Bonjour! This prompted one-shot was written for a one year anniversary event on the Miraculous Fanworks Discord server! The prompt, courtesy of Squishysib on AO3, was:
"Tikki is somehow revealed to the class, but the class thinks she's a doll. This could be anything from Marinette tripping and she comes flying out of the purse, to Lila stealing her from Marinette's bag and claims that Mari stole it from her. Either way Adrien sees Tikki and uses the braincell."
Thanks for the prompt, Sibby! I hope you and everyone else enjoy the read. :D
ALL YOU KNEAD IS LOAVE
By Captain Meowvel
First, her pigtails took twenty-two minutes to come to terms with the concept of symmetry.
Then, she barrelled through the bakery, only for Sabine to point out her shirt was back to front.
Now, she found herself in the midst of another maladroit mistake.
Underestimating the height of a step.
The first step to her seat.
A seat that was conspicuously empty because she was late.
But oh, it didn't stop there.
No no no. The day was just getting started.
Because in that moment of supreme clumsiness, Tikki, who'd been snoozing in the aftermath of a late-night akuma, flew from Marinette's pink clutch.
Time slowed, and in a blur of red and black, the kwami sailed through the air.
Down, down, down.
Until she landed on the hardwood floor, near a pair of brown boots. With eras of practice under her figurative belt, Tikki went rigid in a nanosecond.
But like a fox, Lila pounced. "My doll!"
Marinette's eyes bulged as Lila swiped Tikki off the floor.
"This was a gift from Prince Ali on a trip to Achu," she cried, clutching Tikki to her chest. "I thought it fell out of my bag! I was SO heart-broken."
It was then that crafty eyes honed in on her.
"Why did you have it, Marinette?"
Gasps shook the air.
All eyes in the classroom whipped to her.
Marinette marched up to Lila's desk, her shoulders squared. "Because she's MY doll," she growled, "not yours!"
A two-second silence hung thick in the air.
Frantic chatter erupted. Her classmates spoke over each other, a flurry of questions and accusations flooding the room.
"Children! Children!" Miss Bustier cried over the commotion, holding her hands high. "Settle down, everyone. I'm sure there's a perfectly good explanation for this."
"It's okay, everybody," Lila declared, cradling Tikki in her conniving clutches. "The last place I saw Cindy was Place des Vosges. That's right by her parents' bakery." Her lower lip quivered as she spared the still-frozen kwami a dramatic glance. "Maybe Marinette just found her and didn't know who she belonged to." She sent the fuming girl a shaky smile. "Right, Marinette?"
"No!" Marinette sliced a hand through the air. "No, that's NOT right at all! I've had her for over a year and—"
Lila gasped, pressing Tikki to her chest as if expecting Marinette to lunge. "You're not refusing to leave Cindy with her rightful owner, are you?"
"But, Lila, you're not the rightful owner."
Marinette's sights shifted left.
Because someone had shared that truth.
With startling certainty.
But that someone hadn't been her.
A wall of windows framed Adrien's body, spilling light across his golden hair like a literal halo of sunshine. The human embodiment of an angel, watching over her clumsy self. He stared down Lila, his jaw tight and his eyes ablaze. It was an expression she was well-acquainted with, though she'd only ever seen it in another pair of eyes, on another face, from another boy.
"Her name is Tikki and she belongs with Marinette."
Every cell in her body screeched to a halt.
"I know this because she's one half of a pair—"
He wasn't another boy!
"—and I just so happen to own the other doll."
Adrien reached beneath his white overshirt, revealing a black doll with green eyes and a wiry tail. Only, it wasn't a doll at all. It was an unmoving Plagg, right there in Adrien's palm.
In Chat Noir's palm.
The same person.
Currently sending her his softest smile, eyes creased and imploring and utterly heart-melting.
Reality struck with the subtlety of a spaceship. She shook her head with whiplash-inducing suddenness. Or did she already have whiplash?
Chat Noir is Adrien!
His eyes flickered over her face and slowly, his smile sank. "Marinette?"
She'd shaken her head.
That meant she disagreed.
But she didn't.
Because Adrien was right.
Marinette nodded like a bobblehead stuck in an earthquake, fixing her tragic faux pas.
Adrien is Chat Noir!
He stepped between her and Lila and held out an expectant hand, palm up and waiting. "Thanks, Lila," he chimed, as cool as a whole patch of cucumbers, "for returning Tikki to Marinette."
Lila's lips moved, spelling what were probably more lies. Marinette was too busy fighting the blaring MAYDAY in her brain. Adrien Agreste, her larger-than-life partner. Chat Noir, her angelic classmate and year-long crush.
And if his face showed his thoughts, each one was hidden; he stood between her and Lila, quiet as his hand inched closer to the latter. His fingers beckoned like a silent encouragement. Or a silent hurry up.
A nerve twitched in Lila's temple, and Marinette's mouth fell open as Lila reluctantly placed Tikki—poor Tikki, stuck in a pose that looked awfully uncomfortable—into Adrien's awaiting palm. His fingers curled around her kwami like she was a living thing.
Because she was.
She was and Adrien knew it.
Just like he knew she was Ladybug.
He… knew she was…
"I'm so sorry, Adrien!" Lila threw both hands to her lips. "You too, Marinette. I don't know what came over me. My rare disease must be acting up again!"
Marinette's lips parted.
Some sort of strangled sound escaped them.
She should've just kept quiet.
"It's all right." A smile lined Adrien's voice. The same voice that delivered silly puns, cheesy one-liners and words of affirmation, all behind a black, leather mask. "If you'd like a referral for a great doctor, I can ask Father for some recommendations."
"Wow!" Lila pressed her palms together, flaunting a sickeningly sweet grin. "That's so nice of you, Adrien. I might just take you up on that!"
"No problem." But as he faced Marinette, she was eighty five percent sure she glimpsed the tail end of a grimace. Then, their eyes met, and his wrinkled with a smile, glistening green like dew-dusted fields, like early spring, like Chat Noir's.
Adrien stepped closer and held out his hand, Tikki stiff in his palm.
Marinette stared. She stared at his hand. She stared at Tikki. She stared at the shine of silver around his ring finger.
Marinette "Staring" Dupain-Cheng.
That was her name now—
A cough cut through the air. It sounded suspiciously like Alya.
But something else yanked her back to reality.
A warmth around her hand.
His gloveless fingers curled around hers, placing Tikki in her trembling grasp.
Trembling because he was her partner, her kitty…
And he knew it too.
Adrien guided her hand to her chest. "She's back where she belongs." His touch was tender, so very warm, and dare she think, loving. "With you, Mariboo."
Marinette's eyes blew wide. Her face was an actual sun, her heart a pounding conga drum, and by the way her jaw slackened, words were a foreign concept.
Adrien pressed a palm to her forehead, and she went stiff as a mannequin. "Excuse me, Miss Bustier? I think Marinette's running a fever." No, but give her five seconds and good God, she might be.
"No no no!" She peeled his palm away. "I am totally—"
One wink from her kitty.
"—uhh – in need of a qualified ice pack! I mean nurse!" She offered an affirmative nod. "Yes. A qualified nurse. Who can give me an ice pack. For my forehead. Which is on fire."
Adrien turned back to the teacher. "May I please have your permission to walk her to the nurse's office?"
"You're both excused," said Miss Bustier, beaming from the front of the classroom. "Take care, Marinette."
"I'm sure he will!" Marinette lurched ramrod straight. "I mean, I'm sure I will. Take care. So much care." She showed a double thumbs up. "And so will Chadrien—dah!—Adrien. Of me. He will take so much care of me."
From the corner of her eye, a hand appeared on her shoulder.
"Thanks, Miss Bustier!"
Even through her black blazer, the heat of his hand radiated as he guided her out of the classroom and into the sunny spring air.
It wasn't until they reached a quiet corner of the courtyard that Marinette realised three things:
She'd eyeballed his hand since its arrival on her shoulder.
Two hands now held her shoulders in place of one.
Both hands were trembling.
Marinette gazed at the boy before her. His eyes – the same eyes that glowed green during late-night patrols – pored over every inch of her face.
And finally, they found her own.
Gradually, his lips parted—
"I expect one heaping pile of cheese after THAT whole charade!"
Plagg emerged between them, a crease on his forehead and his tiny arms crossed.
It was then, as Tikki flew from her palm to hover near her shoulder, that Marinette realised she'd spent that whole time laying comatose in her hand. "Plagg," her kwami growled, hands on her hips, "they were about to have a moment!"
"So whaaat?" Plagg flicked a dismissive hand, suspended mid-air as though splayed across a sunlounger. "The cat's outta the bag! They have all the time in the WORLD to have more moments." He flipped upside down. "Besides, being a doll really worked up my appeti—"
Tikki fired him one of the fiercest glares Marinette had ever seen. And not just from her kwami.
Plagg righted himself, ears flattening. "Err – What I meant to say is that YOU must be starving, Sugar Cube." She shoved her nose to the cloudless sky with a little harumph, so he zoomed to her side. "You stayed still for SO long. It was very impurressive!"
Marinette pursed her lips. Apparently, Plagg cat punned too. "I'm so sorry for this whole mess, Tikki." Her kwami's face brightened as she held up a pink macaron. "Tomorrow, I'll be sure to bake you a whole batch of these little guys!"
Meanwhile, Adrien tossed a wedge of camembert in the air. "And I'll be sure to order an entire box of Pont l'Eveque," he promised, as Plagg downed the wedge in one gulp. "Just for you, buddy."
Plagg rubbed his belly and burped. "It's a start, I suppose."
"So," Adrien said, sights settling on her, "now I know you're a baker's daughter." His eyes gleamed. "I'd batter get a batch of puns in the oven, huh?"
Yup. That was her silly kitty, all right.
A giggle escaped her. "As long as your puns aren't stale," she countered, complete with a cheeky grin.
With gentle fingers and a gentler smile, he looped a strand of hair behind her ear. "Only the freshest for you, Mariboo."
Heat flamed up her face as she gawped at him, speechless.
Were they flirting?
Adrien bolted upright. "S-Sorry!" He rubbed the nape of his neck. "Old habits pie hard, I guess."
Marinette blinked at him.
Finally, she made words happen.
With a clear of her throat, Marinette tried again. "No, it's okay, Adrien." She reached for his hands, hearing his soft gasp as her skin brushed his. "I loave your puns."
His lips quirked up.
"You wouldn't be you without them." She threaded their fingers, free of leather and latex. He was so, so warm. "And thank you, Kitty," she breathed, giving his hands the lightest squeeze, "for all your help back there."
"Of course, M'Lady." Her heart fluttered, first at the title, then at the way he squeezed her hands right back. "You and me against the world, right?"
A soft smile painted his lips.
It was so Adrien.
So Chat Noir.
"Y'know," he whispered, his voice feather light, "I could glaze into your eyes all day."
The sentiment of those words shone true in his own and before she knew it, Marinette was bringing her lips up to his. It was a light kiss. A quick kiss. Too sudden to let herself tremble. Too sudden to let him return it. Even as she pulled back, the warmth of his lips lingered on hers like an irrefutable fact.
She'd just kissed Adrien Agreste.
His mouth popped open, closed, open again.
Apparently, her kiss had turned him into a goldfish.
No no no no no.
Nerves exploded in her chest.
Had she misread his cute comment?
Marinette leapt back. "Sorry! Sorry! I am SO sorry!" She clutched her scalp in both hands and started to pace. "I – I thought— I mean, you were just so sweet and I—"
Adrien sprung forward to grip her elbow. "Date!" He slapped that same hand to his chest, panic flashing in his eyes. "I mean, would you like to date me?" One shake of his head. "No. Uh. Go on a date with me?" He kneaded his temples. "Which might lead to dating. If you'd like. But if not, that's fine too. There's still that boy and you—"
Marinette cut him off with a laugh of relief. "Silly cat." She re-tangled her fingers with his, peering up at him through full lashes. "You ARE the boy"—oh, the irony—"and you always HAVE been."
Adrien gaped, once again embracing his inner-fish. "I… I am?"
Chewing her lip, she nodded—slowly but surely.
In the moments that followed, his look of sheer shock transformed into unbridled joy. He leaned in close, their hands weaved together, and oh, she could definitely get used to this. "So, Marinette, what would you say if you and I met up tonight for a little dinner? Rooftop style?"
"I'd say that sounds purrfect."
Just like the sunshine smile that brightened his face in that moment.
She might've booped his adorable nose, had his hands not been so warm, so soft, so perfect in hers. Instead, she traced a thumb up the side of his hand, and her heart thrummed as he did it right back.
"Marinette?" Adrien's gaze flicked from her to his feet and back again. "Now that we're on the same page"—the tips of his ears flushed pink—"I'd loave to kiss you again… if you have dough complaints—"
Marinette moved onto her tiptoes and answered with her lips on his.
And this time, he kissed back. Lightly. Nervously. Perfectly imperfect.
One brush of his lips. Their noses bumped. They shared an awkward laugh and an angle readjustment; then, their lips reunited like two pieces of a puzzle, melding as wonderfully as his hands in hers.
Those same hands left her own, and her lips stilled on his. Until his arms stuttered around her. Inched her closer. Hesitated. She slid her hands through his golden locks, softer than mulberry silk. Her pulse fluttered as he melted against her, the delicious aroma of cologne filling her senses. Sweet. Spicy. Dizzying.
Like a budding artist to white canvas, each brush of their lips came more surely than the last—
A whiny groan had them springing apart. "Humans show affection in the most DISGUSTING of ways," Plagg droned, sticking out his pink tongue.
Marinette assumed the shade and heat of a chili. She jerked to throw her hands over her eyes, but as she glimpsed Adrien's endearing expression, they stopped just shy of her face. He'd revealed the most adorable of pouts and dawww, her poor heart was about ready to burst.
"Pla-Plagg," Adrien sputtered, and she imagined his tail going straight as a sabre. "That – That was our"—he hesitated, counting on his fingers—"fourth kiss you just interrupted!"
Plagg snorted. "Yeah, and I'm sure there'll be plenty more where THAT came from."
Tikki shot Plagg a scowl.
He whipped behind Adrien, peeking over his shoulder.
With a heart-stuttering smile, Adrien recouped his composure like a stumbling runway model, a blunder she knew for a fact he'd never done. He ruffled his perfectly coiffed hair and God, he sure looked like her kitty now. "Guess Plagg had better get used to the kisses"—he took her hands in his, his eyes twinkling—"because yours are unfurgettable."
"Except for the first two times when they weren't—"
"Plagg!" Adrien's pout returned with a vengeance. His red-tipped ears, twice as much.
Through a giggle, Marinette squeezed his hands. "Magic notwithstanding," she said, and placed a reassuring peck on his cheeks. "And back cat ya, my kitty."
Adrien's eyes went wide as a chasm, that pawsitively adorable blush creeping down his ears to his cheeks. Soon, his face softened, and a dreamy sigh slid from his lips. "I love when mew call me that."
First, her pigtails had taken twenty-two minutes to come to terms with the concept of symmetry.
Then, she'd barrelled through the bakery, only for Sabine to point out her shirt was back to front.
After, she'd tripped on a step and nearly lost her poor kwami to Lila.
But now, here she was, hand-in-hand with her friend, her partner, the love of her life.
And with their first date tonight, the day was just getting started.
That's right. Baking puns. They might've made you cringe from bread to dough, but that's a whisk I was willing to take. (Someone lock me up, like, yeasterday please.) Also, you best believe half the class came after Ladybug and Chat Noir— pardon, Marinette and Adrien later on, especially a certain aspiring journalist. XD
As always, a massive THANK YOU to my wonderful friend and beta-reader, writeringoodfaith, for all her help with this fic (and every other I write, haha). She writes love square stories too and they're amazing! Be sure to check out her stuff. Another giant THANK YOU is in order to my lovely friend, The Duelist's Heiress. She's my co-author in another fandom I write for (Marik/OC for Yu-Gi-Oh) and also beta-read this fic. Thanks, both of you! You're super special awesome. :3
As touched on in my starting ANs, this was written for a Miraculous Fanworks Discord server event! The server has a bunch of channels for readers, writers, artists and cosplayers: show discussions, writing support and prompts, fic recs and self-promotion, writing sprints and lots more. They also have monthly events and even streamed the New York Special. If you'd like to get in on a wonderful Miraculous community, there's an invite link on my profile page. Come say hello! :D