I had to change, and of course, I was late for my train, so I had to wait for the next one. I get to work late just as Gabriel A-fucking-greste walks out of my office and demands to know why I’m late and how he expected better from me. He advised me that if I wanted to keep my job to do it right.

(1:35 pm) So it’s all because of the orange juice?

(1:37 pm) I mean I hate oranges, so I’m cool with blaming them.

(1:42 pm) Like nothing rhymes with them, and there aren’t a lot of good puns. I’ve come to the conclusion that oranges are fucking useless.

(1:43 pm) Got that right.

(1:45 pm) So… anything else happen today to add to the overall shitty review?

(1:47 pm) My boss basically told me to get my act together if I want to keep my job. The one I just got, mind you.

(1:48 pm) Is this still related to the orangapocylpse or in addition too?

(1:50 pm) Still related too.

(1:51 pm) Orangapocylpse? Really? That’s what you’re going with?

(1:53 pm) Hey, I told you oranges were hard!

(1:54 pm) Okay.

(1:56 pm) You gonna be okay, Ladybug?

(1:58 pm) It’s a challenge, but yeah.

(2:00 pm) Good. I like my ladybugs sunny-side up.

(2:03 pm) … you cook ladybugs?

(2:04 pm) No! No! I just meant I like it when you’re happy!

(2:04 pm) I was right.

(2:05 pm) You are bad at talking.

(2:07 pm) You’ve never even heard me speak! You have no right to judge.

(2:10 pm) Texting doesn’t count?

(2:11 pm) Not by a long shot. Just you wait, Ladybug. One of these days I’m going to actually call you up, and you’ll find that you can’t get enough of my voice.

(2:13 pm) I’ll hold you to that, Chat Noir.

(2:15 pm) I should probably get back to work. Last thing I need is Gabriel Agreste finding me texting when I should be looking over fabrics.

(2:16 pm) Have fun, bug.

(2:18 pm) Chat Noir.

(2:18 pm) Hm?

(2:19 pm) Just… thanks.

(2:21 pm) What for?

(2:22 pm) For being you.

(2:22 pm) It’s what I’m here for.

 

*

 

January 19th—Thursday (5:13 am)

 

(5:13 am) You’re right.

(5:13 am) Jogging is a great stress reliever.

(5:18 am) You’re probably sleeping, or ready to kill me for waking you up so early. But consider this payback for all the times you text me before noon on days I’m supposed to be able to sleep in.

(5:21 am) Also, there’s a lot more people than I expected to be in the park at 5 AM.

(5:42 am) Alright, just got home from my first jog. I think I might actually start doing this regularly. This was fun.

(6:02 am) Are you even human?

(6:03 am) Payback is sweet, isn’t it?

(6:05 am) I’m laying ground rules right now. No texting before 6 AM.

(6:08 am) On weekdays.

(6:09 am) Weekends are fair game.

(6:11 am) If you text me at 6 AM on a Saturday, Chat Noir, I will murder you.

(6:14 am) You just love to keep fueling that serial killer theory, don’t you?

(6:15 am) Chat Noir.

(6:18 am) Yes, my Lady?

(6:20 am) Stop while you’re ahead.

(6:21 am) You ask too much.

 

 

(9:12 am) Jogging at 9 AM isn’t too bad either.

(9:27 am) Don’t you have work??

(9:30 am) I have classes on Tuesday and Thursday at 11 AM. Makes things easier.

(9:34 am) I’m so happy to have college behind me. I don’t think I could handle even more schooling.

(9:36 am) Well I’m just a part-time student, so it’s taking longer to get my degree than I thought it would.

(9:37 am) …That would explain it.

(9:38 am) Part-time is like 6 credit hours right?

(9:39 am) Something like that. Depends what classes I do.

(9:40 am) Physics classes look tough. I don’t even know what these classes mean.

(9:42 am) Ladybug… are you googling physics majors?

(9:45 am) I’m bored.

(9:46 am) You got me invested.

(9:46 am) So how long do you still have to go?

(9:49 am) I’m hoping to graduate in December actually. But that’s if I can get my father to let me go full-time and finish up my coursework.

(9:51 am) Is it really up to him?

(9:53 am) I work for him, and he pays for my school. So yeah, in a way.

(9:55 am) I’m sorry.

(9:56) Don’t be. I’ve dealt with this all my life, and I don’t expect it to change now.

(9:57 am) Well feel free to bother me in my inbox whenever you need too.

(9:59 am) Be careful what you offer, Ladybug. You might regret it someday.

(10:02 am) We’ll see, Chat Noir.

 

*

 

January 20th—Friday (3:02 pm)

 

(3:02 pm) Is it supposed to rain today?

(3:04 pm) I don’t know? Ask the weather.

(3:05 pm) I forgot my umbrella.

(3:06 pm) So I just looked outside and asked the weather what it felt like today. It’s pouring, so I think it's sad.

(3:09 pm) Again, I forgot my umbrella.

(3:10 pm) Just wait it out.

(3:13 pm) I have a meeting with my father that I can’t miss. I have to run 10 blocks through this rain.

(3:16 pm) When’s your meeting?

(3:17 pm) 4.

(3:18 pm) If I could just summon an umbrella for you, I would.

(3:19 pm) I appreciate the sentiment, bug.

(3:20 pm) Remember when you said you thought you were born with bad luck?

(3:22 pm) Yeah?

(3:26 pm) I’m pretty sure I’m the embodiment of it. My girlfriend broke up with me this morning, my class had a pop quiz that I wasn’t ready for, it’s raining and I forgot my umbrella, and now my hair is wet.

(3:27 pm) You have a girlfriend?

(3:28 pm) Had.

(3:30 pm)… Do you wanna talk about it?

(3:31 pm) Not really.

(3:32 pm) Okay then.

(3:34 pm) Have you left wherever you’re waiting yet?

(3:36 pm) Yeah. I’m standing under a bus stop for shelter. It’s pouring harder, and a car just drove by.

(3:38 pm) Cars usually do that. Drive.

(3:41 pm) Picture this. Sad man without an umbrella walking down the street. It’s already pouring. He’s already soaked. He’s the picture-perfect image of misery and hopelessness.

(3:42 pm) Okay… I’m picturing… and trying not to laugh.

(3:44 pm) So he’s standing on the corner, waiting to cross the street. And a car drives by through a puddle and soaks him to the bone.

(3:45 pm) Oh my god.

(3:45 pm) I know. It’s awful.

(3:46 pm) No, that’s fucking hilarious.

(3:47 pm) Ladybug!

(3:53 pm) Sorry, there was some commotion. Anyway, I’m just calling it like I see it! If it’s any consolation, this guy just walked past me, and he’s soaking wet. Like he looks like a drowned cat.

(3:54 pm) I understand his pain.

(3:55 pm) Now I can’t stop picturing you as a drowned cat standing on a street corner, Chat Noir.

(3:57 pm) Ten minutes ago you wouldn’t have been wrong. Alright, I’m heading in for my father’s appointment. Talk to you later, Ladybug.

(3:58 pm) Good luck.

(3:59 pm) I already got some. Ladybugs are supposed to be good luck, you know.

 

*

 

January 21st—Saturday (9:17 am)

 

(9:17 am) Hey, I forgot to ask. How’d the meeting with your dad go?

(9:20 am) It went.

(9:22 am)… Good went?

(9:24 am) It could have been worse.

(9:25 am) In other words, I’ll take it.

(9:27 am) Congratulations then?

(9:31 am) I’ll take that too.

(9:35 am) Right now, we need to start figuring out a way to place umbrellas at strategic points in Paris. You never know when people might need them.

(9:37 am) You’re so weird.

(9:40 am) I try my best.

 

 

(5:23 pm) I was googling, and I found the perfect umbrella for you.

(5:23 pm) 

(5:37 pm) That’s funny, bug.

(5:37 pm) I found one for you too.

(5:37 pm)

(5:42 pm) Oh my god, that’s horrifying.

(5:43 pm) You love it though.

(5:45 pm) It did make me smile. I’ll admit that.

(5:47 pm) I’ll take it.

(5:53 pm) Thanks for checking up on me, Ladybug.

(5:55 pm) What're friends for, Chat Noir?

Chapter Text


January 22nd—Sunday (8:14 am)

 

(8:14 am) So who were you texting last night?

(8:15 am) I wasn’t texting anyone? I was with you?

(8:17 am) I meant at dinner.

(8:18 am) Oh.

(8:18 am) No one.

(8:20 am) No one had you googling cat umbrellas in the middle of dinner at your favorite restaurant? And smiling like a lunatic?

(8:21 am) It’s just this guy I met.

(8:22 am) Girl, you better spill the deets. Tell me everything! 

(8:23 am) It’s no one important! Just a guy. We’ve been texting for a couple weeks.

(8:24 am) I haven’t seen you smile like that in a long time. He must be something special.

(8:26 am) No. He’s not.

(8:28 am) What’s his name?

(8:29 am) No.

(8:31 am) Where’d you meet him?

(8:32 am) No.

(8:35 am) Marinette, please! I don’t get the pleasure of being single anymore. I need to live vicariously through you!

(8:37 am) You have a boyfriend! You don’t need to enjoy being single! You’ve reached my unattainable happiness.

(8:38 am) And he’s not my boyfriend. Or a possible boyfriend. He’s just a guy. I don’t even know him that well.

(8:40 am) Yeah… I’m calling bullshit.

(8:40 am) Are you secretly dating someone?

(8:40 am) A coworker?

(8:41 am) Your boss’s son?

(8:42 am) The guy who works at the front desk of your parents’ bakery? The girl from the café downtown? Alix? Kim?

(8:44 am) Okay, ew, he’s like 16. The girl is like 37. Alix: tried, didn’t work. And you really think I’d be dating Kim?

(8:45 am) Maybe?? Can’t deny he’s one fine piece.

(8:46 am) Alya!

(8:46 am) What??

(8:47 am) You have a boyfriend.

(8:48 am) People in committed relationships still have eyes, Mari.

(8:50 am) Besides. Kim has a boyfriend. He’s dating Max from collége.

(8:51 am) No kidding? Good for him.

(8:51 am) But seriously then. Who’re you texting?

(8:53 am) A guy I met on New Year’s.

(8:54 am) You slept with him.

(8:54 am) NO.

(8:55 am) Do you like him?

(8:55 am) He's cool.

(8:55 am) Can we leave it at that?

(8:56 am) Fine.

(8:56 am) Wanna go get some breakfast?

(9:02 am) See ya in 10.

 

*

 

January 22nd—Sunday (10:11 am)

 

(10:11 am) I’m bored.

(10:14 am) Hi, bored. I’m Nino.

(10:16 am) Dad jokes? Really?

(10:16 am) Wait.

(10:17 am) Oh my god. Is your girlfriend pregnant? Are you gonna be a dad?

(10:17 am) AM I GONNA BE AN UNCLE?!

(10:19 am) What? No, dude.

(10:19 am) Just… no.

(10:20 am) Anyway, bored. Wanna come over and binge Harry Potter? I got those shakes you like.

(10:22 am) Mind-numbing adventures of a Harry Potter marathon and cracking a cold one with my boy.

(10:24 am) That meme is old. Even for you.

(10:25 am) Sounds like a plan. Be there in 10.

 

 

*

 

January 22nd—Sunday (4:23 pm)

 

(4:23 pm) So I’m halfway through a Harry Potter movie marathon.

(4:24 pm) Actually I’m not sure what to consider halfway. I think I’m on the third movie?

(4:27 pm) Google says you need to learn the definition of half of 8.

(4:28 pm) Also Google says the whole series is like 19-20 hours.

(4:29 pm) Well tell Google that it can shut the fuck up. No one asked for its opinion anyway.

(4:30 pm) So how long have you been at it?

(4:31 pm) About six hours.

(4:31 pm) I forgot how long these movies are.

(4:34 pm) I wouldn’t know. I’ve never seen them.

(4:35 pm) What the cheese?!

(4:35 pm) You’re joking, right?!

(4:36 pm) I’m really not.

(4:38 pm) Ladybug, please don’t take this the wrong way.

(4:38 pm) I probably will, but go ahead.

(4:38 pm) I’m judging you so hard right now.

(4:39 pm) …How can I possibly take that any other way?

(4:40 pm) How could you have NEVER seen the Harry Potter movies?

(4:42 pm) Don’t get me wrong! I read the books. I just really don’t care for the movies.

(4:42 pm) Why?

(4:44 pm) Because the books make the magic come alive? I don’t know. I’m weird, don’t listen to me.

(4:46 pm) Okay, like I feel you on a spiritual level? Like the books were amazing? But the movies, you get to literally SEE the magic come alive, Ladybug. Like with your actual EYEBALLS.

(4:48 pm) I know. I just… I dunno. I’ve never really been interested in seeing them?

(4:49 pm) This text-friendship is over.

(4:49 pm) It was nice to meet you. It’s been swell.

(4:49 pm) I wish you the best in all your endeavors. Goodbye forever.

(4:51 pm) Are you always this dramatic, kitty?

(4:52 pm) Kitty?

(4:53 pm) Well… you call me bugaboo!

(4:54 pm) Yeah? So?

(4:54 pm) So?

(4:54 pm) I mean, you need a nickname too!

(4:55 pm) And of all the glorious things you could have called me, you go with “kitty”.

(4:56 pm) Just… no. That’s what my girlfriend calls my cat.

(4:56 pm) Ex.

(4:58 pm) …Still not used to it?

(5:00 pm) Not really. We were together for two years. Hard to kind of get over.

(5:01 pm) You must’ve really liked her.

(5:02 pm) Yeah.

(5:03 pm) Sorry.

(5:05 pm) Yeah.

 

 

(7:18 pm) So what kind of cat do you have?

(7:23 pm) A black cat. I don’t know breed or anything.

(7:24 pm) Do you have any pets?

(7:26 pm) I’ve got a ragdoll named Tikki.

(7:28 pm) Sounds cool?

(7:29 pm) Say hi to Tikki.

(7:29 pm) 

(7:31 pm) She’s precious, and I already love her.

(7:33 pm) I know. She’s two years old and perfect.

(7:33 pm) What about your cat? Plume, right?

(7:35 pm) Plagg, actually. And he’s a dick.

(7:35 pm) Like the literal embodiment of Satan.

(7:36 pm) My friend took a picture of him once and turned him into a meme. He’s that bad.

(7:38 pm) He can’t be THAT bad.

(7:39 pm) 

(7:40 pm) I won’t lie. I’m dying over here.

(7:41 pm) That’s me. Everyday. He’s the worst, honestly.

(7:42 pm) But you love him, right?

(7:43 pm) I have too. But you don’t understand, he wants to leave, but he’s too lazy too.

(7:44 pm) Oh my god.

(7:47 pm) Like I have held the door open for him and everything, but he won’t leave. He hates me and keeps biting and scratching me, but whenever I try to let him go, he just looks at me from his couch and falls asleep.

(7:48 pm) HIS couch?

(7:49 pm) You don’t UNDERSTAND.

(7:50 pm) Oh hey, my mom is calling me. I gotta go.

(7:52 pm) Oh, okay! Have fun.

 

 

(9:32 pm) Listen. I know we’ve only known each for a couple weeks, but if you ever need to talk about something or just vent, I’m here, okay? Whatever we have here, like this weird pen pal thing, just know we can talk about anything here. Like I won’t judge you or anything.

(9:37 pm) I’ve got to head to bed. It’s been a long day. But have a good night, Chat Noir!

 

 

(9:59 pm) Her name was Lila.

  

*

January 23rd—Monday (12:05 pm)

 

(12:05 pm) So I wanted to text you at midnight, but I thought that’d trigger your serial killer instincts. So I resisted.

(12:08 pm) Why would you text me at midnight?

(12:09 pm) To wish you a happy anniversary, bug!

(12:09 pm) Anniversary?

(12:10 pm) It’s officially been over three weeks since you drunk dialed me.

(12:12 pm) …You’re right.

(12:12 pm) Yeah! :D

(12:13 pm) I would have murdered you if you texted me at midnight about that.

(12:15 pm) Romance is lost on you, isn’t it, Ladybug?

(12:16 pm) What romance? And just because I don’t keep anniversaries? I guess I just celebrate the important milestones only.

(12:17 pm) I can feel your love for me growing. And are you telling me that our anniversary isn’t important enough to warrant celebration?

(12:18 pm) Keep dreaming, Chat Noir.

(12:20 pm) I’ll try, bugaboo. Maybe someday I’ll be someone important to you. ;)

(12:22 pm) Oh my god, that was cheesy.

(12:22 pm) And stop calling me that!

(12:24 pm) Can’t stop, won’t stop. Anyway, happy Monday!

(12:31 pm) Shut up. You know Mondays are the worst. Sundays are my favorite. Rest and recovery from Saturday.

(12:33 pm) Party too hard this weekend?

(12:37 pm) I wish. Just a long week in general though. And then Gabriel kept calling me about fabric choices all day yesterday.

(12:38 pm) Sounds fun. Regret taking the job yet?

(12:42 pm) Of course not! This is what I’ve worked my whole life for. A job at Gabriel Fashion is a dream true. I can’t imagine quitting.

(12:45 pm) I just want you to be happy, bug.

(12:47 pm) You’re the one who told me to take this job remember. If anything goes wrong, I’m just blaming you.

(12:48 pm) … Yeah, that’s true. Touché.

(12:49 pm) Thank you.

(12:51 pm) Anyway, I’m sure things’ll work out eventually. If I can just survive the first month as a designer with Gabriel Agreste, I’ll already be better than half my coworkers.

(12:55 pm) That’s true too. Gabriel has like two types of workers: temps and his actual designers. He usually treats the temps like shit and either demotes them in a few weeks or drives them to quit. Honestly, as great of a designer as he is, Gabriel Fashions turnover rate is utter crap. Usually people work with desk jobs or something because a resume with Gabriel Fashions on it is good no matter what you do, but those who actually care about their self-worth leave pretty quickly. Granted not many people make it past the internships.

(12:58 pm) You know way too much about this. But… So where does this put me?

(12:59 pm) Believe me, if you’re still around, Gabriel Agreste likes you. It means he’ll put up with you. Take it all with a grain of salt, bug.

(1:01 pm) So keep on swimming with the sharks then?

(1:03 pm) That’s the spirit.

(1:04 pm) Thanks.

(1:04 pm) Oh, and Chat Noir?

(1:05 pm) Hmm?

(1:05 pm) Happy three-week-aversary.

Chapter Text

January 24th—Tuesday (11:32 pm)

 

(11:32 pm) I’m in class, and lemme tell you, I know more about gravity than I ever thought I could.

(11:34 pm) Like did you know gravity can cause health problems? Like bone loss, muscle atrophy, and fluid shifts.

(11:35 pm) Sounds like some heavy stuff.

(11:36 pm) Also gravity isn’t entirely even. Because the Earth isn’t a perfect sphere, it’s mass is distributed unevenly. And uneven mass means uneven gravity.

(11:36 pm) Wait? Did you try to make a gravity pun?

(11:37 pm) I tried.

(11:37 pm) And failed. Leave the puns to me, Ladybug.

(11:38 pm) Sounds like a plan. I’m too tired to try today.

(11:39 pm) Work got you down?

(11:43 pm) Work and life, I guess. Do you ever have those days where everyone expects you to be sunny but you just wanna be rainy?

(11:44 pm) Believe me, that’s something I understand, bug.

(11:47 pm) It’s just hard, Chat Noir. Everyone wants me to be grateful and happy to have this job and everything because working for Gabriel Agreste is the chance of a lifetime. And don’t get me wrong, I am grateful. But it’s hard to manage work when it seems like everything is going wrong and everyone is out to get me.

(11:48 pm) Welcome to the fashion industry.

(11:48 pm) I’m sorry you’re having a bad day.

(11:49 pm) Hold on.

(11:50 pm) Okay.

 

 

(12:01 pm) Hey, you know the café downstairs?

(12:01 pm) Excuse me?

(12:03 pm) You’re at Gabriel Fashion right now, right?

(12:04 pm) Yeah. What about it?

(12:05 pm) Yeah. Okay, so there’s the little café on the ground floor towards the back? It’s got the little seating area outside that overlooks the park?

(12:07 pm) …Yes?

(12:09 pm) When you have a moment, I want you to go there and tell them that you’re Ladybug.

(12:10 pm) What are you on about, Chat Noir?

(12:11 pm) Just trust me. I know the people behind the counter down there. There’s a pastry with your name on it.

 

 

(1:27 pm) How did you know that strawberry was my favorite?!

(1:32 pm) Did you like it? Those are my favorite too!

(1:35 pm) I loved it! Thank you! Just… How did you?

(1:37 pm) I told you. I know some people. And you said you were having a bad day, and trust me, anyone who works there deserves a day with a free pastry.

(1:50 pm) Okay, that’s it.

(1:51 pm) What’s it?

(1:52 pm) You’re gonna tell me how you know so much about Gabriel Fashions.

(1:53 pm) And Gabriel Agreste.

(1:53 pm) It’s seriously getting to a point that I can’t NOT ask you.

(1:56 pm) I read a lot of fashion magazines.

(1:57 pm) No, there’s a lot more than that. You know about his business, his temperament, and his workers.

(1:58 pm) I do my research, Ladybug.

(1:59 pm) No, that won’t do. There’s something else here, and you’re just not telling me.

(2:00 pm) Just who are you, Chat Noir?

(2:02 pm) That’s a secret, Ladybug.

(2:06 pm) I keep forgetting that we don’t actually know each other.

(2:06 pm) Like we talk and stuff, and it’s really cool because you seem like an awesome person.

(2:06 pm) But at the end of the day, you’re still just a stranger.

(2:09 pm) I’d like to think we’re some kind of friends.

(2:10 pm) We are.

(2:11 pm) Then can you accept that there’s some things that I just don’t want to talk about?

(2:13 pm) Like with Gabriel Agreste?

(2:14 pm) Yeah.

(2:15 pm) I didn’t mean to pry. Sorry.

(2:18 pm) Don’t be, bug. To be honest, I understand, but I can assure you that there’s nothing weird going on with me and Gabriel Agreste. Truth is I used to work with him.

(2:19 pm) Like as a designer?

(2:20 pm) Model actually.

(2:21 pm) Oh.

(2:22 pm) Oh? Oh what?

(2:23 pm) That makes sense.

(2:23 pm) Sorry I kept pressing you about it.

(2:25 pm) No problem. I can’t blame you for being cautious. Like you said, we don’t necessarily know each other.

(2:26 pm) I was worried I’d ruined it.

(2:27 pm) Our texting friendship or whatever this is.

(2:27 pm) This is something right? I’m not just imagining it.

(2:29 pm) Of course it is.

(2:30 pm) Good to know.

(2:32 pm) Hey listen, I’m gonna try to finish up this work and then I’m meeting a friend for dinner. So I’ll talk to you later.

(2:33 pm) Talk to you later, bug.

(2:35 pm) Thank you, by the way. I can’t remember if I told you that. But the pastry… meant a lot.

(2:36 pm) That was the point, Ladybug.

 

*

 

January 25th—Wednesday (5:41 pm)

 

(5:41 pm) Did you wanna catch a movie tonight at my place? My friend ditched me again because he’s making out with his homework.

(5:43 pm) Sorry, babe! I’m taking Mari out to dinner. She’s had a long day and deserves some time to just destress. Raincheck for tomorrow?

(5:44 pm) Yeah that sounds good. And yeah, I getchu. Adrien and I always have a Harry Potter movie marathon when things get pretty hard.

(5:45 pm) When did it become our jobs to babysit our best friends? This was not covered in the job interview.

(5:47 pm) Must be one of those hidden fees they don’t tell you about at the time of purchase.

(5:48 pm) Anyway, I’m gonna let you get back to babysitting then. I’ll probably just go bother Adrien anyway. He could use a break.

(5:50 pm) One of these dates we should go on a double date and drag these two along just to meet.

(5:51 pm) Like as an actual date?

(5:52 pm) No, I mean just to hang out. But I don’t think Marinette would mind going on a date with Adrien Agreste. She used to crush on him hardcore back in college.

(5:53 pm) That’d be fun! I don’t know if Adrien would go for a date though. He just broke up with his girlfriend.

(5:54 pm) Ohh… Bad break-up?

(5:55 pm) Nah, I think he saw it coming, and to be honest, we all did, but it still sucks. They were together for a long time.

(5:56 pm) Anyway, getting together sounds cool. I think they’d be good friends.

(5:57 pm) I do too! From what you’ve told me about him, Adrien seems like a great guy.

(5:58 pm) He’s the coolest dude. You’d like him.

(6:00 pm) Of course he is. He’s friends with you, and you’re the best.

(6:01 pm) Aww, babe.

(6:02 pm) Okay, heading to Mari’s apartment. I’ll call you later.

(6:03 pm) For some… us time?

(6:04 pm) ;)

 

*

January 25th—Wednesday (10:11 pm)

 

(10:11 pm) Harry didn’t deserve the way the Dursleys treated him.

(10:11 pm) Also, why didn’t they just let him go to Hogwarts? If they hated him so much, wouldn’t it be the perfect chance for them to get rid of him?

(10:12 pm) I know I’ve read the books, but the movies make things different.

(10:14 pm) Are you… watching Harry Potter?

(10:14 pm) The movie you swore you’d never touch.

(10:15 pm) Oh shut up, my friend made me.

(10:17 pm) So what do you think about them?

(10:20 pm) Ladybug?

(10:22 pm)…It’s like watching the magic come alive.

(10:23 pm) ;)

(10:24 pm) Shut up, Chat Noir.

(10:25 pm) Not saying a word, Ladybug.

 

 

(11:21 pm) How goes the movie?

(11:24 pm) The Quidditch uniforms were well-made.

(11:25 pm) Well… that’s good, I guess.

(11:26 pm) No really. I loved them. It got me thinking of layers and leather, and the next thing I know I’m sketching out a dress on a paper towel.

(11:27 pm) Why a paper towel?

(11:28 pm) Because that’s all I have.

(11:30 pm) Remarkable how much sense that makes, honestly.

(11:31 pm) Are you out of sketch paper or something?

(11:32 pm) No.

(11:33 pm) Okay.

(11:34 pm) The movie’s too good, and I’m don’t wanna leave to go find paper.

(11:35 pm) Also it’s almost midnight and I’m too lazy.

(11:36 pm) Same.

(11:36 pm) I’ll let you get back to your movie. Do tell me what you think after you finish okay? 

 

(11:37 pm) IT WAS QUIRREL.

(11:38 pm) There we go.

 

 

*

 

January 26th—Thursday (7:12 am)

 

(7:12 am) I got another person hooked on Harry Potter. She stayed up till three AM watching the first few movies.

(7:14 am) Do you own a clock?

(7:15 am) I don’t believe in clocks. Time is a human construct. It’s an illusion.

(7:16 am) Our friendship is an illusion.

(7:17 am) ..niNO.

(7:18 am) NiYES! Go the fuck to sleep.

(7:19 am) Rude.

(7:20 am) I’m blocking you.

(7:21 am) Like you have the balls.

(7:26 am) Nino?

(7:34 am) …well shit.

 

 

*

 

January 27th—Friday (9:15 am)

 

(9:15 am) How’s work? I know this week's been hard. Having a better day so far?

(9:17 am) Yeah, actually. How about yourself?

(9:18 am) As well as it could be. Actually working today, so that’s fun. I’m dead on my feet.

(9:19 am) Did you sleep?

(9:21 am) I don’t sleep well, actually. I’ve got some lowkey insomnia.

(9:22 am) That sounds rough.

(9:23 am) It is. It totally is. I basically lay in darkness for six hours and my brain won’t shut up. It was so bad last night that I even forgot breakfast, and I’m not gonna be done with work till after lunch.

(9:25 am) Hmm.

(9:26 am) Hmm? That doesn’t sound good.

(9:27 am) Hold on.

(9:27 am) Holding.

(9:27 am) Still holding.

(9:27 am) ... stilll holdinggg.

(9:27 am) Hold onto what?

(9:28 am) Oh my god, hold your tits, Chat Noir.

(9:28 am) There's a problem. I don't have those.

(9:30 am) Ladybug?

 

 

(9:33 am) Okay, look I go on lunch break in a couple hours, but have you ever heard of the Dupain-Cheng bakery?

(9:35 am) Yeah. It’s like one of the most popular bakeries in Paris. Plus, they aren’t that far from where I take my morning jogs.

(9:38 am) Okay, good. It’s my turn to be a fairy godmother. I know the person who works behind the counter, so whenever you get time off, stop there sometime today and tell them you’re Chat Noir. There’s a free pastry for you.

(9:41 am) …Seriously?

(9:42 am) Yeah. You did it for me. I gotta return the favor.

(9:45 am) You don’t need to return anything! I did that cause you were having a bad day, and you’re my friend.

(9:46 am) Same. You’re my friend, and I just want you to eat and be healthy. Besides, are you really gonna pass on a free pastry?

(9:47 am) Lemme know when you get there.

 

 

(1:22 pm) Hey, Ladybug?

(1:25 pm) Hmm?

(1:26 pm) What the fuck is this?

(1:26 pm) 

(1:27 pm) A Harry Potter cupcake.

(1:28 pm) I’m crying.

(1:30 pm) That’s point.

(1:32 pm) This made the hours of work worth it. Thank you.

(1:33 pm) No problem, Chat Noir. What’re friends for?

Chapter Text

January 27th—Friday (4:34 pm)

 

(4:34 pm) So considering I spilled about how I know Gabriel Agreste, does this mean you get to tell me how you know the guy behind the counter at the Dupain-Cheng bakery?

(4:38 pm) Hi, Chat Noir. Long time, no see. How are you? I’m fine myself. Thanks for asking.

(4:39 pm) Wow.

(4:39 pm) Manners are a thing that exist, Chat Noir.

(4:40 pm) Considering I’ve seen your baking habits and you know too much about my love for physics, I’d say we reached a point in our relationship that manners are a thing of the past.

(4:41 pm) There’s a difference between being civilized and being lazy.

(4:41 pm) Your point?

(4:42 pm) Learn it.

(4:44 pm) Whoa. Who pissed in your Cheerios this morning?

(4:45 pm) Chat Noir!

(4:46 pm) Just kidding ;) But seriously, how do you know the guy behind the counter at the bakery?

(4:47 pm) If you must know, I went to school with him.

(4:48 pm) Oh.

(4:49 pm) You sound surprised.

(4:50 pm) I was just expecting… more. That was a surprisingly anti-climatic answer.

(4:51 pm) Well what would you have liked then?!

(4:52 pm) Ex-boyfriend? Brother? Second cousin, twice-removed to a scandal or something?


(4:53 pm) 1) No, he’s gay. 2) No, I’m an only child. 3) That’s not how a family tree works.

(4:54 pm) Well that’s stupid.

(4:55 pm) Chat Noir, I mean this in the nicest way possible: you need a hobby.

(4:56 pm) Why?

(4:57 pm) Because you’re gonna hurt yourself if you think too hard about this. Hobbies will help distract you.

(4:58 pm) Fine, Ladybug. What d’you suggest?

(4:59 pm) Sports? Music? Knitting?

(5:01 pm) War flashbacks to my teenage years.

(5:02 pm) Oh my god? Did you do all those things?

(5:03 pm) My dad was really big on me doing extracurriculars. I did fencing, basketball, learned piano, and became fluent in Chinese.

(5:04 pm) I’m actually really impressed right now.

(5:05 pm) Well I am an impressive person.

(5:06 pm) Could’ve fooled me.

(5:06 pm) Hey!

(5:07 pm) I’m sorry. Did I hit a nerve?

(5:08 pm) I mean… You could’ve been nicer about it.

(5:09 pm) Anyway, how’d you keep up with all those activities and school?

(5:10 pm) I was actually homeschooled.

(5:11 pm) What?

(5:14 pm) Yeah. My dad had it in his head that school was dangerous, and the entire world was out to get me. It had to do a lot about my mom, but still. Didn’t get to go out to public school till fucking university.

(5:15 pm) Your mom?

(5:16 pm) Yeah.

(5:17 pm) Can I ask what happened? Or is this one of those things I need to be like… like a Level 9 friend for?

(5:18 pm) How about I tell you some other time? Right now I’m just really not in the mood to.

(5:19 pm) Dredge it all up again?

(5:20 pm) Something like that.

(5:24 pm) Listen, I’m getting ready to head home, so I’ll talk to later, okay?

(5:25 pm) Got a hot date tonight?

(5:26 pm) So what? What’s it to you?

(5:27 pm) Ohhh, what’s their name?

(5:29 pm) If you must know, I’m going to visit my parents.

(5:30 pm) Oh.

(5:31 pm) Goodbye, Chat Noir.

(5:38 pm) I’ll be seeing you, bug.

 

 

(6:02 pm) What’s that supposed to mean?

 

 

*

 

January 28th—Saturday (10:33 am)

 

 

(10:33 am) If I asked you a question, would you answer it honestly?

(10:41 am) That depends.

(10:42 am) On what?

(10:42 am) Are you gonna hurt me if I answer wrong?

(10:43 am) But no one’s tried to murder me in a while, so I might as well try to give my serial killer a head-start.

(10:45 am) Are we really back at that?

(10:46 am) Anyway. Go ahead.

(10:48 am) Were you in the café at Gabriel Fashions on Wednesday when I got my pastry?

(10:50 am) No.

(10:51 am) Oh.

(10:52 am) Oh?

(10:52 am) Yeah, oh.

(10:53 am) …Is that a good “oh”?

(10:54 am) It’s just an “oh”.

(10:55 am) Did you think I was there?

(10:55 am) I don’t know.

(10:56 am) Did you want me there?

(10:56 am) I don’t know.

(10:57 am) Were you at the bakery?

(10:57 am) No.

(10:58 am) Then that’s that.

(10:59 am) I guess it is.

(10:59 am) Sorry. I didn’t mean to sound ominous or anything. I was just curious.

(11:00 am) I understand.

(11:01 am) Is this weird? What we’re doing?

(11:02 am) …Texting? Because honestly, I think that’s something some other people do. Just a few. You know? Maybe like… three.

(11:04 am) I meant text each other.

(11:05 am) I… Who else would people text? Themselves? Isn’t that like… electronic masturbation?

(11:06 am) CHAT NOIR. NO.

(11:07 am) Then you’ll have to be more specific, Ladybug.

(11:08 am) Is it weird to text a wrong number? And then… keep texting them?

(11:10 am) I wouldn’t say this is exactly normal. But I wouldn’t call it weird. People talk online all the time without knowing who the other person is. People do online dating before they meet? And chatrooms and Tindr are a thing.

(11:12 am) I guess texting is just a weird platform to meet people with.

(11:13 am) There’s nothing weird about it, Ladybug. Just different.

(11:14 am) I just feel weird.

(11:15 am) What about?

(11:16 am) If I’m gonna be honest…

(11:17 am) Please.

(11:18 am) There’s just something about you, Chat Noir, that makes me feel like I’ve known you years.

(11:19 am) Wow.

(11:20 am) Too weird?

(11:21 am) No, actually. I sort of feel the same way.

(11:21 am) Yeah?

(11:22 am) You’re easy to talk to. And fun. And caring. Like? You don’t meet many people like that anymore.

(11:23 am) Yeah, that’s how it is for me. For someone who loves puns and Harry Potter, you’re surprisingly easy to talk to.

(11:24 am) For it’s worth, Chat Noir, I’m glad I met you. I’m glad we’re friends.

(11:25 am) Same to you, bug.

 

*

 

January 29th—Sunday (11:02 am)

 

(11:02 am) Happy anniversary, Ladybug! It’s officially been one month since we started talking!

(11:05 am) A month already?

(11:06 am) Well don’t jump out of your chair with excitement.

(11:07 am) Don’t worry. You can’t see it, but… inside I’m screaming. Just… cannot contain my excitement.

(11:07 am) Be like Plagg.

(11:07 am)

(11:08 am) Chat Noir…

(11:09 am) Yes, my Lady?

(11:10 am) What did you do to your poor cat?

(11:11 am) He doesn’t like getting his picture taken.

(11:12 am) This is animal cruelty. Is this why your cat is a meme?

(11:13 am) You don’t uNDERSTAND. Plagg is eVIL.

(11:14 am) You’re so mean to him. I’d hate you too if you were constantly scaring me with your camera.

(11:15 am) That is not why he hates me.

(11:16 am) I think your cat is camera shy and self-conscious and you’re just making him feel worse.

(11:17 am) The pictures you share aren’t exactly the best of him. You never bother to get his good side.

(11:18 am) Oh my god.

(11:18 am) Are you siding with my cat?

(11:20 am) Sorry. Plagg has earned my love.

(11:21 am) And I haven’t?!

(11:22 am) Keep trying, Chat Noir.

 

 

 

(1:12 pm) Plagg and I are celebrating our 1-month-a-versary.

(1:12 pm) Without you.

(1:13 pm) Suuurree, you are.

(1:13 pm) 

(1:14 pm) CHAT NOIR.

(1:15 pm) What?

(1:15 pm) Stop tormenting your cat! I’m officially team Plagg. #LetPlaggBeFree2k23.

(1:16 pm) You don’t understand.

(1:17 pm) Fine. Tell me why your cat is so awful.

(1:18 pm) For one, there’s mouse traps with cheese in my apartment complex.

(1:19 pm) Yeah?

(1:20 pm) Plagg goes around and steals the cheese somehow and manages not to set off the trap. Sometimes he doesn’t though and he comes back with mouse traps clinging to his fur.

(1:22 pm) It’s official. I love your cat.

(1:24 pm) Et tu, Ladybug?

 

 

 

(1:34 pm) Wait. Did you get that pastry from the Dupain-Cheng bakery today?

(1:38 pm) Yeah? Why?

(1:40 pm) I was there.

(1:41 pm) Wait! What?

(1:42 pm) I was there! I’ve been with Kim all morning!

(1:43 pm) Wait? Who… I wasn’t paying attention! I just stopped in there after lunch! Did you see me?

(1:44 pm) I… I don’t know.

(1:45 pm) What do you mean you don’t know?

(1:46 pm) I didn’t know who to look for.

(1:47 pm) Damn it. I can’t believe this.

(1:48 pm) You okay?

(1:51 pm) No! We were in the same fucking room. We could’ve walked right past each other, or smiled at each other and never said a word. We could have made eye contact and just never recognized each other. That’s not fair.

(1:54 pm) I’m sorry.

(1:56 pm) Don’t be sorry! God, there’s nothing to be sorry for. It’s just really shitty luck.

(1:58 pm) I can’t believe we were right next to each other and never noticed.

(2:01 pm) Yeah… What’re the chances?

(2:04 pm) God… I don’t even know, Chat Noir. I don’t know.

(2:05 pm) It’s crazy… Happy month-a-versary, Ladybug.

(2:06 pm) Happy anniversary indeed.

 

*

January 29th—Sunday (2:12 pm)

 

(2:12 pm) Hey, Nino.

(2:14 pm) What’s up, my man?

(215 pm) How easy is it to fall in love with someone you don’t know?

(2:16 pm) What?

(2:17 pm) Nevermind.

(2:18 pm) Hey no, you can’t text me and be all mysterious and sappy and not tell me what’s up.

(2:19 pm) I think I like someone..

(2:20 pm) Well you did just get out of a relationship? Rebounds exist, my dude.

(2:21 pm) You don’t understand..

(2:21 pm) She’s not like Lila. I met her before Lila and I broke up. But she’s… How do I describe it?

(2:22 pm) She’s not someone I ever expected to mean something.

(2:23 pm) What are you talking about?

(2:24 pm) So… About a month ago, there was this girl, and she texted me by accident……..

 

*

 

January 29th—Sunday (2:30 pm)

 

(2:30 pm) You know that guy I’ve been talking to?

(2:33 pm) Yeah?

(2:36 pm) There’s something you should know about him.

(2:37 pm) What?

(2:40 pm) I don’t actually know him.

(2:41 pm) Oh? Did you try online dating or something?

(2:44 pm) No, I… Okay, so back during New Years, do you remember how I got ridiculously drunk?

(2:49 pm) Yeah?

(2:52 pm) So, drunk me decided to text you, but it turns out it was the wrong number, but then they texted back……..

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Nino

 

February 1st—Wednesday (11:21 am)

 

(11:21 am) Save me from this boredom, please.

(11:22 am) I can either 1) order another pastry for you or 2) recommended a new solitaire app.

(11:23 am) My knight in shining armor.

(11:23 am) Got that right, Princess.

(11:24 am) Don’t call me that.

(11:25 am) I’m serious though. I finished all my projects early and need something to do. Entertain me.

(11:26 am) Am I your side ho now? Is this what I’ve been reduced too? Some fun for you whenever you need it?

(11:28 am) It’s like you know me.

(11:30 am) Let’s play 20 Questions.

(11:32 am) Excuse me?

(11:35 am) Please tell me you know what 20 Questions is, Ladybug.

(11:36 am) Of course I do. I don’t live under a rock, kitty.

(11:36 am) Because you are the rock.

(11:37 am) What?

(11:37 am) 

(11:39 am) I’m… fucking crying. What the fuck?

(11:40 am) It’s your contact photo in my phone.

(11:41 am) I’m saved in your phone?

(11:45 am) … Well yeah.

(11:45 am) Why? Is that like weird? A little creepy?

(11:46 am) No, no. I just… wasn’t expecting that, I guess.

(11:47 am) …Am I saved in your phone?

(11:48 am) Of course.

(11:49 am) What’s my contact picture?

(11:49 am) Hold on.

(11:52 am) 

(11:53 am) …I’m not saying I’m judging you.

(11:54 am) But you are.

(11:54 am) But I am.

(11:57 am) It fits though. You’re a crazy kitty, Chat Noir.

(11:58 am) That sounds like an insult, but I choose to take it as a compliment.

(11:59 am) So you wanna go first?

(12:00 pm) Go first for what?

(12:01 pm) 20 Questions.

(12:04 pm) Ground rules.

(12:05 pm) What kind of question is that?

(12:07 pm) No, ground rules. No asking for extremely personal information, no names, etc, etc?

(12:08 pm) You still don’t trust me, bugaboo?

(12:08 pm) I’m supposed to be holding onto the serial killer theory, remember. Not you.

(12:09 pm) …Good point.

(12:10 pm) But yeah, I understand. Nothing too personal or traceable.

(12:12 pm) Sounds fair.

(12:12 pm) Favorite color?

(12:13 pm) Blue.

(12:13 pm) Also as a first question, that sucked, Ladybug.

(12:14 pm) I’d love to see you come up with a better one.

(12:15 pm) Fine, I will. When did you decide to become a fashion designer?

(12:16 pm) Wow, that’s a better question. Let’s see…

(12:21 pm) I guess I’ve always sort of known. When I was younger, I used to make clothes for my dolls out of napkins and stuff that we kept around the kitchen, and then I got my first sewing kit when I was six and graduated to using old rags and dish towels. Before I knew it, I was embroidering everything I could get my hands on and wearing my own clothes that I made to school. It’s just something that’s always been a part of me, so there was really no doubt what I wanted to do when I grew up because I’d already been doing it my whole life.

(12:23 pm) And Jesus Christ, that’s a novel. I’m so sorry!

(12:25 pm) No! No! Don’t be! That’s really sweet, actually. I love to hear about it.

(12:26 pm) My turn. How long have you worked in the fashion industry?

(12:27 pm) Well you’re certainly in a hurry, but let’s see… I don’t actually work in the fashion industry anymore.

(12:28 pm) You know what I mean.

(12:28 pm) I quit last year “officially”. But I’ve been working with fashion since I was about twelve, I guess?

(12:30 pm) Jesus, that’s young.

(12:31 pm) I was a child model for a while, and then I got a contract with Gabriel, and it’s been like that ever since.

(12:32 pm) Sounds… fun.

(12:33 pm) It actually was. I enjoyed it, and it was just a normal part of my life.

(12:34 pm) Why’d you quit?

(12:35 pm) Pretty sure it’s my turn for a question, Ladybug.

(12:36 pm) Fine, whatever. But be aware, that’s my question for next time.

(12:37 pm) Fair enough.

(12:40 pm) Alright, Ladybug, curious minds want to know. Do you still job in the park?

(12:41 pm) Are you trying to stalk me, Chat Noir?

(12:43 pm) Hey, all I’m saying is that exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, and you should continue to stay active like you said you would.

(12:44 pm) For a matter of fact, yes, I do. Every Tuesday and Thursday for your information.

(12:46 pm) Really?

(12:47 pm) Five am, right on the dot.

(12:48 pm) Touche, Ladybug. It appears I was in the wrong.

(12:50 pm) My turn. Fess up about the fashion secrets.

(12:54 pm) It’s really not a secret? Like I said before, I enjoyed it, and it was just a normal part of my life. I’d been doing it for so long that there was really no reason to quit, just a regular part of my routine.

(12:55 pm) What changed?

(12:57 pm) I found things I wanted to do other than fashion. Fashion’s mainly my father’s thing; he’s actually the one who got me into modeling. But eventually, I just decided I wanted to pursue other things.

(12:59 pm) Like physics?

(1:00 pm) Mhmm. And teaching.

(1:03 pm) Teaching? Really?

(1:05 pm) Yeah. I never got to go to a regular school, but I think it’s something I’d like to look into. Right now, I’m just learning the basics and stuff, but I want to eventually try to get my teaching degree and work in a school. Like elementary? I love kids too. I think it’d be a lot of fun. Right now I'm just sticking with physics, but... I dunno.

(1:07 pm) Something tells me that you’d be good at that.

(1:08 pm) Yeah?

(1:08 pm) Yeah.

(1:09 pm) Anyway, enough about me. Next question, my Lady.

(1:15 pm) Fire away, my Lord.

(1:17 pm) My Lord?

(1:18 pm) Too much?

(1:19 pm) Little bit.

(1:22 pm) Tell me the story of your first kiss.

(1:23 pm) That’s not even a question!

(1:23 pm) And why would you want to know about that?

(1:24 pm) Love always starts somewhere, and I’m a sucker for romance, Ladybug.

(1:25 pm) Well my first kiss wasn’t romantic by any means.

(1:28 pm) I highly doubt that.

(1:30 pm) Trust me. It wasn’t with anyone I was in love with. There wasn’t any grand build up. It was just a girl I went to school with. She was a bit of a spoiled brat, and we hated each other through middle school.

(1:32 pm) That actually sounds pretty interesting. What happened?

(1:34 pm) Everything sounds interesting to you, Chat Noir.

(1:35 pm) Cause it’s something new I learn about you, bug.

(1:36 pm) You’re too much.

(1:37 pm) I try.

(1:41 pm) Anyway, eventually we learned to tolerate each other. And one day we were working on a class project for sociology, we started talking, and the next thing I know she kissed me. It was nice and stuff.

(1:43 pm) Did you guys go out? Did the kiss reveal any long-hidden feelings between you two?

(1:44 pm) Oh god no. All the kiss did was tell me that I’m very bi, and she’s very, very gay.

(1:45 pm) That sounds like my first kiss.

(1:46 pm) What was yours like?

(1:47 pm) Is that your question?

(1:48 pm) Chat Noir!

(1:50 pm) I’ll take that as a yes.

(1:54 pm) So my best friend, who I’ve known practically my whole life, was over at my house one day. We were just working on homework together when she just leaned over and kissed me, right out of the blue.

(1:56 pm) Did the kiss reveal any lingering feelings you secretly harbored for each other?

(1:57 pm) Hardy har har.

(1:59 pm) No, all it told me was that she was very, very gay.

(2:00 pm) Oh god, were you that bad?

(2:02 pm) Ladybug!

(2:03 pm) And no! She said I was an excellent kisser, but that girls were better.

(2:04 pm) She sounds like a fun friend. I like her.

(2:05 pm) You actually remind me a lot about her. I think you two would like each other.

(2:07 pm) Is that your way of saying you hope we’ll meet someday?

(2:08 pm) You and me?

(2:09 pm) I meant me and her, but… you and me works too.

(2:10 pm) …I mean, I’d like to meet you… someday.

(2:11 pm) Someday.

(2:11 pm) I like someday. Guess I’ll see you someday then?

(2:12 pm) See you someday… I like the sound of that too.

(2:14 pm) Anyway, next question, kitty.

(2:17 pm) Okay… how about… What if your favorite physical feature of the person sitting next to you?

(2:18 pm) Where are you getting these questions?

(2:20 pm) I like being out of the box.

(2:22 pm) There’s a joke in there about a cat and a litterbox, just for your information.

(2:24 pm) Wonderful deduction, bug.

(2:25 pm) Let’s see…

(2:25 pm) Okay, got my creeper glasses on.

(2:27 pm) The person next to me has gorgeous blonde hair, and her face is really sweet.

(2:28 pm) Her face?

(2:29 pm) It’s one of those faces, you know? Really expressive and you can just read all their emotions on it. It’s like a window to their soul. I like people like that.

(2:30 pm) People with a soul?

(2:31 pm) No, silly kitty. People with open faces.

(2:31 pm) Oh… That’s ridiculously sweet of you, Ladybug.

(2:33 pm) You sound surprised.

(2:34 pm) You just don’t seem like the type to think overly romantic or sweet things.

(2:35 pm) Excuse you! I like romance! I may not be on your level, but I’m definitely into romance.

(2:36 pm) No, no, I believe you! I just… You’re different, I guess, from most girls I meet.

(2:37 pm) How so?

(2:39 pm) Is that your question?

(2:39 pm) You need to stop doing that.

(2:40 pm) And yes, that’s my question. How am I so different from most girls you meet?

(2:41 pm) I don’t know, you just are?

(2:41 pm) That’s not an answer.

(2:42 pm) Well I don’t like your question.

(2:43 pm) You don’t have to answer it. I’m only joking, you know.

(2:44 pm) No, you’re not. You’re genuinely curious, aren’t you, Ladybug? To know what I think about you?

(2:45 pm) What can I say? Guess the curiousity’s rubbing off the cat.

(2:46 pm) Fine, okay.

(2:50 pm) So my ex-girlfriend, Lila, was really into romance. She wanted the nice dinners, fancy dates, 24/7 dedication of my time, etc, etc. She wanted the whole relationship dressed to the nines, and I mean, I had no problem doing that. But at some point it felt more like a chore for both of us, and so long as we kept up with the whole idea of “being a couple” then our relationship was going fine. But that wasn’t the case, and eventually we both realized it. Romance isn’t real if the two people involved aren’t giving it any meaning.

(2:53 pm) I’m confused. How does this apply to me?

(2:55 pm) I guess you just seem like the type where anything could be romantic, and it would still matter.

(2:56 pm) …What?

(2:58 pm) An evening in sweatpants and a Harry Potter movie marathon would be romantic enough and probably mean more than a fancy dinner and a river-ride down the Seine.

(3:01 pm) I mean… I wouldn’t argue.

(3:03 pm) Am I right?

(3:05 pm) Is that your question?

(3:06 pm) Ladybug!

(3:07 pm) I’ll take that as a yes.

(3:08 pm) And yes, Chat Noir, you’re right.

(3:10 pm) Knew it.

(3:11 pm) Something tells me that you’re the type who just high-fived either yourself or your cat.

(3:13 pm) ….Damn.

(3:14 pm) Was it Plagg?

(3:15 pm) Yes.

(3:16 pm) Chat Noir.

(3:17 pm) I high-fived my cat.

(3:21 pm) You’re a weirdo.

(3:22 pm) But I’m your weirdo.

(3:31 pm) That you are.

 

*

 

February 2nd—Thursday (7:24 pm)

 

(7:24 pm) Hey dude, have you ever called your Lady Friend?

(7:25 pm) Nino.

(7:25 pm) What?

(7:26 pm) Why the fuck are you texting me? You’re literally right on the couch next to me?

(7:27 pm) I dunno, dude. You’re really into the Harry Potter movie.

(7:28 pm) You mean my physics homework?

(7:29 pm) I don’t know what you’re doing these days, man.

(7:29 pm) But seriously. Have you ever called your Lady Friend?

(7:30 pm) First off, her name’s Ladybug. And secondly, no.

(7:31 pm) Why not?

(7:32 pm) I don’t know… It’s not what we do I guess?

(7:33 pm) Is she always gonna be your wrong number?

(7:34 pm) What do ya mean?

(7:35 pm) Is she always gonna be the person on the other end? You’re just gonna spend all your days texting her, never knowing her real name, never knowing who she really is?

(7:36 pm) Nino, no, we both said we wanted to meet someday.

(7:37 pm) But?

(7:38 pm) I dunno, Nino. Right now, I don’t think I’m ready, and I don’t think she is either. We’re happy just texting. It’s easier, I guess.

(7:39 pm) You should ask her about calling.

(7:40 pm) No.

(7:41 pm) Why not?

(7:43 pm) I’m trying to do my homework, Nino.

(7:44 pm) Listen, now that you told me about this, I’ve made it my duty to meddle.

(7:45 pm) So why are you so afraid of calling her?

(7:45 pm) Nino.

(7:46 pm) I think you’re scared because calling her makes her real.

(7:47 pm) I’m ignoring you.

(7:47 pm) You know I’m right.

 

 

 

(11:37 pm) Look, I know you’re passed out on my couch right now and can’t read this, but I apologize in advance. But I’ve seen enough movies, my dude, and I’m not waiting three years to see how this works out.

(11:38 pm) Also, Adrien, my man, you need to change your password. “Cat1” can’t always be the answer.

 

*

 

February 2nd—Thursday (11:40 pm)

CHAT NOIR is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

MISSED CALL from CHAT NOIR

 

*

 

February 3rd—Friday (8:34 am)

 

(8:34 am) Sorry I didn’t respond yesterday. I went to sleep early. But are you okay? You called me last night?

(9:01 am) Chat Noir?

(10:03 am) Nothing better have happened to you, you stupid cat.

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Alya
Nino 

 

February 3rd—Friday (11:12 am)

 

(11:12 am) You can’t ignore me forever.

(11:13 am) Seriously, man.

(11:20 am) Are you trying to avoid me?

(11:21 am) I’m just gonna keep texting.

(11:37 am) Maybe I’ll keep calling and leaving voice mails. You know? Just be the annoying ex you wish you never had.

(11:41 am) Leave me alone, Nino.

(11:48 am) He lives!

(11:51 am) And you’re gonna die if you don’t knock it off.

(11:52 am) Seriously, Nino, just leave me alone.

(11:55 am) Are you actually mad at me right now?

(11:56 am) Yeah.

(11:58 am) For real?

(12:00 pm) I told you I didn’t want to call her.

(12:02 pm) You didn’t.

(12:04 pm) I can’t even talk to her anymore.

(12:06 pm) …Why? Did your Lady Friend say something?

(12:07 pm) How can I talk to her after that, Nino? We just got done talking about how we didn’t want to talk to each other. And you go ahead… and call her after I told you not too!

(12:08 pm) How am I supposed to feel?

(12:11 pm) Just so we’re clear… You’re pissed.

(12:14 pm) Yeah, a little.

(12:15 pm) …Well is your Lady Friend pissed?

(12:16 pm) I don’t know. Probably.

(12:17 pm) Have you talked to her about it?

(12:18 pm) No.

(12:18 pm) Why am I even telling you any of this? It’s your fault. None of this is your business anymore.

(12:20 pm) My point is, man, is if she said anything about you calling her. Did she ask you to stop texting? Did she ask what the fuck you were doing? Or is she ignoring you?

(12:22 pm) Adrien.

(12:25 pm) No.

(12:27 pm) No what, man?

(12:29 pm) She didn’t do anything like that.

(12:31 pm) What’d she do?

(12:34 pm) Fuck…

(12:35 pm) Adrien.

(12:35 pm) She asked if I was okay.

(12:36 pm) She acted like she cared.

(12:38 pm) And…that’s bad?

(12:39 pm) No, not really.

(12:41 pm) Then what’s the problem? Are you just ignoring her then?

(12:42 pm) …Not exactly.

(12:43 pm) Dude, that’s not cool.

(12:44 pm) She’s worried about you, dude.

(12:44 pm) Don’t do this to her. Like you said, it’s my fault. She didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t just ignore her.

(12:45 pm) Look, you can ignore me all you want, but she’s still gonna be on the other end waiting for you to answer. You’ve never done this to her before, right?

(12:46 pm) Done what?

(12:47 pm) Left her hanging.

(12:48 pm) She knows I’m at work.

(12:49 pm) Yeah, but right now she probably thinks something happened to her since she knows you called her last night. Which you never do. Something must have happened to make you call her, and she knows that.

(12:50 pm) But I wasn’t the one who called her.

(12:51 pm) Yeah, but she doesn’t know that.

(12:52 pm) What’s your point?

(12:53 pm) My point is that she’s worried about you, Adrien.

(12:53 pm) You’re her friend, and she’s worried about you.

(12:55 pm) Don’t hurt her, Adrien. Not if you really like her as much as you say you do.

(12:57 pm) Fine.

(12:58 pm) Just talk to her, man. Tell her the truth. She’s your friend, yeah? She’ll understand.

(12:59 pm) …Talk to her.

(1:01 pm) Yeah.

(1:04 pm) …Okay.

 

*

 

February  3rd—Friday (1:45 pm)

 

(1:45 pm) Hey.

(1:49 pm) Chat Noir?

(1:50 pm) Yeah.

(1:53 pm) You okay?

(1:54 pm) Yeah.

(1:55 pm) …Are you sure?

(1:56 pm) Yeah.

(1:57 pm) Is that all you can say? Just four letter words?

(1:58 pm) No.

(1:59 pm) Two letters this time. I see we’re regressing.

(2:01 pm) Look, about last night…

(2:03 pm) Did you butt dial me?

(2:04 pm) No.

(2:05 pm) Oh, so… is everything okay?

(2:06 pm) I mean… yeah, I think so.

(2:07 pm) Okay.

(2:08 pm) Okay.

(2:10 pm) Look, Chat Noir, I hate to break up this absolutely riveting conversation, but I actually do have to get back to work.

(2:11 pm) Oh… okay. Talk to you later then?

(2:12 pm) Yeah, I guess so.

(2:13 pm) For what it’s worth, Chat Noir, I’m glad you’re okay. I was worried.

(2:14 pm) You were?

(2:15 pm) Well yeah.

(2:16 pm) Thanks, Ladybug.

(2:17 pm) No problem.

(2:18 pm) Also.

(2:18 pm) For future reference.

(2:18 pm) You can call me if you want too.

(2:19 pm) I’m okay with that.

(2:21 pm) …Thanks, Bug.

 

*

 

February  3rd—Friday (6:42 pm)

 

(6:42 pm) Hey, Ladybug, are you busy right now?

(6:43 pm) Nope, just starting to cook dinner.

(6:44 pm) Anything good?

(6:45 pm) Chicken and rice?

(6:47 pm) Sounds good.

(6:49 pm) It’s like the only thing I can cook. It’s funny, you know. I come from many generations of culinary experts, and yet I can’t even cook an omelette without burning my apartment down.

(6:51 pm) Did you really?

(6:52 pm) The neighbors upstairs actually called the fire department on me once.

(6:54 pm) Oh my god, Bug, what the fuck did you do?

(6:55 pm) I was making a grilled cheese sandwhich!

(6:56 pm) Oh my god.

(6:58 pm) Someday I’m gonna cook you something good. I don’t know how I do it, but I promise you I’m a master in the kitchen.

(7:00 pm) I don’t believe you.

(7:02 pm) Prepare to be amazed, my Lady.

(7:03 pm) I’d like that.

(7:04 pm) Me cooking for you?

(7:05 pm) Someday? Yeah. I would.

(7:06 pm) So, anyway, did you want something?

(7:10 pm) I was wondering if I could call you.

(7:11 pm) Is something wrong?

(7:12 pm) Why do you automatically think something’s wrong whenever I try to call you?

(7:14 pm) Okay, 1) you’ve only tried to call me once, 2) last time you acted weird when we talked about it, and 3) You’re asking to call me again, which isn’t something we normally do. I’m not stupid, Chat Noir. Something’s wrong.

(7:17 pm) Nothing’s wrong.

(7:18 pm) Look, I’m gonna be honest with you. My friend called you last night. He took my phone after I fell asleep and called you.

(7:19 pm) …Why would he do that? He doesn’t even know me.

(7:21 pm) I kinda told him about us.

(7:21 pm) Us?

(7:22 pm) What do you mean?

(7:23 pm) Well, we’re friends, right?

(7:24 pm) I just mean that I told him about our… unique way of meeting.

(7:26 pm) Oh.

(7:28 pm) I think he was just curious about you were. The whole thing is like a Hallmark thing for him.

(7:30 pm) Oh my god.

(7:31 pm) I mean, I guess… He’s kind of right.

(7:32 pm) How so?

(7:34 pm) Well, it’s sort of like the movies, yeah? Boy and girl meet in mysterious ways, maintain constant connection through the years, and then eventually fall in love and get married and all that stuff.

(7:35 pm) We’re nothing like that.

(7:36 pm) All those movies about wrong numbers, and you never thought about that happening to us?

(7:37 pm) But you’re not in love with me, are you, Chat Noir?

(7:38 pm) Of course not.

(7:39 pm) I’m just saying the situation is… similar.

(7:40 pm) Okay, I’ll give you that.

(7:42 pm) Also, my answer’s yes, by the way.

(7:43 pm) Yes?

(7:44 pm) Yes, you can call me.

 

*

 

Feburary 3rd—Friday (7:45 pm)

 

CHAT NOIR is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

“…”

…Hello?”

“Oh my god.”

“…Ladybug?”

“…Yeah.”

“...Who’s this?”

“…A-Are you being serious right now?”

…Chat Noir?”

“…Yes?... This is Ladybug, right? I got the right number?”

“…Well I sure hope so? Do you call everyone Ladybug? How many Ladybugs do you know?”

J-Just the one?”

“Why does that sound like a question? Why are you asking me that question? Do you know more than one Ladybug, Chat Noir?”

…What?! It’s not like I have a little black book of different girls named Ladybug who have called my number by mistake!”

Well, now I’m pretty sure you do!”

Why are you yelling at me?!”

“I don’t know! This just seems like a conversation worth screaming about!”

“....haha…”

“Why are you laughing at me?”

“…hahaHAHA…”

“Chat Noir!”

“aha—I’m sorry, Ladybug, but you’re just so…”

“What?”

I dunno. You… You’re just incredible, god.”

“….”

“…Ladybug?”

“…Your laugh is nice.”

“Exactly like you thought it’d be?”

“Yeah, actually.”

“Oh.”

“Yeah.”

“So…”

“…So you actually called.”

“And you actually picked up this time.”

“Hey! Last night I had to sleep!”

“I know, I know, I’m just kidding.”

“I know…”

“…What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, you’re just… you sound like everything I thought you’d be. It’s funny.”

“Huh.”

“And what about me?”

“What about you?”

“Do I sound like you thought I would?”

“…”

“…Chat Noir?”

“…Yeah, Bug, yeah, you do.”

“Good.”

“Are you smiling?”

“…What?”

“Nothing… I just… Okay, this is gonna sound weird, but I can hear the smile in your voice sometimes when you talk.”

“…Okay?”

“…Well was I right?”

“Yes, actually, you were.”

“…Good. Cool, okay.”

“I was right, you know.”

“Right about what?”

“You do have trouble talking to people.”

“W-What? Hey now…”

“Well I’m not wrong.”

“No, you’re not, but that doesn’t mean you can go around bragging about it. I have a reputation to hold onto, you know.”

“Like what?”

“Being socially competent, for one.”

“Have you ever been though?”

“Ladybug!”

“…Sorry, Chat Noir.”

“…Did you just giggle?”

“Stop!”

“Oh my god, you giggle!”

“Stop it! Leave me alone!”

“Oh, that’s precious.”

“God, Chat Noir… So… was there a specific reason you called?”

“Not really?”

“Just a passing fancy then?”

“More like curiousity.”

“Curiousity killed the cat, you know.”

“And satisfaction brought it back, yes, yes, I know this. Thanks for enlightening me on more cat-related references.”

“What can I say, I’m on fire....to…nigh-FUCK!”

“Ladybug?”

“Jesus fucking… Fucking fuck, Jesus fuck…”

“Ladybug?”

“..oh SHIT!”

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“I burned my chicken!”

“…”

“Don’t you start!”

“…ahaha…”

“Chat Noir!”

“…ahaHAHAHA!”

“Chat Noir, you stop it right now!”

“HAHAHAHA!”

“Chat Noir!”

“I guess that chicken flew the coop!”

“I’m gonna hang up on you!”

“I’m sorry, but oh my god…”

“Lord, I can’t believe I did this again.”

“Is burning food a daily thing with you?”

“Pretty much. I can stitch a hem but can’t bake a chicken breast.”

“That’s beautiful. A true talent right here.”

“…Look, I hate to hang up, but I kind of wanna eat dinner without dying.”

“Oh yeah, sorry, I’ll let you go then.”

“…It was nice talking to you though.”

“…Same to you, Bug.”

“Talk to you later?”

“After this awkward conversation, I’m surprised you think there’s gonna be a next time.”

“You know, it’s only awkward if someone makes it awkward.”

“Oh so this is my fault?”

“Goodbye, Chat Noir.”

“Bye, Bug.”

 

END CALL with CHAT NOIR

 

*

Feburary 3rd—Friday (9:02 pm)

 

(9:02 pm) Alya.

(9:03 pm) Hmm?

(9:04 pm) Alya, I’m in trouble.

(9:05 pm) Oh no. What happened?

(9:05 pm) You know that guy I’ve been talking to?

(9:07 pm) Your wrong number?

(9:08 pm) Yeah.

(9:08 pm) Did he hurt you?

(9:10 pm) No.

(9:10 pm) Then what’s wrong?

(9:11 pm) I think I like him. 

(9:12 pm) I’m coming over.

 

 

*

 

Feburary 3rd—Friday (9:13 pm)

 

(9:13 pm) I’m sorry. I should’ve listened to you.

(9:15 pm) Sorry, you’ve reached the house of I Told You So. He can’t come to the phone right now because He’s Too Busy Being Right. Please leave a message and your apology.

(9:17 pm) Nino.

(9:18 pm) For it’s worth, you were right, and I’m sorry.

(9:19 pm) So how was it?

(9:20 pm) Man, have I got a story for you….

 

 

*

 

Feburary 5th—Sunday (10:11 am)

 

(10:11 am) Good morning, Ladybug! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the birds are probably singing off someone in the bum-fuck south.

(10:12 am) Well, you aren’t wrong. Migration is a thing that very much happens.

(10:12 am) Also, good morning, Chat Noir.

(10:14 am) Did you sleep well?

(10:15 am) I did indeed. How about yourself?

(10:16 am) I slept fine.

(10:18 am) No insomnia?

(10:19 am) What can I say? Your voice is the lullaby I didn’t know I needed in life.

(10:21 am) That is the stupidest line I’ve ever heard.

(10:22 am) You love it.

(10:23 am) You’re impossible, Chat Noir.

(10:24 am) Makes me even better. I’m a rare collectible, Ladybug. You don’t know what you’re missing.

(10:26 am) Are you always this bad?

(10:26 am) Actually, don’t answer that. I already know the answer to that question.

(10:27 am) Is that an insult? I feel mildly insulted.

(10:29 am) As you should.

(10:31 am) So, did you tell your best friend about me?

(10:33 am) What do you mean?

(10:35 am) Well he called me the other day to find out about me right? Make sure I’m not a serial killer.

(10:37 am) That’s true. He did.

(10:38 am) And I did. Nino’s happy.

(10:38 am) Can’t stop dancing around my apartment doing his “I Told You So” dance.

(10:41 am) Nino?

(10:42 am) What?

(10:43 am) Oh yeah, Nino. Nino’s my best friend.

(10:44 am) You do know what a best friend is, Bug?

(10:51 am) Yeah, sorry, had work to do. And yes, I have best friends.

(10:53 am) Is Nino a common name?

(10:55 am) Well it was number 88 in the Top Baby Names for Boys in France in 2010, so maybe?

(10:56 am) Did… Did you just google that?

(10:57 am) Oh wow, did I blow your mind?

(10:57 am) Sorry, I have this talent you might never have heard of. It’s called “Googling”.

(10:59 am) Hardy har har. Very funny, Chat Noir.

(11:01 am) Hey, bug, I need to head to work, so I’ll talk to you later, okay?

(11:03 am) Sounds good.

 

*

 

Feburary 5th—Sunday (11:21 am)

 

(11:21 am) Your boyfriend’s name is Nino, right?

(11:27 am) …Yeah?

(11:34 am) …Interesting.

(11:35 am) What’s interesting?

(11:36 am) Do you think Nino is a common first name?

(11:42 am) Well it was 88 out of 100 in 2010 for Most Popular Boy Names in France.

(11:44 am) … I quit.

(11:47 am) …What?

(11:51 am) The whole lot of you are cancelled. Forever.

(11:53 am) …Marinette?

(11:54 am) Are you okay?

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Alya
Nino

February 7th—Tuesday (9:21 am)

(9:21 am) I wanna meet your boyfriend.

(9:32 am) What the fuck? Aren't you supposed to be in meetings all morning?

(9:34 am) Look, you always talk about him, and you guys have been together for months, and I haven’t met him yet. I’m doing such a bad job of being your best friend, and I feel bad. Lemme make it up to you, Alya. Please.

(9:37 am) What the fuck are you on? 

(9:40 am) Lemme do my fucking job, Alya.

(9:42 am) If you think I’m gonna let you meet my boyfriend when you’re in your Serial Killer mode, then you’ve got another thing coming.

(9:44 am) What is it with people suddenly thinking I’m a serial killer?

(9:45 am) ..Excuse me?

(9:46 am) Nevermind.

(9:47 am) Seriously though. Let’s do brunch. Or lunch. 11 o’clock sound good? At the Brewtiful Beans place down by the park?

(9:48 am) Bring your boyfriend.

(9:51 am) …Whatever, sure fine.

(9:53 am) Please leave your knives at home, babe.

 

*

 

February 7th—Tuesday (11:14 am)

 

(11:14 am) Hey, my class was cancelled. Wanna do movies instead?

(11:15 am) Not right now, dude. I’m having lunch with Alya and Mari.

(11:17 am) Who?

(11:18 am) My girlfriend? Did you go drinking last night?

(11:19 am) I know Alya, your girlfriend. I don’t know Mari, your… other girlfriend?

(11:20 am) Oooh! That’s right! You don’t know who Mari is, do you?

(11:21 am) …Are you actually asking me this question or is my initial confusion enough of an answer?

(11:22 am) Haha, very funny.

(11:23 am) Dude, Mari’s like the coolest girl I’ve ever met!

(11:25 am) I still don’t know who Mari is, Nino!

(11:26 am) She’s the greatest. She likes fashion and video games, and she’s also a huge Harry Potter fan. Like, dude, she’s amazing.

(11:27 am) I’m confused. 1) Still don’t know who this girl is and 2) Are you dating Mari or Alya?

(11:28 am) You’re not funny, Adrien.

(11:30 am) I am still confused, Nino.

(11:30 am) Seriously, who the fuck is Mari?

(11:31 am) Mari is Alya’s best friend.

(11:33 am) Ah… You’re already meeting the family.

(11:34 am) Dude, I’ve already met Alya’s family.

(11:35 am) But yeah, I guess she is like family? Kind of? They seem super close.

(11:37 am) That’s cool.

(11:39 am) She’s super sweet.

(11:40 am) That’s good.

(11:41 am) You’d like her.

(11:42 am) I’m sure I would.

(11:45 am) Like I’ve only known her for 45 minutes, but it feels like it’s been years, man.

(11:47 am) She’s seriously super cool. I should’ve met her earlier.

(11:48 am) Hey, dude, we should do a double date!

(11:51 am) Like you, me, Mari, and Alya! And introduce everyone!

(11:55 am) Where the fuck did you go?

(11:59 am) Adrien!

(12:02 pm) Did you die?

(12:03 pm) RIP. Here lies Adrien Agreste, unloved in life and in death.

(12:07 pm) …I had to use the bathroom, Nino.

(12:09 am) Also, I’m glad you like her. She sounds awesome.

(12:09 pm) I’d love to meet her someday. After I meet Alya.

(12:10 pm) Also, I don’t wanna do any dating.

(12:12 pm) Also, I didn’t die. I’m alive… Just FYI.

(12:13 pm) I love how you had to clarify your life status. Glad youre alive though, Adrien. I hope I’m written into your will in case you ever do die though. Like just FYI.

(12:15 pm) Also I didn’t mean like DATE date. Just like dinner or something. Hang out and some shit like that.

(12:16 pm) I’d be stupid to suggest you date. Especially because you’re in a long-term relationship with your phone and your Lady Friend.

(12:17 pm) Stop it. We aren’t together. And her name’s Ladybug.

(12:18 pm) It’d be cool though. You’re head over heels for her.

(12:19 pm) No, I’m not.

(12:21 pm) Did you learn nothing from me after the phone call thing? Someday you will fall in love with her, and you’ll be happy. And I, Nino “Always Right” Lahiffe, will again say, “I told you so.”

(12:21 pm) Whatever, Nino.

(12:23 pm) Seriously, though, man. You know what would be fun?

(12:24 pm) What?

(12:25 pm) Meeting her.

(12:26 pm) I haven’t even met her yet.

(12:27 pm) I know.

(12:28 pm) Can we just drop this?

(12:30 pm) Sure, just one more thing.

(12:32 pm) Fire away.

(12:34 pm) Do you even know her real name? I just mean… It’s been a while since you guys started chatting right? Maybe its time you ditch the code names and like… ask your real names, you know?

(12:38 pm) …I’m just gonna go.

(12:40 pm) You two lovebirds better hurry up. I don’t wanna be a Hallmark movie, Adrien.

 

*

 

February 7th—Tuesday (1:11 pm)

 

(1:11 pm) If I ask you a weird question, would you answer?

(1:13 pm) Considering it’s you, and I already know you’re weird, sure.

(1:17 pm) What would you do if I asked you for your real name?

(1:19 pm) …What?

(1:22 pm) Sorry. I knew it was weird.

(1:23 pm) You probably think I’m some weird creep now.

(1:25 pm) Well, in all honesty, I already thought that.

(1:27 pm) Oh.

(1:28 pm) I’m kidding, Chat Noir.

(1:29 pm) Oh.

(1:30 pm) And I mean… I guess I never thought about it?

(1:31 pm) Really?

(1:32 pm) I mean, at first, it was just because I didn’t want to give some stranger my real name, you know?

(1:33 pm) I understand.

(1:34 pm) But then, we started talking and became friends. And I guess our nicknames just kind of stuck? I don’t know. It’s a silly little thing between us, and it never occurred to me to give you my real name, or to ask for yours.

(1:36 pm) It’s kind of silly, isn’t it?

(1:37 pm) Ladybug and Chat Noir? Yeah. But it’s kind of like… a mask, now that I think about it.

(1:38 pm) Ohh, like superheros! Like, Ladybug and Chat Noir, superheros with a secret identity that they can’t even tell each other? I’d rock a mask, Ladybug.

(1:39 pm) I’m sure you would, kitty.

(1:40 pm) Would you wear cat ears too?

(1:41 pm) And a tail.

(1:43 pm) If I had to be a Ladybug superhero, I’d wear a ton of spots.

(1:45 pm) I could see that!

(1:47 pm) I kind of wanna design a costume now.

(1:47 pm) You ever designed a costume?

(1:48 pm) I used to do a lot of costume work for plays and stuff for school. It wouldn’t be that hard to make some.

(1:51 pm) I’d pay to see that, bug.

(1:53 pm) I’m glad.

(1:55 pm) So I have a question for you.

(1:56 pm) Yeah?

(1:57 pm) About my name. Was that a hypothetical question or were you actually… asking?

(1:59 pm) …Does it matter?

(2:01 pm) Not really, I guess.

(2:02 pm) It just kind of depends on what you want my answer to me.

(2:03 pm) Your answer?

(2:04 pm) To your question.

(2:05 pm) Were you asking ‘about’ my name or ‘for’ my name?

(2:06 pm) Oh.

(2:06 pm) Oh?

(2:08 pm) I was asking. Asking for your name.

(2:11 pm) …Marinette. My name’s Marinette.

(2:13 pm) That’s really pretty.

(2:14 pm) Thanks.

(2:15 pm) …Did you want my name?

(2:16 pm) Only if you’re comfortable. You don’t have too.

(2:18 pm) Mine’s Adrien.

(2:19 pm) Well that’s a pretty name too.

(2:21 pm) Thanks.

(2:22 pm) …Can I still call you Ladybug? I know it’s a stupid nickname but… I dunno.

(2:24 pm) I’d be okay with Ladybug, if you’re okay with Chat Noir.

(2:25 pm) Yeah, bug, I am.

(2:27 pm) Well, then, Adrien, I’m quite happy to be the Ladybug to your Chat Noir.

(2:28 pm) I’m happy to be your Chat Noir too.

(2:31 pm) Good.

(2:34 pm) So how’s Tikki doing? I haven’t heard about her in a while.

(2:35 pm) She’s doing good.

(2:35 pm) Oh fuck, I have a cat.

(2:36 pm) Erm… Yeah?

(2:38 pm) I forgot to talk Plagg out for a walk.

(2:39 pm) You take your cat for walks?

(2:40 pm) Ladybug, you don’t understand what he’s like.

(2:41 pm) The vet told me he needs to exercise more.

(2:42 pm) He’s fat, Ladybug.

(2:43 pm) And he won’t play with me when I try to get him to. Exercise and all that, you know.

(2:43 pm) I love your cat.

(2:45 pm) It’s awful. I have to take him for walks cause he’s too lazy to do it himself.

(2:46 pm) He gets more exercise running away from me than anything else.

(2:47 pm) Does he at least like walks?

(2:50 pm) 

(2:51 pm) Chat Noir!

(2:53 pm) Don’t you dare feel sorry for him. I have scars from trying to get this harness on.

(2:54 pm) I don’t know whether to laugh at Plagg or you.

(2:55 pm) You should make him a ladybug harness. Then we can both laugh at him.

(2:56 pm) …Don’t tempt me.

(2:57 pm) …Did I inspire you, bugaboo?

(2:58 pm) I’ve never made a cat harness before! I wanna try it now!

(3:01 pm) Well glad I could be of service then, bug.

(3:03 pm) Tikki’s gonna look so cute in her harness, oh my god. I’m gonna get started.

(3:05 pm) Well I’ll leave the master to her work then.

(3:07 pm) By the way.

(3:08 pm) It was nice to ‘officially’ meet you, Adrien.

(3:09 pm) Same to you, bug.

(3:09 pm) I mean Marinette.

(3:10 pm) Fuck, that’s gonna take some getting used too.

(3:11 pm) Good luck with your cat, Chat Noir.

(3:12 pm) Thanks, I’m gonna need it.

 

*

 

February 7th—Tuesday (3:23 pm)

 

(3:23 pm) So. Did you like Nino?

(3:31 pm) He seems really nice.

(3:32 pm) …That’s it?

(3:33 pm) If you’re asking if I approve, I do. He’s really sweet, Alya.

(3:35 pm) I dunno, girl. I guess I just expected more from you. You really wanted ot meet him.

(3:37 pm) I did! And I had a lot of fun! He’s great, Alya, really.

(3:38 pm) I’m glad you think so. Truth is, I was a little worried about you two meeting.

(3:39 pm) Why?

(3:41 pm) He’s really important to me, and if you didn’t like him, I don’t know what I’d do.

(3:43 pm) You really like him, don’t you?

(3:45 pm) I really, really do.

(3:47 pm) Well I’m glad. He’s nice, and he seems like he really loves you.

(3:48 pm) Plus he makes you happy, and that’s all I ever want for the men in your life.

(3:50 pm) Oh my god, Mari, did you give him the shovel talk?

(3:52 pm) Yes.

(3:53 pm) Why, did you expect something else?

(3:54 pm) You’re unbelievable.

(3:55 pm) But you love me.

(3:56 pm) You’re lucky I do.

(4:00 pm) :)

 

*

 

February 7th—Tuesday (7:11 pm)

 

(7:11 pm) So Marinette likes you.

(7:13 pm) Oh thank fuck.

(7:14 pm) I heard she gave you the shovel talk.

(7:17 pm) She’s pretty cool, babe, but she’s really fucking scary.

(7:21 pm) That’s Mari.

(7:22 pm) So what’re you up to tonight?

(7:24 pm) Consoling Adrien.

(7:25 pm) Oh no! What happened?

(7:28 pm) He’s wallowing and in denial.

(7:29 pm) He met this girl, and he clearly likes her but insists on following a typical Hallmark movie plot.

(7:31 pm) Oh, interesttinnggg. Marinette’s got the same thing going on.

(7:32 pm) Oh yeah?

(7:33 pm) Mhmm. Helplessly in love with this dude she’s talking to.

(7:35 pm) Wanna hear the best part?

(7:38 pm) Shoot.

(7:41 pm) She’s never even met him.

(7:43 pm) Oh, did she get into online dating?

(7:45 pm) No, babe, get this. She was drunk on New Year’s and texted the wrong number. And then… like, kept texting him.

(7:46 pm) ….Oh my god.

(7:47 pm) I know!

(7:50 pm) No, I mean, oh my god, You need to call me right now.

(7:51 pm) Why? What happened?

(7:52 pm) No, it’s about Adrien.

(7:53 pm) Jesus fuck, this… is unfuckingbelievable.

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Nino
Alya

February 10th—Friday (9:41 am)

 

(9:41 am) I have to know something, and it’s been bothering me all week.

(9:46 am) Yeah?

(9:51 am) Does your cat go with you on your morning jogs?

(9:54 am) …What?

(9:55 am) No, I don’t wanna die.

(9:57 am) Okay, good. I was worried about Plagg.

(9:59 am) If anything, you should be worried about me. I’ve got scars from trying to get him out the door.

(10:02 am) Okay, but how do you take him for walks on a regular basis? Just like through the park and stuff?

(10:04 am) Are you fucking kidding me? Do you know how many trees are in the park?

(10:07 am) Oh, Plagg climbs trees! I didn’t even think about that.

(10:08 am) Too lazy to leave the couch but can parkour up trees. My cat is insane, Ladybug.

(10:10 am) Anyway, I finished that cat harness, and Tikki absolutely loves it! I put it on, and she doesn’t know what to do, but she’s very content to lay around the house looking stylish. So points to me, I guess!

(10:12 am) …Do you wanna trade cats for a weekend?

(10:15 am) You know you love Plagg. You’d miss him if he was gone, Chat Noir.

(10:18 am) Trust me, I wouldn’t. We toe the line of love and hate on a daily basis, and on most occasions, I fall and go cliff diving into the waters of Get This Fucking Cat Away From Me.

(10:19 am) I’m sure the feelings mutual.

(10:21 am) Wow, okay, thanks.

(10:22 am) Glad to know where my friends are in this war.

(10:24 am) Oh my god, Adrien, you are not at war with your cat.

(10:27 am) God, it’s so weird to have you use my actual name.

(10:29 am) Do you want me to stop?

(10:29 am) I don’t wanna make you uncomfortable. Just because we know our real names doesn’t mean we have to use them, you know.

(10:32 am) Nah, it’s fine. Just something I gotta get used to, I guess.

(10:33 am) Besides, there’s tons of names I could call you still, right kitty?

(10:34 am) Ladybug!

(10:34 am) Chaton.

(10:35 am) Okay that one isn’t that bad.

(10:35 am) Hello Kitty. Katy Purry. Oprah Whisker.

(10:36 am) Oh my god, you cat-punned people’s names!

(10:37 am) Wanna hear my favorite?

(10:37 am) Shoot.

(10:38 am) Hairy Potter.

(10:39 am) How dare.

(10:40 am) LOL, oh my god!

(10:42 am) You dare tarnish the name of the great Harry Potter to a ridiculous cat nickname.

(10:43 am) Whatever. You could’ve named Plagg a pun like Lucifurr, and you missed your chance.

(10:44 am) How dare you drag my cat into this.

(10:45 am) Oh bite me, Chat Noir.

(10:46 am) Rude ass.

(10:48 am) You know you appreciate the puns.

(10:49 am) I do, I really do.

(10:50 am) So what’re you up to today? Working for your dad still?

(10:52 am) Nah, I got off early today. Dad didn’t need me for much, so I’ve just been playing around on the piano

(10:55 am) Oh that’s right! I forgot you played piano!

(10:56 am) Know anything good?

(10:58 am) I’ve been playing for over half my life. I sure hope I’ve picked up something in that time that might appease people.

(10:59 am) What do you know that might appease me?

(11:01 am) Dunno, bug. What do you like?

(11:02 am) Anything, I guess? Electronic or classical. I can kind of do anything.

(11:03 am) Hmm… Well for the most part I play my own stuff.

(11:05 am) Really?!

(11:07 am) Yeah. I’ve been composing my own pieces for a couple years now.

(11:08 am) Are you any good?

(11:09 am) I don’t know? I’ve never really shown anyone.

(11:10 am) You should. I’m sure they’re great, Chat Noir.

(11:11 am) I’ll take your word for it, bug.

(11:12 am) I’m sure there’s a lot of people who’d want to hear your stuff. Seriously, you should try it sometime. I know I would.

(11:14 am) You wanna hear me play?

(11:15 am) Yeah, if you wanna share? I don’t know, we could do it over a phone call or you can leave me a voicemail or sometime? I’d love to hear your stuff.

(11:16 am) …I’ll keep that in mind then.

(11:17 am) Question though: do you have any extracurricular hobbies aside from fashion? And designing? And burning water with your amazing cooking skills?

(11:18 am) Okay 1) rude, 2) this job with Gabriel kind of takes up all the time I had to do things like hobbies, and 3) yeah, I guess? I dunno, I’m really good at Netflix. Like I’m an Olympian at this point.

(11:19 am) Oh my god, Ladybug.

(11:21 am) It’s true! Oh, gardening! I love plants, and I’m really good at… not killing them. I’ve got a huge garden on my balcony.

(11:22 am) Ooooh. What’s your favorite flower, Ladybug?

(11:24 am) I love peonies. They’re so pretty.

(11:25 am) God, that’s perfect for you.

(11:26 am) What do you mean?

(11:28 am) I mean, if I had to pick a flower to represent you, I would totally pick a peony. I don’t know; they just fit you, I guess? Pink, pretty, and simple.

(11:30 am) Er… thanks I guess?

(11:32 am) No, I just mean… Like if I had a mental image of you as a flower, it’d be a peony.

(11:33 am) Okay, Chat Noir.

(11:34 am) Are you just saying that to get me to shut up?

(11:35 am) Man, it’s like you know me?!

(11:35 am) But what about you?

(11:36 am) What about me?

(11:37 am) What’s your favorite flower.

(11:38 am) Oh! Poppies!

(11:39 am) …I can see that too.

(11:40 am) Oh my god, I can totally see it. You’re… I guess poppies make me think of quirky, colorful people.

(11:41 am) Yeah?

(11:43 am) And you’re definitely quirky.

(11:44 am) You know you love me, Ladybug.

(11:45 am) That I do, kitty cat.

(11:46 am) Permission to outlaw that nickname.

(11:48 am) Uhm, permission not granted?!

(11:50 am) Rude ass.

(11:51 am) You know you love me.

(11:53 am) Shut up, bug.

 

*

 

February 13th—Monday (1:32 pm)

 

(1:32 pm) Okay, dude, I gotta tell you something, get this off my chest else I might die.

(1:33 pm) …Did you kill someone?

(1:34 pm) What the fuck? No, Adrien.

(1:34 pm) I’m slightly concerned about your sudden fixation on serial killers and murder these last few weeks. Should I be worried?

(1:36 pm) Nah, it’s just a passing fancy.

(1:39 pm) …What?

(1:41 pm) Just… shut up, Nino. What do you want?

(1:43 pm) If I knew who your Lady Friend was, would you want me to tell you?

(1:44 pm) I mean, I might just tell you anyway because I’m tired of living in a Hallmark movie, Adrien.

(1:45 pm) Besides, then you guys can meet and stuff? You know, like hang out and go to dinner and on dates and stuff? Like real people? Not this weird ass pen pal thing you guys got going on.

(1:48 pm) Adrien?

(1:49 pm) No.

(1:50 pm) What?

(1:52 pm) No. I don’t wanna…

(1:53 pm) How did you even find out who she is?

(1:55 pm) It was… surprisingly easy. Like it’s scary how simple that was.

(1:57 pm) …I don’t even wanna know.

(1:59 pm) About how I found out? Or about her?

(2:00 pm) Both? I don’t know!

(2:01 pm) Wait, so you don’t wanna know who she is?

(2:02 pm) NO!

(2:02 pm) What’s your problem, man?

(2:08 pm) Well 1) It’s not your secret to tell! And 2) You keep butting into my life, and I’m tired of it. I listened to you before and called her, and I asked for her real name. I’ve done all this, but I’m not ready to go farther, okay?

(2:10 pm) I don’t understand. What’s the problem with knowing who she is?

(2:13 pm) Look, Nino, I know you don’t like this, but I’m happy where we are right now. She’s a friend, and we’re still getting to know each other.

(2:15 pm) So? Knowing who she is makes her real, dude.

(2:18 pm) That’s my problem!

(2:19 pm) What?

(2:23 pm) I like how it is right now. Real people are fucking messy, and I don’t wanna deal with that right now. Things are finally working out for me, and I don’t wanna mess that up.

(2:25 pm) Man, you must really like her.

(2:28 pm) I do. She’s a good friend.

(2:28 pm) Maybe mooorree than a friend? ;)

(2:29 pm) No.

(2:30 pm) I’m just trying to help, Adrien. You squeal and pine every time you text her.

(2:38 pm) Look, I’m just getting over what happened with Lila. Like I’m in a place where I’m happy and comfortable, but you keep pushing, and things are already going so fast. Can you just trust me to do this my way? I like talking to Ladybug, and maybe I just don’t wanna change that.

(2:41 pm) I say this with love, but you’re weird, Adrien.

(2:43 pm) Nino.

(2:45 pm) But yeah, fine. I understand.

(2:47 pm) Just let it go. Please.

(2:48 pm) Fine.

(2:50 pm) Thank you.

 

*

 

February 13th—Monday (3:01 pm)

 

(3:01 pm) So Adrien doesn’t wanna know who Ladybug really is.

(3:03 pm) He absolutely refuses to listen to me.

(3:07 pm) Nino, I told you not to tell him!

(3:09 pm) I didn’t! I offered him the OPTION of knowing, but he turned me down.

(3:10 pm) I don’t know why? Like I’m always right, so I don’t know why he won’t listen to me.

(3:12 pm) Did you tell Mari yet?

(3:14 pm) No, and I’m not gonna.

(3:15 pm) Alya, why can’t you be on my team for once?

(3:17 pm) Look, this isn’t our business.

(3:18 pm) That’s what Adrien said.

(3:19 pm) And Adrien is right.

(3:20 pm) Hisssss.

(3:22 pm) Look, I’m just saying to let Mari and Adrien live their lives, babe. They’ll work it out someday.

(3:25 pm) But the pining.

(3:27 pm) Welcome to the Hallmark movie, Nino.

(3:28 pm) I hate you.

(3:29 pm) Just leave Ladybug and Chat Noir alone. I want you to promise me that you’ll stop trying to set them up.

(3:30 pm) Fine.

(3:31 pm) I hate you. I’m not talking to you anymore. From here on out, prepare for the Silent Treatment.

(3:32 pm) Good.

(3:52 pm) You know, I didn’t say anything about not setting MARINETTE and ADRIEN up together.

(3:56 pm) Silent treatment is over. Tell me everything.

 

*

 

February 14th—Tuesday (11:31 pm)

 

(11:31 pm) Do you ever think that maybe we should stop texting?

(11:35 pm) What do you mean?

(11:36 pm) Wow, I can’t believe you’re up.

(11:37 pm) Yeah, surprise, your insomnia is rubbing off on me. Back to your question though. What do you mean?

(11:39 pm) I mean, do you think this texting thing is a good idea?

(11:40 pm) Well… I mean… Yeah?

(11:41 pm) I mean, we’re friends. And you talk to your friends.

(11:42 pm) But talking is all we do.

(11:44 pm) Well, that’s what people do?

(11:45 pm) They do other things.

(11:47 pm) What’s wrong with talking?

(11:48 pm) No, actually, what’s wrong with you?

(11:53 pm) Nothing’s wrong with me.

(11:57 pm) Yes, there is. You’ve been acting weird for a while. First, you called me.

(11:58 pm) Nino called you. I told you that.

(12:02 am) Fine, then you got weird about calling me. Then you wanted to know my real name. And now you’re being weird about us texting each other.

(12:04 am) I dunno. I just feel weird.

(12:07 am) Well don’t. If you don’t want to text me, that’s fine. This isn’t an obligation. This is a friendship. I don’t expect anything from you. I just like having you around, and that includes talking to you.

(12:08 am) Oh.

(12:10 am) Look, I don’t know what your problem is, but I’m here if you want to talk, I’ve told you this.

(12:12 am) You’ve also told me I’m bad at talking.

(12:15 am) You’re my friend, Chat Noir. We’ve been talking every day for weeks. If you weren’t good at talking, I wouldn’t still be texting you. I would’ve told you to stop and leave me alone. But I didn’t. Because I like you, you’re my silly little friend, and I like having you around.

(12:18 am) I guess I’m just… People tell me that I’m crazy for texting someone I don’t know.

(12:19 am) But you do know me.

(12:20 am) You don’t need to see me in real life to know me. You know everything that matters.

(12:22 am) I guess I do.

(12:23 am) If you don’t wanna text anymore, I’ll leave. I’ll stop. Like I said, it’s not an obligation.

(12:24 am) I’m also sorry if I did anything to upset you.

(12:25 am) No, you didn’t! You didn’t!

(12:27 am) Then what’s going on, chaton?

(12:29 am) My best friend is just… I don’t know. He’s like trying to set us up. Keeps pushing me to meet you.

(12:30 am) …That’s funny. My best friend’s trying to do the same with me.

(12:31 am) Really?

(12:32 am) Oh yeah. Keeps talking about wrong numbers and destiny are tied together. Like we’re “meant to be.”

(12:34 am) That’s crazy.

(12:35 am) Of course it is. I mean, why can’t we just text each other and be good friends? And not have best friends interfering with our affairs?

(12:37 am) I mean, we don’t even have feelings for each other, right?

(12:39 am) Yeah, of course not. That’s crazy.

(12:40 am) Yeah.

(12:43 am) We’re just two normal people texting a friend. And it doesn’t matter if we ever decide to meet or anything.

(12:45 am) And it’s no one else’s business what we do.

(12:49 am) Exactly.

(12:55 am) So, write anything good on the piano lately?

(12:57 am) Oh, uhm yeah… Been staring at this rainstorm and messing around with some notes actually.

(12:58 am) Isn’t this storm weird?

(12:59 am) Yeah, it’s February in Paris. Where’s the snow?

(1:02 am) I mean, I’m not arguing. Snow means no jogging.

(1:04 am) Unseasonably warm weather means no parkas.

(1:07 am) I always wear parkas. It makes Plagg feel better if he’s not the only fat one on our walks.

(1:10 am) I just spit my water across the table.

(1:11 am) Glad I could brighten your day.

(1:12 am) I can’t handle you, seriously. The things you do for your cat.

(1:14 am) I don’t do it for him. The parkas for my benefit. More layers he had to cut through to scratch me.

(1:17 am) You need to be nicer to Plagg, Chat Noir. He needs love and affection, and you aren’t giving him any.

(1:20 am) Fine, how about this. Next time I’m on vacation, you can take Plagg and babysit and give him all the love and attention you think he deserves.

(1:21 am) I happily accept.

(1:23 am) How’s the little monster right now?

(1:25 am)

(1:25 am) Sweet dreams and all that jazz.

(1:27 am) Sorry, excuse me.

(1:28 am) Are you okay?

(1:28 am) No, my heart is literally melting and I can’t stop screaming.

(1:29 am) I know your weakness, Ladybug.

(1:31 am) Cute cats.

(1:33 am) I was gonna say sleep, but sure.

(1:35 am) Oh fuck, it’s almost 2 am. I need to sleep.

(1:37 am) Fuck, yeah, I might as well try too.

(1:39 am) I guess I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Sleep well.

(1:40 am) You too, bugaboo.

 

 

 

(1:42 am) So we’re okay then?

(1:47 am) Yeah, bug, we are.

(1:47 am) Thanks.

(1:48 am) What’re friends for, Chat Noir?

Chapter Text

February 17th—Friday (3:13 pm)

 

(3:13 pm) If you had to describe me in two words, what would it be?

(3:18 pm) Little shit.

(3:19 pm) Chat Noir!

(3:20 pm) I’m sorry, did you want me to lie or tell the truth?

(3:22 pm) The truth, you stupid cat!

(3:23 pm) Fine. Big shit.

(3:25 pm) Why the fuck did I even ask you?

(3:26 pm) I don’t know. What are you asking me for? In fact, what are you even asking me about?

(3:28 pm) Well if you’re gonna be a dick about it, I’m not telling you.

(3:30 pm) Okay I promise to be nice for like ten seconds.

(3:32 pm) Ten minutes or the deal is off.

(3:33 pm) Fine. I’ll be nice for a little bit longer.

(3:35 pm) Good, okay so Alya came over during my lunch break and showed me some mixer she wants me to go to.

(3:36 pm) Like… a dating mixer?

(3:37 pm) Speed dating or something, so yeah, she had a little questionnaire for me to fill out and stuff, and that’s one of the questions I’ve been stuck on.

(3:39 pm) That’s funny.

(3:42 pm) So you ever think about dating again?

(3:43 pm) What do you mean?

(3:44 pm) I mean after Lila? You two were together for like two years, yeah?

(3:47 pm) Are you telling me I should get back into dating?

(3:51 pm) No, I’m just asking if you’ve thought about it. I don’t expect you to jump right into it. That’d be stupid. Two years is a long time, you know? Can’t get over someone in a few weeks.

(3:55 pm) It’s funny, you’re the first person to tell me that.

(3:56 pm) Everyone expects me to be okay and just get over it already. Just jump right back into the dating game and find someone else.

(3:58 pm) Maybe I don’t want to find someone else. Maybe I just…

(4:01 pm) What?

(4:02 pm) Maybe I just wanna find myself first.

(4:02 pm) That sounds stupid, doesn’t it?

(4:03 pm) No, it doesn’t. It sounds perfectly normal, to be honest. We all need to find ourselves at some point, and you need take whatever time you need, Chat Noir.

(4:05 pm) Thanks, bug.

(4:06 pm) Anyway, enough angst for today. Tell me about your dating life.

(4:08 pm) What’s there to say? It’s nonexistent.

(4:09 pm) Oh, come on, Ladybug! I’m sure there’s someone out there you’ve got your eye on.

(4:11 pm) There’s someone, but they don’t even notice me.

(4:11 pm) It’s like I’m fifteen all over again.

(4:13 pm) Oh my god, don’t be like that, bug. I’m sure if you went up and asked that pretty girl or guy out, they’d have to say yes. You’re a catch, and anyone would be lucky to date you.

(4:14 pm) I wish you were right, Chat Noir.

(4:15 pm) I usually am.

(4:15 pm) Seriously, bug, you’re gorgeous and great and wonderful, okay? Don’t think bad about yourself, please.

(4:17 pm) You’re too much right now.

(4:18 pm) I’m serious!

(4:19 pm) So am I!

(4:19 pm) You don’t even know what I look like!

(4:20 pm) Well there’s a reason for that. And besides, personality outshines anything, right? That’s all that matters.

(4:21 pm) Oh my god, Chat Noir.

(4:22 pm) I mean, look, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing what you look like. I’m just saying that, while you’re gorgeous, what’s on the outside isn’t the most important thing.

(4:23 pm) …Are you asking for a picture?

(4:24 pm) I mean, like I said, I wouldn’t be opposed to knowing what you look like.

(4:25 pm) You know what I look like. We did this like the first week.

(4:26 pm) I meant in real life, Ladybug! I’m a curious cat, so you can’t kill me for wondering.

(4:27 pm) Fine.

(4:27 pm) I’ll send you a selfie if you send me one of you.

(4:28 pm) …What?

(4:29 pm) Fair trade, right, Chat Noir?

(4:30 pm) You play dirty, bugaboo.

(4:31 pm) You know what they say. Curiosity killed the cat.

(4:33 pm) Yes, but satisfaction brought it back.

(4:35 pm) So… is that a yes for a picture?

(4:37 pm) Wait, you actually wanna do this?

(4:38 pm) Share pictures?

(4:39 pm) I just…

(4:40 pm) Look, I’ll give you the standard, “If you’re uncomfortable, we don’t have to,” but to be honest, Chat Noir, you’re the one who asked.

(4:41 pm) There is a fine line between asking and implying. Maybe you should learn it.

(4:43 pm) There’s also a fine line between being a scaredy cat and bullshit. You crossed it.

(4:46 pm) …Fine.

(4:50 pm) Really, kitty, if you don’t want too, that’s fine.

(4:51 pm) Okay.

(4:53 pm) I’m just going to automatically assume you’re a creeper though.

(4:55 pm) No! No! That’s not why. It’s just….

(4:55 pm) Remember how I said I used to be a model?

(4:56 pm) Yeah?

(4:57 pm) I was a big model. I’m afraid you’ll recognize me.

(4:58 pm) Size doesn’t matter, Chat Noir.

(5:01 pm) Not like that, and you know it, Ladybug!

(5:03 pm) I know, I know, I’m just messing with you. Besides, pictures can wait. I’m off work, and I look like something the cat dragged in.

(5:04 pm) Good job, Plagg.

(5:05 pm) Chat Noir! Be nice to your fucking cat.

(5:05 pm) You think he’s so nice, Ladybug, but I’m telling you he’s a little shit.

(5:08 pm) As you’ve said multiple times by now. I’m beginning to wonder if you just make it up for sympathy. I’m sure he’s a perfectly trained house cat.

(5:09 pm) Perfectly spoiled, you mean.

(5:10 pm) You are his owner, so ergo you are sort of responsible for that?

(5:11 pm) Ladybug!

(5:12 pm) I guess you really do make your own demons.

(5:13 pm) I hate you.

(5:14 pm) You love me ;)

(5:15 pm) So have you decided what to write for your mixer thing?

(5:18 pm) Still clueless.

(5:19 pm) Tell me something I don’t know.

(5:21 pm) Chat Noir!

(5:21 pm) Now I see why your cat hates you!

(5:24 pm) Okay. Rude.

(5:25 pm) You owe me a cat halter to apologize.

(5:27 pm) You ask too much, kitty cat.

(5:29 pm) You’re such a little shit.

(5:31 pm) Please. I’m unbelievably sweet.

(5:34 pm) More like beautifully bitter.

(5:36 pm) …I like that.

(5:37 pm) …I’m glad?

(5:39 pm) No, I’m gonna put that as my mixer thing.

(5:41 pm) Beautifully bitter. Perfect. All the girls and guys will love it.

(5:45 pm) Oh, bug, what am I gonna do with you?

 

*

 

February 19th—Sunday (9:42 pm)

 

(9:42 pm) Finally, bed!

(9:45 pm) Yeah, beds are nice, aren’t they? So fluffy, warm, and perfect for when you’re sleeping until SOMEONE wakes you up.

(9:47 pm) Sorry. I can leave you alone.

(9:49 pm) Nah, it’s fine. What’s up, Chat Noir?

(9:51 pm) Nothing, really. I was just bored and looking for someone to talk to. You were the first person to come to mind.

(9:53 pm) Well, I’m honored, kitty.

(9:56 pm) How was your day?

(9:57 pm) Long and tiring. I swear, I have knots in muscles I didn’t even know existed.

(10:01 pm) Sounds like you need a day at the spa.

(10:03 pm) Seriously. I want a masochist to just… let loose on me. How much are those? Like just a spa day in general. I deserve it.

(10:05 pm) Masochist?

(10:07 pm) The… er, massage person?

(10:08 pm) Did you mean: masseuse?

(10:12 pm) No, it’s spelled like… masochist or something?

(10:14 pm) Oh dear.

(10:14 pm) No, Ladybug.

(10:14 pm) No.

(10:14 pm) It really isn’t.

(10:15 pm) Masoosist?

(10:15 pm) Masseuse.

(10:16 pm) Whatever. It’s just weird spelling.

(10:18 pm) Weirder than masochist?

(10:18 pm) I’m laughing so hard right now, oh my god, bug.

(10:20 pm) What?! I can’t spell, and autocorrect isn’t helping.

(10:21 pm) It’s masseuse. Ladybug, oh my god.

(10:23 pm) I swear it’s like masoosist. Or masochist. Whatever: masoosist/masochist. Same thing, really.

(10:24 pm) No, it’s not! It’s really not. “I want a masochist to like go to town on me” is no where close to a nice, relaxing afternoon at the spa, Ladybug!

(10:25 pm) I was close.

(10:27 pm) I’m in literal tears. Oh you were so off, bug, oh god.

(10:28 pm) A masochist is someone who obtains pleasure from receiving punishment.

(10:31 pm) ….I’m going to bed.

(10:33 pm) Ladybug! I can’t.

(10:38 pm) I’m not talking about this anymore. Goodnight.

(10:39 pm) Oh god I love you, Ladybug.

 

*

February 20th—Monday (7:22 pm)

 

(7:22 pm) Ladybug, I have a dilemma.

(7:24 pm) Worse than my masochist issue?

(7:26 pm) What’s up? Got the bat signal out?

(7:33 pm) This isn’t funny. Plagg’s missing.

(7:35 pm) Oh my god, I’m so sorry, what happened?

(7:38 pm) I don’t know? I was bringing the groceries in, and I left the door open. He’s never run out before, and he just bolted as soon as he got the chance. I only left it open for a minute!

(7:40 pm) Is he still in the apartment?

(7:42 pm) This was three hours ago.

(7:42 pm) Ladybug, I don’t know what to do.

(7:44 pm) Maybe you shouldn’t have been so mean to him.

(7:45 pm) Ladybug, this isn’t the time for jokes. He’s missing, and I’m panicking.

(7:46 pm) Okay, okay, I’m sorry! I was just trying to get you to laugh, but obviously that isn’t going to work.

(7:49 pm) What gave you that idea?

(7:55 pm) Have you found him yet?

(7:59 pm) No! I’m in the park. We live right next to it, and we’re always here for walks and stuff, and I’m hoping he just decided to hide here.

(8:04 pm) I don’t know what to do, bug.

(8:05 pm) I can’t find him. I don’t know where he is.

(8:06 pm) What if I lost him? What if something happened to him?

(8:11 pm) Ladybug?

 

 

(8:15 pm) What park are you at?

(8:16 pm) Jardin Atlantique.

(8:17 pm) Why?

(8:19 pm) I’m on my way. Hold on, Chat Noir.

Chapter Text

 

Marinette
Adrien
Nino

February 20th—Monday (8:30 pm)

 

(8:30 pm) Okay, I’m here. Where are you?

(8:31 pm) Stuck in a tree.

(8:31 pm) What?

(8:32 pm) I thought I saw Plagg in a tree, so I climbed it.

(8:32 pm) Did you find anything?

(8:32 pm) Not really. I only found out that I can’t parkour.

(8:33 pm) Guess you aren’t cat in everything you do.

(8:34 pm) Are you on the west side? By the benches on the other side of the fountain?

(8:35 pm) Next to the lamps, yeah.

(8:35 pm) Did you happen to bring a ladder by chance?

(8:36 pm) No, just a mask. Hold on, I’ll be there in a sec.

(8:37 pm) ….A mask?

 

“…Chat Noir?” The voice is quiet and hesitant, like its unsure of who its speaking to. It nearly startles Adrien from his perilous position perched between two tree branches and sends him hurtling to his death. Slowly turning towards the voice, he narrows his eyes through the darkness, trying to catch sight of the person below.

And then he realizes there’s only one person who calls him Chat Noir—only his Ladybug.

“Ladybug?” he asks, poking his head through the barren branches, green eyes wide with surprise. “Is that you?”

He can’t even begin to believe it, but she said she was coming, and somehow… she did?

In the light of the streetlight, she steps forward, clad in a pair of black yoga pants and a pink hoodie. Black hair gathered at the nape of her neck in a messy bun, loose strands framing her face, she looks so different from what Adrien expected. If he had to be honest, Ladybug looks like she rolled out of bed the moment he sent his first text, and in a way, the thought warms his heart. The prospect that he could actually mean something to her, that she’d drop everything on a dime and come to his rescue, really, really matters to him.

“Chat Noir?” Head tilted in confusion, she peers up at him with piercing blue eyes… surrounded by a red and black-spotted mask.

Oh, Adrien thinks. That’s what she meant.

“Yeah,” he sighs, ducking his head in shame. “It’s me.”

A laugh spills from her mouth into the space between them. “How’d you get up there, you silly cat?”

“Not sure,” he quips in response.

“How’re you gonna get back down then?”

“Still not sure.”

Ladybug shakes her head. “Well you better figure that part out soon. Can't rescue Plagg and you.”

“I’ll try. Meanwhile, what’s with the mask?” He cocks his head to the side, an easy smile stretching across his face. Adrien isn’t sure she can see it in the darkness; he’s currently shrouded in the shadow from the branches, only visible from the bright neon converses he favors and worn white jacket. “Planning to rob someone? Going on a killing spree? Need to protect your identity and all that?”

Ladybug bristles at his comments, crossing her arms against her chest. “No, stupid. It’s for you.”

There’s a short beat of silence as Adrien shimmies down the tree, hooking an arm over the top branch and scooting forward until his legs dangle over empty air. It doesn’t look like a long way down, perhaps six feet or so, but it’s still taller than him.

“Do you need help?” she asks, stepping forward to assess his situation better.

However, with a quick gulp, he drops without warning, swinging to the side and flying through the air. On impact, he braces himself and rolls head over heels until he’s in a mangled pile in front of Ladybug.

Ow,” he murmurs, laying on his back and staring up at the night sky above them. His back and shoulders throb with each passing second, and he knows there’s going to be bruises for days. Nonetheless, he props himself on shaky elbows and flashes Ladybug a bright smile. “I got down!”

(Ladybug has a hand splayed over her face with surprise, mouth open in disbelief because how could this stupid idiot just fall from a tree. Even though she doesn’t say it aloud, Adrien knows she’s definitely thinking it.)

“I can’t believe you did that,” she tells him, stunned.

“Neither can I,” he replies, dumbfounded. Usually heights aren’t a thing he’s completely comfortable with, so the fact that he just jumped without preparation says a lot. “What can I say, bug? You give me strength.”

“Are you okay?” Brows quirked high, she’s worried, concern painted across her face.

“Never better,” he lies, pretty sure that his pelvis might be fractured, very sure his pride is. Oh well, at least he can still move.

“Glad to hear it.”

Silence lingers for a short moment, and it’s nearly enough o strangle him. Adrien swallows a thick lump in his throat, searching for the right words to thank her for coming, for being concerned enough about his stupid, fucking cat to drop whatever she was doing, and for just… being there.

But all that comes out is, “I can’t believe it’s you.”

A soft giggle slips into the space between them, and he decides that her laughter is the best thing he’s ever heard. “No problem,” she says, “I wanted to help.”

Pursing her lips in a thin line, she still tosses him a bit of cloth so that it falls into his lap. Picking it up, Adrien fingers the edge of the fabric—some kind of leather from the feel of it—and raises it up to the yellow glow of the lamplight. It’s a mask, all black and sharp angles, with green stitching around the edge. Thin green ribbons hang from the sides, used to fix the mask around his head, and the whole thing looks sleek and simple.

Unlike many masks he’s seen before in the fashion industry, it’s different from what he’s expecting from a Gabriel designer. It’s neither a Mardi Gras or masquerade design—more along the lines of a superhero.

A superhero.

Adrien recalls a time almost a week ago, when they were fumbling around for their real names, with their real identities just out of grasp: “Ladybug and Chat Noir, superheroes. I’d rock a mask, Ladybug.” He also remembers that she’d wanted to design costumes based on his stupid joke, just a silly little thing he’d mentioned in passing, and yet…

Here she is—mask and all. His Ladybug.

“You finished them,” he says, voice awestruck.

Ladybug ducks her head once in a quick nod. “I told you I was working on them.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t actually think you’d do it.”

A short bark of laughter falls from her lips, and Ladybug covers her mouth. “Go ahead, try it on,” she tells him between splayed fingers, trying to hide her own smile. “I completely guessed on your measurements, used some standard size. Let me know if I have to redo it.”

With trembling fingers, he drops the hood of his sweatshirt, fixing the mask on his face and fastening it in back. It fits perfectly—but from what he’d knows, he isn’t surprised. Something had told him that Ladybug was talented, and this just proves it beyond his wildest imaginations.

“How’s it feel?” she asks hesitantly.

“Perfect,” he tells her.

They stand their for a moment, trapped in each other’s orbit, neither breaking eye contact as they take in the person who’d been a mystery for so long. It’s dark and the moon is hidden in low cloud cover, but some stars still peak out. The only light comes from the streetlights perched on the curb of the park walkway, blanketing them both in a muted yellow glow, that reminds Adrien faintly of a pale sunrise.

When he’d imagined their first meeting, this isn’t exactly what he had planned: a missing cat, superhero masks, and two strangers who were both too scared to speak.

“So what’s with the masks?” he finally asks because Ladybug is right as his innate curiosity always gets the best of him. Curiosity might eventually kill this cat after all. “Not that I’m arguing, because they’re really cool, and they look nice, but—“

Ladybug shoves both her hands in her front hoodie pocket, shrugging halfheartedly when his inquisitive eyes fall back on her own and the mask that covers them. “It was for you,” she says again. “You said you were afraid I’d recognize you if I saw you, and you didn’t even want to send me a selfie, so I thought… If we were going to meet tonight, I wanted to make sure you were as comfortable as possible.”

It’s Adrien’s turn to stare at her in awe, having lost his ability to even breathe or think, and can’t help wondering how fate managed to work its magic and put them on each other’s paths. He needs to find a way to thank Destiny… and probably the alcohol gods for giving Ladybug his number in the first place.

“Thank you,” is all he can manage, and somehow, that’s all that’s needed.

Ladybug only smiles, so soft and so bright, even in the muted lamplight, and that’s a sign from the universe that this… this is what’s supposed to happen.

 

*

 

February 20th—Monday (8:54 pm)

 

(8:54 pm) Any sign of Plagg yet?

(8:56 pm) No, I walked all the way to the street. I don’t see anything.

(8:57 pm) What am I gonna do, bug?

(8:58 pm) Just calm down, we’ll find him, Chat Noir.

 

They split up, much to Adrien’s disappointment, but because Ladybug assures him that two people searching is better than a group. It covers more ground and allows them to span out faster, searching in places Plagg might find before he has a chance to run away. Regardless, Adrien appreciates the sentiment.

As much as he’s wanted to meet Ladybug, amidst his fears and insecurities, Plagg is still missing, and it feels like there’s a hole in his heart. No matter how much air he chokes down, nothing can fill it, and the worry is beginning to hurt, like a cold, distant ache in his chest. He wants nothing more than to find his cat and talk more with Ladybug.

He fumbles with his phone in his pocket, waiting to here the answering buzz from Ladybug that means she found Plagg. The worry is starting to eat him alive. “Come on, Plagg,” he murmurs under his breath. “Where are you, you stupid cat?”

He thinks about texting Nino to come help, but he knows his friend will be completely inconsolable if he learns that Ladybug is here. Even though he apparently knows who she really is, and the thought that his friend knows more about his Ladybug brews a sore taste in his mouth. He can’t be sure what it means, because it’s definitely not jealously—there’s no reason for him to be jealous of Nino and Ladybug. At the end of the day, regardless of what Nino knows, Ladybug is still his wrong number and still his friend.

So Adrien doesn’t text Nino. He’s not in the mood to deal with his best friend’s antics right now.

Checking under park benches, peering between the barren branches of surrounding trees, he wonders where Plagg could be. What if he’s passed him? What if he’s missed him? What if Plagg isn’t even in this park? The idea is a stone in the pit of stomach, and it’s one he’s not ready to face just yet. The park is the last place on his list of places that Plagg could have disappeared to, and if the cat isn’t here, it’s going to be a long day of waiting by the phone and missing posters. It’s not something he wants to turn to just yet.

The park and his phone remain silent.

Adrien doesn’t know what to think.

 

*

 

February 20th—Monday (9:12 pm)

 

(9:12 pm) I don’t think he’s here, bug.

(9:14 pm) Don’t say that. We haven’t checked everywhere yet. I’m heading to the north side now. There’s a few bushes and hot dog vendors over here. Maybe he smelled some old food.

(9:16 pm) Plagg doesn’t eat hot dogs, Ladybug. He’s fat because he eats cheese.

(9:17 pm) Look, it doesn’t hurt to check. Why don’t you look along the street side by the parking lot?

(9:19 pm) If you’re sure.

(9:20 pm) Don’t doubt me just yet, Chat Noir.

 

Marinette has searched high and low, but there’s no sign of Plagg just yet.

She can sense Chat Noir’s growing anxiety from a block away, in every word in his texts, in the very smiles he flashed her when they first met earlier that night. As much as he complains about his cat, she doesn’t think that the concept of losing him every fully hit, and now that he’s facing it, it’s nearly unbearable. A prickle of fear slivers into her own head—what if it was Tikki missing? That’s not something she’s comfortable thinking about either.

It’s been over four hours since Chat Noir said he’d lost his cat, and she doesn’t know where else to look. The vendor stands are closed up for the night, propped along the sidewalks in long strips and multi-colored umbrellas perched atop. She wonders if the cat could have crawled under there for a moment before she decides that the space is too small for the size of the cat in the pictures she’s seen. Besides, Plagg seems like he’d be the kind of animal to love wide open spaces anyway.

“Plagg!” she calls out hesitantly, unsure if he’d even respond. Plagg has never heard her voice before, so why would he come out to a stranger?

She reaches into her hoodie pocket and withdraws the pack of string cheese she’d brought along with her, having grabbed it from her fridge as she bolted out the door. It had been a crazy idea in the first place, but she recalls Chat Noir telling her how much Plagg adored cheese, and she figures that it can’t hurt to try.

So she walks through a dark park with a stick of cheese, mindful of the handful of people still meandering about, and feels completely stupid.

But it’s funny, she realizes, because prior to January and meeting Chat Noir, she never imagined shed find herself in this position. Searching the park aimlessly for the cat of someone she’d never met, donning a mask to protect her identity because her new friend is shy and scared, and she’s feels completely stupid about it but she’s absolutely fine with it too. While she’d never seen it coming, Chat Noir has become someone who matters to her, so there’s nothing to stop her from helping look for his stupid cat.

It scares her sometimes, how easily this silly man has slipped into her life. He’s one of her closest friends, even if they’ve never “officially” met, face-to-face and had a long, meaningful conversation that wasn’t over a phone or with masks. The entire situation is a whirlwind of chaos and emotion, of happy accidents and missed opportunities, where they stumble through the same problems that others do as they craft a shaky friendship, sometimes making mistakes and other times saying just the right thing. But in the end, it’s worth it. The entire ordeal—with a wrong number and an unlikely friendship—is worth it.

Marinette clenches the string cheese tighter in her fist. Yeah, she tells herself again, it’s scary.

Suddenly, a blur leaps into her line of sight—straight for her—and nearly bowls her over. Her heart pangs in her chest, stuttering as she tries to catch her breath, and wraps her arms awkwardly around the cat that leapt off the nearest vending stand. It’s huge and black, with bright green eyes, and a handsy front paw reaching for the string cheese in her hand.

“Oh my god,” she says to no one in particular, because it’s not like Plagg can understand her. “Chat Noir’s right. You really are fat.”

 

*

February 20th—Monday (9:24 pm)

 

(9:24 pm) I found him.

(9:24 pm) He’s here, Adrien. I got him.

(9:25 pm) What?! Are you sure?!

(9:26 pm) Is it really Plagg? Where are you?

(9:27 pm) Meet me back at the fountain.

 

Adrien’s running for her. Skipping over curbs, dashing through the tree line, he sees the black cat in her arms, happily munching on a stick of string cheese, and his heart is leaping out of his throat. It’s Plagg, the closer he gets he can clearly see, it’s his stupid ass cat.

Ladybug found him.

“Plagg!” He reaches forward and grabs the stupid cat from Ladybug, hugging him close to his own chest, and he can’t stop shaking. “Plagg, oh you stupid… Oh my fucking god, I can’t believe…”

“He’s okay,” Ladybug murmurs, shoving her hands back in her hoodie pocket. “He was over by the vending stands, but he came out right when I unwrapped some cheese.”

“Oh, you fatty,” he mumbles into Plagg’s soft fur, refusing to cry in relief until he’s in the safety of his apartment. “Of course you’d come for the cheese.”

Ladybug inches forward, tucking her fingers in the crook of Plagg’s neck, and gives him a few scratches. The little fucker melts into her touch, leaning close and sniffing her fingertips where the scent of cheese is still strong. In the soft light, Ladybug smiles, full of teeth and relief, and Adrien wants to pull her close and have her touch him—

And… whoa, where the fuck had that come from?!

“T-Thank you,” he finally says once he’s managed to get his heart and emotions back under control. “I… I can’t thank you enough. You have no idea. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d lost him.”

Ladybug only nods in understanding. “I think I do. I’d be the same way if I lost Tikki.”

“Yeah, tonight was crazy.” Adrien can’t even find the right words. “It’s not something I’d like to repeat.”

“Losing Plagg?” she asks after a moment. “Or meeting me?”

Adrien blinks, meeting her blue and grey freckled eyes with an incredulous stare, and for a second, he can’t make sense of the world. Where did Ladybug even get that idea from?

“O-Of course I’m happy to meet you,” he tells her, voice high and shaky. “I’m not saying it wasn’t nice to see you tonight! Like I am so excited and happy that you came, and maybe next time, it’d be nice to see you with a little more skin, you know?” He gestures towards the mask on her face, and there’s a long silence before alarm bells start ringing in his head.

“W-What?” Ladybug’s eyes are wide.

“B-By skin, I meant without the mask!” he cries out, trying to salvage his original statement, but it’s already too late. The situation is lost as Ladybug explodes in a carnage of broken laughter and gasps.

“I-I can’t believe…” She’s laughing too hard and can’t even get the words out. “More skin?”

Adrien’s face is heating up—he can feel his cheeks burning in mortification. “L-Ladybug, I didn’t mean—”

“Oh, no,” she says, eyes glittering with unshed tears. “I know what you meant, but god, I can’t… Oh that’s perfect.” She gives him a playful shove on the shoulder, positively glowing. It’s amazing how beautiful she becomes when she’s happy, Adrien thinks, lost in the moment. “I knew you were bad at talking.”

“Okay, okay, touche.” He holds Plagg tighter to hide the blush overtaking him. “I’ll agree this one time.”

Still giggling, Ladybug opens her mouth to respond, but then there’s a sharp ringing that cuts through the air, and it’s Ladybug’s phone. She rolls her eyes, sighing as she swipes across the screen and ducks around to answer the call.

“Hello? Yeah, Alya, yeah… I’m at the park.” She shoots him an apologetic look over her shoulder. “No, I didn’t finish it… Well, I had some other things to take care of that are more important…. Trust me, my love life isn’t that important.”

A shiver of icy coldness slips down his spine. He doesn’t know why.

Adrien can’t hear the other person on the other end, only catching bits and pieces of Ladybug’s conversation, until it’s finally over. By then, Plagg has settled in his arms, the cheese long gone, and Ladybug is hanging up with a pensive expression stretched across her face.

“Sorry,” she says, shaking her head. “That was my friend.”

“They call you this late?”

“A lot of people do,” Ladybug tells him, “Because my friends don't believe in beauty sleep.”

“Not like you need it,” he quips absently, still petting Plagg. He pauses once he realizes his comments, and wonders if it’s to late to start digging his own grave. Either way, he’s doing a pretty good job of it tonight.

Ladybug flashes him a smile and sighs. “Yeah, so I guess... I better get going…” She trails off, staring at him and Plagg, as if she really doesn’t want to leave at all. “Unless you need anything else?”

“Thank you,” he says, and Adrien can’t even tell her enough. “I owe you.”

“Just put it on my tab, Chat Noir,” she responds with a wink, quick and cute, and his heart is banging against his rib cage, trying to get out. He swallows it back down. “I guess…. I’ll be seeing you?”

“Yeah, sometime, right?”

Lips pressed thin, Ladybug nods in agreement. “Sometime,” she answers, and that’s that.

As quickly as she came, she turns to leave, pink hoodie and all. Adrien wonders if he should stop her as his inner Nino screams in his ear, before her life takes over, precedence over preference, and takes her back to her job at Gabriel and friends and love life that he’s not a part of—(despite how much he wants to be, even if he’ll never admit it).

“I’m… I’m really stupid,” he tells Plagg, watching her leave. He pets the cat between the ears, feeling the reverberating purr against his fingers. “We’re quite a pair, aren’t we?”

(That's what he is. He's a stupid ass cat who has a tendency to let the best thing that ever happened to him walk away.)

Then, the words slip out before he can stop himself: "Hey, Ladybug!"

She turns on her heel, blue eyes wide behind her mask, brow furrowed in confusion. "Yeah?" she asks hesitantly because he'd all but screamed to her after saying goodbye... (and he realizes, quickly and embarrassingly, that he never actually said goodbye). 

"Do you...?" He trails off, hand rubbing the back of his neck as anxiety bubbles in the pit of his stomach. "It's getting cold, you know, and..."

She looks at him, head cocked, and a small smile on her face, like she knows a secret he isn't privy too yet. "Yes, it is. Winter has that effect on things, you know."

"Uhm, what I mean is... Do you want to come back to my apartment?" he stammers out, cheeks red again, but this time he doesn't regret it. "For a cup of coffee or something?"

There's silence.

And then: 

"Yes," Ladybug tells him. "That sounds wonderful."

God, he is stupid.

 

*

 

February 20th—Monday (10:31 pm)

 

(10:31 pm) I’m an idiot.

(10:33 pm) Tell me something I don’t know.

(10:34 pm) God… You won’t believe what's happening right now.

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien

Nino

Alya

 

February 20th—Monday (10:46 pm)

 

(10:46 pm) Alya, are you still awake?

(10:47 pm) Alya! Turn your phone on, damn it!

(10:49 pm) Oh are you fucking kidding me? The one time you decide to go to sleep early, and my boy is losing his mind.

(10:53 pm) Are you fucking kidding me? Alya, where the fuck are you? 

(10:55 pm) Jesus fuck, Al.

(10:59 pm) Just so that you can hit yourself when you wake up and realized you missed this: Adrien and Mari met up tonight.

(11:00 pm) To find Adrien’s stupid cat. In masks.

(11:02 pm) They’re now sitting in his apartment, drinking coffee and eating biscuits like it’s a Sunday fucking brunch, and still won’t tell each other who they are.

(11:04 pm) I’m collectively losing my shit.

(11:05 pm) This has been a PSA.

(11:05 pm) PSA: Please Save Adrien.

 

 

It’s going a little something like this: 

For all intents and purposes, Adrien doesn’t plan out his evening well. Most of the time, he comes home after work or school, curls up on the couch with a bag of chips and Plagg in his lap, and pretends that the rest of the world doesn’t exist. Sometimes Nino joins him later on, and at some point homework is done, but for the most part, he spends his night passing time.

This is how he spends his night with Ladybug: 

After they come back to his apartment, he reintroduces Plagg to the couch where the little fur-ball plops down on his cushion like nothing had ever happened. Ladybug, on the other hand, is entranced the moment she enters, standing in the doorway with wide eyes and a slack-jaw expression, almost like she can’t believe she’s here. In a way, Adrien feels the same—he can’t believe she’s here either.

“So this… is your apartment,” Ladybug states, voice low and rough with disbelief, as eyes skitter over the pale, green walls and plush white carpeting, the hardwood floors that extend from the kitchen to the dining room, and the leather furniture strewn in the main living quarters. “This is…  some apartment.” 

Adrien shrugs, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. “Well, it’s mine,” he says, voice cracking. “And it’s home, I guess.” 

“Well it’s beautiful,” she tells him, eyes warm but still so wide, as they scan the walls, shelves, counters, spaces, etc. Honestly, Adrien’s feeling a little worried now, concerned that his apartment isn’t as spick and span as he originally assumed when he invited her over. “Seriously, you’ve got some taste." 

“Actually, most of it is my father’s taste.” Adrien ambles over to the kitchen to make some coffee, casting her an apologetic glance over his shoulder. “He bought it and the furniture, so he got decorating duty too. I just pay rent for it.”

“It’s still yours,” she tells him, a bright, blinding smile stretching out across her face, and Adrien tries not to get lost in it. “Does he visit a lot?”

“My father?” Adrien shakes his head, chuckles slipping from his lips as easily as breath, because the idea of his father ever taking an interest in his life that didn’t involve fashion or school is something he finds so ridiculous that it’s actually hilarious. “No, he never stops by.”

Ladybug laughs helplessly, like there’s nothing else she can do, and honestly, what could she say? She couldn’t exactly apologize for his father’s tendency toward absence, only stand there in his apartment and wonder what the implications of his father’s antics meant for him. Regardless, the awkward tension in the room still hangs heavy between them, and Adrien is desperate to change it.

He nods towards the kitchen once Ladybug’s eyes find him again. “Want some of the coffee I promised?”

“Sure,” she says, her gaze falling away for the second time that night, towards the bare walls and shelves. “But I’m more a tea person if you’ve got any.” 

“Of course, sweet tea,” he tells her with a wink and turns on his heel, face already flaming hot as the pun he used hits him full-throttle. He really shouldn’t have done that.

“…Sweet tea?” she asks him, because of course she will.

“It’d sound better over text.” Adrien flushes—from the tips of his ears to the nape of his neck. “And considering texting is like 80% of our relationship, you shouldn’t expect anything else.” 

“I think I’d be twice as exasperated if it was over text.” She hops onto the bar stool Adrien leads her towards, legs wrapping around the black iron and holding tight to the counter. “So, if texting is only 80% of our relationship, what’s the other 20%?”

“Coffee shops and bakeries,” he says. 

Still shaking with nerves, Adrien lets the mechanics of his morning routine fuel him, messing with the coffee pot to brew himself some of the good stuff to help him get through this evening, while also reaching for a tea bag and coffee mug to prepare Ladybug’s beverage. As he prepares their drinks, he tries not to think about a lot of things—like the fact that Ladybug is in his home, how they’re still wearing these stupid masks like scared strangers afraid of their own shadows, and how he still doesn’t want to take his off.

By the time the coffee is ready, and the tea is set, Ladybug has retrieved Plagg from his chosen throne on the couch and has him settled in her lap, lazily scratching his neck while the stupid cat purrs against her chest.

“Thanks,” she tells him, one hand on Plagg, and the other wrapping around the warm mug of tea, her fingers touching his cool ones—just for a second—then he lets go and she takes her drink for a sip. She hums in appreciation, enjoying the tea, and he tries to get his heart to calm down, hand still tingling from where she’d touched him. 

It’s easy to lose himself in Ladybug’s presence, to fall when he has a mask to protect him. It’s easy to pretend that they’re still strangers even though she’s in his apartment, drinking from his mug, and petting his cat. It’s so easy, so tempting, but it’s not something he can do. Regardless of what Nino told him, Adrien isn’t sure if he can let go and let Ladybug into his life just yet, but he can’t go on thinking that Ladybug is stranger he just met—she’s somehow wormed into his life, become someone who matters, and he just can’t pretend she isn’t important to him.

(Because she is. For some reason, this girl is someone important, his friend, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.)

“So, excuse me if I’m being too personal,” Ladybug begins, blue eyes shuttering behind her mask, “But I noticed that you don’t have any pictures.”

Ah, he realizes, that’s what she was looking for. Going back to the first few moments in his apartment, he recalls Ladybug scanning the walls for some sign of who he is or anyone who might be in his life. Part of him wants to be angry about her invading his privacy, but so far they’d been playing this game by his rules. He asked about calling her first, asked for her name first, asked for a picture first. If she’s a curious cat every once and a while, who is he to judge?

Adrien shakes his head. “I’m not exactly a fan of pictures.” He withdraws his phone from his back pocket, shaking it to get her attention. “Most of it is on here. What do you want to see my pictures for anyway?” 

Ladybug’s smile comes too late, forced and thin. “To see you.” Blush staining the apples of her cheeks, she ducks her head. “I’m sorry, I know it’s weird, I just—“ 

It occurs to Adrien, for the first time, that he might not be the only one who can sense the awkward tension between them, and it’s funny because Ladybug is quickly becoming the one of the people he’s the most comfortable around. To hide from her, even though he’s scared, suddenly seems stupid. Hands drift to the back of the mask on his face, and he hesitates. He’s still scared, still too afraid to take it off, so he leaves it… and he knows that Ladybug will be okay with it.

“Well,” he says instead, putting his own coffee mug down on the counter, and spreads his arms out to the side. “Here I am. Take a good look.” 

She blushes even harder. “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.” 

“Of course, bugaboo, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna tell you.”

“Oh my god,” she groans, resting her head on the countertop. “That’s even worse than over your text messages.” 

Adrien can’t help it. Shoulders shaking, he throws his head back and starts laughing at her because he still can’t believe that this is real, that she is here, and she’s staying. “What do you mean? You love those nicknames!”

Eyes crinkling from her own amusement, Ladybug leans forward and says, “Bugaboo is not something someone would ever admit to liking.”

“Neither is kitty, but you still call me that,” he retorts.

Having broken the ice, the two immediately begin to converse about their little things—the nicknames, the stupid origin of Ladybug and Chat Noir, of ladybug rocks and photogenic Plagg, and Adrien can’t remember a time he felt so happy to simply spend his night with an amazing girl. 

It reminds him of the early days of his and Lila’s relationship, back when they were two teenagers fumbling through life together, before reality crashed in and changed things. It’s one of his favorite memories of falling in love, that carefree blissfulness that overtakes you when you know that you’ve met someone truly special, and his heart throbs at the thought.

Because… what does that mean about Ladybug?

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (12:57 am)

 

(12:57 am) Are you still up?

(1:03 am) Why the fuck are you texting me at one in the fucking morning, Nino?

(1:05 am) Because I’m living vicariously through you, man.

(1:05 am) You have a girlfriend.

(1:07 am) And you don’t, ergo, you need my help.

(1:08 am) What do you want, Nino?

(1:08 am) If this is about me and Ladybug, I’m not having this conversation again.

(1:11 am) It’s not.

(1:11 am) But just for the record, I’m putting $100 down on you and Ladybug getting together by the end of April.

(1:13 am) I’m not taking that bet.

(1:14 am) Why? Because you think it’ll be earlier? Or later?

(1:15 am) No, because it’s stupid.

(1:17 am) You can cast judgement all you want, but do you accept my challenge, Adrien Agreste?

(1:19 am) Are you fucking kidding me?

(1:20 am) Fine. I’ll take your stupid bet.

(1:23 am) So is she still there?

(1:24 am) Yes.

(1:24 am) And no, I didn’t sleep with her.

(1:25 am) Shame. I would.

(1:26 am) NINO!

(1:27 am) I meant if she was Alya.

(1:28 am) I would only sleep with Alya.

(1:28 am) Because Alya is my girlfriend who I love very much.

(1:29 am) …I’m screenshotting this conversation and saving it.

(1:29 am) Thanks, man, I needed new blackmail material.

(1:30 am) Dude, Adrien, my man, I thought we were bros.

(1:31 am) We are bros.

(1:32 am) And bros collect receipts on other bros.

(1:32 am) I’m pretty sure it’s in the bro code somewhere.

(1:34 am) Nah, no, I’m pretty sure there isn’t.

(1:37 am) Nino, you literally bought me the trilogy for my birthday a few years ago.

(1:38 am) I have no recollection of this particular incident.

(1:41 am) Hold on.

(1:41 am) Lemme find the pic.

(1:42 am) 

(1:42 am) See?

(1:45 am) Nino?

(1:47 am) … I have some recollection of this particular incident.

(1:47 am) I was very drunk.

(1:48 am) Yes, you were.

 

 

(2:12 am) Did you fall asleep yet?

(2:13 am) Is she still there?

(2:15 am) Yeah, she’s sleeping. I don’t wanna wake her up, so I think she’s staying the night.

(2:17 am) Is she in your bed?

(2:18 am) No, she fell asleep on my couch with my fucking cat.

(2:19 am) We were watching Harry Potter.

(2:21 am) Adrien, I can’t believe this.

(2:22 am) I know. Of course Plagg fucking loves her.

(2:24 am) …Oh, Adrien.

(2:24 am) What?

(2:25 am) I meant the Harry Potter thing.

(2:29 am) Hey, Harry Potter is a prime spectacle of entertainment and will be forever remembered by humankind as the greatest phenomenon we’ve ever seen. Spanning generations, people will pass down the books as ancient pieces of literature, and JK Rowling will be heralded as a goddess among man.

(2:31 am) I forgot.

(2:32 am) Shame on you.

(2:33 am) …For fuck’s sake, Adrien.

(2:35 am) What?!

(2:36 am) Just… go enjoy your lady, Adrien. Enjoy the rest of your night.

(2:38 am) You too. Night, Nino. And she’s not my lady.

(2:40 am) You say that now, Adrien, but someday she will be. Just you watch.

 

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (9:01 am)

 

(9:01 am) Alya.

(9:03 am) Alya, please pick up, I need you.

(9:14 am) Sorry, I have like 50,000 messages I need to look through. What’s wrong?

(9:15 am) I did something stupid.

(9:16 am) Hold on, are you okay? What’s wrong?

(9:17 am) I’m at Chat Noir’s house. I fell asleep last night.

(9:18 am) Wait, you two hooked up last night?

(9:21 am) No! No! He lost his cat, and I went out to help look for it, and then he invited me over for coffee.

(9:22 am) Look, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I’m standing in his kitchen, he’s still sleeping, and I don’t know what to do. I already called into work, but now I'm just standing here awkwardly.

(9:24 am) What do you need?

(9:25 am) Alya, how do you make an omelet?

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (9:31 am)

 

(9:31 am) Our friends are lovesick idiots.

(9:32 am) Masks, Nino? They’re wearing fucking masks?

(9:33 am) I know.

(9:33 am) And Marinette still can’t recognize her childhood crush with a fucking mask on?

(9:34 am) I know.

(9:36 am) They are the most oblivious people…

(9:37 am) This is why they need our help.

(9:39 am) Are we still on for the mixer in a couple weeks?

(9:41 am) Yeah, the Dupain-Chengs said they’d cater in.

(9:43 am) Okay, so we got the room, the food, now all we need is the people.

(9:44 am) I hope this works, Nino.

(9:45 am) It’s gonna be fine, babe. Don’t you worry. By this time in a couple weeks, Marinette and Adrien will be in love and together like we all know they should be.

(9:46 am) Don’t jinx it.

(9:48 am) I promise you, Alya, absolutely nothing will go wrong. Absolutely nothing.

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (10:00 am)

 

(10:00 am) Nino, I think she’s trying to murder me.

(10:00 am) 

(10:02 am) Oh sweet mother of Jesus, what is that monstrosity?

(10:03 am) An omelet. She wanted to make me breakfast as a thank you.

(10:05 am) That’s not breakfast, Adrien, that’s the Last Supper.

(10:05 am) Your Last Supper.

(10:06 am) I’m gonan die. I actually did bring a serial killer back to my house.

(10:08 am) Go gently into the good light, my dude.

(10:08 am) Amen.

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (10:20 am)

 

(10:20 am) Actually, it’s not that bad?

(10:20 am) Oh sweet Jesus, you mean you ate that thing?

(10:22 am) It tastes a little bit like tofu? I dunno. It was weird, but it was good.

(10:25 am) When you die, can I have your apartment?

(10:36 am) Adrien?

(10:41 am) Whelp, that was fun.

 

*

 

February 21st—Tuesday (11:07 am)

 

(11:07 am) Alya.

(11:08 am) Alya!

(11:09 am) Oh shit, please help.

(11:10 am) What’s wrong?

(11:11 am) I think I’m in love.

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Nino
Alya

February 22nd—Wednesday (10:17 am)

 

(10:17 am) Hey, how’re you feeling?

(10:19 am) I think the food poisoning is gone, if that’s what you mean.

(10:22 am) Again, I’m so sorry my omelette made you so sick.

(10:23 am) Hey, don’t worry about it, bug. You did your best.

(10:24 am) At almost killing you?

(10:26 am) …Thanks for proving to me that the serial killer thing wasn’t just a joke.

(10:27 am) Chat Noir!

(10:30 am) I can’t help it, Ladybug. You’re a masochist, what can I do?

(10:31 am) Fuck that! Chat Noir, it was just a stupid typo.

(10:34 am) Ah, yes, but may I remind you of the first text you ever sent me? Telling me how you planned to make Gabriel Agreste cry?

(10:35 am) That doesn’t prove anything!

(10:36 am) Just that you take pleasure in the pain and suffering from your boss.

(10:38 am) …I hate you.

(10:39 am) You love me, bugaboo. Don’t lie.

(10:41 am) Oh, go eat an omelette.

(10:44 am) I already popped that cherry. Not interested in doing it again.

(10:45 am) I can’t believe you. I can’t believe I was even worried about you.

(10:46 am) Aw, you do care.

(10:48 am) I’m turning my phone off now.

(10:49 am) Laddyybbuuggg.

(10:53 am) Ladybug?

(10:59 am) Well, I’ll be damned. She actually did.

 

*

February 22nd—Wednesday (11:12 am)

 

(11:12 am) Are you still at his house?

(11:17 am) What? Alya, no, I left yesterday morning?

(11:19 am) Well, I wasn’t sure. You confess your love, and I expected a marriage announcement by the end of the day.

(11:22 am) Alya, I just… I just met him like over a month ago.

(11:23 am) You talk everyday though right?

(11:23 am) I mean you’ve met the guy. You rescued his cat.

(11:24 am) Then he invited you over coffee.

(11:25 am) That’s how it works in the movies. Boy and girl meet and fall in love over cats and coffee.

(11:27 am) What does that have to do with anything? You and I always play with my cat and have coffee. Are you telling me that we should be dating? Engaged? Married?

(11:28 am) Depends.

(11:28 am) Do I get free cupcakes for life is I say yes?

(11:29 am) Alya!

(11:31 am) Look, I’m just saying that you’re obviously head over heels for this guy. I mean, you made him a mask because he was scared of telling you who he really is? Like most people wouldn’t go to those lengths if it wasn’t someone they cared about.

(11:34 am) What does it matter? He was scared of me finding out who he is. Who can blame him? For as much as he jokes, I actually could be a serial killer. If anything, I’d say he’s being smart.

(11:35 am) That’s a lie, and you know it.

(11:36 pm) Sometimes you need to just take a chance. You know how he feels, you know what secrets he wants to keep, but obviously he still wants you in his life.

(11:36 pm) I know.

(11:37 am) Then why can’t you admit how you feel about him?

(11:37 am) Because he’s my friend, and I don’t wanna make things awkward.

(11:38 am) You don’t have to. Take baby steps. Learn each other first, get to know each other even better. Then tell him.

(11:40 am) You don’t understand.

(11:42 am) He keeps telling me about how people expect him to get back into dating already after he broke up with his girlfriend of like two years? And I told him that he needs to take the time to be okay again. He doesn’t need me to confess my crush to him.

(11:42 am) He wants to find himself first, Alya. I can’t interfere with that?

(11:43 am) You’re a good person, Mari.

(11:44 am) Adrien’s lucky to have a friend like you.

(11:46 am) Thanks.

(11:57 am) Wait, when did I tell you his name?

 

*

February 22nd—Wednesday (12:23 pm)

 

(12:23 pm) Is this Nino?

(12:27 pm) Er… yes?

(12:27 pm) Who’s this?

(12:30 pm) Marinette. I was just wondering if Alya was with you?

(12:35 pm) Nino?

(12:35 pm) I’m Alya’s friend? We met at lunch?

(12:44 pm) Nino!

(12:47 pm) New phone, who dis?

(12:48 pm) Nino.

(12:50 pm) Nino!

(12:57 pm) Sorry, no hablo English.

(1:01 pm) Nino!

(1:02 pm) You can’t hide her forever.

 

*

February 22nd—Wednesday (1:05 pm)

 

(1:05 pm) I have run through our entire text conversations for the last month, Alya, and I never once mentioned Chat Noir’s real name.

(1:06 pm) What’s going on?

(1:07 pm) Alya, you tit, answer me.

(1:10 pm) I don’t know what you’re talking about.

(1:12 pm) Yes, you damn well do, and don’t you dare lie to me.

(1:12 pm) How did you know his name was Adrien?

(1:14 pm) Was it Nino?

(1:16 pm) Adrien mentioned he had a friend named Nino. I thought it was just a coincidence, but now I’m beginning to think it’s not.

(1:18 pm) New phone, who dis?

(1:21 pm) Alya!

 

*

 

February 22nd—Wednesday (1:30 pm)

 

(1:30 pm) What should I have engraved on my tombstone?

(1:32 pm) I don’t know. I’m still trying to find out if I need to order one for me too.

(1:33 pm) If Adrien told Mari about me, what’s to say she’s not gonna tell him about this now that she knows?

(1:35 pm) Look… we don’t know that she knows anything. If we leave her in the dark, we should be okay.

(1:36 pm) …Oh god, Nino, we’re gonna die.

(1:38 pm) Dying? Oh no, no, no, no, babe. This was your plan; I wanted to tell them, but you wanted to play matchmaker instead.

(1:41 pm) If you don’t think you’re in deep water with me, then you got another thing coming, babe.

(1:43 pm) Please don’t kill me. I love you.

(1:45 pm) What’re we gonna do? What do we tell her?

(1:46 pm) The truth? I don’t know. What’s the most reasonable explanation that won’t turn Marinette into an actual serial killer?

(1:48 pm) I don’t know. Just… lemme handle this. I might have an idea.

(1:49 pm) Please do. She’s your friend and more inclined to murder you first.

(1:51 pm) You won’t have to worry about Marinette if you keep this up. I’ll kill you instead.

(1:53 pm) Please don’t kill me. I love you.

 

*

 

February 22nd—Wednesday (2:00 pm)

 

(2:00 pm) Listen, you can’t be mad at me.

(2:01 pm) What’s going on, Al?

(2:04 pm) I haven’t been entirely honest with you.

(2:05 pm) Yeah, thanks, I got that much.

(2:06 pm) But it’s for your own good.

(2:07 pm) Just tell me what’s going on, and tell me the truth.

(2:08 pm) I know who your Chat Noir text friend is.

(2:10 pm) Like… his real name? Who he is?

(2:11 pm) Yeah, to be honest, it wasn’t that hard to find.

(2:12 pm) Did Nino tell you? Is he Nino’s friend? Is Nino the same Nino that Chat Noir tells me about?

(2:13 pm) No. I’m an investigative journalist, Marinette, I know how to use Google and other resources, remember?

(2:14 pm) I don’t believe you.

(2:17 pm) No, really. Look, when you first started texting him, I was worried about you. So I hacked into your phone and got his number and ran it thorugh some databases I have access too. I found out who he is, where he lives, what he does, where he’s worked… His name… everything.

(2:18 pm) I was worried about you.

(2:19 pm) ….Oh.

(2:20 pm) So you swear, you aren’t lying to me? Nino doesn’t know.

(2:21 pm) I don’t know who your Chat Noir’s Nino is, but he’s certainly not mine. I talk about you to him all the time.

(2:22 pm) Oh.

(2:24 pm) I’m sorry then.

(2:25 pm) I guess I should say thank you then?

(2:27 pm) No problem. Sorry I did it without your permission.

(2:29 pm) It’s okay. You were just worried.

(2:30 pm) So thanks, Alya.

(2:31 pm) No problem, girl. What’re friends for?

 

*

 

February 22nd—Wednesday (2:40 pm)

 

(2:40 pm) Crisis averted. I told her I did some investigating. And that Nino doesn’t know.

(2:41 pm) But… Nino knows. Nino very well does know. Nino is NiKnows. NiKNOWS.

(2:45 pm) I saved us from a murder. You should be thanking me.

(2:46 pm) You’re the one who screwed up in the first place!

(2:47 pm) God damn it, why doesn’t anyone here just be straightforward and honest? It would save so much time and effort.

(2:47 pm) Oh grow up, Nino. Do you want to die?

(2:49 pm) Here lies Nino: death by Hallmark.


*

 

February 22nd—Wednesday (3:01 pm)

 

(3:01 pm) Hey, Nino, why is your girlfriend texting me links to buy tombstones?

(3:03 pm) Jesus fucking Christ, Alya.

 

*

 

February 24th—Friday (3:14 pm)

 

(3:14 pm) So I might have started World War 3 in my Optics class this morning.

(3:17 pm) I thought you had class on Tuesdays and Thursdays?

(3:18 pm) We had a study group today.

(3:20 pm) Oh!

(3:20 pm) So, what chaos did you cause this time?

(3:22 pm) So people were wondering what I did this weekend, and I told them that my friend tried to poison me with an omelette.

(3:24 pm) Chat Noir!

(3:25 pm) So, of course, us being the physics majors we are, we all decided to try to do optics with an omelette. There were diagrams and models. Debates were had, and measurements were taken. Estimates and everything were strewn across the marker board like it was the gospel.

(3:28 pm) ….Isn’t optics like with light and lens?

(3:30 pm) Ladybug, please, that’s not the point.

(3:32 pm) Well what is then?

(3:33 pm) Everything was well and good, we were all enjoying ourselves, until some fucker thought it’d be funny to bring up the schematics of an omelette.

(3:34 pm) Well, that’s good. You need good measurements and estimates to get your answers, right?

(3:36 pm) No, no, here’s the thing, Ladybug. It wasn’t schematics about our hypothetical situation. It was schematics of the fucking spelling of a fucking omelette.

(3:37 pm) Of an omelette?

(3:39 pm) He wanted to spell it omelet.

(3:40 pm) Well, that’s right.

(3:41 pm) And so is omelette. Omelette is like the British version.

(3:43 pm) Yeah, see, we’re a bunch of physics majors, not linguistics, bug.

(3:43 pm) Your point?

(3:45 pm) Naturally, I got upset. I speak three languages, Ladybug, and stupid isn’t one of them.

(3:47 pm) Chat Noir, what did you do?

(3:48 pm) Well I told him that to his face, and then he threw a marker at me. And then the professor got into the debate because she has a background in language apparently?

(3:48 pm) And now there’s a debate between British spelling and other spellings, and somehow people forget we’re a room of French, British, and international students, so does it really matter?

(3:49 pm) And then someone tried to insist that “omelet” is spelled “omlet” with one E.  

(3:51 pm) And now I’m crying in every language I know.

(3:52 pm) So that was my Friday.

(3:53 pm) How was yours?

(3:55 pm) Hmm… pretty boring anyway. Nothing compared to you and your omelet love fest.

(3:55 pm) Sounds fun.

(3:56 pm) What do you expect? I'm single and alone. I don't have exciting adventures.

(3:58 pm) So we’re both single and alone on Friday night, huh?

(3:59 pm) Yeah, guess so.

(4:01 pm) Well, you have me, at least, right?

(4:02 pm) …You’re right, I do…

(4:03 pm) Mhmm.

(4:04 pm) Listen, I have a sudden and crazy idea, but I’m rolling with it. Do you wanna meet up tonight?

(4:05 pm) What?

(4:07 pm) Bring the mask. Meet me in front of this cafe, 6 New York. Seven o’clock? It's a cozy little place; I think you'd like it.

(4:08 pm) What are you up to, bug?                             

(4:09 pm) Let’s just say I’m listening to a friend and taking a chance.

                         

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Nino
Alya

 

February 24th—Friday (5:04 pm)

 

(5:04 pm) Ladybug wants to meet tonight.

(5:06 pm) What? Dude, that’s awesome.

(5:07 pm) I know, right? We’re going to a café for dinner and stuff since we’re both single and bored on a Friday night.

(5:08 pm)

(5:08 pm) What?

(5:09 pm) Lemme get this straight: you’re going to dinner with a girl you have feelings for.

(5:09 pm) I don’t have feelings for her.

(5:10 pm) Sure, you don’t.

(5:10 pm) I don’t.

(5:11 pm) Whatever, you’re a dead man. It was nice knowing you.

(5:12 pm) For fuck’s sake, Nino.

(5:13 pm) I’m guessing you two are wearing those stupid masks again?

(5:14 pm) Yeah, she’s bringing hers.

(5:15 pm) Listen, I know you wanted me to butt out, and I am, I swear, dude. You don’t have to answer this question.

(5:15 pm) What is it?

(5:16 pm) Why do you need to wear the masks?

(5:17 pm) Because I don’t want her to know who I am?

(5:18 pm) That’s a stupid excuse, and you know it, dude.

(5:18 pm) I’ve known you for years. You just don’t want her to get close.

(5:19 pm) Nino, I say this with the utmost kindness, but fuck off.

(5:21 pm) I will, I will. I just want you to do something.

(5:22 pm) If you won’t be honest with me, at least be honest with yourself. You won’t let her get close, and the mask protects you because you’re scared.

(5:23 pm) After all the shit you went through with Lila, believe me, dude, I understand. But you can’t go on pretending that Ladybug is a stranger on your phone. This stopped being about wrong numbers and new friends a long time ago.

(5:24 pm) Now it’s about you and her. She knows your name is Adrien, she’s been to your apartment (and spent the night for fuck’s sake), rescued your cat, and now you two are going on dinner dates.

(5:25 pm) You can deny it all you want, man, but you gotta ask yourself.

(5:26 pm) How close is she already? And how much closer can she get?

 

*

 

February 24th—Friday (5:45 pm)

 

(5:45 pm) I have a question.

(5:47 pm) Yeah? What’s up?

(5:48 pm) You said to bring the mask tonight.

(5:51 pm) Uhm, yeah? I thought I did.

(5:52 pm) Is that something you want?

(5:54 pm) What do you mean?

(5:55 pm) I mean, do you want to wear the mask? Or is it for my benefit?

(5:56 pm) I just want you to be comfortable.

(5:56 pm) Okay.

(5:57 pm) Are you okay?

(5:58 pm) I think I’m okay if we don’t wear the masks tonight.

(5:58 pm) Are you sure?

(5:59 pm) I told you last time that the next time we met, maybe we could do it without the masks.

(5:59 pm) I’m just letting you know that I’m okay with it. With meeting you. Without the masks.

(6:01 pm) Oh.

(6:01 pm) Okay.

(6:01 pm) That sounds cool.

(6:03 pm) Okay.

(6:04 pm) Technically, last time we met you told me to show up with ‘a little more skin’.

(6:05 pm) Ladybug!

(6:06 pm) I guess I’ll see you in an hour then? Without the masks.

(6:07 pm) Okay. Sounds like a plan.

 

*

February 24th—Friday (6:54 pm)

 

(6:54 pm) I’m here.

(6:56 pm) Sorry I’m a little late. My train’s running slow.

(6:58 pm) Don’t rush. Just get here in one piece.

(6:59 pm) You said 6 New York? The little café with the shrimp right?

(7:02 pm) They have other things than shrimp.

(7:03 pm) Look I care about two things in this world: seafood and physics. If they have shrimp, that’s all I’m there for.

(7:04 pm) Aw, you’re not here for my good company?

(7:06 pm) Ha ha ha, Ladybug. Very funny.

(7:06 pm) You know I wanna see you, bug. Beats spending a long, lonely night in my apartment with my cat and Harry Potter.

(7:07 pm) I don’t know. I think that sounds like a pretty good evening, to be honest.

(7:08 pm) What do you know? I was right about you, Ladybug.

(7:09 pm) I’m almost there.

(7:10 pm) Okay, I’m gonna go inside and find a table. See you soon.

(7:11 pm) See ya, Ladybug.

 

Dark skies overhead, the moon kissing the tip of the Paris skyline in a perfect idyllic setting, Marinette approaches the 6 New York and pauses on the threshold, one hand pressed to the cool glass of the front entrance. She peers through the window into café, at the small groups of people already settled inside with fairy lights draped overhead and along the walls, candles with their soft glow dancing across the tabletops, and the soft music that filters through the door, until the glass is fogged from her breath that she needs to pull away.

Steeling herself, Marinette reaches for the doorknob, summoning the courage to press forward, with Alya’s voice lingering in the back of her head, reciting the never-ending mantra take a chance take a chance take a chance. She knows that Chat Noir isn’t ready to date yet, knows he doesn’t think of her like that so what’s the point, knows he wants to keep his identity secret. So why is she pushing the envelope? The fact of the matter, Marinette knows, is that for so long Chat Noir has pushed her for—her name, her voice—so what’s wrong if she pushes back, albeit gently and perhaps a bit more persistent. If she does what Alya suggested, take baby steps and get to know one another, perhaps in due time, Chat Noir will trust her someday. 

Regardless of how she feels though, at the end of the day, all that matters is that she wants Chat Noir in her life, and not just through a series of text messages on her phone screen.

The café she selects is quaint and small, on the edge of the Seine with a picturesque view of the Eiffel Tower out of the wall of windows, and while one might expect it to be crowded on a Friday night, the atmosphere is cozy and quiet with a handful of people scattered across the main area. Marinette opens the door and steps inside, the scent of flavors and spices hanging heavy in the air, and her eyes water at the overwhelming wave, but the whole thing just makes her smile—because it’s cozy and comfortable and exactly what two people who are learning each other need. 

As she scans the room for an open table, the hostess catches her eye. It takes her a moment, a few seconds to register the long, brown hair tied back in a high ponytail with that stupid orange scrunchie, the chocolate eyes that twinkle like she holds a secret that could destroy the world, and the same syrupy smile that can lure anyone to their deaths. The sight, while it would have been unwelcome years back, is now something familiar and draws a warm smile to Marinette’s face.

Lila? she asks because she can’t believe it.   

“Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” Lila Rossi drawls out, her own smile growing wider. “Fancy meeting you here.” 

Marinette only shakes her head and laughs as she locks eyes with the brunette. “Lila, oh my god, what’re you doing here?” It’s been nearly two years since she’d last seen her old classmate, at one of Chloe’s parties before they graduated from the university, and certainly wasn’t expecting to see her again working at a café of all places. 

Lila leans forward on the wooden stand in front of her, arms crossed against her chest. “Working, what’s it look like?”

“I thought you were going into PR,” Marinette says. “Didn’t you get a job with Jagged Stone?”

 Lila only shrugs in response. “Need something else to pay the bills. Picked up this part-time gig a few years back: the pay’s good, the people are nice, and I like it.” Sighing, she pushes herself back up to full height, places her hands on her hips, and cocks her head, becoming the confident and charismatic Lila Rossi that Marinette is familiar with. “What about you, Dupain-Cheng? Chlo said you got an internship with Gabriel Agreste?"

“Oh yeah, I’m actually a designer there now.”

“Well good on you.” Lila’s eyes sparkle with curiosity. “What’s it like working with Gabriel?” 

“As well as you’d expect, he’s pretty… fun…” Marinette tells her, voice trailing off as her phone buzzes in her pocket. Withdrawing the cell from her jacket, she checks the text, lips slipping into a small smile as she sees the notification from Chat Noir.

 

(7:15 pm) Train just pulled in. I’ll be there soon.

 

Quickly typing out a response, she presses send and slips the device back into her jacket, happiness bubbling in the pit of her stomach. A part of her is worried that the plan to get to know Chat Noir more might backfire, but the main part reassures her that things will work out. They’re just Ladybug and Chat Noir, stepping out from behind phone screens and into the real world. 

“Who’s the lucky person that stole your heart?” Lila asks suddenly.

“Oh?” The question jolts her out of her silent reverie and back into the real world. “Oh, no one. He’s just a friend."

Lila shakes her head as a fox’s grin slips onto her face, that sly smile making Marinette’s blood boil because it always spells out NO GOOD whenever Lila gets an idea in her head. “I’ve been in love before, Marinette. I know what it looks like.” 

Marinette quirks an eyebrow high in disbelief. “You can read all that from a text?”

“Oh please,” Lila snorts, shaking her head. “It’s written all over your face.”

Marinette’s cheeks flush with heat, and she ducks her head in embarrassment. “Really, it’s no one,” she tries to deny, but Lila’s smile only grows. She doesn’t believe her.

“And I’m sure you’re just meeting this friend here for a friendly get-together.”

“How do you know I’m meeting him tonight?” Marinette asks. “It could be anyone.”

“Please, Marinette. I’m not stupid.”

Marinette can’t even form a coherent sentence, struck dumb by Lila’s pestering, because she knows that her old friend is right. Chat Noir, even though she likes to insist that there’s nothing more than simple platonic feelings between them, has managed to worm his way inside her heart in a way that not many people can. There’s a select few in her life who matter, people who claw their way in and don’t drift away, like Alya and Chloe, and now Chat Noir is quickly becoming someone on that list.

 And she doesn’t know how it happened, can’t explain it.

Who knew a text message could change anything?

“Honestly,” Marinette finally relents, “right now, he’s just a friend.”

Lila smiles knowingly. “And later?”

“I don’t know,” Marinette says, “Maybe, someday… Something more.”

 

*

February 24th—Friday (7:19 pm)

(7:19 pm) By the way, I found some old Valentine's Day cards at this place, and couldn't decide which one you'd appreciate more since they're fucking great and full of puns.

(7:20 pm) 

(7:21 pm) This one I figured was cute, you know. Has a pun too, so that's more point to it. 

(7:21 pm) But then I found this one.

(7:22 pm) 

(7:23 pm) In my opinion, there's a clear winner here.

 

(7:26 pm) You almost here?

 

February 24th—Friday (7:36 pm)

 

(7:35 pm) Where are you? I thought you said the train got in.

(7:36 pm) It’s a straight shot from the station, Chat Noir.

(7:37 pm) I’m just waiting. I got a table and everything. Text me when you’re close.

 

“You want some more water or something?” Lila asks as she passes by the table, eyes dark with concern, as Marinette places her phone face-down on the table. “Or a drink, like something strong? Because it looks like you’re in for a long night.” 

“I’m fine,” Marinette says, lips pressing into a thin line. “He’s just late, he’ll be here.”

“Okay.” Lila heads back to her post, shaking her head. “Call me when you need something.”

Marinette grabs the nearly empty glass of water and sips, the ice clicking against the sides as she shakes it, and tries to quell her bubbling worry. While she may not have known Chat Noir that long, she knows he would’ve told her if something has happened, so she can only pray that he’s okay and pretend that things are going well. 

Even if they aren’t.

 

*

 

February 24th—Friday (8:06 pm)

 

(8:06 pm) Where the fuck are you?

(8:07 pm) What’s going on?

(8:07 pm) Are you okay, Chat Noir?

 

Marinette stares at her reflection in the glass, the blue lights of the Eiffel Tower blurring in with the white fairy lights of the café. Her own eyes gaze back, wide and worried, and she refuses to be the damsel who waits for the destruction. “Hey, Lila?” she calls, turning to the hostess still poised in front of the entrance. 

“Hmm?” Her friend cast a quick glance over her shoulder, and before Marinette can even respond, she’s moving.

“I’m gonna need that drink now,” she tells her anyway.

Lila can only flash her a firm smile. “Oh girl, coming right up.” She hustles towards the bar, a swing in her hips and a pop in her step. “Hey, Jimmy, need a Between the Sheets. Maybe two. This is gonna be a long night.”

Outside, storm clouds roll in. It’s going to rain soon.

 

*

 

February 24th—Friday (8:17 pm)

 

(8:17 pm) He’s not coming.

(8:19 pm) Adrien?

(8:20 pm) It’s been an hour. He isn’t answering his phone. He’s not coming.

(8:21 pm) I hope nothing happened to him.

(8:22 pm) Did you try calling him?

(8:23 pm) Yeah, he didn’t pick up.

(8:23 pm) I’m sorry. I’m sure he’s okay.

(8:24 pm) I almost hope he’s not.

(8:24 pm) What do you mean by that?

(8:25 pm) Because then he’d have a good reason not to be here. And I don’t wanna face the fact that he said he’d be here and suddenly changed his mind.

(8:26 pm) I’m sorry, hon.

(8:26 pm) I’m gonna give it five more minutes, and then I’m leaving. I hope he’s okay. I’m worried, and I’m sad, and half-way to getting drunk if I keep this up.

(8:27 pm) Be careful, Mari.

(8:27 pm) I’m sorry things didn’t work out.

(8:28 pm) Me too.

 

*

 

February 24th—Friday (8:32 pm)

 

(8:32 pm) I’m leaving.

(8:33 pm) I hope you’re okay.

 

Marinette shoves her phone in her pocket and downs the last of the shot Lila had given her, the bitter taste sharp on her tongue as she tries to pretend that the flush on her cheeks and the tears in her eyes are from the alcohol. Her heart feels heavy in her chest, and her fingers are shaking, and she can’t afford to dwindle on the reasons why Chat Noir never showed up. Lila gazes at her from the podium at the front entrance, a melancholy expression pulling at her lips, and frustration sinks into the of Marinette’s stomach.

She doesn’t want anyone to feel sorry for her.

“You taking off?” Lila asks, cocking her head.

“Yeah,” Marinette says, pulling her jacket as she glances uneasily outside where rain pounds the pavement in the sudden downpour that has drenched the city. “It’s been an hour. There’s no use waiting anymore.”

Lila is quiet for a moment as she stares at her hands, unsure of what else to say. “I’ll be sure to kick his ass if he comes over here." 

Marinette manages a wry smile, shoves her hands in her jacket pockets, and shrugs half-heartedly. “Well, I appreciate that.”

“You gonna be okay?” Lila nudges her with her elbow, drawing a smile from Marinette’s last vestiges of strength.

“About as fine as I can be.” Marinette bites her bottom lip and clenches her hands into tight fists, nails digging into the heels of her palms. “I just hope he’s okay, and that’s about it.”

“And if he is?”

“Then I was stupid and took a chance,” she tells her helplessly, and her heart wants to scream, and a part of her wants to cry, but the rest is just numb. Maybe she doesn’t know Chat Noir as well as well as she thought she did.

“So what’s the loser’s name anyway?” Lila asks.

“Adrien.” The name tastes like the alcohol with a bitter aftertaste.

To her surprise, Lila only snorts, shoulders shaking as she holds back ugly laughter. “Figures.” 

“What’s wrong?” Marinette asks in confusion.

Lila crosses her arms against her chest, eyes falling to the thunderstorm outside, and it’s like everything else disappears. “Adriens don’t exactly have the best track record,” she says, voice heavy. “Figures that this one is following suite.”

“Bad experience?” Marinette guesses. 

Lila shrugs. “Something like that.”

The two stare at the thunderstorm for a moment longer before Marinette takes her leave with a simple flick of her wrist as a goodbye to Lila. As she walks away, the cool breeze whipping her hair back, the corner of her eyes finally prickling with tears, Marinette gives up pretending that everything is alright, that things will be okay, because the fact of the matter is that they aren’t. She’d been expecting her friend to be here, as he said he would, but all he succeeded in doing was adding his name to a long list of people who’ve drifted away, left her life, and hurt her in the end.

She never should’ve gotten her hopes up. 

As she walks, the rain pours, and she’s soaking wet by the time she gets to the train station. When she’s finally loaded into the car, slouching in a seat, and trying to wish her headache away, her phone buzzes in her pocket.

 

(8:46 pm) I’m sorry.

(8:46 pm) Are you okay?

(8:47 pm) I’m fine.

(8:47 pm) Then what the fuck happened?

(8:48 pm) Something came up. I couldn’t make it.

(8:48 pm) And you didn’t think to let me know?

(8:48 pm) I was really busy.

(8:49 pm) It takes less than 10 seconds to shoot me a text that says, “Hey, sorry can’t make it after all. Have a good night. I’m fine, I’m safe, don’t worry, etc, etc, etc.” And you just didn’t.

(8:50 pm) I’m sorry.

(8:51 pm) You can keep saying sorry, but that won’t make up for you being an asshole.

(8:52 pm) What do you want from me?

(8:53 pm) Nothing. That’s the point—it’s always been the point.

(8:55 pm) I’m glad your safe, Chat Noir.

 

If there’s tears on the way home, Marinette pretends not to notice.

There’s no point.

Chapter Text

February 25th—Saturday (9:34 am)

 

(9:34 am) I owe you an apology.

(9:36 am) I’m sorry. I was stupid and scared.

(9:40 am) Please forgive me.

(10:15 am) Ladybug? Are you there?

 

*

 

February 25th—Saturday (3:14 pm)

 

(3:14 pm) I’m sorry, again.

(3:15 pm) You’re right. I was an asshole.

(3:17 pm) Please talk to me, bug.

(4:00 pm) I’m busy, talk to you later.

(6:20 pm) Is now later enough?

(7:28 pm) Ladybug.

 

*

 

February 26th—Sunday (11:23 am)

 

(11:23 am) Will you please talk to me yet?

(11:23 am) Ladybug, I’m sorry.

(11:25 am) I’m busy.

 

*

 

February 27th—Monday (8:20 pm)

 

(8:20 pm) Is this it, then?

(8:21 pm) Is this over?

(8:23 pm) Are we done?

(8:33 pm) I’m sorry, Ladybug, I’m so sorry.

 

*

 

February 28th—Tuesday (6:06 am)

 

(6:06 am) Marinette, please.

 

*

 

February 28th—Tuesday (9:03 am)

 

(9:03 am) He won’t stop texting me, Alya.

(9:04 am) What about?

(9:05 am) He just keeps apologizing.

(9:06 am) At least he’s doing that? Most guys would forget about it and move on.

(9:07 am) He’s different, Alya. He’s always been so different, and that’s why I can’t talk to him.

(9:08 am) I know you said to give him a chance, but I honestly don’t know how I can.

(9:11 am) It hurts too much to try.

(9:14 am) You guys have been through so much, Mari.

(9:15 am) I know.

(9:16 am) I’m not saying you should forgive him because he’s still a dick and an ass, and his behavior was unacceptable, but maybe the least you can do is hear him out?

(9:17 am) Why should I?

(9:18 am) Uhm, because you told me you loved him?

(9:20 am) Not anymore. Not after this.

(9:22 am) Nice try, babe. Trust me, if you didn’t still love him, it wouldn’t hurt as much as it does.

(9:23 am) Call him. Text him. Let him explain, then you can decide whether to leave him or not.

(9:25 am) This is stupid.

(9:26 am) I just thought I knew him, Alya.

(9:27 am) I’m so confused now. I just don’t know what to do.

 

*

 

February 28th—Tuesday (10:13 am)

 

(10:13 am) Hey, Chat Noir.

(10:17 am) Ladybug! You’re okay?!

(10:17 am) Hi.

(10:18 am) And yeah, I’m fine.

(10:18 am) I was worried about you.

(10:20 am) And I was worried about you because you never texted me back.

(10:22 am) Ladybug…

(10:24 am) I already said I’m sorry.

(10:25 am) You haven’t told me what you’re sorry for.

(10:26 am) For ditching you.

(10:29 am) Contrary to popular belief, Adrien, I would’ve been okay if something came up. I would’ve understood. But you, not telling me you weren’t coming and leaving me alone in that stupid café for over an hour, is not something I understand.

(10:31 am) I’m sorry.

(10:33 am) You’re still an asshole.

(10:34 am) I know.

(10:35 am) Where were you??

(10:36 am) Nowhere. Something just came up, and I had to leave.

(10:38 am) I don’t understand. You can’t just tell me you left…

(10:39 am) …Wait.

(10:39 am) …Left? You mean you left the café?

(10:40 am) No, I mean…

(10:40 am) You better be honest with me, and stop feeding me bullshit, Chat Noir.

(10:41 am) Did you get to the café? Did you see me? Did you leave?

(10:42 am) Yes.

(10:42 am) Yes, what?!

(10:43 am) Yes.

(10:43 am) To all of the above.

(10:44 am) I still don’t understand.

(10:48 am) Yes, I got to the café on time. Yes, I saw you standing there in the café, talking to the hostess, and I was going to go in. But I didn’t. I left.

(10:50 am) …Why did you leave?

(10:51 am) Was it me? Did I do something?

(10:52 am) No, it wasn’t. It was me.

(10:52 am) That still doesn’t make any sense.

(10:53 am) I know.

(10:53 am) You know? You know?! YOU KNOW?!

(10:54 am) That’s ALL you’re gonna say to me?

(10:56 am) What more do you want, Marinette?

(10:58 am) How about a real explanation?

(10:59 am) I sat there for more than hour. I didn’t know if you were okay or if something had happened!

(11:00 am) I was worried about you!

(11:02 am) I know, and I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to worry you.

(11:03 am) Well, you did. You did, and I…

(11:05 am) I looked like an idiot sitting there alone. People took pity on me and gave me free alcohol, so I could try to forget that my friend ditched me.

(11:06 am) Hey, free alcohol? That’s a plus!

(11:06 am) No jokes, Chat Noir! No jokes!

(11:07 am) I am so tired of playing these games.

(11:09 am) For weeks, I have given you your space while you poked at mine. Asking for my name, asking me to trust you, asking if you could call me. I have been so patient and let you have your space because you’re my friend, and I want you to be comfortable.

(11:10 am) I know, and I can’t thank you enough.

(11:11 am) You ask for so much, but you never give me anything.

(11:12 am) I know. I’m sorry.

(11:13 am) That’s all you say, but it doesn’t mean anything.

(11:14 am) I don’t know what you want, Marinette.

(11:16 am) Who are you? What’s your name?

(11:16 am) I can’t tell you that.

(11:17 am) That’s bullshit, Adrien.

(11:18 am) All jokes of serial killers and mob lords aside, the fact of the matter is that you don’t trust me. So what if I recognize you? What do you think I’m going to do?

(11:19 am) I don’t know? Treat me differently?

(11:20 am) It’s my secret to keep, Marinette.

(11:22 am) I know, I’ve always known that. That’s my point. I want you to be comfortable around me. That’s why I made the masks, that’s why I’ve respected your need for distance.

(11:23 am) I just want you to be happy. I want you to someday trust me.

(11:24 am) I can’t do this anymore, Adrien.

(11:24 am) This friendship can’t be one-sided.

(11:25 am) It’s not! I’m your friend!

(11:26 am) Then start acting like it.

(11:27 am) Fine. Tell me what you want me to do. I’ll tell you my name, I’ll tell you anything you want.

(11:28 am) All I’ve ever wanted is for you to trust me, and I’m not going to force your hand. I’ve always been okay with waiting because it’s you and you’re my friend, Chat Noir.

(11:29 am) But I’m not gonna do this anymore.

(11:31 am) Lose my number.

(11:32 am) Ladybug, come on.

(11:37 am) Marinette.

(12:02 pm) Marinette, don’t do this, come on.

(1:20 pm) Ladybug!

 

*

 

February 28th—Tuesday (12:03 pm)

 

(12:03 pm) I know you’re on your lunch break, but I need you. Can you please come over?

(12:05 pm) Sure, what’s wrong, girl?

(12:06 pm) It’s over. It’s all over.

(12:07 pm) What is?

(12:08 pm) Ladybug and Chat Noir. Whatever stupid thing we had going on.

(12:09 pm) Hold on, I’m coming over right now. What happened?

(12:11 pm) I told him to lose my number.

(12:12 pm) Oh, Mari…

(12:14 pm) I already regret it. I want him in my life, but he doesn’t trust me.

(12:15 pm) What am I supposed to do if he doesn’t trust me? How can I trust him?

(12:16 pm) I won’t play this stupid game.

(12:17 pm) I’m done with him, Al.

(12:19 pm) Hold on, Marinette, I’m coming.

 

*

 

February 28th—Tuesday (3:20 pm)

 

(3:20 pm) Nino.

(3:20 pm) I fucked up.

(3:23 pm) I’m coming, dude.

 

*

 

March 1st—Wednesday (8:23 am)

 

(8:23 am) I miss her.

(8:24 am) I should’ve told her.

(8:24 am) I’m so stupid, Nino.

(8:27 am) For once, we agree.

(8:30 am) I don’t know what to do.

(8:31 am) Everything reminds me of her. This fucking cat, this stupid omelet I made, the Harry Potter movies.

(8:32 am) I can’t even be in my own apartment right now.

(8:32 am) We weren’t even together. We’re just friends. How fucked up is that?

(8:33 am) I’m coming over.

(8:36 am) Can you bring some breakfast?

(8:38 am) Dude, why? You just made an omelet.

(8:39 am) I burned it.

(8:40 am) What?! You’re like a freaking five-star chef?

(8:41 am) I’m going through a crisis, Nino. My cooking skills should be the least of your worries.

(8:42 am) Oh buddy, if your cooking skills are at risk, then I’ll do anything I can to fix this.

(8:45 am) I’ll get something from my friend’s bakery, okay?

(8:47 am) Please hurry.

(8:48 am) Why? What’s wrong?

(8:49 am) Hmm? Nothing, I’m just hungry.

(8:50 am) Adrien, for fuck’s sake.

(8:51 am) *insert sad puppy eyes*

 

*

 

March 1st—Wednesday (9:01 am)

 

(9:01 am) And this is the part in the Hallmark movie where the couple are sad and heartbroken and it’ll take a moment of whimsical wonder and a first kiss to heal them.

(9:04 am) Go back to sleep, Nino.

(9:06 am) I can’t. Because I’m with Adrien.

(9:07 am) Because none of you would listen to me and now I’m forced to live in a Hallmark movie.

(9:08 am) Now all of you are gonna suffer with me.

Chapter Text

 

Marinette
Adrien
Alya

 

March 1st—Wednesday (10:01 am)

 

(10:01 am) So what’re you up to today?

(10:03 am) I dunno. Crying myself to sleep probably.

(10:04 am) Marinette, you can’t keep this up.

(10:05 am) Everything hurts, Alya.

(10:07 am) I know, girl, but you… I don’t wanna sound mean, but you kind of brought this on yourself this time.

(10:09 am) I don’t want to talk to you anymore.

(10:09 am) You’re just being mean now.

(10:10 am) I know, babe, I’m sorry, but honestly… Like I told you before, I just don’t think you should give this up so easily.

(10:11 am) He doesn’t trust me.

(10:11 am) He doesn’t know you.

(10:12 am) Yes, he does!

(10:12 am) We’re friends!

(10:13 am) I’ve fucking slept over at his apartment.

(10:13 am) I don’t know what else I can do to get him to trust me.

(10:14 am) Listen, I’m going to be brutally honest with you right now.

(10:15 am) Fine.

(10:18 am) You like this boy, Marinette, and you’re willing to throw him away at the first sign of trouble. Even though you really, really like him… Why do you want to give him up so easily?

(10:20 am) You know that’s not my issue about this.

(10:21 am) I know, girl, I know. But seriously, I know he was a dick, but he made a mistake, and so did you.

(10:22 am) Me?

(10:24 am) Yeah, you let him go.

(10:25 am) What’s your point? I’m not gonna waste my time and effort on something where I’m the only one fighting for it.

(10:27 am) Marinette, this friendship thing you two have going on, it’s like any other relationship.

(10:28 am) You both need to be willing.

(10:28 am) You both need to give it the time it needs to build.

(10:29 am) It doesn’t matter.

(10:29 am) He wanted space, so this is me, giving him the space he wants.

(10:29 am) I won’t deal with it anymore.

(10:30 am) When you say you gave him space, who’s definition are you going off of?

(10:31 am) What d’you mean?

(10:32 am) I mean, is your idea of proper space the same as his?

(10:33 am) I don’t understand.

(10:40 am) You told that people are pressuring him about getting back into dating, and you don’t want to do that and that’s why you haven’t told him you like him. That you want to be his friend before anything else, and if he needs the time to do that, then you’re willing to wait.

(10:41 am) So why is this any different? Why did you suddenly stop waiting?

(10:43 am) That’s not why I’m mad.

(10:44 am) I just want to understand.

(10:44 am) From my point of view, my friend stood me up. He got to the café and left when he saw me. How do you think that makes me feel?

(10:47 am) And he won’t even tell me why he left. It’s always “I can’t tell you” with him, and yet I’ve been willing to tell him anything he wants to know. Because he’s my friend, and I want to be his.

(10:52 am) How would you feel if he was in front of you, and I told you to kiss him?

(10:53 am) What?

(10:53 am) If I told you to kiss him, would you?

(10:54 am) No!

(10:54 am) Why not?

(10:55 am) Because…

(10:55 am) I’m not ready for that.

(10:55 am) Not with everything that’s going on.

(10:57 am) That’s my point.

(10:57 am) You aren’t ready.

(10:58 am) I don’t get it.

(10:59 am) If you aren’t ready to kiss him even if you like him, maybe he isn’t ready to tell you everything even if you’re friends?

(11:01 am) But why not?

(11:03 am) That’s not something I can answer. That’s something you need to ask him.

(11:05 am) He won’t tell me!

(11:06 am) Marinette, I told you to talk to him before and hear him out.

(11:09 am) From what you told me about when you talked to him, you weren’t listening. You were mad, and you had a reason to be because what he did was a dick move, but you… You only listened for what you wanted to hear, what you were ready and waiting to hear, and when he told you…. It wasn’t what you wanted.

(11:10 am) So you cut ties before you could get hurt.

(11:11 am) But it does hurt. No matter what I do, it still hurts. Knowing he lied to me, that he left… And that he doesn’t trust me?

(11:12 am) That’s my problem. I can’t get close to someone who won’t let me.

(11:17 am) You told him you had no expectations with this thing going on, right?

(11:20 am) Yeah, I told him it wasn’t an obligation.

(11:21 am) Because it sounds like, even though you didn’t think you did, you have expectations for him: to trust you, to tell you, to be honest, etc, etc.

(11:21 am) And that’s not a bad thing.

(11:22 am) You have expectations even though you didn’t mean to because you care.

(11:23 am) And maybe he isn’t ready to meet them just yet.

(11:24 am) You’re upset and you’re hurt and you lashed out.

(11:24 am) Marinette, girl, you know I love you, but you always do this when things get crazy.

(11:26 am) What do you want me to do?

(11:26 am) You said he has issues, he’s pretty open about them?

(11:27 am) Yeah.

(11:29 am) Give him the benefit of the doubt. Talk to him. Listen to him. Really, really listen to him this time. Then you can decide if it’s a good idea to cut him out of your life.

 

 

(11:29 am) Hey, Al.

(11:29 am) You looked him up. You know who he is.

(11:29 am) Do you trust him?

(11:33 am) Yes.

(11:33 am) 100%.

(11:34 am) Okay.

 

 

 

 

March 2nd—Thursday (12:07 pm)

 

(12:07 pm) Chat Noir, are you there?

(12:08 pm) Adrien, it’s me. It’s Ladybug.

(12:10 pm) I thought you told me to lose your number.

(12:11 pm) …I did.

(12:12 pm) I thought that meant you’d lose my number too.

(12:12 pm) Do you want me to?

(12:13 pm) No, of course, not… I just thought…

(12:14 pm) Besides, even if I deleted your number from my phone, I’d still know it.

(12:14 pm) Really?

(12:15 pm) You memorized a wrong number?

(12:15 pm) What can I say?

(12:16 pm) I guess somewhere along the lines…

(12:16 pm) My wrong number became the right one.

(12:18 pm) Ladybug…

(12:18 pm) I need to apologize.

(12:19 pm) You don’t need to apologize for anything. I was the one who messed up.

(12:20 pm) You’re right. You did mess up.

(12:20 pm) But I did too.

(12:21 pm) I should’ve let you explain. But I was mad. And I didn’t let you.

(12:22 pm) Don’t get me wrong: I’m still really, really mad at you.

(12:23 pm) I don’t expect anything else to be honest.

(12:24 pm) But this last week was so fucking tough, and I… I missed you. I missed talking to my friend.

(12:25 pm) And you are my friend, Chat Noir. And I don’t wanna lose you because of this stupid fucking thing.

(12:26 pm) So I’m sorry I got mad and told you to lose my number.

(12:26 pm) I really didn’t mean it.

(12:27 pm) I know it sounds really fucking sappy, but I still want you in my life. You mean a lot to me.

(12:30 pm) I should’ve told you the truth.

(12:31 pm) …I wish you would have.

(12:32 pm) I think I’m ready now. If you’re willing to listen.

(12:35 pm) I don’t want you to feel like you have to tell me anything. I was just upset when I gave you that ultimatum. There are things I’m not ready for either, and so… I’ll keep waiting, if I have to.

(12:36 pm) Like I said before, you’re my friend, and I want you in my life.

(12:36 pm) I missed you.

(12:37 pm) No. Just stop.

(12:38 pm) Stop what?

(12:39 pm) Stop telling me what you think I want to hear.

(12:40 pm) That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.

(12:42 pm) Look, I messed up. I was scared, and I messed things up. And the only way we’re gonna get past this is if we’re honest with each other.

(12:43 pm) So that means telling me how you really feel.

(12:44 pm) If there’s a problem or I’m being a dick or if things aren’t comfortable for either of us.

(12:47 pm) Okay.

(12:47 pm) Okay.

(12:48 pm) Lemme tell you what happened that night at the café.

(12:49 pm) I promise I’ll listen this time.

(12:50 pm) That’s all I want.

(12:53 pm) So you know I have issues with my ex.

(12:58 pm) Lila and I had broke up over a month ago, but it still hurts. We were together for a long time. Before she broke it off, we were just kind of going through the motions of a relationship, and neither one of us were in love anymore, I guess? It was like we were pretending. Or at least it felt like that. But the more we pretended, the more we hurt each other. I would brush her off, and she’d cling harder. It’s not like we didn’t try to salvage what we had because we’d made it two years so far.

(12:59 pm) Yeah.

(1:03 pm) Even though I didn’t love her anymore, I still cared. I got so caught up in being the boyfriend she wanted that I think I lost myself, which is what I meant when I said I wanted to find myself before I got back into dating.

(1:06 pm) And then suddenly, she’s meeting me for a lunch date and breaks up with me, and I said some things that I shouldn’t have, and she yelled and I screamed, and we made a bit of a scene. It wasn’t a bad break-up, honestly, but we were both so fed up and angry and it just… It came out wrong, and it ended wrong, and we haven’t talked since. It’s like we’re both nursing wounds from it, even now, or at least I am. I don’t know about her. Regardless, I didn’t get the closure I needed, and now I’m scared to get close to anyone again.

(1:08 pm) It’s funny. Like I said, I think we both the saw the break-up coming. But I was still shocked when she ended things.

(1:09 pm) But so that’s that.

(1:10 pm) So you left because you were scared?

(1:11 pm) Of what? Of me? Getting close to me?

(1:12 pm) Kind of.

(1:15 pm) I left because I was just starting to get close to you, and this would’ve been the first time we met face-to-face. You would’ve known who I was, properly and officially, and I would’ve known who you were.

(1:16 pm) I was a mess to begin with that night.

(1:17 pm) And when I got there, and I saw you talking to the hostess, it was just… too much.

(1:18 pm) I couldn’t deal with it.

(1:19 pm) You couldn’t deal with me?

(1:20 pm) And Lila.

(1:21 pm) Lila?

(1:22 pm) Oh shit.

(1:22 pm) Oh fuck.

(1:22 pm) Oh my god.

(1:23 pm) The Hostess Lila is your Lila.

(1:24 pm) Yeah.

(1:25 pm) And I saw you talking to her, and I didn’t know what to think. I just knew it was too soon. And I wasn’t ready to deal with that.

(1:27 pm) I… I know her. She’s an old friend. We went to school together.

(1:27 pm) Oh, wow.

(1:28 pm) It’s a small world, isn’t it, Ladybug?

(1:29 pm) God, if you had come in…

(1:30 pm) Like I said, I couldn’t deal with that.

(1:32 pm) So why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you just text me? I would’ve understood.

(1:33 pm) We could’ve gone to another café or something. Even done something else or postponed the thing?

(1:34 pm) I panicked? I thought, maybe Lila was playing a trick on me or something. To get back at me or something. Maybe she knew you. Maybe you’d known the whole time.

(1:36 pm) No, no, I swear!

(1:37 pm) No, no, bug, I know. I do. I regretted it as soon as I’d thought it.

(1:38 pm) So I didn’t tell you. Because I was scared. And I’m sorry.

(1:38 pm) I’m sorry I left you.

(1:41 pm) I understand. I just wish you would’ve told me.

(1:42 pm) I know, and I’ll do anything I can to make it up to you.

(1:44 pm) The point is, this whole thing made me realize how much I want you in my life. And if that means you need to get close, then fine. I’ll let it happen.

(1:45 pm) That’s all I’ve ever wanted from you, you know?

(1:46 pm) I’ve always felt like I’ve been giving you the space you wanted, and that I wasn’t pushing you to let me in.

(1:47 pm) Because I want you in my life too.

(1:47 pm) But I thought, if you weren’t being honest with me, then that would never happen.

(1:49 pm) I know I said this… thing between us… that it wasn’t an obligation.

(1:50 pm) And that I didn’t have any expectations.

(1:51 pm) But I did. I let you poke and prod and ask me questions and want answers because I wanted that too.

(1:52 pm) But I wanted more than that. I wanted answers from you too.

(1:53 pm) But… now I see you weren’t ready to give them yet. And that’s on me. That’s my fault for pushing you. I shouldn’t have gotten mad that you weren’t ready yet.

(1:54 pm) You never pushed me, Ladybug.

(1:56 pm) Maybe not, but I expected them. And I guess I had a pre-set limit on how long I was willing to wait, and it felt like each day that passed that I didn’t get the answers I wanted, it meant that you didn’t trust me.

(1:57 pm) I didn’t know it meant that you weren’t ready yet.

(1:58 pm) So… where does that leave us?

(2:00 pm) The way I see it, we have two options: 1) From here on out, we be open and honest with each other. Set our limits and expectations. 2) Get out of this thing while we still can and avoid getting hurt again.

(2:01 pm) I don’t want option 2.

(2:02 pm) Neither do I.

(2:02 pm) But, honestly, are you ready for option 1?

(2:03 pm) Option 1 means that we have to be open about who we are and what we want from each other… and open ourselves up to the chance of being hurt.

(2:04 pm) It’s something I’m struggling with, to be honest.

(2:05 pm) When you left me alone at that café and didn’t give me an explanation, I tried to shove you away because I don’t want to get hurt again.

(2:06 pm) I don’t wanna hurt you either. I’m sorry I did.

(2:07 pm) I think… I was just getting over being hurt by someone, and I couldn’t deal with the idea of getting hurt by someone else, someone I genuinely care about, and that’s why I ran.

(2:07 pm) And that’s why I pushed you away.

(2:08 pm) If we’re being honest, that’s a thing with me. I have a tendency to push people away sometimes when things get hard.

(2:09 pm) I admit I should’ve of listened to you. I should’ve known you had a good reason for leaving.

(2:10 pm) I know. Leaving without an explanation was really shitty of me.

(2:11 pm) Oh yeah, totally. You’re still an asshole.

(2:12 pm) But you’re an asshole who’s my friend, and I’m willing to put up with you because for some reason, you’re important to me.

(2:13 pm) Okay then.

(2:14 pm) Let’s be honest.

(2:14 pm) I like you. I messed up, and I ran because I was getting close to you, and I was scared of getting hurt.

(2:15 pm) I like you too. I didn’t listen to your explanation because you are close to me, and I wasn’t going to let you hurt me again.

(2:16 pm) Okay.

(2:16 pm) I guess we’re on the same page then.

(2:17 pm) Not completely?

(2:17 pm) No?

(2:18 pm) I still haven’t told you who I am.

(2:18 pm) I meant what I said before.

(2:19 pm) So do I.

(2:20 pm) Ladybug, my name is Adrien Agreste, and it’s nice to meet you.

(2:21 pm) Nice to meet

(2:21 pm) Wait.

(2:21 pm) Agreste?!

(2:22 pm) AGRESTE?!

(2:23 pm) Yeah.

(2:25 pm) Look, I know we started this whole texting thing with your idea of killing Gabriel Agreste, but that idea doesn’t extend to his son right?

(2:31 pm) You know what, I’m going to just… let you process.

(2:32 pm) See you, bug.

 

 

March 2nd—Thursday (2:25 pm)

 

(2:25 pm) !!!!!

(2:30 pm) You okay, Marinette?

(2:31 pm) !!!!!

(2:32 pm) Marinette?

(2:33 pm) ADRIEN. AGRESTE.

(2:33 pm) AGRESTE.

(2:35 pm) Oh no.

Chapter Text

Nino
Marinette
Alya
Adrien

 

*

 March 6th—Monday (8:18 am)

 

(8:18 am) Send me a picture.

(8:21 am) Good morning to you too, m’lady.

(8:22 am) Yeah, yeah, morning, Chat Noir. Can you send me a pic?

(8:23 am)

(8:25 am) Chat Noir!

(8:26 am) Not of Plagg! Of you, you dumb butt!

(8:27 am) Well you never said.

(8:28 am) You knew what I meant!

(8:29 am) Well you never clarified.

(8:31 am) I’m going to hit you.

(8:33 am) Don’t forget: I know where you live.

(8:34 am) That’s funny.

(8:34 am) Don’t believe me?

(8:35 am) No.

(8:35 am) Don’t tempt me, Frodo. I’ll do it.

(8:36 am) No, I meant it’s funny that you don’t think I didn’t change the locks already.

(8:38 am) Chat Noir! Come on!

(8:39 am) Okay, okay, hold on.

(8:39 am)

(8:40 am) Why is your face covered?

(8:41 am) Cause I’m not exactly decent right now, bug.

(8:42 am) Anyway, what’cha need it for?

(8:50 am) Ladybug?

(8:53 am) Ladybug?

(9:01 am) Uhm… okay, have a good day at work, I guess?

 

*

 

 

March 6th—Monday (8:44 am)

 

(8:44 am) Alya.

(8:44 am) Alya.

(8:45 am) ALYA.

(8:46 am) What, Mari?

(8:47 am) HE SLEEPS IN THE NUDE.

(8:48 am) Oh god.

(8:49 am) THE NUDE.

(8:50 am) Marinette, get ahold of yourself.

(8:51 am) How did you even find this out anyway?

(8:52 am) He sent me a picture.

(8:53 am) Oh my god, are you sexting?

(8:53 am) You’re totally sexting him.

(8:55 am) No! I’m not! I’m just trying to prove he’s actually Adrien Agreste!

(8:56 am) There are other ways to do that, Marinette, that don’t involve him stripping down for you.

(8:56 am) I’m not stripping him!

(8:57 am) But you want too!

(8:58 am) I CAN’T HELP IT IF HE’S ADONIS, ALYA.

(8:59 am) You need help, Mari.

(9:00 am) I do not!

(9:00 am) Seriously though, have you even talked to the guy about it?

(9:01 am) About what?

(9:01 am) About the fact that he’s Adrien Agreste: your celebrity crush, your boss’s son, your texting friend, Chat Noir?

(9:02 am) It just feels like important things you should NOT shove under the rug and pretend don’t exist.

(9:04 am) That’s NOT what I’m doing.

(9:05 am) Really?

(9:07 am) I’m still… processing, I guess. Do you know what it’s like to finally have all the answers to all the questions you wanted to ask? But then to have a million more questions pop up?

(9:09 am) Because honestly, he tells me he’s Adrien Agreste, and suddenly it’s like he became two different people.

(9:10 am) Marinette, he’s still the same.

(9:12 am) I know, I know. But I just…

(9:13 am) It’s hard not to see him differently.

(9:14 am) Look, I’ve got Chat Noir who’s my friend and has a crazy, stupid cat named Plagg and loves red velvet cupcakes and has relationship issues and an overbearing father.

(9:16 am) And then I’ve got Adrien Agreste who’s a famous model and is rich and Paris’s sweetheart and his father is Gabriel Agreste, my fucking boss. He’s basically perfect in all every way that matters.

(9:17 am) Which one’s real, Alya?

(9:18 am) I’ve probably passed him a million times in this office too.

(9:18 am) What if he’s always known it was me?

(9:19 am) Are you gonna start wondering if this was a joke he’s playing on you now?

(9:20 am) …Well, I wasn’t until you said something.

(9:20 am) Oh god, do you think it is?!

(9:22 am) No, no, Mari, no! I was just saying, that’s what he thought when he saw you with Lila, and look at the mess that made. Look, all you need to do is listen to him, keep talking to him. Like, yeah, I get it, it’s a surprise. But he’s still Chat Noir, and he’s still your friend.

(9:25 am) You’re right.

(9:26 am) I just worry.

(9:27 am) Look, girl, leave the worrying to me. Adrien Agreste is 100% genuine, and you’re crazy about him. Somehow you met the most perfect guy for you, and I couldn’t be happier.

(9:28 am) He is pretty cool.

(9:30 am) You’re only job now is to be happy. Ask him stupid questions, talk to him again, get to know him. This is the first time you guys are talking without those stupid masks, whether in person or over text. Just… He’s your friend, girl, so just be his.

(9:31 am) Well that’s almost true.

(9:31 am) What do you mean?

(9:31 am) I haven’t exactly told him who I am yet.

(9:32 am) …You better do that fast. Like… now. Like that’s a thing you should definitely do, Mari.

(9:32 am) Okay. That sounds like a plan.

(9:33 am) Oh and, Alya?

(9:33 am) Thanks for putting up with me.

(9:34 am) I’m always here for you, girl. What are friends for?

 

 

*

 

March 6th—Monday (9:45 am)

 

(9:45 am) When Marinette and Adrien get married, I demand an award.

(9:45 am) And a parade.

(9:49 am) What happened now?

(9:50 am) They’re idiots.

(9:51 am) No, even worse. They’re oblivious idiots in love with each other.

(9:52 am) They can’t even tell each other who they are correctly. Marinette forgot to tell Adrien who she is too.

(9:53 am) Honestly, what would they do without us, Nino?

(9:54 am) Probably dressing up in leather cat and ladybug costumes to meet each other in the dark of night because they’re still in denial and trying to hide their true identities.

(9:55 am) Oh come on, in what reality would that ever happen?

(9:56 am) It’s probably more likely than you think.

(9:56 am) Marinette made fucking masks, Alya. It could’ve happened.

(9:58 am) Look, the fact of the matter is that they’re working towards being together, right? And we’re all set for the mixer next weekend.

(10:01 am) Oh shit.

(10:03 am) Oh shit? What’s ‘oh shit’? Why are you ‘oh shitting’?

(10:04 am) I may have… forgotten to tell Adrien about that.

(10:05 am) NINO.

(10:06 am) YOU BETTER FIND A WAY TO GET HIM THERE.

(10:07 am) I’ll figure something out. Don’t worry.

(10:08 am) I’m not joking, Nino. Adrien Agreste better be at that mixer Saturday, or so help me, I will kill you.

(10:09 am) …New phone.

(10:10 am) Nino. No.

(10:10 am) …Who dis?

 

*

 

March 6th—Monday (10:19 am)

 

(10:19 am) Tell me something about you.

(10:21 am) What?

(10:23 am) Tell me something about you that I don’t know. Something new about Chat Noir, something new about Adrien Agreste.

(10:24 am) What’s going on?

(10:28 am) I think I’m still in shock. It’s not every day you find out your friend is your boss’s son, Paris’s sweetheart, the fucking “Sunshine Child” that the media waxed poetry about for years when I was a teenager.

(10:30 am) Ladybug, come on.

(10:31 am) I just can’t believe it.

(10:33 am) This is why I didn’t want to tell you.

(10:34 am) What?

(10:35 am) You’re acting differently.

(10:36 am) I am not!

(10:38 am) You are though. You wake me up to ask me for a selfie, which like, if I remember our original deal, you owe me one too.

(10:39 am) …I don’t remember any deal.

(10:40 am) Ladybug.

(10:40 am) Do I have to pull receipts?

(10:41 am) No, no, you’re good. I think I might remember something... It’s slowly coming back now.

(10:42 am) Good, I’d hate to scroll up through thousands of messages. It’s my first day off in a long time, please don’t make me do that.

(10:42 am) Sorry, I just… Can you really blame me?

(10:43 am) You’re Adrien Agreste.

(10:43 am) I’m also Chat Noir.

(10:44 am) We’re the same person, Ladybug. I haven’t changed.

(10:44 am) I know, I know.

(10:42 am) Look, I told who I am to show you that I trust you.

(10:43 am) Now I just… need to know that you trust me too.

(10:44 am) I do. You know I do.

(10:45 am) Then justtrust me. Please.

(10:46 am) Okay.

 (10:48 am) I don’t wear matching socks.

(10:50 am) What?

(10:51 am) You wanted to know something new about me: I don’t wear matching socks. Ever.

(10:52 am) …You’re joking.

(10:53 am) No, I’m not. I have a plethora of socks in my drawer, but I never wear the same ones.

(10:54 am) I don’t understand… How did this travesty occur? You used to be a model. Your father is a fashion designer.

(10:55 am) I know.

(10:56 am) Your ancestors must hate you.

(10:56 am) Ladybug, come on.

(10:57 am) For shame, Chat Noir, for shame.

(10:57 am) LADYBUG.

(10:58 am) HAHA. :D

 

*

 

March 6th—Monday (11:27 am)

 

(11:27 am) Hey, dude, you got plans next weekend?

(11:31 am) Just having dinner with my father on Saturday.

(11:34 am) Yeah…

(11:34 am) No, you’re not.

(11:35 am) Uhm, what?

(11:36 am) I forgot to invite you to this thing on next Saturday. So you’re gonna have to cancel with your old man.

(11:37 am) Nino, I can’t just cancel on my father.

(11:38 am) Fine, plan B.

(11:39 am) Nino, I’m sorry, but I can’t go.

(11:41 am) Look, I’ll just kidnap you, okay? In front of your dad if you need to be convincing.

(11:42 am) You are not fake kidnapping me.

(11:43 am) Does your dad have a ransom plan?

(11:45 am) …What?

(11:46 am) I mean, you guys are rich, right? And you both are pretty famous. Like your dad must have some kind of plan installed in case you were ever kidnapped and offered for ransom?

(11:47 am) Nino, what the fuck?

(11:48 am) You said no fake kidnapping. So I’ll real kidnap you.

(11:50 am) Nino, you are not kidnapping me. I’ll go to your next party or whatever it is.

(11:51 am) Let me explain a situation to you, Adrien: if I don’t get you to this thing, Alya will ill me.

(11:51 am) I like living.

(11:52 am) I’m not going.

(11:53 am) Uhm, yes, you are, dude.

(11:54 am) Nino.

(11:55 am) Don’t worry, it’ll be fine. I know some guys.

(11:56 am) …You know kidnappers?

(11:57 am) Shhhh. It’ll be okay.

 

*

 

March 6th—Monday (7:23 pm)

 

(7:23 pm) So I never told you my name did I?

(7:29 pm) Like your real name?

(7:30 pm) I’m Marinette. Marinette Dupain-Cheng.

(7:32 pm) Dupain-Cheng? Like the bakery?

(7:33 pm) Mhmm. My parents own the bakery.

(7:35 pm) Sorry… I’m trying to get over my shock.

(7:36 pm) What?

(7:38 pm) Your parents are bakers, Marinette, and you made that horrible Harry Potter cupcake.

(7:39 pm) Oh my god.

(7:40 pm) Your ancestors must hate you.

(7:41 pm) I’m leaving.

(7:43 pm) FOR SHAME, LADYBUG, FOR SHAME.

(7:45 pm) Good night, Chat Noir.

(7:47 pm) For. Shame.

 

*

 

March 8th—Wednesday (11:22 am)

 

(11:22 am) Did you ever tell Gabriel Agreste I wanted to kill him?

(11:29 am) Good morning to you too, Ladybug.

(11:30 am) I’m being serious.

(11:32 am) No, I never told my father that one of his designers was plotting his murder. To be honest, I’m pretty sure he expects that all of them are.

(11:34 am) That’s not funny.

(11:35 am) I can’t believe I told you how I wanted to kill your dad.

(11:35 am) How can you even talk to me?

(11:35 am) Weren’t you worried I was gonna hurt him?

(11:37 am) Ladybug.

(11:37 am) I’m being serious!

(11:38 am) So am I.

(11:39 am) You’re overreacting.

(11:40 am) And if I remember correctly, it was ME who suggested killing him in the first place. You just wanted to make him cry.

(11:41 am) …You’re right.

(11:42 am) So does this mean it’s YOU who’s the serial killer?

(11:43 am) Ladybug!

(11:45 am) Haha. :D

(11:47 am) It’s not like you to use emojis.

(11:47 am) Don’t think I didn’t see you use it yesterday too.

(11:50 am) What can I say? I use emojis when I’m happy.

(11:51 am) And are you?

(11:51 am) Happy, that is? Are you happy?

(11:52 am) Surprisingly? Yes.

(11:52 am) Even after how mad I made you?

(11:55 am) There’s this thing called miscommunication that sometimes makes some people do some really stupid things that might hurt the people they care about, even though they don’t mean to.

(11:56 am) But working hard to make sure that everyone is on the same page helps fix that, right?

(11:57 am) Yeah.

(11:58 am) You’re my friend, Chat Noir. You can be an asshole sometimes, but I’m happy that you’re still in my life.

(11:59 am) Same here, bug.

(12:01 pm) So, are you happy too?

(12:02 pm) Hmm? Oh yeah, most definitely. I’m really happy we worked everything out.

(12:02 pm) I’m also happy to know that my lady uses emojis when she’s happy.

(12:04 pm) I can’t help it! It’s just something I do!

(12:05 pm) Don’t worry. I think it’s cute.

(12:07 pm) Oh yeah? What do you do then when you’re happy, kitty?

(12:08 pm) I play piano.

(12:10 pm) Piano?

(12:11 pm) Mhmm. Sometimes when I’m happy, I just sit down at the piano and just play anything that comes to mind.

(12:12 pm) Do you ever write your own songs?

(12:14 pm) I do actually.

(12:15 pm) You’ll have to show me some of it sometime.

(12:17 pm) Who knows. Maybe I’ll even write you a song someday.

(12:19 pm) I look forward to hearing it.

(12:20 pm) Me as well, Ladybug.

(12:24 pm) Hey, so my lunch is over, so I’ll text you later, okay?

(12:25 pm) Sounds like a plan.

 

*

 

March 8th—Wednesday (8:32 pm)

 

(8:32 pm) So did you ask Adrien about the mixer yet?

(8:33 pm) Yeah, about that…

(8:34 pm) Do you still have those ski masks?

 

*

 

March 10th—Friday (3:28 pm)

 

(3:28 pm) God, can you believe this downpour today?

(3:30 pm) Don’t get me started on it. It’s March, not April. We're supposed to get snow, not rain.

(3:34 pm) Well someone’s in a bad mood.

(3:35 pm) I can’t help it! I’ve got a deadline today that I’m trying to finish up for before Gabriel Agreste kills me.

(3:36 pm) I’m not kidding, Adrien. I might just kill your father before I even finish two months at this job.

(3:39 pm) I’m sure you’ll be fine, bugaboo.

(3:40 pm) Again with the bugaboo?

(3:41 pm) What? It’s cute! Admit it, you like it.

(3:43 pm) I’ll admit, it’s growing on me a little bit.

(3:44 pm) Anyway, I really need to get going. Lots of work to do, you know?

(3:47 pm) Oh, okay.

(3:48 pm) Sorry, talk to you later then?

(3:50 pm) Sure, that sounds fine. I was just going to swing by the office with coffee or a snack or something in case you needed it.

(3:53 pm) Wait, wait, are you at the office right now?

(3:55 pm) Not anymore. You said you had work to do, so I left. I had to come by to meet my father about some stuff.

(3:56 pm) Dear god.

(3:57 pm) Do you ever wonder how many times we might’ve passed each other in the hallway or something? Or right outside Gabriel’s office before we even knew who each other were?

(3:59 pm) Wow…. That’s crazy to think about to be honest.

(4:01 pm) It’s funny.

(4:02 pm) What is?

(4:03 pm) Just how many times the universe has tried to throw us together.

(4:05 pm) Pfftt. You believe in fate, Ladybug?

(4:06 pm) No, I just… I dunno. Maybe some things are just meant to be.

(4:08 pm) Wow, that really is funny.

(4:10 pm) Anyway, I need to get back to work, see you later, Chat Noir.

(4:11 pm) See ya, bugaboo.

Chapter Text

Nino

Alya

Adrien

Marinette

 

 

March 17th—Friday (6:03 pm)

 

(6:03 pm) Honestly, after the whirlwind these past few weeks have been, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

(6:04 pm) Things that bad in Dupain-Cheng land?

(6:07 pm) No, I’m just really tired of all this stuff. Crazy friends, drama, secrets, lies…

(6:08 pm) Hmm.

(6:09 pm) What?

(6:10 pm) You been watching Hallmark movies lately, bug?

(6:11 pm) No….

(6:11 pm) But honestly, that sounds like the perfect way to spend the weekend.

(6:12 pm) …You’re right. I’d murder someone for a Hallmark movie right now.

(6:13 pm) Honestly, this is the worst time of the year—when all the Christmas Hallmark movies are taken off Netflix, and I have to torrent them from people in Russia.

(6:14 pm) Adrien…

(6:15 pm) Hmm?

(6:16 pm) Are you telling me you’ve never heard of a fucking DVR?

(6:16 pm) …I’ve heard of it.

(6:17 pm) …and do you own one?

(6:17 pm) …That wasn’t the question.

(6:18 pm) Adrien.

(6:19 pm) Look! I never thought about DVRing those movies, okay? You got me.

(6:20 pm) It just so happens I’ve DVRed all my favorites and have a personal collection of DVDs featuring the sappiest rom coms on this side of the Seine.

(6:21 pm) …Would you be interested in lending me some?

(6:22 pm) …Or you could come over, and we could have a movie night.

(6:22 pm) Oh.

(6:22 pm) Sorry. That was too blunt, wasn’t it?!

(6:23 pm) Ladybug.

(6:23 pm) I’m sorry. Forget I said anything.

(6:24 pm) Ladybug.

(6:24 pm) I’m sorry. I gotta go.

(6:24 pm) Marinette.

(6:31 pm) I didn’t say no.

 

*

 

March 17th—Friday (7:00 pm)

 

(7:00 pm) How many sips will it take me to get to the bottom of this bottle?

(7:03 pm) Cracking it open before nine? That’s not good. What happened?

(7:04 pm) I asked Adrien to come over for a movie.

(7:04 pm) Even though we just like… got on the same page a couple days ago.

(7:05 pm) He said no?

(7:06 pm) …Well, he didn’t say yes.

(7:06 pm) Oh, Marinette.

(7:07 pm) What’re we gonna do with you?

(7:08 pm) Nothing. At this rate, I’m going to crash and die all on my own.

(7:08 pm) Oh come on, it’s not that bad.

(7:09 pm) The Titanic wasn’t moving at glacial speeds when it hit the iceberg, Alya.

(7:10 pm) What’s that supposed to mean?

(7:11 pm) It means I should know better than to just dive in at full speed.

(7:12 pm) No, it doesn’t, girl. It just means you’re in fucking love.

(7:13 pm) Why is being in love so hard, Alya?

(7:15 pm) Because if it was easy, then no one would want it so bad.

(7:17 pm) …Huh.

(7:18 pm) What?

(7:19 pm) Nino was right.

(7:19 pm) We are a Hallmark movie.

(7:21 pm) Since when do you talk to Nino?

(7:22 pm) Oh, not your Nino. Adrien’s Nino.

(7:23 pm) You… talk to Adrien’s Nino?

(7:25 pm) No, no, I mean, Adrien mentioned that his friend, Nino, was comparing me and him to a Hallmark movie with this whole texting thing. I guess I’m just saying that I can see what he meant, and I kind of agree.

(7:27 pm) It’s kind of beautiful, isn’t it?

(7:30 pm) …I’m coming over.

(7:31 pm) Why?

(7:32 pm) If we’re going to cry over your love life and watch Hallmark movies, then I might as well be where the alcohol is.

(7:33 pm) You’ve got the key. Come over whenever you want.

 

 

*

 

March 17th—Friday (8:32 pm)

 

(8:32 pm) You with your dad tonight?

(8:39 pm) Considering you threatened me with castration if I didn’t reschedule dinner with my father to go to your stupid party tomorrow night: Yes, I am.

(8:43 pm) Okay 1) I didn’t threaten to castrate you, Alya did, 2) I’m not sure if she meant me or you, but I don’t think either of us wanna wait to find out.

(8:45 pm) Sure, okay, Nino.

(8:45 pm) What do you want though?

(8:47 pm) Nothing, just was bored. Alya ditched me for a girl’s night with her friend.

(8:48 pm) Well I can’t do anything to ease your loneliness tonight.

(8:50 pm) I’ll sit here alone in the dark then, dude.

(9:01 pm) Nino.

(9:05 pm) Still alone.

(9:07 pm) I’ll be home in like 30 minutes.

(9:09 pm) See you soon, honey!

(9:10 pm) How does Alya even put up with you?

 

 

*

 

March 17th—Friday (11:09 pm)

 

(11:09 pm) alRight, Sunsine Boy.

(11:15 pm) You’re still up? Thought you’d be going to bed early, bugaboo?

(11:17 pm) listen, u and me hav issues

(11:18 pm) Marinette? Are you okay?

(11:19 pm) fine

(11:19 pm) Are you sure?

(11:22 pm) lissen, ok, I like u

(11:22 pm) a lot

(11:22 pm) like a hippo lot

(11:23 pm) like a big hippooo

(11:25 pm) Ladybug, are you.. drunk?

(11:27 pm) I LIK U LIKE A BIGGG HIPO!

(11:28 pm) Is there someone there with you?

(11:29 pm) HIPPO.

(11:30 pm) Okay, then. Do I need to come over? I can probably get your address from a phone book or something.

(11:31 pm) Nah, Al is herr.

(11:32 pm) You got a friend there?

(11:33 pm) Ye

(11:34 pm) Okay…

(11:35 pm) I’m turning my phone off, and I want you to go to sleep, okay? I’ll talk to you tomorrow, bug.

(11:39 pm) HIPPo.

 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (12:02 am)

 

 

(12:02 am) You know that lime stuff I wanted at the party? We need to take that out.

(12:04 am) Like, off the menu?

(12:05 am) Yeah, Marinette downed three glasses, and she’s drunk as hell.

(12:06 am) I’m talking worse than the Jagged Stone concert back at uni I told you about.

(12:08 am) You’re kidding.

(12:08 am) I didn’t think anything could get worse than Stoned Stone, the highlight of your 2020.

(12:09 am) Neither did I, but like with almost everything she does, Marinette has a way of surprising us.

(12:10 am) So that’s an X on the Lime.

(12:13 am) Thank you, beau.

(12:14 am) No prob. Love you, Al.

(12:15 am) Love you too.

(12:15 am) Also, you wouldn’t happen to be with a certain cat tonight would you?

(12:16 am) Plagg?

(12:16 am) No! I meant Chat Noir, Adrien, your friend.

(12:18 am) …No? Why, was I supposed to be? I saw him earlier, but he left about an hour ago.

(12:19 am) Okay.

(12:20 am) Is there something I should know about?

(12:22 am) Like I said, Marinette got drunk and got ahold at her phone at one point when I wasn’t looking. I just wanted to make sure she didn’t text Adrien or some shit like that.

(12:24 am) Not that I’ve heard? Usually he calls me freaking out when she makes him nervous. He’s a pretty skittish person.

(12:25 am) Okay, good then. I guess that’s it.

(12:26 am) Honestly, after all the hard work we’re putting into this party tomorrow... er today, whatever, they better get together.

(12:27 am) Because I’m tired of having to put up with this.

(12:29 am) This could’ve been avoided months ago if you’d listened to me.

(12:30 am) We’re not doing the whole “I told you so” thing again, Nino.

(12:31 am) Fine.

(12:31 am) But I did, you know.

(12:31 am) Tell you so.

(12:33 am) And I dunno. If it works, then it works. It’s still up to them to make it work, babe.

(12:34 am) It better.

(12:35 am) The next option is to lock them in a room together.

(12:35 am) I just want them to be happy.

(12:37 am) They are happy, Al. You should’ve seen Adrien tonight.

(12:38 am) Did you know Marinette invited the dude to a movie night at her house?

(12:39 am) He was waxing fucking poetry about it for hours tonight.

(12:42 am) I know. Marinette was panicking about it all night. Cue drunk!Marinette muttering something about Adrien and hippos under her breath for most of the movie.

(12:43 am) What movies did you watch?

(12:43 am) Some Hallmark shit.

(12:45 am) …You watched Hallmark and didn’t invite me?

(12:46 am) Marinette needed me!

(12:48 am) I’m so angry right now. I can’t believe…

(12:48 am) I’m hanging up on you.

(12:49 am) …This isn’t a phone call, Nino.

(12:51 am) Doesn’t matter. Enjoy the resounding silence of a metaphorical phone slam and dial tone.

(12:53 am) Nino, what the fuck?

(12:59 am) Nino?

(1:19 am) For fuck’s sake. Why am I dating you?

 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (10:18 am)

 

(10:18 am) My head hurts.

(10:20 am) I regret everything.

(10:21 am) So. Much.

(10:30 am) Good morning, Hippo Lover.

(10:32 am) What the fuck?

(10:33 am) Oh, it’s my new contact name for you: Hippo Lover.

(10:34 am) Why the fuck am I “Hippo Lover” in your phone now?

(10:35 am) Oh no, what happened last night?

(10:37 am) Oh MY GOD.

(10:38 am) I AM SO SORRY. I can’t believe I did that!

(10:40 am) It’s okay, really, Marinette.

(10:41 am) I’m just glad you like me as much as you like hippos.

(10:45 am) I hate you so much, Adrien Agreste.

(10:47 am) Sure, you do, Ladybug.

(10:48 am) Hey, you wanna see your new contact photo?

(10:48 am) Not really, but something tells me you’re gonna show me anyway.

(10:49 am) It’s like you know me.

(10:50 am) 

(10:53 am) … That’s it.

(10:54 am) I’m deleting your number.

(10:57 am) Wait, before you do, there’s something I need to tell you.

(10:58 am) …What?

(10:59 am) The sky reminded me of you this morning.

(10:59 am) 

(10:59 am) All gray and stuff. Like a hippo.

(11:01 am) I’m going to ignore you.

(11:03 am) Admit it, you love this, bugaboo.

(11:15 am) Ladybug?

(11:27 am) You know, me and my friends need to have a serious conversation about how rude it is to LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE OF A CONVERSATION.

 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (1:37 pm)

 

(1:37 pm) Hi.

(1:39 pm) Hey, you. Welcome back.

(1:40 pm) I didn’t mean to leave. Just had to go eat breakfast and drown myself in the toilet.

(1:42 pm) Sounds like a fun way to spend a morning.

(1:44 pm) It was. You’re missing out.

(1:44 pm) Anyway, what’re you up to?

(1:45 pm) Like right now, or today in general?

(1:46 pm) Both, I guess.

(1:47 pm) Well, tonight Nino’s dragging me to some party downtown. Sounds like it’s going to be pretty lame.

(1:48 pm) That’s funny. My friend’s doing the same thing.

(1:49 pm) Oh?

(1:49 pm) Maybe we’ll be at the same party, bug.

(1:50 pm) You wish, chaton. I don’t think I frequent the same parties as someone like you.

(1:51 pm) Someone like me? What’s that supposed to mean?

(1:52 pm) Don’t read too much into that. I’m just saying that we don’t exactly run in the same social circles.

(1:52 pm) I’m a baker’s daughter, and you’re the son of a famous fashion designer and moonlight as a famous model.

(1:53 pm) Not anymore.

(1:53 pm) Yeah, but still. You were very good at your job, and people probably invite you to all the fancy shit in the city.

(1:53 pm) Good at my job?

(1:54 pm) You know what I mean. You’re very aesthetically pleasing, and people like to look at you.

(1:54 pm) …Are you calling me pretty, Ladybug?

(1:55 pm) That is not the point, and you know it, Chat Noir.

(1:55 pm) My point is that you’re famous.

(1:56 pm) You probably have a wing of a shopping center or a park named after you.

(1:56 pm) Nope, but there might be a fashion line or two.

(1:56 pm) You’re being a little shit, but that just proves my point.

(1:59 pm) LOL, okay, bug, I’ll give you that. I did go to a lot of important functions and shit when I was younger.

(2:00 pm) But that was shit my dad dragged me too. Now, I’m lucky if I leave my house.

(2:02 pm) Parties don’t really interest me though, so it’s whatever. I’ll go tonight cause Nino really wants me to go, but that’s about my only socializing for the year.

(2:03 pm) Sounds like my kind of plan.

(2:05 pm) So what’re you doing right now then?

(2:07 pm) Playing piano.

(2:08 pm) Oh, really?

(2:08 pm) Playing anything good?

(2:10 pm) Not really. It’s more like I’m trying to compose something.

(2:10 pm) But it’s not really working right now.

(2:12 pm) Why not?

(2:13 pm) No inspiration.

(2:15 pm) Well I hope you find some soon.

(2:15 pm) So do I.

(2:16 pm) Anyway, I really wanted to apologize again for last night.

(2:17 pm) Nah, it’s cool. At least you weren’t plotting any murders like you did on New Year’s when you had too much to drink. Nice to know sometimes you just have to talk about how much you like hippos.

(2:18 pm) Oh my god, stop it with the hippo thing.

(2:19 pm) I’ll make sure I write it on your grave.

(2:19 pm) Adrien, stop it.

(2:20 pm) Here lies Marinette Dupain-Cheng: lover of fashion and hippos.

(2:20 pm) You think you’re so funny.

(2:21 pm) I’m hippolarious.

(2:22 pm) That was an awful pun.

(2:23 pm) Still works.

(2:24 pm) You have no clue, do you?

(2:24 pm) About what?

(2:25 pm) I wasn’t talking about how much I like hippos, Adrien Agreste.

(2:25 pm) I was talking about how much I like you.

(2:26 pm) …Oh.

(2:26 pm) Oh.

(2:27 pm) Yeah. 

(2:27 pm) You're a really great friend, Adrien. I hope you know that.

(2:28 pm) I’ve gotta go get ready for that party thing. But I'll talk to you later.

(2:28 pm) No, wait, Marinette…

(2:29 pm) What?

(2:30 pm) You’re doing that thing about when you’re running away.

(2:31 pm) I’m not running away.

(2:31 pm) Promise?

(2:32 pm) Yes.

(2:32 pm) So you really like me?

(2:33 pm) Of course I do.

(2:33 pm) Anyway…I really have to get ready for this thing.

(2:35 pm) ...Okay.

(2:35 pm) But we can talk later, yeah?

(2:36 pm) If you want to.

(2:37 pm) I always wanna talk to you, Ladybug.

(2:39 pm) Okay, then we well. Bye, Chat Noir.

(2:40 pm) Talk to you later, bug.

(2:41 pm) You can count on it.

 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (6:12 pm)

 

(6:12 pm) So where are we going again?

(6:13 pm) It’s a little café downtown.

(6:14 pm) A café? What kind of party is this?

(6:16 pm) The cool kind. Don’t diss my favorite café, dude.

(6:17 pm) Calm down, Nino, I wasn’t. Just wanted to know what kind of clothes I need to wear.

(6:18 pm) Something to impress the ladies.

(6:19 pm) I’m not looking to hook up or something tonight.

(6:20 pm) Sure, dude.

(6:22 pm) I’m serious, Nino.

(6:23 pm) Hi, Serious. I’m Nino.

(6:24 pm) Nino!

(6:25 pm) Just put on pants and you’ll be golden, dude.

 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (7:00 pm)

 

(7:00 pm) Operation: Mixer is on.

(7:01 pm) Thrusters are go.

(7:02 pm) Let’s get this party started, babe.

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Alya

 

March 18th—Saturday (6:15 pm)

 

(6:15 pm) Are you here yet?

(6:16 pm) I’m like a block away, hold on.

(6:17 pm) I’ve been planning this mixer for weeks, Marinette. I expect promptness.

(6:18 pm) You aren’t my boss, Al.

(6:20 pm) I sure hope not considering you wanna kill him. Then again, with your serial killer tendencies, I wouldn’t be surprised if I eventually become a target for you.

(6:21 pm) Fuck off.

(6:21 pm) I’m here.

 

“There you are!” Alya calls out over the music in the café, arms open wide as she rushes forward to engulf Marinette in a tight embrace. “Way to keep me waiting.”

“What’s the rush?” Marinette asks as she stares at the crowd around her. For the most part, it seems tame—pairs of people mingling over tables with drinks, a group of people across the room in an open space that’s been claimed as the dance floor. “Looks like I’m not missing much.”

“You’re keeping your date waiting,” Alya says, a sharp smirk stretching across her face—the smile that usually results in trouble for Marinette. The cold air of the café suddenly has a bite to it.

“W-What do you mean by date?” Marinette’s voice is loud and explosive, slicing through the carefree atmosphere like a lightning strike. “I thought you said this was a mixer: a nice, relaxing party.” 

Alya’s smile grows bigger, and Marinette hates it. “I told you there’d be speed dating. I gave you that form to fill out for a reason, girl.”

Marinette pales. “I forgot.”

“I guessed.”

Even with her hesitance, Alya still grabs Marinette by the hand and drags her forward into the thick of the crowd. “I figured,” the other girl supplies, her dark eyes bright under the lights of the café. “But don’t worry, there’s really nothing to it. Speed dating is usually like two minutes with someone, and then you switch. But this one is more like… you spend two hours or the whole night with someone. I matched people up based on that form you guys filled out.”

“You matched me with someone?” Marinette’s eyes widen in shock. “That’s not speed dating, Alya, that’s a blind date!”

“That’s the point,” Alya says. “See? I knew you were smart.”

Marinette shakes her head, but still follows at her friend’s heels. “Don’t you think, you know… With everything I have going on with Adrien and stuff, that dating may not be the best option for me right now?”

“Believe me, you’ll thank me for this one day.”

“Pretty sure I won’t.” 

Alya’s good humor isn’t deterred in the slightest. If anything, her smile simply grows and her eyes brighten with a new spark—and that’s when Marinette know she’s definitely in trouble. The designer and the journalist break through the throng of people and head for a table in the corner of the café, a scratched mahogany surface with a single red rose in a vase atop it. The seats are metal barstools with a back and plush, leather seat, one that squeaks and squelches as Marinette climbs into it.

It’s wholesome and comfortable—the whole setting of it all—and Marinette is at least grateful Alya decided to have her mixer her, instead of at a sweaty, smelly club. Although, if she cranes her neck, she can just see over the top of the people on the dance floor and can make out Nino’s form at the DJ table. The beat is strong, thrumming to the sound of her heart, and the other partygoers sway in time. It has a club-like atmosphere in that perspective, she figures.

Can’t win every battle. 

“I’m not sure about this, Alya,” she tells her friend as the other girl slips onto the seat across from her. “I really don’t think I’m up to dating right now.”

“Are you guys together yet?” Alya asks, eyes sparkling with barely restrained mirth. It’s clear she’s enjoying this whole thing way too much. 

Marinette grunts but doesn’t respond, eyes flickering to the other partygoers instead. If she doesn’t acknowledge the question, then she doesn’t need to provide an answer. The whole thing with Chat Noir and Adrien is complicated, a tangle of thread she’s just beginning to unravel, and Alya knows this—properly better than Marinette does herself. If there’s one thing that Marinette’s certain about, however, it’s how she feels about her friend. Dating someone other than Adrien at this point just feels wrong on a level she can’t explain.

Even if they aren’t dating, even if they aren’t together, he still matters to her. She can’t imagine being with any other guy or girl right now, not with him in the picture.

“Come on, Mari. It’ll be good for you to have some fun.” 

“Sure, whatever,” Marinette supplies, shrugging because she knows Alya won’t stop pressing the matter until she agrees to it.

Her response seems to pacify Alya, and the other girl soon launches into a conversation as they wait for more people to arrive. At this point, Marinette is only half listening, too busy trying to hide the itch to reach into her clutch and pull out her phone. Texting Chat Noir has become something second nature to her, something she does every day, engrained so deeply into her routine that she feels off not being able to talk to him. 

Knowing that he’s at a party, perhaps with a date of his own, twists her stomach into knots. Even if she were to text him, there’s no guarantee that he’d respond, which is what Marinette needs right now. She doesn’t want to be at this party with a date she doesn’t know—she wants to spend her night with Adrien at her side, cuddling on a couch with their long-time coming Hallmark movie marathon.

A part of her absolutely hates it, and she wants nothing more than to be done with this stupid crush of hers. But she also knows that crushes don’t feel like this—heart racing as she spends all her time wondering how the other is, wondering if he’s thinking about her, wondering if he cares too. Adrien has infused himself with every part of her at this point, and she knows she’s lost. Whether it’s her job or her cat or her phone—there’s nothing in her life that he isn’t a part of. 

And she wouldn’t want it any other way.

That’s how she knows this isn’t a crush—she’s in love.

Marinette is in love with Adrien Agreste.

“Hey, Marinette.” Alya’s hand waves in front of her face, back and forth, as she pulls the designer’s attention away from her silent musings. “You listening to me?”

“Could you tell me where the drinks are?” Marinette asks suddenly, interrupting her. “I think I need some alcohol to get through this night.” 

Alya bristles, but only slightly. “Sit tight, I’ll get us some. But do look alive. Your date is gonna be here soon.”

“Can’t wait,” Marinette replies with a tight smile.

The moment Alya disappears into the crowd to get her a drink, Marinette is already slipping off her seat, clutch in hand, and making a break for the exit. It’s clear to her that she can’t possibly do this right now—pretend to be interested in someone else. Even though she hasn’t even met her date yet, doesn’t know a thing about them, she knows it won’t matter. Chat Noir is the only person she wants to be with, and she’s willing to wait the weeks of constant worry and the months of waiting to find out if he feels the same, just for the chance that at the end of all this, they might end up together.

She’s done taking chances, making mistakes, waiting around for someone else to strike the first spark. It’s her life and her wrong number, and no one—especially not her meddlesome friend who only wants to see her happy—is going to change how she feels about Adrien Agreste.

Her phone buzzes in her clutch suddenly, startling her from her whirling thoughts. Desperate for the chance that it might be Chat Noir, she pulls it out and barely glances at the screen before a smile crosses her face at the words.

 

(6:33 pm) How’s the party?

 

Over the phone, it’s easy for Marinette to talk to Chat Noir. Their back-and-forth banter, the puns and flirtatious retorts, the confessions and lies—it’s all so simple to see through. It’s only when misunderstandings and assumptions come into play that makes things complicated between them. But when they’re through being stupid and actually open themselves up to the possibility of being close, Chat Noir is someone she wants to meet, to find out what their relationship would be like beyond the text on the screen.

 

(6:34 pm) What do you think? It’s boring. I wish you were here.

 

Would it be so easy to tell him this in real life?

 

(6:34 pm) I wish I was there with you too, bug.

 

A smile overtakes her face, and as soon as she pushes through the crowd, Marinette’s already typing up a response. Is it possible, she dares to think, that he feels the same way? Because you don’t say things like this to your friends, right?

You don’t wax poetry about their absence, how it makes you feel even when you know where to find them, because those are the things reserved for lonely nights when you need a warm body beside you. 

You just don’t— 

Oof.

 There’s a firm body in front of her that she’s collided with, a person who echoes the same groan of pain. Fumbling with her phone as she tries to orientate herself, Marinette doesn’t have much luck for a Ladybug (swears that Chat Noir is rubbing off on her), and the device slams onto the ground and goes skittering across the floor.

The stranger’s phone, having been in their hands as well when the two collided, joins hers. 

“Oh fuck,” she moans, dropping to her knees in the entrance of the crowded café. “I’m so, so sorry. I should’ve been watching where I was going, god, I’m so sorry—”

“No, no, really, it’s my fault,” the stranger rambles as they kneel beside her, reaching for their phone.

In the dim lighting of the café, hands bump into each other as they search for their devices, warm skin pressing against her pale fingers, hard callouses sliding softly across the back of her palm. It isn’t until she stops—with their hand over the top of hers, raising her head to flash them a warm smile, and opening her mouth to utter another apology—that her world stutters to an abrupt halt.

Holy shit.

Marinette’s heart leaps into her throat, stomach twisting into a knot, and her breath is stolen away. Cobwebs tickle her mind, thoughts blurring together, and she suddenly can’t make sense of the anything at all. Marinette Dupain-Cheng has never been a poster child for cool, calm, or collected—most of the time exploding into a bright array of colors and never touching the ground until the life-changing moment has passed.

It’s no wonder that right here, on her knees on the sticky tile floor of a café, that she reacts any differently.

In her head, Marinette pictures all the exits in the vicinity. If she inches backwards, she can bolt through the crowd to the kitchen, where a back door will take her to the side alley. She knows the train station is a few blocks south, and Alya’s apartment is right around the corner with the key she always carries at the bottom of her clutch. The front door is an option too, but that means skirting past him, which might actually be a feasible plan considering he’s as frozen with shock as she is.

But the heavy weight of his hand atop hers does something. It grounds her.

Holy shit. 

His hair is longer than she remembers, that night in the park when she rescued Plagg seeming like a distant memory. It dissipates like smoke from a fire, making room for the new man in front of her, who is suddenly more real than he’s ever been. His eyes are dark in the dim light, but they still have a certain glow to them—even more bright and vivid as the first time she saw them. A light jacket hangs off his shoulders, long sleeves rolled up, exposing toned forearms and tan skin.

He’s beautiful—absolutely breathtaking. 

Holy shit, it’s him.

It’s Adrien.

“Marinette?” His voice is soft but raspy in a way that sends chills down her spine. “I-Is that you?

Her heart bangs painfully against her ribs, like a wild animal trying to escape its cage. She swallows thickly, trying to force her emotion down, and opens her mouth to respond. But there’s no words, no explanations or outcries—nothing that could sum up how she feels right at this moment. Because things like this only happen in the movies, and even though Hallmark movies have been a staple of their relationship, she still isn’t prepared.

It’s impossible.

But here he is—kneeling a foot in front of her, his hand touching hers, his voice sounding the syllables of her name, the word falling from his lips as easy as breath. It’s Adrien, the man she’s been texting for nearly three months, someone who’s become one of the most important people in her life, a friend she can’t go a day without talking to, the person who’s hurt her but trusts her inexplicably. It’s Adrien, the man she loves, the one with a stupid cat, the man who loves to cook and plays piano, who’s become her best friend in just a few months.

Holy shit, it’s him. It’s Adrien

“It’s you,” she says like a whisper. 

And.. what else can she say?

After all this time, it’s him, he’s here, and they’re together, beyond the screens of their cell phones.

And suddenly, Marinette isn’t sure of anything at all.

Chapter Text

Holy shit, it’s him. It’s Adrien. 

Over the phone, there’s so many things Marinette could say: what are you doing here, I thought you were at a party, or you look even better in person. There’s always a constant flow of inside jokes and backhanded compliments between them because they long ago mastered the art of dancing around a topic—it’s how they’ve survived the last few months. Face-to-face though, for the first time ever, without masks or the shadow of ignorance, things are different.

Suddenly, Marinette is speechless, and Adrien is stunned, and they’re both too in love to get anything done. 

Beneath their hands, her phone vibrates with a new text message. Habit would dictate that she’d snatch it up to look at it, hoping it’s Chat Noir, but habit also dictates that she gravitates towards him. And right now, he’s here in front of her, and the text message doesn’t matter. The only thing that does is Adrien Agreste.

(Besides it’s probably Alya anyway, wondering where she is, and that’s another thing that Marinette does not want to deal with right now.)

“W-What’re you doing here?” she asks breathlessly, her heart lurching in her throat. “I thought you had a party.”

“I do.” Adrien gestures towards the mixer in the café behind her. “It’s right there. Nino invited me! He’s DJing.”

“Nino?” Marinette turns on her heels and stares back at the crowd on the dance floor and the familiar figure perched atop a bar stool at the DJ station. Alya’s boyfriend nods his head in time with the bass, hands pressed over those headphones Alya swears he never takes off, completely ignorant of what’s transpiring at the front of the establishment. “That’s your Nino?”

“Erm, yes?” Adrien cocks his head to the side in confusion. 

“That’s my Nino.”

“… I thought Alya was your Nino?”

Marinette stares at him blankly. “No, Alya has her own Nino. Her Nino is my Nino.”

“Ni-who?” Sighing in exasperation, Adrien runs a hand down his face like he can physically clean the cobwebs clinging to his thoughts. “Look, this is my friend, Nino’s, party. He invited me to listen to him play tonight.”

“But this is Alya’s party,” Marinette tells him, craning her head over her shoulder to find her friend, but the café is too crowded to single anyone out. “It’s the mixer she’s been going on about for months. She and her boyfriend… Nino… set this up.” 

“Man, Nino’s a really popular name,” Adrien muses. 

The puzzle pieces suddenly click into place for her like a waterfall, fluid and easy. “Oh my god, I’m going to kill her.” 

Her phone buzzes beneath their hands again, and Marinette fumbles to pick it up. The message blinking across the screen is from Alya (speak of the fucking devil): I see you found your date for the evening : ). Mouth dropping open, the full weight of what’s going finally slams into her, and she can barely make sense of her tremulous thoughts. Alya’s constant questions, all her insight into the situation with Adrien, this whole damn party—it’s suddenly so clear. Alya’s known this whole time. 

Alya and Nino planned this: Adrien, in front of her, with his tousled hair and tender smile; her own breathless awe from being in love; and the fated meeting that’s been in the making since New Year’s Day.

“You know,” Adrien says, still dazed. “As happy as I am to see that your serial killer self is still at large, could we maybe get up off the ground?” He grimaces and raises his hand, rubbing his fingers together. “I’m kneeling in something sticky, and I think someone just spilled a cocktail down my back.” 

“Uhm,” Marinette swallows and pushes herself up on shaky feet, her hand still grasping Adrien’s wrist. “I’m not going back in there.” 

He quirks a brow high. “Oh?”

 “And give them what they want?” Staring at him, Marinette isn’t sure that Adrien realizes just what their friends have done. A part of her wants to smack him upside the head for missing this, but then again, he seems like the type of person to think the best of everyone. He’d never expect that his best friend was conniving such a twisted plan behind his back. (But it’s exactly what she’d expect of Alya.) “Adrien, my Alya and your Nino are dating—they’ve known about us this whole time. They planned this little party in order to get us to meet.”

 There’s a short beat of silence. Adrien blinks hard. “…I’m going to kill him.” 

Marinette lets a shaky smile slip across her face. “And deprive him of his perfect Hallmark ending?”

 “You laugh, but that’s honestly the worst fucking thing you could do to him.” Adrien smirks and stares at his friend over her shoulder. “I love it. It’s perfect.”

 “I try.”

 It happens quickly. Adrien tangles his fingers with hers, pulls her closer, and jerks his head towards the door, a mischievous glint sparking to life in his green eyes. “You with me, Ladybug?”

Marinette’s mouth turns dry. “W-What’re you planning exactly?” 

Adrien pauses for a moment, biting his bottom lip as he carefully considers his answer. “Well, I still owe you that dinner, remember? And besides…” His own phone vibrates in his other hand, and Marinette has no doubt that it’s from Nino. “I’d rather do this whole ‘first meeting’ thing without our best friends leering over our shoulders.”

Unconsciously, Marinette tightens her grip on Adrien’s hand and takes a moment to turn back to the café, where the party is still in full swing. She can see Alya’s smile from the bar, staring at them with knowing eyes as she lifts her mai tai in a toast to them. From the DJ station, Nino pretends to wipe a fake tear from the corner of his eye, trying to hide his laughter from their view. It doesn’t matter because those two both think they’ve won at this point. It’s something they’ve spent weeks putting together, and all they probably want is to see it happen live. 

Marinette is more than happy to deprive them of that experience. It’s a punishment well-deserved for those who choose to meddle. 

“What’re we waiting for then?” Marinette leans closer, painfully aware of their close proximity, and whispers into Adrien’s ear. “Let’s run.” 

In the soft light of the café, a soft pink dusts the tips of his ears and tops of his cheeks. He rubs his thumb over the back of her palm, places on hand on the glass of the door, and manages to get out, “A-After you, m’lady.” 

Marinette can’t help the laugh that falls into the space between them. “I am so happy that I was right about you.”

“What do you mean?” he asks.

“You’re so awful at talking.”

Adrien cocks his head and fixes her with a scrutinizing stare. “You already knew that.” He nudges her thigh with their joined hands, and the sudden touch shoots a spark through her, buzzing under her skin like a live wire. 

“I did,” she says and pushes open the door. A rush of cold air blows past them, sending her dark hair fluttering around her face, glinting in the low streetlights like a halo. “But it’s nice to be reminded of it sometimes. It makes you seem more real, I guess.” 

“Like I’m not just a wrong number?” A wry smile crosses his face. 

“Adrien,” she tells him as they step out into the earning Paris evening, walking hand-in-hand out of the café and onto the busy streets. “You’ve never been ‘just a wrong number.’ 

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (7:30 pm)

 

(7:30 pm) I’ve been calling you forever. Pick up your damn phone, Marinette.

(7:32 pm) This stopped being funny a while ago.

(7:37 pm) Next time don’t lie to me, Alya.

(7:37 pm) Or try to set me up with my text friend.

(7:40 pm) It was for your own good.

(7:41 pm) It doesn’t matter.

(7:42 pm) If it’s any consolation, this was all Nino’s idea.

(7:44 pm) That’s okay. We’ll kill you both when we get back. Adrien agrees with me.

 

*

 

To be perfectly clear, Marinette didn’t plan to spend her evening in the middle of Paris. She hadn’t even brought a hat or any gloves to fit the weather, thinking she’d stay in the warm and cozy café for most of the night. Like with most things in life, Adrien Agreste has a habit of surprising her. A change of venue is the least of it all. Besides, his hand hasn’t left hers since they departed from the café, and he’s warm and his skin is soft, so frankly Marinette figures, this isn’t the worst way to spend an evening.

Currently, they’ve been looking for a spot to get dinner for nearly twenty minutes, but thus far have come up empty-handed. Marinette isn’t too devastated by the state of things. She’d prefer to keep walking and talking with Adrien. Still, they’re walking past a small garden along the heart of the city, where the greenery is just starting to poke through winter’s touch, and sound of meandering passerbys and traffic keep them company enough. 

Adrien has a hand tucked into the too-long sleeves of his black jacket, and Marinette’s fingers are tangled in his and her arm pressed under her armpit. Their steps are slow and steady against the cobblestone walkway, the sun having set a while ago, and now it’s just them perusing the shops to their left with small groups of people scattered about. 

“So, have any specific craving?” Adrien asks suddenly, breaking the silence for the first time in minutes. They’ve kept up sparse conversation since leaving the café, but Marinette’s been too busy drowning in the sound of her own racing heartbeat to think of anything particularly important to say. 

Marinette shrugs, shoulder brushing his. “Honestly, I could go for anything right now.” 

“Feel like some spaghetti?” Adrien gestures towards one of the buildings farther down the road. “They’ve got some good dishes at Ronaldo’s. I’ve gone there a couple of times and never been disappointed.” 

Marinette lets a thin smile stretch across her face. “Spaghetti sounds lovely, and I’ll take your word for how good it is.” 

“Come on,” Adrien says and tugs her towards the restaurant. “We both know it’s certainly better than anything you can make.” 

The restaurant is all brick and soft lighting with candles and the thick scent of garlic bread hanging heavy in the air. A waitress leads them to a small table near the front next to a window which opens to the Paris street, where the hustle and bustle of a Saturday evening blossoms out in front of them. Once they’re seated and have ordered, they fall into a sort of silence that’s more cozy than haunting. Marinette enjoys this kind of atmosphere much better than the heavy music and exuberant crowd back at the café. 

“I like this,” she tells Adrien, sitting back in her seat and letting her eyes trail to the window beside them. She stares at his reflection in the glass, pale and perfect and here. “It’s… quaint.” 

“That’s why I like it.” He picks up his glass of water and stares at the ice for a moment, a half-smile forming on his face. “When you live a life like mine, you’re usually surrounded by busy people and loudness. I like coming to places that are quiet. It’s a nice change of pace.” He looks like he’s sorting through some painful memories, and Marinette’s arms suddenly itch to hold him. 

“And Ronaldo’s is your go-to?” she asks. 

“Of course,” he tells her, this time a bright smile overtaking his expression. “I have all my first dates here—” He pauses suddenly, thoughts finally catching up to his words. His face goes red. 

Marinette can only laugh. “Is that what you’re calling this?” 

He bites his bottom lip and shakes his head. “I’m not answering that.” 

She can only laugh. It’s a nice change. 

Their food arrives shortly after, and they fill the silence with pointless musings and random bits of conversation. Inside, Marinette is screaming because there are so many things she wants to say to him, but she honestly has no clue how to do it. Over the phone, it’s so easy. In real life, things turn complicated. 

“So, you’ve got to tell me what you’re thinking,” Adrien says in exasperation, folding his arms against his chest. He levels her with a heavy stare but a light smile pulls at the corners of his lips. “Cause you’re not saying anything, and it makes me feel like I did something wrong. I feel like it’s weird, and I don’t want it be weird, because things aren’t supposed to be weird. I mean, like is it weird? It’s weird, right? This whole thing—” 

“Adrien.” 

“What?” 

“You’re making it weird.” 

“Oh.” He ducks his head, a faint blush dusting the tops of his cheeks. “Sorry.” 

“Anyway, I thought we were doing fine?” Marinette gestures at the table and food in front of them. “We’ve been talking for almost an hour—” 

“But we aren’t saying anything.” Adrien sighs and rubs the back of his neck in embarrassment. “I just thought… it’d be different when we finally met. Like the proper way, you know?” 

She only shrugs. “What else is there? We’re having dinner and talking without a phone in front of our face. Some people might call that progress.”

Shoulders shaking, Adrien leans back in his chair and laughs. It’s light and airy and makes her heart flutter. Stop it, she tries to tell it, but Marinette learned long ago that her heart is a muscle, and she hasn’t put it to good use in quite some time. 

“I’m being serious, bug.” 

“So am I.” 

Adrien lets out a long sigh, expression crumbling, and he fixes his spaghetti with a heavy stare like it has all the answers to every question he can connive. An awkward silence settles over the two of them, thick with tension that neither are quite ready to break. Marinette fiddles with her fork and tries to calm her racing thoughts. There’s so many things she wants to say, so many questions she wants to ask. It’s nearly impossible to get a hold on them. 

Amidst it all, the one thought she’d desperately been trying to forget comes to the forefront of her mind. “You know how you said you were a big model and how I’d know who you were if you told me your name?” 

He quirks a curious brow high. “Hmm?” 

“I used to have your pictures up in my bedroom,” she says in a rush, cheeks flushing a bright pink. “Posters, ads, photoshoots: if you were in it, I had it.” 

There’s a short beat of silence as Adrien simply stares at her and blinks hard. Once, twice. A third time just for good measure. Then he inhales sharply and a gasp falls from his lips just as quickly, sort of a stuttered sob that makes Marinette wonder if he’s choking on a meatball. 

“Are you oka—?” she starts to ask, but then he’s laughing. He’s honest to god, head over heels, hand slapping his knee—laughing at her

“Y-You…” Adrien can’t even form a coherent sentence between his laughter. “Y-Yo… I-I was your crush-sh!” Green eyes twinkle with mirth, and god, he’s so beautiful that Marinette almost forgets to be mad. “I was your crush! Y-You had a crush on me!” 

“Shut up!” Marinette stabs him with the end of her fork. “It’s not that funny!” 

“It so is!” 

“I just…” She shrugs helplessly. “What else am I supposed to say? Adrien Agreste’s been a part of my life for a long time, okay?” 

“I love it,” Adrien continues, shaking his head. His blonde hair frames his face, wild and loose and perfect in every way. Marinette knows, then and there, that she is utterly and completely screwed. “I love everything about it, about you, about this whole thing.” 

Marinette stops functioning after I love everything about you. 

“So it’s not too weird?” she asks hesitantly, furrowing her brows as the crux of her fears falls on her shoulders like a heavy weight. “Am I what you expected?” 

“You’re everything and more,” Adrien tells her honestly, and Marinette’s frantic heart calms in its cage. “I’m so glad I met you, Marinette.” 

“…Same to you, Adrien Agreste,” she says in response, and they both smile around a mouthful of spaghetti. 

Everything is perfect, and she couldn’t ask for a better first meeting.

  

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (9:10 pm)

 

(9:10 pm) Look, dude, Alya’s gonna kill me. Please come back.

(9:11 pm) New phone. Who’s dis?

(9:13 pm) Adrien, this isn’t funny. She’s legit sharpening knives right now. The party’s almost over. Please come back.

(9:15 pm) No.

(9:15 pm) Come on, Adrien! What the hell are you even doing right now?!

(9:17 pm) http://www.lacuochinasopraffina.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Pasta-Rules.png

(9:19 pm) …You’re fucking a noodle?

(9:19 pm) Nino, no!

(9:20 pm) Look whatever you guys do in your free time is up to you. Just keep the kinky shit behind closed doors.

(9:21 pm) Also please come back to the café. Alya’s gonna start throwing knives soon.

(9:21 pm) I like my balls intact. Please, man.

(9:22pm) New phone. Who dis?

 

*

 

Adrien can’t stop smiling, and Marinette thinks it’s wonderful.

“Who’re you texting?” she asks, and a part of her wonders if she should be jealous that his attention is elsewhere right now, but she can’t bring herself to be. Seeing him so happy and carefree, lost in the moment, whether it’s with her or someone else—that’s all she’s ever wanted from Chat Noir. “You’ve been at it for like ten minutes.” 

Adrien’s gaze flits away from his phone to meet hers. “Nino won’t stop texting me. He said Alya’s getting pretty upset.”

 “Good.” Marinette smiles around her glass as she takes a sip of water. Her friend honestly deserves this. “She can suffer.” 

“I’m glad we’re on the same page.” Adrien wipes the spaghetti sauce from his mouth with the corner of his napkin, tossing the cloth back onto his plate as he finishes up with his meal. “Honestly, like I have to appreciate how far those two took it, but I told Nino to stay out of this.”

“Exactly,” she says in agreement. “I love Alya and I know she meant well, but when it comes to you… You’re my business, and something I wanted to deal with on my own time. I owe her a lot for helping me during the rough patches but…” She shrugs helplessly, eyes falling on the remains of her dinner. “I wanted to meet you when I was ready, not just because Alya and Nino had enough of us dancing around each other.”

“Are you?” Adrien’s voice is low and serious. “Are you ready now?” 

“You underestimate me,” she tells him, shaking her head with a small smile. “Even if I wasn’t ready, I always wanted to meet you. That overshadows everything else.” She reaches across the table and clasps his hand fervently. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter how we meet because you’re my friend, and I want you in my life.” Unable to meet his inquiring stare, she bites her bottom lip as anxiety bubbles in the pit of her stomach. “I’ve told you this before.” 

“Yeah, but that’s before, and this is now.”

Marinette cocks her head to the side and mulls over his statement. “…Yeah, I guess it does make a bit of a difference, but I think that as long as we’re certain that it’s our true selves that we are on the phone, then meeting in real life shouldn’t be that bad.” Fixing him with a heavy stare, she tries not to let the tension settle between them. “…You aren’t going to change on me, are you?”

Adrien swallows thickly and reaches for his drink. “Marinette, I think I can honestly tell you that there’s no one in Paris who knows me like you do.” 

“Yeah?” The corner of her lips quirks up in a half smile.

 “Yes,” he tells her with a fixed gaze. 

They stare at each other for a few moments in silence, and the weight of the night’s events finally falls on her shoulders. She tests the burden and her durability, holds it carefully, and realizes she can handle it. There’s no bracing and no repositioning. The truth is out, the masks are lifted away, and Marinette and Adrien are together at last. 

“I’m glad I decided to come out tonight,” she says softly with a shrug. “I almost stayed in because I didn’t feel like going to some party.” 

“I almost didn’t come too until Nino threatened to kidnap me.” Adrien rolls his eyes with an air of helplessness, and it causes a giggle to fall from her lips. “I was supposed to have dinner with my dad tonight, but Nino really wanted me to come to his party, and I’m pretty fucking happy I did.” 

“You didn’t even make it to the party though.” Gesturing with her fork, she points in his direction in good jest. “You barely made it through the front door.” As he tries to formulate a proper response, words coming out in sputters like a dead engine trying to turn over, she reaches out and pokes at one of his meatballs, stealing it right off his plate. 

“W-What…” He stares at her like he’s a blind man seeing for the first time, like he’s finally witnessing the true chaos that is Marinette Dupain-Cheng. “You… You really are a little shit, you know that?”

“I know,” she says and smiles around her fork and mouthful of meatball. “But you love me for it.”

 Adrien simply shakes his head, and Marinette’s heart throbs at his smile. “That I do, bug. That I do.” 

She laughs in reply. Adrien’s face lights up. It’s beautiful.

“I’m really happy I was right.” His eyes dart to his food again, so he won’t be forced to face her surprise. “Your laugh sounds even better in person.” 

Marinette laughs again because what else can she do at this point? Everything just seems perfect, and a part of her is just waiting to wake up from this dream. In front of her, Adrien Agreste and Chat Noir merge together, no longer separate beings or faraway concepts in her head, becoming the same boy she’s fallen in love with over the past few months. 

“I like yours too.” Her voice is quiet, like any sudden sound will break the fragile beauty that’s building between them. “I mean, I always have—ever since that first phone call. Remember?”

 “How could I ever forget?” He cocks his head to the side as he tries to gauge her thoughts, like he can read her heart from there. “Am I still what you expected on the other end of your phone, Ladybug?” 

He’s trying to be confident, but Marinette can still tell that her answer could break him completely, so she tells him, “No, you’re not.” 

Adrien’s expression shutters. “Oh.” 

“You’re even better.” 

His lips tug up into a bright smile, teeth and all, and Marinette feels lighter. If she could walk on air high up in the clouds, she would and never come back down. If Adrien can make her feel this way with just a smile and a few words, she doesn’t know how she could ever survive losing him and this feeling. She doesn’t know what it is yet (it’s love, it’s love, you know it is, Dupain-Cheng), but it’s something she wants to continue to explore with him. 

Another hour slowly passes, ticking away mindlessly as they burn through conversation after conversation, until everything flows between them easy like text messages, where just words and each other are all that matter. Whether it’s about Nino and Alya’s antics, the latest happenings with Gabriel Agreste, and the adventures of Plagg and Tikki (they have to meet, they’re practically family at this point, Marinette!), everything seems simple and fun, which is something she’s missed with her conversations with him as of late. She’s lucky things are going well though, and she wouldn’t have them any other way. It’s only when Adrien realizes that most of the patrons of the restaurant have dissipated, and it’s just them and a handful of stragglers. With a sad smile, they pay the bill and head back onto the Paris streets. 

By now, a blistery coolness has settled over the city, and Marinette only manages a single shiver before Adrien’s black jacket finds a new home around her shoulders. She pulls the coat tighter around her, chasing Adrien’s warmth for a precious few seconds. Fingers trail along the worn and frayed leather, silently admiring the work of a Gabriel design. But it’s neither the style nor stitching that make the jacket special but rather one Adrien Agreste who it belongs to. 

(God, god, she’s a fucking goner.)

 “Thanks,” she whispers softly, eyes meeting his with a shy smile. Her cheeks burn, and it’s not from the cold.

 “Don’t mention it,” he tells her with a shrug. “Besides, I think we’d better get home, and it’s a long walk back. I don’t want you to get cold.”

 “You’re leaving?” she asks suddenly, shock visible on her face. Marinette doesn’t want this night to end. 

“I have a shoot early in the morning…” Adrien’s voice trails off as he registers her concern. Expression softening, he’s practically glowing with happiness at this point as he places a steady hand on her shoulder. “But I’ll meet you for lunch tomorrow… if you want, that is?” 

“Of course!” Her response is out before his offer is even uttered. “I’d like to meet you again.” 

“Yeah?” 

“Yes,” she tells him because it’s the truth, and she can’t lie to him—not about something like this. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow then, Chat?” 

“Of course, Ladybug,” he says.

There’s a moment where they pause awkwardly on a corner under the glow of the streetlights, and Marinette’s heart jumps into her throat as he leans forward. Stopping right in front of her, hot breath tickling her cheeks, Adrien smiles softly and whispers, “I had an amazing time tonight, bug.” 

“Me too,” she tells him. “Definitely one of the best first dates I’ve had in a long time.” 

If possible, Adrien’s smile grows even bigger. Her own heart slams fast and frantic against her ribcage like a hummingbird’s wings. It’s amazing how much of an effect he has on her, and he doesn’t even realize it. 

“Tomorrow,” he promises and leans forward and presses his lips lightly against her cheek.  Then he turns on his heel and takes off down the sidewalk, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his pants, and refusing to wave goodbye or send her one last look. Because Adrien Agreste is Chat Noir, who doesn’t always know how to express his emotions the right way or how to talk to people. And because Marinette is Ladybug, she doesn’t always say the things she should or explain her thoughts to the best of her ability.

But this time, it doesn’t matter what they say. Sometimes actions speak louder than words. 

“Tomorrow,” Marinette says to the silent street, to the space where Adrien once stood. 

She pulls his jacket tighter around her shoulders, the cold sending shivers racing down her spine, but her cheek still burns where his lips were.

Shaky fingers reach up and press into the skin, and she brushes the spot where he kissed her. “Tomorrow,” she echoes. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Chat Noir.”

 

*

 

March 18th—Saturday (11:30 pm)

 

(11:30 pm) Wanted to make sure you got home okay.

(11:32 pm) I don’t live too far from here. I made it home just fine.

(11:32 pm) Thanks for asking though.

(11:35 pm) Good.

(11:36 pm) Hey, Marinette?

(11:36 pm) Hmm?

(11:37 pm) I just wanted to let you know that I had a great time tonight.

(11:38 pm) Me too.

(11:40 pm) I’m so glad I met you.

(11:40 pm) Me too.

(11:42 pm) Tomorrow we should head to my parents’ bakery. I think you’d like it.

(11:44 pm) Sounds like a plan. Good night, bug.

(11:45 pm) Night, Chat Noir.

Chapter Text

Nino

Adrien

Marinette

Alya

 

*

March 20th—Monday (9:01 am)

 

(9:01 am) Okay, look, I’ve endured the silent treatment all weekend, Mari, but I’m done.

(9:15 am) Please be aware that I’m going to keep ignoring you.

(9:17 am) You can’t avoid me forever. I know where you live, remember.

(9:18 am) I have the police on speed dial.

(9:19 am) I know the police chief personally, Al. You aren’t gonna get away with this.

(9:25 am) Come on, Marinette. I already told you I’m sorry. Can you please talk to me?

(9:26 am) It’s gonna take a lot more than a “sorry” to make me forgive you.

(9:29 am) I’ll take you to that fabric store you like and let you buy a couple yards of four pieces, which is expensive as FUCK but I’m going to do it.

(9:30 am) … That’s not fair.

(9:31 am) I like to play dirty. Sue me.

(9:32 am) Ugghh, why do I always cave to you?

(9:33 am) Because you’re predictable and broke. I always win.

(9:35 am) Fine. But you need to be aware that I’m only telling you all this because I’m about to scream, and I need someone to listen. You’re still not forgiven for that mixer shit.

(9:36 am) You know what? I’ll take it. I’m easily appeased.

(9:36 am) Now spill, girl. Tell me what happened between you and your Prince Charming.

(9:38 am) He’s not a prince, Alya.

(9:38 am) ….But he is charming. I’ll at least give you that.

(9:40 am) Yeah? Okay, let’s start after you guys left the party. What happened? Where’d you go? Did you hook up? Are you getting married?

(9:42 am) Married? Who do you think we are?

(9:43 am) Twue Wuv.

(9:44 am) I swear to fucking god, Alya, no.

(9:44 am) But Mawinyette, I wanna heaw the stowy.

(9:45 am) That’s it. I’m not telling you another fucking thing.

(9:47 am) You’re a party pooper.

(9:48 am) And you’re just a little shit.

(9:49 am) I’ll happily own that title, thank you very much.

(9:50 am) No, but seriously, what happened between you two?

(9:53 am) I don’t know? Everything was really awkward at first, and it was like we kind of had to learn to be ourselves with each other. He was super sweet but really shy, and I didn’t know what to say half the time. I think I mumbled into my pasta for the first hour or so.

(9:54 am) You guys went out to dinner then?

(9:55 am) Yeah, there was this cozy café place he took us to. I liked it.

(9:56 am) So it was a date.

(9:58 am) I didn’t say that.

(10:00 am) You didn’t say anything. And sometimes that’s enough for you.

(10:02 am) I’m not talking to you anymore.

(10:03 am) MARINETTE. YOU CAN’T HIDE ANYTHING FROM ME. IM ENTITLED TO KNOW WHAT HAPEPNED BETWEEN YOU TWO.

(10:05 am) We had dinner on Saturday! We had lunch yesterday! He kissed me on the cheek, and I kept his jacket! I called it a date, and so did he!

(10:07 am) You had lunch yesterday?

(10:08 am) That’s what you’re choosing to focus on?

(10:09 am) You didn’t tell me you saw him again!

(10:09 am) Technically that would be the fourth time I’ve seen him.

(10:09 am) I don’t care about technicalities. I care about the fact that you and Adrien dating.

(10:11 am) We aren’t dating.

(10:12 am) You called it a date though? I’m confused. Did you suddenly switch languages? Get a different dictionary? Join a new religion?

(10:14 am) Just because we called it a date doesn’t mean we’re dating. There’s a difference.

(10:15 am) Marinette, you’re fucking crazy. You went on a date and decided to get lunch the next day. That’s called a second date.

(10:16 am) Alya, we’re still… testing the waters. Getting to know each other, you know?

(10:17 am) That’s what you’ve spent the last three months doing: getting to know him.

(10:18 am) No… it’s…

(10:18 am) If you say, “it’s different” one more time, I’m going to hit you.

(10:19 am) But it is.

(10:21 am) Marinette, please help me understand here.

(10:21 am) You like this boy, you really, really like him.

(10:21 am) So why aren’t you guys together yet?

(10:23 am) Because I’ve spent the last couple months getting to know Chat Noir, became best friends with Chat Noir, fell in love with Chat Noir. And even though I know Chat Noir is Adrien, and I love him… there’s still so much I want to learn and know about him first.

(10:23 am) So?

(10:23 am) Adrien’s the person behind the mask.

(10:24 am) And I wanna fall in love with him too.

 

(10:45 am) God, you’re such a sap.

(10:45 am) Just date the guy, Marinette.

 

 

*

 

March 20th—Monday (12:11 pm)

 

(12:11 pm) You busy today?

(12:13 pm) Just finishing up a few things before lunch. What’s up?

(12:14 pm) What would you say if I swung by for lunch?

(12:15 pm) Like… here? At Gabriel’s?

(12:16 pm) That’s… the idea.. unless you’re somewhere else, then this is just really awkward.

(12:17 pm) No, I’m at Gabriel’s.

(12:19 pm) …See, I know you said “no” in there, but I don’t know if that’s a “no, I’m not somewhere else” or a “no, you can’t come” or a “no, you’re not awkward, Adrien, you’re so smooth and sauve that you sweep me off my feet every time I heard from you.”

(12:20 pm) You’re gonna have to be more clear, bug, cause it could honestly be any one of those.

(12:21 pm) …God.

(12:22 pm) I prefer Adrien actually.

(12:23 pm) I forgot what a loser you are.

(12:24 pm) You love me for it though.

(12:25 pm) You’re right. I do love you for it.

(12:26 pm) So… you and me… lunch at the café downstairs in the lobby? I can get us a discount.

(12:27 pm) No.

(12:29 pm) Oh?

(12:30 pm) I’m just really busy. I think I’m gonna work through lunch.

(12:31 pm) I thought you said you were just finishing things up.

(12:31 pm) Something came up.

(12:31 pm) I’ll call you later.

(12:31 pm) Fine.

(12:32 pm) Adrien?

(12:32 pm) Hmm?

(12:33 pm) I can do a Hallmark movie marathon at my apartment tonight if you want.

(12:33 pm) Yes! A thousand times yes! Yes.

(12:33 pm) LOL. Okay, I’ll see you then.

(12:34 pm) See ya, Ladybug.

 

 

*

 

March 20th—Monday (3:00 pm)

 

(3:00 pm) So Marinette’s not dating anyone right?

(3:01 pm) I’m sorry?

(3:03 pm) Marinette’s not dating anyone right?

(3:04 pm) Sorry, who’s this? I don’t recognize the number.

(3:05 pm) Oh for fuck’s sake, Nino, I’m the one mad at you. You’ve got no reason to ignore me.

(3:07 pm) You never answered my texts, dude. I messaged you like all day yesterday. Sunday’s a holy day amongst bros, Adrien, and you missed it.

(3:08 pm) I’m not doing this righ tnow.

(3:09 pm) You forgot Broday Funday, dude.

(3:10 pm) You conspired to get me to meet the girl I’m in love with after I told you to stay out of it.

(3:11 pm) I mean…

(3:11 pm) If we hadn’t had a good time that night, I would’ve lost her and been sad. You’ve seen me sad. Would you have liked that, Nino?

(3:13 pm) … I would rather kill a puppy.

(3:13 pm) So who’s in the wrong here?

(3:14 pm) Nino.

(3:14 pm) Nino.

(3:15 pm) So, anyway, back to my question. Is Marinette dating anyone right now?

(3:16 pm) ...No?

(3:17 pm) Because I tried to have lunch with her today and she was fine until she realized I wanted to do it with her at work, and then she got really weird and I’m like, Nino… Like what if she has a model boyfriend at Gabriel’s that she hooks up with during breaks in storage closets full of fabric and buttons?

(3:19 pm) …Huh?

(3:20 pm) What if he’s a secret boyfriend? Like a secret model boyfriend who calls himself like fucking Chien Blanc or some stupid shit like that? Like what a stupid name. Who’d call themselves that?

(3:21 pm) What the fuck?

(3:21 pm) What if, Nino?

(3:22 pm) You know what, I’m not doing this. Here.

(3:22 pm) 0155930439.

(3:23 pm) That’s Alya’s number. Call her. I’m done with this shit.

(3:23 pm) But bro.

(3:23 pm) Just date the girl, Adrien.

 

 

(3:30 pm) …You mean for me to date Marinette, right, not Alya?

(3:30 pm) JUST GO, ADRIEN.

 

 

 

*

 

March 20th—Monday (3:30 pm)

 

(3:30 pm) Is this Alya?

(3:31 pm) Who’s this?

(3:31 pm) Oh, it’s Adrien Agreste?

(3:32 pm) This isn’t Alya, but hey, thanks for your number.

(3:33 pm) …Fuck.

(3:34 pm) Just kidding, pretty boy. But seriously, how’d you get my number? Nino or Marinette?

(3:35 pm) Nino.
(3:36 pm) Gonna kill that boy, but that can wait till after we talk.

(3:37 pm) Ah, yes, I had a question for you!

(3:37 pm) Sorry, you misunderstood me. I meant, I’m gonna talk, and you’re gonna listen, kay?

(3:38 pm) Uhm… okay?

(3:40 pm) Did Marinette ever tell you about her last serious relationship?

(3:41 pm) Was it with a model named Chien Blanc?

(3:41 pm) …No?

(3:41 pm) What the fuck?

(3:42 pm) Nevermind, please continue.

(3:44 pm) So I chased Marinette’s girlfriend out of her apartment with a spatula, a lighter, and hairspray. I caught her cheating on Mari with someone else, and that was a while ago, and she’s bounced back and been great whatsoever. But I take care of that girl. You got me?

(3:45 pm) …Yes. You take your duty as her best friend very seriously.

(3:46 pm) Very.

(3:46 pm) Basically, don’t cross me, and don’t hurt Marinette, Mr. Agreste, and we’ll get along splendidly.

(3:46 pm) I won’t.

(3:46 pm) Alya… you know that I care about her a lot right? I won’t hurt her.

(3:47 pm) I know. But I just need you to be aware of what will happen if you ever do.

(3:47 pm) Duly noted, I guess?

(3:48 pm) Anyway. You had a question for me?

(3:50 pm) This is gonna sound stupid. I swear I can hear Nino laughing across Paris.

(3:51 pm) There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

(3:51 pm) Do you really believe that?

(3:52 pm) Before I met Nino, yes.

(3:52 pm) Anyway, does Marinette have a boyfriend right now? Is she dating anyone?

(3:52 pm) Absolutely not.

(3:53 pm) Really? There’s no secret boyfriend you don’t know about?

(3:54 pm) Honey, I knew about you before she told me. What do you think?

(3:54 pm) Don’t question your all knowing powers. Got it.

(3:54 pm) Besides, I’m pretty damn sure she’s hung up on this guy she’s known for the last couple months or so. I think they went out a couple times this weekend.

(3:55 pm) Seriously?!

(3:55 pm) …Adrien, honey…

(3:56 pm) …You were talking about me, weren’t you?

(3:56 pm) Look at you, got it in one.

(3:57 pm) Thanks, Alya. And I’ll be sure to be good, I promise, else I’ll meet my end via lighter and hairspray.

(3:58 pm) Hold on, wait, did you make a blowtorch???

(4:00 pm) Play nice, Agreste.

 

*

 

March 20th—Monday (6:32 pm)

 

 

(6:32 pm) Just got home from work. Feel free to come over whenever. We can order takeout.

(6:35 pm) I should be there soon. Just finishing up some homework.

(6:36 pm) Gotcha. Feel free to bring Plagg too! I think Tikki’s getting lonely.

(6:36 pm) How is the pooper by the way? I haven’t seen him lately.

(6:37 pm) Well he ain’t dead yet. Just chilling and watching TV while I get ready.

(6:37 pm)

(6:37 pm) What’s Tikki up to?

(6:38 pm)

(6:38 pm) You know, I can’t even laugh. She’s so fucking precious.

(6:40 pm) Hey, you live off Center right?

(6:43 pm) Yep. Take the second left.

(6:45 pm) Almost there.

(6:45 pm) Also: question before I lose my nerve.

(6:46 pm) What’s up?

(6:47 pm) Do you wanna get breakfast at the café at Gabriel’s before work tomorrow? I have to go talk to my dad about something and figured if we’re both going to the same place, then we might as well make a date out of it.

(6:48 pm) I have to go in super early tomorrow, so can we take a raincheck? Maybe we can swing by my parents’ bakery and pick something up.

(6:50 pm) Look, I’m not trying to be insulted but…

(6:50 pm) What?
(6:50 pm) It feels like you don’t want to be seen with me.

(6:51 pm) What?!

(6:53 pm) Seriously, you won’t let me come and have lunch with you. You won’t let me get breakfast with you. Like you’d be honest with me if you have a secret boyfriend or girlfriend at Gabriel’s right?

(6:54 pm) Where the fuck did you get that idea from?

(6:55 pm) You.

(6:56 pm) Look, I’m sorry if I ever insinuated that I was dating someone else.

(6:57 pm) Because I’m absolutely not.

(6:57 pm) You’re serious?

(6:57 pm) You honestly think I’d do that to you?

(6:57 pm) No.

(6:58 pm) But then why are you being so dodgy?

(6:59 pm) Because your father fucking terrifies me, Adrien.

(7:00 pm) …I’m sorry?

(7:01 pm) Tell me what’s going on.

(7:02 pm) From serial killer to therapist, God… We have a lot of career changes don’t we?

(7:02 pm) Hold on, lemme call you.

 

 

LADYBUG is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

Well hello, m’lady.”

“God, you’re such a dork.”

“So… what’s up with you? How’s your day been?”

 Adrien, you literally were just talking to me.” 

I know. I just missed you, bug. 

“You saw me yesterday. Nothing’s changed. Still got two arms and two legs and two feet to kick you with.” 

Rude. Anyway, now that we’re done flirting—” 

“I am not flirting with you!”

“—we can have that conversation you’re avoiding right now.” 

“God, you’re mean when you’re angry.” 

Hey! I’m not angry—” 

“I know, I know. Poor choice of words. Sorry.”

“Talk to me, bug.”  

“Look, it’s nothing with you. You’re fine and amazing, and I love you—” 

—Huh? What—” 

“—but have you even told your dad that you’re interested in one of his designers? Like, Adrien, what about interpersonal workplace relationships? PDA? What if people think I’m trying to climb the ladder at Gabriel’s by sleeping with his son—” 

W-When did we start sleeping together—?” 

“—just to get a promotion or get closer to the owner? Because, Adrien, you technically still work there, you know? I’m pretty sure that’s forbidden in the contract or something. I mean, do you think anyone actually reads those contracts when they sign them? It’s more of a, ‘God, I want to get out of here, please make this go faster because I might die in this chair, impaled on this pen and the passage of time.’ Like holy shit, Adrien—” 

You’re cute when you ramble.” 

“—it’s… W-What?” 

“Hmm?”  

“You think I’m cute?” 

“Marinette, I mean this with all the best intentions, but you need to calm down.” 

“I am calm.” 

“Are you? Are you really?” 

“...No, okay, no.” 

“You wanna date me right?” 

“Is that what we’re doing?” 

“…Look that’s a completely different conversation we need to have, but not right now.” 

“Fine. I’m okay with that. Later then.” 

But this conversation—it’s simple.”

“Is it?” 

“Are you embarrassed to be seen with me?” 

“No, of course not. I love being with you.”

“Then that’s all that matters.” 

“You’re sure?” 

“Yeah, of course.” 

“So we can have dinner in front of your father?” 

“When I get around telling him, yes.” 

“So you’ll tell him tonight?” 

“Marinette, let me reiterate a fact for you: you’re terrified of my father, and I’m even worse. I’ll get around to it eventually.”

“So… we can have dinner together…?” 

“Just not at Gabriel’s.” 

“Okay. We’ll work something else out then? 

“Sounds good.”  

“…What’s wrong?” 

“Nothing.” 

“You sound funny.” 

“…I’m just really glad you aren’t mad at me or something. I thought I did something.” 

“No, of course not. I’m sorry I worried you.” 

“No harm done.” 

“If you’re sure.” 

“I am.” 

“Okay. Then we’re good?”

“We’re golden, bugaboo.” 

“Don’t call me that.” 

“Yeah, yeah. Hey, I’m at your place. Buzz me up.” 

“Done.” 

“Okay, see you in a few minutes. Love you.” 

“Love y—exucseme, what?!”

 

END CALL with LADYBUG

Chapter Text

March 24th—Friday (8:00 am)

 

(8:00 am) It’s a Friday, and I want it to end.

(8:03 am) What?! Fridays are happy days.

(8:08 am) I just want it to be the weekend already because your dad is a slave driver, and I’ve been working on this design for three weeks only to have him throw it back in my face and tell me to start over.

(8:09 am) Welcome to the fashion world. You signed up for this.

(8:09 am) I hate you.

(8:09 am) Why did you let me take this job? I could have stayed on as the lowly intern who stitches and sorts buttons. This is your fucking fault, Adrien Agreste.

(8:10 am) Do you need a pick-me-up? I can be there in like 15 minutes.

(8:12 am) Have you told your dad about us yet?

(8:14 am) Come on, Ladybug. I told you I’m working up to it.

(8:14 am) Like a week ago.

(8:15 am) I just don’t know how to tell him.

(8:16 am) How about, “Dad, I’m dating one of your designers” and then give him a few bottles of champagne or some other shit to knock him out.

(8:18 am) You think it’s that easy?

(8:18 am) Also it’s whiskey. He drinks whiskey.

(8:20 am) To be completely fucking honest, that doesn’t surprise me. Your dad seems like a hard liquor sorta person.

(8:23 am) At least lemme bring you coffee. I’ll put it off as visiting my father and just slip it onto your desk.

(8:25 am) Adrien…

(8:27 am) Come on, for the good of the company. I’ve gotta keep its best designer in good spirits, right?

(8:28 am) Fine.

(8:29 am) I’ll be there in 15 minutes.

(8:35 am) You know…

(8:35 am) Hmm?

(8:37 am) There might be a storage closet on the 6th floor that’s vacant with all those renovations.

(8:38 am) Oh?

(8:40 am) If you wanna meet me in there for a few minutes after you visit your father… I mean… For the good of the company and everything.

(8:42 am) Of course. I’ll do whatever it takes to make sure Gabriel’s best designer is in tip-top shape.

(8:42 am) :)

 

 

 

March 24th—Friday (1:20 pm)

 

(1:20 pm) So how long were you in that closet with him?

(1:23 pm) Alya, I’m not talking about this anymore.

(1:24 pm) You know you want to.

(1:25 pm) We spent all of my lunch break talking about it.

(1:29 pm) You don’t understand. This will never not be interesting to me. It’s literally the best thing you’ve done since undergrad when you and Luka got caught together in the bathroom on the 3rd floor of the science building.

(1:31 pm) It’s not like we did anything! We just kissed!

(1:33 pm) For thirty minutes.

(1:34 pm) Okay.

(1:35 pm) Did Gabriel even say anything to you when you got back to your office?

(1:37 pm) You’re enjoying this WAY too much, Alya Cesaire.

(1:39 pm) Humor me, Mari.

(1:41 pm) Fuck you.

(1:45 pm) And because you’re going to fucking bug me for the rest of the day about this and because I need to get actual work done, he fucking told me if I wanna be successful in the fashion industry then I should make sure I don’t show up to work looking like somebody’s morning after.

(1:47 pm) Oh… my fucking GOD.

(1:48 pm) Just for future reference in case I ever need to file a complaint about Gabriel Agreste: do you think this is grounds for inappropriate behavior in the workplace?

 

 

March 24th—Friday (7:32 pm)

 

 

(7:32 pm) So how bad did my father take your “extended break” this morning?

(7:34 pm) I dunno, Adrien. You lived with the man for two decades, so how do you think it went?

(7:34 pm) The least you could’ve done was told me how bad my hair looked after that escapade.  

(7:35 pm) We were in a storage closet for thirty minutes.

(7:35 pm) Which was why I looked so fucking bad.

(7:36 pm) It was dark.

(7:36 pm) Oh trust me, I am very well aware of that fact.

(7:36 pm) You made me leave first. How was I EVER supposed to help you?

(7:37 pm) That’s…

(7:37 pm) Fine, you win this battle.

(7:38 pm) It was worth it though, right?

(7:38 pm) Oh fuck yes.

(7:39 pm) You know, maybe I should just never tell my father about us.

(7:39 pm) Why not?

(7:41 pm) I guess because I love spending time with you, and we don’t have to worry about anything else. Like these last couple months have been awesome talking and getting to know you, but we’ve only really started to see a lot of each other. And it’s been a bit weird getting used to having you like that in my life.

(7:43 pm) Adrien….

(7:45 pm) I guess I just wanna spend more time with you when it’s just US, you know? Like Alya and Nino are great, and telling my father is something I need to do but… keeping it a secret and just between us is pretty cool too.

(7:47 pm) You sure know exactly what to say to a girl, don’t you, Agreste?

(7:47 pm) Plus it means more sneaking around and a LOT more storage closets with you.

(7:48 pm) The storage closet was pretty great.

(7:49 pm) Good. I’m glad.

(7:50 pm) I should just be glad you decided to lure me in there to kiss me and not kill me.

(7:50 pm) With your track record and everything.

(7:52 pm) You should add this to your resume.

(7:53 pm) Ohh?? ;) Adrien Agreste: Best kisser?

(7:54 pm) Adrien Agreste: Knows how to ruin a good moment.

 

 

March 25th—Saturday (12:01 pm)

 

(12:01 pm) Heard about you hooking up with Marinette at her work. Smooth move, bro.

(12:04 pm) We didn’t hook up.

(12:05 pm) Yes, you did. Glad to know you have a wild side though.

(12:06 pm) God, Nino…

(12:09 pm) She’s amazing. It was totally out of the blue and spontaneous, and it fucking took me by surprise, but God… I just like her so much.

(12:10 pm) Adrien, you’re so fucking in love with her that it’s ridiculous.

(12:11 pm) This is how I die, Nino, by Marinette Dupain-Cheng.

(12:13 pm) This is what I’ve been telling you for three months.

(12:14 pm) Have fun with that.

 


 

March 26th—Sunday (9:08 am)

 

CHAT NOIR is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

“Why the fuck are you calling me on a Sunday morning?”

ListenBugaboo, light of my life, my rock and salvation…”

“What the fuck did you do now?”

Let me preface this by saying that this is entirely your fault.

“Uhm, what exactly is my fault?”

So did you know there’s 24-hour surveillance at Gabriel’s? Even in the renovated area, pointing directly at a storage closet?”

“….Oh my god.”

So, since you’re the one that picked the place, I am entirely placing all the blame on you.”

“You’re the one who wanted to come visit me! I-I… Oh god, Adrien, please, please, please tell me that the reason you’re calling is to tell me that GABRIEL AGRESTE is not the person who say the video feed.”

So it turns out Gabriel Agreste is alerted about all unusual activity on his premise.”

“Adrien, no…”

And that includes his son disappearing into a storage closet with a designer for thirty minutes.

“A-Adrien, what the fuck… Oh shit, what’re we gonna do?”

Us? Nope, this is on you.

“I am NOT dealing with this by myself—!”

My father should be calling you soon.”

“Adrien, do NOT leave me al—”

Good luck, Ladybug. You’re gonna need it.”

“ADRIEN AGR—!”

 

CALL has ENDED

 

Marinette stares at her phone in horror, blurry eyes wide and alert, as she sits up in bed in a panic. Hair tousled from a good night’s sleep, she runs her hands through it and tosses the phone onto the blanket, a glare from the silver sunlight streaming through the window blinding her. 

“Oh fuck, I’m dead,” she whispers to herself. “Tikki, oh my god, what am I gonna do?”

And there it is, the all-too-familiar ringtone blaring out her funeral march:

GABRIEL AGRESTE is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

“Well, fuck me,” Marinette says. “Looks like I finally found a way to make Gabriel Agreste cry.”

 

 

 





 

 

Chapter Text

Marinette
Adrien
Alya
Nino

 

*

 

March 26th—Sunday (9:15 am)

Let it be known, for the record, that Marinette has always tried to make good choices. Whether it’s taking leftover pastries and baked goods to the shelter at the end of a long day at her parents’ bakery, helping her co-workers when they reach an blockade in the design process, or feeding the stray cats in the alleyway behind her apartment complex, she’s tried to live her life to the best of her ability and be a good person

So as she stares at her phone, GABRIEL AGRESTE flashing across the display, she wonders what she’s done to deserve this current hand and why she didn’t fucking fold earlier when she could have gotten out of this situation scotch-free. 

“I’m fucked, Tikki,” Marinette tells her cat, panicked blue eyes meeting content ones. “I’m fucked.” 

Her phone begins to ring again, her boss’s name stark against the dark background, and she knows that he won’t let this go if he’s calling her twice in as many minutes, even though she isn’t answering. Still, Marinette leaves the device on her dark comforter, hoping that some deity would bless her and cancel the call or change Gabriel’s mind. 

The ringtone peters out to a close, and she breathes a sigh of relief. Thank the Lord, she thinks to herself, but then, just so fate can let her know its fucking with her, the phone starts to ring again.

 

GABRIEL AGRESTE is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

The way Marinette sees it, she has potentially two life-altering options in front of her: 

  • ACCEPT the call, and promptly get fired directly from Gabriel Agreste himself.
  • DECLINE the call, and promptly get fired directly from Gabriel Agreste’s email itself.

A quick text notification slips across the screen, momentarily distracting her from her Gabriel Agreste crisis: You can’t hide forever, bug

It’s Adrien. Marinette’s going to kill him.

Marinette runs a hand through her hair in exasperation, pitching her voice low to mimic Gabriel’s. “‘Ms. Dupain-Cheng, would you care to explain to me why you and my son were hooking up on company grounds during your lunch break?’” 

She drops her head in her hands, shaking it minutely, whole body trembling. “How do I even respond to that? ‘Oh, Mr. Agreste, I wasn’t hooking up with your son. I was just checking the seam on his pants.’” 

Her phone rings again for the fourth time. She can’t keep putting this off, and Adrien (God, she’s going to kill him when she sees him next—if Gabriel doesn’t off her first) is right. 

“It’s now or never, Tikki,” she whispers under her breath, and tries to get that Ladybug courage that Adrien’s always raving about—what pushed her to take this job, what pushed her to return Adrien’s first call, what pushed her to make out with him in the storage closet at work for 30 minutes in the first place.

 

GABRIEL AGRESTE is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

“This is Marinette,” she answers and wants to punch herself in the face because chances are that Gabriel already knows who the fuck is calling. Briefly, she entertains the thought of what would’ve happened if she’d answered as Adrien, and figures that might send her boss to an early grave. (…on second thought…) 

“Ah, Ms. Dupain-Cheng, just the person I wanted to talk to.” Gabriel Agreste’s voice is cool and crisp, like fine wine after a long day. Marinette wonders if she should be drunk for this conversation. “I hope I’m not bothering you on your day off.” 

“Mr. Agreste, what a surprise. I wasn’t expecting a call from you.” She pushes herself out of bed, clad in only boxer shorts and a tank top, and does a dance in the middle of the room, unable to sit still with the overwhelming tension pressing against her from all sides. “I thought you were in Milan this week.” 

Gabriel smiles on the other end, or at least Marinette likes to think he is. “There were some… other matters to address before I can take care of business here, as I’m sure you’re well aware.” 

“Yes,” she whimpers because what else can she say???

“When Head of Security—” Rogers, that bitch, Marinette thinks. “—calls to tell me about my son traipsing through an area of the building that’s closed off for renovation, I would have expected him to be chasing his cat again… Not following at the heels of one of my designers towards a storage closet.” 

She pinwheels, one hand clasping the phone to her ear and the other fighting to pull an appropriate answer from thin air. “If it helps, the closet was relatively empty because of the renovations and all that. So I wouldn’t exactly call it a storage—” 

Obviously, it’s not the answer Gabriel wants. “Ms. Dupain-Cheng, this is a very serious matter, and I hope you’d respect me enough to not make it into something so trivial.” His voice is low and stern, and suddenly she’s fourteen and being grounded by her father all over again.

“Yes, sir.”

“Ms. Dupain-Cheng, I will only say this once, so I expect that we won’t have any further matters to discuss regarding this case.” Marinette presses her lips into a thin line, still trembling. “I highly discourage my employees entering flings with my son, and should you see fit to continue this… trivial pursuit, you may find yourself seeking new employment.” 

Well, if that’s not some fancy-shmancy shovel talk, I don’t know what to call it, she thinks.

“Do I make myself clear?” Gabriel asks. 

Her phone buzzes with a new text notification from Adrien: You can do it, bug! 

There’s quiet for a moment as she gathers her thoughts. “With all due respect, sir,” she tells him, and a part of her is dumbstruck that she’s found the courage to fight this. “I wouldn’t call this thing with Adrien a… fling.” 

Gabriel laughs. “No one ever does.” 

“To be fair, Mr. Agreste, we’ve been together for months now—” and wait, wait, Marinette, what’re you doing?! You’ve gone on two dates, had a sloppy make out session, and been texted a stranger for three months! That’s not BEING TOGETHER! But Marinette elects to ignore her inner voice. “—and we’re incredibly happy, and I don’t think it’d be in our best interest to… end this any time… soon.” 

Well, she thinks to herself. At least I’m pretty sure I just fired myself

“…Is that so?” Gabriel sounds taken back, surprised even. Marinette’s not entirely sure what’s going on right now. 

“Yes,” she tells her boss, digging that final nail into the coffin. “I’m dating your son, and very much in love with him.” 

Well, she thinks to herself. That happened. 

“…Oh.” Gabriel’s voice breaks, growing high pitched. And oh my god. “Perhaps this is a conversation better had in person.” 

“I believe that’d be beneficial to all three of us,” she says. 

“I expect to see you next Saturday evening at six then for dinner,” Gabriel tells her, words flat. “Adrien will show you the way. Good day, Ms. Dupain-Cheng.” 

The dial tone sounds as Gabriel hangs up on her, and Marinette stands in the corner of her room, staring at a dark phone screen.

After a few minutes along with her thoughts, she throws herself onto the bed and screams into her pillow.

 

 

March 26th—Sunday (10:00 am)

 

(10:00 am) So I talked to your father. I’m not fired.

(10:00 am) Also if he asks: we’ve been dating for three months, and I’m in love with you.

(10:00 am) Also I’m invited to dinner next Saturday. Pick me up at six.

(10:07 am) What

(10:09 am) Marinette, you can’t just LEAVE things like that.

(10:10 am) Also: I can’t believe you officially told my father you loved me before you officially told me.

(10:14 am) Adrien, you’re lucky I even remembered my fucking name during that conversation.

 

 

*

 

March 30th—Thursday (2:02 pm)

 

(2:02 pm) So Nino tells me you’re meeting Papa Agreste this weekend.

(2:04 pm) Nino’s a fucking tattletale.

(2:05 pm) I mean, your boyfriend told him first, you know.

(2:07 pm) My boyfriend’s a fucking sneak then.

(2:07 pm) I literally can’t even think straight. It feels like a prolonged period of firing.

(2:09 pm) You’re gonna be fine, girl! I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t somehow managed to fall in love with you after they meet you. Gabriel Agreste isn’t going to be any different; you’ve got nothing to be nervous about.

(2:10 pm) He just holds my future in his hands. No big deal.

(2:12 pm) Marinette, you’re gonna be fine! Gabriel’s gonna love you. He probably already does since he didn’t fire you when you said you were dating his son!

(2:13 pm) Not everyone likes me, Alya! I can name plenty who don’t—like Chloe!

(2:15 pm) Chloe told me you’re the reason she realized she was gay. I’m pretty sure you can do anything, Mari.

(2:15 pm) Except come up with a good reason why Gabriel should approve of me dating Adrien.

(2:16 pm) It’s been like four fucking days, and I can’t think of a single point to back up my claim.

(2:17 pm) What claim?

(2:19 pm) That me and Adrien are madly in love with each other, and have been for three months and not like… two weeks.

(2:20 pm) Bitch, you’ve been in love with that boy since you met him.

(2:20 pm) I…

(2:21 pm) Okay maybe, but I don’t how to show that without being a total idiot.

(2:23 pm) Just be yourself, and everything else will fall into place.

(2:24 pm) That’s surprisingly sensible advice coming from someone who set up me and Adrien on a mystery date to get us to meet after we repeatedly told you and your boyfriend to butt the fuck out.

(2:25 pm) I am capable of growth, Mari.

(2:25 pm) I’ll see it when I believe it.

(2:26 pm) But seriously, I need investigative meddler Alya Cesaire’s help right now. Help me fool my boss that I love his son.

(2:26 pm) You know… like enough to not get fired.

(2:27 pm) Have you considered asking Adrien for advice on how to deal with his dad?

(2:29 pm) Adrien’s as scared of him as I am.

(2:30 pm) Even more so actually. Considering he stuck me telling his father about his son’s new relationship instead of admitting this shit himself.

(2:31 pm) I still got to fucking get him back for that.

(2:32 pm) As much as I love discussing kinky sex, I feel like you have more important matters here.

(2:32 pm) Alya! What the fuck! NO!

(2:33 pm) Whatever. You get it, girl! :)

(2:34 pm) Brain bleach. I need brain bleach.

(2:36 pm) Just calm down and breathe, okay? I’m gonna lay it out for you.

(2:38 pm) Here’s the facts: 1) You are completely in love with Adrien Agreste, and you stood up to his fucking father, your fucking BOSS, jus to make sure he knew that.

(2:39 pm) 2) Gabriel Agreste respects you enough that he wants to meet you before he will wholeheartedly approve of you and Adrien together. Remember that you’re the one who went in one day as an intern, corrected Gabriel on his fashion shit, and walked away with a job offer with one of the most prestigious fashion companies in the world.

(2:41 pm) 3) You are Marinette Fucking Dupain-Cheng, and you have never let anything hold you back. Not when it comes to school, or cheating girlfriends, or meddling best friends (you’re still welcome by the way), or wrong numbers. So you aren’t going to let Gabriel Agreste scare you away from the love of your life.

(2:50 pm) …

(2:50 pm) Thanks, Al. I feel better now.

 

 

*

 

March 31st—Friday (10:02 pm)

 

(10:02 pm) Do you think your dad invited me over to dinner to fire me in person?

(10:04 pm) That’s it. I’m not dealing with this shit anymore.

(10:05 pm) What’re you doing?

 

ADRIEN AGRESTE is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

“Hi, you.”

You need to calm down.”

“I am calm.”

You are a basket case.”

“I have a right to be. This is your father, my boss, the man who can realistically take away some of the best things that ever happened to me.”

“…”

“..Adrien?”

“..You think I’m one of the best things that’s ever happened to you?

“Adrien!”

Look, I already apologized for throwing you under the bus with him, but you know what he’s like when it comes to me.”

“From how you describe it: unbearable.”

Yeah, something like that. But if there’s one thing I know about my father, it’s that he just wants me to be happy, and when he sees how I am with you, he won’t be able to do anything but approve.”

“Oh yeah? And how do you act around me, chaton?”

Stupidly and crazily in love.”

“…”

God, I love the sound of your laugh.”

“I just… Sometimes I forget how much like Chat Noir you are. I know you’re the same person and stuff, but when I first found out who you were, I got a little… disjointed, you know? Adrien Agreste was someone so different to me than Chat Noir, who was this loser I accidentally texted one day, and I wanted to make sure I could love Adrien the same way I loved him.”

And did it work?

“All I found out was that you’re the same person I fell in love with the first time, and I am so grateful that you decided to text me back after that stupid drunk New Year’s.”

So am I, bug. Anyway, you should get some sleep. Alya’s staying the night, right? Pop in a Hallmark movie, settle down with some wine and popcorn, and just take a break. Tomorrow we’ll meet my father, and then Monday you’ll go back to work just like any other day.”

“Al’s here, yeah, but I’m too wound up to settle down.”

Want me to play something for you to calm you down then?

“What do you mean?”

“Well I play piano, Mari.

“Yeah, I know that.”

“So… I’ve actually been working on a piece that’s about you. Well… more like you inspired it. I just sort of sat down one night, and I started putting things together, and before you know it… I had a song. And… it’s for you.

“Really? You wrote me a song?”

Something like that.

“Wow.”

Can I play it for you?”

“God… yes, yes, of course, you can.”

Okay, hold on.”

 

(In the Rain: YT / SC

 

 

So, what’d you think?”

“I… I think you killed me.”

It was that bad?

“Adrien, that’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever heard.”

Really?!”

“Don’t sound so surprised. God, you’re… You’re so incredible.”

Well I’m glad you liked it. It’s all for you.

“Could…”

“What, Mari?

“Could you play it again for me?”

“Of course.

 

(In the Rain)

 

So is it even better the second time around, bug?”

Adrien?

…Hello?

Hey, sorry. It’s Alya.

Oh, hi. Sorry, did Marinette fall asleep or something?

Yeah, she did. Passed out on her couch. It doesn’t look too comfortable. Lemme wake her up, and she can talk to you—”

No, no, it’s… It’s fine. Let her sleep.

You’re right. She’s been so worked up the last couple days, she probably needs this.

Definitely.”

Alright, I’ll talk to you later then, lover boy.”

“Sounds good. Oh, and Alya?”

Yeah.

Thanks for being with her tonight. I appreciate it, and I know she does too.”

“No problem, Adrien. What’s a best friend for?”

Night, Alya.”

See ya.

 

 

*

 

April 1st—Saturday (5:32 pm)

 

(5:32 pm) What time are you and Marinette meeting your dad again?

(5:33 pm) Not soon enough, dude.

(5:33 pm) I think I’m gonna die. Someone’s gonna end up crying by the end of the night.

(5:35 pm) What?! I thought you were supposed to be the calm, cool, and collected one of the two of you. Alya said that Marinette’s been losing her hair over this dinner all week, and you’re the one that keeps telling her that it’s not a big deal.

(5:36 pm) I have to! If I don’t, who’s gonna help Marinette?

(5:36 pm) Dude, Mari ain’t no damsel in distress.

(5:37 pm) Trust me, I am very well aware of that fact.

(5:38 pm) Y’all just gotta calm down. You’re all acting like I’m the only one who’s stood up to Gabriel Agreste and lived to tell the tale.

(5:39 pm) That was once, and I was 14. Besides, Marinette did it too when she started her internship.

(5:40 pm) And she walked out of there with a job offer. Face it: your old man already likes her, so he’s probably just making sure that you’re good enough for her.

(5:41 pm) Knowing my father… I wouldn’t put it past him.

(5:45 pm) Realistically, I know it’s going to be fine. He already likes Marinette, so she’s not going to get fired. I just… want him to like her with me because she means the world to me. I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye, but she has to be something we agree on. It’s too important, and I don’t plan on letting Marinette go that easily.

(5:47 pm) You talk like that, then he’ll see exactly  how you feel about her. Just say that stuff, word for word, and you’ll be fine, dude.

(5:50 pm) We’re pulling up now. Talk to you later, Nino.

(5:52 pm) Remember to video it! And send me a copy!

 

 

*

 

April 1st—Saturday (7:40 pm)

 

(7:40 pm) I think I’m dead.

(7:42 pm) You okay?

(7:43 pm) Honestly, Alya… I really don’t know.

(7:44 pm) Basically: did you make it out of dinner alive? Is Adrien still in one piece? Did you get fired? Or did Gabriel exile from every fashion firm in Europe?

(7:45 pm) Wait. Was that a fucking concern in the first place?

(7:46 pm) …No.

(7:46 pm) No, of course not. What makes you think that? It’s not like we were placing bets or anything.

(7:47 pm) Alya.

(7:48 pm) Forget about it! Tell me how it went!

(7:50 pm) Okay, so first off: I’m not fired. Gabriel Agreste told me, to my face, that’s I’m irreplaceable and to “let go of all this potential” would be a waste.

(7:51 pm) That’s good!

(7:52 pm) But then I got a mark for “inappropriate workplace behavior,” so I have to be careful in that regards.

(7:53 pm) Fair enough.

(7:54 pm) And then Adrien got fired.

(7:54 pm) I’m sorry, what?!

(7:55 pm) Yep. Adrien Agreste got fucking fired by his own father.

(7:55 pm) I didn’t see that coming.

(7:56 pm) Neither did we! I mean, Kim had $20 on Adrien being disowned, but that’s the closest someone got. How’d Adrien react?

(7:59 pm) With all things considered, I think he’s handling it pretty well. I mean, he wanted to quit in the first place, and he and his dad have been conversation for a while about him cutting back on modeling gigs and other stuff to give him time for school and pursuing what he wants to do. So I guess it all worked out… in a backwards sort of thing?

(8:00 pm) Is Adrien okay??

(8:01 pm) The first thing he did was email his advisor at school to enroll as a full-time student.

(8:01 pm) So yeah, I think he’s okay. Ecstatically so.

(8:02 pm) And the whole thing with you and Adrien… Did Papa Agreste take it well?

(8:03 pm) Well, that’s actually why he fired Adrien in the first place.

(8:03 pm) He doesn’t encourage interpersonal relationships, so he basically made it possible for me to keep my job and to keep dating his son.

(8:05 pm) So basically you have both Agrestes by the balls.

(8:05 pm) Alya!

(8:05 pm) I’m not saying anything that’s not true, Mari!

(8:08 pm) Anyway, so yeah, he approves of our relationship.

(8:10 pm) Adrien actually went on a long-winded thing with his father after Gabriel accused us of just having a short fling, and he talked about how much he loved me and how dating me was one of the best things to ever happen to happen to me. And the whole time I’m trying not to cry because, Al, he was so fucking sincere and sweet, I thought I was gonna die right then and there.

(8:11 pm) So all went well then?

(8:12 pm) Until Gabriel accused Adrien of cheating on Lila with me.

(8:12 pm) Because somehow he knew that “dating for 3 months” overlapped with Lila and his relationship.

(8:13 pm) Shit! How’d he handle that?

(8:14 pm) Adrien just assured his dad that even though he met me before he and Lila broke up, that we didn’t get together for a few weeks after.

(8:17 pm) I just stayed quiet the whole time. I didn’t know where the fuck he was going with it, and I was the one who stupidly told Gabriel that we’d been dating for a while. To be fair though, that’s what Adrien gets for throwing me under the bus and making me tell his dad that we were dating in the first place.

(8:18 pm) Karma’s a bitch.

(8:21 pm) So yeah, everything went okay. The weirdest part was at the very end when Gabriel pulled Adrien aside and told him he was “glad that Adrien found someone who made him happy” and that I remind him of Adrien’s mother and all this other stuff…

(8:22 pm) Whoa.

(8:22 pm) So I guess I achieved my New Year’s resolution.

(8:23 pm) I really did end up making Gabriel Agreste cry after all.

  

 

April 1st—Saturday (10:49 pm)

 

ADRIEN AGRESTE is calling: ACCEPT or DECLINE

 

“I thought you went home?”

It’s raining, and I forgot my umbrella.

“And…”

Marinette.”

“If you want to stay the night, all you have to do is ask, Chat Noir.”

You’re the best.”

“I know I am. Lemme buzz you up.”

Love you.”

“I know that too.” 

 

*

 

April 2nd—Sunday (11:08 am)

 

To GROUP CHAT: DARTH VADER AS YOUR IN-LAW (15 recipients)

 

(11:08 am) So the winner of the pot for Meet the In-Laws: Darth Vader edition is “Gabriel Agreste will cry by the end of the night”.

(11:13 pm) How the fuck did I lose? And who the fuck bet that?

(11:15 pm) …Who the hell is LadyNoir?

(11:17 pm) That’s what you get for meddling.

(11:19 pm) WHO THE FUCK ADDED ADRIEN TO OUR GROUP CHAT?

(11:20 pm) I’ll take it in cash, or you can just Venmo me. Thanks for playing.

  

 

*

 

April 2nd—Sunday (2:30 pm)

 

(2:30 pm) So I’ve been doing some thinking.

(2:33 pm) Hope that hasn’t hurt.

(2:34 pm) You know, when you agreed to be my girlfriend, I thought you’d be a lot nicer, but you’re still so mean.

(2:34 pm) Hmm…

(2:35 pm) What?

(2:36 pm) I don’t actually remember you asking? So now you’re just sort of assuming…

(2:37 pm) Fine. Marinette Dupain-Cheng, my Ladybug, will you do me the greatest honor of being my girlfriend?

(2:38 pm) Of course.

(2:38 pm) Little shit.

(2:39 pm) Let’s be honest, Agreste. You knew what you were getting into the day you decided to keep texting me.

(2:39 pm) Anyway, what’re you thinking about?

(2:40 pm) So since my father fired me, I’m pretty much able to go to school full-time next semester, but I wanted your opinion on something.

(2:42 pm) Shoot.

(2:45 pm) What if I… dropped out of physics, and switched to education?

(2:46 pm) I thought you liked physics?

(2:47 pm) I do, but honestly… I think I wanna be an elementary teacher, Ladybug.

(2:48 pm) Well, you know I’m gonna be with you every step of the way, so you have my support if you go for it.

(2:49 pm) You think I should do it then?

(2:49 pm) Adrien, I think you should do whatever makes you happy.

(2:50 pm) Awww, thanks, bugaboo. And yeah, I think being a teacher would make me really happy. I want to try it.

(2:52 pm) Then go for it. You like the education class you’re taking right now, right?

(2:53 pm) Yeah, a lot. It’s my favorite class this semester.

(2:55 pm) Then what’s stopping you?

(2:56 pm) Now?

(2:56 pm) Absolutely nothing.

  

*

 

April 5th—Wednesday (6:17 pm)

 

Shortly after six o’clock finds Marinette walking down the street in a rush, heading for the train while she digs through her bag for her phone. It’s a hurried job as she’s already fifteen minutes later, supposed to be at Adrien’s by six on the dot, and fully knowing it’s going to take another 30 minutes to get there at this time of day. 

“Damn it, damn it, damn it,” she murmurs under her breath, desperately checking pockets, movements turning frantic. “Where the fuck did I put you?” 

After a few more tense moments, her fingers meet the smooth plastic of her case, and she sighs in relief. The reprieve is short-lived, however, as a sudden push from behind sends her stumbling forward, dropping her purse and sending its contents skittering onto the sidewalk. 

“Fuck!” Marinette yells and scrambles onto her hands and knees in attempt to retrieve everything as passersby step around her, completely ignoring the girl in need in the middle of the evening rush. 

A dark-toned hand reaches for her bag, startling her from her one-track mind. “I’m so sorry,” the person apologizes fervently. “I wasn’t watching where I was going and bumped into you. It was an accident, I swear—” 

“Lila?” Marinette asks, eyes wide as she catches sight of her old friend. 

The other girl simply smiles, cocking her head to the side as she hurries up and gathers the rest of Marinette’s things and helps her back to her feet. “Marinette! Long time, no see? God, it’s such a small world, isn’t it?” 

“I’ll say,” she says with a soft laugh, juggling her purse in her arms and throwing its contents back into the bag. “First I don’t see you in years, and now twice in one.” 

“It’s fate,” Lila tells her. “You need to give me your number, and we just have to catch up sometime when you’re obviously not in a rush, and I’m not paying attention.” 

“That sounds like a plan.” With deft fingers, Marinette huddles closer to the girl, leaning into her space as she turns her phone on and searches for her contacts to enter Lila’s information. 

As she does, Lila freezes next to her, one hand reaching out for the phone, fingers pausing just above the screen. Arching a brow high in confusion, Marinette stares at her with a quizzical expression until she realizes just what (read: who) Lila has seen. 

Her phone screen is open to her wallpaper: a simple picture of Adrien Agreste in the morning, all tousled hair and tired smile, with green eyes that glitter in the soft morning light streaking through her bedroom window. It’s one she took the morning after Gabriel Agreste’s dinner last weekend, when Adrien stayed the night because of the rain, and they stayed up for hours into the early morning just talking and kissing and being together. 

It’s one of her favorite memories, and in the three months she’s known Adrien Agreste, she’s had a lot

Lila can’t take her eyes off of the picture though, and Marinette’s heart lurches with the painstakingly stupid realization. Her Adrien is also Lila’s Adrien, and up until now, her old friend hadn’t realized that. When they met back in February, the night Adrien stood her up on their dinner, Lila talked about Marinette’s Adrien with such a heartbreaking expression, that Marinette felt for her—visceral and real. At the time, she hadn’t realized that the two boys were one in the same, but now she does and it just makes the situation forced and awkward. 

There’s silence as Lila starts to compose herself, sniffling softly and running a hand through her long curls. “He looks happy,” she tells Marinette with a soft voice, and it makes Marinette’s heart ache. 

“He is,” Marinette tells her. “We are.”

“Then I’m happy for you too.” Taking a deep breath, Lila grabs her phone and adds her contact information before shoving it back in Marinette’s limp hands. “Text me sometime, and we can go get dinner. Invite Alya, and I can bring Chloe. We’ll get the gang back together.”

“Sounds great,” Marinette says, and tightens her hold on her phone, pressing Adrien close to her heart.

 “See you around, Mari,” Lila calls over her shoulder, flicking her hand in a short wave goodbye with a flourish, as she disappears into the crowd of passing civilians.

 Marinette stands there for just a moment longer until her phone buzzes in her hand, a text notification flashing across the screen.

 

(6:17 pm) You coming or what, bugaboo?

 

With a tired sigh and shake of the head, Marinette dials Adrien’s number and heads for the train, hearing the click and short greeting as he answers her call. “Chaton, you’ll never guess who I ran into….”

Chapter Text

 

- Epilogue –  

December 31st—Saturday (11:47 pm)

 

Even with her head against the tabletop, eyes clenched shut, Marinette could still recall the icy-blue eyes of Gabriel Agreste from earlier that morning with perfect clarity.

She sits in the booth at a club Alya has dragged her to, pale skin glowing under the flashing neon bar sign as the music from the stage thrums in time with the light show. Everything is just loud and chaotic—in a way that makes her head spin (which might have just been the mai tai)—and all she wants is to go home, crawl under her duvet, and pretend that New Year’s Eve never happened.

It’s only been four hours since she left Gabriel Agreste’s office with the other interns, whose number is slowly dwindling as the frosty designer fires more and more as the days go by. They’ve only been at this gig for a few months, but if she has to sit through one more lecture regarding things just as responsibilities and expectations, Marinette suspects that she won’t be at it for very much longer. Plus, there’s no telling when Gabriel will pick her as the scapegoat.

If she quits now, perhaps it’ll cut her losses.

Marinette sighs around the rim of her cocktail, trying to drown her sorrows in alcohol and something that smells oddly like strawberries, as her best friend slides into the booth next to her, the plush leather squelching beneath her sweat-slick thighs. “Are you going to dance with us at all?” Alya demands, gesturing towards the dance floor where the rest of their friends have gathered.

“I’m lonely and upset,” Marinette murmurs morosely and raises her glass to take another sip. “Let me die an honorable death.”

“There’s nothing honorable in drowning yourself in cocktails,” Alya says and takes the drink away from her. She pats her on the back, rubbing soothing circles that just seem to make her even more dizzy (which… she wasn’t actually sure was possible) as Marinette fights to get the alcohol back.

“Come on, Al.” The scowl on her face burrows deeper. “I just wanna pretend for one night that I’m not a complete fuck-up.”

Her best friend clearly didn’t get the invite to her pity party because she bends down, encroaching on Marinette’s normally non-existent personal space, and grabs her by the shoulders to give her a firm shake. “You are not a fuck-up.”

“You’ve obviously never spent an hour getting drilled by Gabriel Agreste just for that reason.”

With a sigh, Alya cups Marinette’s face between her hands, levels her with a piercing stare, and declares, “You are Marinette Fucking Dupain-Cheng, and you are so amazing, and you stick it to Gabriel Agreste for the rest of this internship and get a kick-ass job and take over the fashion world.”

“If I survive this,” Marinette mumbles in response and pulls away to drop her head into her hands. The black tabletop below her is suddenly the most interesting thing she’s ever seen, as Alya drones on absently beside her, but she can’t find the strength to pull away.

Grief and pity isn’t a good look on her, Marinette knows this fact intimately, but it doesn’t stop her from falling deeper into that sea of despair. She’s spent the years marveling about the fashion industry, completely enamored with sketches and fabric, falling in love with buttons, waxing poetic about patterns. To think that Gabriel Agreste could burn that shrine to the ground with a few well-placed words hurts her harder than it should.

She’s stronger than Gabriel Agreste thinks she is.

But right now, she doesn’t know how to prove it.

God, I need more alcohol.

Alya is still talking, but Marinette ignores her as she lurches forward and tries to get her cocktail back. But the journalist’s self-defense lessons must be paying off because she whips the glass off the table and drops it onto a passing waiter’s tray, much to their surprise and Marinette’s disappointment.

“Why do you hate me?” Marinette groans, long and loud. Alya just laughs in the face of her misfortune.

With deft fingers, Marinette whips out her phone and scrolls to her contact page, clicking and swiping until the misdeed is done and Alya pouts something fierce beside her. “Did you really just delete me as one of your contacts?”

“You’re dead to me,” she replies, suddenly a lot chipper.

There’s a stillness that settles over the two of them, Alya staring at her helplessly as Marinette droops when the elation of pulling one over on her friend fades away, leaving her just as miserable and hollow as before. Alya though—Alya is a good friend—and she quickly pulls a pen from the pile of discarded purses across from them and scribbles her number across the napkin that came with Marinette’s cocktail.

“When you’re done being a drama queen, add my number back to your phone.” She pushes the napkin, scribbles and stains and all back to Marinette. “You’re too drunk to try it now.”

“I’m sorry.” Uneasy tears prick in the corners of her eyes, and she tries not to let the sullen expression sully her face.  “I’m tired, upset, and lonely. That’s no reason to take it out on you.”

Alya can’t help the laugh that falls from her lips. “You’re fine, girl.” Suddenly full of glee, she tries to tug on Marinette’s arm and pull her out of the booth. “Now come dance with us! Midnight’s in a few minutes, and you don’t wanna miss out on that first kiss of the New Year!”

“I’ll join you in a bit. Let me have a few minutes to sober up and stuff.”

“Don’t be late,” Alya throws over her shoulder before swanning off to join the rest of their friends.

Marinette knows she should stop feeling so sorry for herself, but the fact of the matter is that she hasn’t felt this low since her last partner cheated on her, and it’s not a feeling she wants to go through again. She wonders what the universe’s reason for making her feel this way is for anyway. Is it to teach her a lesson that perhaps fashion isn’t what she was meant to do with her life? Is it pushing her to quit to find her dream job elsewhere? Is there even a reason to put up with Gabriel Agreste at all?

The questions make her head spin, and it’s almost too much to deal with at the current moment. She climbs out of the booth with a mindless spin, stumbling to the bar as gracefully as possible in heels and a short dress, and orders a glass of water in an attempt to sober up before trying to hit the dance floor before midnight strikes. However, Marinette has a feeling she won’t make it this time. The bartender gives her a glass of ice water, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips, and Marinette raises the drink in thanks. Sipping it absently, she slouches on a barstool and thinks about Gabriel Agreste and what next step is best for her.

“You look like you’re trying to discover the concept of dry drowning,” a voice comments from beside her, startling her from her pitiful reverie. “Penny for your thoughts?”

Marinette whirls around on the stool to come face-to-face with a tall man who’s leaning against the bar in a way that screams of wanting be anywhere else. In a way, it’s like she’s looking in a mirror. She notes enviously though that he actually has access to alcohol, a beer clenched between his hands like a lifeline. The neon lights show glittering green eyes and glowing blonde hair that reminds her of sunrises reflected in the Seine.

“Just a bad day at work,” Marinette tells him with a shrug. “Drinking’s supposed to make it better.”

“Is it working?” he asks.

“Not at all.”

The stranger laughs, shoulders shaking as he slides onto the bar stool next to her. “So it’s more of a drinking-to-forget sort of night, then?” At her nod in response, he ducks his head in greeting and raises his beer in sock twisted sort of mock-toast. “Well misery loves company, so have one on me.”

He gestures towards the bartender to get her a drink, but Marinette stops him, shaking her head. “Trust me, it’s a really bad idea for me to drink anymore. My friend wants me to join her on the dance floor in….” Pulling out her phone, Marinette squints at the numbers with a critical eye. “Four minutes.”

He leans close, a hand resting comfortingly on her shoulder. “Trust me when I say this, but I don’t think you’re in any shape to be dancing right now.”

Marinette closes her eyes, concentrating on the indescribable feeling inside of herself. Drunkenness is worn with a smile and laugh usually, but tonight she dons it like a weapon, trained in the art of dizzy and disaster, and knows that she could probably take out half the club if she followed through with her promise to Alya.

Taking a shot from a kind stranger probably wouldn’t hurt at this point. (Even if her mother might scream at her for being stupid, but Marinette frankly has no concept of Stranger Danger these days… Perhaps she should work on that. New Year’s Resolution and all…}

“Oh what the fuck, let’s go with it,” Marinette tells him with a smile.

He laughs and orders two shots of tequila, maybe, she honestly can’t be sure at this point. All she cares about is trying not to cry and figuring out what she’s going to do with the Prada-loving devil of a boss Gabriel Agreste.

“So what’s your story?” he asks her when the bartender hands them their drinks. “Dealing with customers, coworkers, or something else?”

“Boss is an asshole,” she offers and tosses the shot back, wincing at the all-too-familiar burn on the tip of her tongue that trails like fire down her throat. “Makes his employees cry on a daily basis, hates the interns, and I’m pretty sure I’ll probably get fired by the end of the week.”

“Sorry to hear about that.”

She shrugs helplessly, already coming to terms with her pathetic reality. “It’s not so bad, I guess. I still get a wonderful opportunity to work with some influential and talented people, so I should take it with a grain of salt that I even made it this far. I know a lot of people would kill for this chance, but I just hate that I’m wasting it.”

“Well, Sad Work Girl,” the blonde says, tapping out a tune with the tip of his fingers on the countertop. “Maybe you should do something about it.”

The stranger’s words make her laugh as she takes a sip of water, nearly spraying it across the space between them. It’s funny, she muses, because that’s all she’s been thinking about since she got her: not about spending time with Alya and their friends, not about finding a cute boy or girl to kiss, but rather about how she can prove to Gabriel Agreste that she’s worth it and deserves this.

“I will,” she assures the stranger. It’s the first time she’s found herself smiling all night. “Once I figure out how to not cry every time I think about it.”

“Easy solution,” he says. Green eyes glow with barely hidden mirth, and he leans close to whisper, “Find a way to make him cry instead.”

Marinette snorts because it’s such a stupid suggestion but carries the weight of the ingenuity and stubbornness and spite that she’s known in most circles for. “I like that. That’s good.”

He bows as deeply as he can without tumbling off the stool. “I do try.”

There’s a twinkle to the man that takes Marinette by surprise as she stares at him, finding the tension in his shoulders that speaks of a reason to drink just like her, but the quirk of his lips and the way laughter rolls off of him like water tells a different story entirely.

“So what’s your problem?” she says. “You know mine’s stupid work stuff, but we can’t just talk about me. This pity party is a party of two after all.”

“It’s stupid.” He coughs in discomfort, struck by the sudden change in topic.

“Try me.”

The man blushes, his cheeks turning a bright ruby rose, as he rubs the back of his neck tiredly. “My girlfriend was supposed to meet me here like an hour ago for our date. But she cancelled last minute, and now I have unrestrained access to booze and no responsibilities.”

“That’s my kind of night.” Marinette laughs easily, feeling the tension melt from her shoulders, as she settles down against the counter. “Hopefully you’re not enjoying yourself to much.”

“Nope,” he says. “Still gotta get home somehow.”

“I stopped caring about that a while ago.”

He smiles at her. “I can tell.”

The funniest thing about all of this—a stranger and a drink—is that Marinette feels oddly close to him. How could one man manage to turn her miserable New Year’s Eve around in a blink of an eye? The whole situation is an enigma to her, but instead of trying to solve it, she just tries to take comfort in it all.

“So how long have you two been together?” she asks him, eager to continue on with the subject and perhaps give the nice man some guidance as he’d given her.

“Going on two years,” he says, and there’s a weird tone to his voice, something akin to exhaustion but in a way that suggests he’s trying to wake up instead of searching for sleep.

“That’s a long time,” she muses, and no shit, Sherlock, but she never claimed that Drunk Marinette was smart. “She just working late or something?”

“I wouldn’t know. She didn’t exactly give me a reason.”

Marinette hums around the rim of her water glass, thoughts whirling a mile a minute. “Maybe she got held up at work or something.”

“Let’s hope.” The stranger stares at his beer like it holds the answers to the secrets of life. “We just haven’t seen each other in a while, and this was the first free night for both of us. I wanted to spend some time with her, but apparently that’s too much to ask.” He sounds upset, and at least that she can relate to.

“Well, you know what they say.” Marinette swallows thickly and can’t stop the honest truth from barreling out of her mouth like a bullet. “If she isn’t making you happy, dump her.”

The man’s laughter carries through the club, echoing through her head like her favorite song, and a part of her wants to make him do it again. “Sorry,” he apologizes after a few seconds lost in his own bemusement. “If only it were that simple, but thank you anyway. I didn’t realize how badly I needed that.”

“Happy to help in whatever way I can.” Marinette tries to salute, but she just ends up slapping herself in the face because hand-eye coordination is too complex for an alcohol-ridden mind.

He laughs again. Two for two, she congratulates herself.

Suddenly, there’s a roar around her as the crowd starts counting down, midnight encroaching upon the ancient city of Paris. The New Year is about to begin, and it comes with the feeling of standing on a precipice and trying to decide whether to fall or hold on for just a little bit longer. That’s the thing with New Year’s resolutions, she figures: make a change or hold onto old habits.

Sighing to herself, Marinette finishes off the rest of her water and sulks on her stool. “So I’ve got to figure out a way to show my boss I mean business,” she tells the stranger, summarizing her plans for the New Year because it’s the most important thing to her right now.

“And I have to decide if my girlfriend is worth the effort.”

“Sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you,” she teases him with a sharp smile.

“Oh, I don’t think I envy the position you’re in any more than you do mine.” Running a hand through his blonde hair, the man shrugs and lifts a hand helplessly between them. “If only I could talk to her as easily as I can talk to the Sad Work Girl.”

“That reminds me. Do I get a name for the person who’s convinced me not to quit my job?” she asks him.

He winks in response. “I’m Adrien, but you can call me Sad Boyfriend.”

“Well, Adrien, I hope you and your relationship have a good New Year.”

“And for your sake, I hope your boss doesn’t.”

“I’ll drink to that,” she tells him and tries to take a sip of her water, but realizes too late that it’s empty.

Her floundering just makes the stranger laugh again, which fills her up with so much elation that she can’t help but laugh herself. The crowd around them suddenly starts screaming, and lights are flashing, and it’s clear that they’ve lost track of time since the conversation has started. It’s almost midnight.

Somewhere between five and three till, Adrien leans down and presses a quick peck to her cheek, and at the stroke of midnight, a blinding smile flares across her face like a shooting star, and suddenly things are looking a whole lot brighter.

“Thanks again,” Marinette tells him as she hops off the barstool, eager to find Alya and maybe get home so she can start plotting against Gabriel Agreste. “I owe you a drink if I ever see you again.”

“I’ll hold you to that, Sad Work Girl.” A half-smile crosses his face as he nods in goodbye. “Do I get a name for you too?”

“Marinette,” she tries to say, but she isn’t sure if she manages all the syllables because at this point her words are slurring more as the world just spins madly on.

The man just laughs again and fuck yes, it’s still the best thing she’s heard tonight. “Happy New Year, Marinette.”

“You too, Adrien,” she tells him as she leaves, and hopes desperately that she remembers this conversation in the morning.

Finding her way back to the booth, she collapses onto the plush leather and pulls out her phone to figure out where the fuck Alya and everyone else is. The lack of a contact startles her though until she remembers her meltdown and deletion of her best friend’s contact information. With a groan, she grabs a hold of the crumbled napkin Alya had rewritten her number on and tries to enter it in a new textbox, albeit vision blurring and fingers shaking from the alcohol.

Debating what message to send, Marinette stumbles over the occurrences of the night, from the stern sound of Gabriel Agreste’s voice to Alya’s excited giggles about a night out to the kind stranger’s smile who bought her a drink because she was sad. With everything she’s experienced and everything she knows she will, there’s only one thing to do.

 

(12:04 am) My New Year’s Resolution is to make Gabriel Agreste cry.

 

She stares at the blue text message, waiting for Alya to respond as she begins to plot just what she can do to make her boss realize what an asshole he can be, but also to make sure she doesn’t get herself fired. She doesn’t know what the future has in store, only knows that she is strong and capable, and she can take this world by storm if she puts her mind to it.

There will probably be mistakes made abound, but that’s something that comes with every journey you embark on. What’s important, Marinette reasons, is that she remembers that she has good friends and the drive to do well to succeed, and with those in her back pocket, is it even possible to fail? She has hope that, should she choose to fall from that precipice, that it’s a leap instead of a stumble. That she flies instead of crumbles. 

Sometimes hope is all you need. 

 

*

  

“Do you believe in serendipity?” 

“What?” 

“You know: serendipity.” 

“No, I know what it is. I don’t know what you mean though.”

“I just think it’s funny how something falls into your lap at the right time, especially when you didn’t know you needed it until now.”

“…Are you okay, girl?” 

“I’m fine, Alya.”

 

- END -