Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 10 of 53

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A new routine set itself up over the course of the next few weeks.

Every single day, Adrien would join Marinette for lunch. They would chat casually about everything and nothing at the same time, laugh together or team up to do their homework. He was clearly trying to get to know her better, and their new-found friendship was truly something Marinette cherished. Some days Alya and Nino would eat with them, but they were left on their own most of the time. Their friends had been more than happy to get some alone time to themselves without feeling guilty over their best friends third-wheeling.

Just as Marinette had predicted the day of their first lunch, there had been annoying issues with gossip the first few days, crazy and barely believable stories running wild across the school. People talked about how Marinette was pregnant with Adrien's child. Others implied that she was his brand new stylist, recently hired by Gabriel himself to look after his son's good looks (that particular rumor had made them both snort in disbelief. If Marinette had been hired by his father, there's no way she would have kept it a secret.). Another persistent rumor was that the Dupain-Chengs were taking Adrien into their custody, seeing that his father spent so much time out of town. After a while, though, people grew accustomed to seeing them spending time together, and they stopped paying attention to them altogether.

Chloe surprisingly didn't find anything mean to say about how close the pair had grown. Obviously, the years had done her immature and empty personality some good. There were rumors stating that the heiress had her eyes set on a certain redhead artist for quite some time now, and she was spending her time trying to make him forget her past bullying him instead of actually bullying their classmates around. Not that anybody was complaining about the refreshing change of attitude.

Adrien had spent the Saturday following the fight against the Gardener at the bakery, honoring the promise he had made her to remove her stitches himself. Satisfied with the way her wound was healing, the young man had given her a few tricks to avoid scarring too badly, and they had spent the remaining of the day playing videogames in the livingroom. He had shown up unannounced the next Saturday, looking a little bit sheepish as he handed her a few games from his own collection, asking shyly if she wanted to play again. The following weekend, Marinette (as well as her elated and overly friendly parents) had been expecting him, and she was ready with snacks and blankets on hand to carry them through their afternoon of cutthroat competing against each other.

In the meantime, in between her blossoming friendship with Adrien and her kissing sessions in the moonlight with Chat Noir, Marinette found herself feeling happier, lighter, elated even. True to Tikki's words, akumas were swiftly dealt with, her cleansing spell was more effective than it had ever been, and the little deity kept gushing about how her current state of bliss greatly improved her healing rate.

Over the weeks, Marinette's wound had finally completely healed and the young woman slowly resumed wearing short sleeves. The only person making a comment on the slightly whiter scar, almost perfectly faded into the shade of her arm was Alya, asking if it had always been there while she was watching her friend sketch. The young woman had simply nodded, invoking an old accident involving sewing scissors, and never had it been brought up again after that.

At nights, it was Chat Noir's turn to play. Most nights, he would visit not too long after the lights were dimmed in her parent's bakery. They talked a lot about everything and nothing altogether, getting to know each other better, and there was also an awful lot of cuddling and kissing. On warmer nights they would sit side by side on her balcony, stargazing under some blankets just like they had done the night of their first kiss. When it was too cold to spend a lot of time outside, they would play Ultimate Mecha Strike 3 in her room, read together or even watch some movies. Other times he would simply watch her work on her designs or help her with science homework. She was comfortable with him. Being with him felt right.

There were a few akuma attacks during this period, but they seemed weak and unmotivated. Marinette mused to great lengths about it to Tikki, who merely shrugged with a fond smile on her little face. She hinted a time or two that if a depressed Ladybug was weakened, a sickeningly happy one might be strengthened. The young woman wasn't convinced, seeing as she had been blissfully happy for most of her life, and yet their fights had never been that easy before. Still, the fact was that akumas were dealt with swiftly and effectively, so Ladybug and Chat Noir didn't spend much time together.

Their days were happy, for the most part.

Up until, late at night, when Chat Noir had finally regained his own bed, back as Adrien Agreste, and they both laid alone on their sheets, the doubts crept back, tirelessly nagging them.

Up until Plagg, every single night, sternly lectured his chosen on the disaster he was stubbornly crafting. On the way, a relationship built on so many lies couldn't last and would doubtlessly fall to pieces. On how much he had stupidly put at stake.

Up until a very concerned Tikki, every single night tried to knock some sense into her lovesick wielder. Tried to get her to build some sort of wall around her heart, to push away either of the boys messing with her head before she wound up hurt. Broken beyond repair.

They tried to listen, they really did, but they just couldn't resist. She was his catnip, he was her honey. They simply couldn't stand to stay away from each other, even if they knew perfectly well their kwamis were absolutely right.

So every night, they vowed to themselves they would straighten things up the next day.

And every morning, Adrien resolve melted away when he laid eyes on her, sitting in front of him.

And every night, Marinette couldn't help but open the skylight for him.

To say Plagg was mad at Adrien would be more than an understatement. "It's been weeks. Weeks, Adrien! This has been going on for way too long."

The young model grunted. "I'm trying, okay?"

The kwami snorted in disbelief. "You're trying? You don't have many options, Adrien. Either make her fall for Adrien and keep your secret to yourself or reveal yourself to her. If she finds out on her own, who knows what she's gonna think."

"I KNOW THAT!" Adrien shrieked through clenched teeth.

Plagg narrowed his eyes at him. "Then why haven't you done anything yet? Getting all touchy-feely with her almost every night as Chat is supposed to push her towards Adrien how exactly, enlighten me?"

"I'm scared."

It had come out almost a whisper, a confession the young man hadn't looked forward to making.

"What now?"

Adrien sat on the edge of his bed, burying his head in his hands with despair. "I'm scared okay? What if she is really over Adrien, and doesn't want anything to do with Chat anymore when she finds out the truth? What if I'm right and she really is Ladybug and ends up hating me once she realizes I figured it out?"

The black deity's glare softened. "Adrien... kid... you have to make it stop. You can't humanely continue like this."

The blond huffed. "Why do you care so much anyway? Last time I checked I hadn't turn into a giant block of cheese, even if I sure smell like one all day long, all thanks to you."

His tone was harsh, impatient.

"Cheese sure is less trouble than you."

Adrien laughed a dry, humorless laugh. "You chose me, if I recall correctly. I never asked for anything."

Plagg nodded. "I did choose you. It's kinda why I'm trying to help you solve this mess. Pursuing her as Chat is hopeless, and you know this. You're both going to end up broken, and I don't want to think what would happen to Chat Noir if it were to happen."

"I'll talk to her if I get the chance. But I'm terrified to lose her," Adrien sighed, frustrated to feel his eyes watering against his will at the thought. Every time he had this conversation with his kwami, the prospect of losing Marinette forever shot an intense surge of pain through him.

"I know."

Plagg sighed really deeply. "Listen, Adrien, I'm not good at this. Tikki has always been the comforting kwami among us two and-"


The black kwami realized his mistake as soon as he saw Adrien's head jolt upright, memories of the night he had overheard Marinette talking with her so-called Chat Noir plush rushing forward in his head.


"Plagg. Who's Tikki?"

His kwami dejectedly settled himself on the bed in front of him, looking utterly torn. "I already interfered way too much, if she ever finds out-"

His chosen had clenched his fists on his lap, and was clearly shaking. "Plagg. Who-is-Tik-ki.?"

With a long and defeated sigh, Plagg reluctantly gave in. "Tikki is Ladybug's kwami."

"Fuck." Adrien never swore. This made this statement even more startling.

"Adrien?" tentatively called Plagg, but he wasn't able to catch his charge's attention. The young man slumped over himself, realization heavy on his shoulders.

It made perfect sense, after all. They always parted ways uttering weak excuses every time there was an akuma. He had never seen Marinette and Ladybug in the same room. It explained how the hell she had been able to show up at the cottage. The gash on Marinette's arm, so similar to Ladybug's wound, as Plagg had so kindly pointed out. They had the same magnificent bluebell eyes, they even sported the goddamn same pigtails! Marinette openly despised any form of lie, and he could easily recall many occasions where Ladybug had proven to have the exact same pet peeve. They both shared the same unwavering determination once their mind was set on something, the same definite fire running in their veins.

Now that he knew, he couldn't for the life of him fathom how on Earth he had managed to be so blind, so oblivious. For four years straight he had been fighting beside her, interacting with her on a daily basis. For four years straight he had been in the same classroom, sharing the same lessons, the same friends, the same air. Adrien had always prided himself on being the human being that knew his lady the most, utterly convinced that he could pick her out of a crowd even out of the mask without any hesitation.

And yet, she ended up being one of his closest friends, the girl he had spent the last few weeks kissing relentlessly until they both were out of breath, the girl who had managed to rip his heart out of his ribcage without him minding the slightest. And he hadn't seen anything. Hadn't seen the blow coming, even if Plagg had tried to soften it.

Because Plagg had tried to tell him, to make him see the obvious. But he hadn't listened.

It had taken him the knowledge of the name of her kwami, the very same name his lady had falsely given to her Chat Noir plushie on the sole now-very-obvious purpose of protecting her secret identity, to make him put the pieces together. And now he had, he wasn't sure how to deal with it.

His lady and his princess were the same person.

There was no point denying the obvious anymore.

Marinette was laying on her bed, staring at her ceiling as if she were trying to drill a hole in it. Concerned about her wielder's sanity, Tikki sat on her belly, raising her little eyebrows at her. "Are you alright, Marinette?"

A deep sigh welcomed her question. "I'm… kind of really confused here, Tikki. No matter how hard I think about it, I just don't get why all of a sudden Adrien wants to spend all that time with me."

The kwami giggled softly, patting her charge reassuringly on the cheek. "You did spend a lot of time together at his father's estate. And over the last few weeks. Maybe he liked getting to know you and actually wants more?"

"Maybe, but why NOW?" Marinette shrieked, burying her head into her folded arms.

Tikki smiled softly, understandingly. "It's about what's going on with Chat Noir, isn't it, Marinette?"

She nodded, distress clearly written all over her face. "I'm... I feel good when I'm with him. I like spending them with him, and when we kiss it feels just right. Like I've been meant to be with him all along."

"But?" insightfully prompted the red deity.

"Adrien really confuse me. And I don't get why. As much as I truly wanted to move on, it doesn't seem to work all that well. I mean, I'm less a weirdo around him and actually manage complete sentences now when I'm talking to him, but he still makes butterflies flutter in my belly every now and then. And… it upsets me because I genuinely wanted to really try and make it work with Chat Noir."

Tikki's reaction was almost instantaneous. "Oh, Marinette. You can't turn off your feelings like that. You don't have an on/off button on your heart."

The young woman chuckled, amused at the thought. "That would make things so much easier! We should try and patent that!"

Tikki chuckled lightly, but wasn't deterred from her original intent. "Marinette, you have to listen. Chat Noir was well aware of your romantic feelings towards Adrien when your relationship began. Surely he doesn't in his right mind expect you to push them aside that fast. He's a boy, but he's not stupid."

Marinette smiled softly, memories of her beloved kitty dancing around in her mind. "I know he isn't. But I really want to give this, whatever it is we have, a chance."

"I know you do, Marinette. But you really should think this through before going any further – in any direction. First of all, you don't have a single clue about who Chat Noir truly is behind that mask. For all you know he could be everything you despise once he's out of the suit."

Her chosen shook her head vehemently, refusing to even consider that hypothesis. "I highly doubt he could really be that bad. I honestly think that being Chat Noir actually allows him to be the real him. He's... I think he's a very lonely man, Tikki."

The kwami sighed in defeat. "I want you happy more than anything Marinette, and not just for Ladybug's purposes. I truly care about your wellbeing. But you can't take in every stray cat just because they're lonely. I honestly think you need some time away from both Adrien and Chat Noir to figure out your feelings and what it is that you truly want."

Marinette sighed into the distance, her bluebell gaze darkening. "I'm afraid Tikki. I'm scared I'll hurt Adrien. And I'm afraid Chat will figure out I'm Ladybug if I let him get too close."

"Would it really be that bad?"

Marinette seemed to give it a thought, before shaking her head. "It's way too dangerous, Tikki. It's more than enough that I'm becoming a weakness for Chat, Ladybug can't become one, too. He'll get himself killed trying to protect me."

Tikki nodded pensively. "Maybe you're right."

Marinette was suddenly pulled out of her gruesome thoughts by a soft knock on her skylight. She glanced briefly at her clock before hastily rushing to let him in, genuinely puzzled. It was almost 1 a.m. She wasn't expecting Chat Noir anymore on that day; he never showed up so late at night.

Her mind went wild with concern toward her leather clad partner.

Was he okay?

Both of You

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

Part 10 of 53

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