Tumblr Prompt:

"Pacific Rim/Marionette AU where they first try to pilot a yeager o3o"

Ended up doing more of a prelude to their first drift, but alas.


Drift Dancing

The night before their first official Drift, he took her dancing.

"You're 100% Drift compatible."

Somehow, Adrien knew. Of course he knew; he was her partner now. Maybe he'd overheard her tell Alya I'm supposed to be the one who designs the suits, not the one who wears them! Or maybe he'd just seen it on her face.

She was scared.

"There must be some mistake, sir. I–I'm no Jeager pilot."

She could tell he was scared too, under all that calm and bluster. Of what, she didn't know. He was an experienced pilot who could drift with dozens, though he was never quite as compatible with them as he allegedly was with her.

"It's like puzzle pieces," he explained when she asked, flagging down the bartender for a refill before turning back to her. "A lot of people think that Drifting is just an echo–that you're identical, or you think the same. But it's not. Drifting is connection. It's fitting seamlessly into someone else's mind, it's picking up where they left off–It's filling in the holes. Puzzle pieces aren't identical, but they fit together anyway, part of a bigger picture, a larger whole."

She nodded, understanding him perfectly, even in abstraction. "You're a center piece," she elaborated. "You have a lot of different, varied sides, so you can connect with a lot of people."

The sunshine smile he sent her was bright enough to drown out the LEDs on the dance floor, and the smooth rock in the background. It stirred a warm feeling in the pool of her stomach, and gave her the courage to ask.

"…And… us?"

His smile faltered a little, becoming bashful. "Same idea, except, you fit with all of me," he explained. "A two person puzzle."

"Like Yin and Yang," she supplied.

"Right!" Adrien smiled. Their eyes locked, and she could feel his excitement, his relief that somebody understood. And then–his eyes flickered, and the light in them faded. He became suddenly withdrawn.

"No one's ever seen all of me," he said, eyes downcast, using his straw to stir the ice in his glass. "I've been alone all my life. I'm a little scared to see what you'll think… and what kind of picture our puzzle will make when our memories combine."

Oh. His nervousness, in retrospect, suddenly made sense. Marinette sipped at her fruity, nonalcoholic drink (We'll be in each other's heads tomorrow, Adrien had pointed out. Trust me, you do not want a hangover) and she came to a conclusion, snatching up his hand.

"Do you tango?" she asked, dragging her startled partner to the floor as the music changed tracks to something more lively. "If you're worried about the picture we'll make, we might as well start painting now."

He stared at her, stunned, before taking up her hand with a grin. "Of course, Mon Chéri," he said, kissing her knuckles.

"Don't get too cocky, Kitty," she teased back, unable to hide a smile. This felt just like the practice courts, fighting side by side in tandem; read my body. Anticipate my moves. His free hand slipped into the small of her back. Under the kaleidoscope lights, drowning in the music's pulse, they fell into the rhythm.

He followed her lead.


When they stepped into the Drift, the first spark of the neural handshake to pilot The Cataclysm, it felt just like that night. Two lost souls in the void, twisted together in a tango. The push and pull, the give and take.

They danced.