Look, Marinette! Costume contest!" Alya pointed to the sign that had appeared on the classroom door. "It's on Halloween!"
"That's an entire month out," Marinette commented as she peered over Alya's shoulder. "They must have anticipated that some of us would be making our own costumes." She glances in Alya's direction. "And costumes for our friends as well."
"We could go as Ladybug and Chat Noir!" Alya suggested, clapping her hands together with an expression of glee. "You'd make such an adorable Ladybug, Marinette!"
Marinette's stomach dropped.
"But Alya! You love Ladybug so much, don't you want to go as her?" Marinette asked earnestly, trying to force down an expression of complete and utter panic. "And I could go as Chat Noir."
Alya paused and looked back at her friend. "Are you sure? I mean, I'd love to go as Ladybug, of course, but you're the one making the costumes. You should get first pick."
"And I pick the kitty cat," Marinette retorted. "I don't think that there's anyone in Paris that's a bigger fan of Ladybug than you are, so you should go as her."
"You're the best, Marinette!"
Four weeks later, Halloween arrived. Adrien arrived early as always, dressed up as a knight. He hadn't picked the outfit himself, Nathalie had, but he couldn't say that he didn't like it. The visor was made of the same material that his fencing mask was, allowing him to see right through it even with the face mask pulled down.
"Dude, that's awesome!" Nino gasped as soon as he saw Adrien. "What's that made out of?"
"Not a clue," Adrien confessed. "I'm hoping I don't win, though. One of the people making their own costumes deserve it more."
Nino only laughed. "I think there's different categories so that people who made their own get recognition." He paused and gasped. "Look at Alya and Marinette!"
Adrien spun around to spot the two girls heading towards him. Alya was dressed in a perfect replication of Ladybug's suit, down to the yo-yo at her waist. Marinette had clearly even gone to the trouble of lining up where the spots should be and covering even Alya's feet and hands with whatever material she had used for the outfit. Alya's mask was mostly fabric and adhered on, and then someone- Adrien guessed Marinette- had painted around her eyes.
And Marinette. Good lord. Had she been following him around the city to get reference pictures for her outfit? If he hadn't known better, he would have thought that his double was walking down the street. She had even tucked her black hair under a styled blonde wig and gotten some sort of contacts to tint her entire eye green.
"I think Marinette will win," Adrien said hoarsely. No one could ever say that she didn't have an eye for detail. Even as she drew closer, the only major difference he could see between his alter ego and his classmate was the large disparity in height. Somehow she had managed to flatten out her chest, and-
-and he should probably stop staring and write it off as girl magic.
Seeing everyone in their class dressed up was amusing. Chloe was a princess, or perhaps a queen, and Sabrina her lady-in-waiting. The blond girl sparkled with the abundance of jewelry that she had piled on, and wouldn't stop making comments about needing a knight to save her. Rose was an elf, Juleka a fairy. Nathanael was Shakespeare, apparently. Some costumes were more elaborate than others. Kim had barely tried, his cowboy hat and jeans not that different from his normal outfit. Some costumes were store bought, like his own, while others were homemade.
Marinette's costume was the best by far, and he was definitely not even remotely biased. If she didn't always get nervous around him, he'd be tempted to inspect her costume more closely.
Seriously, how had she attached those ears? He wanted to know.
Second period, Miss Bustier challenged them to interact as though they reallywerethe characters and animals they were portraying. Adrien turned to the girls behind him with a grin hidden by his visor. He wanted to see what Marinette was doing.
She didn't disappoint. She had immediately begun flexing for Alya- er, Ladybug- making some of the most amusing, self-satisfied faces Adrien had ever seen. He was fairly certain that his face hadn't looked like that when he visited her.
Or maybe it had.
Marinette only upped her acting as the class wore on, occasionally throwing in some flirting with 'Ladybug'. Alya was laughing too hard every time it happened to stay in character, gasping out "That's perfect" and "Oh my god Mari" in between cheesy pick-up lines. Marinette even had Chat Noir's posture perfected, lounging elegantly in her seat.
How she had managed to get his entire character down in the few minutes they worked together for the Evillustrator incident and their other brief meeting was beyond him. How she knew about his nicknames for Ladybug was even more of a mystery.
"Wait, do the flexing thing again," Kim demanded, and Marinette complied. Adrien's eyes widened as he noticed that oh wow Marinette has muscles.
"Girl, where did you get those guns?" Alya demanded, breaking character to lean forward and poke 'Chat's' bicep with a gloved finger. "Have you been working in the bakery a lot?"
"I know my hair is fabulous, but I'm no girl," 'Chat' shot back, flicking hair out of 'his' eyes."And I got these muscles from my many rescues- swarms of damsels to save, you know? It's very hard work."
It felt like Adrien's ribs were about to crack from him holding back his laughter. Others in the class were chuckling as well. In his bag, Plagg was rolling around with laughter. Serves me right for using those lines with her.
Chloe snorted. "You've obviously never met Chat Noir, Marinette. He doesn't act like that at all."
Adrien raised his eyebrows, his expression hidden by his visor. Funny, because I definitely do act like that as Chat Noir.
Marinette unknowingly mirrored his expression. "Uh-huh. How does he act then, if you're the expert on it? Care to give a demonstration, Chloe?"
Chloe tossed her carefully curled hair over her shoulder. "I don't understand where you get the idea that he flirts with people. He definitely wouldn't flirt with you, he's got better taste than that."
"I thought we discussed this before, Chloe. You have no taste," Marinette said dryly. "Besides, he does flirt with Ladybug, you can't deny that."
Chloe snorted. "Why would he flirt with her when he could have me? He wouldn't."
The snorts of disbelief around the classroom made Chloe scowl. From one corner of the room, there was a distinct "Get over yourself, Chloe." The blonde girl's expression turned furious and she turned away with a huff.
"My, my, her cat-titude is paw-sitively claw-ful," Marinette said immediately.
She didn't just...?
She totally did. She invoked the puns.
The rest of the day was, as Chat Noir would put it, paw-sitively full of puns. Adrien was positive that Marinette had used every single one of his typical puns and then some throughout the afternoon. It was amusing to watch, and his curiosity grew as the day went on and Marinette stayed purr-fectly in character. He had never interacted with her that much as his alter ego, so she must be a really big fan of Chat Noir to be able to imitate him so well.
Of course, Chat Noir was always up for visiting his adoring public, especially if that adoring public was his very sweet and kind classmate.
Chat Noir wasted no time in rushing over to Marinette's house right after school let out, hoping that she wouldn't change out of her costume right away. He wanted a picture. Landing on a rooftop across the street from the bakery, Chat peered down over the edge to look for his classmate. Marinette was standing by the front door of the bakery at the moment, pausing to pose for a picture with a couple kids. Entering the bakery, she vanished from his view for thirty seconds before reappearing in her family's living room and heading over to their kitchen for a snack. Grinning, Chat Noir lept off the rooftop and right onto the tiny railing outside her kitchen window, managing not to lose his balance. He reached out and knocked.
Inside, Marinette whipped around. Chat Noir's grin spread wider as she rolled her eyes, making a big deal about sighing before coming over to let him in.
"Ah, thank you Princess- or should I say Chat Noir?" He winked at her exasperated expression, sniggering when she groaned. "I heard you were being me today, so I had to come see for myself! You look good in my suit," he added, taking the opportunity to prowl around Marinette and really inspect her outfit. She didn't flinch as he reached out to feel the fabric, circling around again to confirm what he already knew: she had his costume down to the smallest detail. At the moment, though, she had her gloves off to eat.
"Chat Noir, what are you doing?" Marinette asked as he moved his attention to the ears. It seemed like they were attacked to wires that were looped around the wig's base. The wig, as he had suspected, was sprayed into his trademark hairstyle.
"Alas, your costume is not as accurate as I thought, Princess," he informed her gravely. "My hair is much softer than this."
Marinette snorted at him. "Good quality wigs are expensive, and I figured the style was more important than the texture. Besides," Marinette added, planting her hands on her hips, "it's not like anyone besides you would know the difference anyway, unless you make a habit out of going around making people feel your hair."
Chat couldn't hold back the wide grin that split his face at her words. Marinette had just enough time to wonder what her partner was up to when he grabbed one of her hands off of her waist, planting it in his hair and holding it there with one hand. Using his other hand, he dragged Marinette's other hand up to her own wig. "See? It's a world of difference."
"Yes, yes. World of difference." She's rolling her eyes, he can tell without even looking. "That doesn't change the fact that most of Paris doesn't know what your hair feels like, and they definitely don't know what the wig feels like." She frowned suddenly. "Hey, wait! You're wearing gloves, so how do you know what the wig feels like?"
"I can feel the crunch of the hairspray," Chat Noir admitted, grinning as he released her hands. Marinette's fingers dug into his hair for just a second before sliding out, her hand falling back to her side. "And I have an eye for quality, so it was obvious once I got close that your wig was purr-haps not quite up to the quality of my own hair."
"Like I said, good quality wigs are expensive. Besides, I would have had to spray it into position anyway. Your hair is ridiculous." Turning away from him, Marinette headed back to the kitchen counter to get her snack. Chat Noir chased after her, grinning.
"How is my hair ridiculous?"
The look she gave him was completely exasperated. "Oh, I don't know. Maybe because it sticks out in every direction?" She reached up and tugged at one of the strands flying away from his face.
Chat Noir could only grin. It sounded like she had had quite the time trying to get his hairstyle accurate.
"So did you have a reason for coming here other than criticizing my Halloween wig?" Marinette asked tartly as she finished her snack and pulled her gloves back on. "Because if you're quite finished..."
"No, no, I had another reason!" Chat Noir assured her quickly. He pulled his baton off of his back and opened it to the picture app he had only recently discovered (much to Ladybug's great consternation). He waved it at Marinette. "I wanted to get some pictures! Pretty please?" he added when Marinette seemed a bit alarmed. "I'll behave, I purr-omise."
Ten minutes and several dozen pictures later, Chat Noir waved goodbye to Marinette and headed home, whistling cheerfully.
He loved Halloween.