Didn't end up using this fic for the kitty love zine, vol 2. (and then I actually forgot all about it hhgkhjgh). Figured I'd share anyway. Nothing wrong with more marichat
Adrien breathed in the sea-salty air and smiled. He'd made it. Well, mostly. He'd spent days trying to convince his father to let him go to the beach with his friends. It didn't matter how much he'd pointed out it was only a two hour train ride to Deauville. It didn't matter how much he'd pleaded and begged for permission, even promising not to ditch his bodyguard. His father had said no, and that was final.
Or at least for Adrien it was final.
"Aren't you hot in that suit, Chat Noir?" Mylene asked.
"Nope." He flexed his arms, showing off the magical fabric. "It's got in-built body temperature control. Pretty cool, huh?"
"It would be better with a tail," Kim said, already stripped to his speedos.
"Uh … my suit does have a tail."
"Not one like that. I mean a fishtail fin, so you can swim like a shark."
Kim gave them a duh look and joined Max, who was calculating the best spot to set up their base among the multicoloured umbrellas.
"Sometimes I do not understand him," Mylene murmured.
Adrien repressed a smile.
"Hey, Chat Noir!"
He turned just as Alya snapped a photo of him.
"What was that for?" he asked.
"Pictures for the Ladyblog." She sidled up to him, throwing an arm over his shoulders. "You're good with that, right? You know, since you gatecrashed our beach party."
"I guess …"
"And you'll let me bury you in sand later with just your head sticking out so I can take a picture?"
He laughed. "Sure."
Alya did a happy wiggle. "I'm so glad you're here. It's too bad Ladybug didn't come as well. Think of all the photos I could have gotten!"
Marinette sighed, dragging her feet like some dispirited lump about to crumple into the sand. "I'm just sorry Adrien couldn't come."
He gave her a warm look, touched by her words. She really was a wonderful friend. So caring and thoughtful.
"Aw, girl, don't be sad." Alya moved to sling an arm around her instead. "I'm sure there'll be another chance for you to show off your new bikini to Sunshine Boy."
Marinette's face bloomed with vibrant splotches of red. "Alya!" she hissed.
He blinked, once, twice and a third time. "Uh—"
"Don't mind her!" Marinette said loudly, waving her arms in a frantic way. "She's speaking nonsense."
Alya grinned. "Nonsense, huh?"
"You know that's not why I'm disappointed," Marinette retorted, elbowing her in the side.
"Dudes!" Nino called, waving at them. "Over here! Max found us a spot!"
Adrien bowed to the girls. "After you."
The mutual consensus was to not leave their stuff unattended while they were swimming, so Adrien and Marinette offered to take the first watch. He just wasn't prepared for her to shuck off her beach dress and put on sunblock right next to him.
Oh. So, that was the bikini.
He swallowed, shooting glances at her from out the corner of his eye. It was … really cute. Soft pink—the same colour he'd come to associate with her—and dotted with little white spots. The ruffled flounce top was modest in its cut with a strappy halter tie, yet her stomach was still bare for him to see. Every inch. The matching bottoms, sans ruffle, hugged her hips. A logical part of him knew it shouldn't matter how much leg she was showing since she often wore form-hugging jeans. It shouldn't even matter that she was wearing a bikini. Lots of girls wore bikinis. It was normal. A thing. But it hit him so much harder when it was Marinette wearing one.
Her hands glided along her skin, rubbing sunblock into her thighs and down her calves.
His mouth went dry.
Don't stare, don't stare, don't stare.
"Hey, Chat Noir," she said.
"Can you put some sunblock on my back? I can't reach."
He made a strangled sound that might have been a yes.
Plagg's camembert have mercy. He was not prepared for this. Marinette was his friend. His very cute, very lovely friend. That had never been an issue until now.
His heart fumbled like a drummer with no rhythm. She placed her back to him and held her pigtails forward so he wouldn't get sunblock in her hair. Tiny freckles sprinkled her shoulders, teasing him with an urge to trace them. His pulse sped up.
Oh no. This was bad.
"Um, is something wrong?" she asked.
Frogs croaked in his throat. How could he explain that he didn't know how to look at her, let alone touch her, without feeling like he was being disrespectful? Yet she was depending on him to help protect her from the sun. He would not fail her.
"E-everything's fine," he squeaked.
He could do this. He could totally do this.
She shifted, drawing attention to the dip of her waist. His fingers clamped down on the bottle. Sunblock shot out and smeared his vision a stinging white.
It was like dominoes collapsing.
A yelp escaped him, the bottle slipped from his hand, and then somehow he was on his back and squinting up at Marinette. She bit her lip to hold back obvious laughter.
"Are you okay?" she asked.
Hot waves spread over his face. "Fine, fine. Guess I just don't know my own strength." He gave a token flex as he sat up, but inwardly he wished the sand would swallow him whole. The sunblock stuck in his eye didn't help.
She laughed and leaned closer, cupping his face with one hand. "Here. Let me."
His pulse skittered, and he was conscious of every inhale and exhale. She carefully wiped off the sunblock with her finger and thumb. Their eyes met, and her lips curved into that bright, warm smile.
Lightning shocked his heart.
"Better?" she asked.
"I, um …"
His stomach was a mess of flutters. It felt like a Brick of Realisations had been chucked at his brain, and he wasn't sure he was ready to deal with that. Fortunately, Rose came over to grab an inflatable unicorn.
"Ice cream!" he blurted, scrambling to his feet. "I shall go. Get some. Now. Rose will do your sunblock, I'm sure."
He escaped before she could respond.
"Thanks for the ice cream," Marinette said, accepting the cone from him. "Mm, mixed berry. How'd you know that's my favourite?"
"Because you're berry sweet?"
The flutters came back in full force. Dang it. He'd hoped to pun his way into some normalcy between them, but all he'd achieved was a fresh realisation of how adorable she was. So much for his Play it Cool plan. It looked as if flustered and awkward—or flawkward, as he called it—was his only mode of function for now.
He sat with her under the umbrella, lapping at his ice cream. (He would have bought some for everyone, but they were still swimming and he didn't have enough hands to carry them all.)
"What flavour did you get?" she asked.
She leaned in and sneaked a lick.
"Hey!" he exclaimed.
Laughter danced in her eyes. "It's good."
Ba-thump, ba-thump. His heart started the familiar rhythm.
Desperate for a distraction, he returned to eating his ice cream—until he realised her lips had been in the same spot.
His eyes widened and he touched his lips. "Indirect kiss," he murmured.
"Huh?" he echoed, though where her brow was furrowed, he was like a startled deer.
She tilted her head. "Is everything okay, Chat Noir? You seem a bit … not yourself today."
"I'm fline. Fine." Ugh, why were words being so difficult? "Maybe the sun is getting to me."
"I thought your suit had an in-built cooling—"
"Your ice cream is melting!" He pointed at the ribbons of purply pink spilling onto her hand. "Best eat it quick!"
He almost sighed in relief. Not that the silence helped that much. Just one smile from her had him melting into a flustered puddle.
Yep, he was definitely a goner.