Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 42 of 53

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Huddled against her boyfriend's side in the back of his town car, Marinette once again caught his hands in hers, going mad with the repetitive motion he had been making nonstop for the past ten minutes or so. "Stop fidgeting with your ring like that, you're making me nervous."

Adrien sighed, closing his fingers around hers to resist the tentation. "Sorry, princess. I'm getting antsy here."

"Yeah, I can tell," she breathed softly, resting her head against his shoulder. "Everything's going to be fine, alright? We're going to put on those ridiculous ceremony dresses, look silly with our mortarboards for the pictures, go on that stage to retrieve our diplomas and have a lovely celebratory dinner with our parents. What could possibly go wrong, kitty?"

The blond inhaled deeply, savoring the scent of her hair on his shoulder. "I could trip on my way to the stage."

"Please," Marinette chuckled, her thumb gently stroking the side of his hand. "You are a model, you have walked runways more perilous than an aisle and a four-steps high stairs."

He smiled against her head, reveling in her proximity. Her touch never failed to soothe him, and he went on with his silly worries on the sole purpose of having Marinette comforting him like she was doing. "You could trip."

"I'm a professional tripper, don't you remember? Half the school probably expect it anyway, so it wouldn't be that much of a big deal."

He gave a low chuckle, his nerves slowly but surely loosening up. Planting a quick peck on the crown of her head, he whispered tenderly, "They could realize they have made a mistake, and I haven't graduated after all. Then you'll all abandon me and go on with your lives as I'll be stuck redoing it all over again."

Her laugh was crystalline, pure music in his ears. "Adrien, the only person that had higher grades than you is Max, and I'm still not convinced that this guy is one-hundred-percent human. If you aren't graduating, then it means that all of our class is failing. Therefore no one would be abandoning you."

The car came to a stop, giving them a momentum to pull slightly away from each other as the Gorilla rounded the car and opened the door for them, a fond smile on his otherwise stern features. As Adrien put a hand on the small of Marinette's back to guide them through the crowd of stressed out students and squealing parents, he felt a firm pat on his back. Turning around, dumbfounded, he found himself facing a grinning bodyguard, showing him two thumbs up.

Apparently, words were useless when it came to tell someone you have been watching closely for years that you are proud of them.

His heart swelling in his chest, Adrien returned the smile warmly, and went back to navigate both himself and his girlfriend toward the area where they were supposed to retrieve their uniforms for the ceremony.

As they got dressed, both slightly giddy and emotional at the meaning behind their special day and the exciting life-steps that were quickly coming their way, Adrien couldn't help but think that it was a real shame that Marinette had to cover her beautiful dress with such a bland traditional get up. The black cap and gown were hiding all of her beautiful pink short-sleeved dress that she had spent all week sewing with all her heart. The cut of her dress was simple, falling just below her knees while a satin black sash tied into a huge bow in her back outlined her waist nicely. Her black hair had been gathered into an elegant bun on the nape of her neck, and she had just the perfect amount of makeup on, enhancing her amazing eyes and her perfect lips without making her look like a fraud.

She was perfect. Stunningly and completely perfect.

To him, his girlfriend looked like a porcelain doll, and he felt like he was falling in love with her all over again (a third time).

He must have been staring at her for some time, because she smiled at him warmly and gently tugged on his hand. "Come on, handsome boy. They're going to call your name and you'll still be standing here."

And as he followed her down the carpeted aisle that had been set up in the park near the school, he eagerly held onto her hand, grinning from ear to ear. She was right, after all. No matter how the day would unfold, at the end of it they'd both be graduates, and ready to move on with their lives.


He wouldn't have it any other way.

Sitting at the table they had secured for their little family, Tom and Sabine were grinning proudly, their hearts boasting with joy at the sight of the two young adults they loved so much standing hand-in-hand beside the stage, wearing matching cap, gowns and smiles.

Mme Bustier stepped forward to the microphone, smiling fondly at her charges. M. D'Argencourt stood beside her, a basket full of rolled up diplomas in his hands. M. Damoclès, Mme Mendeleiev and M. Haprèle were lined up beside him, ready to shake the hands of their students and congratulates them. Grasping the microphone with a steady hand, Miss Bustier began her speech, pride dripping from each word.

"From all the teaching body, I really want to congratulate each and everyone of you. This school has been your home for quite some time now, and I know for a fact that many of you are going to miss Françoise-Dupont. Through the years, we have all grown to be like a second family, and it's something you can be very proud of. We sure are.

"A saying from an unknown author says to shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.

"Savour each day that life brings you, be the best person you can be and follow your dreams. Find your passions, find something to challenge you, to make each morning worth waking up for. Reach for your own stars, don't be afraid to try and make mistakes for they'll make you grow.

"Today is the beginning of the rest of your lives, and it's up to you to make the most of it. You are all promising young adults, with a bright future ahead of you, and we're all looking forward to all the great thing you are going to accomplish in the next few years."

Both the parents seated in the parks and the students gathered near the stage clapped and cheered as Mme Bustier finished her speech. A few tears were wiped, and smiles were plastered on every faces. Once the applause finally died down, she spoke again, her voice steady and caring. "As I call your name, please come and get your diploma, then wait on the other side of the stage for the group picture." She marked a short pause and smiled softly, readying herself to call their names for the very last time"Agreste, Adrien."

Smiling broadly as the blond walked toward the scene, Tom jumped on his feet under his wife's amused gaze, clapping excitedly and shouting with his powerful voice, "YES! THAT'S MY BOY!"

The chair across from Tom rattled loudly, startling the huge man, and he turned toward the newcomer, still clapping for his daughter's boyfriend. His kind green eyes met cold blue ones as he found himself facing an obviously displeased Gabriel Agreste. "I believe that this is my son, not yours."

"Alexandre, Carine."

"Arsenault, Alice."

"Bourgeois, Chloé."

At her name, the blonde heiress sauntered confidently toward the teachers. Tom groaned audibly. "Someone had to be here to cheer for him, seeing as you almost missed him."

"Bruel, Ivan."

"Césaire, Alya."

"Maybe so," answered Gabriel, his voice nearly drowned under the screams of joy from Alya's little sisters, "but I didn't."

"Couffaine, Juleka."

Beyond annoyed with Adrien's father, the baker couldn't help but mutter, "The starting hour wasn't a suggestion, you know."

"Dastous, Gilbert."

"Descoteaux, Antoine."

"Dupain-Cheng, Marinette."

Ignoring the frosty stare the man sitting in front of them flashed their way in reply, Sabine and Tom promptly stood up, loudly cheering for their cherished daughter. She flashed them a radiant smile and a small wave as she received her diploma from M. D'argencourt's hands, and happily strutted to her waiting boyfriend, surprisingly without tripping or stumbling on her way.

"Fugère, Isabelle."

"Haprèle, Mylène."

"Kanté, Max."

"You know," Gabriel snarled between clenched teeth, "some of us have important business to attend. I made it on time, it's the only thing that matters."

"Kubdel, Alix."

"Kurtzberg, Nathaniel."

The shy artist was furiously blushing as he hopped onto the scene under the exuberant cheering of his older brothers, whistling shrilly and loudly calling his name. Meanwhile, Tom was busy glaring at Gabriel, unable to believe his ears. Did the man really care that little for his son?

"Lahiffe, Nino."

Gabriel sustained the accusing gaze while everyone in the room 'aww'ed as Nino's three-year-old sister ran toward her older brother, only to be intercepted by her other brother a few feet before the scene. Nino retrieved his diploma giggling, waving fondly toward his favorite little girl.

"Lambert, Anita."

"Lavillant, Rose."

"Lê Chiến, Kim."

Tom Dupain tore his gaze away from the designer for a minute, watching with amusement as the athlete easily jumped on the stage, shaking his teacher's' hands a bit too eagerly and jogging to Alix's side and plucked her up, swirling her in the air while laughing heartily.

"Patenaude, Javier."

"Quessy, Henry."

"Raincomprix, Sabrina."

The redhead climbed on the stage, last but not the least, and joined her classmates on the other side, posing for the photographer together, throwing their caps in the air as they all laughed, beyond elated and emotional. A page was turned, it was time for them to begin a new chapter of their lives.

As the classmates were cheering together one last time, hugging each other while laughing and crying tears of joy, Gabriel leaned back in his chair, eyeing the bubbly couple sitting across the table. "So, how is the humble baker's wife life been treating you, Sabine?" he smirked, folding his hands in his lap.

Tom frowned, his enormous fists clenching by his side. "What's wrong about being a baker's wife, Agreste?"

"Nothing, naturally, Dupain," answered him the lean man, acid drooping in every single word. "But I always figured Sabine had a brilliant future ahead of her. Astrophysicist, neurosurgeon, you know, something that actually matters."

"Oh, because plastering a butterfly on someone else's designs is so much more important than putting food on one's table. Actually you wouldn't know a thing about that, considering the way you starve your very own growing son," Tom growled, anger taking over him.

The tension between the two men, already palpable, grew up a further notch. Sabine sighed and put what she hoped was a calming hand on her husband's arm. "Stop that already, both of you. The children might hear you and ask questions neither of us want to answer."

The fashion mogul had a low chuckle, a mean spark in his cold blue eyes. "Ah. Right. What a fine daughter you have there, Sabine. She'll make amazing designs for me to 'plaster my butterfly' on someday." A wicked smile stretched his lips as he turned Tom's earlier words against him. "I could've never dreamed of a better prospect for my son, who happens to follow a healthily balanced diet, thank you for your concern. Beautiful and talented, Marinette must certainly take after your side of the family."

"What a coincidence," Tom snarled between clenched teeth. "Adrien has grown into a handsome and kind young man, very well-mannered. Amelya has done an amazing job raising him, it's truly a shame she isn't around anymore to take care of him."

Gabriel jerked forward, his face twisted in pure anger. Barely catching himself, he wrestled with his composure, concealing his anger by needlessly adjusting his tie. With tense shoulders and bared teeth, he snarled, "Don't you dare bring my wife into this, Dupain. I think you have enough on your plate with your business and your own family, I'll take care of my son myself."

"Maybe then you should wonder why your son spends as little time as possible in your house. That boy needs to be loved, not micromanaged." The jab was slightly childish, but well-deserved as far as Tom was concerned.

"I don't need lessons on how to raise my child from a measly baker, Dupain," Gabriel spat, standing up and turning his back on the Dupain-Chengs, walking away from them.

Tom's voice stopped him dead in his tracks. "At least we aren't willingly endangering our child on a daily basis."

Spinning on his heels, the designer faced them once again, pure fury clearly displayed on his face. "What is that supposed to mean?"

"You know exactly what I mean," answered the burly man, fighting back his own anger for Adrien's sake. "If you really love him, you should reconsider your priorities. Is it really worth risking losing him too?"

"I'm warning you-"

Gabriel's threat remained forever incomplete, seeing as Adrien and Marinette chose this precise second to reach their table hand in hand, wearing matching proud grins and clutching their diplomas in their free hand.

"I'm glad you made time to come, father," Adrien said softly, and Tom hated every syllable pronounced in a subdued, submissive tone that had no business being in the young man's mouth.

"Well, you made it quite clear that it was important for you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have prior engagements that could not be delayed. Enjoy your evening, Adrien, see you at home later tonight. Good evening too, Marinette," Gabriel answered matter-of-factly, putting emphasis on the word "home" as he looked directly at Tom.

Both teenagers were taken aback from the sheer hostility radiating from both men. Eyeing her parents warily as Adrien's father walked away, Marinette asked the question that was burning their lips, "Did something happened?"

Sabine smiled warmly, casting a warning glance toward her husband. "Don't worry, honey. Your fathers simply got in a little disagreement, nothing major."

Neither Adrien nor Marinette believed her weak explanation, but as it was quite clear that this was the only answer they were going to get, they chose to enjoy their evening.

They'd worry about that later.

"What the hell were you thinking?" asked a rather annoyed Sabine later that night, her arms crossed in front of her as she watched her husband undressing in their room, still sulking about his previous encounter with the fashion mogul. "What were you hoping to achieve?" she insisted.

Tom groaned, sitting on the edge of their bed, burying his head in his hands. "I don't know, okay? I just… Sometimes I wish we could just straight away adopt Adrien and pull him out of that personal hell of his."

His wife rolled her eyes without making a move toward him. "What did you expect? That he'd surrender to your arguments, give up on his foolish quest and hand back his miraculous?"

"No! Of course not!"

"Then why in the world did you provoke him like that? At our daughter's graduation ceremony, no less." Sabine was beginning to lose her temper, something Tom truly didn't want to see. His wife was a force to reckon with when she was angry, and he didn't want to be on the receiving end of her fury.

Bowing his head, he weakly grumbled, conscious that he was being childish, "He's the one who began in the first place."

"Oh come on, Tom," Sabine sighed, exasperated. "Gabriel Agreste has been madly jealous of you ever since college, and you are perfectly aware of this. You could've at least act like the grown man you're supposed to be."

Taken aback, he stuttered, staring at his wife disbelievingly, "J-Jealous? Of m-me? Why-"

She sat beside him, shaking her head as if it was sheer evidence. "You always were that giant bear with a heart of gold that everyone loved, while he was that awkward kid doodling alone in his corner and barely speaking to anyone."

He was about to protest, but she cut him, a stern expression still painted on her features, "And even now, in his eyes you have everything he doesn't: you have a loving wife and a daughter that absolutely adores you, while his own wife is gone and his relationship with his son is beyond broken. And you had to go and throw it all in his face."

"I… didn't think," he uttered painfully, her words slowly sinking in.

As she switched off their bedroom light, Sabine answered dryly, obviously still annoyed with him, "Yeah. I can tell."

Both of You

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

Part 42 of 53

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