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Secret kitten

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Marinette trembled upon seeing those two pink lines. Those two lines that meant her life was about to change completely. She was pregnant. Her knees felt weak at the realization. Adrien was the father. Glimpses of the blond holding her, pulling her close, and kissing her made their way into her mind. It had been the best and the worst night of her life.
Her phone rang, breaking her out of her memories. The bluenette slowly took it out and dropped it after seeing who was calling her. Adrien Agreste's name followed by his picture was displayed on her screen. The call eventually stopped as Marinette picked up her phone from the bathroom floor. Then it buzzed again saying: "You have a new voicemail."

Tikki was just as shocked as her own was, if not even more. She wanted to say something nice and comforting but couldn't think of anything.
The bluenette picked her pregnancy test up and wrapped it in paper before slowly leaving the bathroom. The shame consumed her. She then casually offered to put the trash out for her parents, giving herself the perfect opportunity to throw out the test.
After taking the trash out, Marinette went to her room and threw herself onto her bed. She regretted that night. Chat had just saved her and something in his eyes made her beg him to stay. So he did, even after his transformation ended. A friendly "THANK YOU FOR SAVING ME!" hug turned into a kiss and that turned into this whole mess. After that night things hadn't been the same. Somehow that night only made things more awkward between them.
She could hardly look at Adrien or Chat without thinking of that night. She blushed really profusely sometimes and others, she just flat out smirked back at him. He still had no idea that she was Ladybug because she kept her secret. One of them had to, right?
Adrien and Marinette were still friends, but she  avoided him(or at least being alone with him) most of the time. Alya and Nino had picked up that something had happened, but they had no idea what it was since neither Marinette nor Adrien really talked about it. The blond sometimes would look at her with a smirking smile and she would either run away or give him a slight grin back. She was a complete mess, going from grinning and being playful towards him like she was with Chat to being a complete stumbling mess.
She felt confused about her feelings about Adrien and Chat. She loved him so much and hated him at the same time. She hated the fact that that night seemed to have zero importance for him. How he got her into this mess of keeping her secret along with his, and now thanks to their stupid mistake she was going to have his child. Despite all the reasons, all she wanted now was him there. Slowly and carefully she picked her phone and listened to the voicemail as if listening to him was the same as him being there.
"Hi Marinette. It's me, Adrien. Of course, you know it's me. You can see it on your phone. Anyways, I can't make it tonight with all of you because I have a photoshoot. I texted them but I wanted to talk to you. I meant it's nice to see you. Not that I can see you by call but... what am I saying? ...so yeah, never mind. See you tomorrow, princess. I have no idea why I said that. Maybe it was my feline side ...uh yeah so, I am going to go now. Bye!"
The bluenette slowly got up, remembering that she had plans with her friend. She didn't want to cancel because Alya might get suspicious but she didn't want to go either. Marinette got off her bed and looked at the watch. When she saw the time, she began rushing to get ready. Her mind quickly drifted, momentarily forgetting her pregnancy.
She then rushed down the stairs and ended up tripping. Luckily her father was there to catch her.
"Be more careful next time, I don't want my baby girl to get hurt."
Her father's words. BABY GIRL! Baby! B A B Y! Marinette then touched her stomach remembering her own baby. Then she hugged her Dad between the sobs. What would he think of her when he found out? Tom seemed to see the worry in her eyes and interpreted it as being scared of falling. With a warm smile and a hug he warmly told her: "It's okay Marinette, you didn't fall. Don't cry. It was just a scare! Daddy´s got you."
She smiled.
The bluenette wasn't ready for a kid. Years of babysitting Manon and Alya's twin sisters taught her that kids were hard. Besides, she still felt like a kid herself, crying on her father's shoulder. Being herself and Ladybug was already hard enough, but now being a mom too? She wanted to believe that everything would be okay, but would it?
The night turned out to be a bust for forgetting her issue. Alya's little cousin was in town, so the movie of the night was "The Boss Baby". Surprisingly, a whole movie about a baby didn't help Marinette forget anything. She hoped to talk to her best friend in private and get some advice, but with Nino (she certainly didn't want Adrien's best friend hearing the news) and Alya's cousin there, it turned out impossible. Marinette went to the bathroom several times to cry and throw up.

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Marinette laid in bed rubbing her still flat belly. The idea that a baby was growing inside it was terrifying. She could literally trip in the middle of the air due to her clumsiness. And now, she had a whole human being to protect? It was half her and half Adrien. This made her blush and start to imagine if it would have his gorgeous green eyes or his gorgeous blond hair. Would it be as cocky and confident as he was, or would it be shy like her/his mother?
Her daydreaming was shattered by a sound on her balcony. She didn't even have to guess who it was. Only Chat Noir would show up there.
Without even knowing why, she ran up towards the sound. She was right and it indeed was Chat, but he seemed nervous and almost tripped when he noticed Marinette was looking at him.
"Sorry! Alya told me you weren't feeling so good. So, I am here for a catcall. I mean to check up on you. Plus, you never really answered my call so... but I can leave if you want because I didn't want to bother..."
Marinette smiled at him. It was funny when he was the nervous wreck. He relaxed and smiled back.
"Want to go in my room? I mean do you want to come in?"
Chat nodded and followed her inside. In the room, they both stayed quiet leaving them with an uncomfortable silence.
"Marinette, there's something I wanted to talk to you..."
"Funny because too me... ah, I mean me too." She was prepared to tell him, but she wanted to hear what he had to say first.
"It's about that night."
"Which night?" Marinette played dumb, of course she knew what night he meant. The hard part was forgetting.
"The night where I saved you... and it... and you couldn't resist me, which I don't blame you. Come on! So, we ended up..."
Marinette threw him her pillow out of spite. "Please, you don't need to say any more. I remember perfectly and as I recall it was you who kissed me."
Chat's confidence decreased, and he began rubbing the back of his head. "Yeah! But you were the one that hugged me and gave me that look with your big bluebell eyes."
Marinette blinked in surprise before regaining her confidence. "Get to the point Chat!"
"I've noticed things between us haven't been the same since that night. You avoid me one day, then the next you tease me. We haven't spent any time alone since that night and it feels so awkward between us."
"So?"
"So, I miss us hanging out and being friends. I mean I even trusted you with my secret. And, I didn't do that with anyone else, Marinette."
"Adrien I... I... am..." pregnant. That was all she had to say and then the secret would be out. At least one of them. She still couldn't tell him she was Ladybug. Why couldn't she just tell him she was pregnant? All she wanted was to tell him and get this feeling out of her system "... m-missing our time together too."
Marinette leaned closer for a kiss. She needed him! She wanted him to comfort her and make everything better. She wanted his warm and carefreeness to make her forget about everything else.
Adrien, however, pushed her away gently and with sadness admitted.
"Wow! Marinette, I think you are amazing, sweet, and creative. You are funny and caring but the truth is that while that night was amazing, and I could never forget it since it was my first. The truth is that I am madly in love with Ladybug. And, I was weak at that moment and it was a mistake. I am so sorry. I just came here in hopes that things could get back to how they were between us and not to hurt you. The fact is that I don't want you to feel like you're not special or meaningless but..."
Tears were about to burst out of her eyes, but she faked a smile, something she was surprised that Adrien, the king of fake smiles, couldn't see right through.
"Of course, I understand plus it's not like I was in love with you or anything. I mean it's not like that night matter at all. In fact let's just forget it ever happened."
She began pushing Adrien up the stairs to the balcony.
"Marinette," Adrien said, sounding almost like a plea. But, she kept pushing him and eventually he resigned and climbed the few steps left. He still looked at her hopeful, but her expression told him it was best to leave. So regretfully he closed the trapdoor and left.
Marinette fell on her knees crying. Tikki who had been silently watching this whole scene went to Marinette and comforted her.
"Tikki, what am I going to do now?"

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Adrien used his staff to jump into his room and sighed. This had been the fourth time that he went to check up on Marinette since their fight four nights ago. She had been skipping school because apparently, she was sick, but he knew she was probably just avoiding him. So he decided to go to the building across her balcony and wait for her to show up, then he would try to talk to her and explain but he didn't. Not on the first day or the second or the third and not even on the fourth day.
It was a vicious cycle. Marinette would come to the balcony and stayed there almost every night staring at the horizon for a very long time. Adrien felt like jumping in there so they could talk but he found himself too weak or scared each time. So instead he just stared at her. She didn't seem upset or angry or even sick. In fact, when Adrien looked at her, he recognized hopelessness and loneliness in her. With a mixture of relatability and guilt, he stayed there looking at her while she stared at the skyline. Eventually, the cold would get to her and she would walk inside. Only then would Adrien return to his house with the promise that tomorrow would be different, but it never was.
He never intended to hurt her this way. Adrien understood deeply how she felt since loneliness and hopelessness were his best-sworn friends. There was nothing he could do to change what happened between them, but he would stop at nothing to preserve their friendship.
The problems between them were his fault and he blamed himself for it. He liked Marinette deeply but she was nothing compared to his lady. Sure, Marinette was kind and brave and creative. However, Ladybug was all those things plus more.
There was nothing that could compare to the rush of fighting beside his lady. There was nothing that made him feel the same way when she touched him. There was no one, he could love besides her.
Why couldn't Marinette understand that? Adrien couldn't explain why or how it happened that night. There was just something in her eyes that reminded him of his lady. He wasn't able to resist. The sunshine boy was lost on that ocean of her baby blues eyes that night. Sure she was a friend, but at that moment it felt like they were more. There was a connection that he couldn't explain.
To tell the truth that scared him. He never considered he’d feel this way for Marinette. No! He had to stay loyal to his lady. That was what he was desperately trying to tell Marinette on the night of their fight. They hadn't talked about it before. Adrien knew the longer he waited the worse it would be for all. He had already waited four weeks. Continuing not to talk would be leading Marinette on, and that would be wrong, especially her being the awesome person she was. His only solution was honesty.
Exhausted, Adrien jumped to his bed and went to sleep with his mind thinking of Marinette.
The next day, he woke up early for his morning fencing practice, despite not wanting to go.
Today he was a little off, and that was proven by the many times Kagami had beaten him. Kagami also seemed to notice. "What's wrong with you today?"
Adrien got up of the floor and brushed the dirt off his suit. "Nothing."
"Is this about Marinette?"
"What?" He rubbed the back of his neck confirming Kagami's theory.
"Why would it be about her?"
"Come on Adrien, I am not stupid. She disappears for a few days and you look like a rescue puppy with those eyes."
"Me? Haha! I told you countless times we are just friends."
Kagami grinned before adjusting her epee. "Right! Listen to me! This thing between both of you isn't healthy. To be a good fencer, you can quit or be fierce. My advice is either you quit, meaning you find someone else, or you attack, meaning you go all in. You will lose if you continue this way."
With those words, Kagami attacked, surprising Adrien, and he fell hard on the ground again.
"See? Waiting around and doing nothing won't work. Let go or move forward. It's your choice!"
Adrien got up and watched as Kagami left, already tired of winning.
"So letting go vs moving forward?" Adrien told himself as he pondered what to do next.

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Marinette walked through the park under the stars following the weird trail of roses that led her there. At the end of it, there he was, waiting for her in a black tuxedo with a green tie. Adrien in all his glory really had made an effort with the romantic setting. In his hand, he had a single beautiful red rose and on his face a smile so bright that it melted Marinette's heart just looking at it.
He grabbed and kissed her hand gently causing Marinette to blush. Adrien smiled again and stared at her before pulling her tight, causing the rose to fall on the ground. His eyes focused on her and a hard grip on her back. He leaned in, whispering to her hear. "Marinette I love you. I was so stupid not to realize it sooner. You are the one I love. Can you ever forgive me?"
With tears on her eyes, she looked at him before kissing him. "Oh, Adrien! Of course, I do."
He gave a gentle touch across Marinette's cheeks, turning them into a red fiery mess. All was perfect and magical. Marinette could stay like this in his arms forever until finally, Marinette woke up to the sound of her alarm clock. It had been all a dream.
She looked and her room seemed emptier now that all the pictures and reminders of Adrien had been put away. Marinette saved everything in a box and placed it under the desk. She wanted to throw everything away or burn it, but she couldn't do it. Every time she tried, looking at the charm he gave her for her 13th birthday would stop her. Then his umbrella would sneak up on her and make Marinette tumble into tears.
Despite her trying to forget about Adrien, and after five long days of hard crying and trying to forget, she still dreamed about him. The dreams she had were amazing and beautiful, but they were just dreams and the truth was that Marinette was pregnant by a crush that wanted to be friends and at the same time loved her deeply as her alter ego. But, Marinette couldn't tell him her secret for her safety and for his, and now even for their baby's safety. No mattered how much it hurt and how difficult it was, she had to keep her secrets. With Adrien on his way out of her heart slowly, unfortunately not out of her mind, it meant she would have to raise the child alone.
Marinette decided not to tell him about the pregnancy since she knew exactly how he would react. He would stay with her because of it. That was not what she wanted. Forcing him to stay with her because of the baby was wrong. Her love for him was bigger than that. Even if that wasn't a factor they were young and that would ruin his whole life, not to mention Adrien's plan of them staying friends. So it was best not to tell Adrien the truth. Of course, that only made it harder for her because everyone from her parents to her friends would want to know who the father was. How would she even tell them that she was pregnant but didn't want the father to know? How would she even raise a child alone? How would she even lie to Adrien?
Thinking she would have to go through everything alone made her feel lonely and hopeless. She needed Adrien there now, probably more than ever, but that was exactly what she couldn't have. Rubbing her belly gently, "See the mess you caused me, little kitten?" That was the name she decided to call the baby since she didn't know if it was a boy or a girl. However, if it was a girl it would be Emma but if it was a boy it would be either Louis or maybe Hugo. She hadn't decided yet.
Despite everything she still smiled at her belly knowing that kitten was there. Marinette might not know how to deal with this situation, but she knew that she would do anything for her child, just like she would do anything for Adrien. With all those things weighing on her mind, and after so many days, Marinette went outside onto her balcony with the intention to transform, just so that she could feel some fresh air and clear her mind.

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Ladybug watched as Adrien practiced with Kagami. He was losing so much today! Marinette had gone there hoping seeing Adrien in his fencing attire would make her feel better. Most times it worked but not today. She desperately wanted to be close to him but being this close reminded her just how far they were from each other. What a mess her life was! Couldn't be without him and couldn't be with him.

Kagami was giving all of her best. Over and over Adrien would be thrown to the floor. The worse in Marinette´s opinion was that while they were clearly talking, with their masks up, Kagami made a treasons surprise attack throwing Adrien to the ground again.
Then she had the audacity of letting him there as she walked away. Ladybug fought against her urge to help him up and find out why he performed so poorly today. It wasn't anything of her business after all.

She continued to watch as he suddenly blushed before rushing outside the school and onto his limousine. He was a completely different Adrien, inspired and smiling as he got into his ride.

Marinette wondered if that was all because of Kagami. She had left him alone and on the ground but apparently, Adrien felt happy about that. She wished she could light up his face that way too.
Ladybug followed Adrien's ride until it stopped, near a fancy jewelry store.

Adrien rushed inside and she watched curiously but after a couple hours of waiting for him to come out ,she quit. He hadn't even had time to change as he raced there and now he was taking forever inside. Marinette had enough. She was supposed to be forgetting him , not waiting hours just to get a glimpse of him. She wasn´t that crazy fan girl anymore!

Ladybug swung away. She kept going the way the wind took her, not really sure where but anywhere far way seemed like the right place.

After running and swinging her way for an eternity, she began to feel tired. Far away and exhausted, Marinette dropped her transformation. Tikki was tired too probably. While Tikki snacked on a cookie, Marinette kept walking. On her path, she found a health clinic.

Marinette entered it, still kind of lost. At least it looked friendly. What was she even doing there? This clinic was miles/kilometers away from home. Maybe it wasn't so bad. There was no risk of finding anyone she knew there.

It also gave her the opportunity to talk to someone about this other than Tikki. Tikki was supportive, but there was only so much a Kwami could do. Marinette also knew she could count on her parents, but the fear of their reaction made her wait on that.

The receptionist was nice and very smiling towards Marinette despite the terrified look on her face. Her nervousness even made her stutter when they asked for her name. She said, "Brigette," not that it mattered anyway. After telling the receptionist her condition, the receptionist gave her a pitiful look and then asked her to wait for her turn.

Marinette tried to relax while sitting there waiting, but with an impatient crying baby by her side and a loving married couple waiting for their first kid on the other, it wasn´t easy.

The woman of the couple began asking questions to the mother of the crying baby. They began talking about pregnancy and how hard it was. Marinette tried to focus on the outdated magazines, but the conversation between those two women was hard to ignore. They talked about things Marinette would probably learn later, but still preferred not to know at all. Just when she was about to quit and never come back, the doctor called her.

Marinette felt alienated as they took her blood to confirm her pregnancy and asked her many questions.

After the tests result confirmed her pregnancy, Marinette completely lost it. She started crying and ran away from the doctor's office. Listening to the news from a doctor made it feel more real. Marinette didn't notice if it was the doctor or someone else hugging, her but it felt good having someone console her. It took a while for her to calm down despite everyone telling her it wasn't the end of the world. It wasn't the end, but it sure felt like it for her.

After calming down, Marinette was told to return to the doctor. Hesitantly, she did. The doctor was nice and even told her panic attacks were normal. Then, she began giving some advice to Marinette. It was more like a huge list of don'ts. Marinette wondered if being Ladybug would be a part of that list. The doctor also talked to Marinette about the dangers of her pregnancy, what were her options were, and so many other things. Marinette didn't retain much of what she was told during the consult. The only things she kept were two fliers, one about adoption and the other about abortion. Marinette already knew she wasn't going to abort, but could she give up her little kitten up for adoption?

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The sun shined over the golden boy Adrien as he began his day filled with excitement. The truth was that after thinking about Kagami's advice, he had made a decision. Plagg, however, didn't seem to share his master's happiness. He was seriously worried about the huge mistake Adrien was going to make.
The kwami tried to casually play with his cheese and brought up Marinette, thinking the thought of her would stop his nonsense. Breaking from his weird stalker cycle, Adrien had skipped his trip to Marinette's to do something even more idiotic and worse. The moment Plagg mentioned her, Adrien's smile became a frown. Why did Plagg have to break his high spirits mentioning her? The idea that he could lose a friend like Marinette made him frown. He could only hope he could find a way to fix things next time he saw her. He wouldn't give up on their friendship.
His eyes then shifted to his pocket, even Marinette wasn't going to get him down today. This had been his best decision ever! It was completely impossible for it to go wrong. Adrien soon noticed that he was so lost in his thoughts that he hadn't even replied to Plagg, who seemed entertained with his camembert.
"I was too busy with what Kagami told me to check on Marinette. I'll do what I can to fix things, but right now I need to focus on my lady. I choose to move forward with her, Plagg..." Adrien rejoiced as he remembered his plan inwardly. The kwami sighed, still faking disinterest as he continued playing with his cheese. The truth was that he was getting even more worried. His preoccupation was so big that he didn't even have the appetite for the cheese he held in his paw for the last hour.
"Is that why you went and bought that stupid thing?"
Adrien gloated, thinking about his bold and romantic choice to propose to his lady. How much more straight forward could he be than with a ring that big and that beautiful? She would have to see his love with that ring. Taking it out and examining it under the light, it seemed even bigger now than when he bought it in the store.
"This is the 0.68 Carat SI2 Clarity Fancy Pink Princess Cut engagement ring! I am sure she will love it!"
Plagg bit his lip to stop himself from telling the truth. Reject Marinette and then propose to her alter ego? This surely would be a disaster. At least for once it wasn't his fault, unlike so many of the disasters he had caused. It was easier to create a mess than to solve it. Plagg was learning that lesson the hard way, since Adrien seemed convinced his plan was perfect.
The kwami had to keep trying, "Why would you waste so much money on that when you could just use the money to buy camembert? I mean, I love shiny, but for me a piece of camembert beats it every time."
Plagg finished his sentence with a big ending, throwing his cheese in the air before eating it in one swallow. Adrien would be impressed if it wasn't so disgusting to watch. Avoiding looking at his kwami, and with a love stuck goofy smile on his face, he told his kwami his reasons.
"Plagg this ring is to symbolize love. I'm sure when I give it to Ladybug she will understand I meant every time I said I loved her. She will finally see how much she means to me! I will give it to her the next time I see her and we will be together forever."
Was it bad that he wished for an Akuma to happen just so that he could see his lady? He honestly couldn't wait to see her reaction to the proposal.
Plagg rolled his eyes and once more tried to be the voice of reason. "But you two aren't even dating! Isn't that a little too much? Who proposes without even dating? Just buy her flowers. Ladybugs like flowers, right?"
Now it was Adrien's turn to sigh. How could Plagg not understand his reasons? "Plagg, I already tried that! Plus, this means so much more. It's like with my ring. It doesn't just mean I get to transform into Chat Noir and be awesome. It also means the responsibility and duty I have towards Paris. My ring means I would do anything for this city. So when I give the engagement ring to her. It means I would do anything for her .When she accepts it, means she is willing to do the same. That ring also means my responsibilities and my duties are with her. I'm sure when I give her this, she will finally understand how much I truly love her! Plus she has been really warming up to me a lot the last few weeks. I wonder what made her change so much around me these last few weeks?"
Plagg coughed, still trying swallow the large piece of cheese in his mouth. If only Adrien knew the truth.
On the other side of Paris. A certain bluenette was feeling depressed. To make things worse, Sabine was worried about her daughter's so called stomach bug, the one that had prevented her from going to school for six days now. She suggested taking her daughter to a doctor. Marinette panicked! She still wanted to stay home and avoid Adrien. Her plan to never talk to Adrien was now spoiled. With her spirits low, she left her house to what was probably going to be the worse day of her life.

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As soon as Marinette arrived at school, she was greeted with a big hug from Alya. The bluenette had never been happier to see her friend. Alya seemed to share the feeling too. It was hard to know which friend missed the other more.
"Girl, I missed you so much. You know sunshine boy was worried too!" Alya told her, giving her a grin.
"Oh that's cool," Marinette faked interest but she knew the reason why Adrien asked about her was mostly out of guilt.
"Girl, what's wrong? You gotta tell me what's going on between the two of you!"
Marinette sighed, looking into her best friend's eyes. Maybe telling her the truth was better? Well, not the whole truth about her being Ladybug and Chat being Adrien or about their whole night or about their terrible love square or even about their future child? Thinking about it, how could she even begin to explain to Alya the whole picture?
"Nothing's wrong." Marinette lied. She wasn't very convincing, but Alya still seemed to believe it.
"Good! Because the last thing I want is for your birthday trip to be a failure! Do you even know how hard it was convincing Adrien's dad to let him come? He begged for weeks, just for you. His father really was a grinch about it and that was not even knowing we girls were joining too!"
Marinette, with all the mess in her life, had forgotten about the trip they were all taking to celebrate her birthday. When Alya suggested all four of them went to spend a week in a cabin, Marinette was super excited. The cabin only had two rooms and that meant she and Adrien would share a room since Alya and Nino wanted to share a room. Spending time around Adrien and sharing the same room? Back then, it was a dream but now it was a nightmare.
It took a lot of convincing, and lying, to make their parents accept the trip, especially Adrien´s. When he told them he was able to convince his father to let him go, Marinette was pretty sure she was in heaven. Now, however, she wasn't so sure.
While they were walking their way to class, Alya was still talking, but Marinette wasn't listening anymore. She was too lost in her mind, imagining the worst case scenarios happening during the trip, from Adrien hating her after discovering her secret identity to hating her after finding out about her pregnancy. The worst case scenario of all would be if he found out about both and hated her. He hated liars after all, and those were some pretty big lies. At least she still had a week to prepare for the trip.
As soon as she entered the classroom, all the girls ran to her asking how she was. Marinette relaxed, feeling happy around her best friends wishing her to get better and telling her all the things she had missed.
Her happiness was short lived though, as Adrien suddenly arrived. Seeing him enter the room, all of the girls quickly returned to their seats, pretending not to be looking at two of them.
Adrien didn't seem to notice, or comment, about the fact the whole class, not just the girls, had their eyes on them. Instead, he was focused on the bluenette in front of him.
Both of the teens looked at each other expectantly, not knowing what to say. Marinette felt divided between transforming right there and hanging Adrien from the Eiffel tower with her yoyo, and jumping into his arms and telling him she missed him. Neither seemed appropriate, unfortunately.
Adrien was completely tongue-tied too. This was the same thing as him staying on the balcony around hers preparing to go talk to her, only much worse because now she could actually see him. What could he say? Should he wait for her to say something?
Finally, after a while, Marinette spoke, nervously, "Hey Adrien."
"Hi Marinette," Adrien smiled, at least she was still talking to him and being friendly. She seemed nervous, but so was he, plus it was normal for her. Did this mean they were okay? He shouldn't ask, not in front of all the class at least. He had to do say or do something else. Putting his hand on the back of his neck, Adrien also nervously, asked "So how are you feeling?"
"FINE! SUPER! PERFECT! GREAT! AWESOME!" She was pretty sure she was shouting at him, but it wasn't her fault. It was him and his presence. It should be illegal looking that good in the morning.
As a twist of fate to prove her words wrong, the moment Lila came in Marinette felt nauseous. Trying not to vomit all over Adrien, she turned her head hitting, Lila instead. Everyone was shocked, even Marinette who didn't do it on purpose.
Marinette apologized. Lila faked a smile and told her it was okay. The whole class was still watching after all. Then however, she got closer to Marinette's ear and whispered coldly, "You will regret this! I know you did it on purpose. You will pay for this!"
Before Marinette could even respond, Adrien pushed Lila away. Calmly he turned to Lila and told her, "Lila, I think she needs space. Maybe you should go get cleaned up!"
Lila left to clean up with a friendly smile on her face. But inside, she was cursing both Marinette and Adrien. Adrien followed Lila's cue and left too. He decided to take Marinette to the nurse. Apparently, she really was sick. Poor Marinette. Everyone gave her a worried look as she left. This was not what everyone thought was going to happen.
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Chapter Text

Marinette lied to the nurse saying it was just a stomach bug. It was good the nurse believed her because the bluenette wasn't about to reveal the truth in front of Adrien. Why did he have to be so kind, refusing to leave her alone? He was so worried that he never let go of her hand. Why did he always have to be so caring and nice?
On her way back to class after the visit to the nurse, Marinette tripped. Thankfully, Adrien caught her. The problem was that it sent both the adoption and abortion fliers along with the others pregnancy fliers flying to the floor. Why did she even kept those on her? Adrien couldn't find out this way! Not this way! This would even be worse than finding out in front of the nurse. She needed to do something quickly before he noticed. So she hugged Adrien to stop him from looking at what had just fallen.
"You are such a good friend. Thank you for looking out for me," Marinette told him, trying to explain the hug.
Adrien seemed baffled but still hugged tighter. With the motion of the hug, plus a little help from Plagg inside of Adrien's pocket, the box with the wedding ring jumped out. Adrien's eyes widened when he saw the box on the floor. He wasn't about to let Marinette see the ring. After everything, she would probably be mad at him again or try to stop him. This wasn't the way she should find out about his possible and likely engagement.
As soon as Marinette let go of the hug, Adrien went to pick up the box while Marinette picked up the flyers. Both sighed relieved. Both their secrets were safe for now.
Adrien's day and Marinette's day went back to normal, maybe with the exception of everyone worrying about Marinette, including Adrien who would turn to look behind himself constantly to make sure she was okay. Every time he did that, Marinette would blush, then smile at him in return. He would smile and then blush as he turned back to the teacher.
At the end of the day, Alya was demanding to take Marinette home. Despite Marinette already insisting she was fine. It was at this moment the blond boy made his appearance, quickly jumping into the conversation.
"I can take Marinette home!" Before Marinette could refuse. Alya accepted Adrien's offer. With a grin and a thumbs up, Alya pretty much disappeared, leaving them alone.
With a smile, Adrien offered his hand and signaled his chauffeur to wait. Both stayed quiet the whole way. The walk was short after all, plus neither knew how to start. It was only when they arrived at her front door that Adrien gathered the courage to talk.
"Marinette, I wanted to tell you I am sorry. I shouldn't have said those things. I was a fool and didn't mean it. Of course, you are special and that's why I got so lost that night with you. I feel that with you I can be free to be myself and that you accept me."
Marinette began to blush at his words. Was Adrien about to declare himself to her? Had he somehow changed his mind? With a glow in her eyes, she kept listening.
"But I know that I could never appreciate you the way you truly deserve because I am in love with someone else. You already know who she is."
That snapped her back to reality. Her heart broke again. She could never compete with Ladybug or Adrien's idea of Ladybug. That crushed her. Marinette was unable to control herself from snapping at Adrien.
"Ladybug is a very lucky girl unlike some of us! Adrien, I love you. But that doesn't matter now does it? It doesn't matter that I fell in love with you due to the kindness you showed me when you have me your umbrella and haven't been able to forget it since. It doesn't matter that we have been friends forever because you can never love me or see me as more."
He looked at her in shock. "You l-lo-lo-ve-ve me?! I'm so sorry. If I had known, I would never have... I swear. I never meant to hurt you..."
Marinette stopped him before he could even continue, "It doesn't matter... because you only see her and no one else. This is all because of HER! Maybe she isn't as perfect as you think."
Adrien interrupted, "I know she isn't perfect, but I still love her. Please don't hate her. Hate me instead. It's all my fault! Besides you don't know her as well as I do Marinette."
"OMG! Adrien!" Marinette exasperated. "You are nice and sweet, but you are too passive, too egocentric, painfully oblivious, and shallow. Also, don't get me started on your lame puns. I mean, who even says stuff like that?" Adrien blinked in surprise, but Marinette still kept going. "So thank you for that night, and for today. Because of that, I finally saw the real you and I don't love it anymore. I really hope one day you find someone that makes you happy."
Marinette slowly turned around and opened her door. But before she could leave, Adrien grabbed her arm.
"I swear I didn't want to hurt you. That was the last thing I wanted to do. You were one of my first real friends. I never wanted things to get this bad between us. Your friendship means a lot to me and I am sorry I messed it up. I always cared about you and thought you were special. I never wanted to lose you, so please don't leave me! I can't lose anyone else I care about."
Marinette looked at Adrien. Her anger towards him went way. Was he about to cry? She had never seen him this broken down before. Usually, he let on a brave face and a smile to hide his true feelings. Seeing him take away that mask to show the real and vulnerable Adrien inside was shocking for Marinette. Did he really value their friendship that much? How could she hurt him like that? She didn't know if it was the hormones or the fact she had just hurt him, but she just wanted to hold him.
"Adrien..." Her voice barely above a whisper. "I am not leaving you. We will always be friends."
His eyes focused on her for a second.
"Always," he said reassuringly, pulling her into a hug.
Marinette hoped he could keep his promise even if one day he learned the whole truth.

Chapter Text

As Adrien sat on the bus going to the cabin, he was lost in his thoughts. One week had passed without any Akumas. Hawkmoth seemed to have taken some vacations. Adrien begged for a little easy Akuma but he had no such luck. He continued to curse the man who was always on his tail and now the only time Adrien could take that as his advantage, the man disappeared!
This cat was so desperate that the idea of faking an Akuma spread his mind. So long without his lady was torture. When would he see her again?
Marinette shifted her head slightly causing Adrien to return his thoughts back to the bus and to her. She looked so cute sleeping with her head on his shoulder. Her cute smile reflecting on his.
This was her birthday getaway. He hoped she liked the present he had for her. He got it especially for her! She was always so thoughtful and sweet that he wanted to repay it.
She even forgave him! Sometimes he felt he didn't deserve such a friend so he promised himself that he would make it up to her. He had been doing small things to make it up to her but now this was his chance to truly make it up to her. So, these days he would solely focus on her. When he got back, he was going back to focus on his lady and the proposal. He already had a plan made and everything.
Slowly and carefully he began to stroke Marinette's hair. She mumbled his name in her sleep. Adrien's smile widened before he fell asleep too, dropping his now heavy head onto Marinette's.
He didn't know how long he slept, all he remembered was waking up to two gorgeous blue eyes staring at him.
"Hey," Adrien greeted her with a genuine smile as he blinked away the last remaining sleep from his eyes.
"Hey," Marinette answered back with a smile and a flustered "We're here!"
The place they picked was perfectly filled with nature and almost completely isolated. The nearest town was 50 minutes away on foot. They were all by themselves, a fact everyone enjoyed. Of course, that meant they still had to carry their bags into the wild to get to the cabin. While Alya and Nino complained about the walk, Marinette was too focused on admiring the beauty of nature. Adrien couldn't complain either as he enjoyed seeing Marinette look and point out every butterfly and bird she saw.
As they continued to carry their luggage into the forest, Adrien's eyes were impressed by some beautiful rose bushes. Taking one of his least favorite shirts out of his bag and wrapping it around his hand, he carefully grabbed the prettiest rose there. Smiling, he sneaked behind Marinette before hugging her from behind and putting the rose close to her nose, giving her the chance to smell it.
"Hey! Marinette, this rose is just for you," he whispered into her ear.
"Foooor mmmeeee?" She mumbled nervously, unable to control her blush.
"Adrien where's my rose? We are friends too!" Alya teased.
"You don't need Adrien to give you a rose." Nino answered back trying to save his bro.
"It's not like my boyfriend gives me roses," Alya shot back at Nino.
"Here, Alya you can have it." Marinette tried to save the situation by giving the rose to Alya.
"Thanks, girl!" Alya smiled to Marinette while giving Nino the death stare.
"No problem. Can you and Nino go ahead I need to talk to Adrien?" Marinette begged as she suppressed a deep sigh.
Nino gave Adrien a look and whispered to him, "Nice, Dude! Cuz of you. We will be both be sleeping in the dog house."
Adrien was going to mumble something but Nino and Alya went ahead. She was clearly arguing with him. Adrien looked at Marinette. He could already tell by her expression a similar fate to Nino's awaited him.
With an irritated sigh, Marinette began, "Adrien this needs to stop! The rose, the notes on my balcony, the gifts? When will it end?"
With a pitiful look, he admitted, "I was just trying to make it up to you. You didn't like it?"
"It's too much!" Marinette sighed, taking pity on his face. With a smile on her face, she admitted, "The CD with my favorite songs was nice. I still play it every day. It's my favorite!"
"The rest was me but the CD wasn't!" He repeated, "The CD wasn't me!" He didn't know if it hurt because the thing Marinette most liked wasn't given by him or the fact that someone else was giving her gifts.
They both stayed quiet. Waiting for the other to continue. Eventually, Marinette extended her hand to him and asked, "Always?"
"Always" had become their unspoken promise that whatever happened between them, they would ALWAYS stay friends. It started after their talk a week ago and now it was becoming a symbol that their friendship could survive anything. He smiled and assured her, "Always!"
With them now holding hands, they continued their walk. It didn't take long for them to start talking normally again. They shared so many interests after all. By the end of the walk, they were so embedded in which character of Ultra Mega Strike 4 was better that the whole awkward incident was forgotten.
Quicker than they imagined, Marinette and Adrien arrived and stared at the cabin. It was small and made of wood, having a rustic warm vibe to it.
Alya and Nino were already in their room making peace. Marinette and Adrien avoiding disrupting the couple and went straight for their room.
As soon as they entered their room, Adrien dropped his bags and jumped excitedly onto his bed. The sound of crick of the springs of the mattress along with the sound of the iron frame of the bed hitting the wall didn't seem to bother Adrien as he happily continued.
"Well you seem excited," Marinette commented, seeing how he went from formal Adrien to pure Chat Noir in seconds.
With a big jump, he did a black flip before stopping and sitting on his bed. Still emitting a joyful glow he told her, "Of course I'm excited. Being far from home and with my friends, it's the best!
His blissful expression suddenly changed to serious as he admitted, "I never had this growing up. Being here makes me feel free, just like when I turn into Chat Noir."
The ending sigh of Adrien's words almost broke Marinette's heart. How could a mere sigh show so much emotion? How could someone like Adrien, who spent so much time traveling to places and meeting interesting people, feel trapped?
"Free? I don't understand," she asked curious of what he meant.
"Of course you don't," Adrien sighed letting his body fall into bed. "Your parents are awesome and let you hang out with your friends, have sleepovers, and do the normal stuff you want. But my father doesn't! I had to beg for these days. I work hard to be the perfect son, but it's never enough. Nothing is ever enough," he coldly admitted. "Most of the time what I get is being alone, even during meals. I spend all of my life around people, but simultaneously alone."
Marinette looked at him, feeling sorry for him. Adrien didn't notice as his eyes looked at the ceiling. "So, that's why you love being Chat Noir so much?"
"Of course! It's just not because of being around Ladybug all the time. When I transform I'm not Adrien Agreste, the boy who, despite eating most meals alone, still uses properly the 3 types of forks, the three types of knives, and the 2 spoons. No! I'm not the perfect son, the kid role model. When I transform I'm just a dorky normal guy who happens to be in a super suit. People see me as more real with a cat suit then as me."
"Wow! I had no idea. You always smile and seem so put together. I never knew you felt that way." Marinette controlled her will to hug him, instead giving a sweet touch on his shoulders.
"I don't want you to feel sorry for me. Because, being with you guys is the best thing in my life, including being Chat Noir."
"Thank you for sharing it with me."
"I never told this to anyone before. I guess now you know all my secrets," he laughed nervously. "I still have to learn yours."
"Mine?" She froze. "I don't have secrets! Me? Please! Why would you say that?"
"Ha ha! Everyone has some. Come on! Tell me you never snuck away? Did something you weren't supposed to? Lied?"
"Hum Hum"
"Calm down! I'm just teasing you!"
Adrien got up and began unpacking. Marinette sighed, finally being able to breathe.
Marinette started to examine their small bedroom more carefully. Despite the annoying loud spring mattress and the iron-framed beds, the room was nice. It had two beds, each leaning against a wall. Adrien was in the bed to the left while Marinette's was on the right. Each had an old fashion side bed table. They had no TV or entertainment. The curtains were very old and heavy. The closet was white. Beyond that, there was only a small red lamp.
After everything was organized, everyone left to explore the woods. They were walking across a dangerous looking part of the woods. Already having enough danger in her life as Ladybug, she opted out and decided to return home.
Without much to do Marinette decided to try on her sparkling pink dress which was meant for her to wear tomorrow at her birthday dinner. Looking at her belly and examining it closely, she felt nervous. What if Adrien could tell she was pregnant? The dress was tight leaving little to the imagination. Why did Alya have her wear something so skin tight?
Tikki, almost like she read Marinette's mind, assured, "Marinette you are only 7 weeks pregnant. No one can tell. At this point, the baby is even smaller than me! Adrien won't be able to tell anything. Relax and maybe… just maybe talk to him."
Marinette slid off her dress throwing it onto Adrien's bed. Tears making their way down her cheeks. She immediately dressed in her pajamas, feeling way more comfortable in them.
Tikki flew to Marinette, trying to hug her as best she could with her small body. Still, it was a nice gesture and even earned a smile from Marinette.
"Thank you, Tikki but I can't tell him. My biggest fear is that he finds out. It's so hard having to keep my secret as Ladybug as well as his secret as Chat Noir, plus the secret of my pregnancy. It's too many secrets. If Adrien finds out about our child or my identity or both. I'm screwed."
Before Tikki could even answer back, a voice coming from the doorway shouted, "WHATTTT????!!!"
Marinette and Tikki looked at each other, both paralyzed in fear.

Chapter Text

A voice coming from the doorway shouted, "WHATTTT????!!!"
Marinette and Tikki looked at each other, both paralyzed in fear.
The bluenette slowly turned her head to look at the very familiar black kwami now facing her.
"Plagg! What are you doing here?" Marinette asked ashamed, her own guilt stopping her from looking Plagg in the eyes.
The kwami stared at her in a mix of surprise and excitement.
"The question here is when will tell Adrien about your pregnancy? The kid deserves to know he's having a kid." He tried to play it chill but the warmness and care he had slipped, slightly, through every word the kwami said.
"No!" Marinette crossed her arms angrily. Her tone was harsher than she intended, but effective.
"No?" Plagg's jaw dropped. Most of his excitement dissipating and being replaced with anger.
Tikki watched Plagg and Marinette. Knowing them as well as she did, she knew it was better not to get in their way. This was a fight the ladybug kwami didn't want to get in the middle of. So, she hid in Marinette's purse, hoping that maybe the black kwami would have better luck convincing Marinette.
With a deep sigh, the bluenette finally ended the staring contest with Plagg. "Look at how messy things are between us. This baby would only complicate our already complicated relationship. He loves my alter ego. I love him but he doesn't really love me. I can't have my heart broken again. I just can't!" Marinette broke into tears. "If I tell him then we would be together for the wrong reasons. I've made my decision! So please you can't tell him!" Marinette let out sobs as she begged Plagg.
His expression softened. "But...but...think about it. This secret identity thing is getting annoying anyway. If you just told him the whole truth about the baby and you being Ladybug, then you two would finally be together... maybe even get married..." The wink Plagg gave as he said those words went unnoticed by the nervous bluenette. Plagg couldn't help to wonder slightly, if she knew about Adrien's plan to propose, would her opinion be different? Hopefully it would be. It had to be because, just like Marinette was set on not telling, Adrien was set on proposing. Hopefully when Adrien proposes, she would come clean. They would get married, have the baby, and everything would be perfect... especially for Plagg who would spend his days eating baked goods from the bakery alongside his sweet sugar cube. Plagg licked his lips, already tasting how sweet the future could be. This would be the best case scenario, of course.
"I don't want Adrien to be with me because of a baby or a mask!" Marinette's response served as a reminder for the kwami that this could also become a great disaster. If Marinette or Adrien screw things up even more, things could get very ugly. It could even break their relationship. That would be so sad, not only for Adrien, but for Plagg himself since he wouldn't be able to be with his sugar cube ever again. Then he would go back to his only trusted companion, camembert. After the sweetness of the other future, this one seemed bitter. Sadly this scenario was just as likely, if not even more so. So, Plagg trying to stop this catastrophe warned, "You know how much he hates lying and secrets, right? When he finds out..."
Adrien stepped into the room unseen because of the fight. Only hearing Plagg's last remark, Adrien asked, "When who finds out what?" His voice seemed to send trembles down everyone's spine.
"Hum hum," was their response. Marinette became pale and numb as if her whole world was about to come crashing down. Adrien grew suspicious as Marinette and Plagg exchanged looks.
"When you find out that..." Finally, it was the kwami that broke first. Plagg took pity looking at Marinette's pleading face. Just like her secret identity or Adrien's plan to propose, this also wasn't his to tell. He hated his position but there was nothing else he could do. Hopefully, things would turn out for the better. With a heavy sigh he continued, "...I ate all the cheese you brought already."
The sunshine boy looked at both. Marinette nervously nodded, seemingly to confirm it. Adrien immediately started laughing. "That's your secret, Plagg? Your appetite, although impressive, isn't exactly news. Let me guess, you were begging Marinette for more, right? Don't worry little buddy. I will buy you more."
Adrien petted his kwami which only added to guilt Plagg already felt. "Thank you, Adrien," Plagg replied.
Adrien seemed to find it strange the politeness and lack of excitement in Plagg. Maybe his kwami was finally maturing. "No problem, next time just tell me. You don't need to make a big secret out of it. See you later Marinette. Plagg, let's go."
"Seeeee yoooouuu laaaa-teerrr," she nervously replied as Adrien left to buy more cheese. Marinette exhaled a deep breath she didn't even know she was holding and her face finally gained some color.
Adrien, on his way back from the store, pondered over how weird Plagg had been since his discussion with Marinette. First, he had been very quiet the whole time. Second, he hadn't demanded the whole store as usual. Third, he had the same disapproving look on his face when Adrien told him his plan to propose.
Weirder still was that when Adrien returned back to his room, he found Marinette crying in her bed. Quickly he jumped to her side, pulling her into a reassuring hug. "Marinette!! It's okay! Don't cry. It's okay."
Whispering soft words into her ear, he kept hugging her tightly and stroked her hair while she cried. After a very long time, her cries slowly began to stop and she was finally able to mumble between sobs. "Adrien I'm... I'm pre... preg..."
Before Marinette could finish her sentence. Adrien's phone rang, clearly displaying Kagami's smiling face on screen. He looked at his phone and to Marinette, then he put his phone on silence before slipping it back into his pocket. "Sorry, Hum... you were saying Marinette?"
Marinette wiped the tears off her eyes and gave him a gentle smile. "You should answer Kagami's call. It might be important."
"Are you sure?" he asked, hesitantly.
"Absolutely. I'll be fine."
"Okay then," he replied hesitantly. Adrien still looked at her before taking his phone out. Slowly and uncertainly he began to dial Kagami's number. Marinette nodded to him, so Adrien reluctantly hit the call button.
"Hey, Kagami," He said as he walked away from the room to talk, not before glancing at Marinette to make sure she was really okay. She nodded once more, giving him the okay signal to continue.
The moment he disappeared, Marinette fell to her bed, returning full force to her tears. She wasn't fine and she would never be. Plagg's words stuck with her, "When he finds out..." Adrien hated liars just as much as she did. This would be the worst lie ever. Her reasons were solid but felt weak as she cried in his arms.
Lucky for her and bringing Marinette back from her thoughts, her phone rang. Marinette didn't want to talk to anyone right now, even with the smiling and chill Luka displayed on her screen.
But with her teary eyes and her clumsiness, she accidentally hit accept. "How's my favorite birthday girl?" The warmness in his voice was enough to bring a smile to Marinette's face. For some strange reason, hearing Luka was making her feel better. His friendship was always important to her and he had a strange habit of making Marinette forget everything around her with his music and chilled personality.
"I'm fine, but my birthday isn't until tomorrow," she retorted with a slight giggle.
"I know, but I couldn't wait. So did you like the CD I got you?" Luka wasn't one to easily get nervous but Marinette could tell he was by the sound of his voice.
"You were the one that got me that amazing CD?" Marinette asked barely able to keep her excitement.
"Yeah! Since you weren't going to be around, I thought I'd give it to you before your birthday. That way, you could really enjoy it on your birthday."
"Oh! Thank you. It was very kind. You are the best! It had all my favorite songs. You know me so well. I loved it." Marinette admitted as she romantically squeezed her pillow tightly into her arms.
"I'm glad. Maybe soon I can play a few of those songs for you, plus some new stuff I have been working on... I know how much you like my songs too. Well, now I... have to go. My girlfriend is waiting for me. You know how she is." With those words came a happy sigh. "Oh, how I love her!" The way he spoke made Marinette jealous. She wished Adrien talked that way about her. Every time Marinette was with Luka and his girlfriend she wished she could have that kind of a relationship with Adrien. The kisses and hugs and afternoons spent eating André's ice cream as he romantically played for his love was everything Marinette wished for her and Adrien. Luka and his girlfriend were relationship goals in Marinette's opinion, with the exception that it was a secret relationship. Very few people knew about it, since her father strongly disapproved of Luka.
"I understand you have to go. I wish we could have talked longer."
"Me too." His sadness mirrored Marinette's, who didn't seem to hang up either. With a hopeful tone and trying to make it easier he said, "We'll see each other around, bye Ladynette."
"I can't wait to see you again. Bye Luka." Marinette replied surprisingly with a smile as the call ended.
"Was that Luka?" Marinette turned her head to the voice. It was Adrien leaning in the doorway.
"Yeah. He called to wish me a happy birthday." She replied with an honest smile.
"That's nice." He commented with a forced smile.
It was nice, so why did it hurt a little inside Adrien? Maybe because he had rushed his conversation with Kagami just to get back to her, only to find her giggling and admiring Luka over the phone. He hadn't heard the whole conversation but in his opinion, he heard enough. The giggles and smiles she gave when she spoke to Luka made Adrien unsettled. He could only imagine Luka doing the same thing on the other side of the line.
Adrien always knew there was a thing between them. It was clear Luka obviously liked her and she liked him back. Why they were never together, Adrien didn't know, but a small part of him was glad they never did get together. His heart feared that the call and the CD were only the beginning of what was, in his mind, inevitable. After all, as far as he knew, they were both single. He was friends with both of them and wanted them happy. Still, he had no idea why the idea of Marinette being with Luka was causing these feelings in him. Slowly he walked away. Marinette watched as he left. She hadn't done anything wrong so why did it feel that way?
Marinette waited for Adrien to come back, but he didn't, not even for dinner. No one knew where he went. Eventually, Marinette grew tired of waiting for him and fell asleep staring at his empty bed. Where was he?
Later, Marinette was sleeping deeply when suddenly, she was startled by screams. She turned her head to see a sleeping Adrien kicking and screaming in his bed. Part of her was glad Adrien was back, the other part of her felt sorry because of his cries.
"Mommy! MOMMY!!!" He sobbed and shook uncontrollably.
"Adrien?" Marinette asked gently as she got up and went to his bedside. She immediately noticed he was really caught up in his nightmare. Petting his hair to calm him down, she told him, "There, there, kitty. It's okay. I'm here for you."
His sobs stopped and his face turned into a blissful smile, his whole body relaxing over her words. "My lady?" Marinette froze. Unable to respond.
A few seconds passed before he screamed anxiously, "MY LADY?!! No, don't leave me, not you too!!!" Slowly, Adrien was going back to the nightmare. Marinette looked around. The kwamis seemed to be asleep. Nino and Alya were probably asleep too. She sighed, with a soft whisper like before, reassuring him, "Yes it's me and I'm not going anywhere!"
He smiled once more, with his hand grabbing hers and holding it tightly. She continued brushing his hair with her other hand softly until she was certain he was calm and the nightmare was over. Certain he was deep into his dreams. Marinette carefully freed her hand and kissed his cheek, with gentle whisper, "I love you."
Then, she went back to her bed, not noticing the blush across Adrien's face. Moments later when Plagg noticed Marinette was back to sleep, the cat kwami whispered to Adrien. "Don't lose that amazing girl because of your idiocy. This whole mess could sort itself out if you just said I love you Marinette."
"I love you Marinette!" Adrien's sleepy, yet warm, words echoed Plagg's, causing the kwami to check if Adrien was actually awake. Sadly, he wasn't.
Plagg sat on the bedside table, in the middle of their beds, staring at one then the other. Slowly, after seeing the whole scene and Plagg's sad expression, Tikki joined him. Whispering to him, "I know!"
Both Kwamis fell asleep there together, cuddling and looking over their chosen. There were no more words between them, just a sense of frustration and sadness.

Chapter Text

The morning came early for Marinette, who was woken up by a blond boy carrying a huge tray of food.
"Good morning princess." His warm tone was enough to melt her heart.
"Adrien?" She yawned. "You're up early."
"Yes. I usually am. I got breakfast!"
"Thanks!" She took a croissant from the tray.
"No problem. It was my pleasure. Happy Birthday," he continued as he took a chocolate croissant and a milkshake, closing his eyes to savor the chocolate in his mouth. With his strict diet, chocolate and highly caloric foods were saved for special days, so he intended to make the most of this day.
Meanwhile, Marinette didn't seem capable of eating, thinking about Adrien's disappearance yesterday. Without directly looking at him, she asked "Yesterday you disappeared. I got worried. I thought that maybe... you were mad at me for talking to Luka?"
Adrien tried to play it off with a laugh. "Me? Jealous? Why would I be jealous? I want you to be happy. You can be with whoever you want." Adrien bit his lip. There it was, the same weird feeling he had yesterday. If Marinette ended up with Luka, he wasn't losing her because she would always still be his friend. Then, why did it feel otherwise? Trying to push his feelings aside with a grin he told her, "Besides you know cats like to stray."
"I never said jealous... but right, what was I thinking?" Of course he wasn't jealous or mad. He most likely didn't care, right? He loved Ladybug, not Marinette. If he was jealous, then she would assure him that Luka was happy with his girlfriend, breaking her own vow of secrecy to Luka. But Adrien wasn't jealous. He would never be!
The blunette sighed and Adrien drifted away into his thoughts. In his mind, for some reason, he began to imagine Marinette in a wedding dress. Her smile making the rest of the world obsolete with her hair loose and mimicking waves of the ocean as she moved. Her hands slowly carrying her bouquet. She would come in his direction making his world stop. Her eyes sparkling his way. His cheeks blushing. Their hearts racing. Then he would turn around and see Luka behind him waiting for his bride. Adrien's world crumbled. The sunshine boy stayed there... numbed, only watching as a best man. She would pass him by and ignore him, continuing to Luka. Adrien's smile dissolving into tears as she did so. No! Why would he imagine such a thing? He asked himself. That idea was too daunting for him and literally made him feel sick. So he forced himself to imagine something different. Something better. This time he would be the happy groom and Ladybug his beautiful bride. In a beautiful dress with her face hidden by the vail, she would walk to him, taking his hand when she arrived at the altar. Then after forcing himself to imagine the whole celebration, it would come the time to kiss the bride. He was glad he would finally lift the veil and see his lady face for the first time. His heart racing in expectation and love. Once he lifted the veil his eyes dazzled over Kagami, he smiled. In his mind Ladybug didn't need to be Kagami. She couldn't be. He had ruled that out a long time ago, but he always imagined bugaboo very similar to her, not in appearance but in personality since both were so determined and strong. Feeling the ring in his pocket he knew it was only a matter of time until his dream came true.
Marinette finally took a bite of her croissant and stared at Adrien, unsure how to proceed next. He seemed completely lost in his thoughts. It was times like this she wished she could read his mind. Why did he have to be so mysterious? She had to admit that after finding out his identity, he had opened up more, and even more during this trip. But there were still these few times she would do anything to read his mind. So many questions on her mind that only he could answer. Was the smile on his face because he was thinking of his mother? She knew his nightmare last night was about her, but were these nightmares frequent? What kind of nightmares were those exactly?
Taking courage, she began innocently trying to get her answers. "So, how did you sleep?"
Adrien blinked in surprise at her for a second. While thinking about his lady and the ring hidden in his pocket, he had forgotten Marinette was there. Her question was odd, but if there’s anyone Adrien would happily confess everything to, it was her.
"I had a nightmare, but then..." He stopped. Probably saying he dreamt of Ladybug wasn't a good thing. He still remembered his fight with Marinette about Ladybug. "...you know what? I can't remember. I just remember that it started terribly but then it became a good dream." That was the understatement of the year. His lady had showed up and hugged him. At the end she even told him a gentle I love you before they ended with a huge passionate kiss. Closing his eyes he could swear he could still feel her soft lips on his. Of all the dreams he had of his lady, that was the most special and the one that felt most real. It was almost as if she was really there with him.
"You miss your mom, hum?" She tried to be more direct.
Adrien coughed almost letting his second croissant escape his mouth. He wasn't expecting Marinette to follow up with that. This question was more personal and harder to answer. His hesitation wasn't that he didn't trust Marinette, quite the contrary. No one ever bothered to ask him that before, so he wasn't prepared. Eventually, with a painful sigh, he broke the silence and spoke. "I miss her every day. Things were different when she was around. Sometimes I dream she's back, but then... she leaves me. I beg... and beg her to stay, but it doesn't work. That's what most of my nightmares revolve around, losing someone I love. She was brave and strong like you... or Ladybug."
Adrien bit his lip realizing he had dropped the L word. Marinette didn't seem as upset as he imagined. Even more surprising, was that she held his hand and gave him an emotional smile. He gave an emotional look back. He had never told that to anyone else. With their hands intertwined he knew he could trust Marinette with everything. It was strange, he didn't have this with anyone else, not even with Ladybug, yet it felt right.
Their eyes slowly caught each other's. Her bluebell eyes completely immersing the sunshine boy in them. She got lost in his forest green eyes with no will to be found. They were drawn to each other. Their lips begging for touch. Adrien leaned closer and closer but he just couldn't do it.
He will soon be an engaged man. He also couldn't play with Marinette like that, not again. His only way out of this was to clumsy fall to the floor.
Marinette didn't realize he fell on purpose, and giggled at him. Adrien, with a Chat grin and quick recovery, got up excited.
"I almost forgot your gift." He ran to get her present. Marinette continued laughing as he frantically searched for her gift.
Suddenly he found it and almost scared Marinette. With a broad smile he gave it excited. She smiled and opened it with delight.
"It's amazing," she said in a whisperer, unable to form any other words with so much emotion.
Adrien smiled, pleased that she liked it. "It's a very special Chinese fabric. While I was in Tibet with my father recently, I saw it and I heard him say so many good things about it that I just had to bring it for you. It's light, fresh, flexible..."
She stopped listening and immediately began appreciating, touching, and feeling the fabric. One piece was bright red just like her ladybug suit, another was completely black, and another was exactly the same green as Adrien's eyes. There were more pieces of fabric, but these were the pieces that got her attention. She could already see herself making so many clothes for kitten using that fabric. Oh! How cute it would be! Realizing Adrien was now quiet and admiring her, she flustered and told him "It's almost like a miraculous suit. It's amazing. Thank you! Thank you!!" Marinette exclaimed realizing Adrien looked shocked at her familiarity with the fabric of the miraculous suits.
"Well yeah... it reminded me of that too. How would you know?"
Marinette coughed, a babble of words escaping her. "You... Ladybug... suits... touch... me... save me... curious... like fashion..."
Adrien gave her a confused look. Usually Marinette's babble made some coercive sense in a peculiar yet adorable way. But this time despite his best efforts, he couldn't make out what she was trying to say. "Hum?? What??..."
Marinette took a breath before retrying. "Every time you or Ladybug save me, I notice how good the fabrics are. I like fashion and am curious about those things, so I just really appreciate how amazing that fabric is. That's why it was the first thing that came to my mind. The suits really are amazing just like this fabric."
Marinette relaxed. Adrien smiled. He believed her. "If you want to study the fabric more, I'd be happy to transform for you." He blushed but continued because there was one thing left. "Besides that, I'm glad you like it because I have an idea on where to use that fabric."
Adrien pulled out another gift. Marinette opened it curiously. It seemed to be framed. "A signed sketch from Gabriel Agreste?!!"
She screamed in surprise. Gabriel never signed anything or gave away sketches, so having that in her hand was impressive. The last sketch made by Gabriel had been 2 years ago and still sold for 7 million.
The interesting detail in that incredible sketch wasn't as much the dress as it was the model. Although the model in the sketch wasn't exactly like Marinette, it was similar enough to see that it had been inspired by her. With the dark hair and bluebell eyes and freckles, it was close enough to understand it wasn't a coincidence. It even had an inscription. "For whom I can only assume will be a great competitor to me someday. May your talent and work guide you in the fashion business Marinette. Signed, Gabriel Agreste."
This was made just for her by her icon. The inscription, along with the model, inspired her so much, it almost made her cry. But the dress was also very impressive, pink with a natural flow. It was gala attire all the way, and Marinette looked at every detail. With so many things, it took her a while before she noticed the pink flowers with black leaves reminiscent of the one she wore. Tears almost formed in her eyes.
"It was my idea and I helped with it some. The hardest part was convincing my father to do this, but thankfully Natalie helped me. The inscription was all his idea. He said that one day he hopes to see you with your own fashion line."
Marinette, compelled by his gifts, hugged him. He hugged back, flustering. Slowly, the feeling they had had earlier returned to their lips as they once more got hypnotized by the other.
The moment was cut short by Alya and Nino barging in and beginning to shower her with gifts and love. Marinette almost cried with happiness from so much affection. This was becoming the best day ever. It only got better because she soon began receiving calls and texts from her friends, including Chloe even though that was probably just to check up on Adrien. The best call came from her parents, which actually made Marinette cry. The second best call came from Rose and the band singing her happy birthday. Rose and the girls had already wished her happy birthday, but apparently Luka's idea sounded brilliant, so Rose joined in again to wish her a happy birthday in a totally rock-n-roll way.
The day rushed by for the bluenette with so much love and care. Before Marinette could tell, it was time to get ready for dinner. Surprisingly, or probably not, they lost power in the house right after Nino and Alya went outside. Being the good friends they were, they went to search for help... not before hinting that they might take a very long time to get it. Luckily, they also had brought candles... a lot of them. Marinette could see through their plan, but apparently Adrien didn't because he offered to go with them. Alya, already prepared for the golden boy's innocence, then reminded him that Marinette shouldn't be alone on her birthday. Adrien immediately had the idea to stay and Alya gave Marinette a thumbs up and a grin as she left.
Marinette enjoyed every moment of this amazing day up until this point... staring at the tight pink dress. She could do this! Slowly, but with her Ladybug confidence, she got ready and waited for Adrien. The dress didn't seem that bad, right? Hopefully he would like it?
Meanwhile in another room, Adrien adjusted his tux perfectly. Using this type of clothing was already embedded in him. His eyes were already trained to look for the tiniest flaws. He didn't find any. Slowly he left, only to see Marinette already waiting for him outside.
Something caught his breath. It was like after years and years of being used to wearing and seeing elite couture, he finally understood why people actually wore those clothes. She looked amazing! He was so lost that the only word able to leave his mouth was, "Wow."
Countless languages he knew, yet at that moment, he was only able to mumble small words. "You look beautiful."
A giggle escaped from Marinette's red lips, almost as red as her Ladybug suit. "You too, I meant handsome."
Both chuckled, blushing slightly. "Alya made me wear this," Marinette admitted.
"Me too," Adrien confessed. "But I am so glad she did."
As they entered the living room, they were impressed. Their eyes finally drifted from each other and onto the room, the lighted candles, the roses spread across the room, the divine smell of the food, and the romantic music playing. Apparently, Alya also brought a CD player running on batteries. Their friends really made sure everything combined into the perfect romantic setting.
Adrien immediately pulled out her chair and, bowing down in an old classic gentleman's way or also in a Chat Noir way, kissed her hand. Marinette sat and giggled at him.
They enjoyed the meal and Marinette even laughed when Adrien exampled how to eat using all the rules of etiquette. He pointed out how silly it was, and how people starving couldn't care less about those rules. He also made some puns and jokes, getting mostly eyes rolls, but occasionally getting laughs and giggles.
They ended the meal and Marinette thought it was sadly over, but then to her surprise Adrien swiftly got up and went to the CD player and choose a song. "This song is my favorite," Marinette said clearly excited.
Adrien focused his eyes on her and gave her his sexy model expression. "Mine too. Will you give me the honor of this dance, miss?"
Marinette blushed so much she was sure no makeup was able to hide it. "What? Me? No... no."
"Come on. I remember you being a great dancer."
Before she could even refuse, with a grin he pulled her close to him. Hiding her blush with her head on his chest, she couldn't see his blush either, but she could hear his heart beating. With the music on, they danced close to each other, slowly closing their eyes. In that moment, Marinette knew this was her best birthday ever. She didn't think of anything else, neither did Adrien. All that mattered was each other and the song.
Plagg, meanwhile, just munched on the leftover cheese on the table. By his side, he had Tikki, but she was hidden of course.
"Tikki come!" Plagg extended his paw to her, inviting her to dance.
"What if he sees me?" The fear in the kwami's voice was clear.
Plagg looked at Adrien and Marinette dancing. "He won't! They only have eyes for each other. It's annoyingly sweet," Plagg announced, faking disgust but secretly cheering.
Tikki flew out immediately. "What? Let me see." Her sweet little heart melted, seeing the two slowly dancing. "Ohh," Tikki squealed.
"Will you give me this dance sugar cube?" Plagg took one of the roses from decoration and gave it to Tikki.
Lucky for Tikki, she was red, otherwise Plagg would have seen her blush. "Only one dance Plagg."
"That's all I need." Tossing the rose to the other side of the room, he pulled Tikki close. Tikki rolled her eyes at him, but slowly enjoyed the dance.
Although both pairs shared the same room and song, they were too lost to even notice the other.
Hours later, Marinette and Adrien were tired of wearing those clothes and dancing. They changed back to their pajamas, but instead of changing in different rooms, they changed in the room they shared. Each facing different sides so not to see the other, but still laughing and talking while they took their clothes off.
Of course, Marinette did give a few quick glances back, but who wouldn't when the model Adrien Agreste is changing behind your back?
Adrien was respectful and didn't look while making his jokes and puns. But when Marinette had a trouble with her zipper, her hero as he put it, was there to save her. She would have thrown a pillow at him for that, if his gentle fingers on her back weren't enough to make her surrender.
Meanwhile, Alya and Nino patiently waited near the fuse box to turn on the lights and make their come back. It would work, or at least it would have to work, since Alya had a pretty high bet against Nino that soon their friends would finally get together. Nino seemed to think it would take more than dinner and a few days in the cabin to make Adrien open his eyes, but Alya had faith in the golden boy. All they had to do was wait and hope.
When they were done waiting they returned home and knew the night went surprisingly well, at least that was clear to the reporter that came to find Marinette and Adrien together snuggled up in his bed. With his covers over them and him spooning with her, having his arms around her waist, not many people would believe they weren't a couple.

Chapter Text

Alya let the two love birds sleep it off last night, but today she was going to get her answers. As soon as Adrien woke up, later than usual, and left the room, the red hair reporter burst into the room and sat near the already woken up bluenette on Adrien's bed.

"Girl so did you and Adrien hit it off last night?"

Marinette blushed as she tugged in Adrien's pillow. "It was great. Thank you for your plan yesterday!"

Alya squealed, "I knew it. Proud of you. I mean I wouldn't have sex with Adrien right away but at least you two are together."

"We didn't have sex!" Marinette threw the pillow at her friend but failed, hitting the lamp instead." We cuddled because of the cold. Without electricity, there was no heat! Someone should have thought of that!" She shouted blushing a little more.

Alya pretended to be sorry but it was clear she didn't mean it. "Oops, but hey at least it was a lucky accident. You should be thanking me."

Before Marinette could argue back, Adrien showed up with breakfast, surprised to find Alya there. The poor bluenette, suddenly feeling nauseous with the food, ran to the bathroom. He watched with pity as Marinette rushed past him. There was something going on with her, she was clearly still sick and there was also the time he caught her crying, not counting that she seemed more nervous than usual... if that was possible. If anyone would know why or what was going on, it would be Alya. Those two were best friends after all. So, since the reporter was there, he might as well ask. "Alya, do you know if something is going on with Marinette?"

Alya, taking some macaroons from the tray, looked at him confused. "Why would it be? Her stomach is probably still kind of fragile from her stomach bug."

Adrien sighed. "It's just not being sick. There is something more. She is acting weird. Can you talk to her? Just make sure she is okay. I'm worried."

As the reporter thought about it more carefully, she quickly realized Adrien was right. Marinette was a little different. So maybe a conversation with her best friend was in order. "Don't worry I will," she assured the blond, who returned it with a smile.

When Adrien was about to leave to go check on Marinette, proud he had spoken to Alya, the reporter let her journalistic side out. "Adrien, what happened between you and Marinette last night?"

Adrien froze, flustered. He looked at her. "Nothing. We danced, laughed, and had an amazing time. Then at the end, she was cold so we snuggled to keep warm. Why?"

Alya looked at the blond. Inspecting him closely, trying to see if he was telling the truth. Her eyes felt like they were truth machines trying to catch him. After an eternity and many sweat droplets dropped by a nervous Adrien, the reporter causally and less threatening started laughing. "No reason, of course, you two wouldn't... how could I even think that..."

Adrien relaxed and looked dumbfounded as Alya left. What did the red hair reporter think happened?

She wanted to go straight to talk to Marinette, but couldn't. She had to go with Nino. They had plans to go up the river and take great pictures for her blog.

Adrien stayed there in the house with the bluenette, refusing to leave her alone. She went to work on her designs and Adrien went on reading his science book at the same time. He was so distracted with particle physics that Marinette felt completely at ease to start on her designs for the baby. The material yesterday gave her so many ideas that she would have to start putting them all onto paper. Suddenly, Marinette began to feel nauseated again. She instantly went and began rubbing her belly, hoping to avoid throwing up this time. She was successful last time, but this time it didn't seem she would be.

Adrien gave her a look and, without any words left, only to return 5 minutes later with a drink in his hand. "Here," he told her comfortingly.

Marinette looked at him and at the drink confused. It matched his gorgeous green eyes, but despite how gorgeous his eyes were, a drink that green isn't exactly the best looking thing. Worse, were the little lumps clearly visible inside. If it looked funny, the smell was even able to top that. Looking at the supposed drink, she couldn't help but think if Adrien was trying to poison her. Noticing her clear skepticism, he explained, "I noticed you looked kinda pale and nauseous. So, I made this for you. My mom used to make me this as a kid when I was sick. Now I made it for you. Trust me. It looks and tastes terrible but I guarantee it works!"

The reassuring smile on his face was enough to convince her. With a quick motion, she swallowed that "drink." She had to fight the urge to regurgitate it, but then strangely, she felt a lot better. "Wow! Thanks. It's terrible but effective." Marinette chuckled.

"Yeah... my mom used to make it for me, but when she got sick, I became a master at making it. She said it was the only thing that could make her feel better."

"Thank you for the drink, and for sharing a story about your mother with me," she admitted before daring to take another sip.

"No problem. I feel that after you discovered my identity and everything since, you are the person I trust the most. I hope you feel that way too. If something was going on, you would tell me, right?"

Marinette almost choked after this. If it was the "drink" or his question she would never know. Lucky for Marinette, Alya returned all excited and showing the pics, distracting them from the conversation. Apparently, the reporter found some ladybugs along the trail and decided to take countless pictures. She even got one of a ladybug posing on her glasses, making her proud.

The rest of the day Alya spent describing their walk, making it seem like an adventure like people read in books. This story was so complete, it even included snakes, according to Alya at least, since Nino told a different story. Marinette and Adrien just chuckled at their friends and the seemingly fun adventure they had.

After dinner, everyone enjoyed their last night together. Early tomorrow, they would have to go back. That didn't upset the group, who was too caught up discussing the topic of presents. Alya had mentioned her favorite was the high-resolution camera given by Nino. And his favorite was a DJ table given to him by Alya. Hoping to get Adrien's attention, Nino asked "Dude. What's the coolest birthday present you ever got?"

Without hesitation and with a smile, the blond admitted, "It was a blue scarf given to me by my dad."

Nino changed looks with Alya before confessing, "Sorry dude, but Mari did that. It's true! My girl told me and made me promise not to tell you. But if it's your favorite, then Mari deserves the credit."

"What?" Adrien asked looking directly at the bluenette. Alya and Marinette both stayed quiet. The bluenette was too busy trying to find a place to hide, and the reporter planning on ways to kill Nino for revealing the truth about the present. Some of those ways involved said scarf. This was a secret, so it should have been Marinette to say something and not her blabbermouth of a boyfriend.

Nino already knew Alya would kill him, so he decided might as well bury himself further. "Mari saw how happy you were thinking it was from your pops, so she didn't say anything. She did that because..."

Adrien interrupted his friend, "Is it true?" He continued to look at Marinette, not even listening to Nino anymore. His face was without emotion. Marinette barely lifted her eyes to see him, but found it hard to read his expression. Was he mad? Disappointed? What was going on in his mind?

She nodded. Just before the bluenette could even lift her head to see Adrien's reaction, two arms wrapped around her. "Thank you, I should have known it was you. You are always the best. Now, it means even more to me knowing it's from you."

"You’re we-lll-comm-mee," she said flustered but relaxing in his arms.

Alya smiled but after an extremely long hug that seemed to never end, the red-headed girl decided to intervene. "Hum hum, Girl you still haven't told us what was your favorite present?"

Adrien let go of the hug blushing, and Marinette still flustered answered, "The best present I ever got was a... hum... a very amazing sketch along with some wonderful fabric. Not only was it special, but it was also from someone very dear to me. I think what I like the most is that it came from him, no one else would have given it to me, or even if they did, it wouldn't mean so much to me."

"Nice dude." Nino raised his hand and made a small pound it with Adrien. The blond didn't even register his interaction with his bro. All that was in his mind, was that his gift was her favorite. Between every present, she ever got, his was her favorite ever!

"Adrien I think Marinette deserves ano..." Before Alya finish her sentence the blond hugged the bluenette again.

"I'm so going to win our bet," Alya whispered to Nino, as Marinette and Adrien shared another hug with their eyes closed. The reporter's boyfriend smiled. He didn't care about the bet. As long as his friends were happy and he had his girlfriend with him, he was good.

After another seemingly never-ending hug, Nino, ordered by Alya, went ahead and took, better yet pulled, Adrien away from Marinette to show him the pictures they got from the entire trip. This would give the reporter the opportunity to talk to Marinette alone.

"Girl, what's wrong with you?"

"Nothing," Marinette said exasperating. "Is this about yesterday, again?"

Alya gave her best "I need answers" look. "Nope, I don't buy it. There is a scoop here and I want to know... So... Girl, just tell me. Don't lie, because you're terrible at it."

The room became silent. Alya giving Marinette her reporter look, while the bluenette struggled to figure out what to do. Facing each other, it was the nervous Marinette to break first. "I'm pre... pre..." Marinette looked deeply into Alya's eyes before continuing. The reporter skills of her friend were showing now, clearer than ever. Was this how she always got people to admit everything? Marinette didn't know, but maybe it was her weakness towards her friend's reporter skills, or maybe it was because she knew Alya would find out eventually, or maybe even because she needed someone to talk to, but she finally admitted "...pregnant."

Finally admitting to a friend, the bluenette felt a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. Sadly, Alya's reaction of immediate laughter didn't help. "Girl, you scared me. I mean good one, but seriously? You can't be pregnant by Adrien already, after one day. I mean, if it happened last night there is..."

Marinette huffed, "Nothing happened last night but sleep. I told you." The bluenette's response showed how annoyed she was that she had to repeat herself because Alya didn't believe her. "Remember me being sick all the time? Well, it's not a stomach bug. It's because I am 7 weeks pregnant."

Alya smile vanished. Her expression went blank. Marinette felt like a ghost by the way her friend stared at her. "Are you sure?" Alya asked, still refusing to believe the bluenette.

Marinette nodded, "I'm very sure."

Alya's eyes drifted to Marinette's stomach, making the bluenette uncomfortable and forcing her to hide her flat belly with her arms around it.

"Butttt... howwww... when... who... I didn't even know you had..."

Marinette was certain she had never heard Alya mumble that way, but it felt good knowing she wasn't the only person to do it sometimes. "It's very complicated. We were safe, but it just happened... Just promise me you won't tell anyone. I also beg you not to go full reporter mode on me, because I really need you as my friend."

"Of course girl. Don't worry you have my word. I'm here for you. Anything you need. When you are ready to tell me everything, I will also be here."

"Thank you, Alya."

"Oh, Marinette," the reporter whispered pulling her friend into a hug, the bluenette almost breaking in her arms during the hug. Alya, unable to control herself, began to ponder on the possible father. She wouldn't press the bluenette on it, but she could make her own assumptions. Adrien was the most likely candidate to be the father. Things seemed weird between those two for the last few weeks. Alya even suspected once that they were a couple, not that long ago. The hypothesis that Marinette and Adrien used the akumas attacks to date had been ruled out, unfortunately. Their lame excuses and showing up at the same time made Alya very certain about a possible hidden relationship, probably because of Adrien's dad. The problem was that theory didn't add up, only because Marinette still found it hard to speak to Adrien sometimes. The way the bluenette was around sunshine boy made the chances they would get that involved so fast slim. Yet, she did share Adrien's bed with him last night. But still, there was no way Marinette would sleep with Adrien and not tell her best friend about it. If that happened Alya wouldn't have to pry it out of Marinette, she would spill it out immediately. She was still the same Marinette who would call her best friend just to tell her about her dreams of that blond boy.

So Maybe Luka? No, he had a girlfriend and was happy. Luka was very respectful and would never cheat. Besides, everyone pretty much knew Luka had given up on Marinette as soon as he realized she loved Adrien more. It was sad, and according to Juleka, it had caused him many tears. But in the end, he did admit it was better than the pain of always hoping for something that wouldn't come true. He loved her, so he let her go, so that she could be happy. There might've been feelings there, but Luka was too nice to act on them and cheat on his loving girl.

Then who? Nathaniel? No, he was also happily in a relationship and his crush over Marinette had been over a long time ago. Slowly, Alya began thinking over every other guy Marinette ever mentioned, trying to make sure she had the whole list. "So, does... does the father know?" Alya asked, unable to control herself.

Marinette took a step back, shaken. "No, like I said it's complicated."

Alya quickly frowned. "It's not girl! You can't hide this forever. You need to tell him. If you want I can be there to help you, and kick his ass if he does anything stupid. Or, I can just kick him for what he did."

"Thanks, but it won't be necessary. I'll tell him soon. I promise." This time she meant it. The longer she waited, the worse it would get. And now, with her friend's support, and also Tkki's, and even Plagg's support surprisingly, she could handle telling him. She could do this.

The answer seemed to satisfy the reporter. "Fine girl. Also anything you need, just know that Aunt Alya is always here for you and the baby."

Marinette and Alya began to talk about names and other baby related issues. The bluenette even went ahead and showed the sketches she made of clothes for the baby. Alya squealed at the designs and claimed that the baby would be the most fashionable baby in the world. They continued talking until late, and Marinette began to get tired.

Next thing she remembers, was waking up in her bed with Adrien getting his things ready. He apologized for waking her up, and asked if she was going to pack. Looking at the time, and in a rush, she began packing too, not even questioning who had brought her to bed. The answer was simple, Adrien. After hearing the same stories several times, and seeing the pictures several times, he went to see how the talk went. Surprisingly, both girls were asleep. Nino took Alya and Adrien did the same, taking her bridal style.

Already at the bus, after almost missing it, Adrien looked at Marinette. According to what Alya told him, nothing was wrong. But, that still didn't stop him from worrying. "Marinette, I need to ask you. Are you really okay?"

She gulped. Now wasn't the time. She would tell him soon, but on a rusty old bus probably wasn't the best place to tell him. So, with guilt she lied. "Who me? Yeah, I'm fine. Totally, super, perfectly fine!"

Adrien was still skeptical, and added, "You were still sick on this trip. You also seemed nervous. Plus, there was the time I caught you crying. You know you can count on me, right?"

She took his hand and assured him. "I know, always."

"Always," he replied, unsure but willing to believe it for now. If Marinette and Alya both said there was nothing there, maybe it was all in his head. Maybe he should just focus on his proposal instead.

On their way home after what seemed like an eternity, Marinette spent the whole drive thinking of ways to tell him. Alya, Plagg, and Tikki were right, she had to tell him. How would he take it? She sighed and looked at him, sleeping so peacefully and occasionally mumbling, "Ladybug."

Chapter Text

A few days after the trip, it seemed Adrien was finally lucky. An akuma was terrorizing the city, so maybe it wasn't the best thing in the world, but at least it meant he would get to see his love.

He jumped across Paris, anxious to find his lady. From a rooftop, he noticed her on top of another building. She was there, but wasn't making any attacks or going after the villain like usual. Instead, she was walking from one side to the other. She seemed busier fighting her own thoughts. He paused for a second to admire her.

Marinette worried about her baby and what would happen if she got hurt. This would be the first time fighting as Ladybug since she found out she was pregnant. On one hand it was dangerous and she was scared of hurting Kitten. On the other hand, Chat wouldn't be able to fight alone. She worried what would happen if he got hurt. Losing him was terrifying. He needed Ladybug! Everyone needed the scarlet heroine! People's screams were a reminder of that.

Turning to face the battle and tightening her grip on her yoyo, this was it! She was going to fight. Wait! No! She had to protect her unborn child. Turning away and putting the yoyo back in place and tugging her arms around her belly. She couldn't do this! But she had to! Why did it have to be so hard?

With all this inner turmoil and sense of insecurity, Chat was able to surprise her by dropping in next to her. Of course his entrance was, as always, over the top. With a wide grin he told her, "Hello my love."

Ladybug gave a deep sigh, at least his presence there was reassuring, even if he was grinning even more today, and flirting more than his usually annoying hero self. "You are surprisingly excited today Kitty."

"Can't a kitty be happy to see his Bugaboo? Are you okay though? I noticed the pacing," he asked, putting his arm around her shoulders as a test.

Ignoring Chat's close touch and recognizing inside that mask was the caring Adrien, she gave him a smile and admitted "I'm fine. Don't worry."

He grinned proudly. "Okay then, let's go. What are we waiting for? The sooner we end this, the quicker we can talk. I have a surprise for you."

"Wait! Chat!" she screamed, but was already too late. She didn't even have time to stop him as he had already jumped off towards the screams and disappeared out of sight.

"Your dad is going to get himself killed, Kitten." Marinette grabbed her yoyo again and actually swung with it this time.

Once she got there, the scarlet heroine was expecting everything but what she saw. The big bad akuma was a giant baby. Both Ladybug and Chat exchanged surprised looks since they thought that, because August was now a toddler, they would be over fighting baby villains similar to Gigantitan.

Sadly, that meant there was still another uncontrollable infant in Paris. Inside, Marinette hoped that never happens to her child. She would make sure Hawkmoth was defeated before Kitten was born. That was a promise! Seeing that poor kid at the mercy of a villain made the bluenette mad and gave her the will to fight and bring him back to normal.

Still looking at that poor, akumatized baby. Marinette huffed. This was so not the akuma to make her forget her condition... unfortunately.

In hopes of reassurance perhaps, she turned her head to Chat who was singing a soft lullaby trying to calm the little boy down.

Her eyes watched in astonishment at how successful he was being. Sadly the noise of some police sirens distracted and agitated the infant that started following the sound.

"That was a great plan, Chat! I think you at least calmed that Akuma down. Who knew you could do more than meowing? "

"Thank you Bugaboo, if you want I would be happy to sing or play to you."

"Another time," she giggled. "Like you said, we have work to do." She winked at him and then swung towards the akuma, leaving a blushing cat on the street.

She went along with his flirting! Oh if it was necessary, he would gladly do anything to make her happy. "I'm going to marry that girl!" he declared before extending his staff to follow the trail of destruction back to the akuma.

Arriving there he found the victim throwing things at Ladybug and her trying to avoiding them. Suddenly, in a quick move, the child was prepared to grab the scarlet heroine. But instead, since Chat got purposely in the way, he was the one caught.

"Kitty!" his lady screamed and he answered with a relieved look. Knowing his love was safe. He would do anything to keep her safe and she saw it on his eyes.

Then everything started spinning for him as the child began treating him like a toy, tossing and turning and tugging, spinning, pulling...

Marinette was getting dizzy just seeing it, so she couldn't even imagine how Adrien must have been feeling.

For his luck, the baby quickly lost interest and let him go. He would have been thankful for that, as soon as the entire city stopped spinning around.

If it had not been for his lady, the blond would have smacked hard against the ground, with his body upside down hanging from her yoyo and very close to the pavement. He was so glad she saved him.

"Are you okay Kitty?" Ladybug asked, worried and running to his side.

Slowly and carefully she released her yoyo and he gently met the ground. He quickly got up and took on a fighting position. "I'm fine, but I think this child needs a real time out." He winked at her before using his bell, trying to recapture the Akuma's attention and distract him from his lady.

"Lucky charm!" Ladybug called out and a shovel appeared.

Marinette examined her surroundings with her special vision and the only things it came up was chat and the shovel. What was she supposed to do with that? Hit the kitty with it? How would that help? In her brain, she began trying to find a solution. She took a good look at the child, the only place possible for the Akuma was the pacifier. Slowly she began creating a plan.

The blond ran high in the skyscrapers and kept the akumatized victim busy as she prepared her plan. When he glanced at her, he would get baffled at how methodical and focused she seemed.

Ladybug threw him the shovel and wrapped around it, was her yoyo.

Screaming at him so he could hear her, she gave him instructions. "Chat use that like a pendulum to distract the child. I will also need your staff."

He nodded, throwing her his weapon and jumping across the buildings. The pendulum seemed to work perfectly. The victim was following it, completely focused on catching it.

Ladybug, meanwhile on the ground, extended his staff and almost tripped, giving herself a heart attack. "Chat, cataclysm now!" she ordered him.

The black hero complied, using his power and breaking the baby's pacifier... setting the butterfly free.

Ladybug immediately threw him his staff and he sent her the yoyo along with the shovel.

Using her yoyo she captured and cleaned the Akuma.

"Bye, Bye, Little Butterfly!" Ladybug spoke as she threw the shovel in the air and the ladybugs repaired everything.

With that, the infant returned to normal and the bluenette nervously yelled at the black hero who was still high up on a building. "Chat, catch him!"

He jumped catching the smiling boy mid-air. In a quick motion and with his staff to help, he caught the baby. Now with the child safely in his arms, the hero came back down and placed himself next to his lady.

The cameras captured them from every angle, but Marinette didn't care. Her eyes were only focused on Chat as he held the small infant in his arms. She noticed the child's green eyes, somehow making it even more endearing to her heart. Her mind couldn't help but wonder if it would be like this when Adrien holds Kitten.

Suddenly, the mother came to get her baby and thanked them deeply for saving her child. The smiling boy even seemed to say a thank you to them too. The blond hero began tickling him and making faces. The infant happily giggled but complained once his mother took him from the black hero's arms. Chat pouted and Marinette giggled at both of their expressions.

Her eyes followed the mother and the child that seemed to be waving goodbye to them, more interested in her counterpart than in her. The black hero waved back but his eyes soon diverted to his lady. Testing her once more, he put his arm around her shoulders. She blushed and looked at him endearingly. The moment their eyes met, something happen as her bluebell eyes began immersing the sunshine boy in them. She lost herself in his ever green eyes.

It felt like déjà vu for both of them, but Adrien was too busy to wonder why it felt so familiar. In his mind, this was a good sign. She must have felt it too. So, with this confidence boosted and upon hearing their miraculouses beep, he grabbed her into his arms. With his staff, he took them away, landing on a quiet, private rooftop. No more cameras or noise to bother them. Ladybug almost immediately jumped out of his arms.

"Okay Chat. What was that?" She scolded him, but not very threateningly.

"I have something I have to talk to you about."

"Okay. It's funny because I have something to tell you too."

Marinette would never tell Chat her identity, but this might be the perfect time to tell him she would have to take some time off soon. She wasn't going to tell about her pregnancy as Ladybug, so that Adrien didn't put the pieces together when she would soon enough tell him about Kitten. She still hadn't found the perfect time to tell him, but she would.

The blond meanwhile continued to look at the love of his life with the same adoring expression. Admiring her, even when with insecurity in her eyes, she was so gorgeous.

Their miraculouses beeped once more, bringing them both back to the present. She hadn't pushed him away and or even complained during the akuma. In fact, she blushed a few times and he knew she had felt the same the moment their eyes met. So now, it was time to put his plan into action. "We don't have much time so maybe it's better if we talk about everything later. Maybe on the Eiffel Tower at sunset?" He asked, hopeful.

She was about to complain, but her earrings beeped, reminding her that he was right. "Fine," she growled, upset that the timer was cutting her chance.

"Promise me you're coming." His voice begged her and his hand grabbed her arm. They stared at each other.

Another beep.

"I promise." With that, she loosen herself from his grip and jumped high and away reaching the next building by luck. It was right there that her transformation ran out.

She looked back to see if he had followed her or seen her, but he was still standing dumbfounded in the same spot she left him. From above and now better hidden, she admired him, despite being so far away. She could still see the goofy, happy smile he had. Suddenly his ring beeped again and he jumped away, towards the opposite direction. As he left, she blew him a gentle kiss.

The boy spent the whole afternoon practicing and preparing for the proposal. Unfortunately for him time seemed to rush by, but the blond convinced himself that it just meant he was closer to spending his life with his lady.

In the final minutes, and before going to transform, the blond checked once more his black coat, his lucky green tie, and his hair, to make sure he was impeccable. Everything needed to be on point, even his cologne was just the right amount. He had high hopes this might be the time of the reveal, and he wanted to look good... not just good, but his most impeccable!

In fact, everything would be fine if not for the kwami on his right shoulder bringing him down. "Adrien, are you sure about this?"

The blond huffed. "Yes. It's time let go or move forward like Kagami said."

"But there are things you don't know." Plagg said as a whisper and a side note, not thinking his owner would hear it. But, unfortunately he did.

"Things I don't know? Like what? What don't I know?"

The blond stared at his kwami, demanding answers, but Plagg just turned his back to him. "I can't say. Just trust me when I say that if you do this, you can't screw up!"

Adrien might have pressed further but he was late... and trying to get anything out of his kwami was the same as trying to get the smell of cheese out of his clothes, impossible.

"I won't! Me and My Lady are meant to be, and I believe she is starting to see it too. She blushed and winked at me. She didn't push me aside. Then there was that moment when our eyes met... it felt like magic!"

"Yeah... yeah... your plan was brilliant. See how she reacts to you and then drag her out somewhere romantic to propose. You really are a master planner." The irony in the kwami's voice quickly disappeared and was replaced with a more concerned tone. "Please, for the love of camembert, don't mess this up!"

Adrien rolled his eyes as he called on his transformation. They had already had that conversation many times before. The blond understood his kwami, who was more like a friend than anything else, was worried and trying to protect him. However, Adrien just knew and felt they were meant to be. Barely containing his excitement, he went to set everything up on the Eiffel Tower.

Meanwhile, Marinette was so entranced into making her sketches of clothes for Kitten, she didn't notice the time. Was it really that late already? It was only Tikki that saved her by reminding her of the hour. The bluenette really was lucky to have a great friend like her. Staring at the clock, it was a good thing all she had to do to get ready was say her transformation words... otherwise, she would be late and she didn't want that, especially after promising him.

Upon getting there, Ladybug was meet with the red roses and candles while soft piano notes played on Adrien's phone. The music, with the decorations, as the last beams of sunlight illuminated the city of love just below their feet, created the perfect romantic setting. At that moment, she realized this was a date. Unfortunately, before the scarlet heroine could swing away and avoid Chat, he was already there kneeling at her feet. She quickly took a step back, but he responded by moving closer.

Chat was on one knee and had a beautiful jewelry box in his hand? This had to be some crazy dream. Marinette was sure this couldn't be real until she felt his shaking hands grab hers. Nervously, he began his declaration of love.

"Ladybug, I know this seems crazy. But love is crazy and unexpected. I never imagined that I could love someone as much as I love you. You are my everything, the other half of me..."

Marinette began to blush under her suit. This was happening and he was proposing. Slowly his excitement began rubbing off on her. His loving expression along with the words she so longed to hear were like magic. It was definitely insane, but marrying Adrien was always her goal. So maybe it was all too soon, but who cared as long as they were happy? They would have each other. In her mind, she could already see their kids running around and playing. Kitten would be the oldest, and probably the wisest. They could be happily married and with kids. It was real but it sure felt like a dream.

Chapter Text

Chat continued to talk as she kept imagining their amazing future together. She daydreamed of Kitten playing with Adrien while she baked sweets for them, then he would sneak up on her and steal some fresh baked cookies. She in return, would steal a kiss from him. They would all live in a big house with Kitten, and their hamster... in her mind she already had a very well painted picture of how perfect their life would be... could be...

Wait! She realized she had to focus and hear him. This was, after all, the story they were going to tell Kitten and its siblings someday.

Chat nervously, but gently, grabbed her hands, "...nothing stops us when we're together because we balance each other out. You are the yin to my yang. You are my everything and without you, I'm nothing. There is no one I'd rather spend my life with than with you, My Lady."

Adrien smiled. Deep down, he was so nervous and scared. But at that moment, none of it mattered, because she was there... because after today, she would always be there. Taking a deep breath to calm himself, he continued, happy to see the glow in her eyes.

"All we've faced together was worth it, because it has brought us to here and now. We are ready to finally be together. The two of us can do anything, including building a life together. You're the love of my life, and I hope you'll feel the same. I know it's risky, and that it would mean we share our identities, but I believe it's time we know each other for real. In and out of the mask, no more secrets. Even if you're scared to do this, just know that I will love you... with or without it."

Adrien stopped. He was thrilled by the look in his lady's eyes... until then. She seemed as excited as he was, it was almost as if they shared the same happiness about the idea of being married. He could swear she was thinking of saying yes. But now, there was a shift in his lady's attitude. Her smile faded and her expression went blank... almost horrified. Ladybug's hands let go of his. Her well pinked face became pale white and her limbs became stiff.

It was the most painful realization ever... a reveal? Inside her mind, Marinette wanted to yell and scream and kick. She was just as crazy as he was, to consider saying yes. It was risky and dangerous, and she knew her duty to save Paris spoke louder. At the least that was the lie she began telling herself to explain why she couldn't do this. But the biggest and more heartbreaking reason was, that he didn't love her. He loved the idea of her alter-ego. That's to whom he was proposing. How could she ever forget that? The bluenette couldn't let herself get fooled and mix her daydreams with the cold, harsh reality of it. He didn't want the just-a-friend, plain Marinette to share his life with it. He wanted the amazing superhero, Ladybug. But that, was only created by the mask. Without it, Marinette wasn't like her alter ego... at all. Instead, she resembled more of a real ladybug, small and insignificant, not to mention... unnoticeable.

Despite his words, he didn't love her, even if she knew he meant every single one of them. The many times he rejected her were a painful proof that he was wrong and she was right. She couldn't let him marry an illusion. That's not what a friend would do. Full of pain, and on the verge of breaking, she rejected him. "I am sorry Chat but I can't marry you. It's not because of the boy I used to love, but it's because I'm not the girl you love."

His eyes went wide expecting her to tell him it was a joke, but when he realized it wasn't, he began to panic.

"What? Of course you are the girl I love. I even bought you this ring. You can't say that! I did all of this for you. I love you. We belong together. What more can I do to show you? Please tell me!"

He opened the box as a final plea, a pink shine immediately reflected on Ladybug's face as she admired the gorgeous ring. It was probably the nicest and prettiest thing Marinette ever saw, but that couldn't change her answer. "I'm sorry... I'm really sorry... that I can't be the girl you bought that for..." she said sobbing and lashing forward with her yoyo, leaving him crying on his knees.

The scarlet heroine ran for her life, not daring to look back, afraid he was behind her.

"LADYBUG!" She heard his loud sobbing scream echoing across the city. Her head turned back. But then, with a heavy sigh, she continued running away, picking up even more of a pace and finally releasing the tears overflowing her blue eyes.

Never in her life had she fled so fast. When she finally felt it was safe and her legs became too tired, she let go of her transformation and went to the only person capable of helping her.

On her way she bumped against someone. She didn't care who, as she just kept walking, and crying, towards Master Fu's home. He would help. He would find a way out of this mess. He would know what to do.

If she wasn't so distracted and had looked up, she would have seen the person she bumped against was Lila. She also would have noticed the resentful red head started following her. The girl still held some grudges against Marinette for throwing up all over her, and just for the bluenette's justice-driven personality. Maybe this would give her the leverage she needed.

Meanwhile, a broken Adrien kept crying, still on his knees still on that roof, letting the shadows of the night engulf him as pouring rain washed his tears away. He had cried many times before, for example when he felt alone and when he lost his mother, but never in his life had he cried this way.

Lila hid, intrigued as the teary bluenette looked around before knocking on a mysterious door. Soon, an old man opened and she entered. The Italian girl was curious to say the least. "Well, I don't know how, but I believe that you just gave me the key to my revenge, Marinette."

Inside, Master Fu listened quietly as the bluenette spoke. She explained everything, and at the end, broke into tears once more in his arms.

"Marinette, what you told me is very serious. I am disappointed you learned his identity and haven't come to me. This could be very dangerous."

"I know Master, and that's why I'm here. I don't believe I can be Ladybug anymore. I failed..." She took off her earrings and placed them in her hand, waiting for the man to take them. It hurt not even saying goodbye to Tikki, but facing her kwami one last time would just be more painful.

The old man, with an understanding smile, closed her hands. "You didn't let me finish. I'm also very sad about the way things have developed, but I can't take those. I totally understand you need to take your time, but I trusted you with the miraculous to do the right thing with them. I think you are only doing this because of you and Chat. The child is perfectly safe, that suit is practically indestructible, and any damage would disappear once you use your lucky charm, so you don't need to worry. Plenty of ladybugs have done it before... You also didn't fail because you know his identity. One way or the other, it was something always possible to happen... I can't say I'm thrilled by it, and it is risky, but that's nothing that removes your right to be Ladybug. When the time does come, where you aren't able to be a hero anymore, I believe you will give them to the right person. I have faith in you."

Marinette nodded. "Master, then how do I deal with Adrien?"

Serving a cup of tea, he began. "Everything happens in the right time. And, I believe when the time is right, the universe will give you an answer. My advice is to stay calm and, for a few moments, don't worry so much about him. It's not good for you or the baby. But he does deserve to know."

Marinette sighed. She expected a different and clearer answer. "How do I tell him that I'm pregnant after he just proposed to what he thinks is another girl? How can I destroy his world after I just broke his heart? This is a catastrophe... because if I tell him the whole truth, then he will never forgive me for keeping my identity, and Kitten, a secret... and then for even refusing his proposal." Marinette let herself curl over. "But, if I don't tell my secret, then I will forever be the second choice, the baby momma to his child. Either way, I am doomed! I should just have said yes and came clean." With that, she began to uncontrollably sob.

Master Fu began petting her on her back. "Marinette, breathe. You answered what your heart told you. Again, everything happens at the right time. I promise it will get better." He spoke to her in a soothing manner. "First, start by telling your parents. Maybe with their support, you'll feel more confident and sure how to handle this. And then, tell Adrien."

Marinette nodded and looked at her hands, finally deciding to put her earrings back on. The kwami immediately returned, and smiled upon seeing the bluenette. Master Fu also seemed pleased at her choice. "It's not the end of the world. It's not going to be easy, but if anyone is able to do it, it's you. After all, I choose my prodigies carefully."

"Thank you Master." The master let her stay there a little longer and they finished their tea in silence... and surprisingly, without any more tears. His presence, and Tikki's, were enough to reassure the bluenette.

Later, Marinette already on her way back, was asked by Tikki, who had been silent so far, but finally gathered the courage to speak, "What do you plan on doing now?"

Marinette sighed. "Move to an isolated island and live there with Kitten on nothing but fruits and coconuts." Tikki threw a skeptical look at her friend. "Okay. Maybe I was exaggerating. But, I can't tell Adrien about the baby. I know what you and Master and Plagg and Alya said, but I was right when I choose not to tell him... and none of you will change my mind this time. He was so in love with my alter ego that he proposed. Imagine the shock it would be knowing he will be a father. I can't hurt him, or myself, anymore. He doesn't need to know, and if it is up to me, he will never know... I'm doing what's best for me, for Kitten, and even for Adrien."

The kwami gave Marinette a disappointed look, but the bluenette missed it and continued, "However, Master Fu is right about telling my parents. If I won't do this with him, then I'll need their help. From now on, it's mind only on the baby, and not on Adrien. I can do this."

Tikki gave a heavy sigh. It took her, Plagg, and Alya to convince Marinette to tell the truth, but now it seemed there was no way to change her mind. Chat had really screwed things up. Oh just why did he have to do something so stupid? How was he even doing? Tikki surprisingly felt sorry, and angry, at Adrien right now.

Inside the great guardian's house, the old man prepared chamomile tea, trying to calm himself down after the events of the day. His kwami knew this amount of tea usually meant his master was a little nervous. "What do we do now Master?" asked Wayzz, flying to the old man and sitting on his shoulder.

Taking a deep breath and a sip of his tea master Fu calmly spoke, "We'll have a talk with Adrien, of course."