Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 26 of 53

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As Adrien pushed the heavy wooden door of the mansion open, Marinette couldn't help but acutely notice the disturbing absence of any form of greeting he was getting. She stopped dead in her tracks, clutching harder on his hand out of sheer disbelief. "Where's your father?"

He shrugged weakly, still staring at her like she was going to evaporate at any given second. "He's probably upstairs in his office working on some urgent design or something like that, why would you ask? I thought you didn't like him much?"

Her bluebell gaze was truly dumbfounded as she desperately clutched onto her soft pink overnight bag to keep her from painfully digging her nails into the soft skin of his palms. "There was an akuma attack today, Adrien, and a really nasty one! For all he knows, you were caught in the crossfire. Wouldn't he want to check on you, make sure you're okay?"

His expression remained blank, ripping Marinette's heart apart.

"I texted Nathalie. They know I'm okay."

His empty and uninterested eyes told her this was his usual routine and it made her stomach churn painfully. Sure, she had always known Adrien's life at home was very less than perfect, but this specific situation was wrong on so many levels that she had to refrain with all her might from packing his luggage right then and there and moving him into her own room. At least there someone would be waiting for him to come back at the end of the day and would give a damn if he was either sick or upset.

Just as if he was reading what was going through her mind, he patted her arm tenderly. "Don't sweat it. I'm used to it, there's really no need to work yourself over something as meaningless as this."

Marinette didn't answer only because she couldn't think of anything appropriate to retort to a heartbreaking statement like this. She had been very aware for a long time that Adrien (and Chat Noir too, for that matter) was more than likely suffering from the loneliness resulting from an absent mother and an overworked and almost equally absent father. But up until that very second, she hadn't realized the extent of that cruel void in his life, of that giant hole that had been punched unfairly in the boy's kind heart.

She wordlessly followed him to his room, her hand small and shy into his, growing increasingly mad at herself for carelessly rubbing her own family bliss in his face. Marinette frowned. "I'm sorry."

He stopped on the step of his room, unsure of what she meant. "What now?"

"I'm sorry my parents are so... present and overwhelming."

His heart broke a little as he opened a wooden door, pulling her into his room. "Never, you hear me? Never be ashamed of the perfect and wonderful family you are lucky enough to have." The ghost of a smile danced on Adrien's lips as he went on, "Who knows, maybe one day I'll get to marry you and be a part of it."

She giggled softly. "You're already part of it, they adopted you, remember?"

She awkwardly sat on the edge of his bed, still very aware of him staring intently at her. She couldn't help but chuckle at him. "I'm not gonna evaporate anytime soon, Adrien. You can relax."

His gaze instantly darkened, to her dismay. "You don't... you can't understand. Not if I don't explain."

Sitting beside her on the mattress, he pulled her into his lap. Sighing in relief, he hugged her a little bit too tightly before looking away reluctantly, not that eager to wrap himself into those nightmare memories again. "This... this was so real, Mari. So vivid."

He swallowed, hard, before going on with a new found fire in his veins. She had to know. She had to understand. "This isn't only about me having visions of your bloody body broken down on the street and freaking out over it a forged image."

His voice broke a little, but he went on anyway, "It's about me feeling my Cataclysm's charged hand collapse really violently onto your stomach. It's about me feeling the weight of your body hopelessly limp into my arms even if you probably only saw me cradling thin air, feeling the dampness of your blood pooling on your suit, covering both of us. It's about me smelling the copper aroma of the blood pouring out of you without being able to do anything to stop it. It's about me tasting my salty tears pouring on my cheeks as well as the sugary faint hint of flavor of your shampoo as I kissed the top of your head. It's about me hearing you whimper when I pulled you close to me, hearing you coughing blood as you tried to speak to me, hearing your labored breathing finally come to a final stop."

He stared into the distance, still hugging her tightly. He resumed his train of thought unwillingly as she shuddered in horror in his embrace. "Knowing the akuma's nature, I desperately searched for a loophole, something a little off that would let me know that none of this was real. But no matter how hard I searched, there was none. All of my five senses felt you die. And to me, it felt like I was dying over and over again. I couldn't figure out how I could continue a day on without you, despite the promise I made to Plagg. I didn't know how I could walk away and live with myself knowing that I, out of all people, had killed the woman I love."

Marinette's heart shattered to pieces as the reality of what he had to go through sunk in. She was violently shivering against his chest, tears pooling in her eyes.

Tikki suddenly peeked out of the discarded purse, worry very evidently written all over her face. "Adrien, didn't you say the first time around the akuma only managed to whisper things into your ear whenever you got caught in its webs?"

The young man looked at the red blob expectantly. "It did, and while it was unsettling I didn't have that much trouble to overlook it. Why do you ask?"

Plagg flew into view, his expression sinister. "If an akuma cured only one or two shades short managed to gather this much strength in a mere two weeks, managing to create visions powerful enough to fool all of your five senses all at once instead of the only one he was originally able to..."

Tikki finished for him, "We can only pray for both of your sake the second akuma is gonna come out of hiding really, really soon."

Adrien exchanged a look with Marinette, a look that was full of fear, pain, love, and something else. Something she read in his familiar green eyes more and more often lately.

An unwavering resolve.

The next morning found them entangled in his sheets, clutching desperately to each other just like they were each other's security blanket.

Plagg was the one that woke them up from an otherwise peaceful slumber, and Marinette suddenly understood why Adrien was on time every damned day, apart from days when akumas struck. His kwami was way beyond annoying, begging loudly for cheese as the sun hadn't even begun to rise. She laughed as Tikki forced the poor Chat Noir's kwami into hiding and into silence at the same time. She would really owe her the sweetest treats she would manage to find around the shop once they were home.

Adrien woke up softly, obviously used to Plagg's tantrums, and looked at her warily. "I hope he isn't driving you away from me." he uttered honestly.

She smiled and stretched herself to peck him on the lips. "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

He grinned and hugged her sloppily before sighing defeatedly. "There's no way I'll get back to sleep now. Since I have to get up to feed that little pig, do you want me to fix breakfast for both of us?"

Marinette nodded, regretting losing his touch the second he was out of the bed.

She quickly dressed for the day, letting her hair down for a change. The young woman knew how much Chat- scratch that, Adrien loved it when she did. Gathering her belongings into her bag, she opened her jacket for Tikki to hide in an inside pocket she had sewn there especially for her. Ready to face the day ahead of them, she exited his room and wandered a little in the mansion, looking for the kitchen.

Adrien was greeted in the kitchen by the very unusual sight of his father fixing himself a cup of coffee as he was going over his daily planning with Natalie.

He politely greeted them both and began preparing his and Marinette's breakfast with steady gestures. He had greatly improved his cooking skills since the unfortunate pasta incident with his princess and was now able to easily prepare them both oatmeal, fresh fruit and some toast and jam. He was about to head back to his room with his tray full of food when his father took notice of the size of the breakfast he had prepared. "Someone's hungry this morning?"

Adrien blushed lightly. "Actually, I had someone-"

"Oh, hi Mr. Agreste!"

Both men turned around toward Marinette, standing shyly at the entrance of the kitchen. She was wearing plain skinny jeans with a patchwork tank top that was mostly pink but was truly interesting in the mix of textures she had used (because it was obvious it was her creation) to make it. There was lace, satin, velvet, cotton, all expertly sewn into a flawless design. A light gray jacket greatly completed her outfit, and she had let her hair down for a change.

She was stunningly beautiful, and Adrien felt a jolt of pride squeezing his heart at the thought that girl had chosen him out of every possible prospect.

Gabriel Agreste however eyed the young woman warily. "Who do we have here now?"

Marinette smiled kindly as she strode closer, Adrien wrapping his arm protectively around her shoulders as soon as she came within his reach. "Father, may I introduce Marinette Dupain-Cheng to you?"

The older man extended a hand toward her, that she shook shyly.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, miss Dupain-Cheng."

"Nice to meet you too, Mr. Agreste."

He smiled, before returning his attention to his son. "And this young lady is our house this early morning because...?"

Adrien knew better than to lie to his father. Never removing his arm from her shoulders, he smiled genuinely. "She's my girlfriend. She's always been a close friend of mine, but I asked her out recently and she, blissfully, agreed."

Gabriel pushed back his glasses on his nose, nodding briefly. "I see. I must say it's a relief you took interest in a talented beautiful young lady like she is. The lack of... action in your love life had got me worried that perhaps, you had other inclinations."

"Father!" Adrien squealed, obviously embarrassed about the turn the conversation had taken and his dad's attitude.

"This obviously isn't the case. Enjoy your breakfast," concluded the older Agreste.

As he made his way toward the door, though, he stopped in his tracks and spun around. "And Adrien, while I understand you are eighteen now and I more or less don't have a say in your actions anymore, you're still living under my roof and therefore have to abide by my rules. I would like to be warned beforehand the next time you plan on having your girlfriend over for the night."

"Yes, Father."

With a short nod, Gabriel Agreste exited the room, Natalie on his heels. The young man breathed a sigh of relief he hadn't realized he had been holding until then and smiled triumphantly at Marinette. "This went incredibly well! He liked you, but then again, who in their right mind wouldn't?"

She blushed lightly, spinning on her heels to face him and laced her arms around his neck. "You, Mr. Agreste, are a big flirt."

"I fail to see how stating the sheer truth makes me a flirt."

She laughed, placing a soft and chaste kiss upon his lips. When she pulled back, he smiled and indicated the tray lying on the counter top. "Are you hungry?"

The young designer was about to answer when Plagg flew into view, whining. "About time! I'm famished."

The couple burst out laughing and sat to eat, content in each other's company.

Both of You

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

Part 26 of 53

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