“Adrien, could you please go and look after Ms. Dupain-Cheng?”
The eighteen year old looked up from his flute of champagne to his father. Around them the company Christmas party was still in full swing in the gardens, sounds of laughter and merriment tinkling underneath the heat lamps. Looking in the direction of his father’s eye, Adrien’s gaze turned towards his former classmate and his father's new intern, who was chatting away by the fountains.
Marinette wasn’t exactly making a fool of herself. However, he could tell immediately from her rosy cheeks that she was probably a little tipsy. It wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on her. “Of course, father,” Adrien replied dutifully, setting his glass down to attend to the raven haired girl. Despite himself, he smiled warmly as he approached. Marinette was definitely making waves in the company, blossoming under his father’s instruction. No one could dispute her talent and she only became more vivacious as her confidence grew. He’d always been somewhat impressed with her in school, but nowadays it was hard to keep this girl off his mind.
“Hey, can I join you?” he asked as he approached, sending a dark look to the two young men who were chatting her up. They deferred to him immediately, ducking their heads and taking a step back.
“Of course!” Marinette replied cheerfully, blissfully unaware of the powerplay that had just unfolded. However, she took one look at her empty flute and muttered, “Bother. I’m all out.”
“I’ll get you another,” Adrien responded, waving one of the waitstaff over to bring her a glass. “You having fun?” he asked kindly.
“Oh loads!” the young designer chirped, gladly accepting another flute. “I can’t believe your father agreed to have a Christmas Party! I thought he was just an old stiff.”
“Only because of you,” Adrien smiled.
“Hmm, well, I’m glad,” Marinette said, oblivious to the warmth in his voice. She hiccuped cutely, giggling as she leaned against his shoulder. “Gosh, if I had known I’d be here three years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
“What? In my father’s company? You’re talented, Marinette. Everyone knew that from the start,” the model reasoned. It was a shame that she was only just realizing this herself.
“Mmm, no, I meant more like standing next to you like this,” the raven haired girl replied, a warm and happy flush spread across her cheeks. Definitely not sober, she leaned in conspiratorially and whispered to him. “Can you keep a secret?”
Intrigued, Adrien cocked an eyebrow. “Sure.”
Smiling broadly, she breathed into his ear, “I used to have the biggest crush on you, Adrien Agreste. I thought for sure that you were the love of my life.”
At once, a bright blush spread across Adrien’s cheeks. His eyes widened, as his heart gave a sudden thump that seemed to echo through his whole body with a warm tingle. Marinette... Marinette liked him? Really, really liked him? He’d never even thought of the possibility of them like that. Yet, the instant the thought came to mind, he found he didn’t mind it at all.
“But not anymore! Don’t worry!” Marinette said cheerfully. “I totally got over it! I mean, we’re colleagues now, aren’t we?”
“I... But...” Adrien protested, his tongue clogging his throat. But he didn’t want her to get over it! This wasn’t fair!
“Ooh! Is that a chocolate fountain?” the girl leaning against him said, becoming distracted. “Adrien, let’s go dip some fruit! Do you think cheese and chocolate go together?”
Sighing to himself, the model followed after her. Well, now was certainly not the time to win her over again. One day though. One day, he was absolutely going to get this beautiful girl to change her mind.
Seven years later...
“C’mon, say yes~”
“You won’t regret it.”
“Adrien Agreste, if you don’t stop that this minute, I’m throwing you off my shoot!”
The male model piped down instantly, snapping his mouth closed with an audible click. Standing across from him, his grade school sweetheart (minus the part where they actually went out) glared daggers into him. Marinette Dupain-Cheng, his father’s favorite prodigee, had grown up from a meek and stammering girl into a fiery and confident young woman. Although barely graduating with the worst attendance record ever, she’d caught his father’s eye (and eventually his) and had interned under him until she was confident enough to spread her wings and start her own line at only 19 years old.
In a move that turned the entire fashion industry on its head, Adrien followed her. His abrupt departure from his father’s company had caused quite the scandal. Everyone assumed that they were lovers (he wished), gaining Marinette a notoriety that money simply couldn’t buy. It was probably because of that and his loyalty, that the raven haired woman put up with all of his shenanigans.
That had been six years ago. Despite their rather humble start, they were now a force to be reckoned with. They were one of Europe’s most influential power couples at only twenty-five years old. It was rare for a young fashion designer to be featured so prominently on the cover of fashion magazines, but her face showed up as often, if not more than his. The tabloids were especially bad, following them around and citing fake engagement news.
The only problem was that Adrien had yet to actually even take her out on a date. Worse, even kiss her. They might have been together for six years, but he’d been pining after her for seven. All after that one company party where she’d admitted that she used to have a huge crush on him in school. Operative words being ‘used to’. As in past tense.
As in it absolutely was not going to happen now. (According to her.) She refused to give the gossip rags any more ammunition, preferring to keep things professional.
But he could still try.
...Just maybe not right at this minute.
Adrien flashed her a winning smile that she’d long become immune to. Instead she rolled her eyes and focused on the fit of the outfit she’d put him into for her fall editorial. “Walk for me please?” she said, guiding him with a finger. “Tsk, no, something’s not right. It’s getting bunched up in an awkward spot.” Her nose scrunched up in the way he adored, making him wish he could just lean over and kiss it. A thought that his eighteen year old self would never have had without erupting into a blush.
Marinette wasn’t the only one who had changed. Adrien had only grown more out of himself without his father watching his every move, releasing the inner jokester and renegade he never knew he had in him. However, there were still some lines he couldn’t cross.
“You do realize I’m not going down a catwalk, right?” he teased instead. “It doesn’t matter if it bunches up.”
“Oh, I know,” the designer sighed. She was such a perfectionist. “Okay, fine, go ahead. I’ll fix it later.” Dismissing the model with a wave, Marinette’s attention focused on the other models she’d hired for the line. Adrien looked after her with a wistful sigh, before he turned his attention back to the illuminated fountain where the shoot was going to take place.
Which was when he noticed a rather doddering old man being harassed by the camera crew. The asian elder peered in befuddlement around the bright lights and angry voices, visibly shaking as he held onto his cane. The very sight set the model on edge. There was absolutely no need for such behavior!
“Excuse me,” Adrien frowned as he strode up to the kerfuffle. “What exactly are you all doing? Go back to your jobs!” Though he was ‘just’ a model, he had half the authority on set. All it took was a scathing look to send the crew scattering. To the elderly man, the blond said much more kindly. “I’m so sorry about that. I think you just accidentally wandered into our set. Do you need any help?”
“No, no, no!” the aged man replied cheerfully, giving Adrien a congenial pat on the back. “I’m sorry for causing such a fuss! I just came over to see what all the hubbub was about. Say, are you shooting a movie?”
Adrien only laughed. “No, nothing that exciting. It’s just a fashion shoot.” Thinking that he ought to do something to make up for his crew’s bad behavior, he asked, “You want to watch? You can have my chair over there.” He gestured to the A. Agreste embroidered chair behind the cameras. “If you need any water or snacks or anything, just let Pierre know.” Even as he spoke, he gestured to his PA, making the VIP hand signal for him. His assistant was at attention at once, coming over to see to the elderly man’s needs.
“My, how kind of you!” the gentleman smiled.
“It’s not a problem,” Adrien replied warmly. “I’m Adrien, by the way. Just let me know if you need anything. But don’t worry, Pierre will take care of you.” With a nod, he made sure that his new guest was well situated before he turned his attention back to the crew with a disgruntlement that was well-deserved.
The old man, busy being pampered and fussed over, smiled at the blond’s back. He was a good boy, the elderly man decided. Better than most. Such kindness certainly deserved a reward. Humming to himself, he pulled out a small jewel from his pocket and slipped it into the jacket that hung from the back of the chair.
That evening, after the shoot was long over, Marinette and Adrien returned back to their shared flat. They’d split their first one to save money and sort of never fell out of the habit. “So, what do you want for dinner. Pizza?” the designer asked as they entered the whitewashed room with molded windows overlooking the Tour Eiffel.
“Haha, very funny,” Adrien replied flatly, an amused quirk to his lips belying his words. “I’m just going to do some push ups before dinner. You’re free to watch if you want,” he added with a waggle of his eyebrows.
Marinette only rolled her eyes. “Flirt.”
“Tease,” Adrien shot back.
“Am not!” the designer huffed, as she headed into the kitchen. “Just for that, no wine for you!”
Grinning to himself, Adrien went to his bedroom on the opposite side of the flat as Marinette’s. Sighing after the long day, he put a hand into his jacket pocket to take out his keys. As he pulled them out, something rolled out of his pocket and onto the parquet floor and underneath his bed. Something black, metal. Frowning, the blond stooped down to grope for it. When he held it up to the light, he saw that it was a heavy ring with a green cat’s paw on it. “Huh,” he muttered, casting a suspicious glance at the door. Sneaking him gifts was definitely not Marinette’s style. Also she wasn’t really a cat person...
Curious, Adrien slipped the ring on anyway.
Darkness suddenly exploded from the ring, surrounding the blond in shadow. Adrien let out a shrill shriek, falling back onto his backside as he felt all the light sucked out of the room. However, Marinette didn’t come running and he had the sudden chilling fear that he was no longer in his home.
That was when he noticed the two green glowing eyes peering at him from the darkness. They were slanted slits, predator’s eyes. They circled around the model like a prowling animal. “Well, well, well,” a dark voice drawled from the pitch black. “Fu picked an interesting one this time. What’s your name, kid?”
Adrien didn’t bother correcting the voice that he was twenty-five years old. It sounded ancient. Primordial. “A-Adri-” he started, before he cut himself off. “I’m not telling you!”
“Ah, not an idiot. Good.” The glowing green eyes crept closer. “Alright, kiddo. Today’s your lucky day. The name’s Plagg and I’m your own personal genie.”
“Genie?” the model echoed, his eyes widening. “What, like the ones who grant wishes?”
“Exactly,” the cat-genie replied. “If you take a look at your ring, you’ll see that you have five pads on there. That makes exactly five wishes. No more, no less. You can wish for whatever you want. Provided it’s not something stupid like wishing for more wishes. I mean please. As if everyone hasn’t tried that one.”
Adrien warily backed himself up from the eyes. “And what kind of genie are you? The one that messes up all the wishes that I wish for? I’ve seen enough stories where this thing goes horribly wrong.” As it was, he was having a hard enough time believing any of this was real. However, he had to keep his head enough to not accidentally sell his soul or something.
“Mmmm~ You could call me chaotic neutral,” the voice, Plagg, admitted. “Just let me tell you, the more specific you are, the better. A fancy new house? Done. A million francs? No problem!”
“Um... we use euros...” Adrien frowned, wondering just how out of touch this genie was.
Plagg only blinked at him, as if the exact same thought occurred to him. “France without francs? What- oh fine! A million euros then! Then you’ll be one of the richest men in world!”
Well... except a million euros wasn’t exactly all that much in the grand scheme of things... In fact, he was pretty sure that he and Marinette already had a million to their name between the both of them.
“Wouldn’t a billion euros make more sense?” Adrien asked uncertainly.
“A bill-! Do I look like I’m made of money?!” the genie yelped. “Why would you need a billion euros?! There’s not enough bills in the entire world for that!”
Hoo boy. This was all starting to get a little too ridiculous not to be believable. Otherwise, he was having a pretty amazing dream. Or he possibly slipped in his room and was being ambulanced on the way to the hospital as they spoke. In any case, he may as well enjoy the ride.
“Er, well, I don’t really need material things,” Adrien admitted, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand. “The things I want are more... romantically inclined.”
The green glowing eyes narrowed. “Ah shit. You’re one of those,” the dark voice snarled in disgust. “I’ll have you know right now, I’m no good at that kind of thing. You should’ve been stuck with Tikki. She’s much better at that business.”
“Er... so could I trade?” the blond asked hopefully.
“Nope,” the voice answered, much to his dismay. “You and I are stuck, kid. So you make your four wishes and I’ll just be on my way.”
“I thought you said five!” Adrien protested. “And maybe could you stop it with this void of darkness thing? It’s seriously creepy for no reason.”
“Ah damn. Fine.” The darkness vortexed, condensing into the glowing green eyes hovering in front of the model’s nose. A moment later, a tiny being floated in front of his face. A sort of cat-rat hybrid, with odd whiskers and kitten ears. “Happy now?” Plagg asked, folding his arms over his chest.
“...You are way smaller than I thought you’d be,” Adrien admitted, reaching out a finger to poke the cat-genie in the forehead. He whipped it back as Plagg snapped his jaw in the air threatening in front of him.
“Look, I really don’t have all day,” the cat-genie growled grumpily. “You’re putting a serious dent in my eternal nap. Go ahead and make your wishes. And keep them simple!”
However, Adrien merely looked around the room, making sure that he was still actually in his own home. The seconds ticked by on his bedside, indicating it had only been moments since he’d put the ring on.
“Kid, are you listening?”
Adrien looked back at the cat-genie. “What, am I on some kind of time limit?” he frowned. “What if I don’t want to use any wishes? I don’t need you messing things up for me.”
However, this only made the cat-genie fizzle with the onset of a conniption fit. “You can’t not wish for anything! Then I’ll get stuck here! Just pick some stupid random thing and I’ll fix it up for you!”
“W- Is there a way that I can do takebacks?” Adrien asked. “Like I don’t like the result and I want to just reverse the whole thing?”
“Hm, I suppose you can spend a wish on that,” Plagg admitted. “Although if you came up with a simple wish in the first place, there wouldn’t be any need for it.”
“Yeeah, I’m not taking my chances,” the blond replied, not at all confident in his genie’s competency. After taking a long moment to think about it, he said, “Okay. I wish that if I say Plagg Take it Back, that it will undo the wish I just wished.”
Plagg gave him a dull look, but snapped his tiny fingers. Adrien’s ring beeped, the smallest paw pad disappearing. “Alright. Done. What else?”
Well, that was surprisingly easy. ...Maybe a little bit too easy. Adrien glanced at the cat-genie suspiciously. He’d read enough stories of things going horribly wrong. He knew better than to ask for things like eternal life or eternal youth or stuff like that. And Plagg had as good as admitted that he was no good with any of the love stuff, so he certainly didn’t want to mess things up with him and Marinette.
...Except the temptation was strong. He did have seven years of pent up frustration working against him. Would it really be awful to give it a shot if he knew that he could go ahead and undo it?
“...Let me think about it,” Adrien said, pushing himself up to his feet. This only inspired a long groan from his genie as he began to shrug off his clothes for his evening exercise routine.
“Are you kidding me?!” Plagg cried, hovering above his temporary master. “You can’t think of four other things to wish for?!” Watching the model drop to the floor for push-ups, he said, “Why don’t you wish that you can stay fit no matter what you eat or drink!”
“No thanks,” the model replied, thinking that came too eerily close to eternal youth. Besides, he had no intention of staying a model forever. The only reason why he stuck with it this long was to be partners with Marinette. In any case, exercise was good for discipline and spirit. That’s what his sensei always told him.
“And you really don’t need that million francs?”
“A million in obsolete money. I don’t think so.”
“What about that fancy house?”
“I like my place just fine.”
Adrien glanced up to the genie, starting to get more than a little annoyed. “Okay, how did you end up in my pocket again? Because you’re sounding more like a curse than a blessing.”
“Old man Fu probably gave me to you. That old geezer’s so nosy,” Plagg huffed, folding his arms over his chest.
That old man from the photoshoot. The blond frowned at the memory. Yeah, his jacket had been hanging off his chair. That would have been the perfect opportunity to slip a little devil like this into his pocket. He’d thought he treated the gentleman well, so maybe this was just some kind of misguided gift?
Switching to one arm, Adrien looked up sideways to the genie. “So, if I wished for something like world peace or ending world hunger, what would you do?”
“Well, I suppose the easiest way to do that would be to destroy all humans,” the tiny black being replied casually. He gave the model a sharp toothed grin. “I enjoy the easy way.”
A cold-blooded chill went down Adrien’s spine. Ooookay then. Definitely not wishing for that. Maybe he really should just wish for some material things and be done with it.
...Except he did spend a whole wish on takebacks.
Rolling into a cross-legged sit on the floor, Adrien looked up to the genie. “Okay then. I have a wish.”
“Fantastic!” Plagg said brightly. “What is it?”
“I wish that Marinette is in love with me.”
The genie groaned, which the model should have taken as a bad sign. “Are you serious? Is that your final answer?”
His tone nearly made the blond waver, but he steeled himself and nodded. “Yes, that’s what I wish for.”
Plagg sighed. “Alright, kid. You asked for it.” Then he snapped his fingers.
A second later, Adrien realized that things were not right.
For one thing, he wasn’t in his and Marinette’s flat.
Instead, his cozy, old-fashioned room was replaced with achingly familiar high lofted ceilings, modernist furnishings and entirely too much stuff for any one child to ever need. Wait. Child? Adrien looked to his hands and saw that they were not his. They were smaller and much more delicate. Horror slowly dawned and he jumped up to his feet to dash over to his bathroom. What greeted him in the mirror was cherubic face set in a waifish fifteen year old body.
Adrien’s jaw dropped. “Plagg? PLAGG?!” he cried, howling at the air. A moment later, the genie appeared.
“You rang?” the little black being drawled.
“What did you DO?!” the blond shrieked, fisting his hands in his hair.
Unimpressed, the cat-genie picked at his ear. “You said you wanted Marinette to be in love with you. Well, she’s in love with you now. Or rather, your fifteen year old self.”
“That’s not what I meant!” Adrien cried, on the brink of hysterics. As anyone would be when the last decade of their life had been completely erased. “I meant now! Or I mean, when I'm twenty-five!”
“Well, you didn't say that did you,” Plagg reasoned. “It's dealer’s choice in those cases. And this was the easiest solution. It’s very elegant in its simplicity, isn’t it?”
“You-! You lazy-!” the blond spat, barely able to speak.
“Let me guess~” the genie said with a sly smile. “You want to take it back, don’t you? Well, you did come up with the magic words yourself, kiddo. So just say it.”
Grinding his teeth, Adrien glared from the genie back to the mirror. Then to the ring on his finger now down two paw pads. Then his green eyes flicked upwards. “So, what’s the deal? Am I actually in the past or is this some kind of alternate universe?”
“...Why?” Plagg asked warily.
“Because it matters!”
“No, it actually doesn’t. If you take back your wish, you undo everything that you do here. So it’s not going to matter unless you stay,” the genie said, frowning more.
“Okay,” Adrien murmured, tapping his knuckle against his chin. Of course, he had no intention of staying this way. He’d spent over half a decade building a life with Marinette, platonic though it may be. He wasn’t about to give that up.
At the same time, he wasn’t about to throw away an opportunity like this right away.
Checking the time, he saw that it was dinner. Which meant a lonely meal in the dining room, early bedtime for beauty sleep, then early rising for breakfast, piano practice, mandarin lessons over skype, and school. His fifteen year old self would have simply resigned himself to his father’s strict and controlling regimen without complaint.
However, his twenty-five year old self had other ideas...
The stars were bright out that evening, as Marinette sketched away in her design book on her balcony. Most of her drawings nowadays seemed to revolve around a certain blond who sat in front of her in class, instead of the designs she was supposed to be working on. She regretted nothing, even as she made herself a constant embarrassment in front of her crush.
One day... she thought to herself. One day, she’d work up the nerve to ask Adrien out. One day, she was going to be able to tell him she loved him. One day, they might even ki-
A tap-tap interrupted her thoughts. Marinette blinked and looked towards the noise. Cautiously poking her head out over the balcony. She had the shock of her life when she saw a familiar mop of angelic blond hair set in a handsome young face. Adrien grinned up at her, waving and gesturing for her to come down.
Jaw going slack, Marinette nodded slowly. Her heart pounding, she flew down the stairs, half-sure that she had imagined the whole thing. But no, the blond was there in the flesh at her front door when she got there. Panting faintly for breath, she needed a minute to address him, in which she realized that Adrien was dressed in a sharp gray suit, holding a bouquet of roses.
“Wow...” he murmured, his eyes wide as he took her in. As if he’d never seen her before. “God, I can’t believe I was such an idiot.”
“I, er... Wh-what?” Marinette blinked, unsure of what he was talking about.
“Oh, er, n-nothing! These are for you!” Adrien declared, a blush dusting his cheeks as he held out the bouquet of roses. “I-I just wanted to let you know that I think you’re amazing and adorable and... and I would be honored if you would be my girlfriend.”
“I... I-I...” the designer stammered, her face erupting into a bright red blush. But how was she supposed to react?! This literally had come out of nowhere! At school, Adrien was friendly, sure. But he scarcely gave her the time of day!
“So... is that a yes?” Adrien asked uncertainly, cocking his head.
“U-uh-huh,” Marinette replied weakly, rapidly nodding her head. “I-I, yes! I’d love th-that! I’d love to be your friend-girl!”
At this, Adrien beamed, his whole face lighting up with joy. It took her very breath away. “So, Marinette,” he said, suddenly becoming shy, “I know this might be a little sudden, but could I ask you something?”
“S-sure,” she said. She’d probably say yes to anything at this point.
“Could I kiss you?”
The blush on Marinette’s cheeks only grew worse, her eyes growing wide with something close to panic.
At the look on her face, Adrien grew disheartened. “Ah, that’s a no, isn’t it. I get it. It’s kind of quick...”
“N-n-no, it’s not!” the designer squeaked. “It’s okay! I promise! I-I just- this is- Yes! Y-you can kiss me.”
A small smile spread across the model’s lips. “Okay,” he said softly, taking a step closer. He cupped her face with one hand, taking a long moment just to admire her. “You’re perfect,” he breathed, brushing a stray bang out of her eyes. “Don’t let anyone ever tell you different.” With that, he leaned in and pressed a warm, chaste kiss to her lips. It was unlike any kiss she’d ever had. He was more confident than any boy she kissed before, but also more adoring and gentle. It made her knees threaten to turn to jelly and she was certain that only his hand on her cheek was keeping her upright.
When he pulled away, Marinette had to stop herself from leaning forward to steal another. Adrien smiled at her, green eyes like molten emerald. Then he spoke the words that nearly undid her. “I love you, Marinette.”
With that, he pulled back, grinning broadly as he stepped out into the street. “Be seeing you,” he said with a quick wave. Marinette waved back weakly until the blond disappeared from view. She looked to the bouquet of roses in her hands. The only real proof she had that Adrien had even been there. Wow. Alya was never going to believe her when she told her about this.
“Plagg, take it back!”
Scarcely when he uttered the words, Adrien was back in his own room. Splayed out on the floor, he stared up at the familiar small chandelier that hung from his vaulted ceiling. His face was still rosy with heat, his heart pitter-pattering as though he’d just fallen for his first crush.
“So we’re really not going to discuss how you made out with a fifteen year old, are we?” Plagg asked, floating in the air above his head.
The blond only glared at him, all rosy feelings evaporating. “And if I stayed there, what do you think would’ve happened? And it wasn’t making out! It was just a kiss!”
Their argument was suddenly interrupted by a knock at the door. “Adrien, dinner’s ready,” his roommate’s voice called through the wood.
“Oh, th-thanks! Coming!” the blond called back, still a little at odds with the fact that he’d just kissed the girl-version of the woman he was in love with. Not that she’d remember it.
“Ooh, food?” Plagg’s green eyes widened, suddenly taking an interest. “I don’t suppose you have camembert, do you?”
“Why on earth would I feed you after the trick you just pulled?” Adrien demanded, his glare sharpening on the cat-genie. “You’re lucky if I don’t throw this ring into the Seine!”
“Oh, but please!” the little black being entreated. “If you get me some camembert, I promise I won’t mess with your age again! Djinn’s Honor!”
“That should have been a given!” the blond cried. However, at the pleading look in the little cat-being’s expression, he groaned. “Fine, I’ll see if we have some. You better be serious about that age thing. That was not fun.” On that note, Adrien headed out of his room and into the fishy smell of grilled salmon that spread all over the flat. He grinned as he passed by Marinette who was taking her plate of salmon and sauteed vegetables to the sitting room. “Thanks for cooking, honey~” he said, trying to catch her with a peck to her cheek.
However, the designer easily sidestepped him, seeing the move coming a kilometer away. “You’re doing the dishes,” she declared, kicking back on the sofa to turn the TV on.
Sighing, Adrien looked past the mess on the counter to the fridge. He rifled through the contents before he found a half-eaten wheel in the crisper that belonged to Marinette. Sorry, Mari, I’ll replace it, he apologized mentally. Casting a look back at the designer, he tossed the half-wheel into his room, before he took his own plate to join her on the sofa. “So, what are we watching?”
“I’m watching Spider-Man,” Marinette replied, her eyes fixated on the TV. Ah, he should have guessed. It was her favorite movie. Adrien didn’t really mind, even though he’d co-watched with her more times than he could count. Marinette loved superheroes, but Spider-Man was absolutely her favorite. He’d never get sick of watching her watching them. She always got so excited and so engrossed. Her cheeks always flushed and her eyes would almost glow.
A thought suddenly occurred to him. His eyes crept down to the ring with three paw pads still glowing on his finger. Then he smiled.
After dinner and cleanup, he went straight back to his room. “Plagg, I have a new wish,” he declared. Looking around the empty room, he called, “Plagg?”
A burp sounded from underneath his covers. Frowning, Adrien pulled back the sheets to see that his bed now stank of camembert and that the cat-genie had managed to get smears and crumbs all over. “Oh gross!” he cried, tugging off all the sheets and tossing them to the floor so that it couldn’t permeate into his mattress. “Plagg, why are you eating in my bed?!”
“The cheese was still too cold,” the little being sniffed. “Camembert must be enjoyed at room temperature or not at all. I had to get under the covers to warm it up.”
“And you couldn’t have just waited?”
“Of course not. Don’t you know how long it’s been since I’ve had cheese?”
Groaning, Adrien dragged a palm over his face. He must’ve done something terrible in a past life, because he had no idea what he’d done to deserve this. “Ugh, whatever. Look, I have a new wish, okay? I want to become... a superhero,” he declared, putting his hands to his hips.
Plagg blinked at him once. Twice. Then burst into laughter.
“What’s so funny?” the model demanded, not appreciating this in the slightest.
“Are you kidding?! What are you, seven?!” the little cat-genie howled. “Who wishes for that?!”
Blushing profusely, Adrien snapped, “Look, it’s not for me. It’s for Marinette, okay? She loves superheroes. So I want to become one that’ll impress her.” Besides who didn’t think it’d be cool to have superpowers? He didn’t have to be a little kid to want to try something like that.
“Guh! Back to her again?!” Plagg sighed. “You’re like a sad one note slice of cheap cheddar. It’s a little pathetic actually. How long have you been lusting after her again?”
“Th-that doesn’t matter!” the model replied, the blush only getting worse. “Just listen, okay? I wish...” he took pause here to make sure that he added as much specificity as possible, “I wish that I was a really, really cool, roguishly handsome superhero with awesome powers that will impress Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”
“Alright~ You asked for it,” Plagg replied. Before Adrien could gauge what that meant, the little being snapped his fingers and the world disappeared.
A moment later, Adrien found himself standing on the edge of the Tour Eiffel.
The world below him spun with vertigo and he let out a very un-superheroic shriek as he latched onto the nearest beam. The wind buffeted around him, making him aware that he wasn’t in his own clothes anymore. Instead, he looked down at himself and realized that he was protected against the harsh winds in a form-fitted sleek black leather suit. Not only that, but his hands were sheathed in clawed gloves that were actually digging into the the wrought iron of the tower.
Feeling just a little silly, the blond forced himself to declaw out of the iron and stood unsteadily in the wind. “Er, Plagg?” he called out to the cat-genie, “a little help?”
The black being appeared, munching on some camembert from who knew where. “What now?”
“You know, your sink or swim approach is a little...” Adrien muttered, before he shook off the thought. There was probably no point in arguing with the little beast. “Never mind. How exactly am I supposed to get down from here?”
Heaving a great sigh, Plagg gestured to behind Adrien’s back. The blond pulled it out, revealing a silver baton. “The same way you got up here. With that.”
“This?” Adrien muttered, rolling the thick stick in his palm. He pressed a random button and the baton suddenly extended out to an impossible length. The weight of it teetered him over, making him lose his balance and accidentally vault straight off the side of the Tour Eiffel. With a yelp, he only just managed to keep grasp on the slippery weapon, keel over and miraculously land with a rather undignified splash right into the Seine.
Coughing and hacking, the blond swam up to the bank and grasped onto the stone wall. “Plagg! I thought I was going to have awesome powers!” he growled as he pulled himself out of the murky water.
“Oh you do. You just don’t have any idea how to control them yet,” the little genie replied.
“Oh great! Just fantastic!” Adrien griped as he shook himself dry. Only then he became aware of the leather tail and the kitten ears perched on top of his head. “...You made me a cat?” he asked flatly.
“See? Really cool superhero,” Plagg said with a smug smile.
Deciding it was simply better not to argue, Adrien examined his reflection in one of the windows of the boats docked along the Seine. Well, at least he was still twenty-five (he thinks). Now that he had a proper look at himself, he certainly didn’t look half-bad at all. The black leather suit hid absolutely nothing, including the toned and chiseled musculature that was either lusted or envied by all. The black suit was also pretty damn sexy, if he said so himself, which was only accentuated by the green eyes set in a black mask. It reminded him vaguely of a superhero version of Zorro.
“...Okay, you didn’t do so bad, this time,” the blond grudgingly admitted.
“I try,” Plagg preened, before he stiffened and ducked out of sight. “And here comes your partner.”
“My what?” Adrien balked, spinning around only to spot a flash of red and black out of the corner of his eye. He looked up from the dock to the higher elevated road along the Seine. His jaw dropped when he saw what could be none other than Marinette. Only- she wasn’t wearing normal clothes. Oh no, no.
Marinette was wearing an extremely revealing skin-tight red suit dotted with black spots. And by skin tight, he meant it. As in, he could see how the suit practically cupped her breasts and her buttocks in a way that he’d never seen before. Adrien just about swallowed his tongue, unable to keep himself from staring. She might as well be naked, coated up in red body paint.
“Chat Noir?” Marinette called, frowning at the blond. “I thought we were going to meet at the top of the Tour Eiffel. What happened? How’d you fall in the Seine?”
“I-I-I was- I had-” Adrien stammered, all sense going completely out the window as he started to go a little lightheaded. He squeaked when Marinette hopped lightly down to his level, frowning at her partner as she examined him with hands clasped behind her back.
“Chaton? You’re looking a little peaked. Are you sick?” she asked, her face marred with worry as she put a hand against his brow. She was practically pressed up against him, her skintight suit rubbing against his, creating this friction between them. “Maybe I should take you back to bed...”
Unable to take it anymore, Adrien yelped, “Plagg, take it back!”
The scene suddenly disappeared and landed the flustered blond and Plagg right back in the model’s room.
“What the- What was that for?!” the little cat-genie cried in indignation. “That was a good one!”
Adrien didn’t bother answering. Red-faced and extremely uncomfortable, he went straight for the bathroom and an ice cold shower. About a half-hour passed before he regained enough control over himself and he came back into his room absolutely livid. “Plagg, that was-! That was completely unfair!”
“What, you didn’t like it?” Plagg asked archly.
“I-I panicked!” the model cried, “You should have warned me that you were going to put her in something like that!”
“Hey, I had nothing to do with that,” the cat-genie replied enigmatically. “That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. Shame, you might’ve actually enjoyed that. Oh well,” he said with a shrug. “So, two wishes left, kiddo. What’s it gonna be?”
“No. Oh, no, no, no, ” Adrien replied, waving his arms in denial in front of him. “I am officially done with this. You can have your two wishes back and leave me the hell alone.”
“And I told you I can’t. Not until the wishes are fulfilled,” the genie argued back.
“Well, then I guess you’re going to just have to get comfortable with staying awake,” the blond snapped, folding his arms over his chest as he glared down the little black cat.
“Fine then. I suppose I’ll just go out there and tell Marinette what you were doing in the bathroom while you were thinking of her in a skintight bodysuit,” Plagg said lightly, turning towards the door to the living room.
Adrien went white. “No wait!” He pounced for the genie, trying to grab him before he made it to the door handle. “Okay, fine! I’ll think of something else, okay? Just- give me a minute to think about it.”
However, he didn’t think that he’d be inspired again so quickly when he heard Marinette’s angry voice cry out in the living room. “Again?! AGAIN?!” she howled with that infamous temper of hers. In these cases, Adrien knew very well to just stay out of her way and wait for it to blow over.
“Adrien, get in here!”
...Unless he couldn’t.
“Oooh, someone’s in trouble~” Plagg cackled behind him as the model meekly headed into the living room.
Adrien found Marinette pacing the rug, her tablet in hand as she fumed over something that looked suspiciously like a celebrity gossip page. However, he found himself far more preoccupied with trying to not stare at Marinette. Deciding that the view outside was a safe place to look, he coughed and asked, “So, what’s the problem?”
“This!” Marinette cried, forcing Adrien to look. She held up the trending story on the Voici tabloid site, with the words emblazoned, MDC Baby on the Way? Runway baby bump scandal?
Adrien cringed. Well, it was no wonder that she was pissed. Marinette already hated the tabloids with a passion, but this really took the cake. Although a large part of him was relieved that none of this was directed at him. “Mari, I know it’s hard, but you really can’t take this stuff so seriously,” he said, trying to be consoling. Because if it weren’t for these damn gossip rags, he might actually have a chance with her. (Ah... aha!)
Behind the tablet screen, Marinette spread out her arms. “Adrien, do I look like I have a baby bump?” she demanded.
The model began to sweat. “Ummm~” he intoned, trying to look without actually looking. Every time he peeked over the screen of the tablet, his cheeks heated up, going as red as the suit that had practically been painted onto her. “Nope. I’m pretty sure you don’t.”
“You’re not really looking!” his roommate accused, pushing down the tablet he’d been holding in front of his face like a shield. She narrowed her eyes, recognizing the guilty look in his eyes instantly. She leaned in, spouting hotly, “Wait a minute, you do think I have a bump, don’t you?!”
“No!” Adrien cried, his face only going redder the closer Marinette pressed in, reminded all too keenly of his encounter with her superhero-self. “No, no, absolutely not! You’re perfect and you definitely don’t have a rump- I-I mean a bump!”
Marinette’s glare morphed into a frown. The problem was, she could tell that he was being sincere, but at the same time she could also tell that he was hiding something. She knew him entirely too well. “...Adrien, why are you acting so shy all of a sudden?” she asked suspiciously.
“N-no reason!” the blond answered quickly. “Sorry, I got something- gotta go!” With that, he tossed the tablet at her, forcing her to catch it, while he beat a hasty retreat back to his room. Slamming the door shut behind him, Adrien released a long breath and sank down to the floor.
In front of him on his bed, Plagg cackled like a little demon. “Well, now I see why you like her. Real spitfire, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Adrien muttered, glaring at the cat-genie. “In any case, I’ve got a new wish.”
Glancing over the model’s rather heated condition, Plagg arched an eyebrow. “Sure you don’t need to take another cold shower before you say anything? You know what they say about thinking with your-”
“I’m fine!” the model snapped, his face going red with mortification. “And it’s not anything perverted, so you better not be throwing me in some weird BDSM alternate universe!” Taking a breath, he tried to cool his thoughts down. “The biggest hurdle to my relationship with Marinette is that she doesn’t want us to be a couple just to prove the tabloids right. So, if I just wished for us to not have to deal with that, then I’d be all set.”
Plagg frowned. “Kid, I really suggest that shower. You really need all the blood in your brain before you do something stupid. Just keep it simple!”
However, Adrien shook his head. If this was going to work, he needed to be as detailed as possible. “Alright, I wish... that Marinette and I are living a quiet, healthy, and happy life together out of the spotlight.” There, that ought to do it. He turned a grin over to the little black being, who only glowered in return.
“You really are just a pain in the ass,” the cat-genie muttered darkly. With a heavy sigh, he held up a little paw to snap his fingers. “Alright, it’s your funeral.”
Once again, Adrien was simply dumped into another world entirely.
This time, however, he ended up in what looked like a rather modest bedroom, sitting on the edge of a queen-sized bed. After the last two times, he immediately took stock of himself in the mirror. He was barefoot and clad in simple pyjamas. Probably twenty-five. Only, his body looked rather... average when he peeled off his shirt. He wouldn’t say doughy, but certainly not cut and runway ready. It was a little disconcerting to see all his hard work melted away in an instant.
A familiar giggle sounded off to the side, causing him to whirl around. What he saw took his breath away. Marinette leaned against the door to the bedroom, dressed in a simple night gown. She all but glowed, smiling warmly at him with all the affection in the world. Her hand rested on the top of a large domed belly. Clearly, Plagg was a fan of irony. “Lamenting over the good old days, Mr. Teen Model?” she teased, ambling into the room.
“Not anymore,” Adrien replied softly, eyes wide as he simply marveled at the sight of her. His eyes went to his left hand and saw for the first time the faint outline of a wedding band, which he now spotted glinting on the nightstand. Married. They were married. They were going to have a baby. Okay sure, it sucked that he missed some things, but this certainly beat the alternative.
Smiling broadly, he strode up to her and took her hands, leaning over to press an adoring kiss to her lips which was (amazingly) reciprocated. “Have I told you how much I love you?” he breathed reverently, staring into her sparkling bluebell eyes.
“Only three times today,” Marinette replied in amusement.
“Oh, well that’s an absolute tragedy!” Adrien declared, only partially joking. “I should be worshipping the very ground you walk on. You should be basking in love and adoration! Milady, forgive me for being such a wretched excuse for a husband,” he spoke, peppering her face and neck with kisses.
Giggling as he kissed her most ticklish spots, the raven haired woman pushed him back. “Adrien, shh!” she hushed, “You’ll wake the twins.”
“Wh-what?” Adrien said, suddenly balking. Wait, they already had kids? He missed that too? He wasn’t just an soon-to-be father, he already was one? And to twins, no less!
“Adrien?” Marinette questioned, concern marring her amused expression. “Adrien, why do you look so pale?”
His eyes flicked down to the black ring still bound to his finger. One paw pad left. “I... Nothing, sorry. Just a chill,” he said, trying not to worry her. It wasn’t her fault that her husband had essentially been bodysnatched. Picking up his shirt from the floor, he said, “I’ll just go check the thermostat. Maybe the locks while I’m at it. You go ahead to bed. I’ll join you soon.”
Trying not to bolt, he walked calmly from the bedroom and out into the unfamiliar hallway. Now that he was taking a better look at his environs, he realized that they were in a very suburban looking home. The idea reinforced itself when he looked outside and saw the small lawn dotted with toddler toys and the other homes that surrounded them. One thing was sure, they weren’t in Paris anymore. The rest of the home was certainly cozy, but filled with warmth. Pictures dotted the walls of vacations, weddings, friends and their two baby boys. And toys. Lots of toys, all over.
Checking in a leather briefcase in the messy kitchen, he found out his occupation. Grade school physics teacher. Not awful, he decided. Then he found Marinette’s sewing room, although... No haute couture, no dresses, no suits. Baby clothes and blankets. Something about it didn’t sit right with him. Maybe she was just taking a small break. Fashion designers could do that, right?
However, that thought was quickly pushed aside when he stood in front of a door marked up with a kiddish-scrawl Louis & Hugo . He pressed a hand to the wood, as if knowing that as soon as he walked into that room he was doomed. The pictures of the two toddlers were almost too much. He was already in love with them.
“Plagg,” he whispered and at once the little cat-genie appeared next to him. “Just one wish left, right?” Plagg nodded warily. Adrien worried his lower lip. “If I wished to have this Adrien’s memories, could I?”
“Yes...” the little genie answered slowly. “Although you couldn’t take that back. You’d be wiping out your own existence. Adrien Agreste, supermodel, would be gone.”
Well. Then there wouldn’t be any point to all this, would there? He wouldn’t be able to appreciate what he had. Not really. Not without knowing what it was like to be without. At the same time, the siren song of home, wife, and family was proving more than a little difficult to ignore...
His green eyes flicked back down the hall. If he really was considering this, he needed to consult one other person.
Meanwhile, Marinette waited in the bedroom, frowning at how long it was taking Adrien to go through his evening rounds. He was acting a little strange all around, to be completely honest. Although, certainly not as weird as he was with the first pregnancy. It was easy enough to dismiss.
Finally, the door opened and Adrien silently padded back into the room. When his gaze turned on her, he had that look in his eye that made her blush. A look of awe and wonder, along with unfettered longing. She hadn’t seen a look like that in his eyes in years.
Joining her on the bed, he knelt down in front of her. Taking her hand, he pressed a chaste kiss to her palm. “Mari, could I ask you something?” he asked quietly, the words warm against her skin.
“Of course, mon minou. What is it?” Marinette frowned, wondering why he was suddenly being so serious.
“Are you happy?”
She blinked at that, before a laugh bubbled against her throat. Adrien was such a doofus sometimes. “Of course, I am. I’m just getting mood swings from the hormones, you know that,” she said with a smile.
However, her husband didn’t seem at all reassured. Instead, he worried his lower lip and said, “What about your work? What about fashion designing? I saw your sewing room. It’s empty.”
Once again, Marinette blinked. Now that really was coming out of nowhere. “Fashion designing...?” she frowned. “That was just a dream I had when I was a little girl. Nothing came of it. I’m surprised that you even know about it.” Her frown deepened. “Adrien, did you snoop in my diary?”
His cheeks heated, just about confirming his guilt. “I... uhm. Sorry,” he said with a sheepish smile. However, that was quickly replaced with a frown. “Wait a minute. So you never interned with my father?”
Intern with his... Marinette raised an eyebrow. “No...? Why would I-”
However, her words drew short at the look of horror that dawned over her husband’s face. “Because you’re amazing at it!” he said in fervent earnest, once again seeming to forget about their sleeping twins. “You’re so talented. You should be sharing that with the whole world!”
She had no idea why Adrien would think about this sort of thing. She’d already given up by the time they met. However, a poignant, slightly heartbroken smile drew across her lips. Adrien probably had no idea how much he sounded like her parents. “Mon minou, you’re sweet. You really are,” she said, reaching up to pet his golden hair. “But if I was supposed to be this famous fashion designer I would have had some inkling of acknowledgement by now. I’m perfectly happy just being a mother, being your wife. That’s all I need.”
Far from reassuring him, her words only turned Adrien whiter. “What have I done?” he whispered, more to himself than her. His eyes flicked up to meet hers and she sucked in a short breath at the overwhelming sense of loss in his eyes. “Mari, I love you,” he spoke, cupping her cheek with a trembling hand. “I love you so much. Do you promise you won’t forget that?”
“Adrien, you’re scaring me,” Marinette whispered, her eyes widening. She didn’t know why, but it suddenly felt like he was leaving.
“You don’t need to be scared,” he said with a faint laugh, even as his eyes shone with unshed tears. “You have nothing to be frightened of. You just deserve to have it all. I’ll make sure you get it.”
“...And you’re not going anywhere?” she asked, brow knitting into a frown.
“Never,” Adrien swore, peppering her knuckles with kisses. “Not unless you tell me to. I promise.” Then he pressed a single desperate kiss to her lips, as if it would be his last. Something about it just broke her heart. “Marinette, I love you... I love you, I love you...” he breathed, chanting the words like a mantra.
“I love you too,” she said in answer. That seemed to do the trick, as his whole expression warmed, lighting up in adoring affection.
He pressed a hand to her swollen belly. “What’s this one’s name?” he asked softly.
They’d already decided this three weeks ago, but he was acting so strangely that it seemed the wrong time to point it out. “Emma,” she replied, placing her hand on top of his.
“Emma,” he smiled, then placed a kiss to her belly. “I love you too, Emma.”
Adrien looked back up to her, stealing one last chaste kiss from her lips. Then he said softly and enigmatically, “Be seeing you soon.”
“-take it back.”
Adrien landed without falling in his bed. His heart wrung with agony, a choked sob escaping his throat. He suddenly felt so cold, so alone. Above him, Plagg hovered, looking on his temporary master with a pitying look. Wisely, he decided not to say a word, as the blond curled up on himself and buried his face into his pillow. His shoulders shook, trying to stifle his sobs lest Marinette hear them from out in the living room.
Awkwardly, the little cat-genie patted his shoulder consolingly. Then he heard the click of the door and disappeared from view. A moment later, Marinette walked into his room, still hot from her outrage at the tabloid, “Adrien! You can’t just disappear like that without-” She froze when she saw the state her roommate was in. Her eyes went wide in confusion and worry, since he’d essentially gone from blushing to sobbing in the space of a couple minutes. “A-Adrien?” she called, coming over to his bedside. “Adrien, what’s wrong? What happened?”
Unable to look at her and the utter lack of affection in her eyes, the blond only shook his head and turned away.
“Adrien...” she murmured, running her hand through his choppy blond hair. Try as she might, she wasn’t completely immune to him. Especially if he was like this. Vulnerable and hurting. He was never in such a state, preferring to keep his emotions bottled up behind a veneer of brightness, jokes, or smiles. Whatever this was, it had to be bad. “Adrien, tell me what’s wrong,” she pleaded, sitting down on the bed beside him. “Please?”
Finally, Adrien turned his wet, green eyes up to her, his expression full of heartbreak. “I wish you knew how much I love you.”
Suddenly, a voice cried out overhead, “FINALLY!”
Marinette gave a violent start, looking around just in time to see this tiny rat floating in the air. It was all the warning she had before her mind was assaulted.
Adrien went white even as he spoke, when Plagg cried out, suddenly realizing what he’d done. “No!” he cried, ready to take it back right then. If any of other Plagg’s wishes were any indication, this was going to end in disaster. “Plagg, take-”
His mouth was suddenly smothered by the little genie’s entire body. “Oh no, you don’t! You’re not taking back the first sensible wish you made!” the little cat being cried. “Well, second, technically. But I’m not letting you do it!”
The blond looked up to Marinette, who was simply staring at nothing and everything. “What did you do?” he asked in whisper.
“Exactly what you asked,” Plagg replied smugly. “KISS. Keep it simple, stupid.”
Adrien blinked, sucking in a sharp breath when his roommate seemed to come back to herself. Her eyes focused on him, staring at him as though he’d grown another head. Then her cheeks heated, lips twisted with outrage. “Pervert!” she shrieked, taking one of his pillows to smack him over the head. “You bloody pervert!”
“The- what- what did I do?!” he cried, holding up an arm to defend himself.
“Oops. She might’ve found out about the bathroom,” the genie said innocently above him.
“PLAGG!” Adrien howled, watching as the smug genie gave a little salute and began to disintegrate from view, along with the heaviness of the ring on his finger. Then his eyes turned back to Marinette. “Um.... So~ How’s the weather?” he asked, forcing himself to give her a broad smile.
Marinette glared right back at him, her cheeks bright red with mortification and something else. Her lips pressed tightly together, eyes searching as she fought for something to say. “Did... did you really give up your perfect life for me?” she asked, shifting uncomfortably on top of his bed.
“...It’s not perfect if you’re not happy,” Adrien replied quietly, suddenly realizing what the genie must have done. If Marinette knew about the bathroom and that other life, it followed that she must know about every other aspect of his life as long as Plagg involved himself in it. “Well, as happy as I know you can be.” Propping himself up from the mattress, he gave her a winning smile. “Have I ever mentioned that I think I’ll be a great stay-at-home dad?”
The designer let out a faint snort. “Uh huh. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” she scoffed, patting him on the head. “I have to get used to the idea of you not being such an outrageous flirt. Like that whole thing with Lila.”
“That was just a very misguided attempt to get you jealous,” Adrien assured her quickly, taking her hands in his. “I’ve loved you for years.”
“I know...” Marinette smiled softly. At least, she did now. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m very out of practice with the concept of liking you like that. Think you can be patient?”
The blond’s green eyes widened, sparkling brightly. “Milady, for you? Anything,” he swore, pressing kisses to her knuckles.
She smiled, warmth spreading through her, like her first crush. Like the only crush that ever mattered. “Well~” she hummed, playing with a blond lock around her finger. A very particular transplanted memory came to mind, that made her whole body grow warm. “What do you think about black leather?”
Adrien’s only answer was a wicked grin.