GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat–Ch. 8

We’re at Chapter 8, folks! It is up for all to read. We’re coming to a close end with the guest posts by @obdobuk for our Miraculous Ladybug fic! I don’t want to say more about this chapter, but it’ll be exciting 😉

Previous chapters can be found here ->
Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3 Ch. 4  (with bonus fanart by moi) Ch. 5 Ch. 6. and Ch, 7!


Chapter 8

Adrien paced back and forth across his room. His arms were gesturing wildly as he spoke into his headset.

“Don’t bother telling me I’m an idiot Lila, I already know this. Tell me what I’m supposed to do!” Adrien pleaded down the phone at his friend and hoped she would have some advice.

“Adrien, you’re an idiot. I know you know this but it really needed to be said”.

You’re the one who said I-”

I said you shouldn’t feel bad about liking two girls at the same time. But you should definitely feel bad about sticking your tongue down each of their throats!”

“They weren’t exactly complaining Li”.

“Not the point”.

 

Adrien sat down on his couch and let his head drop back.

“I don’t know what to do Li. They’re both so amazing. Mari may genuinely be the nicest, kindest woman I’ve ever met in my life. But Ladybug is the most exhilarating woman that can ever exist. How do I choose?”

“It depends on what you want. If you want someone you might marry, then you choose Marinette. If you want someone to drive you wild then go with the masked chick”.

“Why can’t I have both?”

 

There was a moment of silence on the line before-

“BOY WHAT IS WRONG WITH-” Adrien hung up and waited. After ten seconds he re-dialed her number.

“I didn’t mean date both of them at the same time” he said before Lila could speak.

“Oh…alright then”.

“I meant why can’t I marry the girl who drives me crazy? Why can’t I build a happy life with the woman I dance all night with? Why can’t I bring the masked girl with no name home to meet my father?”

 

There was another moment of silence before they both burst out laughing. The idea of Adrien bringing a masked Ladybug home to meet Gabriel Agreste brought them both to tears. Just when Lila began to calm down Adrien imitated, “Dad this is Ladybug. What’s her real name son? I don’t know” and she was in hysterics all over again.

 

Eventually they managed to calm down but Lila was hiccupping from laughing too much.

“That’s just how it works out Adrien” she said still breathless. “The girls that drive you crazy don’t stick around. They either move on or change. It’s the same reason girls don’t end up with the bad boys. They either leave you or they kill you”.

“Wait what?”

“Things are different for women Adrien. The point remains. You’re going to have to choose. And if you choose wrong, you don’t get to try again”.

 

They spoke for a bit longer before Adrien hung up. He claimed he had work to do, which he did, but he simply sat there contemplating how he got into this mess.

 

Adrien had woken up this morning feeling very conflicted about his actions the night before. Every second of his time with Ladybug was etched into his memory. He would never forget just how close they had been; the taste of her was still on his lips. And the way she reacted when he bit her…

 

He exhaled long and slow before closing his eyes. On one hand was Marinette, on the other was Ladybug. Two unbelievably incredible women in wildly different ways. And he wanted them both in different ways. With a frustrated growl, Adrien stood up. Completely ignoring his assignments, he changed into sweats and headed down to the gym. He had more energy than he wanted right now and he could use a good workout.

 

Maybe I’ll see Nino there, he thought to himself. They didn’t workout together but they had occasionally used it at the same time. It was nice, but right now Adrien didn’t feel up to the inevitable “Are you and Mari OK?” conversation.

 

Adrien closed the door to the empty gym before connecting his phone to his sound system. The room was almost soundproof and he turned the music up loud enough to drown out the argument raging in his head. After some brief stretches he got to work.

 

For two hours, Adrien pushed, pulled, squatted and lifted. Doing everything he could to exhaust himself, but it was no good. The two women in his life were still hiding behind his eyelids and he had no idea what to do about them. The only thing that had changed was that he was very hungry and in need of a shower. He took advantage of the empty house and strolled to the kitchen and made himself a nice array of food. As Adrien flipped his omelette, he remembered the look on Mari’s face the first time she had tasted his food.

 

He was conflicted as he ate. Lila hadn’t offered any help at all. He had known that he would have to make a choice but he didn’t know how to make it. How was he to decide between the only two women he had ever truly been crazy about. When he wasn’t thinking about one he was mooning over the other. It was embarrassing and annoying.

 

Adrien finished his meal before taking a shower. But that didn’t help either. He tried completing his work but Adrien’s brain simply wasn’t working; he couldn’t focus. There was a loop of Ladybug or Marinette playing over and over in his head and he knew the only way to stop it was to make a decision. Unfortunately that was the hard part.

 

/

 

Marinette had woken up, gotten dressed, ate and left for class entirely on autopilot. She wasn’t really paying attention to anything at all, which is why Alya had to stop her from adding butter to her cereal and salt to her coffee. She barely focussed while in class and waited half an hour for Alya at the wrong cafe for lunch.

 

“I’m so sorry!” Marinette cried out as she burst through the door of the cafe where Alya had been relaxing. “I was completely in the wrong place. How long have you been here?”

“Only about five minutes” Alya replied. “I guessed you’d be late so I took my time. Smart right?” Marinette was annoyed at the assumption but given that she had been late, didn’t mention it.

“Well that’s good then… How was class?”

“It was alright. Handed in my project and got two more. But the professor is notorious for being a harsh marker so I asked if he could boost my grade if I spent the night with him”.

“That’s cool”.

 

Alya shook her head at her friend’s obvious lack of attention.

“Mari spit it out”. Marinette looked up at the sound of her name.

“What do you mean? Spit what out?”

“The whole business with you and your boy toys. It’s been keeping you from focussing all day”.

“That isn’t true at all” Marinette protested.

“Babe, you’re wearing Nino’s coat”.

 

Marinette resisted for a second before looking down and realising that she was indeed wearing his coat and not hers.

“I genuinely don’t know when that happened” she said, sitting back in her seat with a sigh.

“This morning. Nino passed you his coat to hang up and you just…put it on and left. You need to get to the bottom of this situation”.

“Easier said than done Alya. It’s really hard to make the choice when they’re both so appealing”.

“Well think about it this way. Do you want the croissant or the pain au chocolat?”

“I want them both at the same time”, Mari replied without thinking.

“Sounds like a fun night” Alya quipped causing Marinette to blush and cover her face.

“That’s not what I meant and you know it” Mari scolded her best friend. “They’re just both so wonderful in very different ways. I don’t know who to be with. I don’t know who I want to be with”.

 

Marinette had been thinking about this all night. Thankfully, she had managed to fall asleep but her dreams had been plagued by Adrien and Chat taking each other’s places and causing all sorts of mischief. She had awoken, somewhat refreshed and very frustrated at the whole dilemma. And when she felt angry enough to just make a choice, if only to put the matter to rest, a bad feeling settled in her stomach at the idea of never being as close to one of them again. She knew it was selfish, and Marinette was a little shocked by it, but she wanted them both. Marinette needed them both.

The memory of Chat pulling her close before biting her replayed in her head once again. He won’t share. And she highly doubted Adrien would either. He may seem gentle but there was a lonely boy in him that would fiercely guard what he saw as his.

 

“I really don’t like this” she admitted quietly.

“That isn’t going to make the situation go away” Alya said as she sipped her drink. Marinette loved her best friend but she was annoying when she was right. Mari knew the situation would only go away once she had chosen but it was an impossible choice.

 

If she chose Adrien then she would never again experience the raw passion that was Chat Noir. The way that he exuded life and laughter. She would never be swept away on the dancefloor. Would never feel his heart beating in time with hers.

 

But if she chose the cat then Adrien, sweet, caring, loving Adrien would be lost to her. She’d never feel his arms around her. Never again be on the receiving end of one of his smiles that he kept just for her. The idea was enough to break her heart. She thought of the moment they had shared at Christmas. The way he had clung to her during that one hug still caused her to breathe a little faster.

 

The idea of going without one or the other made her not want to choose. If she didn’t choose then she could keep both of them for a little longer. And it was that lie that had gotten her into this mess. Marinette needed to make a choice.

 

Neither she nor Alya had any more classes so they slowly made their way home. Mari wasn’t too keen on it as she knew Adrien would be there but they had no other choice. There wasn’t much conversation as they travelled home; Marinette was deep in thought. She would begin comparing one boy to the other, but would quickly lose the heart to be so clinical and end up reminiscing about them both.

 

When they arrived back home Marinette was very conscious of the fact that Adrien was somewhere in the house. She begged Alya to make her some food while she fled to her room; the only place she knew Adrien wouldn’t be. Once there, she changed clothes and unpacked her bag and her work. She had a lot of it but she hadn’t been able to properly concentrate for a while. She had so much more important things to do but every time Mari tried to focus, she would get distracted by her personal life.

 

That, more than anything else, made her want to just decide and be done with it. She desperately wanted to regain control of her brain. The only thing she seemed to be able to focus on for more than a few minutes was her boy troubles and that was the one thing she wanted to stop thinking about.

 

Alya brought her some food and Marinette gratefully devoured it. As she ate, she remembered when Adrien had brought her food and grimaced.

“What’s wrong? Does it taste bad?” Alya asked in concern.

“No, no. It’s me”.

“I’m sure you don’t taste bad. But I’ll have to ask Adrien”.

“Alya…”

“Or maybe I’ll ask Chat Noir. I’m sure he knows as well”.

 

/

 

Nino hit pause on the movie they had been watching. Even though Adrien hadn’t been paying attention, the sudden change brought him back to reality.

“What did you do that for?” he asked, gesturing towards his TV.

“You’re not exactly watching it properly dude” Nino replied. Adrien attempted to deny it but he had indeed been distracted by his issues with Marinette and Ladybug.

 

He had managed to get some work done earlier but it was nowhere near how much he should have. His gym session before that had been lacklustre at best, Adrien knew his old trainer would have been mortified. And now he was drifting off as he tried to watch Avengers with Nino. The situation was getting wildly out of hand when he couldn’t focus on Thor and Iron Man beating each other up in a forest.

 

“I’m sorry man” he said but Nino waved it away.

“Don’t have to apologise dude. But do you want to talk about it?” Adrien sat silently and contemplated his offer. From the look on his face, the offer was genuine. Of course it’s genuine, it’s Nino. He had never really had a confidante. Lila helped a lot but her schedule was so busy that it could be weeks between replies. He was used to keeping his problems to himself, so no one else would be affected. But that wasn’t working out too well.

 

“Well…if you don’t mind then, yeah I would like to talk about it”. Nino turned the TV off completely and turned to face Adrien.

“Go for it”.

Adrien took a deep breath.

 

And paused.

 

What was he thinking? This was Marinette’s friend. Her lifelong friend. Nino may be his friend too but his loyalty would obviously be to Mari.

“Adrien?”

He would not want to hear that Adrien was trying to decide between Marinette and another woman. Nino may know they weren’t smooth sailing at the moment but he didn’t want to know that Adrien was comparing two women against each other. The thought made him uneasy. He didn’t want to hurt Marinette and he definitely didn’t want to risk his friendship with Nino.

 

“Er…actually don’t worry about it. It’ll be fine”.

“Adrien you don’t ha-”.

“Seriously Nino. Thanks for the offer man, I really appreciate it. But it’ll all work out in the end”.

 

Adrien picked up the remote and resumed the film, missing the look on Nino’s face as he did so. He made sure to watch the film properly, which wasn’t hard given that it was the Avengers, but every now and then either Marinette or Ladybug would drift across his mind.

 

Eventually the film ended. The Chitauri were defeated and Thanos had decided he would court death when Adrien turned it off.

“Much better than Ultron” Adrien declared. They had had this conversation many times before but it never got old.

“Easily” Nino agreed. “Ultron was trying to be like Avengers and ended up failing miserably”. “Makes me a little bit worried for Infinity War”.

“Yeah they didn’t exactly handle the bigger cast well in Ultron”.

“Made up for it in Civil War though”.

“True”.

 

When they were in the mood, they could talk Marvel for hours, but Nino knew that Adrien’s heart wasn’t really in it.

“Adrien just so you know, you don’t have to tell me anything but you can if you need to”. Not knowing what to say, Adrien simply nodded.

 

He was feeling very uncomfortable. In the last few months Adrien had become very appreciative of the fact that he had a friend in Nino. Someone he could relax with and talk to about anything. But this problem had taken that from him as well. He had to make a decision and soon. Maybe he would choose Marinette and she would say no. Maybe Ladybug would say no. But Adrien couldn’t control anyone but himself and he needed to stop acting like a child.

 

After Nino had left, Adrien laid down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling. He remembered feeling like this many times during the last of his modelling days. Undecided whether or not he would continue to model as his father wanted or stop like he wanted. It felt as if his entire life was on hold. The days would pass and he would grow older but nothing was changing. He would say his tyres were spinning in the mud but they weren’t. He wasn’t trying to make a decision. Adrien was just stuck.

 

Not knowing in which direction to go.

 

Even that wasn’t accurate because in that situation Adrien had known what he wanted to do. He just didn’t know whether it was worth going against his father. This time he genuinely did not know which road to take. On occasion a small voice in his head urged him to take the third path. Stay friends with both and get involved with neither.

 

Adrien had to admit that it did seem simpler but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. As impossible as the decision was, he would make it for one reason; both women made him happy. And in some deep and dark place inside Adrien, even he admitted that he deserved to be happy.

 

People looking from the outside might see him as having an almost perfect life, but there had been no happiness in it for many years. And now that he had people in his life who made him smile, Adrien was not about to go without.

 

He continued looking up, firmly resolved. It would be difficult and terrible and almost impossible. But he would make a decision between these two women he was crazy about. Because now he had two when before he had none.

 

Things could be much worse.

 

This new and mature outlook on life lasted about thirty seconds before he realised that he still didn’t know how to go about making this decision.

 

/

 

Alya had left some time ago with the promise that she absolutely would not be bringing Marinette dinner in her room. It didn’t matter how many times she begged her best friend, Alya didn’t change her mind. So Marinette tried to work. She was still very behind on her work but she was making slow progress. It helped that she had been ahead of schedule concerning her project before the Adrien vs Chat Noir drama had kicked into high gear.

 

Try as she might, Marinette couldn’t get the skirts on her design to sit right. It was a multi-layered chiffon skirt and any time she added more than two layers the whole idea fell apart. Yes the skirts would be there but they wouldn’t be together. Not how they should be.

 

The entire problem was frustrating Marinette terribly. The worst part, was that she had made a seven layered skirt before and it had gone perfectly. She should be able to do this with ease but it was not going as she had hoped. There was a very specific image in her head, one that couldn’t be translated onto paper. She had hoped to put it straight from mind to mannequin but it wasn’t happening.

 

“Stupid cat” she mumbled. Marinette knew it wasn’t Chat’s fault but still…it made her feel better. It took thirty minutes of frustration before Mari threw her hands in the air in defeat. She couldn’t focus on her work. There was something obvious she was missing and Marinette couldn’t figure it out. Her brainpower was being hoarded by this situation.

 

Marinette was smart enough to know that whoever she chose, she would be happy with. That was simply the kind of person she was. She found her happiness and her peace where she was. Once she made her choice she would be happy. But it was making the choice that was the hard part. Marinette truly enjoyed them both. They made her happy when she was with them. But Alya was right, she was falling for them both, and until she actually made her decision, Marinette would be stuck in this miserable purgatory.

 

Time passed and she moved from one half finished task to the other. Marinette didn’t actually make any progress with them but a lot of things were moved around to make it seem like she’d achieved something. But Marinette wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing. She was more focussed on fixing this dilemma she had gotten herself into.

 

She couldn’t even look back on previous relationships for wisdom. Some had been long and others had been short but there had never been more than one at a time. And while Marinette wasn’t technically in a relationship with either of them, the fact remained that she had two suitors and no idea what to do about it.

 

With a sigh, Marinette continued trying to distract herself. It wasn’t that she was avoiding the problem but if she didn’t know how to fix it then all she was doing was torturing herself. Work was beyond her so she lay down on her bed and opened up her laptop. It wasn’t her console of choice but gaming was gaming. Marinette hoped she would be able to lose herself in a virtual world but it wasn’t to be.

 

“Stupid servers” Marinette cursed as she closed her laptop and threw it to the side of her bed. Now she had nothing to do. No distractions at all and she really needed one. Despite having danced for hours last night, Marinette was full of a restless energy. She needed to burn it off but didn’t want to leave her room.

 

First she paced her room back and forth. Then she tried walking around it but neither helped. Annoyed, she walked out onto her balcony and looked around her. The wind was cold and the railing was still wet from an earlier shower but Marinette immediately felt better. The chill soaked through her clothes and made her shiver even as it calmed her down. From her balcony she could see part of the gardens and beyond them the rest of Paris. She could hear the sounds of people as they made their way home after a day of work.

 

That wouldn’t be her.

 

Marinette knew the life of a fashion designer was not one that followed regular working hours. It was stressful and hectic and she couldn’t wait for it. Designing her own line of clothing was a dream of hers and had been since she was a child. A love of pretty clothes had turned into an appreciation of the skill behind them which then evolved into the knowledge that she could do it just as well.

 

She shivered again but this time in anticipation. Next year the top students in her class would be given summer apprenticeships at several fashion boutiques and she wanted one of those spots. Those students were the ones who broke out into the world. Not all of them achieved their own lines, but they were all successful wherever they ended up.

 

Marinette idly wandered back into her room. She knew where she wanted to end up. Images of her name stitched into every hem around the world. Her dresses on the cover of fashion magazines. Models walking down the runway with her label.

 

She imagined Adrien wearing her clothes, as a model and as himself. Ever since she moved into the Agreste Manor, she had found herself designing more and more men’s attire. Living with one of the most famous male models had that effect on her. But now she realised that she had been designing clothes specifically for Adrien. He was easy to design for, everything looked good on him whether he was standing still or moving.

 

With a groan, Marinette realised that once again her mind had drifted towards the men in her life. Quickly changing into her workout clothes, Marinette stormed out of her door and headed down to the gym.

 

/

 

For the second time that day, Adrien found himself working out. Despite the length, the first session had been so pointless that it had no effect on him. Or maybe he was just extra energetic these days.

 

It didn’t matter. He had once again found himself in the squat rack but this time, he was trying to do it properly. Adrien was forcing himself to go heavy. It made him concentrate more and think about women less.

 

Rep after rep he pushed out, breathing in time with his movements. Working his legs properly whilst keeping his back straight. It was easy until you stacked a large amount of metal on someone’s back. Adrien managed his set and after re-racking the bar, leaned forwards to put his hands on his knees. But only for a few seconds then he stood back up straight. He never liked to lean or sit between sets. It may be a rest period but he would still give everything he had.

 

Once more under the bar and he was done with squats. He jotted it down in his notebook before moving towards the bench.

“The theme of the day is ‘Let’s Almost Die’”, Adrien said to himself as he stacked plate after plate onto the bar. With all his strength, Adrien pressed the bar and did another three sets. Just as he let go of the bar after the final set, Marinette walked into the gym.

 

Adrien was immensely grateful that he was not mid-set otherwise he would have definitely dropped the bar on his head. Mari seemed as shocked as he was as she turned a bright red and took a step back.

“Adrien! I didn’t think anyone would be here”. Mari’s gaze kept flicking between his eyes and the rest of the room. Not that Adrien was any more composed.

“Yeah, I- er- thought it would be a good time for anoth- a workout”. He nervously ran his fingers through his hair just before her eyes flickered towards his arms. Adrien hurriedly dropped them by his side before she thought he was showing off.

“I’m sorry”, Mari said as she blushed harder. “I’ll leave you alone”.

“You don’t have to. You can stay. I’m almost finished anyway”.

 

Mari hesitated before turning around and moving further into the gym. She stood in the free weights area and began stretching. Adrien didn’t stare but the many mirrors around the room gave him every angle. She looked very good. She was wearing black workout pants and a red tank top. As she bent forwards, Adrien hurriedly looked away. He grabbed a small bar off the floor and began curling it.

 

Every inch of him burned and he knew he had done it right this time. He lowered the bar and turned to say goodbye to Mari. She had finished stretching and was tying her hair back when Adrien froze. There, where her shoulder met her neck, was a bite mark.

 

His bite mark.

 

But he had bitten Ladybug…

 

But Marinette had the bite mark…

 

It took his tired brain several seconds to put it together.

 

Marinette was Ladybug.

 

His mind went blank. There were no thoughts and no feelings. Just shock.

 

He left without a word and walked back to his room. The door closed behind him and Adrien was on his bed. His brain began replaying all of his memories so he could review them in the light of his new discovery.

 

Adrien had danced with Marinette.

Adrien had carried Ladybug across his garden.

Adrien had competed against Marinette. She had wings.

Adrien had spent Christmas with Ladybug. He’d given her a gift and kissed her under the mistletoe.

Adrien had spent the night dancing with Marinette. His hands had been all over her body.

Adrien had slept with Ladybug, then covered her body with his own.

Adrien had bitten Marinette. Left his mark upon her skin.

 

Marinette was Ladybug.

Ladybug was Marinette.

 

There was only one woman.

 

“YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” Adrien roared out his delight as the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders. He jumped off of his bed and thrust his fists into the air, screaming as loud as he could.

 

Relief pumped through his veins. Everything was perfect. There weren’t two amazing women but just one. One phenomenally amazing woman who was smart and sexy and sweet and kind and passionate and perfect. He couldn’t stop smiling.

 

Marinette was Ladybug.

Ladybug was Marinette.

 

It would take time to sink in but Adrien was literally jumping for joy. Until he stopped.

 

Marinette was into Adrien but Ladybug was into Chat Noir. Even the pieces he didn’t know were missing fell into place. She had been stuck with the same dilemma he had been struggling with. That was why there was a distance between them both.

 

Adrien wasn’t upset. They had both been doing the same thing, it was just his good luck that he found out first. All of a sudden he grinned in a very Chat Noir way. If Mari didn’t know Adrien was Chat then it was his privilege and his pleasure to tell her.

 

But…how he would do so and when were up for debate. The relief at having been spared the hardest choice of his life was making him dizzy. Adrien wanted to have fun. He wanted to play. And there was only one woman he wanted to play with. Regardless of what she wore, his Maribug was the only woman for him.

 

This was what he had been wanting all along. One woman for both halves of him.

 

His head was full of ideas about how to tell her. None of them were simply telling her of course. That would be too easy. Marinette had wrapped her fingers around his heart and Ladybug had bewitched his mind. It was time for payback. Confusing comments, dramatic reveals, playing dumb. All were good options but there was something missing…and then he had it. It was time to shake things up. Time to blur the lines.

 

Marinette was about to meet Chat Noir. And it was going to be exactly what they both needed.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: AND WE HAVE A REVEAL PEOPLE! I’m not going to lie, I’ve been waiting for this moment for 8 damn chapters. But finally we’re here! And chapter 9 is where it’s all going to go down. I’ll see you next time. – @obdobuk

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat–Ch. 7

It’s time for Valentine’s Day! Chapter 7 is up (I completely missed the finished piece so it’s a bit late) We’re almost coming to an end with the guest posts by @obdobuk! This chapter was a steamy one, hope you all enjoy your read 🙂

You can find the previous chapters here if you missed them ->
Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3 Ch. 4  (with bonus fanart by moi) Ch. 5 and Ch. 6.


Chapter 7

Valentine’s Day had never meant much to Adrien. Not because, to date, he had never had a serious girlfriend. At least not just because of that. But because he never understood why you’d only choose one day a year to be extra-romantic to the person you love.

 

Adrien mused as he sat at the bar, sipping at a bottle of water. Recent events had shown him he wasn’t well versed in matters of romance so he may not be in the best position to judge. He thought back over a month, to the morning after the night he and Marinette had spent together.

 

Everything was far more awkward in the daylight than it had been in the dark. Marinette had woken up first again and her scramble for something to wear woke him up too. They had tried to make conversation but eventually Adrien left her room and stayed away from her for a few days. Not that Marinette tried to see him when his “work” kept him away from dinner for three days in a row. She clearly felt as awkward as he did.

 

“Dude what happened between you two?” Nino had asked on the second night. Adrien had been torn about how much to reveal to his friend and in the end said not much of anything.

“It’s nothing dude. Just some weirdness. We’ll be fine”.

 

And they had been. After a few days everything had returned to normal, except there was still some hesitance between the two. Some undefinable change that had brought them both up short. But there were still times when they looked at each other and just…wanted.

 

Still lost in his thoughts, Adrien didn’t notice the woman until she draped her arms around his head.

“Oh just my luck! A pretty little kitty for me to play with!” Adrien didn’t recognise the voice or the fox costume but a single breath told him she was way past drunk. Her hands were busily trying to work their way under his top until he gripped her wrists firmly.

 

“That’s no fun” the drunken Fox pouted as he unwrapped her from himself.

“I’m sorry but you’re not quite the creature I’m looking for”. Adrien twisted out from beneath her and turned to face the Fox. He still had her hands but now they were crossed in front of her; away from him.

“But I bet I’m more fun”, she said with a sloppy wink. “Bet I’m sexier too”.

 

Adrien almost snorted but his ingrained politeness managed to prevail. Having been the standard of male beauty for many years, Adrien felt uncomfortable comparing one person to another. But the idea that this stumbling, intoxicated woman was in any way more attractive than his Ladybug was laughable.

 

Eventually she wandered away and found a far more willing man to entertain her. Adrien wished them both the best of luck as he picked up his bottle and surveyed the crowd. It was an interesting mix of people. Single people looking for company, couples wanting to dance and a few people who wanted neither. Adrien wasn’t sure which category he fitted into but where Nino went, he followed.

 

He had arrived early in the hopes of seeing where Alya and Marinette went, but he couldn’t see anyone he recognised. Club Miraculous was hosting a Valentine’s night and the floor was packed. Barely any room to move. So it wasn’t a surprise when he didn’t spot his friends. But turning on his seat and finding himself face to face with his Ladybug was definitely a surprise.

 

“My Lady”, Chat said, smiling at the woman in front of him. “It’s good to see you again”. Ladybug smiled back and his heart sped up.

“Chaton, did you think I would miss Valentine’s Day?” She was back to her normal costume as was he. Adrien couldn’t see any wings tucked away tonight. She winked as she noticed his gaze. “Maybe next time”.

 

Chat Noir grinned and nodded.

“It’s been a long time since we last met Buginette. I wonder what you have for me tonight?” She laughed and even in the deafening club, he heard the sound like it was the only one in the world.

“I think you’ll find Chat, that there is no room for an exhibition tonight. Our DJ is going to be just that. No judging duties this time”.

 

The look on his face must have been amusing because Ladybug burst out laughing.

“My poor Chaton” she smiled, leaning forwards to scratch under his chin. Her scent filled his nose and made him light-headed. “Tonight is just dancing but you get me all to yourself”.

 

Adrien could hardly believe his ears and on some level he knew his jaw had slightly dropped. Ladybug was his dance partner for the whole of the night. For the whole of Valentine’s Night. Adrien didn’t know if that was even a real thing but he didn’t care. The look of shock on his face split into the widest smile. His hands on Ladybug and her hands on him; Adrien could think of nothing better.

 

Ladybug reached forward and swiped his water bottle before finishing it.

“I’m glad you’re hydrated Chaton, you have to keep up with me tonight. I hope you’re up to the task”. Adrien stood up, once again towering over her.

“My Lady, you don’t have to worry about that. You should be worried about me being too much for you”. Ladybug leaned forwards and stood on her tiptoes. Her chest pressed against his made him wish for another bottle of water.

“Chaton, I’ll take everything you have and more”.

 

/

 

Marinette knew he would be there.

 

As she walked into the club and made her way through the packed crowd, she knew he would be there. And she wasn’t wrong.

 

Nino had told her about this gig in private.

“I’m not entirely sure what is going on between you and Adrien”, he said one day as they were alone in the lounge. Adrien was in class and Alya working in her room. “But I’ve got my regular Valentine’s gig at the club and you can join if you want. I don’t know if you have other plans”.

 

Mari smiled softly, “are you trying to figure out if me and Adrien are doing anything that night?”

“I already know you’re not”, he replied. “I just thought I’d be polite about it”.

“You two share more than Alya and I do” Mari teased.

“We have a healthy relationship. Both of us know where we stand”.

“Wow very subtle”. Marinette rolled her eyes but Nino’s words rang true.

 

Ever since their night together, she hadn’t quite known how to act around him. It wasn’t a feeling she liked. Going back to école maternelle, Mari had always been sure of the people around her. She knew how she felt about everyone. Adrien had changed that. Sometimes they would be laughing and joking with everything completely innocent, then the next moment their eyes would meet, she would see his eyes darken and all Marinette would want to do is press herself as close as she could get.

 

But there were also times when she felt awkward around him. Not quite sure what to say or do. And Marinette knew that was because of the masked man before her. When she was hanging out with Adrien, Chat never crossed her mind. But sometimes, when she was alone, she would remember the way he danced and the way he moved and want to see him again.

 

Chat was different to Adrien, she thought as she leaned in close to tease him. Adrien was still very reserved and moderated while Chat was raw and uncut. He was who he was, and who he was made Marinette dizzy.

 

Mari leaned back and knew from his expression that Chat was drunk on her; she felt the same way about him.

“Is that so Buginette?” He asked as he recovered from her.

“Of course kitty. Have I ever said something I didn’t mean?” Chat laughed, agreeing that she was a bug of her word.

 

The music changed from a party song to a real beat and Marinette knew that Nino had taken his rightful place upon the throne. They both turned and watched as, within moments, DJ Bubbler had the entire club writhing to his rhythm.

Marinette felt her heart race as she turned to the man behind her.

“Care to join me Chaton?”

“Ladybug, you have no idea”.

 

Mari grabbed Chat’s hand and lead him to the floor. Nino’s music had forced the dancers to even greater heights. They rocked and jumped and swayed all around, and Mari used the gaps to lead her partner right to the centre of the crowd. Where there was the least space.

 

Where they would be forced up against each other.

 

She turned around to face him and felt Chat’s arm wrap around her waist, pulling her even closer than she had been before. His left arm was rarely still but occasionally it would ghost up and down across her bare skin. The sensation of his fingers caressing her made Marinette want to shiver. Her own arms were draped around his neck making sure he didn’t look anywhere but down at her; she didn’t have anything to worry about.

 

Chat’s eyes were fixed on hers as they danced to the music. The lighting in the club wasn’t that bright but she could see every shade of green that was staring at her. She could feel his heartbeat through his chest and smell the sweat from his body. All of it served to make her head spin even as she moved with Chat to the beat.

 

They didn’t think or plan. They didn’t communicate at all, yet Mari wasn’t surprised to find that they were perfectly in sync. It had taken Alya and her many years to gain that level of understanding but there was no shock whatsoever to discover that Ladybug and Chat Noir were in tune with each other. Chat’s hands were tight on her but they did not guide. Her own were around his neck but they didn’t steer. They simply flowed as if they were made to move together.

 

The beat changed over and over again. Different songs and different rhythms. And yet despite the changes, they never dropped out of rhythm. By now Marinette was hot, her skin was damp with sweat and her heart was racing; she loved every second of it. Every moment writhing and grinding with this cat made her want to dance harder.

 

So she did.

 

Marinette danced recklessly and furiously. Throwing herself from Chat and waiting to see if he could keep up. She found space and let loose, dancing without censure. Letting the beat speak to her so she could translate to those watching. She noted the awe and shock on the faces of those around her. As well as the fact that their eyes were not all fixed on her.

 

/

 

Adrien couldn’t breathe. Ladybug had been dancing with him, and against him, for so long he couldn’t remember anything. He had no concept of reality beyond these walls. The only thing he could think about was Ladybug’s body beneath his fingers and a beat in his bones. Then she had left him.

 

She moved away from him and dancing that much harder. Wings or not, Adrien thought to himself, this is how Ladybug flies. The need to go to her was almost unstoppable, but before he had taken a single step he recognised something in the way she was dancing. It was almost like an invitation.

 

Every move she was doing was great on its own. Amazing even. But Adrien could see the little gaps she was leaving, the slight hooks she was making. Just like a rising inclination at the end of a sentence. One that forces a response from the listener. Adrien doubted whether anyone else was capable of seeing; this was just for him. He wasn’t just supposed to join her, Adrien was supposed to compliment her.

 

Two strides took him right to her and once again he didn’t have to think. Chat simply responded to her. It was as if every move she made was a sentence in a conversation. So he replied.

 

Adrien danced without a second thought. He and Ladybug dancing intertwined yet not in contact. Each one moving to the beat and to each other. Singly and together. He stayed behind her, supporting her, emphasising her in every way he could.

 

With a flick of her wrist and a pop of her hips, Ladybug told Adrien she was about to finish and he was ready for it. She rose higher and higher, building the dance against the music and Adrien was there every step of the way. The crowd screamed and then she was done. Ladybug and Chat Noir standing together, face to face as if they hadn’t a care in the world.

 

Adrien was in awe. Never had he expected that to happen but it had, and he didn’t know what to do. His body was on fire, lightning flowing through his veins and all he wanted, as the crowd surged forwards, was to have Ladybug all to himself. So he wrapped an arm around her waist and moved them both away from their fans. They parted the crowd and moved to the bar. A bottle of water each and they were tucked away in a corner, Ladybug leaning back against the wall looking up at Adrien who was standing in front of her.

 

“That was incredible” Adrien stated. “Amazing. Ladybug that was like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life”. His dance partner smiled up at him, the shape of her lips making him stare just a little too long. He knew he had been spotted when she slowly bit her lower lip before answering.

 

“Honestly? Me too. It took me and A-ah Lady Wifi years before we could dance at that kind of level. Each one of us playing off of the other”.

“Then why did you try it with me?”

“I had a feeling you’d figure it out”.

 

They looked at each other and Adrien didn’t even know how to begin describing what he was feeling. Normally he would make sure he didn’t react in the wrong way but he was becoming more and more relaxed under the guise of Chat Noir. Adrien decided he didn’t need to describe what he was feeling. He just needed to show it.

 

There wasn’t enough space to take a full step forward but Chat tried anyway. He pressed up against her as she arched between him and the wall. One arm around her waist and the other hand cupped the back of her neck as he angled her mouth towards his. Ladybug’s lips came crashing against his and would have forced him backwards had he not been moving in just as quickly.

 

Their lips tangled a moment before Chat felt Ladybug’s tongue force its way into his mouth and he gladly met it with his own. Ladybug was writhing against him, pushing and pulling at his body, driving him insane with desire. He returned the favour and made sure to rub the entirety of her body with his.

 

Adrien heard her groan over the music but his knees weakened when he felt her tremble. He knew he was shaking just as much but that didn’t stop him from doing it over and over again until they were both panting. He was more out of breath now than he had been when they were dancing.

 

Her lips.

Her tongue.

Her hands.

Her body.

 

Every inch of her was tormenting every inch of him in the most delicious way possible. Adrien couldn’t take it so he gave it back; as good as he got. Chat made sure his hands roamed wherever he could reach. From her neck to her thighs and everywhere in between. And as his hands roamed his fingers stroked and teased. And through it all he never ceased pulling her towards him. They could never be too close.

 

Adrien could feel her heartbeat on his chest. He could hear her ragged panting when he pulled his lips away from hers. And he could smell the blood when Ladybug’s fingers tore through the skin on his back as he bit her. Chat Noir couldn’t remember when her hands had made their way between his hoody and his skin but he didn’t care. The sensation caused him to groan even as he bit harder into his Lady’s shoulder.

 

Seconds later he began kissing and licking the very spot he had bitten. Soothing her skin even as he agitated her with his actions. He kept on working, soaking in every moan, groan and gasp that escaped her lips. He memorised them and would treasure them for as long as he could. In case this would never happen again, Adrien thought, he would get as much as he could. He would glut himself upon the reactions of Ladybug.

 

With that in mind and the taste of Ladybug’s skin on his tongue, Chat clamped his lips over the bite and sucked hard. Chat knew that later Adrien would feel ashamed of what he had just done but right now, Chat felt a terrible pleasure at marking his Lady. And judging from the deep, guttural noise that escaped her she enjoyed it too.

 

Adrien tore himself away from Ladybug because he knew that if he didn’t do it now, he never would. They stood there, panting for breath as they stared at each other. It was baffling to think about what they had just done yet the entire club was still dancing as if nothing had happened. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. Ladybug too seemed lost for words as she simply grabbed his arm and pulled him back onto the dancefloor.

 

/

 

Marinette burned. Her whole body was on fire and she couldn’t stand it. The way his lips had moved and the way his tongue had danced. It drove her wild and now she was dancing with him in the middle of the floor. Dancing with him, on him, against him, for him. All were accurate and she had no intention of holding back. He had caused this so he could deal with the consequences. But from the way he fiercely clung to her, Marinette could tell he was not troubled by what she was doing.

 

She clung to him as well. Ladybug moved in ways she never had before but not for a second did she ever let go of this man. She would be lying if she said that she didn’t blame him for her current condition. Fully swept away by the passion coursing through her blood, Marinette completely blamed Chat Noir. And most definitely wanted him to do it again. And again. And again.

 

For the first time, Marinette was glad her face was hidden. She was in no way ashamed of anything that had happened tonight, but there was a freedom in wearing a mask. If there was no mask between her and Chat then she wouldn’t stop what she was doing, but she’d be blushing terribly at the same time.

 

Ladybug spun to face away from Chat Noir but there was no space between them. Their hips rocked in time with the beat and his hands roamed her body freely. They began at her legs and moved higher and higher until one pressed against her bare stomach and the other tilted her head until he could kiss her from behind.

 

Marinette moaned as she returned his kiss as best she could. The way he was holding her made it almost impossible to do anything but surrender to what he was doing, and Marinette had no problem with that. His palm branded her stomach and his kiss robbed the breath from her body. But she wanted more. She wanted it all.

 

He tore away from her, gasping for air and they both began dancing again. Furiously pushing and pulling against each other and not caring about those around them. They were lost in each other to the point that neither noticed that the music had long since changed. Dancing with Chat had become the only thing on Marinette’s mind and she didn’t even notice Alya until her friend grabbed her shoulder and shook. Hard.

 

It was like being pulled from a dream. Marinette was confused and disorientated and wanted nothing more than to go back to where she had come from.

“I know you’re having fun but it’s time to go”. Marinette blinked a few times as the words sunk in. Alya. Nino. Club Miraculous. Slowly everything started to make sense. She turned and saw Chat Noir had a similar look in his eyes.

 

“I…I have to go” she stammered out. The passion hadn’t completely vanished but it had faded enough to allow her to think clearly. She couldn’t think of anything else to say so she turned away and hurried after Alya, all the while feeling colder and more alone the further she went from him.

 

The journey home was a blur. Marinette didn’t speak until she had gotten out of the shower and found Alya waiting on her bed.

“You could have knocked. I might’ve been naked”. Marinette wasn’t really annoyed, she just wanted something to say.

“And I would have thanked whatever God there is for the sight”. Marinette rolled her eyes at the comment but grabbed her pyjamas and retreated back into the bathroom to change. She re-emerged a few minutes later dressed and towelling her hair. “Tease”.

 

Mari dropped down on her bed and pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She could feel tiny rivulets of water dripping from her hair down her neck but she didn’t move to wipe them away.

“Want to talk about it?” Alya asked quietly.

“I…don’t know” Marinette answered. There was silence until Alya couldn’t take it anymore.

“You looked like you were having fun tonight”.

 

Marinette’s lips quirked upwards at the understatement.

“I guess you could say that”. Alya smirked at her best friend until they were both laughing on her bed.

“I didn’t realise you knew how to move like that girl. I was very impressed and a little turned on”.

“Honestly it wasn’t planned. He just does something to me that makes me want to be very…”.

“Yeah I get you. Those are the guys you want to be careful around”.

 

Marinette nodded. She knew all this but that didn’t help as much as the cold shower did.

“You like him”. It was a statement but Mari still nodded.

“What’s not to like? He’s funny, nice, a great dancer, he’s gentle except when he’s not. He sets me on fire”. Marinette forced herself to stop and breathe slowly before she needed another shower.

“A name would be nice to know”, Alya quipped.

“To be fair he doesn’t know mine and he seems cool with it”.

 

/

 

Adrien stood beneath a deluge of freezing cold water with gritted teeth but it wasn’t helping. God he wished he knew her real name.

 

/

 

“Guys are all the same. So long as you have a nice body they don’t really care who you are” Alya stated.

“You were the one who said he was only looking at me remember? Built like strippers, looking like models but he was only looking at me. Your words”.

“Yeah but-”.

“And I saw him. Some other girl was all over him before I reached him and he didn’t look into it at all. And she was really pretty”. Marinette left the jealousy she had felt out of her tone but Alya’s gaze said she knew anyway.

“I never said he didn’t have standards but-”.

“No. I may not know his name but I know him. He isn’t like that”.

“And are you?”

 

Marinette stopped. Alya was unusually serious and Marinette waited for her to say what’s on her mind.

“I know you Mari. Your body follows your heart. It’s just how you’re built. If you’re acting like this with Chat Noir then you like him. Really like him”. Marinette didn’t even open her mouth to argue. Alya was right. She really liked him. “But given how you spent the night with Adrien, I know you like him as well. And yes I know nothing happened”, Alya said when Mari was about to protest, “but that’s not the point. The point is you’re falling for both of them and if you don’t figure it out soon you’re gonna end up getting hurt”.

“And hurting them” Mari added quietly.

“So what? I don’t care about either of them. I just don’t want you getting hurt because of them. They’re not worth it”.

 

Marinette sat still on her bed. A part of her wanted to deny Alya’s words but she couldn’t.There was too much truth in them. She was falling for Adrien and Chat Noir at the same time and she couldn’t see it ending in a way where she wouldn’t get hurt. Adrien was kind and sweet and such a wonderful person. He was generous and so open hearted it made her melt.

 

Chat Noir was like his polar opposite. Wild, reckless and completely uninhibited. A phenomenal dancer and so full of passion it burned. Mari knew she would love being with either of them but she also knew she would miss the other. Relaxing on the couch with Chat was just as ridiculous as raving all night with Adrien.

 

They both have green- No.

 

A random notion born of desperate hope vanished between one blink and the next. With a frustrated sigh she collapsed onto her bed, not caring that her hair would soak the sheets. Alya shifted around and moved closer to her best friend.

“I’m sorry. I know it sucks”.

“It does” Marinette agreed.

“If you chose one that doesn’t mean you lose what makes the other appealing”. Mari couldn’t help but smile. Alya had known exactly what she was doing. “Nino has always been really relaxed and laid back. He really balances out my obsessive craziness”.

 

Marinette snorted. She remembered thinking at the time that Nino wouldn’t be able to handle the hurricane that was her best friend. But not only had he done so, he had even managed to relax her a bit.

 

“Exactly. But one time I was gonna do something…not smart for a story and he put his foot down. Absolutely refused to let me do it. Literally would not let me move”.

“What were you going to do?” Marinette enquired.

“It doesn’t matter. The point is that this really chill guy I’d been dating for a few years, was able to stop me from chasing up on a story. Maybe Chat Noir likes to snuggle. Maybe Adrien has a wild side. Don’t worry about what you’ll lose. Just focus on what, on who, you really want”.

 

Mari lay there letting Alya run her fingers through her still damp hair. It was soothing but wasn’t enough to distract her from her dilemma.

“I have to decide soon don’t I?”

“Given how much it’s getting to you, I think you do”.

 

Once again Marinette sighed and Alya’s hands moved down to rub her neck before stopping.

“What. Is. That”. The confusion lasted half a second before Marinette bolted upright and covered her neck with her hand.

“It was nothing!”

“It was a bite mark!”

“It was no-”.

“I saw teeth marks! I did not know you were into that stuff. Good for you!”

 

Marinette went bright red and tried to move away but Alya wouldn’t allow it. She clamped her arms around Mari and held her tight.

“So Chat Noir brings out my girl’s freaky side. Or are you like this with Adrien as well but never got around to it?”

 

Marinette thought back to her night with Adrien. The idea of Adrien biting her like that made her realise that it was not a Chat-specific act. She also knew that if he had bitten her then she would not have stopped what they had been doing.

“No. It’s definitely not just Chat” Mari said quietly.

She could practically feel the smile on Alya’s face and it amused and exasperated her.

“I’m so proud of you!” she squealed.

“What for?” Mari asked, confused.

“Being brave enough to explore. I have so much to share. Wait until you try getting sp-”.

“How about we leave the recommendations until I have someone to try them out with? Otherwise you’re just making the lonely nights lonelier”.

 

Just like with her smiling, Marinette could tell when Alya was pouting, and she was pouting in a big way. They talked for a while longer before Alya left for her own room. Mari stayed where she was, laying atop the covers. Her night replayed itself against her eyelids whenever she tried to sleep. Sometimes she could feel Chat’s teeth biting into her skin. The next second it would be the memory of Adrien’s body covering hers. Marinette sighed again and rolled up into her blanket. She knew she wouldn’t get much sleep tonight but she didn’t need to be cold at the same time.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: The ultimate dilemma! Who does she choose? Well we know who she’s going to choose. But what clothes will he be wearing? Keep reading to find out. Once again thanks for following me this far. Add any comments or questions at the bottom. I’d love to hear what you think! – @obdoduk

Family Holiday—Cuba 2017

VARADERO, CUBA

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This year, my family and I decided to go on another holiday trip and we decided to go to Cuba. Now, I’m not really a beach person because I prefer the cold winter days rather than the scorching hot sunny weather. When I go to the beach, I normally read under a shade or sketch people while I snack. I don’t go on the water, because I can’t swim and I don’t like people seeing me (or looking at me in general) wearing swimwear. This changed when I stepped foot in the ocean.

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The hotel we stayed at was Playa Caleta, the place expanded to two buildings so it was like two resorts beside one another. They had a buffet for all 3 meals daily, the selections weren’t much but they had variety. They also had a la carte, which were the fine dining. We were given 4 of those, but we only used two. The place had a pool, 24 hour bar, while our neighbour had a 24 hour burger place with the bar.

Our vacation was a week long, we pretty much had a routine everyday of going to the beach before and after meals except after dinner. We head up, but my brothers and sometimes my mother would head down to watch the shows they had. Each day at 9:30 PM they had performers and around 11 PM, the disco club opens up.

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One of the cutest things were the little presents our house cleaning lady made. She left us a note one day, wishing us a great time and that’s when she introduced herself as Mary. During our meals, one or two servers prepared a table for use because we’re a big family and on our last meal they set up the table with flowers and fruits. It was so damn sweet.


Now I’m not one to relax, because I feel like I’m wasting a lot of time doing nothing so that took a while to get used to. I got bored a couple of times, but at the same time it was nice to know that there wasn’t anything that I needed to stress over. I tried not to let things that stressed me out get to me while on holiday, I needed to be relaxed even for just a little bit. And with this view, it wasn’t hard to feel relaxed for a while.

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We left the resort 3 times, on Tuesday we went to downtown Varadero and bought some souvenirs from the market. I was unfortunately ripped off by a guy who sold peanuts. First he let me taste them and then stuffed a whole bunch in my purse. He ended up taking 11 pesos in total, I had thought he would give me change since it was 3 pesos but he literally disappeared after taking my money. If he had just asked me, I would have bought some instead of trying to take my money.

I ended up purchasing a knitted shawl and two paintings, a wooden pen that had an engraved lettering of “Cuba 2017” on it along with a sketchbook with a canvased cover. We also walked down to Calle 42 from Calle 51 to find a post office to mail some postcards. Along the way we saw a stripped mall and checked it out. One of the taxi drivers told us about the cheaper markets at Calle 15, how Calle 51 was the place tourists are dropped off and they cost more. Sis and I decided to go there Thursday morning with one of my brothers. Kudos to that taxi driver, because things were much cheaper there. I bought a purse, magnet and a knife made out of tooth for less than 20 pesos!The earrings that are in the photos were from the airport, I try to buy jewelry from the places I travel to and I couldn’t find a nice one from the markets. Thankfully, we had enough time to walk around in the airport and that’s where I found the pair of earrings. I think I had a great haul altogether during this trip, I even got a picture of the artist from the market painting. We took a taxi going to and from the resort, it was super hot but their cars are pretty cool so it was worth it.We had one excursion that came with our tickets, which was to visit Cuevas De Bellamar and we also ended up in Matanzas City. The cave was creepy, humid, slippery, muddy but also quite mesmerizing. Our guide, Abel, was funny. He also kept warning us to be careful, because it’s slippery yet as he was saying that at one point he was sprinting past us. I on the other hand kept slipping from just walking.

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The cave was founded by an Asian miner who was digging and the tool he was using fell, when he went to find it he discovered the cave. We were at least 32m below and we walked up to 750m and climbed 159 steps. There was the fountain of youth and I used it to rinse my hands, because it was sticky. It was getting creepier as we got deeper in the cave, but the stalagmites looked so awesome.

Collage 2017-07-31 12_09_23After the cave tour, we were given free drink (I asked for Cola) it was scorching hot and I used the bathroom. We then headed on over to Matanzas City to roam around for 40 minutes with our muddy self from the cave. I ended up wondering around to find things I could buy for a souvenir, but they mostly sold clothing and my luggage barely closed coming here so I moved on.Collage 2017-07-31 11_14_59I did end up looking at the library, the plaza and bought street ice cream because it was scorching and everyone seemed to love it. After purchasing one for me and my brother, I knew why. That ice cream was delicious, I wanted more! Would’ve gone back to tell the guy he made a good one, felt like a Wonder Woman moment when she tasted ice cream for the first time. I like trying desserts from different places, you get to try the different ways they create their food and it’s like opening another area of my gustatory cells!

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They also has biscuits and some fried chips-like things sold by the vendors, but I didn’t get to buy a bag. I was trying to walk around the city as much as I could before our time was up. Saw this cool corner (6th photo above) where the walls were painted like the streets. It looked very theatrical, I had to take a photo of it. After walking around and melting from the sun, our 40 minutes were up. We were back on the bus and on our way back to the resort in time for lunch.


It was a sad day when we left, our house cleaning lady hugged us Friday, because we were gone by Saturday morning and the waiters and bartenders were wishing us farewell as well. But as sad as it was to leave, I was also excited to come back because I get to pick up Sylar from the pet hotel and bring him back home!

Overall, it was a relaxing trip. I did get bored a few times, because we had all our excursions and activities early on the week. If we had stretched them out to other days, we probably would’ve avoided the routine days. I did learn to sort of doggy paddle swim and such, if I knew how to swim I think I would’ve enjoyed the beach and pool more. Regardless, I still had fun in the sun and water.

I also managed to read more than I had before going on holidays so that was a bonus! Definitely miss waking up to seeing the beach in the morning, that’s for sure.

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Thank you Cuba, you will be missed!

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat–Ch. 6

Chapter 6 is now posted! My guest posts by @obdobuk continues to bring us all the romantic void we need from Miraculous Ladybug while waiting for the next season! Hope you have a good read 🙂

Missed some chapters? Worry not! You can find them here ->
Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3 Ch. 4  (with bonus fanart) and Ch. 5


 

Chapter 6

“YOU DID WHAT?!?”

“SSHHH!!!”

Despite the fact that the house was gigantic and her door was closed, Marinette forced Alya to be quiet. She had no desire for Adrien to hear any of this.

 

They were both sitting on her bed as they caught each other up after the holidays. Both had stayed in contact but some things just needed to be told in person. Alya had told Mari about the man who kept trying to flirt with her despite smelling like he’d never taken a shower. And Mari told Alya about kissing Adrien on Christmas Day.

 

“Will you stop shouting?” Marinette almost begged.

“Why? He knows you kissed him right? He was awake? Because if he wasn’t then I’m sorry Mari but I don’t think I can take your side in this”.

“Of course he was awake” Marinette glared at her friend. “He was awake and participating thank you!”

“Ok, ok” Alya said, holding up her hands in surrender. “How about you start from the beginning and leave nothing out”.

 

So Marinette told Alya everything about the time Adrien had spent with her family. The days with everyone laughing and having fun or just watching movies together. The nights when it was always just them relaxing or talking or joking together.

“We grew really comfortable with each other. And then the gifts on Christmas…” Marinette’s eyes once again drifted to the charm bracelet that she only ever took off at night. “He really surprised me with this. Then there was the way he reacted to his gift”. She could still feel the way he hugged her.

 

“It was a really emotional day. And we were both sitting next to each other at night and my mother pointed out the mistletoe, which I know she put there, and the way he was smiling was just so…”

 

Marinette remembered the way he had kissed her and sighed.

“Did you just sigh romantically?” Alya asked.

“Shut up”.

“I’m just wondering when we entered a 19th century romance novel. But seriously it sounds like you might like him”.

“I know that”.

“Then what’s the problem? He clearly likes you. He’s been following you for weeks”.

“Wait what?” Mari was shocked. Both at being told Adrien liked her and that he had been following her without her noticing.

“I don’t mean like that”, Alya corrected hastily. “I mean every time you walk by his eyes just kind of automatically follow you. Enter a room, leave a room, change seats, stand up. Any time you move he watches you in a definitely not creepy way”.

“Maybe he’s just sensitive to movement. I’m like that”.

“True but he also glances your way when you’re not moving. Every few seconds like clockwork”.


Marinette processed this new information. It was one thing to accept that yes, he had kissed her. And yes, he had enjoyed it. But to accept that he actually liked her was something else entirely. Not that she thought Adrien was that kind of guy but…

 

“Do you think it’s smart? Getting into something with Adrien? I mean, we live together”.

“So do Nino and I”, Alya countered.

“Yeah but you were together for a few years first. Adrien and I were living together, without saying a word. Then we spoke a little. Then we became friends. Then we kissed. Does that sound like the beginning of a healthy relationship to you?”

“No it sounds like Beauty and the Beast”.

 

Marinette rolled her eyes as her best friend laughed at her own joke.

“Seriously Alya, He’s only just getting used to having friends and I’m living in his house for free. That doesn’t sound like a normal situation”.

“The situation is what it is Mari”, Alya counselled. “You can either make it work or not. It depends on how you feel about him. Is he someone special or was he just some Christmas fun?”

 

Mari thought about it. Really thought about it before answering.

“No he is special. I just don’t know…”

“Then you take time to figure it out. You don’t owe him anything because you kissed. And to be fair Adrien isn’t the kind of guy to see it that way”. Alya laid back on the bed, thinking the situation over. “In fact”, she continued, “odds are he’s thinking he crossed a line and messed things up”.

 

/

 

“Nino, I crossed a line and completely messed things up!” Adrien was anxiously pacing back and forth across his room whilst Nino stared, amused, from the sofa. “I was so stupid! I should never have done it. I don’t know what I was thinking. Now she’ll never talk to me again”.

 

The idea of Marinette never speaking to him again made him feel impossibly worse and he began pacing faster.

“Dude calm down and tell me what happened”.

“I kissed Marinette”.

 

Nino reacted far more gracefully than his girlfriend had. He did not shout out loud or freak out. His eye’s widened a little, but mostly he was silently cheering. Nino had been a massive supporter of Mari and Adrien since he had first seen them smile at each other. Alya had said he was crazy.

‘Who’s the crazy one now?!’ he thought at his girlfriend.

 

“When did this happen?” Nino asked out loud.

“At Christmas. I was there for two weeks and they were the best of my life. We had fun every day. And it wasn’t like there was something planned every day. Sometimes we just all sat together for hours talking and having fun and it was like…” Words failed Adrien as he couldn’t think of anything to liken it to.

 

“Having a family” Nino supplied as his heart broke for his friend. “It was like having a family”.

“Exactly!” Adrien cried, joy suffusing his features. “It was like I was a part of their family and it was perfect. Then there was the gift she made me. A photo album of all of us from the last few months and it was perfect”. Adrien carefully picked it up from his bedside table and handed it to Nino. Adrien figured Nino had helped make it, but seeing it complete was something else.

 

“Then later on we were hanging out as usual, and then there was mistletoe and all I could think about was how beautiful she is and I just really wanted to kiss her so…”

“So what?”

“So I kissed her”.

 

Nino suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. Fine, he would get the details from Alya later. After months of waiting for this, he wasn’t going to settle for “so I kissed her”.

 

“Ok and why do you think you messed things up?” he asked.

“Because Mari doesn’t think of me that way. Why would she? She’s so amazing and fun and happy and a few month ago I was the hobgoblin who lived in my room”. Nino snorted at the comparison.

“Sexiest damn hobgoblin I’ve ever seen”.

“I’m being serious Nino”.

“So am I dude. You’re being too hard on yourself. You’re a great guy. She’d be lucky to have a guy like you”.

 

In his current state, Nino’s words never had a chance of having any effect on Adrien. He was far too worried about having irreparably damaged his friendship with Marinette to even consider the outlandish possibility of her liking him back.

 

Adrien sat down on his bed.

“I don’t know what to do Nino. I’ve never done this before”. Nino stayed silent for a moment before asking.

“Adrien, have you ever been in a relationship?”

 

For a moment, Adrien imagined he was back in front of the cameras and the journalists and all the old instincts came back. The classic interview responses and the subtle implications that he had prepared for the terrible realities of his modelling career. But when he looked up at his best friend they all faded away. Here with Nino, he didn’t need them.

 

“Yeah but probably not in the way you think”. Nino sat there and waited for Adrien to finish. “For years the only people I was around were stylists, photographers and models. And the models were the only ones around my age. So sometimes, depending on the model, we would hang out between shoots. And as we got older, “hanging out” began to mean different things”.

 

Adrien paused to see if Nino had anything he wanted to say but he simply continued to listen. It made it easier to keep talking.

 

“It was never anything serious. We both knew that in a couple of weeks we’d be sent to different parts of the world to work with other people and companies. So we were smart enough not to get attached. But it was nice. All day long we were painted and posed by people who just saw us as a prop to be used. Having someone there who saw you for who you were and understood what you were going through, it was…nice”.

 

Nino listened as more pieces fell into place. A history of short, emotionless relationships. Watching his peers vanish, leaving him more and more alone. After all of that, Nino was astonished that Adrien had become the man he was.

 

“So this would be your first emotional attraction?” Adrien smiled at the phrasing.

“Yeah I guess you could say that. I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t want to stop being her friend. But I don’t know what else to do”.

 

Also, he could never tell Nino, but Ladybug was a part of this fear. Somehow he felt that she had an almost equal claim over him. He knew it would be unfair to both himself and Mari if he tried to start a relationship when he was thinking about another woman.

 

“You talk to her dude. Just be honest with her and one way or the other it will all work out”. The phrase echoed in his mind along with scenarios of hurting Marinette and never being able to talk with her again. But he recognised the wisdom in Nino’s words. He also knew there was no point waiting.

“I’ll talk to her tonight. Just before dinner”.

 

Adrien had first joined the rest of them for dinner on the night before Nino had left for his Christmas holiday. He figured since everyone would be focused on him, the fact that Adrien had joined them would slip by unnoticed. He had been wrong.

 

For the rest of the day Adrien and Nino stayed in his room, while Nino shared every story about his trip with the accompanying photographs. Adrien had already heard all of these stories via their group chat but watching his friend’s face light up as he spoke made them seem brand new. They talked for hours until the dinner gong sounded and all of a sudden, Adrien’s nerves came back full force. But he squared his shoulders and headed down with Nino.

 

They were the first ones there so Adrien decided to wait at the door while Nino took a seat. He wasn’t waiting long. Marinette and Alya came down a few minutes later and, when she saw him standing there, Mari froze. She was pulled down the stairs by Alya and left at the bottom while Alya joined her boyfriend.

 

Adrien was shocked and grateful. Alya was not known for her restraint and he had been very nervous that she would say something and make everything much more awkward.

“Marinette? Is it OK if we talk first? Before dinner I mean?” Adrien didn’t understand how he managed to sound vaguely confidant as he spoke, but he was grateful for it. Marinette didn’t say anything, she just nodded and followed Adrien into the lounge.

 

They stood in the middle of the room facing each other. Adrien was on edge and he could tell Mari was as well.

“Mari, I like you. I really do. I want to make that clear. I kissed you because I wanted to kiss you. I think you’re amazing and I still find it a little hard to breathe when you’re around”.

 

Marinette had gone perfectly still, looking at the ground. Adrien didn’t even think she was breathing anymore. One way or another.

 

“But the thing is, I don’t want to rush into a relationship. I still feel a little awkward around you guys at times to tell the truth. I’m still not really used to being actual friends with people. And I really value your friendship Mari. I just don’t want to start something I’m not ready for and ruin what we have now”.

 

She was now looking at him. Meeting his gaze while he spoke. Adrien wanted to think she was calmer and more relaxed, but he genuinely had no idea.

 

“I don’t want to pretend it never happened. Kissing you is one of the happiest memories I have. But I want to move slowly. This would be my first real relationship after all. Now I’m going to stop talking”.

 

Adriens mouth snapped shut as he became very self-conscious over the fact that he had just monologued like some terrible character in a bad film. He stepped backwards, ostensibly so as not to crowd her, but he knew he was doing it so she would have room to run away. But she didn’t. Marinette stayed where she was, looking at Adrien with an unreadable look on her face.

 

“Ok”.

 

Adrien, who had been expecting insults and accusations was thrown by the succinct agreement.

 

“Ok?”

 

Mari smiled softly and it immediately relaxed him whilst increasing his confusion; there was no subterfuge in her expression.

 

“I agree with you Adrien. Kissing you was…amazing. And I definitely want to do it again. But we’re not exactly in the best place for a full relationship are we?” Adrien nodded in agreement, his entire body feeling lighter than it had since Christmas. “So OK. We take things slow. We’re friends who kissed once. Things don’t have to change at all. And if they do then…” Marinette shrugged as if to say it’s all good.

 

They stood there for a moment, just smiling at each other. Adrien laughed before impulsively hugging Marinette. This wasn’t the emotionally charged embrace of Christmas. This was two friends holding each other just because they were happy.

 

“I almost want to stay here longer” Adrien said, after they had parted. “I just know Alya is dying to know what we’re saying”. Marinette laughed.

“I give it about two minutes before she breaks down the door”.

“That would be hard to explain to Nathalie so perhaps we should go back to dinner”.

“That’s a good plan. I am a little hungry”.

 

Adrien and Mari walked slowly back to the Dining room and pushed open the door at the exact same moment Alya reached for the handle. She tried to race back to her seat next to Nino but they both saw her.

“Going somewhere Alya?” Adrien asked, a smile on his face. He watched as Alya narrowed her eyes before shrugging her shoulders.

“Well if you really want to know, I was trying to listen in on what you two were talking about”. Adrien laughed as Mari rolled her eyes.

“I admire your honesty”.

 

“You guys good?” Nino asked, an eyebrow raised. Both nodded and Nino and Alya accepted it without comment. Nino knew they’d both get the whole conversation word-for-word later on, nothing ever stayed a secret in this house for too long. Like when Alya had told him every detail of the kiss. Or rather when he had extracted every detail from her.

 

“I don’t want to go back to school tomorrow”, Mari said with a groan. Adrien sympathised. He was still ahead of the curve but not by much; he was starting to have to try.

“Oh man me neither” agreed Alya. “The professor said that this semester is when a quarter of people drop out. The workload is hell”.

 

They continued complaining about their studies for the rest of the meal and only stopped to thank Sasha for the souffle she gave to them all.

“It’s no trouble guys”, she demurred as she cleaned the table. “You should ask Adrien to make his sometime. It’s very good”.

“You make souffle?” Alya exclaimed.

 

“Not again” Adrien heard Nino mumble as his girlfriend fixed the former model with a piercing look.

“Yeah I’ve made it once or twice” Adrien answered. He was pleased to see that Marinette looked impressed.

“Well you’ll be making it a third time for us” Alya declared.

“And what do I get in return?” Alya looked confused for a second but her expression cleared as Adrien continued. “Last time I got to taste Marinette’s baking, so what do I get this time?”

“I think that should be decided between you two. I don’t know what part of her she wants you to taste next”.

 

Adrien was completely thrown by the innuendo and his jaw dropped. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Marinette go bright red and he was fairly certain that Nino had elbowed Alya in the ribs if the way she jumped and scowled at him was any indication.

 

“I…er well…” Adrien would have kept stumbling through a sentence he didn’t have had Alya not grinned at him.

“It’s good to know the old Adrien is still in there somewhere”.

 

Mari and Nino rolled their eyes and Adrien simply closed his mouth. She was right to say that the old Adrien was in there somewhere; shy, awkward and reluctant to speak. He was far more comfortable around these guys now, but that didn’t mean he didn’t at times feel out of place. Sometimes they would talk to each other about things he had no idea about and it made him feel almost like he was on the edge of their circle. Adrien knew that they didn’t do it on purpose though and it made it easier to bear.

 

It was better to be on the edge of the group than on the outside looking in. He knew. He had experienced both.

 

/

 

Things settled once they’d been back in university for a few weeks. Studying was once again a priority for Marinette as her professors were hinting that her exams would not be in any way easy. Her friends reported the same, although Adrien never seemed to be as overworked as the rest of them. That annoyed her.

 

But then he would smile and she would smile too.

 

“Ow!” Marinette cursed her lack of focus for the pin prick in her fingertip and continued designing a miniature gown for one of her classes. She was particularly proud of this concept. Marinette had spent a great deal of time in the last few months creating several concepts for her project and she had chosen this one to take forward. It hung off one shoulder and it’s bodice had a woven effect that drew the eyes down to the layered skirts. It had taken Marinette several days to figure out how to weigh them perfectly, so that they ‘swished’ just right when moving, but didn’t alter the way the dress held itself when the wearer was standing still.

 

But she had figured it all out and now all she had to do was make it. Mari snorted to herself. That’s all I have to do.

 

Marinette threw herself into her work and didn’t even realise when night fell. She didn’t hear the dinner gong or her phone vibrating as her friends messaged her. She didn’t even hear the knock on her door, so focused she was on the dress taking shape before her eyes. Mari paused to appraise her work so far and jumped when a hand touched her shoulder.

 

“It’s just me Marinette”. She dropped her hands from her protective shield and swatted Adrien on his leg.

“You scared me half to death!” she complained, heart still racing.

“I’m sorry” he apologised even though he was grinning. Marinette was about to hit him again when she saw what he was carrying.

“I missed dinner?”

“You did. But I brought you some food. Can’t have you working yourself to death”.

“What time is it?”

“It’s almost midnight. Alya and Nino have already gone to bed. They were pretty exhausted”.

 

Marinette took the plate from him and set it down next to her. She contemplated leaving the dress as it was for the night, but knew she had to finish this stitch otherwise it would annoy her all night.

“Five minutes?” Adrien sighed in a way that she knew wasn’t serious and sat down on her bed to watch. Four minutes and thirty seconds later, she was done and put everything down before taking the plate and sitting next to Adrien. He had a dazed look on her face.

 

“What’s wrong?” she asked as she began eating.

“Nothing’s wrong”, he replied. “I’ve just…your hands. While you were working they were so steady, every stitch perfect. It was like watching a master seamstress. Watching you work was…amazing”. Had Marinette not been as hungry as she was, she might have appreciated the compliment more than she did. That’s not to say she didn’t appreciate it. She just appreciated the food more.

 

Adrien sat back and closed his eyes. Marinette watched him as she finished her food. He seemed so relaxed, so at ease with everything, she couldn’t help but smile a little. Putting her plate aside, she crawled over and sat next to him. He smiled without opening his eyes.

 

“How was your food?” he asked, eyes still closed.

“Delicious. Thank you for bringing it”.

“Anytime”.

Marinette rested her head against his shoulder and closed her own eyes as well. As they both sat on her bed, a wave of exhaustion washed over her and she physically felt her eyelids get heavier. She leaned heavily against Adrien, unable to find the strength to sit up and Adrien must have sensed the change.

 

“Mari? You ok?” He too sounded tired. She felt him shift and begin to move away until she wrapped her arm around his. “Come on Mari. I need to go and you need to get ready to sleep”. As if completely ignoring him, which she was, Marinette tightened her grip on his arm before slowing falling to the side to lay on her bed. Adrien did not resist that hard.

 

Marinette felt Adrien lay down behind her, moulding his body to hers. It was soothing but he still wouldn’t stop talking.

“Marinette I really need to go back to my own-”.

“It’s quiet time now Adrien” Marinette whispered. She could feel his heartbeat against her back and it was as slow as hers. Once again the realisation hit her that he must be in amazing shape, but it vanished into her tired mind as soon as it came.

 

The boy behind her sighed in resignation and shuffled closer to her. His arm appeared beneath her head to be used as a pillow and she gratefully accepted his offer. The winter chill still controlled the weather but Adrien was better than a blanket. Marinette had thought that the heat she felt the last time she had been this close to him had been because of what they had been doing. But she was wrong; he was a furnace.

 

Marinette clutched his arm tight to her chest and fell asleep seconds after Adrien.

 

 

It was still dark when she woke up. Marinette knew she was in her room but beyond that she had no clue about anything else. In the next instant Marinette became aware of the arm wrapped around her waist and remembered everything. The realisation that it was Adrien’s arm around her brought a small smile to her lips. It was his body pressed up against hers. His bare chest against her skin.

 

Wait…That isn’t right…

 

Her fears were slightly assuaged when a quick downward glance told her they still had their pants on. Thank God, she thought. But where did our shirts go?

 

She turned and confirmed that Adrien was indeed bare-chested and she was left in her bra. Marinette relaxed and tried to remember when they had half stripped down. But before she could, Adrien’s arm flexed around her and she knew he was awake.

“What time is it?” he asked quietly when she rolled in his arms to face him.

“Early” she replied, her voice as husky as his. He smiled softly at her, their faces only inches apart. “Adrien, where are our shirts?” Marinette couldn’t be sure because it was so dark but she thought he had just gone red.

“You can blame yourself for that.”

“Me? How is it my fault?” she argued, all the while letting him pull her closer.

“Because you woke up randomly, said ‘goddamn furnace’, took your shirt off then fell back asleep”.

“And how is that my fault? You’re the furnace. It’s your fault”.

“No, I sleep at a normal human temperature. But with you it’s like I’m holding a bonfire”.

 

Marinette paused for a second as she realised, yes he was holding her. Now that she was facing him, his hand was spread wide on the small of her back. This was not just an arm draped over her, Adrien was actively holding her to him. This made her feel all manner of things.

 

“Accepting for a moment you’re right, even though you’re not, where did your shirt go?”

“When you took yours off, I went from mildly warm to boiling alive. So to survive the night I had to take mine off as well”.

 

Marinette leaned forward and kissed the top of his chest. She revelled in his gasp as she moved her lips across his skin. She took her time as she kissed her way across his collarbone and to the base of his throat before slowly pulling back. But not very far.

“Hmm you may have a point” she whispered, lips tingling.

“What…what do you mean?” Adrien’s voice was ragged and it made Mari shiver.

“You are definitely very hot”.

 

Adrien pulled away from her as if to look directly at her. It was too dark to see her face, nor anything else for that matter, so Marinette was more confused than anything else.

“Did you just make a pun?”

“Maybe I did. What are you going to do about it?” Marinette poked him in his bare chest and waited.

 

Adrien didn’t move, then he did. His lips were on hers before she knew it and her arms were pulling him even closer. He kissed her with the unbridled passion she had seen when he was playing his music. FINALLY! Marinette thought as she returned the kiss with everything she had. After several seconds Mari rolled onto her back. This gave Adrien two options. Break the kiss and stay where he was, or follow her.

 

She knew what his choice would be.

 

Their lips never parted as they moved, and when Adrien laid upon Marinette, the first sensation she felt was his weight. Adrien was heavy!

 

It’s impossible to appreciate how heavy someone is until you either pick them up or they lay on top of you. And at that point in time, Marinette was very appreciative of Adrien.

 

Adrien was deceptively muscled and Marinette roamed her hands all over his bare torso as his frame deliciously pinned her to the bed. He broke their kiss and Marinette’s complaints turned to moans as he began nibbling and sucking his way up and down her neck. Her fingers dug into his back hard enough for him to enjoy them.

 

The way he groaned and gripped her harder let Mari know that he enjoyed them very much.

 

They moved closer to each other, something Marinette would not have thought possible and yet they managed it. Her clothes were tight and itching; they were getting in the way. And more importantly, so were his. In the time it took for her hands to drop to his waistband, a voice of reason managed to break through the haze of hormones.

 

Are you sure?

 

She wasn’t. Her fingers stilled and Adrien noticed and stopped what he was doing.

 

“Mari?” he asked, his voice husky in the darkness.

“This is kind of the opposite of slow don’t you think?” Adrien remained silent for a few seconds before chuckling and rolling off of her. She immediately felt cold.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m so-”

“Don’t apologise” Marinette said firmly. “I wanted every second of that. I still want it. But I don’t want to rush and risk ending up regretting it, you know?” She felt him nod as he lay next to her.

“I know. And honestly I would hate it if you regretted our first time”.

 

Mari smiled. There weren’t many men who would be OK with hitting the brakes so suddenly. He was really something.

“But now there’s another problem. I’m cold. Would you please hold me again?”

“Of course I- er…wait a moment”.

“What’s wrong?” Adrien’s reluctance confused her. “Is everything OK?”

“Yeah…it’s just that…I er…I’m…It may not be comfortable for you right now”.

 

It took Marinette a few seconds to understand what he meant and once she did, she burst out laughing. She felt Adrien’s hand on her shoulder as he gently shoved her before, he too, chuckled his amusement.

 

“Trust me Adrien, I would feel perfectly comfortable. But I can’t” she said turning to face away from him in an invitation, “say the same about you”. Marinette felt him immediately press against her and bit her lip at the sensation.

“I’ll take the sacrifice” he whispered into her ear.


AUTHOR”S NOTE: “Over halfway there and a little bit of bedroom antics for you all. I can see how the ending is going to go so don’t worry about me leaving this unfinished. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below! Next up, Valentine’s Day!” – @obdobuk

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat–Ch. 5

Here it is folks, Chapter 5 is posted! Our guest @obdobuk continues to deliver what we need, while we await the second season of Miraculous Ladybug! Have a great read 🙂

For those who missed the previous chapters, you can find them here -> Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3 Ch. 4


Chapter 5

Adrien had a complex relationship with snow. On one hand he loved it. He loved the icy cold of the flakes and the whimsical way they fell to the ground. When it snowed, he would move his sofa right up to his windows and watch them dance across the sky. Adrien could watch the snowfall for hours; for some reason it reminded him of his mother.

 

Which was the other half of his complex relationship. For many years, watching the snow had made him feel alone, and he hated being alone at Christmas. His father and Nathalie had always been attending to business around the globe and Adrien was left by himself. Something which wasn’t likely to change this year.

 

The day before he had been sitting with everyone in the lounge, something that had become more common since the midnight feast a month before. The fire was on and had warmed the room nicely and Nino and Alya were lying together on one couch, comfortably intertwined. Adrien was reclining on another and sat on the floor, and leaning back against the couch was Marinette. She was effectively sitting just below him and was unaware of how often Adrien’s eyes flickered downwards. Nino and Alya were not.

 

“I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas”, Marinette said scrolling through Amazon on her phone. “I haven’t bought any gifts yet”. Adrien, who hadn’t bought a gift for anyone in years, had already been doing some serious planning. He had used to buy gifts for the household staff as well as Nathalie and his father. But he had been expressly forbidden from doing so and it didn’t feel like Christmas without giving gifts.

 

But now that he had friends in his life, Adrien had been obsessing over what to get them. Regardless of what he came up with, nothing seemed quite right.

“I know what you mean, I have no idea what to get my mom or my sisters. Or even this guy!” Alya complained, elbowing Nino lightly in his ribs.

“Here’s an idea. How about you don’t get me internal bleeding. That would be awesome”. Adrien laughed as his friends massaged his chest. He fully sympathised. A few weeks ago they had finally exchanged Marinette’s cookies for Adrien’s omelettes and after finishing her share, Alya had punched Adrien in the arm demanding to know why he hadn’t made this earlier. Adrien had been too surprised by how much it actually hurt to counter her argument.

 

“I think I’ve bought most of mine”, Nino continued. “Just one or two left”.

“And what did you get me?” Alya enquired.

“Not gonna say, but if you keep beating me I’ll return it”.

 

Mari and Adrien both laughed and the sound once again dragged his eyes towards her. He had found himself doing this more and more over the last few weeks. Ever since that night in the gardens Adrien had been admiring her more and more.

 

The shade of her hair.

The sincerity in her smile.

The gleam in her eyes.

 

Seeing her happy made him happy.

 

But then there was Ladybug…

 

She intoxicated him. Sometimes when he thought about her, he found it hard to breathe all over again. When he closed his eyes at night, he would occasionally see her dancing. Wings out. Arms raised. As if she would take flight then and there. He was finding Ladybug was in his thoughts as often as Marinette was.

 

“I can’t believe we won’t be here for two weeks. It feels so weird to be leaving home for Christmas”. Adrien’s smile froze upon his face. What? While they all laughed and made plans, he sat there and laughed with them all the while his own heart was breaking. He had been so excited to finally have friends that he didn’t consider the fact that they wouldn’t be here. He refused to take away their happiness; it had been done to him far too many times before.

 

So Adrien had taken to watching the snow from time to time. It granted him some happiness and peace, helped him ignore the prospect of another Christmas alone. Idly, Adrien picked up his phone and opened his emails. The one from his pen pal had been read many times but he did so again anyway.

 

Adrien,

 

It’s been awhile since I heard from you. Was starting to think you’d forgotten about me 🙂 I’m glad your plan worked out! I always hated the idea of you being in that house all alone. I know you say you’re fine alone but I know you Agreste. You love hanging out with people. And honestly? I’m impressed you’ve started talking to them so quickly. I had guessed a few more months before you would be comfortable enough.

 

But I’m glad I was wrong!

 

And I’m so happy you’re dancing again! I haven’t since the last time we danced together. So long ago! I’m sure you blew them away. Dunno about all this mask business but if it works for you then that’s all that matters. Regarding this Ladybug woman. Are you sure she’s legit? I don’t want to rain on your parade but it could easily be some honeypot trying to get at your money like last time. I was there remember? I know. I’m not saying don’t have fun with her. Just be careful.

 

Marinette on the other hand sounds sweet and she’s cute as hell. Yes of course I searched for her. You two would make a cute couple. Perfect for you. You should ask her out! Take her dancing and blow her mind!

 

But don’t feel bad about liking two people at once. It happens. You can’t control how you feel, only how you act. I’m not going to say treat her right, because whoever you end up with, you’ll treat them like a Queen. You always do.

 

I’m doing pretty well, thank you. Just signed a new contract for a label I cannot mention 😛 but you’ll see the campaign soon. I’m quite excited! The other models are pretty good too. Nothing on you of course 😦 but since I can’t have you I guess I’ll have to settle for these people.

 

Gotta go now, talk to you later!

 

Love, Lila

 

Despite his sadness, there was a small grin on his face. Lila was an old friend from his modelling days and despite a rocky start they had ended up becoming close friends. It was always nice to know she was happy and doing well.

 

Adrien let out a sigh as he stood up from his couch. He had plenty of time to indulge in self-pity later when he was alone for two weeks. Right now however he had gifts to go and buy. Nino and his family were going on holiday for Christmas so he would need to give him his gift before he left. Alya and Mari were staying in Paris so he had a little more time. Adrien dressed and wrapped up warm before heading out into the blizzard.

 

/

 

Marinette had packed just enough to get her through the holiday stay at home. She didn’t want to carry too much back but she also wanted to have a choice of clothes; there wasn’t much left in her wardrobe at her parents. Nino had left a few days earlier and had messaged the other three in their group chat, Not gonna lie guys, Christmas in Hawaii is pretty damn great.

 

Mari had been very happy for Nino and his grandparents. They had always talked about doing this but only recently had been able to afford it. As she stuffed the last of her socks into her duffel and teased the zip closed, her phone sounded with another message from Nino, but this time it was just between them two.

 

Adrien is gonna be alone for Xmas

What are you talking about?

I just saw his dad and Nat are attending some fashion thing in Dubai. He’s home alone on Christmas!

 

Marinette lowered her phone, already thinking back. She had thought there was something off about him lately. He had been so happy when they all started hanging out together as a group but lately he had been a little quieter than normal. When they were all talking or laughing or playing one of his games it was fine. But when he thought no one was looking, there was sorrow and loneliness on his face. She was sure of it but Nino and Alya didn’t see.

 

That’s terrible! Why didn’t he say anything??

You know why. This is Adrien we’re talking about. He didn’t want to bring us down while we talked about our Xmas plans right in front of him!!

 

The feeling in Mari’s stomach got worse. They had all bragged about their family plans never once realising that Adrien had none.

 

We can’t let him be alone!

Why do you think I’m texting you? I’m thousands of miles away and Alya has a full house. You’re it dude.

What do you mean?

You’ve been living in his house for four months. Time to return the favour don’t you think?

 

This time her stomach twisted in an entirely different way which was ridiculous. She had been living in the same house as him for months now. They had hung with the others and by themselves. An unseasonably warm night had Mari wearing shorts and a thin tank, sitting next to Adrien wearing a pair of shorts and a vest, while she beat him at Mecha Strike V. They had been thigh to thigh, skin to skin, and it hadn’t been very distracting.

 

So why was this so different? It wasn’t, she told herself sternly. Marinette picked up her phone again.

 

Mama I need a favour and I need you to convince Papa.

 

 

Half an hour later Mari walked down the hall and knocked on Adrien’s door.

“Come in Marinette”. She stuck her head through the gap in the door and smiled at her friend. He was lying back on his bed, laptop open and textbooks strewn everywhere. ‘Always working so hard’ she thought.

“Aren’t you ready yet?” she asked him sincerely enough to convince him he had forgotten something.

“Ready for what?” he took the bait, brows furrowed in confusion.

“You’re not even packed yet. I expected better from you Adrien”. She was having to fight the smile building.

“Mari..what are you on about?”

“You’re staying with me and my family for two weeks. You need to get packed”. Adrien looked as if he’d been hit over the head.

“But what…what are you talking about?”

“I’m inviting you to spend the holidays with us. You didn’t think I’d let you spend Christmas alone did you?”

 

Sitting pressed up against the warm and muscled body of Adrien Agreste might have been mildly distracting but the look of joy and wonder on his face squeezed her heart tight. Marinette cleared her throat. “You’ve got an hour to pack Adrien”, she notified him. “Hurry up”.

 

As she closed the door, Mari heard him jump off the bed and run towards his cupboards.

 

Marinette watched his expression change as they got closer to her home. At first he had been ecstatic. Smiling so wide she couldn’t help but laugh at his happiness. But as they neared he became more and more nervous until Mari reached over and gripped his hand tight.

“Relax Adrien, there’s no reason to worry. They’ll love you and they’ll love having you”. Mari knew this to be true but it was little reassurance to Adrien.

 

When they finally reached her home, the door was swung open before they had even reached it as her father came rushing out.

“Marinette!”

“Papa!”

Mari let herself be caught up in her father’s bear hug and returned it just as fiercely. She felt her mother hold her from behind and sighed in contentment. After a few moments they broke apart and she noticed Adrien had drifted a few steps away.

“Mama, Papa, this is Adrien Agreste. Adrien these are my parents, Tom Dupain and Sabine Cheng”.

 

Adrien reached forwards with polite hand. “Monsieur Dupain, Madame Cheng. It’s nice to meet you”.

Tom strode forwards and fully embraced a very shocked Adrien, ignoring his outstretched hand completely. Marinette couldn’t help but giggle at the look on her friend’s face.

“We heard how you helped our daughter Adrien. Please call us Tom and Sabine and know that you are welcome here any time. Come on in son, it’s very cold”. As they all walked in, Mari heard her mother greet Adrien with much the same sincerity as her father but less exuberance.

 

The house was warm and smelled deliciously of gingerbread, cinnamon and chocolate. Marinette breathed deeply and felt Adrien do the same. She shared a grin and relaxed. She was home.

“You kids go and leave your stuff upstairs. Mari you’re in your room and Adrien you’re in the one

below it. Then come back down and we can relax”.

 

Marinette led Adrien up the stairs and to his room. “This is where you’ll be staying, and I’ll be up those stairs in my old room”.

“What about your parents?” he asked looking around the first floor.

“Their bedroom is downstairs behind the kitchens and I got the attic room with the balcony”. Adrien smiled at her.

“Sounds nice. I’m just gonna change my clothes and I’ll meet you back downstairs?”

“Sure”.

 

Fifteen minutes later, both Adrien and Marinette had changed and were sitting with her parents drinking and eating various things that were laid out on the coffee table. Marinette was curled up on a chair opposite Adrien while her parents were together on the sofa. And in the middle of them all was the food they kept picking at. It made her happy watching Adrien chatting amicably with her parents, a relaxed smile on his face. Seeing him so happy in her home made something inside of her both clench and relax.

 

The four of them spent the rest of the day together. They talked, watched a few Christmas films and ate dinner as a family. After Tom and Sabine had gone to sleep, Mari and Adrien were sitting side by side watching a movie. He gently nudged her with his shoulder.

“Mari?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for doing this for me”. Marinette smiled at him and laid her head on his shoulder.

“You’re welcome Adrien”.

 

/

 

Adrien spent the two most pleasant weeks of his life with the Dupain-Cheng family; every day was wonderful. He would help them in the kitchen or around the house. He would often go shopping with Mari or Sabine for groceries. There were times when they would all end up baking various Christmas themed confectionary to sell. Hours spent in a kitchen full of laughter made his soul sing. It had been so long since he had been part of a family that Adrien had forgotten what it was like.

 

Every night would be spent laughing with Marinette and her parents, and then they would retire so he and Mari would spend a few hours alone together. Watching movies, or playing games or simply talking. It was both like and unlike talking to Nino in a way he couldn’t describe. The way she would look at him when he spoke sometimes made it hard to find the words. And he never stopped trying to make her laugh.

 

Apparently she found him to be very funny.

 

The night he had made her laugh until she cried was one of the highlights of his visit. The other was Christmas day.

 

He had been looking forward to it most of all. Adrien felt he had the perfect gift for Marinette and he had managed to find something for her parents as well. He had gone to sleep on Christmas Eve knowing that the gifts he had bought were under the tree they had all decorated the week before. The morning found them all sitting around a warm fire drinking hot chocolate.

“Adrien!” Mari exclaimed. “You didn’t have to get me anything”.

“Nor us” added Sabine, holding up the package with their names on it.

“I know I didn’t have to but I really like getting people Christmas gifts. You invited me into your house. I don’t think you know how much that meant”.

 

Adrien hadn’t meant to add the last bit but found that he didn’t regret it; they should know how much he appreciated what they had done for him. Sabine and Tom opened their present together and started to laugh as they held their new set of matching scarfs. Black and red. As they were thanking him, Adrien heard Marinette gasp.

 

She had just opened her gift and Adrien was nervously waiting to see what she thought of it. Her hair was wonderfully loose instead of her usual ponytails and with her head down, it hid her expression from view. But when she slowly met his gaze, Adrien was shocked and a little gratified to see tears in her eyes.

“It’s perfect”, she whispered.

“What is it Mari?” her father asked.

 

But Marinette seemed to have lost all ability to talk. She simply stared down at the package in her hands and smiled.

“Adrien, what did you get her?” Sabine sounded amused by her daughter’s reaction.

“Well a few weeks ago, we were all together and Alya said how her mother got a charm bracelet when she was younger and every time something big happened in her life she’d get a charm for it. And Mari’s eyes got really big and she smiled so I figured it would be something she would like”.

 

Adrien was watching Marinette appreciate her gift and didn’t realise that Sabine was assessing him. A second later she smiled and nodded at her husband.

“That is a very thoughtful gift Adrien. I’m assuming you got some charms with it as well?”

“Yeah just a couple. A needle and a bun which are both pretty self-explanatory” Adrien quipped making everyone laugh.

“It’s a very thoughtful gift Adrien” Tom complimented.

“Thank you so much”. Marinette’s voice was still very quiet but the happiness was evident on her face.

 

She had taken out the bracelet and had laid it out in her hands, admiring it. At her mother’s request she, reluctantly, handed it over. Sabine and Tom’s murmurs of admiration made Adrien even happier. It had been a good choice.

 

Sabine leaned over and fastened the bracelet around Marinette’s slim wrist and everyone simply looked at it for a second. It hung there, tinkling so quietly it could barely be heard before Mari pulled her wrist back and cradled it in her other hand.

 

“Well then Adrien, thank you very much for your gifts”, Tom said with a smile. “Now it is time for you to open yours”. Despite intellectually knowing that they would get him a Christmas present, Adrien was still shocked and nervous that anyone had gotten him anything.

 

“Oh I- er you didn’t have to get- I mean I-” Adrien’s verbal stumbling was interrupted by Marinette.

“Adrien don’t for a second think you can get us these amazing gifts and say ‘you didn’t have to get me anything’ with a straight face”. Adrien closed his mouth at her words and just shrugged self-consciously.

“Force of habit”.

 

The two friends smiled at each other before Adrien reached forwards and took the gift Tom was offering. Despite his words, Adrien was excited as he opened the wrapping. It was a soft package and when he finally reached the middle, the fabric was soft on his fingers. Adrien pulled out a black, hand-knitted sweater of the most luxurious material he had ever felt, and that included during his days as a model.

 

Opening it fully, Adrien smiled wide as he saw a green “A” on the front. Not wasting any time, Adrien stood up and pulled it over his head and walked over to see himself in the mirror.

“I love it! Thank you so much!” The entire Dupain-Cheng family laughed at how eagerly he donned his gift and Adrien along with them. For the first time in a long while, he was enjoying Christmas.

“I’m glad” said Sabine. “We thought the dark colour would suit your complexion”.

 

He sat back down, fingers playing with his new sweater as Marinette handed him her gift to him.

“Shall we skip the protestations this time?” Mari grinned as she teased him.

“But that’s tradition” Adrien mock argued.

“We’ll make a new one. Open it”.

 

Adrien once again began unwrapping his present. This one was much firmer than the previous one and he felt excited all over again. The paper fell away and he was left holding a small photo album. Curiously he opened it.

 

The first picture was of the four of them in the kitchen during the food trade. Alya had just bitten into Adrien’s offering and the look on her face had everyone in hysterics. The photo caught the laughter on everyone’s face.

 

The next was of Adrien and Nino playing on his Playstation in his room. The intense concentration on both of their faces made him smile even as he remembered the moment.

 

Another picture was of Marinette and Adrien walking in the gardens at night. Adrien immediately recognised it as the night of the dance contest. The memories of that night came rushing back and he looked up at Marinette who was smiling at him, a faint red upon her cheeks.

“Yeah apparently Alya looked out of her window and thought it was a picturesque moment”.

 

Adrien resumed going through the album. There were pictures of all of them during the last few weeks and months. They were always smiling and laughing or just enjoying themselves. The theme of it was clear. Adrien was with his friends and family. There was a few pictures with Marinette’s parents. Even one of him and Nathalie during her last visit to the house.

 

He remembered the look on her face when she had walked in on them all hanging out in the lounge. They had been debating the latest Marvel film which had led to Marvel vs DC then Avengers vs Justice League. She had come in and talked to them all for a bit. And when Adrien had made a joke, Nathalie had laughed more out of shock than humour. And the picture had been taken at that exact moment. A pleasant smile on Nathalie’s face as she looked down at a grinning Adrien.

 

Adrien was on the verge of crying. Never before had anything hit him so hard. He couldn’t even be sure of talking without breaking down. Marinette had moved to stand over him as he had looked through the gift. Adrien put the album aside almost reverently, stood up and enveloped Marinette in a hug. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight to him, head buried in her neck. Mari’s arms immediately came up and around him and they stood there. Squeezing each other as tight as they could.

 

Eventually, when Adrien felt more in control, he pulled back slightly and looked down at Marinette’s face. There seemed to be tears in her eyes as well but her smile was the brightest he had ever seen.

“Thank you Marinette. Thank you so much”.

“My pleasure Adrien”.

 

A few moments later they broke apart and sat back down still smiling at each other. Adrien had almost forgotten that Tom and Sabine were there, and there was a look on Sabine’s face that he didn’t understand.

“I’m glad you like your gift Adrien”, she smiled at him. “I thought it was a wonderful idea when Mari told us”.

“A really nice gift”, her husband agreed.

 

The day passed in peace and quiet, with them all enjoying each other’s company. They all flipped through the photo album and Marinette and Adrien told the stories behind the images, which in some cases proved hard to do. Everything had seemed to make sense at the time. They sat down to a wonderful dinner they had all helped make and Adrien enjoyed the best Christmas Day he’d had in years.

 

/

 

As Marinette sat on the sofa with Adrien, she decided that this Christmas had been one of her all time favourites. The TV was on but she wasn’t paying much attention to it. Her thoughts were on the man next to her. She had known for a while that she liked Adrien in ways that were…more than friendly. But she didn’t worry or think about it too much. At least she hadn’t before he had hugged her. The way he took her in his arms and held her tight. There had been such raw honesty in his actions that it had taken her breath away. She had clung to him in that moment because she had felt so close to him, it had made her burn.

 

Even now, hours later, Marinette felt herself warming at the memory of that moment. She pushed herself slightly closer to Adrien and smiled when he relaxed against her.

“I’m glad you were here with us today Adrien”. He turned to face her, still wearing his sweater.

“Me too Mari”. His voice was quiet but she was close enough to hear every word.

“It was like you’re part of the family. It was nice”. Once again Marinette rested her head on his shoulder. They stayed like that for a while before they heard a noise behind them.

 

“Sorry to disturb you two”, Sabine said. “Just came for a glass of water and I’ll be gone”.

“You can always join us Mama”.

“No it’s ok, you two relax. But you should be aware of what you’re sitting under. Goodnight”. Her mother was gone before Mari could ask her what she meant but she looked up and felt her mouth go dry.

 

Mistletoe!!

 

Marinette knew for a fact that hadn’t been there this morning. A sideways glance told her Adrien had also seen it and from the light of the TV she could see his blush grow. Now Marinette was slightly panicking. What should she do next? She had two options basically she could ign-

 

“I’ve always liked this little Christmas tradition”. Marinette looked round and saw Adrien, still red but now smiling upwards at the bundle of leaves. He brought his gaze down to meet hers and his grin inspired one of her own.

“It is kind of sweet when you think about it”.

“A Christmas kiss”.

 

Both of them simply looked at each other for a moment before looking away again laughing bashfully. Adrien ran his fingers through his hair, accidentally messing it up a little more than usual. It looks good like that, Marinette thought.

 

Her heart was beating faster as she shuffled closer to him, the distance between them too great for what she hoped would happen. Adrien moved closer as well, his eyes darting from her lips to her eyes and away before repeating the cycle. Instinctively she looked at his own and they seemed delightfully soft.

 

Closer still, until their legs were pressed against each other. Both had changed into their pyjamas and the thin material did nothing to hide the warmth of his body. Once again she remembered when they had been sitting on the sofa. Marinette hadn’t felt as nervous then as she did now. They twisted until they were facing each other, Marinette looking upwards at Adrien’s face.

 

Beautiful

 

An errant thought but he was. He was the most attractive person she had ever seen, both physically and otherwise.

 

He swallowed and began to lean forwards. Adrien moved towards her in a stop-start motion that made her wonder if this was his first time. Marinette felt his hand come up to the side of her face just as his eyelids fluttered and closed. A half second later, Marinette closed her eyes as well.

 

At first there was nothing. Then there was the brush of his nose against hers a moment before his lips brushed her own. For a second neither moved and it was not a kiss so much as touching lips. Then there was the slightest of pressure as he actually began kissing her and Marinette smiled as she kissed him back. The encouragement spurred him on and both hands cupped her face as he kissed her harder.

 

Marinette didn’t know when her heart had started racing but it was thundering in her chest. She was gasping for breath, drowning in the sensation of him. At that point she remembered the passion she had seen in him as he played his violin, and wondered if she had bitten off more than she could chew. Marinette fervently hoped so. It grew deeper, more intense. She had wrapped her arms around his neck and had dug her fingers into his hair. His hands had dropped from her face to her back, eagerly pulling her closer to him.

 

It wasn’t until Marinette had begun to get dizzy that she pulled away, gasping and dragging air into her lungs while Adrien did the same. She turned away from him, as the look in his eyes made her shiver despite being very warm. Both avoided saying anything while they caught their breath but neither moved away from each other. Adrien still had one hand at Mari’s back but neither realised it.

 

“That was…” Mari started but did not know how to finish.

“Enjoyable?” Adrien offered.

“Very, very enjoyable”. Mari glimpsed his grin out of the corner of his eye and tried not to roll her eyes. Men, she thought. But the crimson cheeks and the look in his eyes resulted in her smirking as well.

 

Not to mention the way he kept licking his lips. The realisation that he was tasting her made her want to taste him in return.

“Marinette?”

“Adrien?”

“We’re still under the mistletoe”.

 

Her small smile grew as Mari turned and met his lips with hers.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: And there we go! After five chapters you have your first kiss! I hope it was everything you’ve been waiting for. Adrien and Marinette were certainly satisfied with it. Thanks for reading this far. You and I are officially half way there! Just a whole other half to go. If you have any thoughts I’d love to read them! – @obdobuk

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat—Ch. 4

We’re back with our guest post; @obdobuk! Chapter 4 is now up for all to read, I can’t get enough of Miraculous Ladybug fan fic. Enjoy, folks!

For those who missed the previous chapters, you can find them here -> Ch. 1 Ch. 2 Ch. 3


Chapter 4

This time the scene was completely different. Whilst Nino was very popular at club Miraculous, his beats were famous in certain circles all over Paris. And after making his return to the city known, an old friend of his had been first in line to contact him for another gig.

 

“Nino! It’s Alix! You doing ok?” Nino was just finishing up his paper when his phone had rang. Eager for the distraction he picked it up without seeing who was calling.

“Alix! I’m good thanks. How are things with you?”

“Same old. Listen, I heard you were back in town and was wondering if you wanted another gig? Just like last time”.

 

Nino grinned at the memory and quickly agreed.

“Excellent. We’ll talk details later. But keep Halloween free! It is gonna be amazing”. With a smile on his face, Nino hung up and got back to work, already planning his set.

 

When Halloween came around, Mari, Alya and Nino found themselves in an abandoned warehouse somewhere in the Parisian industrial sector. The chill in the air was being held back by all the dancing bodies as well as a dozen burning oil drums. As Nino worked his magic, Mari looked around at everyone there.

 

Like herself, they were all in full costume. Nino’s gigs always needed a mask but for Halloween everyone upped their game. For the special night, Mari had made some small modifications to their dress. Alya now had a battery icon that pulsed green in time with her heartbeat. She didn’t know how Mari had done it but she didn’t care; she loved it. Marinette wouldn’t say what her own addition was.

“It’s a surprise. You’ll have to wait and see”

 

Alya had begrudgingly let it go, but it had now been all but forgotten. They both stood at the edge of the crowd checking out the competition, because that is exactly what this was. A competition.

 

Alix was a die hard fan of dancing in any shape or form. The competitiveness that had driven her in school had only become more fierce as she had grown up, and she organised some of the fiercest dance-offs that any of them had ever been to. In true Alix fashion, there would only be a single winner. Alya and Mari both had decided that they didn’t care who won. And since no one was counting, neither would be able to tell you that they had both won one each. Tonight was definitely not a tie-breaker.

 

“You could make it less obvious that you’re looking for him”, Alya commented at her friend as she scanned the whole crowd again.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about” Mari replied, turning back towards Alya.

“Of course you don’t. But given how tall the guy is, I’m sure you’ll see him the moment he walks in. Even though you’re not looking”. Mari tried to glare at her friend but she couldn’t keep a straight face. She was hoping Chat would show up tonight but she knew it was a long shot. She knew nothing about him. Odds are she would never see him again. But sometimes the odds were in her favour.

 

“Over there! Mari! Turn Around! But be cool about it!”

Heart racing enough so that she was glad she wasn’t the one with the blinking light, Marinette casually turned in time to see Chat Noir emerge from the crowd and head straight towards them both. He was wearing the same costume as last time but his hair seemed more dishevelled. His eyes, greener.

 

“Lady Wifi. Ladybug. It is good to see you both again”. There was a reckless grin on his face as he looked at Marinette and she felt her own mouth curve into a smile.

“Oh yeah” Alya spoke before she could. “I’m sure you’ve just been dying to meet me again”.

“Well I shamelessly admit I have a favourite”. Mari blushed beneath her makeup. “But a gentlecat must always be well behaved. Plus you are a highly skilled dancer yourself”.

“You’re damn right I am” Alya declared proudly. “But you got some skill yourself. You move like a guy half your size”.

“Thank you but I wouldn’t say I’m that goo-”.

“You are” Marinette interrupted. “You are an amazing dancer”.

 

This time it was Chat who went slightly red, as the bare skin beneath his mask gave him away.

“You are too kind my Lady” he mumbled, dipping his head slightly in thanks.

“I didn’t think I’d see you tonight Chat. If I didn’t know better I’d think you were following me”. Her smile showed she wasn’t being serious.

“My Lady you wound me!” he said, holding a hand to his chest.

“Oh poor little Kitty. Let me make it up to you”. Marinette reached up and scratched behind his fake ears and laughed when Chat purred.

 

“I must admit Buginette, I did not get here by accident. DJ Bubbler is the one I followed here. To see you again is just my good luck”. Mari blushed even more than before. She swore she could feel the heat radiating from your face.

“Well Kitty, I hope you didn’t just come here to flirt with me” She challenged him.

“Would that be so bad?”

“I’d be very disappointed. I came here to dance-”

“And to see the cat”, Alya said quietly but very clearly. Marinette chose to ignore her friend and the look on Chat Noir’s face when he heard her.

“And I mean really dance”, Mari continued. “This is a competition and you’re facing two past winners”.

“I guess I’ll have to show you what I can do. Without holding back. Do you think you can handle me?”

 

Feeling more playful than she had in awhile, Marinette completely closed the distance between her and this beautiful man. Looking up at him, she smiled and whispered, “Chaton, I’ll handle everything you’ve got. But I don’t think you can say the same”.

 

The blood roared through her body and the sound of his ragged gasp was music to her ears. She stepped back until she was next to Alya; his eyes never left hers. The grin upon his lips answered the challenge that she had given. Mari could not wait to dance.

 

/

 

Adrien felt like he was immortal. He had never experienced such a rush before in his life! Standing there with Ladybug, close enough that he could feel her racing heartbeat against his chest, had been the single most exhilarating moment of his life. He had walked away after that. Adrien had said he needed to get ready for the competition but in reality, he had needed to breathe. Simply being next to her had clouded his mind. Although nothing about that encounter had been simple.

 

He stood at the very edge of the warehouse, far away enough from the people and the fires so that he could feel the winter bite in the air. It helped cool him down after his encounter with Ladybug. Despite being so far away, Adrien was acutely aware of every move she made. And from the looks of it, she was watching him as well. He grinned widely not caring whether or not she could see it.

 

Adrien had already stretched before getting dressed and had kept himself loose and limber on the way here. But he paced back and forth to keep his muscles warm and took deep, slow breaths. If winning this competition would impress Ladybug then that’s what he had to do.

 

The music suddenly changed from generic dance to something far more upbeat. Exciting but suspenseful at the same time; Nino really was amazing, Adrien thought to himself. He joined the crowd as they flocked to the centre of the room, leaving a wide open space on the floor for the people to dance.

 

Nino raised his hands into the air and everyone cheered. This was so very different compared to the club, Adrien thought. At Miraculous, Nino had been atop a stage surrounded by the finest equipment and sound systems that could be bought. Here he was standing on a thick piece of wood laid atop two oil drums. There was a cheap desk holding basic equipment which was wired into a mismatched array of car speakers.

 

Yet the skill of the man remained undiminished. Nino performed with his usual enthusiasm regardless of anything else and the crowd was in the palm of his hand.

“We all know why we’re here! Let’s get to it! First up: Timebreaker Vs Lady Wifi!” Nino called out the match-up and everyone screamed before backing up a little bit more. Adrien watched as Lady Wifi came out into the middle with someone he had never seen before.

She was slightly shorter than Wifi and much slighter. Adrien knew right away she was built for speed. She wore a skintight cyclists uniform with dark sunglasses and slicked back hair. Timebreaker also had, he noted, wheels at the bottom of her shoes. Adrien hoped she would do well, but he immediately knew that Lady Wifi was going to walk away the winner.

 

Five minutes later he was proven right. The music had started, a light and quick beat, and Timebreaker immediately blurred into motion. She was definitely fast. But the crowd prefered Wifi’s skill. She moved with supreme confidence, her body being led by the music in ways most people couldn’t imagine. Adrien could easily see why she had won before. Every inch of her possessed rhythm and she used all that she had. Everyone watching could see she danced for fun while Timebreaker was obviously dancing to win. In the end she didn’t.

 

Adrien cheered with everyone else when Nino announced, “I guess it’s pretty clear who the winner is there!”

 

Timebreaker wheeled away looking annoyed as Wifi returned to Ladybug’s side. They were standing on the opposite side to Adrien so it was easy to meet her gaze. Bug smiled at him and laughed when he winked in return.

 

Others came onto the floor and proceeded to go toe to toe with each other. Given that this was his first time, Adrien was not surprised by how many people he didn’t know. But he realised that they all must have known each other. Gamer and Dark Cupid laughed together after their bout. Stoneheart had his arms draped around Horrificator. Vanisher and Antibug taunted each other as only old friends can do.

 

Adrien realised that despite the competition, everyone here knew each other behind the mask. But he was, as far as he knew, the only one who was a stranger to everyone. The only person that he knew was Nino, but the DJ didn’t know it was his friend behind the mask. Besides he was currently busy.

 

Adrien would have been quiet. Adrien would not have spoken to anyone. But he was Chat Noir. He had made his mind up to join a small group next to him when his name was called out, causing him to freeze.

 

“And now it’s last year’s winner Ladybug, against new boy Chat Noir!”

 

Adrien’s head whipped around and his eyes met Bug’s and in that moment he knew she had arranged this. The crowd screamed. Mostly for Ladybug he knew but he liked to think that some were for him. They both walked towards each other until they met in the middle.

“For some reason My Lady, I don’t think this is a coincidence”. Ladybug shrugged her shoulders and Adrien caught a glimpse of something shimmering at her back.

“You never know. Maybe you just got lucky” she smiled.

“Black cats aren’t known for their luck”.

“But ladybugs are”.

 

With a smirk, Adrien stepped backwards and waited. Ladybug did the same. A second later the music began and he could feel the beat in his very bones. Chat Noir threw his head back and laughed. Everyone had one song that belonged to them. That spoke to them in ways words never could. Whose rhythm and beats resonated with their soul.

 

This song belonged to Adrien.

 

He didn’t think or plan. He didn’t even open his eyes. Chat just let the beat take over his body and gave himself fully over to the dance. This was the song that had first made him want to move. This was the song that he had secretly learned to play on both the piano and violin. This was the song that made his heart race yet kept him perfectly calm. This was his song and he loved it.

 

This time when the crowd screamed, he knew they were screaming for him.

 

Adrien was one move flowing effortlessly into the next. His breathing had synced with the song as it always did and there was no stopping him. He felt weightless and yet strong. Flexible and unyielding at the same time.

 

Had Chat kept his eyes open at the beginning he would have seen Ladybug stare in awe at the look upon his face. Almost as if she recognised it. He would have seen her begin to dance in her own way. This music clearly wasn’t as powerful a motivator to her as it was to him but she brought every ounce of skill to the floor as she danced. However she knew that unless her special move killed it tonight, then Chat had won.

 

The music began to build, leading up to its climax and Chat danced harder. He felt renewed. As if reserves of energy had made themselves known to him. He was unstoppable. Unbeatable. Faster he moved with ever increasing grace and power. The crowd had never seen anything like it. And they never would again.

 

With a sharp spin, Chat brought his dance to an end. A flurry of moves followed by a dead stop made the crowd go wild. Kneeling on one leg, Adrien finally opened his eyes. What he saw short-circuited his brain. Ladybug was spinning in front of him.

 

But not like he had been. Faster than he had ever seen before. She revolved and something started to shimmer. As she span, two sparkling pieces of air unfurled from her back and spread out into-

 

Wings!

 

Chat couldn’t breathe. His Lady had wings! She too came to a quick stop, moments after Chat and a second before the music. Her wings stretched out from her sides, defiant in the face of gravity as she smirked down at him. Her chest heaved as she breathed in and out, her face glistening with sweat. Adrien knew that image would be seared into his brain for the rest of time.

 

Ladybug stared down at Chat Noir.

Chat Noir looked up at Ladybug.

For a heartbeat they were the only two in the room. The moment passed.

 

The crowd flooded in and engulfed them. The screams and the roars were deafening. Everyone wanted to grab hold and crush them together. They had never seen such a display. Whoever Chat Noir was he was incredible. If there was ever a match for Ladybug then it was him. They did everything but lift the pair onto their shoulders.

 

“DID YOU SEE THAT! THAT IS NOW THE NEW DEFINITION OF DANCING!” Nino was screaming into his mic, all composure lost. But everyone seemed to agree. Never before had Adrien had so many people celebrate him in this way. He couldn’t help but laugh when his eyes made contact with Bug’s and he saw people touching her wings reverently.

 

“AND THE WINNER OF TONIGHTS CONTEST IS…”

 

/

 

“I still can’t believe you let him win” Alya grumbled as they walked towards the front door. Marinette wasn’t sure who she was talking to and apparently neither did Nino.

“I didn’t let him win”, they both said at the same time. Alya was still unconvinced as they pushed their way through the huge double doors. They wiped their feet as Nino locked up behind them. The grounds had a security system but Nathalie had asked that they lock the door anyway.

 

“Whatever. I’m over it” said Alya who obviously wasn’t. “I’ll beat you both next time”.

“The only way you can do that is if we don’t put Mari against Chat again” Nino chimed in. “Those two just bring something out in each other”. Alya laughed at the look on her friend’s face; everyone knew she had a crush.

 

“I am starving” Mari stated, not even trying to be subtle about the subject change. “I’m going to get some food. If you can behave yourselves, you should join me”. Marinette walked towards the kitchens and Alya and Nino followed, laughing.

 

The kitchens were the same as the rest of the house. They were spacious and well equipped. No expense had been spared. It was, of course, as stylish as a kitchen could be as Gabriel Agreste would accept nothing less. There was an island in the middle of the floor that held the sink and oven. Around the wall was a long unbroken line of black marble countertop flanked above and below by cabinets holding everything that could be needed. Bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables were laid out and the giant double fridge was where Marinette’s head was currently buried in.

 

“This fridge literally has everything I could want”. Her voice was muffled by the fridge but the excitement was clear. Nino and Alya went over and helped her liberate the contents. They scattered chocolate gateau, pasta, pizza, lasagna, trifle and a few other things all around the island; there was more than enough space. Nino then went and raided one of the cupboards and came back with Doritos, Pringles and Oreos. Alya took the latter from him with a smile and a kiss. They sat around their midnight feast and happily ate.

 

A few seconds later they heard a whistle and before any of them realised what was happening, one of the cupboards opened and out walked Adrien, headphones in and arms full of ingredients.

 

Nino was the one who recovered first. “You know since we all live together under the same roof, you think we’d be less surprised when we run into each other”. He continued eating his pizza and Mari kept on with her cake. Adrien, eyes wide at the shock, dumped his haul on the countertop and pulled his headphones out.

 

“I…didn’t realise anyone else was down here” he said nervously. Marinette noticed that despite the ambush, he wasn’t shying away, or even stuttering. He really was becoming more confident with them all. The idea made her happy.

“Yeah man”, Nino answered. “We all just got back and were feeling pretty hungry. Hence the raid”.

“Yeah I was feeling pretty hungry too. Was planning on a little bit of cooking”. He gestured weakly at his pile of food.

“I didn’t realise you could cook”, Mari said between bites. She wanted to keep him talking as she’d noticed that he was more relaxed if he forgot about everything else. He turned a faint red, easily seen under the gentle white lighting.

“Yeah. Some of the cooks taught me how when I would hang out with them”.

 

There was a small silence as they understood the implications of his statement.

 

“Well don’t just stand there Romeo”, Alya suddenly spoke. “Show us these masterchief skills”. By this point, all three were eating casually and watching Adrien stare at his food. Later, Marinette would swear that before he started moving he rolled his shoulders in a very familiar way but neither of the other two saw anything.

 

She watched as he strode round to the food side of the island. Cake, pizza and lasagna found their way onto the plate in his hand before he moved back to his station. “Cooking fuel” he explained simply. Adrien seemed more relaxed as he began sorting through the ingredients. The pizza was finished before he began chopping the onions. Two small ones that were sliced and diced before anyone could complain about the stinging eyes. A green pepper, tomato and a few mushrooms followed suit.

 

“Holy crap man! You can handle a blade” Nino was in shock at the speed at which he had used the knife and Mari agreed. She had been raised around bakers her whole life and they had taught her everything she knew about cooking. But Adrien was cutting faster than anything she had tried before.

“Er yeah, I’ve had a lot of practice. I enjoy cooking.”

“You and my mom would get along great”, Alya said as she finished the last of the biscuits. “She’s a pretty good chef”.

“Pretty good?” Mari replied sarcastically. “She’s the top chef in Paris”.

“Which I would say is pretty good” Alya laughed and everyone joined in. Even Adrien chuckled.

 

They continued to watch as he cracked four eggs and whisked them together in a bowl with some salt and pepper. Butter went into a frying pan on the cooker and when it started to sizzle, Adrien poured in his eggs and lowered the heat.

 

“I’m impressed Agreste. And hungry. Slice me some when you’re done”. Adrien laughed and nodded whilst Nino looked at his girlfriend, aghast.

“You just ate a whole pack of cookies, pasta and trifle!”

“I’ve been burning more calories these days. You should know, you’ve been there with me” Alya winked at Nino and he turned bright red. Mari laughed at them both even as Adrien turned red and tried to suppress his grin.

 

The kitchen filled with the scent of fresh cooked food and they all felt their stomachs groan. Adrien scattered his toppings on the still raw surface and then expertly flipped his omelette, catching it in the pan.

 

The others applauded, making him blush again. While it cooked, Mari watched as Adrien absentmindedly finished his food before poking at the pan. She was glad he was here. There was no point living in one home but still not being friends with them all. She knew he hadn’t had the same social experiences as the rest of them so she hated to push. But after he had helped her when she was injured, Marinette was happy he was comfortable around them all.

 

Adrien finally cut the omelette into quarters with the edge of the spatula and gave everyone a piece. There was silence as the first bites were taken, then-

 

“Oh my God! This is so good!” Alya squealed, eyes closed in ecstasy as she savoured every bite. The moans of appreciation coming from Marinette and Nino agreed with her. Mari was in heaven. Everything about it is perfect, she thought. When she was done there was more than a little bit of sadness as she opened her eyes.

 

She looked at Adrien as he finished his own and said “not bad”. Everyone looked at him in shock. “What?” he replied suddenly nervous. “It was good but not my best”.

 

“That…was the single greatest omelette I’ve ever eaten in my life and it wasn’t your best?” Alya looked almost offended as she glared at Adrien. And whether it was out of shock or culinary pride, Adrien didn’t back down.

“No not really” he replied calmly. “The best one I’ve ever made was some sort of omelette/pizza hybrid. Eggs, pepperoni, onions, peppers, grated cheese then another layer of eggs. It was magical”.

“You HAVE to make that for us!” Alya insisted. The look in her eyes was almost maniacal. Nino put a restraining hand on her shoulder which she shook off. “If you do Marinette will make you her famous cookies!”

“Wait what?” Marinette’s head shot up from where she was slowly polishing off a big piece of lasagna. The dancing had used a lot of energy and she was seriously hungry.

“Omelette pizza in exchange for cookies that you could make in your sleep! You know that’s a good deal!”

 

Marinette was thinking with her stomach but her head agreed as well. “Deal”. All eyes fell to Adrien who shook his head with a small smile.

“Deal”.

 

“YES!” Alya pumped her fist through the air. “Ok what do we need? Do we have all the-”

“Not now Alya!” Three separate voices harmonised and brought Alya to a stop.

“Why not?”

“Because”, Nino began, “It’s 3am and we’ve all already destroyed almost all the food here. So how about we leave the food bartering until another time?”

 

Marinette laughed while Nino led his girlfriend out of the kitchen as she protested that “it is always the right time for omelette pizza” and turned back to face Adrien.

“It really was delicious Adrien. Thank you for sharing it”.

“It was my pleasure, I’m glad you enjoyed it”. They smiled at each other then surveyed the mess that was left.

“I guess we should clean up”.

“Well…yeah but…I might eat a little more first”, Adrien said as he moved closer to the food and her. “But if you’re tired then you should go to sleep. I’ll clean this up”.

“That is very kind of you” she grinned, pulling the cake closer to them. “But it would be rude of me to leave all of this to you”. Adrien moved and sat next to Marinette, close enough that their legs brushed, and took a forkful of the cake.

 

“This is really delicious” he appreciated. Marinette agreed and between them they finished the cake and most of the rest. What was left they packed away and cleaned the kitchen afterwards. They walked towards the stairs and Mari paused, confused, when Adrien turned away.

“I’m a bit too full to sleep, I was planning to take a walk around the gardens”. Her eyes lit up at the thought of her gardens at night. Adrien had clearly seen as he invited her along with a hesitant smile.

 

Marinette was very relaxed as they strolled through the gardens together. Neither said much but it was a companionable silence. Just like she felt with Alya and Nino. The grass was wet and the air cold but her plants sparkled in the sporadic moonlight. She breathed deeply of the grass and the leaves and the mud. The mix of green scents was almost soporific and Marinette found herself swaying more and more. But she still continued to move forwards, unaware Adrien had placed a steadying hand at the small of her back.

As they walked, she leaned against him more and more until, as they finally made it back inside the house, her head was on his shoulder and his arm around her waist. They wiped their shoes and slowly trod up the stairs. Adrien led her to her room and helped her open the door. They untangled from each other and Mari walked inside.

 

“Adrien?”

 

He had begun to walk away but turned back at the sound of her sleepy voice.

“Yes Mari?”

“I’m glad we’re friends now. I like you”.

 

Marinette was tired. Too tired to notice his widening eyes or his faint blush or his small smile.

“Me too Mari. Me too”.

 

She gave him a sleepy smile and wished him goodnight before closing her door. A change of clothes and a trip to the bathroom later, Marnette climbed into bed and immediately fell asleep. All the dancing and the very late night and the walking had tired her out. Her dreams were full of black cats and moonlight.

 

/

 

Adrien was pacing in his room. On one hand he was ecstatic. He had spent time with all three of them. He had been part of the group. He was so happy and more than a little proud of himself. On the other hand he was torn. Tonight he had flirted with Ladybug. She had been so close to him that she must have heard his heart racing. He had felt her press into him for the shortest instant. His head had spun and her laugh had almost killed him. Even now he could see her wings when he closed his eyes.

 

He knew he was falling for her. And fast.

 

But just now, when Mari had smiled at him and said “I like you”. A part of him had hoped she had meant it in a way he knew she didn’t. Her smiles and her laughs always made him feel happier. She was a genuinely amazing person. He didn’t know what to do.

 

“But she will!”

 

Adrien threw himself down at his computer and began composing an email. He didn’t mean for it to be so detailed, but his communiques had been rare lately so he ended up with a four page missive for his pen pal. She wasn’t the nicest of people but she meant well. At least to him. When he sent it, Adrien felt relieved. Her advice was always solid. He didn’t always follow it but it was good nonetheless. Changing his clothes, Adrien climbed into bed and nestled into his pillow.

 

Closing his eyes, he saw Ladybug spinning. He saw his friends laughing. He saw Marinette smiling at him. His dreams were sweet.


AUTHOR’S NOTE: “And there we have it. It took a few months but Adrien is now friends with all of them. And maybe more? Who knows. I guess you’ll have to read and find out. I know it’s weird for the middle of June but the next chapter will be a Christmas one. And who doesn’t love that? Thanks for reading!” – @obdobuk


Bonus feature: “Her wings stretched out from her sides, defiant in the face of gravity as she smirked down at him.”

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I drew one of my favourite scene in this fic, I just loved that part so much. – Hannah Mae

One Post at a Time

Puntastic Postcards


If you follow my blog, you would notice that my sister tends to travel quite a bit. She often brings back souvenirs for the family and my souvenirs contain snow globes (I love them), books, tea, nerdy things and postcards.

She normally would not tell me that she sent one to me with silly puns on them. It’s always a nice surprise to come home and find a little something from her travels. I received two during the beginning of this month:

This beautiful wooden postcard was from her mini trip to Niagara falls. The imagery is etched on the wood, including the location. I love how it looks, it really captures the falls! This may have topped the one I received from San Francisco.

This one is from Stratford when she visited the Shakespearean garden. She said they didn’t have much postcards around, but this is a nice view of the place I think. I would like to have a stroll here and take a gander of a few things. Look at the scenery!

These little gems are special to me, because she takes the time to pick a card that I would like and writes something personal for me each time. The postcards and the snow globes are the two things that I adore receiving from her travels, the rest of the souvenirs are major bonuses!

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat—Ch. 3

Hello everyone, we are back with the fan fic written by my first guest @obdobuk! In case you missed it, he is writing an exclusive short fan-fiction based on the infamous TV series, Miraculous Ladybug. For those who missed the previous chapters, you can click Ch. 1 and Ch. 2—happy reading!


Chapter 3

Adrien couldn’t stop laughing. It was six in the morning and he was in his room, sitting on his couch laughing hysterically. He knew he could be as loud as he wanted and no one would hear; he wouldn’t wake anyone up. If there was even anyone nearby to wake up. Adrien didn’t know if Nino had yet returned from the club and he didn’t know where Marinette and Alya were. He hadn’t seen them there at all, and had only been able to recognise Nino from the music decks he had been surrounded by.

 

The night had been amazing…

 

Adrien had waited an hour after the other three had left before sneaking out. Even though he lived without any supervision, sometimes his movements managed to make it back to his father. ‘Best to err on the side of caution’ Adrien thought, as he climbed out of his window before scaling the garden walls.

 

A taxi found a tall blond man in a black and green hoody wearing sweatpants and a cat’s mask that covered most of his face. Even without the streetlights, the driver would’ve seen the wide grin on his face.

 

Adrien made it into the club in the early morning and walked into his first dance scene. It was better than he had pictured it; the flashing lights and the smell of sweat and permeating everything was the thumping of Nino’s music. A group of young men and women around his age looked over at him and, like the cat he was dressed as, he went stiff and the hairs stood up on the back of his neck.

 

But there was no recognition. Two of them laughed and gave his costume a thumbs up before returning to their drinks. It took a few seconds before it sank in.

“They can’t recognise me”. Adrien couldn’t hear himself over the sound of the music but it didn’t matter. A smile was growing wider and wider upon his face as the joy built within his chest. Behind this mask, he was free.

 

With a howl of delight, Adrien threw himself into the writhing mass of bodies and let himself act as wild as everyone else. He loved every minute of it. Never in his life had he ever been able to act so…young. He was always having to be in control around people; first because of how he was raised and then because he was afraid they wouldn’t accept him any other way. But with this music, Adrien was free to let loose. Soon after however, the music changed.

 

Adrien followed suit as everyone around him stopped and focussed on two women standing in a growing space. They were swaying with the music and before they had even taken their first step, Adrien knew they would be amazing.

 

He was right.

They both moved like nothing he’d ever seen before. In all of his years, first dancing for fitness and coordination and then for fun, Adrien had never known anyone to move like they did. The internet girl was raw power with flawless rhythm while the bug preferred grace and speed.

 

Adrien was in awe. They were perfectly in time with each other without even looking. They danced better than anyone he had ever seen and, to him at least, the Bug was amazingly beautiful. If pressed, Adrien would say it was her eyes that got him, but in truth it was all of her. From the way she danced to the way she smiled and everything in between.

 

He cheered with everyone else when she had finished but didn’t have the nerve to go up and talk to her. Instead he kept dancing, wondering what it would be like to dance with her.

 

Three more times the two women came up to dance and every time he was blown away by their talent. Others had begun challenging them as well. Men and women who, incorrectly, thought they were as good as the two women who had dominated the dance floor tonight. Every time the call came for challengers, Adrien yearned to throw his hand up and test himself against them. But he held himself back until Nino had announced that this was the final dance.

 

Sitting on his couch, Adrien’s heart sped up again at the memory.

 

He had raised his hand and Nino had given him the moniker of Chat Noir as he walked into the wide open space. Everyone had cheered as he stepped out and Adrien could see Ladybug smiling and cheering for him as well. He was sure Lady Wifi was as well but he only had eyes for the Bug.

 

No one expected anything from him. Then he started moving and everyone changed their minds. He danced in a way that none of them had seen that night. Ladybug and Lady Wifi were short and slim. Adrien was much taller and much more muscular. When he danced, everyone gasped. The power he was able to use coupled with his grace and balance was incredible. From spinning in one spot to gliding weightlessly across the floor. Writhing with the beat as everyone roared.

 

But he only had eyes for her.

 

And the Bugs eyes were wide and glowing. ‘She’s impressed!’ His ecstatic thoughts pushed him to new heights. Bouncing from place to place. Twisting in mid-air before dropping to his knees. He let go and became Chat Noir, dancing like a madman. Doing things he had never tried before and pulling them off by the best combination of skill and luck.

 

It was fun. He felt the same way he did when he played music. Doing it for the thrill of the act itself. When he stopped moving, everyone screamed. But once again he only cared about her. He walked towards her and she rushed forwards to meet him halfway.

“That was incredible! I loved it!” Her smile was wide and her eyes bright. Every word made him feel amazing.

“Thank you Ladybug. That means a lot. I was hoping it would impress you”.

“It really did. Where did you learn how to dance like that?”

 

They were surrounded by the crowd, all patting them on the back and trying to push drinks on them but they only spoke to each other.

“Oh here and there”.

 

Adrien had no idea where this side of him had been hiding but he was enjoying it immensely. And it seemed so did she.

“Mon minou”, she laughed. “You’re being very mysterious”.

“A cat has to keep some secrets from his Bug”. Her eyes twinkled.

Your Bug?” Chat Noir leaned in closer as if for a kiss.

“If you’ll have me”.

 

Giggling, Ladybug placed her finger upon his nose and pushed him away.

“Easy kitten. We’ve only just met”. Over her shoulder, Lady Wifi had appeared and was pulling her away. “See you next time Chat!” In a heartbeat she was gone, vanishing into the crowd. And from then until he fell asleep, Adrien could not stop smiling.

 

/

 

Mari woke up late. Her, Alya and Nino had returned home at around six and she, feeling well exercised and delightfully spent, had immediately fallen into a deep sleep. When she awoke she just laid in bed and relaxed.

 

Last night had been wonderful. It had been so long since she had danced like that. Marinette couldn’t stop smiling. The music, the club…everything had been perfect. She flipped her pillow around and hugged the cool side close to her face. Her door opened as Alya made her way in before dropping onto her bed.

“Last night was epic” she said, worming her way under the covers.

“So good”.

“That guy at the end liked you”.

“Chat Noir? Don’t be crazy. I bet he’s like that with all the girls”.

“No way. There were girls there built like strippers, looking like models and wearing barely anything but his eyes never left you. He likes the way you move”.

“He moves pretty well himself” Mari admitted.

“And he looks good while he does it”.

“Don’t let Nino hear you say that”.

“Who do you think pointed it out?”

 

The lifelong friends laughed amongst themselves as they talked for almost an hour and Marinette kept thinking about the Chat Noir, the way he danced and the grin on his face while he did it.

 

It was an easy Sunday for them. They had no plans other than relax and recuperate. The three of them ate a small meal and relaxed in the lounge. The fire was crackling in a very cliche manner, as Alya pointed out, and they spent the entire day talking about last night. Nino agreed with Alya that the Chat Noir character had been particularly interested in Marinette.

 

Marinette denied everything.

 

“Do you think we should invite Adrien out with us next time?” Nino asked. Mari smiled at the mental image while Alya simply burst out laughing.

“That man can barely look me in the eye for longer than two seconds without running away. I think the dance scene might be a little out of his comfort zone”. Alya sat on one of the couches with Nino’s head on her lap, with Mari opposite them. He looked up at his girlfriend.

“I’m telling you he’s a nice guy. Just really shy”.

“So you think the best place to take a shy young man is a dance club surrounded by attractive people wearing revealing clothing all pressing in on you?”

Nino was silent for a beat then, “shut up”.

 

Marinette laughed with Alya but privately agreed, Adrien would hate it there. It’s a shame though, she thought. He should relax every once in awhile. Just then the image of him playing his violin came back to her and she almost groaned. She did not need this again.

 

 

The days passed and school continued but Mari and the others found that they were becoming used to the workload. It didn’t pile up as often as it had and they had more free time on their hands. Alya had taken to sleeping more and Nino to hanging with Adrien which Mari genuinely approved of. She still felt guilty that they were all living in his house and he did seem very alone when she saw him. Her free time was spent in the gardens.

 

Even though the weather was getting colder and a little wetter, Marinette loved the gardens. Growing up in the centre of Paris meant that apart from a few plants on her balcony, she had never had such greenery so close by and now she found that she enjoyed walking around the grounds.The pool was cold and the court was covered, but Mari did not care. It was the gardens themselves she was in love with.

 

The endless grass and the trees that hung over everything; their limbs strong and proud with the smaller branches sagging under the weight and reaching for the ground. Oak trees in every corner as if pinning the garden down with Willows and Walnuts and Sycamores scattered around. The flowerbeds were also full of colours and shapes, some fading with the weather while others held on a little longer. Roses of varying colours, Lilies, Hydrangeas, Daffodils. There was even, Marinette was delighted to find, a small bamboo plant growing in a secluded area of the garden. She had found it a few days earlier when she noticed a rough path behind one of the Oaks.

 

She travelled that path now as she had then. Behind the tree and through a small hedge until she came to a small area with the bamboo shoots rising out of the rich dirt. But this time Adrien was there.

 

With the quietest squeak, Marinette stumbled to a halt, rustling the leaves on the floor. She could see Adrien head perk up at the noise but he didn’t turn around.

“My mother planted this”.

The only thing that could have shocked Marinette more than randomly meeting Adrien, was Adrien talking to her as if it was an everyday occurrence. And without the stuttering or mumbling she normally heard from him, Marinette realised that Adrien had a very pleasant voice.

 

“I don’t really remember her much”, he continued. “Just a few memories, some of which I’ve probably made up from pictures I’ve seen. And then Nathalie told me about this place. Apparently my mother loved the garden. She refused to let anyone touch it; it belonged to her. She planted this in secret from my father and she used to bring me here. I remember that very clearly but I honestly thought it was a fantasy. Or a dream. it’s one of my favourite places”.

 

Adrien turned around and made eye contact with her. The moment he saw her, he froze. Marinette in turn panicked at once again sneaking up on him during a private moment and tried to flee. Spinning around, Mari tried to run through the hedge but her foot tangled on some roots and she went down.

 

“Marinette!”

 

As far as she could tell, she wasn’t injured but the moment she tried to stand up, her ankle flared and she went tumbling back to the ground. She was pushing herself up again when she felt Adrien kneel down next to her.

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah I’m fine. Seriously don’t worry”. Marinette tried to stand again but once again, her ankle hurt so bad Adrien had to grab her shoulders to stop her from hitting the floor again. He threw her arm over his shoulder, moved both of his beneath her and then before she knew it, Mari was being carried full on damsel style by Adrien Agreste.

 

Now it was her turn to stammer and stutter.

“Ad-drien you don’t nee-this is real-you can p-put me down. I’m fine!” She tried looking up at him but when he looked back at her, her face turned red and she turned away.

“Marinette you could barely stand. I am not putting you down”.

 

Mari kept trying to persuade him but Adrien didn’t let go. Which, she admitted to herself, was probably the right decision. As he walked the distance back to the house, she noticed that he wasn’t even breathing heavily. She wasn’t very tall but she was still a grown woman with more muscle than most, thanks to her dancing. But Adrien might as well have been carrying a child.

 

Once back inside the house, he carried her to the lounge and set her down on a sofa.

“I think we should go to the hospital”, Adrien said as he knelt down beside her. “It may be broken”.

“It’s not” Mari replied. “I’ve broken a few bones before. This is just a twisted ankle”. Adrien looked torn.

“You know it’s no trouble right? I don’t mind taking you”.

“No that’s not it. I need my ankle far too much to risk it being silly. I promise. It’s just twisted”.

 

Adrien stared at her for a moment, brow furrowed as if debating if she was being genuine or not. Eventually he nodded.

“Ok then. No hospital”, he stood up and walked out of the room. “Wait here for a second” he called back.

 

Without having much of a choice, Marinette sat back and waited. She looked around the room and rubbed her hands together; she didn’t know what else to do. Eventually she heard his footsteps and, once again, had the urge to bolt.

 

Adrien came back into the room with his arms full of various items. He knelt next to her couch and began laying them out.

“Ok so I have ice, frozen peas, bandages, painkillers, cream and some water”. Marinette became more and more bemused as he listed everything.

“What’s the water for?”

“You” he said handing her the bottle. “You should drink”.

 

Still in shock at what he was doing, Marinette took a sip of her water which she almost spat out as he began unlacing her shoe.

“What are you doing?” she exclaimed, raising her hand to her mouth to stop water from spraying him.

“We have to take your shoe off otherwise it’ll start getting tight when the swelling gets worse”.

 

Marinette watched as world famous model, Adrien Agreste, fully unlaced her shoe and eased it off of her foot followed by her sock. Despite how slow he moved, it still caused her to grimace in pain for which, Adrien apologised. Then, lifting her foot, he slid the ice pack beneath her ankle before resting the peas on top. Mari immediately felt relief.

 

“Thank you” she sighed gratefully. Adrien, still sitting on the floor, simply nodded. “Who did you think I was? When you started talking about your mother” Mari clarified when he looked confused.

“Oh. I thought you were Nino”. He looked away from her and once again Mari felt bad that he was forced to have three extra people in his own home. Just because he was starting to get along with Nino doesn’t mean he suddenly loved the situation.

 

Her phone buzzed. “It’s Alya” she said, reading the message. “She said she’s coming home as fast as she can but it’ll be about ten minutes”. Mari had texted her friends about what happened just so that they would know. But trying to stop Alya from coming back was like trying to stop the tide.

 

Adrien nodded and stood up, avoiding her gaze and shuffling awkwardly on the spot. “That’s good. I’ll leave you alone then. You have the medicine” he said pointing at the small pile at her side. “Is there anything else you need?” When she shook her head, Adrien nodded once more and began to leave.

 

“Thank you!” Mari blurted out causing him to stop and half turn towards her. “Thank you for helping me out”. Adrien waved away her thanks and continued walking away. “And I’m sorry”.

 

This time he fully turned to face her, an expression of confusion upon his face.

“Why are you apologising?”

“Because this was your home and we kind of just started living here. I mean, we couldn’t have afforded to live on campus so if we didn’t want to travel almost three hours a day we would have been forced to go to worse schools. I’m really grateful to live here, we all are, but you had this amazing home all to yourself and we kind of just intruded so…yeah. I’m sorry”

 

Marinette didn’t know why she was talking so much. But she wanted to say something as she doubted whether she would ever have such an opportunity again. Curiously, Adrien hadn’t looked away. He stood in the doorway with a look on his face that Mari couldn’t decipher.

“Mari, this wasn’t a home before you came. It was a house. A big empty building with no noise and no laughter. Just me. I know it doesn’t seem like it because I’m not good with people but, I’m really happy you guys are here”.

 

Adrien gripped the back of his neck in a nervous gesture and turned from the room. “I mean, did you seriously think this was all my father’s idea?”

 

Marinette sat on the couch thinking about misconceptions and how to move forwards until Alya rushed in ten minutes later and immediately went into big sister mode. It was an exhausting afternoon after that.

 

/

 

With a mountain of pillows beneath his back, Adrien reclined on his bed while he worked. He was making good progress with his paper when the dinner gong sounded and his stomach growled almost a second later. A lifetime of hearing that bell before dinner had resulted in a Pavlovian response. Putting his computer to sleep, Adrien wondered about what he would bring up to his room tonight when a knock on his door caused him to start.

 

“Er…yes?”

Adrien could not begin to guess at who was at the door. Had Nathalie dropped by for an unannounced visit? It definitely wasn’t his father; he never knocked.

 

The door opened and Nino’s head popped through the gap.

“Hey man, gonna come down for some food?” Despite having spoken to both Nino and Marinette separately, the idea of eating with all three of them made him panic.

“Er well I have a lot of work to do” Adrien mumbled, feebly gesturing at his laptop.

“Are you sure? Alya is eating with Mari in her room because she can’t really move so it’ll be just me down there and I would enjoy the company”.

 

A noticeably relieved Adrien smiled and got up from his bed.

“It would be nice to eat at a table for a change”.

 

As he walked into the Dining room, Adrien felt as if it had been months since he had stepped in it last. ‘Everything seems so new’ he thought as he sat opposite Nino. The chef who laid out the meal of ravioli, steamed vegetables and garlic bread seemed very happy to see Adrien eating with a friend. But the young man didn’t notice.

 

“Mari told us what happened today” Nino said, filling his plate after they had both thanked Bruce for the food. “I mean she’s in pain and that’s not good. But between us, it sounds like it was pretty funny”. Adrien, who had not been expected that, almost choked on his food. Nino sat and grinned at the sight of his friend trying to keep his meal in his mouth.

 

“Oh man it definitely must have been funny” Nino continued as he began eating. Adrien eventually managed to calm down even though his eyes still watered.

“I mean, at the time I thought she’d broken her ankle so I was pretty scared but looking back…it may have been a little funny”. This time it was Nino who laughed.

“So what actually happened? I mean I know she tripped and fell but what were you guys doing out there? She never said”.

 

Adrien was a little shocked. He had expected Mari to tell them everything but it seemed as though she had kept the details to herself. She hadn’t told them about his mother’s secret garden.

“I was just in the garden and I heard someone come up behind me. Actually Nino, I thought it was you and I just started talking. After a bit I turned around and saw it was Mari”. Nino noticed the use of her nickname but said nothing. “I froze, she bolted and went flying. That’s when I picked her up and carried her back”.

 

Still unused to talking much, Adrien resumed eating a little more rapidly than he normally would. Even with Nino there were still times he became a little self-conscious. But he was trying to get past it.

“I’m glad you were there man”, Nino commented casually as he too kept eating. “It’s good to know Mari has another friend she can rely on”.

 

He’d said it so casually that Adrien had almost missed it but eventually he processed it. Friend, Nino had said. Was Marinette his friend? He wanted her to be. But he had caused her to fall over. Were they friends inspite of that? Were they friends because of that?

 

“This is good food” Nino said as he speared another piece of ravioli on his fork and ate it. “And it’s good to see you down here. You should join us more often man. We’d love to hang out with you more”. Adrien was now approaching a state of confused combustion.

 

The idea that they wanted to spend time with him made him ecstatic.

The idea of actually spending time with them all made him terrified.

The idea that Nino was lying to take pity on him made him depressed.

 

His expression must have betrayed how he was feeling as Nino hurried to add, “but there’s no rush. We have all the time in the year”.

 

The conversation turned to what shows they were watching when they had the time and Nino mentioned that one of his favourite animes was showing it’s long-awaited season two.

“But it was not made for a laptop screen. Titans should be slaughtered on a big tv”. Adrien laughed.

“Yeah my parents were not fans of television so I had to buy and install one myself”.

 

Nino’s head flew up and he locked onto Adrien’s eyes with such intensity that the model began to get nervous.

“Err…Ni-”

“You have your own tv?”

“Er..Yeah”

“What kind?”

“OLED. 60 inch”

 

Nino’s entire face began to glow as he imagined it in his head. Adrien, who had by now looked away from his friend, began eating the apple pie that had been served as dessert. He had almost finished it by the time Nino spoke again.

 

“Feel free to say no but, what do you say to you showing me your set-up and me showing you the glories of Attack on Titan?”

“I’ve been meaning to watch that. Sounds like a plan”. Adrien happily agreed to spend more time with his friend but after a second felt a little bad. “Are you sure you don’t want to see Alya or Mari? I mean you don’t have to-”.

 

Adrien cut off the rest of that sentence and Nino, displaying his usual social grace, didn’t draw attention to it.

“There isn’t much for me to do honestly, you did all the real work. I’ll check in on her though. You’re more than welcome to come with me. See how she is”.

Knowing that it was the polite thing to do, despite his nerves, was how Adrien found himself walking through Marinette’s doorway with Nino’s arm draped across his shoulders.

 

The first thing he noticed was that her room smelled like her. He knew he shouldn’t be surprised but he was. Pleasantly so. She wore a very nice perfume that he couldn’t recognise and her room was full of the scent. Adrien tried not to look around so as to respect her privacy. But he also couldn’t make eye contact with either girl for more than a split second without looking away. All in all, the distance from the door to her bed seemed much longer than it actually was.

 

“Ladies how are we doing?” Nino asked as they stopped at Mari’s bedside. “We just wanted to stop in to point and laugh at you”.

“Very funny Nino” Mari deadpanned while Alya threw a pillow at him.

“How are you feeling Marinette? Is there anything we can get you?” Adrien coloured slightly as he forced himself to meet her gaze. This caused her to redden as well.

“I’m fine thanks Adrien. I still have the medicine you gave me so I’m good for now”. She smiled in gratitude which made them both go red. It was painful for Alya to watch.

 

So of course she had to make it worse.

 

“Agreste. I hear you carried my girl from the bottom of the gardens all the way back up here without breaking a sweat. Is this true?” Nino almost lost it at the look on Adrian’s face. The poor guy had gone wide-eyed and could barely string a sentence together.

“Err…I-well”.

“And I know that’s not easy. She’s all muscle. Nice body, curved like a dream. Wouldn’t you agree?”

 

At this point Marinette became just as red as Adrien and tried to grab Alya to shut her up. But being immobile made it slightly difficult. Nino decided to get Adrien away before his girlfriend ruined all the progress Adrien had made.

“Ok crazy woman. Away with you. We have more important plans than listening to your nonsense”. Nino guided the still stuttering model out as he had guided him in. Just as he closed the door they both heard Mari explode at her oldest friend.

 

“ALYA I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!”

 

They had made it down the hall and into Adrien’s room before he had regained some semblance of normal speech. Nino was doing most of the talking and they were both fine with that.

“I didn’t get a good look earlier but I really like your room man”, he said as he looked around. “It’s very stylish but also really comfy”.

 

Adrien looked at his room through Nino’s eyes. As he had lived here his whole life it was much fuller than the other three. The bed, desk and the other furniture was clearly of the finest quality. There was a high end computer on the desk and various chairs and couches arranged around his room. Nino gestured towards the couch that was facing a wardrobe.

“Unless you are really into your clothes, I’m guessing you hid it in there?” Adrien nodded and they both sat down on the soft, warm sofa. One button on the remote opened the doors and another turned the tv on. The picture quality almost made Nino weep. “It’s so beautiful!”

 

With a grin, Adrien felt back to his old self. Or rather, his new self. They relaxed back and Adrien handed over control to Nino who began streaming the first episode. A second later he paused it and turned to Adrien with a look on his face.

“Are you one of those people who talk during movies and shows?” Adrien cocked a perfect eyebrow.

“Do I look like a barbarian?” Nino smiled in relief.

“Good. Alya and Mari do it all the time. Literally. All. The. Time”. Adrien made a face of shock and horror.

“How can you stand to watch anything with them?”

“When I absolutely have to, I get them both a lot of popcorn. Then they’re normally too busy eating to talk. But when I can’t do that, I join my best friend and watch stuff on his TV”. Adrien looked confused and Nino sighed.

“You, dude. I’m talking about you”.

 

Once again it took Adrien a second to process what had been said but once he had, he felt a swell of happiness wash over him.

“Oh. Cool”. He didn’t know what else to say but thankfully Nino didn’t expect much.

“Hell yeah”. Nino played the anime and they both settled in to watch.

 

“Also, I refuse to watch this in anything but the original Japanese”.

“Once again, not a barbarian”.


AUTHOR’S NOTE:A little bit of LadyNoir and a little bit of AdriNette. Thank you all for reading, I’d love to hear what you think so far! I am a great believer in the Bro-hood that is Adrien and Nino. And yes, I am an Attack on Titan fan as well. If only I could watch it on a TV like Adrien’s. Come back soon for chapter 4!– @obdobuk

GUEST POST: Beauty and the Beat—Ch. 2

In case you missed it, I started featuring guests on my blog, and my first guest is @obdobuk! He wrote a short fan-fiction based on the infamous TV series, Miraculous Ladybug. If you missed Ch. 1, click here.


Chapter 2

Marinette dragged herself over to her bed and collapsed down on it. She was exhausted. It had been three weeks since she had started ENS and she couldn’t remember being as tired as she was in that moment. Nothing could have prepared her for the workload she had been given. From day one she had been dropped in the deep end.

Design analysis.

Fabric and material research.

Reports on recurring trends.

History of fashion.

Economics and management.

And these were, according to her professors, the easy weeks. All she wanted to do was sleep for the next fourteen hours but she knew she couldn’t. At least not without a shower; it had been a hectic day and she desperately needed the miracle that was her own personal shower. It was such a wonderful fixture that just the idea of it overcame her fatigue and allowed her to stand up. Her bag and portfolio, which she had dropped on her way down, could wait.

She shucked off her clothes and headed in.

When she had woken up on that first morning, Mari realised that she didn’t know what her bathroom looked like. Based on the rest of the house, she knew it would be amazing but was unprepared for the sheer magnificence of it all. When she had first opened the door, her jaw dropped. Marinette would have stood there gawping at her bathroom had she not really needed to use it. The first thing that she saw had been the claw-footed bath right in the centre of the room. A shimmering white fixture atop metal feet that glinted against the black marble floor. To the side was the sink and toilet, both equally white. And in the corner was a giant walk in shower; big enough to fit four. It was without a doubt her favourite part.

Marinette stepped into the enclosure and turned the water on. It fell from above like rain but also sprayed her body from multiple smaller jets. The water was almost hot enough to burn and she loved it that way. She spent at last twenty minutes under the water. Lathering, soaping and simply relaxing. And by the time she got out Mari was feeling much better.

She lounged in her room in a robe and a towel as she dried off. ‘Maybe it’s because I’ve been so busy’ she thought, ‘but I feel more at home here than I thought I would’.

Her room was definitely lived in; it was a mess. Reports scattered across her desk, catalogues and designs strewn across the floor. Posters she had received during her first week were up on the wall. Marinette’s process was chaotic and it showed.

She sighed contentedly. Mari loved her room.

Bzzzt

She picked up her phone to see Alya messaging her from the dining room. Dinner was being served. A second later she heard the loud gong that the cooks struck when the meal was ready. After the first day she had learned that they took great pleasure in being the one to hit the metal disc. Everyone had laughed.

Marinette hated being late for dinner. Not only because she was often hungry by then but because she felt it was rude. The cooks went to so much trouble for them all, they could at least be on time. In clean pyjamas, Marinette ran out of her room, down the hall and straight into Adrien as he came up the stairs.

“Oh my g- I’m so sorry Ad- Mr Agreste”. Marinette had almost reached out to steady him but he recovered his balance fairly well considering he had been at the top step upon one foot. He glanced at her once then looked away as he nodded in acceptance of her apology. Without a single word Adrien vanished into his room, leaving Mari standing there perplexed.

“Where you been girl?” Alya asked as she finally entered the dining room. The other two had already started eating and there was no one else around. Sitting down, Marinette filled her plate with slices of roast beef with stuffing, vegetables and potatoes.

“I ran into Adrien on the stairs. Literally. Almost knocked him down them but he’s pretty well balanced for a big guy”.

“Why must you attack our gracious and friendly host?” Alya asked so sincerely that Nino almost choked on his food.

“Go easy on him. He’s nice enough and he hasn’t kicked us out yet” Marinette said, pounding her friends back as he tried to breathe.

Between bites they talked of their day and their work.

“There’s just so much to do and I’m going insane! I just want to relax and have fun for a little bit. Is that too much to ask?” Alya looked up at the sky as if asking a higher power but it was Nino who answered.

“Well I may have the solution. I just got a gig next weekend”. By the way their eyes lit up, Nino knew they were in. “Maybe it’s time to dust off the old gear. I trust you brought them with you?”

Their laughter and smiles told him they had indeed brought everything with them.

Marinette happily finished the rest of the meal and the trifle for dessert. Had Nino proposed this before her shower she would have been to tired to even think of saying yes. But now she could not wait. Marinette loved to dance.

/

Adrien sighed as he collapsed back onto his bed. He was not making as much progress with his social life as he thought he would. He wasn’t making any progress. It had been two days since he had almost knocked Marinette down on the stairs but he still blushed when he thought about it.

“This is not the impression you wanted to make” Adrien scolded himself. His studies weren’t that bad. His tutors had always pushed him to work harder and learn faster so the rigours of university level education weren’t that difficult for him. He was studying Business and Management to prepare for the day he took over from his father. Adrien didn’t hate the idea as much as he thought he would. The company was a legacy. Something passed from parent to child. That his father would trust him with the company he had started…

But perhaps he would change the name. Agreste. His father would approve.

“I could run the company and take it to new heights. At least then I’d have an excuse for not having friends”.

Adrien’s dark humour was enough to get him moving again. He had very little work to do and, based on the last few weeks, he knew he had the house to himself for the next few hours. As he showered, Adrien realised that he didn’t loathe coming home as much as he used to. Knowing that people were going to be in the house with him. Even if he was yet to talk to them.

With his hair still damp Adrien strolled up and down through the hallways; his favourite room in this house had always been the music room. As he always did when he walked in, Adrien took in every inch of it as if for the first time. The stained oak floor and the white mantle. The black piano in one corner, the violin stand in another. A bookcase full of music and a window letting in the light.

Adrien took a deep breath full of wood and paper and then smiled. In his opinion this room was definitely the best. He walked around it, casting his hand out like a fishing lure and trailing it across every surface he moved past. His fingers came to rest upon the piano but it didn’t seem right. Not now. Now he was feeling restless…energetic. But not piano energetic. Adrien moved across the room and opened the violin case. Picking it up by the neck, the first thing he did was gently wipe it down. And then, after tightening the bow, Adrien brought the two together.

He was slow at first. Adrien let his fingers become readjusted to the strings; his arm relaxing into the once awkward angle required to hold the instrument. He drew the bow across the violin and produced a single, clear note. Then another. And another. A slow rising scale that echoed off the walls and the floor to surround him in crystal clear sound.

Falling back into the rhythm he sped up. And as he began to play faster, Adrien started to move. Pacing a simple circle around the room, in time with the music he was playing. He couldn’t stay still. Eyes closed, and now utterly lost in the music, he walked around the room. With every step Adrien played faster, and as he did all the loneliness and sadness in his life came to the surface. The harder he played, the better he felt after. So Adrien played very hard.

Sweat dripped down the side of his face but he didn’t notice. His fingers danced across the strings. His bow pulled the music from the instrument. Adrien was drowning in the symphony as the room itself amplified every note he made.

This was no musical piece that had been memorised. This was Adrien playing his deepest and darkest fears and underneath it all was the quietest presence of hope. He didn’t know how long he played. But eventually he became aware of the ache in his hand and the pain in his fingertips yet he kept on playing. He couldn’t bring himself to simply stop.

But after some time the pain became more noticeable so Adrien began to wind the music down. He Slowed his playing and quieted the sound. Eventually the bow stopped moving and Adrien took a deep, shuddering breath. It had been a long time since he had played like that. His heart was pounding, his skin was burning and there was a smile on his face when he opened his eyes and saw Nino and Marinette staring back at him.

No one said a word.

Everyone was in shock but for very different reasons.

Marinette was dumbstruck. She and Nino had come home early due to cancelled classes and heard the music. They had expected to find a music system, not Adrien playing fervently. When he had turned around she had gasped from the expression on his face.

Adrien was panicking. He hadn’t closed the door but the volume of his playing had drowned out any sound of their approach. They would think him a freak. What kind of normal person plays like that? He started to breathe faster than before. They would make fun of him. They would mock him.

Nino was amazed.

“Dude, that was incredible!” He strode towards Adrien’s frozen body as he spoke. “I’ve never heard anything like that. The way you played, it was perfect”.

His father had only ever criticised his music but no matter how hard Adrien looked, there was no scorn or mockery on Nino’s face. Just sincerity. Adrien became less panicked and more confused.

“R…really? You think so?” Nino nodded, his entire frame shaking with the energy he put into the act.

“Hell yeah man! I’ve sampled strings from all over and I’ve never even come close to finding something like that”.

With every passing second, it became less and less likely that Nino was lying to him.

“Thank you. What do you sample for?” If Nino noticed Adrien’s nervous manner, he didn’t care. For Nino, there was nothing that came in between him and good music.

“I’m a DJ. I sample some stuff and mix them with my own tunes. I focus mostly on hip-hop and R’n’B but I try to do a little bit of everything. Keep my skills sharp”. Adrien stood there, too afraid to move incase he broke whatever spell had been cast. He was talking to Nino as a friend. It was nerve-wracking and terrifying and he loved every second of it. “So how long have you been playing the violin?”

“Oh- er, I’ve been playing for years. My father had me start learning violin and piano when I was four”. Adrien tried to wring his hands but noticed he still held the violin. Thankfully Nino noticed as well and stepped back. For one heart-breaking moment, Adrien thought he would leave, but instead Nino gestured towards the violin case and then sat down on the piano bench. In a daze, Adrien wiped down the violin down and put it away.

“That’s a long time to play”, Nino commented from his new spot. “No wonder you sound as good as you do”.

“I- er I mean yeah I guess. I had a lot of time spare so did a lot of practising”. After a moment’s hesitation, Adrien slowly made his way towards the window before hopping up to sit on it’s cushioned ledge. It was getting easier to talk, easier to open up. “I was home-schooled up until this year. Lots of tutors and private lessons but not much else. So I would practice my music, watch movies, read books. Anything really”.

“That’s…did you not have any friends?” There was sympathy on Nino’s face and Adrien didn’t know how to process that.

“There was one or two, I guess? I have a penpal and she’s ok”.

“That’s not right man”.

Adrien took Nino’s words to be an insult against him and immediately fell silent. Ashamed all over again. But Nino made a snap decision then and there.

“What kind of movies do you like?” As it had before, the open and honest look on Nino’s face drew Adrien out from where not even Nathalie could reach him.

“Sci-fi I guess. Fantasy as well”, he mumbled without making eye contact.

“What do you know of Star Wars?” Finally his eyes locked onto Nino’s.

“I know that Han shot first”. Nino smiled widely and easily at his comment.

“My friend, we are going to get along great”.

As they talked about everything and anything, neither had noticed that Marinette had left a long time ago.

It was later that night when Adrien was eating dinner in his room. He had hurriedly declined Nino’s offer of going to dinner. One conversation was all well and good but the idea of sitting with all of them was still terrifying. Even though he was once again alone in his room it had been a good day. After weeks of living with them all, today had been his first conversation. And it had gone well.

Putting his empty plate aside, Adrien booted up his computer and searched Nino’s name. He had done this when they had been chosen before the school year began, but now he was looking for something specific. He grinned when he spotted it, the fifth link down the page.

Nino Lahiffe, aka “The Bubbler” is returning to Club Miraculous this Saturday night! No work! No stress! No responsibilities!

Adrien’s grin became wider and wider as he read more about the night. He had always loved to dance.

//

“I’m telling you Alya, he’s a good guy. Just really shy”. Nino continued to defend Adrien to his girlfriend while Marinette slowly ate her food, her mind elsewhere.

“I’ll believe it when I see him do something other than look at me like a robot before walking away from me”, Alya replied in between bites of her lamb stew.

“Marinette saw him, right Mari?”

“Err…actually…” The truth was that the moment Adrien had began talking to Nino, she had fled to her room. It hadn’t been the music that had gotten to her. Or the awkwardness of the silence when Adrien had seen them.

There had been a moment. When they had followed the sound they had found Adrien, fully in the grips of his music. He moved around the room in a dance that only he knew. His arm flew back and forth across the violin, sometimes fast and other times slow. But always perfectly. And then he had turned around and she had seen him. His skin shined with sweat and his face glowed with passion. The expression on his face…it felt like she had been punched.

Marinette had been hypnotised. She had seen him in hundreds of different fashion articles but never had she seen him like that. He played with such reckless abandonment, with nothing held back, and it showed. Marinette hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it and it was becoming inconvenient.

She kept replaying that moment in her head when she should have been working or eating. On Friday night she had bumped into Adrien whilst daydreaming about Adrien. The realisation made her blush and run away before he could even begin to apologise. As she fled, Mari heard him trying to stutter his way through the word “sorry” and knew that he was back to his reserved self.

Saturday was a different kind of day. She had an alarming amount of work piling up and Marinette needed to get it done. After breakfast she shut herself away in her room and worked hard all day on her reports, fashion analyses and her designs. When she heard the dinner gong, Marinette had finished nearly all of her work and caught up on next week’s reading. She definitely needed to relax. Her friends thought the same.

“I am so glad we’re going out tonight” Alya moaned over her food. “This damn year is kicking my ass. I just need a break”. Nino put a sympathetic hand on her back.

“I know what you mean”, said Mari. “There is so much work and they all want it done at the same time”.

“You know the rules of my club ladies. So get all of this worrying and stressing out of your systems because it ain’t gonna fly when I’m on the deck”.

Alya turned to glare at Nino who glared right back while Marinette laughed. Tonight would do them all good.

After getting ready, Marinette left at eleven with Alya and Nino. They were all excited, especially Nino as this was his first gig after summer and he was ready to go crazy.

“I hope you two are well rested because it is going to be wild!”. In the back of the taxi, Alya and Mari both laughed and assured him they could handle it.

The club was a simple black building that glowed with red and blue lights. They lined the door, the outside walls and the roof. The three of them walked right in, greeting the bouncers like old friends. Nino had played many gigs here in the past and Alya and Mari had been at every one of them. The inside of the club was surprisingly big. There was a wide open space that was meant to be filled with hundreds of dancers. A few seats and tables were scattered around the edge but that only made it more obvious that this was a place to move, not to sit still.

Spotlights of all colours strobed and moved over the dancefloor while a few smoke machines gave the air an almost blurry quality. Every time Mari walked into this club she felt as if she was walking into a dream, and because she had done it so many times before, the stress melted away. She knew she would have fun here.

The club was already very full. It was one of the most popular ones in the area and even though it was rarely empty, The Bubbler always packed it out a little more. The dance floor was already full of people moving with the beat as the DJ finished her set. She worked the crowd up into a frenzy and left them on that high as a gift.

“Alright everyone give it up for The Bubbler!” She screamed out over the crowd and the crowd roared back.

Nino took his place at the deck and was back in his element.

“You know my rules people. Say it with me!”

“NO STRESS! NO WORRIES! NO NAMES!”

Everyone in the club chanted out the mantra in one voice, Alya and Marinette screaming with everyone else.

“Yeah! Get those masks on people!”

This was Nino’s gimmick. His hook. Every one of his gigs had the same rule. Leave your life at the door and just dance. There was a flurry as nearly everyone on the floor pulled out masks and covered their faces. Some went into the bathrooms to paint their faces and came out unrecognisable.

Nino preferred face paint as he said a mask got really hot. Marinette agreed and painted hers red with black spots whilst Nino went completely blue. Alya went with a simple black mask but her costume made up for it.

“Do we really need costumes?” Mari had asked once.

“I don’t think so” commented Nino.

“Of course we need costumes” declared Alya. And that had been that.

Marinette had designed them both but Alya had been very enthusiastic with the ideas. In the end Alya had been given a black tank top, with the wifi symbol on the front and a fully charged green battery icon on the back with a pair of black and white striped leggings. For herself Marinette had a red sports bra with black spots and some soft black sweatpants and red trainers.

When she danced she preferred tight on the top and loose on the bottom. Alya was the opposite. Marinette had made these so that they would look amazing while they danced. And she had succeeded.

When all the masks were on, Nino turned up the music and everyone threw themselves into motion. There was no style or skill involved. Just the beat thumping through their bodies, the feel of the floor beneath them and the ecstasy of letting go of all worldly concern. It was modern day meditation and Nino was a Zen master. As she leapt and whirled and spun, Marinette caught sight of Nino at work and for a fleeting moment he had the same expression Adrien had that captivated her so. Then she twisted and the moment passed.

The crowd had a mind of its own. It moved and surged with the music, pushing and pulling people around where it wanted to them ago. One second Mari was pressed up against Alya and the next she was taken away. But through it all they never stopped dancing. Years of formal and informal dance training had given them both a great deal of strength and stamina. This meant that they were able to keep going long after people began to drop out.

Around a quarter of people had left the floor and were hanging off the surrounding tables and chairs. The rest were dancing slower apart from a few individuals, two of them being Mari and Alya. While everyone else was drinking cocktails, they’d only had water. Nights in were for getting drunk, nights out were for dancing. And when Nino met their eyes and smiled they knew what was coming and they felt as full of energy as if they had just arrived.

The beat changed and both Mari and Alya stopped moving. They stood perfectly still, one in front of the other. The kind of stillness that made everyone around them take a step backwards; they knew something was about to happen.

“Alright everyone, give it up for my girls. Lady WiFi and the Ladybug!”

Some recognised the names, most did not. They all cheered anyway.

The pair started slow. Tapping their heels with the music before rolling their shoulders. Arms flew out and began to move as their bodies swayed side to side. When the music became faster so did they. Alya moved first.

She spun out into open space and, to the cheers of the crowd, began to dance properly. And properly to Alya meant phenomenally to everyone else. Every part of her moving to the beat with effortless grace. Her head, arms, back, hips and legs all twisting and turning with the rhythm and with her partner.

When Alya had spun one way, Marinette had turned in the other. Fully given over to the beat running through her body, Mari was dancing on instinct. Letting her body decide how to move and knowing that Alya would be doing the same. They had been dancing together for so long that they instinctively moved together; sometimes even when they weren’t dancing.

The crowd was going insane. With every beat of the music and every pop of their hips, their audience got louder. People were standing on tables and chairs to watch them both dance.

Marinette felt free.

She moved without hesitation or reservation. This was where she belonged. She threw her head up, hair fanning backwards before pirouetting several times. The crowd roared as the room rotated around her and Mari couldn’t help the smile that grew across her face.

Her chest heaved.

Her lungs bellowed.

And she danced faster and faster. The screams vanished, replaced by the roaring of blood and the pounding of her heart.

Marinette’s entire body thrummed with energy. The music was building; it was almost over. She found herself close to Alya again and immediately grabbed her offered hand and pulled her in. They were moving with each other. Against each other. Twisting, turning, spinning with one another. So fast they were a blur in the flashing lights.

The music stopped.

The girls stopped.

The crowd roared.

A heartbeat before they had been unstoppable; Marinette and Alya holding each other as if in a waltz. Turning as if they were a tornado of movement. Mari had dipped Alya at the last instant and there they stood. Their skin glistened with sweat, multicoloured from the lights as they gasped for breath.

Marinette lifted Alya back upright and they began hugging and laughing before walking off the dance floor, arm in arm as their screaming fans parted before them.

“THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT! THAT’S HOW YOU DO IT!” Nino was roaring into the crowd and they replied with their approval. “GIVE IT UP FOR LADYBUG AND LADY WIFI!”

Mari and Alya reached the bar and sat down, still laughing. Immediately, offers of drinks came their way but they politely declined and stuck with water.

“Oh God that was amazing!” Alya gushed. “We haven’t danced like that in so long!”

“It was perfect” Mari agreed, sipping her water. “ And it was so much fun! I’ve missed dancing”. They relaxed at the bar for a short while, watching Nino work his crowd. Men and women approached them both hoping to turn conversation into something more, but they all walked away disappointed.

Twice more throughout the night Marinette and Alya went out onto the dance floor and blew everyone away. Each time the music was different and the moves were different as well. But the skills were the same. There was no stopping them. Occasionally Nino would call for challengers and a few did try to step up. But none of them could compare to the duo. Afterwards, Mari and Alya would talk with the ones who tried to outdance them. Laughing and joking, they would talk about dance and music and style before Nino once again lured them with his music.

It was early morning and the club was about to shut down.

“We got time for one more and I know my girls are up for it. So who is gonna try to show these two how they do?” The cheers were just as loud as they had been at the beginning of the night, everyone looking around for the final victim.

“Oh here we go people. We have one last player”. The people in front of Mari broke apart as a figure walked through them. He was tall and broad, with blond hair and a black mask concealing his face.

“Give it up, for Chat Noir!”


AUTHOR’S NOTE: “I’d say “surprise” but literally every one of you saw it coming. A quick thank-you to @starrycove for the inspiration behind this fic. Leave a comment below. I’d love to read it. Tune in next time, and thanks for reading!” – obdobuk

First Playoffs Game

We The North


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Today, I went to my very first Playoffs game! My sister treated me and 2 of my brothers to watch Game 3 of the playoffs against the Cavaliers. It was a good game, the end of 3rd to the 4th frustrated me quite a bit but it all comes with the game. Lots of uncalled fouls for and against us, but what else is new? It’s Toronto versus everybody.

I may have lost my voice and my hearing from all the noise and my own screaming. I had a blast, even though it was the first game I went to where we lost! I ended up getting my very first Raptors jersey and I chose the one and only, Pow-pow-pow Powell!

I was debating on getting DeRozan of Powell’s and ended up with Norman Powell. He’s one of my favourite players in the Raptors and am glad to have him as my first jersey! We also got a fan that can be waved to make noises during the game and I swear I abused the heck out of mine.

We may have lost in the end, but I’m still proud of our guys! Can’t wait for Game 4 this Sunday, let’s go Raptors!!