"That's the last of my clothes, done," Adrien said, stepping back and looking at the closet he now shared with Marinette. He had his own dresser, squeezed in next to hers, but there was something wonderful about seeing their clothing side-by-side in the same space. He tried not to think about how much stuff she'd packed away or moved to the closet in the spare bedroom. He couldn't quite feel guilty about the inconvenience, not when his girlfriend and her family were making him feel so welcome and wanted.
"Just in time," Marinette said, slipping her arms around him from behind. "Ooops. I tripped."
He chuckled and slid his hands over her forearms to her elbows, as amused as he always was with her reason for suddenly hugging him. Although there had been hints of it, he'd never felt so completely at peace. "In time for what?" he asked, reluctant to break apart in case this calm was a one-time thing.
"For dinner." She tightened her grip on him briefly before stepping back. "Can you help me set the table?"
"Gladly." He followed her down the stairs. "Oh, that smells good."
Marinette glanced over her shoulder. "Lasagne. It's usually one of Papa's specialties, but I made it this time."
The delicious high carb meal would never have been on the menu under his father's roof. "You're an amazing cook." As they did in their superhero form, they met the job of setting the table as a team, dividing the tasks efficiently and communicating with body language rather than words. That had been one of the best side effects of accidentally outing himself.
"You'll be good at it soon enough," Marinette said, adding silverware beside the plates he'd already put on the table. "You're already shaping up into a pretty decent baker."
"Dad and mama are good teachers," he insisted. He'd been ecstatic the first time bread he'd made was deemed good enough to go out on the shelves, without a markdown for inconsistency in shape or size. He loved the mix of science and art that went into most of the products sold in the bakery, and the warmth of this family as they showed him the ropes, made him feel like he belonged. He'd never once felt like he was a burden or in the way, a huge difference compared to his father's house. He felt himself smiling as he remembered that he actually lived here now. He wasn't just visiting.
The apartment door swung open, and Adrien realized he'd been frozen off to one side of the kitchen grinning stupidly.
"Ah, has Marinette put you to work, wŏ de ér zi ?" Sabine asked, crossing the room to give him a hug.
"Shì," he agreed. "If I'm going to be part of the family, I need to do my part mā ma."
"Ooh," Tom said, sniffing the air. "Lasagne? No wonder our bug asked me to bring up a baguette tonight."
"I'll take that," Marinette swooped in and snatched the long bread out of the father's hand turning to place it on the board in the middle of the table. "I'm just about to take out the lasagne, so we can start in on salad now, if you're ready."
"Thank you for making dinner, sweetie," Tom said. His hand slowly came out and caught Adrien's arm. "Not so fast, my boy. You need a hug from me, too."
Adrien let out a little laugh as he was enveloped by the big man's embrace.
"You all settled in?" Tom asked.
"Yes. Thanks dad." This warmth was what it meant to be a family.
"Sassy cat all cuddled up with his camembert and bug?" Tom let go and stepped back.
Adrien nodded. "Yes sir."
Tom offered up a mock scowled. "Please don't call me sir, son. You never need to do that with me."
Adrien nodded, his body flushed with warmth not from embarrassment, but affection. "Yes dad." He was suddenly caught up in another hug from his girlfriend.
"Sit down Kitty. We've got family game night planned for after dinner." She beamed at him. "Since it's a celebratory activity in honor of you moving in, I might even let you win."