word count: 1.111
prompt: scarf reveal
The box tickled a distant memory, the purple package wrapped with a golden ribbon. He wasn't sure what the memory was from, but there weren't too many people who've given him presents, even if the number had increased in the last year. The package was square, cubical, and the bow at the top was fluffy. It looked hand-wrapped, the little imperfections endearing, as opposed to the professional, precise folds of the presents his father usually bought for him.
It was another lonely Christmas, made a little less lonely by the invitations given to him by his friends to spend the day with their families. Of course, Adrien's father had told him no, so it kind of made the invitations pointless, but Adrien was grateful nonetheless. Having friends like these who care enough about how he felt to let him impose on their families gave him a really warm feeling inside. Even Chloe, as much of a piece of work as she is, invited Adrien to spend Christmas with her and her father. Adrien wouldn't have accepted that particular invitation even if his father was willing to let him go out; as much as he cared about Chloe, spending Christmas with her would make him feel even lonelier as she carried on about herself for several hours.
Adrien found the small card tagged to the present, tied at the base of the bow, and read the name, Marinette. He smiled, feeling warmer than ever that his shy, awkward friend could give him a Christmas present. It had hurt a little bit that she had still been angry enough with him to not give a birthday present earlier in the year when the rest of his class had, but the fact that she made an appearance at his party, as much as a disaster as that had been, had felt like an even exchange.
The lid slid off easily, revealing a pile of pretty red tissue paper wrapped around the gift inside.
Oh, he loved his present; he hated the cold and the wet, and he would never turn down a new set of temperature-resistant clothing. The new hat and set of wrist-warmers initially made his smile grow into a grin, and he admired the gorgeous blue color and the softness of the fabric. But then he noticed something strange. Now, Adrien was not the savviest when it came to clothing. Yeah, he was a model, so he had to understand the cut, and style of clothing, how different fabrics moved. He had to understand how to show off the best parts of an outfit and make the designs look good while also making himself look good; anything beyond that was beyond Adrien's comprehension. He couldn't name fabrics by touch, and there weren't eighty shades of blue, just dark, light, and medium. However, Adrien did notice that the fabric of his new hat and wrist-warmers felt suspiciously similar to the fabric of his birthday scarf, and if he wasn't wrong, it was the same color, too. In fact, when Adrien retrieved it from his closet, he realized that it was the exact same blue. Now, even more suspicious, he searched the hat and gloves to find any hint that his friend had signed her work. They were all rather simple, nondescript items, which was part of why Adrien liked the scarf so much, it didn't stand out too much from anything else he wore.
Eventually, just inside the wrist the opening of his glove, Adrien found the initials, MDC signed in a blue thread only slightly different from the color of the fabric she chose. And again, under the brim of the hat, MDC, a little fancier than the gloves, but present nonetheless. And finally, in the seam of the scarf, along a bottom edge in the same color that was almost imperceptibly different from the fabric, were the initials, MDC curling along the seam.
Adrien's heart dropped.
"Hey, Adrien! That scarf is so sick!"
"Yeah, my dad made it for me, for my birthday." Adrien had grinned, proud of having earned a little more of his father's attention than just another pen. Beside Alya, Marinette's face had twitched, just the smallest bit, but it wasn't anything unusual. Marinette was just strange like that, so Adrien paid it no attention.
"I'm glad you liked your present," she had told him, smiling softly but not quite right. Back then, Adrien hadn't been able to tell that she had looked slightly upset, but he knew better now. Even though the memory was foggy, from time, from the sun, from a lack of value beyond his own sense of look at me! from that time, Adrien still could tell that Marinette had been hurt. And if he thought about it, he could see it every time he wore his scarf to school, the soft smile of excitement, but also the sadness in her eyes. The gift that he treasured as a work from his father, a bit of affection he had finally earned, the gift had actually been the precious work of a close friend. A gift from a strange girl who behaved as if she could hardly stand him, but who somehow valued him anyway.
Beneath the gloves and hat, nestled so far into the tissue paper that Adrien almost didn't see it, was a note. The handwriting was neat and loopy, almost delicate, and familiar, even if he couldn't place how.
I thought you could use a pair of gloves to go with the scarf. And then I made a hat too because you should have a complete set. I know how much you enjoyed the scarf your father got you for your birthday. I hope you can like this gift just as well.
With love, Marinette
Adrien's fingers traced over the words, touched at the sincerity and care. Even when presenting him with something so obviously revealing to him that she had been responsible for the scarf, Marinette was too noble to outright tell him that she made it. She would rather he continue believing in his father than to ruin his happiness. Adrien was so, so lucky to have a friend like Marinette. He felt so pathetic for the fabric store gift card that he gave her for Christmas; it would figure he only knew how to throw money at her. He should have put some more thought into his present like she did. Marinette deserved better than a gift card. She deserved a handmade present too.