Her voice reached his ears and instantly, he felt his body relax all the tensed-up muscles he didn’t know he had been holding. In just a few short strides, Adrien made his way to her, his eyes watering.
She smiled lovingly, reaching out to him. He took her hand in his, and with his other, caressed her cheek. “I love you Marinette.” He whispered, a tear rolling down his cheek.
“Why are you crying?” She giggled, wiping away his tear. Adrien leaned into her touch.
“Because I’m so happy.” He replied, leaning forwards and kissing her forehead. “Because I love you with all my heart and I would have been devastated if something were to happen to you.”
Marinette searched his eyes. “I’m right here, Adrien.” She replied. “And I always will be.”
Adrien’s heart fluttered in his chest. Oh, how this girl had driven him crazy. The way she had always been there, both in and out of the costume. How he had fallen in love with the girl behind the mask, who was selfless and dedicated to saving the people of Paris. Then, suddenly falling in love with Marinette, one of his best friends who had always been there for him and their friends. Whose kindness and love radiated to anyone she met.
His Marinette. His Ladybug. His everything.
“I believe this belongs to you.” Marinette said, catching his attention once more. Adrien glanced down and watched her take off his Miraculous ring. She held it out on the palm of her hand.
Adrien smiled, gently plucking the ring from her hand and slipping it onto his finger. “I guess it came in handy.” He murmured, remembering bits and pieces of what happened just the night before.
Marinette looked at her hospital blankets sheepishly. “Adrien—”
“Mr. Agreste.” A voice called from the doorway. Adrien and Marinette turned to see a doctor standing there, a clipboard in hand. “I would appreciate it, if you didn’t unplug yourself from our machines.” He chuckled.
Marinette stared at him; eyes wide. “Adrien, you did what?”
Adrien sighed. “I’m sorry sir.” He apologized. “I just…I needed to be with Marinette. I was so worried about her.” He explained. The doctor nodded, before turning to the nurse next to him. He whispered something to her before she took off.
“You’ll be switching rooms.” The doctor said. “If it means you will stop unhooking yourself from machines meant to save your life, you’ll now be sharing a room with Miss Dupain-Cheng for a few days.”
“For…a few days?” Marinette asked. “Excuse me doctor, but what exactly are we being kept for?”
The doctor peered at the clipboard in his hand. “It seems Mr. Agreste and you, Miss Dupain-Cheng, have sustained an incredible amount of internal injuries. You both might not be feeling it much right now because of the medication we’ve prescribed.” The doctor paused. “Additionally, your parents have asked we us to take a look at your eyes.”
Adrien glanced at Marinette, who looked confused. “My eyes?” She murmured.
“You…you don’t know?” Adrien asked. Marinette shook her head. On the nightstand, Adrien grabbed the phone—presumably Marinette’s parents—and opened up the front facing camera. Marinette stared at herself for a moment.
“Oh.” She said, blinking rapidly. “W-What?”
Adrien shrugged. “Mari, I have no idea.” He said. “I think we need to talk later though.” He added in a whisper.
After having an additional hospital bed set up in the same room as Marinette’s, Adrien found himself once more laying down, wires and chords running all around himself. Gabriel and Emilie, and Tom and Sabine had gone home for the evening, after staying at the hospital all day with their children.
When it was just the two of them, beds pressed together, it finally hit them.
It might have been the adrenaline running through them the entire course of the day, maybe it was the medication, or it might have been the animated talks between parents and children on what exactly had happened between Hawkmoth, Ladybug and Chat Noir, but overall, Marinette and Adrien hadn’t really felt much pain until they were left alone.
As the sun set over the horizon and darkness appeared in the world around them, there they sat with hands intertwined and eyes closed, trying to concentrate on each of their ailments.
“This sucks.” Adrien breath, a hand on his abdomen. He felt nauseous. From his side, Marinette peered at him from half lidded eyes.
“A price to pay to save the world.” She grumbled, nuzzling closer to him. With their beds pressed together, was it really a surprise that they found themselves in each other’s arms?
It was the tiniest of voices, that had uttered those words. But even so, it had caught the attention of Marinette and Adrien. “Umm…” Marinette murmured, looking around unsure. “Hello?”
“Plagg? Tikki? Is that you guys?” Adrien added, eyes darting around the room.
“You’re okay!” It was Plagg that had taken the liberty to zoom across the room and straight into Adrien’s cheek.
“Oof—Plagg!” Adrien had said in surprise. Following the black cat kwami, Tikki trailed behind. Marinette reached out her hand, and her kwami had nuzzled into it with affection.
“Oh Marinette. I was so worried about you.” Tikki said, hugging her owner’s thumb. The girl smiled.
“I’m sorry I worried you, Tikki.” She replied sweetly. Marinette turned to Adrien and Plagg. “I’m sorry I worried all of you.”
“I think we should talk about what happened.” Adrien said, with slight urgency. In all honesty, since he had woken up that morning, he had such a hard time remember anything and everything. He had questions about what happened and how they ended up where they were.
“Do you remember what happened at all?” Plagg asked Adrien. He looked down at his kwami and shrugged.
“I mean…I remember bits and pieces.” He replied, closing his eyes.
What did you do, Bugaboo? It echoed loudly in his memories. In the distance, he saw her, Ladybug, holding his Miraculous and slipping it onto her finger. She was shouting angrily, tears running down her cheeks. Ladybug was bloodied and bruised and around her and within her a fire raged. Yet, every time she shouted his name—Hawkmoth’s identity—it seemed to come out as nothing. Her lips were moving and yet no words left her.
“Marinette, you found out Hawkmoth’s identity.” Adrien stated. “But for the life of me I can’t remember who you said.”
Marinette frowned, looking out the window. “Adrien…I can’t remember either.” She replied honestly.
She remembered, for the most part the moment that it clicked. She could feel herself connecting the dots, of everything that had happened within the last two years fighting as Ladybug and Chat Noir against Hawkmoth, and then—nothing. Like she had the name on the tip of her tongue, but couldn’t place it.
Adrien’s brows raised in surprise. “R-Really?” He asked. Marinette nodded, looking down. From where Tikki was floating, she stared at her owner’s eyes.
“…A side effect of using Reality.” She mumbled. Marinette glanced down at the kwami, looking confused. “Your wish came true…didn’t it?”
“So you actually did it?” Adrien gasped.
Marinette felt like her head was going to explode. Her head throbbed, trying to search the depths of her memories for answers she felt like she had to have. “I don’t know…I don’t know.” She murmured repeatedly.
Adrien, suddenly alarmed, reached over and embraced her gently. “Marinette…please don’t stress yourself out. We’re recovering. We’re not the strongest and its okay for us to not have answers. I didn’t mean to stress you out.”
Marinette knew there was a reason why she was in love with Adrien Agreste. Indeed, it had been his kindness and selflessness, but it was also his generosity, his thirst to protect the ones he loves, to live and love with all his heart, even when everything seemed against him.
Marinette took a deep breath, before nodding. “No…it’s fine. We need to understand what happened.”
Tikki looked at Plagg. The red kwami turned to her owner once more. “Well, Marinette. What happened?”
Marinette reached a hand out for Adrien’s, before shutting her eyes tightly. “Everyone…everyone had been defeated. Volpina’s sentimonsters had gotten the better of our Miraculous team and—Hawkmoth had Chat Noir pinned up against the wall.”
The memory fought in her violently. It struck fear in her heart and made her stomach churn. Just remembering the fear in Adrien’s eyes as his ring had slid loose—how Hawkmoth looked so disappointed to find out it had been Adrien behind Chat Noir’s mask.
She remembered feeling the Miraculous slipping onto her finger and just knowing exactly what to say to active the power within the magical jewelry.
“I combined the Miraculous to save…to save everyone.” Marinette said finally. “I didn’t have a choice. I mean…everything just clicked. Like this is what needed to be done in order to finally save Paris. To save the ones I love.”
Adrien frowned. “But…how did you know that was the right thing to do?”
Marinette sighed, looking between the audience of three that she had before her. “Like I said…it just sort of clicked. I had just witnessed the defeat of our Miraculous team, I had seen my partner’s identity to have been revealed to our greatest enemy, and I had finally recognized who was under Hawkmoth’ mask. It what just…the final thing to do.”
“What did you wish for?” It was Plagg’s question. Marinette, for some reason was slightly taken aback. Plagg looked between the two teenagers. “Well…maybe your wish had something to do with the missing pieces of memory you both seem to have lost.”
It was plausible.
Marinette bit the inside of her cheek nervously as she tried to remember. It felt like her own voice was echoing throughout the walls of her mind.
I wish for happiness.
“Happiness.” She said honestly, looking down at the blanket that was scrunched up in between her fingers. The silenced that followed was deafening, and Marinette brought her gaze to Adrien. He sat there, flicking between her emerald and sapphire eyes, yet he did not say anything.
His silence had reason. The happiness that he had felt when he had woken up and seen the familiar face of his mother—it had filled a hole in his heart that had been empty for years. Emilie Agreste, sitting there alive and in the flesh, with a smile on her lips and love in her eyes.
His brow furrowed. “What specifically was your wish? Like, word-for-word.” Adrien asked. Marinette blinked for a few moments, before tearing her gaze away from him. She glanced at Tikki, her kwami.
“I wished for happiness…for everyone.” She replied. Marinette sighed. “But why does that even matter?”
Plagg, who had stayed relatively quiet for a while, finally spoke. “That explains why you don’t remember Hawkmoth’s identity.” The kwami said animatedly. “Perhaps both of you would have been upset with who Hawkmoth really was, and so Reality wiped the name from your memory.”
Marinette played around with the idea. “I mean…I guess—”
Adrien gasped suddenly. “That’s why my mother is here.” He said, smiling. “Marinette, you knew how much my father and I have missed my mother. Things have changed since she’s been gone—but she’s back now.”
“The wish probably gave Hawkmoth whatever he had been so desperate for.” Tikki added, a little red hand on her chin as she thoughtfully wondered. “He is defeated, isn’t he?”
But in the back of everyone’s mind, there was still something that had bothered them:
What was the price paid for Marinette’s wish?