Continuing Tales

Back to Us

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

Part 2 of 37

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

“Marinette…Marinette…? MARINETTE!”

            Marinette jumped with a squawk, somehow getting tangled in her sheets in just the right way before she wobbled and fell off her bed. She groaned, peeling back the corner of the sheet covering her face and frowned up at a pair of big, indigo eyes.

            “What is it, Tikki?” She grumbled, rubbing at her face and yawning. This better be good, if it was so important to rouse her from the lovely little place that was Dream Land…

            With a tiny grunt of effort, Tikki lifted Marinette’s phone up for her to see.

            “You slept through your alarm again! You’re going to be late!”

            Marinette blinked at the time. 8:50.

            She had class at 9.

            The unholy screech she let loose could probably be heard from two blocks away.

            Scrambling out of her cotton prison, Marinette ran for the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

            “Why didn’t you wake me earlier, Tikki?!”

            She heard her kwami sigh from behind the door as she sped through her morning routine, washing her face and brushing her teeth at top speed.

            “Twenty-one years old and you’re still like this…” The kwami hastily zoomed out of the way of the door as Marinette blew past, throwing her closet open. “The only thing you’ve seemed to have outgrown is your pigtails!”

            Marinette stuck her tongue out at Tikki, which only proved her right, Marinette supposed, but she couldn’t focus on being mature right now—she was going to be late!

            After throwing on some clothes that managed to make her look presentable, Marinette took one look at her hair, deemed it hopeless, and tied it back in a bun, strands of raven locks framing her face. She snatched up her bag and raced down the steps, calling back a farewell to her kwami as she left.

            “See you later, Tikki!”

            “Bye, Marinette!”

            Tikki rarely ever traveled with her everywhere she went anymore—there was no need, and with how busy Marinette was, rushing to and from places, she barely had time to feed herself, let alone Tikki. It was at first with a heavy heart that Marinette chose to leave Tikki behind most days, leaving her with a box of cookies and different ways for the kwami to entertain herself. It was hard at first, and though Marinette missed the little voice in her ear when she was having hurried, solitary lunches at a café somewhere, they both agreed that it was for the best. Besides, Marinette made it up to the kwami by taking her out to see the city on days when she wasn’t so hellishly busy, and there was always Ladybug time when Marinette could manage it. So, while the thought made her clench with guilt at first, now Marinette was just used to the situation. She was busy, so it couldn’t be helped.

            Outside of her apartment, Marinette locked up, let out a measured breath, and then took off running for campus.

            It was both blessing and curse that International Fashion Academy—IFA Paris—allowed its upperclassmen to live off campus if they so chose. The blessing was that Marinette could be as loud as she wanted in her own apartment—which wasn’t actually too loud, by herself—without campus security being called in for a noise complaint.

            The curse?

            She was often stuck doing this every morning: ducking and dodging around people with rushed apologies as she ran for campus, the sunlight glittering off the Quai de la Marne nearly blinding her.

            ‘Why don’t I think to set up five-minute alarms?’ Marinette berated herself as she dashed onto campus, heading for the correct building by skirting past a couple girls holding coffee cups, their shrieks of indignation falling on deaf ears. ‘No, one-minute alarms. That way I’d be so annoyed that I’d get up out of irritation more than anything…but that doesn’t help if I’m sleeping through my alarm anyway, does it? Ugggh, why did I think a Masters degree in Fashion Business was a good idea?! I should’ve just stuck with my Fashion Studio short course—then I’d be done already!

            Marinette sighed as she slipped through the doors of her class building, the smell of academia heavy in the air. Oh the ways she suffered for her craft…

            Being Ladybug during what little free time she had nowadays certainly had its perks—where years ago, a ten-minute mad dash to campus would’ve winded her, now, Marinette was perfectly composed as she strode into class, the only thing winded possibly her hair. She smoothed it down as she took her seat, pleased to find that she had arrived with just one minute to spare. A personal best, in her book.

            “All right, all right, settle down,” called the professor as the morning chatter quieted. On the course description, her name was Mademoiselle Trace—Miss Trace, as her home country of America would call her—but she preferred them to call her Desiree, which made the whole dispute a moot point. Though she was fluent in French, Desiree preferred to speak exclusively in English, which made Marinette fervently grateful for the English courses she had to take in lycee and in her first two years of university. In fact, the only time Desiree ever spoke in French—

            “All right, my brilliant students, listen up: J’ai une announce a faire.”

            —Is when she had something important to say.

            The abrupt switch to their native language had every head swiveling in Desiree’s direction. Pleased with the attention, Desiree continued.

            “As you all know well and good, graduation is just a few short months away—”

            Seven months, three days, fourteen hours, seventeen minutes, six seconds.

            But Marinette wasn’t counting or anything.

            “—So as your final project, we’re having a competition. A Project Runway, of sorts.” Desiree chuckled at the groan her students issued over her mention of the dreadful American fashion reality show she’d once made them watch. Tim Gunn’s favorite phrase, “Make it work,” was often uttered in the class from then on when someone didn’t know the answer to a question or was last-minute cramming for an exam. Though sounding playful, it was a phrase meant to shame.

“Anyway,” Desiree continued, becoming business-like with just a snap of her fingers, “for the rest of this semester, this class will focus on one thing, and one thing only: creating your very own spring fashion line.”

            The air grew heavy with anticipation, hanging on Desiree’s every word. She smirked at this.

            “You all have spent years developing your own unique designs, and I’ve seen a lot of amazing work.” Here, she winked at Marinette, who blushed and tried not to be too pleased with herself. It was a losing battle. “I have every confidence that each and every one of you has what it takes to rise to the top.” Desiree straightened up from where she leaned against her desk, her sudden stern look further driving home just how serious this was. “That being said, this will be a competition. Therefore, there will only be one winner. The winner of this competition will not only have their designs modeled in this spring’s Paris Fashion Week—”

            A collective gasp sounded through the room, but Desiree lifted a hand, her smirk more pronounced than ever.

            “Hang on, darlings, I’m not done. Not only will the chosen fashion line be modeled in this spring’s Paris Fashion Week, but said winning designer will also have a guaranteed career with the best on-the-rise fashion company…”

            Desiree paused once again, and Marinette thought she might burst from anticipation.

            ‘Spit it out already!’ Her mind cried out, desperate for release.

            But Desiree was sadistic: she dragged out the anticipation for as long as possible, until someone in the back burst out, “For the love of god, Desiree, tell us already!”

            Desiree’s face split into a grin.

            “All right, all right, since you’re all so desperate to know…” She cleared her throat, and then, confusing all her students, called to the direction of her office. “You can come out now!”

            Heads swiveled in the direction of Desiree’s office, the door coming open with a soft click. Everyone stared as he emerged, slow, sinuous, cat-walk steps carrying him to the front of the room, where he stopped, a hand propped up on his cocked hip.


            Marinette stared, feeling her eyes go wide in her face. She took in the clothes—designer, of course, and form-fitting—the hair—longer than she had ever seen it, but still blonde and still perfectly coiffed, gelled and combed down in the back—the tan—Italy had done very complimentary things to his skin—and finally, the eyes…

            Green eyes that surveyed the room coolly, as if he was king and was well-aware of it.

            Desiree’s voice came dimly through the roaring in Marinette’s ears:

            “Presenting CEO of Agreste Fashion and world-famous supermodel, Adrien Agreste!”

            Marinette nearly fell out of her seat. She managed to straighten herself in time, but the squeak of surprise did not go unnoticed.

            “Something wrong, sweetheart?” Desiree asked as Marinette ducked her head, feeling her face go completely red for the first time in years.

            “N-no,” she muttered, daring to chance a glance up. Adrien—freaking Adrien Agreste—was looking at her, too, and she about died when she noticed the slight lift of one of his golden brows. As if he found her ridiculous.

            Marinette wanted to take out her stash of fabric scraps she carried with her everywhere in case she or someone else was in need of a quick patch job, tie them together in a noose, and hang herself from the Eiffel Tower.

            ‘Maybe being a mite overdramatic there, Marinette. You’re not fourteen anymore, remember? You’re a grown-ass woman, so act like it!

            It was funny how, even as they pursued different career choices at different universities, Alya’s voice still managed to enter Marinette’s brain to make her get herself together.

            Clearing her throat, Marinette waved a hand.

            “Please, continue,” she said to Desiree, successfully suppressing the note of desperation in her voice. Desiree still gave her an odd look, but shrugged in the end and did as Marinette asked.

            “Mr. Agreste has graciously agreed to this little project of mine,” she said with a casual wave to Adrien, as if he wasn’t standing there looking unfairly like an Adonis statue come to life. “He tells me that his company is currently in the market for talented designers, so I hope you all will make me proud.”

            “I look forward to working with you all,” Adrien spoke for the first time since entering the room, the deep rumble of his voice—so different from the teenaged tenor she remembered all too clearly—doing strange and devastating things to her. She tried to discreetly pinch her cheeks to remind herself not to dissolve into a hot mess because oh my god Marinette you haven’t seen him in years pull yourself together.

“Here is the criteria sheet for the competition,” Desiree announced, pulling Marinette back out of her own head as she passed out packets of paper containing all the information. “The deadline is two months before graduation and one week before Fashion Week, so you have about four months to put together some truly fantastic pieces. Don’t worry, the minimum requirement is five outfits—but if you want to do more, I won’t stop you, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt your chances. It is also my understanding that Agreste Fashion will be checking in bi-weekly on your progress…is that still correct?”

            Desiree looked inquiringly at Adrien, who nodded.

            “Yes—I will clear time in my schedule to personally meet with each of you and discuss your designs for the next few months. Since models from Agreste Fashion will be modeling your designs, we have to be sure that we can coordinate every last detail until the winner is determined.”

            Adrien smiled, a sight that normally would’ve reduced Marinette to ash…but there was something strange. Though the smile was perfect, as was everything about Adrien Agreste…it didn’t reach his eyes. It was artificial, a carefully crafted smile to please the audience.

            It was his model smile.

            “My assistant will send you my schedule, Desiree. Please have your students sign up for the designated time slots, and don’t hesitate to call if there are conflicts.”

            Adrien laid a hand on Desiree’s shoulder, and she smiled at him.

            “Of course, Mr. Agreste.” Was Marinette imagining the flirtation in her teacher’s voice? She fervently hoped so.

            There was a shrill ring through the room, and Marinette was glad to know that she wasn’t the only one who jumped. Adrien’s angel features were marred by the frown that puckered his brow, his lips twisting as he retrieved his ringing phone from his pocket. Marinette inwardly groaned—even pouting, he still looked amazing. It really wasn’t fair.

            “I’m afraid that’s all the time I have to spare today,” he said to the room at large, his model’s smile now apologetic. “CEO/supermodel, and all that.”

            “Of course. Thank you for coming,” Desiree said, speaking for the class as she walked Adrien to the door. “We’ll be in touch.”

            “Good luck,” Adrien called to the room, lifting a hand in farewell. Some students called back to him, but his phone was already up to his ear, the heel of his expensive shoes out the door—

            He was gone.

            The room abruptly burst into excited chatter.

            “Adrien freaking Agreste, are you kidding me?!”

            “Desiree, how could you spring something like that on us with no warning?!”

            “Yeah, rude!”

            “I about had a heart attack!”

            “Adrien freaking Agreste!

            Marinette sympathized—they had no idea—but her attention was currently elsewhere.

            Namely, on the piece of cloth that had fluttered to the floor after Adrien’s departure. As Desiree attempted to quell the rebellion, all amusement and smugness on her face, Marinette got up, carefully approaching the cloth as if it would harm her.

            It was a monogrammed handkerchief. The initials “A.A.” were embroidered on one side in velvety green.

            The same green as Adrien’s eyes.

            “He dropped his handkerchief,” she reported to no one in particular, still staring at the scrap of fabric.

            The room behind her went silent for one precious second.

            And then it exploded in sound.

            “I’ll take it to him!”

            “No, I will, I’m fastest, I was the anchor on my lycee track team!”

            “Let me smell it, just a quick whiff!”

            “Give it to me, Marinette!

            “HEY!” Desiree called, the loudest voice of all, and the class stopped mobbing Marinette, who had to crouch within the group, defending her find, nowhere near tall enough to stretch above the crowd. With a look that was half-exasperated, half-amused, Desiree waved her hand, and the students blocking Marinette moved obediently to the side, revealing her. She straightened with a sigh of relief.

            “Finders keepers,” Desiree said, employing that strange, American rule she’d repeated once or twice. But then she winked at Marinette. “Mari-doll, be a dear and deliver Mr. Agreste’s handkerchief back to him, would you? And you better hurry—he’s a busy man.”

            Marinette could have run over and kissed Desiree.

            But she didn’t, content to grab her bag and go, smiling guiltily at the covetous looks her classmates threw her way.

            Marinette dashed out of the building, feeling her bun wobble on her head as she turned this way and that. She had no idea which direction Adrien had disappeared to, but she was certain she would spot him immediately—he was tall, blonde, and gorgeous, after all. Not exactly hard to miss.

            And spot him she did: he was down the street, phone still to his ear as he was climbing into a nondescript car.

            “ADRIEN!” Marinette called out before she could stop herself, “WAIT!”

            He paused, blinking green eyes as she sped towards him, hoping very much that she didn’t look like a rabid fangirl about to attack him. Although the run this morning hadn’t knocked the breath out of her, she found herself strangely gasping for air after this short sprint, and she cursed her nerves to the very deepest pits of hell, certain they were the cause.

            As she leaned over to breathe, free hand on her knees, she lifted the handkerchief for him to see.

            “You…you dropped…this…” she puffed, forcing herself to straighten up after a moment, to meet his eyes. God, he was so much taller than her, now. What was he, six-two? Three? She was so flustered that her designer’s eye couldn’t tell.

            He blinked at her again, looking mildly surprised.

            “Oh,” he said, patting his pocket, as if to confirm what his eyes were seeing. “I guess I did.” He accepted the handkerchief, smiling a little. “Thank you.”

            Oh god. Why did her knees have to turn to jelly?! Why?!

            ‘Say something!’ Alya’s voice prodded Marinette again, and Marinette took a deep breath. She could do this. She wasn’t fourteen anymore. She could talk to Adrien Agreste.

            CEO of a big fashion company/freaking supermodel Adrien Agreste who she hadn’t seen in seven years after his move to Milan after the death and reveal of his supervillain father.

            Yeah, she could totally do this.


            ‘Off to a good start,’ Alya’s voice groaned in her head, prompting Marinette to sigh and straighten her shoulders.

            “I…I don’t know if you remember me,” she began, her grip on the bag slung across her body tightening. “But, we used to—”

            “Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” Adrien suddenly said, her name rolling effortlessly off his tongue. Marinette seized up, feeling herself blush as she blinked at him.

            He…remembered her?!

            “I thought you looked familiar,” Adrien said, rubbing his jaw thoughtfully. His rugged, handsome jaw…focus, Marinette. “I suppose I just didn’t recognize you without the pigtails.”

            His eyes trailed up and down her form, and Marinette resolved then and there to get up two hours early to plan the day’s outfits from now on.

            After a moment, he smiled again. It still didn’t reach his eyes.

            “You grew up well,” he complimented.

            Oh god. Oh god oh god oh god she was going to die, she was so going to die

            “You too,” Marinette answered as naturally as she could…which was, surprisingly, pretty natural. Miraculously, she managed to smile at him. “Italy seemed to agree with you.”

            “I guess so,” Adrien chuckled, his arm resting on top of the car door as he smiled down at her. She couldn’t help but notice how the fabric of his shirt bulged at his bicep.

            ‘Pure thoughts, Marinette, pure thoughts…

            “So,” she said, searching for some topic that would keep the conversation going, to prove to him—and herself—that she wasn’t some flustered teenage girl too shy to talk to her crush. Not that she had a crush on him still, of course, but…damn, those broad shoulders…

            “…So?” Adrien prompted when she didn’t say anything for a moment. Marinette felt her face heat up, and she internally cursed herself to the pit with her nerves.

            “So…you’re back in Paris!” Duh. Marinette could kick herself. “We should get together some time!” She blurted out to save herself, only to blush once again as the implication of her words hit her. “Y-y’know, hang out! Get the old gang back together, you, me, Alya, Nino—”

            “Ah…” Adrien’s gaze shifted away; he suddenly looked guarded. “…Nino and I fell out of touch a few years ago.”

            “Oh…” Admittedly, Marinette hadn’t expected that; Nino and Adrien’s friendship had seemed so solid that she’d just assumed that it would carry on into the present, like her friendship with Alya had. But there was something to be said about the distance between the two boys, and the changes they had both gone through as the years passed. Given the circumstances, even the strongest of friendships could fade over time. She supposed she shouldn’t be too surprised.

            “Well,” she scrambled, hastily putting on a smile, “if you ever want to get reacquainted, let me know! He and Alya are still going strong, so, you know, I’ve got an in.”

            This made the corners of Adrien’s lips quirk up.

            “You still see a lot of Alya then?”

            “When I can,” Marinette sighed, slumping a bit. “Between her internship with Paris Today, my internship at Tres Bien Boutique, and all our university work, it’s hard to see each other sometimes. But we manage.”

            “Ladyblog still going strong?” Adrien asked, an idle question as he glanced at his phone. Marinette felt abruptly bad for keeping him.

            “Uh, not exactly…” She gave a shrug when Adrien’s gaze returned to her. “Not much to report on, now that Ladybug’s not around much anymore.”

            Adrien raised an eyebrow at that.

            “Really?” He asked, leaning his weight on the top of the car door as he peered down at her. “Is Paris’ superhero retired?”

            “Not exactly,” Marinette replied, frowning. “We still see her around from time to time…but I guess there’s not much for her to do now, since—”

            ‘Foot approaching mouth, foot approaching mouth!’ Alya’s voice screamed in her head, and Marinette snapped her mouth shut, but too late—Adrien’s gaze suddenly went dull, and he looked away from her.

            Fuck. How could she have forgotten?

            “Adrien…I’m sorry,” she apologized, keeping the fervor out of her voice; he didn’t need to know just how truly sorry she was, even if she might want to make it clear how she hadn’t stopped thinking about Hawk Moth either, even seven years later.

            Adrien gave a shrug that looked like it was meant to be casual…but the stiff set of his shoulders said otherwise.

            “Don’t be. It makes sense: if there are no akuma terrorizing the city, why should Ladybug show up? She probably has better things to do.”

            Marinette tried not to bristle at the insinuation. Nothing was more important to her than keeping Paris safe…but how could she vehemently deny him without appearing suspicious?

            Especially when Ladybug was responsible for his father’s death?

            “Maybe,” she settled, just as Adrien’s phone beeped. His eyes were drawn to it once again, and Marinette took that as her cue. “In any case, I’m sorry for keeping you. I’ll…see you around…?”

            Adrien glanced up at her, smiling a small smile.

            “Naturally, since we’ll be working very closely for the next few months,” he reminded her. Though the words were no doubt innocent, they made Marinette flush, and she hated herself for the knee-jerk reaction. “As I recall, you were a brilliant designer when we attended Dupont.”

            At this, Marinette felt her eyebrow quirk.

            “‘Were’?” She quoted, working to sound offended as she cocked a hip, imitating his pose from before. “That talent didn’t disappear over the years, buddy. If anything, I’m thriving.”

            Oh god, listen to her bragging to a fucking CEO/supermodel. He was going to laugh at her, she knew it.

            But Adrien didn’t laugh.

            Instead, he smiled.

            And this smile managed to warm the coolness of his eyes, if only just a little.

            “Yeah?” He chuckled, finally getting into the car idling behind him. “Then I eagerly await seeing how your talent has thrived, Miss Dupain-Cheng.”

            Marinette could only stare as he pulled away with a parting flick of his fingers.

            The October morning was rather brisk, but with how hot Marinette was feeling, it might as well have been mid-July.



            “Girl,” the voice on the other line drawled, suggesting that Alya had big, big news. “You will never guess who’s back in the country.”

            Marinette briefly contemplated playing dumb and allowing Alya to have her fun…but the temptation to one-up her was just too strong to resist. This made her a bad friend, she supposed, but…

            “You wouldn’t happen to be talking about Adrien Agreste, would you?” Marinette replied idly, smiling to herself when Alya huffed.

            “Well, shit. And here I was, all ready to make you beg. Should’ve known you’d be on top of anything Adrien Agreste…save for the man himself, of course.”

            “Oh, please,” Marinette huffed at her phone where it lay on her desk as she jiggled her mouse to bring her computer monitor out of sleep mode. Adrien Agreste’s face flashed at her from her computer background—it was the photo from one of his more recent cologne ads. She quickly pulled up an internet browser at random to hide his face from view. “I’m so over him.”

            “Uh-huh.” The voice on the other line remained unconvinced. “So tell me, my love-struck friend: how did you possibly find out Adrien Agreste had returned to Paris before I called to give you the scoop? As I understand it, most of Paris is still in the dark.”

            Marinette could practically see Alya pouting, and she giggled a little guiltily.

            “He was in my design class this morning.”

            “You’re shitting me.”

            “Nope. Shit you not, I’m afraid,” Marinette answered, clicking on an e-mail from her boss in a tired sort of fashion. Tikki sat next to her, scrolling through the iPad Marinette had given her a few Christmases ago, playing some kind of cat game. Marinette smiled at the adorable sight before she skimmed her e-mail. Symone wanted her to run a few errands before she came into work this afternoon. Of course.

            “Well, what was he doing there?! C’mon, girl, gimme the details!”

            “Mmm, I don’t know,” Marinette decided to tease her friend, leaning back in her swivel chair, hands resting behind her head. “Since his whole company is involved, I’m not sure I’m at liberty to divulge the details until a press release is issued.”

            “Marinette. You’re my best friend and I love you, but I will hurt you the next time I see you. Don’t test me, girl.”

            Her tone of voice had gotten scary. Marinette promptly decided that that was enough teasing for the day.

            “All right, all right—so my senior class is doing this Project Runway thing—”

            “That stupid American show with the blonde ditzy model, and the guy whose droning voice makes me want to blow my own brains out?”

            “Exactly that one…but, like, take all of that crap out of it, and you have my senior project. I basically have to create five ensembles in time for Paris Fashion Week in the spring, and if they’re good enough, I’ll win the competition and have a guaranteed job at Agreste Fashion as soon as I graduate. Oh, and did I mention that Adrien Agreste will be having bi-weekly meetings with my senior class to check in on our progress?”

            Alya, who had listened intently this whole time, now sucked in a breath.

            “Girl, you better get that.

            Marinette snorted as she typed a few assurances to Symone that the errands would be run before Marinette got into work. As if she had a choice in the matter.

            “I’m not getting anything, Alya. I’m too busy for boys right now.”

            “Uh-huh,” said Alya again, sounding just as convinced as she had previously. “Let’s just pretend for a second that I buy that load of horse crap and move on to the more pressing issue: how are you gonna sleep this semester?”

            Marinette sighed.

            “I was actually trying not to focus on that part…” But between her classes, bi-weekly meetings at Agreste Fashion, her internship, and her senior project, the concept of sleep was beginning to look more and more like just that—a concept. Looked like Ladybug would have to disappear off the map for a long while…

            …And speaking of Ladybug…

            “Adrien asked how the Ladyblog was going, by the way,” Marinette brought up, working to make herself sound casual. The resulting sputter made her smirk, imagining Alya gaping at her, blinking her wide hazel eyes.

            “You—you talked to him??”

            “Well, yes, if moving our lips and words coming out is what you mean by ‘talking’.”

            “You really talked to him? Or did you just, y’know, do your ‘Marinette’ thing and stutter at him?”

            Marinette scowled.

            “You know, my inner voice sounded a little too much like you when I was talking to him, and I do not appreciate it one bit, missy.”

            “You’re welcome,” Alya replied. “Oh, hang on, Marinette, that’s the boy. I just told him his long lost best friend’s back in town…hmm…” Marinette heard computer keys tapping in the background. “Doesn’t look like he’s happy about it.”

            “Yeah, Adrien said they lost touch,” Marinette reported, once again smug at the noises of disbelief Alya made.

            “I can’t believe you were able to hold a conversation with him long enough to actually know this stuff.”

            “Why wouldn’t I? I’m not fourteen anymore, you know.”

            “Yeah, but Adrien’s not only CEO of his own company that he had to build from the ground up after the shit show that was his father’s identity being revealed, but he’s also, like, the hottest supermodel working in the industry right now. I’ll say this for him, kid aged up well.”

            “He really did,” Marinette remarked, unable to help reliving the glory that was Adrien Agreste, up close and personal.

            “Now now, Marinette,” Alya tutted playfully, “I thought you were over him? Pick your jaw up off the floor, I can hear you drooling.”

            Tikki muffled her giggling from where she sat, and Marinette blushed, regretting her decision to put Alya on speaker phone.

            “I am not drooling,” she protested, self-consciously rubbing at her jaw.

            “Yeah, yeah. Well, color me impressed, girl—you managed to hold an actual, honest-to-god conversation with Adrien Agreste, even though he’s, like, twice as intimidating now. Congratulations.”

            The applause from the other end of the phone sounded a tad mocking, but Marinette let it slide, knowing that Alya meant well.

            “Gee, thanks. Now if you don’t mind, I want to be able to eat before I have to run and do some errands for Symone.”

            Alya groaned.

            “You’re always doing errands for Symone. Doesn’t that woman know how to do anything for herself? She runs you ragged, and for what? You don’t even get to design anything while you’re there! Remind me, what’s the point of this internship?”

            “I have to pay my dues,” Marinette repeated for what felt like the twelve-hundredth time. It wouldn’t be so bad if she herself was not so frustrated by the insane amount of nothing she was doing at this place. But Symone was brilliant, talented, and best of all, she could give Marinette a stellar recommendation for any boutique Marinette chose after this…so long as Marinette did exactly as she was asked. And if Symone wanted coffee and fabrics, then Marinette would get her coffee and fabrics, with pleasure. And just a hint of brown-nosing.

            “I know dues, girl. I paid them my first month of getting my internship before I started doing real investigative journalism. This is, what, your second year? Symone’s using you for all the wrong reasons, if you ask me.”


            “I’m serious,” Alya fussed, and Marinette could just picture her trademark business scowl, intimidated even though they were just talking on the phone. “Why don’t you say anything? Show her some more of your designs, show her that you’re not just there to be her do-girl, that you’re serious!”

            “I’ve tried,” Marinette insisted with a huff, spinning idly in her computer chair. “But anything I show her, she just brushes off. Symone’s only interested in her visions for her boutique, trust me.”

            Marinette sympathized with the frustrated sound that issued from her phone.

            “And there’s no way I can convince you to quit?”

            “Nope,” Marinette replied, her own brand of stubbornness stomping forward. “Tres Bien Boutique is the boutique right now. This is my foot in the door, my stepping stone to achieving my dreams. I might be just getting coffee, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m there to play ball whenever I need to. And who knows? Maybe once I graduate, Symone will offer me an actual job.”

            “If you consider working full-time for that harpy I will smother you myself,” Alya threatened, and Marinette laughed, though she wasn’t sure whether or not Alya was completely kidding. “You need to stop acting like you need this internship, especially with this awesome senior project you’re gonna throw yourself into. Who needs Symone when you have Adrien Agreste in your pocket?”

            “I do not have Adrien in my pocket,” Marinette sighed, rubbing the side of her temple. She could feel a headache coming on with all this talk of Adrien. “He didn’t even remember who I was at first.”

            “Really? Ouch.”

            “It’s whatever. Seven years and no contact…shouldn’t have expected anything more.”

            “Yeah, but now that you’ve reconnected, this could be your chance, to…you know…”

            “I am not pursuing Adrien,” Marinette growled, her tone closing the subject. “It’s been seven years. I’ve moved on.”

            “Fine, fine,” Alya replied airily. “But some sex wouldn’t exactly hurt you, girl.”


            “I’m just saying, it would get rid of your tension a lot better than all those baths you take. You know I’m right!” She called over Marinette’s insistence that she had to go now, and that she would talk to her later. Marinette hung up, heaving another sigh. Leave it to Alya to make her realize that not everything in her world was as she wanted it to be.

            “I need new friends,” Marinette reflected to Tikki, who glanced up from her game, blinking those big indigo eyes of hers.

            “What did I do?” She asked, and Marinette snorted, rubbing the kwami in between her antennae.

            “Well, I didn’t exactly hear you defending me there,” she teased, and Tikki stuck her tongue out at her.

            “If Alya heard my voice, she’d have a lot more questions for you, Marinette,” she pointed out, and Marinette had to admit that she was right.

            Seven years later, and Alya still had yet to figure out Marinette’s biggest secret.

            And Marinette intended to keep it that way.

            Gulping down the rest of her lunch and giving Tikki a quick pat to the head before she left, Marinette once again dashed out of her apartment, this time grabbing her car. She made a mental check list of all her tasks before she arrived at work:

            Picking up a box of pastries from Symone’s favorite bakery?


            Stopping by their fabric supplier for more silk and lace?


            Destroying the hopes and dreams of hopeful suitors by turning them away at the door Marinette had to struggle through just to get into work?

            Ugh. Check.

            Marinette swallowed her sighs, put on her big girl face, and stepped into the office with her usual chipper, “Good afternoon, everyone!”

            But it wasn’t a good afternoon.

            It was utter bedlam.

            Everywhere Marinette’s eyes turned, chaos. Her normally pleasant and mild-mannered coworkers were shouting at people on phones, shouting at each other, madly dashing around the place and slipping on cut-outs of satin and cotton. A younger intern in the corner seemed to be having an utter break-down, gripping at his hair and muttering under his breath, wide eyes staring into space. Marinette was almost certain there was an akuma to blame here, but before she could get too worked up, her eyes found Symone, and she made a beeline for the woman.

            “Symone,” she spoke, hoisting the boxes under her arm higher for a better grip. “What’s going on?”

            “What’s going on? What’s going on?

            Marinette stumbled back a step as Symone’s eyes flashed to her, her normal composure nowhere to be found in this moment. Her normally sleek chignon bun was unraveling, her jacket was rumpled, and her dark eyes popped, making her look half-crazed.

            “We’re ruined! That’s what’s going on!!”

            Marinette could only stare, utterly confused by this declaration. What did Symone mean, they were ruined?

            “But—” she began, only to have Symone bear down on her, her tall form twice as intimidating in her towering temper.

            “I just came back from a meeting with Agreste Fashion,” she informed Marinette, stressing the name of Adrien’s company for effect. “I was there, ready to meet with Mr. Agreste to discuss the winter line he was considering making global, which would have set us up for life, when who should walk out of his office?!”

            “Uh…w-who?” Marinette asked, since Symone seemed like she was waiting for her to.

            Symone drew herself up to her fullest height, dark eyes continuing to pop madly.

            “CHLOE BOURGEOIS!!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs, making Marinette jump violently, scrambling to keep her hold on the box of pastries. “The self-entitled, spoiled brat of the former mayor! You would think his being voted out of office YEARS AGO would’ve humbled the little monster, but nooo, she’s still as STUCK UP AS EVER, what with her so-called “career” as a reality show princess. But all of that, I could forgive. I could forgive the conniving, self-obsessed little bitch who acts like she needs constant attention just to survive, but the one thing I can’t forgive? The ONE THING I can’t forgive is her STEALING FROM ME!!!”

            Despite the hysterical screaming, Marinette quickly put two and two together.

            “You mean she stole—”

            “My designs!” Symone screamed, and Marinette backed away slowly. “My designs, all my hard work, out the window, all because she daredto present them first!” And now Symone turned on the rest of the office, her fingers flexing, as if she was ready to claw someone’s eyes out. “Who was it? Which one of you sold me out to Chloe Bourgeois?!

            Of their own accord, Marinette’s gaze flickered to a familiar red-head, who had her head bowed. When Sabrina first came to work for Tres Bien Boutique, Marinette was surprised—against all odds, she and Chloe were still friends, and she rather thought that Sabrina would be sticking close to Chloe as always. But then she reasoned that maybe Sabrina had her own goals and aspirations in life outside of Chloe, and had decided to give her the benefit of the doubt.

            …But looking at that guilty, shifting look now, Marinette suddenly suspected a much darker motive of the red-head…

            A deft pair of hands suddenly plucked the boxes from Marinette’s grasp. She looked up, startled, as a tall man with sleek blonde hair and icy blue eyes carried the boxes over to a nearby surface. Face impassive, he plucked a pastry from the top box, and, as Symone was ranting and raving, shoved it into her mouth. Symone sputtered and choked, pulling the pastry out of her mouth and chewing, humming in apparent approval at the taste. While she was distracted, the man guided her over to a nearby chair, his long fingers working quickly at her shoulders. Immediately, Symone melted, her satisfied hum reverberating throughout the room, making everyone else just a tad uncomfortable. But the man didn’t stop the shoulder massage until Symone had finished her pastry, offering her the box as she reached for another one.

            “All right…” she said after a moment as she chewed, rapidly gaining back her usual composure. “I can fix this…let Chloe Bourgeois have those old designs, I can come up with something much better. Something way more worthy of Agreste Fashion. To be honest, I was withholding my artistic genius just a bit, not eager to give away the whole farm just yet…but if she wants to play it that way, fine…”

            Symone stood up, pushing the last bit of pastry into her mouth as she sternly surveyed the room.

            “I will be in my office for the remainder of the day. No one is to bother me. Scrap whatever you’re working on; we’re starting from scratch. And until I find the little mole in our organization, none of you are to enter my office for any reason. Except for you,” she said to the man with the pastry box, her personal assistant. “I shall need you on hand, so don’t go anywhere.”

            “Yes, Symone,” he said quietly. With a satisfied nod and the box of pastries, Symone disappeared into her office, the slam of the door definite.

            As one, the office breathed a sigh, equal parts relieved and exhausted.

            “Felix,” Marinette addressed the tall blonde with a smile, “you’re amazing.

            Felix regarded this praise with a shrug.

            “I do what I have to.” His eyes flickered away from Marinette, focusing on Sabrina. “I saw you glance towards her. You suspect her.”

            Marinette bit her lip. Man, he was sharp. Then again, that was one of the many reasons he was Symone’s assistant.

            “It could be nothing,” she prefaced, not eager to stir the pot in case she was wrong. “It’s just…I know for a fact that she and Chloe Bourgeois are friends. It could be that she accidentally let Chloe see what she was working on, and Chloe acted from there…” Marinette frowned, lowering her voice enough that Felix had to lean over to hear her. “Or it could be that Chloe purposefully planted her here. I don’t really know, either way, but if Chloe had a prior run-in with Symone—”

            “I see,” Felix said quietly, straightening up, his gaze now focused on Sabrina. “I will investigate. Thank you, Marinette.”

            “Uh, sure?” Marinette watched as Felix went on about his usual business, though his measured gaze carefully watched Sabrina’s every move. He was an odd one, Felix—he didn’t say much, and he never smiled…but no one could say that he wasn’t good at his job.

            “And where is the fabric I ordered?” Called Symone’s voice from the office. “Marinette? Where are you?!”

            Marinette sighed. And so another afternoon of work began.



            With the exhausting day she’d had, it was sweet, sweet relief for Marinette to become Ladybug. Sure, she could be doing more constructive things, such as working on her senior project, but she had four months, what was the rush? Besides, she’d wait for creativity to inspire her, rather than sit at her desk staring at her sketchbook for hours, as if hoping the clothes would design themselves.

            This was much easier—swinging through the streets of Paris, guided by moonlight, letting her yo-yo and her own power propel her through the skies. Seven years later, the feeling was still exhilarating, and Ladybug allowed herself a grin of satisfaction. No one was around to watch, so why shouldn’t she enjoy herself? She swooped over the city, landing on rooftops to briefly scan the area before continuing on her way, making a neat little circle with pockets of inner circles, about five…kind of like the ladybug pattern of her earrings. Ladybug grinned to herself as she perched on the Eiffel Tower, enjoying the breeze and the view. Though the October chill persisted, she could barely feel it through her suit, and it felt good against her flushed skin.

            This was nice.

            Ladybug took a deep breath. She would enjoy this while it lasted—once she went back to being Marinette, there was a lot to do, so she would linger for a while tonight, taking advantage of the transformation for as long as she could. Then she’d swing back home, de-transform, bathe, crawl into bed, and hopefully get a good night’s—

            A distant scream caught Ladybug’s attention, her head snapping down to the noise. Narrowing her eyes, she could just make out a dim flash of light in the distance, the cacophony of screams growing louder, along with a strange sound…cackling?

            Something was going on down there. Something big.

            Something evil.

            Oh boy. What a great ending to a stressful day.

            Her heart pounding hard for the first time in ages, Ladybug swung her way towards the chaos and destruction, her frown becoming more and more pronounced the closer she got.

            It had been quiet for seven years. What in the world was going on tonight that had disturbed that peace?

            Ladybug got her answer as soon as she landed in the street where all the ruckus was happening.

            A figure danced through the street, its multi-colored outfit drawing Ladybug’s eyes immediately, the multitude of fabrics and patterns sewn together offensive to the seamstress within her. As she watched, the figure cackled, turning an oversized and very sharp needle onto a nearby couple with the misfortune of being out in the street, tonight of all nights. Ladybug shouted as the needle made its way towards them, but it passed right through them harmlessly.

            Or so Ladybug thought, until the couple was abruptly flattened out, like they were nothing more than paper, or cloth, weaving together in ways that looked excruciating. Laughing through the victim’s screams, the figure sent them skywards with a flick of her needle, where they were stitched—stitched—into a giant cloth slowly looming over the streets of Paris.

            This strange-looking figure was making a quilt out of people.

Ladybug didn’t need the blanks filled in for her.

            “Stop there, akuma!” She called, pointing a finger at the villain, who jumped and turned, cocking its head to the side, as if Ladybug couldn’t possibly be referring to it.

            “Excuse me?” The akuma questioned, one hand on its multi-colored hip, the other balancing the large needle it held. “I am Patchwork, thank you very much! And I have no business with you, Ladybug—I seek Chloe Bourgeois only, and those who get in my way will be dealt with!” She flashed the oversized needle at Ladybug, as if that should intimidate her.

            But no, Ladybug was not intimidated. Seven years later, it was the same old song and dance—Chloe’s attitude and lack of care for others had caused yet another person to be akumatized. Really, she ought to have been shipped out of Paris a long time ago just on principle.

            “No business with me? Really?” Ladybug called as Patchwork turned her back on her. “You’re not even interested in, say…my Miraculous?”

            Patchwork paused, which confirmed Ladybug’s fears:

            Somehow, some way, there was another Hawk Moth on the loose.

            And that did not bode well for any of them.

            “…Change of plans, Ladybug,” said the akuma, turning slowly to face her. With a manic grin, she flashed the needle at Ladybug again. “Give up your Miraculous, or you’ll be the next addition to my quilt!”

            “You want my Miraculous?” Ladybug wondered sweetly, daring to wink at Patchwork as she sent her yo-yo out to wrap around a nearby lamp post. “Come and get it.”

            With a vicious snarl, Patchwork started forward, her needle slicing at Ladybug—or it would’ve, if Ladybug had still been standing where Patchwork had swung. As it happened, she was currently whirling into the sky, touching down on a nearby rooftop and sprinting across—away from other people that might be out tonight, she hoped. The furious snarling behind her let her know that Patchwork was hot on her trail, and that she was not happy. Good.

            “Come on, Patchwork! Is this the best you can do?” The smarty-pants Ladybug taunted, throwing another wink over her shoulder as she jumped and swung from rooftop to rooftop.

            “You think you’re sooo great, don’t you?! Well then—take this!

            Ladybug looked back just in time, and squawked, swinging hastily out of the way as the oversized needle flew at her. It passed by her by mere inches, and before she could make a grab for it, certain that the akuma was trapped inside it, Patchwork reeled it back; apparently the end was attached to some kind of thread.

            Great—the enemy had her own type of yo-yo, this one a lot deadlier than Ladybug’s. Fantastic.

            To add salt to the wound, her Miraculous gave its first beep. She was running out of time.

            “You can’t run forever, Ladybug!” Patchwork called after her, and Ladybug grit her teeth at the reminder. “If you surrender now, I’ll grant you a merciful end…unlike that spoiled princess, Chloe Bourgeois!”

            Oh, this Ladybug had to hear.

            “What’s your problem with Chloe?” She called, pausing just on the top of a lamp post, her yo-yo swinging as she idled, trying to make up her mind on whether or not to use her Lucky Charm just yet. If she could think fast, it would definitely help, but if she was thwarted, it would be a waste of her charm and her Miraculous would wear out faster! What should she do?

            ‘If only Chat Noir were here…

            Ladybug was promptly surprised by the stray thought; she hadn’t thought about Chat Noir in years. Where was this sudden desire to see him coming from?

            Ladybug shook her head. She didn’t need him. She would get out of this situation on her own.

            “Urgh, Chloe Bourgeois! That sneaky little theif!” Patchwork suddenly raged, pulling Ladybug out of her own head. She blinked as Patchwork stomped a high-heeled foot. “All my hard work, and she just swoops in and takes it! My boutique…it’s everything to me! If I lose it because of someone like her…what will become of me?”


            “Symone??” Ladybug questioned, gawking as she tried to find the poised, usually way more stylish woman in that amalgamation of colors. Patchwork’s attention snapped back to her, and she growled in frustration.

            “Symone is not here!” She denied, as all akumas did when Ladybug dared to refer to them by their civilian names. “I am Patchwork! And you, Ladybug, have just the pattern I need to add to my perfect quilt!”

            Ladybug was too slow. With renewed vigor, Patchwork sent the oversized needle flying towards her once again, and though she fell back to avoid it, she forgot that her yo-yo currently wasn’t hooked to anything. Panic surged through her as the concrete came too close for her liking, and she squeezed her eyes shut and sent her yo-yo out again in a last-ditch effort, praying with all her might that her luck would hold—

            She landed in something much softer than concrete, yet, solid at the same time…very solid…

            There was the sound of a clucked tongue above her.

            “My my, let’s not be hasty—I don’t think polka dots are in season right meow…no offense, My Lady.”

            Ladybug’s eyes flew open, staring at the underside of a very cut jawline. She flipped automatically out of the grasp, just in time to spot Patchwork growling in frustration once again.

            “I don’t have time to play games with you two! I must find Chloe Bourgeois and slash her to ribbons!”

            Before Ladybug could stop her, Patchwork deployed what looked to be a hang-glider of her own (hideous) creation, and she took to the skies.

            Despite Ladybug’s every instinct to go after her, something held her in place—the presence beside her. Slowly, Ladybug turned…

            Bright green eyes focused on her through the eye holes of a black mask, catlike and glittering in the dark.

            “Ciao, Ladybug,” Chat Noir greeted her with the usual roguish grin…a grin she hadn’t seen in seven years. “It’s nice to see—oof!”

            Before she could stop herself, Ladybug had lashed out and punched the unreliable black cat right across his stupid jaw. He stumbled back a step, rubbing at the place where she’d punched him, looking bemused.

            “Me-ouch. Still as fierce as you are beautiful, I see.”

            Ladybug did not so much as crack a smile.

            “Where the hell have you been?!” She demanded of him, and Chat Noir blinked his green eyes.

            “Such language, My Lady!”

            “Don’t you ‘My Lady’ me, you damn stray!” Ladybug shouted, stomping her foot at him. “It’s been seven years, Chat Noir! Seven years that I’ve heard nothing from you! And all of a sudden you show up as if nothing even happened?! I have a good mind to—”

            “Shh,” Chat Noir suddenly shushed her, raising a clawed finger to her lips. Ladybug fell silent, but only because of his audacity. He had no right to be shushing her when she wanted to blow up at him!

            “I promise there will be time to berate me later, My Lady. In fact, I look forward to it.” He gave a mischievous wink, and Ladybug rolled her eyes through sheer force of habit. “But don’t you think we should be hunting down the akuma before your Miraculous runs out?”

            For the second time, her Miraculous beeped. Ladybug snarled and cursed under her breath.

            “Fine,” she relented, turning to chase Patchwork, who was still just visible on the skyline. “But this doesn’t mean you’re off the hook yet, Chat Noir!”

            “You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he teased, and Ladybug let out a snort of disgust. He hadn’t changed at all!

            ‘Well,’ her mind spoke quietly as she launched herself into the sky with her yo-yo, Chat Noir following close behind. ‘That’s not entirely true…

            Of their own accord, Ladybug’s eyes found Chat Noir as he streaked alongside her in the darkness.

            He had changed—his messy blond hair had grown out of control, and so it appeared as if he chose to tie it back, ending in a small ponytail at the nape of his neck. And his cat suit was more form-fitting than ever, clinging to every line of hard muscle he had apparently gained. The front of his suit was unzipped, showing off the top of his pectorals…his well-defined pectorals that Ladybug had felt when he had caught her…along with those biceps that flexed and bulged under that black leather…

            Chat Noir caught her looking. She regretted her wandering eyes immediately when he grinned at her.

            “See something you like?” He asked with a wink. Ladybug scoffed while cataloguing just how mature his voice sounded now…even with the childish nonsense he was spouting.

            “You wish. All I see is a new punching bag that I intend to break in later.”

            “Ooh. Can’t wait to get your paws on me, My Lady?”

            ‘This pun-loving bastard…

            Ladybug decided to stick with her first assessment: he really hadn’t changed at all.

            But even Chat Noir could wait: though it had been seven short years since they had seen this kind of trouble, right now, Paris was in danger, and it was Ladybug’s job to save it.

            Her former MIA partner could be dealt with later. And he would be, no matter how handsome he’d turned out to be.

Back to Us

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

Part 2 of 37

<< Previous     Home     Next >>