The Week That Was

BY : Cat_Eyes
Category: +M through R > Miraculous LadyBug
Dragon prints: 480
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.

Marinette was amazing. She was kind, funny, intriguing, a natural leader, and possessed a spark that was envied by many. Unfortunately, all of that vanished the moment Adrien stepped into the room. With him she was coolly polite, and nothing more.

Adrien suppressed a sigh as he sank into his seat. Once again, she had pretended not to notice his entrance, and kept drawing in her sketchbook. He had wished, many times, that Marinette hadn't mistaken his intentions on his first day last year. He wished she had accepted his apology afterwards. Alas, after twelve months, she was still no more than distantly courteous, despite his attempts to befriend her.

Nino slid into his seat, knocking Adrien with his elbow.

'How was your weekend, Dude?'

Memories of a torturously long photoshoot, a lecture from Gabriel, hours of homework, and a gruelling akuma attack flashed through his mind. 'Fairly typical,' he replied, blandly.

'Sounds boring. Hey, a new arcade opened down the road. Want to check it out with me and the guys, this afternoon?'

Adrien was about to reply, but Madame Caline Bustier walked in, and began the lesson.

Adrien nodded to Nino discreetly, while Caline wrote on the blackboard.

 


 

Adrien was not the worst person she'd ever met, but he was a distant fourth after Papillon, Chloe, and Sabrina. Marinette supposed he was nice enough, since Nino had deigned to be his friend, but she was still bitter about the Gum Incident.

Tikki had told her it was unbecoming of Ladybug to carry a grudge over something so trivial, but Marinette found it impossible to let go of. She admitted a large part of her ambivalence came from his association with Chloe, but that did nothing to ease her temper.

Marinette sat at her desk, doodling in her sketchbook, when he entered the classroom. She didn't bother to look up at him. She found it almost pathetic when he turned his morose pout on her after she didn't return his greetings. At this point, it was easier to simply ignore him.

Alya skipped into the room. 'Hey, M,' she cheered. 'Did you see that akuma attack yesterday?'

Warmth filled Marinette's cheeks. 'I saw.'

Squealing, Alya grabbed her arm and shook it. 'Wasn't it awesome? That villain looked so weird, but those powers were freaky.'

The akuma, Call Collect, had been weird. She was an older woman who had worked in a call centre, and had gone on a rampage after what she called an unfair dismissal. Her suit had been solid black, with an old fashioned rotating dial on her chest, and a receiver on top of her head that connected to the small of her back with a coiling cord. When she lifted the receiver and dialled, she could call anyone from a person's past, living or dead. Call Connect had frightened many people by the time Ladybug had shown up, including Chat Noir. Ladybug had dealt with her swiftly and mercilessly, after she had seen how badly Chat Noir had been affected.

'Yeah, she sure was something,' Marinette muttered.

Her expression softened into a smile. Chat Noir was the complete opposite of Adrien. He was clever, genuine, unfailingly loyal, and one of the most supportive people she had ever met. Marinette was not ashamed to admit she was a little bit in love with him

She brought her attention back to the present when Caline entered the room. As she began her lecture, Alya slid a note under Marinette's elbow.

Want to check out that new arcade after school?

Marinette shot her an enthusiastic nod, and a grin, while Caline's back was turned.

 


 

'You doing ok, Man?' Nino asked, as they followed the other boys down the street.

Adrien looked up at him with an absent smile. 'Yeah, yeah, I'm fine.'

'You sure?' he pressed. 'You've been out of it all day.'

Adrien let his smile drop. 'Ok, I'm a little distracted, but it's nothing to worry about.'

Nino rested an arm around his shoulders. 'You want to talk about it, bro to bro?'

Adrien laughed, despite himself. 'Fine, but you can't say anything to anyone, all right?'

'Cross my heart, and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye,' Nino vowed.

Adrien winced. 'No need to go that far. I just don't want word getting back to my dad that I snuck out, yesterday.'

Nino blew a raspberry with his lips. 'Well, he won't hear it from me. Wait, you didn't cross paths with that akuma, did you?'

Heaving a sigh, Adrien nodded.

'Damn. Sorry, Bud, I don't know what to say.'

'It's ok, you don't have to say anything,' Adrien replied, as a genuine smile pulled at the corners of his lips.

'Wait, if you had to sneak out, then how come you're allowed out today?'

Adrien smirked. 'I told my driver that I had a project to work on, so I'd be staying back late. Father and Nathalie won't even notice I'm not there. It all works out.'

Nino regarded him dubiously for a moment. 'That's, kind of, sad.'

Adrien shrugged, but opted not to say anything further.

'Come on, slowpokes,' Kim called. He was standing at the door of the arcade, waving frantically as he held it open for Max, Ivan, and Nathaniel.

Nino thumped Adrien on the back, then raced ahead. Adrien jogged behind him, grateful to have a friend like him.

 


 

Alya and Alix led the way to the arcade, arm in arm, and taking ridiculously large strides. Rose and Juleka giggled along behind them, while Marinette and Mylene brought up the rear.

Marinette smiled indulgently at them. She was happy to have successfully protected their youthful innocence, once again.

They reached the arcade, gaping at the bright, open space. Games of every variety sprawled throughout the spacious interior, large fluorescent lights hung from the ceiling on cables between exposed rafters, and the register off to the left was littered with prizes, all waiting to be won. On the opposite side of the room was a canteen selling an assortment of greasy food, bedecked with its own dining area.

Marinette jiggled her legs when she saw an Ultimate Mecha Strike game.

Alya gave her shoulder an encouraging shove. 'Go on, we know you want to.'

'You guys are the best,' she cheered, as she ran to the cabinet.

She was still inspecting the machine, working out if it required coins, tokens, or a pre-paid card, when someone approached from her left. She stood up straight to see Adrien smiling at her, and giving a feeble wave.

'Hey, you guys are here, too?' he asked. 'That's great.'

Marinette let her arms drop to her sides, as her face went blank.

'So, you're a fan of UMS too, right?' he went on, struggling to find small talk. 'You represented the school last year, I remember.'

'I should hope so, since you were almost there with me,' she retorted, drily.

Adrien blushed, rubbing the back of his neck as his gaze fell to the floor. 'Right.'

Marinette rolled her eyes, then turned to walk away.

'Wait,' he called after her. 'Didn't you want to play?'

She looked at him from over her shoulder. 'I need to get a card, first.'

He held up his own card. 'I just got this. Want to play with me?'

Her desire to play warred with her dislike of him, until Tikki slapped her leg from within her purse.

'No, thanks.' Marinette walked away, no longer in the mood for games.

 


 

Adrien watched her go, sadly.

'Probably for the best,' Plagg opined, from Adrien's bag.

Adrien looked at him, sceptically. 'How do you figure that?'

'Would you prefer it if she used you to play a silly game?'

He shrugged. 'That's one way of looking at it. But, I don't care if she'd taken advantage of me, if it meant finally becoming friends.'

Plagg gave him a flat stare, his mouth slightly open.

Adrien ignored him as he swiped the card through the reader, and began a single player game.

He had just won a fourth round when shrieks pierced the room. He looked around to see frantic people fleeing the arcade from the direction of the canteen.

'All you ungrateful brats do is make mess after mess,' an irate male voice said. 'Were you all raised in a barn? Get back here, and learn how to pick up after yourselves.'

Peeking from between two fully enclosed driving games, Adrien saw a man with lavender skin, wearing a red and green chequered suit, and a paper hat. In one hand he held a spray bottle of cleaning fluid, while in the other was a washcloth. When he found a small boy hiding under one of the dining tables, the akuma squirted him. The boy turned pale and translucent, and was completely still. The akuma then swiped him with the cloth, and the boy vanished, as if he had been wiped away.

'I will clean up every last one of you animals,' the akuma cried.

Adrien ducked into one of the enclosed games. 'Time to save the day. Plagg, transform me.'

Plagg moaned despairingly as he was pulled into the ring.

'Hey, Mister Sheen,' Chat Noir hollered, as he bounded over the tops of the games. 'How about you clean up that attitude, first.'

'My name is Spotless,' he shouted back, 'and I won't stop until these brats are gone.'

With a snarl, he moved his washcloth to his other hand, then turned to yank another person out from under a table.

Chat Noir gasped as he recognised Marinette. She tugged on her arm and dropped her bodyweight, but Spotless had a firm grasp on her wrist. Her eyes widened as he brought the spray bottle up.

'No,' Chat Noir cried. He leapt, landing on top of Spotless. They crashed to the floor in a tangled heap, bringing Marinette down with them.

Chat Noir snatched the spray bottle, then threw it across the arcade, taking the moment when Spotless went running after it, to pick up Marinette, and leap into the rafters.

'The glare from the lights will make it harder for him to see us,' Chat Noir murmured.

He turned to make sure Marinette understood, then stopped when their noses almost collided. He hadn't realised when he's picked her up how close that would bring her.

He swallowed, then lowered her feet to the beam, helping her balance with his hands around her waist. He couldn't help but notice her cheeks were bright pink as she looked up at him through her lashes.

'Thanks,' she whispered, still holding on to him with both hands.

He gently removed one of her hands to place a kiss on her knuckles. 'My pleasure.'

He felt a rush of exhilaration and pride as she turned from rosy cheeked, to completely red.

'Ah-ha,' cried Spotless, as he found his spray bottle. 'Come out, come out, wherever you are,' he crooned, as he stalked down the isles of arcade machines.

 


 

Marinette clung tightly to Chat Noir as she watched Spotless hunt for new victims. She had already seen him erase three people, one of whom had been his own colleague. She knew she needed to get away and transform, however, she couldn't help but indulge in the feeling of Chat Noir holding her so close. From shoulder to knee, she was pressed against him, her whole body ablaze at the intimacy. It was a dizzying sensation.

Spotless finally realised the arcade was empty. With a snarl, he ran out to the street, where more screaming began as he continued his crusade.

'All right, it should be safe enough in here now,' Chat Noir judged. He held out his staff, and extended it until the other end hit the floor. Holding on to the top, he turned to Marinette. 'Ladies first. But, if you're afraid of heights, I could carry you down.'

As much as being carried down appealed to her, she also wanted to impress him. Drawing in a steadying breath, she let go of him, to grip the pole. She pushed away from the ledge, and sank down slowly, looking back up at him with a triumphant smile when her feet were on the floor.

Chat Noir opted for the express route, by simply jumping down. 'Good job, Princess. That was really brave.'

She lit up when he smiled at her. 'I've never had a problem with heights. But you should go find that akuma before things get too out of hand.'

'You're absolutely right. It was a pleasure to see you again, Marinette.' He bowed grandly, then raced out the door.

She bit her lip until he was out of sight.

'Marinette, quickly. Time to transform,' Tikki reminded her.

Squealing in delight, she spun on her toes. 'He was happy to see me.'

'He'll be even happier to see Ladybug.' Tikki was getting impatient.

'Right. Tikki, Transform me.'

Ladybug found Chat Noir keeping Spotless busy two blocks away. She ducked behind a car to examine Spotless' outfit.

'Papillon's champions just get uglier, and more ridiculous, by the day,' she muttered.

As she watched, Chat Noir snatched the cleaning rag from Spotless' hand, and ripped it into quarters.

'Hey,' Spotless protested, 'how am I supposed to finish cleaning now?'

'Oops, did you need this?' Chat Noir let the scraps fall to the ground.

Spotless' empty hand spasmed. 'You're making a mess,' he shrieked. He lifted his other hand to spray Chat Noir. 'Bad kitties must be punished.'

Chat Noir's eyes grew wide. Just as he leapt out of the way, Ladybug threw her yoyo and snagged Spotless' arm.

'Didn't your mother teach you that playing with chemicals is dangerous?' she quipped.

Spotless turned on her with a roar. She yanked on the string, hauling him forward. Spotless fell, his squirt bottle skittering across the road.

Chat Noir pounced, landing on the bottle so heavily it burst.

'No,' Spotless cried. He gripped the yoyo string and tugged, unbalancing Ladybug while he got to his feet. Barely stopping, he untangled his arm, and sprinted down the street.

Ladybug and Chat Noir ran after him, arms outstretched.

'Lucky Charm,' Ladybug shouted, her yoyo spinning above her head. A weighted net fell out of the sky.

Chat Noir grinned at her. 'Something nice and obvious, for once.'

Ladybug nodded back, a gleeful glint in her eyes.

They resumed their pursuit, throwing the net over Spotless before he reached the next block. He promptly tangled his feet in the netting, and fell heavily forward.

Ladybug winced, as she sucked in a breath between her teeth.

'Ouch,' Chat Noir mumbled, as he cringed.

Tiptoeing up to the bleeding villain, Ladybug plucked his hat off his head and tore it in half. As expected, the akuma fluttered out, but its freedom was short lived, as Ladybug caught it in her yoyo. She then released the butterfly, and called for her Miraculous Cure. The people Spotless had cleaned up were restored, and he was an average person, once again, sitting in befuddlement in the middle of the street.

Chat Noir held out a fist. 'Good job, Milady.'

Stifling a blush, and a girlish giggle, she bumped his hand. 'Good job, Kitty.'

Her earrings beeped. 'Oh, come on,' she muttered.

Chat Noir swept an arm out and bowed. 'Until next time, Ladybug.'

Then, he was gone.

Ladybug sighed, and whipped out her yoyo.

 


 

Adrien ducked discreetly back into the arcade, searching for Nino and Marinette. Nino was easy to find. He was at the canteen, eating his way through a small mountain of food. Marinette, however, was harder to locate. She wasn't with Rose and Juleka at the rhythm games, and she wasn't with Alix and Mylene at the air hockey table. Nor was she with Alya in the restrooms.

'Why are you so worried?' Plagg grumbled. 'She doesn't even like you.'

Adrien pushed him back into his bag with a finger. 'Shut up and eat your rotten cow chunks.'

He had just finished his second circuit of the arcade when Marinette came in through the main entrance.  She glanced furtively about, then ran to the register. Adrien was just close enough to hear her purchase a card and put some money on it. Then, she made her way to the Ultimate Mecha Strike cabinet.

Adrien felt a presence behind him.

'My oh my, what do we have here?' asked Alya, with a sly smirk.

Adrien turned to her, with both eyebrows raised. 'Huh?'

'You weren't spying on Marinette just then, were you?'

Heat rushed to his face. 'Of course not. I was just wondering what game to play next, when she approached the counter. I know she doesn't like me much, so I stayed here until she was done.'

Alya crossed her arms. 'Dude, I saw you walking around like you were looking for something. I don't think it was a coincidence that you stopped looking when you saw her.'

His shoulders sagged in defeat. 'I just wanted to make sure she was ok. Akumas are scary business.'

Instantly, Alya's face softened. 'Oh, you sweet little daffodil.'

He felt his blush deepen as he brought a hand up to rub his neck.

Alya wrapped an arm around him, and leaned in. 'Can I ask you a personal question?'

Adrien regarded her warily. 'You can ask.'

Alya nodded her understanding. 'You don't have to answer, but, how do you feel about Marinette?'

'How do I feel?' he echoed, confused.

'What do you think of her?' she clarified.

'Oh,' he mumbled. 'Well, I think she's smart, thoughtful, brave, beautiful, talented, strong, and a wonderful person.'

Alya blinked up at him, silent.

Adrien felt himself sweat. 'She's really nice, and kind to everyone too.'

'Oh, my God,' Alya gasped.

'What?'

'You like her.'

'That's what I just said. She's a nice person.'

'You think she's beautiful.'

'Doesn't everyone?'

Alya grabbed his shoulders and shook him, roughly. 'You have a crush on her,' she whisper-screamed.

Adrien reached out to steady himself by holding on to her elbows. 'What are you talking about? I don't want to crush her.'

Alya's arms dropped to her sides as she stared at him, flabbergasted. Shaking her head, she said, 'no, you dolt. You have a crush. You're crushing on Marinette. It means you want to be her boyfriend,' she explained, exasperated, when he continued to stare at her.

Adrien stilled, the word echoing around his head. Boyfriend.

'Holy Bast, I want to be her boyfriend.'



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