As Tikki had said, the location appeared on the back of Adrien's ticket, although he shouldn't have been surprised it was on the same street as the Miraculous Ladybug and Black Cat. He had thought of driving by Marinette's making sure everything was ok, and so he could escort her to the ball, but Tikki's teasing words kept him driving to the location.
Adrien had never been this far down the small street, now busy with cars and limos heading to the ball. The shops and business were all decorated for Christmas, with wreaths hanging on every window, and Christmas lights strung between the lamp posts.
At the end of the drive was a mansion dating back to the 19th century he presumed. Cheery valets waited at the curb, ready to take his car the moment he stopped in front.
"May I take your car for you sir," a middle aged man approached, dressed in a festive Christmas green suit, a nametag reading Wayzz.
"Yes, thank you," Adrien handed over the keys and payment.
"No need sir, all expenses covered," Wayzz insisted as he sat inside the car. Adrien watched him drive off before heading up the grand steps, along with several other guests. He was stopped by a guard - a small Chinese looking fellow dressed in red and white- standing at the front door. Adrien handed over his ticket while taking in the grandeur of the scene.
The guests were ushered onto a balcony overlooking the venue, the balcony splitting off into two staircases that curved into the room. From his vantage point, Adrien could see the room was brightly lit by a crystal chandelier hanging over the ballroom. Columns supported the domed ceiling with painted angels watching the festivities, Adrien sure he had seen similar angelic designs in Italy. Opposite of the entrance stood a towering Christmas filled with ornaments. Nino had told him new ornaments were added by new couples every year, even he and Alya had one on the tree.
Adrien made his way over to the tree to try searching for Nino's, making a mental note to add one with Marinette when she arrived. He took in the new view to see opposite of the tree at the base of the grand staircases stood a nativity scene, the star hanging on the edge of the balcony.
The band was off to a corner on the left, while desserts and horderves were on tables to the right, along with several other seating tables.
Despite people not knowing one another, the guests mingled well, Nooroo at the center introducing people to each other. Plagg stood by the horderves, admiring the cheeses and talking when he must.
The band began to play, reminding Adrien to search for Nino's ornament. He found their names on a golden musical note, Adrien thinking the ornament to fit them perfectly. He wondered what sort of ornament would be good for him and Marinette.
"Any ornaments that suit your fancy sir," asked an orange haired girl in her late teens, monitoring over the available ornaments. Her name tag read Trixx.
"Just looking, any suggestions," he asked. Trixx frowned as her lavender eyes scanned him. She then pulled out an ornament from under the table.
"I would suggest this one, but see how the night goes first," she handed over the ornament. It was a black cat head with green eyes.
"Is this advertising for the Black Cat?"
"No, you just looked like a black cat tonight." Adrien looked down at his suit. True his attire was mostly black, including his shirt which he swore almost looked like a dark green. He had a deep pine tree green bow for a tie, with the lining and buttons silver. They even added a black cord extending from one of his jacket buttons to the back of his two tail suit, the remaining cord looking more like a tail now that he thought about it.
"Although I would recommend doing an ornament with someone, sort of a token for tonight," she recommended as he handed her back the ornament.
"I definitely will when she arrives," he teased with a smile, imagining Marinette laughing at the cat ornament. Trixx's eyes lit up.
"In that case," She went under the table again, pulling out a golden bell.
"To let everyone know you have an owner," Trixx joked.
Adrien took the bell and added it to his bow.
"I'm sure my princess will appreciate that," he teased back, letting his mind wander to Marinette. Tikki should have gotten the dress to her by now, and based on his view that the shop owner and her assistant were not yet there, Marinette must still be getting ready.
"Thank you," with a nod, Adrien started heading towards the horderves to talk to Plagg, his bell jingling as he did.
"Anyone can hear you walking from a mile away," Plagg criticized as Adrien approached, quickly finishing off his last bite of cheese.
"Nice to see you are as chipper as ever," jested Adrien as he helped himself to one of the horderves.
Plagg just sighed, "Shouldn't you be out mingling? Meeting people? Opening your heart to someone new?"
"I'm waiting for Marinette."
"Ah, is that the one Tikki was talking about a mile a minute before rushing out of here?"
"Yes, have you heard anything from Tikki?"
"Nothing other than keep everyone happy. But she said that before she left so that doesn't really count."
"And I would say you are doing a terrible job at it," chided another worker in a midnight blue dress, "I can't keep refilling the cheese plate all night for you."
"Duusu, no one has an affinity for cheese quite like I, so until someone does, I will protect it from those who would under appreciate it."
Duusu frowned, but offered no further remark as she went through a back door, taking with her the old cheese plate Plagg had emptied..
Adrien checked his watch to see it was already past 11.
"Time flies when you are enjoying cheese," Plagg commented as Duusu returned with a new plate of his favorite delicacy.
"Maybe I should go get Marinette," Adrien pondered out loud.
"Princes should wait for their princesses," counter Plagg as he helped himself to a new piece of cheese. Adrien ignored him and proceeded towards the exit.
"Ah, Mr. Adrien, where are you off to?" Nooroo halted his exit.
"I'm going to get Marinette."
"I'm sure Mistress Tikki and Pollen will be along with her soon. Tikki is always here for the midnight ceremony."
"Only the most magical moment of the night. You'll miss it and Miss Marinette if you leave now," Nooroo pleaded. Adrien looked up the staircase and sighed. He hoped the whatever Christmas magic these people believed in would bring Marinette sooner.
Adrien panicked at hearing that name. How did Chloe get here?
"Nooroo, hide me," he begged.
Before Nooroo could do anything, Adrien was swept away by Chloe, dressed a pink ball gown with a tiara.
"Isn't it grand! I managed to get a ticket! Now we can be together forever!"
"Chloe, what are you doing here?" Adrien pried Chloe's arms off of him.
"I got a ticket! So they let me in! Don't I look fabulous?" Chloe twirled in her dress for him.
"How," the words died on Adrien's tongue as he looked at his ex-girlfriend. Light pink dress.
"This was Marinette's?"
"What? Where would you get that idea from?"
"Marinette's dress was light pink. You stole Marinette's dress, and her ticket," Adrien stepped back.
"Adrien, I did for you. For us," Chloe pressed closer into his space, Adrien backing up.
"No, I told you there is no us. There's me and Marinette."
"But she's not even here, she doesn't even have a ticket," whined Chloe.
"Then I'll go to her. I'd rather have one Christmas with Marinette that a lifetime of Christmases with you," Adrien pushed Chloe aside, and headed to the stairs, Chloe following after him.
"You can't really mean that?"
"What if she doesn't even want you back. What if she'll abandon you like your mother? Ignore you like your father?"
"I will never ignore or abandon Adrien!" Adrien and Chloe looked up to the top of the stairs. Marinette stood, with Tikki and Pollen nearby. Her dress had a straight across neckline of the rosiest Christmas red. At her hip was a open ladybug brooch, with sparkling spots following the remaining red. At the gem, the dress opened up into a coal black petticoat, spreading out and farther in the back to form a dark train. Her blue hair was pinned in curls along the side, a silver head band with another ladybug brooch along the side opposite of her curls.
Adrien had been waiting all night for his princess. He never expected to meet a queen.
"He is a caring person, who thinks of others before himself. Even when he knew he didn't love you, he stayed with you for your happiness," Marinette proceeded down the stairs, her arm opening to grab the rail, revealing a sheer piece of black fabric draping along her arms.
"He is gentleman and deserves all the love and happiness in the world."
She stopped in front of Chloe, Adrien stepping aside, mesmerized by her words and beauty.
"I can only hope he'll accept me as the one to give him that," she lowered her head, glancing to Adrien for a brief moment. Adrien was certain he forgot how to breath.
Just then a loud, melodious chime filled the room and unseen clock began counting down until midnight.
From the center of the rotunda, a swirl of what Adrien could only describe as magic began to fill the room. Candles gleamed brighter. The Christmas tree began to twinkle. The star over the nativity began to shine, illuminating the scene below. Everyone was lost in the magic for a moment, and once dispersed, everyone was glowing with a sense of realization of why they were there.
Adrien knew, or had known for a while.
He was there because a ticket, so small and meaningless, led him to finding the love of his life.
"My dress!" Chloe cried, nearby heads in the room turning to see her once beautiful gown now in rags once the midnight magic was gone.
"Alright, I think you caused enough trouble here tonight," Plagg finally stepped forward, taking Chloe roughly by the arm, and leading her up the stairs, her asking him questions about what happened to her dress all the way.
Tikki and Pollen sighed in sympathy as she passed by.
Once Chloe was gone from the room, the merriment resumed, people taking in their new found realizations to heart.
"Adrien," Marinette breathed, drawing his attention back to her. She was as radiant as the sun, beautiful as the moon, and sparkling like the stars.
He dropped to one knee, took her hand nearest him, and pressed it to his lips.
"You are stunning My Lady," He looked back up to see a pink blush. That was the Marinette he knew. And the Marinette he loved.
"I meant it. Every Word," she whispered as he stood.
"I know, and know I mean this," Adrien held both of Marinette's hands in his, "I love you Marinette Dupain-Cheng. You are my love, my happiness, my new chance. And I know you will do everything to remind me of that, please allow me to be the same for you."
"Adrien," Marinette was about to say something more.
"Come on Plagg, it's time for the Christmas Waltz," Tikki pulled Plagg between them to the dance floor, Pollen following after them to be joined by Nooroo. With a nod from Tikki, the band began to play a festive Christmas tune. Plagg scooped Tikki up into his arms, and leapt with her around the dance floor. Pollen and Nooroo, followed, dancing more of a fast-paced waltz.
Other coupes began to join the dance floor.
"May I have this dance," Adrien offered a arm, which Marinette accepted.
"You may." He led her out to the dance floor, joining the host of dancers.
"Merry Christmas," called out Tikki as she and Plagg passed them by, Plagg looking to be almost enjoying himself. Adrien laughed at the happy sight.
"I love you too," Marinette whispered, Adrien hoping he heard right.
"I love you too. So very much," Marinette pulled herself closer to him, her head resting on his chest.
Adrien twirled them out of the array of dancers towards a column. He tilted her head towards his.
"Merry Christmas my love," he whispered before capturing her lips with his.
Tikki smiled from her position, a sprig of mistletoe sprouting over Adrien and Marinette while they kissed.
"You are quite proud of yourself for that one aren't you," commented Plagg as he led his wife around the dance floor.
"Those two were meant for each other," Tikki giggled, "Just like you and me."
"A ladybug and a black cat?"
"A Miraculous Christmas Miracle."
Thank you all for reading! This is the conclusion for the Miraculous Christmas Ball!
The cover art should hopefully be finished before Christmas.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!