“Hey, uh, Max…”
“You wanted to tell me something?” He looked up from his computer. She assumed that it was just coding Markov because Markov was plugged in.
“Yeah. I'm aromantic. Just thought you should know.” She didn't quite hold her breath, but she thought what if what if what if.
“I don't know what that is, but I will research it after…” He tapped a few keys and saved the code or whatever. “...this. I'll text you later, after. I don't think you want to watch me do research.”
“Alright, dude. Talk to you later.” Alix waved as she left.
Max called her.
"So I presume you're done with your research?" she said as she answered.
"Um. Yeah. But what if I told you me too?" His voice was shaky over the line.
"It wouldn't be a big deal, because the two of us are friends and if I caused you to sort out some of your shit then maybe that's a good thing."
"I'm afraid of what this means for me. Like just what it means."
"It's lonely. I won't lie to you there. But you have Markov. You have me. You have your mother. You have Kim. You have our class."
"I know, but all of them...for a while I thought I was interested in Kim. Rose was explaining to me and I was kind of like it made sense, but it was still wrong. So in a way, now I know why that rubbed me the wrong way.”
“Well, Kim’s dating Ondine right now, anyways. Don’t know why she’d try to set you guys up.”
“I also stumbled upon an interesting term - queerplatonic relationship. While I got several definitions, all of them were different. Could you help me?”
“Well, a queerplatonic relationship’s definition depends on the people within it - their boundaries, their ways. However, in general, it’s a platonic relationship that takes on some of the characteristics of a committed romantic relationship, but with no romantic feelings involved. I guess the best analogy would be friend-dating.”
“Oh! That makes so much more sense now.”
She smiled. “Glad I could help. Now, it’s almost midnight, so both of us should probably be sleeping.”
“Good night, Alix. Thank you.”
“Night, Max. You’re welcome.” The phone beeped to announce that the call had ended.
“Fuck,” Alix proclaimed to the wall. “Fuck.”
She did sleep. The next morning, she got up.
It was Saturday. No school, so she texted Max.
Alix: hey wanna hang?
nerd: Sure. Kim has swimming today, so I don’t have any plans. Is Markov good?
Alix: markov’s always fine
The two of them were hanging out when the akuma attacked.
“Heart Hunter? An akuma that eats people’s love? Guess we’re safe then,” she said, chuckling.
“Well, it got someone else who wasn’t in love with any particular person,” Max said, adjusting his glasses. That was a nervous tic.
“I’m fine.” Markov hovered almost worryingly over him, though, and if the robot was concerned then maybe there was some reason to worry.
“Is this about what we talked about yesterday?” she asked.
“I was updated on your discussions yesterday,” Markov announced. “The word aromantic has been added to my dictionary, as well as the terms queerplatonic and quasiplatonic. Thank you for increasing my vocabulary!”
“No problem, Markov,” Alix said. “But can you give us a bit of space for a couple minutes?”
“It’s not a problem, Alix!” the robot answered. Markov flew over to the corner.
“Hey, Max, it’s okay. I know, I almost had a breakdown when I first realized it too.”
“Can...can you be my queerplatonic partner?”
Alix was taken aback. “What?”
“I don’t want to repeat it.”
“No, not that kind of what - just a processing kind of what.”
The two of them sat in silence for a moment or two.
“Okay, sure. Do you want to tell everyone else and go through the explanations, say that we’re dating, keep it on the down-low…?”
“Just keep it down for now, I guess. We can talk about boundaries later. Markov, you can come back now,” Max said.
Alix stood up, but wobbled a bit because she had forgotten to take off her rollerblades.
“Where are you going?”
“Back home. Aren’t you supposed to be with your mom?”
“She is right, Max. You and your mother are unboxing her space suit soon. She would be sad if you were missing,” Markov declared.
Alix skated off, not hearing what came next.
Alix knew almost nothing about Heart Hunter. Alya wasn’t out there (surprisingly) at first, but Alix was there to see Ladybug, Chat Noir, and Ryuuko brought back for the fighting.
And then the akuma disappears. And then something really weird happens. Alix didn’t really remember much from that.
But after the Miracle Queen catastrophe that they didn’t really remember, they made plans to get ice cream on Wednesday afternoon.
Chloe wasn’t there, and neither was Lila, but one of Adrien and Marinette’s friends was there - Kagami - and so was Juleka’s brother. Lila was invited, Chloe definitely wasn’t.
Kim, surprisingly, isn’t there either. He texted the groupchat apologetically first, though, instead of just ditching. He apparently had a date with Ondine planned, and he didn’t want to abandon her for a more last-minute outing.
“See,” Alix said to Max when he showed up, “this is why you can’t always trust people in relationships.” They both laughed, because the majority of the class was - and even they were, too.
Alix was the first to arrive at the stand on her rollerblades. She waited for the rest of the class to get there, though, before she lined up.
Her and Max received their ice cream first.
“Though your love may not be romantic, it is still true. So raspberry and chocolate, odd but just for you!” Andre served their ice creams with gusto, portraying his enthusiasm as he scooped the ice cream.
The two of them exchanged a look. Alix was still a bit confused, so Max took the ice cream.
“I can always tell when there is love. And sometimes, friendship can be even stronger than romance.”
“Thank you!” she said, dropping payment in the tip jar, because Andre refused to accept payment from couples but did take tips so he could keep the cart running.
Alix skated a little slower to keep up with Max.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked.
“I was a little...taken aback. All the previous times I’ve been here I’ve been given plain vanilla, because there is no love in my life. I don’t know if I would classify our relationship as platonic love yet, but maybe he’s right.”
“Everyone has so much faith in his abilities. I think he can be wrong sometimes, but I don’t have proof for that,” he said.
“Oh, that’s easy,” Kagami said, clipped in her tone. “I’m not sure what happened, but on Saturday, Adrien, Marinette, and I went to go get ice cream from him. He proposed different combinations for each individual pairing, but the moment that Marinette proposed all three flavors together, he said it was impossible. I kind of understand, because orange and mint don’t exactly work together well. In fact, Adrien and Marinette said they were coming - perhaps I will wait for them.”
“If you’re going to wait, then perhaps I will, too,” Luka said. “I need to practice my song for Marinette anyways…”
Alix sighed. People in love were ridiculous. But the four of them went to go sit by the river. By then, a few more of their class had gotten their ice creams.
Alya and Nino already sat at the bank of the Seine. They sat a few feet away on one side. Kagami picked one side, looking down at the river. Luka went further down, as Juleka and Rose sat between Alya and Nino and them.
“Oh, when did that happen, Max?” Rose said, gushing.
“Whatever you’re about to assume, don’t do it, Rose,” Alix warned. “It’s not what you think it is. We can explain later, but it isn’t what you think.”
Ivan and Mylène sat on the opposite side.
The scene was peaceful. It was nice.
And they were all together, no chaos for now.