Can I Date You(r Character)? Chapter 8
The longer the silence grew, the more Marinette’s anxiety rose alongside it.
She shifted from foot-to-foot, glancing around to see if anyone was approaching, but the rest of the group had left the main deck to go into Luka’s kitchen. No Alya to make pleading eyes with, no Nino to swoop in with a terrible joke, Luka to distract them with music or Kagami to approach them with a challenging debate. They were truly alone.
Marinette was going to have to get out of this of her own accord. Taking a deep breath, she steeled her nerves and met Adrien’s gaze. His expression was completely unreadable.
Come on Marinette, THINK. You’ve gotten out of life threatening scenarios and saved this city hundreds, maybe thousands of times by this point. You can talk to a boy.
Why was Adrien taking so long to bring up… whatever he was going to bring up? It had to be the kiss, didn’t it? It’s not like he was going to discuss the benefits of kayaking and WHY WAS SHE THINKING ABOUT KAYAKING AT A TIME LIKE THIS?!
Maybe the reason he was frozen up was because he simply didn’t know how to bring up such an awkward topic? Adrien was a kind soul, she knew he’d never want to hurt her no matter what the circumstances were. With that in mind, Marinette pushed her own anxieties to one side and took the first step.
“Did you want to... talk to me about the kiss?” she ventured, words slow and unsure. Though she tried not to sound terrified, she couldn’t fight the slight tremor in her voice.
That, at least, seemed to snap Adrien out of his stupor. Much like a cat after one too many pats, Adrien shook his head, blinking hard.
“Oh. Y- yeah,” he nodded. “The kiss. Our kiss. The fact that we kissed.”
“As our characters,” Marinette responded, cheeks betraying her by beginning to burn. “We got a little carried away in real life though.”
Of all the times for my laugh to sound like a throttled chicken, it had to be now, she thought in between giggle-snorts.
Adrien, bless his heart, humoured her by chucking lowly. He leaned in and, for a split second, his raised eyebrows and slight smirk made Marinette’s heart leap, reminding her of how Chat Noir used to flirt with her.
But then he began to speak, and that trace of flirtatiousness vanished, to the point where Marinette wondered if she’d simply imagined it there.
“I guess so. Yeah. I wanted to check that you were ok with it? I feel bad that I- that we- you know we kissed in character and everything when we shouldn’t have. We should have… you know um…”
He trailed off and Marinette felt her heart sink like a stone. It was one thing to know that Adrien would never like her back. It was another to hear him say he felt bad for kissing her.
Her face was a glacier, ready to crack at a moment's notice, but she managed a frozen smile nonetheless. When she spoke, her words were rushed, breathless, as if her heartache had knocked the wind right out of her.
“It’s fine,” she shook her head. “We got caught up in the fantasy. It happens sometimes. It was a mistake and it won’t happen again, right? Save the kissing for Rikan and Kya. They’re the ones that actually want to kiss each other, right?”
She laughed again, trying so hard to sound carefree and teasing, even though she couldn’t think of anything less funny in her life. All she wanted to do was turn into a mermaid and hide under Luka’s boat, eating ice cream and wailing about men for all eternity. How she could eat ice cream underwater she had no idea, but trying to eat ice cream in a dirty river seemed like a more solvable problem than all these horrible matters of the heart.
Still, it was what Adrien wanted to hear wasn’t it? He’d never given her any indication that he loved her beyond friendship. It was his character who was in love with Marinette’s, and she shouldn’t forget that.
This time, however, Adrien didn’t laugh along with her. He didn’t seem humoured at all, despite the small smile on his face. It didn’t quite light up his eyes the way it did when he was truly happy. Marinette had known him long enough to tell the difference, to know that sometimes Adrien put a mask on his true emotions. But why was doing so now? Wasn’t this what he wanted?
“Exactly,” Adrien replied quietly, unfathomably. “Rikan and Kya kiss. Not us.”
His words hit her harder than any akuma ever had.
As if sent by angels, Nino and Alya came up the stairs, calling out to the pair of them. Marinette could have collapsed with relief at an out of the conversation. She needed some time to compose herself before the game started. Already her throat felt tight and her eyes were beginning to burn.
Rikan and Kya kiss. Not us.
“If you don’t get something to eat, it’ll be gone soon!” Alya warned, a teasing lilt to her voice as Marinette stared holes at her friends head, willing for her to look at her and know, the way only a best friend could, that she needed saving STAT.
“Yep, I need to keep up my awesome DM strength,” Nino added, making silly body-builder gestures as he wandered over to his seat and flopped onto it.
Another miracle manifested and, at long last, Alya’s eyes met hers. All traces of teasing vanished and, when they were sure the boys' attentions were on each other, Alya mouthed to her.
“Are you ok?”
Marinette gave the tiniest shake of her head and Alya was by her side in an instant, all wide grins and loud tones.
“Sorry to steal Marinette away, hon!” she said to Adrien, “But if we don’t get this girl some cakes, she’ll get hangry.”
Something about snacks must have triggered a memory in Adrien’s mind, for Marinette was almost free of the awful conversation (and about five seconds from falling apart), when he reached out and touched her shoulder.
“Speaking of snacks, I’m so, so sorry I didn’t offer you dinner when we were at my place!” he said back.
“It’s ok,” Marinette replied, voice a fragile whisper as she pulled herself out of his hold.
“I’ll make it up to you?” he continued as Alya, wonderful, brilliant Alya, steered her towards the staircase and away from him.
“Sure,” she called back.
The second they were out of sight, Alya grabbed her arm and frog marched her into the bathroom, where she promptly burst into tears.
Well , Adrien thought, that could have gone better.
At first, he’d been so shocked by the realisation of his feelings that his brain had completely shut up shop. Then, he’d tried to flirt with her and completely panicked, speaking utter nonsense instead.
He’d wanted to say something silly, yet suave. He’d attempted to flirt the way he would as Chat Noir, and suggest to Marinette that they should have kissed each other in real life, before kissing each other in character, but that they could call it practise for the real deal after he took her out on a date. Or something like that. He was even going to seal the deal with a wink at the end! A classic, signature move. Marinette would have laughed and teased him and perhaps she might have even agreed to it.
But that was just it. As he’d looked deep into her beautiful, ocean-blue eyes, he’d been struck by a different kind of realisation. His tongue tripped over his flirtations until they became as jumbled as his mind, and his heart chained itself in fear.
Because what if… what if she said no? What if she rejected him? What would that mean for their friendship group? It was enough to be let down gently by Ladybug, they could recover privately, and besides they had a bigger target to focus on and distract them from all of that. A greater purpose bigger than either of their own wants and needs. But in his civilian life, in a wider friendship circle (where people talked and gossiped), there was a lot more at stake socially. What if Marinette rejecting him… meant he lost all his friends? No more music festivals with Nino, art galleries Kagami, jam sessions with Luka or superhero movie nights with Alya. No more DnD group...
No more Marinette.
“Game back on in ten minutes, guys!” Nino yelled loud enough so the whole boat (and several others around them) could hear. Luka and Kagami called back from the kitchen, acknowledging Nino’s message, and suddenly an idea struck Adrien.
There was nothing else to it. He would have to prove himself to be an amazing boyfriend. If not in real life, then most definitely in the game. Marinette had said their kiss was a mistake, that they’d been caught up in the moment, and that it wouldn’t happen again. And, whilst he agreed they’d gotten lost in the fantasy, he wanted to prove to her that it wasn’t a mistake, that kissing him again would be the opposite of a mistake in fact. So he would make Rikan be the most attentive, loving boyfriend in existence. Theirs would be a DnD romance for the ages.
And maybe Marinette would be so amazed by Rikan’s behaviour that she’d start looking at the man behind the character. Maybe it would help her realise that if Rikan could be the perfect boyfriend, then surely the guy who created him could have such potential?
But before that, he needed to remove himself of all doubt. And there was only one person who could help him in that regard.
Hurrying down to the kitchen, he was surprised to find Kagami and Luka the only ones present. They were about to pass him to return to the game when Adrien gently tapped Kagami’s arm to get her attention.
“Hey can I ask you something? I promise it won’t take long, but it’s pretty personal,” he asked her, hoping he didn’t sound suspicious.
Luka tilted his head curiously at the pair, but said nothing to indicate any concern. As usual, Adrien got the feeling that the empathetic guitarist was staring into his soul, reading his deepest emotions in that Luka-like way, before giving Kagami a quick peck on the cheek and heading up the stairs.
“See you in a few,” he waved.
Kagami raised her eyebrow expectantly but Adrien shook his head. He didn’t know where Marinette and Alya had gotten to and didn’t want to risk them overhearing, so he led Kagami back up the stairs and around the corner, to the opposite end of the boat.
Adrien’s hands gripped the railing hard as he stared into the calm depths of the Seine. It caught him off guard, how long it took him to summon the courage to ask the question. The harder he stared at the Seine, the deeper and darker it looked.
Finally, he found the words.
“Kagami, was I a bad boyfriend?”
Whatever Kagami had expected him to say, clearly wasn’t that. Both eyebrows shot up briefly in surprise before her expression schooled itself again. But, Kagami being Kagami, didn’t answer the question outright, wanting to dig deeper first.
“What brought this on? We haven’t dated in years. Why are you asking such a thing now?” she replied, not in an angry or accusatory way, though an outsider might have thought such a thing. Adrien knew Kagami better, knew that she simply wanted to understand.
Sighing, Adrien ran a frustrated hand through his hair. He stared at the endless blue sky and was briefly annoyed that it wasn’t cloudy the way he felt it ought to be. Then he realised that was a little dramatic and sunshine made his friends happy so he changed his mind.
“I don’t know, I’ve just been thinking about it,” he said in a half-truth. “My mind keeps going over how we were together, what mistakes I made so I don’t repeat them the next time. But I only really know our relationship from my point of view, that we didn’t work out due to time commitments and realising we worked better as friends. I know I screwed up by not prioritising you more and hurting you because of it, but I’d really like to know your opinion. If there’s anything else I could do better. And don’t hold back ok? Be honest.”
Kagami was quiet for a while and Adrien rocked on the balls of his feet, gipping the edge of the railing with one hand again. He knew one of the reasons they broke up is because he had to prioritise being Chat Noir over anything else, but he couldn’t reveal that to Kagami then or now. He briefly wondered if the issue would come up if he did date Marinette, but that was a problem for another time. He hadn’t even won her heart yet, let alone thought about how their relationship might work alongside his alter-ego. So he put that thought out of his mind.
The river lapped at the boat like a maddening metronome as he waited for Kagami’s judgement.
“Do you know,” she began, coming to stand closer by his side. A breeze picked up and ruffled her hair and she stood staring out at the boats upriver, “I’ve come to a theory over the years. All relationships, romantic or otherwise, teach you things about yourself. They can help you and heal you, but they can also damage you too. Some can even do both at once. I believe that hindsight is a powerful tool, and I can see (from even my limited romantic experiences) that there are some relationships which teach you some pretty painful lessons about yourself and who you are.”
“Don’t misunderstand me,” Kagami continued with a sigh. “I didn’t mean to imply that our relationship was simply a painful lesson. It wasn’t. We had fun together. We found kindred spirits in each other due to our strict parents. There was comfort there. You were a good boyfriend in that way.”
Adrien faced away from the water, leaning against the railings so he was facing the opposite way to Kagami. “I get the feeling there’s a ‘ but’ in there somewhere.”
Kagami fixed him with an intense stare, “You know the reasons I cited when I broke up with you. They are things which were deal breakers for me. The fact that I always felt you were holding something back from me, the fact that you didn’t prioritise us as much as I expected. You know this already. Are you worried that that aspect of your personality hasn’t changed, and you’ll ruin things with Marinette?”
When Adrien didn’t respond, instead choosing to gape at Kagami like a brain dead goldfish, Kagami softened. She covered her mouth as she laughed.
“You aren’t exactly subtle, Adrien,” Kagami explained. “But you know, all relationships are different. Deal breakers for one person might not be for another. Marinette might be more patient than I am. Not to say she deserves to be treated as less of a priority, in fact if I hear of you treating her poorly I will very much have something to say about it, rather she’s fairer and more empathetic than I am. Especially compared to how I was back when we were together. That’s what I meant by painful lessons. I learned that I was harsher and less forgiving than I wanted to be and I judged you and jumped to conclusions first, almost like I was looking to be slighted. Our faults were incompatible and that’s what led us to breaking up.”
“Come on guys! Hop back to it!” Nino yelled from the other side of the ship.
“So I was a bad boyfriend for you, but I wouldn’t necessarily be a bad one for her?” Adrien replied asking for clarification.
Kagami sighed, offering him the smallest of smiles and nodding. “Yes, but then I was a bad girlfriend for you too. To borrow your phrase, you’ll always be a good friend though. And for what it’s worth, I feel that you and Marinette are more compatible than you and I ever were.”
Adrien beamed at her, feeling a greater sense of relief than he expected and the pair wandered back to the party.
“Wait,” Adrien paused. “Painfully obvious? Really?!”
Kagami hummed and said nothing else, but there was a teasing glint in her eyes.
They were the last to arrive back and, when he settled down in their seats, he noticed Marinette with her head jammed into her notebook, wearing a pair of sunglasses so he could barely see her face. He fought the urge to cringe again, knowing their conversation hadn’t gone well, but he hoped he hadn’t made things worse between them with how awkward he’d been.
It was ok. He had a plan now. Not only would he be an amazing boyfriend in the game, but she’d also agreed to a meal with him. That would obviously be something to plan in more detail at a later date. For now, there was a game to play. Although the first half of the game had been about Rikan and Sorrow, he hoped there would be some time for their group to re-form and that Kya, Annabeth and Leif wouldn’t take long with their shopping excursion.
As Marinette, Luka and Kagami began to play out their day, Adrien couldn't help that his mind began to wander. He tried not to stare as Marinette played with her hair, acted out Kya as being unsure around the haggling shopkeepers, wishing he was there with his rogue skills to know if she was being swindled or not. Luckily her intelligence score beat out her naivety and she was able to strike a bargain, and he felt a swell of pride. She then bought a little trinket for Rikan and his heart melted at her care and consideration. It was a trait that both Kya and Marinette shared and a trait that Rikan and himself loved in equal measure about their love interests.
How he’d not realised that reality had affected fiction so much, he had no idea.
When it was Leif’s turn to shop he found himself daydreaming about Rikan and Kya’s next date, where they would go, what they might do, but then their characters began to shimmer, fading away like a glamour or an oasis, until he was fantasising about a date between himself and Marinette instead. He thought of Marinette’s lips on his, of her in his clothes, of her funny jokes and amazing skills, and his heart clenched. How could he miss her so badly when she was right in front of him? So close, yet so far…
“So as the three of you walk out of the shop, I’m going to need all of you to make a perception check,” Nino’s voice drew Adrien back into the game. There was a serious lilt to his voice and the way he leaned over his DM screen, ever-so-slightly, made Adrien’s body seize up. He knew Nino, knew that something serious was about to happen. The fact that Nino was getting them to check their surroundings meant one of two things.
Marinette took off her sunglasses, her cheeks a little pink, and she frowned. Glancing towards Luka and Kagami, the three of them shared worried glances but complied with Nino’s request. For a split second, there wasn’t a single sound, except for the sound of dice hitting wooden trays, rolling to a stop.
“I got a nineteen,” Luka stated, satisfied he’d passed his perception check, but the fact that he’d put his ukelele down worried Adrien more than anything else.
“Seven,” Kagami wrinkled her nose.
“I got a fifteen,” Marinette said and Adrien felt the tiniest amount of relief that she’d most likely passed the perception check along with Luka. Kya would at least know of the danger or the mystery, and be able to prepare. She wouldn’t be ambushed. She’d be safe.
Nino nodded, interlacing his fingers and putting them under his chin and Adrien’s draw clenched, his nostrils flared as he began to inhale sharply.
“Kya and Leif, as you exit the shop you notice a small party of three people approach you. There’s a red haired dwarven man wearing thick chain armour and a scowl, a tall half orc with large tusks and dark, wavy hair down to his shoulders. He has a scar down the side of his face. The pair are flanking the person at the front, a lithe blue tiefling, also male, wearing a long, white cloak which has a few flecks of dirt and blood on it. They’re walking towards you purposefully and you get the sense that the tiefling is the leader of their gang. As they grow closer, Leif you notice the smile of the blue tieflings face is directed at Kya. But the smile doesn’t look particularly friendly.”
Adrien felt like his whole body was on fire, and not in a good way. He had no idea who this blue tiefling character was but he instantly knew he disliked him.
“Wait,” Alya mumbled under her breath. “Blue tiefling?”
“I grab Annabeth’s hand and get her attention,” Marinette responded nervously. “But I don’t break eye contact with the tiefling.” She twisted her body towards Kagami and began to speak as Kya. “Annabeth,” she whispered. “We’ve got company.”
“I’m going to step out in front of the girls and approach the group head on,” Luka added, opening his arms and smiling as he switched to Leif. “Greetings, fellow shoppers! A fine day isn’t it? What can we do for you?”
“The tiefling stops in front of you and replies,” Nino responded, deepening his voice and adding a charming, soft, hiss-like quality to it, reminding Adrien of snake-oil salesmen, or cultists looking for a new victim to bring into their fold. “A fine day indeed. I was actually here to talk to one of your companions, if I may.”
His words spoke of getting permission, but his tone indicated that he was going to talk to them regardless of what Leif had to say.
“Wait,” Marinette said out-of-character, staring at Alya. “Nino do I recognise this blue tiefling?”
“You do indeed,” Nino confirmed and Alya gasped, dropping her notebook, her hands flying to her mouth. “But his eyes are darker than you remember.”
Adrien was caught somewhere between confusion, intrigue, and terror at Alya’s reaction. Whoever this person was, Kya and Sorrow must know him, and not for the right reasons. He’d never regretted his decision in a game more than agreeing to go fishing with Sorrow, and he was sure Alya agreed with him.
“He looks at you, Kya, stepping casually around Leif, and approaches you, leans into your space in a way that instantly has you on edge. It’s too close,” Nino described and Adrien felt himself growl under his breath, a trait he must have picked up from his years as Chat Noir. Again, Nino changed his voice to this new, hated character. “Hello darling, long time no see.”
“What do you want, Tristan?” Kya snapped back and Marinette folded her arms, scowling towards Nino.
“Oh come on now, don’t be like that,” Tristan replied with a smirk. Adrien only stopped brooding for five seconds to appreciate how sweet, gentle Nino was able to play such a smarmy character so well. “What kind of greeting is that for an old friend?”
“A former friend,” Kya corrected and Marinette put her hand up towards Nino, indicating that she was pushing Tristan away from her. Adrien nodded, his lips a thin line. “We haven’t been friends in a long time. So I’m asking again, what do you want?”
“Nothing much all, a trifle really,” Tristan replied and, instead of backing down, Nino-as-Tristan, grabbed Marinette’s hand. “And Tristan is going to kiss your hand.”
And Adrien’s brain exploded.
NOPE. NO. THAT IS MY MOVE. HOW DARE YOU. GET THE HELL AWAY FROM HER, his mind screamed, and all he could do was force his mouth to remain closed, his arms pressed tight against his torso and his fists curled.
“Annabeth is going to approach Tristan and push him away from Kya,” Kagami hissed and, although she didn’t change her voice to roleplay, Adrien knew she’d switched when she began threatening Tristan and he was forever grateful that Kagami was just as protective over her friends characters as he was. “I don’t know who you are, but maybe you shouldn’t get into someone’s personal space when they clearly don’t want you there.”
Nino raised his hands up as Tristan gave a look of faux-innocence. “I don’t mean any harm, my dear, I’m simply following the whispers I’ve heard. Word is your friend here has been travelling with someone I’ve been looking for for a while, a mutual friend if you will.”
“I’m not telling you where Sorrow is,” Kya growled, “You’ll have to kill me first, because I’d rather die than betray her like that.”
Luckily for Adrien, his own shouts of protest at Marinette’s line were drowned out by everyone else at the table also raising their voices in concern.
Tristan laughed cruelly, “So is that a deal then? If I kill you and bring you back, you’ll tell me where she is?”
Luka waved his hand once, getting everyone’s attention. “Hey now, isn’t that too far? I thought you didn’t mean any harm. Perhaps we should all cool down and settle this over a nice drink?” Leif encouraged softly.
“Make a persuasion check,” Nino grinned.
Adrien buried his head in his hands, praying that Luka’s roll would succeed, that they’d be able to stall for time heading back to the tavern inn they were staying at and that Sorrow and Rikan could rejoin the group before things got worse. And it did seem like things were escalating.
Please, please, please, please.
“Natural one,” Luka winced and the whole group groaned. A perfect failure of a roll.
Nino shook his head, almost looking apologetic, as he turned to Luka. “Sorry,” Tristan replied, not sounding sorry at all, “but I’m not going anywhere until Kya tells me where Sorrow is.”
“And I already told you no, I’m not telling you anything,” Kya sounded angry, but Adrien couldn’t help but notice the way Marinette’s eyebrows knitted together, and how she began to bite her lip. He wanted to comfort her so badly.
Nino’s expression darkened, the smile fell away from his face as Tristan’s true nature was revealed.
“Fine then, I’ll just have to force it out of you,” he spat, lip twisting cruelly as Nino explained Tristan’s next move. “He turns to his companions and says ‘looks like we’ll have to do this the hard way, boys’ and the dwarf and the orc get ready, pulling out their weapons.”
Adrien’s mouth dropped open in horror, knowing what would come next, what Nino would ask Marinette, Kagami and Luka to do.
“I need the three of you to roll initiative.”
Initiative. The types of rolls that symbolise the start of a fight. Whoever rolls the highest gets the first turn. Adrien prayed it would be one of their three. He’d not felt so helpless in a long time. Was he about to watch his friends fight, unable to help?
Nino gathered up the initiative rolls, working out the order of attack for all the characters currently in the fight.
“Tristan rolled a natural twenty, so he gets the first hit, and of course because his ire is focused on Kya not giving him what he wants, he’s going to cast Eldritch Blast at her. I rolled an eighteen for the first blast and a sixteen for the second, does it hit you?”
“The first attack succeeds, the second doesn’t,” Marinette confirmed and Adrien’s heart leapt into his throat. No. He couldn’t lose her. Rikan couldn’t lose Kya now. Not when he had so much to plan, so many romantic, wonderful moments ahead of them. They’d just had a perfect evening, a magical first date. It couldn’t be ruined now. They had to survive this. He and Alya had to find some way of getting to the group and joining the fight.
But they couldn’t do that. Rikan and Sorrow had no idea about anything that was happening. All Adrien could do was watch, helpless.
“A huge beam of crackling, dark energy drives straight at you, Kya, knocking you backwards and sending burning, dark pain all the way through your body. And you take…” Nino rolled one of his smaller dice, a d10, “nine points of damage for the first blast. The second one misses you by the skin of your teeth.”
Adrien couldn’t breathe, all he could do was sit there, watching as the love of Rikan’s life was mercilessly attacked. His mind was flooded with images from one of his recurring nightmares; Ladybug, beaten by Hawkmoth, as Chat was stuck, trapped behind glass. Her unconscious body was lifted into the arms of their arch nemesis and Chat screamed and screamed, begged Hawkmoth to stop, beat against the glass cage until the gloves on his hands wore away. But he couldn’t stop Hawkmoth reaching up to her ears, fingers clasping at her miraculous...
“Wait!” Luka called and suddenly, Adrien’s vision no longer darkened at the edges. The sky was blue, the sun was bright, and he was back with his friends. But the nightmare images haunted him nonetheless. An involuntary shiver went down his spine. “Before I roll, I want to cast Sending to Rikan.”
Forget the little house boat, Adrien was going to buy Luka a freaking super yacht for his next birthday.
“I’ll allow it,” Nino replied and waited for Luka to think of the words he wanted to project into Rikan’s mind. Sending was a tricky spell. The wielder would be able to send a psychic message to whomever they choose, as long as they knew them, and the sendee could also respond. But the catch was that the initial message could only be twenty five words long or less.
It felt like an eternity before Luka came up with his message.
“We’re in trouble. Blue tiefling looking for Sorrow. Bad vibes. Trying to intimidate Kya. We’re outside the apothecaries five minutes north of our inn,” Leif replied.
Adrien became Rikan in an instant, “We’ll be there,” he replied. “And I relay the message to Sorrow as we’re walking back to the inn. Then I start running.”
“So as Sorrow and Rikan rush desperately towards the fight, and Kya stumbles back to her feet, ready for round two with this mysterious and deadly not-so-stranger,” Nino said....
“We’re going to end the session.”
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The right side of his face by walkingonthestars (@hamsternamedmarinette here on tumblr!)
Marinette and Adrien are able to remain in their new seats in the back of the room at the end of Chameleon.
Adrienette, fluff with light angst.
it's a long way forward so trust in me by aloneintherain (@captainkirkk here on tumblr!)
“You’re not the only strong one around here, Chat,” Marinette said. She looked a little winded, but she wasn’t struggling to hold him up.
This close up, he could see the freckles on the bridge of her nose. He could see how that smug smile lit up her eyes. He could feel the strain of her arms—and wow, okay, he really wasn’t the only person around here with muscles.
Six times Marinette carried Adrien (plus one time he carried her).
All the sides of the lovesquare! Fluff with LOTS of mutual pining.
a fight that you were born to lose also by aloneintherain
When the prosecution starts throwing around the word victim in reference to Adrien, he has to stuff his hands under his thighs to keep himself from bolting out of the courtroom.
Adrien had felt unsafe during those last few weeks, but, until he had woken up and seen Father silhouetted in his bedroom doorway, that had only been paranoia. Father was controlling and cold, but he wasn’t hateful. Adrien was isolated. He was often hungry. And some weeks ago, when he had snuck out to visit Nino, sitting thigh-to-thigh on his bed while Adrien cried in that silent, crumbling way of his, he hadn’t argued when Nino put a hand on his shoulder and said, tentatively, That’s abuse.
But Adrien remembers being small and Father touching his hair after he’d aced another test; Father holding his scribbled drawings like they were something precious, and framing them around his office; Father, dressed as Hawkmoth, his eyes wild behind the mask, lashing his sword against Adrien’s baton; Father, collapsed against Mum, crying into her ashy hair.
Adrien finds out Gabriel is Hawkmoth, and Gabriel gets to bring his long-waited plan into action.
This one doesn't really focus in the ship that much as is an Adrien character study and an exploration of his relationship with his father, but they're still there so I put them here. Really heavy angst (this is one of this fics that haunt me in the middle of the night) with a happy ending. ❗TW: parental abuse, eating disorders❗
Supercut by LNC
Marinette loves her friends and Adrien can't deal.
Post-reveal lovesquare, again light angst, an exploration of Adrien's insecurities, Marinette Dupain-Cheng deserves the world, happy ending.
Madame Snare by jettiebettie
“Sounds like a lot of work for nothing. She should take this as a sign to have a relaxing weekend with no responsibilities.”
“It's a lot of work she put her whole heart into. It wouldn't be right for it to go to waste,” Adrien whispers to him. The look on Marinette's face is enough to cause Adrien's own heart to ache. If anyone deserves the satisfaction and pride from a job well done, it's her.
“Too bad there isn't anyone else who can walk in those death traps,” Plagg says. Adrien hums in thought, tapping his chin.
Marichat, episode-based, Chat Noir in a dress!!!, light angst but it's mostly just idiots being idiots and a lot of fun.
in the same sun by peachcitt (@peachcitt here on tumblr!)
"It’s hard to believe that I saw you last at the peak of summer, when the sun was close and warm - and so were you. It should go without saying that I miss you. I miss you something terrible."
"It’s been seven months to the day since I’ve seen you. I wish you were here more than anything else."
Two letters, signed with initials instead of names, found in Paris, France.
Ladynoir, just angst, that's it, written like letters. No ending, just pain.
an uncurtain discovery by Missnoodles (@ladyofthenoodle here on tumblr!)
When he returns from school on Wednesday afternoon, Adrien discovers the darkness in his own home. He struggles to come to terms with it. To his utter mortification and delight, Ladybug is nearby to rescue him.
(He does not discover that his father is supervillain. That will happen on a different Wednesday.)
Ladrien, it says it's crack, and don't get me wrong, is super funny, but I also found it sad as fuck?
An Open Secret by Kasienda
Adrien whirled around toward Marinette. She smiled at him.
He couldn’t smile back. He stared at her like the dumb blond model that he was often accused of being.
Something shifted in her expression. And her warm open Marinette smile transformed into Ladybug’s grin. He was looking at Ladybug right now.
He knew Ladybug’s name!
Her name was Marinette Dupain-Cheng.
And he couldn’t say anything! Not to Marinette! Not even to Plagg, who had confided two weeks prior that Master Fu was growing increasingly paranoid since the location of his home and hideout had been compromised. Their master had apparently decided that Chat Noir and Ladybug would have to give up their miraculouses if they ever discovered each other’s identities.
It wasn’t fair!
A fic where they both know, but can't openly talk about it.
Post-reveal... but is it? Mostly adrienette and ladynoir, fluff with light angst and them being absolute idiots at hiding their secret identity.
golden (like daylight) by okayanna (@anna-scribbles here on tumblr!)
Friendship, Adrien decided, shaking off the mental image of Marinette’s hurricane eyes and hesitant mouth, parted in a small, careful “o.” He had a very strong friendship with Marinette. That was all.
Adrien thinks a lot about words, love, and Marinette Dupain-Cheng.
Chapters: 1 + epilogue
Adrienette but has lots of ladynoir, another Adrien character study because I hate myself, it tries to not be angst but the writing will punch you in the guts and make you cry, it's so good.
Strangers in the Bright Lights by poodles (@ladybeug here on tumblr!)
Adrien is about two drinks in when he sees a girl at the end of the bar wearing black cat ears. It's kind of weird, so he watches her, and although it's crowded he can see her face when she turns around. She’s wearing a Chat Noir mask. He takes a quick look around- nobody else is wearing a mask. Just her.
Adrien finishes his gin martini and heads over to her. He could use some company tonight anyways, he hasn’t told anyone he’s back in Paris and Nathalie won’t arrive in town for another month. And it’s been a rough day, okay? A rough move! He’s not sure he wants to be back yet, and he spent most of the day in the Agreste mansion sorting through some photographs of his father he found in the study. Maybe he wants a drink and some stranger to tell him he’s pretty! That’s not a crime, is it?
Adrienette but it's also ladrien??? I think??? It's super super angsty but they're both drunk the entirety of the fic so it's also really funny.
Pick-Up and Chase by also SKayLanphear
After she accidentally trips into Adrien and apologizes about "falling for him," Marinette learns that he's no match for cheesy pick-up lines--whether they were unintended or not. And while she finds it flattering that he turns into a flustered mess with only a few words, Marinette comes to regret making him uncomfortable. That is, until she learns he's Chat Noir. At which point the phrase "just deserts" becomes a permanent fixture in her everyday plans.
A story in which Adrien is flustered, Marinette is smooth as glass at dropping lines, and Chat Noir gets the romance he was always asking for--even if he doesn't quite know how to handle it.
Adrienette with one sided reveal by Marinette's side, it doesn't say it in the tags but I'm pretty sure the characters are much older than they actually are in the show, so much fluff and so much flirting.
Pairing: Alya Césaire/Nino Lahiffe
Nino Has Done Nothing To Deserve This by GuardianKarenTerrier (@guardiankarenterrier here in tumblr)
It's nothing, really- just an innocent comment, a joke. But when they hear it, Nino and Alya come to a realisation.
There were, in retrospect, dozens upon dozens of hints. Now that they're suddenly aware of all their friend's flimsy excuses and rushed explanations, they're not only sure how they've missed it, they're not sure how anyone else has either. They realise that it had to be magic protecting their friends- and that same magic has ceased to work on the two of them.
Well, this means they'll just have to start watching over their friends themselves.
This is more a found family fic than anything else, Alya and Nino are the mom friend, has light angst but it's mostly identity shenanigans in the most bizarre way. ❗TW: eating disorders❗
christmas lights by demistories
Nino checks up and down the street, checking to make sure there’s no raging akuma headed his way before he crosses quickly and ducks inside the small café. He closes the door quickly before the icy air can blow inside and tugs his beanie down over his ears. He spots Alya sitting alone in the corner.
Just fluff!! Really short but really sweet.
hold on, i still want you also by Missnoodles!
Written for the @thedjwifizine ! Wich I also recommend if you wanna binge a lot of djwifi fics while also looking at amazing art!!!
Five times Alya ran into her ex, and the one time he stopped being her ex.
Light angst with a happy ending! I don't really like the ex-lovers to lovers trope but this one is the only exception.
I will continue to expand the list in the future! But by now I hope I was helpful in the search of new fics!
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