Continuing Tales

Truthful Scars

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

Part 5 of 21

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Marinette's eyes scanned over Adrien's text the hundredth time that hour.

Adrien <3, 4:05 A.M.: [ goodnight marinette <3 ]

She hadn't even managed to get out of her pajamas yet. That text kept her glued to her bed with no intention on letting her up as she attempted to decipher it.

A simple goodnight text would have meant little to her.

But a goodnight text with a heart emoji?

That was something, especially coming from Adrien.

Truthfully, she had sent one first and he was probably trying to be polite by replying with one, but...

Do people just send heart emojis for no reason?

"Alya, please," whined Marinette as she called her friend up on the phone, "you have to help me. I think I either screwed up big time or did something amazing."

"Spill." Alya's voice was full of that oh-god-what-did-you-do-this-time tone.

"How do I even start?" Marinette groaned, slapping her palm to her forehead in frustration. "I need your help to decipher a text message Adrien sent me last night at four A.M."

"What?" She could hear Alya laughing on the other line. "So, Adrien just randomly decides to text you at four in the morning? About what?"

"Well... More like he texted me at midnight and we talked until four."

"What?" Alya repeated, her laughter fading. Marinette could imagine her friend's eyes widening with surprise. "What did you two even talk about for that long? You should have been sleeping."

"I know..." Marinette let out a sigh as she recalled the conversation from the night before; small talk that had turned into details about their lives and then somehow forming into a sea of memes and Adrien's horrible puns and potty mouth. Who knew that boy could misspell curse words so many different ways? "At first he told me that he needed someone to talk to because of personal issues. He texted me on accident. At first he was trying to text Nino I guess, but because N and M are next to each other he texted me? I don't know!"

"Well, what did he say?"

"He didn't say anything about the personal issues and changed the subject. Turns out we both missed the test yesterday and we have to make it up together on Monday."

"Which reminds me," Alya said, "why didn't you come back to class yesterday?"

Marinette bit her bottom lip and furrowed her brow as she fought to come up with a believable excuse. "Uh, large order at the bakery my parents couldn't handle on their own. Had to stay. Anyways, Adrien and I talked about small things until four A.M. when I told him that I needed to sleep. I was so tired I didn't realize I'd sent him a heart emoji."


"And he sent one back."

"So, let me get this straight, girl. You two have reached the stage of mutually sending hearts to each other? Why don't you just get married already?"

Marinette frowned at the sarcasm in her friend's tone. "Don't tease."

"I'm not teasing," laughed Alya, "just playing. Let me come over, we can talk about it and I can help you decipher Monsieur Mystery's heart emojis."

Marinette froze, her hand clenching so tightly around her phone that her knuckles turned white. "I... can't. I'm busy today."

"With what?"

"Adrien...?" Her voice squeaked into a high-pitched whisper. "He asked if he could come over-"

"Holy shit," Alya's laughter had faded completely as her voice became a shocked whisper. "And I didn't even have to intervene to get him to your house!"

"Alya, I'm going to hang up now."

"I'm just joking, Mari, relax."

Marinette rolled her eyes as she heard Alya break into giggles once more and was about to give her friend a few choice words before she heard her mother calling her down to help in the bakery.

"I gotta go, duty calls. I'll talk to you later, okay?"

"Alright," Alya chuckled, "love you, Mari. Have fun with Adrien."

Smiling and hanging up the phone, Marinette slumped out of bed and quickly changed out of her pajamas before heading downstairs. She'd woken up too late for breakfast, so instead she grabbed a snack and went straight to the ground floor, where her mother waited and held out the pink apron Marinette had made for herself.

"Thanks maman," she yawned, stretching out the last bit of sleep that still lingered in her bones. "Busy day today?"

Her mother nodded. "I've got to tend the front, so can you help out in the back? We just ran out of sugar cookies and your father had to go pick up some more supplies. You know what to do."

At least sugar cookies were simple enough to make, albeit messy. "Oh, mom?" Marinette remembered that it was most likely a good idea to let her mother know that Adrien would be coming over sometime that day. "It's okay if Adrien comes over later, right? I just want to make sure-"

"Marinette, your boyfriend is always welcome here."

"We're not dating!" Marinette's cheek flared up red as she tied her apron behind her back, eyes wide. "W-we're just friends, mom... Just friends."

"Are you sure?" Sabine teased, giving her daughter a playful smirk. "Your father and I have been wondering when you'd tell us about you and him. You don't have to keep your boyfriends a secret from us."

"I don't have any boyfriends."

"Just the one?"

"Not even Adrien. If we were dating you'd know it."

Her mother gave a sigh and smiled, gentle hands leading Marinette into the kitchen. "If you say so, honey. But you'd better swoop him up quick, because I think he likes you!"

Marinette only grew redder. "Mommm."

At her daughter's embarrassment, Sabine laughed and excused herself back to the front counter, causing Marinette to sigh in relief. She loved her mother with all of her heart, but sometimes she could be a little much.

After preparing and coating the tabletop in flour, Marinette began to gather the ingredients she needed to make a new batch of cookies. She knew the recipe by heart, much like many other recipes she had learned by practice. While she creamed together the butter and sugar, Marinette worked in silence, the occasional ringing of the shop's bell a sweet melody. Doing her job in the bakery was almost therapeutic for her. She knew exactly what she was doing and her parents trusted her to do it right. Of course, there was the added fact of her usual clumsiness, but a few spilled bags of flour or knocking over a bowl wasn't that much of a big deal. Messes happened in bakeries all the time.

The bell of the front door chimed again, but this time its tiny tune was accompanied by a warm voice that made Marinette freeze.


Adrien had arrived earlier than she'd expected.

"Oh, no," She hissed under her breath. Why now?

Gazing over herself, Marinette cursed softly, taking note of the flour that decorated her hair and clothing. Adrien would see her beautifully powdered in white. How stunning.

Maybe he was attracted to ghosts.

"Just go on back, Adrien. Marinette is in the kitchen." Her mother's voice made Marinette internally panic as she hopped on one foot then the other, squealing softly with fear. Her hands wiped at her jeans and she did her best to smack the flour out of her pigtails but it was to no avail—she was covered in the stuff.

Adrien's laugh caused her to turn around quickly, an embarrassed blush on her freckled cheeks.

"A-Adrien," she whined, "are you laughing at me?"

Adrien shook his head, then grinned and nodded. "Maybe a little. Having fun?"

Marinette placed her hands upon her hips and gave a fake pout, trying her best to look offended, but a laugh bubbled up from her chest and contorted her lips into a wide grin. She couldn't stop smiling whenever Adrien was around.

"So, I'm covered in flour. Big deal. It happens when you work at a bakery."

"What are you making?" Adrien approached her with a friendly smile, peering over her shoulder to get a good look at the large mixing bowl. "Ooh, what kind of batter is that? Smells good."

"Sugar cookies. You can have one when they're done, but it wont be for a while."

Adrien was like a curious kitten, his green eyes wide with interest as he gazed around the tabletop. Marinette blushed. She hoped he wasn't judging her for getting flour everywhere.

"I want to help," He said, voice hopeful.

"I'm okay, Adrien- oh." She didn't have much time to protest. Adrien had already grabbed an adorably pink apron and began tying it behind his back, an excited smile gracing his features. He was ready to get to work.

"I want to help," He repeated as he stood next to her, rubbing his hands together with a determined look on his face. "Tell me what to do."

Marinette giggled, raising an eyebrow curiously. "I didn't know baking could be so exciting."

"Please," Adrien looked upon her with a grin. "I've tasted the food from here, but being able to actually make it, to contribute to something that tastes so good? How could I refuse?"

"Well, alright, if you insist." Marinette slid the bowl of flour to her friend, who grinned at it excitedly. "We're going to add that flour into the batter. Here," She took the large wooden spoon that had been sitting on the table and dug a hole in the batter; not all the way through the mixture, yet deep enough so that the flour would get inside and help the batter clump. "Now you can pour the flour in."

She went to hand Adrien the bowl, but by the wrath of her clumsiness her flats slipped on the flooring and sent her tumbling into him. A cloud of flour puffed up around them, coating their hair and faces and clothing as they sat on the floor in a dazed confusion.

When Marinette realized what she'd done, her hands cupped over her mouth in terror.

She'd ruined Adrien's perfect hair and gotten his expensive clothing and soft skin soiled.

"Adrien, oh god, I'm so, so-"

And then, much to her surprise, he laughed. He laughed hard.

Adrien's hands held his stomach and his mouth stretched into a gigantic smile as he became lost in his chortle. The sound of his contagious laughter caused Marinette to snort, her nose scrunching up as she, too, broke into a heavy laughter. The pair sat hunched over from their own giggles for what seemed like forever, and each time one of them would stop laughing, their stomachs aching with exhaustion, they'd meet the others eyes and fall back into a fit of snorts and squeals.

By now Marinette was wheezing, keeping her eyes shut tight in fear that if she looked at Adrien again she'd lose it.

Truthfully, it wasn't even that funny, but the more they laughed the harder it became to stop.

Just as she worked up the courage to lift her gaze from the powdered substance, Marinette noticed Adrien's lips curling into a sneaky smirk. She'd never imagined that such a devilish look could appear on Adrien Agreste's features.

In silence, her eyes followed his hand as it traveled from his stomach to the floor, where he wiped up some of the flour and flung it at her. Marinette squealed—she should have seen that coming!

"Adrien," she squeaked, wiping the powder from her cheeks. "Rude!"

He didn't reply. Instead, he scooped as much flour into his palm as possible and threw it at her in a white cloud, his laughter returning in a fit of giggles.

"Are you looking for a fight?" Gasped Marinette, cocking an eyebrow as she stood up tall. "Ohh, you're on, Agreste. Come here!"

Any lingering trace of shyness that had been within her disappeared as she stuffed her hands into an open sack of flour, grabbing two fist-fulls of the white powder. This was a battle and there was no way in hell she was going to lose. She felt her Ladybug confidence spilling out of her as she assaulted her crush with flour, who laughed and flung it right back.

"You're gonna slip," Adrien warned through laughter, backing up as she inched closer and closer, a rather threatening bag of flour in her arms.

She didn't listen. Instead, she threw the small bag, squealing with laughter as it poofed onto Adrien's chest. Her victory was short lived, however. Her heart stopped as her feet slipped out from underneath her. Marinette realized just how slippery a flour-covered floor could be, especially in flat shoes—she fell backwards and prepared for the worst: a concussion, being knocked out cold, or giving Adrien a concussion by kicking him in the face.

No force hit her.

She didn't collide with the ground.

Instead, she found herself being held up by Adrien, who had caught her in the knick of time before she smashed her head against the floor.

"What did I say?" He chuckled, a smirk that perfectly said "I told you so" stretching across his face. "You almost hurt yourself."

Marinette couldn't formulate an answer. Her gaze had frozen on Adrien's softened summer eyes, which glowed with concern and playfulness. One of his hands supported her from the small of her back while the other held onto her waist, fingers securely locked on her form. It was then she realized how close they were, their faces inches apart, lips threateningly close to being pressed together. If someone had taken a photo of the pair, it would've appeared like they'd been dancing and Adrien had just dipped her down for a kiss.

All of her nervousness that had previously depleted crashed back upon her like a heavy wave.

Her words caught in her throat and came out as nothing but small squeaks of shyness as her cheeks burned and reddened into a deep crimson. Marinette swore that she was nothing but a puddle of blushing goo in Adrien's strong arms, which supported her like she was only a delicate white feather.

She would have fainted if it wasn't for her mother's startled gasp.

"What did you two do?!" Sabine scolded, her hands placed firmly upon her hips. "Your father steps out for fifteen minutes and you make a mess! Marinette, when I sent you down here to make cookies, I didn't expect Christmas to appear in my shop."

Skittering away from Adrien, Marinette scanned the kitchen, her eyes growing twice their size at the sight. The entire room looked as if it'd snowed inside. Her and Adrien practically blended in with the surroundings.

"Oh, no," she whispered to herself, flashing her mother an apologetic smile. "Maman... I'm so sorry. We were just playing around-"

"And how old are you?" Sighed Sabine, shaking her head. "It's fine, don't worry about it. I'm not the one cleaning up this mess, though, so throw those cookies in the oven and get started."


An awkward silence developed between the two as they cleaned the kitchen. Adrien had apologized sincerely to her mother and even offered to pay for all the wasted flour, but she had assured him sweetly that it was alright. Her mother was a very forgiving person and Marinette felt incredibly lucky to be her daughter.

Sweeping the flour into snowy piles, Marinette sighed, turning to her friend after she tired of the quiet. "H-Hey, I'm sorry about this."

"What?" Adrien's gaze shifted from the tabletop he'd been wiping to her. "I thought it was fun. Besides, I never have to do any actual cleaning myself, so I'm not hating this as much as you'd think."

Marinette chuckled. "I've never met somebody who actually likes cleaning. Do you want to clean my room for me?"

"Sure," he joked, "just don't get upset when I read your diary."

"Okay, never mind," Marinette snorted, sprinkling some flour in his hair. "I never thought Adrien Agreste was nosy."

"Nosiness and curiosity are different," he said as he brushed away the flour she'd added to his hair. "If you ask me to clean your room and I come across a diary, I might just get curious about whether or not my name is in there somewhere."

He was obviously teasing, but the redness in Marinette's cheeks was hard to hide. "I-It's not!"

"Not even once?" He whined, smirking playfully. "You don't think I'm cute enough to write even one sentence about?"

"Nosy!" She ignored his question, not wanting to answer the obvious. Adrien knew he was cute and she wasn't about to admit that she thought so as well in front of him.

"Curious," he corrected, leaning on the table with a smirk that reminded her a little bit too much of Chat Noir. "Remember, there's a difference."

"Well, I'm curious about that heart emoji you sent last night." She pressed her lips tightly together as the sentence slipped out. That definitely wasn't something she had intended to say out loud.

"Oh?" Adrien's eyes shifted to the rag in his hand as he continued wiping down the table. "You sent it first."

Marinette's face became hotter. He wasn't wrong, and she really didn't know how to reply. "I was just tired."

"Heart emojis are a symbol for being tired?"

"Yes?" She wasn't sure if she would even believe herself.

"Or maybe you just wanted to wish me a good night's sleep, right? Hugs and kisses and all."

This wasn't the shy Adrien Agreste Marinette had grown accustomed to. He was playful and teasing, and she wasn't sure if she should shoot it back or faint from nervousness. Was he flirting?

"I was really tired," she squeaked out, "sorry if it was weird."

"It's okay," he laughed, "I thought it was cute."

Marinette's face flushed and her gaze met the floor. Cute.

They finished their cleaning relatively quickly, the room spotless and sparkling save for the two teens whose appearance reminded Marinette of ghosts.

"I need a shower," Marinette sighed as she removed her apron, hanging it on the wall rack. "And maybe a change of clothes."

"I wish I could say the same," said Adrien as he removed his apron as well, giving himself a quick wiping down. "I hope you don't mind me looking like this the rest of the day."

"You can just use my shower," she offered, quickly realizing it was a bit of an embarrassing thought. Her cheeks flushed for the hundredth time that hour. "If you want to, that is. Sorry."

Her classmate grinned in gratitude. "Thanks, Marinette. If it's no trouble."

"It's fine. I can throw your clothes in the washer if you want, too."

And then Adrien actually blushed, his cheeks reddening just slightly. It was barely even noticeable, but Marinette knew exactly what she was looking at.

She immediately regretted her offer. He probably thinks I'm such a freak. He's probably going to ask to leave so he can shower at home. I've scared him away, he'll never come back. He'll-

"That'd be nice. You don't mind?"

Marinette shook her head, still recovering from the heat in her cheeks. "N-no, not at all."

 Adrien looked up from his phone as Marinette entered her room through the trapdoor, wet hair tied back up in dripping pigtails.

He'd tracked flour up to her room while he waited for her to finish up her shower and of course he felt bad about dirtying her house, but there was really nothing he could do about it. He was covered from head to toe in white powder.

"I-it's y-your turn," Marinette said as she carefully stepped around the flour footprints due to her being barefoot. "It's downstairs to your left. I, uh, I put a towel out for you. Hope you don't mind pink."

Adrien chuckled, shaking his head. "Of course not. It's actually one of my favorite colors." He opened her trap door and stepped down, then turned his gaze back to her. "I'll leave my clothes out the door?"

Marinette squeaked and blushed, swallowing dryly as she nodded. She couldn't find the words to speak and frankly Adrien thought it to be adorable. "M-mhm!"

He'd never seen her blush so hard. It almost made him grin.

"Alright, well, thanks again."

Her bathroom was full of pink and white. A pastel pink wall with white flower decals and a rosy shower curtain that matched the color of the towel that had been left out for him on the sink counter. It was a small bathroom but a cute one, still steamy and warm from when Marinette had been in.

He left his clothes outside the door (save for his boxers), shutting and locking it before he hopped into the shower. It was one of those combined bath-and-tub showers, and it felt quite cramped compared to the shower he was used to being in at his own house.

Surveying the array of scented soaps and shampoos, Adrien grinned as he found the soap that smelled of lavender. It reminded him of Marinette.

After he'd washed all of the flour from his hair and body, Adrien turned off the shower and stepped out, taking a good look at the towel she'd given him. Bright pink with a black cat etched into it. Perfectly fitting for Chat Noir.

He grinned as he dried himself off, wrapping the towel around his waist and opening the door a crack to peek out. His clothes had been neatly folded and left on the floor right outside so he could quickly grab them without being seen in all of his glory.

Once dressed, Adrien went back up into Marinette's room to find her sitting cross-legged on her chaise, aggressively texting someone on her phone. He could only imagine it was Alya.

"All clean," he said as he ruffled his damp hair with the towel. "I like your soaps. I smell like a pretty girl now."

Marinette's blush deepened as she giggled, glancing up from her phone. "You smell like me."

"Exactly. Like a pretty girl."

Maybe Marinette wouldn't have tumbled backwards if he hadn't winked.

That wink probably killed her.

Embarrassed, Adrien gave her a sheepish smile, chuckling softly. "You okay? What was that?"

"N-nothing!" His friend squeaked out, her voice high-pitched as she peeked out from behind her chaise. "Just surprised!"

"Surprised? By what?"

Marinette lowered, hiding behind the pink piece of furniture. Why was she acting so weird? Adrien could have sworn the shyness she felt around him had faded by now, especially after the flour fight.

Maybe she didn't like to be called pretty.

"I-it's just..." She peered up at him. "I didn't expect you of all people to think that I'm pretty."

Adrien cocked an eyebrow as he gazed at her quizzically. "Well, why not?"

"Because," she began, awkwardly climbing back up onto her chaise. "You've probably seen so many pretty girls in your life, being a model and all."

"You don't think you're pretty?" He frowned, running his fingers through his wet hair in an attempt to at least somewhat style it. How could she not think of herself as pretty?

"I never said that," Her gaze met his for merely a brief second before shifting away. "Only a little surprised that you think so. I'm just a normal girl."

Adrien snorted. "You're anything but normal."

She looked slightly offended so he quickly shook his head, eyes frantic as he went to reassure her. "Not in a bad way, Marinette. You're very talented—normal girls can't just make gorgeous designs or sketch amazing drawings like the one you gave me. Also," he stole a glance at her computer screen, "normal girls aren't video game champions. Not everyone can beat me in a match."

"Really?" She giggled, her eyes finally meeting his and staying there. It was then Adrien realized how deeply her face had flushed and how brightly her baby blues had began to sparkle.

Was Marinette ever not blushing around him?

If he didn't know any better, he'd assume she was crushing on him.

The thought made his heart stop in his chest. Marinette did say that she had a thing for Chat Noir. Okay, well, maybe not a thing, but she did say that she thought he was pretty cute. Technically speaking, that meant she had a thing for Adrien Agreste, didn't it? Or at the very least it meant that she thought of him as cute as well.

He cleared those thoughts before nodding, giving his friend a large grin of reassurance. "I mean it."

"Th-thanks..." Marinette smiled, seemingly touched by his words. There was something else hidden behind those soft blue eyes, something deep and meaningful, but he couldn't quite place a finger on it. Admiration? Gratitude? Love?

Adrien doubted it was the latter.

"Well," He began, sitting backwards in one of her pink rolling chairs and swivelling towards her, his head propped on the backrest. "Shall I get my butt kicked in Ultimate Mecha Strike III?"

"That's the only option when we play that game," giggled Marinette, "so yes."

"I have a good feeling this time," he said as she sat in the chair next to him, starting up the game and handing him a controller.

Their hands brushed, the contact sending a spark to run up Adrien's arm and to his chest.

"A good feeling? That you're going to win?" The teasing lilt in her voice fit her expression to a tee. The cocked eyebrow, the smirk of determination...

It reminded him of how Ladybug looked after they'd just defeated an akuma. Confident and sassy.

And wow, did Adrien adore seeing such a self-assured expression on Marinette's face.

"Yes," he stuck his tongue out like a child, which made his friend laugh. "I have my methods."

"Methods," Marinette repeated with a chuckle. "You mean button mashing?"

"If that's what it takes for me to finally reign champion, then yes. I will mash these buttons with all of my might."

Eleven rounds. Eleven rounds and not a single victory claimed for Adrien.

He'd began to grow desperate. Marinette was teasing the hell out of him. She'd let him get so close to winning, so unbelievably close to being crowned winner, before smashing him into the ground and earning herself a new high score.

At this point, he'd even result to cheating.

Maybe that wasn't such a bad idea.

Each time she won she'd laugh and do her little victory dance (which Adrien of course thought was absolutely adorable, but it was getting incredibly annoying to lose over and over again.)

As she started up the twelfth match with that confident smirk that made him want to pull her in for a kiss just to wipe it off her freckled face, Adrien narrowed his eyes.

This time, he needed a plan.

She'd began to play her little game again, acting as if she was failing and letting him think that he would finally claim the title of victor. Her fingers skillfully worked at the controller, her eyes never leaving the screen as she moved her digits in detailed memory. This was a practice she knew all too well, and Adrien was ready to wipe her name off first place on the high score chart.

His health was tied with Marinette's. Both were threateningly close to being defeated, and even Marinette looked slightly nervous. She couldn't let him win.

And that's what made Adrien smirk like a demon with a devious plan to take over the world.

Quick as a cat, Adrien leaned over in his seat and pressed his lips against her cheek in a big, wet kiss, accompanied by a soft "mwah" sound once he pulled away.

It'd certainly elicited the reaction he'd been hoping for.

Marinette froze, her entire body unresponsive as it filled with different shades of red.

This was his chance. While she was in shock, he took the opportunity and smashed her character's health bar to zero, its signature ladybug spots fading as he claimed victory. When his name moved to the top of the scoreboard, Adrien leaped from his chair, arms in the air as he screeched, "Yes! Yes!"

Marinette had yet to respond. She sat there in her chair, looking completely shocked as her hand gingerly placed itself upon the area he'd kissed.

Adrien didn't know a person's face could achieve that level of redness.

He stared at her silence, suddenly feeling a wave of regret washing over him. It drowned any other emotion or thought that didn't fall into the category of internally scolding himself.

Just as he was about to give a heartfelt apology, Marinette's lips parted as she spoke in the quietest, breathiest whisper he'd ever heard. What she said was barely audible, yet absolutely unmistakable:

"...What the fuck..."

Had he heard her right? Did kind, sweet, innocent Marinette Dupain-Cheng just say that?

Adrien snorted. He snorted and he giggled and then he laughed, laughed so hard that he tumbled backwards off of the swivel chair and onto the wooden floor. His stomach was still sore from the flour incident, but the chortle that came from his chest and pit of his belly forced itself up and out of him without any indicator he would be able to suppress it. Tears stung his eyes as he covered his face with his forearm, taking deep breaths to try and steady himself.

Adrien had never felt laughter like that before.

It was the hardest he'd ever laughed in his entire life. Who knew laughter could hurt!

"What's so funny?" Marinette said with a pout. "You cheated! That wasn't a real victory."

"You," he panted, removing his arm from his eyes so he could gaze up at her. "I've never heard you say that before! It's so- so funny, so... Cute. You looked so shocked and offended I thought-" He wheezed out another laugh, his stomach begging for mercy as he breathed heavily. "-I thought that you'd get so mad at me. But then you just..." His laughter weakened into a desperate chuckle as he repeated her shocked whisper, "'What the fffu...'"

"You cheater," Marinette giggled, sitting on the floor next to him with her arms crossed defiantly as he sat up. "I call for a rematch."

"No," he sighed, finally feeling at peace now that he'd finally caught his breath. "No, no way. Not after I've finally won."

"Wrongfully," she scoffed, "you cheated. By kissing me."

"It was only on the cheek. Still, I got the reaction I wanted. You froze and I won."

"You didn't," Marinette said simply, giving him a playful shove with the palm of her hand. "You cheated."

He smirked, shoving her back gently. "Are you trying to engage in physical combat?"

"Yes," she said as she flicked him. "I bet I could beat you in physical combat, too."

"Marinette, no," he whined, his stomach sending a painful spark through his body as his laugh bubbled back up. "This is an abusive friendship. I'll call the police."

"Do it," she dared, giving him that kissable smirk.

He almost considered going for it.


"Or worse," he whispered, leaning in with a devious expression, as if he was threatening her with a great power. "I'll get Ladybug and Chat Noir to teach you a lesson."

"Superheroes don't beat up civilians," she said with a confident cock of her eyebrow, shoving him back gently with a finger to his nose. He might have been a little too close. "They protect them."

"But will they protect you from me?"

"Are you challenging me again? Trying to become the alpha?"

He grinned. "Maybe. You're pretty small. I could probably-"

Adrien's eyes widened in surprise as he felt strong muscles give him a shove, sending him backwards onto the floor. Dazed with confusion, he glanced around quickly before sitting back up, his eyes bulging in disbelief.

"Did you just-" He surveyed her body; how had he not noticed those muscular arms before? "How strong are you?"

"Don't underestimate me just because I'm little," she chuckled, her cheeks turning that familiar shade of red.

As he gazed at her, Marinette's confident expression turned quiet, her eyes frantically searching his body. "I-I didn't hurt you, did I?"

"No," he laughed, "I'm fine. Just surprised. Though I suppose I'm not that hard to push over; I'm not the heaviest guy."

Something in Marinette's expression changed. Her sparkling blue eyes grew dull and she looked as if she was fighting with herself to keep from frowning.

Adrien's lips tugged downward as he began to internally panic. What had he said to make her look so sad? Why did he ruin the moment? They were laughing and playing and now she seemed so down, back to her usual shy shell he'd been fighting so hard to get her out of all day.

So, he did the only logical thing he could think of.

He pushed her back.

(Incredibly gently, of course. Adrien would never do anything to harm her.)

Marinette squeaked with surprise, her hands connecting around his shirt to keep herself from falling over, but it was to no avail—perhaps she'd forgotten her own strength as they fell backwards together on the floor.

Well, Adrien had fallen forwards. Right on top of an extremely embarrassed and blushing Marinette.

The position they were in wasn't exactly for "just friends."

Adrien swallowed nervously as he felt his face flare up in a deep scarlet, eyes the size of the moon and lips curled downwards in a surprised frown.

He couldn't make his arms do what he wanted. He was frozen on top of an incredibly flustered and rosy girl and he couldn't get his limbs to cooperate. He couldn't move.

The only thing that made the situation more embarrassing was the fact that Marinette hadn't budged either. She lay flat on her back, her hands firm against his chest and her blue eyes practically bulging out of her head.

Those pink lips that pressed together in a tightened line were close enough to taste with his own.

He wanted to. He really wanted to. She'd been teasing him all day with her cute little victory dances and confident smirks. He was so tempted, but being a gentleman, Adrien would ask permission first if he really wanted to attempt to kiss her.

So, he asked.

"Marinette," He whispered, his eyes softening as he leaned in closer, their lips mere centimeters from brushing. "Can I-"

The sound of footsteps coming up the stairs sent Adrien scampering. His mind hadn't even acknowledged that he'd crawled across the room on all fours like a cat caught by the fishbowl until he and Marinette were standing, faces crimson as they turned to face whoever was opening the trapdoor.

It was her mother.

"Just came to say that lunch is ready if you want to come down," Sabine said in a kind voice, completely oblivious to the fact that Adrien had been on top of her daughter with the intent on kissing her moments ago.

Marinette nodded, clearing her throat to rid the waver in her voice. "Y-yes, maman. We'll be right down."

Adrien met Marinette's gaze for a final moment before they went downstairs for lunch.

 "Too much" were the only words that came to mind as Adrien lay on Marinette's chaise, his hand resting lightly upon his stomach.

Too much food.

Marinette's mother had insisted he have more than just a single helping, which was what he was used to. He couldn't refuse, especially with how nice she was being to him and how great the food tasted.

Adrien had never imagined that dumplings could be so flavorful. Marinette's mother was amazing cook; he'd told her that three times and was about to say it a fourth before his friend pulled him back up to her room.

He'd only realized how full he was until he collapsed on Marinette's chaise, feeling absolutely lethargic.

"I told you," Marinette sighed as she opened her sketchbook, flipping to the page of the Ladybug and Chat Noir designs. "My mom will keep feeding you until you explode."

"I know that now," he groaned, watching her from across the room. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Working on my designs while you recover."

"Can I see?" Sitting up, he wandered over to his friend and sat beside her in the second chair, rolling as close as he could without invading her personal space. His wide green eyes examined the fabric and cloth she had strewn about her desk in a disorganized mess.

Well, to him it looked like a mess. To Marinette, she probably had her own system of organization that made sense only to her.

Reaching out, he plucked one of the pieces of red fabric up from the pile and looked it up and down, resisting the cat urge to sniff it out of curiosity. Being Chat Noir had its quirks, and cat urges were something he experienced all too often. At least it was easier to fight them when he wasn't transformed.

"You're so curious," chuckled Marinette as she took it from him with gentle fingers. "Just like a cat. Go play with yarn or something."

His eyes shifted to the pink ball of yarn that sat neatly wound to her left. Now that he'd seen it, Adrien feared the temptation might grow too strong to control. He tore his gaze away, fingers tapping on her desk impatiently as his mind fought to distract himself from the perfectly colorful ball of yarn that he could so easily play with. It sat there, taunting him, boasting with its bright color and softness that would be absolutely satisfying to sink his claws and teeth into.

He suppressed a cat-like growl and instead stared at his feet in frustration.

"Hey, Marinette?" His voice was deeper than he had intended. That ball of yarn still deserved a good beating. "I was wondering if you could teach me how to draw."

Marinette's hand froze as her gaze lifted from the assortment of fabrics that fanned out in front of her. "Teach you how to draw? You want to learn?"

Adrien nodded. "Yeah. I think it'd be a good distraction sometimes. Usually at photo shoots, there are lots of times when I'm just sitting with nothing to do. Being able to draw could fill up that block so I don't have to be bored."

Marinette tapped her pencil against her lips, considering the thought. "I'm not an amazing artist but I could try to teach you some of the basic things I know. You really want to learn?"

He nodded once more. "Yeah, I mean it. I was thinking about it last night since I hung that picture you gave me on my wall. It'd be so amazing to be able to draw like that."

"It takes lots of practice," she said as she cleared the fabric off of her desk. "And patience, and time. You don't just become amazing overnight."

"I know that. I'm willing to put the practice, patience, and time in." He smiled. "See? I pay attention."

Marinette grabbed her sketchbook, flipping to an empty page in preparation to give him a small beginner's lesson. "What do you want to learn to draw?"

Adrien certainly knew the answer to that. "People."

"Ah," Marinette's expression was all too knowing. "Do you just want to draw Paris' superheroes?"

"Maybe," he laughed, blushing slightly with embarrassment. "But other stuff, too."

"You like her a lot, don't you?"

Adrien looked up from his hands, a bit startled by the question. "Who?"

Marinette fiddled with her pencil, biting her lower lip as she fumbled for an answer to a question she probably didn't intend to ask. "Ladybug."

"Oh," Adrien's gaze fell downcast with shyness. Of course he liked Ladybug, he was pretty sure he was straight up in love with her, but he couldn't tell Marinette that. She'd most likely begin to catch on. "Uh, well, I admire her. It's not a crush so don't say that."

Marinette giggled, cupping a hand over her mouth as she did so. "Um, I never accused you of having a crush on her."


"Ah! Oh, well, uh, haha... You know. What kind of guy would I be if I didn't have a tiny little crush on Ladybug? She's so brave and confident a-and pretty. Oh, wow," he hid his face in his hands, the heat of his cheeks causing his palms to burn with embarrassment. He'd admitted too much. "It's just a celebrity crush. It's not like I expect her and I to ever date or anything. Not that I want that! I-it's really nothing, just admiration. That's all."

"I see." Marinette's cheeks had a tint of pink to them as well, but Adrien didn't exactly know why. "Well, there's nothing wrong with a crush on a celebrity, especially not a superhero. Ladybug is pretty cool."

"Cool?" he gaped, shaking his head in bewilderment. "She's more than that, Marinette. I think she's amazing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not her biggest fan like Alya is, but I do know she's incredible. Wonderful. I need a thesaurus because I can't think of enough words to describe her."

Oh, god, he was gushing and Marinette was losing it.

His friend had broken into a fit of tiny giggles, a light shade of red coating her garden of freckles. Adrien's heart swelled with the memory that he'd almost kissed that smile.

"Aw, don't laugh at me, Marinette."

Immediately she calmed her squeals of laughter and gave him a sheepish grin, which made him smile in return. "Sorry. Don't worry about it, Adrien, there's nothing wrong with a celebrity crush. I've got one too."

"Do you?" Adrien asked, unsure why the thought made him uncomfortable. Jealousy was not an emotion he enjoyed. He'd felt it with Ladybug before, but never with Marinette.

Marinette's eyes widened as if she hadn't meant to admit that information. "Um! Yes! Well, uh, he's... He's, well known by Paris, uh, blond, green eyes? Oh, um... Oh, no. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to admit all that, ugh..."

Adrien smirked. He knew exactly who that celebrity happened to be.

"Chat Noir."

Marinette's shoulders visibly relaxed as she shot him a surprised look. He wasn't sure who else she could possibly be talking about, so why was she looking at him like she'd just avoided a bullet? "Oh... Oh! Yeah, that's who I meant."

The thought of Marinette having a crush on Chat Noir warmed Adrien's insides and made a grin stretch across his blushing face. Marinette having a crush on Chat Noir was Marinette having a crush on Adrien.

It took everything he had not to jump up and laugh with glee.

"Wow," he breathed, resting his head on his palm. "I can see why. He is pretty handsome."

Marinette cocked her head. "You think he's handsome?"

"Of course," Adrien smirked, restraining his laughter. "I heard he's got some pretty nice muscles under that suit, you know."

"Oh my god," His classmate's eyes were wide with surprise. "So you think Ladybug and Chat Noir are attractive?"

"Well, yeah," Adrien chuckled at his friend's shocked expression. "I never said I was straight, Marinette."

Even if he was only into Ladybug out of the two—he wasn't into himself, of course—Adrien still felt safe admitting that detail about himself to his friend.

"Oh," Marinette said, blinking those bright blue eyes. "Me either."

"Don't tell anyone that," He laughed, hiding his blushing face in his hand. "It's a secret. You're the only one who knows."

"Not even Nino?"

"Not even Nino."

The rest of the afternoon was spent by an abundance of video games, which Adrien usually lost save for the occasional lucky victory that Marinette was never pleased about. Their dynamic had changed quite a bit since that morning when he'd arrived. Marinette no longer stuttered (unless he made some flirtatious comment, which reminded him not to do that) and they shared several fits of laughter, each one harder and lasting longer than the last.

By the time the clock struck seven, Adrien's stomach feared it might not be able to take any more.

They lay on the floor of her terrace after a fourth fit of laughter that had been caused by Marinette becoming so frustrated with the current video game that she let quite a few curse words fly before suggesting they take a break. It hadn't been funny until they'd climbed up on her terrace and Adrien thought of how scrunched up her face had become and how the word "fucker" was said by such a sweet voice. He'd tried so hard not to laugh, he honestly did, but once he started he just couldn't stop. It'd sent her to join his snorting, the two finding themselves on the concrete where they lay now in silence, gazing up at the pink and orange clouds that danced across the sky as a blanket of pastel warmth enveloped the city.

Sunset was always a beautiful sight in Paris. Adrien swore that no other place on Earth could have such a beautiful end to their days.

The silence was comfortable. They didn't need words at this point; just two friends enjoying the gentle breeze that kissed their skin and reminded them that summer was near.

"This is nice," sighed Adrien as his gaze tracked a cloud that vaguely reminded him of a heart. "I never really get a chance to just relax like this."

"I do this sometimes," Marinette said as she glanced at him. "It's usually on nights when I'm stressed or something. That's why I love having my bedroom in the attic, because of this terrace. The view is great and it's amazing for inspiration."

"I can imagine. I'd love to be able to sit on roofs like this all the time."

It was true. As Chat Noir, Adrien loved nothing more than to find a good spot with an amazing view of the skyline and just watch. Gazing at the world was one of his favorite pastimes and he wished he could do it more often. The only thing that made the gorgeous painting of warm colors better was having Ladybug by his side.

"It is nice," she sighed, "today was... Today was nice."

Adrien hummed in agreement. Truthfully, it'd been one of the best days he'd ever experienced. Sure, it wasn't much more than just hanging out with a friend, but it was something that he'd never really had much of a chance to do before. He appreciated Marinette allowing him to come over and her mother for feeding him and being so kind. He hadn't met her father much due to him always being in bakery, but he assumed that Tom was a nice guy. How could he not be when he had such an amazing family?

"I like it here," Adrien said as his eyes followed the clouds that moved along the darkening sky in a gentle herd. "Everything feels so real."

"Real?" Marinette turned on her side to face him, scooting a bit closer. She'd tried to do it discreetly, but he'd noticed. One of the good things about having cat side effects was that his eye caught things people normally wouldn't see. "What do you mean?"

"I mean..." It took him a moment to formulate the words in his head. "My house is just so big. Everything is superficial and for show. It feels cold and lonely but your house is very warm and comforting. It's lived in, and that's what I like about it. You can tell that people live here and that- ..." He frowned, embarrassed by the crack in his voice. "...And that you're happy."

Marinette's frown joined his own. "You're not happy?"

Adrien shook his head, figuring there was no use in hiding it since he'd already let it slip. Of course he wasn't happy, how could he be? Sure, he had a big house and money, but that didn't necessarily mean his life was good. He wanted his father to be more present in his life, and he missed his mother dearly.

"No," He admitted after a moment, sighing. "I guess not. Not usually, at least. Today I am."

"Why aren't you happy?"

He felt like she already knew the answer to that and part of him didn't feel like talking about it. It'd ruin the peaceful atmosphere they'd built up.

"It's a lot to tell. I don't want to bore you."

"You wouldn't be boring me, Adrien," Marinette reassured, "if you need somebody to talk to..."

"I know," He sighed, "I know. I just don't feel comfortable with sharing my life's details."

"You can't keep it bottled up inside," Marinette's voice was soothing and soft as she spoke, her eyes locked on his with a gentle gaze. She was only prying because she cared, he knew, but...

Adrien turned his eyes back to the sky. "You're probably right, Marinette, but I don't know. I'm pretty sure if I start I won't be able to stop until I've admitted all of my secrets."

There were many secrets Marinette didn't need to know.

She didn't need to know he was crushing on her. She didn't need to know he was tearing himself apart inside over which girl he had stronger feelings for. She didn't need to know that he was Chat Noir and she didn't need to know that every night he thought of his mother and wished she would come home to him. She didn't need to know that most nights sleep came with a mixture of hunger pains and tears.

She just didn't need to know how hard his life really was.

If she knew, it would pain her, and making Marinette sad was the last thing Adrien ever wanted to do.

"It's okay," The delicate touch of a hand on his shoulder made him tear his gaze from the sky. Marinette was looking at him so kindly, so full of love—whether it was platonic or something more, Adrien wasn't sure, but he was grateful for it nonetheless. "You don't have to tell me, Adrien. Just know that I'm there for you if you ever need someone to talk to."

It touched him deeply. She didn't push him away. Marinette had said she would be there for him whenever he needed and well, he needed someone there for him right now.

"You don't mind?" He turned his eyes to her and met the chilling sight of blue. "It's... a lot."

"I'm all ears."

He took a deep breath and let it out through parted lips, his gaze finding itself back on the sea of pink and red that glowed above them. If Marinette was willing to listen, he wouldn't hold back. She could keep secrets.

He trusted her.

So, he began.

Adrien hadn't expected to talk as long as he did. They'd been called down for dinner twice, and both times Marinette had told her mother they'd be down in a bit. He talked about how stressful his job was and his father's negligence and how he didn't get to enjoy being a teenager. He talked about his troubles, his worries, his desire to eat a whole pizza by himself. And most importantly, he talked about his mother. He went on and on about how badly he missed her and how important she'd been to him and how she had been the light in his life back when she was still in it.

And he talked about how badly it hurt to have her gone.

Adrien hadn't expected to cry in front of Marinette that night.

At first it wasn't anything more than a few tears rolling down his cheeks without any noise besides the occasional sniffle, but when he felt her warm arms envelope his body he'd broken. His shoulders trembled as he confessed his habits of not eating enough and his arms held onto his friend tightly as he confessed that sometimes he wished he didn't have to wake up the next day. His tears stained her shirt as he hid his head into her neck while he confessed that he was lonely and that his heart was aching and that he felt so much hurt he wasn't sure if anything could make it better. He'd confessed that all he wanted was a loving family like hers.

And that was when he felt the delicate warmth of lips upon his forehead. Gentle hands soothed his shaking back in comforting circles as Marinette let him ride his sadness out. He'd never broken in front of anyone before—anyone besides his mother. A mixture of emotions were coursing within him, pouring out of his body as he trembled with quiet sobs. Crying was something he'd become accustomed to, but usually he only cried when he was alone.

Usually the only comfort he could seek out was Plagg.

Plagg wasn't awful at it, but he definitely wasn't a creature of sympathy. He'd been alive far too long to really feel the deep sadness that had built up within his chosen and Adrien understood that he wasn't the type that really knew what to do with an emotional teenager anyways. Plagg's advice was usually just to eat a piece of cheese and try to forget about it.

It was when he'd finally caught his breath that Adrien realized how embarrassed he felt.

Here they were, sitting in the low hues of twilight, the gentle glow of sunshine ebbing away and dancing along their skin as they sat together in an embrace. It was twice in one day they'd ended up in a position that wasn't considered for only friends, but this one was much less suggestive. It was pure and innocent and full of comfort. Adrien's arms wrapped tightly around her back, securely hugging her as if she was his lifeline, keeping him alive and safe and cared for. His face had nuzzled deeply into the crook of her neck, which was warm and smelled so sweet, even after he'd spent a good amount of time whimpering into it.

Marinette didn't seem to mind at all. Her arms had connected around his torso, one hand rubbing it in slow circles of reassurance while the other supported his back. He'd definitely needed it.

They sat together in silence until the yellow hues of the city at night washed over them.

"Marinette?" Adrien whispered, his voice quiet and cracked with sorrow. "I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to-"

"Don't," she said softly, "don't you dare apologize, Adrien. There's nothing to be sorry for."

He sighed. "I'm embarrassed."

"What for? Crying?"

He nodded, refusing to remove his face from her neck.

"Adrien, look at me." A delicate hand placed itself upon his cheek.

Hesitantly, Adrien raised his head from hiding and stared at the ground, too embarrassed to look up from the concrete.


He glanced at her, then shifted his eyes back down.

"Please? It's okay."

Her pleading tone was enough to cause Adrien to lift his gaze and meet hers, which was soft and full of nothing but sympathy for him. He almost smiled.

"Listen to me, Adrien... I know you're embarrassed about crying in front of me but it's not a big deal. People cry all the time. I cry a lot. Everyone cries sometimes. You have a very good reason to be upset. You have a lot on your mind and if I were in your situation, I wouldn't have stayed strong for as long as you have. You're very brave." Her other hand connected with his reddened cheeks as she studied him, her thumbs gingerly stroking his skin.

It reminded him of how his mother used to comfort him.

One of her hands ran from his face to his hair, which she caressed gently. The loose strands that had been hanging in his face were pushed backward as she soothed him. A purr threatened to rumble in his throat as her hands ran along his face and head, but he fought it back, instead allowing a smile to tug at his heavy lips.

It only grew once he saw Marinette smile as well.

"Marinette," he whispered as he took one of her hands in his, giving it a gentle squeeze. "Thank you."

"Any time, Adrien."

The rest of the evening was spent sitting on her terrace, eating dinner and cracking jokes to lighten the mood. Marinette had successfully made him happy.

More than happy, actually. Marinette had made him feel loved, appreciated, needed.

Marinette had taken in a broken, lost kitten and turned him into a contented housecat who never wanted to leave her side.

By the time the clock reached ten, Adrien decided it was best to go home. He hadn't expected to stay for so long. He initially had planned to leave hours ago when it was still a decent time, but when he was with Marinette, his world felt at peace and time flew by like it didn't exist.

He'd resisted the urge to give her a goodnight kiss when she walked him down to the ground floor, and he'd resisted the urge to grab her by her hands and run off with her back inside the house so he could stay forever.

He'd resisted the urge to tell her that he was Chat Noir and he'd resisted the urge to transform and take her to see the city from his favorite angle.

Yet he didn't resist the urge to wrap her in a hug before taking his leave.

"I'll see you again soon," he told her before slipping tiredly into the limo that waited outside for him.

Little did she know, he'd see her again much sooner than he'd initially anticipated, back on her terrace two and a half hours later in a black super suit, begging to be let inside.

Truthful Scars

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

Part 5 of 21

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