“Quiet Kitty...” Marinette tried to roll over and ignore her cat, but it didn’t work. The black tom kept meowing as loudly as he could, pouncing from one side of her to the other and some times pushing on her face with his paws. Kitty never used his claws on her or her things, but he was rather pushy whenever he wanted attention, and he really wanted attention that morning. “Kitty… come on! I just wanna sleep...”
“Mro.” Kitty leapt onto her stomach, glaring his bright green eyes straight at her sleeping face. Sometimes she could swear that cat answered her. He certainly was more intelligent than most cats, and that was saying something. He jumped lightly on her stomach a few times, meowing constantly. Ugh… why couldn’t he just be a cuddly kitten like when she first found him last year? Now he was so demanding and always waking her up for school and -
Eyes shot open and she jerked her head towards the clock on her far wall. No no no no NO! Kitty leapt off her stomach and onto her side table, tapping her phone urgently. She unconsciously turned off her alarm, again! “EEEP!”
Clumsily, Marinette tumbled out of her bed and onto the loft floor, scrambling to get ready. “Thanks Kitty! You’re a real life saver!”
She didn’t see her black cat let out a long sigh and settle on the side table next to her phone as she ran around her room for everything she needed to prepare for her first day of the new term. This year she was determined to not be beaten down by Chloe and be the best she could be! Having Kitty last year actually was a step in the right direction, especially with how much he followed her around back then, but he couldn’t solve all her problems.
He just tended to bring her small things she forgot.
And pointed out which problems were wrong in her homework.
And made sure she got up on time.
And reminded her when she was supposed to go somewhere.
And he seemed to have a good eye for materials and colors when she was working on her designs, nudging them or her towards each other.
And whenever she forgot to eat, he would start sitting on her projects or work until she fed herself and him.
And whenever she felt down because of Chloe, he was always there to cuddle and purr her sadness away.
Really, that cat was the best stroke of luck she ever had. And he sure was a weird one. Marinette looked back to Kitty, batting at her phone and otherwise keeping himself preoccupied as she washed up and changed clothes for the day. Just a few minutes ago he was doing everything in his power to wake her up and get her attention, and now he was ignoring her entirely. Kitty loved to steal her croissants, when she was upstairs, but he never dared to go into the bakery – which was a good thing because if he ever did, Papa said they would have to get rid of him. He only ever played with one ball of yard and kept giving her weird looks when she had a laser pointer out. And she could swear she caught Kitty reading her textbooks every now and again. The only times he acted like a normal cat was when they had catnip around and he didn’t realize it. If they so much as said ‘catnip’ though, he disappeared somewhere until he thought it was safe.
Kitty was just a weird kitty.
Still, Marinette loved her pet kitty cat she couldn’t find a good name to. Despite calling him several different names, the only one he responded to was ‘Kitty’. So Kitty stayed Kitty, and no one was the wiser. Giggling to herself, she called up to her cat. “I’m dressed now. You can look.”
Kitty looked over to her from the corner of his eye first before getting up and grabbing her phone in his mouth, leaping off the table and running over to her with it. She giggled some more watching him, knowing he was just making sure she had her phone that day. She took it and scratched him behind his ears, getting a purr out of him and eyes that seemed to smile at her lovingly. He absolutely loved it when she pet him or picked him up or gave him cuddles, and he was even happier when he was acknowledged for his efforts to help. Thankfully he never tried to help with dead mice or birds. “Thanks, Kitty.”
Come to think of it, he never liked to be around birds. Kitty seemed to run away when one popped up. Weird cat.
Thoughts aside, she opened the trap door and both of them headed downstairs to the family kitchen to face the day. Mamam seemed to let out a thankful sigh at the sight of her down earlier than normal. “Good morning, Marinette.”
“Morning, Mamam!” Before even trying to dish out her own meal, Marinette went for the can of salmon she had in store for Kitty and opened it for him, setting it on the ground. Kitty meowed his thanks and went at it without any complaints, making him just as weird as ever. Weren’t cats supposed to be picky eaters? But Kitty just ate whatever he was given, then tried to swipe a croissant when no one was looking. As a thank you for waking her up in time though, she placed one next to the can and got a very happy meow and purr. He really earned it this time.
Mamam noticed. “Had a kitty alarm this morning?”
She nodded and started fixing her meal, less in a rush than she used to be. “Yeah. I don’t know if he knew it was the first day of school or if he was just hungry.”
“I’m betting Kitty knows a lot more about what’s happening here than we think.” Mamam scratched Kitty’s back briefly, getting another purr as he ate his food diligently. He always ate all of it, and in one sitting. “Some even say they’re smarter than humans.”
“If Kitty can get me to pass physics, then he’s at least smarter than me.” Carefully, Marinette went through her meal, sure to keep everything clean instead of a mess. That was the last thing she needed. “I swear, he read my textbooks last term and started pointing out every problem I got wrong.”
“Maybe he’s magic.”
“Mamam...” She rolled her eyes at the idea. Yeah, Kitty was weird, but magic? That wasn’t even real!
Her mother shrugged. “Black cats were said to be witches’ familiars, Marinette. Maybe he didn’t want to work for a witch anymore and thought being a house cat would be better.”
“Why not make him an alien adviser to a reincarnated princess then?” Familiar, talking alien cat, what difference did it make? Kitty was Kitty, and she was glad to have him. He kept her mind off Chloe at least and brightened her day when that brat was around.
Mamam giggled. “Are you planning on putting a sticker on his head?”
Kitty’s angry growl made the two of them giggle. He clearly did not like the idea of having a sticker on his head. Smart as he was, he hadn’t started talking with human words yet, and with how much he meowed at them, he probably wouldn’t stop talking if he could. Marinette leaned down and scratched behind his ears, getting a purr as she comforted him. “Don’t worry, Kitty. I haven’t put stickers on animals since I was eight. You’re safe.”
He seemed to smile up at her briefly, then went back to his meal. She giggled again, looking at her cat playfully. “Course, if you could talk or turn into a really hot guy, I wouldn’t mind it too much. Then I could actually take you to school and you could really help me with my homework.”
For some reason the cat’s ears drooped and he seemed to slow down. Marinette cocked her head to the side, curious about his sudden mood change. But she shrugged it off. Kitty was weird, but she loved him anyway.
Marinette trudged up her stairs after school with a groan. Today was just the worst! Well, not the worst, but definitely one of her worst days. She dropped her box of macaroons twice and only gave out two of the two dozen: one to an old man who nearly collapsed on the street and the other to a new classmate named Alya. She seemed nice, if a little superhero crazed. Chloe started throwing her weight around immediately, already telling people how her daddy was the mayor and everyone should do what she says. Then Kim said something to Ivan that set the gentle giant off and now suddenly he was some kind of rock monster chasing Kim! And Alya was chasing Ivan with her phone! Just when she thought she was about to get a new friend, she turned out to be a little crazier than she wanted.
Sighing, she opened the trapdoor to her room and wasn’t much surprised to see her Kitty waiting for her eagerly, his green eyes bright and shining. Marinette smiled at her cat and ran her hand past his ears as she came into the room. He purred in greeting and bounded after her as she went to her desk to drop her homework off and figure out what to do next. “Hey Kitty. Care to guess what happened today?”
“Mreow.” Kitty leapt onto the desk, tapping her mouse as if expecting her to goof off or get straight to work on her homework there.
Her cat knew her a little too well. Little worried for Alya and what was going on with Ivan, Marinette started bringing up a live news feed. “One of my classmates, Ivan, big guy, got turned into… some kind of rock monster. Like one of those youma Malakite used in season one. A new girl, Alya, she went chasing after him to record it or something. She’s really brave. But… how can anyone stop Ivan?”
She watched the computer screen as her parents’ friend she babysat for talked about the ‘monster’ wrecking a football field as he tried to get his hands on Kim. France wasn’t exactly known for having superheroes, but that was what they needed now or they’d just be known for strange supervillains. “I mean, he’s just a kid like me. I don’t think he wanted to be a giant rock monster either. He’s always so quiet and helpful. Kim’s arrogant and an idiot jock, but he’s also a bit of a goofball. He usually doesn’t pick on people, just makes really stupid bets and is full of himself. He shouldn’t be threatened by some rock monster.
“Oh Kitty, I’m really worried about them.” Marinette fell into her chair and stared at the screen, both worried and scared for so many reasons. A monster around was bad, but it was also her classmates! She knew these people! Criminals and monsters were supposed to be someone else, someone she never met. It was all supposed to be over there, not on her doorstep. “What’s going to happen to them now?”
“Mrow...” Her cat seemed to watch her for a bit, uneasy, before leaping off her desk and knocking lightly some box he was blocking from view until then. It caught her eye immediately, throwing all her earlier thoughts aside.
Where did this box come from? It wasn’t hers, but it did kind of look like something her mother would own. Curious, she picked it up and opened it. “What’s this – AH!”
A bright red light appeared above it, startling her to drop the box and jolt away. The light turned into a red and black spotted bug-mouse thing floating in the air. The strange creature tried to introduce itself to her, but Marinette was in such a panic, she didn’t really listen and started throwing things at it. Eventually she caught the thing in a jar on the ground and it started talking anew. The kwami Tikki calmly explained what she was and what Ivan turned into and that she was selected to be Ladybug, the hero of Paris, capable of capturing the akuma and freeing her classmate from it’s evil influence.
“All you have to do is put on the earrings and say ‘spots on’ and you’re on your way.”
“This is insane.” Marinette looked over to her cat, begging for him to somehow make this seem less nuts. Then again, she was talking to a cat. “Isn’t this insane? It’s insane.”
Kitty just seemed to roll his eyes, watching her from her vanity. Why was she trying to get a second opinion from a cat again? Shaking her head, she tried to convince the kwami she had the wrong girl. “I’m not cut out to be a superhero. I’m just going to mess things up. You know who’d make a good superhero? Alya! This new girl in my class. She’s crazy about superheroes and -”
“I know it seems hard, Marinette,” Tikki insisted, “but you were selected for a reason. The Guardian thought you were the best person for the job and you never know for sure until you try.”
“But look at me!” She spun around, just so Tikki could see her in action and completely, and tripped the second she tried to stop. “I’m just a normal girl with average grades and very clumsy limps. I have the worst luck ever! I mean, my biggest break in luck is getting a black cat as a pet. A black cat! No offense, Kitty.”
Kitty yawned, watching and getting bored by the conversation.
“But I’m no good for this. You need someone else, someone who can do everything you need without screwing up all the time. I’m just not right for this.”
“Marinette,” Tikki flew up to her face, a mothering tone in her voice, “you never know until you try. It wasn’t easy for any Ladybug before you, and many thought they were failures when they gave up the earrings, but they did their bests and are heroes all throughout history. All because they tried.
“Don’t give up until after you try. Ivan’s depending on you.” The kwami pointed to the screen, sadness in her eyes. “Do you really think the police can save him? They don’t know how to take care of the akuma, or even know what it is. As far as they’ll know, Ivan is a monster and needs to be taken down like one.
“Please, Marinette. You’re his only chance.”
The weight of the world fell upon the fourteen year old’s shoulders, and she honestly didn’t think she could handle it. She held onto herself for dear life, terrified. She was bound to screw up, and then Ivan would be the one to suffer, along with Paris. She didn’t want that. She needed help!
“You won’t be alone, Marinette.” Tikki smiled kindly, maybe reading her mind as she came closer to her. “Chat Noir will be with you. While you have the power of creation, he has the power of destruction and will fight by your side no matter what. You’ll always have backup and he’ll do everything he can to support you.”
Her kitty meowed in approval, but it didn’t help her much. She shook her head, still scared. “Why can’t he do it then? Chat Noir can save Paris. I’ll just get in the way.”
“Only Ladybug can purify the akuma and reverse the damage. Please Marinette. At least try this once.”
Tikki’s pleading and promises continued in her head as she looked back to the computer screen. Ivan was in trouble. Paris was in danger. She could save it, but she probably would screw things up. But, there really wasn’t anyone else at the moment who could take up the earrings. Sighing, Marinette went back to the box she dropped and looked at the simple studs. Well, she did have pierced ears, she just didn’t have any favorite earrings she could wear anywhere. They didn’t look bad either. It was just the power behind them she wasn’t sure about.
Biting her lip, she went to her mirror and started switching them with the studs she was wearing that day. “So, what do I have to do again?”
Tikki flew next to her, elated. “Find the akumatized object and destroy it. Then something will fly out of it, likely a purple butterfly. You capture it for purification with your yoyo! There’s also your Lucky Charm and Miraculous Cure. If you’re in a sticky situation, call on the Lucky Charm and it’ll give you an object that can help you come up with a sure way to get the akuma. But once you use it, you’ll only have five minutes of transformation before you’re back to being Marinette. Once you’ve purified the akuma, release the object to the sky and call out ‘Miraculous Ladybug’ and everything will be reverted to the way it was before the akuma attacked. Unless something was created, but that’s rare. If you need to, you can use the cure before purifying the akuma, but you may risk the akuma getting away so don’t do it too often.”
“Right.” It was a lot to take in. “And how do I change?”
“Just say ‘spots on’!”
“That’s it!” In a flash, Tikki disappeared into the earrings and red and pink lights surrounded her. Her usual clothes magically became red spandex with black spots, a yoyo suddenly at her waist and a matching mask on her face.
Looking at herself in the mirror, Marinette could hardly believe it. There wasn’t a zipper or a button on the entire suit. It was like a second skin and armor at the same time. She wasn’t even wearing boots! “This is… just too weird!”
“And incredibly simple! I can’t decide if you’re more like Spiderman or Sailor Moon right now.”
Marinette froze, then jerked around, looking for the new voice. It was definitely male so not Tikki. And close. But the only other person in her room was her cat. Kitty seemed to grin, watching her in admiration. “The transformation makes me think Usagi, but the spandex? Kinda like Peter. Course, he wore it for a completely different reason. Can’t say that doesn’t mean it looks good on you or anything, but wow. I thought you’d try for something more in fashion, Mari.”
And it looked like he was talking. “Kitty? Are you -”
“You can actually hear me?!” The cat stiffened, eyes shining on her and elated beyond all reason. If cats smiled, he was grinning from ear to ear.
“Are… you… the one talking?” She pointed at him in shock. First a flying, talking bug-mouse told her to be a superhero and save Paris from her classmate turned monster, and now… now her black cat was talking?
“YES!” Overjoyed, Kitty leapt off the vanity and onto the ground, spinning around once to get out some energy. “Oh thank you God! Or what ever you kwami’s are! That old man wasn’t kitting!”
“Old man?” Okay, everything was starting to go in one ear and out the other. Her kitty was talking. Her kitty was talking! Cats don’t talk! She was just kidding that morning!
Seriously! She was just joking around earlier!