Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

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

Part 19 of 21

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Adrien had never considered waking up to be difficult.

Sure, getting up for school on mornings he'd received little sleep the night before wasn't an easy task, but it'd never been nearly as grueling as it was to wake now.

Simply attempting to open his eyes was the most exhausting thing he'd ever experienced. He was so tired. He'd had never felt more tired in his entire life. Even the time he'd stayed up for three days straight to upgrade his mech to the highest level in Ultimate Mecha Strike III couldn't compare to how weary he felt at the moment.

Every bone in his body ached, every muscle cramped, as if he'd been running for hours and hours on end without so much as a single moment's rest. Pain radiated from his head all the way down to the tips of his toes, some areas only slightly sore while others—like his right leg—throbbed in a constant reminder that something drastic had definitely occurred.

Whatever it was, he couldn't remember.

All Adrien could recollect was the fear he'd felt burning within his chest—among smoke, for some odd reason—as he called out Marinette's name.

She'd disappeared.

He missed her.

How long had she been gone?

It felt like months.

Who knew.

A rustling of fabric came from Adrien's side, followed by a wistful sigh and the warmth of another hand delicately grasping his own. He could faintly register feminine fingers stroking his knuckles in a way that comforted him immensely and drew pleasant breath from his lips, the beginnings of a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth.

He was almost certain he could hear his name being called, but the sound was too far away for him to be sure.

Enjoying the sensation of another person's touch, Adrien used what little strength remaining in his body to give the hand enveloping his a squeeze as he felt himself sink deeper into the bed. It was soft and warm, much like the girl he desired to be next to so terribly.

Without Marinette, he felt lonely. He was lonesome lying down in a bed that happened to be far too empty for his liking.

Why he was in bed, he wasn't sure. He didn't remember anything prior to the anxiety that had caused him to cry out the name of his friend; his girlfriend; his Mari.

Wherever she'd gone, it didn't matter.

He was alone now, sad and injured.

A soft whimper rose from his throat as he felt a twinge of sorrow clutch at his heart. Why did he always end up alone?

Well, no, that wasn't true. He didn't always end up alone. More often than not as of late, he'd been able to confide in Marinette during his times of gloom. If she was busy, then he had Nino.

He wasn't alone. Not anymore.

"Adrien?" A voice murmured, groggy and faint. "Was that you?"

Adrien's heart stopped as soon as the sweet sound of Marinette rose from beside him. She could bring him out of any sleep in the most blissful way possible.

"Mari?" He whispered, surprised at the hoarseness in his own voice. Willing his heavy eyes to open, Adrien was greeted with the sight of bright blue staring deep into his own green, glossy and full of relief. Everything was a little blurry at the moment, but by scent alone (blessed cat senses) Adrien knew this was Marinette.

His Mari.

He could never forget her.

"Adrien," Marinette breathed, sitting up hurriedly and brushing his messy hair out of his face. Her tone held nothing but joy, yet even with a sleepy glance Adrien could tell she was completely exhausted. "You're awake."

He hummed in response. Sure, he might've been awake, but he sure as hell didn't feel like it. Every limb felt as if it was glued to the bed, and he swore there were one-hundred pound weights attached to his eyelids.

The feel of Marinette's gentle hands combing through his hair was nearly enough to send him back to a peaceful slumber. One of her fingers scratched under his chin, a giggle slipping from her lips as he responded with a pleasant sound of surprise. It felt so nice to simply be touched by her, whether her soft skin brushed his own or her fingertips ran through his hair, it all was such a relaxing sensation.

A wonderful thing to wake up to.

All Adrien wanted to do at the moment was to look at her; to take her in and make her smile. She needed to smile. Marinette seemed so weary that the only thing he could think about was how quickly he could make those cute pink lips break into a grin.

If he could get her to laugh, that'd be even better.

"Mari," He said in a soft voice, smiling up at the girl standing above him. A wave of affection crashed over him from the sight alone. Even while utterly exhausted, she was still the most beautiful girl in the world.

Messy black hair let loose from its usual pigtails draped over her shoulders like a midnight wave, nearly reaching down to the cut of her white T-shirt. It was with a loving beam that Adrien noted her hair had gotten longer than it used to be-he wondered if she'd let him brush it someday soon.

As he glanced down, he found that she was wearing pink pajama pants adorned with black kittens. His heart nearly combust from excitement.


He couldn't find it in himself to focus on anything else other than her at the moment.

A thought of asking Mari what time it was crossed his mind since it was so dull in the room (he could barely see anything beyond her), but it was quickly replaced by the growling of his stomach. Funnily enough, Adrien couldn't remember the last time he'd eaten. "Do you have any food?"

Marinette's expression fell for a moment before she giggled, her lips twitching upwards into a smile so wide he was sure it'd split her cheeks. "You wake up in the hospital and the first thing you ask me is if I have food?" Her hand ran along his head and scratched behind his ear. "Silly minou."

Adrien's eyes widened at her statement. Hospital?

He was in the hospital?


A quick glance around the room as his vision adjusted to the darkness confirmed that what Marinette had said was definitely true.

Well… At least he'd gotten her to smile.

Squinting against the shadows, Adrien noted that the room was quite small, and the only source of illumination (how dull it may be) was the fluorescent light buzzing above his bed. Next to him sat Marinette (which he'd noticed well enough already) in a little blue chair, and in the corner of the room was a sink and a trash can, along with a dispenser for paper towels and other sorts of bins for different types of waste. In front of him high up on the wall was a basic flat TV, static flickering soundlessly on the screen.

Balloons labeled with "get well soon" and colorful bundles of flowers decorated the bedside table, and Adrien could've sworn that nestled within one of the bouquets was a little Chat Noir plushie.

An uncomfortable prodding in his right arm caused him to grimace downward and find that a needle was stuck in his skin, and as he looked further down the bed, it dawned on him that the reason one of his legs had been in so much pain was because it'd unfortunately been broken.

That's what Adrien assumed from the cast ranging from below his right knee to his foot, anyways.

How did he break his leg? He'd been so careful!

However it'd happened didn't necessarily matter, Adrien guessed. All that was important to him was that his foot was elevated on some comfy pillows and for the moment, it wasn't hurting.

That wasn't the same to say for his head, though, which throbbed immensely just from scanning his surroundings.

"How did I break my- ..." Adrien paused as Marinette's words finally registered within in his head.

Wait. His eyes narrowed in thought. What did she just call me?

...Had she just called him minou?

"What'd you say?" He rasped, blinking in confusion. Maybe he was just imagining things. She couldn't really have called him that, could she?

Only Ladybug called him minou.

Marinette simply smiled and took his hand in her own once more, delicately running her thumb over his knuckles in a motion that made him feel sleepy again. She hadn't met his gaze, yet wasn't exactly focused on much, either. Her forearm—her right one, Adrien noticed—was wrapped completely with a white bandage, as if it was covering some sort of injury she'd received.

She'd gotten hurt too!?

No, no. She wasn't supposed to get hurt! He was there to keep her safe!

"Mari," Adrien whimpered, reaching out with his free hand. "You're hurt!"

A soft laugh fell from Marinette's lips as she shook her head and opened her mouth to speak, yet a smaller voice beat her to the punch. "Not as much as you, kid."

Adrien nearly choked on air from the sound of his kwami. Plagg!

Heart stopping, his gaze landed to the tiny creature sitting idly on his shoulder, who simply cleaned his fuzzy little ears with his paw. Of course Plagg had the audacity to act as if nothing at all was wrong with the situation.

Eyes widening in fright, Adrien grabbed Plagg (with a little more force than he should have used, something that would definitely earn him a few choice words from the kwami later) and shoved him underneath the blanket, flashing Marinette a forced smile once he'd successfully smothered the tiny god.

Plagg screeched in protest. "A year of living with you and this is the thanks I get? Trapped under a blanket without any cheese in sight! How cruel! I haven't eaten in almost two days!"

"He's lying," Marinette chuckled, nonchalantly pushing a stray hair behind her ear. "I fed him an hour ago."

"Plagg, you pig," Adrien said before realizing that Marinette hadn't freaked out over the talking kitten hidden underneath the covers like he'd expected. His words caught in his throat and as he spoke, voice strangled and eyes bulging. "Wow, u-uh, I guess Nathalie let my cat in here! Silly Nathalie! D-did I forget to tell you that I adopted a kitten?"

Was he sweating?

Marinette rolled her eyes, a tired yet playful expression weaving upon her features as she placed a hand over her mouth to stifle a yawn. "A talking kitten, huh?"

"Y-Yes!" Adrien answered in a tone more frantic than necessary. "From Japan-"

"Adrien," Plagg hissed from his prison. "It's okay. She knows. Now, let me out. I can't breathe!"

...She knows?

Adrien's breath hitched as his gaze shifted to Marinette, whose eyes were nothing but understanding.

Oh, fuck, he hissed in thought. She knows. Mari knows I'm Chat Noir.

He swallowed dryly, daring to meet her eyes. "Uh...?"

Marinette only nodded, as hesitant as it was.

"How long have you known?" Was his voice even working?

Marinette's gaze fell to the bed as she lifted up the blanket, allowing Plagg to escape and take a dramatically deep breath of fresh air before he zipped away to sit on the windowsill. "Um… A few days."

A few-

A few days?

And she hadn't said anything?

How on Earth had she even found out in the first place?

...It was the nickname, wasn't it?

He knew that'd been a stupid slip-up.

Adrien couldn't look at her. If she was angry, she had a right to be. He'd toyed with her emotions and visited her at late hours and tried to kiss her as Chat Noir. He deserved her being upset with him. Hell, he probably deserved a good smack to head, too, whether it be from Plagg, Marinette or himself.

A light sigh blew from his nose as he swallowed heavily, preparing for whatever she was going to say next.

Leave him? Refuse to be friends? Tell Alya, tell Ladybug? Tell the world?

(However she'd manage that.)

Whatever it was, he deserved it. He completely deserved it. He deserved her anger, her sadness, her feelings of betrayal. He deserved her to delete his number and never speak to him again if she so chose.

"Why do you look so ashamed?" Marinette asked, voice carrying nothing but kindness.

Adrien frowned. "Because," He began, finding the strength to sit up (no matter how nauseous it made him feel to move.) "I… I was abusing my powers to visit you. And I probably messed with your emotions, no matter how unintentional it was. I'm sorry, for all of it. And I'm sorry for yelling at you the last time I saw you as Chat Noir." He hung his head in chagrin. "And sorry for getting your room wet. Oh, and I'm sorry for trying to kiss you when I wasn't Adrien." Had he been wearing his magical cat ears, they would've drooped flat against his head. "And… I'm sorry for visiting you as Chat in the first place. I didn't want to cause any trouble, or hurt you in any way-"

A finger over his lips silenced his river of apologies.

Daring to look up, Adrien was met with the sight of Marinette's sparkling bluebells, the corner of her lips quirked upwards into a tiny amused grin. "Shh, Adrien," She giggled, "do you really think I'm mad at you?"

"Yes!" He practically whimpered. "You have every right to be. I'd understand if you hated me completely."

But Marinette just shook her head, a soft laugh falling from her lips. He missed kissing those... How long had it been since he'd last? "Why would I be mad, kitty?"

"Because, I- I- …" Adrien was at a loss for words. Something about being called "kitty" in his civilian form made his insides turn to a gleeful bundle of warm fuzziness. "I was- I mean- I- …I messed up. I really messed up."

"Mm," Marinette shrugged, mindlessly running her finger over her bandages—as if she wanted to bring them to his attention. He was certainly eyeing them; something about the placement of her injury was so familiar. "Yeah, you messed up a little bit. But it's okay." Her eyes met his once more. "I'm not mad at you, not at all. I'm just… so happy you're okay. You really scared me."

Adrien blinked. "Why would I not be?"

"Because, you-" She glanced to his leg, eyes trailing from his cast all the way up to his chest, which Adrien only just noticed was bandaged beneath the hospital gown. "You don't remember, do you?"

He shrugged, faint memories of smoke and fire playing in his head as he attempted to recollect the events of the day. Something about willow trees and a person too bright to look at weaved into his thoughts for a moment or two before they slipped away, leaving him in a confused state of worry. Had Marinette gotten hurt during an akuma attack?

If she had, he should've been there to save her!

"Not much," Adrien sighed. "I remember the fires-" He paused to think for a second. "And the… tree you shoved me behind before you ran off. Why did you run off, again?"

"What else do you remember?" Marinette asked, pointedly avoiding his question.

What did he remember?

Gazing downward at his lap as he worked to conjure up memories, Adrien frowned in concentration, reaching up to rub the back of his head in thought. Which, ultimately, was a poor decision on his part, because it only made his headache worsen. "Running? A lot of running."

Marinette chewed on her bottom lip. "...Anything else?"

Adrien shrugged, noting her nervous behavior with a raise of his brow. "Not right now, my head hurts really bad and I feel kind of sick. Can you fill me in?"

"It's understandable," Marinette said with a sigh, combing her fingers through her hair in a feeble attempt to brush out the knots. "You hit your head pretty bad."

So that's why his head stung with such a powerful ache. "How bad?"

She appeared to be uncomfortable with answering his question, yet fumbled for an adequate response anyways. "Bad enough to put you in the hospital. You passed out for a while. I thought you were-" Her words were cut short as she cleared her throat. When she opened her mouth to speak again, her voice was barely audible; a whisper so soft that Adrien wasn't sure if she'd said anything at all. "Nevermind."

"How'd that happen?" He asked, watching her curiously. Poor Marinette was having such a difficult time speaking, as if any minute she'd break down into a heavy sob.

She was silent for a moment before regaining her composure.

"Um," Clasping her hands together, Marinette smiled, whether it was to ease his nerves or her own, Adrien wasn't sure. "You got… Distracted." She nearly cringed at the word. "And didn't see one of Solar Flare's attacks comings towards you. You, uh…" For some reason, she couldn't look him in the eye longer than a second or two at a time. "One of the walls around the Seine crumbled. With you underneath it. I guess when it fell on you, a piece of it hit your head and knocked you out cold. Gave you a pretty nasty concussion and broke your fibula, too."

"Fibula?" Adrien cocked his head to the side. Must be a leg bone.

Marinette nodded, thankful that the focus had been drawn to the state of his injuries rather than how he'd obtained them. "It's nothing major, but you will have to use crutches for a few weeks. That's what the doctor said, anyways."

"That's definitely going to affect my alter-ego," Adrien said flatly, glaring at his useless appendage. Of course he'd break one of the parts of his body needed most as Chat Noir. That was just his luck.

"That's what I've been worrying about." Fidgeting with her bandages, Marinette's lips tugged downwards into a frown, her gaze focused intently on her injury. She seemed off, her behavior far too wound-up compared to the Mari he'd gotten used to. Something about her was different—almost as if she'd been hiding a secret and was desperate for an opportunity to spill.

"Why would you worry about that?" Adrien watched her as he rested his back against the pillows, uncomfortably shifting his position. "Hey, where's that button-thingy so I can sit up straight?"

Marinette handed him the remote with a tired blink. "It's nothing."

Unconvinced, Adrien reached out with his right hand and grasped her own, giving it a loving squeeze. There was something bugging her—a problem that she hadn't voiced, or rather, one he couldn't remember. "Are you okay, Mari?"

Silence was his reply.


"I don't feel good," She responded, voice wavering—like she was about to burst into tears. "I'm sorry."

She was lying. "Mari-"

"I'm gonna go to the vending machines," Marinette said a little louder than necessary, standing abruptly. "Do you want anything?"

Adrien grunted, expression flattening. He didn't want her to ignore what was bothering her and leave, but he couldn't exactly chase after her in his state. "No, I'm good."

Pausing before she left the room, Marinette placed her hands on her hips, back facing towards him. "You were just hungry ten minutes ago."

Truthfully, he had been, but all of their talk had worsened his headache and diminished his appetite. "It's okay, Mari. I don't need anything."

Marinette stiffened for a moment before she sighed, shoulders drooping and head hanging low. "I'm going to get you something to eat."

"I'm okay, really." Vending machine food didn't exactly sound too appetizing at the moment. Marinette was just being stubborn—kind of like another girl Adrien knew. "I can eat tomorrow."

"Adrien." Marinette turned her head to gaze back at him, sorrow clouding her gaze. "You've been asleep for almost two days. I'm getting you a snack."

Adrien felt his mouth go dry. "...Really? That long?"

Marinette nodded, her voice faint. "I'll be right back."

The door closed with a click as she left.

Nearly two days he'd been unconscious? How many hours had he been out, exactly?

...Was he even allowed to eat anything other than hospital food?

As if sensing his thoughts, Plagg drifted to the bed and settled himself on top of the heap of pillows before resuming his grooming. His green eyes glinted in the low light of the room as he surveyed his Chosen, whiskers twitching and expression surprisingly ancient—something Adrien definitely wasn't used to seeing upon his kwami's features.

"She didn't sleep at all, you know," Plagg said in a tone far more serious than his usual carefree attitude. "She cares about you a lot. It's almost gross."

Adrien felt his throat tighten with a mixture of affection and sadness. The fact that he'd worried her to the point where she didn't sleep a wink in almost two days made him feel immensely guilty, even if he couldn't help what had happened. "I know. I care about her, too."

Plagg proceeded to clean his whiskers with his paw. "So, you really don't remember what happened, huh?"

All Adrien could do was shake his head. "I remember some things, but… Not most."

"What things?"

"I remember the fires and that one of Hawk Moth's villains started them," Adrien began, "and I remember running for a long time, and… Ladybug was there." The kwami nodded for him to continue as he gave him a quick glance. Although his headache was intense, Adrien prompted himself to think harder, hoping to conjure up another memory that hadn't replayed within his head yet. Something about fires and pain and burns came to mind—something about… Ladybug. "I think she got hurt. On her arm."

That's right, he thought with a soft gasp. She got hurt and dropped her yo-yo. And I went to grab it. But then...

"What happened to Ladybug?" Adrien blurted out, anxiety beginning to bubble up within his stomach and making him feel even sicker than before. "Did she defeat Solar Flare without me? Is she okay?"

Plagg gave him a flat look. "I didn't know you were that oblivious."

Offended by his kwami's tone, Adrien scowled. "What's that supposed to-"

Before Adrien could question the tiny god any longer, the door crept open as Marinette entered, hands held behind her back and foot shutting the door with a soft gust of cool air from the hallway beyond. Adrien watched her curiously; the way she moved almost as if she was hiding something wasn't like the Marinette he knew. Mari never seemed as if his presence made her nervous—at least, not anymore. Sure, she used to act like she was terrified to be even within ten feet of him, but all that had changed in the past few months.

Things were different now. She was different now.

They were different now.

"Mari?" Adrien asked as Marinette settled back into the chair next to him and held out a granola bar for him to take. "What's bugging you?"

"Nothing's bugging me," She answered a bit too quickly.

As he struggled with the wrapper of his snack, Adrien frowned, unconvinced. Something's wrong.

"You can tell me," He urged, shooting her a reassuring smile. She didn't have to hide anything from him—he thought she knew that. He'd never judge her for anything.

But, instead of admitting to him her problem, Marinette just shook her head and sighed, groggily biting into a strawberry poptart to keep herself quiet.

Adrien's expression dropped, unamused.

Clever girl. She didn't have to speak when her mouth was full of food.

As if to only make the situation even more difficult, a nurse entered the room with a smile a bit too pleasant stretching across her features. It took all of Adrien's strength not to grimace from how cheery she looked, at what- three in the morning?

Marinette must have sent for her because he'd woken up.

Marinette, who was currently falling asleep sitting up with half of a poptart in her mouth.

Once the nurse had checked him over and breezed through the required procedures (something Adrien was a little too tired to pay much attention to), she left them alone once more in the quiet of the room, a silence so strong that it was almost deafening.

Marinette stared blankly at the wall, her chin propped in her hand and shoulders slouched as her eyes drooped closed.

She was clearly having trouble staying awake.

It was kind of cute, actually.

"Mariii," Adrien chuckled, reaching out to tap her uninjured arm. She shot up immediately, eyes wide and chest rising as she sucked in a light gasp. Poor Marinette. "Hey, sleepy. Want to lay up here with me?" He didn't really care if she wasn't allowed—the bed was probably a thousand times more comfortable than that tiny blue chair. "There's room."

Considering his offer, Marinette narrowed her eyes at the bed, gaze trailing from his leg all the way up to his face. He offered her a smile, one that assured her it was okay, she could join him if she wanted—and, much to Adrien's surprise, she did. Slowly she crawled up into the bed next to him, nearly hanging off the edge but not seeming to mind all that much as she closed her eyes and buried her nose within his neck.

Adrien sighed, contented by her presence.

"I was so worried about you," Marinette whispered, voice cracked from exhaustion. "When I saw you fall a-and the wall crumbled, I thought-" She paused to sniffle, Adrien turning his head to look upon her compassionately. Her eyes were glossy, her lower lip trembled, and her breath hitched as she fought the impending tears. Just a moment ago she'd been so tired, yet now she seemed as if she was about to burst into a sob. "I th-thought you were gone."

"You saw it?" He asked. How had she managed to get that close?

Marinette nodded, wiping her hand across her cheek as her eyes overflowed and tears spilled down her face. Mari usually got very emotional when tired, so staying up for nearly two days straight definitely wasn't an exception to that fact. "I was there, Adrien." Her gaze met his, wet and tired. "I… I thought you knew by now."

"Mari," Adrien whispered, brow furrowing in both confusion and sorrow. It hurt him to see her cry—she didn't deserve to feel so scared. She didn't deserve any of this. He was the one whose actions were merit for pain, not Marinette. Never Marinette. "What do you mean?"

"Adrien," Marinette's voice wavered as her eyes became waterfalls. "This was my fault!"

How could it be her fault? She wasn't even in the middle of the fight!

"No it wasn't," Adrien said with a sickening shake of his head, placing a hand upon her doused cheek and frowning as he watched her break into a sob at his side. There wasn't much he could do to comfort her besides whisper reassurances, no matter how badly he desired to scoop her up and hold her in an embrace so tight that she'd never even think to leave his side. "Mari, no, no. It's okay. It's not your fault. I promise."

"Yes it is!" She whimpered. "I was stupid! I could have gotten you killed."

None of this was her fault. How could she even think such a thing?

Ignoring the way his head pounded in protest, Adrien sat up straight, arms connecting around the petite frame of his girlfriend all the while he was mindful of his injuries and the needle in his skin. Marinette welcomed his hold, trembling against his fingertips.

"Are you upset because you went to find Alya and Nino?" Adrien questioned, tone gentle.

Sniffling, Mari mumbled a "no" and pressed her face against his chest, nuzzling him affectionately before removing it a second later as she remembered his fragile state. The stinging of his sensitive injuries hadn't bothered Adrien as much as her sadness, though.

"Then what's wrong?" He asked.

"You got hurt because of me." She sounded surprisingly calm, even if her voice was wracked with guilt.

"How? How could you be the cause of it?"

Marinette lifted her head to meet his gaze, sad bluebells burning into his tired green. Her damp skin glistened in the low light of the room, lips curled downwards into a frown and hair a dishevelled mess. She was exhausted, spent from hours upon hours without sleep and only further worn from crying. It was to the point where even Adrien desired for her to rest, simply because she needed it.

Brushing his knuckles along her cheek, Adrien smiled, hoping to at least ease some of her anxieties by showing that he was alright—that he'd be okay. That soon they'd both be home and everything would be back to normal.

(Save for having to walk with crutches, but that was a problem for another day.)

They sat in silence for a while until Marinette calmed, the only sound being her occasional sniffle that was sometimes paired with a whimper or two. It pained Adrien to sit up straight, but at this point, he didn't care. Marinette needed him—so what if it made him feel sick? He wouldn't push her away. Not when she was like this.

Not when his Mari was hurting.

He needed to hug her almost as much as she needed to be held by him. Mari's closeness was a soothing reminder that whatever it was they were faced with, they'd always get through it together.

They wouldn't have to deal with anything alone anymore.

Adrien wouldn't have to be alone anymore.

A small yawn caused Marinette's face to stretch before she rested her cheek against his shoulder, sleepy blue eyes sliding to a close and lips parted just slightly as she let out sigh that felt pleasantly warm upon Adrien's neck.

"Mari," He breathed, the familiar feeling of fatigue rising up within his bones. Hell, he'd barely done anything but talk and eat a granola bar and he was already prepared to go back to sleep for a few hours. "Do you wanna tell me what happened?"

Her eyes blinked open, just for a moment. "What happened to who?"

"To me."

If he couldn't get her to talk about her own experiences with the akuma, then maybe she could fess up about his.

Marinette shifted uncomfortably, Adrien looking downwards as she hesitantly positioned her feet next to his own, careful not to accidentally knock his injured leg. A soft breath blew from her nose, brows furrowed and lips tugged into a sullen frown. There wasn't much room for her on the bed, and if he could, Adrien would've scooted all the way to the far edge just so she could have more space to relax.

Yet, with a broken bone, he couldn't do much of anything besides lay still.

After a what seemed like ages of quiet, Marinette spoke. "The short version or the long version?"

Admittedly, Adrien was too tired for the longer version of the story, even if he'd prefer to hear all the details. "Short."

"There was a pretty scary akuma attack," Marinette began, voice raspy and nose brushing his neck. "Some villain called Solar Flare was setting fires everywhere and practically destroyed the park. We had to run away."

"I remember," Adrien hummed, images of smoke and fleeing civilians flashing in his head.

Mari nodded as she continued. "I went to find Alya and Nino, but… There wasn't any time. I had to leave. To find you instead."

"Find me?"

"Let me finish," She was growing agitated from her lack of sleep; Adrien knew it wasn't meant to be directed at him, so he let her talk without complaint. "I found you back at the park, as Chat Noir. You were so scared. I felt awful… Because you were looking for me. But I was right there."

Blinking in confusion, Adrien titled his head, squinting as a wave of nausea came over him. Even slight movements made him feel sick. "I don't remember that."

"You don't remember Marinette finding you."


She continued before he could question her choice of words. "I was going to tell you, right then. I was going to tell you that I knew. But there wasn't time."

"Tell me what?"

Her annoyed glance was enough to shut him up.

Right, Adrien reminded himself. A tired Marinette is a grumpy Marinette.

"We ran for so long—you told me it was better to stay on the ground." A bittersweet laugh rose from her as her eyes once again pooled with tears. "And I told you that your plan was stupid. That I thought it would screw us up and get us killed. Some supportive partner I was." Her expression turned dark, blue gaze icy. "I was the one who screwed up."

Knowing better than to question, Adrien lay silent as she paused for a moment before continuing, voice weakened. "We led him to the water, and we were so sure—I was so sure—that it would work. That all I'd have to do is catch him with my yo-yo and drag him into the water and that'd be it, we'd be done. We could go home and everything would be fine."



Adrien's heart skipped a beat, his head pounding painfully. She was sounding almost as if-

As if… She was-

"But I-" Tear-stained cheeks became even more damp as Marinette began to cry again, burying her face within her palms as if she was embarrassedabout it, of all things. As if Adrien himself hadn't completely sobbed into her arms before. "I-I made the stupid mistake of being scared. I wasn't brave. A-and I let my fear get the best of me. Which…" A whimper rose from her throat. "Only ended up hurting you."

He had to say something—anything.

Maybe he was dreaming, maybe this wasn't real; maybe he was only imagining that this confession was coming from Marinette instead of Ladybug.

Who else could know that information besides Ladybug?

Nobody else had been around. Which, ultimately, meant that Ladybug and Marinette were...

Were the same person?

It wasn't possible- that this entire time they'd both been hiding behind their masks while pining for each other. That didn't happen in real life.

Two people didn't get that lucky.

Adrien knew his luck wasn't that gracious.

But here she was, Marinette—Ladybug, he was so sure—crying her eyes out because she'd shouted his civilian name and distracted him long enough to get hurt.

He remembered now, the sheer terror in her voice as she called out his name. The way his heart froze as her face contorted from a confident smile to a pure gape of horror. Her panicked, frantic gaze as a ball of heat slammed into his chest and knocked him hard against a wall near the Seine.

The sound of her devastated cries as he laid there in pain, body asleep but mind very much awake—were like an unforgiving force driving its way up her body and spilling from her very soul.

Adrien remembered. He remembered the curses she'd emitted (which he'd never imagined hearing from Ladybug, of all people) and the splash of water that came from the river. He remembered hearing her call out to her lucky charm, and recalled the faint relief of magic rushing over his body as the city was cleansed and repaired.

The last memories that floated through his brain were of delicate arms embracing his body, lifting him into the air and taking him off to someplace only Ladybug knew.

The hospital, he presumed.

Even as Adrien came to his revelation, Marinette continued to cry. "I called your name and you just froze. It was my fault you got hurt. I was too scared a-and I- I…" Mari's sobs of grief melted into a puddle of silence, tears streaking down her face and dripping from her chin onto the pillow they shared, decorating the white fabric with little wet spots. She'd given up on wiping them away—there was no point when they just kept coming in an endless stream. "I'm so, so sorry, Adrien. I should have… I should have told you sooner. We wouldn't be in this mess if I had."

What could he say?

He wasn't upset at her, no. Surprised?

...No, not really.

It just had never occurred to him that Marinette and Ladybug were the same person. Yet, the more he thought about it, the more Adrien realized that there was no way they couldn't be.

They were both strong and confident, not to mention stunningly gorgeous. They shared the same beliefs, same likes and dislikes, even the same hairstyle.

How had he never realized?

Admittedly, he'd thought about it plenty of times, even hoped for it to be true—but never actually believed that Mari was his Lady.

Now that the fact had settled within his brain, Adrien could see nothing but his partner hunched over next to him, the whites of her eyes reddened from lack of sleep and flow of tears. Guilt tugged at his heart; somehow, he felt that her feelings of distress were of his doing, no matter how unintentional.

Truthfully, he shouldn't have forced himself to think of them as different when Marinette and Ladybug were completely the same.

Both beautiful? Yes.

Both brave? Definitely!

Both stubborn?

...Yep, that was his Mari.

The smile that stretched across his face was so wide that it almost became painful.

Ladybug was Marinette. Marinette was Ladybug.

Adrien had finally found his Lady, and she was the girl he'd been in love with since day one. The same girl he'd forced himself to (attempt to) get over and the same girl he'd hopelessly fallen in love with.

Marinette, Ladybug, one amazing and spectacular and gorgeous girl that he just couldn't ever get enough of.

His Lady. His Marinette.

It was with a loving sigh that Adrien realized his Lady had been his Princess the whole time, and he couldn't possibly be any happier than he was at that moment. He was on cloud nine, dancing in the sky, celebrating with the stars and shouting at the top of his lungs in glee.

"My Lady," Adrien chuckled as he gently took Marinette's hands into his own, removing them from her face with an affectionate grin. "I think you actually told me the long version."

Marinette stared at him with wide eyes, tears rolling down her face and messy hair sticking to her moist cheeks. It took her a second to process what he'd said—as if that nickname sounded foreign coming from the face of Adrien Agreste. It probably did.

After a brief silence, her trembling lips curled upwards into the tiniest of smiles and her gaze lit up with relief, soft laughter rising in the room like the most heavenly sound Adrien had ever heard.

"I hate you," She giggled, sounding much happier than before yet equally as tired.

"You love me," Adrien corrected, grinning as he placed a finger underneath her chin and lifted it in a gentle motion. He briefly glanced to her lips before meeting her gaze, green eyes glowing with pure endearment. "Don't you, Bugaboo?"

Marinette didn't even bother to conceal her feelings as she nodded furiously. There was no need to, not anymore.

Everything was okay now.

"Stupid cat," She sniveled, wrapping her arms around his neck in a tight (yet surprisingly delicate) hug. Somehow she'd practically ended up in his lap. "S-sometimes I can't- can't stand you."

The tears were flowing again, and not only from Marinette.

"But you're not standing," Adrien laughed, drying her cheek with his thumb once she'd broken the hug. "You're in bed with me."

Another giggle rose from his partner. "You know what I meant."

"Do I?"

"Stop smiling at me like that."

Adrien snorted. "Like what?"

"That smirk," Marinette said as she ruffled his hair, a grin twitching at her lips. "That stupid Chat Noir smirk."

"You think it's cute, don't you?" Adrien chuckled.


Her lies only made Adrien's smirk grow in length. "Oh, yeah?" He said as he placed a hand on her shoulder, leaning in until the tips of their noses brushed. "If it's so disgusting, then how come you'll let me do this?"

Closing the distance between them in a sweet kiss, Adrien could barely contain his giddiness as he felt Marinette smile against his lips. Her lips were damp and slightly salty from her tears, but he couldn't bring himself to mind in the slightest. The kiss was a little sloppy and sort of lopsided, but the feelings were all the same as they were in any other kiss—a perfect blend of silent "I love you's" and promises for more, longer kisses in the future.

As Adrien pulled away, he sighed contently, lips still buzzing with the memory of how wonderful it felt simply to press them against another's.

Marinette's kisses were a blessing he held deeply within his heart.

Marinette was a blessing he held deeply within his heart.

Maybe that was what love felt like.

Was he too young to feel love?


This feeling, love, admiration, whatever it be—it was all real.

Adrien knew for a fact that he loved Marinette. He'd loved her since he'd met her that Fall afternoon during their battle against Stone Heart—their first day of partnership and the beginning of an amazing friendship. The beginning of something more.

He'd stated it himself: he'd love whatever girl was under Ladybug's mask. And he did, unconditionally.

He just hadn't expected to fall so hard for her before he even knew she was his scarlet-clad partner.

Personally, Adrien preferred it that way.

He'd gotten to know Marinette as herself; as the talented designer and skilled baker, as the girl who could beat him at any video game and the girl whose arms felt like home. He'd fallen for his nervous classmate who cared about each of her friends in so many different ways and the pretty girl whose eyes sparkled like the ocean (a cliche, but Adrien's always had a thing for those.)

He'd fallen in love with the simple things, too, like how she would sometimes let her hair down from its pigtails or the way her skin burst with a galaxy of freckles when she stayed out in the sun too long. He loved how soft her lips felt against his own, how smooth her skin was whenever he caressed her cheek, or how she'd blush when he'd say something a little too flirty that she didn't quite know how to react to.

He loved the pastel pink she'd paint her nails, the way her chest rose and fell as she slept, her giggles of joy and confident laughs of triumph whenever she successfully defeated an akuma. He loved how when she became frustrated, she'd muffle a few curses under her breath as if she was trying to emit them all while attempting to remain polite. There was so much he'd grown to love, that even going through the list within his brain would take ages—and by the time he'd finished reciting all the things he loved about Marinette, he would've found hundreds more.

He loved her, the girl in her entirety, her confidence as Ladybug and clumsiness as Marinette. Her stubbornness, her banter and silly flirting—the whole package together as one gorgeous piece.

Adrien had fallen for Marinette, to put it simply.

And he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Do you mean it?" He found himself asking after a moment, Marinette having already began dozing off with her head on his shoulder. However she'd managed to sit in his lap without harming him, he didn't know.

She hummed against his neck. "Do I mean what?"

"That you love me."

Adrien could practically feel her smile stretch across her face as she answered, "Yes. I mean it."

His hold on her tightened, squeezing her in a hug that made it clear he never wanted to let her go. It was peaceful, this moment, and Adrien didn't want anything to ruin it.

Nothing could ruin it.

It was past three in the morning on a school day, but none of that mattered right now. All that either of them had on their minds was the fact that they were content to sit in each other's arms until the break of dawn, and even after that.

"I mean it, too." Adrien whispered, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "Is that okay?"

"Is what okay?"

"That I love you."

Marinette giggled quietly. "Why would that not be okay?"

"I don't know," Adrien replied, eyes falling closed. "Isn't there a certain stigma about saying that too early? Like it's weird?"

"It's not weird," Marinette said as she adjusted her head, nose pressing against his collarbone. Which earned her a slight wince from Adrien, since that area was still quite tender. She retracted quickly, shooting him an apology before (unfortunately) sliding off his lap to avoid accidentally touching his injuries a second time. She didn't go far, though, fixing herself so that she was laying next to him in the same position she'd been in before her break down: on her side, facing him with a tired yet loving gaze.

"I don't think it's weird," Marinette continued, "not at all. Not coming from you, at least."

"What do you mean?" Adrien asked, blinking sleepily at his partner.

Mari chuckled, the sound soft and faint. It was a mystery how she'd managed to stay awake this long. "It's not weird that you love me, because I feel the same."

He could listen to her say that forever; that she loved him.

She felt the same. She loved him. Adrien, Chat Noir, both of him-who he truly was.

And god, did it feel amazing just to be loved.

They were both too worn for any further speaking, silently agreeing to just lay there in the dull light of the room gazing at each other with the most affectionate expression they could muster. It was silly, to have barely been dating for long (to the point where it hadn't even been officially stated), yet here they were, two halves of a whole finally together as one. They loved each other, and both knew very well how their partner felt—even if they'd dismissed such feelings in the past.

There was no need to ignore the way their hearts fluttered or how giddy they became whenever they were together. They needn't hide their emotions or pretend like they didn't have the desire to kiss each other's lips, and certainly they didn't have to act as if their feelings weren't mutual.

They knew what they had and both knew what they wanted.

Love, to put it simply, was all either of them desired.

Adrien especially.

"Mari," He whispered, not realizing he'd closed his eyes. "About earlier—it's okay. It wasn't your fault. Even as superheroes, we can't be brave all the time."

Marinette's eyes lit up in fond memory of how she'd said that to him once before.

With a tired grin, Adrien tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, knuckles brushing down her cheek before resting atop her arm. "Even we need to take a break and let it out every now and then."

The smile that spread across her face was one that could cure any sickness. "Thank you, Adrien."

With a quick kiss to his lips, her hand weaved its way along the sheets until it found his own and gave it a gentle squeeze.

They would be alright.

Everything would be alright.

They'd get through this together.

They would always get through everything together.

That's what partners were for, right?

As they lay together in bed, Adrien found himself in the midst between drifting off to sleep and desiring to ask hundreds of questions. There was so much left unanswered that no matter how tired he felt, he just couldn't bring his mind to relax.

He wanted to know how he'd gotten to the hospital, whether Mari had brought him as Ladybug and if he'd been transformed or not. He was curious about his state of health, why Marinette looked so saddened when he told her he wasn't hungry or how his injury would affect his trip out of the country.

Adrien hoped this meant he'd stay in Paris for the summer.

He also wondered what kind of excuse Marinette had given their families. Obviously she hadn't told them the truth. She wouldn't do that, would she?

One question out of thousands of others burned at the back of his head, however.

"Mari?" Adrien whispered, watching her eyes slowly blink open. "Did my dad come to see me? While I was asleep, I mean."

Marinette hesitated for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, he did. Yesterday."

Well, that was certainly a shock. "What did he do?"

"I don't really know," Mari yawned, rubbing one of her eyes. "I left the room. He asked me to. I guess he just… wanted to be alone with you."

Adrien's eyebrows shot up in surprise.

"When he came out, he had this look on his face," Mari met his gaze, brows furrowed. "Like he was so guilty about it, for some reason. Like… Like it was his fault. He looked so scared, Adrien. Sad, even. I don't know how to explain it." A small laugh of disbelief fell from her lips. "I was just standing there outside the room for like fifteen minutes, thinking to myself 'wow, he really does care about you.'"

Adrien only sighed. He knew his father cared, of course—just didn't know how to show it.

"And, he actually…" Marinette's voice grew quiet, as if she couldn't believe the words that were coming out of her own mouth. "He thanked me personally. For looking after you when he couldn't. Then he shook my hand, and left, looking as tired as ever."

"Really?" Adrien breathed. "Wow..."

"Are you okay?" Mari asked as she adjusted herself into a more comfortable position, fingers threading through his hair. "You look stunned."

Nodding, Adrien gazed up at the ceiling in thought, processing what he'd just been told. His father certainly wasn't the type to openly show affection, and it seemed incredibly out of character for him to thank the very girl that had been "stealing" all his son's time away.

Perhaps he was finally realizing that Adrien was growing up—that he could make his own decisions and needed other people in his life to help guide him in becoming the person he truly desired to be.

Or, maybe, his father just felt awful for not giving his son enough love after his mother's disappearance, especially after he'd been injured and hospitalized.

Maybe… Maybe his dad wanted to rekindle their relationship. Maybe he had apologized for all those years of neglect, or maybe he'd just told him that he loved him.

Or maybe he hadn't said anything at all.

"Thank you for telling me," He said to Mari as he pulled the blanket over his form, finding himself to be incredibly exhausted. As Marinette nodded in response, Adrien knew she was already half asleep. No use waking her for any more silly questions. She'd been awake for so long that she deserved to get some rest.

And Adrien knew he did, too.

They'd both been through a lot lately.

Feeling odd yet somewhat at peace, Adrien finally allowed his eyes to shut for one final time as sleep took over him in a gentle wave, relaxing his body into an ocean of peaceful slumber.

He wondered what tomorrow would bring.

Truthful Scars

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

Part 19 of 21

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