Continuing Tales


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

Part 18 of 38

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The sky was bright, the sun was shining, and everything seemed right with the world.

It was two days after the Marinette=Ladybug reveal (or rather the I know Marinette=Ladybug reveal) and Adrien felt like he was on cloud nine. Marinette loved him, Ladybug loved him, the fiasco with Chloe was over, and everything seemed right with… everything. He still was nervous about revealing himself, but decided that when the time came to do it, he'd know. He put it out of his mind, though, as he traipsed up the stairs to the front of the school.

The sun was warmingly brilliant on his back as Adrien reached the top. Classmates were gathered in little bundles of friendship groups, snatches of laughter and conversation darting through the air.

Grinning like a mad thing in his satisfaction, Adrien spotted Alya and Nino hovering by the stairs up to the classroom, and bounced his way over to them. They were deep in conversation, and in his jubilance, didn't notice how sombre they looked.

"Hey, Alya, Nino." He greeted them exuberantly, and they turned to him, apparently confused by his good mood.

"Uh, hey, Adrien." Muttered Alya, while Nino just nodded. He finally cottoned on to the solemn tone of the mood, and Adrien's smile faded slowly.

"Guys? W- what's wrong?" He asked nervously, not wanting his mood to evaporate. The two exchanged looks.

"Well… Mari wasn't in school yesterday." Began Nino. Of course, this was something Adrien (or Chat) knew already, but he'd had a surprise all-day shoot which meant he hadn't been able to go in to school at all. He'd seen Mari in the evening like he'd promised, and she'd seemed fine then. What was the problem? She'd taken a day off like he'd told her to, everything was fine, right?

"Really? Oh." Replied Adrien, trying to act casual. "And that's… bad?"

Alya rolled her eyes.

"Chloe was behaving, uh, oddly, shall we say? She barely spoke for the entire day- normally I'd be ecstatic at the silence, but it got me worried. She kept throwing these really weird glances at Mari's empty seat- like she was scared of it, or something."

Adrien frowned, while Nino nodded his head in agreement.

"Or, I dunno… like she was feeling guilty about something? She was definitely looking shifty." He added, and Adrien had to fight to keep the self-satisfied smile off his face. She'd got the message, thenThe 'Leave Mari the hell alone' message.

"Do you think Chloe did something to her?" Asked Alya, her brow creasing as she turned to Adrien. He jumped, coming out of his contented reverie.

"Uh. I…" He spluttered, not knowing how to cover his tracks.

"Like, do you think Mari confronted Chloe or something, and it went too far? Did Chloe accidentally do something to Marinette? Something she'd regret…" Alya trailed off fearfully, and Adrien understood, his hand lurched out to rest on her shoulder before he could stop himself.

"Alya, listen. I'm sure Marinette's fine. Chloe wouldn't dare do anything to her anym- uhhh, anyway." He corrected himself mid-sentence. "She's going to hobble through those doors any moment now, a great big smile on her face because she knows she's got amazing, brilliant friends who panic about her having a single day off school, okay? It's going to be fine."

Alya looked vaguely reassured, but also bewildered by the conviction in the blond's voice. The corner of Nino's mouth twitched upwards as he felt calmer too, somehow.

Adrien relaxed somewhat as he felt his friends calm. He believed his words, too- Mari was going to be fine, and Chloe's tyranny over her was over. She and Chat would be happy too, he hoped…

"Thanks, Adrien." Alya gave a little smile. "I've just been so worried about her lately. I want to believe you."

"Yeah- with all that stuff with Chloe, then breaking her leg, I guess we're all a little on Mari-guard." Put in Nino with a wry chuckle. "I just hope this stuff with Chloe ends soon. I don't know how much more of it I can take- let alone poor Marinette."

"Well…" Adrien paused. "I have a good feeling about today. I think it's going to be a turning point of sorts." Seeing his friends looking at him in confusion, he shrugged and said with a smile, "Just a hunch."

The others grinned bemusedly, and suddenly Alya straightened with a gasp, looking past him. She beamed a dimpled smile, and Nino and Adrien turned round in order to see what had made her so happy. Just topping the stairs out at the front of the school was Marinette.

She looked happier than they'd seen her in months- her hair had regained some of it's old bounce and colour had returned to her cheeks- which were no longer haggard and painful. She was by no means back to normal (and was still scarily thin) but her eyes shone and her quiet smile looked real enough to send flutters into Adrien's stomach.

She looked around the courtyard, and spotted the three friends staring at her. She gave a little grin, then started hobbling her way over to them. The three surged forwards to meet her halfway, and as they drew level with her, there was a short silence.

Alya, Nino and Adrien took in her apparent sudden recovery and smiled to themselves. Marinette seemed to be fishing for words and struggling, so Adrien took pity on her and took the first step.

"Hey." He prompted.

Marinette let out a breathy little laugh, a short exhalation that gave away her nervousness.

"Hey," She replied, smiling shyly at the three of them. They waited patiently for what (they hoped) was to come. She nibbled her lip, then looked at each of them in turn. "First off, I think the most important thing is… to say thank you."

Alya and Nino looked taken aback, whereas Adrien just smiled goofily at Marinette, the light blush on her cheeks adorably endearing.

"I know how difficult the last couple of months must have been for you three. I've already said some of this stuff to Adrien, but he needs to hear it again. You were all… so supportive and kind to me, despite me being so difficult, a-and cryptic, and stuff. You guys are just… the best friends that I could ever ask for. That anyone could ask for. I know you guys sort of pegged what was going on, and you made it all so much easier on me with your help and support, and I love you all so much for it.

Which leads me on to my next point- you guys should know that the- ah- situation, I believe, is over. You already know that a certain blonde was- pressuring me into doing certain things, and some of those things involved me being a total bitch to you guys. It also gave me a lot of extra work to do, hence…" She waved at herself, gesturing to her still-exhausted appearance.

"But the incentive that Chloe gave me to persuade me into doing those things is no longer, uh, relevant, I guess? Or rather, I don't think she's going to be forcing me to do anything I don't want to any time soon."

At that, Alya gave a whoop, and threw her arms around her best friend. Marinette's crutches clattered to the ground when Nino leapt into the hug, but with Adrien's added support she was put under no extra strain. She giggled into Alya's embrace, and buried her face in her friends' loving and relieved cuddle.

After pulling back and giving her back her crutches, the three kept their grins on their faces, but Marinette turned a little more serious.

"I know I have no right to ask this of you three, especially after the way I've behaved for the last couple of months, but I would… request that this be buried as soon as possible. I'd really like to forget that any of this happened, and for that to happen, I need to ask one more thing of you." She took a deep breath. "Please don't ask me what I had to do for Chloe, what she was holding over me, or what changed that I might be free again. I know this isn't fair on you, but I hope you trust that it's a big enough secret for me to really need it to stay buried." Marinette pleaded, her eyes large and begging.

Nino rested his hands on her shoulders, and Alya and Adrien nodded their agreement to his words: "Mari- of course we'll respect that. We know how hard this has been on you, and we trust that you trust us enough to know that we'd support and love you, no matter what."

"If you want to tell us anything though, of course you can." Adrien added, his deep and extensive knowledge of the situation notwithstanding as his civilian persona.

"We won't pry," promised Alya. "But I guess if you want to forget this, it means we can't form the 'We Hate Chloe' club like we were planning on?"

"Awww, but I already made t-shirts with the slogan!" Complained Nino, amongst laughs. Marinette smiled a huge smile, and her friends realised how much they'd missed the sight of it.

The bell rang for the start of class, and everyone began the movement to classrooms. Unlike before, Alya, Nino and Adrien stayed back to guide Mari up the stairs, practically carrying her in their eagerness to assist.

They reached the classroom only a couple of minutes late to registration, the class inside chattering away. Marinette stopped, and the others paused as well, looking at her questioningly. She was biting her lip again, looking at the floor.

"There's one more thing I wanted to say to you." She murmured, the mood subdued and more serious than it had been a moment ago. "I… I'm sorry. For everything. This can't have been easy on you guys, and I know it's going to be hard for you to let it go. I'm sorry for asking so much of you, for scaring and upsetting you all. For frustrating you and being so horrible that first day. I can't really say anything else, but you should know that I hated everything I did that alienated me from you guys. The hardest part for me was knowing how much I was hurting you, and… I'm just really sorry." Her eyes closed, Mari stood with her shoulders hunched and her hands clenched tight on the handles of her crutches.

Almost in unison, Nino, Adrien and Alya wrapped their bluenette friend in another hug, this time quieter and softer. A tear escaped from behind her shut eyelids as she felt her friends' love and happiness, and the twinkle returned to her face as she threw her arms around them, too. For the first time in weeks, she could hug her friends, smile and laugh with them.

It felt good to be free.


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

Part 18 of 38

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