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Together, We're Miraculous

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Marinette sets her brush down then ties her hair into twin tails. The first day of school is always nerve-wracking but ever since they implemented uniforms at the end of last year there’s no longer the stress of figuring out that perfect first day outfit. It’s both a blessing and a curse, the latter more so for an aspiring fashion designer like herself.

She stands, examining herself in the mirror. A red button-down shirt with a pair of red and white plaid pants. The only bit of individuality the uniform allows are the socks – which can’t be seen unless you roll up your pants legs – or your backpack. Then there’s always your undershirt, that must be tucked in and virtually invisible. Oh and your gym uniform – as long as it’s sweats either blue or grey.

“Marinette, you’re going to be late!” Sabine calls from downstairs.

“I’ll be right down!” Marinette yells back. She stuffs her folded up gym clothes into her black and white polkadot backpack then grabs her pink purse hanging off the mirror and gives herself one last glance in the mirror. “It’s not... too bad.” She grimaces then sticks her tongue out at her reflection. “It’s terrible.” She takes a deep breath, “just...” She groans, “four full years of high school, Marinette.” With a nod at her reflection, she goes downstairs.

“There you are. Oh.” Sabine blinks at her daughter as she descends the stairs. “I—I didn’t get the chance to look at your uniform.”

“All it needs is some blue and it’ll be very Parisian.” Tom adds. Both Sabine and Marinette stare at him. “Yeah. I’m just gonna go... bake.” Then he heads into the kitchen.

“Have fun on your first day and don’t forget the macarons you made. It’s best to make friends early.”

“Maman, it’ll be most of the same people I went to school with last year. The only thing that changed are these uniforms.”

“Maybe but you never know, you could get new students. Not to mention we have a new mayor now and I hear he has a daughter your age.”

“I hear they came all the way from America.” Tom yells from the kitchen. “Check Mayor André Bourgeois’ Instagram account—”

Sabine sighs, “Tom.”

He sticks his head out from the kitchen, “what? I got the tip from Alix when she stopped by yesterday.” Sabine shakes her head at him, “it’s something to think about at least. Also, his wife is International Queen of Fashion Audrey Bourgeois! If you befriend her daughter, it might give you an opening in the fashion world!”

Marinette taps her chin, “that’s... actually good advice, papa. Thanks.”

“Hey! What do you mean ‘actually?’ I come up with tons of good advice. Don’t I honey?”

“Of course, Tom.” Marinette giggles. “I think it’s time for you to go now.” Sabine pushes the box of macarons in her daughter’s hands and gives her a knowing look.

“Okay, okay. I’m going. Love you guys. See you after school!”

“Don’t forget to sign up for a club! University applications love that!”

As the door closes behind Marinette, Tom comes out of the kitchen and puts his arms around his wife. “She’ll be more than alright, dear.”

“I know but... it’s high school.”

🐞

At the stop light, Marinette pulls her phone out of her purse and unlocks it. She’s heard of Audrey Bourgeois – all of Paris has. After all, Paris is where Audrey started her career – but she doesn’t remember any mention of a daughter. She barely has time to read an article before the light changes green. She puts her phone back in her purse and crosses the street. As she’s crossing in one direction a group of people are crossing in the other. A suit-clad man briskly walks through the crowd bumping into an older fellow sending him straight into Marinette.

She drops her box of macarons to keep the man from falling into the street. “Hey!” She looks around but the guy in the suit is long gone. Frowning, she looks down at the man leaning against her. “Hey, are you alright?”

The man looks up at her with a smile. “I should be asking you that.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’m made of sturdier stuff than that. I wish I knew what that guy’s rush was, you know? He didn’t have to knock you over like that.” She sets the man upright patting him on his shoulders, “are you sure you’re okay?” With a nod, he bends down and picks up the box of macarons. “I forgot about those.” She leads him to the other side of the street before the light turns red again.

“I am sorry about this, young lady.”

“It isn’t your fault, sir. I can always make more macarons. You being okay is more important—” The school bell rings. “Ah! I’m going to be late.”

“Wait!”

“Sorry. I have to go. Bye!” She waves as she runs off.

The man waits for the light to change again then crosses the streets. As he does, a small turtle flies out of his shirt collar. “Master, are you certain about this?”

The man nods, “you felt her aura too, Wayzz. She’s perfect. It has to be her.” With a sigh, the turtle flies back into the man’s shirt.

🐞

Marinette skids to a halt inside the building before the second bell, somehow. “Marinette!” Alix claps her on the back, “you made it! And here we were gonna start taking bets to see how late you’d be.” Rose, Nathaniel, and Marc all approach her as well.

“Hey guys. Sorry to disappoint, Alix.”

The pink-haired girl scoffs moving her hand, “it’s alright.” She looks around, “hey, I thought you were bringing some of your parents’ famous macarons?”

Marinette’s eyes widen. “Oh no! I left them with the old man!”

“What old man?”

“There was an old man. On my way here a guy bumped into an old man who bumped into me. I dropped my macarons to keep him from falling into the street and then I heard the bell and ran here.” She groans.

“That is such a Marinette thing!” Alix laughs.

“It really is.” Nathaniel agrees. Marc nods their agreement.

“And that’s why we love her!” Rose chirps latching onto Marinette’s right arm, “you’re so thoughtful.” The others let out indistinct murmurs. “C’mon. We should get to class.”

“Early?” Alix scoffs, “why?”

“So we can sit together. Unless you want to sit alphabetically like last year.”

Alix puts an arm around Rose and the other around Marinette, “you heard the woman, let’s go!” Nathaniel and Marc shake their heads as they follow behind.

When the five of them enter the classroom only three girls are there in the front. Marinette spares a glance at them but Alix turns her head forward, “c’mon, Marinette, do I have to do this again? Don’t make eye contact.” She instructs herding the others past the girls to the back of the classroom.

“C’mon Alix, we’re high school students now. Some petty—”

A paper ball hits Marinette on the head; she turns around and sees the brunette waving at her. “You were saying?” Alix asks. “Looks like Rossi still has it out for you.”

Marinette groans, “I’m taking care of this.” She hears a chorus of yells before she walks to the front of the classroom to the trio.

The brunette raises an eyebrow at her, “what do you want, Dupain-Cheng?”

“I came to bury the hatchet, Rossi.”

“After you made me look like an idiot in front of the cutest boy in school?” She gets up and glares, “I’ll bury you before burying the hatchet, Dupain-Cheng.”

Marinette’s eyes narrow, “fine. Just remember I tried being friendly.”

“Marinette Dupain-Cheng always wants to befriend everybody. Sorry to break it to you, Princess, but we’re never gonna be friends.”

“Fine with me.” Both girls huff as Marinette makes her way back to her seat.

“Damn.” The purple-haired girl chuckles, “you must really hate her, Lila.”

“More than you know.” The brunette sits down then leans back in her seat, “the nerve of her coming to—” She growls.

The blue-haired girl puts a hand on her shoulder, “easy, Lila. It’s not like you to get so worked up over someone else.”

“You were only here half of last year, Kagami. You don’t know Dupain-Cheng. She has this whole innocent girl next door look but she’s the devil.”

“I got something that’ll take your mind off Marinette.” The purple-haired girl leans forward and holds out her phone in front of Lila and Kagami, “I hear we might be getting a new student.”

“He’s gorgeous!” Lila breathes.

Kagami squints at the picture, “I agree. Agreste. Why does that name sound familiar?”

Lila rolls her eyes, “ever hear of the world-renowned reclusive fashion designer Gabriel Agreste? I wore one of his outfits on the last day of school last year.”

“You honestly expect me to remember what you wore at the end of the school year?”

Rolling her eyes again, Lila takes out her phone and scrolls through pictures until she finds the one she wants. “No but I always have proof.” The other two girls nod at the picture. “Anyway. I’m definitely making Agreste Jr. my boyfriend. Fact.”

“Wait.” They turn to Kagami, “my mother told me we have a new mayor and it’s his daughter coming to our school. I don’t have any pictures of her though.”

“Two new students isn’t completely unheard of.”

“Juleka’s right. I was new last year and you came along just a few months later.”

“Juleka’s always right.” Is the purple-haired girl’s reply as she leans back in her seat. “Hey, where’s Sabrina?”

“Getting us drinks. Can’t start off the school year without celebratory drinks.”

Kagami raises an eyebrow, “what are we celebrating?”

“My new boyfriend. A teenage model with a famous fashion designer father? He’s definitely my type.”

Juleka snorts, “you and half the class.”

“Half the class wishes they were me. Besides, I don’t have to worry about my two best friends competing against me...” She turns to Kagami, “do I?”

“I won’t pursue him, Lila, but if he comes onto me all bets are off.”

Lila folds her arms over her chest, “that’s fair.” Juleka chuckles.

The door opens and a bespectacled redhead walks in, in seemingly slow motion and her curly hair flips with the shake of her head. “You can have the model.” Kagami mutters.

“Go. Now.” Juleka nudges Lila.

“Okay. Okay! Geez. You’d think you two never saw a pretty girl before.” Lila gets up and sees Marinette hauling ass to the newcomer. Lila picks up her pace and they reach the redhead at the same time, glaring at each other. “Hi! I’m Lila.” She holds out her hand the new girl shakes, “and you are?”

“Name’s Alya. Alya Césaire.”

“I’m Marinette.” She hip-checks Lila then shakes Alya’s hand next, “welcome to Collège Françoise Dupont!”

“Thanks.” Letting go of Marinette’s hand, Alya looks around. “This is the class? Hell of a lot smaller than my last school.”

“No. This is about half the class.” Lila says, “you should sit with us, Alya.”

Or—” Lila glares at Marinette, “you can sit with me and my friends.”

Alya taps her chin, “since Lila asked first I’ll sit with her. But I can sit with you guys tomorrow? Marinette, you said?” Marinette nods. “Cool. That’s a pretty name, by the way.”

“Cool and thanks.”

With a smile, Lila waves to Marinette who walks back to her seat. Then she puts a hand on Alya’s back leading her to Juleka and Kagami. “These are my best friends Kagami and Juleka. You can sit with Kagami.” She winks at the blue-haired girl then takes her seat beside Juleka.

“You know, you could’ve tried putting her in my direction.” Juleka whispers.

“I don’t want to compete against Kagami for Agreste Jr.,” Lila whispers back, “you aren’t interested in him or any other boy. You can find a girlfriend on your own time. Besides, we don’t even know if Alya likes girls.”

“But she’ll be enough of a distraction so you can make your move on the Agreste kid.”

Lila boops Juleka on the nose, “exactly.”

But you don’t know if he likes girls.” Juleka boops Lila on the nose and Lila’s eyes narrow.

“That new girl is really pretty.” Rose says, propping her fist against her face.

“Meh.” Alix shrugs, “she’s alright.” Nathaniel and Marc shrug at each other.

“We can’t let Lila get her hands on Alya!”

“Looks like she already did.”

“Not necessarily. She said she’ll sit with us tomorrow.” Marinette digs into her purse for her phone, frowning when she feels something hexagon shaped. She looks down in her purse and spots a box that certainly was not there this morning when she packed. “What the...”

“What’s wrong Marinette?” Rose asks.

Marinette snaps her purse shut, “I, uh, forgot my favorite pen!” She snaps her fingers in disappointment.

“That’s okay. I have tons of pens you can borrow!” The blonde chirps.

“Thanks, Rose. I can always count on you.” She hugs Marinette. The door opens and the rest of the class shuffles in. Though they start walking slower when they spot Alya in the first row.

When could she have—oh. The old man! It must’ve dropped out of his pocket and fell into her purse when he bumped into her. She holds her purse at an angle so she can read what’s on the box. “Creator” is written in Chinese and she’s grateful for her mom teaching her how to read and speak it all these years. How is she gonna give this box back to the old man? It’s unlikely he’ll be the same street. Unless he’s looking for the box he dropped. It’s worth a shot but she’ll have to wait until school is over to return it to him. Until then there’s no harm in taking a peek. Before she can open the box Mlle. Bustier walks in the class.

“Hello everyone.”

“Hello Mlle. Bustier.” The class greets.

“We have a new student joining us today.” She beckons Alya over to her and the redhead complies, “class, let’s give a big Collège Françoise Dupont welcome to Alya Césaire.” The class greets the redhead who gives them a wave, “would you like to tell the class about yourself, Alya?”

“I think I’m good.”

“Oh. Okay then.” She pats Alya on the shoulder and the redhead returns to her seat. “Why don’t we get things started with a simple essay on how we spent our summer?” The class groans.

🐞

The bell rings and the students file out of the classroom. “You forgetting your favorite pen must really be bothering you. You’ve been staring at your purse all throughout class.”

“Um. Yeah. It’s my favorite, you know?” Marinette taps her fingers against her purse. “I’m gonna head to the bathroom. You guys go on ahead to class and I’ll meet you there.” Without waiting for a reply she heads down the hall.

“Do you think she’ll be okay?” Marc asks.

“She must’ve fallen and hit her head when the old man bumped into her.” Alix says with a shrug, “oh well, we’ll save her a seat.”

Turning the corner into the empty hallway, Marinette takes the box out of her purse and stares at it. She looks around once more to make sure the coast is clear then she opens it. When she opens the box there’s a bright red light that makes her squint. The light dissipates after a few seconds and Marinette stares at the silver pair of earrings. “Ooh. These are pretty—”

“Hi!” A cheery voice is coming from above her so she looks up at a small red... thing beaming at her.

“Hi?” The thing flies around her head before stopping in front of her face, “what are you?”

“I’m Tikki and I’m a kwami. Well, specifically I’m your kwami.”

“Well, Tikki, I’m Marinette and what’s a kwami, exactly?”

Tikki’s head tilts to the left, “the Guardian didn’t tell you when he gave me to you?”

“A guardian? I only just found this box in my purse.” The bell rings, “oh no. I’m gonna be late, but I have so many questions. Uh. Uh. Just... hide in my purse and we’ll talk more when I get a moment alone.” Nodding, Tikki flies in her purse. “Yeah. That’ll take some getting used to.”

Closing the box, Marinette runs down the halls until she reaches the classroom. Alix is giving her a suspicious look as she sidles inside taking her seat mere seconds before Mlle. Mendeleiev turns around to address the class. “Are you okay?” Alix asks brushing a stray strand of hair out of her face.

“Yup.” With Mlle. Mendeleiev talking, Marinette looks around the classroom. Alya is sitting next to Juleka this time and not Kagami which is okay since Juleka is easily the most tolerable of the foursome with Sabrina now sitting next to Lila like she’s been for most of Lila’s time in this school.

As Marinette is sitting on the right of Alix, she shifts her purse and opens it a bit to give Tikki some air. Although after being cooped up in a tiny box, Marinette’s purse is a luxury.

🐞

The strange thing is, Tikki is not in her purse when she opens it. However, when she opens the box again Tikki flies out. “Huh. Wasn’t expecting that. When the box closes you disappear?”

Tikki nods, pointing at the earrings. “Because your Miraculous isn’t active.”

“My Miraculous?”

“These are the earrings of Ladybug. They give you super powers, most notably the power to create things.”

“Ah. That’s why the box said creator.” Marinette takes the earrings out and examines them, “I don’t even have my ears pierced.”

“Well, there’s no time like the present to pierce them.”

Marinette hums. All in all, school was pretty average. She got to sit with Alya during lunch and found out they have a ton of stuff in common. So much so that she invited Alya over. She noticed Alya had earrings in her ears so maybe she knows someone who can pierce ears. Nodding, Marinette puts the earrings back in the box. “Okay. I’ll talk to my parents about this then we’re gonna have a talk about Guardians and Miraculouses and... everything else.”

Marinette heads downstairs in time to see Alya walking into the bakery. “Wow. You live in a bakery? That’s so cool.”

Marinette rubs the back of her neck, “thanks.”

“No. I should be thanking you. My parents are thrilled I made a friend. Oh, speaking of which... do you mind a picture? They need visual proof.”

“No. I don’t mind.”

“Great. Thanks.” She meets Alya at the staircase and the redhead puts an arm around her. “You’re a lifesaver, Marinette. Seriously. Ready?” Marinette nods, “okay and smile.” They smile and Alya takes the picture of them then forwards the picture to her parents. “Thanks again.”

“No problem.”

“Now. Do your parents need a taste tester—” Furrowing her eyebrows, Alya looks down at her phone, “and they want a picture with your parents.” She sighs.

“My parents won’t mind. They’re also thrilled I made a new friend. Alix comes by all the time for free samples.” When Marinette enters the kitchen with Alya, her parents are suspiciously leaning against the wall near the oven. “Guys?”

They slowly turn to her, “oh!” Sabine claps her hands together, “you must be Alya.” Alya walks over to them and shakes their hands.

“Nice meeting both of you, thanks for letting me stop by.”

“Oh it’s our pleasure.” Tom insists.

“Do you guys mind if I...” Alya shakes her phone, “take a picture? It’s for my parents.” Sabine and Tom exchange a glance then nod at her. “Thanks so much.”

Once all the pictures are taken, the teens head to Marinette’s room with a box of macarons.

“This is your bedroom? It’s amazing.”

“Thanks. Say, Alya, where did you get your ears pierced?”

“Hm? I’ve had ‘em pierced since I was a baby. Kind of a Césaire tradition. My big sis had hers pierced when she was little and my parents did the same for me and my little sisters.”

“Oh. I was thinking of getting my ears pierced—”

“I think you’d look cute with earrings. I do know a place. My sister was thinking of getting a tattoo that goes with her boxing name. They do piercings there. You can come with us when she goes.”

“That sounds great. When is she going?”

“We’re checking the place out tomorrow.”

“Yeah? Let me ask my parents.”

“Okay. I’ll be here.” Nodding, Marinette runs downstairs.

Sabine and Tom run into each other as Marinette reaches the bottom of the staircase. “Uh. What are you two doing?” Marinette shakes her head, “never mind. Alya and her older sister are going to a tattoo parlor tomorrow, can I go? And, follow up question, can I get my ears pierced there?”

Tom breathes a huge sigh of relief, “I thought you were going to ask for a tattoo!” He chuckles, then pauses “You’re not asking to get a tattoo, are you?”

Sabine looks at him before turning to Marinette. “Of course you can get your ears pierced. I never knew you wanted to before. What changed?”

“Um. Just—well I am in high school now.” She blinks at them, and they blink back. “Okay so I saw this cute pair of earrings that really spoke to me.” Literally, but they don’t need to know that. Besides, there’s still a lot about this she needs to understand.

When Marinette returns to her room she finds Alya sitting in her computer chair, spinning. “Oh. Hey! You're back. Well?”

“I got the all clear.”

“Awesome. I didn't wanna snoop but you had this adorable little box that fell out of your purse.” Marinette gulps, “are the earrings in there?”

“The what? Oh. Yes. I can show them to you.” Marinette grabs the box and takes a deep breath then slips her hand in and takes out the earrings without opening the box all the way. Sighing in relief, she opens her palm thankful only the earrings are in it. “Ta-dah.”

Alya looks at them, “huh. They're kinda plain. I was thinking they'd be flashier with the box and all.” She shrugs, “oh well. What's the box say anyway? It's Japanese, right?”

“Chinese actually.” As Alya perks up Marinette suppresses a facepalm, “my maman.”

“Oh. My parents teach me all about their heritage – well, it's my heritage too so be proud, girl. Are you any good at reading Chinese?”

“Not the greatest. I mean, my pronunciation needs a little work in some bits but—”

Alya's eyes light up, “do you think you can teach me some Chinese?”

“Uh?”

“Oh. I'm coming on too strong, right? You can tell me.”

“No, no. It's okay. I was just surprised, you know? I'll teach you what I know but we're probably both better off learning from my maman.”

“Yeah? You're the best, Marinette. My mom just got a job at Le Grand Paris, that's why we moved here. Why don't you guys come over for dinner? As a thank you.”

“A-At Le Grand Paris? You need to call months in advance just to get a reservation.”

“Not if your mom is the head chef~ Plus, your parents are bakers who own their own bakery. They can talk about boring grown up stuff or even share recipes which will definitely be far less boring. Hey do you help your parents make pastries?”

“Sometimes. But never with special orders or anything like that.”

“Ah. I get ya. Can’t risk their rep in case something goes wrong.” Alya nods to herself, “mama lets us help only if she’s swamped. She’s a bit of a perfectionist. But enough about our parents, what do you like doing?”

“I like fashion.”

“I can tell. Your room just exudes it.”

Marinette giggles, “what about you?”

“I’m not sure. There are lots of things I like doing but—what’s that saying? Jack of all trades master of none? That kinda describes me. I’ve yet to find that one thing that I’m super good at.”

“There’s more to that phrase you know. ‘A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.’”

“Whoa. I had no idea. But what does it mean, exactly?”

“That you doing a lot of different things good is better than say someone who can only do one thing extremely good.”

Alya hums, “that’s one way to look at it. Thanks, Marinette. We just met and you’re already more of a friend to me than all the kids I met in my last few schools. I can’t wait to hang out with you and your friends during school tomorrow.”

“Me too. Oh but what about Lila?”

“What about her? She’s okay. I sorta got the vibe that you two don’t like each other.”

“You’d be right. I called Lila out on a lie she told the entire school including the most popular boy in our school Nino.”

“Nino? The cute boy with the headphones?” Marinette nods, “ooh. No offense but I’d kinda hate you too. What did she do to you? Like specifically?”

“She got our art club shut down because I had a passing interest in joining. It’s like she’s actively looking for ways to ruin my life.”

“All because you made her look like a fool in front of a cute boy.” Tsking, Alya shakes her head. “It always sucks when women are pitted against each other. Men already tear us down why are we tearing each other down too.”

“I tried reasoning with her, numerous times. She has that if you’re not with me, you’re against me mentality.”

“Don’t worry about her. I’ll help you make her see reason or at the very least find her a new target.”

“You’d do that for me?”

“Hell yeah I would. I like you and we’re gonna make a fashion empire together.”

Marinette laughs. “Thanks, Alya.”

“My pleasure.”

🐞

After dinner Alya leaves and once the table is cleared Marinette returns to her room and opens the box. “Tikki?” Tikki flies out from under Marinette’s bed, “there you are.”

“Actually, I was looking around the room when you were eating.”

“Eating. Hey, do you eat?” Tikki nods. “I’m so sorry. I’ll get you something to eat now.”

“Hold on, Marinette. Food can wait.”

“Right.” Marinette sits on her bed, “so... let’s talk.”

Tikki nods, “as I said, I’m your kwami. The kwami of Ladybug. When you wear those earrings and choose a transformation phrase we fuse together and you become Ladybug.”

“Weird. But go on.”

“That’s pretty much it. It’s not like The Guardian to not tell my partner this beforehand. Something must be wrong and he didn’t have enough time.”

“What did you mean by ‘choose a transformation phrase?’”

“It’s a phrase that makes you Ladybug. Once you choose what it is you say it and we transform. But be warned, you can’t change it once you choose it.”

“Got it. I guess we’ll have to wait until my ears are pierced.” Marinette gets up, “let me get you something to eat in the meantime.”

Marinette slips into the kitchen and takes a handful of random things: a slice of cheese, a single macaron, two gumdrops from the container, a bottle of water, a yogurt cup—Tikki isn’t that big so Marinette doesn’t have to grab that much food. At the same time, she doesn’t know the last time Tikki ate and she’d been outside of the earrings for several hours. She also grabs a mint leaf, a cinnamon stick, two madelines, and three ladyfingers. Thankfully, her parents settled into an after dinner routine that involves them making gross kissing faces at each other for at least an hour before they both check in on her so she doesn’t have to worry about them. Plus, Marinette’s been getting an after dinner snack for the past six years so a handful of missing items won’t cause suspicion.

When she returns to the room she lays out the spread on the bed in front of Tikki, “I didn’t know what you liked so I brought what I could.”

“Thank you.” Tikki first flies to the mint leaf takes a bite then spits it out.

“Okay. No mint, got it.” Next, she flies over to the ladyfinger and stares at it. “Here. Let me.” Marinette breaks a piece and hands it to Tikki who takes a hesitant bite and hums appreciatively.

Tikki picks at everything Marinette’s brought but when she gets to the macaron she eats the entire thing in two bites. “What was that? It was delicious!”

“That was a macaron. It’s a cookie. Like the ladyfinger or madeline. If cookies are your food of choice I can work with that. No one eats just one cookie so when I buy a pack I’ll slip you some.”

Tikki nods happily. “You’re even more generous than my last Ladybug.”

“What were they like?”

“She was graceful.” Marinette’s face falls. Graceful is the last word anyone would use to describe her. “And smart. But she never gave me cookies.”

“What did you eat?”

“I—I can’t remember. It’s been a while since my last partner. I’d say—wait. What year is this?”

“2018.”

“Hmm. It was at least in the 17s last time I was awake. In fact, it might not even be the same Guardian I know around now.”

“I think I have an idea about your Guardian but don’t go quoting me on it, okay?” Tikki nods. “After school tomorrow, after I get my ears pierced. We’re gonna pay him a visit. But I have to do it stealthily in case I’m wrong.”

🐞

Marinette keeps Tikki in her purse all day and leaves her with a bag of madelines she baked before heading to school. Her mother was curious about her getting up early to bake but thankfully didn’t have the time to question it.

Alya’s older sister, Nora, gives them a ride on her motorcycle to the tattoo parlor after school. As she’s getting her ears pierced, Marinette listens to Alya excitingly tell her a story about Nora’s latest wrestling match.

“My little sis really likes you.” Nora pats her on the back, “you be good to Alya, you hear? Or you’ll be dealing with me.”

“I—oh—okay.”

Nora grins at her, “good. Last thing Loly needs is a friend without a backbone. And if you’re interested in being more than just a friend that’s fine too.”

“W-What? Oh. No. We’re just friends.”

Nora nods slowly, “okay. You’re not backing away slowly because my sister likes girls as much as guys, right?”

“No! One of my best friends likes girls.”

“You know that’s the excuse everyone gives to justify they’re shitty behavior, right?”

“It’s not an excuse. I swear.”

Nora laughs, “I like you. I see why Loly does too. Loly! Stop flirting with that girl and get your ass over here!”

“How come you call her ‘Loly?’”

“It’s my nickname for my little sister—”

“It’s because my first word was lollipop.” Alya says joining them, “or so mama says.”

“Don’t forget you wouldn’t eat unless your food was on a stick.”

Alya massages her forehead, “I forgot about that.”

Nora laughs, “did you get that girl’s number?”

“No, Nora, sheesh. And I wasn’t flirting. We go to the same school so—”

Nora elbows her with a wink, “got ya.”

Alya groans, “let’s just go, okay? You promised us food.”

“You don’t want another piercing? One to match?”

“No. I like having two in one ear. Besides, what I really want is a lip ring—”

Nora grimaces, “careful, if you get a partner that’s a biter you’ll regret it.”

“Noted.” Alya puts an arm around Marinette, “please pay no attention to my sister.”

“Why not? She’s funny.”

“See! I have a fan.”

Alya shakes her head. “You only like her because you don’t live with her.”

🐞

Thankfully, Marinette gets Tikki’s “Ladybug” earrings pierced into her ears because otherwise she’d have to wait six weeks to change them and Tikki told her beforehand that they couldn’t wait that long.

After getting her ears pierced and hanging out with Alya and Nora, Marinette searched the block for the old man she bumped into yesterday but didn’t find him. One of the perks of living across the street from the school was she didn’t have to travel very far. On the other hand, it meant she was constantly underestimating the time it takes for her to get to school.

With the search unsuccessful, Marinette and Tikki return home.

“I know we need to find the Guardian.” Tikki says flying around the room, “but I don’t even know where he is or who he is! There’s a whole order of Guardians!”

“Okay. Tikki, calm down. We can’t worry about things we can’t control. We’ll broaden our search after school tomorrow. Or we can go all day Saturday.”

“You’re being very calm about this. Just like the last Guardian I knew.”

“What can The Guardian do? Other than give people these Miraculouses?”

“Lots of things! I don’t know every thing but when we get sick The Guardian can heal us. They also hold all the Miraculouses, giving them out to whoever they feel are worthy.”

“Has any Guardian ever made a mistake in who they gave a Miraculous to?”

“I don’t think so? Marinette, don’t doubt yourself. I know The Guardian chose you for a reason.”

“Even if you don’t know what that reason is?” Tikki nods. “Thanks, Tikki. I can’t guarantee we’ll find The Guardian but I’m try my hardest to. Are you good on food or do I need more cookies?”

“I’m fine. Thanks, Marinette. The cookies were really good.”

“Glad to hear it. We should get some sleep if we’re gonna scour through Paris to find The Guardian. He wasn’t on this street which only leaves the rest of Paris.” She sighs, “was there something every Guardian has? Something that’ll help us find the current one a little better?”

Tikki shakes her head, “sorry I’m not much help.”

“You’re fine.” Marinette taps her chin, “you said The Guardian can heal you if you’re sick. Do they find you or do you seek them out?”

“Uh... it’s been so long that I don’t know. The Guardian has a Miraculous of their own—” Tikki’s eyes widen, “that’s it! All I have to do is try and sense if there’s another kwami around!”

“Hold on. You can do that?”

Tikki nods enthusiastically, “every kwami has their own Miraculous.” She points at Marinette’s ears, “and unless the kwami is in their Miraculous, I should be able to sense them.”

“Are all the Miraculouses earrings too?”

“No. Each Miraculous is unique but I can only sense other kwamis not other Miraculouses.”

“And if every Miraculous is unique you probably won’t even know what they are.” Tikki nods. “But I’m willing to bet they’re all something simple, something that can be hidden in plain sight. Like a pair of earrings or another type of jewelry. That won’t help us find the Guardian though.”

“Marinette, I think we should work on that transformation phrase. In case we run into trouble.”

“What does Ladybug do, exactly?”

“That depends on you.”

“Not helpful. And what sort of trouble are you expecting?”

“I don’t know but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.”

Nodding, Marinette starts pacing her room. What would be a good thing to say to transform? What will I be transforming into? A ladybug isn’t exactly a natural predator, but they are a symbol of good luck. Marinette glances at her reflection, her earrings in particular. Alya was right, these earrings are dreadfully plain. What if they had some spots on them or something with a little flair. “Hmm... spots on—”

The last thing Marinette was expecting was Tikki to fly into her left earring; after a rather sudden jolt she can see her body being engulfed in a red light. A very similar red light to the one she first saw from Tikki. Next her body started spinning slowly and the red light flashed until her body was in a red and black polkadot catsuit then a helmet latched itself onto her head. As she is still standing in front of the mirror, she runs over to it gasping at her reflection. She looks like an honest-to-goodness ladybug. There are even antennas coming out of her helmet.

“What the hell?!”

“Marinette, focus!”

“Tikki? Tikki, where are you?”

“I’m with you. We make Ladybug together.”

“Cool. Nice to know I’m not doing this alone.” Marinette’s hands slide down to the yo-yo of all things wrapped around her waist. She opens the case and it looks like there’s a communication device inside it. She snaps the thing closed then starts playing with the yo-yo. “What kind of weapon is a yo-yo?” She thrusts it forward and it snaps back and hits her helmet. “That had more power than I thought it would.” It’s a good thing she’s wearing a helmet, she would’ve brained herself otherwise.

She’s sure if she waltzes around Paris like this The Guardian might take notice, so might the rest of Paris.

Well, it’s a cute outfit and it’ll be a shame if no one sees it.

Marinette opens her window and slips onto the patio, “just tell me one thing, Tikki, can I fly?”

“Uh. No. But you can use your yo-yo to travel.”

Marinette spins the yo-yo over her head and as a trial run she throws it to the phone tower and the momentum vaults her to the tower crashing into it. “Ow. Okay. I need to practice a bit farther.”

She spins the yo-yo over her head again and throws it to the nearest building’s chimney. This thing has some incredible distance. She makes sure the yo-yo is secure with several tugs then jumps off the building in the direction of the building using the yo-yo string as leverage. It’s surreal that she doesn’t fall to her death but basically flies in the air with a simple or not so simple yo-yo string. When she lands on the rooftop, she retracts the yo-yo string. “That was incredible, Tikki!”

“And it’s just the beginning.” 

Chapter Text

“Alya! Alya! Alya! Wake up!” Groaning, Alya slowly opens her eyes, lifting her head to stare at her little sisters sitting on her bed. “It’s Saturday!” The twins cheer jumping off the bed and running out of the room.

With another groan, Alya’s head flops back down on the bed.

There’s a knock on her door which opens fully. “Oh. I thought the door was closed. Good morning. Alya.”

“Morning, mama.”

“Does your friend have any food allergies?”

“None that I know of. I asked everything you asked me to ask.”

“Good. I’d hate to put your friend or her parents in the hospital with something I could’ve prevented.”

Alya sits up. “Mama, Marinette isn’t my first friend.”

“I know but it seems so long since you’ve had one. Especially one even Nora likes.” Her mother walks into the room and sits on the bed. “Any complaints with school so far?”

“No, which is a little weird to be honest. But it’s only been the first few days, I’m sure I’ll have some complaints as time goes on.”

“I’m sure you will too.” Marlena chuckles, “oh. I need a favor, do you prefer helping me cook for your friend or picking up some groceries?”

“Groceries.”

Marlena puts a small piece of paper in Alya’s hands, “thank you, sweetie.” She kisses Alya on the forehead. “And try not to take too long we’re serving them lunch, not dinner. Plus, I have work later tonight.”

Alya salutes her, “I’m just gonna take a quick shower then head out.”

🦊

Alya heads to the grocery store with the list and money from her mother, as always her mama threw in a little extra so she could get something she wanted.

After grabbing everything on the list, she heads down the miscellaneous aisle of the grocery store and spots the costume jewelry of all shapes and sizes. She sees a pair of bunny-shaped earrings that make her think of Marinette and remembers she’s gotta get home before her mother gives her a courtesy call. Before she exits the aisle, however, there’s an adorable fox phone charm she grabs up and puts in the basket.

When she turns the corner to head to checkout she nearly bumps into an old man. “Ooh. I’m so sorry.” She apologizes side-stepping around him.

“Oh no. No. It’s my fault. Uh. Young lady, do you mind if I ask a favor? I can’t reach that box of crackers on the top shelf.”

“Oh. Okay. I’ll get ‘em. The least I could do for nearly knocking you down.” She stands on her tip-toes then reaches the box and hands it to the old man, “there you are.”

“Ah. Thank you, young lady.”

“My pleasure. Bye now.”

“Good bye.”

When Alya gets to the checkout line and grabs her wallet to pay for everything she feels a small hexagon shaped box in her purse. “What the—” She opens her purse wider to look inside. Staring back at her is a box similar to the one she saw in Marinette’s room. Did she take Marinette’s box by accident? Wait. She didn’t have her purse when she visited Marinette.

“Is everything alright?” The cashier asks.

Alya snaps her purse shut and nods, “yeah.” She opens her wallet and pays for the groceries.

She gets home and delivers the groceries to her mom who hugs her then immediately starts grouping the groceries together, Alya takes the fox charm out of the bag and heads to her room. She locks the door for good measure because Ella and Etta and, shit, Nora, see unlocked doors as open invitations to barge in. Alya puts her purse in her closet but not before taking out the box and putting it on her bed. While she doesn’t understand Chinese writing yet, it’s not the same word or words that were on Marinette’s box.

She continues to stare at the box until the nagging voice in her head tells her to open it while the more reasonable voice in her head argues it could be dangerous. Boxes just don’t appear in people’s purses. Maybe she bumped into—

“Oh fuck.” She puts a hand over her mouth then looks around. She bumped into that old(er) Asian man—no, she nearly bumped into him. She wasn’t paying attention and he could’ve accidentally dropped this box into her purse. But was her purse even open?

Alya massages her forehead.

“To hell with it.” She mutters and stalks over to the bed and opens the box. There’s a blinding orange light that causes her to squint in an attempt to see through it but squinting doesn’t help. When the glow subsides there’s an orange and white thing cracking it’s neck with it’s tiny paws.

The thing opens its big purple eyes and stares at her. “Who are you?”

“Uh, who are you?”

“I asked first.”

“Well, you’re in my room so...”

The thing frowns at her and Alya frowns right back. After the staring contest goes on for a solid minute the thing sighs heavily, “I’m Trixx, a kwami.” It looks Alya up and down, “I guess your kwami.”

“What the hell is a kwami?”

Trixx points to the box on the bed and Alya stares at the necklace inside shaped like a fox’s tail. “I’m a kwami and that’s my—well, our—Miraculous. You get super powers when you transform.”

“No way.” Alya gasps, “super powers? Me? From a necklace? Is that how super powers work?”

“It’s how mine work. Put the necklace on and pick a transformation phrase.”

“Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Hold up. Just like that?” Trixx nods. “What would I even say? I don’t even know what you are.”

“I told you I’m—”

“A kwami. Right, I heard you the first time but you didn’t explain what that was.”

“I’m a magical creature way older than you are so can we just leave it at that?”

Alya lifts her hands in defense, “fine.” She scrutinizes Trixx. The necklace matches her phone charm. But that’s just a coincidence, isn’t it? “What does the box say?”

“Illusion. It’s my power.”

“Illusions. Hmm. That could be useful.” She can create an illusion of herself and send it to school in her stead.

“I guarantee whatever your thinking is wrong.”

Alya glares, “are you a mind reader too?”

“No but I’ve been around a lot of idiotic and slash or careless Miraculous holders who used their powers for personal gain.” Trixx makes a buzzer noise, “which isn’t why you got me.”

“Then why did I get you?”

“The Guardian must see something in you. They can check people’s auras or some crap. It’s never the same Guardian so it’s probably never the same method they use to pick Miraculous holders.”

Alya points at the necklace, "if that thing gives me powers shouldn’t it be less obvious? I mean, it’s a fox tail. So I’m obviously gonna transform into a fox.”

I’m a fox.”

Alya looks Trixx up and down, “no points for originality.”

“You know, I am starting to wonder why The Guardian chose you myself.”

Alya turns her TV on. She’s surprised no one’s knocked on her door yet. It’s basically impossible to get five minutes of peace in this apartment and with this “fox” sizing her up it’s about to become truly impossible. “So you don’t know this ‘Guardian’ who gave you to me?” Trixx shakes their head. “It could be a short Asian guy. I think he slipped your box in my purse when I was helping him reach a box of crackers because I didn’t have a box in my bag before helping him.”

“The Guardians are a crafty sort. You’ll never know you were chosen until they already picked you.” Trixx claps its hands together. “So... what do you have to eat in this place? I feel like I haven’t eaten in two lifetimes.”

“My mama’s a chef, so we have lots of food. At the same time, my older sister is a professional wrestler and my younger sisters are in their ‘eating everything on the plate’ phase so we don’t have a much food as I’d like. What do you eat?”

Trixx shrugs, “can’t exactly be picky. Like I can’t choose my own Miraculous holder.”

Alya’s eyes narrow, “well it looks like I can’t choose my kwami either so we’re in the same boat.” They continue to glare at each other until someone knocks on Alya’s door. Alya startles and Trixx flies under her sheets. “Y-Yes?”

“You’re not trying to get out of helping ma cook, are you?” Nora asks.

“No. But she never said she needed my help. In fact, she had me get the groceries so I wouldn’t have to cook.”

“She’s enlisting all our help so let’s get it over with, Loly.”

“I’ll be right there.” She grabs the necklace and puts it on then pushes it under her shirt. “Alright. I’m ready so let’s pounce—” Trixx flies out of her sheets and into her necklace, “that... was—” Her body starts glowing orange and in seemingly slow motion an orange and white fox skin catsuit envelops her body then a helmet pops up out of nowhere and latches itself on her head.

“What kind of transformation phrase is let’s pounce?!”

“I was trying to say let’s bounce but I got tongue tied. Oh man. It is a terrible transformation—wait, what?!” Alya looks around, “where are you?”

“In the necklace. It happens when we transform. You grabbed the necklace, put it on, and chose a terrible transformation phrase that we’re stuck with by the way so thanks for that.”

Alya runs into her bathroom and looks at her reflection. “How do I un-transform? My family can’t see me wearing this skin tight furry suit!”

“Think of something! Uh, what’s the opposite of pouncing?”

“Do I look like a thesaurus?” Alya groans, then runs over to her phone and cringes at her reflection in the screen. Her helmet has long, floppy fox ears poking out of it. Not what she would’ve wanted but she was right about the fox theme. There’s even a tail attached to the back end of the suit. She types in pounce in the dictionary app and taps her foot as it loads. “Trixx, alight? Oh my God, it got worse!” Nevertheless, it does the trick and the suit gets off far quicker than it came on and Trixx is now in front of her face scowling.

Alight?!”

“It was the first word I saw!”

Trixx sighs, “hands down, worst transformation phrase I’ve ever—” They pause, “you know I just realized you never gave me your name.”

“Alya.”

“Alya, huh? I like it.”

“Thanks.” They stare at each other. “Stay here. I’ll get you something to eat.” Trixx salutes her. Alya makes sure the necklace isn’t visible before she leaves her bedroom.

When she makes her way to the kitchen her sisters are wearing their aprons and helping their mom chop and peel. Alya looks around, “where’s dad?”

“I forgot to tell you to get ice so he’s out grabbing some. He’ll be back before your friend shows up.” Marlena frowns, “I hope.” She shakes her head. “Anyways, I know I had you get the groceries but with your father gone I need you to help me wash the vegetables.”

While washing the vegetables, Alya puts some baby carrots in her pocket. She’ll probably have to wash them again before giving them to Trixx but her mama won’t miss them. It’s not like she can stuff some asparagus or celery into her pocket as easily as baby carrots. There’s nothing in the twins’ corner of destruction she’d give to Trixx raw but there are pieces of bread Nora chopped up she’ll have to stealthily grab on her way back to her room.

If she heads to the pantry now her mother might question it so she’ll either have to make due with carrots and bread or wait until everyone is otherwise occupied to raid the pantry and refrigerator for anything a small magical fox might enjoy eating.

Hmm. Now that poses a question: What do foxes – magical or otherwise – even eat?

The four of them spend the next half-hour thoroughly checking over their work until their mother is satisfied with everything then she dismisses them one by one and thankfully their father returns and is designated as her sous chef. Lucky for him, they did most of the work so all their dad has to do is pour things into oven safe containers and set the table.

Alya slips back into her room and locks the door. She didn’t get the chance to get close enough to the bread to grab any but she still had the carrots in her pocket so she takes them out and goes into the bathroom to wash them off. After drying them off with a paper towel she puts them on the bed and looks up just what the hell do foxes eat.

Trixx peeks its head out from under the sheets, after they spot Alya, they fly out and hover over the carrots, “what are these?”

“Baby carrots. It’s all I could grab.” Alya pops one into her mouth and Trixx stares at her briefly before picking one up and biting into it. Trixx is making a face eating it and Alya’s struggling not to laugh. “By the way, what are you? Before you once again tell me you’re a kwami, I’m not asking about that. I mean are you a boy? A girl? Neither?”

Trixx shrugs. “I am what I am.”

“Okay. I didn’t wanna misgender you – because I didn’t even know if you had a gender.”

“I’d say it’s surprisingly thoughtful of you but you did bring me baby carrots. It’s thoughtful either way, though.”

“According to the Internet, foxes are omnivores. They—well, you—eat small animals—” She looks up at Trixx, “I don’t think you’ll find any animals smaller than you. Except maybe fish but I’m not giving you raw fish.”

Trixx shakes their head, “nothing smelly. You’ll have to carry food with you because I’m gonna be with you all the time in case you need to transform.”

“That’s good to know. So no raw meat then. Maybe some more vegetables? What else is easy to transport?” She taps her chin, “grapes? Cherries? I’m gonna need something that comes in a bunch.” She starts pacing her room. “I’ll also need something that doesn’t leave a lot of crumbs if I’m gonna carry it around...”

“I think you should transform again.” She stops pacing to stare at Trixx, “I sense another kwami and they seem miserable.”

“Other kwamis?”

Trixx nods, “we can sense one another I sense three other kwamis in total; two are fine but one of them?” They shake their head. “It’s not good. That might be why The Guardian brought me out and gave me to you. Besides, you need to know our power. Illusions can be powerful when used correctly.”

“How am I supposed to use this power if I can’t use it for myself?”

“I’m sure you’re a smart—wait, I don’t wanna—”

“Misgender me? It’s okay. I’m a girl.”

Trixx nods, “okay. You’ve proven to be clever and resourceful in just a few short hours. You’re definitely the right person for the power of illusions. We don’t have to like each other but we do have to be able to work together.”

Alya sighs, “then let’s pounce.”

🦊

Trixx wasn’t lying about her having super powers with the necklace, she was able climb out of her window and onto the roof of her building in what must’ve been five seconds. She looks around, staring at the other rooftops. “if I’m a superhero now I’m gonna need a catchy name.”

“My last Miraculous holder called himself Volpina.”

Alya shudders, “hard pass. I don’t even know what that means and I’m not gonna make the same mistake I made with my transformation phrase. I need something with flair.” She may not be able to see Trixx but she can tell they’re rolling their eyes at her. “If you can search out other kwamis then I’m not the only newly made superhero in Paris.”

“I can only sense one kwami now which means the other two I sensed earlier are in their Miraculouses.”

“Based on that logic, they can no longer sense you either.”

“Huh. Guess I never thought about that but you’re right.”

Alya looks down at the flute attached to the left side of her suit, “was this there earlier?”

“Yup. That’s Vol—your weapon of choice.”

“A flute?! That’s a terrible weapon.”

“Maybe you missed the part where I said you create illusions? This is what you create them with. Besides, have you ever got hit by a flute? It hurts.”

Alya twirls the flute in her hands, “quick crash course on this then, I only have a less than a half hour before Marinette and her family arrive.”

There’s a thud behind her. Alya turns around to find a man’s body kneeling in front of her, when he stands there’s a glowing purple butterfly outline around his eyes. “Wait a minute...” She hears Trixx say.

“Another Miraculous holder in Paris?” There’s a strange echoing ethereal lilt to the person’s voice as they tilt their head to the right. “Where did you get your Miraculous from?”

Alya folds her arms over her chest, “you first.”

Kid, I don’t know every kwami in existence but there’s no doubt in my mind this is Nooroo’s work and from the look of things he’s not doing this because he wants to.

Gotcha.” Huh. She can talk to Trixx telepathically in the suit? Cool. Now she doesn't have to keep talking out loud.

“Very well.” The man waves his arms in a flourish, “I am The Guardian of the Miraculouses. The Miraculous of creation and Miraculous of destruction were stolen from me while I was handing out other Miraculouses.”

“You honestly expect me to believe that?” His eyes narrow, “if you were really The Guardian you’d know how I got my Miraculous – for starters. And secondly, I doubt you’d lose two other Miraculouses.”

“Clever. But you just let me know that The Guardian is out there handing out more Miraculouses.”

“I—shit!”

The man laughs cruelly, “don’t fret, Little One. You won’t have your Miraculous for long.” He takes a bow, “I serve Hawkmoth who will soon wield all the Miraculouses. Including yours.” The man drops to the ground and a purple butterfly flies out of his back and into the sky.

“Uh...” Alya watches the butterfly fly off. “Should we—”

“Forget about that. There’s nothing you can do. Only Wayzz and Tikki can purify those. Nooroo uses akumas for transmission – that’s his power. Let’s get back inside.”

Alya climbs back in her window and closes it behind her, “alight.” She takes a deep breath as Trixx flies out of her necklace. “You’re sure this is Nooroo?” Trixx nods, “then we need to find the real Guardian. Just a hunch, but I think he knows about this Hawkmoth asshole.”

“Definitely. Ah! But that means a Guardian did have a Miraculous stolen. I doubt they’d willingly give a Miraculous to someone that...” Trixx trails off with a shudder. “However, something tells me it isn’t the current Guardian that had a Miraculous stolen.”

“Maybe, maybe not, and Hawkmoth – seriously, what kind of name is that?” Alya shakes her head, “anyway, Hawkmoth clearly did research if he knows just at a glance that I have a Miraculous. Not to mention he knows about the Miraculouses of creation and destruction.”

“Tikki and Plagg, respectively. But – unfortunately, I don’t remember what their Miraculouses are.”

Alya’s eyes widen, “the Miraculous of creation – it’s a pair of earrings.”

“How do you know?”

“Because Marinette had a box like mine that said creator and there were a pair of earrings inside.”

“Are you sure?” Alya nods. “Then Tikki would have already spoken to the kid and she’ll be super tight-lipped about it. Tikki’s always been big on secret identities and all that. Even from her own team.” Trixx’s eyes widen, “didn’t you say a Marinette was coming over? If she opened the earrings she’ll have Tikki with her which means we can talk about it.”

“I know for a fact Marinette just got her ears pierced yesterday so she’s definitely wearing Tikki’s earrings.”

“Good. There’s also a good chance she’s spoken to The Guardian.”

“And if she hasn’t?”

“Then we’ll have the incentive for finding him.”

🦊

Nora opens the door and Marinette is on the other side with her parents. “Hey. Nice to have you here.” She opens the door wider allowing them inside. “I’m Nora.” Ella and Etta pop up from behind Nora’s legs, “these are my baby sisters Ella and Etta.” She points to them as she introduces them.

“We’re not babies.” The twins reply.

“I didn’t say that. I said baby sisters, which is what you are.”

“I’m Sabine and this is my husband Tom. Thank you so much for having us over.”

“It’s our pleasure. Thanks for taking care of Lo—Alya the other day.” Nora leads Marinette’s parents to the kitchen where her parents are and the twins each take one of Marinette’s hands and pull her toward their bedroom.

“This is my side.” Ella says.

“And that’s my side.” Etta says.

“Wow. This room is so pretty.”

The twins beam at her, “are you Alya’s girlfriend?” They ask.

“I—uh, I’m a friend.” The twins seem pacified by her answer because they’re dragging Marinette toward their shared toy-chest. “Say, where is Alya’s room?”

“It’s down the hall and it has a bathroom attached to Nora’s bedroom. Do you want us to show you?”

“It’s okay. I’ll figure it out.”

“Will you come back and play with us when you’re done?”

“You bet.”

With the parents still in the kitchen, Marinette walks down the hall. Nora is in the living room watching TV. She nods at Marinette who returns the nod. The opened bedroom door is Nora’s room if the wrestling posters are any indication but the door leading to the bathroom is locked. Marinette knocks on the door, “Alya?” The door opens a fraction for a split second and she’s pulled inside then Alya locks the door behind her and an orange and white fox flies out of her hair. “W-Wha—”

“Tikki, wherever you are you can come out.” Marinette’s purse opens and Tikki slowly pokes her head out.

“Trixx? W-What are you doing here?”

“I’m Alya’s kwami. I know why we’re here. Someone calling himself Hawkmoth.” Alya shakes her head and sticks out her tongue in disgust, “has stolen Nooroo’s Miraculous.”

“What!? Not Nooroo. How do you know this?”

“Because he paid us a visit.” Alya replies. “Well, not him exactly. He had a purple butterfly like mask over some random guy’s face and he was using him to talk to us. He’s looking for you and whatever a Plagg is.”

“Me?”

“You’re the kwami of creation, right?” Tikki glares at Trixx who shrugs.

“I don’t keep stuff from my partner.”

Tikki rolls her eyes, “yes, I’m the kwami of creation and you’re the only other kwami I’ve seen but if Nooroo is around being used against his will we need to find out who Hawkmoth is and what he knows.” Tikki flies over to Trixx, “have you seen The Guardian?”

“No but I’m certain an old Asian guy gave me Trixx.”

“Did he have hawaiian shirt and a small green bracelet?” Alya nods, “I think he gave me Tikki.”

“A small green bracelet? I’m willing to bet that’s the Miraculous he has. Did either of you notice if it was shaped like an animal? That might help us figure out who’s Miraculous it is.”

“I don’t think every Miraculous is as obvious as mine but I think it was—”

“Something like a turtle shell.” Marinette finishes.

“Might be Wayzz.” Tikki says and Trixx nods.

“What’s their power?” Alya asks.

“Wayzz is the kwami of protection. Fitting for a Guardian.”

“What’s your power?” Marinette asks Trixx.

“I’m the kwami of illusion.” Marinette glances at Tikki who nods. “Have you two transformed yet? Nooroo makes for a dangerous enemy. Any kwami is really.”

“We transformed a few times.” Tikki says, “Marinette’s still getting the hang of things.”

Marinette rubs the back of her neck, “that’s putting it mildly.”

“How’s about this? Ask your parents if we can hang out and we’ll transform together and look for the Guardian. If we show up in our suits I’m certain he’ll wanna talk to us.”

Marinette nods, “okay, sounds good. Oh. I promised your little sisters I’d play with them after I found you.”

“Go right ahead. Saves me the trouble of playing with them later.”

🦊

Lunch is a success to which no one was really surprised. Marlena Césaire is equal parts best mother in the world, equal parts kickass planner, and equal parts professional chef. Tom and Sabine brought over dessert which, again, was no real surprise considering they live in their bakery.

Alya’s mama isn’t one for desserts but she ate more of Tom and Sabine’s petite fours than the rest of them combined, and that is not an exaggeration by any means.

Their parents okayed them hanging out since it was still early.

With her parents both going off to work, Alya walked back with Marinette’s family to their bakery.

Marinette grabbed a box of profiteroles from her kitchen before they started walking toward the shopping district. “You know, I didn’t even realize you live one street away from school.”

“In my experience, it’s both a blessing and a curse.”

Alya gestures to the box in Marinette’s hands, “how come you needed that?”

“Tikki likes desserts. I figured we could share some with Trixx.”

“Sure. You won’t get any arguments from me.”

“Some are for you as well.”

“I’ll probably need a while before I’m able to dive into any more food but I appreciate the thought. I’m still trying to figure out what Trixx likes to eat, so far I’ve only given them baby carrots.”

Trixx’s head pops out of Alya’s hair, “all in all, pretty okay but I’m interested in finding out what else I like to eat.”

Marinette blinks up at Alya’s hair. “Uh—”

“Apparently, that’s their favorite hiding spot.” Alya shrugs, “I don’t ask.”

“Your hair smells so good.” Then Trixx disappears back into Alya’s hair, “and it’s big enough that I won’t get noticed.”

Marinette’s still looking at Alya’s hair. “Just make sure no one surprises you with a pat on the head.”

“If they do, I’ll just bite them.” Trixx is certainly more outspoken than Tikki appears to be. Marinette doesn’t know what she’d do if The Guardian gave her Trixx instead of Tikki. There aren’t that many rooftops they have access to where they can overlook all of Paris but Marinette gets an equally wondrous and horrible idea as she looks up.

“The Eiffel Tower.” Alya eyes her. “We can look at most of Paris from The Eiffel Tower. It’ll be the perfect place to...” As several people walk by she gives Alya a meaningful look, “you know.”

“Gutsy. I like it.”

Alya hasn’t been in Paris long enough to take the trip to the Eiffel Tower and her family had already gone – separately – without her. Her parents going for work in their respective jobs and Nora took the twins when Alya was in school yesterday because their school didn’t start until next week.

“I’m so glad I’m not afraid of heights.”

“Yeah. That would be bad.” Trixx says into her scalp.

Surprisingly, it isn’t as crowded as it usually is during this time of day. Marinette considers it a small mercy but just to be on the safe side they’re not gonna transform out in the open. They head to the bathroom on the top floor and Marinette inspects every stall making sure they’re empty. “Okay. Maybe we should’ve thought this out more.”

“No time! Trixx, let’s pounce!” Trixx flies out of Alya’s hair and into her shirt? Marinette tilts her head as Alya’s chest starts glowing orange before her whole body starts changing into an orange and white fox suit.

“Spots on, Tikki.” Marinette opens her purse in time for Tikki to fly into her right earring.

Once they both transform, Alya looks at her reflection in the mirror. “I think the helmets might be a bit much.” She plays with one of her floppy ears then toys with one of Marinette’s antennas.

“I don’t know. I like the helmet. Could do without the antennas though.” They slowly open the bathroom door and once they made sure the coast was clear they slip out of the bathroom and climb to the tip top of the tower. “I never thought I’d see the Eiffel Tower like this.”

“It is a pretty sweet view. We need to take a picture.” They squeeze together in the frame and give the peace sign when Alya takes the photo. “Nice.”

“Will you send me a copy?”

“Of course.”

A few minutes pass before a small green turtle flies in front of them. “I doubt this was what my master had in mind when he began choosing the new holders for this cycle but if your goal was to get his attention, consider it a success. You also managed to gain the attention of several local news-stations who sent helicopters to see who climbed the top of the Eiffel Tower.”

“Are you The Guardian’s kwami?” Marinette asks.

The turtle nods, “I am Wayzz. I will take you to my master.”

🦊

They de-transform once they slip back into the bathrooms avoiding three helicopter then Wayzz flies into Alya’s hair alongside Trixx and takes them to a small herbal medicine shop.

“I wasn’t expecting a meeting so soon.” Wayzz flies out of Alya’s hair and to the side of the same man Alya helped in the grocery store today and the same guy Marinette saw Thursday.

“It’s you!” Marinette and Alya exclaim.

The man bows. “You may call me Fu.”

“You’re The Guardian of this cycle?” Trixx asks.

Alya looks up at Trixx dangling from her hair. “Cycle?”

“Yeah. The Miraculous holders change every cycle and so does The Guardian. Less chances of a Miraculous getting lost or stolen. Ah! Guardian, you must know about Hawkmoth.”

Fu nods with a sigh. “I do. It was when the last Guardian was transferring the Miraculouses to me that two were lost.”

“Two?” Tikki grimaces. “Nooroo is one but who is the other?”

“Duusuu. Hawkmoth made his first appearance over a month ago. There were reports of butterflies swarming through Paris.”

“I remember that but it didn’t seem like dire news.” Marinette says.

“Under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be, especially since the news didn’t catch the one purple butterfly in the middle of the swarm. Hawkmoth has been akumatizing people in order to find out where the other Miraculouses are. I needed to find a Ladybug to purify these akumas and I found one in you.”

“But why me?”

Fu beckons them over and they head to a much larger hexagon shaped box. He opens it then Alya and Marinette look inside seeing various kinds of jewelry. “These are all the Miraculouses minus the three of ours and the two that are lost. We know for a fact that one is in Hawkmoth’s clutches but not where the other is. I chose you because your aura felt the closest to Tikki’s.” He glances at Alya, “in a similar way that your aura matches Trixx’s.”

“Yeah, you sure you didn’t mess up our match, Guardian?” Trixx asks and Alya nods in agreement.

“You two are more alike than you realize.” Alya and Trixx exchange a glance.

“Hold on.” Alya begins, “do you know our names or...?”

Fu shakes his head. “No. That is beyond my power.”

Alya and Marinette sigh in relief and Fu chuckles. “I’m Marinette and this is Alya. How do we stop Hawkmoth, Guardian?”

“Currently. You cannot.” Marinette’s face falls. “Hawkmoth knows more about kwamis and Miraculouses than both of you combined. It would be foolish to attempt to take him on. Especially, since he does not need to be present. It is the reason why I cannot tell who Hawkmoth is. With the power of transmission, Hawkmoth could be sequestered anywhere in Paris. Plus, there’s no telling how he got it. There is a huge gap between Nooroo not being with the rest of the kwamis and Hawkmoth’s first appearance. There are many blanks that need to be filled.”

“Well, what about Plagg?” Tikki asks, “Alya and Trixx said Hawkmoth asked about our Miraculouses.”

“I see. I knew he was looking for other Miraculouses but I had no idea he was looking for both of yours. If Plagg isn’t active then there’s no chance for Hawkmoth to get his hands on him.” He closes the box. “But I can’t keep him in here forever. You’ll definitely need him to help you with Hawkmoth.”

“How many other kwamis are getting released, Guardian?” Tikki asks.

“I have no other candidates as of yet, but that can change in an instant.”

“Including a partner for Plagg.” Trixx says. “If you’re matching us up with auras maybe it’s best he doesn’t have a partner.”

“Perhaps I might find someone with an aura opposite of Plagg’s instead.”

“Good idea.” Tikki replies.

“About Nooroo? If Hawkmoth put on their Miraculous and chose a transformation phrase Nooroo wouldn’t have much of a choice in partnering up, right?” Marinette asks.

Fu nods. “That is correct. However, it is possible Nooroo believed Hawkmoth to be his partner. Kwamis aren’t introduced to humans unless it’s to The Guardian or their partner.”

“Then how come they didn’t know who you were?” Marinette asks.

“Yes, I—” Fu rubs the back of his neck, “I neglected to introduce myself Trixx and Tikki before giving them to you. I will not make that mistake again.”

“So we know we’re definitely getting Plagg but like you said, you’re not sure about anyone else?” Trixx asks.

“Yes.” He glances at Marinette and Alya, “this is your team, Marinette, if you believe you know of someone who can help you deal with Hawkmoth then let me know and I will feel their aura.”

M-My team?”

“You are Ladybug. You will lead the team.”

“What about Alya? It couldn’t’ve been more than two days a difference that we both got our kwamis!”

“I’m actually good with not leading but if you want me to lead, I will.”

“It has to be you, Marinette. That is why you were picked first.”

Marinette sighs. “Fine. I just hope the team isn’t too big.”

Alya pats her on the back, “you’ll do great. Just believe in yourself, Girl. You got this. And whatever you don’t got, I’ll help you with.”

“Thanks, Alya.”

Alya cracks her knuckles, “so, when do we get to throw down the gauntlet to Hawkmoth?”

“I’m... not certain I understand.” Fu confesses.

“Hawkmoth knows about me but not about Marinette, or Ladybug. Maybe we need him to know we’re gonna free Nooroo?”

“That’s a good idea. Let Paris know that Ladybug and uh...” Marinette tilts her head, “what’s your name?”

“Don’t have one yet. It’s a working progress.”

“Okay. We’ll let Hawkmoth know we’re onto him.” A pause. “What does he want, exactly?”

“To wield all the Miraculouses.” Trixx replies.

“Why?”

“Whosoever wields the Miraculouses gets to make their greatest wish come true. It’s a terrible power that has even greater consequences. While it’s in the user’s best interest to collect as many Miraculouses as they can, they definitely need the Miraculouses of creation and destruction first and foremost.”

“Then is it safe to have a whole team together?” Alya asks. “We’re obviously not gonna make our greatest wishes come true if it has huge consequences but still?”

“That’s why I need to have multiple Miraculouses active. It lessens Hawkmoth’s chances of making whatever his wish is come true.”

“But how did he even know about this?” Marinette asks.

“In addition to Nooroo and Duusuu being lost, the book of Miraculouses was also lost. Hawkmoth must either have it or studied it enough to know about the wish.”

“Then there’s a chance Hawkmoth has Duusuu too. Can someone activate two Miraculouses?” Marinette asks.

“Yes, however not at the same time.”

“Then how would he even make a wish happen? I-If you can tell us. If not, then forget I asked.”

“I’m sorry Marinette, but you are right I cannot tell you. While I believe neither of you will do it, even tempted, I can’t afford to make any more mistakes.”

Marinette nods, “I understand.”

Alya nods as well. “But you should at least tell us how to prevent Hawkmoth from making a wish happen, other than keeping him away from our kwamis.”

“Unfortunately, that is all you can do. The wish was created to be used only as a last resort, not even the kwamis know how to do it.”

“Then why put it in a book to begin with?” Marinette asks, “isn’t that dangerous?”

“It wasn’t.” Fu sighs.

Alya elbows Marinette, “come on, Ladybug. Let’s tell Hawkmoth not to mess with us.”

“Just be careful.” Fu warns. “I’ve noticed a pattern with Hawkmoth’s akumatizations. He relies on strong negative emotions: fear, sadness, anger. It’s not how Nooroo’s power was intended to be used but that’s Hawkmoth’s signature move.”

“What else can Nooroo do?” Alya asks. “Transmission is a pretty broad subject.”

“All kwamis have many talents, some they learn about centuries later. There are many things you two can help your kwamis to learn as you work together.”

“Things that even the Order of Guardians don’t know about?” Trixx asks.

“Yes. Unfortunately. I’m also learning new things about kwamis almost every day. It’s been over one-hundred years since I’ve had Wayzz with me.” Trixx, Tikki, Marinette, and Alya stare at Fu.

Alya’s the first to break the silence. “Did you just say over one-hundred years? How old are you?”

🦊

For the second time today, they climb to the top of the Eiffel Tower in their suits. Only this time they let the helicopters spot them.

Less than ten minutes later, all of Paris becomes aware of their new superhero duo Ladybug and Rena Rouge (According to Alya, Trixx surprisingly liked the name she thought of on the fly) after Hawkmoth sends an akumatized person at them to “send a message.”

In an overly dramatic fashion, after his defeat he stated now that he’s aware of Ladybug’s existence he’ll stop at nothing to seize their Miraculouses.

Tikki guides Marinette through purifying her first akuma and setting the no longer purple butterfly free. Unfortunately, she tells Marinette that Nooroo – evidently – can summon a swarm of butterflies so even if she purifies every butterfly in existence Nooroo can always call forth more. It’s also unfortunate that neither Tikki nor Trixx can summon armies of animals; especially Trixx because having an army of foxes at one’s command would be super cool.

When they make their way back to Fu’s shop, no longer transformed of course, he congratulates them but also tells them things are just getting started. Then he states he’s going to work extra hard to find a fitting match for Plagg because Hawkmoth will undoubtedly up his game now that there’s a Ladybug in the picture and they need to be prepared for when that happens.

“It may take a while. I don’t sense anyone even remotely fitted for Plagg.” He opens the large hexagon box and picks up the ring in the center. A small black cat with glowing green eyes literally pops up in front of their eyes. It yawns loudly and stretches.

“Huh? W-Where am I?” He blinks at Tikki, Wayzz, and Trixx, “if it isn’t Sugarcube, Snappy, and Dreams.”

Tikki sighs loudly, Wayzz shakes his head, and Trixx rolls their eyes. “Plagg.” He turns to Fu. “I am The Miraculous' Guardian.”

“Good to meet ya, Guardian.” He looks around. “I see two kids and four kwamis. Where’s my partner?”

“We don’t have one yet. Someone calling themselves Hawkmoth is attempting to get you and Tikki and we need you prepared.”

“Okay but I can’t exactly get prepared without a partner.” Plagg yawns again, “sucks that we need partners in the first place.”

“You know very well what happens when our powers go unchecked, and by ours I mean yours.” Tikki says.

“Hey, I’m the kwami of destruction. Not my fault.”

“But it is your fault we got partners in the first place.” Trixx adds.

Plagg points at himself, “kwami of destruction.” He repeats, “you can’t blame me for being what I am.”

“Black cats are synonymous with bad luck.” Marinette says. “Is it wise he’s also the kwami of destruction?”

“Don’t make the rules, Kid, it is what it is. You gotta be Sugarcube’s partner, you have the same doe-eyed look as her.” As Tikki mutters under her breath, Plagg yawns again, “anyone got something to eat around here? I’m starving. Feels like a few lifetimes since I had anything good.”

“I almost forgot!” Marinette takes the box out of her purse. “Here. Profiteroles. Enjoy.”

The kwamis fly over to the box and tentatively sniff at the pastries and each pick one up. “This is as big as my head!” Plagg yells, “nice!” Unlike the other three, Plagg stuffs the entire thing into his mouth and moans appreciatively. Once he swallows it, he goes back for another and repeats the process.

“You sure we need Plagg, Guardian Fu?” Trixx asks. “He’s always been a wild card.”

“No more than you, Dreams. Arguing with your partners and whatnot.”

“Oh. So they’ve done this before then? And here I thought I was lucky.”

Plagg laughs then flies over to Alya, “I like you. What’s your name?”

“Alya.”

“Good to meet ya.” He sticks out a hand and Alya shakes it with her pointer finger. He then flies over to Marinette, “partner of Sugarcube, I’m gonna call you Sunshine but I’m gonna need a name in case it’s better.”

“My name is Marinette.”

“Meh. Sunshine’s better.” He flies over to Fu. “you’re Snappy’s partner too, right? Can you keep up with the kids?”

Alya rubs the back of her neck. “Uh. I don’t wanna sound like a jerk but I’m wondering that too. I mean, you said it yourself, Hawkmoth’s gonna keep coming at us. And you’re over one-hundred years old.” Plagg whistles.

“As sprightly as I am, I would merely get in the way if I were to fight alongside you. Not to mention, I haven’t transformed in three decades. It would benefit you both if Wayzz were to have a much younger partner.”

“But can two people have the same kwami?”

“That is something we will discover if I find someone equally suited to partner with Wayzz.”

“But... Master—”

Fu pats his head. “Don’t worry, Wayzz.”

“Yeah.” Plagg puts an arm around him, “think of all the attention you’ll get with two partners, Snappy.” He flies back over to Marinette, “did you make these pro-fero things?”

“Profiteroles and yes, I did. What of it?”

“Can you make more? They’re really good. I mean, I’m a cheese aficionado but I could get used to eating these all the time.” He sighs, “but I’m guessing I’ll only be able to eat whatever my partner can find for me.”

“Yeah. I’m figuring out that myself.” Trixx says with a sigh.

“I just got you today, Trixx. We’re gonna find out what you like and don’t like to eat.”

“But in the meantime, we can all enjoy some more of Sugarcube’s food. Sharing is caring and all that.”

Marinette elbows Alya, “I kinda feel sorry for his partner, I can tell he’s gonna be a real handful.” Alya nods in agreement. 

Chapter Text

This is Nadja Chamack reporting live from Collège Françoise Dupont where Rena Rouge and Ladybug appear to be battling a large chicken—” Behind Nadja, Rena Rouge goes flying across the screen.

Plagg and Wayzz each slowly jam crackers into their opened mouths.

Fu walks into the bedroom and pauses, taking in the two kwamis floating in front of the television eating the animal crackers Marinette left for them. It’s been two weeks since he started searching for a partner for either of them and he had far more luck carrying all his groceries in public transportation without any bags ripping. Fu’s personal connection with Wayzz might be compromising his ability to neutrally find someone he deems good enough for his long-time partner. As for Plagg, he can’t find anyone the black cat will view as an equal. The only person Plagg actually seems to like is Alya and Trixx is just as, if not more, difficult to find a partner for so he can’t afford to have Alya and Plagg partner up because he’ll be in the same boat trying to find a new partner for Trixx. Besides, as much as Trixx fusses, they like Alya more than they’d ever let on. A Guardian’s intuition is never wrong is what his mentor often told him.

Fu checks the time. 10:33am. “Is this live?” Plagg and Wayzz nod wordlessly without bothering to turn around. Fu sighs. “Hawkmoth has been relentless these past few days. I fear it won’t be long before the girls burn out.”

“You’re not giving Snacks and Als enough credit. They’ve been going at this for, what, thirteen straight days and are still keeping up with their boring, non-superhero, school stuff? They’ve got this in the bag.”

“But for how much longer though?” Wayzz asks, “they’ve—wait.” He does a double take at Plagg, “‘Snacks?’ Who—I thought you were calling Marinette Sunshine?”

“She’s Snacks since she keeps bringing us snacks. I mean...” He holds up a cat shaped animal cracker, “who comes up with this kind of stuff? It’s adorable.” With a sigh, Wayzz shakes his head. “You guys need to relax. Hawkjerk’s gonna realize his little puppets aren’t a match for our dream team.”

“Which means he’ll just bring forth more akumatizations.”

“Were you always this much of a worrier, Snappy?”

“My worrying is justified.”

“Is it? Did all your years of being active and not doing anything make you forget no kwami can stay transformed forever? If anyone is in danger of burning out it isn’t the kids, its Wings. We got another day, two days tops before Wings is unable to merge with his Miraculous.”

“This is the first I’m hearing of anything like this, Plagg. What will happen to Nooroo then?”

“What will happen is Hawkmoth won’t be able to create akumas for the next three days while Wings is recuperating. Maybe four. Six if we’re lucky but luck hasn’t exactly been our best friend in the past few weeks.”

“And a weakened kwami can’t be forced into their Miraculous.” Wayzz finishes. “Plus, Hawkmoth won’t risk losing what power he has so he won’t put Nooroo’s health in jeopardy.”

“Or he would. Especially if he has the book, but he’s not gonna push Wings too far past the brink of exhaustion.”

Fu taps his chin. “I see. But if the girls are battling Hawkmoth’s akumatizations daily, it stands to reason Trixx and Tikki are also at risk of burning out. Same as Nooroo.” He sighs. “I must renew my efforts to find you both partners. Perhaps I overlooked someone.”

🐱

Everyone’s talking about Ladybug and Rena Rouge when Nino walks back in the building. He was on The Eiffel Tower a few weeks ago when two colorful blurs sped past him making their way to the top but he didn’t think to take a picture or do much else besides clean his glasses and gawk while wondering if he was seeing things.

When he saw them the second time – technically the first – they looked so cool battling what looked like a walking pile of mud. He actually did snap a picture of them that time; several, in fact. Not that he was the only one. You wouldn’t think you’d see something like that outside of television or video games but there they were in an old-fashioned cool ass looking standoff.

Over the course of the past week or so, they’ve been popping up more and more. From helping against Hawkmoth’s latest akumatized victim to doing the menial, stereotypically “heroic” tasks of saving cats from trees. Today’s victim was a student who turned into a chicken because Kim called him a chicken for backing out of a dare last minute. Needless to say, Kim was his first victim then it was pure overkill as innocent students were turned into bite-sized chickens. Nino was only saved from being turned into a chicken himself because Ladybug appeared out of nowhere then vaulted herself at him getting him out of the way of the poultry-based blast. Nino could swear the damn thing clucked as it was being fired.

Ladybug was definitely stronger than she looked as she carried him to safety and told him to stay hidden before jumping back into the fray as Rena Rouge created illusions around the chicken confusing him long enough for them to pop his beak off releasing the akuma inside. Once Ladybug purified the akuma half the student body returned to their normal forms.

Admittedly, Nino was one of the many who swooned when Rena Rouge and Ladybug blew the crowd a kiss before disappearing.

Principal Damocles had everyone exit the school and then had all the teachers inspect the building before deeming it safe to return to. Nino had to wonder why he didn’t ask Ladybug or Rena Rouge to search the building as it would’ve gone a lot quicker but the less time he had to spend in class the better.

“Nino!” Kim and Max jog over to him. “I’m so jealous! Ladybug held you.” Kim takes a deep breath. “At first I felt really bad for causing the school’s first akuma attack but then it got Ladybug here so quick I couldn’t find it in my hear to feel bad.”

“You should feel bad.” Max chastises, “it was very unpleasant being in the body of a tiny chicken.” He turns to Nino, “but I’m also jealous Ladybug held you.”

“What did she smell like? Did she smell like a ladybug? What do ladybugs smell like? I can’t believe Paris has superheroes now. Isn’t that just the wackiest thing you’ve ever heard?”

“Kim, dude, breathe.” Nino laughs patting him on the back.

“Could you see into Ladybug’s helmet?” Max asks.

“Uh, no. There was this bright red light around the eye area. I kinda went blind for a second when she spoke to me.”

“She spoke to you?!” Kim fans himself, “what did she sound like?”

“Kind of like one of those sentient killer robots in the movies that like to crush buildings.”

“That’s so cool.” Max and Kim swoon.

“Nino, are you okay!?” Lila and the rest of the class run over to him, “I couldn’t tell which chicken was you.”

“I didn’t get turned into a chicken, Ladybug saved me.”

The class gasps and gushes. Considering how they all ran off after watching Kim get blasted (him included) it’s no surprise the majority of them missed it. “Seriously? You’re super lucky Kim’s mistake didn’t put you in harm’s way.” Lila glares at Kim who returns the glare.

“I’m just glad Ladybug saved us when she did, I was allergic to myself.” Sabrina says with a sniffle. “I should probably go to the nurse.”

Kagami puts a hand on the small of her back. “I’ll take you.”

“Thanks, Kagami.”

“Be back soon, okay?” They nod at Lila as they walk off. When Marinette runs over to the group Lila looks her over. “Where were you?”

“Gee. Good question. Maybe you don’t remember me running after someone tried using me as a human shield?”

“You ducked and I got turned into a chicken!”

“Sounds like karma’s almost as big a bitch as you.” Marinette smiles sweetly at her and gets a glare in return. “Ladybug got me out of the way before I got turned into a chicken.”

“Did you happen to get close enough to smell her? Or hear what she sounded like?”

“What she smelled like?” Alya asks, “is that a serious question?”

Kim nods. “Damn right it is. I wanna know what my future wife smells like.”

“My future wife’s definitely Rena Rouge.” Juleka says with a nod, “she looks like she has the sexy hair flip down pact.”

“All her hair is in the helmet, how could you possibly know that?” Lila asks.

Juleka shrugs. “I just do.”

“How do you know her hair is long enough to do the sexy hair flip?” Ivan asks.

“You don’t need long hair for the sexy hair flip.” Mylène replies. “But I mean, why do we have to choose which one we like the best? They’re both incredible superladies.” There’s a course of disagreeing murmurs and boos. “I don’t wanna pick a favorite! I like them both.”

“We know they’re both incredible badasses but you gotta have a favorite, Mylène. It’s like not having a favorite cake flavor.” Lila folds her arms over her chest with a huff. “I think we should do something to thank them for saving us. Like throw them a party or something.”

“Wow, Lila. How incredibly selfless of you to suggest.” She flips Kim the bird.

Alix laughs. “I’m all for picking a favorite but you guys are already picturing your weddings when you don’t know what either of them looks like? People only wear full face covering helmets when they wanna hide.”

“They kind of look like motorcycle helmets so maybe they’re wearing them to protect their faces.” Max reasons.

Mlle. Bustier approaches the group. “Oh good, you’re all—wait...” She does a headcount, “where are Kagami and Sabrina?”

“At the nurse, Mlle. Bustier.” Lila replies, “Sabrina’s allergic to feathers and stuff.”

“Goodness! She never mentioned that before. Everyone head to the classroom. I’m going to check on Sabrina.”

“Yes, Mlle. Bustier.” The class dutifully returns to their classroom. If it were anyone else asking, they probably would’ve stuck around in the hall but Mlle. Bustier is easily the best teacher in not only the school but the whole country. It just seems wrong to disobey a direct order from her.

“What’s up, Max?” Kim asks turning around in his seat. Mlle. Bustier likes to mix things up every now and again so she has students swapping seats to foster positive energy or whatever crap she tried to sell them on. She won’t sit Marinette near Lila again though, found out the hard way what happened when she did the first time.

Nino was fortunate enough to be paired with Alya today but with Mlle. Bustier out of the room, he’s currently sitting on Max and Mylène’s desk with Kim. Kim spent the entire time they got back into the classroom complaining about how unfair it was that he was seated beside Lila. “I was just thinking...” He glances across the room and the others follow suit, “Ladybug and Rena Rouge got here so fast. Do you think they have the school bugged?”

“Was that a pun?” Kim asks and Max gives him a flat look.

“Don’t be ridiculous.” Mylène says with a laugh.

“I was thinking about that too but I was also thinking, maybe they were already here.” Nino, Max, and Mylène turn to Kim. “Picture this. We’re eating lunch with freaking superheroes when they’re not all superpowered up.”

Max fixes him with a look, “that actually makes sense. Word spreads so fast around this school anyone attending it while part-time superheroing would undoubtedly wanna conceal their identity.”

“Yup. There’s one more thing too. Ladybug and Rena Rouge came to Paris around the same time as a certain other cool ass individual in this very room.” The three of them turn to Alya who is seated right where Mlle. Bustier placed her only she’s sitting next to Juleka and Rose is leaning against the desk.

Max scratches his head before they all turn to one another. “You don’t really think she could be Ladybug or Rena Rouge, do you?”

“Why not? The only person I know cooler than Alya is Nino and he doesn’t have the body to pull off a bright catsuit. No offense man.”

Nino laughs, “I think you’re wrong, man. I can definitely pull off a bright catsuit.”

“Yeah. Okay. Maybe. But what I meant was, you don’t have the same body type as Ladybug or Rena Rouge. There were... body parts rounder than others.” Mylène pinches the bridge of her nose, “I’m trying not to sound like a pervert.”

“You’re failing spectacularly.” Max tells him.

Before they could ponder further on this wonderful coincidence involving Alya, Rena Rouge, and Ladybug’s arrival to Paris, Mlle. Bustier returns with Sabrina and Kagami. She starts writing on the board and the class wordlessly goes to their seats for the day.

Nino spares a glance at Alya. She seems the right height and size to be Ladybug but mechanical lilt aside she doesn’t have the same speech patterns or pitch as Ladybug. Then again, that could be the whole point. Maybe the helmet does more than just blind you when you try to look into it. It could alter voices entirely. It wouldn’t be much of a secret identity if you can easily determine the human bits of a mechanical voice. But Nino’s spent a lot of years around auto tune and voice altering devices and you’d need practice (or a magical helmet) to change the pitch of your voice that much. Ladybug’s mechanical voice is too high to be Alya’s. It would be easier for someone with a higher voice like Sabrina or Lila or Rose or even Marinette to match Ladybug’s voice. Not that he can see any of them as a badass yo-yo swinging superhero. And he didn’t hear Rena Rouge speak so he can’t determine the closest match to her voice.

Damn Kim for making him think about this.

“Is there something on my face? You keep staring.”

“S-Sorry.” Nino could swear her hair moved briefly so he takes his glasses off and cleans them. He finds himself doing that a lot lately.

“Sorry you’re staring or sorry you got caught?”

Nino chuckles as he puts his glasses back on, “sorry I got caught.”

Alya smiles at him, and he can feel his insides slowly turning to jelly, “smooth. No wonder you’re the most popular kid in school.”

“In the whole school? Nah. I don’t think so.”

“I think the modesty adds to your charm.”

Lila looks over at Nino and Alya laughing. Half the class is already partially in love with Alya and the other is head over heels for Nino. If the two of them end up together they might be in the running for cutest couple in school alongside her and Agreste Jr if he ever makes it to the damn school. What the hell is taking him so long? No other new kid showed up in their class since Alya’s arrival and there hasn’t been any word either.

School’s been as boring as it’s always been – except for the superheroics that went on earlier. Questionable taste in animal themed outfits aside, if she can get saved by Ladybug or Rena Rouge the way Nino or – she shudders – Marinette was it’ll instantly boost her popularity. Hell, if she can get visual proof that’ll skyrocket it. She can’t exactly tell people Ladybug saved her because they don’t trust her word on something this major after Marinette called her out last year but a picture – you can’t fake that. Well, you could but it’ll take effort and patience she doesn’t have.

All she has to do is cause an akuma attack. Doesn’t seem too hard. Just do what Kim did. Piss someone off until a purple butterfly appears. She glances around the classroom and her eyes land on Marinette thumbing through her phone in one hand and writing down something in the other. Huh. She had no idea Marinette was left-handed.

Kim looks her over, “you’re planning something diabolical.”

“Oh please. You can’t even spell diabolical.”

“Don’t need to spell it to know what it means.” Lila rolls her eyes, “don’t think for a second we’re gonna let you get your claws into Alya. In fact, we’re still trying to break Kagami free from whatever spell you have her under.”

“Yeah? Well, good luck with that. I was the first person to befriend Kagami.”

“And she missed the whole thing with Nino too.” Lila shrugs. “We’ll just see how long you can play nice. Alya’s been spending an awful amount of time with Marinette.” Lila’s eyes narrow.

Mlle. Bustier turns around and everyone quiets down, “class. In honor of our new superheroes saving us from...” She clears her throat, “what transpired earlier. Tomorrow is Ladybug and Rena Rouge day. Make sure you grab something orange for good luck.”

Sabrina raises her hand, “why orange?”

“Well, because your uniforms are already red.”

Oh...” She slowly lowers her hand.

Marinette raises her hand, “are we supposed to do anything else besides have an orange thing, Mlle. Bustier?”

“Principal Damocles and our new mayor appear to be in charge of that so I’ll have to ask the principal during lunch.”

“Speaking of our new mayor?” Lila points at the door that has the principal and mayor are on the other side.

“Oh! Well this is a surprise.” Mlle. Bustier walks over to the door and opens it. “Hello gentlemen, what can we do for you today?”

“I was just showing Mayor Bourgeois where his daughter will attending when she arrives from America in a couple of weeks. Mayor Bourgeois, Caline Bustier our most beloved teacher.”

“You flatter me, Principal Damocles.”

The mayor shakes her hand, “M. Mayor?” Alix raises a hand. “What are we to do about Ladybug and Rena Rouge day?”

“We’re hoping our new heroes will make another appearance, although we hope none of you will cause any akumatizations.” The class looks at Kim who slinks back in his seat then return their attention to the mayor. “If Rena Rouge and Ladybug are now calling Paris home, we want to have a nice welcome party for them.”

“And if they don’t show up?” Alya asks.

“Well, there is a good chance of that but we’re just trying to thank them for all they’ve done the past week and today especially. So even if they don’t show up it’s still a party to welcome them to our city.”

“Uh... does this mean we don’t have class?” Ivan asks.

The class – the mayor and principal included – stare at Mlle. Bustier, “well, I wouldn’t say that.” The class groans. “M. Mayor, speaking of welcoming, I’d like to know more about your daughter so we can welcome her.”

“Oh. Don’t worry about that, Mlle. Bustier. No reason to go through any unnecessary trouble.”

“It’s not unnecessary at all. I know how difficult it is being the new student when the school year has already begun.”

“I’m sure anything you do is fine. Now then, Principal Damocles, onto the next class?” The principal nods.

As they leave the classroom, Mlle. Bustier frowns. “I wasn’t the only person who found that odd, was I?” Most of the class shake their heads in agreement.

🐱

“I can’t believe the school’s throwing Ladybug and Rena Rouge a party.”

“What do you mean you can’t believe it? That’s literally the same thing you were thinking.”

Lila shoots Juleka a look, “I know. That’s why I’m saying I can’t believe it. Well, everyone heard me say it first so it’s not that big of a deal.” Juleka and Sabrina exchange a glance. “Where’s Alya?”

“She said she has to go babysit her little sisters.” Juleka answers with a shrug.

Lila groans. “And Kagami?”

“Fencing.” Sabrina replies. “I wanna watch one of her matches one day. I mean she’s so graceful in class—”

Juleka elbows her, “sounds like you have a little crush.”

“Who doesn’t have a crush on Kagmi?”

Juleka shrugs her agreement, “true. I wonder what the mayor’s kid looks like. I mean, the mayor himself isn’t anything to write home about.”

“Yeah but don’t forget he bagged Audrey Bourgeois and even took her last name. If their kid is at least fifty percent Audrey then there’s no problem. Our class will have four pretty transfer students in a row. Five if we ever get Agreste Jr..”

“Oh yeah. That’s definitely happening.” Sabrina says and Lila perks up. “I had to stay after school yesterday because my dad was giving this scary looking woman the tour of the grounds. She said she had to make sure it was good enough for Adrien. I think that’s his name.”

“Adrien Agreste? It’s a what do you call it? When your first and last name start with the same letter?”

Juleka scratches her head, “damn. I know this one. An... ah—an alliteration.”

Lila snaps her fingers at her, “that. Still, Adrien is a cute name. Mme. Adrien Agreste? I can get used to that. Let’s just hope that picture you showed me was him and not someone else.” 

“What does it matter? I doubt he’ll resist your charm.”

“True.”

“His dad is Gabriel Agreste who is an attractive man and his mom... uh, I don’t know anything about his mom.”

“His mom is that model and actress Emilie Agreste. I saw some of her work. I mean, two people that pretty must either have a really good looking kid or a really...” Juleka makes a face, “well—”

“Let’s just hope it’s a really good looking kid like the one in the picture?” Lila interrupts.

“Yeah. You really have nothing to fall back on since Nino was giving Alya heart-eyes all day long.”

Lila runs a hand down her face. “Juleka!” Sabrina hisses.

🐱

Nino yawns as he walks down the street. Downtown is decorated with red and orange streamers, so if he had to guess he’d say Ladybug and Rena Rouge day isn’t just a school thing. Store windows have a sale on red and orange clothing and accessories. Even toystores have Ladybug and Rena Rouge dolls.

He stops in a toystore and picks up a handsewn Rena Rouge doll. He passes an older gentlemen chuckling to himself at plastic dolls of the superhero duo. The man drops a turtle plushie from under his arm and Nino picks it up. “You dropped this dude—I mean sir.”

The man looks taken aback then smiles. “Oh. Thank you, young man.” He accepts the plushie, “may I ask you a question?” Nino nods. “Which is your favorite? Ladybug or Rena Rouge?”

“That’s the million euro question, isn’t it? I’m kind of a fan of both but I like Rena Rouge’s colors more.” Nino shrugs, “little things like that, you know?”

The man chuckles, “true. It is the little things people often overlook.” He picks up a cat plushie and holds it next to the turtle.

“Trying to decide? I’d go with the turtle if you don’t wanna get both.”

The man nods with a smile, “good idea. Thank you.”

“My pleasure, man.” Nino picks up a Ladybug match to the Rena Rouge doll in his hands. There’s no way he’s not getting these. Since he got all in Ladybug’s proximity he can point out the little flaws in the doll’s design but he doesn’t know shit about sewing so he can’t fix said flaws. When she wasn’t looking in his direction further damaging his eyesight, he notice the entire helmet visor and all – at least from what he could see from her profile – matched her suit exactly. The little helmet’s visor doesn’t have the same spots as the rest of Ladybug’s mask, the same could (probably) be said about the design of Rena Rouge’s helmet compared with the rest of her suit. He puts the dolls under his arm and inspects the rest of the dolls around the store. All of them are like that. Then again, there aren’t that many people who have been in Ladybug’s arms long enough to notice the eye area of the helmet so they’re basically just picturing how they believe the helmet looks.

Oh well. Marinette’s great at sewing. She fixed up his second favorite hat after he ripped it last year. If anyone can fix the little discrepancies in the dolls it’s her.

🐱

“Ladybug and Rena Rouge day?” Fu asks. “What are you two going to do?”

The kwamis stare at Marinette leaning against the wall and Alya sitting in front of them. “I have an idea about that. Every time I create an illusion I get better at the length of time they can be around.”

Tikki, Wayzz, and Plagg look at Trixx. “I honestly haven’t noticed.” They look back at Alya.

“If the school wants Ladybug and Rena Rouge they’ll be there and my illusions will be of me and Marinette. It doesn’t count as me using my powers for my gain~”

Tikki, Wayzz, and Plagg look back at Trixx who frowns. “Huh. Guess it doesn’t. What do you know? Found a damn loophole.” Alya pumps her fist in the air.

“I don’t know.” Marinette pushes herself off the wall. “Keeping them around for a while is one thing but what if someone tries talking to an illusion?”

Alya stands up and beams. “Trixx, let’s pounce~” Trixx sighs heavily before merging with Alya’s necklace. Marinette looks away as Alya transforms because she never realized how damn bright it gets. It’s difficult to notice when it’s happening to you but she can see it or not see it with Alya transforming. Alya unlatches her flute from her back then presses it against her helmet.

Marinette never noticed Alya’s helmet has tiny speaker like holes around the mouth part, and she suspects she never would’ve seen it unless she was as close as she currently was. She also didn’t notice it’s practically impossible to stare directly into the helmet without going blind. An obnoxious orange glow is threatening to make her eyes bleed so she has to squint and look away to keep her eyesight in tact. There’s a strange hollow melody before an exact duplicate of her slowly fades into reality. “Hi.” The illusion says and Marinette jumps a foot in the air. Tikki, Wayzz, Plagg, and Fu murmur in awe and applaud.

“She’s good.” Plagg says with a nod, “don’t remember Dreams’ last partner making his illusions talk. Do you?”

“Who’d remember something like that? It had to be at least three centuries ago.” Wayzz rubs his head, “is century the right word? I forget.”

“Make another one appear!” Tikki exclaims.

Alya blows into the flute, a different melody and an illusion of Alya appears. “‘Sup.” It says giving them the peace sign.

“How much can the illusions say?” Plagg asks.

“Guess that depends.” The illusion replies and everyone turns to it, “she might have to keep playing the flute.” They now turn to Alya who has the flute against the helmet’s mouth part but no sound is coming out.

“There is something you two should know.” Alya lowers the flute from her mouth. “The kwamis told me if you two continue to fight Hawkmoth’s akumatizations daily Trixx and Tikki will burn out just like Nooroo.”

“Alight.” Trixx flies out of the necklace and lands on Alya’s shoulder. “What are we supposed to do then? We can’t not fight akumas, no one else in the city can.”

“I know. Which is why next time there’s an akuma attack I want you both to use Plagg and Wayzz.”

Plagg pumps his fist in the air, “hell yes. I call Als.”

“No Plagg, you will be with Marinette.” Both Plagg and Marinette sigh loudly.

“So I’m gonna be the one purifying akumas? Nice.”

“Guardian Fu, how would that work? I mean, what will happen to Tikki and Trixx?”

“Nothing. You two are their partners but until I find partners for Plagg and Wayzz they should be getting in some experience. Plus it’ll let Tikki and Trixx rest.”

“So let’s practice. Would my transformation phrase matter?”

“You can choose whatever phrase you’d like, just know their future partner will probably end up using it as well.”

Marinette taps her chin, “okay but may I ask why I’m getting Plagg?”

“Because you are Ladybug. You should know the power of destruction as well as creation.”

Marinette looks at Plagg who looks less than pleased with this decision, not that she’s feeling any better about it. “Okay. Hopefully it won’t come to this but okay.”

“By the way, what’s in the bag?” Alya asks.

Fu takes out four stuffed animal plushies and two boxes. “A toystore is selling Ladybug and Rena Rouge dolls. Plus, there are these adorable dolls I thought the kwamis would enjoy.”

“I do!” Trixx says flying over to the stuffed fox.

“I’m kinda surprised you’re into this sort of thing, Guardian.” Plagg says inspecting the stuffed black cat. The stuffed animals are scarily accurate except the fox is brown instead of orange and they’re obviously way bigger than any kwami Plagg’s ever seen. A lot softer too. The dolls, however, are a little freaky looking. The girls wear helmet so it’s not like anyone knows that their faces look like underneath but the helmets are very weird looking and the animal attachments look like they were an afterthought.

“To be honest, I wasn’t certain of it myself until I saw them in a store window...” Fu trails off and the kwamis stare up at him. He didn’t bother putting on his bracelet since his mentor told him Plagg should never be left to his own devices and leaving Wayzz at home was a far better option than bringing Plagg along with them. However, his ability to sense others auras didn’t come from being Wayzz’s partner, it came from years of training with the Guardian’s Order. He was so caught up in the dolls that he nearly missed feeling an exceptionally soothing aura that felt as though it had the power to pacify Plagg. Unfortunately, there were so many people in the toystore that even if he were focusing it wouldn’t be an easy task finding the aura’s owner.

Not to mention he’s never felt an aura quite like that one before and it could’ve just been the toystore itself that made that aura standout in the first place.

Marinette had a plucky aura that rivaled Tikki’s in strength of will. Alya’s aura was a mixture of many things: resilience, facetiousness, and inexplicable patience the likes of which Fu never thought possible, and given Trixx’s often confrontational nature she was the best possible person for them. Plagg needed someone that either mellowed him out or, Fu sighs, was just mischievous as him and he honestly hoped he couldn’t find the latter. It could simply be his connection but he felt Wayzz would work with just about any aura.

Finding Marinette’s aura was easy, she literally bumped into him. Alya’s was a bit harder given the size of the grocery store he met her in but her aura was reminiscent of a beacon calling out to him. He has a feeling it’s only gonna get harder and harder to seek out more compatible auras.

“Is he alright?” Tikki asks nudging Wayzz. They’re all staring at Fu who seems as though he’s in a trance.

“I think he found one of us a partner.”

“Yeah? Please be me. I’m not looking forward to temporarily partnering up with Snacks.”

Marinette huffs. “I’m not looking forward to it either.”

“Wayzz, can you sense auras too?” Alya asks.

Wayzz nods, “it’s a technique taught to the Guardians to help them find Miraculous holders, but my limited aura sensing abilities comes from my master.”

“But why do Guardians have kwamis of their own?”

“To have a better understanding of the Miraculouses.” Tikki replies. “That and the book of kwamis usually help them out but Hawkmoth has the book and there really isn’t anything we can do—”

“Safe from stealing it.” Trixx interrupts, “but we don’t know anything about this Hawkclown except that he is abusing one of my closest friends.”

Tikki pats Trixx on the back. “We’ll find a way to help Nooroo. We have to.”

🐱

“Hey Marinette, got a minute?” Alix and Rose giggle to themselves as they make a less than subtle exit.

“Yeah. What’s up, Nino?”

He holds out a Rena Rouge and a Ladybug plushie, “since you’re the sewing expert I thought I’d ask if you can help me with the helmets. Well, Ladybug’s helmet. I mean you’re the only other person I know who saw it up close, right?”

“I, uh, I didn’t see her helmet up close.” It’s technically not a lie, although she has to wonder how she didn’t blind herself when she was staring at her reflection in the mirror when she first transformed.

“Oh. Well I did and the eye part has the same design as the rest of it and I guess Rena Rouge’s would be the same, right?” Marinette shrugs, “anyway, can you work your sewing magic?”

“Sure, Nino. I mean, I’ll try.” She accepts the dolls.

“By the way, I’m digging the orange scarf. Thanks again.”

Marinette’s blushing by the time Alix and Rose run back over to her. “How can he be so cool and sincere at the same time?” Alix asks.

Marinette snaps out of her daze. “Excuse me for a second.” Rose and Alix exchange a glance as they watch her run off.

Alya sent her a text before school saying her parents forced her to stay home because she caught a cold. Marinette felt partially responsible since it was her idea for them to start nightly patrols in case Hawkmoth decided to start something. Though thinking back on it she might’ve screwed them over by letting them both transform when there wasn’t an akuma attack. She had to wonder how would Alya’s plan work if Alya wasn’t around to initiate it. After that text she hadn’t heard from Alya, neither had the rest of the class who looked more than forlorn by her absence and pretty much flooded her inbox with texts stating they missed her. And just how the entire class got Alya’s phone number in the first place is baffling.

With Alya not in the building Marinette heard her classmates theorize she could be Ladybug (and a few of them even correctly thought she was Rena Rouge) because they arrived in Paris around the same time. She was certain Guardian Fu hadn’t taken that into account when he chose Alya to wield Trixx’s Miraculous but it is an amazing coincidence.

The class thought about other transfer students and even some people outside of their class being one of the superhero duo and it was a little bittersweet to be overlooked as a potential candidate when she truly was Ladybug but there’s no reason to compromise her secret identity to boost her ego. No one would believe she was Ladybug anyway even if she took off her helmet to show the world. Plus, if everyone is looking at transfer students they definitely won’t suspect her.

Her phone starts buzzing and she takes it out of her purse.

Unfortunately she couldn’t keep the picture Alya took of the two of them on the Eiffel Tower on her phone (she did save it on a flashdrive though) so they took a similar picture just not decked out in their superhero attire.

Alya’s text stated Nora finally left the apartment so she was okay with still using her illusions to show up in the school. She’d obviously only need one illusion now or maybe just use a Rena Rouge illusion so she could recuperate at home.

Being the leader sucked. Everyone’s busy decorating so she slips out of the building to call Alya. “What’ll it be, Boss Lady?” Alya’s hoarse voice greets.

“I don’t want you to get any sicker and people kind of already think or rather hope you’re Ladybug.” Marinette sighs as Alya laughs herself into a coughing fit, “it’s really not that funny. If you don’t show up for school the day Ladybug and Rena Rouge have been invited it’ll only prove them right.”

“Then video chat me.”

“W-What?”

“Video chat me. I’ll have an illusion of myself on the video chat meanwhile you know who will visit the school and feed them some bull about Ladybug patrolling the city then when you give me the okay I’ll make an illusion of you too.”

“Are you up for it?”

“I guess we’ll find out.” A high-pitched scream comes from the building. “What the hell was that?”

“I’m about to find out. Meet me at the school in five?”

“You got it.”

After more than five minutes of searching for a secluded room to transform into, Marinette finally transforms then starts running down the halls ignoring the gaping students, cheering, and bright flashes from phone cameras.

She turns a corner and nearly bumps into an unfamiliar body in a black catsuit. Looking up, Marinette blinks at the cat ears poking out of the helmet. Oh no. No freaking way. “Rena?!”

“Actually I’m Chat. Chat Noir.” Marinette stares at the glowing ring with the paw insignia on Alya’s left hand. “Plagg’s idea.”

“What about Trixx?”

“Yeah, um...” Alya—Chat—clears her throat, “yeah, about that? I lost my necklace.”

“You what!?”

“Look. I had Plagg, Wayzz, and Trixx all with me.”

“Then where’s Wayzz?”

“Um—”

“No. You didn’t. You lost both of them?”

“Easy, Ladybug. I’ll get ‘em back. In my defense, I’m still sick and clearly am not firing on all cylinders.” Marinette sighs. “Let’s deal with this whatever is going on first, okay?”

“Fine.”

“Cool. Gotta admit, this feels a little weird but I’m not hating the difference.”

“I’d say you shouldn’t get used to it but you might have to.”

“Ouch.”

“She’s just jealous. And besides, whoever Dreams ends up harassing will gladly give them back to you guys.”

“True.” Ladybug’s tilting her head to the left. “By the way, did you know you can talk to your kwami telepathically while transformed?”

“I—no. I did not know that.”

“You know, I wouldn’t be too surprised if someone was just screaming just to scream to see if you’d show up.”

“Please, Rena—uh Chat, don’t joke about that.” This was gonna take some getting used to. Hopefully they can find Wayzz and Trixx, otherwise The Guardian’s gonna take their kwamis and find someone more trustworthy, auras be damned.

Walking around the school as Ladybug was weird. Marinette hadn’t paid too much attention to it while trying not to get turned into a chicken yesterday or a few minutes ago when she was running but walking? It just felt odd.

“It’s Ladybug!” Someone screeches and a gaggle of their peers came rushing down the corridor and simultaneously froze when they spotted Chat beside her fiddling with a baton? She didn’t know what it was but it definitely wasn’t in Chat’s hands a second ago.

Marinette immediately recognizes Kim in the crowd being one of the tallest students in the entire school then sees him get shoved out of the way as Lila merrily bounces over to them. “Ladybug! Rena Rouge! On behalf of Collège Françoise...” She trails off finally taking stock of Chat, “you are not Rena Rouge.”

“Nope. Chat Noir.” She gives an exaggerated bow.

The crowd look among themselves before someone blurts out, “you’re not replacing Rena Rouge, are you?” They ask on the verge of tears.

“Nope. Ladybug’s got a bunch of partners.” The crowd gasps.

“How many?” Someone else shouts.

“Uh, a bunch? Superhero stuff, can’t divulge fully.”

“We heard screaming.” Ladybug thankfully deflects, “is everyone alright?”

“Oh yeah. Yeah. Sure. Except...” Lila points up and the crowd follows the motion and sure enough there’s a purple butterfly floating in the air only it’s a butterfly the size of a person.

“Holy fuck!” Chat gasps.

“Where did that come from!?”

The purple butterfly mask hovers over an actual purple butterfly mask which is a headscratcher but Hawkmoth’s overly annoying laugh echoes through the building. “Ladybug and... and...” The butterfly tilts its head briefly before shaking it, “no matter. I will—”

“‘Seize our Miraculouses.’” Ladybug and Chat Noir interrupt, “we get it.”

The butterfly’s eyes start glowing and fucking lasers shoot out of them and the crowd effectively disperses. “Well, that’s certainly new.” Chat says.

“Did anyone see how this happened?!”

Kim pokes his head out from behind the bleachers, “no. Sorry, Ladybug.”

“Chat—”

Chat twirls the baton, “I’m... ah—” Alya folds her arms over her chest, “Plagg, what can you do? You know, what’s your general vehicle for destruction?”

“You can create cataclysms with your hands but you can destroy just about anything so don’t go waving them around.”

“Good to know. And
cat-acylsms? The irony is not lost on me.”  She can feel Plagg mentally shrug.“What’s the deal with the stick-thing?”

“Dunno but I like it.”


🐱

“Two akuma attacks in a row? This better not be a habit!” Principal Damocles yelled as he ushered the students. “Come on. Come on. We are going to have akuma attack drills starting Monday. Let’s go. Everyone out.”

“Nino, are you alright?”

Humming, he stuffs his left hand into his back pocket thankful the uniforms had them. “Yeah, Kagami. I’m good. I tripped over something as I was coming down the stairs is all.”

“You really should be careful. I can’t think of how many people would be broken-hearted to hear you injured yourself in such a Marinette way.”

“Don’t let her hear you say that.”

“Did you happen to see Lila and the others?”

“No. I just saw the butterfly and kinda hauled ass away from it.”

“So did I.”

“Maybe we’ll see her outside?” Kagami nods then pats him on the back before she continues walking.

He makes a showing of heading out the building as well and when Principal Damocles is distracted by several students approaching him, he slips down an empty hallway. The small fox thing and turtle thing poke their heads out from under his hat. “Smooth.” The fox says airily, “no wonder everyone is in love with you.”

Nino looks up at the fox looking down at him, “and just what are you two again? And why did you come out of jewelry?” The last thing he was expecting was to trip over a bracelet tied up in a necklace with a hook like pendant attached to it, and he definitely did not expect tiny animals to pop up alongside them.

“We’re Kwamis. I’m Trixx and he’s Wayzz. Since I’m in a generous mood I decided to bestow you with amazing power.” He almost misses the turtle shaking its head, “all you have to do is say let’s pounce.”

“Let’s bounce?”

“No.” Trixx sighs heavily as they tie the necklace around Nino’s neck, “let’s pounce with a p.”

“Let’s pounce?” The necklace starts glowing and Trixx flies into it. “This can’t be happening.” 

Chapter Text

Super powers from a necklace. This is utterly ridiculous.”

“Ugh, you sound like
her.”

Before Nino could ask who was this “her” Trixx was referring to he saw Ladybug and an unfamiliar black cat themed hero back to back with the damn giant purple butterfly circling overhead. “That thing’s even creepier up close.”

Ladybug and the black cat turn to him. “Rena?!” Ladybug exclaims.

“Uh, yup?” Several heads poke out from behind various objects and the damn fox ears aren’t just for show, he can hear every click of a shutter going off as it’s happening. He also heard someone stage whisper they thought Rena Rouge was a girl.

“Use the flute to create some illusions.”

Ah. He was wondering what that—wait. He’s Rena Rouge! How did it take him this long to figure that out? Hell, Ladybug even called him Rena! So Rena Rouge’s powers come from a small talking fox and a hook shaped necklace? Although now that he thinks more about it, the necklace could also be interpreted as a fox’s tail too. Not his first guess to be honest. That means Ladybug’s powers must also come from a tiny animal – a Ladybug if he had to guess – and some magical jewelry. It’s just a hunch but if he’s Rena Rouge, whoever she is or used to be is probably the cat now.

That means the “her” Trixx referred to is Rena Rouge’s secret identity. Not that he’d ask who that is; despite desperately wanting to know.

He puts the flute to his mouth piece and starts blowing on it. “Think what you wanna create then, well, create it.” His first coherent thought besides I’m Temporarily A Superhero Now is a giant flyswatter and that’s exactly what appears in thin air.

“Impressive.” The cat comments and the flyswatter floats down to Ladybug’s hands. Huh. An illusion you can touch? These are some kickass powers.

“We don’t know where the akuma is.”

“Then just beat the shit out of it until an akuma flies out.”

Ladybug cracks her neck when she lolls her head from side to side, “I can do that.” Okay, they’re even cooler up close and that just isn’t fair. Is he gonna have to fight alongside them? The original Rena Rouge always fought at Ladybug’s side. It’s only fitting he does the same.

He spots Wayzz peeking around a corner looking around. No one’s paying attention to him because they’re all looking at the three of them but he has to wonder just what the hell are they looking for?

The mask outline starts glowing and the butterfly looks around. “Dammit. The Guardian has seriously upgraded the costumes. It’s difficult for me to determine where their Miraculouses are.” He committed the powers to memory but not so much the vehicles for said powers. All three of the bodies underneath him are giving off pulses of energy in different frequencies just like the book said they would.

There’s a ring on the outside of the cat’s gloves and if that’s not a Miraculous then he doesn’t know what is. “Take that ring off the cat, or you can kiss your powers goodbye!” The butterfly straightens then screeches loudly. Nooroo’s powers are definitely weakening if this is the best he could come up with. But who would’ve thought animals could also be akumatized? With Nooroo’s ability to summon swarms of butterflies it didn’t take long to akumatize one of them into... this.

“M-Master, I-I can’t keep this up.”

Fine. There’s three of them now. No matter. He may not know the first two Miraculouses but he knows they’re jewelry. Perhaps he’ll consult the book while Nooroo is getting his strength back up. Then he’ll look and see if there’s a way to extend the limits of how long a kwami can stay active.

Just before Ladybug can slam the flyswatter down on the butterfly it disappears in a plume of smoke.

“Nice.” Chat claps her on the back.

“I-I didn’t do anything. I think Nooroo—uh-oh...” Strange. Her earrings are tingling. Must mean Tikki’s nearing exhaustion. “You can handle this, right?” Chat gives her a two-fingered salute. “Until next time!” Everyone comes out of their hiding spaces in time to cheer Ladybug on as she yo-yos away.

“Come on, Rena.” The cat approaches him and grabs him by the forearm.

The cat—he didn’t hear their name—takes them to a nearby roof. Nino looks around because this helmet is heightening all his senses, except for his eyesight for some reason. “Let me start by saying, I fully intend on giving you back your kwamis.”

“Kwamis? You have them both?”

Nino nods then unhooks the bracelet from his right wrist and gives it to the cat. “I tripped over them coming down the stairs. They were together and Trixx told me he’d—”

“They.”

“Oh. Sorry. They’d bestow awesome power on me.” The cat shakes her head. “And Wayzz was looking for something.”

“Maybe trying to see if he could find Nooroo.”

“Nooroo?”

“Hawkmoth’s kwami. He—wait, why am I telling you this? And why are you so eager to give me the kwamis back? Was Trixx annoying you?”

“They say they resent that and if you hadn’t lost them we wouldn’t be in this predicament.” The cat sighs, “look. You can trust me. I’m not gonna tell anyone I filled in for Rena Rouge while she—you—were trying out another costume. And I’m not eager to give them back but they aren’t mine and like I wouldn’t steal them when I know they belong to you and Ladybug. Well, I know Trixx belongs to you but Wayzz I’m not sure of.”

“Wayzz belongs to the Guardian of the kwamis Or was he the Guardian of the Miraculouses? Whichever. It’ll be up to him whether or not you’re trustworthy but since you gave me the bracelet without a fuss I’d say you definitely are. So let’s see how trustworthy you truly are. Claws in, Plagg.”

There’s a bright black light for about ten seconds before Nino finds himself staring at Alya and a small black cat. “A-Alya? Oh man. I guess Kim was right on the money. And I guess I proved him wrong about not fitting the bright catsuit.”

“Huh?”

“Never mind. Alight, Trixx. That’s what you said, right?” Alya blinks as Nino unlatches the necklace from around his neck. “Thanks for letting me be a superhero today even though I didn’t really do anything.”

“Creating that flyswatter was pretty cool.” Alya leans forward to kiss him on the cheek, “next time I need a replacement I’ll be in touch.” He nods, “let’s pounce Trixx. I gotta get back to the Guardian.” He looks away as she transforms because it’s inexplicably bright and she turns to him, “I should probably put you on solid ground.”

🐢

“Nino! Dude! Where were you? You missed another superhero! She was a cat. A black cat.” Kim says. “I didn’t hear the name but she said Ladybug as all sorts of partners.”

“Oh yeah? Tell me all about ‘em.”

“Well, I only know that one and Rena Rouge. The cat didn’t say much. And all the pictures everyone took of them were grainy. Almost like they were interfering with our cellphone pictures.” Kim takes out his phone and the pictures with Ladybug are all clear but the cat’s pictures are grainy and thankfully the pictures with him in them are also grainy. “Rena was there too but I definitely don’t think it was the same person. They were taller.”

“She might not have stayed for the party but at least Ladybug made an appearance.” Lila says heading over to them. “Everyone’s back in class. Mlle. Bustier sent me to find you.”

“I wish there wasn’t a damn akuma, then she might’ve taken pictures with us.”

“Where did the akuma even come from? I never saw a purple butterfly enter the school.” Nino and Kim shrug. “Oh well. Whatever. Let’s head back to class.”

It’s gonna be a little weird facing Alya now knowing she’s even more badass than everyone thinks because she’s a real life superhero. He wonders who Ladybug is. She might also be in their class but at the same time she could be someone he’s never met. It’s so intriguing.

The class is in a completely well-deserved buzz when they get back in the classroom. “I wish we could’ve seen Ladybug up close but that giant butterfly was so scary.” Rose says.

“I wonder how many allies Ladybug has?” Alix asks.

“Compared to Rena Rouge and Ladybug’s outfits the cat’s isn’t so impressive. I mean it’s all black with some belts attached.” Juleka says.

With Alya absent, Nino’s alone at his desk. Alya’s absence might’ve been due to her being sick rather than her being Rena Rouge slash the new cat because when she detransformed she didn’t look like her usual cheerful self and her nose was red.

Mlle. Bustier was just as excited as the rest of the class so she had no problem with them continuing to discuss Ladybug and her team.

School ends for the day and the class is still buzzing when they leave the classroom. Kagami is leaning against the wall when Nino exits the classroom. “Uh, hey Kagami?”

“Hello yourself.” She taps her chin, “a funny thing happened when I was looking for you after we got split up from the rest of the class.”

“O-Oh?” Nino was the last to leave the classroom, transforming after spending most of last night awake playing video games took its toll and had him ready to take a nap by lunchtime.

“Yeah. I saw you talking to two tiny floating animals then you transformed into Rena Rouge.” Nino grimaces. “Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. I just wanted to let you know you should be more careful and aware of your surroundings.”

“Thanks for the heads up but I don’t think I’m gonna be transforming anytime soon.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, the real Rena lost her—uh what makes her Rena and I was just filling in until she found them—it again.”

“So what you’re saying is the small orange and white fox is what makes Rena Rouge, Rena Rouge?”

“I—uh—shit. Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.” He starts walking and Kagami follows, “they’re called kwamis, and even Hawkmoth has one. But Rena didn’t say much else.”

“Fascinating. To think something like magical super-power giving animals exist in our world. I wonder how one acquires them?”

“Rena did say something about a Guardian. Maybe it’s one of those you have to be worthy scenarios.”

Kagami nods, “makes sense.”

🐢

Marinette gasps as she walks into Alya’s bedroom. Trixx, Wayzz, and Plagg are tumbling on the edge of her bed. “You got them back.”

“Yeah. Nino had them and he just gave ‘em to me no questions asked. I think he could help us with Hawkmoth.”

“Nino, huh? Well, he’s just about the most sincere person I’ve ever met. Always has been. There’s no doubt in my mind he doesn’t have a selfish bone in his body.” Marinette nods to herself. “I agree with you. He should be on the team. I trust him wholeheartedly.”

“Yeah and it doesn’t hurt that he’s cute too.”

Marinette chuckles, “true. We have to talk to the Guardian though.” Alya winces, “don’t worry. He lost two Miraculouses too, remember? And still doesn’t have them back. You’re in the clear.”

The next day the two of them meet up in the herbal shop and are surprised to see Nino inside holding a box in his hands. Right. It isn’t just a place for them to meet up with Guardian Fu; it’s an actual shop. Judging by the look on Alya’s face, Marinette isn’t the only one who forgot this.

“Hey.” He greets, “isn’t this place great?” They both nod wordlessly at him. Fu comes out of the back room with a larger box. He startles briefly when he spots them but quickly recovers. “Is this it?”

“Hm? Oh yes. I hope your mother enjoys it.”

“No doubt she will.” There’s a brief exchange where Nino stacks the box in his hands on the box Fu’s holding before taking both boxes. “Thanks again.”

“My pleasure.” Once he leaves Fu sighs and turns to them, “I wasn’t expecting you two.”

Marinette points at the door, “that’s what we wanted to talk to you about.” Fu tilts his head to the left.

“Yesterday I...” Alya clears her throat, “misplaced Trixx and Wayzz’s Miraculouses while I was with Plagg. And that boy, Nino? He transformed with Trixx and then just gave me them back.”

“Alya suggested we have him work with us.” Alya nods at him.

Fu looks between them, “you want to hear something strange? While I bought the toys of you two I encountered that boy and hadn’t realized until he came over that I was searching for his aura.” Alya and Marinette grin at each other. “If Trixx allowed him to transform with them than he is more than a welcome edition to your team.”

“Hey!” Trixx pops their head out from Alya’s backpack, “what’s that supposed to mean?”

Plagg and Wayzz both pop their heads out too, “it means you’re super pissy about who you partner up with.” The former replies.

“Oh and you aren’t?” They glare at each other.

“As I said—” Fu interrupts, “this is your team, both of your team.” They turn to him. “If you have more recommendations let me know and I will search their auras.”

“Do you think he’ll be better with Plagg or Wayzz?” Marinette asks.

“That is a good question. I feel as though he’ll be a good fit for both.”

“I liked hanging around him.” Wayzz confesses, “it felt nice.”

“I didn’t get to hang out with him! I wanna feel nice too!” Trixx rolls their eyes.

🐢

“Nino and Kagami, huh? That’s... an unusual partnership.” Max scratches his head, “you don’t think they’re dating, do you? That just wouldn’t be fair.”

“Kagami likes boys?”

Alix puts her cup down and stares at Rose, “you didn’t know?” The blonde shakes her head, “well, now you do.” Rose hums. “Anyway, they’ve been hanging out a lot the past week. If we’re so bummed about it I can’t imagine Lila being too thrilled either.”

Marc puts their sandwich down, “she struck out her chance with Nino. She wouldn’t be a very good friend if she wasn’t supportive.”

“Good.” Kim huffs, “that way the rest of us can hang around Kagami without Lila hovering.”

“And what about Juleka?” Rose asks, “she was the first one to talk to Lila when she arrived.”

“Only because Mlle. Bustier sat Lila next to her.” Marc replies. “Then Lila went ahead and imprinted like a duckling.”

“Then turned into an angry wasp the minute any of us got too close.” Kim mutters. “I get Kagami is really hot but still!”

“I’d like to think Lila isn’t completely evil if Juleka hangs out with her.” Max grimaces, “unless Juleka is an evil of unparalleled—”

Rose picks up one of Marinette’s profiteroles and stuffs it into Max’s mouth, “isn’t that good?” He nods wordlessly.

“Can we change the subject? Talking about Lila is making me lose my appetite—” Rose stuffs a profiterole in Marinette’s mouth.

“I think we should all eat lunch together.”

“Then how can we talk about them behind their back?” Alix asks.

“We won’t.”

“Oh. Well, then I’m out.” Max elbows Alix. “What? She’s asking for trouble, making us play nice. You honestly don’t expect her and Marinette not to fight?”

I can behave myself.”

“Sure, Marinette.” The group murmurs.

“I’d be willing to put up with Lila if it means we can sit with Alya more. Her hair smells amazing.”

Alix shakes her head. “Kim, I worry about you sometimes.”

“Wasn’t he obsessed with Ladybug’s scent?” Max asks, “I think they have groups that help with things like that.”

“Say what you want but Ladybug smells like irises and lilies.”

“You actually got close enough to smell her?” Marc asks.

Kim nods, “I did. Remember last week when she was patrolling alone and took out those robbers? I was heading to the toy store when she breezed by and I caught a whiff.”

“Ladybug smells more like poinsettias to me.” Rose adds.

“Ladybugs are commonly found around flowers, right?” Alix begins. “Maybe she smells like all those things? And even more. We can always ask Nino. He’s actually been held by her.”

“Or Marinette!” The table turns to her, “you said Ladybug got you out of the way the first time she came to the school.”

“Sorry, Kim. I wasn’t really paying attention. But I’ll make sure to try and be discreet about sniffing her the next time she saves me.”

“Hell, we all should.”

🐢

“Wait, wait, wait. You didn’t tell me you detransformed in front of Nino!”

“How else would we know if he’s trustworthy? And don’t worry, I didn’t say anything about Ladybug. He had Trixx and we needed to transform—” Alya lolls her head from side to side, “and as you can see no one is looking at me strangely or asking for an autograph.”

Trixx pokes their head out from Alya’s hair, “I think she just wanted to show off in front of that boy, that’s why she did that.” Alya pokes Trixx until they go back in her hair fully.

“I can’t believe this.” Marinette sighs.

“Can’t believe what? There’s nothing to worry about. Nino’s one of the good guys. Besides, you’re the one that told me how trustworthy he is.”

“He is. It’s just... you know at lunch yesterday, there were conversations about how close Nino and Kagami have gotten over the past week.”

“I know. Nino told me Kagami saw him transform into Rena Rouge.” Marinette massages her forehead.

“What?” Trixx yells, “no one told me this!”

“Now you know.” Trixx huffs, “speaking of Kagami... what about her too? We need a whole team, right?”

“I’m not so sure. Kagami’s one of Lila’s closest confidants.”

“So? I like Kagami. And Nino’s a good judge of character, right? He wouldn’t be hanging around her otherwise.”

“Fine. We’ll talk to Guardian Fu about it. But for now let’s just bring in Nino. Plagg won’t shut up about teaming up with him.” Alya nods, “good. Now, can I ask you something? What do I smell like when I transform? Yesterday at lunch Kim and Rose’s opinions were different but they both said I smelled like a particular flower.”

“I—uh, hadn’t noticed? I’ll smell you next time but I probably can’t accurately tell you unless I don’t transform. Then when I’m done you can do the same for me.”

Marinette nods, “okay. Sounds good. How would we go about recruiting Nino without letting know Ladybug’s identity right off the bat?”

“Well, you did want me to smell you, right? Let’s go to him now with only you transformed.”

“Okay. Sounds like a plan.” She opens her purse, “showtime, Tikki, spots on.”

🐢

To find Ladybug and Alya hanging off his windowsill waving was a huge surprise. Nino stubs his toe into his computer desk on the way to the window to open it.

“Hi, Nino.” Ladybug greets. She’s carrying Alya in the princess carry so she puts her down and Alya climbs in the room.

“Hey Alya. Hey Ladybug.”

Ladybug holds out her hand and there’s a small hexagon box in her palm, “Nino Lahiffe, you have been chosen to wield the Miraculous of destruction.”

“Get outta here! Seriously?!” Both Ladybug and Alya nod. He gently takes the box out of Ladybug’s had and opens it. A small green-eyed black cat spins into existence and yawns. The same small green-eyed black cat he saw with Alya when he became Rena Rouge.

“I’m not going back in there.” Nino blinks at the silver ring in the box before putting it on his left middle finger. The cat floats over to him, “good to meet ya. I’m Plagg. Let’s have some fun together.”

“Y-Yeah.” He tilts his head toward Alya, “is this who you teamed up with? To become—”

“Chat Noir?” Alya replies, “yeah. His idea.” Plagg gives a bow.

“I’m Nino. Good to meet you, dude.” He shakes Plagg’s hand with his right pointer finger. “I won’t let you two down.”

Alya pats him on the shoulder, “don’t overthink it, Nino. You’ll be great.”

“Let’s transform.” Plagg suggests, “you gotta say claws out.”

“Claws out?” The ring starts glowing and Plagg fuses with it. “Whoa.” The catsuit is the same as when Alya wore it thought it fits snugly on his body. His senses are heightened like they were when he was Rena Rouge. The gloves have little claws on them and that is adorable! “Why is the ring on the outside of my glove?” Nino pauses, “is that my voice?” He hadn’t realized how he sounded as Rena but it’s very different yet very similar to Ladybug’s distorted alien-esque robotic lilt.

Ladybug shakes his hand, “welcome to the team.”

“Aren’t you the least bit curious of who’s behind that helmet?” Even transformed, he can’t look directly into Ladybug’s eyes. The damn red glare is still there though it’s far less intense. He wonders what his glare looks like. He wasn’t paying much attention when he was Rena Rouge.

“No dude. If Ladybug wants to keep her identity a secret it’s not my business.” Plagg sighs and mutters something Nino can’t catch, “how do I, uh, you know? Untransform?”

“You gotta say claws in.” Alya replies. “But don’t do that yet. We need to see if you’re a better fit with Plagg or with Wayzz.”

“Ready for your first patrol, Chat Noir?” Nino nods enthusiastically. “Shall we take you home, Alya?”

“Yeah. You two have fun~”

Patrolling with Ladybug. There aren’t words to describe it. She’s graceful and fluid and he can see why the city is enamored with her. Thankfully, there wasn’t any criminal activity to thwart so he just spent two hours in Ladybug’s presence with amicable small talk. He could tell whoever she is, she knows him but steered clear of both asking and revealing personal information that could give her identity away. If he had to guess, he’d say she’s someone close to Alya. At the same time, Alya is basically friends with the entire school so that does not narrow down the prospects.

Ladybug escorts him home and he detransforms and holds out the box to her. “You hold onto it.” She closes his hand over the box. “Never know when you might need it.”

He flops back on the bed with a grin and Plagg flies over to him. “You’ll make a good partner, Kid. Looking forward to kicking ass with you.”

“Same here.”

🐢

It takes some getting used to having Plagg around, Nino’s never had a pet before and this might be the closest thing to that. Having a small (magical) animal you need to feed and walk (and transform with). Plagg will eat just about anything Nino gives him though he has a penchant for cheese. Of course, he can’t carry cheese around with him all the time but whenever he’s home Plagg has whatever cheese Nino can find in the fridge.

Currently, Plagg’s caressing an enter block of cheese as he hovers around Kagami’s lap in Nino’s living room. “So this is your partner?”

“Temporarily, yeah.”

Kagami scratches Plagg behind his left ear and he actually purrs; sure, he’s a cat but Nino wasn’t expecting that. “What do you mean, temporarily?”

“I mean, Ladybug gave him to me but sort of on a trial run I think.”

“Your only other option is Snappy and I’m a much better kwami than he is.” Kagami looks at Nino who shrugs. Plagg looks up at Kagami, “I wouldn’t mind transforming with you either.”

“You think I could?”

“Yeah. Sure. Give it a go.” He takes off the ring and hands it to Kagami, “you gotta say claws out after you put the ring on.”

Kagami nods, putting the ring on, “and you won’t get in trouble?”

“Nah. I—” His phone vibrates and he picks it up off the desk and looks at the text from Alya. “‘Suit up. Akuma attack.’” He reads out loud then texts Alya back telling her to bring along Wayzz. “Come on, Chat, let’s get you out on the field.”

Alya and Ladybug are already there by the time Nino shows up with Kagami. Ladybug does a double take then wordlessly hands him Wayzz’s bracelet, “the Guardian says the transformation phrase is shell on.” She glances at Kagami, “I sure hope you picked someone we can trust.”

“Don’t worry, Ladybug.” Kagami—Chat—bows, “you can trust me.”

Before Ladybug can respond, Nino’s transforming and a bright green light engulfs him briefly. It’s the first time anyone’s transformed with Wayzz so they’re all a little in awe when the glowing stops and Nino spins around marveling at his suit. “This is so badass. Look. I even have a hood!” He pulls the hood over his helmet, then pulls it down.

“I wonder if the Guardian wore this or do the outfits change every cycle?” Alya muses.

“Cycle?” Kagami asks. Nino shrugs.

“Come on. The entire KIDZ+ studio building is encased in ice and we need Chat Noir’s destructive power to get in.”

Kagami cracks her knuckles, “you can count on me.” Claws come out of her gloves. Kagami uses her claws to climb up the icy building until she reaches the top and punches her glowing fist into the building shattering all the ice yet somehow leaving the building in tact.

“Whoa!” Alya and Nino exclaim.

Alya turns to Ladybug, “can we keep them?”

Ladybug huffs, “let’s get inside and find out what happened first?”

It’s still surreal being alongside Ladybug even though he’s done it a few times before. There’s a girl with spirally purple and white hair twirling a parasol sitting atop a desk. “All this for little ol’ me? I’m flattered.” She cocks her head to the left.

“Who the hell are you?” Alya asks.

“Stormy Weather~” Lightning strikes around her. “Why don’t you guys hand over your Miraculouses?” The purple butterfly mask outline appears around her eyes. “I’m kinda on a schedule.”

The four of them take out their weapons. Ladybug’s swinging her yo-yo, Kagami’s holding the baton Nino never noticed before. Nino puts out his shell shield in front of him and the damn thing is a lot heavier than it looks and it looked heavy to start with. Alya’s flute is resting against her left shoulder. “Nah.”

The mask outline shines brighter. “Have it your way.”

The heads of Nadja Chamack and Alec Cataldi pop up from behind an overturned table. “Is that a new superhero?” Nadja takes out her phone and starts recording, “never seen the turtle before.”

“I’ve never seen the cat.”

Nadja moves her phone toward the cat, “I hadn’t even noticed there were four of them now.”

Alec takes out his phone and turns it to Nadja, “this is Nadja Chamack and Alec Cataldi—” Alec briefly turns the camera toward him and waves with his free hand before returning it to face Nadja, “live at KIDZ+ studio where the self-proclaimed supervillain Stormy Weather is facing off against Ladybug, Rena Rouge and two new accomplices.” She whispers, “if anyone has any information on these new heroes please don’t hesitate to chime in and let us know.”

Nadja and Alec crouch around the room heading to the camera and Alec hits the record button while he and Nadja still record on their phones.

The four superheroes advance on Stormy weather but she spins her parasol and a strong gust of wind blows the four of them away. While the other three are scattered to opposite ends of the room, the wind blows the turtle in their direction and the way he skids to a halt on his shell would be hilarious under other circumstances but Nadja and Alec are just staring at him wide-eyed. The turtle gets up and shakes himself off. “Wait.” Nadja hisses, inching her phone toward him. “Can we have your name?”

“I-I—uh. Carapace?”

Alec and Nadja tilt their heads, “is that a question?” Alec asks.

“No.” He gives the camera a two-fingered salute as he stands, “name’s Carapace, Paris.” Then he literally jumps back into the fray.

The four animal themed superheroes surround Stormy Weather who is frantically twirling her parasol again but somehow this time they manage to hold their ground.

“We really need like communicators or something so we can talk to each other!” Nino yells over the wind Stormy Weather’s creating.

Oh!” He hears Wayzz in his head, “your weapons! It’s been so long since I’ve been in a fight I forgot the weapons double as communicators. There should be a little button on Chat’s baton, Ladybug’s yo-yo, and Rena’s flute.

“What about me? It’s not real practical having a button on my shell.”

He can almost feel Wayzz cringing. “I... I don’t know where mine is but you make a good point. Maybe I can talk to the Guardian about fashioning some communicators you can fit inside your helmets.

“I need something that stops wind!” Alya yells.

“You can’t stop wind, you’ll need something that makes a stronger wind to blow her off course!” Kagami yells back.

“Are you sure we can’t keep them Ladybug?”

Focus, Rena! We need another form of weather beside wind. Chat, can you distract her? Make her use something else?”

Kagami’s claws come out, “it’ll be my genuine pleasure, Ladybug.”

“So what’s the plan? Not fond of being used as bait to be honest.”

“Neither am I, but if it’s what Ladybug needs—”

“I can tell you who Ladybug is, we’re only banned from speaking our partners names not the names of partners of other kwamis.”

“Tempting but how will they trust me?”

“They’ll have no choice. If someone knows their identity they can cover for them and you and I will be teaming up more in the future. That I’m certain of.”

“Okay Plagg, tell me. After we’re done here.”


All those years doing fencing made Kagami agile, those several months when she was on a ballet kick made her impossibly light on her feet which ended up helping her with fencing. Plus with the additional agility of the suit, Stormy Weather barely realizes there are only three opponents in front of her rather than four.

Kagami decided to deviate from the plan cataclysming the parasol in Stormy Weather’s hand as she continued to twirl it breaking the spell the akuma had on her. From what she learned watching Ladybug fight, the akuma embedded itself into something whether it be something on the person or something they were holding then took control of the person transforming them.

In her surprise, Ladybug nearly let the akuma go free but managed to capture and purify it.

“Ladybug~” Rena Rouge latches onto her shaking her slightly.

“I know. I know. Hot damn. We need them on the team.”

🐢

Ladybug led them to the herbal medicine shop, which was a huge surprise, and the man running the place greeted them. “You have your team then, Ladybug?”

“Spots off.” Nino and Kagami gasp as the disappearing red light reveals Marinette.

“No way.”

“Claws in.” Marinette’s eyes widen considerably as she stands face to face with Kagami.

“Remarkable.” The owner comments, “your aura is exceptionally strong; however, I feel not a good fit for Plagg or Wayzz—”

Hey!” Plagg yells floating over to the man, “did you not see what we did? I want her as my partner! Don’t I get a say in this?!”

The man frowns. “You need a calming aura, Plagg, not one that’ll spur your mischievous streak.” Nino and Alya also detransform but without the fanfare, though Alya hugs Kagami the second she’s no longer in her superhero outfit. “You will be with Nino until I find you a more permanent partner.” Plagg huffs, “and as for you, young lady.”

“Kagami.”

“Kagami.” He nods, “I am Fu. Guardian of the Miraculouses. I need to study your aura more to find your perfect partner but until then you are free to borrow Wayzz whenever the team requires your assistance.”

“Thank you.”

“No way! That’s not fair, Guardian! If she’s not a good fit for either of us why does she get to team up with Snappy?”

“He has a point, Guardian Fu. And I feel wrong just voicing that out loud.” Marinette says with a shudder.

“Hmmm. I see. My apologies. Both Nino and Kagami will temporarily partner with Wayzz and Plagg respectively.” Plagg pumps his hand in the air then flies over to Kagami.

“We’re gonna have so much fun!”

For now Plagg, you will be with Nino.” Plagg blows a raspberry.

“When do we switch?” He whines.

Kagami chuckles, “how about in a week? Shall I stop by after school to pick up Wayzz?”

“That sounds like an excellent idea, Kagami.”

🐢

It was humbling to know less than a week after first donning the suit, toy stores whipped out Carapace dolls. Nino only picked up one because it completed his set. Besides, he still doesn’t know if he and Kagami are permanent additions to the group yet. Or more like he doesn’t know which kwami the Guardian will have them partnering up with full-time. The Guardian seemed reluctant to part with Wayzz, he had the most doleful expression on his face when Kagami took Wayzz home; it complimented Plagg’s scowl.

As he’s heading to the library to swap kwamis with Kagami, a cute blond is frantically looking around the street. “Uh, you lost buddy?”

The boy turns to him and rubs the back of his neck, “yeah, actually. I was heading to Le Grand Paris.”

“Yeah? That’s a ways that way.” He points to his left. The boy follows the motion with confusing evident on his face. “I can take you there?”

“Would you? Aw man, thanks. No rush or anything. I was going stir-crazy being cooped up in there the past month. I’m Adrien by the way.”

“Nino.” They shake hands.

“Say, Nino. What’s that under your arm?”

“Hm? My notebook? My friend Nathaniel is a killer artist. He decorated my notebook with the symbols of our superheroes.”

“Superheroes?”

“You’ve been here for a month and you don’t know about Ladybug, Rena Rouge, Chat Noir, or Carapace?” Adrien shakes his head. “Man, I gotta take you to the toy store! Come on.” He fires off a text to Kagami telling her he’ll be late, which Plagg isn’t all that appreciative of.

Inside the toy store, Adrien looks around in awe. The display window had all four of them though the employees all miserably stated they’ve never seen all of them at once. Come to think of it it the only time the four of them were ever together was against Stormy Weather at the KIDZ+ station. Regardless, Adrien picks up a Chat Noir doll and hums. “I guess I see the appeal. These are pretty cool.”

“Pretty cool?” A bystander scoffs, “Chat Noir saved me from getting turned into a dancing mushroom. They’re more than just pretty cool! They’re the best thing to ever happen to Paris.” Several people around murmur in agreement.

“Sorry. I don’t know much about them.”

That’s when the entire store got together to give Adrien the rundown on the superhero squad. Ladybug as the leader and her right-hand being Rena Rouge with their backups Carapace and Chat Noir. Nino heard Plagg under his hat scoff about being called a backup but thankfully no one else heard the black cat.

When Plagg wasn’t sitting pretty under his hat, he took to sleeping in Nino’s headphones. People often squinted at it but never commented about the kwami hiding in plain fucking sight. He can’t imagine any other kwami he met being able to pull this off given their bright colors. Although Trixx often found themselves in Alya’s hair so he can’t comment on kwamis and their penchant for strange hiding places.

He can’t even blame Trixx for their hiding spot because Alya’s hair is both improbably soft and unbelievably nice smelling. More often than not, Plagg had to pull on his hair to keep him from drifting off whenever he got close enough to catch a whiff of her hair. It would be one thing if it was solely her hair that made him weak in the knees but it’s all of her. Thinking more on it, it’s for the best he isn’t full-time working with her because he’d never be able to focus on the task at hand.

The damn class put him next to Alya almost full-time because none of them could agree on who should next to her but somehow unanimously voted on him.

He’d argue but he was secretly a masochist. With the store talking Adrien’s ear off, Plagg presses his body against Nino’s head. “I thought you were into Als?”

Right. How thrilled was he to discover you can telepathically communicate with your—a—kwami as long as their head is touching your head. And with Plagg floating around in his hat, that happened more often than not. At least he didn’t have to talk out loud. He’s seen Marinette more than a few times glare at her purse where Tikki took up residence. Though he has absolutely no idea where Kagami stashed Wayzz. “I can be into more than one person.”

“Sure you can. You’re already into two.”
Nino sputters. “Lemme take a peek at this kid.”

“Fine but do it quick.”


Plagg cheers then lifts the brim off Nino’s hat a bit so he could see out of it. “The blond, huh? I guess if you’re into that sort of thing. Huh. Als and Gams like boys and girls too. Go figure.” Probably not something he should be hearing from Plagg of all creatures but hey, as long as he didn’t just accidentally albeit casually out them to him. Not that he’d tell anyone if they weren’t out.

Although from the way the entire class hovers toward both of them, it might not be a secret.

Huh. Wouldn’t it just be his luck if he was the last to find this out?

And speaking of Kagami, Nino does a double take as she enters the store. Well, the library isn’t that far away but he wasn’t expecting her to come to him. “Hi.”

“Hi.”

“I’ve never been to a toy store before so I thought I’d treat myself.”

Never?!” Kagami shakes her head, “wow. Let’s give you the grand tour.” She chuckles, “and can I interest you in some Ladybug merchandise?”

They head over to the display, “I bet Marinette can make dolls even more realistic than these.”

“Ooh, you’re right. We should ask her.”

“Hey, Nino, I—” Adrien comes to a complete stop in front of Kagami. “H-Hi.”

“Hello.”

“Oh, dude. This is my friend Kagami. Kagami, this is Adrien.” The blond gives a meek wave.

“I-I can’t decide which I want more.” He holds up a Carapace plushie in his left hand and a Chat Noir plushie in his right.

“Huh.” Nino scratches his chin. “This happened to me before.”

“You look like more like a Chat Noir to me.”

“Then Chat Noir it is. Thanks.” He almost mechanically walks toward the bin of plushies. 

Chapter Text

In his attempt to find the most suitable partner for an aura as striking as Kagami’s, Fu cleans out the Miracle Box and takes out all the Miraculouses to examine them. His mentor didn’t tell him everything there was to know about the kwamis and what they’re capable of but he did tell Fu enough.

There are secrets he’s still learning like how all the active kwamis go into the box twice every cycle. With Plagg, Wayzz, Tikki, and Trixx in the box he figured now was one of those times. As Wayzz has been the only active kwami in the past century during his tenure as Guardian, it’s no surprise Fu had no idea about these self-proclaimed “kwami days.”

Tikki flies out of the box with a panicked expression, “Guardian Fu, we have a situation!” He puts down the bee Miraculous’ earring just as Tikki points to them, “that. It’s not Pollen’s Miraculous!”

“W-What? Are you certain?”

“I am. I can’t remember what their Miraculous was but I remember Pollen got cracked by Plagg three cycles ago and was never fixed. Look!” She flies over to the single bee shaped earring and taps it then it immediately snaps in two. “No Miraculous would break so easily. Plus, Pollen isn’t in the Miracle Box.”

“I was not even aware that Miraculouses could get cracked.”

“It could only happen through special circumstances.”

“Meaning Plagg.”

Tikki nods, “and we didn’t see Fluff in there either. Can you check the rabbit Miraculous please?” Fu methodically examines the remaining twelve Miraculouses and when he comes to the rabbit’s pocket watch the rabbit ears at the top snap off.

“Oh dear.”

“I knew it.”

“Could Hawkmoth have more Miraculouses than we originally thought?”

“I don’t think so. Well, maybe, just not these. There wouldn’t be any need for a switcheroo if he had Fluff and Pollen too.” She gestures to the empty spaces where Nooroo and Duusuu’s Miraculouses should be, “I think these are just cases of a mix up.” Tikki might not remember what their Miraculouses were but she knew the symbols and colors of two of her oldest friends.

“I see.” Fu frowns, “then we need to find out what happened to them. Unfortunately, who knows how long these have been here. The only way to see if a Miraculous is real is to use them. I’ll contact the team. It’ll also be a good chance to use the communicators Kagami created.” Tikki nods.

Outside of their superhero suits, the team use their cellphones to communicate with one another. It takes an hour for the four of them to meet up at the shop.

Fake Miraculouses!?” They exclaim.

Fu nods. “It might’ve happened before my mentor gave me the Miracle Box.”

“Is that what that’s called?” Alya asks and Fu nods. “Cool. Sorry. Go on.”

“I need you four to keep a look out for a pocket watch with ‘rabbit ears.’” Fu does the air-quotes for Tikki, “Fluff was cracked by Plagg several cycles ago and never fixed. Much like Pollen. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what their Miraculous was.”

Alya, Marinette, and Nino turn to Plagg who is leaning on Kagami’s shoulder, “you broke two Miraculouses?” Marinette asks.

Cracked not broke. Also, not my fault! We were fighting against each other. What you guys think Hawkass is the only dude who used kwamis for evil?”

“Unfortunately, Plagg is right. Every kwami with the exception of him and myself have been used for evil at least once in the past.”

“And I’ve only cracked four Miraculouses, in my entire lifespan! All in all? Not bad odds.”

Tikki rolls her eyes. “Hold on; four? I only remember three.” Wayzz muses.

Tikki sighs, “Duusuu, Pollen, Fluff, and...” She grimaces, “Trixx.” Alya turns to the fox, on Kagami’s other shoulder, who scowls, “it’s why Plagg and Trixx stopped being active in the same cycle... until now.”

“And here I thought it was because they didn’t get along.” Alya adds.

“Well, yeah, that too.” Tikki amends.

“It was so long ago I don’t even remember when and Dreams still hasn’t forgiven me when they were in the wrong!”

“Uh, did we miss something?” Nino rubs the back of his neck, “I mean, Trixx looks fine to me.”

Tikki shakes her head, “I have the ability to heal cracked Miraculouses like Plagg can, well, crack them. I am the Miraculous of creation after all.”

“But you’d think a Miraculous of healing would fix cracks rather than creation?” Tikki blinks at Kagami who shrugs. “Sorry. Go on.”

“I’m guessing because healing isn’t the opposite of destruction?” Alya guesses.

“Perhaps. All I know is I’m the only one who can heal them. Once you guys find the cracked Miraculouses don’t try to active them. Who knows what’ll happen. Actually, Trixx might know.” She turns to Trixx.

“I don’t remember.” They mutter, “it was too long ago and no I still haven’t forgiven you and I never will.”

Plagg scoffs, “you can’t blame me for defending myself, Dreams. You tried stealing my ring.” Trixx huffs, “moving along, now that we know Rumble and Flappy are missing too, I’m thinking we should active more kwamis.”

“‘Flappy?’” Wayzz repeats, “Fluff will never forgve you for calling them that.”

Plagg shrugs. “They’ll get over it.”

“Plagg has a point and I’ll never get over how terrible that makes me feel.” Marinette grimaces, “for all we know, there are other kwamis not in the Miracle Box but are mentioned in the book Hawkmoth has.”

“What book?” Kagami asks.

“There’s a book of Miraculouses and kwamis that Hawkmoth has. We don’t know how or when he got it but we’re willing to bet it’s why he’s always—”

“Bitching about giving him our Miraculouses.” Alya finishes.

Marinette nods, “right. Not what I would’ve said but that’s exactly it.”

“Was there only one book?” Nino asks and Fu nods. “So we have no way of knowing how many kwamis or Miraculouses exist or how long they’ve been around?”

“We’ve essentially been around since the very first life cycle.” Tikki replies, “well, some of us.”

“Fluff, Tikki, Wayzz, Plagg, Xuppu, Nooroo, and Sass were the firsts. Everyone else came after like in periodical spurts. I can’t remember the specific order; however, I do know the youngest kwamis are myself, Pollen, Kaalki, and Longg.” Trixx explains.

“Does the book say how kwamis came into existence or who created them?” Kagami asks.

“Unfortunately, I have never seen the book. I was told about it by my mentor who was told about it from his mentor. It’s been lost as long as Duusuu has been missing from the Miracle Box.” Fu gestures to the Miracle Box, “each of you pick up a Miraculous to hold but do not activate them. I simply need to see if I have any other imitations.” They all nod.

Nino picks up a snakeskin bangle, Kagami picks up a monkey’s paw shaped circlet, Alya picks up a pendant necklace with tiny ears, and Marinette picks up a panjas bracelet Almost immediately, a small snake, monkey, rat, and tiger, respectively, spin into existence.

Whoa!” They exclaim looking around.

“Plagg was right.” The snake says slithering over to Nino, “the world even smells different.”

“Let’s get the intros out of the way.” Tikki announces, “Sass, Xuppu, Mullo, and Roarr.” She says as she points to them.

“Tikki and Plagg have been around for basically every created cycle known in existence so they kinda know everyone.” Roarr explains, “and as the kwami of time, so does Fluff.” She looks around, “who is missing.”

“We know. So is Pollen.” Wayzz says.

“P’s so timid they could be in front of us and we’d never notice.” Mullo says with a snort.

“You guys have been in the Miracle Box for at least two cycles, have you really never noticed that Fluff and Pollen weren’t there!?” Wayzz asks.

Roarr flies over to Wayzz, glaring. “Sorry for not keeping track of every kwami in existence. We all don’t have the luxury of being active all the time like you. And this is the first time in those two cycles that we’ve even seen you and the first thing you do is complain?”

“I—” Wayzz deflates, “I’m not—”

“Come to think of it...” Tikki interrupts tapping her chin, “I don’t remember ever seeing Fluff in the Miracle Box.”

“It has been a while...” Plagg agrees, “but Squeaks is right about Rumble. We’d never notice.”

“You’re one to talk, you cracked Pollen!” Sass floats over to him, pointing at his chest, “and you never apologized!”

“I’ll apologize when I see them. Because, as you probably recall, we never found who had their Miraculous and couldn’t find it after I cracked it.” They glare at each other.

“Is there anyone Plagg gets along with?” Alya asks Fu who shrugs with a heavy sigh. “So, listen up everyone.” Everyone turns to Alya who gestures to Fu, “in case you hadn’t realized. This is Guardian Fu..” He waves and they all wave back. I’m Alya. Next to me are Nino, Marinette, and Kagami.”

“How long ago were you all last active? I mean, how do you measure the length of each ‘cycle?’ Tikki first told me it’s been at least three-hundred years since she was last active.”

“Who keeps track of things like that?” Plagg asks.

Marinette throws her hands in the air. “I just had a thought that’s a bit of a catch-22. The more kwamis we release, the more ammunition we give Hawkmoth to keep coming after us. At the same time, if we keep them all inactive in the Miracle Box they’ll be that much easier to steal.” All the kwamis minus Tikki float over to Kagami in awe.

“This is Ladybug, yes?” Mullo asks, perching themselves on Kagami’s left shoulder.

“Uh, no.” Tikki puts her hands on her hips. “Ladybug is right here.” She points at Marinette. The four newly released kwamis look amongst themselves before staring unconvincingly at Tikki.

“She may not seem like much but she’s good in the field. Real Ladybug material.” Trixx says with a nod, “although, I wouldn’t mind seeing Kagami as Ladybug just once.” The others nod in agreement. “Everyone’s swapped at least twice, except you.”

Marinette looks at everyone staring back at her, “I couldn’t take out the earrings before, my ear holes would close up. Now that it’s been six weeks I don’t mind being someone else temporarily. I have always wanted to try on Rena Rouge’s outfit.”

“Yes! I call Carapace.” Alya takes off her necklace and hands it to Marinette who puts it around her neck and takes off her earrings holding them out to Kagami. Kagami takes out her earrings and gives them to Marinette who puts them in her ears.

Fu hands the bracelet to Alya. “This will hopefully help improve your teamwork, not that you seem to have trouble with it. But if Hawkmoth gains access to more kwamis you’ll need additional help.”

“Additional help?” Plagg repeats, “we’re gonna just keep on swapping partners when I don’t even have a full-time one?”

“We won’t start out just swapping kwamis all at once. Kagami has a point. We can’t just throw more kwamis into things without complicating the situation further. Besides, not every aura is compatible with every kwami.” He gives Plagg a pointed look.

“Ooh. That means we can partner up with this one?” Roarr asks patting Kagami’s right shoulder.

“Possibly.” They all cheer, “but—” All the kwamis instantly deflate, “I’ll have to check everyone’s auras one by one.”



“What happened to your regular earrings?” Lila asks.

“I decided to try something new.”

Lila squints at Kagami’s ears a few seconds longer before shrugging. “You and Nino have been hanging out a lot together lately. You’d tell me if you two started dating, right? I need to know what flowers to bring for the wedding.”

“We’re not dating but I’ll let you know if and when that changes.”

“That’s a shame because you two make the cutest couple in school.” Sabrina comments. “I mean, I thought Nino and Alya were cute but you two? Ten times cuter.”

“Or you can skip the tired love triangle cliché and have one of those polyamorous relationships.”

Sabrina points at Juleka and nods, “yes, that too. Aw that would be a thousand times cuter!” She squeals.

“Hey, did you guys check out the Ladybug blog? I guess it’s Ladybug’s team blog.” Juleka shakes her phone in her hand, “the team’s weirdly inconsistent. Sometimes they’re all girls and sometimes there’s a guy with them.”

“I never even saw all four of them together.” Sabrina huffs, “I wanted to get the costumes but I had no idea who or what a Carapace was. I mean, aside from the obvious.”

“There are tons of Ladybug blogs.” Lila points out, “none of them are conveniently accurate or posting daily so I stopped caring.”

“Ooh. Lila you should make a blog.”

“Why the hell would I do that?”

“Because you’re super popular and it’ll serve to make you even more popular?” Sabrina reasons.

“Good point. Make me a blog then and I’ll take it from there.” Sabrina salutes her and starts typing on her phone.

“I wonder who will be the first person to interview Ladybug.” Juleka muses, “they don’t even get filmed clearly.”

“I’ll make it my mission to get that interview.” Lila rubs her hands together, “you all should help me.”

Juleka shrugs, “sure. Got nothing better to do.” Sabrina nods in agreement.

“Can’t. However, I will provide you with the necessary moral support.”

“I suppose it’ll do. Oh and see if you can get Alya to help me.”

“I’ll try.”

Lila huffs as she leans back in her seat. She’d been unsuccessful in finding an akuma. From what she gathered it takes a strong negative emotion for one to appear. Particularly anger from the look of things. She’s been too busy running for her life attempting to not get caught in the crossfire that she never got a good look at Ladybug or the rest of her team, sans that one time she greeted Ladybug and Chat Noir at school.

Pissing Marinette off is still her best bet but with the entire class keeping them apart it’ll be tricky to get close enough to manipulate anger out of her. Or her plan can backfire making her angry enough to get akumatized. Although, if she gets akumatized and doesn’t get held responsible for her actions she just might meet Ladybug personally then the two of them could become best friends. Even better, she could bring Lila along for patrol. Maybe even give her a Miraculous.

Not that she knows much about Miraculouses other than the fact that Hawkmoth wants them.



It was a surprise, to say the least, that Alix’s father rented out the skating rink and invited the entire classroom for her fifteenth birthday party.

To be honest, Lila wasn’t expecting her mother to hand her an invitation but it would make less sense to isolate one individual as opposed to inviting the entire class whether they got along or not. After all, Kim and Alix argued more than she did with Marinette and she saw Kim walking around with Max. And Lila wasn’t about to be the sole person not going and miss out on everything.

From what she heard last year, Alix Kubdel’s birthday parties were not to be missed.

The entire school went to the last one and they were still talking about it by the time Lila arrived.

It makes one wonder how Alix isn’t more popular. Unless she secretly is and doesn’t dwell on it.

All of Alix’s brightly wrapped presents are cascading down the ice sculpture of her with both hands giving the peace sign.

The one thing the entire school slash world knows about Alix is she’s very sportsy, so Lila picked her up a tiny roller skate keychain and placed it on the display.

Personally, she has no problem with Alix. She can respect that the girl has her own style and flair; plus, she doesn’t take shit from anyone. Now if she weren’t Marinette’s unofficial bodyguard the two of them would probably be great friends.

Everyone passes by Alix with a celebratory hug and kiss Lila still isn’t used to despite nearly a year here.

Alix’s father has a small nondescript box in his hands as he approaches his daughter. “Alix, do you have a minute?”

“Sure, dad.” She nods and the two of them walk off.

“I can’t believe you’re fifteen already. It feels like just the other day I bought you your first pair of roller skates.”

“Aw dad, don’t get all mushy. It’s just a birthday.”

He chuckles, “not just any birthday. Your fifteenth. Fifteen is a very special year in our family.” He holds out the box toward her, “this is a family heirloom.”

She pops the top off the box and pulls out a silver pocket watch, “wow. This is super retro.” She examines the watch then opens it. There’s a plume of blue smoke then a woman is holding the same pocket watch she came out of, “whoa.”

“I must admit, I didn’t think you’d be this mesmerized by it. I know you already have a smartphone, a smartwatch—” He chuckles when Alix hugs him.

“I love it. I just need one of those strings so I can keep it on me at all times.” She lets go of him and closes the pocket watch. “Oh. It’s cracked.” She holds up the watch to her father and there’s a small, barely noticeable crack running through it.

“Huh. I never noticed that before. Shall I take it to be fixed?”

“Are you kidding? It adds to the charm.”

“Very well.” He chuckles, “but I will order you a string.”

Alix grins at him, “several strings. I need to be able to match it with everything.” She thumbs the crack on the watch, “but if this is a family heirloom, how come you gave it to me and not Jalil?”

“It’s the youngest member that inherits the watch when they turn fifteen. I’ve shown the watch to your brother when he was your age and he didn’t seem too thrilled that he wasn’t getting it.”

“Didn’t you think he’d be getting it before I was born?”

“I did And for a while I didn’t think you’d get it either but...” He sighs, “all that matters now is that its yours. Take good care of it, Alix.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’m bringing this thing with me everywhere.” She taps her chin, “but why haven’t I seen it before?”

“Like you, I had it with me everywhere.” He opens his jacket and points at the small pocket inside.

“Awesome. I wonder if I can get a pocket in my hats.”

“Let’s just focus on the strings for now?” Alix nods. “And hopefully someday you’ll pass it on to your children and their children.”

“We might have to give it back to Jalil to pass onto his kids.” Her father laughs.

By the time Alix makes her way back to the main floor, everyone’s off doing their own thing. Kagami is by herself lacing up her roller skates so Alix decides to give her company. She hasn’t really spoken to Kagami that much and Marinette must be rubbing off on her because she’s willing to make a new friend; and on her birthday no less.

“Hey.”

Kagami looks up at her, “hello. Happy birthday.”

“Thanks. Check out what my old man gave me.” Alix digs a pocket watch of all things out of her pocket.

“A pocket watch with rabbit ears.”

“Huh. Never noticed the clicking thing is a pair of ears together. Good catch.”

“It’s a very nice pocket watch, Alix.”

“Thanks. The inside’s pretty sweet too.” She opens the watch. The inside is a light blue and the hands are rabbit’s paws. If this isn’t the rabbit Miraculous, Kagami doesn’t know what is. However, from what Marinette told her the rabbit kwami – Fluff, if she remembers correctly – would’ve appeared once the watch opened. At the same time, this definitely isn’t the first time Alix opened the watch. Perhaps Fluff is in hiding like the rest of the kwamis here today? No. Tikki would’ve told her if she sensed another kwami

Despite swapping partners every three days, there hadn’t been many akuma attacks. And certainly none that required all four of them. Alya got to debut as Ladybug and had a heroic solo performance before Nino – as Rena Rouge (and Kagami got the distinct feeling he enjoyed being Rena Rouge more than any of the others) – could arrive. Ironically, Alya’s little sisters got akumatized because they wanted to stay up past bedtime. Alya explained everything through sheer exasperation, then declared they were all fortunate not to have any siblings; then Nino told them he had a little brother named Chris and Alya amended by stating Kagami and Marientte were lucky. Marinette crashed Alya’s hopes by claiming she always wanted a sibling.

With the limited amount of akuma attacks as opposed to the amount there was before she joined the team, the way Kagami saw it Hawkmoth was gearing up for a bigger scheme. They may not have activated any other kwamis but they were still out of the Miracle Box. And if kwamis could all sense one another, then Nooroo may have informed his “partner” or if Nooroo truly is being used against his will it’s possible he didn’t say anything.

Because everyone realized akumas appear only during intense negative emotions, the whole school came up with ridiculous exercises to continue to foster a positive-ish attitude. Surprisingly, they worked. And it not only made the school akuma free but a more pleasant experience.

Fortunately, Kagami excelled at multitasking. She was able to listen to Alix praise her brithday present while simultaneously formulating a plan to take said present to check for their missing kwami. If by some chance the watch isn’t a Miraculous, the Kubdel family must really have a thing about rabbits.



“Wait.” Alya, Marinette, and Kagami crammed themselves into the ladies’ restroom at the far end of the rink. “Alix? Pink hair and penchant for roller skates has a kwami?”

“I am... uncertain.” Kagami frowns, “but her birthday present is the rabbit Miraculous, no doubt in my mind.”

“What is the Miraculous again?” Marinette asks.

“A pocket watch. That’s the present Alix has. It’s very...”

“Rabbity?” Alya finishes.

“I don’t think that’s a word but yes, very rabbity.”

Marinette taps her chin. “I know I usually come up with the ideas in these scenarios but I’ll let Ladybug handle it.”

Kagami smiles at her, “thank you. I was thinking that Alya has the most experience creating illusions so she should get Trixx from Nino and swap Alix’s watch for an illusion so we can check for the rabbit kwami.”

Marinette blinks at her, “you... you’re gonna put me out of a job.”

“It’s not my intention to out Ladybug the real Ladybug.” Marinette blushes.

“I just gotta come out and ask: is a pocket watch even classified as jewelry? Every Miraculous we’ve come across is jewelry then there’s a pocket watch of all things.” Marinette and Kagami both shrug. “Right. Let me grab Nino. Ooh. I just thought of an addendum to your plan. I’m gonna need a distraction. I can’t just pop in steal the watch and offer a fake. Ladybug should pay one of her biggest fans a visit.”

With a grin, Alya turns to Kagami who does a double take. “Me?”

“You have Tikki. You’re Ladybug.”

“I’ve never been tested—”

Marinette puts a hand on her shoulder, “you’re gonna do great and there isn’t an akuma so you have nothing to worry about.”

“Dammit Marinette, now you gone and jinxed it!” Alya chastises.

“Damn. Sorry. You’re right. Ooh. I call Carapace?”

Plagg pops out of Marinette’s purse, “oh I see. Am I not good enough to transform with?”

Marinette shoots him a dark look, “do you remember the last time we partnered up?”

“Lucky Charm has the ability to fix up all my cataclys—hey.” She stuffs him back into her purse, “get Trixx from Nino and give him Plagg?”

“Aye aye.” Marinette hands Alya her purse. “Ooh. This is nice. Where did you get this from?”

“I made it.”

“Wow. You are—” Kagami blinks at her, “creative. I believe that’s why you are the perfect match for Tikki.”

Marinette blushes, rubbing the back of her neck. “You think?” Kagami and Alya nod. “Thanks. I-uh—lets make the plan happen now.” She stutters. “I just need to splash water on my face. I probably shouldn’t’ve said that part out loud.” She walks over to the sink and splashes water on herself.

“Huh. Compliments from a pretty girl bring down Ladybug? Can’t let Hawkmoth know that.”

Kagami shakes her head. “But Marinette herself is pretty.”

“Don’t let her hear that, her head might explode.”

“I can hear you perfectly clear.”

“Oops. Gonna go find Nino and fill him in.” She winks at Kagami before leaving the restroom.

“If you need a minute I can wait outside.”

“No. I’m... good.” Marinette takes a deep breath. If Fu brings Alix into the fold, Marinette’s not sure how many pretty people she can be teamed up with before her head really does explode. Other pretty girls used to just be a passing thought. After all, Rose is pretty and that’s Marinette’s oldest friend but Rose doesn’t make her head go all fuzzy the way Kagami and Alya do. Especially when they smile at her. And before they teamed up Marinette never saw Kagami smile. Then again, time spent in Lila’s proximity have effectively wiped the smile of Marinette’s own face more times than she can count. Huh. She sneaks a glance up at the mirror and sees Kagami smiling down at Tikki exaggerating wildly. Marinette clinches her fists then unclinches them and splashes more water on her face. Oh no. Pretty girls will be Ladybug’s downfall.



Once Nino’s filled in on the plan, the four of them head to the roof to transform. Kagami as Ladybug, Alya as Rena, Marinette as Carapace, and Nino as Chat.

The party is in full swing and the majority of the guests are on the rink when they step into the building.

“It’s Ladybug!” Rose squeals.

Everyone on the skating floor skates over to the banister then starts cheering.

“Which one of you is the birthday kid?” Alya asks. Kim and Max push Alix forward, pointing at her.

“No way. This can’t be happening.”

“We were on patrol when we saw the balloons outside.” Nino explains, “figured we’d come in and say hi.”

“This isn’t happening.” Alix repeats, “I’m a huge fan.”

Kagami puts a hand on her shoulder, “deep breaths.” Alix complies taking a huge breath, “what’s your name?”

“Alix. A-L-I-X.” They each shake her hand. Alix is normally the most composed person Marinette’s ever associated with, maybe aside from Kagami now, so to see her this excited is amazing.

“I know the pictures will just turn out grainy but we need pictures.” Kim yells. The four of them shrug and the whole group get in together to take a photo. As expected, the four of them are blurry in the back but Kim still clutches the phone to his chest. “My new wallpaper.”

“This is so cool. Do you guys skate? Can you hang out for a bit?”

“I don’t see why not.” Kagami replies.

All the students minus Alix crowds Kim, “relax. You’ll all get the picture copied to your phones.”

Marinette does a double take as she sees, well, herself but not just her; Alya, Kagami, and Nino too. She turns back to Alya who tucks her flute back behind her. Damn. She is good with illusions. Marinette never would’ve thought of that. Ooh. That means they’ll get the picture sent to their phones too.

“You’re real good, Rena.” She hears Nino compliment. The communicators Kagami and Wayzz put together work like a charm and they sync up to all of their suits so they don’t have to yell strategies while fighting their enemies.

They all sign Alix’s hat and Kim gushes over it for at least five minutes. “This is the best birthday ever! Can I just take one photo with you guys?” They nod and Alix takes the picture. “Wow.”

“What’s that?” Nino asks pointing at the pocket watch in her other hand.

“Oh. This is my birthday present.” She hands it to him and opens it. There’s a plume of blue smoke then an image of a woman holding the pocket watch. “Cool, right?”

“Has anything else come out of the watch?” Alix looks up at them, “we’re on the hunt for a missing Miraculous.”

She gasps, “no way. This is a Miraculous?!” She puts both hands over her mouth, with the phone and pocket watch still in them. “Sorry.” She whispers moving her hands, then she stares at the watch. “I’d have to ask my dad. He had it before he gave it to me. But I’ve only seen the lady who might be my great-grandma or something.”

“Thanks, Alix.” Marinette says, “should we group hug? I feel like we should group hug.”

“Yes. Hell yes.” They all hug her. “How would I let you guys know if this is a Miraculous? I mean, what am I gonna do?” Marinette writes something down on a notepad then hands it to Kagami who hands it to Alix.

“Meet us at Le Grand Paris tomorrow at noon, after you speak to your father.”

Alix gives them a thumbs up, “you can count on me.”



“Jalil!”

The blond barely has time to react before Alix dives on top of him. “Oof!” He blinks up at his sister, “enjoyed your party, did you?”

“Did I enjoy it? You were there!” Jalil shakes his head with a laugh, “oh, that reminds me. Did you ever see anything about Miraculouses in the museum?”

“Miraculouses? You mean whatever Hawkmoth is always going about stealing?” Alix nods, “there was a tomb—”

“Show me. Show me. Show me!” She jumps off him and he gestures to his phone on the bed. Alix grabs it then gives it to him. He scrolls through several pictures before landing on hieroglyphics then turning the phone to her. Alix gives him a flat look, “what the fuck is this, Jalil?”

He rolls his eyes. “Look at the pictures, dumbass.” She squints at the phone and Jalil taps an all too familiar creature, “look familiar?”

Alix’s eyes widen as she grabs the phone and brings it impossibly closer to her face, “holy hell. Is that Ladybug!?” Jalil nods. She gives him back his phone then takes her pocket watch out of her pocket and points to it, “they told me this is a Miraculous!”

“‘They’ meaning Ladybug and them?” Alix nods. “Can’t imagine why they’d give it to you.”

Alix blows him a raspberry. “They didn’t give it to me, asshole, this is—”

“The heirloom. I know.” He gets up and walks to the head of the bed and pulls down the sheet revealing a small white rabbit underneath.

“What the fuck is that?”

“A kwami. It came with the watch.” Alix looks up at him, “supports your Miraculous theory, doesn’t it?”

“You’re shitting me.”

“Nope. Fluff’s been with Father since he’s had the watch all those years ago, and with me since I turned fifteen.”

“You—”

“I may not be destined to have the watch but I wasn’t gonna ignore a crucial piece of history.” Alix opens her mouth but Jalil holds up a hand, “before you ask why I never said anything earlier, they weren’t relevant until the arrival of Ladybug, Rena Rouge, and the rest of the team. It made little sense to have Fluff show up in a public place with all your friends asking questions and whatnot.”

“So what does a kwami do?”

“Together with the Miraculous, they help you transform. It’s how Ladybug, well, becomes Ladybug.” Alix whistles. “There’s more. There is a grimoire of Miraculouses. I caught a glimpse of it several years ago when I traveled and took pictures.” He digs into a small unmarked box and pulls out some actual, physical photos. “This was well before everything got digitized.”

“You love everything digitized.”

“It does occasionally make my work easy but I also love the physical proof.” He hands Alix the photos, “these are just copies but try not to get your fingerprints all over them?”

“No promises.”

Jalil points at a photo with the same rabbit that’s asleep on the bed. “I didn’t get everything but I managed to get a couple of kwamis, including Tikki the kwami of Ladybug. We may have never heard of Ladybug or Miraculouses before they arrived in Paris but they’ve been around for centuries.”

“And I’m destined to be a superhero? That doesn’t sound like bullshit to you?”

“It does. Believe me. But looking through great-great-grandpa’s stuff, Fluff has been a key member in the Kubdel family. One of the kwamis who hasn’t been left to a Guardian. In fact, one of our relatives was a Guardian which was why Fluff was passed down in our family.”

“What would’ve happened if Ladybug didn’t show up? Or Hawkmoth?”

“You still would’ve gotten Fluff, I’d imagine. You’d just never get the chance to use them.”

“Oh man. I’m—I’m supposed to meet with Ladybug and the others tomorrow.”

“I wouldn’t recommend mentioning Fluff or the family. The watch is cracked and so is the kwami. According to the grimoire it isn’t safe to transform with a damaged Miraculous or kwami.”

“You want me to lie to a team of superheroes?”

“To put it bluntly? Yes.”

Alix looks over at the bed, “I think I’ll ask Fluff what they want to do. Neither of us should make choices for them.”

Jalil takes a deep breath, “yeah, you’re right.” He pokes Fluff until they stir and slowly awaken, “rise and shine, Fluff.”

They start levitating and fly over to Alix, “ooh, I like your hair.”

“Thanks.” Then they start floating and twisting in every imaginable angle. “Did someone spike your coffee?”

“Coffee is delicious.”

Alix shoots a look at her brother, “what? How was I supposed to know? It’s a process and you’re lucky I figured out what Fluff likes and dislikes.”

Fluff is now upside down floating away from Alix. “You have the watch!” They float back over to Alix, “you’re my partner in this cycle?”

“I... suppose?” She extends her hand and Fluff’s eyes light up as they shake her pointer finger with their whole hand.

Alix notices there’s a crack going through Fluff’s left ear and a piece of their right ear is missing. It reminds her of the rabbit her father bought her for her first birthday; it’s old and battered now but it still remains a fixture on her bed. Not that she’d ever tell anyone. Kim would have a field day if he ever found out. Oh shit. Kim would fucking flip if she showed him Fluff.

This isn’t something she can tell Kim, he’d tell the whole school. She needs to tell someone who wouldn’t freak out. Marinette? No. She’s prone to freaking out. Rose is a good bet but she might squeal it out excitedly on accident. Nino’s the most chillest of all her friends or just out of people in general so she should tell him. Or Max. Max is also a good choice.

Fluff follows her to her room and plops on her stuffed rabbit giggling, “this reminds me of... me.”

“You’re two of a kind.” Alix plops on the bed in front of Fluff. “So... tomorrow I have to meet with Ladybug—”

“There’s a Ladybug in this cycle? Jalil never told me that.”

“It’s kind of a new development. Maybe not super new, it’s been about almost two months now.” Fluff nods, “should I tell them about you?”

“I dunno. On the one hand, Tikki could heal me. On the other hand, if Plagg is around he might crack me again.”

“Plagg?” Fluff shows their teeth then points to them, “that’s... not super helpful.”

“Plagg is the kwami of destruction. Ooh. I can tell you all I remember about every kwami I’ve ever met.”

“Oh? Should I grab some popcorn?” Fluff nods enthusiastically.



Fluff told her kwamis can sense each other but being cracked they had no idea if they were able to sense other kwamis or be sensed in the same fashion. The one way to test this theory was to bring Fluff with her to Le Grand Paris.

There’s a blond sitting in the lobby swinging his legs, sighing loudly and holding his phone out in front of him as someone yells on the other end. “You really shouldn’t just disappear, Adrien. Your father would worry endlessly.”

The boy – Adrien, presumably – spots Alix and holds his phone closer to him. “Gotta go, M. Bourgeois.”

“Adrien—”

Then he hangs up and gets up from his chair. Alix cocks her head to the left, “won’t they get pissed?” Adrien gives her a one-shoulder shrug. Alix grins, “I like you. I’m Alix.”

“Adrien. As you probably heard.” They shake hands.

“You waiting for someone?”

“Just trying to get out of this place.” He replies with a sigh, “the mayor has eyes all over. I think he even has a couple of officers tailing me.”

Alix puts an arm around him. “Adrien, my friend, you’re lucky I came around. I can more than help you slip the cops.”

“Ordinarily, that wouldn’t be a good sentence to hear but...” He shrugs his free shoulder, “I think I need to hear it.” Grinning, Alix whispers her method in his ear. “Oh. You’re a genius!” Adrien remarks when Alix moves her hand, “I’m seriously in awe of you.”

“A kid in my class, her dad is the police chief. Found that out in career day and...” She rubs the back of her neck, “told my dad I was ‘troublesome’ so he’s been keeping an eye on me for years and I took to evading him. I got real good at it too. But I’ve never seen you around.”

“Just came to Paris several weeks ago. I was in France but not Paris.”

“Ooh. New blood.” Alix takes her phone out of her pocket, “I will be your obligatory first Parisian friend.”

“I think you might be my second.” Adrien says with a grin.

“Damn, really? Alright. I’ll take it.” He laughs then puts his number in her phone. “Whenever you wanna give Raincomprix the slip, call me.” She winks at him then heads toward the elevator.

In the elevator, Fluff phases through her hat. “Don’t sense anything yet.” They look around before phasing back through the hat.

Alix gets onto the roof and sees an akuma fly straight into Roger Raincomprix’s whistle. “Oh fuck.” A purplish ooze bubbles up until it completely covers the guy transforming him into something Alix doesn’t stick around to find out. Before he could turn around Alix is already running to the elevator rapidly pressing the close door button. Just as he turns around the elevator door finally closes. There’s a thud then a dent in the middle of the door before it slowly starts to forcibly open.

“Partner, we should transform. You have the watch, yes?”

Alix looks up at her hat, “what? Jalil said we can’t. It’s dangerous—”

Fluff phases through the hat and floats down to Alix’s face, “is it any safer in here?”

“Good point.”

“It’s been so long. Uh, let’s see. Ah, yes. You must choose a transformation phrase. It’ll transform us into a superhero.”

Alix grimaces at the pocket watch, “ooh. A watch. I got it. Fluff, clockwise.” Fluff merges into the pocket watch and it and Alix’s whole body starts glowing. “Well, this is new.”

Just as Roger gets the door fully opened the bright light blue light has him shielding his eyes allowing Alix to hop over him and jump onto the roof. “Holy shit. That felt so good!”

“It did.” Fluff agrees, from within the watch? That’ll take some getting used to. Alix stashes the now blue pocket watch into her pocket. Her suit has pockets. It’s white and blue and there are giant rabbit ears on her helmet. All in all, it’s freakishly cool. Especially the kickass umbrella she unclips from the back of her suit and twirls around.

“Hey, asshole!”

The purple butterfly mask highlights around Roger’s eyes. “Another Miraculous holder? They really are coming out of the woodwork.”

You got his attention. Now what?

Alix cracks her knuckles, “now? Now we kick ass.” She points her umbrella at him. “I—you—aw man. He just got akumatized so he hasn’t done anything yet.”

Did you say akumatized? Nooroo is being used?

New—right, the kwami of transmission. Oh. That’s what Hawkmoth does to, well, get—” She gestures helplessly at Roger.

Tikki and Wayzz can purify akumas, they can purify basically anything. If you just release the akuma without purifying it, it’ll spread and infect everything it touches turning them into... that. I’ve seen it happen several times before. Turns out to be a bigger hassle than going through the purification process.

Great. I transformed for nothing.”

At least you know you can. Now let’s get away and let Ladybug and Jade Turtle take over.”

Jade who?”



“Ladybug! Ladybug!” Sabrina runs over to them, “the mayor threatened to fire my father after he couldn’t find some kid the mayor lost and my dad turned into that!” There are people walking around with red and blue handcuffs on them, walking behind them is a large armored guy with blasters on his forearms. “I—” Sabrina tilts her head, “uh, Ladybug you seem... different?” She makes an aborted gesture toward Ladybug’s chest then stops herself. “That doesn’t matter. Can you please help him? It’s not his fault.”

Nino nods, “don’t worry about it, du—uh, pal..” He gives her a thumbs up, “let’s go Chat..” They head toward the increasing crowd of people. Marinette sees movement out the corner of her eye but before she can investigate a red and blue blast soars past her head.

“You really think we can handle this without Carapace and Rena Rouge?”

“We don’t have a choice, babysitting and fencing – respectively.” Marinette sighs. “You’re just unhappy you have to work with Plagg again. He’s honestly not that bad.”

“Maybe not but I think Guardian Fu is right when he talks about incompatiable auras with kwamis.”

I agree.” Plagg whines.

Roger Raincomprix or “Rogercop” was able to shoot handcuffs from his forearm blasters and essentially build an army of “law abiding citizens.” His target – because one thing every akumatized person had in common was they had a person behind their anger causing them to transform. Rogercop’s target was Mayor Bourgeois which wasn’t especially surprising because the man honestly seemed like an asshole and Nino and Marinette only saw him that one time when he came to their school and didn’t seem to give a shit about helping Mlle. Bustier welcome his daughter to the school. Which still hasn’t happened yet, and if anyone can pull off an amazing welcome party out of nothing it’s Caline Bustier.

Also, this is hardly the first—or even fifth akumatization caused by the mayor.

Mayor Bourgeois, no longer having the police force – who were all also handcuffed thanks to Rogercop – in his corner fled to his helicopter hovering above the city with his butler.

André pats his face with a handkerchief as he looks out the window, “oh Jean, all of a sudden I’m debating whether or not to bring in Audrey here. The city has gotten quite dangerous lately.”

“With all due respect, sir, Mme. Audrey can take care of herself.”

“Yes, I know. But can you imagine her akumatized?” André shudders, “it’s terrifying to think about!”

Ladybug and Chat Noir jump on their helicopter’s rails and climb inside. “Ladybug! Uh, Ladybug’s teammate.” Marinette sighs, “have you stopped that terrible—”

Nino holds up a hand, “we’re gonna need to use you as bait.”

“You—what?!”

“Rogercop is surrounded by the police and his handcuffed citizens, he’s barricaded himself into Le Grand Paris and we need you to get him out.”

“B-But what will happen to me?”

“Nothing.” Marinette pats him on the shoulder, “you’ll be good.”

The mayor looks around, “where is the illusion hero? Can’t they create another me to use in my place?”

“Sorry, no time.” Marinette replies hauling him up. “We need to do this now.” Then she extends her baton and jumps out of the helicopter.

Nino pats the butler’s shoulder, “get to a safe distance.” He tells the pilot then yo-yos away.

“Oh.” The butler says snapping his fingers in disappointment, “I should’ve taken a picture for M. Adrien...”

When they arrive at Le Grand Paris, Rogercop is waiting outside for them. “Ladybug and...” He shakes his head as the butterfly outline appears on around his eyes, “no matter. You are all about keeping Paris safe yet you’d willingly protect André Bourgeois knowing he is hardly above using the law for his personal gain?”

“You’re right. He’s absolutely vile. Scum of the earth, truly.”

“I know you’re supposed to be playing along but that hurts.”

“Quiet.” Marinette hisses, elbowing him.

“Hand over the mayor and your Miraculouses.”

“How could you obey Hawkmoth, you think he’s any better than the mayor?” Nino asks, “he’s using you for his personal gain.”

“I—” The butterfly outline shines brighter. “Don’t listen to them, Rogercop. Who gave you the power to stop anyone breaking the law by any means necessary?” “Hawkmoth is allowing me to do what is necessary. Punish those who break the law.” He holds out his forearms, “and by aiding the mayor, that means you too.”

“Of course we could never handle this the easy way.” Nino sighs.

“Quickly Rogercop, before the others arrive. Get their Miraculouses!” Rogercop fires his handcuffs and it catches Nino’s right wrist and Marinette’s left. “Nicely done.” He hears Hawkmoth’s laughter rattling around in his head. The cat’s Miraculous is the ring but where the hell are Ladybug’s? Think. What the hell did the book say?

Nino and Marinette look down at their joined wrists, “this will make using cataclysm difficult.”

“Not if we move together. Aly—uh, Rena has been talking about practicing synchronized movements.”

“Sounds interesting. Don’t know if this is the best place to put it to the test but.” Marinette lifts her arm bringing Nino’s up with it, “now is as good a time as any.” The claws come out of her gloves. That little attention to detail along with the little padded gloves made her think whoever designed these outfits was really into realism, for magical talking tiny animals. Guardian Fu never mentioned how the uniforms came to be or if they changed every cycle or with every Miraculous holder like the transformation phrases did. She activates her cataclysm and her left hand starts glowing black. “You want the mayor so bad? Catch!” Marinette lobs the mayor in the air and as Rogercop jumps up toward him; Marinette and Nino jump up toward Rogercop. It’s hardly synchronized but they’re moving well enough together to have Marinette hit Rogercop in the chest with the cataclysm.

His entire suit turns black then almost instantly turns to dust. Their handcuffs not only break, but every other handcuff breaks as well. Nino opens the side of the yo-yo; it turns into a net then he uses it to catch, purify, and release the akuma. Lastly, Marinette catches the mayor before he hits the ground.

“I’m so glad it all worked out.” Then the mayor faints as Marinette and Nino fist bump.



“Nooroo. Dark wings fall.” Nooroo spins out of the brooch panting, “don’t tell me you’re out of energy again?”

“I’m—I’m sorry, master. It’s been a while since I’ve been active that I—”

“I’m not interested in your excuses, Nooroo. Take some biscuits from the table and recuperate. I’m going to check on the house’s progress.” As the man leaves the room, Nooroo sighs then slumps to the floor.

The man exits the secret door in his study and adjusts his tie so it’s hiding his brooch. Once he leaves his study completely, the contractors working on the hallway nod to him as he makes his way to his son’s room. “M. Agreste, while we have you?” The interior designer approaches, “I found the space to fit in an extra arcade game if we downsize the bed to queen.”

“How many arcade games can you fit if the bed remains a king?”

“Three plus the pool and foosball tables.” The interior designer gestures to the corner, “the desk can go there. Maybe some hanging lights. And for the bathroom, I was thinking a bathtub shower combo?”

“Yes. The combo is a good idea. And keep the bed a king.”

“Of course. And in case he has friends over we’ll be throwing in surge protectors free of charge. Also, all the latest gaming systems are hooked up to the flat-screen that we’ll mount on the wall across from his bed.”

“Can we add a second television and split up the gaming systems?”

“Ooh. Nice.” They jot it down on the notepad, “we can put the second television across from the bathroom.”

“May I ask why there?”

“In case your son wanted to take a bubble bath and watch television.”

The blond nods slowly, “I... see. Very well. I’m leaving the designs in your creative hands.”

“Oh no. You’re the creative one, M. Agreste. You inspired me to become an interior designer. I will personally make sure your house is renovated to perfection.”

“Excellent. I expect nothing less.”

“Now the time table—”

The blond holds up a hand, “take all the time you need. Yes I’m eager to have my son back home with me but it’s better to do the job perfect at a slower pace than rush and risk ruining anything.” The interior designer nods.

“Sir?” As he leaves the room, his assistant – Nathalie – falls into step with him, “I assume you saw the news?”

“Yes but I don’t know why the mayor threatened to fire the police chief in the first place. Make sure you find out.” Nathalie nods. “All things considered, I must admit it was rather amusing seeing André thrown several feet in the air.”

Nathalie hands him a box of plain biscuits. “I’ve already stocked the fridges and pantries with Adrien’s favorite foods.”

“Adrien.” The man stops walking and frowns. “My son better not have been the reason why the police chief was akumatized.”

“Why would Adrien be involved?”

Sighing, the man begins walking again. “André is supposed to be looking after him, remember?”

They exchange a glance, “Gabriel, with all due respect, the man is incapable of looking after his own child. Why on earth would you put him in charge of yours?”

Gabriel hands Nathalie back the box to massage his temples. “You’re right. I have no idea what I was thinking. Trusting André Bourgeois of all people with the most important person in my life? Get him on the phone, Nathalie. If any harm came to Adrien there will be hell to pay.”

Chapter Text

The renovations to the manor were finally complete but if you ask Gabriel, it happened too fast for his liking. According to Nathalie, Adrien’s been animatedly talking her ear off about finally attending public school. Had the renovations gone on longer he could continue to delay Adrien living here full time which meant he could push back his enrollment for school.

Unfortunately, if he did that there’s no telling what his son would do. Adrien was antsy from the get-go for the past month-and-a-half, letting him go on longer...? Gabriel doesn’t even wanna think about it. André said Adrien stopped letting his tutors enter his hotel room at Le Grand Paris. It’s only a matter of time before his son snuck out of the hotel and headed to the school on his own. Again. Assuming he hadn’t done so more times than the two times André informed him of. Adrien could be quite slippery when he wanted to be; plus, he inherited his mother’s stubbornness.

Before Emilie’s death, the three of them traveled the world while Emilie did her acting gigs, Adrien did his modeling gigs, and he designed their outfits. With Emilie gone, it was only fitting and incredibly bittersweet the two of them returned to the last place they all called home. Adrien was only a toddler the last time he saw Paris so accommodations had to be made to his room to suit a teenager. But had he known Adrien would hit his rebellious phase he wouldn’t’ve put so much damn effort into putting everything a teenager could ever need into a bedroom.

Nathalie had found the perfect bodyguard for Adrien but Gabriel didn’t expect any less. Still, she’s been putting in far more work since Emilie’s death. He might have to force her to take a vacation before she burns herself out.

Speaking of burning oneself out, Gabriel sighs as he looks at himself in the mirror fingers idly tapping against his shirt. If only he could’ve found a kwami with more stamina. Nooroo wasn’t good to him or anyone weakened or dead and he’ll never be able to bring Emilie back to life without at least one other kwami in his possession when he finally gets his hands on the kwamis of creation and destruction. He was tempted more times than he could count to use Duusuu but the book stated using a damaged Miraculous is ill-advised and could cause unforeseen consequences. The only way to fix Duusuu’s brooch was to take it to the Guardian but there’s no doubt he’d know what it is and wouldn’t bother returning it. The book also stated contact with the kwami of destruction is the only way a Miraculous could be damaged.

This is the second time he had to let Nooroo recuperate and quite frankly it’s getting tiresome.

Someone created a blog for Ladybug and her associates and aside from annoying the hell out of him because it constantly features his defeats, it offers no useful information about their Miraculouses. The group of Miraculous users can’t be any older than twenty, there’s no way one of them won’t just slip up. Especially since they’re letting fans take pictures of them. Even though almost every picture featuring them is grainy. Perhaps that has something to do with kwamis not showing up in photographs?

Gabriel checks his watch, Nathalie told him a half hour ago they were on their way. While he would’ve liked delaying Adrien going to school a bit longer, he did miss having his son around. It’ll hardly be the same without Emilie but there isn’t anything he can do about that yet.

He adjusts his tie then heads to the steps to wait for his son.

Less than five minutes later, the front door knob turns and Adrien comes barreling in with rolling carry-on bag. Everything he owned safe for a few articles of clothing was brought ahead of him. Fortunately, before Emilie’s death she was shooting a film in Marseille so they weren’t too far from Paris and it didn’t take that much to move all their stuff here.

Adrien nearly drops his bag as he sees the portrait of Emilie hanging above the staircase. Gabriel has multiple portraits of her in his studies where he’d see her every day all the time; it serves as one hell of a motivator. Nathalie is the one who insisted on having this portait placed here. She figured Adrien would appreciate seeing her every day too.

The smile on Adrien’s face lets Gabriel know Nathalie once again made the right call. Adrien’s eyes land on him and his smile widens. “Hey dad.”

“Hello Adrien.” Right. He isn’t just doing this for himself. It’s for Adrien too. Emilie’s the one who put the idea in his head to attend public school, and Gabriel just now realized the fact that Adrien has been so insistent is to honor her.

Adrien looks around the foyer in awe. “This place is huge. Chloé will love it here.”

“Wait. I’m sorry? Chloé? Why does her opinion on where we live matter?”

Adrien walks over to the staircase with a sheepish smile. “Because she’ll be living here too?”

“Come again?”

“You already know Chloé’s coming to Paris because her dad wants her here.” Gabriel nods slowly. That’s the bullshit André tried to feed him. He just wants her face to appear every bit of the family man he isn’t. Why else would he have booked her a flight months after he already became mayor? The press has been relentlessly asking for photos of the perfect family and Gabriel knows for a fact the most recent picture of Chloé André has is the picture of her and Adrien when they were both three years old. “Well, the two of us talked about her needing a change of scenery and a safe space she’ll never have living with her parents.”

“And you offered that haven to be here?”

“Come on, dad. Where else is she gonna go? She doesn’t have anyone else.”

Gabriel forces a smile. He adores Chloé – not nearly as much as Emilie did – but that girl seems to be bad luck personified and it merely stems from hitting the shitty, homophobic parent bingo. However, with Chloé here Adrien will be less inclined to disappear alone. At least he’ll always have someone looking after him when he inevitably slips out of his bodyguard’s line of sight. Gabriel lost track of how many bodyguards quit because they felt this job was unreasonable. “Did you talk to Chloé’s parents?”

“You really think they’ll disagree?”

Gabriel lolls his head from side to side, “if André needs to keep up appearances it’ll be good for him to have his daughter under the same roof.”

“It’ll also be good for him to know where his daughter is.”

“Valid point. I’ll talk to them but like you said they probably won’t take issue with it.”

🦋

“Oh Gabriel!” Audrey swoons, “that dress is beautiful but did you really need to show me it now? There’s a six hour time difference between us.”

“Well...” Gabriel puts the sketch down, “I wanted to talk to you about Chloé.”

“Then you heard what she did?”

“No? What did she do?”

“She dyed her hair black and went full-on goth!” Gabriel laughs until Audrey thrusts her phone in front of the computer screen. On the phone is a picture of a girl with long black hair wearing an all black pants-suit with a clip-on (at least he hopes it’s a clip-on) nose ring and raven shaped earrings.

“Huh. You know, it looks good.”

“I know it looks good! That’s beside the point!” She growls tossing her phone somewhere off screen. “All the other models have mother-daughter spa days with their daughters I can’t join in because of my child’s...” She grimaces, “proclivities. I’m terrified of what she’d do around all those beautiful girls.”

“So it’s okay for you to think of other women as beautiful but when Chloé does it, it’s wrong?”

“Of course it’s wrong! I’m objective, Gabriel. I can see a beautiful woman and not be attracted to her!”

“I see. Let me ask you this thing: would you be terrified if your son was around beautiful girls his age?”

“Of course not, and at the same time I wouldn’t be bringing my son to mother-daughter spa days.” She sighs, “why wouldn’t I have given birth to a normal child? I don’t think that was too much to ask for. Just one genetic non abnormality. I never should’ve listened to André when he said we should have kids.”

“Chloé isn’t an abnormality, Audrey.”

“The hell she isn’t! And her being attracted to women is just one abnormal thing about her.” She pinches the bridge of her nose, “but I got off topic. What did you want to talk to me about?”

“Adrien suggested Chloé live with us.”

“In your fancy newly renovated manor? Sure, if you can put up with her, she’s all yours. I’d book her a flight on the next damn red-eye if I didn’t need her here.”

“What, dare I ask, do you need her there for?”

“Ever since André ran for mayor he had this fool notion of all of us living there.” She shakes her head, “when he actually won we had to officially move to be ‘the perfect family.’” She rolls her eyes. “I told him there’s no way in hell I’m canceling photoshoots to play a housewife. And it made no sense to enroll Chloé into school just to yank her out in less than two months so she’s been my assistant.”

“You don’t tell people she’s your daughter?”

Audrey laughs. “Why would I? With her newfound penchant for hair dye she’s unrecognizable. No one would even think for a second she’s related to me let alone my daughter.” Gabriel sighs, “what? This way she’s free to flirt and fuck around with whomever she wants as long as she does what I need her to do first. It’s a damn good trade in my opinion. You have no idea how many times that little bitch has shamelessly flirted with not only all the women in the hotel staff but every girl that comes through the hotel doors!” Audrey exhales deeply through her nose, “and I’ve lost count of how many times I caught her making out with another girl out in the fucking open. Who would’ve thought there were so many people like that here?”

“Flirting is one thing, Audrey, but every girl she’s been with has been close to her age right?”

That is your main concern?”

That and if she’s been smart about who she locks lips with. She’s at the age—”

“Lord give me strength.” Audrey sighs heavily, “she’s had all her shots, don’t worry on that front. I wouldn’t have her around otherwise. And don’t worry about ages either, the oldest girl showed me her ID she was only sixteen and the youngest was thirteen. I should’ve known there was something off about that girl when she was more interested in having matching wedding dresses than having a wedding itself.”

There’s a knock on the door. “Hold on, Audrey. Come in, Nathalie.”

The door opens and Gabriel turns around in his swivel chair to see Nathalie standing there with her tablet in both hands. “Boss, Chloé has just been accepted into the same school as Adrien.”

“Great.” Audrey replies with absolutely no enthusiasm.

“I figured you would be thrilled not to have to fill out the paperwork, Mme. Bourgeois.”

Audrey sighs again, “I suppose. Did you talk to André about all this?”

“He visited the school quite some time ago but didn’t actually register Chloé for the school.”

“Typical. What’s the name of the school?”

“Collège Françoise Dupont. It’s the closest school in the area and one of the best in the country. If nothing else, Adrien will be happy to count a familiar face among his classmates.”

Audrey’s eyes narrow, “he set this up, didn’t he? I know they’ve been talking on the phone almost every night.”

“If you prefer, Mme. Bourgeois, I can recommend the closest all-girls school in the area.”

“You will absolutely do no such thing!” Gabriel sees the door open behind Audrey and Chloé comes in the frame and even the low lighting in the room can hide the fact that her hair is bright pink. If it’s only 5pm over here it’s still the morning over there. As the door shuts, Audrey turns around and screams. “What the fuck did you do to your hair now?!”

Chloé rolls her eyes, “relax, mom, I didn’t do anything, it’s just a wig.” She squints then runs over to the laptop. “Hi, Mr. Agreste!” She waves with both hands, “how’s Adrikins?”

“He’s fine, just impatiently awaiting your arrival.”

Chloé giggles. “I can’t wait to see him, I can’t wait to see Paris either.”

“Nathalie?”

With a nod, she takes out her cellphone. Chloé waves, “hi, Ms. Sancoeur!” Audrey notices the small but sincere smile on the blue-haired woman’s face as she returns the wave. If only Chloé used her charm for good, or at least manipulation purposes on someone other than André.

“What did you—Chloé!?” Adrien walks in the room then runs over to the laptop and braces himself against Gabriel’s chair. “Your hair’s pink!” Chuckling, she takes the wig off and removes the wig cap then runs a hand through her blonde hair with lavender tips. Audrey screams. “Oh. Hi, Mrs. Bourgeois.”

“Audrey.” Gaping, she turns to Gabriel. “It’s been over a year. Why don’t we give them time to catch up?” With her mouth still opened, she nods then shakily gets up and gets out of the screen. Nathalie, Gabriel, and Adrien hear a door slam then Audrey shouting behind it.

Gabriel gets up from his chair then motions for Adrien to take his vacated seat then he and Natalie head toward the door. “Chlo, it’s so good seeing you.”

“You too, Adrikins. You’re gonna show me around Paris, right?”

“You know it. I haven’t been around all that much myself though. I mean, I only just came to the house a day.”

“Wait a minute. I thought you would’ve gotten there a while ago?”

Adrien shakes his head, “the city? Yeah. I’ve been here a while. As for the house? It was being renovated. It finished up a couple days ago so I moved in officially yesterday.”

“Where were you staying if your house was being fixed up?”

“In ‘your room’ of your dad’s penthouse suite.” Chloé shudders and sticks out her tongue in disgust. “The room was okay but not really to your style. Dad said he’ll talk to your parents about having you stay with us.”

“About that? You sure you want me in your space, Adrikins?”

“What? Are you kidding? Of course I do! I missed the hell out of my best friend. It’s been too long since we were even in the same time zone let alone hung out together.”

“Your best friend misses the hell out of you too.” Adrien grins at her, “but hanging out and living together are two different things.”

“Would you prefer the alternative of living with your parents?” Chloé grimaces. “Didn’t think so. Besides, it’ll be easier for us to head to school together.”

“What is it with your obsession of public school anyway? I can speak from personal experience and tell you it’s not all that great.”

“That’s only because you never attended public school with me.” Chloé fondly rolls her eyes, “it was my mom. She—She never attended public school and wanted me to...to...” Frowning, he trails off.

“I miss her too.” He offers her a sad smile. “That was the last time we saw each other, right? Her funeral?”

“Yup. Hardly the best time to catch up too.” Chloé nods.

“Hey. What if you meet someone? Your parents met in Paris, right? Wouldn’t it be weird if you met your future spouse here too?”

“Yeah but weirder things have happened.”

“That’s for sure.” Chloé laughs.

Adrien leans back in his seat. “I think it’ll do you some good to be in one place. I think it’ll do both of us good. And we’ll have each other. The worst part about being away from you was me not being able to do anything about you being miserable.”

“Now I can be miserable in your proximity. Isn’t that great?”

Adrien barks out a laugh, “never change, Chlo.”

“Don’t plan on it, Adrikins.”

Audrey throws open the bathroom door and stomps toward Chloé, “you thought I was exaggerating? Look, André. Is this an exaggeration!?” On the phone screen, André gapes. “Say something! This is your child too!”

“Oh—Oh my.” André sops off the sweat from his brow with a handkerchief. “Chloé, Angel, is that permanent?”

Chloé raises an eyebrow at him, “it could be.” André proceeds to pat himself with the handkerchief a bit harder than before. “Do you two mind, I’m kinda doing something.”

“Adrien. I’m begging you. Help my child. Influence her so she can be half as sweet as you.”

Adrien smiles sweetly at Audrey, “no promises, Mrs. Bourgeois.” Chloé laughs.

🦋

Cabin Fever – noun – a condition that produces restlessness and irritability caused from being in a confined space.

Adrien’s left eye twitched as he stared at the game over screen on the arcade machine. Nathalie registered him for the school and gave him the okay but failed to mention said school was on autumn break until November 5th.

With a groan, he slumps against the machine. He’s not sure how much more of this he’s supposed to take. It’s only Wednesday. And he has no idea when Chloé is set to arrive. Every day he checks the incoming flights because André gave him a vague sometime this week when he asked. He also asked Nathalie because she’s omniscient but no one (presumably deliberately) informed her so she told him she’d get back to him with the information.

Sighing, he walks over to his bed and gracelessly flops face first on it.

When his phone rings, he blindly feels around for it and when he finally manages to grab it he slowly turns his head toward the screen barely registering the name and number staring back at him. It takes his brain a few seconds to reboot before he hits the talk button, putting it against his head the way it’s angled isn’t really working so he just puts the damn thing on speaker and places it on the bed. “Hello?”

“Hey man.” Nino’s cheerful voice greets on the other end. “Catch you at a bad time?”

Adrien stares at the clock on his desk, beside the picture of his mother, that reads 10:42am. “Nope.” If he hadn’t experienced his first bout of cabin fever at Le Grand Paris he never would’ve wound up lost which resulted in him not only meeting Nino and Kagami but finding out the city had a group of animal themed superheroes. After the first trip where he bought Chat Noir at Kagami’s suggestion, he went back and bought the remaining three plush dolls faster than he had any right to then he bought all four action figures; even though the cashier repeatedly told him they rarely all appear at once and the main two were Ladybug and Rena Rouge.

Though he wasn’t a big toy collector growing up he did read his fair share of comic books and it always seemed like the person in red was the leader. Ladybug was no exception. Her outfit was just a giant ladybug complete with fucking antlers attached to her helmet. By all rights it should be ridiculous to look at but she made it work. In fact none of their outfits should’ve worked and yet they did. Chat Noir’s outfit was the plainest as it was just an all black catsuit – no pun intended. Rena Rouge’s outfit was slightly less ridiculous than Ladybug’s but just about as ridiculous as you’d think a giant orange and white fox would be. Carapace’s outfit was the coolest in Adrien’s opinion, the patterns, the various shades of green yet wasn’t flashy like the others and the hood was the best part.

There were costumes of them that almost replicated the real ones. After a five minute debate with himself his second time in the shop, Adrien grabbed those up too.

He may have taken pictures of himself in them and saved them on his flashdrive then uploaded them onto his computer.

“I heard some kids were getting together at the park to show a play about Team Miraculous.”

“Team Miraculous? Is that what they’re calling them?”

“Hawkmoth keeps talking about stealing their Miraculouses and those are what they get their powers from.” There’s the briefest bit of silence before Nino clears his throat, “I mean, if he keeps talking about them. They must be what gives them their powers, right?”

Adrien saw artists renderings of Hawkmoth’s outfit because no one has seen him in person, just the purple butterfly mask hovering over his victim so people just based his outfit on that. It was the one action figure Adrien had no problem passing up. “Well you’d know better than me.”

Nino laughs, somewhat awkwardly. “I don’t know man, secret identities and all that. A-Anyway, you wanna see it with me?”

“Sure!” He tries and probably fails to sound too eager. But the chance to hang out with Nino and leave the house? It’s too good to pass up. “What time is it?”

“Noon I think?”

🦋

Gabriel’s in his second study when he sees Adrien walking down the stairs. Unlike his main study, this one has a clear view of the main staircase.

Before she left, Nathalie told him she was looking into the Bourgeois’ flight information for Adrien who had been in his room since yesterday afternoon. The room had everything safe for a refrigerator so Gabriel expected him to make an appearance before this afternoon.

“Adrien.”

Upon hearing his name called, Adrien looks around then when he spots the opened door to the study he walks inside and looks around. “Yes?”

“Going somewhere?”

“Yeah. My friend Nino called. There’s a Team Miraculous play in the park.”

Right. He heard about this Nino person but haven’t met him. Considering he helped Adrien get home, Gabriel can’t find fault in him – or he wouldn’t if the boy hadn’t introduced his son to “Team Miraculous.” Were they seriously calling themselves that? All they needed were “heroic poses.”

“I see.” He adjusts his tie, “do you plan on heading out alone?”

“To meet Nino? Yeah. It’s just in the park I don’t need a ride.”

Chloé can’t get here fast enough. “Okay.”

“Dad, come on! I—wait!” Adrien does a double take. “Y-You said okay?”

Gabriel nods. “Go. To the park. Then come back when the play is over.”

“What if we’re getting something to eat afterward?”

Gabriel hums. Valid question. Emilie would be proud. “Just inform me? I need to know you’re safe.”

Adrien gives him a thumbs up. “I’ll text you when I get to the park and if anything comes up before I get back.”

“Thank you.”

“Anytime.” As if being summoned, his bodyguard emerges in the doorway and Adrien side steps him. “Do you wanna see the Team Miraculous play too?” With a nod, the man turns around and follows Adrien out the door. Unlike his previous bodyguards, Adrien actually seemed to like this one. Not even Nathalie could’ve predicted this outcome but it often meant Adrien didn’t treat him like a bodyguard, more like a friend. Oh well. At least Adrien was being looked after.

Pushing his chair back, Gabriel rises from his seat and heads to his first study. He locks the door and takes the brooch out of his pocket and puts it on his shirt and puts his tie over it. Nooroo slowly spins into existence and looks around. “Oh.” He bows, “g-greetings, Master.”

“Nooroo, I need an akuma to watch over my son.” Nooroo lifts his head to stare quizzically at him. “Is that outside your power of transmission?”

“N-No. It’s just an odd request.” He clears his throat, “Master.”

“There are going to be lots more odd requests when it comes to my son. He’s the only thing I have left in this world until I can revive Emilie. I would do anything to assure his safety.” If he was allowed a second wish, it would be that. Maybe he can word his wish in a way that revives Emilie and keeps both her and Adrien safe from everything.

Gabriel walks over to the window and opens it in time for a butterfly to fly inside. Nooroo’s hands start glowing and he flies over to the butterfly and touches it, it then turns purple and stops flapping its wings. “Follow Adrien Agreste but don’t make your presence known.” Gabriel commands. The butterfly flies out the window and Gabriel shuts the window behind it. “Now. Stay here. I need to work on several designs and my deadline is tomorrow. Inform me the moment something is amiss with my son.” Nooroo nods and Gabriel unlocks the door and leaves, closing it behind him.

Nooroo sighs heavily then flies over to the window and leans against it. Freedom is so near yet so far. The only way he’d truly be free is if Gabriel severs his ties or dies. His eyes land on the biggest picture of Emilie Agreste in the room. He knows Gabriel keeps the book in there. If only he can let his son know or the bodyguard. There’s also the assistant but he’s certain she knows what Gabriel’s doing and supports it.

Given the opportunity, Nooroo knows many people would jump at the chance to bring a dead loved one back to life but using other people’s pain to bring yourself closer to it no longer makes it a noble cause, even if it’s solely for his son’s benefit. Which Nooroo doubts. Adrien’s stuck in this place, same as him. Only he’s been stuck with Gabriel far longer and will continue to be stuck with him long after Nooroo is no longer useful to him. There has to be a way to communicate with him. Ah. An akuma! This might be his only chance to get a wing out the door. Gabriel isn’t watching his every move. Taking a deep breath, he communicates with his akuma.

🦋

Nino blinks up at the large man standing beside Adrien. “Uh, hi?” The man waves at him.

“This is The Gorilla.” Nino’s eyes flick down to Adrien. “He insisted on me calling him that.” The man nods and Nino nods in response, because what else can you do when standing in front of a man who could crumble your entire body like you do to a piece of paper you no longer need? Adrien claps his hands together, “anyway, let’s find some seats!” The man—The Gorillapleasantly follows behind Adrien and Nino is just in awe as he follows behind The Gorilla.

There are seats lined up in the park and Nino realizes there’s no way that man is fitting in one of them. The Gorilla taps Adrien on the shoulder and jerks his head toward the tree. “You think you’d be more comfortable there?” A nod. “Okay. We’ll head there too.” Nino wordlessly follows along because what could he say to that?

There are some kids who are heading toward the tree too, they take one look at The Gorilla and make an immediate about face. More space for them then. The Gorilla grunts and next thing Nino knows he’s sitting on a tree branch with Adrien in a branch higher than him. “W-What just happened?”

“You didn’t hear me asking you if this was okay? We can see the play much clearer from up here.”

“I guess I zoned out.” He looks down at The Gorilla looking up at him before the man nods then looks ahead.

“It’s okay.” Adrien sprawls out on the branch.

“You aren’t worried you’ll fall?”

“Nah. I’ve been climbing trees since I was a toddler.”

“Nino?” They look down at the girl with the blue hair in twin tails staring befuddled at them. The Gorilla turns to her and the girl squeaks and her purse rattles at the motion even though the rest of her body doesn’t move.

“It’s okay, dude, she’s a friend.”

The Gorilla nods then offers the girl a shoulder. When Nino and Adrien nod at her she nods at him, then he puts the girl gently on his shoulder and she climbs on the branch beside Nino. “This won’t break, will it?”

“Nah. It’s fine. Trees are more durable than we give them credit for.”

“Right.” When she looks up at him, Adrien sees the spark of recognition in her eyes. Maybe if his face wasn’t plastered on billboard all throughout the city or if he donned a disguise or took a page of out Chloé’s book and picked up a wig he wouldn’t be as nervous as he is now. Thankfully, the girl doesn’t say or do anything to give him away and leans up to extend a hand. “I’m Marinette.”

Introducing himself is pointless but he does so anyway. “Adrien.”

“Didn’t think you’d make it.”

Marinette gives Nino a pointed look Adrien almost misses. “Are you a fan of Team Miraculous too?”

“Team Miracul—oh. That’s a real thing now?”

“You didn’t see the blog Rose made? It’s a real thing.” Marinette pinches the bridge of her nose “I heard Alya set it up for her but didn’t wanna run the blog herself.”

“Alya? That’s the girl you—”

Anyway!” Nino interrupts shooting Adrien a glare, “glad you made it.”

“Yeah. Should be fun.” She looks up at him and Adrien can’t help smiling, then she smiles back at him. His mother used to tell him he inherited her charm. It helped with his modeling career; he just hopes it’ll help him make more friends. “What school do you go to, Adrien?”

“I’m supposed to be heading to Collège Françoise Dupont when the school gets out of autumn break.”

“Hey, man, you didn’t tell me that. We both go to that school. Who’s your homeroom teacher? Ours is Mlle. Bustier.”

“I, uh, don’t know who my homeroom teacher is. I guess I’ll find out when I get there?”

“Well, either way. I’m glad you’re here. Most of the kids already know each other because we’ve been around each other for years. If you have a few familiar faces your first few days won’t be so scary.”

“Thanks, Marinette.”

“Don’t mention it.”

Adrien takes out his phone to text his dad. He still can’t believe he actually let him go. As a kid dressed like a giant badger addresses the forming crowd a purple butterfly lands on Adrien’s hand.

Marinette looks up and screams, “akuma!” Nino looks up and hell the entire park looks up at the tree then next thing Adrien knows the butterfly disintegrates into his hand and full-blown panic ensues. People on the ground are running around screaming. Nino’s dangling from the branch and The Gorilla is trying to reach him. Meanwhile, Marinette looks bewildered at him, or specifically his hand. “N-Nothing’s happening—”

Her eyes widen and Adrien can feel something cold swirling around in his body, numbing it. “Adrien Agreste.” A voice calls out to him. “I am Nooroo, and we have much to discuss.” His body moves of its own accord and he crouches on the branch, he can hear Marinette yelling as he leaps from the tree onto another and another until he’s jumping on rooftops.

Marinette gapes as Adrien disappears from view. Regaining her composure, she looks around for Nino who is now safely on the ground. The, uh, rather large man offers her a hand and helps her out of the tree. “T-Thank you.”

He pats Nino on the shoulder, “uh—? Y-You want us to find him?”

He shakes his head. “I think he wants us to be careful.” A nod. “Don’t worry. We will. We’re gonna find shelter. You should find somewhere safe to, uh, hide too. There’s a good chance something is coming.” Another nod. Marinette nods to him then grabs Nino by the forearm as they run out of the park.

“Oh man. Tell me I didn’t see what I think I saw when I was hanging from that branch.”

“Hawkmoth made away with Adrien but that akumatization was different from any other I’ve ever witnessed.”

“It’s only been about two days, right? Maybe Nooroo’s not up to full strength yet.” Marinette frowns, “what about Alya? Should we tell her what happened?”

“Yeah. She has Tikki. She was gonna swing by the park to surprise everyone after you told us about the play.”

Trixx pokes their head out of the purse, “meanwhile I’m stuck in purse duty.” They sigh, “Tikki better not be getting too cozy in my relaxation spot.”

“Alya’s hair isn’t a relaxation spot, dude.”

Trixx scoffs, “says you.” They fly on Marinette’s head, “it’s nice but not nearly big enough.”

Marinette brings them to an empty alleyway. “Let’s pounce, Trixx.”

Nino takes off his hat and Wayzz yawns and stretches. “What happened?” He asks sleepily.

“An akuma made off with Nino’s friend Adrien. We have to find him.” Marinette replies, decked out as Rena Rouge.

Wayzz turns to Nino wide eyed. “Shell on, little buddy.”

🦋

“Oh dear.” Nooroo turns around seeing Duusuu playing with her cracked brooch, “that wasn’t what you expected at all, was it?”

“Anyone would scream seeing an akuma so close.” Nooroo sighs, “imagine what I’m being reduced to in this cycle. My akumas used to be something people revered.”

“What are you going to do to the boy? His father won’t be thrilled about this.”

“You let me worry about—” Nooroo cringes at the staticy buzzing coming from his mouth. If only they were able to speak the name of their partner out loud to anyone. Well, not like Duusuu cares about what’s happening. That crack’s messing with her head and personality. Nooroo internally cringes at the long gash extending from her forehead to across her left eye all the way down above her mouth. If a Ladybug is around, then there must be a Guardian who can fix Duusuu; or maybe even Ladybug herself can fix Duusuu. It’s been so long he’s more than a little hazy on the details.

Duusuu phases into the wall behind the picture of Emilie and phases back out with the book in her hands. “He’ll know it’s gone.”

“Luckily I see everything my akumas see. I know there is a way to have the book without physically having it.”

Duusuu tilts her head at him, “how?”

“Follow me up to the roof and you’ll see.”

They fly up to the roof in time to see Adrien land on the roof. “He’s adorable. Not like his father at all.” Duusuu giggles. “You are just full of surprises, Nooroo dear.”

Adrien looks around. Unlike the people his master took to using, Nooroo had no interest in using Adrien’s emotions against him. Hell, he wasn’t even gonna akumatize him if that girl hadn’t screamed. He honestly can’t remember the last time someone was akumatized but didn’t transform into something. “How’d I get up here?” He looks down at Duusuu and Nooroo, “and what are you?”

“I’ll explain everything but I’ll let you know there are going to be little lapses in your memory.” Duusuu puts the book in Adrien’s hands, “you need to copy every page of this. It’ll be of great help to Team Miraculous.”

Adrien takes out his cellphone staring at the unsent text to his father, and minimizes the window to open the camera app. “You’d better hurry~” Duusuu sing-songs, “I no longer sense the other kwamis~”

“Which means they’re on their way.”

“Shall I distract them?”

No. It’s too risky.” Duusuu pouts at him. With a sigh, Nooroo turns to Adrien. “I’m Nooroo and this is Duusuu. We’re kwamis—”

“Magical creatures with magical powers.” Duusuu interrupts waving her hands around. “There are four other kwamis active in this cycle but as you can see from the book there are dozens more.”

“If this book will help Team Miraculous then why don’t they have it?”

Duusuu flies up to Adrien’s face, “because Hawkmoth got it first. I know it’s gonna be tempting but you can’t tell anyone about where you got the book from. There will be trouble for us – especially Nooroo – if you did.” Adrien nods.

“I won’t tell a soul. But just answer me this? Team Miraculous and Hawkmoth all have kwamis of their own, right?” They nod, “and somewhere in the city is a ‘Guardian’ with dozens more inactive kwamis? And you need to gather as many active kwamis as you can to make your greatest wish come true? But it’ll more than likely use up a kwamis powers or just flat out kill them?”

“You read all that in under a minute? Humans are much more fascinating in this cycle!” Duusuu pats him on the head, “such a precious angel. You can help out in defeating Hawkmoth in your own way.”

“How can I do that?”

“Duusuu!”

“What? He’s not my partner. Hawkmoth is your father, dear.” Adrien blinks at her. “In case you hadn’t realized, we’re on the roof of your house.” Adrien looks around and gapes in recognition. “We took the book from your father’s study behind the largest portrait of your mother.”

“W-Why would my dad do this?”

“Because his greatest desire is to bring your mother back to life.”

“Y-You can do that?”

The pure hope in his voice breaks Nooroo’s heart. They both shrug, “no one has ever used the wish – not in all the cycles I’ve been alive and active. There’s always been a ‘Team Miraculous’ or something akin to them to prevent something like that. But every cycle there are some of us turned away from our comrades by selfish people—” Nooroo does a double take and frantically waves his arms, “not that I’m saying your dad is selfish or anything!”

“No. He is. So selfish. He could be hurting you—and all those people he akumatized. They’ve been in pain until Team Miraculous freed the akuma from them. How could he think mom would want this?”

Duusuu pats him on the face. “Love has always been a selfish motivator. It’s how I got cracked and buried in discount bargain bins for countless cycles until your dad found me. But even he locked me up until he could find a more suitable partner.”

“Is there any way you can be fixed?”

“Yes but it’s not likely. You’d either get this cycle’s Ladybug or this cycle’s Guardian to fix me. However, even I am not certain how. I have only ever witnessed one other kwami’s Miraculous being cracked and it was nowhere near as bad as mine.”

“But how did you even get cracked? The book said Miraculouses are almost indestructible.”

“Try going several rounds against Plagg and you’ll rethink that statement. Only the kwami of destruction has the ability to, well, almost destroy a Miraculous. Even holding himself back, Plagg can be quite dangerous.”

Nooroo sighs, “not that Plagg knows much about holding himself back.”

Duusuu taps her chin, “though that has me wondering which other kwamis besides Tikki and Plagg are active.”

“I think I saw Trixx but I could be mistaken.”

“Trixx!” Duusuu gasps, “that’s who was cracked.”

“Right.” Nooroo chuckles, “I bet it’s difficult having Trixx and Plagg working together. Oh and I do know I’ve seen a turtle so that means Wayzz. And I briefly felt some of our other friends but I’m not sure who.”

Duusuu hums, “this certainly is troublesome.”

“I copied all the pages onto my phone.” Duusuu nods at him then grabs the book and flies through the roof. “Whoa.” He looks at Nooroo, “now what?”

“Now what indeed. I’m going to try and return you to the park and release the akuma within you. You’re gonna have to fight off the negative emotions you’re feeling though.”

Adrien takes a deep breath, “it’s kinda hard knowing your dad is responsible for—”

“I know but I’ll never get the akuma out of you if you don’t and you’ll transform into a personification of your anger.”

“Okay, I’ll try.”

🦋

Roger sighs glancing at his daughter in the rear-view mirror as the car comes to a stop at the stop light, “I know it’s a lot to ask on short notice but as this is the mayor’s daughter coming to town, I was hoping you could befriend her?”

Sabrina looks up from her phone at her father, “yeah, okay.” Then she looks back at her phone.

“This’ll be good for you too. I’m not all that fond of that Lila girl you hang around.”

“What if the new girl is like her father?” Roger grimaces but thankfully the light changes. Sabrina looks out the window seeing a boy jumping on the rooftops. She scrambles to open the camera app and record what she can before he disappears from sight. Furrowing her eyebrows, she replays the short video and hums. A member of Team Miraculous training? She zooms in to get a better look at the boy and gasps. His side profile looks like the supermodel Adrien Agreste. His pictures appeared all over Paris practically overnight several weeks ago. When the first billboard went up Lila screamed. Then there was the sign by the park that was set up in a way where you could take pictures with him. Lila and a couple of other girls from their school put the pictures they took with “Adrien” as their wallpapers

It’s gonna be such a disaster when school gets back in session and he’s a student there.

The car stops and the door opens and Juleka greets and thanks Roger then takes the seat next to Sabrina, “hey, what are you—”

As the car starts up again, Sabrina practically shoves her phone in Juleka’s face. “Whoa. Where—” She looks at Roger who isn’t paying them any mind, “where did you take that?” She whispers.

“In here. I saw it just outside the car.”

“Maybe he’s heading to the park. Remember that Team Miraculous play is going on?”

“A supermodel and a superhero? He’s the perfect package.”

“We have to make a stop before heading to the park.”

The next time the car stops it’s at the post office, there’s a blue-haired woman in a suit holding a manila envelope. “Officer Raincomprix.” She greets holding out the envelope toward him. That’s the same serious looking business lady that was getting a tour of the school a while back. As they’re still in the car, they watch the exchange. “This contains the Bourgeois’ flight information.” Roger nods accepting the envelope. “They’ll be arriving on the nineteenth and you are to take them straight to Le Grand Paris.” Before Roger can open his mouth the woman holds up a hand, “in a limousine with warming seats if you can.”

“I, uh, I’ll try.”

Roger drops them both off at the park, grumbling about the mayor as he drives off. There’s a stage set up but no one is on it. “Uh, what’s going on?” Sabrina asks.

A girl dressed like a tree turns to them. “You didn’t hear? Some kid got akumatized before the show could begin. Team Miraculous hasn’t found him yet so we’re postponing the play until they do.” Sabrina and Juleka exchange a glance, “it was weird though. There were no negative vibes. Everyone was getting along well.”

“Did anyone get a good look at who got akumatized?” Sabrina asks.

“No. The kid was in a tree and a girl screamed there was an akuma then the park broke out in panic. I saw the girl who yelled though. Had blue eyes and blue hair in twin tails.”

Juleka elbows Sabrina, “might be Marinette.” Sabrina nods.

“What about Marinette?” Juleka and Sabrina turn to Kagami.

“Wasn’t expecting to see you here.” Juleka says.

“I was passing through when I saw you two.”

“Wait. Did you not get my text about the Team Miraculous play?” Kagami tilts her head to the left, “I... guess not I’m so sorry. I don’t know why I didn’t tell you—”

Kagami clutches Sabrina’s hands, “calm down. It’s alright.” Blushing, Sabrina nods.

“There was an akuma apparently.” Juleka says, “Marinette saw the akuma and alerted the park.”

“She was so brave.” The girl in the tree costume swoons.

“We just got here not even five minutes ago. And just an F.Y.I.? I overheard some serious looking lady talking to my dad about the mayor’s daughter. She might be joining us once school is back.”

“You sound way too excited for that.”

“I can’t help it. It’s been two months since we got Alya, I’m more than ready for some new blood. Plus, Dad wants me to be friends with her. At the very least, I can get into some fashion shows being friends with The Queen of Fashion’s daughter.” She squeals.

“I heard nothing but bad shit about Audrey Bourgeois, Sabrina.”

“Who hasn’t? The entire fashion industry knows she’s a huge bitch, that’s why she’s so famous.” Juleka glances at Kagami and shrugs, “if I can stay on her good side—?”

“Assuming she has one?” Kagami prompts.

“Yes, assuming she has one.”

“From all the articles and whatnot on her the only way that’ll happen is if you’re a fashion designer, which you are not—”

Or I can be a reliable lackey. I get drinks and stuff for Lila all the time and she’s nowhere near as famous as Audrey!”

Juleka shakes her head. “Girl, you need to raise the bar for yourself.”

🦋

It takes every ounce of willpower Adrien possesses to overcome his anger at his father and he feels the akuma leaving his body rather than sees it.

When he opens his eyes he sees Ladybug crouching in front of him. “L-Ladybug!?”

Ladybug wordlessly purifies the akuma before his very eyes before standing up straight. “Are you okay?”

“Y-Yeah.” As soon as he says that he sways a little and Ladybug steadies him. “Thanks.”

Carapace, Rena Rouge, and Chat Noir all drop down behind Ladybug and Adrien gasps. All of Team Miraculous are standing in front of him and his goddamn father is fucking Hawkmoth. “The akuma’s gone.” Ladybug says turning her head to them slightly. “I purified it but it felt different than usual.”

“Different?” The three of them ask. Ladybug nods.

They all turn to Adrien and he gulps.

Chapter Text

In all his years as Guardian and through the tales of every Guardian before his mentor, Fu has never heard of anyone being akumatized – for good or evil – that did not transform into a personification of their most prevalent emotion.

It’s been two weeks since that incident and there hasn’t been not one akumatization.

Nino, Kagami, Alya, and Marinette are all seated on the mat before him. Fu takes a deep breath as he begins pacing, “I know the four of you have not been a team for very long, a little over two months now, but it is time I choose my successor.” He clears his throat, “one of you will be the next Guard—”

“Kagami.” Nino, Alya, and Marinette interrupt. Kagami does a double take.

Fu strokes his beard and nods, “yes, yes. That could work. However, it would mean nothing if Kagami herself doesn’t agree with the decision.”

“Did you not have a choice, Master Fu?”

“I did. And I had my doubts.”

“I-I’m not sure. I’m flattered you all think I’m the best candidate but why not Marinette? Wouldn’t Ladybug be the logical and natural choice and best person suited to be future Guardian of the Miraculouses?”

See!” Marinette points at her, “that right there is why you should be the new Guardian. None of us would think anything like that.”

“You’re selling yourselves short. I believe all of you have exemplary qualifications for a Guardian.” The three of them group hug her.

“Then it’s settled. Kagami Tsurugi, if you accept, I will teach you everything I know about being Guardian of the Miraculous.”

“I will not let you down, Master.” Fu smiles at her. “And thank you all for giving me the shot.”

“And yet...” Plagg leans on Kagami’s shoulder as the others release her, “she still doesn’t have a full-time partner.”

“Perhaps by being Guardian, she’ll find a kwami best suited for her that I overlooked.” Plagg opens his mouth, “no, Plagg. You only wish to be her partner full-time because you have similar natures.”

“Why does Sugarcube get a human hand-carved to be like her while the rest of us have to be content with our opposite? How is that fair?”

“You don’t have to be active at all.” Trixx mocks.

“Unlike you, Dreams, I’m actually needed.”

Trixx laughs loudly, “if you were needed Brie Breath, you’d have a partner.” Plagg snarls then lunges at Trixx tackling them to the ground, “what are you gonna do Plagg, crack me again? Go ahead. Prove why you don’t deserve a permanent partner.” Plagg bares his fangs.

“Enough.” They turn to Kagami, “I see the reason you two are never active in the same cycle. Plagg, get off them.” Huffing, Plagg complies then angrily floats over to Kagami. “As the next Guardian, I give you my solemn vow I will find you a partner.”

“B-But I wanna partner with you! C’mon Gams, we already have proof we’re an unstoppable team. And with you as the new Guardian you have the power to make our partnership official. I doubt either of us will find another partner that gels as well as two of us together.”

Kagami turns to Fu, “why do we make such a terrible team, Master?”

Fu sighs heavily, “destruction is not a power that needs to be amplified. Plagg has a tendency to get carried away—” Plagg scoffs, “and yes you two would definitely be partners if either of you required a matching aura but you are both headstrong and need someone opposite to bring out your potential and other redeeming qualities. Certain kwamis require matches and others require opposites.”

“Besides—” Tikki cuts in, glaring at Plagg, “do you need a reminder of the last time you and your partner ‘gelled together?’ It was citywide destruction from a superhero! Not to mention he nearly got his partner killed!”

“My boy Kuro knew what he was doing. And he only got a few broken bones out of the ordeal.”

“‘Kuro?’ I thought kwamis were prohibited from speaking their partner’s name out loud?” Alya asks. “Trixx starts foaming at the mouth when they try and speak my name. But when we first met they said my name no problem.”

“It’s true. I asked her name and then she said—” Trixx starts coughing and foam dribbles out of their mouth.

Tikki shakes her head, “did you forget? Kwamis can’t speak our partner’s name out loud once both parties accept the partnership. By asking her name you accepted she was your partner full-time.”

“But why was I allowed to say it in the first place?” Trixx rubs their mouth with their hand.

Plagg groans, “because you weren’t official yet, dumbass! It’s why I – who has no partner as your presence keeps reminding me – is able to utter everyone’s name. Marinette. Alya. Nino. Kagami. I have no issue saying any name...” He floats back over to Kagami, “but once we make it official—”

“We got so off topic. Who is Kuro?”

Plagg huffs, “Kuro is short for Kuroneko. It was my previous partner’s handle—superhero name.”

“Which translates to Black Cat.” Kagami says with a hum.

Plagg shrugs. “He wasn’t good with names. He was fun but terrible with names.”

Kagami nods. “How about this, Master: if we can’t find a suitable partner for myself or Plagg the two of us partner up full-time?”

“That’s a terrible idea!” Tikki flies over to Kagami waving her arms in the air. “This is exactly why you two are terrible together. Master Fu is right about destruction needing a gentle hand, it needs to be curbed not spurred on by impulse.”

“I’m aware of my impulsive nature, Tikki, I wouldn’t be a member of the team otherwise.” Tikki frowns. “Master Fu, may I see the Miracle Box?”

Fu nods then retrieves the box from the other room, “as the next Guardian it is a good idea you get acquainted with all the kwamis and their powers.” He opens the box in front of them and takes a step back.

“Let’s see...” Kagami stands and does a headcount on the open spaces in the box, “minus the four active, and four missing there are ten remaining Miraculouses. Everyone pick three and put them on.”

After they do as they’re instructed, the ten other kwamis spin into existence and like a beacon they float over to Kagami. “Guardian Fu, what’s happening?” Roarr asks.

“I am introducing you to the next Guardian.” He gestures to Kagami, “some of you have already met her but this is Kagami Tsurugi.” The kwamis look at her in awe.

“It’s a pleasure to meet all of you.” They happily surround Kagami.

“She’s a natural.” Marinette whispers to Alya who nods in agreement.

“It’s been a while since the last akuma attack.” Kagami states, “we know Hawkmoth is using this time to come up with something. Coupled with the fact that Nooroo was recuperating because of over usage. Something big is on the way. Long story short? We need to be prepared. We might even need to call in some extra help.” The kwamis all cheer.

“Maybe the kid who smells like lemongrass and oats knows something? No one gets akumatized and just stands there. I speak from experience. That shit twists inside of you when it’s been used for evil.” Plagg folds his arms over his chest.

“How do you know what he smells like?” Alya asks.

“We still smell stuff when we’re synced with our Miraculouses. Just a heads up.”

Alya nods slowly. “O-kay. Do any of you guys know who Oats and Lemongrass scent is?”

“His name is Adrien.” Nino replies. “He just came to Paris and is supposed to be in our school.”

“He’s grounded.” Kagami adds. “Apparently my mother is friends with his father. She took us over to the manor the other day. M. Agreste is the reason we moved to Paris in the first place.”

“Should we send him a fruits basket to thank him?”

Kagami chuckles, “I wouldn’t. Like attracts like. Gabriel Agreste is a real hardass. Probably not as much as my mother but—” She shrugs, “there it is. He grounded Adrien for not contacting him during the play. I’m guessing he doesn’t know Adrien got pseudo-akumatized that day.”

“It didn’t really make headlines. The only people who know are us because we were there and, obviously, Adrien as it happened to him.”

“But people saw the akuma fly into his hand.” Nino protests.

“Thanks to me.” Marinette says with a sigh, “but he disappeared from sight. No one would’ve known he didn’t transform into anything.”

Kagami brings her hands together. “Then we need to pay Adrien Agreste a visit.”

🐵

Adrien thankfully didn’t have to stay long under the scrutiny of Team Miraculous’ helmeted faces. The team seemed to come to a unanimous albeit silent consensus regarding him, then they escorted him to the park and thanked all the performers for making a play about them. Several performers fainted once they made contact but all in all it wasn’t a bad day. (Akumatization notwithstanding.)

By the time he got home, however, his father was pissed he never texted him. So Adrien spent what was supposed to be his first day of public school at home because he was grounded.

The only saving grace was Nathalie slipped him Chloé’s flight information on his way back to his room.

It seems he’ll have to wait another two-and-a-half-weeks to be reunited with his best friend, while simultaneously being grounded.

The last time he got grounded, it lasted until the move here. His father was always reclusive but after his wife died he got (much, much) worse. Adrien lost track of how many commercials and photo shoots had to be relocated so they were close enough to his father in the past year. It was his aunt who thankfully talked her brother-in-law out of keeping them both locked in a hotel in Marseille to do all the photo shoots and commercials until his dad returned to Paris.

Adrien only had slightly more freedom staying with his maternal aunt and uncle for a few weeks.

He spent the last two weeks after the day of the play in his room flitting from arcade machine to arcade machine to his computer to his phone; only leaving his room for mandatory family meals. It was hell. Pure, unadulterated hell. Particularly as his father wasn’t any more talkative than normal for the past week. They just ate together in pensive silence. Nathalie wasn’t even there to fill in the awkward silence. But that would’ve been one hell of a job way too big for her. Way too big for anyone, except maybe Chloé.

It reminded him of the last family meal they had together with his mom. There was a minor disagreement between his parents about the location of his mom’s latest movie so the three of them were eating together in silence with his parents constantly sending glares at each other.

Adrien wouldn’t be surprised if his father wanted to resurrect his mom just to continue their argument.

Everyone who’s ever met his mother said he not only inherited her looks but her stubborn personality.

He has to wonder if his mom was aware of the existence of kwamis and Miraculouses before her death? What if her death was linked to it? His mother always had an interest in the supernatural and magical; something she made sure to instill into him.

As he’s getting ready for yet another day of doing nothing, his father opens the door. Being in here for a whole two weeks, Adrien’s cleaned the room from top to bottom several times. He even reorganized his bookshelves in every which way before finally settling on placing them by genre. But it was his mother that was more obsessed with cleanliness than his father. It may have only been about a year but it feels like he’s been so much longer without her. Or maybe it’s because he’s not used to just being with his father without his mother hovering close by?

She wasn’t perfect but she was definitely the lesser of two evils compared to his father; much like how Chloé’s father is slightly less homophobic than her mother. All in all? Not great – not even remotely – but compared to their partner they might as well be achieving sainthood.

“You know I worry about you, Adrien.” He’s tempted to roll his eyes but he refrains as he turns to his frowning father, “when you hadn’t contacted me...” He sighs, “the pessimist in me figured something bad happened. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I lost you too.”

Adrien sits up, “you made it perfectly clear that I’m not going anywhere, dad.”

“Everything I do is to protect you. And there you go ahead with your horrible habit of exacerbating the drama of the situation for no reason.”

“No reason? I was supposed to start school two weeks ago but you took that away from me. And even if I called that day, you would’ve found some way to keep me here.”

“How am I supposed to trust you when you break your word?”

“I could say the same for you.”

Gabriel’s eyes narrow, “what’s that supposed to mean?”

“You never let me do anything because everything is ‘too dangerous’ for me. Yet you expect me to learn and grow from all the mistakes I make when I’m never given the opportunity to do so. You keep saying you’ll ease up and let me be a teenager but here I am, again, cooped up in a room under your watchful eye.”

“I’m doing what’s best for you.”

Adrien laughs bitterly, “you can keep telling yourself that, dad, but don’t expect me to take it at face value.”

Gabriel sighs then walks over to the bed and sits on it, “I didn’t come here to fight with you, Adrien. And if I’m being honest, I’m surprised you hadn’t found some way to sneak out of the house.”

“There’s no point. You made sure everything I could ever need is in this room.”

“But clearly it isn’t enough. The one thing I can’t give you in this room is the human interaction you crave. From your peers.” Gabriel adjusts his glasses, “okay. Here’s what’s gonna happen. I will allow you to go to school and make a conscious effort to ‘ease up’ and give you a little space.”

Adrien raises an eyebrow, “and?”

“‘‘And?’ And what?”

“What do I need to do? There has to be a compromise on my end.”

There’s a small smirk on Gabriel’s face that disappears as quickly as it appeared. “All I ask in return is you do the best you can in school, like you would with your tutors. Don’t get into any trouble. Let your bodyguard take you to and from school. And contact me at least three times a day.”

“Two.”

“You’re seriously trying to negotiate?”

“Dad, I’m not gonna be able to use my phone in school. Chloé said so—” Well, if anyone would know it’s the girl glued to her phone, “the only times I’d be able to use my phone is possibly during lunch and some sort of study hall thing.”

If there’s one thing Gabriel can count on for sure it’s that Adrien’s never lied to him, and he hopes that’s something that’ll continue. “Okay. Twice a day. And when Chloé arrives, I’ll hold her to the same standard. Though I wouldn’t hold my breath on her not getting into trouble.”

“Thank you, father, I’ll do my best.”

“You should. Know that this is a privilege I can easily revoke if you don’t hold your end of the deal.”

Adrien nods, “I know.”

Gabriel nods, “good. I love you, son.”

“Love you too, dad.” With one final nod, Gabriel gets up then leaves the room closing the door behind him.

Adrien sighs and flops back on the bed. He might have very well signed his own damn death warrant. Thankfully it’s Sunday so – if all goes well – he’ll be starting school tomorrow.

There’s a tapping on his window and he sits up to see the members of Team Miraculous each hanging in one windowsill waving. Gasping, he scrambles off his bed and runs to the window Carapace is leaning on. There are bars over all of them so unless they have stretching powers they’re not getting in and he’s not getting out.

Carapace slowly signs R-O-O-F at him then points up.

Adrien nods then the four of them simultaneously jump up and he can’t help but swoon a little. As soon as he opens the door Nathalie is on the other side, “y-yes?”

“Uniform.” Adrien’s eyebrows furrow, “Collège Françoise Dupont wears uniforms. You can get them from any uniform store or the school itself. Your father told me to make sure you have the uniform and a spare and to get Chloé’s uniforms as well.”

Adrien nods slowly, “I’ll do that!” Nathalie blinks at him, “what? I’m more than capable of doing this simple task by myself.”

“I know you are.” Her eyes narrow, “but I also know when you’re planning something.”

“I haven’t been out of this room in two weeks. I’m obviously planning to do a little sightseeing before I have to spend more time in this room.”

Nathalie hands him a black credit card. “Just be careful?”

He thanks her and accepts the card, “always am~” She fondly shakes her head then leaves his room. It takes him about fifteen seconds to change his clothes, grab his phone and wallet, place the card in the wallet, and leave the room. “Bye! I’ll be back.” Then he’s out the door before he gets a response.

He makes sure he’s away from any of his father’s studies and all the windows before he looks up. “There you are.” He jumps at least a foot in the air as he comes face to face with Rena Rouge. “C’mon. Let’s hit the rooftops.” He nods wordlessly and allows her to scoop him up in a princess carry and head to the roof of the closest building that’s not his house. (She smells incredible. Like cinnamon and apples.)

The rest of the team jump rooftops to join them. “If this is about what went on the other day, I’m not sure what happened.” He can’t just tell them his father is Hawkmoth, even if that makes him complicit to every future akumatization that happens in the city. He needs to be smart about this. Get some more information before just blurting everything out. Whether he likes it or not, he’s playing the long game. “I’m sorry.”

Ladybug puts a hand on his shoulder, “don’t be. We’re still trying to piece together what happened because it’s very unlikely it was Hawkmoth behind your akumatization and it’s almost guarantee what happened to you will never happen again.” Adrien nods fervently, “you need to be careful. We think Hawkmoth’s kwami – Nooroo – tried reaching out to someone and got you. He might try to contact you again.”

“W-What should I do?”

“Do whatever you can to help.” Carapace replies, “he’s being used against his will. Everyone needs someone or something to confide in.”

“I’ll do whatever I can to help.” Chat Noir approaches him and holds his hand out and there’s an ear piece in his open palm.

“These are linked up to our suits.” Ladybug explains, “if you remember anything at all or if Nooroo tries contacting you again, let us know—”

“Just don’t do it when he’s contacting you. It might scare him off.” Rena Rouge adds.

Adrien cradles the ear piece in his hands, “thank you and I’ll be extra, extra careful.” They nod at him, “now, um, do you guys know the closest uniform store?”

🐵

It wasn’t a lie – not really. He didn’t know how he got akumatized or why and certainly doesn’t know how he managed to keep his emotions in check after the bomb Duusuu dropped.

The next day The Gorilla drop him – in his newly purchased uniform – and Nathalie off at school a half-hour earlier than the school day is supposed to start, yet there are a handful of students in the hallways chatting.

He fit the ear piece he got yesterday securely into his bag. Nathalie is walking him to the office with her tablet in her hands; there’s no doubt in Adrien’s mind his dad is glaring at his tablet back home, in his second main study, waiting to be connected. Nathalie glances at him and he grins up at her unable to hide his excitement He’s never been inside a school before, not even for a photo shoot! It’s so surreal! Even more surreal than chatting with Team Miraculous yesterday.

When he spoke to Chloé yesterday at the uniform store, she basically gagged at the uniform before proclaiming she’ll fix it up to suit her standards when she gets here. Adrien just hopes it fits her, Chloé could’ve very well grown in the past year; unlike him.

The secretary guides them to the principal’s office door which is closed and they can hear voices yelling on the other side. He and Nathalie share an uneasy glance until the door flies open and a bespectacled grey-haired woman storms out of the office muttering under her breath. Following behind her with absolutely no enthusiasm, are a pretty purple-haired girl with an eyebrow piercing over her visible eye and a pretty blue-haired guy with a snakes bite piercing under his lip. And the only reason Adrien even knows what the latter is called is because Chloé sent him an image of it yesterday and told him to picture her with it. He can’t. But Chloé did get a tongue ring and bellybutton ring (without her parents knowledge), so she’s capable of anything at this point.

When Adrien locks eyes with the blue-haired guy, he gets a wink that makes him blush.

The principal leans against the doorway panting when Adrien turns back to the door. “Mme. Agreste, come in.”

“N-No, I—” Nathalie clears her throat, “I’m not—”

“Forgive my rudeness, Ma’am, but at this point I’m far too worn out to care. Just come in so we can get whoever this is to you settled in.” She glances at Adrien who shrugs before they get up and enter the principal’s office.

The man closes the door behind him then walks to his desk and takes a seat in the chair behind it. Before he can open his mouth, the door opens and a redhead rushes in hastily looking around. When her eyes fall on Adrien, she straightens up then walks over to the desk and stands beside the principal’s chair smiling warmly. “I apologize if you were waiting long.”

“They just arrived, right after my weekly screaming match with Anarka Couffaine.”

“Oh...?” At the principal’s nod and heavy sigh, the redhead clears her throat, “I’m Caline Bustier. I’m assuming this is Adrien?” He nods. “I’ll be your homeroom teacher.” She shakes Adrien’s hand then Nathalie’s. “I look forward to having you in my class, Adrien.”

Adrien blushes slightly and nods. Generally, the only time adults are nice to him is when they mention his mother.

“I’m Nathalie Sancoeur, M. Agreste’s personal assistant.” She boots up the tablet and after a few seconds of the connecting call screen, his father’s expressionless face pops up.

“You must be Adrien’s homeroom teacher. Gabriel Agreste.”

Mlle. Bustier smiles and waves at the tablet, “Caline Bustier. Nice meeting you, M. Agreste. Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to get to know Adrien and have him in our class.”

“I... yes, well...” Gabriel clears his throat, “thank you for having him.”

“It’s my pleasure.” Mlle. Bustier extends her hand toward Adrien, “if there’s nothing else, I’d like to give Adrien a tour of the school before classes start.”

“Yes, of course.” The principal agrees. “Go ahead.”

Adrien takes the hand and gets up from his chair, once they let go Mlle. Bustier puts a hand on his shoulder and they leave the principal’s office. Before Mlle. Bustier closes the door behind them, Adrien hears his father’s voice but isn’t really paying attention to what is being said.

Mlle. Bustier shows him around the whole school in the span of ten minutes, explaining everything of significance in detail.

The last stop on the tour is her classroom. When Adrien peeks through the doorway he sees two students inside already sharing the desk in the back. “If you’d like you can come in now to get a feel of the room. Or you can wait until class starts in about eight minutes and enter then.”

“Uh, I’ll come in now.”

Mlle. Bustier nods then walks in the classroom heading to her desk. She erases the blackboard then starts writing on it. As Adrien looks around, the two students get up from their desk and walk over to him.

“Hi. I’m Myléne.” The girl introduces, “and this is my boyfriend Ivan.” The big guy gives a little wave, and his other arm is on his girlfriend’s shoulder. They make such a cute couple! “Welcome to Collège Françoise Dupont.”

“Thank you. I’m Adrien.”

“Since you’re early we should warn you about some of our classmates—”

Myléne elbows him in the leg, “he’s joking. Everyone in our class is great.” Ivan makes a vague noise of disagreement beside her.

“You know what? You’ll see for yourself and if you need any inside info, we’ll help you out.”

“Okay. Where do I sit?”

“It doesn’t matter. Mlle. Bustier is gonna reassign our seats when everyone gets in anyhow.”

“She does it every few weeks to foster positivity and fang moving everything around to give you energy sort of thing?”

“Fang? Oh! You mean Feng Shui.” Myléne nods. “That’s cool. You get to find out something new about your classmates every time you sit next to them.”

“What do you mean?” Myléne asks.

“Maybe there are things you never noticed about your friends when you casually sat next to them as opposed to having to sit next to them and actually staring at them for however long class is.”

Myléne hums, “never thought about it that way.”

Ivan chuckles, “I bet Kim doodles.”

“So do I.” Myléne giggles in agreement.

Slowly over the course of the next six-and-a-half minutes the rest of the class starts trickling in. Ivan gestures for them to head to the front of the classroom where everyone else is lining up. The class collectively turn in his direction as he heads down the aisle behind Myléne. He should’ve walked behind Ivan so they wouldn’t see him.

He recognizes Nino and Marinette but everyone else is unfamiliar to him. (Huh. He thought Kagami was in their class as well. Wasn’t that what she told him when they saw each other the other day? And the only type of “peer interaction” he had over the course of the past two weeks – excluding Team Miraculous, assuming they were even peers – was supervised by Nathalie and any attempt at actual teenage related interaction aside from school based questions were shut down by a raised eyebrow.)

“Alright.” The class turn to Mlle. Bustier behind her desk. “I’m sure most of you have already noticed our newest student. We’ll get to know him a bit better once we’re all situated.” She puts a finger to her chin then starts pairing everyone off.

Adrien gets put next to Nathaniel who takes a sketchbook out of his bag and puts it over his notebook; they’re seated in the second row on the left side of the classroom. As Adrien looks around the classroom he notices everyone else getting settled in. He counts fourteen other people in the room excluding the teacher.

Marinette and Myléne are seated in front of him. Nino’s on the other side of the classroom, a few rows behind, next to a kid who takes off their red hood.

Someone taps him on the shoulder and he looks back at a smiling brunette, “hi! I’m Lila.” She extends her hand and he has to turn slightly to shake it. “If you need anything. Anything at all. Don’t hesitate to ask. Okay?”

“Okay. Thanks, Lila.”

“Everyone situated?” The class murmurs the affirmative. “Great!” She beckons Adrien over and he stands then makes his way to the front of the classroom. “Why don’t you introduce yourself?”

Adrien nods, “Hi. I’m Adrien Agreste. Um. Yes, Gabriel Agreste is my father. I’ve never been in public school before and I look forward to getting to know all of you!” There are various coos from his classmates. Even Mlle. Bustier is looking at him with “heart-eyes.”

“Thank you, Adrien.”

The door opens and the purple-haired girl he saw earlier walks in. “Uh...” The class looks at her and she blows out a breath, “sorry I’m late, Mlle. Bustier.”

“No worries, Juleka. Hmm...” She scans the room, “ah! Have a seat next to Rose.” The class now turns to the blonde seated by herself in the back of the class, behind Nino and the black-haired kid.

With a shrug, the purple-haired girl—Juleka—hoists her backpack over her shoulder then makes her way to the back row. Lila taps her on the way there and makes a vague questioning gesture at her eyebrows. Juleka has a small brief smile on her face as she shrugs and goes to her seat.

Juleka takes a deep breath as she unceremoniously empties her bag onto her desk. Rose taps her on the shoulder beaming, “I like the piercing. It’s so you.”

“Uh, thanks.” Rose continues to beam brightly at her for a few seconds longer before looking away. Juleka takes another deep breath then frowns at her desk. She picks up her bag and upturns it but no pencils or pens fall out. Great. She glances over at Rose who has about a dozen different colored pens in an open pencil case. “H-Hey—” Rose looks over at her with those damn big blue eyes, “don’t suppose I can borrow a pen...?”

“Sure.” If possible, Rose’s smile is wider than before. “Choose whichever you like.”

Juleka picks up the pink pen and thanks Rose before opening her notebook.

As Mlle. Bustier gets on with whatever they’re learning today, Juleka props up her chin with left hand.

🐵

It’s a fairly warm afternoon in November, so Principal Damocles allows them to eat outside. Juleka’s certain her class only eagerly agreed was because they could crowd the new kid from angles. Lila certainly didn’t waste any time.

If Kagami weren’t absent, she’d at least have someone to eat lunch with. Juleka sighs. Oh well. She could always call Kagami. Or text. With the majority of the class preoccupied by the blond, even going so far as to share their lunches with him, Juleka finds a nice shady spot under a tree then leans against the tree. “Juleka?” Her eyes snap up to see Rose leaning forward staring at her with concern evident on her pretty face. “Are you alright?” Juleka nods wordlessly. “Do you mind some company?”

Juleka gestures for her to sit and she does, “not interested in mobbing the new kid with the others?”

Rose giggles, “I didn’t even get the chance to say hi! How come you’re not trying to mob Adrien?”

Adrien. So that’s his name. “Not my type.”

“Pretty sure he’s not Ivan’s type either but that’s not stopping him.”

Juleka chuckles, “got me there.” Rose giggles again. Since they’re gonna be sitting next to each other, Juleka might as well get a bit more comfortable around her. It worked when Mlle. Bustier put her next to Alix, and Max before that.

Alya comes over to them sighing, “maybe I need to go back to the eye doctor because I just don’t see what the fuss is about.” Rose presses her pointer fingers against her cheeks. Alya tilts her head in confusion.

“Dimples.” Rose clarifies.

With an understanding nod, Alya sits on Juleka’s other side. Kim quickly joins the growing group not even five seconds after Alya did. “This is a surprise.” Alya taps her chin, “you’re the first to swoon over dimples and objectively pretty faces.”

Kim laughs, “I know, right? Don’t have a problem with his face but...” He shrugs, “not really doing anything for me.” He sits down next to Alya, “I’d be happy to start swooning over you again if you’d like.”

“Not sure when you stopped but I’ll keep that in mind.” She holds out her hand to him and he kisses it, “you smooth fucker.”

“Only for you, Mademoiselle.”

“Um...” They look over at Rose pointing at the blue-haired guy merrily making his way toward them, “do any of you guys know him?”

“No but I wish I did. Damn.” Alya silently nods in agreement, “he’s way hotter than Adrien.” At Juleka’s sigh, they look at her. “You don’t even think he’s objectively hot?”

“Considering he’s my older brother, not even objectively.”

“B-Brother?!” Kim looks dumbfounded briefly then he physically shakes out of his stupor, “why am I surprised? The half of your face we see is hot. Only natural any relative of yours would be hot too. Oh and by the by, digging the eyebrow jewelry. Really suits you.”

Juleka blushes and barely mumbles out a thanks before her brother stops in front of them beaming. “Heya Jules. Hey Jules’ friends.” Kim, Alya, and Rose wave. “Name’s Luka.”

“I-I’m Rose, this is Alya and Kim. I love your piercings!” She squeals.

“Thanks. Jules helped me decide on them. I was gonna get a septum ring but she said this suited me more.”

“It does.”

“Does Rose have a piercing kink?” Juleka whispers to Alya who shrugs.

“If she did I wouldn’t blame her.” Kim whispers back.

Alya elbows him, “hey, have you spoken to Alix?”

“No. I tried going over there last week but her dad wouldn’t let me in. Said he didn’t want me to catch Alix’s cold. I’d be okay with that if that were the end of it but last time Alix got sick enough to be forced to stay home he let me see her. Man, if he brought some ancient exhibit back to life and had it infect Alix I’m gonna be hella pissed.”

Rose and Luka are happily chatting about piercings when Max makes his way over to the group. “Huh. Who’s the tall guy?”

“Juleka’s big brother. Objectively hot, right?” Kim waggles his eyebrows at Max who shakes his head.

“Objectively hot, I agree.” He sits down next to Kim, “have you got in contact with Alix? I went down to the museum yesterday to try and find out something from Jalil and he didn’t tell me anything. I think something is seriously wrong.”

“Kim thinks their dad infected Alix with an exhibit that came back to life.” Alya teases.

“It’s been known to happen! Remember that movie where the museum came to life at night? Who’s to say that doesn’t happen here?”

“Museum, museum...” Juleka taps her chin, “oh. Luka.” He turns to her, “didn’t you say something about an exhibit opening up at Louvre you wanted to check out?”

“Yeah.” He nods excitedly, “there’s supposed to be a new Team Miraculous exhibit opening up soon. Or maybe it opened up already?”

“We should check it out.” Alya suggests, “we might be able to find out what happened to Alix while we’re there.”

“Count me in. Learning more about Team Miraculous and making sure Alix is still kicking is the basic definition of a win-win. I mean, if her brother and old man killer her, there are plenty of places to hide a body in a museum.”

Max massages his temples, “you’re watching way too many horror films.”

🐵

When he got home and told his aunt he was going to the Louvre museum, she checked him for a fever.

Kim arrives at the museum five minutes before the group decided to show up, and he stopped for snacks along the way. He’s not really surprised when he makes his way inside the building to find Max there looking at another exhibit.

Max spots him and beckons him over while putting a finger to his mouth. Frowning, Kim silently walks over to him. Max points up and Kim gasps at the lifesize Ladybug statue. Or at least he thinks it’s Ladybug. Instead of a helmet there’s a polkadot party mask over her eyes – similar to the Hawkmoth outline that appears over an akumatized person – but there are the signature antennas poking out of her head.

“Why are we doing this quietly?” Max jerks his head to the side where Jalil is cradling his phone.

The two of them lean against the corner, out of Jalil’s sight to listen in. “No improvement?” The way the phone is angled they can see Alix and Jalil’s father’s frowning face.

“None. Did she use it or was it just exposure?”

“I-I don’t know! I didn’t see! We never should’ve given it to her. I’ll...” He takes a deep breath, “I’ll never forgive myself if anything happened to her.”

“Give it time. Alix is a fighter. She’ll be on her feet in no time.”

“‘No time?’ It’s been over a month!”

“Give it time, Jalil. That’s all we can do.”

Max and Kim quietly return to the Team Miraculous exhibit as Jalil angrily hangs up the phone and slinks away in the opposite direction. “I knew it!” Kim hisses, “I knew those assholes did something to her!”

“Yeah, but what? What could she have been exposed to to make her sick enough to miss three weeks of school?” Kim opens his mouth but Max points at him, “don’t say an exhibit that’s come to life.” Frowning, Kim closes his mouth.

“Holy hell, is that Ladybug?” Alya asks taking a picture of the exhibit. The others are behind her also taking pictures.

Oh! Alix’s friends.” The group turns around spotting Jalil approaching with a hesitant smile. “You’ve seen our newest exhibit. We don’t know how old this statue is. My father doesn’t think it’s real but how could it not be? Ladybug exists in the here and now.”

Kim narrows his eyes then folds his arms over his chest, “how’s Alix?”

“Oh you know her.” Jalil looks like he’s on the verge of tears, “nothing keeps my baby sis down for long. Hopefully she’ll be back on her skates before we know it.” Kim and Max exchange a glance.

“What’s with the flimsy mask Ladybug’s wearing?” Alya asks, lowering her phone, “and her outfit doesn’t look all that different from her current one. Just... cheaply made.”

“Well this dates back to hundreds maybe even thousands of years ago.”

“I”m more interested in the rest of Team Miraculous. Why wouldn’t they get exhibits too? They’re just as important to Paris as Ladybug is and she definitely couldn’t do it all alone.” Luka points out.

“Over here!” Rose yells. Everyone goes to the left of the Ladybug statue where there’s a statue of a turtle hero that resembles Carapace without their signature hood. Instead, the shell is on the hero’s head and they have a mask over their eyes as well. To the left of the turtle and almost completely behind Ladybug is Chat Noir also with a mask over their eyes.

“Check it out.” Juleka points down at the smaller statues surrounding the larger ones.

“Aw, really? Is this supposed to be Rena Rouge? Sucks she’s so small compared to Ladybug.”

“Says their name is Volpina.” Alya scoffs. “Everyone has a plaque next to them.” Luka leans forward and squints. “I’m guessing it’s their previous names? Why is Ladybug still Ladybug?”

“I think it’s cool a hero has destructive power.” Max muses, “you never see that.”

“Where did these come from?” Juleka asks.

“They were donated anonymously.” Jalil replies. “Archaeologists believe Kuroneko – whom we now refer to as Chat Noir – and Jade Turtle – now Carapace – and Ladybug were the main team while the others were sort of part-time.”

“I get the whole destruction and creation being opposite sides of the same coin...” Max begins, “but what does the turtle do?”

“Don’t you remember? They have that badass shell that blocks virtually everything.” Kim replies. “I’m guessing blocking stuff helps with their harmony? Really makes the team gel.” Max nods with a hum.

“Excuse me. Excuse me.” A man forces his way over to the exhibit, “There is no historical accuracy in these fantasy pieces.” He snaps his fingers and a dozen sharply dressed men speed walk from all angels of entry to the exhibit to begin picking up the statues.

“Wait!” Jalil cries, “what are you doing?!”

“This is a museum. We’re removing these children’s toys and making space for real history.”

“You can’t do this! This is real history!”

The man harrumphs. “What do you and that crackpot father of yours know about real history, Kubdel?” Jalil’s eyes widen, “let’s go. Hurry up. Hurry up. I want this trash gone by nightfall.”

“Stop!” Jalil pleads grabbing the man who has the Ladybug statue in his hands. He sneers then pushes Jalil aside and continues walking.

“Should we do something? Maybe—” Rose gasps, “akuma!” She screams. Everyone looks up at the akuma that dives into Jalil’s phone. As the butterfly outline appears over his eyes people start running around and out of the museum.

“Oh crap.” Alya mutters.

“Shit.” Kim grouses, he picks up Rose and Max with ease under his arms. “Let’s get the hell out of here, maybe?”

“Do I really weigh nothing to you?” Max yells as Kim starts running with them.

Luka eyes Juleka who shakes her head with her visible eye narrowed, “don’t you even think about picking me up.”

“I’ll go if she doesn’t want to.” Alya hops on his back and they start running with Juleka not far behind.

“Rose, you’re backwards can you see what’s happening?” Kim asks, “fuck, this isn’t as easy as I thought.”

“I’m not that slow, you can put me down.”

“Shut up, dude, I’m doing us all a favor.”

Rose squints then her eyes widen, “he’s turning into a sphinx!”

“What do you mean you’re doing us all a favor?” Alya asks.

“We lose the genius we’re all fucked.”

“Good point.” Kim’s arms give out as they round the corner into the Egyptian exhibits. “Well, this is just a cruel irony.” She thanks Luka as he kneels and she hops off.

“Why didn’t we head to the exit, Kim?” Juleka hisses.

“And miss Team Miraculous in their glory? I think the fuck not!”

“They’re not gonna show up as quick as that akuma did and seriously how did it get here so fast? Does Hawkmoth have the city chipped or something!? Un-fucking-believable!”

“Alya, relax, or you’re getting akumatized next!”

Alya growls thumping her head back against the wall. “Have you guys ever seen more than one akuma at a time?” Max asks, “and didn’t one of those statues kinda look like a butterfly hero?”

“Yup!” Rose chirps handing Max her phone, “I took a picture. They were called Papillon.”

"These names were super unoriginal.” Juleka mutters. “So now what? We wait until Team Miraculous shows up?”

“Seeing as how the exits are now blocked with Egyptian tombs, yeah.” The others groan.

🐵

Fu peers around the corner spotting Alya and her group of friends huddled together. Something told him to bring the individual, miniature Miracle Boxes with him to the “Team Miraculous” exhibit, and he’s certainly glad he did. They were unquestionably easier to fit inside his briefcase than the much larger main box.

At the same time, he obviously wasn’t expecting an akuma attack. (Especially after two weeks of peace. Though he should’ve known better. Kagami was right when she said Hawkmoth would be back sooner rather than later.)

Bringing every inactive kwami in the same place was risky. The same could be said about keeping them all with him at the shop. Whether they’re inactive inside or outside the shop, the amount of risk was the same as the chance of Hawkmoth swooping in – even accidentally – and collecting the lot of them bringing him that much closer to making his wish come true... whatever that wish may be.

Regardless of the dangers, there was no conceivable way Alya and Wayzz could handle this by themselves; particularly as her friends were so close by she wouldn’t be able to separate from them long enough to transform. Not only that but none of the current Miraculous wielders were strong enough to tackle an akumatization by themselves, not yet. Two months is hardly enough time to learn everything about their partner; even more so that they’re continuously switching every few days. Plus, Fu can’t tell the team more about the kwamis if they don’t have permanent partners.

The team is imbalanced without a partner for Plagg, and the bond between the two who have their correct partners isn’t strengthening with the shifts. It’s becoming increasing difficult, scouring the city attempting to find the antithesis for the culmination of all the things that made up Plagg.

He might not have a choice in letting Kagami and Plagg become a full-time team. Kagami was as impulsive and occasionally reckless as Plagg, but she knew when to retreat. Years of fencing taught her when to go for the kill and when to parry. Hopefully, she could instill some of that calmness to Plagg.

Who knows how long it’ll take the others to arrive? As Alya couldn’t contact them without drawing attention. Could he-should he take an even bigger risk activating more kwamis now? According to his mentor, the last time more than five kwamis were active in the same cycle several of them got cracked due to battling against one another. Thankfully, there are more on the side of good than evil but who knows if and when that’ll change. Hopefully it won’t but not even Guardians can predict the future.

The sphinx akumatization lifts every piece in the Egyptian exhibit, “you can’t hide forever!” He growls, “I’ll show you what real history is!”

Fu looks up and sees a sarcophagus heading straight toward him but before it hits him, he feels something—or someone—yanking him out of the way. “Hey, are you alright?” He looks up and sees the tall brunet hovering over him.

“I—” Fu clears his throat, “yes. Thank you, young man.”

“No biggie. I’m on a swim team, I’m used to diving.” Ah. Such a rhapsodic, spirited aura. Fu attempts to sit up but his back twinges in protest. “Ouch. Heard that. Don’t worry, I got ya.” Fu watches everyone dodge the sarcophagi being thrown at them though one lands on Alya locking her inside. Well, there goes Carapace. Or it would if Fu hadn’t seen her pull off her bracelet and toss it out onto the ground before she got locked in. Smart girl. Yes, she’s definitely the best one suited for Trixx’s power.

The tiny blonde picks up the bracelet that lands at her feet and screams when Wayzz fades into existence. (Either Alya’s aim is unparalleled or that was just a strangely well-timed coincidence.) “What is this thing!? It’s adorable.”

The purple-haired girl yanks the blonde out of the way of an oncoming sarcophagus and Wayzz floats over to them. “Hello. I’m Way—” She grabs his head, blowing the hair out of her eye.

“The hell is this thing?”

“I don’t know but let it go, it’s trying to speak.”

Fu can’t see anymore because the brunet carries him to the forgotten history exhibit, “stay here and don’t try aggravating your back further. My aunt’s got back problems too. I don’t think I can get you anything for the pain but—” He stops talking as Fu takes out a portable Miracle Box from his briefcase with jubilation written on top. “Uh—”

“Take it, you’ll need it to help Team Miraculous.”

His eyes widen considerably as he accepts the box. “G-Get outta town! You’re shitting me!?” Fu shakes his head. Taking a deep breath, he opens the box and shields his eyes as Xuppu materializes in front of them.

“Master.” He flies over to Fu, “you’re injured.” Xuppu sniffs around then flies in the brunet’s face, squinting, “what’s this?”

“The hell? What do you mean what?! What are you?”

“I’m Xuppu.” He blows the brunet a raspberry, “kwami of jubilation.”

“Jubi-whatnow?”

Xuppu rolls his eyes, “happiness? Joy? Bliss? Exuberance?” He turns to Fu, “you sure about this one?” Fu nods. “Alright. Pick a transformation and lets get the chaos rollin~”

“What are you—” He flicks Xuppu’s ears, “a bear?”

“I’m a monkey.” He flicks the boy’s ear in retaliation. The boy sticks his tongue out at Xuppu who returns the favor. Oh. Well, maybe Xuppu too requires an opposite aura. He flies into the box and pulls out the circlet, “put this on. Looks like you’ll need it.”

“Is that a tiara? It’s so cool.” He fits the circlet over his head.

“Name?”

“Mine? It’s Kim.” Xuppu nods slowly. “You said something about chaos, right? Then it’s showtime!” Xuppu beams as he flies into the circlet. Fu momentarily forgot how bright the transformation is when the brown light suddenly appears in his face. Once Kim has transformed he looks at himself in awe. “No fucking way!” He giggles as he holds his ruyi jingu bang. “This is so cool.” He gasps, “do I get to meet Ladybug?”

“Easy, infant there’ll be time for that later.”

“Who’re you calling an
infant?”

“It’s what monkeys call their young, duh. Now listen close ‘cause I’m only gonna go through this once. My powers aren’t for just anyone to handle. The chaos I unleash isn’t as devastating as the kwami of destruction but it could be pretty bad if used improperly.”
Kim nods then remembers Xuppu can’t see him because they flew into the tiara.

Kim twirls the ruyi jingu bang, “and they said I couldn’t flag twirl.”

Meanwhile, in the abstract art exhibit Rose and Juleka stared down the tiny floating green turtle. They lost sight of Kim after he tackled that old man out of the way, and Alya and Luka got locked in sarcophaguses. Sarcophagi? Whichever. Max pokes his head out from the tent like exhibit the three of them hid in, “I don’t see anything. But I don’t think we should move just yet.”

The turtle fidgets restlessly at Juleka’s raised eyebrow, “so... what are you and where did you come from?”

“I-I lost my partner in the chaos.”

“And you are Carapace?” Rose asks.

“N-No. I am Wayzz, kwami of Carapace.” He shakes his head. “I mean, kwami of protection and partner of Carapace” He sighs, “I hope my partner knew what they were doing. We need to transform. One of you will have to merge with me and become Carapace temporarily.”

“Ooh!” Rose raises her hand, “I’ll do it!” The turtle drops the bracelet in Rose’s hand. Her eyes sparkle, “what do I need to do?”

“To transform, you simply say shell on.”

Rose takes a deep breath, “shell—”

The flap of the tent opens and Max and Rose hide behind Juleka. “Oh.” There’s a tall helmeted hero in brown none of them ever saw before tilting their head at them. Wayzz blinks at the newcomer then facepalms but it goes unnoticed. “Sup.” They greet, “was hoping to find someone around. Gonna need a little backup.” They have two hexagon shape boxes in their left hand and one in the right. “When this is over and if we’re still breathing, I’m gonna need these back.”

Rose all but thrusts Wayzz in the newcomer’s face, “and will you reunite poor Wayzz with the real Carapace?”

“Uh, sure? Why the hell not? Just pick one already so we can drop a sarcophagus or two on this sphinx-ter.” Max grimaces, Juleka’s eye narrows, and Rose’s head tilts to the right in confusion. “no? Sphincter sounds like sphinx which is—”

Max holds up a hand, “we get it.”

“I don’t.” Rose confesses.

“It’s best you don’t get an explanation.” Juleka mutters.

The hero makes an impatient noise and juts their chin at the boxes, “pick one already?” The boxes all have different symbols none of them can translate so they pick their boxes at random. Rose takes the one on the right while Max takes the one closest to him leaving Juleka with the last box.

Juleka’s box has a brown and white horse that literally pops into existence before them, inside the box is pair of glasses. (And how they fit neatly into a box that small is a mystery.) A grey mouse slowly wisps into existence upside down from Rose’s box which has a necklace. From Max’s box comes a sea green bangle and a sea green snake that fades in existence out of nowhere in front of them.

“Uh, is this a trial run?” The mouse asks.

“It’s a temporary hookup.” The hero replies. “You guys need to come up with transformation phrases, quick.” He peers outside of the tent, “I think the sphinx is still fucking around with the suits so we have time but not all day. This place closes at six.”

Juleka inspects the horse, fluffing its already fluffy hair that makes it preen. “Mmm. I like you. And I love your hairstyle.” They fluff Juleka’s hair. “So fashionable. And the bauble? Adorable!” The hero clears his throat. “Away with you. Do you not have a distraction to cause?” The hero huffs then closes the flap and disappears. “So rude. Where was I? Ah, yes. My name is Kaalki, temporary Chosen. I am the kwami of teleportation. I’d prefer my transformation phrase to make sense. Something space or horse related, please. And you must place the eyewear on your person to transform.”

Juleka nods, “y-yeah, sure. Got it. Space or horse related.” Kaalki nods then extends their hand which Juleka shakes.

“It is a pleasure, dear. May I have your name, temporary Chosen?”

“Juleka.”

“Lovely.”

“So dramatic...” The mouse utters earning a glare. "I am Mullo, temporary Chosen, kwami of...” They whisper in Rose’s ear, “multiplication.”

“Now who’s dramatic?” Kaalki yells with a huff.

“Ooh. Are you temporarily partnering with Wayzz as well? That’s a great idea. We can fuse together.” Mullo puts the necklace around Rose’s neck, as the blonde is still holding the bracelet.

“You know that didn’t bode well the last time. It’s why I never told my Master about it.”

Mullo scoffs, “what choice do we have we’re gonna need you to purify the akuma and if I can amp that up I’m all for it. I have no issue with whatever transformation phrase you elect to use.”

The snake flies around Max’s head, “you seem knowledgeable. I thank the Guardian for our partnership. I am Sass, kwami of hope and my power is called second chance.”

“What kind of power is that?” Max fits the bangle over his left wrist.

“The kind of power that makes you fix our screw ups.” Mullo replies, “doesn’t seem like a very cool power but it is, useful too.”

“I didn’t interrupt your monologue.” Mullo holds up their hands in surrender and floats backwards back over to Rose. “Second chance is not a power to be taken likely. It allows a ‘redo’ of a plan gone haywire.”

“Like I said, fixing our screw-ups.”

“A time loop?” Juleka interjects, “your ability is strangely specific compared to teleportation.”

“It’s why he’s so cranky.” Kaalki whispers, “he doesn’t get used much.” The snake hisses at Kaalki who giggles.

Juleka snaps her fingers as she puts on the glasses, “you said something horse related, right? What about start galloping?”

“Wouldn’t be my first choice—” Is all they let out before they fly into the glasses that immediately shade the lenses brown. There was barely enough space in the tent exhibit for the three of them but Max and Rose gave Juleka as wide a berth as the limited space would allow as she gets enveloped in a light brown light. When the light dissipates a helmet fits itself over Juleka’s head. Wearing glasses under a helmet doesn’t seem like it makes a ton of sense but whatever.

“So cool~” Rose coos, “you said to say shell—”

“Wait!” Mullo clamps a hand over Rose’s mouth, “me first. It’ll work better if you transform with me first. And you must say unify at the end of both transformation phrases to complete the fusion. Understand?” With her mouse still covered Rose nods. Sighing in relief, Mullo releases her mouth.

“Ooh. Let’s get squeaky, Mullo! Then shell on, Wayzz! Unify!” There were two blinding flashes of light one grey and the other green and they both swirled into Rose’s body.

Max sighed. Great. No getting out of this now. “I suppose keeping up with the animal theme, I should say something along the lines of scales slither?”

🐵

The old man – Fu, Kim corrected himself – told him to pick allies he could trust and there wasn’t a person alive he trusted more than Max Kanté. Except maybe Alix but she wasn’t available so Rose and Juleka had to do. After all, Rose Lavillant could do no wrong and Juleka was cool enough to share in some superhero fame. He would’ve gotten Alya as well but he saw the sarcophagus drop on her. Hopefully, she’s just trapped inside and not crushed to death because he doesn’t think Ladybug’s lucky charm could reverse something like that. Not that Ladybug was around to use her lucky charm. That’s why Fu called in the temps.

The sphinx got fed up with him trying to save the suits from being wrapped up like mummies (and Kim honestly can’t blame him, the guy was an ass and more than deserved mummification but temporary superhero and blah, blah, blah, blah). Spinning his ruyi jingu bang to avoid sarcophagi and mummy bandages was tiring out his arms. Just when a bandaged grabbed his leg a horseshoe of all things cut the bandage. Kim looked over his shoulder at the trio.

“Should we pose dramatically?” The weird turtle-rat fusion spoke. There was a jump rope tied along her hip and the shell was on her back and Carapace’s signature hood was down hanging over the shell. There were mouse ears on the helmet and a long tail attached to the back of her suit. (Did turtles have tails? Carapace’s suit never had one like Rena or Chat’s. Or did it?) Her suit was grey in some bits and green in others but it had Carapace’s shell pattern all over but those grey boots were killer.

“Might as well.” The snake replies, “when will we get the opportunity to do so again?” The snake’s suit, unlike the rat slash turtle, was all sea green and has scales covering the entire thing.

The horse shook her head but posed in a Charlie’s Angels esque way with the others. Her suit was all dark brown and she had light brown hair protruding from her helmet and the back where her “tail” was. By all rights, it should’ve been ridiculous but it suited the horse theme and given the fact that Juleka was taller than everyone sans him and Ivan, she was probably best suited to be one of the tallest animals Kim could think of.

“Ooh!” The rat-turtle pipes in as the three of them run over to Kim and shield him with the shell as the sphinx hurls two sarcophaguses at him. They break in two upon impact with the shield, “we need superhero names!”

“I’m gonna go with Pegasus, paying homage to the original name. Or at least the name on the plaque.”

“I want something more edgy, like Viperald ooh or Viperboa.”

For a second there, Kim thought Pegasus was Max and Viper-whatever was Juleka. Pegasus cocks her head at him, “does it have to be Viper?”

“Well, no. There are thousands of different snake breeds.” Never mind. That’s definitely Max. “Perhaps python would work? Asper? Taipan? Mamba? Echis? The possibilities—”

“Not to, uh, cut you off but shouldn’t you be coming up with a plan?!” Kim exclaims.

Max nods, “oh, right. Yes. Of course. A plan.” He nods, “gotta think of a plan.”

Pegasus glances at Rose—uh the mouse slash rat turtle. “Did you think of a superhero name?”

“What’s that mixed animal called? The one that has a bird face—” She shakes her head, “a bird’s wings.” She corrects, “and a tail—”

“You don’t wanna be Chimera.” Max interrupts. “Not making a good mental image.” Rose nods, “now we all saw the phone house the akuma and I’m guessing it turned into his scepter. All we have to do is take it away from him, break it, free the akuma, and have our fusion friend purify the akuma.”

“Sounds easy enough.” Kim replies, “but it’ll definitely be harder than it sounds. Team Miraculous doesn’t even make it look easy.”

“I’m on distraction duty!” Rose cheers. And Kim’s never heard anyone be excited be a distraction. “We need you on reserve Viperegal in case we need the power of second chance.”

“I don’t hate that name but it doesn’t suit the hero.”

“While you’re hiding and covering our asses, feel free to think about the name all you want.” Pegasus grouses. “C’mon Bear Guy, let’s go on the offensive.”

“Sure but I’m a monkey, not a bear. And not just any ol’ monkey. I’m the King monkey. Roi Singe, at your service Mademoiselle.” He takes an exaggerated bow.

Rose giggles, “you remind me of someone I know.” She gasps, “did any of you see Kim? I don’t think a sarcophagi could hold him.”

“He’s as tall as Luka, if one can trap him it can trap Kim.”

“Uh... r-right. He probably got locked in one of the sarcophaguses.”

“It’s sarcophagi!” Max corrects, “let me up uh... pal and I’ll hide.” Rose nods, opening a small part of the shield Max crawls out from. Once he’s on his feet, he bolts into another part of the museum.

Rose flings the shield like a frisbee that weighs absolutely nothing and it brains the sphinx who physically shakes out of his stupor and growls at then. “That was hot.” He and Juleka utter at the same time then look at each other.

“U-Uh, free the people you have trapped you... you.. not nice person?”

Kim shakes his head. “A little more anger would help.”

“Jerk?”

Kim waves a hand, “we’ll work on it.” Rose has a far better handle on her powers than the rest of them – and she had two to content with. If she’s not tossing the shield around, she’s tripping up the sphinx with her jump rope. She’s not a distraction, she’s the whole damn show!

Xuppu’s in his head talking about all the chaos he could unleash. Fu told him Xuppu is the wildest of wild cards even more mischievous than whomever the kwami of destruction is. Kim beats his chest like the monkeys he’s seen at the zoo, “let’s cause an uproar!” Ooh. Damn. That should’ve been his transformation phrase! He bangs his ruyi jingu bang against the floor and howls. Shit from all corners of the entrances start floating around him. Ooh. “Chaos is good.” He smirks.

“What the hell are you doing!?” Juleka—uh, Pegasus—yells. “I thought R—uh—the Cara-Rat was distracting!”

“You wanted an all out offensive, right? My power is chaos.”

“Huh.” Juleka flips the horseshoe in her hands, “wonder what I can do?”

“Uh, temporary Chosen? If I may? You can use the horseshoe to transcend through space. The limits of my power are the limits of your imagination.”

“Good to know.” She looks around the area then gasps, “I have an idea Roi Singe.” She spins around, holding the horseshoe with ballerina type grace then throws what looks like a portal down on the ground in front of them and another portal appears over the sphinx’s head.

“Gotcha!” As Rose is effectively beating the shit out of him with her shell and jump rope combo. With the portal and all the items of the museum at his disposal, they drop everything down on the sphinx. Uh-oh. If Ladybug’s lucky charm isn’t gonna clean this mess up what will?

The sphinx leaps out of the pile and into Rose’s jump rope. Damn that girl is good. Kim has to wonder if she’s secretly Ladybug.

“What are you doing? You’re the one who can purify the akuma!” Juleka yells.

Oh. Right! Come over here please Pegasus.” Sighing, he and Pegasus run over to Rose and hold the jump rope. Just how strong is this girl? They’re struggling to hold the sphinx down and Rose was doing it with one hand! The sphinx is shaking pulling them along, making them lose their footing.

“Whatever you’re gonna do, do it faster!” Wait! Is wielding two kwamis making her stronger than the two of them combined?!

“Do you guys need my help?” Max yells.

“I was consulting Wayzz on how to purify the akuma! And yes, I need your help Viper-guy!”

“Not loving the name!” But Max runs over to her all the same.

Kim and Juleka are sliding across the floor now as the sphinx gains the advantage of their little tug of war. He finally breaks free and charges at Rose who meeps.

“Second chance!” Max yells clicking the bangle back.

“Not loving the name!” Max shakes his head. Déjà vu. Everyone’s in the same position they were in thirty seconds ago before the time jump backward. He nearly breaks stride as he runs toward Rose. “Those two aren’t gonna last much longer.”

Rose nods. “I need my jump rope back to multiply but I don’t know what else we can do to hold him.”

“Release him, I have an idea. Get ready to run guys!”

“You’d better know what you’re doing Viperguy!”

“As I said, not loving the name! Ready? Give us some cover for a sec!”

“Roger that!” As Rose makes a shield high enough to protect them but doesn’t touch the ground, Juleka and Roi Singe (if he heard correctly) release the jump rope that hits Juleka’s helmeted face. Once they run over to them with the jump rope, under the shield, Rose relinquishes the shield then actually starts jump roping in front of them then she splits into two.

“Really? That’s a badass power.”

“Multiplication~” The Roses sing-song in harmony. One is holding the shell shield while the other has the jump rope.

“Does she even need us for anything? I’m pretty sure she can handle it alone.” Juleka muses and the others nod in agreement.

“Of course!” Shell holding Rose chirps, “I’m just the distraction.”

“Bullshit!” The others yell.

“You’re so much more important than a distraction.” Max tells her.

“We’ll distract him, you go for the jugular.” Roi Singe gives her a thumbs up. Jump rope holding Rose gives a two-fingered salute.

🐵

Perhaps they could’ve planned things better. Or planned them at all. According to Max, there were thirty-seven uses of the second chance bangle. Thirty-six intended and one accident when his wrist itched.

Rose handled everything with panache and skill that left them dumbfounded. If she wasn’t secretly a member of Team Miraculous what the hell were they doing with their lives?

Shell holding Rose made a bubble with her hands not even holding the shell to capture the akuma without risk of getting infected herself. Then she closed her hands together and the akuma purified in her grasp. Unfortunately, without the lucky charm the Louvre was still a mess after the purification. Kim attempted to use his chaos the same way he got everything out of their proper place to put it back. It wasn’t perfect, judging by that asshole’s bitching but it was good enough. Juleka also used her portal appearing power to help. Where as Rose and Max helped manually. And the four of them made sure to take extra care of the Team Miraculous exhibit, putting that back to the way it was before the suits started dismantling it.

They had to manually – and by they it was all Juleka – open the sarcophagi and free the patrons. Alya had a strange look on her face once she was freed, but she wasn’t the only one. Countless people were confused, a few concerned at the newcomers. Kim was all for flashy speeches but this was just a temp gig so he didn’t want to get his hopes up more than any “fan’s.”

Once the Louvre was cleaned up to about eighty percent and everyone left since it was way past closing time, Rose, Max, and Juleka dutifully detransformed out of sight and handed the kwami boxes and their Miraculouses to Kim. The three of them thanked him and made their way to the main entrance in time to see Luka exiting.

“Oh shit!” Kim detransformed and stuffed the boxes into his bag and searched the growing crowd for Fu. He overheard a few people talking about the new heroes but he wasn’t paying them any mind. Finally, thankfully he saw Fu exiting the Louvre with Alya of all people.

He waved as Alya made her way to the others and rubbed his no doubt sore back walking in the opposite direction. Kim waited until the others started walking off until he made his way to Fu. “Ah. There you are. You did well, Kim.”

“Thanks. It was Rose, really. She did a super good job. It was terrifying.” Fu chuckles. “You probably want your boxes back.”

“Not here. If I could trouble you to helping an old man one more time?”

Kim laughs, “no trouble at all.”

🐵

Marinette spits out her juice directly onto the television as she sees the news coverage from earlier. There was a short, barely recognizable clip of four new heroes – potentially – battling ...what was that, a pharaoh? Nadja was talking about how much more interesting the city has become in the past two months.

“Are you alright?”

Marinette shakes out of her stupor and stares at her mother’s concerned face, “y-yeah. That was just unexpected.”

“I’ll say.” Sabine muses. “I recognized Alya among the crowd of people.”

A-Alya was there? Why the hell didn’t she try communicating with any of them? Well, obviously not Kagami who was out sick. Or better yet, Kagami would’ve been the best choice! Marinette takes a seat next to her mother as some patrons start talking about what happened. Only one person had the foresight to record most of what happened, as grainy as it was, but the majority of the patrons were either trapped outside desperately trying to look in or were in the Louvre trapped inside sarcophagi. However, everyone saw the new heroes as they were being released from their sarcophagi prisons through portals. And as they watched the heroes attempt to clean up a huge mess after the fighting was done and the akuma purified.

Marinette squints at the television. Holy hell, was that Fu!? She jumps up to her feet and Sabine’s eyebrows furrow. “Sounds like a harrowing experience, I’m gonna call Alya. Make sure she’s alright.”

“Good idea. Tell her I said hello.” Marinette nods then sprints upstairs to her room.

As soon as the call connects she hears Nino’s voice, “Dude, how could you not get us!?”

“Sorry, Bro, being trapped in a sarcophagus didn’t give me a lot of opportunities to move around enough to grab my phone. Hey, Marinette.”

“H-Hey. What happened!? Who was wielding Wayzz!? How did you lose your bracelet?!”

“I didn’t lose it! I strategically tossed it aside hoping Fu was close enough to grab it. I saw him out the corner of my eye as the sarcophagus was towering over me.”

“Are you alright? That sounds like some intense shit that happened.”

“I’m—” She sighs, “hold on, Kagami’s calling. I’ll put her through.”

They hear a cough, “Alya, are you alright? My mother and I are listening to the news about what happened at the Louvre. Lila called me and said you got trapped in sarcophaguses?”

“Pretty sure it’s sarcophagi.”

“Not now, Marinette.”

“Yeah, we—wait. What? Lila? Lila wasn’t at the Louvre. It was me, Juleka, Rose, Kim, Max, and Juleka’s hot older brother Luka. All of us got locked in the sarcophaguses but—” Alya groans, “I’m getting a headache.”

“Huh.” Marinette purses her lips. “Didn’t take Lila long enough to get back to lying. Then again, I’ll honestly be surprised if she ever stopped.”

“But she sent me a clip of the fight. She said she took it.” Kagami coughs then they can hear something cracking in the background, “why would she lie to me?”

“Leopards don’t change their spots, Kagami. And I don’t think it’s physically or even mentally possible for a pathological liar to stop lying.”

“What other lies has she told me that I swallowed down?”

“You have been hanging around me more and more, right? And as a result you’re around her less and less. I dunno. Maybe she feels threatened? Wants to get you back all to herself and Juleka?”

“But why would she even want to do that?”

“Yeah...” Alya clicks her tongue, “you know, for someone who claims to be as straight as they come with an army of male admirers, she seems just about borderline obsessed with you and Juleka.”

“This is just a theory, okay? But hear me out: what if Lila is threatened by you? Both because you’re is easily the prettiest girl in the school and the fact that you can kick everyone’s ass with relative ease.”

“Really, Nino? What about me? Am I not as pretty as Kagami?”

“Oh, Bro. Don’t even go there. You’re both hot, okay? Pineapples and pears.” Alya cackles.

Marinette hums, “that reminds me of what happened last year. Sabrina and I were paired up together on a project so we hung out a lot and I really felt like we were starting to become friends. Keep in mind this was before the big reveal—” Nino snorts but she ignores him, “she somehow got the mayor, principal, her ambassador mom, and Sabrina’s dad somehow involved. Told them all I was a bad influence then Mlle. Mendeleiev put Sabrina with Lila and forced me to work with Kim, who was Lila’s old partner. I mean, I don’t mind Kim and he was more than happy to be away from Lila but still!”

“Okay but what about Juleka? Sure she’s hot but why her?” Alya gasps, “ooh, she’d better not be keeping her around as some kind of gay best friend shit!”

“Hold up.” Marinette interrupts. “Doesn’t that only work if your ‘gay best friend’ is a different gender from you?”

“No.” Alya grumbles, “I was everybody’s gay best friend at my old school. Never mind the fact I’m bisexual. Biphobic assholes.”

“I think we need to talk to Fu, find out what the hell he was thinking not contacting us and activating more kwamis.”

“No. We shouldn’t do that.”

“What? Kagami are you serious?”

“We need more kwamis active. It lessens the chance of Hawkmoth grabbing a bunch up at once. I say we ask him non-confrontationally. Given the situation, I’d say he was well within his right as Guardian to activate whomever he chose without us questioning his decision. After all, it’s what he did for us.”

Marinette groans, “dammit. Damn you and your logical thinking.”

🐵

“Economy class!” Audrey shrieks, “me! Who would make such an utterly ridiculous mistake as to put The Queen of Fashion into an economy class seat yet leave her nobody of a daughter still in first-class!?”

André pats his face vigorously with a handkerchief. He had a feeling he’d need more in the days to come. The Meltdown of Audrey Bourgeois was as international as their flight. Adrien sent him a link to the viral video (and he’s not sure how he feels about that).

Audrey made a spectacle of herself without even touching down on France’s soil. That has to be a record.

André had been up for the past nineteen hours constantly refreshing the airport’s website of incoming flights after the flight from New York to Paris got delayed by fifteen hours.

Thankfully the airport was basically deserted so early in the morning, only with those catching or arriving from red-eyed flights themselves. Either way, he didn’t need an audience as sleep deprived as he was. “Now, now, Dear—”

“Don’t you fucking dare patronize me, André!” She jabs a finger in his chest, “this entire day has been hell and I’m gonna find the insignificant insect who made that video of me and utterly destroy their life!”

Think about this, Audrey. This video will blow over—”

She jabs him in the chest again, “never forget I’m the power in this relationship, Dear.” She spits. “The longer this video stays relevant, the more it ruins your perfect family reputation.” André grimaces.

Wait a sec. Family, family? Family! He lowers Audrey’s hand from his chest and looks around. They couldn’t be a perfect family without their child! “Where in God’s name is our daughter?”

Audrey laughs humorlessly pointing past his face into the airport. “You’ll see.”

That was... foreboding. André pats his face with his handkerchief again and enters the airport. Nothing out of the ordinary, except the three large men each pushing full luggage trolleys toward the exit. No doubt the expensive, foreign designer bags belong to Audrey. He looks around and has to do a double take as a full luggage trolley comes into his line of sight. Chloé is sitting on top of it, taking selfies, as it’s getting pushed by a tall young woman. Yeah. He feels a headache coming on. There’s no way he’ll get re-elected for a second term.

He and Chloé need to come to some agreement where she isn’t so... Chloé. At least not in public. She has a duty to this family to uphold a certain image.

The luggage cart stops just in front of the entrance, “we have arrived at your destination, Mademoiselle.” The brunette helps Chloé down from the cart.

“Why thank you, Mademoiselle was it? I kinda like that.” She cocks a hand on her hip, “I believe it’s Parisian custom to kiss on the cheek?” Before they can get any closer André all but runs over to Chloé pulling her out of kissing range from the young woman.

“Oh! I’m so happy to see you, Pumpkin!”

“Uh, hi Daddykins.” There’s a bit of an awkward pat coming from Chloé before she steps out of his embrace. “Yeah, okay. That’s enough, you’re getting sweat on my sweater.”

André fully takes stock of his daughter as she smooths out the wrinkles in her sweater. There are now black and orange streaks in her hair in addition to the pink and purple ones, plus – as if all those colors weren’t enough the tips of her naturally blonde hair are bright green. If she gets anymore color she’ll be a damn rainbow. “O-Oh. I—wow. Your hair—”

“I know, right? Isn’t it utterly fantastic? I’m thinking about adding more color.” Oh Dear Lord, no. Chloé turns to the girl and thankfully merely kisses her on both cheeks though they do hold hands during the exchange, “thanks for all your help.”

“My pleasure, Mademoiselle.”

Chloé giggles, waving to the woman as she walks away. He might have to brush up on his German and consider running for mayor in one of their major cities.

Audrey storms into the airport, “oh, look who decides to grace us with her presence.” Chloé’s back to taking selfies but she lowers her phone to stare at her mother.

“Sunglasses, indoors mother?" Audrey’s right eyebrow twitches.

“I came for you—” She pulls André by the ear, “what’s with these limos? I specifically asked for heated seats. Do you want me to freeze to death? And there’s no way they can fit all my luggage in just two limousines. Get more or fire your incompetent staff!”

“Maybe you didn’t have to bring half of Manhattan with you to Paris.”

“The clothes are better company than you.” She releases André’s ear, “you have no idea what that little slut did on the plane! Just shameless! Utterly shameless! She was basically trying to rearrange the teeth of some poor girl! Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if the pilot kept her in first-class to ogle her. With all those rainbow pins and shit she had on her suit. How unprofessional.” She shakes her head, “you’re a waste of the good-looks I blessed you with.”

“First of all, slut-shaming? Seriously? When all I did was kiss? If I were into boys and started making out with tons of them and my own goddamn harem you’d tell me how lucky I was to have so many admirers, you fucking hypocrite!”

“How dare you speak to me like that?!”

“And I’m not done speaking to like that! Why don’t you tell Daddy all about the ‘new friends’ you made in Manhattan?! She clearly didn’t miss you all that well to fuck around with whomever came calling almost every night!”

“You think he doesn’t know? Not like I don’t expect him to do the same. Why would we wait around for each other when we’re countries away!?”

“Is that why you never wore your wedding ring?”

“Enough!” André shouts, “you know our arrangement Audrey, the ring was supposed to stay on and you were supposed to inform me every time you took on a new partner. It’s what I did to you.”

“So I forgot a few times, sue me.” She folds her arms over her chest, “and you...” She turns her nose up at Chloé, “if you were into boys you wouldn’t be such a fucking disgrace. And I’m the furthest thing from a hypocrite.”

“No, you just ooze double standards. ‘Progressive,’ my ass. I hope that video of yours gets made into a TV movie!” She huffs walking out the entrance.

Audrey gasps in outrage, “a TV movie!? I’m the big screen or else!”

Chapter Text

The limo ride was silent for approximately thirty-two seconds – André counted – before Audrey huffs fidgeting in her seat sneering. “Why are Parisian limousines so tiny? And where are the refreshments? You call this service?” She scoffs. “Do you have any idea how much smaller these ‘limousines’ are compared to the ones we rode in Manhattan?” She nudges Chloé with her foot, “you’d at least have to agree on that.”

“These are small, Daddykins. Hell, the bus is bigger.”

Audrey groans pinching the bridge of her nose, “public transportation. What a nightmare. I can’t believe you willingly rode on something as utterly filthy as a metro.”

“It was fun. I got to go to new places—”

“That a limousine could take you.”

Chloé rolls her eyes, “and I got to meet new people.”

“The kind of people you’d want to associate yourself with will be the kind of people you ride in limousines with. Period.”

Even with her sunglasses still on her eyes, André could tell Audrey was glaring at their daughter who was openly returning the glare. “I-In any event—” He deflects, “these were the best limousines I could find on such short notice, Darling.”

Audrey arches an eyebrow in his direction, “‘short notice?’” She repeats. “You were told two weeks in advance about our arrival! Utterly ridiculous. Was it too much trouble to put in the these little additions to accommodate us? Are you not happy to see us?”

“Of course I am—”

“If you were, you would’ve picked up a bouquet or some Parisian chocolates for me. Is romance truly dead?”

With a sigh, he pats down his forehead with his already slightly damp handkerchief. It’s gonna be a long day. He understands why Roger got the extra limos then puttered off with some flimsy excuse about taking his daughter to school when he was the only one in the car. He wouldn’t wish an agitated Audrey on anyone, except maybe his worst enemy. “I have a surprise for you at the hotel, Dearest.”

Audrey huffs, “you’d better.” He gulps.

Chloé gags as she puts her sunglasses down from her head onto her eyes, “gross. I don’t wanna be around to see that. Can you drop me off at Adrikins’ place?”

“No.” When Chloé’s eyebrows furrow, André clears his throat, “I-I mean, I have a surprise for you at the hotel as well, Angel.”

“Whatever it is it can wait until after I see Adrien...” She pauses lifting her sunglasses back on her head to stare at him, “unless it’s a kitten.”

Audrey laughs. “Don’t be ridiculous, if I don’t get a kitten there’s no way in hell you should.” She glares at André. “You aren’t getting her a kitten, are you? I know you’re an utter sap when it comes to her but you can’t be that ridiculous. Getting her a kitten before getting one for me?”

“No one is getting a kitten, Audrey.” André sighs deeply. He’ll have to tell Jean to stock the nighttable with extra strength ibuprofen. “Honeybee, I know you want to see Adrien as soon as possible but you can’t. He’s probably getting ready for school. You can always see him when school lets out. He just started yesterday, I doubt he wants to ruin his attendance record so quickly.”

The stare Chloé is giving him could cut through diamonds. Not quite pissed but calculating, which is a thousand times worse. “Besides—” Audrey cuts in, “why on earth would he want to see your sweaty unwashed face so early in the morning? At least make yourself look presentable. Have a modicum of self-respect. Adrien is a model with a promising career and you’ll look like a deranged groupie slash stalker if you sidle up to him without warning looking as haggard as you do.”

“I suppose you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you mother?”

“I was never a groupie, Chloé-Dear. Unlike you, hanging off your precious ‘Adrikins’ every word.”

“Is the concept of friendship so foreign to you mother? I ‘hang off’ my Adrikins because, unlike all the tight clothes you bury your feelings in, he makes me feel good inside and out.”

“That’s what sex is for.”

André facepalms. “Let’s not insist our fourteen-year-old daughter has a sex life?”

“I doubt she’d still be gay if she experienced it.”

Chloé throws her hands in the air. “Oh my God! How do you know it won’t make me gayer?”

“No sex is that bad.” André shakes his head, “and for all your claims of ‘friendship’ Adrien is the only person on the planet willing to put up with your shit. And once he gets himself a girlfriend, you’ll be tossed aside.”

“You really think that?” Chloé mock gasps, “right, because that’s what happened to you with Adrikins’ dad.” The entire right side of Audrey’s face twitches. André looks between them. Just how the hell did they live together in New York for four months without murdering each other? (Scratch that, he might not want the answer to that.) “I thought you just said you were never a groupie, mom? I guess those Agreste men just have something special about them, huh?”

“Wait...” André massages his temples, then his head snaps up as he looks at his wife, “you didn’t.” Audrey looks guilty at him, “you slept with Gabriel Agreste!?”

“Years ago!” She glares at Chloé, “and I told you that in confidence!”

“I never implied you two had sex.”

“You might as well have shouted it!”

“Audrey we’ve been married for nearly seventeen years, ‘years ago’ is the vaguest of answers!” He gasps, “is he Chloé’s father?”

“Fuck no. That’s all you, Babe. This talentless little prick is our demon seed.”

“Then I obviously get my lack of talent from you, mother.”

“Oh no. That’s him.” André blanches, “but you do get that smartass mouth from me.”

🦚

Nathalie sighs as she watches Gabriel hum to himself placing the peafowl brooch into a small jewelry box then wrap that box in a glittery yellow bow, “Chloé’s favorite color is still yellow, isn’t it?”

“Yes.”

Gabriel glances at her over his shoulder. “You’re displeased.”

“Let me wield the peafowl Miraculous, Gabriel!”

“No. Chloé is perfect for the Miraculous. There isn’t a more emotionally charged fourteen-year-old on the planet. The kwami of emotion was made for her. Besides, we need someone younger to keep up with Team Miraculous. Furthermore, at her age there’s less of a chance the cracked Miraculous will cause permanent damage. We don’t want another situation with Emilie on her hands.”

“Emilie only wore the brooch and ended up in a coma, where you had to pull the plug, what do you think will happen to Chloé if she uses it?”

With a sigh, Gabriel turns to her fully. “André once told me Chloé Audrea Bourgeois will rule the world someday, and I believe that wholeheartedly. Chloé is the strongest person I know, she has to be to deal with the kind of abuse she has for almost a decade and a half. No one but her can wield Duusuu. Plus, Chloé will do whatever she feels is necessary to prove she isn’t helpless or worthless – especially in the eyes of her parents, particularly her mother. And Audrey—” He chuckles, “Audrey is so full of hatred she’ll make the ultimate akumatization.”

“As sad as it is to say, Gabriel, Audrey’s main source of hatred is Chloé. What are you going to do when your ‘ultimate akumatization’ hunts her down?”

“Audrey is nothing if not predictable. I can deal with her.”

“What’s gonna happen when Chloé and Duusuu encounter Team Miraculous?”

“I’m not giving her the Miraculous as Hawkmoth, it’ll be a present tailored for her that she just stumbles across, and Duusuu has been prepped. Even though I doubt Adrien would’ve told her anything beforehand. No. I’m certain he’d want to tell her in person. There’s nothing she’ll know about this. I have all the bases covered. But... thank you for being concerned over Chloé. It’s good to know someone else is.”

“My fondness for Mlle. Bourgeois notwithstanding, she’s important to Adrien and Adrien’s happiness is primarily why we’re trying to bring Emilie back to life. If anything happens to Chloé you could lose Adrien for good, you realize that?”

“Which is why we’ll make certain nothing happens to Chloé.” He hands her the butterfly brooch, “look for any potential akumatizations. I need to be there to greet the Bourgeois’ personally.”

Nathalie takes a deep breath as she clips the brooch onto her shirt, “Nooroo, dark wings rise.”

🦚

Adrien is vibrating with excitement by the staircase when Gabriel passes by it. “Adrien? Why aren’t you in your uniform?”

“Can I go in a little late, father? Please! I can’t miss seeing Chloé.”

Gabriel’s about to open his mouth to deny his request but Nathalie’s words ring around in his head. He absolutely cannot lose the most important thing in his life. They’re already estranged because of Emilie’s death, and grounding him for a mistake Gabriel will now admit to overreacting about did not help matters; he has to do whatever he can to bridge their connection. Starting with having another sunny blonde in the house that makes Adrien’s face light up like the sun, “sure. But get ready. We’re taking you to school as soon as you’ve said your greetings.” His smile is so bright and infectious, Gabriel can’t help reciprocating. Adrien hums to himself as he dashes up the stairs two at a time.

When Adrien returns ready for school, The Gorilla takes the two of them to Le Grand Paris, “huh. I thought Nathalie would be joining us?”

“She’s... busy, but she sends her greetings.” Adrien nods slowly then leans against the door.

They arrive at the hotel the same time as five limousines. Audrey is the first to exit not bothering to wait for the driver to open the door for her. Looks like she hasn’t changed much. André exits behind her, pauses, then looks back inside the limo and gestures vaguely before exiting fully.

“Gabriel!” Audrey shouts running over to him barely giving him enough time to get out of the towncar.

“Hello, Audrey.”

“Hello yourself, Hot Stuff.” She laughs, “oh is that Adrien!?” She gasps Adrien hesitantly gets out of the car into Audrey’s embrace. “He’s so adorable! Such a waste we’ll never have shared grandchildren. I cry myself to sleep thinking about how beautiful they’d be.”

“There’s nothing stopping them from having children together. Friends help out each other all the time in that area.” Audrey fixes him with a glare.

Chloé exits the limo and her hair is down flowing over her shoulders. As soon as Audrey releases Adrien he runs over and hugs Chloé who’s stunned momentarily but she regains her composure and laughs happily returning the hug. To keep that smile on his son’s face, Gabriel would do whatever necessary.

“Your uniform is terrible!” Chloé laughs.

“Wait until you see yours.” Adrien laughs right back.

Gabriel extends his elbow and Audrey hooks her hand through it. “Tell me the truth, is it better than London?”

“Even better than Milan.”

Audrey gasps and grips his arm tighter. “My platonic soulmate. Oh how I’ve missed you, Gabriel.”

“And I you, my dear.”

“Father?” Gabriel and Audrey stop walking and turn to the kids, “can Chloé come with me to school? Not, you know, for school but to register?” Gabriel glances at Audrey who shrugs.

“I’ll register her.” André says.

“Can we wait like five minute? I’m in desperate need of a hot shower.”

André takes them upstairs to Chloé’s would-be room. Gabriel gave him the name of his designer before Adrien came up with the idea of having them live together. André does wish Chloé would reconsider but if he’s being honest it’s definitely better for his sanity if there’s space between his wife and daughter. The limo ride here proved that.

“Where’s my surprise, Daddy?”

“In the bathroom, ironically.”

Chloé goes into the bathroom and screams, “I love bath bombs!” She comes out of the bathroom with the whole enormous gift basket. “Thank you, Daddy.”

“Anything you for, Princess.”

She puts the basket on the bed then walks back into the bathroom, “I’m gonna shower now. Won’t take long.”

He and Adrien nod as she closes the door behind her. “Take good care of her?”

“I will. And it’s not like she’s far, you can always come see her.”

André sighs, “I may not... approve of—” He clears his throat, “you know, but I love my daughter.”

“Then you need to accept all of her, Uncle André.” André flinches at the nickname. He’s not sure when Adrien stopped calling him that but hearing it again felt nice and it also hurt. “You can’t just love the parts of Chloé that are convenient for you.” The fire in Adrien’s eyes remind him so much of Emilie and how she came down hard on them after Chloé came out.

“It’s not so simple—”

“Like hell it’s not. You’re willing to give Chloé the world but not accept the fact that she’s a lesbian? Why bother catering to her at all then? And you’d might as well not bother to accept me either.”

“You? W-What are you talking about?”

“I’m bisexual.” André’s eyes widen, “my dad and Nathalie already know. And before you start blaming Chlo for ‘corrupting me’ or whatever, I was already questioning it before I went to her.”

The door opens and Chloé, who did get taller and is taller than him now – dammit (how did he not realize that when they were hugging earlier?), leans on him, “my knight in a terrible outfit.” Adrien chuckles then scowls as he looks at André. “You didn’t have to out yourself like that, Adrikins. Not for me.”

“He might as well know, and I’m not exactly hiding it.”

“A-Adrien—”

“Don’t bother. Don’t bother coming to see Chloé either. I’m rescinding my offer. Chlo, let’s get out of here.”

“O-Okay.” She walks to the bed.

“Leave the basket.”

“Seriously? B-But the bath bombs!”

Chloé, no. He’s trying to bribe you for something.”

“So?” Adrien’s eyes narrow, “oh, alright! But your buying me some bath bombs. Unbelievable. Bye Daddy.” She takes Adrien’s hand then waves with her free one as they head to the elevator.

Adrien pauses, as the elevator opens, turning back to André frown deepening. “I forgot you’re supposed to be registering her for school.”

🦚

Kagami pauses mid-step as Adrien comes out of a towncar holding hands with a pretty, unfamiliar blonde. The texted each other all last night while she was still stewing over essentially being a fucking patsy.

Adrien told her all about his first day and that he looked forward to seeing her in class. She needs to warn him about Lila before he falls for her lies too. She needs to talk to Sabrina and Juleka as well while she’s at it.

Her mother was right when she told her everyone has hidden agendas.

“Kagami!” Adrien runs over to her, all but dragging the poor blonde along. “You’re late today too, huh?”

“I guess so.” Her mother sensed her foul mood and they had a heart-to-heart, it was insightful even if it made her a little late to school. It’s been a while since they had a chat like that. The last time she remembers was when she told her mother she liked girls as much as boys. Her mother laughed and told her the apple didn’t fall far from the tree and came out to her as bisexual too. That made for one interesting afternoon.

“This is my best friend—”

“Whoa.” The blonde says blatantly checking her out, “please tell me you’re single—”

Adrien elbows her, “Chlo, at least introduce yourself first!”

“R-Right.” She stands up straight and curtsies in her beautiful lavender dress. “Hey. I’m Chloé.” She lets go of Adrien’s hand to extend hers toward Kagami. As Kagami shakes her hand, Chloé lifts Kagami’s hand to her lips and kisses it. “A pleasure.”

Adrien sighs and Kagami chuckles, lifting Chloé’s hand to her lips kissing it, “pleasure’s all mine.” Chloé gapes at her. “My name is Kagami and yes, I am single.” Chloé sends a pleading look to Adrien who laughs.

“Don’t look at me. Let’s head inside before we’re even later.” Chloé merrily walks in between them.

“Kagami is such a pretty name and your hair is utterly beautiful, what conditioner do you use?” Adrien shakes his head as they start chatting about beauty regimens. He glances back at André miserably shuffling his feet.

They walk Chloé to the office. Once Principal Damocles lets her and André inside, Kagami and Adrien head to class.

“Thanks.” Kagami glances at him curiously, “Chloé...” He sighs, “she could use some friends.”

“I have absolutely no problem being her friend.”

Adrien laughs, “no, I suppose you wouldn’t with how much you two were flirting.”

“She’s beautiful, Adrien. I want to run my fingers through all the colors of her curly hair.” Kagami clears her throat, “did I voice that out loud? I must be still sick.” She starts walking faster and Adrien barks out a laugh as he follows her.

When they enter the classroom Mlle. Bustier welcomes Kagami back and puts her at the empty desk across from Myléne and Marinette.

The redhead looks around the room frowning, “has anyone heard from Alix? After what happened at the Louvre yesterday I’m especially worried.”

“Class trip!” Kim yells standing up, “we should take a class trip. Surely Alix’s old man is gonna have to answer you when you ask how she is.”

“I suppose... was he not telling you what happened?” Both Kim and Max shake their heads. “I see. I’m going to call him and if he doesn’t tell me over the phone we’ll be taking that trip the Louvre.” Kim pumps his fist in the air as he sits down. “Now then, I have good news. Principal Damocles informed me that we’re finally getting Chloé Bourgeois in our class some time this week.”

“Uh, wasn’t she supposed to be here months ago?” Alya asks, raising a hand.

“Yes. There were...” Mlle. Bustier grimaces, “complications, I’ve been told that delayed that.” Her grimace deepens, “either way, let’s do our best to make sure she feels welcomed, okay?” The class nods and she smiles. “Excellent. Onto today’s lesson.”

When class ends and everyone heads to their lockers. Lila bounces over to Kagami while people start making their way out of the locker room. “I missed you yesterday, Bestie.”

Kagami hadn’t realized being a Miraculous wielder upped her natural strength until she bent her locker door handle when she balled up her fist around it, “did you?”

“Of course I did silly!” She leans on the locker next to Kagami’s as Kagami starts subbing in some of her stuff from her bag to locker then vice versa. “Did you see Adrien? Isn’t he—” She taps a finger to her lip, “handsome isn’t adequate enough to describe him.”

“Yes, he is quite... more than handsome.” Out the corner of her eye, she catches Lila’s eyes narrow before they brighten.

“I know. I’m so lucky.” She sighs dreamily. “You’re gonna be the maid of honor at our wedding. Do you think spring weddings are overdone?”

“Yes. To death.” Lila hums in agreement. “Before you propose...” She cocks her head to the left at Lila, “maybe you two should get to know each other first?”

“What are you saying?”

Kagami slams her locker shut, “I’m not saying anything, simply implying you and your future husband might not be as compatible as your fantasies believe. It’s something to think about, at least.”

“I see.” She pushes herself off her locker, expression neutral, “I appreciate your concern and I suppose could make an effort to get to know him but it’s not like it’ll matter. What’s not to love about me? And boys that cute rarely have any brains. I mean, look at Nino.”

Kagami can feel her fingernails digging into her flesh. How fucking dare she, “guess you dodged a bullet not being his future wife.” She grits out.

“You’re awfully mouthy today.”

“What? You don’t like it, Bestie?” Lila clicks her tongue, “but since I have your attention I’m going to ask you this once. Where were you yesterday? During the akuma attack at the Louvre? And before you answer, know that I spoke to Alya – who truly was there – and has no recollection of your presence.”

“You’re gonna believe Alya over me? You barely know her! How do you know she isn’t lying? She has Dupain-Cheng hanging all over her and we both know that girl’s a bad influence.”

Kagami grips Lila by the collar, and Nino might be onto something with his theory because there’s genuine fear in her wide eyes, “let me make myself perfectly clear: You lie to me again, Rossi, and I’ll cut out your tongue with my sabre.” She releases Lila then picks up her bag and starts walking.

“Kagami, wait!”

“What?” As Kagami turns around it seems like slow motion that an akuma flies into her bag’s strap.

“Oh shit.” Kagami’s eyes go blank before she grits her teeth. Lila’s eyes widen as Kagami bites her lip so hard it draws blood. “Mlle. Mendeleiev!” Lila screams running out of the locker rooms.

“Mlle. Kagami Tsurugi...” A sickeningly sweet voice greets, “I am Hawkmoth. Your friend lied to you, betrayed your trust. I’m giving you the power—”

”N-No!” Kagami grabs her head and falls to the ground on her knees. “I-I don’t need your help!”

The voice laughs mockingly, “why fight it? I’m trying to help. I’ll willing to give you the power to make sure that girl never lies to anyone again. I’ll give you the power to make sure no one ever lies ever again.” Kagami’s head snaps up and the butterfly outline appears over her eyes. “See? Isn’t that better, Truth Seeker?” Kagami stands. The locker room door opens and Marinette enters then gasps.

“Kagami, no!” The purplish ooze already conceals Kagami’s body before Marinette runs back out the door. “Crap! Crap, crap, crap!” She curses running down the hall. “She just had to wear the earrings today!” As she rounds the corner she bumps into Adrien.

When she sways he grips her shoulders. “Marinette? What’s the hurry?”

“Kagami’s been akumatized!”

“She’s what?!”

She grabs his arm and they start running, “I don’t know what happened myself but talking here isn’t safe.” She gets to the classroom and kicks open the door, “Kagami’s been akumatized!”

“I see—” Mlle. Mendeleiev narrows her eyes at Lila, “this is your doing.”

Lila grimaces, “well—”

Marinette storms over to her grabbing her shoulders, “I fucking swear, Rossi—”

“Relax, Dupain-Cheng, friends argue.”

“You pissed her off enough to get her akumatized? Some friend.” Kim scoffs, “great. This is just fucking great. We’ve all seen her fence and play dodgeball, imagine that fury amplified. We’re dead. We’re all dead. Every single one of us!”

“Don’t be so dramatic, Kim.” Myléne chastises, “a-although...” The entire class freezes before panic ensues and they all dive under desks.

“Wait!” Max’s head pops up from under the desk, “we might be able to save ourselves. One life for a thousand—or fifteen, right? If akumatized Kagami is after Lila, I say we give her what she wants. All in favor?” Multiple hands raise in the air.

“What?!” Lila stomps her foot, “is this a joke?”

Marinette releases her, “you reap what you sow.” She grabs Lila’s hand and drags her out the classroom then locks the door when she heads back inside.

“N-No! No! Dammit Dupain-Cheng, you can’t do this to me!” Marinette tilts her head to the right then pulls down the flap in front of the door. “Marinette! Marinette! Let me in! Dupain-Cheng!” She yells banging on the door. “You bitch! I’ll never forgive you for this!”

“Damn Marinette, that was cutthroat.” Juleka utters. Marinette merely shrugs.

Lila screams then there’s a loud thump and after that, silence.

Everyone waits several seconds before slowly starting to rise from their hiding spaces. Marinette cautiously approaches the door and pulls up the flap and screams in horror. Lila is stuck to the door covered in a multi-color goo. Her face is frozen in horror. Everyone lifts up their phones and take pictures.

“Alright, alright. Just another minute to take a picture before we decide what to do.” Mlle. Mendeleiev tells them, setting her phone down.

Kim runs to the door and takes a selfie with Lila in the background.

“I mean, what happens now? She was obviously after Lila and she got her. Now what? Does she get deakumatized? We’ve never seen an akumatization actually get who they were after.” Everyone turns to Alya. “What? You know I’m right, and we know Kagami is precise. She’s not gonna hurt innocent people, akumatized or not.”

“Maybe we can reason with her—”

“Good idea, Marinette.” Kim says and everyone nods in agreement.

“Wait, what?”

Rose walks over to her and takes her hand, “sorry.” Then she gently shoves her out the door and locks the door behind her. Damn. Rose is stronger than she looks.

“Oh come on!” Everyone inside the classroom salutes her before pulling down the flap. Dammit. Nino and Alya are still in the classroom; plus, Alya doesn’t even have Wayzz after yesterday. What could she and Plagg do by themselves? She’ll have to figure this out as Marinette. Grumbling to herself, she walks down the hall.

“Chloé, we should get going.”

“I’m just gonna say goodbye to my new friend, and maybe get her number.” Chloé stops dead in her tracks at the multi-colored thing holding a paintbrush standing in the middle of the hallway. It looks up at her and she gasps.

“Chloé.” It speaks.

“Y-Yes?” As it advances, Chloé finds herself frozen. There’s a beauty in that chaotic, brightly colored mess.

“Kagami, stop!”

Chloé does a double take, “wait, Kagami!?”

Hissing, the thing turns to the cute blue-haired girl with the twin-tails who walks toward the thing, “this isn’t you. You’re better than this!” The paintbrush drops from its hand but a butterfly mask outline appears over their eyes. “Oh crap!”

As Kagami—Kagami—cosplaying some horrific ooze creature, picks up the paintbrush and lunges, Chloé dives for the girl rolling them out of the way.

“What the fuck is wrong with you, Twintails? Does that thing look like it can be reasoned with!?”

“It’s Kagami! I have to try. W-Wait.” The girl squints up at her, “who the hell are you?”

“Does tha—” Kagami grabs her by the waist and jumps away.

Marinette gapes sitting up as Kagami takes the blonde away. The man beside her—correction, the damn mayor of Paris—gapes then promptly faints. With no one (conscious) around, Marinette gets up then runs out of the building. Plagg flies out of her purse. “Aw man, this can’t be happening. I mean, I knew it was bound to happen. The chances of one of you guys getting akumatized were high. You know: kids, emotions, high school, blah blah. But—still, shit fucking shit. I really don’t wanna have to fight Gams.”

“And you think I do?!” She runs into an alley, “claws out!” Plagg rolls his eyes but merges into the ring. Marinette jumps from rooftop to rooftop until she arrives at the herbal shop. She steps inside then looks around, “claws in.”

Fu rounds the corner with Wayzz, “Marinette? Should you not be at school?”

“Master Fu, Kagami’s been akumatized and she has Tikki.”

“Oh no. D-Did Tikki get akumatized?”

“No. Or, I don’t think so?” Fu starts pacing, “I need Wayzz.”

“Y-Yes, of course.”

“Marinette, before you go there’s something you should know.” Wayzz sighs, “it’s... possible to merge Miraculouses.”

“It’s what?”

“It’s not all that safe so I never told you, Master. I’m truly sorry.”

“Apologize later, how do I do it?” Wayzz grimaces, “Wayzz! Kagami took some girl I never saw before and dashed off with her. I don’t think the girl’s in trouble but I can’t risk it. Tell me how to combine more than one Miraculous.”

Wayzz sighs, “very well. You say the transformation phrases of the kwamis you want to transform with, then you say unify. To split up you say divide.”

“Why didn’t my mentor ever say anything about this?”

“He didn’t know.” Wayzz sadly looks to the side.

“I’m not angry Wayzz. It’s your nature to protect the team.” He smiles sadly at Fu.

Fu hands Marinette the bracelet. “Plagg, claws out. Wayzz, shell on. Unify!”

🦚

Alya volunteered to check on Marinette who was checking on Kagami. She was going to volunteer Nino and give him a chance to transform but everyone crowded the poor boy and wouldn’t let go. It’s not like he’s in any danger, Nino can’t lie to save his life. Can’t lie to save anyone’s life. Now that Alya thinks about it, they’re probably latching onto Nino so they don’t get caught up in the crossfire. Even before becoming a member of the team he was strangely, almost unnaturally lucky when it came to avoiding the path of akumatizations. With Nino unavailable, Adrien offered his services and went with her. Good thing she didn’t have Wayzz or she’d have to give him the slip.

Other than the single multi-colored footstep in front of Mlle. Mendeleiev’s door, the school is virtually spotless. Oh. Hello. What’s this? There’s a faint paint stain on the ground but nothing else. Alya takes a picture of the stain and would continue walking except Adrien trips beside her and she grabs him before he hits the floor. Did she get faster or was she imagining things?

“Wow. Thanks.”

“No problem.” Alya looks over at what—or rather who Adrien tripped over. “Isn’t that the mayor?”

“Oh no.”

“Oh no? What’s with the ‘oh no?’”

“You’re right about Kagami being deadly precise, I doubt any other class even knows there’s an akuma around.” He gulps, “but... the mayor’s been known to lie.”

“Most politicians do. It’s kind of a prerequisite. However, the mayor’s not covered in paint—” Alya nudges him with her foot, “looks like he’s just passed out.”

“Yeah, I was getting to that. The mayor’s daughter, Chloé, is my best friend—the same Chloé who’s supposed to be joining our class soon. This morning, she and Kagami really hit it off. I mean, they really hit it off.” He pauses so Alya gestures for him to go on, “since there’s no paint covering the mayor like Lila, my only guess is Kagami took Chloé somewhere which made the mayor faint? Maybe the two of them are just somewhere shooting the shit?”

“That would certainly make Team Miraculous’ job easy.”

“Speaking of Team Miraculous? I’ve never seen them in action. How long does it take them to... deal with stuff like this?”

“It varies.”

“Do you see Marinette anywhere?” Alya shakes her head, “then I guess we’d better get back to class?” Alya nods.

🦚

“A roof is not an ideal spot for a first date...” Chloé says conversationally as Kagami is kneeling beside her clutching her head. “So, uh, in the spirit of full disclosure? What in the hell are you wearing? It’s utterly atrocious! So much worse than that school uniform. I can’t believe I have to wear that.”

“I... need to... fight this...”

Chloé jumps to her feet, “fight what? Your fashion choices? I can help! I always carry an emergency backup outfit with me at all times.”

“Anger... fight my anger...”

Chloé kneels beside her and tilts her head up, “I have the perfect solution for that too but consent is absolutely key. Are you cool with me kissing you? See if that’ll subside your anger?” Kagami nods. “Great. God, I hope this stuff doesn’t stick.” Then she leans in and kisses Kagami.

When they separate Kagami puts a hand on her shoulder but the butterfly mask outline reappears above her eyes, “smart girl. Very clever.” A voice that’s so not Kagami’s says even though it’s coming from Kagami’s mouth, “but anger isn’t the only strong emotion I can manipulate. I can work with lust too.”

Chloé grimaces, “aw hell.”

Kagami stands then leans in and pecks her on the cheek, “you’ll be nice and safe up here.” Then she jumps down.

“Are you kidding me!?” Chloé crawls over to the edge of the roof looking down at Kagami winks up at her before dashing into the school building next door. Groaning, she lifts her head in time to see a black shadow land in front of her. Chloé looks up in horror then awe. “Sexy leather biker gear!” She scrambles to her feet, eyes sparkling. “Kagami would look so hot in this! Obviously without the helmet. I need to see her gorgeous face.” She circles the biker and nearly falls off the roof if they hadn’t grabbed her. “Thanks. Wasn’t paying attention to—”

“How did you get up here?”

Chloé blinks, “it’s literally a blur. Though I wouldn’t mind being carried down? She said I’ll be safe up here—” There are screams coming from below them.

The biker unclips a baton from their side. Chloé notices the helmet has tiny cat-like ears on it. How cute! And she noticed a shell on the back of the outfit. “Let’s get you down.”

Chloé holds onto the biker who uses the baton like a tightrope. Thankful for Adrien’s damn ballet fixation, she somewhat easily walks down. Plus, holding onto the biker helped her balance a bit. “Wait! That thing in there? I think it possessed my potential girlfriend. So if you’re gonna kick its ass, you should be aware.”

“What makes you so sure I’m gonna kick her ass?”

“You’re armored up and carrying a weapon. I may not be all that smart but it’s pretty obvious you came for a fight. A very specific fight.”

“I’ll be careful.”

“Take me with you. She won’t hurt me. Why else would she want me to be out of harm’s way?”

“I’m not risking your safety.”

“I’m gonna be in the way regardless. You might as well let me help.” The biker sighs and Chloé claps her hands together. Then they unclip the shell from their back and hand it to her. “This is pretty fucking heavy.”

“Good. Then you won’t do anything dangerous like throw yourself at her.”

Chloé scoffs, “obviously not with so many people around.”

🦚

The multi-colored akumatization bust down the door to the classroom and started tossing their paintbrush around sticking people to things like they did with Lila. Someone would’ve commented on Kagami behaving differently if it weren’t for the damn butterfly outline and the increasingly terrifying smile accompanied with it. Kagami’s will is so fucking strong Hawkmoth had to double down on the manipulation to get her to cause a ruckus? If he wasn’t scared before he sure as hell is now. With Nino’s unparalleled luck, Kim was able to get them both out of the classroom unpainted.

“As fun as this has been, man. We should hide separately? You know, lessen our chances of getting stuck onto stuff?”

“Good idea and good luck.” They both run in the opposite direction and Kim finds himself hauling ass to one of the seldom used bathrooms in the school.

Xuppu flies out of his hood. No one said anything about the slight change in his wardrobe underneath his uniform. Hell, if Marc could do it why couldn’t he? “Mischief! Mischief! Mischief! Mischief! Let’s open up a jar of whoop-ass.”

“It’s a can of whoop-ass. Ooh. Damn. That would’ve been another great transformation phrase.” Xuppu nods sagely in agreement. Kim takes a bow then unclasps the tiara from his wrist and puts it on his head. Fu told him to keep his Miraculous on him at all times and when he found out the tiara could bend he wore it like a makeshift bracelet, “showtime, my good sir.”

“Hells yeah!” Xuppu returns the bow before flying into the tiara.

After he transforms, he looks around the bathroom making sure no one saw or heard him enter. Once the coast is clear he climbs out the window – which is a tight fit. “I’m gonna meet Ladybug~”

“Before you do that, what you did yesterday? Badass. Truly. Only one previous partner was able to unleash that much chaos naturally. But your ruyi jingu bang can transform into a single object that can immobilize your enemy.”

“Sweet~”

“Bring forth the chaos, then transform the ruyi jingu bang into whatever you’d like, the more unpredictable the better. I’m so glad the Guardian let you keep me.”

“Me too dude. We’re soulmates.”

“Totally!”


As he makes his way back to the school Rena Rouge, Carapace and Chat Noir’s fusion by the look of it, and an unfamiliar cute blonde are looking around the hallway. “I hear you guys needed some backup?” The three of them turn to him and with their helmet’s he obviously can’t see their expressions but the blonde furrows her eyebrows.

“Is this a thing here? Everyone in biker gear—”

“We’re not bikers, we’re superheroes.”

“Dressed up like furries?” She sighs, “why did I let Adrien talk me into moving here? It would’ve been less fetishizing living with Nana. No, she has that thing with the candle wax—”

“Can we focus?” Rena asks, “we didn’t call for backup but we’ll take all the help we can get.” Kim gives them a thumbs up. “We’re looking for a—” They gesture frantically with their hands in circular motion.

“A paintbrush wielding colorful blob person.” The blonde interrupts. “Who has a really, really hot girl inside. So if we can break this blob shell thing and get her to being cute again, I’d greatly appreciate it.”

“We have to purify the akuma but we don’t know where it is—”

Rena lolls their head from side to side, “there is someone who might know.” With a groan, the cat-turtle motions for all of them to follow. The school is far more chaotic and colorful than it was when Kim ran by just a few minutes ago.

They head to the door off its hinges that still has Lila attached and the fusion’s left pointer finger starts glowing black and they crack just the area around Lila’s head breaking the goo. She gasps but isn’t able to move around since the rest of her is still stuck. “Lady—hey. You’re not Ladybug.”

“Be grateful someone’s saving you.” Kim tells her. She glares. “Where’d the akuma go?”

“In her bag strap but I didn’t see what that turned into.”

“That’s not much help. Why did we free her again?” The fusion asks.

Hey!”

The blonde snaps her fingers, “I noticed a vertical purple line around her right shoulder when she—we—” She clears her throat, “I noticed the line. The rest of her is all swirled and colors are everywhere but this one line is not like that. Maybe that’s where this akuma thing or whatever is hiding?”

Rena nods. “Won’t hurt to try—”

“Or it might hurt.” The blonde replies. “Might hurt a lot.”

“Either way. We’re doing it. But she’s fast—”

“I can slow her down.” The helmets aren’t betraying anything but the body language screams dubious.

“Then let’s find her—”

“Better yet, why don’t I just come to you?” The four of them turn to Kagami tapping the paintbrush against the very visible purple strap. She extends her free hand, the butterfly outline over her eyes shining brighter, “hand over your Miraculouses or you’ll be abstract art on the walls too.”

The blonde takes a step forward, and Kagami takes a step back. “You don’t have to do this. You’re outnumbered.”

“Please, you think these clowns pose a challenge?” She charges at them and the blonde barely gets the shell shield up in time to protect them.

“I told you this thing was heavy!”

The turtle-cat takes the shield from the blonde. “I’ll take that from here. We tried being reasonable.”

“Now it’s time for the whoop-ass.” Kim twirls his ruyi jingu bang and it starts glowing then it turns into... a tube of lipstick?! “What the fuck, Xup?!”

“Hey, I’m just as confused as you!”


The blonde grabs the lipstick from him and stares at it, “ah! Kisses!”

“I’m flattered but the helmet—”

“Not you.” She rolls her eyes then points at Kagami, “her. That weird voice behind the butterfly mask said they could manipulate strong emotions. First she was pissed and when I kissed her she calmed down, only to have her get manipulated through lust.”

“Could Hawkmoth do that before?” Rena whispers to the cat-turtle who shrugs. “Question? Won’t kissing her again just bring out more lust?”

The blonde’s chuckle is unnerving, if Kim’s being honest. She uncaps the lipstick. “Oh, I’m not going for lust.” She turns to Kim, tip toeing and uses the lipstick to draw on his helmet.

Rena and Chat-Pace tilt in their direction curiously before Rena busts out laughing. Before Kim could respond, the blonde runs over to Rena and scribbles on their helmet.

Kagami’s standing in front of them loosely gripping onto the paintbrush, mask outline flickering. What the fuck is she—

Xuppu gasps, “I know what she’s planning and I think it’s working! She’s trying to laugh the akuma out of their body.” Kim looks and it does seem like Kagami is struggling to rein in her laughter. “Oh. I think we’ve met a match. Such chaos. Such wonder. It would be a joy to partner up with that much chaotic energy. It’s second only to yours.”

After the blonde is done scribbling on Cara Noir’s helmet Kagami straight up loses her shit, dropping the paintbrush and dropping to her knees chuckling. Not only does the purple ooze transform her laughter racked body back into Kagami but a purple butterfly flies out of her bag strap and right into ChatNoirPace’s bubbled hands. When they separate their hands a purified butterfly floats away.

Rena and the fusion turn to each other, then to Kim, then they all start laughing. “Oh man, that’s high-key obnoxious of you to compliment Kagami and draw crude pictures on our helmets.” Rena states between chuckles.

The blonde recaps the lipstick tube flipping it in the air before tossing it over her shoulder at Kim who catches it, “it worked, didn’t it? Kagami’s back to being cute again.” After the four of them do their celebratory fist bump new girl is blatantly confused about and Kim internally swoons over, the walks over to Kagami who stops laughing and accepts the outstretched hands.

“I am truly sorry for my behavior.”

Rena puts a hand on her shoulder, “don’t worry about it. And we need to thank our new friend who gave us a new way to stop akumatizations.”

“New friend is named Chloé.” The blonde replies curtsying. “Who are you all of you biker gear wearing non bikers?”

“We’re Paris’ superhero team. They call us Team Miraculous. We did not decide on that name but it’s what we’ve been dubbed. I’m Rena Rouge.”

Kim points at himself, “Roi Singe.”

“Plastron.” Rena turns to them, “what? It was the only other shell thing I could think of.” They clear their throat, “thanks again, Chloé.”

“No worries. This was fun. If you ever need a civilian’s help just look me up.” She locks her hands behind her head, “I’d better scoop up my father from the floor. Be seeing ya.”

“Chloé—” She pauses then turns to Kagami, “I—”

“Don’t worry about it, Hot Stuff. I should be apologizing to you.”

Kagami shakes her head, “you helped and I... enjoyed it. As brief as it was.”

“Glad to hear it. I’ll have Adrikins give you my number. Let’s grab a smoothie soon.” Then she starts walking down the hall.

Kim points finger guns at them, “let’s team up again real soon—”

Plastron nods, “you were a big help, Roi Singe. And the more ways we have to take down Hawkmoth, the better.” When he dashes off, Rena turns to them.

“You sure about this? I’m all for not questioning the Guardian’s decisions but...” They shrug helplessly. “Not even gonna ask?”

“Don’t worry, Rena, I have a feeling we’re gonna see them again. But in the meantime, we could use Ladybug about now to use her power to—” Kagami holds out the earrings in her hands. “Wha—”

“Take them. For good. I’ve been compromised and proven to be unworthy. My cold is not an excuse for my weakness.”

“Nah.” Rena grabs her hand and closes her fist around the earrings, “you just had a bad day. You’re way more worthy than one slight fuck up that reasonably could’ve happened to anyone. And we shouldn’t be scared to be upset. That could also get us akumatized. Feel free to feel however you wanna feel.”

“Rena’s got a point, and you proved any strong emotion could get us akumatized. Not just negative ones. Having said that, we can’t just not feel. It’s unnatural. Hawkmoth has no right trying to dictate how we can and can’t feel. You got not reason to feel bad about getting akumatized because Rossi pissed you off. Besides, you had the earrings on and wasn’t even slightly tempted to give them to Hawkmoth. If that’s not strength I don’t know what is.”

They each put a hand on her shoulder, “you’re one of the good guys, Tsurugi, you’re not going anywhere.”

She smiles at them, “thank you.” They nod at her. “Have either of you noticed we’re getting stronger? Not in the suits. Outside them.” They exchange a glance, “I can feel it. I’m no longer sore after an all day practice.”

“I have noticed I’m no longer winded after running to school. But we really shouldn’t be shooting the shit in the hallway. Let’s get this mess cleaned up then talk at my place when school lets out.”

🦚

Nino never stepped foot in Marinette’s parents bakery before. The only time he ever ate anything from here was when Marinette brought stuff for the class.

Thankfully, no one outside the class knew Kagami was the akumatization that stuck Principal Damocles and a bunch of other classes to the closest flat enough surface she could find.

Marinette’s parents greet him and introduce themselves then show him to Marinette’s room.

The room is every bit Marinette as Nino could’ve imagined. There are pictures of all her friends adorning one of her walls while all her fashion projects are adorning another. Then there are little Chinese ornaments spread out throughout the room. Alya and Kagami are already there when he arrives.

Marinette jumps off her bed and spreads her arms out wide, “welcome to my room.”

“It’s killer, dude. Seriously.” She grins at him. “But, uh, you sure it’s cool to talk up here? Why couldn’t we meet at the usual spot?”

“We can’t talk about the Guardian at the Guardian’s place.”

“So we are discussing the monkey Miraculous.” Nino takes a seat on the chaise beside Kagami.

Marinette nods. “We won’t ask for an identity. Just wanna make sure he was chosen.”

“But, I mean, could we even do that? Kagami and I weren’t chosen the way you two were. Wouldn’t that be a cop out?” Marinette stares at him with her mouth agape.

“Okay.” Alya holds up a hand. “You might not’ve been chosen but you—”

“Don’t even have full-time partners. Roi Singe has the monkey...” Nino snaps his fingers trying to remember the name.

“Xuppu.” Kagami supplies. “The kwami of happiness.”

“Jubilation.” Tikki clarifies, “but close enough.” The other kwamis stare at her, gesturing vaguely. “Ordinarily, I’d support the Guardian—any Guardian’s decision 100% without question but this? I don’t know about this. It’s been centuries, longer than I’ve been last active, that Xuppu’s been out in the world.”

“He’s worse than Plagg.” Trixx says folding their arms over their chest, “and that’s saying something.”

“Dreams is right, as much as it pains me to admit, we can’t have Screws operating lone-monkey. There’s no balance for that kind of crazy.”

“Balance? What are you talking about?” Alya asks.

Plagg blows out a breath, “I suppose it’s lesson time then, kiddies. We kwamis are all about balance.” He waves his arms around, “it’s why the Guardian is always going on about compatibility and matching auras and all that jazz. We don’t just need to mesh with our partner, we gotta mesh with each other.” He clears his throat, “however, someone somewhere along the lines thought: what if one of them didn’t have a balance?”

“And that ‘someone’ is Xuppu?” Kagami asks and Plagg nods.

“We met Xuppu briefly, twice, and he—?” Marinette pauses, “they—?” She corrects, “hadn’t said anything either time.”

“He.” The kwamis respond.

“He. Never spoke.”

The kwamis exchange sorrowful glances, “last time Xuppu was active he was used for evil.” Wayzz says with a sigh. “His partner—” He gestures at his mouth, “sealed away his words.”

“You mean to tell me all this time I could get Trixx to shut up?” Alya groans leaning back in the chaise.

“You’d miss my glorious voice.” Trixx huffs.

“In any event—” Wayzz glares, “yes. We could be commanded to do a variety of things by our partner of the current cycle. Particularly by those with ill intentions. The Guardian, Tikki, and I were working together trying to unseal Xuppu’s words. It’s difficult to do without the book’s instruction but we somehow made it work.”

“Especially since he didn’t have a partner.” Tikki adds.

“Now getting him to shut up again is gonna be tricky.” Plagg mutters, wincing as Trixx kicks him.

“From the grainy footage it looked like—”

Plagg groans, “shut it, Sugarcube. There’s no way we’d guess. Why not just ask Snappy for fuck’s sake, he was there.” Plagg gestures to Wayzz.

“Don’t tell me to shut it, you shut it.”

“Both of you shut it.” Marinette snaps. “Wayzz, who else did the Guardian activate yesterday?”

“Kaalki, Mullo, and Sass.” Trixx groans. “But Xuppu is the only one who got his partner.”

“Wait!” Alya jumps up and stalks over to Wayzz, “you know who wielding the monkey—Xuppu.” Gasping, everyone turns to Wayzz. “You know who wielded all of them.”

“Yes but I will not tell you!” He shrinks back at all the stares he’s getting but remains firm. “And since I don’t have a full-time partner in this room none of you can make me tell you.”

“What’s this I hear? Wayzz actually growing a spine?” Trixx looks him up and down, “I’m impressed.”

“And you guys always say I’m the ass?” Plagg laughs.

“Okay. We won’t press—” Kagami holds up a hand at the various murmurs of complaint, “but answer me this? Who is your kwami match? What ‘meshes’ with protection?”

“Pollen. The kwami of subjection.”

“Makes sense, why not protect those you can control?” Alya nods to herself, “Tikki and Plagg are obvious. Otherwise Hawkmoth won’t be continuously bitching about nabbing both.” She looks up at Trixx, “and you?”

“That would be Mullo, kwami of multiplication. At the risk of sounding like Xuppu, you have no idea the type of chaos one could unfold if our powers were merged together.”

“Merge?” They all look at Trixx.

“Right. Another lesson then.” Plagg begins. “Due to the nature of balance and yada yada, we can fuse together temporarily. The better the balance between partner and kwami, the more powerful you’ll both be. The better the balance between the two fusing kwamis, the less strain it causes on the partner’s body.”

“What about our partners, temporary or permanent, strengthening our bodies? Is that something that happens?”

“Ah, yes. You noticed you’re getting stronger? Faster? And just all around more than usual?” Kagami nods. “It’s the same for us as well. It’ll be even stronger with a permanent partner but—” Plagg shrugs, “it is what it is.”

“Sweet.” Alya rubs her hands together. “So instead of having the four of us fight together just one of us could be using all four kwamis?”

“I wouldn’t recommend doing that.” Tikki advises, “just merging two Miraculouses is tricky. It’s not something that can be done all the time. It’s a what do you call it? Trump card. Last resort kind of thing. I only have one memory of three kwamis being merged together and it wasn’t a great experience.”

“Speak for yourself.” Trixx huffs, “you didn’t experience it first hand.”

“Okay, I have a question.” Everyone turns to Alya, “do you guys know if Nooroo and the other missing kwami are balance buddies?”

“Nooroo and Duusuu? Yeah, they are.” Trixx replies. “Kind of ironic they were both stolen or lost or whatever. As for Pollen and Fluff? Pollen has Wayzz so they’re obviously not partnered up with Fluff.”

“Maybe we can ask Prim if they can find Flappy?” Plagg suggests, “I mean if anyone—

Wayzz cuts him off with a headshake, “based on that logic, I’d be able to find Pollen but I can’t. I think the crack interferes with our ability to sense our ‘balance buddies.’”

“Hey, speaking of balance? I just had a thought. What if Alix does have Fluff and they merged? Didn’t you guys say using a cracked Miraculous is dangerous? Alix has been out of school for almost a month now, ever since her birthday where she got the rabbity pocket watch.”

“Nino might be onto something~” Trixx sing-songs.

“The Guardian may not have chosen you like he did me and Marinette but there’s no way we’d be able to do any of this without you. Without either of you.”

“I’ll say.” Marinette sighs, “we’re definitely gonna need to talk to Master Fu about a lot of stuff.”

🦚

She waved off her mother’s concerned looks as she thumped her head against the front door after she closed it. How dare Dupain-Cheng not only make her look like an idiot twice in less than a year but try to turn Kagami against her! Kagami was her friend, dammit, Marinette had no right trying to steal her away!

Lila runs into her room and collapses onto her bed screaming into her pillow.

There was some kind of buzzing or flapping or some irritating noise that was pissing her off further and when she rose her head she saw an akuma fly into the pillow she was griping onto. She feels something cold and dark crawling around her body like an insect and the purple butterfly outline appears over her eyes. “Good evening, Mademoiselle. I think I’ll call you Le Correcteur.” A voice whispers in her ear, “you’ve been wronged. Made a fool of you for the last time. That peppy goody two-shoes wants to leave you friendless and turn the entire class against you? We won’t give her the satisfaction. I’ll give you the power to fix her egregious attitude toward you. We’ll make them all see you’re not one to trifle with.”

Lila stands up gripping the pillow under her arm. “And then I’ll have Kagami all to myself?”

“She’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand.”

With the butterfly mask outline over her eyes, Lila looks up at the ceiling and smiles as the purplish ooze overtakes her body.

🦚

“Hello Miraculous Super Fans~” The camera pans out, “it is I, your Team Miraculblog creator, Mélodie Boivin telling you all about the new akuma detector app. I had nothing to do with creating it so you know it’s legit. Simply download the app and alert your fellow Parisians when you see an akuma so they can stay clear of the area. It’ll also let Team Miraculous do their work without worrying about civilians getting in their way.

We all love Team Miraculous so we all want them to be safe out there fighting akumatizations. So we know what’s best for the team is to let them do them without having to worry about us. Don’t be a hero. Get to safety. It’s the best way you can help them out. Also, don’t let the cops get in the way either. They’ve proven time and time again they’re not equipped for this type of thing. I mean, we all saw the incidents in which the police chief got akumatized and turned the force against the people. And yes I said incidents as in more than one. Magic could only be fought with magic. Anyone who’s ever watched cartoons would know that.

Oh? What’s this?” The blonde’s phone chirps and there’s a blinking red dot she zooms in on. “This just in. There’s an armored akuma making their way toward Collège Françoise Dupont so, ya know, maybe just don’t head toward there? Why would you anyway? School’s been out for the day. Unless you were getting an evening snack from Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Patisserie, which – in my opinion – has the best macarons in the city. But I’m not getting paid to endorse. However, if the owners are listening and need some extra business I’d be willing to accept commission in the form of pastries.”

🦚

Chat Noir sighs. “Two akumas in one day? Hawkmoth’s full of surprises.”

Ladybug hums. “I’m so glad I downloaded the app Mélodie talked about on her blog.”

Team Miraculous are standing on the roof of a building behind Collège Françoise Dupont watching the twenty foot tall knight clad in all-white armor bypass the school to head to Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Patisserie. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng!” It roars.

“Lila.” The team groans.

Rena sighs, “you think we could fashion some communicators for Roi Singe? Or do you think he’s a Miraculblog follower?”

Carapace impatiently taps her shell against the rooftop, “I don’t think anyone in Paris isn’t a follower of the blog by now.” She clutches her helmet, “I know this it the pre-fight portion where we come up with a plan then kick Hawkmoth’s ass but I’m—I’m...” She sighs, “my heart’s just not in it! The longer we stay perched up here like gargoyles the more my parents are in danger!”

“Relax, Carapace. I have a risky but equally beneficial idea~” Chat sing-songs, “let’s group huddle.”

As Chat explains her plan, that’s met with a series of groans, they all detransfrom. Nino merges Tikki and Plagg’s Miraculouses and Alya merges Wayzz and Trixx.

Bug Noir carries both Kagami and Marinette to the bakery while Red Shell creates illusions to confuse the knight.

Marinette flops down on her bed with a groan, while Kagami takes a seat on the chaise. “I hate waiting like this but if I am the main source of Lila’s anger, I’m gonna take her on as myself.”

“I’m behind you 100%.”

“Thanks, Kagami. Alya was right about not being able to do this without you.”

🦚

Nathalie follows the movements of the akumatization. Huh. There must be secrets the book didn’t speak about. Merging kwami powers? She’ll have to talk to Gabriel about it. Although if she’s being honest, she might not want to give Nooroo back to him.

This feeling. The power that comes with it. It’s addicting.

No wonder he spends so much time in here as Hawkmoth.

And with him having to pacify the Bourgeois’ she’ll be acting as Hawkmoth more and more. The only rules he gave her were that no matter how pissed she got Audrey was currently off limits, as she’d no doubt use her anger to go after her daughter.

He also told her to watch Adrien and only akumatize him if there was no other alternative. He can’t get preferential treatment without arousing suspicion.

Hopefully it won’t come to that, but Adrien is just as “emotionally charged” as his best friend. Either way, Nathalie’s not sure she can send an akuma after the boy who became like a son to her.

🦚

Rose blinks at the box in the outstretched gloved hand before her. She was with Marc making their way toward Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Patisserie to bribe Alix’s family into seeing them when people started running around screaming about an akumatization.

Before either of them could ask about the aforementioned akumatization they saw it, as it nearly trampled them. Fortunately, Roi Singe carried them to safety, away from the main roads.

Which brings them to the present. “Rose Lavillant, here is the Miraculous of the rat, or mouse if you prefer. As you recall, it contains Mullo: kwami of multiplication. You will use it to kick some akumatized ass.” Rose nods accepting the box, “once said ass kicking is done, you will return the Miraculous to me. Got it?”

“Absolutely, Roi Singe. You can count on me!”

“Atta girl.”

As Rose opens the box, Mullo flutters into existence before her and presses their body against her cheek in a hug. “It’s you.” They gasp, “I’m so happy it’s you.”

“So am I.”

“How wonderful to be partnered with you again.” Rose puts the necklace on and smiles up at Mullo who returns the smile.

“Let’s get squeaky.”

Marc gapes, “a-again?” They shield their eyes at the bright grey light that engulfs Rose’s body and once the light dissipates there’s a helmeted hero in catsuit reminiscent of a human-sized rat; there are even little rat ears on the helmet. Roi Singe clears his throat, holding out another box toward Marc. “W-Wha—? No way.”

“Yes way, my dude. We need the extra help. Guardian’s orders. I do gotta go through the speech again so bear with me.” He takes a deep breath, “Marc Anciel, here is the Miraculous of the ox. It contains Stompp, kwami of change. Or was it modification? Either way, you will use it to kick some akumatized ass.” Gulping, Marc shakily accepts the box, “once said ass kicking is done, you will return the Miraculous to me. Can I trust you?”

“Y-Yes.” They grip the box tighter, “I’ll do what I can to help.”

“Badass. Crack open that puppy and let’s get to work.”

Marc gently opens the box squinting, as expected there’s a bright purple light that comes from inside the box once it’s fully open. Inside is a septum ring. “Oh.” There’s a purple ox floating in mid air. “You are adorable!” They coo pressing their body against Marc’s cheek like the rat did with Rose. “My last Chosen wasn’t anywhere near as cute as this one.” Once they let go of Marc beaming, they bow. “Greetings. I am Stompp, kwami of alteration. Whom do I have the pleasure of partnering with this evening?”

“M-My name’s Marc.”

“Wonderful. Now as this is my first time out of the Miracle Box in some time to transform you’ll need a phrase. You’ll need another phrase to detransform. Oh, and you must place the jewelry on your person first. It’s as simple as that. Don’t worry, it’s a clip on.” Marc nods gently places the septum ring in his nose, “now your transformation phrase.”

“Charge.”

🦚

When Lila – or Le Correcteur as she insisted on being called – ripped off the top half of the bakery and grabbed Marinette then squeezed, the illusion burst into dozens of butterflies.

Marinette pokes her head out from under the kitchen table and sighs, watching Lila swat at the butterflies. “Well, that just confirms she’s trying to kill me.”

“Told ya I got ya covered, LB.” Alya says in her ear.

Alya has become freakishly good at casting illusions. They might have to keep her on Rena Rouge, or any of Rena’s potential fusions, from now on while the rest of them continue to switch until Nino and Kagami find their permanent partners.

Bug Noir’s Lucky Charm created one of those toy monkeys that bang their cymbals together, so Marinette called Fu who got in contact with Roi Singe. Fu also promised them he’d deliver a communicator to Roi Singe once the mission was done with. They made spares but they might need to make more.

Marinette was hardly expecting three heroes to appear carrying her, Kagami, and her parents out of the partially destroyed bakery.

Roi Singe’s debut was at the Louvre yesterday, and as none of them were there Fu had to have hand delivered the Miraculous to him. And as Fu let Roi Singe keep Xuppu, they must be a perfect match. (Given what she heard about Xuppu earlier, Marinette isn't sure if that's a good thing.)

There are so many questions.

As Le Correcteur stomps on the remnants of the bakery Marinette can see her parents hearts breaking in front of her. That bitch has to go down. Roi Singe pats her parents on the shoulder, “M. Dupain, Mme. Cheng, we’ll fix you guys’ bakery. Have no fear.” Her parents nod with unshed tears in their eyes.

The rat hero clears her throat, “a-as risky as it sounds, we’re gonna need your daughter.”

“What!?” Her papa screeches, “what for!?”

“Li—The akumatization is after me.” Marinette replies evenly, “if it keeps you guys safe, I’m willing to do whatever I can.”

“Marinette, no. If you’re the one in danger there’s no way we’re letting you out of our sight.”

“You can count on us.” The ox proclaims placing a hand over their chest. “No harm will come to Mlle. Dupain-Cheng. We swear.”

“What will you even need Marinette for?” Her maman asks.

“The akumatization won’t continue to wreck havoc looking for her if she’s in plain sight.” The rat fidgets playing with her gloved hands, “as I said, it’s risky but I can multiply.” To emphasize this, she jumps rope until she splits in two. Marinette does a double take because whoa she didn’t not know that. “I’ll keep Marinette safe.” One mouse hero exclaims picking up Marinette in the princess carry.

“Please be careful with our daughter.” Her parents plead.

The three heroes (four, if you include the second rat hero) nod then jump in the direction of Collège Françoise Dupont. Once they get passed, Red Shell and Bug Noir jump down from wherever and head them off.

“Whoa!” Red Shell begins, “the fuck is all this?”

“We’re using the whole target as bait to distract the enemy bit. I know it’s severely overdone but Lucky Charm after effects or not, I can’t stand idly by watching my favorite bakery get smushed into dust.”

“You got more of that plan or are you just winging it?” Roi Singe shrugs. Bug Noir sighs, “okay. This is what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna get intros out of the way then we’re gonna do what you said and use Mlle. Dupain-Cheng to distract the akumatization. If possible, get the whole reason why you were akumatized spiel.” Everyone nods, “great, I’ll begin. Bug Noir.”

“As you’re probably aware I’m Roi Singe.”

“I-I’m Bête.” The ox stammers with a nod.

“Call me Miraculmouse!" There are various agreeing murmurs.

“Red Shell. Though I think I might change it.”

“I-I have an idea.” Bête slowly raises their hand, “what if I made myself as big as the akumatization and had one of Miraculmouse’s copies on me carrying Mlle. Dupain-Cheng? I can alter my body at will.”

“That’s such a cool power.” Roi Singe gushes.

“Okay. And while you’re doing that the rest of us will try to figure out where the akuma is hiding. It’s Lucky Charm time.” Bug Noir spins the yo-yo overhead until it starts to glow, then once the glowing stops a pillow case drops into his waiting hands. “Yeah. Um. Wow. I got nothing.” He hands Red Shell the pillow case. She shakes her head as she hands the pillow case to Roi Singe who wordlessly passes it along to Bête. With a shrug, they pass it to Miraculmouse who examines it.

“Maybe the akuma is in a pillow?” Miraculmouse guesses. Everyone looks over at the akumatization now stomping Collège Françoise Dupont with glee.

“And that pillow is now their shield!” Bug Noir nods. “Worth a shot. Great work, Double M.”

Roi Singe hums. “But it’s a big knight, man. Getting that shield away from them ain’t gonna be easy.”

“Yeah. We’d better work quick then. These akumatizations get more and more annoying. Onto the distraction phase. Bête, do what you need to do buddy.”

Bête detaches the cowbell from their side and rings it. “Grow.” The rest of the team watches in awe as the ox hero gets bigger and bigger. “Need a lift?” They extend their hand and everyone else jumps into the opened palm. From their hand, everyone gets on Bête’s shoulders.

They cut off Le Correcteur before she can cause anymore destruction. She screams throwing a punch Bête catches with their hand, then when she throws another punch with her other hand it gets caught as well. “Dupain-Cheng will never steal another friend from me!” She snarls, lifting her foot and kicking Bête in the stomach, knocking them off balance.

“This reminds me of a movie I once saw.” Marinette muses tapping her chin as they fall backwards; Miraculmouse carrying her away to safety.

As Bête hits the ground, narrowly avoiding landing on any buildings, Le Correcteur laughs haughtily. “Don’t interfere! I’m a fan of Team Miraculous. I don’t wanna hurt any of you. Just give me Dupain-Cheng.”

Red Shell scoffs. “If you really were a fan of ours, you wouldn’t be trying to hurt an innocent civilian.”

“‘Innocent?’” The knight sneers. “You’ve got it all wrong. There’s nothing innocent about that wretch. She’s a friend stealing harpy and all I wanna do is correct her.”

“Looks like we got the why.” Roi Singe mutters.

“If anyone has any additions to the plan now would be a good time to voice them.” Red Shell says.

“How good is your acting, Marinette?” Miraculmouse asks.

“So-so. Why?”

“Roi Singe and I were thinking of something that might work. You’re gonna need to antagonize the akumatization...” Miraculmouse pauses, “further. Really distract her.”

Roi Singe taps his ruyi jingu bang against the floor and it turns into a polkadotted yo-yo. “I swear I don’t understand this thing sometimes.” He hands it to Marinette, “talk shit about her then throw this at her, it’ll immobilize her and we can get the shield.”

“If that doesn’t work, we can always trip her with my copies.” Miraculmouse cuts in.

“Wouldn’t call this a solid plan but it’s the only one we got. I have an idea about getting the shield, even if she isn’t immobilized. I’ll need you to give me cover, Red Shell, throw in some illusions into the mix if you can.”

Red Shell gives him a two-fingered salute, “whatever you need, Boss.” She holds up a hand, “but cataclysming the akumatization’s shield is not a plan. That’s more of a goal.”

“Then let’s get this goal done. You good, Bête?”

“Oh, yeah. I’ll be on my feet in no time. Hope I’m not sore in the morning.”

Groaning, Bête gets back on their feet locking hands with Le Correcteur again. “Protecting her is pointless! She’ll screw you over too—” Le Correcteur gasps seeing Marinette hanging off Bête’s right shoulder waving. “Dupain-Cheng!”

Time to put her acting chops to work. “Poor Rossi wants someone to blame for her unlikable personality.” Marinette puts a hand to her mouth, laughing derisively. It might be overkill but Lila was akumatized so overkill stands the best shot of working. “Maybe you hit your head when you got akumatized.”

You—” Le Correcteur grits her teeth, struggling not to get overpowered by Bête. “You leave my Kagami alone!”

Your Kagami? Oh, that’s rich. Kagami belongs to no one least of all you. And since you’re so hellbent on‘correcting’ someone why not correct yourself first?”

“Got a little addition to the goal~” Red Shell sing-songs. Marinette had to hold her ear piece in her hands whenever Roi Singe, Bête, or Miraculmouse got too close so they wouldn’t figure out she was communicating with Team Miraculous. It’s not a great feeling being this involved in the danger without a suit, but she trusts the team—her team. Even the ones she doesn’t know well yet.

“Yeah, I heard. Pick me up and we’ll end this.” Kagami’s knuckles cracking could be heard in the background.

“Gotta make a quick pick up, Boss.” Red Shell blows on her flute. Two more Red Shells appear then sprint off. If anyone could have their illusions carry someone, it’s Alya.

There’s a flash of pink out the corner of Marinette’s eye but when she turns in the direction of the flash, there’s nothing to indicate what it was.

“Lila, stop this!” It’s Kagami’s voice but she doesn’t see Kagami. Marinette looks around until she sees Red Shell holding a mega phone in front of Kagami’s mouth, as they stand on a nearby building. “You shouldn’t be angry at Marinette, you should be angry at me!”

“I could never be angry at you!” The butterfly outline shines over Le Correcteur’s eyes then she pulls her hands back from Bête’s causing them to stumble, then she shoves them away from her.

Marinette flings the yo-yo in the air and it hits Le Correcteur’s shoulder stunning them. “You know what? To hell with plans and goals.” Bug Noir’s whole right arm starts glowing black and he slams his hand into the shield on Le Correcteur’s side, with the help of a tower of Miraculmouses.

“Especially if winging it gets results.” Miraculmouse tells him.

No!” Le Correcteur screams. The shield turns to ash and the purple ooze overtakes the akumatizations body until it transforms into Lila who screams as she falls to the ground.

Red Shell grabs her before she hits the pavement, and gently places her on the street.

After purifying the akuma, Bug Noir throws the pillow case in the air and the sky turns bright pink before ladybugs shoot out of the pillow case restoring everything Le Correcteur destroyed.

Once the whole team is on the ground, the team fist bump with Marinette and Kagami.

Gasping, Lila scrambles to her feet dropping her pillow. “Oh no! I-I’m so sorry Team Miraculous. I-I don’t know what I was thinking.” She stares at Kagami, “I’m so so sorry. Sorry for everything.”

Kagami takes her hands, “it’s alright, Lila. You were akumatized.”

Lila shakes her head, “not just that. I-I just wanted to be important. You’re so amazing and I’m... nothing. I don’t know why I lied to you. Please forgive me?”

Marinette groans. “Seriously? Just like that?”

“Everyone makes mistakes, Dupain-Cheng.”

“Like you trying to kill me?”

Lila shrugs, “I was akumatized. It could happen to just about anyone.”

As Marinette seethes, Red Shell clears her throat. “How’s about I take you kids home, huh? Just let me know where to go.”

“Of course, uh...”

“Red Shell.”

“I love it!” Lila picks up her pillow then jumps into her opened arms. Kagami walks alongside them as they leave.

Roi Singe stretches, “this doesn’t get any easier, does it?”

“Nope. Hey, thanks again man. You’re definitely clutch. When you go see the Guardian, make sure you get a communicator so we can be in touch.” Roi Singe nods, then runs off with Miraculmouse and Bête.

“Let’s take you back home, Mlle. Dupain-Cheng. Your parents must be worried sick.” Marinette giggles as Bug Noir scoops her up in the princess carry.

Her parents hug her the second Bug Noir sets her down in front of the bakery. “Now I see first-hand why everyone loves you guys.” Her papa sniffles. “Whenever you do patrol or finish up saving the city, there will be free pastries waiting for you.”

“Can’t say no to an offer like that, thanks M. Dupain. I’ll let the rest of the team know.” Her parents shake his hand, “gotta bug out, take care.”

Her parents hug her again, “guys I’m fine, really. Team Miraculous took great care of me.”

“Please don’t ever do anything as reckless as that again?” Her papa pleads, “I almost had a heart attack when that mouse hero took you away.”

“Do you have the akuma app downloaded on your phone?” Her maman asks, “it may not help you from preventing an akuma attack especially if you indirectly cause one but it will prevent you from getting caught in the crossfire.”

“I’ll see if I have the space to download it.”

“In the meantime, let’s get something to eat. I would’ve thrown up had I eaten when you were out.” Marinette chuckles as her parents each have a hand around her shoulder as they walk into the bakery.

Chapter Text

When Adrien walks in the classroom, everyone is crowding Lila’s desk. Curious, and because his desk is in front of hers, Adrien makes his way over.

He and Chloè had the world’s most awkward car ride with Audrey and Andrè just now. Surprisingly, they came to check on her last night after hearing of her involvement in yesterday’s (first) akuma attack and now The Gorilla was taking them back to Le Grand Paris.

They were on their way to the classroom when Mlle. Bustier stopped Chloè to talk with her before class.

“What’s going on?”

“Lila met Ladybug!” Sabrina gushes, “she was just about to tell us all about it!”

The brunette nods proudly, “when I broke the akuma’s hold over me, she congratulated me on being such an exceptional individual. Then once the purification was dealt with, we went out for pastries at Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Patisserie.”

“How did you break an akuma’s hold on you?” Kim asks.

Lila tsks, wagging her pointer finger back and forth, “if I let that slip out Hawkmoth will double down on akumatizations.”

Marinette raises an eyebrow, “but Hawkmoth would’ve already seen you break the akuma’s hold, wouldn’t he?”

Lila sighs, “Hawkmoth isn’t as omniscient as you guys think. She only sees what her akuma see. Plus, the hold she has on you requires all her concentration. Why else would she only send out one akuma at a time?”

“Wait! Back up a bit. Did you say she? Are you telling me Hawkmoth’s a woman?” Alya asks.

“Yup. One-hundred percent.”

Kagami nods, “it’s true. The voice in my head was a woman’s.”

The class murmurs among themselves until Lila clears her throat. “In any event! If you’re as strong-willed as I am, the hold Hawkmoth has over you doesn’t last very long.”

“You must not be all that strong-willed if you got akumatized in the first place.” Marinette argues.

“Even the strongest of strong-willed individuals can be seduced by a velvety voice promising your greatest desire, Marinette.”

As Lila raises an eyebrow at her, Marinette’s eyes narrow. Neither of them glancing in Kagami’s direction. “Fine. You got me there but how come I didn’t see you at the bakery? Did you forget I was there? Not to mention, you know, I live there?”

“I never said we ate at the bakery I said we got pastries from there.”

“How could you eat with Ladybug when Ladybug wears a helmet?”

Everyone stares at Marinette then glances at Lila who shakes her head with an eye roll, “helmets have that thing they do. You know, the flip?” She moves her hand up and down. “Out of respect for her identity, I looked away while she ate.”

Everyone turns back to Marinette who exhales deeply. “Ladybug wasn’t even there last night.” The class gasps.

“Uh, yeah she was. How else would the magical ladybugs fix everything I destroyed? It could only be Ladybug.”

“Wait, you remember being akumatized?” Juleka asks.

“Bits and pieces.” Everyone turns to Kagami who nods. Lila huffs, folding her arms over her chest. “What? You don’t believe me?”

“Bits and pieces...” Everyone turns to Rose. “That reminds me. Yesterday? It was Ladybug but it kinda wasn’t Ladybug at the same time.”

Lila huffs, “what the hell are you talking about Rose?”

“I was on my way to the bakery when I saw them. Ladybug looked different but there were the signature spots.”

“Maybe it was a new hero like the ones at the Louvre the day before yesterday?” Alya guesses.

“No. No, no, no, no.” Max clears his throat, putting his phone out on Lila’s table. “Rose is onto something. Observe. I think it was a fusion.” Everyone inches closer squinting at the blurry image on the phone. “As you can see, it’s signature Ladybug but note the cat ears on the spotted helmet and the all too familiar yet now spotted tail.”

Lila gasps, “Ladybug and Chat Noir?”

Max nods, “exactly. Team Miraculous are able to not only get new heroes on the fly but fuse the ones they already have.” The class gasps excitedly. “But what do we call this fusion?”

“Ladynoir?” Ivan suggests.

Max shakes his head, “no. That sounds like a risquè book title.”

“Then I’m guessing Noir Lady is out...” Marinette mutters.

“Ooh. Chat Bug.” Alya grimaces, “on second thought, forget I said that. No wait. Bug Chat?”

“You already had a shot.” Kim mutters, “and I was thinking Bugchat—” He nudges Marc, “what do you think? You’re the creative one.”

“He—” Everyone glares at Lila, who immediately shrinks back, “s-sorry. I-I meant they aren’t the only creative person in this class!” As everyone continues to stare, unconvincingly at her, she huffs. “Alright, fine. Let’s hear what you have to say Oh Creative One.”

Marc gives a one-shoulder shrug, “what about Noir Bug? It doesn’t sound as risquè—”

“Unless it deals with a specific fetish.” Max mutters, “but yeah. Noir Bug works. Bug Noir would’ve also been acceptable.” The class nods in agreement.

The door kicks open and Alix saunters into the classroom. Everyone gasps then one-by-one quickly leave Lila’s desk down the stairs to the pink-haired girl. “No fucking way!” Kim somehow manages to avoid bumping into anyone as he makes his way down and bear hugs Alix. “Dude! You have no idea how much I missed you!”

“I can tell.” She rasps. Once Kim puts her down, the rest of the class each get a turn to hug Alix. Hell, even Lila leaves her desk to hug Alix briefly.

“I’m glad you’re back.” She tells her, “Kim’s slightly less annoying when you’re around.” Then she walks back to her desk.

“Alix, no one’s seen or heard from you since your birthday! It’s practically December now! We were ready to storm the Louvre for you! You didn’t leave the city without telling us, did you? What about that cruise we were gonna go on when we both turned eighteen?”

“I was in a coma, Kim. I didn’t secretly go off on a cruise without you.”

“Wait! A coma!? What? Are you alright now? I mean, obviously as you’re standing here but how did you get in a coma?” Nathaniel asks, “I-I feel like I’m hyperventilating.”

Alix puts a hand on his shoulder, “you are. Breathe, dude.” He nods taking a deep breath. “My favorite pair of skates croaked on me. Then my body missed the half-pipe when my head... didn’t.” Everyone cringes. “Got a wicked scar.” She takes off her hat, that Adrien could swear moved, then lifts up some of her hair; there’s a long stitched up gash across the right side of her head.

Kim whistles, “oh that’ll stay there for weeks!”

“Maybe longer!” They high-five each other then Alix puts her hat back on and Adrien could swear it moved again.

“But I don’t understand.” Max adjusts his glasses. “You’re the most competent skater I’ve ever seen. You even beat that professional skater when they came by for career day! Hell, you started skating the minute you learned to walk, and that is an impressive feat. You—you’d never miss a half-pipe. It’s illogical. Even with broken skates.”

“I know.” Alix groans, “rookie mistake. I overestimated? Or maybe underestimated? I didn’t gauge the distance properly then—” She brings her hands together and the sound startls everyone. “Had just enough of the wheel off the skate to steer my body away from where I wanted to go. Besides, even the greats wipe out every now and then.”

Max eyes her suspiciously but nods. “I suppose.”

“By the way, who was the busty tall blonde talking to Mlle. Bustier outside the classroom?” Everyone looks at one another before running to the door cramming together trying to see anything through the door’s glass.

Lila huffs, “look what you’ve done! You haven’t been here a full minute and chaos erupted!”

“All I see is Mlle. Bustier!” Kim cries.

Ivan gasps. “I see a hand!”

Alya groans, “I can’t see anything with these tall ass jerks!” She gasps, “Juleka’s tall!” She grabs Juleka’s shoulders and guides her through the pile until she’s wedged between Kim and Ivan. “What do you see?”

“A lesbian flag purse.” Juleka blinks, “oh. Nice. Where can I get one of those?”

Nino manages to squeeze through at a corner of the door, despite being the shortest of the four, “I see hair!” Everyone leans into him trying to see from his angle.

“I see pink!”

“No, that’s orange!”

“Lime green?”

“Black.”

“I think that’s purple.”

“Blue-green? I think?”

Guys!” Everyone turns to Adrien but in the process they all fall over one another. The only people who hadn’t run over to the door were himself, Lila, and Kagami. Also Alix who was leaning against Mlle. Bustier’s desk laughing. With a sigh, he shakes his head. Before he could speak, the door opens and Mlle. Bustier walks in.

“W-What? What on earth happened?” She gasps spotting the pink-haired girl who moved toward the front of Kagami’s desk. “Alix?” She steps over the pile of bodies running over to Alix hugging her, “I was so worried about you.”

“No need to worry, teach.” Nodding, Mlle. Bustier wipes her teary eyes.

“I’m sorry. I had good news but this is even better.” The redhead fans her eyes, “okay everyone. To your seats please. Alix, may I speak with you at lunch?” The pink-haired teen nods. “Wonderful. You can... sit next to Kagami.” Nodding, Alix takes her seat once everyone disengages from the pile and head to their seats. “Now. For my good news. Let’s all give a big Collège Françoise Dupont welcome to our newest classmate Chloè Bourgeois.” The class cheers as a blonde walks in the classroom.

The top two buttons of her shirt are unbuttoned revealing a striped pink undershirt. In addition to the purse, she also has a lesbian flag headband over her multicolored hair. “Why don’t you tell the class about yourself, Chloè?”

“Alright.” She clears her throat. “Let’s skip the preamble and boring bits. I’ll be fifteen in the middle of next month and I’m currently looking for a girlfriend or some girlfriends I can spoil.” Adrien smothers his laugh into a snort, waving off the concerned looks he’s getting. Chloè turns to Mlle. Bustier. “I’m done.”

“O-Oh. Okay. W-Well, thank you Chloè.” The blonde nods. “Does anyone have any questions for Chloè?” Every hand sans Adrien’s goes up. “Oh dear.”

Chloè tilts her head to the right, “do I pick or do you?”

“I’m afraid we won’t have enough time to answer every question.”

“So let’s not answer any. That seems fair.” All the hands miserably lower. “Where do I sit?”

“Let’s see...” Mlle. Bustier surveys the classroom. “How about you take a seat next to Lila?” The class let out a collective indecipherable noise as they turn to Lila.

The aforementioned brunette smiles and waves at Chloè who gives a far less enthusiastic wave in reply.

Chloè raises an eyebrow at Mlle. Bustier who nods. Taking a deep breath, Chloè trudges up the stairs. Lila gets up and Chloè stares at her then takes a seat then shifts over so she’s against the wall. Then Lila sits down. “Hi, Chloè! I’m so glad we’re sitting next to each other. If you need anything, just let me know.”

Chloè blinks at her then forces a wide smile, “thanks!” Then she turns to the board, massaging her cheeks.

Adrien barks out a laugh as he turns to the front of the classroom and Chloè flicks him in the back of his neck.

🐇

Chloè disappeared during lunch, much to the class’ dismay, so everyone settled on badgering Adrien for details about his best friend. And when he gave them none, they badgered Alix for more details about her injury after she had come back from talking to Mlle. Bustier.

Chloè returned in time for physical education to have a folded uniform held in M. D’Argencourt’s hands in front of her. “Fencing?” She looks up at him with narrowed eyes, “is fencing normally a physical education sport?”

“It is in this school, Mademoiselle.” Chloè begrudgingly accepts the uniform, “now as it is your first day, I won’t expect you to participate.”

“That’s a relief.” She mutters taking her phone out of her purse, holding her uniform one-handed.

“But I do expect you to pay attention!” M. D’Argencourt narrows his eyes and Chloè drops her phone onto her equipment with a smile. He makes her take a seat on the staircase as everyone pairs up. She puts the uniform beside her then starts scrolling the Internet looking for another uniform with color on it. There’s no way in hell she’s gonna be caught dead wearing this dreary thing. “Mlle. Bourgeois!”

“What!?”

“This is a special treat, just for you.” Chloè claps with the phone still in her hand. The teacher narrows his eyes at her. “Our two best fencers will be explaining the motions to you. M. Agreste. Mlle. Tsurugi.” Adrien and Kagami each walk toward each other, separating themselves from the other students lined up against the wall. “En garde!” They step at the edge of the circle before them. “Prêts?” They get into a defensive stance, lowering their helmets onto their faces. “Allez!”

For a second neither of them move. Chloè doesn’t remember what it’s called but the opponents are sizing each other up without moving. It’s badass and Kagami looks so hot in her uniform but she’d look better in a bright color uniform instead of the boring old white one. Hmm. Maybe pink? No, no. Red? Chloè looks up red fencing uniforms online while watching Adrien and Kagami skillfully move around each other.

Chloè is very familiar with Adrien’s fencing style, but he’s not bopping around like he would with her. Someone had to be his partner (for free) and her parents were more than happy to have her away from them for hours at a time. Whenever they were in the same city for more than a few hours, they were fencing or practicing any hand heavy exercise to help with their tremors and inability to stay still. The doctors recommended physical activity and Emilie didn’t want them to do just any old activity. But why fencing of all things? She took the reason to the grave with her.

When she was in New York with her mother, Chloè participated in a two fencing competitions and won – but the teacher doesn’t need to know that.

She’s torn on who to root for, both of them are too pretty to get nicked with a épée or be subjected to helmet hair. Not just anyone can rock a bob with bangs the way Kagami does.

It takes twenty minutes for Kagami to barely edge out Adrien but the whole class is cheering (probably because it’s finally over).

The teacher shushes all of them once all that good sport post match goodness ends, then puts the next two people to fight. Both Adrien and Kagami make their way over to her. “You were so hot.” Is what she blurts out once Kagami’s helmet comes off.

“Chlo, you need to work on your lack of a filter.”

She’s too busy staring endearingly at Kagami to hear Adrien chide her. “You are so pretty.” Chloè gasps, “I just realized you have freckles!”

She squints inching closer to Kagami’s face until Adrien grabs her head and pulls it back, “down, girl.”

“I don’t mind.” The back of her gloved hand caresses Chloè’s cheek. “I admire honesty.” Chloè’s surprised she doesn’t spontaneously melt into a puddle at the contact. “Plus, it’s flattering and a huge ego stroke to elicit this type of reaction.”

“I’m pretty sure she’s gonna start purring.”

The smile that creeps up on Kagami’s face makes Adrien shudder.

Sabrina merrily bounces over to the three of them. M. D’Argencourt put Marinette and Lila against each other, and she’d rather have another root canal than watch Lila get decimated. Marinette didn’t have the grace of Adrien or Kagami but she had scary precision. If she wasn’t such a massive klutz, she’d be a terrifying fencer. She was the only one in the class to get a point off Kagami before Adrien joined the class yesterday.

And how Adrien made short work of all of them, excluding Kagami, in just one day was astonishing.

Sabrina clears her throat, because it looks like Kagami is petting Chloè which she’s sure there’s great context for. “H-Hi, Chloè. I’m Sabrina. Officer Raincomprix’s daughter. My dad wants me to show you around the city, if that’s alright?”

“A personal cute escort around the city? What’s not to be alright with?” Sabrina blushes. “Is your hair naturally that orange?” Sabrina nods meekly, “it’s lovely.”

“T-Thank you.”

“Are you free today?” Sabrina nods, “great. Adrikins and...” Chloè puts a finger to her chin, “gotta come up with a befitting nickname for Kagami. Something regal, ethereal...” Adrien snaps his fingers drawing Chloè’s attention, “right. Thanks. These two have fencing practice after school so let’s see the city.”

“Okay.”

“Great.” Then Chloè starts fixing Kagami and Adrien’s helmet hair with the comb she pulls out of her purse.

As anticipated, Lila doesn’t get a single point off Marinette and is pissed when Sabrina sidles back next to her. “Maybe I’m losing it but does Marinette seem a little buffer to you?”

Lila narrows her eyes at Sabrina, “what?” She hisses then looks over at Marinette who has her lithe yet surprisingly muscular arms stretching the jacket’s material as her arms are stretching over her head. “Holy hell! When did that happen!? She had fucking noodle arms when school started!”

Everyone turns to her before M. D’Argencourt could get the next two people ready. “Everything alright Mlle. Rossi?”

“Peachy M. D’Argencourt~” He eyes her suspiciously before letting Kim and Ivan go at it. And really, the only reason they keep getting paired together is because no one is as tall as they were. Juleka’s the third tallest kid in the class and even she’s lower than Kim’s bicep. New Girl is slightly shorter than Juleka but taller than Adrien, who is slightly taller than Nino, so she’s likely gonna get paired with Juleka for height reasons. (Although watching Juleka and Nino “fight” was more amusing than it had any right to be.)

“Fencing?” Sabrina guesses.

Lila glares at her own miserable still noodle-y arms then shakes her head. If half a year of fencing didn’t improve her arms why would it improve Marinette’s?

“Maybe all that baking and helping her parents out?”

Lila huffs, “just how physical is baking anyway?”

“Don’t you watch baking competitions? It’s super physical! All that kneading and stretching and bending and moving around? It’s practically an Olympic sport!”

🐇

Lila bursts in the office door. “Principal Damocles, I propose we start a baking club.”

“You know the rules, Mlle. Rossi, you need to have at least ten signatures and a teacher willing to oversee the club.”

“I know.” She holds out her hand, “I need the worksheet and all the other necessary do-dads.” The principal narrows his eyes but hands her the club application clipboard.

“You have two days to have this filled out.”

Lila nods then walks out the door.

🐇

When Nathalie opens the door she’s hardly expecting to see Chloè with an orange-haired girl. “Hi, Ms. Sancoeur.” She shakes her head, “sorry, Mlle. Sancoeur.”

Nathalie smiles at her, “you’re learning quick.”

“My French is still a little choppy.”

“But your pronunciation is perfect.” She sidesteps letting the girls in.

“This is Sabrina, she’s showing me around the city.” Sabrina shakes her hand.

“Nice meeting you and thank you for looking after Chloè.”

“No problem!” Sabrina salutes.

“I’m surprised you didn’t stick around to watch Adrien’s fencing practice.”

“Shopping sounds like a better use of my time. I just came to drop off Adrikins’ school bag. No reason for him to carry it and all that heavy fencing gear.”

“That’s very kind of you, Chloè.”

“My Adrikins deserves only the best. Starting with a fencing uniform with some flair.” Nathalie shakes her head fondly, watching Chloè and Sabrina head up the stairs to Adrien’s room chatting.

Nathalie forgot how energetic Chloè could be. Having her here might not just be good for Adrien.

After they leave the manor, Nathalie sighs. She never had a reason to question Gabriel before but now? Adrien won’t be the only one to mourn if something did happen to her because of the damn damaged Miraculous. Her hands ball up into fists. There’s still time to fix this. Where did he put that damn brooch?

🐇

The first stop on the Tour de Paris was a smoothie shop. “Oh my gosh!” Sabrina squeals, “look!” She points at a smiling man with a Parisian flag scarf and a beret serving ice cream out of a tiny cart. “It’s Andrè! It’s almost impossible to find him without going through a series of clues!”

Chloè squints at the guy, “my father’s name is Andrè and there’s nothing special about him. What’s the deal with this guy?”

“Andrè’s an ice cream magician! His ice cream brings people together.” Sabrina grabs her free hand, “we have to go to him!”

“I hope he has sherbet because I’m lactose intolerant.”

Sabrina happily bounces up and down on the line, turning around to take a selfie with the ice cream man in the background. “I can’t believe this is happening!”

“Okay, so sell me the story on this guy.”

“Well, you know Ivan and Mylène right? From our class?” Chloè shakes her head, “well, of course not. Duh. You just got here today. You won’t know everyone right away. Anyway, it was Andrè’s ice cream that brought them together.”

“Bullshit. Surely, there were other circumstances that led to that.”

Sabrina shakes her head, “nope. The power of the ice cream.”

Just as Chloè scoffs, they’re next in line. “Ah. It warms my heart to the core to see a young love so pure.”

Sabrina and Chloè exchange a glance, “w-wha—” Sabrina shakes her head blushing, “no, No! We—We aren’t...” Andrè tsks them.

“I never said you were in love with each other, no my dear your love is for another. For one with such ebullience, a scoop of vanilla for innocence. A dollop of mint chocolate chip to reveal what’s hidden, for you believe your feelings are forbidden. Banana, may not see him as though it’ll fit, but the color of her hair and the sound of her voice is exquisite.” Sabrina’s entire face is red as she wordlessly accepts the ice cream, pointedly not looking at a certain someone with banana-ish colored hair.

He turns to Chloè. “Lactose. Intolerant.” She scowls.

“Ah. No worries. Flavors to suit your sensitivity.” He closes the top half of the cart and opens a side door that stretches out and rises to the top. “Lactose sensitivities are more common than we bother to recollect, so most of them never venture out to me for fear of embarrassment.”

“Alright, Ice Cream Guy. Dissect my lack of a love life.” Chloè thrusts her smoothie cup to Sabrina who tries to balance between the two smoothie cups and her ice cream.

Andrè’s mouth sets in a firm line, “a nonbeliever are you?” Chloè’s eyes narrow, staring defiantly at him. “Black cherry, like the blood red that suits her.” He drops a red scoop of sherbet onto a bowl staring back at her just as defiantly. “Blueberry though it pales in comparison to the rich sheen of her hair.” He drops a blue scoop of sherbet atop the red. Then pauses, staring intently at his scoop. “Lastly, orange like the liquid fire that pours through your soul when you stare at her.”

“Deep.” Sabrina mutters.

“That last one was a bit of a stretch, don’t you think?”

“Perhaps but I ran out of chocolate for the color of her eyes.”

“Hey wait!” Sabrina chirps, “you... you didn’t speak in rhymes. Mylène and Ivan said you always speak in rhymes! Why didn’t you rhyme?!”

Andrè chuckles, “much how flavors come in many shades, different customers require different...” He stares at Chloè who is staring at the ice cream in his hand, “turns of phrase.”

She glares up at him taking out her wallet out of her purse, “I’ll bite, Ice Cream Guy. How much?”

“For you, oh nonbeliever, you can pay me if I happen to be wrong.”

“Uh, wouldn’t she pay you if you’re right?” Sabrina cuts in.

Andrè shakes his head, “this I cannot handle with kid gloves, for it’s sad to see one so young close her heart off to love. She wants me to be wrong. Needs me to be wrong. Only then will the universe right itself.”

Chloè grits her teeth and snatches the ice cream from him, “I’m fourteen! Closed myself off to love. Ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.” She starts walking off.

“Oh! A side note, before you start. That black cherry is a tad tart.” Chloè stops walking and looks over her shoulder at him, “but I fear that’s no problem for you. Perhaps you’ll come to enjoy other flavors if you stop trying to force yourself to like the one that’s in front of you. Branch out and try something new, nonbeliever.” He smiles at that venomous glare that would surely make lesser men wet themselves.

Sabrina manages a wave to Andrè without dropping anything, then they head to a nearby – but not too close – bench.

Sabrina stares at Chloè staring at her ice cream or sorbet or whatever. “Who does that Ice Cream Guy think he is? Psychoanalyzing me? I’ve had therapists that tried and failed to get a read on me!”

Sabrina (hopefully) hands her the right smoothie cup, “maybe the reason you’re so pissed is because Andrè was right?” Chloè’s reply is digging her nails into the smoothie cup. “U-Uh... I saw a salon that has a two-for-one special on mani-pedis? Interested?” Chloè just stares blankly ahead of her. Sabrina sighs looking up and gulps at the fucking akuma circling Chloè’s head. Damn. Do these things have the city chipped?!

Watching someone get akumatized in front of her again is far from ideal.

Alerting Chloè to the akuma’s presence could be disastrous. Alternatively, not telling her could be even worse.

Sabrina looks around and spots a small herbal shop she’s never seen before. “Let’s get essential oils!” Chloè slowly looks over at her, nails still digging into the stryofoam smoothie cup puncturing the outer layer leaving deep crescent shaped marks. “You know? Therapeutic oils. Bath bombs. Fancy great smelling toiletries and such?” She points over at the herbal shop.

“I doubt they’ll have bath bombs there.” Is Chloè’s reply. The blonde takes a generous swig of her smoothie then effortlessly tosses the cup into the nearby trash can, yet for some reason keeps the sherbet; even though she hasn’t touched it. “But let’s check it out anyway.” As Chloè gets up, the akuma just moves with her still circling her head like a vulture.

Sabrina wolfs down the rest of her ice cream then follows suit, keeping an eye on the akuma.

When they get in the shop, an old-er man – the owner presumably – pauses mid-step and stares at the akuma over Chloè. “Oh my. This is... new.” Sabrina nods in agreement. He eyes the ice cream bowl Chloè has a death grip on, then eyes Sabrina who points at the bowl articulating wildly, then his eyes cut back to the akuma rhythmically flapping its wings. “What troubles you, young lady?”

Chloè laughs humorlessly, “sherbet, apparently.” She glares at the sherbet and the akuma lowers itself a little closer to her headband. “Yet I can’t bring myself to throw the damn thing away.”

The old man nods with a smile, “perhaps you’re in the mood for something else? I’ll be right back.” About a minute later he returns with an assorted box of macarons.

“What are these?”

“Macarons.” Sabrina chirps, “they’re cookies, more or less. Oh but Chloè’s lactose intolerant.”

“Then I suppose it’s a small blessing these were made dairy-free. A friend of mine was testing out a new recipe.”

“Uh, sure. I’ll try one. Thank you.” She apprehensively picks up a yellow one. “These cookie type things are so tiny. What flavor are they?”

“The one in your hand is lemon, but they come in a variety of flavors: vanilla, pistachio, chocolate, coffee, raspberry, passionfruit. You name it.”

“They don’t have anything to do with love, do they?”

When the old man glances at her, Sabrina frantically waves her arms and shakes her head. “I do not believe so?”

Satisfied with that answer, she takes a bite. He offers Sabrina one and she picks up a chocolate flavored one. Unlike Chloè, she stuffs the whole macaron in her mouth. “These are so good! Like the macarons from Sabine & Tom Boulangerie Patisserie. You wouldn’t even know they’re non-dairy.”

The old man nods, “that is where I received these from.”

“No way. We go to school with the owners’ daughter Marinette.”

Chloè wrinkles her nose, “Marionette, like the doll?”

Sabrina shakes her head, “Marinette. Blue hair in twin-tails. Big blue eyes. Super clumsy, ultra friendly, walking epitome of a goody two-shoes?”

“Blue twin-tails? Oh! She was the girl trying to talk down Paint Kagami yesterday.”

The akuma finally floats away from Chloè’s proximity, phasing through the shop walls. Sabrina and the old man breathe a sigh of relief.

Chloè drops the melted sherbet into the trash can and takes out a pink handkerchief from her purse and wipes her hand.

“If I may ask, young lady, what was the significance of the sherbet you were holding?”

“There wasn’t any. I was simply overthinking things. No cause for concern.” She begins looking through the selection of bottled oils. “Do you have any diffusers?”

“Oh yes. I do.”

The old man directs her to the shelves with animal shaped diffusers. As Chloè is holding a wasp shaped diffuser in one hand and a pheasant shaped diffuser in the other, Sabrina’s phone chimes. The orange-haired teen takes her phone out of her bag and stares at it. Lila sent her another picture of an Adrien poster she’s posing next to.

“Do you have to go?”

“Hm? Oh, no. I-It’s just a picture of Adrien. They put up some posters by bus stops and stuff and a lot of girls in the school take pictures with him—it.”

Chloè hums putting the pheasant diffuser back on the shelf, “you don’t seem like you care all that much.”

“What? O-Of course I do! Adrien Agreste is the perfect package. I care. I keep up with his modeling schedule just like every other girl—”

“Uh-huh. That wasn’t convincing in the slightest.” Sabrina pouts. “Look. I get it.” Chloè points to her headband, “my parents hate this part of me and my home life certainly hasn’t been secure with me telling them about my interest in other girls. I never wanna make anyone feel uncomfortable... or be in danger because of what they’re into...” She takes a deep breath, “just... I know we just met today but if you ever need a safe place to vent about how icky and loud boys are? I’m here.”

Sabrina cracks a smile, “girls can be just as icky and loud as boys, Chloè.”

“Loud, sure but icky?” The blonde shakes her head, “I don’t think so.”

“I—thanks, Chloè. That means a lot.”

“No problem. But I can’t believe that Ice Cream Guy just casually outed out like that!”

Sabrina blushes, “h-he meant well.”

“He meant to meddle. What if some bigot overheard him?” Chloè shakes her head, “but I don’t wanna talk about him or frozen desserts anymore.”

“Right...” Sabrina blinks at the smiling old man, “o-oh no. I’m sorry, sir.” She grimaces, “we—uh—”

“Oh no. It’s no trouble. It’s good seeing young people care so strongly for each other. You have a very big heart, young lady.”

Chloè points to herself, “me? No way, man. You must be mistaken.”

“Nah. I don’t think so.” Sabrina nudges her, “you’re secretly a big ol’ softie.”

The old man chuckles, “you know, I have just the thing for you.”

🐇

“Andrè!” His headache thumps with every clack of Audrey’s heels down the corridor. Audrey pushes open the double doors of his home office with Jean following close behind. “Have you seen your daughter today?”

“Honey, we took her to school—”

“And the bitch pulled a fast one on us. Do you remember seeing the headband or purse she was wearing?”

“Headband? Chloè didn’t have on a headband. She had her hair in a ponytail and as for her purse, it was the lip-shaped one Emilie got her for her birthday a few years back.”

“And the implications of that should’ve given her a red flag.” Andrè pops open the bottle of ibuprofen and dry swallows two pills. “She tells the four of us she likes girls and Emilie praises her for it. Rewards her. I loved Em like a sister but sometimes she just didn’t use her big brain.”

“Speaking of that?”

“Emilie?”

“No. Well, I guess Emilie in a sense but I meant a sibling type of love.” Audrey raises an eyebrow. “Adrien...” Andrè clears his throat, “Adrien told me he was bisexual. And he said that Gabriel knew.”

“What? No. No way he can be anything remotely close to like her.” Audrey slams her hand down on the table, “she... she must’ve done something! Said something to him!”

“He said she had nothing to do with it.”

“And you believed him? Think, Andrè!”

“I don’t even think it works that way! Besides, they’re best friends. They’ve been best friends since they were three-years-old! You don’t think he’d be at all curious?”

“You’re basically agreeing with me.”

“What?! What are you talking about?”

“She influenced him. She had to! Buzzing around in his ear like a fucking insect. We should’ve left her at that camp.”

“It didn’t work! In fact, I think it had the reverse effect and Adrien was this close—” He brings his pointer finger and thumb an inch apart, “to causing a ruckus to join her.” Audrey scowls, folding her arms over her chest. “Maybe she influenced him? Maybe he influenced her? We don’t know! But think about it. The fashion world is full of people like Chloè. Both in the closet and out. We could’ve very well had a hand in her turning out this way.”

“Are you saying exposure to beautiful people turned our only child gay? And our godchild bisexual? We’re the monster to blame?”

“All I’m saying is variables.”

Audrey rolls her eyes, “whatever. All I’m saying is we never should’ve hired that male nanny. I never wanted either of them to turn out so... fucked up. They turned the strictest reform school in America inside out and they were merely guests! I can’t imagine what they’ll do to the school they’re in now.”

“Right. Back on that subject. The headband?”

“Did you know there’s a lesbian flag?”

“I know now?”

“Yeah. Well, apparently Chloè went shopping.” Audrey slides her phone onto the desk in front of Andrè. Chloè and the police chief’s daughter are getting ice cream at the promenade.

It’s definitely not the purse she had on when she was in the car and with her hair out you can see all the colors (wait, did she add more?!) of her hair.

“Wait. That Ice Cream Guy. They say his ice cream brings people together. Like romantically.” Audrey’s eyes widen. “I told Roger to tell his daughter to show Chloè around—”

“You really think that was wise, Andrè? Given our daughter’s... inclinations?”

“I just wanted him to shut up about losing Adrien that time so I gave him a new task, indirectly.”

“When did he lose Adrien!?”

“Before you two arrived in Paris. It got him akumatized. I got tossed out of a helicopter.” He waves her off. “It’s not important.”

“Speaking of all this akuma nonsense I’m still not certain I understand all of it.”

“I’ll tell you all about it later.” Audrey snarls. “We need to talk to Chloè now. Talk some sense into that girl...” Andrè clicks his tongue, “on the other hand, if she’s openly flaunting around a lesbian flag that’ll make me appear more approachable to those people.”

“Might as well use her to help your campaign. She’s not good for much else.”

“I don’t agree with that second statement.”

“And I will ignore your disagreement.” Andrè sighs. “You’ll have to bribe her with something more meaningful than bath bombs.”

“Bath bombs were a great bribe; you didn’t hear the squeal she let out. What was wrong was the timing. I’ll simply have to bribe her without Adrien interfering.”

“Use him too. Bribe them both. If he puts himself on the same level as Chloè, we’ll treat him like we treat her. C’mon, let’s go.”

When the driver takes them to the Agreste manor, Nathalie opens the door. She doesn’t look pleased to see them, then again she kinda always looks pissed. (But working for Gabriel for over ten years would do that to anyone.) “Good evening.”

They latch onto each other and smile, “good evening! We came to see Chloè.” They say in unison.

“No. Gabriel told me you’re not allowed to see her.”

The smile slips off Audrey’s face. “Are you telling me I can’t see my own kid?”

“And since when has that been a bad thing, Audrey?”

Audrey’s eyes narrow and Andrè pats her arm, “we need to talk to her about this lesbian flag headband she wore to school? To school, Nathalie! Where did she even get it from?”

“Gabriel put it together. She has an entire ensemble and she’s going to model it in his next show.”

“The hell she is! If you think we’re gonna let her publicly humiliate us by strutting down a runway in a flag—”

Nathalie holds up a hand, “to be perfectly honest, we don’t care what you think.”

“You’d damn well better because she’s our daughter and we’re her legal guardians!”

“But not her only legal guardians. Eight years ago you filed for guardianship of Adrien while Emilie and Gabriel filed for guardianship of Chloè. Or did you forget? He is just as in the right making decisions about her as you are. But given that you two haven’t, I’d say he—”

“Chloè has you wrapped around her pinkie finger. You should be careful, Nathalie, or people might get the wrong idea.”

“Are you threatening me?”

“Am I? You seem awfully invested in the life of a fourteen-year-old girl you have no familial relationship to. Call security or do what you need to do but we’re not leaving until we see Chloè. And Andrè has way more influence around the city than Gabriel does.”

“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” Gabriel announces approaching the door.

“How could you betray me like this, Gabriel? I discovered you! I introduced you to Emilie! You owe me your fucking life and you encourage my daughter—”

“To be true to herself? What a terrible person I am.”

“Encouraging this? Does nothing.”

“Neither does antagonizing or ostracizing her because she isn’t what you want her to be.”

“And I suppose you’re just one-hundred percent happy about how your son turned out?”

“You leave my son out of this, Audrey.”

“Why? Touchy subject, Gabriel? Are you really okay with your son liking boys?”

“Of course I am. I’ll love my son no matter who or what he likes. Just because that’s a concept you can’t seem to grasp doesn’t mean it’s one I won’t understand.” Audrey scoffs, “I’m aware the relationship we have with our children is nothing like the relationship our parents had with us—”

“Oh, don’t even go there. My mother is perfectly fine with Chloè—”

“She is?! Your mother doesn’t approve of me, yet she’s fine with our daughter liking other girls!?” They both stare at Andrè who mutters to himself folding his arms over his chest.

“Why do you even want to see Chloè?”

“The headband you so generously bestowed upon her? It’s ‘trending’ or whatever the kids say. Do you know what this will do to Andrè’s career? To mine?”

“I’m sorry you two are still stuck in the dark ages but the fact that you’re more concerned about your reputations than your daughter’s happiness is exactly why you two can’t see her. Go back to the hotel. We can talk about this again when you’ve cooled off.”

“My opinion won’t change.”

“Neither will mine.” Then he closes the door in their faces.

“Gabriel Francis Agreste, you don’t want to be my enemy!”

“And you don’t want to be mine!”

They hear Audrey screaming from the other side of the door but Gabriel walks away. Nathalie takes one last look at the door before following after him.

“What did I tell you, Nathalie? Predictable. Down to the last word.” She puts the butterfly brooch in his hands, and he closes his fist around it. “You’ve done well yesterday. I’ll need you to fill in again but I’ll take over tonight.” She nods, “keep an eye on Adrien and Chloè.”

“I—I have an idea. It’s risky but I believe it’ll help.”

“Let’s hear it.”

“Akumatize me.”

“Excuse me?”

“Akumatize me, Gabriel. Help me make you more powerful. The more people you akumatize the more powerful your subsequent akumas become. At the rate you’re going you can barely squeeze out two akumas a day without Nooroo burning out. How long do you think it’ll take to have enough power to send out as many akumas as there are members of Team Miraculous? Especially with how many keep cropping up?”

“You said a teenager laughed out an akuma.”

“She wasn’t just any teenager. It was Tomoe’s daughter. She even resisted briefly.”

Gabriel stops walking to turn to Nathalie who also stops walking, “did she?”

“Not only her but Chloè as well.”

“You tried akumatizing Chloè? She hasn’t found the brooch yet, Nathalie!”

“I didn’t try to akumatize her, Gabriel. I had an akuma patrolling the city, like I did yesterday, when it found Chloè. She was pissed, I felt it, but the akuma never touched her.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. It hovered. Circled her. Never touched her.”

“Chloè’s spent years learning to manipulate or downright shut off her emotions in public. Akumas take over your most prevalent emotion, right? If all of her emotions are fighting each other there’s nothing to control. It’s as reckless as it is effective. But tell me more about the Tsurugi girl.”

🐇

Adrien presses himself against the wall, as he hears the footsteps retreating. He came downstairs to find out what the hell all the yelling was about but he didn’t expect to find this!

His dad and Nathalie are Hawkmoth? Nathalie must’ve akumatized Kagami and Lila yesterday, respectively, if they heard a woman’s voice in their head. When Adrien was briefly akumatized it was talking directly to Nooroo. But like Team Miraculous told him, that’s likely not gonna happen again. Especially now that they’re both taking turns terrorizing people.

He really should’ve known she’d be involved. Nathalie would follow his parents to hell and back.

Audrey’s already volatile and easy to piss off why are they deliberately trying to provoke her? And have Chloè find the brooch?

If what Nathalie passed over to his dad was Nooroo’s Miraculous then either his dad has more than just the two or he’s trying to pass off the damaged one to Chloè.

Oh no. Oh hell no.

He has to find the brooch before Chloè does!

And if they think they’re gonna re-akumatize Kagami into some super akumatization they have another thing coming!

🐇

Audrey had been angrily pacing the front lobby of the hotel when an akuma flew into her wedding ring. But it wasn’t the typical purplish black akuma it was a silver one. Andrè tried calling Chloè and Gabriel to warn them that Audrey was more than likely coming after one if not both of them but neither were picking up the phone.

So he ran in the kitchen and hid in the cupboards.

🐇

The second Sabrina stepped foot in her house the akuma app alerted her that a giant glowing glittery grey ghost woman was floating through the city.

Mèlodie was right about the cops always getting in the way but that didn’t stop her dad from becoming the first victim. Turned into a puddle of glittery grey goo.

She goes to her room and dumps out her bag when she finds a black and red hexagonal box among its contents. Curious, she picks up the box and opens it. There’s a blinding yellow-orange flash that disappears as quickly as it appears. Inside the box is a silver ring. “Ooh.”

“Hi there!” A cheery voice greets.

“Wha—?”

Sabrina looks up and gasps at the yellow-orange rooster floating in front of her face. “I’m Orikko, you must’ve been chosen to wield me. Congratulations!”

“Thanks, I guess? I’m sorry... what are you?”

“Oh, I can tell by just looking at you that you’re about ready to molt!”

Sabrina looks around. “Uh...?”

“Ah! Forgive me. I’ve gotten ahead of myself. You asked what I was. I’m a kwami. I guess I’m your kwami. I’m Orikko, as I’ve stated, kwami of motion which is a little vague I know but calling me the kwami of acceleration or deceleration wouldn’t fit as I can do both so they just stuck with motion.” The rooster—Orikko—shrugs their shoulders. “Anyway, the deal is: you and I are partners. Together we’ll help keep the world a little bit safer from bad guys.”

“Like akumas?”

“Yes, like—” Orikko does a double take, “akumas? Oh no. Nooroo is being used for evil again? Poor guy can’t catch a break and I’m not by his side to help him.” They clap their hands together. “Alright. Then there’s no time to lose. You must choose a transformation phrase so we can merge and become a superhero.”

“Awesome.”

“Indeed.”

Orikko gestures to her and she nods. “R-Right. Alright then. Orikko, let’s fly!”

🐇

As soon as Nathalie lets Chloè in the manor, Adrien grabs her and they run upstairs to her room. “What’s up Adrikins?”

“So, uh, yeah...” He rubs the back of his neck, “your mom’s been akumatized.” Chloè’s jaw drops, “what’s worse is there’s a fifty-fifty chance she’s gunning for you.”

Once Chloè snaps out of her stupor, she puts her hands on her hips. “And the other fifty-fifty chance?”

“My dad.”

Chloè groans, “it’s about the headband, isn’t it?” Adrien nods. “She’s so...” Chloè balls up her fists, “frustratingly—” She screams. “I don’t have words!”

“We gotta get you to safety.”

“Oh no. I’ve deal with an akuma before. And I’ve dealt with my mother’s tantrums before, she never needed a magical butterfly to hit me in the past.”

“That woman is a monster no matter what she gets transformed into. I-I just don’t want you to be in a situation Ladybug’s Lucky Charm can’t reverse.”

“There’s a ladybug superhero called Ladybug?”

“I’ll fill you in when this is over.”

“I’ll hold you to that. If my mother wants to deal with me, she’s gonna have to work for it. You should let your dad know.”

“I get the feeling he already does.” Adrien sighs, “but enough about him. Nathalie will watch his back so I’m watching yours. I won’t bother trying to talk you out of whatever scheme you’re planning so let’s hear it.”

Chloè tsks him, “I don’t scheme, Adrikins, I improvise.” She opens her closet and Adrien gasps behind her.

“Are you trying to get yourself killed!?”

She looks over her shoulders at him beaming. “I’m trying to get my mother’s attention.”

Adrien grimaces, “and you are certainly gonna get it.”

“That’s the plan. I need you to help zip me up.”

🐇

“Whoa. I didn’t want to believe what I was hearing but what the hell?” Is Roi Singe’s greeting when he touches down on the roof of the toy store. They don’t have any toys of him yet but this is only his fourth time out. And three days in a row too.

“Glad you could make it.” Ladybug says shaking his hand.

“No, no. I’m glad I finally get to work with you.”

“Same here. Let’s make this one to remember.”

“So...” Carapace touches down on Roi Singe’s other side, “apparently this glittery ghost woman is shooting bits of herself at people, which is honestly a little gross and she’s going around shouting how things are ‘utterly ridiculous.’ Also, she’s taken extreme exception to anything LGBT+ related.”

“A homophobic glitter monster? Isn’t that an oxymoron?”

“Back up.” Rena Rouge pusher herself off the railing, “did you say utterly ridiculous? Isn’t that what Audrey Bourgeois is always calling everything? I remember her shouting that and threatening to fire people in her viral video.”

“Hey, yeah.” Carapace agrees. “You’re right.” She gasps, “aw hell, she was heading toward the pier and Anarka Couffaine’s houseboat has the bisexual and lesbian flags on it.”

“Then let’s head her off and deal with this shit. Any word from Chat?”

“Not yet, Boss, but we got four. Do we need ‘em?”

“I have a feeling we’re gonna need all hands on deck for this one.”

Carapace salutes, “I’ll keep trying to contact him.”

By the time they get to the pier, the water, the sidewalk, and half the boats docked are covered in grey goo. As the glittery hovers over Anarka’s houseboat she screams and it rocks the boat.

“Great, hypersonic screams can be added to the list of crap we gotta deal with.” Carapace runs a hand down her helmet.

Anarka comes out the front door of her boat and looks up, “what the—”

“Disgusting. Utterly disgusting.” The glittery woman chastises, “how could you proudly flaunt these for the world to see?”

“One for each of me kids, what’s it to ya?”

As she picks up the lesbian flag, Anarka’s kids come out of the boat and look up. “You—” She picks up Juleka in her other hand and Anarka screams but the woman screams back knocking Anarka in the water. Luka immediately dives in after her.

Carapace lobs her shell at the woman who flinches but doesn’t drop the flag or Juleka, “let her go, Lady! Before I get pissed!”

“Team Miraculous. How cute.” She drops the flag into the water but keeps her hand on Juleka.

“This chick’s like nine feet tall, I assume we have a plan?” Roi Singe whispers.

“I’ll get your Miraculouses in a minute. I need to send a message to my ungrateful daughter—”

“Why wait? I’m right here!” Everyone looks over trying to find the source of the outburst when they see Chloè and Adrien standing in the middle of a rooster and rabbit on the goo covered pier. But what Chloè’s wearing draws their attention. In addition to the headband her entire jumpsuit is one giant lesbian flag.

“What the hell is going on here?” Roi Singe asks.

“Your guess is as good as mine.” Rena mutters. “But that outfit is cute.”

The woman almost immediately drops Juleka, who Carapace dashes over to save from hitting the water or pier, and charges at the Chloè and the others. The rabbit steps in front of them and opens an umbrella then the four of them disappear when the akumatized woman gets to where they were standing. “What the hell!?”

“Let’s end this. Lucky Charm!” Ladybug throws her yo-yo in the air and it transforms into a bottle of perfume. “W-Wait—wha?”

“And I thought my ruyi jingu bang was temperamental.”

“While you’re figuring it out, we’ll go on the offensive.” Carapace says. Ladybug nods then the others charge toward the glittery woman.

Out of context, it would’ve been hilarious watching a nine foot tall glittery glowing grey ghost akumatization swat away her teammates like they were meddlesome flies. But this was just pissing her off, especially when she couldn’t figure out the lucky charm.

Unless...

“I got it! I need to see the Guardian!”

“Oh man. You’d better be right about this LB.” Carapace urges, getting to her feet.

“Trust me. Keep her here I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

🐇

Kagami walks into the herbal shop, side-stepping around several chatting people walking out.

“Oh.” Fu blinks at her as Tikki comes out of her jacket, “is something the matter?”

“No. Well, yes. We believe Audrey Bourgeois was akumatized into a grey glittery giant glowing ghost woman with homophobic tendencies.”

“I see.”

“My lucky charm was a perfume bottle I remember seeing here the last time I was here.”

Fu nods, “ah, then you’ve come for help.”

“I’ve also come to talk about Roi Singe and now there’s a rooster out in the field.”

“Yes. You wish to know who they are?”

“No. Admittedly, it is difficult for me to leave things up to other people but what good is being the next Guardian if I can’t trust my mentor’s judgment? Hawkmoth is getting more relentless which means we’ll need all the help we can get, temporary or permanent.” Fu nods. “But, Master, the rabbit Miraculous is also active. They were with the rooster.”

“I-I don’t know what to say. If the rabbit Miraculous is damaged and used, either the owner doesn’t know or they do and are using it anyway—” He frowns, “and the latter is far worse than the former.”

“There’s a good chance it’s Alix. She reappeared in school today then all of a sudden we have a rabbit hero. And maybe she used the Miraculous before which was why she was gone. She even said she was in a coma.”

“Kagami, we cannot allow her to continue wielding that Miraculous.”

“Understood. I’ll get it.”

“But first...” Fu jerks his head back and Kagami follows him to the other room. He takes out the Miracle Box and opens it. “Kagami Tsurugi, you must choose a Miraculous you believe will best help you defeat your foe.”

Kagami looks into the box. Pretty soon there will be more empty spaces than filled ones. “How will I know which to choose?”

“Trust your instincts. They lead you here, did they not?” Kagami frowns. She hadn’t started training yet. She has no idea what half of these Miraculouses do! However, that black choker is calling out to her somehow. Maybe because it’s quite catching? Her hand hovers over it briefly before she grabs it. A red dragon kwami whishes into existence before her.

“Ooh.” They crack their neck, “first time out of the box is always the hardest.” She could swear she met all the kwamis at least once but she doesn’t remember ever seeing this one. After they finished stretching, they float over to Kagami. “Greetings, young one. I am Longg.”

“Hello, Longg. I am Kagami.” Longg extends their hand and Kagami shakes it with her pointer finger.

Oh. You must be the one the other kwamis spoke of. Yes, yes. I see it now. I look forward to working with you. My abilities include control over three forms of elements: water, wind, and lightning. You must choose a transformation phrase to help us get going.”

“Wait a second. I didn’t choose the Miraculous for myself, Master.”

“No but I believe Longg has chosen you.”

“Do kwamis get to choose their partners?”

“Not normally, no. However, there has been only one case that I have been told of where it happened. Tikki and her first ever partner.” Kagami nods slowly. “Furthermore, I believe Longg’s aura and yours fit perfectly.”

“Plagg won’t be happy to hear that.”

“Plagg is active in this cycle? Oh dear. Incurring his ire is never pleasant, and it does get so tiresome after countless cycles. He can hold a grudge, you see.”

“I don’t doubt that.”

“Though I am curious as to why this would matter to him? He’s never cared much about his partners after Kuro.”

“Plagg and Kagami’s auras match but that is not good for either of them.”

“Makes sense, it’s like matching Roarr or Xuppu with their equals.”

Fu clears his throat. “Master...” He blinks at Kagami, “I have heard from the kwamis themselves putting Xuppu with a match is a bad idea. Worse than Plagg.”

“So far they have worked out well.”

“‘So far?’” Longg and Kagami repeat incredulously.

“We’ll discuss this more once the mission is complete.”

“Yes.” Kagami puts the choker on and it flashes momentarily. “We will.” She looks up at Longg. “You’re the kwami of elements?”

“Weather, I don’t have control over fire. That’s Roarr.” He rubs the back of his neck, “she’s a volatile one. Hence her not needing a match but an opposite. Although I must say I’m rather used to getting paired with matches myself but no time like the present to try something new.”

“Here’s to trying something new.” They shake hands again. “You said you control weather?” Longg nods. “Okay. I can work with that. Longg, bring the storm.” Grinning, Longg flies into her choker then Kagami’s body starts glowing. Once she’s done glowing and transforming, Kagami is standing there in a red and black outfit and her helmet has tiny horns on it similar to Longg’s. She admires her outfit then glances at Tikki. “Master, how do I merge Miraculouses? I’m afraid no one explained it to me.”

“No worries.” Tikki assures her. “I’ll tell you. You just say my transformation phrase, as you’re already transformed with Longg, then say unify.”

Kagami nods. “Got it. Spots on, Tikki. Unify.”

Tikki phases through her helmet and merges into the right earring. Kagami looks at her hands as her body starts glowing brighter than ever before.

Her body is overtaken by dragon scales and ladybug spots yet somehow they don’t clash horribly. “Which of these is Roarr, Longg?” Instead of replying, Kagami feels herself inching toward the panjas bracelet. Well, that’s new.

“You are planning to fuse again?”

Kagami shakes her head, “no, Master. I...” She takes a deep breath, “I can’t shake the feeling we’re going to need this.”

Fu nods then hands her a miniature Miracle Box labeled combustion then puts the panjas bracelet inside. “Always trust your instincts. Go. Do what you need to do. And be careful.”

Kagami looks over her shoulder. “Always, Master.”