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It started with a harmless comment about Nino’s ability to lose his cool with just a simple “look.” Alya was teasing him about it from the couch where she and Marinette lounged as the boys searched the Dupain-Cheng kitchen for snacks. It was pretty normal behavior for his two friends, but Adrien perked up at the call of a priceless opportunity—just as Marinette giggled and said Adrien was the same way.

“Fight me.”

They were magic words, really. Even though Adrien didn’t specify who he was challenging, Marinette’s head whipped around, her eyes finding his while simultaneously narrowing into a scowl.

“Excuse me?” The words dripped off her tongue, languid and dangerous. Adrien smirked.

“Fight. Me.”

Alya sighed from one end of the couch and stretched her legs out into Marinette’s spot as the girl jumped up. He’s pretty sure he heard some grumbles of “crazy superheros” from the blogger, but he chose to ignore them. The challenge took precedence.

Marinette stalked over to him and slapped her hands down on the kitchen counter. They leaned in together, and Adrien took some hidden pleasure in the way she hiked herself up at the last moment to match him better in height.

“Bring it, Agreste.”

In his peripherals Nino was scooting his way out of the kitchen area, and Marinette’s fingers were inching towards his. On purpose or not, he knew how much she loved the flirts and attention he gave her. He had this in the bag.

“Gladly, princess. First one to get flustered loses. No touches, just looks.” He wiggled his eyebrows at her and she rolled her eyes. “Ladies first.”

There was at least half a foot between them, but Marinette started leaning in the second the words left his mouth like they were the shotgun starting the race. Her head titled as if preparing for a kiss, but stopped just far enough away that he would have to make an effort to meet. Yet it was close enough to smell her perfume and get a good look at her eyes, which were staring up at him. Nothing new. Marinette was always beautiful and enticing and kissable…and his fingers flexed as he struggled to hold his composure. He was a sucker for his lady, but also stubborn when it came to contests.

Marinette’s eyes continued to search his, looking for that weakness, and then they moved down when she must have found none. It was a long, slow journey for her as she checked him out fully and then locked onto his lips. Blank face, Adrien reminded himself. Don’t let your love struck dopiness show.

And he must have succeeded because she finally pulled away with a huff, crease appearing between her eyes as she scowled. “Usually that’s all it takes,” she muttered.

He let himself relax for a moment before shooting her a smirk.

“My turn.”

Sliding forward, Adrien pulled himself flush against the counter and closer to Marinette. He kept out of kiss-temping range instead choosing to linger. One of her eyebrows hiked up, unimpressed, but he ignored that. First, he admired her freckles. They were a light brown and sprinkled in a small, perfect amount across her nose—her sweet, round nose. The pink of her lips was the only shade of rose he ever cared to buy. Delicate ears, silk hair, pretty skin. He let his love for her ooze out of him, and then he finally looked her in the eye.

In those beautiful, blue gems Adrien saw victory. If a year of dating (and years before of friendship) had taught him anything, it’s that Marinette practically melted when he went sappy on her. Years of Chat Noir flirtations had gotten her more used to the silly, suave part of him. He could see that little give away in her eyes, but Marinette was also stubborn like him. The rest of her face was blank.

So, Adrien moved closer and put them nose to nose. Pursing his lips, he sucked in air and let out a loud raspberry.

Marinette jerked back, shocked, and then burst into laughter. “You cheater!” she cried.

“Never touched you, bugaboo. I win.” He beckoned her closer with his index finger and cupped her face to pepper kisses across her cheeks.

Alya made a gagging noise from the couch. “Get a room!”