The Games We Don’t Play
MariChat May 6th: Game Night
Being invited to the Dupain-Cheng’s family game night sent a warm feeling through Chat Noir. He didn’t really know why they were so kind to a stranger like him. Maybe because he wasn’t really a stranger anymore. Marinette had definitely gotten her kindness from her parents. Unfortunately he couldn’t make game night due to his father requesting a meeting with him.
“Your grades have been slipping Adrien.”
Ah yes, his father was upset at his grade slipping a point.
His father continued. “While you explain why your grades are dropping why don’t you also explain why you have been missing so many of your appointments.”
He didn’t have an explanation for any of that. What was he supposed to say? He liked hanging out with his friends as his alter-ego? That he had a duty to Paris? Even if he didn’t mind telling his father about his secret he doubted that would earn him any sympathy. His father expected perfection. Right now he wasn’t perfect.
“Answer me, Adrien.” His father’s expression didn’t change from the stern frown he had worn since Adrien had walked in.
“I can’t.” Adrien’s expression wouldn’t be recognizable to his friends as it mirrored his father’s exactly.
“Very well then.” His father let a small grimace appear on his face for a moment, the only sign that he was upset.
Adrien’s arms tensed behind his back as his hands clasped tighter together.
“From this point forward I am removing you from your school. Your appointments will be brought here so that you will no longer have an excuse to miss them. Dismissed.”
His father went back to his work as Adrien was gently led back to his room by his father’s assistant.
“Are you alright kid?” Plagg asked.
“And here I thought I might have enough time to attend game night anyway.” Adrien’s voice sounded hollow as he slowly made his way to his desk.
“Hey now. You’re gonna bounce back from this. Right?” Even the Kwami seemed unsure.
Adrien didn’t answer him as he flopped into his desk chair. He didn’t turn on his computer. Instead he seemed to brood as he sat there with his head hanging over the desk. His hands were clenched in his lap.
“Come on kid, get up. You should go anyway, those bakers always manage to cheer you up.”
Several seconds with no response and Plagg already felt like giving up. He wasn’t very good at comforting people. He sat himself down on Adrien’s head, curled up, and then allowed a soft purr. Adrien’s hands unclenched from each other as a small teardrop hit the desk soon followed by many others.
Marinette frowned. She had invited Chat Noir to game night expecting a night of embarrassment and fun. The thing she hadn’t expected was him not showing up at all. It worried her quite a bit considering he hadn’t ever bailed on her before. Instead of panicking she first checked the Ladyblog. No akuma. The second thing she did was text him asking if he was going to make it. No answer. She groaned in frustration.
“Is Chat alright Marinette?” Sabine asked her daughter.
“I don’t know Maman.” Marinette spoke softly her head hanging as she stared at her phone.
The girl’s parents shared a worried glance. The young hero had grown on them quite a bit since he had started showing up to play games with Marinette and they couldn’t help but feel a bit responsible for his wellbeing.
“He’s pretty strong and I’m sure he knows he can come here if he needs help.” Tom gently put his hand under his daughter chin so he could raise her head.
“And besides-” He continued. “He has a superhero partner he can go to as well so I’m sure he’s fine.”
Tom was surprised that instead of looking comforted by this fact his daughter only looked more worried.
“I’m going to my room.” Marinette said. “Goodnight Maman, Papa.”
The two parents wished her goodnight as well. They only wished they could have reassured her that Chat really was really alright. Unfortunately they weren’t even sure of that themselves.
Marinette sat in her room worrying over Chat. It was late and he still hadn’t texted her back. Although he did have to be transformed to text her. She sighed and decided to send him one last text.
When Adrien saw it the next day he smiled for the first time since he had walked into his father’s office. He sent a quick text apologizing for not showing up and quickly detransformed as he had an appointment.
He took a deep breath and put on his bravest smile.
Not everything was alright, but as long as he had Marinette, and her family, he could at least be happy when he was with them and strong when he wasn’t.