Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

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

Part 3 of 21

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Marinette awoke with a start, her body jerked by a force that caused her bed to tremble.

It was an odd feeling, to have been jolted upward from her bed an inch or two without her consent. A low rumble from outside made her groggily lift her head from the warmth of her pillow, casting her gaze to the twinkling city lights. The sky was still its inky black, and a quick glance at her phone confirmed that the world hadn't yet reached waking hours. Two-fifteen A.M. read the clock, much to her annoyance. Two A.M. was meant for sleeping.

Just as she shrugged it off and laid her head back within the plush cloud of her pillow, a second force caused her eyes to snap open as the house rattled.

Something was amiss.

"What- ... " The sound of rushing water tore away any trace of lingering sleepiness as a feeling of alarm rose within the pit of her stomach.

Springing from her bed and practically leaping down the ladder, Marinette peeked her head out of the open window and gasped, the sight making her gape. Water gushed down the streets of Paris, bubbling and rising gradually like a slow-moving faucet. Thankfully, she noted, it hadn't reached threatening levels of height—at least, not yet—and was being sucked into drains before it had the chance to become too dangerous.

There was no other explanation for the situation than another akumatized villain.

That was the strangest thing, though; these attacks never happened at such late (early?) hours. Didn't Hawk Moth need sleep too?

Perhaps that was his whole idea: lure out the two superheroes when they're tired and vulnerable. It was silly, actually. Ladybug would be powerful no matter the hours of the day or night.

"Tikki," Marinette called out to her bed through a thick yawn, where the Kwami stirred from her position on her pillow. "Tikki, we have to transform."

"What?" The spotted creature rose, blinking sleepily as she zipped over to her chosen. "At this time?"

"I know, it's strange. But there's no other explanation for that-" She gestured to outside her window, where the water rushed in again before being sucked away, as if it was trying to reach greater heights without much success. "-than it being another villain."

Tikki examined the flow of water with an alert expression before giving a nod.

Marinette was out of her window in a flash of pink light, swinging across the city with the intent of finding the villain and purifying its akuma as quickly as possible so that she could snuggle back up in the coziness of her bed and get at least a few more hours of sleep. There was school tomorrow, after all.

It wasn't hard to locate the akumatized victim, who waded effortlessly through the ascending water. From her perch on a damp building, Marinette narrowed her eyes and peered down at the woman with an inquisitive gaze.

The villain was coated in blues of all different shades. Her skin was pale in coloration, its blue resembling that of the sky. Her hair and clothing, however, were quite different, as if they were made of nothing other than pure H2O that flowed down her shoulders and joined the pool at her feet. Obviously, this woman had to of been some kind of marine biologist, or at the very least an ocean fanatic, with the starfish, pearls, and shells embedded within her skin and outfit.

A hand on her shoulder initiated Marinette's defense mode. She whipped around, grappling the attacker in a headlock and holding it securely, glaring down at whoever dared touch her while she was on high alert.

"Woah, woah!" Choked out a familiar voice. "Ladybug, Bugaboo, it's just me!"

Marinette sighed and released the hold on her partner, letting him drop to the floor. Her unamused expression spoke enough. "Damn it, Chat Noir, you know not to sneak up on me like that. I could have really hurt you."

Chat coughed, rubbing his throat as he stood. "A thousand apologies, my Lady." That dumb smirk of his never ceased to fade, much to her annoyance. It was two in the morning on a school night, and she wasn't in the mood for any of his flirtatious antics.

"Looks like we're dealing with a water-based akuma here," She stated the obvious. "I've been watching. The streets fill with water about a good two or three feet before it ebbs away. I guess she's trying to flood the city, or draw people out. I hope you're a cat that doesn't mind getting a little wet."

Chat's expression faltered and the smirk finally fell, replaced by a sheepish smile and red cheeks. "Ah... Haha, yeah, well, about that..."

"Come on," She said.

Before Chat had a chance to protest, Marinette swooped in closer to the villain, landing atop a striped awning above a restaurant patio. At the moment, the akumatized victim was distracted with pulling water from storm drains, the level rising at a slow pace. As her vision swam to locate anything abnormal on the woman, Marinette's eyes landed on a shell necklace, which she clutched each time her other hand manipulated the water.

After she'd had her fill of surveying the villain, Marinette hoisted herself up on the roof of the restaurant, brows furrowed as she attempted to formulate a plan in her head.

"Did you figure out where the akuma is located?" Chat asked, approaching her with a nervous flick of his tail.

"I think so." She was thankful her partner had spoken before touching her this time. "The necklace. She holds it in her left hand before controlling the water. I think I have a plan: can you distract her while I go for it?"

Chat's eyes anxiously scanned the water below, his lips curling downward and tail hanging between his legs. "It's rising fast." The waver in his voice was certainly out of character.

"What's wrong, kitty?" Marinette teased. "Afraid of a little water?"

Her partner shot her an apologetic glance. "Well, ah..." He swallowed dryly. "Is this a bad time to tell you that I can't swim?"

You- you've got to be kidding me.

"You..." Her eyes flicked from his gaze to his feet, which shuffled as she stared him down. "...Can't swim? Like, at all?"

Well, this mission ought to be simple. Time to initiate Operation: Don't Let Chat Drown While We Battle An Akuma Whose Power Happens to Literally Be Controlling Water was now in full swing.

The embarrassment that hung on Chat's face deepened and his ears flattened back against his head. "...No. Never learned."

"Oh, Chat," Sighed Marinette, pressing her face into her palm. She was too tired to pity him; this battle was going to be so much more difficult than necessary. "Okay, new plan: I distract her, you get the necklace. You should be able to get out of that situation quicker and avoid getting too wet."

His expression brightened and eyes twinkled with gratefulness. "Aw, my lady, you do love me. How sur-purrb."

"Don't push your luck." Rolling her eyes, Marinette grinned and swung her yo-yo, soaring through the air as it caught on a building. Distracting the villain was usually Chat's job, but it couldn't be too hard, right?

The akumatized victim was growing impatient now, ripping fire hydrants from the ground with water in the shape of fists. "I will not be ignored," She hissed, water advancing up to chest-level. "If nobody cares about protecting the ocean, then nobody should care about protecting the citizens, either!"

Marinette's eyes widened as she stood on a roof directly above the woman, gripping her yo-yo in preparation. How did Chat usually distract villains?

Oh, right. By being himself. That was considerably annoying enough.

Solution? Act like Chat.

"Excusez-moi!" Called Marinette, waving down at the woman. The glare she received in return made her giggle. "I'm so sorry to interrupt your little game here, but it would be heavily appreciated if you didn't try to drown the people of Paris."

"Why should I care about the lives of Parisians when they don't care about our beautiful ocean? " The anger that laced the villain’s voice was strong, full of hurt and hatred. "Animals live there just as well as people live here."

"That's true," Marinette replied, "but people's lives matter as well, and it's my job to protect them. It's such a shame that I have to stop you. I didn't want to bug you-" She internally cringed at her own pun; Chat would have been so proud. "-but a Ladybug has to do what a Ladybug has to do to those who won't cooperate."

Adrien let an anxious sigh slip past his lips. Tail twitching with his nerves, he took a moment to brace himself before leaping from building to building, stealthily sneaking along the rooftops of Paris. He didn't make a sound as he stalked on all-fours, his eyes peering over the edge to survey the scene.

Water filled the streets and buildings acted like a canyon over the rising ocean. It made his throat go dry.

But he refused to let his fear get in the way of saving the city.

His enhanced cat senses certainly came in handy on missions. The highlight of his night was picked up by his incredible hearing: Ladybug made a pun.

He felt his heart swell.

Come on, Ladybug. His gaze flicked back and forth from the villain to his partner, who dodged flying fists of water that grasped and punched. It didn't seem that she had noticed how high the water had risen.

However, the Parisians had, families and citizens pouring out onto the roofs of their homes and businesses. Some wept at their lost items, others panicked, but most watched intently as a final lunge of water caught Ladybug in its grip.

Adrien gasped, barring his teeth and hissing fiercely.

Nobody hurt his lady.

Animalistic instincts took over as he shouted, "Cataclysm!"

Hand smoking black, Adrien lunged and landed square on the oceanic woman's shoulders with a low growl. He pressed his palm on the fist formed of water, his special ability disintegrating its grasp with a splash. Ladybug tumbled onto the street, coughing and glaring upwards as she stood in shallow water. Her face wore a mixture of expressions: annoyance, exhaustion, and fury all combined into one fierce determination. Water up the nose wouldn't make anyone happy, especially not Ladybug in the chilly night air of spring.

Ladybug threw her yo-yo into the air as she used her Lucky Charm, and a spotted beach towel fell into her hands. Even Adrien had no clue what that could possibly be used for.

Ladybug needed time to figure out what to do with it; he would be the replacement distraction now. All he needed to focus on was not falling into the swirling pool below his feet.

The struggle to hold on to the villain increased as she used both watery hands to attempt to throw him off. Adrien wobbled as she screeched and pulled but kept his hold, claws gripping onto her shoulder as Ladybug tied the towel around her hands, holding them secure like handcuffs.

Adrien ripped the necklace from her neck, grinning deviously down at the villain. "I'll be taking this now."

"Here, my Lady!" He cried out, throwing the bundle of shells on string to his partner. Relief flooded through him as she caught it, but that little victory was short lived.

He felt pressure around his entire body; a cold, wet hold that made him shiver and mewl.

The villain had caught him in a fist of water, gripping onto him tightly. Was she trying to crush him? Drown him? Both?

As his body was suddenly launched across the sky, her intention clicked into his head.

Before his brain had time to process a solution, a horrible stinging coursed through his body as his back collided with an icy surface.

But it wasn't ice. No, that surface was water. And it was freezing.

He'd been thrown into the Seine!

Sinking, sinking, his claws tore at the water as he fought to stay afloat. His nose and mouth became quickly filled as he attempted to cry out for help, water flooding his lungs with every gasp for breath. His limbs flailed helplessly as the water pushed down on him from all sides and his chest burned, begging for air as his muscles became sore from thrashing. The only thoughts that pounded into his brain at the moment were keep your head up, keep your head up, try to breathe!

Is this how Chat Noir met his untimely end?

No, he could do this. Chat Noir would not die. Paris needed him; Ladybug needed him.

His body rose above the surface once more, fighting, desperate to stay afloat. A flash of red and pink surrounded the city, cleansing it, fixing all of the damage the flood had caused. Ladybug must have been close. If he could just call for her, if his voice would cooperate, she could come to his rescue like she always did when he needed help.

“Lady-“ His mouth instantly sucked in dirty water. Coughing, he mewled and surfaced himself again, his limbs aching with exhaustion. Giving up wasn’t an option. “Ladybug! Help!”

And then he saw her, swinging over as quick as she could, a pained and panicked expression across her beautiful face. She would come to him.

She would save him.

He stopped clawing the water. If she was going to dive in and save him, he didn't need to persist or fight against the throbbing exhaustion in his limbs. He didn't need to push himself. Ladybug always had his back.

Ladybug could swim. He didn’t need to fight anymore. She would save him.

She would save him, like she always did.

The darkness that enveloped his vision grew blacker.

Did she not know he was sinking?

Ladybug! I’m drowning! Where are you?

Panic set in as he figured that maybe she hadn't realized that he was actually in peril. He'd always thought he'd die a hero, perhaps sacrificing himself for Ladybug or being killed in action.

But... Drowning? 

Taken by death simply because couldn't swim.

Huh. If he survived this, Adrien would certainly ask his father why he'd never taught him.

His limbs gave up the fight. He’d managed to suck in one last breath of air before he felt himself grow heavier, vision blurred as he sunk lower into the abyss. Well, it felt like an abyss, a never ending black hole of filthy water that seemed to suck him in deeper with each movement.

Adrien's lungs felt as if they were filled with acid, persistently begging for oxygen with a painful reminder that there would be no relief.

His world flooded with an ominous wave of gloom as his thoughts clouded with goodbyes he wished he could have said. To his friends, to Marinette—oh, poor, sweet Marinette wouldn’t know what had happened to her friend Adrien.

Nobody would.

Would his father care?

I just hope Ladybug knows how much she means to me.

His weary eyes drooped closed.

The last sight that graced his vision before he blacked out was the blur of a red hand, reaching out to him desperately.

Love warmed his chilled body.

"Chat Noir!" Marinette screeched as she watched her partner collide with the river. No, no, no! He can't swim!

A rush of adrenaline and fear flared up within her body.

Ripping the necklace in half, she hastily captured the akuma and purified it before racing to the Seine. She used her yo-yo to propel herself into the water from a lamp post, bracing for the stinging cold she was undoubtedly going to have slice through her.

At least she knew how to swim.

Her hands tore at the water as she dove deeper into the river, but it was so damn dark that she couldn't see a thing. She needed to breathe.

After breaching to take a breath, she dove back down, pushing and pushing until her lungs felt as if they were going to pop. Her hand brushed against a cool metal that connected to a smoother texture—Chat's suit. Chat!

Pulling, she wrapped an arm around her partner, straining herself to just swim, swimdamn it!


Sweet, wonderful air filled her lungs as she rose above the water, weakened limbs paddling her to a small wooden dock accompanied by stairs that lead to a cobble pathway.

Her body collapsed upon them, every fiber in her being burning and begging to rest.

But she couldn't. Chat needed her.

Hauling him onto the cobble, she laid her partner on his back and pressed her finger to his pulse, feeling his heartbeat. It was a slowed heartbeat, but a beat nonetheless.

Oh, thank god, she nearly cried, he's alive!

Her ear hovered above his mouth, listening intently for any sign of breath slipping past his frozen lips.


A shock ran through her as she desperately sorted through her memories of health class. They had gone over CPR, she knew how to do this. She had to save him!

She tilted Chat's head back and frowned, tears stinging at her burning eyes.

I need him. I can't lose him. My partner. My friend.

Two breaths, listen. Two breaths. Listen. The words repeated endlessly in Ladybug's brain as she pressed her lips to his in an attempt to save his life. Two breaths, listen, two breaths-

Chat's coughing and sputtering caused her to jerk back in surprise. He sat up, his hand clutching at his chest, coughing hoarsely as water dripped from his pale lips. When those bright green eyes connected with hers, she knew he was okay. Weary and soaked (and probably in need of a good bath), but okay.

"...My lady," His voice was weak and he looked absolutely exhausted, but his signature smirk weaseled itself onto his face before she could respond. "I guess I finally got a kiss from you."

At the moment, his flirtatious advances slipped her mind, her only focus being that her partner was alive and well and safe. "You stupid, stupid boy," Whispered Marinette as she enveloped him in her arms, clutching onto him with her nails. "I thought I'd lost you."

She felt gentle claws soothe her back in affectionate circles. "You can't get rid of me, you know that."

"I wouldn't dream of it, chaton."

They sat there against the wall of the Seine for quite some time, simply breathing and appreciating each others presence. As Chat glanced up at the top of the bridge, his vision focused on a blur of movement. People, too many people.

Only minutes had passed.

Marinette didn't want to let go.

Once the situation between the two had calmed, Marinette noticed the crowd. A large mass of citizens standing in their pajamas, most rudely awakened from the water flooding their homes, watching them, cheering and holding up their phones and cameras. Many were soaked and tired, just like the two superheroes.

Paris would be alright.

Ladybug and Chat Noir would be alright.

"Come on," Sighed Marinette, helping her friend up to a stand. His legs were a little wobbly, as were hers, so she supported him with her arm around his shoulders. "Let's finish what we started."

Slowly, the pair made their way back to the confused marine biologist, who sat with her knees on the floor and glasses cracked. Marinette was too tired to comfort her, and still quite miffed that she had decided to throw Chat into the Seine.

"You should go home," Marinette said in a soft voice. "Get some rest. It's all cleared up now."

The woman didn't argue. She was too lost to say much of anything.

It had been a rough night for everyone.

Clearing from the crowd, Marinette swung away on her yo-yo and sighed, clutching onto Chat and fleeing far enough so that they wouldn't be followed by the press. She needed to make sure Chat was okay, and having cameras and microphones shoved into their faces would only hinder that.

Ducking in an alleyway that seemed secluded enough, she pressed her back against the cool concrete of a building and sunk to the ground, her legs trembling with fatigue. Chat followed suit, his body slumping over until he lay his stomach completely on the cool floor, his head nestled safely within her lap.

They were both completely and utterly exhausted.

"That was one of the tougher ones," Laughed Chat, his voice still hoarse. "Everything hurts."

All Marinette could do was nod. The memory of her partner unconscious and in desperate need of oxygen still haunted her every thought. With delicate fingers she brushed through his damp hair, scratching gently behind his cat ears. It was a simple motion, but the way his head pressed into the palm made a sleepy grin tug at Marinette's lips. She continued to soothe him, her free hand gentle as it rubbed his back in slow, comforting circles. The other still worked on scratching his head, right in that perfect spot behind the left cat ear, which she knew he adored. The quiet rumble that bubbled up in his chest was a good indicator that he didn't want her to stop.

"You're purring," She whispered, her grin stretching wider.

"I know," Chuckled Chat, his voice thick with weariness and the vibration of his purr, which grew louder as he opened his mouth. "I can't help it."

"Silly kitty."

The sound of their miraculous beeping in unison made Marinette frown. Why now, when they were so content to just sit and be with each other?


"I know, Chat," She sighed, gazing down at him forlornly. "I'm sorry. I wish I could stay."

"You can," His voice sounded hopeful, but ultimately he knew that she couldn't, and Marinette respected him for not trying to force her. "I'm just so... Tired. I don't want to move."

Marinette nodded, her hands running along his dripping hair. She, too, felt as if her whole being was glued to the floor. Maybe it was the comfort of Chat's body against her, or the little rest she had managed to get, but all Marinette wanted was to sleep, right there with her partner's head in her lap. "Me too..."

Chat's purring seemed to deepen into a quiet echo as his breathing slowed to a content pace. Was he asleep?

Marinette didn't question how. The poor guy was probably dead tired; usually after akuma attacks, they were both out of energy as well as their kwamis. Certainly flailing about in water would take everything he had out of him. She didn't blame him for falling asleep, but he couldn't stay like that.

She had to go.

Yawning, Marinette's hand stilled on Chat's head as her eyes drooped heavily.

She blinked, and as her eyes reopened, her vision was graced with the fiery oranges and delicate pinks that painted the sky. Dawn. Calming, quiet dawn. Marinette almost felt relaxed by the cool air that brushed her skin as she and Chat rested against the wall of an alley.

And then her eyes grew wide.

Oh no. We fell asleep!

She dared not glance down. Marinette's eyes burned into the morning sky as she came to the realization that she and her partner had fallen asleep, outside of all places!

Her fingers ran delicately along his blond locks, which had long since dried. By instinct, she went to scratch behind his cat ears, but her hand froze atop his head when she couldn't find them.

Marinette didn't remove her gaze from the sky. She couldn't look down—their transformations had faded. They were in their civilian forms, sitting in an empty alleyway in their pajamas as the sun rose and shone its golden rays upon them, as if to say, "look, here they are!"

Chat stirred.

Marinette gulped. "Chat. Whatever you do, please don't look up. We- we aren't... We aren't transformed."

A soft mumble slipped past his lips as he buried his head deeper into her stomach. "Please," He moaned, "let me have five more minutes."

"Chat," She repeated, her tone slightly more urgent. "We have to go before anyone finds us. Turn around so I can get up."

A sigh came from the boy who lay against her. "My Lady..."



The pair successfully split apart and transformed without revealing their identities, although it had been a close call. Closer than any other time it has almost slipped. If he had woken up first, he might have accidentally seen her, and it would have been nobody's fault but her own for letting herself fall asleep there with him.

It wasn't that she didn't want to know who Chat was—she was certainly curious—but Tikki had specifically stated that they were not to reveal themselves.

With a groan, Marinette rubbed her back, feeling it was incredibly sore from leaning against a wall all night.


Marinette turned, facing her partner. He wore an unreadable expression on his face, a metaphorical mask over his eyes to barricade his thoughts.

The hand that rested on her shoulder spread warmth throughout her body.

And then he smiled. A fond, loving grin that stretched his lips from one cheek to another. Marinette could have sworn his eyes were glowing.

"Thank you," He breathed, "for everything."

His smile was contagious. Marinette couldn't stop herself from breaking into a wide grin herself, eyes sparkling and cheeks hot.

Chat Noir had officially made Ladybug blush.

"Stay out of trouble, alley cat."

"No promises." Her partner flashed her a wink before giving a wave, vaulting himself over the top of buildings as he took his leave.

Marinette sighed. Why did she have to have a thing for blond hair and green eyes?

Being the son of Gabriel Agreste, Adrien was used to long work hours and little sleep. Normally, running on only a few hours of rest wasn't a problem for the young model, but as he slumped into his seat Thursday morning, a wave of exhaustion had taken hold of his body.

Perhaps it was the thought of Ladybug that made him content enough to easily slip back into his dreams. Her gentle hands that had drawn out a purr from his chest burned a fire within his thoughts that was impossible to put out. The memory was like a cozy blanket that wrapped around him and made him feel so, so sleepy.

"Dude," Nino's voice snapped Adrien out of his thoughts. "What are you smiling like that for?"

It was only then that Adrien realized how hot his cheeks were and how large his grin had become. He blushed deeper in embarrassment, glancing away from his friend's gaze. "It's nothing. Just thinking."

"About...? Come on, dude," Nino gave him a playful shove. "You look like you just found out who your soulmate is. Some girl finally capture your heart?"

Adrien's hesitation made Nino smirk.

"Who's the lucky girl?"

"It's nobody," Retorted the model, too tired to be teased. Besides, it's not exactly like he could tell his best friend, "Oh yeah, it's just that I'm Chat Noir and last night I almost drowned but Ladybug saved my life and we fell asleep in an alley while she both petted held me. I'm internally melting. Not a big deal."

Before Nino could pry further, Alya's excitably loud voice rang from the hallway and soon made it to the classroom as she entered, her phone in her hand and Marinette by her side.

Marinette looked almost as exhausted as he was, messy hair falling out of her pigtails and dark bags underneath those baby blues. If Adrien hadn't been a model, he wouldn't have noticed that her makeup was slightly smudged as well. The poor girl looked as if she hadn't slept a wink.

She caught him staring and he internally cursed himself for making her frown nervously. "It's okay," He wanted to say, "I look like shit too."

"Did you see it?"

Adrien tuned his hearing to the girls' conversation as they sat behind him.

"See what?" Marinette yawned, her voice raspy with lack of sleep.

"The newest video submitted to the Ladyblog! I can't believe someone caught that last night. I hate myself for sleeping through it. Here, look. Chat Noir almost drowned."

Adrien whipped his head over his shoulder, green eyes wide. Of course someone recorded that, and of course they would send it to the Ladyblog. It was inevitable.

He carefully examined Marinette's expression, watching for any sign of disapproval or sympathy. Her brows furrowed and pink lips turned downward, those twinkling eyes turning away. "Whoever recorded that shouldn't have. She was saving his life, not kissing him." Was that a hint of annoyance in her tone?

Adrien agreed, however. If it had been a situation that the pair was used to dealing with, he wouldn't have minded it being recorded and going viral, but this was different. Ladybug was saving his life and it had been romanticized heavily. Drowning wasn't romantic.

At least Marinette understood that.

"How do you think they feel?" Marinette's voice pulled him out his thoughts. "I mean... Ladybug looked so terrified."

"And Chat Noir is probably pretty embarrassed," He added, fully turning in his seat so that he was facing the girls. "But I guess that's the thing about being a celebrity. No matter what you do, it's always gonna be on camera."

Marinette's expression softened and her shoulders lost the tension she'd been holding, as if his opinion put her at ease. "You know from experience?"

Adrien let out a small laugh. There had been plenty of embarrassing photos he would've preferred to not have been taken, but there was no stopping it when you're a famous teenage model in the city of Paris. "Hah, yeah. It's alright though. People are just curious and excitable and I guess that's why they record this kind of stuff. Can't hold it against them."

"Well," Alya spoke before Marinette could reply. "I guess you're right, but still. She was so desperate to save him. I bet they're secretly really in love and just don't tell the press to keep their privacy."

Adrien blushed, turning back around in his seat as class started. Hopefully Nino wouldn't notice how red his cheeks were.

He'd almost kissed Ladybug before he left that morning, but he respected her boundaries. He wouldn't lean in for one unless she did so first.

Class droned on, Adrien's thoughts elsewhere as he went through his classes feeling completely out of it. The longer the day went on, the more tired he became.

By the time physics rolled around, his eyes were so heavy he felt as if they were dragging one-hundred pound weights. It was a battle to keep them open. A shame, really, since physics was his favorite subject. He adored science and would love to go into it professionally someday, although he knew it wouldn't be easy. With a pretty face and strict father, Adrien felt as if he was doomed to be a model the rest of his life.

It wasn't exactly a fun job. Strict meal plans and long hours of standing around and having the same photo taken sixty times while wearing uncomfortable clothing was more exhausting than a normal person would think.

He often wondered what it was like to be normal.

What would that be like...?



Adrien hadn't even realized he'd fallen asleep until Madame Mendeleiev slammed a book upon his desk. Jolting upward, he glanced around the room frantically before his shoulders hunched in embarrassment. His cheeks were red yet again. Gaze lowering, he stared at his empty page of notebook paper in shame, the realization that he had completely missed an entire class making his head droop.

"Adrien." His teacher's stare burned into him, her sharp-tongue causing him to have to hold in a wince. "I sincerely hope you past this test Friday. If I were you, I would take notes instead of sleeping. I advise you get them from someone later."

And he knew exactly who that person would be. Nino rarely took notes since he possessed some unnatural ability to remember most lessons in his head, so Marinette was his best option. She'd help him out.

The bell for lunch rang, reminding Adrien of how hungry he'd been. His energy was low and some food in his system would help out immensely.

Nino's hand on his shoulder caused him to turn once his bag was packed. There was the smallest hint of concern in his best friend's gaze, and Adrien felt grateful that he cared enough to search for any signs of a problem.

"Hey, dude," Nino spoke, motioning towards Alya and Marinette, who were already headed out. "Want to join the girls for lunch? Alya told me that they're going to the bakery and invited us to tag along. I think you could use some sugar in your system due to how you passed out for the entire period. You alright?"

Adrien nodded, stifling a yawn. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just tired. I wouldn't mind going to the bakery with the girls." The thought of finding himself back in that warm and comforting shop made Adrien tingle with delight. He'd stay there all day if he could, with Marinette and her parents. They felt like family.

The pair met up with the girls outside of the school and Adrien had a chance to get a second look at Marinette. Her gaze was downcast and her feet wobbled slightly as she stood, as if it was a chore to simply stand upright. Whatever it was that made her this sleepy, he hoped it wouldn't bother her again. Girls deserved their beauty rest, although Marinette didn't need it to be beautiful. She was adorable even as her legs fought to keep her from tumbling over in exhaustion.

"Marinette?" Adrien laid a hand on her shoulder to steady her. "You look like you're gonna fall over."

She jolted in surprise, as if she hadn't seen him approach her. "O-Oh," Her cheeks turned a deep shade of pink. "I-I'm okay. Just trying to survive off little to no sleep."

"Me too," He chuckled. "Food'll help, though."

The four had picked up some food from the bakery and made their way to the park, where they sat in the grass and sunshine. Adrien let out a soft sigh as the heat radiated onto his skin, rays of golden light permeating through his clothing and sending a wave of warmth through his body. He relished in sunlight, much like a cat whose only goal in life was to find the perfect patch of light to rest in.

Sleeping in the sun sounded absolutely wonderful at the moment. Swallowing the remnants of his lunch, he laid his chin in his palm and sighed, letting his eyes close just for a moment. Just a moment's rest.

Well, that little moment had apparently been too much. Nino's hands pressing into his shoulders alerted Adrien that closing his eyes for even a second had allowed him to fall asleep.

"Dude," Laughed Nino, "you almost faceplanted into the grass. You and Mari both are about to drop dead. Were you guys together last night?"

His friend's question was innocent enough but Marinette took it much heavier. She choked on her food, coughing and staring at him with wide eyes and crimson cheeks, her hands covering her face. Adrien fought the urge to smile. Seeing her this shy and embarrassed (over what he wasn't sure), it was almost too cute to be real.

"You okay, Mar?" Nino eyed Marinette curiously. "But seriously, you two need to go home and sleep. I don't think you'll be of much use in school anyways, considering you both have passed out at least once so far."

So, Marinette had fallen asleep as well. Good to know he wasn't the only one struggling to keep his eyes open.

"Maybe," Yawned Adrien, turning his attention to Marinette. "Oh, that reminds me. Did you copy the notes last period, Marinette?"

As usual, her cheeks tinted pink whenever he spoke to her. He'd become accustomed to it and even enjoyed seeing her blush. It was beginning to be quite cute.

"Y-yeah," She replied, "I can give them to you after school."

"Provided you don't fall asleep first," Alya chimed in with a chuckle, to which Marinette responded by rolling her tired eyes.

 Adrien assumed that's exactly what had happened. Marinette had gone home to do something important—at least, he assumed so. Her unintelligible mumbling was a little difficult to understand, but the exhaustion on her face made it clear enough that she had most likely fallen asleep before returning.

She hadn't come back to finish the rest of the day's classes and it was admittedly a little lonely without her red cheeks or awkward stuttering. Hopefully she'd still be able to give him the notes he'd missed when he went over there after school.

Marinette's parents welcome him with such a wonderful warmth that Adrien almost had the mind to hug them. After he declined their inquiring about being hungry and explained that he was there for schoolwork, he was granted permission to let himself in upstairs. Still, Adrien knocked. He felt barging in was rude, even when her parents had given him the okay.

Reminiscent of the last time he was there, Adrien was met with silence. So, he knocked again.

Still no answer.

A third knock would surely bring her to the door, right?

...Apparently not.

Maybe walking in wasn't considered rude when she didn't answer. Shrugging, Adrien twisted the doorknob and walked through her cozy home, his gaze scanning the walls as he found his way to the stairs that led to Marinette's room.

"Marinette?" He called, disappointed when he didn't receive a reply. "It's Adrien."

Walking up the stairs, he lifted the trap door and peeked his head into the opening only to be met with a darkened room. As his vision adjusted, he caught a glimpse of a slowly moving mass of blankets on her chaise. A grin tugged at his lips. She was still asleep.

"Mari-nette," He whined, his smile growing as she stirred and groaned, yet faltering when the movement ceased. A devious little idea caused him to smirk. "Marinette, wake up. You're an hour late for school."

"What?!" She sprang up, throwing the blankets across the room as she scurried around. "Oh, I have to get ready. Thanks for waking me, Adr-" Her feet froze on the ground and her frantic expression turned incredibly shy, eyes flickering nervously. "Adrien... What are you doing in my room? You should be in school."

He laughed, shaking his head as the rest of his body entered her room. "Don't worry, I'm just messing with you. You wouldn't get up. I'm here for the notes; your mom let me in."

"...Oh," The timid girl that currently controlled Marinette turned completely unamused. "That's not funny, Adrien. You scared me." She was trying her best to look angry, but the laughter she fought to control seeped its way into her voice and made him grin. "Here."

Taking her notebook, he thanked her and set his bag down on the floor, watching as she slumped back into the spot she had been sleeping previously. One of her pigtails had completely fallen out while the other remained, loosely keeping the strands of messy black hair together. Adrien pushed away the softy inside of him that wanted to scoop her up and cuddle her.

"Do you mind if I copy these here really quick? It should only take me a few minutes."

"Sure," She yawned, flopping backwards onto the plushness of her chaise. "Knock yourself out."

Adrien chuckled. Due to the sleepiness still lingering in his bones, he might take that term literally.

He made himself comfortable on her wooden floor and copied the notes as quickly and neatly as he could, but it proved to be a difficult task. The dullness of her room made him feel like he could happily curl up on the floor right there and take a nap.

Marinette seemed to have been thinking the same thing. When he glanced up at her to see what she was up to, she had buried herself in blankets, which moved up and down slowly as she breathed. Obviously asleep. If only he had the confidence he did as Chat when he was Adrien, because he'd be right up there with her. Friendly cuddles weren't a big deal. It's not like only couples cuddled, right? They could curl up there together and it didn't have to be romantic. It's not like he wanted it to be. Not that much.

Maybe a little.

He had one last paragraph of notes to jot down before the room became pitch black.

He wasn't exactly sure if he had fallen asleep or not, but the phone call from Nathalie startled him enough that he felt as if he'd been out for a few days. The ringtone woke both him and Marinette, who was surprised to find the model half asleep on her floor. He'd apologize for that after he answered the phone.

"Yes, Nathalie?" He put on a professional tone, attempting to wipe the unmistakable sound of sleep from his voice. He cringed as she reprimanded him for missing his Chinese and piano lessons and not even bothering to let anyone know. As was the life of Adrien, needing permission to breathe. "I'm sorry. I got distracted. I was busy doing a school project with a friend and I promise it wont happen again. I'll come home." He knew arguing was the last way to mend a situation, so he accepted his defeat with a sigh as he ended the call.

"How long have you been here?" Came Marinette's quiet voice, thick with sleep. "Did you fall asleep?"

"...Yeah," He yawned, "sorry about that, Marinette. I didn't mean to. Thanks for the notes though." Standing with a stretch and another yawn, Adrien stuffed his supplies into his bag and gave his friend a smile. She would probably be out for the rest of the night, and wished he could too, but he had other business to attend to. Business that involved being scolded by his father, most likely.

"I'll see you tomorrow," He laughed, "so long as we both don't sleep through the whole day."

Marinette's sleepy chuckle made his heart skip a beat.

If she gets any cuter I'm going to explode.

"Bye, Marinette." He gave her a final wave before slipping out of her room, leaving her to rest. She looked like she needed it.

Back down in the bakery, he said his goodbyes to her parents, thanking them for letting him stay for a longer period of time without giving them notice. They seemed surprised at his apology and quickly reassured him, letting him know that he was allowed to come over whenever he wanted to. Adrien grinned as he opened the door to leave, but Sabine quickly called him back before he could make his departure.

When he approached her, he was gifted with a small bag of cookies, which she pressed into his hand before he could protest.

"Take them," She insisted, "you're a growing boy and you're too skinny. Come back sometime for dinner, okay?"

Adrien nodded, unsure of what else to do. "Thank you, Madame Dupain-Cheng."

Her words rang in his head the entire ride home. You're too skinny.

Of course, being a model, Adrien had to be skinny. He was the perfect weight for a male model in his father's line. Tall, lean, with a little bit of muscle.

At least, that's what his father told him.

If he was being honest with himself, Adrien did think he was smaller compared to most guys his age at school. He'd never really questioned it, considering he ate healthy meals that didn't exactly account for running across the rooftops of Paris and saving lives. When he first became Chat Noir, he had no extra calories to burn off, so his body had began to burn up the stored fat instead.

He had lost weight since then.

It was an uncomfortable thought.

Adrien gazed longingly at the cookies he'd been given. Sweets were something he usually strayed from. The cookies tempted him, and if he had less self-control, he would have eaten all of them right there in the car.

But he didn't.

Taking one out of the bag, he ate it gratefully, the wonderful flavors exploding within his mouth. Due not eating many sweets, even the slightest unhealthy foods tasted like heaven to him.

A feeling of dread set over Adrien as he walked through the front doors of the Agreste mansion and saw none other than his father awaiting him. He played out apologies within his head, trying to conjure up the best way to seek forgiveness from his father in the four seconds it took to approach him.


"Adrien." He flinched as his father interrupted him, hands clenching around the cookie bag. "What was so important that you were gone all day?"

Adrien swallowed, finding it hard to meet his father's gaze directly. "I'm sorry, father, I didn't mean to. I needed notes from a friend and I was so exhausted I fell asleep and lost track of time. I promise it wont happen again."

"Hm," Gabriel's expression softened as he prepared his next sentence. "Perhaps you shouldn't stay up so late at night if it makes you that tired during the day. Do try to go to bed earlier, Adrien."

"Yes, father, I'm sorry." He hung his head, his knuckles white as he held onto the bag of cookies.



An hour later, Adrien lay in bed after a long shower and sighed, burying himself under his covers.

In the trashcan sat the cookie bag, now empty, all of its contents consumed.

Adrien couldn't find it in himself to feel guilty.

He wondered if Marinette's parents would have him over for dinner again sometime soon.

Truthful Scars

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

Part 3 of 21

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