Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 32 of 53

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Much to the boys' dismay, the scheduled date for their group outing eventually rolled around way sooner than any of them would've liked it to. None of them was looking forward to a whole afternoon of Chloe's constant whining, nagging and bitching, but Nathanael had to honor the promise he had unwillingly made to Marinette, so, albeit quite reluctantly, the three of them showed up at the meeting point they had agreed on with a few minutes to spare. Nathanael's face was white as a sheet and he kept nervously toying with the lapel of his jacket. If Adrien was to be completely honest, his red-haired friend looked like he was going to be sick at any given time.

"I still say your girlfriend's crazy, Agreste."

Smirking knowingly, the blond retorted without a second thought. "What can I say? I love them cunning and scheming."

"Who's scheming?" piped up the lovely voice of the aforementioned crazy girlfriend, gliding in his ears like honey. Spinning on his heels, Adrien found himself staring into the bluebell orbs he had grown so fond of.

Clad in black leggings and a half-thigh long deep red knitted tunic, she looked as stunning as always. Her black silky hair had been tied into a tight braid adorned with a ribbon matching her shirt, and she had switched her usual pink purse for a smaller black one.

"Still big enough for Tikki and Plagg to get comfortable," thought Adrien, knowing fairly well that it was more than likely the very reason the young woman had bothered to bring a purse at all. Greeting him with a soft and quick peck on the lips, she went on hugging briefly both Nino and Nathanael, to the blond's barely concealed displeasure. The lingering tension was quickly dissolved by Alya's arrival, sporting comfortable attire very similar to Marinette's.

The brunette launched herself at her boyfriend's neck as always, grinning ear to ear. "I hope you know we love you, Marinette, otherwise none of us would have agreed to do this."

"Oh hush, you people of little faith."

Nino's witty reply was cut short by Chloe's entrance. Surprisingly, the mayor's daughter had obviously made an effort to look more approachable, more down to earth than she usually was.

Instead of her usual designer capris, she was wearing ordinary jeans and sneakers. A blue long-sleeved sweater with a soft V-neck completed her casual look, and she had left her blond locks loose, forgetting her signature ponytail for a day. Adrien had to admit that despite the grudges he held against his blonde counterpart, she was rather pretty when she was dressed like that, seeming almost approachable. Nathanael broke the awkward silence with a shaky voice. "A-Alright girls, what do you have in store for us?"

Adrien could tell the redhead was still a nervous wreck and was impressed by the way his voice hadn't broken up more than it did by the end of his sentence. A grinning Marinette hooked her arm on his own and proudly announced, "We're going ice skating! Isn't that nice?"

All three of the boys groaned comically, prompting the girls to burst into eager giggles. Chloe shyly (an emotion Adrien wasn't aware she was even capable of) offered, "Should we get going?"

"Of course, lead the way, ladies," was the only thing the young model could come up with, seeing as his mind was occupied by his lovely girlfriend gently stroking his arm in a seemingly innocent manner.

As they walked toward the indoor skating rink, Adrien watched, amazed, as Marinette's plan slowly became obvious, at least to him. Alya and Nino were walking a few steps ahead of the group, chatting quietly among themselves, but the young designer kept prompting Nathanael to speak about him by asking small and apparently innocent questions under the pretense of small talk. Given that he himself didn't know the redhead that much on a personal level, he was able to learn along with the more than attentive mayor's daughter that Nathanael Kurtzberg wanted to work in animation someday, probably on something related to kids. He also was a huge diehard Disney fan, apparently a common interest among the four of them. The young man had a part-time job in some art supplies store to help pay for his own material, his employee discount working wonders for his unwavering dedication to drawing. When he wasn't drawing, he was a very avid reader. When this particular piece of information was released, all thanks to Marinette once again, Adrien watched as Chloe perked up visibly, tentatively including herself into the discussion. He knew the blonde was herself a rather avid reader. Years of playing the pretty doll part besides her father through all sorts of official events had prompted her to quietly divert herself in one way or another, and Chloe had found her escape into literature just as himself had found a welcomed salute in video games.

As he witnessed Chloe and Nathanael engage flawlessly into a full fledged debate on which character of some obscure fantasy series was the most biased on some topic he didn't even bother analyzing, Adrien couldn't help but yield to his girlfriend's insight. The pair was obviously disagreeing, but they were now at least on speaking grounds, and if Chloe's smile was anything to go by, the young man knew she was finally feeling at ease with her redhead crush. Grabbing Marinette's hand, he held her back slightly, just enough to fall out of earshot of the odd pair.

"You're a genius, Mari. I hope you know that."

She beamed at him, lacing her fingers through his. "I'm glad you think so; apparently the rest of the class thinks I've gone mad."

The blond chuckled softly. "Yeah, and a dangerous kind even. Good thing I can handle you just fine, my lady."

She punched his arm playfully, lowering her voice seeing as they finally had reached their destination and they were closing the distance between them and their friends. "Oh, can you now, Chaton? I'm perfectly capable of tying you up to the Eiffel tower, and you know that."

"You wouldn't dare!" theatrically gasped Adrien, effectively bringing the attention of the rest of their group upon themselves.

Cocking her hip aside, Alya smirked playfully. "Hey, lovebirds, if you wanted some time alone you could've just asked!"

"Adrien and I were just having a little disagreement back there."

Nino chuckled as Adrien raised a stunned eyebrow. "We did? About what?"

"Whether or not Ladybug could tie Chat Noir on the Eiffel Tower."

"Why in the world would she do such a thing?" asked a taken aback Nathanael.

Chloe scoffed beside him, a little of the confidence she was usually showing at school returning. "Oh please. If she asked him to do it he would tie himself up there. That cat would do anything for her, it's disgustingly cute."

"Yeah, but let's say he wouldn't cooperate, would she succeed?" Marinette pressed further, a wide grin stretching her pink lips. He could tell his girlfriend was enjoying the way the discussion had shifted and seeing her almost glowing with glee he couldn't bring himself to care about the biased opinion their little group obviously had about his heroic counterpart.

He stopped listening to Alya and Nino's rant about why Ladybug would totally be able to kick his leather clad ass in a heartbeat and instead wrapped the object of his affections in a tight hug, whispering in her ear, "They're all wrong you know."

"Oh, how so?"

"You love me too much to beat me up."

Her laugh was music to his ears.

Their little group went to rent skates for all of them and broke into pairs as they reached the ice. Nino and Alya went first, playfully nudging each other and actively trying to make the other trip. They had been dating for so long that they were as comfortable as can be with each other, best friends as well as lovers, and their relationship was really an example to follow in his eyes. Chloe looked shyly at her date, asking in a subdued voice if he wanted to skate around the rink with her a little. Nathanael's face was still a little paler than usual, but at least he didn't look like he was going to throw up or faint anymore. Adrien couldn't help the smile that came upon his lips when he witnessed the redhead offering the young blonde his arm and leading her to the rink. Taking Marinette's small hand into his, he followed them, skating for a little bit around the rink hand in hand with her, both of them being cautious of keeping some distance between them and their friends to give them a bit of intimacy. Adrien caught Chloe's expression a few times watching them from afar, amazed to read a content smile on her lips and gratefulness in her eyes.

Nathanael still seemed a little bit wary, somewhat guarded. He looked like he was half expecting Chloe to turn into a monster at any given time, like he couldn't believe he was actually somehow enjoying spending time with the mayor's daughter.

Still, the outing Marinette and Alya had planned was going flawlessly so far. The six of them seemed to have fun and enjoy themselves, quite surprisingly.

A sudden crash tore his gaze away from the lithe figure of Marinette and snapped his attention back to the blonde and redhead pair, worry piling up in his stomach as he noticed Chloe had collided with a kid no older than ten years old and was currently splayed out awkwardly on the ice, rubbing her knee with a shocked expression. That didn't bode well, knowing the girl and her great tendency for drama, she would get howling and demanding punishment to be brought on the frightened child at any given time now. A quick glance to Marinette confirmed him that she, too, was watching the scene warily, unsure of the right way to react or if they should intervene.

And then Chloe laughed.

Not her usual snickers or sarcastic laughs. A true one, genuine and sincere, akin to the one he loved so much hearing from his princess' lips. The lingering tension instantly dissolved as the blonde laughed heartily, clutching her sides and accepting Nathanael's offered hand to get back up. Her good mood was contagious apparently, since the redhead followed suit with her, smiling widely at her as she helped the kid up. "Oh my god, I wish I could've seen the look on my face, it must have been hilarious!"

Amazed, Adrien watched as that simple laugh, that simple but humble laugh managed to bring down the remaining wall between the shy artist and the renowned fashionista. All of a sudden, they seemed a lot more comfortable with each other, Nathanael inquiring softly about her wellbeing and her answering with a genuine smile that actually reached her blue eyes, illuminating her whole face.

With a quick peck on his lips, Marinette excused herself from Adrien's company, stealing an eager Alya from her own boyfriend. The girls skated away from them laughing and giggling as they roughhoused each other much like the brunette had done with Nino a few moments prior.

"Dude, want a break?"

The blond smirked. "Yeah, actually I think I'm done. How about some hot chocolate?"

The DJ went to return their skates to the rental counter as Adrien went to order two hot chocolates. As he waited for the drinks, he sighed, contemplating the woman he loved having fun with her best friend, not a care in the world showing on her beautiful face. This was how things were supposed to be. Knowing the second uncured akuma was still looming somewhere in the shadows, becoming stronger with every day that passed, was unnerving, and he couldn't help himself but wondering if they would be able to defeat it without casualties when it would finally attack.

Sitting side by side on a bench, Adrien didn't notice he was lost in his worries until Nino leaned in toward his blond best friend and nudged him to get his attention. "Hey, dude, you okay?"

Snapping out of his grim thoughts, he took a second to compose himself before smiling reassuringly at his friend "Yeah, don't mind me. I was just thinking about Mari."

"Your girlfriend is really something, dude. She and Chloe have always been like cat and dog, and there she is, going out of her way to make a date happen between her nemesis and her crush. I mean, what were the odds that it would work out just fine?"

Adrien glanced up to the amazing girl he loved so much, watching in awe as she skated gracefully, obviously laughing heartily at something Alya had just said. On the other side of the rink, Nathanael and Chloe seemed deep in discussion, barely even moving on the ice at all, and even from a distance, the blond could see blushes spreading on the pair's cheeks. "Yeah," he sighed dreamily, "she truly is miraculous."

The teasing reply Nino was about to give him died on his lips when loud crashes and screams came from outside the building. Instantly, Adrien jumped to his feet, sparking into his heroic persona without a hitch. "Nino, Alya and you run to cover. Nate, escort Chloe home. Mari, with me."

The authority with which his words were spoken visibly took his friends by surprise, but none of them dared to argue.

Marinette nodded softly at him, and when they were sure all of their friends were effectively taking shelter and were no longer paying attention to them, they broke into a sprint, hand in hand, toward the commotion.

Both of You

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

Part 32 of 53

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