Hi everyone!

Before you dive into the last chapter of this fic, I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone who's encouraged me to keep writing and to keep up with this fic. The plot has changed so drastically from what it was originally going to be (a fact that I am happy about) and I'm surprised this fic has gotten so many hits. It makes me feel so nice to see people in the fandom I love enjoying my content and actually being so excited to read what happens next. It excites me to see your reactions!

This has been such an amazing experience for my first fanfic ever, and the fact that it's ending is kind of bittersweet. Truthful Scars has been my life since March, and it's going to be odd not having to worry about updating, but relaxing all the same.

Yes, sometimes it did become stressful to write, but I'm so glad I kept up with it and didn't abandon this fic because the feedback has just been so nice. I appreciate you all so much—my readers, my followers (I still can't believe I've actually got 10k of you on Tumblr, that is just so awesome and I love you all to pieces :D) and my friends who have supported me.

Don't worry about the ending, though! I've got plenty of other fics planned that I am so excited to write. My next project involves Ladynoir and some caring Adrien (coughcoughDADRIEN.)

This chapter was hard to get through because of college and homework and other stuff going on in my life, but I'm glad it's done. Some parts are a little messy but, I didn't want to make you all wait any longer and I just wanted to get it done.

Thanks again for all your patience and love. I wouldn't be where I am today without it.

Well, here's your end. I hope you enjoy it.

EDIT: One more thing! I suggest listening to the umbrella scene music during the final scene. You'll thank me later. ;)


A small, tired breath fell from Marinette's lips.

God, it was cold.

Chilled from spending her evening out in the icy winter air, she adjusted her legs so that the shawl which had once warmed her shoulders and chest now draped over her spotted knees like a cozy blanket.

She'd been silly to suggest a patrol in this kind of weather, and probably looked even sillier shivering alone atop one of the iron beams that supported the Eiffel Tower.

Paris wasn't particularly known for being a city that experienced such frigid winters. Hell, it was a rarity that it snowed at all.

Yet, as Marinette huddled against the spot Chat Noir had filled minutes before, snowflakes fell from the twinkling sky and descended to the city below like drifting stars that filled the world with white.

A chuckle rose from her throat, gloved hands tightening their grip on the fabric of her scarlet shawl. The world is always changing, she thought with a tender smile. You never know what to expect.

Nothing is still on Earth.

Each day is different; a new opportunity.

Something to be explored.

Just like the rest of the world, Paris wasn't a city to shy from change.

Seasons shifted, as did people.

Summer turned to autumn, where trees at their peak transformed parks into an ocean of color and the air cooled to a pleasant chill. Citizens of Paris donned coats and sweaters, hurrying along the bustling streets with steaming cups of coffee in hand, eager to escape from the cold. The roads filled with clumps of cracked leaves, crisp and quick as they rolled in the breeze like a dry, brown river.

Autumn was full of pumpkin spice and cat-eared beanies over blond hair. It was a new school, lycée, nights spent in the arms of a boy on crutches who happened to be too lonesome to sleep alone. Autumn had been warmth and comfort, sweet and delicate, a season of gray and orange muddled together in cozy jackets and loving hugs.

Autumn had also been a time of recovery. While Adrien's leg mended, the city of Paris learned to heal, as well—without Hawk Moth throwing an akuma at an unsuspecting civilian every week, citizens became happier, full of light and joy and hope. Hope for better days.

Well, they really didn't need to hope anymore.

There was no use in wishing for something that was already there.

Winter eventually replaced autumn with cloudy skies and a blanket of white. The streets where leaves had previously danced became slick with ice, and the parks that'd been so colorful were nothing more than a barren, snowy wasteland.

Even if Parisians happened to be wary of the snow, it was still fun to play in during school lunch breaks.

Marinette laughed as the memory of Alya stuffing snow down the back of Nino's jacket resurfaced in her mind, a puff of frost blowing from her lips. She'd never forget the high-pitched squeal he emitted, or how hard Adrien had laughed when his best friend retaliated the attack.

The snow wasn't so bad, Marinette thought. It at least gave her an excuse to stick by Adrien's side.

Adrien. His name itself brought forth a feeling so warm that Marinette felt the chill of winter fade into nothing more than a dull, faint tingle. He'd just been next to her a moment ago, having gone down to a street vendor at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower for some hot cocoa they'd smelled on the way up. The aroma had been too tempting to resist—especially for Adrien, whose affinity for sweets had doubled ever since he'd become a healthy weight.

A breath fell from Marinette's lips as a wave of love crashed over her. Seeing Adrien happy, healthy, in so much better shape than he had been about six months ago was both a relief and a wonderful sight. No longer was he bony and pale, but muscular, at a weight that was perfect for his age and height. He loved himself, just as he should have always.

And, if his improved physical health wasn't enough to make her smile (which it definitely was), the fact that his mental health was so much better than it used to be was certainly the icing on the cake.

Adrien smiled daily, laughed often, enjoyed waking in the mornings and no longer feared what his days would bring. His eyes, which were formerly saddened and cloudy, now shone a wonderfully bright summer green that filled Marinette's world with rays of golden sunshine. He loved who he was and he enjoyed simply living; a drastic change that was definitely for the better.

He'd told her that his home life had improved, as well. Although his father still wasn't around often, he was kinder (so Adrien said), spoke with a softer voice and lost the strictness of his tone.

Adrien had mentioned that it came back every now and then, but was almost always followed by a sincere apology.

Marinette snorted. Gabriel Agreste, apologizing? What a thought!

But, if Adrien said his father was changing, she would believe it.

Humming quietly to herself, the superheroine watched as her partner ordered two cups of hot cocoa from the vendor below. She was high enough that those who were just passing by wouldn't take notice of her presence, but still relatively close to the ground where she could see her boyfriend suited-up and unzipping a front pocket to hand the burly man a wad of cash.

Chat Noir would be back any minute now.

A gust of icy wind cut through the air and caused Marinette to squeak, wrapping her shawl protectively around herself in an attempt to shield her body from the cold. Ladybug's suit was nearly impenetrable, sure, but it certainly wasn't a top-notch insulator.

Ugh, how long did it take to get two cups of cocoa? She was freezing! Why on Earth had they climbed the Eiffel Tower, of all places? It was made of metal! Cold, icy iron! Slippery, cold, icy iron!

As if sensing her irritability, Chat shot her a grin that silently said, "have patience."

Unable to fight a smile of her own, she stuck her tongue out at him and propped her chin onto her hand, feeling the beginnings of sleepiness tugging at her eyelids.

While she and Chat Noir did their best to patrol the city, the weather (and the desire to be cuddling indoors) prevented them from staying out as long as they were accustomed to. During the holidays it'd been nice to see the colorful array of dazzling lights decorating each balcony, but once the wonders of Christmas faded and the month of December became an icy January, the citizens of Paris were a little tired of the cold.

More than a little tired, actually.

Marinette was exhausted from it. Literally.

Winter, Tikki had explained, made every Ladybug exceptionally tired. While actual ladybugs were nestled safely away in cozy spaces for hibernation, Marinette was unfortunately awake for the winter, albeit incredibly more tired than usual.

Her constant state of "five more minutes, chaton," had certainly been a hindrance on their patrols.

(As if they actually needed them.)

At this point in the year, winter was practically too much for Adrien as well. It'd only taken Chat Noir getting his tongue stuck to a pole once for him to reconsider ever stepping paw outside again, especially after photos of his predicament ended up on the Ladyblog.

(Marinette had been kind enough to ask Alya to remove them. Even Chat Noir gets embarrassed, after all!)

Her poor kitty had spoken with an adorably frustrating lisp for the remainder of that day.

The heels of metal-tipped boots clicking against iron caused Marinette to turn her head, her nose instantly picking up the scent of something deliciously chocolate. Gaze zeroing in on one of the piping hot cups of cocoa her partner held within his clawed hands, she met his smile, releasing her grasp on her shawl only to reach out for his offering once he'd sat.

Heat met her palms and radiated through her fingers as she cradled the foam cup to her chest, relishing in its heat. In a silent thanks, Marinette kissed her partner's cheek before nuzzling her face into the baby blue scarf he wore so proudly around his neck—the same blue scarf she'd gifted to him for his birthday and the same blue scarf that he'd discovered was her handiwork due to her signature.

"Warm enough?" Chat whispered, turning to press a light kiss atop her head.

Marinette nodded, gently blowing the plastic lid of the cup before taking a sip. A wave of rich chocolate splashed upon her tongue, the bitterness of cocoa and sweetness of marshmallows overwhelming her tastebuds in a flavorful mix that made her feel positively snug inside. "Am now."

Chat Noir grinned. "I'm glad I could be of service."

"Thank you for the cocoa," Marinette said, keeping the cup close to her face so that the heat could rise to her skin. So warm!

"Anything for you, my Lady," Adrien replied, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. "The smell was so good I couldn't pass it up. It was practically calling my name."

A tiny laugh bubbled from Marinette's lips. "Which one? Adrien or Chat Noir?"

He winked. "Both."

"Ah." Grinning at her partner, Marinette brought the cup back to her lips for a brief sip. "So the hot cocoa knows your true identity."

Chat nodded, pulling a dramatic frown to his face (a feat that was no longer as easy as it would have been six months ago) and sighing dejectedly. "Forgive me, my Lady, for I've revealed my biggest secret to this-" he paused to lift the cup into the air, a somber expression upon his features. "-innocent beverage. She holds a truth that she can tell no other."

Marinette only laughed, giving him a playful shove that, had he still been the skinny teen he was at fifteen years old, would have pushed him straight over the edge. Now, it did nothing more than earn her a gentle shove in return.

A few minutes of banter and some silly kisses later, a beat of silence stretched comfortably between them, chilly yet peaceful. One hand wrapped around her cup of cocoa and the other resting atop Adrien's, Marinette sighed, her lips curling upwards into a smile of pure content. She brushed the tips of her fingers along his knuckles, mapping a pattern on his hand that she'd grown to know by heart. She knew every line on his palm, every bump and curve of his hand, memorized from hours spent holding it within her own.

From her delicate movements, Chat took her hand and squeezed it within his, their fingers entwined together in a perfect fit—as if their hands had been crafted specifically for one another.

Knowing that almost all Ladybugs and Chat Noirs eventually fell in love, Marinette was positive they were.

So cute, She thought as her gaze met that of her boyfriend's, whose eyes shone brightly from the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower. His hair—so much longer now—swayed in the breeze, and his smile was so content, so real that it took all of Marinette's self control not to kiss him senseless right then and there.

Well, maybe cute was an understatement.

Handsome? Eh, still didn't seem like a title worthy of her partner.

"Hot as fuck" fits pretty well, She mused with a laugh.

But she'd never say that out loud.

...Okay, maybe not too often. She did love how excitedly happy he got over her compliments, so she might just let it slip sometime.

"Stop that," She said after a moment, watching as his focus turned to her. His pupils went from thin slits to black orbs, caught off-guard by her statement.

Adrien raised a brow, confused yet unable to stop himself from smiling. "Stop what?"

Marinette grinned. "Being so cute."

"Ah," Her partner laughed, "no can do. I'm going to be cute, always, and I will never stop." His finger booped her nose. "And you won't ever stop being cute, either."

"Flatterer."

How could he make her blush so easily?

"Just telling the truth, Mari."

The air might've been cold, but the atmosphere between them was nothing but warm, and not only from the sipping of cocoa. The feel of her hand encased so lovingly by Adrien's made the icy breeze slip right from Marinette's mind. There was no use worrying about the weather when her favorite person was by her side.

Nothing could compare to the little moments she and her amazing (amazing) partner shared.

A wind picked up, which was understandable; being so high up meant that the air was painfully cold.

(For Parisians, at least. Those who lived in countries farther north would laugh in their faces at their definition of "cold.")

On instinct, Marinette scooted closer to the source of heat that was her boyfriend, pressing her body into his side in an attempt to shield herself from the wind's bite. It was futile, of course, and she knew that the bitter cold would nip her anyways, but it was nice enough to soak up a little bit of Chat Noir's warmth.

"We should head back soon," He murmured, nuzzling his nose into her hair. "There's no danger. You know that."

Marinette hummed in response. He was right—there hadn't been any real danger for months.

There was hardly a use for patrolling anymore. They hadn't seen an attack from Hawk Moth in almost two months, and the last had been so stupidly simple to defeat that the pair had been able to capture the akuma and send the victim home within ten minutes. A new record, but not one Marinette was eager to celebrate.

She had a strange feeling that Hawk Moth was up to something, or was brewing some sort of devious plan that would destroy Paris in its entirety, but Adrien had eased her suspicions with a simple, "Maybe he's learned that he'll never win."

The more Marinette considered it, the more she began to think he was right.

Still…

Whatever their enemy was planning… If he was planning anything, she wanted to be prepared.

"Hey," A clawed finger poked her in the side (an incredibly ticklish area), startling her enough to nearly drop her cup of cocoa. At least it had a lid. "What's with the frowny face?"

Marinette immediately flashed her partner a grin, taking a slow sip of her drink before returning the poke. "No frowny face here, chaton. Just thinking."

"Thinking?" Head cocking to the side, one of his black ears twitched in interest. "'Bout what?"

Curiosity killed the cat.

After a moment she simply shook her head, finishing off the remains of her chocolate beverage and standing with a tired smile. It'd been a long day, and they did have school tomorrow. Best to turn in before it got too late (and too cold!) "You really think Hawk Moth isn't preparing something huge? Something that'll be impossible to beat?"

Chat Noir frowned, averting his gaze from her own and instead staring out to the powdered city below. The yellow hues of the Eiffel Tower's lights illuminated his suit in a subtle glow, giving his lithe frame a somewhat ethereal luster. "I don't know for sure, Mari," He said, voice soft. "But it's been months since he last sent an actual threat. The entire time my leg was broken, we didn't see anything. Don't you think he would have done something drastic by now, if he was going to?"

Clutching the empty foam cup in her hands, Marinette sighed, watching as her breath blew from her lips in a frosty cloud. "You really think he's given up?"

Adrien offered a shrug before standing at her side, his hand warm and comforting against her shoulder. A breeze swept between them, nipping at their exposed skin. "Maybe not entirely yet, but… I think he's finally realized that he can't win." Acid green eyes flicked to her own, and a flash of white fangs glinted as Chat smirked. "We're just too awesome of superheroes for him to deal with. Especially you, Bugaboo."

Marinette couldn't suppress her snort of laughter. "Or maybe he's just afraid of breaking your other leg."

"He can if he wants," Chat Noir chuckled, leaning down to brush his lips against the sweet skin of her neck. "So long as I have you to take care of me again, Buginette."

With a roll of her eyes, Marinette leaned into her partner's side, unable to resist the smile that spread across her cheeks as his arm connected around her waist. His touch was familiar, a sensation that sent waves of affection to course through her veins. It was the little touches that she adored most.

Although the newness of their relationship had faded, her love for Adrien hadn't diluted. They were no longer kissing each other senseless every ten minutes, of course, but that didn't mean she cared for him any less. They'd just learned to control their… Urges.

Marinette nearly cringed at the word.

Urges.

During the time Adrien had been stuck at home due to his injury, she'd been over his house more often than she was at her own. She enjoyed being around him and knew he needed the company, especially while living at the Agreste household. Although his father had began acting warmer (a loose term for Gabriel Agreste), he was still left alone in his room with little social interaction to entertain him.

Which was why Marinette might have slightly abused her Miraculous powers to visit him just like he'd slightly abused his to visit her a few months prior.

Only, instead of pastries and late-night pats, they settled for video games and midnight makeouts.

(The best they could with Adrien's broken appendage, anyhow.)

But, really, could anyone truly blame them? They had been alone most of the time.

A blush tinged Marinette's cheeks from the thought of both a bed and a bath they'd frequently shared for a little more than just bathing or sleeping.

Chat's words certainly had other implications.

She tried not to think about it too much, lest she become as red as her suit.

"It's getting late, kitty," Marinette said after a silence, scarlet fingers brushing his knuckles as she reached for her yo-yo. "Ready to head home?"

Blond hair tickled her neck and soft lips kissed her cheek, sending a pleasant shiver to run down her spine. "Home is wherever you are, my Lady."

Marinette nearly rolled her eyes, but the sentiment was too sweet to dismiss. Truthfully, she felt the same.

She'd be happy so long as she was by his side.

Turning, Marinette ruffled her partner's hair before zipping off into the city, a smile upon her face that no other person besides Adrien could bring.

If she could go back to the past and tell him how happy he'd be in the future, she would. It was almost impossible to believe that a boy which had once been so lonely and sad was now one of the silliest, most cheerful people Marinette's life.

She loved him so, so much.

And he loved her just the same.

Even as they snuck into the skylight of Marinette's room and curled up in bed, the love between them flowed. It was a constant comfort, a never-ending wave of love that crashed along the shore of their hearts. Just like the ocean, it never faded.

They never faded.

Losing her transformation, Marinette crawled underneath the heavy pink comforter that lay on her bed, completely engulfed by its cozy hold. Only her eyes peeked out, drooping lazily as the weight of sleep began to pull at her eyelids.

It wouldn't be long before she was out completely.

In fact, she was so exhausted that she barely took notice of Adrien—still Chat Noir—lying on his side, green gaze glowing like fireflies' light in the black of her bedroom. He blinked once, twice, three times before reaching out with his clawed hand, encasing hers in a loving squeeze and a silent promise that he'd never let go.

He didn't need to prove that to her when she already knew.

"Want me to let you sleep?" He asked, voice a whisper as his thumb stroked over her knuckles. "I know you've been tired lately."

But Marinette shook her head, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "No," She breathed, letting her other hand slip out from underneath the blanket to grab his own, which already held hers so gently. "Stay."

"Stay?"

Marinette nodded. "Stay."

"Okay," Came his reply, voice soft and heavy from his own exhaustion. "I'll stay."

As Marinette's fingers threaded through Chat's hair in a slow pet, a purr rumbled up within his throat, quiet and low like a sleepy cat who had no intent of moving a muscle.

She knew he wanted to rest next to her all night just as badly as she wanted him to stay.

She knew he wanted to stay.

And he would stay, always.

"Always?" Marinette found herself asking, unsure if she was really speaking at all. Was she even awake anymore?

An affectionate squeeze to her hand confirmed that her words had been heard. "Always, princess."

Such a nice word...

"Goodnight, kitty," Marinette whispered, her hand gradually stilling atop Chat's head as she drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

The word always rang in her head like a peaceful tune, reminding her that she was loved, and would be loved for the rest of her days.


Adrien had never minded the rain.

It was still early spring, so the drops that splashed upon the pavement of the school's courtyard were cold and unwelcoming. Darkened skies painted the city of Paris in a monochromatic wash of gray, giving the buildings that usually shone with such a confident gleam a gloomy overtone.

Adrien frowned. The stairs before him were slick with rainwater and below the steps puddles formed, trembling with each bead of water that crashed upon their reflective surface. In the distance, a crack of thunder rolled in the sky, rumbling across the city like a giant cat's purr. Thankfully, no lightning followed—just the rain.

From his spot standing at the entrance of the school—lycée—he reached out with a hesitant hand, flinching slightly as the chilly water dripped upon his palm. It was too cold to walk home in (as if he had to walk anyways; his driver would be pulling up to the school any second.)

Shivering, Adrien retracted his hand and wiped it on his black hoodie before stuffing both into the pockets, rocking on his feet impatiently.

Marinette must have gone home already. He'd just finished with fencing practice, and by that time few students loitered about the school.

It was just him and the rain.

When the familiar silver sedan rolled up to the school, Adrien pulled his hood over his head and braced himself for the dash to the car. He knew he would get soaked, drenched—and was dreading having squishy, squeaky shoes.

"Well," He said to himself, taking a deep breath. "I guess I'll be getting a cold."

A hand on his shoulder halted him before he could make his retreat. "But if you get sick, you can't kiss me, minou."

Mari. Adrien's lips curled upwards into a smile that could brighten the dreary sky, head turning so that he met the gaze of his girlfriend. She stood before him in her own pink jacket and black leggings, hands behind her back and hair pulled up into a messy bun that she surely hadn't been wearing earlier in the day. Still, it was adorable, and Adrien found it difficult to tear his eyes away.

"You're still here?" He asked, placing a hand on top of her own. "School got out an hour and a half ago. I thought you'd gone home."

Marinette shook her head. "Didn't you get my text? I was studying in the library with Alya."

At her statement, Adrien's eyes widened. He fished his phone out his pocket and checked his texts, seeing that yes, in fact, Marinette had left him one. "Oh," He said, "sorry, Mare-Bear."

Thankfully, she didn't seem to mind much. Stepping closer to the stairs leading down to the entrance of the school, she stopped just before she was exposed to the downpour. "It's really coming down, huh?"

Adrien nodded, lifting his head to gaze up at the thundering sky. "Yeah, but I don't mind the rain."

"Me either," Marinette said, "you know why?"

He had a feeling he already the answer, but asked anyways. "Why?"

Standing in front of him, Marinette smiled from cheek-to-cheek, blue eyes twinkling even in the dull light. With a gentle hand she pulled his hood away from his head and ruffled his hair, her finger leaving a small boop on the tip of his nose as it traveled down. "It was raining the day I fell in love with you."

She'd told him that before, yet it still made him feel like he was floating in the clouds. He couldn't help the immense joy he felt whenever she mentioned it.

Just knowing someone as amazing as Mari had fallen in love with him, well… It was almost too good to believe.

Almost.

Wow, he thought to himself, I'm loved. Loved!

And he returned that love just as strong.

"C'mere, you," Adrien chuckled, placing his hand under Marinette's chin to lift her into a quick kiss. It only lasted a brief second, but the sparks still flew—even after all the months they'd been together, he could never tire of her kisses. "Do you want a ride home?"

Marinette hummed, removing the hand she held behind her back. "Home is wherever you are, kitty."

Adrien's eyes widened a fraction as she lifted her arm up, her pink lips pulled into one of the sweetest smiles he'd ever seen grace her features. At the sight before him, he felt a laugh bubble up from within his throat—was she really?

Mon dieu, he snorted in thought, she is.

As the rain poured down around the school, Adrien linked his arm with the girl he loved so dearly before stepping underneath the black umbrella she held within her hand.

She's the one, he told himself, pressing a kiss to her temple. The one I have to thank for giving me better days.

His heart swelled with affection for her.

The one I'm going to love forever.


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