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Of Life and Death

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It was an important day for Marinette – it was her birthday. Unlike mortal birthdays, hers meant something more significant because she was a god like the rest of her family. Today was the day she would get her god assignment. Finally at the age of ‘16’ (at least appearance-wise) she would finally figure out her purpose in the universe.

 

Marinette’s visit was scheduled for later in the day and she was practically vibrating with anticipation. She had decided to help her dad, god of the home, make some ambrosia cookies for whomever came over. Now Marinette didn’t really expect much; while her mother, Sabine, and her father, Tom, had important roles as the gods of the Harvest and the Home respectively, they were still minor gods in Olympus. No, that was Queen Tikki and her Knights. They were the ones the universe couldn’t survive without. Most low level gods were visited either by the fates or whichever god they would replace. Marinette couldn’t help but wince at the thought. She loved fashion as it was one of her passions… but having Audrey show up? That would end in disaster. No, Marinette shook her head as she went back to preparing another batch of cookies, she would likely end up being the goddess of Baking or Sewing. Maybe if fate was truly against her she would get fashion as her realm and then Audrey would show up, as bitter as her daughter, Chloe goddess of beauty *cough* vanity * cough* and she would be stuck with them for eternity.

Concluding the fates were the most likely visitors, Marinette couldn’t help but smile. She would get a visit from one of the three: Ondine, Mireille, or Aurore. It would likely be either Mireille or Aurore since they were the two fates of the present and future while Ondine was the one of the past. However, Kim, the god of Competition, said that Ondine came to give him his god assignment personally. Marinette suspected that was just because Ondine was sweet on the hard-headed god though.

 

Marinette paused her work as she drifted into deep thought. She knew she couldn’t possibly be the heir to someone from the top circle… However, two of her friends were already named successors of the Major gods, the Knights of Tikki’s circle. First Alya had been chosen to take over for Trixx, the goddess of truth and illusions. Then Adrien, sweet Adrien, was named to be the next god of Light and Champions. He would take over for King Nooroo. Her two close friends would be very busy after they were crowned under their new titles and ascended to take on the old gods’ roles. In essence, she would likely lose those two since the inner circle seemed to keep a distance from lower gods. It was a shame, she really did like Adrien and truly believed they could’ve been happy together given the chance. But now he would have to marry the next goddess of life. I wonder wh-

 

“Knock knock~ Could I get some cookies?” a voice chimed just outside the shop, interrupting Marinette’s thoughts. Her parents owned a small shop for others gods to stop by and be graced by the comfort Tom’s crafts provided; even the gods could get homesick while on their assignments. The shop sold many things but focused mainly on baked goods as those allowed Tom and Sabine to combine both of their gifts. With the younger gods receiving their new assignments, business had been slow and it had completely escaped their minds to lock up for Mari’s birthday.

 

“Of course!” Sabine yelled out from the kitchen before turning to Marinette. “Sweetie, why don’t you take the sweets out while we clean up so we can close the shop?” Marinette nodded and grabbed the tray. She made her way to the surprise customer quickly so they could be done with the shop for today. Marinette turned the corner in a rush and finally got a good look at the god who’d placed the request.

 

She was tall and skinny, with skin that seemed to glow with a red tint. It was perfectly smooth save for a few black freckles on her face. These accented her black hair, which could rival the night’s own darkness, and midnight blue eyes. She wore a white dress that was shaded a faint pink where it fell under her crimson light. The god’s eyes held a soft look while her smile was one of familiarity. She was sitting down, obviously making herself at home. She seemed to have found comfort in Tom’s abode. Marinette, on the other hand, felt all sense of comfort immediately slip away.

 

“QUEEN TIKKI?!” Marinette screamed out in shock, dropping the tray of cookies. Her mind was panicking and her thoughts raced in every direction. Her first instinct was to bow, as that was the respectful thing to do. Fortune did not smile upon the young goddess today though; the fallen cookies took their vengeance and tripped Marinette as she curtsied. The result was a clumsy imitation of what someone who’d never learned court manners would attempt after hearing only the vaguest description of how to act. Tikki just chuckled.

 

“I’m so sorry! I’ll get you another tray of cookies right away,” Marinette said with her head low, silently screaming in her mind.

 

“No, no, it’s alright little one. I didn’t mean to startle you,” the Queen said, getting up from her seat. “And no worries, I’ll pick it up.”

 

Marinette’s head shot up at that. “No! I’ll get it!”

 

“No, I insist,” Tikki said with a wave of her hand. Next thing poor Marinette knew was she was sitting in a chair while the cookies lifted off the floor and fixed themselves. The tray and cookies floated over to Marinette and landed in her lap. Marinette stayed very still as Queen Tikki walked over and picked up a cookie for herself. Marinette heard footsteps approaching quickly from the hall. She should probably warn them, but she was still too shocked to do anything.

 

“We heard a loud noise, is everything okay? We were in the ba- Oh! Queen Tikki,” Sabine started but changed her tone immediately upon seeing the queen. Both Tom and Sabine gave low, respectful bows, much more graceful than Marinette’s had been. Tikki nodded back pleasantly. After a moment of silence, Tom hesitantly spoke up.

 

“I’m sorry but what are you doing here, Your Majesty? Not that we’re not honored by your company but we have to get ready for the fates to deliver our daughter’s assignment…” Tom explained, hoping the Queen would forgive their panicked state and kindly excuse herself so they could finish preparing.

 

“Actually, that’s why I’m here,” Tikki said, waving her hand hand once more. Two chairs appeared on either side of Marinette in response to her gesture. “Sit. We have a lot to talk about.” Queen Tikki settled in a chair across from Marinette as Tom and Sabine took their newly conjured seats. Mari started to shift uncomfortably. Sometimes when you got a really bad assignment a major god would come to tell you. Either to soften the blow or enforce the passage of power in case the young gods tried to rebel against their new titles. Was that why Tikki was here? Was her god assignment that bad?

 

“Stop with those nasty thoughts,” Tikki cut in with a laugh, making Marinette blush. “Your god assignment not bad.” Did she say those thoughts out loud? How had the Queen known?

 

“Then why are you here your majesty?” Marinette asked in a soft voice still not completely believing Tikki. The crimson deity just gave her a kind and knowing smile.

 

“Tell me, what do you think of my role on Olympus, little one?”

 

“Y-yo-yole rour? I mean, your role?” Marinette stuttered out. Tikki nodded in response. “Oh, umm, well I mean it’s…Well, it’s amazing. It’s the most important job of all Olympus. Of all the world, really! You ensure life is possible and without you there would be nothing new. You allow creation to flourish - not just through living creatures but through ideas and crafts and chance! Without you, there’d be no art, no pastries, no designs… Your role on Olympus is the most wonderful of all. You are the most wonderful of all.” Mari turned as red as Tikki upon realizing how she’d just rambled to the Queen of Olympus and registered all the cheesy things she’d said. Oh gods, what must the Queen think… Mari didn’t need to wonder for long as Tikki promptly voiced her thoughts.

 

“I’m glad to hear that!” the Queen beamed. The Goddess of Creation then god a slight sparkle in her eyes that Mari couldn’t quite place. “So, given your feelings on my job… How would you like to take over for me?” Tikki asked with an eager smile. The room was silent as shock edged into the faces of the family. That didn’t make sense.

 

“Wha..You mean-y-you mean…” Marinette began to murmur before being cut off.

 

“You, Marinette Dupain-Cheng, are the next goddess of life and creation!” Tikki interrupted, unable to contain her excitement. Tikki was met with another bout of shocked silence before Tom and Sabine finished processing what the Queen had just said to Marinette. Her parents joined with their own proud smiles, happiness gleaming off their faces. However, Marinette wasn’t smiling. She was panicking.

 

“No, no, I- I can’t” Marinette said before standing up and walking over to the queen in a panic. “Miss Tikki. P-please. You don’t tundersand- sundertand- gah, understand! I’m a klutz, I can’t do stuff right..I can’t.s. I can’t….I can’t be the next queen,” Marinette spiraled into her panic. However Tikki was undeterred; she simply walked over and gave the little goddess a hug.

 

“Shhh, it’s okay, little one. I know how you feel, I was once in your shoes. The doubts and fears are all normal. Listen here my little flower, I made your soul by hand. I put so much time and effort into it, ensuring you were just perfect. And if you truly respect my work as much as you said you did then you will trust that you are more than fit to be my heir. I love you just as much as your parents love you, little one. You will make a fantastic queen. And you will be an amazing goddess of life – better than even me.” Tikki looked down at the young goddess with midnight eyes full of love. Though her words had helped calm Marinette, Mari was still gripped by fear. With a sigh, Tikki offered a compromise to try to comfort the little goddess trembling in front of her. “If it makes you feel any better I can give you the life first and you can slowly get creation. Will that help?” Marinette gave a slight nod and Tikki smiled once again, pulling her into a hug and making a mental note to grant her heir the powers of life first and then creation. The tears began to spill from Marinette’s eyes and the Queen held her tight until the cries began to fade. Tikki pulled back from the sniffling goddess to look her in the eyes. “Why don’t we sit down and have a talk?”

 

Queen Tikki was able to calm down her panicking heir and have a proper talk with the young goddess and her family. They talked about a lot of stuff - mostly about what the role of goddess of life meant. But Tikki also explained the bond that the life and sun gods had and that the respective heirs were to be betrothed. Marinette’s worry was replaced by delight at this. Tikki said she would be visiting Adrien in the coming days to tell him the identity of his bride. She told Mari about all the wonder she could create and bring to life, the only limited being her imagination. She told Marinette stories about when she first became the Queen, the same fear she faced, the same panic that had set it. In just a few hours Goddess of Creation and Life had bonded with Marinette to the point that the honorific of Queen was dropped and she was now just Tikki. Tom and Sabine accepted this turn of events happily, wanting only what was best for their daughter. They kept a steady supply of ambrosia and nectar for the chatting gods but otherwise stayed out of their way. It was well into the night before Tikki announced that she must get back; however, not before giving Marinette some gifts. She had said it was a tradition for the old queen to present the new with tokens of recognition as her heir and her crown. It was wonderful.

 

Marinette was so happy.

 

It was hard to get to sleep that night after Tikki left. She was just so excited! When Noroo brought his chariot across the sky, Marinette leapt out bed with a big smile on her face. She was going to tell her friends of her assignment as the goddess of life. She could finally confess to Adrien, knowing they were fated to be together. And she wouldn’t lose Alya.

 

Today would be perfect.

 

She munched on some cookies as she picked out the dress she would wear. She decide to wear one Tikki had given her as one of the tokens. It was a beautiful golden dress that shifted to a light pink at the bottom with a darker gold underdress. It had vines of gold that wrapped around the neck to keep the dress up and moved to her shoulder, allowing a cape of the same fabric as the body of the dress to drift behind her. She put on a pair of golden flats and then turned to her crown. It was an amazing thing, charmed by all the inner circle gods to take on the shape of whatever the goddess was pleased. Right now it was a beautiful gold circlet with a big pink stone in the middle. She put that most priceless token on and ran out the door.

 

They had picked a large meadow earlier in the week. That was where they were to meet up so she could share her assignment. That was where Marinette would tell them she was Tikki’s heir. They did the same with everyone else in the class and even threw parties when Alya and Adrien announced they would be joining the inner circle. She ran to the meadow, energized by her excitement. She couldn’t wait to see her friends.

 

But no one was there.

 

That couldn’t be right. They planned for this… and this was the set location. Nothing had changed but still no one was there.

 

Why?

 

She was starting to feel nervous and sad when she heard Kim’s voice booming from a nearby temple. It had been a place of worship for the goddess of life but the mortals had abandoned it long ago. Thank the gods Kim was so loud. Marinette took a calming breath but couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. It grew more and more the closer she got to the temple so she decided to be quiet and observe for a moment. Surely that would help put her at ease.

 

As she moved behind one of pillars she was able to get a look inside the temple. It looked like they were having a party. At the based of a statue modeled after Tikki sat…Lila. Ugh, Lila. The little exchange god who came to Olympus only a short time prior. It didn’t take long for her and Adrien to figure out she was a compulsive liar, but at the time what could they do? And what would be the point anyways? At least, that’s what Adrien had said. Marinette was likely to be a low level god and no one yet knew what Adrien would be; it was better to stay quiet. Lila wore an orange dress and a argent smirk. Nathaniel, god of Art, accompanied by his partner Marc, god of Writing, seemed to be trying to draw a portrait of her. It seemed Kim, god of Competition, and Alix, god of Speed, were trying to see who could bring food and offerings to her the fastest without spilling it. Nino was playing his music while Rose was making flowers appear in his hair. And as Lila talked everyone was entranced. Something was wrong.

 

“Gah can you believe it” Chloe muttered to Sabrina, not realizing Marinette could hear her. “Lila, the next goddess of life? Please, it’s ridiculous - utterly ridiculous!”

 

“I’m more surprised that Marinette was the goddess of lies,” Sabrina pipped up before Chloe cut her off with a shush.

 

“But Lila gets to marry Adrikins and that’s not fair! I should have been the goddess of life!” Chloe whined to Sabrina. Marinette turned around to process that information. Lila the goddess of life? Marinette the goddess of lies? That can’t be right!! She had to do something, she thought as she ran out of the temple. Then it clicked. Alya wasn’t in the temple. Alya was the goddess of truth. She could sort it out with Alya and expose Lila!

 

If only it was that simple.

 

Marinette was able to pull Alya away as the latter was about to enter the temple with something in her hands.

 

“Alya, I need to talk to you,” Marinette said desperately.

 

“Don’t touch me,” Alya hissed with disgust, knocking Marinette hands away. Mari was stunned by this. This couldn’t be right?

 

“Please tell me you don’t believe her,” Mari whispered sadly but all it did was make Alya angrier.

 

“Of course I believe her! My own friend the goddess of lies…” Alya said with a scoff.

 

“But you shouldn’t believe her. You’ve known me longer!”

 

“And apparently you’ve been a liar the whole time.”

 

“According to Lila- the real Liar! I’m not a liar, Alya. I’m trying to protect you!”

 

“Please, the goddess of life already warned us about you, Mari. Just stop.”

 

“But I’m the goddess of life, Alya!! I even have the dress and crown to prove it!” Mari said, growing more frustrated.

 

“You could have made those yourself. Gah, I don’t know why I ever saw you as a friend,” Alya grumbled.

 

“Why can’t you just see the truth?!!”

 

“I am seeing the truth! I’m the goddess of Truth!!”

 

“Then Trixx made a huge mistake picking you!!”

 

• Smack •

 

Alya slapped her… hard. To be fair, she might have gone a bit too far, Marinette conceded. But she was scared and frustrated. And hurt. She looked up at Alya, who had the most venomous glare in her eyes.

 

“How dare you?! I am the right person, you bitch!! I don’t know what lies you’ve spread so far Mari, but it ends today. I am the goddess of Truth and I will not let you keep this up. I hate you, Marinette. You used me! You used our friendship to get people to get a better position for manipulating other. I trusted you but you’ve made it clear you are not my friend and never were. I never want to see you again, so keep yourself and your filthy lies far away from me. From this day onward we are enemies!” Alya hissed out before turning around and walking away in a rage.

 

Marinette couldn’t handle the hateful look, couldn’t deal with what Alya said. So she did the only thing she could.

 

She ran.

 

She ran and she ran until she couldn’t tell where she was going. The tears in her eyes blinded her way, but she just kept running.

 

After what seemed like an eternity, she finally stopped and looked around. She was past the umbrella of area that Olympus could look upon. It was a small town, just outside of view, she didn’t recognize it. there was a small meadow of white and gold flowers. A place where she could maybe calm down and get some peace.

 

Then she felt a snap…

 

She felt like she couldn’t breathe.

 

Like a part of her soul had been ripped away.

 

This was what Tikki had told her about, her soul bond with the sun god - she would feel it first, long before he would. And if he cheated with another and betrayed their fated union then the bond would break.

 

He cheated.

 

He kissed someone that wasn’t her…

 

And it hurt! My gods, it hurt!! The pain in her chest was just too great. Marinette let out a horrible and agonizing scream, all the pain she was feeling flooding out into it. The pain from betrayal, from being abandoned, from losing her bond to Adrien. It all came out and nature felt the full force. Anything that had a life close enough to the poor goddess died. The planted withered and decayed, the birds plummeted from the sky, everything just fell down dead.

 

Marinette laid down on the field, curled up with her knees to her chest, and cried. She cried for her pain, for her broken bond and lost friends. She just cried and cried for what felt like forever until she heard a voice.

 

“Hey, are you alright?” The voice asked gently. Marinette looked up to see a boy about her age. He had pale blond hair and his icy blue eyes that held a look of concern

 

Finally, someone actually cares, Marinette thought before she exhaustion overtook her. She was vaguely aware of strong arms picking her up as the everything faded to darkness, the pain finally becoming too much. She fell asleep, securely in the worried arms of the god of the Dead.

Chapter Text

Felix remembers the day he had gotten his god assignment.

It had been a horrible day.

Felix and his younger brother shared the same birthday despite their age difference - because of course their father, the god of Balance, would have both his sons born on the same day. Like every other birthday he was overshadowed by his little brother. It used to bother him but at this point he’d grown used to such treatment. His mother, the goddess of Dreams, would finally rise from her seemingly endless slumber to spend time with her sons. Well, son, he mentally amended. Even if she wasn’t as bad as Gabriel, Emilie still showed a clear preference for Adrien. The golden child. It didn’t matter that Felix was going to get his god assignment, having just come of age, Gabriel decided that whatever the fates were going to assign him wasn’t important enough for him to stay home. In all honesty, Felix could almost swear he had been kidnapped by the two gods; he was nothing like his parents save for sharing Gabriel’s icy eyes and Emilie’s sharp jawline and had absolutely no common interests with his little brother. But hey, maybe that’s what happens when then god of Balance is your father. Emilie had taken Adrien somewhere to celebrate, eager to spoil her favored son, but Felix had to stay to be ready for his god assignment… which had left him home. Alone. On his birthday.

When the time came for his assignment, Felix was not warned of the messenger’s arrival by any knocking or noises of approach. The door simply opened in eerie silence. And when it did so, he was greeted not by one of the Fates like he’d expected, but rather by Plagg.

Plagg’s status on Olympus was… complicated. A member of the inner circle, but not exactly a Knight. At least, not just a Knight as he was far too important for that. However, the King in Olympus (even if only in name) was Nooroo, so Plagg couldn’t exactly be that either. Instead, Plagg was something in between the two. A mixture of King and Knight all at once. Powerful enough to come close to rivaling Tikki’s own might but too chaotic to be accepted as a true Olympian, Plagg reigned over his own domain. Tikki’s affection towards him allowed him to keep the title of Knight in both the heavens and on earth - even if he didn’t actively fit the role. Plagg, as the god of Death and Destruction, cultivated no heroes from the mortal realm to bring forth as blessed Champions. The others of the inner circle would bestow some of their divinity to a chosen few so they could carry out their will on earth and then serve them on Olympus before finally being rewarded with access to the Elysian Fields just beyond. Plagg had no time to deal with heroes and their elevated egos though - and with his power, he had no need of them either. He still ruled over more mortal souls than any other of the inner circle, Tikki excluded. He may be a Knight by Tikki’s decree, but he was a King by his own. Plagg presided over the Underworld, a realm separate from Olympus. It was where the souls of mortals would go after their death. While Plagg was not personally the reaper of death, he had jurisdiction over all who had died from the moment their strings were snipped by the fates. Technically, it would be more accurate to describe Plagg as the god of The Dead rather than the god of Death, but he’d felt the former was too clunky and chose to stick with the latter.

Plagg explained all of this to the blue-eyed god in front of him, skipping all formalities and introductions. It was all so abrupt that it took a moment for poor Felix to even register that Plagg’s visit meant the god of Death and Destruction had picked him as his heir. There’d been some slight panicking and disbelief on Felix’s part upon receiving confirmation about this. Then some curt words and angry remarks exchanged between the two as a heated argument followed Felix’s adamant refusal of his assignment. This melted away into snarky quips shot back and forth while Felix tried to get Plagg to agree to some sort of compromise. But Plagg made it clear there was no getting out of this in any capacity, as Felix had been specially picked for the job. Apparently, Plagg was the one who had crafted his soul, tailored specifically to inherit his powers. …well, no wonder he didn’t get along with his family. Felix sulked in defeat after Plagg explained everything. With no birthday party he supplied his own pity party instead. He didn’t want to be Plagg’s heir; he didn’t want to be the heir to any of the high gods. While some may see an inheritance from one of the members of the inner circle as a blessing, to Felix it seemed more like a curse. These were far too many emotions in far too little time. After a few more moments of wallowing in his misfortune and then letting out a resigned sigh, Felix reached the final stage of grief. Acceptance.

When Gabriel, Emilie, and Adrien returned home to see the god of Death and Destruction all hell broke loose. Plagg watched this all silently, forgotten with the shadows he stood amongst, with a peculiar look. It was amused yet predatory, like a cat watching the quarrels of a group of mice. Gabriel was furious at Felix, yelling that the young god was supposed to take over for him. Emilie wept and sniveled about not wanting to lose her son. And Adrien? Adrien just glared at him, as if Felix had actively asked for this to happen. Asked to be the next ruler of the Underworld. At that moment something in Plagg snapped, all amusement replaced by fierce protectiveness over the young soul he’d created. He was all too familiar with the contempt now directed at Felix and, despite his ruse of apathy, it enraged him. Plagg moved in front of Felix and faced all those who’d been surrounding the boy. He was completely silent and his composure seemed casual enough, but his eyes held a threat and his gaze dared the lot to speak against Felix again. With this, the boy’s family remembered exactly whom they were in the presence of and sagely decided to hold their tongues. Satisfied, Plagg stalked out of the room. Felix followed readily and vowed to never look back. That day, he went with Plagg to the Underworld and remained there since.

Shortly after their arrival, what had been one of the worst days of his life turned into one of the best.

In the Underworld Felix met the goddess of Witchcraft, Allegra. She helped Plagg train Felix and soon became one of his closest friends. Then he met Claude, the charter of the dead. He thought he had it rough but this poor boy had to spend all day acting as the ferryman for all the mortals who hadn’t earned a place in Elysium.When he was around living beings, Claude proved quite the chatterbox. Felix joked that he could probably talk the souls of the dead to death. Finally, there was Allen. The god of …death? Though it would seem he was robbed of the title by Plagg’s vanities. He acted as the messenger of death, reaping the souls of mortals who died outside of battle and bringing them to the Underworld so they could face judgment. The actual arrival of these souls at Death’s court was dependent on Claude getting them across the river Styx, a process that was lengthy for some souls as Claude charged a golden coin for safe passage and the dead didn’t usually have loose change on them. When Felix had asked him why he needed the coins, given that they held no value in either Olympus or the Underworld, the ferryman shrugged and simply stated “boredom” as his rationale.

Plagg became Felix’s father figure - and a much better one than his actual father had ever been - over the course of the next year. The transfer of Plagg’s title required a longer period of training than was typical due to the nature of his powers. But after much practice and multiple sessions of bestowment, Felix became the full god of Death. Or technically of The Dead, as Claude loved to point out. Felix refused to take Destruction just yet, feigning incompetence in some skills that were necessary to safely assume the role. In truth, he liked having Plagg around and didn’t want to see him go. Plagg was not fooled by Felix’s excuses, but he humored him nonetheless. Plagg too had grown attached to the boy, though he’d never admit it, and did not want to end this mentorship just yet.

When Felix was put in charge of the Underworld he changed things up a bit. For starters, he got a three headed guard dog name Cerberus, whose vicious appearance dissuaded more of the living from venturing to his court in order to prove themselves heroes. The mortals had gotten the idea that such “magnificent” feats would raise them to the status of Champion without needing to be chosen by the inner circle. The dog was actually really sweet if you got to know him. At least that’s what Felix insisted whenever Claude complained about having to go near him. Plagg’s only comment at that was that he’d always been more of a cat person.

Felix’s next modification was a bit more ambitious. He began to section the underworld into levels, so that a soul’s destination would depend on how they lived. With this, he started to slowly expand his jurisdiction with the goal of annexing Elysium as a new part of the Underworld that mortals could be sent to even if they hadn’t been Champions for the gods on Olympus. It was a slow process and Plagg had no interest in helping, the old god choosing to involve himself less and less with all such responsibilities.

During this time Felix didn’t dare leave the Underworld, despite Plagg securing him access to Olympus and Fe being allowed to go to either the gods’ mountain or the mortal outskirts at any time. He didn’t leave when his mother cried and begged to see him, finally feeling remorse for having neglected her eldest son for so long. He didn’t even leave when his brother got his assignment, though Allen announced that Adrien had also been chosen as an heir of the inner circle and was to be the next Sun god.

Felix remembered his vow not to look back. So he didn’t. He never left the Underworld.

Except for one time…

One of the entrances to the underworld was by a small mortal town. This town was just far enough from Olympus that no one paid attention to it. He was certain neither his mother or brother would ever get the idea to look there and his father would be too uninterested to do so. So he’d occasionally go up to the surface and stay at those gates, at the very edge of the Underworld, to watch humans and their various antics for entertainment, to hear the symphony of life not found below, or simply to relax under the shade with a cool breeze. He may be the new King and have all riches that come with the job, but you can’t put a price on fresh air.

That day there was something off though. He could feel death - or when something was about to die. That was just in his nature. He was used to it, the feeling was plentiful when he stood at the surface. But this was different. It was lot of concentrated death, appearing for apparently no reason. It was just too strange to ignore. His curiosity got the better of him and he decided investigating this phenomenon was worth the risk of running into an Olympian on the way.

He didn’t have to walk long before he came to a clearing. If he recalled the locals’ conversations correctly, this barren expanse was a supposed to be a rich meadow where beautiful pink and white flowers grew. But now everything was gone; the plants were withered and black, the birds had no air under their now-rigid wings. Everything, from small plants to great animals, was dead.

Everything except for one girl.

With one look Felix knew the girl had to be a goddess. For starters, she wore garments of the style used by the Olympian gods. But more than that, the death radiating around her didn’t phase her. While death’s touch had been spreading from the meadow all the way back to his gates, this girl was completely immune.

She was curled up on the ground, with her knees hugged against her chest, crying. Well, not just crying. Not from an isolated sadness. No, there was something more. She sounded like she was in pain, like she couldn’t get a single breath into her lungs. The screams of the souls in Tartarus held nothing to the emotion resonating from this small goddess. Felix, against his better judgement, decided to approach her.

“Hey, are you alright?” Felix asked before cringing internally. She was crying in a field of dead flowers. Of course she wasn’t alright.

The girl raised her head to look at him, a brief pause in her sobs. Felix recognized her as one of Adrien classmates, a year younger than him. The goddess gave him a sad smile before her eyes glazed over and she fell. Felix had a mini heart attack as he dove to catch her; the last thing she need was to split her head open.

After staring for some minutes Felix was slowly starting to piece thing together. This was Marinette, daughter of the gods Tom and Sabine, the youngest of her class and likely the last one to receive her god assignment. She had to be the goddess of something related to the things that died, otherwise she wouldn’t have affected them. It had been clear she was the source of it all. Felix was trying to guess her assignment. It couldn’t just be flowers or animals, no that wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be enough. Then it clicked.

Marinette was the goddess of Life.

Marinette was the goddess of Life and she was in pain. Felix looked down to inspect the sleeping goddess; her skin looked sickly pale and she had tear streaks on her face. What was he supposed to do? He had the most powerful of all the gods passed out in his arms! She looked sick, like she needed some help… but if he took her to the Underworld, his idiotic younger brother would likely cry foul play. Perhaps even blame Felix for her state. Plus there would be Plagg and Allegra to deal with. However, most surface gods were terrified of Felix and ran if they saw him, so he couldn’t just go to the god of Healing - or even find out if they’d already been replaced by an heir. And if Felix left Marinette there, in this state, she would definitely be in danger. Felix winced, remembering the story of Tikki’s kidnapping. The same could happen to Marinette. She was at great risk if she stayed here, but Felix would be at a much greater risk if he brought her home. And if Plagg had taught him anything, it was the value of self preservation. So Felix did the only logical thing.

Felix took Marinette to the Underworld.

It took a lot of his power but he was able to get Marinette to his castle, even with her magic fighting back every step of the way. Reaching one of the spare chambers, Felix laid her down on the soft bed before calling out for Plagg and Allegra. Plagg never really left the castle (it seemed his retirement was going to be more of the same apathetic reclusion he’d done before sans reprimands from Tikki for slacking off), while Allegra had a charm to hear whomever was calling her. While Felix waited he observed Marinette. He’d had a slight crush on her back on the surface but had figured after his assignment she was scared of him like every other god. But she’d smiled at him. Even through her pain there’d been such kindness in that small smile,he reflected. Oh, how sweet she was, and so willing to help. Despite her own distress she’d used the last of her strength to try to comfort him instead of the other way around. She would be a gift to any god.

“We’re here!” Allegra announced, snapping Felix back to reality. She stormed into the room with Plagg at her side. Felix rarely called for them anymore so whatever it was, it was likely an emergency.

“Uhhh… Fe…Why is there a passed out girl on the bed?” Allegra questioned. Felix was about to reply but Plagg spoke up first.

“Did you kidnapped a bride?” Plagg asked, a cheshire grin spreading across his features.

“What?! N-“

“Wait… I think that’s Marinette. It is, isn’t it? Didn’t you say you had a crush on her back on the surface?” Allegra giggled as a smile began to form. Felix knew what she was doing.

“Well, yes, bu-“

“So you did kidnapped a bride?” Plagg interrupted.

“NO! Guys, take this seriously!” Felix yelled out getting their attention, all playful jabs dying out. “I think Marinette is the next goddess of Life. I also think she’s been attacked,” he explained.

Allegra and Plagg’s eyes went wide as they ran over to the little goddess. Allegra started to perform some healing magic while Plagg studied the sleeping girl. Felix just stood back and watched in desperation. Plagg gave a loud groan, which got everyone’s attention.

“Yeah, she’s the goddess of Life. Tikki used to talk about making her chosen soul and how much Marinette meant to her. From the looks of it, although I’m not 100% sure, I think her bond is broken,” Plagg informed the group.

“Bond?” Felix and Allegra questioned in unision.

“Yeah, the bond between the Sun god and the Life goddess. It was fated soon after we got Tikki back from her kidnapping. That way the goddess of life would have a husband de facto so others didn’t try to make a grab at her for power. The bond is supposed to connect them and make their lives easier. Her skin being so pale makes me think it’s been broken. Poor thing, it must have hurt immensely given how young she is,” Plagg explained, pitying the tiny girl. Taking this as her cue, Allegra began to work on another spell - this one for pain.

Felix froze upon hearing that. His brother caused this? His idiotic brother hurt the one good person in Olympus!? Gods, what a day.

Felix decided it would be best to leave the goddess alone to recover, but the poor girl might have a heart attack if she woke up in this unfamiliar place with a stranger looming over her and no prior explanation. So Felix left her a letter, stating that he had found her hurt and brought her back to the Underworld to get her healed, but now that she’d been cared for she could just call for him when she was ready to leave.

The gods left Marinette to rest and went to the kitchen. Felix began to cook, mostly to destress but also to have something for Marinette when she woke up. Plagg pointed out that she might not trust them enough to eat it, but that was fine by Felix. Allen always did like his pancakes.

Allegra went up to the surface to inform the girl’s parents about what had happened to her and where she was. Afterward, she began to snoop around the fringes of Olympus, trying to figure out how in Plagg’s name these newly ascended gods had fucked up so bad, so fast. Plagg was of a similar mind and followed her in the form of a black cat. The disguise was the easiest way to gather information so he could inform Tikki the inner circle of his findings.

This left Felix all alone in the castle.

It took all of about 30 minutes for Marinette to wake up. At first she freaked out at the apparent abduction; however, she calmed down after she found the letter. So she was in the Underworld. Neat. Looking around, she took note of all the different features of the room. It was comfortable, cozy even. Huh, she would have never guessed the Underworld could feel homey.

She got up and tried to find the one who helped her. It didn’t take her long to reach the kitchen where a figure was standing by the stove, cooking something.

“Hello,” she called out, earning a head turn from the figure. He had very pale blond hair and pale blue eyes; however, his eyes got brighter when he saw Marinette.

“Hello, Marinette. I hope you’re feeling better” He said, turning fully towards her. “I’m-”

“Felix, the god of Death. Adrien’s brother. I know,” Marinette cut him off. “Why weren’t you in the room?” Honestly, it wasn’t very wise to leave a strange person you don’t know practically alone in your house. She could’ve been a murderer or something! Well, the god of Death couldn’t really be murdered… but she could’ve stolen his silverware!

“I didn’t want to scare you,” Felix responded truthfully, taking the food off the stove. Marinette looked him over and grinned; the feared god of Death was wearing a pink ‘kiss the cook’ apron while holding a stack of warm pancakes.

“I don’t think you can be scary with that on” Marinette commented, causing Felix to look down. His expression changed to a look that screamed ‘so done’.

“It was a birthday present from Claude and he cries if I don’t wear it,” he grumbled. “Besides, I can be plenty scary when I want to be - apron or not,” Felix added with a smirk before offering her some pancakes. “Do you want something to eat?”

“What about-“

“Nothing from the Underworld, I promise. I made a trip to the surface this morning for supplies,” Felix explained. He understood why she was scared about eating the fruit of the dead. Especially as the goddess of Life.

Marinette nodded and sat down. Felix served her a plate and they both started eating. They sat in awkward silence, with just the sound of forks hitting plates, until Felix decided to break it.

“I believe congratulations are in order. Being named the next queen is a great achievement,” he commented. There was no response; Marinette had stopped eating and was staring at him with wide eyes. “Did I say something wrong?”

“You think I’m the goddess of Life?” Marinette asked with tears spilling down her face once more, causing Felix to stand up.

“Of course I think you’re the goddess of Life, it’s clear as crystal. Why are you crying?” He rushed over to the weeping girl, trying to figure out how to comfort her.

“The others don’t believe me. They think I’m some liar goddess. I’ve lost my bond, I’ve lost my best friend,” she sniffled, “how will mama and papa react, can I even go back?” Marinette began sobbing at this point. “Would anyone believe me when I told them what happened? Even the goddess of Truth didn’t believe me before!”

Felix was quiet before stepping forward to give the goddess a hug, trying to calm her down.

“Shhh don’t cry. Don’t blame yourself, if your friends can’t see your worth - if your bonded won’t see it - then it’s their loss,” he said pulling her back. “You, Marinette, are the most amazing person on Olympus and I’ve known that even before you where chosen as Tikki’s heir.”

Felix’s comment seemed to bring a smile to her face. Then he got an idea.

“Hey, you like fashion right?” earning him an curious nod. “Would you like the see where the silkworms are kept?”

Marinette jumped up with a smile, nodding excitedly. Felix grabbed his cane and walked with Marinette in the direction of the gardens. They might not buy fresh air, but sometimes having riches really did help sometimes.

Somewhere off in the distance, in the depths of the underworld, three goddesses watched over the rising gods of Life and Death. This was… unprecedented. The three considered the consequences of these new developments. There would be a fallout. Their collection of threads came loose, the fates of all Olympus unravelling. This had been an unlikely sequence of events but not an impossible one. With each step closer to the gardens, the Fates’ yarns got more tangled. That was the risk of free will - it meant fates could be changed. Looking into the future, everything was clouded. But it usually took great emotion to do so. Looking into the past, there was no precedent. And the changing fates of a few, gods or not, did not tend to unravel the fates of so many others. Looking into the present, it was clear something major had just been set in motion. Life and Death were meant to balance each other though. The silk was harvested in the garden surrounding the Asphodel Meadows. The new King of the Underworld could be happy with her as his Queen. Ironically, it was these divine silks that were sent to the Fates so they could weave out the lives of mortals and divinities. And, more importantly, she could be happy as his Queen. There were threads of white, silver, and gold, corresponding to mortal souls, divine souls (including those of blessed Champions, demigods, nymphs, and other such beings), and the gods. If it unfolded that way, it could only go wrong for the pair if the Liar confessed or the others were clever enough to figure out the truth on their own. The two gods below reached the entrance to the gardens, side by side. And, by the gods, that wouldn’t be happening – not with this group of rising gods. Felix opened the glass door to the gardens and held it for Marinette, who smiled in appreciation. Of whether that was a good thing the Fates weren’t sure.

As the pair stepped into the garden together, effectively unraveling the rest of the Olympian threads along with their own, three separate thoughts echoed at once.

•Reinterpreting past signs, perhaps they were meant to be after all…• | •The present shows potential for something great with those two!• | •Spinning the futures for divinities can be such a pain in the ass.•

Despite their different perspectives, the three Fates reached the same, singular conclusion with regards to watching the developments unfold.

• • • This would be fun.• • •

Chapter Text

The gardens of the Underworld were nothing like Marinette had imagined.

When she was young she’d always admired Tikki’s garden and those of the different flower goddesses. They’d create new flowers of all shapes and sizes to fill barren fields and the intensity of their colors could rival that of Nathaniel’s paints. But these flowers… These were something else altogether.

Though the flowers of the Underworld had a more limited pallet to dye their petals, they invoked a sense of peace far beyond what the gardens of Olympus could hope to produce.

Marinette was lucky enough to be invited in to look upon the Asphodel Meadows and planned to keep herself composed, like the dignified deity she was meant to be. Unfortunately, she was immediately overwhelmed by all the heavenly sights and smells that graced her senses.

Marinette remembered how she used to spends hours in the Olympian gardens, whether they belonged to her mother – whose garden was used to help out with the bakery- or a different goddess. Looking back on it, it was very clear early on that Marinette was meant to be the next goddess of Life; her love of life and nature were present at an early age and both flora and fauna flourished in her presence. Even here, in the Death’s domain, she could sense the flowers brightening beside her. She had fully intended to casually appraise the Asphodel Gardens without making a fool of herself. She was used to gardens anyways.

But the gardens of the Underworld were so much better than she’d ever imagined.

So she found herself gawking at the splendors before her with wide eyes, completely entranced by the unusual displays growing in the meadow. They were nothing like Marinette had ever seen in her life, yet they still felt familiar –safe. Most of the trees and plants on the garden’s rim were dark shades with brilliant blue hues coloring them; their auras of life were a sharp contrast to the rest of Plagg’s Felix’s kingdom. Most plants would be in terrible pain in the underworld but not these. They were pulsating life, as if it was waiting to burst out of them. These ‘silk’ tree, as they were called, were the home of the silk worms that produced the threads of Fate. Their bark was dark and their leaves even darker, which made the ivory worms on the trees appear to glow against the black background. Watching the little spinners at work filled her with joyful tranquility as she silently admired the view.

“Should I assume your silence is a good thing?” Felix broke the silence. It had surprised him, most who came to the Underworld didn’t like the gardens with all their unconventional features. But here was Marinette, goddess of Life, gazing at some dull bugs on gloomy trees with the biggest smile he’d ever seen on her face.

“Good thing? Felix these are amazing!! Ohhh!!!! What’s that?” Marinette asked, running over to another tree. While the bark was the same shade as that of the others, its leaves differed; the tree was capped in green like every living tree on the surface. However, what had really caught Mari’s eye was the arrangement of flowers, which were a brilliant red that popped against the dark green leaves.

“That is one of the pomegranate trees. The only fruit that grows in the Underworld” he explained as he walked up to Mari. The goddess was standing on her tip toes, trying her best to pick off one of the red blossoms but still too short to manage. Felix easily pulled one down with a smirk, offering it to her. Marinette took it eagerly before her attention was drawn to the rest of the garden.

Buzzing with excitement, Marinette gripped Felix’s hand and shot off, dragging the blond god to the rest of the garden. She asked him about every flower that she saw and he answered in detail. Felix knew what they meant and their relationship to the Underworld so he was happy to explain it to his crush guest – especially when his descriptions caused her face to light up so brightly. Marinette asked about the colors, about how big he could make the flowers, about the types of silk that could be farmed. She asked of his influence on the garden and made suggestions on its design.

He appreciated her input and loved her enthusiasm, but Felix was starting to get tried. He tried to hide his wincing from Marinette the best he could. There was a reason he had the cane after all.

Apparently, not taking Destruction despite being prepared for it was leaving his body in a weakened state. He could do a lot still… but it started to hurt after a while. He had asked Plagg about this, and the latter had explained it was a fail safe so that a god couldn’t receive half of their power and then refused the other half. The only way he could stop it was to finally accept the powers of Destruction from Plagg. Felix decided he could deal with the slight annoyance for at least another century or so to stave off his complete Ascension.

“You okay, Felix?” Marinette’s brows furrowed with concern, obviously noticing his discomfort. Felix winced again despite his best efforts. He had a feeling Mari would try to baby him, like Plagg had when Felix was first learning the ropes.

“Yeah, I’m alright. I just need to rest for a bit,” he waved off.

“Why didn’t you say so,” Marinette asked, shocked she hadn’t seen through the boy’s front sooner, and before Felix could blink there was a bench under him. It was obviously made of woods and other greens. Huh, he hadn’t thought it could last this long in the underworld. Marinette sat down next to him.

“Tell me if something bugs you next time,” Marinette said with sadness in her eyes.

“It’s not your fault, Marinette. Honestly. I haven’t accepted Destruction yet, so because I’m technically an incomplete god and I get a small amount of pain when I walk for a long time. Nothing too big” Felix explained, trying to comfort the poor girl. It sadly didn’t help much.

Thankfully, it was easy to change the topic around so her focus shifted elsewhere. Felix was amazed at how well they got along, you would figure they’d be at each other’s throats considering they were Life and Death personified. But no, Marinette was nice and sweet and never once said anything that upset Felix. Sure, they had disagreements during their chats but it always seemed to get resolved in one way or another. Now Felix’s problem was that he kept staring at Marinette in awe and this resulted in him not focusing on what she was saying at times. Thankfully she laughed it off, thinking he was just tired from his incomplete Ascension and confused by the goddess of Life dallying around the Underworld.

Marinette learned that Felix liked to dip flowers in gold and silver so he could keep them in the Underworld, preventing them from shriveling as soon as they were taken out of the Asphodel Gardens (and sometimes even before that). Felix learned that Marinette liked to keep stones she found and make them into jewelry. They shared their hobbies and quirks. The longer they spoke the more they bonded. The two just seemed to fit together. It seemed perfect.

However, they got interrupted by a portal opening with Allegra’s head promptly poking out of it from thin air.

“Hey lovebirds, come on. We need to talk.” That caused the two now-blushing gods to get up and follow her through the portal. After the brightness went down Felix saw exactly where they were. It was Tom and Sabine’s shop. Said gods were looking very worried. However, Felix knew it couldn’t be because of him. Tom and Sabine had a habit of running supplies down to the underworld when Gina was busy; the couple had grown used to the god of Death. Allegra and Plagg were there as well. Felix could see the destructive energy in Plagg boiling around… something bad had happened.

Skipping the formalities, Allegra cut right to the chase. “I’ve done some looking around. A minor goddess that recently arrived from gods-know-where, Lila, is claiming to be the goddess of Life. A fact that is easily disproven by Marinette powers and the fact Lila has yet to provide proof.” Marinette’s parents quickly went to Mari’s side to comfort her. Felix watched helplessly, wanting to console the crying goddess as well.

“That’s not the worst part though,” Plagg hissed, Destruction leaking from his fingertips and demolishing the marble countertop.

“I would guess Lila is the goddess of lies. My magic tells me that whomever doesn’t know that fact beforehand will just believe her” Allegra stated with a grim look.

“No, any low-tier gods will be influenced into just believing her. Heirs to the inner circle are immune to this bullshit! But nooo, now we’re hearing about Alya’s oh-so-proud accomplishment in standing against ‘the goddess of lies’ to protect Tikki’s heir! And then there’s Adrien hanging off the liar’s arm and playing along with her charade” Plagg sneered is a sassy tone. “Gods, this is why I left the surface. If had to deal with this shit every day I would have wiped out all humanity and half the gods. Or maybe the other way around…”

Plagg stormed off to eat away his anger, digging out the stinkiest cheese in the bakery and biting into it like an apple. Tom and Sabine hugged their daughter tight as they tried to process this information. They were gods, not nymphs or Champions or half-bloods who were only a step above regular mortals in the realm of divinities. But they were still minor gods. Though they always expected great things from their daughter, they’d pictured her achieving those things through a low to mid-tier role. The gods of the hearth and harvest were not prepared to be so involved with the conflicts of the inner circle and it was hard to wrap their heads around the situation. But as soon as they’d made sense of it all, Tom and Sabine’s fury surpassed even that of Plagg.

“We have to tell Queen Tikki! She will put an end to it all!” Tom exclaimed from his wife’s side.

Plagg shook his head sadly; “Tikki has gone to check on some other realms worlds. She should have told Adrien about his powers and responsibilities and WHO THE GODDESS OF LIFE IS before she left. After she told Marinette she would have gone straight for the Adrien’s house. So unless he wasn’t listen he should know exactly who is bride is. Her trip was to include the divine kingdoms of the seas, the old realms at the ocean depths, the Titans’ domains in Tartaros, the major mortal cities on the surface, and various transient celestial dimensions at their current locations. Needless to say, we’ll be on our own for a while” Plagg informed.

“Well, I’m not going to have that group of assholes treat my daughter like this and get away with it until her majesty decides to come back!” Sabine declared with venom dripping from her words and fury burning in her eyes. Plagg bristled at the disrespectful reference to Tikki but said nothing, allowing the defensive mother to voice her frustrations with both the current Queen and the inner circle’s heirs without repercussions. This time. Despite his disdain towards most gods, Plagg cared deeply about Tikki whether he admitted it or not. Felix was grateful for Plagg’s restraint at present; in his opinion, the goddess of the Harvest looked more like the goddess of Vengeance right now.

“Neither of us are,” Tom added and then echoed Sabine’s sentiments, denouncing his daughter’s former friends until he was as red as the pomegranate blossoms Mari had seen earlier. His rant stopped only because he had talked his throat dry, but as soon he’d gulped down a mug of Ambrosian nectar he put his threat to words. “For starters, I’m instilling a ban. I’m not going to have those miscreants threaten and insult our daughter outside and then come in here for their fix of pastries and commodities as if everything was fine.”

“Mmhmm. That’s a good start. But I have an idea that may add a bit of … sting to their punishment. And may even speed up the time it takes them to realize just how much they fucked up,” Allegra’s eyes narrowed in mischief, a cruel smirk dancing across her lips “Felix needs some help in the Underworld… Maybe Marinette could stay with him for a little while?”

“What?” Felix stammered before he turned and read the look on Allegra’s face. Ah, clever. He knew exactly what she was planning from that devilish grin. “Oh uh, yes. Right. I’m, umm… I’m remodeling the uh.. the underworld..? I-I mean, I am remodeling the Underworld,” he repeated with more confidence, nodding to the no one in particular. “We’re adding different levels and I’ve been working to annex Elysium so it isn’t just Champions that gain access upon their deaths anddd…. I was in the process of, uhhh, designing? some of the additional levels but I… errr… got stuck?…. And I … I-think-Marinette-could-really-help-me-since-she’s-so-talented-and-creative-and… Umm. Yea,” Felix choked the last but out, looking down as he tried to hide his blush. Gods is this more punishment for refusing Destruction? Felix could hear Plagg’s snort and feel Allegra’s amused satisfaction. Or are the Fates* just intent on humiliating me in particular, Felix mused bitterly.

–––

* Elsewhere, the Fates could swear a binding oath on the Styx that they had no part in Felix making a fool of himself; he’d accomplished that all on his own.

–––

Mari’s parents pondered this, a silent conversation taking place through quick glances at each other. At last, Sabine spoke up.“Well, with all of this going on we’d like to keep our daughter close so we can watch over her… But then again, Olympus and its surface outskirts are clearly not a safe space for her right now. We leave it up to Marinette,” Sabine declared before looking down at her daughter with a soft smile. Marinette’s brow furrowed and she bit her lip. After a moment her features relaxed and she let out a resigned sigh.

“I don’t want to stay on the surface, not when so many there have villainized me and treated me so poorly. And Felix is my friend. At least I think he is… Or I thought he was before he went to the Underworld….” she cut herself off before she started an off-topic ramble as she often did when nervous. Felix’s growing blush did not go unnoticed by his two companions. “What I’m trying to say is I would love to help him with his project. Besides, the gardens there are so lovely – they gave me so many ideas for new designs! Oh, Mama you should have seen them, they are so lovely!! Could my parents come to visit?” Marinette asked, turning to the blond boy.

“Whatever makes you happy,” Felix replied with a smile, causing Marinette to dart over and practically tackle him with a hug. At this, Felix’s stubborn blush burned bright red in front of both Tom and Sabine, who gave each other a knowing look and smirked.

“Marinette, why don’t I helped you get packed?” Sabine waved her daughter to the stairs and headed up to Mari’s bedroom. Marinette quickly broke off the embrace and ran after her mom.

This left Felix with Tom, Allegra, and Plagg. Tom seemed to give him and knowing smile and was sharing it with Plagg. Felix turned to Allegra for help who just shrugged.

Felix had a feeling he was in for a lecture.

Felix wasn’t wrong just not in the way he expected. Tom was completely supportive of Felix’s crush and told him so outright, saying that he thought Felix was perfect for Marinette. Tom listed off the little stuff Felix could do for Marinette. How romantic it would be, oh he could be so wonderful for sweet little Marinette (apparently Tom thought they made a cute couple). Felix was thoroughly flustered, apparently bright red was his color today. Plagg smirked, enjoying his nervous successor. They would be a cute couple, he finally had pity and began telling them his plan. Plagg wouldn’t be telling Tikki or the other members of the inner circle. He hoped that if he waited long enough then Adrien’s bond would be severed as well, which would free Marinette from any commitments permanently. That this would allow Felix and Marinette to be together if they so wished without fate getting in the way, went unspoken. Despite Felix agreeing, he had a feeling Plagg was doing this as mild revenge for Felix’s past. Plagg knew what Felix went through as a child because of Adrien – even if the latter wasn’t purposefully looking to cause animosity between the boys, Adrien’s mere existence had led to Felix’s ill-treatment. Add on what he had done to Marinette, it was clear that Plagg was looking for any excuse to make Adrien hurt. And Felix was okay with that. He supposed he shouldn’t be as Adrien was his brother, but Felix just couldn’t bring himself to care. Besides, Felix didn’t know what it was about today, but it seemed that fate was unraveling in some way. The usual feeling of cohesion the gods could sense through time and space was loose, tearing for some reason. Probably because of Adrien messing up his bond with Mari. The idea it was his new bond with Mari that was altering the threads of fate never even crossed his mind.

Marinette and her mom packed everything that they deemed important. Both were chatting about Felix as they gathered Mari’s things. Sabine could almost roll her eyes at her daughter’s oblivious nature. She talked about Felix like he hung the stars in the sky and seemed to blush whenever she got caught daydreaming about him. But she was firmly convinced that her relationship with Felix was friendship at most. Sabine may not be a Fate but she could see clear as day that the pair cared for each other already and these affections could easily grow into something more. In fact, she expected them to.

The pair mostly packed Marinette’s personal items, and it took a lot of convincing from Sabine for Marinette to agree to take her gifts from Tikki. Marinette felt guilty for leaving the earth, like she wasn’t fulfilling her role on either Olympus or the surface. Like she didn’t deserve the gifts given to her specifically for being Tikki’s heir. However, Sabine reminded her that she was leaving not only to help another god but also to secure her own safety since they didn’t know how far Lila would press the matter or whether any other gods would try something in response. So Marinette took the dresses and crown, bundling them carefully next to the rest of her things.

But she still left behind one of the gifts from Tikki.

The pair of red with black spot earrings.

They were very important to the goddess of Creation and were passed down to each heir upon their ascension. She could always sense where they were and the enchanted gems would burn at the souls of anyone else who dared to don them. Marinette had loved them, deeming them the most beautiful pieces of jewelry in all creation. She had worn the earrings from the moment she got them, proud of what they represented. However, they also carried a big responsibility with them. One Marinette couldn’t bear to be reminded of at this time. Marinette knew she couldn’t fulfill any of her responsibilities while she was in danger of being attacked anyways. Plus, if the others truly believed Lila, they might try to take them from her. Marinette traced the jewels gently with her fingers, a longing look on her features. Despite how much Marinette would have liked to bring them with her, she had a feeling they wouldn’t react to well to being in the Underworld. They might just making it just as full of life as the surface. How’s that for a renovation? She smiled sourly at the thought of flower vines creeping up the walls of the catacombs, fallen rose petals trailing behind the mortals as their souls were taken to Tartaros. Perhaps that was more change than even Felix was looking for. So Marinette put the pair in a makeshift safe and hid them in a corner of her room. She would know exactly where they were and she would know if anyone took them. She had a feeling someone would at least try to swipe them from her but she didn’t bother hiding the box more carefully.

A perverse thought echoed in her mind, urging her to make it easy for any possible thieves. She wasn’t one to initiate conflict and even when she did confront others she didn’t resort to harming them. But if someone tried to take the earrings for themselves, the side effects that afflicted them would be completely out of her control. Marinette certainly didn’t want the earrings to be taken… But hey, if they were, then she hoped Lila, or whomever was arrogant enough to try them on, enjoyed the feeling of lava pouring from their melting soul. She pushed the box slightly to the side, revealing it’s corner to any intruders. Let them try.

Marinette finally took her belongings downstairs, where Felix, Allegra, and Plagg had patiently waited for her. After Mari said one final goodbye to her parents, Allegra opened a portal and the group stepped through.

She was back at the Underworld. The pulsating life she was used to sensing was dulled once more but the realm no longer felt foreign or dangerous.

Instead, it felt like home.

___

Three pairs of eyes watched the goddess of Creation return to the realm of the dead. One spun out the enchanted thread, which had finally been detangled and wound around its spool once more. Another wove it, making a new tapestry of the path they were on. The last laid out a new assortment of silks, preparing the strands that would be entwined next.

••• And so it continues. •••

Chapter Text

For eight months the Fates had watched the two threads get tighter together. It seemed like every second the golden strands wove themselves closer despite never having been expected to converge for more than a single stitch, opposite as they were. They flowed seamlessly into one another, often times getting confused for a single cord. The Fates, so apt at identifying each divine thread and whom it belonged to, began struggling to distinguish between the two. Although other threads would intertwine with the two on occasion, accenting them with other shades of gold and even some silver, they never came between them. It became clear at this point, with the threads so tightly wrapped, that the goddess of Life and the god of Death were meant to be. Though the exact way they’d shape the overall divine tapestry was still a mystery, the Fates were certain they’d be shaping it together.

However, until today, only the fates had accepted this. And they felt the changes at once.

• • • The threads…• • •

The dual helix still progressed as it had for almost three seasons.

• • • Something’s happened. • • •

No shifts were visible in the pair of golden strings but something in their nature was different.

• • • But what?• • •

The three Moirai turned to each other, confusion furrowing their brows until it all began to click.

• • • Ah…• • •

“Get ready sisters, it appears we will have a visitor in our midst this evening,” Aurore warned the Fates of past and present. As oracle of the future, she was the first to sense the patterns the threads would most likely form.

“Which one?” asked the youngest, who was now studying the threads of those gods. Though Mireille was able to feel each fate more closely than her sisters, sensing their souls not as they had been or would be but rather as they currently were, a curtain of short black hair obscured her vision from all but the present.

“The one who has been questioning his fate,” Ondine answered simply. She couldn’t foresee what was to come, but when futures were predicted she was the fastest to recognize the paths that had led to them.

Knowing smiles spread across their features as full understanding dawned on all three.

• It was about time… • | • It’s happening now! • | • It will finally begin. •

The Moirai began to fix the mess around the room. As much fun as it was to just stand around and see everything that had been, was now, and could become, they could not possibly have a such an untidy room when greeting the King of The Dead.

–––

Eight months.

That’s how long it took for Felix to admit to himself that he was in love with Marinette. Felix had always had a crush on the goddess, even back when he lived on the surface with his family. However, the young god had seen the way Marinette looked at his brother and decided it was best to ignore his foolish affections. It simply wouldn’t do to start pining after some silly girl that was already head over heels for his oh-so-perfect little brother. Felix had, instead, chosen to detach himself from his feelings. He’d never liked feelings anyways; they were messy and got in the way of logic. Granted, his experience with emotions was skewed as he’d mostly experienced the negative kind. But after all the jealousy and resentment, the sadness and disappointment? After every bitter emotion that had weighed him down while he lived on the surface? He’d found distancing himself from such feelings was a much better option. After his assignment and the resulting turmoil from his family, he’d concluded all feelings were problematic and it was best to be rid of them all – even the ‘good ones’ as they would just make things hurt more later on. So when he was crowned King of the Underworld, he decided his feelings were better off being like everything else in his realm. Dead.

But seeing Marinette again, with such warmth in her eyes when she smiled at him, Felix couldn’t help but melt even if just a bit. Spending time with her sparked the old flame in his heart, a flame that seemed determined to grow and grow until it consumed him. And he knew it was all because of that damned project.

When Marinette had agreed to help Felix with renovating the underworld, Felix decided to assign Mari to the work best suited to her skill set. It was supposed to be the middle level of the Underworld; it wasn’t the beautiful Elysian fields where Champions could go, but it also wasn’t the torturous Tartarus where the corrupt and wicked were sentenced. It was supposed to be a place where the simple everyday person could go, where average people who did no unfathomable wrong yet no remarkable good spent their afterlife. Some souls could move on or be reincarnated, while others stayed in the Underworld’s limbo for so long they began to fade. So it made sense to make a place for these neutral souls to go, Felix had concluded. Felix decided to leave a lot of the designing to Marinette, given that even back when Felix lived on the surface he rarely visited the mortals.

Marinette had chosen to base the design off a town she visited when she was younger. She jokingly named their project ‘Hadestown’ as a play on what the mortals called Felix. With Marinette’s help, the idea had been made reality and soon souls began to move in. Most souls found something to enjoy in the town and lots favored the bar that was added in – Felix amongst them, though for reasons different than most. He remembered how his heart had fluttered when he heard Marinette sing to the forlorn souls in the bar. It was some sort of jazz song he could barely even remember but Felix swore it was the most beautiful thing he ever heard. That had been his first clue that he was falling in love.

The second came from seeing how Marinette treated those he now called family. Considering they were working together, Marinette and Felix spent a lot of time together (Claude would jokingly say the two were joined at the hip). Felix knew his view on Marinette would change depending on how the others saw her. And how she saw them. It wasn’t just about his pseudo-family, though their opinion mattered most, but the Underworld as a whole. Felix was the king and he needed ensure the Underworld ran smoothly. So he’d prepared himself to have a good look in he mirror and accept it could never work. After all, she was the goddess of Life, it was only a matter of time before she bumped heads with someone and left.

But that never happened.

Plagg and Marinette seemed to get along surprisingly well… Although Felix suspected it had something to do with the fact Marinette reminded the old god so much of Tikki. That was a history he still hadn’t managed to pry out of his mentor. Marinette once described Plagg as ‘the cool uncle she never had,’ at which Felix had made an obligatory snarky response about Plagg being the opposite of cool. Apparently the two had grown close enough to plot together because the next morning Felix found his bed covered in flowers that, while pretty to look at, seemed to be burning holes in his sheets. Though annoyed at having to clean up the mess, Felix took that as a happy sign they got along just fine.

Then there were the other young gods. Closest to him was Allegra, the goddess of witchcraft and necromancy, who absolutely adored Marinette. Allegra tried to teach the young goddess her magic and Marinette tried her best to understand it. They got along well, which was good. Usually. Every so often, after experimenting with magic unsupervised, their spells caused trouble.

As for Claude, oh boy Claude, Felix had figured that they would just say a few polite words and move on. Nope. Apparently Marinette was the only goddess who could keep up with Claude’s disorganized talks and endless tales. It turned out Mari enjoyed riding on the boat, to the agitation of all the waiting souls, and those two got along like they’d been friends since birth.

Finally there was Allen, the one whose job was to reap souls and bring them back through the gates. Felix assumed the two were a lost cause by the very nature of their being; he was certain they would hate each other – or at least harbor whatever emotion was closest to hatred as he wasn’t convinced Marinette could hate. But still, they didn’t. He should never have underestimated Marinette’s ability to connect with others. After all, she’d befriended him. And Plagg for that matter. The pair got along so well, Allen admitted that he’d sometimes felt sad for the souls of those too average to make it to Elysium, but it helped to know Mari had ensured they had a place to go now. Marinette admitted that she had found it quite fascinating when the foolish Icarus had flown too far up, too close to Noroo, and went falling to his death. She admitted that sometimes she would make flowers just to see them die, morbid interest in the end that awaited all living things. She told the group that no one on the surface approved of her behavior but she felt it was welcome here. And oh boy did they welcome it; they welcomed it with arms wide open.

The last creature that Marinette had needed to charm was Cerberus, the three-headed guard dog that Felix had adopted. Despite how some other felt about the dog – *cough* Claude *cough* –, Cerberus had become a cherished addition to Felix’s day-to-day life. He’d bonded with the canine misfit, growing to find comfort in the beast’s presence. But Felix recognized that Cerberus, as much as he loved him, could objectively be seen as a monster. He didn’t know how he would deal with being in love with someone who despised the dog or… if he even could. It was hard enough to know one of his friends was afraid of his canine companion. However, Marinette surprised him yet again; she took to the giant dog from the moment she saw him. To his distress, she did cry upon meeting him. To his delight, that was only because Cerberus was so big that she couldn’t properly pet him. After their meeting, Cerberus had taken to shrinking down to the size of a puppy when he saw Marinette so he could jump in her lap and get belly rubs. The sight filled him with amusement and joy and relief and love all at once. Felix just sighed as his fearsome guard dog showed he much preferred being a lap dog when given the chance. And to think Claude was afraid of him. Cerberus, loyal to his bones, still did his job diligently though. Seeing the dog with Marinette helped the other gods and souls not to fear him. At least not unless he intended them to. Even Claude relaxed a little, as long as Marinette was around.

And so, with all that information, Felix came to one single, terrifying conclusion.

He was in love with Marinette.

He was in love with the goddess of Life.

He was in love with the goddess his little brother was fated to marry.

Felix didn’t know what to do. He had gotten some more information about the bond from Plagg, learning what happened when it was severed. The knowledge just complicated things more though. In addition to his feelings for Marinette, Felix now he had to consider just how he felt about his little brother. Sure, Felix resented Adrien – he’d been the favorite growing up and had an entitled attitude he wasn’t self-aware enough to even acknowledge. But could he really allow himself to be a part of the reason slivers of his brother’s soul were torn away? Some dark part of him whispered yes.

Feeling at a loss, Felix decided to visit the fates for guidance. He would meet with them today and ask them what to do. He wondered if it was even worth pursuing a relationship with Marinette or if, in the end, it would all be fated to end it heartbreak. Would his brother find redemption or was he doomed to face pain? What would become of him? What would become of either of them? The best plan, the safest plan, was to just do as he was meant to; to follow the path that had already been planned for him by the Moirai.

Felix started towards the one place he knew he could get answers, prepared to do whatever was necessary to get the Fates to reveal what pattern the golden silks of all Olympian’s futures had been woven into.

–––

On the surface, however, things were nowhere near as pleasant as they were below. One major change had come from Tom and Sabine’s shop.

Sabine remembered the day Alya and Nino walked right in the shop to ask for some sweets. Sabine turned them both away with a cold glare. When Alya tried to argue and asked her if “this is about Marinette?” Sabine lost it. She yelled at the younger gods, telling the two that they had driven her baby away from her. Sabine screamed to the point where if Felix had been there he would have offered Sabine a job in Tartarus torturing souls. Alya and Nino had high tailed it out of there after the loud reprimands, which Sabine watched with a slight smile. Her, Tom, and Plagg had agreed to stick to the story of Marinette running away after the way she was treated. Sabine knew this was just Plagg’s plan to make them all feel worse when they found out the truth but she didn’t care, she wanted them to suffer for what they did to her baby. In fact, she had purposefully mentioned the fact the Marinette left because Sabine knew Lila would soon have to pay a visit.

Ever since Marinette left, life on the surface had just sort of… stopped. There were no new animals or plants. No new anything. Adding to the effect’s of Marinette’s absence was the fact Sabine was actively neglecting her duties as the goddess of the Harvest. While she honestly didn’t want humans to suffer, she was preoccupied playing the role of a mother in mourning after just having lost her child. The mourning was only partially an act; even if she knew where Marinette was, she still hated having her so far from home. And, though she trusted Plagg and Felix, she could not help but worry that the Underworld was far from where her little girl needed to be. So her effort in maintaining the crops was a little lacking. But really she was still doing her job, just in a different way, she told herself.

Since Marinette couldn’t eat the food in the Underworld (at least not without being bound to that realm), it was up to either Gina, Tom or Sabine to bring her something to eat. Tom had been helping Gina redo her home, hoping it would make the goddess of Travel stay or at least visit more, so the task fell to Sabine. And she was all for volunteering at this point - anything to see her baby girl. And Marinette had been right, the gardens in the Underworld were stunning. Sabine suspected they’d only grown more so since Marinette had arrived.

Speaking of the Underworld, Sabine had to make another run today. She grabbed the food and drinks and put them into her enchanted purse. The little bag was something that Marinette made her while she was in the Underworld, after learning some magic from Allegra. It was charmed so anything could be put into it and fit; it allowed Sabine to travel with food or drinks and no one would be any wiser. She found people questioned her less if they didn’t know she was smuggling dinners to the realm of the dead.

She’d expected this week’s run to go as smoothly as the others. Unfortunately, as soon as she walked out of her house and closed the door she was interrupted by someone. She should really learn to lower her expectations.

“Hello Sabine,” Fu greeted with a smile.

“Hello Fu,” she replied, eyes narrowing in suspicion. Fu was one of the eldest and most well-known gods of the community. While he was officially the god of knowledge, he’d originally been intended to take over as Wayzz’s heir in the inner circle. However, in Fu’s words ‘he was way too old to be an heir’ and he ‘didn’t think he fit well under the protection part of Wayzz’s domain’. It was bullshit. At least in part. The gods were not allowed to question their Assignments and an heir of the inner circle would have been picked with the utmost care and brought forth to Ascend at an early age. Still, Fu stuck to his story time and time again. He told no one what had actually occurred on his Assignment day, how he had evaded the role chosen for him. For all the knowledge he may possess, he sure kept most of it to himself. He was one of the few gods to openly reject their Assignments and the only one to successfully reject being part of the inner circle. Some thought him inspiring, others thought him foolish, and still others thought him outright treasonous. Seeing him in person, it was clear he was none of those things; he was just Fu.

“Are you closed? I was hoping to get some snacks,” the old man looked pointedly at the locked door behind Sabine.

“Yes, I’m sorry. Tom is visiting his mother and I’m–” she paused, reminding herself to keep her answers vague “– I’m running errands.” Hopefully Fu wouldn’t notice her momentary hesitation.

“And young Marinette?” Fu asked, his eyebrow raised. He’d noticed.

Sabine remember what had happened to her daughter, the betrayal Marinette had felt, and let genuine tears run down her face. “Gone. Some gods were attacking her. She was scared for her safety,” Sabine replied, letting through just enough pain to make it convincing. She was not one to show vulnerability around others.

“Ah, yes, I heard about that. I’m truly sorry your daughter didn’t feel safe here. Olympus should be a sanctuary for any god,” he said with a small bow. After a moment, his sight shifted to a bird circling far above. “It’s strange, you know. For all the time I have known Marinette, she was never one to lie. She always spoke honestly, or at least tried to. And when she did lie, it was written all over her face,” he added with a chuckle, “she just doesn’t seem like a good fit for the goddess of Lies, don’t you think?” Fu’s question was casual, his tone relaxed. His eyes were sharp though, his intentions masked. Sabine didn’t really know how to react to what Fu said. Almost everyone who’d come into the shop was convinced Marinette was the goddess of Lies. Sabine only kicked out the group of gods in Mari’s class (those who had hurt her) and people stupid enough to badmouth her daughter in Sabine’s presence. Most shared in the public opinion of Marinette’s shame but safely kept their mouths shut around the goddess of the Harvest and god of the Hearth. That was the best she’d learned to hope for. It was very strange to hear someone speak out against the true Liar’s claims, skeptical of what had been said. Sabine’s silence must have alerted Fu to something because he cut in before she’d had the chance to answer. “Please understand, I mean no harm towards your daughter and bear her no ill-will. I think she is a fantastic goddess whom will be dearly missed.”

“Yeah, she is,” Sabine said simply and then began walking. Fu, however, decided he wasn’t quite done talking.

“How is your domain doing? It must be hard with the plants not growing,” he commented, matching Sabine’s pace. Now she was fully aware he knew something; she’d suspected before but this was confirmation.

“It’s hard but I’m trying. Maybe that new goddess isn’t used to her powers yet,” Sabine shrugged, though her attempt at being casual was someone hindered by how she hissed out the word ‘goddess’.

“Yes, I see,” the god hummed. “Well, I must get going. I’ll come by again later when your shop opens up,” Fu chirped in his previous cheerful tone before walking away from the goddess of Harvest. Sabine sighed in relief when he was finally out of sight. Fu suspected something, that much was obvious. But all of that could wait. At last, she could head to the Underworld and pay a visit to her daughter. She would do damage control on Fu and whatever insights he may have. But she’d do it after she saw her daughter.

And so Sabine set off, unaware that Fu had lingered. He was out of her sight, but she was in his. He stood patiently behind, still near the bakery but not near enough to be seen. Like he was waiting for something. Or someone.

–––

Lila couldn’t help but smirk in delight. It wasn’t a very complicated or ‘big’ lie but she had been planning it for some time. It was just a few words, a fake title uttered to gods whom she’d known for such a short period they might as well have been strangers.

Lila knew her domain from the moment she could speak, everything that came out of her mouth was a lie. Sometimes the truth would weasel its way in but that happened very rarely and even then it was usually just to add credibility to whatever tales she’d told. She’d made a game of it early on; she would see how far she could push a claim and still have others believe her. She would start small and build up the details from there. Or she would go big right from the start but keep it vague. She would push her gift constantly so it would grow stronger, better able to coerce others into trusting her blindly. However, it only worked if her audience didn’t know she was a liar. Those who knew what she was beforehand developed a certain immunity to her twisted tales, along with the members of the Inner Circle.

Or, at least, that’s what she’d thought before she had two Inner Circle heirs wrapped around her little finger. Either they were either too stupid to catch on or she’d finally grown powerful enough to trick even them.

When she first come to Olympus she had a problem with two gods, Marinette and Adrien. But as luck would have it, Adrien was too much of a coward to call her out and he even stopped Marinette from doing so. The two had figured her out early on, clearly heirs to the Inner Circle as they had seen through her so quickly. Yet, for whatever reason, Adrien had come to her defense. In fact, even when Adrien was announced as the next god of the Sun, he never told the class she was a liar. Never told them she was the Liar. And that was exactly what she needed in a partner; someone who was high up but wouldn’t stop her, giving her the status necessary so no one would question her even if they did catch on to her lies.

It took some research, but she figured out that the Sun God and the Life Goddess were fated to be married or some other bullshit along those lines. It was… disappointing. Lila realized she couldn’t use normal seduction on Adrien and quickly came up with the next best option.

She claimed to be the goddess of Life.

Her tan skin worked in her favor, backing claims of her days calling forth new life under the sun’s rays. Everyone in the class of idiots believed her. The only threat that came up was when the heir to the god of Truth, Alya, had been announced. Lila had worried for a bit, as she was a minor goddess under Trixx’s vast domain and their heir would likely get some innate feeling about her. Quick to feed her own ego, though, Alya had fooled herself into believing it was just fated kinship between future members of the Inner Circle. After that, it was smooth sailing for the goddess of Lies. They all praised her, gave her food, drew portraits of her - if this was what being Queen was like, she could get use to it.

Even the spineless Adrien, who’d had the most at stake given his predestined engagement, soon fell compliant. It took some talking to convince him, but after learning Tikki spoke with him about his fated bride, Lila saw her opportunity. She was in luck. Apparently the blond had been too excited at the prospect of having a ~soulmate~ to pay proper attention to the Queen. So he missed the bit where Tikki told him the name of his bride-to-be, catching only the part about her power. And Lila, with her silver tongue and quick wit, fooled him into believing she was the goddess of Life. She was particularly proud of that lie as it had been all her with no magic at all, what with Adrien being immune to her persuasion charms.

It felt amazing to kiss him.

It was her victory prize; that kiss was as good as an oath sworn to the Styx that the Sun heir vouched for her. After that anyone who dared to question her claims would also be accusing a member of the Inner Circle of lying. Dumb and pretty, just how she liked them. A wicked grin spread across her face as she remembered the first day she’d made her claim. She’d planned it perfectly, coordinating it to take all the attention away from that irksome Marinette on her Assignment party. And gods, it had felt amazing to give that little nuisance her title. The brat’s own claim just helped Lila’s account seem more believable. She’d planned to tell everyone she’d been warned Marinette was the goddess of Lies and make the girl a joke after she claimed whatever worthless Assignment she actually got. But things just got better and better. As if it had all been stitched out by the Fates themselves, Marinette arrived just to announce that she was the goddess of Life. And she did so to the heir of Truth, whom Lila had already convinced. It was lucky Alya’s pride was bigger than her loyalty or else that could’ve caused a few problems. As soon as she’d gotten wind of Marinette’s Assignment, Lila cried about the other’s evil plans to try and take her spot, about all the horrible stuff the goddess of Lies had already done. It did the job. Lila could have almost kissed Alya when the heiress told her about the confrontation with Marinette.

Everything had come along nicely.

Well, almost everything. There was still one little problem she had to take care of.

Unlike the rest of the class, the adults were more skeptical of her claims. Marinette’s parents parents had openly doubted her but she’d expected as much. Marinette’s involvement in the ordeal had worked in Lila’s favor as Sabine and Tom’s accounts were brushed off as parental bias. The others, though, worried Lila. The criticism was subtle and no one outright spoke against her but it was enough to plant seeds of doubt. From apathy to snide commentary, the older gods were setting the stage for her demise. When she’d announced her Assignment as the new goddess of Life to the god of Knowledge, he had just stared at her with an eyebrow raised ever so slightly; he hadn’t refuted her but he didn’t acknowledge her claim either. He’d just looked at her incredulously while she talked and talked, silently evaluating all her words. And then the man had gone back to his tea without ever uttering a word, as if she wasn’t even there. Then there was the goddess of Fashion, Chloe’s mother. She didn’t care enough to look into Lila’s claims, but she implied Lila wasn’t the true heir through offhanded insults. In fact, she’d just criticized her fashion choice saying ‘a goddess of Life would never wear something so ugly’. Not an open threat, but it was enough. Lila knew all too well how little was necessary to get people to believe something and she couldn’t afford to have this lie come undone. She was in too deep.

She had to be cautious. If the older gods didn’t believe her and began to talk to the class, her lies would fall apart. Her gifts and wit had brought her this far but she wasn’t sure how they’d fare when her words contradicted those of the others’ parents. Her place next to Adrien, along with the high status it implied, would be at risk. So, she needed something.

She needed proof.

It hadn’t taken her long to put together that Marinette really was the goddess of Life. However, Marinette had run off after the fight she had with Alya. Perfect, she could get the proof she needed. Marinette’s parents were throwing a huge hissy fit about ‘their baby being gone’ so that confirmed the brat wouldn’t be around to cause trouble. Now Lila just had to get something that would “prove” she was the goddess of Life. Her thoughts ran freely from there, bigger lies and schemes always at the front of her mind. She’d fooled the heirs, so maybe she could fool their mentors. Once she’d gotten the proof from Marinette’s house, she wouldn’t have to deal with lesser gods doubting her. She could focus on the Inner Circle. Maybe once Tikki saw her as the acting goddess of Life she would realize Lila was the better fit anyways. Her thoughts twisted more and more until the original I could pretend to be the goddess of Life was distorted into a mantra of I deserve to be the next goddess of Life.

So this brought Lila to where she was now, climbing the side of the Dupain-Cheng bakery, trying to reach the top where Marinette’s room was. She went alone, of course, because she couldn’t have the class questioning her.

It was dark and chilly but she had finally made it up to the balcony, and by some stroke of luck, the doors to Marinette’s room were unlocked.

Lila’s smirk widened as she walked into the room.

–––

High above in the Fates’ tower, the three observed a golden thread with extra care. This particular thread had started the mess the Olympian tapestry was now in when it had tried to sloppily weave itself in with the other threads. Each time it tried to stitch itself onto the mantle it just tangled itself more.

The three had been aggravated by the thread. Its patterns were too erratic for the Past, it was constantly slipping out of the picture spun for the Present, and its unpredictable knots kept blocking predictions of the Future.

However, the golden thread, made of the same eternal silks that represented all other immortal divinities, had suddenly stopped moving.

• It has never been still? • | • At least we can stop chasing it..? • | • But… the only viable prediction for it was that it would always slip away???•

The gleaming gold, spun out to never dim or stiffen or break, became black as night and hard as a stone.

• • • Well, that’s unusual. • • •

A certain someone had just sealed their fate.

The end was certain now, no flexibility to the outcome. It would continue forward until the tension from all the other strands tangled around it snapped the now-brittle string.

• If it was going to happen, it makes sense for it to happen to this one. •

• True. But it’s quite rare for souls to corrupt their own fate. •

• Rare indeed. And a divinity no less. •

The Fates smiled, knowing exactly why this had happened and how it would finish. Their golden mantle would soon adopt a new pattern, which they could continue smoothly from then on. They just had to wait for that one’s downfall.

But there was no time to ponder that now.

The Moirai looked up at once, turning towards the door in anticipation.

• • • It’s time. • • •

“Hello, Felix,” three voices echoed in unision as the king of the Underworld entered their domain.