Trials and Tropes

BY : Cat_Eyes
Category: +M through R > Miraculous LadyBug
Dragon prints: 1402
Disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous Ladybug. Miraculous Ladybug is the intellectual property of Thomas Astruc and released by Zag studios. No profit was made writing this story.

Adrien stared at the hotel key card in his hand, then at the room door, with wide eyes. Marinette was staring at her feet, her face redder than he had ever seen, as she clutched her own key card.

'There must be some mistake,' she stammered. 'I'll go check with reception.'

Adrien watched as Marinette turned and fled down the hall, only stopping to frantically press the elevator button.

Adrien sighed. Picking up his small suitcase, he swiped the card through the lock and opened the door. Glancing back at Marinette's little pink suitcase, he decided to drag that in, too. There were all kinds of unsavoury elements wandering around, and Marinette would be upset if someone stole her belongings.

The bags weren't heavy, but it was awkward dragging them both over the threshold while the door kept swinging shut. Adrien walked backwards so he could manoeuvre them simultaneously while elbowing the door to keep it open. After a short struggle, he had both suitcases in the entrance nook of the hotel room.

Adrien smiled as he looked around. Hanging on the left wall was a watercolour landscape and a television sat on a low entertainment unit in the corner. In front of it was a coffee table and two small armchairs. Directly opposite the entrance, behind the coffee table and chairs, was a large window overlooking a carpark. Adrien winced at the blackout curtains, a hideous mix of jade, yellow, pink, blue, and purple.

To the right of where he stood, there was a door to the bathroom. Adrien peered in and saw a glass shower screen in front of him, a basin to his left, and a toilet to his right. It was tiny and basic, but clean. Adrien took the opportunity to use the bathroom.

Wiping the water from his hands on his jeans, he turned into the room properly and stopped, eyes wide. The door rattled and opened as Marinette burst in, panting as she rested her hands on her knees to catch her breath.

'Reception says there was no mistake and Madame Bustier says there's nothing she can do. She just said to make it work,' Marinette finished hesitantly, her face red once more.

Adrien said nothing as he looked from Marinette to the lone double bed before him.

Marinette straightened, a quizzical expression on he face. 'Is something wrong?' she asked, wringing her hands.

Adrien blushed and stammered, pointing to the bed, before hanging his head with a grimace.

Marinette walked into the room, but paused when she saw the bed, her face turning an alarming shade of red.

'Oh,' she said, quietly.

Adrien shook his head in disbelief. After reading all of those fanfictions, it had finally happened. He was caught in one of his least favourite tropes - stuck in a hotel room with a pretty girl and only one bed.

'Get yourselves settled quickly, students,' called a voice from the hallway. 'We only have a few hours of daylight left.'

Adrien and Marinette exchanged a glance before they scrambled to their bags and rummaged around for their school supplies. Stuffing a notebook and pen in his schoolbag and throwing it over his shoulder, Adrien waited for Marinette, holding the door open while she scurried past with an awkward smile of thanks. He slipped out after her, letting the door swing shut, as he caught up with Nino in front of the elevators.

'Are you ok, Man?' Nino asked, placing a steadying hand on Adrien's shoulder.

Adrien was bent double, hands on his knees, as he exhaled gustily. 'Yeah, I'm fine,' he grinned up at Nino.

Nino raised a sceptical eyebrow.

'I'll tell you later,' Adrien sighed as he straightened up.

Half of the class filed into the elevator on the left, including Marinette and Alya. Marinette was whispering feverishly into Alya's ear the whole time, her own ears a bright pink.

The remainder of the class entered the right elevator when it dinged open. Adrien waited quietly as they descended to the lobby, arms folded and foot tapping. Nino watched, his eyebrow still raised, as though he were faintly amused. He was only distracted when his phone buzzed with a text. Nino snorted at the message, trying to cover his grin with a hand, before he replied and put his phone back in his pocket.

Adrien was too preoccupied to ask what was funny.

In the lobby, the first group was waiting by the main entrance. Adrien could see Alya gripping Marinette's hands and bouncing in place, a large grin splitting her face. Adrien was glad she found the situation so amusing.

Caline Bustier led them outside and explained their assignment. They were to break into pairs and write a brief report on as many historical sites they could find. Many students groaned, but Adrien grinned. While he thought history was as dry as an old stick, it was nice to be outdoors with his buddy. He and Nino fist bumped and walked in the opposite direction to Marinette and Alya after Madame Bustier had released them.

'All right, tell me what's going on,' prompted Nino.

Adrien rubbed the back of his neck, keeping his eyes on the ground. 'My life has turned into a fanfic trope,' he said, morosely.

'Say what?'

'My life has turned into some cheesy, overdone, trite story written by someone who has no original ideas.'

'I'm still not getting you. What's happened?'

Adrien winced. 'I'm sharing a room with Marinette,' he admitted in a rush.

Nino gaped at him, pausing in the street as his eyes bulged. 'How did that happen?' he yelped.

'I'm not sure, but I think the hotel messed up. Marinette asked at reception, but they denied responsibility. When she talked to Madame Bustier, she said to "make it work." So, I guess I'm sharing a room with Marinette for the weekend,' he shrugged, helplessly.

Nino was shaking his head, his eyes still wide. 'You absolutely cannot let anyone else know this is happening.'

Adrien tilted his head. 'Why not?'

'A few reasons, actually. If word got back to Chloe, she would make Marinette's life miserable. You know how jealous and obsessed with you she is.'

'Chloe's just overprotective,' Adrien defended, but he couldn't deny that Chloe would be vicious with Marinette if she knew.

'Secondly,' continued Nino, 'what if your dad heard about it?'

Adrien blanched, refusing to think about those repercussions.

'Thirdly,' Nino went on, 'think about your reputations.'

'This isn't the eighteen hundreds, Nino,' Adrien chuckled.

'Doesn't matter. If word got out, people could think you took advantage of her. Two teens, alone in a hotel room, and people are bound to assume the worst, and not just of you. Many more people will accuse Mar of being a woman of loose morals, that she used you for selfish reasons.'

Adrien frowned. Marinette wasn't a gold-digger, nor was she a whore, but people would make those judgements. It was a grievous imbalance, that a woman was more likely to be accused of such things than a man, but that was the way the world was, alas.

Adrien nodded. 'You're right, I won't say anything. But, how am I supposed to not give anything away? People are bound to notice us going into the same room.'

'You can go into your room after everyone else is in theirs. It won't look too sus if you're seen chatting with me until they're all inside. Leaving your room in the morning, I'll knock on your door when everyone else is at the elevators, and we'll just tell them you overslept or something. Sound good?'

Adrien raised his fist. 'Sounds like a plan,' he confirmed as Nino bumped fists.

By the end of the day, he and Nino visited thirteen places of interest, beaten only by Max and Kim who saw fifteen. Their secret to a successful afternoon was attributed to Max's encyclopaedic knowledge of the city's locations, and Kim's speed and strength as he carried Max piggyback, running from one site to another to find as many places as possible.

They had dinner in the hotel's moderately fancy restaurant, with linen napkins and tasteful décor. Adrien sat with the other boys, hailing Max as the human GPS and calling Kim a bipedal beast of burden. They jostled and laughed with each other until they were dismissed for the night.

At the elevators, Adrien hung back until Ivan pushed him forward. He grinned nervously, contributing little to the conversation as they ascended. On their floor, the other boys drifted to their rooms, Max and Kim four doors down on the left, Ivan and Nathaniel six doors down on the right.

Adrien lifted an eyebrow at Nino. 'Who are you bunking with?' he asked.

Nino grinned, devilishly. 'I got a single,' he replied, smugly.

Adrien's jaw dropped. 'How did that happen?' he exclaimed.

'Dunno,' Nino shrugged.

'Can you swap with Marinette, please?' Adrien begged.

'No way.'

'Why not?' Adrien tried not to sound hurt.

Nino cleared his throat and raised his index finger. 'Because everyone saw me enter my room. It would be weird if they saw Mar come out of there in the morning. How would we explain it? Also, your room only has one bed and you're a hugger.'

Adrien hung his head. 'I told you, I can't help that. There's nothing weird about it,' he mumbled, defensively.

Nino nodded. 'Normally, I'd agree. But it's summer and you're like a giant hot water bottle. I may as well cuddle with my cat.'

Adrien tried not to squirm.

'Well, it looks like everyone's turned in for the night,' observed Nino, though laughter and chatter could be heard from each room. 'I'll see you in the morning, Bro,' Nino called, cheerfully, as he sauntered to his room.

Adrien frowned after him, trying, and failing, not to think unfavourably of him.

Reluctantly, he approached his room. Swiping his key, he nudged the door open while holding his bag under his arm. Marinette was in the shower. Adrien didn't know whether he should be relieved or not, but he sat in the armchair closest to the window to wait. When Marinette emerged, she was in her pyjamas and her hair was down. She paused when she saw him, fiddling with the ends of her hair as her eyes wandered everywhere but to him.

Adrien stood. 'You can have the bed. I'll sleep in the chair,' he said, indicating where he'd just been sitting.

Marinette's eyes snapped back to him. 'I couldn't let you do that,' she said. 'You'll get a crick in your neck. You won't be able to sleep and tomorrow you'll be tired and sore. Unable to focus, you'll get hit by a car when you cross the road, end up in hospital and die,' she wailed.

Adrien blinked, stunned by the torrent of words. He raised his hands in a calming gesture. 'It'll be ok. I'll be ok. It's only for a few nights.'

Marinette's eyebrows drew down and her jaw set. 'No, I should sleep in the chair,' she argued. She moved to stand at the corner of the foot of the bed closest to him. 'You have a career to think of.'

Adrien shook his head, caught between amusement and exasperation. 'Modelling isn't my career, it's just something I do for my Dad.'

Marinette blinked up at him. 'It isn't?'

Adrien shook his head again. 'No. I don't have to worry about a shoot and we're only here for a few days. Go ahead and take the bed.'

Marinette frowned at him. 'It would be rude to sleep in the bed while you're stuck in a chair. You take the bed.'

Adrien frowned back at her. 'It would be churlish of me to take the bed while a lady is forced to sleep in a chair. So, you can have the bed. I insist.'

Marinette put her hands on her hips. 'No, I insist.'

Adrien was flummoxed. He had no idea Marinette could be so stubborn. Rubbing his eyes, he tried to think of a compromise.

'Since neither of us wants the other to take the chair, how about we both take the bed? It's big enough to comfortably fit us both,' he suggested, trying to suppress a blush.

Marinette squeaked and turned red again, her arms curling protectively against her chest.

Adrien took a step back and raised his hands, eyes wide. 'I didn't mean that in a weird way,' he promised. 'I just thought, since we couldn't agree, then we should compromise. Look, you can keep your phone beside you on the bedside table, if that'll make you feel safer. We'll even build a pillow wall between us, if you want.'

Marinette continued to stare at him, her eyes large and vulnerable.

Adrien looked away and scratched the back of his head. 'Or, I could just stay in the chair.'

'No, it's ok.' Marinette mumbled as she stared at her feet. 'Which side of the bed do you prefer?' she asked, backing up to the other corner of the mattress to give him room.

Adrien stood where Marinette had just been, then sat on the edge of the bed. Marinette gave a timid smile before sitting on the other side. She looked ready to bolt the moment he made a suspicious move. Adrien bounced where he sat, unsure what he was trying to prove, but determined to find a comfortable spot.

Adrien flopped against the pillows and sat up again, trying to get a feel for the bed. He lay on his side, then rolled back and forth, bouncing and jostling about, growing increasingly frustrated.

'Is something wrong?' asked Marinette, in concern.

Adrien sat up and stared at her, where she still sat at the edge of the bed. 'Switch sides with me.'

Marinette nodded once, bewildered, before rising and walking to the other corner where she gingerly sat down.

Adrien scooted across the mattress until he sat on the other side. He flopped and bounced for only a moment  before collapsing against the pillows, finally feeling comfortable.

'Better?' Marinette asked, an amused grin pulling up a corner of her lips.

'Much,' Adrien replied with a sigh.

Marinette giggled and settled primly against the rumpled pillows. 'The shower feels really nice, if you want to clean up,' she said.

Realising he was still in his street clothes, Adrien launched himself from the bed and scooped up his suitcase before entering the bathroom.

Plagg floated from his shirt pocket, looking tired and listless. 'Cheese,' he moaned, plaintively.

'Be quiet or Marinette will hear you,' Adrien ordered as he dug through his suitcase. He found Plagg's stash at the bottom and gave him an entire wheel of camembert. Plagg hadn't eaten since this morning and Adrien felt guilty.

He showered, brushed his teeth, and put his pyjamas on while Plagg ate. He then washed Plagg, scrubbing off the cheese residue with soap and hot water, holding a finger over his mouth when he started complaining. Once freed, Plagg shook off the excess water and shot Adrien a dirty look before burying himself in Adrien's clean clothes.

Adrien sighed and zipped his bag shut. 'Goodnight, Plagg,' he murmured.

Plagg hissed.

Rolling his eyes, Adrien went back to the main room to see Marinette stand abruptly from kneeling beside her own suitcase. They stood on opposite sides of the bed, staring at everything but each other, and shuffling nervously.

'How did this even happen?' Adrien mumbled in a resigned tone.

'Everyone else made sure to get matching keys. Only you, me, Alya, and Nino were careless enough to just grab anything,' Marinette explained.

Adrien suppressed a groan. 'Typical.'

Marinette hummed an agreement and tentatively slipped under the covers. She tapped frantically on her phone while Adrien fetched his from his schoolbag. Nino had already sent him a text.

So, what are the sleeping arrangements like ;)

Adrien gave his phone a flat stare. Trying to look casual, he wriggled under the blankets, too.

Marinette and I are being very mature and have agreed to share the bed. He paused as Marinette began laying spare pillows she had gathered down the centre line of the bed. She has constructed the Great Wall of Synthetic Down. Adrien swore he heard Nino's bark of laughter from down the hall.

Yeah, that's so mature, Nino teased.

It was either this, or both of us sleeping on the floor in a show of passive aggressive politeness.

Did you have to fight over which side of the bed you'd sleep on?

No, we fought over who got the bed and who would be condemning themselves to a weekend of cricked necks and no sleep. Then I suggested we both take the bed, and Marinette offered me first choice of sides. She didn't even complain when I changed my mind.

Well, she wouldn't, Nino responded.

Yeah, she's polite like that, Adrien agreed.

When Nino didn't respond, Adrien sent him a last goodnight text and turned off his phone. Turning toward Marinette he saw that she, too, was done texting. She placed her phone on her nightstand and faced him over the pillow barricade.

'You ready for lights-out?' asked Adrien.

'Yeah,' she answered, switching off her bedside lamp and wriggling down into the blankets.

'Ok. Goodnight, Marinette,' Adrien said, turning off his own light.

'Goodnight, Adrien.'

Sleep was a long time coming and Adrien suspected he wasn't the only one having trouble. Marinette lay unnaturally still and barely breathed. Adrien rolled over and faced the wall, closing his eyes.

 


 

He awoke Saturday morning to  hair tickling his cheek. Baffled, he looked down to see Marinette cuddled against his left side, with one had curled against his chest, the other wound around his shoulder. Their pillow wall lay scattered on the floor and foot of the bed, kicked aside while they slept.

Adrien was laying on his back with his right arm slung over Marinette's shoulders and his left hand on her waist. He stopped breathing when he realised he was touching bare skin. He gulped and slowly withdrew his arms, and lifted hers from his chest. Marinette stirred, but didn't wake. He wriggled out from under her by slow increments and fled to the bathroom once he was free. Realising he'd forgotten his bag, Adrien peeked around the door and darted out to retrieve his suitcase. He pulled out fresh clothes, fed Plagg, and went through his morning ablutions.

When he came back, Marinette was sprawled across the bed, her face buried deep in the pillows, with her phone alarm blaring. She didn't even stir, not a twitch.

Concerned, Adrien nudged her shoulder and softly called her name. She mumbled indecipherably, but didn't wake. He tried to gently wake her for ten minutes, worried she would get in trouble for being late. Finally, Adrien huffed, irritated at being ignored. He drew in a deep breath, leaned in close and shouted her name in her ear.

The result was gratifyingly instantaneous. Marinette bolted upright, pushing herself up and looking around with wide eyes, her hands fluttering about uselessly as she tried to identify the source of the noise. Her gaze settled on Adrien as he smiled vindictively down at her. Marinette's shock morphed into outrage.

Shrieking obscenities, she hurled pillows at him which he avoided easily, only increasing her ire. He grinned mischievously at her when she ran out of pillows, but his smile dropped when she leaned over the side of the bed to throw a shoe at his head.

Grumbling under her breath, Marinette headed to the bathroom, dragging her suitcase behind her. When she eventually returned, she retrieved her shoe and shot him a filthy look before leaving to meet Alya in the hallway. Adrien gathered his things and waited for Nino's signal. Five minutes later, he and Nino had caught up with their classmates and headed to the local theatre to watch a production of Carmen.

Many students had complained about this "Cultural Enlightenment" campaign, but Adrien thought their weekend away was fun. He got out of the house and was able to spend the entire weekend with his friends, all under the pretence of education.

After lunch they went to another theatre to watch The Phantom of the Opera, then they made their way back to the hotel, Mylene and Sabrina singing tunes from both shows along the way. They had dinner and were then dismissed to their rooms to write an essay, by hand, detailing the differences between the plays, emphasising their countries of origin and how they benefited today's audiences. Nino offered to let Adrien study with him in his room, while Alya went to study with Marinette.

'Why doesn't Marinette join Alya in her room?' Adrien asked out of curiosity.

Nino coughed delicately. 'Because Alya shares a room with Lila, and you know they hate each other.'

Adrien raised his eyebrows. 'Why doesn't one of them switch?'

'Lila asked this morning. Madame Bustier said that room assignments were final, besides which, there are no more rooms left. No one wants to switch, either.'

Adrien nodded in understanding, suddenly thankful for having Marinette as a room mate. Lila was nice enough, but she was too physical for Adrien's comfort. He knew she fancied him, but that wasn't a good reason to invade his personal space and hang off him like a limpet. It was particularly discomforting when she held him against her breast.

Shaking the thoughts away, Adrien turned back to his homework, Nino bemoaning his hand cramp after four paragraphs.

Back in his room, he and Marinette went about their nightly routines in uncomfortable silence. Marinette rebuilt the pillow wall, reinforcing it with spare blankets from the closet, rolled lengthwise down the bed in strips.

'I'm sorry if I pushed you out of bed this morning,' Marinette said as she stood at her side of the bed.

Adrien ruthlessly squashed the urge to tease her. She was finally treating him like a real person, and he didn't want her to regress into just another fan.

'You didn't,' he told her with a reassuring smile. 'You didn't spread out until after I got up and chucked the pillows away.'

Marinette sagged with relief. 'That's good,' she said, crawling into bed and flopping on the pillows.

Adrien gave his suitcase a subtle kick when he heard a snide chuckle from within, climbing into bed as though nothing were amiss. 'If you're ready?' he asked, his hand hovering over the lamp switch.

Marinette's lamp was already off. 'I'm ready,' she confirmed.

Adrien flipped off the light. Sleep came easier tonight, his eyes sliding shut of their own volition as sleep overcame him.

 


 

Sunday morning, he was startled awake when his bed shrieked. His eyes flew open to see he was curled around Marinette as she slept in a little ball. Her head was resting against his shoulder while his right arm looped around her head. His left arm rested limply over her waist.

He jolted away from her, babbling apologies while she did the same. They sat there, awkwardly avoiding eye contact, then they both stammered a barely coherent excuse before Marinette hurried into the bathroom and Adrien dashed to his bag and got dressed, foregoing his morning shower.

When Marinette left the bathroom, Adrien ducked in to brush his teeth. Once finished with that, he gathered his school bag and scurried out the door and waited for Nino outside his room, the first one ready to leave.

Nino looked at him quizzically when he saw Adrien in the hallway, but refrained from asking any questions until they were on their way to a local art gallery. Only Nathaniel was excited about today's adventure.

Allowing the others to pull ahead, Nino asked, 'what happened this time?'

Adrien whined like a sick puppy. 'I spooned Marinette.'

Nino was silent for only a moment before he roared with laughter. Those at the back of their group turned to look, but quickly lost interest.

Adrien hung his head, blushing mightily, and wallowing in self pity. He declined to comment.

Nino wasn't able to collect himself until after they arrived at the gallery, where a tour guide met them. She led them from room to room, explaining briefly about each piece and finished by showing them a PowerPoint presentation on gathering and maintaining a collection and how their storage system and cycling of pieces worked. She either didn't notice, or chose to ignore, Nino's ongoing giggles.

They ate lunch in a nearby park, splitting into pairs or small groups. Adrien and Nino sat with the other boys after buying crepes or burritos from the vendors around the grounds.

'Dude, what is so funny?' Kim demanded. 'You've been giggling like an eight year old girl all morning. It's weird.'

Nino snorted beans all over his lap. The others leaned back, various degrees of disgust crossing their features.

'Spoon,' Nino chortled, before collapsing in a helpless pile of snickers.

Kim, Max, Ivan, and Nathaniel exchanged bemused looks before turning to Adrien for an explanation.

'Don't look at me,' Adrien said, affecting a look of ignorance.

Nino's laughter doubled in volume. His forgotten burrito squeezed so tight the filling spewed onto the grass.

They spent the afternoon in a museum, led around by another guide who showed them the proper care procedures of each type of item, the restorations techniques they used, and how they acquired each artefact. After the tour, they had to write about the differences between art galleries and museums, and what their favourite pieces were.

Since the museum was still fresh in his mind, Adrien wrote about a statue on loan from Greece. He suspected most of his classmates also chose something from the museum for the same reason he did. Adrien remained with the other boys until after dinner, enjoying their last night together. When Madame Bustier called them to bed, Adrien went with great reluctance.

He entered his room cautiously, to hear Marinette was already in the shower. He took the opportunity to feed Plagg and rearrange his suitcase so he wouldn't forget anything. When Marinette came out, tired and steamy, Adrien went in and scrubbed the day's dirt away.

Marinette was already in bed and typing on her phone when he emerged, the pillow fort conspicuously absent.

'No Great Dividing Range tonight?' he asked.

One side of her lips lifted in a tiny smirk. 'Since it didn't seem to be doing any good, I didn't see the point. I hope you don't mind.'

Adrien huffed a laugh. 'No, I get it. It was pretty ineffective.'

Marinette smiled in response and placed her phone on the bedside table. She then reached around and turned off her lamp. 'G'night, Adrien.'

Adrien shimmied under the tightly tucked in blankets and switched off his light. 'Night, Marinette.'

 


 

In the morning, Adrien woke to find Marinette cuddling him tightly around his middle, with her head tucked under his chin. He was holding her around the shoulders with his legs tangled in hers. He blushed furiously, trying to ignore the feel of her softer parts pressing against him, and wondered how he was going to get out of this without waking her.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at escape, he decided subtlety was not the way to proceed. Bracing himself, Adrien sat up straight and waited for the ensuing squeals of embarrassment. When he only received silence, Adrien glanced down to see Marinette sleepily rubbing her eyes.

'What time is it?' she mumbled.

Adrien released the breath he'd been holding. 'It's seven-thirty. Time to get up and head home.'

'Oh, ok. Did you hear that, Tikki? We have to go home, now.'

A tiny red form with a disproportionately large head heaved itself blearily over Marinette's shoulder, blinking itself awake. 'Already?' it asked.

Marinette hummed an affirmative, her eyes sliding shut once more. Only to be jolted awake again at Adrien's resulting screech which woke up everyone on their floor.



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