It's in the air. An elephant in the room. Everything about theor interactions is centered directly to the side of that particular topic.

It's so stupid, he thinks, because she knows. And he knows that she knows. He's pretty sure that she knows he knows she knows, but he doesn't for-a-fact know she knows he knows she knows. It's complicated, to say the least, but the point is, she knows.

She knows that he's Chat Noir.

He can't believe he let it happen, and Ladybug is going to brutalize him, most likely with her fists. Her yo-yo might hurt slightly more, being indestructible, but her fists will still hurt plenty. That is, if she finds out that he knows that Marinette knows who he is. But, Ladybug and Marinette are friends, right?

In gym class, she's on his team. She has been all year, of course, but for some reason, now that he knows she knows, she stands out much more. Not that she didn't stand out previously, but, well… she kind of didn't. That's not such a terrible thing, but it's true. She was a friend, albeit a friends with a few strange tendencies to appear from behind things suddenly and say things that made no sense whatsoever.

But as they play today, she keeps shifting through motions he can't remember her going through before, like she's hovering between trying to do something and holding herself back from doing it at the same time. Eventually, this lets up, her blue eyes flashing with decision and determination.

After that, they're somehow working with this… fluidity. She seems to anticipate his every move without even looking. He knows what the difference is, he's just not sure why it's so different. It's not like he's fought with Marinette as Ch-



That makes a disturbing amount of sense.

After gym, he takes her arm. "Hey, we did a… good job, out there today, wouldn't you say?"

Her eyes widen only slightly. "A very good job," she smiles, the picture of innocence. He smiles back, his model-smile, and closes a fist, offering it. She is stares for a second, before carefully meeting his fist with her own.

"You know, I think that's my favorite part," he says quietly. "Fist-bumping you at the end."

"We've never fist-bumped at the end of gym class before," she murmurs, looking down.

"No, we haven't."

Their eyes meet, neither one intending to be the first to look away. To admit that they know.

"This is stupid," she finally says. "We need to get to Chem."

"But it's purr-fectly fine for a Lady to be fashionably late," he tells her smoothly.

"You know, I'm not acknowledging this."

"I don't mind at all."

They return to Chemistry, only a little late. It's hanging in the air between them. He knows. She knows. They know.

If only they'd admit something like that to themselves, maybe it wouldn't be so impossible to overcome the tension between them, tension that no staff or yo-yo could cut through.