"Auntie Alya! Auntie Alya!"
Marinette grinned as Emma ran to the door the second the doorbell rang through the house. She followed behind and opened the door to reveal Alya.
"Auntie Alya!" Emma cried reaching up to hug her.
"Hey!" she greeted, kneeling down to hug the little girl. "How's my little school girl doing? Is she having a good time in first grade?"
It had been a surprise to them all. Within the first two weeks of kindergarten, the teacher approached them and said that, basically, Emma was too smart for her own good and knew everything she needed to for kindergarten. Marinette and Adrien had a very long talk about bumping Emma up a year, and in the end, they did. Whenever Emma ranted and raved about what they did in class or the cool thing they learned or the friends she was making, it reaffirmed that they made the right decision.
Marinette listened to Emma tell Auntie Alya everything about school until the buzzer went off on the oven, signaling the cookies were done.
"That's what smelt so good!" Alya commented.
"Emma's getting really good at helping me make them," Marinette said as she pulled them from the oven. "Right?"
Emma nodded. "I help mommy read the recipe and measure out everything."
"And she does a really good job!" Marinette encouraged, holding her fist out.
With a grin, Emma bumped it.
Alya giggled. "Then I'm sure they'll be delicious. I'll take some home for Nino."
"But we can't give away too many," Emma spoke with seriousness. "We have to save them for Daddy."
"We'll have plenty for Daddy," Marinette assured. "Don't worry, but we want to share with Uncle Nino, right?"
Emma smiled and nodded.
"How is 'Daddy' by the way?" Alya asked. "I haven't heard from him in days."
"He's exhausted," Marinette answered with a frown. "He's trying to balance his job and his father's while Gabriel and Nathalie are on their honeymoon. Sabrina is a godsend, but even she's getting weary. And this is during a lull time."
"It doesn't matter if it's a lull time," Alya sympathized. "He's balancing two jobs at once. Of course, it's going to wear on him. How much longer until he returns?"
"Thankfully, only another two days," she answered, picking up a spatula to transfer the cookies from the cookie sheets to a cooling rack. "I mean, on one hand, Adrien and I are really glad they went on a two-week vacation because they need it. But on the other… I just want them to come home for Adrien's sake. It wouldn't be so bad if he didn't have Mr. Rossi breathing down his neck about potentially pulling out."
Alya's brow furrowed. "Why?"
"Something about he can't be in a company where the owner marries a secretary, and his daughter is throwing a fit that Adrien didn't marry a model."
Alya scoffed. "Then give him the money and tell him bye-bye."
Marinette smirked. "That's what Adrien wants to do, but he's trying to have him hold on until his father returns."
Marinette placed the spatula down and turned off the oven.
"So Emma," Alya said, turning her attention back to Emma. "What sort of cool projects have you done at school?"
"How about," Marinette suggested, "you go grab the pictures you painted in class and bring them back down for Alya?"
Gasping as though it was the greatest idea in the world, Emma sprinted upstairs.
Leaving Marinette to collapse in a dining chair.
"You look miserable," Alya commented, taking a seat across from her.
"I'm just a little tired," she said, rubbing her hands down her face. "It's probably just because Adrien's been working so hard and I'm worried for him. By the way, we need to go shopping."
"I don't know if Adrien accidentally dried my bras again or what, but they aren't fitting, so I need new ones."
Alya looked at her friend with her brows knit together.
Marinette frowned in confusion. "What?"
Alya opened her mouth to say something, only for Emma to run back into the room while excitedly waving around a large piece of paper. "Look!"
Half an hour of visiting and cookie sharing later, Alya was saying how she needed to head out. She gave Emma a hug good-bye, but before she left, she pulled Marinette to the front porch.
Marinette followed, shutting the door behind her. "So, yes shopping? No?"
Instead, Alya dug around in her purse. "Call it a hunch, but no."
Marinette's brows furrowed. And when Alya pulled a box from her purse, Marinette's eyes widened. "No," she said. "No way."
Alya quirked a brow. "You're tired and your bras are too small?"
"It's only been three months," Marinette said. "And Nathaniel and I were trying for years—"
"But Adrien isn't Nathaniel," Alya said. "Adrien, in case you didn't notice, has offspring, which means he's perfectly capable of producing a baby."
Marinette stared at the little rectangular box. She couldn't be… could she? "There's no way."
"Girl," Alya said, "you know it's a possibility."
"And the guy could be just as much at fault for infertility as the woman. Don't take that all on your shoulders when it's possible it wasn't you."
Marinette bit her lip as she nervously stared at the box.
"Don't you need it?" Marinette asked in a small voice.
With a grin, Alya shook her head. "Not with the monster of a period that decided to show up late. I was just getting hopeful way too easily."
Marinette stared down at the box a moment longer before taking it.
Alya grinned. "Text me a picture."
Marinette smiled and waved Alya good-bye. Once Alya drove off, Marinette's gaze fell to the little pregnancy test. Could she really? If she were honest, she fully believed that she and Adrien were going to have to go through fertility treatments. She'd already been researching different clinics. Was it possible that Alya was right and that it wasn't her fault? That she could have children?
Then her heart sank. But what if she was just getting her hopes up?
With a sigh, she took the pregnancy test back inside and upstairs to her bathroom before going back down the kitchen and guzzling the largest glass of water she could find.
Adrien shut the door and leaned back against it. The lingering smells of dinner made his stomach rumble. He dropped his briefcase full of documents he still needed to look though and yanked his tie off his neck.
Marinette was there in the kitchen when he rounded the corner, giving him a smile while placing a plate of food down on the table.
The tenseness in his shoulders fell away, and he couldn't stop the smile that appeared. Adrien plopped down at the table and dug in to mostly warm food. "This is amazing," he muttered with his mouth full.
Marinette smiled and rested a hand on his arm. "Only two more days."
She squeezed his arm reassuringly, pulling his attention away from the food and to her. "You're doing a really good job," she said. "And I'm really proud of you for hanging in there. It's not easy balancing your work week with his, but you're doing it and doing an amazing job."
He smiled, his heart warmed by her praise. "Thank you, bugaboo," he whispered before pressing a kiss to her temple.
"Then there's cookies for you later," she said. "And you can take some to Sabrina."
"That woman deserves a whole cake," he said.
"Then I'll make her one."
"Well, Emma and I."
"Sounds about right. Is she upstairs?"
"She's upstairs coloring," Marinette said. "She took an early bath, but she wants you for a bedtime story."
"She won't fault you for eating dinner first, though."
Adrien grinned then shoved another forkful of food in his mouth.
Marinette giggled then stood and kissed the top of his head. He leaned into her, causing her to giggle yet again but also wrap her arms over his shoulders and just hold him.
His smile grew. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too." With one last kiss to his head, she slipped away to finish the dishes.
He finished dinner quickly, then took his plate to the sink. Marinette immediately turned to take it from him. "Your daughter wants to tell you about her fun day at school," she said turning back to the sink.
He wrapped his arms around her waist, leaning flush against her back and resting his head on her shoulder. "Thank you."
She turned her head against his. "You're welcome."
He held her a moment longer before pressing a long, lingering kiss to her cheek. He affectionately patted her hip as he pulled himself away and headed upstairs. He peeked around Emma's door, spying his daughter coloring at her little desk. He watched her a short moment before knocking on the door frame, calling her attention.
"Daddy!" She was up in a flash and running toward him.
He swooped her up into his arms and hugged her tight. "Hey! How's Emma doing? Mommy said you had a fun day."
Happily, Emma told him everything that happened in first grade, from the projects she did to what she did with her friends. Adrien listened to her excited babble and looked at the art projects she presented him with.
"That looks great, Emma," he encouraged. They chatted a little more before Adrien told her to go grab a book to read.
So she did, and they clamored into bed together with the story book in hand. "If. You. Give. A. Mo-mouse. A. Cookie," Emma read the title.
While slow going, Emma read the book very well, stumbling over only a couple words. Adrien hugged her tightly, heaping praise upon her once she finished. And Emma beamed under it.
Then he grabbed their long chapter book and read her a chapter from that. "Alright," Adrien said, placing the story down. "Bed time." He tucked Emma in and gave her a tight hug.
"Best daddy in the whole, wide world."
"Best daughter in the whole, wide world." Adrien gave her a kiss to the top of her head, and then slipped from the room.
Once he left the room, he noticed the lights were off downstairs and on in his and Marinette's room.
He grinned at that. He couldn't help but think of how different it was to share a room with her. He swore it was almost easier to sleep at night when he had her to hold on to. It was harder to get out of bed in the mornings because the thought of leaving his wife's embrace was never pleasant. And then the nights…
No matter if the nights consisted of simple snuggles and chaste kisses or something far steamier—and who was he kidding, neither could say it was all because they were trying to get pregnant—nights with Marinette were far, far more relaxing than trying to unwind by himself in the light of a single lamp in an empty room.
From the hallway, he could see Marinette laying on her back on the bed, rubbing her face in something akin to exhaustion. So, like any good husband, he forwent convincing her that she should just get ready for bed and instead collapsed on top of her.
She let out a slight 'oof" in surprise before she started giggling.
He played it up, laying more of his weight on top of her and resting his head 'conveniently' by that beautifully tender spot her neck met her shoulder.
She giggled and lazily draped her arms over his shoulders and back before turning her head to press her nose into his hair.
"How was your day?" she asked. "Or do you not want to talk about it?"
He almost said that it was a day like any of the others, only to pause when he recalled what exactly was in his briefcase. "Actually, I have something for you. A little surprise."
Her brow furrowed in confusion. "A surprise?"
Adrien grinned. "One that would make you Emma's legal mommy."
He watched realization dawn over her face. "W… what?"
His smile widened. "I had to wait for the paperwork to come to me, but it did, a couple days ago. I just finally remembered to bring it home."
"Remember the day that you wrote up the emergency contact information for Emma to go to school and you put 'mother' on the sheet. And while it's true in a sense, we both realized later you're actually her step-mom? I couldn't stop thinking about it and so I had the paperwork drawn up for you to legally adopt my daughter."
Marinette's eyes were wide as she stared at him, mouth agape. "Really?" she asked on a whisper.
"Unless you don't want to—"
"No!" she said, quickly interrupting him. "I want to. I do. Really."
Adrien felt himself relax.
"But you could have waited until you weren't so busy," she said.
"I started before these crazy two weeks," he shrugged off. "I just finally got the papers back."
Slowly, she smiled and shook her head.
"So," he said, shifting to hover over her. "What do you say, Marinette? Will you be the mom of my child?"
Her breath hitched, and Adrien grew worried that he'd said something wrong. He opened his mouth, only for the response to die on his tongue when he saw the sweet look that wore. "Adrien," she said, her voice soft and gentle and precious. "I already am."
His brow furrowed in confusion.
Her smile grew, and Adrien knew he was missing something.
She took his hand, and he shifted his weight so she could place his hand—
His eyes widened. "Are you serious?"
She nodded, tears now filling her eyes. "I didn't believe it. But… but Alya made me take a test and…" She sniffed. "Positive."
His hand spread out over her abdomen. Somewhere underneath his touch was a tiny, tiny baby—his tiny, tiny baby—and it positively blew his mind. "We're going to have a baby."
She nodded. "We are," she said, happy tears now escaping and running down her cheeks. "We are. I can't believe it, but we are."
It was the best news he could hear. He and Marinette were going to have a baby. A new little one entering their wonderful, patchwork family.
And he loved it.
Marinette was thrilled her parents could take Emma for a couple hours. And when she told them why exactly she needed them to watch Emma…
It was a very fun day.
Marinette looked up at the sound of her name to see the nurse ready to take her back to the doctor's office. Adrien squeezed her hand, then stood from his seat. Hand in hand, they followed the nurse back into the room. Marinette took a seat on the lounger as per the nurse's instruction while Adrien took a seat right beside her.
"The doctor will be in shortly," the nurse said as she shut the door behind her.
Marinette took a breath in hopes to calm her nerves.
Adrien took both her hands in his. "Nervous?" he asked, giving her hands a comforting squeeze.
She nodded, holding on tight. "Yeah."
He gave her a smile. "I kinda am, too."
She smiled. She knew he wasn't exactly involved in Chloe's pregnancy. This was as new to him as it was to her. He had told her he wanted to be at every appointment and be as involved as he possibly could. Frankly, it was a comfort knowing that he would be by her side through all this. Highs and lows. Ups and downs. He was by her side. "I'm glad you're here with me."
"That's my baby, too," he said, reaching out to touch the slight swell of her abdomen. "Furthermore, you are my wife. I'm not going to let you go through it alone."
She smiled, ready to lean forward to kiss him when the doctor opened the door. He introduced himself with a grin and gave his whole doctor spiel that Marinette only half listened to because those nerves were acting up again.
Then came the time for Marinette to lay down so they could have the ultrasound. Once Marinette lifted her shirt and slightly nudged her pants lower on her hips so as to reveal the beginning of her baby bump, she reached for Adrien's hand, which he took tight hold of.
The gel that the doctor put on was shockingly cold. Marinette shivered, which may have masked the squirming of having someone rub her belly in the first place. Soon enough, that part was over, and Adrien squeezed her hand in reassurance. The doctor then placed the little wand over her belly, pressing down a little harder than she thought he would have had to and causing the screen to come alive with an unreadable blur of white, black, and all the shades of gray in between.
He moved the wand around over her belly, the gel allowing it to slide easily until he came to a pause.
"And there's your little one," he said, pointing to the screen. "You can see the head here and the body here."
Marinette's heart started racing, and soon, the world was forgotten. All she could see was the outline of a baby that, she knew from research, wasn't any bigger than a raspberry.
Adrien squeezed her hand, hard, and wouldn't relent. But that was fine because she was in as much awe as he.
Then she heard him sniff and looked over to see her husband getting a little misty-eyed beside her.
"Is this your first?" the doctor asked.
Adrien grinned and shook his head. "No. I have a daughter from a previous marriage."
"But this is the first time he gets to be included in all this," Marinette finished, squeezing his hand.
He nodded, unable to speak.
The doctor just smiled. "Then I suppose you'd like to listen to its heartbeat?"
They both nodded, and soon enough, a thumping sound filled the room. To Marinette, it just solidified the fact that she had a baby inside her. A wonderful child of her own with her incredible albeit crying husband.
Sometime later, the duo was walking from the doctors' offices and to their car, ultrasound pictures in hand and in complete awe. They got in the car, Adrien sliding into the driver's seat while Marinette plopped into the passenger side. The sound of the baby's heartbeat rang in her ears and got her heart racing about as fast as the baby's heart inside her.
She placed a hand over her stomach, her new favorite habit that Adrien hated because he immediately wondered if something was bothering her. She placed a hand over his arm. "I'm fine, sweetheart," she said. "Baby is fine, too."
He smiled, reaching over to lay a hand over her abdomen. "There's a little us in there," he said, his tone reverent. "It's got a little head and little body and a fast little heartbeat."
She smiled, holding her hands over his. "Yes, it does," she confirmed.
He stared at her for a while. "We're going to have a baby."
She giggled. "We've established that."
"I know, but…" he paused, looking up at her. "There's a baby on the way. Like… I don't know. There's a baby and it's tiny and…"
Marinette patted his hand. "Overwhelmed?"
He nodded. "There's a baby."
Marinette giggled. "You do know you've had a baby before, right?"
"Yes, but… I didn't get any of this: the ultrasounds or heartbeat or… or getting to be with my wife. I was just sort of handed a baby, but now…" He patted her stomach. "Baby. There. And it just… blows my mind."
"Should I inform you that you were the one to put it there, or is that too much for you?"
Frozen, Adrien stared at her, and Marinette couldn't help but laugh.
He should be working. Instead, he found his time was much better spent scouring the internet on just how to broach the topic of telling Emma that she was going to become a big sister.
And how to avoid any questions of how the baby ended up in mommy's tummy.
"So," Alya said, picking at her food while helping—read: harassing—Adrien with his research, "just how did the baby end up in 'Mommy's' tummy?"
Adrien felt himself turn a wonderful shade of red. "You're married and you need a lesson in that sort of thing?"
"I want to know what you two are doing to have gotten pregnant," she said. "For personal research."
Adrien looked over at Alya with a raised brow.
She shrugged. "I've almost convinced Nino that having a baby now would be pretty awesome," she admitted. "He loves Emma, and I think having a little 'Emma' of our own would be amazing."
"Just tell him," Adrien said.
"Like I haven't already."
"And what'd he say?"
"That he wanted to wait a little longer because we haven't been married a year yet and he wants that first year to be just us."
Adrien tapped his fingers on the table. "I can actually see his point, Alya."
"But my body's getting older by the second," she complained.
"You'll still be under thirty by the time you and Nino have been married a year. And you two were married in March. You have, what? Four months?"
Alya just shoved a bite of food in her mouth.
"You'll be fine," Adrien assured. "In the meantime, talk about actually raising the kid and getting prepared to take on that responsibility, okay? It's not exactly fun to be rushing around last minute to put everything together and cram as much knowledge as possible."
Alya sighed and began picking at her food again. "I guess you're right," she grumbled. "That didn't stop you and Marinette from having one right away."
"Marinette and I have each been married before, and then we're parents already with Emma."
Alya frowned. "Touché."
Adrien stared at his downtrodden friend a little longer before grabbing his food. "However," he said. "Come your anniversary, may I suggest popcorn, a bottle of wine, and a good video game with an ultimatum."
Alya raised a brow, a smirk slowly crossing her face. "What sort of ultimatum?"
"Winner gets their way with the loser."
With an amused snort, she shook her head. "Well, no one can say you two don't have fun."
He could feel the heat on his face, his ears, his neck, and knew he was tomato red, but if it got his friend to smile, so be it. "No," he agreed. "No, they cannot."
It was a rainy December day they decided to tell Emma. Marinette had found a story book that happened to be specifically for telling young children they were going to have a sibling. And it was just too perfect that the story happened to include bears.
So, for their night time reading, they had Emma read the illustrated book. After each page, she would commentate on the picture, pointing out how the family was just like hers.
Then she read about a baby being inside of Mama Bear, and she grew confused.
"You see, Emma," Marinette said. "When two people love each other very much, sometimes, they have a baby that has to grow inside Mama's tummy."
Her confused pout was adorable.
Marinette just nodded. "It starts off really small," she said, pinching her fingers together. "But the baby then grows until it can join the family outside of mommy's tummy."
"But, why does it have to be in mommy's tummy?"
"Because," Adrien chimed in. "Mommy takes the best care of the baby. She makes sure that its happy and healthy inside her tummy and protects it very well."
Emma nodded. "So Mama Bear has a baby in her tummy so it's safe?"
Adrien and Marinette nodded.
"Oh," Emma said, turning back to the book. "Okay."
Marinette and Adrien snuck a glance at each other. So far, so good.
They finished the story, and Emma seemed happy that Little Bear had become a big sibling and the big helper to Mama Bear.
"So, Emma," Adrien said. "Do you remember how you said we're like the bears? There's you and Mommy and Daddy?"
"Well," Adrien continued. "Just like Mama Bear, Mommy also has a baby in her tummy."
Emma's eyes widened as she looked at Mommy.
Marinette nodded. "Meaning you're going to be a big sister, just like Little Bear."
Emma stared at Marinette before scrambling off her daddy's lap and into Marinette's. "You have a baby in your tummy?"
Marinette nodded, then took Emma's hand. "It's right here," she said, placing Emma's hand over her abdomen.
Emma's eyes got really wide, and for a moment, Marinette was nervous that Emma was going to freak out, and not in a good way.
Instead, Emma smiled and looked up at Marinette. "Is it ready to join us out here?"
Marinette's heart soared as she shook her head. "Not yet. The baby has to stay in my tummy until it gets big and strong enough to join us out here. Right now, it's only this big," she explained, making a little circle with her hands.
"That's not very big."
"No," Marinette said. "Which is why the baby needs to stay in my tummy longer."
Emma almost looked disappointed. "Oh."
"But when the baby does come," Adrien said, turning the conversation. "You're going to be a big sister, just like Little Bear."
Emma smiled once again. "Okay."
"All right," Adrien said. "I'm really proud of you. You're going to be the best big sister ever."
Emma beamed under her father's praise.
"Now, it's bed time," he said. "Say goodnight to Mommy."
She reached up to wrap her arms around Marinette's neck. "Goodnight, Mommy."
"Good night, sweetheart."
Then, Emma let go and bent over to put her face against Marinette's abdomen. "Goodnight, Baby. Don't worry. Mommy will take good care of you."
Marinette and Adrien shared a gaze that revealed they were each on the verge of happy tears.
After Adrien hugged Emma goodnight and tucked her in, he and Marinette slipped from the room to their own. "That," Adrien began, "Went better than I had hoped it would."
"Yeah," Marinette said, laying down on the bed. "I'm so glad she accepted that so easily. I've read horror stories of how it could go."
"So have I," Adrien agreed, laying down beside his wife and pulling her close. With a happy sigh, she shifted against him and nestled her head under his. He kissed her forehead and held her close. "Sleep well, sweetheart," he whispered into her hair, reaching over to turn off the lamp light.
She hummed, reaching her hands upwards to pet the hair at the base of his neck. "You, too."
"With you doing that, it's nearly guaranteed."
She giggled. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
Marinette rubbed the bulge that was her five-month belly. The one that contained her baby that she only recently found the gender of.
Her face lit up like a Christmas tree. Honestly, she would probably have been happy either way, but she just couldn't help but think of just how ridiculously proud Adrien was of himself.
"I gave you what you wanted, didn't I?" he had teased with a smug grin and waggling brows. "I'm that good."
Marinette decided to forgo the whole "gender reveal" party and decided to just tell her friends one by one. That way, she could relish in each person's excitement.
She baked macrons for her parents, filling them with a blue icing that could only be discovered when it was bitten into. Her maman had squealed, and her papa had given her a tight hug.
Alya and Nino had also been a blast, flat out telling them that she was getting her Hugo. Nino had grinned, and Alya had squealed. They both congratulated her—and Adrien—and then swore they would be the best aunt and uncle a boy could have.
But Emma had been the most fun.
"Now," Marinette explained to her while Adrien filmed the whole thing. "You have to pop the balloon, and confetti is going to fall out of it. If it's pink, then you're going to have a little sister. If it's blue, you're going to have a little brother."
Emma's grin was bright as sunshine as she carefully took the large sewing pin Marinette handed her.
"Do you want to guess what it is, Em?" Adrien asked.
She paused a second. "Um… a brother?"
"Is that what you want?"
She nodded. "Just like Little Bear."
Adrien and Marinette shared a knowing look just before Emma poked the black balloon with the pin, Sending blue confetti everywhere.
She squealed. "I'm gonna have a baby brother?!"
"You're going to have a little brother," Marinette confirmed.
She squealed once again, and Marinette took the pin from her hands before Emma could hurt herself with it with as much as she was flailing around. "I'm gonna have a little brother!"
"Adrien, you just missed it."
Adrien pouted, his hands on Marinette's swollen abdomen. He'd come too late, apparently, and missed the baby shifting.
She giggled and placed her hands over his. "You'll have the opportunity to feel it again."
"But it was the first time," he moaned. "And I missed it."
Chuckling all the while, she patted his hands. "I'm sorry."
He mock pouted. "Fine." With that, he wrapped his arms around her lower torso best he could and laid down between her legs, his head resting on her upper thigh. "I'm staying right here until it moves again."
"Adrien," she giggled. "It's probably not going to do it right away."
"Don't care," he said. "I'm not letting you go until I feel it."
She just laid her head back on headboard of their bed with a mocking sigh. "What am I going to do with you, Adrien."
"Love me because I'm your husband."
She hummed, then started running her fingers through his hair. "Well, that's true."
He grinned at that, shifting just slightly so he was able to press a kiss to her belly.
They stayed like that for a while, Marinette stroking Adrien's hair while he rubbed little circles on her back. And it was interrupted by the little patting of feet entering the room.
Adrien cracked his eyes open just in time to watch Emma scramble up on the bed. She looked between her daddy and mommy with a concerned little frown.
"Daddy's being silly," Marinette said with a smirk.
Emma smiled at that, then laid over her daddy's back. "Stop being silly."
"But being silly is the best," he said, letting go of Marinette to reach down and tickle Emma. She squealed and laughed, scrambling away from her dad.
"Oh, no, you don't," he playfully said, smile now fully on his face as he reached to grab her and yank her into a smothering hug.
She laughed and shrieked with happiness, but submitted to his embrace.
Marinette grabbed his hand and yanked to her belly, holding it over the spot where he could clearly feel a little thumping.
His own wonder was interrupted by a little gasp, and that's when he realized that Marinette had pulled Emma's hands to her stomach, too.
"Do you feel that?" she asked. Emma nodded. "That's the baby."
"That's the baby?"
Marinette nodded. "Yup, that's the baby inside my tummy. He's shifting around."
Adrien could fully agree with that sentiment. Wow was about the best term for it. That was his child underneath his hands, kicking out of his wife's stomach.
"Is it strong enough to be out here with us?" Emma asked.
Adrien couldn't help but giggle. "Not yet, Emma. Little baby Hugo is getting closer, but he's not strong enough to come out and meet us yet."
She pouted, and neither Adrien nor Marinette could contain their laughter.
The last three months sucked.
She moaned on the couch, unable to get comfortable, unable to sleep, unable to do anything but hurt at the belly that was…
What was it?
Oh yeah, 41 fricking miserable weeks.
She seriously could just burst into tears for the umpteenth time during her pregnancy. She was so immensely thankful that Adrien put up with her. Like when he found her on the floor last week having a complete meltdown because she slightly over-baked the cookies she made for Emma. Instead, he sat on the floor with her and held her until her tears subsided.
Adrien came through the door, and Marinette forced herself up off the couch to greet him and Emma
Only to see there was no Emma.
She opened her mouth to ask, but he beat her to it. "It's Wednesday," he said. "And I know we haven't exactly been doing our regular date nights because you haven't been feeling up to it, but tonight, I say we actually spend some quality time together. Doing anything. Seriously, if it's just having the house to ourselves tonight and an early bedtime, I'm perfectly fine with that."
Marinette's shoulders sank. "I'm pregnant and miserable and there's no way I'm up for any sort of date night." Suddenly, she felt the tears come on again. "I'm sorry. I'm a horrible wife." And then her tears over took her.
Patiently, he wrapped her in his arms and held her tight. "You are a fantastic wife whom I love and adore and still find incredibly beautiful."
"I'm huge," she sobbed.
"You say that like I wouldn't want you just because you're pregnant."
She sniffed and shrugged.
He smiled. "Let me make one thing clear to you," he whispered in her ear. "I absolutely still want you in all the wonderfully intimate ways no matter how pregnant you are."
Happily, she leaned into his embrace, her tears still flowing.
He squeezed her tighter. "I know you're miserable," he said. "And I'm sorry. Is there anything I can do to make it easier?"
"Can you make the baby come already?" she asked jokingly around tears.
He paused. "Well…"
She looked up at him with curiosity.
"I heard some old wives' tales," he said.
"There's a couple certain types of tea," he said. "Then castor oil, but I know your stomach is very fickle right now, so…"
"I'm growing desperate, though," she mumbled.
"Walking supposedly helps."
"Like I haven't been doing that."
"I know," he said, holding her tight. "There's one more."
"Well… supposedly, sex."
She paused, completely caught off guard.
But hell, at this point, she was up for anything that got this baby out of her. She grabbed him by the belt, and they barely made it up to their bedroom before they were completely lacking in any sort of clothing.
41 weeks and ten hours, the bed was wet from her water breaking.
"If I'm being honest, I really didn't think that was going to work," Adrien said.
"I don't care," Marinette moaned, feeling the tightness of early contractions squeeze her belly. "It did, and I'm so happy this baby is coming out."
Then Marinette looked at him. "Wait a minute," she said, shooting him a teasing grin. "What do you mean 'you didn't think it was going to work'?"
He smirked. "Well, I mean, it's an old wives' tale? How often do those actually work?"
"Mm-hmm," Marinette said, listening.
"And I really just wanted to spend a night with you."
"There we go," she said, her grin widening.
"I wasn't exactly hearing you object."
Well, when her husband made love to her like that, of course not.
As time went on, her contractions getting closer together and steadily growing more intense, Marinette was pacing the house, just like her mother told her to do.
"It helps open your hips, dear," she had explained. "Easing the pain and speeding up labor."
Hence why she was currently wearing a rut into the floor.
And Adrien was not helping.
"Are we sure this is the best decision? Having the baby at home?"
Marinette sighed. "We talked about this, Adrien," she said. "No cesarean."
"We both agreed to that."
"But my family—"
"But are they sure?"
"Nathalie," Marinette interrupted, "did research, and gave you a handful of statistics that agreed with my family."
"Adrien," Marinette cut in, only to be interrupted by a contraction that forced her to pause and lean with one hand against the wall.
Adrien was next to her in a heartbeat, only for her to stop him with a hand squarely against his chest. Only once the contraction passed did she look back up at him. "Give Rose a call," Marinette finished. "And she'll come right over and help me deliver my baby here. I will be fine."
Adrien sighed. "Okay. I'm sorry."
"Thank you," Marinette said. "Just trust me a little, here."
"I do," Adrien said, standing back as Marinette took up pacing the living room again. "I just care for you and the baby."
"I know you do," she said. "But this is what we're doing and no arguing with the laboring pregnant woman."
He cracked a smile. "Understood." He then reached for his phone to give Rose a call.
Bless her heart, Rose normally didn't stay in France this long, but the moment Marinette had called her and told her old school friend she had remarried and was in the family way, Rose had lost it.
"You went and got married when I wasn't in the country, and as my friend, you will not go behind my back and have anyone else deliver that baby, am I perfectly clear?"
With a laugh, Marinette agreed. After all, Rose was a registered nurse as well as a mid-wife who spent her time in third world countries providing all sorts of medical assistance. And with as many babies as Rose had helped deliver, Marinette trusted Rose to help her through her own delivery.
Within twenty minutes, when the contractions had grown steadily worse to the point Marinette was barely able to keep walking, Rose had arrived.
"How are you doing?" she asked.
"Fine, I think?" Marinette said.
"Where are you at pain-wise and how far apart at the contractions?'
"About four minutes, steadily," Adrien answered.
"And they just got way worse," she gritted out, leaning against the wall as another contraction hit her.
Rose nodded. "Hot water is amazing for this."
"Great. Bath. Okay." Marinette grunted.
So Adrien ran up to start a bath before Rose coaxed Marinette up the stairs. The other wonderful thing about Rose, Marinette soon realized, was that Marinette was comfortable enough to strip down in front of her old friend and allow her to look, well, down there to bring the baby into the world. That was one of the many points her family gave her to help relieve stress and keep relaxed: having as few people around her as possible as well as only people she trusted.
A few hours later, Marinette was on all fours on her bed, crying out as Hugo made his way into the world.
And then there was cry that she vaguely realized wasn't hers. Adrien put his hands on her shoulders as she panted to catch her breath. "You did it."
The next thing she knew, she was holding her baby and smiling because this was her baby that was still connected to her and it was odd yet so magically amazing she didn't know how to process it all. So she didn't. She lay on her bed, her baby in her arms, and cried over the fact she had a child and he was absolutely perfect.
"Rose," Adrien said, slipping from the room to show her out. Marinette was fast asleep with the baby next to her on the bed, swaddled in one of the many baby blankets she had made for him. "Thank you so much for everything."
"Of course," Rose said quietly, smile taking up half her face. "I'm so sad I didn't get the chance to make it to your wedding, or that I was even be close enough to receive an invitation. But when she told me she was pregnant and thinking about having it at home, I just had to be here! Marinette is one of the greatest, sweetest, most amazing people I've ever met, and she always makes quilts for my charity drives and always supported me, and I'm so happy to have met you and help deliver Hugo. Oh, she's been wanting to have a Hugo since our school days, and I'm so happy for her."
Adrien chuckled. Marinette had warned him that Rose was literally the sweetest, bubbliest person he would ever meet in his life, and she was right. "Thank you again for being here."
"Of course!" Rose chirped. "Now, I'll head out so you can go be with your baby and call the family and tell them the great news, okay?"
With one last wave and 'thank you', Adrien showed Rose out.
"Text me pictures!" she said on her way to her taxi. "I want to see the big sister and little brother together, okay?"
With one last frantic wave good-bye, Rose got into the taxi and drove off.
And Adrien hustled back upstairs into the bedroom.
Marinette was fast asleep, exhausted from laboring while little Hugo, his newborn son, slept swaddled on the bed next to her. He resisted the urge to pick him up his baby boy and hold him close, though only for a moment. He had two sets of grandparents as well as an aunt and uncle to inform about the newest addition to their family.
Once that was done, Adrien scooped Hugo up into his arms and sat down in the rocking chair. Hugo fussed only a second before settling right back down into sleep. Adrien's smile split his face as his eyes grew misty. Here was his little boy, perfectly healthy and happy, and Marinette was doing just fine. It really took a weight off his heart.
His phone buzzed with replies, demanding to know how it all went and where pictures were and when they could all come over to see the baby.
So, he sent out a single reply asking for a little time for Marinette to rest and recoup, and once she woke up, he'd invite them over.
Sabine was the first to text back, saying that it was a good idea for the new mother to get a little rest while Alya sent back about ten different pouting faces before admitting he may be right. His father sent back a text saying Emma was excited that the baby was finally here and that she was ready to meet her new brother.
Adrien couldn't help but grin as he set his phone down.
"You're quite the stir, little buddy," he whispered to his precious, sleeping baby boy. "Everyone can't wait to meet you."
Marinette was so thankful Adrien let her sleep before inviting the family over to see the baby. It wasn't a surprise that Gabriel, Nathalie, and Emma were the first ones over. Adrien led them all up to her, Emma walking closely beside her dad as he walked into the room. She sided up right next to the bed, staring at her mom and new brother before Marinette invited Emma up to sit beside her.
Carefully, Emma crawled on the bed beside her and stared at the bundle in Marinette's arms. With a smile, Marinette pushed the blankets away from Hugo's chubby little face, eliciting a gasp from Emma. "Meet your new little brother, Emma," she quietly spoke.
Emma just stared, her eyes wide and full of wonder. Her mouth was open, completing her awestruck expression. She shifted closer to Marinette to get a better view.
Marinette looked past Emma to see Gabriel and Nathalie standing there with fond looks of their own. Gabriel glanced over at Adrien before placing a hand on his shoulder.
Adrien could only smile.
Emma shifted again, trying to look closer at Hugo, her eyes still wide but her mouth now closed.
"Do you want to hold him, Emma?"
She froze, looking up at Marinette before she nodded.
"Sit down beside me."
Emma did as told, sitting down and holding her arms outstretched. Carefully, Marinette placed Hugo in his sister's arms. And she positively lit up.
Adrien immediately started taking pictures, Emma being all smiles and Marinette as proud as a mother could be. All lingering doubt about how Emma would react to Hugo completely faded away as the six-year-old held her new baby brother.
Marinette's parents were the next ones to show up, and just as Marinette thought they would, they immediately started cooing over their first official grandchild. Marinette told Emma to let Mimi hold Hugo, and with great reluctance, Emma gave him up.
Gabriel congratulated Tom and Sabine on their first grandchild, to which they beamed and thanked him before going back to cooing over Hugo.
Alya and Nino were the last two to show up. Alya had a work day to finish up, after all, and there was no way that Nino could come without her and still be a married—or living—man.
Finally, once everyone had a chance to hold the baby and have their picture taken, they began filing out to give the family downtime. Which Marinette appreciated considering she felt exhausted all over again.
"I'll send everyone the photos," Alya promised, her camera hanging on her neck. "They'll be great, I'm sure."
"Without a doubt, Alya. Thank you," Adrien said.
"It's getting late," she commented, "and I'm sure you're hungry. Do you want me to go pick up Mimi's for all of you?"
At the mention of food, Marinette perked up. "Please?"
Alya grinned. "I go you. Just as long as you promise to return the favor." With that, she patted her tummy.
Marinette grinned. She still couldn't forget the day Alya had nearly tackled her in a hug squealing how she was pregnant and excited because their babies were going to be close in age and how adorable was that? "I will absolutely get you anything you want. Cross my heart."
"What is it?" Emma asked.
Adrien chuckled and looked down to Emma. "You're going to have a cousin very soon, too. Just like Mommy had a baby in her tummy, Auntie Alya has one in hers."
Emma gasped before running up to Alya and pressing her hands over her tummy. "Don't worry, Baby," she said. "Auntie Alya will keep you safe."
Alya looked over at Adrien with a heartfelt smile. "Should I tell her there are actually two of them?"
Hugo was six-months at Christmas. Marinette had told Adrien her hesitations, specifically that Hugo was too young and that they were looking to move soon, but Adrien was convinced Hugo was plenty old enough and that moving wouldn't matter so why not now for Christmas.
Marinette was not convinced.
So Adrien sat down and wrote a contract, being sure to include two very important lines that basically summed up to "Mom will not have to deal with cat litter."
For good measure, he laid on the kitty-cat eyes before pulling his trump card.
"It's for the kids."
Exasperated, Marinette relented.
Since it wasn't exactly something they could wrap up, Adrien printed off a picture before folding the paper and placing it in a large box. Marinette thought it was genius.
Come Christmas, everyone gathered at Adrien and Marinette's. It was the second time they had a large Christmas together, and Adrien still couldn't quite get over just how wonderful it was to have everyone around the tree, talking and laughing and being merry.
Presents were passed around and opened and talked about and adored. And then Emma finally got to open the big box that said 'Open Last' on the top.
Her entire expression fell when she saw just how empty it was. And when she took out the paper, there were a couple laughs by Tom and Sabine as well as inquisitive looks by Gabriel and Nathalie. However, that all changed in an instant when Emma opened the paper to reveal the picture.
"We're getting a cat!"
Suddenly, there was a very happy, squealing, excited six-year-old, who was giving out hugs to the entire room. "I'm getting a cat! I'm getting a cat!"
It wasn't for Christmas but well into January, once all the holiday cheer had worn off and people realized that Christmas kittens and puppies were far too much work and therefore packed them in a shelter, that the Agrestes found themselves looking at the cats for adoption. There was one that Emma found—large, black and fluffy—that she insisted was the best and was determined to get.
Adrien looked over the information, finding out that the kitty was good with kids having been with a family that had a baby. However, there was one little catch with the wonderful black cat named Felix.
"What?" Marinette asked, spying the look on Adrien's face. So he walked over to show her the catch that Felix came with.
She looked at the line, then looked exasperatedly up back at her husband before looking over at Emma, who had her hand stuck through the cage to pet a clearly very tolerant Felix.
A shelter volunteer walking a hyper red and white spaniel came up to them. "Can I help you with anything?"
Hugo immediately started fussing, and for the first time, Adrien was worried that this may have not been the best idea.
"She's friendly," the worker assured, looking at the baby. "Very friendly."
Adrien looked back over at Hugo to reassure him, only to see Hugo's fussing was because he couldn't reach the dog. Marinette knelt down so Hugo could reach the object he was grasping at. Upon touching the dog's snout, he immediately became a smiley, giggly baby. And the dog just sat there, nuzzling Hugo's hand and causing him to squeal happily.
Adrien grinned. "Actually, I just have a question. The black cat here, um… Felix. It says he's bonded with a dog, Bridgette?"
The worker smiled and pointed down at the spaniel that was happily basking in the affection of Marinette and Hugo. "Bridgette."
Adrien looked down at Marinette, who glanced up at him. "Well," he said to her, smiling all the while. "You told me you wanted a dog."
She sighed, though she was still petting the pooch that had made a home for itself against Marinette's side while Hugo happily patted the dog's nose. "I guess I did."
So, half an hour later, there were not one but two new members to the Agreste family.
When everyone was happily strapped into the back seat, Adrien and Marinette slid into the front.
"You know what this means, right?"
Adrien looked over at Marinette with a quirked brow.
She sighed, looking back at Bridgette who watched over a giggly Hugo while Emma snuggled Felix. "We're going to need a bigger house," she said. "Because I feel like we just officially outgrew ours."
Adrien glanced behind him to take in his whole family before turning back to Marinette. "Then I think it's high time we start seriously searching."
"I'm going to miss this place," Marinette said as she looked over the house that was full of boxes.
"So am I," he said. "But the new place is perfect. It's going to be the place we, together, raise our family in. But most importantly, it really is ours. One we picked together."
Marinette smiled up at him. "True," she said, wrapping her arms around his torso in a hug. "Very true."
Adrien smiled and held her close against him. "Are you going to miss the kitchen, though?"
Marinette looked behind her at the kitchen. "Yeah," she said. "I'll never forget the day I walked in and saw this."
Adrien gave her a squeeze. "We can remodel."
"What's the point?" she said. "The kitchen is really nice there, too. And it's not one that Nathaniel made himself. But you know, that's okay." She turned back to him, looking him in the eyes. "This is the new chapter. This is our new adventure. And I'm really excited for it."
The movers came the next day to pack up the entire house into the moving truck. Once that was finished, Adrien packed his family into the car. "Two kids, cat, dog, and wife. Yup, everyone's accounted for," he joked. Marinette smacked his shoulder but didn't bother hiding her smile.
They drove over to the new house and unloaded everyone. Bridgette and Emma immediately ran into the backyard to play fetch with Bridgette's favorite squeaky donut toy. Marinette took Hugo inside in his car seat while Adrien grabbed Felix's crate, carrying it into the bathroom where the litterbox would go. He shut the door, let a grumpy Felix out of his crate, and set up a brand new litterbox. "You stay here," he said to the cat, patting its head. "No need for you trying to make a jail break when the movers are here."
Felix mewed pitifully while swishing his tail, but Adrien knew Felix would be fine.
Adrien exited the bathroom, quickly shutting the door behind him before Felix could slip out, and immediately found Marinette staring frozen at the kitchen.
He grinned and marched up to her side to look at the kitchen he secretly had renovated to resemble theirs. "Do you like it?" he whispered. "I know you said we didn't—"
She kissed him, yanking him down by the shirt and firmly pressing her lips against his in something long and fiery. "Shut up," she said once she pulled away, only to dive right back into kissing him again.
Adrien was more than happy to oblige.
Once the movers had come and gone, Felix had been released from the bathroom, and the food that went in the refrigerator was unpacked, Marinette decided to make lunch for everyone. Sandwiches were probably the easiest thing to do, and they could sit outside on their new patio with the new outdoor furniture that she and Adrien had picked out.
Marinette laid out all the things for sandwiches, turning away for a second to grab the paper plates. When she returned, Felix was on the counter, head over the cheese. "Felix!" she shouted, tsking the cat for being on the counter. Before he leapt off, he snagged a piece of cheese and bolted off into the house who-knew-where.
Marinette sighed. One would think that she would have learned by now that Felix had a dairy obsession. Apparently not, considering she left cheese up on the counter in full view.
She returned to making the sandwiches, only to get one finished before a jingle called her attention. She looked down to see Bridgette looking up at her, her tail wagging against the ground and her expression saying "See? I'm a good girl. Do I get a snack, too?"
"Fine," she said, taking a piece of ham and giving it to Bridgette.
The spaniel carefully took the ham from Marinette and waited until her owner let go before running off into the yard to wave around her treat.
"See," Adrien said, coming up behind her. "You chase away Felix, but you give Bridgette the ham. What's wrong with this picture?"
"Your cat's a pain in the butt and my dog is an angel."
Adrien snorted a laugh, and Marinette couldn't keep the smile off her face.
"Sure," he said, filling up several water glasses to take outside. "I'll believe that when you take the cat bed off your sewing desk."
New Year's Eve in the new house, and Marinette and Adrien couldn't help but want to have a little party since they couldn't find a babysitter to watch the kids so they could go to Alya's New Year's Bash. Gabriel and Nathalie were at a fancy New Year's event somewhere in England while Tom and Sabine were visiting friends. They would have dropped the event to babysit, hence why Marinette was certain not to ask. Neither she nor Adrien wanted to ruin their plans.
So, they just made plans of their own.
"Kids are in bed," Marinette said, holding a bag with take-out containers of Chinese as she slipped into their bedroom.
"Console is set up," Adrien said, holding up the controllers.
"Something we're both good at?"
"Winner gets to love loser into the new year."
Marinette smiled. "Better get ready, because you're going down."
He waggled his brows. "Sorry, you're not going to come out on top this time."
She snorted. They were so gross.
She loved it.
They dug into the take-out, each having their own container of broccoli beef as well as chow mein.
"When was the last time we had cheap chinese food?" Adrien asked.
Marinette frowned. "Um…old house. We kinda switched to wine and popcorn. Or chocolate."
"Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I missed this. Reminds me of our first time playing video games together."
Marinette smiled in fondness. "That was fun," she said. "I like our tradition."
His smile turned sweetly sincere. "So do I. And not even for the afterward. Just… this."
"Us?" Marinette offered.
Adrien nodded. "Yeah."
"I think that's why there is an afterward."
He snorted a laugh. "Probably. That, and we still need one more child."
He was teasing, but Marinette wasn't. "No, we don't."
Adrien's brow furrowed.
She grinned. "Why do you think there's no wine tonight?"
Adrien's eyes widened, and he nearly dropped his take-out on the floor. Thankfully, Marinette took that as her cue to set down her take-out before Adrien tackled her with it in hand. He started peppering her face in kisses, causing her to giggle.
"Are we even going to wait to the new year or no?" she teased.
Adrien paused his ministrations to ponder this. Rather, pretend to ponder. Marinette knew her husband well.
"Why not both?"
Marinette just shook her head. "Food is going to get cold."
With a lopsided grin that drove her heart crazy, he shrugged. "Whatever."
A/N: A few fun tidbits about Second Chances
1) The idea started as a joke. I finished reading The One I Always Hear by thepineandthestar. I jokingly left a comment that I was going to pick up the story and continue it if they didn't. Fast forward a couple months and they PM me basically saying "go for it." So I did.
2) I was inspired by the Hallmark Channel movie The Color of Rain, which is a really cute movie based on a true story of two widows and their children coming together to help each other through the hard time and figuring out how to live life without their spouses.
3) I originally planned for Chloe to be in this story. I had a whole thing planned out about Chloe coming back after running off and wanting full custody of Emma and the court drama and Marinette standing beside Adrien. But then I took a step back because I knew I was a wordy writer and I didn't want the story to go on that long (I say as it ends up being over 100k.) So the idea was scrapped and Chloe died so that none of that had any potential to be opened up.
3b) Additionally, I was going to create twice as much drama by having Chloe now dating Marinette's abusive ex and I would touch more on the abuse topic than the widow one.
4) I almost didn't post this story. The week before I was going to post, the wonderful Maerynn (an incredible Miraculous Ladybug fanfic author) passed on, and I was so worried that in posting about a single parent and a widow, I would somehow be disrespectful to her family or that it would just be too soon for this topic. However, I decided in the end that I meant no disrespect and that I had been writing this story before hand and that I should post it anyway and if I got backlash, I would stop. I didn't, so I kept pressing on and continues the story you all have come to love.
Thank you all so much for reading and supporting this story!