Continuing Tales


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

Part 26 of 38

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap tap.

Nino couldn't get his leg to keep still, the jerky movements beating out a rhythm on the linoleum tiles below. Alya sat across from him, her knees pulled up to her chest and her face buried in them. She hadn't moved in about an hour. Adrien was curled up in a window seat, staring blankly out at the darkness that had smothered the city nearly four hours ago.

The three had been scrutinised for any negative after-effects of the day's events upon arriving at the hospital, but other than a couple of bruises they were fine. Physically, anyway. After being given the all-clear, they went immediately to the front desk and asked about Mari. The nurse currently there was irritatingly unhelpful, clearly more interested in his body-building magazine than three distraught teenagers. It had taken them ages to elicit any kind of information from him, and all that they'd gotten was that she was still in surgery.

That left them with nothing to do, but wait, and call to tell their parents (or Nathalie) where they were. Adrien had hung up before Nathalie could tell him to come home, and only prayed she didn't send the Gorilla to come and drag him back.

Tom and Sabine had arrived shortly after they had taken seats in the waiting room, the panic on their faces enough to make Alya burst into tears again. Adrien's stomach had curled with guilt at the horror on their faces, tears streaming down Sabine's face as they were told nothing of importance.

For now, Adrien had decided to let her parents know only the story he'd told the paramedic, letting the Ladybug parts remain a secret. He knew it wasn't up to him to reveal Mari, but if things went… badly, he felt he'd have to honour her bravery in the right way by telling her parents who she really was. That way, they could mourn her properly. He felt it was only fair to her and them that way.

There had been more crying, more hugging and more pain after he'd recounted to them his abridged version of the day's events, and they'd all eventually settled down to wait for news.

Sniffles crossed the room at regular intervals. Sabine was crying again. Adrien didn't blame her, but the sounds of her weeping made it that much harder for him to keep himself together. At some point in the last few hours, a horrific numbness had taken over his body, leaving him trapped in the maelstrom of his mind. His guilt and fear tortured him, remorse over his rashness and inobservance taunting him with images of her broken body lying in his arms.

It should have been him, he knew it should. It was his fault, this was all on him. If he hadn't been so bullish and hot-headed, he wouldn't have rushed out to confront the robbers. They weren't akumatized, to deal with them wasn't his job. But he did it anyway, he wasn't sure why. He'd been on a high of adrenaline, of too many emotions. So he was careless, and the girl he loved paid the price.

"Oh." The word that had slipped from her mouth before she'd collapsed played on repeat in his head, his fingers feeling the ghostly remnants of her blood flowing over them again as he replayed the moment he ran to catch her. The way she was so limp in his arms, how he'd clutched her to him as he ran from civilian eyes, the way she'd whispered how she loved both sides of him, those were the images he kept thinking of. He thought of them both because he had no choice, but also because he masochistically wanted to. He couldn't help it, he kept replaying them because he knew they might be the last memories of her he ever had. They had so many but also so few memories of each other, and he couldn't bear to forget a single one.

Stars winked at Adrien through the window he stared out of, and he felt a stirring in his pockets. Tikki had quietly cried herself to sleep hours ago, but Plagg had long since recovered enough to be a comfort. Saying unusually little, the kwami had remained a reassuring presence in the boy's pocket, knowing the pain Adrien felt and also the space but proximity he needed.

Adrien looked down at the movement to see Tikki's sleep-glazed eyes peering owlishly up at him. Knowing the waiting room was also occupied by normal civilians, nurses and Tom and Sabine, he discreetly placed a nondescriptly-trembling to his lips, and Tikki nodded. She fluttered upwards to sit on the windowsill in front of him, sitting in comforting silence for a few minutes.

"Where's Plagg?" Adrien asked quietly.

"Asleep again. It took a lot out of him, holding onto that transformation for so long. He really loves you." Tikki murmured back.

"I know. I love him too."

The silence stretched between them again.

"You shouldn't feel guilty." She whispered after a while. Adrien turned his head to her slightly, but didn't speak. "It wasn't your fault. And I know Marinette wouldn't- doesn't blame you. She wouldn't want you to blame yourself either."

Adrien looked hollowly back out the window, letting his gaze wander as he was strangled by the pain.

"But it was my fault." He whimpered, his face scrunching as he fought to keep the tears at bay. "I should have listened to her. I should have waited for the police, I shouldn't have gone after the robbers. If I hadn't, n- none of this would have happened. She wouldn't have been shot, Plagg wouldn't have exhausted himself by p- prolonging the transformation, and all of the pain everyone is feeling wouldn't be here. I… I j- just can't stand not knowing how sh- she is, whether she's awake, whether she's out of s- surgery, w- whether she's alive."

Tikki patted his hand where it rested on the sill beside her as he scrubbed the other one over his face in an effort to rid himself of the sobs he could feel building up inside him.

They'd been waiting here far too long. Shouldn't they have heard something by now?

No news was good news, right? But silence is deadly, and Adrien wasn't sure how much more he could take.

"I'm supposed to p- protect her. I should have taken that b- bullet. I f- failed, and if… if Marinette d- dies I'll spend the rest of my life knowing it was m- my fault."

Tikki wrapped one of her tiny hands around his little finger and squeezed, Adrien looking at her in surprise at her strength. The tears were well and truly present now, but he couldn't be bothered to wipe them away.

"Marinette knew what she was doing, Adrien." The kwami whispered, staring at him meaningfully with those enormous blue eyes of hers. "She knew what she was doing by putting herself in danger for you. She had no regrets about doing that, believe me. Marinette took that bullet for you on purpose, and she'd take many more. She had no reservations about protecting you, Mari's long felt guilty about how many times you've taken the blow for her."

"So this was what? Her paying me back?" Adrien snorted, his bottom lip trembling unimpressively.

"This was her loving you, Chat Noir." Tikki's voice was powerful, her intensity startling in such close proximity. Now he knew where Ladybug got it from. "She had the opportunity to protect you when you couldn't protect yourself, and she couldn't live with herself if she'd stayed back. Marinette knew she had magic healing and that you didn't; the chances of you surviving a gunshot wound were much smaller than hers. Even so, Ladybug would gladly die for Chat Noir-" Adrien blanched "-and Marinette would gladly die for Adrien."

"Don't- don't say that." Adrien buried his face in his hands, his shoulders shaking as tremors rocked through him. He breathed shallowly through his mouth, trying not to let the black despair engulf him. "She ca- she can't die, she can't. It's not fair, she has to l- live, she's Ladybug, she's Marinette, she d- deserves better…"

Tikki floated up to pull his hands gently away from his face.

"So do you," she stated firmly, "so does Chat Noir. You just have to trust her. You have to trust that Marinette loves you enough not to leave you. You have to trust that she's fighting with everything she's got to stay for you, to stay with all of you. Can you do that?"

Adrien took a deep breath, closing his eyes and forcing his heart to calm. He opened to look back at Tikki, his chest rising and falling in a controlled fashion. He nodded.

"I can."

Tikki gave him a small smile, then floated down to land next to his hands on the windowsill again.

Footsteps approached and he tensed, wanting to whip Tikki out of sight, but it was Nino's voice that spoke.

"Hey." He mumbled, sitting next to the blond boy.

"Hey." Adrien cleared his throat, not bothering to wipe the tear tracks off his face. He didn't care, and he knew Nino wouldn't either. There was a silence, which Nino broke with a gentle but derisive snort. Adrien looked over in shock to see his friend shaking his head with an odd smile on his face. "What?"

"I never know what you're meant to say in these situations," Nino explained with a shrug. "'How're you holding up, tiger?' just doesn't feel like it'll cut it."

Adrien snorted, turning back to the window.

"Tiger being the operative word."

Nino chuckled.

"Right. Chat Noir... boy, after all this is over, Alya's going to have one hell of a bone to pick with the two of you, kitty."

Adrien stiffened, and Nino noticed immediately.

"Uh, I- sorry, I, um, what did I say?"

"That's what she called me." Adrien whispered, an undeniable ache pressing on his chest at the sound of Mari's endearment for him. "Kitty. I… I don't know if I'll ever h- hear her say that ag- gain."

Suddenly, Nino was gripping his shoulder.

"You will." He promised, his voice forceful. "This will be over soon, and Mari's going to be just great. She's always been one hell of a fighter, this isn't going to be any different. She's got so much to live for- especially now she knows who you are."

The blond turned to his friend, desperate for reassurances, for comfort.


"Really. If you two really were together as, y'know, superheroes and stuff without her knowing you're Chat Noir, she's definitely going to want to stick around for the relationship now."

"Actually, I never really got the chance to properly talk to you and Alya about that." Adrien remembered. "You know, her feelings for me- as Adrien, and stuff. You only said that she didn't hate me, she'd just been in love with me for years. So, uh…what- exactly- was that all about?"

Nino shrugged and looked out of the window, a rueful smile tugging at the corner of his lips.

"You remember the umbrella?"

"Uh- you- um, what?"

There was a sigh and Nino turned back to Adrien.

"You know- like your second day at school? It was raining and you told Mari that you'd never had a friend before, then you gave her your umbrella."

"Oh. Y- yeah, I remember that. What about it?"

Nino raised his eyebrows meaningfully, and it took Adrien a moment to catch on.

"Wait, she's been in love with me since then? Th- that was years ago! She practically hated me that day because of the gum, th- then because of that she decided n- not to?"

"It wasn't exactly a decision." Piped up a new voice, Alya plopping down on the seat next to Nino to sigh dramatically. "Believe me. It's been exhausting, let me tell you. Adrien this, Adrien that… basically every day she was calling me up to moan about you."

"M- moan about me?" Adrien asked nervously.

"How you were so kind and sweet and handsome and deep and smart and amazing. How she was so annoyed at herself for making that snap judgement when she found out you knew Chloe. How she was so miserable that she was 'just Marinette' and you'd never notice her. How she was so angry with herself for being pathetic enough to be totally and irrevocably in love with you."

"Oh. Th- that's quite a lot to process." Adrien admitted sheepishly. "I honestly had no idea. To be honest, I was half-convinced she still hated me until you two told me… uh, otherwise."

"But you love her back right?" Nino frowned at him.

"Of course!" Adrien yelped, nearly jumping out of his seat. "I've basically been in love with Ladybug since Ivan's akumatisation, the first akumatisation, and I've only fallen harder for her since I found out she was Marinette."

Alya gave a happy little sigh, dreamy contentment crossing her face as the reality of the situation momentarily deteriorated.

"She's going to be really happy to hear that."

With precision timing, a voice rang through the waiting room, jolting the teenagers out of their conversation and bringing them back to their fear and anxiety.

"Um, the Dupain-Chengs?" Called a nurse, her brow furrowed as she read out the name.

The five who had been waiting for that name jumped up and darted over, Alya gripping onto Adrien's elbow for support.

"That's us. Is there any news? Can we see her?" Tom was practically holding up his wife as he spoke urgently to the nurse.

"Well, Marinette is out of surgery, but she's still unconscious and very unstable. Thankfully the bullet missed her stomach, but her spleen took a substantial amount of the damage. She also lost a lot of blood, and sustained a lot of muscle and nerve damage."

Alya let out a little squeak, her grip tightening on Adrien's arm. He felt like he was floating, but it wasn't a pleasant sensation. His mind was dizzied, his stomach swooping in something akin to vertigo and he couldn't seem to remember how to breathe.

"We still don't know how much she'll be able to heal, I'm afraid," the nurse continued apologetically. "It's too early to know how much her body will be able to take. Trauma and short-term shock are very dangerous regarding this sort of incident. They're killers just as much as blood loss or organ damage, and unfortunately, she's had no shortage of that. Sadly, there's nothing to tell you at this stage other than she's definitely a fighter. It's remarkable really- your little Marinette was working so hard to stay here with all of you, that she kept working off the sedatives during the surgery. Unfortunately, in order to keep her under for the duration of the operation we had to give Marinette some very strong tranquilizers, so she's definitely going to be unconscious for a few hours yet. And that's not factoring in how long her body's going to want to keep her under for- in order to sort of get used to the after-effects of the wound and the surgery. She remain unconscious for quite a while. I'm sorry I can't say more, but I can say that based on how hard she was trying to wake up and be with all of you, and on the story I've heard of how it happened, that Marinette is an amazing girl. I know she's going to do everything she can to heal ASAP to come back to you all."

Adrien sank into a nearby chair and pressed a shaking hand to his head as the nurse left with a sympathetic smile.

She'd better.


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

Part 26 of 38

<< Previous     Home     Next >>