Continuing Tales

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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 14 of 37

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Nino gave a whistle as soon as he stepped out of Marinette’s car.

“Wow…this is different,” he remarked, glancing around at the sudden Chinese street signs. The air smelled of spice, and lots of people of Asian descent milled about, stopping at shop windows to inspect the wares or jabbering away to friends in rapid Cantonese.

“Is it?” Marinette questioned, giving him a curious look as she shut her car door. “Haven’t you been here training with Master Fu?”

“Nah, I always met him in busy cafes when I had questions, and then in abandoned parks late at night so he could teach me the ways of my Miraculous. I’ve never been around here before…yo, check it out, even that McDonald’s over there is Chinese!”

Marinette snorted as she locked her car.

“Well, this is Quartier Chinois. What were you expecting?”

“What’s that say?” Nino asked, pointing to a nearby shop with spices in the window, the name written in Vietnamese. Marinette frowned at him.

“Just because I’m part Chinese doesn’t mean I can read things here. You’d be better off asking Adrien.”

“Oh yeah. Why didn’t we bring him?”

Marinette raised her eyebrows at him, and Nino blinked.

“Oh, right.” He rubbed the back of his head as he followed Marinette into the street, side-stepping the Chinese-French citizens who eyed him as he passed by. “So, uh, where are we going?”

“We’re meeting Master Fu in a pho noodles bar for lunch.” Marinette glanced down at her phone, checking her GPS. “It’s about a five minute walk from here.”

“Mmm. That sounds good. Wayzz loves noodles.”

Ah, then perhaps that was why Master Fu had chosen this particular meeting place. Hmm…how did he feel about having his kwami passed on to someone else, after so many years spent together? Why had he suddenly allowed another to be Chosen in his place?

Patience,’ Marinette reminded herself. All of her questions would hopefully be answered soon enough…

They arrived at the pho place soon enough, and she and Nino ducked inside after letting an elderly couple through first. As Nino took in the Chinese-style décor, Marinette scanned the booths for Master Fu. He was nowhere in sight, however, and that made her frown. She was sure this was the correct restaurant, and she and Nino had arrived on time…was Master Fu just running late?

“Excuse me…you are Marinette?”

Marinette turned, finding a waiter at her side.

“Yes?” She confirmed cautiously. The waiter nodded.

“Mr. Fu is waiting. Please follow me.”

Nino glanced at her, and she gave a shrug before following at the waiter’s behest. He led her and Nino to the back of the restaurant and down a side hallway, where a set of private rooms were set aside for large parties. He motioned them to the farthest room down the hall, and bowed his exit after sliding the door open, revealing a large room with a lunch table already set up in the middle. Master Fu sat at the head of the table, seated on a cushion on the floor, calmly sipping tea.

“Yo, Master Fu!” Nino greeted without hesitation, stepping into the room after removing his shoes. Marinette paused at the door, however, staring at Master Fu.

He was different. There appeared to be more lines on his face than Marinette remembered, and more salt than pepper in his hair since the last time she saw him. It was like he aged about twenty years while she wasn’t looking, and the sudden change unnerved her. What happened to him?

“Ah, good afternoon, Nino,” Master Fu greeted, smiling serenely as Nino took a seat on his left. His dark eyes found Marinette next, who abruptly realized she was staring, and then hastened inside, kicking off her boots and sliding the door shut behind her. “Ladybug. I’m happy to see that you’re well.”

“You too,” she mumbled, not quite able to meet his gaze as she sank down onto the cushion on his right. There was an awkward pause.

“Tea?” Master Fu offered, and both Nino and Marinette accepted some. After a moment, Tikki and Wayzz escaped from Marinette’s muffler as she unwound it from her neck, shedding her coat as well, Nino doing the same.

“Hello, Master Fu,” Tikki greeted, her tone pleasant as always, though Marinette knew that he kwami was not exactly happy with the elder at the moment, either. Wayzz said nothing, merely nodding in the direction of his old master before he joined Nino’s side of the table, Nino plucking a bean sprout from his bowl of pho and offering it to the turtle kwami. Marinette watched Wayzz snack on the bean sprout, her gaze switching to Master Fu, who still watched the kwami fondly. It seemed a little awkward between them…or was Marinette just reading too much into it?

“Good afternoon, Tikki. I understand that you and Ladybug have a few questions for me.”

“Yes,” Marinette said firmly; after a sip of strong tea, she regained her nerve, and she set the cup down, ignoring the bowl of pho in front of her for now, though the smell was awfully tempting. “You’ve been keeping me in the dark about a few things, Master Fu.”

She glanced pointedly across the table at Nino, who had his mouth full of pho, and could not offer anything in anyone’s defense.

Not that he needed to; Master Fu turned to Marinette willingly enough, twisting a finger around his beard, which had grown a little longer and turned completely white, she couldn’t help but notice.

“There is a reason for that, Ladybug.”

“Explain then. Please,” she tacked on, after realizing her tone was a bit too rude to be allowed. Keeping things from her or not, Master Fu was still her mentor, and he ought to be treated with the same respect as always.

Master Fu did not seem ruffled by her attitude at all. He merely studied her, still stroking his beard.

“Despite Chat Noir’s wavering, you seemed to be handling things just fine on your own,” he explained. Unable to help it, Marinette scowled. How many times did she have to go through this? Just because she could deal with The Butterfly on her own didn’t mean that she wanted to! It was her job to seem unruffled as Ladybug, but didn’t Master Fu or Chat Noir know how to see through her appearances yet?

“However,” Master Fu continued, forestalling any complaining Marinette was about to engage in on the subject, “I knew that you would not remain complacent with the situation. And so, I enlisted an…acquaintance, of sorts, for help.”

“Pavone,” Marinette named the acquaintance, and Master Fu smiled.

“Well, it seems you are more informed on the subject than I thought.”

“He’s the Peacock Miraculous holder,” she added.

Master Fu nodded.

“That he is.”

“He helped me when I was fighting Trinket.”

From out of her bag, Marinette withdrew the peacock feather that had been left as the only evidence of Pavone’s involvement in her superhero life. She held it up, and Master Fu inspected it, still stroking his beard.

“Yes, that is one of Pavone’s feathers. Remarkable—he usually does not like to be seen. For the Peacock Miraculous holder…he is very reserved.”

Marinette lowered the feather, scowling.

“You never told me about him,” she accused Master Fu. “He’s been helping me all this time, but you never said anything. Why?”

Master Fu lowered his hand from his beard, folding his hands on the table in front of him as he regarded Marinette with his ancient eyes.

“It was not my place to reveal him to you, Ladybug,” he said simply. “Pavone chooses to work independently. And so he does.”

“But he’s a Miraculous holder too, isn’t he?” Nino joined the conversation after he swallowed an enormous mouthful of pho. “Why wouldn’t he join us?”

Master Fu only shrugged.

“It is his way,” he said mysteriously. Which only served to frustrate Marinette even more.

“Fine, so he likes to work alone, I get it. What I don’t get is how he got his hands on the Turtle Miraculous! We thought it was stolen! It was the only thing that was missing from your massage parlor after you were attacked!”

Nino choked on his tea.

“A-attacked?!” He squawked, straightening his glasses as they attempted to slip down his nose. “Master Fu, you were—”

“I am fine,” Master Fu assured the both of them, his tone firm. “And while I was indeed attacked…it turned out that Wayzz had not gotten far before you intervened, Ladybug.”

That revelation brought Marinette up short, putting her frustration on the backburner as her confusion grew.

“What? But I didn’t—”

“You were focused on me at the time, Ladybug,” Master Fu reminded her gently. “Therefore, there was no way you would have looked for Wayzz properly before you left with me in the ambulance. Wayzz, it transpired, had been hidden under my coffee table, out of sight.”

Marinette gaped at the old master.

Was he seriously telling her that, all this time she’d been worried about Wayzz, he was just out of sight under the table?!

“But when I came back to the massage parlor, it was nearly destroyed!”

“What the hell happened?” Nino asked, aghast.

“Something—someone—tore it apart looking for the remaining Miraculous,” Marinette quickly informed him, ignoring his gaping in favor of focusing on Master Fu once again. “There was no way Wayzz could’ve been hidden in that mess. Whatever tore the place apart would’ve found him, or I would have!”

“Ah,” said Master Fu, holding up a finger, “but Pavone managed to find him before you, Ladybug.”

Again, Marinette was forced to a halt in her thought process, staring at Master Fu.

But…that was impossible, wasn’t it? If Pavone had stopped by after she and Master Fu had headed off to the hospital, surely he would’ve run into whoever had destroyed Master Fu’s massage parlor looking for the Miraculous, right?

And speaking of who that particular villain was…

“Wayzz,” Marinette called, turning immediately to the turtle kwami, “did you see who attacked Master Fu in the first place?”

Wayzz lowered the scrap of lettuce Nino had just handed him, his tiny features warped into a thoughtful frown.

“It was not so much ‘who’ as it was ‘what’,” he answered. “It was some…thing. A shadow.”

Marinette blinked. A shadow?

“A shadow of what?”

“Nothing distinguishable. I only saw it knock out Mas—Fu, and then suddenly, everything went dark.” Wayzz frowned, as if the experience still disturbed him. “I only woke up again when Pavone found me.”

“Then you know who Pavone is?” Marinette questioned, leaning forward eagerly. But Wayzz merely regarded her in much the way Master Fu did whenever she asked a question he wasn’t about to answer.

“Unless he chooses to reveal himself to you, Marinette, his identity is his secret, and his alone,” he said decisively.

Frustrated beyond belief, Marinette glared up at Nino, who raised his hands and eyebrows.

“Don’t look at me. I never met the peacock dude, and Wayzz wouldn’t even tell me who you were. The turtle has spoken, ‘Nette.”

She huffed, folding her arms.

“So, to recap,” she growled, “everyone but me and Tikki knew that this Pavone is an ally, though he’s never introduced himself to me or Nino, and he was the one who Chose Nino after finding Wayzz on his own after the attack happened.” Marinette scowled, turning an aggrieved look on her master. “There’s a lot of shiftiness going on…how do we know this Pavone is actually helping us?”

Master Fu raised an eyebrow.

“Has he done anything to give you cause to doubt him?”

Marinette’s frown deepened, her lower lip jutting out in a pout.

“Well…no. But I still don’t like it! If he’s an ally, what’s he got to hide for? And why didn’t you tell me that there was going to be a new Turtle Miraculous holder?! I’m Ladybug! I need to know these things!”

“Marinette,” Tikki said softly, her tone a bit reproaching. Marinette glanced down at her for a moment before her eyes went back to Master Fu…to find his expression abruptly clouding. He gazed down at his wizened hands, shifting his thumbs a bit.

“…Letting go of Wayzz…was not an easy decision,” Master Fu said quietly. Marinette bit her lip, recognizing too late that she had crossed an invisible line, the point driven home when Wayzz bowed his head as well, setting his lettuce piece to the side, apparently hungry no longer. Nino’s gaze shifted between the kwami and the master, looking as uncomfortable as Marinette felt.

“We have been together many years,” Master Fu continued, “but perhaps it was too long. If anything, the attack upon me and my home made me see that I could not afford to hang onto Wayzz any longer. So when Pavone brought him back to me…it was with great sadness that I had to send him away again, to someone more able-bodied than I will ever be again. I originally asked Pavone to watch over him and to guide him, for I was unsure of whether or not I could bring myself to see Wayzz with a new master…but of course, my duty won out over my personal feelings, so soon enough, I was able to meet Nino, and teach him all I knew about the Turtle Miraculous.” Here, Master Fu smiled at Nino. “And he has exceeded every single one of my expectations so far. It is a good match, and I am grateful to Pavone for Choosing you, Nino.”

Nino’s face grew ruddy, and he chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his head.

“Oh, uh, thanks, Master Fu,” he said sheepishly. “Oh, and, uh, I finally figured out a superhero name: Emerald Shell. Shell for short.”

“Emerald Shell,” Master Fu repeated, nodding his approval. “It is a good name.”

“It is,” Wayzz agreed, and for a moment, he and Master Fu were able to look at each other, the fondness between former master and kwami not forgotten in any sense of the word. This made Marinette look down at Tikki, who was looking up at her with her big, indigo eyes, and think: if the day approached where she became too old to be Ladybug anymore, and had to say goodbye to Tikki…what would she do? Could she swallow her feelings of loss and teach the new Ladybug everything she knew? Would she be able to face such a bittersweet moment…?

Sighing, Marinette felt the rest of her indignation leave her. She reached out and stroked her kwami between her antennae with the tip of her finger, smiling as Tikki closed her eyes and buzzed in appreciation. Maybe she did understand why Master Fu hadn’t rushed to tell her about Nino after all.

“I’m sorry, Master Fu,” she apologized, giving the old master a contrite look. “I didn’t mean to…well…”

She wasn’t really sure how to finish that sentence, but it was deemed unnecessary when Master Fu nodded with an understanding smile.

“Worry not, Ladybug. I am here to guide you, after all…though I will remind you that it is also fine for you to discover things on your own.”

“Right,” Marinette mumbled, grimacing. She really needed to learn to keep her temper when it counted. Clearing her throat, and finally picking up her chopsticks, Marinette ate some of her lunch before another concern made itself known to her, and she glanced up at Master Fu with another frown. “But, Master Fu…now that your Miraculous—I mean—the other Miraculous that I still have…does this mean I have to become the Guardian now…?”

“Certainly not,” Master Fu assured her, and Marinette felt the sudden tension leave her shoulders. She watched, curious now, as the old master turned to Nino. “Emerald Shell, from now on, the title of ‘Guardian of the Miraculous’ rests on your shoulders.”

Nino stared at the pair of them in blank confusion.

“…Okay, I have no idea what you two are talking about,” he confessed, golden gaze switching between them. “What do you mean, ‘other Miraculous’? I thought there were only five: ours, Chat Noir’s, Pavone’s, and The Butterfly’s. You’re telling me there’s more?”

“There are many more Miraculous in the world, Emerald Shell,” Master Fu informed him, though he managed to surprise Marinette with this information as well. “I was guardian of seven of them, however, and the remaining two have been in Ladybug’s possession ever since my attack. But since you are the new Turtle Miraculous holder, they are now your responsibility.”

Nino’s gaze managed to get wider.

“M-mine?!” He sputtered, panic clearly rising within him. “B-but…Marinette’s been doing this longer than I have, shouldn’t she—”

“I don’t mind at all,” Marinette made sure to clarify, just as Master Fu said,

“The Turtle Miraculous holder is always the Guardian of the Miraculous. That is how it is done.”

“Guys, I just became a superhero, like a week ago,” Nino reminded him, definitely panicking now. “You’re asking too much!”

“It’s not a big deal!” Marinette insisted, though a part of her felt guilty about shoving this responsibility onto Nino, when she herself had lost a fair amount of sleep over it. “All you have to do is guard the box that they’re stored in. Preferably in a safe or something.”

“But what if whatever attacked Master Fu comes after me next when it finds out I have the Miraculous?”

“Well, you’re a superhero for a reason, aren’t you?”

Nino scowled.

“Nice, ‘Nette,” he grumbled, and she sighed, realizing he had a point.

“I didn’t mean it like that. Do you really think I’d let anything happen to you?” Marinette reached across the table, patting his forearm. “We’re teammates now, Shelly. That means I’ve got your back and you’ve got mine, right?”

“I really wish you’d stop calling me Shelly,” Nino grumbled, but he smiled a little, his free hand reaching over to pat Marinette’s forearm as well. “…But I guess I do feel a little better, knowing Ladybug’s in my corner…but what if I screw up…?”

“I have complete faith in you,” Master Fu assured Nino in much the same way he had assured Marinette when she had been briefly forced to don the Guardian mantle. “Just as you have become an amazing Turtle Miraculous holder, you will also become a brilliant Guardian…perhaps even better than I ever was.”

“Those are some big shoes to fill, Master Fu,” Nino said, giving the old master a wry look, and Master Fu laughed. Marinette grinned, surging with affection for the both of them. Lately, things hadn’t been ideal for her as Ladybug—thrust back into duty without a moment’s notice, having her MIA partner turn his back on her, having Paris tear itself down the middle over what was the right and wrong way to deal with akuma…it had been a rough couple of months, to say the very least.

But having these people in her corner—an old master who long ago saw something in her she wasn’t even aware she had; a mystical fairy that gave her superpowers and tirelessly encouraged her to do the right thing and be the best person she could be; an old friend turned new teammate in just a night; and a mysterious ally who chose to stay hidden in the shadows for reasons all his own—made Marinette feel that maybe things were beginning to look up for Ladybug after all.

Now if only a certain cat would remove his head from his ass and return, too…then Marinette would be happy.

The rest of lunch passed by with only one more question that couldn’t be answered: why Poseidon had reverted to his civilian form so suddenly. Master Fu had no answer, and the only explanation he could think up was,

“Well, if The Butterfly can give these powers at will, then it makes just as much sense for them to be able to take them away at will as well, right?”

Marinette had already theorized this on her own, and decided to let the matter drop, finishing her pho and ushering Nino out of the restaurant with promises that they would see Master Fu again soon.

“He looks a little older than the last time I saw him,” Nino remarked, surprising Marinette as they walked back to her car. “I feel like his hair got whiter overnight.”

“You mean he didn’t always look like that when you met him?”

“Nah. But it’s weird, isn’t it? I know the dude’s, like, two-hundred, but he doesn’t look like it…or he didn’t when I started training with him, anyway…what’s up with that?”

They were in the car now, and it was Wayzz who answered the question.

“The Turtle Miraculous has the ability to slow the aging process. Now that a new Turtle Miraculous holder has been chosen, Mas—Fu will be aging a bit faster now.”

Nino took that in, silent as he gazed out the window as Marinette pulled out into traffic. After a moment, she caught the grin that began to spread across his face.

“So, I won’t age? I’ll be immortal, like a god?”

“No,” Wayzz replied patiently; Marinette got the feeling that he’d been dealing with these sort of questions too long for them to faze him anymore. “You will merely age at a slower rate than normal humans.”

“Good thing you didn’t become Miraculous while we were still attending Dupont, then,” Marinette spoke up, grinning herself. “You would’ve been juvenile forever.”


They traded barbs back and forth for the remainder of the car ride. It wasn’t until they arrived back on Marinette’s street that Nino paused, frowning down at something in his hand.

“Alya tried calling me,” he reported to Marinette, cringing as he joined her on the sidewalk. “Five times.”

Marinette frowned. Uh-oh…how had he missed five calls from his girlfriend?

“Did you have your phone on silent?”

“Well, yeah. We were kind of having an important conversation…”

“Well why didn’t you switch the volume back on when we were done?”

“I forgot?”

Marinette sighed.

“You’d better call her back now, then, and hope she isn’t too pissed to—”


Marinette and Nino both glanced up, freezing once they noticed the figure waiting on the steps of Marinette’s townhouse apartment.

It was Alya, looking cold and confused, her arms folded around her for warmth as she stood on the stairs, glancing between her best friend and her boyfriend, clearly trying to put two and two together.

Nino’s mouth was gaping open in horror, but Marinette recovered first, purposefully nudging Nino as she resumed walking forward.

“Hey Alya! You’re an hour early, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, well, I thought we could give you a facial and paint your nails and stuff…the works.” Her eyes narrowing behind her glasses, she glanced between the pair of them once again. “What were you two doing out together…?”

“I finished Nino’s CD cover and went over to show him,” Marinette explained before Nino had a chance to flounder. Rare were the times when she wasn’t forced to outright lie to Alya, and Marinette was grateful for each and every one of these precious moments.

“Oh…yeah! It looks kickass,” Nino said with a nod. As they drew level with Alya, Marinette passing her to unlock her door, she heard Alya ask,

“Really? Can I see it?”

“Ah, sorry, babe: I left it back at my apartment.”

“Okay…so, you wanna explain to me why you’ve been ignoring my calls?”

“I had it on silent, babe. I’m sorry,” he apologized as Marinette unlocked her door, allowing the couple to pass her into the warmth inside. “‘Nette and I were having lunch in a place that was kind of sensitive about cell phone use.”

“It’s true,” Marinette piped up with a grim look. “But despite the needed distraction of cellular devices, we found things to talk about. Did you know Nino had to talk Adrien out of buying a corsage for me for tonight?”

That managed to capture Alya’s attention, the suspicion in her gaze draining, replaced by glee as she turned to her boyfriend.

“You did not.

“I so did,” Nino huffed and rolled his eyes. “He was being such a dork, freaking out about the color and the type of flower. I nearly had to smack some sense into him.”

As Alya snorted with laughter, Nino’s eyes met Marinette’s, and he mouthed “thank you” at her, which Marinette replied to with a smile.

“Oh, Nino, before you go, I wanted to give you that stuff for a certain someone’s birthday,” she fibbed, making an obvious gesture towards Alya. “Alya, can you wait here for a second?”

Alya’s suspicious look returned, but it was tinged with playfulness this time around.

“Fine, fine, be all secretive. But you know surprise parties don’t work on me.”

“We’ll see,” Marinette teased, waving Nino up the stairs after her and closing the door behind him.

“What was that about?” Nino asked, clearly not comprehending as Marinette moved to the box underneath her bed, lifting it with a grunt and carrying it over to him.

“This. The Miraculous chest is in this box,” she murmured to him, handing it off before removing her necklace with the key on it, stuffing it into his coat pocket. “Be very careful with them, understand? Hide them however you can. You can keep them in this box, or you can find another place for them, just as long as they’re safe, okay? They’re your responsibility now, Guardian.”

Nino groaned.

“Whether I like it or not, I guess.” He sighed, but his grip on the box tightened as he gave a solemn nod. “I’ll guard them with my life.”

“I hope it never has to come to that,” Marinette said gravely, moving around him to open her door and head back downstairs. Behind her, Nino sighed again.

“Me, too,” he confessed.

After minimal teasing about what could be in the box, Alya strictly ordered Nino to return to Marinette’s later that night, at five forty-five sharp.

“Prince Cheesy will be here at six, so I wanna make sure he knows what’ll happen if Marinette comes back in worse condition than when we sent her off,” Alya said darkly as she shooed Nino down Marinette’s front steps, ignoring the slight exasperated look Marinette gave her.

“You know, you’re not my mom, Alya,” she reminded her best friend, who rolled her eyes.

“I don’t have to be to be protective. You’re my Marinette, no matter whose vagina you came out of.”

“AND that’s my cue to leave,” Nino announced, looking uncomfortable now. He leaned over, pecking Alya’s lips before he jumped the last few steps, the box containing the Miraculous held under his arm. Marinette wanted to warn him again to be careful, but she couldn’t say much without seeming suspicious, so she settled for a mere warning look as Nino waved at the pair of them before he walked away, his gait strong, easing Marinette’s worries…

…That is, until Alya got her back inside and slammed the door shut, locking it in an ominous manner.

“And now…” she began, turning on Marinette with a wicked look that Marinette was far too familiar with, unfortunately, “it’s time to get to work.”

Marinette sighed. It was going to be a looong afternoon.



Adrien fidgeted, pacing at the bottom of the stairs of Marinette’s place. He knew he shouldn’t have gotten here so early—okay, he was only ten minutes early, but apparently, that ten minutes was still vital for Marinette’s preparation, if the way Alya had shoved him back was any indication.

“You said six, and it’s not six yet! So you have to wait!”

And, while thoroughly ignoring Nino’s protests to not make him wait out in the cold, Alya had slammed the door shut, and that was that.

Which left Adrien to, well…pace.

You could wait in the car where it’s warm,’ his mind reminded him, but the thought of sitting still, even in a warm place, made him even more restless, and so he prowled around out front instead, like some alley cat waiting for food.

He kept his gaze carefully away from Marinette’s balcony, because when he thought about how, just last night, he had been up there chatting with Marinette in a leather cat suit like it was nothing, his face heated up, and his pacing increased.

He really couldn’t justify the late night visit. It had come out of the blue, this restless desire to see her. Texting her hadn’t seemed like it would be enough, but it wasn’t like he could just pop over whenever he wanted…not as Adrien, anyway…

Plagg was less than pleased about this random desire.

“You can’t just turn into Chat Noir just to see your girlfriend! That’s abusing the power of the Miraculous, especially since you’re refusing to do your superhero duty right now! No, I don’t wanna do it, I want no part of this weird mating ritual you’re trying to initiate with your girlfriend!”

Three boxes of camembert had changed the kwami’s tune pretty quickly, but Adrien still felt bad. Plagg had a point, after all…it wasn’t like he could get away with this method of seeing Marinette whenever he wanted, when she herself had cautioned him not to make it a habit. And he still had no idea why the sudden need to see her had become so overpowering…

It’s probably because I hadn’t seen her since Monday,’ he reasoned to himself, nervously smoothing down his gelled hair—he had gone through a whole bottle trying to tame the blonde mess, and now he was seriously considering a haircut. ‘She kept refusing to jog with me all week, saying it was too cold, so tonight would’ve been the only other time I saw her this week…

And yet, the promise of Saturday still hadn’t been enough for him. Why?

As Adrien buttoned and unbuttoned one of his cufflinks as he paced, the sound of the door unlocking up the stairs made him stop, and he abruptly turned on his heel, facing the door as it creaked open.

Alya frowned down at him, her glasses flashing in the light of the streetlamps outside.

“Okay, we’re just about finished here…are you ready?”

“Uh…yes?” Adrien said, though it came out more like a question. What was Alya making this into a big deal for, anyway?

Her frown deepened at the confusion on Adrien’s face.

“I swear, Agreste, if your jaw doesn’t hit the ground as soon as you see her—”

“Alya,” Adrien heard Marinette sigh from somewhere inside, and Adrien stretched onto his toes, wanting to catch a glimpse of her…but Alya remained stubbornly in his way.

“…All right, fine,” she conceded after a minute. She disappeared, the door closing briefly in front of her once again, only to open a moment later, revealing…

…Oh, wow.

She was an absolutely lovely vision in pink: the dress was made of Organza fabric, sleeveless, with a sweetheart neckline and an empire waistline, fitting her lean frame perfectly, the bottom made entirely of ruffles that shifted as she walked. The soft pink made Adrien think immediately of her when he saw it in the Chanel window display, but seeing it on her…

He was not prepared. He could only gawk stupidly as she carefully made her way down the stairs in those pink heels he could just see under her dress, and only because she lifted the ruffled skirt a bit so she could walk. On her arms were long white gloves she must have bought somewhere, matching her white fluffy coat. When Adrien was finally able to drag his eyes away from her clothes, he took in her face, and her skin was glowing, her make-up done expertly, eyeliner and mascara emphasizing the shape of her eyes and how very blue they were, the curve of her lips defined by pink lipstick, her cheeks flushed…or was that rouge? It didn’t really matter, she was gorgeous either way, her dark hair done up into an elegant bun, with a chain of thin, glittering rhinestones criss-crossing her bun, and two spiral curls framing her face, her bangs swept to the side as always. When she reached the bottom of the stairs, she let her skirt fall, smoothing it out with her gloved hands before she looked up at him. Her cheeks darkened a bit when she caught his gaze, but she smiled all the same, and Adrien felt his mouth go dry.

Nothing on earth could have prepared him for the way Marinette Dupain-Cheng looked tonight.

There was a snort next to him, and some sort of pressure under his chin—someone was closing his mouth for him.

“Mission accomplished,” Alya decided, her voice sounding gleeful, but Adrien couldn’t look over to make sure. He was still so enraptured by the beauty that was Marinette Dupain-Cheng, all dolled up for a night out.

A night out with him, no less…

“Dude, say something,” said Nino, and there was a nudge to Adrien’s ribs. “She’s gonna think you’re catatonic if you keep staring at her like that.”

That managed to rouse Adrien from the stupor Marinette had put him in, with absolutely no effort on her part. He managed to clear his throat, and had to drop his gaze to the ground so he could think straight.

“You look beautiful,” he offered shyly, because they had an audience. Marinette giggled, and his gaze immediately snapped to hers, unable to help it. She was smiling again—oh god, his heart, he was going to die—and gave him a playful shove to his chest, managing to make him stumble back a step.

“You clean up well, too, Mr. Model,” she teased him, and Adrien felt himself relax a little. That’s right, there was no need to be nervous…she was just his plus one to the ball. There was absolutely no reason for his face to be so hot, nor should he suddenly feel that his Armani suit was constricting his chest, making it hard to breathe…

“Uh,” he began, forcing himself into speech when he realized he was staring again; he cleared his throat and turned away from Marinette, opening the passenger side door of his car. “I was told by someone that it was gauche to get you a corsage…but I didn’t want to come empty-handed, so…”

“Oh,” Marinette sighed softly, her eyes widening with surprise as Adrien pulled out a bouquet of a dozen long-stemmed pink roses from his car. His face was now on fire, but he still managed to hand over the flowers with as much grace as he could. Marinette took them, staring down at the bouquet for a moment, saying nothing. This caused Adrien some distress—she wasn’t allergic to flowers, was she? Or maybe she didn’t like roses? He really should have checked with Alya first, shouldn’t he have? Oh god, what if she hated them and was just too nice to say anything?

As he began to sweat, it was with some surprise that he registered the blush that filled Marinette’s face, and her smile when she looked up at him again…god, she was radiant.

“That’s so sweet. Thank you,” she said, her smile widening. Adrien nearly choked on his own tongue.

“You’re welcome,” he mumbled, managing a smile of his own for a moment, while inside, his mind was panicking. What was happening to him???

“I’ll take those,” said Alya, and Adrien jolted; he had nearly forgotten that she and Nino were still there. He watched mutely as she took the roses from her best friend, shooting him a look that was rather smug, for some reason. “I’ll put them in water for you, Mari.”

“Thanks. You know where the vases are,” Marinette replied.

“Your purse, Miss Marinette,” Nino teased, handing over a tiny pink clutch bag to Marinette. As she thanked him, Adrien caught the questioning glance she gave Nino, who replied to it with a wink. Satisfied, Marinette smiled and turned away from him, leaving Adrien to glance between them curiously. What was that about…?

“So, Agreste—how late are you going to be keeping my Marinette out tonight?” Alya demanded to know, claiming his attention once again. Marinette gave a weary sigh.

“I told you, Alya, the ball lasts until midnight,” she reminded her friend. Alya’s gaze narrowed behind her glasses.

“And I’m supposed to believe that this swanky ball lasts for six hours?”

“It starts at eight thirty,” Adrien informed Marinette’s protective friend. “We’re leaving now because the Sainte de-Coquille chateau is on Montmartre.”

Nino gave a low whistle.

“That’s a drive.”

“Which means we have to leave now if we don’t want to be late,” Marinette said with a pointed look at Alya. Alya did not look like she gave any fucks about the schedule, however.

“Isn’t it fashionable to be late? Relax, girl, I only want a word with your date for a second—”

“It’s not a date,” Adrien and Marinette denied at the same time, their faces flushed.

“Uh-huh. You,” Alya said, grabbing Adrien’s upper arm, “come with me for a second.”

And, with a strength that was not so surprising, since it was Alya, she hauled Adrien up the stairs and out of earshot, thoroughly ignoring Marinette’s protests that they were going to be late and that this really wasn’t necessary. But she was detained by Nino—most likely on Alya’s orders—and so Adrien was cornered by her best friend, who rested her free hand on her hip, frowning up at him.

“You remember that favor you owe me?” She began without preamble, “I wanna cash it now.”

Adrien blinked.

“Oh…now? Uh, but I’m kind of busy tonight—”

“Shut up and listen, Agreste,” Alya growled at him, and Adrien closed his mouth, his eyebrows raising. Hmm…maybe the source of Marinette’s attitude was the woman standing right in front of him… “That beautiful girl down there? She means the world to me. And all I want is for her to be happy.”

Alya’s hazel eyes flashed behind her glasses, and her hair seemed to fluff out, like a storm was building within her, waiting to rain hellfire down on Adrien’s head. She reached up with her free hand, gripping the lapel of Adrien’s trench coat and yanking him down to her eye level.

“So I’m letting you know now: if you break her heart, I’m hunting you down. I don’t care how much you might say that you’re just friends and you didn’t realize you were hurting her feelings—I will hunt you down, and I will make your life so hellish that you will beg me to kill you.”

And, as if the threat wasn’t unnerving enough…Alya abruptly smiled so sweetly that Adrien nearly broke out in a cold sweat.

“Do we understand each other, Adrien?”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied automatically, unable to help himself. Nino was right—Alya was scary when she was mad.

“Good.” Alya let go, smoothing out his lapel for him, her smile growing less dangerous. “Bring her home safe, young man. I don’t wanna have to come hunting for you in the middle of the night.”

“Oh come on,” Adrien huffed a little, growing indignant. “Mari’s my friend, too. Do you really think I’d be so irresponsible?” After all, wasn’t this a little much? For god’s sake, Alya was acting like he was going to eat Marinette as soon as she let them out of her sight. Best friend or not, this was a little overboard.

Alya inspected him for an inscrutable moment. Just for a second, there was a flash of something Adrien didn’t expect in her eyes: worry.

“I hope not,” was all she said in reply, before she waved him off, back down the stairs. “Come on, Nino, I gotta put these in water before we lock up and go back to your place.”

“Have fun, kids,” Nino teased them with a wink as he passed Adrien, obeying the summons of his girlfriend.

“Do not have sex in my apartment!” Marinette called after them, which prompted Alya to waggle her eyebrows at her best friend.

“I make no promises,” she teased, grabbing Nino by his wrist and dragging him back inside, slamming the door shut behind them. Marinette huffed as Adrien turned to her, amused at the deadpan look she wore.

“I’m gonna have to disinfect everything when I get home,” she grumbled, and Adrien laughed.

“Guess we should’ve made them leave first,” he teased, standing next to his passenger car door, a hand waiting for Marinette. “After you, your Highness.”

Marinette gave him a dry look as she took his hand, accepting his help as she climbed into the car.

“Still sticking with the princess theme?”

“How can I not, with you looking like that?” He teased, and was rewarded with the new blush that filled Marinette’s face. He made sure her dress wasn’t hanging out before he shut the door, rounding the car and climbing into the driver’s seat.

“What did Alya say to you?” Marinette asked as they pulled away from the curb. Adrien flushed and cleared his throat.

“Oh, nothing…something about having you home at a reasonable hour.”


“And nothing. That was it.”

“Liar,” Marinette accused, and Adrien’s shoulders hunched. Damn, he forgot how well she could read him at this point…

“Okay, well, there was other stuff…but I kind of don’t want to rehash it, Mari.” He turned, giving her a grimace. “All I can say is I feel sorry for the man who decides he wants to marry you.”

Marinette laughed at that, grinning widely.

“I do, too,” she admitted, “he won’t have to worry about meeting my parents—it’s the other two he has to be afraid of.”

“Three,” Adrien corrected, glancing over in time to see Marinette raising her eyebrows.


“Yeah.” He gave her a grin and a wink. “You don’t think I’ll be there intimidating the poor, unworthy bastard right along with Alya and Nino?”

Amusement glinted in Marinette’s gaze, and Adrien had to remind himself to watch the road.

“Well, for that to work, wouldn’t you actually have to be intimidating?” She teased him. Adrien made a show of clapping a hand to his chest, keeping the other firmly on the steering wheel.

Ow. Your words sting, Mari.” He shot a brief, exaggerated pout in her direction. “I could be intimidating if I wanted to.”

“Sure…but only in a ‘I’m Adrien Agreste and I will always be richer and more attractive than you’ sort of way.”

A stupid grin began to stretch its way across Adrien’s face.

“You think I’m attractive?” He asked, glancing over at Marinette, who rolled her eyes so hard she almost fell asleep.

“The whole world thinks you’re attractive. You wouldn’t be a supermodel if you weren’t.”

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

“Then most of the world must have the same eyesight, or else you would be out of work.”

“Touché.” Adrien allowed himself a chuckle before he changed the subject; he didn’t want to talk about work right now. “Are you excited about tonight?”

“Yes,” Marinette enthused, her eyes doing the thing where they got big and sparkly, and Adrien once again had to remind himself that he was driving and that it was dangerous to look at her for too long. “This could be my chance to network—I have some business cards in my purse, just in case anyone’s in the market for fresh blood.”

“I’ll be sure to slip in a good word or two for you as well,” Adrien promised.

“Thanks.” Marinette sighed, and Adrien glanced over, his brow crinkling in concern at the slight disappointment on her face. What was wrong? “I just wish I had known about the ball earlier—I could’ve made myself a dress so people could physically see what I can do.”

Ah. That…would’ve been great, actually. Adrien cringed.

“I’m sorry, Mari.”

“Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love this dress,” she assured him, smoothing her gloved hands over the skirt once again. “As a matter of fact, remind me when you drop me off tonight that I need to grab your Christmas present before you go home.”

That caught Adrien’s attention, his eyes wide as he turned to look at her.

“You got me something?”

Marinette smiled.

“I might have,” she teased. “Watch the road.”

Reluctantly, Adrien re-focused his gaze on the road.

“What did you get me?”

“I’m not telling you.”



“Not even a little hint?”

Marinette went quiet. Adrien risked a glance in her direction. Her expression was thoughtful.

“Hmm…okay, one hint: think black.”

Adrien blinked, his brow creasing.

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“I don’t get it.”

“Guess you’ll have to wait, then.”

“Mariiii,” he whined, and she laughed at him.

“You’re twenty-two, Mr. Agreste,” she reminded him, but Adrien pouted nonetheless.



“I’ll turn this car around,” he threatened. He didn’t need Marinette’s flat look to know that she saw right through him.

“Sure you will.” She blinked, her eyes widening a little. “Oh, right, I almost forgot…” She suddenly cringed and let out a drawn out sigh. “…My mother wants to know if you’d like to join us for Christmas dinner tomorrow.”

There was a stoplight that turned red just as they pulled up to it. Adrien stopped the car, and then twisted in his seat to stare at Marinette.

“Me?” He questioned, as if she meant some other ‘you’. Marinette raised an eyebrow at him, a slight smile curving her lips.

“Yes, you. She thinks it’s only fair for you to join us, since you’re whisking me away to the party of a lifetime tonight. If you’re busy, though, that’s totally okay, since I told her you might be unavailable on such short notice—”

“I’d love to come to dinner tomorrow,” Adrien enthused, so surprised and so touched by such an invite that too much fervor was in his voice, his eyes probably too intense; he attributed those things to the reason Marinette blushed. He was probably making her uncomfortable, and so he worked to calm himself, clearing his throat. “I don’t have any other plans…I was going to just spend it at home, but if it’s really okay—”

“Yes, absolutely,” Marinette assured him, nodding a little too much—perhaps she was working to assure him? “We’re going to wear hideous Christmas sweaters and make cookies and watch Christmas movies. It’ll be fun.”

A slow, wide grin began to make its way across Adrien’s face. He had already resigned himself to the fate of a lonely Christmas—Chloe had been highly offended when she found out he was going to a party without her, and had insisted that she and her father spend the holidays in Fiji, far away from him. And it wasn’t like he wanted to spend Christmas with what little family he had left in Italy…so he had been depressed, but resigned, to his fate.

And then actual angel Marinette Dupain-Cheng asked him to spend Christmas with her warm and loving family instead.

There was absolutely nothing pretty enough Adrien could buy her to express his pleasure at such an invitation.

“The light’s green,” Marinette told him in a small voice, glancing away from him, her face red. Adrien tore his gaze from her and put his foot down a little too hard—the car jerked forward, and he apologized, flushing in embarrassment as he eased his foot off the gas pedal.

“I don’t have an ugly Christmas sweater,” Adrien said after a quiet moment fell between them, his eyes kept fixed on the road. “Is that okay?”

“It’s fine, my dad can probably lend you one. He likes to collect them.” The amusement in Marinette’s voice made Adrien smile, too.

“I don’t know how to make cookies.”

“We’ll teach you.”

Adrien smiled.

“Thank you, Marinette.”

“Thank my mom—she’s the one who reminded me to invite you.”

Yes, but even so, if Marinette didn’t want him to spend Christmas with her family, she wouldn’t have said anything. Adrien knew enough about her by now to know that was true, and the silly grin wouldn’t leave his face, no matter how much he tried to sober up; he was too excited.

His first, real Christmas. He couldn’t wait.

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A Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir Story
by DarkReyna16

Part 14 of 37

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