Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

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

Part 18 of 21

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

"You've been off today."

Adrien shifted his gaze from the soft grass at his feet to meet the eyes of the girl sitting next to him, the color blue staring deep into his own green. With a shrug of his shoulders, his attention fell to the earth once more, the soil beneath his shoes more fascinating than the conversation Marinette was undoubtedly trying to dive into. He scraped at the dirt with the heel of his sneaker mindlessly, watching as it rose and crumbled around the sole.

"I guess I'm just feeling a little down," He replied as he plucked a few blades of grass from the ground, letting them slide between his fingers and dance into the air from the warm summer breeze. "Since I'm leaving in a week."

Marinette hummed beside him, watching as he pulled another handful of grass up from the dirt. "Last week went by fast."

Adrien nodded in agreement, letting the green blades once more take flight. "Too fast."

"At least we still have another week, right?" Marinette's voice held nothing but forced optimism. Adrien knew she wasn't any more happy about his trip than he was. Even if he'd only be away three months, it was still three months they'd spend apart, drifting in their relationship and missing each others company. Leaving would only hinder any emotional growth between them.

It'd tear apart what they'd started—everything they'd built.

Wouldn't it?

The thought sat uncomfortably within his stomach, bubbling in a way that tugged a frown from his lips. Why did he have to leave? Why did his father want him away from Paris?

He loved what he and Marinette had become. In just a span of a few months, they'd become close friends, discovered their feelings for each other, had their first kiss, cuddled, napped together, practically fallen in love. Why did he have to leave all that behind when their relationship had just begun?

He loved what they had developed and he loved where they were at in their relationship.

He also loved where he was with her now, comfortably lounging on a blanket underneath a plane tree at the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, shaded from the scorching sun above. It was an incredibly hot day, and Adrien was thankful to be seated in such a cozy spot next to his… Well, his girlfriend. They could use that term now, couldn't they?

...Could they?

They'd never officially stated it, but… It was surely implied.

Yeah. Girlfriend!


Stifling the squeal he so badly wanted to emit was harder than it should have been.

Laying back against the blanket, Adrien sighed, placing his hands upon his stomach and shutting his eyes to shield the bright sunlight that peaked through the coverage of leaves above them. He could hear the various chirps of birds flapping about, like the occasional coo of a pigeon or the unmistakable caw of a crow. A light summer breeze kissed his skin, and the little dapples of sunshine that streamed through the maze of branches left him feeling pleasantly warm.

He and Marinette had joined Alya and Nino when the two mentioned something about visiting the park (since it was such a pretty day outside), thinking it was best to get outdoors and at least spend a little time together as a group before his inevitable leave came upon them.

Now, Alya and Nino were down by the lake, walking alongside the grassy shore in search of some "cool rocks," or something like that. That's what Nino had said, anyways.

Adrien could only guess it was because they'd wanted to give him and Marinette some time alone.

He blinked open an eye as he felt a bare arm brush his own, Marinette's bright bluebells settled on the tree above while she lay on her back. She looked incredibly beautiful, like a flicker of sunshine herself nestled safely underneath the mottled shade of plane leaves.

Well, more beautiful than usual, that is. Marinette was always beautiful, she just looked even more so this afternoon.

Her hair was pulled back in its usual pigtails, a silky black contrasting against the pink fabric of the blanket she'd brought from home. Because of the heat, she'd ditched the blazer and pants for a white halter top and simple jean shorts, which upon first sight Adrien had noted (with burning red cheeks) that they really showed off her legs. Legs which were much more toned than he would have expected from her. Legs that he'd apologized for staring at.

Was it weird of him to think Marinette's legs were attractive?

For him, he'd worn just a simple black t-shirt and blue jeans, which he considered comfortable enough for the temperature outside. It was one of Paris' hotter days and most people considered sane stayed indoors with the chill of air conditioning keeping them cool, no matter how pretty a color the sky was or how nice it felt to lay outside in the shade. Sure, it was warm out, but Adrien had always loved the sunshine. It was a wonderfully relaxing feeling to simply rest in a patch of sunlight and take a nap.

It was even better to have Marinette by his side.

Marinette, who looked like a ray of golden light herself.

Beautiful, beautiful Marinette.

"You're so pretty," He said as the thought crossed his mind, smiling wide when her bright blue eyes flicked to meet his. "I never noticed how many freckles you have until now. It's cute."

Marinette gave a small grin, shifting her gaze to peer down at the shimmering lake, most likely in search of their two friends. "It's the sun. I always get so many when I'm outside for more than an hour."

"I like them." He really, really did. There was just something so endearing about the little brown specks that dusted her nose and cheeks and he absolutely adored the sight of them. Like a little galaxy on her smooth skin. Her skin that he wanted to kiss.

He could imagine laying with her in the warmth of summer all day long, counting each and every little spot that adorned her face and shoulders.

Possibly other places, too, but he wouldn't know that for sure for quite some time.

That thought didn't bother him in slightest.

"You're beautiful." He couldn't help but say it again. She needed to know!

The noise that came out of her mouth from his compliment was even better than the image of her freckles. A mix between a laugh and a small squeal, it slipped from her lips before she could manage to stop it, causing a smile as long as the Seine itself to spread across Adrien's face. How could one person manage to be so undeniably cute without even trying?

If he could get her to make those noises again, he'd be the happiest guy in all of Paris.

Reaching over to the grass beside him, Adrien grabbed another handful and plucked it from the earth, his hand hovering above Marinette in the least-threatening form possible. As she opened her mouth to question, he unclenched his fist with a chuckle, watching as the thin blades fell to the unsuspecting girl next to him.

"Why?" She gasped, letting out a small grunt of surprise before pulling the grass from her hair and face. "That almost got in my mouth."

It wasn't exactly the noise he'd wanted to hear, but her reaction was warrant enough for him to do it again.

"Because," Adrien snickered, releasing another clump of grass from his hand. "Nothing says midsummer afternoon like throwing grass on your friends."

Instead of complaining or giggling like he'd expected, Marinette sat up and retaliated, ripping two dirty fistfuls of grass from the earth and tossing them over his body with quite a pleased expression on her face. The blades fell to his hair and cheeks and even his chest, speckling his clothing with little wisps of green and dots of brown.

Yeah, he'd deserved that.

Sitting up so he could brush himself off, Adrien laughed, shaking his head to rid the remaining grass from his hair. "Mariii," He whined, drawling out the I in her name. "It's all over meee."

"You did that to yourself." With a satisfied grin, Marinette reached up and ran her fingers through his hair, removing any piece of grass that stuck within his blond locks. "At least I'm helping you get it out."

If having grass thrown on him meant Marinette would pet his hair, then by all means, he'd let her toss grass at him all day long.

Humming, Adrien leaned back into her touch, letting her comb through his hair with a gentle slide of her fingers. He relaxed into her completely, relishing in the feeling of his back pressed up against her petite form. Once she'd rid his hair of the little green blades, her arms slid underneath his own, small hands connecting against his stomach as her face nuzzled into his neck. He could feel her soft breath upon his skin, sweet and warm, reminding him of home.

No- she was home.

It was a peace Adrien had never felt before the night he'd first been pulled into her embrace, sitting on that tiny balcony with the sunset washing over them in red and purple hues. He felt safe, cared about, loved when he sat with her, like nothing in the world could ever break them apart. She was his and he was hers; they were completely each others and nobody else's, and that fact alone made Adrien feel like his life was finally coming together.

He was happy.

Marinette brought out his inner joy, his hidden love for the color pink and all things sweet. She was the only flower in his grassy field of sight, the lone star in a midnight sky clouded with fog. All of the diamonds in the world couldn't sparkle as much as Marinette did in his eyes.

Brushing her fingers with his knuckles, Adrien sighed, letting his eyelids slide closed as he enveloped her hand within his own and gave it a gentle squeeze. She responded to his touch with a delicate press of her lips to his cheek, which sent a wonderful wave of pure affection to blossom throughout his chest.

He only wished his father could see them like this—wrapped up within the loving arms of his most beloved, the girl he cared about more than any other. Maybe then he'd let him stay in Paris.

(Of course, Adrien cared about Ladybug a lot, too, but that was a different story.)

It only saddened him to think that he'd be leaving the wonderful feeling that was Marinette in the short span of a week.

The very idea of going to America—New York city, to be precise—wasn't exactly exciting. He'd heard enough… Unfortunate news about that country to be at least a little wary of his safety.

As if she'd been reading his thoughts, Marinette's lips brushed the skin of his neck as she asked, "What's the time difference going to be, again?"

"Six hours," Adrien replied, squeezing her hand a second time for reassurance. "I'll be six hours behind you."

"I'll probably be up most nights," Marinette said as she raised her head to bury her nose in his messy hair. "So if it's like, two A.M. here, you can still call."

Cocking an eyebrow, Adrien laughed. "And wake the sleeping princess? You know how grumpy you get when somebody wakes you."

The memory of last week's accidental phone call at three in the morning was enough to prove that statement.

"Don't care," She replied with a giggle. "I'll get up for you. It's not like I'll have to wake up early for school, anyways."

"But what if you have to work a shift at the bakery?"

"Still don't care."

Adrien's lips twitched upwards into a small, happy grin. "But Mari-"

"Shush." She playfully clamped a hand over his mouth, eliciting a muffled laugh from the boy held captive within her embrace. "No buts."

Adrien huffed against her palm, knowing very well that she wouldn't be too pleased to find him calling when it was past midnight in Paris. Even if they hadn't talked all day, waking up a sleeping Mari would end in her being either very grumpy or very emotional, and besides, he'd feel bad for disturbing her sleep.

Why wouldn't she listen?

Finding that her hand was still upon his face, Adrien mumbled a complaint, staring down at her fingers when he went unnoticed. Well, that just won't do. She can't silence me forever!

He could bite her, but- no. That'd definitely surprise her enough to pull away, but it'd also hurt her—something he'd never want to be the cause of.

So, instead of nipping a finger in order to cause her to take her hand back, he simply ran his tongue along her skin.

"Ah!" Marinette squealed, recoiling in disgust. "Adrien, you licked me!"

His grin couldn't be labeled as anything else other than "shit-eating." "I know."

"Why?" She whined as she wiped her palm on her shorts, clearly unimpressed. Was she blushing?

Why would she blush from that?

"You were suffocating me. I was dying, Marinette. Three more seconds and I would have-"

A high pitched scream pierced through the air, startling both of the teens—Adrien especially. On instinct, he'd hopped into his girlfriend's lap like a scared little kitten in need of some feel-better cuddles. Marinette didn't even question it, only took hold of him and squeezed him in a protective hold just like he'd desired.

The sight of Alya and Nino dashing back to their picnic set-up confirmed that he wouldn't be getting any of those reassuring cuddles.

"What's wrong?" Marinette asked as Alya began sifting through her purse. "Is there a-"

"Akuma attack, yeah." Upon finding her phone, Alya smiled wildly and stood, practically dancing on her toes. "And an akuma attack means Ladybug! I've gotta get this for the blog-" Her gaze met Marinette's for just a moment. "You don't mind, do you?"

"I… No," Marinette replied, sounding wary. "What kind of attack? Where is it?"

"We heard some dude arguing with his girlfriend or something," Nino answered. "Apparently she cheated. Who knows." He shook his head in disgust. "But the dude left and when he came back, he was covered in flames or some shit. We ran before we could really see what was happening, though." He motioned with his head to the right. "It was over there."

Marinette's eyes widened yet she otherwise seemed unsurprised. "Where exactly?"

Alya pointed to a copse atop one of the larger hills, which burst into crackling flames as soon as she opened her mouth to speak. Scorching heat engulfed the trees, surging into the air as smoke billowed and civilians fled from their once peaceful spots in the shade. It all happened so fast that Adrien wasn't sure what had been the cause of it—all he knew was that Hawk Moth's latest villain was roaming about, supposively igniting random eruptions of fire.

It was too dangerous to stay in the park.

"Shit," Nino hissed, grasping his girlfriend's hand. "That's close."

Adrien's eyes practically bulged as another shot of blazing orange soared through the sky, crashing into the old suspended bridge that hung above the lake and sending it to split, half of the path creaking and groaning until it crumbled into the water with a mighty splash.

All four of the teens flinched from the sound of the impact.

Adrien swallowed dryly. ...Well, that's not good!

Standing abruptly, Adrien scooped Marinette up to her feet and shoved his phone into his pocket, patting the other to make sure Plagg was still curled up inside. "Time to go."

The fire was far enough away that their little group was unaffected, but with the way the flames began to lick at the ground and decreased in distance, Adrien knew they needed to get out of there fast. If they stood around much longer, they'd be burnt to a crisp and in need of a hospital visit.

"Come on," Marinette urged, pulling Adrien along with her hand wrapped firmly around his own.

Adrien obeyed, of course; it wasn't safe to stay in the area. He could already feel the heat of the fire blazing behind him and the smell of smoke was almost too thick to bear.

Part of him worried if they could even outrun the beastly villain.

Still, anxiety began to bubble within the pit of his stomach, reminding him that if he didn't get away and transform soon, people would get hurt, possibly die—Marinette included. He couldn't let her get hurt. He had to get her out of the park and to a safe place before the stupid villain injured her and others, like Alya, Nino, or civilians. Maybe even himself.

He needed to run, flee, duck behind a bush and transform—but Marinette was pulling him away from the action.

Shit, he thought with a glance back to the approaching wall of flames and frantic citizens. Shit, shit, shit!

Why did this have to be one of those akumas?

He'd been having such a nice day lounging in the sunshine! It'd been so peaceful, the sun had been so warm and the sky had been so clear and Marinette had been so close. They'd both been happy; they'd both forgotten about their impending parting, at least for a little while.

Now all that joy had faded. There was nothing left of their previous bliss, not an ounce of glee—all lingering emotion was replaced by adrenaline and fear.

Hawk Moth could burn in Hell. Literally.

With a sizzling crash, a spinning orb of flame skidded across the grass about six feet in front of them, leaving a trail of blackened green and clouds of dirt puffing into the air. Adrien recoiled in surprise, jerking Marinette back before she had the chance to step an inch closer to the taunting orange fumes. A startled noise left her throat (paired with a somewhat agitated groan) as she thumped backwards against his chest, her head knocking into his chin with a painful clack of his teeth.

"Sorry," Adrien said as he rubbed at his jaw, immediately feeling guilt wash over him at the fact that he'd pulled her like that. What if he'd hurt her arm? "I'm sorry! I didn't mean to-"

"It's fine!" Soothing the back of her head with her hand, Marinette gripped his wrist as she darted towards a cluster of willow trees near the edge of the water, practically tossing him behind the curtain of wispy leaves. For just a moment Adrien stumbled before placing his hand upon the trunk and catching his balance, head spinning with thousands of thoughts a second and heart racing from exertion. Why would they go here, a completely flammable gathering of trees, of all places?

Then again, the thick sheet of leaves would surely give him enough cover to transform.

There was only one problem… Marinette was still in front of him. He couldn't go from Adrien to Chat Noir with her watching.

As Ladybug said, their identities were sacred.

"Stay," Marinette instructed, placing a hand on his shoulder. "I'm going to look for Alya and Nino. We lost them in the crowd."

"What?" Shaking his head, Adrien grabbed hold of her hand just as she was about to flee from behind the leaves. "No way, Marinette! I can't just stay here and let you run off in danger like that. You could get hurt!"

"I'll be fine." She wasn't arguing.

Why was she so stubborn?

"Mari, please," Adrien begged, fear in his voice. His grip on her hand tightened. "I don't know what I'd do if I lost you."

The stiffness in Marinette's shoulders fell with her expression, blue eyes softening to a deeply loving gaze. With a twitch of her lips, she smiled, turning so that she could place a hand upon one of his cheeks. Slowly her thumb stroked his skin, a motion that comforted him yet at the same time pulled at his heart.

Don't do that, he whispered in thought as she gave the most affectionate look he'd ever seen. His hand cupped her wrist, fingers lightly running along pale skin. Don't go.

It wasn't like either of them had a choice. If they stayed, they'd be burned alive, but if they left, he wouldn't be able to transform and save anyone, let alone Marinette.

No, he needed to let her go, if only for a moment or two.

Besides, he really did need to get away from her to transform. If he let her leave, he could be after her a minute later and scoop her up to safety as well as Alya and Nino. She wouldn't be in danger for too long.

"I'll be okay," She said. "But Alya and Nino are our friends. They might be hurt."

Marinette was the most selfless person he'd ever met. She cared more about the well-being of her friends rather than her own, even if it meant dashing through a field that was scorched by flame.

They couldn't stay, no matter how safe it felt behind the curtain of leaves. The fire would be upon them soon. Adrien could hear it crackling in the distance, the shrieks of fright accompanied by explosions of heat and the smell of smoke strong enough to make it obvious that while the leaves of the willow tree kept them hidden for now, their cover wouldn't suffice for longer than few minutes.

"Adrien," Marinette whispered, staring deep into his worrisome gaze. "I'll be okay. Trust me. I'm fast, and they could be looking for us. I'll come right back, I promise."

He could only nod. "Okay."

Somehow, he believed her.

With a quick kiss to his lips, Marinette turned, smiling as he released his hold on her hand. "I promise, Adrien."

"I know," He said with a soft chuckle, running his fingers over his knuckles where her skin had brushed just seconds prior. "You've got this."

She nodded, and then, she was gone.

Peaking out from behind the curtain of leaves, Adrien watched as she ran, his heart hammering against his ribcage. She's okay, he told himself as he backed up against the trunk of the tree, calling for Plagg to transform him. She's okay. I'll make sure she's safe.

It's not that he didn't trust her—he did—but when there was an angry akumatized victim throwing random fires about, it surely wasn't odd to be at least a little concerned. Marinette was just a civilian, after all. It's not like she had Miraculous magic to protect herself.

Wouldn't that be something?

Sprinting out from behind the leaves, Adrien emerged into the opening as Chat Noir, tail whipping in the hot wind and boots kicking up blackened dirt. The fires hadn't spread overbearingly yet, leaving him a narrow path of grass (and smoke) to the exit of the park.

He could make it if he was fast enough.

But he had to find the others first!

Expanding his baton, Adrien lifted himself into the air to give himself an aerial view of the park, foggy green eyes scanning the destruction.

His throat tightened from the sight alone.

Flowers which had once stood so beautifully now wilted into black dust and the bright green hills the four had raced across earlier in the afternoon burned red, eaten by livid flames. A furious heat scalded the trees, climbing their trunks and suffocating leaves until they were nothing but flecks of ash and empty branches. The sky, which had been such a breathtaking blue less than ten minutes ago, swelled with dark smoke that replaced the fluffy white clouds with a choking gray.

Civilians were nowhere in sight.

It was a deserted, volcanic wasteland. Nothing but a once-beautiful park consumed by the fever of devastating fire.

It'd all happened so fast that it just felt like a bad dream.

A horrible, horrible nightmare that was all too real.

It's okay, Adrien reassured himself as he retracted his baton and landed with a puff of sparks to the dead grass. Ladybug will fix this. Ladybug can fix this. We'll fix this.

His heart was beating so fast that he swore he was about to pass out cold.

Maybe that was just his body overheating?

Perhaps having a completely black suit wasn't the best for battling a fire-based akuma.

His state of health didn't matter at the moment. Even if his lungs screamed for clean air and his mind was screeching at him to move, move, leave this place, he couldn't.

He had to find his friends.

If something happened to them—to Marinette—he'd never forgive himself.

"Marinette?" He called, voice wavering as he coughed. "Alya? Nino?" Silence. Desperation tugged at his throat. "Guys, where'd you go?"

Nobody came.

Not a soul replied, no voice, not a whisper.

Not even Ladybug.

Where was she? Where was Marinette? Where were all the civilians? Had they all fled? Where would they go?

"Mari? Nino? Alya?" He called again, raising his voice so he could be heard over the crackling flames. "Mari, please, answer me!"

His chest tightened with anxiety. The longer he stood around the thicker the smoke grew and the farther the fire traveled, soaking up the park in a lake of blazing heat. He couldn't stay, but he couldn't just leave—Marinette had just been here moments ago! Everyone else had fled but where had she gone? Where was she? Why didn't she come back for him?

His heart stopped dead in his chest.

Oh, no.

Claws tightened so firmly around his baton that they cut right through the material, leaving thin silver marks across the shiny surface.

She went back for me.

Adrien's fear only drove him to breathe heavier than needed, and the smoke entering his throat caused a cough so hoarse that he knew he'd wake up incredibly sore the next morning. Breathing became a struggle, leaving him wheezing as he ran, ran back to that stupid willow tree where Marinette had left him. Where he'd let Marinette leave him. Where he'd been so stupid and hadn't just said screw the stupid identity and transformed and brought her to safety! He should have just brought her to safety!

She could be alone and hurt! She could be dead and it would be all his fault!

"Don't panic," He told himself, steadying his hands on his knees for just a moment of rest as another fit of coughs wracked his body. "Don't panic, don't panic."

The flames had grown so high that it was impossible to reach the tree without burning himself.

Fire roared in his ears and he could feel his heart pumping blood through his veins, begging him to step out of danger. Heat pressed against him from all sides, exhausting his body and sucking away all of the liquid from his mouth. His skin, his lips, his tongue felt dry, and the sweat that was beginning to build up underneath his suit was nearly as uncomfortable as the fire itself.

With trembling legs, Adrien dropped to his knees, coughing, coughing, hoping—praying—that everything would be okay. That this was all just a horrible nightmare and that if he sat and let the flames engulf him, he'd wake up minutes later and find himself in his bed, awake and at peace with Plagg snoring at his side.

Get up, a voice in his head told him, willing his weary arms to lift his body from the dead grass. Go find Marinette. Find Nino, find Alya. Find them.

Wherever they were.

He couldn't. He couldn't do it. Not even vaulting over the wall of heat would do him any good. He'd land in middle of the flames and be burnt to a crisp.

"Marinette?" He called out one last time, voice weak and choked. "Mari!"

"Chat Noir!"

"Marinette!" The sound of her voice made Adrien's heart leap with joy. Turning with a speed so quick it almost gave him whiplash, his lips broke into the widest grin he could muster when his eyes landed upon-


Not Marinette. Ladybug.

His heart sunk deep, deep to the bottom of his chest and cracked until it was nothing but a pile of broken pieces.

He could have sworn… She sounded so much like her.

Ladybug stood a few meters in front of him, wisps of black hair blowing in the heat of the wind and face contorted with worry as she gripped her yo-yo. Something about her was off, but he couldn't quite place his finger on it—she looked pained, panicked, yet relieved all at the same time.

Her breath was labored, scarlet chest expanding and contracting with difficulty. There were more black spots on her suit than he remembered; or was that just soot?

"L-Ladybug," He breathed, wheezing out her name. "Ladybug, she's gone-"

Strong arms enveloped his frame in a hug tighter than his body could handle at the moment. "Chat Noir, oh thank God you're okay… I thought… Ah," She pulled away as she realized the reality of the situation. "It's not safe here. We have to go. Now. You shouldn't have stuck around so long."

"Wait!" He pleaded, wriggling out from her hold. "No, no, Ladybug, please. Marinette, she's in there, she could be hurt, we have to go back-"

"Marinette's fine," Ladybug said through a cough, placing her hand on his arm. "Let's go, Chat. You're covered in soot. We have to save the city!"

"Where is she?" He needed to know. He needed to.

Ladybug didn't answer his question. Instead, she gave him a tug, pulling him along the sparking grass and all the way out of the park without a word, where they both took a deep gulp of air once in the street and away from the heavy clouds of smoke.

Adrien hadn't even known that lungs could burn so painfully.

Coughing hoarsely, he pressed a trembling hand to his chest, feeling the way his heart beat erratically against his palm.

This wasn't how today was supposed to go.

When he woke up that morning, Adrien had expected to get out of bed, shower, grab some breakfast and meet up with his friends at the park, where Marinette had packed a lunch and brought a blanket so they could have a picnic under a tree. It was supposed to be happy, full of light and joy and laughter—it was supposed to be fun, a peaceful day where he and his friends could lay about and forget their worries, to spend time together before he left the country for three long months.

But now, he was wheezing, choking on smoke that caused his chest to blaze. He was frantic and full of anxiety, slumped over with his hands on his knees as he attempted to catch his breath. He was upset, dehydrated, spent—fucking exhausted.

"Chat." Ladybug's hand on his shoulder was almost like a splash of fire itself. "We have to go. We can't stay here. Solar Flare is on the move, and the fire department is-"

He couldn't look at her. "Where's Marinette?"

"Safe. With the other civilians."

She wasn't telling the truth. He could hear the lie.

"Ladybug, please," He pleaded, his voice merely but a cracked whisper. "Where's my Mari?"

Something in Ladybug shifted; whether it be the way he sounded so pathetically lost or the fact that something terrible had happened, he wasn't sure. Her eyes softened and her shoulders drooped, gloved hands fidgeting with her yo-yo as she glanced everywhere but him. Her mouth opened and closed, brain swimming to find something, anything to say.

Please, Adrien internally begged, a knot forming within his throat. Please, please tell me she's okay.

"I…" She swallowed heavily, fingers trembling. "I'm right h-"

"Ladybug and Chat Noir!" A voice boomed, followed by a painfully bright light that caused the two superheroes to shield their eyes from its vibrant glow. Adrien couldn't see whatever was speaking, but he had a pretty good idea on who it was—Solar Flare, whatever Ladybug had called him—the latest akumatized victim that had caused all the devastating fires. "If you want to see your city safe, give me your Miraculous, or I'll burn Paris and everyone in it to the ground!"

"Can't we ever get a break?" Adrien whined, peeking through his fingers at the figure of yellow that hovered above them. It wasn't much of a person, more like a personified figure bathed in light. With it being too bright to look directly at, Adrien hissed, turning so that he could spare his vision from the burning beams. "Seriously! I'm tired, man! You've burned me out!"

...The pun was unintentional.

Sort of.

"Shut up, Chat Noir," Ladybug whispered through gritted teeth, inching her hand that held her yo-yo into the air before grabbing him and zipping off at the speed of sound. "He's already pissed enough. Make him more angry and you and I might be fried."

"Right, sorry." Adrien whispered back, watching as they fled from the flickering light of the villain, who roared with rage as they made their escape. He wasn't sure why Ladybug had done nothing but run—it probably had to do with the fact that this guy could light fires with the snap of his fingers—but he knew Ladybug had a plan. Ladybug always had a plan. "How are we going to catch this guy? Where's the akuma located?"

Ladybug let out a sigh as they landed atop a roof and slid behind a conveniently placed brick wall, her breath raspy and labored. "I'm… I'm not sure. It might be something we can't see."

Adrien blinked. "So, you don't have a plan."

"Uh, no, not exactly," She said, scratching at the back of her head nervously.

Jeez, now that they were out in the open sunshine (sort of; the sky was still blotted grey with smoke) he could clearly see how filthy they were. Soot and dirt coated their suits and smeared across their exposed skin, the heat of flames and scorching wind making their hair an unruly mess. As if Chat Noir's hairstyle wasn't unkempt enough on its own.

Once they took care of this stupid akuma, all Adrien wanted to do was go home and soak in a long, relaxing bath.

"Great." Adrien slid down the wall, taking what little time they had in peace to catch his breath. "No plan. Amazing. Perfect. Terrific! Today has been fucking magnificent."

"Don't get snippy with me," Ladybug retorted. "If you have a plan, tell me instead of complaining."

At her comment, Adrien scowled, turning his gaze from her and resting it on the city below. Flames devouring various buildings lit up the sky with raging colors of red and orange, signaling that Solar Flare was once again on the prowl, in search of Paris' famous superheroes.

He might've been powerful, but the idiot sure couldn't see.

After a moment of fretful silence, Adrien spared his partner a glance, noting that she, too, appeared quite agitated. If you'd lost your girlfriend in the middle of a devastating fire, you'd be quite snippy as well, Ladybug.

There was no use in letting his aggravation simmer. If one of them needed to speak up and break their quiet, fine, he'd be the one to do it.

"Well," Adrien began, scratching at his chin as he fumbled for an idea, a plan, anything."He's made of fire, right? If we can't see the item that's been akumatized, it's probably under all that flame. Maybe all we need to do is get him into the water."

Ladybug hummed in thought before giving a nod and running her hand through his hair in a friendly pet. "Smart kitty. We can lead him to the Seine." She turned her gaze to him, smiling just slightly. "Can you run?"

A soft chuckle rose from his throat at her question. "Can you?"

Extending her arms, Ladybug smirked and cracked her knuckles, snatching her yo-yo from her hip. "A little fire can't stop me, chaton."

"And it takes more than just flames to burn this kitty out," Adrien chuckled as he stood, ignoring the way his legs pleaded for a few more minute's rest. "Shall we, my Lady?"

A confident smile graced his partner's sooty face as she leaned over the edge of the roof, preparing to leap after the day's akuma. "We shall."

"This was a stupid plan!"

"It was the only plan!"

"This plan is going to get us killed!"

A shot of raging fire sped past the two superheroes as they ran along the city streets, breath coming in heavy gasps. Adrien skidded, dodging the attack in the knick of time, watching as the ball of flames rolled and lit a blazing path along the road.

"We haven't died yet!" He shouted back at his partner, who rolled her eyes and clutched her yo-yo within her hand.

"We need to take to the sky!" Ladybug groaned.

They were both panting now, breath coming in quick, short gasps as their legs trembled from exhaustion. They'd been running from Solar Flare for what seemed like forever in their attempt to lead him to the river, their bodies aching and begging to to just sit still.

It wasn't far, now; only a few more blocks. Just a few more turns and they'd be at the Seine. Then they'd be done.

Hopefully, at least. It would be a task to actually get the victim wet, and then another to locate the akuma.

At this point, all Adrien wanted to do was go home and sleep.

"We can't," He said to Ladybug as he ducked from another onslaught of fireballs, smaller than the last offense. "His attacks will be harder to dodge on the rooftops. We might jump over one and end up falling right off a building!"

"But I'm faster on my yo-yo," Ladybug fought back, squeaking as she hooked the wire of her weapon around a lamp post to propel herself over a burst of flame. "I can dodge him and watch my footing just fine!"

Adrien groaned, picking up his speed. No, she was wrong! He'd seen her attempt this before and she'd ended up spraining her ankle! Why did she have to argue now? "Stop being so stubborn and just listen to me for once, Ladybug!"

"Not when your plan could get us killed! I'm going to the sky!"

"Stop bickering!" Solar Flare demanded, his voice booming across the city. Car alarms blared, glass shattered, the ground rumbled from his mighty roar. "Shut up and give me your Miraculous, before I burn you both to useless ash!"

The akumatized victim almost had a point. If they didn't stop quarrelling, they'd be burned by his vicious attacks.

A down superhero is a dead superhero.

The Earth shook from Solar Flare's explosive voice. "Release your Miraculous or watch each other perish!"

Wisps of fire rained from the sky, singeing the street in a scatter of falling light. Adrien gasped as several orbs sped down from the sky in his direction, swiftly leaping into the air with his baton for just a moment to free himself from the hailing fumes.

Frustration began to boil within the pit of Adrien's stomach as he rounded a corner, completely fed up with the events of the day. He'd been through too much in the past hour. Too much anxiety, too much pain, too much, too much, too much!

Fuck this akuma, fuck Hawk Moth and fuck his own stupidity for letting Marinette to go off on her own during a fire.

Just fuck this day in general.

"I see the river," Ladybug panted as they turned down an empty street, feet pounding against the cracked pavement of the road. "I need you to catch his attention so that I can secure my yo-yo around him. Can you do that?"

Adrien nodded, fighting his own loss of energy with a burst of speed. It hurt, god it hurt to run so fast, but he needed to, had to, or else they might lose their chance to cleanse the akuma and save the city in general.

He couldn't stop now, not when they were so close. Not when this was almost over.

No matter how badly he wanted to quit, he couldn't—he wouldn't—let Ladybug down.

Not Ladybug, not the city, not Marinette.

"Go," He told his partner, patting her on the shoulder for good luck. As if she'd need it. "We can do this."

Over a ledge they went, dropping to the lower path of cobble that skirted the river. It was a slim little walkway but enough to get the job done provided he and Ladybug were careful. There, they split off, Ladybug giving him a small wave before she darted away from Solar Flare's line of sight.

You've got this, he whispered in thought, unsure if it was directed at Ladybug or himself. We've got this.

There'd never been an akuma they couldn't capture.

Ladybug and Chat Noir were an unstoppable team, unbeatable, undefeatable—they would win this. They would always win.

"Over here!" Adrien shouted to the blazing villain, blinking against the harsh beams of light. "You want my Miraculous so bad, come and get it, you big... toasted marshmallow!"

That definitely wasn't one of his best insults, but… He was too exhausted to care.

"Stop running!" Solar Flare demanded, devastating voice causing Adrien's ears to ring.

Just a little farther, just a little farther, just a little-

The sound of an unmistakable wire zipping across the path was like music to his magical cat ears.

As he turned, Adrien shielded the light above his eyes with his clawed hand, watching Ladybug tether the villain with her yo-yo and give a sharp tug. She skidded on her heels for just a moment as Solar Flare hissed and growled, pulling on the wire with the strength of a warhorse. But Ladybug was stronger, grunting as she mustered all of her power just to get the blasted villain to the ground-to the river.

Finding that he was decreasing in altitude, the flaming akuma groaned, resisting every attempt Ladybug made to get him into the water.

He wasn't strong enough. Not to defeat Ladybug.

"Let go!" He hissed, wriggling within the hold of the wire. "You'll regret this!"

Feeling somewhat on edge although Ladybug had nearly dunked the villain, Adrien inched closer, watching with wide eyes as Solar Flare opened his fist. Within his palm, a scorching light began to form, growing and growing until it was released, aiming straight for the girl casting the yo-yo.

"Ladybug!" Adrien called out, voice cracked with fear as he charged towards the attack. "Look out-"

A gasp of pain sliced through the air as the flame burst against Ladybug's right wrist, causing her to recoil and wrap her other hand firmly around the injured flesh. The spotted yo-yo to clattered to the ground, bouncing and rolling—until it teetered on the edge of the path, threatening to plop straight into the water.


Adrien could feel his hands trembling as he glanced back at his partner, who clutched her injury as she sluggishly dodged attack after attack.

Without her yo-yo… She wouldn't last long. She wouldn't be able to purify the akuma.

He had to get it. He had to. There was no way he could let it sink.

Leaping towards the discarded weapon, Adrien skidded along his toes, hopping over a small blast of flame aimed at his feet. He could get it, no problem. Ladybug needed her yo-yo almost as much as she needed him—maybe even needed it more.

With a final duck under a shot of fire, Adrien snatched the yo-yo just before it toppled off the edge, holding it tightly within his palm as he turned to his partner and flashed her a bright, toothy smile.

"Catch!" He called to her, tossing the weapon across the path and internally fist-pumping as she caught it in two hands. "Get him, Bugaboo!"

But Ladybug didn't look very pleased.

In fact, she looked terrified.

"Adrien!" She screeched, zipping out the wire of her yo-yo to hit whatever was coming his way. "Duck!"

But Adrien couldn't move. He stood still, frozen in shock from the word that had left her lips.

…What had she just called him?


His name. His name. His civilian name.

How did she know his-

Something hot, burning slammed into Adrien's chest, sending him to fly backwards, heels dragging across the ashy flooring until his back crashed against the wall surrounding the path. A gasp of surprise was forced out of his body as he fell, dizzy, confused, frightened to the floor, clawed fingers digging into the ground and stomach painfully pressed against cool cobble.

Get up, get up, the same voice from earlier rang in his head, pulsing energy through his worn muscles. Get up now.

I can't, he replied, feeling an intense pain creep up from his chest and all the way down his spine. It hurts.

The faint sound of Ladybug's yo-yo whirring about and the heat of balls of fire soaring through the air made it obvious that the battle was still very real; he couldn't just lie about and let Ladybug do all the work. He had to help.

He had to get up for just a few minutes. He couldn't be hurt that badly, could he?

The pain he felt was probably just simple bruising that would go away in a few days. Nothing broken.

"Ladybug," He murmured, voice breathy and weak. It took almost all of his energy just to speak. "I'm coming."

Just as Adrien pushed his last remaining strength into his muscles and managed to push himself up off the ground only slightly, a blazing heat rammed into the wall behind him, sending it to crack and crumble, breaking into smaller chunks of stone.

"Chat, look out!" Ladybug's voice held nothing but horror as the wall collapsed over his form. "Adrien, no!"

Something hard hit his head, and the world went black.

Truthful Scars

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

Part 18 of 21

<< Previous     Home     Next >>