Continuing Tales


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

Part 7 of 38

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The last six weeks had been the worst of Marinette's life. The dark bags under her eyes were as prominent as they'd ever been, and her clothes were hanging off her almost scarily-thin frame.

She'd attended two all-night parties, and one awful picnic as Ladybug, staying glued to Chloe the entire time, and gushing to all of Chloe's friends about how amazing she was, and how she was training her to be her new protegeé. Fortunately, she'd managed to persuade Chloe not to publish any photos of the event online with her in them, because Chat knew how she detested Chloe and might wonder what she was doing there. Then he'd put together the pieces, and Mari was sure Chloe's body would be found at the bottom of the Seine or something like that. She'd designed and made countless dresses for the vile girl, at her command, and had spent far longer than she'd ever wanted to in Chloe's bathroom, scrubbing behind her toilet then polishing all of her shoes until they were practically mirrors. The double homework was starting to pile up, too. Things like maths and physics weren't too much work, she just had to copy out the answers (being careful to make mistakes in different places so the teacher didn't get too suspicious), but things like Literature and history were a nightmare. She had to do every assignment twice, coming up with two different essay ideas, then doing all the research, planning and writing differently each time. The same went for design, where she had had to come up with and make two different 3-piece suits, and two different decorative belled top hats.

Her friends had decided not to butt in, but she could tell they were secretly on her side. She'd worried for days that Alya and Adrien hated her, but had seen the secret smiles and encouraging expressions they and Nino had given her when Chloe wasn't looking, and was grateful.

The three had decided between themselves that they weren't going to be too 'in-your-face' about their support, as it might have given Chloe the excuse she'd been waiting for to reveal Marinette's secret, but had also resolved to do as much as they could to make it easier on Marinette.

One day when Marinette had forgotten Chloe's lunch and had to give over her own croissant, Adrien had discreetly dropped his own sandwiches and chocolate bar on her lap as he passed. When Marinette had fallen asleep before finishing up copying her physics homework from Chloe's sheet the previous night, Alya had placed her own answers right in the middle of the desk so Mari could frantically scribble them down before the teacher collected them in, as Marinette had had to give Chloe the completed sheet. Nino had found Marinette asleep in the library after school one day and, seeing the notes for the research she planned to do for her own history essay, had printed out all the information she needed and set it, along with an essay outline, next to her sleeping head.

They'd also resolved not to confront Mari about it. Knowing how desperately she must have needed the secret to stay secret, they decided that pressuring her further would be counter-productive. Staying silent but supportive on the sidelines seemed to be the best course of action, and they'd taken every opportunity to try and help Mari through the past six weeks. It hadn't been easy, as they watched her pale face grow weary, the bags under her eyes grow darker, and they could see how thin she was getting. But they didn't know what else to do.

Nobody did.

Her parents and teachers attributed her appearance to fatigue, and her unusual sullenness and solitude to normal, hormonal teenage behaviour. Until today, that is.

Marinette had been finding it progressively harder and harder to drag herself out of bed, and today was the worst day of all. She'd got home after school yesterday and crashed immediately, though she'd only slept for an hour before an akuma attack had forced her to roam the city until the late evening, trying to capture it. Eventually she had (with Chat's help, of course), but she'd had to dash home to join her parents for dinner immediately afterwards. It wasn't until late that night when she'd finally managed to make a start on her (and Chloe's) mountainous pile of homework. In the wee hours of the morning, wanting to do nothing more than collapse on her bed and fall asleep, she'd had to finish sewing buttons onto the jacket Chloe had commissioned, and in the end, she'd gotten about an hour and a half of sleep.

Tikki watched nervously as Marinette shuffled around her room, lethargically dressing herself in yesterday's crumpled clothes (being too tired to find a new outfit).

"Marinette, I really think you should take the day off school. You need to relax!" The kwami advised worriedly. "You've barely slept for the last six weeks, and you're going to make yourself ill if you carry on like this."

Marinette shook her head, and yawned.

"I can't Tikki, you know I can't. I need to give Chloe her maths and literature assignments, and they're due in today. We've got tests coming up, too, and I can't afford to miss any lessons." She pulled on her jumper while she talked, only noticing halfway through her speech that it was inside out, and backwards. She shook it off, flipped it over and grabbed her bag. "You can stay home if you want, though. If you're tired it'll be a good chance for you to relax, okay?"

The kwami looked like she was about to protest, but Marinette swooped over and pressed a kiss to her forehead.

"I'll be fine, don't worry. Just stay out of trouble, m'kay? See you later!"


"Marinette, I won't tell you again! Pay attention!" Cried Mme. Mendeliev. Marinette had been dropping off, as usual, and the teacher was getting fed up.

Alya, Adrien and Nino shot their friend a worried look as she tried to sit up straight. She looked alarmingly haggard, and they didn't miss the way her eyes were glazed over. They saw her hands shaking and shared a look. It was getting worse.

Mme. Mendeliev shook her head, and turned back to the physics lesson, aggravated at Marinette's apparent apathy.

"So, as gamma particles have a penetration power of-" she began, only to be cut off by another teacher entering the classroom.

"Sorry, Madame Mendeliev, I hate to interrupt, but Monsieur Damocles has requested to see two of your students in his office, uh, effective immediately."

Affronted at being interrupted during her beloved physics again, Mme. Mendeliev sighed.

"Very well… who does he need to see?"

The other teacher looked down at his list.

"Uh… Marinette Dupain-Cheng, and one Chloe Bourgeois. If they could make their way to his office now, that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time, Madame."

Marinette stood up, fear curdling uncomfortably in her stomach. She saw her friends around her sharing worried looks, and heard Chloe's huff of irritation as they made their way towards the door.


The bell rang, signalling the end of the lesson and the start of lunch, and Marinette's friends immediately picked up their things in preparation to run over to eavesdrop on Mr Damocles' conversation with the girls. As they reached the door with the rest of the agitated class, however, Mme. Mendeliev called out.

"Alya, Juleka, Ivan, Rose and Nino, I need to talk to you all about your last assignment. Please come see me, now."

Adrien looked at the other two, knowing that they also wanted to hear what Mr Damocles was saying. He hesitated.

"You go." Whispered Alya, pushing him towards the door.

"But tell us everything." Added Nino, as they rushed away to see the teacher.

Adrien nodded and dashed off.

He made his way to Mr Damocles' office, glad that the rest of the school seemed to be leaving the premises for their lunch break. The girls had left the lesson only ten minutes from the end, so he was unsurprised when he heard Chloe's unpleasantly shrill voice emanating from within.

"I'm telling you, sir! My work is all my own, and my daddy, the mayor, will not be happy to hear that his daughter has been accused of cheating."

Mr Damocles' sigh was clearly heard by the blond who was pressing his ear up against the door of the room, unbeknownst to the occupants.

"I understand this is an unpleasant situation, Miss Bourgeois, but as a head teacher, I have to look at the facts. Over the past six weeks, your grades have gone up incredibly well. Of course, the school would ordinarily be thrilled with this, but as it's only your homework that has improved, we're taking it with a pinch of salt. Couple that with the fact that Miss Dupain-Cheng's grades have decreased alarmingly and several of her teachers have remarked how tired and quiet she seems to be, and surely you can understand how this looks like you may be making her do your work for you."

"How dare you!" Screeched Chloe, Adrien's ears ringing even from outside. "Never have I been more insulted! The fact that you'd think I'd take advantage of one of my own dear friends, is too much to handle! I can't believe- how could you- I'm just so…" Chloe dissolved into squeaky sobs, and Adrien had to stop himself from storming in and demanding she tell the truth. Dear friends, my ass.

"Mr Damocles, sir," began Marinette's voice quietly from inside, and Adrien pricked up his ears. "I understand how this looks, but Chloe has never forced me to do anything like this for her, and I wouldn't expect her to." Adrien could practically hear Marinette almost choking as she forced out the lies in self-preservation, and his throat tightened in anger and protectiveness. "I know my grades have gone downhill… but that has nothing to do with Chloe. I've… um… had stuff to do at home and have been feeling quite tired lately. I… I promise I'll try to do better."

Mr Damocles sighed again.

"Well, as you both deny that anything is happening between the two of you, there is nothing I can do as a faculty member to stop it. You both need to know that I have my suspicions, but as they're not backed up with evidence or testimony…" (I'll give you testimony! Thought Adrien, furiously) "you are both free to go. And Miss Dupain-Cheng, please accept that if your grades do not improve, the school will have to take remedial action."

"Yes, sir." Whispered Marinette, and Adrien backed away from the door as he heard the two girls making their way towards the hallway. He ran around the corner as the girls exited the classroom, but stayed nearby but hidden so he could see and hear what happened next.

"You need to be more careful!" Whisper-shouted Chloe, jabbing a pointy-nailed finger into Marinette's chest. The bluenette recoiled in fear, wrapping her arms around herself protectively. "Try and be more convincing, too! 'I've been really tired, I had stuff to do…' Please! I'd think you of all people would be good at lying…"

"Chloe, please! Shhh!" Whispered Marinette frantically, and Adrien knew Chloe had been referencing her secret. His curiosity and sympathy peaked as he saw the panic cross her face as Chloe ranted.

"Don't you go telling me to shhh! Remember, I own you, and right now, I've half a mind to just send this photo to everyone and be done with it." So the secret was in a photo, thought Adrien, watching carefully as the loathsome blonde waved her phone threateningly in front of Marinette's face. "Your carelessness with that homework business has cost me my lunchtime, and I was going to spend it with my dear Adrikins! Just you remember that, the next time you're doing my Chemistry, and be more careful!" With that, Chloe flounced away, presumably off to try and find her 'Adrikins'.

Marinette didn't move until Chloe was out of sight, and when she did, it was to cover her face with her hands and sob. Adrien's heart broke as he watched her crumbling, falling apart. He straightened up and came out of his hiding place, once more approaching his weeping friend like he was afraid she'd run away.

As he came nearer, Marinette straightened and wiped away her tears, not yet seeing him. She looked at the ground to collect herself, then turned- and spotted Adrien. She froze, and he stilled as well.

The silence lengthened, and suddenly Adrien couldn't take it anymore.

"Marinette, please talk to me. What's going-" he broke off as she started walking briskly towards him, breaking eye contact and staring past him with a blank expression on her face, unreadable. He reached out to touch her arm, her shoulder, anything to comfort her at all, but she shied away from his gentle touch, and shoulder barged him slightly as she pushed past him in the narrow corridor. As her figure retreated, Adrien miserably let his hand fall, feeling utterly useless as he stood there, watching her go.



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

Part 7 of 38

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