Continuing Tales


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

Part 14 of 35

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The first thought to cross Adrien's mind was don't panic.

Well, that was a lie. It was the first coherent thought. The ones which came before had been a cacophony of tangled emotions and questions, half-formed in his mind. Jumbled words such as Marinette, Nathanael, holding hands, walking away- together?

As he fought the crushing waves of panic, the nausea settling in the pit of his stomach, the shadows which coiled around his limbs, all of which telling him something was amiss- he tried to rationalise what he'd just seen. Even as he felt the rug pulled out from under him. The rapid change from liberating joy to suffocating dread was like running head first into an invisible wall. Helpless, defenceless, he was left watching the scene unfold before his eyes, with only his warring rationalisations for company.

They looked at each other with such joy.

Friends. They're just friends.

He picked her up!

Maybe he was just excited about something?

They held hands, they looked like they were going on a date.

Stop jumping to conclusions.

Adrien swallowed painfully, hands curling into fists as he watched the pair walking away- still hand in hand. He couldn't tear his eyes away from the sight, no matter how much it unsettled him. Frozen in place, all he could is let Marinette slip out of his sight, get further and further away just as he'd believed she'd been so close.

"Oh man," a voice appeared at his side and it took all his will to pull himself together, to place his model-mask on. Nino had caught up to him, was standing by his side. He, too, was watching Marinette and Nathanael as they rounded the corner and disappeared from view, "I hope those two aren't an item again."

A funny thing happens when you hear something you don't want to. It's not quite time standing still, instead it's almost like the words filter through slowly- deliberately- as though to cause maximum damage. Because, until that final word lands next to the others to form a complete sentence, there's hope. The hope is wrung out, stretched and twisted, disfigured but there. And then that last word, that damned last word, settles, and the hope is all but snuffed out.

That's how Nino's words struck Adrien. He could scarcely comprehend what he'd just heard.

But his heart clenched, oh how it clenched, reminded him how he was still very much alive. It squeezed in his chest until he thought it might burst from fear. No it couldn't be possible. It couldn't… his Lady wouldn't lead him on unless…

Unless he'd been wrong?

Unless she wasn't Ladybug.

But he'd been so sure!

"Wh-what do you mean 'an item'?" He didn't want to know. God, he didn't want to know. Don't tell me Nino. Don't tell me what I know you're going to tell me.

Adrien was vaguely aware he was trembling, but Nino wasn't watching him. Instead, his friend had two fingers massaging the crinkle between his eyebrows, his eyes scrunched together tightly.

"Those two. They dated last summer- sort of. When you were in Italy with your dad."

Adrien looked down at his stomach, he was so sure he'd been physically stabbed there. Bile rose in his throat. Even if he'd tried, words would have failed him. In the back of his head, a memory was trying to resurface- a memory he really didn't want to recall.

"But it was such an awkward clusterfudge! UGH!" Nino's hand abandoned his brow, thrown up dramatically instead, "They didn't even last that long, so what the hell?"

"Maybe," Adrien swallowed again, trying to stitch his voice back together. In the corner of his eye, he saw his car pulling up to the curb. "maybe they're trying again?"

"God I hope not. Marinette was really upset when they broke up," Nino wrinkled his nose in distaste, turning to face him, and Adrien schooled his features into what he hoped was casual concern instead. He had no right to feel what he was at the moment, and he would never- ever- put it on his friends. So, with thin lips and a tiny frown as his mask, he nodded casually. The pair made their way down towards his car. Nino sighed, scratching the back of his head, "don't get me wrong, I love them both. I just worry, you dig? I wonder if Alya knows about this."

Adrien shrugged, an angry impulse racing through him like a towering inferno, telling him to put his fist through the window of his car. It startled him, frightened him. He ignored the urge, settling on gripping the door handle rougher than necessary as he opened it.

"You want a ride home?" he asked Nino, hoping (for perhaps the first time ever) that he'd decline. The thought of his empty, silent bedroom beckoned him. Perhaps there he could sort through things more thoroughly. Perhaps there it wouldn't seem like the world was closing in on him. Perhaps not.

Luck actually seemed to be on his side in this instance, which seemed particularly cruel given the circumstances. Nino was meeting Alya for a study date. The pair briefly wrapped themselves in a hug tighter than usual, both seeking a brief flash of comfort for entirely different reasons, before parting ways.

Adrien was as silent as ever on the drive back home, his hand resting idly on his bag as he stared out of the window. Absently, he drummed his fingers against the half-open zipper, until a small, warm weight rested on his hand. He stilled, not needing to look down to know it was Plagg's paw resting against him.

It was then that the memory he'd tried to supress cracked through his barriers with all the subtlety of a raging bull, destroying his carefully crafted mask.

"You've never had a boyfriend?"

"W-well it's like you said!" Ladybug threw her arms up in the air in self-defence and Chat finally caught sight of her flushed cheeks, the slightly embarrassed craze in her eyes. He didn't know why he found it so funny, he supposed it was the relief which came from the realisation that maybe she didn't see him as a complete and utter loser after all. "Being Ladybug keeps me pretty darn busy, plus all my schoolwork and work-work to boot, plus how could I tell a boyfriend the reason I sneak out every night isn't because I'm running around with other men or something, it's to stop possessed people from destroying the city and- and- STOP LAUGHING CHAT!"

He wasn't laughing anymore.

Marinette had had a boyfriend before. Ladybug had not.

Adrien blinked, wondering why the view of the outside world had suddenly become so blurry.

"Are you sure you need coffee?" Marinette teased as they stood in the queue, waiting to order their drinks. It was a small coffee shop, not a chain. Apparently Louis had discovered it a few weeks ago, chosen it because it was a place amateur artists could ask for their art to be displayed. The coffee was incredible and ridiculously strong, but they didn't judge you for putting extra sweet things in your brew of choice, as so many artisan coffee places did.

It was an eclectic place to say the least. The furniture was a mix between antique and Ikea. Magazines and free newspapers were littered everywhere, as customers left them for others to enjoy. Post-its filled with doodles lined the silvery-grey walls, where artists of varying degrees of professionalism (from amateur to famous cartoonists) had stuck them.

Nathanael bounced on his feet still wearing a near face-splitting grin.

"Of course! Why do you ask?" he said, perusing the menu boards above the cashier's head.

"Well, you're vibrating with energy," Marinette shrugged, having already settled on ordering an iced tea, "I'm just worried if we add coffee to the mix then you'll transcend to the fourth dimension."

"I went to the fourth dimension for a holiday once," a voice chirped from behind them, "the soufflé was odious."

The pair wheeled around just in time to see tanned arms enveloping them in a bruising hug.

"Louis!" Marinette cried, smiling as Louis kept one arm wrapped around Nathanael, planting a firm but loving smooch on his boyfriend's lips as he did so, "I didn't know you were coming too!"

"Nath called me as soon as he heard the good news from his Mamma," Louis replied, settling on linking his fingers through Nathanael's own and kissing his knuckles, his golden eyes were practically glowing with pride, "I was the one to suggest coming here. I'm so glad you're here to share mi amore's success also. Art isn't my forte, so it's good to know he has a talented friend for support."

"But you were fantastic moral support," Nath blushed, "I couldn't have done it without either of you. That's why drinks are on me!"

Louis looked as though he'd be slapped. Never one to do things by halves, he clapped a mortified hand to his forehead.

"Absolutely not! This is your day, bello, I won't have you spend a cent!"

As they shuffled down the line, getting closer to the cashier, Marinette started mentally placing bets on who would win this particular battle. Her money was on Louis.

A few minutes later she was proved right, although at a cost (well- not really). In the muddle, she'd hoped to pay for her own drink and promptly faced the concentrated wrath of both Nathanael and Louis. She withered, vowing vengeance for their generosity. She would pay them back next time.

"A toast then," Louis raised his small espresso, and Nathanael and Marinette raised their drinks in kind "to my dearest boyfriend. Mi tesorino. In fact-" he stood up.

Nathanael's face fell.

"Lou, sweetie, what are you doing? Louis!" he hissed desperately clutching Louis's t-shirt (a plain white affair with the phrase 'history nerd: I'd find you more interesting if you were dead' plastered across it in big bold lettering). Louis grabbed a wayward spoon and began tapping against it, clearing his throat. When it was clear his pleading was falling on deaf ears, Nathanael turned panicked eyes on Marinette, who settled back in her armchair, crossing her legs with a smirk.

This will teach you to laugh at me in front of Adrien, you butt, she thought with a giggle.


"Oh god on high, kill me now please," Nath looked like he was trying to hide in his own torso, but Louis grabbed his hand and yanked him up to stand by his side. Most people turned their heads curiously. The coffee shop wasn't full, but Marinette could tell this didn't ease Nath's embarrassment one bit. She had to bite her cheek to keep herself in check.

"This wonderful, glorious, talented man just got accepted to one of the BEST art colleges in Europe for a year!" Louis boasted, loudly and completely without shame, "May I please ask you to give him a round of applause?"

The cashiers and baristas were among the loudest to cheer, the other customers were good enough to clap along- amused by the scene. One older gentleman (although he barely warranted the name in Marinette's opinion) fixed the clearly in love boys with frown. Marinette met his eyes and glowered, her smirk gone, daring him to say or do anything. Her fingers sunk into the arms of her seat.

As the man rolled his eyes and left, tucking his tablet into his backpack as he went, Marinette slumped back, glad nothing had escalated. It appeared the boys hadn't noticed the little altercation, Louis was still lit-up with admiration, Nathanael still looked like he wanted to crawl into a hole. He sat back down on the loveseat opposite Marinette, trying to disappear in the plush cushions.

"See if I'd died, I wouldn't have to had to live through that," he whined, his face a wonderful cherry-red, "don't worry- it was…nice," he hastened to add as Louis opened his mouth to apologise, "I'm just not used to attention, you know that hun."

"Well, you will change that now I'm sure," Louis replied, handing Nath his drink and then draping himself over his boyfriend like a scarf in winter. A powerful ache, which felt rather like longing, consumed Marinette as she watched them act so- so- normal. Like a normal couple in love.

She glanced at her bag, which still had Chat's red hoodie in it. Her phone was buzzing, but she couldn't be bothered to scoop down and check it for now. Whoever it was could at least wait until she'd finished her iced tea.

Marinette willed the emotion away, smiling as she looked at Louis- who winked conspiratorially at her. Instead, she chose to change the subject.

"How's university going Louis?"

"Ah university. You'll see how wonderful and torturous it is this autumn-time," Louis nodded whilst Nath's face regained its usual pallor, "Some of my lectures are fascinating, others are like the black death has returned in the form of boredom. You should hear my professor drone on and on about the Elizabethan era. It's an era I'm particularly fond of, and yet he delivers his lectures with all the flair of a cheese grater in a washing machine."

Pushing past that odd comparison, Marinette frowned.

"Wait, you're studying the Elizabethan era?" She asked, making sure she'd gotten that right and also kicking herself. She'd known Louis was studying history for ages, how could she have missed such an opportunity when it was staring at her right in the face? "If so do you think you could lend us some books about the Elizabethan Chat Noir and Ladybug? My friends and I are doing a project on them but our library is woefully empty. Our teacher is insisting we have at least some physical resources."

"That I am, and of course I can help you there. I can sneak you into the library if you want- that would certainly be an adventure. I even have my own personal book about the pair which you can borrow if you'd like," Louis nodded and then wrinkled his nose once he took a sip of his coffee, "my espresso has gone cold!"

"Well you should have drunk it instead of chattering away," Nathanael nodded, "it's karmic justice."

Louis clutched his chest as though Nathanael has physically struck him.

"You break my heart, mi amore! Never get between an Italian man and his coffee. You know this."

"Fine, fine. But you can't stop me from buying you a replacement this time," Nathanael countered, grabbing his wallet, "Maybe you'll treasure it more."

"You are the only treasure I need, tesorino. And, whilst that gesture is lovely, I meant what I said," Louis wagged a disapproving finger his way, "you're not spending a cent today."

"You can't stop me!"

"You can't catch me!"

As the pair raced each other to the counter, shrieking childishly as they went, Marinette decided it was as good a time as any to check her phone in the brief peaceful lull. The first thing she thought of doing was to text the gang and let them know about this new development in their history project.

Fate, it seemed, had other plans for her.


Oh jeez.

"Adrien," Plagg chided, "I thought rich kids are taught not to play with food? Especially not someone else's food! Where are your manners?!"

Adrien ignored him, continuing to build a tower out of Plagg's camembert. It smelled like he felt.

"Would you stop sulking already? You don't know if Marinette is dating Nathanael or not!" Plagg snapped, snatched a piece of cheese from Adrien's grip and swallowing it whole, "you could just ask her- or get Alya to do it for you."

Adrien pushed his chair away from the desk forcefully, turning away from Plagg with a defeated grimace.

"I was so sure," he whispered, "so sure it was her."

"It could still be, you don't know. There's lots of signs that point to her, you said so yourself right?" Plagg replied, landing on Adrien's head, "nothing's changed that."

"But, Ladybug would never date Nathanael and kiss me at the same time," he sighed, "and even if Marinette isn't dating Nathanael- it looked like she likes him. They have a history. It's not my place to get in between that Plagg. It's not my place to ask about her romantic life. I'm just- just her friend," he didn't expect the words to sting quite as much as they did, "besides I'm not nosy, like you."

"Cheap shot!" Plagg's voice was an offended snort, muffled as he buried his mouth in Adrien's hair. Adrien had the decency to feel guilty.

"Sorry, I'm just, ARGH- I'm so confused. I don't know what to do," he cried, flopping backwards onto his bed with a frustrated groan, "one part of me says that Marinette is Ladybug- so many signs point to it. But another reminds me how she looked at Nathanael, how she held hands with him, how she laughed as he held her," he fought the urge to smash something again, angry at himself for allowing his emotions to get so far, "Ladybug said she's never had a boyfriend, but Marinette and Nathanael were together. But…then why would she draw Chat Noir with love hearts? Maybe it's just a crush and she really loves Nath. Or maybe she thinks I'm- I mean Chat- is Nathanael and that's why she almost kissed me back the other night?"

He buried his face in his hands, feeling a headache coming on. It was though he had a one-thousand-piece puzzle, and just as he'd about to put the final piece into place, the pieces mutated beyond recognition- and he was stuck, more lost than he'd ever been. Nothing fit, nothing made sense.

"I'm going to die alone," he decided finally.

"Oh would you stop being such a drama queen already!" Plagg yelled, dropping down onto his chest. Adrien peered up at him warily. "You aren't going to die alone. You're a model, and I'm only going to say this next sentence once so commit it to memory," he closed his little green eyes, inhaling as he did so, he looked physically pained, "you're a pretty ok guy alright? Ladybug will be lucky to have you, no matter who she turns out to be and you guys will be happy. So just chill out ok? You're making ME nervous just looking at your face."

Adrien felt the beginnings of a smile teasing the corners of his mouth. Feeling a rush of affection towards his Kwami, he sat up on his elbows, and dared to scratch Plagg under his chin.

"Thanks Plagg," he said.

"Ugh I'm going to be sick," Plagg retorted, fighting the lazy-cat look which crossed his face at Adrien's ministrations. Oh well, it was nice whilst it lasted.

"You can't be sick, it's our turn to patrol tonight."

"Yeah, whatever. Just do me a favour?" Plagg replied, swatting Adrien's hand away with his paw, "don't obsess over this tonight."

Adrien reverted back to silence, sliding off the bed to his window, where a ghost-like reflection glanced back at him. His shoulders slumped.

"Yeah, Plagg, sure," he conceded feebly, meeting the Kwami's eyes with a half-hearted grin. All the comfort Plagg had given him earlier was seeping out of him- like he was in a rapidly cooling bath. Adrien turned away guiltily from Plagg's sceptical look, biting his lip. Once again the image of Marinette looking at Nathanael like he was the sun played in his mind, looping over and over again. Now he was the one feeling sick.

He rested his head against the glass.

Plagg didn't say anything. Neither of them did. For both of them knew he was lying. He wouldn't be able to stop thinking about it if he tried.


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

Part 14 of 35

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