Chapter 1: Kindness
“You have a visitor.”
Marinette had a start at the odd tone her Maman spoke with, turning to see none other than Gabriel’s assistant coming in, frosty eyes locked on the surprise girl. She greeted, “Marinette Dupain-Cheng?”
“If you would, come with me. Gabriel Agreste wants to see you.”
Marinette stiffened, wide eyed. She got up, following Nathalie down, and getting into the limo. Her thoughts went wild, a fear settling on her shoulders. Did he know? Was it true? Master Fu still suspected that Gabriel was Hawk Moth and wanted to observe Gabriel for now, and if the suspicions rang true…
Marinette fidgeted, on edge, dreading the possibility that she was about to have a fight of her life. She kept up her big eyes as she followed Nathalie up to the manor, turning when Nathalie pointed to Gabriel’s office.
Bracing herself, Marinette slipped in, ready for the worst.
Gabriel glanced up at her from his podium, his expression a lot more open than she expected, his gaze curious and sharp.
“Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” he greeted.
“Sir,” she returned, rubbing her arm and shuffling on her feet, an exaggerated show as she watched him move around the room, tensing for a second when she saw the book in his hand.
“I talked to my son,” Gabriel said, coming to stand in front of her, holding up the book. Marinette stared up at him with big eyes, confusion filling her head.
“He told me something very interesting, that it wasn’t you who was anywhere near the book. But there was another, a girl by the name of Lila Rossi. A girl, I’ve come to realize, you were lying for.” Marinette’s body sagged, surprise settling on her. Gabriel’s expression became firm, peering down at her.
“That was very kind of you,” he continued, “not a lot of people would take blame for another, especially with a goal of helping someone. I am impressed, Miss Marinette.”
“O-oh, I, uh—”
“But, I also think you are foolish.”
At her blink, Gabriel said coolly, “If I had taken it the wrong way, I could’ve tarnished your future as a fashion design easily. That kind, selfless act, could’ve been devastating to you.”
Marinette gripped the hem of her shirt, an unsteady guard coming up.
“Compassion is admirable, but you best be careful, it can end up being your downfall.”
It sounded too much of a promise to Marinette’s ears, one she didn’t know what to think. But, breathing in, she offered him a smile and thanks. “I’ll keep that in mind, sir. Thank you.”
“Thank you, for watching out for my son.”
Chapter 2: Pre Origins
“Can you get it?”
Kim made a face at the strain in Marinette’s voice, and how her feet shuffled on his shoulders, a little uncomfortable when they dug into his neck a little. But the boy endured it, resolute to have cookies that her parents had stashed away, out of either of their reach. But they didn’t think of them teaming up!
With both their heights, they were bound to get it!
Or so he would think as Marinette huffed above him, slapping her hands on the countertop, trying to crawling and pull herself up on top, if only she could just get a good grip…
Seeing her issue, Kim gave her a push, earning a squeak as Marinette slid forward on the counter. She quickly made use of this, twisting around so she was sitting up on the counter, pleased to have reached her destination. Below, Kim gazed up at her in anticipation, already licking his lips as Marinette pulled the cookie jar to her side.
Opening the lid, she announced the first cookie she saw. “Oatmeal.”
“Shhhhh!” Marinette loudly shushed, making Kim slap his hands over mouth, looking up at her with wide eyes. “It’s ok,” she said, “that’s Maman’s trick. She puts oatmeal on top of the goodies.
Kim’s eyes went big. “Woah, that is tricky.”
“So tricky. But I figured it out!”
Marinette was off, taking out every oatmeal cookie so she can get to the good stuff, while Kim waited impatiently. She was just about there when a voice cleared behind them, making them both stiffen. They looked up, seeing Tom firmly staring at them both, his arms crossed.
They peered back, wide eyed, Marinette’s arm in the cookie jar, a pile of oatmeal set next to her.
“What do you think you’re doing?” Tom asked.
“Thinking you’re my favorite Papa in the whole wide world,” Marinette offered sweetly, blinking her big eyes up at him, sticking her lip out in a small pout.
You could see the smallest crack in Tom’s shield, and him looking away, trying to resist the big eyes staring up at him, and the sweet words she spoke.
Not that Marinette was going to make it easy. Oh no, she went in for the kill.
Tom sighed, broken down by the sweet, pleading tone. “Just one,” he said. “And you clean up the mess.”
Marinette did so happily, salvaging two cookies for her and Kim, the latter jumping up and down on the floor, all to excited about having his cookie. She dropped down with ease, handing Kim his cookie, the two sharing a fist bump as they left the kitchen to watch cartoons.
Until Kim announced that he could out parkour Batman, and Marinette was quick to challenge back, for she was going to be a future Batgirl (though will add some pink into dark design, it is a must) and will be learning under Batman, and thus, no way was Kim going to out parkour anyone in the adopted Bat family.
The challenge was set and the two were off, racing to park.
Chapter 3: Tea Time
Set up placed in nobodyfamousposts' Felix Culpa, if you're up for Felinette friendship and Felix calling out classmates, I highly recommend.
This was some good tea, Marinette thought to herself from where she sat in the back, alone, watching everyone eagerly unwrapping the packages she had to put out for them. It was decided by them that she would bring in cookies. Lila made a big scene about Marinette not providing enough and if she was a true “friend” of the classroom, she’d be bringing them treats from the bakery, else she’s been holding back on them.
Somehow, the class rallied behind her and Marinette found herself pressured to make them cookies, for she was going to be awful and horrible and the worst if she didn’t.
She then felt compelled to, though, a spiteful thought poked the back of her head, and festered and clouded over Marinette’s mind. They wanted cookies, alright, she’d give them cookies.
She was taking another sip of tea when Felix came up to join her in the back, the stiff blond pausing when he met her gaze. They narrowed, on edge and curious. “You’re smug,” he noted quietly.
“Smug?” she echoed innocently, which earned her a dry look. “A little bit,” she confirmed, watching as the class moved to eat the cookies.
“Should I be worried?” he wondered as he sat down next to her.
“Oh no, just enjoy the show,” she said, unable to stop the smile on her lips as they all took that first bite.
She hid her grin with another sip as the class gagged and spat out their cookies. They turned to Marinette, looking betrayed and gaping.
“You gave us oatmeal,” Alya said. “This isn’t chocolate chip!”
Marinette blinked at her innocently, voicing, “You guys didn’t tell me you wanted chocolate chip… you just said you wanted cookies.”
As the class started to grumble at her, Felix spoke up, glaring down at them. “You should have been specific and clear in what you want, especially since Marinette is making these for free. It's your own fault if you didn’t get what you want.”
He received sour looks for that, looks he met easily, daring anyone to challenge his words. He glare was broken when a canister was placed on his desk.
“It’s full of tea,” Marinette told him, “brewed it myself. You’re not fan of sweets so I figured you'd like tea.”
There was something a hum coming from him, pleased and content as he took an eager sip of her brew. Marinette joined him, sighing happily.
This really was some good tea.
Chapter 4: Affection
Through Fu, Marinette has learned there are many aspects to factor in choosing holders, how they work with a power, if it plays off their immediate strengths, if there’s potential growth to be given to their character, if they can get along with a kwami or if its better for a kwami to be different than them that can help them grow.
Sometimes it's better to have kwamis with different personalities to someone, offer a different perspective.
And sometimes, its ideal to give out those with similar personalities and traits, securing a strong bond between holder and kwami.
A bond that Marinette and Tikki are fortunate enough to find.
Their resolution to act and help. A love of crafting and baking. Both of them having bouts of anxiety that they can help each other work through. And affection. Both can be so affectionate, it's a rush of a feeling they just have to get out.
Marinette would be working when Tikki, out of nowhere, rushes up to her cheek, placing a kiss and nuzzle, before zipping away before Marinette can even return the gesture.
In the late evenings when she’s pulling an all nighter or early mornings when she wakes up before Tikki, finding the kwami asleep, Marinette sometimes can’t help pet her, making the little god stretch out and wiggle happily.
Sometimes Tikki just liked to lounge on her head or sit on her shoulder.
Sometimes Marinette just could help but scoop her up and hold the kwami close, embracing the rush of warmth and fondness that comes to her.
For as long as they’re together, she’ll hold the kwami close, as close as Tikki will try to hold her.
Chapter 5: Garden
A little dabble into Scarlet Lady au
“Ooooh,” Pollen breathed as she darted ahead of Marinette, her colorful eyes taking in each plant Marinette had on her balcony, ending up drawn to the roses most, practically pressing her face close to the flower as she breathed in their fragrance. Marinette watched the being, er, kwami curiously, slowly coming up onto the balcony to join her.
“You have such a wondrous green thumb, My Queen!” Pollen praised, drifting up to offer Marinette a beam.
“Thanks!” She got an awkward smile, still not quite sure how to respond to the little being. She was up for the purpose of being a hero, helping out Chat Noir with Scarlet Lady; but a connection between them just has yet to be set.
It left Pollen frowning a little; usually, she clicked with her queens and kings very well, happy to hear her that she was eager to be at their service. But, this Queen was not of the usual mold she worked with, far more modest in comparison, a queen bee that didn’t desire to rule all and bring the sting of power, but one that desired to be among her hive, more involved, hardworking.
It was an odd concept, and to connect with her Queen, she’ll work with it. If her Queen desired to be more equal, to listen to her thoughts and views, Pollen will work with it, see to it that it will be so. It’ll just take a bit of time to get used to the idea.
But first, she needed to establish a connection between them, for the rift was still there. After just one day.
It's been so long since she’s encountered someone so awkward with her eager service, she’ll have to figure out how to work around this.
She turned her eyes down to the roses, taking them in and considering them. She brightened, darting to Marinette’s side as she started to water the plants, eagerly informing her, “You should clip your roses!”
Marinette paused, turning to the bee god with a raised brow.
“The old ones, that are fully bloomed. If you clip them, they will bloom again next year!”
Marinette’s eyes widened, turning to eye her roses. “Really?”
“Oh, yes, bees are one of the world’s greatest gardeners; there are actually many tips I can share, if you would like to hear them, My Queen.”
In the first time of their two days together, Marinette gave her a real smile, that left the kwami beaming, delighted to see it. It’ll take some time, but Pollen is optimistic that she’ll get there. Soon, she and her Queen will be as close as can be. And as a diligent worker bee, she’ll see to it.
Chapter 6: Creation
A little tidbit from Loyal Chevalier.
Chevalier prowled around behind her, quiet and careful to not disturbed his princess in her work. Not that she was bothered, her calm eyes set on her creations, moving with gentle care and love, making sure she got every detail right.
She paused when there was a glow over her face, a low growl coming from Chevalier, displeased with his presence, to see him trying to whisper in her ear, push to leave and do work that she shouldn’t do. He came close, laying his head on her shoulder, purring loudly as he nuzzled her, breaking up the order.
He felt the flicker of frustration and Hawk Moth was gone.
She released a breath, and continued her work.
Just in case, he stayed by her side till she was done. They both shifted, sitting back to stare down at the dolls she made. Impatiently, Chevalier’s tail swished back and forth, anticipating the first move.
A doll with bushy red hair was the first to move, sitting in a rush of energy, looking upon Princess Amour, and with a wild wave of their arms, charged at the akuma.
Chevalier tensed for a moment, but relaxed when his princess simply giggled, wrapping her arms around the little doll gently. The other dolls sat up as well, all looking up to the akuma, getting up to head her way. They pressed at her side, hugging her as best they could, letting her feel loved, included, and reassured.
Chevalier leant back on his princess, resuming his purr as he relaxed. It was quiet for a second, before there were clicks of claws as Ches came up behind them, his purr thunderous and pleased. He curled up around them, content.
For now, they all just enjoyed the moment.
Chapter 7: Side Effects
Sorry for the late update, having a spat with a coworker and came home grumpy, wasn't in the mood to write. So double update today
It was with a grunt, Marinette struggled into her room, holding a heavy black fox in her arms, the silver highlights on it looking almost blue. With a loud sigh, she let the fox drop to her floor, only to tense up when it quickly darted away, starting to sniff around the room.
“Foxtrot!” she called out sharply, watching the fox’s head go straight up, ears perked towards her, attentive. She pointed at the coy blue that stared at her, ordering, “Behave.”
All she got in response was a little flicker of his tail, something playful, but she hoped it meant the transformed fox hero would behave.
When he didn’t move for a minute, she went to her chair, collapsing in it with a sigh, leaning her head on her hand. Luckily for her, when the akuma attack was coming her way, Foxtrot, who usually kept to the shadows, rather not be seen or too deeply involved with the other heroes; had leapt into the blow and took it for her. And now he was a good sized fox, in her room. And she wasn’t entirely sure just how aware of his surroundings he was.
He was intelligent enough, recognized her, didn’t bite her when she picked him up or struggle when she fled away from the pursuing akuma. Wasn’t any bother the whole way home, and was now, well behaved in her room. Suggesting to her that yes, he was conscious and aware of his surroundings; and that meant he wasn’t going to easily let a civilian like her go.
Which begged the question, why did she think it was a good idea to bring him here?
Great plan, Marinette. Great plan. Way to think ahead.
She blinked when there was a weight in her lap, looking down to see the black fox peering up at her, blue eyes soft. She offered him a smile, patting his soft head. Foxtrot was a mystery, one Chat didn’t want to trust, but, this confirmed to her that he really was sweet and—
The soft moment was entirely broken, with Marinette scared right out of her seat, when the fox suddenly let out a loud shriek that sounded something akin to someone getting brutally murdered. Before Marinette could have a moment to recover, the akuma rushed by, catching the fox’s attention.
With a chirp, Foxtrot tore off, heading for her bed and out onto her balcony, leaving Marinette alone to try and calm her beating heart.
Tikki darted out, prompting, “Marinette! There’s an akuma.”
“Give me a minute, Tikki.”
The minute came and Ladybug was on the case, with Miraculous Ladybug swept through Paris, restoring everyone back to who they were. Foxtrot was among, his transformation falling away not long after he was restored. Luka leant against the wall with a sigh, glad to be back.
Trixx stretched out in front of him, then placed his paws behind his back, grinning coyly
Luka raised a brow at the kwami. “What?”
“That was quite the declaration you gave her,” Trixx said, his smile growing, purple eyes playful.
“The scream? Yeah, I, I should apologize about that…” he looked away, cheeks a little pink, hands in his pockets to fidget with his favorite pick.
“For the sudden scare, yeah, I’d say so. But I recommend you make it clear that you meant it.”
Luka gave the fox kwami a confused blink.
Trixx eagerly elaborated, “One of the biggest reasons for a fox to scream is for those they have a certain interest in. And there was a rather cute vixen with you, of course you wanted to make your attraction to her clear.”
Trixx silently snickered as Luka went flushed and wide eyed. Trixx continued, “You made your declaration as a fox, now I suggest you explain it.”
“Ye-yep. That’s… there needs to be some explaining to do…” Luka ran his hand through his bangs, face red. He did want to make his interest known, just, not like this.
Chapter 8: Partners
Kuro Neko paused, turning to eye Ladybug, watching her stop to stare down at the Seine, watching the water roll along. Kuro frowned, noting that Ladybug was very distracted today. Kuro tilted her head, considering her quiet partner, finding it strange that she was so quiet today. Usually for patrols, she liked to talk and fill the air with chatter. Things she wanted to make, ideas she had, a few girls she wanted to grumble about, and the occasional crush.
In this moment, Kuro wondered who it was that had her down.
One of the girls that trouble her, or her crush.
Both sent a flare of indignation through her, her faux ears going down. With a narrow of her eyes, she jumped in front of Ladybug, making her jump, looking up to see Kuro Neko drop into a crouch. Ladybug raised a brow. “I’m not going to fight you, Kuro.”
“I’m not asking for a fight,” Kuro said. “I’m prompting a spar.”
Ladybug frowned, turning to eye the tile roofs below their feet.
“You need to get your frustration out,” Kuro insisted, “you need to focus, move, and work it out.”
Ladybug met her brown gaze, eyes narrowing as she dropped into her crouch, one apparently taught by her mother she had said once. Kuro’s lips twitched up, rushing at Ladybug, ready to go onto the offensive. Flexible as always, Ladybug worked around her offense, dancing on her quick feet. Together they circled each other, neither able to fully get the other. Kuro aimed to strike hard and fast, Ladybug was quick and deflective.
Kuro could smile, enjoying the rush, how in sync they were. They may be limited on what they can share, but there were always ways for them to help each other. She may not come with comforting words or the affectionate touch that Ladybug can have, but this she can provide.
And to see Ladybug smile, to hear her laugh.
For now, it was enough for Kuro.
Chapter 9: Dreams
Beware, Adrien doesn't look good.
Dreams were things to cling to, goals in life, things to hope and anticipate for. And Marinette, like many had a dream. A few, in truth.
Becoming a fashion designer, one of the best in the world; she confident in this.
Have kids, at most three. And as of now, her favorite names were Emma, Hugo, and Louis. They were going to be her beautiful, perfection children, and by the time she had, she was confident to believe that she would get over this weakness to baby doll eyes. At least, she hoped. Else she was doomed. But, that was something for future Marinette to deal with.
And, there was her dream to be Marinette Agreste in her future. To be married to Adrien, to have him as her supportive husband, someone she can rely on, share jokes with, and trust and talk to..
But, as this school year went on, that dream was starting to look more and more like a fantasy.
When he expressed interest in Kagami, it was a jab at her stomach, leaving her sick and devastated. But he looked so excited, nervous, curious. And he wanted her help. He had this much faith in her, this much trust. How could she refuse him? Maybe, it was time to move on. Every effort she made had no success. Maybe it was better to just remain friends.
But when she caught him sneaking glances her way, how he rushed to side when she fell, hearing him follow her when she went to the bathroom. It was hope renewed. Shaky, confused; but renewed.
But that dream she has with Adrien, the ground beneath started to get weak.
The fiasco with Chloe left a crack when Adrien showed his displeasure to how she reacted to Chloe leaving. A small part of her wanted to argue, fight back, get mad at him for his words, how he dismissed how much Chloe had hurt her.
But, this was Adrien, the sweetest boy she’s ever met. Who got along with everyone, who believed in the best of everyone, and was a close friend of Chloe’s. With how delicate her relationship with Adrien was, she allowed herself to doubt her anger, even if it hurt. Even if it felt wrong. Maybe there was more to Chloe, maybe she was just too blinded by her hurt and anger to see it. She was told she had an issue of being too emotional, maybe it was something she had to work on. If Adrien thought she should forgive Chloe and have faith in her, maybe she should.
But, that vision she had of a future with him, that became a little tainted. She wanted to hope for the best, but there was a touch of hurt she felt, one she tried to bury deep down and ignore. It was probably just an overreaction, after all.
But then, Lila came back to school. Started to lie to her friends, took advantage of Adrien, cornered Marinette and threatened her; and when Marinette wanted to fight, to put a stop to Lila, Adrien told her to let it go, leave Lila be. It was enough for him to know, wasn’t it?
It was like a knife to her chest, a painful ache that made her want to break down and cry, the feeling of hurt, betrayal, and disappointment… she felt tired, she wanted to lay down and curl up. How could he think this was ok? How could he let Lila lie their friends like this?
But he just stared down at her, expectant, quiet, silently daring her to act out against Lila, a quiet threat that he’d be disappointed in her.
With the love she had for him, she humored him, just like before. Let Lila be, let her have her way. And in return, she found herself more isolated than before, left to sit in the back alone, stare at the backs of all her friends, listening to the tales Lila weaved, watch as her classmates talked to her less and less, some even just ignoring her.
Adrien did make an effort to include her, one time; but the displeasure he received for that, he never tried again, leaving her in isolation like all the others.
And one day, as she watched Lila hold Adrien’s arm, head on his tense shoulder, trying to tempt him into her circle, Marinette felt… nothing. There was no anger at Lila, no spike of jealousy, no irritation. She just felt…
That day when she got home, she took down all the pictures of Adrien, ignoring Tikki’s questions about why she was doing this. She changed her desktop, she put everything Adrien related in a box, stashed in the darkest corner of her room, and didn’t stop till there was no more Adrien to see in her room.
Ignoring her kwami’s concerned and confused gaze, Marinette laid out on her chaise, hugging her pillow tightly, her breathing uneven and shaky, her vision becoming blurry. Caught up in her distress and numbness, she never noticed Tikki darting through the window, how she was gone for a while.
She woke from her trance when someone came into her room, the fragrance of tea filling the room. She blinked, looking to see Master Fu coming in, offering her a small, reassuring smile.
“I have brought you tea,” he told her softly, his tone soothing and gentle. Like he wanted to help and heal.
It was enough to make her finally break, a sob coming out of her as clicked, a realization that she was broken, the hope, love, and faith she had ruined. Her dream of marrying Adrien torn to pieces and left to scatter.
And when Fu’s gentle hand came to rest on her arm, Marinette reached out to him, crying into his shoulder, accepting the hug that followed. Hours seem to go by before Marinette finally let it all out. She sat on her floor next to Fu, clutching her cup of tea, taking small sips, letting the warm liquid soothe her throat, helping her calm down.
“Feeling better?” Fu asked.
“It still hurts,” she admitted shakily, a tremor in her voice.
“It gets easier,” Fu promised. “It may be hard now, but it will.”
She nodded, breathing in shakily. “I, I don’t know what to do,” she admitted, sniffing.
“I’d recommend a change in scenery,” Fu offered quietly, “but that will be up to you. Till then, I would like you to come by my shop after school. We’ll meditate, and it will help. You will find the strength to move forward, Marinette.”
She nodded, reaching up to wipe her eye, feeling calmer, and took a deep drink.
She had a dream. Two dreams. Become a successful fashion designer, and marry happily and have three children with someone she loved and could trust.
Adrien Agreste was no longer apart of this dream.
Chapter 10: Video Games
Plagg yawned loudly stretching out from where he laid on top of the catapillar. His ear twitched when he heard the noises of Marinette’s game below, filling the room with noise. He cracked his eyes open, staring up at the sky above, watching a cloud slowly drift by.
Lazily, he floated up and dropped down, landing on Marinette’s head, watching her play her game. One that she was so caught up in, she didn’t even notice him on her head.
She was able to notice when he wondered aloud, “What is even the point of this?”
She looked up, meeting Plagg’s raised brow. “It’s fun,” she said.
“Eating cheese is fun.”
“I like cheese as much as the next girl, but its not that fun. This is more fun.” Plagg scoffed at that, hopping down to sit on her wrist, eyes on the screen. “You want to try?” she offered, holding up the controller, trying to tempt him.
Plagg made a little face, humming to himself as he weighed his choice. With a shrug, he decided to give it a go. Then he can prove to Marinette that cheese was the greatest fun.
Plagg can admit that he was wrong, and Marinette dreadingly realized she made a monster.
“Plagg, its my turn.”
Marinette bit her lip, resisting the instinctive hiss that wanted to come out, controlling herself. She was the mature one of the two, she wasn’t going to lower herself to a hissfit with Plagg. No, she was Lady Nuit. She was clever, in control, and could do this. She just needed to be crafty…
She grinned, picking up a wedge of cheese, taking a quick bite of it and humming loudly. “You know, Plagg,” she announced, watching him ignore her as he continued to play. “You were right, cheese really is the most fun, so tasty, could dine on it all day. If you don’t mind, just going to eat your whole stash.”
Plagg stiffened, the game paused. “You wouldn’t.”
“Its cheese or the game, Plagg.”
“You’re human, you can’t consume that much cheese!”
“...True, but I can give it back to Papa, he’s been wondering where all the cheese has disappeared to.”
With a strangled noise, Plagg darted away, snatching up the wedge in Marinette’s hand, holding it close, whispering reassurances his way. Pleased, Marinette sat back in her chair, happily playing her game again.
Chapter 11: Phone Thief
This chapter is supposed to be Guardian, but couldn't think of anything for it, so I'll get to it later.
“This is becoming a bad habit.”
“It is not that bad.”
“This is your fourth phone,” Tikki pointed out.
Marinette made a face at her, crossing her arms. The kwami went quiet under her strict stare. “Are you really going to get on my case for snatching this phone so I can keep your existence a secret?” Marinette asked.
“I wouldn’t need to do this if you wouldn’t pop out into the open like that,” Marinette continued, lifting up chin as she eyeballed the kwami. Tikki returned it with a pout, but could silently acknowledge the the issue that caused this third theft.
Though, Tikki couldn’t resist pointing out, “There were better ways of handling it than outright stealing someone’s phone.”
“Don’t turn this back on me, Tikki, you have a problem and you need to work on it!” Marinette huffed, starting to pace around her room, setting the phone down, trying to think of how to solve this. This kid saw Tikki with her, hanging out of her purse like she usually does; and they were about to make a call, report what they saw.
Marinette had to do something . How to explain Tikki, and panic reaction of swiping the phone. What to do, what to do… Marinette slowed, eyes coming to rest on her sewing supplies. She smiled, a plan forming in her mind.
This will work.
With a grin, she dove at her desk, gathering up her supplies, Tikki coming to hover in close, watching her crafty curiously. She smiled at what Marinette was making, she approved, “This could work.”
“It will,” Marinette promised.
By the end of the day, Marinette hunted down the nervous kid, returned the phone with an apology, and revealed to them the little Tikki plush she made, revealing its a possible toy she wanted to sell and liked it to stay secret. Understanding, Marinette was pleased when she was promised that her secret will be safe.
Chapter 12: Akumanette
The day Manynette was made in response to Chameleon, there was one extra Nette that had come to be alongside her sisters. Out of all of them, she looked the most like Marinette, only thing she was missing was were Marinette’s bright eyes and bright smile. In comparison, this Nette looked tired and grim. And she felt as such, while all others of her sisters were bubbly and excited and bursting with energy (minus Napinette who was heading to sleep), everyone else was ready to go.
As was this extra, though she didn’t include herself in the planning. She had another agenda on her mind than making it clear what everyone was doing and going to be. She turned and slipped downstairs, heading off to school.
She didn’t stop to greet anyone, kept her tired eyes forward, heading to Bustier’s class, a tightness settling in her stomach the whole time. She was the first to arrive, and settled down in her seat in the back with a sigh.
While the class slowly piled, this Nette ignored then, unwilling to look at any of them, and instead peered outside.
She was content for it to stay this way, not acknowledging each other, though Alya herself didn’t know that as she called out a greeting to who she thought was Marinette, sitting in the back. She frowned when she was ignored, Marinette acting like she didn’t hear her. Feeling a little sour and fed up with Marinette’s attitude, Alya prowled up to her seat, taking a breath to calm down, and prompted, “Marinette? You ok?”
Marinette turned to her, peering up at her with a dull look.
Alya narrowed her eyes, crossing her arms as she peered down at her. “Ok, what’s with this attitude.”
She received a glare in response.
“Are you really going to be this childish?” Alya huffed.
“ I’m the childish one?” secret akuma repeated, an edge in her voice.
“You’re definitely acting like it. If you have an issue, if you would just talk—”
“Would you actually listen? Or just dismiss me?” the akuma wondered.
Alya’s job dropped at the accusation. Before she could give a heated reply, Adrien hurried up to their side, trying to placate things before they got to heated. “Hey, what’s going on?” he asked, giving Marinette a pointed look.
She didn’t back down like he expected. Instead, he blinked at the glare she gave him, frightening enough that he took a step back.
“Oh, nothing much,” the akuma responded with a bite. “Just enjoying being on my own.”
Adrien raised a brow at the wording. On her own? What did she mean?
“You two should just ignore her,” Lila called out from up from, sour that Adrien was up there with Marinette. “She’s just trying to get attention.”
“Yes,” the akuma called back. “ I’m the one clearly trying to get attention.”
Lila gave the unknown akuma a look, daring her to say anything else. This Nette peered back, unafraid. Alya whipped around, scolding, “Marinette! That’s enou—”
Everyone went still at Marinette’s sharp tone that went through the room, slowly turning to see another Marinette standing in the doorway, giving everyone in the back a stern look. “Need I remind everyone that class is about to start? And Saltinette, I noticed you skipped out on our morning meeting. You didn’t need to leave early to start trouble.”
“Trouble came to me,” Saltinette insisted, both Nettes ignoring the gapes and horror that was dawning on their classmates as they looked between the two.
Marinette was an akuma, who was volatile and upset with them.
They were screwed.
Chapter 13: Restore
Marinette frowned as she stared down at the miraculous on her desk, Tikki sat on her shoulder, quiet as she left Marinette alone to contemplate what to do. With the misused miraculouses recovered, Fu has tasked her with restoring the peacock miraculous.
As the Avatar of Creation, only she could manipulate and control the power efficiently enough to restore the miraculous. But, Marinette was at a loss on how to do that. Fu also didn’t know how it was done. When she asked Tikki, the kwami unhelpfully said that it was unique for every Ladybug.
Marinette was to find her own way to fix it.
And what she gathered, she had to find a way to harness her miraculous magic to do so.
How does she even draw magic from her earrings to do that? Does she just, will to her fingertips? Could she fix it with a touch? Is it that easy?
She picked it up, half expecting some flash or flicker of magic, just to show that it was going to activate and come alive.
Only there was nothing. It was still dull and dark. Broken.
She brought it close, leaning back in her seat, frowning at it. She didn’t even know what was broken. There was no scratch on it, no crack, no dent… what was even wrong? She rubbed her thumb over, feeling the craft, the lines, the detail put into the peacock brooch.
It was beautiful work, even as damaged as it was, and it was shame that its reached this point. For a something that was to bring miracles, it shouldn’t be like this.
With her attention on it, moving it about in her hands, feeling it out, Marinette was unaware of the flicker coming from her earrings. Tikki noticed, her tail giving a happy wiggle as she watched the earrings glow. Under her touch, the miraculous became warm, the pink gems giving off a slight glow of their own.
Marinette blinked when she finally noticed the glow, eyes widening. Holding it up in her two hands, she watched as it gave it a soft glow, a blue light starting to rise up out of the jewelry, fading to reveal a blue kwami, slouched over Marinette’s hand.
Tikki sucked in a breathe at the sight of her, Marinette gaping at the tired looking kwami.
“Duusu?” Tikki whispered.
Tired looking pink eyes opened up, looking up to Tikki and a girl. She cracked a weary smile, drifting down to lie on Marinette’s hands to rest. “Hello,” she whispered back, rubbing her face against Marinette’s palm. “And goodnigh…”
Marinette and Tikki didn’t move, staring down at the kwami in her hands, asleep, her tail feathers soft and ticklish from where they lay over Marinette’s fingers.
“Go get Fu,” Marinette whispered, and Tikki was off, leaving her holder alone with the once lost kwami. Carefully, she adjusted Duusu, removing the miraculous and freeing one hand. She lightly touched the kwami, running her hand over her, feeling a wave of protectiveness for her.
“You’re going to get better,” Marinette promised, “you’re safe now. You’re ok.”
Duusu’s eyes fluttered and the kwami settled back down, nuzzling her hand.
Chapter 14: Support
Felix was mildly surprised when he came up to the back, finding Marinette was out, asleep at their shared desk, her face buried in her arms. She didn’t stir when he sat down next to her, didn’t rouse as the class noise grew in volume as they settled and talked to each other.
Nearing the time for class to start, Felix glanced her way, starting to think he should awaken his seatmate.
But he took in the dark bags under her eyes, the slightly darker trails on her cheeks, the shakiness of her breathing.
She was exhausted and wore out, and he had feeling it was more than just her studies. But what else it could be, he didn’t know.
With a glance at his clock, class has officially started, and there was no Bustier yet. Many of the students were taking advantage to come crowd around Lila and Adrien’s seats, listening to her wild tales, letting themselves get in enraptured once more.
Felix made a slight face at them, then spared another glance at Marinette. He took off his jacket, and carefully set it on Marinette’s shoulders. She stirred for a second, and he wondered if she was going to awake. But with a few sleepy blinks, she settled back down, her breathing even out, relaxing under the warmth of the jacket.
Felix took out his history book, starting to read ahead for next period, everything else becoming white noise around him as he sat with the sleeping Marinette.
Chapter 15: Triumph
art by miraculouscontent!
When Marinette’s called to the office for some kind of trouble that Lila or Chloe got her into, and the headmaster wants to call her parents, Marinette insists they’re too busy to come.
Damocles demands her phone, goes through contacts and sees “Sweet Uncle J”. Thinking this is her uncle, Damocles calls him, immediately telling the person on the phone she’s in trouble before they can even get a hello out.
He goes quiet when he receives a loud “WHAT?!”
After a minute of shouting and ruckus on the phone, the line is cut and the headmaster is confused. Minutes later, with him talking it out with Marinette on what to do, there’s a ruckus outside in the school and in bursts Jagged Stone, eyes alight with fury, looking ready to fight.
“What do you mean my niece is in trouble and could get suspended?”
Jagged stood there expectantly, his arms crossed, glaring at the headmaster, taking in his slack jaw as he gaped at Jagged. Marinette stood off to the side, face buried in her hands, quiet groans coming out of her. She couldn’t believe this happened.
The contact name Sweet Uncle J was supposed to help her hide her coolest uncle in her contacts list. No one was supposed to actually call him but her.
But, then again, she was never supposed to be under threat of suspension either.
“Well?” Jagged loudly demanded. “What’s wrong?”
The headmaster straightened, clearing his throat and starting to answer, “She’s been antagonizing a studen-”
“My Marinette doesn’t antagonize anyone! She’s the sweetest, most wonderful girl you ever met and if this brat says otherwise-”
“Please calm down.”
“I’ll show her true antagonizing!”
Everyone turned to see Penny coming in behind them, a little winded, giving Jagged a look. One Jagged ignored as he told Penny, waving a hand at Damocles. “He says Marinette’s here because she’s antagonizing someone!”
Penny blinked, raising a brow at all the people in the room. Then narrowed her eyes, straightening as she got to business. She approached the headmaster, ignoring Jagged as he crossed his arms, grumbling quietly under his breath. She asked, “How is she antagonizing this kid?”
Relieved to be dealing with someone calmer, the headmaster told her, “There are accusation that she’s harassing a student. Insisting that they’re a liar, and has even attacked them.”
“It was just a napkin,” Marinette muttered.
“If I may, Miss Dupain-Cheng,” Damocles sighed, “you would turn a napkin deadly.”
“If you know her so well,” Jagged grumbled, “then do you really think she’d be mean to this kid?”
The headmaster faltered.
“I want to see this kid,” Jagged demanded.
“N-now Monsieur Stone-”
“It’s not a bad idea,” Penny agreed. “I’d like to meet her, hear her side and see if we can figure this out.”
Looking between the two deadset stares directed at him, the headmaster caved, calling Lila to his office. Marinette wasn’t too surprised to see a lot of classmates with Lila, Adrien among them, his green eyes locking right on her to give her a soft, pointed look, silently telling her to not cause trouble like he had asked. Only for his gaze to shift to Jagged Stone, much like all his other classmates.
Marinette watched as Lila and Adrien went a little pale.
Oblivious to the growing tension of her “friend”, Rose perked at the sight of the scowling rockstar. “Oh, look, Lila! Jagged is here! We can ask him and sort out that argument you and Marinette had.”
It took a lot of effort for Marinette to not smile as Lila turned her scared eyes to Rose. Before she could tell Rose not to, Jagged asked, “What argument?”
“Lila says she saved your cat from being run over by a plane,” Rose easily answered, “and that’s how she damaged her ear. But Marinette has been saying that’s not true.”
Silence followed Rose’s answers, and she blinked when she noticed the tension finally, how Jagged’s eyes zeroed in on Lila, how the girl went super pale and started to back away. Jagged almost followed, kept still by Penny’s hand coming to rest on his arm, her gaze equally sharp and furious.
“You don’t say...”
Marinette allowed her lips to twitch up. No way was Lila going to get out of this.
Chapter 16: Failure
There were issues, big issues that needed to be addressed. Lady Nuit was up to acknowledge that, but her supposed partner… she wasn’t so sure. Said partner was across from her, also hiding away from the akuma that had overwhelmed them, almost a little too easily, but not enough to win. They were clever, and both managed to escape this akuma.
But not clever enough to find their hiding place, both of them going tense when they came across one. It was the danger of the nearing akuma that had them slip in, choosing to hide as far away from each other as possible. And here they sat, waiting for something, an idea, a plan. Personally, Lady Nuit would rather be talking this out, trying to come up with some idea. But he was stubbornly quiet, making the tense air between foul with his sourness and reluctance.
He told her day one that he didn’t want to be here. He didn’t want to be a hero and one day he wasn’t going to show up, someone else will be the ladybug holder.
She can get it, she wasn’t crazy about this at first either. When Plagg came to her, building up her being a her, having a destructive power to use, and how it was up to her to save Paris… it was overwhelming, and her life has gotten a lot more hectic (a bit of it was Plagg’s fault), but it was a role she came to embrace and enjoy.
She can get where her partner was coming from, she can get his displeasure. But, he was still here, there had been no other ladybug replacement yet. For now, they were stuck together and they needed to figure this out. And that meant cooperation.
With her long braid swishing back and forth, a little agitated, she prompted, “Elytron.”
Frosty eyes glanced her way.
“We need a plan,” she said.
He just stared at her, the sourness coming off of him in waves. Her faux ears went down, her braid giving its own irritated swish. But she pushed back her frustration, standing up with a sigh, coming near him and seating herself close by. She met his frosty gaze with her own, focused on him.
“Troublemaker is hard to grab, and just going all over the place. We need something figured out if we’re going to win.”
“She becomes tangible at will,” he murmured, “if she wants to grab something, she’ll be tangible.”
She cracked a grin, her pupils thinning a little in excitement as a plan started to form. She held up her hand, where an easier to grab miraculous sat on her finger. “I’m up to play decoy if you bring the surprise attack.”
She received an agreeable hum, making her smile grow. Perhaps they weren’t quite there as partners, perhaps they never will, but today, at least, they can work together. Maybe it’ll even set off a real partnership (but she won’t be so hopeful, not yet).
Chapter 17: Fears
Marinette can honestly admit that she can be afraid of a lot, with a lot being herself, and how much of a walking disaster she can be. That's where her fears come from, her capability, or, well, lack of it.
Like, what if she tripped right into him and sent him flying into the Seine? And he was so upset with her he never wanted to see her again?
Or, what if going out to ice cream, she was moving to hand him his ice cream but actually threw it at him and it landed on his shirt? Or worse! His face! Or hair!
Marinette cut that thought off, taking a deep breath. She could see Luka glancing her way, brow raised in concern. It was o, she told herself. It was going ok. Nothing happened yet, this was good. It was ok.
She could walk closest to the Seine.
She could let Luka get ice cream.
It was ok. It was alright.
Reassured, she offered Luka a smile, rewarded with one back. He offered his hand and she took it eagerly, going to him when he pulled her close, their sides brushing. She looped her arm around his, resting her head on his arm, releasing a content sigh.
It was ok, it was wonderful.
Chapter 18: New Look
“Shuffler!” Marinette cried, jerking up from where she was laying down, wide eyed as she looked around her room, blinking in confusion. Then she tensed up, clutching her head with a wince, eyes watering a little. There was a painful pound in her head, a sort of… stinging tingle.
It felt like she was mentally fighting something off but… what happened. Blinking a little, her vision swimming, she looked around her room, trying to look for anything odd, and trying to grasp a memory that was at was so close…
She paused when she saw a little black box on her desk, something familiar about it. With a shaky breath, she got up, reaching for it. She opened, seeing a black ring with a green paw pad sitting on the cushion, and a bright glow flared out, coming to drift out of it. It dimmed, revealing a strange cat-like creature yawning loudly.
Marinette sucked in a breath as she stared at it, her memory forcing its way forward.
She remembered a similar creature, ladybug-like with bright dark eyes and an eager smile, a blond cat boy with a warm and playful grin, and… the latest foe they were facing…
“Shuffler,” she breathed out, making the sleepy kwami have a start.
“Huh?” the kwami wondered, blinking at her.
“Shuffler! This, this is the work of Shuffler!” Marinette hurriedly explained to the kwami. “I, I had Tikki, I had the ladybug not cat!”
The kwami blinked at her, his green eyes going sharp and calculating as he really looked her over. “Yeah, that, that you shouldn’t know.”
“We need to find Shuffler,” Marinette stressed. “We, we need to cleanse him, we need things to go back to what they were!”
“Alright, alright, calm down,” Plagg said, waving his paw placatingly. “Good chance then that yeah, this Shuffler is still around, just reset and shuffled up the world.”
“But we don’t know where they are,” Marinette sighed, slouching back in her seat. She glanced at her computer. “And Stoneheart is at large.” With grimace, she agreed, “We’ll focus on what we can, then try to find Shuffler or wait till they appear. Things need to go back to what they were before.”
She stood, picking up the ring and sliding it on her finger. “Cataclysm, right? Not two powers?” she asked, always curious why the ladybug came with two but not cat.
“If I think you need it, I’ll share the other power with you,” Plagg said, looking very reluctant to share the other power. “Do you know the phrase?”
“Claws out?” she guessed correctly as Plagg dove into the ring, wrapping her up her own unique suit, different from Chat’s. Even her eyes, full on blue instead of all green, illuminating against the black mask.
“Ok,” she whispered. “Time to find Chat.”
The cat miraculous was different than the ladybug, no yo-yo to use, more athletes than she’s used to, a little faster and stronger. Far more durable. She stumbled a bit here and there, not used to going over limits she knew as Ladybug, but was quickly getting the hang of it. And it didn’t take her long to see her partner, surprising wearing a black hood.
She beamed, and quickly reminded herself that he’d have no memory of her. Till she had a plan, approach this cautiously, unless he remembered too, this should be his first time being out. She headed for the ladybug holder, slowing down as she began to note differences.
She didn’t remember her partner being this tall and lanky. And when he turned to the approaching cat, tensing a little, she faltered, unsure and equally guarded. Her partner didn’t have blue eyes, not against the black mask with white spots over his eyes.
This… this wasn’t her partner. Miraculouses weren’t the only thing that got shuffled. She offered a tight smile, calling, “Hi! I’m… Lady Nuit. I think you must be my partner?”
She wondered if her partner remembered, if he was panicking somewhere, freaking out that he couldn’t find a miraculous. For now, she’ll work with what she has, keep a lookout, both for her partner and Shuffler.
Hopefully, either will show themselves soon.
Chapter 19: Dressed Up
Marinette twirled from where she stood in the middle of the room, critically looking over her new dress, absently wondering if she had overdone it with the ruffles. Around her, Tikki darted around her, glowing happily as she took in the new dress with her holder. Near them, Plagg sat on her desk, more engrossed with cheese than the attire.
“I don’t know…” Marinette finally admitted, stopping with a frown, the hem of her gown twirling around her ankles before straightening.
“I think it’s perfect,” Tikki encouraged.
“Yeah, what Tikki said,” Plagg said absently.
“It feels like it's missing something,” Marinette persisted.
Plagg glanced their way, stating, “Well, it’s a little too late now.”
Tikki shot him a look, the reassured, “Well, maybe there is time for a quick fix—”
There was a knock at her door, alerting Marinette that it was time, and Plagg was correct. With a wince, Tikki quickly insisted, “It’s beautiful, they’re all going to love it.”
Marinette offered the kwami a small smile, then lifted up her ruffles. Tikki darted into a hidden pocket, and when Plagg neared, Marinette stopped him. “No cheese,” she told him firmly.
“But,” Plagg protested.
Marinette crossed her arms.
“Fiiiine,” the kwami huffed, popping the chunk into his mouth and swallowing it down, with a big pout about him not able to savor it, he ducked into another hidden pocket. Satisfied that the kwamis were hidden, the young Countess approached her door, opening with a smile to a servant that stood on the other. She was informed the gala was starting and her betrothed was ready for her.
She gave him her thanks and slipped out, heading down the hall, the servant following a few steps behind.
She was one of two that were engaged to the Agreste heirs, though her engagement was more of a jab the king at his disagreeable nephew, and it left Marinette becoming married to the prince she didn’t desire. It wasn’t the sweet Adrien she longed for, never able to have due to her low rank in the noble world, and her reputation of “mingling” with commoners. There were even whispers of her being a witch from the Lady Rossi, delving into magic (actually one of the few things she’d be right about, though Marinette wouldn’t consider herself a witch).
In this world of nobility, she’d be considered lucky that someone like her was even betrothed to a royal; with the rumors and reputation and low ranking, she was going to become the second most politically powerful woman in Agrestine.
All at the price of marrying Prince Felix.
She saw him as she neared the gala, awaiting her at the doors, always so stiff, his gaze cold and weary, face carefully blank; she offered him a smile despite the awkward tension between them, coming to stop at his side.
“You look lovely,” he told her, offering his arm.
“You look handsome,” she returned, taking his arm while silently thinking how weird he looked with a ponytail.
The two turned to the doors, watching them open as the announcer called out their names. Together, in stiff sync, they walked around, Marinette offering a smile at the crowd that turned to them, her eyes immediately going to Felix’s cousin, seeing him focused on his bride to be, Princess Kagami. Marinette breathed out, and turned her gaze away, letting herself relax at Felix’s side.
It was going to be a long night, she quietly decided as they started to head the stairwell, the game of politics waiting for them.
Chapter 20: Guardian
I finally got this done.
Ladybug landed on the roof, stopping for a moment, holding up the little black box in her hand, a box that contained the fox miraculous. The akuma they were dealing with was a charger, and she thought an illusion can help trick him into a trap, and Alya was close. Already, she could see her down below, looking up expectantly at Ladybug, ready for the fox miraculous.
Ladybug tightened her grip on the box, grimacing.
Fu told her once that as a Guardian, she was to put faith in those she trusted, in people that would work with her, have her side.
To both sides of Marinette, she has found herself hurt, Alya not being considerate of Marinette or Ladybug’s feelings.
She can admit, reluctantly, that she wasn’t sure if she could trust Alya to have her back anymore. She turned, and jumped away, ignoring Alya’s stare after her, trying to push back how unsure she felt about this, about turning away from Alya and disappointing her.
Ladybug stopped, eyes on a boy with blue highlights that she recognized, leaning over to watch the battle. She remembered his clear support, even when he barely knew her, and the plan he had during the escape, securing her safe and hidden.
Decision made, she dropped down behind him, watching him give a start, turning to her with wide eyes.
“Luka Couffaine,” she greeted presenting the box to the tall boy. “I present you with the fox miraculous, a miraculous with the power of illusion. Will you accept it and assist us?”
Fu told her that being Guardian was a challenging role to take on. Especially when you liked to please, have faith in the best in people, that their good would be greater and come through. But, as Guardian, it meant accepting that people were flawed, and not all were deserving of the power of a miraculous.
As an upcoming Guardian, Marinette can judge who is worthy to use it, who she trusts to work with. As of now, that was not with Alya. And when she and the new fox hero, Foxtrot, hurried onto roofs to go after the akuma, Ladybug made sure to keep her eyes off Alya, to miss that hurt and confusion.
She kept her eyes on the akuma, and lead Foxtrot to his first battle.
Chapter 21: Tactician
Marinette didn’t like their chances. She and Adrien’s cousin sat close in a small room, listening to the akuma ruffling around, seeking for any that were still in the area. And to Marinette’s knowledge, it was just her and Felix that was left.
Marinette leaned out as far as she dared, sensing Felix tense beside her, nervous that she’d be seen. She quickly ducked back in, grimacing.
“Still there?” Felix asked with a whisper.
“Still there,” she confirmed, looking around the closet they hid themselves in. There had to be something they can use here, something to distract the akuma so they can hurry away.
She watched as Felix picked up a ball, frowning as he considered it. Marinette’s eyes brightened, thinking back to the net of balls that were hung up in the courtyard, very light, and bouncy, and could be used to their advantage.
“How good is your throw?” she asked.
Felix glanced her way, brow raised.
“You know that net in the courtyard?”
“I know Kim put it up, and that means it probably very loose.”
“...You know one throw alone will be enough to let it loose?”
“It needs to be a jostled throw. Though it will need the right momentum and angle…”
“You also need the akuma distracted so I can throw it.”
She hummed. “Are you more of a runner or do you have more confidence in your aim?”
She could see him falter and said, “I’ll distract the akuma and get him in position if you’ll throw.”
“Perhaps, but if it works, the akuma will have a net of balls drop on them, disorient them, giving us a time to escape.”
“...It’s needlessly complicated and risky.”
Marinette offered him a smile. “That’s how I work.”
That didn’t look like it reassured him at all.
Chapter 22: Rare Pair
Updating today since I have work first thing tomorrow morning.
Usually, this was easy. It was natural to fall into a pose, hold herself just right, and settle into it. Ideally, it should be.
“Look this way, Aurore.”
Today though, it was not so.
With a small twitch, she turned towards Marinette, watching her eyes brighten, how she scrunched up her nose in concentration to get the perfect picture. Her pigtails would bounce with her movement, her black gleaming blue in the light.
By most modeling standards, her expression wasn’t eye catching, her posture unappealing, and her hair a sloppy mess, quickly put together just to hold it back. By modeling standards, it wasn’t eye catching or appealing. But for Aurore, it was… adorable.
And she doesn’t know how she’s going to keep her composure when Marinette making cute faces doing all her adorable habits.
It was too much for Aurore.
How can she keep her composure as a model if Marinette is unconsciously flustering her?
“Aurore, your face is red. You ok?”
“I just need a minute,” Aurore declared, opening up her umbrella and bringing it down to hide her. Just a minute. And she can hopeful compose herself.
Her parasol was moved a little, Marinette peeking around, blue eyes shining with concern. “Should I get you some tea?”
Aurore was doomed.
Chapter 23: Family + Mominette
Wanted to try exploring an ot3 with family.
Marinette looked up instinctively, just in time to see a naked kid by with a loud giggle, blonde hair bouncing with her run. Felix dodged her as he walked along, looking very unapologetic as Luka raced after her, giving Felix a pout.
Marinette snickered, turning back to her work, listing to Luka trying to get Victoria to come to him, stressing that it was bath time for her and Arietta, the latter of which was waiting for them. And was going to be waiting a while till Luka got ahold of the energetic six year old.
Marinette glanced back at their youngest, Louis, sitting quietly behind her, quietly staring out the window, watching a ladybug crawl around. “Quite a rowdy house, huh, Lu?” she asked the toddler playfully.
Louis turned, blinking his grey eyes at her, then went back to watching the ladybug, holding the cat hero doll to his chest.
Marinette smiled fondly, then turned back to the sheet below, humming thoughtfully as she considered the designs before her, though her mind still drifted about. It still amused her to think that none of them grew up in a rowdy house or were rowdy children.
Luka was the only one that grew up in a loud house, but he and Juleka came out quiet and contained, not afraid to express themselves, but not as outward as most people were. With how volatile Anarka could be, and sometimes off on her own, he spent a lot of time taking care of Juleka himself. It made him the knowledgeable Papa in this household (though, despite this, he was the easier one to get a yes out of and they knew it).
Felix grew up in silence. He may grumble about the noise of their children, but, Marinette suspected he enjoyed it. It did drive him crazy sometimes with how loud and energetic they can be, and he could be so awkward and unsure on what to do with the girls when they came to him; but she could see the love in his eyes, the efforts he made. He was ready when they needed help with homework, checked on them when quiet, and she had a feeling it was him that’s been teaching the girls how to be a mature savage when handling issues with other kids and adults.
And Marinette herself… she wouldn’t say she grew up in a quiet household, but she does remember absentee parents. She remembers fond smiles and warm words, but also remembers being on her own a lot. The lack of encouraging words, the lack of being there. They loved and Marinette loved them, she was sure of that, but… She wouldn’t be like them, she’d be more involved, there for her kids.
All of them would be. A found family that was going to stay together.
There was a tug at her pant leg, and she looked down to see Louis had crawled his way over, looking up at her with big grey eyes. Marinette picked him up, setting him into her lap, cooing, “You want to see Mama’s designs?”
He slapped his hand on the sheet, pursing his lips.
“Maybe I’ll make you a new onesie,” she said, placing a kiss to his head, his dark hair tickling her chin.
“Victory!” came a shout from the other side of the apartment, a loud giggle following it. Luka came by her room, blue eyes locked on Louis as the boy looked up at him. Luka pointed his way, holding a squirming, giggling blonde in one hand. “You’re going to be next.”
“Now to bath!” Luka shouted, tearing off, Victoria shouting and laughing over him, trying to escape before she was “dropped” into the back.
Felix leaned out of his office, calling after Luka, “If you make a mess, you’re cleaning it up!” He glanced over into her own office, seeing Louis reach out to him. The blond came, picking him up and setting him against his side. “I might just go ahead and bathe him.”
“It will be his bedtime soon,” Marinette agreed, stretching back with a sigh. “And those girls are going to take a while.”
Arietta and Victoria both loved to play in the water, and growing up in a “boat of chaos” (as Felix put it), Luka was up to allow it.
She received a quick kiss before the blond was off, softly talking to Louis as they headed for the kitchen.
Marinette smiled after him fondly, content and happy as she listened to the girls laughing upstairs, Luka playing with them. Then she shook her head, setting her eyes on the sheets of paper in front of her.
She really needed to focus.
Chapter 24: Girl Squad
Multimouse stretched out with a hum, her jump rope tail curling behind her, then dropped down as she relaxed with a sigh, setting her hands on her hips, looking around Paris. From what she could recall, Con Khi and Taurus both said they were busy, making it officially girls night for this evening patrol.
Multimouse didn’t know how on board all the girls were going to be, but she was excited, her tail echoing her, curling about in anticipation. Whiplash was for sure, Tigre Sith at least may be up for some fun, and probably Pleut Rouge; but Akita? It was harder to say with her. The dog hero was as stiff as they came, and was known to sooner bite than bark.
There was a good chance that Akita would not be up for any fun tonight.
Speaking of the dog, she was the first to arrive, giving Multimouse a stiff nod before coming to stand on the roof, looking outwards, already seeking for any trouble, her giant boomerang set on her back.
Whiplash came next, a green blur on the roofs that landed with grace and ease, then slid her way to Multimouse’s side, the wheels of her rollerblades rattling the tile roofs. They greeted each other with a fist bump.
Tigre Sith and Pleut Rouge came next, all of them standing against the breeze that came with the dragon holder.
Everyone here and accounted for, Multimouse called out, “Alright girls, both boys are out tonight — and no, Whip, it's not because you beat him in that last race.”
“So, since it's just us girls tonight, I was thinking, after patrol, maybe we could have some fun.”
“A girls’ night,” Pleut declared, the long blonde strands that made her “whiskers” perked and curled in delight, her blue eyes going bright. “I would be up for it, Mult.”
“What would we even do?” Tigre wondered.
“Whatever we want,” Multimouse promised. “Just a fun girls’ night, since it is just us.” She turned to Akita, promising, “And it would be after patrol.”
Akita hummed, considering Multi, then glanced at the other girls. She thought back to kwami, what Amorr was insisting that she should make an effort to bond with her pack more. She was the Avatar of Fellowship, something she needed to work on.
“Fine,” Akita agreed, watching Multimouse beam, listening as Pleut was quick to dive in with suggestions for what they could do. Akita sighed, hoping this would end up worth while. Though, a small part of her could note she felt a… flicker of excitement. Akita pushed the feeling back, joining the rest of the girls as they came in close, starting to plan out their night of fun.
Chapter 25: Fashion Design
They were crowding around her, eyes locked on her hands, waiting impatiently for her to get done. Impatient enough that Duusu was tapping her shoulder, like that alone could urge Marinette to move faster.
“Patience,” Marinette said, then stuck her tongue out in concentration. Almost most…
She held up the pink cape, with a blue eye stitched in the back, then turned to the impatient kwami, listening to her cheer. The cape was grabbed and Duusu twirled in delight, slipping it on and darting about with a giggle.
There was a push at her chin, Plagg’s annoyed voice chiming out, “Where’s my cheese cape?”
“Almost done,” Marinette huffed, waving Plagg away and resuming to work on his.
Nearby, Tikki and Wayzz were contently sipping tea from their little cups, little blankets wrapped around them. With the cold weather coming, Marinette noticed that a few of her kwamis were getting slow and tired, and wanted to make quilts for them to help keep warm.
Though, a few didn’t really want a quilt. Duusu and Plagg wanted capes. And now that Plagg’s was almost done, she could then start Pollen and Nooroo’s. Thankfully, the two were patient, snuggled up against Marinette’s neck, letting her work on the others first before she got to them.
“There we go,” she said, presenting a Swiss cheese themed cape.
With a cackling cry, he snatched it up, joining Duusu in darting around.
“Ok, now, you two have any requests?”
“Honeycombs, or flowers,” Pollen said.
“Butterfly wings,” Nooroo requested.
“On it,” she said, pulling her sketchbook over to start drawing out possible designs, and get an idea going.
Chapter 26: Jagged Stone
Marinette has long come to the realization that Jagged Stone was a spur of the moment sort of character. For this reason, Marinette shouldn’t have been surprised when her phone went off, a message from Penny. Before Marinette could check, she jumped when the door to her trap door opened.
“Marinette!” Jagged cried out, wild eyed and grinning, “I just had the wildest idea!”
Marinette stared at him with big eyes, blinking surprise. Slowly, carefully, she asked, “What idea is that?”
“Giving Fang sunglasses!”
“There's this competition being held, one of those pet owners that look like their pets. Thought it could be a fun gig for me and Fang! And matching sunglasses, that's how we win.”
Marinette gaped at him.
“So, what do you think? I'll even help you out with my nephew,” Jagged tempted, giving her a wink.
“Un, Jagged, I don't know. Crocodiles have a different facial structure, a different skull entirely! I, I don't know if I… wait. Nephew?”
“Yeah, my boy, Luka, good looking, ain't he? He's got my genes. But don't tell Ana that.”
“Luka’s your nephew?”
“But I get ye. We'll just win with our smiles and charisma.”
“That means Jules is your niece, what?!”
“And don't you worry, I'll still help you with my boy anyway. Love for you to join Clan Couffaine, you'll fit right in. Laters!”
Chapter 27: Dear Diary
I… I feel like a traitor. Not only have I shared my adventures in here, but talked about my pri… I talked about Adrien a lot. And, I know I haven't written in a while. It's been rough, but I'm finally back, and just, I don't know how to feel.
It hasn't been going great with Adrien. I think he is dating someone else, and she's beautiful and tough and a bit mean but she's so gentle and nice around him. I'm jealous. I want to hate her, but it feels wrong.
And then there's another boy. He's joined the school recently. He's kind of mean like her, hardly talked to anyone, looks at everyone like they're beneath him. I did not like him at first.
And then he did something I never expected. A week ago Lila was getting on my back, and the… it was unpleasant. And Adrien just looked at me apologetically, not helping me at all and, I really can't tell you what hurts worse.
And before Lila could get farther, that boy, Felix actually spoke. It might’ve been the first time he talked, it's for sure the first time I heard him. He talked, and he came to my defense. He chased off Lila and the others. He didn’t need to. It wasn’t his business. But he did.
He still wasn’t really nice, but, I appreciate what he did.
And then he started to surprise me.
I started to get greeted at school. Every time we walked by each other, I’d hear a hum. It took a while to realize that was his own, odd way of saying hello.
A few days later, he came by to sit next to me. I’m not alone in the back! There’s someone sitting next to me. I’m not alone...
This, this is where I feel like a traitor.
Despite his lack of support, Adrien did always come by to check on me. And it was sweet, but… it didn’t help. Any smile I gave felt wrong and forced. And with Felix… I’m sort of looking forward to class. I want to see if I can make him smile. To hear him laugh. To see him relax and be at ease.
Chat once boasted that he was my knight, but… when I think of a knight, I don’t think of him. It’s Felix who comes to mind and I feel like a traitor thinking so and being drawn to him. But, for the first time in a while, I’m happy. I’m feeling alive with him. I’m loving my time with him.
And a small part of me feels like a traitor, and a large part of me is finding it hard to care now that I’m feeling happy again.
Its been a long time since I’ve really thought about it, but, I have a right to happiness, right?
I thin— I do. I do have a right.
Alya can be upset all she wants.
Adrien can be disappointed.
But, I’m happy, I’m starting to become happy again. I feel like myself again. And I haven’t felt like myself in a long time… they’re not going to be happy, but I want to be happy. I’m going to be happy.
Chapter 28: Breaking Point
He gripped the ribbons tightly, walking as quickly as he could through the halls, trying to find her. She had to be here, she had to be close. Felix stopped, catching onto the sound of quiet whispers and muffled sobs. He went towards it, pushing open the door slowly. He heard a gasp and hurried in, seeing the bright, shimmering eyes of Marinette looking up at him. She was roughed up, her eyes puffy and pink, her hair loose of its ribbons and laid over her shoulders, free of ribbons that had been ripped out in the fight.
Felix went a little stiff at the sight of her. Seconds ticked on, neither breathing a word. The only sound that filled the air was her shaky breathing. Felix was the one to break their gazes, eyes going to the floor.
“I’m a horrible person,” Marinette uttered out, her words twisted by her sob as she turned away, curling up on herself, shoulders trembling. Felix came to her side, sitting down with a sigh.
He told her, “You’re not.”
She sniffed, wiping her face, looking like was struggling to contain it. “I, I shouldn’t have. I’m bigger than that. I, I should be…” She wiped her face, sniffing. “I’m just as bad as Chloe.”
“Chloe’s done far worse than punch someone.” He continued icily when Marinette opened her mouth to babble and protest. “Lila’s been goading you on for a long time, yes, you shouldn’t have given in and punched her. But I can get it. And she did way worse to you.”
He gripped her ribbons tightly, a flicker of rage rearing up. He released a breath, trying to quell the anger he felt. He presented the ribbons, offering her, “Let’s head to the headmaster’s office, we’ll talk it out with him.”
“He’s going to side with Lila. They always do.”
“He’s a man easily swayed by money. If Chloe can get away with it…”
“I’ll help you,” he promised, watching her eyes flicker to the ribbons. “I’ll have your back, when no one else will.”
She cracked a water, broken smile. “I know,” she whispered, reaching for the ribbons.
Neither noticed the butterfly hanging on the wall, waiting patiently. When Marinette started to move, it went for it, landing on the ribbons just as Marinette touched them. They went stiff when the purple shape floated above their faces, a cruel whisper in their ears.
Chapter 29: Alternate Career + Kwami Swap
Marinette sighed as she sat down for a small break, slouching in her seat. The tray she carried laid over lap, flattening her skirt and held tightly by her hands. In the ruffles of her skirt, made just to hide little pockets for her kwami, Pollen peeked out, blinking her big eyes up at Marinette.
“Are you ok, My Queen?”
“Oh, I'm fine, just a little break.”
“Good, you need one. You've been a busy bee!” Pollen giggled sweetly, humming happily as Marinette gave her fuzzy head a gentle scratch.
Marinette looked up, relaxing as she watched the customers relax and mingle, enjoying their tea and sweets. Here at the little tea shop, Senteamental , many came to enjoy their time here, be at ease, even come and just talk with the owner, Master Fu. Sometimes for guidance, sometimes for the company.
She's been here long enough that some were even coming to her for her opinions. Fu’s “granddaughter” had to be as wise as he was.
Marinette always blushed at the idea, she wasn't so sure she'd call herself wise, though Pollen thought otherwise.
“Don’t rest for too long,” Wayzz called out, coming to hover near them. “Rush hour will be approaching soon.”
Marinette stuck her tongue out at the turtle kwami. “Just a few more minutes, Wayzz.”
Wayzz puffed up his cheeks, crossing his arms to give the newest bee holder a look. Marinette gave the turtle a playful look, Pollen gigging next to her. The stare off was broken when “Trixxie” walked by, tray with tea and croissants already in hand.
“Trixx!” Wayzz hissed.
The disguised kwami just grinned, reminding, “You did say rush hour was on the way.”
Wayzz huffed, letting the kwami slip out, turning to give Marinette a pointed stare. “I'm going, I'm going,” she grumbled, Pollen ducking back in her pocket. As Marinette gathered up orders, she heard the jingle of a bell and Trixx shouted out Fu’s favorite business phrase.
“Welcome to Senteamental! Here we serve cups of positivitea!”
There was a resounding groan from everyone in the store, Marinette among them. Pollen giggled from inside the pocket, but went quiet as Marinette got to work, a radiant smile on her lips as she delivered the waiting orders.