Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 47 of 53

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Moments later, Chat Noir and Ladybug landed in a deserted alleyway just as a bright green light engulfed the former, releasing his transformation. Instantly, the spotted heroine dropped hers and fell into his arms, quietly sobbing into the crook of his neck. Gently rubbing her back in small, comforting circles, Adrien whispered against her hair, "It's almost two thirty in the morning, Mari. We have to find somewhere to spend the night. Do you wanna head to your place?"

Thinking about going home, about feeding white lies to her parents yet again, almost ripped her heart apart. She shook her head vehemently against the fabric of his shirt, sniffing loudly. "I just can't, Adrien. Mama's way too perceptive, she'll know right away that something's wrong."

"To her credit, something's very wrong. Your best friend is in the hospital as we speak, recovering from a near-drowning experience."

His tone was gentle, his eyes earnest. He didn't need to voice what he was trying to convey, his words were as clear as if he had spoken them. Whatever she would decide on, he would follow. He'd always follow her. A weak smile answered him, as Marinette uttered softly, "I can't face them, Adrien. Not knowing if … if we'll even come back after…"

A loud sob interrupted her, and he tenderly stroked her back, whispering sweet nothings into her ear to try and calm her down. Her pain bled into him, and he held her close, wanting nothing more than to be a shoulder for her to lean on. His own worries, his own fears were pushed at the back of his mind, his entire being focusing on her. Once her crying had finally subdued to a few sniffles here and there, Adrien slightly pulled away from her, searching her eyes for any remnants of her despair, "Hey, it's going to be alright. To be honest, I don't really wanna face my father or Natalie either right now. I don't wanna answer the questions that are sure to come."

"What … what are we going to do?" Her voice was barely above a whisper, and Adrien couldn't wrap his mind around how much vulnerable, how fragile she looked to him in that precise second. Her dress was dirty in a few spots, her makeup was all smudged of all the crying she had done that night. Nestled inside his way-too-big for her jacket and barefoot, she seemed minuscule, and yet she was bearing the fate of the world on her petite shoulders.

He took her hand into his and pressed a brief kiss on her forehead. "We can find some secluded rooftop to wait the night away if that's what you want, but Tikki and Plagg are exhausted from that ridiculously long fight and I don't think transforming again tonight would be wise. I have some money set aside for emergencies, which Natalie doesn't know about, so we can get a hotel room without anyone being none the wisest. It'd give us a way to freshen up a bit, maybe grab a few hours of much-needed sleep with any chance."

Marinette cast a worried glance to the kwamis now both sound asleep in her purse, and thought about what was awaiting them in only a few hours. The four of them would need to be as sharp and rested as possible, and if it seemed to be impossible to achieve such a feat for herself and Adrien by that point, at least the little magic beings still stood a chance. So she nodded, and let him lift her from the ground, bridal style. In any other circumstances, she would have put up a fight, would have argued that walking barefooted on solid concrete was no big deal for a superheroine used to run on rooftops in nothing but spandex. But right then, her entire being felt numb, drained, and she settled on resting her head in the crook of his neck, letting the steady pace of his steps lulling her in a half-asleep state.

She was vaguely aware of him checking his phone for something and switching direction, his walking more assertive all of a sudden. Minutes later Adrien pushed a door with his shoulder, reassuring his grip on her somewhat limp body, and began talking, his voice making his chest vibrate with a low and comforting rumble at every word. What words were exchanged, Marinette didn't have a single clue, but soon after he began walking again, and pushed another door, gently sitting her on the edge of an unknown bed.

He vanished from her sight for what could have been an hour as well as mere minutes, but when he came back, he was carrying a bunch of clean clothes. The oddity of their situation snapped her out of her dazed state, and she smiled at him weakly, "How did you pull this off at, what is now, three a.m.?"

Adrien grinned, obviously pleased with himself and relieved to see she was feeling somewhat better. "Being an Agreste sometimes has its perks. There's not many things money can't achieve. A generous tip was enough to convince the bellboy to fetch us some more casual clothes despite the late hour, and a pair of shoes for you."

She shot a glance at the sleeping kwamis in her bag, and sighed, reluctant to voice her grim thoughts. "I… I know you said it wouldn't be wise to transform again tonight, but…" she trailed off, a single tear sliding down her cheek. "I think we should record something, just in case…"

"In case we don't make it," Adrien ended for her, and the young woman nodded, hugging herself as if she was trying to avoid falling apart. He paused, considering her words, before saying softly, "Wake the kwamis up, I'm going to set up my phone."

They both had fully expected some kind of resistance from their magical friends, but as soon as they understood what their charges intended to do, they both yielded to their wishes with solemn faces. Transformations were called upon, and Chat Noir pressed on the "Record" button of his phone with somewhat shaky fingers.

Explications were given, then transformations were dropped. With teary eyes and broken voices, apologies were made and farewells they dearly hoped wouldn't ever be needed were uttered.

Adrien got up at the end of their impromptu speech and stopped the video, his hands unsure on the electronic device. Looking up at Marinette, he asked, "Should I send it to the Ladyblog? To make sure everyone gets it?"

"Can you postpone it?"

Focusing back on the phone, he nodded. "I'll set it in two days, it'll give me enough time to erase it should it hopefully become useless."

Marinette ignored the lump in her throat as she watched him type something on the virtual keyboard before powering off his phone. Adrien then sat beside her on the bed, cupping her cheek gently. "I texted Natalie, told her I was staying at the bakery for the night and would wait until the authorities say it's safe to come out before going back home. It should hold up the hysterics and frantic calls until after the fight."

She reached for her own phone in her purse, not surprised at all to see a few missed texts and calls from her parents. They had somehow learned about Alya's accident, and were worried about their daughter's current whereabouts. With tears of guilt pricking at her eyes, Marinette typed,

[Mari] Sorry, misplaced my purse in the commotion. Adrien and I are both safe and sound. Will stay with him for the night, and come home as soon as police says it's safe to do so.

[Mari] Love you guys 3

As she pressed the power button down, Marinette felt like she was leaving a huge part of herself behind. The screen turned black, effectively severing their very last tie to the outside world, and she suddenly felt way beyond lonely despite having Adrien sitting not even two inches from her. The young man must have sensed the sudden shift in her mood, because he scooted even closer to her, wiping a lone tear on her cheek with his thumb. "Come here, let's get you out of that uncomfortable dress."

She rose to her feet, complying to his silent command, and let his jacket slip from her shoulders. The air of the room felt cold on the naked skin of her arms, and she shivered as Adrien made her turn so that her back would face him. Careful fingers removed the hairpins from her updo, one by one, almost reverently. One by one, the black strands of hair fell against her milky skin. Adrien then removed her necklace with slow, measured motions. He pressed a chaste kiss on the nape of her neck, before reaching up for the fastening of her dress.

His fingers brushed against the bare skin of her back as he reached the end of the zip, and something flared deep inside her. The implications of everything that was going to happen in a few hours came crashing down on her all at once, and her breath caught in her throat. Marinette became painfully aware that while it was very possible that she wouldn't survive the fight against Hawkmoth, she could also lose him, lose this. That this might very well be their last night together, the last time they ever got to spend together.

Her whole being suddenly ablaze with a need to be with him, to erase any distance between them, she spun around and crashed her lips onto his, hard. "I can't lose you," she whispered against the skin of his lips between heated and feverish kisses, her fingers tangled into the fabric of his shirt.

"I know." His lips ghosted over her collarbone while his fingers gently caressed the bare skin of her shoulders. "I'm scared too."

It was like a tipping point. Like they had been dancing around the edge of something deeper, more meaningful, and his words finally shattered the fragile floor beneath their feet. Their lips latched to each other once again, the dress fell to the floor in a cascade of blue fabric, only to be joined by his shirt seconds later.

They toppled over the bed, Adrien peppering her skin with open-mouthed kisses while his hands roamed over her body, careful of not letting a single inch of her go unloved. Marinette's fingers dug into his hair, pulling him back to her lips gently. When their tongues met in a heated embrace, Adrien made a keen sound at the back of his throat, destroying any restraint she might still have by that point.

Their lovemaking that night was slow and desperate, both of them trying to carve the memory of the other's touch on their skin, both of them trying to engrave the other's taste in their memories for keepsakes. They couldn't get enough of each other. They were both tired and sore, but neither of them cared the slightest. They didn't want to sleep, they wanted the ache, wanted to feel alive. The bed creaked under their weight, their breaths became pants as they kissed each other senseless, trying hopelessly to dull the pain tearing them both apart with their love.

The overbearing threat of not making it out of the fight against Hawkmoth unscathed, or at all for that matter, poured some urgency in every single of their motions. They clung to each other through the hours of the night like a drowning man to a lifeline. When Marinette rippled around him like a wave on the sea, Adrien claimed her mouth into one last searing kiss, carefully dropping his weight beside her on the mattress and gathering her into his arms. Neither of them slept a single second that night, instead lying tightly intertwined within the hotel's sheets, the only thing separating their skins being a thin layer of sweat on both of their bodies as they held each other close.

Morning came all too fast, along with the dreadful reality crashing over them.

Room service came around eight o'clock, and Adrien all but had to force half of a croissant and a few grapes down Marinette's throat. She kept pacing around the room, glancing at the small television that kept replaying their message in an endless loop, followed by a special message from the Mayor that forbid all citizens from being in the streets past eleven up until further notice.

The clothes the bellboy had fetched them were surprisingly comfortable, black leggings and a knitted sweater for her along with a pair of flats, and jeans and a black t-shirt with the hotel logo for himself. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Adrien toyed with his ring as he watched both kwamis eagerly feasting on cheese and pastries. As he looked away to watch Marinette's stiff body on the other side of the room, he felt a gentle nudge against his knuckles.

Fully expecting to meet Tikki's big and kind blue eyes, he was astonished to see that Plagg had flown off the cheese plate and landed in his charge's lap. "It's going to be okay, kid. You and Marinette have come a long way, and you two are the strongest bug and kitten we ever had."

"You really think so?" Adrien couldn't help but ask, shocked his kwami's unusual supportiveness.

The black cat grinned before shoving a piece of cheese in his mouth inelegantly. "I know so. Neither of you will stop at anything to protect the other. You're an indestructible team, Adrien. Hawkmoth is about to learn it at his own expense."

Words could only do so much to ease the unbearable pressure weighing on their shoulders, but the young man caught a glimpse of a smile on his girlfriend's face, a faint but definitely there glimmer of hope.

Eleven o'clock eventually rolled around. After triple-checking that they both had their phones tucked into the pockets of their civilian clothes, Adrien and Marinette called upon their transformation. They stood wordlessly as the magic engulfed them for what would probably be the final time, hand in hand, revelling one last time in the strange intimacy of the moment.

Minutes later, they were on the hotel's roof, running toward the Eiffel Tower while authorities were finishing up emptying the streets. It was an eerie and odd feeling, watching Paris being mostly void of any life at that time of day.

Their trek was silent, only disrupted by the sound of their own feet hitting the shambles of their beloved rooftops like an unsettling chant. One last time. One last time. One last time.

At eleven thirty, they were restlessly sitting on a roof across the Tower, watching wordlessly as policemen and firemen were drawing a huge security perimeter around the base of the landmark, trying to keep unconscious and suicidal media at bay.

At eleven forty-five, Chat Noir extended his staff with a dry, shard sound, vaulting both of Paris's heroes over the security line and the crowd of hungry reporters and pissed-off representatives of the law.

At eleven fifty, Ladybug and Chat Noir entered the Eiffel Tower without so much as a glance behind them.

At noon, all of Paris held its breath.

Both of You

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

Part 47 of 53

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