a/n: Part 3 of my Finish the Alphabet Challenge! For those unfamiliar with that challenge- I figured earlier this year that surely I would have titles starting with pretty much every letter of the alphabet, but I looked and found that I was missing EIGHT letters- J, Q, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z. So far I've done Z, Y, and now U, and more of the alphabet will be coming shortly.
This time: Snapshots of Adrien and Marinette's relationship involving an umbrella!
1. Fall in Love
All it took, really, was an apology, a confession, a earnest look in Adrien's eyes as the thunder rolled overhead.
He wanted to let her know that he had been trying to remove the gum, not add it to her seat, and that he hadn't managed to say that before because he was new to school, it was his first day. The look in Adrien's eyes told Marinette that he wasn't lying just to try to get on her good side, and then he had been kind enough to offer her his umbrella so that she could get home without getting soaked by the rain. He himself would get damp on his way to his car, of course- and oh, Marinette could have kicked herself later for not offering to walk him to his car at least as thanks so that he didn't get wet at all!- but he didn't think of himself at all, only of how he could help her.
And then the umbrella closed on her, startling both of them. Marinette cringed for a second- oh, she looked like an idiot, she was sure- but Adrien surprised her again. He didn't laugh at her, just in startled amusement.
His laugh wasn't mean like Chloe's, harsh and cruel and mocking. It rang clean and amused, and he only laughed after it was clear that she wasn't hurt. There was a small smile on his face as he waved good-bye, and Marinette could only smile and stutter back, watching as Adrien headed down the steps and to the waiting car. It pulled away, splashing through a couple puddles before rounding the corner and vanishing from sight.
It was official: Day Three of school, and Marinette was in love.
Adrien's umbrella kept Marinette dry as she scampered home, avoiding the puddles that dotted the sidewalk, and she shook it out gently before heading inside, carrying the umbrella upstairs with her. It was set by the door next to the shoes to drip-dry, and Marinette smiled at it before continuing on her journey upstairs. Thunder kept rolling overhead, louder and louder as the main part of the storm moved over the city, but even the too-close flashes of lighting couldn't spoil Marinette's mood like they normally did.
She couldn't wait to see Adrien again tomorrow.
2. Field Trip
"Oh, no, it's going to rain!"
Adrien glanced up at the sky at the groans that went around the group of students. Sure enough, the clouds overhead had turned dark and threatening, and he could see where the rain had started falling across the city. The line of rain was getting closer and closer, and all around him people dug in their backpacks for raincoats and umbrellas. Adrien frowned for a second- he hadn't thought to check the weather before leaving that morning- and then felt Plagg nudging at his side. He glanced in his bag, and- oh, Nathalie must have stuck in an umbrella before he left. That was kind of her. Adrien pulled it out and opened it, just in time for the skies to open up and start pouring down on them.
Thank god for Nathalie and her eternal state of preparedness. Already rain was rolling off of his umbrella, falling in fat droplets to the ground.
A groan nearby made Adrien glance over. Marinette stood huddled miserably next to Alya, who was shrugging on a raincoat. Marinette had neither coat nor umbrella, and she had already been looking chilly in her slightly-too-light (but very cute) top before the rain came. Without even needing to think about it, Adrien started moving towards her, maneuvering around a couple of his other classmates so that he could hoist the umbrella over both himself and Marinette before she could get too wet. His classmate startled at the sudden lack of rain before turning a beaming smile to him.
Adrien smiled, moving closer to Marinette until their arms pressed together so that neither of them would get wet with the gusts of wind. "It's no problem. I didn't look at the weather, either, so it's really only thanks to Nathalie that I have an umbrella at all."
Marinette nodded and squeaked something incomprehensible. Adrien paused for a moment, trying his best to decipher it, but he really couldn't make anything out of the jumble of syllables. It was disappointing, really- he had hoped that he and Marinette could be good friends after he cleared up the gum misunderstanding- but she didn't seem to dislike him, either. She had smiled, so that- that was something, right?
The rain came down as the class continued through the park, looking at the different signs around them. Adrien stuck close to Marinette, doing his best to keep her dry for the entire field trip. As they went along, Adrien decided to see if he could strike up a conversation with Marinette. He wanted it to be lighthearted, of course, in hopes that Marinette would start relaxing around him, so he threw in a pun or two.
Or three or four or five, he wasn't counting. A small smile had started sneaking onto Marinette's face by the second one, and by pun four he even got a tiny eye-roll while a small smile played at the corners of her lips.
By the time that they finished up their field trip, the downpour had lightened up to a light patter and Marinette had managed several full sentences around him. Adrien was grinning, feeling over the moon as they talked about one of the sculptures that they had seen in the park. He still had to do a bit of sorting out of syllables to fully understand what Marinette was saying, but most of her words came out in order, and the fire-alarm blush had faded back.
Maybe it was baby steps- and maybe he still wasn't sure why Marinette stuttered so much around him- but it was progress, and progress was good.
Assistants hovered at the edges of Adrien's photoshoot, umbrellas clutched in their hands. They were walking a thin line between getting a stormy backdrop and actually getting stormed on for this shoot, and clearly the photographer was not happy about it. So far, Marinette had overheard him complaining about lighting problems (they brought in more lighting equipment and shifted some angles to keep things from getting too dark), about the gusts of wind that periodically ruffled Adrien's hair out of its carefully arranged dishevelment, and about how these were ridiculous working conditions because what if the rain started all of a sudden and all of the equipment got wet and ruined?
Which were all valid concerns, admittedly. Particularly the last one. Why Mr. Agreste didn't just, oh, use a greenscreen were beyond Marinette- surely it would be easier to get the look that he wanted without all of the environmental concerns?- but maybe it was just artistic preference or something.
Maybe it was because it was free publicity and gave the ads a more genuine feel or something when they were shot in familiar spaces and both Adrien's fans and Gabriel fans could see the shots in progress. Marinette would ask Adrien, but... well, she was still having trouble making full sentences around him most of the time.
She just- she couldn't help it! Adrien was so kind and polite and handsome and her crush just tied her tongue up in knots. There had been a few times when they had managed to have something almost resembling a conversation, but most of the time...
Well, most of the time Marinette ended up daydreaming about asking him out and then she got wrapped up in her head with worries about how she should ask, where they should go on their first date, how he would react, how she might react if he said no...
And then her tongue tangled into knots and she was left stumbling over her words while Adrien looked puzzled.
For now, Marinette contented herself with watching Adrien's photoshoot as she ate her lunch. Nino had mentioned it in passing before classes let out for the morning, apparently knowing that it was something that Marinette would be interested in, and so of course she had grabbed her umbrella and headed out to the park. Adrien wasn't the only model there, which was a little unusual- apparently his father preferred to keep Adrien on individual photoshoots so that he wouldn't be exposed to the pandemonium that was a normal photoshoot- and Marinette watched eagerly as both Adrien and the other, older models worked. There was a definite difference in how they worked- the older models went through what seemed to be a pre-set series of poses quickly, moving from one to the next in fast succession. On the other hand, Adrien tended to do less conventional poses, getting encouraged to move from one to the other by the photographer and his assistants instead of changing on his own.
And then the first sprinkles started coming down. Marinette reached for her umbrella, opening it up to keep herself and her sketchbook dry. The assistants moved into place, covering photography and electrical equipment. A couple more people set up tents to cover the bulk of the equipment, while a few others followed around the moving photographer so that his camera was safe. The models were left out in the rain, though, which had Marinette frowning. Were they trying to get the clothes wet?
The answer, apparently, was yes. Marinette sat forward, interested, as the models displayed the clothes in new poses, apparently unbothered by their soaked-through clothes. The shots continued through several clothing changes until the photographer was finally satisfied. Marinette watched as the models, including Adrien, scampered off to the change tent to get into dry clothes. Now that the camera wasn't on him, Adrien looked frankly miserable as he pushed his sopping-wet hair back out of his face.
Marinette's heart squeezed in sympathy. Being wet was no fun, and he hadn't been allowed to move out of the rain at all so that they could get their artsy shots. There wasn't that much time to get dry and warmed up before afternoon classes, either, which meant that Adrien would probably be chilly during afternoon classes.
Maybe...maybe she could do something for him. She could bring a thermos of hot chocolate and some hot pastries from the bakery so that Adrien could start the afternoon off right.
Yes, that was what she was going to do, Marinette decided as she gathered up her things and dashed for the bakery as the rain got even heavier. Maybe she couldn't gather up the courage to ask Adrien out yet, but she could manage a nice gesture.
(Fifteen minutes later, when the class was filing in to their first class of the afternoon, Adrien positively beamed when he came in to find the treat on his desk. The smile that he flashed Marinette made her heart race and her face flush and it lit up the entire room.)
4. Let Him Go
The best thing about Nino and Alya dating was that it provided lots of opportunities for them to push Adrien and Marinette together. The worst thing about them dating was, well, that it provided lots of opportunities for them to push Adrien and Marinette together. And Marinette knew full well that there was an expectation that she would at least try to ask Adrien out or at least confess her feelings during those opportunities.
Her tongue was still tying itself in knots when she even thought about doing so, and then the resulting stammer just made her even more nervous. At some point, surely, Adrien would figure out why she was so nervous around him and then- what? Would he want to date her when she couldn't string together a sentence in front of him half of the time?
Marinette chanced a glance over at Adrien, who was holding their shared umbrella over them as they headed down the street ahead of Nino and Alya. He was looking in the opposite direction, waving to Kagami as she approached in the opposite direction, carrying a red umbrella to match her uniform. She smiled in return and hurried towards them, a spring in her step. Adrien was grinning, and Marinette's heart sunk.
She... she knew that he had confessed that he had a crush on Kagami before, but Marinette had thought that it hadn't really gone anywhere. They had gone on their date, after all, and then... nothing. Adrien hadn't said anything about being in a relationship and to the best of Marinette's knowledge, there had never been a second date. Not an official one, at least.
But maybe there had been and Adrien just hadn't told anyone. He was a pretty private person, after all, so it wouldn't be completely out of character.
She thought, at least. Marinette had to admit even to herself that she didn't exactly know Adrien like Nino did, so maybe it would be completely out of character and she didn't know.
Adrien was talking to Kagami now, a smile lighting up his face, and for once she looked cheerful as well. Kagami didn't hesitate at all as she talked to Adrien, no stammer anywhere in sight. She was confident and comfortable, the exact opposite of how Marinette often found herself feeling around Adrien.
It was probably no wonder that Adrien was more interested in Kagami, then, Marinette thought, trying to swallow the lump that had suddenly appeared in her throat. Even though she knew that Adrien considered her a friend of sorts, she had to admit that they didn't really act like it all the time. Or she didn't, at least. Friends were supposed to be able to have conversations with each other, and they... well, sometimes they managed it. Not often.
Kagami finished her exchange with Adrien and waved good-bye, heading off as their own group resumed their trek towards the library. Marinette glanced back at Nino and Alya and caught Alya's sympathetic look at her. Alya had made no secret of her distaste for Kagami in the past, grumbling that Marinette had been interested in Adrien for far longer and so the other girl needed to back off.
While Marinette wanted to agree with that, she and Tikki had been talking a lot recently, and she had forced herself to recognize that Adrien was apparently interested in someone else and she couldn't change that. But her friends kept on insisting that she should at least try to confess, because maybe all it would take to change Adrien's attention was to realize that Marinette was right there and interested in him. That was why Marinette had kept on trying.
But trying over and over and over was getting old. Marinette was tired of feeling tongue-tied and uncomfortable and nervous in Adrien's presence. And she knew perfectly well that sometimes a confession didn't result in realized feelings, like Nino's (botched) confession had with Alya. Chat Noir had confessed to Ladybug a couple times now, and that hadn't changed her feelings at all. And Marinette had "confessed" to Chat Noir, and that...
Uh. Well. That certainly hadn't had a certain cat-eared boy changing the target of his affections from Ladybug-her to Marinette-her, which was definitely for the better.
Marinette glanced over at Adrien again. His attention had drifted to his phone, his gaze flicking up regularly so that he wouldn't accidentally step in a puddle as they walked. While sometimes she and Alya sometimes checked their phones while walking together, normally they were just chatting together about something or other. The fact that Adrien wasn't even trying to strike up a conversation... well, that said something. He probably suspected that any attempts at conversation would end up her stammering again, and, well, Marinette could see where trying to spend the energy to parse out words amongst the stammering might get tiring sometimes.
At this point, she had been in love with Adrien for over a year. During that entire time, she had tried working up the courage to ask him out, time and time again. None of those attempts had worked, and instead just made her a tongue-tied mess around Adrien. He was far more patient than she probably would be in the same situation, but even his patience had to hit a limit sometime.
She wanted to be proper friends with Adrien. They could talk when she wasn't nervous about potentially asking him out. So maybe...
Maybe she should stop trying. Maybe she should give up on her crush, focus on being friends, and just see where things went. It would be less emotionally exhausting for sure- trying to come up with plans for her to ask out Adrien ate up so much time and caused a fair bit of anticipatory stress, which she really didn't need- and she did want to be able to spend time with Adrien. If they were friends- real, proper friends who hung out with each other- she could spend time with him, no problem.
Marinette sent one more look at Adrien up ahead. He was smiling at something on his phone, and she couldn't help but smile fondly at the sight. She couldn't just drop her crush entirely- that certainly wasn't going to happen overnight, and her heart seemed to like defying logic- but she wasn't going to keep trying to ask him out. Just the decision seemed to put her more at ease, letting go of the nerves that had built up in her stomach, just like they always did when she hung out with Adrien.
They would just be friends. That was enough for now. No more getting jealous or being petty because Adrien liked someone who wasn't her.
Adrien was allowed to like who he wanted, and Marinette was going to be happy for him.
Marinette, as per usual, had forgotten her umbrella at home. Adrien laughed, snickering harder at the pout that she sent him before offering up his arm so that they could share his umbrella, just like they had all the other times that Marinette had been caught unaware.
It was becoming a sort of tradition for them, it seemed.
(Not that Adrien could judge, really- if it weren't for Nathalie handing him his umbrella before he stepped out the door, he wouldn't have an umbrella most of the time, either.)
"Father needed the car today, so we'll have to walk to my house," Adrien told Marinette as they headed towards the door. He quickly checked his bag to make sure that he had everything that they needed for their project before stepping outside. "I would suggest that we just go to your place instead, but Father insisted that I come straight home even though he isn't going to be there."
"Well, at least it's not raining that hard," Marinette offered. "With the umbrella, we should be fine."
That was true, Adrien had to admit. It had been pouring earlier, gusts of wind occasionally making the windows rattle, and now it had lightened up to a barely-there drizzle. It wouldn't be fun without an umbrella or rain coat, but they had that.
Adrien couldn't help but smile as he and Marinette headed down the street together. He wasn't sure what had changed in the past couple of months, but Marinette had gone from nervous and unsure around him to relaxed and joking. He absolutely adored the change, because Marinette was so much fun to hang out with. Since Nino was ditching him to hang out with Alya more and more often, it was nice to have another friend to spend time with and pair up with for group projects. When Nino and Alya were distracted with each other, he and Marinette could hang out and joke around. She had a similar sense of humor to him- even if she did pretend to be exasperated by his puns- and understood when their hang-outs had to be working on homework together instead of playing games, instead of getting frustrated like Nino sometimes did.
The two of them didn't hurry as they headed along the sidewalks towards the mansion. Marinette was telling Adrien about something that she was designing for Jagged Stone- apparently Penny had commissioned it for the rock star, and it sounded super cool- and Adrien knew that as soon as they got inside the mansion, Nathalie would be on them to make sure that they were focusing on homework and homework only. So they took their time, enjoying the cool spring air.
Until a car zipped by, splashing through a puddle and sending an absolute tidal wave of dirty water right at Marinette.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" Adrien exclaimed as Marinette spluttered. He sent a glare in the direction of the responsible car before returning his attention to his bedraggled friend, ushering her past the puddle before another car could come by. "I can't believe they did that! My driver always slows down if he can't avoid a puddle so that he doesn't splash anyone."
Marinette bit her lip as she wrung out her shirt. "I- I think I'll have to go home and change."
"I've got plenty of clothes," Adrien assured Marinette quickly, drawing her close to him. She had definitely caught the worst of the splash, with him only getting a few splatters. "They might be a little big on you, but you can make anything look cute. And I rarely remember to clean out my closet, so I probably have some stuff that's small on me anyway. That way, you don't have to go home first."
Marinette managed a thankful smile as he led her down the street. "That would be perfect."
Adrien made a beeline for his closet once they got to the mansion, conscious of Marinette shivering behind him. He twisted the hidden knob to his closet, making his climbing wall crack open and revealing the hidden walk-in closet behind it.
Marinette's jaw dropped.
"I had to hide it somewhere," Adrien told her with a laugh. "D'you want to pick out an outfit, then take a quick shower to warm up and wash off the dirty water before you change?"
"I- sure, that sounds good."
Adrien smiled as he headed into the bathroom to pull out a couple towels and a hairdryer for Marinette to use while she picked through his closet. He had no doubt that if this had happened a couple months ago, she would have been an uncomfortable mess at the suggestion that she wear his clothes and use his shower, but it seemed to be no problem now.
"You have so many clothes in here!"
Adrien grinned when he went back to the closet and found Marinette still sifting through the piles and racks of clothes, wide-eyed as she glanced at the designer labels. Clearly she hadn't actually made any progress in picking out an outfit which really, he should have expected. "You're going to get sick if you look at everything in here before you warm up and dry off."
"I know, but I've never seen some of these lines before!" Marinette lifted up a smart-looking vest, looking at it. "This looks way too small for you."
It definitely was. Adrien recognized that particular piece from several years back, before he hit a growth spurt. It would fit Marinette well, though, so maybe he should just pass it on to her to alter as she saw fit.
"Okay, so maybe this and then- Adrien, I'm not sure that this shirt is even big enough for me."
"I get it, I get it, I have to clean my closet," Adrien told her with a laugh. "I don't have time to sort through stuff today, though, so it'll have to wait for another day."
"Why do I get the feeling that you've said that at least a couple times before?"
...he had, but Adrien wasn't going to admit that.
Marinette put together the rest of her new outfit quickly, then dashed off to the bathroom to wash off the remainder of the puddle-water and warm up in the shower. Adrien settled down at his desk, keeping an eye on his phone. Nathalie had texted him to let him know that she and his father were on the way back to the house and would be arriving shortly. Adrien considered passing the information on to Marinette through the door, then decided against it.
Even if he and Marinette were proper close friends now, he thought that might be pushing it just a little bit.
A minute later, Adrien heard the hair dryer in the bathroom, and he nodded in approval. Even if Marinette was dressed in dry clothes, sitting around with wet hair when it was a bit on the chilly side was a good way to get sick. He had set the dryer out for exactly that reason.
"Are you just going to give the clothes to Marinette?" Plagg asked, appearing next to Adrien. "And are you going to tell Nathalie why Marinette is wearing your clothes? I bet that she'll have something to say about that."
Adrien frowned, puzzled. Sure, yeah, Nathalie would probably notice that Marinette's outfit was tailored for a boy and remember not long after that that the clothes had been Adrien's, but why would she care? Marinette had gotten soaked, he had offered up his closet in response. End of story. "Yeah, I figured that Marinette could just keep the outfit, since all of it was too small for me anyway. But why would Nathalie care?"
Plagg groaned. "Oh, you are dense."
Marinette popped out of the bathroom, fully dressed and dry just as the buzzer rang to alert Adrien that his father and Nathalie had returned, meaning that they would get checked in on soon. She had her hair down, which was different but definitely cute with the smart button-up/vest/narrow pants combo. "What's the buzzer for?"
"My father and Nathalie are back," Adrien told her, standing up to fully take in the outfit. Honestly, he didn't think he ever would have thought to use that particular combo, but it was amazing. "Good timing, and fantastic outfit combo. You're making it look better than I ever did."
Apparently he could still make Marinette blush.
One of the amazing things about Ladybug, Chat Noir decided, was how creative she was. She could look around a normal room and see tools and solutions and potential weapons. With her at his side, he knew that they wouldn't lose.
Even if she had lost her yo-yo in the battle and therefore they were down a weapon, at least until she could slip past the akuma to reclaim it. And with the akuma in question...well, slipping past would be difficult.
Undeterred, Chat Noir dove into the fray, knocking the akuma back a pace to give Ladybug a little breathing room while she figured out what to do next. It was hard to fight on the restaurant rooftop seating area- the tables got in his way, but as long as he was on the offensive then he wasn't in that much danger of tripping over chairs and tables alike.
Thank goodness Ladybug's Miraculous Cure would fix all of the plates and glasses that he and the akuma were knocking to the ground as they both pushed to gain ground. Glass and china fell to the ground and crunched under their feet, and he cringed at the thought of what that price tag would be if not for Ladybug's magic.
"How long before your weapons goes too, Chat Noir?" the akuma taunted. "Then there'll be nothing to stop me from taking your Miraculous!"
Chat Noir gritted his teeth, blocking a blow from the (very strange) oversized chicken leg that the akuma was wielding like a sword. "Not going to happen!"
"What's a superhero without her weapon?" the akuma taunted. "Half a superhero? A third?"
The akuma was just trying to get under Chat Noir's skin, he knew that. He wasn't going to let that happen. If worse came to worse and Ladybug decided that she needed her yo-yo and they couldn't get to it, she could just slip away for a couple minutes to detransform, maybe recharge a little, and then transform again, getting the yo-yo back by magic.
He hoped that it didn't come to that. Chat Noir didn't exactly want to fight this akuma on his own.
And then Ladybug plunged back into the fight out of nowhere, one of the patio umbrellas clutched tight in her hands like a sword. She clearly wasn't trained to swordfight like he was (or, well, trained to fence like he was), but since when did that matter to Ladybug at all? With enough fierce determination, anything could work as a weapon.
The akuma yelped in surprise as he was battered into submission. A blow to the shoulder was followed by a hit to the back of his knees, another to the middle of the back, and then it was finished up by a volley of hits to the akuma's head that had Chat Noir wincing in sympathy.
And then the akuma recovered enough to fling a table at Ladybug. Chat Noir cringed- Ladybug could block that with her yo-yo normally, but she didn't have it- but there was no need to worry. Ladybug just popped open her umbrella, blocking the table easily.
...somehow Chat Noir was getting the feeling that Ladybug's contact with the umbrella was magically strengthening it, because he had seen patio umbrellas like that before and they definitely weren't that sturdy.
"Umbrellas for weapons, what's next?" Chat Noir called over, bounding over to the akuma to re-join the fight.
"Bunnyx had an umbrella and so did Stormy Weather!" Ladybug called back. "They're useful!"
Chat Noir grinned. "Are we going to see less of your yo-yo from now on, then?"
"Ha, ha, very funny."
The umbrella-turned-shield proved to be pretty useful. The food-based akuma kept throwing things at them and Ladybug blocked them all, letting Chat Noir hide behind the umbrella and then bounce out to launch an offensive attack. They worked their way slowly forward, until Ladybug could duck down and grab her yo-yo without the akuma noticing. Then- well, then it wasn't long before the possessed item was smashed and the akuma purified, and then Paris was put back to rights. Chat Noir grinned as Ladybug headed across the rooftop patio to put her umbrella back, spinning it merrily against her shoulder before plonking it back in its holder.
"You look like you're posing for a photoshoot," Chat Noir teased, watching Ladybug straighten the umbrella before stepping back. "Summer goals."
Ladybug just laughed, stepping forward to bump her fist with his. "Get me some ice cream, and then that would be goals."
"I think that can be arranged."
Of course the Gorilla was sick on the one day of the week when it was pouring, Adrien thought grumpily as he stood under the overhand above the school steps. And of course it was also the one day when, for once, Adrien didn't have an umbrella.
Walking home in a torrential downpour (and in the chilly fall air) with neither raincoat nor umbrella didn't sound like any fun at all, especially not when he was already shivering without being wet at all in the damp chill. Adrien would transform and head home like that, but his father and Nathalie would be expecting him to come in the front door. That meant that he would have to find somewhere to detransform and he would get wet anyway, so he might as well not even bother at that point. Particularly when he knew that there were no good places to detransform close to the mansion.
Sighing, Adrien readied himself to step out and get soaked. He was just about to try to make a break for it when he heard his name being called and he paused, glancing in the direction of the call.
Marinette was hurrying across the street with an umbrella, just barely identifiable through the downpour. She only just missed stepping in a large puddle on her way over- Adrien could see her little skip-hop to try to avoid getting her shoes wet- and then rushed up the steps towards him, clutching tight to the umbrella as a gust of wind whipped down the street.
"You are an actual angel," Adrien said gratefully as she finally came to a stop next to him, pink-cheeked and out of breath. "I had resigned myself to getting soaked and sick."
"I saw you hovering over here from my window," Marinette said by way of explanation, handing her umbrella over so that he could hold it over both of them. "You can come hang out at my house until the rain lets up a bit. It's supposed to get even stormier for the next hour before tapering off and you'll get soaked even with an umbrella if you try to go for more than a block or so."
Adrien hesitated. "Usually Father prefers that I come straight home. He doesn't like not knowing where I am."
"So text Nathalie to let him know." Marinette looped her arm through his as they started forward, glancing up at him out of the corner of her eye. "We have hot chocolate and fresh cookies."
Adrien's resolve cracked at once. "Well, I suppose they would want me doing what's best for my health and not getting myself sick."
Marinette's triumphant little grin made him laugh. She looked so proud of herself for persuading him to join her, and he didn't have the heart to tell her that it really hadn't taken much at all. He just needed a little bit of an excuse to go to the bakery.
Only the bottoms of their pants and their shoes were at all wet when they slid into the bakery. Adrien shook out the umbrella outside before closing it and stepping fully into the warmth of the bakery. Mrs. Cheng called a greeting to him at once, and Adrien grinned as he returned it, heading over to give her a hug.
One of the fantastic things about becoming better friends with Marinette was that he got to go over to her house pretty often, and he got to know her parents more. They were so friendly, it was impossible to feel cold in their house.
And of course, the treats didn't hurt. Not at all. Adrien bit into his cookie and closed his eyes in bliss as warm, gooey chocolate coated his tongue. In the little kitchen, Marinette heated up milk for their hot chocolate. She had shed her damp socks and shoes at the door to dry, sticking them in front of the baseboard heater, and Adrien had done the same. It felt a little odd to be barefoot in his friend's kitchen, but Marinette didn't seem at all uncomfortable as she wandered around.
Maybe it was just something that her family did, though they hadn't the last few times that Adrien visited.
"And ta-da, your hot chocolate is ready!" Marinette announced, plopping a steaming cup down in front of Adrien. "Do you want marshmallows in that?"
Adrien perked up. "Marshmallows? That sounds amazing."
An hour later, Nathalie brought the car around to pick Adrien up. Marinette sent her umbrella with him, plus a bag with a couple more goodies. It was a bit of residual warmth as he headed out the door and slid into the car to head home.
Adrien smiled as he tucked the bag into his backpack. His afternoon had looked bleak and cold after he left his extra fencing practice, but instead it had been fun and full of warmth.
And it was all thanks to Marinette.
In Marinette's defense, she had brought an umbrella. She had been prepared.
And then a gust of wind flipped it inside-out and ripped a hole in the fabric, rendering it useless. Marinette had groaned loudly, doing her best to wrestle the umbrella into some sort of shape that she could actually use.
It was...kind of a lost cause, at least in Adrien's eyes. But then Marinette dodged into a shop to buy some duct tape and set to trying to get the umbrella back together before the rain got too heavy. Nino and Alya exchanged a half-exasperated, half-amused look as they watched, but Adrien frowned as he watched Marinette struggle to use her duct tape on the damp fabric, with a light mist coming down even as she tried to fix it.
So he moved to stand over her with his own umbrella, protecting her from the light rain and keeping her umbrella dry when she dried it with her sleeves. Marinette sent a brilliant smile up at him in thanks, leaning back against his legs as she worked.
Even with largely dry fabric, the tape was not exactly sticking brilliantly well.
"You should have just bought a new umbrella, Marinette," Alya said with a sigh as she watched her best friend work. "I know you like saving and reusing things, but after a good rainfall that tape is just going to peel off and you'll have a giant hole in your umbrella again."
"I know, but we have too many umbrellas at home because Papa always forgets to bring one when he goes out, and if he gets caught in the rain he just buys another one." Marinette snipped another piece of tape and pressed it down. "So I just need it to last for today, and then I can just toss it."
With one last length of tape and a little wrestling, Marinette stood up with her hastily repaired umbrella held over her. She tucked the tape and her scissors back into her purse, then flashed a smile at her friends. "Okay, I'm ready to go!"
They continued on their walk to the library, with the rain slowly getting heavier. Marinette kept a firm grip on her umbrella, keeping it from flipping inside-out, but even her best efforts couldn't keep the first piece of tape from peeling off as the skies really opened.
And then a second, and a third, and then Marinette made a displeased noise as water started dripping through the fabric. Adrien glanced over to see Marinette twisting the umbrella so that the undamaged part was over her backpack.
"The thing is, it probably would actually have worked if I had been able to let the umbrella dry all of the way before I taped anything," Marinette complained. Up above, another piece of tape was peeling. "But the fabric was damp, so the duct tape couldn't make the full seal."
"Here, we can share again," Adrien offered right away, before more of the umbrella could give away and soak Marinette and her backpack full of homework. He hoisted his umbrella higher so that Marinette could duck underneath. "Good try, but I think that umbrella is pretty done."
"I might be able to figure out how to make the skeleton into a sun umbrella or something," Marinette said thoughtfully, turning her now-collapsed umbrella over in her hands. "I mean, the structure of it is pretty good still, and I've been thinking of experimenting a bit."
Adrien grinned. Marinette's unending creativity never failed to amaze him. "That sounds really cool! I'd be interested in seeing that process, actually. I'm curious about how you would do it. I don't even know where I would start."
Marinette smiled. "Well, I thought I would start by getting the current fabric off and using it to pattern my sun umbrella's fabric. It shouldn't be overly difficult then."
"Not overly difficult, she says. That sounds difficult to me." Adrien smiled, though, unable to help but feel proud of Marinette. She was always pushing to try a new technique or experiment with different things, and it really showed. There was a reason why she was getting commissions from established music artists at such a young age. "And I bet that I'll still think that even if I watch you doing it."
"Flatterer." Marinette flashed him a bashful smile, though, clutching her broken umbrella tighter. "It's not that big of a deal, really."
Adrien could only shrug as they headed up the steps of the library together. Whether she acknowledged it or not, Marinette was really awesome. He could already tell that she was going to get far in the fashion world, no matter what track she decided to take.
No matter what happened, Adrien was proud to have a friend like Marinette.
Marinette shouldn't have agreed to this, she knew that she shouldn't have. But Adrien had asked so hopefully and she- well, she couldn't say no.
For the second time in just over a year, Marinette was helping Adrien plan a date with Kagami.
Maybe she had given up her plan to try to ask him out months ago, but that hadn't meant that her crush had gone away. Instead, now that Marinette was hanging out with Adrien and actually talking to him all the time, she had fallen for him more.
And now she was helping him think up ways to apologize to Kagami for the way the last date had gone (apparently he had been hung up on yet another girl and so hadn't really been able to give her proper attention) and ask her out again. It sounded like Adrien was trying to move on from the other girl properly now since she wasn't interested, and Kagami had said to reach out when he had decided to change targets. Which was now, obviously.
It was super, super frustrating to realize that she was apparently still not even on Adrien's radar as someone he might possibly be interested in, even now that they were actually talking and talking a lot. But Adrien was allowed to date who he wanted and she wasn't going to- well, she couldn't say that she wasn't going to be jealous, because that was a lie. But Marinette wasn't going to act on her jealousy. Not this time.
(Besides, as Marinette's parents had reminded her, not all lycée relationships lasted. Most didn't, even. It wasn't as though Marinette was losing her chance for once and for all, at least not in theory.)
So Marinette sat down with Adrien and helped him brainstorm ideas for a date (the movies, or a concert, or going to a restaurant) and ways to ask Kagami out (don't do anything fancy, you dork, that just creates opportunities for things to go wrong, just go and apologize and ask her) and put a quick end to Adrien's idea that they turn it into a double date sort of thing again.
She was not going to do that again. Aside from the fact that she had decided that she didn't actually like Luka like that and it wasn't fair to him to pretend otherwise, Marinette had no desire to sit around and pretend that she wasn't affected by Adrien and Kagami being all close and cuddly a la Alya and Nino.
If Adrien wanted to double date, he could ask an actual established couple to come along with them. It wasn't as though there were a lack of them in their class.
Marinette sighed as she stared across the Trocadero. She was sitting on the steps, hunkered down under the largest of her family's umbrellas as she tried to distract herself from what was no doubt going down at the school right now. Adrien had decided that he was going to pair up with Kagami during fencing class and then ask her out right after class, once they had changed back to their street clothes and the rest of their team had filtered out. She knew that the lesson was going to be ending soon, and Adrien would no doubt be texting her to let her know that Kagami accepted any minute now.
Marinette was trying to stay positive, but it was hard not to wallow at least a little bit. At least the weather was perfect for wallowing.
Above her, rain pattered down lightly on the umbrella. The plaza was pretty empty, with only a couple people hurrying across on their ways to the bus stop or to their cars. Marinette watched them go, trying to not think at all.
She hadn't been anywhere near this crushed the last time that Adrien had asked for her help with asking Kagami out. Marinette had thought that she would be able to use her reaction then to estimate how affected she would be this time, but it wasn't anywhere as close.
Surprisingly enough, there were no texts yet. Marinette briefly glanced at the time- she had remembered when fencing let out correctly, right?- then let out a long sigh.
"I bet that they went directly from fencing to a date," Marinette said moodily, propping her chin up on her fist. Her umbrella had sunk down until it was practically sitting on top of her head. No doubt it was getting tangled in her hair now, but she would deal with that later. "Otherwise Adrien would have texted by now."
Tikki just burrowed into her hair in comfort.
The rain got heavier, and Marinette hunkered down further under her umbrella. Around her, puddles started forming on the concrete. The crowds had almost completely cleared off now, and Marinette wondered if she should do the same. But she didn't want to deal with her mom's concerned looks, not yet.
Footsteps approached her umbrella, but Marinette just ignored them, figuring that it was just a passing pedestrian. It wasn't until the corner of her umbrella lifted and someone slid in next to her that Marinette startled and turned to face the intruder.
It was Adrien.
"Your mom said that you were out here," Adrien said by way of explanation, keeping his head low so that it wouldn't bump against the umbrella. He set his own umbrella down on the pavement next to him, collapsed so that it wouldn't blow away. "And to just look for an umbrella that was big enough for your father. It was pretty good instructions. This thing is huge."
Marinette just nodded, puzzled. Shouldn't- shouldn't Adrien be either headed home right now or out on a date with Kagami? He had just asked- or had in theory just asked- Kagami out, and so he should be focusing on that right now. Right?
Unless he hadn't asked. Maybe he had gotten nervous last minute or something. But he had asked Kagami with no problem the first time, so-
Marinette couldn't even finish the question in her mind. She knew exactly why it might be different this time, and it was the same reason as why she was more affected this time, too: he was more invested this time around, and-
"She said no."
Startled, Marinette whipped around to look at him, only to yelp in pain when her hair, tangled with the umbrella spokes, yanked on her scalp. Adrien blinked in surprise, then caught both the umbrella and her head in his hands, gently maneuvering both so that her hair wasn't yanking at her scalp. Then he leaned forward, reaching around her head to oh-so-gently untangle her hair from the umbrella.
Marinette almost stopped breathing. He was just so close and with the umbrella right overhead and hiding them from the world and the area pretty much empty on top of that, it just felt so intimate. Which was completely inappropriate, because Adrien had just asked out a different girl and it was pretty obvious that he didn't think about her like that. He was just trying to help her not rip her hair out of her scalp.
"Gotcha," Adrien said quietly after a minute, freeing one last strand of hair and passing a hand over her head to make sure that there weren't any other strands, his fingers brushing lightly over her hair. He took the umbrella from her, lifting it high enough that he could straighten up without hitting his own head. "You might need to redo your pigtails because a bit of hair got pulled out, but you're free."
"Thanks." Marinette took a deep breath to steady herself and then refocused on Adrien. "Kagami said no?"
"Yeah." Adrien let out a long breath. "Apparently she's moved on. I took too long to decide to ask her out."
Marinette couldn't help the way that her heart gave a hopeful jolt, but she focused on keeping a straight face. She slid one arm around Adrien and rested a hand on his opposite shoulder. "I'm sorry."
"It was my fault for not acting soon enough and staying hung up on someone who wasn't interested." Adrien was leaning into her side, eyes half-closed. "If I had been willing to move on sooner...but I guess we all work at our own pace and I wouldn't- I wouldn't really have been ready earlier." He grimaced. "And that wouldn't have gone well. Kind of how it screwed stuff up the first time around."
Marinette could only nod. She had concluded the same thing about when thinking about moving on from Adrien. If she tried to force it, to push her feelings into a box and move on- well, it would have come around and bitten her in the butt eventually.
"I mean, it's a pity, but I'll move on," Adrien added with another shrug. He rested his cheek against Marinette's shoulder and she hoped that he couldn't hear her heart racing. "But enough about me. What are you doing out here? It's pouring."
Marinette resisted the urge to shrug, since it would only knock Adrien off of her shoulder and if he was being cuddly today, she wasn't going to discourage it. "It was nice and quiet and a good spot to sit and clear my mind a bit."
Adrien shifted, turning his head so that his chin sat on her shoulder instead of his cheek. "Everything all right?"
She wasn't about to tell him the truth, not when Adrien had already been rejected today. He wouldn't want to reject someone on top of that. So Marinette stretched the truth, just a little bit. "Yeah. I- I'm just a little stressed with school and exams and whatnot and I needed to sit and chill for a bit."
"Ah." Adrien wrapped her up in a hug. "Well, if you ever want to work on homework together, I know my father would allow it. He likes you."
Marinette managed a smile, returning the hug. It was maybe a little awkward with the umbrella handle between them, but it was warm and comforting. "Thanks."
They sat there for another half-hour, heads resting against each other as they watched the rain come down around them. Marinette let her eyes drift shut, enjoying the steady warmth at her side.
Maybe they were just friends right now, but Marinette had to say that she was thrilled to have Adrien by her side.
Marinette had replaced her torn umbrella fabric with a cheery pink cherry blossom fabric that matched her summery dress. Gold embroidery created accents on both dress and fabric, catching the sun.
And speaking of Marinette's dress- for the first time (in Adrien's memory, at least), Marinette had gone for spaghetti straps. They exposed lovely freckled shoulders, and combined with Marinette's half-updo...
Adrien had known that his friend was cute. It was impossible to miss and impossible to deny. But now...
Now, it was undeniable: Marinette was gorgeous.
Adrien was doing his best not to stare as Marinette giggled with Alya. The umbrella kept the sun off of her shoulders but threw pink light over her instead. It looked gorgeous- and who was he kidding, she didn't need any help looking absolutely gorgeous- and was absolutely picture-perfect.
...would it be creepy if he asked her to pose for a few photos in a sort of mini-photoshoot? Maybe not, since they were friends, but...he wasn't sure. Even after being in school for several years now, there were parts of the whole socializing thing that Adrien was still a bit unsure about.
It would probably be even creepier to snap a picture without Marinette knowing.
"You're staring," Nino sing-songed in Adrien's ear. "You liiike her."
Adrien flushed. "I- she just looks really good today. Like, that is an amazing outfit- the amount of work that went into that-"
"You should ask her out," Nino suggested. He was smirking. "You two are super-close already."
"I just asked Kagami out barely a month ago," Adrien retorted. "With Marinette's help, I might add. That's not- it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me."
Nino groaned, rolling his eyes. "I can't believe you even did that, dude. Like, I know that you and Kagami are friends, but I never really got that 'oh I've got a crush on her' vibe from you. And you and Marinette have become way closer anyway."
Adrien glanced away. He had to admit that Nino had a point. Over the past month since his failed attempt at asking Kagami out, he had realized that he really had never been that cut up over her rejection. He had been surprised, sure- after all, she had been interested in him at one point, enough to pretty much imply that she would be waiting for him to change his mind and move on from Ladybug, and she had been (he thought, at least) as friendly as always since- but not upset. He had automatically gone to Marinette to tell her, but he hadn't done it because he needed support or anything.
No, he had decided to ask Kagami out because he had thought that she would say yes. He had thought that she was a safe choice to ask. Sure, he admired her- she was a really talented fencer- but there weren't feelings there. What he had felt before was probably better classified as a crush, or maybe just admiration for her skills gone a little too far.
"Seriously, at least think about it," Nino told Adrien after he didn't get a response right away. "Like, I can see where maybe you have a point about not asking Marinette out right away 'cause she knew that you were interested in Kagami, but don't leave it forever."
Adrien let out a small huff. "Since when are you the relationships expert?"
"Since I've been in a relationship for a couple years now, whereas you have yet to kiss a girl." Nino shot finger guns at Adrien, then stepped back and towards Alya. "Seriously, think about it."
Adrien watched as Nino headed across the park to join Alya. Marinette stepped back from her friend, leaving the couple on their own to cuddle (and presumably scheme) and heading over to join Adrien. He managed a smile as she came over next to him, but he couldn't fully ignore the way that his heart rate picked up.
"It's so warm today," Marinette said with a sigh, coming to a stop near Adrien. "And so sunny!"
"Does the umbrella help?" Adrien asked curiously, tapping the edge. Up close, he could see where Marinette had used her sewing machine to do some basic fill-in embroidery with thin gold thread. "It looks like it gives you a little shade, at least."
"It does! It's not super-thick fabric so it doesn't completely block the light or anything, but it helps." Marinette slid closer with a small smile, lifting her umbrella off of her shoulders so that it cast a shadow over Adrien, too. "Better?"
"I don't think it matches my outfit as well as it matches yours," Adrien said with a laugh. "But the shade is nice, yeah." He dallied for a moment, debating, then asked, "Can I take some pictures of you? That outfit with that umbrella is 100% photoshoot-worthy."
Marinette turned pink but she looked pleased. "Of course! Do you want me to pose, or...?"
Nino sent Adrien a knowing look as he snapped a few quick photos of Marinette and Adrien did his best to ignore it. Marinette needed pictures of that outfit, she really did. He was just being a good friend by making sure that she had some good shots.
The fact that he would definitely be keeping copies of the pictures for himself was entirely beside the point.
11. Hawkmoth Defeated
It was over. The battle was done, and Hawkmoth was defeated at last. Ladybug just wished that Hawkmoth's identity hadn't hit so close to home.
Chat Noir was silent next to her as they turned Nathalie over to the police and gathered up a bit more evidence from Mr. Agreste's office, and he was just as quiet as they headed up to what remained of Hawkmoth's lair to see what was left there and to look out at the scene below.
There wasn't much there, honestly. There were some weapons that the police would definitely want to look at, but all of the evidence had (surprisingly) been in the office. Ladybug glanced up from her investigation of one of the weapons (a missile, it looked like; she did not want to know if her suit was resistant to something like this) to see her partner standing at the front of the lair, staring down at the scene below. She abandoned her task at once to go stand next to him, one hand lifting to rest on his back.
Down below, paramedics were still bustling around, readying Mr. Agreste for transport to the hospital. They were calling back and forth, tone urgent.
If Mr. Agreste survived all the way there, it would be a miracle. He had stepped backwards off of the rooftop to try to avoid Chat Noir's claws going for his Miraculous, and each of them had only partially succeeded in their goal.
The Miraculous had come partway off, dangling by a pin tip to Hawkmoth's suit. It hadn't stayed secure enough, though, and Hawkmoth's transformation had been coming undone as he hit the ground, leaving him only just barely alive. The superheroes had jumped down and reclaimed his Miraculous, then called up both the police and the ambulance.
"I can't believe him," Chat Noir said quietly, fury clear in his voice. "I just- I don't understand." His voice broke, and Ladybug wrapped her arms around him, resting her head against his shoulder. "Why would he become a supervillain? He has tonsof money. He's successful. I mean, the only thing I can think of would be Mom, but she wouldn't approve at all, I know she wouldn't."
Ladybug just nodded. She had figured out Chat Noir's identity partway through the final battle, just based on his reaction to discovering Hawkmoth's identity, and- oh, gosh. Her poor partner. Her poor kitty. She couldn't imagine finding out that one of her parents was the Big Bad and needing to just- to just ignore that to focus fully on the fight.
"And Nathalie, too," Chat Noir continued, and Ladybug felt something drip against her shoulder. She craned her head and spotted the tear tracks running down his face. "I just- I can't-"
"We'll get our answers soon," Ladybug said soothingly, glancing up at the sky as more drops hit her shoulders. It was starting to rain, and she had to be thankful that it had held off long enough for them to finish their fight. Rain made rooftops slippery, and even though their kwamis tried to account for that, it just wasn't as easy to fight as when things were dry. She let go with one hand to reach for her yo-yo, pulling her umbrella out of it like Mary Poppins pulling a coat stand out of her bag before popping it open over the two of them, protecting them from the weather. "We can go to Master Fu and have him pull Nooroo out and ask Nooroo all of our questions."
Chat Noir nodded into her shoulder. "Okay."
"And I can take care of any press for today. Any press, and whatever questions the police need answered right away. But I'll ask that we get a couple days at least to recover." She hugged him closer as the rain started coming down harder. Down below, the paramedics finally got Mr. Agreste loaded into the ambulance and it peeled out of the gates, sirens starting up. The patrol car with Nathalie in it followed. "I can come up with a reason if they ask."
"Thank you," Chat Noir breathed. "I'll- I'll come to terms with it eventually, I know I will. But today..."
"You need time. I get it." Ladybug pulled her partner closer. The rain pattered overhead, the city slowly getting consumed in grey. Press vehicles were already starting to pull up in front of the mansion gates, and she frowned at them before returning her attention to her partner. "Do you want to go to Master Fu right away, or should we go to my house first?"
Chat Noir's gaze flashed to her, eyes wide and green and disbelieving. "But my Lady- our identities-"
Ladybug gave him a fond nudge. "You've already given your identity away, kitty cat. And with Hawkmoth defeated, I think it's safe for me to reveal my identity, too."
"Then I want to go home with you," Chat Noir decided, burying his face in her shoulder again. "Please."
"All right, Chat Noir." Ladybug pulled her partner into her arms, handing him the handle to her umbrella. "Then let's go home."
12. First Date
Adrien scowled up at the sky as his car drove towards the bakery. He had hoped that today would be sunny, so that he and Marinette could have lunch at an outdoor cafe and then walk around hand-in-hand and then maybe get some ice cream together. It was the perfect plan for their first date: simple, cute, relaxing, and very them.
And now it was raining.
Adrien hopped out of the car with a quick thanks to the Gorilla once they reached the bakery, popping his umbrella open as he did so that his outfit wouldn't get wet. He didn't hesitate to head for the door as the car drove away, knocking before standing back and waiting. Marinette answered at once, a bright smile on her face.
That expression on her made his knees weak, honestly. And when he considered that Marinette was both his unfairly pretty longtime friend and the superhero partner that he had been in love with for years... well, it was a miracle that Adrien was still standing, really.
He could hear Plagg sniggering in his collar.
"Maman, I'm headed out!" Marinette called over her shoulder, pausing for a reply before stepping out and joining Adrien under the umbrella. She beamed up at him. "Hey, kitty. How are you today?"
"Since I'm with you, fantastic," Adrien said cheerfully, hooking his arm around hers. "I was hoping for sun for our date, but the weather isn't cooperating."
"It's supposed to storm later," Marinette said, sounding oddly cheerful about that. She peered out from under the umbrella, watching the rain fall around them. "I love the rain."
Immediately, Adrien's lingering annoyance about the rain vanished. If his Lady liked rain, then they would work around the rain. He glanced down at her as they started to walk. "Anything in particular that you like about the rain?"
"Well, I fell in love with you in the rain," Marinette said, and Adrien startled. She had? When was that? "In a thunderstorm, actually. And then we've shared an umbrella so often..."
Adrien winced as he remembered their last umbrella-sharing incident. It had been during the final battle, only a couple hours before the police informed him about his father's death. Granted, the memory wasn't all bad- even if he had been reeling from the discovery of Hawkmoth's identity and had been pretty sure even then that his father probably wasn't going to survive, finding out Ladybug's identity and getting to stay with her- well, that made up for a lot of the other stuff.
And then, hours later, they had found his mom and now Master Fu was working on a cure. So that- that was good too, Adrien thought. So far, they didn't have any reason to believe that Mrs. Agreste had been up to anything unsavory while using the Peacock Miraculous, so once she came back, Adrien would have one parent again. This time, it would be the good parent.
But now that Marinette mentioned it, Adrien was remembering other things, too. The times when one of them forgot their umbrella and so they shared one umbrella. The time when Adrien had just been rejected by Kagami and they- well, they had pretty much cuddled for a while after that, all alone on the Trocadero plaza under Mr. Dupain's giant umbrella while rain poured down all around them. The time when Adrien realized that oh no, he had a crush on Marinette.
(The fact that that last one was a sun umbrella was beside the point.)
"Well, I can admit that rain can be calming," Adrien admitted after another moment. "It adds atmosphere. But I was hoping to get to eat outside at a cafe today as part of our date, and the rain puts a bit of a damper on that."
"We'll save that idea for our next date, then," Marinette said cheerfully. "For now, I think something warm sounds tasty. And I have the perfect place in mind, too. It's nice and cozy."
Cozy with his Lady? That sounded purr-fect. His date plan could wait for another day, because with Marinette, there would be another date. Even if this first one didn't go perfectly- well, everyone's definitions of perfect were different. Even as the first rumble of thunder rolled overhead, Marinette looked perfectly content next to him. Somewhere in the back of his head, Adrien wondered if it was too early to start planning a mid-thunderstorm under-the-umbrella proposal. Of course, to get to a proposal, they had to go on this date first. And to go on this date- well, they had to actually get started.
So Adrien smiled down at Marinette, gesturing ahead of them. "That sounds pawsitivly purr-fect. Lead the way, my Lady."
And she did.
a/n: As with most of my stories, this is a one-shot and is therefore complete. And as always, reviews make my day! :)