Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

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

Part 8 of 18

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Chat Noir snuck into Master's Fu's home after his patrol. It was only 10pm, but the lights were off and Fu was fast asleep, snoring away.

Adrien dropped his transformation in the backroom by his little homework table, and opened his laptop.

"Cheese?" Plagg asked, hopeful.

"Oh, right, sorry." Adrien winced and dug around in his backpack. "There's only one wheel left. So don't eat it all until we can get more tomorrow."

Plagg groaned, but begrudgingly agreed, if only for his own benefit.

Adrien got to work on his homework. He had an essay due tomorrow that he was sorely behind on. He would have finished it earlier, but other matters took precedence.

"Pretty good speech you gave," Plagg smirked, sitting on the top of his laptop. "Really got the media off your back there."

"It was just a thank you speech for the mayor. I had to, there was no way I wasn't going thank him. It's a 1000 euros a month."

"As long as you keep up with patrols and akumas."

"Well yeah, obviously."

"I can see why people would be protesting you."

"They aren't protesting me specifically. They just don't want me to get paid."

"Yeah, they want you to save their lives for free."

"And you see how silly that is? You were the one who said I should turn Chat Noir into a living."

"I did, didn't I? Interesting..."

Adrien rolled his eyes. "Okay, I'll bite. Why do you think they're protesting?"

"Well, in their eyes, Ladybug and Chat Noir allowed a citizen to be killed. And now they want money?"

Adrien frowned and leaned back against the wall. "I didn't think about that."


"Well, it's a done deal. Paris will get over it eventually."

"What does Ladybug think about it?"

"She doesn't mind. She said if I need money, it made sense to ask for help. Fighting the Akuma is hard work."

"Was she jealous?"

"I offered to split the check, but she turned it down."

Speaking of checks, he pulled out the one Mayor Bourgeois had given him. Thankfully, it wasn't a giant check like the ones they gave at sweepstakes. But it was clearly from the mayor, and the memo line read 'To Chat Noir.' So what was he supposed to do? Open a new bank account as his alter ego and then transfer money to his normal account? He rubbed his head. Secret Identities sucked!

"Ladybug is just too noble to accept money for her hard work."

Adrien rolled his eyes. "Or, it could be that she lives at home with her parents, and she gets an allowance?"

"Please, what teenager passes up the opportunity for money?"

"The kind that recognizes that their friend needs help, now will you drop it? I have an essay to write."

"Fine, if you won't admit your guilt, then you can just suffer."

Adrien groaned. Plagg, being his Kwami, had a tendency to pick at his nerves just so, and pick up on the emotions he wanted to ignore. "I keep lying to her. And if there's anything I remember about Volpina, it's that Marinette hates liars." He was quiet a moment and thought back to that day. "I think I understand why she was angry though. Lila flirting with me, and lying about an affiliation with Ladybug to do it. Hmm, that makes sense."

Plagg cleared his throat. "And?"

"And...I'm scared. I keep lying to her, but I know when this bubble bursts, it's going to be ugly."

"You don't think she'll understand?"

Adrien sighed. "I...if it were me, and Marinette faked her death to continue being Ladybug, and she didn't confide in Chat Noir...I might feel betrayed."

"If the situation was like that, then why would she confide in you? She's the one who has been insistent on secret identities. Even after you found her out."

"But this is an exception Plagg! I faked my death! That's not something to hide from your partner! Not if you trust them…"

"But you did, and now you have to deal with it."

Adrien frowned, falling silent. Then, "I thought you were thousands of years old. I thought you were supposed to unleash divine wisdom upon me."

"You want wisdom? Fine. Wait. Like Master Fu said about the molten glass. You saw her bedroom walls. Eventually, she'll move on from Adrien. Not totally, ever. But enough that it doesn't sting anymore. That's when you should tell her."

"How long will that take?"

"Who knows. A few months? Weeks? Years? I know it took me three years to grieve the loss of my love."

Adrien softened. "Your love? I didn't know you were in love once."

"Yeah, a real beauty. An aged cheddar packed in charred whiskey barrels. It sounds so simple, but the place that made it burned to the ground in the 1500's. It was awful."

Adrien scoffed. "Why did expect anything else…?"

"But now Camembert is my true love. I think I might love it more than I loved that whiskey cheddar."

Adrien leaned his head on his knuckles, just listening to his kwami.

"The thing is, until I lost that Whiskey cheddar, I never would have loved Camembert. You following me?"

"Wait, are you saying that now Adrien's out of the way, she'll start loving Chat Noir?"

"No, I'm saying she'll start to love you."


"New wisdom!" Plagg interrupted and zipped out of the room, startling Adrien for a moment. He returned a moment later, with a necklace in his grasp.

"This is my mom's necklace?" He raised his eyebrow. It was simple, despite the wealth the Agreste's had. His mother had once told him this was the first necklace Gabriel gave her when they got married. Just a thin chain and a pear cut diamond.

"These little flat parts are called facets." Plagg explained.

"I know, I'm not five."

Plagg hissed, perturbed to be interrupted during his 'wisdom'.

"Uh, sorry, please continue."

"Thank you. Each facet is cut very particularly to reflect light, and the gem looks different from each facet." He dangled the jewel in front of the desk lamp, sending a bunch of sparkles across the table surface. "Adrien was one of your facets, but it wasn't you. Your father made sure that Adrien was just what everyone wanted to see. Chat Noir is just a facet as well, a part of you that is constantly filled with adrenaline and confidence. Emile…now the name is different, but he's the most you you've been. The boy sitting in front of me is the gem. Ladybug has to see past the facets to see you."

Adrien stared at his kwami, and then at the necklace. After a beat, he put it on, hiding it under his shirt. "I didn't know you knew so much about diamonds. I thought your expertise was only in cheese."

"Cats like shiny things, silly boy." Plagg stated, matter of factly. "Now I'm all wisdom-ed out. Hit me up in another ten years, and I'll have another cheese analogy for you."

Adrien scratched the kwami between the ears, his soft spot, and quiet purring filled the space. "You're my best friend Plagg, you know that right?"

"Yeah yeah, you know how I feel about mushy stuff."

"Oh, I know." Adrien smirked. "But I just thought I'd remind you."

"So I might as well remind you about your essay."

"My essay!"

The next day, a bleary-eyed Emile walked to school. It wasn't the first time walking, but everyday was as strange as the first. As Adrien, he'd never been allowed to walk anywhere alone. Though, he was honest enough to admit getting a ride to school in the mornings was nice. But he was beginning to enjoy his walks, as sleepy as he was.

He stopped at a cafe, and bought two coffees. One for him, and one for Marinette. It was a small gesture, one that he hoped was not too bizarre for Emile.

Emile would be stepping up his game. Chat would try to refrain from visiting her every night, despite knowing who she was. Because more than anything, Adrien wanted her to love him for who he was. It had been wonderful knowing that she loved Adrien for the gem shining through, so to speak, and not just the pretty face in the posters. But there was even more to him than that. A goofy, fun-loving, dramatic side to him that she was missing out on.

He entered the classroom a few minutes before class started, delighted to see his angel was there already, with eyes half closed.

"Good morning Marinette," he chirped happily. "Do you like coffee?"

She blinked up at him in surprise. "I…do on occasion."

"Would a free cup from a friend be an occasion?" He set the cardboard cup in front of her, watching with glee as her eyes widened and her mouth formed a very kissable 'o'.

She smiled at him. "I will gladly accept your coffee! Thank you! I'm actually having a hard time staying awake this morning."

He slid his backpack onto his seat and then sat on his desk, facing towards her, a very improper action, if he did say so himself. "I'm the same way! I'm such a night owl it's a disaster. I used to wake up really early." For photo shoots. "But now I can barely manage to make it to school on time."

Alya leaned over the desk and mock whispered. "I don't mean to alarm you, but I think you and Marinette are soulmates."

"Alya!" Marinette flushed madly.

Emile just laughed, loudly, and without restraint. A very Chat Noir-esque trait.

Marinette's face flushed a little more as she observed him.

"Oh please, it's only been like two weeks since you showed up, and you already have a crush on the baker girl? Please, get behind all the other loser boys in this school." Chloe spoke clearly, apparently ready to take Emile down. She hadn't succeeded yet, since he seemed impervious to her 'perfection'.

Emile turned his, literally, award winning smile to her and sang, "Jealous?"

Chloe sneered. "Ugh! As if I'd ever want you to like me, Quasimodo!"

"Reverse psychology, classic. Maybe someday you will win my heart, Chloe Bourgeois."

Chloe scoffed again and turned her head with a little 'hmph!'

"Uh...Emile?" Marinette asked shyly.


She was speaking quietly, so he had to lean in the hear her. " you remember when we talked about Adrien? The boy who..."

He quickly stopped her from having to say it. "Yes, I remember."

"Well, I...I kind of...really liked him. And since the whole..." she trailed off, her face pink, but her eyes downcast.

"I totally understand." He smiled at her, softly, encouragingly. "It's not really a crush, despite what Chloe thinks. I do think you're cute, but I just want to be your friend. If that's okay? You seem like a really nice person. Especially if what Master Fu said about you is true." Another lie, but he felt justified in this case.

Her blush returned, with a horrified look to match. But she quickly covered it with a stutter. "No! I—sure! Yes! That's great! Friends! You can't have enough friends! Heh?" She bared her teeth in an attempted smile, as Alya whispered, "smooth..."

"Um," she tried again, "I actually have a favor..."


"My dad threw his back out yesterday, and we're supposed to get a shipment of flour later tonight. Nino and Alya are coming, but would you be willing to help with some heavy lifting?"

Emile grinned, "of course! What time?"

"Just after school. I don't know how long it'll take."

"That's fine! My schedule is wide open!" And he loved every minute of it.

At lunch, the group met at the bakery, which was becoming a tradition. Even if they brought their own food, they still went to Marinette's to eat. It was convenient, and the Dupain-Cheng household was just too cozy to pass up.

Emile sat at the kitchen table, a cup of tea in his hands, in complete bliss. It was an amazing feeling to be invited out by friends, and not having to deny them.

He almost began to purr.

As Alya was just at the apex of her 'why Hawkmoth is on Hiatus' theory, the door opened and Tom came in.

"Hi kids," he smiled, hiding a wince. The back brace did not go unnoticed by the group.

"You holding in there okay, papa?"

"Your old man is as tough as nails. But once I get some ibuprofen and sit for a bit, I'll be right as rain." He fished the pills out of the medicine cabinet. "You kids wouldn't be willing to help me out later today would you?"

"Marinette already reached out, and we'll all be there to help!" Alya said, flexing her arm.

Tom laughed in relief. "Thank goodness! I couldn't imagine my wife and Marinette doing it all by themselves."

"How long will you be in the brace?" Emile asked.

"Oh the doctor said I have to wear this thing for three weeks, but I have to avoid heavy lifting for six to eight weeks. It's gonna make things more difficult around here for sure."

"What if I were to help?" Emile asked, sitting up and smiling.

Marinette's eyes widened. "Oh, Emile, you don't have to…"

"Of course I don't have to, but I want to. You've been so nice to invite me along and give me food, it's the least I could do!" And, he'd get to get in with the in-laws.

"Well," Tom began. "I really could use the extra help right now. A strong young man! I'll talk to my wife and see what she thinks. We wouldn't be able to pay you much."

"Oh no, you don't need to pay me...unless it's with cookies."

Tom laughed, "alright, then I'll talk with Sabine and see what she thinks." And he left.

"Don't think I don't see what you're doing." Alya noted with a smirk.

"Uh, what am I doing?"

"You're trying to get in with Marinette's parents!" Oh, she was good.

Emile scoffed, but blushed at the look Marinette was giving him. "You were there this morning. It's not a crush. It's just…what friends do, right? I just want to do the right thing."

Marinette reached over and touched his hand. "Well, you'd really be helping us out. I do appreciate the offer."

Adrien blushed. Nearly all of his interactions with her as Adrien had been…awkward. To say the least. It wasn't long before he 'died' that she was finally able to talk to him with full sentences. As Ladybug, she flirted with him, and teased him, and acted like a brave older sister. But this look on her face, it was totally new. Full of adoration and gratitude, with just a touch of helplessness. He returned the touch by holding her hand. "It's not a problem at all. Like I said, I owe you."

The group finished their meal, and Alya finished her theory on Hawkmoth, before it was time to return to school.

The rest of the day, Marinette kept staring at the back of Emile's head. Maybe it was Alya's conspiracy theorist tendencies rubbing off on her. But Marinette could have sworn there was something familiar about him. The blonde hair was strikingly similar to Adrien's as she had the sunshine gold burned into her retinas after staring at him for two years. But his mannerisms were almost more like Chat Noir. A little dramatic and grandiose. Not quite as much, and not so annoying. And the puns, Emile liked puns and portmanteaus. But thankfully he kept them at a normal amount.

Perhaps she was only seeing what she wanted to see. Emile was sitting in Adrien's seat, and was taking up the role of second boy in their little quartet. Heavens forbid he actually take Adrien's place! No, no one could ever do that!

But he just seemed...familiar. Even his voice rang a bell.

He turned around in his seat and gave her a little smirk and a wink, and for half a second, she swore she was looking at Chat Noir.

But the scar convinced her otherwise. Chat had some scarring there too, but not as dramatic.

"Uh, Marinette? You okay? Or are you just stunned by my beauty?"

"Oh, no no. Sorry, I was lost in thought. What did you say?"

"I asked if you wanted to work with me on the worksheet? Nino ditched me for Alya."

"Oh! Sure we can work together!"

Emile beamed. "Just don't get lost in my eyes, My Lady."

Marinette was going to retort, but found her voice dry. It couldn't be. It just couldn't be...

After school, the group returned to the bakery, only to be enthusiastically greeted by Tom and Sabine.

"There's our hard workers! Ready to haul ass?"

"Thomas! Language!" Sabine chortled as she elbowed her husband. "There will be snacks waiting for you after the work is done!"

Since the Dupain-Cheng's had the extra help, they took advantage of them by not only unloading the delivery of sugar, chocolate, flour and other ingredients, but also doing some heavy cleaning in the bakery. This included moving entire displays out of the way to mop under them. All the windows and glass casings were washed and all the metal was polished.

Three hours later, everything was in its place and the bakery sparkled.

"Wow! It looks great!" Marinette chirped with pride. "Thanks for all your help guys!"

"No problem," Nino grinned. "Now about those snacks…"

They all hustled upstairs and gathered in the kitchen. Laughter took place, as it resided with the Dupain-Cheng's. It was a close friend with Alya and Nino, and an old friend of Adrien's. What he wouldn't give to have this everyday of his life.

"Emile?" Sabine asked, after a lull in conversation.

"Oh, yes?"

"Tom said you offered to help us during his recovery period."

"That's right," he rambled. "I don't have very much baking experience, but I'm available whenever I'm not in school. I can even get up early in the morning."

The parents grinned at each other, before Sabine continued. "Well, I wouldn't feel right about taking you on if we couldn't pay you."

"Oh no, that's fine! I don't need any money…but I'm like a cat, if you feed me, I'll keep coming back!"

"Well, I was going to say…" Sabine continued her knowing grin. "We have a spare room, if you'd like to stay with us. We'll pay you in room and board."

Adrien's eyes widened. He couldn't possibly be that lucky, could he? Maybe it was because he was with Ladybug at the moment, maybe her luck was rubbing off on him. Or maybe it was her lucky charm in his back pocket.

"So, how about it, roomie?" Marinette nudged his arm.

"Yes! 100% yes! I was even—living with Master Fu is nice and all, but I have to share a room at his place. I was trying to save up some money for an apartment—" He ran a hand through his hair, partly in shock, but mostly in joy. "I don't know what to say! Thank you!"

"There are two conditions." Sabine interrupted, her voice deadly serious.

"Yes, of course." Adrien sobered.

"Number one, you have to keep up with your homework. School comes first. And number two…you have to join us for dinner and movie nights."

Adrien's eyes widened as he looked at the smiling family. "I…" he choked.

"What, is that going to be a problem?" Tom nudged him.

"No, not a problem at all." And everyone, including Adrien, was wholly unprepared for the tears that rolled down his cheeks.

"Emile?" Marinette asked, a careful hand on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry…I just…this is all I ever wanted. To…be a part of a family." He wiped his cheek. "Thank you. Thank you so much."

Later that night, Emile returned to the bakery with all his earthly possessions in tow. A big duffel bag, which held all his clothes, a backpack, and a smaller duffel for the fragments of his old life.

"Welp, here I am! Emile Fu, bakery gremlin." He grinned.

Marinette had been the one to greet him at the door. "Bakery gremlin, huh?"

He hunched over slightly and spoke in a voice akin to Igor. "At your service, my lady."

She laughed heartily, a wonderful song to his ears. "Come on, I'll show you to your room."

It was across the stairway from the bakery. A small room, about the size of a college dorm. There was a little closet, a bed, and a table with a little lamp and two chairs. The walls were painted a soft blue, and there was a window with an alley view, just big enough for Chat Noir to fit through.

"It's not much, but you can have it all to yourself." She grinned. "The door locks, and the bathroom is directly above you."

"Thanks Marinette, this is awesome."

"No, thank you. My parents were actually really stressed about trying to figure out what to do. My dad can still bake, but there's a lot of heavy lifting prep work, and deliveries. You're their hero."

Adrien smiled at that. A hero in more ways than one. "I wondered. If it's just your family running the place, then I assumed there would be trouble without your dad being able to lift. I'm really glad I could help."

"Then, I'll let you get settled in. Mom and dad are working on dinner. Do you like quiche?"
"Love it," he beamed.

Though she said she would leave him be, she found a question on the tip of her tongue, and so she leaned against the doorframe and watched him unpack. He took his, frankly atrocious, clothes out of his duffel bag and laid them on the bed.

"Are you going to keep watching me? Or are you going to help?" He teased.

"O-oh, yeah, I can—"

"I'm just kidding Marinette, you don't have to help. There's not much to put away."

She blushed and knotted her fingers together.

"But you do look like you have something to say."

Might as well get it over with. She thought. She glanced behind her, checking to see that the coast was clear. "Um…you—do you know who I am?"

He continued folding his clothes, not even looking at her. "Do I know that you're Ladybug? Yes. I thought that was fairly obvious."

Marinette turned slightly and rested her forehead on the doorframe with a groan.

"But don't worry, I know it's a secret."

"Why do you know?"

It was time for another lie. "Well, Master Fu is 180-something, but he's not immortal." Now that he thought about it, that was a problem. He might need to ask the old man about doing some extra training.

"Do you know who Chat Noir is?"

"Of course," he answered easily. "Probably the coolest person on earth."

She barked a laugh, "now you're just messing with me."

"I am not! That guy is too hot to trot! He's purr-fection."

"Ugh, and you sound just like him." She rolled her eyes. "So," she continued, nervously. "I have to ask. Who are you trying to be friends with?"

He smiled softly at her, and then fished out the necklace from around his neck. "These flat parts are called facets."


"And each facet is cut very specifically to reflect light. And looking at each facet differently changes the appearance of the gem. Ladybug is one of your facets, and so is Marinette. I want to be friends with the whole gem."

He hadn't realized how close they had gotten until he looked up from the diamond. Her big blue eyes were glistening, just like the jewel. A light dusting of pink sat upon her nose, as she stared up at him.

God, she was beautiful. And she had been there all along. Just a little bit further and…

She stepped back, tucking some hair behind her ear. "Thanks…that means a lot."

He managed a smile in return, though his stomach was twisting. "Of course."

"I'll let you know when dinner is ready." And she all but shut the door in his face.

He sighed. One day, and hopefully soon, he'd tell her the truth, and they'd finally be together.

Plagg floated up to his face, a sneer on his face. "You rotten thief."

Nine Lives

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

Part 8 of 18

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