Marinette was giggling as she darted around the corner, away from Adrien’s outstretched arms. “You wouldn’t dare!” she shouted, sliding under the table in a, frankly, impressive and should-be-impossible move, standing as soon as she cleared the table. She ran towards the door. “Dumb dumb!” she added as she ran.
With a burst of speed, Adrien jumped over the table, placing his hand on top of it as he cleared it easily. “Come here!” he yelled. “I’ll get you for this!” The yogurt Marinette had just dumped on his head was streaming into his eyes, making it difficult to see.
With a quick turn of her head, Marinette stuck out her tongue, still running blindly down the hallway.
Adrien grinned as he ran after her, rolling his eyes at her childishness. “Marinette!”
“Whoa, dude,” he heard as he whipped by a startled figure with a red cap on.
Adrien slowed up a bit, turning to look at Nino. He grinned.
“What are you doing?” Nino yelled after him.
Adrien just turned forward again, running in Marinette’s direction with renewed vigor.
She ran down the stairs, dodging classmates as she went. He could hear her laughing as she reached the bottom and glanced back up at him.
Adrien wiped his eyes and looked at the full staircase, dismayed.
An idea struck him.
Without another thought, Adrien jumped up on the railing and, with impeccable balance, slid all the way down to the bottom, launching himself at Marinette as he reached the end of the banister.
She squealed as Adrien’s entire body slammed into hers, knocking them both to the ground.
With a triumphant grin, Adrien took his yogurt covered hands and wiped them on Marinette’s face and in her hair. “Take that!” he yelled. “Now who’s the dumb dumb?”
She was laughing the entire time he did this, protesting and weakly pushing his hands away. “Stop, stop,” she gasped, running her fingers through her hair, trying to get some of the yogurt out. “Stop! I surrender!”
Adrien sat up slowly, still smiling. “Hey, Mari,” he said casually.
She sat up, eyeing him warily as she took in her rumpled clothes and yogurt-covered hair.
“We match.” Adrien beamed.
Marinette was quiet for a moment before bursting into laughter once again. “Oh, we look dumb,” she said, standing, offering him her hand.
“Yeah.” Adrien took her hand and stood. “But we look dumb together.”
She squeaked and turned red, yanking her hand out of his.
Adrien felt the familiar swoop of disappointment that always came when Marinette acted odd around him. After three years, he should have expected it, but he thought…maybe…
“What the heck,” Nino said suddenly. “What happened, dudes?”
Adrien and Marinette both whirled to face a stunned Nino and, behind him, Alya with her phone out—probably recording.
“Uh, nothing,” Adrien said casually.
“Nothing,” Nino said, his voice flat as he took in their appearance.
“Yeah,” Marinette said. “Nothing.”
“So you just ran through the halls like absolute madmen, slid down the railing while standing, like a freaking superhero, and then dumped yogurt on each other?” Nino crossed his arms and frowned.
“Alya,” Nino whined, turning to face his girlfriend.
She just cackled. “And it was awesome!”
Marinette turned to Adrien and beamed. “Hey, come here,” she said gently, reaching towards his face.
He obliged her, leaning towards her hands without a second thought.
A moment later, he regretted that decision as she grabbed his face between both hands and squished it. “What are you?” she demanded, a huge smile on her face as she obviously tried not to laugh.
“A huge disappointment,” Adrien said automatically before flushing and averting his eyes.
Marinette’s hands froze, her eyes widening as her smile fell. “What?”
Withdrawing slowly, Adrien frowned. “Sorry,” he said after a moment of awkward silence. “I meant, ‘an idiot sandwich’. That was the correct answer, right?”
She nodded slowly, her eyes not leaving his.
Adrien glanced at Nino and Alya, who seemed just as shocked as Marinette did. “What?” he asked after another moment.
“You’re not a huge disappointment, dude,” Nino said, reaching over and putting his hand on Adrien’s shoulder. “Why would you ever think that?” He frowned as his hand came into contact with some yogurt but stubbornly left his hand where it was.
Adrien shrugged. “I-I mean… my dad…”
Suddenly, Marinette was stepping towards him, wrapping her arms around his waist, holding on tightly. “Adrien,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” he said uncomfortably, wanting to lean his chin on her head but not wanting to get more yogurt on his face. “But, like, we were just having fun a minute ago, and I’d love to be having fun again instead of talking about this, so…”
“Adrien Agreste,” Marinette said, drawing back from him but not completely letting go, “you are not a huge disappointment.” She looked at him full in the face, her eyes determined. “You are a wonderful person, one of my best friends, and you have never disappointed me, or Nino, or Alya, with who you are.”
Adrien could see their friends nodding out of the corner of his eye, but he focused on Marinette, spell-bound by her intensity. “O-okay,” he stammered after a moment.
“Now.” Marinette let go of his waist and squished his face between her hands again. “What are you?”
“An idiot sandwich,” he managed to say, not sure if it was so difficult to speak because of the tears that were welling up in his eyes or because Marinette was literally squishing his face.
He chose to believe it was the latter.
“Hey!” Ladybug yelled, her hair whipping around her face as she looked for him with huge eyes.
“I’m over here!” Chat yelled back, squinting through the rainstorm, glad (not for the first time) that Ladybug wore such a bright color. He waved his hand fervently, hoping she would catch a glimpse of him.
She turned towards his voice and started running. “The akuma is in the button!” she yelled, her voice barely carrying over the sudden gust of wind. “Do your thing!”
With an almost feral grin, Chat Noir yelled, “Cataclysm!” before jumping towards the oddly shaped weather monster. Swiping his claws, he dragged his right hand across the button, breaking it and releasing the akuma into the sky.
And then Ladybug was there, saying the things she needed to say, swinging her yo-yo around, calling for a lucky charm, and…
Chat watched as the ladybugs turned the world orderly once more. He sagged in relief, catching himself on his baton, as he watched the akuma of the day turn into a human again.
He watched in a slight daze as Ladybug went over to talk to the victim. He saw her smiling gently, reaching her hand out towards him.
It looked like everything was going to be okay.
He turned to go, his ring beeping at him, before hearing a, “Chat, wait!” behind him.
“What’s up?” he asked, turning and smiling brightly at Ladybug.
She held her fist up, an uncertain look in her eye.
Chat smiled and raised his own fist. “Pound it,” they said in unison.
He stopped and cocked his head at her. “What?”
“Can we talk?” She motioned towards the nearest rooftop.
Without another word, Chat had jumped up to the roof, crouching down as Ladybug landed down next to him.
She sat slowly, crossing her legs and watching him. “Are you okay?” she asked after a moment.
He shrugged. “I didn’t really help you out there today. Kind of got blown around a bit by the storm.”
“You helped a lot!” she protested.
“And then I almost got eaten by the monster, and I tried to attack the next thing that moved, and…” He sighed and leaned on his hand. “I just feel like…” With a small smirk, Chat squished his own cheeks in between his fingers. “An idiot sandwich.”
There was a long silence.
Their miraculouses beeped simultaneously.
“My lady?” Chat asked after a moment, turning to look at her. “I only have a minute until I transform… shouldn’t I go?”
She was frozen, staring at him with her mouth hanging open.
Chat frowned. “Ladybug?”
“Hmm?” she hummed, still watching him with wide eyes.
“Are you okay?”
“Hmm,” she nodded.
“Um…” Chat glanced down at his ring.
“You are,” she whispered.
“I am what?” he asked.
“An idiot sandwich.”
Chat smiled, surprised. “What?”
“Oh!” She jumped up to her feet and stomped once before she started pacing. “You’re such an idiot! Are you serious?”
“You dare to sit there, looking sad, all upset, and then call yourself an idiot sandwich and expect me not to… Ugh!” Ladybug was almost shrieking by now as she paced furiously. “And you’re going to transform back in ten seconds, and I should let you go, except, you know, you’re Adrien, freaking Adrien Agreste, so what does it matter if you transform back now, it doesn’t matter at all—”
“I’m who?” Chat asked, his heart pounding against his chest.
“Oh, and you don’t even know what I’m talking about, which is worse, and… God, you drive me insane sometimes! Did you know that?”
With a flash of green, Chat’s suit fell away, leaving a dumbstruck Adrien in his place. “Ladybug?” he whispered.
“And look at you.” She dropped to a crouch in front of him, mirroring his position. “You look terrified. Of me.”
He nodded once before thinking better of it. “Um…”
“Adrien.” She smiled and put her hands on his cheeks. “Oh, you dumbass.”
“Hey,” he said half-heartedly.
“It’s true,” Plagg said, startling him as he flew into view. “You’re super dumb.”
“Why do people keep saying that?” he complained. “By the way, Ladybug, you’re about to transform back. Like, any second now.”
She shrugged. “Whatever.”
“What…” His mouth fell open as he gaped at her. “What…”
“What are you?” she whispered.
“An idiot sandwich,” he whispered back.
“Not a huge disappointment.” She smiled as pink flashed, leaving Marinette Dupain-Cheng in her place. “Never a huge disappointment.”
Adrien stayed frozen where he crouched, staring right into her eyes as she smiled at him. Her hands pressed into his cheeks, which was unfortunate since he could feel how warm his face was at the moment.
“Adrien?” she asked after a moment, a small smile on her face.
He shook his head slightly.
“Kitty?” she prodded him, her smile growing slightly.
“Uh,” he said.
She laughed softly. “You okay?”
“Are you?” he asked.
She nodded. “Yeah, of course.”
“Marinette,” he said, like he was testing it out. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”
“The one, the only.”
“Can you let go of my face now?”
With a laugh, Marinette stood, holding her hand out for him. “Come on,” she said. “Let’s go talk somewhere more private and also not on a roof.”
He took her hand, letting her haul him up to his feet. “Okay,” he said after a moment. “But how do we get off this roof?”
“Tikki?” Marinette asked.
“Hello, Adrien!” Tikki said, flying into view. “It’s wonderful to see you again.”
Adrien smiled at the kwami. “Hi, Tikki.”
“Can you transform me again?” Marinette asked.
Tikki shook her head. “Unfortunately, I’m still too weak to do that. You’re going to have to find another way down, since you don’t have any cookies with you.”
“Or cheese,” Plagg added, shooting Adrien a dirty look.
Adrien rolled his eyes and glanced around. “Maybe there’s a fire escape.”
“We’ll figure it out,” Marinette said, slipping her hand into his and squeezing. “Together.”
He felt his face turn red again but, working through his sudden, intense embarrassment, he nodded. “Yeah. Together.”
“Ugh,” Plagg whispered to Tikki. “Teenage love.”
“So is anyone willing to talk about what happened yesterday?” Alya asked. She was tapping her foot impatiently against Nino’s chair, her arms crossed as she stared down Adrien and Marinette with her patented reporter glare.
“Um…” Adrien glanced at Marinette. “What about what happened yesterday?”
“The yogurt, dude,” Nino said helpfully.
“Oh,” Adrien said, trying not to smile. “The yogurt.”
“Adrien said something dumb so I dumped my yogurt on him,” Marinette said, a blank expression on her face. “And then he chased me and got some of that yogurt on me. The end.”
Alya rolled her eyes. “Yeah, okay. Sure. That does actually sound like something you would do.”
Marinette just shrugged.
“You two good?” Nino asked. “No hard feelings?”
Adrien caught Marinette’s eye and smiled. “No hard feelings.”
Marinette bit back a smile. “Well…”
Alya leaned forward in her chair. “Well?”
Adrien raised his eyebrows.
“It turns out this guy?” Marinette stuck her thumb in Adrien’s direction. “He tells the most awful jokes.”
“Oh, I know,” Nino interjected.
“Hey,” Adrien said, frowning.
“And he has the worst sense of timing,” Marinette continued. “And he says dumb stuff all the time. Oh! And he has awful taste in cheese.”
Adrien leaned back and pouted. He couldn’t even defend himself against the cheese thing! He heard something (Plagg!) quietly snickering inside his front pocket.
“But…” Marinette smiled at him, her huge, wide smile that he almost never got to see from her, “he has great taste in women.”
“Uh…” Alya interrupted. “He what?”
“Oh, yeah,” Adrien said. He smirked and took Marinette’s hand. “Mari and I are dating now.”
“You WHAT?” Alya shrieked.
Adrien looked at Marinette and laughed. “Worth it,” they said in unison.
“Pound it,” Plagg whispered.
Marinette winked at Adrien’s shirt pocket.