Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 45 of 53

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Both Chat Noir and Ladybug froze mid-action, fists halted in the air, Ladybug's horrified gasp perfectly mirroring her partner's shock.

The voice interrupting their customary celebration was distorted, somewhat akin to static. The exclamations of the crowd massed on either side of the street quickly got rid of the faint hope that the superheroes were having hallucinations. In the middle of the pavement, about a hundred meters from where they were stunned into silence, stood their next foe.

Almost as tall as the three-story building she stood beside, the woman had her feet slightly apart and her hands on her hips. She oozed power, control, from every single pore of her eerily pale skin. Her entire torso was encased in a purple gem encrusted, metallic corset. It curled all the way up to her to her throat, which was encircled with even more gems. Her striking platinum hair was tied in a complicated braid with more metallic accents peeking from it. Wide silver wrist cuffs were clasped around her forearms, and her skirt, beginning at the bottom edge of the corset, pitch black with thousands of little white gems embroidered in it, flowed behind her like a starry sky to reveal slender legs. She wore slick black leather, thigh-high boots, enhanced with silver details and three-inches high stiletto heels. Seemingly taken straight from the French Revolution, a black and silver ruff was tied to the top of the corset, adding to the overall weirdness of her appearance. A small locket was resting between her breasts, the dark metal startlingly contrasting on the snow of her skin.

A vile, sly smirk stretched her crimson lips, and she spoke again with the same distorted voice, "Hand over your miraculouses, Ladybug and Chat Noir, and there won't be any damage done to your precious little civilians."

Ladybug stepped forward with a scowl, but her partner grabbed her wrist, an unreadable expression on his face. This was a first, an unsettling first: there had never been two akumas in a row before, and this one looked like she had just stepped straight out of a science-fiction movie from the nineties. He didn't like it, and he was terrified that this was it, that the last rogue akuma had finally made its long overdue appearance with the worst possible timing. Ladybug and he were both tired from the previous fight. "You can go back to your master, and tell him we'll never give up on our miraculouses. We'll keep fighting until we defeat him."

Their newest foe shook her head with a weird smile. "Sorry, kitten, but that's not what's written in the stars. You see, when Hawkmoth made me Cosmaniak, he also made me an offer so good that I couldn't refuse. With your magical jewels, he'll be able to claim my daughter from the stars. Nothing will stop me from bringing my baby back. But, because I'm in a good mood, I'm giving you one last chance to surrender: relinquish your magic, and nobody's getting hurt."

Ladybug and Chat Noir's eyes met for a heartbeat, carrying an understanding born from years of fighting alongside each other. Chat Noir's fears were completely valid, if the obsession with the stars and the weird sci-fi get up of the new villain was anything to go by. When he had battled that akuma on his own the first time around, he had merely had to dodge shooting stars, but who knows what this one had in store for them? The butterfly had had an awfully long time to empower itself, and considering how badly things had ended with DreamWeaver, the outcome of this wasn't looking that bright for them. Ladybug gulped painfully, trying to suppress the worries stifling her, and held her head high. "You heard Chat. We'll never let people of Paris down. We've been fighting for their safety for years now, and we'll fight until Hawkmoth's demise."

"Very well." Cosmaniak lifted her foot, the same mad smile spread wide on her face, and brought it down harshly. Upon making contact with the concrete, a purple circle spread widely around her imprint and the ground opened in a gaping hole beneath her, revealing a gurgling black and starry unknown matter. The nearest building collapsed, chunks of it sucked into the opening along with pieces of the street.

The crowd erupted in a mess of hysteric screams and everything went blurry. On each side of what had previously been a street, civilians tugged and shoved each other, trying to put as much distance as they could between them and the black hole opened in the middle of the street. Ladybug watched for a second, dismayed, as the people she had vowed to protect broke into pandemonium.

A gentle nudge from her partner brought her back to her senses, and she sparked into superheroine mode. "Chat, do whatever it takes to get the civilians to safety. We can't risk anyone falling into this. I'll keep her occupied."

The feline nodded, his lips stretched into a determined line. Using his staff, he vaulted over the unsettling threat and quickly hurried the terrified citizens out of the danger zone. His sudden appearance by their side seemed to tone down the hysterics, bringing a slight sense of order through the ambient chaos.

It all happened in a heartbeat. One second he was watching over a child and his mother scurrying to safety, the next his eyes were desperately glued to Alya, still clad in her ball dress and impossibly high heels.

Alya running toward the action as usual, instead of staying out of danger.

Alya tripping on her impractical shoes, flailing fearfully to regain her balance.

A panicked civilian passing nearby, unwillingly shoving the young woman aside in his run to safe grounds.

Alya falling.

Her head hit the concrete with a loud thud then her limp body dropped straight into the Seine.

His heart jumped into his throat as he spurred into motion. His previous assignment all forgotten, Chat Noir vaulted himself to the edge of the water, his enhanced sight and hearing frantically searching for his friend. Catching a glimpse of burnt-orange disappearing below the surface, he dived in.

The cold water bit his skin through the fabric of his magical suit, and he felt like all the air had been sucked out of his lungs. Down, down, down, into the murky water, he desperately forced his arms and legs to propel him closer and closer to his sinking friend.

His vision grew blurry, but he refused to give up. He had to catch her, he had to save her, if not for himself then for Marinette. He loved the blogger dearly, but Marinette would be lost without her best friend. And Nino. Nino, who was deeply in love with her, Nino who had their future all planned out already.

Chat Noir ignored the pain burning in his lungs, ignored the throbbing heartbeat in his skull. He swam toward the patch of orange in front of him and stretched his arm with something akin to desperation. His fingers grasped onto something soft and he pulled it toward his chest, clinging to it as if his life depended on it, then began the arduous trek toward the surface.

He broke the surface with a gasp, cradling the precious bundle to his chest. A paramedic team, who had seen the whole scene unfold, rushed forward to help the hero out of the water and immediately took the unconscious Alya in charge. With a painful lump in his throat, Chat Noir tried to forget how lifeless the young woman had felt in his arms, how grayish her complexion has seemed to him.

A loud crash reminded him with a start that he still had an akuma to defeat. Grabbing his staff, he sighed through clenched teeth, "She hit her head pretty hard when she fell, please check for a concussion or internal bleeding. Please, please do anything you can to save her."

The paramedic nodded reassuringly, "Don't worry Chat Noir, we got this. Ladybug needs you now."

For the very first time ever since receiving his miraculous, rushing to his partner's side to help her defeat a supervillain felt like letting her down.

He landed beside her on a rooftop, falling into her steps easily as they both ran, trying to get a better sight of Cosmaniak who had just vanished into a yellow and gray mist. Ladybug cast him a side-glanced and gasped, astonished, "What the heck happened to you? Why are you dripping wet?"

Still caught up in the previous tragic events, he only managed to choke out rather dryly, "Later."

His harshness startled her, but Ladybug chose to brush it off and focus on finding the elusive akuma instead.

Cosmaniak finally materialized back on top of the Arc de Triomphe, a vague and ethereal silhouette standing proud, made out of yellow and grayish fumes. Raising both hands toward the sky, she cried out, "By Saturn!" With a loud crack, miniature Saturn-esque rings appeared around her wrists, and she smiled at the out-of-breath heroes that had just arrived on the premises. "Still intent on meeting an early death, younglings?"

"You're going to pay for this," Chat Noir snarled through clenched teeth, raising his staff and extending it in a desperate attempt to close the distance between them.

With an evil cackle, the akuma spun around, and the rings flew from her hands, instantly targeting both heroes. They jumped out of the way easily, only to witness the deadly weapons cut into the concrete behind them as effortlessly as if it had been made out of butter. Horrified, they both realized they had come close to an early demise, and Cosmaniak let out an unsettling laugh before disappearing in a cloud of sparkles.

Chat Noir spun on his heels, his heart caught in his throat. "My lady? Where is she?"

"I don't know, Chat, that's what she does. Attack, then vanish," she answered, obviously just as unsure as he was. Right on cue, a violent gust of wind knocked them both off their feet, almost sending them barreling down the roof, their fingers gripping on the shambles in a desperate attempt to save themselves from crashing on the concrete three stories below.

"Mars, lend me your strength!" Cosmaniak howled, now an ominous shade of red from head to toe, directing her powerful winds toward both heroes. To Ladybug's sheer astonishment, when Chat Noir managed to get back on his feet and vault himself out of the incoming flow of air, there was a weird delay before Cosmaniak moved away from his reach yet again.

For an akuma so intent on being elusive and keep her distances at all costs, seeing her linger like that was more than odd. Ladybug stared for a second, as Cosmaniak's boots seemed to be glued to the concrete for a few heartbeats. She was so caught up in her discovery that she almost didn't notice the akuma shapeshift again, going ablaze in a giant ball of fire.

Hopefully, Chat Noir was still entirely focused on the fight, and he leaped forward, making them both tumbling out of the way of giant tongues of fire coming their way, leeching the concrete menacingly. Ladybug snapped back to her senses just in time to see her partner wince in pain. Horrified, she noticed the fire retreating from his arms, eating through the magical material of his suit and right into the skin of his forearms. "Chat!" she croaked out, horrified.

He shook his head with a dry laugh, "I'll be fine, it's just a sunburn. Nothing a little aloe won't fix, Bugaboo."

Before Ladybug could muster an answer to his untimely jokes, Cosmaniak marched toward the young heroes, her dress floating behind her ominously. "Give up already, mangy cat. Nothing you tried so far even came close to me. I'm powerful enough to get through your armors, while you can't even reach me."

Cautiously sitting up, Chat Noir tried to assess the extent of the burn on both of his arms, looking at the villain with venom dripping from every word, "I'll fight till my dying breath."

"So be it."

Just as Ladybug reached for him, Cosmaniak disappeared once more, rematerializing right next to them. "Neptune, grant me your power." With a vicious smirk, the ethereal being, now a profound blue shade, brought her feet down on the ground. The ground in a thirty-foot radius from her iced-over and the air temperature plummeted.

Chat Noir slipped on the ice as he tried to get up again, sprawling on the concrete with a defeated grunt, Ladybug landing on top of him. He held his injured arm, groaning impatiently, "This is stupid. We've been at it for hours and we've still done nothing."

His partner laboriously pulled herself to her feet, rubbing the back of her head. "Maybe so, but I've got an idea." Before she could elaborate, yet another black hole opened beneath her feet, and soon she felt herself falling. Her heart caught somewhere in her throat, and she whimpered pitifully as she helplessly slid toward the threat, "Chat!"

Thankfully, Chat Noir had been close enough to react on time and he spurred into motion. Her partner hastily stuck his staff onto the nearest building and grasped on her wrist at the last possible second, catching her mid-flight. Shaking with relief, he pulled her flush to his chest, resting his forehead on hers as he tried to process how impossibly close he had come to losing her. She locked her arms around his neck, pausing for a second as they watched together, hopeless, Cosmaniak dematerialize once more in front of them with an evil cackle.

Nestled within his arms, Ladybug sighed, "Every time she does that, her locket shines, and she stops moving for a few seconds. At first I thought it was a coincidence, but the pattern has repeated every single time she teleports."

He smiled against her hair, trying to ease the helpless feeling rising up in his chest, "So, all we have to do is figure out a way to teleport to her when she does, and we'll finally be able to defeat her."

"Oh, but you will teleport me, my silly kitty."

Following her gaze, Chat Noir gulped and stared at her, dumbfounded. "You can't be serious." When she nodded, with that smug smile she always harbored when she was confident in her plan, he let go of her to gently shake her shoulders, "No. No. No. Not gonna happen. Over my dead body, Bug."

"If she keeps this up, it's going to be over both of our dead bodies, kitty. Do you have a better idea?"

He hated to admit it, but her plan was brilliant. Risky, demented, completely reckless, but it could work. And no, he didn't have anything better to offer. So, reluctantly, Chat Noir found himself nodding slowly, trying to repress the bile rising in his throat.

Summoning as much Ladybug confidence as she could, the superheroine called for her lucky charm, turning to her partner with a wide grin as she held the fishing net high. "See? Even the magic agrees with my idea. Let's do this, Minou, I only have five minutes left now."

That's how, mere seconds later, Chat Noir found himself at the feet of the Eiffel Tower. He waited, restless, for the signal that would come all too soon. Perched at the top of the Parisian landmark, yoyo waiting in case anything went sour, Ladybug was ready to pounce, the net safely clutched into her hands.

Predictably, Cosmaniak reappeared on the other side of the Seine with a satisfied smirk on her face, both of her hands resting comfortably on her hips in a defiant attitude. "How are you going to reach me in time, meaningless bug?"

"Chat, NOW!"

The leather-clad hero suppressed his worries for his girlfriend's safety and shouted as confidently as he could, "CATACLYSM!" As soon as his hand came in contact with the cold metal of the tower, he knew that this was it. There was no going back now. The monument creaked, and began to tip over with a sinister sound. As he had calculated, the tower fell straight across the Seine, bringing the woman he loved and insane partner with it toward the crazed villain. Cosmaniak's eyes widened as she understood what they had had the forwardness to do, but having just materialized back, she was unable to avoid her impending fate. As soon as she was close enough to her foe, Ladybug promptly leaped on her with the net ready, effectively impairing her movements further.

Reaching forward before Cosmaniak could teleport again, Ladybug grabbed the locket dangling from her neck and shattered it on the ground. With a relieved sigh, she cured the butterfly, double checking that it was sparkling white this time around. Chat Noir landed beside her just as she was releasing her cleansing spell, and she all but collapsed into his now fully healed arms, completely exhausted.

This had been by far the most tiring and taxing fight they had gone through, but they made it. Together, as a team, as they were meant to be, they made it.

His unusual silence pulled her out of her own relieved thoughts, and she ultimately tore herself away from him, searching his face expectantly. "Everything's alright, kitty?"

He didn't answer, and her gaze followed his, trying to figure out what was upsetting him like that.

Her eyes landed on an ambulance, in which an occupied gurney was being loaded.

Both of You

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

Part 45 of 53

<< Previous     Home     Next >>