"Sweet kitty", Marinette said, pushing his nose back with one finger. Adrien mewed at her, and they both burst into laughter.
"This feels so weird, but so right", he said, lying back against her chaise longue.
"Tell me about it", she replied. "I can't believe I've been sitting behind you, staring at the back of your head for the last two years, and never realised."
"You were staring at me?" He sat up, surprised, and she grumbled as he moved away.
"Well..." and she stopped, blushing. "I guess I can tell you now. It's silly".
He grinned, tipping her chin up with one finger. "Please tell me, Milady. If you don't, I'll give you the kitten eyes".
She threw a pillow at him. "Hey, I've also been chasing your arse across rooftops for the same two years. Give me the kitten eyes and I will personally beat you with a pillow."
Adrien hummed. "My arse? Were you chasing me because you liked the view?" His glance was wicked, from under his eyelashes, pure flirtatious Chat. In Adrien's body. She still couldn't quite reconcile the two faces in one. Instead, she grabbed the pillow back and hit him with it again.
"Have mercy!" he called. "Please just tell me!"
"All right", she relented. "I had a crush on you. Like, a major major crush." She saw his surprised look. "I take it you never noticed."
"Well, no, I just thought you didn't like me much. I wanted to be friends but I thought you were just putting up with me because Alya wanted to hang out with Nino." He looked sheepish. "And I guess I was too busy daydreaming about Ladybug".
"Gosh no", Marinette said. I thought you were amazing, loyal, kind. Alya kept trying to get me to confess to you."
She paused, then said "Oh sugar".
Adrien looked at her, and then, with the ease of long partnership, realised exactly what she was thinking. "Oh", he said.
"Alya". He considered. "Sugar isn't a strong enough swear word, is it?"
"No, not really."
They both knew Alya well enough to know that she'd spot the way their friendship had changed in a heartbeat. Possibly even before she'd seen both of them. Maybe even if they answered a phone call. Or a text.
The last thing they needed was the Ladyblogger realising that Ladybug and Chat Noir had become a couple at the same time as Marinette and Adrien, and putting the clues together. Alya didn't always jump to the correct conclusion, but she always jumped fast.
They both sank back into the chaise longue, groaning.
Plagg hovered in front of them. "Maybe you just need to give her some cheese, so that she's got something else to think about." He grinned. "Or you could give it to me. I'll give it to her". Adrien sighed, and reached into his bag for a piece of wrapped cheese. "Don't give it to Alya, Plagg." The little kwami had swallowed the cheese before Adrien finished his sentence.
"He's got a point though", Marinette said thoughtfully. "Alya gets hyperfocused on things sometimes, and when she's like that she's slower to pick up on other stuff." Adrien smiled, watching the concentration on her face. He loved the creative plans she came up with. It seriously made sense that Marinette was Ladybug, even though he felt like an idiot for not having realised it long before.
"All right", she said finally. "We can't keep her from realising about either Ladybug and Chat Noir or Marinette and Adrien for more than a few minutes. But that's all we need. I know how we're going to do this."
"MARINETTE! HAVE YOU SEEN THIS!"
Alya's squeal reached across the front steps as Marinette crossed the road. She'd barely left her own home before she heard the excitement. "What is it, Alya?". It was hard to pretend she didn't know exactly what was in the video on the phone Alya was waving in the air. As she walked over to her friend, she carefully kept her back towards a certain young model exiting his limo and heading up the steps. Neither of them so much as glanced in the other's direction.
"Girl! I caught Ladybug and Chat Noir kissing on camera!"
Marinette attempted to look surprised. It wasn't her best effort, but Alya was too excited to notice anything odd. "Really? I would have sworn they weren't that into each other."
"I keep telling you, Marinette. They're totally a pair. And now I have proof!"
More of their classmates gathered around to watch over Alya's shoulder. On the tiny screen, a little Ladybug swung in closer to the camera, followed by Chat on his baton. They heard Alya's voice calling out "Ladybug! Chat Noir! Will you answer a question for the Ladyblog and your fans?"
The two superheroes looked over and changed direction, coming towards the camera.
"Ladybug", Alya's voice came over, "do you keep secrets from your partner? Other than your identity?"
The on-screen Ladybug opened her mouth, then closed it, then blushed. Next to her, Chat Noir looked concerned. He said "I trust my Lady completely, and she trusts me even though we obviously can't tell each other anything about ourselves." He put his hands over his ears and continued "So I'll just not listen for a minute, OK, Ladybug?"
Ladybug nodded. "Well", she said to the camera, "obviously I can't tell him or you anything about myself." She seemed to brace herself, then said "It's not really a secret, but I don't tell him nearly often enough how I feel about him. He's loyal, kind, supportive, and funny. He always makes me feel better when I'm having a bad day, just by being there. He's the sort of person I wish I could hang out with for the rest of my life."
Chat Noir grinned, and dropped his hands. "Sorry, my Lady. I only covered one pair of ears." He reached out and pulled her closer, studying her intently. In a serious voice, he asked "Do you really mean that?"
All the students watching over Alya's shoulder grew still and quiet, holding their breath.
The camera showed clearly Ladybug's face turning bright red. Then, her expression firmed, and she looked up at him, almost shy. "I do. I love you, Chat."
He looked back at her, adoration so deep and obvious it drew an "awwww" from all of the girls and several of the boys clustered around. "I love you too, my Lady." The two superheroes leaned towards each other. Just as their lips touched, Chat reached out a hand and covered the camera.
The video ended.
There were a few seconds of silence.
Then Alya screamed again. "I GOT THEIR CONFESSION ON CAMERA!".
From then until the recess bell, Alya was swamped with people coming up to congratulate her on her scoop, or to talk about what it meant that Ladybug and Chat Noir were now an item, or both. Even in class Marinette heard Alya's phone buzzing away under the desk with incoming messages. She was fairly sure her friend heard nothing the teacher said for the whole session. Alya's eyes were glued to her hit counters and the massive traffic streaming through her website. It wasn't until a few minutes after recess had started that she noticed Marinette was being unusually quiet.
"What's up, girl?" she said, reluctantly putting her phone in her pocket. "You haven't said barely a word for the last couple of hours."
"I was... thinking", Marinette said nervously. "Ladybug is this great superhero, right? Brave and fearless? And she was still so nervous around Chat, even though she's been his partner for years. You could see how scared she was about saying anything. Even when she knew he knew."
Alya looked at her, curious, waiting. Marinette's face grew determined. She stood up, and clenched her fists. "If she can do it, I can do it." She took a deep breath and began walking across the school's courtyard to where Adrien and Nino were sprawled on a bench talking. Behind her, she heard the sound of Alya falling off her bench, and then scrambling for her phone again.
Marinette walked up to the two boys. "Excuse me," she said, "Adrien. There's"... and she paused, blushing. "There's something I want to tell you." Adrien's gaze met hers, intense, and she locked hers onto it. She felt more than saw Nino scrambling backwards out of the way of the look they were giving each other. "I think you're wonderfully kind and sweet. And... I like you."
Her gorgeous, gorgeous model boy stood up, eyes never leaving hers, and took a step towards her. His hand reached out a little, then fell back. "I..." and he stuttered, suddenly looking really embarrassed. "I... I like you too, Marinette." His hand reached out again. Nervously, she took it.
"YOU FINALLY TOLD HIM OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!"
Alya's scream rocketed around the courtyard.
Adrien pulled Marinette close. Breathing into her ear, he said so quietly that only she could hear, "I think your plan worked."
"Do you think we should check if she's still breathing?"
He surreptitiously looked over her shoulder. "Nah, Nino's got her. We should leave them to it." There was just the tiniest hint of a smirk in his voice.
A/N: I was totally meant to be writing something else right now but this jumped into my head, so I pulled up a new window and ran with it. It's a quickie with a minimum of editing – please tell me if you spot obvious mistakes or problems! It's complete as it is, but if people want I can add a second chapter from Alya's POV.