Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 49 of 53

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Chat Noir whimpered, trying to rise to his feet using his staff, his good leg and arm.

Hawkmoth noticed his pitiful attempts, and had a dry laugh. "What is it, chaton? Want a better seat to your lover's ultimate demise? You know, you're not so cocky anymore now that your precious bug's life is in my hands."

Bracing the shoulder of his injured arm on the section of the security gate that hadn't been destroyed by his cataclysm, the hero used the added support to pull himself up on a shaky leg. "You won't get away with this, Hawkmoth."

Still holding Marinette over thin air, the other man let out a maniacal laugh. "And what are you going to do, mangy cat? I already have the ladybug's miraculous, and it's only a matter of time before yours is mine too."

Chat Noir winced, the pain in his leg slowly but surely becoming unbearable. "The Guardian is still out there. There are other miraculouses. There will be other heroes, and sooner or later, they will stop you. The villain never wins."

Hawkmoth sneered disdainfully. Without relinquishing his grasp on Marinette's throat, he drove his cane into Chat Noir's stomach, making him stumble against the gate.

Pain shot through the hero's entire body, and he found himself coughing droplets of blood on his good hand. Refusing to surrender just yet, he spoke again, "I struck a nerve it would seem. How about we make a deal? My ring in exchange for her life."

"You're not in a position to bargain, Chat Noir. Look at you, you're no better than dead. A poor, lonely stray cat. This girl has to pay for all the years she delayed my access to the ultimate power, and so do you."

A strange shadow crossed Hawkmoth's face, and he looked back at Marinette's unconscious figure in his hold. "I've had my suspicions for a while to be honest. I got to see Ladybug's earrings from up close when you fought against Jackady. Seeing them, even if they were slightly different, on this girl, was a shock, to say the least."

Chat Noir straightened, listening intently to the words that were now spilling freely from Hawkmoth's mouth. He tried to make sense out of it, to find a loophole in them, something that could save Marinette.

Unaware of the feline's intentions, Hawkmoth resumed talking, still staring at Marinette's face, "When I learned that she would be away from Paris for a weekend, I knew that it was my chance. The plan was foolproof: either Ladybug wouldn't show up at all, proving my guess wrong, or I would finally get her alone, without you interfering. How you managed to be on the premises before her, I don't have a clue."

Chat Noir's breath caught in his throat. The countryside akuma had been no coincidence, it had been purposely sent after them as a trap. How many other close calls had there been? How many times had they avoided the worst without even knowing it?

When Hawkmoth spoke again, it was with a more subdued voice, full of something that bordered on regret. "What a pity, truly. My son will be heartbroken upon hearing the tragic news. Obviously, Adrien can find someone better suited for him that won't cheat on him with a stray without trouble, but he's just like his mother, an emotional mess and a hopeless romantic."

His heart stilled in his chest.

Chat Noir stared blankly at his archenemy, trying in vain to process the words that had just been pronounced.

That familiar posture, this authoritarian demeanor that made him uncomfortable, that spark of recognition when Ladybug had lost her transformation…

And now those words, those unbelievable words that had been said mindlessly, like he had forgotten that he had an audience…

"Tonight, with the miraculouses of the ladybug and the black cat, Amelya will be back and we'll finally be a family again. Hopefully, that will be enough to comfort him and he won't need that two-timer baker's daughter anymore."

The last of the puzzles pieces fell into place in Chat Noir's shattered mind, and it was far from painless.

The frequent business trips in odd locations.

The book he had stolen in the safe of his office.

How his father had never truly seemed afraid every time he had been targeted by an akuma.

The absences.

How Gabriel Agreste hadn't shown interest in his son for years, but had noticed the ring nonetheless.

How strangely easily he had agreed on Marinette coming to the countryside house for a weekend, despite barely knowing her.

How he had insisted time and time again on him not attending Chloe's party.

How his father had chosen a fruitless and insane quest to bring back his deceased mother instead of mourning properly, how he had neglected their son and all but walked out of his life in order to do so.

How his father was currently holding his girlfriend over almost four hundred feet of void, ranting like a mad man about their broken family and how happy they would be together once Ladybug and Chat Noir would be out of the picture.

Something broke inside Chat Noir.

Years of neglect, years of loneliness came crashing back on him with a vengeance, only to be unexpectedly washed away by newest memories. Memories of Ladybug and him patrolling the city, racing across the rooftops, laughing. Memories of Alya and Nino teasing him about his alleged-hopeless crush on the young heroine. Memories of Tom and Sabine, treating him like a member of the family before he even dated their daughter. Memories of Marinette, offering Chat Noir some hot chocolate on a cold night without expecting anything back. Marinette, smiling shyly at Adrien in class. Marinette, kissing him goodnight, hugging him whenever he was sad. Marinette staying with him after DreamWeaver, Marinette crying her heart out in his arms because he had been hurt in a fight.

Marinette loving him. Unconditionally, and wholeheartedly.

And suddenly, clear as day, he knew what he had to do.

Painfully, he limped toward the edge of the platform, where his cataclysm had destroyed the security gate, and braced his injured arm against the remains. Clenching his teeth to rein in a whimper, he looked up toward Hawkmoth—his father, and barked, "Hey Hawkmoth, claws in!"

This was probably the last thing the man expected from the young hero, as he opened wide and shocked eyes while the familiar green light engulfed the feline.

As soon as the transformation dropped, the pain multiplied exponentially, and Plagg flew in front of his face, "Kid, have you lost your mind? What are you doing? Transform back if you want a single chance to walk out of this alive! You promised meAdrien!"

But Adrien ignored his kwami's pleas, as well as the excruciating pain radiating through his entire body, and sustained Hawkmoth's shocked stare.

With slow, calculated movements, he moved his good foot on the edge of the platform, dragging the other leg painstakingly, cradling his broken arm to his chest. Not a single second his gaze left Hawkmoth's, letting him process what was happening.

Once he was close enough to the edge for his threat to be taken seriously, Adrien growled, "You want a happy family, father? After this?"


Ignoring the plea, the young man went on, "You did this to me, father. You broke my ankle and my arm, you hit me in the stomach hard enough for me to cough blood. And you want to be a family again?" His voice was shaking, the pain becoming too much to handle for him. But he had to continue, had to convince him to release Marinette.

Adrien gulped, an unpleasant metallic taste in his mouth. "Hurt a single hair on her head, and I jump. You know I will do it, father. I'm a hopeless romantic just like mom was, after all."

Multiple things happened at once.

Hawkmoth took a few steps back, dropping Marinette's body on the ground, away from her impending demise.

He ripped the brooch from his collar and threw it on the ground, promptly smashing it with his foot. The jewel shattered to pieces as its wielder collapsed on the floor, engulfed in a purple light. In its wake was left Gabriel Agreste, curled up in a fetal position on the cold tiles.

Adrien toppled back, away from the edge of the platform, and landed on his uninjured leg. Marinette's immobile figure came into his sight. Not paying any attention to Gabriel's mumbling, he crawled toward her, pushing on his good foot with all the energy he had left, pulling himself with his left hand to try and reach her faster.

After what seemed an eternity to him, he managed to drag his broken body close enough to gather her into the crook of his valid arm. Blood was covering her sweater slightly beneath her left breast, likely where the cane had punctured her skin, but a quick examining of her hair didn't reveal any open wound to her head. Her breathing was shallow, laborious, and she felt desperately small and frail. Sobbing uncontrollably in Marinette's silky black hair, Adrien leaned her body against his chest and reached for his phone in his pocket, dialing with shaky fingers as he pressed a single kiss on her forehead. "I love you, Mari. I can't lose you too."

Outside the Eiffel Tower, upon receiving Chat Noir's phone call, the authorities spurred into action. An entire team of paramedics rushed into the tower, followed closely by policemen, handcuffs ready.

While nobody dared to voice it, the same stifling worry was weighing everybody down.

If Chat Noir was the one calling for medical assistance, it surely meant that Hawkmoth had been defeated, didn't it?

Then why had the young hero been sobbing through the phone call? What had gone wrong?

When the emergency services finally rushed onto the second platform a few seconds later, they were greeted with a rather frightening sight. One that no one could have ever even imagined ever seeing in this lifetime or the next.

Gabriel Agreste, Paris most famous designer, was curled up on the ground, rocking back and forth restlessly, repeating over and over again like a chant. "My son. My son. My son." He was completely oblivious to his surroundings, and there was a crazed spark in his eyes, in his voice. The remnants of a shattered butterfly brooch were lingering on the floor beside him, and there was blood splatters everywhere on his customized suit.

A few feet from there, covered in bruises and blood, his arm twisted at a weird angle, sat a very clearly distressed Adrien Agreste, cradling the limp body of the Dupain-Cheng daughter. Her eyes were clenched shut, her breathing ragged. Tears were freely streaming down his face as he stroked the hair of the young woman with infinite fondness. When a paramedic finally managed to catch his attention, the only thing he could utter was a weak, "Please save her."

The paramedic nodded empathetically, and his team quickly and efficiently strapped the broken young woman on a stretcher. One of his colleagues tried to tend to Adrien's wounds, to no avail. He snapped her helping hands away from his body violently. "Don't mind me. Save her first."

His vision blurred as he tried to limp toward Marinette, ignoring yet again the intense pain searing through his whole body. He barely even saw the small woman climbing into the ambulance behind his broken partner before his eyes rolled back in his head and he felt his legs give up beneath him. He groaned inwardly, waiting for his exhausted body to hit the ground and the pain to flare up once more.

The blow never came, though, as large and powerful hands caught him and pressed him flush against a wide, warm chest. "It's okay, son, I got you."

Adrien finally gave up on consciousness. Lying limply in some unknown arms, the woman he loved taken away from him by some faceless paramedics, he finally surrendered to the pain and drifted into oblivion.

When Paris finally released its breath, it was to let out a cry of sorrow. Their children had won, but it was a much too bittersweet victory, with a much too hefty price to pay.

Both of You

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

Part 49 of 53

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