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Sentient of a Ladybug

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Chapter 1
        Grief


Marinette knew what grief was, everyone experiences it during their life. She’d just never experienced it first hand. She felt grief when she attended the funeral for Nino’s father, comforting him as he sobbed into her shoulder. She’d experienced a feeling of relief mixed with grief when Kim broke his arm during one of his stupid dares. No, Marinette was lucky that she’d never experienced first hand grief until today.

It’d been a normal day. Marinette was with Tikki, her most cherished friend and loyal companion. But it happened in such a flash. One moment she’d had her earrings, the next she found herself on the ground screaming in agony from the rough kick to her back and her earlobes bleeding from the Miraculous being violently ripped out.

The pain seared through her head, her vision becoming blurry. Because of this she couldn’t see the thief. Soon, black spots began appearing in Marinette’s vision, slowly engulfing the world... But before she succumbed to the darkness, a voice rang out. “MARINETTE!”

And the world turned black and silent.

        ⊱ ━━━━.⋅ 🦋 ⋅.━━━━ ⊰

The beeping of machines is what Marinette first woke up to. The first things she noticed were the pure white roof and walls, making her realize she was in the hospital. she had Alya's face on her chest, hugging her tightly. It took Marinette a second before sitting up. 

“Alya!” She whispered, shaking her a bit before Alya shot right up with a bright smiling face. 

“Marinette! Oh god you’re okay!” Alya forced Marinette into a bone crushing hug, making her squeak a bit.

“Of course I am! Why wouldn’t I be?” Alya pulled away, looking rather annoyed and frustrated at Marinette’s response.

“Uh, because I found you passed out on the floor bleeding? Your ears are all ripped up! What happened?” Marinette froze As the memories of before she passed out flowed back into her mind. She slowly lifted her hand up and gently touched her ears, feeling the bandaging/stitches on them.

That's when the tears began. They didn’t stop, either. 
“Marinette! What's wrong?! Girl are you okay?!” Alya’s worried voice broke her out of her spiral. She grabbed Alya, the tears slowing a bit but the pain made her feel empty.

She lost Tikki.
She lost her best friend.

“The...” Marinette hiccuped  and her voice shook. “Earrings were an... An old gift from my Nana...! S... She said they were one of a kind! Now they’re gone...!”

 It was a lie, but it wasn’t completely untrue. Marinette couldn’t tell anyone she was ladybug. Not when she had just lost Tikki, not when she had no clue of how to get her best friend back.

“Oh girl..” Alya spoke lightly, her breath hitching for a second as Marinette let the slightly more controlled tears out into her best friend’s chest. “We’ll.. We’ll find them again! Reporter’s honor! ”Marinette wanted to laugh but deep down, she knew Alya’s attempts would be fruitless. Those earrings are what allowed her to be more. To help people. To help Paris. Those earrings allowed her to be Ladybug. But she couldn’t just SAY that to Alya. To anyone. That fact crushed her on the inside as she desperately wanted to tell Alya..She wanted Alya’s help. Yet, she couldn’t have it. It made her feel helpless.

Somewhere far off, a corrupt butterfly emerged from its shelter. Sent off by it’s master to corrupt the heart of a girl sinking deeper and deeper into the pits of despair. A lone Marinette Dupain-Cheng. The villain smiled within his shelter, His most powerful akuma will finally happen!

Alya continued to comfort Marinette. After all, she needed her to know she’d always be there for her. However, there was a deep and looming dread that Alya couldn’t shake off. Almost as if she was expecting something bad to happen and sure enough, it did.
Alya saw the akuma flying towards the window and slowly phased through it. A fear shot up in her body as she realized who it was coming for: Marinette.

Alya’s body felt tense as her heart pounded out of her chest. She couldn’t let this happen. She wasn’t going to allow her best friend, in her time of need, to be turned into some monster. But what could she do?
Alya knew what it was like to be akumatized... So she decided she could be akumatized again. She’ll never let her friend go through that agony like she has. So she gently kissed Marinette’s forehead and pushed her out of the way, grabbing a tissue and snatching the Akuma into it..

And subsequently the akuma absorbed into the tissue - establishing the link between Hawkmoth and Alya.

“Clarity, I am Hawkmoth.”

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 2
Anger

Clarity was a simple, yet effective Akuma. Marinette could tell from the news she watched on the TV in front of her. Clarity’s power revolved around inner truth. Not the truth of a situation, but your own faults. Your crimes, anything that you lied about to save yourself.

“Alya..” She muttered, heart mending and breaking for the fact Alya would take such a bullet for her, For a girl she only knew for a year.

Her heart shattered a bit more when Chat came onto scene, looking around for Ladybug. For her. The confusion on his face when she didn’t appear.

But a new Ladybug showed up. That. That wasn’t her.

The new Ladybug, called herself Harlequin and wore a long sleeve shirt, the arms being completely black dotted with red whilst the center and neckline was red with black dots.
Alongside a red skirt that faded to black at the bottom with faded black dots trailing up from the black. 
Starting at the knees were stockings, the left black with red dots and the right red with black dots. Perfect mirrors of the opposite color. Ending it off with white high heels, giving her at least like 3 inches of height.
On her back were two inner ladybug wings that were close to being see through but shining with 3 separate colors at a time from the light around them. Her hair pulled into a middle ponytail, fading to red at both her bangs and ends of the ponytail.

Harlequin wore a smile. Specifically smug, over confident. Yet, she had the combat experiences to back that smug face up.
Like she had fought before. It took them the same time it usually took for Marinette and her Chaton to finish battles. What mattered most to Marinette was the fact Harlequin stayed after the battle for reporters.
All with that same smile. It made her blood run cold to watch Harlequin ignore Alya completely in favor of the press. Thank god Chat was there...

There were a lot of questions, coming from all over before Nadja and her crew got to the front. Marinette could imagine Nadja’s soft smile, her eagerness to learn more.

 “Harlequin, you said your name was? I'm glad to see you out there, saving the day… But... I have one question. What happened to Ladybug?” Nadja spoke into the microphone, Harlequin in view completely.
The other voices around them went silent as the most important question came up. Yet, Harlequin just smiled. That same FUCKING smile that made Marinette want to rip her hair out.

“Oh, Ladybug? I'm her successor.” Harlequin flipped her ponytail. Marinette felt as though her world was falling apart. The feeling of dread rose in her gut and chest.

 “She realized she just wasn’t cut out for this so I'm here to take over for her! I apologize on behalf of my senior.” Marinette turned the TV off just as more questions began being asked. She couldn’t. She...
Her thoughts were broken by a knock on the window before it was opened. Her head shot over to look at who’d entered, only to see it was Chat Noir, carrying a very worried and sorrowful Alya to Marinette.

It took Alya about 3 seconds before rushing to Marinette, gripping her in a bear hug as Marinette’s sense of sound began returning. She hadn’t even noticed she lost it until she began calming down, listening to Alya’s rapidly beating heart and hitching breathing.

In the few minutes it took for the girls to part, Chat noir had gently closed the window and it’s blinds as well and took a chair for him and Alya to sit next to Marinette’s bed. Alya let go shortly, sitting down in the chair provided whilst Chat took the other side of Marinette.

Marinette stared at the two before giggling to herself. “This looks so stupid.” Chat looked at Marinette with feign surprise and offense, going as far as to drape himself over her legs on the bed
“You don’t want Chat here? You hurt Chat’s feelings! How could you, princess?! Oh! Oh! Jail for Princess! Jail for a thousand years!” 

Marinette giggled more, gently petting Chat’s head. Alya even got a few chuckles in before processing. 

“Wait. Princess?”
Both Marinette and Chat flinched before separating, avoiding eye contact before Alya broke into laughter.
 “GIRL! You mean to tell me you got up and cozy with a hero and didn’t tell me?!”

 Marinette smiled sheepishly as the conversation went on, Chat saving the conversation with more playful banter.
The three began to form a bond, a bond that seemed unlikely at first. But with that they had been through, it seemed like it would only grow more from here. But Marinette couldn’t shake off this feeling inside her. The pain, the guilt and the rage building inside her. No matter how much she laughed, and laughed.

It refused to go away.

Chapter Text


Chapter 3
Memory is a cruel thing

It’d taken Marinette about 3 weeks to get discharged from the hospital, seeing as there's no infection in her earlobes or any other injury. Physically, at least. Mentally wasn’t really their area of expertise.

Marinette was walking home with Alya, who was talking up a storm. Marinette loved listening to Alya even if her theories were crazy and a little strange.

Her current theory was that Harlequin was a shapeshifter, having stolen the miraculous but felt guilty and went back to Ladybug for advice and help which got it passed down to Harlequin. She wasn’t wrong, exactly. But there were details wrong like how Harlequin straight up stole them, Not coming back to her for advice.

She was happy for her best friend...! She thought. The pain in her chest betrayed her thoughts. For once, she zoned out and focused on that pain.

The pain became real and she learned it wasn’t pain at all. It was a sinking, empty feeling that was beginning to engulf her. Like Tikki had been a part of her very soul, and that part of her was stripped away like a cruel game of dress up.

She forced herself to zone back into Alya’s rambling. Though the words started to muddle together as the empty feeling refused to leave. So Marinette did what she did best. Run.

She gave an excuse to Alya. She couldn’t remember the words, as they escaped her. The emptiness slowly held her like a blanket that was sent to suffocate her.

She ran. She just kept running, and running and running and running and running and running and-

She snapped out of the daze in front of her house, the familiar smell putting warmth into the emptiness she felt. But that didn’t stop her running. She ran, all the way up to her room. Where it felt like the emptiness couldn’t get to her. Yet it was still there!

GOD! Why is it still there?! Her hands began shaking. She didn’t like this. She didn’t want this. This emptiness just kept crawling up. Crawling up her legs, her arms her chest her face-

Marinette forced herself to breathe. Standing and thinking was getting her nowhere. So she looked to her desk, seeing countless unfinished pieces of homework, even commissions she had. it was more like requests from her classmates, but...

Marinette turned the light on, feeling those thoughts of the emptiness crawl back into her mind so she decided to distract herself. Pouring her entirety into her commissions, her homework. The exhaustion she felt didn’t matter to her as she worked. Nor did the little sleep. It kept her mind distracted. Sane, even.

Time itself even seemed to warp and disappear...

Chapter Text

Chapter 4
The party that changed it all

"Marinette, you have eye bags larger than my index and ring finger put together!"

Marinette paused, turning around in her chair to face Adrien who she'd invited to her room. She felt the exhaustion, she knew she was burning out but a part of her that was supposed to care just... wasn't caring.

"... It... It doesn't matter, I have commissions to do, Adrien. I'm still on top of my school work and grades...! I'm fine!" It was a weak argument, it had points but it was weak. She was weak. Marinette gripped her pants tightly before turning back to her sewing machine to begin working on the dress again.

Adrien's frustrated growl behind her did nothing to halt her progress. She had one last seam, one last stitch to g- her machine turned itself off mid-stitch.

"The hell..!?" she looked around, and it wasn't a power outage.. She found the culprit when her eyes locked with Adrien, and saw the power cord in his hands.

She sighed in annoyance, putting her face in her hands. "Adrien.. Please I have one last stitch to do.. Then this is finished.. I'll sleep then how about that..?" She gave him a weak smile, trying to play into the empathy she knew he had.

"And we both know one stitch will turn into 'i have to do the embroidery while i have materials out!' and then that turns into you finishing the whole dress anyways! You're going to sleep now and I'm keeping the power cord." Marinette gave an actual glare at Adrien while launching herself towards the power cord, only to be caught in Adriens warm, comforting arms.

she struggled, barely, but her body betrayed her as the comfort and warmness enveloped her. she could almost hear Tikki telling her to go to sleep, to take care of herself. She began crying, knowing Adrien was right... Maybe she can sleep for a little bit like this.


Adrien watched as she fell asleep. He couldn’t help but smile at how peaceful she looked. She hadn’t looked like that in a long while. Plag came out of his bag, looking worried for her. "You should get her in bed, she needs the rest and you do too."
Adrien feigned offense, though knowing Plagg was right. He'd give an excuse to his father later. Marinette and his lady mattered the most, I'd be a plus if they were the same person.

But he's not getting his hopes up. So he gently picked her up from her standing position and got her into bed.. before putting himself there too. The only reason she managed to sleep was because of him, so it'd be a better idea to stay with her!
It's not like Adrien was developing feelings for her no way Ladybug was still out there! HAHAHAHAHAHA

Plagg watched the two teenagers from afar, his small yet large heart breaking for Marinette. He knew vaguely what happened, that Tikki got stolen and that threw her holder into a self deprecating place where she shoved herself at her work without stopping.

Tikki would be saddened if she knew this happened. She probably did. So Plagg decided to give Marinette a gift, by doing work.
He cleaned up her bedroom, even tucked them in.
Before turning back to his kwami form and cuddling behind Adrien's neck, just out of view of Marinette.

The two woke up a few hours later, Adrien before Marinette with a 5 minute gap between them waking up. Adrien thought Marinette would be flustered, like she used to be, but instead she curled into his chest and silently began sobbing.

So Adrien rolled them over, so she could lay on his chest and cry quietly. Adrien broke the silence with an idea, and a soft smile on his face. "Marinette, There's an event happening this weekend. It's at my dad's place but I'm allowed to take a plus one.. And I don't really wanna take Lila... And Nino is busy. You don't need to reply, just nod your head if you wanna go."
there's a pause, as Marinette thought before nodding.

Adrien felt a smile creep onto his face before forcing it away

  ≿━━━━༺❀༻━━━━≾

 

Marinette had a hard time picking the dress she'd wear before settling on a Cheongsam. one styled in the way of Chat Noir. It felt only reasonable to honor the partner she'd never be able to fight alongside anymore.

It was a black Cheongsam with a green rim and highlights. The base of the dress didn't pass her knees, and from the bottom of it sprouted a small decaying green tree with two cat paw prints next to it. her usual flats were replaced with a black flat with a green bottom.
She felt cute in it. Even letting her hair loose to make it feel more mature than it really was.

She met Adrien by the door, who guided her away and through the party. She had a black purse on her which held cookies, water, and some business cards in case she needed them. She didn't think she would, but just in case.

Adrien and her talked in the corner to each other most of the time, always moving with the party and sometimes had people approach her with wonders on who did her outfit. Sometimes, how someone of middle class knew Adrien and managed to be his plus one. it amused Marinette seeing the glare Adrien gave them out of the corner of her eye as she explained.

Soon, Marinette and Adrien decided to escape to Adrien's room. Because let's be honest, parties like these are stuffy and boring.

Marinette suddenly felt a tug. A tug on the core of her body, or … her soul. It made her freeze. 

"You okay, Mari?" Adrien stopped, looking at her in concern. "… Yeah... Yeah I’m fine I just thought I felt… something." Marinette replied with a strained smile. However, the pull on her soul, her mind, didn't vanish. It stayed there and got stronger when they passed by Gabriel’s office. It made her hesitate for a second before following Adrien again.

It took her about 30 minutes before she couldn't take it and sneaked away to Gabriel's office. Unaware that she was being tailed by Plagg. She got in front of the door before remembering the cameras. She hesitated at first before thinking screw it! and entering the room. She took a moment to look around, only to realize the cameras were gone. Maybe they were getting reinstalled? Either way she felt a surge of happiness and thanked Tikki’s luck for that.


she walked into the middle of the barren office, looking around before locking eyes on the painting of Emile in the background, behind the desk.. And felt drawn there, So she walked up. The origin of the pull felt so close, yet so far.

As she ran a hand over Emile's portrait, she felt some different material. In curiosity she pushed the buttons, and the portrait slid away to reveal a safe. The pull origin was inside it.

She could even hear a little voice asking someone to save them. She didn't know the code so she went snooping around the desk, and found a note that was obviously the code in riddle. It.. it wasn't really hard when she knew what she was looking for. 6/7/00. Adrien's birthday.

She walked back to the safe, and inputted the code.. and watched it open, seeing a beautiful peacock brooch inside. It was the origin of the pull. And saw the book next to it.. which looked important, and took it alongside the brooch, hiding both in her purse before closing the safe, and painting and rushing out back to Adrien.

She entered the bedroom quickly, going back to Adrien's side on the bed.
"Hey, where'd you go?" she blanked, and went for the next best thing."I went looking for the bathroom and got lost..!" Adrien snickered a bit, getting her confused. "there's one in my room, Mari."..

Oh. she felt stupid. Even though Adrien gave her a tight hug before pulling away and getting up to his TV. "Wanna put a movie on?" ... "Yeah."

The night went on for both of them as they watched movie after movie, and everything felt right. Then she had to go home, regrettably. not too regrettably, as she remembered what she had in her purse.. which made it feel so much heavier than it was really. She got up to her bedroom before opening her purse, looking at the peacock brooch and book in her purse. The peacock seemed to cry for her to wear it. like she was meant to.. It was the origin of this pull she felt, anyways. 

She pulled both the book and brooch out, putting the book gently on  her desk and holding the brooch in her hand. she could feel the magic pouring off of it. Which scared her a bit because this couldn't be a miraculous, right?

Her thoughts were proven wrong as she put it on, noticing the flickering between camouflaged and activated.. but that notice was overshadowed, seeing the kwami appear in front of her, crying.

"You came!" They spoke, between sobs. She.. She didn't know how to feel. but she did know. With them, she could get Tikki back. She began crying a bit herself.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 5
Kwami of Emotion


Marinette dried her tears as she watched the little peafowl kwami fly around, constant rambling. Frankly, she could barely keep up with half of what they were saying. However she did catch their name: Duusu.

Duusu’s body was a pure, beautifully deep blue. Just from behind their small body were mimic’s of a peacock’s tail feathers, sharing the same color as the rest of Duusu’s body but being bordered by a navy blue.
In the middle of their feathers were what looked like an eye, peach in hue, just like their actual eyes with even a black dot in the center of it.
Their eyes were a peach color, surrounded by a navy blue  and a singular pink dot sat in the middle of their forehead, Along with 3 slim feathers sprouting from their head like an ahoge.

Marinette smiled. It was... weird. Duusu acted like a child, yet she knew from Tikki that they were pretty old. “Duusu!” Marinette called to the peafowl flying around causing them to zip quickly back to her, in a joyful yet worried look on their face.

“Mistress!” Duusu called back, looking up at her with manic glee. Marinette felt... off about it, so she decided some questions would be good to start with.

“You.. You were the one who was calling me, weren’t you?”

Duusu blinked at the question before crying, hugging her thumb. “You were so hurt! I could feel your hurt apart from the others!”
Duusu sobbed for a while, mumbling other incoherent words before Marinette gently ran a thumb over their head causing them to stop crying almost instantaneously, giving a little soft shrill as they calmed down


“Well... Thank you. My second question is... What happened to your miraculous? I noticed it flickered oddly before reverting to the...” She looked down at the miraculous on her dress.

It had turned into a singular feather, pure silver with the eye of the feather being a turquoise. 
She returned her eyes back to Duusu “It flickered between a neutral camouflage form and the transformed version.. Do you know why?”

Duusu looked up at her with their peach-red eyes before looking away. “My... My Miraculous is... It's broken.” For once, it seemed like their emotions were controlled as they sobbed quietly whilst explaining
“There was an accident with the guardians... I... Our miracle box was given to a child in training to test them and... Then the temple was attacked... But... But in the resounding chaos, my miraculous fell into lava and…” The tears became too much for them to speak, falling like a waterfall.


Marinette looked at the kwami in front of her before gently bringing them to her cheek, hugging them silently as they wept. Duusu wept silently for a while before flying out of her hands, in front of her with a smile.

“S... So mistress! What else do you need to know?” She could see the underlying fear on their face. They both know the question she had to ask. 

“I'm fairly sure you know already, Duusu.”

Duusu floated lower a bit before floating back up. Fake joy on their face, exaggerated by their out of whack emotions. “The... The main transformation call is ‘Duusu, let’s fan out!’ and to transform back is ‘Time to fan in, Duusu’...”

Marinette paused before asking her new question. “Main transformation?”

Duusu looked more pained as they revealed the next thing.
“All miraculi have two settings. A normal, heroic form and then the villainous. It's a required thing for balance, seeing as if there was only Good we’d never have Evil. The.. The ‘Evil’ transformation words are 'Duusu, Spread my feathers’ and ‘Duusu, Fall my feathers’..”


Marinette was silent for a bit before offering her hand to Duusu, who gladly took it to sit on as she brought them to her desk. “Okay.”
Duusu looked very surprised, almost relieved. “Okay..? You’re not gonna..?!” Marinette smiled, strained but smiled.

“No, I don’t plan on transforming. I’m tired of being a heroine for now. I will transform if I have no choice.. Or if I can or have to get Tikki back, okay?”  Duusu looked at her, thinking before nodding with a smile. A real, big smile. “OKAY!”

Marinette felt like she was taking care of a child, but oddly she didn’t feel forced. Not as she began working on homework with little inputs from Duusu, who began exploring her room again.

Duusu felt like her child. Instead of her being Tikki’s child. But because of that, she wanted to help Duusu. So, she looked at the old book on her desk and brought it over to her. Opening the first page showed ancient Chinese mixed with modern.

Marinette tsked a bit. She thought it over a bit, before she remembered something her mom brought up a long time ago, when she was 13. “MAMAN!” Marinette called, Causing Duusu to freak out and fly right into her. Marinette gently pet them again, before placing them in the little cubby Tikki used to use when hiding from her mom

Sabine came up the trap door a few minutes later, confused but interested. “Yes, Marinette?” Marinette smiled, motioning for her to come up.
“I... Remember those Chinese lessons you offered a while ago. Is that offer still-” Marinette was cut off by Sabine hugging her, giddy and excited.

“Of course! I was waiting for the day you asked to learn!” 
Marinette felt slightly guilty, but happy nonetheless. “Okay. Can we begin tomorrow?”

Sabine pulled away, a bit shocked but smiled. “Of course. Modern Chinese?”
Marinette paused, nodding before adding on “And Ancient.”

Sabine raised an eyebrow before brushing it away. “Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow, then.” before leaving her room. Marinette waited a second before allowing Duusu out of their hiding spot.

Duusu looked at Marinette with fascination. They had been passed around a lot of people before Marinette. All of them were some sort of emotional manipulators to Duusu, or the people around them. Yet, they saw Marinette actively go to translate the grimoire. They asked questions they could choose not to answer - they hadn’t even been forced this time to answer her questions.

Duusu could feel the emotions of the girl in front of them. She was sad, desperate. Duusu was more of a “fill the spot” right now. Yet, the look on Marinette's face spoke otherwise. They weren’t a filler for the spot Miss Tikki had left. They were forming a new spot in Marinette’s heart without Marinette even knowing it.

Duusu felt something grow inside of them. Hope.
Hope that they’d be used for good. For hope of being helped.

Duusu hadn’t felt hope in a while.

Chapter Text

Chapter 6
School of lies

Marinette loved Duusu, truly she did. The little kwami brightened her days so much. Even if their sporadic emotions caused by their broken miraculous scared her sometimes. 
But because of their sudden change of emotions often, it was becoming increasingly difficult to bring them to school. Not with all the bullying going on, anyways.

Marinette was scrolling through her phone, trying to figure stuff out about the Grimoire that she found with Duusu’s miraculous. Alongside trying to find information about these ‘guardians’ that Duusu keeps talking about.

Marinette heard the footsteps before they even got close to her, quickly shoving her phone away and walking faster. She swore, if it was Jeralt trying to come for her again she's going to SCREAM.

Lucky for her, it wasn’t Jeralt! Unfortunately for her, it was Lila.
Marinette sighed internally, readying herself for the eventual trip or shove she’d experience from the people trailing off Lila like leeches.

As Lila and her group passed she could hear the whispers, talking about her. Calling her all sorts of names. “Thief”, “worm”, “Working for-”... Lila seems to be upping her game with some of the rumours about her it looks like.

Scarily, Marinette managed to get past the group without being shoved or pushed. Even getting to class without disruption… Or well, Disruption from outside. It scared her because it meant something worse would happen during the coming week or school day.

Alya looked over to Marinette who entered the classroom, still with that shock she's had for a few weeks. “Girl. Early again? Who are you?! What have you plant people done to my girl!” Marinette snickered at the joke, rolling her eyes as she went to sit with Alya for the morning.

“Is it such a crime that I have a better sleep schedule now?” 

Alya glared at Marinette, causing her to shrink a bit. “Really? Do I need to mention how Adrien literally had to lull you to sleep the other day?” 
Marinette paused before blushing quite red, covering her face and leaning into her desk with a soft whine. “Don’t remind me..”
Alya laughed, rubbing her back as Adrien walked in, seeing Marinette there and getting an annoyed look as he walked up.

“Have you not-” Marinette sat right up, laughing a bit while smiling at Adrien.
“I'm awake! I'm awake! I was just putting my head into the desk, Don’t worry Adrien!” Marinette sheepishly giggled, scratching her cheek a bit before she remembered something important.

“OH! That's right. I have something for you.” Nino’s attention was grabbed as Adrien sat next to him, the three friends around Marinette looking at her as she brought out a small box.
Alya oohed a bit, while Nino raised an eyebrow as Adrien took the box. “As a thanks for inviting me to the party.”
 
Adrien looked between her and the box before leaning over the desk and hugging her the best he could. 
“Thanks! I can’t wait to see what it is. I’m sure I’ll love it!!” he said with unrivaled glee she’d never seen before.

Marinette’s heart fluttered, causing her to squeal a bit before Adrien let go. Marinette returned to her seat, feeling her face flush up with red as her heart kept beating faster. That trance however was broken as Duusu tried coming out of her purse, which she stopped immediately by holding it shut.

Marinette smiled softly, giving Duusu some pets from outside the bag. She really needed to figure out a way for Duusu to understand they can't come out during school. Maybe telling them the honest truth that they’d be taken away from her...? She wasn’t sure. She’ll figure it out later.

The door suddenly opened, and Lila walked in, with half the group of this morning. That group being the remaining half of the class that wasn't here already. Kim, Rose, Juleka, Mylene, Alix and Sabrina.

Marinette strained a smile “Looks like class is starting, I’ll see you guys at lunch.” she got up from her chair, waving to the 3 as she went to the back.

It wasn’t her friend's fault that the seating chart ended up like this. At all. The school ended up like this because of Lila.
Lila’s ability for lying was impressive, even if the lies began small and easily unproven.

No. The lies became more solid. They had a fabric of truth to each lie. Besides the ones against her, but even with the most out there lies, easily proven by a google search. No one seemed inclined to look.
It was like something was telling them not to, against their better judgement.
Like you were listening to a sweet song, one that went against your music preference yet you couldn’t tune out...

She was lucky she managed to convince Alya and Nino that she was lying. She was trying with the others in class but those never ended well.. She wasn’t sure if Chloé knew she was lying either. She didn’t seem to believe the lies but this was Chloé .

Marinette set up her tablet for school as Bustier walked in just after the bell rang.
She felt Duusu gently push from her purse, and allowed them to come out on their lap since they were in the back, away from prying eyes.

But unlike Duusu, Marinette wasn’t safe from the eyes that stared at her from the front of the class. From the people just in front of her.
The soft whispers just barely heard underneath Bustier’s lesson crawled on her skin no matter how much she tried ignoring them.

Calling her the liar. A faker. A bully, an abuser. A gold digger. A thief. A criminal. A snake. All fun things along those lines.
Lies based on small truths. The criminal and thief accusations came from Lila spying on her and seeing her sneak out at night.
It was a damn good lie. Because she couldn’t deny she went out at night.

Because she had to be Ladybug, back then.

Marinette shook the thought and memories out of her head. She couldn’t cry in class, too much ammunition for Lila to pull and pry from. More rumors.
More lies, rinse and repeat. She doesn’t want to have more friendships outside of school only. Like she’s had to do with Adrien because of these rumors. She just wanted to keep her friends… For them to not leave her again! She got so lucky she just needs to-

Duusu pushed on Marinette’s hand, snapping her out of her spiral with a worried look. Marinette gently grabbed their paw between her thumb and index finger before gently rubbing it. Duusu was right. She needs to pay attention. Can’t let herself spiral now. Not in front of so many people.

Bustier’s words became background noise to Marinette’s more controlled thoughts. Most of those thoughts related to getting Tikki back, but Marinette had new things to deal with. Like Duusu.

She’d have to learn how to help this little emotionally unstable bird. Duusu reminded her of a child still learning their emotions sometimes. So maybe those emotion explaining mechanisms they use for them will work on Duusu?

Marinette’s thoughts wandered about that until - “MARINETTE!” She flinched hearing her teacher call out, quickly looking up and at Bustier.

“Y.. yes Mlle. Bustier?” she could see the math problems on the black board but frankly she was having a hard time following it.
They all looked like meaningless numbers to her. Even if she could read the equations 
“Pay attention to class! Remember this is stuff you’ll need in the future, okay? Don’t wander off too much!”

Marinette felt the blush on her cheeks as she nodded, mumbling a soft,  “Okay.”
before class began again. Marinette was suddenly acutely aware of Lila’s soft laughter and whispers, along with the laughter of a few other classmates.

She checked the time as her hands shook. Only 11 AM. One more hour to go till lunch. ‘You can endure Marinette.. You always have.’
a soft voice sounding like Tikki’s said quietly...

Time felt slow as she waited for the lunch bell to ring.
So she could go home. Be safe. She could hear Lila whispering to a classmate.
Something about her sucking up to someone outside of school to keep her grades up.

Gross. But it's not like she could disprove it as explaining she had tutors outside of class sometimes didn’t make her anxiety feel nice.

She was forcing herself not to spiral as the lunch bell rang. Effectively breaking her thoughts and causing her to rush to clean up and get out the door.

She was tripped on the last step by Alix who barely looked apologetic. Marinette expected it but just smiled and got up, getting out of school and home.

She still couldn’t blame her friends for believing Lila. It felt so convincing just to listen to her until she lied about being Ladybug’s friend... It was weird. Even if she knew the truth it's like her mind didn’t want to admit it. To believe the pretty lies.

It doesn't matter now. She’ll help her friends soon enough but... Now she just wanted to eat in peace in her room. Where she could ignore the world, even if it was just for a few minutes.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,6.


Marinette had escaped to the confines of her room, letting Duusu roam around and play with the dolls of Akumas she had. She smiled watching Duusu before turning her attention to her computer screen.

She typed in ‘Emotion communication mechanisms' on the search bar, but barely got anything of what she wanted.
So she looked for people's experience. She found a lot of people talking about poking, holding and even tapping.
One person talked about pressure and such. ‘Maybe I should use these on myself’ she thought with a smile before turning to Duusu.

She snickered a bit, watching Duusu play pretend kingdom with the akuma dolls. Chat Doll and LadyDoll were next to Duusu’s makeshift throne.
She wished she could take a photo but Kwami didn't show up on phones.

“Duusu! I wanna talk.” Duusu’s attention immediately went to Marinette once she called for them, zipping right over with a smile. “Mistress!” A frown went to Marinette face with the formalities, but it was an issue she’d fix later

“When we get back to school I wanna try something.” Marinette gestured vaguely to the school just north east as she spoke.
Duusu’s curiosity spiked. The cutest curious expression on their face “What is it, Mistress?”

Marinette stopped a moment to phrase it correctly before speaking. “During school I know you hate it when you can't come out to stop the stress I experience so I’ve come up with something you can do to convey your emotions silently. This’ll go for any time you can't come out of my purse.”

Duusu looked annoyed. “I.. I get it but..!” Marinette smiled softly, lending a hand out to Duusu for them to sit on.

 “This isn’t me telling you that you were bad. This is to help with communication.” Duusu pouted a bit before nodding and listening.

“Good. Okay, when you need to convey your feelings you will poke me. An annoying poke you’d do to a sibling.” Duusu blinked before opening their mouth only to be cut off “Poke me between 1 to 6 times. Each number has an emotion dedicated to it.”

Marinette pulled up a word document on her computer, allowing Duusu to look.

“1 will be SUPER happy or excited. Like how you’ll feel when your miraculous gets fixed!” Duusu nodded, already showing signs of that excitement.

“2 will be when you're just happy. Like when I give you a sweet treat after school.” Duusu looked curious before nodding. Their tail already slowly coming up as they realized the implications.

“3 will be a meh feeling. Like when you feel sick but also perfectly healthy at the same time.” No reaction from Duusu. The only difference was their tail going back to its neutral position. Must be their default feeling...

“4 will be uncomfortable. Like when you explained your transformation calls to me.” Duusu looked like they wanted to cry a bit but nodded.

“5 will be when you're so angry you could light a candle or person on fire.” Duusu’s tail feathers ruffled a bit. No doubt thinking about the bullying.

“6 will be when you're so sad it feels like you could cry enough to flood the earth.” Duusu nodded slowly. Processing the information given to them.

“And our super secret number, 7, will be for when you need me to run away from whatever interaction I'm in. Even if it's just because you’re uncomfortable or you sense malicious emotions towards us.” Duusu looked surprised before nodding.

“Okay.. I.. I think I get it! I'm sorry if I-” Marinette covered their mouth with her finger.

 “No. No apologizing, we’re testing this out. It's okay to make mistakes, Duusu!”

Duusu looked up in wonder and smiled. A real big smile before hugging her finger. “Okay! Okay!” Marinette felt proud. Proud of the little peafowl in front of them being able to smile so true that she knew it’d hurt later.

“I’ll do the same to you if I can't express my emotions to anyone else. I know the broken miraculous is causing you to not... function correctly in crude terms, but I think even after we fix it we should continue this.”

Duusu smiled brighter, nodding quickly. Marinette couldn’t help but wish to grab her phone to photograph it but she knew Duusu wouldn’t show up on it..

The cruelties of life.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8
Learning

The silence of Marinette’s room was broken as she entered from the trap door, exhausted and annoyed.

Marinette sighed, dropping her school bag onto the floor. The school day had finally finished without much of a hitch… Besides the fact she was soaking wet. Jeralt hadn’t been absent that day after all.

Duusu flew out of her bag as she began changing into dry clothing, looking visibly angry.
“Those.. Those jerks! What did you ever do to them!?” Their tail feathers fanned out behind them in anger, before they fell down and Duusu began crying.

“Why are they being so mean to you, Mistress..!? You’re nothing but kind and warm to them...!” Duusu flew into Marinette’s chest just as she pulled her shirt on, crying into it.

Marinette smiled quietly, petting their head. She knew the feeling, she experienced it when the bullying began.
“Because to them I'm an easy target. Technically, I am. With all of the rumor's going around about me... Fighting back would only add a kindle to the pyre.”

Duusu flew away from Marinette’s chest, nodding softly before quietly flying up to her bed.
Marinette felt bad, but she knew there’d be nothing she could do to fight back without becoming more of a villain.
She was glad to have Alya, Adrien and even Nino. Even if she couldn’t have the bonding time during school anymore.

She’d live. She’s survived so far. One day it’ll all fall apart and she’ll be forgiven. One day she’d get Tikki back...

Marinette shook her head, deciding to do something productive instead of wallowing in self pity. The first thing that caught her eye was the grimoire. She hesitated, for a moment. Her Chinese wasn’t the best yet, nor had she begun the ancient Chinese work.

But... Maybe she could give it a shot?

So she finished changing into dry clothing, A simple pink tank top with grey sweatpants with her hair down. Walked to the sink in her room and dried her hands off before walking to grab the grimoire.

With the miraculous pinned to her tank top, she could feel the magic radiating off of it. It was a curious feeling that sparked a thought and question.
“Hey Duusu?” It took a few seconds for Duusu to float down to Marinette, instantly interested after seeing the Grimoire.
“I have a question. It's about the miraculous.” Duusu gave a face at Marinette’s request, fidgeting a bit with their tail.

“I'm… Sad to say mistress, but I cannot give full details. The.. The Order of Guardians placed a spell on us kwami’s to prevent us from knowing the miraculi’s secrets despite it… Well, being our connection to your mortal plane.”

That sparked Marinette’s curiosity even more.

“Mortal plane? Order of the Guardians?” Duusu smiled a bit, warming up. “Us Kwami’s are what you’d assign the title of Gods. but we aren’t like Gods, more living embodiments of our concepts, and like what you’d expect us Kwami’s do technically have a non-physical plane we can gather in.. but..” Duusu fell silent for a few seconds, crying.

“Our miracle box is vastly different compared to the other Kwami’s. Ours was created with the intention of us becoming.. Servants to those creating it. Atlantis, you call the city now? Plagg and Tikki took care of their punishment for how our miraculi got created, but because of this.. We cannot leave our miraculi, so to say.”

Duusu paused, grabbing a paper and pen. “Think of the universe as one giant water blob.”
They began drawing a big circle, bigger than their whole body.
“You know the water has multiple layers put together but is constantly mixing. So you have the mortal plane, the biggest layer. Imagine its cold water within the blob, and our Home is hot water.”

Marinette nodded, following along. “So the two are constantly passing by each other and mixing sometimes..” Duusu smiled, nodding while drawing two circles, labelling them accordingly.

“The miraculi are meant to be a gateway for us to travel between both worlds.” Duusu drew as they spoke, doing a crude drawing of the peafowl pin with a line pointing back and forth circling it.

“Normal Miraculi and Miracle boxes have the Kwami’s summoned when the holder gets the miraculous. That Kwami can reject the holder if their wishes or desires conflict with the summoned Kwami and aren’t forced to let them transform or use their powers.” Marinette could see where this was going, and she didn’t like it. She didn’t like it one bit.

Duusu let out a few angry tears before continuing.
“Our miraculi.. Have summoned us, and never let us go.” Duusu began crying more yet continued to explain. “Luckily and unluckily it was only our miraculi that were formed with the intention of making us serve them, only them… To give our boon only to the kingdom, only their kingdom… We can’t go home… I’ve tried… I haven’t seen my friends in so long...” Duusu fell silent as tears fell from their giant eyes.

Marinette nodded quietly, holding a hand out for Duusu to sit on as she took in the information. It was a lot to handle, and frankly she wanted to go back in time to punch whoever did this to them.

“You’re basically slaves to the miraculous holder..” Marinette whispered gently, as everything processed in her mind. It horrified her. To think that people from previous times would hurt these kwami’s just for their own gain… But then she thought of Lila, of Hawkmoth and that feeling of horror was quickly replaced with anger.  The small nod from Duusu was no help to that anger.

But Marinette couldn’t be angry for too long. Not with the threat of Hawkmoth. So she breathed in and held it.
Held it long enough until her body forced her to take a breath.
The shuddering breath that came out of her released the tension she felt, even if it was rigged and her lungs felt like they were burning.

The anger simmered down to a low rumble, enough for her to not be akumatized by it. She could almost hear Tikki yelling at her for that, but Duusu remained quiet. Just gently holding her thumb like they were the only thing keeping her alive.
“I’m okay.” she spoke softly. It was a truth in the moment, enough for the two to calm down enough.

Duusu smiled up at her, releasing her thumb and sitting on the grimoire.
“Your next question is about the Order of the Guardians, right?” Marinette nodded, taking the pen and paper that Duusu was using and flipped it over, getting ready to take notes. Missing the scared look Duusu held for a second before smiling once more.

Duusu put a paw under their head for a second, thinking before speaking. “The Order of the Guardians are those who guard the miraculous. Ours more closely than others for reasons I mentioned before.” Marinette nodded as Duusu spoke, writing everything she learned and was learning down.

“The guardians are… Cold but not cruel. They would never hurt us, but that didn’t mean they were nice to us. Our miracle box is the only box that has that knowledge limiting spell on. Due to how ours functions.” Marinette looked up, about to ask but let Duusu continue. The pause that Duusu created was filled by the furious writing Marinette was doing.

“The guardians were worried an ‘evil’ holder would take us and try to force us to reveal every secret of us, of the Guardians or the identities of the other holders. So on and so forth. Like even if I knew Harlequin’s true name, I wouldn't be able to tell you. But I DO know Chat’s name!” Marinette paled as she looked up at the kwami.

“Chats real name is-”
Marinette freaked out, dropping the pen and reaching for duusu.
“NO NO NO NO-” Duusu made an attempt to say a vowel but all that came out were bubbles.

“... What?”
was all Marinette could say as she watched the bubbles come out and pop. Duusu coughed a bit, more bubbles coming out before they spoke again.
“That happens if we try to tell you. Of course, the rules change once you learn who he or they are by yourself.. But you get the picture.”

Marinette hesitated, before nodding. Writing it down slowly. “Can you tell me your powers..?” Duusu paused before nodding. “Usually, we can. But we’re only permitted one to begin with. When you eventually transform, I'll give you it.”

Marinette looked away, she felt bad. But they both knew it’d be an eventuality.

“Duusu?” Marinette looked back at Duusu, curiously. “There's a guardian in Paris… Why don’t we go to them? To get you fixed?”
Duusu thought for a second before shaking their head.

“There is one in Paris, seeing as you and Chat noir got your miraculous but… I don’t think it’d be the wisest idea. My miraculous has been used for evil for a long time. I've only ever had hero owners when the guardians got a hold of me but they never stayed heroes long. So I fear the guardian here would assume you to follow the same path as the previous.”
Marinette groaned, but nodded. It was aggravating to hear that but it was reasonable. Reputation of previous holders would follow her as well until she proved herself different.

But a thought popped into her head, confusing her.
“Why are you telling me this? Tikki said she wasn’t allowed to.” Marinette said quietly, finally feeling her age as a confused child put into something they had no control over.

“... Tikki follows the rules closely, like a few others. But there's kwami like me and Plagg who don’t follow them as closely. The only reason Plagg hasn’t told his owner of the Guardian must be because he doesn’t deem them worthy of knowing yet.”
Marinette felt bad. “But why me?”

Duusu didn’t answer, just smiled. Marinette shook her head, assuming it had something to do with the broken miraculous fogging their judgement and thoughts.

“I think i’ve learned enough for tonight.” She looked at the time, seeing it to be 9:30 PM.
“I'm gonna go to bed, Goodnight Duusu.”

Marinette smiled, crawling up into bed and missing the expressionless face Duusu stared at her with.

Good night, Mistress.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9
Late night conversations

The night was quiet, only disrupted by the chirping of crickets, the low hum of electronics working and the soft snores of a lone girl in bed, with a blue peafowl ‘sleeping’ next to her, on the face of a tiger plush.

Duusu rose from their sleeping spot on the tiger plush next to Marinette’s head. Their emotionless gaze landed on Marinette for a brief moment of hesitation before phasing out of the wall, flying towards a certain mansion with a black cat and his kitten sleeping within.


Now, Plagg was used to Tikki coming to meet him to rant about her chosen’s school life, Plagg had to agree it's gone to pure hell, with the descendant of that Fox in the class. So normally, he’d expect to feel Tikki’s energy this late at night.

He, however, did not expect to feel the Concept of Emotion approaching. It scared the poor old kwami wide awake, seeing the blue peafowl kwami floating outside of the window, waiting for permission to enter.

Plagg flew from Adrien’s hands, adrenaline managing to run through his small body as he flew up to meet Duusu’s gaze. Flinching seeing the empty, lifeless look. He’d had it all the same in the past when he had his miraculous broken as well.

“Duusu…” Plagg spoke softly, before waving them inside.
“Get in, would you?!” Duusu nodded, phasing through the window to float next to Plagg.

“Plagg, originator of destruction and-” Duusu was cut off by a wide eyed Plagg shoving his paws over their mouth. “SHH!”
Plagg pointed to the sleeping Adrien, who groaned a bit in bed and rolled over. Duusu rolled their eyes a bit, not seeing the point of the secrecy. He was Plagg’s kit, after all.

Plagg gripped Duusu’s paw, dragging them outside of the house, just a few feet away from Adrien’s room. Not wanting their conversation to be heard by Adrien if this is how it was going to go.
“What are you doing here!? You’ve been gone for centuries!” Plagg basically shrieked, barely getting a reaction from Duusu. Duusu already knew that information.

“I’ve been found by a lovely girl. Your old Ladybug.” Plagg’s eyes widened a bit as Duusu spoke. Duusu couldn’t tell if it was from joy or shock. “I knew your chosen from school, you must really hide your presence better. What if that Hawkmoth character found you? Besides the point. I came seeking you to see the Guardian. I know there’s one here, I’d have to be stupid not to.” Duusu finished, staring Plagg in the eyes as he looked away, sheepish.

But Duusu’s gaze bore into him, not giving him time to be embarrassed.
The two floated there for a while, Plagg thinking to himself before letting out a groan. “Ugh, Fine! Follow me.” Plagg flew off, Duusu hot on his trail.

The two flew in silence for a while, Plagg questioning why Fate led him this way, and Duusu trying desperately to not replay the ends of their previous owners in their mind. The silence of the journey stretched on for what felt like hours in Duusu’s opinion.

Plagg stopped after what felt like forever in front of a massage parlor. Duusu must’ve looked visibly confused as Plagg clarified.
“Guardian Fu took up residency as a massage therapist to keep unwanted eyes away from him and our miracle box. You remember what happened last time they fell upon us.”

Duusu shivered, holding themselves with their tiny paws as they remembered when their miraculous got lost and broken…
“I’m so sorry… If i knew i would’ve… I would’ve…!” Duusu began crying, Plagg looking at them with a sadness he hadn’t felt for a while as he grabbed their paw with his.

“Come on. The past is the past, Pigtails is with you now. Not Madame. She’s been long dead, my Cat made sure of it. I’m sorry for what they had to do, even if it was by accident however.” Duusu nodded, furiously rubbing the tears from their face. They’d already long forgiven Noir. It wasn’t her fault that she accidentally hit their miraculous during the fight. Plagg breathed slowly in relief, holding their paw as he brought them inside the parlor.

“Guardian Fu?” Plagg called out, receiving silence. Plagg groaned, dragging Duusu farther into the parlor. To the massage room, seeing the miracle box. Duusu thought it looked odd, as a gramophone atop a dresser. What's with all the mirrors and this mattress looking thing on the floor?

“Wayzz! Wayzz, wake up!” Plagg called again, receiving no response from the kwami he wanted. However, he was greeted by Pollen flying out of the gramophone miracle box, yawning.

“Ah, Plagg! It’s you, what a pleasure to…” Pollen led off her sentence, as she locked eyes with Duusu. There was a seconds pause as Pollen and Duusu locked eyes before Pollen zipped off.

“GUARDIAN FU! GUARDIAN FU! WAKE UP!” Pollen yelled in the other room. A thud came as the resident old man, Fu, groaned after falling from his bed. Wayzz had a similarly angry feeling as he floated up after being so rudely woken up.


“Pollen, this had better be good…” Wayzz said, rubbing his tiny paws into his eyes to wake up better. It was midnight, maybe later. Wayzz wanted to be peacefully asleep till dawn, and so did Fu.

“IT'S DUUSU! THEY’RE HERE!” It took Wayzz a few seconds to have the sentence register in his mind, but when it did Wayzz was suddenly awake, and so was Fu. The two bonded looked to each other as they sprinted and flew out to the miracle box, seeing Duusu hiding behind Plagg. Duusu was worried, scared even. What if they wanted to take them from Marinette? What if they thought Marinette would be a Madame 2.0?

Wayzz flew right into the miracle box as Fu grabbed a few grapes for Duusu and cheese for Plagg. Coming back with the food and a small table for them to sit on, placing both down.
Plagg went down to the cheese on the table, eating it slowly.
Duusu wasn’t as eager to go down, but flew down to the grapes soon enough. Eating them quickly before Wayzz and the other kwami flew out. Duusu was scared, because they knew who Wayzz was getting.

Duusu didn’t want him to see them like this.

Trixx followed Wayzz out, frantically looking around before he saw Duusu and screamed quietly, rushing at them and knocking them both off the table onto the floor.

Trixx held Duusu tightly, crying as he held them.
“Duusu! You’re here, you’re alive!” Trixx sobbed into Duusu’s shoulder, holding them tighter as if he let them go, they’d vanish into thin air.
Duusu went through many emotions at once, speaking gibberish as they ranged from happy, sad, anxious and guilty.

Plagg looked at Trixx with a somber look, knowing the feeling he was feeling all too well… “... Guardian.” Fu looked to Plagg, who had floated up to meet his eye level.

“Obviously, Duusu has been found. I know who found them, so I'll tell you without saying her name due to the rules and such. Pigtails found Duusu and I have a bad feeling about where she found them. Because I'm pretty sure my kit and I found their miraculous but Duusu was so far into slumber I couldn’t detect them.”

Fu listened quietly to Plagg, getting the implications and looking worried. 

“Should we send out more miraculous? I wish we shouldn’t but if it is a must…” Plagg shook his head. Both knew it’d be a horrible idea with Harlequin around. Who knows what she’d do?

“Before we do, we need to monitor Harlequin more. But if we have to, at most I'd say the fox, Let Trixx and Duusu’s heroes work together. But my problem is I have no idea who’d balance Trixx out, or even their powers.” said Wayzz while watching Trixx and Duusu. The kwami’s and Guardian looked stumped before Duusu flew up, Trixx still holding onto to them and refused to let go.

“I have an idea! She's a girl in my Mistress' class!”
Trixx whined, mumbling something incoherent but Fu had all his attention on Duusu.

“And who might this girl be?” questioned Wayzz, wanting more details before even thinking about releasing the fox miraculous. The last time they did, the holder helped Madame .
Duusu thought for a moment before swapping between sad and sheepish.
“I didn’t catch her name! I’m sorry…! But I do know she has a plaid orange jacket! And beautiful brown hair that fades to orange!” Duusu smiled wide at the end, buzzing with excitement about having their partner alongside them again.

Plagg thought for a moment, the description sounded familiar..
“Duusu, does this girl wear glasses and have a beauty mark above her left eyebrow?” Duusu thought for a moment, shifting between emotions before settling on sheepish “yes! She does! She's my mistress’ best friend according to her!”

Plagg sighed in relief, knowing exactly who Duusu was talking about. “Duusu would be right then, I know her. She's in pigtails class and has the confidence to be a fox, but not the secrecy. She’d improve greatly with Trixx’s teachings and would be the perfect balance to Trixx’s personality.”

Fu nodded, considering. While adding another miraculous to the fray to balance out Harlequin’s slow coming unbalance, it was too early. Too risky that Harlequin would try to take it.

Fu sighed, looking at Duusu.
“I have faith Ladybug will not become like your previous chosen, but.” Duusu flinched, locking eyes with Fu “Try to bring her here, along with anything that might relate to the guardians or kwami’s that she may have in her possession.”

Duusu floated there for a few, considering. They knew it was a good deal, they got to stay with Marinette… But they were scared. Scared to be taken away.
“So long as you don’t take me from her…”

Fu smiled, holding a grape for Duusu to hold.
“I’d never take you away from her when you're so happy.”

Duusu smiled, feeling safe around their family and guardian.
Maybe they could be healed, and they could finally be used for Good.

But they were still terrified.
What if history repeated itself?
What if Duusu couldn’t save Marinette either?

What if Marinette ended up like Madame … No.

What if Marinette ended up like Eliza too?

Chapter Text

Chapter 10
History

Marinette woke up from her alarm. The ringing and buzzing close to her ear annoyed her enough for her eyes to open, being blinded by the sun shining in from her trap door above her.

“Is it 7 already..? Sleep schedules suck..” she muttered, raising her hands to her face and squishing it with a groan. But eventually, she sat up, throwing the blankets off of herself. She looked to where Duusu would sleep, only to not see them there.

The first few seconds of seeing that didn’t register in her mind, but then the panic kicked in, whipping her head to look around the room before remembering the miraculous.

A panicked touch to her chest and feeling the miraculous still there calmed her, but she was left confused. Seeing as Duusu wasn’t anywhere visible in her room, they’ve obviously left. But assuming from the fact Duusu didn’t tell her they were leaving, Marinette didn’t want to bug them about it. Not yet. It’s not her business yet.

She shook her head, no point in worrying about it now. Climbing down from her bed, she walked to her dresser. Eyeing up her normal outfit, but deciding for something different. Grabbing a preplanned outfit, she put it on.

Looking at herself in her mirror she smiled, liking the reflection.
She wore a pink short sweater with a darker blue skirt and a black pair of shorts beneath said skirt. Grabbing some blue boots that only reached her ankles and a pale blue scarf finished the look.

She put her hair up in its normal two pigtails. She felt cute, making a mental note to do more outfits like these. “That’s enough waiting around.” She breathed out, before opening her trap door and climbing downstairs.

“Good morning, Marinette!” Sabine said, cooking breakfast still. It’d become normal for Marinette to get up early, for them to spend mornings together.

“Good morning Maman!” Marinette smiled, going to the coffee maker only to see a fresh cup already made. With a smile on her face she picked it up and brought it to her mouth.
“Thank youuuu” She mumbled while taking a sip. Sabine just giggled, looking back to the finished pancakes.

Marinette went to the table, seeing her dad come up from the bakery. He must’ve just finished prepping the bakery for when it opens.
“Good morning Marinette!” Tom smiled brightly as normal, rushing to hug Marinette in a bone crushing hug. She unfortunately didn’t escape the hug, but managed to place her coffee down in time.

“Morning papa!” Marinette’s voice was muffled but hearable, managing to hug him back despite how large he was compared to her small body. Tom released her, allowing her to sit down while he took the seat next to her.

“I’m glad to see you’re awake! But is school getting any better?” It was a common question in the mornings. The question didn’t bother Marinette anymore but it still made her pause. She was tempted to lie, but knew that her parents would see right through her. They always did. Just like she could see through them whenever they lied.

“... No, but I'm managing. I’m still not interested in transferring away before you say anything! I… I can reach them. This isn’t their fault. None of it is their fault. It never was.” 
Sabine came in with breakfast as Marinette spoke, looking at Tom with a bit of concern shared between the two but didn’t push Marinette.

She was happy, that's all that mattered to them.
Sabine forced a smile, placing the plate of food down in the center of the table before taking a seat as well.
“I believe you, Marinette. If you say you have this under control, we’ll support you every step of the way.”

Marinette gave a quiet smile and nodded. With food in front of her, she reached for it and put some on her plate.
“Thank you, Maman. That’s all that matters to me now.”

The thought to check the time passed her mind, as she checked her phone. 7:50 AM, Tuesday.
Marinette ate quickly after checking the time. Nearly time for school and she didn’t want to be late. She’s avoided the rumours that resulted in her being late, she doesn’t want them to return again.

Gently kissing both her parents on the cheek, she rushed out of the house and out of the bakery. She was so grateful that Françoise Dupont was so close to home.

Running across the sidewalk and streets, she skipped one, two, and three steps up and walked into Françoise Dupont. It wasn’t the happiest place for her to be, but she has a duty and that's to learn!
Keep fooling yourself. It’ll-

Marinette shut the tiny voice in her head up before it could continue. She didn't want to hear its rambles and it’s anger. Not now. She wasn’t in the mood. The whispers she heard from other people as she walked up the stairs to her class were enough to drive her nuts.

Look at her! What an expensive outfit..” a girl spoke quietly, but not quietly enough. “You know what I heard?”
“Oooh! What, what?!” Marinette twitched, and walked faster. She knew it wouldn’t help because they always purposefully followed her to try and get under her skin. They always did.

“I heard that she blackmails people to get her all of that expensive clothing and items she has. That she’ll force people against their will to do something just for the fun of it.” The two girls kept talking and giggling.

She hated the talking. She hated the whispers. The whispers kept coming, only stopping once she rushed inside the classroom and shut the door behind her with a loud THUD. She was the first one there besides Bustier, but even Marinette’s early arrivals had become normal by this time.

“Good morning, Marinette!” Bustier smiled at her, it was a smile full of pity but Marinette was happy for it anyways.

“Good morning, Mlle. Bustier.” Marinette hurried to her seat, placing out a notebook and her tablet for the day. It’d be a long one, but she’d be creative during it!


Even if she was in the middle of an art block right now.

Marinette shook her head, No point worrying about that now. She pulled her phone out. It was early hours of the day, at least for most people. It’d just turned 8 AM.
Classes start at 8:30. Marinette smiled, another day perfectly done.

Ever since she lost Tikki, she's found herself wanting to do things perfectly.

A perfect time schedule, a perfect dress, a perfect breakfast… So on and so forth. Sometimes it works in her favor, sometimes it doesn’t. The perfectionism is annoying but she's not gonna reject it since it isn’t hurting her now.

If she keeps telling herself that, she’ll believe it… Right?

Marinette scrolled through the internet for a bit, before something hitting on the table in front of her drew her from her phone. She looked up while moving her phone away, just to keep it safe.

Besides her was Chloé, she had her hair up in its normal ponytail and was in her normal outfit of the yellow jacket, white/black striped shirt and white jeans with white flats. But what concerned Marinette was more Chloé’s expression. A flat, concerned yet uncaring look.

“Here.” Chloé said, handing something to her.

“Take it and stop looking so stupid.” Chloé didn’t give Marinette enough time to take it before she dropped it on the table and went back to her seat by the window, 2 rows in front of her.


Marinette was confused, to say the least.

Chloé hadn’t talked to her since she went to the hospital. The rest of the class hadn’t either, but it only took them a week of her being in the hospital before they began talking again. It’s been at least 3 weeks and a few days, and yet this was the first time Chloé talked to her.

Despite herself, she smiled.

Marinette knew that Ladybug’s absence had been affecting everyone, but Chloé took it the worst because of the fact she looked up to Ladybug. She looked up to Marinette.
To be honest, she did kind of look up to how Chloé always spoke her mind and too leading seriously when she had to. Marinette supposes the thought that Chloé could lead and be head strong might’ve motivated her as Ladybug to be like that too.

Marinette looked at the box Chloé had put down. It was a gift from Chloé. Those are rare, although she might’ve been pressured to by Adrien. She felt conflicted but eventually, she opened it.

Inside was a gold necklace, with a red gemstone in the shape of a teardrop hanging from the chain . Marinette’s mouth opened into an o shape before she closed it. Chloé remembered those years ago. Marinette thought she’d forgotten that time. To be honest, Marinette nearly did forget.

When they used to be friends, when Chloé didn’t need to pretend to be a stuck up rich brat.Before Chloé’s personal life had gone to hell.  Marinette had nearly forgotten the birthday gift request she’d asked Chloé for just days before they were forced to be enemies.

Marinette felt something roll down her cheek. Touching up to feel it, she found it was a tear. So she wiped the tears away on her sweater sleeve. She quietly closed the box and put it in her bag.
It meant the world to her that Chloé remembered. Probably to Chloé as well.
And yet, she found herself more calm than a few days ago…

A few days ago when she didn’t have Duusu.

In her mind she was already planning outfits to revolve around the necklace gifted to her.
She’d noticed Chloé going back to her seat but found herself staring at Chloé.
Her mind wandered a bit, thinking about little things. But her mind eventually drifted to the miraculous, and how coincidental it was for Marinette to get it.

Maybe…
Maybe if Chloé got the miraculous instead of her, that she’d be able to grow as a person.
The thought was silly but realistic.
Marinette amused the thought of a bee miraculous, and how it’d fit Chloé almost perfectly.

Marinette forced herself to look away from Chloé, spotting Alya walking over to her with a smile.

“Sup girl! You’re up early again?? Man, I am jealous!”
Alya snickered, slipping into the seat next to her.
Marinette rolled her eyes, pushing Alya slightly.
Earning a playful smirk from the other girl.

“Yeah yeah, unlike you i have a proper sleep schedule now i get it.” Marinette stuck her tongue out, mocking Alya slightly in a playful way.
Alya rolled her eyes before moving closer to Marinette.

“Girl you won’t believe it! You remember that akuma… Uh… Pharaoh? Was he?? The one that tried to sacrifice me!”
Marinette looked confused, nodding.
How could she forget?
It's where she learned she wasn’t the first nor last Ladybug in existence.

So she nodded.
“Yeah, what about him? I thought you didn’t think there was anything important there when we looked. I heard a rumour that there was stuff related to Ladybug and Chat Noir but you said you weren’t interested.”
Alya smiled, bouncing in her seat, both girls unaware of Chloé eavesdropping on them a few rows ahead.

“Well get this! I thought about that akuma again and how Ladybug might still be lord knows how old! Same with Chat! But then Harlequin came in saying she was a recent understudy of Ladybug! Or something like that.”
Alya bounced her leg furiously, pulling her laptop out and pulling a news page up. She looked to the date, 1910.

“Uh, Alya this is a pretty old newspaper. It was released a few years before world war 1. Why would you even go digging for this??” Alya gripped her shoulders, shaking her back and forth.

“EXACTLY GIRL! I thought about how maybe there may be more miraculous out there since it's kind of odd there's only a ladybug, cat and I guess butterfly? Maybe it's a moth? But that's besides the point! What if there's more miraculous out there?? And this article supports that theory!”

Marinette pursed her lips, looking at the article without reading it. “Well… If you send me the article in dms i’ll read it. I assume you’ve told nino?~”
Marinette glanced at Alya with a playful smirk, snickering a bit to herself when she saw Alya go red and look away.

“Of.. Of course I haven't! You’re the first one I told! You’re my best friend girl! Even if I may be dating nino.
Marinette turned to Alya and just patted her on the head.
“Whatever you say, Alya.”
The even deeper shade of red Alya managed to go to made Marinette actually laugh a bit.

The door opened, catching both of their attention as Adrien and Nino walked in.
Marinette pulled her phone out and checked the time. 8:15 AM. perfectly on time as normal. Marinette put her phone away again as Adrien and Nino walked to the back of the class to just talk.

“Good morning dudes!” Nino shot finger guns at them as he sat in the row in front of them, Adrien taking the seat to the left of him and both turning around to face Alya and Marinette.
“Morning, Nino.” Marinette smiled at Nino, while Alya muttered a small hello.

“What’s gotten Alya so flustered?” Adrien leaned his head to the left, confused.
“Oh. I poked her about how she's dating Nino and totally came to me with the information she found out and that she totally didn’t spend the night at Nino’s house.”
Marinette was just bluffing, but from the shade of red Nino got and Alya hiding her face she knew she was dead on.
Those two were so easy to read.

“Dude, come on! No need to poke that. We’d obviously not do that.” Nino made a failure of an attempt to disagree which caused Alya to laugh slightly.
“Aw whatever, she caught us. It's not like we’ve made this secret, Nino.”

The group laughed together, Alya and Nino more embarrassed than the other two. Further up the rows sat Chloé, still helplessly alone.

Chloé listened to them quietly. Listening to them having fun, she knew they were smiling even without her turning to face them. She balled her hands into a fist, forcing herself not to cry.

Chloé had found herself learning the truth of this situation because of Adrien. He’d come to her one day, venting about everything that's been happening right in front of her but she never noticed. A day just before the news of Dupain-cheng being in the hospital came out. So Chloé made the whole bullying thing her business.

When Dupain-cheng got out of the hospital, Chloé decided to shadow her whenever she could. She knew Dupain-cheng never noticed her shadowing her, She’s not surprised or upset, but Chloé was more aggravated that no matter what she or Adrien did, nothing changed. Nothing seemed to get better for her.

No claims about the celebrities could be properly disproven without them showing up, but even then there’d be no point for them to do anything of the sorts because these lies Lila said weren’t slanderous. At worst Jagged could be of help because of that song thing, but that’d be too hard to prove. When all Lila could say was ‘I never said that!’ and everyone would believe her.

Chloé liked to think of herself as a good person, doing all of this for Dupain-cheng. After Ladybug left, Chloé’s world kind of fell in on itself. She thought Ladybug was invincible. She thought Ladybug would never disappear without reason. But with Ladybug gone she realized how human Ladybug was.

She cried the first few days Ladybug had left. But now she wanted to try and be the person who Ladybug could be proud of. The first step Chloé reasoned was protecting Dupain-cheng. That’s the way to make Ladybug proud of her.

With her position as the mayor's daughter, she found it way easier than she expected. 

Adrien even supported her doing it. She found trying to protect people was better than trying to be the empress. It made her feel happy being praised by Adrien for trying to help Dupain-cheng.
Adrien was her friend, and now he was trying to help her be a better person.
She’d forgotten what it was like to help people.

But she was frustrated. 

Frustrated that no matter her efforts it always seemed like she couldn’t protect Dupain-cheng. 

She learned that she hated that feeling. 

But she didn’t know what to call this feeling. Managed to make her even angrier about that.

Chloé looked back to the group, they were talking about… something. 

Chloé looked away, not wanting the feeling to go over and talk to them and ruin their joy. 

She was better off alone if what happened with Sabrina is anything to go by…

 

Marinette found herself gazing at Chloé for a second, before returning her gaze to Adrien. 

“Well… If it's an after school picnic you want Alya, I don’t think Père will let me. Even if I tried to sneak out, they’d just report back to Père.” Alya nodded, she expected that.

Marinette spoke up, not wanting to dwell on the unfortunate circumstances of Adrien.
“I can go tonight though. I have nothing to do so I could bake some food and bring the blanket.” Marinette smiled, fiddling with her thumbs.

“Girl. Marry me.” Alya grabbed Marinette’s hands, holding them up.
“Aren’t you dating Nino?” Marinette rolled her eyes, knowing where it was going.
“Nino doesn’t cook for me!”
Nino made a noise of offense.

“Fine! Then I'm marrying Adrien!” Silence hung in the air as both Alya and Nino stared each other down before they burst into laughter, pulling away from Adrien and Marinette who joined them in their laughter.

“Class is gonna begin soon, go back to your seats guys. I’ll be okay back here.” Marinette smiled softly, sadly even.

The other three paused, tempted to stay there but listened to their friend. Getting up with a small “Okay, see you after school”s.

Marinette watched them walk forward, looking down at her desk as she waited for the school day to start.
More and more classmates filing in for the day.

However the thump on the side of her thigh surprised her, nearly making her jump out of her skin before looking down and seeing Duusu.

She was going to ask Duusu where they went, but now wasn’t the best time as she saw her classmates all in class.
She looked down to Duusu who gave her a sheepish smile, but decided to wait until after school to ask them where they went.

She had to wait until after school anyways. Talking to Duusu during school is dangerous. She doesn’t want to lose Duusu..

She adjusted her scarf, feeling the miraculous hidden on the inside of it, just out of view. Her fingers brushed against it, it felt cold. The cold feeling travelled up her fingers until it engulfed her whole body, making her feel relaxed.

She spared a glance down to Duusu, who was sleeping in her bag and quietly closed it.

So no one could see them and so that they could sleep peacefully.


»»————- ✼ ————-««


The lunch bell rang, rising Marinette and her classmates from their work and rushing out the door.
Marinette stayed behind, letting them all get out first before coming down herself.
Alya waited by the door with a smile before grabbing Marinette’s hand and intertwined it with hers.
The gesture made Marinette smile and blush a bit, but it made her feel safe.

“Come on girl, Adrien said he wanted to take us out for lunch today. Man, if i didn’t know better i’d say we’d all be dating each other!” Alya laughed, pulling Marinette along by her hand.

“Hey, that sounds like fun. All of us, dating.” Marinette knew it was a possibility that’d never happen, but she found herself enjoying the thought and the life that could come of it.

Alya ruffled Marinette’s hair lightly. “Mhm Mhm whatever you say girl.” Alya walked Marinette out of Françoise Dupont

The girl’s walked in silence, still holding hands as Alya walked into a cafe not too far from the school.

Once inside she spotted Adrien and Nino in the far corner, away from sight. 

“Mari come on, let's go sit with the boys!” Alya pulled Marinette along to the corner, eyes set on Adrien.

Adrien noticed them when they got closer, breaking from his conversation with Nino and waved his hand. Nino mimicked the hand waving before taking his hat off and placing it on the table.
Alya walked up to the table, and placed Marinette down next to Adrien and herself. Unfortunately releasing Marinette’s hand.

“Hey guys! I'm glad you made it. Nothing went wrong?” Adrien fidgeted with the ring on his hand. Marinette put her hand out quickly and gently on his. 

She tried desperately to ignore the butterflies in her stomach as she did. “Y-Yeah! Everything went well! No one followed us, I think!”

Adrien’s worried smile bloomed into a happy one that melted Marinette’s heart. But a waiter showed up, forcing them to take their orders.

“A buttercream pancake for Marinette, a cinnamon roll with bacon for me, a cheese burger with lettuce for Nino and for Adrien, can we have some scrambled eggs with some hash browns?” Alya looked up from the menu, looking to the waiter who furiously wrote down the orders. They’d ordered out so many times Alya found it funny that she knew exactly what everyone would eat before they even picked up their menus.

The waiter nodded. “What for drinks?” Alya went quiet, allowing everyone to speak for themselves.
“Water, please.”

“Coke!”

“Uhm… Sprite?”
In order Adrien, Nino and Marinette called out their drink of choice before Alya gave hers. “Water for me too, please.”

The waiter nodded, finishing writing everything down and walked off to get said orders done. 

Marinette fidgeted a bit with the table cloth before feeling a hand being put on hers. 

Looking up she saw Nino holding her hand still, holding his headphones out with the other.

Marinette gladly took them. Slipping them on the soft music pouring through calmed her nerves.
“Thanks.” Nino nodded. Sitting back down properly in his seat. Marinette pulled one side of the headphones off her ears while leaving the other one on, seeing as all eyes were focused on Alya.

The soft ding in Nino’s headphones and Adrien’s phone told her to pull her phone out, seeing as Alya had sent a link to their group chat.

“Oh, Is this about that article you found, alys?” 

Nino said first, looking at Alya who nodded furiously. Her signature smile on her face.
Marinette felt happy seeing Alya so excited.
“Of course it is! Since we still have time for lunch, I want you guys to read it and give me your thoughts!”

Marinette looked down to her phone, putting the headphones on fully as she opened the really old article. It was all photos, mostly. But there was a transcript at the bottom.

 


1910 - The Peacock and Fox have disappeared.
It has been a few months since the Peacock’s feathers and Fox’s mist have appeared and we can all but assume that they have been destroyed. Thanks to the work of Noir and Iris-


Marinette didn’t read beyond that, already having an idea of what it was.
The sinking feeling in her stomach prevented her as well. The fact that an old peacock user and apparently a fox caused so much pain and suffering to where people wanted them destroyed terrified her.


Despite herself, she read further.

 

- the damages caused by the Peacock and Fox have been lessened, but not gone. Later in the week, we will hold a ceremony for those who lost their lives against the Peacock and Fox, now that their threat has been removed. While the raid performed on the Temple ended up being carried out with casualties, because of the raid they failed. ” 

…. Marinette felt sick.

 


Adrien looked up from his phone, confused. 

He was aware that there were more cat users before him, but hearing the fact there was a peacock and fox miraculous out there? 

Worried him a bit. 

Worried him a lot, actually. 

He knew he wasn’t the brightest in the magical world but he’d have to ask Plagg about this. He began fidgeting with his ring again, out of nervous habit. He could feel Plagg in his jacket’s pocket purr lightly. 

Adrien knew this would have to be a conversation for later. 

What would his Lady do in this situation?



Marinette nervously lifted her hand up to the peafowl pin in her scarf, skimming over the rest of the article and seeing how much harm the previous holder had done.

It scared her even more, reading about how many people were hurt by this. That by only the luck of the old Ladybug and the old Cat were they able to defeat these two.

Thought the tidbit about the guardians being attacked and a ruined temple caught her eye. Reminding her about the conversation with Duusu last night.


Adrien stopped reading midway through the third paragraph.

 The detailed reports about the slaughter and bloodshed was enough for him. 

The old cat, Noir, stayed on his mind. 

Whoever they were sounded like they had a lot more prep time before him and his lady. 

 

He was envious, but reading about the fact Noir lost their arm in the final battle made everything with Hawkmoth a lot more real.
More dangerous .

He realized he could’ve lost a limb, or worse. 

His life.

All of those arguments with Ladybug during patrol were put into perspective. 

Even if he didn’t want to admit that. Because admitting that meant it was real . He wasn’t ready to admit it to himself.



He didn’t have to for a little while longer as the food they ordered arrived.

 



A lot made sense, with this article in front of her. 

Why Duusu was so terrified of going to the guardians. 

Why Tikki always said “it won’t be as bad as last time”. 

Her thoughts were cut short as she heard muffled talking and looked up to see a plate being put in front of her by Alya.

 Marinette pulled the headphones off, passing them back to Nino who took them from her gently. 

She placed her phone down on the table, waiting for everyone to have their food in front of them before digging in herself. She still felt sick.

Her mind wandered, however. 

The conversation of Duusu’s past holders were put into context now and it scared her. It scared her because it reminded her of what was going on with Hawkmoth now.

She barely kept focus, even as they went back to school and class. Even as school ended and she went home. 

The feeling of being sick to her stomach stayed. No matter what she did. The thought that she could end up a villain horrified her. 

That she could end up like Hawkmoth and whoever this old peacock holder was. Even if she knew she’d never do it willingly.

She didn’t want to end up like Duusu’s old holders.


She wouldn’t end up like Duusu’s old holders. No. Matter. What.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11
Interviewer, Interviewee

The sun was setting, clouds rolling in threatening to rain.

However Marinette was sitting at the park just across from her home. All alone besides for a little kwami in her purse.

It was after school, nothing interesting had happened the rest of the day, but Marinette was waiting for Alya and Nino to arrive for the late night picnic they’d planned. The itching and scratching from mosquito bites would be worth it tomorrow!

Marinette opened her purse to smile down at Duusu and followed them with her eyes as they zipped up to meet her face.
“Mistress! What are we doing out so late?”

As Duusu spoke, she began placing the picnic blanket down. Along with her school bag, and basket of food she brought.
“Well, I'm having a late night picnic with my friends. I don’t know why Alya wanted to have one, but here we are!” Marinette giggled a bit, booping Duusu's nose.

“And while we have the time, why don’t you tell me where you went last night?” Marinette pulled her phone out, setting up a flashlight as the blue sky slowly turned a lovely shade of orange.
“Well… I… Uhm…” Duusu stuttered, they hadn’t thought Marinette noticed them leaving. Duusu can’t exactly tell her where they went. Not yet.

Marinette smiled sadly, knowing Duusu wouldn’t answer.
“Did you find the guardian?” Duusu’s expression was all Marinette needed to know for confirmation. Marinette looked away from Duusu. She knew Duusu didn’t trust her completely, she wasn’t offended by that fact. If that article was anything to go off of… They had every reason not to.

Duusu zipped into her purse as they heard footsteps approaching, and the telltale sign of Alya’s muffled laughter. 

 

Marinette smirked and pretended like she didn’t notice Alya’s approach. Alya needed work on being sneaky, mainly if she wanted to scare Marinette.

Alya held her hand over her mouth, approaching Marinette’s back. She made SURE not to step on anything that’d alert Marinette to her presence and she’s pretty sure Marinette is very unaware. The thumping of her bag on her thigh was quiet this time, she made sure of it!

She walked slower towards Marinette, pulling her hand off of her mouth long enough to begin reaching out towards Marinette…
But instead of Marinette screaming, it’s Alya as Marinette suddenly turns around and grabs her arm, pulling Alya into herself.

The two girls fall onto the ground, Alya with a longer fall than Marinette but the two burst into laughter as Alya rolled off of Marinette.
“Damn! Still haven’t won that game! It’s unfair you hear, unfaiiirrrr” Alya remarked, side eyeing Marinette who just stuck her tongue out at Alya.

“Not my fault you have no stealth!” Marinette sat up, brushing herself off. Alya stood up as well, walking to sit in front of Marinette on the picnic blanket she laid down. Alya put down the bag she was carrying, opening it and pulling out homework along with her laptop.

“Nino ended up being unable to join today so it's just us two. Something about family visiting this week.” Marinette nodded as Alya talked, pulling out her own homework from her school bag.

“Well, it happens sometimes. Why did you wanna have this late picnic anyways? Are you just trying to sleep over again tonight?” Marinette looked up from the papers she was putting in order in front of her, seeing Alya very much avoiding her line of sight. Marinette just smiled, looking back to the homework in front of her.

“Thought so. Yes, you can.” Alya woo’ed a bit, fist pumping.
Marinette watched Alya do her mini celebration, finding it as cute as ever.

“Alright.” Alya calmed down, looking at her homework properly “For language arts…” Alya shuffled through her homework, looking for it.
“We have maths and history homework today, Mlle. bustier was generous today.” Alya nodded, pulling out the correct homework.

“Marinetteeeeeeee…” Alya whined a bit, looking at the homework with dismay. Marinette nodded, feeling the same. “Well.. Let’s tackle-”

A thump next to them drew their attention, causing both girls to flinch backwards and jerk their heads to see who was next to them.
The two relaxed, when they saw it was just Chat Noir. His cheeky grin as he sat down on the blanket was amusing and annoying.

“Thanks for the scare.” Alya deadpanned, straightening herself up.
Marinette shared the sentiment. “You’re welcome! Gotta keep you on your feet huh?” Chat gave his signature smile, and immediately went to reach for the food in the middle of both girls.

“I feel like I'm being used for my food.” Marinette sighed dramatically, opening the basket for both Alya and Chat to raid.
“I would never!” Alya gasped, looking offended if only by a bit.
Chat just whistled, making Marinette laugh a bit.

“I get it! I'm just good for supplying food! Woe is me!” Marinette put her wrist to her head, doing the stereotypical dramatic pose. Marinette went back to normal after a few seconds. Chat looked like he wanted to strangle her, in a friendly way. Probably.

Marinette stuck her tongue out at Chat as she grabbed a croissant. Biting into it as she watched the other two. Alya was bickering at Chat about something, she stopped paying attention about 5 words into the lecture.

She found herself paying more attention to Chat. A warm fuzzy feeling in her chest whenever she looked at him. It confused her, she hadn’t felt this before. Chat was just her partner… Nothing more, right?

Chat had noticed Marinette staring at him, but didn’t make a comment. Her attention lately has made him feel comforted. Maybe because she lit up his life as Adrien, when Ladybug couldn’t. He never really paid attention to her before because Ladybug existed. But now that she's gone and Marinette is in the limelight… He feels kind of guilty for never trying to get to know her better. Her stutter was still there as Adrien, but it lessened. He enjoys their conversations now.

But as Chat? He got to enjoy a Marinette that he would’ve fallen in love with in seconds. Her smile, her sarcasm and the way she held herself was something he found himself always entranced in.

Maybe Ladybug should’ve given the miraculous to Marinette. Not Harlequin. Not like Chat believed the story of Harlequin being an understudy to Ladybug. She was too flawed. Too much of a rookie.

“Man you two need to stop looking like love birds.” Alya’s comment broke the unknowing staring contest the two held, causing both of them to flush up in red.

“ALYA! No! That's not!” Marinette sputtered, trying to get words across properly in her embarrassed state. Alya’s knowing smirk only made it worse for Marinette.
“I’m a superhero! I can’t fall in love! Not with a civilian, at least!” Chat’s bright red face amused Alya, even as he tried to argue against his feelings.

“Mhm. Believe what you will.” Alya looked to her phone, texting Nino. Marinette groaned a bit, moving an inch away from Chat despite them not even sitting next to each other.

“Well, mr. superhero. While you’re here… Can I ask a few questions?” Alya looked up from her phone, pulling out a notebook and pencil.

“What? Didn’t you do that already though?” Marinette cocked her head, looking at Alya in confusion.
“... Of course you weren’t listening, you were too busy being lovey dovey.” Alya rolled her eyes a bit, ignoring Marinette’s flustered stuttering. “Nah, the earlier conversation was about his favorite food, since he keeps dropping in on us and I feel like this isn’t the last time he will!” Alya narrowed her eyes at Chat accusingly.

Chat avoided Alya’s gaze.

“Okay, point taken. What's your questions, Alys?” Marinette patted her friend's knee, bringing her attention back to her goal.
Alya looked down at her notebook, reading for a second before looking up.

“Do you mind if I record this?” Chat looked at the phone Alya brought out. He thought a moment before nodding. “Go for it, so long as it's not released.” Alya nodded, flipping it to video and placing the camera face down.

“1, 2, 3, go.” Alya counted down before pressing the record button. Marinette felt the air suddenly shift, sending a shiver down her spine. Watching her friend and (ex) partner become suddenly serious surprised her, but she kept quiet.


“For the recording, I am Alya Césaire, asking a few questions to Chat Noir.” Alya paused before looking down to her notebook.
“Question one, as we all know this is a very sensitive topic, please feel free to skip this question. Chat Noir, are you aware of the location of Ladybug or her civilian identity?”

Chat got a distant look for a few seconds before shaking his head. “No. Harlequins appearance and tale was as much of a surprise to me as it was to the entirety of Paris. I am not aware of Ladybug’s civilian identity. I have my theories on how Harlequin got the miraculous. I will not be sharing them.”
Alya nodded, but Marinette felt tiny. Hearing her partner talk about her while she was right next to him made her want to cry. To break down and tell them.

But that’d put them in danger. Their safety came before her, always. Even if it hurt her deeply. She could never put them in danger. Not for as long as she drew breath.


“Question two.” Alya continued quickly “On the topic of Miraculous’... Miraculi? Are you aware of others existing, and how Hawkmoth gained his?” Chat shook his head, even if no one could see it.

“Skip.” Alya nodded, not needing to be told more. Chat hated questions like those. How many miraculi? How the hell should he know! Even Ladybug didn’t know. Last he knew there were only the 3! But that article about the fox and peacock…



“Question three. There have been reports of more magical items around Paris, as people have begun to notice them due to the miraculi being active. Do you have any suggestions?” Alya met Chat’s eyes with this question, wanting an answer.

Chat stopped to think. He never considered there being more magical items out there, but now that he thinks about it… it makes sense. The miraculous being the only magic out there seems kind of far fetched.

“Ideally, try to find me and I will take care of them. Try to avoid giving them to museums because that makes my job more difficult if someone decides to steal it from said museum. If it is already in a museum or out of your reach, do not try to steal it just to give it to me.” Chat sighed internally, he didn’t enjoy having to be the serious one. He missed Ladybug being able to do this. This serious talk always made him so exhausted emotionally



“Okay. Final question. If a civilian encounters a miraculous, if any more exist, what should they do?” Alya tapped her finger on her thigh, this question worried her the most. Because it was a real situation and frankly she didn’t want another super powered villain.

“Do not use it. If you find one, give it to me immediately. Do not give it to anyone else, do not keep it for yourself. Don’t try to play the hero.” Chat’s tail twitched a bit behind him in annoyance. He didn’t like the knowledge that people could just.. USE miraculous without consequences.

“Alright, Thank you for your time. Those are all the questions I have.” Alya quietly reached over to her phone and stopped the recording.


Everyone paused for a second before releasing loud groans and slouching onto the ground.
“I never wanna be that formal again.” Chat groaned into his hands, while Alya just laughed.
“It's your job to be formal during interviews!”

“I know! And I don't like it!” Chat whined a bit.

Marinette laughed. She found herself unable to stop. The two of them made her feel so happy. So comforted. Soon enough, the trio were all laughing together.

Marinette opened her eyes finally, only to see the stars above her.
“Ah! It’s late! I got to get home - Alya you’re coming with me remember?!” Marinette launched herself up onto her feet, beginning to pack everything up.

Alya quickly checked the time on her phone and helped Marinette, looking a bit panicky. “Whoops! I’m sorry girl!”

Marinette shook her head, just continued to clean up.

“Well. Since it looks like you two are leaving, I should take my leave too!” Chat got up, pulling his baton out.

“See ya, and thanks for the food!” Without another word, he extended it and launched off into the night.

Marinette reached out to him when he launched away, freezing up when she caught herself doing it.

It reminded her of the times she’d yell at him for sacrificing himself without waiting for her. The way he’d avoid her gaze and run away with his tail between his legs.

Marinette found herself silently worrying for the poor boy.
Desperately, she wanted to be able to hold him again. To tell him he’s done such a good job without her.

But she can’t.
Because to do that, She’d have to reveal herself.

So she can only hope that one day, she’ll be his partner again.

… Right?

 

Chapter Text

Chapter  12
Plagg?

Chat noir found himself in Adrien’s bedroom, running his gloved hands through his hair with an annoyed groan.

“Claws in.” He muttered, and the magic rolled off of Adrien’s body, returning Plagg to his side. Adrien was quick to catch Plagg, He’d been more tired after transformations as of late.

Adrien quickly walked to the mini fridge next to his desk, pulling out some camembert for Plagg who easily ate it all up.

Plagg floated out of Adrien’s hands finally. Adrien smiled in relief, Plagg didn’t return the smile.
It’d been like this since Harlequin appeared.

With a frown, Adrien walked to his chair. The light of the moon was pouring in and yet Adrien didn’t feel the tiniest bit tired.

He turned his computer on quietly, pulling the article up on the main screen. His eyes kept latching to the name Noir whenever it was mentioned. But what stopped him from reading was Plagg floating in the middle of the monitor, clearly reading what was in front of him

“Plagg?” the small kwami turned to Adrien, a sad look in his eyes.
“I thought they’d all forgotten about Noir.” he whispered quietly.

Adrien’s eyes widened a bit at Plagg’s instant admission.
“Noir… He’s dead..?” Plagg nodded, turning back to the computer screen.

“If the two were still alive, they’d possibly be your mentors. Of course, unable to transform due to age but..” Plagg trailed off, even with his back to Adrien.. Adrien knew he was crying.

“We don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to..” Adrien closed the article, wanting to focus on Plagg.
“No.. No. You deserve to know. All of my kits do but..” Plagg sighed, turning to face Adrien.

Adrien kept quiet as Plagg seemed to think before speaking up “Noir.. Noir was obviously my last kit before you. Unlike you, He had guidance right off the bat. He and a few other miraculous users were trained ever since they were children. Far too young in my opinion..”
Plagg seemed to consider his words, obviously not wanting to share everything but still wanting to tell Adrien everything.

“Noir and Isis learned very quickly how to control and best use the miraculi. They ended up being the first in their group to get their mastery transformation. But even then being the quickest, it took them 9 or 10 years.” Adrien nodded quietly, mentally noting the mention of a mastery transformation. It seemed pretty straight forward but he was curious.

“Amongst Isis and Noir were the peacock and fox you read about. Like Isis and Noir, they had been selected as children to be the peacock and fox. I.. Can’t tell you their names until you find it out.”
Plagg looked a bit pained, tail curling slowly around his tiny body.

“But, Noir and Isis rose quickly. They were friends with the peacock and fox, they made sure the two rose with them. But one day during their adult years.. Something changed in them. The peacock grew angry, the fox grew jealous. They both became resentful to the people who chose them as children.” Plagg looked at Adrien, meeting his eyes.

“They couldn’t have been more than 10 when they began.” Panic very suddenly fell into his chest. The thought that they started so young terrified him. Because that could’ve happened to him.

Plagg removed his tail from around his tiny body, letting it swish back and forth behind him.
“The peacock and fox waged war on the guardians, and the guardians waged war on them. Noir and Isis were put as generals in the front lines, and even then were expected to fight them head on. They didn’t want to. They wanted to try and reason with their friends, try to see why they suddenly turned their backs on them.”
Plagg looked enraged, the memories bubbling in his mind and the memory of how distraught Noir was.

“They were forced to fight. The threat of taking us away from them was too heavy on the two, so they fought. And eventually, they did fight the reason for their friend's betrayal.” Plagg sucked a breath in, exhaling slowly. Adrien gently raised a finger to Plagg’s paw, holding it. Plagg smiled for the first time in a few weeks.

“By the time they thought of a way to bring their friends back to them, They had already launched a siege on the temple. Wanting to take the rest of the miraculi and possibly the children already in training.” Plagg shook a bit, so Adrien held his paw tighter.

“They stopped them. But in the aftermath, Noir lost his arm. Isis lost the ability to walk. In the last moments of the fight, a misdirected cataclysm by Noir ended up hitting the Peacock miraculous, damaging it. But not destroying it. The fox miraculous was recovered, but the peacock user managed to get away.. But not without leaving a mark.” Plagg hissed out, quietly.

“.. They destroyed the temple... and the peacock and butterfly became lost... Only for the butterfly to end in Hawkmoth's hand?” Adrien finished. Plagg nodded.

“I fear whoever has the peacock miraculous now may end up being corrupt.” Plagg whispered, seeing Adrien’s confused look he continued on.

“The miraculous was broken while she was still transformed, due to this the magic and her soul were still technically connected. Which is why whenever you use a cataclysm now, you get a 5 minute timer to prevent anything happening to your soul.” Plagg paused, thinking.

“I fear that the miraculous might’ve held onto a piece of the previous one's soul, letting them survive within the miraculous. Even if it isn’t truly them.”

Adrien reached for his ring, feeling the cold steel on his skin. He was scared, but with Plagg with him he’s sure he’ll be okay. Right?

“We.. Should find that miraculous, quickly.” he spoke quietly. He didn’t want anyone else to be hurt by something from the past.

“I share the sentiment. I don’t want anyone to be hurt by that past holder anymore.” Plagg curled around Adrien’s neck quietly.

Adrien didn’t stop him, instead he quietly turned off his computer and got ready for bed.

He was tired.
He was scared.

He didn’t want anyone else to suffer any longer.
Hawkmoth is already causing him enough troubles.

Adrien laid down in bed, moving Plagg from his neck to his hand.
“Good night, Plagg.” The soft purring into his hand made Adrien smile, before quietly falling asleep.

༻﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡༺

A dream began to form.. Adrien opened his eyes to this dream, only to be met with a world as white as snow. The more he looked, the more he realized he was standing in the middle of a snow storm.

Adrien looked around confused before he spotted the figure dressed in black walking towards him and into his view.

The man had soft dirty blonde hair, paired with soft orange eyes that met his gaze. The man wore a long black coat, its front open to reveal a pure black Tai Chi-Fu beneath it. The black uniform was outlined with a gold color, similar to his eyes. But what Adrien noticed most was the lack of an arm, specifically his left arm. The sleeve that would have held it blew in the wind.

Adrien met his eyes, expecting a cold figure in what felt like a nightmare… but instead was met with curiosity, and kindness.

He didn’t seem to look down at Adrien, despite being a few feet taller than him. Instead he gently knelt down to Adrien’s height.

“Oh my, hello there.” He said softly. Adrien flinched, surprised to be able to move. On instinct he pulled his hands up only to find them gloved. He looked down at himself, only to find Chat Noir there.

He backed up, reaching for a baton that wasn’t there.
“Looking for this?” the man said, holding his baton. He gasped a bit, staring at the man.

He finally noticed what appeared to be cat ears resting more to the sides of his head, unlike where his that sat on top of his.

“Come on, Little one. This is a dream, not reality.” That made Adrien take a second to register the words.
“A.. dream?” he muttered, unaware the other person there could hear him.

“Nothing more than a dream.” the man said with a smile.

Adrien felt relieved, calming down quickly. “But.. If this is a dream, who are you?” he looked the man in the eyes, green meeting golden-orange.

“You know me by the name Noir.” The man stood up to full height, the snow storm around them dying down to reveal a field of snow, and a singular gazebo in the center. “Come on, it's uncomfortable standing in snow now isn’t it?” Without letting Adrien reply, he walked forward.

Adrien hesitated, confused. Plagg had said Noir was dead, didn’t he? Then how was he..

Noir stopped a few feet away, turning to face Adrien. Adrien shook his head and began walking.
The two stopped at the gazebo. A red gazebo standing out in the middle of white. Within it were two seats, and a table.

Noir took a seat, motioning for Adrien to take the other one. He did, albeit with some hesitation.

“How are we..?” He questioned first, looking at Noir.

“Hmm.. The best way to describe it would be a simulation I've heard about. The real Noir, the one in reality, Is dead. However I am something that was created from his memories and special magic. I hold his memories and emotions, but he and I are not exactly.. The same.” Noir finished. He looked a tad bit ashamed before washing the expression away.

“I know how the real Noir would act, but I am unsure if the real Noir would understand why I've done it. Do you get the gist?” Adrien nodded, it wasn’t completely clear but he had a rough idea.

“So.. You’re basically like a phantom?”

Noir was caught off guard, blinking at Adrien before he laughed, “One way to put it.”

The two sat in silence, Adrien looking at the table in front of him while Noir quietly watched him, waiting for him to speak.

Noir reasoned after a few more minutes of silence that Adrien wasn’t going to speak, so he spoke for him.
“Obviously, you have some questions. It's the reason you’re here.” Adrien looked up at Noir again, confusion written on his face.

Noir smiled. “Ah, to be young.” he muttered to himself.
“You weren’t brought to my sanctuary for no reason, kitten.”

A look of fondness washed over his face, like he was remembering something as well. “It was your subconscious will that brought you here. If you really wanted, you could meet any past cat holder, Even the very first. Although, I’ve met them. It’s difficult to hold a conversation when you can’t understand their language.”
Noir laughed heartily to himself. Adrien found himself laughing along. Despite where he was, he felt safe. Calm even.

“Ah but.. How are we communicating now?” Adrien looked back up to Noir, curiosity finally etched onto his face.

“Well, this is your dream. I’m able to speak French because of the fact we're in your mind. If someone were to speak English, I'd be speaking English. So on, so forth.” Noir smiled at Adrien’s nod.

“I.. Uhm..” Adrien paused, before continuing. “Plagg.. Plagg mentioned the peacock user. And.. How there might be a bit of soul left in it but I'm.. Still so confused.” Adrien seemed to curl into himself, not wanting to offend Noir.

Noir looked up at the red walls of the gazebo. He hummed a bit, thinking before answering.
“Ah yes. Her. I wouldn’t be surprised if that's what happened.”
Noir breathed a heavy sigh before continuing.

“Normally, when a miraculous user revokes their miraculous, the miraculous creates a record of them through the magic produced.”
Noir glared to what seemed like thin air.  “We have all the memories of our real life counterparts due to their magic. The stronger magic a person has, the more accurate they are.”

“However. When a piece of a person's soul is trapped in the miraculous they literally live in the miraculous. Able to manipulate people to their will, able to communicate through reality because they belong there.” Noir balled his hand into a fist, a low growl coming from him.

“It always happens when a miraculous is broken while wearing it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that's what happened to her.” Adrien found himself crying, scared.

Noir looked down, to look at Adrien. Only to see the poor child cry. Noir’s low growl vanished instantly, regret filling him.
“I’m sorry kit. Her memories aren’t pleasant.”


“You’re okay.. I’m just unfamiliar here right now.” Adrien held himself quietly, not even realizing he’s doing it.

Noir looked at Adrien. Seeing a younger version of himself standing right in front of him. Feeling so small, so afraid. Afraid of the temple, afraid of the miraculous. Stuck in something he never wanted to be in, but was grateful in the end. Noir looked out into the snowy wasteland, almost able to see his wife off in the distance, calling for him. He smiled slightly, even if it was a sad smile.

“I think for a first meeting, now would be perfect to end, little kitten.” Noir stood up, causing Adrien to look at him in confusion. Only for him to see the world around them fading. Including Noir.

“I’ll see you again, in another dream.”

"wait, Noi-" Adrien was cut off, as he reached up for Noir... 

༻﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡﹡༺

He woke up suddenly, sitting up quickly.
Plagg was floating in front of him, looking concerned. He said nothing.


What.. was that? Adrien wondered to himself.

The light of the new day poured into his window, Yet he felt cold.
Like he’d been sitting in an eternal winter..

A part of him knew he had.

Yet he felt curious about Noir.
About the miraculous.

And yet.... His new knowledge scared him.

Chapter Text

Chapter 13
Tikki?

Tikki stared at the world outside of the window. The little kwami’s shade of red had been becoming a more angry red, but it's not like anyone would notice. No one cared enough to notice here.

The girl sleeping in bed behind her taunted her almost. Tikki was tempted to fly out the window, but the invisible barrier that she knew was there would just prevent her from leaving still existed.

The alarm from her phone blared out, causing the sleeping girl to groan in annoyance. Slamming her hand down on the phone, the alarm cut off.

But she was already wide awake so she got out of bed. Her messy bed hair annoyed her, so she went to brush it out. Sitting at her vanity her eyes landed on Tikki in the reflection.

She laughed.

“Really? Sitting over by the windowsill like a captured princess waiting for a prince who’ll never come?” She taunted Tikki.
Tikki ignored her, barely.

The girl hummed, brushing out her brown hair.
“Marinette isn’t coming for you~” She hummed out, smiling as Tikki visibly flinched.

“Marinette can’t even hide her identity properly, what’d make you think she’d be able to find out who i am?” She laughed.
“It's funny how one view of her detransforming was all I needed to secure the earrings. Who knew they were so powerful? Like hell I'm handing these over to Hawkmoth without a fight.”

She finished brushing her hair, flipping it behind her shoulders before standing up. She walked to her dresser to pick out an outfit for the day.

Tikki remained at the windowsill. Trying desperately not to cry. She had to be strong for Marinette. She had to be.

The girl pulled out her daily outfit, not wanting to bother with a new one.

Tikki suddenly felt the pull of the miraculous as she was forced back in.
The girl smiled, closing the jewelry box where her miraculous was held. Shoving it in the hidden pocket of her bag, she set out for the day.

It’d be another good day. For HER.

And her only. 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14
Riposte


It’d been about a week and a day since the picnic with Alya and Chat Noir. 

Marinette had  found herself in the school's library. It was at its quietest as people were already going to leave as the half-day of school had just ended. Man did she LOVE wednesdays. 


With her headphones on she began humming to the melody being played. The library was as quiet as she adored, easy to study in…

At least that's what she PLANNED to do. But a burst of inspiration hit her while she was studying. So currently she was drawing quickly in her sketchbook, an outfit of mimic feathers and grace.

She paused as she looked down to the drawing, giggling softly as she registered what she made.

“Hey Duusu, come look.” she whispered. Duusu floated cautiously out, resting beside Marinette’s hand that went up to create a protective shield from the side.

Duusu gazed down to her sketch book, curiosity in their eyes.
“Mistress.. This is lovely!” They smiled, looking up at Marinette

Marinette smiled. “Ohhh good!”
She used her free hand to sketch in a few more details, before placing her pencil down.

Her newest design frankly was an outfit for when she finally transformed. She’d noticed Harlequin’s outfit being less bodysuit and more outfit and ended up running with it.

She’d drawn the base bodysuit in a sea-blue color, It’s shoulders were draped in sea-green before fading quickly to the blue. She’d added a blue tunic as well, that faded to a lavender color. With a pink ribbon that reached her knees holding the tunic at her hips like a belt. On the arms were two gold bracers with pink ribbons at the end of them. The ribbons only fell to the thumbs.

It also wore grey pants that faded to a very very soft lavender. The bodysuit showing again as pseudo sea-blue shoes rested there. Beneath the ‘shoes’ were grey platforms. For comfort!

Marinette bounced her leg, smiling down at the outfit in front of her.
“I don’t plan to transform, but i was having a few ideas about the hero outfit and..” Marinette whispered to Duusu.

Duusu smiled brightly. Seemingly like they wanted to cry “it’s lovely, Mistress!”

“Marinette. My name is Marinette.”

Duusu looked up to her, looking a bit pained but looked back at the drawing.
“It.. It looks lovely, Mi-... Marinette!” Duusu looked up at Marinette again, worried only to be met with a smile.

“Marinette!” Both Marinette and Duusu nearly jumped out of their skin as Adrien’s voice rang out, calling her. Duusu quickly zipped into her purse as Marinette slammed her sketchbook closed.

“Ah! Uh! A.. Adrien!” Adrien sat in front of Marinette at the library table, a smile on his face. “Wh.. What brings you here?!” She stuttered, heart pounding nearly out of her chest.

“Are you okay..?” A look of concern came to his face, only making Marinette’s heart pound faster. Stupid emotions! They’ve been oddly out of line as of late..

“Y.. Yeah! Of course I am!” she waved it off with a nervous laugh, trying to force herself to calm down. “S.. So! What b.. Brings you here?” She began rubbing her thumbs together as a nervous habit.

“I’m glad you asked!” he beamed, before pulling out a flyer.
Marinette curiously took it, confusion clear on her face.

It was for the fencing class. They were looking for a singular new recruit but they’d have to prove themselves. “I thought you were already in the fencing class though?” She looked up from the flyer, meeting Adrien’s excited gaze.

“Well.. I am, but I thought someone else could join me!” Marinette took a second, looking between the flyer and Adrien before it..

“Y.. You don’t mean me?!” She basically shrieked, her face becoming red with embarrassment and maybe joy.

“Of course I do!” Adrien practically flew across the table, grabbing her hands. Her face betrayed her as it became even more red.

“You’re one of my best friends, And.. I’d like to get to know you better! I wanna know you more than stuttering Marinette!” he said with glee. His hands were unnaturally cold, like he’d just come out from winter. But it was still spring..

Her mind brushed that aside, focusing on Adrien’s words and the fact he was touching her.
“Well.. I.. Uhm.. UHH” She stuttered, unable to think coherently for some reason.

Why not do it? Become stronger. No one can stand in your way then. The voice startled her. It hadn’t talked in a while and yet this voice sounded… off. It was her voice yet it sounded nothing like it. Like someone else had infected her mind… That’s just insane.

The voice did startle her out of her embarrassment, so she calmed down.
“Well.. Uhm. I don’t think I'd be too good at it.” She looked away, not wanting to see Adrien’s pained face.

Instead he just snickered. “Of course, Then you can train with me!”
She thought. Train with him? That’d be grea.. Wait a minute.

“.. You planned this didn’t you?”

Silence.

“........ Maaaaybe?”


She looked back at him with a fake glare before laughing. She freed a hand and pushed him away by the forehead.
“Gee! Fine, if i didn’t know i would’ve thought you had a crush on me!” Marinette had her eyes closed, so she missed the way Adrien’s face flushed in red for a few seconds, confusion on his face for once.

“Whaaat? On my best friend? Insanity!” he poked her before standing up.

“It’s later today, i would’ve told you this morning but i kind of couldn’t get to you in time.” She sighed, shaking her head. “Yeah.. I’m trying on the rest. I.. I think I'm getting through to Alix!”

Adrien smiled at her words. “Then that’ll be one more person on our side, isn’t it? I’ll see you later!” he ran off, leaving Marinette to watch him run away.

Pathetic. Just letting him run away? You should’ve caught the bird and placed him in a cage.
The new voice was now beginning to scare her. It’d never been this violent, this cruel.

“No.. I.. That’s not right.” She said quietly, scared of the voice. It didn’t reply after that, but the lingering fear didn’t fade.

She looked at the flyer, checking the time..
It was in about an hour and thirty minutes. She pursed her lips, getting up and grabbing her sketchbook. Placing it in her bag before walking off.

It wouldn’t hurt to go early.

About ten minutes later she got to the locker room. She saw several people in there, but only a handful were looking at the fencing gear laid out.

She breathed slightly in relief, not a lot of people would be there. She walked to her locker, already feeling eyes on her as she put her bag in it. She waited for a second before grabbing her bag again and walking to the corner, waiting for everyone to leave.

She expected that odd voice to speak up, but it remained silent. She felt relieved.

Soon she found herself alone, so she went to her locker and put her bag in. Closing the door she walked to the fencing helmets. Duusu flew out, looking at them in curiosity.

“What are these for?” Duusu sat on one, poking it gently.

“I think it's to protect your head and face. It’s a helmet so that's all I can think of it doing.” She spoke as she tried helmets on, taking a few minutes before she found one that fit her head comfortably.

As she turned away, her purse knocked over a helmet.
The helmets. The voice warned, causing her to turn to them. Seeing some of them roll off she jumped to grab them.

Some still fell but she managed to grab two and another one with her foot. Her heart was beating quickly, and she breathed in relief as she began putting the two she held back.

“I.. Uh.. Thank you?” There was no reply. She shook off the disappointment she felt and finished putting the helmets back.

“Well, Show time. I guess.” She put the fencing helmet she had on. Duusu quietly flew into the purse she still had. She stopped by the door, seeing a line of Sabre’s. She grabbed one.

With it comfortably in hand, she finally went out to the makeshift gym in the middle of the school’s courtyard. She already saw people there, and others in casual gear like she was. So she walked over to them as the gym teacher and fencing teacher, Armand D’Argencourt walked up to them.

He stood in front of them, judging them with a stare before pacing in front of them.
“I am the fencing master, M. D’Argencourt. As I'm sure you’re aware, we have only one open spot on the team this year!” He stopped pacing, facing them with a critical gaze.

Marinette felt tiny under his stare.
“So, in order to select the best possible candidate, I will observe the beginners performing a number of attacks on the experienced students!” he cried out finally, moving out of the way so people could approach the experienced students who were already waiting.

Marinette let the group go first, feeling unsure as she looked at all the faceless helmets.
“How am I going to find Adrien in the sea of all these people..?” She whispered to herself, holding the Sabre’s hilt tightly.

“Or, Adrien could find you in the sea of people.” a voice said behind her, causing her to jump and turn around, sabra already pointing at them in a protective stance.. That was totally wrong and she knew it.

The person behind her held their hands up, laughing. “Really, Marinette?” Marinette burst into red as she realized it was Adrien, quickly standing up normally and bowing

“I’m sorry!” she stood up straight, moving the helmet up and giving Adrien a pointed look through his helmet. 
“Don’t sneak up on me like that!”

He pulled his helmet up, a grin on his face as he held his hand out.
“Whatever the princess says. Shall we begin sword practice?”

Marinette blushed a bit more, taking his hand.
“I suppose.”

Adrien flipped the helmet down, and Marinette copied him as he led both of them to the mat that was suspiciously a little farther away than the others.

Marinette found herself blushing more when she noticed. She felt Duusu press into her through the purse which she was grateful for.

Adrien stopped them at the mat, going to the other side which Marinette mimicked.

“So.. Uh.. How do I get into proper form?” She rubbed the back of her head, almost imagining Adrien’s warm smile as he walked over to her.

He stood next to her and grabbed both her arms. She jumped a bit.
“Calm down, would ya?” he laughed, “it's not like I'm here to kidnap you.”

Marinette laughed a bit as well. “Yeah! Right..”

“Well, you need to bend your knees and then stretch your left foot back.” he spoke as he directed her limbs to do so. “Oh, have your foot turned outwards. Lastly, your sabre is out like.. This!” he finished as he got her arm into position.

.. She felt silly.

“This pose feels silly.” he nodded next to her, the helmets rubbing together.

“Yup. You get used to it though!” he let go of her, going to the otherside of the mat and getting into the position he told her to.

“POSITIONS!” D’Argencourt yelled out. Adrien effortlessly got into the position he’d just had Marinette in.

She felt scared.
Remember to greet him. She was about to think something in return when D’Argencourt spoke again.

“Greet each other!” She looked to Adrien in confusion.

Adrien crossed his sabre over his chest, then snapped it to his side.
Marinette thought before copying it. A soft nod from Adrien was all the confirmation she needed.

“EN GARDE!”
Adrien snapped back to the correct position, Marinette fumbled to copy him.

“Prêt, allez!” Everyone became fencing while D’argencourt walked by and watched.

Adrien didn’t hesitate before lunging at Marinette.
Dodge!

Marinette listened to the voice, launching to the left. Adrien’s sabre still touched her, although briefly. She thought it was over but..

Now! He’s weak!
She was slightly confused, but lunged the sabre at his chest.

D’Argencourt’s voice rang out next to her, causing her to shriek slightly.
“Attaque! Touche, Point!” She watched as he pointed to her, before walking away to the other students.

“I.. I don’t understand? How did i..?” She looked to Adrien who quickly replied

“Attack, Parry, riposte, counterattack. That’s what happened, that's why you got the point.” he lifted his helmet up with a smile, he looked proud.

“But didn’t you hit me first?” She shook her head, still so confused. She wanted to learn but she felt so tiny here.

“Ohh. Well, just because I attacked first doesn’t mean I won. Had you, let's say, froze up I would've gotten the point. But you took initiative to dodge and counter attack. Because of that I could only parry or riposte so I lost.” He counted everything off on his fingers before looking back up to Marinette who had lifted her helmet.

“But that happened so fast! What happens if you can’t tell who won or lost?” Adrien looked taken back before giving his naturally soft smile. She felt the heat rerising to her face.

“Well, if that happens it's up to the referee. You won’t always know. Which is why you can also abstain if you can't tell, or it’s utterly tied.” Marinette nodded, feeling less confused and more confident.

“I see.. I kind of get it now? I think I wanna do m-” Before she could continue the door slammed open.

Marinette looked over as everyone else did. A person decked out in pure red fencing gear walked through, holding a sabre with an equally red hilt.

“YOU!” A girl's voice yelled, pointing her Sabre at D’Argencourt.
“You’re the fencing master, aren’t you!? I demand to join the team!”

D’argencourt sneered, “Only the best are admitted here, you knave.”
He spat at her. Marinette felt the oozing of anger off of him.. Odd. She hadn’t been able to feel people's emotions earlier. What gives?

“And I was. Everywhere. I Went.” The girl in red spoke. Her confidence radiated through her voice and was almost infectious.

“Part le fer!” D’Argencourt cried out “What nerve! Alright, I may consider your admission!” Marinette could’ve sworn she saw the girl's shoulders raise in excitement.

“HOWEVER. First you must defeat one of my students. My BEST student.” D’argencourt said.

Marinette looked over to Adrien who just looked tired before flipping his helmet down. “Go get 'em.” Marinette said as Adrien walked away.

He kept walking.
Marinette felt worried for him, just a bit.

Marinette followed behind shortly later, as everything had been set up for a more professional match. A scoring box had D’Argencourt atop of it. They had wires hooked to their uniforms and looked funny but she assumed they held meaning.

D’Argencourt looked smug. He was too full of himself in Marinette's opinion. She could’ve sworn she felt another presence silently agreeing with her. 


The two walked to the other sides of the mat laid out. The girl in red swung her sabre around with skill. Marinette found herself in awe.

D’Argencourt’s voice broke through her awe.
“Prêt…” He paused, watching the two. “Allez!”

They lunged at each other.
In a blur of movement the buzzers suddenly both went off at the same time. The two froze.

D’argencourt waited for a second before huffing.
“Simultanê! Par un toucher!” A few gasps came from the crowd as the two separated, going back to their starting position.

Watching this just confused her more. Their flurry of movements were too fast for her to watch.

“En garde! Prêt… Allez!”
The two lunged again. The buzzers went off at the same time again.

“Abstention!”
They continued like this for a few more rounds before the girl in red growled loudly and turned to D’Argencourt.

“I request we do this the old-fashioned way! This machine is getting us nowhere.” Adrien stood up straight, nodding.

D’argencourt looked like he wanted to disagree but nodded his head.
The two removed the wire connecting them to the mat.

“En garde… Prêt… Allez!” he cried out and the two began.
Their movements felt slower as she watched. She could see the two lunging and dodging constantly. They looked evenly matched.

They began moving around, up the stairs. Marinette ran up to follow them, or struggled to. As by the time she got up the stairs and caught up to the two, they had already moved into the library.

She ran to meet them, hearing them taunting each other briefly.
She watched as they both backed up. She still watched in awe. Their movements excited her, it was like watching a dance made entirely of a battle between swords. 

“Let’s settle this, shall we?” The girl taunted.
“Lets.” Adrien agreed.

The two lunged. Marinette jumped a bit watching them. She blinked. When her eyes opened they were already frozen. Both Sabre’s touching the other person.

The girl saw her. And her voice rang out.

“YOU! Who got the first hit!?” Marinette felt her skin begin to feel like it was getting poked with needles. She-
She didn’t know!

D’Argencourt burst in suddenly. “Who hit first?!”

She breathed heavily, looking between the two.
“Marinette if you-” Adrien tried calling out to her but was cut off by the girl

“NO! Answer us!” D’Argencourt interrupted Adrien.

She had no escape they needed and answer BUT SHE DOESN’T KNOW THE ANSWER!
Marinette’s breathing got heavier. She felt like she was about to hyperventilate she had to answer she had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to had to-

“IT WAS ADRIEN!” She finally shrieked, holding her head low and her arms covering it. She barely could due to the helmet still being on and covering her face.

D’argencourt let out a whoop before he spoke.
“Wonderful! This victory is an honor to D’argencourt academy!”

The girl sighed in defeat, holding her hand out for Adrien to take. He did in haste, his eyes never leaving Marinette as she began to shake. He missed the girl in front of him taking a glance at Marinette’s shaking form. 


They shook hands and the girl released first before walking away silently. Adrien took no hesitation to grab Marinette, quickly rushing her to the locker rooms as people celebrated behind them.


Adrien shut the locker door quickly. He hadn’t even noticed he went into the girls locker room. He sat Marinette down at a bench. He quickly removed the helmet.

Marinette already had tears running down her face, her breathing uneven as everything crashed down on her. She failed the girl she was biased she was a failure failure fail-

“Marinette! Marinette, listen to me!” Adrien cried out, holding her shoulders tightly.
“You’re safe! Take a deep breath!” her breathing hitched, the tears barely stopping.

Adrien growled lightly and forcibly grabbed the small girl, bringing her into him which sent them on the floor. “Follow my breathing, Marinette. Everything is okay. I promise.”

Marinette settled into Adrien’s arms, quietly crying into his shoulder.

The locker door opened, Adrien’s head shooting over to glare at whoever entered.. Only to see the girl in red.

“Oh. It’s you!” he said in relief. “Close the door quickly.” The girl walked in and closed the door.

“What happened? Is she hurt?” The girl walked over, reaching to touch her before pulling back. “I’m sorry, I must be intruding. I wanted to check on this girl because she seemed off.”

Adrien laughed, gently petting Marinette's hair down as he felt her breathing slowly returning to normal.
“One way to say that. She’ll be okay. I hope.”

They fell into silence before Adrien spoke up.
“I’m sorry about the match. We should’ve called it even but Marinette was a beginner. D’argencourt can be… Prideful to say the least. We shouldn’t have put so much onto Marinette on her first day.”

“Her name is Marinette?” The girl said, finally removing her helmet. Adrien met her brown eyes. She was beautiful.
He looked away before he blushed. He already had one girl making him blush, he didn’t need two! “Yeah.”

Marinette lifted her head to look at the girl, tears still rolling down her eyes as she spoke.
“I’m.. So.. So. sorry! I… I didn’t.. It was a biased call! I’m so sorry! I ruined your chances.. And.. and..!” Adrien pulled Marinette’s head back into the crook of his neck before she could continue.

“.. I’m sorry as well. I should’ve called an abstain.”


The girl looked away, slightly pained.
“We can do a rematch if you-”

She cut him off, sounding angry.
“There are no rematches in my family. Thank you for your offer but I must decline.” She stood up suddenly, a glare almost on her stoic face.

“Wait!” Adrien called out, but she left without stopping.
Marinette rose up quickly, still crying but breathing better.
“After her!” She said, Adrien followed her up, chasing her out of the school

“Marinette, wait!” He called out. They got out of the school just in time to see her cast her red sabre away, and get into a car. It drove off as Marinette rushed over.

Adrien ran to her side.
“Marinette..”

“We have to catch her! Please!” She looked to Adrien, pleading.

He met her eyes before looking away. “Okay, fine.” He pulled his phone out, calling the gorilla. He wasn’t far away but needed the call that they ended early.

Marinette walked over to the red sabre that was cast away. Gently picking it up.
“I’ll return you to your owner, I promise.” she whispered to the object. She could’ve sworn she felt it say something. Felt it said ‘Thank you’. But that was insanity.

She stood up, going to Adrien. His car arrived the moment she did.

“Come on!” Adrien got into the car quickly, Marinette behind him.
“Follow the red car!” The gorilla grunted, before the car sped after the red car just out of view.


Far off, a corrupt butterfly master sent out its black butterfly to corrupt the hurt heart of a fencer who feared the wrath and disappointment. Not the strongest, but it’s duty will be done.



“The Tsurugi family.” Adrien said after a moment. Marinette looked over, seeing Adrien’s phone.

He clicked on a crest. An ouroboros symbol with a sword straight through it.
“The Tsurugi family is a famous line of fencers, they’re notorious for never losing.. The recent line has just moved to Paris.. And are known to wear a red fencing uniform!” He said with growing horror.

The two locked eyes. “Gods dam-” Marinette about to say, but cut herself off with mumbling.
“We need to make this right, Adrien.” Marinette grabbed his hand gently.

“And we will, I promise!”

Marinette smiled.

Liar.
She ignored the voice.



There was a thud on top of the car, causing both of them to jump and look up. It happened in a flash. One moment the car was together, the next it was split in two and they were launched out of their seats. They landed close enough to each other to grab the other's hand. Adrien more grabbing Marinette’s hand than Marinette grabbing his.

When Adrien looked up, an akuma stood in front of them.
“It’s the girl!” Marinette spoke, her voice sounded hoarse.

“It’s Riposte now!” The akuma growled, pointing its hand-sword at the two.
“I demand a rematch! With a fair referee now!” Marinette found the point of the sword directed at her face.

“And you shall pay the price for your cruel call!” Riposte growled.
She didn’t like the idea of what that price was.
And with Riposte’s blade getting closer to Marinette’s face she had an idea of what that price may be...

Adrien reacted faster than Marinette could, quickly scrambling to his feet and grabbing Marinette’s hand.
She was too scared for her heart to flutter at the touch as Adrien pulled her off of the ground quickly, running off with her.

“ADRIEN! HOW DARE YOU!” Riposte called out at them, her voice getting quieter as they ran faster.
It wouldn’t stay that long as they heard the Akuma run after them.

“Adrien! Let me go!” Marinette tried pulling her hand away from Adrien’s. But she found his grip too tight for her to escape from

“No! I won’t leave you alone!” Adrien glared back at her before turning back to running.

“It’s me she’s after for now! Just let me go and you’ll be safe!” Marinette pleaded. She knew she shouldn’t be acting like this but..

“No! And that’s final!” He growled. She groaned, dropping the topic. She tried to rip her hand from his again but failed.

The two were forced to stop as Riposte landed in front of them, growling.
“Enough running!” Riposte pointed her hand sword at the two again, more specifically at Marinette. Adrien put Marinette behind him protectively.

He needed to transform but Marinette’s safety was priority to him. He could feel Plagg shifting at the nape of his neck. A protective energy emitting from both of them.

“Marinette, I'll keep her distracted, you should run.” Marinette gasped, “No! She’s after me, not you!”

Adrien didn’t like how Riposte got closer, dragging her hand sword on the concrete beneath them. He desperately looked around to an exit but found none. He locked eyes with Riposte.

“Look. It’s not her you want! It’s me for that rematch! It was an accident due to pressure okay!? It’s my fault for allowing it to go that far!” Adrien was panicking. Without a way to easily become Chat Noir he had to think. Fast.

“Pah. Why do that when I could go after both of you?!” Riposte lunged. Adrien prayed to all things good that they’d survive in one piece.

Adrien grabbed Marinette and jumped out of the way. Riposte’s sword hit the ground and impaling it but the two landed on the ground.

Adrien tried to stand up only to feel a sharp pain in his ankle. He cried out, sitting down and holding it. “I think it’s sprained.. Haha.” He looked to Marinette only to be greeted with worry and panic.

“Marinette, we’ll get through this! The heroes will come eventually!” he said with a smile, gently grabbing his hand.

The sound of a zipline rang out and Adrien suddenly found himself flying.
He hadn’t grabbed Marinette’s hand tightly enough.

“There you are, Adrien! Let's get you to safety!” Harlequin said with glee. Adrien watched in horror as Marinette got farther away. And Riposte got closer to Marinette.

“MARINETTE!” He reached out for her. He felt like he’d just lost someone invaluable to him.

“Oh she’ll be Fine. The alley cat will get her eventually!” Harlequin laughed as she kept launching them farther and farther away.

Adrien found himself somewhere far away. Harlequin landed on a roof with a wall, placing Adrien behind it.
“There! Stay put while i.. Handle the akuma.” She smiled before launching away.


After a few seconds Plagg flew out, his face grim.

“Kid-”
“Plagg. Claws out.”

Where Adrien sat, now Chat noir sat. A very angry Chat Noir.

He pulled his baton out and frantically launched himself back towards where Marinette was.

When he got there he didn’t see her or Riposte. Quickly pulling out the communicator feature of his baton he checked for akuma alerts.

The Louvre. Of bloody course. He flipped the communicator down and launched himself towards the Louvre.
Please, PLEASE be okay.



Marinette yelped as she ducked under one of Riposte’s attacks.
“STOP. MOVING.” Riposte growled.
“I want to live, thank you very much!” Marinette whimpered as she ran off.

Harlequin had taken Adrien off somewhere and completely abandoned her. She knew it was on purpose. She was the one who took the bloody miraculous! Why wouldn’t it be on purpose?!

Marinette found her way into the Egyptian section, slipping behind one of the cat statues and covering her mouth to make her breathing quieter.

She heard Harlequin groan somewhere else.
“Guess I have to actually do this job.”
She would’ve sighed in relief if Riposte hadn’t walked down the aisle.  Her eyes locked on Riposte’s form. She looked around but didn’t look down. She walked past.

Harlequin launched her yoyo in shortly after. Trying to pull Riposte towards her via the sword only for the string to fall off.
“Seriously?” Harlequin groaned as she walked in, glaring Riposte down.

Harlequin however did look Marinette dead in the eyes.
Her grin was sinister.
Marinette felt like she’d just locked eyes with a predator that knew its prey was defenseless.

“Oh, Marinette! There you are!” Marinette's heart thumped faster as she heard Riposte stop running at Harlequin.

“Come on, why don’t we get you to safety.” Harlequin slowly. Walked towards her.
“NO! SHE’S MINE!” Riposte yelled, running faster than Harlequin.
Marinette screamed.

“NO!” Riposte’s sword was suddenly knocked out of the way. Marinette opened her eyes to see Chat there.

Her world fell into slow motion as blush found its way onto her face stained with tears. Chat looked angry. Angrier than she’d ever seen before. His tail was mimicking what cats did when they were angry. It was charming.

Her fears felt like they vanished when she saw him. She was safe.
“There you are, Chat! Took you long enough!” Harlequin cut through her slowed world, returning it to normal.

Chat glared at Harlequin who wasn’t bothered by it, swinging her yoyo out.
“Why weren’t you protecting her?!” He growled out. She should’ve been scared of that tone. But she wasn’t. She felt safe.

“I was! You just got there before I could get to Riposte!”

“YOU HAVE A YOYO!”

She looked away, embarrassed.. Though she didn’t think it was honest.
Riposte’s growl broke them from the argument.
“Whatever, let's finish this.” Chat held his baton tightly, standing in front of Marinette like a knight in black armour.

She watched Chat, but also saw Harlequin.
Harlequin was horrible. In her honest opinion

Harlequin launched at Riposte with her yoyo, only to get flung back. Harlequin grumbled and tried using her yoyo as a projectile. It did more than her launching so she got the brilliant idea of trying to wrap around the hand-sword again..

It slipped off.
Again.

So Harlequin just resorted to flinging her Yoyo repeatedly at Riposte, annoying her enough to stun her.

“Well.. LUCKY CHARM!” She threw her yoyo up, and a polka-dot radiator fell down.

“.. What am I supposed to do with THIS?!” She shrieked.

“GIVE ME THIS.” Chat yoinked the Radiator from Harlequin, she didn’t even bother to try and stop him. Rushing Riposte she jumped, lunging the sword at him only for it to be sunk into the radiator. Chat quickly pushed the Radiator the other way. He wanted to finish this fight quickly.
With a satisfying SNAP the sword-hand broke into two.

The black butterfly flew out, and Harlequin grabbed it quickly with her Yoyo.

“Bye bye little papillon!” She cheered.. Fakely. Listening to her voice she couldn’t tell, but something told her it was fake.
Chat chucked the Radiator at Harlequin who fumbled with it

“M.. Miraculous Ladybug!” She cried after a while. The magic ladybug’s launched out yet they seemed weakened. They didn’t fix the bruises she had on her body for some reason.
All damage from the akuma was reverted.

Marinette felt like some of the Ladybug’s stayed on her, like they missed her. She missed them too. She wished she could just grab the earrings back now but.. Obviously she's transformed, a bad idea. Marinette knows how strong they are while transformed.

The magic ladybugs left her all too fast.

She shakily stood up, only to find Chat quickly grab her.
“Are you okay?” He looked at her, his voice filled with worry.

“Yeah. I am.” she smiled up at Chat. He looked relieved.
Chat grabbed her hand and kept her with him as he walked up to the girl.

She looked confused as Chat walked up to her
“Sorry about this. You were akumatized.. It’s easier to look online than ask.” He said sheepishly as she nodded.

She spotted Marinette and her face filled with regret.
“You..! I’m sorry if I hurt you!” She knelt to the ground, bowing.

Marinette was taken off guard, looking at the girl before shaking her head.
“Raise your head, okay? It wasn’t your fault.” She smiled as the girl locked eyes with her.
“I’m.. Kagami. I forgot I never mentioned it.” Kagami looked away. 


“Nice to meet you Kagami, I’m Marinette.” She held her hand for Kagami who took it. Kagami met Marinette’s eyes. The silver blue that met her reminded her of an iridescent butterfly. One that’d leave you if you let it go. That would be hunted down for its beautiful color. To be put in a collectors collection, forever doomed to grow dust.

Yet the dull look in her eyes already made it look like she was silently in that collection, surrounded by others just like her. Nothing more than an item in someone’s house.

Kagami wanted nothing more than to reach out and give that butterfly a new life.

“Let's find Adrien okay?” Kagami snapped out of staring Marinette in the eyes, looking down with blush on her cheeks.
Marinette let go of Chat’s hand.
Chat smiled at the two girls and quietly left the louvre. He’d meet them as Adrien just outside.

Kagami stood up, using Marinette to pull herself up.
“I’m sorry for this display.. I.. I don’t know what happened. Last I remember is seeing a creepy black butterfly with a purple outline hit my ring..” Kagami went to meet Marinette’s eyes but refused to meet Marinette’s eyes at the last second.
Marinette didn’t drop her smile as she began walking, holding Kagami’s hand tightly so she couldn’t stay behind.

“That’s okay! Akumatization isn’t your fault. Hawkmoth, the person who does it, takes advantage of your emotions because of that. It’s like a fake version of you that's focused on one emotion.” Marinette let go of Kagami’s hand to walk up the stairs.

“I was nearly a victim so I know how scary it is.” Marinette’s voice was quiet for a few seconds before she beamed at Kagami once she walked up the stairs, taking her hand again as she walked them both out of the Louvre.

Kagami watched Marinette with fascination. She’d been at such a weak point yet bounced back so quickly. Kagami didn’t want to let go of her hand. It felt so warm.
The two girls walked out of the Louvre, only for both of them to be suddenly hugged by Adrien

“You’re both okay!” He sighed in relief, holding them close.
Kagami was confused, yet felt nice.
Adrien let them go with a smile.

“Oh, Adrien, this is Kagami!” Marinette smiled, holding Adrien’s hand with her free hand. She held both of their hands.

“I’m Adrien, Kagami.” Adrien held his hand out for her to shake which she did.
“.. I remember you asking for a rematch. I’ll take you up on it.” Kagami met his eyes.

Adrien nodded. “Good! I’ll keep you to your word!”
“I never back down from a challenge, Adrien.” Kagami taunted, a small smile on her face.

Marinette let go of their hands finally, backing up.
Kagami’s car showed up suddenly.
“Oh. I have to go.” Kagami walked away, stopping at her car door.

“We’ll meet again, right?” Kagami seemed to plead. It broke Marinette’s heart.
Adrien looked at Marinette as Marinette looked at Adrien. The two nodded before looking back to Kagami.

“Of course!” they said at the same time.
Kagami looked relieved, even if it didn’t show much.
“Then I will see you again, some other sunny day.” Kagami got in the car, and it drove away.

Adrien’s car showed up next. Adrien silently waved to Marinette and she waved back. Yet she stayed behind as he walked into his car and the car drove off as well.


Duusu flew out of her purse, gently sitting on her shoulder.
“You were strong today, Mis-.. Marinette.” They rubbed against her cheek, causing her to giggle again.

“Thank you, Duusu.”
Marinette looked at the setting sun. She was scared. Terribly scared, but she's glad everything ended well.

She began walking home.
She met someone new today. Someone she learned she could possibly trust.

A new friend.
A new chance. 


.. Right?

Chapter Text

Chapter 15
Glaciator

 

Now. Chloé wouldn’t say she worried about people often. Or at all… But she ended up worrying about Chat Noir.

On TV was Chat single handedly saving an out of control bus. He looked exhausted but still managed to smile. Chloé hadn’t seen the whole news report, just caught the end when Chat saw the media and bolted for the roof tops.

Reminded her of Adrien when he saw fangirls looking for him. With a kicked puppy look and messy hair. What a funny coincidence it’d be if Chat and Adrien were the same person!


.. That reminds her. She needed to call Adrien about what he was doing later.
So Chloé reached for her phone, hesitating when she saw Kubdel text her.

She’d been more.. Adamant about talking to Dupain-cheng, but always got the wrong dms. At this point she's starting to think it's on purpose.
In her annoyance she replied as she always did to the messages.
It was routine at this point. A routine she found herself willingly falling into place with.

Rollerblade disaster: one, these nicknames suck
Two, wheres Marinette??

Hive Queen: what? Did you expect me to tell you?

Rollerblade disaster: Kind of! I need to talk to her, I told you!

Hive Queen: Well she doesn’t want to talk to you obviously. I'm not her jailer.

Rollerblade disaster: you think i haven’t seen you tailing her during school??


Chloé gasped a bit, glaring down at the text messages in front of her. Their conversations usually always went like this.
Chloé was just half tempted to block Kubdel to force her to text Dupain-cheng herself.
At least she’d stop being a coward and actually TRY

Hive Queen: not my damn fault you lot kept hunting her like a hawk.

Rollerblade disaster: I haven’t done that in a while!
… Your point is proven but STILL!

Hive Queen: Why don’t you just text her yourself?

Rollerblade disaster:

Hive Queen: She has you blocked doesn’t she

Rollerblade disaster: NOT THE POINT
Please can you just tell me??

Hive Queen: not my job, not my place. Ask her yourself.
Stop being a coward.


Chloé quickly muted the chat. She was already annoyed and she knew Kubdel would spam her with messages for a few more hours.
Chloé groaned, feeling a headache coming up. She rubbed her temples in annoyance.

“The things I do for people.” She muttered before calling Adrien.
It rang for a few seconds before he picked up.

“Mm.. Hey Chlo.” he muttered. He sounded tired. He sounded very tired. Worry filled her ever so slightly.
He’s tired occasionally but he never takes naps during the day. Not unless Gabriel is planning something big.

Usually never good.

Chloé let her expression soften, even if he couldn’t see it.
“Hey Adrien. Just calling to check on you and see if you had plans.”

There's a pause. Chloé wanted to laugh when she realized he’d forgotten. The fear of him taking a nap vanished from her. He’s being stupid again.
“Plans..?” he muttered. She assumed he shot up from where he was laying from the background noise

“I HAVE PLANS WITH THE GROUP AND-” he shrieked. She could hear him rushing to get up and possibly presentable.
She finally burst into laughter listening to him.


“SORRY CHLO GOTTA GO BYE-” he hung up on her, but frankly she didn’t care. She was too busy laughing. She kept laughing for a few minutes before catching her breath. She smiled down at her phone before letting it fall off her face.

At least Adrien was happy. That’s what mattered right now.
A happy Adrien was better than a depressed Adrien.


━━━━━♥━━━━━

Adrien let his leg bounce furiously in the car as the Gorilla drove him. Plagg flew out of his shirt pocket, laughing like a gremlin.

“You jerk! You said you’d remind me!” Adrien grabbed plagg, shaking him around furiously. Plagg kept laughing at him.

“It's not my fault you went out as Chat to save that bus!” Adrien froze, remembering it before letting Plagg go.

“.. Point taken.” Adrien mumbled as Plagg laughed more.
Adrien yawned into his hand. He was still horribly sore from doing that solo. Harlequin hadn’t even tried to make an appearance.

He rolled his left shoulder, still feeling the aching pain there.

The car stopped at slight suddenness, as the gorilla grunted.
“Ah! Thank you!” Adrien walked to the door, only to hear a tap on the window. He looked over and met his bodyguard's eyes.

“I’m okay, I promise.” He got a pointed look.

“.. No, just fencing got rough today! I’m with friends, so I'll be okay.” He used his model smile which got him to look away. So Adrien walked out of the car, running up to his friends.


“Alya! Nino! Marinette!” He called out as he ran over with a smile.
Marinette’s gaze shot to him first. He was lucky he’d worn a long jacket today for plagg to hide in.

“Adrien!” Marinette called, beginning to run up to him as he walked over. But he stopped walking to take her in, finding blush making its way up to his face.

Marinette wore a light grey-pink shirt below a pink cardigan. Alongside a plaid skirt with a belt to hold it steady. The shoes she wore were thigh-high boots that’d just made their way into fashion. Her hair was in its normal pigtails, but the left side had a braid pulling half of her bangs out of her face.

She looked lovely.
Adrien didn’t know how to feel about the pounding heart in his chest as she ran up to him with a smile that could melt ice.
“I’m so glad you could make it!” She grabbed his hands, holding them in hers as she bounced up and down slightly.

“I’m glad I could as well!” He matched her smile with a more real one, feeling safe with her in his hands, and him in her hands.

Alya rolled her eyes looking at the two.
“Can you believe them? They’re totally in love with each other!”

Nino spared a glance to Adrien and Marinette before shaking his head.
“Totally. Too bad they’re both as smart as bricks when it comes to romance.” Alya laughed at the joke Nino said, punching him lightly in the shoulder

“Good thing we weren’t.” She said between laughter.

“We nearly were, don’t even try that missy.” Nino ruffled Alya’s hair, causing her to push him away.


Adrien blinked a few, realizing how long they’ve been holding hands.
Marinette’s sense of time returned, realizing she’d been holding his hand for.. More than a minute.

The two pulled apart quickly, Adrien looking to the left while Marinette looked down.

“Sorry!” she held the hem of her skirt, uncontrollable embarrassment filling her.
“It’s okay! It's sort of my fault too.” Adrien muttered.

“We.. We should go to the others.” Marinette gave a soft laugh, quickly rushing to Alya. Adrien followed closely behind her.

“So.. Uh, where are we going?” Adrien said as they got close enough to Alya and Nino for them to hear.

“We’re goin’ to Andre’s. Famous ice cream vendor who’s said his ice cream gives you insight into your soulmate or romance.” Nino spoke first before Alya, pulling his phone out.

“The only catch is that he’s never in one spot, he’s constantly roaming. But his ice cream is really good so everyone is on the lookout for him.” Nino tapped something on his phone, giving a sigh of relief.

“Cool, he’s at the Love Lock bridge this time.” Nino looked up to be met with Adrien’s confused face.

“It’s better if you see it, come on!” Alya said quickly, grabbing Marinette’s hand and dragging her off.
“Alya waaaaaaaiiittt!”


Marinette was out of breath by the time they got to the Love Lock bridge, leaning over and bracing herself on her knees as she caught her breath.

“Sorry girl.” Alya mumbled into her hand as she looked away. Nino looked very amused while Adrien looked concerned.

“You’re.. Cool! Not all of us are on the track team!” Marinette finally wheezed out as she properly stood up.
She looked onto the bridge, seeing Andre there.

She began walking up, being joined by the other three. She was glad they got there when they did, seeing as no one was there. Yet.

“Ah! Nino! Alya!” Andre spotted them, calling out to Alya and Nino. He opened his arms like going for a hug but made no move to give them one.

“I see you’re back for more! I’m so glad to see your love blooming!” He walked back behind his stall, making two ice cream scoops very quickly.

Marinette clapped a little, watching him. Adrien stood by her side, curiously watching.

“Oh? Two new people? What are your names!” Andre was full of warmth, Marinette was surprised the ice cream hadn’t melted.

“I’m.. Uhm.. Marinette.” she felt on the spot.
“Adrien.” He felt like this was a very coincidental scam. But he’ll believe his friends. The miraculi exist so he believes it a bit himself anyways.

“Marinette! Adrien! It’s a pleasure doing business with you for the first time!” His smile made the two of them smile. It was odd.
It felt like they’ve known him for years, yet they just met!
The two walked closer to the stall, stopping just a few feet from it.

“Hmm..” Andre scooped down into what she thought looked like two voids.
“Coconut, for his eyes! Banana for his hair.. And a touch of passion fruit, For his heart!” He threw three scoops up, catching them all in a cone before handing it to Marinette. She stared at it in awe. She felt blush rising to her face.

“And for you young sir..” he paused to think, dramatically raising a finger to tap on his chin before having an idea.
“Blackberries for her hair, Blueberries for her blue eyes and strawberries for her love!” He seemed to dance with the ice cream scoops this time, gently placing each onto the cone.

He handed it to Adrien. His first thought when looking at it was Ladybug.
Her black hair, lovely vibrant blue eyes and her red suit. He kind of wanted to cry. It meant she was still out there.

But he couldn’t. Not as a very familiar voice rang out.

“Adrrien!” Lila called out, walking up the bridge with Ivan, Mylene and Alix.
The whole group froze, all in varying degrees of horror and shock.


Marinette met Lila’s eyes. She felt like she was staring down a predator that wanted her blood.
Kind of how it was, anyways. She was a vulnerable prey that had what the predator wanted. 

How dare you bow down to such a weakling?
Marinette didn’t feel any better now that the voice was back.

“Oh, Marinette! I didn’t see you there!” Lila’s voice held that fake tone. She knew what was coming.
“I’m.. I’m sorry! I didn’t know you’d be here..” she balled her hand into a fist, placing it over her mouth, her other hand was balled as well but more resting on her arm.

The fake tears came next.
“I.. I should just leave, right? It’d be better so you.. I mean we don’t cause any issues.” Marinette felt herself getting angry. She couldn’t be angry.

Mylene gently held Lila, cooing her lightly. Alix looked conflicted, looking between the two.
“Marinette-” she tried saying before being cut off by Ivan.

“Lila, it’s alright! They were just leaving! Right?” Ivan rubbed her back before giving the group of four a glare.

Lila kept sobbing, and barely whispered this time. “I can’t believe she has her claws into Adrien and his friends.. I just wish we could all be friends.” It was almost like magic rolled off her tongue. Marinette felt the fear enclosing. She backed up.

“I.. I..” she stuttered.
She dropped her ice cream.

“Oh! Little Lady! Your ice cream! Let me make you another one!” Andre said quickly, scooping another one up.

Tears welled in her eyes, it's like they wouldn’t stop. Ivan glared at her, same with Mylene.

“N.. No.. I.. I didn’t..” She kept backing up. It felt like the world was closing in on her. Like everything was collapsing just because of her.

“I.. I’m sorry..!” She finally said before running away, with her back turned she finally let the tears fall.

“MARINETTE!” Alya called, quickly rushing after her. Nino was close behind. Adrien felt frozen in place, glancing back to Lila.

He saw the barely concealed smirk on Lila’s face. He saw Alix’s conflicted look. She kept looking between the two groups.

She is taking her damn time to decide and Adrien decided he was having none of it.
He placed his ice cream down quickly on Andre’s stall.

“Make a choice already, dammit! We don’t have all the time in the world!” he finally said, glaring at Alix before he ran off to go find Marinette. Alix flinched, knowing full well what he meant. But yet she still watched them all run off.

None of them noticed the black butterfly flying towards a man in hopelessness.



━━━━━♥━━━━━


Marinette hid in an alleyway. She had listened to her friends chasing her but the overwhelming despair covered her. She didn’t want them to see her this way.

She sat on the floor, curled up and crying into her knees. Duusu was floating in front of her, their little paws resting on her knees.

“Marinette.. Breathe, please! For me!” Duusu said quickly, quietly even.

Pathetic. The voice rang out in her head, making her cry even more.
You have all this power and you do nothing with it? The voice taunted her. Mocked her.

You could’ve destroyed that lying vixen. Calling her a vixen is an insult to actual foxes.. That lying brat. It laughed. This wasn’t her voice. Her laughter. What was it!?

“Who are you..?” she whimpered, the voice fell silent.

Duusu watched Marinette. Duusu felt the magic on Marinette and fear rose in their tiny body. Duusu thought she was gone.

She wasn’t.

To them? I am their nightmare. To you? …… I am your guardian angel. You may call me Madame. Once you picked up the miraculous, you summoned me. Madame said in a soothing voice. The overwhelming feelings she was experiencing seemed to die down.

“.. I.. I see.” She sighed and the tears finally stopped. Duusu flew into her face, looking worried. Maybe terrified. For some reason.

“I’m okay, Duusu. I promise.” She smiled, hugging them to her cheek gently. Duusu sighed in relief. Their smile was gentle.. But she saw the fear in their eyes.

The ground shook, causing Marinette to squeal.
“MARINETTEEE!!” the voice rang out.
“Akuma!” Marinette whimpered, pressing herself closer into her hiding spot.
“You were so sad and surly, but Glaciator will make it all better! I’ll freeze their cold hearts, and yours as well!” The akuma, Glaciator, laughed.

Marinette saw him walk by the alleyway, hand over her mouth as she watched him walk by. He was an ice cream giant, literally. He had the roundness of a snowman, but he had a giant human form. In other circumstances he would’ve looked cute.

“I’m Glaciator, The mean ice-cream man!~ Escape my fury if you can!” He sang out loud, throwing ice cream out of his fists. “I melt your hearts, but I was so wrong! So now, I’ll freeze your bodies so long!” he kept singing that as he walked away. And Marinette saw what the ice cream did if it hit someone.

It froze them solid in ice cream, and she's pretty sure if she touched someone they WOULD be ice cream.


What are you doing? Madame’s voice rang out in her head.
Transform!
“No! I’m not using Duusu like that.” Marinette replied quietly as she got up. The ground’s thumps had become distant, so she's pretty sure Glaciator was far away. The Akuma alert blared from her phone.

Not surprising, just more surprised it took this long.
She quickly read the alarm. What drew her attention was that it seemed Glaciator didn’t attack couples.

She groaned. She found herself gently rubbing the pin hidden inside of her pink cardigan. It’s smooth silver calmed her enough for her to stand up. Duusu flew into her jacket, holding onto her shirt tightly.

“Okay.. I can do this.” She breathed, walking to the entrance of the alleyway.

“One.. Two..” Without hitting three, she bolted out of the alley way, praying to the kwami’s that Glaciator wouldn’t notice her.

Across Paris, Adrien lounged in his bedroom, specifically on his white couch. His plaid jacket was thrown along the back while Plagg sat in Adrien’s hair.

“Where did she go?” Adrien muttered. He felt abandoned for some reason. It was the same feeling of abandonment when Harlequin appeared for the first time. He mentally shook it off, instead deciding to turn the tv on.

“-ja Chamack. Currently there is an akuma alert out for today's latest akuma.” Nadja finished, just as Adrien’s phone went off. He sat up quickly, panic filling his chest.

“The current Akuma calls himself Glaciator.” Nadja started up again, it was her normal news routine when an akuma alert went out.
“His powers are limited to anyone outside, and anyone seemingly not in love according to his words. His..” Nadja breathed in and then sighed. She was suppressing a laugh. “His powers involve shooting ice cream from his hands and turning anyone single into ice cream. So if you must go outside, please go as a pair and at least pretend to be in love.” Nadja finished. The corners of her mouth twitched a bit.

If she wasn’t meant to be professional Adrien would be laughing with her.
“Footage of the akuma will be airing shortly.” Nadja finished as the akuma alert section repeated.

“Plagg!” Adrien called for the little black gremlin who flew out of his cheese fridge.

“Again?” He groaned.

“Claws out!”
“LET ME EAT MY CHEEEEEEEEEEEEE-” Plagg got cut off as he was sucked into the ring, and Chat noir sat where Adrien just had.

Chat noir launched out of Adrien’s bedroom through the suspiciously unlocked window.



━━━━━♥━━━━━


Marinette shrieked a bit as ice cream flew past her face.
As she’d been running Glaciator had seen her and began chasing her.

Her luck has been so poor lately. If it hadn’t been for Madame, she’s sure she’d be frozen by now.
Marinette ran past an opening between two houses she had eyed up but decided she didn’t have time for it.

What she didn’t expect was for a hand to shoot out and pull her into the opening. She went to scream but another hand covered her mouth.

“Shh!” The person, she could now identify as Alix, said as she pulled the two of them to the wall. Hidden behind some boxes.

“Marinettteee!” Glaciator spoke, although it sounded like he yelled it. “Where are you?! Let me freeze that heart of yours!”

He walked past them. Marinette watched him walk past while looking around. A few times she was so sure he’d looked right at her but didn’t see her.

A few seconds passed before Marinette pushed Alix away from her.
Marinette said nothing as she quickly went to the other wall, putting space between them.
Silence stretched out as the two looked at eachother.

Alix caved first, looking away.
“I’m sorry.” Alix said, catching Marinette off guard.
“You were right. I.. I should’ve known!” Alix’s voice got progressively more angry. More disappointed in herself.

“The lies.. They’re so obvious in retrospect!” Alix put her face in her hands before looking back at Marinette. Marinette felt the anger roll off of Alix that shifted to disappointment, anxiety even.

“Marinette, I am so, so sorry. I’ve known you for years yet I believed that.. Brat without thinking! Why did it?!” Alix pulled at her hair as she spoke, whining a bit.

“Alix, it’s okay.. Plus. I don’t think you meant to.” Marinette smiled quietly as she curled up, placing her chin on her knees.
“I think Lila is using some form of magic. Something that warps you mentally into believing her.” Marinette drew circles on the ground with her index finger, watching the dust pile up on her fingers.

The silence returned as Alix processed the information.
“That..” Alix paused before continuing “jerk.”

Marinette laughed. “Yeah.”

“Why didn’t..” Alix stopped herself.
“Oh my god you did try. That's why Alya, Adrien and nino were always with you!” Alix shot up, Marinette remained silent as Alix let everything click into place.

“Chloé.. She knew! She didn’t need you to convince her! Damnit! She made us do-” Alix stopped, fear in her eyes. “I’m sorry, Marinette. I am SO sorry. I hope you can forgive me.. Forgive us sometime soon.” Alix finished quietly. Walking over to Marinette and quietly sitting next to her.

Marinette didn’t move away, just looked at Alix.
“I already do.” Marinette pulled Alix into a hug. “I never blamed any of you.”

Alix felt tears come to her eyes. She hugged Marinette back, crying quietly. “We don’t deserve someone as caring as you.”

“Yes you do.” Marinette replied back, gently rubbing Alix’s back.
The two remained there for a while before Alix stood up.

“Come on, we gotta get to safety. This isn’t the safest place.” Alix wiped the remaining tears from her eyes, smiling down at Marinette as she held her hand out.

“Yeah, not exactly the safest.” Marinette took Alix’s hand, pulling herself up. The two stood there awkwardly before Marinette pulled her hand away.

“Well.. Where’s the safest place to go right now?” Marinette pulled her phone out as she spoke.

“No clue. I was using the ice cream people as landmarks until we ran into each other” Alix rubbed the back of her head, looking at the road outside of the alley they were in.

“At this point it’d be safer just to let the heroes take care of the akuma.” Marinette put her phone away, she had a store in mind but doubted she’d get there in time without Glaciator seeing her.

“Can’t be that hard of an akuma.” Alix shook her head.

Marinette looked at Alix, something inside her told her that she could let Alix know but at the same time that grip of secrecy was there, preventing her from even telling her parents.

But confidence rolled over her for once, she felt like she could trust Alix. Alix broke through the lies with barely any help from Marinette. Maybe.. Maybe Alix could be trusted with a truth she couldn't even trust herself with. Maybe all of her friends could! But if she did this one small move.. She could do it for the others!

Her mouth opened before she could think.
“Alix I need to te-” She was cut off as the Ladybug’s flew over Paris, fixing the damage the, now purified, akuma had caused.

All confidence drained from her. She closed her mouth and looked away.
What was she thinking?
She was a fool for trying! Even fate didn’t want her to tell anyone! Why should she try!?

“Huh? What was that Marinette?” Alix looked at Marinette, she could feel the comfort and the trust from Alix but she just couldn’t!

“Nothing. I.. I need to get home, sorry!” Marinette without letting Alix reply.

She was a coward.
Coward. Madame’s voice rang out in her head. Marinette kept running.
Pathetic coward. Worthless coward. Marinette covered her ears in a vain effort to block her voice. Madame kept calling her a coward anyways.


The run from her hiding spot and to her house was a blur. She only realized she was home when she launched herself into bed, under the safety of the blankets.

A coward like you needs help. Madame’s voice became silky, like she was comforting a child.
Trust me, child and I'll help you. I’ll make you into the best version of yourself. The person you always dreamed to be. Marinette almost felt Madame’s arms fall over her, like a mother comforting her crying child.

She nodded.

Good.


A knock above her broke her from the daze she was in.

She removed the blankets from her and looked up, to be met with two green cat eyes.

She stood up, pushing the trap door open and pulling herself up to her balcony.
Chat stood a bit in front of the trap door, holding a hand out for her.
She didn’t take it.

“Princess!” he said in relief as she closed the trap door, fully on the balcony and turned to face chat.

“Hello chat, what's up?” She said with a smile. For some reason it didn’t feel like her smile. Yet it did at the same time.

“I was checking on you, Glaciator was targeting you.” He walked to the balcony railing, leaning on it. Marinette followed and stood by the railing.

“I managed to escape without being turned to ice! But that wasn’t any fun.” She laughed. Why was she laughing again?

“I'm just glad my princess is okay.” He grabbed her hand, kissing the top of it. She blushed.

“Thank you, Chat. I promise I'm okay.” She pulled away. She refused to meet his eyes. “You should go home, you're tired aren’t you?”

Chat yawned. “I guess I am. I’ll see you around then, Princess.” without another word he used his baton to launch himself into the skyline, disappearing over the horizon.


She didn’t want to see him leave, yet at the same time wanted to be alone.
Her heart ached. Yet she made no move to fix that ache.

She’s pretty worthless without help isn’t she? 

Is what Marinette wondered to herself as she crawled back down her trapdoor, throwing her shoes off and getting into bed.

Without me, you’d be nothing. Madame whispered.
Marinette slowly closed her eyes, falling into sleep as the day's adrenaline slowly disappeared.

That night, Marinette didn’t dream.

Chapter Text

Adrien drew a circle on the wooden table in front of him. Across from him sat Noir, who was eyeing up a phone he had summoned.

The Glaciator incident from a few days ago still bothered him, and Adrien had found himself in the chilly snow storm Noir called home. This time by his free will.

Noir let out a sigh, passing the phone back to Adrien
“Confuses me still.” he muttered. Adrien laughed as the phone vanished in his hand.

“I’m still surprised you’re back so early.” Noir leaned back in the chair, running his hand through his hair.
“I would’ve thought you’d avoid this snowy wasteland for longer.” Noir laughed as he spoke, like it was a joke.

“I sure did, anyways.” He muttered mainly to himself, but Adrien caught it.


“I was thinking about it but I wanted more information and that weighed out my fear of.. Well, this place.” Adrien replied, motioning to the snowstorm just outside the gazebo with his hand.

“.... and I wanted a break from reality. A popular news channel decided to spring a live interview on me and.. HER.” He refused to say her name unless he had to.  “without much warning and expect us to show up.”

Adrien leaned on the table. Noir didn’t reply for a moment.
“Nadjia, right?” he finally said. The shock made Adrien sit up again

“H.. How did you know?” He stuttered a bit.

“Your miraculous stores a copy of your memories, it's how you get stronger. So I just read what's being written.” Noir smiled as he sat down correctly again. The chair is now fully on the ground and not tipping back.
Although even if it wasn’t it probably wouldn’t have fallen over.

“At times like these I'd normally suggest you hide away, but I know what it's like to have social requirements.” Noir nodded his head a bit, sounding bitter closer to the end of his sentence.

A silence formed between the two. Adrien had one more question that he knew would form even more.

“What about the guardian you mentioned? I.. You mentioned getting training from them.” he locked eyes with Noir as he spoke.


Noir’s expression went very quickly to one of seriousness. Of anger.
“Kid. You do not want to be trained by them. Be grateful you can train yourself in a time of basically war.” He growled out. The snow storm around them kicked up into a blizzard but never did snow enter the gazebo.

“Met them, yes. But refuse, NO MATTER WHAT, to be trained. It’s a hell I wish upon no one.” The blizzard calmed as Noir finished. But he still looked angry.

Adrien silently nodded.

“If you are desperate for answers only given by a guardian, ask Plagg. He’ll lead you to them if you pester him enough.” Noir added softly.

“Our time is up.” The dream started to fade. “Sorry I couldn't be of more help, Kit.” Noir waved goodbye quietly.




Adrien woke up slowly. The light of a new day pouring into his room and hitting him in the eyes.
He hissed a bit as he sat up in bed. Despite being surrounded by blankets he still felt cold.

Plagg groaned as he flew out of Adrien’s hand. He gave Adrien a pointed look that he laughed at sleepily as he got out of bed.

“Morning, Plagg.” he muttered as he got dressed.
The dream came back to him slowly, remembering the conversation he had. He fixed his normal white jacket before turning to Plagg who was sleepily munching on his camembert.

“So.. Plagg.” he started.
“Oh no.” Plagg groaned.


“About these.. Guardians?” Plagg stopped eating for a few seconds. His tail begins to flick in annoyance.

“.. Why?” He finally said. He sounded annoyed, aggravated even.

“Well.. Noir mentioned training. Or answers only a guardian could give..” he scratched the back of his neck “I want answers… No. I NEED answers, Plagg.”

The silence stretches out. Plagg doesn't look at Adrien yet Adrien can feel the low anger coming from his little companion.

“He.. He warned me against it but I need answers.” Adrien quickly added, not wanting him to be angry at Noir either.

Plagg didn’t reply still, quickly finishing up the camembert he had left.

“.. There’s a reason I haven't told you of the current guardian.” Plagg’s voice was harsh and cold as he flew over to Adrien.
“He’s a fool, who thinks staying out of the way is the best offense to Hawkmoth.” he continued as he flew to Adrien’s pocket.

“He thinks that children like you would have training immediately. You don’t. When you meet him?” Plagg paused before the pocket.
“Pretend like you do. It’ll be easier that way. He already feels like enough of a failure.” He flew into the jacket’s pocket without another word.

Adrien felt frozen for a few seconds before shaking it off and grabbing his school bag. The shock of Plagg’s reaction was already gone as he walked out of his room to the dining hall.

It was as silent as ever. His footsteps were the only noise that rang out. He saw the breakfast laid out on the table so he sat down quietly. He didn’t eat much like normal.

Just the grapes and apple was all he ate. Slowly, but ate.
He stood up after he finished the apple, silent and alone.
The white walls of the dining hall mocked him.

He walked out of the dining hall as Nathalie walked in.
She made no move to stop him.
“Have a good day at school.” Was all she said as Adrien left the house.

He didn’t bother to reply to her, closing the front door quickly and silently. The car was already waiting outside for him.
He rubbed his face, groaning as he properly woke up from the light of the sun.

He smiled. It was expected of him.
He walked to the car and in it without a word as every other day.

Another school day, and then an impromptu interview. Then he can sleep again.
The car started up and moved after what felt like an eternity. Adrien sat quietly, letting himself quietly close his eyes until they got to the school.

»»———— ★ ————««


After school always sucked. Marinette hadn’t shown up today so it was just him, Alya and Nino… And he thinks Alix. he saw her coming over to talk before getting cold shoes and walking away.

… She should’ve made her choice by now.
He hopes she made the right one.

But right now? That isn’t his focus.
He pulled his phone out quickly as he walked to the limo waiting for him.
He had about 30 minutes until the interview.

It’d take him about 10 to get home. 20 minutes to get to the interview… Should be doable.
Going through the motions he got into the car as he put his phone into his bag. Groaning lightly into his hands.

He was utterly and totally unprepared.

He was so used to Ladybug making the plans, telling him what to say and what they shouldn’t answer.
Now HE had to be that person.

But Harlequin would never listen to him so he’d have to shut everything down himself.
He covered his mouth with his hand and groaned.

He could hear Plagg’s snickering from his bag which prompted him to lightly kick it.

10 minutes felt so long. He kept fidgeting during that 10 minutes, tapping his foot or tapping his finger.
Occasionally kicking his bag because of Plagg’s laughter.

The car stopped slowly, but it felt quick to Adrien as he snapped out of his wordless day dream.
“Oh. Thank you!” Adrien said quickly as the door was opened for him.

He rushed quickly to his bedroom, waving to Nathalie as she called for him. He was in no mood for the suffocating schedule about to be placed on him.

Plagg flew out of his bag, snickering still. Adrien rolled his eyes.
“Plagg, come on, it is not that funny!” The small cat only laughed more.

“You called her Milady!” Plagg wheezed out. “Pigtails. Milady. You need more sleep!” he began laughing again as Adrien felt his cheeks go red.

“IT WAS AN ACCIDENT! I didn’t mean to sleep through class!” He looked away, not wanting to meet Plagg’s knowing gaze.
“.. Look. Just because Milady is gone it doesn’t mean I'm starting to see other peop..” he cut himself off.

Plagg waited a second before he continued his laughter, only louder and slamming himself onto Adrien’s desk.

“.. Oh fu..” he mumbled a second before continuing. “I AM NOT. THAT'S NOT-” Adrien groaned.

“YOU SO ARE!” Plagg taunted. Adrien hated when he was right but there was one thing he could do!

“Whatever! Plagg, Claws out!” Adrien finally said, rolling his eyes as he opened his window.
“WAIT I’M NOT DONE-” Plagg cried as he was pulled into the ring.

Where Adrien once stood, Chat Noir now was.
Adrien will never admit it publicly, but the feeling of being transformed was better than anything he’d ever experienced. The only thing that topped it was meeting Ladybug.

… What WILL top it is meeting Ladybug again.
Chat shook his head, using his baton to launch himself out of the bedroom’s window. Towards the news station’s building.

He wasn’t looking forward to this.



The studio was busy when he got there, even as he walked through the shadows so as to not be seen.
Everyone was running around, whispering or talking.

It reminded him of his photoshoots when they went wrong, like a missing outfit or someone called in sick at the last second.

He felt little sympathy.
Quietly he walked up to the room where the interview was taking place. He only knew where it was because of it being the only interview room.

He took a deep breath, feeling Plagg’s magic wash over him a moment before he walked through.
All eyes were suddenly on him as he strolled through the door.

The interviewer.. Nadja, was it? Sat in a solo chair, next to a couch.
“.. Is there by chance you have two solo chairs, or one for me?” he said after staring at the couch for a few seconds.

Someone cursed in a different language that he ASSUMES is Italian before calling someone on her headpiece.

“Sorry.” he whispered lightly before walking to the couch. He wanted to sit for a few seconds before he did anything else.

The headache was already forming.
“Before Harlequin gets here, I am going to set ground rules.” Chat began, sitting up straight and locking eyes with a very worried Nadja.

“Of.. Of course!” Nadja stuttered a bit. Chat felt the tiniest but sorry, but not enough.

“First, if i say Pass to a question, we skip the question. Harlequin as the younger person of this duo has no say. My word as the original and senior is above hers.” Nadja nodded, looking relieved.

“Second. Limit any and all questions on the Miraculous.” Nadja looked like she was about to speak before Chat held a hand up.
“Hawkmoth is already after our miraculi. Do you really wish to give him an upper hand?” That shut her up quickly, just giving him a nod in return.

“That’s all I can think of. This is going to be live, correct?” Chat moved his eyes away from Nadja’s as a solo chair was brought for him.
“Yes. This is going to be live, Sir.” Nadja fixed her posture, although her nervousness was leaking out.

Chat waved to the crew member who quickly ran off after Chat sat in the solo chair.

He felt the headache coming.
“Alright.” He mumbled, just as Harlequin burst through the doors.

“I’m Heeeerreeeee!” She loudly proclaimed as she skipped over, stopping when she noticed Chat in his own seat. She looked annoyed.

“Chaatt.” She said, whining a bit. “Why are you so hostile? Isn’t it better just to sit next to me, your partner?” She giggled.

Chat.. didn’t feel any completion to sit next to her.
“No.” he replied, glaring at her as she went to sit down.

“Wh.. No?!” She shrieked a bit. Did she expect him to bend to her will?
“But I'm your partner!” She said, She sounded sad suddenly. Crocodile tears came out as she covered her face.

If it weren’t for the red and black domino mask covering her face, Chat would’ve sword those olive eyes felt familiar.

“Don’t care. Where I sit isn’t your business.” He felt very concerned with how she was acting, like he should be bending to her whim.

The crocodile tears stopped, causing her to humph as she reclined on the couch.

Nadja looked tired already. He silently shared the sentiment.
A crew member cut through the silence.
“LIVE IN THREE!”
Chat felt himself panic for a few seconds before relaxing as much as he could.
“TWO!”
Nadja did visibly the same, but the tapping of her finger on the tablet she held showed her nervousness.
“ONE!”
Harlequin only smiled.

Nadja sighed before her smile appeared.
“GOOOD evening everyone!” her sudden cheerfulness felt infectious. Chat even let himself smile.

“I’m nadja Chamack and this is face to face! For our first edition, I welcome the beloved guardian, and new guardian, of paris! Chat noir and Harlequin!”

The camera obviously cut to them.
Harlequin waved enthusiastically, while Chat gave a smile and a short wave.

Chat looked back to Nadja with his signature smile.
“Thank you, Nadja. It's a pleasure to be here.” Kwami, did he hate being professional. Although, being professional will probably help his image. Hers however..

She had no professionalism. She was posing on the couch and winking to the camera whenever she realized it was on her.

“Oh, please!” Nadja laughed, putting a hand to her cheek. “The pleasure is all mine! You’re always so busy fighting the akumas, the least we could do is give you time to be safe!”

Chat smiled. His smile slightly faltered when Nadja checked the bracelet she had on, he’d noticed lights on it going up.. But judging from her smile before looking back at him..

That had to be the amount of people watching.
He felt uncomfortable. Even with the sudden wave of magic that crashed over him in an attempt to distract him.

“Well, Before I get to my questions we do have some call in’s we can do!” Nadja waited, tapping her tablet gently.

Chat was slightly glad he hid his leather tail from sight, because it was twitching a bit.
“Oh? Questions from the lovely citizens we protect?” Harlequin interjected, giggling into her hand lightly.
“How lovely! Of course we can answer questions, Right?”

All eyes landed on him.
He breathed in for a few seconds before hiding his annoyance. He had to be professional, for both of them.

“Of course! There are limits to questions, but we can answer within reason.” he replied. He really wished Harlequin wasn’t playing the hero.

“Perfect!” Nadja pulled her tablet up, tapping something.
The wall next to them lit up, causing him to look over at it.

On it was a video call, obviously one way. He was just worried about who would come on first.

The black screen flickered to life, revealing Chloé.
Chloé looked surprised she was let on, even if that expression lasted less than a second before the perfect Chloé came back.

“Oh, Finally! Hello everyone!” Chloé chimed in, waving.
“Hello caller, Chloé!” Nadja’s voice sounded a bit strained. No surprise, Chloé was a cause of akumatization for a while.
“Since you’ve called in, obviously there is a question you have, correct?” Nadja’s voice was strained, but professional. Chat wasn’t in the mood for chloé’s games today either.

“.. Well. It’s a question I'm sure everyone has been thinking about.” Chloé started quiet, playing gently with her ponytail.
“What happened to Ladybug? Are you okay? Is.. Is she..?” Chloé didn’t finish her sentence.

Chat knew what she meant anyways, bless him for being friends with her as Adrien.
“.. With Ladybug, I'm not sure what happened if I'm honest!” he laughed a bit, refusing to let his smile leave his face. They needed him to be strong.

“One day, she was there. The next i had.. Harlequin. As my team member. For what I know? She's alive. And I will keep trying to find her as long as I draw breath.” he said, trying to delay the feeling of anxiety creeping up.

“Rest assured, just because Ladybug is MIA, doesn’t mean I will be any less of a hero.” Chat continued up, smiling to the camera.
“Paris is my home, and it is my duty to protect it against the Akuma’s.”

Nadja clapped while Chloé looked relieved. The video call shifted to another call. Chat looked to the screen only to be met with a child's face.

He felt himself physically jump a bit.
“MANON!” Marinette’s voice called out as Manon’s face was pulled back from the screen to reveal Marinette and Alya there too.

“I’m so sorry!” Marinette laughed gently. Her laughter really did sound beautiful.. Just like Ladybug’s.

“Ah, Marinette! Alya! A pleasure to see you!” Nadja’s professionalism slipped a bit, not for long as she looked at the wrist band she had on. A more real smile came to her face as she looked back up.

“As before, I assume you have a question for our.. Heroes?” Nadja strained to say heroes. He doesn’t really blame her. Harlequin just giggled next to him, in a new pose on the couch. He’d kind of forgotten she was here with how quiet she’d been.

“Well!” Alya started, much to an annoyed Marinette. “There’s been rumours going around and I really wanna have answers straight from the source!”

.. Oh heavens save him.

“First, is it true you know Ladybug’s identity? That something happened in her civilian life that she needed to be saved from? Second! There's a rumor going around that you were dating Ladybug, but dumped her for Harlequin!” Alya felt like she was running a mile a minute before Marinette stepped in

“Alya! Two questions!” Marinette grabbed Alya’s shoulder, giving an apologetic look to the camera. Alya groaned a bit but fell silent.

Chat felt all eyes on him again. Specifically Harlequin’s.
“...”
“No.” He finally said.

“I do not know Ladybug’s identity, as much as I would love to.” he took a deep breath before continuing. “And the second rumor of our love life? It doesn’t exist. We were best friends, I was the only one pushing the boundaries with my flirting.”

“Neither am I dating Harlequin, as of such I will NEVER date Harlequin. Ladybug is the only one who has stolen my heart, full and entirely.” He laughed, shaking his head.

“She's a thief who ran off with my heart, and refuses to give it back.” he winked at the camera for a second. But internally he’s just glad that this question was over and done with.

There's a bit of silence before Harlequin tried to speak up.
“You don’t-” Nadja however, cut her off swiftly.

“Oh my! How romantic, Chat noir!” Nadja laughed into her hand.
“My, if I were in Ladybug’s shoes i would’ve fallen for you in a moment's hesitation!” Nadja sat properly again after she finished speaking.

“Man, if only my boyfriend could be that romantic.” Alya muttered.

“I’m only telling the truth, nothing more nothing less, ladies.” Chat replied. He felt a tad bit uncomfortable but he couldn’t let it show right now. A moment of weakness live on tv? That’s just asking for disaster.
“Thank you, Marinette, Alya! I’ll see you next time!” Nadja waved goodbye to them before the camera flicked off. No more feed came on so he assumed that part of this was done.

Nadja went to open her mouth to speak but paused for a second. Chat hears faint talking from Nadja. He finally noticed the ear piece she wore, just out of view of the camera.

She looked suddenly worried, sitting up straighter, all movement was very suddenly forced solid.
She sat like a statue.

“So.. Since Ladybug isn’t here, Chat Noir..” She found her voice, but it sounded forced. Uncomfortable.

“Would you disclose to us your relationship with her? It seems you were dating, and I assume all of Paris hopes you were as well. You both were, possibly are, the ideal power couple after all!” She laughed after she finished her sentence.

“... Pass.” He said quickly. He didn’t even want to consider it.

Nadja went to nod but that same voice came through the ear piece again. She looked frightened.
“But.. Chat noir! We need answers, if we cannot know what happened to Ladybug, we must be able to learn through you, right?”

Harlequin spoke up now, giggling a bit.
“Yeah, Chaaaaat! Weren’t you two dating behind doors?” Chat shot a glare at Harlequin. She shrunk a bit before rolling her eyes.

“No. We never were, never will.” he growled out. He barely tried to hide his building anger.
“Our relationship was platonic, forever and always. Just because your fantasies come into reality does not mean we will follow them.” he finished with, standing up.

“I appreciate your time, but I must go. I have previous things I must do.” He barely finished before he disappeared from view, up into the rafters.

The rest was a minor blur, he could hear Nadja call out for him but he didn’t care. He got out of the news building and out into the fresh air of Paris.

He didn’t care who he disappointed. He and his lady weren’t objects to control into whatever they wanted.
He took a deep breath, releasing it a few seconds later.

He wasn’t realizing he was shaking until the anger faded. The cold air biting against his skin didn’t help either.

The blaring alarm of an akuma alert from his baton nearly made him fall off of the roof he stood on. He shook his head, rubbing his temples gently.

“Dammit.. That was to be expected though.” he muttered to no one in particular. Running a clawed glove through his hair he took a deep breath. “Alright. Let's do this.”

He extended his baton and launched towards where the akuma alert had last said it was seen. The news broadcasting station.


»»———— ♡ ————-««

“Well, how lovely of you to drop in!” The akuma, Prime queen, laughed. Chat felt stupid for running head first into the studio. But he felt even stupider for not taking Harlequin with him.

Seeing as she was nowhere to be seen currently, he just hoped she got away. It’d be kind of annoying to have to find out that Hawkmoth got the Ladybug Miraculous because of her incompetence.

Prime queen laughed, the video feed on the wall was annoying.
“Oh, Maybe if you admit your love for Ladybug and hand over your miraculous, I may just be generous enough to save this girl!” the video feed swapped, showing Chloé tied up on a train.. And it had no conductor.

Panic filled his body.
Chloé was dead silent, trying to be out of view but unfortunately she wasn’t given the option.

“Launch into the TV, would you? You want to save her, as a hero should do!” Prime queen taunted him, he was twitchy.

Harlequin burst in a few seconds later
“Chaaat!” She called out, running to his side.
She tried to grab his arm before he pulled it out of her reach.

She stumbled forward, a bit too far as she fell into the tv. Chat let out a groan and quickly followed her before the pathway was sealed off.

Chat found himself in the out of control train, stumbling a bit as he coordinated himself.
“Well? Confess your love for Ladybug or even Harlequin and i’ll stop the train!” Prime queen laughed again, Chat was getting sick and tired of her laughter.

The conductor’s cart was a few carriages away but time seemed pressed. He breathed in and out and tried to imagine what his lady would do.

“.. Fine.” Prime queen gasped at Chat’s words, giggling a bit


“I’m in love with Ladybug, but Ladybug doesn’t love me back. She never has, never will. And I respect that.” he balled one hand into a fist, glaring at the tv screen. At Paris.

Prime queen huffed, and the train slowed to a stop.
Luckily for them, it stopped just before a station.

Chat quickly untied Chloé, who looked silently grateful.
“Thank you.” She whispered.
Chat just nodded before turning back to the TV Prime queen was in.

“Whatever, you managed to pass the first test.” She grumbled, crossing her arms.
“But the next one will cost you, for the passing grade for this test.. Is your miraculous!” Prime queen laughed as the place she was in shifted.

Instead it showed Alya tied up in a pharaoh's coffin, wiggling and trying to untie herself.
“HELP!” she finally cried when she noticed the camera on her.
“Please!” She resumed struggling against the rope that tied her.

“You see, if you don’t give us the reveal of a LIFE TIME!” she waved her hands a bit to emphasize the point “Then this poor girl, the lady blogger, is going to swim!”

One of the TV’s turned to static, and chat cautiously put a hand through. It felt through, showing it could be travelled with.

“Chloé, people will be here soon to get you, okay?” Chat said, looking to Chloé who quietly nodded. “Yeah. I’ll wait till they get here.”


Chat nodded, grabbing Harlequin’s arm and dragging her through the TV. “Hey, WAIT I’M NOT READDYYY” Harlequin whined.

The place they exited the tv, however, was not the Louvre. Instead it was a freezer.
“Damnit!” he cursed under his breath, turning to the TV up above a locked door.

“Now then, its time to send this show sky high!” Prime queen yelled. “Remove your miraculous and reveal your true selves, the entirety of Paris is watching, after all!” Prime queen winked at the camera, that didn’t exist.

She walked to the Sarcophagus that held Alya, closing the lid on it. Alya shrieked.
“Now then, just to make the stakes HIGHER! For as long as you don’t hand over your miraculous, i’ll tip this girl into the Seine!” Prime queen taunted, smiling at the tv before it swapped views, showing the Seine. Specifically, showing the head of the Sarcophagus being pushed through

“Alya..!” Chat growled, looking desperately around.
“Harlequin!” he finally said, causing her to jump.

“Y.. Yes?” she laughed, holding her yoyo tight.
“Summon your lucky charm, please!” She gulped and nodded.

“I was just about to!” she threw the yoyo up in the air “LUCKY CHARM!”

The bright light of the magic stood there for a second before down fell a tape roll.
“.. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH THIIIS?!” Harlequin whined, holding it.

However Chat had the perfect idea. It was so simple it may just work!
So he grabbed the tape roll quickly, sorting through the drawers all around them until he found what he was looking for. A pizza box!

Quickly, he began taping it up to the screen while Prime Queen was distracted. In no time, the view inside was blocked.

“There.. Okay. Harlequin, get ready.” He whispered as he went back to the ground. Harlequin just nodded.

“OKAY PRIME QUEEN!” Chat called out, knowing she could hear them.
“You win! We’ll remove our miraculi!” Harlequin made a noise of complaint.

“Haha, Finally!” The noise beyond the TV suggested she was getting closer.
“.. Why is the screen black?!” She shrieked.

“Well, if you want to see the biggest reveal of the century I suggest you fix it!” he held his baton tightly, he hoped this worked.

And it did.
“FINE!” She said, as she punched through the tv.
Harlequin’s yoyo wrapped around her arm and dragged her through.

Prime queen fell to the floor which Chat took quick advantage of, slamming his Baton into her left arm.

The screen on it cracked, and a black butterfly flew out.
Harlequin’s yoyo untied itself from Prime queen’s arm, instead reaching out and grabbing the black butterfly.

“Yada yada.. Bye bye butterfly!” she said, releasing a white butterfly from her yoyo.

“CATACLYSM!” Chat said, slamming his hand on the locked door. Quickly he dragged the now purified Nadja out of the freezer. Harlequin followed lazily behind, holding the tape roll.

“Urgh..” Nadja groaned, holding her head as she stood up.
“What happened?” She looked at Chat.

“You were akumatized.” he replied, curtly.
Nadja gasped. “I’m so sorry!”

“No one is to blame but Hawkmoth.” he gave her a smile before going to harlequin’s side.

“MIRACULOUS LADYBUG!” she cried out, throwing her lucky charm up in the air.

Chat didn’t waste another second before leaving. The beeping of his ring gave him a needed excuse.




He found himself home within what felt like seconds but was really just a few minutes.
“.. Claws in.” he muttered, turning back into Adrien.

Plagg groaned, falling before Adrien caught him in hand.
“You’ve been pretty tired as of late whenever we have to transform.” Adrien thought aloud, handing Plagg camembert.

“It's because of the off balance you and Harlequin are producing. Harlequin has her own balancer but you’re not that.” he said as he ate, before deciding just to eat it whole.

“The whole universal balance thing is kind of half true, but its mainly for our balancing aspects.” Plagg burped before finishing his sentence
“If, hypothetically, you had another miraculous out with the ladybug, there wouldn’t be much of an issue.”

Adrien nodded, but sat at his bed.
He still loved Ladybug, didn’t he?
Her warm smile still filled his mind.

Chasing after someone else felt like betraying her, yet he knew who he’d chase.

Ladybug would’ve wanted his happiness, not for him to wallow in self pity.
Marinette.

The girl who’s been with him since they met.
Had she captured his heart this time?

Chapter Text

Marinette hummed to herself, holding the grimoire. She’d been able to translate it with a bit of help from Duusu, and Madame. She was oddly an expert in Chinese. It made reading it so much easier!

However at the moment she was looking at her previous sketch of the hero costume she’d imagined. She was coloring it in, humoring herself with the idea of possibly, just possibly making it without transforming.

She tapped a finger on the desk in front of her, staring down at the sketch. She was still on the fence on what the ribbons should be, the nice purple she had thought of would mesh with the outfit nicely but..

Pink. Madame whispered quietly. A pink would stand out nicely. She sounded uninterested, but Marinette quickly colored in with the pink she had off to the side.

“It looks lovely.. Thank you!” She whispered back, bouncing her leg in excitement.

She stared at the completed sketch in her book before jumping up to her closet, opening it quickly.

Fabric bolts at the top section were pulled down, specifically a sea green that faded to blue, a saturated blue, pink, and black. She wouldn’t be able to make the shoes and arm braces quite yet but she could begin work on the outfit!

Is what she thought until all motivation lost her. She sighed, staring down at the fabric she’d just pulled out. She closed the closet door, placing the bolts of fabric by the mannequin for later.

Duusu flew up to the bolts of fabric, gently prodding them.
“They’re so soft!” Duusu giggled, laying on one bolt.

“I’m glad you like them, Duusu.” She scratched the top of Duusu’s head lightly, Duusu replying with a shrill in return.

Quietly, she turned back to the sketch she had. There was no name to it.. No name for the hero persona she’d eventually don.

She grabbed her pencil and began writing names, sitting on her chaise as she did.
“Paonne.. No, to literal.. Mayura?.. No.. Doesn’t feel right.” She muttered to herself. The morning sun had begun to rise outside. She tapped the pencil’s eraser to her chin, thinking for a few seconds.

“Blue.. Beauty could work.. But i don’t think it’d fit me.” She scratched the name out that she had written down.
“Hera..” She hummed. “Queen of greek gods.. It.. Sounds fitting.”

Duusu flew on top of the sketch, causing Marinette to jump.
“Hera! I like that name!” they chirped, but Marinette felt bad suddenly.

“Well.. I.. Uh.. I was thinking of hero names. Because.. Well..” She stuttered a bit before falling quiet. Expecting Duusu to be angry with them. Instead they got a gasp and Duusu flying into her face

“Even better!” Their tail feathers were up in excitement, a big smile on their face as they held their paws on her nose.
“You’d grow into the name perfectly as a peahen! You could even call yourself Lady Hera!” Duusu giggled.

“Well.. I.. You may have a point.” Marinette smiled a bit, looking down at the sketch and gently writing out Hera .

Lán měirén Madame said. Her voice was commanding. Lán měirén is a suitable name. Marinette stopped just as she finished writing down the name.

“I.. But..” she tried to say otherwise but how Madame said it was more of a command, than a suggestion.
Lán měirén is the perfect name for you, is it not? I at least think it is... She said, sounding hurt.

“.. Y.. Yeah.” Marinette put a line through the name Hera, putting down Lán měirén instead.
“It.. It is perfect.” She laughed, mainly at herself. “I don’t know why I thought otherwise. Thanks.”

Duusu fell silent. Gently floating away from Marinette’s face and out of sight. Duusu still couldn’t believe that a bit of Madame had stayed with the miraculous. But the signs were piling up and they were getting worried.

Maybe now would be a good time to send them to the guardian?
“Marinette?” Duusu called out, causing Marinette to look at them with a smile. The same warm smile she’s always had. It gave Duusu confidence.

“I.. I have someone I want you to meet!” The confidence flickered in and out. Duusu needed to push through.

“What?” Marinette said in shock before giving Duusu her full attention.
“You do!?”

“Yeah! But.. I need you to trust me, and come with me! I.. I need you to take the grimoire too! Ok..?” Duusu led off, the confidence draining quickly.

“Of course! I’ll trust you to the ends of the earth and back.”
Marinette gave her normal warm smile. Standing up, she went to the shelf that held the Grimoire.
What if it's a trick? Madame whispered, Marinette ignored her though as she grabbed it. She knew Duusu would never.. Trick her!

Right?

Duusu floated up, motioning for Marinette to follow.
Marinette quickly grabbed Duusu before they could go down the trap door, instead hiding them in one of her pigtails.

She opened the trap door, rushing downstairs but stopping at the front door.
“I’m going on a run!” She called out, shifting the grimoire she held in her hands before running outside.

She got out of view, hiding just behind a building before pulling Duusu out.
“Duusu, remember we can’t have people see you.”

“I know.. But I don't get whyy!” Duusu whined a bit before flying to the purse at Marinette’s hip.

Duusu began whispering from the purse, telling her where to go.
Marinette found herself standing in front of a massage parlor.

“... Duusu. Are you sure this is the right place?” She laughed a bit, assuming this was a joke. But Duusu shook their head
“Yup! This is right!” Duusu said with cheer and Marinette stopped laughing.

“Well.. let's go in?” She shrugged, walking inside.
The front area felt old, compared to the outside. Like she’d just gone back in time hundreds of years.

The scents of the shop were soothing, calming. Like those raging emotions she felt just.. Vanished. She looked around the front shop, there were a few incense burning, only two that she could count.
There were at least 2 rows of chairs for people waiting, but none of them were full.

The front counter wasn’t attended, a singular bell next to the cash register to call the therapist forward, so it seems. She took a moment to take in the space.

“Hello, Miss.” a voice called out, causing Marinette to snap to where it was from. The once unattended counter now had an old man sitting behind it. His smile was warm, yet sad.

“Oh.. Uhm.. Hello.” She waved, chuckling.
She gripped the grimoire tightly in her other hand. Madame’s emotions were spilling into hers again. Distrust, anger. Resentment.

She felt a little on edge. Even if this was the calmest she’s ever been for the past few days.

“My name is Fu. May I have yours, little lady?” the man, Fu, said. He was patient as she fiddled with the book a bit.

“I.. I’m Marinette.” She returned the smile he gave her, just before Duusu burst out of her purse

“I’M TIRED OF THIS!” They shrieked, causing marinette to jump a bit. Fu’s eyes went wide.

“Master fuuu! I brought her!” Duusu chirped, twirling around in the air.
“.. Miss Marinette, please, come with me in the back.” Fu got off of the chair he sat in, moving to the door she hadn’t noticed was there until now and opening it.

Duusu flew in, laughing a bit. Not bothering to wait for her.
She shifted a bit, but trusted Duusu enough to listen.

Don’t! You dare! Madame hissed. Don’t trust them! Liars! Thieves! Marinette stopped in her tracks a second, Madame’s emotions felt overpowering.

“Miss Marinette?” Fu’s voice snapped her out of it.

“Ah!.. S.. Sorry!” she sped walked into the backroom, where the massages happened obviously. She forced herself to keep walking despite all of madame’s angry words.

She sat down on the mat, legs beneath herself. As proper as she could be. That same calming scent was present here, if not stronger.

“Marinette!” Duusu chirped, flying into Marinette’s chest with a giggle.
“Duusu.” She gave them a curt look, but they didn’t shift in expression.

“Could.. I get some explanation, please?” She laughed a bit, looking at Fu who had set out a small table in front of them, along with some tea. He sat across from her.

“I apologize for how.. Sudden this introduction was, Marinette.” Fu bowed his head slightly. “I am Fu, or Master Fu as the kwami’s know me. I am the last remaining Guardian of the kwamis and their miracle boxes.” he lifted his head, meeting her eyes.

She gasped a bit, fumbling before bowing herself.
“I apologize! I’m sorry for my bluntness, sir!” Instead of reprimand she got a laugh from him, causing her to curiously look up.

“All is forgiven. I’m not properly trained anyways. So I do not command any respect.”

Marinette nodded, and cautiously placed the grimoire still tightly held in her hand on the table in front of them.
“Then.. That explains why Duusu wished for me to bring this.”

Fu’s eyes went wide before he snatched it up, opening it and going through the pages.
“This is..! This is a real grimoire!” he gasped, looking up to Marinette in confusion.

“Yet you wield the Peafowl miraculous.. Tell me, how did you get this?” He set the grimoire back down on the table, meeting her eyes.

“Well.. I.. I found them at a friends house.” She didn’t want to say Adrien. Because she's a bit worried about what this means.
“He invited me over for a party, but as the night went on I felt a tug towards Duusu’s miraculous.” She gestured to the Kwami playing with..

She paused when she looked over, mouth agape as she saw a kwami that resembled a turtle patting duusu’s head.
She blinked a bit before shaking her head and continuing.

“I found the Grimoire and their miraculous in a safe, hidden behind a painting. So.. I..” She paused.

“Oh kwami's, I stole it!”
She hid her face in her hands, whining a bit. Fu laughed a bit.

His laughter fell short quickly, as he became serious.
“Unfortunately, I must have suspicions that this.. Friend, might live with Hawkmoth then.”

Marinette dropped her hands, nodding.
“I.. Thought so.” She gulped, fidgeting with her hands. “Uhm.. Master fu i need to-”

Fu cut her off. “I know you used to be Ladybug.”

The room fell silent before Marinette laughed.
“Of course you would! You wouldn’t let these powerful miraculi go without knowing who you gave them to!” She let her voice fall silent. The feeling of being a failure had resurfaced.

“.. I.. I’m not sure about this, master. But I think there may be something wrong with the miraculous.” as she spoke, she got one message from Madame.
Do. Not. Mention me. Madame was a friend.. And she wouldn’t betray friends!

“I’ve yet to transform with it yet, but my emotions are getting out of control. I’ve become more impulsive too.. I managed to decode a bit of the grimoire, just enough for me to read on the fact a miraculous can be damaged..?”  she spoke quickly, fidgeting with her hands.

“.. I would not be surprised, The peafowl has been lost for a time.” Fu picked up the grimoire, flipping its pages.
“I do not know what happened back then, but I know the peafowl user was defeated.”

“What?” Marinette tilted her head in confusion, causing Fu to stop.

“Ah, right. You were not trained by the order..” he looked down at the page, gently placing the grimoire down, open to the page it was on.

“The peafowl was lost during a siege of the temple, by a rogue Miraculous user. Similar to a coup you have been taught about in history. ” he said.

“It is of no importance now, what's important currently is finding a solution to the fact your miraculous currently is broken.” fu grabbed the grimoire, flipping a page before nodding.

“Can you read this for me?” He said as he turned the book to her, she gazed down at it. She knew the words, this was the page describing solutions to a broken miraculous.

“Of course!”  She smiled.

“When a Miraculous is broken there are several solutions depending on the cause.” She spoke, Madame in the back of her mind feeding her the words.
“In more serious cases where a miraculous has been broken by Cataclysm, Then a Ritual must be held. If a Miraculous has been broken while transformed, both the Ritual and a cleansing must be held.” She breathed out, taking a moment to breathe. Fu waited patiently.

“The ritual requires material from the cosmos, Our Lady's tears, and a blue gift from the earth.” She paused, looking up to Fu. He only nodded for her to continue.

“The cleansing is separate from the ritual. For it is required to expel the part of Soul left behind by the user. Thus, it requires different items. For the Cleansing you require a drop of sun, A tear from creation, and a Lily of Silver.” She finished putting the book down.

“Those.. Are all riddles?” She said in confusion, looking to Fu for answers.
“Yes, they are.” he said. “It's to make sure people who can read the Grimoire cannot get all of its secrets easily.”

Marinette nodded. “Well.. I know some of the items.”
Fu gasped a bit, but stayed quiet and let her continue.

“Uhm.. The Drop of sun is a sunstone, I think.” She took a pause, looking back down to the grimoire.
“The blue gift from earth is either water or a sapphire? Material from the cosmos is probably a meteorite..”

“A tear of creation I'm pretty certain is a tear from Tikki..” She whispered the last part, but the silence in the parlor made it easy to be heard. Neither of them mentioned it.

“A Lily of silver is probably a white lily. Those are associated with purity. I’m not sure what Our Lady’s tears would be, they have to exist but..” She sighed, closing the grimoire.

“Those are just guesses.” She said, looking down at the book in her hands. Fu hummed across from her.

“I could look into acquiring some of these objects, for I think the ritual is only what's needed now.” Fu finally said.

“I do not think the cleansing is required, but if it is I need you to tell me, now.” As Fu spoke, Marinette froze in place. The cleansing mentioned souls left with the miraculous.. But..

She promised Madame she wouldn’t.. And.. and she’d be a bad friend if she did mention her..

“N.. No. There's nothing that requires cleansing!” She smiled, strained but a smile. Fu didn’t looked convinced. 


“.. Alright.” he said, letting it drop. “Do you mind if i keep the grimoire here, then?”

She nodded. “N.. No! I have no issue with it.. But, before we do that could we take pictures of the pages so we have a back up? One for me, one for you?” She pulled her phone out as she talked, holding it up

“Er.. I’m afraid to say I do not know how to do this, so if it is a wise choice to you, I'm willing to let it happen.” Fu shook his head lightly, pushing the book to Marinette.

Several minutes later, a collection of all the pages of the grimoire rested in Marinette’s phone. She managed to get them on Fu’s tablet that he had as well.

“There, that should do it!” she clapped her hands a bit. Placing her phone back into her purse.
“I.. I need to get home now, same with Duusu.” She said quickly, motioning towards the door.

“I see. Then, before you leave, Take these.” Fu walked to the dresser just by the mat, pulling a drawer open to reveal some of the incense that was burning around the parlor.

“As you have noticed, it calms emotions, and specifically out of control magic.” He grabbed a handful, placing them into Marinette’s hand. “These will work as a temporary fix.”

Marinette nodded with a smile. “Thank you, Master!”

“Of course.” Fu nodded, stepping back. “If you transform, please tell me. If you do, the grimoire should hold knowledge to help with the symptoms.”

“Symptoms?” Confusion in her voice as she met his eyes.

“A miraculous relies on both the magic of the kwami, and the wielder to transform and pull their abilities. When a miraculous is broken, or so I've heard, it pulls 90% from the wielder, and 10% from the kwami. So it can drain and even harm a wielder quickly.” Fu supplied.

“.. Oh.” She whispered, her hand finding its way to the miraculous hidden within her jacket.

“My regret about Harlequin taking the miraculous prevented me from reaching out to you.” Fu looked away from Marinette. “I’m sorry, so please let me do this for you to make up for it.”

“And so you have enough strength to reclaim the miraculous.” Fu turned his back, going to a backroom door.

Marinette nodded silently, walking out of the massage parlor, with Duusu following behind her quickly before flying into her purse.

Do you really trust him? Madame hissed as Marinette left the area of the parlor.

“Of course. I have no reason not to.” She replied, getting closer to a familiar area.
But you have no reason to! Madame growled, her anger was overflowing yet Marinette still felt calm.

“I’m aware, but I'm choosing to place my trust in him. Like I have with you!” Madame fell silent. One victory for Marinette!

Her phone rang and she pulled it out.
“Hey Alya!”

“Girl, where are you?” Alya’s voice came through, she sounded a bit panicky.

“Huh? Whats wrong?” She stopped in her tracks, concerned.

“.. do you realize the time?” Alya began to laugh a bit

“No..?” Marinette pulled the phone away from her ear, and looked at the time.

She screamed and began running towards school. “SEE YOU SOON ALYA BYE!” she hung up as she kept running. Her perfect record was ruined!

She got to school quickly, bursting through the door just as the bell rang. She collapsed into her seat, a sweating mess. She was breathing heavily before she sat properly up.

The room was silent before Alya laughed a bit, the others did as well. Marinette found herself laughing as well, it reminded her of the old days when they could laugh all together.

The laughter died down as class began, but one thing that Marinette felt drawn to was Adrien. His smile was the same, guarded but happy. But today, it only seemed guarded.

The lecture Bustier was giving faded out of her hearing as she focused on Adrien for once. Then she felt it.

It was a weird feeling, it felt like someone tugging on her body but at the same time like she was tugging on it. But at the same time that person tugging on her body was crying their eyes out, saying something silent.

A single tear fell from her eyes, which she quickly wiped away.
That feeling came from Adrien. That.. sadness, that guilt.

She’d have to ask him about it later.

⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰

Lunch came around and Marinette had walked to one of the tables in the back with her lunch, waiting for the others of their now small friend group to arrive.

Who she didn’t expect to see, would be Alix. Yet, Alix walked over to her table and sat down with the food she’d grabbed.

There was a bit of silence before Marinette smiled.
“Hey, How ya doin?”

“.. you’re.. Not suspicious?” Alix said, a bit confused. Marinette felt that confusion, it wasn’t as brutal as what she felt around Adrien, it was more a dull tone, a dull pull on her body.

“No, I have no reason to be.” She shook her head, pulling out her phone to text people. “I know that you’re trustworthy, even if you go in blind to some things.” Alix relaxed at Marinette’s words, silently nodding.

Marinette opened the group chat, tapping her fingers on the table in front of her before shooting a text.

MDC: Hey, What's going on with you guys? You’re usually not this late! It’s lunch!

She turned her phone off after sending the text, quietly eating the food she had in front of her.

The reply to her message was almost instant, sent by both Nino and Alya.

Beat drop: Adrien’s dad

Stubborn reporter: Gabriel decided to throw a fit and now we think he may be akumatized.

Marinette flinched reading the texts, Despite the confused look Alix gave her.

MDC: what? What happened?!

Beat drop: Adrien had gotten a call to do modeling and when he stood up for himself Gabriel kind of went off.

Stubborn reporter: Yeah, and then tried demanding Adrien come home to tell him that face to face, saying something about it being Adrien’s job!

Beat drop: next thing we know is there's a crash from the otherside of the call and Gabriel hangs up.

Marinette groaned, placing her phone down.
“What happened?” Alix’s voice reminded her that Alix was in fact still there.

“Adrien’s dad might be akumatized.” She replied, getting up.

“Oh shi…” Alix led off before she finished that word “We should get moving then? Find adrien?” Alix stood up quickly, her lunch wasn’t that much so she’d finished eating already.

“Yeah, come on.” Marinette abandoned the food she had, quickly grabbing her stuff and rushing out of the Cafeteria with Alix on her heel.


Finding them wasn’t the issue, seeing as Marinette knew all of their hiding spots. She had found them within the school, The issue was running into the akuma Gabriel HAD become at the same time.

The Collector, he called himself. And the issue Marinette was facing was that he wanted anything and everything in the collection he had.

That included people.
Talented people, pretty people, so on and so forth.

Marinette was talented.
So Marinette was currently running for her life, with the collector seemingly around every corner.

“Adrien’s friend, a perfect addition to my collection!” The collector taunted her occasionally, Marinette could’ve sworn it was intentional. But this was an akuma, there's no way it was intentional!

Turn left. Madame supplied, her voice calm. He’s gonna expect you to go right. Her calm voice had a sense of urgency.

Marinette didn’t have the time to disagree and just listened, quickly turning left at the next turn, sliding herself into an empty classroom. The door closed silently behind her.

It was cold and dark. But she didn’t focus on that, only focusing on the looming footsteps outside of the room.
They stopped in front of the room she was in.

Her heartbeat started to increase. They got closer, walking to the door. They paused there. She would’ve sworn her heart would jump out of her chest.

But The collector moved on, calling out for her to stop hiding and to come out already.
She breathed a silent breath of relief, looking around the room.

“I.. I can’t stay here but I can't go out there.” She whispered, standing up. She hadn’t even realized she fell to the floor.

Duusu flew out of her backpack, quietly looking around before their tail feathers fanned out in excitement.

“You should transform!” Duusu exclaimed, making Marinette flinch a bit.

“What- why- huh?!” She said after a few seconds, confused and concerned.

“You don’t have a choice, right? Then do the next best thing!” Duusu said with a smile, bouncing a bit mid air.

Marinette stood there a bit, thinking about it.. Then the footsteps arrived again, she flinched.
She met Duusu’s eyes who nodded furiously.

She sighed, breathing in.
“Okay, Duusu.” She grabbed her jacket, pulling the miraculous she’d pinned on the inside and pinning it facing out. The feather still looked beautiful even in the dark room.

The footsteps got closer, and panic began to fill her.
She took a shaky breath, again silently looking to Duusu. Their silent answer hadn’t changed.

“Okay. Duusu, Let’s fan out!” She called, watching Duusu be pulled into the miraculous. She saw a flicker just out of view, but she was distracted by the feeling of the magic washing over her.

It wasn’t like Tikki’s, who’s transformation was warm and ‘pure’. Like if she stayed there she could create anything her heart wanted.
Duusu’s magic felt like sitting under a waterfall, cold. But at the same time it was warm, filling every part of her body.

The transformation ended quickly and she staggered forward. Her body felt disconnected from her for a second. She coughed a bit as everything readjusted.

“.. So this is what the Master meant.” She whispered, Looking at her hands.

… Was it just her, or were they tinted blue?
It must just be the fact it's a dark room.
She knew the transformations had an outfit but for some reason it didn’t feel right. The outfit she wore didn’t feel like the one she’d designed a while ago. Yet there were still a few things that did feel right.

The voice of the collector distracted her from that.
“Marinette! You cannot avoid me!” He taunted. “I already have your friends, why not just join them already?”

Marinette remained silent. Looking around. She walked to where the windows were, the sudden clouds above explained the dark room.

It's a two story drop, you really gonna do it? Madame’s voice caught her by surprise, as it was clearer than normal. She jumped a bit, looking around.

Breathe, its just me, Madame. Remember? Madame laughed, Marinette laughed a bit with her but calmed down quickly.

“I.. The miraculous should brace some of it, even if its acting up.” Marinette reasoned more to herself than Madame, opening the window.

It made way too much noise than she meant it to.
“Oh, there you are.” His voice was close, and the panic Marinette felt just spiked.

The window was wide open now, and Marinette took no spare time jumping out. The drop felt long but was really short.

She was right, the drop was braced by the miraculous but a slight pain did shoot through her legs. She hissed a bit, pressing herself to the window below the classroom. She's pretty sure she was one of the last few people not captured, but that didn’t seem to make it any better.

She sat against the school for a bit, letting the pain in her legs fade.
It took a while, but it faded. She stood up with a bit of a limp, it wasn’t gone but she could move now.

She made the mistake of looking in the window.

Her hands flew to her mouth to muffle the scream.
Her skin was a pale blue, her hair had turned a navy blue, it was down, just barely reaching past her shoulder blades.
Her eyes had turned two separate colors, the left was a saturated purple while the right was the same peach color as Duusu’s eyes. The ‘mask’ she was supposed to wear was more like spray paint, two layers mixing and clashing with the other. A dark dark blue and a light blue-purple.

The outfit she wore was different than what she’d imagined.
As a base she wore a saturated blue color, with dirty gold arm braces on. Her hands were covered by navy blue gloves.

On the blue bodysuit was a dress similar to a Qipao. It looked like navy blue but then she realized she had a silk almost dress laying over it.

On her waist was a dark blue ribbon as well.
She looked down to see herself and noticed that the saturated blue bodysuit ended at the ankles, making the illusion of blue socks with equally dark shoes on.

Her hands shook as she looked at herself. She didn’t feel like herself at all. It was like she was looking at herself but fused with someone else.

It scared her.
Because that's truly what it felt like. She wasn't Marinette anymore or at all. She felt like she wanted to hurl. Even as Ladybug, she felt like herself but as a different persona.

This? This was worse. It was like someone was trying to take her over slowly at a time. Like someone was touching her all over, uncomfortably slow. She shivered, holding herself.

It felt like an eternity before that disgusting feeling faded but in reality it was only five minutes. She coughed a bit, forcing herself to look away from the window.

She took a deep breath and looked down at herself, noticing a closed fan was attached to the ribbon around her waist.

She unfurled it, frowning a bit. It was a fan , extending from the base of it were daggers that poked out from the also blue fabric, tipped with what looked like a feather from a bird. It didn’t look useful in battle. She shook it a bit, the feathers on the edges of the daggers flickered out. Like they were a hologram malfunctioning.

She stopped shaking it.
A bit of her flashed back to a conversation she had with Tikki.
Something about how each weapon the wielder gets is personalized to them, but they all remain in the same weapon group.
Like her yoyo as Ladybug could’ve been a rope dart that opened up.

She shook her head a bit, casting the memory away. The fan was like it was a forced mixture of two weapons, one with daggers and a harmless one with feathers.. Or maybe the other way around?

It was hard to tell, but she folded the fan back up. No use dwelling on it now. She looked around before launching herself off the ground.

It felt like she was flying. It terrified her, as her falling down felt slower than when she was Ladybug.

She stumbled a bit when she fell, adjusting herself to the sudden feeling of ground again. It was like she was a bird, up in the sky.

She laughed. The tears of joy came out too as she kept launching herself from rooftop to rooftop.
She’d forgotten the freeing feeling of flying through the air, even if it was a bit different than she remembered.

She stopped on the roof of her house, smiling as she stared at the horizon. However, most things don't remain happy she’s learned. The shrieks of bystanders below caught her attention, making her look down.

Several of them had their phones out, pointed at her. She flinched, remembering that she was a new hero, not Ladybug. She waved down, laughing sheepishly to herself.

She looked away from the crowd and back to the horizon. The Akuma was Gabriel agreste.. Surely he’d be going after Adrien. And By his words when he was chasing her? He hadn’t caught him.

She took a deep breath and launched herself off of the roof. Slowly yet quickly she found her way towards Adrien’s house.

She slowed herself to a stop, stumbling a bit before going steady on her feet.
She turned to the building just a little bit away from her, The Agreste mansion. She was facing the back side, where the giant window peering into Adrien’s room was. She didn’t see anyone inside, and the eerie silence around her told her this was the first place the Collector hit.

She tapped a finger on her thigh, tsking a bit to herself. With Alya being caught by the akuma it made the Ladyblog a little less reliable, but she reached for her phone..

That wasn’t there. She paused before groaning. She reached for her fan but decided against it. Instead she jumped towards Adrien’s windows. Wanting a better look.

A better look she got, when she crashed through the windows accidentally. She rolled on the ground, coughing a bit as she stood up.

She felt off focus again, stumbling a bit forward and finding herself colliding with someone.

The two remained frozen for a few seconds as she regained what felt like control over her body and backed up.

In front of her was a horrified Adrien. She felt her cheeks being to get red.

“You..?!” Adrien said, backing up a bit.

“Wait! No! Don’t worry its just me m-” She stopped herself by biting her lip.

She coughed into her hand before talking again. “I’m Lán měirén. I’m not here to hurt you.” She smiled, holding a hand out.

Adrien didn’t take it.
“I can’t trust that. That fake miraculous user Akuma must be all the proof I can have for my distrust.” Adrien seemed to growl at her.

Lán měirén rubbed the back of her head a bit, thinking.
“Oh! Uhm.. Your father is an akuma right now!” She supplied, much to a bit of his fake shock “So.. Uhm.. I don’t think Hawkmoth can make more than one akuma!”

There was a bit of silence before Adrien sighed, scowling a bit before holding his hand out. “I have no reason not to believe you right now.. So truce, until I can determine if you're trustworthy, okay?” He looked away, but he sounded less on guard.

She smiled, taking his hand quickly and shaking it. “Of course!”
She pulled her hand away, going to sit on the couch.

“Unfortunately the Ladyblogger was caught by the akuma so i don’t know where it possibly is right now.” she pulled her fan out, looking at it before setting it next to her.

“Reassuring, but that means there's a chance he’s.. Coming here for me.” Adrien said, pacing in the area behind her.

“That's.. Not good.” She muttered. “That means.. He’s probably really close!” She gasped, launching up and grabbing her fan.

“I need to get you out of here!” She rushed up to Adrien, grabbing his hand. “But i.. Where..” She let go of his hand, running her hands through her hair in annoyed confusion.




Adrien looked at the.. Miraculous user in front of him who was having a small panic attack. He was on edge, He couldn’t tell what miraculous she had and he reasoned it probably wasn’t good because her skin was blue!
Blue!

He really wanted to be Chat right now. Taking the chance to snoop in his father’s room wasn’t the best idea anymore. Mainly since he was about to transform when she literally crashed through the window.

He looked at the glass on the floor, silently praying it’d be fixed with Miraculous Ladybug.
He looked back at the girl.. Lán měirén was it? That's chinese.

Blue Beauty. Lán měirén. It was a pretty name yet she seemed to stumble out saying it, like she didn’t like it.
Like she was forced to use it.


He’ll have to ask Noir about this later.

“Lán měirén?” He called out, having her attention snap onto him.
She waved, waiting for him to continue.

“You have a miraculous like Chat Noir and.. Harlequin. But they have apparent themes, Like a Cat and a Ladybug.” He rubbed the back of his head, meeting her eyes. “I can’t tell one that's for you, and I'm not interested in taking your miraculous.. So can i-”

“Sure!” She cut him off. “The miraculous I’m wielding is the peafowl, or peacock! Well it’d be more Peahen since im a girl.” Adrien’s blood ran cold. Noir said it was broken, and worse, that a bit of that old miraculous user's soul may be with it.

The name of her was obvious now then. He doesn’t know the extent of the power the soul has over her, but he can guess. The bit of fidgeting she did, the way she looked oddly like two people in one now that he was paying attention.

He also knew he couldn’t do anything as Adrien right now. Adrien didn’t have a miraculous or knowledge of the miraculous. If he could just transform into Chat Noir he may be able to help her a bit!




“Well..” Lán měirén said, grabbing Adrien's hand.
“I should get you out of this house regardless, It's not safe!”

She didn’t give him a moment to prepare as she lifted him up, Princess style! He felt like a damsel in distress.
He silently gives Ladybug an apology as Lán měirén launches out of the broken window with him in her arms.

They landed on the roof of a building across from the Agreste mansion, Lán měirén gently setting Adrien down.

“There, safe! I’ll be back for you when the akuma is-” Lán měirén was cut off by her falling down, coughing badly.

A panic fell through Adrien as he knelt to help her, but she kept coughing. Blood even came up. It lasted a few minutes before she was able to stop.

“I’m.. I’m ok!” She said, standing up much to Adrien’s worry.
She didn’t give him a chance to check if she was really okay as she jumped off, back into Adrien’s room. She ran away and he knew it. They both knew it.

Adrien waited a few seconds before opening his jacket a bit, letting Plagg fly out.
“Well, that chick wasn’t mentally okay.” Plagg commented, as if it wasn’t obvious.

“Nope. Maybe Chat Noir can help though, with the akuma and her!” Adrien said, adjusting the collar of his shirt.

“Alright, Plagg, CLAWS OUT!” He called the transformation, Feeling the magic wash over him and replaced him with Chat Noir.

Chat grabbed his baton, quickly extending it and vaulting himself towards where Lán měirén had disappeared to. Back into the Agreste mansion.



Lán měirén walked through the halls of the Agreste mansion, tense and afraid. Madame had been silent since she transformed and the silence of her friend was terrifying. She hoped she hadn’t done anything wrong to deserve the silent treatment.

One of her hands hovered over the fan at her waist, ready to grab it if she needed to. The clicking of her shoes was the only noise that followed her through these white walls. She has no idea how Adrien managed to live here, almost isolated from the world save for the employee’s.

She heard a set of doors slam open far away, causing her to turn around and grab her fan quickly. She looked at it in a bit of panic, unable to tell how she’d fight with it. She brushed the idea aside as she made her way towards the front of the manor.

She hadn’t expected to run into Chat Noir when they got to the front of the manor. He stood atop the stairs while she was down by the front door. She tensed up, fan out defensively.

“Whoa whoa, calm down!” He said, putting his hands out. “I’m not here to hurt you, i have to deal with the akuma first before i determine if you’re friend or foe.” he was guarded but she lowered her fan, willing to put her trust in her.. Partner.

A smile came to her face realizing she could call him that again.

“Ah.. I.. I see. My name is Lán měirén, Chat noir.” She bowed slightly before standing up straight. He walked down the stairs. “Temporary truce until the akuma is dealt with, then I'll determine who you are in this.. Mess.” he said, pulling out his baton.

“It won't take long, since your miraculous will be mine by then!” The collector very suddenly jumped out of a blind spot the two shared, causing them both to stumble back.

Chat flung his Baton at the collector, only for it to be caught in his book.
Much to their shock, the baton vanished. Becoming a page in the book the collector held.

“The book!” She said, flipping her fan out quickly. It was like muscle memory. “That must be where the akuma is!”
“LUC-” She went to throw her fan up, but stopped.

She backed up a bit, remembering brutally she wasn’t Ladybug right now. Chat looked at her in a bit of horror. She shared it.

Use your amok. Madame’s voice cut through her mind like a knife. Clean, harsh. “But i don’t know-” She tried to reply

I’ll teach you. Madame cut her off. Pull out a feather from your fan.
Quickly, Lán měirén pulled her fan to her and plucked a feather from the edge of the fan.

Now, do whatever you wish, kiss the feather or cup it with your hands, but infuse it with your power. Madame whispered, it was like she was in her ear. Kneeling down to reach her.

Lán měirén shivered, gently bringing the feather to her mouth and kissing it. The once white feather turned a beautiful baby blue.

Blow it away, to your host. Give them the power of the Amok. Madame supplied, Lán měirén could’ve sworn she meant Chat..

So she blew away the feather gently, it picked up on the wind and flew out of her hand, right towards Chat.

He panicked for a second before the feather connected with the Bell on his collar, phasing into it and dying the bell blue.

A mask flickered to life on both of their faces, A blue mask similar to Hawkmoths but more round, blue and more like feathered wings than a butterfly.

The words came to her quickly.
“Chat noir, I gift you the power to make your fear your strength. The fear you feel shall no longer over power you. But in exchange, I need your help to take down this akuma!” Lán měirén called out, refusing to look away from the looming akuma who looked.. Angry.

Angry was an understatement.

Chat fumbled his words a moment, looking terrified but he closed his eyes.
“I accept.” he said, but he sounded like he’d just been betrayed. He tensed up, expecting something to happen but..

The bell on his collar suddenly detached, swirling in a blue color before it turned into a sabre. Sharp and deadly.
It fell into his hand, making him gasp a bit.

Lán měirén heard a beep come from her chest, causing her to look down. A feather on the miraculous had gone dark. Damnit! It had a timer!

She looked back up at the akuma only to find it charging her.
She screamed, holding her fan up in self defense before being tackled out of the way by Chat.

The collector skidded to a halt when the two of them were out of his way, but his book still hit the stairs in front of him. The staircase disappeared into the book, dissolving into black.

“Run!” She whispered, breaking from Chat’s arms and launching herself towards the upstairs hallways, just barely dodging the book thrown at her.

Chat used the sabre to knock at the Collector, who called the book back into his hand, thrusting the open book at Chat who ducked.

The collector growled, So did Chat.
The two were preoccupied with each other so Lán měirén quickly ran to Adrien’s bedroom, having an inkling something there could help. With no lucky charm and no.. Amok, whatever that is, she didn’t know what to do. She groaned a bit, but still ran into the Bedroom.

Only to find Chat not too far behind her. The two wordlessly closed the door together and moved the couch Adrien had in front of it, along with some of the arcade machines Adrien had in front of it.

“Sword got absorbed but i don’t feel any fear.. Is.. that your doing?” Chat said as he looked around the room frantically.

“Probably! I forgot to get the crash course from my Kwami before I transformed because I never planned to!” She laughed out, Quickly jumping up to the library Adrien had.

“I think his book has limits! We need to just fill it!” She said, pulling out a few CD’s.

Chat quickly jumped up to join her.
“Yeah, how?! There's nothing we can use to fire at him!”
She turned around looked at the Foosball and bit her lip.

“If i had something like a bike pedal i could’ve used that as a makeshift launcher..” She muttered, still quickly looking around the room.

“Where is Harlequin anyways?!” Chat growled out, unable to see through his baton since the Collector had it.

“Don’t know!” She replied, bouncing in place a bit.

“Maybe we could use something to crush him with?” Chat supplied, mainly looking at his bed.

“Yes, but what happens when he just sucks it up with his book?” she shrieked a bit, feeling the fear rise up.

“.. Good point.” He muttered.

A red yoyo flung into the room, right at Lán měirén. She gasped a bit, quickly ducking.
“Chat!” Harlequin’s voice came as she launched into the room.

“What are you doing! Thats the akuma isn’t she?!” Harlequin shrieked, launching her yoyo at Lán měirén again.

Chat caught it instead, glaring at her.
“No! The akuma is Gabriel agreste, and he’s about to be here! I need you to summon your Lucky Charm!”

“Ugh.. but i only just-”

“DO IT!” Both Chat and Lán yelled, causing her to flinch a bit.

“Fine! LUCKY CHARM!” Harlequin called out, causing a.. Bike pedal to fall from the creation magic.

“Oh Luck how i bless you.” Lán muttered, quickly hopping down and yoinking the pedal from Harlequin’s hands.
“HEY!” she shrieked a bit.

She went to the Foosball table, aiming it at the door to Adrien’s bedroom. Quickly, she untied the ribbon around her waist and tied it around the rotating levers. Unscrewing the top of one, she screwed the bike pedal in.

“Chat! Cataclysm the bookshelf and don't destroy the CD’s! We’ll use those to fire at him!” Lán supplied as she finished screwing in the bike pedal.

“Got it! CATACLYSM!” Chat ran the hand with the charged destruction along the shelf, destroying it.
He was a little surprised when only the CD’s fell out.

Harlequin jumped up, huffing a bit and grabbing one.
“What is this even going to-” She didn’t get to finish her sentence as the Collector barged into the room, all of the objects that were keeping the door closed had been dissolved into the book.

Lán gulped, praying to all things good that this worked. “Ammunition coming!” Chat said from above, dropping a handful of CD’s down.

She took a deep breath and began rotating the pedal quickly.
It worked perfectly, instead of the CD’s getting stuck there they shot right at the collector, who foolishly absorbed them all in his book. He walked closer to her, as the CD’s kept falling. He has this maniac glee in his eyes.

“No more Ammo!” Harlequin whined after what felt like a few minutes. Chat gasped, so did Lán měirén. The Foosball table in front of her was dissolved, and she backed up.

Falling onto the floor. Her fan was still with the ribbon. The collector followed her nonetheless, backing her up against the wall.

“I’ll be taking back the miraculous, thank you.” He taunted, that maniac smile still on his face. She even felt the glee radiating off of him.

She held her hands up over her face, even closing her eyes, as the collector placed the open book to her skin.



Nothing happened. Her eyes shot open as she realized that.
The collector gasped, backing up but Chat was faster to act. Quickly launching down from the upper floor of Adrien’s room he slammed the collector to the ground, his book flying out of his hands. Harlequin quickly caught it, ripping it in half.

“No more akuma’s for you, little one!” She said, bored. Opening her Yoyo she launched it at the butterfly that flew out of the book. She caught it, bringing the yoyo back to herself.
“Bye bye little butterfly!” she said, releasing the now white butterfly who flew out of the window.. And up.

Lán měirén narrowed her eyes at that, letting Chat and Harlequin handle Gabriel.
The butterflies had always gone in one direction, but it was never straight up.
She looked at Gabriel who was being pulled up by Chat.

Something didn’t feel right, and she didn’t have the time to test it.
The several beeps from all of their miraculi told them that much.

Harlequin grabbed the bike pedal quickly, chucking it up. “MIRACULOUS LADYBUG!” She cried out, the magic ladybugs exploding from the once Lucky charm. Everything reverted to normal, Adrien’s room completely back to how it was.

Lán měirén didn’t stay around to test Harlequin’s patience.
She opened a window quickly, and jumped out of it. And out of sight.



The uncomfortable feeling in her chest rose, and she rushed to get home. She leapt from rooftop to rooftop, her home in sight.

She fell into the space behind the bakery, coughing up a storm as the transformation fell from her.

She could hear the muffled words of Duusu, they sounded happy at first but then they turned concerned, confused. She kept coughing, even gagging a few times.

The coughing stopped as fast as it came, and she realized she was knelt on the ground. Hand over her mouth.

She pulled it away, only to feel it wet.
She looked. Even if everything told her not to.

She saw blood. It wasn’t much, but there was still blood. She weakly stood up, wiping the blood off furiously on her pants. Blood, no matter how small, always made her parents concerned.

She couldn’t let them realize she was putting her life in danger now.

..

She couldn’t bear to tell them that their daughter might be dying.
Their smiles were worth protecting, even if she had to go silently.

Chapter Text

“Adrien.” Chloé said, startling the group of four.

“ Chloé .” Alya replied in turn instead, turning to glare at her.
“We were enjoying the silence, you know.” She motioned to the quiet room around them, besides for bustier.

“Plus! It's early! Why are you even here?” Alya’s hostility wasn’t unknown to Chloé , she knew she deserved it.

She huffed a bit, looking away.
“I need to talk to Adrien.” She said, refusing to meet any of their eyes.

“Well if it's so important you can do it here.” Nino spoke, finally looking up from his phone.

Chloé flinched, half expecting this.
“Okay, fine!” She rolled her eyes, turning to face them all.
“I wanted to throw a party for the class to do.. Something to show them I care.” She looked down, feeling rather embarrassed.

“Everyone has been so divided I would've thought that maybe, just maybe, something like this could.. Uncloud their mind?” She motioned a bit with her hands, before crossing them.

The group in front of her was silent for a bit before Adrien and Marinette smiled together.
“That sounds like a great idea!” They both exclaimed, Marinette more bouncy than Adrien.

“Well.. I’m planning to have it at the hotel.. Because Daddy runs it.” She rubbed the back of her neck, still feeling a bit stupid for being so nervous.

“I can help with catering!” Marinette suddenly spoke again, surprising Chloé , Alya and Nino.

“But.. I hated you, bullied you even.. Why?” Chlo é was confused. She honestly couldn't wrap her head around why Marinette still liked her.

She bullied her for years, she hurt her mentally for years. Yeah she never went Physical nor did she do anything Lila did but..

“Because! You’re trying, yeah you fall back into old habits but you’re trying to be nice!” Marinette smiled, already pulling her phone out.
“And I think kindness should be rewarded, no matter how tiny you think it is.” Chloé fell silent. She bit her lip a bit, just to fight back the tears.

“.. Thank you.” Chloé whispered, before quickly going to her seat in the front. Not wanting any of them to see her shed a tear.
She’d forgotten how nice Marinette was. How everyone was nice.

She pulled her phone out quietly and began making a checklist.
Sabrina walked up, a small gasp as she went to quickly sit next to her.

“Chloé! Are you ok!?” She whisper-yelled, worried.

“Yeah, I am.. I’m just remembering how nice everyone is to me.” She showed Sabrina her phone, who curiously looked at it.

“Marinette? She’s.. Not trying to set you up?” Sabrina looked back to the group, curiously.

“No. She.. She meant it. Like I meant it when I took you from Lila’s grasps.” Chloé laughed to herself a bit, before going silently serious.

“Did you learn anything from the time you were with her though?” Chloé’s voice was low and serious.

Sabrina nodded, her voice mimicked the seriousness Chloé held.
“I did. She got new earrings around the time Marinette was sent into the hospital. She never wears them but always shows them off. Saying Ladybug custom ordered them for her.” Sabrina pulled her own phone out, showing a photo of them.

“Not only, when Harlequin arrived Lila has been doing nothing but singing her praise. Everyone eats it up. That's all I have though. Everything else is oddly blurry.” Chloé nodded to Sabrina’s words. It made sense but Chloé ’s suspicions about who the two Ladybug wielders were..

Weren’t looking good. And yet good at the same time. Because if she was right, She’d have the original Ladybug back with her miraculous soon.

“About the party I'm planning.” The seriousness left Chloé ’s voice as she began talking to Sabrina about it, sprinkling different topics in every now and again.

⊱ ────── {⋅. ✯ .⋅} ────── ⊰


Adrien met Chloé at her hotel room like she’d asked so they could talk things over about the party, but he’s pretty sure there's some alternative motive.

He opened the hotel door that led to Chloé ’s flat, seeing Chloé and Sabrina already inside.

“Adrien!” Sabrina called out, waving. He politely waved back as he entered the room and closed the door behind him.

“Okay, what's up with the party?” Adrien said, a hint of annoyance in his words.

“What do you mean, Adrien? I already told you, it's meant to lower tensions for the class.” Chloé didn’t miss a beat in her reply, a smile as she was combing through Sabrina’s wet hair.

“You never do stuff like this unless you have ulterior motives, Chlo. I’ve known you all my life, I'm not that blind.” He hissed out, making Sabrina flinch a bit in surprise. He gave an apologetic smile, he forgot she was there.

“Humph. Should’ve known better than to hide stuff from you.” She placed the comb down, grabbing a hair dryer.
“Of course there's an ulterior motive. The motives are Lila and seeing how far her lying can go.” She flicked the on button, gently drying Sabrina’s hair

“Oh.” Adrien muttered. “In hindsight that's a bit obvious.” he laughed out

“Hindsight does wonders, Adrien.” Chloé put down the hair dryer, turning it off.
“If you’re not gonna be productive, then you should probably go do something else. I need to talk to…” She hesitated. “Jean-claude!” She said confidently.

“Chloé , It's Jean-Sebastian.” Sabrina reminded her, causing Chloé to blush a bit.

“Right. Jean-Sebastian.” Adrien laughed a bit but made his way to the door.

“I’m.. Pretty tired from everything going on, I'll just head home so I don't bother you girls. Have fun planning!” He didn’t give them a moment to stop him before he quickly rushed out of the hotel room, and hotel in general.  He got to the Limo waiting for him, before running a hand through his hair.


“Plagg, are you sure Lila is using..?” Plagg flew out of the white jacket he wore. 
“Pretty sure. It’s been a few centuries since I last felt it being used but I'm pretty sure that unfortunate girl is a descendant of the Fox.” Plagg still had his normal tone of voice as he spoke, twirling around in the air. Like he didn’t take this seriously.

“Worst part may be that she’s being slowly corrupted by Hawkmoth’s magic which is twisting her personality.” He said like it was the most normal thing in the world, going to sit in Adrien’s jacket pocket.

“I’m going to bed. Wake me when we’re home.” He groaned, before falling silent. Leaving Adrien with his thoughts.
Lila. Lila Lila Lila Lila. He groaned slightly. He could even hear his annoyance.

He’d finally learned why everyone was so quick to believe Lila. Lila had the ability to make anyone trust her with just her words, no matter how outlandish their claims. No thanks to Plagg actually paying attention he has a possibility.

Magic. Of course it's magic, why isn’t it? He closed his eyes in annoyance, trying to process this properly.
Even worse is that she might’ve been doing it for real on the first day but ever since she was Akumatized she’s gotten worse.
The corrupting power of the butterfly wasn’t new, but it was new that it made a non-akuma a twisted version of themselves.

Although, in hindsight, akumatization is simply that. Lila just lacks the abilities of an Akuma, besides for that magic she has through a possibility of lineage. A good reason/motive, still murder as someone close to him would’ve said.

He snapped his eyes open as a dawning realization grew over him.
Lila. Harlequin.
Kwami, the two were connected weren’t they?

Lila praises Harlequin like no tomorrow and Harlequin makes no effort to stop Lila. They could even be the same person. Besides the slight alteration the miraculous gifts as a glamour, you’re virtually the same.

Harlequin and Lila shared the Olive eye color, even the same hair color. Harlequin just wore it in different hairstyles occasionally, with the tips dyed in red. Even then, Lila wears her hair in a ponytail at the same time Harlequin does.

He pushed it from his mind, he didn’t have proper proof to convince himself it was true.
For now? Lila was just working with Harlequin. Maybe Lila had a twin.  He didn’t have enough evidence to condemn her. He’ll just have to work with Chloé to break people out of that magic Lila cast over them. The car stopped as they arrived at the manor and he gave a small wave before exiting the vehicle

He expected to see a disappointed Nathalie, he did not expect to see Kagami.
“Kagami?” The shock in his voice was real as he stepped completely out of the limo, driving away when he did.

“Oh, Agreste-sama.” Kagami bowed slightly before walking over. “I wanted to hang out with you and the other girl.”

“You could’ve just called me!” he laughed out, happy to see her again.
“But, you were right. We did meet again on a sunny day.”

Kagami nodded, her posture was stiff and unreadable like her face. There were small little things he could see happen but couldn’t read it, not yet.

“I would’ve, but I unfortunately do not have your phone number.” Adrien flinched, fumbling his phone out of his pocket. He looked back at her from his phone and he could’ve sworn he saw her smile.


Why is his heart being so annoying today?

“Let's fix that then! I’ll give you Marinette’s number as well because i fear she’s probably no better off than i am with this.” He laughed out, quickly turning it on and going to the contacts list.

Adding Kagami on his phone wasn’t the issue apparently.
But when she offered to hand it to him so it’d go easier he found himself giddy, excited even.

Of all these times he had to be an isolated child, it’s when he’s experiencing something he hasn’t felt before. Giving her his and marinette’s phone number went quicker than he wanted it do for some reason

He swiftly handed her back her phone and texted her on his phone. The reply was instant and swift. His smile grew as he looked up at her from his phone.

He did not expect to see her so close to his face.
“Agreste-sama, are you running a fever?”
Kagami put a hand to his forehead as she spoke, her stoic face had broken slightly to show the faintest of concern.
“I can get you a doctor if you’re feeling unwell.”

Adrien found himself acting before he thought and quickly grabbed Kagami’s hand in his. “Of course I'm okay, You’re here!”

The silence that lasted only a few seconds felt like an eternity to Adrien as his mind caught up to his actions. The red on his face must’ve gotten worse as Kagami looked concerned and amused for a moment.

“Oh.” Was all she said.
Kwami’s help him.




Across town from the Agreste mansion, Marinette sat in her room. That whole party suggestion Chloé had made still bothered her, because it smelled of ulterior motives.

She has her phone open to Chloé ’s contacts to call her but she hadn’t pressed the call button yet. Her anxiety had spiked and she was dealing with that.

The world around her felt like it was moving on without her, Like she was dragged behind. She hadn’t realized the massive side effects of using a broken miraculous. It sounded bad, but it was worse when she experienced it.

She tapped a finger on her desk, trying to ride out the anxiety spike but failing horribly. She stood up, going to her vanity and opening a drawer. Inside were the incense the Master had given her. She hadn’t used any since she got them.. So it can’t hurt to use one.

She pulled one incense out, holding it gently. She opened another drawer while closing the one she’d opened, pulling out a small little incense burner. She's very grateful she had a phase when she was younger that incense burners were a craze.

She returned to her desk with the two items, placing the incense in the slot made for it.
“.. I need a lighter.” She whispered to herself, voice a little hoarse. She looked down at the tray to the burner and saw nothing so she went looking around her workspace.

Rolling her chair over, she moved a few pieces of paper away from her sewing machine. She knew she had one, just a matter of where it got put.

Took her a few seconds before she located it. Hidden beneath a piece of sketch paper that she’d thrown away. It was placed in such a way she had a feeling a certain Kwami had moved it.

“.. Tikki, you knew I wouldn't have.” She muttered to herself as she grabbed it. Silently she rolled her chair back to her computer, and the incense burner.

Quietly she lit the incense, setting the lighter down with her pencils and moving the incense burner off to the left of her computer.
Duusu took that time to wake up from their nap, flying over and snuggling into Marinette’s cheek.

It seems Duusu was in one of those weird mute periods. Probably had something to do with the broken miraculous, obviously..
Marinette gently rubbed the top of their head.

She expected Madame to speak up but she’d been oddly silent since Marinette transformed into Lán měirén. She shuddered just thinking about it.

So she decided not to. Looking back down to the phone in front of her she closed her eyes and hit the call button, slowly moving the phone up to her ear.

It rang a few times before Chloé picked up.
“What is it, Dupain-cheng? I’m busy.” Chloé said. Marinette could imagine the small snarl on her face.

“I’m here to ask you the point of this damn party.” Marinette hissed out, a lot more aggressive than she’d intended. “It’s not like you and this reeks of a set up.”

There's a beat before Chloé groans.
“You and Adrien think too much alike.” she said a bit to herself

“Yes of course there's ulterior motives. Those motives are to try and set Lila up for failure and to get some classmates back from her control.” Chloé snapped, already sounding fed up.

“Look, I'm busy. If you’re here to lecture me to be a good person I'm going to hang up on you.” Chloé said slowly, and Marinette heard the movement of something beyond the line.

“Fine! Whatever. I got my answer.” Marinette hung up quickly, the small headache she always got when dealing with Chloé creeping up on her.

She placed her phone face down. She sat there a second before grabbing it again and sending a text to Chloé.

Marinette: Tell me the time for the party.

The reply was instant, surprising Marinette a bit.

Chloé: 3 pm tomorrow.

A small smile fell onto her face as she read the message. Why was she so angry again? Doesn’t matter really. She turned the phone face down and got to work on an overcoat she’d been creating.  The dye was being finicky and not fading the way she had it in her mind.

Her mind drifted off as she got to work. Thoughts came and went but just like every other time she let her mind wander, it came to the snowy wasteland she’d grown to adore.

The snowy wasteland she and Madame would converse in.

⊱ ────── {.⋅ ✯ ⋅.} ────── ⊰

The next day came quicker than Marinette expected. Thank lord for the weekend as she walked up to the Le Grand Paris hotel. Like she’d mentioned before, she brought some food made by her parents. And by ‘some’ she means about 5 boxes worth of food.

She’s suddenly very glad her balance has been getting better these past days, mainly since she's sure if she walks any further they’re all gonna tip and fall.

Luckily for her, there were hotel workers. And they spared no time rushing over to her when she walked in the door and helping her with the boxes of food.

“Thank you~” She whispered a bit as she followed them with two boxes in her hands instead of five. She followed behind the staff as they walked to the elevator with her. Going to the second floor it opened to an obviously party room, with a table of food. Where the three of them walked and placed food down. 

No one asked her to leave so she helped them unbox the food, even telling them what was what. Macaroons, cookies, even some regular old pasta for people who wanted it.

“Miss?” A staff member said behind her, she turned to face them as she was looking over everything.
“Do you mind just telling the staff what was brought? We need to keep everything organized.” She was kind, and had that kind smile as well.

Marinette nodded, quickly pulling out a list her parents sent her with.
“Yeah! We have Macaroons here. A majority of them are strawberry flavored with a minority from most to least being vanilla, chocolate, blueberry and passionfruit.” Marinette listed off as the staff member nodded, writing it down as she spoke.

Marinette waited a second before continuing.
“Next we have cookies, those are all just regular chocolate chips. Nothing special.” The staff member nodded at her words. It was nice to be treated so kindly.

“Next is..” She hesitated a second, looking at the list a bit.
“.. a lot of homemade food. Pasta is the majority but there should be some potatoes and bread along with it.” She finished. How had she forgotten that..? She helped make it!

The staff member nodded and left to the kitchen without another word. But Marinette was still confused on how she’d forgotten that so quickly. She gulped a bit, a looming horror coming over her.

A hand was placed on her shoulder, causing her to flinch and turn around. Behind her was Ivan.
She tensed up, expecting something like what Kim would do. Physical harm. But it never came. Instead she opened her eyes to see both Ivan and Mylene still waiting patiently, concern written on Ivan’s face.

“Uhm.. You’re.. Here for the food, right?” She scrambled to get out, quickly moving out of their way.

“Yes but you looked like..” Mylene attempted to say before being cut off by Marinette in her frantic hurry to get away.

“I swear I didn't do anything! I’m sorry I'll just get out of your way!” She ran. The hotel was big and the lobby was bigger. There was no traffic as the hotel was closed today so she just ran. She found a hiding spot by the kitchen downstairs. She hadn’t even realized she went that far.

She took a breath of relief. She could hear people working in the kitchen but it fell into background noise as she went to control the raging anxiety. Sliding down the wall she had her back pressed to, she hid her face in her knees.

She didn’t even notice a girl walk up to her until she said her name.
“Marinette?” A familiar voice called out, causing her to look up from her knees.

Kagami was crouched in front of her. Stoic but she wasn’t leaving or mocking her. “Oh.. You’re Kagami, right?” Marinette said, quickly rubbing at her face to get rid of the tears.

“This is the second time I've found you crying.” Kagami nodded as she spoke. She offered a hand which Marinette shakily took.

Kagami pulled Marinette onto her feet.
“What are you doing here?” Marinette questioned, honestly pretty confused.
“Agreste-sama brought me here. Something about making more friends.” Kagami shook her head a bit.

“Although I see it a bit pointless, Agreste was very vocal and persistent. I mainly came because he said I could see you again.” Kagami gave a small, obviously practiced smile.

It made her heart skip a beat.
….
OH NO.

The dreadful realization that fell on Marinette as Kagami dragged her away from her hiding spot was heavy.
Kagami was just a girl! A cute one, yes but..
..
She should stop thinking for a bit. Lest she make this worse.


Marinette felt her face flush up as Kagami pulled her to where the others were. Out of the elevator they went, and her face probably became even more red as Adrien rushed up to her and hugged her.

“Oh good! I got worried!” he said, though her rapid heartbeat made it a bit hard for her to hear him.
… Was it her or was it hot in this room?

It was probably just her.
She broke free from Adrien’s crushing hug with a small laugh. “I’m sorry to have worried you! But uhm.. There's food! Made by my parents!” Marinette attempted to shift the conversation. It was obvious but no one made a comment on it.

A part of her prayed there would be no akuma today.
But another part of her knew it’d happen.

Marinette looked over at Chloé to see her standing by Alix. The two were talking, looking out at the class as they filed in. Chloé would occasionally wave if they noticed her.

Marinette pulled her attention back to Kagami. Still a little impressed she was allowed in.
“Oh, I forgot to give you my number..!” Marinette scrambled to pull out her phone before Kagami stopped her.

“Agreste gave it to me, said you wouldn’t mind.” Kagami said, causing Marinette to shoot a glare at the blonde standing next to her.
He looked away.

Marinette kicked him lightly.
“That was deserved, fine.” Adrien mumbled a bit. “Pass on the physical violence.”

Marinette blew a raspberry.
Her line of sight found its way back to Chloé, who looked a bit uncomfortable.

She followed Chloé’s sight and saw a butler, holding what looked to be a stuffed.. Bear.
Oh dear.

“Hey Adrien? Do you know why that butler is holding a stuffed bear in Chloé’s eyesight?” She pointed to the butler, causing Adrien to look over as well.

“.. Oh. That's one of the personal butlers, specifically for Chloé.” He sounded uneasy. “The thing he’s holding is one of the last gifts her mom gave her before she went to NYC. Generally it's a comforting thing for Chloé but I don't think he realizes she doesn’t need it.”

Marinette looked away from the butler and instead to the doors where she saw Lila walk through with the rest of the class.
“I don’t think it's a ‘doesn’t need it’ anymore. Lila’s here.” She whispered. Adrien nodded a bit.

“Lila?” Kagami questioned but Marinette’s sight never left Lila.

“She’s a girl in our class who managed to take it over day one. She has everyone under her thumb, even if they should know better.” Marinette growled out a bit, softly. “She’s used this to basically ruin my reputation anywhere she can just because I figured out she was lying first.. Or some other reason.”

Kagami quietly nodded. Mimicking Marinette’s sight, keeping eyes on Lila.
It wasn’t hard, since she enjoyed being the center of attention. Lila had walked over to the food, and suddenly she was glad she never made it known she’d brought some food. She took a deep breath just as Lila made a giant dramatic gasp.

The silently shared sentiment between her, Adrien and Chloé wasn’t too hard to guess as Lila spoke
“Coconut? Chloé!” Lila whined, crocodile tears already beginning to spill.
“You knew i was allergic, you planned to try and cause an allergic reaction!”

Marinette watched the group in mild annoyance before noticing two people missing.
Ivan and Mylene. Which is odd, because they were here.

She stepped forward, away from the protection of her two friends.
“Uhm, Actually..” She spoke up quietly.
Louder. Madame’s voice cut through her mind suddenly.

If you want to be heard, speak louder. She was using that commanding voice again. She had a point, though.

So she spoke up. Over Lila’s accusations. Well ‘spoke’ up is the wrong word, she accidentally yelled.

“WOULD YOU SHUT UP FOR A MOMENT!?” Marinette yelled, gaining the silence she wished. Mainly out of shock but it was silent.

“Thank you!” She sighed as she walked up to the macaroons. “Actually this flavor is Passion Fruit. That's why there are so few. I only know one person here who likes passion fruit!” She pointed a finger at Adrien who waved.

“PLUS!” she said louder than she intended again.
“You guys should know the difference, besides Lila! You’ve all grown up around me!”

.. Why did the words coming out of her mouth not.. Feel like her own words? Like someone was talking for her.
She shrugged it off. There's no way it wasn’t her words. She was the one speaking.


“She’s right, you know.” A small voice spoke up, causing probably everyone to look over to Mylene and Ivan who stood side by side. Hand in Hand.

“Coconut macaroon’s look different, remember?” Mylene was questioning. Forcibly, and leaving no room to interrupt her
“Because they’re hard to make into Macaroons, that's what Marinette said when we requested them for a school party.”

There was silence. No one spoke up, no one argued. A small spark of hope erupted in Marinette’s chest.

No, that spark of hope was always there.
She’d just chosen to pay attention to it now.

The silence was broken by the crocodile tears again.
“Mylene.. I can’t believe you’re working for Chloé now.. With Marinette? Is that how far low she’d stoop?” She hid her face behind her hands, even going as far as to run away.

The class silently glared at her before chasing Lila.
Ivan and Mylene stayed behind.

Marinette released a sigh she didn’t even know she was holding. Only to be engulfed in a hug by Mylene and Ivan.
“I’m so sorry Marinette!” Mylene whimpered, real tears falling from her cheeks as she hugged her.

Ivan nodded. “I’m sorry, I should've.. I don’t know why I didn't do anything or ask you.” He said, crushing both small girls in his hug.

The two released her after a few seconds, and she just smiled at them. She felt their sincerity, almost literally.


Maybe it was literally?

She pulled away from them
“It’s okay, I forgive you. I never held it against any of you anyways. I’m just glad that this is starting to come to an end.” She laughed it off, trying to ignore the weird sensation she felt from them.

A small shriek came from a little far off, causing the three to turn their heads.

A butler was in front of Chloé, holding what appeared to be a stuffed teddy bear. The blush on Chloé's face was enough to tell them that it was an embarrassing thing for others to know of.

Everyone still there watched Chloé quickly drag the butler away, out of earshot and eye sight.


“I need to be right back.” she laughed, pointing towards the direction of the bathroom. Ivan and Mylene nodded before walking over to Adrien and Kagami.

Marinette made a run for it.
There was no way she was imagining this.
The wave of fear and self disappointment coming from that Butler screamed akuma.

She rushed into the silent bathroom, closing the door behind her.
Duusu flew out of her coat, concerned.

“Is there an issue, Marinette?” They voiced their concerns without hesitation.

“Duusu, is there a side effect to the miraculous that has something to do with emotions?” She said as she unpinned the miraculous from the inner jacket, moving it to the outer side.

“Oh! Yes there is!” Duusu rubbed the back of their head in embarrassment. Marinette felt it.
“I forgot to mention it, I'm sorry. Due to my magic being a base thing you can experience, it ends up allowing you to experience the emotions of others around you.” Duusu twirled around as they spoke.

“It starts out small so you can work to control it when it comes in full force!” They chirped. Marinette was a bit worried about the ‘full force’.

But she nodded. “Alright. Good thing I'm not going nuts.” she laughed out before adjusting her jacket.

“Duusu! Let's fan out!” She called the transformation, feeling the magic wash over her.
And she knew the gross feeling was coming.

And it did come, she propped herself up against the sink. She was unbalanced and it felt like she wasn’t in control of her body.

The feeling of having hands intimately all over her body returned, it made her uncomfortable.

It faded within seconds but it felt like hours. She released the breath she was holding as she stood up properly. She flexed her hand a bit, feeling back in control.
She shook her head and burst out of the bathroom, running towards the party.

She slowed to a calm walk when she got close enough to hear voices. She heard Lila. Not her exact words but enough to roll her eyes.

Why not be dramatic? Madame said, as clear as ever in these transformations.
You’re the peacock here. You deserve the attention, not her.

She hummed a bit, grabbing her fan and flicking it out. She wasn’t thinking about it, but Madame usually knew best. Right?

She gently placed the fan in front of her face, hiding it slightly as she walked in. Her heels could be pretty loud when she wanted them to be.

The once talkative room fell silent as she walked out of the shadowed hallway. Fear radiated off of a few of them. Besides for two, oddly enough.

Adrien and Lila.
Shock and mild anger respectively came from them. But everyone was tense as she walked into the room slowly and calmly. Maybe a bit elegantly if she was humoring herself.

She stopped a few feet into the light and lowered her fan, quietly plucking a feather from it as she lowered it.
She didn’t move her head but she looked around the room a bit.
She noticed Alya getting giddy, despite being fearful.


Use your Amok. Madame commanded, Lán měirén hummed a bit in response. Her eyes landed on Chloé.

Gently she raised the feather to her mouth and kissed it, it turning a baby blue color before she blew it away.
A few gasps sounded out as the feather flew up into the air, above everyone there before falling towards Chloé.

Chloé held her hand up over her face, fearing the worst before the feather sunk into the bracelet she wore, turning it a brilliant navy blue.

A feather-like mask flickered to life over both Chloé’s and Lán měirén’s face. Everyone in the room felt tense, afraid.

.. For some reason she was enjoying this, even if she knew she wouldn’t.
She took a deep breath with a smile. The words fell out of her seamlessly.

“Chloé Bourgeois.” She finally spoke, loud and proud.
“My name is Lán měirén.” She knew she wasn’t just talking to Chloé, as they were in front of an audience this time.

“I am the miraculous user of emotion, of the peafowl.” She bowed as she spoke, before standing straight up.
“I gift you the power to use your fear as your weapon, Whether that be a mighty dragon or a simple sword, craft your fear into your weapon before Hawkmoth prey’s upon it.”

The silence filled the room after her speech, Yet she could tell Chloé was debating it. A shaky breath came from her before she nodded.
“I’ll trust you.” She said.

“Your trust will be rewarded.” her voice turned soft as she got Chloé’s answer, and like it was a second nature she activated the Amok.

The bracelet ripped itself off of Chloé’s wrist, flying up in the air and turning into a ball of blue magic before it grew.
.. And grew.
AND GREW.

Next thing they all knew the giant ball of magic faded and down dropped a tiger, using its body to protect Chloé as it growled lightly.

Chloé looked as surprised as Lán měirén, but Lán hid it quicker.
The bracelet that formed the Sentimental found itself back onto Chloé’s wrist, still dyed Navy blue.

Her timer was going down now. She had to go recharge because the akuma fight probably wouldn’t be pretty…

She hesitated as she felt that same negative patch of emotions begin to sneak up on her. The same guilt and embarrassment.

She launched out of the way as it reached for her, almost flying into the air.
She looked where she was standing but saw nothing. Nothing at all.
.. That’s worrying.

That was until Kim threw something at Alix.
“KIM! WHAT THE HELL!” Alix shrieked, covered in water.

Kim seemed to snap out of whatever it was
“Alix! I didn’t mean that this time!”

“THIS TIME!?” Alix yelled again but this time she went slack..

That was two in a row, it's probably a mind control Akuma. But WHERE is it?
She landed on the ground again and Alix went back to normal.
It’s definitely targeting her.

She looked down and saw.. A Teddy bear in black and white charging her. It’s glowing green eyes were a bit concerning but she located it at least.

“The floor!” she called out, causing everyone to look at her.. Then down.

Chloé gasped, but the Sentimental reacted faster than her. It slammed a clawed paw down at the teddy, trying to hit it.

It was fast, but the tiger was catching up. The sound of a baton hitting the ground alerted her to Chat Noir’s presence. Not to mention she began feeling his emotions, masked but there.

She launched away from the teddy bear charging her and landed quietly next to Chat.
“Little kitten.” She said with a smile, causing Chat to gasp a bit before shaking it off.

“Blue bird.” he replied, teasingly.
“I’m on a timer, we gotta make this quick.” She said, just as the beep from her miraculous sounded out.

Chat nodded, looking to the Sentimental that was still after the bear.
It had stopped chasing as the bear grabbed the leg of Ivan, causing him to come barreling towards them.

“It's a mind control akuma, don’t let it grab you!” She called out as she launched up, dropping right onto Ivan causing him to fall over onto the couch nearby.

The bear on his leg let go, trying to grab Lán měirén only to miss from her jumping over it.

The Tiger resumed trying to grab at it, swiping at it instead of trying to slam it into the ground. It did manage to hit it a few times, the fabric on the bear fraying at the places it was slashed.


But Hawkmoth was smart, The butterfly mask appearing over the bear's face, obviously directing it. it rushed Chloé, grabbing onto her leg and taking control. Tearing the bracelet apart, The amok flew out. But instead of trying to absorb something else, it glitched a bit before fading out of existence.
The Tiger was mid swing at the bear when it vanished into feathers.

Harlequin took the time to get there finally, landing by Chloé but not close enough that she’d be grabbed immediately.
There was a shift in Harlequin though. Her normal smugness had died down and instead been replaced with confusion, concern.

… Was something changing in her?
She looked at Harlequin who didn’t show the shift, but looked a bit more.. Calm.
“LUCKY CHARM!” She called out, without any prompting this time.

A fork fell into her hands. She didn’t comment on it, instead she quickly tossed it to Lán měirén.
Catching it she looked at Harlequin who remained silent.
She looked away, figuring she was fighting her own demons.

She kind of wishes the fork was a seam ripper, so she could rip into the bear’s fabric.
The tiger did what it needed to do though, which she's grateful for.
She flipped the fork in her hand a bit as she stared at the Bear letting go of Chloé.

It charged Harlequin who slammed her yoyo in its face.
It stumbled back for just enough of a time that she had a chance.

She chucked the fork at it, it caught around some of the fabric and embedded itself into the floor.
“SCATTER!” she called, running away.

Everyone else there followed suit, scattering in different directions which caused the bear to follow. Mainly, it followed Harlequin who kept her distance.

By whatever miracle, the thread from the fabric stayed attached to the fork, and the more the bear ran the more it dissolved into nothing but thread. It didn’t take long for a soft thud to hit the ground.

Everyone stopped running as Lán měirén walked over to the now stationary bear head on the floor. Chat landed next to her from his baton, laughing a bit.

“Geez, i feel useless for this battle.” he commented as Lán picked up the bear head.

“It happens occasionally, do be careful where you step.” She pointed down to the small little man that was obviously puppeting the bear at his feet.

He blinked when he looked down before picking him up.
“Need a cataclysm?” he pointed to the head in her hands as she tried ripping it. The thread and fabric felt stronger than normal so she sighed a bit.

“Yeah, powered up fabric and such.” Chat nodded as she spoke, and offered up the bear head for him.

“CATACLYSM!” he slammed his spare hand into the head, causing it to dissolve and the black butterfly to escape from it.

Harlequin walked up next to them, quietly.
“No more evil doing, little one.” She whispered to herself, throwing her yoyo and catching it.

She caught it back and held it for a few seconds before opening it again, releasing a white butterfly.
“Bye bye, sweet one.” She whispered again.

Lán měirén stared a bit in confusion. Harlequin hadn’t been this soft. There's definitely something going on.
… Even if Harlequin stole the miraculous from her, she feels a bit of pity. She looks about her age, still a child.
She can’t blame a child for making rash mistakes, mainly with what's going on with Hawkmoth.


The idea that passed through her head wasn’t a pleasant one.
Gently she put her hand on Harlequin’s shoulder, causing the poor girl to flinch.

She leaned into her ear and whispered quietly.
“Treat Tikki well, and at least talk to me about what's going on.” she said before pulling away, grabbing the fork embedded in the floor and handing it to Harlequin.

She looked like she’d just seen a dead man.
Lán held the fork out for her to grab, which she did shakily.
She didn’t meet her eyes once.

“MIRACULOUS LADYBUG!” She cried, throwing the fork into the air. It burst into those magical ladybugs that fixed all of the destruction the akuma caused. Not a lot, but enough.

The room returned to normal, and Lán quickly made her escape before anyone caught her.
She hid in the empty bathroom again, her transformation falling.

And the coughing fit returned. Much to Duusu and Marinette’s dismay.
She collapsed to the floor.

She really needs to talk to Fu.
Maybe he can give her that remedy to just suppress symptoms. Something.
The coughing ended as quickly as it came, like before.

Quietly, she stood up. Moving the miraculous back to the inner part of her jacket and rushing out back to the party.

Chapter Text

Quietly Marinette closed the door to the parlor behind her, Fu’s words of goodbye hung in the air as she stood looking at the package in her hands.

Tea.
She almost wanted to laugh as she held up the magical tea to her face, looking at a tea bag a bit as she began to walk towards Alya’s place.

It didn’t look wrong, but yet she knew it was magical. Just smelling it was suppressing the cough in her chest.
Who knows how much it’d work when it was made and drunk.

She felt a bit excited to get rid of that nasty cough. She had enough tea bags for at least 10 or so transformations.
The only worry on her mind is that it'd weaken over time.

She shifted her mind away as her phone buzzed in the bag she carried. No doubt Alya messaging up a storm because she was a minute late.

She picked up the pace from a walk to a run, Duusu flying out of the bag she had and sitting on her head. A shrill from them was lost in the wind as Marinette began running.

Soon enough Alya’s apartment complex came into view and she slowed to a walk. Duusu was still making soft noises on her head.

“Duusu.” She called out only to receive no answer. Must be a day where their hearing is acting up.
So gently she picked the little kwami off of her head, causing them to jump. They calmed down when they realized it was just her but they got the idea, flying into the bag at her side.


Quickly she raced into the building, waving to the janitor as she made her way up to Alya’s apartment. Two steps at a time she got to the door quickly, knocking on it three times in a row.

The door flung open to reveal a slightly annoyed Alya who grabbed her arm and dragged her inside.

“Five minutes late! Girl..” Alya muttered, in that fake annoyance. Marinette just gave her a normal smile as she placed her bag down on the floor and opened it, meeting eyes with Duusu.

They waved as she pulled out the pajamas she packed, waving quickly before zipping the bag shut.
“Yes yes your majesty. Let me get changed before I get lectured.” Marinette stuck her tongue out at Alya before walking down the long hallway and to the bathroom.

She changed quickly, not wanting to feel vulnerable. Her normal white tank top with pink polka dots and the pink sweatpants with her signature floral pattern on her right thigh. She exited the bathroom, seeing Alya on the couch waiting for her.

Alya had grabbed the bag that was discarded on the floor for her, placing it next to her on the couch. She waved Marinette over, trying to hold a serious face but failing spectacularly.

Marinette snickered as she walked over to Alya, sitting down next to her.
“So. Where are the little gremlins?” Marinette started, causing Alya’s whole joke to break apart with a groan.

“Still awake, somewhere. Mom is out with dad on a movie date, probably a dinner date too.” Alya groaned a bit, and as if on cue, a crash came from the kitchen causing both girls to flinch.

Etta and Ella ran from the kitchen, laughing as the little propeller hats they wore spun as they ran. Alya acted faster, swiftly launching from the couch and grabbing both twins in her arms.

“Now, what have we done now?” Alya said with mild exhaustion.
Marinette quietly tuned into the soft feeling she had, trying to see what it was until she realized it.

Etta and Ella giggled a bit. “It wasn’t us!” They chorused “it was the Sapotis!” They giggled.

Marinette felt their excitement, it was so bright and so warm. So childlike. But was it exciting for tomorrow?

She hummed a bit, getting up from the couch and following Alya as she put the twins in bed.

“Okay, time to settle down.” Alya said, already sounding secretly exhausted from them. “You need your rest if you wanna go to the amusement park tomorrow!”

Ohh. That explains it.

“But we don’t wanna go to bed yet!” Etta said, pouting.
“We wanna stay up and watch movies and tell secrets like you two!” Ella responded, sounding actually upset.

Marinette cut in first.
“Well, we fall asleep during the movies too.” She said, already yawning a bit into her hand.
“Your tiny bodies hold so much energy that expands quickly, and if you waste it all now you’ll never go have fun at the amusement park tomorrow.”  Etta and Ella were silent at Marinette’s response to them, looking a bit surprised.

They giggled though, nodding and going to ‘sleep’. Something told her they weren’t.

Madame coed a bit in her head. Whispering something about children and how cute they were. Marinette didn’t bother to pay attention because she wasn’t being talked to.

Alya sighed a bit in relief before smiling “Alright, good night Sapotis.” She reached for the hat Etta had on her head before she quickly held it in place.

“Wait!” Etta said, a bit frantic. “Can we keep them on, pleasee?”

Alya shook her head a bit before pulling away. “Fine, but only if you behave. Good night.” She said, getting up from the bed and turning their light off at the door before closing it behind her.

Alya walked to the couch and the sigh that escaped her was telling enough. Marinette sat beside her, rubbing her back.

“Come on, let's get some food out.” Marinette said as she stood up, walking towards the kitchen. She looked to the floor to see what had fallen and luckily nothing broke, just a small little figurine of a dragon had fallen. So she picked it up, gently placing it on the inner counter.

The two girls worked almost in unison, Alya grabbing the orange juice and two glasses while Marinette pulled out places and two spoons.

“I’ve been meaning to ask, who are the Sapotis?” She looked up from the plate, walking to the fridge.

“Oh, them?” Alya said as she placed the two glasses down on the table in front of the couch along with the orange juice carton.
“They’re little trouble making jester monsters from a Creole fable.” Alya laughed a bit as she stood up, walking back to the kitchen.

“They fell in love with the Sapotis tale because it lets them get away with a lot.” Marinette laughed a bit too, opening the fridge doors and pulling out two slices of melon fruit.

“Speaking of which girl, you missed this really cool hero that showed up!” Alya was very suddenly behind her, causing Marinette to jump a bit. She placed the melon fruit down quickly on the outer counter, facing the living room.

“Really?” She laughed, hoping she didn’t give too much away.

“YEAH!” Alya whispered, getting giddy. “She was so pretty!”
Marinette’s face heated up a bit.

“She was so cool too! She talked to Chloé like she owned the place!” Alya sighed just after she finished talking. “But in the chaos of everything I didn't get a photo. Man, girl, you would’ve loved her outfit.”

‘I don’t think I would've. I don’t even like wearing it.’ was the thought that passed through her head quickly.
A soft thud caught her attention causing her to look at the couch.

“.. Alya, the orange juice.” She said, mild annoyance in her voice. Alya gasped, turning around and looking over the back of the couch before groaning.

Giggling came from Etta and Ella’s room.
Alya stormed in with a tissue, sitting by both of their bedsides as she cleaned their mouths up.

“It’s not us! It’s the Sapotis!” The two chorused, again. Alya gave a soft, strained smile as she finished cleaning their faces up and they laid back down.

Alya left the bedroom, closing the door behind her.
Marinette put the tray of melon fruit down on the table as Alya walked over.

“Sorry about that girl.”
Alya mumbled a bit to herself. “What were we talking about again..?”

“We were just gonna watch movies!” Marinette pulled the CD cases up, hoping to move on from the topic. Unfortunately, the ladybug movie was the first one.

Marinette tried to shift it away but Alya snapped her fingers.
“Right!”

Internally, Marinette groaned.
“She called herself the peacock user. Her name was.. Uh..” Alya hesitated a bit, tapping her finger to her thigh.

“RIGHT!” Alya exclaimed suddenly. “Lán měirén!” Marinette flinched a bit. Hearing the name didn’t sound right. But Madame assured her it was the right choice.. Why does she regret it now?

She shoved the feelings away as she heard a door close, and soft giggling came from it.
Alya obviously heard it too as the two of them looked at the melon fruit that was now eaten.

A soft growl came from Alya as she stormed into the twins bedroom.
“It wasn’t us! It was the-” the two were cut off by Alya, who was rightfully annoyed.

“Last warning!” She said over them. “If you two get up one more time then there's no more amusement park tomorrow!”

“But it wasn’t us!” The twins chorused, yet again.

Alya glared. “Last. Warning.” She closed the door behind her.
Alya groaned softly as she walked to the kitchen where Marinette was, washing dishes.

“Sorry girl. It’s annoying enough to deal with them alone.” Alya muttered, looking incredibly annoyed.

“No big deal.” Marinette turned the faucet off and turned to face Alya.
“I just have to remind you that the new hero needs her privacy respected. What happens if Hawkmoths finds out her identity and..” Marinette trailed off, letting Alya continue.

“Her family and loved ones are hurt.” Alya repeated, already bored of that. “I know, I won't try to.”

The buzz of the TV alerted them, causing them to look over to hear hushed giggles as the TV was on to konole chien. Alya’s frustrated groan was telling enough as she rushed over, picking the twins up by the shirt.

“It’s not us! It's the..” Alya’s groan cut them off. “Enough of that!”

She put them to bed, before taking off the propeller hat.
“If you can't behave then we’ll be taking you to that amusement park some other day, when you can!” She put the twin propeller hats on the shared toy basket in the middle of the room.

Alya stormed out of the room, shutting the door quietly but quickly. Not giving them any time to argue with her.


Far off, the butterfly master selected its next prey. The black butterfly followed its master's order, not knowing what else it should do.


Alya collapsed onto the couch with a soft groan, followed by Marinette patting her back.
“I don’t like having to be strict but those two push buttons.” Alya sat up properly, adjusting her plaid shorts.

“Being strict is okay, sometimes. But come on, let's watch some movies.” She grabbed the Ladybug movie CD case again. “Wanna rip on the movie?”

Alya let out a soft laugh before nodding. “Of course I do, it's fun.” A loud thud came from the twins room before Marinette could even put the movie in.

“I swear to all things..” Alya muttered before getting off of the couch, slamming the twin’s bedroom door open.
“DON’T EVEN TRY TO BLame it on the..” Her yell died down as she shrieked, falling to the ground as two little red monsters burst from the twins room. “SAPOTIS!”

“AKUMA!” Marinette yelled.

“A bit obvious, Mari!” Alya got up, gasping at the same time as Marinette.

The Sapotis twins laughed as they ate the remains of the melon fruit. They multiplied by two. The multiplication happened faster than either girl could stop it, they raided the kitchen and then proceeded to completely trash the living room. Item’s flung everywhere, at Alya and at Marinette.

“THE WINDOW!” One clone said, at the same time as Alya.
Marinette tried to launch for the window but was shot to the ground by a clone jumping on her.

And then another. And another. You get the idea.

Eventually all clones were out on the streets. Marinette looking over the balcony with a soft gasp. However it was Alya who ran down to street level, to try and control the situation she knew she couldn’t.

Duusu flew over to her from the bag that got its contents completely thrown everywhere.
Marinette swore a bit under her breath. Hoping the miraculous ladybug brought back those tea bags that got obviously eaten.
“Marinette!” Duusu called, holding the miraculous in their paws.

.. had she nod been wearing the miraculous? The thought was brushed away as she pinned it to her tank top, quickly adjusting it as well.

“DUUSU! LETS FAN OUT!” She called, feeling the warm glow of Duusu’s magic fall over her.
That was a bit cruel, taking the miraculous off without even realizing it. Madame said when she transformed. Lán měirén stayed a bit frozen, working through the uncomfortable feeling of initial transformation.

“Sorry, I thought I was wearing it. I could’ve sworn I heard you.” Lán apologized, causing Madame to huff a bit. It sounded like she was crying.

It’s whatever.. She said before going silent. She couldn’t dwell on the feeling of letting down a friend. She had an akuma to deal with.
She launched off of the balcony, into the fray.

The Sapotis were everywhere. Lán měirén stood atop a light post, surveying what was going on when one clone launched at her and missed. Completely missed. She hadn’t even moved. It slammed into the crosswalk sign a little farther away from her and got tangled in the wires.

She blinked a bit before dropping down to it, watching it try to escape the confines of the wires before she grabbed the purple hat on it, snapping it in two.

Instead of an akuma, the Sapotis in front of her puffed into smoke. She should’ve expected that.
“Good evening, birdy!” Chat’s voice came from a roof, ending up beside her.
“Hello kitty.” she smiled at him. He waved.

“Soo. How’d you know to break the hat?” he pointed at the broken hat still in her hands.
“Oh. It’s the only relatively purple thing on it, and usually with akuma victims the akumatized object is purple.” she laughed it off.

Quietly a bug landed next to them, she breathed in before speaking.
“The.. we’ll need to catch them all, right?” Harlequin strained a smile.

Lán měirén focused on the girl, noticing a shift in emotions again. The envy that was there had seemingly disappeared over night. Tikki, what are you doing?

She blinked out of her thoughts as Harlequin gave her a confused look. “Yes, sorry. Side effects of my miraculous tend to overwhelm me sometimes.” She rubbed the bridge of her nose a bit.

“This’ll take forever and I don't wanna waste my amok because that starts my timer.. Harle, Don’t waste your lucky charm yet.” Harlequin nodded at her words, gripping the yoyo tightly.

Chat gained a smirk she knew all too well.
“So. We gotta catch em’ all, right?” He nudged her side a bit. For once, she and Harlequin agreed.
That agreement was in a groan from the obvious reference he was making.

But the team of three nodded to each other.
Chat and Lán měirén would throw the Sapotis clones into the air where Harlequin would smash their hats.
This went on for a while, and eventually they got to Pont des Arts.

Andre was on the floor, being bounced on by two Sapotis while his ice cream cart was being raided by other Sapotis clones.

The team tried to fight them but ended up being cornered as Sapotis just kept flooding from the ice cream cart.
Harlequin looked to Lán měirén, almost wanting approval. She doesn’t blame Harlequin really, she's going through something emotionally..

“Use it!” was all she said before Harlequin launched her yoyo up.

“LUCKY CHARM!” She called out. And from the creation magic that fell, a teapot rested in Harlequins hands. A gasp came from Lán měirén which got her looks from Chat and Harlequin.

“I know what needs to be done, hold them off for me!” She didn’t give them a chance to reply before she launched off into the sky.

She ran and jumped quickly to Master Fu’s parlor. That was the same teapot she’s seen every time she’s gone there, the one that he offered to loan her. She stopped a little bit away from Fu’s parlor, hiding behind a building and out of sight.



“Time to fan in.” She whispered, tensing herself for the coughing fit only to find it never coming. Instead a few coughs came out but nothing sending her to the floor. She blinked before she got on the move. The Amok must be a direct cause of that coughing fit then. Or at least a part of it. She rushed into the parlor, disregarding the closed sign and quickly knocked on the door to the backroom.

There was a moment before a soft “Come in.” replied. She opened the door quickly, Duusu floating next to her.

Fu looked a bit surprised to see her so quickly again before he went serious.
“I assume there's a reason you're here, and it isn’t to just chat?” he joked a bit, lessening the tenseness a bit.

Marinette nodded, standing in front of him with a small bow before standing normally.
“Master! Harlequin’s Lucky Charm lead us here. I think..” she hesitated, gulping a bit. “I think we need another miraculous for this akuma.”

There's a long silence between the two, Wayzz coming out of the gramophone and floating next to Fu.
Fu took initiative, getting up from where he sat and pushing a stool towards the gramophone.

He got onto the stool and hesitated.
“If i am to do this, this will mean i will be training you about the miraculous. A guardian's training, Miss Marinette.” Fu said. Quiet, worried.

“A guardian isn’t a fun position, it is demanding and cruel at times.” He pressed two buttons, then several more.
The gramophone opened, and out came a box with red carvings on it. The bigger version than the one she found Tikki in.

She sat down carefully on the mat beneath her, as Fu brought the box over. He sat it between the two, just as he sat down as well.

“I need your answer now. To see the miraculi, you accept training as a guardian.” Fu’s words hung in the air, letting Marinette think.

She was quiet, mind flashing back to Chat. Her mind reminding her of Harlequin, her changes. She looked back at the box itself.
“I.. I will accept it under one condition.” She finally said, meeting Fu’s gaze.

He remained silent, letting her continue.
“I.. I don’t want to be trained alone. Chat.. Chat deserves to know. To be informed. Harlequin has too much on her lap right now. And..” She hesitated. Trying to find the words.

“.. And I want to help her. But.. I can’t now, can i? Not as a normal miraculous user.” Fu’s nod was all she needed.

“Then I will accept guardian training, under the condition it is not just me alone. I.. Chat and I can protect it better together. We can protect EVERYONE together.” She looked at the box in front of her, and lifted the lid.

Compartments opened up just as the lid did, showing what appeared to be twelve together. She noticed a few missing on top.

The Ladybug and cat at the very, very top.
Then in the mid tier there were only two. The peafowl and butterfly.
Quietly she moved her hand over the miraculous pinned to her tank.

The miraculous in front of her radiated power. Each one of them wanted her to pick it. It was almost overwhelming.

So she closed her eyes. She could still feel the power radiating off of them but it all felt different.

The smell of honey, the smell of blueberries….


Blueberries? Her hand found its way towards the blueberry smell.
A cold feel of metal hit her hand, making her freeze before gently picking it up.

She opened her eyes, a necklace in her hand. A gold chain with a fox tail pendant.

“The miraculous of the fox.” Fu supplied. “It has the power of illusions. True, illusions.” her mind flashed back to Volpina. How Lila’s… How Volpina’s illusioned looked sound but had no noise. They were simply images.

She nods.
“I.. I know who I can give this to.” She whispered.

“Remember to give it back to me when you are done. You’re not yet a guardian, so it's not your duty to hand them out.” Fu closed the box as he spoke, placing the bigger one back in the gramophone before opening a drawer below it. A row of those same mini boxes was in it, and he grabbed one.

Gently taking the miraculous from Marinette, he placed it carefully in the miraculous box.
It flared a bit to life, but Fu closed it before anything could happen.

He held the box out to her, which she gently took.
“Be careful.” Was all he said before he went back to mediating with Wayzz.

She nodded to Duusu before running out of the Parlor with them.
She got back to where she detransformed.
“Alright, Alya, I'm coming for you. LETS FAN OUT!” she called, the transformation washing over her again.


                                                                                                 🦚


“Guys! Come on, if you come home right now we can still go to the park!” Alya cried out to the Sapotis clones in front of her on the carousel. She knew it was a losing battle but she could just.. Try.

The snap of a fan was all Alya was alerted to before the clones on the carousel vanished. She gasped, turning around to see Lán měirén walking up to her.

“Come, you’re in danger.” she said, holding a hand out to Alya who took it instantly, a bit giddy.

Lán měirén pulled Alya closer to her, putting her fan at the ribbon belt before launching off and away from the Sapotis clones that nearly trampled them.

They landed on a roof nearby, more specifically Marinette’s balcony. Lán měirén let go of Alya who looked amazed seeing her.

“Put your phone away, I must speak to you privately.” Alya flinched, putting the phone back in her shorts pocket.

“What I am about to give you must never be told to anyone. Not your family, or your friends.” Alya’s eyes widened a bit as Lán měirén pulled out a small wooden box, with red symbols marked all over it.

“Alya Césaire.” Lán began, flipping the fan out in front of her face.
“In my hand is the miraculous of the fox. Bearing this miraculous grants you the power of illusions. You will use it not for your self benefit, but to protect those around you.” Alya gently picked up the box presented to her, and Lán dropped her hand.

“Once the akuma has been purified, you WILL return the miraculous to me. Can I place my trust in you?” Alya stared at the box in her hands, then back up to Lán měirén.

“Yes.” Alya opened the box.

For a moment she saw a fox tail pendant but then a blinding yellow light came from it. It twirled around her as she used her open hand to shield her eyes a bit.

When she lowered her hands, a fox-like creature floated in front of her and Lán měirén.

“Who.. Are you?” Alya said, fascinated by the little fox spirit in front of her.
“I’m Trixx!” the fox said, giggling a bit. “Your temporary kwami!”


“Kwami..?” Alya gasped a bit. “You’re what gives the miraculous its power, right?” Trixx and Lán měirén nodded at her question, making her squeal a bit.

Trixx smirked. “You picked the right one, little bird.” Lán měirén laughed a bit at Trixx’s words.

“My transformation call is ‘Trixx, Lets pounce!’ To remove the transformation, it's ‘Trixx, let’s rest.’ ” Trixx twirled a bit mid air.

“The power?” Alya asked, putting the necklace around her neck.
Trixx snickered a bit.
“Thought you’d never ask! The power gifted to you today is Mirage. It grants you the ability of Illusions!”

Alya nodded. Taking a deep breath she tried to calm her excitement.
“TRIXX, LETS POUNCE!” She called out.

The feeling of magic was one she didn’t expect. It felt like her excitement was endless, and her senses were heightened.


Lán měirén smiled at the fox user in front of her.
Alya’s hair became a three-tone ombré, having the roots turn dark red, blending to orange with the tips being white. She wears her hair back into a high ponytail with an orange hairband.

Her mask was orange with a white bottom half and a black dot above each eye, they looked like little eyebrows.
Two orange fox ears with white insides and black tips are attached to the top of her head.

The top layer of her suit, akin to an overcoat, is orange with a white front, a black swan-necked collar, and black arms and gloves up to the middle of her upper arms.

The Fox Miraculous became a zipper for the black collar. The top layer attaches down the vertical front center, and it has a long fox tail-like coattail that ends a bit below her knees at a sharp white tip.

The bottom layer of her suit is orange with a white center on the front of the body and black legs starting at a point on the middle of her upper legs.

Alya looked herself over, lifting a leg and seeing the soles of the pseudo-shoes are orange with black fox paw print markings.


“I.. I feel amazing!” Alya said, bouncing a bit.

Lán měirén smiled, lowering her fan. “You need a hero name, for your identity.” She said, it was more of a question than a statement.

Alya stood there a moment before looking up.
“Rena. Rena Rouge.” Rena said, a smirk on her face.

“Alright. Come on, Rena Rouge.” Lán měirén launched off Marinette's balcony, and Rena followed her.

She snickered a bit, hearing Rena’s gasps of excitement and amazement. She slowed to a stop when they got closer to where the horde of Sapotis were.

“Hey Lán měirén?” Rena called, causing her to turn around.

“I.. Just noticed. Why do I look like Lila when she was akumatized?” The question hung in the air a bit before she answered.

“Lila had thought of the fox hero with the fake miraculous she had.” didn’t feel like her voice. But it was. What's going on? “Volpina was an old user, and Lila had the wrong idea about the name. It’s possible she wasn’t lying about being the descendant of Volpina, but in the wrong context.”

Rena nodded to her answer, it sounded right to her but the feeling that she wasn’t the one talking in her body was weird. But there's an akuma happening, no time to dwell. She looked down to see Harlequin and Chat back to back, surrounded by a lot of Sapotis.

.. A LOT of Sapotis.
“Come on!” Lán měirén jumped into the fray, Rena not too far behind her.

She threw her fan as she fell, it flying in the direction she wanted it to.
Snapping the hats of the Sapotis clones that were starting to pull down both Chat and Harlequin. It flew back to her on her will, and Rena jumped in. Pulling the flute she hadn’t realized she had from her back and using it to smack the hats apart.

“Woah.” was all Harlequin said as they cleared the Sapotis clones from them.

“Come on, to the roofs!” Lán měirén called, as she launched off of the ground before more came.

The other three followed her, catching a moment of rest on the roof of the nearby apartment complex.
Harlequin and Chat were breathing heavily, and the beeping from Harlequin’s miraculous got her to panic a bit.

“There's a wall, go recharge behind it.” Lán měirén pointed to the wall nearby, and Harlequin took no time in jumping behind it just as her transformation fell.

There's a bit of silence as Harlequin recharged. After a few moments she launched back from the wall, sitting besides Chat as the two of them caught their breath.

“So.” Chat said, finally. Pointing to Rena. “Who’s this fox?”
Rena flinched, before rubbing the back of her head a bit.
“I’m.. Rena rouge.” She said, gripping her flute like she was ready to fight.

“Geez, Chat, stop trying to scare her.” Harlequin said. Standing up finally.
“You’ve taken a different turn, Harlequin.” Chat said, standing up as well.

“Alright, enough bickering.” Lán měirén chastised a bit, causing the two to blush. “Rena Rouge is the temporary ally I've brought for the fight.”

A connection seemed to hit with Harlequin.
“Is that why you left when I got this?” She held up the teapot lucky charm. Lán měirén just nodded.

“It was a hint this time. And I know exactly what we have to do, and it won't even involve me using my Amok.” Lán měirén looked down at the Sapotis clones with a smile. A deadly one.

“Harlequin, there's a narrow alleyway nearby. We need to go there. Chat, Rena, I need you two to grab the rake, traffic cone and trash can nearby.” She pointed to everything as she spoke, her hopes were betting on the lucky charm.

And if she knew Tikki, she’d be right.
“Go grab those and meet up with me and Harlequin by the alleyway!” She said, already jumping away. Harlequin scrambled a bit to follow.

Rena and Chat looked at each other before nodding and going to grab their respective items.

Harlequin and Lán měirén landed by the alleyway she was thinking of, looking down it she smiled. “Bingo.”
So, Lán měirén sits down with her legs hanging. Harlequin looks a bit confused but she laughs a bit.
“We have nothing better to do, so sit.” She patted the space next to her.

Harlequin hesitated before sitting down.
There's a bit of silence for a while. Harlequin looked like she wanted to say something but she didn’t.

“You know who I am, don’t you?” So Lán filled the void of silence, looking at Harlequin who looked startled.
She calmed down after a bit. The sadness, the regret radiating off of her was strong.

“Y.. yeah.” she whispered, looking up to the night sky.
“You’re Marinette. Aren’t you?”

Harlequin looked back down at Lán měirén, looking for a response.
She nodded. Harlequin looked like she’d shatter on the spot.
“You were Ladybug.” She whispered again, her voice cracking.

Lán placed a hand on Harlequin’s, gripping it a bit.
“I was. But now i’m Lán měirén.” She responded.

“I’m.. I..” Harlequin fumbled on her words, quiet tears spilling.
“I know.” Lán měirén finished for her. “Something happened, right?”

Harlequin looked away, back to the night sky. “Yeah. I.. I don’t know what. My memories of that time period before i woke up just.. Days ago is a blurr.”

Lán měirén stayed quiet, letting Harlequin explain herself.
“I know the emotions I felt then, but they feel.. So corrupt. Like I was me but all my bad parts were amplified.” she began laughing, tears falling faster.

“Hell! I learned I was abusing this poor girl in my class! All because of a single lie I said that was.. In hind sight really stupid!” Harlequin threw her hands up, only for one to be caught by Lán měirén’s hand.

She put them back down slowly.
“Tikki.. Tikki told me what happened. And that she’s kind of annoyed fate decided this would be the way I was.. Helped.”

Lán měirén laughed. “Sounds like Tikki.”
The silence returned, as Harlequin sobbed quietly.

“I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I don’t know how to fix this.” Harlequin said finally.

“.. Then fix it as a civilian.” Harlequin looked confused, even with the tears still spilling.

“You know my civilian self. It's how you got the miraculous. Start fixing it as a civilian.” Lán měirén stood up, already feeling Rena and Chat coming towards them.

“You were helped by Tikki, I don't plan to take her away when she feels she needs to help you. I already have a new friend who’s helping me.” She breathed a bit. “And it's a relief, not being Ladybug for once.”


“Will you ever tell them?” Harlequin asked, standing up and wiping the tears away.
“.. When I'm ready.” Lán měirén said, just as Rena and Chat came into view.


Chat and Rena dumped the rakes, traffic cone and trash can besides the two, smiling.

“I even added tape!” Chat proudly said, almost sparkling. Lán měirén laughed a bit, pulling the rakes out.
“Harlequin, Lucky charm.”

Harlequin gulped but nodded, casting up the yoyo. “LUCKY CHARM!” She called.

And down dropped a unicycle. Not.. Exactly what she predicted but close enough.
“Alright.” Lán měirén whispered. “Here’s the plan.”


                                                                                                 🦚


Harlequin rode on the now stolen bicycle cart, holding a traffic cone. “This is stupid.” She laughed to herself before raising it up to her mouth.

“HEAR YE HEAR YE!” she called into the traffic cone, riding the bicycle cart around.
“SAPOTI-LAND IS ABOUT TO OPEN!” As she rode, she noticed the attention of all the Sapotis around. At least this crazy plan was working.

“MISCHIEF OF ALL SIZES ARE PERMITTED IN SAPOTI-LAND!” She still called, driving back towards the alleyway they set everything up in. The amount of footsteps behind her told her they were following her.

“ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT DESSERTS!” She cheered. “FOUNTAINS OF ORANGE JUICE! BIG KID MOVIES AND VIDEO GAMES!”

Harlequin gulped, looking into the sky. Rena should’ve used her..
The thought was cut off, as a giant amusement park burst into the sky.

She could smell the popcorn, the candy. The orange juice. She gasped a bit, she could hear the people on the roller coaster going by. She could feel the hurt in her eyes from the blinding light.

So.. This was the true power of the fox miraculous. She kind of wanted to cry. It was beautiful. But she shook her head, looking back in front of herself.

“FOLLOW ME TO SAPOTI-LAND! WHERE THERE'S NO BEDTIME, WHERE EVERYTHING GOES!” The alleyway was in front of her. Now she just hopes the others were filling the rest of the plan.

She heard the calls of the Sapotis behind her, chanting ‘Sapoti-land!’. She rammed the bicycle cart into the entrance of the alleyway, launching up and running through the alleyway.

She looked up, seeing the unicycle lucky charm with the rakes attached falling down with Chat. His baton in the middle like they planned.

She smiled. Giving him a thumbs up before sliding down as Chat placed it at Sapoti height. She jumped up, using her yoyo to spin the unicycle. Both she and Chat landed on top of the roof besides the Alleyway, watching the Sapotis just run through with careless abandonment.

She looked over at Rena, seeing her mystified by the illusion.
“It’s beautiful, good job.” She said to Rena who looked just as surprised as the others were. She nodded, bouncing a bit on both legs. She and Chat grabbed the garbage can, flipping the lid off and using it to catch the hats that were being flung up.

It took a few minutes but every hat was in the can by the time the illusion washed away. All the smells and noise vanished with it. She shivered.

“CATACLYSM!” Cried chat, slamming his hand into the garbage can. She returned her attention to the can, gripping her yoyo in preparation. Rena slammed her flute into the black can, turning it to dust.

The butterfly flew out of the dust that blew away in the wind, trying to escape.
“Oh no you don’t!” she opened her yoyo, the white magic already flowing out. “Let me purify you, little one!” she threw the yoyo, catching the butterfly in it.

“Gotcha~” She pulled the yoyo back, waiting a moment before tapping the top and releasing it. “Bye bye little one!”

She grabbed the unicycle, or well a rake attached to it.
“That was a complicated plan. No matter.”

She threw it up. “MIRACULOUS LADYBUG!” The unicycle bursts into the magical ladybugs they’ve grown to love, flying around Paris and reverting the damage done.

Her miraculous beeped a bit, no doubt had been beeping a bit.
“I’ll take Rena.” Lán měirén said, bowing before launching away. Rena scrambled to follow her.

Harlequin and Chat stayed behind a bit.
“I’m sorry for replacing Ladybug.” she said, very suddenly.

“What? Why? It's not your fault.” Chat said, confused and concerned.

“.. It.. Is in more ways than one. But she’ll tell you when she's ready. I trust her.” Without another word Harlequin left.




Harlequin found herself back at home, just outside her open window. “Spots off, tikki.” She said, as she climbed into her room.

Tikki flew out of the earrings, gently patting her cheek.
Looking in the mirror, she only saw herself standing there.

Lila.
Lila Rossi was the only person who stared back at her in the mirror.


The tears were already starting.

“I don’t deserve the kindness she showed me, Not after what i did.” She sat on her bed, crying.

Tikki gently found her way into Lila’s hands, patting her.
“It’ll be okay.” were the only words that Tikki shared to the crying girl in front of her.

Chapter Text

The morning sun’s light shined through the open window across from a bedroom, where an Italian girl and her stolen kwami slept.

Lila woke up first, sitting up and rubbing the gunk out of her eyes. She felt exhausted still, crying nearly all night would do it.

She gently placed Tikki on her pillow, not wanting to wake the small Kwami from her sleep.
‘Pathetic, it should be listening to me! Sleeping in is unacceptable’ a voice in her head said, it was hers but at the same time it wasn’t. The voice of all her amplified negativity. She groaned a bit, rubbing her eyes.

She got up from bed, looking at the clothing she was wearing that she fell asleep in. She’s glad it's the weekend now. She quickly changed into an orange shirt and black shorts. No point in being fancy when you’re home alone.

Her phone was buzzing off on her vanity, no doubt from the group chat she found there when she woke up properly. She bit her lip as a fragment of a memory came through.

She shook the memory away, knowing she’s already done wrong. She grabbed the laptop, sat on her vanity and sat down in bed with it.

She looked at her pillow, seeing Tikki still sound asleep. A smile came to her face before she looked at her laptop. Quietly clicking onto the Ladyblog to see the report about last night's akuma, Sapotis.

A post detailing the akuma hadn’t been made, but a notice that one was being made. She hadn’t caught the children who were akumatized.. At least she assumed children, the akuma was named after that Creole fable.

She groaned into a hand she hadn’t realized she lifted, closing her laptop.
She put it off to the side on her bed, laying down instead with Tikki.


Blue eyes met Olive, and Olive eyes met blue.
“Good morning.” Lila whispered.

Tikki nodded, yawning a bit.
“Good morning.” She replied.

Tikki buzzed a bit, flying up from the pillow.
“Come on, lets get the morning routine done.” Tikki pushed on Lila’s shoulder lightly, annoying her enough for Lila to get up.

“Stop touching me damnit!” she hissed, “A bug like you doesn’t deserve to..” glaring at Tikki for a moment before gasping and putting a hand over her mouth.

Tikki just gently patted her cheek, silently.
Lila closed her eyes tightly, counting to three and inhaling, holding in for six and exhaling. She removed her hand from her mouth and gave a strained smile before walking out to the living room.

It was silent, her mom had already gone to work.
She’s been gone the past few weeks if her foggy memories had been right. Passing in and out some days, but usually never there in the morning when she woke up.

She walked to the kitchen, opening the fridge to see what was for breakfast.
She hummed to herself, looking at Tikki who was flying around in front of her, looking for food as well.

Lila grabbed some yogurt, waiting for Tikki to grab her cookie before closing the fridge door.
She walked to the utensil drawer, opening it and grabbing a spoon before walking to the living room and sitting down.

Tikki followed behind her, already eating the cookie. Lila opened the yogurt, and began eating it on the couch. Tikki sat on the coffee table in front of her.

“I’m sorry for what I said before.” Tikki said suddenly, making Lila a bit confused. It clicked a few seconds later.

“It was.. During the blurry bits of my memory, right?” She pointed a bit with the spoon in her hand. It was a question but she knew the answer to it.

“Yeah.” Tikki said between bites. “You were still.. Corrupted by the butterflies' energy so at the time my words were right but..”

There's a little bit of a pause before Lila speaks again.
“Don’t be. From what I can piece together I was an utter bitch.” Lila laughed a bit as she talked.

“Plus. This whole butterfly energy thing you talk about confuses me but I get the general idea. Stop me if I'm wrong.” Lila placed the yogurt and spoon down on the coffee table, yawning into her hand.

“When I was originally akumatized into Volpina, Hawkmoth made the conscious choice to try and leave some of that.. Akumatization stuff with me, right?” The memories in Lila’s head were still blurry, but the bits and pieces she got were slowly putting together the whole photo.

Tikki shook her head, swallowing the bit of cookie she was chewing.
“Close, but not exactly. The akumatization is the bastardization of the Butterflies ability of championship.” She waved her paws a bit. “Normally, the Championship leaves a bit of the pure energy with the chosen Champion.” She led off, letting Lila think.

“.. And with a Champion, they can choose how much is left. So the akumatization energy..” Lila groaned into her hand. The headache slowly returned the more she tried to pry into the fuzzy memories.

She stopped thinking about it.
“Headache?” Tikki asked, only getting a nod from Lila who got up from the couch.
“I’m gonna get some meds for it.” She muttered a bit, walking away and to the bathroom.

She opened the bathroom door, the door squeaking breaking the silence as she did.
She knelt to the cabinet beneath the sink, going through the shelves for the Aspirin. She found it and stood up but froze when she looked in the mirror.

That reflection was back. It was her but the snarl and the smugness was there. She looked away quickly, rushing out and away from the mirror.

She rushed to the kitchen, almost slamming into the counter by the fridge. She slowed beforehand, enough to calm down. Tikki’s purifying stuff has been working but slowly it looks like.

She muttered a few swears in Italian before reopening the fridge door, grabbing a cold Pepsi before going back to the couch.
“Reflection is back.” she said as she sat down. Tikki had already finished her cookie and was eyeing up the yogurt.

“Oh. I’m.. sorry.” Tikki whispered a bit.
“No need, it's not your fault it's working slowly.” Lila shrugged it off, opening the soda can.

She opened the pill bottle, grabbing two pills before closing it and downing them both with the soda she’d grabbed.

She placed the can and pill bottle down on the coffee table.
The headache had come in full force and hopefully the Aspirin would kill it or at least numb it like before.

“.. I’m tired.” She said finally, leaning her head on the back of the couch.
The award case on the back wall taunted her a bit when she did.

All of the award’s she’d won as a child. They always taunted her when she noticed them. Of the friends she lost, made and lost.
She started using her magic around the time she stopped winning her awards.

She sighed.
“Lazy day?” Tikki asked, floating up to her nose and filling her perspective.

She just nodded.
“Then let's go lay down.” Tikki pulled a bit on her nose, causing Lila to chuckle a bit as she rose from the couch.

“Alright fine, let me clean up my mess. You can have the yogurt.” She grabbed the pill bottle while Tikki squealed a bit. She grabbed the soda can too, walking back to the bathroom and chugging it.

She hesitated in front of the bathroom door before opening it, making an effort not to look in the mirror as she returned the bottle to its cabinet.

She left the bathroom quickly when she did, going back to the couch and taking the now empty yogurt container and throwing it in the trash in the corner of the room.

Tikki had already gone to her room, and Lila was not too far behind. Chucking the empty soda can in her hand into the recycling she entered her bedroom.

Tikki was already in bed, waiting for her.
Lila smiled softly as she walked over and flopped into bed.

The lazy days had increased as she recovered from what Hawkmoth tried to do to her.
She's upset with how she had to be healed but she’s glad nonetheless.
..

She's just glad Marinette doesn’t hold a grudge. Or much of one.
She adjusted herself in bed, getting under the blankets and putting her head on the pillow.

She was out in seconds, the meds she took kicking in finally.
She whispered a soft “Good night” to Tikki before she fell asleep.