Disclaimer: Don't own and never will
AN: This was written for the March 2023 gift exchange on the Miraculous Fanworks Discord forum. This is written for CassieTheweirdWolf. Also, because I haven't seen much of Season 5, I'm simply going to ignore it.
AN2: Here's an invite to the server in question if you're interested in joining. Just remove the spaces and you're good to go. ht tps : discord . gg / ml fan works
Marc looked up at the building in front of him.
There was nothing particularly intimidating about the building in question. It was a school after all. His school in fact. The very same school he had attended for years. He knew its walls, its pathways and classrooms and all there was to know about its layout. (Or at least, all of the layout that actually was relevant he supposed.) And he knew the pupils inside the school to varying degrees. His friends and teachers who he interacted with on a regular basis. The people to avoid. The heroes and villains of any given story really and his in particular. Even the regular supervillain attacks and battles were barely pause for thought any more. Just something to react to, like a fire drill or Marinette managing to trip over nothing or the usual ebb and flow of teenage hormones that were raging inside. Just with superpowers involved.
No, what worried him was what he had planned on this sunny Parisian day. Today was the day! Today, he was FINALLY going to do what he had been putting off for what felt like a ridiculously long time.
"Come on Marc, you can do this," he quietly told himself. "You're just...finally confessing your love for someone who you've loved forever."
That failed to make him feel any less terrified. At this point, an akuma attack would probably even be welcome. But the universe was not going to oblige that particular point. (And he was honestly glad that it wasn't.)
He swallowed nervously as he stood in front of the building. It looked a lot more daunting today than it had ever done before. Even his first day of school had never made him feel this nervous. But now, he was feeling nothing short of terrified.
A familiar voice made him turn his head and he felt his mouth go dry.
Running up towards him with his sketchbook under his arm and his bag slung on his shoulder was the very boy he was intending to confess to. His little tomato, he was tempted to say. Fate had thrown him a clear sign and now he had to take it.
"Hey Marc," Nathanaël said as he caught up with him, slightly breathless. "I have something I want to talk about. Something...personal." At this his face turned slightly red with embarassment in a way that Marc found simply adorable. It was so cute and touching. Could it be that Nathaniel felt the same way about him? The two of them had certainly become very close over the years and Marc had been the first person Nathaniel had confided in when he came out as bi.
Nathanaël pulled his friend into an empty classroom and turned to face his friend.
"Marc, there's something I want to tell you," he began and Marc felt a rush of nervous excitement run through him. He wanted to pinch himself. It was like a dream. Nathanaël was about to confess to him. Or at least, Marc hoped that he was about to confess to him.
"I want you to be the first to know..." Nathanaël paused, his face becoming more red, so much that his face was now beginning to resemble a tomato. "I...I'm in love with Ivan Bruel."
Marc stood there for a few seconds as he tried to process Nathanaël's words. It was just so...
This was a nightmare! It-it had to be. A bad dream. Marc would wake up and discover that he had not just heard those words come from Nathanaël's mouth. Surely not. The universe could not be that cruel, could it? It was like a bad joke or a comedy sketch by some 'edgy' comedian or something. Surely this wasn't real. It was just a bad dream caused by his worries about confessing to Nathanaël. Nothing more than that. Surely the universe was not so cruel?
Or maybe it was a hallucination. Or some kind of akuma. They were weird like that sometimes.
Nathanaël however kept talking, oblivious to Marc's internal screaming.
"He's just so tall and brooding, but he's such a teddy bear underneath all that and it's kind of cute," he gushed and Marc finally pushed his brain to think.
"Isn't he the one who's dating Mylene?" he finally asked, or more accurately croaked out despite his internal chaos. Nathanaël smiled at him.
"No. They broke up a couple of weeks ago," he said and Marc cursed internally.
"I don't-" he began, only to be abruptly cut off by someone unexpected.
"It's perfect!" Adrien said with a smile on his face, clapping a hand on Nathanaël's shoulder with a smile on his face. Nathanaël let out a small squeak. "Ivan is a great guy and it would be nice to cheer him up and you two would make a perfect couple!" He paused and frowned briefly, completely oblivious to the silent eye signals Marc was trying to subtly trying to send him. "We just need to find the perfect way to get Nathanaël to confess."
"I don't think that-"
"Thanks Adrien," Nathanaël said with a blush and a smile. He looked at Marc in a way that made Marc's resistance melt away. "I can count on you, right?"
"Yes, of course!" he said without thinking.
"Thanks," Nathanaël said with a smile that made Marc feel like he was floating and he instantly forgot what it was they were talking about.
"Excellent," Adrien said with a smile. "Let's help Nathanaël win Ivan's heart!"
It wasn't until after Adrien and Nathanaël had left that Marc's brain finally caught up with him. He let out a horrified squeal. Somehow, (and he had no idea how), he had somehow managed to agree to help him actually ask Ivan out.
The plan was a simple one. Foolproof really according to Adrien. The sort of plan Marinette would come up with to win over Adrien. And that was practically guaranteed to succeed. After all, Marinette had managed to get Adrien after all. Now she had a plan to help Nathanaël win Ivan's heart. Clearly it was the best approach!
(Nobody had the heart to tell him that Marinette's convoluted plans had a habit of failing.)
Adrien would be watering the plants outside Collège Françoise Dupont with a hose as Ivan came out of school. He would then 'accidentally' lose control of said hose and 'accidentally' spray Ivan with the hose, soaking him in water. Adrien would of course act very sorry, apologising profusely. Nathanaël would then step in with towels that he conveniently happened to have on hand and a change of clothes. Then, as he helped Ivan dry himself, Marc would turn on the selected track to create the perfect moment for Nathanaël to confess and the two of them would kiss and walk off into the sunset together.
Marc however had a cunning and equally foolproof plan to stop them. A plan so perfect that it could not possibly fail.
It would start with him finding the right thing to turn to cut off the water supply to the entire city of Paris at just the right time. Then he would pick the lock (he was sure that it couldn't be that hard. People did it all the time in books after all.) Turn off the water supply for a few minutes, making sure that Adrien's clever plan would fail. Nathanaël would walk out with the towels and be disappointed, maybe even embarrassed and Marc would swoop in and save him and confess his feelings for the redheaded artist. It was perfect!
What he hadn't taken into account was the Marinette factor.
Just as he was trying to sneak out of school, Marinette ran into him and in spectacular Marinette style, she sent her bag flying. The two of them landed in a pile just outside the front of the school.
By sheer dumb luck, or rather extraordinarily bad luck. Or extraordinarily good luck depending on who you asked, the bag slid rapidly into Adrien's legs, knocking him over.
On the way down, he completely lost control of the hose he was using, for real this time instead of merely pretending to.
The hose spun out of control, spinning in a circle and coating all of them in cold water. Water went everywhere. Marinette, Adrien, Marc and even Alix were caught in its spray, thoroughly soaking them all. Marinette actually let out a slight squeal. Alix swore loudly. Even Chloé was caught a glancing blow from the spray.
"Watch what you're doing, Du-Pain Cheng!" she snarled before storming off.
As if fate was adding insult to injury, Ivan walked out a few minutes later, completely unaffected by the entire fiasco and offered Adrien a towel.
"Okay, that plan didn't really work," Adrien began, only to be cut off by Nathanaël.
"It was a disaster!" he groaned. Marc could have sworn Nathanaël gave him a subtle look, but it vanished a moment later. Did he know? Marc pondered briefly, before shaking that thought away. Of course he didn't. It was impossible for him to know.
"So what we need," Adrien continued as though Nathanaël hadn't said anything, "is a more complicated plan!"
Marinette was DEFINITELY rubbing off on him. Far, far too much, Marc thought to himself.
"The path of true love can not be denied!" Adrien continued excitedly and Marc raised an eyebrow. Clearly Adrien had been spending too much time with Rose. Or his favourite romantic comedy anime. Both worked. Adrien continued excitedly.
"Fortunately Marinette has come up with the perfect plan! A guaranteed success that can't go wrong!"
Marc leaned forward, determined not to miss a word as Adrien uncovered a whiteboard with all kinds of diagrams and pictures on it. Nino frowned slightly.
"Dude, are you sure that this is a good idea?" he asked and Adrien grinned.
"Of course it is! Marinette came up with it and she's perfect and her plans are perfect!"
"All it takes is for everything to go perfectly and it's guaranteed to work!" Adrien continued excitedly, waving his hands.
"Where is Marinette?" Marc asked quietly and Adrien waved the question away.
"She has an important event with Kitty Section, measuring them for their newest outfits." He paused and looked at Nathanaël. "She says sorry by the way for ruining your last attempt by the way."
"It's okay," Nathanaël said automatically.
"Anyway, has you can see, we have three basic problems when it comes getting Nathanaël to confess." He pointed to the whiteboard. "The first is finding the right moment. We can't just have him confess-" Nathanaël squealed adorably at this in Marc's opinion, but Adrien ignored him and pressed on. "No, it needs to be perfect in every way possible. We need to make it one for the annals of history."
Marc thought that Adrien was exaggerating a little. Then again, Adrien was definitely over the top normally so it really shouldn't have come as any surprise really.
"The next is we have to make it seem natural so Ivan feels so amazed by the idea that he instantly says yes. And thirdly, we need to make Nathanaël comfortable enough to actually ask!" He pointed to another part of the whiteboard, where he had drawn out their brilliant plan.
Adrien was right about one thing. It WAS a more complicated plan. But it was supposed to be a guaranteed success, according to Adrien.
Or it would be at least, if Marc hadn't planned to throw a proverbial spanner in the works.
The first part of Adrien's plan went surprisingly smoothly.
An akuma was rampaging through Paris as per usual. All very normal stuff really. Ladybug and Chat Noir were on the scene, busy saving people from the akuma. Chat Noir had picked up Nathanaël and Ladybug had picked up Ivan and both of them had been deposited in the same classroom safely out of the way. (It was almost uncanny really. How did the Heroes of Paris know just what they had to do!? And, why did they have to do it just right!? Did they not know the effect that they were having on Marc's love life!?)
Nino was in place to 'accidentally' knock over the large bar that was 'unfortunately' placed in just the right place to trap them in the classroom. And he played his part spectacularly well. The two of them hadn't even seen him tip it over and it held the door tightly shut. There was no way they would be getting out anytime soon.
The next part of the plan went surprisingly well as well. The building they were in shook briefly and almost without any prompting, part of the roof fell in. Which added nicely to the effect they were aiming for, even if it wasn't in the plan.
Ivan looked at the fallen ceiling with some trepidation, before pulling at the door once more. The door however, remained stubbornly shut.
"May-maybe we should hide in the cupboard?" Nathanaël suggested, pointing to a large cupboard built into the wall. "It might be safer."
Ivan frowned slightly and opened his mouth to object, when the room shook once more and another piece of the ceiling fell down. He looked at the newest piece of fallen ceiling and just nodded.
At this point, Marc's equally brilliant plan was supposed to come into effect.
He was in the room above, donning a superhero costume and getting ready for his grand debut as a new Miraculous superhero. The brave, the powerful, the amazing Tarantula! He would burst in and make an exclamation about saving them, pick Nathanaël up and carry him out to safety. (He knew better than to try picking up Ivan. That was just asking for trouble. Especially as he did not, in fact, have a Miraculous.)
Small details aside, it was a surefire winner. And as a bonus, he could get away with kissing Nathanaël without making it weird.
He had only just finished placing his face covering mask over his head when he fell through the ceiling and into the room with the other two boys.
Ivan and Nathanaël stared at him and Marc felt his face warm up. The way that they were looking at him, like he was some kind of freak felt...uncomfortable.
"Hey...I don't suppose the two of you know how we can get out of here?" he asked nervously. Ivan pointed to the hole in the ceiling.
"I could lift you up through there. If I stand on that rubble," He pointed to the pile of rubble Marc had just fallen through. "and I pick you up, I could put you onto the floor above and then the two of you could find a way to get the door open or get help."
"That's-" Nathanaël started, but Marc cut in.
"That's a great idea Iv-I mean, why don't you put the handsome boy up first?" Marc said and Nathanaël turned bright red. Marc had to stop himself from confessing his feelings for the handsome redhead there and then. Ivan shrugged, clearly not interested.
"Whatever man," he said after a second shrug and he picked up Nathanaël, who let out the most adorable squeak of surprise. Marc was almost envious. He wanted to be as close to Nathanaël as Ivan was right then.
With a grunt, he placed Nathanaël on the floor above, before turning to Marc and gesturing. Marc allowed himself to be picked up and with another grunt, Ivan placed him on the floor above. Nathanaël was already on his feet and opening the door. He gestured to Marc, who quickly followed him.
"Good thing this door wasn't blocked," Marc said to a now dejected looking Nathanaël. Nathanaël simply sighed.
"I keep trying to create the perfect situation to confess my feelings." he finally said after a few seconds of silence. Marc felt his heart plummet. He was talking about Ivan. And it broke Marc's heart to even hear it. "There's this..." He paused and frowned. "There's someone I really like. No, I love. And every time I try to arrange for the perfect romantic moment, something goes wrong." Marc felt his stomach plummet. He was making Nathanaël unhappy with his interference. Nathanaël however continued completely oblivious to the internal struggles of the boy next to him.
"I mean, this is the second time that our plans have gone wrong. It's...maddening."
"Well maybe the third time is a charm?" Marc offered weakly and Nathanaël smiled at him. "I'm sure someone as handsome as you could easily win over anyone you wanted."
"Thanks," Nathanaël said with a slight smile. As they turned to walk down the stairs (fortunately still intact for the most part.) "I'm sorry. I've been talking all about me and nothing about you. Why are you dressed up like that?" he asked and Marc swallowed.
"Errr...well it's a cosplay outfit," he said, blurting out the first thing that entered his mind. "For a superhero story we're playing."
Nathanaël smiled at him.
"Is it okay if I use it for a comic that a friend and I are working on? I'll give you full credit of course."
"Yes, of course," Marc said and Nathanaël smiled a bit more. God, Marc loved that smile. He would walk over burning hot coals for that smile. How could Ivan not see just how perfect Nathanaël was?
There wasn't much time for further talking as the two of them reached the place where Ivan was still trapped. With a quick lift, Nathanaël threw aside the bar holding the door shut. (It wasn't particularly heavy, just strong.) and opened the door.
Marc internally sighed. If Nathanaël wanted to be with Ivan, he really had no place getting in their way. Even if it did hurt. At least Nathanaël would be happy.
As a wave of Ladybugs swept across the city, he turned and walked away.
Ladybug's power could repair the damage done to the buildings around them. But it didn't repair his broken heart.
Marc walked back into school looking sadly at the floor.
He could sabotage Nathanaël's next attempt at confessing his feelings. He could easily listen in and play his part and then come up with a complexed, foolprof plan that would stop it from happening. (He decided to ignore the inconvenient details like the fact that his OWN complexed and bizarre plans had ALSO failed.)
No, he was going to do the right thing.
He was going to tell Adrien and Nathanaël and all the other guys that he couldn't help any more. Just make up some excuse to leave and just...cry his eyes out over his now lost love. That would be for the best, he was sure. And yeah, it would hurt, but at least Nathanaël would have a new boyfriend and one day Marc would move on. Maybe even find a boyfriend of his own when he got over his broken heart.
He took a deep breath. His feet felt like lead weights and he could barely bring himself to place one foot in front of the other. Like a man walking to his own execution. He knew what he had to do. That didn't mean he had to like it.
As he reached the door however, he paused.
There were voices coming from within the supposedly empty classroom. One was Marinette. One was Nathanaël. And mmost importantly, one was from Ivan.
"I don't get it," Nathanaël complained. "I thought that we were so close to succeeding. Everything was going according to plan and yet every time we get even close to executing phase one, something else gets in the way."
"I know man," Ivan said, sounding equally frustrated. "You were this close to confessing to me back then. And then it all went wrong."
Marc stopped and frowned. What were they talking about? Did Ivan actually know? But then why were they talking and planning like this? It made no sense. Frowning, he decided to keep listening.
"Are you sure that we're going about this the right way Marinette?" Nathanaël asked and Marc could almost imagine the scrunched up look on his face. "It's like...everything keeps going wrong, no matter what we do."
"I'm sure!" Marinette said in a slightly excited voice. "We just need to find the right plan! Piece of cake!"
"Then, when I reject you, Marc can be there to comfort you and you can reveal how much you love him," Ivan added and Marc felt his heart move to his mouth. Nathanaël...loved him!? But...how!?
"We can't even get to the point where you reject me," he said sadly. "Oh God I love that boy so much..."
"I love you too!" Marc blurted out, abruptly stepping through the door and making all three of them jump. Nathanaël actually turned an adorable shade of red. "I love you."
Nathanaël let out a slight eeep sound and for a moment, Marc wondered if he had managed to go too far. Maybe he should have waited. Or pretended that he had heard nothing. Or faked going completely deaf. Or-
Nathanaël stood up and pulled Marc into a deep kiss.
Marc let out a brief squeak of surprise, before returning and deepening the kiss. In the background, he could see Marinette and Ivan smiling, but he really couldn't bring himself to care.