Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by P-Artsypants

Part 15 of 18

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Hand in hand, Adrien and Marinette travelled to Master Fu's house after school. Though Adrien still had a spare key, they knocked on the door.

"Come in."

Wordlessly, the couple entered. Master Fu appraised them, hiding something in his eyes. "So, here we are. I wondered when you two would come to see me. And whether it would be together or separate, or in the masks. But it seems like you two have revealed yourselves to each other. A greater truth has finally been reached."

"Yeah…she knows who I am under the mask, and under this mask as well." Adrien stated, placing a hand on his scarred cheek.

He beckoned them to sit at his table. "I'll make tea."

The afternoon was peaceful. Chimes sang outside the window, as warm sunlight trailed across the floor. Summer would be coming soon. He poured them each a cup.

Marinette took a sip and hummed. "This is nice. What kind of tea?"

"It's rosebud and silver needle. Good for the kidneys."

"It's delicious." Adrien agreed with a contented purr. Just for a moment, it was nice to pretend that everything was normal, despite the dark storm clouds that rumbled upon the horizon.

"Where are Duusu and Nooroo?" Adrien asked.

"Their Miraculous have been returned to the Miracle Box, and they are catching up with the other Kwamis." He sipped his tea, "but I did have a long conversation with both of them on the night you brought them here. Perhaps you have a story to tell me as well?"

They took turns telling him about that day. How they had been in the courtyard at school and saw an akuma, followed it, and met with Hawkmoth in his own lair. Marinette described Gabriel revealing his identity and willfully surrendering. Adrien described his anger and how he had nearly killed Ladybug in the process. He had taken her to the hospital, and then gone back to the mansion to retrieve the Butterfly.

"I arrived at the mansion, and they let me in. They had bags packed and said they had prepared to call the police once I was given the Miraculous. Gabriel…opened the box, and I saw and spoke to Nooroo. Then, Nathalie fetched the Peacock as well." His mouth hung open for a moment before clamping shut.

"Did he say anything then?" Master Fu raised an eyebrow. He wanted to know how much Adrien knew.

Adrien bit his lips, but forced the truth out. "Yes he…he told me why he had been trying to get our Miraculous."

Marinette softly set down her cup and rested her hand on his thigh.

Master Fu said nothing, just gazed at him with wise eyes.

Adrien turned pale, as his mother's sleeping face sprang up in his mind. It was an image that would haunt him. A image to go with that heart wrenching sound Marinette had made when she failed to catch him from the tower.

"My mother is still alive."

Marinette tightened her grip.

"He knew...where she was too. She's a coma. He said her soul was stripped from her body...and now she's...just an empty husk." He swallowed heavily, his voice trembling with emotion.

Marinette took his teacup from his hands, seeing that he was shaking terribly.

"He wanted to use the Miraculous to wake her..." he covered his mouth, unwilling to say anymore.

"Well...that...had to be a relief, right? Knowing he was trying to bring back your mom instead of trying for wealth or power?"

"You don't understand!" He shouted, standing suddenly. He wasn't angry, just panicked. Panicked that she didn't have the right idea. He ran a hand through his hair in an effort to calm down. "The Miraculous work in the power of equivalent exchange, right?"


"I was the exchange!"

Marinette furrowed her brow in confusion. "What?"

"He said—" he choked. "He said his plans to bring her back weren't going to work, 'now that Adrien is gone.' And I said, 'oh because it won't be a family anymore?' and no! It was because I was supposed to give my soul in exchange for hers!"

"Oh god…" Marinette breathed.

"He said that to you?" Fu asked, horror on his face.

"Yes! To Chat Noir—but still! And when I reacted poorly…he said, 'oh but then Adrien will just be born again as our new infant. He won't have any memories and he'll look different, but he'll be Adrien!" The boy covered his face and heaved. "How could he do this to me!? I thought he loved me! But he was fine to just—throw me away! I was just a tool! That's all I've ever been!"

Marinette hopped to her feet to pull him into a tight hug. He began to cry in her arms, and did nothing to try to stop it.

She whispered sweetly into his ear. "I love you, and I want you. Your friends love you too. It's going to be alright, kitty."

He nodded against her, holding onto her words, though he wondered if he'd ever be alright again.

Adrien's curse was being unprepared. A life spent locked up in a cosy house did nothing to protect him from just how cruel life would be. How cruel humans to be to those that were 'ugly' or different. How unfair everything was when you had nothing. He was lucky though, he had Ladybug. She was the warm hand that held onto him in this vast abyss.

"Tikki, Plagg," Master Fu called out.

The kwami came out of their hiding places.

"Perhaps you two can have a word with the others in the Miracle Box. Take some cookies to share."

The kwami eagerly agreed and zoomed away to their little world.

Marinette urged Adrien to sit again, as he rubbed at his face. "Sorry…"

"You have nothing to apologize for," Master Fu consoled. "This is a safe place, Adrien."

Adrien nodded, still feeling guilty from his outburst. Old habits die hard, after all.

"Are you alright to talk about your mother for a moment?" Fu asked, delicately.

"What do you want to know?"

"Where was she? How did she look?"

"She was in this…other room in our house, underground. And he had her in a pod, sleeping. I could see her breathing. She looked…a little pale, thin."

"That's to be expected."

"But now…I don't know what to do." Adrien sighed. "I can't just leave her there."

"No, and you won't." Master Fu fetched his tablet, and began to flip through some images. "Your father was in possession of a grimoire, a book containing all the knowledge of the Miraculous. I managed to scan the whole thing before Marinette took it back."

"Wait what?"

Marinette smiled sheepishly. "You remember that book you had with Lila?"

"Oh, yeah! The one with all the Miraculous in it! How did you know about that?"

She blushed heavily, a twirled a lock of hair around her finger. "Well…I was jealous of Lila getting close to you, so I followed you guys. I saw her take the book from your bag, and then hide it in a trash can. I was going to return it to you right away, but Tikki recognized it." She huffed, "you know, at that time, Master Fu said that the owner of the book would probably be Hawkmoth, that's why when we fought Volpina, I told you I thought it was your dad."

"Oh!" He snapped his fingers. "I remember! And then my father turned into The Collector, so we wouldn't suspect him. I see." He nodded. "So, what about this book?"

Fu answered, not looking up. "If the peacock Miraculous has the ability to steal someone's soul, perhaps the key to saving your mother is within its pages."

He instantly perked up. "You mean, you can save my mother?!"

"Don't get your hopes up Adrien." Fu chastised. "There is a possibility. But there is still much I don't know, as soul Magic is tricky business."

Adrien nodded sagely, staring at the tabletop. "I...understand."

"No doubt, the kwami will discuss this and come to some sort of solution."

"Since Hawkmoth is no longer a threat, we don't need to worry about being without our kwami. But we, Ladybug and Chat Noir, meet with the mayor and the lawyer representing the city of Paris later this week."

"When is the trial?"

"Next week, Tuesday."

"They have made certain to move this sentence quickly. Not that Gabriel poses a threat anymore."

"Bail is set at 500 million Euros. While he could potentially pay it, he would have to sell all of his assets. Company, stocks, all inventory, houses, everything. And after this, there would be no way to build himself back up." Adrien sighed. "It's a relief to know he can't get to me."

Marinette ran her hand down his arm. "Don't forget, he thinks you're dead."

"Right…right…" Still, his gaze was unfocused and lost in thought.

"Hey," she shook his shoulder. "Whatever you're thinking, we can handle it. Together. Okay?"

His eyebrows creased. "You know, I love being Chat Noir. I always have. With the mask, I could be whoever I wanted to be. So I was the most over the top, ridiculous, goofy character I could create. One that I knew my father would hate…Chat is confident and impulsive, but he always has Ladybug. Two halves of a whole. Made to fight together and support each other. It was…the complete opposite from Adrien. Adrien had…a style guide to follow, not just in dress, but behavior, emotions. When Adrien was feeling lonely, he was…given therapy. When he had questions about love life, he had to actively seek out someone to confide in. Having support, having friendship, being allowed to show emotion and act like a normal human being…it's still new to me. After how many months? I'm still trying to learn how to let people help me. Plagg has been…a godsend." He wiped some tears from his eyes. "He's always with me, and even though he's a butt head, he's there. Do you remember the Nightmare Akuma?"

Marinette shivered. "Oh yeah. That was the worst."

"Well…that was the only akuma that made me cry. Of course, I was terrified when you jumped in Animan's mouth, this akuma…my room filled with prison bars. Plagg had disappeared, and I was truly all alone. I cried out for help from my father, but he never came…I was so scared." Finally, Adrien looked back up to the two watching him with sad eyes. "I'm so sorry, I just went on a rant there for a while…"

"Kitty, I'm so glad you did. You know what that means?"


"You're healing."

His eyes widened as he stared at her in wonder.

"You were so used to holding your tongue, not talking about things, or getting cut off…that's not behavior that goes away in a few months, but it's exciting to see it fading. Also, Emile smiles really wide, and you have the most wonderful laugh…"

He beamed. "Thank you my lady."

Master Fu cleared his throat. "Marinette is right. This is a good sign. Your tears are not a sign of weakness, but strength. Strength in your trust of us, strength in your knowledge of what is good and healthy, and strength in your courage to express yourself. The coming days will be hard, Adrien. I won't sugar coat it, but you have lots of people to cry on. So let yourself cry."

Adrien seemingly took his advice to heart as he started bawling. "B-b-b-but I don't—like to cry~!"

Marinette petted his hair and scratching his scalp just the way he liked it. He purred in between his hiccups. "Aw, kitty."

"I'm such a mess!" He bemoaned.

"A cute mess."

Master Fu smiled kindly and refilled his teacup. Then he urged the conversation onward. "So he called the police?"

Adrien cleared his throat and wiped his face with a sleeve. "Yes. Well, his secretary called them. Then, I went back to the hospital. It was around 2am at this point. While I was gone…Marinette suffered a series of heart attacks, and the doctor said it wouldn't be long before her heart stopped all together." He paused to sip his tea. Talking about this was still hard, but less so because Marinette was sitting beside him, still healing some ribs, but no longer in danger. "But instead of taking us back to see her, he took us to his office to show us…Tikki."

Both teens winced, worried about Master Fu's reaction.

"He found out?"

Marinette answered, "Apparently, Tikki revealed herself to him on her own, to save me."

"Hmm. I suppose she would know. She is the oldest and wisest of the kwami. Though, I don't think we have to worry, since Hawkmoth is no longer a threat. Why did she reveal herself?"

Adrien answered. "She wanted to make sure Chat Noir could see Marinette. Or, more importantly, get ahold of her earrings."

Master Fu stood quickly, now in shock and outrage. "You put on both Miraculous!?"

Adrien could only nod.

"Do you know how dangerous that is!? It is forbidden! Balance has to be maintained! You could have killed yourself! Or someone else!"

Marinette pulled up the video Nino shot. "But he didn't." She handed her phone over to Master Fu, while Adrien continued.

"I don't think Tikki would have suggested it if she wasn't desperate. It was…strange. When I transformed, I couldn't remember anything. But Alya was there to ground me, and she directed me towards Marinette. I wished to take half of her wounds."

Master Fu watched the video with furrowed brows, saying nothing. When it was over, he rewound it and watched again. Then finally, he responded. "What you did was risky and foolish."

Adrien sighed and hung his head.

"But you pulled it off flawlessly, and used it to save someone else. Therefore, you have proven yourself as a true miraculous user."

Adrien sat up straight, "you mean it?"

"Yes, I only know of one other person that has used both the Black Cat and Ladybug miraculous…for selfish reasons that ended in catastrophe."

"What happened?" Marinette asked.

"When I was younger, around my twenties, I began training with the other Miraculous Guardians in Tibet. I made a foolish decision and loaned the Peacock and Butterfly to a man for selfish reasons. When he refused to return them, and started to use them for his own will, I stole the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous to try to fix my mistake. Instead…" he paused, pain rushing over his features. "I haven't told anyone about this. But I didn't know you lost your mind when you transformed. I thought it would be simple, just transform in secret and wish for the Miraculous back. But in those days, I was still…I was the youngest of the guardians. The lowest in pecking order. I got the grunt work and unfavorable jobs. So when I transformed, the only things I could recall were some ridicule I faced." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "I wished for revenge."

He could hear both teens gasp, but he couldn't bare to look up.

"The only thing that survived was the Miracle Box and the Miraculous. The man that had the Butterfly and Peacock had fled the town in the aftermath. After I fled to Paris, I vowed to never put on the earrings or the ring, but I used the Turtle only in emergencies to protect the Miraculous."

He looked up to the two shocked teens. "I took a huge risk by giving you two the Miraculous, but I am so glad I did. You have both exceeded my expectations."

Marinette and Adrien looked at each other and smiled proudly.

"So, you're not going to take our Miraculous back?" Asked Marinette.

"No, with a few notable exceptions, Ladybugs and Chat Noirs are wielders until they die. Usually, they meet their end on the battlefield, but occasionally their Kwami get the joy of helping raise children and grandchildren. Which in this age of peace, is fairly likely. In any case, Adrien's successful use of both of the Miraculous has further cemented my decision."

"Decision?" Asked Adrien.

"Yes. I am the last Guardian of the Miraculous, and quickly approaching 190 years old. The Miraculous aids to longevity, so I may have another Century in me, but I still need to appoint a successor. Both of you are good choices. But because Adrien used both, and is fluent in Chinese, I have decided to train him to be a guardian. Hopefully, your family can become the new Order of The Guardians."

Both Adrien and Marinette stared at him, wide eyed and slack jawed.

"Are you serious?"

"Deadly. There is much knowledge withheld from the Kwami, which would be lost with me. There is no one else I trust more than you two."

Adrien breathed, "w-wow, it's an honor!" But the look on his face said otherwise.

"If you are uncomfortable with the idea, you can decline."

"No no! It's fine! It's just—I'm..."

"Overwhelmed?" Marinette asked simply.

"Yeah. There's just been...a lot to digest."

"Understandable. Please, we'll revisit this another day, when you have less to think about."

Adrien figured that was code for 'once your father is in prison'. He nodded, "Okay. Thank you."

"And in the meantime, I will continue to research the Peacock Miraculous and your mother's state."

"Do you have some paper and a pen?" Adrien asked.

"Ah, yes. But why?"

"There was one more thing that I need to mention." Taking the paper, he wrote down a phone number and email address. "Nathalie Sancoeur was my father's secretary and my…babysitter, for lack of a better word. She was there when he was arrested. She knows who I am. She knew I was Chat long before Emile was in the picture, but she chose not to say anything, stating that it wasn't any of her business. If you need to see my mother, I'm sure Nathalie will let you in. Especially if you explain who you are."

"If she had not told M. Agreste your identity in all this time, I suppose she's trustworthy enough. This will help."

Adrien sighed again, his shoulders sagging.

"You okay?" Marinette asked.

"I will be." He offered his lady a smile.

"It has been quite the day. Why don't you two head on home?"

"Sounds good. Homework waits for no man!"


Nine Lives

A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by P-Artsypants

Part 15 of 18

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