Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 39 of 53

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As Adrien and Marinette crossed the school's threshold, hand in hand and unmistakably reconciled, an uncomfortable and eerie silence fell on the courtyard.

Every single set of eyes snapped toward the pair, with judgmental stares as they took in their proximity and the love oozing between them. Their tightly intertwined fingers left no room for any doubt: Adrien had already won back his lady's heart. Not-so-subtle whispers were heard as they walked through the courtyard, each one mercilessly piercing their tired hearts.

"Figures. He's a rich and famous model, she was bound to forgive him eventually."

Fingers becoming ever so slightly more slippery, loosening their grip around her hand.

"So when you're an Agreste you can get away with anything, even cheating? Neat."

A hitch in the familiar breath, a fumble in the usually confident step.

"She's been drooling after him for years now, she's just too proud to admit she was wrong."

Bluebell eyes stilled, porcelain teeth nibbled on a cherry-pink lower lip.

"You know what they say, money can buy everything."

The blue-eyed girl felt her boyfriend tense even further beside her if it was humanly possible, and his fingers began to slip from her hand as he tried to distance himself from her. He was obviously trying to spare her the nasty rumors sparked by their unanticipated reconciliation, and it only irked her further. Seeing the man she loved being so uncomfortable by her side made Marinette's heart twitch uncomfortably in her chest, and a surge of Ladybug's confidence shot in her veins. The young woman tightened her grip around Adrien's hand, effectively derailing his attempted escape. "Hell, no. I'm done giving a damn about what people say about us."

Right on cue, Chloe barrelled down in the courtyard, a smiling Nathanael on her heels. The blonde heiress launched herself at her childhood friend, locking her arms around his neck like she had done countless times before. "Adrikins!" she squealed delightedly, their significant others smiling fondly at the familiar sight, which now shined under a brand new light. If the total mess the previous week had been had resulted in one single positive thing, it was without a single doubt the obviously strengthened bond between the blond pair. What would have previously annoyed Marinette to no end she now found utterly adorable. A quick glance to Nathanael confirmed that the slightly infatuated redhead perfectly mirrored her feelings on the matter.

"Not feeling that good, Chloe, keep it down please," groaned a still-wary Adrien as he kept casting worried glances at the beautiful woman standing beside him, trying to gauge her reaction while uselessly attempting to summon as little attention as he could upon them.

Still holding his hand in a merciless death grip, Marinette watched in sheer awe as the blonde heiress's gaze went from Adrien's miserable expression to their intertwined fingers, from his stiff shoulders to the students scattered around them staring at the young couple. And then, something shifted in the icy-blue eyes. Chloe smiled, a cunning smile that sent shivers down the bluebell-eyed girl's spine. "Come on, Marinette, you're still giving him a hard time about that stupid picture?"

Adrien stiffened even further by her side, torn between telling his older friend off and his sudden wish to sink into the floor, disappearing for good. Marinette had to fight herself hard to repress a knowing smile and keep her shocked expression somewhat believable. Nathanael managed to choke on his apple bite, effectively stifling the laughter threatening to escape his lips. On her part, Chloe looked utterly pleased with herself, her hip popped out, a smug look spread on her features. She paused for a theatrical second, letting her words, deliberately spoken at a volume a bit too loud to be polite, but low enough that it wasn't that obvious that she was doing it all on purpose. Marinette had to admit, she was good. Really good, even.

Now fumbling with her phone, Chloe channeled her most haughty tone, "You probably heard what that mangy cat declared to the Ladyblog. Adrien's been telling the truth to you all along, he never cheated on you, even if I would understand him for upgrading his standards a little. And honestly, Marinette, this photo is so badly photoshopped it hurts my eyes just to look at it. See?" she added, pointing at the little digital screen she shoved into the young designer's face, "The lighting on Ladybug's suit is completely wrong, and Adrien's skin tone is way off. It's probably the work of some fan of Adrien's trying to break you guys up, or even a Ladybug fan trying to get Chat Noir off her skin. What did you expect, an easy fairytale with a happy ending? Their fans were bound to be upset seeing as they both settled for someone so … below them. Honestly, only a stupid fool would believe this picture to be a real one, let alone break up with Adrien out of all people over an obviously fake picture."

A stunned silence welcomed the mayor's daughter's words, and Marinette had to fight a knowing smile yet again. Chloe had been brilliant, stellar even. Just as Chat Noir had done the day before with Alya and her followers, the blonde had just seeded the right amount of doubts into their classmates' minds. Adrien seemed to finally catch up as well, his previously shocked expression shifting into one of pure admiration.

When the young man slipped his hand back into Marinette's, it was a little bit more confidently. He squeezed her fingers lightly, a tender gesture that made her heart swell in her chest. As they headed to their classroom, following Chloe and Nathanael that were walking a few steps ahead of them, arguing about some fantasy novel the former had apparently loved a lot while the latter considered it an insult to the genre.

Alya and Nino eventually joined them, the young DJ smiling sheepishly at his best friend and uttering a shy apology, which Adrien instantly took in stride.

And for the first time in many days, the blond managed to avoid feeling self-conscious as he pressed a tender kiss on his girlfriend's temple before sliding into his seat.

The day went on without further hitch. The curious whispers eventually died around them, leaving Marinette and Adrien to go on with their day without being bothered at all. Nino was apparently striving to be forgiven, spending as much time as it was humanly possible with his best friend, not even once noticing that he was kinda interrupting some much needed quality time between Marinette and Adrien.

As the final bell rang, though, Chloe intercepted Marinette before she could escape the school grounds. The blonde pushed a nice-looking envelope into Marinette's unsuspecting hands, looking away like she was ashamed of what she was going to say.

"I know this seems kind of strange coming from me, but I've invited all of our grade, so it would be kinda rude to leave you out. Besides, Adrien would chew my head off if I did," Chloe stated, her stare still riveted to the ground. "Be sure to look good beside my Adrikins, though. You can't tarnish his perfect looks."

Marinette smiled softly, carefully opening the luxurious envelope.

"You are cordially invited to the very first Farewell Grand Ball

At the Grand Paris Hotel

Saturday, the twenty-first of May

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres will be served

at seven o'clock in the evening in the Ballroom

Entertainment will be provided by Jagged Stone and XY.

Black tie only. No sneakers or jeans shall be permitted."

The champagne-colored paper was thick and luxurious, and the golden ink printed on it seemed to be quite pricey. But what really hit Marinette right in the feels was Chloe's subdued expression, somewhat expecting, anticipating. Smiling to herself, the young woman carefully tucked the gorgeous invitation in her purse, answering gingerly, "Don't worry, Chloe. I'll be sure to match his handsomeness to the T. We wouldn't want our Adrien to look bad."

As she turned to go back to her eagerly waiting boyfriend, Marinette surprisingly felt Chloe's hand softly land on her wrist, stopping her motion. The blonde heiress still looked somewhat shy, mellow, and that sight alone was enough to make Marinette's breath slightly hitch in her throat. The more she spent time with her, the more she could see a beautiful young woman emerging, inside and out, and it truly was a mesmerizing sight to behold. When she spoke, Chloe's voice was soft, barely above a whisper, "I have to thank you, Marinette. A real thank you, a sincere one."

Stunned, Marinette's bluebell eyes widened as she took in her former enemy words, "What … what do you mean?"

"Well, obviously, I have to thank you for making Adrien finally happy. I haven't seen him smiling that genuinely ever since his mother left." Chloe gulped as Marinette chanced a glance at the beautiful blond laughing heartily at something Nino had said while Alya shook her head, a fond smile on her lips. "But more than that," the blonde resumed, "I have to thank you for the invaluable help you've been with Nathanael."

Marinette's smile grew even wider. "How are things between you two? I've noticed you spend a lot of time together."

"We do, and it's all thanks to you. Nate and I found some common ground, some common interest at this ice skating outing you dragged us to." A fiery blush spread on the heiress's cheeks, but she sustained Marinette's curious gaze. "We ended up spending more and more time together, and I got to see him for who he really is. He's even more amazing than I thought, and I only ended up liking him even more. He's kind, selfless, and really passionate in his own subdued way when it comes to the things that matter to him. I…" Her voice trailed off as her icy-blue eyes softened to aa daydreaming hue.

Chuckling softly, Marinette playfully nudged her classmate on the arm, "Man, and I thought I had it bad for Adrien. You're really hooked, girl."

To both their surprise, it turned out that yes, Chloe was capable of blushing even further. She averted her eyes, her fingers absentmindedly fidgeting with her pendant. "He… Nathanael asked me out this morning, like, for real, and it's all thanks to you, Marinette. Being with him, heck, solely getting to know him had always only been a far-fetched dream to me, but you somehow made it happen. So, thank you."

Marinette couldn't help but smile smugly upon hearing the delightful ending to her little and alleged insane scheming. Reining in her quickly inflating ego, she managed to put on a somewhat believable delighted face, and said softly, "I didn't do much, Chloe. All I did is a little push in the right direction, Nate and you did the rest on your own." She paused for a second, before murmuring to the mayor's daughter so their classmates wouldn't hear, "I'm really happy for you two, you both deserve to be with someone that'll go to the moon and back for you. I'm glad it turned out okay."

Chloe somehow managed to grin through her betraying blush, and whispered in answer, "You know, you really deserve a bone crushing hug right now. It's a shame I still hate you."

"It really is," Marinette answered, a bit of that smug look still hanging on her features. "I'll strike you a deal, I'll go hug my boyfriend while you go hug yours, this way none of us will go un-hugged. Alright?"

Whatever clever reply Chloe had managed to come up with, it was drowned out in a sudden and unmistakable whirr of a camera shutter. The ground rumbled mercilessly beneath their feet, and looking at her classmate's panicked expression, Marinette couldn't help the feeling of dread pooling in her gut. A photography-themed akuma could only mean one thing—

"WHERE IS CHAT NOIR? I'LL SHOW THAT MANGY ALLEY CAT WHAT A TASTELESS LIAR HE TRULY IS!" resonated in a low, booming voice through the whole school's ground.

Marinette spun on her heels, her worst fears confirmed as her heart caught in her throat, her worried gaze crossing Adrien's for merely a split second.

And they ran.

Both of You

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

Part 39 of 53

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