Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by frostedpuffs

Part 9 of 21

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Empty sheets and a chilly pillow met Marinette's fingers as she ran them across her mattress. The feeling of warmth she'd cherished so much upon waking had faded, leaving a vacant tangle of blankets instead of a lithe body lying next to her. Disappointed, the designer lifted her head from the comfort of her pillows, squinting open her eyes at the harsh sunlight that seeped in through her skylight and bathed her bed in a shimmering yellow glow. As she surveyed the unoccupied spot Chat Noir had filled the night before, a low sigh caused her shoulders to droop. He was gone. Had he said goodbye? She couldn't remember.

How badly she missed the gentle prick of his claws against her spine made Marinette blush. Sleeping next to him had become a comfort that she embarrassingly desired nightly, and it had only happened twice.

By how cool the abandoned sheets felt, Marinette could tell he hadn't left recently. The cat must have made his leave at sunrise. If he'd said goodbye, the memory slipped her mind. Sighing, she buried her face within her pink comforter, eyes fluttering opened and closed. The blankets still smelled like him.

No matter how tempting it was to stay in bed all day, Marinette knew she had to get up eventually. Her parents expected her down in the bakery to help frost a rather large cupcake order a client had requested for some sort of event. At least she didn't mind frosting cupcakes too much; sometimes it could even be fun. If she was careful, every now and then Marinette would allow herself to sneak a taste. Her Papa made the best buttercream.

With a large yawn, the teen stretched her arms before climbing out of bed, untangling the knots in her hair with her fingers before throwing some clean clothes on and going for a brush. As she gazed in the mirror at her vanity, Marinette nearly grimaced; she'd certainly seen better days in her appearance. Wearing mascara to bed always left blacks marks under the eyes.

Fixing herself didn't take too long. Just as she was about to saunter on down to the bakery, a slip of paper on her desk caught her eye. Confused, Marinette cocked her head and approached the desk, eyebrows raised in curiosity. Hadn't she and Chat put away all of the scattered papers the night before?

Upon closer inspection, Marinette's eyes widened as they scanned over the surprisingly neat handwriting that graced the paper. It was a note from Chat Noir. The burning in her cheeks made Marinette glance away before she could read it entirely. Chat Noir had been making her experience a whole lot of blushing lately and she wasn't too pleased with the fact that someone other than Adrien could turn her cheeks so positively red.

The only way she knew without a doubt that Chat Noir had written the note was the cat doodle near the bottom of the page. At least Marinette learned something new about her elusive partner from his note: drawing definitely wasn't on his list of talents.

She let out a soft breath before lifting her gaze to read over the note and not get flustered over his beautiful handwriting. Chat Noir should not be allowed to write that pretty. Chat Noir's personality did not fit his handwriting! The cat wrote perfect cursive like some romantic god!

Before she became completely enthralled by his penmanship, Marinette read over the note quickly, eyes frantically scanning the paper. She didn't want to look at it longer than needed. Red cheeks were all too common around boys with blond hair and green eyes.

"I'll see you again soon, princess. Sooner than you realize."

What could that even mean?

'Sooner than you realize.' Well, that's not creepy at all.

Scoffing aloud, Marinette shoved the note within her desk drawer and sighed, deciding to head down to the bakery before she could delve on the mysteries of Paris' famous black cat any longer. That boy was too hard to figure out and she didn't want to spend her day getting a headache over her partner whom she did not have feelings for.

Deny. Deny. Deny. It's the only way.

Downstairs, she gave her mother and father a kiss on the cheek before slipping on her signature pink apron and getting to work in the bakery kitchen. She'd ditched the black jacket for today; no use having it get stained from buttercream.

Marinette grinned fondly as the memory of her Papa teaching her to frost cupcakes at the age of six came to mind. She'd been too short to peer over the counter, so on top of it she sat, a piping bag in her tiny hands as she messily coated mini cupcakes in excessive amounts of buttercream. That was how she liked it; little Marinette was a sucker for sweets. Big Marinette was all the same.

Since then she'd picked it up naturally and was as good (if not better) than her father's decorative skills. Yes, Tom Dupain was the baker, but Marinette Dupain-Cheng was the bakery's best decorator. Nobody could frost cupcakes as neatly and quickly as she could. She'd even embroidered a cupcake on her apron just for the title of "cupcake master", given to her by none other than Papa himself.

This particular client had ordered one-hundred of three different types of cupcakes each, leaving Marinette with plenty of piping bags and bowls full of three different flavors of buttercream to work with. It wouldn't take her too long, but help would surely be appreciated although it was nowhere to be found. With her father baking the second batches and her mother working the front counter, Marinette was left to frost and decorate the first two dozens of red velvet by herself. Stuffing the piping bag full of cream cheese frosting (her favorite), she began over the first batch by moving her hand in quick circular motions, earning the perfect swirl atop the delicious treat. One down, twenty-three to go. For now.

Three-hundred cupcakes are a lot of cupcakes.

She had barely finished the first dozen before two more batches of cupcakes were done in the oven, ready to be cooled and frosted. A soft sigh passed Marinette's lips as she gave her a father a wide grin full of confidence. He'd slipped in for just a moment to place the recently cooled trays of two more dozen cupcakes upon the counter before kissing his daughter on the cheek and heading out to bake some more.

It was a busy day for everyone at the bakery. Customers up front, orders in the back, frosting at the decorating table. Marinette hadn't even acknowledged the familiar warm voice that came with the chime of the shop bell before it was speaking directly to her.

"You look busy."

Snapping her head up, Marinette squeezed a little too hard on the piping bag in surprise, causing vanilla frosting to drown an innocent cupcake. Adrien. Adrien had arrived early. Again.

Not that she minded, but... Frosting cupcakes and entertaining her guest at the same time would be slightly difficult. The thought of Adrien watching her frost and decorate cupcakes didn't seem like it'd be the most exciting thing to happen to him all week.

"Y-Yeah," Marinette sighed, swallowing the nerves and fighting to still her shaking hands. She'd had full conversations with Adrien before and yet the nervousness occasionally lingered for some reason unknown. "Pretty busy. Big order today, it's… It's a lot of work."

Adrien leaned over the counter, watching as the strawberry cupcake suffocated underneath the mass of buttercream. "I think you killed one of them."

A tiny snort came from Marinette's nose as she gazed at the unfortunate cupcake. "That was your fault."

"Mine?" Grinning, Adrien shifted his eyes from the treat to meet hers, letting out a small laugh of surprise. "How was I responsible for the death of a cupcake?"

Marinette shrugged, the corner of her mouth tugging upwards. "You startled me."

"My apologies," The model chuckled as he glanced at the spare apron hanging on the wall. "Do you need any help?"

"...Uh," Following his gaze, Marinette blinked, mentally reminding herself to loosen her hold on the piping bag before another cupcake was murdered in cold blood. "I'd take you up on that offer, b-but… Do you know how to frost cupcakes?"

Adrien had already began tying the apron behind his back before he answered, his lips stretching into an excited smile. "I used to a long time ago. My mom liked to bake. Trust me on this."

Of course she'd trust him. Marinette had almost as much trust in Adrien as she did Chat Noir. He couldn't be that bad at frosting cupcakes.

"Okay," She said as she handed him the piping bag and placing her hands upon her hips. "Show me what you can do."

Honestly, Marinette hadn't known what to think as Adrien began piping beautiful rosettes on top of the cupcakes. They were absolutely perfect. Although he wasn't as fast as she was, he certainly had the skill to show off. She figured he'd be either awful or mediocre at frosting cupcakes, maybe even good, but certainly not have it mastered.

Was there anything that boy couldn't do?

Crossing her arms in amazement, Marinette blinked, eyebrows raised high on her forehead. "Well," She breathed once Adrien had finished four cupcakes that were so perfect she almost wanted to frame them. "You certainly know what you're doing. When was the last time you did this?"

Adrien scratched at the back of his neck as he smiled, obviously falling back into a pool of memories. His face softened and his eyes grew distant; he must have been thinking about his mother. "About three years ago. I'm by no means a professional, but-"

"We can sell these, that's what's important." Without further adue, Marinette grabbed a second bag full of chocolate buttercream for herself and grinned, feeling the weight of having to work alone slide off of her shoulders. Adrien's help would surely cut the work time down by half, if not three times. Both of them frosting at once would be beneficial.

"You know," Adrien's voice made Marinette look up from her work. "Of all the things I do, none of it is really my choice. I play piano, speak Chinese, fence, model, but it's not my passion. This, however," Another perfect rosette atop a strawberry cupcake. "I like this. It's fun."

"Maybe you can add baking to your list of talents," She suggested, shooting her crush a grin. Her cheeks reddened as he returned it with a kind smile. "Really. I could teach you."

"I wish," Sighed the model, running a hand through his sunny blond hair. "I don't think my father would want me touching sweets with a ten-foot pole, let alone making them myself."

"It can be our little secret," Marinette's eyes lit up with the possibility that she could teach none other than Adrien Agreste how to bake in private.Maybe she'd be smooth enough to come up from behind him and grab his hands to guide him while they piped drop-lines on cakes, which in turn would make Adrien turn around and kiss her from gratitude. His lips would taste like vanilla, because they would have been snacking on the deliciously sweet buttercream instead of working. She'd discover that it tasted better on his lips than it did the cupcakes when her tongue-


Oh, god, how long had she been zoned out? When had her cheeks become that red? Could cheeks burn that intensely from blushing alone?

The way Adrien was looking at her with utmost concern upon his gorgeous features made Marinette's legs turn to jelly. She gripped for her life on the piping bag until her knuckles turned white, hands trembling with the thought of taking his own and teaching him everything she knew about decorating. Her throat suddenly felt very dry as images of Adrien kissing frosting off of her nose weaved its way into her mind, replacing every coherent thought and keeping her lips sealed in a tight thin line. She didn't trust her voice at the moment.

"Marinette, the frosting."

"H-huh?" Upon looking down, Marinette realized she'd immersed yet another cupcake, this time in chocolate buttercream. Their process had certainly slowed instead of doubled. "Oh…"

"You killed another one," Adrien's amiable tone made the burning sensation in her cheeks grow intensely. "These other cupcakes had better watch out for your evil hands."

"I-it was-... I didn't mean to-... An accident-" Her voice cracked as she glanced frantically around the room, trembling fingers curling against the plastic of the bag. "I don't know what's wrong with me."

Adrien chuckled. "It's alright, I won't call the cupcake police. Your secret is safe with me."

Mon dieu, that smile could kill. Marinette felt her heartbeat running marathons in her chest as he looked at her with those summer green eyes, sunshine and grassy fields dancing within his gaze. A warmth ran down her spine and into her stomach, which sent a fit of shy little butterflies to flutter around restlessly in her chest. You're over this. You can hold a conversation with Adrien. You can talk to him.

Heat coiled its way from her face to her neck and ears as she felt Adrien's hand lay atop hers, his palm brushing her knuckles. Fuck.

"Are you alright?" His voice was so delicately soft that Marinette swore he was speaking pure silk. "You look sick."

"Fine!" She squeaked out, flashing him a bit too wide of a toothy smile. "Let's frost these cupcakes before Nino and Alya get here! Make it a race! Whoever finishes first gets to, I dunno, eat one of the extras or something…"

Her voice hadn't cracked that badly since the beginnings of puberty.

"Oh?" Adrien's eyebrow quirked as the corner of his lips tugged upward in a smirk. "I am desperate for one of these cupcakes. You're on."

By the time the three-hundred cupcakes were entirely frosted, Marinette and Adrien's cute pink aprons were covered in three different flavors of buttercream. Marinette hadn't been lucky enough to leave the battle without some scars; cream cheese frosting had settled on her cheek and a dollop of vanilla on her nose. Adrien's face was perfectly clean (as usual) yet his white overshirt had certainly felt the heat of war, stained with chocolate.

They hadn't fought like they did with the flour two weeks prior, but Adrien had apparently found it hilarious to pipe words or symbols upon her apron when she wasn't looking. Marinette had simply returned his declaration of combat before her crush left his victory flag of vanilla frosting atop the tip of her nose.

Then their eyes met. Adrien's wonderfully warm summer greens locked so intently on her own blue. He raised his arm, a hesitant hand reaching forward to hover in front of her freckled face. When his finger swiped the buttercream off of her skin and popped it into his mouth, the pink of his tongue against his skin like a tease, Marinette's legs trembled so severely that she must looked as if she was vibrating. The simple touch had set her into a fit of sizzling scarlet. Adrien Agreste should not have been looking at her as if he thought she would taste just as a good as the frosting.

He'd definitely won the extra cupcake.

"Y-y-you, uh," Marinette swallowed dryly, passing her crush one of the overly-frosted cupcakes as her cheeks tingled. "H-here."

"Oh, thanks," Adrien didn't seem to have any clue what he'd just done to her as he took the cupcake in his hands. Internally, Marinette had been set ablaze, the butterflies in her stomach withering into flaming akuma that beat their sinister wings against the walls of her insides. She wasn't sure if she was going to throw up or scream as she wiped the frosting from her cheek; maybe both?

"Yikes, my dad is going to kill me!" Adrien's worrisome tone startled the designer, causing her gaze to shift from the floor and land on her crush as he slipped off his overshirt. "If he sees that I stained this then he won't let me come over here ever again."

"I-I can wash it," Marinette cleared her throat to rid the waver in her voice. "Let me see."

With a nod, Adrien passed over the article of clothing into Marinette's hands, who grinned nervously. Don't look at his arms. Don't do it.

She did it.

Her eyes met his hands, observing every detail from his knuckles to the silver ring he always wore on his right ring finger. Travelling up his forearm, her breath hitched once her gaze made its way from his elbow upwards, where his perfectly glowing and soft skin looked more muscular than she'd noticed before. With his overshirt off and nothing besides a thin black T-shirt to cover his biceps, Marinette couldn't bring herself to look away. Those arms were mesmerizing. Maybe, if he'd let her, she could reach out and feel-

"What did we miss?"

Marinette didn't know what kind of noise came out of her mouth as she turned and met the teasing expression of Alya. Arms crossed with a quirked eyebrow, the journalist gave her best friend a smirk and her familiar tell-me-everything gaze. Nino stood behind his girlfriend, grinning stupidly at Adrien.

Of course it would look weird to be holding Adrien's overshirt and staring at his arms. Of course Nino and Alya had decided to arrive at the very moment Marinette was ogling his arms. She'd never live this down!

"How long have you two been standing there?" She squeaked out, eyes turning downcast to the floor.

"Long enough to see you two looking at each other like you're more appetizing than the cupcakes," Alya snorted, "you guys are a mess."

Emotionally or physically? Probably both.

"I know," Adrien laughed, scratching at his neck nervously. Alya hadn't spared him from experiencing burning red cheeks. "She was just taking my overshirt to wash it. We, uh… We were frosting cupcakes and things got a little out of hand."

"I can tell," Nino chuckled.

"I'll be right back," Marinette wasn't sure if anyone had heard her. Her voice had squeaked out such a quiet reply that when she slid out of the room, she feared Alya would follow her for friendly interrogation (if such a thing existed.) A sigh of relief slipped passed her lips as she went upstairs and placed Adrien's overshirt in the washer with bleach, her heart pounding forcefully against her chest. Whatever had happened between her and Adrien back there, whatever had caused her crush to act in such a way, she wanted more of it. The glow in his green eyes reminded of her something nearly odd, like a cat that had cornered a mouse and was preparing to pounce. It wasn't Adrien, but more like another blond-haired green-eyed boy she'd been thinking about a bit too much lately.

The thought made a small laugh rise from her throat. Adrien was the absolute last person that could ever be behind Chat Noir's mask. Too kind, too shy, too smart, even.


Chat Noir had shown so much kindness towards her when he helped clean her room for no other reason than the fact that she needed it. Chat Noir had been shy about apologizing for being awkward. Chat Noir knew exactly what he was doing just by looking at the physics homework and gave her correct answers.

Marinette's throat suddenly became very dry.

"Marinette!" Alya's voice rang from the other room. "We're gonna head up to your room, okay?"

"I'll be right there!" She called back, running out of the laundryroom to meet her friends. Adrien had waited for her by the stairs, his hands in his pockets and eyes soft as he looked at her. "Oh, th-thanks, Adrien."

"No problem," Adrien replied, smiling as they walked up the stairs to her bedroom.

The four settled in a circle on the hardwood floor, supplies for their project scattered about the group. Posterboard, notebooks, highlighters and pens were arranged messily with history textbooks in a skewed pile. Each project group in the class had been assigned a different country to research, and the four of them were given China. Thankfully, combined with Marinette's mother's knowledge and Adrien's ability to speak Chinese, the project wouldn't be anything near unbearable.

They'd barely cracked open their textbooks before Sabine had popped up through the trapdoor, presenting her daughter and friends with sandwiches and cookies for lunch. Marinette felt thankful for her mother's thoughtfulness; she'd forgotten to eat breakfast due to the cupcake order and her stomach begged for something to fill it.

While they ate, the four gathered notes from their textbooks to the best of their ability, which proved to be more difficult than it needed due to the constant puns flying back and forth from Adrien and Nino. Puns. Adrien likes puns.

Just as the pun war had faded, the group lapsed into a comfortable silence, but quickly Nino seemed to find entertainment in tossing chocolate chips in his girlfriend's direction and causing quite the distraction. Marinette snorted as Alya swatted him and tossed the chocolate chips right back at him. Their play seemed to have caught Adrien's attention as well, his green eyes lit up in humor as his friends tossed chocolate chips back and forth. Marinette giggled as he trailed the little bits of chocolate with his eyes. When he turned his gaze to her, Marinette grinned shyly, raising a curious eyebrow as Adrien's lips curled upward into devilish smirk that sent a shiver down her spine. If his appearance hadn't killed her already, the looks he kept giving her surely would. She watched his hand as it reached for a cookie, picking out a large chunk of chocolate that Marinette was sure he was going to eat until he tossed it in her direction. It hit her right on the tip of her nose.

"Hey!" She laughed, flicking it right back. "Nino, Alya, you're encouraging him."

"Don't blame them," Adrien said as he caught the chocolate in his hands with incredible reflexes that a person normally shouldn't be blessed with. "I'm doing this for fun."

"Don't," Marinette warned playfully as he raised his hand, preparing to throw the chunk of chocolate back at her. Her forewarning hadn't phased Adrien it seemed; he tossed it in her direction and laughed as it bounced off of her cheek, right onto his bundle of notes he'd written so neatly. With a determined smirk, Marinette went to reach for the chocolate, but froze as her eyes connected with the information her crush had written on his paper. Frozen like ice, she stared long and hard at the notebook, her fingers curling against her palm so tightly that she felt her nails press deeply into her skin. Her teeth worried at her bottom lip and her lungs stilled without the intake of oxygen.

Adrien's handwriting was eerily similar to Chat Noir's.

Almost identical.

No, that's not weird. Lots of people have similar handwriting.

She swallowed nervously and slowly slid her gaze up to meet Adrien's, who was staring at her with an expression almost as surprised as her own. Of course he'd look surprised. She'd just become frightened by his beautiful handwriting. That was something someone could think was a little surprising.

"Marinette?" His voice soothed her nerves. "Are you alright?'

"Y-yeah," She breathed, tearing her gaze away from his notes. "Sorry, it's just… You have nice handwriting. It's... Pretty."

Before she could speak another word and embarrass herself further, Marinette shoved her sandwich in her mouth and took a large bite so that she'd be chewing for a while. You're just overthinking things, she told herself, Adrien isn't Chat Noir. There's no way he could be. Adrien isn't like him. They're two entirely different people!

There was no feasible way Adrien Agreste was in any universe, shape, or form Chat Noir. None whatsoever. None!

"Marinette," Alya's voice broke Marinette from her thoughts, bringing her back to reality. "You're staring at that textbook like it just murdered your parents. What's wrong?"

"N-nothing," She whispered, her voice breathy and quiet as she flipped through the pages mindlessly. "Ah, where were we? Imperial period?"

Although Marinette was mostly spaced for the majority of the afternoon, the group had managed to get an impressive amount of progress on their project out of the way. A gentle rain had began to shower down on the city of Paris, eventually picking up into a summer storm full of wind and harsh droplets that chilled the busy streets. Rain had been almost a constant lately in the city of lights and love; daily, ominous grey clouds blotted out the summer sun and made the air feel chilly instead of pleasantly warm.

The four had retired to the couch downstairs, where Alya and Nino battled on Ultimate Mecha Strike III to see who could get the higher score. The two had been absolutely shocked to find that Adrien's name was the top on the scoreboard instead of Marinette's, which had caused the designer to become quite red in the face with the memory of how exactly that had happened.

"Adrien is a cheater," She chuckled, shooting the blond boy a grin. Adrien took a break from shoving his hand into a bag of chips to give her a thumbs up, his lips stretched into a wide smirk. "A dirty cheater."

"I won fair and square," He said once he'd swallowed his mouthful. "I swear."

"Just yesterday you admitted to cheating," Marinette crossed her arms as she narrowed her eyes, her grin widening. "What's the truth? Are you a cheater and a liar?"

"I'm neither," He shoved another handful of chips into his mouth. "You could have easily ignored it."

"How?" She ducked as a chip was thrown at her, giving Adrien a very unimpressed cock of her eyebrow. "What is it with you and throwing food?"

Alya, the ever-so protective mom friend of the group, turned her gaze to Adrien just as he flung another barbeque chip in Marinette's direction. "I'm siding with Mari on this one, Adrien. I know what you did and I totally think you cheated."

"What'd he do?" Nino's curious tone made Marinette blush from the memory. Adrien's lips pressed against her heated skin had felt like delicate rose petals upon her cheek from how gently the contact had been. And that was only the first time those scorching lips met her face. The day before in the rain was a whole another story.

"He cheated by kissing Mari on the cheek," Alya snickered, "right when she was about to win. Distracted her good."

"That's evil," Chuckled Nino as his gaze flicked to his girlfriend, who was in the lead with significantly higher XP. Marinette watched in amusement as he leaned in, his lips puckered as he prepared to plant a kiss upon Alya's cheek—yet he didn't quite make it. Before he could carry out his plan, Alya shoved him back, waving a finger in his face.

"Hey, no, that shit doesn't work on me, babe."

A grumble from Nino caused a laugh to bubble up within Marinette's throat. If only her and Adrien could share that type of affection.

Just as Alya had nearly claimed victory, the power flickered and sent the TV to turn off before it switched back on, leaving a very disappointed and frustrated journalist to gasp and cross her arms irritatedly. Marinette knew exactly how it felt to be so close to winning, only for the triumph to never meet her fingertips. She pitied her friend.

"The storm's getting pretty bad out there," Marinette's mother's voice grabbed the attention of the group as she walked into the kitchen and began sifting through the refrigerator. "I'd feel horrible to make you kids go home in weather like this. How about you all stay for dinner?"

Adrien jumped in his seat, his head whipping around so quickly that Marinette was sure he could have given himself whiplash. The way he gazed so hopefully at her mother from the mention of dinner reminded Marinette of a kitten when it hears the sound of a can opener. Ears perked, eyes wide, tail fidgeting. All he needed was Chat Noir's outfit to complete the look.

But Adrien is definitely not anything like Chat Noir.

"I'd like that," The blond replied, flashing her mother a grin. "I'd like that a lot."

"Us too," Alya said as she smiled, shooting a glance at Nino. "There's no way we can refuse your cooking, Mrs. Cheng."

Marinette giggled. "I think we'd all like that, maman."

It didn't take long for dinner to be prepared. The group had been distracted by several video games; mostly Nino and Alya playing while Marinette and Adrien watched. Both Alya and Nino had practically refused to even try playing against the champion with pigtails due to their knowledge on her amazing skills. Marinette had only smirked and rolled her eyes at the comment while Adrien laughed. He knew firsthand how skilled she happened to be at video games.

By the time Marinette's mother called them into the kitchen for some homemade pasta, the four teens dug in, chatting at the table (Marinette sitting next to Adrien!) on various subjects like school and upcoming events. Somehow in the conversation (which the subject changed faster than Marinette could get a word in) the topic of Ladybug and Chat Noir had come up. Alya gushed about the latest akuma attack and how amazing the duo had been when taking down the angered librarian. What she felt most excited about, however, was the fact that Ladybug and Chat Noir had emerged from the same building. The same exact ice cream parlor Marinette had been eating at with Adrien on their date (if that had even been considered a date.)

"Did you see anyone that looked like them?" Alya inquired, eyes glinting with a sparkle of hope as she stared at her best friend. "Anything?"

"Uh," Marinette twirled her fork within her pasta, stabbing a piece of chicken that lay on top of the spiral noodles. "Not really, no. There was one blond guy in the back but he looked like too much of an asshole to be Chat Noir."

"Marinette, watch your language," Her mother warned, raising an eyebrow.

A tinge of red appeared on Marinette's cheeks as she apologized to her mother. "I-I mean, no. Sorry, Alya."

"But that's just so weird," The journalist went on, brown eyes blown wide in confusion. "They came out of the same place you two were in and you didn't see anything?"

"To be fair, when we heard people screaming we kind of made a run for it," Adrien put in after he'd swallowed a mouthful of pasta. "Didn't really have time to look around."

"I wish I could have been there," Alya sighed, "I can't believe you two were in the same room as them. Do you think they were on a date too?"

"Probably," A grin spread across Adrien's face. "Everyone in Paris knows they've got a thing for each other."

Marinette nearly choked on her pasta. She'd forgotten that Adrien happened to be quite the Ladynoir shipper. The thought almost made her cringe. "You think so, huh?"

"Of course," The blond replied, "you can tell just by the way he looks at her. She's practically his whole world."

Marinette couldn't bring herself to reply. She made a simple snort and turned her gaze to her pasta, stuffing a piece of chicken in her mouth so that she had an excuse to keep her lips sealed. If Ladybug was Chat Noir's entire world, then Marinette had certainly taken over half of that planet and planted a flag to mark her territory.

My territory? She internally grimaced.

"What?" Adrien's tone almost seemed as if he felt… Hurt, over her soft rejection of the idea that Ladybug and Chat Noir were a "thing." Shipper boy has it bad.

"It's nothing-" Lights out. The entire room suddenly became pitch black as the howling wind buffeted the side of the bakery and rain cracked against windows. A flash of lightning illuminated the family's surprised faces before the room faded into inky black, thunder rolling in the distance. As Marinette raised a hand to her face, she realized she couldn't even see two inches in front of her.

"Power outage," Her Papa sighed, followed by the sound of a chair squeaking against the floor and heavy footsteps. "I'll get the flashlight and go find some candles."

"This storm got pretty bad," Maman chimed in, "I wonder if it's safe for you four to go home tonight."

Alya's voice came from across the table, muffled from what Marinette assumed was chicken pasta. "I think my mom would feel better if I just stayed here tonight. Is that okay?"

"You know I have no problem with Marinette's friends staying over," Said Sabine, a chair creaking as she presumably stood. "Nino? Adrien? What about you?"

Marinette blushed heavily just at the thought of Adrien staying the night in her house. The entire night. At her house. Probably in her room. She hadn't realized how badly her hands trembled until a warmth enveloped them, larger fingers curling around her own and sending a positively electric shiver up her arm and down her spine. It took her a belated moment to come to terms with the fact that it was Adrien who was sitting next to her and Adrien's hand that reassuringly stroked her own. A nervous knot formed in her throat and forced back any words she could fathom within her buzzing brain. Adrien is holding my hand. Adrien grabbed my hand. Maybe Adrien is scared. Maybe Adrien is afraid of the dark or storms.

"Hey," His voice was quiet and warm against her ear. "You're shaking. Afraid of bad weather?"

"N-n-n-" She swallowed. "N-no."

"Are you sure?" He had such a soft and reassuring tone as he gave her hand a gentle squeeze. "It's alright. Storms scare me too. I'm sure the power will come back on eventually."

Marinette nodded, but quickly fought to find words as she remembered that he couldn't see her. "Y-y-yeah, eventually."

Once her Papa returned with a flashlight and lit some candles around the kitchen, the group could finally see each other again. Faces irradiated by a dull orange glow so familiar and comforting as the storm raged on and doused Paris in stinging raindrops. Marinette felt incredibly grateful to be safely nestled inside her warm home with a group of people, and frankly, she felt glad that Adrien was there, too; sure, his house was large and definitely had the necessary protection against a brutal storm, but he would have been alone had he been back at the Agreste mansion. Spending a power outage by his lonesome in such a spacious home would have been terrifying, even for the most brave of people.

"I'll have to call Nathalie," Sighed the model as he scratched at the back of his neck. It was an adorable nervous habit Marinette had noticed not too long ago. "Hopefully she'll be understanding. I'd rather be here than at home."

"Well, you're all welcome to stay," Her mother responded in a kind and cordial tone. "We've got plenty of room."

"Y-yeah," Marinette cleared her throat to rid her voice's shakiness. "My room is big enough for all of us, I think…"

She looked up as her Papa handed her an unopened box of tiny pink candles and a flashlight, both eagerly waiting to be lit. "Marinette, how about you take some candles to your room? I don't know when the power is going to come back on."

Nodding, Marinette took the box and excused herself from the table, thankful she'd finished her meal before the lights had shut out. A benefit to being a fast eater. It became increasingly difficult to see the farther she walked from the kitchen, and as she made it up the stairs, she smacked her foot against the bottom of a step and slipped, tumbling backwards about four steps down. It wasn't a terribly high fall, but it certainly didn't feel good to have her rear smack against the floor as she landed from her flight. Slightly dizzy, Marinette groaned, her cheeks turning pink as she realized that her friends had witnessed her fantastic acrobatics.

As was Marinette's clumsiness, always rearing its ugly head in the worst of times.

Adrien had seen her fall twice now.

"Marinette?" Her mother called from the kitchen. "Are you alright?"

"Do you need someone to go with you?" Alya asked.

"I'll go," She could see a figure scooting out from his chair and pushing it back in (how polite) before approaching her and holding out a hand. Adrien, the gorgeous gentleman that he was, gave her a friendly smile as he took her hand in his own. "Stairs just aren't your friend, are they?"

A giggle rose up from Marinette's throat as she stood, noticing how Adrien hesitated for a moment before releasing his grasp on her hand. "No, they're not."

With Adrien holding the flashlight, Marinette could see where she was stepping much easier and made it up to her bedroom with ease. As she opened her trapdoor, a wave of blackness hit her like a cloak of dark wings, beating against her vision as it attempted to focus. Adrien passed her the flashlight and as she shone it into her bedroom, the dull yellow glow pierced through the cloud of black like a knife as blustery wind made the house shake. It was mostly memory that guided her throughout her room while they placed and lit candles, perching them upon her desk, vanity, and windowsills. It didn't fully illuminate the room, but it was enough to see Adrien's wonderfully warm green eyes gazing down at her with the fondest expression she'd ever seen grace his features.

"Your parents are kind to let us stay," He said in a soft voice, lighting the last candle they'd set on one of her ladder steps. "You don't mind?"

Marinette shook her head in response. "No, I've always wanted to have a big sleepover with all of you, but… When I pictured it happening, the power is on."

A quiet chuckle came from the blond boy standing next to her as his fingers brushed her knuckles. "Still shaking?"

Her cheeks became hot and it wasn't just from the flicker of candlelight. "N-no, I'm okay now."

"Good," The blond replied, stroking the back of her hand with his thumb. "That's good."

Resisting the urge to bring Marinette's hand to his lips had been a difficult task for Adrien. Any time their skin brushed it sent a spark to course through his body and shock his heart into a beating frenzy. Her delicate hands felt so soft and silky to the touch, as if her skin itself was a velvety vanilla that would surely taste as sweet as it felt. Smooth, freckled and especially pink when she blushed, he wanted to kiss every inch of her skin that he could get his lips on.

It wasn't long before Alya and Nino joined them in the dim bedroom. While the power was out, the four didn't have too much to keep them occupied; they couldn't see well enough to work on their project and with no electricity, video games, movies, and music were certainly out of the question. They settled on the floor in a circle, throwing ideas on how to entertain themselves back and forth until seeking amusement seemed futile. What do teenagers even do without power?

"Well," Alya chuckled, "the candles are perfect for a Satanic ritual if we are truly desperate."

Adrien snorted with laughter at her suggestion, his eyes crinkling shut. I guess I got my answer. "I don't think that's a good idea, Alya. I'm pretty sure Marinette doesn't want demons in her home."

"I don't," The girl in question responded with tinkling laughter in her voice. "Think of something that won't ruin my life, please."

"'Ruining your life' gives me an idea," All eyes turned to Nino as he spoke, who was staring at Adrien with the biggest, most asshole-ish smirk he could muster. "We could admit secrets to each other. Maybe something a little embarrassing that we don't want another person to know about? Or something we do want another person to know about?"

Alya snickered next to him, lips stretching into a smirk of her own. "Ooh, I like that idea, Nino. I think Marinette should go first."

"Why me?" The designer squeaked. Even in the dull light of the room, Adrien could tell she was blushing profusely. "I-I've got nothing like that to admit!"

"Sure you do!" Alya sing-songed, resting her chin on her palm as her expression turned sinister. "Surely there's something you have to tell someonein this room right?"

Nino chuckled. "And you, too, Adrien."

Adrien swallowed nervously as he glanced from Nino to Alya, who exchanged knowing looks. Looks that Adrien had learned meant they were plotting. "Wh-what's the fun in admitting something like that if we don't want anyone to know about it?"

"Fine," Alya sighed as she adjusted her glasses. "I'll go first, but Marinette has to go after me." Clearing her throat, she sat up straight and grinned, pondering for a moment before a visible light bulb appeared over her head. "Nino, did you know that I have a crush on you?"

"How coincidental!" Her boyfriend replied, pressing a hand to his chest as he feigned a surprised gasp. "I have a crush on you, too, Alya! It's almost as if we're both mutually crushing on each other without even knowing it."

Adrien shared an uncomfortable glance with Marinette. What were these two up to?

"See, now, is that so hard, Mari?" Alya said as she cupped her friend's chin in her hand. "Admitting secrets isn't hard!"

"I-I have no idea what you're talking about," Marinette replied, unable to meet her best friend's teasing eyes.

"Maybe Adrien does, hm?"

All eyes turned to him. He felt his skin crawl and burn with the heat of their gaze, his cheeks becoming embarrassingly red. "What are you getting at?"

Nino and Alya visibly deflated into annoyed scowls. All they had done was made him bashful and uncomfortable. When his eyes landed on Marinette, he could tell she felt the same.

At least they'd dropped the subject. After a brief awkward silence, the group resorted back to simple conversation that went from dwelling on the mysteries of the akuma to their favorite foods over the course of an hour and a half.

By the time the power flickered back on, they'd learned some interesting little facts about each other. Marinette's worst fear happened to be losing the ones she loved. In return, she'd learned that his was fire. 

Adrien's mind buzzed with all of the newly gained knowledge of his talented classmate. She loved summer, despised the winter (it made her too sleepy to function), enjoyed cartoons and hated sour candy. She also admitted to stealing multiple phones, and Adrien couldn't help but wonder if she'd been responsible for his missing phone earlier in the year.

Now, with the power back on and their eyesight restored, Marinette had popped in a movie and sent Alya and Nino downstairs to retrieve some popcorn, leaving Adrien to take a small stroll around her room. He'd done it plenty of times as Chat Noir, but now that Marinette wasn't supervising him like some naughty little kitten, he could walk about more freely.

After a quick call to Nathalie explaining the situation and practically begging to stay the night with Nino (yes, he'd lied—if his father knew he was staying the night at a girl's house, he'd be put in a chastity belt), his eyes landed on a sparkly pink case resting against the wooden post that held up Marinette's bed. Cocking his head in curiosity, he gave it a gentle nudge with his foot, leaning down to get a better look. "What's this?"

"Hm?" Marinette turned her head to peer at the case that had piqued his curiosity. "Oh, just a makeup kit I got for my last birthday. I've never really used it so I was planning on giving it to Alya, but-"

"Oh my god," Adrien breathed as he clicked open the clasps, lifting the top to gawk at the array of eyeshadows, mascara, and colorful eyeliners. It wasn't anything compared to the expensive top-tier makeup he wore for photoshoots, but it certainly interested him more than it should have. Excited him, even. "Let's use it."

"What?" Marinette's bubbly laughter made a grin spread across his face as his eyes met her own. "You can't be serious."

"I am completely serious. Absolutely."

As Marinette approached him, he gazed up at her with hopeful green eyes, silently begging her to comply. If it took Marinette applying makeup to his face just to get her a little closer, then so be it. He would be goddamn beautiful. "Make me pretty."

"You want me to put makeup on you?" She squeaked, eyes widening in surprise. "But you're used to professionals doing that, right?"

"...Yeah," He admitted sheepishly, "but I think it'd be fun. Besides, if you suggest it to Alya, Nino is totally going to end up with wicked winged eyeliner and honestly, I'm dying to see that."

"I guess that's true," His friend giggled as she sat next to him on the floor, running her fingers over the sparkly exterior of the kit. "She might make me put it on you too, though."

"It'll only make me cuter," He responded with a chuckle just as the other two reappeared up the steps with a bowl of popcorn in hand. "Isn't that what girls do at sleepovers? Put makeup on and look pretty? Because I want in on that."

"That's a stereotypical assumption," Marinette snorted, sharing a glance with Alya as she sat next to her.

"She's right," The redhead said, "that's not what happens. Usually Mari and I just strip down to our underwear and have pillow fights."

"Another stereotype?" Adrien asked with a grin as he popped a piece of popcorn into his mouth.

Marinette's laughter made his heart swell. So cute! "Yes, surprisingly. Actually, the last time Alya and I had a sleepover, she spent most of the night chasing Ladybug and left me here."

"I had to, girl," Alya replied in her own defense. "That villain was crazy! She was turning everybody into animals. I've never seen anything like it!"

Adrien nearly grimaced at the memory. He hadn't been on the luckier end of that battle. Shrinking down to nine inches tall and running around Paris on fuzzy black legs had done more bad than good. Crying out in tiny mewls and cries hadn't been very useful when attempting to communicate with Ladybug.

Still, he made an adorable black cat. At least the transformation came with a cute green collar with a little jingling bell and all!

"I still have some of the photos," The journalist continued, tapping on her phone before showing them to Marinette, who giggled in response.

"I remember," She said with a tiny laugh, "I saw. Actual cat Chat Noir, huh?"

"Yeah, he-" Alya turned her gaze from her phone to the open makeup case sitting in front of Adrien, who gave her a timid smile. "What were you planning to do with that?"

"Marinette was going to make me pretty," He responded in a chuckle.

"Pretty, huh? Are we giving the boys a makeover?" When Alya looked to her boyfriend, he nearly choked on his popcorn and his eyes seemed as if they were about to pop out of his head from how large they'd widened. "Please, Nino?"

"I'm not going to be able to say no, am I?" Groaned the DJ as he slapped a palm to his forehead, letting out a rather dramatic sigh of defeat. "Only for you, Alya, so long as I get to wash it off right after."

"Not before pictures," His girlfriend replied, "come here!"

When Adrien turned to look at Marinette, the shy smile that spread across her face made his heart melt. She seemed so apprehensive to touch his face with cheap makeup, but Adrien didn't mind in the slightest; he was there to stay for the night and they deserved to have a little fun after their date had been ruined the day before!

"Make me beautiful, Marinette," With a coy smile, Adrien scooted closer to the girl in pigtails, tapping his fingers on the sparkly case in invitation.

"That won't be hard," She said quietly through a giggle as she looked over the rainbow of eyeshadow. "You're already there."

The heat that spread across both their faces sent them to lapse into an awkward silence from the burning intensity of their blush. Gaze frozen on the hardwood floor, Adrien puffed out a small breath before allowing his eyes to meet Marinette's, which shifted back and forth nervously. Had she meant to say that out loud?

Probably not.

Still, it was a compliment he wouldn't soon forget.

"Well," Adrien began, letting out a light laugh. "Thank you, Marinette. I guess instead I should ask, can you make me even more beautiful?"

"I can try," Marinette squeaked, her lips twitching upwards into a tiny smile. "Wh-what do you want me to do?"

Adrien grinned. "Give me a cat-eye. Make me look fierce."

In all honesty, Adrien hadn't expected to look that good. Marinette certainly had some hidden talents in the makeup field. He'd worn eyeliner before and even professionals couldn't get the cat-eye to look as sharp and sexy as she had managed to! Alya had made a comment on how his appearance was practically sinful; the eyeliner paired with dark mascara and a smokey eye brought out the bright green of his eyes to make them appear almost as if they were glowing. To finish the look, Marinette had given him a nice red lipstick perfectly fitting for his skintone—a matte that certainly looked better than he initially thought it would. When he'd finally looked into a mirror, at first he'd laughed hard, but the longer he gazed at his reflection the more he began to admire himself. Adrien had never been one to mind wearing makeup; being a model it was something he wore regularly. This, however, filled him to the brim with confidence. He was ready to walk the runway.

Nino wasn't as captivated with his appearance as Adrien had been. Alya wasn't bad at makeup, sure, but poor Nino felt so uncomfortable with his "heavy" face that he'd immediately ran to the bathroom to wash it off before giving anyone the chance to explain that just plain water won't remove it. Adrien was stronger than that. Adrien would allow Alya to take as many pictures as she wanted.

As the hours dwindled down and the group calmed to watch a second movie on Marinette's computer, Adrien found himself sinking into the familiar comfortably plush chaise, reminded of the night before when he'd fallen asleep in that exact spot. He couldn't help but steal a glance at Marinette every now and then; his little crush just happened to be more interesting than the movie as she fiddled with stray pieces of fabric she must have pulled out earlier in the day. Her constant movement reminded him of a buzzing bug, full of energy she needed to expel. Whether she was tapping her foot or running her fingers along the smooth surface of cloth, she never stopped moving. Perhaps it was ADHD? He didn't know, but god, was it adorable.

The one thing he noticed she did more often than anything else was sneak quick peeks at her skylight. A twinge of guilt settled within Adrien's stomach as he watched her; every fifteen minutes or so he'd turn his eyes to her and she'd be gazing up at her roof with a mix of fear and hope sparkling within those beautiful blue eyes.

He knew exactly why she kept doing that. She was waiting for him. For Chat Noir.

Adrien sighed. She's afraid I'm going to come and let her secret out.

Around midnight, his eyes began to droop, and soon the scenes of the movie were jumping every time he blinked; the fight to stay awake wouldn't be won on his side. In a last attempt to rid the inevitable sleepiness, he rubbed his eyes, but froze as he instantly remembered the dark eye makeup that'd been unfortunately smudged. He gasped at the black streaks across his knuckles once he'd pulled away, his lips stretching into a tiny frown of disappointment.

"Shit," Mumbled Adrien as the group looked over. "Looks like I have a smokey face now."

A tired giggle from Marinette came from a few feet in front of him. She'd been sitting in one of her rolling chairs while the movie played and was now gazing at him with an amused yet sleepy expression on her features. "You know where the bathroom is."

Upon going downstairs, Adrien located the bathroom and washed off his face until it was clean of any sort of makeup. The feeling of relief that came afterwards only reminded of how tired he truly felt. A large yawn escaped from his body as he stretched, feeling the waves of exhaustion hit him like a truck. He knew as soon as he laid back on that chaise, he'd be out like a light.

And he was. The minute his body thumped against the comfortable furniture he'd curled up and slipped into such a deep slumber that even the fact that he was sleeping in jeans didn't bother him in the slightest.

In his sleep, images of his legs covered in black spandex tangled with the bare skin of another's made his heart pound and feet twitch. The wonderfully warm and soothing scent of vanilla mixed with lavender filled his nostrils and would have coaxed a deep purr out of his body had he been wearing a pair of cat ears and a swishing black tail. Adrien's head was a mess of thoughts; he wasn't sure what was going on and who was touching him, but the blur of black hair and the brush of pajamas draping onto his prickling skin felt so familiar that he couldn't bring himself to push the body away.

Pink lips connected with his cheek, soft and sweet. Smiling, Adrien made eye contact with the chilling icy blues that gazed at him so fondly while her mouth moved to his forehead, kissing him so gently, as if he was the only thing in the world she cared about at the moment. The shiver that ran up his body from those eyes wasn't the only thing that made his breath hitch; an audible gasp slipped out of his mouth as he felt her lips press a hesitant peck to his neck. It was a battle to keep his eyes open, but upon meeting those frosty bluebells, Adrien's heart froze within his chest. He knew those eyes.

"Ladybug," Adrien whispered, feeling a delightful twinge of excitement as his elusive partner ran a bare hand down his clothed chest.

Wait, but… A bare hand, with pale fingers and nails painted a pastel pink.

No, it wasn't Ladybug.

As the face of the delicious smell came into focus, Adrien's breath caught in his throat with the realization that the naked hand belonged to Marinette. The mouth that had kissed him so delicately had been Marinette's. The silken ebony strands that hung in his flushed face were nobody's else's but Marinette's.

"Adrien," Marinette's sweet voice tentatively whispered as she buried her face within his neck, nuzzling him. "I've wanted to tell you something for a while now..." Her scalding lips pressed a kiss to his collarbone, filling Adrien's body with a lovely heat that traveled from his cheeks to his neck and chest. "Promise me you won't laugh?"

"I p-promise," Adrien's voice cracked with a mixture of nerves and desire as he mentally prepared himself for her confession.

With a final kiss to his pulse that set off fireworks within his buzzing brain, Marinette's lips parted as she spoke in the silkiest, most tender voice he'd ever heard:

"Dude, move."

Adrien gasped as large hands gave his shoulders a shake. Those did not belong to Marinette. Snapping open his eyes, he glared at the intruder who dared to rudely awaken him from what could have possibly been the start of the best or most embarrassing dream he'd ever had.

Nino. Ugh. Dressed in what appeared to be pink pajama pants that seemed to be a little too short on his legs and definitely didn't belong to him.

"What?" Groaned Adrien, groggily lifting himself from his comfortable position on the chaise. "What time is it?"

"Bed time," The DJ responded as he plopped down next to him, stealing most of the space Adrien had been sleeping so peacefully on just moments before. "I called dibs on the chaise before you fell asleep and it's like, almost two in the morning. Alya and I are ready for bed."

"Why can't we just share?" Whined Adrien, not too pleased with the idea of having to sleep on the floor of all places.

"Because," Nino responded matter-of-factly, "you're a cuddler. I will never share a bed with you again. Waking up with your entire body latched around mine was an awkward experience."

A blush filled Adrien's cheeks as he removed himself from the chaise. He wasn't wrong, but… The floor? "Are you going to make me sleep on the floor, Nino?"

Nino laughed. "Unless you'd rather sleep downstairs, dude."

"You know," Marinette's weary voice caught his attention. How had she not fallen asleep already? "If you're being picky over sleeping arrangements, my bed is big enough for two."

"So is the chaise," Alya butt in, turning to Nino. Adrien assumed that the white pajama shirt adorned by pink bunnies she wore didn't belong to her, either. Was everyone wearing some part of Marinette's pajamas? "So let me in there."

"Wait-" Marinette watched in horror as her best friend slid in next to her boyfriend, who welcomed the redhead with open arms. "Alya, I meant for you to sleep with me."

"Sorry, Mari," Alya apologized, looking somewhat guilty, "but I never get to cuddle Nino when our parents are around. You know how they are. Let me have this for one night."

Adrien watched as the couple got situated and comfortable, leaving a shyly mumbling Marinette to stare at him through her lashes. Her fingers fumbled together as her gaze shifted nervously around the room, eventually stilling on the skylight a moment longer than she'd intended (Adrien could tell; the way she looked away with embarrassment turning her cheeks pink almost made him pity her.)

"It's alright, Marinette," He said in a reassuring tone, rubbing the back of his head awkwardly. "I can sleep on the floor, really. It's okay."

"N-no!" The designer squeaked before clasping her hands over her mouth. "I-I mean, n-no, the floor isn't… I have enough room. I would feel mean i-if you… I have plenty of…"

Her voice had trailed off before she'd even finished her sentence. If she knew I was Chat Noir, she'd have no problem with me sleeping in her bed, Adrien laughed in thought as he gave his friend a thankful smile. Sleeping next to Marinette would definitely be better than the floor. "Are you sure? I don't want to intrude."

"It's f-fine, I promise. Did you, uh..." She whispered, tucking a loose strand of midnight hair behind her ear. She's even cute when she's nervous."Did you want something comfortable to sleep in? I-I know my pajamas won't really fit you, but uh- maybe they will. The bottoms, that is. They'll be short b-but uh, I have extra, if you-"

"That would be nice," He responded before she could nervously ramble herself into an embarrassed quiet. "If you don't mind."

With a nod, Marinette rushed to her dresser and pulled out a pair of black sweatpants, pushing them into his hands once she'd approached. "They're kind of big on me so they should fit you. Bathroom is uh, downstairs- yeah, you know where it is."

Well, Marinette was right; the sweatpants fit relatively well, save for the length. The fabric was cozy and soft against his legs as he walked up the steps back to his classmate's bedroom and the feeling alone made Adrien want to curl up in bed with her already.

By the time he popped his head back into Marinette's room, he found that the lights had been turned out and she'd already crawled into bed. Memories of the night before flooded his mind; when he'd woke up, it'd looked just like this: dull, yet full of warmth. Much like Chat Noir had, Adrien climbed up the ladder to her bed (the same exact bed she willingly let Chat into twice now) and peeked his head over the mattress. He caught the sight of a phone light, and as he climbed a bit higher, Adrien could see Marinette's delicate features illuminated by the soft white glow. She hadn't noticed him yet—or, she had, and was simply pretending he wasn't there.

"Hey," He whispered, his lips curling into a shy smile. "Can I come up?"

She nodded as the white light faded. "Y-yeah."

He needn't wait for her to say it again. Crawling up into her wonderfully plush bed, Adrien hesitated for a moment before approaching; constantly he reminded himself that this was not Chat Noir climbing into Marinette's bed, it was Adrien Agreste, and he needed to act as if he wasn't used to curling his arms and legs around her petite body.

"Hi," He breathed once he'd finally worked up the courage to lie down next to her. He'd yet to pull the blanket over himself. "You okay? Not used to boys sleeping in your bed?"

Okay, maybe that hadn't been the right thing to say.

Yeah, definitely not the right thing to say.

Poor, unsuspecting Marinette practically choked on air as her face filled with shades of pink and red, blue eyes blown wide to the size of saucers. A hand clapped over her mouth—the same hand whose fingernails were painted that alluring pastel pink and the same hand that had run down his stomach in the dream that Adrien suddenly felt guilty about.

"Sorry," He apologized, looking away nervously. "That was out of line, I-"

"It's okay," Came the sweet reply. "I'll answer that question with a no, I am not used to having boys in my bed."

Adrien chuckled. She even lies well. "You're not uncomfortable?"

Marinette shook her head, draping her blanket over his form. He hadn't even thought of how chilly he'd felt without it. "Not much. I'm just more accustomed to having Alya sleep in my bed."

"Hm," He hummed, "she left you for a boy. How unfortunate."

"I know, I'm totally breaking up with her. I thought what we had was special." Marinette turned her head with a smile. "You hear me, Alya?"

Adrien laughed as Alya's voice rang from below. "You'll always be in my heart, Marinette. Now shush and go to sleep, I'm tired."

"Yes, maman," Marinette giggled, "whatever you say."

"Don't let Adrien cuddle you too hard," Nino called, "he hugs really tight in his sleep. Once he grabs hold he will not let go."

With a sheepish smile, Adrien let out a nervous chuckle, shyly meeting Marinette's gaze. She didn't seem to be uncomfortable, but even in the dull luminescence of her nightlight he could tell that her cheeks were a rosy red. "Ahh, yeah, I… Kind of can't help it. It's a little embarrassing. I usually wake up with my arms wrapped around a pillow."

"It's okay," Marinette said as she risked one last glance at the glass trapdoor, her eyes sparkling like the stars that hung in the midnight sky. "I really don't mind. I-I'm kind of a cuddler myself..."

With a grin, Adrien let a content sigh slip past his lips as he relaxed into the familiar pillows he'd come to hold so fondly within his heart. As soft as a cloud, smelling like sweets and flowers, reminding him that he was once again comforted by the feel of Marinette's bed. Marinette's bed.

"Your bed is really soft," He whispered, the heaviness in his eyes fighting to lull him to sleep. "I like your bed better than mine."

"Yeah?" Yawned Marinette, rubbing a sleepy eye. "I like it, too."

Adrien hummed in response, feeling as if one-hundred pound weights were attached to his eyelids. "I'm… exhausted."

It took his classmate a moment before she could open her eyes and responded, her voice low and quiet. "Mhm… Me too…"

"I'm going to beat you two with a pillow if you don't shush," Grumbled Alya from down below.

"Sorry," Adrien grinned as he and Marinette responded in unison. "I guess that's our cue to go to bed."

"Yeah," Giggled the blushing designer, her baby blues shining brightly in the dim light of the room. "Goodnight, Adrien."

"Goodnight, Marinette."

With a final yawn, Adrien allowed himself to give in, the dense milkiness of sweet sleep rolling over his muscles in waves. His body stilled, arms and legs becoming one with the bed as they sunk into the cloud of mattress. A final hum left his body as a sigh blew out of his nostrils, coaxing his mind to fall into the wonderful darkness that filled him to the brim with feelings of contentedness.

He hadn't acknowledged the fact that his arms had coiled around Marinette's waist sometime in the night. He hadn't realized when his legs became a tangled mess in her own. He hadn't noticed when his face buried itself into her neck, lips brushing against the pale skin of her collarbone. In fact, he was so deep in his slumber that when a purr began to rumble within his chest, he'd been too wrapped up within his beautiful classmate to open an eye.

He also didn't notice gentle hands weaving through his hair and scratching behind his ears as the rumble vibrated in his throat so strongly that he wasn't sure whether or not Marinette had actually called him "kitty."

Truthful Scars

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by frostedpuffs

Part 9 of 21

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