Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 22 of 53

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Marinette had fully expected Adrien to lay back on the affection touches once they'd be in plain sight, the pair being easy victims for any paparazzi looking for a juicy scoop. However, the young man surprised her by keeping her hand safely tucked into his own, walking close enough by her side for their proximity to being easily labeled as fully intentional. When he noticed that she was staring at their intertwined fingers with a little frown, the blond smiled. "Everything's okay, princess?"

Marinette smiled pensively. "I was sure you would want to keep our relationship a secret. And there you are, holding my hand down the street, walking not even a heartbeat away from me."

"Why would I ever want to hide the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me?" Adrien mused with a little smirk. "You know, my lady, the media used to speculate about my love life all the time and grant me love stories with every new upcoming actress or model to make the headlines. I wouldn't mind them being right for once. If you're comfortable with sharing the spotlight, of course. I realize it's not-"

"I don't mind," Marinette cut him off. "It's part of who you are, part of your life, and if being with you means nosy photographers, then so be it."

Bringing her hand to his lips, Adrien kissed her knuckles briefly before looking at her expectantly. "You know, you're taking all of this pretty well. I mean, I've had a few weeks to wrap my mind around the fact that both of the women I loved were the same person. You've barely had twelve hours, and yet you seem to be perfectly fine with all of this."

Marinette sighed lightly, looking at him from the corner of her blue gaze. "I'm not going to lie to you, some part of me is still sour about going mad pushing my feelings toward you away all for nothing. However… How much time over the last few years have you fantasized about what a relationship with Ladybug would be?"

The young man blushed deeply, suddenly averting her eyes. "A lot. Why?"

"Well, it's the same for me, although with you. I've long come to terms with the fact that dating Adrien Agreste, famous and incredibly popular supermodel, would have its unfortunate downsides." Marinette sighed again, squeezing his hand faintly. "I knew what I was walking into when I accepted your apology yesterday evening, Adrien. And when I asked you to kiss me this morning. I… To be honest, I'm scared as hell, scared our relationship will give fuel to Hawkmoth against us, scared you'll somehow end up disappointed with me and disappear from my life. But I also love you, love Adrien and Chat Noir with all my being… and it makes the fear worth every single second of it. I fell in love with Adrien almost four years ago, and with Chat Noir a few months ago… And despite everything that could possibly go wrong from us being together, I can't bring myself to regret anything. I… I just feel like us being together is just where we were meant to be all along."

The smile Adrien returned after her little heartfelt speech almost blinded her.

The young woman glanced back at their intertwined fingers and whispered softly, "Is everything alright?"

The blond barely shrugged. "As much as can be given the circumstances, my lady. In fact, I was musing about how totally perfect you were."

Marinette nudged him playfully, a tender smile never leaving her lips. He laughed in response, a fiery blush spread on his cheeks.

As the lovely pair resumed their walk to school, she gently squeezed his fingers, smiling at him fondly. "Hey, now that I'm no longer upset about when, can you tell me about how you found out?"

Adrien chuckled. "Well, after the Gardener attack, Plagg kept insisting on how much your injury looked just like the one Ladybug kinda lamely tried to hide from me-"

A small voice shrieked loudly from Marinette's purse. "Plagg did what now?"

Marinette instinctively pulled Adrien into an alley, opening her purse for Tikki and Plagg to come into view. "What's the matter, Tikki?"

If someone were to pass by and take a glance at the two teenagers, they would offer a rather odd view, both of them staring at Marinette's open bag, their heads almost touching as they hovered above it. Her little red friend looked utterly pissed, to say the least. "The fact of the matter is we aren't supposed to interfere at all in our chosen's business."

Plagg had the grace to smile sheepishly. "I didn't interfere... much."

Adrien smiled. "Well, to be honest, he did insist heavily on the similarities on your wounds..."

Marinette sighed warily. "That's all?"

"Actually, no. He's actually the one who came up with the weekend at the countryside house idea since I was struggling to find a way to help you as Adrien without it looking too suspicious, given that we weren't that close as our civilian selves back then. And while he did point out the wound and how you had nothing to do that far of Paris that night, stirring up doubts, I only knew for sure when he let slip Tikki's name while talking about Ladybug's kwami a few weeks later. It clicked that your so-called plushie I overheard you talking to a few weeks before was, in fact, your kwami, and everything else suddenly made sense. It's actually the night I showed up upset and we somehow ended up in your bed."

Tikki's reaction was instantaneous and rather loud for such a small being. "PLAGG! WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?"

The little black kitty only managed to frown in answer, his cat ears flat on his head. "Is it so wrong of me to try and get at least one chosen that will get his happy ending instead of ending up dead or even worse?"


Taken aback, Adrien barely managed to stutter. "W-w-w-hat d-d-does t-that even mean?"

Plagg sighed, his green eyes full of an emotion neither Marinette nor Adrien could define. "I have yet to get a Chat Noir to walk out of the final encounter in one piece. The few that survived the fight ended up throwing themselves off a bridge or wound up in an asylum. Choosing lonely and broken boys has its downsides. The price for their freedom is often way too much for them to pay."

Marinette eyed the young man cautiously, afraid to see worry and doubts creeping up his stare. She was surprised to read steel resolve in his expression.

"Well, then I'll be the first."

She smiled softly at him, patting his arm tenderly, and he resumed his train of thought.

"I'm not so lonely anymore. I may have a future with a beautiful lady laid before me, and I want it to happen more than anything else."

Marinette squeezed his hand and looked at Plagg, a reassuring smile on her lips. "Besides, I won't let anything happen to him. We're in this together, hand in hand, whatever the final outcome."

The little kwami smiled sadly in turn. "See, Tikki, I was right to push him towards her!"

Tikki crossed her little arms on her chest, shaking her head in disapproval. "Yeah, well we very narrowly avoided a total catastrophe. How did fighting the akumas alone and depressed go, Adrien?"

His smile fell. "It was way harder than ever before. I had to transform more than once on both encounters. Patrols were a challenge, too. I didn't make it home transformed all week."

"And how did curing the akumas on your own went, Marinette?"

She sighed deeply, knowing perfectly well where Tikki was headed. "I know. A depressed Ladybug is a useless Ladybug. I was barely even able to transform at all."

Plagg chimed in. "Please, please tell me that you managed to cure the akumas and that Adrien didn't get bruised and wounded all for nothing."

"Well, I did manage to in the end. But... to be perfectly honest, they seemed a little off."

Adrien frowned, looking at her quizzically. "Off? What do you mean?"

She looked at him dead in the eyes, something he wasn't used to yet as Adrien. "They lingered a little before flying away. They never do that."

Tikki poked her little head out of the purse. "What color were they, Marinette?"

Puzzled, the young woman tried to recall if something was off with their color. "White, I guess?"

"Sparkling white? Come on, you're an aspiring designer, you can do better than "white"." Tikki's tone was urgent, pressing.

"Well, now that you mention it... I blamed it on the lighting and didn't think anything about it until now, but the first one was a little bit off-white. The latest definitely had a grayish tone when it finally flew away."

Neither of them missed the worried glance exchanged between both kwamis. Adrien was the first to break the silence. "Why does it matter so much?"

Plagg frowned slightly. "There might be a small chance that they haven't been properly cleansed. And that they've gone into hiding, somewhere, gathering their strength, becoming even more powerful than they already were, waiting for an occasion to come back."

Marinette clasped her hand on her mouth, repressing a loud gasp. Adrien patted her back reassuringly while looking at the black deity. "What can we do about it?"

"There's nothing much to do but wait, and hope we're wrong and that Marinette somehow managed to cure them adequately despite the state of mind she was in."

"And if you're right, and they do come back, we'll defeat them again together as we always do. Right, Mari?"

She looked at her partner, her self-doubts wavering as she saw how much trust he put in them, in their teamwork. "Always, Kitty."

Tikki added, a motherly hint to her tone. "What we're trying to say is we can't afford to have you working separately anymore. You have to remain on speaking terms, at the very least, despite anything that could possibly happen between you two."

Marinette shook her head, resolve forming in her veins. "It won't happen ever again. I think we all can agree that hiding and refusing to confront each other about what was wrong didn't do any of us any good."

Plagg snorted. "It was out of sheer luck nothing really bad happened to Adrien while he was out there fighting without you. If he had gotten wounded to the point he was incapable of bringing the akuma to you, he could've bled to death on the street, and you wouldn't've been able to do anything about it. You two are meant to be a team, and it can't work any other way."

Adrien smiled fondly at the girl he had fallen in love with, caressing the back of her hand with his thumb. "Two halves of a greater whole."

She nudged him playfully, before looking serious all of a sudden. "I'm sorry I left you alone to deal with all this. I should've been there for you all along. As I'm meant to be."

Tikki and Plagg silently went back into hiding in her purse, and they resumed their walk to the school, Adrien carelessly lacing his fingers with hers. "That's okay, princess. You were hurt, heck, I was the one to hurt you. It was only fair that I suffered a little bit in exchange."

She shook her head, refusing to let his words hold any truth. "Still. You shouldn't have been forced to deal with two akumas on your own just because I was too stubborn to come out and help you all because of a stupid argument. Plagg's right, I could've lost you."

He kissed her fingers, refusing to let go of her hand. "Well, you didn't. I'm still very alive and breathing, and my heart still belongs to you and you only, m'lady."

She chuckled, pulling him close to her in a chaste kiss. "You do know I've dreamed about walking to school hand in hand with you for almost four years now?"

He grinned at her, his smile almost intoxicating. "It's never too late to make dreams come true, princess."

"Alya's gonna throw a fit when she founds out."

He smiled, imagining their respective best friends' reactions. "I think Nino's not gotta do any better."

"Well, we're about to find out for sure, school's right there."

And sure enough, they had already reached the front steps of their school, with a few minutes to spare. They sat down on the stairs, their fingers still intertwined, waiting for the bell to ring.

Both of You

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

Part 22 of 53

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