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Dear Valentine

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Marinette's elementary class was excited to find out how close Valentine's Day was. Their teacher always brought cupcakes for everyone and they got to exchange cards with each other. Most of them were store bought but the thought behind them was there. With Disney themed, SpongeBob, animals or sports, they reflected the person who was sending them. But for Marinette, they weren't special enough. She made personalized, hand-made Valentine's. For Nino, it was always music or turtle themed and sometimes both. Her best friend Alya liked superheroes and foxes. Nathanael's was more artsy looking, Rose had lots of pink and frilly things, Juleka was black and purple and simple. Max liked video games and Kim and Alix were sports junkies. Ivan had hard rock music with guitars, drums and skull and cross bones. Mylene was all about rainbows and sunshine. Sabrina liked butterflies and flowers and Chloe had diamonds and pretty dresses and tiaras. But for Adrien, his was black cats chasing ladybugs. He had a thing for black cats and Marinette liked ladybugs and she really liked the blonde haired, green eyed boy. She would spend days making them for her friends and her crush and the smiles on their faces when they got theirs made her hard work worth it. She had given everyone their cards except for Adrien, he always got his last. He never understood why. Did she not like him enough to give it to him sooner? And she seemed to act so shy with him and not with Nino, Nathanael or the other boys in their class. Adrien saw her approach his seat, looking pretty in her red and pink heart dress. He smiled at her and he had his card ready.
"Hi Mari! Happy Valentine's Day," Adrien beamed happily giving her his card.
Marinette shyly took it.
"Hi Adrien. Happy Valentine's Day," she said quietly giving him her card.
Before Adrien would say anything else, she walked away quickly. His shoulders fell slightly but perked up a bit when a cupcake was placed in front of him. After thanking his teacher, he looked at his card. It was a ladybug on the front, drawn pretty well for an elementary school girl. He opened it and saw a black cat looking up at a flying ladybug. She wrote a message on the other side and it always started with the words, "Dear Valentine." Adrien always thought she was just being nice and friendly with that greeting but for some reason, he blushed every time he read it.

Many years had passed and the class grew older. Now in middle school, Valentine's Day was once again upon them. While they don't get cupcakes in class anymore, they still gave each other cards and they always looked forward to Marinette's personal ones. Marinette's drawing talent grew over the years so her cards became extra special given how artistic and detailed they were. Marinette kept the same themes she did for her friends but updated them accordingly. Nino's still had a musical flare but it reflected his desires to be a DJ. Alya still liked heroes and foxes so Marinette drew her as a fox themed superhero. Adrien still got black cats and ladybugs but she also added elements from his piano, fencing and Chinese lessons his father forced him to do. There was a dance happening the weekend before the holiday and everyone was snatching up dates left and right. Alya and Nino were going together and Marinette wished Adrien would ask her but Chloé got to him first. Adrien was too polite to say no, even though she knew he wanted to. Nathanael asked her instead and not wanting to stay home alone she agreed. She made her dress as well as Alya's and the two girls were getting ready.
"So, when do you plan to tell Adrien about your crush on him," she asked with a smug grin.
Marinette flinched and acted flustered.
"I don't know. I was kind of hoping he'd figure it out for himself," she answered sheepishly.
"Mari, the boy is too dense. You gotta be direct with him."
"You know how nervous I get trying to talk to him," Marinette whined.
"Then at least try to get one dance with him. I'll get Nino to help me get him away from Chloé and then you swoop in and bam," grinned Alya.
"Bam? What happens after the bam?"
"The boy becomes so smitten he asks you to be his girlfriend!"
While Marinette wasn't so sure about that, she remained hopeful. At the dance, Alya wasted no time in separating Chloé from Adrien and just in time for a slow song. Marinette fiddled with her pink cocktail dress and saw that Adrien was standing by the punch bowl. Adrien just happened to look up and see her. He had planned on asking her but Chloé got in his way and he was too afraid of what would happened if he said no. But, she was alone and so was he finally. Adrien approached her cautiously.
"Hi, Marinette."
"Oh, h-hi A-Adrien," she stammered out and blushed.
"Would you like to dance," he asked nervously and holding out his hand.
"Y-yes, I'd love to," she smiled sweetly.
They made their way to the dance floor. Adrien held her hand and placed his other on her waist. Despite feeling shy, Marientte kept her blue eyes locked on his green ones. Something about them struck Adrien. He never realized how blue they were and if it was possible to get lost in them, he was perfectly okay with it. She gave him a sweet smile and that cause his heart to skip. The song ended too soon and Marientte noticed Chloé was heading their way. She turned back to Adrien once more and pulled something out of a hidden pocket in her dress. Adrien saw the black envelope and green paw print and knew that this was his special, hand made Valentine card.
"I wanted you to get this first before the actual day. You can wait to read it until then, I just wanted to be sure you had it."
Marinette walked away before he got a word in. He looked down at his card and his heart exploded at the thought that she had just given him his card first. Before anyone else got theirs. After the dance, he went home and opened the card immediately. This time she drew him as a black cat themed hero. His blonde hair was more wild and black cat ears were erect on his head. A black mask covered part of his face and his green eyes resembled cat eyes. A black cat suit covered his body that was standing in a heroic pose with his gloved hands ready and claws out. She drew him with a cocky smirk, as if he was confident that he was going to win. He was flattered that she drew him like that and made it a point to ask her if she could draw him like that every year. He looked over at the message and it was addressed to him the same way every time.
"Dear Valentine."

More years went by and everyone was in university. Nino was studying music and business. Alya was journalism and web design. Adrien in physics and Marinette in fashion and design. The four of them still hung out together and Nino and Alya were dating which lead to Adrien and Marinette as the third and fourth wheels. Marinette still had a crush on the model but she never told him and Adrien kept his growing feelings a secret as well. He just thought she saw him as a friend and he was fine with it, at least that's what he kept telling himself whenever he saw other guys try to flirt with her and when she went on dates with other guys. Thankfully for Adrien, they never went on more than two dates and she would say that they just didn't click. Both Alya and Nino knew it was because they weren't Adrien. Valentine's Day was approaching and Marinette was preparing her special hand made cards for them. She only made them for the three of them this time around and they cherished them. Alya kept her's in a special scrap book since they were little. Nino kept a few of them and Adrien also kept all of his. He especially liked the ones she made with him as a superhero, whom she named Chat Noir. He even had her commissioned to make it a Halloween costume one year. She even made herself a costume, calling herself Ladybug. The flirting and banter between them was making their friends want to force the two of them to confess how they felt about each other. It was a few days before Valentine's Day and Nino was over at Adrien's place when he saw a small box on the blonde's desk. After opening it, he saw Adrien's Valentine cards from Marinette since they were kids and up till now. Nino opened one and saw how she addressed it. Then, Nino realized something that he was sure his best friend didn't.
"Yo, dude. I found one of the cards Marinette gave you for Valentine's Day. I also noticed how she addressed them. 'Dear Valentine'."
"Okay, what are you getting at?"
"Do you understand the significance of such an address?" Adrien shook his head no. "When Mari started this, she said that her friends would be addressed by name. But for the people she truly loved, they would be addressed as Valentine."
Adrien's eyes went wide.
"How does she address yours," Nino asked.
Adrien knew immediately what he was getting at. He couldn't believe all this time; Marinette has been in love with him. And he didn't even know it.
"I'm an idiot," Adrien cried. "Nino, what do I do?"
"Don't worry my friend. Nino the Love Doctor is in."

It was Valentine's Day and Marinette was in her room working on an assignment. Most of her classes had canceled so she was fairly free for most of the day. Alya and Nino were making a day of it and she didn't want to bother them. Her thoughts went over to Adrien and wondered what he was up to today. Probably getting ready to romance a model he met at a shoot. She hadn't given him his card for this year because she hasn't seen him for a while. She gave Alya and Nino theirs but they told her to wait to give Adrien's on the 14th. And today was the 14th and she hadn't heard from him.
"I should just text him and find out where he is."
Just as she grabbed her phone, there was a knock on her door. Her mother popped her head in.
"Marinette, you have a visitor," she smiled.
Marinette came down stairs to find someone she didn't expect. There was Adrien in a nice black suit and a green tie. His hair styled perfectly and shiny black shoes and in his hands was something that really shocked her; a large bouquet of pink, her favorite color, roses.
"Adrien? What's all this about?"
"Dear Valentine," he said sweetly.
"What," she whispered out.
"My dear Valentine. I've been a fool for far too long. Please forgive me for not acting sooner. For not realizing what your Valentine messages really meant. So, I have a message for you. Your hair is dark as night, your pretty blue bell eyes. I don't have to wonder who you are beneath that strong disguise. Everyday we saw each other and I hoped you would be mine. Together our love could be so true. Please will you be my Valentine?"
Marinette had taken the roses from him and tried really hard not to cry at his sweet words. So, she went to put down the roses and pulled out the card she was going to give Adrien this year.
"Your hair shines like the sun, your eyes are gorgeous green. I look at you and wonder your inner most thoughts and dreams. Yes your Valentine I will be. Our love will be so true. Together for eternity my heart always belonged to you."
Adrien smiled and went in for a kiss. It was everything Marinette hoped for but sadly, had to end for a breath of air.
"So my Princess, care to join me for dinner," he said with a grin.
"I'm not properly dressed," Marinette teased back.
"Would you like me to help," he asked in a husky tone.
"Not this time. I'll be ready in a few minutes."
Marinette pecked his lips and raced back upstairs to get ready. Adrien took the card and looked at it. It was a drawing of him as Chat Noir and her as Ladybug looking like they were ready to kiss. He looked over at the message and as usual, addressed to him with "Dear Valentine". Seemed she wanted to use this as the moment she made her feelings more clearer. He was glad he found out first. Marinette cleared her throat and when Adrien looked up, he gasped. She wore a simple red dress with a sweetheart neckline, capped sleeves and pencil skirt. Black heels adorned her feet and her hair was done in a bun. Bright red lips stood out on her soft creamy white skin and it made Adrien want to kiss it off.
"Ready to go," she asked.
"Absolutely my Lady," he smiled offering his arm.