Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 34 of 53

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Vaulting across Parisian rooftops with years of practice to rely on was one thing.

Vaulting across Parisian rooftops with years of practice while being madly worried about the woman he loved and unwillingly left to fend for herself against an angry akuma was a very different thing.

And vaulting across rooftops while going mad with concern after abandoning his girlfriend and cradling an injured shoulder was entirely something else, much to Chat Noir's stifling displeasure.

He was frustratingly unfocused, his thoughts completely occupied by the various unpleasant outcomes of his lady fighting on her own. His wild imagination stubbornly refused to stop coming up with more and more dangerous obstacles for her to overcome without her faithful partner, and it drove him crazy. What if she got trapped in that weird substance again? What if she got hurt in the encounter? What if she needed someone to distract the akuma? They were a team, Plagg and Tikki had made that pretty clear: they weren't meant to be separated. Chat Noir could almost hear his kwami sternly scolding him in his mind, reminding him that the current situation was different, that he had been injured throughout the fight, and hadn't left Ladybug alone on purpose. Nonetheless, his movements were sloppy and lacked their usual precision and grace, all thanks to both his rambling brain and the searing pain that kept intensifying in his left shoulder. His frustration made him grip his staff tighter than he needed to, and each landing sent a painful shock up his arm, despite how gentle the hero genuinely intended them to be.

So truly, he shouldn't have been that much surprised when he miserably failed his very last jump, shortly after hearing the third warning beep of his ring, the bounce that should've landed him to safety onto Marinette's balcony if everything had gone according to plan. Instead, his staff slipped upon coming in contact with the concrete, entirely messing up his intended trajectory, and Chat Noir came down inelegantly barreling from the sky, tumbling violently on the sidewalk before crashing through the bakery's front door. He laid there for a split second, sprawled out on the shop's floor, clutching his wounded shoulder with a loud whimper, before Tom and Sabine managed to snap out of their astonishment and spring into action.

Chat Noir's ring beeped loudly for the fourth time as the young man tried to stand back up, unable to put any weight on his left arm which proved to complicate the otherwise rather simple task. Flustered and ashamed for the unwanted disturbance he had brought upon the wonderful parents of his girlfriend, he stammered, still awkwardly trying to get up, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

His apologies were cut short by Tom Dupain's large hands gripping him by the torso, effortlessly helping him to his feet and warily looking him up and down. "You okay there? Are you hurt? That was a rather nasty fall."

The hero nodded briefly, a grimace gracing his lips despite his best intentions. "Probably dislocated my shoulder. I have to hide, though, I don't have much time left before the magic wears off."

"Right," the burly man answered, gesturing for the back door, "go in there. I'll close the door, nobody's going to see you. Don't worry about any camera, we don't have those in here."

The baker had shoved him without ceremony into the back kitchen as he spoke and promptly slammed the door shut behind Paris' hero, putting the wooden panel between them and any unwanted witnesses. Chat Noir sighed with pent-up relief and rested his forehead against the door as his ring began beeping furiously, giving him a final warning.

"Thank you, sir. It really means the world to me."

Before Tom even had a chance to answer, the leather-clad hero was engulfed simultaneously in a familiar blinding green light and a most welcome swarm of pink ladybugs. The pain in his shoulder significantly subdued, leaving only a lingering sore feeling behind as the superhero regained his civilian form. It had been a really close call, a matter of a split second. If Marinette's unhealed injury a few months prior was anything to go by, the young man had been a only a mere second away from dealing with a dislocated shoulder on his own, without the help of his lady's magic to fix him up like it usually did, considering Chat Noir had been hurt by the akuma and not Adrien. He now knew his princess had been unlucky enough to get wounded before transforming back then, therefore annihilating her chances to be cured by the cleansing spell as her civilian self. For once, the black cat's bad luck seemed to be leaving him alone that day, since Ladybug had apparently managed to vanquish the akuma on her own and release her cleansing spell at the last possible second for Chat Noir to be healed before switching forms.

Plagg flew in front of Adrien's green eyes, loudly whining that he was hungry, just as Sabine knocked softly on the kitchen door, her motherly tone quietly inquiring. "Are you alright in there, dear?"

Heart clenched with sheer gratefulness toward them, Adrien leaned his forehead against the panel of the door again. "Y-yes… I'm okay, ma'am, thank you very much."

"Do you need anything? Food, medical care?"

The young man sighed contently as he witnessed yet again where Marinette had gotten her endless kindness from. "My injury seems to have been healed, all thanks to Ladybug. I really have to go back and check on her, though I can't thank you enough for providing me with somewhere safe to detransform. Can I do anything to repay you?"

He heard her chuckle on the other side of the panel, and could very well picture Sabine shaking her head with that unique motherly smile of hers he loved so much. "Nonsense, dear. You have done so much for this city, for us. It was only natural for us to give you a hand in time of need."

"Still, I'm in your debt. Should you ever need our help, don't hesitate to call us."

"We will. There's a door at the back of the room, it leads into a secluded alleyway, you should be able to escape unnoticed. Are you sure you don't need any food? We have plenty, it would be no hassle. We're a bakery after all."

Adrien pondered the question for a second. Sure, it would've been nice for Plagg to recharge, but truth be told, he was getting restless hiding into his girlfriend's parents kitchen instead of being useful. His kwami had a bad habit of taking his sweet time to eat, and the young man was beyond reluctant to waste another precious second. "I'm fine, thanks again."

"No, thank you , Chat Noir. Now go and check on your partner, I feel you're impatient to do so."

Smiling to himself, Adrien wondered briefly what Sabine would've said had she known her daughter's boyfriend was the one hiding in her shop's kitchen, getting antsy to get to her very own daughter. Throat tight with worries for Marinette and thankfulness for her parents, the blond pushed the bakery's back door, bracing himself for Plagg's incoming fury. Sure enough, as soon as they were alone in the alley Sabine had mentioned, the little black deity flew into view. "I haven't had anything to recharge, kiddo, all thanks to you and your impatience. You're going to have to search for her on foot."

Adrien shrugged, opening his overshirt and nodding toward the inner pocket. "Not a problem, Plagg. Rest into my pocket until I find you some cheese, okay? For now, we have to find Mari."

The kwami huffed impatiently but surprisingly zipped into his designated spot nonetheless without arguing further. The fleeting thought that he must be as worried about their girls as he himself was suddenly brushed the young man's mind. After all, Plagg had made it clear on more than one occasion that Tikki and he were two part of a greater whole, just like Ladybug and Chat Noir, like Marinette and Adrien.

Patting softly his pocket, he muttered softly. "Don't worry, Plagg, we're going to find them."

He didn't get an answer, but he honestly wasn't waiting for any from the stubborn kwami. Breaking into a sprint, he ran to where the attack had occurred, careful of taking alleyways and little streets as he knew he'd have a better chance of catching his lady detransforming that way. After akuma attacks, they would both avoid crowded areas to lessen the likelihood of being caught by unaccounted for witnesses. Reaching his destination took longer that way, his eyes desperately glued to the rooftops, but once he finally got there his heart dropped into his chest, for she was nowhere to be seen. The young man stilled for a second, still hidden in the shadows of the surrounding buildings, trying to gather the force to step in the street and try to understand what could possibly have happened to his missing princess.

Before Adrien exited the alleyway, though, a mess of red and black fabric came crashing down on him from above. Ladybug latched herself around him, her lips crashing hard onto his as she pulled him into a bone-crushing and desperate hug. Startled, the blond wrapped his arms around her out of sheer instinct, holding her to him as he answered her kiss. They stayed like that for a full minute or two, Ladybug kissing him urgently, feverishly, before she broke away from him as suddenly as the kiss had been. Burying her face into the crook of his neck, the superheroine dissolved into a mess of violent sobs, shaking uncontrollably into his embrace.

"Hey, calm down, princess. What happened?" Adrien tried to soothe her, to no avail.

It took her several minutes to gather her breath enough to form a coherent sentence. She didn't pull away from him, instead holding him even tighter. "I… I was so worried… I knew you got hurt and when you tried to hide it… I… I thought that…"

Adrien shook his head against hers. "I told you I was okay before leaving, my lady."

"I know," she croaked, "but then I got to the… to the bakery… and you… you weren't there . I… had to detransform and… Tikki and I…"

"It's okay, princess, I'm right here."

Her sobs had not subdued the slightest, making understand what she was trying to tell him almost impossible to do. Adrien lifted a hand from her back, gently stroking her cheek to try and calm her down with the loving gesture.

"When… When you weren't… in my room… when I told you… I… I thought… I pictured you… hurt onto some random rooftop… without anyone to help you… and I…"

Words were rushing out of her lips all at once, only cut by her soft whimpers. She pulled back from his chest a little, her left hand cradling his cheek softly as she studied the face she knew almost more than her own. "Are… are you really okay?"

Adrien smiled tenderly at her, rolling his injured shoulder without wincing in pain to prove his point. "I would never dare lie to you about something like that, Bugaboo. It was a really close call, but you released your magic just in the nick of time. I shouldn't have left to come and find you, but I was worried about you. I should have known better and thought that you would rush back to me as soon as you were done with the fight. Can you forgive me you worrying you uselessly?"

Instead of answering with words too weak to convey what she really meant to say, Ladybug simply leaned in, pressing her lips against his yet again, not even bothering to wipe the tears spilling over her mask and still running down her face. This kiss was different from the one she had given him upon barrelling into the alleyway, less desperate, less aggressive. Adrien kissed her back eagerly, whispering sweet nonsense into her ear every time they separated to breathe.

Enthralled in each other's proximity and hopelessly wrapped into the afternoon's rollercoaster of emotions they had both experimented, neither of them heard the telltale sound of the shutter of a camera going off a few times, nor saw the cloaked shadow slipping out of the alleyway.

Both of You

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

Part 34 of 53

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