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A Different Miraculous Set of Circumstances...

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Chapter One

 

Luka hissed, forked tongue flicking out as he limped painstakingly slowly away from the latest Akuma battle. Chat Blanc had been particularly vicious today, bone-white claws turning a sludgy black as he cataclysmed the Bourgeois Hotel’s bottom floor out from under it. Thankfully, the building had been evacuated the moment that the Akuma-Sirens went off, but Viperion had taken a nasty blow to the side nonetheless, and he was paying for it now.

 

Luka leapt frantically across the street, left half of his torso jarring agonisingly as he landed. Behind him, he could hear Chat Blanc calling out, voice echoing through the eerily silent city. Everyone was locked away safely in their houses or, if they could afford it, shelters- everyone but Luka, that is.

 

“Come out, come out, little Snake. I just want to chat…” Luka pushed forwards, every move sending a fresh wave of pain over him, he threw himself onto the next building, landing on the balcony of a bakery and ducking low. “I just want your miraculous, and then this whole ordeal can be finished.” Luka almost snorted at that, but self preservation kept him silent. Chat Blanc was close, too close now, Luka could not outrun him. He sunk lower, lying almost flat on his stomach and held his breath.

 

There was a creak behind him, the smallest of noises that made him flinch violently, he had been found. He felt his fangs extend, his bracelet beeping hopelessly, a mocking chant reminding him that he was out of time. He pushed up into a squat, ignoring the grunt of pain that came with the action and spun around preparing to lunge, only to be faced with the pale face of a girl poking through the previously closed trap-door.

 

“Get in here!” she whispered, and then dropped out of sight. Luka didn’t need to be told twice, forgoing any ladder, he threw himself through the trapdoor. It swung shut behind him, and the girl caught it before it banged, lowering it slowly and sliding the bolt across it.

 

Not a moment later, there was a thud on the roof and the sound of footsteps.

 

“Don’t hide from me, silly Snake, I will find you!” the last word was drawn out, almost sung as Chat Blanc danced across the rooftop. Luka held his breath and listened as the footsteps slowed, and then faded away. The cry was repeated a few moments later, but it seemed more distant. Luka sagged in relief and his miraculous let out a final woeful beep and detransfromed him, barely giving him time to frantically hiss,

 

“Don’t look.” before he was standing, on a stranger’s bed, in his Jagged Stone pyjamas. His eyes snapped to the girl who had saved him, her hands were over her eyes and her face was turned away,

 

“I’m not looking!” she cried, Luka sagged in relief before letting out a groan of pain and collapsing onto her pink sheets. He pressed his hand against his side, feeling the hot stickiness of his t-shirt. The girl didn’t turn to face him, but she removed her hands from her face, arms windmilling wildly as she asked,

 

“Oh god! You’re injured! I have- do you need?- let me get you a first aid kid!” The girl ran from the room, sock-clad feet silent on the wooden floor. Luka shut his eyes and clenched his teeth, breath coming out in a hiss,

 

“Well that was a close one.” Sass murmured, and Luka felt the weight of his kwami settle on his shoulder, “perhaps this hatchling has some eggs? We could attempt to make it home, but I wouldn’t advise it since Chat Blanc is still on the prowl…”

 

“It doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere in this state, I can barely stand.” Luka replied; before Sass could respond, the bedroom door creaked open and the girl returned. Her eyes were fixed firmly on the floor as she entered, allowing Luka to get a good view of her. She was small and delicate looking, as though crafted out of fine-china, with dark hair tugged into two loose bunches that only made her look sweeter as she padded over arms straining as she hefted a large white box with a red cross emblazoned across the lid, onto the bed. She continued to avoid looking at him as she flipped the lid off the box,

 

“I know it isn’t perfect, but I found an old halloween mask you can use to hide your identity.” her cheeks flushed as she spoke, and she thrust a rubber mask in his direction. It unfurled as he took it, and snorted at ghoulish pumpkin visage.

 

“Thanks.” he said, tugging it on. The girl looked up at last, and Luka felt his breath catch in his throat. Her eyes were huge and dark blue, framed by thick lashes. His mouth barely had time to open before he let out a hiss of pain as the girl jabbed at his injured side.

 

“Sorry!” she said, arms flailing in panic, “Can you… Would you mind lifting…?” her face was a fiery red, Luka tugged up his shirt, revealing the large slash on his side. He winced at the sight of it, this was definitely one of his gorier battle scars. The girl’s face seemed to drain of blood, “We need to get you to a hospital.” she said frankly. Luka shook his head.

 

“No hospitals.” he replied, “It would expose my identity.” the girl bit her lip,

 

“That looks like it needs stitches.” as she spoke, her hands flitted over the injury. Pulling cotton pads from the box and dousing them with alcohol, she warned, “this will hurt.” before she began to clean the wound. Luka clenched his teeth, despite his frequent run-ins with Chat Blanc, he never got used to the clean-up afterwards. When she finished, she pressed a bandage against the cut clumsily, clearly unsure of how to proceed. “I really think this needs stitches.” she said, Luka was inclined to agree with her.

 

“I can do it if you have a needle and thread.” he said, it wouldn’t be his first time stitching himself up. The girl poked about in the white box before pulling out a kit. He raised his eyebrows, not that she could see it under the mask, “you have an awful lot of first aid equipment…” he said. The girl nodded,

 

“This is a bakery with lots of hot stoves, we have to take precautions.” she said by means of explanation, “Besides, I fall over a lot.” this second part was muttered, clearly not intended for his ears. Luka nodded and tugged the needle and thread from her hands. His palms had already begun to sweat in expectation of pain. Clumsily, he made the first stitch, grinding his teeth together so hard he was sure he was making sawdust. The girl peered on anxiously, leaning over him on the balls of her feet. At the third stitch she stopped him.

 

“Let me take over.” she said, “those stitches wont hold.” Luka glanced at her warily, but she wasn’t looking at him, her eyes lay on the messy stitches with an analytical eye. Finally, he nodded, handing her the needle. She leant over him, “Sorry in advance.” she said, before plunging the needle into his red-stained skin.

 

She worked in silence for a few long minutes, wincing occasionally and wiping away fresh beads of blood, before he asked,

 

“How do you know how to do stitches?” she didn’t look up.

 

“I sew a lot.” she said dismissively, pausing for a split second to gesture vaguely at a mannequin standing in the corner of the room, a half finished dress draped across its frame. Luka stared at it, trying to distract himself as the needle pierced the skin of his side over and over. His eyes scanned the room, she had several posters up and cutouts from magazines. He noted several Jagged Stone posters with approval. His eyes were just alighting on a pin-board above her desk when she withdrew,

 

“All done.” she said. Luka glanced down, smiling slightly at the stitches, far neater then anything he could have done himself.

 

“Thank you.” he said, the girl nodded.

 

“It’s nothing. You save Paris every day, I’m just happy I could do my part.” she replied. Luka felt his cheeks heat at that. As a general rule he stayed out of the public eye, but it was always nice to hear that he was appreciated.

 

“It wasn’t nothing, but thank you for the compliment none the less.” Luka smiled, “May I ask my heroine’s name?” the girl laughed and Luka noted in the back of his mind that it was as clear as a musical note (he could hear Juleka laughing at him for that one already).

 

“You may,” she replied, “My name is Marinette Dupain-Cheng.” Luka blinked, he had heard that name before.

 

“No way.” he muttered, “You designed Jagged Stone’s album cover!” he cried, internally reprimanding himself a moment later for sounding more like a twelve year old boy then a seasoned hero of Paris. Marinette flushed,

 

“Yeah, it was a real honour, I’m a huge fan.” she said, running a hand through her hair awkwardly. Luka’s eyes flickered back to her wall, assessing her posters with renewed interest. As his eyes landed on her pin-board, his heart stopped. There, surrounded by classmates, was Juleka; this girl was in his sister’s class. He felt a smile creep onto his face unbidden, he was definitely going to see this girl again.

 

“I don’t suppose you have any eggs, do you?” he asked with a smile at this new thought, Marinette looked startled at the rapid change of topic before shaking her head,

 

“No. You somehow came to the only bakery in France without eggs…” she sat dryly. Luka snorted and she continued, “Yeah we do, how would you like them?”

 

“Raw, please.” Sass seemed to have tired of staying quiet, floating out from behind Luka. Marinette’s eyes widened and she staggered back, mouth opening in a whispered scream,

 

“Mouse! Bug-mouse-rat-snake-thing!” her hand scrabbled behind her for some kind of weapon, though she didn’t take her eyes off of the Kwami, who had puffed up at the word ‘mouse’, clearly offended. Luka winced, catching Sass in the air and pulling him back as he floated towards Marinette, small green fists raised.

 

“Wait! Please Marinette, it’s not a mouse, it’s a Kwami, Sass is what gives me my powers.” Marinette paused in her backing away,

 

“A… Kwami?” she asked, eyes resting on the small green creature with apprehension, “It gives you the ability to transform into Viperion?”

 

“I’m not an ‘it’” Sass squawked, sounding more like an angry bird then the God of Repetition in that moment, “my name is Sass, Sass! You got it yet? Foolish human-child?” Marinette blinked several long blinks before rushing forwards, all previous hesitation forgotten. Luka began to absentmindedly wonder if, pretty as she was, Marinette was also deranged as she extended a finger for Sass to shake.

 

“I’m terribly sorry, Mr Sass.” she said, eyes wide and apologetic, “I didn’t mean to disrespect you in any way! You must be mighty powerful to be able to turn humans into heroes.” Sass accepted her extended finger with a sniff.

 

“Of course! I am the God of Repetition, after all.” He stated, chest puffed now with pride rather then indignation.

 

“A God! You don’t say!” Marinette exclaimed, “Well, I suppose I couldn’t have expected any less from such a fine specimen.” Sass turned to Luka, previous rage forgotten as he said,

 

“I like this one, youngling.”

 

“You would.” Luka responded, rolling his eyes before returning his attention to Marinette, who was  watching the exchange with clear interest.

 

“Sorry, but Sass needs eggs in order to transform, raw preferably.” Marinette nodded,

 

“Of course!! Would you like anything?” Luka shook his head as his stomach let out a low grumble.

 

“I’m fine, thank you.” he replied, Marinette smiled,

 

“Okay, Raw eggs and a croissant coming right up!” she cried, before disappearing into the darkness of downstairs silently once more.

 

“I think I’m in love…” Sass murmured to Luka, who snorted at the small God.

 

“You’re such a sucker for flattery.” he muttered, not needing to express with words how much he shared the Kwami’s sentiment.

Chapter Text

Chapter two

 

Upon learning that Marinette Dupain-Cheng was in Juleka’s class at school, it didn’t take very long for Luka to orchestrate a meeting between the two of them. If you were to ask Luka how he managed such an operation, he would weave you a tale, perhaps with some soft guitar playing underneath, telling of how he subtly brought up his desperation to meet the artist of his favourite Rockstar’s album cover. He would tell of the startled gasp that escaped him at Juleka’s admission that she could in fact, help him achieve his dream, mainly due to the fact that she attended school with his heroine. If Luka were telling the story, you would hear a tale with spiderweb like intricacies, that dragged his unknowing sister straight into his trap. However, it is not Luka telling us the story today, but his Kwami, Sass, and so the story went a bit like this:

 

Juleka and Rose screamed as Juleka’s cabin door was kicked open, revealing Luka, a slight sheen of sweat visible on his forehead as he brandished a printed-off article at them,

 

“YOU NEVER TOLD ME YOU WENT TO SCHOOL WITH THE GIRL WHO DESIGNED JAGGED STONES’ ALBUM COVER.” he bellowed. In his hand was a slightly sweaty article, detailing who designed Jagged Stone’s latest album cover, and which school she attended. Juleka, now calm after her fright, raised an eyebrow at him before rolling back onto her stomach to continue browsing the webpage herself and Rose had previously been caught up with.

 

“She’s in our class!” Rose chirped, “She’s super nice.” Luka gasped with pantomime-level shock,

 

“You don’t say! In your class? Rose,” Luka shuffled closer, “It has always been my dream to meet her.” Rose wriggled back on the bed, alarmed at the slightly mad look in Juleka’s brother’s eyes.

 

“Stop scaring Rose, you weirdo.” Juleka said, not turning from the article, “If you want to meet Marinette just come meet me after school tomorrow. We finish at three, so try and get there a bit before then and I’ll introduce you.” Luka grinned delightedly,

 

“Awesome- I mean,” he cleared his throat, “if you insist!” before ducking out of his sister's room.

 

“When I first met your brother, he seemed a lot more…” Rose struggled for the right word,

 

“Suave?” Juleka guessed, at Rose’s nod, she snorted, “Yeah, he comes out of his shell like an unsightly crab once you get to know him.” Rose pondered this for a moment,

 

“I think him and Marinette will get on like a house on fire.” she finally decided, clapping her hands together in delight.

 

For Luka, tomorrow couldn’t come fast enough. He sat atop his bed, fingers dancing across the neck of his guitar with unrivalled energy as Sass lounged by the window.

 

“I don’t get why you’re so excited.” the Kwami grumbled, not opening his eyes as he attempted to dishearten his chosen, “It’s not like she knows she’s met you before, she’ll just think of you as her friend’s older brother.” Luka nodded at this, hands not halting as he pondered his response to the Kwami.

 

“I know that.” he finally said, “But I’ve had so many fights with Chat Blanc, and last Saturday was the first day I’ve had a civilian really put their neck on the line for me. Even if Marinette doesn’t know that was me, I know that was her and well… that girl’s unbelievably brave.”

 

“Barf.” was all that Sass had to say on the matter, Luka smiled slightly at the Kwami’s disinterest, before shutting his eyes and allowing his fingers to play what he was not eloquent enough to say.

 

The next day, he was outside of Juleka’s school thirty minutes before three, earphones in and fingers tapping out a rhythm anxiously against the wall he leant on. Sass snored audibly in his pocket. When the school-bell finally rung, Luka started, hand flying to smooth his hair and tug out his earphones as he stood up straight. Sass, having been awoken by the sudden noise and movement, snickered at him, causing Luka to scowl.

 

As the students rushed from the large building, Luka stood on his tip toes to see over the heads of the crowd, searching for his sister.

 

“Looking for someone?” Juleka’s voice was often described as monotone by people unfamiliar with her, but in that moment, Luka was sure no one could have missed the amusement colouring her tone. He spun around, cheeks heating as he was faced with Juleka, Rose and Marinette.

 

“Oh, hey Jules.” he said casually, smiling as though he hadn’t just been caught scanning the crowd with the intensity of a trained Sniper, “just waiting for you is all.” Juleka smirked and even Rose let out a small giggle.

 

“Sure, brother dearest. Well, I wanted to introduce you to my friend Marinette, anyway.” Juleka replied, gesturing to Marinette, who smiled at him politely and raised her hand in a half wave. “Marinette, this is my brother, Luka.” Juleka returned her attention to Luka as she said knowingly, “You might of heard of her, she designed Jagged Stone’s album cover.”

 

“Juleka!” Marinette whispered, cheeks reddening.

 

“Really?” Luka exclaimed, “Woah, that’s amazing, I’m a huge fan!” Marinette nodded, shyly, folding her arms behind her back.

 

“Yeah, me too. I love his music it was such an honour to work for him, honestly.” she replied, Luka grinned,

 

“I bet. Hey, I don’t suppose I could get you to sign my copy of his album some time? It would be amazing to have the artist’s signature.” Marinette’s cheeks, already a pale pink, darkened to a magenta,

 

“You want me to?- I couldn’t possibly- I mean, If you’d like…” Luka grinned,

 

“I would like.” he replied, sliding a hand into his pocket, he pulled out his phone, “Is there any chance that I could have your number? So I can text you- about the signature, that is.” Luka fumbled with his words, wincing slightly as he heard Juleka snort, amused under her breath. Marinette stared at him, uncomprehending for a few long moments, and Luka wondered if he’d said something wrong before she responded,

 

“Yeah sure- of course- I would be happy to give you my number-for a signature, that is…” she laughed anxiously before relaying her number, hand tugging at her bunches self consciously as she did so. Rose cooed ever so slightly and Luka threw her a subtle glare which she ignored.

 

“Awesome!” he responded, dropping her a text, “I just texted you, so now you have my number too.” Marinette smiled and opened her mouth to say something in response when a voice called out,

 

“Marinette?” Beside him, Luka felt Juleka tense ever so slightly. Rose seemed unperturbed, raising her hand in a wave as a tall blonde boy approached. Marinette beamed at the newcomer,

 

“Oh, hi Adrien.” she said, the boy smiled warmly at her before turning his attention to the group,

 

“Hi Rose, Juleka and…?” he tailed off, looking at Luka expectantly. Luka smiled, extending his hand,

 

“Luka, Juleka’s older brother.” he said. Adrien nodded, still smiling, but Luka couldn’t help notice that his smile became slightly more tense as he turned his attention to him. The boy reached out and clasped Luka’s extended palm politely, squeezing a bit tighter then socially acceptable as they shook hands.

 

“Pleasure.” Adrien’s warmth became more genuine as he glanced at Marinette, “Sorry to interrupt this, but Marinette promised to help me out with my physics project, so I’m going to have to steal her away.” he slid his arm almost possessively around Marinette’s shoulders.

 

“That’s true, I completely forgot, sorry Adrien! I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.” the bluenette agreed. She turned back to Luka, “It was really nice meeting you, feel free to text me- about the signature that is!” she quickly clarified, cheeks darkening again. Luka felt his own cheeks warm in response.

 

“I definitely will. It was very nice meeting you, Marinette.” he said, smiling. Behind her, Adrien’s smile became more of a grimace as he lightly tugged Marinette away,

 

“See you guys tomorrow!” Adrien called as they departed, and Marinette waved over her shoulder.

 

The moment the two were out of earshot, Juleka snorted,

 

“As if Adrien needs help with physics.” she said.

 

“I think it’s cute!” Rose defended, eyes forming literal hearts as she defended Adrien.

 

“Are they dating?” asked Luka, worriedly as he watched the two’s departing forms.

 

“Adrien wishes.” Juleka said, “He’s liked her since he first joined the school, but anytime you bring it up with Marinette, she says he’s ‘just a friend’.”

 

“Oof…” Luka felt a pang of sympathy for the boy, but his relief trumped it, “Poor guy.”

 

“Don’t go sympathising with the competition.” Juleka chided, laughing, “You were very smooth just now, big guy.” Luka flushed,

 

“I wasn’t that bad.”

 

“In your defence…” Rose said, smiling, “Marinette was just as bad as you were. It was so cute! You were both stumbling over your words like crazy!” Juleka nodded reluctantly and Luka felt his heart soar. A goofy smile stretched across his face,

 

“Do you guys want to go and get some ice cream? My treat.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

 

Oh how Luka wished he hadn’t taken Rose and Juleka out for ice cream earlier. It sloshed around sickeningly in his stomach as he clumsily rolled down a sloping roof. Behind him, Chat Blanc giggled, white blonde hair glinting under the moonlight. Luka pushed himself back onto his feet.

 

“Just give it up already!” Chat Blanc called, raking his claws against a pipe that ran up the length of a chimney, it let out an ear-splitting shriek. “Give me your miraculous.”

 

“No.” Luka grunted, swiping at his bracelet as he muttered, “Second Chance.” under his breath. Immediately, the word tilted ever so slightly, coloured with an odd greenish hue. In the corner of his eye, Luka was vaguely aware of a timer, he had two minutes. Chat rolled his eyes, twirling his tail in his left hand he murmured,

 

“You’re really hissing me off, you know.” Chat Blanc waited for a response, which Luka refused to give, “get it? Hissing me off, because you’re wielding the snake miraculous.” Luka pulled his Lyre from his belt,

 

“Not funny.” he snapped, before flinging the lyre at his opponent. The instrument cut through the air, strings glowing and emitting and ever so faint hum as it did so. Chat Blanc twirled his baton, barely dodging the lyre as it whizzed past his ear, only to hiss in pain as it clipped the side of his head on the return journey.

 

“Stupid Boomerang. Oh you’re really gonna get it now.” Chat called, whites of his eyes huge in the darkness.

 

“Cataclysm!” Before Luka could react, the ground beneath him was tumbling away. Chat had destroyed the house they were atop of. Luka tried not to think of who might have been dwelling within as he hit the ground and rolled onto his feet, Lyre at the ready. He flung it again, in his panic he missed Chat by miles. The boy giggled again, baton twirling in his hand like an accomplished cheerleader.

 

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a very Pythong time.” Chat sung as he slunk closer, white suit looking almost slimy in the moonlight, “Get it, like long but Pythong because- you get it…”

 

“I just didn’t think it was funny.” Luka ground out, catching his lyre as it spun back to him, “but then again, maybe I need to hear it a few times…” Chat Blanc’s eyes widened before he lunged forwards, snarling:

 

“Don’t you dare-“ but it was too late.

 

“Second Chance!” Luka yelled, sliding back the dial on his bracelet once more and disappearing in a flash of green light.

 

Luka staggered ever so slightly, suddenly back on the roof of the now untarnished building,

 

“You’re really hissing me off, you know.” Chat Blanc began, “Get it? Hissing me-“

 

“Yeah yeah heard it all before.” Luka snapped, eyes scanning the area around them, his eyes landed on a loose tile jutting up a yards to his left. He tossed his Lyre before lunging for it, not bothering to look as Chat Blanc hissed, dodging it’s first attack before being hit by the second.

 

“Stupid Boomerang.” Luka heard Chat curse, “Oh you’re really gonna get it now!” he cried,

 

“Cataclysm!” Luka tossed the piece of slate as the word was forming on Chat Blanc’s tongue. The tile cracked into the villain’s hand, crumbling into dust upon contact. Chat Blanc let out a roar of anger as his blackened hand returned to it’s original white glove. With a snarl Luka threw his Lyre again, leaping off of the roof as he did so, onto the top of a factory of some sort. Chat Blanc dodged, spitting with rage as his miraculous ring let out a beep.

 

“Looks like you’re out of time, Mr Blanc.” Luka mocked, catching the lyre as it slapped into his palm. His own miraculous let out a warning beep,

 

“Not quite.” Chat hissed, “I’m assuming that you used your Second Chance just now, since you’re beeping like a Bond-film-bomb over there, which means that I have a bit more time then you do before I detransform.” he threw himself onto the same roof as Luka before lobbing his baton like a javelin. It impacted with Luka’s shoulder, hard. Luka gasped as he felt his arm being wrenched from it’s socket by the force of the blow. His miraculous beeped once more. Oh how I hate running… Luka thought to himself, before turning and sprinting from the factory, arm hanging uselessly by his side.

 

“Oh I love a good game of catch!” he heard Chat sing-song behind him. He threw his Lyre without looking behind him, smiling as he heard the villain let out a grunt of pain. The Lyre flew back into his hand as he continued on his way, sliding down a pipe into an alley and rolling under a wheelie-bin to hide. He held his breath for a long time, heart hammering in his chest and arm thrumming with pain. When he finally rolled out, detransformed and stinking to high heaven, Luka made up his mind, he was going to see the guardian.

 

Luka found it quite unfair that, hero as he was, Master Fu wrinkled his nose in disgust at his appearance upon his arrival at Fu’s Massage Shop.

 

“Couldn’t you have cleaned up before you came here? This is my place of business.” The old man grumbled. Luka stared at him incredulously,

 

“My arm is hanging out of it’s socket.” he said. Master Fu didn’t reply but continued to mutter churlishly under his breath as he pottered around in his kitchen, fiddling with numerous vials as he created a ‘healing concoction for even the filthiest of patients’.

 

“I assume you’ve come to me for more then my healing teas and salves?” Master Fu asked finally as he settled down before Luka.

 

“Yes.” Luka replied, taking a sip of the ‘healing tea’ he had been given, it tasted like death. “My fights with Chat Blanc have not been getting easier, I am injured almost every night. Chat Blanc getting hold of my miraculous seems more like an inevitability then a possibility at this point.” Master Fu frowned, tilting his head as he watched Luka intently for several long moments before his eyes cleared and he responded,

 

“I see. I am inclined to agree with you. Even the greatest hero has their breaking point and you have been fighting alone for too long. For this, I am sorry.” Luka blinked, he had been expecting more arguments from the old man,

 

“That’s okay, I guess…” he said, not really sure what else to say, Master Fu nodded.

 

“I have been too hesitant in providing you with the help necessary. Allow me to explain,” the small man stood. Walking to a shelf, Master Fu lifted a large box decorated with Chinese symbols. “You are aware, of course, that yours is not the only Miraculous.” Luka nodded, recalling Chat Blanc with a wince. Master Fu pulled a key from around his neck and unlocked the box, “Whilst Chat Blanc has made many attempts to get hold of your Miraculous, I believe that the one that he is truly after, is that of the Ladybug.” Master Fu gestured to a pair of dark earrings nestled upon a red cushion.

 

“Why do you think that?” Luka asked, leaning forwards to get a better look at the earrings, they were small and unimpressive looking, but he knew that appearances were deceiving when it came to the Miraculouses.

 

“The Ladybug is Chat Noir’s natural partner, the yin to his yang, and, it is believed, that if one user combines these two miraculous’ they are granted god-like abilities, and allowed to make a wish.” Luka’s eyes widened,

 

“You think Chat knows this?” he asked, unable to take his eyes off of the small black gems. Master Fu frowned,

 

“I would not be surprised.” the old man said, “As such, I feel that it is too much of a risk to allow the Ladybug Miraculous to be seen by the public. No one can know where it is. However, whilst Chat’s partner is not someone who we can bring into play, yours is.” Luka blinked,

 

“I have a partner?” he asked, eyes widening, Master Fu nodded,

 

“All of the Miraculous but one has a partner. I initially felt that it wouldn’t be wise to have multiple Miraculous running around unchecked, but it is clear to see that assistance is vital to your success.” he said. Master Fu then slid open a second layer within the box, lifting out a necklace resting atop a pale grey pillow. The necklace itself wasn’t eye-catching, a black chord supporting a pale pink stone about the size of a Euro, but Luka felt something in his chest thrum at the sight of it.

 

“So I get to see Mullo again?” asked Sass, who had bee uncharacteristically quiet throughout the conversation, Master Fu nodded,

 

“Indeed, it is time for the Mouse miraculous to once again come into use.” Master Fu pressed the necklace into Luka’s hand,

 

“I trust that you will find a worthy wielder to aid you in the hard times ahead.” Luka gawked at the old man.

 

“You want me to chose them?” he asked, “How will I know who’s worthy?” Master Fu merely smiled.

 

“I believe your family may be wondering where you are at such a late hour. Sass, I have some Quails eggs for you before you go.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Four

 

Marinette sat hunched over her desk, finalising her latest design. Beside her sat a peppermint tea that had long since stopped steaming and an untouched plate of cookies. Upon adding the final detail to her dress, Marinette finally pushed herself away from the table, grabbing her cold tea before her chair rolled her too far away from sustenance and taking a long, loud slurp, only wincing slightly at the temperature.

 

“Uhm, Marinette?” Marinette yelped, tossing half of her chilled beverage across the rug as she did so. Peering down at her from her loft bed, was none other then Viperion, Paris’ friendly superhero.

 

“How long have you been here?” she asked, eyes wide,

 

“About fifteen minutes…” the superhero said, running a hand through his teal-tipped hair anxiously, “I knocked, and then when you didn’t answer, I came in and tried to call out to you, but you seemed really focused and I didn’t want to interrupt. I can come back another time it’s just-“

 

“It’s fine,” Marinette said, clearing her throat uncomfortably, “Sorry, I sometimes get tunnel vision when I’m working on something and shut out pretty much everything else.” the superhero’s eyes brightened at that.

 

“Don’t worry, I’m exactly the same when I’m writing songs.” Marinette gaped,

 

“You write music?” Viperion nodded, cheeks reddening.

 

“Yeah, I do it’s kind of my passion- this is not what I came here to talk to you about!” he said, slightly louder then intended. “Sorry.” the superhero leapt down from her bed, landing gracefully in front of her and extending his hand. Atop his flattened palm lay a small black box. Marinette glanced at him, perplexed before taking the box and opening it. Her eyebrows furrowed and her cheeks reddened.

 

“You’re giving me jewellery?” she finally asked, voice ever so slightly hoarse. Luka scrabbled to find words,

 

“NO! I mean- I can- it’s not- would you- oh God… Marinette Dupain-Cheng, I present to you the Mouse Miraculous. If you choose to accept it, I would much appreciate your help dealing with Chat Blanc and any other threats that place Paris at risk.” Marinette blinked at him, then stared back down at the necklace in her hands.

 

“This is a Miraculous?” she asked, eyes wide, Luka nodded, “Why-“ Marinette cleared her throat, “Why did you choose me?” Viperion frowned at the question, recalling the way he felt when Sass appeared to him and the overwhelming feeling of inadequacy that had almost lead to him returning his miraculous, before he spoke.

 

"You are an extraordinary girl, Marinette. Clear as a music note, sincere as a melody. You have been the song I hear in my head since we first met. I can’t imagine choosing anyone else to fight by my side.” Marinette’s lips parted in a silent ‘o’ as she stared at him.

 

“I- thank you…” she finally said. She gently lifted the necklace by it’s chord, breath catching slightly as it caught the light. Finally, she reached out with a quivering hand and brushed her fingers along the stone. Instantly, there was a flash of pink light and a small form materialised before them.

 

“I’ll leave you two to get to know each other.” Viperion said, “I will see you later tonight? If that’s okay? We can meet at the Eiffel Tower at Midnight.” Marinette nodded, mouth too dry to speak. Viperion seemed to understand though, smiling slightly before pulling himself out through her trap door and disappearing into the night.

 

Marinette gazed down at her Kwami, who blushed at her examination. The creature was small, smaller then she recalled Viperion’s Kwami being, and pale grey with large circular ears, the insides of which were a light rosy pink, matching the patch of pink coloured fur on her stomach.

 

“Hello!” the Kwami finally squeaked at her frozen chosen, and then startled as Marinette came to life with a delighted coo.

 

“Oh aren’t you the most darling thing I’ve ever seen!” she whisper-shrieked, “Nice to meet you!” she extended a finger, as she had done with Sass not two weeks earlier. The small mouse-like Kwami was blushing madly, cheeks cartoonishly pink as she shook her chosen’s hand.

 

“Nice to meet you too!” she squeaked, “My name is Mullo, what’s yours?” Marinette beamed down at the small Goddess,

 

“Marinette! Mullo is such a pretty name.” she enthused, causing Mullo to twirl embarrassedly and duck behind a framed picture, squeaking in delight.

 

“Thank you!” came her murmured chirp from behind the picture, her eyes popped up from above the frame, “You have a lovely bedroom!” Marinette’s smile grew as she extended her hand, palm up. Timidly, Mullo floated out of her hiding place and landed on the girl’s hand.

 

“Thank you!” Marinette said, glancing around her room as though to verify that it was, indeed, lovely. Then she gasped, causing the small Kwami to gasp in fright, “I can’t believe that I forgot! What a terrible hostess I’m being! Can I get you something to eat?” the Kwami relaxed again, seeming to think about it for a long moment,

 

“If it isn’t any bother… could I maybe have some rice? Uncooked, if you have some, if you don’t don’t worry about it!” as the Kwami spoke, her stomach let out a soft rumble. Marinette cooed again,

 

“You can have all the rice you’d like, little one.” she said, absentmindedly trailing her finger over the top of the Goddess’ head as she spoke, the Kwami leaned into the touch, humming slightly. Marinette lifted the Kwami onto her shoulder,

 

“Let’s get you something to eat.” she murmured, padding downstairs silently and opening the kitchen cupboard.

 

“Brown or white rice?” she queried tugging out two bags, “Or both?” Mullo bounced on her shoulder excitedly,

 

“Can I have a mix?” she asked, tail curling affectionately around one of Marinette’s bunches as she spoke.

 

“Of course you can.” Marinette exclaimed, filling a bowl with the two grains and then padding back upstairs. She laid the bowl down on her desk, gesturing for Mullo to dig in. The Kwami drifted down, tiny hands lifting each grain reverently and nibbling upon it with a singular intensity. After no time at all, the Kwami let out a high pitched groan, rolling onto her back and clutching at her small, round stomach.

 

“I’m stuffed.” she squeaked, Marinette laughed.

 

“I’m glad you’ve had something to eat. I was wondering if you could tell me about how to transform.” The Kwami rolled onto her stomach, large silver eyes intense as she peered up at Marinette,

 

“Of course.” she said, “You need to say ‘Tail’s up!” if you want to transform! ‘Tails Down’ to detransform” Marinette nodded,

 

“What about the special ability? Viperion has his second chance, what about me?” she asked, Mullo smiled, small white teeth glinting in the lamp-light,

 

“Your special ability is called ‘Ghost’ and when you call it, you can travel through solid barriers” Marinette’s eyes widened,

 

“What about things I’m touching?” she asked, Mullo nodded,

 

“anything you choose to hold onto will be taken with you, Mice are the ultimate escape artists. You can use your power to phase through solid barriers for two minutes, and then you will have five before you detransform.”

 

“Woah…” Marinette muttered, eyes wide, “That’s so cool!”. Suddenly, there was a shrill beeping, causing both Kwami and chosen to jump in fright. Marinette flicked off her alarm clock, cheeks flushing. “Sorry, I forgot a set an alarm for quarter to midnight, we need to go and meet Viperion.” Mullo leapt from the desk, twirling as she floated up to Marinette’s eye-level.

 

“Oh this is going to be so fun!” she squealed, “It’s been so long since I got to work with one of Sass’ chosen!” Marinette laughed at her Kwami’s enthusiasm before starting,

 

“Wait!” she exclaimed, “What’s my weapon? I know that Viperion has a Lyre?” Mullo twirled once more,

 

“A ribbon!” the small goddess said, “You can travel with it too! It catches onto things so you can swing, but it also…” Mullo bared her teeth and faux-aggression “WHIPS!” Marinette snorted,

 

“Fair enough, may I?”

 

“Be my guest.” Mullo giggled,

 

“Tails Up!” Marinette cried, before being engulfed in pink light.

 

When she looked in the mirror, Marinette’s breath caught in her throat. Her suit was mostly pale grey, with pink decorations around her chest and upper arms. She had on black gloves and boots, and a pale grey mask, the lower half of which was pink. As she turned to look at herself from the side, she gasped; she had a tail! Long and grey, it stood raised behind her as though it had a mind of it’s own. She focused on it and it swayed obediently, causing her to giggle nervously, that would take her a while to get used to.

 

As Mullo had promised, she did indeed have a ribbon. It was a kind she had seen gymnasts use before, with a pale grey stick for her to hold. The ribbon itself was rosy pink and Marinette twirled it experimentally, humming in pleasure as it elegantly spiralled before her eyes. Finally, Marinette turned to leave, then twisted round again to glance in the mirror once more. She reached up, tugging her bunches free of their pale pink ribbons and coiled them into two buns, she smiled at her reflection, which now seemed more complete, before climbing onto her balcony.

 

The entire of Paris was laid out before her and Marinette gulped as she tried to figure out how she was going to manoeuvre her way to the Eiffel tower. Her eyes landed on an extended pipe jutting from the wall of a building across the street and she cast out her ribbon hesitantly. The next thing Marinette knew, she was flying, a scream that she wasn’t sure was that of delight or terror escaped her lips as the world became a technicolour blur, she cast out her ribbon again, moving more out of instinct then anything else as she flew towards her destiny.

 

Viperion wouldn’t know what hit him (literally).

Chapter Text

Chapter Five

 

Adrien Agreste fell in love with Marinette Dupain-Cheng in the middle of a thunder-storm, both literally and figuratively. The rain had been hammering down overhead, drumming a steady rhythm into the canopy above them as he watched her try to wait out the weather.

 

“Hey.” he said, voice too loud and too choked to be casual. She glanced at him and then glanced away, frowning. He swallowed before he continued, determined to make things right before his father forbade him from ever returning to school, “I just wanted you to know, I was only trying to take the chewing gum off of your seat, I swear.” he wanted to say more, longed to unburden onto this stranger, tell her that he’d never been to school before; that he desperately craved something more then lonely dinners and evenings alone, but he didn’t. She stared at him for a few long seconds and then she said,

 

“I forgot my umbrella.” Adrien felt like his heart was beating louder than the rain as he nodded shakily, offering his own to her. She smiled, accepting it, and as she clasped the handle, their fingers brushed and lightening struck.

 

“My name’s Marinette.” she stated, and he felt the three syllables of her name carve out a space in his heart, “I hope that we can be friends.” he nodded dumbly, fearing that if he spoke, this perfect moment would shatter before his eyes. She smiled at him and then stepped out into the rain, opening the umbrella as she did so. Thunder rumbled as he watched her walk away, unknowingly taking his heart with her.

 

When he got home, his father was waiting for him. Gabriel Agreste stood at the top of the stairs, grey eyes stormy as he glowered at Adrien.

 

“You disobeyed me.” he said, Adrien lifted his chin,

 

“Father, I wanted-“

 

“You were given direct orders which you blatantly disregarded.”

 

“I want to be around children my own age!” Gabriel did not seem moved by his son’s reply, if anything, his eyes became angrier.

 

“Come here.” Adrien’s nails dug crescent-shaped gouges into his palms as he walked up the stairs, back straight, preparing himself for a blow that never came. Gabriel reached out, trailing a gloved hand over his son’s cheek.

 

“Adrien, my dear boy… Why must you insist on disappointing me so.” Adrien clenched his teeth.

 

“I’m sorry father, but I have been alone for too long.” was his ground out reply. Gabriel hummed, hand still resting on his son’s cheek as he peered at him with an almost clinical eye.

 

“I see that you are determined to get your way on this issue.” he murmured, voice too calm for Adrien to feel safe. The man finally lifted his hand from Adrien’s face and reached down, taking his son’s left palm in his own. “I’m sorry that it had to come to this, my sweet child.” He pulled a ring from his pocket with a gloved hand, it was a bright white, and somehow wrong looking. The moment Adrien’s eyes landed on it, he squirmed away, an almost primal terror filling him for reasons he couldn’t quite explain. Gabriel’s grip on his hand only tightened and with frightening speed, he forced the ring onto his finger, “but I will not tolerate disobedience.” he hissed, face coming alive with fury. Adrien felt a pain splitting his temple, a white hot fury that he had never felt before, and then he was plunged into darkness.

 

When he came to, the world around him was slightly different. It was as though somebody had put a filter on it, rendering it slightly darker then he was used to.

 

“How do you feel?” Gabriel asked, and Adrien realised that they were still at the top of the stairs. He absently wondered how long he had been passed out, it felt like hours, but had it only been seconds?

 

“What have you done to me?” his voice sounded different to his own ears, more hollow, the panic that ought to be welling up in him was tucked away somewhere deep inside.

 

“You were behaving irrationally.” Gabriel said, “I have merely made it so that I can keep tabs on you when necessary. You are finally equipped to be able to help me bring your mother back into our lives.”

 

“mother…?” Adrien asked, head aching as he tried to figure out what his mother had to do with this.

 

“Yes Adrien,” his father said patiently, as though talking to a small child, “Your mother. She is very, very sick, and if you wish to bring her back, we need to get hold of the Ladybug Miraculous.” Adrien turned away from his father, retching onto the carpeted marble floor. His father tutted behind him. “That ring, on your finger, is known as the Black Cat Miraculous,” he said, as though his son’s vomiting was merely an ad-break to his monologue, “though it is currently being influenced by my own Miraculous, the butterfly, in order to better suit our needs.”

 

“I don’t understand.” Adrien murmured, head spinning. Gabriel hummed,

 

“I don’t suppose you do. Don’t worry, all will become clear soon, my sweet boy.”

 

That night, Chat Blanc made his first appearance on the streets of Paris. At first, civilians didn’t know what to think of him, but when his glittering white claws turned a tar-black, and a building crumbled to dust at his fingertips, they began to scream. Somewhere in the chaos, Chat Blanc caught sight of a girl, shopping bag hanging forgotten from her arm as she sprinted from the danger. His eyes followed her as she ran, noting that despite the rest of the world still being dark and changed, she seemed to almost glow. He turned away from her as she rounded a corner, not feeling the tear that burnt a path down his cheek.

 

When he returned home, his father embraced him, and Adrien wondered how it was possible to feel both numb and nauseas at the same time. He stepped out of his father’s arms as he detransformed, bathing them both in a sickly yellow light.

 

“I wish to go to school tomorrow, father.” Adrien said, voice still too monotone to be his. Gabriel Agreste smiled,

 

“That can be arranged, but remember what we discussed. The moment a Miraculous Wielder exposes themselves…”

 

“Their destruction, and the acquisition of their Miraculous is the Priority.” Adrien confirmed. His head still throbbed and his guts seemed to turn themselves inside out as he stared at his father, face blank.

 

That night, Adrien slept fitfully, terrible nightmares causing him to thrash silently under the sheets. It was only when, at around three in the morning, rain began to fall steadily against his window, that his breathing evened out, and he was allowed to dream.

Chapter Text

Chapter Six

 

Multimouse took the world by storm. Whilst Viperion was a respected presence on the streets of Paris, there was something deeply reassuring about the heroine. After saving Alya Cesaire from a particularly nasty Chat Blanc attack (wherein their feline-foe lobbed a car at the unsuspecting civilian), Multimouse Media was founded (‘MM’ for short). The blog updated Parisians on Attacks and hosted several interviews for Multimouse and Viperion, there, the two discussed their respective powers as well as giving helpful tips and advice on how to stay safe during attacks. It was these interviews that thrust the crime-fighting-duo into the public eye, not just in Paris, but around the world. Within twenty-four hours of the first interview being posted, they were trending on nearly every social media platform to be had.

 

Lila Rossi was nothing if not on-trend.

 

Her eleventh school looked vaguely similar to her third one (or was it her fourth?), and the students weren’t that different either. As she stepped into her new classroom, she quickly categorised her classmates into two neat columns: Worthwhile and not. The class had been in the middle of a heated debate about who would win in a fight, Multimouse or Viperion, though they fell silent at the unfamiliar presence in the room.

 

“Class, I would like to introduce you to our new student, Lila Rossi. Please do your best to make her feel welcome.” called the teacher, a pleasant looking woman with red hair pulled into a bun. There was an awkward silence for a long moment before a quiet murmuring began, which Lila knew would crescendo into a resurgence of the previous debate. She cleared her throat,

 

“I don’t mean to intrude,” she said, eyes wide and innocent, “But were you talking about Multimouse?” at the assent from her new classmates, she broke into a smile, “Would you mind if I joined you guys? Multimouse is a close personal friend of mine!” she slipped into a spare seat on the second row and the girl beside her (worthwhile) shook her hand and introduced herself as Alya, Creator of Multimouse Media.

 

“When you say Multimouse is a close personal friend…?” the girl asked leadingly, Lila laughed, tossing her long dark hair over her shoulder,

 

“I knew her before she was Multimouse, so when she became a superhero I was the first to know! We are best friends after all!” Alya gasped, clearly impressed, and Lila swelled with pride,

 

“I would love an interview some time!” she cried, Lila nodded in agreement,

 

“Sure! But of course I’d have to keep her name a secret. Some friend I’d be otherwise.” There was an understanding murmur from the class, who had all decided to listen in to the new girl’s conversation. The door swung open, hitting the wall with a bang and making Lila jump in surprise, her new classmates didn’t look up, clearly used to the disturbance.

 

“Sorry I’m late, Madame Bustier! There was a cat and my homework and then-“ the speaker was a small girl with dark hair tugged into two buns atop her head, blue wisps framing her face prettily, she glanced around frantically, large blue eyes catching Lila for a moment in their frantic surveying of the classroom,

 

“It’s fine, Marinette.” said the teacher, smiling kindly at the panicked girl, “We haven’t begun yet, there’s a new addition to our class.” Lila raised her hand and smiled at the girl,

 

“Lila Rossi!” she chirped, Marinette nodded at her, clearly still flustered from her late arrival,

 

“Marinette, pleasure.” she said, before ducking her head and running up to grab a seat in the back row.

 

“Don’t worry about Marinette.” said Alya, leaning in to whisper conspiratorially, “She’s shy.” Lila nodded understandingly, but her dark eyes lingered on the small girl, who was now slumped in her corner seat, gazing dreamily out of the window. ‘Are you a Worthwhile or not?’ Lila mused. She didn’t stay on this vein of thought very long though, as a boy from the row in front of them turned to face her. Lila’s breath caught in her throat, it was Adrien Agreste. She blamed her nerves for not having immediately recognised the boy, but up close, there was no doubt. ‘He’s even more beautiful in person’, she thought to herself, as the boy smiled at her, turning her insides to jello.

 

“I’m a big Multimouse fan!” the boy enthusiastically claimed, shaking her hand as he introduced himself, “Adrien Agreste, would you like to tell me about her over coffee?” This was all too good to be true, she’d only been at this new school for five minutes and already she’d been asked on a date by the most popular model in the industry at the moment.

 

“That sounds great.” She replied, “But you know, I can’t tell you too much…” she trailed off, biting on her bottom lip “I barely know you.” Adrien nodded,

 

“Don’t worry, I wont press you too hard for details.” he replied grinning at her as though there was a joke that she wasn’t privy to. Lila shrugged off an odd feeling of discomfort and smiled, everything was going according to plan.

 

4 Hours Later

 

Everything was not going to plan. It became very clear to Lila Rossi about fifteen minutes into her date with Adrien Agreste, that it wasn’t a date at all. The whole thing was more of an interrogation then anything else.

 

“How old is she?” Adrien asked. It was what felt like the 100th question in the past half hour, Lila huffed, standing up,

 

“I already told you, I can’t tell you too much because I’d be breaking her trust, what kind of a person would I be then?” she snapped, Adrien narrowed his eyes at her,

 

“You can’t even tell me how old she is?” he demanded, Lila threw her hands in the air in exasperation,

 

“She’s our age! Is that what you want to know?” Adrien’s face softened,

 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.” he said, gesturing for her to sit back down, she complied, hoping to salvage the date and get to know the Agreste boy, “I’m just a really big fan.”

 

“I get it.” Lila sighed, “She’s a superhero, of course you’d be curious.” She leaned over and clasped his hand in her own, his eyes flicked to the movement, but he didn’t pull away. When he didn’t answer her soft words, she lightly placed a finger on his chin, tilting his head up to see his expression, and then recoiled. There was a dark shadow around the boy’s eyes; a butterfly marring his perfect skin, and his irides were a startling violet. “What the-“ She tried to pull away, but the boy’s hand suddenly tightened around her own, yanking her close.

 

“Where do you think you’re going?” came a voice from Adrien Agreste’s mouth that definitely didn’t belong to Adrien Agreste, “We have much to discuss.” Lila opened her mouth to shriek, and Adrien’s hand slammed over her mouth. Lila cursed herself for choosing the most isolated spot in the park to picnic, she had thought it would be romantic. The last thing she felt before a sharp blow to her head rendered her unconscious, was the burn of Adrien Agreste’s ring against her lips.  It was so cold that it circled round to hot again.

 

When Adrien returned to class after lunch, alone, telling of how Lila had rushed home sick, no one was any the wiser.

Chapter Text

Chapter Seven

 

Marinette didn’t like the new girl. She didn’t like the easy way that she befriended Alya Cesaire, or the way she fluttered her eyelashes at Adrien Agreste, but most of all, she didn’t like the way the girl talked about Multimouse.

 

“See this bracelet?” the girl bragged, pulling up her sleeve to reveal a bangle-bedazzled arm and gesturing to one specific beaded bracelet, “Multimouse made it for me, she has one I made for her too. We never take them off.” Marinette glanced down at her own, unadorned arm and scowled.

 

Lila Rossi was not Multimouse’s best friend. Marinette should know, she was Multimouse, and she didn’t have a best friend. Letting out an infuriated huff, Marinette tugged her sketchbook from her bag and flipped it to a fresh page before beginning to sketch out several designs for bracelets, all of which would be way better then the one Lila Rossi was claiming Multimouse had made. Her hand stilled as her classmates let out a particularly appreciative ‘ooh’ at one of Lila’s anecdotes, and Marinette slammed her head onto her desk quietly.

 

Her phone dinged.

 

Marinette sat up. Wiping a graphite smudge from her forehead, she tugged her phone from her pocket with her spare hand.

 

“Hey Marinette! It’s me, Luka (Juleka’s brother). I was wondering If I could get you to sign my Jagged Stone Album cover this lunch? We could get hot chocolate after if you were interested? Hopefully see you soon!”

 

Marinette’s lips spread into a smile as she read the message. She bounced her feet happily under the table as she typed out a response.

 

“Hey Luka :) That sounds great! Where would u like to meet???” She closed her eyes as she pressed send, and slipped her hand into her purse to absentmindedly stroke Mullo, whose tail coiled around her wrist reassuringly. She suppressed a squeal as her phone dinged again,

 

“Your lunch break starts at one, right? I’ll meet you outside your school building!”

 

“Awesome!” It really was. Marinette flipped to a fresh page of her sketchbook, allowing the light feeling in her stomach to inspire happy designs. There was a burst of raucous laughter from the front of the class, and Marinette rolled her eyes, positive that whatever it was the new girl had said couldn’t have been that funny, before allowing a private smile of her own to flicker across her face as she focused on her sketch.

 

Lunch couldn’t come quick enough. When the bell finally rung, Marinette practically skipped from the building. Luka was waiting for her outside, leaning against the wall with his hands buried in his pockets, though he promptly straightened up when he saw her.

 

“Hey Marinette.” he smiled, Marinette felt her cheeks flush,

 

“Hi Luka! How’s the weather- I mean- How are you?” ‘Hows the weather?’ Marinette internally berated herself, you’re here too, you dimwit. Luka shrugged, unperturbed

 

“I’d like it to be a bit cooler out, I’m melting.” Marinette nodded before asking,

 

“Would you like me to sign your album first or shall we go find somewhere to sit down?” Luka smiled,

 

“Let’s get the hot chocolate first, then we can sit and talk- as long as you want to that is you don’t have to or anything I just thought-“

 

“That sounds lovely.” Marinette cut in, feeling her nerves ease at Luka’s own palpable ones. The two of them ambled off in the direction of a coffeeshop that Luka swore was amazing. Their shoulders bumping as they went.

 

“I told you they’d be perfect for each other.” Rose squealed to Juleka as they watched the two go, Juleka rolled her eyes,

 

“Maybe.” was all she said, but a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. It was good to see her brother happy, he had seemed so stressed recently, always tired. It was nice to hear something other then the same dirge-like melody over and over, his music was definitely more upbeat now.

 

Once the initial awkwardness had passed, Marinette found herself really enjoying Luka’s company. The two liked a lot of the same music and games,

 

“There is no way that UMS3 is a better game then the original!” Luka declared, taking a swig of coffee before pointing at Marinette with an accusing finger, “It’s people like you that give our fandom a bad rep.” Marinette puffed up in indignation,

 

“People like me?” she cried, “I bet you wouldn’t know how to handle a controller if it bit you on your left cheek!” Luka flushed.

 

“Don’t say ‘left cheek’ over biscuits, I have a sensitive stomach.” he grumbled. Marinette rolled her eyes,

 

“I could have meant your face-cheek.” she replied, “Besides, me offending your delicate sensibilities just proves that I’m the better gamer.” She leaned in, patting Luka on his face-cheek affectionately, “You women-folk have no stomach for war.” she cooed. Luka batted her hand away,

 

“I’m no woman! I’m all man, that’s why I’m not impressed by fancy graphics, I’m here for the real stuff, the genuine, gritty gaming experience.” Marinette snorted,

 

“Doesn’t matter what version you prefer, I’d beat you on either, little boy.” she smirked, “I’d bet my last biscuit.”

 

“You shouldn’t wager something for the sake of losing it.” Luka replied, leaning in, “But if we’re being bold… Lets up the stakes, loser pays for hot chocolate next time?” Marinette pouted in faux-worry

 

“I have expensive tastes…” She said, gesturing to her frothy beverage, Luka grinned,

 

“Good thing I’m confident in my gaming prowess then.” he hissed. Marinette leaned away suddenly, cheeks flaming,

 

“I just realised, it’s almost two!” she cried, leaping to her feet, “Do you want a match after school? I can’t wait to make you rue the day!” Luka laughed, rubbing a hand across his face, it felt hot.

 

“Oh, it’s on. What time do you finish? I’ll meet you.”

 

“3:50, don't be late, I might think you’ve chickened out.” Marinette called over her shoulder as she sprinted from the coffee shop. Luka laughed, running a hand through his dark hair as he watched her leave. She tripped over thin air as she went, arms windmilling before she righted herself, “I’m okay!” she called to him, prompting another burst of laughter from him as she dashed around the corner.

 

When Marinette got back to class, Adrien was sitting in the seat next to hers in the back row. This in itself was not an unusual occurrence; the boy vacillated between sitting beside her in the back, and with Nino at the front, but Marinette had assumed that Lila would monopolise his time for the rest of the day.

 

“Hey Adrien.” she said, bumping shoulders with him as she sat down. Adrien smiled wanly at her, head propped up on his hand. She took a moment to take him in, “Are you okay? You look really pale.” Adrien nodded,

 

“I just feel a bit sick, I probably caught Lila’s bug or something.” he said, Marinette frowned,

 

“Lila’s sick? Is she okay? I have some paracetamol if you’d like.” she began to root through her bag.

 

“It’s fine, Marinette.” he said, Marinette glanced up at him worriedly,

 

“Are you sure?” she tried, “You look really pale.” she leaned over, resting the back of her hand against his forehead. “You’re really hot!” she exclaimed, Adrien winked,

 

“Thanks Marinette, but I’m too ill for your flirtations right now.” Marinette rolled her eyes,

 

“I mean your temperature, maybe you should tell Madame Bustier. You can go home early or something?”

 

“No.” Adrien said, “Honestly, I’m fine Marinette, just leave it.” Marinette stilled. Biting her lip, she glanced at him uncertainly,

 

“Okay Adrien, but if you need anything, let me know.” As she spoke, she pulled a water bottle from her backpack and slid it to him. Adrien took an appreciative gulp and nodded,

 

“Thanks Marinette.” He said,

 

“Anything for a friend.” She replied, smiling at him. Adrien felt his stomach clench, mind flickering back to Lila’s wild, frightened eyes for a moment. His fists clenched in his lap before he answered,

 

“I really appreciate it.”

Chapter Text

Chapter Eight

 

Hot days made way for cool nights and Marinette hummed contentedly as she tugged her eiderdown up to her chin.

 

“Rice me!” Mullo squeaked from across the room. Marinette pulled an arm free, lobbing a single grain of rice in the Goddess’ direction. The petite deity caught it between her teeth with a delighted squeal and Marinette laughed.

 

“Good catch.” she called. Mullo twirled delightedly in the air before floating out of sight to eat her rice in private.

 

“Mmm so delicious.” came Mullo’s pantomime style approval from behind a pile of books. Marinette was beginning to suspect that the Goddess was hiding away half of her food somewhere amongst Marinette’s belongings rather then eating them, though she had decided not to comment on this quirk.

 

“Glad you like it.” she replied. Marinette used her now free arm to tug her mug of tea towards herself, taking a long sip of the steaming beverage. Today had been a good day. After Lila had gone home sick, she and Adrien had had a very nice time passing notes during their classes, though the boy had still seemed relatively out of sorts. After that, herself and Luka had gone back to her house, where she thoroughly trounced him at Ultimate Mecha Strike and Ultimate Mecha Strike 3. After she had finished crowing, Luka laughingly agreed that next time, the hot chocolate was on him. The idea that there would be a ‘next time’ made Marinette’s cheeks heat with delight. Recalling the event, Marinette let out a euphoric squeal, kicking her legs about under the blankets. One of Jagged Stone’s softer (though still not particularly soft) songs was playing quietly from her computer as she fondly reminisced, when a sudden thud brought her out of her reverie. Marinette jumped, eyes flickering up to her balcony trap door.

 

“What was that?” Mullo asked, face anxiously protruding from above a stack of books.

 

“Maybe Viperion?” Marinette whispered, though why the Snake-themed hero would show up on her balcony when they were meant to be meeting the following evening was beyond her. She clambered from her bed, and crawled over to her trap door. There had been no sound since the first thud. Marinette almost jumped out of her skin as there was a second, much fainter rap on her trapdoor. “Stay hidden.” she hissed at Mullo, who ducked out of sight. Marinette unlatched the trap door and pushed it open slightly, sticking her head through to see what had caused the disturbance. She let out a small yelp as she caught sight of white leather, the door swinging shut as she toppled away from it in panic. “Chat Blanc!” She whisper-yelled, Mullo knocked over the stack of books she had been hiding behind in panic.

 

“Why is he here? Does he know?” the Goddess asked, eyes wide and terrified. Marinette took a deep breath,

 

“If he knew, he’d have killed me by now.” she reasoned, Mullo nodded.

 

“I suppose…” she squeaked. Marinette steeled herself before she returned to the trap door. Pushing it open one more, she poked her head out, and gasped. She had been correct in her initial assessment, it was indeed Chat Blanc, but the boy was unconscious. The left half of his face was purpling, the eye swelled shut and his lower lip split. He had clearly taken a hell of a beating. Did Viperion..? Marinette quickly dismissed the thought, there had been no Attack Siren, nothing to indicate that a fight had occurred. Marinette pulled herself entirely through her trap door and peered at the boy. A nasty gash on his cheek was dripping blood onto the patio. Marinette set her jaw, mind made up.

 

“What are you doing?” Mullo squealed panickily as Marinette toppled through the trap door, dragging the supervillian through with her. Marinette shushed her quickly, flapping a hand to gesture for the goddess to hide. She laid the boy on her bed, noting as she did so how worryingly light he was. Once he was laid down, Marinette turned to Mullo,

 

“I couldn’t just leave him up there! That’s not what heroes do.” she hissed, Mullo’s tail flicked angrily,

 

“What if he wakes up and hurts you? He’s got the Cat Miraculous, and he’s using it for evil. Cat wielders are bad enough when they’re good!” the goddess whispered, Marinette placed her hands on her hips,

 

“What if I left him there and he died?” she snapped, “What if I had to tell my parents that there was a dead teenager on my roof.” Mullo glanced at her sharply,

 

“Teenager?” she asked, Marinette gestured to the boy,

 

“He doesn’t look any older then me!” she whispered. Mullo opened her mouth to reply when the boy stirred, both froze. “I need to get my first aid kit and some water.” Marinette muttered to herself, gesturing for Mullo to hide. The Goddess ducked out of sight and Marinette dashed from the room, returning moments later with a bowl of water and some clean rags. Carefully, she began to wipe away the blood from the boy’s face. He let out a faint whimper as she dragged the rag across his cheek. She knew from experience that having a miraculous meant that injuries healed much faster, but looking after them yourself sped up the process exponentially. After cleaning him up as well as she could, Marinette clambered off of her bed and sat herself down at her desk.

 

“What now?” Mullo murmured, Marinette shrugged,

 

“I guess we just wait for him to wake up?” she asked. Mullo’s eyes narrowed,

 

“Or…” she said, “We could take his miraculous while he’s sleeping, and return it to the Guardian.” Marinette stiffened at the suggestion.

 

“His Miraculous?” she asked, “What is it?”

 

“Ring.” Mullo said, “Do it quickly, before he wakes up.” Marinette sprung to her feet. Injured or not, Chat Blanc had been plaguing Paris for over a year, if she could end that without risking her life then- She lifted his hand and flinched automatically. Mullo was right, there was a ring on the boy’s third finger, but there was no way she could get it off. The Goddess sped to her side, having witnessed the flinch, and then let out a choked little noise.

 

The ring was a bright white, almost pulsating as it sat, innocuous on the boy’s pale hand. The skin around the ring was red and inflamed. Marinette’s stomach curdled as she realised that the skin was almost growing over the ring.

 

“It’s part of his hand?!” she whispered, she reached out to trail a finger along it, see if the flesh really did weld to the edges of the miraculous as it so appeared, when she felt a sharp pain in her arm. Mullo had bitten her.

 

“Don’t touch it.” she snapped. Marinette stepped back instinctually,

 

“What’s wrong?” she asked. Mullo opened her mouth to respond when the boy coughed. Mullo ducked under the bed as Chat Blanc blearily opened large acid-green eyes.

 

“Where am I?” then his eyes seemed to focus on Marinette, they widened for a moment, and he pushed himself into a sitting position on the bed, “Mar- How did I get here? Who are you?” Marinette straightened her back.

 

“You passed out on my balcony. I didn’t know what to do so I brought you in.” Chat Blanc reached up and touched his cheek then hissed, pulling his hand away sharply.

 

“Why?” he asked, green eyes pinning her in place. Marinette tensed under his observation.

 

“I wasn’t going to.” she said quickly, “But I realised that you- you look about my age, and I felt bad, I don’t know, I was scared you’d die on my roof…” Chat Blanc snorted, then winced, touching at his split lip.

 

“Charming.” he said, Marinette scowled,

 

“Sorry if I’m not the height of politeness, I don’t really know the etiquette for looking after passed out supervillians.” she snapped,

 

“Did the self-preservation gene skip you or something, you small angry person? I could slit your throat with these big claws of mine.” Chat Blanc hissed, going to sit up then crying out and clutching at his rib, “Fuck.” he muttered to himself, leaning against her headboard again.

 

“Would you like something to eat?” Marinette asked, feeling a wave of irrational sympathy for the boy. He narrowed his eyes at her.

 

“Taking me in just to poison me, eh?” he smirked, Marinette rolled her eyes.

 

“Are you always so self involved?”

 

“Wouldn’t you like to know.”

 

“I’m going to get you some food so that you can feel better and leave.” Marinette said, feeling Mullo duck up the leg of her Pyjamas. The moment she was out of her room, the small Goddess whizzed in front of her.

 

“We need to go and see Master Fu.” Mullo declared,

 

“Why? What was wrong with his miraculous.” Mullo blanched.

 

“That was not an ordinary Miraculous. That boy is suffering.” Marinette frowned as she ducked into the kitchen, loading leftover croissants onto a plate,

 

“What do you mean? I mean, I know that’s not what a miraculous is supposed to look like, but what’s happened to it?” Mullo ducked into a cupboard, anxiously gnawing at a grain of rice.

 

“I don’t know exactly. The guardian would be able to tell but…” Mullo wrung her paws as she deliberated over what to say, “As you know, yours is not the only Miraculous, but one of many. Your Miraculous, along with Viperion's and Chat Blanc’s are best at close range fighting. You have weapons allowing you to get close to your opponents. This is the same for many others, however, some Miraculous were created for working from a distance. The Butterfly, as an example, can create ‘Champions’, from normal civilians, imbuing them with the power to help close range fighters. It’s meant to be a good ability, but can move into the realm of Mind-control quite quickly if in the wrong hands.” Marinette stilled,

 

“Mind Control?” she asked, hesitantly. Mullo nodded,

 

“Well pretty much. If the wielder is strong enough, it can be virtually impossible to refuse them. It can cause people great pain ” The Mouse Goddess was more sombre then Marinette had ever seen her before.

 

“So you think that this Butterfly wielder has… has possessed Chat Blanc?” Marinette asked, eyes widening.

 

“No.” Mullo denied, “It might not be the Butterfly, that’s just an example, there are other Miraculous with similar abilities. Only Master Fu could tell us which ones were active and could be responsible for this.” Marinette nodded shakily.

 

“Right…”  Mullo floated over, nudging her head against Marinette’s.

 

“It’s okay, little one.” she said, “I know this is scary, but once we figure out what’s infected Chat’s ring, we can help him. It’s clear that’s the possessed item.”

 

“Possessed item?” Marinette asked, Mullo nodded,

 

“Wielders need something to connect them to the person they’re controlling. Often an item of clothing or a prized possession. Judging by the state of Chat’s ring, that’s his possessed item.”

 

“So you’re saying that everything that’s happened, all of the people Chat Blanc has hurt, none of it has been of his own volition?” Marinette felt vaguely queazy. Mullo nodded,

 

“Potentially.” She said. Marinette leant against the counter top for support.

 

“That poor boy.” She muttered, she couldn’t even begin to imagine it.

 

“You need to be careful.” Mullo snapped, “He’s still dangerous. Don’t indicate that you know anything, whoever’s controlling him is probably listening in.”

 

“Okay.” Marinette’s head felt foggy with all the new information, “I’ll be careful. I should make him a hot chocolate.”

 

“Marinette…” Mullo warned, “He could still hurt you.”

 

“I know.” Marinette said, turning away, “It’s just a hot chocolate.”