It was with heavy steps that Marinette neared Bustier’s class, already anticipating Chloe being there to make her first day horrible. Coming up to the top of the stairwell, she peeked into the windows, seeing her fears confirmed. Chloe was there, talking away with Sabrina. Marinette gripped her bag strap tight, feeling the dread in her stomach churning away, before she released it with a sigh.
Time to face her once again. Time to deal with this long year once again.
Only as she stepped in, Bustier was quick to stop her. “Marinette? What are you doing here?”
Marinette blinked big eyes at the teacher, taking in her curious gaze with her nervous gaze. Bustier frowned, wondering aloud, “Were you not told?”
“Told?” Marinette echoed.
“You’re in Mendeleiev’s class this year.”
Marinette stared, taking in what Bustier said, repeating it over in her head just to make sure she heard it right. Marinette’s jaw almost went slack. She was in Mendeleiev’s class this year. She wasn't sharing class with Chloe this time. She… she was actually Chloe free.
The smile grew without her realizing, making Bustier frown, having never seen a smile like that on Marinette before. Or for any smile from anyone going to Mendeleiev’s class. A part of the teacher wondered if she was ok. Before she could ask, Marinette jumped to life, ignoring the eyes that turned to her.
“Thank you for letting me know! See you next period!”
Marinette ran off before Bustier could reply, racing down the stairs to Mendeleiev’s class. In her rush, her toe hit the floor, sending her flying in the classroom, flopping to the ground in a mess of limbs.
“Miss Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”
She glanced up, seeing the infamous Mendeleiev glaring down at her. “Your first year with me and you're already making quite the entrance.”
“Sorry, Mme Mendeleiev!” Marinette chirped, hopping up to her feet, beaming a radiant smile that had Mendeleiev grimacing. “I was just so excited.”
Mendeleiev narrowed her eyes, then pointed behind Marinette, ordering, “Take a seat.”
Marinette looked back, seeing a few empty seats, left by students that dropped this class. Marinette went to the only one close to front row, sitting down next to a blonde with pigtails and a light blue dress, side eyeing Marinette and that bright smile she wore. Unconcerned, Marinette turned to her and held out her hand, greeting with an excited chirp, “Hi! I’m Marinette Dupain-Cheng!”
The girl stared at the offered hand, then glanced up at her. Tentatively, she slid her hand into Marinette’s waiting palm, stating, “You smile a little too much.”
“I’m smiling?” Marinette asked, her voice giddy. “I didn’t even notice.”
She received an odd look and the girl withdrew her hand, leaning away.
“So what’s your name?” Marinette asked.
“I hope we have a great year together!”
Aurore had to turn away, overwhelmed by the radiance coming off this girl.
Despite her improved mood, Marinette hurried out of the school when she saw Chloe walk out of Bustier’s class, feeling the blonde’s burning blue eyes lock on her fleeing form. She didn’t feel safe till she was inside the bakery, letting out a sigh of relief.
“Welcome home,” Sabine greeted, from the counter, her smile knowing and coy. “It looks like it's been a promising day so far.”
“It's been an amazing day!” Marinette exclaimed, the brightest smile Sabine has seen in a while. “I don’t have Chloe in class at all!”
Sabine’s smile grew. “See, a new year, a new start.”
With an exchanged peck on the cheek, Marinette dashed up to her room, practically skipping through the second floor. In her room, alone, Marinette couldn’t contain it anymore and let it all out.
She shouted. She cheered. She jumped and danced around, just so happy she just had to move, let it out, feel alive, and live in the rush. In this bout of energy, she accidentally knocked a curious black box off her desk, missing how it popped open as it hit the ground, and a little red ladybug-like being drifted out, opening dark blue eyes in time to see her future holder dancing about wildly.
The small being blinked in surprise, watching this girl go, before she smiled, feeling a mix of amusement and confusion. What an energetic holder she got this time.
Marinette finished it by dropping onto her chaise, laughing off the last of this high, feeling good and tired. She laid still for a moment, just enjoying the moment. Only to find it broken when a voice chimed aloud.
“That was quite a scene.”
Marinette’s eyes snapped open, sitting up and looking over to see a small being floating in her room, watching her with dark blue eyes, smiling brightly.
For a moment, neither of them moved, watching each other.
The small being was the first to speak, starting to greet, “Hi! I’m Tik—”
“Aaaaah!” Marinette shouted, grabbing her pillow and flinging it at the small being, earning a squeak as it hit.
Marinette darted off her chaise, peeking over the cushion to eye the pillow. There was no movement. Slowly, she got up, creeping closer and started to slowly lift the pillow up…
A head popped out. “Hiya!”
Marinette squealed, scrambling back.
The being wiggled out from under the pillow, sitting down on her desk, waiting for her to quiet down. Then it continued, “I’m Tikki, here to make you a superhero!”
“A what?” Marinette squeaked out.
“A superhero!” Tikki repeated, darting up with a twirl, trying to reignite that energy. It was not successful as Marinette gaped at her. “There’s trouble coming soon!” Tikki continued, “And your help is needed—”
Marinette tensed at the rumble, hurrying to her window to watch a big golem stomp away from the school, a wall crumbling down behind it, shouting a name she couldn’t quite hear.
Marinette jumped, watching Tikki blink at her from where she hovered over her shoulder. “Don’t do that, please.”
Tikki darted away, picking up the box and setting it back on Marinette’s desk, presenting gleaming earrings to her. “You need to become a ladybug hero, you need to save the day, to save that boy that’s been turned into a monster. Lucky Charm will guarantee your success. Miraculous Ladybug will restore all the damage. And you must capture the butterfly to end this.”
Marinette stared at the earrings, then at Tikki, weary. “I, I don’t know…”
“You were chosen,” Tikki said, “you can do this. You can be a true hero, Marinette, I know you can make it.” Weary, Marinette took a few steps, reaching for the earrings.
In spite of the great turn this day took, this turn in direction she was unsure of.
What should be a bright morning started out more grim when Marinette awoke, seeing that people were still turned to stone, her mistake clear on the tv. It made her insides twist with guilt and stress.
She had one task. To catch the butterfly and she didn’t and now…
A hand settled on her back, making her look up to see her Papa smiling down at her, his smile tighter than usual. “It’ll be ok,” he said, trying to be optimistic. “I’m sure those heroes will take care of it!”
He kissed her brow, insisting, “How about you head to school, I’m sure this will be resolved soon.”
It would, as soon as she found someone better to be Ladybug. But who?
Making sure she had everything, and the little box in her bag, she hurried to school, shaky and unsure. She saw Ivan flee from Chloe, and after a moment of contemplation, followed to do what she could to comfort, support, and reassure. With Stoneheart hopefully avoided, she headed to class, dropping into her seat, feeling queasy and nervous, her mind racing as she tried to think of who to pass the miraculous onto.
“You’re as dreary as a grey sky today.”
Marinette looked up, seeing Aurore eyeing her, brow raised.
“Just, uh, shaken up,” Marinette mumbled.
Aurore hummed at that, gazing forward as she watched Mendeleiev go through sheets of homework, waiting for the bell to start class. “It is quite the calm before a storm,” Aurore agreed, drawing Marinette’s eyes to her. “Its… unnerving.”
“And it's all because Ladybug failed,” she mumbled, sagging in her seat.
Aurore scoffed. “She had some stage fright, not cause the end of the world.”
“But, people got turned to stone,” Marinette pointed out.
“We’re dealing with some unknown force of magic, anything is possible. That girl and cat boy seem to be connected to it, so I’m sure they’ll take care of it. This is just a small hiccup.” Aurore smiled, lifting up her arm, posing. “It’ll be easy breezy after this.”
“Well, I’m not sure , but I like to think so.”
Marinette glanced down at her bag, thinking of the little box. “Um, w-would you be one of them?” When Aurore glanced at her, Marinette elaborated, “Would you be the girl or cat boy, if you could?”
“You’re looking at the future weather girl on KIDZ+, whatever they are I won’t have time to be them, much less any interest in them. I have a future to focus on.” She turned away, sticking her nose up in the air, and unknowingly striking down any notion in Marinette for her to possibly be the new Ladybug.
Marinette sighed, leaning on her hand, back at square one.
She didn’t get much of a chance to mope when there was another rumble, followed by screams.
In the front of the class, Mendeleiev made a frustrated noise. “Not again, blast it! We can’t afford to miss days like this every damn day!” the teacher got up to see what was causing it this time, many of her students following to see as well. They came just in time to see Stoneheart back, with Chloe and Mylene in his fists, both of them shouting and screaming as he stomped past.
Marinette crept away, taking advantage of the eyes locked on them, and trailed after the golem, occasionally tugging up her bag, making sure it was still with her. If it came to it, she'll be Ladybug again. She'll do what she can.
As she followed, she caught sight of Chat Noir running on the roofs, looking like a natural with his miraculous already. She faltered, slowing down as she watched go.
Maybe he should have both. Maybe it'd be better if he had both. He seemed excited for this, eager for it, certain of himself; he should have then both.
Decision made, she hurried up, trying to keep up, determined to get the earrings to Chat. Chat got ahead, starting a scuffle with the army of Stonehearts, Marinette hung back, wearily watching as he fought them all off, grinning like he was having the time of his life as he dodged and darted around their coming fists.
Near the scuffle, Marinette caught of the girl from yesterday, eagerly recording this like a crazy person. And as anticipated, things took a dangerous turn. One of the golems knocked a car towards the girl, going too fast for her to avoid. Chat threw his baton to save her, getting grabbed by a stony fist while the girl ended up pinned by the car, her expression twisted up in pain.
A cold, terrifying feeling went through Marinette as she watched the scene play out slowly. A resolution ignited, she put back on the earrings, summoning, “Spots on!”
Whether or not she was the best for this, Ladybug was needed. And until she could find a chance to pass it onto someone better fit for it, she was going to help however she can, even if it was scary…
Third day of school and the world seemed brighter once more. While she wasn’t entirely sure, a decision was made. For now, Marinette was going to continue as Ladybug. Chat had faith in her, pointed out that she could save the day. She faced Hawk Moth, ready to fight him whenever he came out, to face all that that he threw her way.
She saved that girl.
She saved Chloe.
She saved Ivan and Mylene.
She saved Paris. She saved the day.
And with Tikki’s warm eyes and bright smile, maybe she could pull this off.
“So the clouds have cleared.”
She glanced at Aurore as she sat down. The blonde continued, “You seem to be in a merrier mood.”
Marinette smiled. “Things improved. And you were right. It was just a hiccup.”
“Of course. Since you’re going to be my deskmate, it's time for you to know: I’m always right.”
Marinette raised a playful brow. “Always?”
“Always,” Aurore promised, smiling a smug grin. “So I recommend listening to me when the chance arises.”
Marinette chuckled. “Sure.” Since class hasn’t started yet, and Mendeleiev was caught up in herself, darkly grumbling threats about any more interruptions, Marinette pulled out her sketchbook, ready to start sketching out ideas.
She was just designing a small jacket when a hand slammed on her sketchbook, making her jump. Her sketchbook was slid over to Aurore, eyes locked on the clothes designs Marinette had scattered over the page.
“I’m into fashion design,” Marinette slowly offered, unsure how to take Aurore’s gape. She jumped when Aurore turned to her, eyes shining.
“Are you in need of a model?” Aurore asked.
“I will model for you,” Aurore decided, grinning. “Some of these outfits look good, and will help me win as weather girl. And you’ll get good publicity.”
“Of course. I’m just that good.” She slid the sketchbook back to Marinette. “It was very fortuitous for you to decide to sit here, Marinette. I foresee bright skies ahead for us both.”
Marinette stared at Aurore, taking in that beaming, confident smile. She grinned herself, chuckling. “The brighter days are here.”
Only when school was over, those brighter days turned grey and dark. Marinette slowed as she headed to the entryway, see it storm outside. She leaned forward, wincing when she saw a flash of lighting streak through the sky, making her lean back in. She made a face, well aware of how close home was.
She sighed, hoping it’ll pass soon.
She blinked as someone came up beside her, a blond boy that was a head taller, opening up his black umbrella. He spared her a glance, offered an apologetic smile, and hurried, leaving Marinette behind to silently judge him.
Before she can get to foul, a soft yellow came over her, a gentle sun covering her from the storm. Blinking in surprise, Marinette turned, seeing Aurore smile as she came up beside her. “Where do you live?” Aurore asked.