Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

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

Part 4 of 18

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Several days passed. For Marinette, there was no word from Chat. And for the rest of Paris, there was no word of Adrien.

Gabriel hired the best investigators, every single place that Adrien had been was searched, every inch of the Eiffel Tower, but still there was no sign of him. So finally, Gabriel had to make a painful decision.

"Following the incident with the Akuma known as 'Hotspot', authorities have yet to find any sign of beloved model and poster boy of Paris, Adrien Agreste. Friends and Fans from all over have been paying their respects to Agreste in flowers, cards, candles, and other treasures at the Eiffel Tower." Nadja was on tv again, standing at the scene surrounded by gifts.

Adrien was sitting up for once, since this news pertained to him.

"Gabriel Agreste has failed to make a public appearance, but his secretary had this to say at a press conference."

The shot changed to Nathalie's once cold and reserved face, now barely holding back tears. This was an old recording, as Adrien watched the live broadcast from Fu's phone. "Monsieur Agreste gives his deepest thanks for all thoughts and prayers at this time. He expresses gratitude to all service members for their hard work searching for Adrien. A memorial service with be held on Friday at sunset, at the base of the Eiffel Tower, and is open for the public to attend. He asks earnestly that Ladybug and Chat Noir be present, as Adrien held a fondness and adoration for the heroes."

She sniffed a little and gathered herself to be more reserved. "The Spring Agreste Espace Ephémére des Tuileries will be postponed to a later date. Thank you."

Adrien still couldn't believe that his father would actually postpone a show because of this. The Spring Tuileries show was huge and was coming up in three weeks. And yet, Gabriel had cancelled it, just like that. Maybe his father did care.

Or maybe it was because Adrien was supposed to be the main model.

Nadja was back on. "There's no news yet about the attendance of Ladybug and Chat Noir at the memorial service, but Jagged Stone has announced his attendance and has requested to play a song in Adrien's honor."

"So, are you going to go?" Plagg asked.

"Depends, does that count as an Emergency?" He asked Fu.

"If Chat is expected to make an appearance, I will permit you to go. But, I will not force you if you are not comfortable."

He idly scratched around his bandage over his eye. "I don't want Ladybug to have to be there alone. I know she'll want to go…but I don't know if she'll go as Ladybug or Marinette."

Fu sipped his tea. "I suggest you lay down."

"But I'm not tired."

"I said, lay down." His tone was kind, but his eyes held a threat.

So Adrien laid back down carefully, avoiding the right side of his body.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

"It's open," replied Fu.

"Master?" Marinette's sweet voice spoke from the door.

Adrien panicked and closed his eyes, pretending to be asleep.

"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize you…had a guest."

Adrien could feel her eyes on him, and refrained from moving.

"Please come in Marinette, you're always welcome here."

He heard her carefully walking across the room. "Is…is he alright?"

"He'll be fine. This is Emile, my godson. He'll be staying with me for a while."

"Your godson? Then…oh. I'm so sorry."

"It is alright. Now, I know you didn't come here without good reason."

Marinette was still quiet as he resisted the urge to open his eyes and look at her.

"You needn't worry about him," Fu said. "I don't want you speaking cryptically with me. All of your secrets are safe in this room."

"...have you seen the news?"

"About the young model on the Eiffel Tower? Yes. Very brave of you to chase after him without the mask."

"I wasn't thinking clearly," she admitted sheepishly. "I know that. But I couldn't not jump after him…he's a very good friend to me. Or…he was…"

"Just a friend?" Fu pried.

Adrien heard the sound of tea being poured as Marinette sat in silence.

"There's no point in hiding it. I loved him. And I would do anything to save him. But in the end…" She sniffed. "I'm so worried."

"Will you start at the beginning please?"

Marinette cleared her throat. "That day, my best friend Alya got a text from our friend Nino that Adrien wanted to go to the Eiffel Tower for lunch, and wanted to know if we would come. And of course I jumped on the opportunity."

"Did he know how you felt?"

"I don't think so. I never had the courage to confess." She sipped her tea. "So we met up, and hung out for a while. Then, Adrien told us that he would be moving to Germany within the week. His father was sending him to a Military school, and he didn't want to go. It hurt, hearing that, not just because I would miss him, but because I knew his father was horribly controlling. Adrien always had to fight for every ounce of freedom he ever had…and then he was going to lose it all again. It was heartbreaking."

Adrien's heart swelled as he listened to her. She was so considerate…she really did love him. And he ruined his chances with her.

Marinette continued. "Then, the akuma attacked. It was lava based, and wanted to melt the Eiffel Tower…it ended bending it over and the railings were parallel with the ground. I remember looking at my friends, and debating revealing myself to save them…but before I could...he fell."

She fell silent, and Adrien held his breath.

She sighed. "I jumped after him, and lost sight of him in the smoke in flames. But right as I transformed, Chat Noir saved me. I think at that moment, he had seen who I was. We defeated the akuma…but I could only think about Adrien. As soon as I purified the akuma, I went off looking for him, and I wasn't even paying attention to my timer. If it wasn't for Chat, I would have exposed myself to all of Paris."

"So have you come to ask why the healing spell didn't work on the young man?"

She nodded. "Tikki wouldn't tell me."

Adrien heard a quiet voice from her side. "Are you sure you can handle it?"

"I need to know what happened. Please…"

"Okay." Tikki said, forlorned.

Fu began, "Chat Noir has two powers, just like you have Lucky Charm and Miraculous Cure. One temporary, and one permanent."

Since when? Tikki had never mentioned it before, and neither had Chat or Master Fu. "And that is...?"

"I've heard it called Reckoning Chat Noir. Since Ladybug and Chat Noir are equals, good luck and bad luck, they are required to negate each other, to keep balance. If you call for Miraculous Ladybug, he can stop it from working."

Marinette choked on a gasp and covered her mouth. "Are you saying that Chat prevented the healing spell from saving Adrien?"

Tikki hated to admit it, but after a short pause she said, "yes."

Anger, rage, betrayal all flitted through her as she got up and began to pace. "I don't understand! Chat wouldn't—he couldn't! Why would he—?!"

Tikki hovered in front of her face, placing a paw on her cheek. "Marinette, you know Chat better than anyone. You know he would never purposefully hurt a civilian."

" couldn't have been jealousy, could it?"

"No." Tikki said earnestly. "You told him you loved Adrien after the cure had happened. There's no way he could have known."


Tikki fell silent.

Master Fu replied. "We can't know what happened. If it was an accident, or something more sinister."

"I…I don't know. I'm just…Chat knows who I am, and he knows I was in love with Adrien…but he hasn't spoken a word to me since the incident. I don't know how to feel or what to think—"

"You feel how you feel, neither me, Tikki, or Chat can tell you what's right."

Marinette was silent, and Adrien dared to open his eye to look at her. She looked awful, like she hadn't slept in days. He guessed that she probably hadn't and that she wasn't talking to anyone either. Her eyes were bloodshot and brimmed with tears.

Adrien clenched his eyes shut, unable to look at her.

"Are you going to the memorial service?" Fu asked.

"Gabriel asked specifically for me to come. I have to. And…I feel responsible for it. I don't know if Chat will be there or not, but I should go."

"I'll try to reach out to Chat for you." Fu nodded wisely.

"Thank you, Master." And she stood.

"It hurts now, but someday, the pain will fade."

"I know…honestly, I surprised Hawkmoth hasn't tried to Akumatize me…or anyone else yet."

"Don't speak too soon. Keep your eyes peeled."

"I will, Master, thank you for everything." A few steps, and the door closed.

Adrien sighed. "I'm the scum of the Earth."

Plagg came out of his hiding spot and chuckled. "Don't be so dramatic!"

"I'm not being dramatic! The love of my life hates me and thinks I'm dead."

"For now," the Kwami corrected, "you're going to tell her eventually, right?"

Fu spoke, after deep contemplation. "Quite a few years ago, I had the privilege of watching traditional glass blowing in Italy."

"Oh, that's...neat?" Adrien wondered where this was going, but didn't interrupt.

"It was very neat. The molten glass is over 2000 degrees while they work it. Once a piece is finished, it has to cool very slowly in a hot oven over a few days. Or else the temperature change is too sudden, and the glass explodes."

"Are you just trying to tell me I need to be patient and let her cool down?"

"Essentially, yes. The topic of Adrien is too sore for her right now. Suddenly revealing that you are still alive will only cause her to be angry and feel betrayed."

"Who says she won't feel those later, too?"

"You will know the proper time, Emile."

He swallowed at the sound of his new name. This was his reality now, but it wasn't easy to get used to.

"I suggest you figure out what you're going to say at the memorial service for now."

"Wait, since when do I have to speak?!"

"I don't know if you will, but it is better to go into a battle prepared to fight, yes?"

Adrien sighed. Living with this man would be like living with a fortune cookie.

The Esplanade was chocked full of people. Hundreds, thousands of people came to pay their respects for Adrien Agreste. As Chat Noir watched from the rafters of Eiffel Tower, he saw people gathered together. But as his advanced eyesight grazed the crowd, he frowned. Some people, a lot of people really, were actually upset and wore black. Others though, were chatting as though nothing was wrong. They had their phones out and were scanning the area for Ladybug or Jagged Stone. He figured that's what happened when you open event like this to the public.

Still, he saw his classmates all gathered to the front of the crowd, heads bowed in respect. Nino and Alya were holding onto each other and weeping. Chloe was at the other end of the group, wailing loudly and dramatically, crying out 'Adrikins!' It killed him to see her like that, since he knew she was actually genuine in her outburst. He was her oldest friend, and losing him would be like losing a brother.

Chat heard Ladybug's yoyo from behind. The crowd got a little stir crazy seeing her, but ultimately remained quiet.

He had checked his scars after his transformation, and saw a majority, the worst of it, was covered by his hair and mask. There was a little bit still lower on his cheek towards his mouth, and a bit on his neck, but it wasn't noticeable. He wondered if Plagg had something to do with it.

"Hello My Lady," he greeted. His tone was soft and reserved, absent of all his normal bravado.

"Hi Chat," she returned, not even able to spare a smile.

Careful of his claws, he cupped her cheek gently. "I'm sorry I've been AWOL. Once this is over, I want to talk. But for right now, let's just be strong for Paris, okay?"

She bit her lip and nodded.

"I'm with you Ladybug, now and forever."

Jagged Stone came up on stage, and grabbed an acoustic guitar. He didn't say anything, just started playing. Adrien recognized it, a song he listened to pretty often.

"I won't run away no more, I promise

Even when I get bored, I promise

Even when you lock me out, I promise

I say my prayers every night, I promise."

Though it was a favorite, he couldn't imagine those who knew him liking it being played at his funeral. He empathized with the lyrics too much.

"I don't wish that I'm dead, I promise

The tantrums and the chilling chats, I promise

Even when the ship is wrecked, I promise

Tie me to the rotten deck, I promise."

Glancing over, he could see Ladybug was already crying, and he took hold of her hand.

"I won't run away no more, I promise

Even when I get bored, I promise

Even when the ship is wrecked, I promise

Tie me to the rotten deck, I promise."

There was some microphone feedback as Nino, of all people, took to the stage.

Chat scanned the area again, looking backstage too, only to reach a sad observation.

His father wasn't here.

"Hello everyone." He squeaked into the mic, clearly nervous to be in front of so many people. "My name is Nino, and I would like to call myself Adrien's best friend. I want to thank everyone who came out tonight to…to honor my bud. I'm sure he's looking down at this crowd in awe, just like I am."

Awe was a good word.

"When Nathalie approached me about wanting to help organize a memorial service, I jumped on the chance. But I'm a DJ, not an event organizer. That didn't stop me from doing what I could to make this special for Adrien. He was the coolest, nicest dude I've ever met, and he deserved the world."

Damn it, Nino was going to make him cry.

"Adrien loved having fun and relaxing. His work was very important to him and his father, so he always held himself very professionally. But he just loved to let loose on occasion. That's why I encourage everyone to laugh at the jokes told, to sing with Jagged when he comes out, and to just remember the good times we had. Some of you may have only known him from his ads, but I hope after this service, you get a real sense of the rich personality to Adrien Agreste. Thank you."

Chat and Ladybug cheered from the Tower, only to be drowned out by everyone else clapping.

There was a short interlude where a candle was lit in front of his picture. Then, candles all throughout the crowd blinked up as the ground became a sea of flickering lights, glowing with the orange of the setting sun.

Nino handed the mic off to Nathalie, who rested a warm hand on his shoulder in passing. "Good evening, Friends, and thank you for coming today. My name is Nathalie Sancoeur, and I am Gabriel Agreste's assistant, and by extension, Adrien's. I am honored and humbled to be given this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Agreste family at this celebration of the life of Adrien Agreste. And celebrate is exactly what we are here to do.

"A funeral, or memorial service, is such an interesting event. We gather to talk about the deceased, to remember the good times and the tough times, and to collectively express our sorrows as we deal with the loss of a wonderful young man. But what qualifies any one single person to attempt to encapsulate the entire spectrum of a boy's life in a speech for a few minutes? I know I feel hopelessly under-qualified, as I have only known Adrien for the last 5 years or so of his life. How can I hope to do him justice?

"But I will try." She cleared her throat as she glanced at her notes. "Adrien…was like a son to me. Life isn't easy for a young celebrity. There were days where he was so tired from his work that he fell asleep in his clothes. And besides being busy, he also had to cope without a mother, and having to share his father with the rest of the fashion industry. But despite all this, Adrien was the embodiment of sunshine. The smiles he gave could melt the coldest of hearts, and make your day just a little bit better. His heart was big and held so much love for his family and friends, and even the staff at Gabriel that saw him regularly. He had many hobbies, doing everything with a passion to excel.

"Most of all, he was a kid. He had a favorite game he liked to play. Though he enjoyed video games, there was a game he made up on his own. Myself and his bodyguard were always asked to hold ourselves professionally when interacting with Adrien, and though he knew this, he would tell jokes and make puns on and on until we laughed. We lost every time.

"Though he had his own doubts and insecurities, he always placed other's happiness above his own. It was a quality I admired in him, and I can only hope it's passed along. My job was organizing his schedule and making his appointments, but my reward was his kindness. And I will be ever grateful for him in my life. Thank you."

Again, the crowd clapped.

Next, a group from his class came up together, arm in arm, and each told wonderful memories they shared with Adrien. Fun times hanging out, funny things he said in class, everything that was happy and warm.

And still, Ladybug continued to snivel and wipe her eyes behind him.

"Are Ladybug and Chat Noir here?" Nino asked into the mic.

"That's our cue, bugaboo." He wrapped his arm around her and lowered them to the stage, using his staff.

That Ladybug confidence she often held was wavering.

"Would you say a few words?" Nino asked.

She nodded once and approached the mic. "Um," she started, haltingly.

Chat rushed up beside her and rested a hand to her back. "It's alright."

"Friends and family of Adrien Agreste," her voice was thick with emotion, and everyone could tell she was having a hard time getting this out. "From the very bottom of my heart, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for your loss and…and I'm sorry for failing you." She choked.

Chat decided she wasn't going to finish with her speech, as he wrapped an arm around her and nudged her away from the mic.

"What Ladybug means…" he said carefully. "Is that we regret what happened here. We don't know why Adrien didn't come back after the healing spell, but it's something we take responsibility for. But, despite this horrible tragedy, we vow to honor the promise we made all those years ago. We will stop Hawkmoth, and we will not rest until we do so. Adrien believed in us, and after hearing everything that was said tonight, I can't help but think that was the greatest honor to have. What happened was awful and sad…but it will never happen again." He glanced at Ladybug, holding her in solidarity. "Hawkmoth feeds on negative emotions. So we ask that you take Nino's advice; celebrate Adrien. Remember the happy times you shared. Cry happy tears. Don't let Hawkmoth win tonight. Let love win!"

The applause was overwhelming as Ladybug returned his hug. "Thank you," she whispered.

Jagged came back up with the guitar. "I don't like playing funerals." He said honestly, "no one ever knows what to sing. And no one ever wants to sing along. But if you know this one, which was Adrien's favorite, please sing with me, nice and loud."

He started to strum, a sad little tune.

"That there, that's not me.

I go where I please.

I walk through walls,

I float down the Seine.

I'm not here,

This isn't happening,

I'm not here…

I'm not here."

Ladybug turned in his arms and hid her face in his shoulder.

"In a little while I'll be gone,

The moment's already passed,

Yeah it's gone.

And I'm not here

This isn't happening

I'm not here

I'm not here."

Nine Lives

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

Part 4 of 18

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