Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

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

Part 11 of 21

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"Shut the door behind you, please, Adrien."

Adrien's throat felt as if it was coated in a thick layer of sandpaper that scratched painfully with every swallow. Raising a hesitant hand, he shut the door to his father's office with a soft click, gaze frozen on the marble flooring. His eyes burned, itching to meet his father's glare—but Adrien knew there was no point in looking into those icy blues. If he glanced up, without a doubt there would be the same disapproving, unimpressed expression that seemed permanently etched onto his features. It was a rarity that his father ever appeared happy.

A defeated sigh passed Adrien's lips as he tore his gaze from the ground and met the blue of his father's. He knew there was no point in arguing or lying. He'd already lied and that had apparently gotten him in enough trouble. His father hadn't been pleased to find out that his son had stayed the night at a girl's house, especially when he'd lied about his location, building up the suspicion that he had been up to no good. As soon as he'd arrived home, Adrien was asked the exact question—only to be dismissed before he could answer because of the time. Apparently, a photoshoot deemed more important than a father-son talk. Adrien had been grateful at the time.

Now, as he stood in front of his father's chilling gaze with the orange glow of sunset seeping in through the windows, Adrien couldn't find a positive about the situation. He wished that they had just talked about it earlier and gotten it over with. The feeling of dread that resided within the pit of his stomach nearly caused Adrien to groan and beg for mercy.

It wasn't that his father was a bad person—he wasn't. In fact, Gabriel Agreste had never laid a hand on his son with an intent to cause harm. Although distant, he was mainly a decent guy, if Adrien thought long and hard about it. He let him buy whatever he desired, have anything he wanted (material wise), didn't give him specific bedtimes or force him into anything he wasn't particularly happy with (provided he had a good reason.) So, really, there was no excuse for the bubbling anxiety that rose from within his trembling body. His father wouldn't hurt him. He wouldn't even yell. Gabriel seldom raised his voice at all.

Perhaps it was the inevitable disappointment that would tighten his father's lips into an impassive expression that Adrien was dreading. Maybe it was the eyes that would make an unpleasant shiver run up his spine or the soft sigh of irritation that would cause his shoulders to hang in an ashamed droop.

It wasn't the anger he was afraid of; no, it was the feeling of knowing that his father was unhappy with him. An unfortunate feeling he'd began to become better acquainted with as of late. Unhappiness had practically become one of his friends (yet the type that talked shit about him behind his back.)

His father spoke first, causing Adrien to curl his fingers into his palm. If he'd been wearing his signature gloves, the claws would have drew blood from his skin.

"I'm very disappointed, Adrien," Came the frigid tone. "There was no reason to lie to me unless you were doing something you know I would not approve of. Is there anything you'd like to tell me?"

Adrien shook his head, green eyes flicking upwards to meet blue. "N-no, father."

His gaze fell to the floor once more as his father looked to him.

The kiss wasn't worth mentioning.

"I can trust you to tell me the truth, can't I?"

A nod as Adrien swallowed the nervous knot in his throat. "Yes, father. I'm telling the truth."

"Then can you look at me when I'm talking to you?" His voice turned stern and in turn made Adrien's eyes snap up to meet the face of his father. Cold and emotionless; it was a special kind of face that only special people could love. It was hard to find such a guarded person as lovable, yet both Adrien and his mother had done so. Deep down, he hoped his father knew that.

"Sorry," Sighed the model as he clasped his hands in front of him, giving an apologetic smile. Maybe if he appeared to be as innocent as a kitten learning the world, he'd be let off easy.

"You told me you would be at your friend Nino's all day—without permission, might I add," His unreadable gaze nearly made Adrien cringe. "And then I saw that your phone had you tracked in that bakery all day. Why didn't you tell me you'd be with this…"

"Marinette," Adrien offered, his heart skipping a beat as her name fell from his lips. "Marinette Dupain-Cheng. She… She's the one that won a few of your design contents. The derby hat, remember?"

His father gave a small nod of recognition. "I see."

"I wasn't there for a bad reason," The blond continued, "only to work on a school project, honest. Her and I are in a group together for history, w-with Nino and another friend of hers, and I-"

"There was no reason to lie."

Adrien knew that wasn't entirely true; his father wouldn't have allowed him to spend the night at a girl's house in fear of ruining the Agreste name with a teenage pregnancy. He let out a soft sigh, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. As if.

"I was just afraid, father," He answered honestly, eyes shifting downcast before they lifted upward once more. "I thought you'd be upset that- that I was with a girl I like. I figured you might assume we-"

"I deserve to know if anything went on between you two," His father continued, "so I want you to be honest with me and make it clear that nothing I should be concerned about happened."

Adrien sighed. "I promise. Don't you think we're a little young for that, anyways?"

No reply. "Do you not agree that it would have been safer here during that storm? You were only a few mere blocks away. I could have had someone pick you up and bring you home."

Adrien worried at his bottom lip as he fumbled for an answer. His father was correct, yes, it would have been safer within the Agreste household, but it would have certainly felt lonelier and much, much colder. His eyes fell to the marble flooring, examining the faint patterns within the material in an attempt to conjure a reply. Nothing came. A tiny breath passed through his body.

"Hm," His father hummed, turning his icy gaze back to the computer monitor and typing something on the keyboard. "Our home is the safest in Paris. You should have been here."

"I-it may be safe," The waver in Adrien's voice didn't hide the anxiety welling within him. "But it doesn't feel safe. It's… It's not safe to me."


Adrien swallowed. "I-I like Marinette's house, because, it… It, well, it feels like home. I know it isn't home, but it still… Feels like it."

His father hesitated before replying, the only notion that he was concentrating on his words being the blond eyebrow that raised in thought. "Your home is here, Adrien."

"I know that," Replied Adrien, rolling his ring around his finger in a nervous habit. "I just felt better there. I feelbetter there. If I had been here when the power went out, I would have been alone, in the dark, by myself in a cold and gigantic room with nobody around."

Another hum in response from his father. Adrien was beginning to think that was all he did when he heard something that wasn't his own opinion. "I see."

"I-I actually had fun when the power went out. I was with friends, and it was nice. Why do you seem so unhappy with that?" Adrien knew he was treading in dangerous waters by confronting the subject head-on, yet his father needed to know how he felt. Being honest might of been his only chance at gaining an ounce of freedom. "You're not against me having fun, right?"

"There are other ways you can have fun," Gabriel's tone was almost dismissive, as if his son was saying something completely moronic. Adrien frowned, his lips tightening in annoyance. "You missed yesterday's piano and Chinese lessons."

"I practice those every day, father. I think-" He turned his eyes to the floor to avoid the bitter look his father had bestowed upon him. "I think I can afford to miss a couple lessons to hang out with friends."

"There are more important things than small friendships, Adrien."

Adrien scoffed. "Like what, modelling?"

His father nodded. "Precisely."

"Yeah, well…" The agitation that had been rising within him bubbled into anger as he shot his father a look of hurt. "Maybe I don't like modelling all that much. Maybe I'd rather eat right and not have to worry about gaining a pound or two. Maybe I-"

"Adrien, that's enough," Sighed Gabriel, pinching the bridge of his nose in aggravation. "You're being too emotional. I want you to focus on your studies and lessons instead of that girl-"

"That girl happens to be my friend," Adrien hissed, "a very good friend at that. And if you want me to stop visiting her just because I miss a lesson or two a week, then… I'm just going to have to say no."

"Excuse me?" The surprise in his father's voice wasn't masked by his usual frigid tone.

"I said…" Adrien's throat grew dry as he swallowed, the realization of his words settling in with a twinge of apprehension. "I said no. I'm not going to just throw away one of the only friendships I have just because you want me to learn more useless talents."

"Useless?" His father scoffed, lips twitching in what Adrien presumed was anger. Good, let him yell. It won't change my mind. "Being unproductive is useless, Adrien. Do not tell me 'no'. You're not a child anymore."

"Exactly!" Adrien huffed, crossing his arms in defiance. "I'm almost sixteen and you're still trying to control my life like I'm- I'm some… Incompetent child, or something. Why is it so hard for you to- to understand that- that I can make some decisions on my own?" His voice grew stronger with every word that poured from his throat. He was speaking from his heart, letting loose the words that had been locked up within him for months, years, fly free. This was the truth, and his father needed to face it, whether he liked it or not. His son was hurting. His son was lonely. His son was fucking mad. "I understand I can't make every single decision by myself. I get that. But is it so wrong of me to want a little control over my own life? To hang out with friends o-or eat ice cream once in awhile or do something besides sit cooped up in my room like some kind of loner? Is it so bad for me to want to live?"

His father stood still, a hand placed thoughtfully on his chin as he eyed his son down with an unreadable gaze. Adrien turned his eyes away in preparation; what was he planning? To yell? To send him off to another country? To tell him that he should disappear?

He didn't know. He didn't want to know.

He spoke before his father could. "I can make a few decisions by myself, and… And I don't need your permission for everything. I'm sorry for yelling, father, but I can't live like this anymore. And- and if you don't want me to be happy, then you can just-"


His entire body went cold as his name slipped from his father's lips.

"I don't know where this attitude has come from," Gabriel's tone was so icy that it caused a shiver to run down Adrien's spine. "But ever since you started hanging around that girl, I've noticed such… A change in you. You're different. Rarely around, becoming lethargic during photoshoots and avoiding your lessons..." A sigh. "It's obvious that you need time away from these friends of yours—they're clearly a bad influence on the way you think and talk to me. You're being incredibly disrespectful."

"You don't understand, do you?" Adrien breathed, aghast. "I-I can't believe… After all that, you still think I shouldn't be around them? That they'rethe problem?"

"I believe they are changing you into something you're not," Came the reply, his father's expression impassive. "You are my son. You aren't like other people your age. You're better than them. You don't need to stoop to their level of… Rebelliousness, like most teenagers do. I think it's time you-"

"No!" Adrien was surprised at his own tone as the word fired from his mouth like a shotgun. "No. You're the one that's trying to change me into something I'm not. I'm not some… some perfect doll you can put up on display. I may be your son, but I am a normal human being, and I think I deserve a little social interaction in my life. I- No, I know I deserve it. You can't keep me here like this forever. Don't you think I deserve happiness? Friends? Love, maybe?"

A sigh from his father showed his irritation. "Adrien, you're having a breakdown. You're so emotional, just like-"

"Like mom?" His father didn't even need to finish his sentence; Adrien knew exactly what he was planning to say. "You say that like it's such a bad thing."

"Acting on emotion instead of logic is a bad thing, Adrien."

"You're so disappointed in me," Hissed the blond, unable to filter the words that spilled out of him like a waterfall of hurt. "But I think mom would be disappointed in you."

"Do not bring your mother into this," The warning edge in his father's tone did nothing to sway Adrien from his point. He refused to lose this argument. He wouldn't let his dad win again. Never again. "You will not try to guilt me by speaking of her."

"She would have let me hang out with friends," He growled, "she would let me have a girlfriend and let me eat sweets and she would let me live. I don't know why it's so hard for you to remember being a teenager. I don't know why it's so hard for you to…" With a defeated sigh, Adrien grimaced as tears of anger mixed with a heavy feeling of sorrow pricked the corners of his eyes. "I don't know why it's so hard for you to love me the way that I want to be."

And then, silence.

Adrien stood with his arms wrapped around his thin frame, fingers trembling and bottom lip quivering as he attempted to fight off the impending tears. The feeling of a hot streak running down his cheek opened up the floodgates and sent him into a shaking, sniffling mess. His father hadn't seen him cry in quite some time; years, even. Perhaps it was what he needed to see.

He needed to know that his son was hurting.

"I-I need to be alone," Adrien whispered, voice cracked and pathetically quiet. "Nice talk."

He fled before another word could be exchanged between them.

Nearly tripping up the stairs as his feet carried him to his bedroom, Adrien huffed, shutting and locking the doors through blurred vision. He couldn't stay. He needed to go. He needed to escape from his cage and take flight like the trapped pigeon he was.

He needed to run. He needed to run all night long until his limbs burned and gave out from exhaustion.

"Plagg," Adrien breathed, wiping the flow of tears with his knuckles as the Kwami flitted up beside him. "I think we should go for tonight. I don't know where. I just can't stay here."

"Adrien," The small creature said in an uncharacteristically soft tone, acid green eyes knowing and sympathetic. "Don't tell me you're running away."

"Of course not," He replied with a sigh, pushing open one of his large bedroom windows. A gentle breeze blew against his golden hair, cooling his face with a summery kiss. "I'll come back. Just not tonight."

"And where are you going to go?"

"Well…" A second sigh, followed by his palm drying his face. "Ladybug might be out for patrol soon. After that, I don't know. I'll figure it out."

"Kid," Plagg began, his voice a hint of brotherly care. "Maybe running off isn't the best thing to do. Your dad seemed kind of angry that you're leaving a lot, so maybe you could just go to sleep instead. I wouldn't mind taking a nap. Actually, I really want to take a nap. Let's get some cheese and sleep."

"No, Plagg," Adrien replied with a wet glance to his Kwami. "I can't. That means I'm letting my father win. I won't let him keep me cooped up here."

"If you say so," The small cat exhaled, his tail twitching as he sat on his chosen's shoulder. "I demand cheese after, though. I can't be out all night unless you feed me excessive amounts of camembert in the morning."

"Fine," Adrien gave his eyes a final wipe to rid any remaining dampness, sniffling just slightly as he held his fist into the air. "Plagg, claws out."

The empowering feeling of being completely enveloped by a magical super-suit did nothing to lighten the weight of sorrow that hung on Adrien's shoulders. Usually, transforming left him with a sense of freedom, an exciting rush of energy that pushed his muscles to bound across rooftops and elicit a hoot from the cat himself. It was great fun to leap from building to building, to feel the cool night air blowing through his tousled blond hair and nipping his skin. There was nothing better than the satisfying sound of boots clicking against metal paneling as they collided against roof after roof. Being Chat Noir was the only time Adrien could be himself; be free. Free to shout, laugh, run and play like a happy teenager should have the pleasure to. It was a privilege he'd come to adore. Nothing could stop him from loving his alter-ego.

As the sun began its descent behind the city and painted the sky in brilliant hues of orange and yellow, Adrien let a light breath of relief pass through his body as he perched himself upon the roof of a small restaurant that smelled of spices and tomatoes. His nose twitched as the faint odor of alcohol hit the air, masking the aroma of salty food. It'd never been a smell he was quite particularly fond of, with its heavy stench that filled his nostrils and left a bad taste in his mouth.

Having an enhanced sense of smell was both a blessing and a curse. He could pick up the wonderfully sweet and addictive perfumes like lavender and vanilla (his own personal heaven), or the sickeningly strong scent of wine that currently caused his eyes to water from the intensity. With a grunt, Adrien shook his head, leaping from the roof of the restaurant and bounding off to a familiar coffee shop he often passed on his way to his and Ladybug's meeting place. The tempting smells of chocolate and mocha weaved their way into his nostrils, coaxing a sigh of longing out of the black cat. How badly he wished to spend his entire allowance on frappuccinos, or perhaps a hot beverage that would warm him from the inside out…

Adrien blinked in surprise as his stomach growled angrily, gracing him with a painful reminder that he hadn't eaten since eight that morning when he'd consumed a crepe big enough for two. His lips stretched downward in a frown from the consistent rumbling, his hand pressing against his stomach in a silent plea for the uncomfortable feeling of hunger to fade. I should really start stuffing cash into these pockets, He thought bitterly as a delicate fragrance of caramel hit his nose. I smell food all over this city and it's such a goddamn tease.

With an irritated huff, Adrien was off again, vaulting himself from gravelly rooftops to zinc panelling and all the way across the city until he landed on a familiar terrace to catch his breath. He hadn't realized how badly his chest burned or the heavy pain upon inhalation until he had to brace himself on the railing, spandex-covered legs trembling from overexertion. A low groan sounded from his throat as a horrible sickly feeling took over his body. Head spinning, stomach churning and legs weak, Adrien gasped as they gave out beneath him and left him to tumble to the wooden floor in a dizzy heap. Apparently, he hadn't remembered how he'd almost passed out the last time he didn't eat enough before going on patrol. The world spinning around him made it clear enough that he needed some type of energy in his body before he began his journey to Notre Dame once more.

Yet… The wooden floor of Marinette's terrace seemed so comfortable as he lay there with his cheek pressed against the warmed surface. The terrace had been in the sun all day (the first sunny day in about a week) and was perfectly heated for a black cat to lounge upon, even as the sun bid the world goodnight. With a slow inhale, he let his eyes slide shut, a large breath slipping out from his body as he felt the last trace of sunlight fade from the sky. He could hear Plagg in his head, telling him to get up, that he had to meet Ladybug for patrol in fifteen minutes, but Adrien felt too comfortable to move.

Too sick to move.

It was with a small whimper that he realized he was really, really hungry. Being spoiled on eating more than he was used to the past few days had adjusted his body to eating more often, and now as he lay on the empty terrace above his friend's (girlfriend's?) bakery, he felt the hunger pains begin to settle with a terrible wave of sickness. If only he'd remembered to eat before he decided to go running at his highest speeds, jumping across the rooftops of Paris…

A final weak groan left his body as he felt his skin cool underneath his suit from sweat. Every part of him became numb, from his clawed fingers to the tip of his midnight tail. He couldn't move a muscle. Not that he wanted to—he was far too exhausted to do much of anything besides breathe. Even keeping his eyes open was a task too difficult. I'm sorry, Ladybug, He sighed in thought, welcoming the blanket of darkness that enveloped him. I guess I'll be missing another patrol.

Coming across Chat Noir taking a nap on her terrace hadn't been Marinette's initial plan for the night. Sure, she had expected to see her feline partner sometime that evening, but nearly stepping on his tail when she emerged from her trapdoor as Ladybug caused a little more than simple surprise. She froze on her feet, blue eyes wide from the sight of the unconscious blond. A sigh of relief passed her lips as she thanked whatever force caused him to at least lay with his feet facing the skylight so he didn't happen to see her emerge as Ladybug—if he had even been awake, that is.

Concerned and a little frightened, she gave his shoulder a gentle nudge with her foot, frowning as Chat didn't budge. Not even a twitch! This kitty was completely out cold.

"Chat Noir?" Marinette called, kneeling down to run a hand through his mop of blond hair. "Hey, Chat Noir? Are you okay?"

Green eyes blinked open as a low groan sounded from his throat. "Ladybug?"

Marinette nodded, her voice full of worry for her partner. "What happened to you?"

Chat lifted his head an inch or two above the ground, clearly struggling to stay awake. His face looked sickly pale and those green eyes that burned like acid now had a dull coloration to them, the brightness faded entirely. Poor kitty.

"Are you okay?" She asked once more, lifting his head into her lap in a slow and delicate motion. "Are you sick? You don't look so good…"

"My lady," He breathed out, voice raspy. "I'm… Fine. Just tired."

"You look so pale," Marinette sighed, pressing the back of her hand to his forehead. It was cool to the touch and slick against her fingertips. "Were you injured?" At the thought, she briefly checked him over, palpating his chest and sides to check for any sign of damage. The only thing her probing caused was a few giggles escaping the mouth of her partner. Marinette grinned, if only from the sound of his quiet laughter. At least he was okay… Somewhat.

"Stop, my lady, please," Chat tittered, giving her hand a gentle push away from his person. "I'm ticklish."

"I can see that," She replied through a soft chuckle. "You're not hurt at all? I assume you fainted, but if you decided to stop on someone's house and take a nap, then-"

"Wasn't a nap by choice," Her partner grumbled as he sat up straight, pressing his palm against his head with a quiet moan. "I'm not really sure what happened, but I was on my way to meet you and stopped here to catch my breath because I was feeling a little tired, but… Then I just got weak and fell."

Marinette frowned, letting her gaze survey his thin frame before shifting back up to his eyes. "Do you know why?"

"Uh…" He couldn't look at her face as he stood, brushing off the dust from his stomach. "I do, but it's nothing to worry about, my lady. Let's just get to our patrol, shall we?"

"Chat…" Marinette stood with him, crossing her arms over her chest with a troubled expression. That damn cat was always looking out for others but never himself! "You literally fainted while you were on your way. You're lucky I was heading in the same direction, or else you might've slept on this terrace all night." A sigh. "We'd better go before Mam- I mean, uh, the family that lives here comes up and sees us chatting on their roof."

With a small nod, Chat Noir extended his baton in preparation to leap. Just as he steadied himself and was about to bound, the rumbling of his stomach caused both of them to hesitate in surprise. Marinette felt her lips curl downwards into a sympathetic frown. Chat wasn't sick… Just hungry!

"Chat Noir," She breathed, resting a hand on his bony shoulder so he couldn't flee. "You're worrying me with these eating habits of yours. You can't run around the city without eating. That's why you fainted, isn't it? You... " It was hard to look at him. The more her eyes scanned his body, the more she noticed how truly thin her partner was. It was saddening, to say the least. "You don't eat as much as you should. It's why you're so skinny…"

"I don't want to talk about it," Chat replied, his voice harboring an apprehensive tone. "Please, Ladybug. I can't talk about it."

"I just want to make sure you're safe, Chat." Sliding up onto the railing of her terrace, Marinette sat, her short spotted legs dangling over the side. "You've been acting different lately, especially today, you-" She looked over as her partner joined her, perched atop the metal railing with a quiet huff. "-you're… Sad. You're sad a lot."

Chat didn't reply. His dull green eyes stilled on the church across the river,ears flattened against his golden hair. Marinette frowned at his posture, slumped and heavy, as if it was a challenge to simply sit up. I hope he's okay.

"You are, aren't you?" She sighed, watching as Chat practically huddled within himself from what she could only assume was embarrassment or exhaustion. Maybe both? "I know it's not my place to ask why—I know I can't—but… I want you to know that I am here for you, even if we can't share personal information. If you need some comfort I'll gladly help you carry the weight of whatever is bothering you. You're my partner, remember? We'll ride this out together."

Marinette felt her heart stop as blazing green eyes met her own blue. They burned into her skin, leaving a scorching trail of flames that ignited her heart and sent it to beat a frenzy within her chest. Sure, Chat Noir's flirtations seldom meant more than simple play to her, yet… Chat had never looked at her like that before. His eyes held secrets and sorrows so deep that she feared she'd drown from the depth of it all. She'd never seen him appear so broken, so hurt, that it didn't surprise her when a tear left a wet trail down his black mask. He wiped it away before it could travel too far, turning his face away in chagrin. Marinette's lips parted in a whimper of sympathy as she raised her hand to brush the sunny hair out of his face, running her fingers through the smooth strands until they found a perfect spot behind his ears to scratch.

All Chat did was let out a shuddering sigh.

Not a smile, a purr, or twitch of the nose. Not even a flicker in his gaze. His glossy eyes turned to the church ahead of them, which glowed like starlight under the light of a full moon. A beautiful luminescence of snowy light and yellow hues. They should have met there and been off on their evening patrol already.

Patrol wasn't exactly a necessity, but it filled the citizens with a sense of security and eased Marinette's conscience as well. Knowing that the city was safe from harm was a personal comfort she enjoyed. Besides, it was fun to flit around the city with her partner, her best friend, leaping from roof to roof as the evening breeze played with their hair and illuminated their skin.

The sound of a faint sniffle drew Marinette's focus back to her partner, who sniveled and trembled as he hid his face within one of his clawed hands. An inaudible gasp came from her throat as she watched tears streak from his cheeks and onto his palm, wetting his gloves. Her heart broke in a million pieces from the sight alone. She'd never seen Chat Noir cry before… In fact, Chat had never struck her as much of the sensitive type at all. Sensitive was never a word she'd use to describe him until now. Many other words fit the bill, of course; flirtatious? Yes. Brave? Of course! Rash? Most definitely. But…


It wasn't a word she'd associated with her partner before. She'd thought of him to be a lot of things, but certainly not sensitive.

Her heart lurched for him.

"Chat…" She breathed, taking his damp hand and squeezing it within her own. "Hey, it's okay…"

"No," He responded in a weak and cracked voice, giving his head a feeble shake. "N-no, I… It's not okay. I'm having such a hard time right now…"

With a delicate hand, Marinette wiped the flowing tears with her knuckles, using her other to rub his back in comforting circles. She could feel he was trembling, shaking with every tear he released. Chat was trying to hold it all in. The poor guy was shying away from her comfort as if it was a foreign thing to him.

Marinette found herself thinking back to Adrien a few weeks ago, when he'd sat on the same terrace and broke into a puddle of sorrow and tears. Her chest warmed with the memory of his wet cheek against her neck, giving her all of his trust and making her fall even harder for him. She'd only continued to fall for him over and over again, and every single day since she couldn't stop thinking about him, especially now, after that wonderful kiss…

"I'm sorry," Chat murmured, his mouth stretched in a dismal frown. "I-I didn't mean to- to start… Crying. I didn't want you to see me like that. Like this."

"It's okay," Marinette replied, her voice soft. "Don't be afraid to cry. Just because we're superheroes doesn't mean we can't cry every now and then. Even Ladybug cries sometimes, kitty."

"Yeah," Sighed Chat, drying his eyes with a quiet sniffle. "I guess you're right. Sometimes it's hard to be strong, you know?"

Nodding, Marinette patted his back, running her fingers up and down his spine in a comforting motion. "I know. We can't be brave all the time, chaton. Even us two need to take a break and let it all out every now and then."

"Ladybug…" Those green eyes turned to her, glowing with an unreadable emotion Marinette couldn't decipher. It wasn't love, but… More like appreciation.


"Thank you."

And then he smiled. A small, half-smile that curled the corners of his lips upward, but a smile nonetheless. It only lasted a brief moment before it faded, but Marinette knew that tiny smile had meant the world to him—meant the world to her. She didn't cease brushing his back with her fingers, only slowed, her hand eventually resting upon his shoulder. They sat silence for a few moments, the only sound between them being the gentle breathing that left their mouths.

Marinette parted her lips to speak, but was quickly cut off by the perfectly timed growling of Chat Noir's stomach. She frowned, glancing down at his flat belly before letting her eyes study his face, which showed no sign of embarrassment or shame of his hunger. The only change she noted was the way his lip twitched in discomfort.

Well, she couldn't just let her partner go hungry! Only he knew what his home situation was. Whether he be poor, monitored, or struggling through an eating disorder, she had no idea; all Marinette knew was that her partner was in need and she would stop at nothing to help him.

"Hey," She began, stepping back onto the wood flooring of the terrace. "Let's get you some food."

Chat looked up, his eyes widening slightly in surprise. "What?"

"You're hungry," Placing her hand on her hip, she grabbed her yo-yo in preparation to jump down from the building. "We can go eat."

"I- but- we- … Really?" God, it was sad just to hear the shock in his voice that someone had offered to feed him.

"Yes, really," She told him, "We're above a bakery, aren't we? I'm sure the owners won't mind handing out a treat or two for Paris' superheroes."

"But…" Chat glanced towards Notre Dame then at the floor, his nervous expression making Marinette cock a curious eyebrow. "I don't have any euros on me, Ladybug. I can't just take stuff from these people for free."

"I…" Marinette sighed softly, nibbling on the inside of her cheek as she fumbled for a reply. This was her home, her parents' bakery; she worked in it daily, for crying out loud! As Marinette, she could walk in and take whatever she wanted whenever she pleased, and her mother wouldn't bat an eye. It was practically the norm. Living and working in a bakery certainly didn't deter her from sweets like most people assumed it would. "It's fine. I go in there all the time."

Perhaps that wasn't the right answer. It was true, yes, she did go in there all the time, but not as Ladybug. She visited the bakery as her civilian self, the daughter of the two bakers who owned the entire shop and building. It wouldn't be odd to see Marinette asking for a couple croissants and a slice of cake or two, but Ladybug waltzing into a small bakery asking for some food (without a penny on her) wouldn't exactly be a normalsituation.

"You do?" Chat's ear twitched as he placed his feet back on the floor, eyes glinting in interest. "Really?"

"O-oh, yeah, of course! This place has the best… The best... " Conveniently, she'd forgotten everything her parents sold in the bakery. What was a macaron, again?

"The best everything," Chat Noir finished for her, letting out a soft chuckle. "I wish I could buy all of it at once."

Marinette giggled. "Well, I heard they've got a new flavor of cheesecake. Want to go order a box?"

"Ahh…" Chat seemed hesitant, but the rumbling in his stomach urged him to comply. "If they don't mind."

Smiling, Marinette gave her partner a gentle pat on the back before hopping onto the ledge of her terrace, ready to head down. "I'm sure they won't mind at all, chaton."

Walking into her parents' bakery as Ladybug fifteen minutes before closing time hadn't been as awkward as Marinette had expected it to be. Her mother was incredibly excited to see Paris' superheroes peering into the glass cases, going as far as offering them anything they wanted free of charge. Chat had politely declined, saying that he would stop by the next day and pay her back for anything they bought, but her mother insisted they take whatever they desired. She'd told them that it was "the least she could do to thank them for saving the city."

Marinette stood back towards the display window, her hands on her hips as she watched Chat gaze longingly at the array of pastries, bread, and sweets. His tail twitched in concentration, clawed fingers trailing down the glass of the beautiful clear cases when a particular scent caught his nose. He sniffed the air and spun around, green eyes brightening at the sight of a delicious cheese danish. Marinette recalled to a patrol a few weeks ago when Chat had mentioned that his Kwami harbored an ungodly obsession with cheese, which made her wonder if it was the little creature's doing that caused the black feline to lick his lips and whine in wanting.

"I think he wants that one," Marinette giggled, tapping the spot on the case the danish sat behind. Chat grinned up at her, thanking her sincerely with his twinkling gaze. Those totally not kissable lips which had been tugged downwards in a somber frown less than ten minutes ago now stretched wide across his cheery face in a smile that could cure any sickness.

Ruffling his hair, Marinette scratched behind one of his ears and thanked her mother (with a minor slip-up of calling her "mamman"), grinning as Chat cradled the pastry in his hands like it was a newborn baby. She'd never seen someone become so enthusiastic from food before, even over a pastry from her parents' bakery. Sure, they were amazing and tasted like paradise straight from an oven, but poor Chat Noir looked as if he was about to cry from gratitude. God, She thought to herself with an internal sigh. It's almost like Chat Noir barely eats at all.

Marinette practically had to drag her feline partner away from the glass cases just to get him to leave. Those sparkling green eyes were wide with wonder as they scanned all of the different types of pastries and sweets, as if he'd just stepped through the golden gates of a heaven where angels were French treats. A whine broke from his mouth as the door shut behind them, sealing off the bakery for the night. It was past closing hours, and her and Chat Noir had surely overstayed their welcome, although Marinette knew her parents didn't mind; she'd probably hear about it first thing in the morning.

"Believe it or not," She began once they perched themselves on top of a building across the street, flashing a grin at her blond colleague as he bit into his food. "My parents are actually huge Ladybug and Chat Noir fans."

Chat nearly choked on his danish, eyes widening in surprise. "Your- huh?"

Marinette felt her heartbeat stop, blood cooling to ice within her veins. Oh, fuck. Her white teeth bit down hard on her bottom lip as she scurried for a way to cover her second slip-up of the night. I fucked up. I fucked up. I fucked up.

"I mean-" She glanced away from the bakery, gaze stilling on the pastry within Chat Noir's claws. "I was just thinking about them! My parents, who are probably asleep by now, miles from here, and wondering where I am... Those bakers… Seemed like nice people and made me think of myparents because they were nice and my parents are nice."

"Oh," Came the reply, a simple breath that escaped from his parted lips. "Your parents are nice?"

"U-uh," Swallowing the nervous not in her throat, Marinette nodded, forcing a smiling expression upon her worrisome face. "M-mhm! Nice, good people."

"That…" Chat picked at his pastry as if he suddenly wasn't very interested anymore. "Must be… Uh, nice."

Those green eyes that had lit to such an excitable fire moments ago faded into dying coals. Startled by the sudden change in atmosphere, Marinette reached out with a hesitant hand, letting her fingers ghost over his shoulder before she grasped it gently. A horrible feeling of guilt washed over her; she wasn't sure what she had said or done, but suddenly her partner had shied back within himself to a guarded and miserable mess.

"Chat Noir?" She whispered, her eyes filling with concern for the saddened feline. "Did I say something wrong?"

"N-no, it's fine, Ladybug." He took a bite of his pastry to avoid dwelling on the subject any further.

Marinette gave a dissatisfied grunt. "Don't shut me out, Chat. I'm here for you."

"Sorry, my lady," He sighed, swallowing the remains of the danish. "Parents are a touchy subject for me and I'd prefer not to talk about it."

She felt her heart sink within her chest. Oh, poor Chat… "I-I had no idea. I'm sorry."

"It's alright," He told her, unable to meet her gaze. "You didn't know."

"Are you-" His eyes flicked to her for just a moment. "Are you an orphan?"

A small snort from beside her made Marinette break into a tiny smile. Okay, good, she'd made Chat laugh. That was something, right? "I take that as a no?"

"I'm not an orphan," He chuckled, his eyes showing no light within them although his laugh was pure. "I just have family issues, Bugaboo. Had a fight with one of the parentals tonight. I'll be fine, though. I'm staying away for the evening but I'll go back tomorrow. Don't worry about it."

"That bad, huh?" Marinette couldn't fathom what it'd be like to have such a tough argument with one of her parents that she'd have to leave for the entire night. Her parents loved her, cared for her, gave her the best life they could; she couldn't imagine disliking one of them, or getting in a fight so difficult that her only choice was so spend her time elsewhere. The thought made her eyes soften with sympathy for Chat. That kitty really was the epitome of bad luck.

Chat nodded, a despondent sigh falling from his lips. "Yeah, I'll… I'll be okay, though. I've just never had a fight with him like that before."

"Your dad?'

He nodded again.

"Well…" Marinette crossed her legs as she turned to face her partner, gazing at him with the friendliest, most caring smile she could muster. "Don't worry. I'm sure it'll all be okay eventually, right? Parents can't stay mad at their kids forever, and vice-versa. He'll come around, and so will you. I'm sure he's beating himself up about it too—whatever happened, that is. He's probably missing you right now."

A quiet hum from Chat made her smile droop. "I hope so, Ladybug. He's not exactly the best at parenting. My mom did a better job."


"Your mom, she...?"

Marinette's hesitance to ask the question hadn't gone unnoticed by Chat Noir. He sighed, giving a feeble nod before turning his damp gaze to the effervescent city, which sparkled and danced under the light of the full moon. Twinkling lights of yellow and red filled the air, faint rumbles of cars rolling down the streets coming from a distance. Marinette noticed, with each and every little sound, Chat's ears flicked and adjusted to pick up any noise that rose around them. It was an adorable little feature she hadn't bothered to realize before.

Those black ears upon his head of his looked so soft to the touch. Reaching out, Marinette ran gloved fingers over the tips of their velvety surface, down along the back and then the base. If only she could feel their texture without her gloves on—they were most likely akin to silk due to how delicate they felt underneath her clothed fingertips. Chat responded to her touch with a delayed reaction, but as soon as she began combing her fingers through his sunny blond hair, he submitted into a purring yet trembling mess. She briefly remembered with a sad hum that cats purred in times of distress to comfort themselves.

"It's okay," She told him in a light whisper, letting him wither into a crying puddle within her embrace. "Everything is gonna be okay. I'm here, Chat."

He sniffled in response, his shoulders shaking from the sobs that wracked his body. Running her fingernails up and down his back, Marinette let an inaudible breath pass her lips before she buried her nose in his hair and rocked back and forth in a slow, comforting movement. It seemed to calm her partner ever so slightly, his weeping fading into a simple cry that consisted of quiet whimpers and pathetic snivels. His tears had dampened her suit as he cried into her shoulder, but she couldn't find it in herself to care. Chat needed comfort, Chat was depressed, and she would be there to help him no matter the cost. Missing a patrol wouldn't cause more damage than the damage already apparent within her partner at the moment.

As her best friend's (best friend!) whimpering turned into quiet trembling, Marinette placed a single kiss upon his forehead, her fingers scratching behind his ears in an attempt to coax another purr out of him. "I'm here," She repeated in a whisper, "I'm here. I'm always here."

The rest of the night went by in a whirlwind of emotion. Chat's crying had died down quickly due to her touch, leaving the feline superhero a completely exhausted pile of sleepy kitty within her arms. They'd talked lightly, bringing up positive subjects like the fact that school was almost out and how much fun it would be to hang out during summer instead of exclusively meeting up for patrols or akuma. Chat had mentioned that his birthday was soon (without giving specific dates), which left Marinette to assume that it was within a few weeks to a few months. In response, she'd let him know that she had a birthday soon as well. Chat begged her for the month, desperately wanting to get her a gift, and Marinette hadn't been able to resist the adorable kitten eyes that pleaded for an opportunity to celebrate birthdays together.

She'd laughed when they discovered that she was about three months older than he was.

No, they hadn't shared exact dates, but telling each other the month they were born in showed enough trust without giving too much about their identities away. They'd promised to buy each other a gift and give it to the other during the month of their birthday.

Marinette knew immediately she'd bring him as many pastries and cakes from her bakery as she could.

Chat Noir had almost fallen asleep by the time the moon reached its peak in the sky, signalling that midnight was near from its milky white glow illuminating the stars in the surrounding sky. Marinette's own yawns of weariness had let her know that it was definitely time for bed, no matter how much she was enjoying the company of her partner at the moment. Both were tired, and with a disappointing realization, had school the next day.

"Chat," She murmured, giving him a gentle nudge. He'd drifted off with his head on her shoulder, cheeks glistening from his previous tears that had long since dried. "Hey, it's late. We've been out here for a long time."

"Sleeping," He muttered, refusing to open an eye. "Sleeping right now."

"You can sleep in a bed, not on me."

"Shush. I'm sleeping."

Marinette grinned. "You're talking an awful lot for someone who's sleeping, Chat Noir."

"I can talk in my sleep," He yawned, fangs glinting in the moonlight. "It's one of my many talents."

"Do you have a place to stay tonight?" She regretted asking as soon as the question fell from her lips and she saw that stupid, stupid grin.

"Why?" One of Chat's glowing green eyes opened to a slit, revealing a thin black pupil. "Are you offering?"

"Certainly not," She replied with a snort, for once feeling pleased to see his signature smirk. "I just need to make sure you're not sleeping on the streets, is all. Do you have a friend you're staying with?"

Chat blinked open his eyes, letting them flick to the bakery across from them. Oh, Marinette smiled in realization. He wants to stay with me. Okay.

"I do," He breathed, his gaze unblinking upon the windows of her bedroom. "Yeah. I'll be fine."

Marinette nodded, making a mental note to sneak in through the back door of the bakery in case he saw her enter her home. "Alright, kitty, goodnight. I'll see you next time, Chat Noir."

"Until next time, my lady." He gave a dip of his head, taking a bow after her stood. Before he vaulted off, he turned to face her once more, an expression of pure gratitude across his smiling face. "Oh, and Ladybug?"


As they made eye contact, his smile only grew. "Thank you."

And then, he was off.

Marinette let out the nervous breath she'd been holding as he leaped across the rooftops of Paris, in the complete opposite direction of the bakery. She grinned at his attempt to dissuade her from knowing where he was going to stay for the night.

At least it gave her the opportunity to slip in through her skylight to destransform and change into pajamas before hopping into bed. She hadn't expected to stay out that long with Chat, yet she couldn't bring herself to leave his side. He'd been in a time of need and she'd been there for him to let the tears flow until he ran dry. A heat spread across her face before she could distract herself in an attempt to stop it.

By the time a faint knocking could be heard from her skylight, Marinette had already fallen asleep, too exhausted to keep her heavy eyes open any longer. Tikki zipped underneath her pillow before Marinette opened the skylight, a fiery green gaze meeting twinkling blue. His eyes glowed like acid as they searcher hers, blond hair fanning his face like a sunny curtain. She resisted the urge to brush it away so that she could feel his smooth skin underneath her fingertips.

"Can I stay?' He whispered, inching his head in through the opening with an innocent smile.

Marinette nodded, letting her arms wrap around his thin frame as they fell back onto her mattress into a relaxing and comfortable heap. They shifted, Chat on his back as she curled up to his side, giving her easy access to his chest which felt more comfortable than any pillow could ever hope to be. As her fingers combed through his wonderfully soft hair, she sighed, letting her lips brush the lobe of his ear as she breathed, "Always."

Truthful Scars

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

Part 11 of 21

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