nestled

Idyllwild: The One Where its Official

The premise: FLUFF

See Also: the one with the broon coo, the one where Faith’s a pumpkin, and the one with the throw pillow.


April 8th, 2011; The Fraser’s Residence.

“Jamie,” I called through the closed bedroom door, “if we don’t leave in the next ten minutes, we’re going to be late.”

“Is Fergus ready?”

Fergus had been ready to go for the past hour and would have been much earlier, had I let him put on his suit and tie when he’d wanted to. The excitement of finalizing his adoption in a matter of hours was almost too much for the eleven year old to handle.

“Da!” Faith announced upon hearing her father’s voice. She wiggled excitedly in my arms as I carried her over to the changing table for the second time in twenty minutes.

“Umhmm,” I pulled a face, making her laugh, “your da is a slowpoke.”

“I can hear you, you ken,” Jamie grinned around the toothbrush hanging out of his mouth as he stuck his head through the door between the master bedroom and nursery.

I shook my head in playful consternation, “You’re not dressed yet?”

“Aye, well,” he stammered, “I was looking for my tie and then Ian texted me and… you ken how it is.”

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing at the expression of complete frustration on his face. I knew it wasn’t something he tried to do, but somehow Jamie always managed to be the last one ready, no matter how hard he tried not to be.

“It’s on the bed,” I smiled.

It was long past midnight when I crept into Fergus room to watch him sleep.

The children’s book I’ll Love You Forever came to mind as I sat on the edge of his bed. I’d read it a hundred times to Faith, but I could never get through it without growing misty-eyed. The mother’s repeating declaration of love to her growing son hit home again and again, each time I read it.

I’ll love you forever.
I’ll like you for always.
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.

I reached out and swept the dark curls off his brow. A cashier had remarked last week how fortunate both of my children were to have inherited my curls. Fergus ate it up. He couldn’t keep the grin from his face as he proudly introduced his baby sister to the woman, and it stayed in place the rest of the day. She didn’t know that it wasn’t my DNA that had given him his unruly mop, but she was still correct.

He was my son.

He’d been my son in almost every sense of the word for two years, but, as of 2:47pm today, he was now Fergus Claudel Fraser. There wouldn’t be any more legal battles to fight, hoops to jump, or endless stacks of papers to sign. We had won the war and now the innocent child before me could begin a new chapter of his life.

A life free of the threat of violence.

A life full of affection and acceptance.

A life with a family who loved him.

I didn’t hear Jamie approach, but wasn’t startled when he knelt on the floor in front of me, drawing close and sliding his arms around my waist. I let go of Fergus, leaning forward and burying my face in his neck. My silent tears flowed freely as he rubbed my back, murmuring, “He’s safe.”

Sniffing, I nodded, unable to speak.

Fergus was safe. His father, who’d threatened my life and those around me on more than one occasion, would be behind bars for the next thirty years and I knew he wouldn’t dare to try anything with Jamie’s extended family perpetually on guard for anyone who’d wish the boy harm. They accounted for over half of Idyllwild’s population, with members in the police force as well as the public school system.

“Come back to bed?”

Jamie’s voice held no trace of resentment at my departure, understanding fully my need to see for myself that Fergus was sleeping soundly. I let him guide me back down the hallway and lift me onto the bed beside him. Nestling me beneath his chin, he encircled me in the strength and surety of his arms, his heartbeat lulling me into a peaceful slumber.

Yuuri sneezed. Feathers poofed up all around him.

The floor was littered with them. A carpet of molted plumage. The siren sat at the center of their bed. Pillows and blankets were bundled around his waist, a makeshift nest of bedding.

Feathers bloomed off all his markings. His arms, his legs, from around his ears. His wings were not their usual sleek and graceful black. Instead, feathers stuck out at every which angle, falling out in patches.

“How’s my scruffy lovebird?” Victor entered the cabin, carrying a tray of fruits. He chuckled as a few more feathers flinted off Yuuri when he glanced over, and waded through the fluff coating the floor.

The siren scrunched his nose, nestling himself down further into the bed.

Victor set the tray aside, placing a cup into Yuuri’s hands. “Chris heated up some wine for you, said it might help keep you warm.”

Yuuri lifted it to his lips, taking a deep drink before freezing and sneezing straight into the cup. Wine speckled his cheeks, glistening off his lips, and the tip of his irritated red nose. He gazed over the rim of the cup through heavy lashes at Victor, eyes pleading for relief.

Laughing, Victor took the cup from Yuuri. He wiped Yuuri’s cheeks clean and kissed a droplet off his nose. “You’re extremely floofy.”

Yuuri glared, ruffling his wings in displeasure at the teasing remark. It resulted in a waterfall of feathers cascading off him, adding to the piles littering the bed and floor. Yuuri sneezed again and the shed feathers exploded up into the air, showering back down around them.

“Are you allergic to yourself?” Victor asked, picking puffs of down off Yuuri’s shoulders and from around them.

I don’t usually molt inside. Yuuri traced onto Victor’s thigh, sniffling. And not this much.

“Why is this time different?” Victor swept the rest of the feathers off the bed and took Yuuri’s hands. He removed feathers that were loose, doing the same with Yuuri’s feet, kissing his ankle. Once finished there, he shifted to sit behind Yuuri. 

Carefully, Victor walked his fingers through Yuuri’s feathers, grooming his wings of the molted ones. He could feel Yuuri relax under his touch, his cute little sneezes settling. Victor took his time, gentle as he sorted through. Yuuri hummed in delight, rustling his wings when no more feathers fell off them.

“Yuuri…” Victor frowned, leaning in to examine Yuuri’s wings. From underneath the molting feathers, he glimpsed the tips of new ones peeking out. “You’re not black…” Instead of jet black, the baby feathers shone of midnight blue.

Yuuri glanced over his shoulder, folding in his wings. I… I change colors during a certain time of year.

“Oh? When’s that?” Victor asked curiously.

Rather than write words, Yuuri leaned in, pressing his lips against Victor’s ear. “Mating season.”

crimson-chains  asked:

PROMPT: SIREN YURI IS A BIRD, AND BIRDS LAY EGGS. GO.

“Does he lay eggs?”

Victor’s boot snagged on the wooden deck. Stumbling, he whipped around to look at the powder monkey that addressed him. Young, short, blond and fiesty. Picked off a ship of the British navy. Had the makings of a good master gunner, despite the semi-permanent scowl on his face.

“Does he–”

“Lay eggs. He’s a bird. Birds lay eggs.”

“Does he look like a bird?” Victor laughed good-naturedly.

“No, sir.”

“That’s because he isn’t a bird. He does not lay eggs. Understood?”

“If you say so.” The boy looked unconvinced. “He isn’t human either, captain.”

Suddenly, Victor was not so sure himself.

~~~~~~~~
“Chris, do sirens lay eggs?”

The ship’s cook arched an eyebrow. “Are we expecting baby birds? Because that will make for extra mouths to feed, I’ll need to recalculate the rations.”

Victor’s eyes went wide.

“I’m joking. You have nothing to worry about, the males don’t…” Chris paused in consideration. “…As far as I know.”

~~~~~~~~
Victor sat, straight-backed, on the edge of the bed. Behind him, Yuuri forwent a comb, threading his fingers through long silver strands. He dipped down, brushing his lips over Victor’s shoulders as he braided loosely so as not to let them tangle over the course of the night. Every evening, Yuuri waited excitedly to play with and care for Victor’s hair and he was never denied.

“Yuuri, I have a question for you. It’s a little strange, is that fine?”

The answer was another kiss pressed between his shoulder blades as Yuuri continued to fondly braid.

“Do you lay eggs?”

Yuuri’s fingers stilled and after a moment, Victor felt him tremble. He glanced back, seeing Yuuri’s shoulders shake as he laughed silently, his dark eyes sparkling in amused delight.

“Excuse me, you’re the first siren I’ve met. There’s still a lot I don’t know! I’ve heard that sirens sink every ship they meet, yet we’re still sailing.”

Yuuri tugged playfully on Victor’s half-finished braid and gestured for him to turn back, so that he could finish the task at hand. Victor swore that Yuuri was a little rougher and needier than usual that night in their bed.

~~~~~~~
“You’ll owe me.”

Yuuri tilted his head to the side in inquisition.

“I want a cat for the ship. It’ll keep mice out of the ship’s food stores. Victor keeps promising and forgetting. Make him get me one the next time we dock.”

With a smile and a nod, Yuuri held out his hands. Chris gave him three eggs.

~~~~~~~~
In the morning, Victor awoke and pressed a kiss to a sleeping Yuuri’s forehead. The siren was nestled against him, hands bunched into fists against Victor’s chest. Behind him was dark. It took a moment to process that it was because Yuuri’s wings were out. They were folded against his back, black feather tips reaching down to his ankles. Victor had never seen Yuuri sleep with his wings on display before.

Victor rolled and heard the crack before he felt it. Shells, shattered. In horror, he looked down. From beneath his hip, thick yellow liquid leaked out onto the bedsheets. Victor lifted up and saw the eggs, smashed under his careless weight.

Leaping up, the choked noise he made wasn’t human. He tried to scoop shards of shell and yolk into his hands, dismayed to see it had already begun to seep into the mattress.

Yuuri stirred, lashes fluttering. His dark eyes took in Victor’s panicked expression and he glanced down.

“Yuuri, it’s okay, I can fix it! I didn’t see them, I didn’t realize. Oh, of course, this is like your nest, isn’t it. I didn’t know, I’m so sorry!” Victor cried, desperate. “They-… they weren’t fertilized, Yuuri! We can make more! Just tell me what to do, if you need me to keep them warm or sit on them, gently I mean, I can do it. Whatever you need!”

Yuuri laughed so hard he fell off the bed. A couple feathers poofed up into the air.

Victor did not get the joke, yolk dripping from between his fingers.

~~~~~~~~
Victor sulked at the helm of the ship. A white persian slinked by, wrapping its comically fluffy tail around his leg as it went.

✨ “I will have a restful and peaceful sleep” spell jar ✨

A little jar to ward off nightmares and help you have a good sleep with some lovely dreams

What you’ll need

✨ salt 
✨ cinnamon (ground or sticks)
✨ black peppercorns (or ground black pepper)
✨ dried rosemary 
✨ dried rose petals
✨ dried lavender
✨ small piece of amethyst
✨ small piece of rose quartz
✨ a sigil “I will have a restful and peaceful sleep”

-

What to do

✨  Layer the salt, cinnamon, black peppercorns, rosemary, rose petals and lavender in the jar
✨  Nestle your piece of amethyst and your piece of rose quartz snugly on top of or inside the lavender and rose petals
✨  Draw a sigil that means “I will have a restful and peaceful sleep” and put it at the top of your jar
✨  Put it next to your bed, preferably near your head

-

If you don’t feel confident in your own sigils, this is the one that I used:

BTS Reaction ; You Giving Them Random Kisses

Requested by Anonymous, “The boys’ reaction to their s/o who likes to give them kisses/pecks when the boys aren’t paying attention to them/focusing on something else please? Thanks!”

Note; this made me soft af..how dare u.


Jin ➳ Standing with his hands gripping the airplane tickets as he found out the airlines were at the very other end of the building, stress and a load of tiredness was beginning to overtake him as you tried to get his attention, hold his hand, anything — only for him to bolt down the airport while dragging you along. “Babe,” you called to no avail, frowning in distaste, “Seokjin!”

“What?” He snapped, stopping in his tracks and the minute you tippy toe to plant a small peck onto his plump lips, a fierce blush takes over his cheeks as he smiles and drops his head onto your shoulders.

You laugh softly as you rub his neck, “calm down.”

Originally posted by yoongichii


Suga ➳ “Your hands are freezing.” He mumbles, holding the frozen limbs in his warm ones. He wasn’t smiling, more annoyed at having to walk with you to the faraway café instead of taking a taxi or an uber — but what he did take satisfaction in was being able to walk through the greenery that still brimmed with life despite the negative temperature. “Maybe we should head back–”

But you interrupt him as you kiss him unexpectedly, feeling his chapped lips against yours as you quickly pull away. “Nah,” you say with a small smile as he stares at you blankly, “I’m warm now.”

And a big grin slaps onto his features, eyes immediately turning into mini crescents.

Originally posted by tae-eyebrows


J-Hope ➳ He was death glaring Jungkook who was acting a little too friendly with you, throwing in snark comments here and there as the younger only laughed it off as if Hoseok was joking — but he wasn’t. Jungkook would nudge you in a flirty manner, smile at you, eye you and just–

But the soft and damp pressure on his lips makes all thoughts evaporate into thin air, you pulling away and laughing as you finally got his attention. 

And the smile encasing his being is bright, pulling you into his chest as you continued to talk to the other man and tried your hardest to pull away from the man who tried to peck you once again.

Originally posted by bangtanofarmys


RapMonster ➳ He was exhausted as you two sat on the bench of the nearly empty park during the day, the sun emitting rays that illuminated onto the grass and pond — and whilst he closed his eyes to zone out your voice and drown into the melody of nature, you nudge him as he groans in displeasure.

It is quiet then, and all he could here was the singing of the birds, the shivering leaves and the ruffling of your clothes before you kiss the corner of his mouth, his eyes blasting open in astonishment. “Are you going keep ignoring me?”

A grin spreads onto his lips. “Well,” he says, wiggling his eyebrows, “you do know what unexpected kisses leads to..right?”

Originally posted by baby-hoseok


Jimin ➳ He was paying way too much attention onto his phone as you both ate out with the rest of the boys, Jimin only tuning in on a recent video game play-through as he ignored the conversation happening at hand and especially you.

To say that he was caught off guard when you kissed him in front of the guys was an understatement — scarlet immediately drowned his ears as he giggled at your cute gesture. “Jagiya,” he gasped as if you did something horrible, “you know we only kiss in the bedroom.”

You punched his shoulder in mortification as the guys begin to catcall and eventually, Yoongi spatting in disgust to “keep it in the bedroom.”

Originally posted by junghvseok


V ➳ It was during the night when the windowsill was open and the breeze blew onto the sheer curtains as Taehyung wrapped you in his arms under the duvet and pulled you into his chest. His eyes were closed, and as his breathing began to soften, your small voice pierces the quiet atmosphere. “Babe?”

He hums in response, refusing to open his eyes and when he felt the bed dip the slightest as you move to get comfortable, the kiss you give him before nestling into his neck has him smiling. “Oh, no you don’t,” he says as he feels the thousands of butterflies attack his gut. Immediately, he pulls away from you just to catch your lips in a passionate kiss, letting the night drown you both into bliss.

Originally posted by my-fjo


Jungkook ➳ Driving for hours in the city with no destination in mind, Jungkook only wanted to spend time with you and away from his hectic singer life and definitely, away from the boys. It was raining, the traffic was too much and as he sits their impatient as the truck was stuck in nearly the same spot for half an hour, you grab his hand and he quickly looks to you as your lips crash perfectly together in an innocent kiss.

Pulling away from him, a toothy and cheeky grin is plastered onto his features as his previous frown melted into the ground. “Again,” he begs, intertwining your fingers together as he squeezes your hand, “kiss me again.”

Originally posted by jeonify


Masterlist

Yuuri wandered the market with wide, cautious eyes. Everyone on board had been itching to spend some of their newly acquired loot, so Victor had directed them to a friendly port.

At first, Yuuri had clung to Victor’s side, as skiddish as a cat. But then the stalls of fruits and fabrics drew out his fascination, and Victor had a hard time keeping up.

Victor had wanted to purchase clothes for Yuuri, as his siren’s robes would attract too much attention outside of their ship. Yuuri was far more interested in little trinkets and admiring hand-crafted instruments. He happily listened to the beckons of shop keepers, particularly those who flashed anything that caught the light of the sun or held out small slices of exotic fruits for him to try.
Victor’s coin purse was left significantly lighter. However he also noticed that people simply gave things to Yuuri. He had new bracelets on his wrists which caught the juices spilling from the orange flesh of the fruit he ate, licking his fingertips clean with a smile stretched clear across his face. Victor had purchased neither yet no angry salesman chased after them.

Yuuri seemed delighted, pleased to explore something entirely new to him, and pouted heavily when Victor finally started to tug him away. He followed only after repeated promises that they could return soon and the reminder that Yuuri could always fly there on his own, if he so wished.

They had nearly left the market when Yuuri froze, grabbing onto Victor’s wrist. Victor heard the squawks before he saw the brightly colored feathers of the parrots perched along a stall. Yuuri was there in an instant.

The birds flocked to him, one jumping into his hands as soon as he held them out. The other two shuffled as close as the leather ties around their feet permitted. Yuuri cooed to them and they chattered back, flapping and ruffling their feathers at him. Victor saw the clipped wings when they spread, saw Yuuri’s smile slip as the birds continued to chirp at him.

The look on Yuuri’s face was pure distress when he snatched up Victor’s hand, hastily tracing letters into his palm so quickly Victor barely caught the words. He did not need them to guess what Yuuri wanted, not with the way that Yuuri bristled when grisly-looking man appeared, laugh rough as he asked Yuuri if he liked his birds.

The line of Yuuri’s shoulders went rigid. He took one step forward, dark eyes flashing with the red of his siren temper. Victor had been about to unstring his coin purse, ready to toss the whole thing in exchange when Yuuri’s lips parted.

“Give.”

The word hit Victor’s chest like a cannonball and in that moment he would give Yuuri everything. The clothes off his back, the pistols off his sash, the gold off his fingers. His entire ship and his life, placed neatly into Yuuri’s hands. But the command wasn’t directed at him.

The daze of Yuuri’s voice did not fade. Victor watched as the ties restraining the birds were hastily cut, their owner stumbling away from Yuuri under the power of his glare the moment they were relinquished. 

They left the market with three parrots nestling gleefully up against the siren, and Yuuri never having looked prouder.

the old butch way

my first butch girlfriend loved to grind on top of me, her pelvic bone eagerly bruising the soft cushion of my mons while the teaches of peaches grinded along with her, dirty and raw on my rattly old boombox. fuck the pain away, and we did, over and over in that dingy flat above the pizzeria, on the bed I tried to make inviting by threading fairy lights over the headboard.

on tangled sheets we lay like that while late afternoon sun slipped in through the slats, she grinding and groaning against me while I held her close and measured the tension in her body beneath my palms. she was delicious and strong, her nakedness kissing mine as she worked her way to orgasm against my thigh. I would grip her ass tight in my hands, tasting the sweat from her neck, willing my body to offer hers the pleasure she sought.

at twenty-two I thought I was experienced in the ways that women loved other women, but I didn’t know what I didn’t know. when she told me that was how she got off best, I marveled – it was alien to me, whose own physiology seemed designed to make orgasm as elusive as possible. but in the earnestness of my passion, I embraced it. I didn’t understand how it made her feel, but I knew that I wanted to be a part of it,  of her feeling that way.  when that final push came and she stiffened before suddenly seeming to spill out all over me in a trembling wave, I’d embrace her tight and nuzzle into her cropped hair while her groans were muffled in mine, treasuring the thump of her heart echoing through my breast.

years and lovers later, I was startled by the memory of this lovemaking described in the writings of another fem, one whose work I had discovered on the intricate and often fraught journey of discovering myself. Joan Nestle wrote tenderly of a young lover she’d known, who had moved on her as my first sweet butch had, “the old butch way” she called it.

it hit me like a punch those words, to see the act I knew by then was called tribadism – a technical, awkward word I hated – named so intimately, so assuredly, as a way of the women I love. I tumbled back to that bedroom with its stained and fraying carpet, the sagging ceiling above, two young lovers on the bed eagerly pushing and thrusting at each other as I lived the memories of another fem’s passion. our experiences so uniquely different and yet entwined through culture and desire.

I comprehended then, perhaps for the first time, that even before I had known the word fem or that I was, before I knew anything of the deeply rich history of my people, I had found my way to it.  drawn through the darkness of cultural erasure as though beckoned by fate, we did what felt  natural together, a butch and a fem in a new century, loving in the ways of old.

I had thought this gift of a woman coming on top of me had fled this world, read the words of this fem who had already lived lifetimes before mine began, but Margaret, who wears feathers and dreams of goddesses, carries the old ways of women loving deep within her.

so had that lover of my hopeful youth, directed by the nature of her desire as much as I had been when she first caught my eye in the hot shade of a tent at summer Pride; a hopelessly handsome young butch with shy eyes and a smile that made me trip over my feet and blush.

years after Joan Nestle shared those breathless memories, of an older fem with a young butch learning anew how organic our passion, I thrust up to meet the push of my butch’s need, learning it for the first time. separated by decades and much more, these moments we lived were wholly our own, and yet they are shared, countless times and in countless ways, between butches and fems who love and make love all over the world. the old butch way lives on, heedless of instruction, beyond the boundaries defined in theory; compelled by instinct and desire.

when my first sweet butch showed me how she liked to fuck, I had no idea that another fem at another time had thought that way was done and had been grateful to realise that it wasn’t. now, I am grateful to realise that it never will be. this is how we know ourselves, the truths of our lives resonating in recognition. our heritage shared through memory written and experience lived in dark rooms and on damp sheets, carried always deep within us.


References:
“Margaret”, A Restricted Country
Joan Nestle, 1987

Have you ever had someone lay their fingers along the spaces between your ribs and squeeze? Really find those fleshy bits between the bones and just curl into them? I have. The thing is, you can’t help your natural reflex in reaction to that strange, visceral, intrusive feeling. Your body knows, “hey, I don’t think I should be touched there!” and so it flails wildly, almost manically, to protect your most vital organs, even if there’s no real threat.

My wife loves the spaces between my ribs, but has kindly refrained from squeezing them since I’ve asked her to stop. Still. I’m a nervous person, and the guard just goes up sometimes – can’t help it.

The other night, we were laying in bed and cuddling, and I was about on the brink of passing out while baby lay curled over me. Her hand rested on my chest, her head lay nestled between my shoulder and my chin, and I was smelling her hair – a vague scent of shampoo, still a little wet from the shower. Everything felt warm and right and peaceful, but for the fact that (as exhausted as I was) baby was like a shaken up soda can of hyperactive lesbian. She was happily chatting away when her hand traveled a little lower, then circled around my side and her fingertips moved into those vulnerable little dips.

“Noooooooo,” I whined, and I yanked her hand away.

“But I can’t sleep!” She protested, laying her leg over mine and lifting her head to give me that wide-eyed, entreating look. “I won’t squeeze! I just want to count your ribs! It’s soothing.” I can never deny her anything when she gives me that look. (She has very long eyelashes and very blue eyes. It’s my kryptonite.)

So I let her hand go, cautiously, and relaxed a little bit. She teases and jokes, but she never lies to me, so I knew she’d at least stop herself from squeezing even though I know how much she loves it. She moved her hand back over to my rib cage and I took in a breath.

“You know,” I offered as her fingertips began to dance gently over each individual rib, “you could count sheep instead.”

And baby chuckled lowly, snuggling closer, warm and soft and sweet. And then she proceeded to say the most terrifying thing I’ve ever heard come out of her mouth, in a voice that sounded like it should have been wafting inexplicably down the halls of an abandoned building.

“There are no sheep here,” she whispered, “but there are plenty of your bones.”

And somehow that simple statement was more instinctively horrifying than the feeling of fingers in the spaces between your ribs. Turns out, it inspired the same reaction. I flailed, and she laughed and laughed and laughed until I was laughing too.

It took us both a while to go to sleep.

Refuge in Audacity

“Just a good friend, huh?” Marinette mutters to Tikki, who hums apprehensively as her chosen’s smile grows fiercer, more determined.

“Marinette…it’s not the worst thing.” She chides, snuggling against the girl’s warm cheek, before floating off to grab a cookie from the nearby plate.

“No…Its…actually brilliant! I’m super excited!” Marinette claps her hands with glee, turning to Tikki with bright eyes and a gaze that spoke of a plan being hatched.

Tikki merely laughs from behind a mouth full of sugar cookies and hopes that Marinette won’t go too far.

She should have given Marinette more credit. Marinette is intelligent. Marinette can be patient. Marinette is seeking refuge in this new claim of Adrien’s.

She begins by showing her regular affection for Alya even in front of him. It takes some effort to slough off the usual stiff shell she forms whenever he’s around, but clinging onto Alya and filling herself with affection for her best friends helps divert her anxiety.

Adrien looks on with find amusement as Marinette wraps her arms around Alya’s waist and proceeds to whine about her Chloe into her shoulder.

But Marinette is still sly, and she catches the way his fingers seem to twitch, and the way he hugs himself.

She takes it up a notch later that week when she slings an arm around Nino’s shoulders and presses her ear against his headphones to listen to the music drifting from them. Nino is a bit surprised, but he accepts it with a good natured laugh and draws Marinette into a conversation about composition and beat counts.

Adrien chimes in with a few questions, and Marinette notices the way his pretty eyes drift over to the arm she keeps around Nino. Interesting.

She decides she’ll start with something small. She’s still a little nervous, but she shakes out the snow in her bones and lets her trembling fingers tug on the edge of sleeve to catch his attention.

Adrien turns around abruptly, surprise devolving into the most tender smile as he realizes its her.

“What’s going on, Marinette?”

(Too pretty…he’s just a good friend. Swallow down all the rest, Marinette. Keep calm.)

“I uh…we uh…we were planning to go to the cafe later to study for the physics exam. Wanna come?”

She still hasn’t let go of his shirt sleeve, but he doesn’t seem to notice as he answers with the giddiest yes. She feels a vague pity for him, but decides that the next small step should be enough.

She gives him a playful punch to the shoulder.

“Cool.” She says.

“Cool.” He repeats. He hesitates for a bit, before tapping her twice on the shoulder and heading off.

The snow slowly overtakes her legs, and Marinette has to nearly wobble her way to scream into Alya’s shirt.

She finds him unexpectedly lonely on one of their outings.

Nino has already laced his fingers with Alya’s left hand. Alya’s right arm is hooked through Marinette’s. It’s a formation they’ve gotten used to overtime, and Adrien feels a little left out when he realizes how well they manage to maneuver all connected like this.

He misses it when Nino tries to offer him his free hand and Alya hisses something at him, her eyes drifting pointedly to Marinette who looks astonishingly like a ladybug with a very stark red painted across her freckled cheeks.

Marinette doesn’t hesitate however. She merely threads her arm under his, and hooks her elbow behind his.

“There.” She says with some finality, grinning up at him invitingly.

His eyes are wide, and the look of loss quickly chips away to reveal a sudden joy that’s nearly blinding. His arm tightens around hers until she’s pulled closer to his side.

“There.” He repeats happily, before leading them all to the nicest cafe he can treat them to.

Adrien finds himself at a loss. His heart stoppering up his throat until he can barely speak at all. Marinette’s touches have begun to burn him.

It’s been a few months since Marinette had begun to treat him with the same tactile affection she lavished on all her loved ones, and he’s found himself to be looking forward to those occasions.

She’d begun winding her arm around his waist in a casual side hug about two weeks back. He’d leaned into it with all the careful composure he could muster, but that had been a lie told by a stoic face. Inside he’s been a giddy, tangled mess.

Because with Marinette weaving these threads to pull him closer, she’s brought with her an unsettling sort of warmth that sears deep into him wherever she touches. He can feel the imprints of her fingertips as she musses his hair to make him look more dashing.

He can remember the trailing bits of stardust that lingered under his skin when she’d contemplated how smooth his face was. The little bits of sparklers that had crawled up his spine when she’d leapt and hugged him after a long winter break.

This strange feeling leaves him breathless. Wanting more. And theres a vague annoyance underneath all of that when Alya or Nino, or any one of the countless people that love Marinette, pull her away and are gifted her lavish affection too.

So he tugs on her arm a little closer when they all walk together. He ignores the knowing look Alya gives him over Marinette’s head.

Sometimes, when he’s feeling particularly cold or lonely after a long weekend at home, he’ll beeline towards Marinette and walk her to a more empty side of the courtyard as he engages her in conversations.

About fashion, about music, about anime, about food. Anything about her is fascinating and he’s just as greedy for this information about his newest good friend as he is for her casual tactility.

Thoughts of Ladybug are a little farther away these days, nestled deep in the secret part of his chest more useful for nights under city lights than for sunny days at school.

But here in daylight, Marinette is real and solid and so close.

He knows he’s being a little selfish like this, but he’ll let himself be hugged and coddled by his good friend because she seems completely fine with doing so.

There comes a time when his selfishness crosses a line. When they’re tired from playing several rounds of the newest Clash Bros game, and they’re sprawled across Marinette’s divan.

He’s as content as a cat with cream, his stomach pleasantly filled with pastries and hot chocolate. His head rests against Marinette’s, hers on his shoulder, legs stretched out and pressed together as they watch the an episode of a particularly sappy Korean drama.

She’s absently sketching patterns in the palm of his open hand, and has to put in effort not to close up his palm or let himself…let himself do what?

Marinette is just a good friend. And it’s late at night and he’s so sleepy and she’s so warm and here…she’s right here.

He’s being entirely selfish when he closes his fingers around hers. He’s being entirely selfish when she looks up at him in confusion and he drops his head down to kiss her.

He’s being entirely selfish…even when she pulls away in shock and disbelief, and his apologies tumble from his lips, lacking all sort of proper regret.

“I…I need to sleep. I’m tired.” Is all she says.

He wants to say sorry. To make her understand that he hadn’t meant to…that he’d done it all wrong…but her eyes are large and tearful in the shifting light of the television and that hurts him more so than anything else.

He hurt a good friend. And that’s nothing a simple apology could fix. He leaves with one last sorry.

He’s really screwed up. And the burning in his lips and his chest are far from pleasant when his burning shame eclipses it all.

It’s like starting from scratch. She’s so confused. She’d gotten so comfortable. The hurt in her chest at being called a friend had died and rebloomed as something that could only be termed utter content.

A good friend was what Adrien had needed more of. She’d seen the way he’d opened up after she’d changed how she approached him. The soft warmth of his hugs and the solid safety she felt with him and Alya at her side.

And then…when all her last remaining bits of romantic affection had nearly settled into memory, he’d kissed her.

One of her best friends had kissed her and she didn’t know where to start.

Her refuge in audacity had backfired and she’s unsure if it’s as welcome as she once wanted it to be.

Where to go from here?

Where to go isnt that difficult a question. How to do it is the conundrum.

She avoids him. And he doesn’t chase after her.

But he’s too selfish to let her go completely out of his life and he’s determined not to let her slip away. He misses her warmth. And if good friendship is the most he can ask for, then he’ll take it. Marinette is worth it all.

So he starts small. He manages to catch her unawares one day. He tugs on her sleeve to catch her attention.

“We’re uh…Nino and Alya want to go to the aquarium for the lab assignment? Want to go as a group?”

Marinette’s eyes nearly swallow her face while when she looks at him. She recoils away, and he lets the fabric of her sleeve slip through his grip as she steps back to look at him.

He offers her a small, hopeful smile. Full of unworded apologies. She looks wary, ready to run.

He doesn’t notice it, but he crosses his arms and hunches over, to stop the pain that radiates from his chest from spreading any further.

That seems to change something in her assessment.

She looks fierce and determined as she steps up to him, places a playful punch to his shoulder.

“Cool.” She offers. And she still isn’t quite close to him, but small starts are great.

Relief suffuses him and its without any guile that he taps her shoulder twice and answers-

“Cool.”

Her gaze softens at his earnest happiness, and she seems hesitant, before she opens her arms a little wider to welcome a hug.

Adrien lets loose the wildest single bark of laughter he can manage, before pulling her close and burying his relief in her shoulder.

“Cool.” He repeats. “Thank you, Marinette.”

She winds her arms around him, holding him tight and realizing just how much she’d missed him. Regardless of what her feelings are now, there’s still time to examine them later. Whatever that kiss had meant to him is a whole other conversation to be had, perhaps after some more recovery.

For now, good friendship is the best sort of reward and she has the audacity to enjoy to its fullest.