A/N: Another gate story, but a fluffy one!


Alya pushed Marinette forward. "You can do it girl", she said quietly. Then she said it again loudly with a shake, because Marinette obviously wasn't hearing anything. Finally she picked up Marinette's hand and held it towards the intercom.

"Who is it."

The disinterested voice snapped Marinette back to the present moment.

"Um, hi, I wanted to bring Adrien the homework he missed."

"Put it in the box please".

A small slot in the gate pillar slid open. Marinette managed to get the papers in, shaking slightly.

The two girls walked away, Alya shaking her head. "I don't know why you were so nervous, girl. You've been bringing Adrien his homework all week while he's been sick. Every day you press that button", or I do it, she thought to herself, "and the exact same thing happens. They ask you who it is, you say it's homework, they tell you to put it in the slot."

Marinette sighed. "I keep thinking that maybe this time Adrien will answer."

"Yeah, and the only thing less likely than that is you being able to answer him back". Alya laughed, and after a minute Marinette laughed too.


Adrien watched the girls walking away from the gate again. He missed his friends. He couldn't hear what they were saying, but the laughter looked like fun. He sighed, stretched his arms one more time to get rid of the kinks. He hadn't been sick the last two days, but after the first day when he tried to pretend he was well enough to go to school, Natalie had blanket banned him from attending for the week. Just in case. He'd almost made it out the gate, too. Just one accidental sneeze as the car began to pull out, but that was all it took for Natalie to be onto him. Today when Marinette and Alya came he'd asked Natalie if he could talk to them. She had simply looked at him and pressed the button that repeated the recorded intercom phrases, face not moving even the tiniest bit, then walked away without a word. He stared at the clock, ticking the same seconds by each day, running in place.

Then he stared at it again, thoughtfully.


The clock ticked.

The end of school day bell was just audible from his room, if he was listening for it.

The clock ticked.

This many minutes to pick up your papers from your desk.

This many minutes to walk to your locker, drop a book, pick it up again, open your locker.

This many minutes to fumble with your bag, close your locker, laugh and squeak at something Alya says.

The clock ticked.

This many minutes to walk out into the courtyard, and through the big school doors.

This many minutes to pause on the stairs to say goodbye to someone, to wonder if you'd really put the something-or-other in your bag, to look around for something-he-didn't-know-what.

He'd not realised how much he'd noticed about Marinette before, about the little things she did. But she was consistent, predictable in the way she did certain things. For someone who was usually late, she was surprisingly punctual at it. You could guarantee she'd arrive at class between one minute and one-and-a-half minutes after the bell, every single day. And every day she'd arrived at his home with his homework at almost precisely the same time. Yesterday they'd been a minute or two earlier, he thought, but then she and Alya had stood across the street for that minute, talking about something. It was like an internal clock just didn't let her do certain things except at a particular time. Which meant...

The clock ticked.

This many minutes to walk to his house.

He stared at it.

"Nathalie, could you ask at the kitchen for me for my afternoon snack?"

She looked at him briefly – it wasn't her job and she and he both knew it – then nodded, turned and walked away.

Thirty seconds later, the doorbell rang. He pressed the button. The recorded voice said "Who is it?".

"Hi-i-i, I have Adrien's home w-work for him?"

Marinette's voice came through. It made him feel warm for some reason, despite always sounding a bit confused and shaky. Must be the intercom quality.

He pressed the button to open the gate.

On the camera he could see the two girls pause and look at each other, then start walking in.

Nathalie's footsteps sounded behind him, coming back from the kitchen. She looked at him, and the buttons. He raised his hands, backed up to the stairs, waited.

Expressionlessly she went to the door and opened it. "I will take it", she said to the girls outside. From his silent place on the stairs, Adrien saw Marinette and Alya both peek around her. Marinette's eyes met Adrien's, and blinked a couple of times. Adrien didn't move. Then the great doors were shut. Nathalie handed him the homework packet. "The box button and gate button are right next to each other. Please use the correct one next time." She'd stopped looking at him before she even finished her sentence. He carried the homework to his room, smiling for no reason he could think of.