Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

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

Part 17 of 18

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"I am the late Adrien Felix Agreste, son of Gabriel Agreste."

The courtroom was in an uproar, but Adrien didn't move. He gripped the rail in front of him like a lifeline, fear closing in on all sides. There was shouting, and wailing, and he even heard someone yell, "you dirty liar!"

"Order!" Judge Boucher shouted, slamming the gavel. "I said order!"

Adrien clenched his eyes shut, feeling absolutely nauseous. There was no way in hell he would turn to look at his father.

"Mr. Noir, is this some sort of prank? Because it's not funny."

"No sir," Adrien whispered into the little mic, heart in his throat. "But due to the information I received—" he hesitated, his whole body tensing. "From Hawkmoth. I felt it would be dishonest to hide my identity. And...I can't urge you enough to lock him away for the rest of his miserable life." He shuttered.

The judge continued his glaring, but then spoke to Gabriel. "M. Agreste, can you verify that this is your son?"

Adrien felt his eyes on him. Boring holes into his heart. But what was the look on his face? Of shock? Of hope? Surely, it was of displeasure, for being humiliated by his wayward son.

"Adrien, look at me." His voice conveyed no clues for what prepared him.

He didn't want to turn around. He didn't want to obey. Not now, when he was finally free!

"Look at me!" His voice pierced the air, as Gabriel slammed his fist on his table. It was a command, one that Adrien's body chose to obey, despite his soul crying out against it.

So he simply turned, and awaited judgement.

"You know, when faking your death, it's usually the 'death' part that's the most important." Said Plagg, floating around the multiple boxes.

"I know. But true crime dramas didn't prepare me for this. I know how to make a murder look like a suicide...but faking a suicide? There's so many variables! For example, most situations would require a body, right? I could jump off the bridge, turn into Chat Noir, and maybe that would work. But my father wouldn't rest until the entire river was dredged."

"It's a good backup plan, at least."

"And what about you? You've lived centuries! You have to have something!"

"Hey, I've had dozens of kittens run away from home to be Chat Noir, but faking a death? Now that's new to me."

"Ugh! Help me out here!"

"You know what death I was always partial to? The Iron Maiden. Just the idea sends chills down my whiskers."

"Oh forget're never helpful."

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door and Plagg zipped off to hide.

"Come in," said Adrien.

His father entered, looking as crisp as ever in his white suit.

"O-oh, father...I didn't expect you." And he really didn't. Despite living in the same house, it was rather rare that they spoke. And even rarer for Gabriel to come to him.

"Are you busy?"

"N-No! Just packing! Did you—wanna talk?"

Gabriel nodded and stepped over to sit on the couch.

Father and son sat in silence for a moment before Gabriel spoke, "I know you're apprehensive about Germany, Adrien."

Adrien rubbed his arm. It wasn't really Germany that was bothering him anymore. "...yeah."

"But you know, it's a very lovely country. A very rich culture, with beautiful architecture and deep history."

"Yes, I know..."

"Well, what has you apprehensive then? The school has the best security, and Nathalie and I are just a phone call away in an emergency.."

" isn't that. My German isn't very strong, you know that. It was hard enough picking up all the social cues I's a whole other country!"

"But they know you're French, they know things will be different."

"But I don't want to go."

"You don't know what you want, you're just a child."

Adrien bristled, a very Chat like reaction. "I am not!"

"You sure are acting like one."

Desperate to be heard, Adrien raised his voice. "Well, what do you expect?! You're tearing me away from everything I know!"

"You're just being ridiculous, and a bit hysterical."

"Ridiculous!?" His voice cracked.

"Stop yelling, Adrien. I'm not in the wrong here." Gabriel snipped.

The boy swallowed his retort, tears biting at his eyes.

"You know, you're not a normal person. You're special. You're extremely important to me. And I couldn't bare to lose you. Seeing you turn into a glitter statue from that Akuma nearly gave me a heart attack. And the Akuma have only become even more dangerous since then. I can't risk it."

"I get it. You are concerned with my physical safety...but what about my mental wellness?"

"If you are concerned about it, I'll have Nathalie look up a French speaking counselor in Tannenwalde."

Adrien scoffed, but had nothing left to say. There was no use arguing anyway. "Fine."

Gabriel sighed. "This is the best thing for you. One day, you'll see my side of things. One day you'll thank me."

Adrien didn't agree, but didn't say as much.

"I'll have Nathalie clear your schedule for tomorrow. You can have Mlle. Bourgeois come over, or perhaps Mlle. Dupain-Cheng? She seems worthy of conversation. And certainly a much better influence than that other friend of yours. Whatever his name was."

Now Adrien knew why Gabriel had come to him. He couldn't escape.

"Though, it's not like it matters. You'll have new friends soon enough. Hmm?"


Gabriel stood, straightening his tie. "Good talk." Then he left with nothing else to say.

That was the last time they spoke.

Gabriel couldn't believe his eyes. Yes, there was no doubt about it, this was Adrien. He had studied the boy's face all his life.

But the makeup did nothing to hide the fact that he was disfigured, and his nervousness didn't eclipse the absolute rebellion in his eyes.

Adrien tried to keep his teary eyes unfocused in an attempt to soften his father's features. But the frown of betrayal was still too prominent to hide.

"Adrien...your face..."

"My sacrifice for my freedom." Adrien answered, just above a whisper.

"Your honor," Gabriel addressed the judge. "There is no doubt that this is my son. But his...appalling behavior is unrecognizable."

Adrien turned away, facing forward.

"My son is dramatic and naïve, but he's courteous and loyal, and he most definitely isn't a liar."

Those words triggered something in Adrien, because he swiveled back around. "Oh and you're so blameless?! What happened to, 'we have to trust each other,'?! You've been lying to me longer than I've been lying to you!"

The gavel slammed down again, and Adrien shut his mouth with a click.

"M. Agreste, this is not your place to make accusations."

Adrien shrunk, sheepishly.

The judge's voice softened. "M. Noir, if you would be so kind to explain yourself? If your action to fake your death is at all related to the defendant, I would like to hear that explanation. If not, then I must insist we move on."

"It does have to do with him..." Adrien admitted.

"Then the floor is yours."

Adrien nodded, swallowing thickly. His throat was tight and mouth dry, but he'd suffer through. "Back in February, my father told me I was to be enrolled in a military boarding school in Germany. I told him I didn't want to go, he said that it was for my own good, and I didn't have a choice. I pleaded with him several times, but he refused to listen to me. But the thing is, I'm Chat Noir too, so if I went, I'd have to give up my Miraculous."

"And that wasn't something you were willing to do?"

"No." He stated firmly. "I...need to be Chat Noir. It goes beyond being a father never let me leave the house, and the few times I did, I was to be accompanied by my bodyguard. When I was finally allowed to go to school, I had to fight for it. I had to fight for every minute of freedom. For every friendship. Being Adrien meant a rigorous schedule planned weeks in advance. It meant having your clothes picked out, your hair styled just right, your face blemish free…it meant having to be nice to people who were mean, always being polite and reserved, and always having to pretend your happy when you…when you wish you were never born!" The last words were forced out as a sob, as he clenched the railing in front of him. He cringed and swallowed his rebellion, the storm brewing in his chest. "But being Chat Noir was my ultimate freedom. I could go anywhere, do anything…I had friends of my own, I could be goofy and sad…and it was the perfect reprieve to my suffocation," He shuttered. "When he told me where I would be going…it was like looking upon prison. To me, a fate worse than death. And I had done nothing to deserve it. I spent my life obeying my father no matter what…and he chose to drive me away."

"And you couldn't run away instead?"

"No. Because I knew if Gabriel ever had the thought that I was alive, he would not rest until I was home."

The judge frowned, thinking for a moment. "Well, I certainly see why you did what you did. But Gabriel's actions don't seem to reflect the word 'insane'. Perhaps neglectful or overly strict, but this is not a domestic case. Therefore, I believe we should move on."

Adrien nodded, willing to say his piece and get the heck out of there.

"Normally, close relatives of the accused are not allowed to testify in assize, but I will make a notable exception in this case. Do you swear to speak without hate or fear, and to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"

Adrien winced, hesitating. "I can speak the truth, but I don't know if I can speak without hate or fear…"

"Your honor," Gabriel's lawyer spoke up. "I have to insist having M. Agreste-or rather M. Noir be declined as a witness. Since he is very obviously biased."

Judge Boucher sighed, glancing at the other judges. "I'm afraid you're right. In that regard, no one else was at the final confrontation that can or is willing to speak."

"I can." A new voice piped up, quite loudly.

"Who said that?"

A little black orb zipped around the room, slowing down to float lazily in front of the panel of judges. He came back to Adrien and spoke into the mic. "The name's Plagg, god of Destruction."

No one knew what to do with that.

"I'm sorry, what?" Boucher asked.

"Allow me to explain. In essence, I am Chat Noir. I am the suit and the powers. Everywhere Adrien goes, I go. Everything he sees, I see. Everything he hears, I hear. Now, while I am certainly attached to my little kitten, I have been practicing self control for the last 5,000 years. Give or take. And I'm not a blood relative to Gabriel Agreste."

The room was full of hushed murmurs.

"Plagg," Adrien whispered. "What are you doing?"

"Relax kid. It'll be fine."

"This is...we don't have a protocol for this." Another judge said.

"Your honor," Dr. Rayne spoke up, "it would be advantageous to hear him—it?—out. It is the only unbiased witness we have."

Boucher exhaled, his jowls flapping about. "Alright. In a case with magic possession, superheroes, and super villains, it only makes sense that a god be our witness."

Plagg had a Cheshire Cat grin.

"Monsieur...What was your name again?"


"M. Plagg. Do you swear to speak without hate or fear, and tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth?"

"I solemnly swear."

"Then we can proceed." Boucher managed a small smile of relief. "When did you and Adrien first become acquainted?"

"That would be the first day Chat Noir surfaced. So what? Sept. 8?"

"Are you the only one of your kind?"

"Nope. Ladybug has one, and so did Gabriel. There are others as well." Plagg floated to rest in Adrien's hair, a loud purr cutting through the air. Adrien appreciated it immensely.

"So, in your eyes, what happened on June 7th?"

"That was the day Hawkmoth surrendered? I'm bad with dates. But basically, there was an akuma, like Ladybug had said, and we transformed into Chat Noir. There was running, and then we followed them to Hawkmoth's lair. Gabriel reveal his identity, and we tried to use Cataclysm on him, but Spots stepped in front of us. All this is true, just as Ladybug said."

"Alright. Then what happened?"

"Gabriel told us to take Spots to the Hospital, and that he would stay put. So, Adrien, being scared of losing the love of his life—"


"—took Ladybug to the hospital. After several hours of surgery, the doctor stated that she was somewhat stable, but no one was allowed to see her. So, Adrien decided to go back to the Mansion and retrieve the Miraculous."

"Do you know what time that occurred?"

"Oooohhhhhhh sometime after Midnight. When we arrived, there was a bunch of suitcases sitting around. Gabriel and his secretary had been waiting for us. Gabriel just handed over both Miraculous, and stated that he would be calling the police once the exchange was over. I thought that would be it, but Chat asked Gabriel what his intentions were, and so Gabriel told him…or rather showed him."

"Objection!" Gabriel yelled.

"You forfeited your right to confess on your own." Boucher reprimanded. "Perhaps if it was such a big secret, you shouldn't have told anyone."

"Adrien please…don't drag her into this…"

Adrien's voice was hoarse, but he simply said. "Go on Plagg, please?"

"As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted." He glared at Gabriel. "Gabriel took Chat into a secret passage in the basement of the mansion, to an atrium. And who do we find? Adrien's mother, asleep in suspended animation."

The crowd gasped and shocked whispers spread throughout the room.

"No!" Gabriel shouted.

"Order!" The gavel slammed again. "M. Noir, is this all true?"

"Yes, your honor."

"There's more," added Plagg. "You see, Gabriel admitted that he and his wife had the Butterfly and Peacock Miraculous. Well, the Peacock is the Miraculous of Integrity. Duusu can make people stronger…but Gabriel thought that maybe he had found the secret of immortality with it."

"Please…" Gabriel begged again. "Please stop!"

"M. Agreste, I will not ask you again to be quiet."

Gabriel hung his head and buried his face in his hands.

"…I talked with Duusu, after Adrien returned her Miraculous to…its rightful place. She said that Gabriel bullied her into using her powers on Mrs. Agreste to extend her life. Though, he translated the passage incorrectly."


"Oh yeah! There's a spellbook with more information about the Miraculous, but it's all encoded. As Duusu recalled, the passage reads, 'fresta sálina úr verða til að ewig' which actually means 'suspend soul from body forever' instead of what was incorrectly translated as 'body occurring immortally.' Which, I feel is a pretty substantial mistake to make. You would think that a millionaire would take the time and money to hire someone to translate some Icelandic and German correctly instead of using Google translate. Honestly."

"M. Plagg, if you would continue to the point?"

"Oh right. Um, where was I? Oh yeah! So Gabe had his wife parrot the phrase before activating her Miraculous then TA-DA her soul was ripped from her body and the Miraculous broke."

A judge on the left piped up. "While that is awful, the quest for immortality has been going on for centuries. And it was obviously a mistake. Surely, a sane man would still take the opportunity for immortality if it presented itself?"

"That's not his crime!" Plagg shouted.

"Do tell, and what does this have to do with him trying to get ahold of the other Miraculous?"

Plagg inhaled, prepared to continue, but stopped and leaned forward off of Adrien's head. "Do you have any cheese?"

"Really!? NOW?! We're in court!"

The kwami scoffed and leaned back. "Fine…you owe me some later. Anyways…" he cleared his throat. "The person who holds both the Ladybug and Black Cat Miraculous can—essentially—grant any wish. But, it's super tricky, because balance will always need to be maintained. So, for example, if you wanted to bring a loved one back to life, someone else would die in their place."

"And Gabriel wanted the Miraculous to restore his wife's soul?"

"You got it!"

Boucher scratched his chin. "But, if what you said about balance is true, then…"

"Someone else would have to lose their soul in exchange, yes."

The Judge glanced over at Gabriel, his eyes narrowing. "Did you know this?"

"I abstain," Gabriel bit.

"Were you willing to sacrifice someone else for your mistake?"

"I abstain!"

"Will you take any responsibility for your actions!?"

"I will serve whatever sentence you give me." Gabriel said, darkly.

"M. Plagg, did Gabriel by chance mention his knowledge of this…wish?"

"Oh, he knew. He knew exactly what would happen. And he had someone picked out to take Mama Agreste's place."

"And that would be?"

Plagg laughed mirthlessly, "my poor little kitten, Adrien. He was planning on sacrificing his son. But, it's okay!" He added sarcastically. "Because once Mommy woke up, they'd have a new baby, and Adrien would be reborn in that body. Convenient, don't you think?"

Adrien sniffed, trying hard to keep back his emotions. His hand came up to cover his quivering lip.

"Are you alright, M. Noir?" The judge asked.

Adrien shook his head, not able to speak.

"With all that has happened, would you like to say something to your father before we end for the day?"

Adrien nodded and clenched his hands on the railing in front of him. "You…were a terrible father. I never knew any better, because I didn't know what dad's were supposed to be like. Until I met Ladybug's family, I…I thought this was normal. I thought you King Trident from the Little Mermaid. Strict and harsh, but honestly doing what you thought was best for me and my safety, because you loved me." He grit his teeth as more tears fell. "But now I know that you're really like Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame. Feeding me lies about the worst of the world, keeping me locked up because you—you wanted to take advantage of me! Keep me naive so I wouldn't know any better! Use me like a tool! You—you ruined my life!" He choked. Finally, he turned and looked at his father. "And still after all of this…I can't help but still love you. And I hate myself for it."

Gabriel's face remained cold, harsh, and unyielding. Disappointment and betrayal flashed in his eyes.

Adrien stood a little taller. "But I suppose that this was a wake up call. And now I can work on healing from my brainwashing." He turned back around to face the judge.

"Well said, M. Noir. Thank you, and you as well, M. Plagg, You may be seated."

Adrien took a massive sigh of relief and returned to the table.

Immediately, Ladybug grabbed his hand and squeezed.

"This concludes today's proceedings. Tomorrow, we will convene with all the facts and testimonies that have been presented today. The sentencing will take place thereafter. No witnesses are required to attend the sentencing, but those interested in watching are welcome to attend. Deliberation will take approximately six hours. You are dismissed."

The room filled up with sounds of scraping chairs and hushed conversation.

"About that cheese..." began Plagg.

"I'll give you five pounds of cheese when we get home, okay?"


Chat Noir returned, feeling much better with the suit on. Though the stares still burned on the back of his head.

Ladybug had been quiet, and he wondered if she was upset. "I'm sorry," he said squeezing their joined hands.

"Don't be. I told you to do what you thought was right. This information was important." She tugged on him, to pull him closer. She cupped his cheek. "And it's your secret to share."

"I'm kind of banking on people not being able to recognize me still as Emile." He winced, "but it might still be obvious who I am."

"Well, we'll take it one step at a time, and I'll be with you all the way."

"Thank you, My Lady."

A new voice entered the conversation. "Adrien?"

Chat stood stock still, his fists clenched at his sides. This was going to be how it was for a while. People approaching him in disbelief, and having varying reactions to his lie. It made him anxious just thinking about it.

He turned around to see Chloe standing there, tense, trembling, tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Chlo…" He began.

"I don't want to hear it!" She shouted, drawing the attention of others in the courtroom. "You were my best friend! We depended on each other! We shared secrets! I trusted you! I thought you trusted me, too!"

Guilt hit him hard, but he knew he couldn't have helped it.

"I could have helped you Adrien…I could have saved you!"

He glanced away, unable to bear her judgement. "No, you couldn't."

She frowned hard, blinking against her tears. "Am I ever going to see you again?"

He offered a soft smile. "Sure you will…just, not as Adrien."

"I don't know you anymore…" She shrugged pathetically. "And I don't know if I want to anyways."

"I'm sorry..."

She sniffed, gathering her courage, and held out her hand.

He took it with a firm grasp.

"It's been nice knowing you, Adrien Agreste."

"You too, Chloe Bourgeois."

With that, she nodded and left.

Nino and Alya had been watching from the other side of the barrier. "That could have been way worse, dude."

Chat sighed. "Yeah, still sucks though."

"At least she knows you're alive." Ladybug placated. "Maybe she'll come around."

"Perhaps." Chat glanced over to see a crowd of people looking at him, most likely wanting to ask questions. "I'm…going to take off. You guys know where to find me."

Ladybug nodded, "you go on ahead. We'll catch up in a bit."

Chat opened a window and leapt into the city.

At home, Emile, now Adrien to those who knew him, sat on the couch, hugging a pillow to his chest. Plagg sat on the coffee table, a pile of Camembert next to him.

"You did good today, buddy." Adrien smiled at him.

"I know. I was on my very best behavior too, just for you! I haven't had to talk like that in court in eons."

Adrien frowned. "You've spoken in court before?"

"Yeah, like…600 years ago? When Joan was killed. I helped persuade the Pope that she was innocent."

"Wait…Joan? As in…Joan of Arc?!"

"The Ladybug at the time, yes. And one of the only famous Ladybugs as well! Anyway, this was fun. It was great to see your dad actually look guilty for once."

"Is that what you saw? Because I didn't."

"Look kid, it's over now. You have a new family, and they like you for you."

Adrien sighed again. He hadn't seen Tom and Sabine's reactions to his revelation. What if they were mad? Or disappointed? What if they kicked him out? What if they forbid Marinette from seeing him anymore!? What if—

"We're home!" Sabine called, from the stairwell.

He needed to hide! Or maybe he should face the music now and get packing!

Before he knew it, Tom was standing in the doorway. Until that moment, Adrien had never really noticed how big he was.

"There you are, kiddo!" Tom smiled warmly. Marinette peered around his frame, smiling softly.

And just like that, all of his anxiety disappeared. It was foolish for him to be afraid of this kind family.

Tom was on him in an instant, scooping him up from couch and cradling him in his arms, petting his head.

Like a cat.

"Uh…" Adrien said smartly, too stunned to do anything else.

"Oh honey," Sabine cooed. "You were so brave today! We're so proud of you!"

Suddenly, a loud rumbling cut through the room as Adrien's face turned pink.

"Are you…purring?" Tom asked, snickering.

"Yeah…I do that sometimes."

"Aww!" The couple sang, showering him with affection.

Tom squeezed him tight and said softly, "Adrien, we're sorry we didn't know you were suffering. I would adopt you this minute…but, I'd much rather have you as a son in law."

Adrien couldn't help but giggle as Marinette rolled her eyes with a blush.

The next day was better. The courtroom was just as packed, and even though his identity was revealed, Chat was okay. He hadn't realized how heavy that secret was until now, since he felt a lot more relaxed. Last night was the best sleep he'd had since becoming Chat Noir.

And the Gabriel came into the courtroom.

Ladybug once again took his hand and intertwined their fingers. He breathed deeply, keeping his cool. No matter what, it would be okay. He had a family that loved him and that's all that mattered.

"All rise," bid the bailiff.

All nine judges entered once again, all looking thoroughly exhausted.

"You may be seated."

More chairs squeaking.

"Will the defendant please step forward."

Gabriel stood and walked to the bench, alone. Alone as he ever was. His hands cuffed, his gazed riveted to the floor.

"We the Cour de Cassation of the State of Paris find the defendant, Gabriel Agreste, guilty of terrorism and domestic abuse. He will serve 97 months, plus two years sentence in federal prison. A month for each victim, for a total of 10 years prison time, with no chance of Conditional Liberation." The gavel slammed down, and Gabriel's fate was set.

Nine Lives

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

Part 17 of 18

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