Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 43 of 53

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The next day found Adrien restless, pacing up in his hallway as he waited for Nino to finally show up. Chloe had poured her heart and soul into this evening's gala, their last night together. The last thing he wanted to have on his hands was an akumatized blonde heiress because something had, somehow, gone awry despite her thorough planning. He checked his phone once more, casting an apologetic glance to the Gorilla, who merely shrugged in answer. Obviously, Adrien was the only one feeling under pressure in the Agreste manor that night, not that was anything new.

True, Nino's (not quite yet) tardiness wasn't the sole reason for his nervousness. As the time went by, the young man was getting more and more anxious to see his girlfriend in that gorgeous dress they had chosen together. He knew without a doubt that she was going to be stunning, the most beautiful girl in Paris that night, with whom even the stars wouldn't be able to compare. She was incredibly pretty waking up disheveled and groggy, so it was a given that once she was all pampered up, he'd be physically unable to tear his eyes from her.

Hence why he was more than eager to see her: to give himself time to adjust to her stunning beauty before meeting with the rest of their class and hopefully avoid looking like the lovesick fool he not-so-secretly was where Marinette was concerned.

Adrien himself was as handsome as he could ever be, wearing a top-quality suit that was sharp-looking and well fitted. Exactly the sort of thing that a woman would expect from her son-of-an-international-designer boyfriend and with Helen's precious help, he had ensured he would be the most elegant young man in the room. The suit was a classic, a sure choice. Again with his faithful stylist's invaluable input, he had matched a dark blue tie and a slightly lighter vest to Marinette's magnificent dress.

Right as his thoughts were beginning to take a rather unpleasant turn (would Marinette approve of his choice? What if she had preferred he'd wear green to match his own eyes instead of trying to complement hers?), the doorbell finally rang. Adrien immediately rushed forward, yanking the door open unceremoniously to reveal a grinning Nino, clad in a nice black suit paired with an orange tie. He had cleverly left his everlasting cap and headphones at home, avoiding what probably would've been the argument of the year with Alya.

His friend snickered as soon as he took in Adrien's restless appearance and eagerness, his own hands shoved deep in his pockets. "Someone's quite eager to leave, I see?"

Adrien sighed weakly, burrowing his hands in his own pockets, refusing to look at his friend in the eye. "What would you do in my shoes? I'm about to take the most beautiful girl in France to a formal ball."

"Oh, but I am in your shoes, friend," smirked Nino. "Alya's currently a walking daydream to any man lucky enough to cross her path."

That made Adrien stop fidgeting with the cuff of his shirt and stare at his friend, dumbfounded. "Wait. What? Have you gone to Mari's?"

"Yup, stopped on my way here." Nino smiled, knowing perfectly well that he was about to turn his best friend into a jealous mess. "She made me a tie to match Alya's dress, I had to pick it up. Plus, Mari was having a mental breakdown about some hair issue, and they wanted a man's opinion."

"B-but, Tom…?" Adrien weakly tried to supply, his longing for his beautiful lady getting worse by the minute. Surely her father must be able to provide manly opinion on such a matter? He was a man, were there any other criteria?

Nino must've gotten the gist of his protest, because he smiled knowingly and shrugged. "His opinion has been deemed unreliable because he's her father, therefore biased. Alya's words, not mine."

"Why didn't she ask me?" Adrien asked weakly, even though he knew the answer pretty well.

"Because you two are disgustingly romantic and sappy," Nino unsurprisingly answered, looking every bit smug with himself, "and your lady wanted to surprise you. We should go, by the way. They must be waiting for us by now. Mari was almost ready when I left."

The blond nodded and opened the door again, only to be stopped by a familiar, stern voice. "Adrien."

He turned, to see Gabriel standing at the top of the stairs, his arms linked in his back. There wasn't a single trace of warmth or tenderness on his features, and Adrien felt Nino squirm uncomfortably beside him. "Yes, father?"

"I figure nothing I'll say will change your mind about going to this … celebration?"

Adrien straightened his back, refusing to cower before his father like he used to. "You're right, nothing will."

"Very well." Gabriel sighed disapprovingly and pinched the bridge of his nose. When he looked back at his son, it was with a cold and distant expression. "Send Mlle Dupain-Cheng my regards."

"I will. Good evening, father," Adrien answered dryly, ignoring the unpleasant ominous feeling going down his spine.

Nino exited the manor before him, and just as he was about to close the door behind him, Adrien was stopped once again by his father's voice. "Oh and Adrien? Please fix your friend's tie knot, it's sloppy and unworthy of someone acquainted with an Agreste."

As they sat in the limo, Nino sighed dejectedly while Adrien did, actually, fix his tie knot, if only to spare the young DJ from mean comments from Chloe. "Man, your old man is really something."

"I don't know what's the matter with him, honestly," Adrien said, sending a quick text to Marinette to let her know they were on their way. "He has been pretty adamant that attending Chloe's ball was a bad idea, something about young adults that can't be trusted."

The limousine pulled up in front of the bakery just as Alya was opening the door, stepping out into the street with a sly smile. Adrien had to agree with Nino: she was truly stunning. She was wearing a knee-length chiffon dress with a Queen Anne neckline that perfectly enhanced her fuller figure. The burnt-orange fabric formed a sash at her waist, before going down into a beautiful mermaid skirt. Her red hair had been gathered into a high ponytail sitting on the crown of her head, and she had completed her look with several silver bangles and a matching pair of peep-toes.

Before Adrien could tell Alya how lovely she looked, she eyed him smugly and stepped aside.

He forgot how to breathe.

Marinette was even more beautiful than he could've ever imagined. Her royal blue dress, still as stunning as he remembered it to be, hugged her body perfectly, in an almost indecent way despite the little amount of skin she was showing. A fine silver chain with a small onyx pendant laced her neck. Her arms were bare, and when she lifted her dress a little to see where she was depositing her foot on the step, he could see she had decided to wear black-heeled sandals that were strapped around her ankle. Her hair had been carefully braided on the side of her head before blooming into an elegant bun on the nape of her neck. A silver hairpin adorned with onyxes was pinned into said bun, shining beautifully in the black strands.

She stood in front of him for a moment, smiling nervously, before Adrien remembered how to breathe, how to speak, and his manners all at once. Lurching forward, he pressed a chaste peck on her lips, smiling at her with all the love and the adoration he could muster into a single smile. "You, Mlle Dupain-Cheng, are being incredibly selfish tonight."

She giggled against his lips, and raised a hand to cup his cheek. He leaned into her touch, smiling like a lovesick fool. "And why is that, M. Agreste?"

"Hogging all Paris's beauty to yourself isn't going to make you any friends, my love."

She chuckled lightly, her cheeks dusted in a pretty pink shade, and she let him help her into the car. The trip to the Grand Paris hotel was comfortable, Alya and Nino messing around while Marinette laid her head on Adrien's shoulder, reveling in his touch, his warmth. They had spent the night apart, and she hated to admit it out of fear of being clingy, but she had missed him. She knew things weren't that great with Gabriel currently, and if the tension they had felt between their respective fathers the day prior was anything to go by, it wasn't about to get better anytime soon.

They arrived at the hotel shortly after, which had been redecorated to fit the wishes of an overachieving mayor's daughter. At the entrance, Chloe had set up a wide array of photo booth with silly accessories for them to take funny pictures. They were ranging from various stick props such as mustaches, hats and kisses, to signs like "Teachers' pet", "Next president", "Biggest Dreamer", and so on. Next to the props lay a Polaroid camera, with a little sign that said, "Rule: print 2 copies of each picture you take! One is yours to keep, hang the second one on the curtain."

Turning around, Adrien saw that a curtain had been put up beside the impromptu photo booth, with strings pinned to it. Various colorful clothespins were attached to the strings, many of them already holding pictures of their smiling friends. Marinette closed the distance between them, slipping her hand into his as they peeked together at the photographs.

In one, Mylene and Ivan held fake mustaches in front of them, adorable in their matching outfits which gave strong punkish vibes. Juleka and Rose were beaming at them from another one, with fedoras on their head and fluffy fushia boas around their neck. They were wearing identical dresses, the latter in a baby pink hue while the gothic girl had chosen hers pitch black.

Surprisingly, they found a picture of Max and Sabrina smiling sweetly, holding an empty frame in front of them. They matched, their outfits in an identical shade of red and pulled straight out of the fifties. Adrien and Marinette exchanged a surprised glance, before giggling to themselves as she pointed to Kim and Alix's shot. In a short neon-green dress, the little woman was pointing a "Biggest Closet Romantic" sign toward her boyfriend, who was holding his foot in the field of the camera, proudly showcasing the sneakers that clashed horribly with his bright bow tie.

"Adrikins!" Chloe's enthusiastic voice startled them, and they left the amazing pictures alone to properly greet the woman of the day. Sporting a strapless dress with a golden bodice and a floor-length, honey-yellow tulle skirt, she had let her hair down save for a few strands tied at the back of her head with a golden comb. She was absolutely gorgeous, and Adrien opened his mouth to compliment her, but Nino somehow beat him to it.

"Woah, Chloe, you really pulled all the stops tonight."

Gaping at him for a second in sheer astonishment, the blonde eventually smirked and answered, "It's easy to be fabulous when the rough material is already amazing to begin with, Lahiffe."

Nathanael, admittedly looking handsome in his black suit accessorized with a golden vest and tie, smiled warmly at his girlfriend, looping an arm around her waist. "Now, now, can we keep the bickering for later in the evening? I'd like to have a bit of fun before having to break a catfight of some sort."

The jab was good-hearted, as were the laughs that welcomed it. He did get his wish, because they ended up having a lot of fun through the evening. They took a lot of silly pictures, Alya carefully tucking their copies away to print some more for everyone. They talked, they danced, they ate. Kim and Alix seemed to be running some sort of bet (again), Max and Sabrina were talking quietly in a corner, with a lot of blushing involved. Juleka, Rose, Ivan and Mylene were dancing together, giggling every time either of them did a silly step. Students from other classes had shown up as well, and seemed to enjoy themselves, meaning Chloe was in a particularly good mood.

The music eventually shifted to a more languid song, something slower and more romantic, and if anyone doubted the clear intent behind the sudden change of atmosphere, the way the lights were noticeably dimmed shortly after made it crystal clear. Grinning, Adrien deposited his drink on a nearby table and held his hand out to his girlfriend. "Can I have this dance, Princess?"

Her eyes widened as she squealed out, "Adrien, I can't dance, I have two left feet, and you know this very well."

There was a hint of panic in her words, and Adrien found himself falling in love with her all over again. There seemed to be a lot of this, that night. "Just follow my steps, princess. You'll be fine, I won't let it be otherwise." His words seemed to soothe her, enough for her to take the hand he was offering her and letting him lead her to the crowded dancefloor. For the first time in his life, Adrien was grateful for the insufferable dance lessons his father had forced him to take. He guided her hand to her shoulder, still smiling at her softly, and positioned his on her waist. Taking her other hand into his, he winked at her reassuringly and took the first step of a very traditional waltz.

As they glided together effortlessly on the dance floor, Marinette flowed with his steps with an ease that came from years of trust and partnership, reading his movements and adjusting her own with delicate finesse. He forgot about everything else. Forgot about the rogue akuma still lurking somewhere in the shadow. Forgot about his father's strange behavior. Forgot about heroic duties and universities. Everything vanished from his mind, except for the woman loved in his arms, looking at him with her beautiful blue eyes full of tenderness. Leaning in, he pressed a soft kiss against her forehead, whispering against her skin, "Have I told you already how much I love you?"

"I love you too, Adrien. Very much," Marinette breathed in answer, resting her head on his shoulder as she closed her eyes and let him lead their steps once again. Their waltzing had shifted into something less professional, less planned. Adrien's hand on the small of her back held her close to him, and he clasped her hand in his other to hold it to his chest and play with her fingers. Every now and then, he'd lift her hand to his lips and place a gentle kiss against her skin. Cradled in his arms, Marinette felt a strong sense of contentment as she snuggled closer. Her ear to his chest, she could make out the faint rumble of Adrien's purr as he rested his cheek against the hair of the woman he loved with all his heart, body and soul.

Unbeknownst to the dancing pair, their little show of affection had brought a lot of stares. Their classmates were watching them with fond smiles, appreciating the sight of their friends looking very much in love and peaceful after all they had been through recently. Graduates of other classes were watching them dancing with a wide array of reactions. Some thought the young couple was adorable, others thought it annoying that they were hogging the dance floor.

And some others were just plain jealous of the obvious strength of their bond.

"Why can't you be more like Adrien Agreste?" pouted a student from another class to her boyfriend, crossing her arms in front of her. He had refused to dance with her all evening, stating that he hated the music, and had therefore left his girlfriend brooding as she sat at their table, watching all the other girls having fun with their dates or by themselves. Needless to say, the way Marinette and Adrien were gracefully waltzing together, staring at each other with so much love, so much longing in their eyes, was merely adding salt to the wound.

Her boyfriend scoffed, not even bothering looking at her. "And why can't you be less of a drama queen? I told you beforehand that I wasn't going to dance, and you chose to come anyway. If M. Fancypants over there is some kind of professional dancer, why don't you go dance with him?"

Choking on an outraged sob, the poor girl stormed out of the room, leaving her groaning date behind. He sighed, gathering their belongings and getting ready for yet another screaming match and guilt trip, something that tended to happen every time she didn't get her way.

He didn't notice the purplish butterfly following her.

Both of You

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

Part 43 of 53

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