Continuing Tales

Nine Lives

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

Part 9 of 18

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Patrols were strange for a while. Though Chat knew her identity, it seemed he had a hard time reconciling the two together. He always stuttered over what to call her. Finally, she just grabbed his wrist, looked him in the eye and said. "When I'm transformed, call me Ladybug. When I'm not, call me Marinette. And you can throw your silly nicknames around wherever."

He pouted, "you think my nicknames are silly, bugaboo?"

"Ugh, yes. Especially that one." Then she grinned cheekily. "Though I secretly like My Lady. It makes me feel regal."

"You're my Princess." He stated, coming in close to try for a kiss.

"And that must make you my jester." She pinched his nose.

"Me-owch! That…that actually kind of hurt."

"Sorry Chat." She chuckled. Then she swung out her yo-yo and continued her scan of the city.

It was late, almost midnight. Even though it was a Friday night, Marinette and Emile both had an early morning in the bakery to look forward to. But patrol was important, and so they made time for it…even after the long movie Tom picked for movie night. Luckily, the city was quiet. The rain of the day left an almost eerie fog along the streets.

"I don't like this." Ladybug said after a while. They stopped on a rooftop, her eyes still scanning.


"It's been six weeks since the last akuma. Hawkmoth has never waited that long. He's done two in one day before."

"I don't like it either," Chat admitted. "It's like...he's trying to lull us into a false sense of security."

She nodded at him, a tiny smirk on her face. "I'm glad that you're in agreement with me. I don't like thinking I'm just paranoid."

"He was so determined for so long. I can't imagine he would have given up."

"Alya thinks he feels guilty about Adrien."

"Yeah, well...he's not the only one."



"I forgive you."

They stood in silence, as the words hung in the fog between them.

"You said you had a reason for...what you did. And there's no one I trust in this whole world more than you. So, if you say it needed to happen, then I believe you. And I forgive you."

"My Lady..." he breathed, stepping towards her. "How...are you doing?"

"Honestly, better." She sighed. "Adrien was my friend. He was kind, and loving, and devoted. But I didn't love him."

Chat's eyes widened in shock.

"I was obsessed with him, and I was infatuated with him. I knew facts but...I was too much of a mess to really get know him, or to fall in love with him. I loved the idea of him. The thought of being with him and going on dates, and kissing...but..."

"You never got to see all of him." Chat finished, his heart in his throat.

"Yes. Exactly." She nodded. "It may sound awful, but I couldn't figure that out until he was gone."

Chat nodded. "Whiskey cheddar."


"Never mind."

She gave him an odd look, but shook her head and continued. "I still miss him, and he will always have a part of my heart. But...I tried to imagine what it would be like if I had lost you instead."

"You...wouldn't get to listen to my puns you love so much?"

She smiled at him, sadly, tenderly, and cupped his cheek. "No, minou. I would...I would miss you so much. I don't know you like I knew Adrien. I don't know your name or where you live or anything about your family...but I know your heart. I know your humor and your morals. I know all your little quirks, and most importantly, we share a lot of memories. The memories I had with Adrien? 90% of them consisted of me embarrassing myself in front of him."

Chat couldn't help but laugh. She wasn't wrong.

"So what, My Lady? Are you finally starting to fall for me?" He winked.

She hummed and then waltzed away, the heat from her hand still living on his cheek. "You might have competition."

"What! Who?! I'll dual him in battle!"

"Oh, leave him alone. He's a very nice boy." She glanced at him coyly. "He thinks your super cool."

"I mean, if that was a hint, it wasn't a very good one. Everyone thinks I'm cool."

"Does the name Emile ring a bell?"

Chat choked. "Uh oh yeah! He's training with Master Fu. Right. Yeah, he's totally awesome." If Ladybug was starting to get interested in Emile and Chat, he needed to start dropping some more hints.

"He's staying with us for a while, helping my papa in the bakery. He's really nice, and he has this…amazing way of dealing with Chloe."

"What about the," he gestured to the right side of his face, "Does it bother you?"

"Not really. I don't even notice it anymore, to be honest. It's just a part of what makes Emile, Emile. You know?"

Chat grinned. "Glad to hear it. I knew you weren't the type to fall for pretty faces though."

"I mean…I still think he's kind of cute. But, more importantly, he's kind and considerate. Sweet and full of devotion…" She glanced at him, noting the reserved look on his face. "Gosh, I'm sorry Chat. It must suck to hear me talk about liking someone else."

"I'm used to it."

"Oh kitty…" She took his hands. "I hate hurting you. I promise I'm not in love with him. He just…draws my interest."

Chat seemed thoughtful as he clenched her hand. "Then…you should pursue him."

That was surprising. "What?"

"No, I'm serious! I'm been thinking lately, and I realized, I'm not the kind of guy ready for a relationship. Sure, I think you're wonderful and I care a lot about you…but I'm not a domestic house cat, I'm a feral alley cat…bound to no one…totally free."

"Are you okay, Chat? This is very unlike you."

He simply shook his head. "You'll get it eventually." He poked her chest, right over her heart. "Just follow your heart, and trust your instincts. Everything will be fine. I've got an early morning tomorrow, so I'll see you later." He blew a kiss at her and vaulted off the roof, leaving a very confused Ladybug behind.

"Well, how do you like that?"

The weeks following were dreamlike. Hawkmoth had yet to rear his ugly head, and that gave Marinette plenty of time to be punctual and complete all her homework on time.

Emile walked her home and to school, every day. And each morning, he was sure to compliment her outfit and tell her how pretty she looked. At dinner, he wooed her parents with his charm and humor. Some nights, they worked on homework together in her room, and other times, they just hung out and watched anime, per his suggestion.

She still met up with Chat Noir on patrols, but he didn't show up at her house anymore. In fact, his flirting died down, and turned into playful teasing and earnest compliments.

Marinette considered these changes in her life a blessing. In her moments alone in her room, she would glance at the pictures of Adrien on her walls, and one by one take them down. Her favorite, the framed one on her desk, remained, and a candle sat beside it. Because even though she had discovered the truth of her feelings for him…she still missed him. Two months eased a lot of pain…but there was some grief and guilt that would never go away.

But there was no changing the past, and the sooner she could bury those feelings, the better.

None of these thoughts ever came out near Emile. No matter what weird theories she had begun to get around him.

Then, one day, Emile walked her to school silently. There were no compliments, no charming quips, just a pleasant 'Good morning, My Lady' and that was it. Once they reached the classroom, he was quick to grab Alya and Nino and herd them into the hall. The rest of the week passed by the same way, and now Alya and Nino were acting strange around her too.

"Something fishy is going on, Tikki." Marinette noted, once she was home. "Emile's up to something."

"Like what?"

"I don't know…but he's gotten Alya and Nino in on it too, whatever it is."

"It's not your birthday yet, is it?"

"Not for a few months yet." She frowned and narrowed her eyes. Then she took out her phone and looked at a picture of Emile, her, and Alya. Then she swiped through some other selfies with him in them.

"What are you thinking?" Asked the Kwami.

"How much do our transformations hide our appearance?"

"It depends. The costumes are a manifestations of what you want, and what you idealize in a superhero. Your costume is basic, because you don't see a need for accessories that don't have a necessary function."

"Okay, but like, our faces. Say…Chat Noir's scar is worse outside the suit. Is that possible?"

A little smirk played on Tikki's face. "What are you saying, Marinette?"

"Okay, hear me out, I've been thinking about this a lot…I think Emile is Chat Noir."

"Interesting theory…" Tikki sang.

"It's not a theory if you can prove it! You know his identity!"

"I do, but I'm not going to tell you. You need to hear who he is from Chat himself. And you already gave him the conditions."

"Hmm…" She swiped through the pictures again, and then brought up Chat's pictures on google. Then she watched some of his videos again. Without any confirmation, she was 99% sure she was right.

"Well, now what?" She said aloud. "I'm not just going to ask him. And that doesn't explain why he's been a total flake all week!"

"Maybe you should just ask him why he's been avoiding you. You know where he lives."

"I mean…you're not wrong." She pouted and stormed down the stairs.

Outside Emile's room, she could hear music playing, some tune she didn't recognize. She knocked hesitantly, her confidence fading with each step down the stairs. "Emile?"

The music stopped, and after a beat, the door opened, revealing a flushed boy. "Oh, hi Marinette. Fancy seeing you here."

"I live here." She stated, with a pout. "Why have you been avoiding me all week?"

He grinned. A very Chat-like grin. The kind of grin he got when she made a pun or returned a flirt. He giggled excitedly, and then closed the door on her. "Good night, my lady!" He sang.

She pounded on the door. "What's that supposed to mean!? Huh?!"

But there was no reply, and the music started up again.

"I'll have you know, I don't like liars, and I don't like being left in the dark!" She shouted at the wood.

"Then get a nightlight." He quipped back.

She muttered to herself. "If you are Chat, I'm going to swing you by the tail and launch you into the Eiffel tower." And with that, she stomped back upstairs.

It was Friday. The last day of her insufferably lonely and confusing week. Alya seemed to have forgotten all about whatever it was that Emile was up to, because now she was being buddy-buddy and chatting away like nothing was wrong.

Marinette was suspicious of everyone.

When class ended for the day, Marinette and Alya departed from the classroom, arm in arm, and waltzed down the stairs. When they reached the bottom, Alya tugged her over to the middle of the courtyard and then absolutely beamed at her. "Stay here." She commanded.

"What? Why?"

"Just…trust me. This is going to be good."

Skeptical, she clenched the strap of her handbag and replied softly, "If you say so…"

Alya retreated, snickering, and stood not to far away with camera in hand.

Then music started playing. Old, romantic, sounded like it was from a different era. It was then that she noticed the speakers placed around the courtyard. She hadn't paid them any mind earlier.

And then there was singing. "You're just too good to be true,

I can't take my eyes off you.

You'd be like heaven to touch,

I wanna hold you so much.

At long last love has arrived,

And I thank God I'm alive.

You're just too good to be true,

Can't take my eyes off you."

That voice was familiar, but she had only heard Chat sing in jest, when he was goofily 'serenading' her. And that one time with Princess Fragrance. But now, Emile was singing to her from the second floor, microphone in hand. He had started leaning on the railing, and then waltzed lazily over towards the stairs. His voice soft and meaningful, and his face…so full of reverence, directed at her. Everyone else in the courtyard grew quiet and watched the magic happen.

"Pardon the way that I stare,

There's nothing else to compare.

The sight of you leaves me weak,

There are no words left to speak.

But if you feel like I feel,

Please let me know that it's real.

You're just too good to be true,

I can't take my eyes off you."

The music crescendoed with horns blaring and Marinette watched in awe as he did this gyrating thing with his hips. He kicked his legs up and slid down the banister, then he landed on one knee in front of her as he cried out,

"I love you baby!

And if it's quite alright,

I need you baby!

To warm the lonely nights,

I love you baby!

Trust in me when I say…"

He stood and held a hand out to her, swing dancing with her for a moment.

"Oh pretty baby!

Don't bring me down I pray,

Oh pretty baby!

Now that I've found you stay,

And let me love you, baby,

Let me love you…"

The music calmed down again, and he wrapped his arms around her from behind, swaying them together in a tender, seductive way.

"You're just too good to be true,

I can't take my eyes off you.

You'd be like heaven to touch,

I wanna hold you so much.

At long last love has arrived,

And I thank God I'm alive.

You're just too good to be true,

Can't take my eyes off You."

The music picked up again and he raised his arms to twirl her. Then he sang and bumped the side of his hips against hers with each beat.

"I! Love! You! Baby!

And if it's quite alright,

I need you baby!

To warm the lonely nights,

I love you baby,

Trust in me when I say…"

He stepped up to her, and cupped her cheek in an endearing way.

"I need you baby!

Don't bring me down I pray,

Oh pretty baby!

Now that I've found you stay,

And let me love you, baby,

Let me love you…"

Marinette could only stare in awe as the music faded out. As if she needed any more proof, only one person was that dramatic, that extra, and he was beside her all along.

He winked at her, "Sorry I've been aloof this week, you know how cats are sometimes."

She opened her mouth, the words weren't there.

"Kiss her already!" Someone shouted.

He raised his eyebrow, and looped an arm around her waist. "Well, my lady?"

She nodded shyly with a blush, and tilted her head up. He traced her cheek, savoring the moment for all it was worth, then gently...

There was loud clapping that interrupted the moment. "Well well well," Chloe Bourgeois called out. "What is this? The Phantom of the Opera? My bad, that was too awkward and cringey. Marinette, you're not seriously falling for that, are you?"

"Go away, Chloe!" Alya shouted, still recording.

"Aw, Pookie, don't be jealous. I'll sing a song for you next week!" Emile teased, despite the annoyance rumbling in his chest.

"Shut it, Quasimodo, I'll deal with you in a minute." She crossed her arms and stared at Marinette. "Well?"

"Well, what, Chloe? This was the most romantic thing I've ever seen. Leave us alone."

"It's only been two months since Adrien died, and you're so quick to move on already? Jesus, it's like all that stuttering and blushing didn't really mean anything, did it?"

Emile stepped between them. "If this is a ploy to get me all to yourself, it's not working very well…"

"I said shut it, Cheese Grater face!"

"Are you insinuating that my face looks like a cheese grater, or that someone took a cheese grater to it?"

"Take your pick! I don't care! I'm not talking to you!" She stepped around him to continue her glare at Marinette. "Because you made such a big mess of yourself whenever Adrien was around! I thought he meant something to you!" Then she sneered. "I guess he didn't if you let him fall."

Marinette gasped out in pain. God, this was just the thing to dredge up all that guilt.

Adrien tried again, "You know Chloe, jealousy can be a pretty ugly thing."

"Shut up!" Chloe threw a perfectly manicured hand into his face with a resounding slap. "You are the scum of this earth as far as I'm concerned. And this conversation doesn't concern you, so stay out of it."

"But what if I make it my business, hmm? Then what are you going to do, Feisty Girl?"

"I don't know what planet you're from, but you're lucky I'm even talking to you right now. I've put up with your disgusting attempts at flirting, your tacky wardrobe, and your, frankly, revolting face because you were the new kid at school, and I can play nice. And I dislike Marinette, but even I can see that she's so far out of your league, you would have to be retarded to think that she'd go for you."

His voice had a very distinct waver in it, but he still tried to reply with his flirty behavior, "wow, that's some real trash talk, Pookie. Is that one of your kinks?"

"Emile…" Marinette touched his shoulder. "Stop…"

"No," he glanced back. "It's my job to take the hits for you. No matter how they come."

"Oh, how noble!" Chloe laughed. "Trying to protect Marinette from the truth? Well, here's the harsh truth, if nobody told you." She poked him in the chest. "My best friend is dead thanks to Marinette Dupain-Cheng!"

"I jumped after him!" Marinette shrieked. It didn't matter that Adrien was trying to deviate the conversation, Chloe had effectively pulled out every self doubt she had about that day, and now she was weeping. "I tried to save him, even if I couldn't…I spent days in bed, crying over him. I know it was my fault! And I'm sorry!"

"Sorry? Sorry!? You didn't even come to his funeral! How can you be sorry?!"

Then, everything came to a quiet standstill. A ring of darkness blossomed from the ground, and a woman in strange clothing emerged. She glanced around at the assembled, and then created another portal and disappeared.

Silence reigned king as everyone stared at the place she had been a moment ago.

What they had been waiting for had finally happened, at the worst possible time.

An akuma.

Nine Lives

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

Part 9 of 18

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