Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 50 of 53

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

Adrien was wakened up from his restless slumber by a familiar, powerful voice resonating only a few feet away from him. The man sounded angry, if his harsh yet firm tone was anything to go by. "I won't ask again. How is he?"

His interlocutor, a woman it seemed, stammered weakly, "I'm sorry, M. Dupain, as I said, this is confidential information that I'm not allowed to disclose to anyone other than immediate family."

"We are his family," the man snarled lowly, but Adrien could hear clearly the threat underlining every single of his words. "Have you spent the previous twenty-four hours hiding under a rock? We are all this boy has left now. So. How. Is. My. Son?"

A resigned sigh. "Not good. His left ankle will more than likely need reconstructive surgery, and his right arm is fractured in two different places. He's been fighting sedation, which makes controlling his pain difficult. It's still too early to tell, but the internal bleeding in his stomach should be under control now and—"

Adrien stopped listening. He didn't need an extensive list of his injuries, the pain boiling under his skin was enough telling on its own. He lost himself in his own thoughts, not bothering to try to open his eyes. This would have taken too much energy from him, energy he deemed better spent trying to process the previous day's events.

A large hand landed on his shoulder without previous warning, snapping his attention back to his surroundings. The same deep, strong voice spoke again, this time much closer to him, "Hey there, son."

The man paused for a second, and Adrien almost wished he could see his face, see his expression. Instead, he listened intently, trying to pick up on the small hitches in his breathing. When he spoke again, his voice was somewhat subdued, broken even. "You've come a long way, my boy. You scared the life out of me out there."

A gentle stroke on his hair, a drop of something warm falling on his hand. The voice started talking again. "You did well, Adrien. Both of you. You two put an end to all of this madness. You don't have to worry about anything, just come back to us, okay? You … you passed out, back there. I brought you here, and they had to sedate you because you wouldn't stop trying to get to Mari's side despite your shattered ankle and all your injuries."

A sniffle, another stroke on his hair. "The crazy old bat stopped by, earlier. He took Plagg with him, something about him needing rejuvenation and feeding. I told him you wouldn't like that, should you wake up, so he left you your ring. He said that it should be enough assurance to you that you'd see your kwami again soon enough…" he trailed off, his voice breaking on the last words.

"He… Fu wasn't able to coax Tikki out of the earrings. He thinks she's holding on to Mari, to help keeping her alive with her inner luck. I… I don't want to lie to you, son. Things aren't looking good. She just got out of surgery right now, Sabine's with her. They're trying to ease the swelling inside her brain due to the hemorrhage as we speak."

Another drop falling on his hand. Adrien tried to will his eyes to open, wanted to look at the man more than anything, wanted to see his Marinette. But he was too weak, the effort was too colossal, and he slowly drifted back to unconsciousness.

When he woke up next, opening his eyes wasn't as much draining. The room in which he found himself was slightly dark, and Adrien vaguely felt a presence beside him. As he became more and more aware of his surroundings, he noticed a soft, tender hand gently patting his arm. The kind and reassuring face of a petite Asian woman came into view, and she smiled at him weakly despite her tired features. "How are you feeling, honey?"

He tried to answer, but his throat felt like sandpaper, and all he managed to choke out was a weak, strangled, "Thirsty."

"Oh, of course. Hold on." Sabine, his brain now managed to process, got up and left his sight for a second. The next thing he knew, a plastic cup was held against his lips, and cold water filled up his mouth. He swallowed it hastily, savoring the sensation the liquid gave him as it went down his overly dry throat.

"Better?" she asked, gently pushing his blond hair away from his eyes. Adrien nodded, his eyes glued to Sabine's face. She looked way beyond tired, with purple bags under her eyes, and a lingering sadness in them.

He tried to sit up, but she instantly lunged forward, keeping him firmly yet somewhat tenderly against the pillows. "Don't, Adrien. You just got out of surgery, they had to rebuild your ankle entirely. Are you okay? Are you in any pain? Nausea? Headache?"

Adrien looked at her, at that woman that didn't owe him anything, and yet was there by his side, without anyone paying her to take care of him. He shook his head, trying to smile in a weak attempt to reassure her, but memories of the events that had landed him in that hospital bed to begin with flooded his mind. Tears welled up in his eyes, and he sobbed weakly, "Mari?"

Sabine sat beside him on the hard mattress and caressed his cheek gently. There was so much motherly love in that simple gesture that Adrien felt like his heart would explode in his ribcage. She smiled at him, a sad, weak smile, and she answered, "We're still waiting. They have the swelling in her brain under control, and the surgery to repair her punctured lung was a success. She's still under sedation, mostly to ease the pain of the broken ribs, but she should wake up soon."

His fingers somehow found hers on the hard mattress, and he squeezed them before letting his head fall back onto the pillows.


His princess would wake up soon.

Adrien grunted as the nurse uselessly tried to chat with him, laying his tray of food on a small table near his bed. It was the fifth or sixth time he came to his senses ever since being brought into the hospital, and only the third he had been able to remain awake for more than a few minutes.

Sabine and Tom were nowhere in sight, and it bothered him more than he'd care to admit. Why weren't they there? Was there something wrong with Marinette?

His sulking was cut short by a dry knock on the door. He lifted his gaze from his joined hands in his lap to meet Natalie's exhausted face, "May I come in?"

"Yes," he answered, relieved to see that things as simple as talking were beginning to become easier. She smiled and entered the room, pulling a chair next to his bed. Adrien stared at her, taking in her appearance. Her hair was down, reaching past her shoulders, and she had no makeup on. She wore simple jeans and a woolen sweater, and it was obvious that she hadn't slept in way too many hours.

She took a look at him and reached for his hand, gently stroking his fingers. Astonished by the unusual display of affection, Adrien gaped at her, waiting for her to speak. When she did, her voice was broken by an unexpected sob, "I'm… I'm so sorry, Adrien. Had I known, I would have protected you better than I did…"

The weight of her words shocked him to the core. She, out of all people, felt guilty because of his father's unspeakable actions. Ignoring the pain the sudden movement awakened in his tired limbs, he lunged forward and pulled her into a tight hug, sobbing quietly against her shoulder, "Don't. Don't blame yourself. He… He is the monster, not you. You always took care of me, you've always been there for me. You … you're amazing Natalie."

They stayed like that for a moment, two broken lives colliding with each other. When she did pull away from him, tears were shining in her eyes, "I… I can imagine that you probably don't want to hear this right now, but I was able to transfer ownership of everything your fa—M. Agreste possessed into your name before the authorities froze his assets."

"Why… Why did they freeze his accounts?" Adrien forced himself to ask. He would have to face the music sooner or later, so he might as well know what was waiting for him out there.

Natalie looked away from him, but didn't relinquish her grip on his hand. "He has fallen into a catatonic state the second you were taken away on that gurney. He only snaps out of it to ask how much harm he had done you. The psychiatrists are talking about some violent form of post-traumatic stress disorder, probably triggered by the sudden passing away of your mother."

"The psychiatrists?" the young man asked, raising a questioning eyebrow.

"They sent him in a high-security psychiatric facility. Your father, Adrien, he… He became ill-obsessed with protecting you from all harm and bringing back your mother, at any cost. He… He doesn't even see what he did wrong, in his sick mind he thinks that he did it for you, for your family."

Despite himself, Adrien pulled away from her, grimacing through the pain her words had unwillingly cut into his heart. "What a twisted way to think."

"Realizing that he had hurt you out there pushed him over the edge, severed the last straw tying him to sanity. They think that maybe, someday, he won't be a menace anymore, but only after years of therapy and a lot of antipsychotic medication."

Stubbornly looking at his legs, Adrien sighed. "I don't think I could ever forgive, him, Natalie."

"Nobody's asking that from you," she replied softly. "Even though you are eighteen and lawfully an adult, the Dupain-Chengs have insisted that you come and live with them. If you'd rather go back to the mansion though, it's still your home. It's entirely up to you."

He shook his head vehemently. "It was never my home, Natalie. It was only a house. I don't want anything to do with it. Sell it, I don't mind."

"You're going to live with the Dupain-Chengs, then?" Natalie nodded, obviously having anticipated this reaction from him. After all, who could blame the young man for being reluctant to go back to cold and empty walls charged with painful memories?

Adrien considered his options for a brief moment, before asking more softly, "Do you think you could buy something smaller? A simple house, with no more than two or three bedrooms. Somewhere I could live with Mari, someday?"

The smile that lit up the former assistant warmed his tortured heart. "Of course. Rest assured that I'll manage the company on your behalf until you're ready to take over, or sell it, whichever you'll decide on."

She got up, hesitating for a heartbeat before leaning toward him and placing a single peck on his forehead. "Despite everything and the wrongdoings, never doubt that your father loves you, Adrien. And I love you too, very much. You're my pride and joy."

As Natalie left the room, Adrien didn't notice the way her shoulders shook from her silent sobs, too absorbed in hiding in his own crying.

Restless dreams of running across rooftops, laughing with Ladybug, were the next thing to wake him up. The feeling of the wind in his hair, the remembrance of the bite of the air on his skin was enough to bring Adrien back to more conscious feelings.

Warm paws cuddling his cheek.

A dry, familiar voice, squeaking inelegantly before saying excitedly, "KID! You're awake! I missed you so much!"

Adrien let out a small laugh, reaching up with his valid arm to pat the little being on the head. "Hello to you too, Plagg."

"What you did out there was brilliant, kid. Insane, but brilliant." The small kwami nuzzled his nose against his charge's cheek, and Adrien felt his heart swell. Never before had Plagg been so affectionate toward him, that told a lot about how scared he had been.

Another voice, a lot less familiar, spoke, "I agree, young man. What you did was amazing, I couldn't be prouder of you."

Startled, Adrien looked up from his exalted kwami, surprised to see an old man sporting a Hawaiian shirt in the chair beside his bed. "Fu."

The old man nodded, a sad smile on his lips. "You're a clever young lad. Needless to say, I had hoped to meet you under less … medical circumstances."

"Did you know?" the young man blurted out, the question that had plagued him ever since finding out the unthinkable escaping his lips.

"That your father was Hawkmoth?" Master Fu sighed, sustaining Adrien's peering gaze. "I did not. That was a twisted trick of fate. But, even if I had known, Chat Noir, the magic would have chosen you still. You were the Yang to this Ladybug's Yin. Nobody else could have done it. You were made for each other."

The young man stayed silent for a minute, contemplating his ring and the black kwami who was now nestled in his lap, purring happily. Master Fu interrupted his musings, saying softly, "What's on your mind, young man?"

"I … Tom said that you weren't able to coax Tikki out of Mari's earrings. But Hawk—father took them, so how…?"

Plagg jerked up, grinning, "When your father dropped his transformation, the earrings fell on the ground. I snatched them up and gave them to her mother in the ambulance. She put them back on Marinette, and Tikki is refusing to come out ever since."

Adrien nodded, smiling softly. "Thanks a lot for retrieving them for her, Plagg. Why won't Tikki leave the earrings?"

"She feels guilty because she failed to protect her charge from the akumatization. So she's trying to amend for it by lending her luck in healing." Master Fu replied, smiling affectionately. "Tikki has always been protective of her chosens, but never before had she been that stubborn. She must be really fond of this one. Just like Plagg is quite proud of his latest kitten."

"Hey old man," interrupted said kwami, "you're only going to inflate his head. He doesn't need to know all the details." His wide smile and the playful glint in his eyes contradicted his falsely annoyed tone though, and Adrien absentmindedly patted him, finding comfort in his kwami's familiar presence.

A sudden thought occurred to him, and he gasped, horrified, "Oh my gosh! The butterfly kwami! My father destroyed the brooch, will he be okay?"

Master Fu smiled, "Ah, the infinite kindness of your heart still bewilders me, young man. Don't worry, Nooroo is safe. The brooch isn't broken beyond repair, and for the time being, he's getting a well-deserved rest after being abused for years."

"I'm glad," Adrien sighed, still cradling Plagg with infinite care, "that my father's actions won't have any more consequences than they already did."

He tried, and failed, to stifle a yawn, prompting the old man to chuckle lowly. "You're exhausted, Adrien, and have been through a lot. I'll take my leave, but I'll come back to visit you later this week should you have more questions."

"Can I stay with him now?" pleaded Plagg, taking both Fu and Adrien by surprise.

The former smiled fondly, rising from his seat and leaning on his cane. "I don't see why not, Plagg. Take care of your chosen, since you're obviously quite fond of this one."

"Master Fu?" asked Adrien before Plagg could formulate an objection.

"Yes, my boy?"

Adrien gulped, staring at his kwami intently. "Will Marinette be okay?"

Master Fu paused on the threshold, staring at the blond, broken young man, looking way too small and wrongly weak in his cold hospital bed. He looked at Plagg, the notoriously most sourly and grouchy kwami, who was cuddling with his charge, no less, purring happily in his lap and grinning madly.

With a sigh, Fu looked back at Adrien, "She has all the luck of the world on her side. Let's hope it'll be enough."

Both of You

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

Part 50 of 53

<< Previous     Home     Next >>