Continuing Tales

Both of You

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

Part 7 of 53

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When Marinette reluctantly opened the door she was greeted with the sight of a very disheveled and restless Adrien. He had dirt on his cheek and dried blood on his right sleeve.

"What the hell happened to you?" she shrieked, his disastrous appearance shooting raw concern through her veins. He looked like he had just been to hell and back. The blond didn't answer right away, instead taking a brief but scrutinizing look at her before hastily stepping into her room with a deep frown spread on his beautiful face. He reached for her wounded arm without skipping a single beat, his lips harboring a concerned grimace.

"Marinette, you're hurt!"

She instinctively wrapped her hand over the cut to hide it from plain view, shaking her head with a small smile she wished was convincing enough to get him off her case.

"It's nothing, don't worry. How did you get hurt?"

Adrien merely shrugged, his expression remaining serious. "I got caught in the crossfire when I got out to see what all the noises were about. I'm fine, though, Ladybug patched me up when she released her cleansing spell. Mari, show me your arm."

The young lady audibly gulped, clutching her arm to her chest in a defensive stance. "It's nothing," she repeated. "I'll take care of it."

The shadow in her voice gave her away, and his tightly clenched jaw told her without a doubt that he wasn't buying her way-too-weak lie even one bit. He lunged forward and grabbed her hand without waiting for her consent and began closely inspecting the wide wound. The tender flesh of her inner forearm was cut open in a pretty deep gash almost six inches long. Adrien sighed and turned his back to her hastily. "This is most certainly not nothing, Marinette. I'll be right back."

Before she could even react or say anything, he had left the room, leaving a stunned and wounded Marinette in his trail.

In their adjoining bathroom, Adrien was busy fumbling to find the first aid kit in the cupboard while Plagg kept pestering him with an odd smirk on his cat-like face. "Hey, kid, did you see that wound?"

The blond sighed deeply, rolling his green eyes, "Yeah, I did. It's a pretty ugly cut that really needs tending to as soon as possible. That's why I'm looking for a first aid kit, remember?" answered the young man impatiently.

"It looks very much like the wound Ladybug lamely tried to hide from you, if you ask me."

Adrien sighed harshly. "Good thing then nobody's asking you. I know where you're going with this. Marinette can't be Ladybug, Plagg."

The black kwami snorted in disbelief. "How can you explain the very similar wounds then?"

"Pure coincidence," the young man said, shrugging.

"What was Ladybug even doing here, Adrien? Explain that to me then. It's a four-hour drive from Paris."

Certainty was beginning to waver inside the blond model, but he sure wasn't going to let it show to his kwami. His voice as assured as he could make it, he answered. "She said she was visiting relatives."

Plagg suddenly looked bored out of his mind. "And you believe her?"

"Why not? She hasn't given me any reason to doubt her, Plagg."

The black kwami surrendered. Adrien was either blind or purposely ignoring the evidence laid before him.

"Whatever you say. Can I get cheese now? I'm famished."


The young man slammed the cupboard door closed, startling his little friend with his sudden rush of aggression.

"Kid, what's gotten into you?"

Adrien's forehead was resting against the cupboard, and his fists were tightly clenched at his sides. When his spoke, his voice was weak, broken. "Marinette got hurt because of me. I was targeted and she got hurt."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"How else can you explain that an akuma struck that far from Paris, ever so conveniently just as I was supposed to be separated from my partner?"

"Chat Noir's famous bad luck?" tried the black deity, only to be met with an empty stare and still-clenched fists.

Adrien's voice was barely above a whisper, and the little kwami had to pay close attention to make words out of what his charge was saying. "The only plausible explanation I can come up with is that Hawkmoth somehow has figured out who I am. So he tried to get me without Ladybug when I was supposed to be weakened."

Plagg shook his head warily, not too keen on letting his wielder harbor so many heavy emotions all at once. "Nonsense. If Hawkmoth's actions so far have taught us something about his ways, it's that he's ready to do absolutely anything to get your miraculouses. If he really knew your identity, he wouldn't hesitate to attack the manor at any given time."

Adrien had crossed his arms over his chest in a defensive stance, his green and usually warm eyes still unable to meet his kwami's. "How do you explain this stupid mess then? Where did that akuma come from?"

The god of destruction rolled his eyes yet again, growing increasingly annoyed at the situation. "It could be anything, honestly, even something as stupid as either of you unknowingly brought an akuma along in your luggage, or one got stuck in the vent of your car."

"Wait, what?" Adrien suddenly felt like his brain was spinning. Plagg either didn't care or didn't consider it a motive enough to slow down, as he resumed.

"Considering the hefty number of akumas Hawkmoth has unleashed on you upon these past four years, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he had lost track of a few of them. It happened before, way before the butterfly miraculous was corrupted. Akumas are sentient beings after all, like real-life butterflies, if you will. When they are pure, they are drawn to positive emotions like moths are drawn to a flame and they give them a boost. There are records of them helping with many proposals, war feats of strength and so on. That's probably what happened with your neighbor, but with a stray corrupted akuma instead."

"But-" the young man tried to interrupt, but his kwami was quicker and wiser.

"You're absolutely not to blame in any way, kid. Your friend's injury is merely an unfortunate casualty. Can I have my camembert now?"

"I said later, Plagg. Marinette needs me right now."

He left the bathroom hastily, leaving a rather puzzled kwami behind. When did his chosen finally notice his pigtailed friend?

Unbeknownst to Adrien, Marinette was currently having a very similar chat with her very own kwami. Once they had cleared the air about the fact that no, none of this mess was her doing, and that no, Hawkmoth most likely was none the wiser about her secret identity (otherwise he would've targeted the bakery long ago), the young lady had finally agreed to try and calm down, waiting on Adrien's upcoming return. She nervously sat on the edge of her bed, against her will admitting defeat toward him bandaging her wound. She knew very well the cut was rather deep and most likely needed stitches, but she had genuinely hoped nobody would notice it.

Tending to it on her own would have been much less of a hassle, even if her inexperience in this field was fairly complicating the matter. Still, stitching skin couldn't be that different from sewing fabric, right? Given her lack of skills and the fact she would have had to use only her right hand, the wound would probably have left a rather nasty scar, but she couldn't bring herself to mind it the slightest.

Considering her hero duties as Ladybug and her and Chat Noir's constant fighting against new villains, it was something she had genuinely been expecting to happen sooner or later. The akumas were growing stronger than ever before, and releasing them was becoming harder every time. It was bound to mark her body in one way or another at some point. So far she had been lucky, getting away with light scratches and mere bruises, but Marinette was perfectly aware that she was stretching her luck beyond its limits. She knew Chat Noir enough to be sure he wouldn't ever mind a bit if her body was left marked by their countless battles since his was probably far more bruised and beaten than hers. And Adrien, well, he'd simply have to put up with it if they were to become intimate in any way someday, something she was starting to deem less and less likely to ever happen.

She suddenly stopped her rambling train of thoughts, shocked with the rather unexpected direction they had taken. What the hell was she thinking? She raised a very confused look at Tikki, that had risked an eye out of her hideaway as they both were waiting for Adrien to come back. "Are you okay, Marinette?"

The young lady sighed in defeat. "Yes, no... I think I'll be. I'm just... confused I guess."

Her little friend gave her a curious look. "About what?"

Marinette looked away, a dark blush spreading on her cheeks. "I keep thinking really strange things about Chat Noir. Like how he wouldn't mind that much if I get a scar or two."

Her kwami chuckled softly. "I'm pretty sure he wouldn't mind, indeed. Actually, he might find you even more beautiful for them."

"TIKKI!" Marinette smiled sadly as her kwami went back to sleep in her open purse after casting her a sly grin. She wished she could do the same, just climb into bed and sleep away her choking worries. But Adrien had definitely seen the wound, there was no way for her to back out of that. Now, she would have to come up with a plausible excuse, an explanation for why her arm had been sliced open, and she had dearly been hoping to avoid that. Truth be told, her problem could've been way bigger than it currently was. At least her partner was the only one on Earth who was aware that Ladybug had been injured in the encounter, so Adrien blissfully wouldn't be able to connect the otherwise very obvious dots.

Still, she wasn't very warm to the idea of finding a way to explain to him how exactly a flying steel flower had unfortunately mistaken her forearm for some Christmas ham as she was getting ready to transform on the windowsill. Chat Noir had specifically asked her to remain hidden and safe inside the room, and she had so bluntly disobeyed that it could only bring her troubles with the black-clad hero if it were to reach his apparently ubiquitous magic ears.

This stirred another, rather painful and unwelcome thought into her swirling mind: she would have to somehow keep Chat Noir away from her until her cut was completely healed. It was way too dangerous to even consider otherwise given that he had seen the wound on Ladybug's arm, that she was very certain of, and though he was many things stupid wasn't one of them. He would put two and two together in the blink of an eye, and her secret would be exposed.

Nonetheless, it pained her to no end to know that she'd have to keep the kitty away from her for a few weeks. She already missed him, even if she was desperately trying to ignore this feeling.

When Adrien finally did return, first aid kit in hand, Marinette was looking on the verge of tears. He shot a glance at her worriedly. "Hey, you gonna be okay? Does it hurt that bad?"

She grimaced, unwillingly flinching from him. "I-I think you were right, after all, it's a little more than nothing. It won't stop bleeding no matter how hard I try."

He kneeled before her, pushing away the inappropriate thoughts her proximity stirred in his mind. Right now she needed care, not dealing with the twisted mind of a hormonal young lad who longed to kiss her passionately instead of bandaging her injured arm. Honestly, what was wrong with him all of a sudden?

"I think you might need some stitches. It's a pretty bad cut, Mari," Adrien heard himself saying as he kept trying to reign in his wild thoughts.

His friend sniffled softly, and he felt her shudder under his fingers. "Do you think I can do without? I really don't like hospitals."

He smiled reassuringly, patting her hand absentmindedly as he reached for the first aid kit. "Don't worry. It's your lucky day. For some obscure reason, first aid is among the things Father deemed necessary to my well-being as a teenager. I'm sorry, this'll probably hurt a bit, but I'll be gentle as I can."

True to his words, Adrien cleaned the wound thoroughly before stitching her up with a steady and somewhat tender hand, making her wince in pain once or twice at most. He then washed the blood from the rest of her arm, put a generous amount of healing cream on the now closed wound, and bandaged the injured limb carefully. She examined him while he worked, amazed by the way his features seemed to relax when he was concentrated on the task at hand. His shoulders weren't as tense they usually were, there was a newfound softness in his gaze she had never seen before. Like he had dropped some kind of facade. When he was finally done he patted her gently on the shoulder, offering her a soft smile. "You're gonna have to change the bandage daily for a week or so. I'll show you how tomorrow. If you want, I'll remove the stitches next Saturday."

Marinette blushed lightly as she nodded shyly, realizing he had caught her staring at him.

He didn't seem bothered by it tough, still smiling gently and adding, "Now, you should go and rest. It's been a rough night for both of us. I'll leave painkillers on your bedside table. See you tomorrow?"

She nodded again wordlessly, before climbing a bit too obediently into her bed, digging herself under the blankets. Adrien hadn't even finished putting away the first aid kit when he heard her breathing deepening significantly, indicating that she had fallen fast asleep.

"Rough night, huh?" he chuckled lightly. He couldn't help himself but press a brief but definitely there kiss on her temple before quietly exiting her room, carefully closing the door behind him.

He didn't get much sleep that night, images of a black-haired young woman replacing those of a black-and-red-dotted heroine swirling in his confused mind.

Both of You

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

Part 7 of 53

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