I have the plot idea for a perfect 50K story but am unwilling to write it due to horror lmao:
Years have passed since the gang has graduated. Nathanaël is a struggling artist at 27, talented but largely unnoticed. He believes he will get his chance, and is determined to get his art into Fancy Musuem™ now that it is under new management. More importantly, he’s determined to get a paying job as an assistant that will eventually get his art in the museum.
Cue Chloé Bourgeois, elite art critic and said new management.
The years have graced with her an elegant, sophisticated beauty - of course; would she be Chloé Bourgeois if she was anything but? - but she has also been graced with a change of heart.
Vain, materialistic, harsh to others. Yes. She’s a critic, duh.
But she is ashamed of her past, of bullying her peers, yet doesn’t have the courage to reach out and apologize. It’d be pointless to do so after all these years, right?
She’s remained cold and alone since then, a broken heart from unrequited love a reminder that she deserves it.
Back to the present, she recognizes Nathanaël and he recognizes her. It’s an awkward interview.
Nevertheless, he gets the job. He runs her errands, gets her coffee, occasionally gets his opinion in about incoming pieces of art -
It’s awkward, but professional.
Then assisting turns into a strange friendship after some slip-ups. Walls slowly come down, but not all of them. Not yet.
It’s revealed she’s been in love with Nathanaël all these years, not Adrien like he believes, but she’s too ashamed to ever confess such a thing.
They grow closer still, time goes by. He realizes he may care for her in a way he didn’t think possible before.
But they are both still alone, left cold by relationships (or lack of).
So friends become friends with benefits. It’s awkward the first time, just like when the job started, but there’s trust now; they laugh and form a different connection.
The thing is: they are not people who can sleep around without emotions. Their emotions are stronger than they think.
Their relationship now becomes one similar to dating, but that’s not what they call it. They can’t. Why would he love someone as cruel as her, and how could she ever see him as anything but a convenient body?
Nathanaël gets his art accepted into the museum.
Emotions control them.
The anniversary of Madame Bourgeois’s death comes around.
Chloé’s last wall crumbles as she knocks on his door and lets him into her heart. They don’t have sex that night; they make love.
Emotions make them do terrible things; make terrible decisions without any thought.
He realizes he is in love with her as she asks him, in the softest voice he has ever heard, to spend the night with him. Just this once.
He also realizes he cannot continue this, not while he feels so much for a woman who doesn’t feel the same.
It is morning, and she is picking up her clothes from his floor when he accidentally voices a thought:
“I can’t do this with you anymore.”
And of course, she misunderstands. She looks at him, hurt and betrayed, and before he can correct his mistake, she says:
“So this is it then? Humiliate me, beat me at my weakest?” She is crying now, and he realizes there are many things beautiful about her but not her tears. Especially when he’s caused them.
And she leaves, feeling distraught but not cheated. She blames herself; she deserves it, for doing the same thing to him years ago.
Weeks go by. They are both void of emotion now, anything other than heartbreak unwelcome.
Nathanaël’s art is hung and it is as marvelous as she knew it would be. She feels proud, despite her ache; he feels nothing, despite his accomplishment.
But he is still her assistant, and he shows up at her home one night to drop off something. She is nothing but professional; icy and cold at most.
He sputters out an apology and she cuts him off; she doesn’t want to hear what she thinks she knows.
But he insists, and he explains he couldn’t continue sleeping with her while he loved her - and boy, did he love her. More than he ever thought possible. He apologizes again and again, tells her he knows how vulnerable she was that day and he should have handled it better.
And Chloé is stunned. She remains silent so long he begins to leave, ready to lick his wounds, but she catches his arm and quietly confesses how much she loves him.
“All these years, it’s been you who had my heart.”
And she is crying again, and he is on the verge as well, and they kiss and it is so much different than any of their other kisses.
They are in love, the past forgiven. And their cold worlds are suddenly filled with a warmth they never expected.
(wait can I count this as my fic for AU day because damn)