Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

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

Part 6 of 18

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It was the first day of the spring Trimester. While most students were excited, since this was the last trimester before summer, Miss Bustier's class was less than enthusiastic. One of their classmates would not be returning, ever.

But Miss Bustier would not allow this to ruin the safe and warm environment in the classroom.

Besides, there was a new student today, and everyone needed to greet him with kindness.

"Alright everyone, it's great to see you all again. I know our spring break had…some difficulties. But I hope we can all unite together as a family and be there for one another in this difficult time."

There was a quiet murmur that came from the class.

"Now, we have a new student starting this trimester." She glanced to the door. "Would you come in please?"

A young man strolled in, like he didn't have a care in the world. The first thing everyone noticed was the scar and festering blisters that covered the top right half of his face, and the eyepatch over his right eye. His blonde hair was shaved on one side, all combed over and tussled to the left. His left ear was pierced on the top. He had more scarring on his neck, which was covered by a high collar black shirt. A green flannel shirt rested over the top, and baggy, tattered black jeans covered his legs. He wore black combat boots, and had a chain-link belt. Despite his rugged appearance, he smiled warmly.

"Yo!" He bowed at the waist. "I'm Emile Fu. It's a pleasure!"

Marinette's eyes widened. This had to be Master Fu's godson. She hadn't really gotten a good look at his face, because of the bandages, but she remembered him having blonde hair. And the blisters looked rather fresh.

"Emile is here all the way from Shanghai, China! Would it be alright if everyone asked a few questions just to get acquainted with you?"

"That sounds fun!" Emile chirped.

True to form, Chloe was the first to raise her hand.

Adrien resisted a cringe, he had a feeling this wasn't going to be very nice. "Yes, miss?"

"Hi, Chloe Bourgeois, my father is the mayor of Paris, the most richest and powerful man in the city, just so you know. My question, if you're from China, why aren't you Chinese?"

Sabrina gasped. "Chloe! You can't just ask why someone isn't Chinese!"

"No, no, it's a valid question." Emile placated. All things considered, it was a pretty mild question. "My parents are native Parisians. I was actually born in Paris, I was just raised in Shanghai."

Another hand shot up in the back, "Yes?"

"Hi! I'm Rose! It's nice to meet you! Who's your favorite artist?"

"Hmm, I would say Jagged Stone." It was a safe answer, since a lot of people liked him.

Marinette's hand raised, and he resisted the urge to beam at her. "Yes, you?"

"My name's Marinette. I was wondering what your favorite pastry was?"

He stepped up the theatrics a little, "How could I possibly choose one!? Sweets are the only thing I eat! If I could live in a bakery I would!"

Marinette giggled. "Ironically, I do live in a bakery. You should join us for lunch." She gestured to Nino and Alya.

He snapped his fingers. "You're Marinette Dupain-Cheng, right? My godfather mentioned you! It's an honor to meet you, My Lady." He bowed dramatically.

Marinette blushed. This was definitely the same guy. And, that meant…he probably knew who she was.

Another hand raised in the back. "Hey! I'm Kim! What's your favorite sport?"

He could answer anything other than fencing. "Hmm, good question. I love sports, but I think my favorite is martial arts. I'm not very good at them though!"

"No worries dude, if you're up for some sparring, I'll whip you into shape!"

"Sounds awesome! Thanks Kim!"

Chloe's hand raised again.

"Ah, yes?"

"Since everyone else is too much of a coward to point out the obvious, I guess it's my job. Who let Quasimodo out of Notre Dame?"


Miss Bustier gasped. "Chloe! Do you think that's an appropriate way to treat a brand new student?"

Adrien snickered and leaned against her desk, giving her a charming smile that gave Chat Noir a run for his money. "You know, in viking culture, the more scars a man has, the more manly and attractive he is. By that logic, I'm the most handsomest man in the room."

"Ew! As if! Get away from me, Freddy Krueger!"

"Ooo it's okay Pookie, denial is cute on everyone!"

Marinette and Alya sputtered out laughter, as Emile winked up at them.

"Ugh, whatever!" Chloe gave up and crossed her arms over her chest.

Adrien addressed the room, a little more seriously. "But I'm sure everyone is curious about this," he pointed to his face. "But feel free to ask questions. I…was in a fire. That's why I'm in Paris with my Godfather."

"Godfather? What, are you in the mafia or something?" Asked Chloe.

"It means he's an orphan, you brat!" Alya bit. "I'm sorry about her Emile, Chloe doesn't have a filter."

He shrugged. "Oh, that's nothing to worry about. She's obviously crushing on me and is having a hard time coping."

"I am not! You—We just met!"

"Ah, and you think it's love at first sight, no?"

The sound that escaped Chloe's lips in that moment was priceless. Equal parts frustration and humiliation. She ended up putting her face in her hands, and shutting up.

Miss Bustier took the reigns again. "Well, that was fun. I hope you all do well to make Emile feel welcome." Then she looked at him, "You can sit up here next to Nino."

"That's Adrien's spot!" Chloe cried out in dismay.

"Oh, I didn't know someone was sitting here," Emile made to stand.

Nino touched his shoulder gently. "It's okay dude. Adrien's…no longer with us. But I'm sure he'd like you to have a seat. I'm Nino by the way."

Adrien smiled and sat down. "It's nice to meet you too, ah dude?"

The school day passed without incident. Adrien kept his character up well, since he was a natural at acting, and Emile was more Chat Noir than Adrien. But what made everything so much harder, was that Ladybug was sitting right behind him.

He was fully aware of her presence behind him, and it was hard to believe he hadn't noticed her before. Now that his death was squared away, he had plenty of time to deal with this revelation. His wonderful, brave, sassy Lady, was shy, sweet, and kind Marinette. He should have known.

When the bell for lunch rang, he sat up and turned to look at her. "So, Marinette? Were you serious about that lunch invite?" He really hoped she was. Because he no longer had to check in with anyone, he wasn't forced to go home for lunch, and he could spend the rest of the day with them if he wanted.

Of course, he had to befriend them again first.

"Of course!" She replied with a wide smile. "What do you guys think?"

"Absolutely!" Alya chimed in. "I remember what it was like being the newbie around here. You joining us, Nino?"

"Uh, yeah, sure…sounds fun." He answered, semi-withdrawn.

Adrien picked up on it immediately, knowing his friend well. But he didn't push it.

Together, the group walked over to Tom and Sabine's Boulangerie Patisserie for lunch, and the whole time, Emile's eyes scanned the displays.

Marinette greeted her parents lovingly, bringing a pain to his chest.

"Maman, papa, this Emile, he's new at school."

"Hi!" He greeted cheerfully.

Marinette leaned in conspiratorially to her parents. "He's an orphan, so we have to take care of him."

Sabine let out a little gasp and went and hugged him. "Well, a friend of Marinette's is certainly a friend of ours! What would you like?"

For you to adopt me. "Uh…I don't know if I could pick! What do you suggest?"

Upstairs, the four assembled at the little table in the kitchen, eating their pastries and sandwiches on fresh baked bread.

"Marinette! This is so delicious!" Adrien cried, his mouth full. It was in part that he hadn't eaten any home made food in over a week. Fu wasn't exactly a master chef.

"Uh, thanks. I'll pass the compliment along."

"Alright Emile, what's your story?" Alya asked, leaning on her elbow.

"My story?"

"You said we could ask any questions. All you said was that there was a house fire, and that you were here with your godfather. So...what happened?"

"Alya..." Marinette reprimanded.

"Nah, it's cool. I did say you could ask." He was knee deep in this lie already, he might as well take the plunge. "I'm not actually an orphan…but I might as well be one. My mother disappeared and my father left me all alone in Shanghai…"

Marinette gasped, her heart automatically going out to him.

"There was a fire in my house, and I barely escaped with my life. I-I think my father set the fire, so I escaped to Paris under a pseudonym."

"So Emile Fu isn't you're real name?" Alya asked, eyebrow raised.

Danger! Danger! "Uh, no it's not. But for my safety, I have to keep it a secret."

"How'd you get to Paris?" Nino pried.

"Uh…in a freight train carrying sushi flavored Lay's potato chips. It took a week and a half, and I ate my weight in chips, but I made it." Too far, bring it back…

"Aw dude, that's so sad…" Nino said with sympathy.

"But like, so resourceful. Cool backstory." Alya said with a wink.

At least they bought it. "It is pretty cool, and I got a sick scar out of it."

"Can you see out of that eye?" Nino pointed to his eyepatch.

"Oh, yeah." He lifted it to show the matching green iris. "But my eyelid is scarred and the skin around my eye is really nasty, so I have to wear a patch." He covered it back down.

Marinette frowned. "Did this like, just happen?"

"Well…yeah. I find optimism and jokes the best way to cope. Gotta keep a positive outlook, you know? Don't want to be aku-aka...akawhattaitized?"

Marinette chuckled. "Akumatized?"

"Yeah, that one!"

"So," began Alya, picking up another trail. "How do you know Emile's guardian, Marinette?"

Marinette paled, completely unprepared for the question.

But Adrien was quick to jump in and rescue her. "Master Fu is a renowned massage therapist."

"Say no more," Alya said with a giggle. "That makes perfect sense. You fall so often, I'm surprised you haven't broken every bone in your body."

"Ohh yeah! Without Master Fu, I'd be lying in pain all the time!"

Marinette sent a gracious smile over to Emile. He winked back.

Yeah, he definitely knew who she was.

"By the way dude," Nino nudged his new friend. "I hate to break it to you, but Chloe doesn't actually have a crush on you. She really is just that mean."

"Oh I know. But like I said, jokes are how I cope. I've been bullied enough in my life that I know the quickest way to annoy someone is to suggest they have a crush on you." He had actually never been bullied before, but taunting akuma was second nature to him by now.

"Well, it was a really effective strategy."

"And you're going to have it perfected by time we graduate," Nino added. "Chloe is a Bitch, with a capital 'B'."

"She can't be that bad." Adrien tried to defend. Though he was someone new, he would still try to defend her.

"Adrien used to say that too." Nino said with a sigh. "It was easy for him though, she adored him."

"Adrien? Oh, the guy who…isn't here anymore?"

Everyone sighed together, shoulders sinking, downcast eyes.

"He…fell off the Eiffel Tower." Nino answered. "There was an akuma attack, and after Ladybug healed the city…he didn't come back."

"It's been three weeks," Marinette continued. "But it feels like it just happened."

"Have you heard of Ladybug?" Alya asked, "Or are you totally lost when we say that?"

"No no, I know all about Ladybug and Chat Noir. Master Fu told me all about it. He said it's a pretty common occurrence in Paris these days."

"Well it used to be," Alya supposed. "But the last akuma was when we lost Adrien…I have a theory that Hawkmoth might be feeling guilty, and that's why he hasn't akumatized anyone."

"It has to be." Marinette added. "Half of Paris is still grieving. He would just have to point."

"Well, for Ladybug and Chat Noir's sake, I'm glad they get a little break." Adrien stated with a little smile. He was looking right at Marinette as he said it, and she got it.

Yep, he knew who she was.

Later that evening, Ladybug met Chat up on the Eiffel Tower, for their once a week patrol.

"Hello, My Lady," he greeted warmly.

"Hey Alley Cat," she returned.

Chat's smile widened, happy to see her in a better mood. Still, he rubbed his palm on her back, right between her shoulder blades. "Ready to go?"

"Hold on," Ladybug stated, taking a hold of his hand. "We have to go see someone."

"Oh?" He really hoped she wasn't talking about Emile. That might complicate things.

"Gabriel Agreste. We should have visited him earlier, but…I wasn't too stable myself."

"Are you sure that's smart? After all, we are…kind of responsible."

"M. Agreste is a level headed man. I'm sure it won't be that bad." She flung out her yo-yo. "C'mon!"

"Oh, if only you knew…" Chat muttered to himself.

Together, they swung through the streets of Paris over to the Agreste Mansion.

Even though it wasn't any later than 8pm, the house was dark and forbidding.

"I wonder if he's home." Chat said aloud, hoping above hope that she would change her mind and let them leave.

"He has to be, he never leaves his house."

Chat groaned inwardly. Seeing his father's reaction to his death was the last thing he ever wanted to see.

Ladybug rang the doorbell.

The camera came out quickly and spotted them. "Yes?" Nathalie's voice carried over the speaker.

"Hi! Um, we're here to see Mr. Agreste?"

"He's not taking any visitors."

"I figured you'd say that...but we're worried about him. We just want to make sure…you know, that he's alright?"

Nathalie was quiet for a moment, and then answered, "I'll see if he'll see you." And the gates rolled open.

Ladybug and Chat stood in the lobby, awkwardly looking around the cold mansion.

"It hasn't changed much," Ladybug commented. "I've been here a few times, and it doesn't seem any different."

Chat shrugged noncommittally. He knew better, however. The giant portrait of him and his father over the stairs was no longer there. It hadn't been replaced, just a blank wall.

Then Gabriel was at the top of the stairs, looking down at them, looking down like he always did. But his appearance was startling. He wore all black, and his jacket was missing. His tie was loose, and his hair was not immaculately combed like it usually was. Dark circles rimmed his eyes, as wrinkles seemed to have taken place.

"Ladybug and Chat Noir…to what do I owe the pleasure?" His voice was cold and distant, that hadn't changed a bit.

"Well, M. Agreste…" began Ladybug. "We're just…here to check on you."

"I assure you, my safety is none of your concern. I have everything under control."

Chat fought the urge to sneer. "Not your safety…" he softened. "…your well being."

Gabriel was quiet.

"Losing Adrien…must have been awful and painful…emotions like that can bring akumas."

"Well, as you can see, I haven't been akumatized. There's nothing to worry about." He started to turn slightly.

"Are you alright?" Chat asked quickly. "Are you…coping?" He hesitated, lacking a better word.

"I'm fine." Gabriel bit.

"Have you talked to a counselor or a therapist?" Pressed Ladybug. "Do you have a support network?"

"I said I'm fine!" Gabriel shouted, his voice echoing off the cold marble. "You may take your leave."



Ladybug sighed softly. "Alright, let's go Chat…" And she headed towards the door.

"Uh…M. Agreste?" Chat asked, shyly.

The man briefly glanced at him, indicating that he was listening.

"If there's ever anything you need, please don't hesitate to reach out to us."

Gabriel turned away before replying. "Your concern is appreciated…but ultimately useless."

With a shiver down his spine, Chat followed Ladybug out of the house.

"He's not fine," Ladybug surmised. "There's no way."

"We'll keep an eye on him," Chat agreed. "But for now, let's go."

"Are you hungry?" She asked.

"If you're going to feed me, then yes I am."

Gabriel watched through the window as Ladybug and Chat Noir raced off into the night. He sighed heavily, an ugly feeling coiling in his chest.

"Sir?" Nathalie asked softly.

Gabriel didn't answer. Tired, sad, and despondent, he walked to his office, and then up to the painting of his wife.

Seeing those two kids, especially Chat, had finalized his decision. He had always hated the heroes, since they kept eluding him and ruining his plans. But Chat Noir was just too much like Adrien. And too much like Emilie.

He pressed on the lock, sending him down into his fortress. The wide, dark room was filled with white butterflies, gently flapping and awaiting horrible deeds.

"Nooroo," he beckoned.

The sad kwami appeared from the shadows, "yes Master?"

"I'm sorry."

"For what, Master?"

"For the way I've behaved. The way I've treated you. Now, I feel that I must renounce you, lest I…I destroy you too."

The kwami couldn't say anything, by shyly rubbed his face against Gabriel's cheek.

Tears came again, like they had every day for the last three weeks. And with the blurry vision, all Gabriel could see were sparks of light. Perhaps it was a glimpse of heaven, where Emilie and Adrien waited.

He opened the window on the far wall, the glass retreating all the way.

"Fly away my little akumas. Let no more evil take the day."

Gabriel Agreste didn't leave until every last butterfly was freed.

Nine Lives

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

Part 6 of 18

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