He was so totally and completely infuriating!

Marinette wanted to scream. How could Chat Noir have done that to her? Normally, she could put up with his little flirtations. They could be annoying, but that was just Chat. She could roll her eyes at him and still be kick-butt partners. But this? This was taking it too far! She had seen the way he winked at the camera. He was… was… pandering!

It was one thing for him to tease her a little while they were working. She knew him well enough not to take it too seriously. It was another thing entirely for him to make a complete fool out of her while Alya had that darned live-stream running!

"Arrrgh!" she shouted, startling some pigeons on the road. One of the shopkeepers she passed gave her an odd look, and Marinette hurried up as her cheeks tinged pink.

She had spent the entire night out of her mind with frustration, before finally fitfully falling asleep far past a respectable time. But sleep had done little to temper her anger, and even the bright morning sunshine couldn't lighten her mood.

It's not so bad, Tikki had tried to tell her. I'm sure it'll be no big deal.

But Marinette was far less certain. Alya had said that there were thousands of people watching. And he had known!

The worst part was, she still hadn't been able to figure out why he had done it. Of course, he was always so full of himself and his feline wiles. He was probably showing off for his beloved fans. He probably just wanted to seem ~romantic~ just like the girls in class had been talking about.

But in that case, why not woo Alya and spare her the humiliation!? Stupid, stupid cat!

Marinette's black cloud followed her during the rest of her walk to school, as she threw her books into her locker, and then as she made her way to the classroom. Grumpily she plopped down into her seat next to Alya, who was turned around talking with Rose, Alix, and Max.

"It was absolutely horrible," Alya was saying earnestly. "I couldn't believe it—to be treated so coldly."

"And in front of so many people," Alix added, shaking her head.

Oh god, they were talking about her, weren't they? Chat had probably made her into a laughing stock. A sick feeling in her stomach, Marinette turned to face them. "What're you guys talking about?"

"Last night, of course!" Alya said, looking surprised. "Weren't you watching my blog? Ladybug and Chat Noir were fighting another akuma."

"Oh..." Marinette said uneasily. "Yeah, I saw it."

"You guys talking about last night?" Nino asked as he walked into the classroom, followed by Adrien who was looking unbearably handsome despite also looking exhausted. Nino walked over to stand by Alya, though Adrien went straight to his seat. Already starting to feel flustered—why was he so perfect?—Marinette quickly turned back to everyone else.

"I couldn't believe how terrible she was!" Rose said.

Marinette opened her mouth to agree, then paused, looking at Rose in confusion. "Wait, 'she'?"

"I know!" Nino added. "To turn him down like that in front of so many people! And she wasn't even nice about it."

Marinette felt her jaw drop, and she quickly looked between Rose and Nino. What were they talking about? Had they been watching the right blogcast? The one where Chat Noir had put her on the spot in front of thousands of people and then proceeded to make a complete and utter fool of her? Because that was what had happened last night.

"Right?" Alix added. "I couldn't believe how mean she was! She had seemed so nice when she gave me back my watch..."

"Mean?" Marinette squeaked indignantly, looking about in horror as the rest of her friends nodded.

"Well, yeah," Nino said. "He bared his heart before her and she basically took it, threw it to the ground, and stomped it to pieces."

"Poor Chat Noir," Rose added quietly.

"But..!" Marinette said, anger rising. "But what about Ladybug!? He put her on the spot!"

"She didn't have to be so mean about it," Alix said, shaking her head. "She turned him down, then proceeded to shove it in his face that she likes someone else, and then just ran off before he could say anything else."

"But wasn't her transformation about to wear off?" Marinette pressed. She couldn't believe them—why were they defending Chat? "Why wouldn't she run off?"

"In that case, she should have told him that," Nino said.

"No," Marinette said, a little louder than she meant to. "In that case, he should have picked a better time!"

She glanced around, cheeks glowing red as she realized that everyone was frowning at her.

"Bad timing or not, Ladybug did not let the poor guy off easy," Nino said.

"Yeah, if Chat Noir gets turned down, what can the rest of us normal guys even hope for?" Max asked dejectedly.

"Can you imagine how awful he must be feeling?" Rose asked with a worried frown. "So many people are talking about it, and he probably just has to sit there and listen as everyone discusses his rejection."

Somehow, Marinette restrained herself from spluttering in disbelief—barely. How awful it was to be Chat? What about how awful it was to be her!? She had to sit here and listen to her friends bash her actions, and she couldn't even own up to them!

Alya caught Marinette's frown and shook her head. "Trust me, Marinette. You weren't there. I saw how dejected he was afterward. It was heartbreaking."

Dejected? He was probably just sad that his plan to look cool had backfired. Well it served him right! Too irritated to deal with them anymore, Marinette turned around in her seat, only to find Adrien looking at her.

"Wah!" she yelped in surprise, stomach dropping in utter embarrassment as Adrien's beautiful green eyes widened in shock.

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry," she said quickly, waving her hands in front of her. "You just scared me—I wasn't expecting—I mean... hi."

Oh. My. God. Why was she so lame!? Hi? That was seriously the best she could do!?

"Hey," Adrien said, shooting her an unsure smile. "So you... think Chat Noir was wrong?"

Now even Adrien was going to defend the stupid cat instead of her? She was going to strangle Chat the next time she saw him!

"Uh, well, yeah," she said, bumbling still. As much as she was angry at Chat, she didn't want to seem rude to Adrien. "If her transformation was about to wear off, then, I mean, well... Chat Noir should have known better than to press her for an answer just then." Then, seeing Adrien frown, she quickly added, "A-at least, that's what I think!"

"Even when he was being so sincere?" Adrien asked.

"Sincere?" she asked, unable to hide her irritation even from Adrien. "Oh please, were you watching? He winked at the camera. The whole thing seemed so scripted and not at all genuine. What girl would want that?"

"Oh," Adrien said quietly, frowning sadly.

Oh shit! Are you out of your mind, you complete dummy! Marinette scolded herself. Wasn't Adrien one of Chat Noir's fans? He had seemed really interested that one time Chat had had to work with her as Marinette. Maybe she should have sugar coated it for him.

Before she could attempt to rectify that situation, the teacher walked in, cutting the conversations short.

Barely restraining a groan, Marinette fell back into her seat and closed her eyes. This was going to be a long day. At least it was Friday. With any luck, maybe the whole thing would blow over during the weekend.


A/N: Hey everyone! Thanks so much for the awesome response to this fic! I totally wasn't expecting it, and it's been making my day ^^ I'm so glad you're enjoying it, and I hope you continue to!

I have NO idea why, but writing Marinette's anger at the beginning of this chapter was RIDICULOUSLY fun omg. When she thinks how infuriating Chat is, I kept hearing Star Butterfly's voice in my head saying "No, YOU'RE infuriating!" And then after Marinette rawrs (accidentally out loud), I just kept picturing Ruby from Keystone Motel and "I am an eternal flame, baby!" and "It's fusion, Steven!" Which is all to say that I'm cartoon trash and they are all beginning to meld together in my mind into one happy ball of awesomeness.

Also, try saying "finally fitfully falling asleep" five times fast xD