Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 46 of 53

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Dread instantly filled Ladybug's stomach. Instead of the elated feeling that she usually felt upon defeating an akuma, all she felt was an uncomfortable apprehension. Her heart leaped into her throat, and she found her eyes scanning her partner's arms, frantically searching for remnants of his burns. "Chat, are you okay? What—Why is there an ambulance? What happened? Who—Who's on that gurney, Chat?"

Tears pricked at the green eyes, and he painfully gulped. Recalling his sudden appearance beside her early in the fight, wet from head to toe, Ladybug clung to his arms, going mad with worry as she remembered her own plunge into a fountain, "Chat. Who did you jump into the Seine for?"


Four little letters. A single word, that hit her like a freight train. All the air in her lungs was knocked out of her chest, and her fingers dug into his arms as panic washed over her. "What? Let me see her! I need to see her!" she begged, tears spilling over her mask.

Chat Noir didn't relinquish his hold on his partner, instead tightening his grip on her wrists. He had fully expected her to break down like this, but that didn't make being in the first seat to witness her pain any easier. He pressed a loving kiss on her forehead and whispered, his own voice hoarse with emotion, "You'll give your identity away, Bug. You only have a minute left."

She choked back on a pitiful sob, but melted against his chest nonetheless, seeking comfort in his familiar warmth and nodding numbly. He took that as his cue, securing his free arm around her waist and vaulting them away from sight, the late hour undoubtedly easing their escape. Her transformation failed about two rooftops later, leaving her shivering in her gorgeous gown within his arms, and his own miraculous beeped for the fourth time a few seconds later. He assured his hold on her and dropped into the alley below them. Depositing her carefully on the ground, he cupped her cheek tenderly and raised her chin toward him as he was engulfed into a bright green light. "Mari, talk to me."

She sniffed against his dress shirt, her fingers tangled tight in the damp fabric, "What happened? Why did my cure fail her but not you?"

Adrien sighed, removing his suit jacket before draping it around her shoulders. He wrapped his arms tight around her and nuzzling his nose in her hair. "Stop blaming yourself. It's not your fault. In the commotion that followed the first black hole, she got pushed into the Seine by a bystander. I…" he trailed off, perfectly aware that she wouldn't like what was going to follow. "I saw her fall and jumped right after her, but she hit her head on the concrete pretty hard. She was unconscious when I handed her to the paramedics."

"Why did you keep it from me?" The hurt was obvious in her voice, even if she didn't lift her head.

Fumbling in his pocket searching for his phone, Adrien pressed a single kiss on her temple. "Because I love you." He powered on the device without letting her away from his grip, dialing Natalie's number, "I couldn't risk you being unfocused all fight, Mari, especially in a fight that promised to be this hard. You could've ended up injured, or worse. Evening, Natalie," he spoke into his phone, "could you send the driver to pick Marinette and me up? A friend of ours got hurt into tonight's attacks, and we'd like to see her. Could you find out in which hospital she was admitted?" A pause. "Alya Césaire. Yes, Mari's best friend." Another pause, which he took to intertwine his finger with hers. "No, neither of us got injured. I know that this is past midnight, but Marinette is going mad with worry here." He smiled at her reassuringly, his wordless message crystal clear: if the Gorilla didn't take them there, Chat Noir would. "Great, we'll wait for him, Natalie. Thanks."

Adrien put his phone back in his pocket, pressing a kiss on her cheek. "The Gorilla is on his way. We'll be by her side in no time, okay Mari?"

She nodded weakly, tears silently rolling down her cheeks.

As soon as the town car pulled over, Adrien gently pushed her inside it and promptly raised the privacy screen, allowing his girlfriend to curl up against his side. He wrapped his arms around her again, "Everything's going to be fine, Princess. We'll see to it."

"I don't understand, Adrien. Why? Why has the cure failed her? It healed you, it repaired the Tower. Why not her?" Her voice was subdued, weakened by all her crying.

In her lap, Tikki and Plagg were cuddling, obviously exhausted by the amount of energy they had had to give their charges. The former stirred lazily, cracking an eye opened. "You know why, Mari. Alya's fall was neither the result of the akuma's actions nor of your attempts to stop it or your heroic feats. Same reason you stayed drenched when Adrien shoved you in that fountain."

It made sense. It had made sense then, and it still made sense. They both knew it. Otherwise everything that happened during an akuma fight would be canceled by the cure.

But it didn't hurt any less.

The car pulled in front of the hospital shortly before one a.m., and Marinette all but bolted out of it, rushing inside the tall building with her heels in her hands. His own worries clutching his insides, Adrien explained the situation to his driver and assured him that he would call him back as soon as they'd be ready to go home.

Dread weighing down his feet, he followed her through the revolving doors, afraid of what he would find on the other side.

Predictably, the sight that welcomed him was anything but happy. Marinette was sobbing quietly in Nino's arms, while Alya's parents were pacing back and forth in the waiting area. When he closed the distance between them, his best friend gently tugged on the upset young woman to tear her from his arms, which Adrien took as his cue to cradle her back in his. Taking in their despair, he gulped painfully, he eyed Nino carefully, "That bad?"

The young man nodded, distractedly watching Marinette clutching at Adrien's shirt with desperation. "They've got her on an IV drip and are monitoring her closely because of the contaminated water she inhaled, but she definitely has a concussion. We just don't know how bad it is."

"But… She'll be okay?"

At that, Nino's barely maintained composure faltered. "That's… That's the thing. We don't know for sure how long her brain lacked oxygen. According to the paramedics, Chat Noir got her out of the water within five minutes of her fall, but five minutes is more than enough to do some real, lasting damage."

Tears were rolling down his friend's face, and Adrien fought the urge to beg for his forgiveness. He should have been closer when Alya had tripped, he should have swam faster, should have been there for her. Now, she was stuck somewhere between life and death, and there was nothing he could do to save her anymore.

Marinette's thoughts were following a similar path, but instead of regret and guilt, it was pure rage that poured in her veins. With a sudden sob of pain, Marinette tore free of Adrien and broke into a sprint. She made a mad dash down the corridor and slid around the corner. Left stunned for a split second in her wake, Adrien stuttered a weak apology to his best friend before running after her, his heart running wild with worry.

Barely even two blocks away from the hospital, a familiar bright pink flash gave away her exact position to him. A short nod to Plagg was enough to convey his intentions, and mere seconds later, Chat Noir was running across Parisians rooftops, obviously chasing after his lady. Their impromptu game of cat and mouse ended atop of the TVi studios, where he found her fumbling desperately with the emergency exit outdoor latch.

"What are you doing, Bugaboo? It's almost two a.m.," he tried, closing the distance between them as cautiously as he was approaching a frightened wild animal. Ladybug froze, lifting a haunted gaze toward him.

Her fingers continued searching for a fault in the lock as she muttered, her voice eerily calm and composed, "We did it with Reflekta. I have a message to get to Hawkmoth, and I have to get it now before I lose my mind."

Chat Noir tightened his fists on his sides, and for a second, Ladybug thought that she had pushed her partner too far. But the leather-clad hero crouched beside her and smiled at her warmly. "Let's do things right then, and take the front door."

That's how both heroes found themselves marching in TVi's studios in the dead of night, demanding to go live right this second. Something in their dead serious expression discouraged any argumenting, and mere minutes and several frantic phone calls later, a technician from the skeleton-staff gave them a thumbs up, indicating it was safe to begin. Chat Noir nodded at her, and Ladybug crossed her arms in front of her in a defiant posture, willing herself to say the words she needed to say without stuttering on any word. She looked at her partner, the man she loved above anything else, and upon receiving an encouraging smile, she began talking.

"Hawkmoth, listen carefully, 'cause I'm only going to say this once.

"For almost five years now, Chat Noir and I have fought the crazed results of your sick imagination on a weekly basis.

"For almost five years, we have been dealing with the consequences of your inflated ego and your foolish quest for our miraculouses.

"This nonsense comes to an end now." Getting the gist of where she was headed, Chat Noir stepped into the field of the camera, snaking an arm around her shoulders, his never faltering support bleeding even in the most public messes. Ladybug cast him a grateful smile before carrying on, "This has been going on for way too long already. Tonight, an innocent civilian has been hurt in the commotion that followed the apparition of Cosmaniak. Thanks to Chat Noir, the worst has been avoided, but this draws a line I'm not willing to cross."

The spotted heroine looked away from the camera, seeking reassurance in the eyes of said leather-clad partner. When her partner only snuggled closer to her and spoke again, both of them were beyond emotional.

"If you want our miraculouses that bad, stop hiding behind minions like a coward, stop sending innocents to do your dirty job on your behalf. At noon, I will be ready to affront you, Hawkmoth. I'll wait for you on the second platform of the Eiffel Tower."

Chat Noir took her little hand into his, squeezing her fingers in a comforting manner before adding, confidence oozing in every single word he said, "We will be ready to fight for what we believe is right, ergo not surrendering our miraculouses without at the very least putting up a fight. At noon, Hawkmoth, we'll be there, as the unbreakable team you have yet to defeat even once. Paris's citizens, please, please remain in your houses until either us or the authorities says it's safe to do otherwise. We are also asking law enforcements to trust us on this, and to wait until either us or Hawkmoth calls for backup to intervene."

Ladybug smiled at her boyfriend, his unwavering support moving her way beyond what she could admit. Looking back at the camera, she assured, her hand never leaving Chat's, "At noon, this masquerade will finally be over."

A pause, a faint smile, and both heroes vanished from the camera field, Chat Noir using his staff to vault himself over to the electronic device and Ladybug tying her yoyo somewhere on the ceiling.

Seconds later, the screen went black.

Elsewhere in Paris, Sabine Cheng turned off her television hastily, her heart constricted with worry for her precious daughter. "Tom!" she cried out, barely able to keep herself together.

Her husband hugged her close, and sighed in her hair. "I heard. I'll go put up the "Closed" sign. We'll support our children, no matter what."

Both of You

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

Part 46 of 53

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