Continuing Tales


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

Part 22 of 35

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"I can't believe you won!" Nino sulked, taking off his cap to wipe his brow angrily.

Twirling his racket in his hand, Adrien shot Nino a triumphant smirk which was only thirty percent sheepish. It was a brief look, and Nino pouted in response. The pair of them hung back, wiping sweat from their faces, whilst the girls went to fill their water bottles at a fountain on the other side of the courts. The cloud coverage made the heat more stifling, the air more humid, and Alya's hair had doubled in volume as a result.

When Nino teased her about her hair 'hulking out' she'd thrown a tennis ball at him.

Adrien dropped his towel back into his bag, earning a disgusted look from Plagg. If they'd been alone, Adrien would have argued that camembert smells as bad as sweat anyway, so the Kwami shouldn't be judging him in the slightest.

"What can I say?" Adrien began, staring after Marinette with a dopey smile on his face. The girl in question was laughing at something Alya had said and, though they were well out of earshot, he still felt slightly boneless at the idea of Marinette's laughter. "I guess we're just lucky."

Nino rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, lucky you won considering how much of a perv you were being," he proclaimed, placing his cap back on his head and sliding up to Adrien. He placed an arm on Adrien's shoulder.

Adrien jerked away from Nino's touch, as if the accusation had given him an electric shock. It was true. He had to admit. The fact that they'd somehow won the match astounded him. Marinette had carried him through it whilst he'd been constantly distracted.

Her skirt was hypnotic, and he'd tried so hard not to look. But it kept shifting when she ran.

She ran a lot. Adrien, on the other hand, had managed to hit himself in the face with his tennis racket twice because his eyes had been focused on Marinette in a way they really, really shouldn't have been.

Huh. So this is what rock bottom is like.

"What- what are you talking about?" he said, looking everywhere except Nino. His shoes, in particular, were fascinating.

Nino pinched his lips together, snorting through his nose. Busying himself by searching his bag for his water bottle, Adrien tried not to picture the teasing look on his best friend's face.

"Oh man, remind me to play a game of poker with you some time," Nino chuckled, rubbing his hands together. "Get my hands on some of that sweet trust fund money."

"Is that all I am to you?" Adrien flopped sideways, dramatically raising a hand to his head in a pitiful attempt at distraction. "A pretty blonde with a trust fund?"

"Uh, duh. You know if we were gay I would have married you in a heartbeat. Alya would understand," Nino nodded sagely, causing Adrien to laugh in response.

"Dude, we're about forty percent married already. You know that."

As the pair continued to argue over the percentage of which they were married, Alya was using the time away from the boys to tease Marinette to heaven and back again. Waiting in line for the water fountain, Alya repeatedly jabbed Marinette in the side.

"Did you see how much he was staring at you girl?" she all but shrieked, stabbing Marinette with her deadly elbow once more. "You have this in the bag. Operation: Dork Love is going to be a success I can feel it!"

Rubbing the sure-to-form bruise, Marinette smiled shyly. Adrenaline pumped through her from her earlier victory with Adrien, and the idea he'd been staring at her throughout their match made her want to dance through the spa singing at the top of her lungs. But that would probably have a counterproductive effect on their plans. Still, Alya was excited for her that she didn't even feel bad at losing the match. That was true friendship right there.

Before she was able to reply, someone tapped her on the shoulder. Alya's face formed into a frown and Marinette turned around to see Sebastian, the receptionist, giving her a friendly smile and waving a bottle of water at her.

"Hey there! I noticed you were waiting for water so I grabbed you a bottle," he said cheerfully, nudging the water towards her. "On me of course."

Marinette smiled politely, taking the bottle off him with a cautious thank you, desperately hoping his act of kindness didn't have an ulterior motive. The fact that Alya's back seemed to be mimicking a steel pipe didn't do much to reassure her.

Sebastian seemed pleased by her reciprocity, glancing down bashfully. Marinette relaxed, allowing herself to give him the benefit of the doubt. He probably wasn't interested in her like that, he was just being nice. Surely-

"So, umm, I probably shouldn't be doing this-" he began.

Her heart sank, her stomach turned to stone. She felt Alya shift so she was standing directly next to her, shoulder-to-shoulder. Her presence was calming, as well as the product of previous experiences.

"-but I was wondering if I could get your number? You seem really nice and was kind of hoping I could get to know you more."

Marinette steeled herself, the joy from her earlier triumphs somewhere far in the back of her mind. Of course, she was going to say no, but that didn't mean she didn't feel bad. After all, he seemed like a perfectly nice guy. Having been on the end of rejection before, she inwardly winced at the fact that she had to be on the delivering side. She bit her lip.

Alya linked her little finger with Marinette's, out of sight from Sebastian. It grounded Marinette as she took a breath before she met his enthusiastic gaze.

"Um, I'm really sorry Sebastian but I don't think I can give you my number," she admitted softly, her face apologetic. Waving her hand sheepishly she hastened to add, "It's nothing to do with you though! You're nice and everything, but I'm not exactly available."

The shift was near instantaneous. Dark clouds settled in Sebastian's expression, his cheerful demeanour vanished. In one swift movement, he snatched the water bottle from Marinette's hands.

"Oh. I see. You're one of those," he growled, his lips curled up in disdain, his fingers leaving dents in the plastic bottle.

Alya pounced.

"Just what is that supposed to mean?" she snapped, placing her hand on her hip and pointing an accusatory finger at him. Marinette herself felt the sympathy she'd previously held replaced with indignation and disappointment.

Sebastian barely gave Alya a glimpse, before shaking his head and heaving a sigh. It was the most condescending sound Marinette had ever heard and she was pretty sure, were her water bottle not empty, its contents would have been over Sebastian's head right now.

"Nothing, nothing, you wouldn't understand even if I did explain it to you," he replied, all the anger replaced with an upturned nose and air of moral superiority so egregious it made Marinette wish she was Ladybug so she could give him a good beating.

Your powers are supposed to be for good, not for beating insufferable men, the voice of Tikki appeared in her head to chide her.

Yeah but it would feel really good, she countered.

"Fine then, don't explain it. I think it would be better that way," she sneered, linking arms with Alya and pulling her away, "come on Alya- I'm sure we can find another water fountain."

When they were a few paces away, and Marinette was right on the verge of calming down, they heard Sebastian call after her.

"You know he's just going to leave you after he gets what he wants!"

It was though Marinette's blood had been replaced with gasoline, and Sebastian's words were a lit match. Quicker than Alya had time to react, Marinette was back in front of him, her face close to his. The Cheshire smile stretched across his lips made her fists clench, her throat tight.

"Ok allow me to educate you, because you clearly have no idea what the fuck you're talking about," she hissed, her anger the quiet, terrifying type which gave her the satisfaction of seeing the smug grin completely wiped off of Sebastian's face. "My love life is none of your damn business. If you were a decent guy, you would have accepted my refusal with dignity. But you didn't. You chose to insult my friends based on what exactly? What the hell do you know? Do me a favour and leave your petty jealousies at home, I don't have time to deal with them. I'm here to have a nice day at the spa and your shitty attitude isn't going to ruin it for me. Goodbye."

She didn't allow him to respond, didn't want to give him the time of the day beyond that. As she marched away from him, her feet flattening the grass with the weight of her righteous indignation, she saw Adrien and Nino approach. They came to stand by Alya at the same time as Marinette, their faces full of worry.

"Is everything ok?" Adrien asked when he noticed Marinette's grim expression, how stiff her arms were. Glancing over her head he noticed Sebastian shooting him a murderous gaze before he stomped away. Dread filled him. "That guy, he didn't give you any trouble, did he?"

"It's nothing," Marinette replied, but the way her voice trembled indicated otherwise.

"Girl, please! You handed that guy his own ass!" Alya cried in delight, rushing towards her to wrap an arm around Marinette's shoulders. She turned to Adrien and Nino, beaming with pride, "He tried to hit on her and, when she let him down easy, he showed his true colours. Nothing we haven't seen a million times before."

"We should report him for harassing you." Adrien offered his suggestion lightly, wanting to comfort her. "It's not right that he should get away with behaviour like that. He should be held accountable."

"Or, you know, we could kick his ass," Nino counter-offered, making a threatening gesture with his fists as the four made their way back inside the spa. "Just saying."

Adrien smiled.

"Yeah that too," he agreed, bobbing his head. He looked back at Marinette again, relieved to see her shoulders relaxing. Subconsciously, he moved towards her, placing a hand on her free shoulder. "What do you think? It's your decision."

Marinette thought about it for a moment, looking between her group of friends as they crossed through the automatic doors, breathing separate sighs of joy when they felt the cool air inside.

"I kind of want to forget about it," she sighed, "I guess we can report him at the end of the day, but right now I want nothing more than to get into that giant jacuzzi pool and feel like I'm melting in a good way."

"Hell yes!" Nino sang, grabbing an (admitted dazed) Adrien and tugging him away to the changing rooms. "Jacuzzi pool first, bringing fuck boys to justice later!"

When Adrien had first heard that the spa had a jacuzzi pool, he'd expected it to look like the average indoor swimming pool. The only difference would be that the water was hot.

He'd been completely wrong with his assumptions.

"Woah," Nino gasped as he exited the mandatory shower section, his jaw growing slack.

The jacuzzi pool was huge and almost devoid of people, allowing it to sparkle in all its calming glory. The lighting slowly changed from a calming sea-green, to a deep blue and back again, making the water appear almost mystical in quality. The pool itself was shaped like the body of a guitar, the larger end of which had a small mini hot-tub bubbling away inside. On the other end of the pool were a row of what appeared to be lounge chairs separated by small bars, which looked as though they could be used so you could lie down without having to leave the warmth of the water.

Adrien could smell the minerals hanging in the air. It felt like they weren't just purifying his skin, but his troubles too. He sighed in content, closing his eyes as he felt his shoulders sink in relaxation.

Then Nino gripped his arm tight.

"Dude," he whispered, "the girls."

Adrien looked up, his mind fully grasping Nino's words at the very same moment his eyes came to rest on the opposite side of the pool, where the ladies changing rooms were.

Oh no. Oh no. Oh no.

It only took one look at Marinette to realise he was in serious, serious, trouble. He'd thought it had been bad on the tennis courts, with her grunting and swishy tennis skirt. Glancing at Marinette now, her beautiful athletic figure, the Chat Noir-styled bikini, the way her skin seemed to glow under the ever-changing lights, he realised that he'd barely begun to scratch the surface of rock bottom. Torn between his gentleman sensibilities, and his inner fifteen-year-old screaming about cleavage, it took everything in him to tear his eyes away.

Honestly his mind could have been replaced with a series of exclamation points and it wouldn't have made much of a difference.

"Nino," he uttered, voice strangled, "you're cutting off the circulation in my arm."

"You're lucky I'm not ripping your arm off! Holy shit dude I was UNPREPARED!" Nino gasped, his fingers digging into Adrien's skin. "It's either grab your arm or pop a boner."


"Do you want me to?!"

"I don't want either of us to right now!" Adrien panicked as the girls spotted them, and Marinette waved cheerfully.

"Then let me grab your arm for the love of god," Nino pleaded, his voice a low hissing whine.

"I thought you and Alya had already-" Adrien dropped his voice lower "-you know."

Nino, thankfully, came to stand in front of Adrien- effectively blocking view of the girls (who were finding a spot at the side of the pool to drop their towels) and making sure that he himself couldn't see them. It was a welcome relief, yet at the same time Nino raised an eyebrow at him.

"And you're saying you'd get used to Marinette's body, even if you'd already seen it naked?"

Adrien was too shocked to reply, the idea of Marinette naked not doing much to help him climb back up from rock bottom. He shook his head, trying to calm himself down. After all he'd seen hundreds of semi-naked women in his time as a model, he should have been used to it by now.

But this isn't some random model, it's Marinette! It could be Ladybug too!

Ladybug… the idea that Marinette could be her had returned after the revelation that Nathanael had a boyfriend. Not only that, but the fact that Marinette had confided in him regarding a subject that was clearly embarrassing for her, showed that she trusted him deeply. Adrien was proud of that. Proud, but still a little gun shy. Despite the fact that it was a misunderstanding, he still remembered the hurt from believing he'd been wrong. He recalled the guilt, the shame. The wounds were still fresh. And yet, Marinette seemed to be going out of her way to reassure him. Whether that was because she was Ladybug, or because she was simply a wonderful person however, he was unsure.

Once again he found himself cursing his home-schooled past. Maybe if he'd been allowed to go to school, he wouldn't be such a hopeless case.

Adrien took a deep breath, fists furling and unfurling. Picking his tongue up from the floor, he vowed to stop looking at Marinette as if she were a piece of meat. She was stunning, of course she was, but if he continued to leer at her he was no better than that Sebastian guy. It was different for Nino, Alya was his girlfriend, he could appreciate her because- judging from the way Alya was making eyes at Nino- the feelings were consensual and reciprocated. Marinette wasn't his girlfriend. Even if Marinette was Ladybug and he had spent the past week kissing her (the exclamation points in his head grew larger at the thought), that didn't mean he had the right to look now. He wouldn't.

"Hey handsome! Looking good," Alya crooned, winking lasciviously at Nino.

Nino blushed, and stammered out a compliment in response. The pair linked hands, declaring they were going to try out the jacuzzi-beds. Alya whispered something in Marinette's ear before sauntering away. Whatever it was made Marinette turn as red as Alya's swimsuit.

Thanks for feeding me to the wolves, bro, Adrien thought as he and Marinette settled into an awkward silence. Awkward on his part, of course, because Marinette looked a picture of confidence.

He, of course, had no idea that the reason why Marinette looked so confident is simply because her brain had ceased to exist.

It wasn't fair, she thought, she'd been prepared. She'd practiced her lines, even gone as far as to actually wear a Chat-inspired bikini (at Alya's request though, as Alya was wearing a matching Ladybug one-piece). For once, just once, she wanted to be sexy, to be the desirable one making someone else drool- and no, she wasn't talking about the creepy guys on the internet. The ones who talked about Ladybug as if she were some sort of sex tool.

All she wanted was for Adrien's brain to explode. Was that too much to ask?

And she'd tried, oh how she'd tried, to ready herself for this moment. Of course, she'd been fully aware of the fact that Adrien would be in a swimsuit too, and she'd tried to school her reactions. Her copy of Adrien's underwear photoshoot should've had holes in it with the amount she'd stared at it, trying to get used to it enough so that the sight of his actual body wouldn't turn her into mush.

But no. It was not meant to be. No amount of staring at an airbrushed, stationary photograph could make up for seeing the living, breathing, man in front of her. The double shock of it being Chat Noir, the guy she'd been making out with for the past few days, half-naked in front of her and she was a goner.

For god's sake Marinette pull yourself together! You have a plan! You can't be undone by muscles…or shoulders…or arms…or- FOCUS!

Using the pool to drag herself back into reality, she tried to concentrate on finding a spot to climb in.

"I think I want to try that little mini-hot tub thing," she declared loudly, cringing when her voice echoed around the room. Alya's muffled snort echoed back.

"Oh, yeah that looks cool," Adrien breathed, shuffling from side-to-side. "Mind if I join you? I don't want to disturb the love birds."

Marinette smiled, relieved that their conversation held some semblance of normality. She could pretend the deep v of his Apollo's belt wasn't causing her tongue to go fuzzy. She could survive this.

"Of course!" she chirruped, finding a small set of elegant steps which led down to the depths of the pool.

As soon as she sunk in, she gasped. The water washing over her was so wonderfully hot that it felt as though she'd been wrapped in a million blankets, been given new skin. Sighing, she kicked off from the edge of the steps, letting herself float towards the middle of the pool.

From beside her, she heard Adrien sigh too. Peering over, she couldn't help but giggle at what she saw. Though the pool itself wasn't very deep, Adrien had dipped his whole body in until the lower half of his face was submerged. There was a mischievous twinkle in his eyes which made Marinette's nerves sizzle like freshly lit sparklers.

"What are you up to?" she asked, her tone jokingly wary.

Without warning he attacked, launching himself out of the water and splashing her with one large sweep of his arm.

For a second she stood there, shocked, before her chin jutted out. Her twin tails drooped with the weight of the water and she looked at Adrien as though he'd kicked a kitten.

"I- why did you do that?" she whimpered, hurt, and twisted away from him, wrapping her arms around her body defensively as she shrunk into herself. "That was so mean."

Adrien's eyes bulged out of his head and he dived towards her so quickly that he almost caused a mini tidal wave.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry Marinette, that was meant to be a dumb joke!" he apologised, panicking as he reached for her shoulder and tried to delicately turn her back around, "I didn't mean-"

He stopped dead in his tracks when Marinette's wicked smirk caught his eye, pink lips puckered in glee. He reacted too late and, all of a sudden, he too was covered in water as Marinette splashed him relentlessly.

"I can't believe you fell for that!" she chuckled as he stood stock-still in the middle of the jacuzzi pool, shocked to his very core and soaked from head-to-toe. From the edge of the pool, Adrien could hear Nino roaring with laughter. "That's the oldest trick in the book!"

Although embarrassed at falling for such a trick, he couldn't help but swim up to her, leaning towards her and relishing at the fact that this seemed to make her stumble somewhat. Her laughter faltered.

"You don't play fair," he purred, unable to help himself from flirting. It was ok to do so, right?

Marinette recovered quickly, clearing her throat with an awkward cough, she reached up on her toes to lightly bop him on the nose.

"Sometimes, it's fun to play dirty," she replied, letting her words carry double-meaning and flirtatiousness in equal measure. It was easy, remarkably easy, to flirt with him now that she knew it was her partner flicking water at her, her partner visibly blushing, her partner who liked her even outside of her superhero persona.

It felt like wrapping herself in a fluffy towel, like slipping into a pair of well-loved shoes, like walking into her bedroom after it had been freshly decorated. Everything was new and exciting, but at the same time comfortingly familiar.

Once the pair of them were settled in the miniature hot-tub, the bubbles attacked her aching muscles with such wonderful ferocity that Marinette had trouble considering anything else. Yet the urge to tell him was growing more urgent.

She glanced around the room, annoyed that a larger group of people had joined them now, swimming around the outskirts of the hot-tub. They could easily be overheard here. No privacy. Damn it.

It looked like she would have to revert back to Tikki's motto of patience, and stick to her original plan. After the jacuzzi session was finished, they were going to grab some food in the café before heading home. Operation: Dork Love had an entire portion dedicated to finding the most secluded corner. Alya would ensure they had privacy. It was there that Marinette wanted to confess everything, including letting him know that his guess was right- that she really was Ladybug. He'd found her.

Marinette's stomach bubbled in time with the jacuzzi at the thought of it.

As she shifted to sit upright, she felt her hair tug painfully, and she gave a sharp yelp, her hand flying to the back of her neck.

Adrien, who had been sitting opposite her, was by her side in an instant.

"Are you ok?" he asked, voice muffled by the noise of the bubbles.

She nodded, the back of her neck still stinging, and she felt around with her fingers.

"I think some of my hair is caught in my bikini," she groaned, "but I can't tell where exactly."

Adrien was silent for a moment, his eyes glazing over.

"Oh, umm," he faltered, lowering his head, "do you- do you want me to take a look? Or maybe I can get Alya?"

One quick, painful, glance in Alya's direction and Marinette came to a decision that she really ought not to interrupt them. Nino and Alya alike looked deep in conversation, body language facing together, sharing the occasional kiss. She didn't want to get in the way of that.

"Do you mind taking a look?" she asked shyly, "It's just my neck. It's not like you're seeing me naked or anything."

As soon as the word vomit slipped from her mouth, and she watched Adrien's cheeks turn the same colour as his eyes, she realised the implications of what she'd said.

She wanted to dip her head under the water and never come up again.

Adrien laughed nervously, not sure what to do with his hands.

"Sure- no- I mean- yeah, naked. No," he blabbered, also feeling the urge to drown. Smooth Agreste. You're a real Casanova.

Not trusting herself to say another word, Marinette turned around so that her back was facing him. She tentatively lifted as much of her hair out of the way as she could, shrinking when she felt the caught hairs snag even more.

Adrien shuffled forwards, trying to control his fingers, but it was as if they were set to vibrate-mode. He edged toward her, and the bubbles chose that exact moment to turn off, leaving them in silence.

His eyes wandered the expanse of her adorably freckled shoulders, admiring her toned arms, before he deliberately snapped them back to her neck. But that didn't help either.

Perhaps he'd been a vampire in a past life, because there was something about the back of her neck that was just itching for his lips to be on it.

"A-Adrien?" Marinette called out gently and Adrien blinked, suddenly realising how close his mouth was. Without thinking, he'd leaned in. "Can you see anything?"

Holy shit.

He'd leaned in! Just like the night he'd walked her home when he was Chat. Only this time, she hadn't even seen him do it, couldn't have reacted enough to let him know it was ok.

Get a GRIP before you do something stupid! You're a grown man, stop acting like you have no control over your actions!

"Um yeah," he choked, concentrating on what he was actually supposed to be doing. "It looks like your hair is caught on the clasp, if you undo it, it should come loose."

"Oh, thanks," she replied, reaching down to undo the clasp at the base of her neck.

The little clicking sound the clasp made when it was undone was almost the death of him.

"Ouch!" Marinette whined as she tugged the two free ends of her bikini top up, "it's not coming loose, I think I'm making it worse."

"I can help you," Adrien replied quickly, cringing at his own eagerness, "that is- if it's ok."

"Oh, yeah sure," Marinette agreed, her voice squeaking as the bubbles turned back on. Both of them heaved separate sighs of relief. The sound of the bubbles covered the slight panic in their voices.

Adrien's fingers brushed against the back of her neck, pausing when he felt Marinette stiffen. Because of the bubbles, he hadn't heard the breath whoosh out from her parted lips, hadn't felt the quiver which shot up her spine. But when his fingers touched hers, tangling together in an attempt to fix her hair, his stomach muscles clenched, his heart thudded painfully. Once more he had to remind himself that they weren't alone, that she needed his help.

Together they managed to free the rebellious strands of Marinette's hair from the clutches of her traitorous bikini top.

Marinette offered a weak thank you and twirled back around to face him.

Adrien hadn't dropped his hands. The tips of his fingers were now resting against her collar bone, lingering there longer than he should have let them. He wanted to move them away, to prove he was a gentleman, but Marinette's wide-eyed stare held him captive. The lighting shifted to a blue and he was reminded of Ladybug, standing in the reflections of the stained-glass window in Notre Dame. A pearl of water skimmed across Marinette's forehead and down the side of her face. He reached up, following its movements.

"You, you were really great out there today," Marinette whispered, her lips parted in awe.

"Y-yeah," Adrien agreed. "You too. Amazing. Top notch."

If it were any other situation, Marinette would have burst out laughing. In fact, she had when he'd said the same thing a few nights previous. But the mood didn't feel right for teasing. Later. Later she'd remind him.

"We make a good team." Marinette leaned towards him as his hand reached up to tuck a few wet strands of hair behind her ears.

"The best," he nodded, swallowing thickly. "I like your bikini, by the way."

Either the jacuzzi pool had gotten several degrees hotter, or she was about to self-combust. She didn't want to wait anymore. It was too much; he was too tempting. Chat Noir's tender, if slightly seductive, expression on Adrien's face was to be her undoing.

One kiss wouldn't be too bad, would it? Just one, little kiss.

"Thanks," she whispered edging closer to him until their thighs touched. This time, neither of them missed each other's reactions. "It was Alya's idea."

"Alya's a genius," he declared, his voice rough, his nose almost touching hers.

"Amazing," she said.

Just one kiss…

Of course, it was not meant to be.

For right at that moment, the peacefulness of the jacuzzi pool was shattered. Several screams pierced the air, breaking the spell over Adrien and Marinette, and they looked out of the huge windows, startled.

Both of them grimaced when they saw it-

The sight of several people, running and screaming, as blackened roses fell from the sky.


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

Part 22 of 35

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